The Change Issue
FREE MAGAZINE ISSN 2056-919X
Nora invites Aggiss, Burrows, Fargion and Tanguy
Photo: Camilla Greenwell
Lilian Baylis Studio sadlerswells.com 020 7863 8000 Angel
26 & 27 Nov 2
#6. November 2015
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes sang David Bowie - “turn and face the strange”, his maxim. Well this is our first issue of the new term and that’s exactly what we’re attempting to do.
04 in brief
The Change Issue is all about the volatile world we live in: how things that were are no longer for better or for worse. Change is inevitable, and progress impossible without it; changing minds, times, attitudes and landscapes overwhelm our daily lives. Decisions always precede change, and decisions being made by ourselves and others - politicians, colleagues, friends and family - have serious consequences on our thoughts and actions. But not all change is beneficial - and that’s what this issue is about. The face of British politics has changed - post election a rift has opened - a true left and right reborn from the ashes of New Labour. Anisa Easterbrook takes a look at the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and how he has invigorated a passion for politics in previously disenfranchised young people.
Cover image Photography by Liam Hart. Models: Andy Moores, Lauren Goddard
Preventing Prevent Sara Gharsalli
A different circuit Josh Potter
Migrants in Italy Natalia Carcame
black cabs vs uber Elliot Haworth
18 MaCCABEES: The changing face of the elephant Lauren Sharp
Following years of revolt and bloodshed in the Middle East, changes in the balance of power, leadership and landscape have led to the biggest movement of people in a generation. Natalia Carcame travels to the shores of Sicily to witness the effects of mass migration first hand. Back home in the UK Sean Littlewood goes back to his roots in Aylesbury to fight the anti-migrant EDL, while Hani Richter joins their opposite number - a pro-migrant demo in Dover.
It’s not all politics and terror, I promise - we’re looking at changes in industry this issue: Elliott Haworth analyses the consequences of changes brought about by disruptive, digital industries and what they mean for the end consumer. Uber has grown exponentially since its inception just three years ago - students and young people love the app - but is it really better value? Josh Potter is looking at the death of the cycle courier - once a common sight around London, but now replaced by a fleet of motorbikes and next day Amazon deliveries.
When Music fought racism Hani Richter
26 Don't be a cunt all your life Maya Ladwa 30 Romanian horses Milena Paraschiv
We have change of places, and a nice local one for all of us in Elephant & Castle by Lauren Sharp. She interviews the Maccabees, discussing their new documentary Elephant Days, which looks at the changing face of the area from when they first moved here, to the new skyscrapers, luxury apartments and pop-up coffee shops that are quickly becoming familiar.
35 The Corbyn Phenomenon Anisa Easterbrook 38 Fighting the Edl in aylesbury Sean Littlewood
Ben Cullimore looks at the ascension of Esports into the mainstream media and the change of perception of video games in general - can they actually be constituted as a sport? A sold out Wembley Stadium and players earning more than footballers might say so, but will they ever be as popular as physical sports?
39 Pro-migrant protests in dover Hani Richter
That’s a whole lot of change for you - one thing that hasn’t changed however, is that Artefact is still free - and growing. We’ve been shortlisted for no less than two Stack Independent Magazine Awards for our Greed Issue: one for Cover of the Year, the other for Launch of the Year. We’re up against some pretty big titles from around the world, so wish us luck!
40 Are e-sports going mainstream Ben Cullimore
Even if you don’t like change, we hope you enjoy this issue, it’s the first from a new ilk of Artefact journalists and photographers. As well as the micro selection mentioned above there’s a whole host of reviews, art, news and features in the magazine. And it doesn’t stop there - the website (artefactmagazine.com) is bursting with videos and journalism you should definitely check out. Some things will never change...
Prides: Back to the 80's Sean Littlewood
42 Streetstyle Desislava Todorova
Website: artefactmagazine.com Facebook: artefactmagazine Twitter: artefactlcc Instagram: artefactmag Feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org
43 Winning at the national game Sam Skinner
Artefact is wrtten by students on the BA Journalism course at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London
Publishing information Published by the London College of Communication, London SE1 6SB
44 Reviews SEEN ON CAMPUS
49 CheapNESS 50 Last word
Design & Art Direction: Oswin Tickler/Smallfury 3
Racism in clubs Some club owners say that they would rather not let blacks and party goers of ethnic minorities into their clubs as they are sometimes seen as violent and troublemakers – yet there is minimal evidence for these claims. Many argue that what is really going on is that club owners are using it as an opportunity to keep black people our of their clubs. The 'no hats, no hoods and no trainers' signs that are common in West-End clubs, but with this view, may in fact be a cover for a 'no black people' policy. Last month, Zalika Miller and her friends were refused entry into Dstrkt, a London club popular with celebrities, despite being on the guest list. They claim that they were told that the refusal because one of the girls were “too black” and another was “overweight”. Though the club denied operating a racist door policy, the incident trended on Twitter, leading to peaceful protests outside the club and many partygoers expressing their anger about the treatment of ethnic minority groups.
New Psychedelia If someone mentioned psychedelia, what would you think of ? Probably flowers, LSD, and The Beatles. Those were the fashions of the 1960s when revolution was in the air and music was booming. People who had been constrained by an austere society and were finally free to be themselves through the new music that was coming from America and Europe. Like many scenes at the time, psychedelia had its own fashion trends, sound and political input. The one thing that really coined the phrase was the widesprad usage of psychedelic drugs at the time. People wanted to escape reality, and “break on through to the other side”. Psychedelia was named because of drug culture at the time, but since then, it’s gone from being a “scene” to becoming a way of artistic representation, the same way being a “punk” can mean an attitude towards life as opposed to just having a Mohawk and piercings. In London alone, we have so much choice as there are gigs on every night of the week. For a music industry that’s always been very American and European-centric, psychedelia has a widely international community. International festivals like Austin Pysch Fest and Liverpool Psych Fest see bands from across the globe like Goat from Sweden or Acid Mothers Temple from Japan. Festivals showcase artists that sound completely different, but all fall under the umbrella of creative guitar music. In 2015 the fashion is for a return to retro. Sub-genres like Neo-psychedelia are introduced into our musical vocabularies, but have 4
no real meaning. Like a new fashion trend, musical genres are rebranded to sound cooler, but the reality is they’re not doing anything 'neo'. In 2009 bands like The Horrors and Pond dominated the scene. Although they reintroduced psychedelia into the charts, it was still music that heavily emulated the 60’s. It was good then and it’s good now but there was no “breaking through” to the other side. Tail Feather has wider musical influences - their dynamic labels them psychedelic because they break with traditional values. “We have no frontman. We’re always pushing on harmonies, trying to get personalities to merge.” If there’s one common factor you can see in psychedelic bands now, it’s that they’re more technical. The music has to be clever. Frontman of Swedish Death Candy, Louis, explains, “Music that’s too spacey runs the risk of being monotonous. Bands need to be more mathematical in their approach in order to escape the risk of being generic. “We try and make the music interesting by being loud. I have big amps and I think that over-stimulates your senses. It’s a physical experience.”. Psychedelia isn’t protest anymore. It’s freedom to entertain, and what’s happening now is so exciting because artists are more pro-active and driven than ever. Today’s psychedelia is unpredictable and relevant. Words: Katrina Mirpuri Image: Carlos Lowry / flickr.com
Shaequan Bell, a 21-year-old student said he had experienced discrimination, when he and a group of black friends were refused entry to a club in a predominantly white area of west London: “The bouncer wouldn’t give us any explanation, he said the manager doesn’t want to let you guys in. I think it was due to the fact that we were all guys or because we were black guys. He didn’t give us a reason and we ended up leaving.” However, clear evidence of racist door policies hard to find since clubs are unlikely to admit to it. Artefact spoke to young people on the streets of London and asked them their thoughts. Sasha Jones, 23, mother from Brixton said: “I think it is ridiculous how society likes to pick on one group of people, I definitely do not believe it is due to black youths. It is more so to do with young people in general that cannot handle their drink. I’d say obviously when people drink alcohol they have this fake sense of confidence and do things they wouldn't usually do.” Jamal Thomas, 21, student at Brunel, said: “I wouldn't necessarily say it is because of black people, that is just picking on a minority group to cover up other issues that are really the cause of violence in London nightclubs.” Words: Annabelle Baka
Time lapse Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have produced some of the most exciting pieces of technology in the past decade. From Bublcam to ARKYD, the first publicly accessible telescope, there is an infinite space in which someone’s bedroom idea can turn into a successful business, capable of enriching people’s creative lives. Triggertrap, a mobile-friendly intervalometer capable of creating beautiful time-lapse and HDR photography with a tap on a screen, was funded on Kickstarter in 2011 and has gone on to find wide success in the photography tech market with over 750,000 downloads of the app and products sold in over 100 countries. Marked at £30, this universal intervalometer has not only made these shots more accessible but broadened the horizons of photographers hoping to create more diverse content, from warping time-lapse, which fluctuates the speed at which photos are taken, to distance-lapse, which can make a start-and-stop bus ride turn into a tunnel vision spectacle by taking pictures by distance travelled rather than time passed. Londonlapse was organised by Triggertrap. 40 photographers came together in London to create the ‘most ambitious crowd-sourced time-lapse’ in history. The result was an inspiring three-minute compilation of panning sunsets, blurring crowds, and iconic landmarks that gave huge publicity to the app, cementing it as a game-changing piece of tech. In October, they recreated this event in a bid to create an even more ambitious piece of work. Lapseworld will take place in London, New York, San Francisco, Milan and Cape Town throughout October.
The London event featured guest speaker Kevin Meredith going over of the basics, detailing the strict rules in which time-lapse is performed. “Always shoot in manual” are the four words every photographer will stick by, and it’s a similar situation when it comes to time-lapse. “Setting up a shot isn’t like composing a still; time-lapse can be quite frustrating,” he said. Meredith is in the process of documenting the construction of the i360 tower in Brighton. Meredith claims this new piece of tech has given him an opportunity to create small-scale shots with ease and expand his professional work. Although Meredith is famous for his lomographic style, he says “the great thing about time-lapse is you can see how things behave more clearly”. Managing Director of Triggertrap, Mat Rodger says: “Things like intervalometers, sound triggers, motion sensors, GPS triggering, these sort of things are ways of taking pictures that many photographers will never have considered previously.” He added that Triggertrap is constantly being updated. “We added the Timelapse Pro app to the IOS app store in September and it’s only the first in a number of things we’re hoping to add. There’s a lot of work being done behind the scenes.” With the eclectic mixture of people attending the event, this is a product that appeals to both ends of the spectrum from amateurs who have never done a time-lapse before, to the heavy artillery enthusiasts with kit bags full of mechanical sliders and GPS locaters. It now seems as though Triggertrap is quickly becoming a part of that essential arsenal. Words: Max Gayler Image: Manuel Paul / flickr.com
Adele’s New Single In the prime-time ad break of X Factor, Adele turned up out of the blue uninvited and presented the world with the first preview of her long awaited new single, ‘Hello.’ After four years out of the spotlight, only an artist with the staying power of Adele could be identified by the public from nothing but white lyrics on a black screen and the sound of her voice. The thirty second preview featured the lyrics “Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet, to go over everything. They say that time’s supposed to heal ya but I ain’t done much healing.” After a week of frenzied excitement building across the internet, the single was released along with a full length video. They say if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it, and that statement couldn’t be truer of Adele’s formula for a heart-wrenching ballad. Soaring, haunting piano notes? Check. Heartfelt, universally relatable lyrics? Check. Powerful and unmistakeable vocals? Check. The only change this time around is the message behind it. In Adele’s own words, posted on her official Facebook the evening before ‘Hello’ was released, “my last record was a break up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record.” This is Adele accepting the past, attempting to make amends, and moving forward. It’s a different mood from Adele than we’re used to; the broken hearted, pillow crying days are gone, and yet it still manages to be unmistakably and unapologetically Adele. The video for ‘Hello’ quickly broke the Vevo record, previously held by Taylor Swift, for the most amount of views in one day, racking up 27.7 million views within twenty four hours. So that’s over a million views per hour. The single is a strong comeback after the success of her second album, ’21’, which became the first UK album to reach sales of three million copies in a year. ‘Hello’ has already comfortably settled at the top of the iTunes singles charts worldwide, and is a notion of what’s to come when her third studio album, ’25’, is released next month. Welcome back, Adele. Words: Jessica Clifton Image: Tammy Breece / flickr.com 5
Four Tet all-nighter
South London Art Trail
Brixton is blessed on nights like these;, Four Tet's all-nighter for a fiver is reviving lost hope in the current scene. Joined by musical pals Floating Points, Daphni, Joy Orbison and the Hessle Audio crew, Kieran Hebden's influence for the event lays in a scene from a post-punk night in the 90s - no light show, no bullshit.
Around 100 Wandsworth artists opened up their homes as temporary galleries to create an Arts Trail across part of south London in October.
I entered the O2 Academy Brixton to the funky bass of Thinkin' About – Joe supplied by collective Hessle Audio, consisting of Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangaea. Joy Orbison followed playing a selection of African, jazzy dance tracks to keep the crowd moving head to toe. It hits 2AM - a peak part of the night - and Four Tet went on stage to spin records from an eclectic range of genres bringing the crowd together in bass and darkness, which added a focused sense to the night. The night isn’t about the light show, fancy stage production or anything to vaguely visualize on. It’s about the music. Four Tet dropped his remix of Opus - Eric Prydz; a euphoric, electronic anthem for the club age. The dramatic build in tempo and pitch changes can leave your average rave crowd in disarray, but this crowd got it. The song acts as a moment of clarity through calm complexities and a moment to look around at the dark sea of bodies, and hug those closest to you in preparation of the momentum for the rest of the night. Floating Points lifted the spirits with usual disco instalment, kicking his set off with Mary Clark – Take Me I’m Yours paired with wacky African guitar sounds and squeaky house jams. Approaching the early morning with Daphni was a journey through hard house, jungle and stomping bangers. Ending the night with the masterpiece Burial & Four Tet - Nova left the contained crowd of wide-eyed dancers moving for the final boogie, making it a perfect song to end such a refreshingly rare night. Words: Jay Duncan Image: Windish Agency
We visited part of the trail on the second weekend, having just recovered from Tooting Foodival and Tootopia which both took place in September. With slightly sore feet and a close eye on Google maps, we managed to find three out of the four intended locations before closing time. At our final stop, we met Jane Armstrong, an alumna of Chelsea College of Art who was tutored by Peter Fleming; her painting career of two years has been preceded by a lifetime of sketching, but she told us that she has practiced oil painting for only five years. Armstrong is in her sixties and the best advice she had to give to any aspiring artist is “to keep going”. As the local landscape is a recurring theme in her art, we took the opportunity to ask her for the best place for inspiration in London; without hesitation, she told us it was Wandsworth Common. Although she paints regularly and has begun finding her way into making it a business, she has no intention of giving up her current career as a recruiter of creative directors; her current project, alongside painting, is to get a website up-and-running in order to present her work on an accessible platform. The only unfortunate thing during our tour is that we didn’t allow enough time to sit down and have a cup of tea with this talented local artist, although if we had, we most likely would have spent all day doing so. Klara Eldstal Damlin
Sex Pistols at CSM On 6 November 1975, four working class punkrock teenagers performed in public for the first time at Central Saint Martins College in Charing Cross Road. This began the punk movement in the UK. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of their first ever performance, the college is this month holding a Sex Pistols themed evening. The event, called “Be Reasonable Demand the Impossible” features a range of films, art, music and talks based around the Sex Pistols and punk. The band’s former bassist Glen Matlock will be a guest speaker, as well as designer Sebastian Conran who will be speaking on the influence of punk culture in fashion and the Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. Formed in 1972, the Sex Pistols evolved from London based band The Strand. Three teenagers, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock took inspiration from 60’s mod and rock n roll bands by the likes of The Who and The Small Faces. It wasn’t until they spotted an angry looking green-haired rocker by the name of John Lydon wearing an ‘I HATE PINK FLOYD’ t-shirt, that The Strand became the four man band The Sex Pistols in 1975. The band were not afraid to offend. December 1st 1976 saw them reach notoriety on the popular ‘Today’ TV show hosted by Bill Grundy. Interviewed live in prime time across London, guitarist Steve Jones was provoked by Grundy into uttering a series of F-words. Grundy said he wanted ‘to prove that these louts were a foul-mouthed set of yobs’. News headlines dedicated to The Sex Pistols and punk filled the front pages as Grundy’s career was destroyed while The Pistols’ was enhanced. Amongst the bad press and controversy the band’s first and most famous album ‘Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols’ went straight to number one when released in 1977. Although the Sex Pistols were not the first punk band they encouraged other groups to form and be anti establishment, defining the image to the punk movement. “Be Reasonable Demand the Impossible” 6th November 6- 11 pm, Central St Martins Words: Lauren Sharp
How we live now In recent years, the number of students in the UK has rocketed, allowing a huge number of landlords to charge over the odds to accommodate, and in many cases take advantage of them. Student houses are known for being dirty, grimy pits full of drunken bodies and discarded condoms. Students themselves may be gross, but landlords seem to be committing the worst offences. When I moved into my new house, it hadn’t been cleaned, things were broken, and litter had been left in my room. The landlord had checked it and said it was fine to move in. A few days later we had a few little rodent friends running around the place who, after a few doses of poison, were found dotted around the house. It’s not the most pleasant experience, but it is definitely not the worst. According to NUS, almost a quarter (24%) have had infestations of things such as rodents and slugs. Nicole Blake, a student at University of Salford, had a problem with mice, that the landlord refused to do anything about. Her and her flatmates worked hard to keep the place clean and do what they could to prevent the mice coming in. Over half of people in student houses reported feeling uncomfortably cold in their homes, mainly due to poor insulation, which not only leaves us cold, but makes our energy bills sky high if we cave in and put the heating on. Are student landlords just not taking students seriously? When you move into your student accommodation you are conditioned to believe it’ll be dire, so they take advantage of the predetermined disposition of the uninformed. Over half of the students who responded to the NUS survey reported delays getting things fixed, which can be dangerous. Problems include broken electrical fixtures, which land-
lords are responsible for and need fixing as soon as possible to avoid serious injuries. Maintenance is just the tip of the iceberg. Money is tight for us lot, and when a landlord runs off with it, there isn’t a lot we poor, suffering students can do. 43% of students have had some or all of their deposits withheld. In Lincoln, Katie Pond and her five flatmates each paid a £300 fee that should have been returned to them at the end of their tenancy. Their agency however had other plans. After all the rent was paid, the name of the agency suspiciously changed after not refunding deposits. She said “It’s such a stressful time in your life as it is, but to add such a huge loss was too much. We were relying on that money to help us get started after graduating and we all had to start our savings again. It was a really difficult time that could have been avoided. It still makes me quite angry to think he knows he got away with it and took our money.” I’ve heard countless stories about heating not working, ceilings falling through and even landlords suing student tenants for thousands of pounds. I can’t help but think that as students, we need as much help as possible. Maybe it’s because they think students are young and naive, or maybe it’s because they know we don’t have the money to contest, but they do take advantage of our position. The key to not being ripped off is ensuring your agent is registered, and you’ve seen all the documentation before handing over your money. Your agent should also be protecting your deposits, and you should be given the proof of this within 30 days. Words: Caitlin Mayhew Image: Alan Stanton / flickr.com 7
Words: Sara Gharsalli
Moves to clamp down on 'radicalisation' on campus are causing controversy
As part of the government’s “one nation strategy” against terrorism and extremism, universities in the UK are now required to have “due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism”. It follows the passing of a new statutory body introduced by Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which means all higher education institutions will be legally bound to work with the government’s Prevent agenda, which has been in force since September. The Prevent duty guidance requires these institutions to have risk assessments for guest speakers and “ensure those espousing extremist views do not go unchallenged.” ** The guidance also demands that universities must ensure that they have appropriate staff training, IT policies, and student welfare programmes to be able to recognise and respond to the signs of radicalisation. A recent Downing Street statement has accused four universities – The School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS, part of the University of London), Queen Mary University, King’s College London and Kingston University as hosting the most events with extremist speakers. Recent press coverage reported how students were allegedly being radicalised during their time in UK universities. Section 43 of the Education (No2) Act 1986 places a duty on universities in England and Wales to “…ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers.” Universities will face a fundamental challenge at ensuring freedom of speech when faced with the new Prevent duty requirements. Nicola Dandrige, chief executive at Universities UK, said institutions already have procedures in place to assess the risk of having extremist speakers whose views might lead to student radicalisation. The National Union of Students (NUS) rejected calls to back up the government’s prevent duty legislation, despite Universities minister Jo Johnson’s letter urging students to engage with the counter-radicalisation programme. 8
Shelly Asquith, NUS Vice-President and a former UAL student, sent an open letter urging students and students’ unions not to work with the Prevent strategy, deeming it a “reactionary and racist agenda” . The NUS is also calling for a boycott of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy and has started a national campaign to oppose the Prevent requirements. The Students not Suspects tour started this month in London. The first meeting
Student leaders and NUS officials expressed concerns about Dunn’s statement vowing not to be working with CAGE, as it could lead vulnerable students not being able to trust Prevent officers and college staff. Despite those statements, the first Students not Suspects event in London featured Moazzam Begg from CAGE, who gave a talk on tackling the government’s backlash against the Muslim community. The speakers mainly raised concerns
“I was then questioned about my beliefs on terrorism, Al Quaeda, ISIS and homosexuality” was held at the Guy’s Campus in King’s College London and co-organised by the NUS, the Black Students’ Campaign, Defend the Right to Protest, and the Federation of Students Islamic Societies. The event included a panel of guest speakers including Moazzam Begg, director of the advocacy group CAGE and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee. CAGE has been accused of being apologists for Isis terrorist Mohammed Emwazi, who has been dubbed “Jihadi John” by some newspapers. NUS President Megan Dunn said she “would not work with CAGE”, after the Prime Minister condemned the NUS for “allying” with the pressure group. In a speech in Birmingham in July, David Cameron said the NUS had “shamed” itself for “choosing to ally yourselves with an organisation like CAGE, which called ‘Jihadi John’ a ‘beautiful young man’ and told people to support the jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
about the racial profiling and stigma around Muslims that the Prevent duty will enforce within universities. King’s College academic Jim Wolfreys described the government’s notion of extremism – an opposition to British values – as flawed and subjective to people’s political views and opinions. “There is also a lot of ambiguity around the notion of extremism just more widely in public debate.” He points to the recent portrayal of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as the figure of radical left extremism, after his position on the UK’s Trident nuclear defence system and his defiance of the Queen for not singing the national anthem. “The aspect that the government has drawn on is really based on the clash of civilisation’s view of international politics,” Wolfreys said. The event also featured a counter-terrorism postgraduate student who was alleged to be under investigation by
Staffordshire University after an official found him reading a book on terrorism in the library. Mohammed Umar Farooq told Artefact why he decided to leave the course after being accused of terrorism. The 33-yearold student said: “I was [then] questioned about my beliefs with regards to terrorism and how I think terrorism isn’t the word in terms of what my beliefs are with groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS and what I think about homosexuality which I found really strange.” He later found out that the lady who questioned him was the university’s complaints manager, whom he thinks “knew nothing about the Middle East”. “That’s when I realised there was something very sinister about this whole case,” Farooq said. Staffordshire University has issued a letter of apology for its conduct towards Farooq, yet the postgraduate student has reservations about his academic future there. ** “I feel so betrayed in the sense where I studied at a postgraduate level and dedicated my own time and my own wealth in this field and I was suspected of the one thing I was working to eradicate.” Another prominent racial profiling case raised at the event was that of former student Dr Rizwaan Sabir, who was held for seven days while researching terrorist tactics at the University of Nottingham in 2008. Sabir was accused of downloading an Al-Qaeda training manual but was later released without charge, and it later emerged that the police fabricated key elements of the case against him. This week’s plan to give £5m of funding to advocacy groups and charities ready to support the government in tackling extremism is likely to be criticised by Muslim civil organisations in the UK. Among other measures announced are Extremism Disruption Orders, which can restrict the online activities of individuals named extremists. Artefact has tried to get a response about how the University of the Arts London will respond to the Prevent duty, but so far nobody has been available for comment.
