Courier 1414

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Issue 1414 Monday 24 May 2021 thecourieronline.co.uk

THE COURIER

Free every term

THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF NEWCASTLE STUDENTS

Are women being failed in music?

NFTs? Nah, f*ck that!

What happens when cryptocurrencies sweep the art world?

Music | pages 22-23

Celebrities and politics

Do they deserve the airtime?

Arts | page 29

Comment | page 9

Newfess II: the most toxic of uni confession pages Alex Gervas

— News sub-editor

Our News subeditor delves into the controversial anonymous confessions Facebook page, Newfess, and talks to some regular users Content warning: harassment and bullying, mentions of suicide, ableism and racism his ‘confession’ may come as no surprise. Most Newcastle University students and alumni have experienced or witnessed bullying on the University’s main Facebook confession page. However, the behaviour of these

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‘internet trolls’ opens up a debate on accountability and the regulation of confession pages. But why does Newfess II make students roll their eyes every time they hear the name? The increasing tension of the political climate and the cabin fever produced by the multiple lockdowns we have faced over the past year have made the whole internet climate unstable and unhealthy. “There’s already been an uptick in submissions about going out and having fun, as well as fesses, and normal life around the world is still a long way away. Another thing is that Newfess has had a reach that extends beyond Newcastle and across the country,” said one the Newfess II admins. The admin told The Courier: “There definitely seems to be a lot more bullying on Newfess than on other confession pages, but it doesn’t rule out that their submission boxes are full of it too.” An anonymous user defined Newfess’s toxicity as “an intrinsic problem

“Genuine debate or education is okay, as long as we’re not up for debating basic human rights” with the medium, encouraging people to send in edgy/offensive comments for the fun of it.” He continued by saying: “genuine debate or education is okay, as long as we’re not up for debating basic human rights.” While the admins said that some offensive posts are filtered out, especially if they are explicitly racist, homophobic, or sexist comments, they added: “Some posts that perhaps shouldn’t be allowed are accepted on the basis that somebody will explain to the OP why what they’re saying is wrong. With the new Uni-

Truths submission tracking system, I’m hoping this evolves to enable admins to leave a note explaining why somebody’s post was declined.” Elizabeth Meade told The Courier: “It’s not marginalised people’s job to teach people why being racist, sexist, etc. is wrong. It’s also not the job of anyone being bullied/harassed for any reason to explain why bullying and harassment are wrong. Admins should absolutely step in if someone is being discriminatory, bullying, etc.” “As a society we should educate each other, but anonymous hate is never something to educate it simply shouldn’t be allowed. Sadly, people don’t use Newfess to ask many questions, more to harm other people,” said Madeleine Lake. Many of the users that got in contact with us believed that the responsibility of regulating opinions should fall on the page’s admins. Despite seemingly having good intentions, the Facebook

page opens a door to the dissemination of hate speech and defamation, and attacks toward individuals like Sabbatical Officers or users like Naomi, who was accused of defending sexual assaulters. Haaris Qureshi said: “This [form of educating posters] only works on a properly moderated platform, and when you know people are acting in best faith and want to challenge their ignorance. Also, there is no way of really knowing you’ve educated someone because they do not take ownership of their post. There are better and more suited platforms for this.” The anonymity of the platform has been a point of discussion for many. Some say that anonymity provides the writer with a safe space to ask genuine questions or talk about a personal issue. However, it also avoids posters to be held accountable for bullying or hate speech and harassment. Page 3

Revealed: Newcastle Uni edited forms after they were signed by members of staff Joe Molander

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— Head of Current Affairs

ewcastle University altered three forms in March last year after they had been signed by members of staff, The Courier can reveal. An Internal Audit report concluded that this did not constitute forgery. The forms were signed by members of the politics department working on fixed term contracts, and related to their impending redundancy. Prior to being edited, the forms suggested that the redundancies may not go ahead. The unedited forms promised “we will be making a case for retention of all our teaching fellows… in late-spring 2020.” They emphasised “the need to retain our existing cohort of teaching fellows on temporary 12 month contracts for

the foreseeable future.” However, the forms were then edited to remove any mention of this. What takes its place is an explanation that the head of the politics department would be “working closely with those at risk of redundancy to support them in the search for further work, either at Newcastle or beyond.” The edited forms add that staff in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology (GPS) have access to “individual dedicated funding for training, networking, conferences and other career development needs”. The edited forms also discuss “career discussions” and “support for writing and teaching”. Two of these forms have been seen by The Courier. A copy of one can be found below, with some redaction applied by The Courier to protect the anonymity of the signatory: Page 3


Monday 24 May 2021 THE

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2 Inside 24th May 2021 Current Affairs | News UK universities "institutionally racist" Two out of three students who have experienced racial harrassment do not report it to their university. Page 5

Current Affairs | Comment A complaint about complaint procedure One student's journey down the winding rabbit hole of making a university complaint. Page 7 No time to think about news How constant exposure to breaking news may be affecting our ability to engage with it. Page 8

Life & Style | Relationships How to stay in contact once uni ends Tips for keeping in touch with friends and housemates when you live far away. Page 15

Life & Style | Lifestyle Summer horoscopes! What summer item are you based on your starsign? Patrick Young is back to tell you... Pages 16-17

Culture | Music The music industry is failing women Harriet Metcalfe probes into the deep-rooted misogyny of the industry. Pages 22-23

Culture | Arts How do you find inspiration to write? Multiple writers give us their tips on how to put pen to paper. Page 28-29

Sport An open letter to the European Sports League Fans of the six English teams involved write a letter to their club. Pages 36-37

Editor's note: blood, sweat & tiers

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his issue marks the last in my time being editor. Perhaps I should be sharing some kind of uplifting sentiment about how "despite the hurdles" I wouldn’t have changed a thing, but truthfully: if I could re-live my 12 short months in normal times I would. I spent three years of uni seeing former editors immersed into all the buzz of running The Courier, like standing at the front of a crammed lecture theatre shouting out article commissions to bewildered new writers (like me!), or perched at the editor desk in the corner of our office trying to muster music from the tinny computer speakers, chatting to the new faces that would arrive knocking at our office door, or cutting up old issues into paper chains for the renowned Couriermas celebrations. We closed our office doors after two weeks this year, and everything we have made since then has been the product of countless late night video calls, screen sharing streams, voice memos, and so many group chats and cat pictures. Most of the team met in person for

the first time this week, where we did the introductory “names” and “what section do you edit for” conversations days before our final issue went into print. It hasn’t been the same, but I am beyond proud of what we’ve managed: we’ve scrambled through a cyber attack and months of dodgy cloud-based software to keep students updated on every change in their academic and social life, introduced new sections and columns like Agony Ant and expanded our much-loved puzzle pages. We’ve rebuilt our website from the ground up. We’ve started an email newsletter, and grown a new community of student illustrators who contribute artwork week to week. We’ve amplified the student voice in all its forms, whether poignant personal stories, vehementlyargued music and TV reviews, or opinion pieces about how the university is run. We’ve packaged and posted our print issues by hand to students all over the world. My hope is that this year has highlighted to you that The Courier is here for everyone, whether you're a

regular reader, an occasional writer, or just picked one up once for the crossword. Student journalism has never been more important, and even though we have had to significantly reduce our print run during my tenure, I hope that these few issues have demonstrated that there is a distinct value to reading the words of students carefully curated for the printed page. The Courier has found itself comparatively unscathed among a torrent of budget cuts and reduced support for student publications across the UK, and we cannot let the unique cicumstances of a year where everything shut down create a precedent for the future. More than anything else, this year has shown me the resilience and determination of our editors and contributors, who will continue to make something worth reading whatever is thrown at them, because we know that it matters. Thank you, as always, for reading.

Ella Williams

THE COURIER

SECTIONS Editor

Life & Style

Ella Williams -- editor.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Senior editor: Ellie James -- e.james6@ncl.ac.uk

Deputy Editor Julia McGee Russell -- courier.deputy@ncl.ac.uk

Digital and Design George Boatfield -- g.boatfield@ncl.ac.uk

Current Affairs Senior editor: Joe Molander -- j.molander@ncl.ac.uk

News -- courier.news@ncl.ac.uk Alex Gervas Ella Mcaffrey Elsa Tarring Lucy Adams Alex Downing

Comment -- courier.comment@ncl.ac.uk Muslim Taseer Lorcan Flahive Tom Leach

Science -- c2.science@ncl.ac.uk Lily Holbrook Lizzie Meade Polly Stevens

Food Cayla Viner Em Richardson

Relationships Sophie Wilson Phoebe Eyles

Lifestyle -- c2.lifestyle@ncl.ac.uk Meg Howe Faye Navesey

Beauty -- c2.fashion@ncl.ac.uk Sophie McNally Chloe Buchan Charley Moran

Travel -- courier.travel@ncl.ac.uk Patrick Young Louise Cusine

Finlay Holden Joe Smith

TV -- c2.TV@ncl.ac.uk Sophie Hicks George Bell Leo Dawson

Film -- c2.film@ncl.ac.uk Peter Lennon Michael Duckworth Hattie Metcalfe

Arts -- c2.arts@ncl.ac.uk Peter Bath Maud Webster Evie Lake

Gaming -- courier.gaming@ncl.ac.uk Kaitlyn Maracle Jack Wallace-Hunter Shawn Khoo

Puzzles Joeseph Caddick

Culture Senior Editors: Alex Darbyshire -- a.darbyshire@ncl.ac.uk Amy Brown -- a.brown16@ncl.ac.uk

Music -- c2.music@ncl.ac.uk Dom Lee

Sport -- courier.sport@ncl.ac.uk Senior Editor: Tom Moorcroft -- t.bmoorcroft@ncl.ac.uk Sam Slater Elana Shapiro Andrew White Oren Brown Ethan Todd


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Monday 24 May 2021

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Newcastle University edited forms after they were signed by members of staff good practice, the University has implemented a number of recommendations to strengthen the process going forward.” The incident was uncovered by a representative from the Newcastle University branch of the University and College Union (UCU) in June 2020. One of the affected lecturers reported it to Northumbria Police shortly thereafter. It was then deemed a civil, not a criminal matter, opening the possibility of the case being brought before an employment tribunal. The UCU initially worked with the University to resolve the matter. It came to pass, though, that “trust has now broken down”, according to an email sent to branch members in September 2020. Page one of the unedited form (page labels due to attachment to another document) According to the email, the University investigated the document alteration Page two of the edited form. and concluded “it was part of the administrative quality check of documentation and not an attempt to subvert the process and mislead anyone.” The email dismisses this as “plainly nonsense”. After a UCU representative contacted the University under its whistleblowing procedures – suspecting forgery – the University’s Internal Audit body concluded forgery had not occurred. In a report, the Internal Audit claimed one person had edited the forms, despite not being able to remember if they’d been told to. In a separate incident, the University claimed in January 2021 that no members of staff had been made redundant at all. The claim was made in response to a Freedom of Information request filed Continued from page 1 been seen by The Courier (our under- by The Courier in October 2020. The response states that no redundancies The edited forms cite “End of work lining; The Courier did not apply the were made at Newcastle whatsoever redaction, though): for the academic work for the academic Speaking to The Courier, the Univer- from 17 March 2020 to 28 October year 19-20 [sic]” as the reason for re2020. sity confirmed the forms were altered: dundancy. This replaces the original Speaking to The Courier more re“An alteration was made to the Rereason given in the unedited forms, cently, the University affirmed there dundancy Consultation [sic] forms and namely a lack of funding. were no redundancies in this time peAs far back as December 2019, how- this has been fully investigated. It was riod “Other than the end of fixed term found that this change did not comproever, the University acknowledged via contracts which expired at the specified emails that both lack of funding and mise the redundancy process, by which and agreed end date.” fixed-term contracts are terminated. ” end of work are not sufficient reasons The email sent to UCU branch memThe University added “As a matter of for redundancy. These emails have also

Note: JCG stands for Joint Consultative Group, which facilitated the collective redundancy negotiation. Its membership is split equally between UCU branch members and members of the University management staff. The JCG were only sent the edited forms.

Note: People Services is a university body also involved with redundancy proceedings.

bers also takes to task People Services, a university body that worked on the redundancy proceedings. The email explains “It seems to be a theme in dealings with People’s [sic] Services that rather than acknowledge a clear and demonstrable failing, they circle wagons, bury the victims in administration, and then sap their energy and mental health until they can lose the will to fight.” The email was made public on social media by two of the affected lecturers. Soon after, they were told by the Head of GPS, Kyle Grayson, that he would no longer provide them with a reference. He had volunteered to just weeks earlier. The University told The Courier that the affected lecturers “were offered support to find new roles”. Speaking to The Courier, UCU branch

chair David Stewart opined “This episode [the document editing] did not represent the institution’s best work”. The three affected members of staff are part of a larger group of eight politics staff who were made redundant. The other five members of staff signed the same form, but at a later date, after the forms had been edited. All eight forms were edited, though. The University explained “The fixed term work undertaken by these colleagues was to support teaching while some staff members in Politics [sic] were undertaking other activities before they returned to their roles at the start of this academic year.” “These colleagues were employed to meet a specific need at the time and the roles were always foreseen as fixedterm.”

Newfess II: the most toxic of the university confession pages? Continued from page 1

Patrick Young commented: “People should be made to take accountability for their opinions that can be seen as offensive, because at the moment there is no way to hold people to account for their offensive posts, that are still somehow allowed through the admin checks.”

Students have been responding to 999 calls and helping to roll out vaccinations

When asked how Newfess could be made a safer space, Rose (alias) said she believed that further and stricter regulation seemed to be “the only way to go forward other than closing the page down for good”. Rose continued: “I feel like people have genuinely been helped and found friends through the platform but all of the hate and bullying and controversy is cancelling out most of the good it does.” Around a month ago, Newfess II briefly shut down, but quickly came back. The admin said this was due to a change in admins: “the previous admins had decided they couldn’t run the page anymore, they were tired of going through

the abuse submitted, both for users and admins themselves.” Most frequent commenters have experienced personal attacks or bullying. Naomi said that not only had she been personally victimised by Bethany Wilkinson, but that she knew of other users who had been suicidal due to the comments received. While this commenter did not share further details for privacy reasons, she mentioned that the University was made aware, but that they did not offer further resources to confront the bullying on Newfess II. The University was contacted for comment about their knowledge of these events. A University spokesperson said: “We would encourage students not to engage in a social media channel that is harmful to them, and any student subject to bullying and harassment online can report this to the police and the website’s host.” “All of our students can receive free support via our Report and Support service and, should they wish to, can make a formal complaint to our Student Progress team.” Bethany Wilkinson (a.k.a. BW) Bethany Wilkinson has been the subject of many recent Newfess posts, where anonymous writers would comment on her bullying and harassment

of other users. When confronted with these allegations, Wilkinson told The Courier: “I don’t bully anyone. If I disagree with your comment, then I will say so. I’m outspoken and there’s nothing wrong with that.” On this, Tinisha Osu commented: “There’s a difference between expressing your opinions and patronising and putting others down.” Wilkinson was banned by the last admins due to ableist comments using the ‘R-word’, as well as transphobic and racially insensitive comments. After being banned, the alumna was able to continue to interact with Newfess II posts by reposting and commenting on her personal profile, which has everything else privated. The Newfess admin said: “As far as we’re aware, there’s no way to stop someone from seeing or sharing posts. Posts that were simply insults directed at her were declined.” After being confronted for her use of the ‘R-word’, as well as making racist comments in her answers (which we can’t publish), Wilkinson repeated the slur and said: “Ableist is just a crazy thing to comment.” While she claims to only express her opinion, Wilkinson has gone out of her way to attack other users that were not asking to interact with her. Naomi, who had been personally targeted by Wilkinson said: “I still believe she is a massive

bait account or if not, she is purely commenting to get a kick out of people and making them upset which is in fact bullying.” Rose also commented: “Yes, free

speech is important but it doesn’t mean we can say whatever we want without consequence and it doesn’t cover hate speech or anything which could be harmful towards others.” Image: Newfess II via Facebook


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Monday 24 May 2021

News University harrassment reporting under fire Universities reportedly suppress outcomes of sexual assault investigations from those who speak out and report it Ruby Story Dartford

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ampaigners have called for a legal requirement for universities to complete sexual misconduct inquiries to prevent staff moving institutions to avoid repercussions. New employees would be notified of the ongoing accusations through a written reference. This follows ongoing accusations that universities within the UK have failed to support students and staff who have complained of sexual assault. The institution regulator, The Office for Students (OfS), has published further advice for institutions. Among its recommendations, it suggested providing those who report sexual misconduct complaints with further information surrounding their

“The entire process was a waste of time and a slap in the face” investigation. On top of this, institutions are further encouraged to provide explanations as to why sanctions had not been enforced. The OfS also announced that universities that fail to follow this advice could be sanctioned for their failure to be transparent

with the students who have issued complaints. Anna Bull, campaigner and co-director of the 1752 Group which lobbies to prevent sexual misbehaviour within university institutions, said that universities withheld information as the result of ongoing investigations, following fears it could breach data protection legislation. She added that the whole reporting process is “a waste of time and a slap in the face”. The guidance comes in response to campaign website Everyone’s Invited after the publication of disclosures revealing the scale of misconduct at UK institutions. Many have suggested that rape culture remains present despite numerous indications from campaigners for change to the system.

Image: Alex Gervás

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University complaints reach an all-time high Sara Nigohosyan

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he COVID-19 pandemic has affected many institutions, businesses, and individuals one way or another, but universities have been under fire for their minimal effort in maintaining the quality of teaching and student learning experiences, according to students. Students have also felt frustrated about the disruption to their studies due to lecturer strikes in relation to work contracts. The main concerns of the student body this year revolve around the reduced quality of online teaching compared

with that of in-person lectures, seminars, and workshops, especially when students are predominantly expected to produce the same quality of work as the years before. With fewer facilities available, including limited access to libraries, study spaces, and fewer contact hours, students have felt they are expected to find a solution independently without support from their universities. A survey published by The Independent found that 40% of university students have considered dropping out during the coronavirus pandemic. The findings, by student support service Studiosity and Red Brick Research, took place just after most courses were moved online due to the lockdown in

“Universities should be transparent about the complaints process” Gemma McCall, founder of Culture Shift, an anonymous platform to report harassment and bullying, said: “The complaints process is so opaque and not as transparent as it should be, which prevents people from reporting”. “It’s a lottery as a student whether you’re going to get a university that isn’t risk-averse and which will share outcomes if the worst happens, but that should be clear and consistent across the sector.” In response to the findings, a spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said: “Our advice is that data protection is not a barrier to sharing information when it is appropriate to do so and it is necessary and proportionate for the purpose. Universities should be transparent about the complaints process and only share the personal data it needs to.”

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Image: Stephen Richards on Geograph

England. Over 80% of the 2000 students who took part in the survey said their education had been affected negatively by the pandemic, mostly referring to less time on campus, less face-to-face teaching and an increase of online learning.

40% of university students considered dropping out The annual report of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) has recommended financial remedies totalling £742 132. It also ruled in favour of many students when receiving complaints from them – significantly more than in previous years. Concerns around worse academic conditions this year are not only related to academic success, but also to how much the education is worth with the current setbacks. Despite multiple fee reduction petitions, one reaching more than half a million signatures, and conversations around the topic, real change seems to be more difficult to achieve. The OIA’s announcement about joint complaints is said to be financially threatening to universities who are worried about receiving too many successful complaints.

May Day: Extinction Rebellion & Kill the Bill activists arrested A report on the arrests made over the May bank holiday weekend Harry Jones

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uring the May Day bank holiday, Newcastle’s Rebellion of One movement, Extinction Rebbelion’s (XR) latest non-violent protests, ended with four arrests as activists blocked traffic across the city. One of the five main goals of XR is to pressure the government to focus on the climate crises. Kate, who was arrested in Jesmond said: “Our kids are losing their future because of our government’s failure to act on the climate crisis. I don’t want to sit in the road, but I have to do something.”

XR, also prominent in within the national Kill the Bill movement, stood in protest against the newly proposed Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts bill.

“Over recent years we have seen an increase in disruptive and dangerous tactics” This bill seeks to impose stricter laws on trespassing and the revision of stop and search, which would significantly impact Romani and BAME communities. This had led to further outcry, labelling the bill discriminatory

in nature. In reply to these claims about suppressing the right to protest, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Over recent years we have seen an increase in the use of disruptive and dangerous tactics. These new measures will not stop people from carrying out their civic right to protest and be heard but will prevent large scale disruption – enabling the silent majority to get on with their lives.” The local opposition to the bill was reflected in the large turnout at the protest on 1 May at Grey’s Monument, which saw a collaboration between the activist groups of Newcastle to broadcast their opinions on the bill. Eight people were arrested after an attempted chalking of Grey's Monument.

“I don't want to sit on the road, but I have to do something.” Another of the arrested protestors, Steve, explained: “The government is telling us it has the climate crisis in hand and is committed to ‘building back greener’ from the pandemic. And yet, in the last 6 months it has invested £27 billion in new roads and is committed to airport expansion.”

Image: Extinction Rebellion


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Monday 24 May 2021

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UK universities are institutionally ” racist says UEA Vice Chancellor “

A look into the University of East Anglia’s Vice Chancellor’s statement made on a new BBC documentary titled Is Uni Racist? Harriet Metcalfe — Film Sub-Editor

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n the new BBC Three documentary, Is Uni Racist?, journalist Linda Adey spoke to the leader of Universities UK’s advisory group on racial harassment and current University of East Anglia Vice Chancellor, Professor David Richardson, who admitted that the country’s universities are “institutionally racist”. Richardson said: “there’s mixed experiences, but many aren’t good. There is a lot of evidence that points towards universities perpetuating systemic racism, being institutionally racist and I have acknowledged that on behalf of the sector.”

Zac Adan was racially profiled by secuity, pinned against a wall and accused of being a drug dealer The Vice Chancellor added that: “perhaps governing bodies are concerned about the reputational impact of the university being seen to be a place that was institutionally racist. I think five years ago people, leaders, universities

would not have called this problem out.” In November of last year, Richardson and Universities UK published guidance and recommendations to encourage institutions to make improvements in the way they tackle racism, such as by engaging more with those who have been affected.

2/3 of students who experienced racial harrassment do not report it to their university

experienced racial harassment have not felt able to report it or felt safe to report it for various reasons.” This comment is supported by earlier research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2019 which found that “two thirds of students who said they had experienced racial harassment did not report it to their university, with some concerned about being called a ‘troublemaker’, having the complaint impact their course, or believing

that the university wouldn’t take it seriously.” David Richardson thought it disappointing that some students were put off from complaining to their institution over concerns for their grades. “We need to acknowledge that and put in place better support to make them feel safe and to help them be reassured that this will not damage their grades,” he said. Writing for the BBC, Adey acknowl-

edges a clear conclusion in the research: “students of colour in the UK feel that much more needs to be done to protect them.”

If you experience racial harrassment, you can report it at: www.nusu.co.uk/support/

Image: John Fielding on Flickr

Adey, the presenter of Is Uni Racist?, investigated how racism is dealt with on campus by speaking not only with Richardson, but also with individual students who had experienced racism themselves. Zac Adan was one such student. He said he was racially profiled by security officers at the University of Manchester who pinned him against a wall and accused him of being a drug dealer. The University announced an investigation after a video of the incident went viral. Many online called for Dame Nancy Rothwell, Vice Chancellor and President of the university, to resign. She still holds the position. Adey submitted Freedom of Information requests to 140 universities, of which 93 responded with the number of cases of racism that had been reported over the last five years. Cardiff University, a member of the Russell Group, was the third highest on the list, after Nottingham Trent University and the University of Essex. Richardson acknowledged that “racial harassment in universities is underreported” and as such, the actual figures could be much higher. He added: “I think that historically, students who

Meet the former Newcastle student who opened a mental health helpline Ella Williams speaks to former student about his phone line aimed at supporting students Ella Williams

F — Editor

Image: Ella Williams

rom moving away from home for the first time and being stuck in halls to missing out on social events and graduations, student mental health is at an all time low. Knowing first-hand what it’s like to struggle, former Newcastle student Oscar Slacke set up Street Talk, a dedicated helpline aimed getting students talking about mental health. “We’re trying to break down the stigma; we want to make it completely normal to reach out for help,” Oscar said. The 21-year-old came to Newcastle to study Sociology in 2018, but dropped out five months later after his mental health started to suffer. Keen to help

others, he signed up to a counselling course in the first lockdown. This inspired him to start the service, which has grown to a team of over 90 volunteers since October. Everyone involved has undergone extensive training, including taking mock calls practising a wide range of scenarios. “I’ve always been very passionate about mental health,” he explained. “I’d seen my friends suffering as well, so I wanted to do my bit.” Every recruit on call is either a student or young person themself, which he hopes creates a connection with callers with the offset. Street Talk is open to all, but Oscar wants the line to be for there for the bad days and lonely moments as much as more serious cases. He describes it as a “preventative service”. “I think that ‘helpline’ has this idea attached to it that you’ve got to be at the end of your tether.” “But you know, if you’ve just got home from a hard day at work, or you’re going through a tough break up or just feel a bit down. We’re there.” Oscar has experienced the

repercussions of what he calls “lad culture”, and speaks of his male peers in particular finding it difficult to open up. “This tendency in men to bottle things up can be quite toxic. A lot of what we do is aimed at trying to encourage men to speak up about it more freely, and make that less of a big deal.” “Though of course we are there for anyone who wants to call,” he adds. Starting a helpline from scratch is no easy feat: he described it as “hard work” and “sometimes tiring” managing a team of nearly 100 people. When asked what the most rewarding part, Oscar responded without hesitation: “Definitely knowing that we're helping people firsthand. Even if it’s just a 20 minute conversation, it's knowing that if we weren’t there, they might not have called anyone at all.” Street Talk is available to call everyday from 6pm to midnight at 0333 242 3957, or contact on their Instagram @StreetTalkLine.


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Monday 24 May 2021

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Three deaths by Spice recorded Interview: Shadow

Elizabeth Meade — Science sub-editor

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hree people died from drug intake in Newcastle between Friday 30 April and Saturday 1 May. The three men, aged 23, 26 and 34, were thought to have consumed the cannabinoid known as Spice. A spokesperson from Cleveland Police told The Chronicle: “Early indications suggest that they could have become ill due to the use of the drug Spice, although this is not confirmed. Due to the number of people in hospital, it is likely that there is a particularly strong or ‘bad batch’ in circulation, however, the circumstances are being looked into.” However, Northumbria Police has not linked the deaths to the 11 hospitalisations. It is believed that the hospitalisations were more likely caused by “illicit tablets”.

