Issue 1413 Monday 15 March 2021 thecourieronline.co.uk
Free every term
THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF NEWCASTLE STUDENTS
Gavin’s ficitonal free speech on campus crisis
“I feel like I’m not getting the most out of university” ity”
We ask if there is need for the new government legislation... News | p. 4
Campus comment | p. 7
Relationships | page 14
Inspirational women in sport
In conversation with NCL’s best Sport | pages 36-37
Student elections spark online abuse Julia McGee-Russell
— Deputy Editor
fter the first ever fullyonline election campaign, seven new sabbatical officers have been elected to take office in July. The winners were announced at a semi inperson ceremony in Luthers’ Bar. The elected officials for 2021/22 are: Abbie Hutchinson as President, Livia Scott as Education Officer, Briana Gordhan as Welfare & Equality Officer, Haris Nadeem Bashir as Activities Officer, Fergus Mainland as Athletic Union Officer, Eleanor McCarthy as Postgraduate Officer and George Boatfield as Editor of The Courier. The weeks of online campaigning leading up to voting week saw record numbers of candidates dropping out of the elections, and an unprecedented
level of online abuse. Seven candidate debates were hosted and live-streamed online by Student Media; those with the highest viewership, the Presidential Debate and Results Night coverage, were subject to a torrent of anonymous hate comments. The comments included racist and Sinophobic statements such as reportedly referring to Chinese people at the university as something that needs to be ‘taken care of.’ There were also comments using the term ‘neurodivergent’ as an insult against other commenters, and mocking the candidate’s appearances and accents. Several of the comments were overtly or covertly racist, sexist, fatphobic, and ableist in nature. Following the Presidential Debate, Presidential candidate Thomas Bracewell said he received a ‘verbal warning’, ‘despite no one being able to prove it was [his] supporters’ who made the
comments. ‘Those views do not represent me, they have no place in society, university and the SU.’ Bracewell told The Courier. ‘Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequences.’ Fellow Presidential candidate, Christopher Winter, said ‘I am the only person that speaks for me and those people in the comments certainly were not speaking on my behalf.’ ‘No one who runs for a position in the Union should be made to feel bad about themselves... Many of the people running for president are people who I would consider my friends and I am deeply upset that our relationships may have been put under strain because of those comments.’ Winter concluded. An official complaint was made, however, ‘the request to hold those responsible to account could not be substantiated as individuals who made the
inappropriate comments had disguised their identities,’ a NUSU spokesperson said. ‘NUSU has a zero-tolerance policy regarding any form of harassment, discrimination and hate crime and categorically denounces the behaviour seen during the election’ the spokesperson added. Following the complaint, NUSU issued a statement which called the comments ‘an abhorrent display from a community that should be friendly and welcoming’. ‘I was shocked and appalled to see some of the comments being made on results night.’ incoming Postgraduate Officer Eleanor McCarthy told The Courier. ‘this kind of behaviour has absolutely no place in NUSU.’ Since nominations closed, eight candidates dropped out of Sabbatical Officer race. Incoming NUSU President Abbie
Hutchinson noted the wider problem with mental health for candidates: ‘Running in an election is very demanding mentally and physically… I think it is really important we recognise many individuals dropped out of this year’s election, with some individuals showing such strength to discuss that it was due in part to its impact on mental health.’ Joe Molander was a candidate for Editor of The Courier before standing down the day after the debate: ‘I found campaigning incredibly stressful: I would wake up and go to sleep feeling anxious… Like a lot of people, the year has left me exhausted and sad. I realised I couldn’t press on with something that might make that worse.’ There was a four vote margin between incoming Activities Officer, Haris Nadeem Bashir, and his opponent. After his win, he received anonymous negative comments on the student confession Facebook group, Newfess, describing his success as ‘something seriously wrong with the system’ and that users would ‘refuse all help from this man’. Haris told The Courier: ‘Obviously it was hurtful to see that I wasn’t welcomed like I was supposed to be, or being judged on how I would perform even before I started. But this unexpected turn of events also motivated me more to take this role with full responsibility and confidence.’ A Newcastle University spokesperson said: ‘We fully support the action that has been taken by NUSU in response to online comments posted during recent elections. We do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind in our community and work hard with NUSU and our Sabbatical Officers to ensure an inclusive and safe campus for all. ‘Any student who is worried or wishes to report concerns should email: email@example.com or report anonymously using the online Report and Support service. A confidential counselling support service is also available from the Newcastle University Student Health and Wellbeing Counselling Team for any student who needs it.’ Despite the behaviour of anonymous students, the voter turnout was 3047 students, down only 25 from last year. For support with regard to harassment, discrimination and hate crime, visit the NUSU Report and Support service at www.nusu.co.uk/support/ report.
Monday 15 March 2021 THE
2 Inside 15th March 2021 Current Affairs | News A decline in freshers from state schools 2 in 5 universities have seen the number of admissions from state school educated students fall, new data shows. Page 6
Current Affairs | Campus Comment Freedom of speech in crisis? Following new government legislation to clamp down on freedom of speech at universities (p. 4) , our writers debate whether it is really under threat. Page 7
Life & Style | Relationships Agony Ant In our brand new column, an anonymous student has written in concerned that they are missing out on the "uni experience". Page 15
Life & Style | Lifestyle Spring horoscopes! What spring item are you based on your starsign? Patrick Young is back to tell you... Pages 16-17
Culture | Music In lockdown with WHO? We asked our music writers who they'd most like to be stick in quarantine with. Pages 22-23
Culture | Arts An ode to Northern artists Evie Lake chats to local artists on what its like to have their work on display. Page 28-29 Our favourite feminist authors From Woolfe to Atwood, our writers share their favourite women authors. Page 28-29
Sport Newcastle University's inspiritational women in sport Elana Shapiro chats to the women who have forged careers in sport, depspite the obstacles as a woman. Pages 36-37
Editor's note: a year of lockdown
lmost exactly a year ago from this issue’s release, the UK entered its first lockdown. This was all new: I had rushed home stocked with three pairs of pants and a phone charger. I spotted my friend at the train station with a similarly sized overnight bag, and we greeted each other with an elbow bump. “See you on the other side” we had said, and both laughed. In the first lockdown we were stunned into coping. Had someone considered the concept of a year long time frame we might have lost it, but we kept ourselves firmly focused on the day at hand, with friendly faces bobbing up from over the garden wall, daily walks, the incessant making of sourdough loaves. By January banana bread didn’t cut it. The enthusiasm and collective resilience that got us through the first lockdowns seems to have dried up, and people are feeling tired and flat. As university students, there are
some experiences we will never get back, from freshers hellos to grad balls goodbyes. We've been alone in our bedrooms scrambling to a deadline. We've sat poised at every press briefing waiting for a mention. In this spring issue we're looking forward: we're welcoming a newly elected Sabbatical Team (p. 1) due to take office in July, we're daring to cast our minds to UK holidays for the new season in Travel (p. 21), taking a look at what's in season in Fashion (p.19), or (for those not ready to brave the outdoors) upcoming new show seasons in TV (p. 24-25). Last weekend, when the weather in Newcastle reached scorching 12 degree heat, people started having barbecues on their doorsteps and vaping on their windowsills. Others were slumped on the grass in Heaton park, the buskers came out, people e-scootering together down Jesmond Dene. It almost (almost) felt like a normal university day. So, still without the comfort of
our office, we've put this together from all over the country in acknowledgement that we might finally be approaching the "other side", and to collectively stick it out until then. Here's to a lovely Spring break,
SECTIONS Editor Ella Williams -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Editor Julia McGee Russell -- email@example.com
Digital and Design George Boatfield -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Affairs Senior editor: Joe Molander -- email@example.com
News -- firstname.lastname@example.org Alex Gervas Ella Mcaffrey Elsa Tarring Lucy Adams Kate Lovell Alex Downing
Comment -- email@example.com Muslim Taseer Lorcan Flahive Tom Leach
Science -- firstname.lastname@example.org Lily Holbrook Lizzie Meade Polly Stevens
Life & Style Senior editor: Ellie James -- email@example.com
Food Cayla Viner Em Richardson
Relationships Sophie Wilson Phoebe Eyles
Lifestyle -- firstname.lastname@example.org Meg Howe Victoria Osho Faye Navesey
Beauty -- email@example.com Sophie McNally Chloe Buchan Charley Moran
Travel -- firstname.lastname@example.org Patrick Young Louise Cusine
Finlay Holden Joe Smith
TV -- c2.TV@ncl.ac.uk Sophie Hicks George Bell Leo Dawson
Film -- email@example.com Peter Lennon Michael Duckworth Hattie Metcalfe
Arts -- firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Bath Maud Webster Evie Lake
Gaming -- email@example.com Kaitlyn Maracle Jack Wallace-Hunter Shawn Khoo
Puzzles Joeseph Caddick
Culture Senior Editors: Alex Darbyshire -- firstname.lastname@example.org Amy Brown -- email@example.com
Music -- firstname.lastname@example.org Dom Lee
Sport -- email@example.com Senior Editor: Tom Moorcroft -- firstname.lastname@example.org Sam Slater Elana Shapiro Andrew White Oren Brown Ethan Todd
Monday 15 March 2021
E-scooter launch compromised UK unis see increase due to dangerous behaviour in antisemitic attacks An e-scooter night curfew has been introduced to stop further incidents after five men were arrested and charged Xavier Khoo & Ruby Story Dartford
ithin days of the launch of the 250 e-scooters, new regulations have been imposed after five men were arrested and charged for riding the vehicles whilst over the alcohol limit. Another man was charged with failing to produce a specimen, one has been banned from using the scooters, and four other users are currently under investigation. Those charged, aged between 19 and 22, are set to appear at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court next month. The 12-month e-scooter scheme was launched last month by Newcastle City Council in a bid to cut carbon emissions, encourage locals to lead a healthier lifestyle and improve inner-city mobility, with 10 000 trips already made across the city.
includes multiple users on one scooter, illegal riding on the pavements, alongside several racing the scooters in the early hours of the morning.
“They are being left blocking pavements and it is causing resentment” Graham Grant, Assistant Director of Transport for Newcastle City Council, confirmed that the scooters must now be shut off between 11 pm and 5 am following the arrests and misuse of the scooters. A spokesman for the firm behind the scooters, Neuron, stated that whilst most users are responsible, "there will always be exceptions" and that users were given clear rules before using the vehicles. Parking is also a source of contention, since, while users are given a 30p discount on their journey if they park their scooters in designated parking
spots, it is not compulsory to leave their vehicles there. Despite having these 15 parking spaces around Newcastle, scooters have been left all over the city. Liberal Democrat councillor Wendy Taylor has called for measures to ensure the proper parking of the scooters: “The fact is that they are being left blocking pavements and it is causing resentment, which is the last thing we want. We really wanted this to be successful and if there are problems that are causing people to go against them already, that is a big issue.” This N3 e-scooter model boasts safety and security features, like an in-built helmet lock meant to secure it to the e-scooter, ensuring that every user has a helmet available in order to ride with caution. It also has a “Follow my Ride” function so users can track both their own and their friends' journeys, ensuring they arrive at their destination safely. Anyone wanting to hire a scooter must also be at least 18 and hold a provisional or full driving licence.
Newcastle City Council via Facebook
Five men were arrested for riding whilst over the alcohol limit However, the e-scooters hit headlines last week after the council received several complaints regarding concerns over fears of safety. Complaints about the frequent mishandling of the vehicles
Despite the fact that less than 1% of university students are Jewish, antisemitism is on the rise Louise Cusine
- Travel sub-editor
uelled by an investigation into the anti-Semitic conduct of Professor David Miller, a lecturer at Bristol University, more and more Jewish students are speaking out about their experiences of antisemitism. Whilst many Jewish students have spoken out about the fear and intimidation they felt during Miller's lectures, some academics have signed a letter of support in the hope that his actions will not lead to his dismissal. Amongst his views, Miller said it was “fundamental to Zionism to encourage Islamophobia'', which outraged Jewish students who believe this form of misinformation is contributing to the hatred of the Jewish student population. Similarly, Durham University student Chessy Weiner told The Courier that she was ''given a very stark reality as to what antisemitism looks like'' upon enrolling into a university that has very few Jewish students with some students ''holding prejudices that were founded in inaccurate education of Judaism''. Weiner continued by recounting
Image: @EUJS via Twitter
the condescending attitude of the intercollegiate Christian union towards her religion, leaving her feeling bewildered that someone would ever infringe upon her beliefs. Jewish students across the country believe they have been left in the dark by their universities regarding emotional support. Some students also feel that their concerns are only heard by Jewish charities and organisations, and are ignored by universities. The Holocaust Educational Trust, created with the aim of educating young people about the Holocaust, sent The Courier the following statement: "all students deserve to live and learn on a campus free of hate, intimidation and racism. That goes for Jewish students too". They continued, "The Holocaust Educational Trust supports Jewish students and their allies in standing up and speaking out. The comments and behaviour of David Miller, a member of the academic staff at Bristol University, have been wholly inappropriate for many years, in particular the age-old accusation of dual loyalty of British Jews – it is time for Bristol University to take action". Students across the UK are rising up to demand that universities address the needs of their Jewish students and this starts with a clamp down on the rising tide of antisemitism. The Union of Jewish Students streamed a virtual rally on Wednesday with #hateoffcampus. To view it, visit Union of Jewish Students on Facebook.
Medical students volunteer with North East Ambulance Service Newcastle University medical students have been volunteering with the ambulance service during the pandemic
M Alice Holmes
edical students studying at Newcastle University have volunteered throughout lockdown with the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), providing essential support and aid.
Students have been responding to 999 calls and helping to roll out vaccinations
Students involved within the NEAS First Responder team respond to 999
calls across the Tyneside area and work at a vaccination hub in North Shields, successfully rolling out over 30 000 vaccinations.
"We have been hugely impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the First Responders" Their hard work and dedication during this turbulent time has been hugely appreciated, with the Head of Newcastle University’s School of Medical Education, Professor Steve Jones saying: “From the very start we in the School of Medical Education have been hugely impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the First Responders. They have done an amazing job in the most difficult of circumstances”. Philippa Wright, who is a medical student and member of the First
Responder team, spoke to The Courier about the impact the scheme has had upon the local community. She also emphasised what she, personally, has gained: “Being a First Responder has undoubtedly played a huge role in the development of my confidence and skills in a demanding situation. It is a real privilege to be able to help our local community and everyone has been really supportive of our learning”.
"It is a real privilege to be able to help our local community" Following the success of the scheme and looking forward to the future, students have begun fundraising in order to secure a dedicated service vehicle. The students are hoping that this fundraising will enable a greater number of 999 calls to be attended and more volunteer students to be recruited in the future.
Monday 15 March 2021
Investment in Southern start-ups is five times higher compared to the North A report conducted by the Labour Party exposes England's economic divide
Abby Ashley-Gardner n analysis released by the Labour Party found that the Government provided start-up businesses in the South of England five times as much funding as those in the North and Midlands. The data showed that South East and London based businesses received funding of more than £700 million, whereas those in the North, Yorkshire and the Midlands combined received £140 million. Labour's analysis of Future Fund data shows that the average award for individual businesses in London was £1,058,422, compared to £892,857 in the North East. Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, accuses the Government of “reinforcing economic imbalances in
our country”. The report argues that the figures are especially alarming when considering the comparative population sizes of the different regions, stating: “The discrepancy is even starker when compared to the population with 18 million people in the South East and London compared to 28 million in the North, Yorkshire and Midlands.” The Future Fund programme is designed to support businesses impacted by the pandemic that are usually reliant on equity investment.
The average award in London was £1,058,422, compared to £892,857 in the North East These figures also highlight not only the regional inequalities in terms of the number of businesses supported as approval rates for applications from the North West, Scotland, Wales and West Midlands were 84% lower than those from London and South East
businesses. The Labour Party argues these findings show the Government’s failure to encourage innovation outside of the South.
“Interventions are making regional inequality worse” Ed Miliband said: “While the Government talks about backing the North and Midlands, the reality is starkly different. Their interventions are making regional inequality worse, not better.” A Government spokesperson said in response: “We have provided an unprecedented £280 billion of support for businesses affected by COVID-19 in every nation and region of the UK. “The Future Fund uses a set of standard terms with published eligibility criteria, independent of ministers. “In addition to the Future Fund, the British Business Bank has provided nearly half a billion pounds to highgrowth firms outside of London.”
A Level grades: what i
A-Level results for the year 2021/22 will be assessed by teachers Alicia Curry
ith the government’s J a n u a r y announcement that A-level and GCSE exams won’t be going ahead in 2021, the upcoming year of university students are left wondering the impact this will have on their future education In early January, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson outlined how pupils will be graded after their summer GCSE and A-level exams were cancelled. He said there will be “no algorithms
whatsoever” to determine results and that the government is “putting trust firmly in teachers” to award grades, with an appeals system in place if students believe their grades to be unjust. This comes after the system used in 2020 relied on an algorithm that left thousands of A-level students having their results downgraded from the school estimates, before Ofqual announced a U-turn which allowed them to use teachers’ predictions. Whilst the government eventually bowed to the criticism, many students were left with complications in their applications, with stories of students who didn’t make their firstchoice university due to the original algorithmic grading, and again deprived of their offer post-grade change after their place was given to another student.
Caught in a crisis: year The combination of COVID-19 and the Brexit referendum has put thousands of students' years abroad in danger
Universities to stop censorship by appointing 'Free Speech Champions' Gavin Williamson calls on universities to appoint officers to ensure students aren't censored. Emily O'Dowd
he Education Secretary has announced that tougher legal measures are to be implemented at universities in England in order to stamp out “unlawful silencing" on campuses with the help of a Free Speech Champion. The new measures proposed by the government will be regulated by the Office for Students and will include a free speech condition placed on universities in order to be registered in England and access public funding.
The Office for Students will have the power to impose sanctions, including financial penalties, for breaches of this condition. The new rules will also extend to Student Unions who, under the new measures, will have a responsibility to secure free speech for their members and for any visiting speakers.
“I am deeply worried about the effect of unacceptable silencing and censoring” If individuals believe that they have suffered losses as a result of a breach of free speech such as being expelled, dismissed or demoted, they will also be able to seek compensation through the
courts. The Free Speech and Academic Freedom Champion that the Education Secretary is planning to appoint will have the right to investigate potential infringements to the new measures such as no-platforming of speakers or the dismissal of academics. The Champion will also be able to recommend that the Office for Students impose fines on universities who are considered to be breaching free speech, something they will now legally be required to promote. The measures come after Gavin Williamson declared that he is “deeply worried about the chilling effect on campuses of unacceptable silencing and censoring”. The Education Secretary also called for action like this last year when the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd was no-platformed at an event at Oxford University that was cancelled half an hour before it was supposed to start.
or thousands of students across the UK, the devastating combination of COVID-19 and inadequate guidance on post-Brexit UK-EU relations has cast serious doubt over studying abroad. Even beyond the Brexit deadline, current government guidance fails to deliver definitive answers. The most up-to-date guidance can only assure those students that had begun their studies abroad before 1 January 2021; beyond that, students face broad uncertainty spanning from their rights to work to financial support. The current mishandling of Brexit has left students caught in the eye of a storm of bureaucracy, caused by a referendum in which the vast majority of students were not eligible to vote. Another symptom of the BrexitCOVID-19 barrier is a backlog of students waiting to complete their year abroad. With the limited places at partner institutions and the right to work in the EU remaining a matter
unsolved, current and future university students face the possibility of a cycle of study abroad postponements and cancellations.
Students face a complete derailment of the degree they signed up for While this may be a disappointing yet unavoidable reality for many students, the year abroad is a mandatory element of a degree in languages. One French, Spanish and Business student at Newcastle University has had their year abroad affected by the current combination of issues post-Brexit Britain is facing: “Nobody really knows how [Brexit] is going to affect our year abroad. We didn't really expect a pandemic to be thrown in with the uncertainty either”
“We didn't really expect a pandemic to be thrown in with the [Brexit] uncertainty” This student had originally planned to complete an internship during their year abroad so that they “could meet graduate employers, learn what it is like to work in a foreign country, and earn
Monday 15 March 2021
it means for freshers A Newcastle Uni study identifies a Theoretically, with the government’s proposal, students will be able to apply to universities using their predicted grades as normal, and later the grades awarded by teachers will determine whether they are able to take up the place they are offered, in the same way usual exam grades are used.
“It's imperative that universities take equal accountability” There is, however, conceivable issues that could arise with this system. Katherine Newborough, a current teacher, told The Courier: “The impact of the cancellation of exams is far more pervasive than what meets the eye, this year’s students are being assessed on the basis of
their classroom education over the past years, despite an immense disruption to this way of learning. It’s more than conceivable that students will be working at a lesser capacity given the circumstances, potentially disadvantaging their grading comparative to standard exam years.” She added: “It's imperative that universities take equal accountability for the plugging of educational gaps lost as a result of remote learning, whilst also ensuring that those pursuing higher education are not penalised for these gaps. Whilst schools and colleges have been highly focused on remedying the issues COVID-19 has caused, universities specifically must step in and create a bridge between the support schools are giving students, and the ultimate outcome of their education.” Sian Dickie, Education Officer at Newcastle University, extended the University’s compassion for prospective students: "This has been a difficult year for students both at the University currently, and for those who are prospective students of Newcastle University. The grades that are decided by teacher assessment at A-Level study are obviously out of control of Universities and students across the country. Newcastle is aware of this and is very sympathetic of what those students must be going through. I have been particularly reassured that the University will be doing everything it can to be fair to all students, particularly those from widening participation backgrounds who may need additional support in their transition to University."
rs abroad in jeopardy? money” to support themselves over the course of their stay. However, with the economic slump that the world faces, the student felt forced to apply to universities to complete their mandatory year abroad instead: “Because of the pandemic, companies are struggling as it is to employ their own staff, never mind hire an intern”. This student is one of the many thousands of language students that face a complete derailment of the degree
programme they originally signed up for. For now, Newcastle University “has not yet decided if placements abroad in Summer 2021 onwards can take place” and have since offered the opportunity of “a virtual placement or language course” as an alternative to physical placements abroad in Summer 2021. How long this alternative will be in place is yet to be seen. Image: Tiket2 of Flickr
genetic tendency in leukaemia cells With eight other universities, Newcastle University identified a new way to recognise leukemia early
found that a “common genetic variation contributes to the heritable risk of CLL”. The study identified a genetic tendency in the blood samples of CLL patients, providing an opportunity for prospective patients to be informed of their probability of developing CLL. Early identification of risk could allow for the preparation of personalised
treatment plans, before the onset of the illness. According to Newcastle University Professor James Allan, the early treatment of patients at high-risk of progressive CLL “could significantly delay the onset of symptomatic leukaemia and improve survival”. Image: Flickr
collaborative effort between Newcastle University and eight other UK institutions has identified a potential aid for prognostication of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL), the most common form of blood cancer. The genome-wide association study, published in Nature Communications,
Castle Leazes was left without water and power for over 24h Joe Molander
— Head of Current Affairs
power cut that broke out at on 19 February in Cast Leazes accommodation left students without electricity, heating, WiFi and – for one building – water for nearly 24 hours. As such, some electric locks ceased to be operational, with students left unable to shower or freeze and refrigerate food. One Castle Leazes resident told The Courier that the electric lock failure affected the building doors, meaning strangers were able to walk into their accommodation overnight. They reportedly heard “loud noises” as trespassers entered the building and inflicted damage onto the walls. Bedroom door locks were not affected. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, takes medication daily that needs to be refrigerated, which was no longer possible. They also explained that students at Castle Leazes could not charge their phone or laptop to work towards assignments, despite deadlines “fast approaching”. Jacob Gardner, another student at the accommodation, described having to walk 25 minutes to use public toilets and “struggling to find food to eat” without cooking facilities. The Courier understands that the University was delivering bottled water across Castle Leazes, and was planning to provide affected students with a £20 takeaway voucher. Gardner added “we [were] freezing” and that “the ice cold showers [were] horrible”. Students at Castle Court, the block left with no water supply at all, had reportedly been buying bottled water through delivery services as they were afraid to leave their rooms with the doors unlocked. Reports as to when the power outage began exactly were conflicting: one Twitter user claimed it began 9pm on Friday. Another Twitter user claimed it was later, at around 10.30pm on Friday and the University has since clarified it began at 10.30pm. The University has also responded
to concerned students on Twitter by encouraging anyone in need of urgent help to contact the security team. However, one Twitter user explained that security “said it wasn’t their problem”, and instead directed students to the accommodation team. Another resident said the the accommodation line was closed, and that they received no response when trying to ring the university line. As of 5pm on 20 February, students had received no direct communication and the accommodation team had not responded. A Castle Leazes resident told The Courier that the security team “handled the situation awfully”, adding “we [were] being treated as if we [were] being punished, when we pay for this”. Jacob Gardner called it “20 hours of hell”. The security team were on-site when the incident began, and relocated their base from behind King’s Gate to Castle Leazes at 3am on 20
February. Speaking to The Courier, the University insisted “We ensured that there were plenty of security and maintenance staff on site throughout this period”. In an earlier statement, the University apologised, saying “We are aware of the ongoing situation at Castle Leazes and apologise for any inconvenience caused. Work is underway to restore power and water to the site and we will continue to keep you updated. We hope to have both back online soon.” “If any student has specific concerns, or is in need of an emergency food parcel, we would urge them to speak to one of the accommodation or security team who are on site at the moment or call 0191 208 6817 and someone will be able to help you.” The University added that the fire alarm system was unaffected. Power was restored to Castle Leazes at 9.45pm on Saturday 20 February. Ella Williams contributed reporting to this article.