Words: Josh Potter
A different circuit
The changing world of the cycle courier
It starts with the Boris Bikers; meandering tourists and Londoners who don’t have their own bike; then it blurs into the commuters, the daily make-it-to-workand-make-it-home cyclists; next come the mile-pushers, the avid fans who can think of nothing better to do than to just ride; and finally, come the couriers, the endorphin-addicted men and women who fly through the streets each and every day making sure it's business as usual. Their love of the game has become their profession, taking cycling to the next level through speed and a vast understanding of the alleyways and byways of London. When Google wants to deliver a letter to Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy, enter a courier. When the Queen needs her tea delivered to Buckingham Palace, send a courier. When £50,000 in cash needs to be delivered from an office to a bank, bring in a courier. ** The cycle courier has been a part of London’s existence since the invention of the bicycle. In his book, Bicycle: The History, David Herlihy documents the use of couriers as far back as the 1870s. For the next hundred years, if something needed to be delivered in a day and could fit in a bag it was delivered by the courier. This remained the same up until about the 1970s. Then fax machines happened. Then e-mail happened. Then better e-mail happened. Then the cloud. Now things that were once only able to be transported by bike – artwork, designs, all of it – can now be sent online in a matter of seconds. So what happens to the cycle courier? Is this the beginning of the end? Well no, it isn't that simple. Jon Katona has been a courier for five years now and is the secretary for the Couriers and Logistics Branch of the International Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), and he says there’s still plenty of work to go around. “What remains is the bigger physical items which just can’t be digitalised, like samples of cloths, gift items that people buy. Some areas of the market are diminishing and some others springing up.”
Dr Jon Day, author of Cyclogeography and lecturer at King’s College London, was a cycle courier for three years. “The story I hear is this: basically, you used to be able to earn the similar amount in cash for a week’s work that you are now, but due to inflation it's worth less. So you could do a £500 week in the eighties which would have been a very good salary back then in a way it’s not today.”
company narrative is. “The company tells this story as well, that the industry is changing, that markets are shrinking. They say, ‘well work is slowing down, we can’t afford to give you pay rises.'” Having said that, in an article published on July 7, 2015, Corporate Watch, an independent research group set up to investigate the impacts of corporations, claimed that CitySprint has been sending millions of pounds through the Channel Islands
“When the Queen needs her tea delivered, send a courier.” Nico Hogg, a courier for five years and an avid cyclist for thirteen has a similar message about the issues concerning rates. He says that “in real terms they fall every year”. However, he also speaks with caution about the idea of the decline. “The idea of a decline is based a lot off of, I think, a nostalgia. I don’t think it’s declined at all in the last seven or eight years in numbers. I think wages have probably flat-lined, but there are more people on bicycles in London earning a living delivering things.” Hogg also mentioned the current ‘uberisation’ of the courier market, with the definition of a courier getting blurred and ‘the edges getting very fussy’ – fewer cyclists are working directly for big companies and many smaller companies are coming in and attempting to get riders on board. CitySprint and eCourier, two of the largest same-day courier companies in London, declined to be interviewed. However, Katona, who is pushing the IWGB’s fight against pay freezes from companies such as CitySprint, talks about what the
Stock Exchange ‘tax havens’. The article also mentions an 11 per cent increase in revenue and a 15 per cent increase in profit, both taken from CitySprint’s own financial records. When presented with these figures from Corporate Watch, CitySprint said that they were “fully compliant with UK tax legislation”. Couriering risks Currently, couriers are labelled as self-employed and therefore not given sick days or injury compensation. Hogg was in the middle of a courier run when a driver didn’t notice him, opened his door, hitting him and causing another car to run into the back of him. Luckily he wasn’t injured enough to stop working. However, another moment saw him fall and injure his knee, putting a hold on his riding and his work. Matteo Violino has been a cyclist as long as he can remember, in Italy and in England. He moved to London three years ago and has been working different jobs until, about a month ago, he decided to
combine his love and his work. About two weeks after starting work for Rush Courier, he was in an accident that broke his collar bone. His girlfriend, Heloise Wooster, told Artefact: “One of the problems that he faces is that, because he’s not on a contract, he can’t get benefits the way you would when you’re with a company. There needs to be some sort of protection around it because these guys are putting their lives at risk just to do some deliveries.” In laying out what does happen when a cyclist gets injured, Katona said: “If we do have a serious accident, the ambulance comes, the package gets taken off us by another courier and the goods are insured but we’re not. [The company] will say we’re not employed by them, we’re self-employed.” The future Fifty years ago being a cycle courier was a simple, straightforward job; anything small enough that needed to be delivered the same day was delivered by a courier. Now, things are changing, the market is moving, and couriers are trying to figure out their place, but according to Jon Day they’re still here to stay. “Unless we reach a stage in which 3D printing lets you create anything or when we can teleport stuff, yeah I think there’s a need for same day delivery. They’ve just got Amazon Prime Now. So getting stuff that people have bought in this virtual world, the physical stuff, needs to be taken by someone and I think that’s going to give work to all sorts of delivery people.” Katona has a similar feeling. “I think there’s going to be a revolution at some point where the amount of riders is reduced and there aren’t so many people out of the streets and they’re going to be better taken care of by certain companies.” He believes there will have to be cuts, but that these are necessary to ensure the future of the cycle courier. So you will probably still occasionally see cycle couriers on their fixed-gear roadsters with the two-way radio and the satchel backpack, flying through the streets, cycling between 60 and 80 miles a day. But the industry is changing, it is at a tipping point, and what's going to happens next is anyone’s guess. 9
Words: Natalia Carcame Photos: Sara Furlanetto
Migrants in Italy The number of refugees arriving and living in Sicily is increasing rapidly – it’s a real emergency, and this became clear when I returned to my hometown, Messina, at the start of the summer.
Sicily is a coin with two faces: Italians are running away from their own disastrous economic situation while there are currently 78,000 migrants in the whole of Italy, 39,000 of them in temporary centres in Sicily. Until a few months ago, the main destination ports were Lampedusa, now famous worldwide and its name linked with the image of the 366 dead bodies floating off its coast in 2013, and the second largest city on the island, Catania, where this year a boat rescued off Libya’s northern coast by a Swedish vessel was found to contain the bodies of 46 people asphyxiated in the cargo hold. Since then, several other cities have become involved, Messina being one of them. It’s the meeting point between Sicily and the rest of the country, separated by a narrow strip of sea, right there where Odysseus almost gave up to the Sirens’ mellow voices. Since the beginning of 2015, 8,625 migrants have landed in my hometown. The Coast Guard Captain, Massimiliano Gatti, gives us a different figure when we paid him a visit, but so far the number has nearly doubled. It is a demonstration of how history repeats itself in an endless cycle. 10
Sicily has been dominated since ancient times: first Greece, then the Ottoman Empire and the Bourbon Dynasty. All of them wanted a piece of the island, attracted by its strategic position in the Mediterranean. Modern Sicilians are the descendants of different cultures and it’s ironic to think that some fear the idea of integration so much. Immigration opens old wounds of a history they would rather put in the drawer of memory; we’ve been migrants so many times, but we pretend we don’t know what it feels like. Gatti explained to us how the rescue process works: Most of the boats come from Libya, where smugglers have created an empire of human trafficking. The number of migrants they can fit into one boat usually ranges between 200 and 800. There are also many unaccompanied children. Gatti points to the data, which shows that out of all the minors that arrived in Sicily since January, one third of them was travelling alone. The boats usually call for help when they are still within Libyan waters; the request goes to Italy’s National Coast Guard in Rome, who locates them and chooses the most suitable port for the disembarkment.
Nationalities are various. Most of them come from Nigeria, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. But there are also Egyptians, Moroccans, Syrians and Palestinians. I ask Gatti what happens to them once they arrive here, but he won’t give me an answer. He tells us to go to the Military Police Department, not before taking our numbers and giving us his, promising he will let us know when the next disembarkment will be. We go to “Questura”, the Italian Central Police Department – they send us to the Prefecture but the offices are closed and they can’t give us any further help. My friend Tania, who runs external activities for migrants, tells me that whoever wants to volunteer inside the temporary centres needs to submit an application form, which takes ages to even be considered and is often rejected. She thinks there is a reason behind it: social workers who are called to work with migrants all come from specific organisations and their compensation is high. It’s like a closed business, hence their reluctance to let other people get involved, although the need for additional help is high and urgent. I leave the bureaucracy behind me for the moment, and decide to visit a reception centre. There is one located only a ten-minute walk from my house. We go there in the evening. Despite it only being a stone's throw away from the urban area, the place is known for being one of the poorest.I know that most of the citizens aren’t too happy about this arrangement: they are not against migrants, they tell me, but against the Mayor’s decision to open up the centre right here. “It’s like he wants to hide them from the rich,” one man tells me. “I don’t hate migrants, but the Government should help us first”. “Don’t forget we’ve been migrants too,” an old man jumps in. He’s sitting right in front of his shop. “We went to New York and they used to hold us in detention like caged animals for months.” “We went there to work though” the guy replies. “We worked hard. Look at us there now”. That’s definitely a common argument, the whole idea that we’ve been migrants too, but better.
them, Italy is not a definitive choice. “The Government doesn’t really want to take the responsibility for all of them” he adds. “That’s why they don’t insist”. Some of the migrants have been living in the centre for days, despite the fact that the structure should be an emergency option for no more than three nights after their arrival. There’s too many of them, and not enough facilities. We're taken to the dining hall. It’s dinner time, and a group of people introduce themselves and invite us to sit at their table. I meet Uyi, from Nigeria, who is curious and asks me why we are here. When I tell him that I study journalism in London his eyes shine. He tells
“It hits me how quickly their life is going by: there’s no time to process the grief.”
Investment At the centre we have a conversation with Andrea, one of the social workers, who debunks other people’s idea that migrants are living off our money. He says that they receive a minimum amount of money, just €2.50, out of the funds allocated by the EU for the centres. The rest goes to local cooperatives and other private companies. It’s a big investment on the territory. Last year a recorded phone call between Salvatore Buzzi, who runs a cooperative called “29 Giugno” and one of his co-workers made the news. “Do you have any idea how much money migrants can make us?” he can be heard saying. “It’s better than drug trafficking. “There are so many volunteers coming here and wanting to help,” a language mediator, Aziz, says. “Those people would do that for free, but they are not allowed to because it’s not worth it.” He also thinks that it’s all business. For instance, a local brand of bottled water supplies water for every single centre existing on the island. Same goes for food, which is provided by certain well-known restaurants and definitely not for free, and clothes. Responsibility We ask him what happens to migrants once they arrive in Italy and he explains that, contrary to popular belief, nobody forces them to live at the centre or have their fingerprints taken. If they do give their fingerprints, they are not allowed to leave the country. If they don’t, they are free to go wherever they wish. And for most of 12
me he graduated in mass communication studies in Benin City, and that he used to work at a news agency. He also tells me about the corruption of the local press, and how the issues his country is facing are never covered in the news: between the economic crisis, Boko Haram’s attacks and a Government too weak to react, life has become dangerous. The migrants are not really keen on the food provided: a stereotypical pasta dish and bread. “This one is always complaining,” Andrea jokes in broken English. “Always saying I don’t like this, I don’t like that,” but it’s just good banter and the man takes it. He doesn’t want to tell me his name, but he says they all know him as Lucky. We leave the dining hall to have a cigarette, and end up all together in the courtyard. The social workers stare at us but don’t say anything. Everyone asks us for a smoke and my pack finishes quite soon. The presence of the camera excites them, and we end up taking pictures for the next two hours. At some point, a Syrian family approaches us: a boy
introduces himself as Baraa, and tells me he wants a group picture with me and his three siblings. He speaks neither English nor Italian, and we have to resort to Google translate. I learn that Baraa is 21 and his father had died five days ago at a local hospital after arriving here in extreme conditions and falling in the water during the navigation. The rest of the family is here at the centre: his mother, his older brother with his wife and their three children. He asks me to add him on Facebook and we decide to meet again the day after. Baraa is really shy. We have some breakfast in the morning and I make him try typical Sicilian pastries. He tells us that he never goes out in the city because he’s scared of getting lost and nobody has ever shown him around before. Migrants are left to themselves. They have nowhere to go, nothing to do. I draw him a rough map of the city, so he can at least find a park not too far from the centre. In exchange, he tells me his story. He was a law student in Damascus, but the war led him and his family to flee to Tripoli, where he was working as a waiter. After Gaddafi's fall, Libya imploded into chaos, and the civil war forced them to cross the sea to Europe. He has three other sisters in Syria who are married and didn’t want to leave the country. He fears for their safety. He tells me he used to play football in the Syrian second division, and I realise he must a really good player then. Football, like everything else, has been totally destroyed by war. While we go back to the centre, I think that this is what I find most difficult in doing journalism: there’s a line between objectivity and feelings, and it’s hard to balance them both. I feel sympathetic to the point I forget to take notes sometimes. At the centre we meet again with Aziz. He doesn’t let us inside this time, but he seems even more curious than the day before about our intentions. I tell him I just want to collect stories, and he says we should definitely meet “the artist”. “His name is Oseme and he’s a cartoonist,” he tells me. “A really good one. He drew everything he saw throughout his journey.” Oseme lives in another camp, on the opposite side of the city, so Aziz and I plan to meet the next day. He also mentions a new disembarkment in a couple of hours. We call the Coast Guard Captain and he assures us he will keep the promise and let us inside. Usually disembarkments are not open to the general public, and there are policemen at every entrance. When we arrive at the port, I get the feeling that everyone here is used to seeing these scenes: so many people outside pass by but don’t stop and there’s no trace of local press beside a photographer and a cameraman. There are different organisations around: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Emergency and Save the Children, other than local health facilities and the PS (State Police). The rescue vessel is coming and there are 387 people expected to be on board: 258 men, 75 women and 54 children.
