*A* ISSUE #2
Alleyn’s Student Magazine Nigella Lawson’s alleged drug use: a “habitual cocaine addict?” PHOEBE FINN
The best way to combat rising energy prices: a head-to-head p3 discussion
LARA TRITTON & HANNAH MACONOCHIE
The sad truth about Putin’s homophobic new laws LARA TRITTON
A report on London Fashion Week JALEH BRAZELL
Film remakes: the verdict MICHAEL HAJIANTONIS
How a newly invented pill could mean the end of the
dreaded hangover, FRANCESCA FORRISTAL reports
Tuesday lunch 1:35 in C4
Fundraising and Fun
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There have been some fantastic articles in features this issue; some personal favourites include Francesca Forristal’s alcohol substitute piece and Jaleh Brazell’s article on London fashion week. We’ve had a reshuffle of page order to draw attention to our features section which has increased in size considerably since last issue, including a new science & literature section. Putting together this issue has been a tremendous amount of fun and I hope our readers have as much fun reading this issue as we had putting it together.
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ur first issue was put together over summer, a time where students were free of work, and writing a 750 word article didn’t seem like a big strain, a time when A levels were nothing more than a distant concern. The challenge was set, could we maintain the same standard magazine? Could it genuinely survive during term time, on top of the ridiculous strain of sixth form (not only has the workload increased, but choosing co-ordinating outfits takes up an absurd amount of time)? However, we seem to have done it – the quality of the articles are far superior to issue 1, Max Henderson’s layout has got even better (although some of us thought that wasn’t possible) and the structures we put in place have genuinely been successful. Phoebe Finn has stepped up incredibly well to the role of Co-Editor, and her smoother and more agreeable approach is working nicely – this issue wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of her and Max Henderson.
LETTERS FROM THE EDITORS
ell it’s been a long time coming, but our second issue is finally here, and it is definitely worth all the work that everyone has been putting into it. Taking a lead on the news side of things this time, I began thinking about the effect that the media has on people’s perceptions of world events, particularly in light of Mandela’s tragic death. While we may think we are writing about matters in a neutral way, it is very hard to gauge how these events may be seen in several decades’ time, particularly when we consider how drastically the perception of Mandela has changed. Due to the ANC’s military wing, Mandela was seen as a terrorist by many, and look how drastically that image has changed now. It is interesting to think about how revolutionaries, such as those in Ukraine at the moment, will be viewed after conflicts are resolved.
On a lighter note, it was fascinating to see how fast Nigella’s image changed from this drug-addled mess to a composed, witty woman who quipped that drug addicts ‘are a lot thinner’ than she is. Regardless of the effect of time on public opinion, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and editing all of the news pieces for this issue and I hope you all find them as interesting and informative as I did. I particularly enjoyed reading Walker Hill’s piece about the most recent developments in Syria, and Nick Jeyerajah’s piece on patriotism legislation in Russia, which compliments Lara Tritton’s article on Putin extremely well.
Phoebe Finn Find A* on
HEAD-TO-HEAD POLITICS » The price of energy
This term, the most debated economic policy has been regarding increasing energy prices and the best way to tackle them. While both main parties admit to the existance of a major, current issue that affects us all, they both suggest completely different methods for dealing with it. Our writers discuss:
Energy bills are rising at a rate that is over double inflation- 6.6% annually, and the subsequent squeeze on household expenses necessitates serious action. Ed Miliband has proposed a price freeze on energy bills for 20 months after the next electionshould he win, a controversial policy, provoking much ridicule from the conservatives, media and energy companies. They proclaim that a price freeze would result in blackouts and extensive job losses - but let’s look a little closer… Currently, although no longer in a recession, plateauing salaries combined with a rise in the cost of living are really making an impact, and energy prices are having a seriously detrimental effect on the less well off. Energy costs have snowballed out of proportion to inflation and other bills, not to mention salaries, increasing on average 30% in the last 3 years. To the family anxiously bringing out the jumpers and blankets, to the octogenarian widow sitting in the kitchen, counting down the days until December when she has allowed herself to turn the heating on, to the tired student struggling to pay the rent, which has also risen dramatically, let alone the energy bills, this is unacceptable. This is why Miliband’s approach is a breath of fresh air, the perspective of the ordinary consumer, not the one with a bread oven and a six figure Christmas bonus. The price rises are the result of a lack of competition between the ‘Big Six’ in Britain, that is EDF, British Gas, Npower, SSE, Scottish Power and E.ON. There seems to be an unspoken agreement that they will not lower prices in order to gain customers, as this could lead to unprofitable business, so
energy bills are maintained by all six at an unjustifiable level. Quite rightly, they have been accused of profiteering, and Ed Miliband’s price freeze would maintain current prices so that by the end of the 20 months inflation, wages would have ‘caught up’, thus the real prices would decrease. He would also break up the ‘Big Six’ and destroy their monopoly of the British energy industry - introducing a new regulatory body for energy prices, as the current oneOFGEM- is clearly not working effectively.
“Miliband’s approach is a breath of fresh air, the perspective of the ordinary consumer, not the one with a bread oven and a six figure Christmas bonus.” David Cameron on the other hand, has introduced a ‘green tax’ cut on energy bills, this does not serve the fundamental purpose of reducing the profiteering of the energy companies, as the victims of the green tax cuts will be the environment. By cutting this tax, the energy bills will not be significantly reduced, and we will be no further towards our goals of green energy- the green tax in fact is vital in producing research into long term sustainable energy. Those who should suffer should be those who have previously benefited: the energy companies and the Tories are doing nothing to address this underlying issue. Under Cameron’s model, energy companies can continue to raise their prices, they don’t suffer any effects regarding their profitability, and the long term green future of Britain’s energy is in danger. The energy price freeze is ultimately the better solution, affecting the Big Six and benefiting the hard-up population, helping those fighting to make ends meet. The Tories see an old person who should don a stiff upper lip and bow down to the whims of the domineering energy companies, Labour sees a cold and fragile pensioner, and they act.
turn the well-established energy market into an industry making losses. This move could bankrupt the investors, and make the energy market look like a toxic environment to invest in.
“Profit and capitalism need to be encouraged in order to create a thriving and HANNAH MACONOCHIE Energy bills have been consis- sustainable market, tently rising for the last decade, that should always be but this year, due the combination the Government’s first of the recession and its various priority” effects (unemployment, lack of a disposable income etc); many Britains have faced the prospect of having to turn off their heating this winter to pay for basic necessities. A pragmatic approach must be taken, one that helps not only the struggling family, but also the major businesses that support our economy. Profit and capitalism need to be encouraged in order to create a thriving and sustainable market, and if this can be done whilst still helping the poorest in our society, then that sound always be the Government’s first priority. The opposition’s grand plan, in response to the dramatic price hikes that were recently announced by the largest six energy companies (British Gas, Npower, SSE, Scottish Power, E.On and EDF) in the United Kingdom, is to freeze the price of fuels for 20 months - if they are elected into power in 2015. However, labour’s policy is merely a temporary solution, and Labour is trying to fix a serious problem with a basic approach that is easy to understand and popular with its supporters. He hopes to create a ‘fairer deal for people’, and his party has said that the policy should save £120 per household and £1800 per business on average. Unfortunately the ‘energy shortages’ that Angela Knight, of Energy UK, believes the policy could cause would only trigger even higher bills for its consumers. The energy companies could gladly put up energy prices before the price freeze, thereby not solving the problem at hand. In our current economy, the last thing we want to do is to
The Government’s scheme to cut the Green Tax would ensure on average £50 docked off your energy bill. This would be done by either entirely cutting the Energy Companies Obligation and the Carbon Price Floor, or by delaying its inaction by 18 months and to use cheaper methods of gaining energy efficiency. The Green Tax is currently adding an average £125 onto the already burgeoning energy bills, with the money going towards long term investments to alternative energy sources. However, the government has a duty to look after the current population first- during such economic hardship; a green tax is simply frivolous. The pinch of the tax is felt hardest by businesses, which can currently face an extra 15%-21% on their bill, this is expected to rise to 22%-26% by 2020. The big six have said that they are more than willing to pass on money saved by the scheme, and that its effect wold be felt almost immediately after the policy’s introduction in 2015. Criticisms to the policy have largely come from environmental groups, discussing the unsustainability of the proposal. What they neglect to take into account, is that this policy will only stay in place until poorer families can afford to pay for energy bills without it, aka, when the economic recovery is in full swing. We should support this economically viable policy, that doesn’t just delay the problem, but tackles it effectively, safe guarding the consumers’ interests whilst not threatening the energy markets or their investors.
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between Sunday newspapers, so when a rival of the NotW was believed to be onto a story about Calum Best, son of footballer George Best news editor, Ian Edmondson, voiced these concerns to the then editor Coulson. He received a succinct one line email back: ‘Do his phone’, potentially the most damning evidence for Coulson so far in the case.
Andy Coulson (left) and Rebekah Brooks (right)
News of the World trial reveals potentially damning evidence for Coulson The ‘News of the World’ is in the news again. Two years ago, in the wake of evidence that it hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, the paper was shut down and scandalous court proceedings were promised. In October, at the Old Bailey, two of the paper’s former editors and their associates went on trial.
“Coulson had received a succinct one line email from Ian Edmundson, editor: ‘Do his phone’, potentially the most damning evidence for Coulson so far in the case.” The most high profile defendants are Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the paper, and her successor in the job, Andy Coulson. Coulson went on to become director of communications for David Cameron. Both are accused of conspiracy to intercept voicemails, which they deny. Early on in the trial the court heard a somewhat sensational
disclosure that the relationship between Brooks and Coulson had been more than simply professional. They had been involved in a long lasting love affair from 1998 to 2004. The importance of this evidence was made clear by the Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC. ‘What Mr Coulson knew, Mrs Brooks knew too. What Mrs Brooks knew, Mr Coulson knew too,” he said. When people are charged with conspiracy, as Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson were, the first question a jury has to answer is how well they know each other and how much they trust each other, said Mr Edis. His answer to this question was provided by their affair. ‘The fact is you are my very best friend,’ she had written to Coulson, in a letter found on her computer. ‘I love you.’ Their affair spanned a period of six years during which Brooks edited the Sunday ‘News of the World’ (NotW) and then the daily ‘Sun’, and Coulson succeeded her as editor at the News of the World. Having been her deputy, the intense relationship at the top of the NotW continued even after they stopped working on the same publication. The court heard about rivalry
The trial has also brought to light evidence on perhaps the most sensitive of the stories called into question, regarding the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. It has already been established that the private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire hacked her phone, and has since pleaded guilty to this hacking in a previous trial. Now the court heard suggestions from
and thus must both have been aware that hacking had taken place. Holidaymakers who had been around the pool with Brooks in Dubai recalled that she walked away while on the phone, saying she had to talk about a ‘missing Surrey schoolgirl’. More recent developments have seen Ian Edmondson, former news editor, being ruled as no longer fit to be part of the trial due to his health, so will be tried by a different jury at a later date. And, evidence to suggest that Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman (the former royal correspondent for the News of the World), paid police officers for the Green Book, the royal household phone directory has been discovered. The trial continues.
Paul Flowers, former Co-op Bank chairman the prosecution that editors Brooks and Coulson were aware of this hacking. Between the first and second editions of the paper, a voicemail transcript from Milly Dowler’s phone was removed from the paper. Brooks, in Dubai at the time is alleged to have been in close contact with Coulson via text between those two editions, the suggestion being that they agreed to remove the transcript,
Paul Flowers – ‘The Crystal Methodist’ You may not recognise the name Paul Flowers, the former chairman of the Co-op Bank, but his tabloid alter ego ‘The Crystal Methodist’ certainly raised a few eyebrows. Reverend Paul Flowers has been a Methodist minister for 40 years, and is also heavily involved with
5 to 68 in 2030 and 69 in the late 2040s. This was twinned with a rise in the sum of money paid each month; an extra £11.80 will be in citizen’s pockets by April 2014.
“The whole country will have seen today that for all your boasts and utterly breath-taking complacency, you are in complete denial.” - Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
George Osborne and Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) the Labour party, having been a councillor in Bradford and serving 10 years on the city council there, before being appointed to the party’s industry and finance advisory board by Ed Miliband. In 2009 he was made non-executive chairman of the Co-operative Bank, earning a salary of £132,000 per annum. In early November 2013, Flowers was interviewed by the Treasury Select Committee, showing an alarming lack of knowledge about the bank. When asked what the total assets of the Co-op bank were, he stated 3 billion. The total figure was 47 billion.
“In light of allegations of buying drugs, Flowers has been suspended from the Labour Party, suspended from the Methodist Church, and resigned from his job at the Co-op.” It was the 16th of November when the Mail broke the story that Flowers had been covertly filmed buying drugs in his car. He paid £300 for the Class A drug, cocaine, as well as inquiring about Class C drug Ketamine. It would appear that the video was taken by a friend of Flowers. Although the allegations in themselves are no doubt surprising and extraordinary, the right wing media has kicked up a fuss due to the relationship between the Co-op and the Labour Party. The bank funds 30 Labour MPs, including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Of course, Labour has suffered an acute embarrassment with its involvement with Reverend Flowers, although efforts from the right to draw links
with the Union arguments and the Flowers affair are likely to be unfounded. David Cameron did his best to needle the Labour party in Parliament, wondering, in answer to a question about the economy, whether Michael Meacher MP had been on a ‘night out on the town with Reverend Flowers’, and that ‘the mind altering substances have taken effect’. This, according to Mr Cameron, was ‘light hearted banter’.
Osborne stated that ‘Britain is currently growing faster than any other major advanced economy… Britain’s economic plan is working, but the job isn’t done’. Upbeat words from the Chancellor that unfortunately were not mirrored by the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls who criticised Osborne saying, ‘The whole country will have seen today that for all your boasts and utterly breath-taking complacency, you are in complete denial.’ Borrowing is one area where the Chancellor has failed to deliver on
Verizon to hand over all call data, in an effort to watch over the citizens of America. It went on to reveal that GCHQ, Government Communications Headquarters which is based in Cheltenham, had spied on world leaders at the G20 summit. More information flowed out of the files, which were leaked to the Guardian by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, a US citizen who had been working for the NSA. Also exposed was: the NSA’s collection of US email records under Obama, their bugging of European allies, XKeyscore – a tool used by the NSA collecting vast amounts of data about web users and the £100m funding from NSA to GCHQ. Perhaps most unbelievably was the Prism program which allowed the NSA to tap into the data of various servers of firms such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and YouTube. All of the above was unknown to the general public and clearly violated multiple privacy
It should be noted that in the light of these allegations, Flowers has since been suspended from the Labour Party, suspended from the Methodist Church, and resigned from his job at the Co-op.