Stephen Richards on Geograph
Monday 15 March 2021
Two in five unis see drop in state schools freshers Ruby Story Dartford
he number of admissions from state educated students has fallen for the first time in five years. New data has revealed that more than two in five UK universities saw a decline in the number of state school students choosing to start courses in the year 2019/20, a large number of which were from the Russell Group. For the first time in half a decade, the proportion of state educated students at UK universities is now under 90%, with Newcastle recognised as one of these. Official data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) highlights that over a third of the top institutions have seen a decline in the those admitted from the state sector. Analysis of the data reveals nine are Russell Group universities, those traditionally recognised as having
the most selective initiation process compared to other UK institutions. From the Russel Group, Edinburgh, Exeter and Durham were amongst those with the lowest proportion of state school students, to which their figures fell from the previous year. Of the 24 Russel Group institutions, 10 (41.7%) saw a decline in the number of state educated students from the academic years 2018/19 and 2019/20.
It's not “acceptable that the proportion of state school pupils is so low” At several institutions, less than a third of UK students were state educated in 2019, compared to other universities to which all attendees were from state schools.
Caught in Jesmond, drug dealer charged
Emmanuel Dube, caught with cocaine, MDMA and ketamine, has been released from court
mmanuel Dube, a former semi-professional footballer found peddling cocaine, MDMA and Ketamine in Jesmond has walked free from court. Newcastle Crown Court heard he had 66 MDMA tablets, 37 packs of cocaine, 38 packs of ketamine, and 45 packs of MDMA worth around £4,600. When stopped, Dube was also found with thousands of pounds in a Nike satchel, kept in the glove compartment of his car.
Despite pleading guilty to the possession of all three drugs with the intent of selling, the semi-professional footballer has been given a suspended prison sentence. The footballer had travelled from Manchester to Newcastle to sell drugs and was stopped by an officer on Lonsdale Terrace who interpreted his actions as suspicious. Judge David Gordon sentenced him to two years and suspended Dube for two years with 240 hours of unpaid work. Gordon also added that the evidence only shows Dube was involved for one day, however. The judge also exposed references who spoke highly of Dube, who is “hard-working, conscientious, and does charitable work with young people and others”. Shada Mellor, who acted as Dube's defence, said he came to Newcastle on the pretence of a job offer and did not realise he was being asked to deliver drugs until he got here.
Further, in the academic year 2019/20, of all UK entrants, 11.8% of students were from ‘low participation neighbourhoods’, only slightly higher than 2012 data. Whilst this figure was up 0.4% from 2018/2019, the statistics follow increasing pressure from the government and regulator to widen participation and encourage all backgrounds to apply for university. The General Secretary of the Association of the School and College Leaders (ASCL), Geoff Barton stated, "It simply isn’t acceptable that the proportion of state school pupils at some universities is so low. We are aware that the higher education sector has done a great deal of work in endeavouring to widen participation but there is clearly a long way to go in certain institutions.’’ Alongside this, a Russel Group spokesman stated, "The proportion of students entering from state schools and from low participation neighbourhoods increased slightly across the Russell Group as a whole in
school outreach activities, including mentoring schemes, summer schools and campus visits." Image: Alex Gervás
'Take One Leave One': Jesmond provides warmth this winter The 'Take One Leave One' scheme is giving out warm clothes during the winter months
hile many were able to enjoy the wintery scenes of mid-February, the Newcastle-based charity 'Street Zero' estimated that 20 people are sleeping rough in the city centre on any given night. But it is not only rough sleepers that have struggled this winter, since the pandemic has caused many
more to lose their jobs and struggle to make ends meet.
“This is a peoplepowered movement […] to share warmth to ANYONE ” TOLO was first established by journalist Stefan Simanowitz during the winter of 2019. Taking inspiration from the scheme, Newcastle’s Dale Nilsen and Daniel Ormonde launched their very own. There are now different branches of TOLO all across the UK. The stand is located at the bar As You Like It on Archibald Street, and the clothes bank works by encouraging people to leave winter clothes to be collected by people in need. Since
its launch on 25 January, the Newcastle volunteers have been overwhelmed with the donations provided by the local community. On 22 January TOLO Newcastle tweeted: “This is a people-powered movement […] to share warmth to ANYONE in need during the worst crisis on recorded”. TOLO Newcastle is open 10am to 3pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Currently, the organisation is in need of donations of men’s winter coats, men’s shoes (specifically sizes 9 & 10), and men’s waterproof jackets. Consider donating to TOLO at As You Like It on Archbold Terrace in the Jesmond Three Sixty complex NE2 1BD.
NE stem cell company awarded £5mil North East company Newcells Biotech is carrying out research to help to uncover Covid-19 pathogenesis Kaosu Narvna
N Image: Flickr
2019/20. "Our members are working hard to increase that number further, and undertake a wide range of
ewcells Biotech, a Newcastle-based stem cell modelling company, has received £5.24 million of funding from existing backers Mercia and Northstar Ventures. The company announced the outcome on their blog on 23 February. The funds will be used to support expansion into the USA and further develop 3D tissue models relating to liver and lung conditions. Newcells Biotech is a life science company using stem cells and cell biology to build models of human
tissues, which improves the ability to discover information on the safety and pharmacology of drugs prior to trials on humans. Including the recent investment, they have received £10 million in funding over the past 5 years. This new round of funding will support the development of their models for lung and other
organ conditions—the former of which may help with understanding SARSCov-2 (Covid-19). In partnership with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, they are developing a lung epithelium (the tissue lining the lungs) model of Covid-19 infection and reproduction. Image: @stemcellrt via Twitter
Monday 15 March 2021
Image (left to right): Wikimedia Commons and Museum Digital
I’m still angry about the cyber attack Why students still deserve to be compensated, six whole months after the data hack Callum Sawyers
n his 18 February visit to Student Council, Vice Chancellor Chris Day answered some questions from students. Day promised to answer the questions that he couldn’t answer in the Q&A session at a later date. One of the questions that didn’t get answered was mine: “Is there any good reason why students don’t deserve compensation for our data being leaked by the cyber attack last year?” It’s a simple question, and I don’t understand how it’s been ignored since our data was breached in September. When we enrolled at this university, we had to hand over data about ourselves that the University promised to keep safe. It failed. It failed, but we are the ones who’ve had to deal with the results of its lack of professionalism. Since our data was leaked onto the dark web, we too have been left in the dark. The University told us back in November to “stay alert for phishing attempts” as a result of the “cyber-incident”, and since then we’ve had radio silence. The onus isn’t just on the University either. Our Sabbatical Officers have also failed to represent students’ interests and force the University’s hand when it comes to compensation. We elected them to represent our interests and they’ve allowed the University to push the data leaks to one side. There has still been no mention of compensation for the tens of thousands of students affected. As students who have been failed by the University’s data security, we deserve compensation. It’s not our fault that our data was leaked. We need to make sure we get compensation, and not just for the sake of our bank accounts. Compensation would also set an important precedent for any other university that fails to take the security of its students’ data seriously. And don’t get me started on tuition fees.
Image: Buzzfeed on Pinterest
Gavin Williamson’s crisis in free speech I E Two writers consider whether or not the attack on free speech at universities is as apparent as the Education Secretary says it is Ben Hutchins
ducation Secretary Gavin Williamson recently proposed legislation giving independent regulators the task of upholding freedom of speech in universities. Williamson’s appointment of a “free speech champion” is in response to the apparent increase in “censoring” of guest speakers, and the rise of ‘cancel culture’. This accomplishes two things. First, it undermines the work of universities to create an arena of open discussion. Second, it provides a smoke screen for government inadequacies in the education sector during the pandemic.
This isn’t a matter of free speech at all: The Times has reported that “0.1% of talks faced any interruption” As Williamson himself states, “universities have a long and proud history of being a space where views may be freely expressed and debated.” This begs the question of why increased monitoring of free speech within universities would be in the government interest. I would suggest this isn’t a matter of free speech at all. Instead, it’s a Conservative movement to ensure right wing views are being voiced in the largely left wing university sphere, of which they’re all too aware. This is further reinforced by The Times reporting “two studies found that less than 0.1 per cent of talks faced any interruption.”
The government has neglected students, from A-level algoirthms to accommodation fiascos The government has neglected students during the pandemic. It initially planned to let an algorithm decide their A-level results. It left them in the dark about when they can return to their accommodation, for which they weren’t always refunded. Simply put, young people haven’t been a priority. Unfortunately, I fear this proposal, and the promise to address issues surrounding freedom of speech, is a façade. It is designed to cover up government failures in the education sector during the pandemic. Not only that, it is also a weak attempt at redeeming Tories in the eyes of the youth. Claims of a free speech crisis in the UK grossly undermines the struggles of our global neighbours in India, Hong Kong, and Myanmar. If nothing else, it’s cynical. Instead, I’d suggest the government should be championing the ‘accuracy of speech’. This might ensure that the growth of so called ‘fake news’ across the Atlantic isn’t repeated here. However, as the battle bus rhetoric showed us, the clamp down on propaganda might be over before it begins.
t seems laughable that a government body should be assigned to dictate the parameters of free speech, a concept which at its essence denies parameters. However, given that universities are government-funded, it makes sense that if there is a genuine crisis at their heart, responsibility falls back onto the government.
There is an increasing amount of evidence of a free speech crisis, such as the rise of ‘ no-platforming’
Despite the cries of sceptics that there is no genuine crisis of free speech on campuses, an increasing amount of evidence suggests otherwise. The most succinct examples of this come from the rise of ‘no-platforming’. Here, speakers have their invitations to speak at university campuses rescinded, often by students’ unions on grounds relating to student welfare. There are endless examples: Linda Bellos, Germaine Greer, Peter Tatchell and Selina Todd to name a few. What each has in common is that their opinions could be construed as controversial. The key word here is ‘opinions’, which Oxford English Dictionary defines as views or judgements not necessarily based on facts or knowledge. The most alarming aspect of noplatforming is the implication that there are some things which people should not be allowed to hear. Students’ unions are being given the right to dictate what people can hear and what is acceptable. This in itself demonstrates that there is a genuine crisis of free speech. Image: Wikimedia The idea that Commons and students must Joe Molander be protected from opinions contrary to the accepted – and current – orthodoxy is incredibly patronising. We must not forget that
orthodoxies change. By suppressing people whose views we deem repugnant, we give them a kind of power. Are we not in a way validating them by not allowing them to speak? We are confirming that what they have to say is worthy of our attention. Of course, inciting violence or hatred is a different thing. However, this is a distinction with which the intelligence of most university students can surely cope. It is hard to think of any opinion that, with the
Platforming allows us to shed light on the darkness and ignorance of divisive and prejudiced viewpoints
application of intellectual and reasoned debate, cannot be defeated. Consider what we gain in giving people with whom we disagree a platform. Suddenly, we have the opportunity to shed light on the darkness and ignorance of those whose views seek to create division and prejudice.
Monday 15 March 2021
Could devolution be the solution? As independence movements in the UK pick up momentum, it’s time to start weighing up the potential benefits of devolution Zak Mudie
o add to the mounting pile of comments, Boris Johnson will certainly regret his recent statements on Scottish devolution. Make no mistake, the Prime Minister was hinting at something worth considering. Devolution has allowed the Scottish National Party (SNP) to stir up an independence cry and dominate Scottish politics while ignoring the main issues. Topics such as premature mortality, where the difference between those in affluent areas
and deprived areas is at the highest point since 2008, has been neglected in their efforts. Child homelessness has also been glossed over – a mark of ignorance for a cause that has risen by 6% between 2019-2020. In real terms, this means that, as of January 2020, 7252 children have been living in temporary accommodation. Let’s not forget that Scotland also suffers from the highest drug death rate in Europe. The successes of Scotland’s devolution has certainly been questionable, but arguably the principle of devolution for a less separatist purpose may be key to levelling up the rest of the UK.
Voters would have more influence on local affairs The delegation of power from a central government to a local administration is a practice used by many countries around the world. Its roots are arguably linked to feudalism, an economic system in which land was managed by Dukes going down to Mayors, and now it manifests itself in central governments handing over key powers to local administrations such as the Scottish Parliament, or the City of London. The latter example is a far better picture of what devolution in England, and across the rest of the UK, could look like. The creation of a local administration headed by an executive, with a legislature to uphold checks and balances is the textbook model of a political system a n d Image: Piqsels
can be applied on both a large and small scale. Newcastle is within one of these local administrations: the “North of Tyne Combined Authority” which combines Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle local governments all under the banner of a single authority headed by an elected ‘Metro Mayor’. Why is this important? Well for one, it means that voters have more influence on local affairs. With an executive headed by the Mayor, voters have a figure which they can vote for or against should they dislike the actions of the Mayor, which is different to those in Gateshead who can vote on a single councillor out of 66, exercising very little influence on their local area. Aside from voting, local powers are an efficient and representative system to improve local governance. The Single Investment Fund which is used by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, can invest up to £600 000 000 over 30 years, allowing for economic stimulus into the projects and businesses that is needed here, something bureaucrats in Whitehall would not be able to manage. The local authorities are supporting businesses in the current economic climate, but it seems that the single purpose of the local authority is limited to business investment, when there should be a much larger spread of powers. The more power a local authority has, the more power the local people have over their issues at home. The centralisation of power in a single location, on the premise that a small elite in London know how to run our lives in
Image: Queen Mary University of London
our local communities better than we do is insulting. More than that, it is completely untrue. Devolution on education, taxation, business regulation, government aid, welfare, energy and environmental policy are some of the next steps in allowing a local populace to push an agenda which suits their specific local needs, not the needs of a political programme pushed by southern bureaucrats. So, without the separatism, devolution is in my opinion the key to levelling up the country. It would put the responsibility on local leaders, which in many cases will be a cost effective and far more efficient plan. It’s time to hand over power, spread the wealth of government throughout the UK’s regional administrations and step up with investing in the people and future of the whole country.
Keir stalling: how should Starmer navigate post-pandemic politics? Ben Hutchins
emporarily, the Tories have become the party of public spending. This begs the question whether Keir Starmer’s soft-left stance is enough to provide a distinctive character for the Labour Party. With the unpredictable nature of modern politics, who knows when Starmer could be challenging for Number 10. To be a great political leader, it takes more than policy. The public vote on personality. I would suggest the problems he’ll face will stem from his lack of charisma, rather than ideological position. If Corbyn’s crushing defeat in 2019 taught Labour anything, they’d move towards the centre. Starmer’s undoubtedly a soft-left sympathiser, and a figure I believe can ideologically unite the divided Labour Party. If Starmer’s going to succeed, he can’t allow to be swayed by the radical factions within Labour. This is the only way he’ll win the ‘Middle England’ vote. The Labour party loyalists (who weren’t as loyal in 2019) are likely to return to how they voted previously, given the Brexit mismanagement. 23 years on from their introduction by Blair, Starmer plans to “support the abolition of tuition fees”. An obvious vote winner amongst the youth, and one of the only remnants from Corbyn’s 2019 election pledges. Starmer is shifting Labour towards the lighter shades of red in the centre ground, away from the ‘maroon’ of the hard left. In the long run, the Conservatives aren’t going to provide any challenge to the ‘party of public spending’. It’s in the name: ‘conservative’. Postcovid, under the Tories, the country will return to the dark days of Cameron-era austerity. From a medical pandemic, to one of economic inequality, and social instability. In my opinion, Starmer’s struggles are
instead more likely to stem from his character, or as some would say, lack of it. You would expect some serious government criticism from Starmer during the coronavirus pandemic. However, all he’s managed are a few comments surrounding the government’s “slow” response” to implement tighter restrictions. This would be seen by many as amicable: he’s putting the national interest ahead of party politics. But I think Starmer’s recent refusal to call for Matt Hancock’s resignation following his failure to publish covid contracts is misjudged. Starmer has a crisis of conscience. He needs to balance his innate lawyer-like morality with an equal portion of party political ‘point scoring’. Only then can he cement his position as a viable alternative to Johnson. Starmer may be lacking the charisma of other notable leaders, but drifting further left won’t help his cause. However cynical this may be, to get into government, Labour needs to profit from the mistakes made by the Tories during the pandemic. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Image: Evening Standard
Prison in the pandemic As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, some of the most vulnerable people are still being left behind: the incarcerated Emily O’Dowd
hadow Justice Secretary David Lammy has warned recently that a “public health emergency is unfolding before our eyes” in UK prisons as infection rates within them continue to rise. Why do we seem so happy to leave prisoners behind in the fight against coronavirus? Being in prison is hard at the best of times, especially considering the fact that the prison population is made up of many of the most vulnerable members of society, but the pandemic has made it unbearable. In February, the prison watchdog said that prisoners in England’s jails have been locked in their cells for over 90% of the day in order to keep them safe from the virus, restricting their access to education classes, intervention work, gyms and family visits. Whilst it’s true that time spent in prison should be a punishment,
it should not be inhumane, and the conditions faced by prisoners during the pandemic are set to have a huge impact on their future reintegration into society. The UK prison system is supposed to be aimed towards reintegration rather than constant punishment, but the pandemic means that even a short sentence for a minor crime could become a death sentence for those that are most vulnerable. And it’s not just prisoners that are affected. Prison officers are at massive risk of infection as a result of conditions within prisons, with many stating that they feel like “lambs to the slaughter” as a result of inaction relating to rising cases. Whilst some people may argue that the fate of prisoners themselves may be justified in the face of their crimes, they aren’t the only ones who are suffering as a result of incompetence. As it has for the rest of us, the rollout of the country-wide vaccination scheme has provided hope for those in prison, but the UK government has rejected the idea that local vaccination teams should be given flexibility to vaccinate the entire population of a prison in one go rather than separating them by age. Our moral objection to the actions of prisoners is once again being used as a justification to leave them behind in a time when we should be protecting the most vulnerable, no matter who they are.
Monday 15 March 2021
Hello to the agent reading this Is free speech truly free? Charlotte Airey
he Guardian’s report on the Department of Work and Pensions using excessive surveillance on potential benefits fraudsters shows that although only people who are suspected are watched, the extent to which they are and can be watched, and that we could be too, is alarming. We are living in a society where everything is monitored, and the authorities can find out a lot about individuals in a few simple clicks. With Facebook being known to hand over data to authorities with complete ease, I think it’s fair to say that individuals may start being monitored as a societal norm. I think most people are conscious now that every search you do into Google is recorded, every place you go to is recorded and watched, and information can be used against you Image: Libreshot
in the future, even if you are not doing anything wrong. There are more and more cases of individuals not getting jobs and positions due to opinions they have voiced online. A different Guardian article discusses the use of drones in the streets, and in particular at completely peaceful protests. Drones are a problematic subject, with heavy criticism as to the lack of consent from the public to being filmed, and where all of this information is stored. Individuals have a right to protest, and it is completely legal to protest peacefully, but can the surveillance be stored and used against you in the future? We simply do not know. Surveillance is something that is used to intimidate and deter, and whilst that means that there is the potential for you to not worry ‘unless you’ve done something wrong’, I do think that with the way surveillance is increasing at such a rapid rate, it is something that should be in the back of our minds.
35-year-old faces up to six months of jail or a fine of a maximum of £5000 after posting an offensive tweet about the deceased Captain Sir Tom Moore. The fact brings to the surface many questions about whether free speech is truly existing or not in the UK. Human Rights Act of 1998 states “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” “The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.” UK citizens are allowed to express their opinions and ideas in their country but this could be subject to restrictions. Can free speech coexist with restrictions? On one hand, restrictions come in place to maintain order in a democratic society, protecting individuals from offensive and violent comments, and
it is agreed that democracy couldn’t exist without any rigid rules. On the other hand, isn’t a restriction not freedom of speech anymore? If you’re limited on what you’re allowed to say or not, that is no longer free speech.
Public debate held online has brought up many issues In the last decade, millions of public debates have been held online and this has brought up many problems about social media and free speech. Social media has always been a sharing point for millions of people, but they also showed their dark sides in different occasions. With social media, users are able to shield themselves from the consequence of their words, but what they don’t realise is that free speech does not really exist on these platforms. When registering an account on a social media platform you’re forced to agree to the terms and conditions, including the content you’re allowed to share and the content you’re not. All the UK operators now voluntarily filter content by default and when users try to access blocked content they are redirected to a warning page. Free speech is a very slight term that can be interpreted in many different ways, but the only opinion that really counts is the one of the country you live in. Simply put, you’ve got no choice. If you want to follow democratic rules you’ve got no choice but agree with the conditions set on free speech.
The politics of green energy Tom Wrath
he recent freak winter storms in Texas have raised serious questions about private state ownership of power services and promotion of green energy alternatives in the US. With an increasing world impetus on renewable and carbon-free communities, is this issue bound to get worse? Killing at least 58 residents (according to The
New York Times) amidst an abnormally cold February, the ensuing ‘blame game’ has raised serious questions about private state ownership of energy utilities, and the feasibility of green energy, with key players from across the political spectrum exploiting the situation and overlooking its seriousness to manufacture narratives suiting their own agendas. The current Governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, raised questions about the feasibility of wind turbines, which operate across 150 wind farms, and froze up during the freezing
temperatures. His damning indictment made on Fox News that green energy “thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power”, whilst not mentioning natural gas, is surprising, considering wind and solar energies only account for 25% of Texas’s energy mix, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). His personal motive to appease gas and oil corporations by maintaining strong relationships historically built on energy deals, which are necessary to secure control over powerful and influential voters, is representative of unwavering political support for energy tycoons. The Trump administration’s nationalist policy to cut imports made the US energy self-dependent and the world’s largest exporter of petroleum product, generating great profits for industry leaders and the individuals running them, but also placing an increased and sustained amount of pressure onto the uniquely physically and politically situated Texan power grid. The fundamental issue is that Texas is disconnected from the main US power grid, being the only state to individually produce and distribute its own energy supply. This policy was developed during the post-Second World War manufacturing boom, driven by Texan exceptionalism and a lust for independence on issues regarding energy, to give members of ERCOT greater authority and power to make decisions benefitting themselves.
Not only does the blaming of citizens exacerbate social tensions, but it conceals an uncomfortable truth Energy Secretary and former governor of Texas Rick Perry argues “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business”, yet being separated from the main grid makes it increasingly difficult to import more power during a crisis, exemplified by the lack of crisis in areas of Texas connected to the Eastern Grid such as El Paso. Not only does his blaming of citizens exacerbate social tensions, but it conceals an uncomfortable
truth that seemingly no-one wants to tell. Clearly, this crisis is a culmination of the failure of many US governments to exercise their powers of coercion to bring Texas onto the main US grid, and the unwillingness of the Republican-controlled state to integrate itself. Figures of authority instead choose to blame alternative energy sources.
Blaming green energy for the failures in Texas is far from inconsequential Blaming green energy for these failures is not inconsequential, as reducing public trust in carbon-neutral alternatives such as wind energy is likely to damage efforts to reduce emissions and protect the Anthropocene from climate catastrophe. For all Biden’s rhetoric about a ‘green new deal’, the US remains a nation deeply involved in shale oil and gas, in part thanks to Trump, but also due to the negative discourse around green energy that politicians and business owners such as Abbott and Perry propagate. As the largest energy-producing and energy-consuming state, transitioning away from carbon-based energies would disrupt the heart of Texas’s economy, affecting an incredibly wealthy sector with political influence in both Democratic and Republican spheres. The situation is complex and multi-causal, with renewables clearly partly responsible, but nevertheless covering up the largest component of the crisis is reckless, damaging, and cynical.
The cartoon on the left was made by Olivia Dowle, a fine art student. Her work can be found at @oliviadowleart on Instagram
Monday 15 March 2021
Word of A look at the bunnies that helped us get through 2020 the week Meet the fluffy friends that helped keep us sane during the bin fire of a year that was 2020 Isabel Lamb
f I asked you to picture an emotional support animal (ESA), most people would probably picture a cat or a dog. But these are not the only animals chosen by those who require emotional support, as increasingly people are opting for bunnies. ESAs provide their owners with companionship and affection which helps to promote wellbeing and alleviates symptoms of mental and emotional distress. Although not yet recognised as certified assistance animals in the UK, they are certified in the USA and can be found more and more often in American homes.