The police are there to find any traffickers. I try to approach them but they just shake their heads: they can’t talk to me. Instead, I end up talking with Giovanni, a young social worker. I find him inside a green stand with other colleagues, and he tells me they are part of an organisation called “Ahmed” which takes care of minors with no family. Giovanni explains that traffickers don’t want to take the risk anymore. “They used to pretend they were migrants too and managed get away with it, but the police is [sic] more prepared now,” he says. He lowers his voice. “The last four, five disembarks, none of the boats were commanded. Traffickers know they will get arrested. They just board the migrants and leave them with no directions.” He tells me that sometimes the wrong people get arrested. “It happened before that people were held in custody and it turned out they were just refugees,” Giovanni says. I remember a volunteer telling us that many migrants have reported cases of Italian officers talking with Libyans during the rescue operations, and that the possibility of them trying to find an agreement is not to be excluded. “It's probably just speculation,” Giovanni comments and then excuses himself from the conversation as a huge cruise ship arrives just a few hundreds meters away from us. The rescue vessel approaching seems tiny in comparison. Once they get their feet on the ground, the migrants are provided with a small bag with a sandwich, water and a box of juice. They’re all given an identification number. Some of them lay on the ground, dehydrated and in need of medical assistance. We sit down with a group of Somali women. There are six of them, aged between 21 and 29; they are all friends and came here alone, except for one, Sameera, who brought her 15-year-old cousin with her. Amran, 28, is the only one who speaks English. She tells me they got lost as soon as they left Libya. They’ve been travelling for a week before arriving, with little food and water. There is a number of unaccompanied minors, 15 in all, put together in a group, and each is given a form to fill in. Unlike others, they will have to give their fingerprints. As a language mediator explains to me, the system will take care of them until they are adults, unless they are reunited with a relative who can provide for them. What happens after that is the synthesis of an unmanageable situation where they are all left on their own. The relations between local mafia and migrants is not really a mystery to anyone, and the chances of them running away and being sold to local crime organisations is high. There iss a man seated on the floor who looks visibly drained of energy, with empty eyes. He senses that we’re just witnesses and asks us if he can have a cigarette. He introduces himself as Amir from Egypt; he’s only 19, but has been living in Libya for four years, working as a carpenter under extreme conditions. He hasn’t heard of his parents since he left home. Someone notices him and prompts him to stand up and follow the others, but he’s weak and he collapses. 13
At this point a police officer questions our presence, and makes us leave. From outside, I can still see the migrants waiting to get on the bus that will take them to the centres. It goes on for hours. The following day, we meet “the artist”, Oseme. He’s 33, from Nigeria, and he was studying Art and Design in Benin City before deciding to leave. He tells us he didn’t feel safe in his country any more, and that some of his attempts at satire have caused him problems. He talks slowly and weighs his words carefully, struggling to find the right ones. He admits he had no idea there were so many people trying to reach Europe. “Some of my friends left too,” he says, “but I didn’t know there were so many of us, from all around Africa. When I arrived here I realised to what extent Nigeria and other African states are cut off from the rest of the world”. Then, he asks for a piece of paper and a pen. He says he would like to tell us his story, but he feels more confident in writing. He stops after two pages and tells us he will get it done later, so we can have it the next day. There is no next day though, because other migrants are coming soon and the ones already at the centre are being moved to make new space. Oseme calls us from a public phone later in the evening to let us know, and we go to the camp to meet him. He comes out with his drawings under his arm, and his eyes shine and he lowers his voice when he talks about them, explaining how he felt the need to illustrate everything that happened to him during his journey. There is one that shows a Nigerian woman being raped in the desert; another one testifies how they were tortured by traffickers and held in tiny rooms for days while waiting for the next boat available. He is sharing something very personal with us and it’s hard to find the right words to say. It’s the last time we see him. A couple of days later Baraa, the Syrian boy, texts me to let me know that his father’s funeral will be held the next day. He timidly asks me to come, and gives me the number of a member of the local mosque who can explain to me where it is exactly located. The mosque is a big old building in the suburbs, one of the few living traces of Islamic architecture in the city. We remain in a room with the women while the function is held; his mother prays for a long time. They share their food with us, while Baraa’s brother is at the station accompanied with other members of the mosque to book train tickets to Munich. It hits me how quickly their life is going by: there’s no time to process the grief. I see a woman who’s leaving behind her dead husband’s casket in an unknown land they probably will never come back to. Her pain is unbelievable. As winter approaches, the attempts by migrants to reach our coasts will be less frequent and the media coverage will eventually reduce to occasional updates. This island is left with the scars of another tragic summer where too many people have died in its waters. Sicily is not the anarchic Calais: It’s a place that has the potential to make things work, but its attempts clash with the internal issues of the territory, a corrupted bureaucracy and the maladministration of public money. Migrants end up in a bizarre world that it’s difficult to escape. Baraa and his family, despite the tragedy, are among the lucky ones. He gives me one of his bracelets before they leave. I hope they will find their way, wherever they are headed. 15
Words: Elliot Haworth, Luke Barber Images: Arvi Domee
Our cross-London taxi races reveal which is the faster and cheaper way to get around town
There’s a picturesque romanticism to this city and the Black Cab is the epitome of this: the expectation of a cockney driven tour through the side-streets of the capital, orated in rhyming slang and arriving just in the nick of time evokes a nostalgia of simpler times. And yet, in my two years of living in London, I’ve only ever ridden in one, albeit reluctantly, and only because at 4:00am my battery-less phone left me without Uber. It’s become apparent that old-school cabbies, unlike me, aren’t the biggest fans of Uber. The app is generally cheaper and more efficient than Black Cabs, resulting in the shrinking and disruption of a livelihood and industry regulated since the times of Oliver Cromwell. In London and elsewhere cabbies have protested against the firm, bringing cities to their knees with ‘drive-slow’ traffic blockades that haven’t invoked much sympathy from anyone apart from other drivers. Their disdain is an unrivalled case of old vs new - it’s VHS vs DVD; Myspace vs Facebook or whatever might come next. The point being, that as technology 16
advances, so do the requirements of us; the consumer. And in a free market shouldn’t we always come first? The latest furore over Uber comes from Transport for London (TfL) and isn’t short of a conspiracy against consumers. According to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and Chair of TfL, the Uber app ‘circumvents the laws’ that apply to Black Cabs, so the answer is to create a ‘level’ playing field, that seems so far, to favour cabbies.
very crux of Uber’s success. It means a ban on drivers working for more than one taxi company - putting part time Uber drivers trying to make ends meet, out of a second job. The award for the most bizarre, anti-consumerist proposal from TFL, however, stipulates that passengers must wait a minimum of five minutes before getting in a car – meaning vulnerable people will be forced to stand around on street corners in the middle of the night.
He refers to laws exclusive to hackney carriages such as the ability to be hailed in the street. As it stands, any other cab must be booked through a third party, which arguably, the Uber app is.
A petition calling for TFL’s obstinate proposals to be dropped has reached over 130,000 signatures, citing ‘an end to the Uber you know and love today’ as their reason.
Presently cabbies have to pass CRB checks, whereas Uber drivers do not. Cabbies need to know London like the ‘back of their hand’ and pass a test called “The Knowledge”; Uber drivers, like everyone else, simply use GPS.
The petition suggests that instead of regulating a modern service to act in the same way as an outmoded one, a true level playing field could be created ‘by reducing today’s burdensome Black Cab regulations’ and replacing them with more accommodative, consumer friendly ones. So instead of bowing down to the old, embrace and assimilate the new.
The proposals from TFL are essentially a leap backwards to the 1970s, when Black Cabs were last regulated. This means banning the ability to show available cars on a map-based app - the
The question remains though: is Uber really as good as we think it is? Is it worth deregulating and accommodating?
As consumers - does it give us the best deal? I decided to enlist my friend Luke Barber and settle the score once and for all in the only way we knew how: a race across London. It’s Black cabs vs Uber. Old vs New. Analogue vs Digital. On your marks... RACE ONE - The Tourist Trap: Buckingham Palace to Tower Bridge. BLACK CAB: Luke PRICE: £29 - reduced to £20 TIME TO ENTER CAB: Seconds TIME TAKEN TO DESTINATION: 46 minutes. The first thing to mention about taking a Black Cab to anywhere is the absence of cash points when you are in dire need of one. On the days when I am not desperate for hard currency, there are ATMs everywhere I look, but wandering around in the pouring rain there are none in sight. That said, with cash in hand, finding a taxi was a fantastically swift task. Stand by the side of any road in central London, doing your best hitchhikers grin and it isn’t long before a yellow taxi’s light screeches to a halt. The start is slow, roadworks and traffic lights leave
traffic trudging along at an amoeba’s pace and by the time we reach Westminster the journey has already cost me £9. I find myself wondering whether my £30 will cover the costs. My driver is Irish and before long I have heard his autobiography and his opinions on the current political classes. He takes enormous pride in his car and seems to enjoy roaming the streets looking for his next fare, but something is very clearly at the back of his mind. “This job won’t last,” he tells me with an air of grave foreboding. “There are too many drivers on the road now, I’m just glad I’m not one of the ones that need to earn £300 a day!” This said, when we arrive at our destination, no matter how much I plead, he knocks 9 quid off the meter to make it a round £20. “The traffic,” he says, “is no more my fault than it is yours.” UBER: Elliott PRICE: £12.46 - reduced to £2.46 TIME TO ENTER CAB: 3 minutes TIME TAKEN TO DESTINATION: 33 Minutes I hate to think how many tourist’s snaps of Tower Bridge I managed to photobomb while standing in the rain, waiting for Luke to arrive. My driver, Shabbir, didn’t speak the best English I have to say. He did however, offer me a chewing gum and my choice of radio stations before I’d told him he was in a race across London; lovely chap, but the conversation wasn’t exactly riveting. If I was paying for conversation however, I’d book a psychiatrist. I wanted consumer value and speed, and on both those counts, Uber won - hands down. It’s worth noting that although my journey was only £12.46, in reality I only paid £2.46 because I got a ‘£10 off’ voucher for previously recommending a friend - so in the end, my fare was around 10 times cheaper than Luke’s.
“As far as value for the consumer goes, I’m convinced that Uber is a far superior service to the black cab.” not having to go back to an office for his next job and the sheer volume of pickups Uber provides him with means he makes more money. He picks his own hours; sees himself as being self employed and subsequently has more time to spend with his children while his wife works evenings. Uber smashed it on this occasion: it was faster, cheaper, took barely a moment to arrive and was a pleasant enough journey. As far as value for the consumer goes: I’m still convinced it’s a far superior service. RACE TWO: The Drunken Student: Dalston to Camden BLACK CAB: Elliott PRICE: £21.60 TIME TO GET IN CAB: Seconds TIME TAKEN TO DESTINATION: 18 minutes
We were both convinced before the race that the Black Cab driver with his ‘knowledge’ would prevail - but in reality Sat-Nav was king; Shabbir’s GPS told us where the traffic was, Luke’s cabbie could only guess.
“UBER DRIVERS DON’T KNOW ANYTHING” cried Ahmed, my cab driver, as we pulled away from Dalston. Luke and I had chips, a beer and got on our way at 12:30am - it was going to be tight: there were cabs and Ubers aplenty roaming the dark streets of East London. ‘They don’t pay TAX!’ he deplored: ‘the money they make goes abroad!’.
From the limited conversation I had with my Uber driver, he sung nothing but praises for the company he has only worked 6 months for. He earns slightly less per journey than his previous job as a minicab driver but the combination of
Clearly Ahmed, was not a fan of Uber. And to an extent, despite my insistence on the brilliance of the app, I can understand why. He, like my Uber driver from earlier, had also worked as a minicab driver, but instead of picking up a GPS,
studied for 3 years to pass ‘The Knowledge’. “You could buy car and GPS and be Uber driver tomorrow init!” he insisted, in broken Bangladeshi - English. And I suppose he’s right, really. I asked him about the star rating offered to Uber drivers and customers, which he deemed unnecessary because ‘government licence is better than all stars!’. It took me seconds to find a cab with its light on, and I was pleased to find a cabbie who, although didn’t partake in the ‘drive slow’ protest, was clearly vehemently against Uber. The journey was fun, he was chatty (although using his phone while driving on occasion) and we arrived in Camden in 18 minutes. As I got out of the cab to write down the cost of my journey however: Luke arrived, seconds behind me. Did the knowledge give me an upper hand? No. Was my ride more expensive than his? Considerably. Over double in fact. UBER: Luke PRICE: £9.54 TIME TO GET IN CAB: 5 minutes TIME TAKEN TO DESTINATION: 19 minutes Dalston is not the kind of place that I enjoy being at 12:30 on a cold Thursday morning. By now, the drinking holes, nightclubs, and off licences have shut their doors, leaving the streets bathed in the fluorescent light of the countless kebab shops that line Kingsland Road. There seems to be one last option for those who don’t feel ready for bed: the dreaded Camden High Street.
I set my pick up point to the corner of Dalston Lane and the app tells me my driver, Nuri, will be with me shortly. The car on my phone screen tells me his Toyota Prius is cruising past me. When I look up, he is nowhere to be seen. It takes five minutes before a call comes through from distressed-sounding Nuri who tells me he is double parked and that I need to find him quickly before he gets a ticket. Slightly miffed, and wondering if this defeats the purpose of a car-on-request service, I set off, finding him about 30 yards away on the other side of the road. After a close - and slightly ironic - brush with a black cab as I sprint across the road, I’m in the back of the car and we’re off. The man at the wheel is from Istanbul and has been working for Uber for two weeks. He claims to have done ‘the knowledge’ and tells me he is taking the quick way but when I look up, the Sat-Nav seems to be doing most of the work. When I ask him which he thinks is better, phone or mind? He takes a moment before pointing at his phone and exclaiming “THIS. IS. KNOWLEDGE!” As he does, the headlights swing on to my opponent, stood at the finish line, a smug grin adorning his illuminated face. Our conclusion I may be starting to sound like I want Black Cabs off the streets, replaced by a fleet of GPS-laden Toyota Prius’, doomed to history books and classical films: I do not. From the perspective of city tourism, the death of the Hackney Carriage would be tantamount to knocking down Big Ben. I do however believe that Boris is misled in trying to ban technology that saves the inhabitants of his city money. It makes him sound like a luddite. Uber is clearly better value for us Londoners, most of whom are skint already. Our Mayor seems to forget it was his party that privatised the railways and utilities to break up statutory monopolies and introduce competition. Well, competition is exactly what we have here - and it’s good for the consumer. He’s trying to ‘level the playing field’ with a burst bubble. It’s adapt or die, and if the cab drivers continue to charge as much as they do, die they shall. Deregulate them, adapt them to suit the modern world and our present needs. Not the other way round Boris, mate. 17
Words: Lauren Sharp Images: Jordan Hughes, David Dawson
MAccabees: The changing face of the elephant The band talk about their film documentary looking at the regeneration of Elephant and Castle
Elephant and Castle is undergoing a major transformation. Yet among the unfamiliar sky scrapers, luxury modern apartments and recent pop-up coffee shops, The Maccabees are staying put in their small SE1 studio and using their musical brains to create a new album. Following their fourth album release Marks To Prove It this summer, The Maccabees have teamed up with film directors James Caddick and James Cronin to create the documentary Elephant Days. Marks to Prove it (2015) was released in July after two and a half years of struggle, songwriting and recording in their Elephant and Castle studio. Orlando Weeks, the lead singer of the band, explains how they commissioned the directors. “The reason we asked James was because we felt we shared such abilities, we were both in similar minds and we knew we were to have him and the other James in our studio for such a large amount of time, so it was important that we could get along. So that was a good starting point, and then the story and the theme would emerge, like something would just come out of it.” The two and a half year struggle of recording and re-writing for The Maccabees in making Marks To Prove It is just one segment of the film. Footage of the band giving up, remaining focused, searching for lyric inspiration and producing music are seen throughout the piece. 18
At the heart of Elephant and Castle the band found inspiration for their album. Orlando says Marks To Prove It was influenced by the area. “We were going to be there everyday, we were going to be writing and recording everything in Elephant and Castle so we were conscious of the feeling that it had a sense of place.” Since the band’s arrival in their studio in 2012, they have seen a £3-billion redevelopment change which is to be completed over the next 15 years as part of the Elephant and Castle regeneration scheme. According to Southwark council the regeneration will include the creation of a new pedestrianised town centre, a market square, 5,000 new and replacement homes, up to 450,000 square feet of retail space, and integrated public transport hub along with five green spaces. We are already witnessing the rapid and continuing changes that are taking place to the roundabout, which is just the beginning of the gentrification in the area. During the struggle to find new material for the fourth album, the band came across David Busfield’s photography of the Michael Faraday Memorial at the heart of the Elephant and Castle. The memorial is a stainless steel box built on the roundabout formed in 1961, filling the area with light at night in memory of the late Victorian scientist. This photograph formed the basis for the album’s artwork.
“The directors fear that Elephant and Castle is losing its identity” For the band it was “an extension to the album’s association with the area.” Speaking to journalist Jenny Stevens in The Guardian back in July, Orlando says that the recording of endless demos and lists of various destinations to travel in order to find ideas forced the band to come very close to giving up. They realised instead of travelling to find music they used the area they have spent the past five years recording in. At first the band didn’t intend to make music in Elephant and Castle until they got their studio in the area. “I think the point was more to try and see that wherever you are or wherever we have ended up, which happened to be Elephant and Castle, would be enough inspiration and enough going on to make an album [and] make a documentary.” He speaks about the concept behind the theme they had when making the album “I think the record’s theme is more about, in the same way that the film is really. It’s kind of filled with different short stories. Gentrification is just something that is going on around it.” Listening to Marks To Prove It you will not be directly taken to the Elephant and Castle shopping centre but Weeks mentions that the sounds from the area were used as part of the album making. For example you hear sounds from the market on one of the tracks. “A lot of the time I start writing a song based on a line that I have read in a paper or overheard and that was definitely true vision. I try to build a song from something that I have heard like an echo, or something on the bus, or in a queue when I’m waiting at a cashpoint.”
“We did try and do some recording at the platform of Elephant and Castle train station to get the sound of a commute but we were a bit worried that we were looking suspicious sat on the platform with this 70s mic, so we didn’t use it. The song on the record - Slow Sun has some recording of the East Street Market.” Silence, the fifth track on the album, uses a voicemail received by the band’s guitarist Hugo White after the the death of his mum. According to NME, River Song stems from the band “hearing a couple have a really sad argument heading towards Newington Causeway.” Elephant & Castle is also the theme for two upcoming music videos taken from the album, using combined footage of different faces of the area. Marks To Prove It shows shots of the Elephant and Castle roundabout, followed by scenes of chaotic traffic, whilst their second track release Something Like Happiness present a more quiet environment with architectural shots and plants growing in deserted alleyways. “We wanted to show its kind of manicness with the commute aspect of the Elephant and Castle and I also wanted to try and make it look like there is some kind of London architecture coffee table book style to it too.” Produced by 2AM Films, Elephant Days premiered on October 12th at the Odeon Cinema in Haymarket. It documents the lives of six residents, highlighting the passion and motivation they have, inspired by the creativity in the area of what had been described in the film as “the forgotten area of zone one.” It also shows the struggles with the rapid changes which comes with being in an area undergoimg gentrification. 19
The 83-minute film consists of short stories, including that of Arments Pie and Mash shop, the traditional restaurant established in 1914, battling against the new pop-up coffee shops, whilst maintaining a sense of the tradition of the old Elephant. Also featured is the Peckham Prides basketball team and their constant battle for success. Residents Richard and Layla are on a mission to add colour to the area by creating gardens in derelict spaces, especially the late Heygate Estate. The vibrancy of the area is seen through Natty, a local musician who regularly uses the local small business to tailor his wacky suits, and of course, The Maccabees themselves, enclosed in the four walls of their studio, using Elephant and Castle as a source of inspiration to make their album. It shows the sense of community and love the residents have for the area. Inspired by British experimental film artists such as Patrick Keiller, the director’s aim was to capture the essential life and character of the Elephant and Castle, which, the directors fear, is at its tipping point of losing its identity due to the gentrification that is so common in London today. James Caddick says: “I think the more problem for the area is that it is becoming generic, like putting all big buildings that all look the same and which cost a lot of money, I suppose that is more of the problem, as said in the film there is no meeting point, not even a big Tesco’s so its a incredibly diverse area, which is very interesting I think.” With Elephant and Castle undergoing changes, new communities are moving in. “I don’t think there is a connection, but there is an acceptance I guess and the respect they have for these different communities, I guess, there seems to be a harmonious fashion of inspiration and that is something to be commended isn’t it?” “As James Cronin says, if you lose that and if everything does become generic then it will be a less 20
colourful place. As an artist I think it is probably an incredibly inspirational play to work and very useful in terms of being so central.” Expanding the Elephant’s greenery in the derelict Heygate estate is one of the characters in the film. Richard Reynolds who, with his partner, uses the empty buildings as a place to add colour and life by filling the area with trees and plants. Reynolds describes in the film how Elephant and Castle is seen as the “underdog”. The film directors use this suggestion to show the other side to the area. James Caddick is clear about the message he wanted the audience to leave with after they have watched the film. “I wanted it to be a film about people who are passionate about things and I wanted people to relate and make people think about that and care about that in our society, especially in an area that is going to be completely brought out with huge amounts of money- but not force that down people’s throats. It’s about individuals and people who are passionate about what they do.” The band knows that when they will return to Elephant and Castle, they will already see distinct changes since they last packed their suitcase in their SE1 studio. Orlando has captured the energy of the Elephant from being a past resident close to East Street Market. He describes the best parts of living in the area. “I lived above East Street Market and so I enjoyed that and when I got the time I would be in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre, that’s still there and I like that. I hope that with all the changes going on, the kind of eccentricities that the area has are preserved somehow. I don’t know how that will happen.” The Maccabees begin their three months tour around Europe next month, starting at London’s O2 and ending their tour in Madrid.