Is Osborne ‘in complete denial’ over economic recovery? In an effort to reassure the public on the state of the economy, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement to a packed House of Commons. He made some key changes to areas such as pensions and cuts, and announced growth figures. The growth forecast increased from 0.6% to 1.4% with the forecast for next year was revised, from 1.8% to 2.4%. Departmental budgets will be cut by £1 billion next year and in the following year, in an effort to beat the huge UK deficit. The state pension was an area especially paid attention too by the Chancellor, with the age necessary to receive the monthly sum rising
Alan Rusbridger his promises. Originally he pencilled in borrowing of £60bn for this year, in fact the UK is currently borrowing £111bn. This means that overall, an extra £51bn will have to be paid back, more than Osborne originally anticipated.
Only 1% of leaked NSA files have been released ￼
The editor of the Guardian has disclosed that only 1% of files leaked by Edward Snowden have been published by that paper. In June 2013 the newspaper broke the news of a court order, filed by the National Security Agency (USA), asking the large telecommunications company
laws. In mid-October the Prime Minister David Cameron criticised the Guardian for publishing the Snowden data, stating that ‘what has happened has damaged national security’. He argued that the files could be used to target the British public and military personnel. The Guardian was asked to destroy all files, and did so, but admitted that copies of everything had been made. Today Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian conceded that only 1% of the 58,000 documents received had been published, and that the rest would continue to be published gradually.
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Nigella Lawson’s alleged drug use At the trial of Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, the former assistants to Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, who are being prosecuted for fraudulently spending £685,000, Lawson has been accused of being a habitual cocaine addict. Lawson has since revealed that she had taken cocaine on six occasions with her late husband, John Diamond, after he found out he was suffering from terminal cancer. She went on to say that she had since taken cocaine in July 2010 when she was offered it by a friend. “I was having a very, very difficult time; I felt subjugated to intimate terrorism by Mr Saatchi,” said Lawson. When asked about her use of cannabis she said that she ashamedly “smoked the odd joint” as “it made an intolerable situation tolerable,” but that “it is a false friend and it is not a good idea.” However she dismissed the idea that she had been a daily user of cocaine throughout her 10-year marriage with Saatchi as “absolutely ridiculous.” Lawson also spoke about the
infamous incident last summer when Saatchi was photographed in a restaurant with his hand around her throat. He claimed that she had been taking cocaine, but she revealed that this was in fact untrue and he had grabbed her after she remarked that she was looking forward to being a grandmother. In response to this comment, he grabbed her and allegedly said “I am the only person you should be concerned with. I am the only person who should be giving you pleasure.” Lawson explained that the allegations of her repeated drug abuse were further examples of the “intimate terrorism” that she has suffered.
Slave owners part of a far-left political group It has come to light that the couple who held three women as domestic slaves in their home in Lambeth for 30 years had led a cult-like political group. This group worshipped the Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong and were convinced that south London would soon be liberated by China’s Red Army. Aravindan Balakrishnan, 73, and
“Lawson explained that allegations of her repeated drug use were further examples of the “intimate terrorism” that she has suffered.”
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Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity his wife Chanda, 67, were keeping a 69-year-old Malaysian national, a 57-year-old Irishwoman and a 30-year-old Briton, called Rosie, enslaved until they were recently freed following a call to a charity.
“In London we have investigated cases where people have been held in servitude or forced labour for up to 10 years, but 30 years is quite extraordinary and not something we have seen before.” - Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland One of the women called Freedom Charity after seeing a documentary in which its founder, Aneeta Prem, spoke about forced marriage. The charity contacted the police and following a week of tense negotiations and secret phone calls the three women were able to leave the house on 25th October where they were met by officers. Prem said: “‘when we got the message they were outside the front door, the whole call centre erupted in cheers and there were tears, and everyone was incredibly emotional to know we had helped to rescue three ladies who had been held in such
horrific conditions.” Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, head of the Met’s human trafficking unit, said “In London we have investigated cases where people have been held in servitude or forced labour for up to 10 years, but 30 years is quite extraordinary and not something we have seen before.” After they were taken into specialist care, the women have been slowly coaxed into talking about their lives for the past three decades. Aishar Wahab, the Malaysian captive, who had disappeared in the early 1970’s after joining a commune has recently been reunited with her sister. The Telegraph found her older sister, Kamar Mahtum, 73, and flew her to London. “It was a very emotional day, very revealing,” said Mrs Mahtum after a meeting that left both sisters in tears. The couple who had held the women captive had been part of a tiny MarxistLeninist Communist party in the early 1970’s until they formed the Workers’ Institute of MarxismLeninism-Mao Zedong Thought in 1974. Steve Rayner, an academic who studied the group, noted their
FEATURES POLITICS cult-like attributes and the leader’s “superior ability to manipulate other.”
East Coast Floods The east coast of England is currently suffering the damage of the worst tidal surge for 60 years. The Environment Agency announced that 1,400 buildings have been flooded, with thousands of people having to evacuate their homes.
homeless, who had been staying there, having nowhere to stay. Wildlife has also been affected by the storm with hundreds of grey seals and their pups being washed away from Horsey beach in North Norfolk. Other badly affected areas include Boston, Lincolnshire, after the River Haven burst its banks on the 5th December, where 200 residents were evacuated from their properties and as of now, are yet to
Jordan Horner (left) and Ricardo MacFarlane (right)
“A 27-bed hostel in Lowestoft, Suffolk, run by the Access Community Trust, has also had severe damage resulting in the homeless, who had been staying there, having nowhere to stay.” In Hemsby, Norfolk, five clifftop homes have been destroyed and a lifeboat station was washed into the sea after the largest storm surge since the great flood of 1953. These lethal conditions are a result of an unusually high “spring tide” and surges caused by a band of low pressure which will bring gale force winds and high waves to coastal areas across Britain. Residents Steven and Jackie Connolly were in a local pub when the storm struck, and locals from the pub helped them to save their sofa, Christmas presents and kittens before their home was subsequently destroyed. “Suddenly we heard a shout: ‘it’s going, it’s going’ and we watched our kitchen get ripped apart,” said Steven Connolly. “The whole house collapsed before our eyes. We’re devastated at what we’ve lost but at least me, Jackie and the kittens are safe.”
return. Homes along the Humber Estuary in northern Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire were also affected. Insurance companies are preparing for claims after the devastation of so many homes, and are urging those affected to contact their insurers as soon as they can.
GPs not referring cancer patients fast enough A study using data from around 4,000 GP practices in England has revealed that thousands of people diagnosed with cancer had not been referred to specialists fast enough. The official NHS target is that 95% of patients with cancer symptoms detected by their GP be seen by a specialist within two weeks. However, in some practices, just one in ten patients reached this target and overall 59% of the practices referred less than half of the patients who went on to be diagnosed with cancer within the two week aimed timescale.
“The new Chief Inspector will speak up for patients without fear or favour; rating each surgery so we can celebrate the best pracA 27-bed hostel in Lowestoft, tices and take tough action Suffolk, run by the Access where standards aren’t up to Community Trust, has also had severe damage resulting in the scratch.”
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced that a new system of ratings for family doctors will be introduced by 2015. He went on to say “Every single patient in the NHS has a right to the very best care - and to see a GP who can spot cancer symptoms early enough to make a difference. That’s why we’ve introduced a rigorous new inspection regime for GP surgeries to tackle this unacceptable variation across the country. The new Chief Inspector will speak up for patients without fear or favour; rating each surgery so we can celebrate the best practices and take tough action where standards aren’t up to scratch.” This failure to refer patients fast enough explained Britain’s place at the bottom of the European league tables, with survival rates for breast, bowel and cervical cancer on a par with Eastern Europe.
Three members of the “Muslim Patrol” vigilante group have been jailed following their attempts to enforce sharia law in east London. Jordan Horner, 19, Ricardo MacFarlane, 26, and a 23-yearold man who cannot be named for legal reasons had been filming their attacks and posting the videos on YouTube as a publicity stunt for their cause. Among the abused were Joshua Bilton and Anna Reddiford who were followed by the three men in a car who shouted through megaphone at them to “Let go of each other’s hands. This is a Muslim area!” The couple stopped holding hands but when they resumed their path was blocked by the vigilantes’ car.
Only weeks after this incident Horner and MacFarlane attacked two men who were drinking in Shoreditch stating that it was “Allah’s land” and Horner went on to say “Kill the non-believers”. He knocked out Patrick Kavanagh and punched James Forward in the jaw. However their castigation didn’t end there. Horner and the unnamed 23-year-old confronted two doctors in Stepney accusing Clare Coyle of being a “slag” and informing her that she would be punished in “hellfire” due to how she was dressed. Coyle responded by saying “This is Great Britain. I can dress how I wish.” “Among the abused were Joshua Bilton and Anna Reddiford who were followed by the three men in a car who shouted through megaphone at them to ‘Let go of each other’s hands. This is a Muslim area!’” Horner was sentenced for 17 months after pleading guilty to two charges of assault and two charges of using threatening behaviour. MacFarlane was sentenced for a year for affray, and the 23-yearold received a six-month sentence. Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said that “When, on occasions, a person shows their intolerance of another individual, whether by aggression or violence and in such a way as to cause real fear to the individual, then the law can be invoked to protect that individual.” She went on to say that her sentencing powers were restricted due to the prosecution’s decision not to pursue religiously aggravated offences.
Putin’s Russia: the reality by LARA TRITTON Russian society, after hopes of a golden egalitarian era, is descending once more into the mire of homophobia. With new anti-gay legislation provoking international outrage, Russia is treading dangerously on the rights of LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) people. Consequently, there has been an upsurge in homophobic violence, including the pouring of urine on homosexual victims and physical beatings. The fall of communism in Russia in 1991, and Boris Yeltsin’s promises of democracy and liberalism, led to hope in many parts of the world that Russia had left behind its antiquated, homophobic policies and would join the West in the recognition of equal rights for all. The legalisation of homosexuality in 1993, of gender changes in 1997 and the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1999, combined with a seeming increase in tolerance, encouraged this view. However, these reforms were fairly super-
ficial, and there were dubious cases of re-imprisonment and ‘lost files’ of homosexuals. The laws were mainly the result of international pressure, and Yeltsin and his government had no
real interest in LGBT rights, no openly gay ministers were ever in his government. Initially Putin’s government were relatively egalitarian, opposing a motion to outlaw homosexual acts in 2002, and they opposed the very same law against ‘gay propaganda’ passed in July on 3 separate occasions in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Conversely, 2006 marked the beginning of decreasing tolerance in Russia, with the banning of gay pride marches. From 2006 to 2012 164 marches and protests have been broken up or banned, as protests in Russia, ironically, have to be sanctioned by the government.
“Russia’s new legislation has led to an upsurge in homophobic violence, including the pouring of urine on homosexual victims and physical beatings.” However, this June Putin took this intolerance to an official level by introducing a federal law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,” essentially justifying the arrests of anyone publicly acknowledging or supporting homosexuality. Similar laws previously existed in 12 Russian regions, which equated homosexuality with paedophilia, despite these directly contradicting European human rights laws on equality and free speech. The new law criminalises: any public demonstration in favour of gay rights, speech in defence of gay rights, distribution of material related to gay rights, or stating the equality of gay and heterosexual relationships. It bans anything that
could introduce minors to any alternative to monogamous heterosexuality on the grounds that it could influence and warp young minds in the same way as drugs and alcohol. The justification behind the law in itself is shocking to the vast majority of us, but the reasons behind the law are darker still. The law seems to treat homosexuality as something that is a conscious choice, like smoking, that can be avoided if it is not encountered. The momentous flaws in this logic highlight starkly twisted views and no-one can possibly justify this archaic opinion. Not knowing about homosexuality, combined with the restrictive atmosphere in Russia for gays, will only serve to confuse teenage homosexuals, amongst whom there is a horrific suicide rate that is much higher than amongst their heterosexual counterparts. It would be easy to dismiss the legislation as the actions of a despotic and homophobic leader, acting against society, but indeed it is almost the opposite. There is much disputation of the legality of Putin’s election, with strong suggestions of fraud, and from 2011 Russia has been experiencing an unprecedented wave of protests. Therefore the ‘Anti-Gay Bill’, under closer inspection, comes across as a grab for public approval. This view is evident as the bill was passed unanimously by the State Duma (equivalent to the House of Commons), and nearly 90% of Russians supported it as of June 2013, according to an opinion poll. Another survey taken in April revealed that 35% of Russians view homosexuality as
a mental illness or a psychological problem, an astounding statistic for the 21st century. Vigilante violence against homosexuals has risen significantly since the law, with perpetrators using it as justification. Right-wing groups are
filming humiliations of gays, leading to teenage homosexuals feeling more isolated than ever.
“It would be easy to dismiss the legislation as the actions of a despotic and homophobic leader, acting against society, but indeed it is almost the opposite.” Whilst the actual fines for breaking the law are relatively small, it is the tone of the legislation that is worrying. LGBT people in Russia are suffering not just from the hyper-virile leadership of an aspirational dictator, but from the entrenched Russian culture of homophobia, dating back to its illegalisation under Peter the Great in 1716, as a result of the strictness of the Orthodox Church. The stagnation of society is impeding a muchneeded social move forward in alignment with the rest of the developed world, and it seems that until the remaining tenacious tendrils of Communism have finally released Russia, advancement will be very difficult.