Bunnies can help with the symptoms of lots of health conditions, from depression and anxiety to Parkinson’s Owners of bunnies acting as ESAs say that their bunnies have helped them with many mental health conditions such as major depressive
disorder and anxiety, as well as with the emotional distress that accompanies Parkinson’s disease. Owners claim that the rabbits provide them with a sense of purpose and note specific behaviours performed by the rabbits that have a positive impact. A ‘chin’ occurs when a rabbit will bump something or someone to claim it, making owners feel wanted and cared for. A ‘binky’ is when a rabbit will run, jump, and twist in the air which provides amusement. The rabbits are also said to be able to recognise when someone is feeling especially sad and will interact with them differently, such as ‘kissing’ their owner’s face when they are crying. Whilst bunnies are becoming more popular and clearly provide some with great benefit, people are advised against choosing a rabbit only to be an ESA and not also a pet, as rabbits are said to have a wide range of personalities, not all of which are suited to the role of ESA.
ou may not have known that there was a phrase in the Oxford English Dictionary for that time of year that just seems, well, muddy. But there is: mud time. It refers to the period during spring as the weather begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, leading to every excursion onto an area of ground that isn't pavemented leaving you with trainers that are soaked through. If you're not a mud-lover, the bad news is that March is often a particularly sludgy time of year, so you might want to stay clear of flat grassy expanses, particularly those found at the bottom of hills. The good news is, however, that by April and May “mud time” has generally come and gone – so we can all look forward to being able to venture safely onto the grass without fearing that we might, at any minute, sink into a muddy swamp.
Image (left to right): Pixabay and Phoebe Young
Image: Phoebe Young
Too bad to egg-nore: on the problem with free range eggs For all their hype, we consider why free range eggs might not be all that they’re cracked up to be Faye Navesey
thics and sustainability have become increasingly important to all of us, evidenced by the increasing number of vegetarians and vegans and the growth in popularity of ethically sourced food. It poses a question about one of the most popular ‘ethical foods’: how ethical are free range eggs? And what alternatives are there?
The egg industry has attracted intense criticism Free range eggs, unlike caged eggs, are held to a higher standard of welfare, and hens in free range farms must be able to move around. However, this is relative, and the level of care that free range hens receive is often not as high as animal welfare groups recommend. This has led to intense criticism of the egg farming industry. The change in regulations in particular that could follow Brexit has brought light to this issue, and shows that the regulation of free range eggs is not as comprehensive as some consumers think. A clear alternative to free range eggs is
organically produced eggs. Organic egg farms require their hens to have a diet that is free of pesticides, and they cannot give them hormones or antibiotics to force them to grow quicker. Organic eggs are certainly more ethical than free range, and a thousand times better than caged hens. Whilst all types of eggs have flaws and there is always room for improvement, organically f a r m e d eggs are
certainly the better option. That being said, they are much less available and much more expensive, so are not always accessible for everyone.
Even ‘ethical’ free range eggs aren’t always what they seem The egg industry is rife with flaws, and even free range eggs marketed as ethical are not always what they seem. Whilst it is more ethical to buy organic eggs, it is clear that more regulations need to be placed on egg companies to help consumers shop ethically and sustainably.
Image: Phoebe Young
Why do we have such Research from Durham sheds new light on how and why we manage to become so attached to the music from our youth Gemma Powell
usic is often closely linked with our personal identity. In society, we place high value on musical activities as our important memories often become attached with a piece of music relevant to the activity or the time period. We then come to associate this music with the memory for the rest of our lives.
There are multiple theories for why people tend to be nostalgic for the music of their youth People tend to be particularly nostalgic with music that they listen to as a teen. Is this because music from the past is genuinely better? A lot has already been said about the increasing use of four chords or fewer, or even the same repeated melodies from previous songs, in the modern music scene. Or is it more likely that we associate memories from our youth with the music we grew up with? Dr Kelly Jakubowski, a researcher from the Department of Music at the University of Durham has published a paper looking at the science of making memories and the
Monday 15 March 2021
Buzz kill? The ban on pesticides A look at the government’s decision to reverse controversial pesticide use, and who it affects Maud Webster
ast week, the government decided to reverse its contentious decision to lift a ban on a bee-harming pesticide, because sugar beet crop was at risk of beet yellow virus. The past couple of months have shed light on the delicate balance between appeasing both farmers’ and environmental concerns, and the government’s role mediating between the two.
Hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions to advocate for the pestcide ban On 8 January, the government overturned a pesticide ban on a product containing a chemical thiamethoxam for use on sugar beet seeds, due to the potential threat of a virus. Extensive lobbying from the National Farmers’ Union, and British Sugar, encouraged the Government to authorise a temporary, short term (at most 120 day) lift of the ban, which the overnment’s decision argued to appear “necessary because of a danger which cannot be contained by any other reasonable means”. At the time, The Wildlife Trusts threatened to take legal action over the use of the pesticide, as studies show it damages both pollinators and aquatic life. Hundreds of thousands of people also signed petitions to advocate for the pesticide ban. The
pesticide ban had initially come into place in 2018, after EU member states supported a near-total neonicotinoids ban. Professor Dave Goulson, an ecological specialist of bees and other insects at the University of Sussex, slammed the decision as “foolish”, arguing it puts “short term economic gain before the health of the environment”. Bees and other pollinators are essential to pollinate the majority of crops; trends suggest a third of British wild bees and hoverflies are in decline, which is a major concern. Thiamethoxam is a neonicotinoid, a type of insecticide chemically similar to nicotine, and is believed to pose a threat to pollinators including bees. According to Professor Goulson, even minute quantities of neonicotinoids can impair the navigation of bees and suppress bees’ immune systems. As of last week, the product was banned again, as the colder weather puts sugar beet crops at less risk of the beet yellow virus. Whilst at the time, Dave Goulson suggested on Twitter that there was little action individuals could take against the specific decision to allow farmers to use the pesticide. However, he did note that writing to MPs in protest, and voting for parties with the greenest policies in the next election, are concrete actions you can take to prevent a similar situation occurring. The uproar caused by the lifting of the ban, and the government’s pragmatic decision to side with farming lobbyists, demonstrate how controversial and tricky these environmental choices are. Looking to the future, it will be important to ensure alternative measures are able to alleviate the threats to which vulnerable species are subjected. Ultimately, pesticide bans are incredibly important and the government should be ensuring they protect the environment, rather than protecting short term economic gain. Image: Shalom Tse
h a connection to the music of our youth? significance of music on our youth. 470 participants aged 18 to 82 years were shown the titles and artists of 111 popular songs that had featured in the charts between 1950 and 2015 and were asked to rate the degree to which they were familiar with and liked the song.
The study found people are disproportionately able to recall memories from when they were 10 to 30 years old Across the participants on the whole, music that was in the charts during their adolescence was deemed more familiar but was also associated with more personal memories. The ‘reminiscence bump’ was a common phenomenon of the study showing that people are disproportionately able to recall memories from when they were 10 to 30 years old. The peak of the music ‘reminiscence bump’ was 14 years old, with participants recalling more songs and personal memories associated with the songs at this age.
There are a number of explanations for why the ‘reminiscence bump’ occurs during the age that it does There are a number of explanations for this, including that this period of life contains many more ‘defining’ life experiences, which can be stored in the brain more deeply and retrieved more easily.
In addition, hormonal changes may also increase the effectiveness of memory making and storage during this period of our lives. It could also be related to the fact that the youth have always consumed more media than older generations, whether this be from listening to the radio, vinyl records or digital streaming. At the moment, the average American aged eight to 18, for example, consumes media for over six hours each day. The study also showed that whilst older adults (aged 40+) preferred music from their youth than current pop songs, younger adults (those under 40) did not always like music from their youth, in some cases giving higher ratings to music that was released before they were born. Thus, songs from our adolescence become entangled with our memories regardless of whether we actually enjoy the music. Some songs, like the Eagle’s Hotel California, were preferred regardless of a participants age. There was a general preference for songs from the 1970s and 1980s, across the whole sample of participants. Some periods of pop-music are therefore valued across multiple generations. The study concludes that it would make sense for advertisers, who want to elicit nostalgia in a certain demographic, to use music from the adolescence of their target audience. It would also make sense for clinicians, particularly those of Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, to use music from the patients youth to allow their memories to resurface.
Kelly Jakubowski’s research is available online, under the title A Cross-Sectional Study of Reminiscence Bumps for MusicRelated Memories in Adulthood
Hare today, gone tomorrow Mountain hares are on the decline. Why is the warmer weather so catastrophic for these cold-loving mountain dwellers? Elizabeth Meade
recent study funded by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and run by Carlos Bedson from Manchester Metropolitan University seeks to determine whether the mountain hares of England’s Peak District are in decline. After dying out in England during the Ice Age and remaining in other parts of the UK, mountain hares were reintroduced to England in the 1800s but are once again threatened. At numbers around 2500 in the Peak District, mountain hares are a small group, and conservationists believe they may be threatened by global warming. Closely related to Arctic hares, they prefer cold climates such as that of the Peak District, but warming temperatures threaten to make this habitat inhospitable – a lack of snow makes camouflage difficult and the warm temperatures also threaten the growth of the hares’ food sources. Mountain hares turn white in the winter, which is triggered by changes in air temperature – so it’s clear to see how global warming can impact them.
Hares in Scotland are possibly on the decline as well: in 2018, a study suggested that the total population was less than 1% of what it had been in the 1950s. Beyond global warming, there was the additional issue of hares being culled due to their association with a disease that affects grouse, which the ecologists of the study believed was unwarranted and would ultimately harm the ecosystem. Image: Phoebe Young
Monday 15 March 2020
13 Food Millions of meals going to waste "Oh,nopeas please" Sara Nigohosyan addresses the major food waste problem in UK supermarkets
190 million meals are being thrown away every year
Sarah Nigohosyan ood that could make up 190 million meals is being thrown away every year by supermarkets, recent statistics in the UK show. The top 10 food giants in the country are donating less than 9% of their
surplus products. This means that tens of thousands of tons of food that could go to those in need now go to waste every year. Given the fact that there are more than 14 million people living in poverty in the UK, the food going to waste could relieve many, if it was not being thrown away by supermarkets. This is not a new trend amongst industry giants - some big fashion brands are known for burning unsold clothing, restaurants also bin leftover food and products, and now it has come to the public’s attention that supermarkets aren’t falling behind. This wastage is not only a problem because of the wasted potential help it could be of for some, but it also harms the environment. All of the processes around production, moving, storage, and cooking use energy, fuel, water, plastic, and time. On top of that, when this food is not consumed, it releases greenhouse gas emissions, which severely damage the environment. The wasted food in the UK produces 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly, according to WRAP, which is 5% of the UK’s CO2 emissions - the equivalent produced by 10 million cars. There have been many resolutions to this supermarket problem - both
government-backed charities such as Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and NGOs are working to fight this issue, which could easily be turned into a small solution for many in need. However, these solutions inconveniently cost more money, more working hands, some more money, and more paperwork. This seems to be discouraging supermarkets from improving, as some of the biggest ones, such as Sainsbury’s and Iceland, only donate 3.8% and 1.7% of their unsold food respectively. So what are the solutions and how should this be addressed? Many people today are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, live more empathetic and more conscious lives by making changes to their lifestyle. But this issue is not something consumers can resolve themselves by making lifestyle tweaks - the problem caused by supermarkets needs to be addressed primarily by them in the first place. A concern this big needs to be managed and resolved by the government and the supermarkets themselves. France has set an example by banning supermarkets from throwing away unsold food that could be given away. The stores are encouraged with a financial incentive - reduced business tax, and discouraged by the threat of a fine if incompliant. A number of charities and NGOs in the UK have now formed a coalition, creating a more unified force in the attempt to fight the problem - Olio, Karma, WhyWaste, and others are partnering in the attempt to “ease the burden of supermarkets,” making sure that there can be no more excuses for food waste. On an individual level, it is also important that we, as consumers, also make the small decisions that have a more positive impact and show the government and industries we care - reducing our own food waste, contacting our local MPs with concerns regarding this issue, and considering where we shop - it’s easy to ignore a problem, but sometimes the smallest things lead to the biggest changes. Image: pixabay
Got what it takes to be a master chef?
Elizabeth Meade dives into some culinary essentials, guaranteed to impress
Elizabeth Meade any people, including university students, have gotten into cooking during lockdown. However, lots of cookbooks- especially older or more complex ones- use terms that are difficult to understand. Here's what those fancy food terms you may find in cookbooks actually mean. Confit: According to Merriam-Webster, confit is 'meat (such as goose, duck, or pork) that has been cooked and preserved in its own fat,' although Wiktionary defines it more generally as 'Any of various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation.' It's often used in the context of duck confit. Agar: Made of red alga, agar is often used as a vegetarian and vegan alternative to gelatine, and is commonly used for bacterial cultures in scientific labs. You may see it sold as 'agar agar powder.'
Agar is often used as a vegetarian substitute for gelatine, made of red alga Maillard Reaction: This is the chemical reaction that is responsible for food turning brown when cooked, leading to changes in flavour. Ragout: Ragout is a French term for a main-dish stew, according to Wikipedia.
Flambe: Meaning "flamed," in French, flambe involves making fire in a pan by adding alcohol. Panna cotta: Panna cotta is a relatively simple Italian desert made of cream and gelatine, often with a vanilla flavor and a fruity topping. Kompot: Kompot is a drink commonly made in Western Asia and Eastern, Southern and Central Europe. It's non-alcoholic and can be served either warm or cold. Prepared by boiling fruit in water, various spices and flavorings can be added as well. Bouillabaisse: Despite the long name, bouillabaisse is simply a French fish stew, which can also include clams, mussels, prawns, and lobster, among an array of spices and flavourings. Macaron: Not to be confused with macrons or Macron, macarons are an almond-based French dessert similar to a sandwich cookie. Cold oil spherification: Ever wanted to try coffeeflavoured caviar? Do you want an exciting new way to flavour a recipe? Then cold oil spherification is f o r you! This method allows you t o make liquid spheres t o
Glutinous rice: Despite the name of this rice species, it does not contain gluten- "glutinous" actually just means it is sticky! Molecular gastronomy: Concerning the application of physics and chemitry to change the flavours, shapes and textures of food, molecular gastronomy results in some unusual combinations of food elements.
By Jack Wallace-Hunter Let me tell you about the time when my pen burst in my mouth. It was year 8 French. I had a nasty habit of chewing on my pens. The French teacher decided to come talk to me. She would go on for hours on end and whilst she was on one of her long methodical lectures, my pen burst in my mouth – black ink if I remember correctly. I had to sit for what seemed like eternity with ink in my mouth until she stopped talking. It's this moment that is best way I can describe the taste of celery – it tastes like ink in a French class.To be perfectly frank – celery is awful. I picked up the habit of calling them Satan sticks. They are vile. I’ve always considered myself to be a foodie – I’ll eat most things. But celery absolutely not. Tell me, why would I optionally eat a food that has no calorific value whatsoever. I could MAYBE get past it if it was in a sauce – a cheeky base for a spag bol. But I draw the line at eating it whole. It’s rhubarb’s estranged, ugly, cousin. I want nothing to do with it!
Mushrooms Gabbi De Boer
I will never understand the appeal of mushrooms. Although there’s many varieties, I am also yet to find one that I like. It’s not the way they look, even when cooked, that makes them unfavourable, but much what they are like when they pass the lips. People like to say mushrooms soak up the flavours they are cooked in, but honestly, no matter how hard you try to conceal it, I will always find them in a dish. They have a sort of squishy texture that neither seems substantial nor appealing, only limp and slimy, and in some cases a little rubbery when cooked. The taste to me is also totally unplaceable, which I think is what makes me dislike them so much. Let me also add, mushrooms are literally types of fungus. Do you know what else is a type of fungus? Athletes' foot. Somehow, that will never leave my head and sadly impairs my ability to eat them.
that atom-like touch to your recipes using some special ingredients and physical chemistry. Marzipan: Marzipan is a sweetened almond paste, often with a fruity flavor, that is used to create small sweets and add decoration to cakes and other confections.
veryone has a food they would rather not have on their plate; sometimes we can grin and bear it out of pure politeness, but other times our hatred for a particular food can be so strong, so deep-rooted that we simply cannot even look at the vile thing that people actually CHOOSE to put in their mouths. We heard from a few students about their personal food afflictions.
Although a very versatile ingredient, mushrooms are just strange to me. Maybe one day I will find a dish where mushrooms form some type of delicious element, but for now, there’s not much room for mushrooms in my meals.
Monday 15 March 2020
Relationships Is platonic love the most powerful?
Annabel Hogg debates the power of friendships versus the passion of relationships
here’s a reason the speeches of maids
of honour and best men are feared by newlyweds every time June comes around. These are the people that have held our hair over toilets, campaigned for us not to get kicked out of clubs and picked up the pieces of our drunken adventures with their bare hands (sometimes literally, in the form of broken wine glasses). They are also the people who have reminded us to eat, the people who we text when we get home safe and the people who have mended our broken hearts. It is for this very reason, the memories made, that platonic love is just as, if not more powerful than romantic love, even if we fail to realise it.
The truth is, no romantic love is completely unconditional The truth is, no romantic love is completely unconditional. We fall in love on the condition of many things: physical attraction, personality, common interests – the list goes on. The problem with young adult relationships is that everyone is still growing, and so these conditions that we fall in love on the basis of often fall into fragmentary pieces over the years. This is why so many happy relationships can meet a tragic end. However, where partners outgrow each other or grow in differing directions, true friends seem to grow together. This, in itself, is power. Through terrible eyebrow phases, drastic haircuts, hobbies, career changes and weeks of little to no conversation – true friendships seem to be able to survive everything. Even friends with absolutely
ear Agony Ant, There's a friend of mine who constantly has to undermine and criticise me whenever I speak in a group. It almost feels like I can’t breathe without her having to chip in with a "well, actually..." and it's really exhausting at this point. I consider her a friend still, but I feel like she doesn't view me like that, and it just makes me feel a bit sad. Dear Anonymous,
no surface similarities have souls that’s seem to entwine in ways incomprehensible to others, they just get each other. To use a favourite metaphor of mine, true friendship is like that cactus we all own that survives by itself, relationships are like a Peace Lily plant – difficult to take care of and bound to death when presented with change. As naïve baby adults (who’ve possibly spent too much time reading Jane Austen to ever be satisfied
Friendship is like that cactus we all own that survives by itself with this world’s romantic offerings), we spend far too much time searching for the loves of our lives, who inevitably will come along when the timing is right. We should instead be recognising the soulmates we’ve already found and appreciating them before they become background characters.
We should be focusing on the people who actually encourage us to grow Romantic love often feels more powerful than anything else in the world, but that doesn’t mean it is. Ultimately, it’s beautifully fragile and requires a lot of attention. Before we are fully formed persons, we should be focusing on the people who actually encourage us to grow, not break up with us for that very reason. When ‘the one’ eventually turns up, your best friends will become the people you meet up with over a bottle of wine every so often. So, for now, appreciate the nights out, the Sunday brunches, the distressed phone calls, the side-splitting laughter and the ‘text me when you get home safe’s, for they are perhaps the purest, most unconditional forms of love you’ll ever feel.
Let’s start off with a few facts: you deserve to have a friendship based on reciprocity, one where you feel heard and supported. Your friend is making you feel small and like you can’t get a word in edgewise whenever you’re in a group. So, what should you do? Friendship groups can be complicated, and they definitely have their power plays. You know your friendship group best. One thing is for sure, some level of confrontation is needed, whether that's by you or another friend in the group. If this has been going on for a while, others in the group can probably see it. Often people aren’t intentionally being malicious, so a mature and calm discussion is the way to go. Regardless of the reason behind your friend’s behaviour towards you, the fact that you are exhausted is enough reason to pull them aside and tell them how you feel. If your friend hears you out, and it persists, it might be time to let them go. Friends should uplift you and make you feel welcome. Communication, ugh, we know. You can do it, Anonymous. 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
The argument against Bridgerton's toxicity Hannah Parkinson discusses if the hit show promotes toxic relationships
The show explores the toxic masculinity of a push-pull relationship that results in havoc between couples
f you aren’t already one of the 82 million people who have streamed Bridgerton you've either: a. completed your assignments on time. Or b. you live in Jesmond and have made the unfortunate decision to sign up with Virgin Media. In the Netflix drama, produced by the powerhouse Shondaland, Pride and Prejudice meets Gossip Girl. The show was released on the 25th December follows the life of innocent debutante Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) as she collides, quite literally, with 1813’s ‘rugby boy’ Simon Bassett (Regé-Jean Page). Who unfortunately also happens to be her eldest brother's best friend. The location: the competitive and exclusive 17th century marriage market.
Viewers took to social media to voice their concerns about Brigerton's apparant celebration of toxic relationships However, despite the show’s success viewers took to social media to voice their concerns about
Bridgerton’s apparent celebration of toxic relationships. The backlash indicates how the balance between a desire for drama contends with traditional romantic conventions. The show follows this time-honoured tradition of two individuals falling in love and their struggle to make it work. The plot neatly ending with an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. Olivia Petter writes in The Independent the ‘portrayal of relationships is concerning’ in reference to the initial faux romance between the couple, specifically, Simon’s false pretence at love. Indeed, in Episode 5 Simon makes a moving
declaration to the Queen in order to allow for an early wedding despite having denounced the possibility of proposing to Daphne in the previous episode. Ellen Nguyen who writes for Cosmo tweeted ‘Bridgerton is pretty but I wish it wasn’t centred around toxic relationships’ reiterated concerns about emotionally manipulative relationships. For viewers the show offers a platform in which to discuss power relations between characters while still offering a stereotypical ‘happy ending’. It’s not a ‘happy ending’ for all the characters in Season 1. A tumultuous on-off relationship
between Daphne’s eldest brother Antony Bridgerton (Jonathon Bailey) and Sienna Rosso (Sabrina Bartlett) ends in tears as the show explores the conflicts that emerge when dating across the class divide. In her article for Vogue, Serena Smith argues their ‘transgressive relationship in Regency society.. was always doomed’. Whether or not you agree with this statement, the show explores the toxic masculinity of a push-pull relationship that results in havoc between couples. By the season finale, Sienna ends the affair as Antony continues his string of false promises to elope. A definite 21st century power move. Like Grease’s Danny and Sandy or Normal People’s Connell and Marianne viewers are encapsulated by the conflicts that exist in relationships. Whether you like or dislike the relationships within Bridgeton the show's portrayal opens up discourse surrounding historical and present day affairs, exchanges, and marriage. Our obsession with categorising events into a binary of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ignores the multifaceted nature of love. Rather the relationships in Bridgerton allow for discussion about love, consent, and truth to be brought to the forefront. Their relevance to the modern cannot be ignored. Actions are there to be challenged and as a viewer it allows us the opportunities to decide what we do and do not want in a relationship.
Monday 15 March 2020
19 YEAR OLD SPORTS AND EXERCISE SCIENCE STUDENT CHARLOTTE
Hi Charlotte, what is your usual type when dating? So my usual type is someone with a pretty face and has... just something about them. What were your first impressions of Odhran? He seemed so chatty and he was able to hold a good conversation! What did you talk about on your date? Well we talked about so much! We have a lot in common so there was never any awkward pauses, which is a plus! What was your favourite and least favourite part of the Zoom date? My favourite part was that there was no awkwardness about paying at the end of the date like there sometimes is. My least favourite part was the initial first few seconds of the date waiting for him to join the call. What was Odhran's most attractive feature? His irish accent, it was really nice to sit and listen to! Have you been in contact with each other since the date? We haven’t spoken no but we did discuss potentially meeting in person for a drink sometime.
19 YEAR OLD MEDICINE STUDENT ODHRAN
Hey Odhran, so what's your usual type? Probably someone with a good personality that you can have a laugh with. And also someone naturally pretty that is really easy to talk to. What were your first impressions of Charlotte? My first impression of Charlotte is that she seems really nice and easy to talk to. She is also quite pretty! What did you talk about on the date? Well we have a lot in common so talked mostly about sport and uni life, as well as what we’ve doing over the past few months during lockdown. What was your favourite and least favourite part about the date being on Zoom? My favourite part was that it’s a lot easier to do and means you can do everything in your own home. Unfortunately if there are technical difficulties it makes it a bit more awkward waiting for something to come through. Where would you have wanted the date to be if it could have been in person? Oh probably a bar along Osbourne road as it’s easy to get to and has a really nice, chill atmosphere. .
Have you been in contact with each other since the date? No, not yet but we have each other’s contacts!
Monday 15 March 2021
Living a life online: influencers in a Pandemic We get an insight into all things 'Content Creator', with Yorkshire based Vlogger, Molly Thompson Meg Howe - Lifestyle sub-editor
Image: Instagram @beauty_spectrum
wenty-one year old, Molly Thompson has been creating online content since she was fourteen. Like many, she has been able to transform her hobby into a career that provides her with a steady income. However, as someone who in self-employed, and had no furlough scheme to fall back on, how were content creators like Molly impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic? I had the joy of speaking to Molly about the world of online influencers, and the affect that the Pandemic has had on her work. Over the last year, Molly’s plans for content have been significant restricted by the Pandemic. After finishing her Foundation Degree, Molly had big plans to travel. In January 2020, Molly back-packed around Australia for six weeks, and while this was fun for and an experience that she enjoyed, Molly says that this worked well as content and drove her channel in the direction that she wanted to take it throughout 2020. However, as we all know, the Pandemic meant that many of our plans were ruined. While Molly says that she found the first period of lockdown
the hardest, she was forced to “think outside the box” with her ideas; becoming a lot more imaginative and creative in the process. Molly’s content is not the only thing to have changed. Along with all of us, Molly now has to work from home. She is lucky in the fact that much of her job could take place from where ever she fancied – which was evidence when she travelled Australia – however, one of the biggest impacts Molly (and many other content creators) have faced, is the lack of in-person meetings. Molly says she would travel to London multiple times a week, which is where he management company is based, but now has her meetings via online Platforms such as Zoom.