When MuSIC FOUGHT RACISM
Racism was a grim feature of life in 1970s Britain. A new exhibition shows how a group of musicians and activists led the battle against hate and discrimination, in concerts and on the streets
Paul Simonon, The Clash, RAR Carnival 1, Victoria Park, London 1978.
Words: Hani Richter Images: Syd Shelton
It is 1976. Eric Clapton is on stage performing to a crowd of eager fans at a concert in Birmingham. Suddenly he asks “Do we have any foreigners in the audience tonight? If so, please put up your hands.” Hundreds of fans from different backgrounds wave their hands in the air – to their astonishment Clapton then goes on to say “We need to vote for Enoch Powell, he’s a great man, speaking truth. Vote for Enoch, he’s our man, he’s on our side, he’ll look after us. I want all of you here to vote for Enoch, support him, he’s on our side. Enoch for Prime Minister! Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!” Clapton’s speech caused massive controversy, not least because his music was evidently influenced by black culture – including blues legends like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Muddy King. This was a man who collaborated with some of the biggest black names in music, and had a hit single with his cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot The Sheriff.” As hard as it to believe today, racism was the norm in Britain – political correctness did not exist.
Syd explained how he started to document the concert, he said “I returned to live back in London in 1977 after four years in Australia and found a more racist and xenophobic place than before. Daily racism was on the rise as was the fascist extreme right wing group the National Front”. Undoubtedly, for ethnic minorities trying to integrate in Britain became a difficult task. “A group of music fans and bands had picked up the initiative after photographer Red Saunders and others wrote a letter to the music press in 1976 after Eric Clapton’s racist rants from the stage at a Birmingham concert. The letter called for a rank and file movement, Rock Against Racism. It started off with small gigs in pubs but quickly caught the imagination of the emergent punk and UK reggae scenes”, continued Syd. In the 1970s racism was at its peak in Britain. The National Front, a fascist group, was gaining supporters rapidly due to fears of the migration of ethnic minorities from former British colonies. Most of the immigrants moved to areas in the
“Clapton’s racist rant was the trigger for social change” Enoch Powell, who Clapton was quoting with such approval, was a Conservative politician, notorious for his ‘rivers of blood’ speech, which criticised those who came to to the UK from Commonwealth countries and claimed that they were ridding British communities of their culture and heritage. In his speech he offered various examples of white British people he spoke to who, he claimed, were fed up of being minorities in their own country. Powell’s speech crystallised a fear that swarms of minorities were coming into Britain and were taking over the country – imposing themselves and their culture by force, with no regard for their hosts.
UK in which other ethnic minorities lived, often in crowded inner-city areas, in part, no doubt, to avoid the racism that was so commonplace in Britain at the time.
Clapton’s on-stage rant was the trigger for a major UK concerts celebrating diversity and the foundation of a movement called Rock against Racism, which attracted over 100,000 supporters. Photographer Syd Shelton, who took gripping photos, capturing the essence of the time. says: “That [concert] was a consequence of the fight against racism which dominated much of the 1970s and early 1980s. The question of whether black people were here to stay in Britain had not been fully answered, and Britain changed from a country with a labour shortage to one with mass unemployment.”
Unsurprisingly, many, did not warm to his outlook on immigration – this was evident through the hundreds of thousands who turned up to RAR. This created huge, rising tensions in Britain at the time.
Photographer Red Saunders and his friend Roger Huddle founded Rock against Racism. It all started when they sent a letter to the influential music magazine NME to inform them that they found Clapton’s comments to be extremely hypocritical as his music, evidently, had black influence. Syd said, “We decided to hire a fleet of flatbed trucks on which to stage bands all the way along the seven miles from Trafalgar Square to Victoria Park. Two weeks before the event, the Clash came on board and the show was on the road. We expected 20,000 but in the event it was closer to 100,000 and nearly all marched the whole seven miles. That day changed everything: as Billy Bragg put it “That was the day my generation took sides”. Popular bands such as The Clash, Patrik Fitzgerald, Steel Pulse and many more performed at the event. Many thousands of protestors went out to the street and rocked out at Victoria Park. Then they marched through London in solidarity with immigrants.
Syd went on to say “Racism was a part of the mainstream culture in the seventies, the few black footballers were abused at every game, vicious racist attacks and murders were commonplace, racist jokes were regularly aired on tv and radio and the police, targeted black youth while the media like the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mail demonised all black youth in their endless propaganda against muggings’.”
High unemployment rates were a trigger of the rise in racist attacks – adding to the racist rhetoric about immigrants taking jobs from British people. This was during an era of high unemployment in Britain and at a time when then Prime Minister James Callaghan’s tactics of refusing to increase pay for workers was deemed unacceptable by trade unions and consequently led to his defeat by Margaret Thatcher. Artist Caroline Coon, who was at the concert, told me “As a white woman I could only guess what racism was like in the 1970s. Did it feel like sexism? If racial discrimination felt like misogyny and sexual discrimination then it felt very bad indeed. Black women were and are burdened and oppressed by both racism and sexism. By the 1970s the Race Relations Act of 1965 was beginning to make a difference and our multi-culture was beginning to form a new, hard won and now successful identity for the British.” In August, 1977, the Battle of Lewisham occurred – a confrontation between the National Front and anti fascist groups. Many people were involved in the march on both sides. Approximately 500 National Front members turned up, compared to thousands of anti fascists. Before this event around 20 young black men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of conducting 90 per cent of the robberies in Lewisham. This had raised tensions and resulted in the Lewisham 21 Defence committee organising an event in 23
RAR Carnival Against the Nazis, Leeds, 1981.
Anti-National Front Demonstration, Lewisham, London, 1977.
Tulse Hill Comprehensive School, Brixton, London, 1976.
support of those who were arrested and led to a counter protest by the National Front. “The march of some 150 Fascists was forced through the massive counter demonstration of 5-10,000 anti racists, by a quarter of the Metropolitan police and their entire mounted division. The battle went on all day and long after the NF had been bussed out of the area. The police came ready for a fight and it was the first time that riot shields were used in mainland Britain and signaled the start of the militarisation of the police,” said Syd. This was a time in which races were not integrated in Britain. In America segregation had been abolished only a decade earlier. Immigrants to the UK faced direct racism from fascists. This took the form of graffiti, vandalism on the streets they walked on, offensive language, discrimination when looking for employment. As a result many felt that they were not welcome. Sadly, this was how things were. Syd’s photos highlight how people who fit a particular mould stood up to these fascists, even those considered to be ones themselves. Rock Against Racism brought together skinheads and punks. People from all subcultures came together – sticking a finger up to prejudice.
When I asked Syd what memories stood out to him he said “Looking back there i could pick out dozens of events which defined my involvement with RAR as a photographer, but I think the first big Carnival at Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets was as good as it gets. We collaborated with The Anti Nazi League, which had been set up after the events at Lewisham to combat the National Front to put on what we called the Carnival Against the Nazis.” The Anti-Nazi League was also formed in 1977 by the Socialist Workers Party. However, some attendees argued that some of the bands who appeared at the RAR gig were paid, and that their motive to perform was not simply to do humanitarian good. All in all whether bands got paid or not, they deserve credit for standing up to racism and making a positive difference. The ultimate aim of RAR was to change the attitude of the public towards the racism of the era in Britain. Although the original RAR concert was a while ago, the organisation did make a comeback in 2002. Racist goups still very much exist in this modern day. Thankfully, they do not possess the power and the number of supporters they once did. You can see Syd Shelton’s ‘Rock Against Racism’ exhibition at Rivington place, London until 5 December 2015 25
Space Deer. Original design 2009 for Ultra! Gatecrasher Nottingham UK, Club Interior Design (Non-Commercial), Reworked 2015 for The Orb Moonbuilding 2703 AD, Kompakt Records, Germany
Words: Maya Ladwa Images: Ian Anderson/The Designers Republic™
“DON’T BE A CUNT ALL YOUR LIFE” The philosophy of Ian Anderson, who wanted to be a writer but started as a musician and became one of the most influential designers of his era.
“I’d be obsessively looking through every single album in every single rack checking for new releases I knew wouldn’t be there, discussing the finer points of obscure progressive rock and the finer details of every triple gatefold pre- sub- and post- Roger Dean, Barney Bubbles and/ or Hipgnosis record sleeve”, he says, citing some of the influential sleeve designers of the era.
For aspiring designers looking for that ace up their sleeves in order to move into the realm of success, the advice, “don’t be a cunt all your life” is one that graphic designer and founder of the highly successful ‘brain aided design’ company – The Designers Republic™, Ian Anderson, believes you should follow. Having attracted many notable clients such as record label Warp Records, Psygnosis, Nickelodeon and Coca Cola to name a few, Anderson and his company have left an indelible impression on the British design scene. The company is famous for an anti-establishment approach exemplified by defiant sloganeering such as ‘Work, Buy, Consume, Die’ and ‘Design Will Eat Itself.’ Initially they started out designing sleeves for bands and albums; Age of Chance’s 1987 One Thousand Years of Trouble, artists such as Pop Will Eat Itself, Orb and electronic music duo Autechre. The artwork is a combination of pop culture fused with a futuristic style and elements of Japanese anime. However the creative powerhouse behind the artwork never actually studied design. Instead Anderson was a philosophy student at the University of Sheffield, hugely involved in the local music scene so becoming a designer wasn’t even a fleeting thought. His aspirations entailed living life and promoting bands but nothing set in stone, “I didn’t aspire to anything in particular, I was just enjoying what life put in front of me.” Becoming a designer was something Anderson fell into after he started producing covers for a band he was managing called Person to Person but he feels his calling should have been a writer. “I understand the semantics of visual communication and understand people in and out of the context of the bigger picture. But I should have been a writer.” Being an ardent music lover from the tender age of 10, and an only child who was, by his own description, full of self importance, Anderson was more interested in spending his pocket money on music albums rather than sweets and toys.
Aphex Twin, Syro 2014, Warp Records, London
“I’m an only child way too full of selfimportance to follow someone else’s lead.”
“From an early age, maybe 10 or 11, circa 1971-72, I’ve been a music obsessive, going to all sorts of amazing gigs with the ‘big boys’ who lived next door, spending all my pocket money on 7" singles, and then on albums when I could afford more.
Primarily the motivation and inspiration behind many of Anderson’s designs stem from pop culture. “I’m interested in people, primarily. What winds us up and what makes us tick... and why. I’m interested in art as an expression of who we are and who we want to be and in how we see, even consume art, as indicators of who we are and who we want to be seen to be. Pop culture is a way of measuring this.” However, when asked about any influential designers that impacted his career, he modestly answers “for me there’s genuinely no hierarchy of influence. I’m an only child — way too full of self importance to follow someone else’s lead... of course I’m inspired by a lot of stuff but I’m rarely truly interested in who’s done it. The reason I’m inspired is relative to my response not to the author’s creation”. Perhaps he is better as someone that influences others with his unique and untraditional spirit which sets him apart from many designers of today. The best thing an artist can feel about his work which Anderson is in agreement with, is that he can make a difference. Anderson lived with a trade unionist father during the seventies at the time of the ‘three-day-week’ when businesses were only allowed to open part time in order to save electricity. Home use of electricity was rationed too, with planned power cuts across the country, during which time the public got used to living by candlelight. This was against a background of strikes, industrial unrest and mass unemployment which formed the context to the rise of the punk movement. There are many different descriptions of Anderson’s work but anti establishment seems to be a recurring theme which could be due to the influence of punk ideologies to which he was exposed. Yet Anderson objects to this and says, “I don’t know that we are anti-establishment, I just don’t accept other people’s versions of a truth. Given the ever increasing degrees by which we are right royally fucked over by what you might perceive to be the establishment, I’m fucking gobsmacked that being anti-establishment isn’t the norm.”
While his friends were off playing with cars, balls and having tennis lessons, Anderson proved at a young age that he was different from the rest, a sign that he was developing into a person who does not conform to norms. This is something which reflects in his insouciant communication and subversive designs. His dedication to put creativity first rather than business, went against the tide of the design industry and comes from his passion and strong belief in what he does. The young Ian Anderson used to spend his afternoon in David’s Records in Bracknell, just east from his place of birth, South Croydon. He gained impressive comprehensive knowledge of genres pertaining to seventies rock without listening to the music itself.
Subsequently this set the tracks for him to follow and lead to the formation of his audacious punk band The Infra Red Helicopters whilst he was still at school. He had designed his first EP cover using his ‘mum’s Remmington typewriter and bingo pens’ that were spread out across the dining table. When asked whether there was a link between this and the decision to form TDR™, he feels it wasn’t a direct one, “although with the passage of time the connection between the two becomes more tangible.
Autechre, Oversteps 2009, Warp Records London, Limited edition double sided poster, part of Oversteps vinyl box-set
Artists put a lot of work into their designs since it is also a representation of their personalities or a meaning they are trying to convey to the world but many people cannot see past the visual styling of a design. “I find it disap-
Atoms Vectors Pixels Ghosts™, TDR™ Sequential Graphics Supernova 2012 — 2014, Art Intervention S1 Artspace, Sheffield
pointing that people don’t bother to think, to consider that there is, or even may be a concept behind what we do — that there is a lazy assumption that good design is actually just visual styling.” Having his feet firmly set in the industry for over 25 years, it can be difficult to separate oneself from the role that is constantly played out on a daily basis. Many designers and artists seem to wind up submerging themselves into their careers and forget who they were before it all started. The Designers Republic™ has always been synonymous with Anderson; however in 2009 the company went into voluntary liquidation which was the first time he was separated from the clutches of the brand that he had created. “Being Ian Anderson allowed me to start working as a consultant for other agencies in a way that being Ian Anderson from The Designers Republic™ obviously wouldn’t / couldn’t allow, and in some ways it felt good to shake off the shackles of thinking and doing something relative to peoples pre-conceptions.”
“It felt good to shake off the shackles”
In terms of whether Ian Anderson the designer is different to Ian Anderson the person, Anderson naturally claims that “the designer isn’t different to Ian Anderson the person, he’s just one facet of the whole, in the same way Ian Anderson the dad is too.” With tDR™ back in full force after Anderson bought back the company he has countless exciting upcoming projects such as designing “music-related interference” for Autechre, Aphex Twin, Eivind Aarset, Olsson, The Orb, Ambiq, New Atlantis, Originator Sound and Warp. There are also a few new magazines such as Transformat and 50 years of British Road Signs. This load of projects represents his commitment and enthusiasm for the industry and his passion. Becoming a successful designer “isn’t drawing, it’s thinking. If you don’t understand your client, you can’t solve their problem. And if you don’t understand their audience you can’t communicate the solution. Ian Anderson practices what he preaches; he’s a successful designer because he hasn’t been a cunt all his life. 29
Words: Milena Paraschiv Images: Mihai Vasile, Vier Pfoten
Romanian horses Free as the wind, roaming through the nature of the second largest and best preserved deltas on the continent, these are some of the last wild horses in Europe.
Yet on this small land situated in the heart of Danube Delta in Romania, horses pay a steep price for their freedom. Some people believe the future of these animals is to be slaughtered for their meat, which in turn could find its way into the food chain in Western Europe. In 2011, a scandal called ‘Letea Massacre’ broke nationally in Romania. For two weeks, the Romanian mass media was concentrated around this story. Every news bulletin, newspaper, blog or website had its eyes on Letea. The story read ‘Fifty-one adult wild horses and twenty foals were gathered in a pen in order to be sent to slaughter, in the village of Letea, Tulcea, Romania’. The village belongs to the C.A Rosetti City Hall. During that time, the City Hall has declared for the Romanian Newspaper that the horses multiply too fast, have left the reserve, destroyed forests and pastures of the village and broke even in the town school fence from C.A Rosetti. Therefore, the authorities undertook several companies to gather the animals, take blood tests (to see if they are healthy or suffering from infectious anemia, a disease contagious to cows) and find a solution to the problem. As a result, the 30
outrage was so high it became the subject of protest by the NGO’s who decided that action needed to be taken. This scandal is a particular example of a larger issue. According to several sources, there is a strong connection worth millions of pounds between the Romanian horse and the European meat industry. Even though Romania doesn’t have equine stock farms, according to the Guardian it is the third largest exporter of horse meat in Europe. Most of these horses come from middlemen who sell them to abattoirs taking advantage of poor income or low level of education among farmers. They simply buy the animals regardless of their health condition and sell them in order to make profit. This explains why the number of exports has doubled and the horse population has dropped by 40% according to INS (Romanian National Institute of Statistics) It is conveyed that in the past ten years, so many horses have disappeared from Romania that the count is very close to the Communist number of horses killed after the collectivization in the ‘50s.
This brings us to the European meat adulteration scandal which involved falsely advertised beef foods found to contain horse meat. In Britain, most people might be familiar with the so called ‘meat horse scandal’. The media phenomenon broke on the 15th of January 2013 when it was found that frozen beef burgers in Tesco and several other supermarkets contained horse DNA. Horse meat is not harmful to health but it is considered a culinary taboo in the UK and other countries.
the Danube Delta, in a landscape that oscillates between the desert with sand dunes and the subtropical forest with old oaks and vines up to 25 metres. On this land wild horses gallop freely, uninterrupted by man, between trees and dunes of sand. In 1930 the forest was declared a Biosphere Reserve, part of the UNESCO World Heritage, the oldest of its type in Romania. Some experts believe there are around 4000 wild horses living in the forest of Letea, while others have identified only about 500.
Later on in 2013, several Dutch meat traders confirmed they bought a consignment of horsemeat from two Romanian slaughterhouses and sold it to French food processors. They also claimed the meat was clearly labelled as horse. However, in May 2013, Willy Selten was found guilty of falsifying documentation and was arrested for
Romania didn’t always have wild horses galloping freely through Letea Forest. Vier Pfoten Romania claims their ancestors arrived through the Tatars on Romanian land, and settled down around 400 years ago. These horses were eventually joined by workhorses who after the collapse of the Communist regime in 1989, were abandoned
“During the Letea massacre the media was full of images of wounded horses” two-and-a-half years for selling 300 tonnes of horse meat labelled as beef. This is how, a few years ago, the Romanian horse meat was being served as beef lasagna on a plate from an English restaurant. During the broadcasting of the Letea Massacre, all over the media you could see pictures of wounded horses. Kuki Barbuceanu, Vier Pfoten Romania (Four Paws) project manager specified the main problem encountered was that the animals were crowded in a pen, although they live in groups in the wilderness, namely, a stallion, several mares and foals. Present at the event, Kuki Barbuceanu was explaining: ‘They bite each other, some have multiple wounds, and there are lame horses. From the point of view of animal protection, these things are classified as physical mistreatment and torture, crimes that are punishable by a fine between 1,000 and 10,000 lei (Romanian currency) and imprisonment between six months and three years”. The idea of reducing the number of horses brought a wide range of controversy in the area and is still to this day largely condemned and considered a mistake, but there is also another side of the story. Research shows that the horses have a strong negative impact on human settlements as well as the ecosystem of the Danube Delta. Artefact Magazine travelled to the Danube Delta in Romania to find out more about the current situation of the wild horses and recent projects implemented in the area.
because they were no longer needed on the collective farms. Local villagers also claim that on the reign of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, inhabitants were unable to feed their animals and therefore they were set free. Abandoned in the Danube Delta, the horses multiplied by thousands and rediscovered their wild side, taking control of their new territory. After a nine hour drive and three hour journey in a catamaran, Doru Cioparcianu, a travel guide from Sulina greeted us and led us to his boat. We travelled together to Letea Forest through breath-taking canals full of lily pads, pelicans and bird colonies. He started by telling us that in Letea, there are more horses than cattle: ‘The cow has nothing to graze here’. Even though locals respect, love and cherish the wild side of this animal, inevitably a problem raises when the human population is outnumbered. According to them, there are currently more horses than people living in the area. Allegedly, Letea has under 1000 inhabitants and between 3000-4000 horses. Marcel, a local villager stated several difficulties encountered by locals in this area: ‘There used to be a balance, the horse is a beautiful animal, villagers respect them but there are too many of them now. After wild horses establish themselves somewhere, they leave the terrain in a deplorable state. This is why areas of plant life disappear after taking 50 years to develop’.