Pretty in Plastic » How Korea’s obsession with plastic surgery is affecting its people
by EPIE REESBY Recently, Korean cosmetic surgeons have developed a reputation for being the best in Asia. As a result, more and more people, mainly from other Asian countries, are flocking to Korea specifically to take advantage of what is thought to be the highest quality, and comparatively lowest-cost surgery. There are many different opinions as to why 20-25% of Korean women are undergoing plastic surgery every year. Some say it is to achieve a ‘more western look’, trading the fundamentally Korean aesthetic for a Westernised ideal – a sad indication of the Western media’s influences on Far Eastern culture... Nothing could be further from the truth. The end result may look slightly more western, however, their main purpose is not to look Caucasian, but simply more beautiful by their own standards – Arguably, the eternal quest for all women.
plastic surgery themselves. In the west it’s still frowned upon to be open about having plastic surgery, celebrities are constantly denying it, but because Korean stars are so open about it, the younger generation see it as a really positive way of enhancing their lives. If their favourite singers, actors and entertainers are raving about their new nose; then why shouldn’t they get a new nose too? Korean Idols therefore set a standard to the younger generation of how they should look, and since the only way this look can be attained is through plastic surgery, clinics are raking in the cash. Unlike in the west, people go into clinics asking for a specific feature of their favourite star. They no longer desire to appear more like their idols; they seek to look identical to their idols. This is why so many K-Pop stars look exactly the same; the Korean music industry creates a
In the West it’s still frowned upon to be open about having plastic surgery, but because Korean stars are so open about it, the younger generation see it as a way of enhancing their lives. It could be argued that Western criteria has influenced what Koreans would define as an ‘Asian’ beauty (small, doll-like, thin-framed) therefore influencing what the Korean population would view as attractive In reality, Koreans idealise a ‘v-line’ (a heart shaped face), double eyelids, a nose with a bridge and fuller lips. The end result isn’t Caucasian, but uniquely Korean. This begs the question as to why Korean women feel such a strong need to have plastic surgery. In every culture women go to certain lengths to look attractive; so why is the plastic surgery trend so prominent in Korea? Let’s take a look at the Korean music industry, more specifically the K-pop Idols, many of whom have unashamedly had
in Korea will simply undergo Double Eyelid surgery, which takes maybe an hour or so to do. Regardless, most Koreans would view this decision as positive and life changing, as it has not only made her more attractive, but has also given her a massive confidence boost. If having plastic surgery is going to dramatically change the quality of some-
body’s life by changing how they interact with society, and how perceive themselves, then surely it’s worth it? A more defined example of double eyelid surgery can be seen here: this woman has increased the size of her eyes, giving her a ‘cuter’ look. This tends to cost around $1000-1500. Note that not every Korean has a single eyelid to begin with; many are born with a double eyelid. If one delves deeper into double eyelid surgery, a paradox emerges; natural beauty and the cosmetic surgery trend are both in fashion. Having single eyelids
arguably demonstrates that they are “more authentically Korean”, resulting in some being praised for their natural beauty, and for not having had surgery. Korean women are often drawn into an internal debate; is looking natural better than enhancing my image? Plastic surgery tends to win out, as while the principle of natural beauty is sweet, most people would rather make themselves look better. K-Pop culture is having a massive impact on young Koreans, its level of perfection has set a standard of beauty that young Korean women feel they need to attain in order to be successful. This intense pressure has led to Korea being the world’s number one plastic surgery country, one where 1 in 5 women have had a cosmetic procedure, where 40% of teenagers are seriously considering plastic surgery and where young women feel the only way to succeed in life is by dramatically altering their appearance. Plastic surgery is increasingly popular, it has very clear benefits, the confidence enhancing boosts are drastic and life changing. However, it has very tangible harms, like putting a massive amount of pressure on teenagers. It’s up to you to decide if in Korea it’s doing more harm than good.
mould of how their stars should look, and every ‘wannabe’ idol is nipped and tucked into it. The woman pictured above has had double eyelid surgery, jaw line reshaping (done by shaving off parts of the jaw), rhinoplasty (giving a bridge to her nose), bone added to her forehead, and her lips tweaked into a permanent small smile. This is a very extreme example; many women
Plastic surgery for both women and men is becoming increasingly common in South Korea
An Atheist’s Christmas
» Are atheists legitimate in celebrating Christmas? by MATT HANKIN I was out shopping for Christmas presents with a friend last year, who, after biting her tongue for a while, plucked up the courage to question my decision to celebrate Christmas. She asked me, “How can you celebrate a holiday which is centred around something you so openly don’t believe in?” I was taken aback, and for a while it really did make me question whether or not I had a right to enjoy Christmas; after all, you can’t have your cake and eat it. But after genuinely considering what Christmas means in the 21st century, I decided that I’m perfectly justified in celebrating it.
“Although Christmas encourages kindness and goodwill, it also thrives on materialism and consumerism; qualities perhaps not advocated in the Bible.” Christmas belongs to everybody, from Christians to Atheists. Every group in society is entitled to celebrate it. To many people, Christmas is a secular holiday with spiritual origins; trees, Yule logs and carolling are all pagan traditions which have been incorporated into the festivities. Christmas is based around the winter solstice, not the birth of Christ; even the tradition of gift giving is Pagan. As Paganism faded out, these traditions were adopted by secularists and the holiday as we know it, began to form.
Christians do, and are perfectly entitled to celebrate these traditions and have modified them to suit their beliefs, but they must be aware that they don’t ‘own the rights’ to Christmas. For me, Christmas has become a Secular Cultural holiday. Although it encourages kindness and goodwill, it also thrives on materialism and consumerism - qualities perhaps not advocated in the bible. The original St Nicholas is quite different from the popularized version we see now - the story goes that he gave three impoverished daughters dowries to stop them becoming prostitutes. Santa, as we know him, comes from The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, a 1902 children’s book. This image of a jolly fat man, who delivers presents to children once a year, was absorbed by a variety of commercial companies as part of their marketing. Therefore, the elements of Christmas which I, and most other atheists celebrate, aren’t religious. Even though there may be Christian origins to the secular side of Christmas we enjoy, such as Santa Claus deriving from Saint Nicholas, they’ve evolved so far in a different direction that they’re no longer relevant in regards to Christianity. There are loads of benefits to Christmas being celebrated as a secular holiday. Primarily, it’s something that everybody can participate in, allowing lots of groups in society to join
together. A secret Santa for example, encourages everybody to buy a gift for a random person and is a great way of spreading good will. Regardless of your religious background, everyone is encouraged to participate, which shows how different groups of people can connect in a genuinely positive and special way.
Multiculturalism is great as it makes our society so much more vibrant, but that is not to say that communication between different groups is always easy. A secularist Christmas allows us to enjoy multiculturalism, while also being part of something; we can all have our own separate beliefs and ideas, but can come together once a year to participate in the Christmas festivities. A purely Christian holiday wouldn’t allow this
as instead Christians would become more isolated from the rest of society while they celebrated their holiday internally. Countries such as China, for example, are seeing an increase in the number of people celebrating Christmas. This isn’t because there’s a rise in popularity of Christianity, quite the opposite. People are seeing Christmas as a universal holiday that anybody is welcome to celebrate and enjoy. We should thoroughly encourage this stance, because the benefits of having a universal holiday are clear: Uniting everybody for a short period of time under a common theme is bound to create a happier and more accepting society. As far as I’m concerned, we can split Christmas into two holidays. The first is entirely secular, where religion isn’t important; the main idea is just to create a time where everybody feels that little bit happier, charities see a surge in donations and gifts are given to friends and family. The second is religious, where Christians celebrate one of the most important events in their faith, the birth of Christ. For some, these two holidays exist simultaneously, whereas for others they’re mutually exclusive. But Christmas, in some shape or form is applicable to every faith, and people should be allowed to enjoy it how they want, without having their beliefs questioned.
How life drawing changed my perception of nudity by LIZZIE SKINNER
oday, it has been nearly a month since I experienced my first life-drawing class – the opening of a ten-week course that all students studying Art A-Level are required to attend. In the end, there was no ceremony to it; the model stripped and stepped into position in the centre of the room, surrounded by a prayer-like circle of easels, before assuming a pose, one arm up, head tilted. For the next ten minutes or so, there was no sound in the room save for the scratching of pencils on paper and the occasional muffled cough.
“After a few minutes I ceased to think about the fact that I was drawing a nude human being. It was simply something solid and there, a task that had to be completed.” Our subject for this year is “The Human Form”, and so naturally there has been exploration into the nude figure (a classic example being Lucien Freud, who is most widely known for his unflinching portrayals of human bodies, and his refusal to assign s e x u a l appeal or attractiveness where none exists). However, up close it was a very different experience. Although such frank, unashamed nakedness can originally be daunting, it’s not long before the sight loses its stigma. In the dimness of that room, haloed by artfully
angled lamps, the model’s body seemed to shift imperceptibly from something living and muscled to an object – as blankfaced as a mannequin, frozen in an attitude of perfect stillness. After only minutes, I had ceased to think about the fact that I was drawing, for the first time, a nude human being, or about the implications that ran alongside that. It was simply something solid and there, a task that had to be completed. On the way home, art folder under my arm, I had begun to wonder. I hadn’t been expecting an immediate visceral reaction of shock or disgust, obviously, but nor had I foreseen the detached apathy that I felt as I struggled to pin down the contours of the muscles and bones, to correctly proportion the limbs and spine. How could something so seemingly innocent pose such a taboo? The answer soon became obvious – it is because throughout history, the human body has come to be seen as something inherently sinful. Whether you believe in the fundamentalist take on human creation – in short, the tale of how Adam and Eve gained knowledge and realised the shame of their nakedness – or the far more w i d e l y accepted theory of evolution, the base idea remains. With the attainment of sentience comes the realisation that the human body must be covered, and that not to do so is a disgrace. This poses an important question: is our aversion to nakedness inherent or taught?
George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and the TV show that it inspired are often criticised for their sexual content. Is this fair? Certainly, a case could be made that it is something present in our neural programming, a chemical thought pattern passed down through DNA. However, the far more convincing argument rests on the innate connection of nudity with intercourse. For example, the sight of a male chest is perfectly acceptable, but due to the association with sex, a woman’s chest is not – henceforth promoting the concept that body parts which are not sexualised can be freely shown and spoken about, whereas body parts that are automatically become something private and forbidden. There are some people, repressed by insecurity or religious beliefs, which live in fear of their own bodies. Ashamed of the parts that exist under their clothes, the parts that are somehow offensive in ways that elbows and fingers are not.
“Why are we so uncomfortable around something so supposedly natural? Why is violence often so much more acceptable than sexuality?” All of this wouldn’t, perhaps, seem so surprising, if it wasn’t for the fact that the taboo on
nudity is immeasurably higher than it is on violence. A film containing footage of a murder, for example, will almost certainly receive a lower rating than a film containing nudity. George R. R. Martin (author of the popular fantasy series “A Game of Thrones”), upon being asked about the graphic sexuality in his writing, was quoted as saying: “I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a sexual encounter, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating. In fact, it’s madness.” Does this quote fully sum up the issue? Perhaps not, but it does raise several questions. Why are we so uncomfortable around something so supposedly natural? Why is violence often so much more acceptable than sexuality? And at what age is it right to expose children to “adult” knowledge? Opinions might differ, but whether you’re a nudist or a nun, one thing remains certain – there will always be conflict, and attitudes will always change, for better or for worse.
Top 5 things to do in
A* writers suggest some interesting places to visit over the Christmas holidays
The British Museum With one of the largest collections of historical and cultural artefacts in the world, 8 million in fact, the British Museum is one of the most fascinating
The Tate Modern We’re dispelling the rumours that modern art is inaccessible and irrelevant, by adding the Tate Modern to our list of recommendations. Admission is free, except for special exhibitions, and it’s open daily from 10am-6pm. A new exhibition, Project Space: Tina Gverović and
Greenwich Park Greenwich is one of the oldest Royal Parks, covers 74 hectares and is also home to a small herd of deer, which we think, in the middle of a very urban city, is rather brilliant. The old Royal Observatory and the National
Siniša Ilić, opens from the 22nd November and aims to explore the relationship between artists and curators by evaluating the purpose of museums. Okay, maybe it’s a little inaccessible, but certainly thought provoking, right? Miyako Ishiuchi is another exhibitionist at the Tate Modern. Her work tends to be about postHiroshima Japan, focusing on The British Library You don’t need to be an academic to go on a trip to The British Library; there are lots of interesting exhibitions that anybody can go and see. Literature ranges from the Magna Carta to original Beatle’s lyrics, not to mention the millions of books in Maritime Museum are close to here, and worth a look in. Okay, we haven’t really got that much to say about Greenwich Park, except for it’s a rather nice place to go for an Autumnal/ Winter walk and is adjacent to Lemmon
The Natural History Museum The Natural History Museum is set in one of London’s most famous and beautiful buildings and is home to some of the most captivating exhibits in the city. The ever popular Dinosaurs gallery and the giant blue
places in London. It’s open daily from 10am7.30pm, is right next to Holborn tube station and is completely free - so you can definitely afford a trip round their splendid gift shop; honestly, it’s worth going just for that. An exhibition about El Dorado, a lost Colombian city, is running from the 17th October 2013 – March how time passing affects people and the planet. If this still isn’t your cup of tea, you could at least go to mock the art snobs who wear brightly coloured berets and monochrome trousers; that’s a day out in itself.
between. If that doesn’t quench your thirst for knowledge, check out the Georgians revealed exhibition which explores the formation of British traditions like afternoon tea and visiting art galleries, plus, it’s free for under 18s. There’s also a particularly beautiful display of children’s illustrated classics, with original artwork from The Hobbit, the Wind
2014, and the 200 artefacts aim to uncover the truth behind the myths of Colombia’s best kept secret. The museum is also open till 8.30pm on a Friday, so skip the alcohol infused party and head on over to the wonders of the British Museum, perhaps even dine in their restaurant afterwards.
in the Willows and many more beloved books. If somehow you manage to get bored of this, you can utilize the free Wi-Fi to tell all your friends on Facebook how cultured you are, and visit the eccentric bookshop and well recommended café – look out for the coffee cake. Open Mon, Weds-Thurs 9.30am-6pm, Tues 9.30am-8pm, Fri 9.30am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm.
