Monday, 16 March 2015

Sports Round-Up


Emma Crawford (S6) won two silver medals in the 100m & 200m backstroke at the Scottish School Swimming Championships in the Aberdeen Sports Village Aquatics Centre.

 

·         Christopher McColm (S6) won gold in the 100m backstroke at the same event!

 

·         Kate Johnstone (S4) claimed a silver medal in the 60m sprint at the Scottish Schools Athletics Championships in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. She has been selected to travel to the Netherlands for the 100m and 200m with a group of athletes from Edinburgh – Best of luck Kate!

Liall Smith (S3) has signed for Hibernian at under-15s level. He most recently played for Leith Athletic – well done Liall!










Football Update:

 

As the wintery weather continues to cause havoc across the country, it has been a very frustrating stop-start month for our football teams, with numerous matches postponed due to adverse weather conditions or frozen pitches.

 

Mr Stewart has been very frustrated with the recent postponements, but is delighted with the way our teams are progressing as the season reaches the halfway stage.

 

“The weather has been really disruptive recently,” he said. “A lot of the pitches are being deemed unplayable and we’re not hearing until Friday afternoon whether the games are going to be on. On some occasions it’s whether the frost is still there on Saturday morning.”

 

“As for the season overall so far, all three of our football teams (Seniors / U/15s / U13s) are almost at the same stage right now where they’ve got as many wins and they have defeats and they’re all sitting mid-table in the leagues so the boys are doing quite well. Hopefully we will enjoy some success with our 1st or 3rd years who are both competing in the League Cup this weekend.”

 

The Seniors defeated Gillespies on Friday 6th February by five goals to three in their first game since 16th January (2-0 defeat to Trinity). A brace from duo Kieran Grant, Harry Davis and a goal from Sam Murphy ensured the points went Porty’s way! A nasty-looking injury was sustained to the oppositions goalkeeper late in the match – we wish him a speedy recovery!

Senior Team



The under-15s were sadly defeated by local rivals Holyrood 4-0, but the boys put in a spirited performance without finding the back of the net after creating several chances. Previously, they swept aside Royal High 4-0, Liall Smith netting himself a hat-trick with Michael Barfoot adding to the score line.

 

The under-13s league match against St Thomas’ was called off, but the team are full of confidence after beating Royal High by two goals to one in a League & Cup double-header. The goals were scored by Tom Davies and Charlie MacKinnon.


U/13 Team



 

Exam Advice – Top Tips



1.      Take Breaks – try to stop and de-clutter your mind every now and again. It doesn’t have to be for long and just do something that doesn’t require too much thought: dance around your room, go for a short walk or take a relaxing shower.

2.      Drink lots of water (or tea) – its important to keep your brain hydrated. Water is like oil for the great machine of learning.

3.      Don’t eat ‘comfort foods’ – sometimes during your exam period all that you want to do is curl up and cry over a box of chocolates or a basket of muffins or an entire tub of ice cream (or all of the above), we’ve all been there. Ok, it’s fine to slip up now and again but those foods reduce your brain’s function and make it more difficult for you to concentrate. Try eating a punnet of blueberries instead.

4.      Find your own revision path – some people revise early in the morning, some people revise best during the night, some people revise at intervals during the day, find the best way for you to work and stick to it. They are your exams and you know yourself the best way that you learn.

5.      Exercise stimulates the brain – and you really want your brain to be stimulated.

6.      Accept your failures (or possible failures) and move on. Don’t dwell for the whole summer, you have lots of options and can always re-do things which don’t go so well.

7.      Don’t procrastinate – this sounds much easier to do than it actually is but put down your phone, deactivate your Netflix and stay away from the Internet like it’s the plague. Try revising with books, pen and paper to avoid temptation.

8.      Find out what type of learner you are – some people like mind maps, some write things out again and again and again, some use past papers to answer questions. Its all about knowing what’s right for you but remember to change it up a bit every now and again.

9.      Tell your parents how your exam really went – its better they know now than in August.

10.  Chill – its not like its the rest of your life or anything.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Scary Movies for Horror Enthusiasts

  The Conjuring

The Conjuring is number one movie on the list for terrifyingly good reasons. The central focus is on the traditional haunted house, with the usual creepy ghost woman with no eyes lurking inside every shadowy corner, petrified young children with shrieks louder than a jet absolutely mad with fear and, of course, a demonic possession so psychologically disturbing even the toughest of horror fans will feel the chills piercing their backs. Additionally, a whole host of terror tactics are in place to make you not just jump out of your seat but run out of the room screaming. For the more enthusiastic horror fans this is a definite must see. If you can’t get enough the prequel ‘Annabelle’ is in cinemas now.
                                   Mama
Mama is a thrilling and gripping story about a desperate spirit, ‘Mama’ traumatised by the absence of her lost child. As two young girls are abandoned in a cabin the woods the spirit ‘mama’ appears to protect the girls, effectively adopting them as her won children. A few years later as the missing girls are found, they appear to behave in an animalistic and savage manner. As the uncle and his girlfriend try and introduce into human society, many problems arise and it appears that Mama has a stronger hold on the kids than anyone ever expected.
 