Try and take something good from what has been an incredibly horrible situation As with all of us, this pandemic has had huge implications, whether that be on our work, education or social lives. After my conversation with Molly, I realised that we often think of ‘influencers’ as having a bit of an easy ride, however, they have also been impacted by this pandemic. While Molly was able to reel off many negative impacts that the pandemic has had, it is important to try and take something good from what has been an incredibly horrible situation. Molly says she was able to spend so much more time with her family, and with the four of them spending more time at home, they grew closers and have spent a lot more quality time together. Molly also started a business venture, and is the co-founder of Peach Street Clothing, a sports and lounge-wear company. Molly said had no prior
experience in business, but she was presented with this opportunity during the first lockdown and thought she would take it. However, as a result of the continuous lockdowns and the constant change in regulations, Molly feels as though she’s had to censor what she has put up online. As we all understand, the internet can be a horrible place, with online trolls and cyberbullying being an increasing problem. While the regulations have, at times, allowed for meetings out doors and walks with another person, Molly has felt unable to post about these parts of her day due to the fear of receiving hate comments online. She explained that she feels pressure to appear a certain way online, due to these comments. Something that is important to take away from this is to remember to be kind, you don’t always know what people are going through, especially when times are tough right now! One thing that has come of ‘influences’ during the Pandemic, is the Dubai scandal. Many content creators went over-seas, to areas such as Dubai, claiming it was for essential work purposes. What we can see from this pandemic, is that many influencers are able to do their job just fine from home! When I asked Molly for her opinion, she said that she worries that many content creators will now been associated with this behaviour and portrayed in a negative light. In her words, “it is only a small proportion who act like this”. With the easing of restrictions on the horizon, Molly hopes to be able to travel more, and continue making the content that she loves! Image: Pixabay @Jozefm84
Horoscopes: what does your zodiac sign say a Patrick Young -Travel sub-editor
Aries (March 21 - April 19): A Mad March Hare
rians, you are full of boundless energy. You approach every challenge head on, and as such, have a tendency to come across as aggressive and combative, when you are just direct. Similarly, The Mad March Hares are not overly aggressive or combative, but rather showing off for others. As a word of caution, you should try to phrase your comments in ways that are not so direct that you come across as trying to start an argument.
Gemini (May 21-June 20): The Easter Bunny
eople born under the sign of the Twins, are full of drive and determination to get things done, they are always busy. Much like Geminians, the Easter Bunny, is full of energy, and mischief, as he hides delicious treats for children to discover. Geminis are able to juggle a multitude of different ideas at once, and similarly, the Easter Bunny can appear all over the world to hide his eggs for children to find on Easter Sunday. Gemini individuals should focus on completing one task before moving on to the next, despite their short attention spans, as this will be more helpful in the long run.
Libra (September 23-October 22): Rosebud
Scorpio (October 23- November 21): Easter Egg
Leo (July 23-August 22): Foal eos are independent and playful, and I have selected a Foal for them, as both display high levels of independence and playfulness, as well as passion. Leos love to be the centre of attention, and this sometimes becomes their downfall. They crave the attention of others, in much the same way a new-born Foal, craves the attention of its parents, and any human it knows well. Leo thrive off of drama, and there is very little else that is more dramatic than a Foal's first steps. As a note, Leos should be careful of becoming too prideful, and straying to far for others in their independence; this will lead to isolation, and ostracism.
Taurus (April 20-May 20): Persephone
Cancer (June 21-July 22): Bumblebee
Virgo (August 23- September 22): Daffodils
s a Taurian, it should come as no surprise that I have selected Persephone as the spring figure you are most similar to. As a lover of nature, y o u feel a connection to this goddess of spring, you both love to be in countryside settings, where you can feel the fresh air blowing on your face. You should watch out for your fixed mindset, as this has a tendency to come across as stubborn, and immovable in the face of new ideas.
ancrians are hard-working individuals, who provide for others, without demanding thanks for their work. They are clearly kindred spirits with the communal, diligent Bumblebee. Both care for their family, and their community more than themselves, as individuals, sometimes to a fault. Both can also be extremely defensive to perceived threats that are invading their spaces. Cancers need to watch out for heir nurturing behaviour potentially becoming possessive and controlling. Despite coming from a place of love, it can become too much for other signs t o handle, as Cancrians wish to protect others, even from themselves.
irgos are stable and constant, much like the Daffodils which appear at the same time each year, like clockwork, Virgos like to keep a rhythm and a constant schedule. Virgos are often understated, much like this flower, but you will notice the absence of either of them. Daffodils add a splash of vibrant colour to early spring, and Virgos add a voice of logic, to otherwise illogical discussions. Virgos have to learn when to go with the flow, instead of constant planning, isn't life more fun that way anyway!
ibrans covet symmetry and balance, as well as aesthetic beauty, this is why the rosebud, with its hidden beauty and symmetry are the perfect pairing for this sign. Both has strong associations with love, and beauty, and both can be prickly if not handled the correct way. Yet, Librans and roses, when cultivated and looked after, bloom in the most vibrant colours. This may take longer for Librans, due to their infamous indecisive nature, but when they do come out of their shell, the world is all the more beautiful because of it. Librans should focus on making decisions and believing in themselves to make the right decision.
hese celestial scorpions, like to lie in wait for people to show their true colours, in the same way, as Easter Eggs are hidden, for people to discover, Scorpians tend to hide their feelings beneath a enigmatic nature. The vibrant painted colours of traditional Easter Eggs, and the delicious chocolate of modern-day eggs, are alluring and enticing. As is the seductive and erotic nature of Scorpios, they draw people to them, with their energy. However, much like a forgotten Easter Egg that has rotten, Scorpios can cause a stink by holding grudges until it becomes toxic to even themselves. So Scorpians must remember to let things go, before they hurt themselves in the process.
Monday 15 March 2021
Springblossoming: Mindful spring clean: flowersof theseason zen in the new season The plants that make spring special, and the reasons we love them so much Gabbi De Boer
ith the Spring season fast approaching, there are many things to look forward to, and with it comes the growth of many plants and flowers. One iconic flower seen throughout Spring is the daffodil. With its gorgeous yellow colouring and bell-shaped petals, groups of these are a lovely sight in the bright Spring sunshine. Many shops also sell these to welcome in the Spring, therefore becoming a beautiful signifier of springtime. Flourishing in shades of purple, yellow and white is the crocus, with their distinguishable bright orange stamens. These colours are beautiful to see scattered across the grass (in Newcastle, these can be seen throughout Leazes park), the pastel shades also synonymous with Easter. Tulips, with their rich colour variety and unique cup shape, also help welcome the spring season. They can create quite the dazzling display, grown throughout gardens and also sold
in bunches in supermarkets. Because of this, they are difficult to miss during the Springtime. Later on in Spring, lilac shrubs bring both a beautiful purple colour to the season but also carry a distinct sweet scent. They attract many pollinators such as bees and butterflies, bringing life back to gardens after the dreary winter. As spring begins to fade, blackberry bushes
We've all heard of Spring cleaning, but how can the start of Spring help us to be mindful?
Lilac shrubs bring both a beautiful purple colour to the season but also carry a distinct sweet scent
s the days start to get warmer, longer, and lighter, a sense of hope starts to creep over us all. At first it is cautious, and we might hold back from fully letting ourselves rejoice in the joy of spring, given the year of ups and downs we’ve all had. But the new season marks an end to the cold, dark nights of winter, and hopefully, to at least some of the restrictions we’ve been living under. This year, spring really does bring a new chapter, and the chance to refresh ourselves before we step back into some form of normality.
also flower and bear fruit. This prepares us for the Summer season, however are something to look forward to during the springtime. The pinkish flowers and juicy berries can be seen along many walking trails from June onwards, and if you want to, blackberry picking can be a fun afternoon activity. Overall, the spring brings beautiful buds that are hard to miss with their vivid colours and unique shapes. With their growth comes hope of better weather and longer days to get outside and make the most of the sunshine.
about you this Spring? Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): Bluebells
Illustrations: Pheobe Young
Aquarius (January 20- February 18): Snowdrops
Capricorn (December 22-January 19): Chick
Pisces (February 19-March 20): Lamb
apricorns are hardworking, and have a can-do attitude. They adapt to any role quickly, and make the most of what they have. I believe that they have this in common with a chick. Both adapt to new surroundings quickly, and are quick to change habits if something isn't working. However, both have a tendency to speed ahead of themselves, and can come into some trouble because of this. My advice would be to slow down slightly, take some time t o enjoy what you are doing before moving onto the next thing.
orn with a pure heart, Piscians and Lambs are the perfect pair. Piscians love to explore their dreams, and their surroundings, and Lambs, with their connection to dreams, and nature, are their ideal companions. Pisces individual love solitude so they can be one with their thoughts, and be at peace with nature. However, when it comes to problem solving, Piscians have a tendency to ignore the direct problem in favour of running away from the issue. My advice would be to work on facing issues in the real world, instead of retreating into your imaginations.
agittarians are lovers of exploration, and the unknown. Bluebells, are found in the depths of woods, where few people tend to visit. This makes the perfect pair with Sagittarians,. Sagittarians brighten a room with their effervescent stories, and Bluebells brighten the forest with their striking blue colours. But it is important to remember that both Sagittarians and Bluebells are delicate, and may break if handled violently. Sagittarians have a tendency to shut down emotionally, and refuse to hear other people's views, if they are offended. As such, it is important for Sagittarians to work on how they react to people, and try to remain emotionally available to others.
ysterious, and unique, Snowdrops make the ideal match for Aquarians. These snow-white blossoms, amidst a sea of colour, which resonates with an Aquarian's need to be rebellious, and different. Freedom is of great Aquarians must watch out for their detached personalities coming across as cold and aloof. I would recommend that Aquarians work on trying to communicate with others, in order to remedy this issue.
But the new season marks an end to the cold, dark nights of winter, and hopefully, to at least some of the restrictions we’ve been living under As bleak as this winter might have been, it’s definitely given us a chance to assess what’s important to us. What are the things we’ve missed the most? Who are the people we miss being around? When spring comes we can take forward what we’ve learnt and cultivate a deeper appreciation of the things we took for granted before. Life might start to resume its usual hectic pace before long, so I think it’s important to use spring as an opportunity to stay grounded and take care of ourselves, in whatever way we need that to be. A spring clean is to declutter, refresh, and renew the physical space
and environment around us. Applying this concept to our minds will mean something different for everyone, because we are all unique and in need of different forms of self-care. But in whichever way it manifests, we all still need to take the time to look after ourselves and recharge our batteries, and this year it is more important than ever. Going into lockdown and having restrictions placed on our lives was a big change, and something we all had to adapt to. And now, coming out of lockdown and letting life slowly go back to normal is another big change, and something that will once more require us to adapt. Spring is an opportunity to re-energise ourselves before we go back into the world. Whatever your usual self-care rituals are, there are some basic ingredients that will help all of us to reset ourselves: sleep, water, nutritious food,
When I think of the times that I’m really feeling good, it’s when I have all the above in check, and I’m making myself and my wellbeing a priority fresh air, and movement. These fundamental aspects of our wellbeing are often overlooked in commercialised self-care marketing, and can be the things we all too often forget about. But not having consistent sleep, or enough water, healthy foods, and exercise impacts on our physical and mental health. When I think of the times that I’m really feeling good, it’s when I have all the above in check, and I’m making myself and my wellbeing a priority. Spring is the perfect time for us to start looking after ourselves again, as the warmer weather encourages us to step outside and drink in the fresh air, feel the sun on our skin and know that better days are coming! Let’s take care of ourselves and focus on the things that make us feel good this spring.
Image: Pixabay @Jozefm84
Image: Pixabay @Crlker-Free-Vector-Images
Monday 15 March 2021
How to reduce, reuse and recycle your clothing Trends are ever-changing, so how can we as individuals play a positive role in reducing fashion's impact on the planet? Elizabeth Meade – Science sub-editor
educing your clothing purchases is a good way to lessen environmental impact--while some recommend buying used or from more ethical "slow fashion" brands, many have argued that this practice has gentrified thrifting and pushed out people who buy used out of necessity, and even a more sustainable product has an environmental impact when it is discarded. It's better to reduce one's clothing consumption, such as by buying well-made pieces that are unlikely to fall apart
It's better to buy wellmade pieces that are less likely to fall apart
easily and will last a long time, rather than cheaplymade pieces that are likely to be worn down quickly. It's also helpful to purchase versatile pieces that go with other things in your wardrob e, so that you will get a lot of wear out of them over the years
and will be unlikely to throw them away once you get tired of them after a few months, as you might with something that is in style but doesn't go with your
other pieces.that other brands will be tripping over each other trying to follow in her footsteps. Personally, I have applied this logic to m y university "capsule wardrobe" --most of my clothes are either solid colors, or classic patterns like stripes that don't get old. It helps to choose a few favorite colors (in my case f o r e s t
green, b u r nt orange and red), then mix them with neutrals (black, white, gray, tan) and a few classics like blue jeans and a plain black dress. I also have a few less-versatile per-
Selling used clothes honestly and at a reasonable price is legitmiate sonal favorites (the penguin jumper, the periodic table Christmas jumper, and the punny hedgehog shirt), but the vast majority of the pieces suit multiple seasons and moods.As for reuse, there are plenty of shops and websites where you can resell old clothes, although these have been criticized due to sellers reselling used clothes at a marked-up price. However, selling used clothes honestly and at a reasonable price is legitimate. It's also fun to trade clothes with friends and family who wear a similar size--a lot of my favorite outfits used to belong to my mom, who's given me a lot of her old shirts. As for recycling clothes, there are a number of ways to incorporate old clothes into new projects. It's fun to make t-shirt tote bags and there are even tutorials on how to make quilts and blankets out of old shirts. Although it's near-impossible to have a completely sustainable wardrobe in our current society, finding creative uses for old clothes (and buying fewer new pieces) is certainly a step in a more sustainable direction Illustration: Tabitha Edwards
The Depop dilemma: are users being exploited? As the popularity of the North Face puffer continues to rise, what price are you willing to pay for your fashion fix?
epop, a much- loved sustainable second-hand shop with over 20 million users and a target audience of those under 26, has been a lifesaver for those on a budget or saving the environment. However, the virtual vintage shop once hailed the marketplace to seek much loved trendy goods has faced recent backlash as many have argued the sustainable alternative to fast fashion has entered a new era of exploitation.
Many users have seen Depop as a money-making scheme... As the popularity for vintage pieces continues to grow, many users have seen Depop as a moneymaking scheme, a chance to cash in much wanted goods from designer brands. Collection drops from companies such as Supreme offer users the opportunity to exploit retail prices to provide many customers their fashion fix. Garments are released with high demand leaving many to buy at a much cheaper rate and then re-sell on Depop for sometimes twice and even triple the price. Items such as Juicy tracksuit bottoms found in TK Max for £16 have been marked up to £50-£60 to meet the demand of consumers. This has been increasingly seen over the past year with brands such as North Face, Nike, and Brandy Melville. With many desperate to grab a North Face puffer coat, Depop seemed a good alternative to the costly price. Yet after browsing the site, it is clear this is no longer about sustainable fashion or second-hand goods with one North Face coat listed for £545 – a costly price that many are prepared to pay. Gone are the days of uploading much loved items for extra cash; Depop’s competitive market has scammed customers to pay more for vintage designer goods, in
some cases up to 7x the RPP. As sweatshop workers are increasingly exploited by corporations and brands, reselling designer Depop garments only further fuels the demand for these cheap made goods and unethical treatment of overseas factory workers. With fast fashion on the rise, how will this unethical textile cycle ever end? Whilst Depop was once created to enhance sustainable fashion, with the UK labelled as the fourth largest textile waste producer, with £140 million worth of clothing sent to landfill each year, what is the future of Depop? Whilst many are quick to challenge clothing entrepreneurs exploiting re-sell garments, maybe the fast fashion
to re-market them with extortionate mark ups. Once a market for unique pieces, Depop has paved the way for many independent online stores specialising in cheap factory garments – the opposite of the sustainable second-hand store Depop first established as. With Depop set to sell inflated North Face coats until the next fashion trend emerges, what will be the future of accessible and afford-
able clothing? Will Depop unintentionally become the next PLT or Shein, but only with second-hand goods?
Depop is the real victim in the fast fashion industry industry needs to change? Whilst Depop was once created to enhance sustainable fashion, with the UK labelled as the fourth largest textile waste producer, with £140 million worth of clothing sent to landfill each year, what is the future of Depop? Whilst many are quick to challenge clothing entrepreneurs exploiting re-sell garments, maybe the fast fashion industry needs to change? Whilst companies such as Depop have attempted to re-brand secondhand clothes, in a world fixed on fast fashion, has Depop unintentionally fuelled the fashion passion with quick and accessible availability of on brand trends? With a society engulfed in social media, influencer culture enables Depop must haves to be more disposable than ever before. Whilst many are eager to maintain the latest trends, just how much is left behind? How many V-neck sweatshirts will be left untouched in wardrobes next year, how many brown garments will be outdated come the next Winter season? Arguably, Depop is the real victim in the fast fashion industry, a company caught up in the fast fashion frenzy. However, Depop is yet to face other dilemmas that many users know all too well - drop shipping. The process of ordering from global oversea websites such as Ali Express and Shein
Photo: @vintroomclothing on instagram
Monday 15 March 2021
Bold colours and retro patterns for Spring
Most of us have already started planning our postlockdown outfits. So, which pieces are the top picks for our return to the outside world? Issie Pine
fresh sense of optimism is already influencing trends for the new season, with block colours and funky patterns proving a popular choice. Throughout the autumn and winter, neutral tones dominated fashion. As we enter into spr ing, we’re
ditching the browns and creams and embracing colourful designs in preparation for the warmer weather. There are a variety of both bright and pastel colours gaining popularity for the spring. Warmer tones stand out in particular, as pinks, oranges and reds are being worn for a summery aesthetic. Popular items emerging for the upcoming season are reminiscent of both the 60’s and 70’s. Psychedelic and loud patterned clothing, along with a range of fun florals, are evocative of
Psychedelic and loud patterned clothing, along with a range of fun florals, are evocative of the flower power era
to see carry on into the coming months. It explores style in a striking way that hasn’t been done for a long time, as pandemic fashion so far has appeared to favour simplicity over creativity. The vivid colours and combinations in our outfit choices are revealing a joyful aesthetic in the world of fashion. As we look forward to a
the flower power era. These trends for the warmer weather draw upon styles associated with time periods like the ‘summer of love’ and the 'swinging sixties'. Retro fashion choices for 2021 reveal a craving for the fun and freedom that was felt in the era that they are borrowed from. Mixing and matching colourful pieces is a trend that I expect
return to the bars and dancefloors after a restrictive year, bold and retro fashion choices are just what we need as an outlet for selfexpression after a stifling period of isolation. After staying home for so long, the emergence of eyecatching pieces for the spring and summer has made it clear that we truly are ready to be seen. Photo:Instagram @ lovevie
Ralph to the Rescue: high fashion's helping hand A seemingly rare phenomenon, how Ralph Lauren is doing the most during the pandemic Sophia Ayub
ersonally, with all the reoccurring hurdles- mentally, physically and financially- that have occurred due to this pandemic livelihood, I’ve moulded a somewhat rather cynical outlook on the continued culture of capitalisation exemplified through fashion houses. Whilst a large sum of the population, especially so in the UK have lost lives and love ones, as well as their employment, I can’t help but believe this to prove rather insensitive to all who have immensely lost out due to Covid-19. It is this very reason why I believe the work and efforts generated by luxury American fashion company Ralph Lauren are that much more inspiring.
without a doubt massively aided a large sum of already life threatened patients. The Ralph Lauren company already withholds a long-standing relationship with the Royal Marsden, and with their new donation have provided the means necessary to fund a special machine to test for Covid-19. This thereby will reduce staff shortages in cancer facilities and the need for medical staff to
partake in unnecessary isolation for staff who have not tested positive, further enabling cancer patients to get the vital treatment necessary – benefiting both staff and patients. As well as this,
Ralph has also released a more affordable high-end face covering, encouraging people to take the action to protect themselves and others, without the extortionate price tag. The reusable masks "
It’s not difficult to see this potentially as a marketing strategy...
prove both stylish and affordable, as well as sustainable in a world burdened with a climate crisis, reducing levels of waste in comparison to those using surgical m a s k s .
Lauren donated a whopping $10 million to help battle the coronavirus In a Harper’s Bazaar article, it's reported that Ralph Lauren donated a whopping $10 million to help battle the coronavirus, as well as making a generous donation the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London. The support offered to vulnerable patients, who are already battling cancer, has Photo: @cfda.com
Though some may argue their retail price of £25 per mask still proves rather steep, I would argue that it is miles an improvement Photo: @ralphlauren on instagram.
than the likes of luxury brand Fendi, who believe it acceptable to retail a face covering at an exorbitant £430. Despite the Carla Fendi Foundation’s generous donation to intensive care department of the Presidio Sanitario Columbus hospital in Rome, to publicly donate a fairly large sum, surely at mask prices that high, they are in many ways taking advantage of the pandemic climate. Though I can appreciate the encouragement of accessorising this vital face covering, the mass gross profit they most likely are gaining by capitalising off these products proves contradictory. It begs the question as to the intent ions behind the b r a n d ' s actions. It’s not difficult to see this potentially as a marketing s t r a t e g y, w h i c h
Perhaps many luxury fashion brands should take the heed from Ralph Lauren's actions... undoubtedly given the circumstances doesn’t sit well with many. Perhaps many luxury fashion brands should take heed from Ralph Lauren’s actions, and contribute towards making a difference, rather than take advantage of what already is for so many, a really difficult time. Photos: Masks - ralphlauren.co.uk
Monday 15 March 2021
Birdwatching Elizabeth Meade details the best places to go bird watching in the UK
Exe Estuary, Devon:
Elizabeth Meade -Science sub-editor iven the popularity of birdwatching, especially in an age of greater appreciation for the environment in the UK, it's no surprise that many UK birding websites have compiled lists of their writers' favourite birdwatching sites. But which are the best of the best, that draw the most fans?
The River Exe Estuary contains two Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) bird reserves, Exminster and Powderham Marshes and Bowling Green and Goosemoor Marsh. The Estuary is famous for its wading birds, such as avocets and wigeons--which is only too appropriate, given that the avocet is the symbol of the RSPB! BirdSpot places it 3rd on their list and HolidayCottages recommends the site as well, and both recommend visiting between November and February--although I imagine that such a beautiful site is worth seeing in the spring as well, especially given the better weather!
The Farne Islands, Northumberland:
Minsmere Nature Reserve, Suffolk:
Famous for its puffins, the Farne Islands retain their popularity among those who love seabirds. The islands are also home to terns and guillemots, and the nearby Lindisfarne Nature Reserve boasts geese and godwits. Naturetrek, Wanderlust and BirdSpot all recommend the spot, and suggest visiting sometime between April and July.
Another highly-recommended birding site (cited by HolidayCottages, Wanderlust and BirdSpot, which recommend visiting from May-June) is RSPB's Minsmere reserve. Minsmere is home to bitterns, nightingales and even plenty of other animals, such as Polish Konik horses and highland cattle. The reserve is split into four zones and covers 1000 acres. If you plan to go birdwatching this spring, make sure to wear a mask-despite being out in the open, these sites can be quite busy during peak bird season and it's important to be considerate to other visitors.
Places to explore that will put a spring in your step Daniela Vasilache has chosen Brogdale Collections, Kent Brogdale Farm is the home for the National Fruit five places to visit in spring Daniela Vasilache
pring is the perfect moment to go out and enjoy nature, whether you prefer taking a nice walk, exercising or just having a drink in the fresh air. So here are some of the best places to explore in the UK this
Exbury Gardens, Hampshire Located in Hampshire, Exbury Gardens are Heaven on Earth. In this area of 200 acres, you can discover some special collections. And if you decide to visit this place, do not hesitate to take the railway train for a chance to admire hidden gems, like the Summer Lane Garden.
Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne
Quayside is an area in Newcastle upon Tyne, famous for its 7 bridges. If you don’t feel like walking on the river bank, you can choose to relax at one of the cafes, while admiring the customary seagulls.
Collection. The orchards are best seen in spring when the trees are in full blossom. What’s more, you can participate in different types of events, including an Easter egg hunt.