Road – seriously, who comes up with these names…
whale model are of particular interest, as is the state of the art interactive cocoon display, where on a self-guided tour, you can learn about rare insects and watch scientists at work. There are special exhibitions on every weekend, so it’s worth planning your visit and checking online for something you’re really interested
in. There’s also a brilliant ice rink, open until the 5th January, which costs £8 and is surrounded by fairy lights! Entry is free to the museum and it’s open daily from 10am-17:50 – it’s also just a short walk from South Kensington tube station.
In an unexpected event, and one that has not occurred since 1995, the US federal government went into shutdown on the 1st October. The problems stemmed from political bickering between the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, known as the lower house and the Democrats, who control the Senate, the upper house. Disagreements between the two houses over federal government spending meant that the US Congress could not pass a budget before the financial year ended on 30th September. Since Obama has come into power, the two parties have not agreed on a budget that extends further than a few months. The Republicans, led in the Senate by Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Senator, have often used their power in the lower house to gain political leverage. In 2013, the main issue has been President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ‘Obamacare’. The Republicans in the House of Representatives approved budgets that didn’t provide funding for the Act, which were of course rejected by the Democrat controlled Senate. Since the Democrats gave up power of the lower house in 2010 there has been constant fighting between the two parties, and houses. The Republicans have repeatedly tried to block ‘Obamacare,’ a bill that they believe was rejected by the American public. The Democrats have pushed forward with the Act, keen to remind the country that the Supreme Court validated the law in 2012, and is keen to pass it, since it was a key policy when Obama won the 2012 election. The shut down had a huge impact on people all over the country. 700,000 of the 2.1 million federal workforces were off, on unpaid leave, with only the most important staff, such as border control guards and active military personnel remaining at their posts. In practice this meant that parks, museums and federal buildings were closed. The shut down lead to serious extremes where child cancer patients were refused drugs and doctors at the various National Institutes of Health suspended research. The shutdown was resolved on Thursday the 17th October, deadline day for Congress. In the Senate, Democrat majority leader Harry Reid and Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell drafted legislation to re-open the government and extend the debt ceiling, funding the government until 15th January. Importantly for Democrats, The President’s Obamacare has emerged from the shutdown unscathed. No concessions have been granted to the Republicans this time.
The American dream is the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved. But Alan Krueger, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, believes the nature of the American dream started to change in the 1980s.”We are increasingly becoming a winner-take-all economy,” Mr. Krueger said in a speech. “Over recent decades, technological change, globalization and an erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the US have put the middle class under increasing stress.” For the past three decades, the wealthiest Americans have seen their incomes rise much faster than those in the middle. This change is not unique to the US; the picture is similar in the UK, France and Sweden. As a result of this inequality, Americans have begun to focus on their declining manufacturing industry. The United States lost more than five million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010, nearly a third of manufacturing employment. This decline was due to lots of jobs being outsourced, but recently more have been brought back to America. For example, Chinese computer maker Lenovo recently celebrated the opening of its first US manufacturing plant in Whitsett, North Carolina. Other companies like Motorola and Apple have also announced plans to
by KATE SULLIVAN
manufacture in the US. Wage increases in China and wage decreases in the US have mad manufacturing in America more appealing to TNCS. Lenovo officials say it’s still cheaper to make computers oversea, but this way they can be closer to their American customers. Unfortunately, the reality is there aren’t a lot of middle-income jobs for medium-to-lowskilled workers, many of the jobs offered are only temporary. Short term jobs don’t come with benefits such as healthcare or pensions, and often employees don’t pay enough to enable saving for things like house down payments or their children’s education. So it’s no surprise that nearly three-in-five middle class Americans say they are concerned about falling out of their economic class, according to a recent poll. Regardless, the staffs at these new American assembly lines are proud of what they’re making, knowing that the products that leave their factor will bear an American flag. The manufacturing industry boost may not be making the American dream any more attainable, but its ability t o evoke patriotism and provide jobs is still thoroughly commendable.
The US is marking 50 years since President John F Kennedy was killed by an assassin’s bullet. Dallas has long struggled with the legacy of the assassination, and hosted a series of official events on 22 November 2013 in commemoration. Kennedy, who served less than three years, is often ranked among the nation’s most admired presidents. At Just 46 when he died, he is praised for his youthful vigor, his leadership through the Cuban missile crisis and his vision to put a man on the Moon. By contrast, he is also remembered for ordering one of the most disastrous episodes of the Cold War, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of communist Cuba. There are often contradicting views of the president and how positive he was, but no matter which generation you talk to, everyone is very respectful and the remembrance of his death is very important for Americans all over the country. Historian Robert Dallek said Kennedy’s popularity endured in part because Americans have been so disappointed in his successors. “People want a better life in this country,” h e said. “They want to think their children are going to do better. And they associate this with Kennedy’s youth, his promise, possibility.” On 22 November 1963, Kennedy and his wife travelled to Dallas for early campaigning ahead of the following year’s election. As the presidential parade entered Dealey Plaza at around 12:30, Kennedy’s convertible passed the Texas School Book Depository and gunshots rang out across the plaza. Bullets struck the president in the head and neck, and half an hour later, Kennedy was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Last month, to remember his service to the country, Kennedy’s family members laid a wreath on his grave at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC and President Obama issued an announcement for flags to be flown at half mast at the White House, US Capitol and other government buildings.” Today, we honour his memory and celebrate his enduring imprint on American history,” said. Obama. Among official events in Dallas, the city’s symphony orchestra performed, Mayor Michael Rawlings gave a speech, and bells tolled at the minute of Kennedy’s death. Only 5,000 people attended the ceremonies in Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was shot, but special screens were set up throughout the downtown area so people all over the city could see the ceremony. Elsewhere, wreaths were laid in the German capital Berlin where Kennedy gave his Cold War “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in June 1963.Those events and others concluded a week of tributes to the influential American leader.
In Brazil, there is an annual tradition where people sail in a procession to honour the “Lady of Aparecida”, the patron saint of Brazil. In the state of Amapa a tragedy occurred on Saturday 12th October resulting in the death of 12 people who had been a part of the procession in a boat carrying 100 passengers. The boat, in which the passengers were celebrating their religious tradition, capsized suddenly. There was a maximum capacity of 40; however this was exceeded by 60 people. Rescue workers searched diligently until the early hours of the morning looking for survivors due to the 6 people still missing. One of these includes the Captain Reginaldo Reis Nobre. “The boat was participating in the procession, which takes about two hours in the Amazonian state of Amapa, and must have capsized after hitting a sandbar upon its return,” a firefighter commander Miguel Rosario told AFP. This shows that despite the excessive number of passengers on board, if the sandbar hadn’t existed, the boat may still have reached its destination. Most of the survivors spent the rest of the day praying for the safety of their fellow passengers, while some decided to help the search party.
BIEBER WALL TAGGING
On a different note, the 7th November saw the renowned celebrity Justin Bieber charged with tagging the wall of a Brazilian hotel illegally. A police spokesman has said that is was a misdemeanour and will follow through to the small–claims court. Bieber had been staying in Brazil for a week prior to this incident and had arrived to give a concert to his devoted fans. Since his stay, Bieber has been spotted leaving one of Rio’s notorious brothels and allegedly requesting the com The 7th November saw the renowned celebrity Justin Bieber charged with tagging the wall of a Brazilian hotel illegally. A police spokesman has said that is was a misdemeanour and will follow through to the small–claims court. Bieber had been staying in Brazil for a week prior to this incident and had arrived to give a concert to his devoted fans. Since his stay, Bieber has been spotted leaving one of Rio’s notorious brothels and allegedly requesting the company of prostitutes to the Copacabana Palace. On the penultimate day of his stay, Bieber was fully shielded by his entourage of security as he tagged “Respect privacy”
by JUSTICE AINA
and “I am off” on a hotel wall. In addition to this Bieber drew several other figures around the hotel including animal cartoon characters. The police gained information that Bieber had actually received permission to tag a wall; however this was at another location. The permission was granted by the City Hall and, according to a police statement “did not extend to other locations”. However, Bieber’s entourage did not deem the allocated area safe, so they misused the permission illegally, angering the authorities. Bieber had already caused upset when, having been told he couldn’t bring prostitutes into his suite, he lashed at the hotel Copacabana Palace staff, causing $6,000 worth of damage to various objects in the hotel, leaving soon after for Paraguay.
ZOMBIE WALK PARADE Copacabana
“Zombie Walk”. A Zombie Walk is a public gathering where a large group of people meet in a city and parade around the streets dressed as zombies. These events can be just for fun, for a purpose, or as a charity event. Interestingly they started in North America, and have more recently become annual traditions. This walk became more of an open parade as Batman and other superhero costumes have crept their way in. Along the Copacabana beach, around a thousand people turned up to take part in their own Zombie walk. Part of the fun is to play the character of a zombie, groaning and grunting (with the occasional demand for ‘brains’); the Brazilians managed this for 2.48 miles! The impressive aesthetics include fake blood being dibbled, gurgled and stained onto clothes and ‘pieces of skin’ which are made to look as if peeling from the body and face. Every year the competition to be the most ‘gruesome zombie’ escalates as the participants want to outdo each other, as well as experiment with materials they wouldn’t use every day to create a realistic feel to the walk. “It is a creativity challenge. Every year people create new ideas and develop their costumes, more based many times on what they saw in the last events. It is always fun when you can create a new version of you at least once a year,” says a biologist ,Gistavo Leonardo, who has participated in Zombie walks many times and is constantly looking for innovative ways to reinvent his Zombie Character. This walk went on for 14 hours, outside the Copacabana Palace before concluding at the beach.
by VICKY ANDREWS
German epidemiologists have warned that Europe is at risk from a recent polio outbreak in Syria. There have been 10 confirmed cases of polio in Syria which are potentially as a result of the recent collapse in vaccinations due to the civil war that has been raging in the country for the past two years. Polio is spread through faeces and sanitation which, due to the poor living conditions in Syria because of the fighting, means it is likely to be spread more quickly. Only one in 200 unimmunised individuals are paralysed by the disease, which alarmingly means that many more people are carrying the virus than can be measured. It is important to point out that this threat is minimal and currently the vaccination is very effective in the UK. In more unexpected news, a man named Cornelius Gurlitt (aged 80) has been accused of hoarding a Nazi art collection worth £850 million. His father, Mr Gurlitt senior is said to have claimed that the collection was burnt in a fire and then secretly passed the enormous stash on to his son who then sold selected paintings in turn. He was only found when the German police uncovered some of the paintings when Gurlitt went through a routine customs check on a train to Switzerland in 2010. A later search of his home revealed paintings offering huge historical value hidden behind food packets and tins.
A 500-pound French man has been denied a seat on a plane for being too overweight. British Airways said it wouldn’t be possible to take Mr Chenais (aged 22), who has a hormone imbalance and was travelling from America having received treatment for obesity, due to his constant need for oxygen and medical care. Unfortunately, this could be seen far more often in France as obesity rates double. Once seen as one of the slimmest countries in Europe, McDonalds is now more profitable in France than anywhere in Europe with sales having increased by 42% in the past five years. In the past 15 years the obesity rate has more than doubled with 7 million people now very overweight.
A detective who led the investigation of the kidnap of Natascha Kampusch has been murdered because he allegedly ‘knew too much’. Kampusch was kidnapped at the age of ten
and held for nine years by her kidnapper, Wolfgang Priklopil. Colonel Franz Kroll, the leading detective, was found dead outside his home in June 2010 with a shot to the head, a gun by his side and a suicide note outlining family and work problems. His brother Karl Kroll however, always suspected that this was not in fact suicide, and recent evidence from research conducted by Professor Leinzinger in Austria has shown that Kroll’s body position does not support the previous idea of suicide. This case is significant as it brings up questions about the police force and its operations in Austria. Further evidence lends itself to the idea that more than one person was involved in Kampusch’s kidnapping.
A Spanish court has ruled that no one was responsible for the Prestige oil spill that took place in November 2002, much to the anger of environmental activists. This spill happened when an oil tanker sank off the coast of Galicia, polluting stretches of coastline in France, Spain and Portugal. One of the 12 tanks of oil had burst in a storm off the north coast of Spain so the ship called for help. However Portugal, Spain and France had all refused it access to their harbours for fear of pollution. An intense storm then hit the tanker and the ship split in two causing one of the worst environmental disasters Europe has ever seen. The court ruled that no one could be held criminally responsible and blamed the sinking on poor ship structure and a failure to inspect and maintain the vessel. It went on to say that more than 60,000 tonnes of oil was spilt, covering about 1,800 miles of beach and killing off many species of sea birds and contaminating fishing water. The impact of the spill has been huge, with a recent study showing that many of the personnel involved in the clean-up have had severe health issues since then, such as cardiovascular and chromosomal diseases.
Eastern Europe & Russia
by NICK JEYARAJAH
ALBANIA Albania has joined Norway, France and Belgium on the list of European countries that have rejected requests to destroy Syria’s stockpile
of chemical weapons. Prime Minister, Edi Rama, echoed the stance of the numerous protesters who made themselves heard in demonstrations in the nation’s capital, Tirana, when he stated it would be ‘impossible’ to get his country involved in such an operation. These protesters appeared on the streets of Tirana donning gas masks and signs mimicking Martin Luther King’s iconic speech, reading, ‘I Have A Nightmare’. They were later seen celebrating their Prime Minister’s decision by triumphantly climbing onto the statue of Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg. The request, delivered on behalf of the S y r i a n government by the USA, is the latest in a series which have yet to be accepted by surrounding countries. The seemingly universal desire to avoid such weapons being handled and destroyed on home territories appears to be strong among European countries. World leaders are hoping to find a practical resolution to this issue, as it presents an unwelcome hurdle for the international community at a time when many fear a return to the previous tensions surrounding the suggestion to destroy the weapons.