Spice is a Class B drug, and was made illegal in the UK in 2017. A spokesperson from Newcastle City Council told The Chronicle: “We are aware of the situation in Cleveland and are liaising with public health colleagues down there to establish if there is a connection or not”.

“It is likely that there's a particularly strong or ‘bad batch’”

A 27-year-old man, however, has been arrested and charged on suspicion of manslaughter for the alleged supply of drugs to two of the men who died. The spokesperson for Newcastle City Council also issued a reminder that there is help available for those affected by drugs or alcohol. Image: Flickr

The City Council added: “Although we are not aware of the type or ‘brand’, it is likely that there is a particularly dangerous or toxic batch in circulation. No drugs are safe and we advise people not to use substances and not to use Spice.” 11 arrests were made as part of the investigation into the supply of drugs in the city. Eight men, a 14-year-old boy and a 25-year-old woman have since been released without charge.

Education Secretary In conversation with Kate Green MP about the impact that COVID-19 has had on higher education

Pip Garvey

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Rent strikes: Sheffield security guard pinned down protestor

n discussion with writer Pip Garvey, Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green MP shares her views on the government’s treatment of university students and how higher education institutions have adapted to the pandemic. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 37% of students have reported being ‘dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their academic experience since the start of the autumn term’. Since universities closed in March 2020, students have seen all learning switch to an online format, years abroad cancelled and the largest rent strike movement in 40 years. The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has revealed that 64% of students say that their mental health has suffered due to the pandemic, and a Sutton Trust survey disclosed that 33% have struggled to cover living expenses. What was your experience of university life? How has it shaped your views on higher education?

Image: SHUrentstrikes on Twitter

Student rent strikes continue accross the north of the UK leading to incidents with security Joe Molander

— Head of Current Affairs

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tudent occupations of campus buildings at two universities have come to an end, following the threat of legal action. The occupations were coordinated with occupations at two other universities, which remain ongoing. The occupations at Manchester and Sheffield Universities began at the end of April, and ended on Friday 7 May and Tuesday 11 May respectively. On social media, the Manchester occupiers claimed theirs was the longest occupation in Manchester since the 1970s, and promised “new radical tactics” would follow.

The occupiers explained that Manchester University’s threat of legal action “could criminalise further occupations and lead to violent evictions”. They also claimed to have been threatened with disciplinary action by the University.

“Our food ‘privileges’ have been taken away [...] We're unable to make our food” Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Sheffield University told The Courier “The University of Sheffield supports the ability of students to express their views peacefully within the law.” “However, the University does not condone occupation of a building which causes disruption for other students.” The occupations took place as part of ongoing rent strikes, and were also motivated by concerns over how the four affected universities have treated

students during the pandemic. The other two occupations are at Nottingham and Sheffield Hallam Universities. Occupiers at Sheffield Hallam have reported showers being locked and access to their microwave being revoked since relocating in the building they are occupying. The group’s campaign Twitter said: “Our food ‘privileges’ have been taken away because we have relocated. Microwave and access to a fridge. We’re unable to make our food or even get our food [...] as some sort of punishment”. At the end of April, footage emerged of a security guard pinning an occupier down by putting their knee on the occupier’s back. Another occupier was held to the floor by the back of their neck by a different security guard. At the time, Sheffield Hallam University said in a statement it was investigating. Representatives from all four universities and occupations have been approached for comment.

I studied Law at Edinburgh University a long time ago in 1982, but I didn’t really enjoy it. My advice to future students would be to study a subject that you love. University is a great opportunity for students to study new things that aren’t accessible in schools and engage with new ideas. It provides a different experience in a new and exciting environment. I am passionate about giving young people access to a great education and the wider life experiences that it offers. Did you agree with the decision made by the government that it was safe for students to return to their university cities in the autumn of 2020?

They [the UK government] received advice from SAGE, [Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] and we are not given access to this information. It would be a government failure if they acted against the scientific advice. It was recognised that there were spikes of cases of the virus in halls of residence and accommodation, so, moving forward, we need to ensure that our teaching and living spaces are completely covidsecure, to guarantee the safety of our students and university staff. What do you think the coronavirus pandemic has taught us about higher education? The pandemic has certainly exposed a failure in the market and shown that marketisation has let us down. Because of the A-levels debacle, students were able to change universities to their first choice. This created issues for the admissions process and put universities under financial pressure. The pandemic has had a profound impact upon students, universities and parents alike and has certainly revealed the failure of the marketisation of higher education. What is your opinion on remote learning? Online learning should be used a supplement to your education; it is certainly not the only way to learn. Also, it certainly is not ideal for disadvantaged students, who aren’t able to study effectively at home. Is there anything else that you would like to say to university students? I am really disappointed for students. This government has completely let you down and has left you high and dry throughout this entire coronavirus pandemic. The government treats students as consumers, but I call you students. You have not had the full university experience, but you now have the chance to hold them accountable. Image: Pip Garvey


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Monday 24 May 2021

Campus Comment

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What student mental health initiatives get

wrong Elizabeth Meade

S Image: Peter E on Flickr, edited by Joe Molander

A complaint about the complaints procedure One student’s journey down the long University rabbit hole Joseph Caddick

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his year has been a challenging time for students. Every week has brought new concerns over teaching quality, ‘safety nets’, the student experience more generally and – as a final year student – graduation. As a School Rep I’ve heard first hand just how many people are dissatisfied with so many things this year, myself included. This has not been an easy or pleasant year to be a student, and that is why I wanted to make a formal complaint with the University. It was a fruitless endeavour. To start the complaint process, you have to compile a list of evidence to back up your case, which is similar to when you submit a PEC. That’s to be expected: you need to have evidence to corroborate your story. When it comes to making a complaint about how your mental health has been impacted, it’s always going to be difficult. You have to show email chains of arranging appointments with Student Wellbeing (or being unable to, in my case), discussions with your Personal Tutor and so on. Trawling up through those experiences is unpleasant, but a necessary evil. Once you’ve compiled that evidence, the first step is to get in touch with your Head of School about the issue. This is considered a Level 1 complaint. It wasn’t too helpful in this case, because I have no major problems with my school. All of my issues were related to executive-level decisions. I made sure to emphasise that as well. After a few days, you hear back from the Head of School. If their answer doesn’t satisfy you (or couldn’t, if it’s

beyond their control), you can progress to Level 2. At Level 2, your complaint is taken to the executive board. At this point they decided to say that their responses this year had been appropriate to their internal processes, which didn’t sit right with me at all. Everything at this point shows no respect or empathy. Their defence comes from the same stale barrel of rhetoric from which they’ve scraped since the pandemic hit. Of course the situation was unprecedented. Had I known it was to happen and affect half of my degree, though, I could not say for sure I would pay £9250 a year (plus the maintenance loan) to study here. It’s not the same in so many ways and they know that: they just don’t want to acknowledge it outside of empty platitudes. I asked for a formal apology at the very least. They couldn’t even give me – or any of us, for that matter – that small token of understanding. So, of course, they chose not to uphold that complaint. What they did offer, though, was £150 as a ‘goodwill’ gesture. Frankly, I believe it was something more sinister, though they won’t admit that. At the very least, it struck me as a hollow way to try and get me to keep my trap shut. By this point, two months had passed, and it looked like nothing was going to happen. Being as stubborn as I am, I rejected the ‘hush money’, as everyone I told about the situation called it. I then forwarded my complaint to Level 3. You’re allowed to do this if you “remain unhappy with the outcome” and have new evidence to support your initial claim. Flash forward another month, and the final response came through. Firstly, the rules had changed. Apparently, you can now only go for a Level 3 complaint if you believe there had been irregularities (a deliberately nebulous term) in your assessment. This differs from both the website’s guidance and what I had been told by the Student Advice Centre. If they did change it, they didn’t let anyone know about it. They also said that they had been in touch with student representatives about the struggles they’ve faced this year. I had

to specifically ask members of the executive board to attend a meeting. That was, of course, a more general meeting in which I couldn’t delve into my individual circumstances. Again, they didn’t uphold the complaint. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is clear that the University goes out of its way to make the complaints procedure a gruelling, unpleasant slog. It is effectively impossible to come out the other end with a satisfied response. They are aware of just how bad students have had it this year, and refuse to engage with them outside of the Sabbatical Officers. The Sabbs have done a great job, but that’s besides the point. All we are to the University, as much as they will never admit it, are cash cows. They have done absolutely nothing substantial to prove otherwise, and deserve to be called out for it. Even if the complaint didn’t amount to anything, I’m glad that I made it. I’ve taken it to the next step as well, which is the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. I’m not too hopeful that anything will happen, but I want my frustration about how we have been treated to be heard and – hopefully – acted on. A spokesperson for the University said “We have worked hard to ensure that our processes for handling student complaints are clear, transparent and accessible. Full details of the process is available for students on our website. While we’re not able to comment on individual cases, we can say that all our processes, and the financial awards that we make, are in line with good practice from the Office for the Independent Adjudicator. If any student has feedback on how we can make the process better for our students, we are always willing to receive it. Please let us know at Academic-Registrar@newcastle.ac.uk”

tudent mental health is an issue of everrising importance to our society. There has been increased awareness of the concept of mental health and the issues surrounding it and student advocacy for better handling of the subject. Many educational institutions have begun initiatives in the past decade that purport to address this topic. However, most of these initiatives don’t handle the issues effectively. A lot of universities have a mental health awareness week or another event where students can participate in relaxing activities. While this is sometimes a nice break, these events rarely focus on long-term strategies for reducing stress. In an ideal student wellness week, it would be more effective to host workshops on journaling, time management and how to use common organizational tools. These skills have been shown to help students improve their stress levels and academic performance over the long term. Universities also emphasize the importance of taking a break from work, but offer students limited opportunities to do so. Even during enrichment weeks, professors often continue to post content, require students to attend live teaching sessions and set deadlines. With strict requirements for a Personal Extenuating Circumstances (PEC) form, extension or other alteration in work time or deadlines, taking time off for health purposes is all but discouraged. This isn’t even to mention that high attendance requirements for international students put pressure on them to show up to lectures, even when ill. If universities were serious about allowing students time off, none of this would be the case. They would enforce enrichment week breaks across courses, loosen PEC requirements for urgent situations, and hold everyone to the regular rules for attendance. Another issue facing student mental health is the state of university mental health services. While these services have undoubtedly been helpful to myself and others, they aren’t always effective. Many students do not receive timely delivery of the services offered, and services for more serious or complex situations are lacking. If universities put more time, effort and money into these services and took their delivery more seriously, this would probably be less of an issue. What’s more, outside of particular initiatives, student mental health is rarely addressed as more than a marketing term on a regular basis. While professors and personal tutors often attempt to connect with students during a tough time, this still seems like an anomaly. The widespread mental health problems in academia are rarely, if ever, discussed. Chemistry students, for instance, are prepared for industry with raw knowledge, which is of course important. However, they are given little to no preparation for the mental, social and emotional demands of such a career. The reality of the scientific world involves a lot of long hours, difficult work and strict deadlines. An approach to teaching that largely involves throwing a lot of content and assignments at students without context isn’t sufficient. It’s not surprising that many students decide to leave STEM careers due to this environment, no matter how much people try to inspire them. Offering more information about health for researchers would be helpful, even in the form of a few optional events or resources on Canvas. If universities want to do something about student mental health, they must recognize this effort for the long term, nuanced commitment that it is. Ultimately, they must dedicate time, money and energy to addressing the issue in all areas rather, than as a short term promotion.


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Monday 24 May 2021

Comment

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No time to think Constant exposure to breaking news may in fact be detrimental to our ability to engage with it

Faye Navesey

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erhaps the scariest noise of 2021 is the breaking news alert on your phone, potentially informing you of some awful event or that your favourite celebrity has died, because, let's be honest, you rarely get a “Breaking News: here are some cute puppies!” alert, even though we’d all prefer it. But what effect does this 24 hour news cycle have on us and the way we react to events? Has it had a detrimental impact on politics? The first issue with receiving constant news alerts is that you can never truly switch off. A large part of our lives, whether it’s work, school or leisure, involves our phones, so we can never really get away from the news. If it’s not on the BBC app, then it’s on Instagram or Twitter, and this essentially means we’re under a constant barrage of bad news. That’s not good for even the strongest of us and we all know the anxious dread we get when we’ve heard about something traumatic one too many times. It can have real effects on your mental health. Our sensitivity to these events is also altered when we see them constantly; it’s difficult to feel continually outraged when it’s something that comes up on your feed time and time again. Genuinely awful events that warrant global outrage are often shr ugged off as inconsequential, which leads to long term problems with how we perceive politics. When you’re constantly exposed to world events, a disconnect between your life and the world around you starts to form, with people seeing politics

as something completely foreign to them rather than something that directly affects them. News becomes impossible to properly process. Media outlets also engage in ‘trauma porn’ constantly, instead of dealing with issues and properly analysing them, they will often just post something horrific with no warning and no proper engagement of the underlying issue. It doesn’t have to be all bad though. The constant news coverage means that theoretically news is more accessible for working people and those who didn’t necessarily have the time to sit down at the same time every day to read or watch the news. However, this upside is undercut by the fact that mainstream media is often run entirely for-profit, and important news is hidden behind paywalls or is written in inaccessible language. It can also mean that there is more scrutiny of political figures because there is constant coverage of their actions, though again this has been hindered by disingenuous scrutiny of some politicians more than others. Figures like Boris Johnson receive a free pass to ‘let the bodies pile high’ whereas non-white politicians face ridiculous amounts of harassment in the media simply for existing in a space not built for them. 24 hour news coverage has the potential to make getting our news a lot easier. However, the way mainstream media functions has made it stressful and ineffective. Proper scrutiny is hard to come by whilst we are bombarded with article after article of traumatising content. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons, edited by Joe Molander

Should celebrities get a say in politics? ’

Emily O Dowd

Legalise it: haggis A defence of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of offal Elizabeth Meade

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hen it comes to the topic of legalisation in the US, there is no shortage of appetite among vocal citizens. They push for the legalisation of cannabis, psychedelics, Kinder Surprise Eggs, affordable healthcare, and even pet tigers. Yet, despite the popularity of reality shows about keeping large animals at home, few have touched on the true elephant in the room: haggis. Banned in 1971 due to its incorporation of sheep lungs, which could contain stomach acid and phlegm post-slaughter, haggis is illegal to import to the US. Given the large population of US residents with Scottish ancestry who host festivals for Burns Night, haggis makers utilize loopholes, including vegetarian haggis and a recipe without lungs that utilizes an artificial casing. While recent efforts have been made to legalise haggis in the US, I’m surprised there

hasn’t been more pushback against the ban. Why am I so passionate about this ovine delicacy? Haggis has been prepared in a comestible fashion for so long in Scotland that the same methods could be replicated in the US. Millions have eaten haggis with little issue when it’s produced by licensed food workers who cook it fully. Haggis is undeniably an important part of Scottish-American cultural tradition. While Scottish-American identity is often laughably different from genuine Scottish mores, it’s common to take an interest in the places your ancestors came from, and even thoroughly American families enjoy a few older food-based traditions. Although potica and lutefisk aren't everyone’s favorite and are far from “American as apple pie”, they still grace the tables of many (well, some) US residents with Slovenian and Norwegian ancestry respectively, and the government hasn’t intervened. Why should haggis be any different? I’m not a fan of haggis myself – I find the texture overly runny – but if my country allows me to possess piranhas, I don't see why I shouldn't be allowed to dig into some sheep lungs.

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elebrities have long been active participants in conversations around politics, with many using their platforms to get their views across to the public and endorse particular candidates or parties. There are many people, however, of the opinion that they should just stay out of it.

It’s odd that a person’s celebrity status should disqualify them from expressing their opinion Scottish Actor Martin Compston has recently come under fire for publicly backing the SNP and independence for Scotland in the local elections. After releasing a short video in support of Nicola Sturgeon’s party, Compston has been criticised on Twitter by Scottish Tories for being just another celebrity ‘interfering’ in the politics of a country that he apparently both no longer lives in and does not pay taxes in. Despite the fact that both of these statements are completely untrue (Compston still has an address in Scotland and pays top rate tax), it seems odd that a person’s celebrity status should somehow disqualify them from being able to express a political opinion. Regardless of the job that a person does – whether that be an actor or a doctor – if they are a citizen of a country and are eligible to vote, they have the right to express their opinion like any other person. Whilst it’s true that they may have more influence on public opinion than the average citizen, that does not mean that they should not be able to express

a viewpoint. However, not all celebrities are criticised quite so much when they try their hand at politics. The actor Laurence Fox has recently run in the 2021 election as a candidate for Mayor of London for the independent ‘Reclaim Party’. Although he is also a celebrity and has no real background in politics, Fox is taken as seriously as any other mayoral candidate, appealing to right-wing voters and even gaining endorsement from the likes of Nigel Farage. Despite his controversial and sometimes outright dangerous politics (Fox attended several anti-mask protests in London during the pandemic), he is not viewed as just another celebrity ‘sticking their nose in’ but both as someone with a worthwhile opinion and a valid political candidate. Of course, this situation is the same across the pond, with many celebrities in America becoming heavily politically involved. They have had at least two ‘celebrity presidents’ in the form of Donald Trump who was initially known only as the host of The Apprentice, and Ronald Reagan, who was an actor before becoming president. They also often have celebrities running for other forms of office. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a Republican Governor of California from 2003 to 2011, and Caitlin Jenner is currently planning to run for the same position. To me, it seems as though popular opinion deems it perfectly acceptable for an actor to express a political opinion or even become involved as a political candidate, as long as the opinions they are expressing are right-wing in nature. The likes of Laurence Fox and Donald Trump are accepted as valid political voices due to their already wealthy backgrounds and support of traditionally conservative ideals, whereas others are treated as jokes for even daring to express an opinion. Everybody has a right to express their own views, and the fact that a person is a celebrity should not disqualify them from that.


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Monday 24 May 2021

Comment

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The debate on vaccine passports Why the vaccine passport, thought unpopular, is worth it Kayleigh Fraser

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ith the world slowly returning to its former normality, precautions to prevent further spread have of course been necessary. One controversial move has been dubbed the ‘vaccine passport’ – and many people aren’t happy with it. After over a year of restrictions, lockdowns, vaccines and millions of tests, many of us will agree we’re ready to get our lives back on track and get moving again. Of course, part of that is travelling abroad and opening the country back up. To help this effort, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for a ‘domestic vaccine passport’. The passport, which will be accessible on the NHS Test and Trace app or in the form of a letter, will allow holidaymakers to move between select countries this summer in an effort to boost the tourism sector. As expected, the announcement caused quite a bit of backlash. David Kurten, leader of the Heritage Party stated on Twitter: “The opening of a ‘test nightclub’ in Liverpool is not a cause for celebration. All attendees had to take a ‘Covid test’ to get in. This is conditioning in preparation for acceptance of ‘vaccine’ passports. Resist the ‘New Normal’ No test, no track, no trace, no vaccine passport” However, I don’t buy into the theory. As a method to prevent the spread of coronavirus,

it’s a good idea. Think about it: if you’re going to another country, they are going to want to prevent any new variants or infections spreading around their population. If they know all their tourists are vaccinated (if they can be), it makes travel and movement a breeze. The only question mark is if people absolutely cannot have the vaccine due to allergies or other factors. If they want to go abroad, they should be allowed. A specific ‘medically exempt’ passport should be created so that it doesn’t discriminate people for reasons b e yon d their own control. In my eyes, I d o n’t see the o v e r w h e l m i n g amount of negativity behind it. If I need to have a vaccine passport to be able to go abroad, then I genuinely do not mind. If it’s what it takes to have a glimpse of normality, then it’s worth it. Image: Marco Verch on ccnull.de

The dangers of requiring people to use vaccine passports Alex Dunn

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he final details are not yet clear, but it’s looking likely that the British government is planning to introduce some sort of ‘vaccine passport’ scheme. The BBC reports that “the government is looking at how people could more easily show their Covid status, as ‘a temporary measure’” and that, while the government claims they’ll never be needed for essential shops and public transport, Boris Johnson has in the past suggested that pubgoers may need them after all adults have been offered their first jab. Then, it was rumoured that we’d only need them for larger venues, such as theatres. In April, Michael Gove and Jonathan Van-Tam visited Israel to investigate the Israeli government’s so-called ‘Green Pass’ programme, which vaccinated Israelis use to enter gyms, bars, and other venues. Gove is said to be a massive fan of the scheme. For the sake of this article, let’s assume that there are potentially plans to replicate Israel’s ‘Green Pass’ program here. For international travel, vaccine passports might make sense. Much of the world is still closed to tourists, and even if the government didn’t want to make vaccine passports a prerequisite for international travel, other gov-

ernments might ban foreigners from entering their countries if they don’t have one. For instance, multiple countries, including Morocco, Costa Rica, and Thailand require a vaccination certificate for yellow fever in certain circumstances. But a domestic, state-backed vaccination passport program should be out of the question entirely for a few key reasons. The first is that if a vaccine passport were required in order to do basic social activities we all enjoyed prior to the pandemic – such as going to pubs – then this would essentially amount to the creation of a two-tier society, where the vaccinated have privileges that the unvaccinated don’t. This would be highly discriminatory and draconian. The most effective – and ethical – way to convince anti-vaxxers is through dialogue, not coercion. The second is that the rate of uptake in the UK is nothing short of outstanding. The government itself has stated that they’d assumed there’d be an uptake rate of about 75%, but as of 22 April the vaccine uptake among over 50s (over 50s being the last of the ‘nine vulnerable groups’) is at 95%. Given this and how effective the vaccines are at preventing serious illness and reducing transmission, it’s hard to see how vaccine passports could be medically beneficial. The third is that a scheme similar to Israel’s ‘Green Pass’ program would amount to an invasion of bodily autonomy. If having a vaccine passport – and therefore being vaccinated – is the only way to live a normal life, then it would mean that British citizens would basically have no choice between being vaccinated and non-vaccinated. Whether or not any of this will happen remains to be seen. But anyone that cares about liberty should oppose it if it does.

History always has an alternative ending Jon Deery

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merica has had four years of an American president who sincerely suggested the injection of bleach as a medical procedure. In Britain, we’re currently living under a prime minister who for the first few years of his public life - was best known to most as the butt of the joke on Have I Got News For You. It’s safe to say we’ve grown rather used to a political climate that’s less about who’s got the best policy ideas and more about who can hold our attention for the longest. But how did we get here, and have things ever really been that different? During the Brexit campaign, Michael Gove made a statement that caused a great outcry in Britain: “People have had enough of experts.” But perhaps, given the state of our politicians and our political discourse, he was right. A 2020 survey found that a quarter of people in Britain believe in QAnonlinked conspiracy theories,

with 42% of 25-34 year-olds thinking there is “a single group of people who secretly control events and rule the world together” regardless of who is in government. We shouldn’t dismiss these “anti-intellectual” conspiracy theories as completely wrong, misguided and racist, as they often are. In fact, the idea that a single group of elites are really in charge of our political leaders is given more weight every time a secret lobbying scandal is reported on, or by the sheer influence that individual media moguls like Rupert Murdoch have on our democracy. Fear drives a belief in conspiracy theories, and disbelief in academic thinking and science in general. Fear of complete powerlessness in a system that does not listen to you. Because what’s the point in thinking if your ideas won’t make a difference anyway? Conspiracy theories encourage believers to focus on their fear, while discouraging them from thinking critically about its origins. According to an Ipsos MORI report in 2020 about how much faith British people place in scientists, “those from social class C2DE (the less affluent) and non-graduates tend to be less positive and less trusting than the middle classes and graduates respectively”. Those who have the least say in a system that favours the rich also have the least faith in academics. Throughout British history, that fear has been exploited by right-wing politicians via racism. Because, if people blame Jews or ill-defined “elites” for their unjust lot, instead of the inherently imbalanced economic system, then any actions that they take to get revenge, however brutal, will never be able to challenge

the actual status quo. Edmund Burke (1729-1797), an Anglo-Irish philosopher and statesman spent his political career convincing people that all the major decisions should be left up to “men of great civil and great military talents” (the rich), and that the poor should accept their place in society simply as ‘the way things are’. He championed the virtues of ‘common sense’ over abstract theoretical thinking. In the words of Oliver Kamm of Prospect magazine: “according to Burke, you’re allowed freedom of worship and assembly, and it’s ungrateful and insubordinate to expect political rights as well.” Burke was also an anti-Semite who viewed Jewish people’s presence in Britain as a threat to Britain’s national solidarity. More recently than Burke, Margaret Thatcher used a similar justification for why we shouldn’t bother ourselves too much about thinking critically about our political system: “there is no alternative”. That phrase originated in the works of Herbert Spencer, who also provided the philosophical groundwork for eugenics. Around the same time, Francis Fukuyama announced that we’d arrived at the “end of history”, meaning that neoliberalism was so brilliant that no other system could possibly be considered ever again. When all forms of alternative society are rejected out of hand by those in positions of authority, democracy is threatened. Because what’s the point in debate if there is no alternative? It’s exactly this kind of thinking that makes individuals feel powerless in the face of history, which leads to anti-intellectualism, and s i -

multaneously leads to racist scapegoating. The three are inseparable. For as long as the Conservatives remain in power (or as long as their wealthy friends remain in power, depending on how cynical you are), Britain’s politicians will encourage the idea of there being no alternative. They will continue to push antidemocratic policies like the new policing bill, and characterise those seeking alternatives as criminals who disrupt the otherwise peaceful social order. The solution is simple, but much bigger than getting rid of the Conservatives. It is to fight for a more democratic society, hard enough and publicly enough so that everyone can see, plain as day, that there is a point to critical thinking. We should reach a point where the only common wisdom is that there’s no such thing as ‘common sense’, that in a society of infinitely varied individuals, all offering their unique perspectives on the challenges of our time, there is always an alternative. At least, t h a t ’s where I’d like us to end up. Unless you can think of something better…

Images: Snapshooter46 on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons


Monday 24 May 2021

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Science The ‘bombs’ below How silliness can save us the Arctic ice sheets Images: Elizabeth Meade

How warm pockets of water are destabilising Arctic ice sheets Jon Deery

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elting ice from the Arctic may not be driving major sea level rise, but it is likely to drive polar bears to extinction in this century. It’s also redirecting ocean currents, which will lead to major changes in regional weather patterns, and, critically, is heating up the planet, which is causing it to melt faster, which is heating the planet faster, in what scientists call a ‘positive feedback loop’. In a recent study, scientists looked deeper at the ‘heat bombs’ driving this warming from underwater. Unusually for any ocean, the Arctic isn’t layered based on temperature. Instead of having the colder, denser water at the bottom and the warmer, lighter water at the top, the Arctic has the saltiest water at the bottom, below the freshest water. And since the saltiest water in that region is also the warmest, heat is sinking below the sheets of Arctic ice.