       The Blair Witch Project
This movie is completely unique within the horror genre due to its experimental filming methods and unusual plot. The last few years have seen an increase in the paranormal type scary movie, which revolves around ghost, ghouls and gore. The Blair Witch Project is all about the creepiest, darkest woods you can imagine, complete with a trio of foolish students with a dodgy camera with bad angles, which only make the experience that bit more terrifying. As an older, but still chillingly scary movie, the Blair Witch project will put you off camping for life.
       The Woman in Black (2012)
Set in the 1900’s, this chilling movie captures the raw essence of the classic haunting from a vengeful ghost. Daniel Radcliffe, (a.k.a Harry Potter) stars as a young lawyer with a troubled past, who travels to a tormented town to sell an abandoned manor house. In addition, Radcliffe breaks away from his role as Harry to experiment with a mature angle. This movie will guarantee to have you jolting out of your seats due to the copious amount of creepy dolls, a disturbing history and an intensely ominous atmosphere.
      Orphan
Orphan tells a tale of a family who adopted a seemingly innocent little girl called Esther. However, she is definitely not what she seems and has a very dark secret indeed. The family who welcome her into their home are shocked to the core when they discover Esther’s true identity. Her sweet façade is unravelled in this creepy movie throughout disturbing scenarios.  This movie will have you clutching to your friends.
 
        The Amityville Horror (2005)
If you haven’t read the book or seen the original 1979 version of this film then you won’t be disappointed! This film is thrilling from start to finish while still maintaining an intriguing storyline; Ryan Reynolds stars as the classic possessed father figure in a story much like “The Shining”. The only thing that disappointed me about this remake was how little it resembled the original or true story. If you are going to call it a remake it mast at least maintain a few of the same events.
Reynolds moves his new family into the Amityville house in hope of a new life together. However the longer the family spend in the house the more the evil intensifies; it also begins to become more physical rather than mental. We can gradually see the house drive Reynolds insane and turn him against his family. For me the ending was a little disappointing though unexpected.

      Warm Bodies (2013)
Warm Bodies is a great movie for lovers of horror, comedy, and romance, therefore this film is widely popular. This film shows an unlikely romance between a human and a zombie, in a future apocalyptic earth. Tessa Palmer plays a young human girl called Julie, and Nicholas Hoult plays R a zombie boy with a witty sense of humour and a conscience that other zombies don’t possess. After R saves Julie during a zombie attack the two begin to build the base of their relationship, and slowly Julie’s kindness begins to turn R human again. However the pair overcomes a number of obstacles including Julie’s father’s disapproval, and constant attacks from the “Bonies”, which are out to get both the zombies and humans. This movie is a refreshing change from the usual zombie films, which is why I think it was so successful.

Grand Slam Down Under




While we have been bracing the bitter cold here in Scotland, a man from Dunblane has been on a mission down under. Andy Murray was bidding to be the first Brit to win the Australian Open since the days of Fred Perry. Having already claimed two majors in Wimbledon and the US Open, a win in Oz would have been the third leg in completing the career grand slam. While he had already reached the three finals here, the trophy eluded him each time as he felt the cost of playing in the same era as some of the finest to play the game.

Murray came in off the back of a disappointing 2014 season where he had been riddled by injuries as well as splitting up with his head coach Ivan Lendl, and his assistant Dani Valveradu, yet after his usual training block in Miami which injury deprived him of the year before, he looked to be back to full fitness for the new year. His warm up tournaments went well and he went on to produce his best form in over a year.

Indeed the draw was not kind, with two of the men who had limited Murray’s grand slam haul in the same half as him. Rafael Nadal, who Murray hadn’t beaten in 3 years as well as Roger Federer, the greatest player of all time who had inflicted Murray’s heaviest defeat ever just 2 months previously. To add to what already looked a mammoth task, he was drawn to play his Wimbledon conqueror Grigor Dimitrov in the 4th round.

The draw offered the consolation that at least Murray’s opening rounds looked simple enough. He sailed through the first round against a qualifier before playing home favourite Matosovic in the second. While the players were on good terms, the British press did not take too kindly to what the Aussie had to say about Murray’s new coach Amelie Mauresmo, a high profile appointment as it was almost unheard of for someone in the men’s game to appoint a female coach. Indeed this might have shown in Matosovic’s remarks on the subject  ‘I couldn’t do it because I don’t think that highly of the woman’s game’ he was quoted as saying ‘it’s all equal rights these days, politically correct.’ While he apologised soon after, it gave the match further weight yet Murray again cruised through to the third round, furthermore, on the same night Roger Federer suffered a shock loss, his earliest ever in Melbourne and a result that meant he would not potentially lock horns with Murray in the quarter finals.