The official Russian opposition party, the Fair Russia party, has initiated a new bill criminalising acts of insult towards Russia’s patriotism as a form of extremism. The consequences of such a move could result in jail terms of up to five years for committing such acts. MP, Oleg Mikheyev, established the bill in response to an event in which a Russian flag was soiled on stage by a member of American punk-rock group, Bloodhound Gang, and was one of many politicians to strongly and publically speak out against the action. The band, who were playing live in Ukraine, were set to continue their tour of Eastern Europe into Russia itself, but were forced to cancel all of their scheduled shows in the country following their being pelted with tomatoes and suffering a violent attack in a VIP area, in which one band member was allegedly strangled with an American flag. Mikheyev claimed that there were more patriots than religious believers in Russia at present, and given the outraged
public reaction to the scandal, he may be correct. Legislation, he argued, is desperately needed in order to protect such patriots. The minimum 100,000 ruble (around $3000) fine, and maximum five year prison sentence that Mikheyev’s act would bring, appears harsh to some in comparison to other nations’ stances on the issue. The proposed Flag Desecration Amendment in the USA’s persistent failure, most recently as a result of a one-vote loss in the Senate in 2006, demonstrates that even the most patriotic nations of the modern world appear to prioritise freedom of speech above love of nation. It is yet to be seen if Russia will follow suit.
CHILD BEAUTY PAGEANT BAN
St Petersburg legislator, Vitaly Milonov, has proposed a ban on beauty pageants in the city, with a view to extending the ban across the country. Milonov, who has found recent notoriety both domestically and internationally following his involvement in the establishment of the ‘gay propaganda ban’ – the controversial legislation which criminalises the promotion of ‘nontraditional sex’ relations and ideals to children – attempted to associate himself with some degree of human decency when he criticised beauty-pageant organisers on the basis of their cruel treatment of participating the danger of potential exposure
children and to paedophiles. In an interview with news network RIA Novosti, Milonov stated, “They force children to wear immodest dress and swimsuits, to perform on the catwalk like grownup supermodels, they subject children to plastic surgery and impose on them non-childish behavior that resembles that of easily accessible women,” He continued, “The participation is such contests not only harm the child’s psyche, it also increases the danger of them becoming victims of paedophiles,” “It is inadmissible that children who have just turned six or seven or ten years of age get paraded before adults in underwear or do pole dancing to please some perverts”. The media appearances of the politician have typically been met with controversy; comments in recent years have included suggesting prayer as a cure against homosexuality, and proposing a programme which would see homeless people from urban areas relocated to special rural settlements. However his latest escapade in legislation and the media in the field of child beauty-pageants, while retaining his personal conservative overtones, perhaps has the potential to sway the people of Russia and the world press slightly more in his favour.
Middle East & Western Asia IRAN
Despite a failure to come to an agreement between Iran and the socalled P5+1 group (the UN permanent Security Council consisting of the UK, USA, France, Russia and China, as well as Germany), hopes are still high that the recent easing of tensions between the West and Iran can result in a deal regarding Iranian nuclear ambitions. It appeared that after the talks ended on 9th November without agreement, it was France who threw a spanner in the works, disagreeing with arrangements provided in a draft deal regarding Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor. John Kerry, US Secretary of State contradicted this, saying that ‘Iran couldn’t take it [the deal] at that particular moment.’ Kerry, meanwhile, is facing battles at home as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are urging for a fresh round of Iranian economic restrictions to be imposed, arguing that they can be used as a bargaining chip when further talks begin on 20th November. Kerry opposes this, warning that any further restrictions would risk destroying the current paths of communication, noting that the US and Iran had ‘talked more in 30 hours than in 30 years’.
The largest Kurdish party (Democratic Union Party or PYD) in Syria, where there is a large Kurdish population in the northeast, has announced their intention to form a temporary government to rule the Kurdishmajority areas until the wider Syrian conflict is over. In the summer of last year, Syrian government forces pulled out of the north, leaving a de facto autonomous Kurdish region. However, recently Islamist rebels have strayed into the area, clashing with Kurdish militia and increasing tension. The PYD made the announcement after 2 days of talks in the town of Qamishli. Their UKbased representative, Alan Semo, said that rather than looking to create a separate Kurdish state, the region would be ‘integrated in future in a united, democratic, plural Syria’.
The army government led by Prime Minister Hazem elBeblawi has announced an ending to the state of emergency and night time curfew that has existed ever since the army overthrew Egypt’s first ever democratically elected President,
by WALKER HILL
Mohammed Morsi, three months ago. The measures had initially only been due to last one month, but a two month extension was announced on 12th September. The latest announcement follows a ruling by the administrative court that said the extension could only last for two months. However, this all masks the beginning of an attempt by the government to increase their control, by placing extra troops on the street after the restrictions were lifted, and introducing new legislation that will require protestors to notify police of any gathering of 10 or more people, public or private. The move has been criticised by human rights campaigners. In other news, Russian and Egyptian ministers are holding talks in Cairo that could end in trade deals worth up to £1.2 billion.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu has halted plans for 20,000 new homes in the West Bank in an attempt to appeal to foreign leaders who he is trying t o influence in their Iran negotiations. He said that the construction of the settlements ‘create an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran’. State department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said earlier that the US was ‘deeply concerned’ with the settlement plans, whilst the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that if the plans go ahead, it would effectively end the stalled peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Around 23,000 Ethiopian illegal migrant workers have surrendered to Saudi authorities after a clampdown on illegal immigrants across the country led to clashes in the capital, Riyadh, in which 5 people died. The crackdown is an attempt to help lower the 12% unemployment figure among native Saudis. The estimated 9 million migrant workers in the country are thought to fill almost half of the workforce, mainly working in manual, clerical and service jobs. Earlier this month, a sevenmonth amnesty in which illegal immigrants could formalise their status in the country ended and authorities started the round up. Within the past two weeks at least 30,000 Yemenis have returned home and nearly a million Bangladeshis, Indians, Filipinos, Nepalis and Pakistanis have left in the past three months.
The Niger tragedy is just one example of how people in Africa are desperately trying to flee their countries in search of a better life, forced by economic necessity, violence and repression. It follows the recent Algerian boat disaster, where 300 lives were claimed as a massively overcrowded boat carrying economic refugees sunk off the coast of Italy. Lured by the promise of a better way of life, they often have to pay huge sums of money to unscrupulous war-lords who have no interest in their safety or whether or not they reach their destination at all. In the Niger case, around 120 illegal migrants were abandoned in the Sahara, attempting to cross the Algerian border, with 92 dying from dehydration and exposure. 5 2 women, 33 children and 7 men had set out for help after the trucks that were transporting them broke down. The decomposing bodies were discovered by police, some eaten by jackals, spread over a 12 mile radius. Harrowing stories emerge from children forced to bury their entire families. As a result of this tragedy, the Niger government is trying to stop the trafficking of people by rounding up immigrants before they make their attempt to cross the Sahara. So far around 150 have been detained.
In Nigeria, government forces are stepping up their fight against Boko Haram, the Islamic fundamentalist group. This move has been taken following the incident in which Boko Haram gunmen killed 19 motorists at checkpoints in Borno State. Security forces have launched an offensive against the terrorist group, deploying forces in the Northern city of Damaturu. This is the main city in the Yobe state, which lies to the west of Borno. It has been calm for more than a year, largely due to the heavy government military presence. There are fears emerging that the increasing activity of Boko Haram on top of the predominantly Muslim population in the north of the country might lead to a break up of Nigeria. Boko Haram started out in 2001, founded by Mohammed Yusuf, but only officially became a Jihadist group in 2009, with its stated aim of removing interaction with the western world, operating
by MEGAN CRAWFORD
under their own version of Sharia law. Its name literally translates as ‘No Books.’ Its activities including bombings of churches and schools and assassinations of members of the Islamic establishment have led to the deaths of 10,000 people between 2001 and 2013.
In Zimbabwe the controversial president Robert Mugabe has announced a new law to make it illegal to insult his government. The highest court however, has declared this law unconstitutional. There have been over 80 cases filed in court, all yet to be heard, although following this ruling are most likely destined to fail. The law was challenged by several Zimbabweans, including a resident of the southern city of Bulawayo, Tendai Danga, who was arrested two years ago for allegedly insulting Mr Mugabe during a row with a policeman in a bar. The court has underlined that this law would restrict freedom of expression, a fundamental human right. Many would argue that there is no freedom of expression in Zimbabwe anyway, as 89 year old Mugabe extended . his 33-year rule in the July elections. His rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, rejected the result, alleging it was rigged.
SOUTH AFRICA I n South Africa, the former president Nelson Mandela s a d l y passed away on 5th December surrounded by his family in his home. The 95 year old had been unwell for the last couple of years with several lung infections, resulting in hospitalisation. The nation and the rest of the world had been mourning the pre-empted death of the beloved former South African president, though this did not make his death any less of a tragedy. Despite rare appearances in public, Nelson Mandela held a special place in the consciousness of the nation and the world. He emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid, transforming from freedom fighter to national hero, further embellishing his image as a moral compass and South Africa’s symbol of the struggle against racial depression. As Obama put it, ‘we have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that we will ever share time with on this Earth.’ Mandela has not only benefited the lives of the South African people, but people worldwide. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Mandela
Eastern Asia & Oceania SRI LANKA
Having sought the spotlight of hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s president found himself at the centre of controversy over war crimes and human rights allegations. President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited more than 50 Commonwealth presidents and prime ministers to the summit but only 27 attended, with three – India, Canada and Mauritius – making clear that they were boycotting the meeting because of human rights concerns. In news conferences, President Rajapaksa was repeatedly asked about war c r i m e allegations centred on the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war that ended in 2009. The war between the largely ethnic S i n h a l e s e government forces and Tamil separatists, from the north of the island, lasted 27 years but the United Nations claims that at least 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final few weeks. David Cameron, who resisted calls in Britain for him to boycott the meeting, held a frosty one-to-one meeting with the Sri Lankan president in Colombo, before publically demanding an independent war crimes investigation before March 2014. President Rajapaksa has now assumed chairmanship of the Commonwealth for the next two years and says he is committed to democracy, human rights, freedom of the press and good governance. Sri Lanka has a deteriorating human rights record and ranks among the lowest in the world for press freedom. Despite this, British Airways has named Sri Lanka its top tourist destination of 2013. 100,000 British tourists travel there each year.
The clean-up operation for Super Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into the eastern Philippines is well underway and long-term rebuilding strategies are being drawn up. At 4.40am local time (8.40pm GMT) on 8th November, the category five typhoon struck the Philippine coastline, with record-breaking wind speeds of up to 195mph. In its wake, it left a disaster. According to the UN’s World Health Organisation, the devastation was on a par with the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 2010 Haitian Earthquake. The final death toll is expected to exceed 10,000, with around 13 million people being affected and four million displaced. The British government and charities have been assisting in the construction of emergency shelters, providing food, water, medicine and basic hygiene as well as lipstick for teachers, to raise their morale. Fourteen British charities that make up the Disaster Emergency Committee have been distributing more than £55 million of aid. Over the next six months World Food
by ZOE MILLER
Programme intends to donate food aid to 2.5 million people. Philippine government officials say that acute respiratory infections, including pneumonia, are the biggest concerns now, as well as possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera. UN Humanitarian Coordinator Valerie Amos stated: “An estimated 3.2 million women and 4.6 million children need psychosocial support and protection against violence, trafficking and exploitation in the aftermath of the storm.” On a larger scale, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said, “Climate change threatens current and future generations. We need look no further than last week’s catastrophe in the Philippines. All around the world, people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet.”
Japanese nuclear engineers have successfully extracted the first of thousands of nuclear fuel rods from one of the wrecked reactors at the Fukushima power station. The rods are in a dangerous condition in a damaged cooling pool, in which they must be kept underwater at all times. Any exposure to air risks releasing large quantities of radioactive gas into the atmosphere. The combined radioactive yield of all the rods is greater than that of the Hiroshima bomb. The plant was badly damaged by an explosion in March 2011 following the earthquake and tsunami.
China is to relax its one child policy, allowing couples to have two children if one parent is an only child themselves. The ruling Communist Party introduced the policy in the 1970s to curb the surging population growth. It has been strictly enforced but has created a huge gender imbalance due to selective abortion. By the end of this decade, China will have 24 million more men than women.
As reported in September’s edition, the issue of asylum seekers played a big role in Australia’s last general election. The new Prime Minister, Tony Abott, has called for an end to people trafficking. His plans began to unravel, however, when Indonesia, a country through which most asylum seekers travel en route to Australia, discovered that Australia was spying on its President. Relations between the two countries have now deteriorated and have triggered anti-Australian protests in Jakarta. Canberra needs Indonesia’s full cooperation if it is ever to stem the flow of refugees and migrants, largely originating from Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
Book Reviews by JULIA ELKOUBY
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen CLASSIC ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune be in want of a wife’. So the book starts with the views of Mrs Bennet, mother of five daughters, obsessed with the prospect of husbands for them. Therefore when the single and rich Mr Bingley, and his less that charming, but far more affluent friend Mr Darcy, move into the neighbourhood, excitement erupts in the Bennet household. All except Elizabeth, who, unlike her
sisters, has a fierce sense of self determination. When Elizabeth encounters Mr Darcy, who refuses to dance with her due to her not being ‘handsome enough to tempt,’ him, she begins to take a particular distaste towards the man. When the dashing Mr Wickham comes into the picture, Mr Darcy’s hostile attitude towards him suggests that he knows more about this mysterious new figure than he’s letting on. The trials and tribulations of these five sisters provide both hilarity
and misery, but will they survive the various catastrophes that hit the Bennet household, or live in languish forever? This wittily crafted novel, set in Regency England, is arguably the most loved of Jane Austen’s work for good reason. The courtship is comic yet captivating and the characters are commonplace yet audacious and fresh, making the age of the novel superfluous. This classic novel should not be judged before being read, as Austen teaches the reader the balance of pride and prejudice.
The Great Gatsby - Scott Fitzgerald MODERN CLASSIC Through the musty hues of New York, Nick Carraway moves into the wealthy but unfashionable West Egg area, thereby becoming the neighbour of Jay Gatsby. Renowned for his parties, Gatsby is a mysterious man who is the owner of a seemingly endless fortune and despite Nick’s initial prejudice, they soon become friends. Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan, and her brash husband Tom, who live on the more fashionable side of Egg, are shown to both be filthy rich and to possess no morals. With Tom having an affair with a woman who he readily shows
off to all his friends, and Daisy caught up with the narrator’s new neighbour, strings become tangled and result in a disastrous mess. The book has several more serious motifs, despite its light hearted nature. One such motif is the decline of the American dream during the 1920s, an era that Fitzgerald portrays as devoid of moral value and full of opulence and greed. This can be seen through Gatsby’s lavishly decadent parties, drenched in alcohol and filled with the sound of wild jazz during this age of prohibition.