The Danube Delta is a protected nature reserve, home to all kind of flora and fauna, a wildlife enthusiast’s ultimate paradise. It all starts with the Danube River flowing 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas: 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, treefringed lakes and reed islands. Also, according to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) the delta hosts over 300 species of birds, as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.
Making a living in this isolated part of the country is a real challenge especially in the winter time when their activities are reduced to fishing, reed cutting and livestock farming: ‘In the area, we only have livestock farming left. We live on a grind and harvesting hay for our animals (which are our main source of income) becomes a real struggle’ said Marcel. Winters are also particularly harsh for the horses that have to make do with whatever few tree barks and roots they can unearth from the snow. In order to survive they would eat anything and everything in their path but not all of them are successful. Even though the creatures are very resistant to bitter cold, the lack of food proves to be fatal as in the winter of 2010/2011 supposedly half of them died.
Letea Forest houses around 500 different species of plants and over two-thirds of the animal species from
Locally, the ‘Letea Massacre’ is still on everyone’s lips. ‘The entire scandal started from the Forestry Depart31
ment (Ocolul Silvic). Rangers have complained that the horses eat tree bark in winter and buds in spring when the forest is blooming. They began to take action, actually ‘action’ is an overstatement, it was more like ‘let's collect and export them’. Indeed they were a bit tormented, just not as it was exaggerated. It so happened that someone from a television passed by and so the mediatisation began’ said Doru. He also believes the situation is no different in present: ‘Even now, while the Forestry Department is upset because they eat trees, locals are disappointed they cannot make hay after the horses have been grazing’. Councillor Florin Papadac told Artefact: ’For tourists it's nice to see them running in such studs, but for nature and the forest ecosystem which is unique in Europe is a negative factor. They simply disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem and forest. Basically they should be taken out of the area’. Talking about the ‘Letea Massacre’ he argues that the real problem is the techniques used to capture the horses: ‘Massacre? They were not murdered. The method of capturing and the way they were gathered in a pen, that is what actually launched the disagreement of the civil society and the NGOs that took a stand. We are in the 3rd millennium, they could have been tranquillized. There are other ways to catch these poor creatures’. Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration and Vier Pfoten Romania Foundation signed a Collaboration Protocol in order to implement a Birth Control Project for the wild horses found in ‘Grindul Letea’, from Danube Delta. When animals reach a high number in a secluded area, they can rapidly deplete the food resources and create an imbalanced habitat. For this reason, they believe methods to limit horse numbers are required when food becomes insufficient. The objective of their collaboration comes in support to both environment and animals. Their claim is trying to preserve the protected ecosystem as well as contribute to the development of the tourism throughout the presence of wild horses. One of the most important measures considered in this project is the birth control program. This is focused on identifying and vaccinating the mares with a contraceptive in order to reduce the number of animals in the area. Kuki Barbuceanu, Vier Pfoten Project Manager told Artefact: ‘The current number of vaccinated mares
is 150, namely 100 in 2013-2014 season and 50 in 20142015 season. If the normal calving percentage of adult mares in Letea was 68% annually, through our contraception project it was reduced to 20% of treated animals. Depending on the results of the impact horses have on local vegetation, their dynamics and interventions similar to other horse populations of similar pathways, we currently believe that a reduction by 40% of the total can be considered sustainable’. During the wild horses media scandal from 2011, all the attention was directed towards the way the animals were treated and captured. This is why Vier Pfoten Romania also aims to protect the horses from abuse, cruelty, capture and killings. Kuki Barbuceanu states that in present, on average, 10 horses are rescued annually from different critical situations. The Romanian organization is currently in the process of developing scientific studies to assess the impact of the horse populations on the elements with importance in the area. ‘Basically this process involves the evaluation of local flora fluctuation depending on the presence or absence of horses. We will study different samples from which we will be able to tell the maximum level of sustainability of a horse population. Depending on these results we will be able to determine the reproduction control program parameters in the future’ says the project manager. Looking through the statistics published by the Guardian, Kuki Barbuceanu explained he finds it hard to believe that Romania is currently one of the biggest horse meat exporters in Europe. He explains: ‘After the horse meat scandal in 2013, Romania has not exported a year or so’. According to Barbuceanu the ‘Letea Massacre’ was the biggest media event in the Romanian press. ‘It is true that during that period of time, there was no other topic more important than this. It definitely kept the media on their toes’. ARBDD Councillor Florin Papadac recognizes that the wild horses being currently the biggest attraction in Danube Delta comes as no surprise following the scandal in 2011: ‘All the tourists who come here to get informed about the touristic attractions are mainly interested in these horses. No one asks me about flora, fauna, the largest number of white pelicans in Europe or other aspects of this particular ecosystem. Everyone asks me about the wild horses in Letea Forest’. 33
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THE Corbyn PHENOMENON Why thousands of students have been energised by the politics of the new Labour leader
A bearded, beige-jacketed, 66-year old man has won the hearts of students across Britain and everyone has been left stumped as to how he has achieved the impossible. Many have tried and failed to get the unyielding students’ approval but few have gained even an acknowledgement. Granted, Ed had his five minutes with the youths during the elections when the #Milifandom kids went wild, but if we’re honest no one really took it seriously. The Milifans were probably not even old enough to vote, so all Ed really gained were a couple of memes of his face on various muscular bodies. Mr Jeremy Corbyn however has somehow managed not only to get students to like him but actually to listen to him as well whilst taking his policies seriously. 35
So who is this Jeremy Corbyn chap and why has he infiltrated every Twitter and Facebook feed in the UK? Students can’t get enough of him and he’s the hot topic on campus.
down and read through all the parties’ manifestos and attempting to separate facts from propaganda. There’s just so much jargon and it’s just a lot of work to kind of take an interest – that’s why. It’s simply too hard to understand’.
I met UAL Graphic design student, Amy Connolly, 22 for a cold bevvy in a pub in New Cross. Of Corbyn she says: ‘He’s so different from other politicians, so many students in Uni are talking about him – I’m not sure what it is about him and I’m shocked he’s as popular as he is and at the impact he’s had in university – literally everyone is talking about him!’ – So there you have it, hotter than pound pints at the SU bar. Thousands of people turned up to see Corbyn in the flesh leading up to his victory in the Labour leadership election and one student describes the experience as like being at a rock concert. I met UCL PhD cancer research student and Jezza fan girl Zoé I. MV, 24, in Russell Square gardens. After attending a rally she explains it ‘felt like being at a gig or a rock concert. The crowd was really a mixed demographic and there was a real mix of people but lots of young people too and I’ve just never seen people go so crazy for a politician – I couldn’t ever imagine people giving that kind of reception to a politician - it was crazy!’ Jeremy, or ‘Jezza’ if you will, renowned for his activism, is the current Labour party leader and leader of the Opposition. He’s considered to be pretty damn radical in his policies, takes no nonsense and always sticks it to the man to fight for what he believes in. In 1984 he was arrested outside the South African Embassy for protesting against apartheid at a time when protests were banned. Corbyn was also strongly opposed to the Iraq war and was only one of a few Labour MPs to call for an inquiry into the invasion in 2006 - pretty ballsy bearing in mind he was up against heavyweights like Blair and his Blairites. Not only that, he’s also always been a strong advocate of LGBT rights and voted against section 28 which sought to cast aspersions on same-sex relationships. Better yet? He wants to scrap tuition fees – hoorah! What is so surprising though, is that it is well-known young people tend to alienate themselves from electoral politics and so for a politician to ignite such a widespread interest and energise so many students verges on being revolutionary.
She’s got a point though, hasn’t she? The reality of it is, are we really going to choose to sit down in the evening after being at university all day and attempt to read through Cameron’s (or any other politician’s) clutter for a couple of hours to try and figure out their plans for the country, or are we going to watch an adorable pug dressed as Drake dancing? Don’t lie. We both know the answer. Not because we don’t care, but simply because many of us feel a lot of major politicians haven’t taken our concerns on board and aren’t listening to what we have to say. It wasn’t too long ago that Russell Brand encouraged young people everywhere not to vote. A lot of us perhaps felt he had a point: why vote for someone who clearly doesn’t share any of our values and aspirations or even makes sense?
“Attending a Jeremy Corbyn rally was like being at a rock concert”
A survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that a vast number of young people do not vote and have a lack of interest in politics. People aged 16-24 were more likely to state no interest at all in politics (42%) than those aged 65 and over (21%) in the UK in 2011-12. While these statistics are a little disappointing, perhaps it is Jezza Corbyn himself who has proven that it is not that students ‘lack an interest’ in politics but simply that there have not been any major politicians to date who have really resonated with young people.
Observer’s Britain Uncovered survey earlier this year showed that there is a fairly large divide in views between older generations and younger generations. Immigration as we all know is a hot topic which politicians simply love to talk about. We are constantly told to be concerned most about immigration by politicians over everything else. However, the Britain Uncovered survey has shown that with under 25s, immigration is only 17th on their list of concerns, with job markets and housing prices being a lot higher up. The survey shows that under 25s welcome Britain’s transformation into a multiracial society and that ‘Younger Britons aged 18-24 are most likely to believe the country has benefited from multiculturalism (64%), whilst older Britons are more likely to disagree with the view (35% of those aged 55+ agree and 42% disagree). The fact is, especially in London, the majority of the younger generation has grown up integrated with people from various cultures, nationalities and religions. In a university today, it would be unheard of not to have students from other countries on our courses. We have grown up often with extremely different views from, say, our grandparents or even our parents. Yes, we all reluctantly put up with a racist remark or two from granny at Christmas dinner and we may have that one elderly relative who spews out sweeping generalisations about foreigners, but racial prejudice is something which the majority of the younger generation no longer understands or relates to. We’ve grown up with our best friends, flatmates and neighbours who are from different countries and cultures and we not only learn from the experience but quite often welcome it.
Philosophy student at Manchester University, Sofia Wrazen, 19, gave me a call on my cell phone – unfortunately not for that hotline bling - but to pass on her views on why she believes youths don’t vote. She says this may be down to a lot of young people feeling ‘messed about by the big players such as David Cameron and Nick Clegg’. She added: ‘I think especially with the whole tuition fees crisis – it’s made a lot of people feel very apathetic’. She added: ‘I feel like politics is generally over complicated and I feel that’s done on purpose. It’s difficult to understand what’s going on so it’s a lot of effort to sit
Matt Morley – the CEO of ‘Tickbox’ – a website designed to help match people with a party which best suited their values – tried to find out why so many students choose not to vote and disconnect themselves from politics. It seems the three main reasons are – ‘a lack of knowledge, the perception that all parties are the same, and the concern that no single party matches an individual’s specific list of concerns’. Perhaps we’re all sick to death with consensus politics and Jezza at least, it seems, offers a decent alternative.
It is also fairly popular and even fashionable to take a ‘gap yah’ after university to go and experience other cultures and learn different languages. It’s now seen as ‘cool’ to get out there and meet people from all over the world and so when politicians talk about immigration as being a major concern – a lot of the time it’s unsurprising that it goes straight over our heads.
On this topic Sofia says: ‘People who have grown up in the early 2000s with social media have been unified in a sense and it’s more like a global community – we’re all connected through that so things like prejudices or scapegoating and xenophobia, which is obviously a massive issue in Britain at the minute and forms a basis for quite a lot of right-wing rhetoric to gain votes – I feel like that doesn’t really translate with young people so much because prejudice is kind of dated and I think people realise that now, especially young people’.
He explains: ‘So you know someone like the Green party - I think everything they say and do is really good and I agree with what they stand for but if I vote for them it would be out of a kind of they’re the best possible option or I’d vote for Labour had I been part of their constituency simply to keep the Conservatives out. The idea of there being a candidate of one of the major political parties who has a proper genuine social understanding of what needs to be done, for me, and I think for a lot of people, is an amazing thing’.
Zoé I. MV agrees with Sofia and says: ‘A lot of what other politicians say doesn’t resonate with young people at all. I guess politics is often seen as a middle class white man’s game and I know Corbyn is a white man but I think he talks about things which a wider demographic can relate to’.
Matt makes a valid point here. Some of us are guilty of voting for a party simply to keep our least favoured one out, at Uni you hear students say ‘Oh I voted Green but just to keep UKIP out’ etc but with Corbyn, students do seem to really be with him on most, if not all, of his policies.
I met City University Journalism student, Matt Broomfield, 21, in Greggs and bought him a coffee with the little I had left of my student loan (thanks, Cameron) – keeping it classy. Matt takes a slightly different stance on why he believes students are disillusioned from politics – and thinks they simply just do not take it seriously enough: ‘Something which has always really fucked me off on both student left and student right is the people who say they’re interested in politics but just see It as a sport or a game – it’s all ‘I voted for this one and my one beat your party har har’.
So what is it exactly that Corbyn stands for? He’s well known for his anti-war stance and is all for abolishing nuclear weapons. Perhaps his main goal is to end austerity, help those on welfare and improve the economy.
He went on to say: ‘The reality is it’s not actually a game and it will affect their lives and what they do – every young person wants their grandma to be cared for in retirement and every young person wants the opportunity to have an education and wants to know that they can have a job and a house and that their family can have a house and that’s politics. It’s connecting and making people see the connection between what happens in Westminster and what happens in their day to day lives, which needs to happen’. So what is it exactly that Corbyn is doing which so many of us admire? Just how is it that he’s managed to get so many young people to root for him? We’re unsure as to whether Corbyn anticipated his popularity with so many of us or if he’s just as surprised as everyone else is.
Zoé I. MV
“Young people are really invigorated and he’s creating a movement”
When I asked Zoé why Corbyn is different to other party leaders she responded: ‘Well for so many reasons. He’s the most genuine, straight talking, self-effacing politician there is compared to the other Labour candidates who are all essentially Toryite and so scared of the Murdoch press they end up saying nothing at all. Jeremy actually says what he believes in and you can tell that he really does believe it. He never bitches about other politicians or stoops down to personal remarks whereas pretty much all the others do. You can tell that he just really cares and is not a career politician.’
For Corbyn, the next five years are essential leading up to the elections. So far, he has a lot of us rooting for him, but how will this affect the next election? And will Corbyn continue to inspire young people to take an interest in politics? Zoé has faith and responds: “Yeah, I think he will. Clearly young people are feeling really invigorated by him and he’s creating a movement I think. Obviously the next five years are going to be crucial to him, he has to widen the electorate, keep the momentum going and make sure that everyone does actually vote.” Sofia is convinced he will also and says: “I think he’d be silly not to because that is already his, maybe not his target demographic, but more the people who make up a lot of his supporters who are basically young people and students – so I feel like it would be illogical on his part to not tap into that.” And what will happen if Corbyn does manage to succeed and become prime minister? Sofia says: ‘If people do what they say they’re going to do, then it could be a really insane thing for Labour, though there is always a danger of the party splintering. It might be a case of the old Labour supporters leaving and new ones coming in and it may not affect the balance too much. But perhaps then, more young people will be more motivated because it would be more of a unified party. I think it could go one of two ways but obviously I’m not an expert so…’
Amy Connolly backs this up and responds: ‘I don’t know much about politics at all and it’s not that I’m not interested I just don’t know. The thing that stuck out for me with Corbyn is he speaks in an easier way to understand. With Cameron and others I have no idea what they are going on about or what they are saying. I also think the way Corbyn represents himself – even with the way he dresses – it’s casual and it makes him come across as sincere. I just really like some of the things he stands for – I think people are really looking for a change and believe he’s the man to do it!’ What Matt Broomer likes about Corbyn however is: ‘I don’t feel I have to compromise on stuff to be with him.’
He wants Britain to stay in the EU and also introduce rent controls and introduce housing benefits for families in central London to make it more accessible for people to stay in areas which would otherwise be too expensive – essentially he wants to stop gentrification and social cleansing. He has been quoted in the Telegraph as saying ‘[Families are] forced to move away. If we can’t control rents then the very least we can do is keep families together’.
They say a week is a long time in politics and Jezza may find the next five years feels more like a thousand with even some of his own members out to get him. He’ll need to watch his back if he is able to remain as Labour leader with such radical policies and he’ll need to get at least some of his refreshingly different policies put into practice. The question is whether the men in grey suits decide he is unelectable and replace him with another Blairite. Let’s hope not because #Jezza4Eva. 37
Words and image: Sean Littlewood
Fighting the EDL in Aylesbury A report from the front line of a march by the far-right English Defence League
hour, between dour chants of “E. E. EDL”. In case, you know, they forgot who they were, as well as the importance of morality towards other human beings. I tried to make light of some of the senseless things being said. Such as; “I’ve got two words for you. Well four actually. GATWICK EXPRESS OR FUCK OFF!”. That’s five actually though, isn’t it mate?
In early 2015, six men were found guilty of grooming, drugging and abusing two teenage girls in Aylesbury - a small, conservative market town hidden in the depths of Buckinghamshire. Almost all media outlets made note of the fact that all six men were of Asian descent, and of course, that the girls were white. The far-right shit themselves. Not only is this exactly the sort of fodder that fills their banners, megaphones, and Facebook feeds - it was fuel to a fire that was actually beginning to burn out, albeit very slowly.
**. It felt like an artless attempt to rekindle support in towns that might have flirted with the idea of a Farage led government, but are also towns highly diverse. The EDL are simply preaching to the ulta-converted. A fading minority of hangers on, to what was once something relevant and newsworthy.
When part-time football hooligan, fulltime Islamophobe Tommy Robinson formed the English Defence League in 2009, they represented something quite significant. They were an outlet for a growing number of young, angry almost exclusively white - British men who felt their culture was being threatened by an influx of radical Islam. ** Six years later though, they started falling apart. Robinson called it a day, saying that maybe the EDL were a bit racist after all, and thanks to a counter-presence at almost every demonstration and a shift by many to the even more embarrassing Britain First, their Saturdays turned from mass brawls with countless arrests in liberal towns such as Brighton and Oxford, to essentially a piss up and a stroll through UKIP-heavy areas such as Rotherham and Margate. It was back in 2010 they first marched through Aylesbury; an event that struck genuine fear into almost everyone connected with the town. Shops were boarded up, pubs were closed, and the council strongly advised locals to avoid the town centre. The EDL came in force too, with just under a thousand arriving by the coach load. A heavy police presence managed to keep things from getting too out of hand that day, but 28 still managed to get themselves arrested without any major counter-demonstration even confronting them. They seemed to linger around the town all day chasing everyone around, at one point attacking a local mosque. It was a day that was genuinely unnerving. You sensed people were angry and divided, and that things were close to reaching boiling point over the racial tension in the country. The counter-protest, that was non-ex38
istent in 2010, gathered early this time though. Well, two of them, separately. One group that had organised a demo against the march, joined by regular people of the town throughout the morning - with banners and speeches making it clear the EDL were not welcome. And another of balaclava teens dressed like they had literally come out to murder the EDL. ** The EDL gathered outside a working men’s club a short walk from the town centre, as photographers from the local press and a few passers-by gathered to greet them with their iPhone camera’s at the ready. As soon as the march caught sight of the counter-protest it seemed to peak. The chants went up, and everyone was briefly stirred trying to get through the wall of police officers. There was a brief coming together, but it was hard to see what was actually happening. The police did a pretty good job of keeping them apart, managing to form physical barriers around each separate group. Once the trouble passed, the march seemed to go stale. The counter-protesters still set on murdering them had attempted to get around the other side of the square, but to no avail. The police were everywhere. Up to this
point it was everything you’d expect from an EDL march. Flags, chanting, a bit of a scrap and enough drinking and shouting to make it feel like a Saturday night out in ... well ... Aylesbury. A group of Muslim men arrived at one point and tried to confront the march, with a few EDL members again throwing themselves at police in an attempt to get to them, but It was all something of nothing. The whole day just felt like an anti-climax. It was if not even the EDL could muster enough spirit for a proper fight. It just felt like being on the school playground with 180 balding bullies. It was boring and weird. I wanted to hear how ridiculous the speeches were though, so I reluctantly stayed. This is where things got nasty. A few people took it in turns to spew some of the most racist things I’ll probably ever hear in my life. One of the leaders had this to say about the counter-protest, that was still going on within earshot: “When you stand there, you unwashed, dirty scumbags, and have a go at us, you are supporting paedos. You are supporting people who mutilate their girls. Go riot elsewhere. Because we have a message. We have facts and figures. You don’t.” It went on like that for about half an
Once the speeches were done, there was a bit more chanting. Then everyone made their way back through town to jump on their coaches and leave. It was a far cry from the chaos and violence of five years ago. However, the way the people of Aylesbury simply went about their day with no more than a glance at the group showed they’re tired of this now. And without the shock factor of the EDL, there is absolutely no substance. Their impact on Aylesbury was nothing more than that of a group of overzealous football fans making their way from the pub to the stand. The pig masks and furious racism only acting to outcast them and their views even further. If there was ever a way for the far-right to become an immediate threat to our towns and cities, this definitely isn’t it. There’s also irony in the way that they came to make those of differing religions and cultures feel unwelcome, but were actually made to feel drastically unwelcome themselves. If this march through Aylesbury is anything to go by, there has been a drastic shift in the attitudes people have towards the stupidity of the far-right in situations like this. It’s becoming obvious and boring, and people won’t bow to it anymore. Before long, surely more and more EDL members will be following in the footsteps of their former leader and idol Tommy Robinson; knocking these weird protests on the head, and keeping their misguided, dangerous views to the confines of their Facebook feeds where they belong.