The rate of accelerating sea ice melt in the Arctic is hard to predict accurately This warm water gathers in moving pockets, or ‘heat bombs’. They can maintain enough stability to gush around underneath the main ice pack near the North Pole for months or years, shifting

it around and destabilising it. And scientists have watched them getting stronger over the last decade.

This research is the first to observe and understand what leads to ‘heat bombs’ What the scientists at SODA (Stratified Ocean Dynamics of the Arctic) set out to research was exactly how the warmer water was moving underneath the ice sheets. This is the first paper to observe and understand the process of subduction that leads to ‘heat bombs’. Jennifer Mackinnon, chief scientist of the expedition, said to Scripps Oceanography Institute that “The rate of accelerating sea ice melt in the Arctic has been hard to predict accurately, in part because of all of the complex local feedbacks between ice, ocean and atmosphere; this work showcases the large role in warming that ocean water plays as part of those feedbacks.” Since this phenomenon has only just been discovered, researchers have never been able to factor it into any climate change forecast models, which has led to underestimates of sea ice melt rates. Now that the process has been documented, all eyes should be on the Pacific Ocean, which is pushing increasingly large amounts of warm, salty water through the Bering Strait and into the Arctic. The research team concluded their report, saying that the increasing Pacific summer water “should lead to a pattern of accelerating sea ice melt spreading out from the Pacific inflow, as has been observed in recent decades.”

A light-hearted look at some reasons to laugh in life now that lockdown is easing

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Felicity Allman

he Global State of Digital report showed that people spent an extra hour per day online in 2021 than in 2020. At nearly six and a half hours daily, that means we’re spending a quarter of our days looking at screens. For many students, that means online schooling, but also binge watching and doomscrolling, which we know aren’t good for mental health. Born as a means of connection, social media platforms were increasingly hailed as destructive. Ever meet up with an old friend and realise you’ve got nothing to talk about because you’ve seen all their holidays and celebrations on Instagram or Facebook? But then lockdown hit, and social media became the best way to stay in touch. For a lot of us, it also became the best way to find some light relief from the monotony of lockdown life, offering ‘collective resilience’. In moderation, laughing at silly videos like Rod ‘Lawyer Cat’ Ponton or Lizet ‘Potato Boss’ Ocampo can bring that much-needed mood boost. According to Dr Nick Kuiper at the University of Western Ontario, humour not only alleviates stress, but can boost your immune system, reduce your blood pressure and reduce chronic pain. Or, in the words of Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't".

Radioactivity from nuclear bombs detected in US honey A recent study has found radioactive fallout from nuclear bombs in American honey Joe Molander

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adioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing that occurred decades ago has been found in honey produced today. Traces of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 were found from a range of nuclear tests, most notably those conducted in the 1950s and 1960s. In a paper published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Communications, researchers found that these tests affected honey from the eastern region of the United States. Though the region is far away from former nuclear test sites, it has still received a disproportionately high amount of fallout. This is due to a combination of westerlies – prevailing winds that blow from west to east between 30 and 60 degrees of latitude – and precipitation. The cesium-137 then makes its way into honey by entering the region’s soil. There, it is absorbed by plants, including ones that flower. Bees then collect nectar from these flowers, and in turning it into honey, reduce its water content by fivefold. Fallout produced in events that occurred decades prior – so-called ‘legacy contaminants’ – can be found in a range of foodstuffs. However, this detail in the process of nectar conversion ensures that cesium-137 is particularly concentrated in honey. Also key to the paper’s findings is the potassium content of soil. Potassium inhibits vegetation’s up-

take of cesium-137, with the isotope only being absorbed when there are insufficient amounts of potassium. Vegetation converts potassium into energy, though cesium-137 has similar enough ionic properties that it can be used as a substitute, albeit an imperfect one. As such, honey produced in north-east America tends to contain less radioactive material than honey produced in south-east America. South-eastern soil is old, weathered and leached, meaning it has lost water-soluble nutrients due to precipitation. As such, it suffers from a deficiency in a range of nutrients, including potassium. Farming decisions, though, such as the use of certain potassium-rich fertiliser, can lead to exceptions. Meanwhile, recent bedrock exposure in the Appalachian Mountains and glaciation ensure that north-eastern soil is relatively rich in potassium. The researchers who authored the paper note that the concentrations of cesium-137 are below 50100 becquerels per kilogram, a widely used threshold for concern. As such, the honey is still considered safe for consumption.

The researchers note that the level of residual radiation is higher than what’s expected However, the researchers also note that the level of residual radiation is higher than what might be expected. This is because almost two half-lives have elapsed since the majority of the cesium-137 that was made in bomb testing was produced.

Illustration: Shalom Tse

The line between too much and too little social media can be a difficult one, so what are your best options for taking advantage of the de-stressing effects of funny content on social media? You can set limits on your devices to turn off apps after you’ve used them for a certain amount of time – I stopped my doomscrolling habit by limiting my time to 15 minutes per day. Additionally, you can use your device’s sleep mode function: a time where you can’t access a lot of your phone, promoting better sleep. For those of you going social media cold turkey, your options for offline mischief are virtually limitless. Set little surprises for the people you live with (googly eyes are never not funny) or do each other’s makeup… blindfolded, of course. Or take inspiration from programmes like Nailed It! And if you get stuck for ideas, think back to childhood. Hide and seek is always a winner for tighter lockdown restrictions. Now that we’re allowed out a bit more, I’ve really enjoyed seeing people playing rounders or rollerblading. Playfulness is a great source of human connection. When you’re feeling low, it can be like climbing a mountain just to get out of bed or sit in the sunshine, but laughing and making other people laugh is a great way to lift your spirits. And humour, like willpower, is a muscle, so expect it to feel a bit strange to begin with but you’ll gain momentum and be the ultimate mischief maker in no time.


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Monday 24 May 2021

Science

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New lockdown unlikely, experts say

As covid restrictions started to lift from May 17th, could this be the start of a ‘normal’ summer? Charlie Pugh

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rofessor Neil Ferguson, a mathematical epidemiologist and virus modeller told the BBC the UK is unlikely to have another lockdown. This summer “we will have many fewer restrictions. Whether we have none at all it's too early to say.”

“We are much more likely to be on a steady course now out of this pandemic”

Viral strands still pose some risk, but the extensive vaccination program will likely dampen their effect on re-opening. Professor Fergusen also acknowledged the possibility that some covid measures would need to be reinstated. “Do I think it’s likely to happen? No, I don’t. I think we are much more likely to be on a steady course now out of this pandemic, at least in this country.” Recorded covid cases in the UK have dropped from about 80 000 on 29 December to 2000 on 8 May. Additionally, a third of the adult population is fully vaccinated and two-thirds have received the first dose, with more than 50 million doses administered, according to government data. That isn’t to say that cases won’t surge in the coming months. According to Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operations Research Unit, “high vax rates alone are not necessarily enough to stop a surge in cases”. Colin Cox, Director of

Word of the week

Aestivation

Elizabeth Meade

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ou’ve heard of hibernation, the woodchuck’s 'long sleep’ alluded to by Robert Frost in ‘After Apple-Picking’. Frost wonders “whether [his sleep is] like [the woodchuck’s]/Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,/Or just some human sleep”, implying death within the poem's context. If the poem’s narrator weren’t human, however, the answer could be a bit less morbid: aestivation. Oxford defines aestivation as “Prolonged torpor or dormancy of an insect, fish, or amphibian during a hot or dry period”, although some reptiles do it as well. Notable animals that aestivate include North American desert tortoises, spotted turtles and Australia’s water-holding frogs. An alternate definition for aestivation is “the arrangement of petals and sepals in a flower bud before it opens”, which is far more common to hear in the field of botany. Image: Wikimedia Commons and Bryant Olsen on Flickr

Public Health for Cumbria, said “I think we may well see a third wave and it may be autumn or winter”. Both, however, agree with Professor Ferguson’s evaluation that another lockdown is unlikely, despite the possible surge. Due to widespread vaccination, the effects of covid are being reduced nationwide, says Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology. “Even if people get coronavirus, they are far less likely to end up in hospital or to die,” says Mr Cox, “because of that, there is little risk the NHS will be overwhelmed and therefore no justification for another lockdown.” Professor Spector agrees. Citing lower hospitalisations rates with COVID-19, he puts the chances of the NHS being overwhelmed this winter as “extremely unlikely”. Though Mr Cox doubts there will be another lockdown, “[if we] see another variant come into the fray, then all bets are off.” Experts agree that a mutation of COVID-19 is a threat to re-opening, which is why the government is investing nearly £30 million into their Porter Downs lab. Their capacity is being expanded to 3000 blood tests a week in order to test and improve vaccine efficacy against new strands. Previous vaccinations would likely provide some protection against variants, but government vigilance will still be crucial to prevent another lockdown. As covid becomes less deadly, “lockdown is not the only option to control this,” says Professor Lewis. Methods like stemming outbreaks, continuing vaccination, and supporting those who need to quarantine will likely replace lockdowns in the coming months.

Images: Patricia M on Flickr (restaurant), Wikimedia Commons (stadium), Pixabay (beach ball, sunglasses) and Elizabeth Meade (party popper)

Ocean jewels: The value of coral reefs to coastal communities A deep dive into the underrated value of coral reefs as a flood defence capable of helping coastal communities Isabel Lamb

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found in Florida and Hawaii, and provide $1 million per kilometre of flood protection each year. However, vertical erosion of these natural protective structures escalates the threat posed by the ocean. Erosion of one metre of coral reef would mean a 23% increase in areas classified as flood zones. If flooding were to occur, 53 800 more people would be affected, with costs exceeding $5.3 billion in damages.

n the USA, low-lying coastal areas are most at risk from flooding and storms, as well as the increasing danger of rising sea levels. As the threat of flooding grows, such communities are searching for inexpensive defensive measures that avoid negative environmental impacts. A recent study from the University of California found 3100 km of at-risk coastline partially protected by natural defences, such as coral reefs. By making use of computer models, the study estimated the economic value coral reefs provide as coastal flood defences.

‘High-value reefs’ in Florida and Hawaii provide $1 million/km of flood protection each year The presence of coral reefs was found to help prevent coastal flooding stretching even further inshore. Acting as wave energy attenuators, coral reefs capture the energy from the incoming waves. The study estimated that, annually, coral reefs provide $1.8 billion in risk reduction to the USA. The study also showed which areas of coastline benefit the most from coral reefs. So-called ‘high-value reefs’ are

Illustration: Tabitha Edwards

By placing economic value on existing natural infrastructure, the study highlights the importance for ecosystem management. Enticing investment into coral reefs would benefit not only the ecosystems themselves, but also the people they protect.Identifying areas that would significantly benefit from coastal protection means time and money can be better invested into effective flood defences.



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Monday 24 May 2021

The restaurants we've missed most

Our writers tell us which restaurants they can't wait to return to this summer

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hroughout the pandemic, pubs and restaurants have had a very difficult time, and to be honest we have really missed them. As we count down the days to when we can debate with our family and friends where to go and eat, our writers have shared the food destinations they are most looking forward to visiting in Newcastle this summer.

Lola Jeans I’ve heard many reviews and recommendations of this restaurant, but never really managed to find the time to go there myself. Lola Jeans has been one of those places that I always remember I want to visit when walking past in town, but somehow my plans never worked out the way I wanted them to. Now, when indoor restaurants open, things will be different. With their business and bookings opening from the 17th of May, they might just get another regular. Given the fact that they’ve won Battle of the Burger for 5 consecutive years, this place might need more than a single visit for their whole menu to be explored more thoroughly. It’s also not only their food that looks good, either - they have beautifully presented cocktails and drinks, judging by their online presence. The recommendations, the food photos on GoogleMaps, and the overall satisfaction rate of Lola Jeans have definitely made this the first restaurant I want to visit when things reopen. Sara Nigohosyan

Blackfriars Through the beautiful alleyway of Monks Street leading to Friars Street, you will find yourself in front of an old Dominican friary dating back to the 13th century; once an inn to accommodate King Henry the Third, now a beautiful restaurant with a unique dining experience. At Blackfriars the food is traditional British cuisine, with seasonal ingredients that are locally sourced from farmers and producers. As simple

as this sounds, their dishes reflect otherwise in terms of complexity in flavours and cooking. One of the reasons I am eager to visit Blackfriars is that during lockdown I have tried their at home menu and it was quite impressive for a takeout. Now that restaurants are opening up; I can’t wait to be eating good wholesome food in a 13th century friary with glass stained windows covering its ancient stone walls and not in my boring old flat that I have been stuck in for months! Marcel Shamshoum

Thali Tray This restaurant’s sit-in experience is one that can’t be recreated, especially because it has a cosy fire pit inside it’s sheltered yard. The food options are predominantly Indian, but if you’re craving dessert, that’s where the fire pit comes into play. Offering 3 s’mores portions for 2 pounds*, you could get to toast your marshmallows and pop them in between your chocolate-coated biscuits, creating the perfect s’more to your taste. With the combination of fresh warm air, the lack of the strong Newcastle wind, a fire to add an additional sense of warmth, and some of the best food in Ouseburn, the welcoming atmosphere will undeniably pull you back there again. Once visited, Thali Tray becomes a place you want to go to again, bringing new friends every time so that you could brag about all the nice places you’ve found.

Food

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So, should I stay or should I go? The battle between online and in person food shopping

Control at the check-out

As a genuinely lazy person I love finding ways of doing things that don’t involve me getting out of bed, so the invention of online shopping is a true triumph. Shopping on a student budget is a near impossible task; standing in the aisles debating which 100g packet of pasta is cheaper isn't my ideal Saturday. While there are online delivery fees, if you're savvy you can split it with your flat like you do with an Uber. Another bonus is you minimise the risk of going off-piste from your shopping list when you walk past the chocolate offers. Online shopping has also done wonders for my anxiety, especially during the pandemic; with the added stresses of social distancing, queuing and wearing my mask I’d end up forgetting half the stuff on my list whilst just throwing in things I never intended to buy. I love the ease of the search bar and the ability to keep track and save items in my cart as it takes a fraction of the time, so I can carry on with my day.

At first, the idea of online shopping, where everything is delivered to your doorstep, seemed like the dream. But, having been forced into shopping online during the pandemic, I have realised that it is not all it is cracked up to be. As a foodie household, the bulk of our shop is fresh fruit and vegetables for making homemade curry, stir fry, bolognese etc. At the shops, I can pick the reddest peppers, or the biggest jacket potatoes, knowing that I have full control and are getting your money's worth. When two mouldy courgettes arrive at the door with a bag of brussell sprouts as a substitute for my cabbage, I cannot help but despair. The other nightmare of online is having to book a time slot, then plan for the entire week ahead. Gone are the days when I can spontaneously decide to bake a cake because, of course, I have run out of baking powder and cannot get some until next Tuesday at 8.35pm. I cannot wait until it's safer and I can return to the freedom of supermarket shopping even if I have to make small talk with that teacher who thinks I am "so grown up now!" It's 100% worth it.

Faye Navesey

Cayla Viner

Convenience at a click

The welcoming atmosphere will undeniably pull you back there again There are also small tables inside in case you start to get chilly, but sitting around the fire will most likely keep you warm enough. That and the warm drinks they offer, in addition to the potentially hot curries you could get. Whether with a group of friends or by yourself, Thali Tray is definitely one for the top of the list of places to visit after lockdown. Sara Nigohosyan

ILLUSTRATION: Tabitha Edwards via The Courier Creative Contributors

Eating out with allergies: the survival guide

How do you eat at restaurants when you have allergies? Here are some top tips from one of our Food sub-editors! Em Richardson Image: Flickr

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find myself in the unfortunate position of being someone who loves to try new foods… but whose stomach does not cooperate. I have various stomach issues, meaning various foods can leave me feeling poorly. The chief issue is lactose intolerance, but spicy, fried and acidic foods can also leave me feeling poorly. As someone who only received a diagnosis fairly recently, I’m just beginning to navigate the world of eating out with intolerances. So far, my top tips would be:

1. Google is your friend If you’re at all unsure about whether or not a place does an option for you, remember that the vast majority of places now post their menu online. To save the awkwardness of getting somewhere and realising that they do nothing you can eat, check out their menu in advance.

2. Tell people about your allergies When you’re at a restaurant, remember to let your waiter know about your intolerance or allergy, even if it seems like overkill. That way, they can warn you if you accidentally try to order something unsuitable (since being diagnosed

with lactose intolerance, I’m acutely aware of just how many unexpected things contain dairy!). It’s also worth letting anyone planning catering, like at a wedding or party, know about your dietary requirements in advance. Don’t just assume there’ll be an option for you!

Don't just assume there'll be an option for you!

3. Ask about ingredients If you need to, don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients in a dish. It’s super easy to be caught out, and not realise that a dish contains something you can’t eat. You might feel like a difficult customer, but it’s better than being ill!

4. Be optimistic about where you can eat Whilst I am warning you that some places will be unsuitable, do try to stay optimistic, and remember there will be lots of places that do an option for you. Allergen awareness is now better than ever, and the vast majority of restaurants understand the importance of catering to different

dietary needs.

5. Medication is your friend Like me, you might have been prescribed medication by your doctor, intended to control your symptoms. Or, you might rely on some overthe-counter treatments for indigestion. Either way, make sure you take them with you when you eat out! After all, trying new foods, especially when you might not know all of the ingredients, may increase the chances of symptoms occurring.

6. The golden rule: don't feel awkward! Last but not least, the golden rule for eating out is not to feel awkward when talking about your dietary requirements. You might feel awkward asking to see a dish’s ingredients, or asking for an ingredient to be left out, but just remember that it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Restaurants cater to people with dietary requirements all the time, and you’re really not being awkward for the sake of it. Above anything else, it’s not worth risking making yourself ill just to save face!

Did these tips help you? Tell us on Twitter! @CourierOnline


Monday 24 May 2020

Relationships How to stay in contact with your housemates once uni has ended

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14

Joseph Caddick

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ne of the hardest parts of your university journey coming to a close is going back home, which makes staying in touch with friends and flatmates so much more difficult. This past year has introduced us to a lot of new ways to stay in touch with people, as well as the classic methods. Here are some ways to keep in contact with friends and flatmates after you finish your studies:

Social media:

It’s often seen as a blessing and a curse but social media allows us to stay connected with people around the world quite easily. Group chats are a great way to keep in touch with a specific group, but you can also use private chats. If your friends

don’t have a strong social media presence then there are alternative options. Phone or video calls: Phone calls have been a consistent way of getting in touch with people for decades, and video calls add the ability to see people’s faces when you might not be able to see them in person. Video calls can be a little more draining (as seen with Zoom seminars this year), so having a chat on the phone is always a solid option, especially for one-on-one conversations .

This past year has introduced us to a lot of new ways to stay in touch

There is nothing quite like meeting up with your friends in person In person events & holidays: Though they’re a little bit harder to plan, there’s nothing quite like meeting up with your friends in person. Depending on how far apart you are, this could get quite pricey and involve a lot of travelling, so you could extend it to last a few days as a mini-holiday. Alternatively, you could go on a big group holiday and enjoy being back together and a nice change of scenery at the same time.

Online game nights:

One positive of the past year is that we’ve been introduced to so many online games to kill time during the pandemic. Games like Skribblio.io and Among Us have proven to be particularly popular during the pandemic, but there’s also so many other options, like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros Ultimate or Minecraft. Even Super Mario Party now offers online play. Combining online games with a voice chat app like Discord brings a level of interactivity to what is basically a phone call. Quiz nights have a lot of the same advantages here.

Image: Loma Linda University Health

Watch parties:

Something else that has been introduced following the pandemic is the ability to watch something at the same time as your friends even if you’re not in the same room. A few streaming services like Disney+ have watch party options, and then unofficial add-ons like Netflix Party exist for other services. Some offer a text chat and some don’t, but you could also join a call with your friends to talk about whatever it is you’re watching. These methods will still work for people who aren’t finishing their degrees but want to stay in touch with friends over the summer break. We’re lucky to have so many different ways to keep in touch with people now, hopefully there’s something for everyone.

Best spots to de-stress in Newcastle Exam season is upon us. Now that things are reopening, where should you go to unwind?

Ruby Story-Dartford

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ith exam season approaching, we’ve listed the best outdoor spaces in Newcastle to unwind from the everyday stress of student life. From Ouseburn to Grainger Market, these outdoor student hotspots are sure to take your fancy if in need of a destress.

Osborne Avenue Osborne Avenue is the one for those looking for an evening outdoor sit down with the strip featuring some of Jesmond’s coolest bars ranging from Jam Jar to Bar Blanc to Spy. Take advantage of the weekly offers with two four one cocktails and half price burgers sure to grab students in. With Summer on the horizon, an evening al fresco with a porn star martini or two in this Jesmond hotspot is sure to de-stress any student.

Jesmond Dene An old-time lockdown favourite, the Dene. This is more of a solo walk for those in need to escape flatmates, or for those after some deep-

thinking time to unwind from the stress of life. Take yourself in the wrath of the shrubbery and immerse your mind into this secret Newcastle nature resort tucked away in the city. Grab a coffee and your earphones and engulf yourself in the depths of the dene.

Ouseburn Newcastle’s little hidden haven of happiness. Explore Ouseburn from Tyne Bar to Under the Bridge for drinks to a range of independent coffee and cake stalls for a mid-lunch stop on an afternoon stroll. Ouseburn is the place to be for those in search of a local vibe amongst the city, whilst a little on the expensive side, why not treat yourself this exam season? You deserve it.

Tynemouth It may not be Tenerife, but Tynemouth comes close. This is the ideal seaside resort to unwind with friends as you dip into the sea for an afternoon swim. If fish and chips is more your forte, there are plenty of places to stop for lunch with a personal favourite of mine, Lola’s Jeans. This is a perfect paradise to enjoy sunshine and scenic views, if you fancy something less touristy, Whitley or Cullercoats Bay may be more your scene.

Quayside It doesn’t get more Geordie than this Newcastle

hotspot. For those searching for something more than just picturesque views, bring your Sunday morning to life with the market open from 9am. Take a stroll into Geordie culture with a variety of independent stall holders selling goods from local produce to handmade crafts. From street artists to buskers, brighten up your weekend with the locals and show these independent stores some love.

Grainger Market Grainger Market is the perfect place for those in search of a shopping trip on a budget. With plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, explore the city like never before with a variety of independently owned stalls to keep you occupied. Ideal for a rainy day with the option of indoor coverage, Grainger Market is sure to provide an afternoon of content.

Highbury Head over to Highbury to find students paradise, if you wanted student life, this is it. The perfect location for a picnic with friends to unwind from all that exam stress. Grab a speaker when the sunshine is guaranteed, and you’ll be sure to find Newcastle’s student population soaking up the sun. Highbury is the place to be for an afternoon of good tunes, great picnic food and immaculate vibes. For those in search of something outside Jesmond, Heaton Park is also a perfect alternative with Sambucas located nearby for a quick pit stop.

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ear Agony Ant, I’m currently a third year engineering student, and I really think we have been screwed over. Two of our modules have been taught by terrible lecturers who we have complained about but nothing has been done, and I don’t think the school is doing anything about it. It doesn’t help that I’ve got anxiety and I was wondering if you had any idea of how to help? Dear Stressed Engineer, Firstly, I am so sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time with your course, and that this is impacting on your mental health! Your mental health is TOP priority here, so I'm going to start off by making sure you know of some services available to help you. You didn’t mention if you were seeking help, but it could be a good idea to get in touch with the university’s student well-being service for help on managing your anxiety should you feel this may benefit you. Another great way of getting in touch with other students going through similar experiences with their mental health is through the NUSU Mental Health Society - 'Mind the Gap'. This society organises fortnightly discussions on mental health topics, socials to relieve stress and also talks from mental health professionals. It’s a good to know you aren’t alone whilst going through these times, and this society could be a great way to help relieve some of your stress! OK, so we've prioritised your mental health, what next? To begin, I totally empathise with your situation. Feeling like you aren't being provided with a reliable source of guidance for your studies, in the middle of a pandemic, AND in third year is an understandably stressful situation. It is difficult to give you the correct advice here, as I don’t know the ins and outs of the issue and what steps have already been taken to tackle it. I also don’t want to send you in the wrong direction. However, if you haven’t already made a formal complaint and wish to do so, you can do this using the university ‘Student Complaint and Resolution Procedure’, with a three step complaint system where the school is obligated to implement solutions within 30 days. If this is not resolved, you are able to make a level 2 complaint to take further actions. Alternatively, have you considered contacting the student advice centre? This service is independent from the university and would be great to help you find the right way to solve this problem. Finally, there’s something I want you to remember: this is not your fault! You are trying your best in a tricky situation and you’ve reached out for help. It’s been a really tough year, and to be doing your third year throughout it is an amazing achievement. Hopefully, using the above services will help y o u find the best way to solve this issue and help you feel better about your course and situation too. I wish you the best of luck, Stressed Engineer. Let's get you feeling like a Relaxed Engineer! With love, Agony Ant. The Agony Ant is in collaboration with NUSU’s Inclusive buddies, a bunch of students from a diverse range of backgrounds. Submit your own questions throught the form on our website! Illustration: Ella Williams


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Monday 24 May 2020

Relationships

Why did you sign up for blind date? Thought it’d be a fun way to meet new people, plus a blind date is definitely one to tick off the bucket list. What were your first impressions of your date? Smiley and chatty Were you attracted to her? Yeah and it’s definitely a relief when you arrive at a blind date and that’s the case What did you talk about? Absolutely all sorts. There seemed to be a lot of anecdotes. She also kept going on about how her favourite football team is Liverpool and not Everton;) What was the most awkward moment of your date? Me and my mate blabbed on about how great the pubs are in Ouseburn but by the time we all got there it was basically last orders... IfCharley was a restaurant in Newcastle, which would he be and why? Long Island Ice Tea. Sweet but savage Would you want to go on another date with Charley? Yeah I’d be up for it. She seems pretty fun Finally, can you describe your date in 3 words The date as a whole? Enjoyable, funny, new.