The Lake District, Cumbria The lake district is a peaceful place in Cumbria, surrounded by mountains and valleys. This is ideal for sport lovers, who can climb, walk or explore the lakes in boats, kayaks and paddleboards.
The Cotswolds is one of the most beautiful regions in UK, situated at just 2 hours from London. There are dozens of villages that can be explored: from the Bourton-On-The-Water (the so-called Venice of the Cotswolds) to the Stow-On-TheWold (where you can visit the Saint Edward’s Church; its arched door was inspiration for the Doors of Durin in Lord of the Rings).
Nostalgic travel tunes Kiera Furness reminisces on the music that made her trips to Africa and Thailand memorable Kiera Furness
s a religious user of Spotify and an admirer of travel, I constantly find myself putting on playlists and looking back over travel memories from a time when life existed. Music manoeuvres as an escape route from the chaos that we are living through. Listening to an assortment of artists helps to remind me of past holidays! Although we may feel stuck in lockdown, music can invariably transport us to a time of freedom. I find that music and memories blend together flawlessly to benefit mental health, especially during a pandemic. A song that carries me into a more glorious time is Acceptable in the 80s by Calvin Harris. This tune (which I’m certain majority of the English-speaking world must know), reminds me of dancing with the students that I taught during my eight months living in South Africa. Its electronic and awakening atmosphere brings an element of positivity to lockdown! The next song is a little calmer. Porcelain by Moby is beautifully constructed. As an epitome of serenity, it is the per-
fect piece to accompany reflections on past holidays. It reminds me of being in Thailand and also features within the film, The Beach. I have also enjoyed listening to Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark. Messages and (Forever) Live and Die are songs which remind me of exploring Mozambique on constant buses.
Image:: PxHere (left), Pixabay (Spotify logo right)) and Kiera Furness (right)
Secluded Beaches to visit in the UK Lily Holbrook takes us on a tour of the most secluded beaches in the UK,
Lily Holbrook -Science Sub-Editor
otted all around the British Isles, there are plenty of seaside escapes waiting to be discovered as life returns to normal. With dreams of a carefree summer waiting in the wings, here are 5 of the UK's quietest beaches to discover in 2021...
Porthkerris, Cornwall The perfect spot for snorkelers and scuba divers alike, Porthkerris is a secret spot tucked away on the east coast of Cornwall's Lizard peninsula. Offering views of Pendennis Castle, a campsite for travellers and a sigh of relief for those who overcome the questionable roads on the journey in, Porthkerris is well worth a visit. Accessible only via tiny villages on small country lanes, this secluded pebble beach is an ideal place to escape the Cornish hustle and bustle at the height of summer.
Druridge Bay, Northumberland With vast expanses of sand and an impressive array of sand dunes, Druridge Bay is a treasure that exists right here in Northumberland. Attracting golfers to the nearby course at Warkworth, the beach offers a welcome sanctuary to dog walkers and travellers who know where to find it. Image: Castle Combe in Cotswolds by Canva Pro
West Sands, St Andrews
St Andrews may not sound like a place that's off the beaten track, but the beach at West Sands is surprisingly quiet. Famed for its appearance in the opening scene of Chariots of Fire, West Sands is the ideal place for a scenic run. Almost 3 miles of beach also provides the perfect opportunity for a long walk, a paddle and maybe even some kite flying!
Saunton Sands, Devon With extensive sand the defining feature of this seaside haven, there is no need to worry about social distancing at Saunton. Complete with tumbling dunes, beach houses and challenging waves, this beach is a popular spot with surfers.
Whiterocks Beach, Northern Ireland
Situated near the home of the championship golf course in Portrush, Whiterocks is one of Northern Ireland's coastal gems. Complete with stunning limestone cliffs and a coastal path along the Causeway Coast Way, the site is a seaside bliss for visitors wishing to soak up the location's natural beauty. Image: Bam Wherever you are in the UK, there are miles of beautiful coastline waiting to be explored. Discover one near you this summer for a seaside fix without the need to travel overseas. Illustration: Phoebe Young
Monday 15 March 2021
Stuck in lockdown with WHO? The artists we'd quara
After months of being stuck inside, we asked our writers which artists they'd like to spend lockdown with... Bill Evans
ill seems the sort of man who knows when to shut up. If you had Sid Vicious or Gene Simmons in your room for a year, the virus would be the least of your worries. From interviews, he comes across as reserved, meaning I will not be walking out of lockdown facing a murder charge. Next, as a music nerd, I would love to pick his brain on some concepts. It would be fascinating to be able to turn around and say, “hey Bill, in the first bars of your ‘Nardis’ solo, what made you think of that rhythm?” Besides being a genius in his own right, he was also close to some other geniuses, and could maybe give stories or concepts from them: George Russell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Scott LaFaro, etc. He also was deeply into philosophy, which would be fun to discuss. No doubt he would be the one facing murder charges after a few months of these “hey Bill” questions. Finally, I would love to jam with him. I have spent so much of lockdown learning the Jim Hall guitar parts to the Undercurrent, a duet between Hall and Evans, that I have essentially had ‘Lockdown with Bill’ already. As much as I love the free backing tracks on YouTube, nothing beats playing with a real person. As long as I avoid comping over him, I should be able to avoid being murdered mid-solo too. –Josh Smith
fter the recent speech from Boris Johnson, I think that it’s accurate to say ‘Here Comes the Sun’ encaptures our hopefulness for brighter days and reflects the optimism we are feeling towards summer after the tiresome third national lockdown. The Beatles were flawless in their ability to create a perfect song for every mood and listening to these songs would have benefited my mental health. Spending time with John Lennon would make the days cheerier because of his witty and large personality. I would love to listen to his comedic stories and intelligent mind whilst having a walk through the streets of Liverpool on our permitted daily walk. I’d definitely fire questions at
him about Strawberry Fields, the Salvation Army home where he used to go. Ringo Starr was and is still said to be an easygoing and carefree man; the ideal person to be around when times are tough. Paul McCartney has an ambitious and powerful personality; however, I feel that he would be able to guide me through each day with his inspirational tales and optimism. Maybe he would say ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret?’ and teach me his tricks for playing the bass guitar. McCartney is said to be quite a complex and multi-layered character and by being in lockdown with him I think that I would learn more about his intricacy and how he and the other members came to magnificently impact the world of music. –Kiera Furness
amma Mia (here we go again) speaks to all of us when we heard we had to enter a third national lockdown. Lockdown fines for having a gathering had the government screaming ‘Money, Money, Money’. Dominic Cummings had the nation shouting, ‘Does Boris know that you’re out?’ as he travelled miles to get his eyes tested during lockdown 1.0. Already ABBA is proving to be a pretty good choice of band to spend lockdown with. ABBA have hit songs for any mood and any occasion (as I’ve pointed out above) so you’d have no trouble expressing your lockdown feelings whilst they’re around. Also, living with ABBA during lockdown
Illustration: Phoebe Young
would give you the opportunity to try your hand at learning Swedish. I personally love learning new languages and I imagine learning Swedish from pop legends would take it to another level of cool. ‘When did you learn Swedish?’ ‘During lockdown with ABBA.’ Writing is another great pastime, and with so much songwriting going on, I could be the one to write ABBAs’ next big hit. Through spending so much time with them, their writing methods are bound to rub off on to you at some point and there you have it. You’ve written ABBAs’ next hit. Whilst it is known that ABBA are prone to disputes, and I imagine lockdown would normally amplify this, with myself as the fifth and newest member of the group (yes, by this point I would consider myself the fifth member, making the group ABBAE) I could offer a neutral view in a dispute and try and cool down any heated debates. I think we can all agree, it would be pretty amazing to spend lockdown with ABBA. I know that ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do.’ –Ellie Boswell
t’s a fairly uncontroversial statement to say that Canadian musician Grimes is pretty weird and that is why I think she would be absolutely perfect to spend a lockdown with, besides the fact of course that I enjoy her music. Grimes, whose full name is Claire Elise Boucher, announced in 2018 her intentions to change her legal name to ‘c’ (yes, the lowercase and italic lettering included), and is, simply put, an interesting person. Reading her official description on Spotify is a rollercoaster, wherein she claims to have lived in a Montreal “crack den,” with no heating, where she was frostbitten twice and had a neighbour who was bludgeoned to death in the hallway; she also states that her album Visions was recorded during a two-week “speed binge.” With seemingly endless, abnormal stories about her life anyone would be
Gigarettes & Alcohol: cohol: has ha drinking culture gone too far at gigs?
W: containing a mention of sexual assault. I don’t have a personal issue with people having a couple of drinks at a gig, I’m guilty of that as much as everyone else, but with drinking comes drinking culture, henceforth I think alcohol culture and gigs are a bad combination. Countless times, drunk people have ruined
The atmosphere at gigs is already one that can be quite aggressive, so adding intoxication into the mix isn't a great one. gigs for me and my friends, whether it be people thinking you’re looking for a fight in mosh pits, or generally being careless. The atmosphere at gigs is already one that can be quite aggressive, and your senses are heightened, so adding intoxication into the mix isn’t a great one. It can be argued "I’m here to have a good time, so if I want to get drunk, I’ll get drunk" but that’s pretty inconsiderate. Drunk people intimidate younger fans, and if you’ve paid money to go and see someone, you obviously enjoy the music; so why would you put yourself in a position where you have the potentiality to not remember it, or ruin someone else’s night? Some would argue, that if you’re not comfortable with it, then just don’t be anywhere near the front, but people shouldn’t have to restrict themselves just because you want to drink. There are plenty of other social scenarios where you can get drunk with your mates and bash into people etc, so go to a club or something instead. I don’t want to make the article about this but I'll mention this as well; with drinking culture and ‘banter’ comes the risk of potentially being groped. This is something
that’s a large issue in the music scene, and every time it’s happened to someone I know, whenever the person has been confronted about it, they’ve blamed it on being drunk. I’m not wholly against drinking at gigs, but I am if it’s at the expense of someone else’s experience. – Charlotte Airey
n my opinion, there’s no better feeling than being tipsy at gig, listening to music you love, surrounded by people who are having an equally great time. I am aware that alcohol can have negative effects on people and that the culture around drinking and partying can sometimes be toxic. However, I think it’s important to remember that many people understand their limits and can have fun while still being responsible. It’s not mandatory that whenever you drink you have to get drunk; drinking can innocently enhance an already positive experience. Alcohol can often make people feel free from the social constraints they normally worry about, meaning that you can sing and dance as much as you like without feeling embarrassed. It can heighten your emotions so that songs and bands you already love feel so much more special and you find yourself truly connecting with the music. In my opinion, there’s no better feeling than being tipsy at gig, listening to music you love, surrounded by people who are having an equally great time. I am aware that alcohol can have negative effects on people and that the culture around drinking Illustration: Phoebe Young and partyImage: alcholproblemsandsolutions.org
ing can sometimes be toxic. However, I think it’s important to remember that many people understand their limits and can have fun while still being responsible. It’s not mandatory that whenever you drink you have to get drunk; drinking can innocently enhance an already positive experience. Alcohol can often make people feel free from the social constraints they normally worry about, meaning that you can sing and dance as much as you like without feeling embarrassed. It can heighten your emotions so that songs and bands you already love feel so much more special and you find yourself truly connecting with the music. Yes, some people take it too far, and I doubt it would be too fun to end up in the medical tent at a festival. Yes, alcohol at gigs is usually overpriced, with a long queue to even buy something, but I don’t believe that these small drawbacks cause drinking at gigs to be a negative practice. Waiting in line for an expensive, yet also watered-down, beer can be an amazing opportunity for making friends, and striking up a conversation with someone who looks interesting is a lot less intimidating after a drink or two; whether its in line for the bar, waiting for an artist to come on stage or in a queue for the toilets, I’ve found friends at gigs that I most likely wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t have had a drink beforehand. Regardless of alcohol’s ability to make people more sociable, some people just like the taste; they don’t need alcohol to be a more approachable version of themselves, they simply enjoy having a drink. I personally don’t see anything negative about this. A gig is a special experience and allowing yourself an alcoholic drink seems like a natural way to mark the occasion. I understand that not everyone enjoys drinking at gigs, or drinking in general, and that is perfectly fine, however many people do, and can drink while still being responsible, so I can’t see how mixing alcohol with concerts, in a safe way, is a bad thing. – Anna Carson
Monday 15 March 2021
antine with... thoroughly entertained by Grimes during a lockdown. If you can look past her relationship with one of the world's wealthiest men, Elon Musk, and the unusual naming of her child (X AE A-Xii), Grimes appears to be a very relatable person; she has a selfdeclared hatred for basically all foods except “carbs and fat,” and like many people during these lockdowns have done, she watches Tik Tok. This relatability works perfectly with her sarcastic sense of humour, showcased especially in a satirical, nowdeleted Instagram post, part of which states that sword fighting and screaming sessions are part of her daily routine. Living with Grimes would not be enjoyable all the time, but it would probably be the most interesting few weeks of my life and that is why she is my perfect choice of who to spend a lockdown with. –Anna Carson
Illustration: Phoebe Young
23 Music Separating the art from the artists
s human beings, we have a spongy being-ness; our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual structure filled with vacant spaces and curiosity. Naturally, we consume art, absorb it and devour it without being aware of how it fuels us, and it most definitely does. We are continually responding to the stimuli in our environment. Art is a particularly influential stimuli because it can move us and touch something intangible buried deep within us. Music, even more so because it is made up of frequencies, waves, and vibrations, interacting with our energetic bodies subconsciously. Furthermore, music is a cultural product with the potential to form an intimate connection with our psyche. In which case, there should be a high level of awareness when it comes to consuming music. In the post #MeToo era, more and more musicians are being called out for their predatory, pedophilic and racist behaviour. The internet is a significant advantage, as a platform for musicians to build their fan-bases. At the same time, their every move and action, be it past or present, gets scrutinized under microscopic lenses by millions of people worldwide. The primary concern is the divide between pleasure and moral consciousness, to sacrifice one for another. I used to be a fan of Chris Brown until the news of his abusive relationship with Rihanna came to light. After the incident, every song feels tainted, as if suddenly there is a layer of darkness upon the vocals. Somehow, all the lyrics, music concepts and interviews start glimmering with the subtext of the abusive behaviour, which had always been there, but, just like other
In Memoriam: Remembering SOPHIE A dedication to the legendary SOPHIE who recently passed away (30/1/2021) Leo Dawson
he Grammy-nominated pioneer of experimental and avant-pop sadly passed away on 30 January in Athens, leaving behind a legacy of incomparable production and a legendary influence on pop music. 34 year-old Sophie Xeon has been remembered by her most frequent collaborators and close friends, with artist Shygirl calling the Glasgowborn star “a friend I’ve never not been in awe of.” SOPHIE’s work alongside A.G. Cook and the PC Music label brought a
brand new sound to the industry, working with the likes of Charli XCX, Madonna and SONIKKU. Her debut album OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UNINSIDES featured the effervescent ‘Immaterial’, acclaimed by NME for “the rare feat of making abstract, difficult electronic music that hits you straight in the heart.” SOPHIE’s ‘hyperkinetic’ sound and twinkling accented vocals were the staple of both her collaborative tracks and standalone projects, a perfect storm of metallic synth and deeply intimate lyrics. Far from the musical norm, her ground-breaking discography is a testament to an unwavering devotion to her craft, co-writing and producing some of the most exciting new music with the most exciting new artists since 2013. Despite remaining elusive for most of her career, originally credited anonymously on her very own EP, SOPHIE was heralded as a trans icon of music with the release of the 'It’s Okay To Cry' music video. In an interview with PAPER, SOPHIE defined her transness as “taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul and spirit so the two aren’t fighting against each other and struggling to survive.” She remains a boundless influence on fellow queer artists such as Rina Sawayama and Shamir Bailey. On the GRAMMYs red carpet back in 2019, SOPHIE said that she was honoured to represent her legion of fans and hoped her nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album would bring greater awareness to her work. It is even more important now to acknowledge SOPHIE’s impact on the industry, an often unpraised staple of queer music that slipped under the radar of many. Encouraging burgeoning talent into more experimental and unique realms of sound, her guidance allowed herself and other artists to flourish. As Christine and the Queens said this morning, “cherish the pioneers.” Image: MSMSMSM.fandom.com
people, I didn't see it. I didn't decide to cancel the cultural product or the effect created by musicians like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, R Kelly or Chris Brown. But I did choose and will continue to choose to not listen to music that makes my soul feel tainted. That taint is no exaggeration because nothing is above the peace of my mora l
c o n sciousness. I don't choose for other people, but I do decide for myself. I have always advocated for the social responsibility which celebrities or anyone in a socially elevated position carry with themselves. Moreover, for a world full of human beings who have always been dependent on art, social media has created an increasingly idol-worshipping effect on celebrities. Intense "ride or die" fandoms exist worldwide, some of which
Puma Blue In Praise Of Shadows
Syd Lawther he bedroom-pop magician delivers a wonderful debut album and sheds some light on the darkness found within his previous work. Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen, has been making quite the name for himself over the last few years. Since the release of his Swum Baby EP back in 2017, the South London native has gathered an impressive following, regularly selling out shows and racking up millions of streams online. The tunes he makes are all crafted from the comfort of his bedroom, blending elements of jazz with pounding lofi hip-hop drum beats and laying his signature velvety falsetto voice over the top. In Praise Of Shadows isn’t particularly different to what we’ve heard from Puma Blue before, but it is certainly a more mature and polished rendition. What is especially great about this record is the way in which it immerses you in the emotion of it all, at times giving you a glimpse into the deepest parts of Allen’s soul. The album speeds up and slows down again throughout, almost as if he’s taking deep breaths in-between to share more of his truth with the listener, particularly with moments like ‘Cherish (furs)’ and ‘Already Falling’, which provide strong R&B heavy vocal ballads reminiscent of D’Angelo to really hit you in the feels and get you thinking during those 2am reflection sessions. In Praise Of Shadows has everything you could want and more. Funky bass lines, saxophone riddled jams, delicate synths with twinkling guitars layered over them in perfect harmony and intimate lyrics that feel more like spoken poems than anything else. The album begins with ‘Sweet Dreams’ and does exactly as it promises, sending you drifting on a bed of reverb to a dreamland where you can dance with your inner thoughts.
are quick to defend at a personal cost and quick to change opinions after learning new truths. So, it is challenging to debate whether art should be separated from the artist, and could a highly personal topic. But for me, that decision emerges from a gut-feeling, which always points due north and has never let me down. I don't have the power to override my moral consciousness by choosing to look away from an artist's mistakes and the trauma they caused other people. As an empath,
I understand how deep wounds run because I have felt its crippling effect. So, even though I am as connected to music as devotees are to their Gods, I still hold the power to make a conscious choice to support what is right. Above all, I owe it to myself to not let this relationship get corrupted by making exceptions, just for aural pleasure. Before even making bold statements about such things, it is crucial to have a dialogue with yourself and others about the kinds of things we choose to engage with. Even though we can't control the circumstances, we can control our responses and make an informed decision. A topic as sensitive as this must encourage discussions because music is like a memory that we carry within ourselves for a lifetime, leaving permanent imprints. And we all have to decide what we choose to carry; because it can heal you or hinder you. Image: thewicknews.com
Weezer OK Human
W Oren Brown
eezer's Blue Album and Pinkerton are often heralded as some of the greatest alternative rock albums of the '90s. Released in 1994 and 1996 respectively, the LPs established the band as a prominent force within the genre. Unfortunately, almost everything they have released since has fallen flat. With the exception of 2016's White Album, Weezer have saturated their discography with mediocrity and creative missteps for the last 25 years. OK Human, however, marks a return to form. Cuomo manages to write plenty of catchy hooks while also remaining lyrically engaging this time around. It's unsurprising, too, that the orchestral backing is more appealing than a lot of the stiff, uninspired instrumentals that Weezer have offered up across the last two decades. The corny title also begins to feel forgivable in context. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives and experiences of everyone, and artists are no exception. Despite this, there has been a surprising lack of quality 'lockdown albums'. While artists such as Charli XCX (How I'm Feeling Now) have partially explored this, OK Human is one of the first records to fully capture the anxiety and loneliness of the last year. OK Human avoids grand, poetic lyricism, opting instead for candour and reality. Songs about listening to audiobooks, staring at screens and playing the piano might at first seem uninteresting, but they project the deep-seated feeling of inertia and disconnectedness. For me personally, OK Human goes straight into Weezer's top five albums. That might not be saying a whole lot given their glaring inconsistency, but this release is a welcome surprise that came at the perfect time.
Monday 15 March 2021
24 TV Netflix ups its yearly premium cost again - still worth the price of admission? Is the Netflix price hike such a bad thing? Sarah Lahiri
ith Netflix announcing an increase in its pricing to £13.99 a month, the annual cost for the streaming platform will exceed the price of a yearly TV licence. This only affects the Premium and Standard plan, with the cost for a Basic plan remaining the same, the price hike comes as Netflix announces more investment in higher quality and an ambitious new wave of content for every week of 2021. Although it is heavier on the pocket and easier to complain about, the new price still ensures that you get what you pay for. Netflix’s selection of shows and films, across a wide range of genres and languages, is unlike anything found on normal TV and can cater to absolutely any mood you’re in. The user-friendly interface and highest possible resolution guarantee an enjoyable binge-watching experience that you can undergo as the thrill of
putting off any form of productivity builds up. Netflix stands out as a streaming platform because of the popularity and demand for its topnotch originals. Although other services like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ also dominate online-based streaming services, Netflix’s original content more frequently involves famous producers, directors, and actors and is the primary factor that keeps users committed. Subscription costs and everything.
A year's subscription of Netflix will now cost more than a yearly TV licence Most streaming services have been raising their subscription prices, especially as a result of the pandemic. This isn’t ideal, especially on a student budget, but I personally would crumble without it. I would still invest in the online service over a TV licence regardless of the prices levelling. The on-demand nature is more suitable to my schedule where I barely know if I’m coming or going and can watch older things at my own pace. I can also
access it on any device, and won’t be confined to level of popularity, it cannot compete with the one main TV set. The individualised recentertainment experience that online ommendations and suggestions allow platforms like Netflix offer regardless for a more optimal customer experiof increasing prices. ence as well. Above all, I can skip the Easy sells, and Netflix is as easy as adverts in between and that alone it gets. is enough for me to readjust my budget to include the new price plan. With this being said, when the costs for such platforms increase, it starts losing its shine and subconsciously puts people off as they’d question when the next price Image: pcmag.com hike would be. Realistically, looking in on your own individual streaming habits and weighing in on whether regular TV or online streaming services better Image: pcmag.com suit your preferences and convenience is the best way to decide what seems worth it. Image: Prime Video Like most things, TV content and viewing experiences have changed and continue to do so but the consumer craving for personalisation, convenience and portability generally outweighs that. Although TV still maintains a Image: Wikimedia Commons
Getting off to a good start: which of these television them Our writers discuss the theme songs that get stuck in our heads long after the show is over Horrible Histories Johnathan Mack When I think of powerful influences in my life, probably the first thing that comes to mind is the unforgettable theme tune of Horrible Histories. This song is undoubtedly the anthem of the History student. If I had to pinpoint the moment when my obsession with history was born, then it would have to be the moment that I first heard this song.
In fact, the theme song did such an exceptionable job of sucking me in as a young child that I barely even noticed that I was being gently educated in a subject that would go on to dominate my life years later. This song is just the tip of the iceberg too, as the show is littered with numerous historical parodies of songs by hit artists, from the Beatles to the Bee Gees. A few have even been compiled into a Spotify playlist. Even to this day if I hear a hint of the iconic opening guitar riff, I am sent spiralling into an instinctual recital of the lyrics. This song is the Pavlov to my conditioned dog.
Adventure Time Joshua Thompson
Wednesday Addams show coming to Netflix Anna Robson
uh duh duh-dum *click* *click*. Netflix’s new series Wednesday has recently dropped some creepy and kooky details. Wednesday is said to be a “coming of age” story, loosely based on the eerily charming daughter of Morticia and Gomez - Wednesday Addams. The series will follow her throughout her time at the Nevermore Academy, where she begins to discover her new-found psychic abilities. During all this, she must also explore new and complicated relationships with fellow students at the Academy; who have equally complicated pasts. This coming-of-age show, written by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar, is said to be a comedy following Wednesday as she tries to prevent a massive killing spree in her local town and solve the supernatural mystery that involved her parents 25 years ago... sounds very, comedic? Wednesday has been adapted for a manner of formats since its inception by cartoonist Charles Addams in 1938. Since then, we’ve had Lisa Loring in the original 1964 TV series, the famous film version in 1991 with Christina Ricci playing Wednesday, arguably the Image: IMDb
actress most closely associated with the character. More recently, we have seen Wednesday in a new (spot)light on stage for the hit Broadway musical The Addams Family: A New Musical, as she navigates her ‘crazy’ crush on human Lucas Beineke, recently embodied by Carrie Hope Fletcher in the 2017 UK tour. But this new series may allow us to see Wednesday as an independent young woman, away from her family, a side we have never explored with her before.