Words and image: Hani Richter
Pro-migrant protests in Dover Demonstrators declare a welcome for refugees
cy – the foreign policy of the European Union. We’re the problem and the least we can do is open our borders to allow the refugees in.
Migration is one of the most talked about issues in the world right now. Many people have opinions on it – strong ones in many cases. Groups like Open Borders think the British government is not doing enough – considering how politically involved they have been in the refugee predicament.
“We caused the issue, we caused the crisis, we’ve got a moral responsibility, I think, to actually welcome people to this country and give them a safe haven from the absolutely appalling situations they’re facing at home.”
Artefact spent a day with the members of London 2 Calais (L2C), an organisation that provides supplies to refugees who currently live in the Calais camp. As I waited for everyone to emerge, to get on the coach, about 100 supporters arrived at Russell Square at 8.30 am.
At the height of the crisis, in the summer, David Cameron referred to the refugees as a “swarm of people”. Critics argued that his use of language was dehumanising. The Liberal Democrats’ new leader, Tim Farron, told The Guardian: “By using the prime minister’s language, we lose sight of how desperate someone has to be to cling to the bottom of a lorry or train for the chance of a better life.”
The two-hour journey passed surprisingly quickly; as soon as we got to Dover protestors marched to for the port. One of the protestors had come prepared, leading the chant and shouting into her loud speaker. Immediately, everyone chanted “Say it loud! Say it clear! Refugees are welcome here!” ** We marched through the secluded streets and were met by supporters cheering out of their car windows clapping for us, and at other times we got weird looks from baffled onlookers. One burly man, who was pushing a stroller with a child in it, shouted “No, they’re not” in reply to the “refugees are welcome here” chant. Approximately 650,000 thousand refugees have made their way into Europe this year, a majority coming from war-torn Syria. This protest arose after Prime Minister David Cameron faced a backlash from critics when he announced that Britain would only be taking in approximately 20,000 refugees in the next five years - a minuscule figure compared to other European countries. Mona, one of the organisers, said “It is unacceptable that Britain is refusing to take any form of responsibility for the situation. I think people should be free to move wherever they want to go. “It’s the worst refugee crisis since the second world war. It’s not a normal situation by any means and Britain needs to wake up to that – just because they are silent it doesn’t mean that they can detach themselves from what is going on in the world,” she told Artefact. “The whole distinction [the government is making] between economic migrants and refugees is extremely unhelpful. It’s
not good. Obviously there are people that have to leave for political reasons, but also somebody who is starving – who cant afford any food should have the same rights”. “What makes them any less legitimate to come to this country? If you look at this situation in Europe where – Europeans citizens have freedom of movement, everyone said it was going to create a disaster and actually it turned out very well. But, it does raise the questions,” Mona continued. ** “Why are people with European passports who are predominantly white free to move? Whereas people from other parts are excluded from this – it is a form of apartheid legislation that needs to be addressed,” she said. The group of protestors stressed the point that 20 miles away, in Calais, it was a very different situation. There has been an increased support for the refugees due to the harsh winter to come, but the reality is that many are living on the street, with no home; most make temporary shelters with plastic bags, clothing, and sticks to hold it all together. The main camp is called the Jungle. Many of the inhabitants come
from troubled countries. The current estimated figure of people living there is approximately 6,000 to date. Tom, from the Ashford Green Party, said: “Those with power should help those without power. Those with power should help those who need help, there’s no one who needs more help, there’s no one more powerless, than people fleeing war torn regions. “Now at the moment what we’re doing is saying ‘No, close the doors you’re not welcome here’, and that’s not right. I wouldn’t want to be treated that way if I was fleeing from a war. My house may have been bombed, family members may have died on the journey here. It’s monstrous and that’s why I’m here. We need to let these people in,” Tom said. Most refugees who reach Europe try to get to Germany, who has had the most lenient entrance policy so far, even though it has vowed that it will propose tighter restrictions – pleading to other countries in the EU to share out numbers. The main reason refugees want to reach central Europe is because of the better prospects of getting a job. A protestor called Ian told us: “The government’s attitude to refugees is absolutely appalling, I think that the refugee crisis has been caused by our foreign poli-
The camp in Calais was considered a burden in the past. It was first established when the Red Cross decided it would open a base there. After that it’s popularity surged, for obvious reasons. Those who couldn’t get in camped outside and more and more people did this until the French government finally decided they had enough – ordering it to be closed. This resulted in riots in the early 2000s. In 2009 a new camp, in the same location, was bulldozed and the inhabitants were arrested. These raids happened for a few more times and have now led to the latest 2015 camp. Security is the tightest it has ever been in Calais with the police patrolling the border 24 hours a day. As we marched I met Mark, who was wearing a bright red shirt which said ‘Unite against racism’. He told us: “Traditionally I’m not an activist, I have no political allegiance. I’m very much against racism – I’ve experienced it. I’ve had to help people. “Other around me have turned a blind eye and looked the other way and now since the rise of UKIP and Britain First – I’ve seen an increase in racism and a change in politics and our government have said reluctantly said that they are taking in 20,000, people – over five years which I believe amounts to around eleven people a day on average. “The refugees have no home, people are not welcoming them – Germany are taking in a lot and they can’t do it on their own. All countries need to help. Syria has been pretty much destroyed – the war is still going on. We should help.” 39
Words: Ben Cullimore Image: Cyrus Farivar / flickr.com
Are e-sports going mainstream? BBC3's decision to broadcast computer games signals growing popularity
At the end of a gruelling, action-packed and, at times, heated three-and-a-quarter hours, the KOO Tigers hugged and danced in the middle of the battlefield.
broadcast on television only during offpeak hours. With the e-sports audience already online, it can be argued that it makes sense for BBC3 to start this way as they test the water. But their decision also throws up further questions
They had just beaten fellow South Korean team KT Rolster in front of thousands inside Wembley Arena, and the fans were going wild.
With websites like Twitch the first choice for e-sports fans, will many, if any, make the leap to a more mainstream channel? And what hope do BBC3 have of successfully enticing potential new fans?
But what were they playing? Was it football? Tennis? Ultimate frisbee? No. They were taking part in one of the many video game competitions known as e-sports, a trend that’s enjoyed a rapid rise over the past few years and is now on the cusp of penetrating the mainstream. The term “e-sports” refers to multiplayer competitive computer gaming. Despite the common misconception of video games as being a primarily solitary pastime, competitive and team-based competitions have played an important role since the dawn of commercial games in the early 1970s. Pong, still a household name due to its cultural impact, was the weapon of choice for many, and since then the growth of the video game market has turned what was once a niche undertaking into a worldwide phenomenon. With competitions taking place across the globe on a regular basis, e-sports have become big business. A surge in popularity since the late 2000s has transformed amateur enthusiasts into professional players, many of whom have used their skills to earn unimaginable sums of money. According to E-Sports Earnings, a website that compiles a list of the highest-earning professional gamers, all of 2015’s top-five biggest earners have accumulated over $1.5 million each since the start of the year. The huge sums of money available to players is a direct result of the popularity that e-sports are currently enjoying. Last year, the finals of an international tournament involving the online fantasy game League of Legends was witnessed by 27 million people worldwide, with 11.2 million of those watching live. The continual success of League of Legends competitions – arguably the most popular in the history of e-sports – led 40
Broadcasting competitions live on television could go a long way to help achieve that goal, but until then it looks as if it is going to struggle to find success among those that are currently unaware of its existence.
to Wembley Arena hosting this year’s World Championship quarter-finals. But what was even more startling was BBC3’s decision to become the first major British broadcaster to purchase the rights to broadcast the tournament live. “We jumped at the chance to collaborate with BBC Sport and bring this massive UK event to a wider audience,” said BBC3 controller Damian Kavanagh. “BBC3 is always experimenting with new ways to deliver content that people want, in ways that they want. I think this was an exciting way to cover something millions of young Brits love.” The increasing popularity of e-sports among young adults is certainly something that other event organisers are starting to take seriously. In 2014, the annual extreme sports event the X-Games teamed up with Major League Gaming – arguably the world’s largest and best-known e-sports organisation – to host the Call of Duty X-Games Championship in Texas. The appearance proved to be a watershed moment for the sport, helping to propel it to new heights. As a result, the 2015 Winter X-Games in Aspen, Colorado, featured a three-day e-sport event that saw the competition take place alongside traditional winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. “2014 was a breakout year for e-sports, with the first ever MLG [Major League
Gaming] tournament at X-Games Austin and more than 71 million people competing in or watching e-sports events around the globe,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, the co-founder and CEO of MLG. “Our X-Games debut was such a success that we knew we had to continue the tradition.” It is a tradition that has a short yet impressive history. While the popularity of e-sports is continuing to rise in Europe, it has been a phenomenon in East Asia for over a decade now, with the South Korean audience arguably the most dedicated. The country’s biggest tournaments regularly attract huge excitement from fans and bring in as many people as major sports events and music concerts. One notable event was the 2013 League of Legends World Championship in Seoul’s World Cup Stadium, which attracted a crowd of 40,000. With more online viewers than many of the nation’s favourite television programmes, the question now is whether or not this success can permanently move away from the internet and onto the big screen. BBC3’s decision to broadcast the League of Legends quarter-finals was an intriguing move by a big media player, but despite their willingness to buy into a growing market they decided only to stream the event on the iPlayer, with highlights of each day’s matches being
Despite its large following online, e-sports remain a niche interest followed primarily by those with a background in video games and technology. This makes it difficult for it to fully penetrate the mainstream’s consciousness in the way that, say, more conventional sports are often able to do when televised to the masses. However, there was a time not too long ago when “outsider” sports such as snowboarding and BMX were viewed with skepticism by the mainstream, yet they are now favourites of many thanks to their appearance at the Olympics. While it is unlikely that competitive computer gaming will ever become an Olympic sport, continual exposure to a mainstream audience could help e-sports grow in popularity and, like snowboarding and BMX, become a respected discipline. The future looks bright for e-sports. With a global audience rapidly reaching 100 million and major broadcasters and event organisers quickly taking notice, the only way is up for a sport has a enjoyed a meteoric rise since the start of the decade. It may not be long until you turn on your television and see the KOO Tigers celebrating another win, this time surrounded by thousands of screaming fans inside Wembley Stadium. The e-sport craze is in full swing, and it is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Words: Sean Littlewood Image: Twist Publicity
Prides: Back to the 80s
The Scottish synth-pop trio take their cue from an earlier musical era
It’s easy to see that Prides are willing to shake off any indie tag thrown at them, and announce themselves as carrying the flag for all that is pop. Not pop in the cutesy, falsified way – but more the accessible, ‘we just want people to connect and enjoy what we make’, very 1980’s kind of way. This year saw the band release their debut album The Way Back Up, which might seem like stadium-lite, radio friendly synth-pop on the surface, but may actually come to represent a shift in attitude many bands have taken towards what it means to make music in the 21st century. The Scottish synth-pop trio owe obvious ode to the high-guard of the 1980’s pop explosion. “It was the last time pop music was really amazing,” lead vocalist and keyboard player Stewart Brock says of the era, “It was a period that needed that music, and I think we’re back into that same kind of moment.” We’re pushed for time given the amount of interviews the band have today, but they haven’t lost an ounce of enthusiasm. “There’s a lot of music that speaks to people in a positive way, during what is quite a dreary political and social climate. Maybe we need that bit of escapism.” ** Robert Smith’s influence, especially on Brock, shines through almost every part of The Way Back Up. Songs are crafted with a very evangelistic; pop conscious core. Hook heavy choruses remain the biggest, most defining part of the music - with young, delicate love usually the subject matter lying beneath the surface. “I always reference The Cure. I love everything about them,” Brock explains. “It’s definitely something I try and emulate.” Drummer Lewis Gardiner enthusiastically chips in that “you can sing every part of their songs. The synth. The Bass line. They were an incredible band.” “It’s all about massive, accessible songs that when you listen to them have real heart and meaning.” Brock concludes. It’s also relevant to observe how, for many bands emerging into their 20’s, Blink-182 can also offer an almost lucid awakening to alternative music - acting as gateway band to genre’s such as grunge, punk and 90’s emo. “They were a musical, and general life awakening for all of us I think,” guitarist Callum Wiseman offers. “Although we all came from different parts of the country, we all found Blink-182 and went “well, I’m going to learn an instrument and I’m going to start a band.” Brock explains
how each member of Prides grew up in emo bands, and for that reason there is a “definite pull from bands like Jimmy Eat World, American Football and The Postal Service.” ** A string of festival appearances over the summer culminated in a main stage appearance at Scotland’s pride and joy, T in the Park. A performance that fell on the day of the album’s release no less. “It was a total joy,” Gardiner beams. “Our home crowd; our home festival.” During the performance they invited fans onstage to dance, and their set almost came to represent the bands willingness to progress into a stadium friendly outfit. “ They should have just printed ‘Prides Album Launch Party’ at the top!” Brock adds. “It really did just feel like five-thousand of our closest friends.” It’s this willingness to be a band that can fill a stadium that perhaps sets them apart from a few bands at the moment. They aren’t too proud to admit what they are, or hide from what they aren’t “From the day we started this band I just wanted to be honest,” Brock explains. “I didn’t want it to feel like we were trying to be mysterious and cool.”
The band talk with quite a refreshing openness about their intentions, which is something that’s matched in their loose, honest approach to social media. Brock laughs when I offer this statement, “I tell you what; none of us our cool so why pretend! If I see something cool like a Pokémon card in a shop and I’m excited about it – why not post it online and share that feeling with the fans.”
ment, so literally let’s just have a really good time.” It would also seem that finishing the album and finally getting it out after two years in the making has been the main focus of Prides since the start. “Well yeah, definitely” says Gardiner. “The end game was always about getting this record out and just really hoping people connect with it.” **
The authentic openness Prides offer has meant the band have managed to form a unique connection with their steadily growing, engaged fan base. It’s also something that doesn’t seem forced, and that the band manages to talk about with quite genuine modesty. “We really want people to be engaged with us,” says Wiseman. "We’d never have been able to play the main stage at T in the Park without the support offered from our fans. We even had a few of them on stage during our set, and it would seem stupid not to share the love a little bit. We wouldn’t be doing it without them.”
Throughout our time out in this freezing cold Scottish press area, our conversation always seems to find its way back to 1986. “Bands like The Cure and The Smiths were writing these huge, accessible songs back then, but they also had such incredible heart and meaning. That’s all I wanted to do when I started this band” Brock concludes, and if the aim is to try and capture the spirit and excitement of that era – one that remains so pertinent and important to the legacy of pop music - Prides haven’t hit far from the mark.
But why have so many people found it so easy to connect with Prides? “I think because we are quite personable,” Brock explains. “I think we’re all in this, in the pop sense, to have a good time. That’s why each one of us picked up an instru-
The Way Back Up might not make any “coolest album of 2015’ lists, but it isn’t trying to be that. It’s strengths, much like the band itself, lie in the honest, brilliant craft of the songs and the connections people have formed with them. 41
Words: Desislava Todorova Image: Andrew Barber
Fashion photographer Andrew Barber explains his influences and goals
It’s a gloomy day in London and I am rushing to the first show at London Collections Men A/W 2015 at Victoria House. It’s early January and I’m wearing a ridiculously big fedora when a smiling guy starts following me to show me a picture on his phone “it’s you”, he says.
it. If you compare London and New York Fashion Week, you really can’t, because at London you probably got about 30 photographers running around every single show and catching the outfits. When you’re in New York…It’s completely different. I’ve never been before but I’d seen what it is and it’s a lot bigger. There are so many photographers-some of them are professional, some of them are just taking a picture and then you got the paparazzi, it’s very competitive.
** The next thing I know, he’s on my Instagram and he’s taking notes about what I am wearing. It turns out that this is Andrew Barber – the founder and creator of London-based street style blog “OmniStyle”.
Do you have your set of little rules when you’re working together? We always say that if you can’t take that photograph in the angle you’re covering then you got to move around to another place, if you can’t get it, then you miss it.
For the past decade street style photography has become a significant part of photojournalism and fashion in general. The grandfather of all this is Bill Cunningham whose work for more than 60 years now for the New York Times has built the foundations of what we know as street photography.
Another one a lot of photographers complain about is when photographers are wearing bright colours. If you are going to be in the background in someone’s photograph try to wear black or something that doesn’t really stand out. And there was one time when I was wearing like a really bright lime green AQ/AQ t-shirt and so many people were pissed off that day when I wore it because –“dude, you’d better not get in my shot”.
Ever since, a new wave of “street stylers” have started to emerge, including the rise of Scott Shulman’s “The Sartorialist” and his former girlfriend Garance Doré, along with the appearance of Phil Oh from “Street Peeper”, Tommy Ton for “Vogue”, and Caroline Blomst from “Caroline’s mode”. This new breed of photojournalists today includes the names of Adam Katz Sinding from “Le 21ème”, Nabile Quenum from “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste” and Julien Boudet from “Bleu mode”. I met up with Andrew to find out more about the foundations of “OmniStyle” and his perspective on street style in general. ** How did it all start? I wanted to try to get as many contacts as possible, so I wanted to spend some more time doing photography and street style. I was doing a few shoots for editorials; I was getting to know the bloggers, a few designers, their photographers. Over the years I had become more and more passionate about photography. Like, if you asked me what is my passion 4 or 5 years ago, I wouldn’t really know. You’re saying that your passion for fashion (as cheesy it may sound) was a thing that actually became your priority after you started working as a photographer? Yes. 42
Because fashion is something I was always interested in, I was always buying expensive clothes, all the time. And then I would often take pictures of my friends whenever we’re going out or when we’re socially spending time together. And then it came to the point when I was going to the fashion weeks, like I said before, and I was taking pictures, I started to realise what street style is actually all about. During my first season at London collections Men A/W 2014 I had a friend who got in touch with me and she said she needed assistant for some street style work. I knew that the guy who was hiring her to do the catwalk and the street style is the owner of “Livin Cool” (lifestyle and photography website), so I went to London collections every day. Eventually, he wanted me to do some street style for one of his clients and I just started talking to people, networking, constantly, constantly.