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Why did you sign up for blind date? I just did it cos my friend asked me to! What were your first impressions of Ben I thought he was really nice. What did you talk about? We just talked about our courses and hobbies and stuff Were you attracted to him? I think it was more of a friends vibe If Ben were restaurant in Newcastle what would he be? Maybe DNP, does that count as a restaurant? What was the most awkward moment? There weren't any awkward moments! That's why I'd suggest a double date for anyone else thinking of doing this. And finally, could you describe the date in three words Funny, friendly and relaxed

BEN JONES CHARLEY MORAN

DAVID MARTINEZ Why did you sign up for blind date? I signed up for blind date mainly because I’ve been stuck in so much during lockdown and thought it’d be nice to meet some new people. What were your first impressions of your date? My first impression was that we didn’t have much in common at all so I was worried there wouldn’t be anything to talk about. But obviously as it went on it was good. Were you attracted to him? I can appreciate that he was nice looking, however personally not really my type. What did you talk about? We talked about a lot of things. About what we studied where we were from, hobbies, what we do for fun. Luckily there was plenty to chat about. What was the most awkward moment of your date? When we decided to go to Ouseburn and sat at a table for 40 minutes until we realised they were closing. So we couldn’t get a drink. If David was a restaurant in Newcastle, which would he be and why? Stack because that’s were he works. It’s quirky and abit different but you always have a good time there. Would you want to go on another date with David? Not a romantic date but as friends sure. Finally, can you describe your date in 3 words Confident, friendly, fun.

CHARLOTTE CHESHIRE Why did you sign up for blind date? Dave rang me from the pub after his 7 aside game and popped the questiOn. At that point I’d never been on a double date before and thought “fuck it, that’s another thing crossed off my bucket list” so said yeah What were your first impressions of your Charlotte? Didn’t expect them both essentially to have the same name but they seemed p chill and friendly. I guess we were more relieved that they were fairly down to earth and talkative. Were you attracted to her? Yeah, I thought she was kind of hot What did you talk about? Initially talked about how we knew each other. We told them about how Dave and I met in freshers but then didn’t properly become friends until about a year later and they told us about how they knew each other through a mutual friend and that they both come from a similar area back in Liverpool. Charley and I then made the connection that we knew the same girl off my course and had both been to her birthday about a year ago - where I accidentally fell through a table. Most awkward moment? When we decided to go to Ouseburn (my idea) because Charley had never been but then everywhere was shut and we didn’t get served so we had to taxi it to Lady Greys in town. So Charley still hasn’t lost her Ouseburn virginity yet - sorry Charley! If Charlotte was a cocktail, what would she be? idk tho I would imagine it would be of a dangerously high alcoholic volume. For context, she told us about how a few weeks ago she got through a litre of vodka and stayed drunk for 48 hours! How did the date end? We tried to get into Stack after Lady Greys but Charley couldn’t get in because she didn’t have her ID so the girls went home and Dave and I continued the night, harassed our work mates who work there and neither of us remember getting home Describe you date in three words? Good idea Dave


Monday 24 May 2021

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Lifestyle Horoscopes: what does your zodiac sign say ab 16

Patrick Young -Travel sub-editor

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Aries (March 21 - April 19): BBQ old. Life of the party. Commands attention. These are all traits of Arians, and as such, it made sense to give this fiery sign the BBQthis summer. When there is a BBQ in use, everyone nearby is having fun. Similarly, Arian's passion and enthusiasm is contagious, they amp up the energy of those around them. However, it is important to remember that Aries individuals have a tendency to over-exert themselves and can burn out, if not looked after by others.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Sandals

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aurians are reliable and can help temper even the fiercest fire sign. This is why I have chosen the sandals as the summer object for Taurus. Both are reliable when needed, and can provide much needed respite when necessary. Both are very underrated, and can go unnoticed because they are not as flashy as other signs, and other summerwear. However, it is important to never forget about these reliable people, because once slighted Taurians can be incredibly stubborn and unwilling to help those that have offended them.

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Leo (July 23-August 22): Sun

Libra (September 23-October 22): Butterlfy

arm and Extravagant, Leonine individuals have been given their ruling planet as their summer object- the Sun. These individuals are able to light up a room with their fiery wit, and sparkling personality. They can also be argumentative, and quick to anger if their contributions are not adequately acknowledged. Be careful if this happens, as angry Leo can be as explosive as a supernova. To check this, I recommend that Leos try to express their anger in less explosive ways, such as a calm discussion, this way people becoming offended can be avoided.

ull of possibility, and concerned with aesthetic beauty, Librans and butterflies are a perfect combination. Both are elegant and graceful in their movements, and their mannerisms. However, they are quick to engage in conflict if their attempts at diplomacy are rebuffed, in the same way some butterflies are known to drink blood, there is an underlying viciousness to Librans that many who antagonise them learn the hard way. Overall, Librans are sociable and good listeners. But are known for their indecisiveness. I recommend that Librans work on their over reliance on aesthetic beauty and dependence on flashy clothes.

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Virgo (August 23 - September 22): Hand Fan

Scorpio (October 23- November 21): Wasp

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Beach

eminis are characterised by their dual nature, and I thought that the dual nature of beaches- either sandy, or stony, fits well with the personality of Geminis. This duality may come off as fickle, but in reality, Geminis love adaptability and versatility with emotion. Moreover, if you're patient with a Gemini and learn what makes the tick, you'll find that even the roughest stony parts of the personality, can be smoothed down as they open themselves up to you, and can be their true selves as opposed to just fitting in whatever group dynamic is

Cancer (June 22 - July 22): Picnic oted for their sensuality and consideration, Cancrians are seen as the most caring sign of the zodiac. I have decided that a picnic is the ideal summer object for them. Cancers have a strong sense of community and loyalty to their friends and loved ones, going so far as to become over-attached to them. Picnics are a great way to show your love and appreciation for you loved ones, and can range from a simple spread, to over-the-top fancy delicacies. In this sense, Cancers are very similar, their caring nature can range from providing the basics that will allow their loved ones to thrive, or become smothering and over-the-top. My advice for Cancers is just to watch your relationships in case they start to develop toxic traits.

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irgos love to be of service to others, and what better service in the summer months than to be linked to a hand fan. Virgos enjoy physical movement, which is required in making full use of a hand fan. However, Virgos, like a fan, can break if put under too much stress or too much pressure, whether placed on them by themselves, or others. To avoid this, I suggest that Virgos should work on allowing themselves to not take on the issues of everyone they care about.

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corpios are definitely most like wasps. This is not a negative correlation, both are determined to get what they want, and both have the drive to achieve it. If you leave an angry Scorpio to themselves they will be fine in a while, but if you keep prodding them and invading their personal space, they will react with the venom that they are known for, much like a wasp that has been swatted at. Many other signs take this as Scorpios being unreasonable, but this isn't the case, Scorpios are highly emotional, and can be extremely reactionary. This reaction is something that all Scorpios know needs to be worked on in the future.

Fun in the sun, in a Go ‘offline’ and put your pho post-pandemic world Despite the ongoing pandemic, there are still ways you can have fun this summer Alex Bailey With COVID restrictions lingering into the summer months, many have begun to doubt the possibility of overseas travel. Instead, getting creative and making the most out of staying in the country is becoming an increasingly popular option. I’ve found taking a city break to somewhere in the UK that you have never explored just as refreshing as exploring a Spanish city. Ask the locals, read up on the area and scour through social media to uncover the best bits the city has to offer. If it’s a retreat into nature that you prefer, our British countryside has hundreds of hidden gems to take advantage of. Blue lagoons, white sand beaches and country cottages all sound like something from a movie set but can, surprisingly, be found in the British isles with a little bit of a Googling.

Aside from the holiday itself, one of the best aspects of a summer holiday is the anticipation. Having something to look forward to, plan, and get excited about can offer just as much enjoyment as the holiday itself. Unfortunately, with current COVID restrictions, it can be a risky business booking in

Having something to look forward to, plan, and get excited about can offer just as much enjoyment as the holiday itself advance for fear of cancellation and loosing out on money. I’ve found that one solution to this is setting aside a date, taking time off work or university, and planning nearer the time when restrictions are clearer. This way the anticipation and knowledge of a break away from normal life is still there without the hassle of loosing deposits and rebooking travel. Whilst holidaying in Newcastle might not be the Ibiza that many were hoping for this summer, the holiday anticipation and the right spot can be just as good a substitute.

Illustartion: Pixabay @Owantana and Phoebe Young via The Courier's Creative Contributors

Alumni, podcaster and life coach Chris Williamson, gives an insight into making the most out of your time Meg Howe - Lifestyle sub-editor

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here is no better way to make yourself feel guilty for not making your bed than a Zoom call with Chris Williamson. “Making your bed is free,” he said to me, as I joked that his Zoom background was so professional (and a lot tidier) compared to my own. As a professional podcaster and video creator, Chris is well equipped for online calls, with a stack of books and a fantastic piece of wall art. I could not help but joke, to make myself feel a little better about the state of my own bedroom! Chris hosts the podcast Modern Wisdom, where he interviews a bucket load of interest-

Through researching and preparing topics for his guests, Chris allows for the most interesting themes to be explored

ing people about a huge range of topics, from productivity to fitness and much more. Most recently, the podcast featured big-name Jordan B. Peterson, for a 90 minute episode entitled “Take Control of Your Life”. Not only does Chris host his podcast, but has experience in business management and life coaching; and I can’t help but feel like a need to be a little more productive after just a small half-an-hour call with him. Chris met his business partner Darren in their first seminar at University, and nearly fifteen years later the two of them have own an events company in Newcastle. “I chose someone who fitted my requirements, and I fitted his”, Chris said. When asking Chris about his top-tips for anyone wanting to enter the world of en


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Monday 24 May 2021

Lifestyle

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bout you this Summer? How to avoid diss-aster Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): Frisbee

Illustrations: Tabby Edwards and Phoebe Young, via The Courier's Creative Contributors

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Aquarius (January 20- February 18): Ice Cream

Capriorn (December 22- Janruary 19): Sandcastle

Pisces (February 19-March 20): Bikini

oth Capricorns and sandcastles require a solid structure to flourish, and achieve success. Capricorns have a love for order, and rigidity that makes them the perfect companion to the solid, perfectly sculpted sandcastle. They strive for perfection in all things they do, and are unwilling to leave anything to chance, as this could mean that their progress could crumble away beneath them. However, much like sandcastles, Capricorns find it hard to express emotions, and let down their guards, without completely crumbling as their emotions wash over them. I recommend that Capricorns work on showing their true feelings to those they care about.

isceans are characterised by a sensitivity to texture and clothing, and as such, had to be paired with the staple clothing worn by beachgoers during summer. Pisceans enjoy letting other people make decisions, and they just follow. This can lead to people believing that Pisceans have nothing of value to add to many relationships, but this is incorrect, you may not notice the contributions of a Piscean, but without them, they become abundantly obvious. In future I want Pisceans to work on making decisions, even if they worry about the opinions of others.

agittarians love adventure, and what better object to link them to than a frisbee. Sagittarians want to experience life to the full, and be with their friends whenever they can. They are playful and encourage others to join them on their adventures, in the same way a frisbee is only fun when enjoyed by a group, Sagittarians view travel and enterprises as only being enjoyable when you can share these experiences with those you care about. Sagittarians need to work on lowering their extremely high standards which can be off-putting to those who are trying to get to know them.

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quarians crave individuality, and creativity, and such, the sheer myriad of different flavours and combinations of ice cream makes this the perfect pairing. Always wanting to be different, Aquarians have to be the only object here that is actually cold, and will melt if exposed to heat, because we are just that quirky! Aquarians desire to stand out due to their individuality, but do not like conflict. I recommend that Aquarians work on letting go of the reins of change and allowing others to take charge once in a while.

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hone outside of your room! trepreneurship, he highlighted the need to create a team that excelled in different skill sets. “You want to be able to slide on top of each other”; emphasising that when going into business with someone, it is important to have all skills covered. Similarly, he believes that “what you’ve been exposed to in pop-culture” and using what you know and are interested in are the best skills to use when trying to create a start-up company. “Podcasting is a very long game”, Chris admits. With a pretty competitive industry, comes hard work and dedication. It took Chris three-hundred episodes to create a platform that allowed him to make an appreciable amount of income, and five-hundred videos to gain 100,000 sub-scribers on YouTube; which is

quicker than the average channels. Something that has allowed Chris to land big-names on his podcast is his interview skills. Through researching and preparing topics for his guests, Chris allows for the most interesting themes to be explored. Living a life of researching, prepar-

"If you gave me the opportunity to do anything between 6 pm and 7:30 pm most weekdays, it would be having interesting conversations with people I respect" ing and recording, Chris must live a pretty productive and motivated life! When I asked him how he was able to stay motivated, he said “I really like what I do… if you gave me the opportunity to do anything between 6pm and 7:30pm most week days, it would be having interesting conversations with people I respect”. “Imagine how bad it’s going to be in a nine-to-five for the next thirty-years”, he said. Chris’ top tips for increased motivation and productivity include establishing a nine-to-five style routine; thinking long-term-ist; and sleeping with your phone outside your room. He also believes that having a high-carb or sugary breakfast will stunt your ability to work for long periods of time in a productive manner. Not only was I in awe of the passion that Chris spoke with, but what I took away from our discussion is that you get out what you put in! Chris is the embodiment of a productivity guru, and I f or one will be taking some of his tips on board.

Want to get ahead of the game with dissertation prep? This sixstep guide will make research, planning and writing a lot easier! Gemma Powell

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dissertation is a crucial part of your degree so its important that its done well. Formulating a plan and approaching your research, planning and writing in an orderly way will allow you to get the best out of the experience. These easy steps break down how to write your dissertation so it doesn't overwhelm you. Whilst everyone works in different ways, these are steps that you can adapt to fit your own unique topic and degree.

Step 1: Decide Your Topic Your degree subject will depend on how much your dissertation topic can vary but make sure you know exactly what your research will be about, giving the dissertation a direct focus. Narrow down which films, literature, experiments, or data collections will be most useful to your overall topic. It sounds obvious but at this stage, I was looking at a potential of 3 different films on the same theme. Narrowing the search made the literature review simpler.

Step 2: Come up with a hypothesisor an anticipated outcome statement As an arts student with no real primary data to collect, the concept of a hypothesis can be daunting. Instead think of it as “What is the answer to my dissertation idea?” If you are looking at a specific theme in literature for example, draw on your knowledge on this theme from other modules. This statement should not be very detailed as you have not yet read other scholar’s opinions or findings on the topic.

Step 3: Literature Secondary sources can be tricky to find. Everyone knows the trick of turning library search to ‘everything’ or using google scholar but refining the results can be quite tricky. Sometimes it requires thinking outside the box. For example, my dissertation is about identity formation in a former nation. Searching specific terms related to

that nation generated very few results but general concepts on identity formation were easy to find and apply to more niche aspects. Review each piece of literature in value and compare it to other literature sources on the same topics. Give each piece a score on usefulness in relation to your topic, but remember usefulness is not whether you agree with it. However, your opinion will be needed for the conclusion writing later on.

Step4: Planning

According to the module booklet, my dissertation plan had to include a working title, aims and scope, methodological approach, discussion of key sources of information, as well as organisation and expected conclusions. The ratings and discussion of the sources you have read will come in handy for the key sources section. The proposal planner that the library offers online broke down the main concepts into smaller more manageable questions. This is useful for those struggling with describing their ‘approach’ because of their lack of primary data gathering. Deciding your structure can be hard. I battled with my supervisor, who preferred to divide it into chapters based on each film rather than each theme. This has no exact formula: you have to go with your instinct. My instinct was to follow my supervisor’s preferred layout.

Step 5: Write up Do not write a dissertation in chronological order. It seems tempting but your introduction and conclusion have to match. If you write your introduction first, you may come up with more ideas and potentially more research that will change your conclusions. Because your dissertation is not fiction, your conclusions must also be mentioned briefly in the introduction. To write each chapter, I gathered quotes together on similar ideas, decided the most important concepts and then began to write up. My paragraphs were composed of arguments and counter arguments of different scholars but inevitably coming to a certain conclusion based on the evidence.

Step 6: Editing and Proof Reading Ironically, my least favourite part. If you struggle with large chunks of text, put space between the lines, make the font a large size and never work for more than an hour at a time on the proof-reading process. Keeping to your word count is hard. Cutting out unimportant statements and random tangents are the best places to start, if you need to reduce your words

Illustartion: Pixabay @Sara_Torda


Monday 24 May 2021

18

Fashion

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Crocs: the ultimate comeback kid Should Crocs have come back with a vengeance? Gabbie De Boer wonders whether this was the right choice

Gabbi De Boer

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ver the years, there have been many questionable footwear trends. Socks and sandals, wedge-heeled trainers, and fluffy sliders to name but a few. Though nothing quite takes the crown like Crocs do. Personally, I think they’re great. They're waterproof, breathable, and very quick and easy to put on, which makes them ideal to have by the front or back door for errands like taking the bins out. Recently, Crocs have massively surged in popularity, with 2020 bringing in some of the highest revenue the company has seen since beginning trade in 2001. Many factors have lead to this but a key contributor has certainly been social media. TikTok is known for catapulting things into the limelight, and Crocs are no exception. Much like a catchy tune or dance, the hashtag #Crocs has over 1.5 billion views. Videos of people displaying their colourful Crocs collections or their hoards of cute ‘jibbitz’ (shoe charms) are among those that have caught people’s attention. Trends like buying a matching pair of Crocs with a friend, or even getting coordinating jibbitz

together has stormed social media platforms. There’s even the #CrocsChallenge, which involves putting the shoes into ‘sport mode’ (by pushing the back strap down) and running as fast as you can in them. This isn’t the first time Crocs have garnered social media attention though - the infamous phrase "what are those" is synonymous with the Crocs brand too. Of course, celebrities are capitalising on this hype as well. Justin Bieber, Post Malone, and Bad Bunny

Their popularity is pretty remarkable, and if one thing's for sure it's that they are renowned for many reasons are among those that have collaborated with the brand. Most recently Bieber’s fashion line 'Drew House' (which dropped in March) incorporates the Croc name. His collection features bright yellow and more muted lilac pairs of Crocs with cute jibbitz, including one with the brand name. These items have imminently sold out, most certainly due to their affiliations with Bieber and also their eye-catching colour scheme. Despite Crocs regaining exposure, many still aren’t budging from their dislike of the rubber clogs. For example, when gifted a pair of Bieber’s collection, fashion icon Victoria Beckham proclaimed she’d “Rather die” than wear them… which says a lot, considering they are seen as a wardrobe staple by many.

What could also be contributing to their wardrobe-essential status is the impact of COVID-19 on current fashion trends. Comfort is a growing necessity for many, especially due to the need to work from home. Crocs fit this purpose incredibly well particularly since there are styles with added comfort of a fur trim, just like slippers, that are ideal for wearing around the house. They are also versatile, being worn both indoors and outdoors and at places like the beach or pool. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re a pretty decent shoe and it doesn't look like they're disappearing any time soon. Their popularity is pretty remarkable, and if one thing's for sure it's that they are renowned for many reasons. Whether it be their colour, their uniqueness, or their versatility.

Image: Tabitha Edwards

The future of fashion? Let's not fuck it up What does the future of fashion hold, and how can we make it our own?

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Josephine Broome

n 2019, the Brooklyn Museum exhibited the first-ever retrospective on legendary couturier Pierre Cardin, aptly titled “Future Fashion”. Cardin was the fashion world's underdog of the 20th century, forget Coco and Christian, he designed for the world of tomorrow.His space-age aesthetic and razor-sharp tailoring was something out of Star Trek, but there's no denying his influence on mainstream fashion. Your prized Gucci socks wouldn't be so cool without Cardin, who pioneered designers slapping their names and logos on everything. Now, after his passing in December 2020, I wonder what the sci-fi inspired, optimistic designer would make of the changing landscape of fashion. Arguably, the contemporary 'fashion-scape' is a literal wasteland in comparison to his green pastures of old. When I think of the future of fashion, I am pessimistic. The fashion industry

The future of fashion could be carbon neutral

Image: Timeout, The Reburberry Campaign

contributes about 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater. Despite fashion's new buzzword of ‘sustainability’, fast fashion brands have slyly brushed real change under the carpet and simply plastered green-washed slogans on everything. H&M especially takes (and rightly so) a lot of the greenwashing rap. The most laughable being their sustainable sequin dresses, as though the micro-plastics won’t harm our precious sea-life.

Yet, I must admit to myself, as I sit in a badly lit room being grumpy over climate change, is that it isn't enough for me to spout environmental figures in a University newspaper. Cardin would've gone nowhere with my attitude of existential doom. Instead, I’m going to take a good shot at imagining what the future of fashion could be, and I promise I'll be positive. The Coronavirus pandemic has been monu-

Arguably, the contemporary 'fashion-scape' is a literal wasteland in comparison to his green pastures of old mental in the fight to give the fashion industry a makeover. COVID-19 has forced brands to make the switch from analogue to digital, thereby reducing physical waste and streamlining production post-lockdown. The ban of large gatherings forced fashion week online. Though it's too soon to calculate the carbon footprint of a digital fashion week, it has to be better than the 241,000 tons of CO2 (reported by Ordre) which fashion buyers and designers alone create by attending fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan. What's more, with shows streaming live on social media, previously elite events have become inclusive to all. I hope this will mark the beginning of a demise in toxic front-row culture, and a rise in young designers and enthusiasts feeling worthy enough to join the industry and make a difference. The future of fashion could be carbon neutral. Stella McCartney used 70% ecofriendly materials in her S/S 20 collection, her most sustainable catwalk to date. Meanwhile, a new generation of designers are hell-bent on conscious fashion. Gabriela Hearst’s latest show

was certified completely carbon neutral, and upcoming designers such as Archie Hammond and Olivia Fletchers' "Otherness Studios" are creating collections from 100% recycled materials before they've even left fashion school. When all is said and done, the future of fashion can be beautiful if we all contribute to the change. As consumers, we must take our lead from businesses and creatives plugging real sustainable design, and challenge ourselves to boycott fast fashion, buy consciously and shop small. I would love to see, in the near future, more buyers undertaking resolutions to spend a year ‘clothes shop free’, living out of their current wardrobe and learning how to consume less. I’d like to conclude with Vivienne Westwood’s mantra – "buy less, choose well, make it last". If we all take note of this and stay optimistic, Cardin would be proud to leave his legacy on fashions future, which will be carbon neutral.

Image: Pixabay, @Ailes


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Monday 24 May 2021

Fashion

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Campus fashion for less than a tenner

Meg Howe goes thrift shopping in Newcastle for just £10 Meg Howe

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–Lifestyle sub-editor

n an attempt to expand my style for just about ten-pounds, I hit the charity shops to scout out their best pieces! What I love about charity shop-shopping is that you never really know what you’re going to find. It’s like digging around in a pile of dirt in the hope that you find a diamond: you might get lucky,

You don't have to spend big in order to change your style but you might just end up feeling a bit sorry for yourself. What drew me to this challenge was the idea that you don’t have to spend big in order to change your style. I wanted to grab pieces where I wouldn’t usually see a part of “me”, because I thought they were either too cool or that I didn’t have the body shape for them. But this challenge showed me that experimenting with fashion can be done in a cheap, environmentally safe way. While this challenge was fashion for a tenner, I have to confess that I did spend £11 on these items (and you can blame your fashion editor for that)! However, I think we stumbled across the best pieces in there. Firstly, in Cancer Research, I picked out this blue and white knitted jumper. The tag says size

14 which made it a little oversized, but it’s super cosy and could definitely be dressed up or down. Originally from Papaya, this jumper would probably have retailed for around £25, so bagging it for only £3 is a definite bargain! I can picture myself wearing it with some mom jeans and a brown belt, and it would perfectly match heeled boots

I paired this outfit with a black belt and some chunky trainers for a pretty casual look and trainers if I wasn’t feeling so dressy. The second item was picked up in the British Heart Foundation, and was a little more expensive. These brown corduroy pants were original from Zara, meaning their retail price was definitely around £50. I feel a bit smug saying that I picked these up for only £8! As with the jumper, these could definitely be styled up or down depending on the occasion. The pants were the piece I was the most unsure on. I didn’t feel cool enough to pull them off, and I wasn’t sure how I would style them past this challenge. But after trying them on, I definitely would say that I feel a lot more confident. I feel as though they are really flattering on the thighs and bum, and definitely seem to accentuate my legs. The only downside to these pants is that they’re a size medium, which means they’re a little big on me. They also don’t have any belt straps, so picking a belt to go with them was a little hard. Though I didn’t let that stop me! I paired this outfit with a black belt and some chunky trainers for a pretty casual look. Since I was feeling all brave, I wore red lipstick and matching red heart earrings to push myself out of my comfort zone just a little more!

Images: Coins: Dreamstime.com, @spectrumoflight Model: Meg Howe

Behind the bling: the history of piercings

Sophia Ayub explores the history of piercings within different cultures and shares her own personal favourites

W Sophia Ayub

hen it comes down to piercings, I wouldn’t self-proclaim myself as some form of expert, however, I must admit, I’ve had my fair share of horror tales. Despite this, I without a doubt am obsessed with every single one of my little pieces collection and look towards a potential expansion in my piercing collection. Before sharing my favourites, here’s a little history on the story behind this highly favoured beauty trend that has revolutionised accessory trends. Research has shown that the earliest record of body piercings, from evidence within a stone relief, was found in Nimrud, Iraq from around the 9th century BC. As well as this, the remains of what is believed to be a 5,000-year-old mummified body, maintain evidence of a 7-11 mm diameter piercing. Reasons behind piercings vary from tribal branding to reflections of class status, as demonstrated by the ancient Egyptians, who even reserved certain piercings to members of royalty. Earrings particularly gained popularity within the Elizabethan and renaissance period, where pearl drops and diamond studs were fashioned to display one's wealth. In the last hundred years, piercings were fashioned predominantly by hippies and travellers who adopted the practice from countries such as India. Growing up I identified body piercings, as well as tattoos to correlate with the punk aesthetic. They also signified an outcasted, rejected style. I remember when first piercing my lobes, my primary and high school requested I’d cover my

newly pierced holes with tape, as they didn’t look ‘appropriate’. Over the past couple of years, society has adapted and welcomed all new types of body art expression. In regards to my specific favourite piercings, I would without a doubt refer to the piercings situated on the left side of my face. As well as having both my earlobes pierced from a young age, I have a nose ring as well as a scaffolding piercing. The scaffolding piercing I remember was the one I was specifically very hesitant to get. Prior to this piercing, I had a botch job performed on my right upper cartilage provided by an unqualified individual and an online purchased piercing gun, (always do your research and consult a professionally trained individual). However, to my surprise, the piercing itself was a breeze. I barely felt it. I’ll admit, however, the two-year healing process was a journey, nonetheless a journey worth the wait.

art, but a piece of my culture as well as heritage.