F. Scott Fitzgerald luxuriously crafts this novella, portraying the rich as being careless about the consequences of their actions, and desperately trying to escape life’s problems. This richly written book is work of genius, constructed so concisely, and yet is still so grippingly detailed, that every word will make you hold your breath. The Great Gatsby is a shockingly good read that will bring you to the heart of the glamour of New York City, and all it has to offer and take away.
The Husband’s Secret - Liane Moriarty They found Janie murdered in the park on the morning of the 7th of April 1984. Twentyeight years later Rachel, Janie’s mother, finally thinks she knows who the murderer is. Her world has been divided into two ever since the accident; on one hand she lives in reality and on the other, she creates a world where Janie survived and imagines Janie’s children, husband and their relationship as mother and daughter. The book is set in Melbourne in a tight knit community of
Catholics who all went to St. Angela’s primary school. The stories of the people at first seem completely unrelated; but when Cecilia opens a letter from her husband, which says on the envelope to be opened only in the event of her husband’s death - time ceases and all becomes clear. The book is incredibly addictive as you become enthralled in these peoples’ lives and you start to question their integrity and yours. How far would you go to keep a secret, even if it meant
betraying your friends? Would you have the audacity to act for the greater good in these situations? But then again what is the greater good? Is it the safety of your family or that of someone else? These questions are all addressed in this philosophical novel in the modern context of our lives. This book is written both comically and with deep meaning - an excellent read for a weekend away.
Alcohol, without the side-effects: » can
it be done?
by FRANCESCA FORRISTAL Consider the possibility of a pill which could simulate the “kick” of alcoholic spirits, but without any of the detrimental effects to one’s liver, brain, or indeed Sunday morning; Professor Nutt, head of the Brain Sciences Division at Imperial College London, and formerly the government’s senior drugs advisor, claims this could be a possibility within the next two years. Sold at the same price as a cocktail, this colourless, odourless liquid could be added to one’s drink of choice, inducing a “pleasant” state of “mild inebriation”. This new substance is reported to work like alcohol on nerves in the brain, which provide a sensation of sociability, relaxation, as well as enhanced confidence. This is due to its chemical structure, which is similar to that of benzodiazepine - a class of psychoactive drugs that treat anxiety and insomnia. Moreover, Nutt claims that “We can get rid of most of the toxicity. We’ll have a compound maybe 100 times safer than alcohol,” meaning less damage to the heart and liver, as well as avoiding the otherwise inevitable feeling that your body is rebelling against you the morning after. Unlike its intoxicating counterpart, this new substance is incredibly easy to flush out of the body. “Because it targets a specific receptor in the brain, we can reverse the effects if people want to drive home,” adds Nutt, explaining that inebriation’s antagonist could come instantaneously in pill form, or indeed a
dissolvable film which is placed under the tongue. This could change the “liquid lunch” of the business world into a far more responsible affair, as well as impeding the devastating effects of alcohol dependency on families nationwide. Furthermore, Nutt argues that without the extreme mood swings and memory loss induced by excessive consumption, this scientific advancement could make a dent in the NHS’s staggering 800,000 alcohol-related admissions to hospitals in 2007-08, with more than 6,500 deaths, at a cost to the service of £2.7bn a year.
“We can get rid of most of the toxicity. We’ll have a compound maybe 100 times safer than alcohol.” This decision to create an alcohol-alternative stems from Dr Nutt’s fervent belief that alcohol is “more harmful than cocaine” [interview, BBC News] – a somewhat controversial statement. He argues that “Crack cocaine is more addictive than alcohol but because alcohol is so widely used there are hundreds of thousands of people who crave alcohol every day, and those people will go to extraordinary lengths to get it.” Perhaps, then, it is most important to separate harm to individuals and harm to society. The Lancet paper written by Prof Nutt, Dr King and Dr Lawrence Phillips, explores this further by scoring each drug for harm, including mental and physical damage, addiction, crime, and costs to the economy and communities.
Interestingly, amphetamines and cannabis find themselves below widely accepted vices such as tobacco and alcohol. Although the paper does not examine the harm caused to users by taking more than one drug at a time, thus rendering it partially un-reliable in the eyes of many, the paper does shed a questionable light on the well ingrained truism that drugs are always worse than alcohol. However, this “Brave New World” of scientific advancement, where government endorsed narcotics can be switched on and off has also stimulated conversations about the use of vaccines to make drugs ineffective. Already, people coming to hospital having overdosed on cocaine are given antibodies that mop up the drug in the blood. This is a shortterm treatment, lasting a few hours; but in theory it should be possible to vaccinate someone against a drug, so that when a person takes it, the immune system is turned on, stopping the drug from getting to the brain. Vaccines for nicotine and cocaine are currently under clinical development to help addicted users. If this works, could or should we vaccinate people to protect them from developing an addiction in the first place, just as we do today with
vaccines for polio and whooping cough? Even more controversial is the question of whether vaccines should be administered to children to immunise them against drug and alcohol use. Is it violating somebody’s human rights to take away their choice to experience pleasure from a drug at some point in the future? This debate can be best accessed through literature; In Aldous Huxley’s chilling dystopia ‘Brave New World’, a legalized hallucinogen called soma takes users on enjoyable, hangover-free “holidays”. Developed by the ‘World State’, it provides these inner-directed personal experiences within a socially managed context of State-run “religious” organisations; social clubs. The hypnopaedically inculcated affinity for the State-produced drug, used as a self-medicating comfort mechanism in the face of stress or discomfort, is described as “All of the benefits of Christianity and alcohol without their defects.” Ten years ago, this concept was expressed within a reality far detached from ours, however, in light of recent technological and scientific advancements which seek to eliminate the inconveniences of life, are the imaginings of Huxley so very laughable…?
From the Red Army to the Red Planet… by ROSA THOMAS Centuries ago, when our ancestors stared up at the stars, they did not fully understand their own place in the sparkling, jigsaw puzzle of the cosmos. For them the winking lights in the night sky were just that, a curious oddity, a night-time show. But whilst we now understand much more than they could ever hope to, there is one fundamental similarity that spans the generations. This is the feeling of wonder and awe when staring at the sky, and that instinctive desire to reach up and touch the stars.
deemed unnecessary or too expensive, reaching the moon. The USA’s moon landing program was founded on their phobia of losing out to the USSR, after the USSR had managed to send the first man into space in 1961. The US, terrified that a Soviet domination of space would be the first step in them dominating the earth, responded with President Kennedy’s announcement that “this nation should commit itself to achievi n g t h e
benefits; complacency set in. Reach for the Mars Years passed, uneventful, like the large dark space that occupies so much of the night sky, but recently something has been stirring; the competitive spark is back, this time not between countries, but between privately run organisations. From their names – “Inspiration Mars” and “Mars One” – it is clear that their goal is more ambitious than a simple return to the moon. Whilst
“Since the Mars One application process began, 80,000 people have applied to become future Martians.” Such a dream seemed totally out of reach until the human race forged a new vision, at the very time when wonder and hope seemed in such short supply. It was in the 1950’s that the space race began, born out of the life and death tension between the two superpowers, the communist USSR and the capitalist USA. This tension resulted in misery for man, but for scientists dreaming of reaching the moon, it provided the spark that changed everything. Whilst the original focus of the opposing programs was to launch satellites to aid espionage, this quickly evolved into one of the most productive competitions that the earth has ever seen. The aim, a far loftier goal, the holy grail of astro-science: reaching the moon. The fervour of the rivalry spurred the two countries to do what other countries h a d
goal, before t h i s decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” In less than ten years, on 20 July 1969, this was achieved. After man landed on the moon, there were visionaries who dreamed of worldwide intergalactic expansion. But instead, as the rivalry between the USA and USSR faded, the creative competitive tension dissipated and the incentive to return to space was lost. The costs seemed to override the
Inspiration Mars plans not to land on Mars, but merely to do a close fly-by within 140km, this still presents huge challenges. Their rocket will return into the earth’s atmosphere much faster than any flight before. Can it withstand the friction from the atmosphere without burning up? Time is not on their side, the flight plan relies on an orbital phenomenon to make the trip far shorter, if the 2018 launch window is missed, the opportunity will not arise
again for another 15 years. The plans for Mars One are even more radical; Inspiration Mars plans never to land, but Mars One plans never to leave. Instead the astronauts who land there will build a new life, on the glorious red planet. Although this may sound fanciful, since the application process began, 80,000 people have applied to become future Martians, showing that there really is a future for this extraordinary project. Both programs have met with some scepticism and cynicism. Significant challenges certainly lie ahead, and time and money are tight. A flight to Mars would be measured in months as opposed to the days it took to reach the moon, creating dangerous delays in communications and, without the protection of the earth’s atmosphere, potentially lethal exposure to harmful radiation. Many also question why, with the myriad of our earthbound problems, from poverty and global warming to recession, we are spending so much money on this futuristic endeavour. With Mars in our eyes However, creating the beachhead for a colony on Mars may ultimately be the best response to the issue of global warming and who knows what other benefits may accrue? There were no obvious benefits when, at considerable human and financial expense, Hillary climbed Everest, Columbus journeyed to America or Scott the Antarctic. Regardless, we still went ahead, because that is the core of humanity. Our greatest desire and ability as humans is to question, explore and discover, and where would we be now without this fundamental characteristic ?
Planet Hacking Geoengineering: such stuff as conspiracy theories are made on by FRANCESCA FORRISTAL All they needed was a B&Q pressure washer, 1km of hydraulic hose and an 8m air balloon. The Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) team stood poised, in a disused Norfolk airfield, as they prepared to fire a balloon which, once in the air, would spray 120 litres of fine water droplets into the sky, thus altering the atmosphere; a miniaturised test for a potentially industrial system designed to pump out chemical particles to reflect sunlight and purportedly cool the planet. However, the risk ridden experiment was postponed, after burning indictments by countless environmental protection agencies; thus provoking the question, to what extent do we as humans possess the right to artificially alter our environment, in order to prevent the potentially devastating effects of climate change? Geoengineering – as defined by the Royal Society in 2009 – is the large-scale, technological manipulation of the
climate (some call it “planet hacking”). On 27 September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s most respected authority on global warming, acknowledged for the first time the need to consider it as a weapon against rising temperatures. Alarmingly, the panel recognised that sea levels are rising faster than previously projected; it is “very likely” that extreme weather events will soon strike more regularly, and what we are doing now is “irreversible on a multi-century to millennial timescale”. The most feasible geoengineering operation currently being considered is the use of Stratospheric Aerosols. This works on the principle that the sun’s rays could be partially reflected back into space by simulating a Volcanic Eruption. Volcanoes release a plethora of sulphate particles, leading to periods of cooling; exemplified by Mount Pinatubo, 1991, which saw global temperatures fall by half a degree for 18 months. Though this would be among the fastest fixes to global warming,
it is also among the riskiest, as global weather patterns could be drastically affected, blurring the presence of the sun’s disc, and making rainfall patterns go haywire as the ozone layer breaks up.
“Geoengineering, as defined by the Royal Society in 2009 – is the large-scale, technological manipulation of the Earth’s climate, unoficially planet hacking”
SPICE are also considering the Ocean Fertilisation technique, which involves dropping iron filings into the ocean to generate blooms of carbon-absorbing plankton. The plankton take in CO2 at the surface, and carry it with them as they drift to the ocean floor after death, creating “carbon sinks”. However, it takes a long time for comparatively little effect, and the impact on marine life could be devastating; suffocating swathes of sea life, and marginally acidifying the waters. These radical new plans for ‘stabilizing’ the Earth’s atmosphere almost negate the need for conspiracy theories, as they themselves stimulate endless debates as to what right man has to act with such brash hubris. “People are right to be revolted and alarmed,” says Matthew Watson, the head of SPICE. “That’s a good thing. It should not sound easy. If we do this, it will be the clearest indication we have failed as planetary stewards. It will be a desperate thing to do.” This statement suggests that we are indeed ‘planetary stewards’ as a result of humanity’s careless attitude towards our surroundings for generations. However, already, a protest movement of sorts has formed. At the end of August, a ragtag group of “chemtrails” protesters met outside Downing Street, wielding placards with pictures of dirty skies and
slogans such as, “Our weather is being engineered.” Likewise, the action group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration views any technological solution to climate change as a “dangerous distraction”, taking focus away from conventional CO2 reduction methods, such as renewable energy sources. There are, of course, those fervent few who believe that we must geoengineer or face inexorable disaster… they form a minority. One, the Russian Yuri Izrael, carried out a sulphate aerosol experiment in 2009; another, Russ George, dumped 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off the coast of Canada in 2012. Like every other decision in regards to climate change, geopolitical implications must be examined. Steve Rayner, who codirects Oxford’s Geoengineering programme, uses the example of the India/Pakistan conflict. Should India at any stage inject sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere, and should those aerosols disrupt the Asian monsoon, Pakistan could then blame any flooding on its old enemy. The chances of war, notes Rayner, escalate rapidly. When one country’s attempt to alter the world in which we live impinges on another, friendly relations could turn sour. Geoengineering technologies are the stuff of Hollywood disaster movies – Already, researchers have suggested sending a giant glass sunshade into space to reflect light. However, with rapidly evolving, and arguably cataclysmic global prospects, Steve Rayner surmises that we should “get a better idea of the implications, and find a way of ensuring that research is conducted responsibly” in order to arrive at a safe, yet effective solution to a problem which concerns us all.
The opera: a very British tradition?