Who’s the photographer who inspired you the most? Who inspired me the most? I have to say Liam Goslett. I basically got inspired by his street style. I came across his blog back in 2011, when I was still at university. Later on, it was Nabile from “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste” (aka “I Lost my Jacket”), back in 2012, who I met when he was working at KTZ in Paris. I saw him wearing a really cool t-shirt with Nike Airforces that were collaborating with another company, and I said- “Hey, I really love your style, can I take a picture of you?”-so I took his picture and he told me about what he does as well as working for KTZ. There are so many photographers, and you are always together, you’re going to the same locations, going to the same shows, you’re working together basically. How does it work with the angles? It is super tough; there is some aggression in
Do you have a favourite person to take a picture of ? Yes. I do have my favourites. For men: I’d say Eugene Tong. He’s the style editor for Details magazine and he’s also creating the styling for “Public School”. I’d really like to capture him every season. I can also name Simone Marchetti. He wears a lot of prints. As for women: I love Tina Leung, and the way she dressed has become a lot more casual. There were always three or four women that I always wanted or take pictures of because l loved their outfits, like Mira Duma, Anya Ziourova and Sarah Harris. Which is your favourite fashion week capital? I think there is a difference. For women’s I have to say Paris, everything big always happens in Paris when it comes to the outfits, they’re always cool, the people that go there. As for Men’s, I’d say London. I’ve never been to New York for fashion week. That’s something I’m going to be doing in February for the new men’s fashion week that "The Council of Fashion Designers of America" is doing. What’s next? I’d like to secure a client with whom I will work for every season. Also, I look forward to going to New York Fashion week.
Words: Sam Skinner Image: Arvi Domee
Winning at the national game English football continually falls at the early hurdles. How can we improve?
After lacklustre performances during World Cup ’98 and Euro ‘00, the German FA embarked on a huge scheme to promote young domestic talent, investing in regional centres to provide individual and technical coaching for 13 to 17 year olds across the country.
Last year, England’s abysmal FIFA World Cup campaign led to a group stage exit, and England’s worst World Cup performance since 1958. It appears we are, to quote Jose Mourinho’s term once used to describe Arsene Wenger, ‘specialists in failure”. We have exported the most popular sports in history across the world, and yet remain perennial underachievers in them all. Not just that, we appear to be getting worse. Why are we moving backwards?
They also made it compulsory for the top 18 teams in the country to build youth academies, before extending this to every team in Germany’s top two divisions. Academies are given funding based on performance, which can be particularly beneficial to smaller clubs.
** In terms of figures, whilst English football boasts an impressive number of clubs both professional and amateur for aspiring youngsters to ply their trade, we see a drastic decrease in the number of English players as we climb into the Premier League. During its inaugural season, 69% of players on the starting line ups of Premier League clubs were English. This is down to 33% this season, the lowest amount of home-grown players of all Europe’s leading leagues. There is also a shocking lack of qualified English coaches with only 3,000 across the country as opposed to up to 20,000 in Germany, Italy and Spain. FA CEO Martin Glenn has recognised this, stating that to succeed “Quite simply England needs more football pitches and we need more and better coaches”. Clearly the league is reliant on big name foreign stars to garner interest. However, as Premier League clubs spend increasingly large fees on foreign players, as well as bowing to their exorbitant wage demands, youth development is continually stifled, and foreign clubs’ finances are strengthened. Whilst not always the managers’ fault, the domestic environment now necessitates a lack of investment and promotes a mind-set of short term thinking. So what can be done to remedy this? Thankfully, the seeds have already been planted with the opening of St George’s Park National Football Centre on October 9th, 2012, finally providing the national team with a stand-alone centre for football, like most of Europe. ** The £105m complex will allow England to implement a comprehensive, coherent footballing philosophy, with a renewed emphasis on the popular European sport of Futsal, a small-scale variation of football played on indoor pitches with
The FA’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) was introduced in 2011 and has effectively replicated many aspects of the German approach, which is a promising development, although we need to go further and faster.
five players a side. These factors necessitate a more technical style of play. Pele, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo credit Futsal with turning them into the players they are today. The FA states: “In some quarters it is still believed that The Football Association coach education pathway champions a direct method of play, based on a long-ball approach. This is not the case”. They add in their 2010 Technical Guide ‘The Future Game” that with the ball players should “refrain from kicking the ball hopefully from one end of the pitch to the other”, and instead build play. This renewed emphasis on technicality is encouraging, and from a more practical standpoint, the FA has added Futsal to its official guide for youth development. This will all be for nothing if the status quo continues elsewhere. An overabundance of committee members at the FA means that at meetings where important decisions regarding the national game are made, votes are held in rooms consisting of up to 70 committee members, some of who have no experience of professional football. There is an absence of ex-players and managers in senior political positions in English football. Recent FA restructures leave cause for optimism, with the acknowledgement that the organisation is relatively large compared to similar national federations, with significant downsizing planned.
Filling the FA board with people who possess extensive first hand knowledge of the professional game would allow them to make more informed decisions for the betterment of the national team. But this would require FIFA to change its rules. A compromise can be had in an overhaul of the FA’s internal structure so that any votes with regards to the national team are held by a board with professional footballing experience. Financial Fair Play is a step forward but the increased investment in youth development that it was hoped to bring remains geared towards smaller clubs as bigger clubs use increased sponsorship deals and player loan schemes to continue their unfettered spending habits. After a massive three-year domestic deal with Sky/BT Sport for TV rights, rumoured to rise to over £8 billion once international rights are included, the EPL must increase its current 15% share of revenue for development of football outside of the League. Until income disparity is addressed this reliance on big money foreign talent will continue. ** The Welsh national side is currently experiencing a resurgence having qualified for Euro 2016, despite a line-up consisting of numerous Championship players and a non first team goalkeeper. This is a testament to the idea that if Roy Hodgson cannot find the English talent he needs in the Premier League, he should look towards the Championship.
We need to reconcile the success and power of the League with the national team. Private ownership in the EPL gives us the means to attract the cream of foreign talent, but has also led to a distancing of the fortunes of the league and the national team, unlike in other countries. The 50% plus one rule in the Bundesliga requires clubs to hold a majority of their own voting rights, giving effective control. Whilst it is unrealistic to expect similar ownership reform at this stage, stipulating youth development as an integral part of every clubs culture at all levels can and must be introduced. We cannot forget to mention the influence of the media, for the English press can be a rare beast when it comes to their national team. We see undue pressure heaped upon our youngsters when they show merely a flicker of talent. One need only look at young talents such as Tom Cleverly, quickly labelled the next Paul Scholes, then savaged for his perceived drop in form. In 2013, FA Chairman Greg Dyke set a target for England of reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020, and winning the World Cup in 2022. Laughably idealistic? Not if we push through comprehensive, radical reform at every level from the boardroom to the playground. We can challenge the consensus that England is unable of being a serious trophy challenger, but it will require bravery, creativity, and pragmatism. there’s one thing we can learn from the past, it’s that we have that in spades. 43
A free improv night in north London
Reports from two major shows
Shoot from the hip
The new Balmain Nation
Free entertainment, did you say? We’re all over that! With very high ticket prices for West End shows, and a minimum of £11.90 for a 3D viewing of a movie in a Cineworld in central London (that is with a student discount of course), entertainment in the capital is pricy for most students. Therefore, free entertainment is a real luxury. Angel comedy provides Londoners with free entertainment, every night. Mondays are improvisational comedy nights with the guys from Shoot From The Hip!: Luke Manning, Paul Raymond, Thomas Mayo, Sam Russell, and Josh Mills. I heard a girl in the queue say, “I come here all the time, they’re super funny and they’ve got something on every night, which is awesome.” So that was a convincing start. Once we got inside, there was already music playing and a line of people dancing and singing to it. When the show started, three comedians came on stage and introduced themselves. There was a lot of audience involvement throughout the night and they based most of their acts on our suggestions. None of their acts were scripted, so they really relied on what the audience had to say to perform. The first half was about 45 minutes long and one of their acts required books from the audience. The idea of the game was that the two comedians with the books are only allowed to say lines written in the books while the other can speak freely. They asked for a place and an audience member shouted out the answers, so this is where they started. One of the books they got was in Spanish, which made it more difficult but also even more amusing for the audience to watch. Another act they did involved yoga poses. They had to act out yoga poses in different genres, going from drama to 44
thriller. It started with change of genres to change of language. One of the guys would stop the scene and ask the audience to suggest a different language for them to continue in. Italian, Japanese, and ‘Somalian’ were some of the languages or accents that they had to speak in. That’s where the first half ended. “For those of you who have never been here before, the drunker you are, the funnier we are!” This was what Sam Russell said at the beginning of the intermission. A lot of the audience members went down to the pub to buy a pint or two and came back ready for the second half of the show. During the intermission, I got to talk to an audience member that was really enjoying the show. Sanjay told me “Yeah, this is our second time here. We came here a fortnight ago and we really enjoyed it.” The second half started with a gangster story, which took over most of the half. There were a lot of pasta jokes with the names of the different characters and they also added jokes about young 10-year-old boys who came to the States looking for jobs. They improvised their way through the story and it was absolutely brilliant! The evening ended with a guessing game. One of the comedians had to leave the room and come back being late for his job, while the other two worked out with the audience the reason why he was late, how he got to work, what his job was, and who he was. Words: Tania Beck Image: Tripp / flickr.com
When Swedish retail giant Hennes & Mauritz’s announced their next collaboration, there was no doubt that it would be a winner. Obviously, the reason would not be the quality of the label, but the marketing idea that the high-end brand would sell and promote to the high street clientele. H&M’s “elitist” journey has gone through Rei Kawakubo’s take on for Comme des Garçons back in 2008, Isabel Marant, (Maison) Martin Margiela before Galliano, and Alexander Wang, whose collection was sold out in a couple of hours. What we have witnessed so far proves that fashion sells the future. The moment when an iconic piece has been established, it could be easily sold for less, and what a brand potentially aims for is to focus on its future classics. This is what we see with Olivier Rousteing’s design decisions for this year’s collaboration with French brand Balmain. The collection includes pieces like the pearl embellished blazer, the tux-jackets, and double-breasted 50s Mad Men jackets with gold branded buttons. The fitted velvet blazer and low-cut V-neck sequinned dress combined with silk high-waist Harlem trousers was recently worn by Kendal Jenner. Key features of the collaboration are the feminine silhouette and sensual materials such as liquid velvet, satin, silk, and richness of the colours-bright red, emerald green and shiny gold. The detailing and embellishment on dresses and jackets recreate a baroque allure of the Balmain woman. Teaming up with the Kardashians, Kanye West and models like Jourdan Dunn helped the designer to re-position the fashion house to a new market level. Young people want to copy and have this lifestyle. Pop culture and social media have enabled us to get insights of
all of this and luxury has become synonymous to accessibility (not pricewise, unfortunately). His selfies, public appearances and most of all, party nature, attracted a million Instagram followers, a record for a fashion house. Yes, at the age of 26 Rousteing managed to glorify the modern age celebrity culture for 20-something year olds. A-listers favourite “king of Parisian luxury chic” has always been in the spotlight. Balmain’s creative director posed nude on the cover for French magazine Têtu. His dress-up-to-go-out method has created his image as a celebrity himself (Tom Ford’s image has been featured in numerous campaigns for Gucci and later on, for his own brand). Rousteing has followed these steps successfully, which had turned him into one of the most in demand couturiers in the world, since his appointment in Balmain in 2011. His initially anonymous take, especially regarding age and race, on the classic Balmain designs had prepared the ground for the explosion of hype around the brand. In a recent interview, Rousteing claimed, “luxury is something that’s evolving” and so is high fashion. To celebrate this accessible exclusivity mantra, Rousteing has created a limited edition fragrance, which would be available, worldwide from December 3, marking the approaching festive season. What he wants to show us with it is that “this is the new Balmain Nation”. After last week’s fashion show that took place in New York, we all saw that this is a complete collection that could be worn in different contexts and yet stay true to the DNA of the French house. The collection is available in stores worldwide, and at hm.com. Words: Desislava Todorova Image: Arvi Domee
An Italian favourite and a new burger chain
Vuitton Roughly 350 people make it to Louis Vuitton’s catwalk show each year. The brand’s presentation usually takes place on the last day of Paris Fashion Week and along with Chanel’s show it is considered the grande finale of the international fashion week’s Odyssey. However, in past years, digital technologies have made this experience accessible to many more people through the web. In 2010, McQueen was one of the first to live-stream his final show "Plato’s Atlantis", followed by Burberry (whose last fashion show took place in a transparent tent in Hyde Park.) Most recently, the British Fashion Council live-streamed all their presentations. It’s no wonder that even Tom Ford decided to avoid the buzz around his Spring/Summer 2016 show and instead, streamed Lady Gaga’s latest video. The creative director of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière has gone one step further. Series 3 represents, he says, his creative and innovative journey using 3D and holographic technologies to reveal the craftsmanship and the reinvention of the new ‘it girl.’ Going through the rooms of Series 3 is like a trip through space and time; an interactive blend between 3D projections of Louis Vuitton bags and the AW15 catwalk show. Starting from the architectural inspiration for the setting at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the exhibition takes you through the many faces of the new Louis Vuitton girls and the Savoir-Faire that the brand is famous for. Since the appointment of the new creative force behind the French house in 2013, the brand has gone through a transformation which has led to a new modernised vision and younger audience.
Series 3 is part of a sequence of travelling exhibitions, one of which previously took place in Tokyo. These “experimental and emotional journeys” through the principles of the collections reveal the designer’s inspiration and creative motivation. The exhibition starts with a futuristic tunnel that leads visitors to the heart of the digital projections that is retrospective of the house’s history and its founder’s studio in the outskirts of Paris. The next room is the “Infinite Show” where visitors can lay hands on interactive tables and the process of creation of La Petite Malle, the Dora, is livestreamed. Stepping into the next room reveals the secret behind these videos. Two artisans produce four or five bags a day, and explain that “it usually takes up to 30 hours for the completion of one bag from scratch with the participation of seven people in the process.” The intriguing part about the curation of the exhibition is the way history and technology blend and result in a multi-screen projection of the Paris fashion show, which could be viewed by an estimated number of 100,000 people, according to Ghesquière. Exclusivity in a digital era like ours is becoming less valuable. Making things accessible and transparent has become far more popular and has become a stronger marketing tool.
Dip & Flip
If you’re an Italian food fanatic like myself, then this place is for you. Vapiano (or Vaps) is an upmarket, fast, authentic Italian restaurant with food ranging from pizzas (the thin crust kind), pastas and calzones, to salads and deserts.
While we’re all used to seeing burger chains on the high street, there’s a new franchise in town trying something different – a selection of gravy-drenched meats in buns, their flagship on the menu being a Dip & Flip Burger.
There are only three in London: in Southwark, Great Portland Street and Soho. Vapiano’s definitely has the most unusual concept I’ve come across. You’re greeted by a staff member who hands you a card, which is swiped at the counter each time you order. This perfectly avoids the awkwardness of splitting the bill, as everybody gets their own card.
This tower-style creation features sliced roast beef or lamb with gravy on top of a burger with squeezy cheese, mustard, ketchup, cabbage and pickles in the now standard brioche bun. A tub of gravy for dipping is provided. Though they have craft beers in their marketing material, the list of non-alcoholic drinks, including milkshakes, were much more tempting.
There are counters for pizzas/calzones, salads and pasta, as well as a bar area that serves dessert; which avoids long queues. The food can be tailor made; it’s all about personalised tastes – essentially, bespoke pizzas and pastas, without the price tag. Everything is made right in front of you, allowing you to customise your dish to your particular taste. You choose what you want and how much so there are no nasty surprises. If you want to add or remove something, just ask. With the pizzas, you’re given a buzzer to let you know when it comes out of the oven. As well as traditional Italian dishes, Vapiano also has international dishes. I had the special, a mind-blowingly cheap Salsicca Con Fichi – spicy Italian sausage, onions, fresh figs, and tomato sauce served with penne pasta and loads of cheese.
We tried the outlet in Wimbledon, and once the burgers were served on quirky metal trays, the gravy-fest begun. Considering their advertising, they served up a pretty humble amount. It was good in terms of leaving room for a milkshake, not so good considering the price of the meal. A generous amount of kitchen towel was also available, but boy were we lucky to not be dressed up on this occasion. Though a sloppy meal was expected and welcomed, the taste experience was far from spectacular. When every part of your sandwich is soft and slippery apart from the patty and the bread, it is apt to melt out of your hands when you try to dip it in gravy. You sort of have to throw it into your mouth to avoid ending up licking your burger off the tray.
The exhibition was open to the British public until the 18th October and will open early November in Singapore.
At the end of your meal, you go to the front of the restaurant, simply hand over your card to the front desk, and they will tell you your bill. A bonus is that the Southwark branch offers 10 per cent student discount. Plus free gummy bears as you leave.
Once safely inside your mouth, all the flavours and what could have been textures are already mixed up and ready to go. I would happily have given Flip & Dip a second chance, but until they offer an option of replacing their tasteless cheese for a nice crumbly Stilton, Honest will remain my favourite gourmet burger place.
Words: Desislava Todorova
Words: Marie-Lois Syrimis
Words: Klara Eldstal Damlin
Image: Ines hegadus Garcia / flickr.com
Image: Hilma Sassa
Image: Chris Pople / flickr.com
Stepping out of Series 3 made me feel as though I was an insider in the world of Louis Vuitton.