My south Asian cultural heritage celebrates nose rings heavily amongst women My nose ring was more culturally inspired. My south Asian cultural heritage celebrates nose rings heavily amongst women. Most women in my family fashioned one, and I couldn’t wait to join them. There was a specific piece of jewellery adorned by traditional south Asian brides that I knew I always wanted to wear one day, which fashioned a nose ring connected to an earlobe piercing by a singular chain. My nose ring holds special significance, and for me, it represents more than body

Image: Prakhar Amba, Wikipedia


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Monday 24 May 2021

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Our top 5 UK forest getaways Our writer tells us her top tranquil tree-top retreats Alice Holmes

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ince chances of abroad travel are questionable, this year is the perfect opportunity to explore areas closer to home, and something the UK has in abundance is forests. Below, are some forest retreats across the UK, perfect for those who love luxury and tranquillity as well as those who enjoy outdoor adventure. Tucked into the 7 acre gardens of Burlingham Hall in Norfolk, is a secluded yurt offering all the essential

amenities plus a wood-burner and a lava rock BBQ, ensuring peaceful seclusion under the starry night sky. In the day you can discover the various walking trails, visit the nearby coast and the Winterton dunes. Situated on the banks of River Teith in Perthshire, are 5 unique treehouses, each named after the owners’ favourite woodland birds. They come with a log burning stove, tree top terrace and an outside bath, and since they border Trossachs National Park, there is plenty to do in terms of outdoor activities, including mountain climbing, wild swimming, and salmon and trout fishing. Offering uninterrupted views of the starry skies, the transpar-

Amazing outdoor pools from around the world Dive in to the top five pools for summer Lenka Minarovicova

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he summertime is approaching us and with it our desire to spend more time outside and maybe even go on a vacation. Tourists have always been attracted to the idea of relaxing at a pool and hotel directors are aware of this. That’s why they compete in building the most interesting pools possible. Here are some of them.

The Oberoi Udaivilas Pool, India As you walk out of a magnificent white palace in Udaipur, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Mewar, you’ll find yourself in a majestic pool surrounded by gardens. Moreover, Udaipur is Image: Canva

known as the City of lakes, so it is no surprise that this pool also offers a breath-taking view of the Lake Pichola.

The San Almonso del Mar Seawater Pool, Chile Have you ever wondered where the world’s largest pool is? The answer you’re looking for is Chile! Over one kilometre long with a private beach all around and only a few steps far from the ocean.

Harbour Plaza Swimming Pool, Hong Kong Located at the rooftop of Harbour Plaza Hotel in Hong Kong, this swimming pool allows you to enjoy astonishing views of the city skyline and Victoria Harbour. No more words needed.

The Hanging Gardens of Bali Pool, Indonesia Nature lovers may enjoy an infinity pool located right in one of the most beautiful forests in the world – Balinese jungle! Overlooking the wildlife around from the pool at the top of the hill, you’ll realise you’re in one of the most peaceful places in the world.

The Floating Lake Pool, Italy Described as “water on the water”, the pool at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is truly an architectural wonder. Not only can you enjoy the calm of Lake Como, but also the gorgeous scenery of the Grigne mountains.

ent domes at Finn Lough are the perfect place to stay within Northern Ireland. The domes are complete with Nespresso coffee machines, breakfast delivered every morning and a roll top bath overlooking the forest. In the day you can enjoy the forest spa, a whisky masterclass or for something more fast-paced, like kayaking around the secluded islands. A stay at Chewton Glen treehouses offers a luxurious experience 35 feet above the ground. Located in Hampshire, the treehouse hosts an outside terrace with a hot tub, breakfast

hampers, under floor heating and mood lighting. The beach is only a short walk away and you can also visit Stonehenge and the New Forest whilst in the area. As seen on Channel 4’s George Clarke's amazing spaces, these colourful pods are situated high in the trees with your own kitchen, shower and bedroom. The pods are made from aluminium and a static airframe resulting in a unique and yet relaxing stay deep in 80 acres of woodland. Image: Canva

‘Split ticketing’ What is 'split ticketing'? Here's how you can use it to save money on travel Leonie Bellini

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plit ticketing may take a bit of extra effort and seem pretty dodgy, but it’s completely legal, and if it can save you anything from a couple to fifty quid, it’s more than worth it. Here’s my step-by-step guide to using split ticketing, with an example journey from Newcastle to London. 1. Search your journey on Trainline, to get an idea of the times and original prices. Right now, the next train from Newcastle to London (calling at Northallerton) would cost me £76.20. 2. Open up trainsplit.com and splitmyfare. co.uk (they both do the same job, but it’s best to cross-reference). It tells me that the same journey, on the exact same train, would cost me £45.60 using split ticketing. Magic?! Essentially, the website has worked out that I can buy two separate tickets (one from Newcastle to Northallerton costing £11.60, and one from Northallerton to London costing £34.00). I won’t have to change trains or my route, because both journeys can be completed on the same Newcastle to London train that I found originally. 3. Beware, though. Sometimes the train times on these websites are

out-of-date. To save the absolute maximum and to be sure you’re not getting scammed, don’t book the tickets via the split ticketing site. Instead, go to the original train company website with no booking fees (lner.co.uk in this case), and add the separate parts to your basket, double checking that the times will link up, and that you’ll still be saving money.

Extra Tips: A 16-25 railcard is a lifesaver and easily pays itself off, getting you 33% off pretty much any train ticket – look out for offers when you open/change your student bank account. Unidays also has a no-strings 40% discount on LNER tickets. You can use these discounts on top of the split ticket savings. Now go and spend all that cash on trebs!

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Image: Louise Cusine


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Monday 24 May 2021

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Music Wolf Alice reveal all on their brand new album B 22

Music Editors Dom and Joe chat to Joff and Theo about Blue Weekend, Glasto... and Enya? Dom Lee and Joe Smith

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–Music sub-editors

t'd been a while since we'd heard anything from Wolf Alice, no teaser of new music, no leaked tour dates, nothing. Fans everywhere were searching for any scraps of information they could get to see if new music would arrive. Then all of a sudden, the Wolf Alice Instagram posted a teaser image, the fans went crazy and then 'The Last Man On The Earth' dropped along with the announcement of their third album, Blue Weekend. Two of our music editors managed to grab themselves a copy of the album, listen to it non-stop, and somehow, have a chat with the lovely Joff and Theo, here's how it went down.

Theo: One of the things that drew us to Marcus was just the scope of the projects he had worked on before. You know like Bjork records, Arcade Fire and then really broad pop stuff like Coldplay. His CV was just so wide and we felt he had the ability to work really well with any band as well, so we thought having someone who worked in those different mediums would be really well suited to us. And he was super lovely, really found a great way to work with us and all of our individual vocalisations of what we wanted stuff to sound

like. Like when you spend so much time together you kind of get an unspoken language. Joff: A tacit understanding. He was a real pleasure to work with. He ‘s very detail oriented which works very well. Joe: Something I’ve noticed with your music is that you create narratives very well. I’ve seen a lot of people they say they want their summer to be a “Don’t Delete the Kisses summer”, s o having this narrative that you and your fans can relate to seems to be very prominent, does this run through Blue Weekend would you say?

Dom: So do you think having the album bookended by ‘The Beach’ and ‘The Beach 2’, do you think this has created a single storyline, or more of a theme with lots of different stories in? Theo: I think it’s probably the latter. I think the bookending is really nice and it touches on lots of different emotions and narratives being touched on in between these two beaches. Joe: It’s just been announced that you’ll be performing at the Glastonbury livestream event. How does it feel being asked to perform at such a historic moment? Theo: It’s amazing man. It’s actually done at Worthy Farm where Glastonbury would’ve been, so it’s incredible that we still get to perform there. It’s an honour to play there in any form and it’s a wicked selection of artists so it’s great to be included in that. Hopefully it’ll mean a lot to people.

Joe: So guys, new album, hooray! It was recorded partially in lockdown, did this give you more time to experiment and finetune the record? Joff: Yeah definitely, we started recording in January, and the lockdown kicked off when we were in Brussels for like four months, locked into the studio. So like usually when you’re recording an album you can usually let off like a bit of steam, go to the pub or whatever, but being in the studio in that environment constantly meant that you couldn't really escape it, it was always there in your mind, so we zoomed in with a level of detail that perhaps we haven't done before which was really interesting. Hopefully it paid off. Dom: We think it definitely did pay off! So, you were working in the studio with the producer Marcus Straus on the album. Was there a particular reason as to why you wanted to work with Marcus, and what particular parts were aided by him.

Joff: Hmm, it’s hard to say. It’s quite difficult to set out to do that. I think that’s the test of all good music. If it evokes a response it works, especially with music being the most prominent artform we have at the minute, so if you manage to do that I think you’ve hit a home run really.

Dom: So speaking of that, how do you think the new songs will translate into live shows? Joff: Seamlessly. Theo: Perfectly. Joff: With great poise and aplomb. Theo: I’ve got no clue to be honest, it’ll be harder to write a setlist. Image: Jordan Hemingway

Joff: It would be interesting to see how we

Lineup disappointment: Music industry Harriet Metcalfe probes into the deep-rooted misogyny that still exists within the music industry.

even in Billboard's top 100 artists at the end of 2019, two out of the top three artists were women. The situation couldn't be worse for R+L organisers, given that (to make up for the impact of coronavirus last year), they've doubled the number of headliners... and yet they still couldn't find one slot for a woms I'm writing this, many of us are still an. For the seventh year in a row. reeling from the Grammy awards. In Thankfully, lots public refact, it was a pretty historic night for sponse to the line-up has been many women in the music industry. supportive of women, Beyoncé won her 28th award and and not the festival. Taylor Swift became the first female artist to win But change starts album of the year three times in a row. But one from the top, and night doesn't make up for an industry that is still, as an interview in 2021, excluding women. with Lucy Wood (Latitude's booker) back in 2018 It was incredibly disapshows, the belief pointing, to see that must still be engrained in orthere was not one womganisers in 2021 that women just an artist headlining. don't sell tickets; "We all want more women on After a year of no gigs, let alone music festhe bills and we’ve tivals, many fans are understandably excitall consciously tried ed to get their hands on Reading and Leeds to get more women at tickets. But it's a year that also highlighted the top end, but there’s the extreme ways in which the pandemic only so much you can has negatively impacted women more than really do,’ says Lucy. men. It was incredibly disappointing, then, ‘At the end of the day to see not one woman artist headlining. In we need to think fact, we have to get over half way down the about ticket sales announcement just to see women artists: and that the artists Doja Cat and Mabel. we choose attract And it's not for a lack of female talent. people to buy HAIM, Charli XCX, and Phoebe Bridgtickets" (Grazia). ers to name but a few, all released brilliant So what can be Image: Wikimedia Commons (Jrodigs) albums over the last year. As Stylist notes, done about the

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Reading and Leeds lineup? Well, I'm not a business student so don't expect a full breakdown or plan of action from me. But I'd hope that the outcry from fans, the recognition being given to women artists by institutions like the Grammys, and sheer statistical data on just how sexist the industry is, would be enough to encourage (if not force) festivals to take a chance on women musicians. Except it's not taking a chance at all. Women have excelled in the music industry. It's about time they take notice of that. But it's not just Reading and Leeds. An analysis of 756 acts in 2018 found that 77% of artists on nine festival posters were male. So how can festivals move forward from this? Well, the Keychange initiative could be a step forward in supporting women in the industry more, with 400+ organisations having already pledged to achieve gender balance by 2022. And they're looking beyond lineups, given that there's an average pay gap of 30% at UK record labels and 98% of works performed by major global orchestras in 2018/19 were by men. But the issue also extends past talent. More needs to be done to protect fans. Research from 2018 showed that two thirds

of women were worried about sexual harassment

Research shows that 66% of women were worried about sexual harassment when attending festivals when attending a festival, with only 1% having reported the assault or harassment to a member of staff. But it's not just women: 53-56% of men were also worried about sexual harassment and assault. Anyone who's lost a mate at a festival will know it's not the easiest thing in the world to find who

Image: Wikimedia Commons (Jørund Føreland Pedersen)


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Monday 24 May 2021

Blue Weekend approach a livestream as well. It’s something that will be hard to do without an audience but we’ll see how it goes, hopefully we’ll be able to have fun again soon. Joe: Speaking of fun, tours! You’ve announced a huge string of shows for 2022, most of which are sold out, which is so sick. Do you have anything special planned for these shows? Theo: The special things will just be playing live music again, but hopefully we’ll include something we haven't done before. I don't think we’ve ever had a tour with this demand, it’s just really shit how far away it is. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel for us though Dom: Looking ahead to it though, there's a lot of different sounds on this album, which songs are you most excited to be playing live and why? Theo: The easiest ones. With the least instrumentation and the least things to go wrong. ‘How Can I Make it Okay’ would be great to play, it’s my favourite on the album for sure. I’m excited for the heavier stuff too to see how people react. Dom: I thought on this record I heard some dream-poppy sounds, is that fair would you say? Theo: Yeah, it is a very dreamy kind of pop song. I like what you said about plucky before, its got a really kind of taught beat. Joff: The string sounds were just Logic presets. I love this record because we used so many things we hadn’t before. We have real strings, fake strings and loads of other elements. Sometimes it’s just things we find in Logic making odd noises and cool guitar sounds. If it works, you don’t need all of the fancy gear because the tech is just so good. Dom: And is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up? Joff and Theo: Buy the album.

Music

Sick of the same playlist? Avoiding Spotify burnout Charlotte Airey shows us how to avoid musical burnout by searching for new tunes.

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am guilty of playing songs that I love on repeat until I’m bored of them, and it often means that I am left wanting to find music that I have not yet discovered, but not being quite sure how to do it. However, recently I have taken it upon myself to try and find more music that I do like, through a few simple (quick!) ways, that isn’t just listening to your discover weekly (although you should do that too). I’m more into finding new songs than individual artists, as I like to consistently listen to a variety of different sounds rather than listening to an album all the way through. I have one specific playlist which is just every single song that in the past year I have just thought was ‘nice’, at this point there really is one for any mood or occasion. The section at the bottom of your Spotify playlist is SUCH a lifesaver for new tunes, and the other day from adding a single song from my discover weekly onto a playlist within five mins I had a three-hour selection of music that was all from the ’70s and all from Japenese artists (Minako Yoshida, Taeko Onuki, Kiyotaka Sugiyama & Makoto Matsushita – trust me the vibes are immaculate). I have ignored that part of Spotify for a long time, and it is my new fave for discovering new music that you may not have thought of before. I am definitely going to be more open to potential different sounds because of this and I'm super excited for whatever it shall bring me in the future.

people are listening to, or their public playlists there could be hidden gems. Although this can be a little time-consuming if you’re procrastinating Uni work, I can’t recommend this one more. I found this the other week when I was bored of rinsing my ‘fierce boogie’ playlist (it’s a banger you should check it out) and looked through my friends to find

Looking up an artist's record label is a great shout, chances are they will have signed similar

bands.

that he had one of a completely similar vibe, with loads of songs I had forgotten to add on/new ones. This was a great find as it means that that specific playlist now has more variety apart from the clas-

sics I had put on there myself and it's spiced up once again! Yes, I did this when I was in the library. Asking your friends for new songs is always a good one too. With some of my friends, I ask them to send me a song each week just so I can hear different tunes from what I’m currently listening to. One of my flatmates has a collaborative one with his best friend from home and whenever they see a song posted on a story that they like or an artist featured in a song etc, they’ll add it in to hear new sounds, which is a super cool idea as well and makes it social. Finally, a good way to find certain artists. For smaller bands and singers, looking up their record labels is a good shout because chances are they will have signed similar bands to the ones you already like. When I was younger, I did this a lot, googling “Run for Cover Records” led me to find Citizen, Seahaven, Turnover and Tigers Jaw from Modern Baseball, and from “Dirty Hit” pretty much everyone they have got signed. It’s a great way if you’re after the same sort of vibe and don’t like spending that much time trawling through Spotify. Illustration: Shalom Tse

Secondly is the good old classic of other people's playlists. Secondly is the good old classic of other people’s playlists. Everyone takes pride in their playlists, and if you have a little look through either what

y fails women again you're looking for. But when it comes to someone being sexually assaulted or harassed, acres of muddy fields, loud music and bad signal is no excuse to finding the oppressor. Everyone has the right to feel safe at a festival, whether you want to be at the barrier or hanging back by the food vans.

Royal Blood Typhoons

Tom Moorcroft

W –Head of Sport

An analysis of 756 acts in 2018 found that 77% of artists on nine festival posters were male. It's 2021 and, like many other creative industries, music is still sexist. 2.1% of producers are women. 12.3% of songwriters are women. 4 out of 871 producers were women of colour. 39% of women were objectified in a recording studio. This research done by USC Annenburg in 2019 emphasises that the music industry is long overdue in doing more for women. The same report suggests that 'creating environments where women are welcome', '[creating] opportunities for women to use their skills and talents', having 'role models and mentorships' and committing to 'considering & hiring more females' are all steps forward for the industry. But two years and a pandemic later, we're yet to see the effect of these improvements. Hopefully other festival lineups and research won't fall on such a flat note.

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Image: Flickr (Mr Push)

hey rose to fame with 2014’s self titled Royal Blood, solidified their status with 2017’s How Did We Get So Dark, and they’re not going away too soon with 2021’s

stellar Typhoons. This epic frenzy of high-intensity bass lines, that conventional Royal Blood drum and bass but with a funky, disco element makes this their most exciting album yet. Straying from their brilliantly powerful hard-rock stance and showing the lighter, yet still chunky, side of their music, this album is very much 'Royal Blood on the dance floor', showing their previous fans a new level to their sound while branching out to a new audience. With the album released today, Royal Blood willingly teased fans across the globe these last months with four singles; 'Trouble’s Coming', 'Typhoons' and 'Limbo'. The latest release from the band, ‘Boilermaker’, has been a staple of their setlist for a few years, now finally gracing streaming platforms so we can enjoy the song in all its Josh Homme-produced glory. One of the more unique additions on the album was a laid-back piano track. While it takes a couple of seconds for your ears to get used to Mike Kerr tickling the ivories, it’s a lovely light bite to see the album off, leaving you refreshed and ready for your next listen through. ‘All We Have Is Now’ is the hidden gem on this album, providing the calm after the storm, or should I say ‘Typhoon’. With a name like Typhoons, you’re expecting an album full of crashing drum cymbals, powerful bass riffs and sturdy vocal arrangements. This hefty album might leave you feeling a bit sore from thrashing about in your bedroom, but you needn't worry, with 2022 tour dates released just last week.

girl in red if i could make it go quiet Elsa Tarring

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his 22-year-old Norwegian singer is known for her unmistakeable sounds of dreamy bedroom pop, and her first studio album, if i could make it go quiet, fits nicely into this description. What’s different with her new music, however, is that she also starts to delve into other genres, like rock and electronic, which is what makes listening to the album a truly refreshing and exhilarating experience. This is undoubtedly because her intimate lyrics about sexuality and mental health resonate with fans, which, paired with her soft vocals and understated guitar, leave them feeling both heard and empowered. It’s for this reason that girl in red should be listened to alone, preferably in a soft, cosy setting, because you feel as if she’s singing her feelings to a friend, and you can’t help but feel yourself pouring out your own in return – she overshares, but then so do we. I’m pleased to say that if i could make it go quiet has all the same indie-pop sounds and personal lyrics from her previous singles and EPs, but I’m equally as pleased to say that there’s also experimentation into different genres, most notably rock. In songs like ‘You Stupid Bitch’, the electric guitar quickly takes centre stage, while girl in red’s vocals simultaneously compel you to hear her cries for love, creating a heavier, more intense sound. Some songs are quintessentially girl in red, like ‘.’, one of my favourites on the album, starting relatively quietly with just vocals and acoustic guitar, then getting louder with the addition of drums and a tambourine. If there’s one lyric that sums up her sound, as well as the whole album, it’s “Living in a daydream”.


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Review: Shadow and Bone satisfies its dedicated fans Review: The Falcon Does Shadow and Bone live up to the much-awaited hype?

Maja Mazur

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fter months of waiting, a new fantasy show, Shadow and Bone, finally premiered on Netflix. Based on popular YA book series, it had a difficult task to satisfy novels’ fans and engage viewers who had never heard about Grishaverse before. Set in a fictional world, Shadow and Bone follows the story of Alina Starkov, a cartographer serving in the royal army. She lives in Ravka, a country parted by a Shadow Fold, a dark passage full of monsters. When she follows her childhood friend, Mal, and the rest of

the troop into the shadows, it turns out that she possesses legendary power. Meanwhile, in a distant town, Ketterdam, three criminals get a job to capture and bring Alina to the city.

I binge-watched all eight episodes in one day, and I wasn't bored for a moment Most of all, Shadow and Bone is engaging and enjoyable to watch. Let me be honest: I bingewatched all eight episodes in one day, and I wasn’t bored for a moment. I had a feeling that I watched 2 hours long film, rather than a long show. At first, I was sceptical if combining two distinct book series (Grisha trilogy and Six of Crows duology) in one project is a good idea, but it turned out better than I ever imagined. The screenwriters and actors did a good job in bringing book characters to life, and in some instances, they even gave them more depth. Ben Barnes is persuasive at capturing the charisma of

the general of Ravkan army, the Darkling – especially in the first episodes he’s intriguing, majestic and draws attention every time he shows up on the screen. Kit Young, on the other hand, brings some fresh air to the show - his Jesper never gets too pretentious. The rest of the cast gives a fair performance as well, but anyone who has watched Shadow and Bone will agree that it is Milo who stole the show.

Shadow and Bone gives what it promises: a few hours of fun and escapism I am not sure, though, how much viewers who don’t know Bardugo’s novels will grasp from the complex world, with all its nations, conflicts and politics. The show throws the audience into the story without much exposition, and while all the names are known to the readers, the average person might feel confused. And although scenes with Nina and Matthias belong to my favourites, they’re short and seem excluded from the rest of the story. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of Grishaverse with its freezing country of Fjerda, inspired by czarist Russia Ravka and trading town, Ketterdam, is captured very well. Aesthetic eye-catching scenography and beautiful outfits with impressive, embroidered details make it difficult not to fall in love with the magical world. The special effects look exceptionally well-done for a Netflix show there’s no doubt that the platform believed in its success. Some scenes could have lasted longer, and not everyone will be satisfied with the editing. It doesn’t change the fact, though, that Shadow and Bone gives what it promises: a few hours of fun when we can forget about our grey world.

Watch Shadow and Bone now on Netflix Image: IMDb

Following the success of WandaVision, did TFATWS manage to rise to the occassion? Rachel McCreanor

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ollowing the monumental success of WandaVision, Disney + had a lot to live up to with the release of their second miniseries instalment of Phase Four of the MCU, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and they most certainly delivered. The six-part series follows Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes as they team up in a chaotic post-Endgame world, on a mission to stop the ‘Flagsmashers’, testing their abilities, friendship and values along the way. The series also saw the return of now fan-favourite Baron Zemo - Played by Daniel Brühl - in a case of character development that literally nobody saw coming (dancing Zemo anyone?).

Disney+ had a lot to live up to with the release of their second mini-series Although regretfully short, the series saw a huge amount of character development in both Sam and Bucky. Once merely Captain America’s sidekicks, the series breathed new life into the pair, creating deservedly moving backstories for both, as well as finally exploring Bucky’s years of trauma and the complexities behind Sam’s decision to take up the title of Captain America. One of the most impactful parts of the series is its handling of the issues surrounding the history and legacy of the title. Some of the most moving scenes come from the conversations between Sam and Isaiah Bradley, the first

The Irregulars - in the shadow of Sherlock? Comfort & connection: How streaming service Bea and Leo (Harrison Osterfield- a friend of

Rebecca Sykes

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efore university, I'd watch Sherlock or Supernatural with my Mum and we would talk a lot about it and overanalyse the plot. During a pandemic, unable to return to university, watching The Irregulars was much of the same, in all the best ways. The 8 episodes each have an enticing supernatural mystery that The Irregulars- orphaned street teens- led by Bea (Thaddea Graham), must solve for payment by a delightfully malicious Dr. John Watson (Royce Pierreson). The overarching plot includes the unknown rift between the supernatural and human world, the mystery surrounding Jessie’s (Darci Shaw) psychic powers, and the love story between

Image: IMDb, The Noun Project

Spiderman’s Tom Holland). Joining Bea are her sister, Jessie, her oldest friend from the dreaded workhouse, Billy (Jojo Macari), intelligent and fragile Prince Leopold known to The Irregulars as Leo, and the glue of the group, Spike (McKell David). There are references to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock with twisted adaptations of Dr. Watson, Mycroft Holmes (Jonjo O'Neill), Inspector Lestrade (Aidan McArdle), and Mrs. Hudson (Denise Black) introduced in episodes 1-4. The grand reveal of the shattered and selfish Sherlock Holmes (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) shows how The Irregulars truly transforms Conan Doyle’s work to something unique and new.

It brings something new and exciting to the genre, even if it uses some cliches Character aspects, such as Dr. Watson’s love for Sherlock, the sisterhood of Jessie and Bea, and the trauma of living in Victorian London are emphasised. Sometimes, especially in episode 4, The Irregulars goes too gory and loses track of its characters. Luckily, episodes 3 and 5 stand out with great character moments and natural plot progression (who doesn’t like magical deaths staged to resemble tarot cards so an evil woman can steal a teenager’s power?!). It brings something exciting and new to the genre, even if it uses some cliches, and it succeeds with the stellar cast, supernatural murder mysteries, and subverting the common depictions of Sherlock. You don't have to be a detective to realise that The Irregulars could go from great to brilliant.