Classical music: the superiority myth, explained by GEORGE RAIKES A common assumption in today’s world is that classical music fans must be “snobs”, who look down on people for being fans of Pop music, Rock, Jazz, or any other musical genre. The assumption is that the classical music world is pretentious and arrogant, and that classical music is “stuffy, boring and elitist”. One review recently came out on the latest offering from the Royal Opera House. “Spectacular? -Ish. Expensive? Undoubtedly - and perfect fuel for any campaign seeking to prove the ROH is an extravagant and pretentious waste of taxpayers’ money.” Another case heard frequently is; ‘who needs it? Why should I waste my time listening to such hopelessly dated old-fashioned compositions’? This idea is of course, not true and as explained in the previous edition of A*, classical composers have had a huge impact on modern popular (and not so popular) music. Unfortunately, these anti-classical misconceptions have led to an ever-growing cavity between the appreciation of the classical and popular genres. There is an offshoot of individuals who have what is called a ‘classical music superiority complex’. They believe that the Classical genre is the only music that should be listened to - anything
less than Brahms or Beethoven is inferior. The argument, which these cynics give, is that popular music is menial in comparison. The Four-chord song illustrates perfectly the intellectual divisions between say, Rossini (creator of the famous ‘William Tell Overture’) and PSY (creators of the song ‘Gangnam Style’). Almost every pop song ever written is based on the same four chords; (E major– C# minor – A major – B major). The shelf life of pop bands also is an issue; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in 1756 continues to have his music widely performed on the radio and in concert halls 300 years later. A current ‘star’ by comparison, Katy Perry, having gained international prominence will be long forgotten in twenty years or so. This is because, as a new talent show found, image driven pop stars will have been discovered in the future and thus the stars of today will be neglected. Classical music is also theoretically much more intellectual; imagine comparing ‘50 shades of grey’ with a Charles Dickens novel. Analysing a Shostakovich symphony seems to be worlds apart from what is spouted out on popular radio nowadays. He composed a plethora of harmonic and textural devices such as Dimished 7th chords, the hemiola, a ‘cheeky’ Neapolitan 6th chord, sonata form and obviously there is a cadential
6/4. Amazingly, this was not considered to be iconoclastic and he is merely continuing the work of his predecessors. Unfortunately, from some nameless and faceless elitists, this argument is taken one step further; when even particular classical music isn’t good enough. For example, take Einaudi the 20th Century ‘classical’ composer – described as ‘facile scribbling’s’ or ‘lift music’ - he just doesn’t fit the rubric of what a ‘proper’ piece should be and apparently his music is plain wrong.
“Unfortunately, anticlassical misconceptions have led to an ever-growing cavity between the truly appreciation of the classical brilliant music. This ‘complex’, and popular genres.” if you will, is short sighted, rash The music world seems to find itself in a bit of a conundrum. The old head or heart cliché is just as much a dilemma for us in 2013 as it was for Romeo, in fair Verona. It is clear, from an academic perspective that there is no doubt to which genre of music is superior. However, music is an art, a form of expression and it would be foolish to judge it, as if it was a scholarly article. Therefore, Classical music superiority is very dangerous, because it fills individuals with resentment and tends to close their minds to the possibility of
and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. No one has the right to dictate what is ‘good or bad music’. As with any other form of art, the whole issue of superiority and inferiority is a dicey one, filled with intellectual booby-traps. At times, the world of intellect needs to come down from its pedestal and accept the fact that there is no accounting for taste. Opinion is personal, and nothing will or should ever change that. The Latin maxim ‘De Gustibus None Est Disputandum’ is very appropriate here. In matters of taste, there can be no disputes.
Outside: A man stands in the cramped corridor between one living block and another
Inside: The squalid living conditions of standard accommodation for the workers
The 2022 World Cup: Year of Controversy
by HANNAH KIRWAN Every four years there’s an event that unites the globe in ‘the beautiful game’, the FIFA World Cup. Countries from all over the world compete; facing the challenges of the qualifiers, with Britain struggling through each time, until thirty two countries remain to fight for the ultimate goal, victory. In 2014, it will be hosted by Brazil for the second time (first time: 1950) and then in 2018, it will be hosted by Russia for the first time. Qatar will host the 2022 World cup, and this will be the first time it’s been held in the Middle East. Zinedine Zidane (former France midfielder), in an exclusive interview for FIFA. com, said that Qatar’s successful bid was ‘a victory for the Arab world’. However, recent events show that perhaps the Qatari victory isn’t completely positive. In an investigation conducted by ‘The Guardian’, it was revealed that Nepalese workers, helping to build several of the major infrastructural projects in the country, have been working in horrific conditions.
Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, dubbed the exploitation of the labourers “modern-day slavery’. Ram Kumar Mahara, a 27 year-old Nepalese immigrant worker, said, “We were working on an empty stomach for 24 hours; 12 hours’ work and then no food all night. When I complained, my manager assaulted me, kicked me out of the labour camp I lived in and refused to pay me anything. I had to beg for food from other workers.” There have always been tensions regarding the World Cup’s association with slave labour, but this is now no longer a risk, instead it’s a terrible reality. This summer, close to one worker was dying every day. This was as a result of enduring shifts lasting up to eight times the length of a football match in 30˚C heat, with many young men dying due to sudden heart attacks. At least 44 workers died between the 4th of June and the 8th of August this year, leading the International Trade Union Confederation to predict a possible 4,000 deaths by 2022. The fact that Qatar is
A Qatari worker sleeping after a gruelling 12-hour shift
spending approximately £137 billion on their projects for the World Cup and is the world’s richest nation, suggests that they could afford to pay a little more to prevent such shocking mortality rates.
“We were working on an empty stomach for 24 hours; 12 hours’ work and then no food all night. When I complained, my manager assaulted me, kicked me out of where I lived and refused to pay me anything.” In light of this investigation, many people have been questioning the Qatari administration on what they intend to do to improve the living conditions of the workers. Hassan al-Thawadi, the Organising Committee chief, said “The health, safety, well-being and dignity of every worker that contributes to staging the 2022 World Cup is of the utmost importance to our committee”. The part FIFA had to play in all this was called into question as well. FIFA president Blatter stepped in on the defensive, saying, “We have plenty of time concerning Qatar.” Far from placating his opposition, however, Nicholas McGeehan (Gulf researcher at Human Rights Watch) said FIFA seemed to be suggesting the issue of workers’ rights was someone else’s problem. McGeehan doesn’t stand alone in his viewpoint; Ramesh Badel, a lawyer from Kathmandu defending the rights of the Nepalese, said FIFA should take responsibility to restore the rights of the workers themselves,” he said. “All this
construction is happening because of their World Cup. If there is slavery, how can they just keep quiet?” Badel believes that FIFA is shirking their duties. The issue of working conditions is one problem Qatar will have to overcome, but there is another matter to consider. Top temperatures in Qatar in the summer, the traditional World Cup season, have in the past reached a height of 53˚C, although they generally only average around 44˚C. This is incredibly hot weather to be running around a football pitch in, and has therefore raised questions about whether or not to move the Cup to winter. A decision on this has been delayed whilst Blatter and his colleagues discuss the pros and cons. In the meantime, the world player’s union Fifpro has been encouraging its members to boycott the Cup, should it be decided that playing in the heat will go ahead anyway. FIFA and Blatter have a great deal to discuss when it comes to the World Cup of 2022, and meanwhile, the attention of the globe has been shifted to the issue of slavery. Although outlawed in many countries, slave labour does clearly exist today and it is something we shouldn’t stand for. It is illegal for workers to create unions in Qatar, and is therefore incredibly difficult for them to lobby for improved living standard; external intervention needs to happen.
3D Printing: Revolutionising industry… at Alleyn’s I was undecided as to what design themed topic to write on, until it became apparent to me just how few people were aware that we have a 3D printer in our very own DT Department!
by IAN KEGLER Being called ‘The trigger of the second Industrial Revolution’, 3D Printing has been embraced by a plethora of industries, to perform a multitude of functions. This technology can produce anything from a one-off prototype for design approval, through to end-use production components to be used in true working environments. The area in which additive manufacturing has had its most profound affect is the manufacture of plastic components.
“There are companies at the moment which are thriving on the idea of making 3D printing an accessible technology. As far as the potential applications of this development are concerned, the future looks broad and bright.” The 3D printer we have at school, pictured above, is based on extrusion technology, printing its parts by layering molten PLA
(Polylactic Acid) in sheets less than half a millimetre thick, building up the part, layer by layer. This process allows for an extreme degree of accuracy, with minimal material costs. Yet with this extrusion method there are one or two manufacturing disadvantages. For example, 45 degrees is the printable limit and thin objects sometimes rise up off the base as the plastic cools, causing the objects dimensions to distort. On as small a scale as the Replicator 2, printing can take up to three hours, varying from part to part. But having said that, the machine needs no supervision, allowing the designer to leave and return to a finished component. This method of printing is by no means the only one available. On a more industrial scale a slightly different process is used called selective laser sintering. This begins with powdered Nylon lying level on a base; lasers then rapidly fuse together the particles of nylon relevant to the part, in that layer, before the bed is lowered and a hydraulic arm sweeps across, applying another
perfectly level layer of powder, allowing the process to start again. This is a much quicker process as a result of the speed of the laser induced fusion, and the lasers ability to cover a much greater area in a shorter space of time. One of the most outstanding aspects of this technology is its ability to be applied to such a broad range of situations. For example, architects have begun designing buildings incorporating the idea of their concrete elements being printed. Previously all concrete components had been formed in moulds meaning that they were solid and materially inefficient. There are many advantages of the application of this process to the construction industry. The ability to print the concrete only where it is needed (taking into account cavities for wiring, piping and ventilation within each part themselves) allows the synthesis to be more efficient in a variety of ways. Construction can be a hazardous industry and the reduction of human involvement in this part of the process would help eliminate the chance of injury.
“Being called ‘The trigger of the second Industrial Revolution’, 3D Printing has been embraced by a plethora of industries, to perform a multitude of functions.” The principles of this kind of manufacturing can also be applied to other materials. The production of metal components
through an additive manufacturing process is the main focus of development in this field. The limitations of printing in plastic are just that, the components are printed in plastic. Whilst for some applications this isn’t a problem, for others it really can be. There are a host of disciplines which require components to be made within extremely tight tolerances (playing to the strengths of additive manufacturing methods) but which also require the components to be made of a more robust material. Samples have been made by NASA, composed of a nickel alloy, which can withstand temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Celsius. The specific process they used is known as selective laser melting and it came about as an evolution of the previously used technique of electron beam melting (EBM). The main problem with the preceding method was that it had to be carried out in a vacuum. This was necessary because the electrons used to fuse the alloy would have otherwise been scattered off of present gas molecules. As a result this was an expensive and inefficient process. It was the advancement in laser technology, removing the need for a vacuum chamber, which allowed this idea to be applicable to a realistic industrial setting. Whilst the real excitement amongst the experts is the possibility of being able to create a product, incorporating advanced functions (for example circuitry), in one process, the future of 3D printing may also involve the induction of the general public to the simpler, extrusion based, processes. There are companies at the moment which are thriving on the idea of making 3D printing an accessible technology. As far as the potential applications of this development are concerned, the future looks broad and bright.
Making Visible The EY Exhibition at the Tate Modern 16th October 2013 – 9 March 2014 Tickets £13.10 - £15 by BETH WOOD Klee’s exhibition is filled with a vast array of his enchanting work ,presented in a chronological pattern through 17 rooms, enabling the viewer to see his progression as an artist and how his small scaled abstract paintings developed with not only an experimentation in media but also through his skill as a painter. This exhibition is very fitting with the Tate’s other recent exhibitions, featuring the work of Ibrahim El, Salahi and Saloua Raouda Choucair who are all similarly abstract modernist artists that have remained relatively uncelebrated, but incredibly influential in the 20th century.
They’re Biting, oil painting, 1920 Klee as well as being a painter, was also a professional violinist, which translates into his rhythmical artwork and is reflected in his several writings on art. All of his pieces, whether the earlier kaleidoscopic colourful oil paintings or his more sophisticated and dreamy maze-like watercolour and oil, are clearly
influenced by his musicality. His musical talent also seems to have made him a systematic artist, as Klee catalogued and numbered all his work according to what year it was made. Even though he was incredibly skilful and ordered he still managed to capture a wonderful child like, charming quality to his work which leaves the viewer feeling happy and refreshed. His piece They’re Biting was created in 1920 is a result of his success with the development of the oil transfer technique and also created the year of his retrospective in Munich. The piece is bordered with a lime green framing the line drawing, which features a sea scene which is much more illustrative than his previous paintings. His experimentation with the oil transfer technique leads his later work to have a greater emphasis on line not just the shapes. Klee’s use of colour in this image is very unusual as he usually opted for darker tones of blues rather than these fresh green and yellows. However he always seems to maintain vitality to his work, which is surprisingly small in scale, through the warmth that is strongly emitted from each piece.
Klee’s work celebrates colour, shape and line within his culmination of abstract forms, illustrative pieces and surreal compositions. A Young Lady’s Adventure, painted in 1922, watercolour on paper is quite typical of Klee’s work, with the overlapping shapes layered on top of each other. He has framed the image with the darker tones around the sides, and the bright almost luminescent focal point in the middle of the woman’s body. It emits the feeling of happiness that the
Rich Harbour, oil on canvas, 1938 viewer achieves from seeing a Lady’ is animalistic, and thus collection of his work. This piece remains within the realms of is very welcoming and natural, Klee’s abstract painting. even with the bright arrow at the One of his much later works bottom, which somehow doesn’t Rich Harbour, which is draseem to interrupt the flow and matically larger in scale for gentle movement of the piece. Klee, takes another twist in his The layering elevates his subtly style of painting with overlapcrafted shapes and simplistic ping colours and shapes being shapes and this image in par- replaced by bold black lines ticular has the child-like quality creating an image reminiscent of that makes it so unique. This a maze. Painted in 1938, in oils, piece is also quite unusual as just two years before his early death, shows a culmination of his styles and also a new direction that his artwork seems to be heading in. It has echoes of his previous styles such as the overlapping forms, and the colourful shapes yet these are overridden by a sense of direction in the dark black almost calligraphic lines. The lines have a sense of movement like his other work but in a much more bold, dominate way than before where his forms would be quite delicate and ethereal. ‘Rich Harbour’ has a sense of urgency and life, the scale contrasts so much to the majority of his small work and brings the exhibition to a conclusion. A Young Lady’s Adventure, Klee’s work celebrates colour, watercolour on paper, 1922 shape and line within his culit portrays a figure as the focal mination of abstract forms, point of the piece whereas his illustrative pieces and surreal work mainly revolves around compositions. A large exhibiimaginary shapes, and some- tion that is great if you love times structures, but usually colour and 20th century abstract natural subject matters like his painting. work based on fish. The ‘Young
London Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2014
by JALEH BRAZELL Florals? For spring? Ground-breaking,” purrs Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, her glacial tones kick-starting the next ice age. And so the challenge is set: to reinvent the obligatory blooms for every Spring/ Summer collection, heretofore and until the end of time. It seems a perpetual cycle from which the fashion world cannot free itself, a sort of style samsara, and this London Fashion Week has been no exception – regardless of Meryl Streep’s dripping contempt.