Indeed Murrays route to the final was looking increasingly clear as, while Federer was already out, Nadal was taken to five sets against a man who had won half as many grand slam matches as Nadal had titles. The Spaniard looked to be struggling with the hard surface of the court and odds on him winning the tournament lengthened. After his convincing third round win against Joao Sousa many felt Murray to be the second favourite, after World Number 1 and title shoo in, Novak Djokovic.

But first Murray would have to pass the challenge of Bulgarian-and a man tipped to be a future World no.1-Grigor Dimitrov. It was a match of extremely high quality, arguably the most absorbing of the tournament and appropriately played under the lights late at night in the Rod Laver Arena. It pitted Dimitrov’s attacking, flamboyant yet error strewn style against Murray’s more counter attacking one. The clash of approaches to the game allowed for some superb points. While the two players split the first two sets in a match of many momentum shifts, Murray took the third. However, through some superb shot making from Dimitrov he found himself a game away from forcing a decider before his opponent contrived to reel off 5 in a row, win the match and have his friend from off the court smashing his racket on the floor.

The win for Murray set up a clash with another Aussie, Nick Kyrgios. While Murray and Dimitrov had earlier been trading blows on Rod Laver, not far away at Hisense Arena, Kyrgios had come down from the brink to beat the man who shut down Federer a few nights ago, Andreas Seppi. After a marathon match, Australia was able to cheer its first representative in the Quarter Finals down under in 10 years. The excitement was so much that for a few minutes, Murray and Dimitrov’s match on Rod Laver was interrupted by celebrations from the crowd as news of Kyrgios’ result filtered through. The locals felt their man had a real chance of beating Murray just as he had disposed of Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. However, for all the build-up and intense media attention the match received, Murray made sure it wasn’t anything but yet another straight sets win for him with occasional inspired moments of brilliance from the young Kyrgios who still showed real promise. Murray was through to only his second grand slam semi since he won Wimbledon.

Waiting for him in the semis was not Rafael Nadal, who two nights before he had been totally outclassed in his quarter final by the remarkably consistent and dangerous Thomas Berdych. Both players generally got on well together but this turned into a spicy contest, a big reason being the presence of Berdych’s coach, a certain Dani Valveradu, who had been part of Murray’s team for many years until they went separate ways in November with Valveradu’s way turning out to be coaching a player ranked just a place below Murray. After Berdych took the opening set, while the players were returning to their seats he appeared to say something as he crossed Murray’s path, later found to simply be “well done Thomas’. While it was harmless, it led to the umpire having words with both players and Berdych buckling under the heightened tension as he lost the second set in a whitewash and was similarly outclassed in the 3rd and 4th.

In his post-match interview, Murray used the opportunity to thank his coach Mauresmo as well as hit back at all the stick the pair had taken since beginning their arrangement, saying ‘We’ve show that women can be very good coaches as well’, a comment that further endeared him to the Melbourne crowd and earned him deserved praise from all corners of tennis and outside of it too. He was through to an 8th Slam final, his fourth in Melbourne, numbers that match legends of the game. Despite this, someone else in the Murray camp seemed to be attracting attention. Instead there were clips going around of Murray’s fiancé Kim Sears using some “colourful and expressive language” to describe Berdych. While most of the world reacted with amusement, some felt it was out of order, Murray put out a statement saying how anything could be said in the heat of the moment and was determined to put focus on the small matter of a grand slam final between himself and Novak Djokovic.

The pair were 2-2 in major finals with Djokovic taking both of the ones in Australia. Rarely were their matches short and they were known to play brutal matches lasting four or even five hours. While Djokovic was the favourite as he always would be, the final was expected to be one of high quality. The Serb had won 7 out of the last 8 matches between the two, partially aided by Murray’s lack of fitness the year before. After his semi-final victory, Murray admitted that it would be a shock for him to go all the way, a testament to Djokovic’s record in Melbourne, just one defeat since 2010. Nevertheless, the stage was set for what was expected to be a competitive final at least. 

 

Indeed the first set gave the world exactly what it expected and what the neutrals wanted, two super fit athletes sharing long, brutal, absorbing rally’s, with each man’s serve counting for almost nothing as both were such brilliant returners. It brought back memories of their meetings in the US Open final of 2012 and Aussie final in 2013 due to the extremely long points, regular breaks of serve and the fact the set went to a tiebreak. After letting his early lead in the set slip, Djokovic prevailed in it as he converted a set point moments after Murray missed a routine winner. The first set was clocked at around 90 minutes, around as lengthy as you could hope for. 