The show does not yet have a release date but is set to start filming this year Teddy Biaselli, Netflix’s Director Original Series has described Wednesday as “the ultimate lone wolf ”. He was extremely excited over potentially creating a new re-boot, with the news only improving after hearing that “visionary director and lifelong Addams Family fan Tim Burton wanted to make his television directorial debut with this series”. Tim Burton has a flair at bringing out the best and most empowering stories about "social outsiders such as Edward Scissorhands, Lydia Deitz, and Batman" said Biaselli. And now he brings his unique vision to Wednesday and her spooky classmates at Nevermore Academy. The show does not yet have a release date but is set to starting filming this year. Stay spooky, folks!
To be a good theme tune, the song needs to get stuck in your head. As infuriating as this can be, it can also be a guilty pleasure. If you've never found yourself humming along to a show's opening as a child, or, indeed, as an adult, then you are lying. For me, that show is Adventure Time.
The theme tune perfectly encapsulates the show’s nature and central themes
It’s upbeat, casual and has a slow buildup, meaning it makes you know that what you’re about to watch will be worth the wait.
It perfectly encapsulates the show’s nature and central themes too. The relationship between Jake the Dog and Finn the Human, a pivotal part in the show and nearly all its storylines, is captured within the lyrics whilst the laid back and comedic nature of the show is also hinted at through the simplistic, ukulele-backed vocals. However, the best part for me about the theme is that its perfect for the times you’d consume it as a child. When I was younger, I’d watch it after or before school days. These times for me were a perfect chance to lay back or unwind and the theme tune perfectly reflects this. It’s welcoming but not in-your-face, gently guiding you into the show. All of this shows why, in my opinion, Adventure Time is one of the best theme tunes out there. Not only is it a great tune in its own right, but it reflects the content of the show whilst mimicking the mindset of those who consume it.
Why is Sex Education one of the most
Sex Education has resonated with many since its initial release on Netflix back in 2019
t has been two years since Sex Education graced our screens. As we wait in anticipation for the delayed season three, I can’t help but reminisce over what makes the award-winning show so special. Centered around Otis Milburn, a blundering teen who sets up his own sex therapy clinic whilst navigating the highs and lows of young adulthood, Sex Education is a show that quite literally acts as a form of, well, sex education. Covering STIs, various medical conditions, abortion, and an array of sexualities, Sex Education is the non-airbrushed version of what should be covered in schools. Furthermore, the show is so richly diverse that it negates the ‘normality’ of whiteness and heterosexuality that many Netflix shows
perpetuate. Bursting at the seams with different races, abilities, sizes, cultures, and sexualities, Executive Producer Laurie Nunn’s show gives no generic setting. Instead, Sex Education leaves us with the kind of fictional world of acceptance that we must aspire to – but without diminishing the abuse that those who don’t conform to perpetuated normativism face all too often.
This is the kind of show that reflects everything positive about our generation One of the most talked-about storylines of the decade involves beloved character Aimee, who is sexually assaulted on a bus in broad daylight. Nunn’s choice to include an assault that happens during an act of daily life draws attention to the all-too-common symptom of Aimee not believing the offence is serious enough to warrant going to the police, despite the flashbacks and trauma that follow. When Aimee goes to the police and takes
Monday 15 March 2021
Review: Behind Her Eyes - should be in front of yours immediately Michael Duckworth
ehind Her Eyes puts the psychological in psychological thriller. This mindbending tale of dreams, affairs, and paranoia has shot up Netflix’s mostwatched list since its release in midFebruary and it's easy to see why. This whirlwind mystery stars Simona Brown as receptionist and single mother Louise who gets between Eve Hewson and Tom Bateman as the rich and failing couple Adele and David. The slow, tense buildup ends with a fantastic flourish, ending this suspenseful drama with a supernatural twist. What makes this drama stand out amongst the crowd is not only its devastatingly wicked twists but also its deep interpersonal drama that pulls on the heartstrings while keeping you guessing about the real nature of the characters you thought you knew.
A run-of-the-mill romantic drama takes a strange turn...
The series begins with a seemingly innocuous chance encounter in a bar in London between Louise and David, sparks fly between them until they kiss in the street, and David panics and leaves. The next day Louise arrives at work only to find out that David is her new boss… and he’s married. Then another “chance” encounter with David’s wife, Adele, leads to a blossoming friendship between them, and thus Louise becomes entwined in the cobwebs of their disastrous marriage. What starts out as a very run-of-the-mill romantic drama takes a strange turn and suddenly no one is as innocent as they seem.
In only 6, one hour long episodes, Behind Her Eyes is perfect binge material In only 6, one-hour-long episodes, Behind Her Eyes is perfect binge material, it keeps you guessing as it bounces gleefully from genre to genre, as soon as you think you know where the story is headed, another secret is revealed and suddenly you view the series in a whole new light. The real stand-
out performance here has to be the sinister-cumThe show is a rollercoaster of twist and turns I sympathetic Adele portrayed by the phenomenal have tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as Eve Hewson (who you may recognize from the possible for a reason, the show is something to be BBC mini-series The Luminaries). Hewson's experienced first hand, the show is a rollercoaster contrast in the portrayal of the younger, naive, of twists and turns and so going into and cheerful Adele to her grownit totally blind is something I up self, wherein that cheerful strongly recommend. Paying persona has started to attention to the small details crack, is a testament actually pays off in the end to the subtleties as almost all the mysteries of Hewson's can be worked out prior to performance. their reveal: colour, shot She excellently composition and small balances the suspicious dialogue lighter and choices leave a trail of darker sides of clues that make you her character kick yourself for not to elevate the seeing it earlier, which suspense of the for me is essential for overall show. a successful mystery She makes you show. want to believe in Behind Her Eyes is not her, and thus the one you want to miss, by strange narrative the end it will leave your elements (like mind buzzing and have you befriending the wife of doubting everything around the man you’re sleeping you, so be prepared. Image: IMDb with) feel completely natural.
me song hits wouldn't have you reaching for ‘skip intro’? Law and Order: SVU
Carly Horne In the criminal justice system, sexuallybased offences are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories. The narration preluding each episode of Law & Order: SVU lives rent-free in my head, and it borders on ludicrous. Narrated by voice actor Steve Zirnkilton, the narration has become almost as iconic as the show itself. However, it is the theme song by Mike Post which is most noteworthy. Approached by SVU's creator, Dick Wolf, Mike
st important shows? the first step towards recovery by taking the bus again with the help of her friends, it’s one of the most empowering TV moments of the last few years. This storyline is so ridiculously important because unfortunately, it’s relatable for so many women, as the show once again demonstrates. When Aimee attends detention with the other girls, who have all been given a task to write an essay on something that unites them as women, they realise what they all have in common: unwanted sexual attention. Their stories of being slut-shamed from a young age, followed home, groped, and flashed are ones that so many can relate to and the kind of behaviour that gets swept under the rug. It got people of all genders talking about day-to-day unwanted sexual advances and therefore taking a step in the right direction. Richly diverse and educational in every way, this is exactly the kind of show that, to me, reflects everything positive about our generation, and I for one cannot wait to see what awaits us in Season 3.
Post needed no persuasion in composing the show's theme song. Including what is colloquially known as the 'dun dun' effect, Post's theme song has amassed a plethora of awards and deservedly so. Having found its way onto TikTok and into wider popular culture, I rather suspect the music of Mike Post will be instantly recognisable for years to come.
Community Arnojya Shree As a newbie to the Community fandom, the first thing which struck out to me about the show was its theme song. Yes, the song is pretty upbeat and fun to sing along with; however, it perfectly fits the show's context.
"Give me some rope, tie me to dream, give me the hope to run out of steam."
Their unintentional friendship with each other is the rope that connects them
A show about 7 misfits, who are as different from each other as one could imagine, yet, the one thing which ties them to the college is their community. Their unintentional friendship with each other is the rope that connects them to an optimistic future where no matter the obstacle, they will conquer it together. However, it is essential to point out that the
lyrics have a slightly darker undertone as well. "We could be roped up, tied up, dead in a year." The same uncertainty and doomed mortality, which follows everyone, accompanies the characters too. All of them are at different points in their lives, yet an unfortunate twist of fate has brought them back to square one. But at the end of the day, the groups' uncanny friendship becomes life support for each of the characters. And so, the misfits keep on marching through an uncertain future, knowing that even though the world has stopped giving them chances, their community never would.
Image: Pixabay, SnappyGoat and NounProject
Review: Netflix's latest show Ginny & Georgia – the new Gilmore Girls? Leah Graham
inny & Georgia strays from its predecessor with its lesser focus on small-town charm, but isn’t afraid to handle more realistic topics such as race, abuse and sexuality. As an avid fan of Gilmore Girls, I fully expected the new Netflix series to be a glossy teen drama with updated pop culture references, and whilst I was partly right, the show differs from expectations and presents an enjoyable yet realistic portrayal of mature issues.
The series establishes itself as a social commentary on serious and realistic issues The show falls prey to numerous cliché tropes, beginning with the mother-daughter duo arriving in a new town, new school, new house, etcetera etcetera. Despite this, it’s midway through the first episode that the series establishes itself as a social commentary on more serious and realistic issues that are so commonly glossed over in recent teen dramas. The show brings its characters to the forefront and develops them interestingly. Georgia is immediately established as a survivor, which becomes even more impactful as her tragic and secretive past is slowly brought to light. Whereas her daughter Ginny is presented as desiring stability
and her mom to be truthful; it’s through this conflict that viewers become torn between the two. The end result is an angry, dethroned, queenbee Ginny disconnected from the real world being pushed to make the same mistakes her mother did- albeit in very different circumstances. It’s not only through its characters that the show earns its credit, but through the exploration of real issues. Watching Ginny feel isolated and insecure about her identity as a mixed-race teen, her nervousness about her sexual activity, combined with Georgia’s sleepless nights thinking about her abuse, makes for emotional viewing due to its thorough exploration and strong actors. The series only falls short in its premise. Gilmore Girls stood out with Lorelai, a 15-year-old upper-class debutante becoming pregnant and having to abandon high school and her luxurious life, whereas if Georgia became pregnant at 18, 20, even 2 2 , the
story wouldn’t change much at all. Georgia would still be a young mother with a dark past and Ginny would still be an isolated teen struggling with a lot of issues. Perhaps if the show explores the age similarity of the two leads in more detail in the future, the show will be able to establish itself beyond a commentator on social issues.
Monday 15 March 2021
The Silence of the Lambs celebrates 30 years since its release Looking at the film's chequered cultural legacy on its 30 year anniversary Jonathan Mack
or many people The Silence of the Lambs is their introduction to the eerily mystifying Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) and the persistent FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). Less than a year later it would become only the third film of all time to in the ‘big five’ at the Oscars. The film is both a commercial and critical hit. Flash forward 30 years and Hannibal Lecter has his place in villainous superstardom, and references to the film litter popular culture. The Simpsons, South Park and The Office are just three examples of shows which have parodied Anthony Hopkins’ stellar portrayal of the psychopathic psychiatrist. On the surface, it may seem that the legacy of Lambs can be boiled down to a caricature villain and parodies of his most iconic lines, but the film carries a much deeper, and occasionally problematic, legacy. While the 80s were a prolific decade for horror, with Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street dominating the genre with their penchant for schlocky gore and sexualised teens, horror was hardly seen as a viable route for critical success. Enter Silence of the Lambs. With a cerebral and atmospheric approach to horror, the film generates horror in a different way to its predecessors. Rooted in reality, Silence of the Lambs gives gravity to its terror. The film elevated the horror genre from the trappings of the teen flick and opened the door for horror to be explored in a far more psychological way.
Horror wasn’t the only genre that it sunk its teeth into – probably with some fava beans and a nice chianti – as procedural crime has been shaped by the film. Just look at the complex relationship of Eve Polastri and Villanelle in Killing Eve to see the impact of Clarice and Hannibal. When I first watched the opening, where Clarice tackles the FBI assault course, I foolishly assumed that she was destined to meet a grizzly end at the hands of the famous cannibal within the next few moments. All discussions about the film had been dominated by Hannibal that I’d hardly thought about the other characters that occupy the narrative. Clarice Starling shattered my expectations.
The character has gone to cement herself as one of the most iconic heroines in film The character has gone on to cement herself as one of cinema’s most iconic heroines. Exceptionally intelligent, persistent, and thoroughly engaging to watch, Clarice redefined the roles which women could occupy in film, no longer confined to the roles of love interests and damsels. Throughout the film we see Clarice navigate a world of vile murderers, but also of infuriating sexism. As unsettling as the graphic images are, the quiet discomfort of Clarice’s isolated journey as a woman in a male-dominated workplace is just as fundamental to the narrative. Lambs brought the theme of female struggle in a sexist workplace to the mainstream and it continues to be tackled in films like Bombshell (2019). An unfortunate aspect of the film’s legacy is that the trailblazing performance by Jodie Foster has been entirely eclipsed by the popularity
of Hannibal Lecter. Our collective memory of the film is dominated by a character who spends much of the runtime offscreen and unfortunately the incredibly pointed discussion of workplace sexism is pushed to the background or forgotten entirely.
Even more problematic, is the film's troubling depiction of the antagonist, Buffalo Bill Even more problematic though is its troubling depiction of its antagonist, Buffalo Bill, and the harmful impact this has had on the transgender community. Since its release, the film has been under fire from the LGBTQ+ community concerning its problematic implication of a link between transgenderism and Bill’s murderous tendencies. The film denies that Bill is a transgender character and a few lines of dialogue from Hannibal which awkwardly attempt to distance Buffalo Bill. Unfortunately, these lines are not sufficient to counteract the overtly queer-coded depiction of Buffalo Bill and doubtlessly damaging to the transgender community since its release. It is disappointing to see Lambs, which cast a bright light upon sexism, simultaneously marginalise other groups with an incredibly harmful depiction of a queer-coded character. 30 years on and Silence of the Lambs is still going strong, but whether its more problematic elements will stand the test of time remains to be seen. Image: IMDb
Review: Dead Pigs (15) - Cathy Yan's directorial debut comes to Mubi George Bell -TV sub-editor
eleasing in 2018, Dead Pigs is the directorial debut of Cathy Yan who is most well known for her 2020 film Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Yet despite being released three years prior, Dead Pigs has only just reached the mainstream via the service MUBI, which is a damn shame as, unlike the aforementioned pigs, it is never dead in the water throughout its two-hour runtime. Dead Pigs follows a myriad of colourful characters who cross paths as thousands of dead pigs float down a river towards Shanghai. Based on true events, Yan not only shows the larger impact on normal people that this event caused but
paints a perfect picture of class corruption within the region. It's clear from the start why Yan was brought onto Birds of Prey, as despite this being her feature-length debut, a fantastic vision and style are already clear in her work. Costume design and music take centre stage here, elevating what would be a dreary drama into something a lot more fun while still retaining its key messages.
In most films, spontaneously breaking out in song and dance at the end wouldn't work, but with Dead Pigs, it works perfectly The film follows several different characters and impressively Yan is able to give the majority of the time to truly shine and fall in love with them.
Unique in every way you can think of, partly due to the fantastic outfits, it’s a joy to watch any one of them as they navigate a frankly quite dreary set of events. However, managing all these characters padded out the story a bit too much and a few times I did feel it drag slightly; the branching storylines took their time linking together at the end. If it had been condensed to less than two hours, Dead Pigs could shine much brighter than it already does. Fortunately though, while the journey may have been a bit longer than would have been liked, the ending makes up for it. Yan is able to spearhead towards the perfect third act in an emotional, weird, and touching way that makes you love these characters even more than before. In most films, spontaneously breaking out in song and dance at the end wouldn’t work, but with Dead Pigs, it works perfectly, showing that no matter the hard times we may endure, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Monday 15 March 2021
Review: I Care a Lot (15) - a compulsive thriller George Cochrane
eleasing a film about the moral turpitude of America’s care sector when care workers are currently working so hard to keep us safe is maybe not the best way to win over viewers and, sure enough, I Care a Lot is receiving rotten audience scores right now. Taken on its own merits, though, the film is slick, satisfying and wonderfully outrageous. Everybody in this film is morally bankrupt, not least Rosamund Pike’s care mogul Marla Grayson. Marla has a good hustle. She seeks out rich, vulnerable old people, gets her doctor-friend to exaggerate their vulnerability, then arranges a legal intervention by which she becomes that person’s legal guardian and puts them away in a care home. Their real home, meanwhile, is left vacant and in the hands of Marla, able to do with it as she pleases. How can she get away with such despicable behaviour? Well, Marla is effortlessly attractive: tall, confident and with the most winning of Cheshire Cat grins. No, Marla’s got it sorted, is living the American dream, until she tries her hustle on Dianne Wiest’s Jennifer Peterson. She seems the perfect target – no family, very wealthy – and, at first, everything goes swimmingly.
But what Marla’s research hasn’t pulled up is that Jennifer is actually the mother of a Russian mafia boss (Peter Dinklage) and when this mommyloving gangster finds out that Jennifer has been put away in a care home, he is determined to get her out of there and take revenge on Marla. It is a brilliant setup that the second half of the film can’t quite match, and things do turn a little generic and predictable towards the end. What sustains it throughout, though, are the performances. Pike is brilliant: magnetically malevolent and totally committed. Dinklage, too, exudes danger, keeping what could have been a Coen Brothers-esque caricature just on the right side of kooky. And I really enjoyed Chris Messina’s spivvy lawyer. But it is Dianne Wiest who has the hardest job; her vulnerable old lady having to become more and more threatening as her past is uncovered. The scene in which she is removed from her home and put in one of Marla’s care facilities is terrifying, the lowangle shots making her captors loom menacingly, the slowmotion camerawork exposing their fake concern for the act that it really is. Hopefully when this pandemic
is over we will talk about that, because this film really deserves a life after Covid. Writer-director J Blakeson is a great talent.
served as executive producer on the project, would have been a more fitting and obvious choice for the role. It is, however, also worth noting that he said that Mulligan’s performance was “skilful” and that she was a “fine actress”.
on someone’s physical appearance. In most other circumstances criticism should help creators improve upon their craft, whether they agree with it or not, and so it is unnecessary to call reviewers out. But this relies on it being constructive and as this situation has proved, firing back is sometimes the only way for creators to defend themselves. Harvey’s words were neither constructive nor true, rather demonstrating how the opinion of a reviewer isn’t always the word of god. An apology has since been printed above the article saying: “Variety sincerely apologizes to Carey Mulligan and regrets the insensitive language and insinuation in our review of Promising Young Woman that minimized her daring performance”. This apology, however, feels half-hearted when the insulting comments are still up on the site and just a scroll away.
Content warning: Rape
fter a Variety review of the 2020 black comedy film Promising Young Woman, in which journalist Dennis Harvey seemingly criticised lead actress Carey Mulligan’s physical appearance, the issue of whether creators should fire back at those writing about their content has arisen. The plot of Promising Young Woman follows thirty-year-old Cassie who tricks men into believing she is too drunk to consent for sex, before pulling the rug from underneath them and revealing she is in fact cold stone sober. It is clear to see that the film confronts serious issues about rape culture, conveying the conversations that are still happening to this day about sexual assault in light of the Me Too movement. Carey Mulligan is electrifying in this as the main character, moving away from the role of the English rose into something that rivals her complex performance in Steve McQueen’s 2011 film Shame. Controversy arose when Dennis Harvey, a writer for Variety, responded to the film saying that Mulligan “seemed like an odd choice” and that her appearance was like “bad drag”. He then went on to suggest that Margot Robbie, who
It is clear to see that the film confronts some very serious issues about rape culture The review was first published in January 2020 when the film had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. A year later, it has come to light again after Mulligan revealed she was alarmed that the publication questioned whether she was attractive enough to play Cassie. Mulligan first spoke about her alarm in an interview with the New York Times, and then elaborating further in the Variety video series, she explained that “I think it’s important that we are looking at the right things when it comes to work, and we’re looking at the art and we’re looking at the performance”. To summarise, she believes that big publications should not use an actor or actresses’ physical appearance as a point of criticism. In this instance, Mulligan calling Harvey out was definitely the right thing to do - the review was sexist and it’s baffling to read criticism based
Disney to shut down Ice Age Animation Studio Blue Sky
Should creators fire back at criticism? Dennis Harvey's review of Promising Young Woman sparked debate online, but was Carey Mulligan right to respond to it?
It should come as no surprise when creators also have their own views on their projects The point is not to say that critics should not have opinions anymore, rather that it shouldn’t come as a surprise when creators also show they have their own views too. Maybe the time has come to find a more diverse range of opinions? Or at least question the instant high regard that established critics gain with their reviews, especially when it appears that they haven’t quite thought through their writing. Mulligan was very much entitled to her opinion and I would say that critics should remember they are not exempt from criticism themselves.
he Walt Disney Company is closing down the ‘Blue Sky Studios’ and it is stopping its last film production after its 21st Century Fox acquisition in March 2019. The Walt Disney Company announced the Blue Sky Studios closure on the 9th of February for “economic realities”. Disney could not economically maintain the expenses of the Animation Studio but it will work with the 450 current employees in Greenwich, Connecticut, to help them explore other working options in its other studios. After being founded in 1987, the Blue Sky Studios have released 13 feature films including The Ice Age (2002), Rio (2011), Robots (2005), Horton (2008) and Ferdinand (2017). The Animation Studio’s library will remain part of Disney and a series based on Ice Age characters is already in the making for The Walt Disney Company’s streaming platform Disney+. The last Blue Sky Studios’ film, Spies in
The last Blue Sky Studios film, Spies in Disguise premiered in 2019, grossing only $66 million Disguise, was distributed by Disney in December 2019, grossing only $66 million at the domestic box-office and $171 million worldwide. Blue Sky Studios was founded in February 1987 by Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Chris Wedge, Alison Brown, David Brown and Eugene Troubetzkoy after their employers at tech company MAGI (which worked for the visual effects the 1982 film Tron) shut down the company. Their innovative work caught Hollywood’s attention and the Animation Company was hired as the effect house for motion pictures such as Fight Club (1999), Joe’s Apartment (1996) and Alien Resurrection (1997). In 1992, Twentieth Century Fox bought Blue Sky Studios and they started the production of its first animated feature Ice Age. The animated film was originally planned to be a classic dramatic family film but the studio decided to make a fully 3D animated feature. Ice Age grossed $46.3 million in its opening weekend, breaking the record for a March opening. With the success of Ice Age, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox grew their talented staff and crew, developing their breakthrough renderer CG Studio. In December 2017, Blue Sky released the Academy Award nominated Ferdinand. The studio was currently working on Nimona, including in the animated movie the voice of Daniel Craig. A young shape-shifter named Nimona would have teamed up with a mad scientist to expose the ruler of the kingdom. The movie was scheduled to release on 14 January, 2022.
Monday 15 March 2021
Contested legacy of Women's History Mont Brutalism in the NE Virginia Woolf
odernist writer Virginia Woolf called attention to feminist issues in several of her works. Nowadays, perhaps the most influential and the best-known is the essay A Room of One’s Own published in 1929, a year after suffragists won the right to vote for women in Britain. It concentrates on the importance of wealth, stressing that ‘money’ and ‘a room’ is essential for intellectual freedom. She then expounds that the lack of financial independence was the main reason why only a few women became great writers. Her essay indicates what struggles female writers faced in the past, yet it still remains relevant today by demonstrating persisting problems. I’m not arguing that nothing has changed over the last 92 years – on the contrary, I think Virginia would be proud to see what we have achieved - but nevertheless, she should continue to be a teacher for modern women.
Thomas Wrath trolling through Newcastle city centre, it is evident that its rich architectural heritage has been contested by planners and architects alike, contributing to a bustling cityscape with an eclectic bundle of designs. Historically, individuals seeking to deconstruct Dobson’s gorgeously decadent neo-classicist frontages on Grey Street were at least partly successful, most notably the shamed former leader of the city council (1959-1965), T. Dan Smith, who provides context to the current debate of demolishing Brutalist structures through his own annihilation of the city centre. Under his modernism-driven (and extremely misguided) vision to establish a ‘Brasilia of the North’, a shiny new shopping centre replaced the Grecian inspired Old Eldon Square, the hideously overbearing Swan House (now 55° North) underwent construction, and the Royal Arcade, piece-de-resistance of the Dobson-Grainger era, was slowly dismantled and stored in a potholed car park in Sandyford. Both Commercial Union House and Berwick Court (ironically straddling John Dobson Street) produce similarly visceral reactions and are second only to the now demolished Westgate House. Evidently the architectural vandalism and systematic modernism of Smith’s short leadership irreversibly damaged John Dobson’s legacy, reproducing its own contested one that is now slowly being destroyed.