When the world shut down, streaming services opened up

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Gabbi De Boer

icture this - It’s March 24, 2020, the first official UK lockdown has begun, and you’re getting ready to kick your feet up and binge some of your favourite shows for two weeks. Except now it’s been nearly a year, and nights in are more common than going out. Although already popular, streaming services have become a familiar comfort to many throughout the pandemic. They were, and arguably still are, a source of connection, relaxation and stability. The resulting lockdowns saw massive growth in our use of these platforms, with people spending double the time in using them in comparison to normal circumstances. This was particularly prominent in 16-34-year-olds, who on average, spent 2 hours a day using subscription services. as shown in an Ofcom report.

day over and over with nothing to do. The time that was spent commuting and socialising now needed to be filled, and killing time by watching something is an easy and low-effort alternative. Streaming has also kept us connected in many ways. Personally, streaming has brought me closer to my friends. Browser extensions such as Teleparty and Disney+’s GroupWatch have allowed me and others to connect in real-time and at least simulate some kind of normality. Of course, the physical aspects are removed, but the feeling of togetherness is still there.

Streaming platforms have released some of their best content yet Being confined in houses with limited outdoor time and human contact have led to the need for escape and relaxation. Working from home turned many houses into temporary offices, making it difficult to separate work and play. Curling up in bed enthralled in a new series was a worthwhile way to curb boredom - particularly true during the colder months. For many, life was the same

Image: Pixabay, TroubleSchute, Pcmag.com


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n and The Winter Soldier fly high This summer I'll be watching... Black super-soldier, experimented on against his will before being imprisoned and silenced for decades. His final scene and the revelation of his statue and story immortalised in the Captain America museum is by far the most emotional of the series.

The series saw huge character development in both Sam and Bucky One of the most brilliant parts of the series is the dichotomy between Sam and John Walker, whose brilliant portrayal by Wyatt Russell added a muchneeded exploration of the meaning behind the Captain America title. A subtle way in which Marvel explores this dichotomy is through costuming. Captain America’s suit has gone through many changes over t h e years but one motif that has stayed constant (unsurprisingly) is the scheme of red, white and blue. There was always a great deal of white on Steve’s suits,

generally agreed to represent his good heart. However as soon as Walker’s Captain America is introduced, there is a notable absence of white on his suit, it is almost entirely blue.

I speak for most Marvel fans when I say I cannot wait for what comes next In contrast, when Sam makes his epic entrance through a window in the final episode as the true Captain America, his suit contains more white than any before him. This detail may seem insignificant, but it represents the importance of the man inside the suit and the stark contrasts shown between the two throughout the series - for example, Walker’s public murder of a suspect versus Sam’s compassion towards Flagsmasher leader Karli. Sam is not a perfect soldier but unlike Walker, he is a truly good man, which is ultimately much more important. As Iron Man famously said, ‘If you are nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a truly brilliant series, and I am sure I speak for most Marvel fans when I say I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Stream now on Disney+

Rebecca Sykes

Leah Graham

rresistible. Gorgeous. Hilarious. Heartbreaking. Exciting. Of course, I’m talking about the Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin award-winning TV comedy that my friend was trying to get me to watch for years- Grace and Frankie. With seasons 1-6 available on Netflix, I’ll definitely be continuing to watch the 30-minute comedy through summer. It’s hard to summarise what exactly happens in Grace and Frankie (2015-), as parts will having you laughing, and a minute later, you’ll be crying.

s summer approaches, two shows have been stuck in my watch list. Delving into the glossy Never Have I Ever looks like a good place to start, though the trailer makes the show seem like a rollercoaster of emotions in itself. With the show being a year old, I feel like I missed the boat with this one, but I still have high hopes. The inclusion of different cultures, representation of the LGBTQ+ community and portrayals of grief are important topics to tackle. If the show can hold its weight, I’ve saved a space for it in my favourites.

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Grace and Frankie form an unlikely pair as they are forced to live together Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) are two completely different 70-year-old women whose lives turn upside down when their husbands Robert (Martin Sheen) and Sol (Sam Waterston) announce they’re in love with each other and going to marry. A massive, yet wellmeaning shock, with ramifications changing the dynamics of family and friendships. Quickly, Grace and Frankie form an unlikely pair as they’re forced to live together, even though Grace’s sarcastic, retired cosmetics mogul and Frankie’s eccentric art teacher have never gotten along in decades of knowing each other. The same isn’t to be said for veteran actors Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as their decades-long friendship inspires a wonderful chemistry and outstanding comic timing.

For some people, such as Will Spencer, it wasn’t just about on-demand series. Although the pandemic gave him the chance to get into shows he “would not have the time to watch in normal circumstances”, he also found that streaming the Premier League when it restarted gave him “something to look forward to once or twice a week”. With so many things closed or cancelled, having this type of stability to hold on to eased passing time.

Browser extensions such as Teleparty and Disney+'s GroupWatch helped us Not only this but these platforms have released some of their best content yet, with shows like The Queen’s Gambit, Bridgerton, and WandaVision reaching record-breaking levels of views. These series brought people together internationally, encouraging massive amounts of online debate and praise all over social media. With seemingly endless options and genres of shows, getting bored of one thing can result in a quick and easy switch to something new. Now having plenty more time to themselves, people have found it far easier to get invested in something that they may not have had a chance to watch otherwise. It has truly been a blessing that Coronavirus came at a time where there is much easier access to entertainment. Not only has it meant that there is something there to fill time, but it’s helped connect us and give us things to discuss both online and in-person, as the world begins to slowly open up again.

The appeal of childhood nostalgia is strong and has made it to my list However, a show that I don’t have high expectations for is Fate: The Winx Saga. Like most 2000s girls, I didn’t escape the mania that was the Winx Club. Now over fifteen years later when I heard Netflix was making a live-action version, I was intrigued. Despite most reviews I’ve seen being less-than-favourable, the appeal of childhood nostalgia is strong and the show has made its way to my watch list. I don’t even mind if it’s had the Riverdale treatment and become a trendy and glossy teen drama, let’s see if it’s worth my childhood indulgence.

Image: Pixabay

Image: IMDb

es helped during COVID

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You know you love her: the return of Gossip Girl

The reboot is being filmed with a devisive fan response Sophie McNally

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n July 2019, HBO Max broke the news that the infamous Gossip Girl teen drama would soon be returning to our screens with a brand new cast. Ever since, fans have expressed both excitement and concerns for the return of the Upper East Side, with a surge of online hype over all of the social media platforms. Though uncertainty and delays due to the coronavirus have left Gossip Girl devotees anxiously waiting for the reboot, filming has gone ahead relatively smoothly since March 2020. HBO Max has also promised a release date sometime this year.

Will any of the original show's cast return? Revealing social media posts have amped up the excitement so far, with the TV show's Instagram and Twitter accounts simultaneously posting since late 2020. Their first post being a blacked out screen with white text in the famous style of Gossip Girl’s elusive text messages and social media updates, stating: “You know, it’s who’s on the inside that counts”. Since then, the social media accounts have showcased the new cast, hinting at the social

groupings, potential rivalries, and incoming love affairs amongst the new cliques. However, with the show nearing 9 years since its final episode (December 2012), fans can’t help but wonder: will any of the previous cast return? Better yet, will a new generation of "Gossip Girls" spawn from the legendary bloodline of the Van der Woodsen and Waldorf predecessors?

I'm fearful it could ruin the charm of the wonder that was Gossip Girl Gossip Girl has released a statement on the new series, revealing that: “Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school

teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl”. The little information we have is certainly onbrand with quintessential Gossip Girl cryptic compulsions. But, I believe we can expect big things from this reboot. Similar drama series are taking the same route in their own revival, with spin-offs like Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. Although, I really can't see the same potential. Gossip Girl attained the envied position any series dreams of ending on, with a shocking finale leaving viewers desperate for more. This alongside a long enough time gap, between the original and reboot, has orchestrated the perfect conditions for the reboot to soar in ratings and viewership. Admittedly I'm fearful it could ruin the charm of the original wonder that was Gossip Girl. The bar is certainly set high for anyone to match the cast dynamic and dramatic plot lines. But I'm hopeful it'll pull through. The much-improved cast diversity is just one facet of the reboot that looks really promising in giving the show a new lease of life. Ultimately though, I wish all the best to whichever character has to bear the insurmountable weight of matching the silky "I'm Chuck Bass" slogan.

Image: Pxhere, Pixabay


Monday 24 May 2021 6

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Film

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COURIER

Godzilla vs. Kong: the titans of the COVID-19 box office Does Godzilla Vs. Kong's box office success reflect a light at the end of the tunnel?

Peter Lennon –Film sub-editor

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t’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused a mass shutdown of the cinema industry, and although much still remains in doubt about its future, the success of Godzilla vs. Kong has brought some clairvoyance to the situation. After a prolonged silence over the clash of the world’s most famous titans, with the pandemic and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) flopping at the box office, the first trailer received a massive reaction online. After a slew of disappointing blockbusters and a general lack of event films, Godzilla vs Kong represented an end to the slog of nothingness and definitive release date. Indeed, the promise of the two titans engaging in a showdown for the ages was only overshadowed by the promise of a release date; a rarity in the release date shuffle of the pandemic. Despite the PVOD and HBO Max release of the film, Godzilla vs Kong has done unprecedently well in the worldwide box office. As of this writing, the film stands at $415 million in box office revenue, surpassing the reported $330 million beak even point (the point where profit equals the cost of production and advertising) by a landslide. Not only is it the first blockbuster since the pandemic to achieve such success, but it also surpasses that of preceding entries in the MonsterVerse franchise that had been released in more regular circumstances. Of course, the cinema predicament varies greatly around the world, with cinemas in England and Wales not opening until 17th May

(as of this writing). The film opened with an outstanding $123.1 million gross worldwide over the first weekend, with China making up the most of the gross with a $69 million dollar intake. While no other country contributed as much, most of the highest grossing countries were from Asia, where the COVID-19 pandemic is under much more control; the United States, for instance, did not break into the top 12. While many cinemas remained close during this duration in the western world, Samba TV has reported that 3.6 million households watched the first five minutes of the film in the United States, while 225,000 households were reported in the United Kingdom. These are respectable streaming numbers, but they do not reflect the same success that Godzilla vs Kong achieved in the Eastern hemisphere. Asia, particularly China, has been becoming an ever-growing market for Western films and the cinema industry’s dormancy in the West could lead to a greater emphasis on

Warner Brother's second 2021 blockbuster-to-be Mortal Kombat - has failed to conquer the box office appealing to this market. Though Godzilla vs Kong’s success may signal an upturn in the cinema industry, Warner Bros. second

Nomadland (12A) review: caught between documentary and drama

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Image: IMDb

ollowing a year of international cinema closures, repeated release date delays and incessant streaming premieres, Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland emerged the victor of the 2021 Academy Awards, having won Best Picture, Director and Lead Actress. The film interweaves fact and fiction to illustrate the lives of “nomads”, a subculture of largely aged workers including recently widowed Fern (Frances McDormand) who traverse the US in search of employment in the aftermath of the 2008 recession. Based upon Jessica Bruder’s 2017 non-fiction work Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, Zhao’s film utilises Fern as a vehicle for the audience to explore the authentic and often tragic world of nomads, with several of the novel’s subjects featuring as themselves. With striking, vibrantly hued

McDormand is as compelling a screen presence as ever and imbues the role with strength and vulnerability cinematography and commanding direction, the film’s most potent strength lies with its compassionate visual storytelling that succeeds in providing a detailed and tangible depiction of the hardships of the nomad lifestyle, without succumbing to romanticizing poverty. McDormand is as compelling a screen presence as

The future of cinema remains uncertain as we approach the summer The future of cinema remains uncertain as we approach the summer blockbuster season, but a greater emphasis on creating event films could very well be theatres’ source of survival. This will potentially lead to smaller films being relegated to streaming releases, but this would not be a new direction for the industry. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t changed the trajectory of cinema industry, but has rather given it an extra push.

Image: IMDb

Nile Sharma

2021 blockbuster-to-be - Mortal Kombat - has failed to conquer the box office in the same manner. Mortal Kombat did do considerably better in North America, with a $34.4 million gross thus far, but its 73% drop in its second weekend spells out fatality in its box office run. However, Kombat was reportedly watched by $3.8 million households on HBO Max in its first 3 days, becoming the biggest hit for the streaming service since its announcement of dual streaming and theatrical releases throughout 2021.

ever and imbues the role with both strength and vulnerability that makes her entirely believable in a way few other actors could. The film is inherently limited, however, by its decision to mix narrative with non-fiction and exists in an uneasy middle-ground between documentary and feature film, consequently failing to wholly achieve the depth of the former and the thematic heft of the latter. Fern is simply a far less interesting subject than the actual cast of nomads who serve as background and, despite McDormand’s committed performance, is a constant reminder of artificiality.

The depiction of Amazon warehouses as a source of stable & enjoyable seasonal employment is perplexing Furthermore, it is telling that the most emotionally impactful moments are drawn from these non-fiction characters, making it unavoidable to consider whether a full-length documentary would have made for a richer, albeit less seen, viewing experience. Additionally, despite Zhao having a clear interest and empathy for the workers of the film, the depiction of Amazon warehouses as a source of stable and enjoyable seasonal employment is perplexing given recurrent reports of international employee mistreatment and horrific working conditions, providing a degree of simplistic Hollywood short-sightedness. While Nomadland has been universally received with rapturous acclaim since its release, as with all Best Picture winners the true legacy and cultural impact of the film will become apparent in forthcoming years. Despite being a sympathetic, handsomely mounted depiction of an overlooked community, the film’s hints of excellence are obscured by its experimental framing that simplifies important contemporary issues and underwrites its most compelling elements.

What to mar

As cinemas around the UK re-open, The Courier's film subeditors look forward to this year's summer blockbusters

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Peter Lennon

he Suicide Squad has long been a favourite comic of mine, with each new writer giving it their own violent twist. It’s to no surprise that this James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) directed adaptation is at the top of my summer watch list! Boasting a much larger ensemble cast, an R rating in the US, and no “damaged” tattoos in sight, The Suicide Squad seeks the rebrand and revision itself for its jaded viewers ahead of its release. While David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016) drew more from the New 52 era – grittier, darker and a little less funny – Gunn has clearly taken a lot of inspiration from John Ostrander’s original series. The trailers have already gone all-out in highlighting its roster of expendable villains, with silly names and creative power sets. To give you a sample of this, we have David Dastmalchian playing Polka Dot Man and Sean Gunn playing Weasel – an anthropomorphic weasel. Yes, really. The R-rated trailer shows that these missions will be no cake-walk and revels in its own violent delights, with King Shark gleefully ripping a man in half lengthwise. Keen watchers will also notice that there appears to be two separate squads in the trailer - and one squad doesn’t quite have the same screen time as the Harley Quinn one. As the posters are tag-lined, “don’t get too attached” this time around – everyone is expendable. People have been burnt before by fabulous trailers for the worst heroes ever, but people should be happy to know that The Suicide Squad is fully completed, with no trailer company being brought in to edit the film to pieces. The Suicide Squad comes out on July 30.


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Monday 24 May 2021

Film

Hopes soar for Captain America 4 Rebecca Sykes

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Wyatt Russell (Overlord) will more than likely take his place as the popular to hate 'US Agent'. The anti-hero would unlikely be Captain America and Bucky’s primary antagonist as they already fought in FATWS, but he could join the rumoured Thunderbolts (a villainous team). Daniel Brühl (The Alienist) could make a return as Zemo. Unless Zemo leads the hypothetical Thunderbolts, like his comic counterpart, and fights against Bucky and Sam, his inclusion would be difficult. In FATWS, Bucky and Zemo shared a grudging respect, so returning as an evil ally wouldn’t be too far-fetched. Brühl’s screen presence is incredible and his great chemistry with Mackie and Stan made him invaluable in FATWS. Plus, Captain America: Thunderbolts would be a fun ensemble movie with the heroes fighting against US Agent and Zemo. Danny Ramirez (Top Gun: Maverick) as Joaquin Torres could also become Falcon in Captain America 4, like he does in the comics. Emily VanCamp returning as Sharon Carter/Power Broker could play into a mystery-thriller with Sharon being the secretive villain and having a similar tone to FATWS and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Sharon’s disillusion with her former service, desire to sell state secrets for power, and Sam unknowingly thinking her a friend could be an emotional challenge. FATWS struggled with female characters, so Captain America 4 would benefit from utilising Sharon’s character shift from loyal agent and love interest into complicated villainy. Marvel is massive and in 2023, the MCU will look very different, so anything could happen. Either way, a Captain America 4 with Anthony Mackie, Stan, Brühl, and VanCamp would be incredible.

Image: IMDb

ark on the marquees this summer

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t’s been - *checks phone* - god I can’t even remember the last time we saw a Marvel movie in cinemas. I personally can’t wait to hear the iconic fanfare so loud it might burst my eardrums. It has, like I say, been a while. Whilst it might seem like an awkward release schedule - having a film about Black Widow’s origin story after we’ve seen what happens to the character in Endgame, the backstory is rife with material. We’ll probably learn more about the Red Room and Natasha’s training, for example, as well as what looks like a lot of relationship issues. Like, a lot. The latest trailer even sees Natasha throwing her (possible) sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) up against some perfectly nice kitchen cabinets. But given that many, myself included, are speculating that Pugh will take Johansson’s place within the MCU as Black Widow, I’m sure we’ll see Yelena kick up a gear and give Natasha a taste of her own medicine at some point. All the smashing, blowing-up and general action scenes that make me feel out of breath just watching are set against the Taskmaster - no not Greg Davies - but a villain with photographic reflexes who can mirror the actions of his opponents. It’s sure to make for some pretty badass action sequences that I don’t think my laptop could ever do justice. And given they filmed in Budapest, I’ll be damned if we don’t find out what happened there between her and Hawkeye. I’ve been waiting since 2012, Marvel. It’s about time. Whilst Black Widow releases simultaneously through premier access on Disney+ and in theatres on 9 July, you can bet that I’m already thinking of booking my ticket.

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Michael Duckworth

andyman… Candyman… Candynope, can’t do it. I’m at the grand old age of 20 and still the original Candyman has a chilling grip on me. Candyman (2021) is a reboot/ sequel to the original Candyman trilogy that came out across the 1990’s. The original film follows graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) researching the urban legend of the Candyman (Tony Todd). If you don’t know the urban legend, he’s essentially the sexy version of Bloody Mary. Say his name five times into the mirror and he will appear, killing you with the hook on his right arm like a supernatural pirate. The reboot of the cult classic Candyman (1992) expands the universe of the urban legend to the modern day. The trailer features a spooky rendition of Beyonce’s “Say My Name” alongside a

healthy dose of teenager murdering. Written by Jordan Peele and directed by Nia DaCosta, this rendition of Tony Todd’s iconic character is likely to have a greater political edge and accuracy than its predecessors (the original film was written and directed entirely by white people) while hopefully retaining the campy dramatics of the original. Prepare to never look at a mirror the same way again as Candyman is set to release in theatres 27 August this year! That gives everyone enough time to hunt down a copy of the original and bask in it’s ludicrous glory! Watch it, you’ll thank me later.

Images: IMDb

Harriet Metcalfe

Review: Promising Young Woman (15)

Image: IMDb

andaVision (2021) leads to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) and with rumours flying, Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) could lead to Captain America 4. Not being revealed in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Trailer for Phase 4 could simply mean Captain America 4 will be in Phase 5 (post-2023). Both Young Avengers and Blade were left out of the announcement too. But who'll be coming back? Well, Anthony Mackie (Outside the Wire) could be Captain America/Sam Wilson. Marvel have reportedly not told Mackie about Captain America 4 as he found out at the grocery from a checkout guy named Dwayne. He’s “excited to see

what happens, but [he] hasn’t heard anything” of a movie or season 2. Considering how Mackie’s co-star Sebastian Stan (Monday) first heard about his involvement in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) via a friend texting him after the title was announced in a 2013 Comic-Con; Mackie not knowing isn’t too surprising. Sebastian Stan would likely reprise his role as Bucky with Falcon and the Winter Solider’s ending implying it’s unlikely we’ll see one without the other anytime soon. Plus, a continuation of Bucky’s PTSD storyline and moving on from being the Winter Soldier would be interesting. Rumour has it Falcon and The Winter Soldier (FATWS) writers, Malcolm Spellman and Dalan Musson, will write the screenplay. Spellman has commented “I would not put faith in anything you do not hear directly from [Kevin Feige] himself ” to ComicBook, and teased numerous unannounced movies to Murphy’s Multiverse.

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Autumn Lily

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Content warning: Rape woman goes out to nightclubs, pretends to be drunk, waits for “nice guys'' to take her home under the guise of helping her, but as they attempt to assault her, she then reveals her sobriety - much to the men’s horror. That is about as much as the trailer for Promising Young Woman gives away. An orchestral cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ plays in the background, a popular song reinvented as a tense, apprehensive score for the film's protagonist - Cassie (Carrey Mulligan) - whose vigilante acts school men that are unlikely to be held accountable of sexual assault. This subversion of a female pop classic into something darker reflects the mood of the film, whose soundtrack also features Paris Hilton and Charli XCX; it is never bleak, despite the subject matter. Cassie wears floral dresses, works in a brightly lit coffee shop and her parents' house, where she lives, is decorated almost entirely in pink. Director Emerald Fennell was a showrunner on Killing Eve, and that darkly comedic tone is tangible. Upon the arrival of an old face from the old life that Cassie is eager to move away from, the film is propelled forward by moreacts of revenge, as we learn about Cassie’s past. Fennel takes us on a moral journey across individuals, the institutions they often represent, and how they're letting down women. She invites the audience to reconsider their own attitudes and actions, in the same way Cassie cleverly teaches each character a lesson.

Carey Mulligan gives an emotionally powerful performance as a woman with trauma Fennel demonstrates that rape is not just a lone wolf on a dark street, but an act encouraged and facilitated by all of society. But disappointingly, law enforcement is excluded from this group. Without giving too much away, although the ending is unconventional, the police are ultimately one of the “good guys” who arrive to save the day. Take a film like Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017), for example, that so effectively rallies against America’s racism, that when the sirens of a police car arrive at the end of the film, it is far from a guarantee of a good ending. Fennel spends the entirety of the film portraying a system that has failed Cassie, then portrays that same system as a vehicle for justice by the end of the film. This would be my only criticism of Promising Young Woman. Otherwise, it is extremely watchable, visually slick and full of captivating dialogue. Carey Mulligan gives an emotionally powerful performance, portraying a woman carrying the burden of trauma, a load which we can see Cassie carrying in every scene thanks to the subtleties of Mulligan’s performance. I just wish she could have ended the film with a more rebellious act of justice.


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Monday 24 May 2021

28

Arts

The great theatre of it all Ella Williams

O —Editor

ne of the last live theatre shows I went to was an “immersive” production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre in London. “Immersive”, in that this was less a play and more a carefully choreographed night club, where the stage spindled out into the standing audience on moving platforms. Giant inflatables orbs, floating foam baths and scantily-clad trapeze artists soaring above brought the play’s woodland frolicking to a cramped basement auditorium; it’s almost like they knew this would have to see me through over a year without the hustle of a live theatre. It’s not really the performances themselves I miss- I’ve been watching National Theatre’s recorded productions on YouTube to dimmed living room lights and mugs of salted peanuts no end. But nothing captures to the whole ritual of “going to the theatre”: it’s the pre-show drink, the row of powdery noses in the loos, the tipsy interval debrief and the rushed excitement when the bell chimes for the second half. When theatres reopen this May, we will arrive early, eye-lined and high-heeled, and march straight from the rotating doors to the refreshments stand. We will perch on some steps as we sip on our wine because all of the tables will be full. We’ll be flipping through our overpriced program when the ding goes for the audience to take their seats,

COURIER

Image: Ella Williams

and have a panicked last-minute pee even though we don’t really need it. We’ll have to shuffle along a line of side-angled knees muttering scusemes to reach our seat at the end of the row. Then we’ll scan the room to calculate the fastest route to the nearest toilet, poised for the interval rush. The program will reemerge, alongside a tub of weird crackers with no flavour. The orchestra will rouse to an indistinct hum, and we’ll all loudly hush each other because “it’s starting!”. Half a scale on a flute. One last echoing cough in the big silence. The seats will be velvet but scratchy, and we’ll be thrilled to discover that the tallest man in the room has decided to sit in front of us.

Theatregoers know exactly what to do at every step; the whole experience is as well rehearsed as the scripted plays we've paid to see From the pre-ordered drinks for the interval, to the table booked for the post-show meal, theatregoers know exactly what to do at every step; the whole experience is as well rehearsed as the scripted plays we’ve payed to see, and, like the extravagant routine of trapeze artists at this Midsummer’s production, I am counting down the days to be immersed into the great theatre of it all once again...

Novel ideas: Finding inspiration to write Jon Deery

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t's about thinking: 'what can I do with this idea?'Ah, looking for inspiration, are you? Have you tried checking beneath the sofa? Ask any artist where they get their ideas from, and you’re likely to be met with something sarcastic like that, or outright horror, or a denial of the possibility that ideas could possibly be ‘located’ anywhere. They simply drift down to us from the ether of creative energy, they surge up from our subconscious, they ‘hit’ us when we’re least expecting it. We don’t find them. They find us. Rubbish. Well, partly rubbish. It’s true that ideas do seem to come from nowhere. But ideas only come to those who seek them out (most of the time), and it’s the process of searching that will always lead to inspiration. It’s about living an eventful life, it’s about reading widely. But most importantly, it’s about thinking, everywhere you go and everything you read: what can I do with this idea? Art is what comes out the other end when you consume a calorific diet of other people’s content, and digest it properly, and it builds into a form and shape that you simply can’t keep inside you any longer. I won’t develop that image any further. Happy searching.

Lily Holbrook

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—Science sub-editor

he best ideas are formed from the act of writing. As a person who spends a lot of time writing, it's weird taking a step back to work out where the inspiration really comes from. Depending on the type of writing, ideas can come from all different places. But more often than not, the best ideas are formed from the act of writing itself. Even though it may not feel like it, you often end up with so much more than you would have done if you'd just kept scrolling.

By picking up a pen and paper with no idea of where it's going to take you, the possibilities become endless. Reading books and articles, reflecting on personal experiences and taking inspiration from my own passions are always things that keep me writing. Being a person that does things - and never being afraid to try something new - allows me to create an interesting life which gives me things to write about. Every night I write down a few highlights of the day, allowing me to keep my writing habit a daily ritual. Revisiting old parts of my life and thinking of all the stories I'll have to look back on in years to come will always be enough to make me bring pen to paper.