 

Indeed this monstrous standard of play was kept up in the second set with yet more energy sapping points as well as another tiebreak. The only irregularity was an attempted court invasion by protestors forcing the players to retreat into their chairs. It came at an appropriate time for Murray as it disrupted Djokovic’s rhythm while he was in the ascendancy and allowed the Scot to haul himself into a tiebreak. This time Murray did not blink, earning four set points and converting his third to level up the contest. The two had now played close to the equivalent of two football matches back-to-back and had set themselves up for a classic encounter. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. 

 

When Murray broke Djokovic’s serve at the very start of the crucial third set, he was in the lead for the very first time, yet from here it was all downhill. The general consensus was that the final two sets were an absolute anti-climax to a brilliant opening two sets and tournament as a whole. Djokovic took 12 of the last 13 games to prevail with Murray having a meltdown. He was seen directing verbal’s at his camp and taking a step back into his old ways, indeed it reflected in the score line with Djokovic taking the last set in a 6-0 whitewash. The final two sets put together were shorter than either of the first two, showing the sharp dip in quality from Murray, a very strange end to a final, but one that produced a deserved winner in Novak Djokovic. His fifth title in Melbourne, a joint record. Despite his meltdown, it was a positive two weeks for Murray who rose into the top 4 of the world rankings for the first time since before his injury problems, shrugged off criticism about his choice of coach and looked fully fit for the first time in a year. Indeed a few weeks later Murray surpassed Nadal in the world rankings and as of late February is the world Number 3. A lot to look forward to in 2015.

 

By Adeel Ali

Monday, 9 February 2015

Porty Does Strictly Review 2014


 After a hands down success last year, Porty Does Strictly was back for another year with a new line-up, but just as much of the energy and excitement which made the show a rousing success last year.

The event was hosted together by Porty’s very own Craig Swinney (S6) and Mrs Philip (History teacher) who combined effortlessly to provide us with some awkwardly hilarious humour. Our four judges also all had plenty to say. Mr Forrest looked someone tough to please, PC Ferry was desperate to sneak in as many puns related to her job as possible and Miss Todd only had eyes for Mr Roy. However none of them compared to Miss Gallagher who provided us with a superb Gollum impression and had us doubling over in laughter.

The following individuals took part in this year’s rendition of Porty Does Strictly:

Students

·         Eilis Bruce & Kieran Thomson

·         Laura Foster & Jack Thayers

·         Ella Braidwood & Jamie Kinnear

·         Georgia Boyle & Stuart Graham

·         Maisy Murphy & Thomas Kinnear

·         Ella Waddell & Orin Annand

·         Alex Lauder & Hugh Brown

Teachers

·         Mrs Ritchie & Mr McKenzie

·         Miss Kirkwood & Mr Reid


·         Mrs Pendleton & Mr Matthews

·         Ms Taylor & Mr Roy

·         Miss Airlie & Mr Christie

·         Miss Bigg & Mr Hayes

·         Miss Urquhart & Mr Clark

Following some scintillatingly sumptuous performances, there were several stand-out performances from pupils and teachers. It was very clear that Mr Reid was no stranger to dancing… and had visited his Samba dance before! He even made sure Miss Kirkwood was practising non-stop using every free period they had to hold a training session.

A particularly high-energy performance was from Alex and Hugh with the latter using all his charisma to keep his title of “king of Porty”. A feel-good performance was from Ella and Orin, the former already having a passion for dancing but you would have said the same about Orin that night as he looked completely at ease with his routine and couldn’t stop smiling. Laura and Jack had their Jazz hands on, dancing to ‘The Cabaret’ which put a smile on everyone’s face!

An alternate performance was from Mrs Pendleton and Mr Matthews who treated us to an intense Argentine Tango, while Mrs Bigg and Mr Hayes danced to a slightly more humours – romantic Charleston. A special mention has to go to Maisy and Thomas, with Mr Kinnear strutting about the dance floor like he owned the place, but forcing you to have a look at the lease.

However, a cut above the rest, dancing to ‘Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer were Stuart Graham and Georgia Boyle. Both Stuart and Georgia looked extremely shocked when they were announced as ‘Porty Does Strictly 2015 Champions,’ and that proved exactly the case when we spoke to the winning couple.

“We’re both very thankful for the votes we received, but certainly weren’t expecting to win it! The standard of the dancing on show was tremendous and it was a very special evening to be part off,” the couple said.


 Georgia & Stuart:






Alex & Hugh: 






Ella & Orin: 




*Check out other performances on YouTube posted by ‘Wolfiestein’ – aka Robyn Thornton.
By Lewis Anderson and Adeel Ali