These products of suburbia established identity and character in areas of previous lethargy
Crucially, Brutalism’s poor reputation is also not necessarily always a product of its actual architecture, but rather what it replaced. Alongside the divisive, there is a plethora of well-loved Brutalist structures in the North East: from the regiment and uniform Newcastle Civic Centre to Hadrian (Newcastle) and Kingsgate (Durham) university bridges, Byker viaduct and the British Gas Centre for Research (Killingworth, North Tyneside). Rather than replacing existing and cherished city centre constructs, these products of suburbia established identity and character in areas of previous architectural lethargy, becoming emblematic of the ‘new age’ postwar and contributing to synergistic and social localities. Shrouded in typicality and
mundanity, the eastern suburb of Dunston previously housed the North East’s most loved piece of Brutalist innovation, Luder’s Derwent Tower, affectionately known as Dunston Rocket. Whilst its caisson foundations and supporting flying buttresses gave the tower its identity, their deterioration contributed to its demolition in 2012 after failing to gain listed status, generating a humorous metaphor for critics to utilise as the rocket seemingly crash landed. Missed as a local identity marker and quirky example of affordable housing, the Rocket highlights why the current generation of planners and architects should advocate for a move away from homogenous housing schemes, and be a bit more Owen Luder.
The current generation of postmodernists and neo-futurists should exercise caution in overhauling city centres for purposes of sustainability and aesthetic.
Perhaps most importantly, the current generation of postmodernists and neo-futurists should exercise caution in overhauling city centres for purposes of sustainability and aesthetic, whilst the imminent threat to buildings such as the structuralist Sunderland Civic Centre and postindustrial Dorman Long tower on Teesside should be managed. The only way to protect Brutalism against the institutionalised and engrained negative attitude towards it is to understand both its original purpose, and holistic contribution to city centres, for example the huge impact that Sunderland Civic Centre had on employment in a declining area. In Newcastle, Swan House represents an era of history, as does Grey Street, and the Tyne Bridge, and every piece of construction in the city centre. To remove this is to erase the narrative, the identity and the heritage of an inherently multi-functional and trans-centurion area. That is not to say innovation is not important, and it’s clear that areas of the city centre desperately need renovation, but every decision should be thorough. In conceding what Dobson and Grainger were to pre-war Newcastle, and Luder and Kenyon to postwar Newcastle; visionaries should understand that allowing destruction of eithers legacy is reducing ourselves to T. Dan Smith’s level of petty d e c ons t r u c t i on i s m ; not just demolishing buildings, but hyperindividualistic styles and pieces of art.
Image: Wikipedia & Maud Webster
Image: George Charles Beresford
via Wikimedia Commons gendered p o w e r dynamics. Her rich yet fresh prose is abundant with tropes and allegory of the coming-of-age novel that compels us to reflect upon the tenderness of our own youth. Rooney tackles common subjects like toxic masculinity and adolescent anxiety, but questions that are innate elements of our being and which make us a product of the patriarchy. Her nuanced approach to gender and politics is what makes her my favourite feminist author.
M Jake Watson
ally Rooney’s second novel, Normal People, has been described as a masterpiece by critics far and wide. At the age of 27, she is the voice of a generation. Dubbed by the NY Times as ‘the first great Millenial author’, Rooney’s novels – the third of which will be released later this year – capture the highs of millennial life (the iPhone and the avocado smash, no less) but speak to a discontentment at the hands of failed economic structures and Image: Louisiana on Youtube
ew authors are as celebrated for their feminist approach to literature as Angela Carter. Publishing her first two poetry collections - Five Quiet Shouters and Unicorn, as well as her debut novel – Shadow Dance in 1966, Carter launched into a highly successful literary career spanning over 25 years. Ranked 10th in The Times 2008 list of ‘The 50 Greatest British Writers since 1945’ and winning the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Nights at the Circus in 1984, Carter has been justly celebrated for her talents both during her lifetime and after her death in 1992. Perhaps best known for her short story collection, The Bloody Chamber published in 1979, Carter was renowned for expertly combining elements of magical realism with feminist themes, producing brilliantly engrossing narratives whilst helping to bring feminist themes and issues into wider public discussion and debate.
BALTIC's 'Open Submis Evie Lake
major open call by the BALTIC last year attracted over 540 artists from in and around the northeast wanting to have their work displayed in one of our most beloved galleries. Out of
them, 150 artists have that privilege, selected by an esteemed panel of artists. Their work can now be viewed online as part of the Open Submission exhibition. Ranging from well-seasoned professionals to artists just starting out, the exhibition’s main draw is the platform it lends to creative talent within the region, with BALTIC specifically stating they hope
Image: "Leda & the Swan (Through Contemporary Eyes)" by Leah Sarah Coxon
Monday 15 March 2021
th: our favourite feminist writers Olivia Laing
Lily Dosanjh limate change, welcoming refugees and the HIV epidemic are only a few of the subjects covered in Olivia Laing’s Funny Weather, a collection of her non-fiction writings throughout the years. A book containing essays, personal reflections and artist profiles, Laing effortlessly links her contemplations on artworks and their relevance to the modern-day without pretension. From Sally Rooney to Georgia O'Keeffe, Laing provides us with studies on artists (in every sense of the word) that allow us to rethink and reshape our mindsets on the world around us. The power of art to resolve problems lies at the crux of Laing’s writing, she urges us to engage in reparative art to resist and repair. A truly incredible woman indeed, Laing teaches us how to use art to build community and form utopias that move further from optimistic daydreams and closer to a feasible reality. “Generally, I find men are a lot more concerned with limiting the freedoms of women than exercising personal freedom for themselves.”
Jon Deery Am I a bad feminist?” asked Margaret Atwood, in a piece for the Globe and Mail. It’s a testament to the complexity of the feminist movement that a woman like Atwood could prove divisive among activists. Her fiction is driven by the “fundamental position… that women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviours this entails,” and is filled with multi-layered, often thoroughly introspective female characters. Her best-known work The Handmaid’s Tale portrays a tyrannical patriarchy so vividly that women worldwide have adopted the bright red Handmaid costume as a symbol of outrage against genderbased oppression. She wrote a book that put Penelope at the heart of Homer’s Odyssey, she’s written about female assassins and sex workers. Atwood may be committed to portraying the fallibility of women, but only in the name of presenting them as interesting, and just as worthy as anyone else of respect.
annibal Lecter, My Father, edited by its author for Semiotext(e) in 1991, was my introduction to Kathy Acker. I was crashing in Edinburgh with a good friend (this was the end of a year’s study in a re-submission) and, having parted ways, left to loiter around the cold sun-soaked city until my train rocked up. Resting in the shaded foyer of the Portrait Gallery, I scrolled idly through the blogroll of U.K. photographer come cultural-writer Matt Colquhoun (a.k.a. Xenogothic), hitting on a post on the ICA’s (then) recent ‘I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker’ exhibition. The post spoke of something transversal— a constitutive interpenetration of different ‘individuals’ —also of sex work, Bataille (familiar at the time through The Story of the Eye) and queer sexuality. A proximity to William S. Burroughs (I’d burned through Junkie during that original submission period) eased me into purchasing Hannibal Lecter, which became a refrain of that summer. In Acker’s writing there’s something as radiant, but nonetheless harrowing, as the sun that day in 2019. - I never did make that exhibition though.
Image: CorkyPleasures via Wikimedia Commons
Image: ActuaLitté via Wikipedia
ssion': an ode to northern artists to provide ‘visibility’ to the creatives being featured. I spoke to painter Leah Sarah Coxon, and photographers Amir Dehghan and Amber Brown - three young artists who have their work featured in Open Submission. Coxon’s painting, “Leda & the Swan (Through Contemporary Eyes)” seeks to reimagine the greek myth post #MeToo, highlighting the prevalence of rape fantasy in art history. “I was really shocked and delighted to be chosen to exhibit with other northern artists from over 540 applications. I’ve visited the Baltic for years, so it’s really cool to know that one of my paintings is currently there; it has really helped to boost my confidence in showcasing my work” states Coxon, drawing light to the significance such an opportunity hold for younger artists. Brown seeks to capture the post-industrial landscape of the northeast. With her photography so rooted in the region, having her work featured in such a major and iconic gallery is a huge step: “As a Northern artist, the idea of home and our land’s past are both integral ideas behind my work. Graduating from art school without a degree show, the BALTIC Open Exhibition is the first place where the work is physically exhibited, beyond a screen or publication which we’ve become accustomed to through the pandemic. Existing in both an online and physical sense provides many new ways of engaging but having the
"Manganese Beach" by Amber Brown
To Women by Tiyanna Mistry
To all the women who came before me You turned history into herstory. With fire in your eyes, And your flowers sprouting high, You have paved the way So that we may slay. So here’s to strong women, We celebrate you And all that you do For the female power is truly divine.
Dear Sir by Ellie Boswell
Dear Sir, Femininity is in you, it’s true Do not contest with this let it be known Though once she may have swaddled you in blue See that this fabric must now been outgrown. You are gifted with your mothers’ wise eyes! Why do you choose to be boorish and blind? You are blessed with her heart so large in size! Why must you treat those like her so unkind? With her ears do not heed that 'she must not' Listen to her words and please let her speak With her lips do not say that 'she can not' Tell of her great strength for she is not weak The female is divine – Juno, Venus You are not god’s gift because you have a -
work printed and framed definitely made it feel portrait is stamped with the number of lashes they more complete. It’s wonderful that BALTIC owe, and the title is the total amount of lashes owed have been able to extend the show and hopefully within the 6 portraits. The remainder is the number open to the public in the summer. It was always of lashings I am owed. All of the pictures have been important to showcase my work in the NE, censored using an analog method in the darkroom. so having that opportunity to be showcased I have chosen to censor the images to maintain the amongst a wide range of Northern artists is very political security of the people involved." exciting. More spaces running major open calls All of these pieces are available to view now via a is definitely a way to get people involved, whilst virtual tour, however the exhibition will run until nurturing the local art scene!” 5th September 2021, hopefully giving us a chance Through his work, Dehghan focuses the to see the work in person. western gaze on the punishment awarded for drinking and partying in Iran "1466 Lashes" by Amir Dehghan and the underground scene that (instagram: @amirdehghanart) still persists. Dehghan claims his work seeks to "normalise oppression by highlighting the extremities of Iranian politics in a culturally neutral light, softening the sharp edges of oppression by translating them into a western context." "1466 Lashes" is the name of the work being displayed in BALTIC, artwork that consists of "a series of portraits taken at an underground party in Shiraz, Iran. The portraits are accompanied by a text-based work that quotes the penal code of Iran, in which it states various laws that enforce lashes. Each
Monday 15 March 2021
Voice chat: Interview with creator of the Internet sensation "Undersong" Illustrations: Phoebe Young
Tom Hart gives us the low down on their spin of the beloved game Undertale: Undersong the Musical
keep it captivating while people sing for 7 minutes. At the time, my Tumblr following was more active than YouTube, so I handled early recruitment through Tumblr, then Twitter and Casting Call Club. Many members left as time passed, but many
I imagine people were eager to join?
ou've probably heard of Toby Fox's hit game Undertale, which has sparked thousands of creative fan works. One of the most notable gems is UNDERSONG, a YouTube-based musical that retells the iconic game in song and dance. I interviewed Tom Hart, the creator, about his creative process and journey.
What made you seriously persue the idea of an Undertale musical? This one is always fun to tell. When I started writing, I never intended it to be a full musical. I'd been listening to Ken Ashcorp, who writes themed songs around video games. I wrote a DanganRonpa song called "Kill or Be Killed" while tracking Undertale's development. Playing the game, I noticed a similar "kill or be killed" motif and wrote an original song from Flowey's perspective. I posted it 2 weeks after Undertale's release so it was one of the first Undertale fan songs. I then wrote "Gonna Capture A Human." My friend joked about a whole musical, but I did not get the joke--I decided to do it! Working on the musical has helped me to get through difficulties, and became personal as I was struggling to find a permanent home and dealing with medicinal poisoning. It grew to be something bigger than a
What aspect of Undertale lend themselves to this format? direct retelling of Undertale. The main things that lend to its musical format are its brevity and strong focus on leading characters with strong motivations. It's easy and fun to adapt them to a musical format, which needs strong characters with strong motivations to
How did you recruit team members?
remain with the project, even after 5 years. UNDERSONG ended up being far less popular than Undertale: The Musical, which, featuring lyrical adaptations of the game's music, released more quickly. I was bitter for awhile and realized I could either stay bitter or choose to improve, and I chose to improve. To succeed on YouTube, I learned I needed to release more frequent videos along with my larger, slower-to-finish musical. This led me to create "Deltarune THE MUSICAL I'm Making So You'll Watch UNDERSONG," a more direct adaptation of Undertale sequel Deltarune that follows YouTube rules more closely, avoiding the punishments UNDERSONG's infrequent
responses: "wow, this is the best," or "this is cringe." I get compared to Disney, partially because my songs are similarly rooted in classic advertising jingles. The most influential jingle has been "Smile America, Say Chuck E. Cheese," from which I lifted chord progressions. I use time-tested chord progressions that are proven to be pleasing and apply new lyrics, sometimes going against what the listener expects to hear so they question the characters as a storytelling device. Muffet's song is written in a major chord progression, but there's a sinister edge to the lyrics so cheeriness goes against content. There is also an unreleased song that focuses on characters in an uneasy position-strange and unnatural chord progressions a little bit aimless in the way they travel compliment the lyrics to create a truly uneasy atmosphere.
midst the pandemic, The Entertainment Software Association discussed the possibility of E3 2021 being delivered as an online event after the event was cancelled last year. However things may not proceed as fans have hoped.
E3 was replaced by online events over June and July last Summer E3 was replaced by online events over June and July last Summer due to pandemic restrictions, making it the first time in its 25 year run to be cancelled, and this year seems to pose a similar issue. Back in early February, Entertainment Software Association stated that they would be
Looking at Undersong, I intend to complete the show and do other shows afterward. I intend to use the growth past when I started on the show to finish it in a way that reflects my current life more than the life I was living in 2015. While the original ended dismally with a confusing edge, I would like to give it a more hopeful ending. Tom's channel RecD is aimed at fans of video games and lyrical adaptations of high quality.
What did the creative process involve? uploads without highly-searched words received. I figure out melodies first. I build a riff and think about the story I'm going to tell before writing lyrics. I spend lots of time figuring out what I want to communicate and use lyrics to tell the story. Some riffs go back to early 2008-the oldest song in "UNDERSONG" is Z, for which I came up with the riff at 10 years old. Production involves composition, recording a scratch track with me playing all the characters, figuring out harmonies, levelling and mixing the music. I remastered nearly every song produced before 2017. It also involves figuring out who's playing
What has the reception of Undersong (such as online engagement) looked like thus far? the main character and recording. Overall reception is small and the musical isn't done. When people engage on YouTube, I get one of two
LA tourism board cancel E3 After a year of global shutdowns that saw events shut, evidence suggests that E3 2021 is destined not to go ahead live.
Whats's the next step?
“transforming the E3 experience for 2021” which would set hopes high for the year to come, however things have taken a turn for the worse. The Board of Los Angeles Convention
Upcoming Releases Monster Hunter: Rise Nintendo Switch 26 March
There was also sentiment that this was not as shocking as initially anticipated. and Tourism filed documentation that listed this year’s E3 event as cancelled. Documentation has also been brought out on resetera showing that the event is listed as a “Cancelled Live Event”. Gamers flocked to Twitter once the story broke. One fan said ‘Damn, that sucks. I always enjoy looking forward to E3 streams each year.’ There was also a recurring sentiment that this was not as shocking as anticipated. Another fan states ‘DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING, RIGHT GUYS??!’. Someone even went as far to say ‘Oh I forgot E3 existed’.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
NieR Replicant Win, PS4, XBO 23 April Image: Wikimedia Commons, Alachua County on Flickr
Besides this, the cancellation of such events will no doubt be a disappointment to many people, however, there’s no need to lose hope just yet. There will be The Summer Games Fest, which is a “season of digital video game events from publishers, select playable content, in-game events, and more” which will hopefully keep spirits high in the gaming world in the upcoming months.
Resident Evil Village Win, PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX 7 May Deathloop Win, PS5 21 May
Monday 15 March 2021
Study shows boys who play video games show fewer depressive symptoms A new study reveals how time on our screens either help or hinder our mental health.
study conducted by Cambridge University shows how boys who play video games most days can have lower depression risk. Boys aged 11 who play video games regularly are less likely to suffer from depression three years later, a new study has suggested. The report published in ‘Psychological Medicine’ analysed 11, 341 adolescents born in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002 from the Millennium Cohort Study. The results showed that 11 years old boys who play video games at least once a month have lower depression scores at age 14. The research paper focuses on three different types of screen use at the age of 11: video games, social media and leisure-time internet use. The participants were asked: “How often do you play games on a computer or games console/use the internet/visit a social networking website on the
internet?”. Based on the participants responses the depressive symptoms were measured using a short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire, asking them 13 questions.
Researchers also found only boys benefit from playing video games while girls don't Researchers also found that only boys benefit from playing video games while girls don’t. Using social media most days was associated with a 13% increase in depressive symptoms scores than less than once a month/never in girls. Others studies have previously found similar trends, and researchers have suggested that frequent social media use could increase feelings of social isolation. Despite this, the researchers did not find clear associations between general internet use and depressive symptoms in either gender. Lead author Aaron Kandola said “Screens allow us to engage in a wide range of activities. Guidelines and recommendations about screen time should be based on our understanding of how these different activities might influence mental health and whether that influence is meaningful.” “While we cannot confirm whether playing video games actually improves mental health, it didn’t appear harmful in our study and may have some benefits. Particularly during the pandemic, video games have been an important social platform for young people.” “We need to reduce how much time children - and adults - spend sitting down, for their physical and mental health, but that doesn’t mean that screen use is inherently harmful.”
Review: Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury Mario anniversary sees a mega-sized DLC with Bowser's Fury. Joseph Caddick reviews. Joseph Caddick — Puzzles sub-editor
ario’s 35th anniversary has consisted mostly of re-releases of the classic titles many of us know and love. The recent re-release of Super Mario 3D World had a bonus included though - Bowser’s Fury. It’s an extra game mode that is unrelated to 3D World, starring Mario and – of all people – Bowser Jr. In terms of story, there really isn’t that much. Bowser has been overtaken by evil goop (reminiscent of Super Mario Sunshine), and Bowser Jr goes to Mario for help saving his dad. It’s such an odd team, but I’m a sucker for hero-villain team-ups. So the premise already is really fun and different to the usual ‘Peach gets kidnapped’ trope which 3D World also subverted. It also allows Bowser Jr to be used as a player 2, similar to Galaxy’s Co-Star.
The gameplay is an interesting mix of 3D World and Odyssey The gameplay is an interesting mix of 3D World and Odyssey, which are pretty different games in their own right. Lake Lapcat is a more open world that you’d expect to see in Odyssey, and it is littered with Cat Shrines that Mario must collect to beat Fury Bowser. Each sub-area has 5 Cat Shrines with some hidden extras between the many islands too. Where 3D World comes in is its more conventional power-up system; Odyssey, like all the 3D games except 3D World, utilised a life system, with Mario
never becoming Small Mario like in the 2D games. Bowser’s Fury brings back the classic system, making for a mix between the open 3D games and the 2D style. This works so well that it makes you wonder why it’s never been done before. One power-up makes Bowser’s Fury stand out, however, and that’s the Giga Bell. This transforms Mario into his Giga Cat form, which is a gigantic Super Saiyan cat. At this size he can literally punch Bowser in massive Godzilla-like battles. In a Mario game. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and I love it. The battles themselves can get a bit repetitive towards
Blitzing through everything, Bowser's Fury should last a player around 4 hours the end, but for the first few fights I was genuinely laughing. I had concerns about the length of this mode, thinking that it would only last an hour or two. Having played to 100% completion, I can say it’s not the longest of Mario’s adventures, but there’s more meat on the bones than I initially thought. If you blitz through everything, I could see it taking maybe 4 hours, but I enjoyed exploring so much that it took me around 6 hours. My main complaint about Bowser’s Fury is the final boss battle. I found it pretty lacking considering the battles before it. It was just tedious, and then having to do it again for 100% completion was a bit annoying. There’s other boss battles thrown in too, but two of them are blatant repetitions of the most repeated boss battles from 3D World. Overall, Bowser’s Fury is a fantastically charming – if brief – adventure that is more than a welcome surprise in an already fantastic game. If you enjoyed 3D World and were considering double dipping for Bowser’s Fury (which I did), I couldn’t recommend it enough. If a future Mario game is like this but bigger, I’d be thrilled.
Let the valkyries ferry you to Valheim: A review
Are you a fan of PVE gaming and norse mythology? Here's the run-down on all things Valheim! Lewis Webster
alheim appeared as if from nowhere in February of this year and took the PC gaming scene – quite literally - by storm, quickly selling three million copies in just over two weeks. The PVE survival game takes inspiration from the critically acclaimed video games franchises The Legend of Zelda and The Elder Scrolls, which begs the question: is this early access adventure worth investing in? From the get-go, Valheim provides very little in terms of handholding. Aside from the occasional intervention from a raven providing tutorial tips, the player is mostly left to figure out how best to survive in the harsh, procedurally generated world. Whether exploring alone or with friends, resource gathering, crafting and combat are at the heart of the gameplay here; players will need to explore the many biomes of the overworld in order to find materials and resources used to upgrade gear, craft weapons and, ultimately, defeat the five major bosses. Drawing inspiration from Norse mythology, players can also craft authentic Norse armour and build ships to sail the expansive oceans linking the many biomes together.
The combat itself is fairly simplistic, although
Biomes like meadows feature a paltry challenge and fairly disappointing enemy variety arguably it can be made to feel more intuitive with the inclusion of the many weapon types. From bows, swords, clubs, knives and spears, there are plenty of options and attacking styles to take on Valheim’s vast numbers of enemies with. Depending on the biome the player is exploring, combat can be hit or miss. While a biome like the meadows features very little challenge in terms of its enemy variety, the black forest biome features miniature hordes of goblin-like Greydwarfs, which will attack the player on sight. While combat is an essential part of the PVE survival genre, it can be rather irritating having to fight off such large groups of enemies at once, especially when paired with the unforgiving limit on your stamina meter. Progression in Valheim comes mainly from defeating the five main bosses, each of which provides a considerable step up in challenge from the last. These bosses provide the player with items needed to progress, such as a pickaxe to harvest minerals from the earth. In the 23 hours I’ve played thus far, I have only defeated the first two bosses.
Each of them requires that you extensively prepare yourself by utilising the resources that slowly open up as you better your equipment. For example, by crafting a bronze axe, players are able to harvest stronger types of wood, which unlock higher quality items such as a stronger bow. It is this clear and satisfying progression system that gives Valheim such an addicting quality: there is always something to be working towards or something to achieve. Whether I’m exploring the massively open world, fighting off hordes of mobs or plundering forgotten burial chambers, Valheim presents a fascinating world to get lost in. The surprisingly beautiful low-poly art style and immersive sound design do nothing but strengthen the presentation of the world of Valheim, giving it an almost fairytale aesthetic. While there are undoubtedly a few issues with performance here and there, as well as t h e annoying stamina and eating system, these hitches never significantly soured my gameplay. If you’re a fan of exploration,
survival or adventure games, this is most certainly not one to miss out on. Image: Twitter (@ToyerToys)
Monday 15 March 2021
1. Fifth month of the year. (3) 2. Modify. (4) 5. List of dishes in a restaurant. (4) 7. Purple yam. (3) 9. England’s capital city. (6) 10. To confuse or perplex. (6) 11. Animals with 2 feet. (6) 13. Cabin associated with the Alps. (6) 17. Type of sunglasses. (7) 18. ___ Lovato, American singer. (4) 19. Common carp originally from Japan. (5) 20. Consuming food. (6) 22. Language family including French and Italian. (7) 23. Bruce Wayne’s butler. (6) 24. Creature from Star Wars. (4)
1. ___ constrictor, snake. (3) 2. Narrow strip of fabric. (6) 3. Midday. (4) 4. Setting of Romeo and Juliet. (6) 5. A raven’s cry. (3) 6. Band that performed Wonderwall. (5) 10. Current Premier League champions. (9) 12. Problem. (5) 16. Favouring one side. (6) 18. Arc of colourful light. (7) 20. Newcastle’s rail system. (5) 21. Apple’s virtual assistant. (4) 23. The ___, Tommy Wiseau film. (4)
Green citrus fruit. (4)
Cat Elephant Horse Leopard Mouse Rhino Toucan
Cow Giraffe Kangaroo Lion Rabbit Sheep Zebra
Dog Hedgehog Koala Meerkat Pig Squirrel
Answers to the other Christmas puzzles will be uploaded to the Courier website!
Last Issue's Answers
Word Wheel: Chocolate
Monday 15 March 2021
There are 20 eggs hiding on each spread. Circle and find them all and send in your pictures in to enter the prize draw
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.