Yet those poor designers, charged with a daunting task (there are only so many ways you can sew on a daisy – but see Prada S/S 13 for an attempt to defy such confines), nevertheless do a pretty solid job. Christopher Kane showed a continued penchant for cut-out, with petal stencils dominating his show alongside crinkled dresses that looked like they were made of tin foil. The overall feel was that of space-age botany though the tone was lowered slightly by a slogan jumper that simply read ‘PETAL’ in all-caps. You can use originality with flair, and then you can just shove it
down people’s throats; it was somewhat refreshing to see both approaches in one show. But really, who knew that removing the shape of a leaf from an otherwise plain dress could look so daringly innovative? Christopher Kane, that’s who, do keep up.
“In Meadham Kirchhoff’s collection, snakeskin resided happily next to the 1800s lace and embroidery; bright orange hair made outfits that could have been taken from a Dickens novel combined with Harajuku style” Then Burberry Prorsum and all that it entails: delicate pastel shades, lace, and Cara Delevingne. This collection was one of strangely harmonious contradictions, where strict
pencil skirts were rendered almost completely see-through by (yes, you guessed it) floralpatterned lace, and a hint of confectionary was added to the classic Burberry trench coat by layering it atop delicious light lilacs and mint greens. It was a cool summer, bringing to mind powdered Southern belles with demure-length yet alluringlytextured pieces. In fact, the whole collection wouldn’t have looked out of place arranged on
a cake stand – all the clothes seemed lightly dusted with magical Burberry icing sugar. Special mention, of course, must go to Cara’s finishing look, which included a transparent vinyl waterproof with jewel-encrusted shoulders. Sounds ridiculous, looked fabulous, and surely made the most impractical, outrageously desirable item of the week. And it can be yours for only £2,195! Start saving now and you might be able to buy it before you die.
“The whole collection wouldn’t have looked out of place arranged on a cake stand – all the clothes seemed lightly dusted with magical Burberry icing sugar.” Meanwhile, Jonathan Saunders showed a slightly unhealthy interest in tie dye (purple, burgundy and green? Really?), making cardigans look like those PowerPoint backgrounds you made back in year 8 (apologies to any year 8’s, they’re delightful, really). It seemed like he had accidentally sneezed while sketching out the collection, resulting in nauseating combinations of desert-chic camel and floral oriental silks. This is the kind of show that fashion journalists call “daring” and “offkilter” and then quietly forget ever happened. Perhaps there is a reason most labels stick to florals for spring after all. And now to a name you’ve probably never heard of: Meadham Kirchhoff. It represents a collaborative effort between Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchoff, whose Victoriana-inspired pieces have been garnering the label attention for some time; in 2010 they won Emerging Talent at the British Fashion Awards. This season they produced a delightful collection literally strewn with roses (the catwalk was scattered
with them), wide-brim schoolgirl boaters and knee-high socks. So far, so doll-y; the classic ‘slightly creepy little girl’ look that we’ve all seen before. But Meadham Kirchoff added a bit of…well, bite to the cliché. Snakeskin resided happily next to the 1800s lace and embroidery; bright orange hair made outfits that could have been taken from a Dickens novel combined with Harajuku style– which is not a straightforward transition. The compulsary flowers came in the form of tapestried patterns across flowing blouses and frilly smocks, but were always kept modern by the reptilian twist.
So, as Miranda Priestly would say, you may think that this has nothing to do with you, but come spring when Topshop is making dresses with petal shapes cut out of them, River Island issues a bubblegum pink lacy pencil skirt, and New Look has been invaded by summer clothing straight out of Oliver Twist, you’ll know why. Let us all collectively pray that the high street doesn’t choose Jonathan Saunders as an inspiration. I don’t want to spend next summer being assaulted by women dressed as Fruit Pastel lollies.
» “Despite popular belief, these blogs are changing the way we learn about style and are changing the shape of the fashion world.”
Fashion blogging culture: where will it go next? by LAURA MAVRIAS Nowadays, the internet is used for all sorts of different purposes, from internet shopping to catching up on your favourite shows on iPlayer. But what it seems to be utilised most for, is the expression of personal opinion through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, as well as sites intended for blogging such as Tumblr, Wordpress and Blogger. By the end of 2011 there were just over 156 million public blogs existing, spanning a wide range of genres from video games to ‘lolcatz’, around 4 million of which fell under the genre of ‘Fashion Blog’. “Fashion blogs allow users to easily check out the current trends from the comfort of their own home.” Fashion blogs are blogs which focus on the fashion industry, personal style and clothing, and are usually quite subjective. They first entered the ‘blogosphere’ in around 2002, rising from near 200 in the first few years to today’s significantly higher volume. The question is, how much of an impact are these blogs really having on our society and the fashion world as a whole? Despite popular belief, these blogs are changing the way we learn about style and are changing the shape of the
fashion world. The fashion industry is worth billions of dollars and is very trend driven. Fashion blogs allow users to easily check out the current trends from the comfort of their own home or on the move, and therefore are having a huge impact on the industry as a whole, by being far more accessible than most other sources of fashion information. There are various types of site, ranging from blogs focusing solely on the blogger’s opinion of the latest designer trends and catwalk shows, to blogs which are entirely personal, with no correlation to current popular trends. On the whole, it seems to be these ‘on-trend’ blogs which are the most accessed, correlating with Fashion journalist Karen Kay’s statement; “Before a designer’s runway show has even finished, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone in the audience – or better still, backstage – has recorded every silhouette, signature shoe, styling detail and sulking supermodel, then uploaded it onto the internet for style watchers across the globe to enjoy.” As well as having an impact on the fashion industry as a whole, blogs can also have a huge effect on the individual creators themselves. If good enough, the blog can attract a lot of attention from the blogging community. ‘The
Budget Fashionista’, one of the very first fashion blogs, founded in April 2003 by Kathryn Finney, now generates a six-sum figure annually for Finney, as it remains one of the most viewed fashion blogs out there.
“Brands such as Gap and H&M are ‘sponsoring’ popular fashion blogs in return for positive commentary on their garments.”
Kathryn herself has also somewhat become a mini-star in the fashion industry, releasing her own incredibly successful book in 2006, which is now on its 8th print. She has also appeared on many national TV shows in America such as NBC’s Today Show and CNN, as well as featuring in prestigious publications including The New York Times, Essence and LA Today. Finney has been called “the master of cheap chic” and is widely considered a pioneer and icon in the fashion blogosphere. Equally, Michelle Madhok created her site, SheFinds.com, in 2004, “an online shopping publication”. Within just a year, the site was making over $300,000 annually. In more recent years, brands have begun to pay more and more attention to and latch onto the success of certain blogs. By featuring a company’s clothing on a blog, the blogger is effectively providing them with free
advertising, as the inclusion of that item obviously then has influence on those who see it. However, for the brands themselves there is of course no guarantee their clothes will be included on the blogs, or positively commented on, and so this is where they have begun to intervene. Brands such as Gap and H&M are buying banner advertising or in some cases, even just ‘sponsoring’ them in return for inclusion of their garments or positive commentary on various different sites, including ‘Fashion Bomb Daily’. Is this really ethical? Is it fair for blogs to accept these effective bribes? Or does this just counteract the whole idea of fashion blogging and even just blogging as a whole - expression of personal opinion. Fashion blogging culture has created a totally unique platform for people to express their views. It’s allowed millions of wannabe fashionistas to have their voices heard, and has really influenced designers and subsequently their collections. But fashion brands paying bloggers to hype their clothing is tainting the innocence and beauty of this culture, and the future for fashion blogging no longer looks so bright. ￼
» “Peter Jackson looked at what made the original King Kong so great and enhanced it, using CGI to give Kong more emotion in his 2005 remake … frankly epic.”
» Remakes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by MICHAEL HAJIANTONIS Remake. The single word that upon being heard can fill the hearts of most movie fanatics with dread. But like it or not, remakes have been a part of Hollywood history since the very beginning. The first ever remake made was “The Great Train Robbery”, released in 1904, just one year after the original. However, are we justified in disliking remakes, or are we being unfair? “The 1988 remake of Psycho brings absolutely nothing new to the table, with poor acting, and was a critical and commercial failure.” Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, one of the most iconic thrillers ever made, believe it or not, has been remade. And not just a remake in the normal sense of the word, but a shot for shot remake, starring Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. When I first heard this, I thought this was a joke, but it’s all too true. The film, thank God, was both a critical and commercial failure, and proving to the director, Gus Van Sant, who has made some very good films in the past, that shot for shot remakes are completely pointless. This is a remake that ticks all the wrong boxes. It brings
absolutely nothing new to the table that would warrant a remake, except of course the new actors, but the less said about Vince Vaughn’s portrayal of Norman Bates, the better. One remake that really sticks out in my mind as one of the best remakes is Peter Jackson’s, quite frankly epic version of King Kong, in 2005. The reason why this film is so great is because Jackson picked up on the subtle nuances that made the original 1933 version so incredible. In the original 1933 film, Kong, despite being a model, still has many human-like characteristics. The way the creature interacts with Ann Darrow, played by Fay Wray, is enhanced with some breakthrough sound and music design. It was the first film to bring the soundtrack to the forefront, instead of just background to set the mood. The music in Jackson’s version is also impressive, and it won Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Mixing. Peter Jackson didn’t just look at the general plot of the original film; he looked at what made the film so great and enhanced it, using CGI to give Kong even more emotion, something that even the original couldn’t do. However, there was another King Kong remake in 1976 which was commercially successful but failed to match the
gravitas that both the original and Jackson’s had, instead going for a more comic angle. We’ve had the good, we’ve had the bad, and now we get the ugly. These are remakes that aren’t necessarily bad, but have totally changed the overall tone and look of the films, making them almost unrecognisable. The original Casino Royale, instead of the slick Bond movie we all know and love, was in fact a parody of Bond, a satirical psychedelic 1967 comedy that laughs at the four Bond films that were made before it. Despite being based on the same source material, the films are totally different. The film has an extraordinary cast of film legends, such as Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, David Niven and Woody Allen but still failed to hit the mark with the critics, who called it “baffled” and “disorganised” ,which might have been down to the fact that it had 5 directors. Then we come to the 2006 adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel. It was the first in the reboot of Bond and my personal favourite of the latest stream of Bond films, because it is just so cool. The film is more than just another Bond film because it is also an origin story, with the well-known theme only really playing in full until the very
end of the film when Craig delivers the characters signature catchphrase, “The name’s Bond. James Bond.” The character is adapted to suit a film that has a darker tone than any other Bond before it, however, it still has the slickness and smoothness that the first few films had, but bucketloads more. Compared to this newer, modern Bond, the character in the original Casino Royale comes off as ridiculous and over-the-top. There is no room for characters as cool as Craig’s in a movie that starts off with inappropriate jokes, a la 1967 Casino Royale.
“Compared to the modern version, Bond in the original Casino Royale comes off as ridiculous and over-the-top: there is no room for characters as cool as Craig’s” In the movie world, there are three types of remakes. There are the remakes that take the best parts of the original and enhance them, there are remakes that take the first film and flip it on its head. And then there are remakes that cast comedians in the roles of iconic thriller villains and bring something new to the table of Hollywood, or in some cases don’t bring anything at all.
Truffles by LIVVY RADCLIFFE
making the white chocolate and coffee truffles:
Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of gently simmer-
ing water. Take the bowl off the heat and stir in first the butter and then the cream. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and stir it into the mixture, then chill in the fridge until firm- about 1 hour.
Divide the mixture into 10 even-sized pieces and form into balls. Place these on non-stick paper and put into the freezer to chill thoroughly for about 1 hour.
Roll the truffles in cocoa powder or finely ground toasted hazelnuts (my personal fave). Store in the fridge.
making the plain chocolate truffles:
Break the chocolate into a bowl and set aside. In a small pan heat the cream
until boiling and then take it off the heat. Add the chocolate pieces to the cream and stir gently until it is all incorporated and becomes a glossy mixture.
One technique that came up a lot when baking with chocolate in the Great British Bake Off was tempering chocolate. Heating and cooling chocolate can result in the crystallisation of cocoa butter to form different sized crystals. This is the reason why chocolate can turn out matt and with whitish patches. This is why you need to temper the chocolate.
Repeat stages 2 and 3 for the white chocolate and coffee truffles. Store in the fridge when finished.
• 100g white chocolate • 25g unsalted butter • 75ml double cream • ½ teaspoon instant espresso coffee • 1 teaspoon boiling water • cocoa powder and finely ground toasted hazelnuts, to decorate
INGREDIENTS: • 100g plain chocolate 150g double cream
The possibilities for decorations are endless, try out different combinations, dark chocolate with pistachios, white chocolate and vanilla or try dipping the truffles in melted chocolate for a professional look. Tempering makes sure that the crystals are all of a small size which results in much better-quality chocolate. For dark chocolate it should reach 31-32⁰C, milk chocolate 3031⁰C and 27-28⁰C for white chocolate. Truffles are a delicious treat to have in the house but also a fantastic gift especially around Christmas: how can pretty boxes of truffles not put a smile on anyone’s face?
did you know? It is said that the chocolate truffle was invented by the French Chief Auguste Escoffier by accident. He poured his hot cream over chunks of chocolate instead of the sugar and eggs that were going to make a crème anglais and found that when this set, it became a mouldable chocolate mixture. He rolled this in cocoa powder and saw the resemblance to the fungus called truffle and so the chocolate truffle was invented.
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