Two major art shows and a new food museum
Ai Weiwei Ai Weiwei is China’s most influential and contentious artist whose political dissidence with his creative expression has brought about a celebrity status. His works are saturated with challenging themes that reflect over 20 years of his life. His artwork is a spectrum of sculptures, films, photographs and dioramas, imbued with revolutionary spirit through which he portrays his inner activist, thoughts on human rights and freedom of speech. On entering, the sound of groans of amusement and intrigue surrounding the art work speaks for itself, as people gather around one of Ai’s least innocuous constructions called Bed (2004). Like most of his works, Bed is constructed from traditional methods of craftsmanship involving a mass of timbers made from dark, rich ironwood, creating the shape of an unfurled carpet, whose rigid edges actually trace the borders of China, perhaps a hidden depiction of China’s jagged past. Many of Ai’s pieces especially from the Furniture series are made from ironwood derived from dismantled temples of Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The use of traditional material and cultural meaning are an integral part of his art suggesting a sense of Chinese identity. The next gallery is a continuation of the Furniture series that reflects Ai’s interest in Chinese history and its culture. At first glance, the objects bring about a sense of disturbance and confusion yet there’s a style of elegance in the way they are fashioned. It’s almost like watching a Chinese circus with acrobatic furniture attempting a somersault. You see conjoined tables with a pair of legs at a right angle against the walls. A Table with Two Legs on the Wall (1997) and Table with Three Legs (2011), could both be calling out China’s inability to be a balanced nation due to government suppression. Hanging Man 46
British Museum of Food (1985), is a metal coat hanger contorted into a profile of Marcel Duchamp, who inspired Ai’s fondness for redefining ordinary objects. The artist’s indelible sculpture known as Straight (2008) is a memorial dedicated to the children who died in the Sichuan Earthquake. It is formed of 200 tonnes of hand straightened rebar that the artist inconspicuously reclaimed against the government’s wishes from the schools that were destroyed. One cannot help but feel a pang of emotion when walking through a room filled with footage of wailing children from Ai’s film, Little Girl’s Cheeks, portraying the tragedy. Throughout the provocative exhibition, materials significant to the Chinese traditions such as jade, porcelain, wood and marble are ubiquitous. Sculptures such as He Xie (2011), which is a sea of porcelain crabs are unique and aesthetically pleasing. The green and red crabs clambering over one another symbolise his demolished studio in Shanghai. There are sexual toys made from jade on showcase, marble lawns, Cao (2014), and dioramas speaking a story that has been silenced by the government, reflecting Ai’s 81-day 2011 imprisonment. After seeing so much injustice and emotion, it is a relief to come across the Duchampian Bicycle Chandelier (2015) at the end, signifying China’s modernisation; this is a beautifully constructed phenomenon with illuminating crystals hanging from the rims of the wheels. Ai Weiwei’s visionary art is made of creative expression fused with humanisation. It advocates freedom of speech and human values. Ai Weiwei is at the Royal Academy of Arts until December 13, 2015. Words: Maya Ladwa Images: Zoer / flickr.com
Tucked away in an inconspicuous corner of Borough market; in the shadow of the ominous Southwark Cathedral, Bompas & Parr’s latest project, the British Museum of Food, has opened its doors. The chaps who sent coffee into space, created the fastest cheese trolley in existence, and filled a room with an alcoholic mist that inebriates guests by way of their eyeballs call their new venture the first museum of its kind – beating New York’s Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) to the punch by a week. The exhibition itself is interesting enough: four small, interactive exhibits that at first may strike one as ‘a bit of fun,’ as opposed to genuinely ground breaking. But there is a lot more to this small, slightly disjointed cluster of installations than meets the eye. “Most museums now,” says Sam Bompas, “are ossuaries for old stuff that people ascribe value to, and I think that is a very old-fashioned way of looking at them.” The British Museum of Food is more of an indoor theme park than a conventional museum. The first room features Be the Bolus, an exhibit that takes the viewer on a multi-sensational journey through the gut. At first glance it seems like a poor man’s version of a simulator machine; the sort that are found in science museums where you board a futuristic looking box on stilts and are taken on a journey through space. Instead of an odyssey through the outer reaches of the galaxy, however, the viewer is taken on a trip through the gastro-intestinal tract while being aggressively rubbed up and down in a Kubrick-esque massage chair. After being pummelled into a purgatory between euphoria and physical pain, the guests move on to the second room. Here they are faced with four curtained chambers, each containing a bowl of
chocolate and a speaker. Sounds are played – a different one in each – and the chocolate must be eaten and rated on how bitter or sweet, creamy or chalky they are. Entitled Choco-Phonica, the installation explores the effect of sound on taste, and is part of a research study on synaesthesia conducted by academics from Oxford University. Up the staircase, past walls lined with various food themed photographs and paintings, and after a slight detour through the British Menu Archive, is The Butterfly Effect, which is by far the most impressive part of the Museum. Through a heavy wooden door is a humid butterfly room. A celebration of nature’s unknown pollinators, this exhibit takes more of an activist stance. Butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators in the world – behind bees – and the installation makes a case for their preservation. For now, there remains a lot to be done. Perhaps this is the entrée as opposed to the main course, but even in its current state the British Museum of Food is thoroughly enjoyable. “I think that the museums that will be successful in the future will become a lot more engaging,” says Bompas, “a sort of laboratory for human interaction, experimentation, or conviviality, just like food.” While it is evident that The British Museum of Food is still in its development stages, there is one important point that it raises: museums do not have to remain hallowed places. An exhibition does not have to be a monologue, delivered by the divine artist to their mortal audience, we do not have to be preached to by painters on pedestals, or feel stupid because we don’t “get it.” Words: Luke Barber Image: Hilma Sassa
Escher As my bus bumped through the drab prefabricated houses of suburban East Dulwich, a stark contrast between perception of M.C. Escher in the art world and my lacklustre surroundings came to mind. Why was such an artist as influential being displayed so far away from central London? Why does one have to venture so far to enjoy his work? This exhibition, some 40 years after his death, is the first time a major collection of his artwork has ever been displayed in the UK. Escher was never really embraced by the critics of his time: not quite a surrealist, he did his own thing, ‘operating quietly at the fringes of the art world’ and was subsequently subjugated because of it. This is apparently, and unfairly, as true today as it was in his prime and although Dulwich Picture Gallery is an historic location – the world’s first custom built public art gallery – I feel a more central location was deserving for such an icon of illusion. The exhibition itself however, is excellent, regardless. Following a successful run at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the display documents a chronology of Escher’s life in a meticulous detail matched only by the work of the man himself. From his affluent upbringing in Amsterdam right through to his death, the selection of graphics and unseen archive material details not only his art itself, but a biography of the journeys he took and the influences on his composition along the way. There are pencil drawings of cats and classmates from art school; lithographic Italian landscapes of his formative years; sketches of Islamic tiles that laid down the foundation of his interest in tessellating patterns, leading to his seminal style ‘the regular division of the plane’. One proceeds on a journey with Escher,
steering through the mathematical geometry of his later work, perfectly accompanied with letters penned by an array of fans from professors to rockstars; the exhibition is truly sensory, traversing through the adaptation and evolution of his style and technique. There seems to be an emphasis on Escher’s mind throughout, and his is one that rearranges reality: his irregular perspective hypnotises the viewer – it is easy to get lost in the scrupulous, painstaking lines and dots, the impossibility of start and finish, warped into one image. There are classic, acclaimed works of the Dutch artist on display: Relativity and Drawing Hands of course. But lesser known, yet important, pieces like the four metre long Metamorphosis II are a focal point of the gallery. My choice for the most interesting part of the exhibition has to go to the studies, archive material and tools used by the man – they give you a real sense of just how assiduous and exacting he really was. The craftsmanship of his work alone is second to none; the maths and artistry is sheer splendour. If the purpose of art is to make one stop, stare, examine and wonder then he fulfils that purpose like no other. It’s a shame that it has taken so long for his genius to get the platform it deserves in the UK, and despite being shy of fame, I think he’d be grateful it now has. Escher once said that ‘he who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder’ and the presentation of his life here is unparalleled in leaving one wondering, staring, and questioning one’s perception of reality. Highly recommended. The Amazing World of M. C. Escher runs until 17th January 2016. Words: Elliott Haworth Image: The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands
A private showing of Adrian Boswell’s newest collection, was held at the Brick Lane Gallery, and consisted of two floors worth of art. The top floor, the immediate facade of paints and collages you see, showcased Adrian’s new collection, whereas downstairs featured an array of his past work. There are clear inspirations from the dark and twisted paintings created by Hieronymous Bosch and Salvador Dali. Boswell is a pleasant eccentric, which anyone who has seen his art prior to meeting him would probably expect. He welcomed me with a glass of prosecco, and was more than happy to answer some questions: “But make sure you grab me before I’m pissed,” he added. This was his element, and we were in it. The gallery was filled with a mixture of people, young and old. As I tried my hardest to fit in with the arty types, I managed to understand what it was all about. Boswell clearly has no boundaries. A recurring theme flows throughout. This is his dream, his fantasy world, his acid trip, and we are just outsiders seeking a glimpse into this psychedelic surrealism. “I was hugely inspired by the humour of Terry Gilliam growing up, which adds to the Pop Artiness,” Adrian tells me. It was clear to see references from Andy Warhol – the Pop-Art vibe screamed through the art’s intense, vibrant colours. Metallic pinks clashed with flashy lime greens. A refreshing take on classic meets contemporary art, with a comical and edgy side to it. A side you shouldn’t take too seriously. Adding to the impermanence of the art, Adrian included popular culture. It was comical to see a body-less David Bowie morphed into a chicken, (which was surprisingly not one of Bowie’s costumes). Throughout all of the comedic values within the art, an underlying political
message comes to a head through the use of Adolf Hitler, who seemed to have made his way into a couple of the pieces. As I said previously, Adrian Boswell has no boundaries; Hitler without doubt played a part in popular culture, but for an unpopular reason – so what, I wondered, made him become a part of Boswell’s exhibition? Adrian has a bittersweet empathy for Hitler. “It’s a sad part of Hitler’s life, and also a sad part for everyone. If Hitler had been accepted as an artist, which was his original intention, before he went on this crusade of hatred and focusing his energy on destruction. He knew he was going to be good at something, and sadly in the end it became mass murder.” Surrealism takes the lead in works like the Summer of ’39, where Hitler is holding a paintbrush. Adrian pays homage through the succession of his own art, to a man who was never known for his art. A controversial statement, with an interesting interpretation on one of the most sadistic men of the last 100 years. Singing fish, a £1,600 circular-framed painting was the standout piece for me. Maybe it was my love for over emphasized colours, or maybe just because I enjoy splatter painting my jeans, something about this piece had captured my imagination. With a collection of many twists, turns, flips and spins, Adrian shows his versatility at creating art built around controversy and fantasy. Being induced into a psychedelic dream rewards you, whether you like it or not. This is Art. This is imagination. This is Adrian’s take on the world we live in. If London took acid, I’m pretty sure it would look like Adrian Boswell’s art. Words and image: Thomas Hibbitts
SEEN ON CAMPUS
Friendliness, creativity and the price of a pint Students from around London take time to answer our questions
We asked each of our subjects what they'd like to change in the world Clockwise from top: Anton The price of a pint in the pub, make it cheaper Eva if i could change anything... urmm, not having a cold haha Stefan I’d change education so there was more of a focus on the creative industries, and less emphasis on science, maths, things like that. Michelle I’d give everyone the experience of travel from a young age Joel I’d change London so people were nicer, I’ve been up north and everyone’s really nice up there
Words: Elliot Haworth Images: Stephen Thomas Smith
Words: Katrina Mirpuri, Caitlin Mayhew, Max Gayler, Georgia Ivey Images: Kmeron / flickr.com
Alternatives to Mercury
The annual music awards are too conservative. Here are some worthier nominees
songs like T-Shirt Weather give off that carefree summer sound that reminds us of British festivals, beer and sun.
The Mercury Awards have been something of a national treasure since 1992. The original purpose of the awards was to find artists that change the way the listener thinks about music; to be creative, and out of the ordinary. However, it seems as though we have lost sight of these criteria, and nominees are now so established that there isn’t much room for new talent. Surely we should be savouring nominations for artists that are on the music radar, but not enough to be headlining Glastonbury? We aren’t questioning the talent of the nominees, but are concerned that it is taking away the opportunity from the smaller artists more deserving of £20,000 to help kick off their careers. Artefact’s music writers have compiled their own alternative Mercury shortlist of newer UK and Irish artists that have to chance to reach a wider audience. Lianne La Havas – Blood. Released July 31st, 2015 – Warner Bros. London based singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas’s second album, Blood, was the soundtrack to the summer of 2015. The opening track, Unstoppable draws on her R&B roots, showcasing her soulful vocals. Moving through the record we can hear the true extent of her range with relaxed vibes on tracks including Green & Gold and Wonderful. Sleaford Mods - Key Markets. Released July 24th, 2015 - Harbinger Sound. It took me a while to really “get” Sleaford Mods, but after hearing No One’s Bothered’ the pair’s most recent release was next on my hit list. These blokes from Nottingham have perfected angry poetry fit for anyone who is pissed off at the state of things. Drenge - Undertow. Released April 6th, 2015 – Infectious Records. Teenage angst at its best, Undertow, released in April this year, shows that Drenge haven’t grown up too much, despite being two years older since their last record. They’re facing more problems, as does anyone, and shit is getting real. Running Wild is the song we can all relate to. It tells us we all want to get away from responsibility for a while, and isn’t it unfair that we can’t. The album focuses heavily on raging guitars that mill about for a while, before reaching a climax when we’re reassured that actually, We Can Do What We Want. The Xcerts - There Is Only You. Released November 3rd, 2014 Raygun Music. There Is Only You is
a pop-rock masterpiece in all its forms that brings The Xcerts’s previous work out of the shadows, showing a new maturity to the band that people had craved since their debut in 2009. Inspired by the collapse of a long-lasting relationship, this heartbreak is expressed without reservation. This album breathes slowly and punches hard and there’s no denying the band have fought through more than most to get where they are today. The Staves - If I Was. Released March 23rd, 2015 - Atlantic Records. After a number of EPs and their successful debut Dead & Born & Grown, The Staves have created a record that sounds more like it’s from Nashville than Hertfordshire. There are blues roots sewn into the core of songs like Black And White and Teeth White while producer Justin Vernon brings the album to an accessible level, broadcasting the impact and talent of the band. It’s fun, it’s relaxed and something completely necessary from the Staveley-Taylor sisters. Gengahr - A Dream Outside Now. Released June 15th, 2015 - Transgressive Records. Emerging in the beginning of 2014 Gengahr have not wasted any time accumulating a huge fan-base and firing out singles, EPs and now their debut album A Dream Outside Now. To the first-time listener Gengahr may sound like just any other soft-rock band trying to sound psychedelic, but this is something much deeper. There are elements of the angst you’d get from this style, but undulating within this is a craft expertly executed. A Dream Outside Now stands its ground as a piece
of thought-out musicality and deserves recognition as a standout album of 2015. Rhodes - Wishes. Released September 18th, 2015 – Rhodes Music. Going by just his last name, the mysterious 25 year-old singer Rhodes has recently released his debut Wishes after the last success with his EP, The Morning. Having recently admitted he only started singing two years ago, this album shows no sign of being an amateur, but instead confident husky vocals from a born singer. With every song on the album sounding like a hit single, Rhodes hypnotises with his power ballad-like choruses that often sound like they belong on a movie soundtrack. Public Service Broadcasting – The Race for Space. Released February 23rd, 2015 – Test Card Recordings. Combining sporadic guitars, electronic beats, funk and radio clippings is something Public Service broadcasting do with ease. This record does justice to all things space-themed, with songs named Sputnik and Fire in the Cockpit. The album works chronologically, telling a musical story of historical events during the time of the American and Soviet space race. They manage to work a USSR radio broadcast into a funk track. Circa Waves – Young Chasers. Released March 30th, 2015 – Virgin EMI. Liverpool has a reputation of producing some of the finest British bands, and Circa Waves are no exception. They are the kind of indie-pop band that appeal to the new generation of indie kids as well as fans who danced along to bands like The Libertines ten years ago. Young Chasers is their debut album, and
Django Django – Born Under Saturn. Released May 05th, 2015 – Ribbon Music. After their debut album, Django Django parted ways with their original ‘country and eastern’ path and have redirected their sound towards all things fun and psychedelic. Feet stomping and shoulder shaking are thoroughly encouraged throughout their latest release Born Under Saturn. This is without doubt an album of enlightenment and self-discovery with pop beats retrieved from a land far away. An upbeat journey from start to finish, and with tracks such as Pause Repeat, the quartet have created feel-good vibes to satisfy today’s neo-psychedelic culture. Although Django Django push their experimentation to the limit, refined sounds and intelligible structure allows this album to be a work of art. Lucy Rose – Work It Out. Released July 6th, 2015 - Columbia. An album of storytelling and romanticism is exactly what you expect from Lucy Rose’s album Work It Out, and that’s exactly what you get. Emotion, escapism and delicate vocals remind us of the Lucy who produced Like I Used To, only this time we are presented with texturised sounds and flighty tempos. Lucy Rose’s self-established sound has not wavered from her folk roots, but it has blossomed into somewhat of more mature sound introducing an eighties keyboard and delightful synths. Our Eyes showcases Lucy’s new sound perfectly and is most definitely the album’s dance fix, whereas Like an Arrow reminds us of the elegant reminiscing that Lucy does so well. Krept & Konan – The Long Way Home. Released July 5th, 2015 – Virgin EMI. These South London Grime MCs have brought British values to an album that has been influences by the American rap scene. Considering that The Long Way Home is the duo’s debut album, a staggering list of rap artists are featured, which can only suggest that they aren’t wasting time in gaining international respect in the music industry. Tracks such as Because of You present struggles and hardships, making it evident that the lyrics and message to the listener are the main focus. Lyrics such as “From Uni to Universal, the fans saying please don’t go too commercial,” allow us to see that they know where they have come from, and they certainly know where they are going. 49
Words: Elliott Haworth Image: Matchfitskills / flickr.com
Universities need to share their wealth FE colleges need the money more
Make no mistake; when a university says it has a ‘surplus’ in its financial audits, what it really means is a ‘profit’. Charitable organisations can’t technically make a profit however; so surplus it is. A report entitled Higher, Further, Faster, More by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange claims that UK universities offering higher education (HE) currently sit on £12.3 billion of unrestricted reserves, money made, mostly, through the introduction of tuition fees in 2009/10. This is in contrast to further education (FE): apprenticeships, diplomas, and other, more vocational non-degree subjects, which are vastly underfunded to the point that a quarter of colleges in the FE network could effectively go bankrupt within a year. According to Policy Exchange the solution is to cut the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) funding of universities operating with a massive surplus and invest the savings into FE. Seems reasonable to me. I’m going to use my university, UAL, as an example of how this could work. At their last audit in 2014, total income, including HEFCE grants of just over £46 million, was £249 million. Their total expenditure was £223 million, meaning they are operating with a surplus of £26 million. That’s a lot of spare cash for a non-profit organisation. The target surplus set by HEFCE is 7% of total income - which would be £17 million at UAL - still a lot of money, but not quite as much as the 10.5% we actually have. Essentially we have £8.6 million more than is recommended. Our surplus is in surplus, and the spare cash that we, and other universities have could easily be knocked off our future HEFCE payments to bolster underfunded FE colleges while we continue to generate money and grow. It seems like an injustice that universities continue to take such a large chunk of educational funding when our country is in such dire need of engineers, construction workers, and more vocationally qualified students. The Royal Academy of Engineering forecasts that the UK economy requires 830,000 more engineers by 2020 - a figure we are currently some distance from fulfilling. Cameron and Osborne may talk about creating a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to drive economic growth, but if there’s no 50
one to build the powerhouse apart from overqualified arts students, it simply won’t get built. If we want HS2s and Garden Bridges, we’re going to need the three million new apprenticeships Cameron promised for this session of parliament. But if a quarter of the institutions offering the required courses and qualifications become insolvent, that’s another, easily avoidable, missed target that’s going to cost us. Invest now, reap the benefits later. Surprisingly for an arts student I actually agree that universities should charge high tuition fees and be operated like a business. Having money in grants and loans incentivises young people to make the decision to continue in education and ensures that universities have enough cash flow to provide quality education. The only issue with this structure is that there is no balance between higher and further education - there are ‘two funding agencies; two regulatory systems; two sets of audit and data requirements; and two different rules over loan and maintenance eligibility’. Presently if you’re an 18 year old school leaver, deciding what to do with your life, which route would you take? The clearly defined, time-tested passage of university with loans to cover upfront and living costs - or the underfunded alternative? It is unsurprising that university enrolment has increased so considerably in recent years.
The report from policy exchange also calls for FE to be treated equally to higher education, with student loans being extended to FE students aged 1924 years and maintenance support being introduced in the sector. At the same time our honours degrees hold so little merit that our government is rolling out loans for masters degrees, the UK labour market has a deficit of higher level and professional technical roles. Many universities already offer further and higher education but the former is vastly more underfunded than the latter. Both parties seem to enjoy the incessant tautology of needing to ‘balance the books’ in every area of political discourse; why not do the same for the people who will build the future of this country? Universities, quite clearly, won’t be happy about having to take a paycut. In fact Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union has said that raiding ‘cash from our world leading universities’ is not the best way to ‘deliver the skills this report and others identify as crucial for the future of our economy’. I would argue, as a person who has completed an electrical engineering apprenticeship and is also in the middle of a degree, that she is wrong. My university, and many others, have an excess of money unseen at colleges. My journalism degree is well funded - we have media spaces, newsrooms and the finances to publish a successful maga-
zine. There’s an endless supply of industry standard equipment and teaching at our disposal. Flashback to when I was 18, before I found my feet, when I was studying to qualify as an electrician at college. The course was financed privately by a union backed industry board. We used to have to share hand tools, classroom space, you name it - it was obvious there wasn’t enough money - yet these are the centres that are training the future of our country and ensuring we have the capability to develop the infrastructure we so desperately need without outsourcing from abroad. It’s often said that throwing money at a problem doesn’t make it a go away but in this case it almost certainly will. The suggestions put forward by Policy Exchange are little but common sense and should be enacted with haste. Freeing up £500 million for The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to invest will save an industry while ensuring universities maintain the ability to meet student demands, build capacity and retain the sector’s world-class, competitive edge. This isn’t Robin Hood; universities aren’t some sinister, wealthy mechanism to be robbed to help the poor - it’s about sharing: educational institutions should be one and the same, and for the sake of the future of our country and economy, those that can afford to help out, most definitely should.
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Artwork of the month: ‘Teleology: for the sake of which a thing is what it is’, Elliot Lowe. 2015. Courtesy of the Artist.
The Change Issue