Kiera Furness

Humphrey Jordan

inding inspiration can be hard. Firstly, it's important to know that people who love to write are not motivated every day and I certainly come across 'writer's block' majority of the time. Writing novels is a lengthy process and finding inspiration can sometimes be hard especially with university work, part-time jobs, hobbies and other commitments. Some days I will be in a more creative mindset than other days and that's normal. Here are some ways that I find inspiration to write: 1. I love to watch a range of TV shows and films. Watching things can inspire me to want to create my own stories. 2. I enjoy journaling and I write down my dreams when they are particularly vivid or memorable. I look back over these pages and attempt to make odd connections between ideas. 3. I like going on walks alone through nature or walking somewhere busy and people-watching. It's fascinating to see how different people are living the exact same day as me in different ways. There's definitely a connection between walking and inspiration. 4. I try to read books from a range of authors. To be a great writer, you should also be an avid reader to expand your knowledge. It's important to try and surround yourself with innovative and creative work to broaden your horizons. 5. I sometimes switch up my writing environment from my bedroom to somewhere else. It was nice to write in cafes (before the pandemic). I also used to love writing in different countries / places in the UK I hadn't visited before. Seeing new places would inspire me to want to write about them as a way of remembering.

nspiration is typically something that ‘strikes’ us: Here I sit, at the water’s edge, and, suddenly (bolt-from-the-blue): it hits me. So, what seizes us? I meet a good mate below the concrete walkway bridging Northumberland street and Northumbria university. Stairs to this walkway are just past this spot, behind the Laing. At the top, facing the smooth-cornered skyscraper opposite, I’m handed a cigarette. In this motion something congeals— something I draw inwards. As opposed to the token phrases and gestures (stereotypes), something here dis-joins itself from the common order: some sign of an irrevocably singular encounter. This may only be expressed through the words we circulate, and therefore elusively, phantasmatically— but for the work (the fragment, the novel) this is enough.

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Monday 24 May 2021

Arts

29

A look at Craftivism's NFTs: Nah, fuck that past, present and future Muslim Taseer

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—Comment sub-editor

Hannah Galvin

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he term ‘craftivism’ refers to a form of activism where the production and distribution of (often traditional) crafts are used in gentle protest of many of the political and social issues facing society. The earliest acts of craftivism date back to the nineteenth century, although the term ‘craftivism’ is relatively new, having been coined in 2003 by Betsy Greer, an American writer and crafter. In comparison to more traditional methods of campaigning, craftivism inspires peaceful protest through creation, rather than negativity and violence. Some of the earliest acts of craftivism were based in the textile arts, such as knitting, embroidery and tailoring. Since many of these crafts were considered domestic, and were therefore often produced by women, craftivism has many historical links to feminism and the choice to reclaim domesticity for the betterment of society. For instance, Gandhi invented a portable spinning wheel that made spinning cloth cheap and simple in an attempt to make India to more self-sufficient and closer to independence from Britain. Crafts were also used in the Women’s Suffrage movement and the abolition of slavery, with cloth bags and banners decorated with defiant messages creating a visual and political impact on the streets. As president of the Scrapbooking Society, it is unsurprising that opportunities to craft for a cause are of major interest. In doing research for society activities, particularly amid this pandemic, I have drawn a great deal of inspiration from things that I see on the internet and in the media. What inspired me most was the TV show ‘Craftivism: Making a Difference’, which aired on BBC2 earlier this year, focusing on craftivism and recent successful and ongoing campaigns. The programme is available on

It is possible to overcome some of these limitations and come up with new, impactful and accessible methods of craftivism

Image: Craftivist Collective, via Wikipedia

and repurposing these materials, we were able to peacefully and directly protest the mistreatment of garment workers to the CEOs of major fashion brands, for around the cost of a stamp. Craftivism is built on the virtues of patience – and sometimes there is little time to spare when taking action. However, by encouraging creative thinking and the use of scrap materials in crafts, it is possible to overcome some of these limitations and come up with new, impactful and accessible methods of craftivism. Furthermore, holding craftivist events leads to group discussion of these issues, building the confidence in individuals to continue these political conversations in other areas of their lives, inspiring others to action. And although craftivism may not always lead the way in campaigning, sometimes thoughtful, handmade crafts speaks volumes above traditional methods, by creating personal connections with those with the power to implement change. After all, crafts have always been about community provision - whether this is making the clothes on our backs or fighting injustice making crafting a uniquely human experience bringing people together across the expanses of both society and time.

iPlayer, and is perfect for anyone with an interest in crafting and/or social justice; I guarantee you will gain a fresh perspective on each. Creating positive social impact was one of the pillars on which the society was founded, and this is reflected within recent society events. For instance, in December, the society participated in Mind’s Christmas Crafternoon - a crafty fundraiser for the mental health charity. We also collaborated with the Feminist Society on their ‘Climate Change is a Feminist Issue’ campaign, t e a c h i n g attendees to make postcards out of scrap cardboard and other materials they might otherwise dispose of. In reclaiming

f you’ve even a cursory interest in art, you’ll have probably heard of NFTs by now. It seems the art world has lost it’s mind the past few months over a new way to display and share art, through what are called nonfungible tokens. In a nutshell, an NFT is a unit of data stored on a blockchain, which has something to do with cryptocurrency. The purchaser of an NFT essentially holds proof of ownership of the artwork, but doesn't give them copyright over original work. On close inspection it all really breaks apart and you realize people with more money than they know what to do with are essentially just paying millions for bragging rights. They're essentially sold as an autographed copy of the (often digital) artwork, not even the actual artwork itself. The media craze really picked up when an NFT of digital artist Beeple's collage 'Everyday: The First 5000 Days' sold for an eye-watering $69 million in an auction held at Christie's. Beeple's been doing his digital art for a long time, posting daily 3D renders of unspeakable horrors made from a patchwork of politicians and objects and genitals, but he's only really started making a considerable amount of it since he started selling NFTs, and he believes they're the future of art. But what do NFTs mean for artists and the art world? Digital artists will definitely benefit from the platform and from the buzz created by the novelty of buying artwork with cryptocurrency, but it's not all good. The further commodification of art through transforming it into tradeable tokens is questionable. Even before the NFT boom, there were already concerns over the influence of capital on art. Now, as we witness a confluence of technologies enabling entirely digital art trading on a never before seen scale, these concerns are all the more relevant.

just one cryptocurrency. Over-consumption already permeates every fabric of our society, why bring it into art too? The absolute waste is even more glaring when the cause for it is something so gimmicky. For instance, an NFT of the ‘Disaster Girl’ meme sold for almost half a million dollars, with the proceeds going to Zoe Roth, disaster girl herself. Suckers with more money than sense purchasing bragging rights to content anyone can access anywhere as some vague attempt at holding onto culture just reeks of waste. Although it is no doubt a positive thing that the fad has allowed people to profit from their intellectual property and on a wider scale helped facilitate the art trade, is this really the direction we want the art market to head?

While NFTs aren't tangible, what is tangible is the massive carbon emissions linked with the crytocurrencies used to trade them. Ethereum, for instance, which allows for the creation of NFTs and accounts for a large amount of the art trade, uses the same amount of electricity as almost the entire country of Nigeria, and that's

Stained Glass Summer Elizabeth Meade

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—Science sub-editor

Image: Daderot via Wikipedia

Image: Maud Webster & Peter Bath

ecently, my mother has been learning how to make stained glass and has offered to teach me. I will obviously not be making windows for buildings anytime soon, but I'm planning to make a few small shapes. At this point I'm planning on going with a nature theme and making a bird and perhaps a dragonfly. I'm also planning to get into making different types of jewelry, because I've been collecting supplies for the last decade but never really made anything. I'll probably end up making a mix of necklaces and bracelets, since those are what I wear most often.

Image: Dave Roth via YouTube (BuzzFeed Video)

You remind me of a summer night Like cold Rosé and fresh flowers. I see you whenever I think of The warm summer months. Behind my eyes as I sleep I see us Trying to hear each other in a noisy pub Or in a museum I can’t pay attention to Because it's too warm and you’ve made me laugh. When the first ray of sun comes through And the smell of suncream is strong For a second I can forget That it’s been so long. by Faye Navesey


Monday 24 May 2021

Gaming

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What scientists say about gambling in games

With the debate of the effects of gambling on Gamers, Elizabeth Meade looks at the science behind it. Elizabeth Meade

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— Science sub-editor

or years, gamers have suggested that gambling in games is no different from the real thing, or is similar enough to have similar psychological effects. But what do the studies say? A 2020 University of York study on links between gambling and video games suggests that certain game elements are "significantly linked to problem gambling". Specifically, the study looked at what researchers described as "token wagering, real-money gaming, and social casino spending". Researchers recruited just fewer than 1,100 participants, who were quota-sampled to represent the population of the UK with regards to age, gender and ethnicity. They were then asked about their gaming and gambling habits. This survey revealed that 18.5% of participants had participated in an activity which contained some overlap between gaming and gambling. Researchers considered playing social casino games and spending money on loot boxes to be examples of this overlap. Dr. David Zendle, member of York's Computer Science Department, wrote the study and commented on the findings: "These findings suggest that the relationship between gaming and problem gambling is

more complex than many people think...When we go beyond loot boxes, we can see that there are multiple novel practices in gaming that incorporate elements of gambling. All of them are linked to problem gambling, and all seem prevalent. This may pose an important public health risk. Further research is urgently needed." This isn't Zendle's first lootbox study - he has previously studied the connections between loot boxes and gaming. He and other York academics called for loot boxes to be regulated in the UK, providing evidence to Parliament based on previous findings. Zendle argues that "...loot boxes [either] cause problem gambling, or they exploit problem gambling amongst gamers to generate massive profits", and is particularly concerned with their impact on "young or otherwise vulnerable" gamers. (He cites a 2018 report that estimated "31% [of 11-16 year olds] have ever opened loot boxes in a computer game or app, to try to acquire in-game items, while 3% claim to have ever bet with in-game items".) The UK Government has yet to make a final decision as of 9 May 2021. But why are experts concerned about gambling in games? Studies (such as a 2018

longitudinal study in Journal of Gambling Studies) suggest that gambling negatively impacts the academic performance of youth. Furthermore, studies suggest that gambling causes problems in adults: a 2016 survey of UK men suggested a link between gambling and violence. Beyond these two studies and Zendle's research, countless more studies have been done on gambling addiction, its causes and its effects. Many gamers set healthy boundaries on their gaming behaviour and spending, viewing it as little more than fun. However, it is still important to consider t h e possible long-term

consequences of video game gambling on players and how they interact with games.

Image: Screenshot -Blizzard Entertainment

The art of misery: how Ludwig made a career from failing

One man's pain can become a streaming goldmine: a look into streamer Ludwig and an audiences hunger for suffering Charlie Pugh

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tarting 14 March, Ludwig Ahgren streamed an entire month of his life: him in the shower, the gym, video games and the bed in the back of his room. Over the month, viewers spent 1.4 million dollars on his stream. Ludwig’s charisma and carefully crafted content drove viewers to the stream, but what made them spend was Ludwig's suffering; every sub (a £5 payment) extended his stream

plays malding games, named for the rage they provoke in those who play them. They all have a simple premise: difficult movement mechanics, a single level without checkpoints and the potential at any point to lose all progress. The completion percentage of Pogostuck, an iconic malding game, is 1.5%, which makes for dozens of hours carefully navigating a level interspersed with bouts of rage. In March 2019,

but the community joins in too. Ludwig has engineered and curated a specific set of inside jokes in his community, through community posts, Reddit videos and his general interactions with chat. Ludwig protests at the jokes, shouting at his audience for their unoriginality, but he also prompts them and participates in them, allowing them to survive. The jokes are not complex: "Ludwig doesn't do his taxes",

Ludwig averaged 1 5 0 viewers. He played Image: Twitter Pogostuck for (@LudwigAhgren) 9 hours straight every day for the next 9 days. It was, at times, agonising, but 75 hours later he completed the game and doubled his average viewer count. This was just a sign of the growth to come. Not only does Ludwig cause his own suffering,

"Ludwig has acne", and most of all, "Ludwig is short". In reality, Ludwig is a rich, attractive, successful streamer. That is where the power lies in this schadenfreude: Ludwig's misery is a fiction. Ludwig's misery is a fiction He is the first to laugh at himself or prompt a

Ludwig Ahgren's start with schadenfrede-streaming was grinding. by a few seconds. Keeping the man trapped, forced to entertain tens of thousands 24/7 became the one goal of his community, and more than a million different people showed up to watch. He beat the world record with 280,000 subs by the end of the month. Ludwig's model of content shows just how powerful schadenfreude, the enjoyment of another's suffering, can be in the world of streaming. Ludwig's start with schadenfreude-streaming was grinding. In his "hardest game" series, he

joke at his expense. Ludwig rages at games, yes, but he chooses to play them again and to make extravagant monetary bets on them. Ludwig chooses to make himself the butt of every joke, because Ludwig is, at heart, an entertainer making a show.

The crowning achievement in Ludwig's fiction of misery is the subathon. The crowning achievement in Ludwig's fiction of misery is the subathon. Despite the running joke that Ludwig is imprisoned by chat, during the subathon Ludwig was the healthiest he had ever been, working out most days, eating and sleeping well. "It was nice to not have to hit the stop streaming button... I could wake up and immediately get to...what I like doing most with my life," he said. A 2003 study examined various contributing factors to schadenfreude by using football teams and the world cup. They discovered a set of circumstances that tend to boost schadenfreude. - It is directed towards a superior outgroup - The outgroup's success is illegitimately achieved - Schadenfreude is experienced together as an ingroup - The ingroup causes the suffering The subathon ticks every single one of these boxes, within the framework that Ludwig has made. In reality, Ludwig is rich, attractive and successful, but he jokes that he always scams his way to victory. In chat, viewers are unified by emotes, polls, and copypastas, and the audience is definitely not his friend. Most importantly, by donating, viewers directly cause his "suffering". It is a big joke everyone's in on, but it's a milliondollar joke nonetheless.


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Gaming

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Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion: review

A turnip who commits tax evasion: what could go wrong? Kaitlyn Maracle tells all in this review of acclaimed indie game Kaitlyn Maracle

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— Gaming sub-editor

ave you ever wanted to venture around a farm as a small, mute turnip trying to repay Mayor Onion after you committed tax evasion? Maybe something inspired heavily by Zelda in terms of gameplay? If so, this is the game for you. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is one of the funniest gaming experiences I can recall, even without billing itself as a comedic game. The gameplay is simple, and at first, so is the story. You are a turnip boy, and you have committed tax evasion. You have to go on a bunch of dangerous quests for Mayor Onion as his ‘assistant’ to make up for this grievous error. Every character is a unique sentient fruit or vegetable, and they all have a part to play in this wacky story. The cutesy, bouncy art style brings about a character to the game and adds to much of this comedic effect. The style of humour in the game is incredibly self aware, and very internet based, so if you’ve been on Twitter in the past few years, you’ll

understand most of the jokes. From the macaroni reciting the infamous Navy Seals copypasta (get it...because macaroni is a kind of pasta…), to the unexpected JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure reference in the form of a cherry named Kakyoin who simply says ‘rero rero rero rero rero’, whilst standing menacingly near some carrots, there are tonnes of funny references to keep the player engaged. As for self-awareness, the game features a trophy with the description “reward the player so they stay engaged”, or numerous jabs at typical gaming conventions. Turnip Boy doesn’t speak other than in punctuation, but he does have a very weird thing for tearing up pieces of paper. Your tax bill, military draft letters, receipts, autographs, you name it, Turnip Boy will rip it up (and give you a neat Steam achievement as a reward). The jokes are funny, but not inaccessible to older or younger audiences, something that can appeal to many. The gameplay itself is relatively simple, and combat can be repetitive and slow going. You can quickly switch weapons between your soil sword, watering can and placeable portals in order to use bombs or other techniques to take down a boss that isn’t just ‘stab’. However, this can get tedious. Select the watering can, water a bomb plant, line it up, kick it in the direction you’re aiming and do some damage. Rinse and repeat until the boss is dead. The final boss is different, but you have to get up to that point first. The soundtrack is pleasant, the side quests are filled with hilarious flavour text and silly puns which honestly keeps you engaged and wanting

more. There are collectable hats (!!!) including a very shiny crown and a fedora you can get from helping the pickle Mafia (not a typo, they are fedora-clad pickles who belong to the Mafia). The amount of content able to play through added up to just a few hours, so the game is pretty short (bearing in mind that I am an incredibly slow gamer), but for the price you’re supporting an indie studio and getting a whole lot of laughs in the process. There is a free DLC update in the works too, bringing repeatable, rogue-like dungeons with a new story, items and soundtrack. All in all, I would highly re commend playing through this game to get through e x a m season blues. It’s short but sweet,

intensely funny, not difficult to play (although you may want to rebind a bunch of keys if you play on PC, that was a nightmare) and a real nice break from competitive or high stakes games we all might be used to. Image: playturnipboy.com

Say Eevee: New Game Builder Garage Pokémon Snap Review could encourage IT skills After years of waiting, Pokémon fans can rejoice at the release of the spin off: New Pokémon Snap

Michael Duckworth — Film sub-editor

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ravel through the picturesque Lental region, snapping photos of wild pokémon in their natural habitat for the first time in 22 years. The long (and I mean long) awaited sequel to the beloved Pokémon Snap on the Nintendo GameCube has arrived on Switch - and it is everything an old-school pokemon fan like myself has been waiting for. New Pokémon Snap sees you setting off on an ambitious ecological survey at the request of Professor Mirror. Around the many islands of the Lental Region are a vast variety of environments: lush jungles, coral reefs, volcanos, deserts, haunted forests, and even mysterious ancient ruins! However, IGN beware as there are a grand total of 3 ocean courses, which feels a little repetitive but each delivers its own unique experience. Along the way there are hundreds of Pokémon species to add to your photodex, spanning all 8 generations of Pokémon from small and cute to large and threatening. The choice of Pokémon featured in this game is a little strange, many fan favourites are present but a surprising few are omitted such as Greninja and Lucario, even though they would have felt perfectly at home in New Pokémon Snap. And the eclectic mix of ‘mons just keeps the surprises coming

as you unlock more and more courses. A personal favourite was finding a Snom hanging from the ceiling of a cave just chatting away with a passing Froslass, absolute perfection in game design if you ask me. To fill in the pages of the photodex you have to snap each Pokémon in 4 increasingly rarer poses, keeping you coming back to each course. On top of this, as you score points with your photos you can level up the courses, unlocking new routes and rarer, more powerful Pokémon. The gameplay is wonderfully calming and the art style is simply gorgeous. While some textures are a little off, namely the grass, and the shadows definitely need some work (just look under any Vivillon), the vista’s are absolutely breathtaking. The maps you traverse are intricate and hide a plethora of secret routes and hidden Pokémon interactions that you can discover at your own pace. As you progress you begin to uncover the secrets behind “Illumina Pokémon”: rare glowing Pokemon that have some link to a meteorite that fell hundreds of years ago. It is your task to hunt down and snap a photo of these rare Illumina Pokemon across the Lental islands. For a game that I was expecting to have no story at all, exploring this new phenomenon and uncovering the secrets behind it was tremendously fun. Having reached the end of the main story I can say with certainty, and without exaggeration, that this is my personal favourite Pokémon spin-off title. After picking it up on release I was glued to my switch until the credits rolled. Seeing Pokémon exist out in the wild makes the child in me scream with excitement. And so to anyone who played Pokemon as a kid, especially if they played the original Pokémon Snap, this game is an absolute must have.

Image: New Pokemon Snap, Screenshot: Sophie Hicks

With an on-going skills shortage in IT, Nintendo announces new game centred around game design and programming

Jack Wallace-Hunter

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— Gaming sub-editor

he world continues to become more technologically advanced - that we can say for certain. But one of the major concerns for educators and tech leaders around the world is how do we train and encourage the young and the old to pursue a programming career that is so essential to the future of society? Nintendo seems to have a fun solution to this very problem. Building upon the successes of titles like Super Mario Maker, Game Builder Garage is the latest upcoming game by Nintendo to put you, the gamer, in the seat of the designer. Building on similar principles to Super Mario Maker, gamers will be able to programme, design and play games in sandbox-like levels - putting a real focus onto creativity. Players will be able to share their creations to the world, forming an anticipation for a community bursting with passion and scope.

Game Builder Garage is the latest upcoming product to put you, the gamer, in the seat of the designer. But what the biggest selling point of the game so far is it’s focus on programming and creating your own games. Game Builder Garage will teach players ‘the basics of programming logic step-bystep in a fun and interactive way’, using different characters, called Nodon’s, to highlight different sides to game design. Nodon’s like Button Nodon,

Effect Nodon or even NOT Nodon help simplify the programming process, doing away with complex coding language that is often associated with programming. This game comes as the UK is in the midst of an IT skill shortage. The Learning and Work Institute published a report that cited ‘that there is a mismatch between supply and demand’. This becomes even more concerning, as when it comes to young people, ‘The number of GCSE entries in computing or information and communication technology (ICT) declined from 147,000 in 2015 to 88,000 in 2020, a drop of 40%.’ There is clearly a disconnect between supply and demand when it comes to skills, meaning that encouraging young people to acquire the needed skills is a must. This game could be a fun way to teach young people, as well as older people, to acquire the skills needed

Interestingly, from the outlook, Game Builder Garage reminds me of Scratch for the future. Interestingly, from the outlook, Game Builder Garage reminds me of Scratch, the software at school that lets you create effects and games by placing blocks in a sequence. I’m afraid to say this is the extent of my knowledge surrounding coding. But, despite my disinterest in coding, programmes like Scratch and video games like the upcoming Game Builder Garage, create a fun new access to an industry that so desperately needs more people. As well as this, the game comes with a modest £26.99 price tag. This could be an attempt to make the game that much more accessible, as many kids may not be able to afford the £60 price tag that many adventures in the Nintendo Switch lineup have. With its colourful graphics, seemingly simple mechanics and the possibility for a flood of creativity, Game Builder Garage is set to be released 11 June 2021 on the Nintendo Switch, meaning we won’t have to wait long to indulge in a new step in making everyone a game designer.


Monday 24 May 2021

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Puzzles

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Crossword Across

Down

1. 2006 Nickelback song. (8) 5. Video calling software. (4) 7. Largest Mediterranean island. (6) 8. Republic of Ireland’s capital city. (6) 10. Goblin-like monster. (3) 11. To assist in wrongdoing. (4) 13. Political party led by Keir Starmer. (6) 14. Chemical element with the symbol Pb. (4) 17. First-year undergraduate. (7) 19. Pirate drink, rum and water. (4) 20. German for ‘I’. (3) 22. Below. (5) 23. Soviet Russia’s secret police and security agency. (1,1,1) 24. See-through. (5) 25. Currency of most EU member countries. (4) 26. A curse. (3)

1. Willy ___, Blood Brothers playwright. (7) 2. 2017 Pixar film. (4) 3. ___ Swift, Shake It Off singer. (6) 4. Extreme. (7) 5. Monochrome-striped animal. (5) 6. Half bull, half man. (8) 9. Egyptian sky god. (5) 12. The Flintstones’ hometown. 15. A studious intellectual. (7) 16. Desert consisting of jelly, custard and cream. (6) 17. Woodwind instrument family. (5) 18. Someone older than you. (5) 21. Microsoft’s game console brand. (4)

We would like to apologise for the last issue, where the wrong image was used for the crossword. A corrected version can be found on our website.

Wordsearch - Countries

Last Week's Answers

Word Wheel: Neighbour

America Brazil Egypt Germany Japan Russia Taiwan

Argentina Canada England India Poland Scotland Wales

Australia China France Italy Portugal Spain

WIN A PRIZE! Upload your puzzle solutions to Instagram and tag @thecourieronline to enter the prize draw!


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Monday 24 May 2021

Puzzles

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33

0

Nonogram

Instructions

Colour in the cells in the grid according to the numbers on the sides of the grid to reveal a picture. The individual numbers in each row/ column are separated by spaces of 1 or more squares.

Notes

Hard Difficulty:

Sudoku 24 May 2021

Word Wheel Create as many words as you can of 3 letters or more from the wheel. Each letter can only be used once and you must use the one in the middle of the wheel. Try to find the 9 letter word that uses all the letters. Goal: 40 words


Festival of Culture nusu.co.uk/culture 17th-28th May

permission to

pa se nusu.co.uk/pause 31st May


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35

Sport

Is Electrification the future of Formula 1? Should F1 get with the times and embrace electric vehicles? Castor Chan

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ormula 1 has a loyal and traditionalist following, with viewers today still missing the nostalgic roar of the V10 and V12 engines. But with the ever-increasing popularity of electric cars both for the public and racing, along with the increased environmental awareness in recent years, should it turn to electrification? Well, no. Firstly, most fans would say their biggest complaint with electric cars is the sound of the engines. Despite Formula E achieving FIA World Championship status last year, the electric cars have not enjoyed the same audience as its hybrid twins of F1. People are already dissatisfied with the quieter V6 power units, and that sharpens into dislike for the whine of the FE Gen 2 cars.

Formula 1 has a loyal and traditionalist following, with viewers still missing the nostalgic roar of V10 and V12 engines And on that note, many will point out that there is already an electric single-seater championship, and that F1 could go back to the non-hybrid era engines. Why would F1 change their

engines if FE will cater to the ones who like electric racing? F1 has vowed to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. In the current ‘hybrid era’, cars use the V6 combustion engine with sustainable fuels, along with energy recovery systems that collect waste energy. According to former Mercedes powertrain department director Andy Cowell, the V6s are more than 1.5 times more heat efficient while using half the fuel per hour than the old V10s. And fuel/energy limitation is an important factor in the electrification debate. In current big electric series like FE and Extreme E (electric rallying), the cars either have to save energy or the race only covers a short distance.

In 2019, Formula 1 announced plans to have a Net Zero Carbon footprint by 2030

for general use. But it seems that Formula 1 will keep their V6s for the foreseeable future. As F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said, “we need to stay hybrid. We don’t have to take electrification as a world religion.” And if sustainable fuels develop further maybe we will actually go back to non-hybrids, and in the words of Daniel Ricciardo, hear that goosebump-inducing “V10 scream.”

Image: Twitter@ ExtremeE Image: Twitter@ CharlesLeclerc

Image: Twitter@ GeorgeRussell63

This became especially apparent in the recent FE Valencia ePrix when only 9 out of 23 drivers were able to finish. Last season’s rule change dictated that 1kwh of energy per minute will be deducted under safety car conditions, and paired with a late-race incident in the first race, it wreaked havoc on energy-saving strategies. Despite the current confines of electric engines, it is clear that many believe in its progress. Although Audi and BMW are bowing out next season, FE still has many more manufacturers than F1. Extreme E has also pioneered hydrogen fuel cell generator technology to charge their cars, which can hopefully be commercialized

Women's sport could generate £1bn revenue by 2030

Study from the Women's Sport Trust finds that women's sport will see a £650m growth annually over the next decade Andrew White — Sports Sub-Editor

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he study- "closing the visibility gap", concluded that underinvestment in promoting women's sport and creating meaningful interactions with brands and partners are restricting the ability of women's sports to take advantage of commercial value. The study was conducted by the Women's Sport Trust alongside data agency Two Circles, with revenue projections of over £1bn per year by 2030, should the women's sport take advantage of commercial opportunities. The £1bn projection is a £650m increase on the annual £350m generated by women's sport through broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and ticketing. The chief executive and co-founder of the Women's Sport Trust, Tammy Parlour, said that while the women's game has

progressed, long-lasting change is needed. "Women's sport has been on a strong growth trajectory "However, most sport played by elite female athletes still has a long way to go until it becomes financially viable.

The UK sports industry must recognise a social responsibility of building sports for all "To achieve longlasting change, and for women's sport to occupy a central role in our culture in the UK, the sports industry must widely recognise a social responsibility to building sport for all, and practically connect a vision for women's sport to to longterm commercial profit."The study found that 80

percent of the UK's women sports fans believe TV broadcast and big events were pivotal behind following women's sport. With the research finding that more than a third of women's sport only use digital channels to broadcast their events, this is something that needs to change.All sports fans around the UK need to show our support to women's sport, including broadcasters. With o n l y 30 percent of prominent images on the websites and social channels of governing bodies in the

UK featuring female athletes.

The average WSL player earns just £35,000 per year Women's sport has progressed dramatically in the last 10 years, with iconic moments such as Jessica Ennis' win at "Super Saturday" at London 2012, Nicola Adams gold medals at both the 2012 & 2016 Olympics, the introduction of the Wo m e n ' s Super

League, and Fallon Sherrock's win over Mensur Suljovic at the 2020 Darts World Championship, becoming the first woman to defeat a man at the championship on her way to the round of 32. All landmark moments are symbols of how far women's sport has come in the UK, but it's time for more funding, more memories and more support. The news women's sport could generate £1bn per year by 2030 is exciting news, the ceiling for women's sport has never been higher. But if we truly are to "close the visibility gap", the time is now. Image: Twitter@ ChelseaFCW Image: Twitter@ BBCSport


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Monday 24 May 2021

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Sport The days that shook the football world: an

We all remember where we were when news broke of the proposed ESL. In this feature, we asked fans of the six English teams involved to write a letter to their club A Letter to the ESL

The European Super League was a latestage symptom of a disease that blights football; self-interest. The market grows, and the fans get increasingly cut out of the game. Where supporters used to drive the game forward, now corporate money greases the wheels.

In 1992 matchday income generated 43% of a total of £205 million. Now, matchday income generates just 13% of £677 million. According to a BBC article in 2020, in the Premier League's first season, matchday i n c o m e generated 43% of a total of £205 million. Now, m a t c h d a y income generates just 13% of the

whopping £677 million income. This is linked to all kinds of things, like corporate hospitality, sponsorship deals, merch sales, the growing Chinese market, and television contracts, but it all boils down to the same result. If the fans didn’t turn up on match day, the big clubs would still be making an absolute killing. If these trends continue, Liverpool could be considering a move from Anfield to Beijing in 10-years-time.

The voice of the fans was enough this time, but it's never been enough before. I fear next time it wont be enough Big clubs are increasingly disconnected from their communities, with whom they should have a tight social contract. Football teams used to be tightly linked to their communities, but so much money is being thrown around the game these days that maintaining those connections is no longer financially viable. Leeds United encourage their players to spend their spare time communicating with schools in areas like Beeston, getting to know their fans and the communities whom they serve. Arsenal's players could go into local schools to coach matches, but they don’t. Because doing those things doesn’t make money. It’s all well and good shutting down some Super League, but the fact that clubs were even able to consider this suggests that it’s already too late. The voice of the fans was enough this time, but it’s never been enough before. I don’t think it’ll be enough next time. You know which country had no teams joining the Super League? Germany. You know which country requires the fans have majority shareholding in their team? Germany. From now on, and until the Premier League start

Image: Twitter @MeslierIllan

emulating the German system, I’m going to stick to the cricket. If it wasn't for the fans, nobody would watch cricket. I mean, the matches are fivedays-long, that's a terrible way to make money. –Alex Walker

To the Glazer family,

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind and demonstrated the best and worst of football’s current state. We saw the insatiable greed of men at the top, but also the determined resistance of fans united by a refusal to allow the game that we love to die.

I hope that fans continue to use this power to fight important issues, like racism, that continue to plague football I hope that fans continue to use this newly realised power to fight important issues, like racism, which continue to plague football, and that you focus your attention on these issues rather than worrying about your own pockets. It is apparent that you, the Glazer family, do not understand, and you do not care what football is about. The ongoing commercialisation of the club and the financial focus since your takeover has been symptomatic of a wider problem in football, but one which you have been at the forefront of. The fact that you were strategizing how you could best keep money right at the top of the pyramid, whilst watching our neighbours, Bolton Wanderers, Macclesfield Town and Bury fans, fight with everything that they had to keep their clubs alive is disgusting and embarrassing.

When my grandad moved to Manchester as a teenager, on the terraces of the Stretford End he found a place where he belonged When my grandad moved to Manchester as a teenager, alone in our city - a city built by the working class in mills and factories - he discovered Manchester United. He went and watched players like Nobby Stiles and Bobby Charlton at the weekends, as Sir Matt Busby rebuilt a team following Munich, and on the terraces at the Stretford End, he found a place, in an unfamiliar and alien city, where he belonged. It was our own Sir Matt Busby, by the way, who stated, “Football is nothing without fans.” A quote which currently decorates Old Trafford – ironic given what you attempted, no? It is the fans which are the lifeblood of a club and when you continually

disregard us, scenes like those which we saw at Old Trafford will happen and keep happening. We have watched you steal money from our club for too long. We have had enough. Green and gold... –Elana Shapiro

To the City Football Group,

Us Manchester City fans, as much as anyone, know what it’s like to rise through the football pyramid. In 1999 we were struggling in what is now League One. Twenty-two years later we’re favourites to win the Champions League. This dream is what would be destroyed by joining a European Super League.

Image: Twiter @utdreport

In 1999 we were struggling in the third division. Twenty-Two years later we're favourites to win the Champions League The problems with the proposals were clear to everyone. A competition in which there isn’t the jeopardy of relegation would be less entertaining.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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Monday 24 May 2021

Sport open letter to the European Superleague Being a fan is about the highs and the lows. If City had never been relegated to the lower leagues, we’d never have fought our way back up. All that removing the risk of relegation accomplishes is removing the risk factor for the billionaires who profit from these clubs. This was nothing less than the super rich clubbing together to stop the already meagre amount of capital they let trickle down to clubs and communities lower down the leagues. The exclusion of a fairytale club like Leicester, who have proven themselves to be better than some of the ‘big six’ despite not having the same resources, showed the plans had nothing to do with football. This league would have been the millionaire employees of the same fifteen billionaire-owned corporations playing meaningless fixtures against each other year after year, in a bleak, hollowed-out parody of what football should be.

The same fifteen billionaire corporations playing meaningless fixtures; a bleak, hollowedout parody of what football should be In recent years the source of City’s success has sat uncomfortably with many of us fans. Jibes about ‘oil money’ and ‘buying the league’ hurt because to an extent they’re true. Although the incredible moments that come with it have helped us overlook this, the reality is that City, as with many other big clubs, are now a major international corporation. We fans don’t support a major international corporation, and nor do those of other sides. We support the team which St Mark’s church set up in West Gorton in 1890, and which has belonged to that community ever since. The question is whether the spirit of that club still exists somewhere in Manchester C i t y

Image: Twitter @AnfieldWatch

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Football Club Limited. The unanimous opposition of the real football community to the Super League proposals is the only positive to come out of this. Hopefully the tide is turning and fans can now begin to take back ownership of our clubs and our game. - Peter Bath

To Mr Henry and FSG,

As a Liverpool fan I am disgusted with the Fenway Sports Group. The values of Liverpool football club: unity, integrity, and loyalty, have all been trodden on and forgotten. There was no loyalty shown here to the millions of fans who have dedicated their support to such a special club, no integrity in taking away from the football pyramid for selfish gain. Liverpool, I believe more than any club in the world, owes everything to its fans – the 12th man who has pushed the team over the line to so many glorious moments. One saving grace for FSG is the apology made by John Henry, and I believe this to be a major reason why Liverpool Football Club is not facing the backlash that the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United are. But a video apology isn’t enough. Fenway Sports Group forgot about the Liverpool fans and how we feel; they now need to put their money where their mouth is and pump some money back into Liverpool.

The values of Liverpool football club; unity, integrity and loyalty. They've all been trodden on and forgotten The only positive to take from this whole situation is that we can fully appreciate the power of the fans in football. The coming together of so many fans prevented this greedy scheme and illustrated that the clubs are still owned by the supporters. This battle between the boards and the fans is not over – Perez is adamant that the project will go ahead, and the greedy will stay greedy. We just need to ensure that once again, we do everything in our power as fans the prevent the formation of such a league. –Jack Dunne

Image: Twitter @goal

To Mr Levy,

Thank you Mr Levy for ruining 139 years of history. You put profit above glory, success and the blood, sweat and tears of the fans who made Spurs such a special club. You have sold the soul of the club for your own greed, you will never be one of us. Tradition has been lost in the pursuit for money. When we've needed your investment, you've failed time and time again. The difference? The difference is that no matter how many "bottlings" us Spurs fans see, it's our club. It was always our club, the club that made me fall in love with football.Today, you tarnished every foundation the club was built upon. Mr Tottenham Hotspur - Bill Nicholson once said: "We must always consider our supporters, for without them, there would be no professional football". You killed that today, You killed Tottenham. You have turned "the beautiful game", ugly. That 's your greatest achievement of all - you ruined something that could never be ruined. I've lost my club. The Club I've grew up loving, the club I'm proud of, has been thrown away. You have failed me.

That's your greatest achivement of all - you ruined something that we thought could never be ruined You have failed every single Tottenham fan that made the club so special. We have always been a family and you've divided us. –Andrew White

Postscipt,

The failed ESL proposal marks a crossroads for football. Do fans of all clubs from all backgrounds take a stand against the greedy capitalist invasion of the once called ' people's game' or will more subtle attempts to leech every penny possible succeed in future? The recent changes to the Champions League pander to the 'big clubs' at the detriment of free and fair competition. The language of the ESL project shows the disdain for "legacy fans" with owners signing up to the scheme as a blatant attack on the hard-working and loyal communities they serve. The immortal words of Bobby Robson should never be

"What is a club? It's the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city." forgotten: "What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city." –Sam Slater


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Monday 24 May 2021

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COURIER

The Courier's Premier League team of the season

Using a 4-3-3 formation, Lewis Thompson curates our Premier League team of the season. Lewis Thompson

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ith a season like no other coming to an end, which eleven Premer League players make it in to The Courier's team of the season?

Goalkeeper – Emiliano Martinez The obvious choice that most people would go for is Ederson of Manchester City, due to him leading the tally for clean sheets throughout the season and his obvious exceptional and key role in Manchester City winning another Premier League title. However, personally I feel Emi Martinez of Aston Villa just about edges it. Gaining 14 clean sheets and 113 saves in 33 appearances with still 5 games to play, Martinez has been crucial in Aston Villas incredible season and has constantly proved his ability to play at the highest level after his move from Arsenal at the start of the season. Having gained so many points for Villa and kept them in games that they looked to be out of. He takes the number one spot for me.

Right back – Joao Cancelo The versatile Portuguese international has been one of Pep Guardiola’s go to players this season obtaining 13 clean sheets, making 150 recoveries and creating 8 big chances for the Cityzens. Cancelo has been used in defence, midfield and attack this season proving his consistency throughout the entire season. Starting 24 games out of 25 this season,

Cancelo has been a true work horse for Manchester City and a key player in the way Pep wants his team to perform week in week out.

Centre back – Ruben Dias Another player coming from the defence of Manchester City. The 23-year-old Portuguese centre back is a player I feel no one can debate being in the team of the season. Never mind team of the season, Dias is set to be in contention for the player of the year award, which just shows how good he has been. Making 2,496 passes, presently the most in the entire Premier League, 21 tackles, 31 interceptions and 123 recoveries, the stats really do speak for themselves when talking about Dias. Always the first name on the team sheet when it comes to a big game for Man City this season.

Centre back – John Stones Manchester City’s other centre back John Stones is another name I feel must feature. Providing not only as a crucial defender but also proving to be a goal scorer, the English defender has grabbed himself 4 goals this season, gaining crucial points for City. Pairing with Dias, the two have looked to be an unstoppable force when playing in the heart of City’s defence.

Left back – Luke Shaw The first of two Manchester United players to feature in our team of the season, Luke Shaw has been unplayable at times this year. Edging the spot over Andy Robertson for me, the Englishman has proved to be consistently stable in United’s sometimes shaky defence. Keeping 10 clean sheets, gaining 5 assists, and having a massive 163 recoveries this season, Shaw has started to show excellent form again which is something we have not seen from him in a long time wearing a Manchester United shirt.

Defensive midfielder Tomas Soucek

With West Ham having an incredible season and pushing for a spot in the top four, they have had many outstanding performers, the biggest of them being Soucek. The Czech international has played a pivotal role in the Hammers success this season. Scoring nine goals in 34 appearances, making 220 recoveries, 54 interceptions and winning 204 aerial duels, Soucek has been a true gladiator for West Ham and must be in the team of the season.

Centre Midfielder – Ilkay Gundogan Another Man City player who seems to be a certain pick when thinking about the best Premier League midfielders this season. The German international had a slow start but slowly filtered his way into City’s starting 11 throughout the year. Gundogan has an impressive 12 goals in 25 appearances this season, scoring crucial goals against the big six teams including braces against Tottenham and Liverpool. The German has turned into a regular started for City and could be on his way to helping them win the Premier League and Champions League having already won the Carabao Cup. All in all, his performances for Man City in the later stages of the season earns him a spot in the team of the season.

Centre Midfielder – Bruno Fernandes The third top goal scorer as things stand in the Premier League, Bruno Fernandes has been Manchester United’s best player over the past two years. This season the Portuguese man has been outstanding scoring 16 goals and providing 11 assists in 22 games. At times Man United have seemed to be a one-man team that have relied on Fernandes to bring that extra bit of

magic to their side, and he has done so. With United on their way to a Europa League final and having their spot in the top four well and truly secured, Fernandes has been a crucial player for Ole this season and deserves a spot as one of the best this season.

Right Winger – Mohamed Salah Liverpool this season have been far from their best, being the current Premier League champions. Injuries, poor results, a lack of cohesiveness and

being out of every competition has proved this season to be a write off for Klopp’s men. One man has shown to be a class above his team mates is Salah. The Egyptian has grabbed himself 20 goals and three assists this season and could be on his way to another golden boot for Liverpool if he manages to scrape past Harry Kane in first. With Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino massively underperforming, the Reds needed someone to lift the team and score goals. Salah has been the shining star among his team mates this season and deserves massive credit for his eye for goal.

Left winger – Son HeungMin Like Mo Salah, Son has outperformed most of his teammates in what has been a generally poor season for Spurs. Battling for a place in Europe with no other trophies to play for there really has only been two stand out players for Tottenham, the first of them being Son. Providing 17 goals and 10 assists this season under now sacked boss Jose Mourinho, Son has been consistently excellent for Spurs and deserves a spot in the team of the season.

Striker – Harry Kane The current top scorer with the most assists in the league this season, Harry Kane has excelled yet again for Spurs. The Englishman has been the backbone for Tottenham, and when needed the most he has always provided. With 21 goals and 13 assists, no other striker in the Premier League gets close to Kane in terms of consistent quality.

Image: Twitter @premierleague

A day in the life: an interview with F3's rising talent Filip Ugran We take a look into the daily habits and pastimes of a Formula 3 driver, talking to Jenzer Motorsport's Filip Ugran Lucy Rimmer

What time do you wake up? Normally I wake up around 9 am when I’m at home, but when I’m at the circuit around 7 am.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? After I wake up the first thing I do is brush my teeth.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? When I’m at home I like to have an

omelet with cucumber and cheese but at the circuit toast with ham and cheese.

What do you typically eat for dinner?

What does your working day look like?

It depends if I’m ordering food or preparing something at home but sometimes I’ll have pasta or pizza. Sometimes meat, or sometimes only a toast.

I go to the gym for anywhere between 2–4 hours per day. I also go on the simulator at home in the afternoon.

What do you eat for lunch? For lunch, I like to eat something different each day. I like fish, steak, grilled chicken with sides but I’m not a big fan of vegetables.

Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to motorsport? Yes! I love skiing, especially freeride, bike-riding, swimming, and many other things. I like riding my enduro motorcycle and doing some off-roading.

How do you unwind after a day of work? Driving my sim with other guys is relaxing, but also chilling with my friends or talking to them on facetime.

What’s your favourite part of your day? I like everything I get to do but I would say my favourite part is taking the time for lunch.

What time do you go to sleep? I tend to go to sleep between 11 and 11:30 pm.

Image: Twitter @FIAFormula3


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Monday 24 May 2021

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What it takes to be the perfect village cricketer

Sledging, attire, appeals, tea. Rory Law explains village cricket

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hen most hear “the new normal” they associate this with going to a pub without having to book in advance, or sitting in a house with friends. However, I hear leather on willow and the lull of the cricket arena. As I lean forward to drive an overpitched b a l l

straight into the hands of the gully fielder, I feel at ease and genuinely happy. Village cricket is a game for all and below is a guide in how to excel:

Sledging Sledging is the art of distracting the batsman by keeping noise up between balls. Have you even played cricket if you haven’t uttered the immortal words: “let’s send those bails to Wales”? Every village cricketer has a few of these genius quips in their arsenal. If you’re commenting on “village” kit, strange technique or, crucially, a play-and-miss, any bit of sledging is compulsory to truly embrace the spirit of the game. Just make sure it’s in good spirits.

Attire One could be forgiven for thinking cricket is played in full whites with cricket spikes, but in the village community this isn’t the case. You are likely to see coloured trainers, especially if the pitch is astro. One junior will have put his last pair of white socks in the wash, bashfully turning up in his black socks,

blaming his mother when he inevitably gets stick in the changing room. It’s even possible to see the occasional white dress shirt. Wicket keeping pads

One could be forgiven for thinking cricket is played in full whites. You're likely to see coloured trainers, black socks and hoodies are optional for keepers and I’ve seen hoodies worn underneath whites.

Appeals Appeal for anything that hits the pad. If you’re fielding at square leg, even better. Umpires won’t like you, they’ll despair when the ball that wouldn’t hit a second set of stumps causes the fielding team to erupt into a barrage of incomprehensible noise, but you will feel like you’re close to a wicket. That’s all that matters.

Tea Although everyone brings their own during COVID, tea is the most quin

tessential part of cricket. Anything by Mr Kipling, scones, sandwiches, cocktail sausages and fruit is highly encouraged. Squash is almost compulsory too but

Anything by Mr Kipling, scones, sandwiches, cocktail sausages and fruit is highly encouraged the ratio is crucial. Too strong and you’ll be shaking in the field, too weak and your day is ruined. If you follow all these steps you are on your way to being a cricket badger. Other important things include throwing your bat after you’re given out LBW, exclaiming it was “sliding down”, taking your helmet off after scoring 50, turning up nursing a hangover and fielding with your feet.

Images: Twitter @thecricketermag

Francis Ngannou: the greatest rise to fame you've never heard Euan Morris explores the incredible story of Francis Ngannou, starting in a sand quarry and working his way to UFC glory

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rancis Ngannou produced another blistering knockout at UFC 260 to become the UFC World Heavyweight Champion. Francis Ngannou is now Africa’s third UFC champion, joining Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya in the bracket of elite fighters, after dethroning Stipe Miocic for the UFC World Heavyweight Championship. Ngannou’s story is a remarkable one, and epitomised a man who started from absolutely nothing but a dream and a man would not be denied that dream. At the age of 10 years old, Ngannou worked at a sand quarry in his hometown of Baite, Cameroon. In 2012 he was sleeping outside in the woods in Tangier, Morocco, in an attempt to immigrate to Europe. Ngannou was jailed for two months in Spain for illegally crossing the border, then migrated to Paris. After sleeping on the streets of Paris, he would then meet his former trainer Fernand Lopez and was introduced to the MMA Factory, the largest mixed martial arts gym in Paris, which ignited his career in MMA. Francis spoke on this period on Twitter, stating the following: "#ThrowbackThursday. This was in December 2012 I was still in Tangier, Morocco trying to find my way out to Europe. I was sleeping outside in the woods and I had nothing but the clothes I am wearing here [below right] . But I had dreams and confidence. Those have been my greatest assets which led me from where i was 8 years ago to where I'm today. Never let anyone take your

dreams and confidence from you or tell you you can’t make it or you couldn’t

"It was December 2012. I was sleeping outside in the woods and I had nothing but dreams and confidence." make it without them." Ngannou would go on to sign for the UFC in 2015, and possessed a 5-1 record. The Predator would go on to win his first 6 UFC fights, and claimed ESPN Knockout of the Year in 2017 with a sensational first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, setting up a title shot against Stipe Miocic in January 2018. The fight was too soon for Ngannou as Stipe dominated the first fight, throwing 208 punches compared to Ngannou’s 34, with Ngannou’s inexperience showing. Ngannou would go on to suffer back to back defeats, losing via unanimous decision against Derreck Lewis, a fight which has been dubbed

made to Ngannou’s takedown defence, as he successfully prevented a dangerous takedown attempt from Stipe in the first round. Francis Ngannou is now considered by many as “the baddest man on the planet”, a phrase commonly associated with Mike Tyson. Even though the fight was behind closed doors, the world has most certainly taken notice of Ngannou and is on a one way journey to superstar status.

Francis Ngannou is now considered by many as "the baddest man on the planet"

This could be catalysed with a high prof i le

The Predator would go on to win his first 6 UFC fights, and claimed ESPN Knockout of the Year the worst UFC fight of all time. Francis bounced back and won his next 4 fights, all by knockout, setting up the rematch with Stipe Miocic. The rematch didn’t last very long as Stipe fell victim to a vintage Ngannou left hook early in the second round. Ngannou possesses freakish power, and it is clear to see how much he is developing and maturing as a fighter. This was evident in the fight as vast improvements were

Image: Twitter @francis_ngannou

fight against UFC legend and former two time light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. It has been well documented that negotiations for this fight are proving to be challenging for UFC president Dana White, as Jones is unsurprisingly demanding a hefty fee for this fight.

Jones is unsurprisingly demanding a hefty fee for this fight There is also talk of a crossover fight with either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua in the future. This would generate tens of millions for Ngannou and would be an iconic moment in sporting history, which is nothing short of what Ngannou deserves for all the adversity he has had to overcome in his life.


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AU Officer Benthe Tanghe wins fight for gender inclusive sportswear

Head of Sport Tom Moorcroft talks us through this historic win for Team Newcastle

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he Courier is pleased to announce that, as the result of an article published in September outlining the issue of Newcastle's onegendered sportswear, Canterbury have released a female orientated range for Newcastle University. After the tireless efforts of Benthe Tanghe, our Athletic Union Officer, and talks with the Pentland Group, parent company of Canterbury, this new sportswear will be made available for athletes at Newcastle University. There are 16 styles in the new range, of which 12 have a female equivalent available. All are available from next academic year for all clubs. Canterbury has been the official kit

supplier of Team Newcastle since 1 April 2018. With this news in mind, the contract was extended early this year until 21 March 2022. We approached the Pentland Group to learn more about their decision to release non-male sportswear. How long do you anticipate working with Newcastle as our sportswear distributor? We work with a number of Universities across the UK and we pride ourselves on the length of partnerships that we have with them. Having recently extended our time with Newcastle University, we are confident that our working relationship will continue for many years to come. We love being a part of the identity the students create while on campus and believe that sport is an integral part of university life. Do you work with other Universities? If so, do they all have gender equal sportswear like the clothing just released at Newcastle? The decisions on chosen products are

made in conjunction with University Directors of Sports Services, Athletic Unions, our Stockists and the brand. The new Club range which Newcastle University have selected to wear is being introduced to all of our education customers, University & School level, this year who purchase our stock teamwear offering.

The new club range, which Newcastle have selected, is being offered to any University or School Our product team is focusing a lot of time and energy into the development of female-specific products and have been working closely with female rugby teams on specific products to make sure we are providing the right

kit which works for them. This includes taking onboard feedback from the players and incorporating this into our final designs – including from the players at Newcastle University. This has resulted in improvements and we are pleased to be able to return within six months with a range of products which has been exceptionally well received. Do you have a message you’d like to send to non-male Newcastle University athletes ahead of the clothing launch? At Canterbury we are committed to providing premium kit for all players, at all levels, covering all aspects of the sport. We have listened to our customers and have made great strides in recent times to ensure that the vast majority of our range is suitable for female teams as well as men’s. Benthe Tanghe, in response to this huge win for Team Newcastle, had this to say to The Courier. “In my year as Athletic Union Officer, it has been my priority to make real, lasting change, and to make Team Newcastle more inclusive, accessible

Image: Benthe Tanghe modelling the first Canterbury stadium jacket produced in womens sizes

and united. After multiple meetings with representatives from the Pentland Group this year, it was fantastic to have them visit a few weeks ago to showcase the new kit.” “75% of the new range is now more inclusive, and my hope is that this will have a genuine impact: the kit will no longer be a barrier to feeling confident and comfortable for those who don’t present as male as they perform and succeed in sport. I’m also delighted that these efforts have not only been introduced to our students, but to all Universities and schools that Canterbury works with.” “It is a continuing process for Canterbury to fully make this change, but also for Team Newcastle to continue to strive for diversity, equality and representation across all our clubs. I am proud to have been able to make strides towards this goal.”

INSIDE SPORT TODAY

Comeback King

Super Scandal

PL Team Of the Season

Our sports writers contact the Premier League clubs they support on the proposed European Super League Page 36

Did your favourite players make it into our best XI? Page 38

Euan Morris shares the greatest rise to fame in UFC history Page 39

Image: Twitter @premierleague

Image: Twitter @francisngannou