Sudoku 15 March 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: 35 words
Monday 15 March 2021
The evolving LGBTQ+ community in F1 There aren't many openly LGBTQ+ drivers in the sport, but why is this the case?
ver since the start of the World Championship in 1950 and its roots long before that, formula racing has been a male-dominated scene. Old, traditionalistic perceptions exist to this day, and despite Lewis Hamilton’s fight against racism and WSeries’ efforts to promote female racers, not enough has changed. Until recently, hypermasculinity was not unusual on the grid. The idea of playboys and racing heroes was heavily marketed - think James Hunt and his overalls: 'Sex, Breakfast of Champions’. Racing was for cishet men, fawned over by grid girls and tobacco brands. Yet alongside Hunt and other legendary names like Stewart and Fittipaldi was a racer much lesser known, Mike Beuttler.
openly gay male F1 driver, Beuttler often showed up to races with women at his side and retired to the United States, where homosexuality was more open. Former journalist and friend Ian Phillips mentioned in an interview with Racing Pride, “In the early ‘70s it just wasn’t a thing that was really openly discussed” and “It’s funny because I’m not sure anybody really knew. We all just kind of suspected it.” First unveiled last year, the #WeRaceAsOne initiative was met with much support. But that slowly faltered, particularly during Nikita Mazepin’s controversy, and for 2021 F1 dropped the rainbow logo that was made up of the 10 team’s colours. (likely in anticipation of major team changes).
First unveiled last year, the #WeRaceAsOne initiative was met with much support
Yet many fans, especially upon seeing McLaren Racing’s adoption of full rainb ow
colours on the car, racesuits and advertising, could have been easily mislead. The statement issued by the Woking team ambiguously cited it as representation for essential workers but also pledged allegiance to “help progress the agenda of diversity.” Hollow or misrepresented shows of support can be more damaging than if they were never mentioned in the first place, and with the influence that McLaren and F1 have this could uphold the idea that LGBTQ drivers aren’t seen and supported.
deliberately tackle this issue in a time where motorsports is gaining traction amongst younger, more accepting audiences, perhaps a new era can emerge where all spheres of diversity are supported. Image: Twitter @Carhack89 Image: Twitter @ScuderiaFerrari
Replacing a core LGBTQ symbol has potential to cause discontent Replacing a core LGBTQ symbol to represent essential workers, while meaningful, has potential to cause discontent. Change is slow, but if F1 were to
Racing was for cishet men, fawned over by grid girls and tabacco brands Beuttler raced in F1 from 1971 to 1973, and by old standards he did not achieve any points finishes. After his brief stint in F1, he vanished off the grid until his death in 1988. While deemed the first and only
Euan's FPL FPL Preview: Gameweek 28 Need some more advice on who to have in your FPL this week? Resident expert Euan Morris has the answers for you Euan Morris — FPL specialist
Arsenal vs Spurs Spurs are experiencing a purple patch in form, scoring 9 goals in the past 3 games, which is the highest in the league. The re-integration of Gareth Bale (£9.3m) into the starting eleven has massively contributed to this, with the Welshman scoring 4 times and assisting
Bale has scored 4 times and assisted twice in his last 4 matches twice in the last 4 matches.
In this period, Son has moved into a more creative role, creating 14 chances compared to Bale’s 6, whilst Bale has had 6 shots in the box compared to Son’s 3, which highlights this shift and how much more advanced Bale is playing. The main drawback in opting for Bale is the risk that he won’t start every game, with Mourinho placing great emphasis in his press conferences that Bale’s minutes have to be managed, but this should be more likely in the Europa League rather than the Premier League, due the top 4 priority. As Spurs are one of the few teams to have a fixture in gameweek 29, Bale is an essential option given the form he is in and is the biggest game changer for the week
Leeds vs Chelsea For managers who still have the free hit chip left to play and are using it for gameweek 29, then Chelsea are the team to target. Thomas Tuchel has made a stellar start at Chelsea, who are
Tuchel has transformed the Chelsea defence, given they have kept 7 clean sheets out of 9 in the Premier League,
Tuchel has only conceded 2 goals as Chelsea manager whilst conceding just 2 goals in this period. Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.7m) has been central to Tuchel’s plans since he took over, with the Chelsea skipp e r starting all 11 Premier League games. Chelsea have huge clean sheet potential in the next four league games, as they play Leeds, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Chelsea have won 8 of their last 11 games undefeated and have won 8 games out of 11.
Image: Twitter @GarethBale11
Monday 15 March 2021
In conversation with some of Newcastle University's inspirational women in sport Elana Shapiro reflects on her experience speaking to women from Newcastle University who work in sport
ver the last two weeks I have had the enormous pleasure and privilege of speaking to remarkable women, from our Newcastle community, who are working in the field of sport. They are Zoe Barber (BBC Sport Publicist), Janine Anthony (Sports Producer and Presenter), Maddy Wood (Pathway Development Manager at Durham Women FC), Kate Sutton (Senior Digital Manager at Adidas), Benthe Tanghe (Newcastle University’s AU Officer), Maria Voropajeva (ITV Sport Production Coordinator), Claire Nelson (CEO Netball Scotland), and Susannah Rodgers MBE (Former Paralympian). With immense enthusiasm, passion, and warmth, they generously shared an insight with me into their careers. I learnt about their backgrounds, the obstacles that they had overcome, and the joy that they find in their work. To celebrate International Women’s Day, there seemed like no better time to highlight their achievements and to demonstrate the diverse range of opportunities available for the next generation of women interested in pursuing a career in sport. But what did the women behind the careers have to say?
“If you get knocked back, try again” - Kate Sutton An overarching theme throughout the interview series was one of perseverance and resilience. No-one who I spoke to suggested that their path had been easy, and I was amazed by the determination of the women who I spoke to. Zoe spoke frankly of her applica-
tion process at the BBC, “It would be disingenuous for me to sit here and say I got into the BBC the first time around. I had to apply four or five times to be taken seriously.” Kate applied to the Adidas trainee scheme and was rejected but she applied again a year later, with 30,000 words worth of Adidas notes, because Kate knew it was what she wanted to do.
"Women are passionate about sport” - Janine Anthony It may seem like an obvious one, but the depth of this passion was so great that it must be highlighted. I was left amazed on several occasions during the series as I heard about some of the incredible feats that women had achieved despite challenges that they may have faced. Maddy tells me about the players she works with at Durham Women Football Club, “Many of Durham’s first-team players have been at the club since the age of twelve and like many female athletes work other professions before training in the evenings and travelling and playing at weekends.” Susie didn’t begin to swim competitively until she was in her 20’s and she went on to win 3 Paralympic gold medals.
Susie didn't swim competitively until her 20s and she won three gold medals Janine told me about Gina Bass, a 24-year-old national 200m record holder, who is known in the Gambia as ‘the poorest Olympian’. Before a media campaigm raised her the money she deserves, she had to walk to training and lived with her brother , yet she still managed to set records and compete at the top level.
"Don’t limit yourself ” –
Claire Nelson I think that it’s often easy to not pursue something or not speak up because we don’t think that we are good enough or qualified enough in comparison to everyone else. Maria told me about the interns she had worked with at ITV Sport who seized the opportunity and earnt themselves more permanent work as a result. For Kate, somebody who epitomizes the idea of defying limitations is Katherine Switzer, who she met at the 2018 Boston marathon, 34 years after Switzer had been the first woman to run the marathon, despite the abuse she faced from men whilst she ran.
"I think now there are great movements but there is still a long way to go” – Benthe Tanghe These women and their achievements exemplify that sport is becoming an industry which welcomes women, rather than one which is entirely dominated by men. Benthe, herself, embodies this by leading a campaign which has forced Canterbury to offer gender-inclusive clothing. Kate reflected on the progress that she had seen during her time at Adidas, "It’s been amazing to see such a growth in understanding of how we improve not only our building and selling of products to female athletes, but how we use our platform to tell more stories, encourage participation and sponsor elite sportswomen.” Nevertheless, there are still strides to be taken. Maria reflects on the Covidcaused cancellation of the Women’s Six Nations, despite the men’s tournament going ahead, “If you look at the recent postponement of the Women’s Six Nations, for which there was no justification, as the men’s tournament still went ahead, it’s clear that there is still a lot of gender disparity.” Claire is a strong believer that we should “design the world that you want to see”, and that was why she took on a role that developed women’s sport. It is also an ethos followed by Maddy, who runs a pioneering scheme, directed by the FA, around player development at Durham and also established an
opportunity for women to play football socially at Newcastle University, with the introduction of the intramural team.
"It’s the relationships which are built by sport which mean so much”- Susannah Rodgers MBE Many of the alumnae who I spoke to had participated in sport at some point. Claire, president and captain of Newcastle’s netball club, compared being on the team to “being part of a family”. Maddy, who played for the Newcastle University Women’s Rugby Team, laughs as she remembers her times at Flares with her teammates. Susie beamed as she told me how she loved meeting other athletes at tournaments and the friendships she formed. This is something evidenced by my own experience of sport. There are games and results, that I am unable to remember, but I still enjoy the friendships that I’ve been able to make through sport.
“It’s really demonstrated to me the truth in the adage ‘Do what you love, and you’ll do it well’” - Claire Nelson It was apparent to me afterwards why I loved doing this series so much. I was speaking with women who were brimming with enthusiasm and fun, because although I would ask them about their jobs, amongst other things, it was a topic which they enjoyed speaking about because they enjoy their work. Maddy told me that Durham getting promoted “would mean everything”, Maria compared working on the World Cup to “being on a summer camp” and Claire left her job as the Senior VP of a global tech company because she was so passionate about transforming women’s sport in Scotland and knew she could do it. When Zoe Barber nonchalantly told me about her occasional 16 hour days, she reasoned, “If you love your job it doesn’t feel like work."
"Show your passion" - Zoe Barber When I asked Zoe if she had any advice to share, her response was instantaneous, "Show your passion." Women's place is in sport and we are allowed to be fanatical, excited and enthusiastic about it. Janine, with great sadness, told me about the reluctance of female athletes, who she had spoken to in Africa, to speak out because they would often get frozen out of teams and that consequently there is often a "culture of fear". If you are fortunate enough to be in a situation where you are able to speak out, it seems important that privilege is used. Share your voice, advocate for your beliefs and demonstrate your passion, loudly and unapologetically.
“Dreams are fuelled by representation” - Janine Anthony Why is it so essential that days like IWD exist? Why should we make a concerted effort to share stories of women succeeding? Representation matters. Benthe explains, “When I was growing up, I often played football with my brother and he could look at role models and say I want to be a professional footballer. I didn’t have that.” Janine tells me how significant it was for her when she saw women playing in the Africa Cup of Nations. When we see people like us, succeeding in ways we might not have known we could, it’s powerful. Images: (left to right): Kate Sutton, Maddy Wood, Janine Anthony, Benthe Tanghe, Susannah Rodgers (Source: Twitter @BBCSport), Maria Voropajeva, Zoe Barber, Claire Nelson
Monday 15 March 2021
Sport What we're reading on World Book Day In honour of World Book Day, our writers have recommended some of their favourite sporting literature Indentured by Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss
he world of sport books is oft-overlooked. This is partially due to inaccurate stereotypes about athletes not being smart enough to read and readers not being tough enough to play sport. The harsh reality of athletic and writing careers alike being virtually all-consuming endeavours doesn't help matters--writers don't have much time for sport, and athletes don't have much time for writing. However, a number of notable works have been written from both inside and outside of the sport world, including the 2016 nonfiction work Indentured: The Battle to End the
The book focuses on the United States' National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the overarching organization that runs, promotes and markets university sport programmes in the US. From the inception of the NCAA to the strict rules it has put in place at one time or another to its various scandals (legal or otherwise), the book is obviously very critical of the institution and how it treats students. Assuming the information that Nocera and Strauss received and synthesised was accurate (and they presented it honestly), I think they have every right to be critical of an association that profits off of university football and basketball at the expense of players' grades, mental health and livelihood. As someone unfamiliar with university sport (outside of a brief experi-
Image: Twitter @JayBilas
The harsh reality... writers don't have much time for sport, and athletes don't have much time for writing
Exploitation of College Athletes It was also published as Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA) by Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss.
It is exploitative for universities to make billions of dollars off of games, sponsorships and jerseys while the players are required to remain strictly amateur and not receive any payment playing ence in the Newcastle Archery Club!) I would need more information to solidify my opinion on the minutiae of the issue. That said, I recommend the book to anyone interested in US university sport, as I'm sure all fans will have an opinion of some sort on the issues presented. Although the opinions presented are somewhat extreme and I'm not sure how current/accurate the source material is, I think the book will spark a lot of discussion about the true purpose of university sport programmes and what athletes actually are, or should be, getting out of the experience. After all, UK university sport remains relatively uncommercialized in comparison to the US, and while there is still plenty to criticize about the sport culture here, the issues and their scale are largely different. If you aren't interested in the subject, however, I would skip it, because the reader does have to read through a few hundred pages of detailed descriptions of various events taking place surrounding US university sport teams. Elizabeth Meade
Keeper by Mal Peet
n a genre dominated by ghost writers and get-rich-quick schemes, a good sports fiction novel can be hard to come by; however, I believe that Mal Peet’s ‘Keeper’ is perfect for any football fan. The story follows Paul Faustino, one of the continents top sports reporters, as he interviews the talented, yet reclusive, world cup winning goalkeeper ‘El Gato’. The reader joins the two as they journey through ‘El Gato’s’ past from his childhood as the son of a lowly logger, to his meteoric rise as one of the world’s best, assisted by his mysterious training sessions in the jungle with the mystical character known only as ‘The Keeper’. Piece by piece this titan of the game reveals his inner most self to Faustino, and, in doing so, supplies the reader with a deeply personal and honest account of the game we hold so dear. The way Peet looks to football abroad
The thrill associated with South American football, accompanied by an articulated sense of mysticism, masterfully complimenting for the basis of his novel embraces the thrill associated with South American football, accompanied by a well-articulated sense of mysticism, masterfully complimenting the fable. Mal Peet extends Faustino’s journey in his later books ‘Penalty: A Matter of Life and Death’ and the prize winning ‘Exposure’, both of which I thoroughly recommend to any football fan wishing to gain greater knowledge of the sport or to the casual reader in general. Dominic Hancock Image: Twitter @jackdraws
The golfing world's forgotten civil rights hero: Ann Gregory Sophie McNally looks at the life of Ann Gregory, one of sport's most important forgotten heroes
nn Gregory is a truly mesmerising figure, her broader impact on golf enabled her to take a key role in the fight against racism. After reading about her legacy on the sporting stage, I felt incredibly disrespectful for not knowing about such a phenomenal sportsperson and role-model. Gregory was one of the first black female golfers on the golfing scene, with her breakthrough at the 1956 Women’s Amateur Championship in Indiana. Despite her nail-bitingly close loss to Cudone by just a single stroke, Gregory still managed to take the game by storm. No matter how much contemporaries tried to disadvantage her, she would still come out on top. These obstacles to her progress did not, and would not, stop coming, but this certainly didn’t stop her pathway to success.
instead. The shocked reactions were met by her indifference, and she was thankfully able to play what she asked for. This embodies the abhorrence of racist attitudes towards Gregory, and her determination to rise above it all and be the best golfer she could be. We should most certainly not allow her to be forgotten again.
The shocked reactions were met by her indifference, and she was thankfully able to play what she asked for Unfortunately, by and large, Gregory’s contributions to golf have been ignored. During her life, she was thanked and glorified by African-American newspapers as “The Queen of Negro
One of the first black female golfers For instance in later years, at Gleason Park golf course, Gregory refused to use the ‘blacks only’ decrepit nine-hole course - insisting on the primed, full eighteen-hole one exclusive to whites
Image: Twitter @FirstTeeBall
Women’s Golf ”. Whereas the New York Times only granted her a shameful two references. Sadly, this seems to match the current narrative too. It has forgotten Gregory’s memory to a criminal extent. Ann Gregory was only added to the ‘National African-American Golfers Hall of Fame’ in 2011. At the even later date of 2016, she was included in the USGA (United States Golf Association) ‘Museum’ that commemorates key golfing figures.
The year the PGA lifted the ban on black players
Although the by-law that limited the game of golf to those of “the Caucasian race” was repealed twenty-nine years before Gregory’s death in 1990, the effects of racism were, and are, still felt within golf. Ultimately, we certainly
cannot continue to overlook such a crucial figure who embodied all the best qualities of a sportsperson, and truly started to break the mould for African-American competitors. Image: Twitter @USGA
She was an inspiration for both women and African-Americans alike, and must be remembered as such.
Monday 15 March 2021
Sleeping giants: the Merseyside Derby 10 years in the making Resident Everton fan and Head of Sport Tom Moorcroft on their emphatic 2-0 win at Anfield
sk any Everton fan during the Premier League years if we look forward to a Merseyside Derby, and most of them would give off a wry smile. For me, the thought of facing Liverpool at home or away (which is pretty much the same thing, separated by a field), sends shivers down my spine, no less than when you have Salah, Mane, Trent, Robbo and the rest of the Anfield squad pressing your side. This doesn’t mean my experience with Liverpool has been a completely sour one. Sure, we recently had Pickford, a man who’s name is unfortunately synonymous with Everton fan hate, blunder the ball and gift Divok Origi with a late extra time winner. Or in the FA cup, when a squad of relatively unknown Liverpool youngsters took on our senior team and we lost, after a 20yrd thunderbolt from Curtis Jones. However, Everton have had their fair share of stunners in recent history, most notably Phil Jagielka scoring perhaps the greatest goal to grace a Merseyside derby. Outside of the box, he struck the ball first time just as it touched the
ground, allowing it to rocket so far top bins that some say Mignolet still hasn't recovered. However, we gained more bragging points against our red rivals the other week when Everton, the team that have been widely regarded as the second best in Liverpool, capitalised on Klopp’s poor run of home form and beat them 2-0, a lovely Richarlison placement and a somewhat controversial penalty from Sigurdsson. Even after our fantastic run of form as of late, boasting an impressive away record and sitting in a slightly unbelievable Champions League contender spot, I couldn't quite believe my luck as the boys in blue pounced on their opportunity for glory. After our last 10 years of winless games against Liverpool, we were able to abuse their poor form, lack of key defenders due to injury and Klopp’s naivety to secure a key three points in our 2021 campaign.
However, Liverpool had their fair share of shots too, 15 in total with 6 on target. They just couldn’t capitalise on their many chances, making it all the more amazing when we quietened their
erratic shooting with a lovely and calm penalty from Gylfi. Everton are a team that, as long as I’ve been supporting them, have been to hell and back. We’ve had lower half finishes,
embarrassing European and national exits and a lot of shade from our giants next door. Now it’s our time to shine! Left: Twitter @Everton Right: Twitter @ESPNUK
We were able to abuse their poor form, sheer number of injuries and Klopp's naivety The real nail in the coffin was when Liverpool lost their vocal, versatile captain Jordan Henderson in the first half, relying on the inexperienced Phillips as his replacement. He was no match for the stunning display from Everton’s forwards, who pressed him like there was no tomorrow.
How the pandemic hindered the growth of female sports Around 80% of female athletes are concerned at the lack of attention they've received, unlike men's sport, during the pandemic Elizabeth Meade
ith international sport disrupted at a level that was previously unimaginable, research shows the worrying disconnect between male and female sport. According to a study by Nottingham Trent University, 2/3 of elite female athletes are concerned about the longterm financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in sports. What is being termed a "gender play gap" is a great concern to female athletes, sponsors and researchers - particularly given the increasingly positive state of women's sport before the pandemic.
2/3 female athletes are concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19 Before lockdown, the England women's football team Lionesses won the SheBelieves Cup 3-0 against Japan in Florida and female darts champion Fallon Sherrock made it to the third round of the World Darts Championship. Now, the Lionesses
have not played a game in nearly a year, although they have upcoming matches against Northern Ireland and Canada scheduled. Whilst there seems to be opportunities on the horizon in football at least, other female athletes are faring even worse - Boxer Natasha Jonas said in a Sky News interview - "financially, it is tough worrying about when your next fight is going to be, especially when the board called all boxing off until late February. You know, there are no fights on the horizon. I am not contracted to anyone. It is financially a worry." A closer look at the Nottingham Trent study reveals more data points: 80% of elite female athletes "noted the growth of women's sport was hindered by inequalities between men's and women's sport" and 66% had concerns about the "longterm financial implications of coronavirus. However, the most notable statistic is that 91% of the survey respondents believed that "pay [was] unequal between the sexes."
much earlier, and since then, more consistently." "The pandemic has really opened up conversations about gender inequality in sport. It emphasised the difficulties many elite sportswomen f a c e , and in calling those out - from issues around competition cancellations, 'elite' football academies, testing, funding and TV coverage - it provides a possibility for stakeholders to reconsider their approach to women's
Normalisation is needed, such as calling women's sport simply: 'sport'
sport as simply 'sport'." Now, as vaccine rollouts should provide an opportunity to return to a greater normality, the sporting world will need to face these inequalities or risk losing the crucial progress of recent years.
sport. I think the future could look bright, but there is a need for broader cultural changes regarding women's and girls' involvement in sport, including normalising women's
91% of participants felt that pay was unequal between the sexes Dr. Ali Bowes' study last year on women's access to equipment and facilities during the pandemic suggested that a "prioritisation of men's sport [existed], and women athletes felt forgotten about during the initial lockdown." This latest study builds on that. Dr. Bowes commented the following in a Sky News interview: "Concern about the long-term financial impact on sport [were] often aligned with concerns about both the quantity and quality of media coverage. Disparities were exaggerated Image: Twitter @TashaJonas when men's sport was able to restart
Image: Twitter @Stephhoughton2
Monday 15th March 2021
Is Pep Guardiola the greatest manager the Premier League has ever seen? Pep Guardiola has revolutionised English football, but is he the best manager the Premier League has ever seen? Oren Brown
— Sports sub-editor
t could be argued that there has never been a season since the Premier League’s inception in which a team looked so perfect a candidate to win the quadruple, indisputably the greatest achievement in the league’s history. While many factors are involved, Pep Guardiola has ultimately spearheaded this campaign. With two Champions League wins already under his belt as a manager, is Pep moving into #1 position as a Prem manager? Essentially, 2021’s Man City might well be the best team we’ve ever seen in the Premier League. Few clubs have ever seemed so comfortable than they have over their last twenty games in all competitions – of which they have won all twenty. A great deal of this success must be attributed to Pep Guardiola. Until recently, a common criticism of Guardiola has been that he has had his teams handed to him on a plate. At Barcelona, he achieved significant success with a squad that was lined with world-class talent such as Leo Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi. He then picked up an incredibly wellrounded Bayern Munich squad in 2013. Guardiola spent no longer than four years at either club.
Essentially, 2021's Man City might be the best team we've ever seen in the Premier League
It could be said, then, that Guardiola’s first true challenge as a manager is happening presently. After picking up an outstanding City team in 2016, he then had the chance to build a team of his own – the team that we see today. Now a Citizen of five years, Pep has truly stamped his identity on to the team, and beyond that, the club itself. Criticisms of money-spending aside, Guardiola has proven that, given the opportunity, he can transform an already strong side into an utterly dominant one. Now a Citizen of five years, Pep has truly stamped his identity on to the team, and beyond that, the club itself. With that being said, the money discussion is one that can absolutely not be avoided. It is inarguable that Man City’s success could have never been achieved without abundant spending. Guardiola himself acknowledges this, stating that “[City] have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players. Without good quality players, we cannot [succeed].” The reality is, what City are doing now is simply impossible to achieve with a Leicester City or a Spurs. In fact, Liverpool’s current form suggests that even they may be beyond ever reaching this level of dominance. The reality is, then, that City have been given a very good chance at greatness because of their seemingly endless supply of money. But the money then must be invested properly, and beyond that, a good coach is required to get the best out of the big money players. Guardiola has proven he can do these things – with City boasting a more balanced squad, a more refined tactical approach and a healthier and happier dressing room than any rival in sight. We have seen City hit hurdles in the Guardiola era – tactics growing stale, players looking out of form, and so on. Right now, it feels as if Pep has addressed these concerns, remedied them, and made them better than they ever were. John Stones, who looked as if his City career was over not too long ago, is playing as good as anyone in his position in the league. İlkay Gündoğan
outscores most strikers from midfield after a relatively nondescript start to his career in the UK. Most importantly, Manchester City have gone through tactical metamorphoses – and that is unlikely to change, as they continue to adapt. .
Now a citizen of five years, Pep has truly stamped his identity on the team, and beyond that, the club So, is Guardiola the greatest manager the Premier League has ever seen? My answer, if it weren’t for the existence of one man, would be ‘certainly’. But Sir Alex Ferguson exists. Ferguson won thirteen league titles, eight domestic cups and two Champions League titles with Manchester United during his illustrious managerial c are e r. T h e m o s t
incredible thing about his tenure in the role was his ability to constantly rebuild and maintain dominance – something that will take Guardiola a while to match. As of right now, I believe Guardiola has inarguably obtained a podium position in the all-time Premier League managerial rankings – but he still has something to prove. Manchester City’s first Champions League still eludes them, and with their level of quality, time is running out for them to avoid embarrassment. If Pep wins the quadruple this season, or even just the treble, the conversation will change dramatically,
and it would no longer be scoffed at if you were to argue that he is the league’s greatest ever gaffer.
Image: Twitter @BrFootball
Can Novak Djokovic overtake federer and become the GOAT? With his win in Melbourne, Djokovic moved within two grand slams of Federer and Nadal Lauren Marshall
ominating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, Novak Djokovic stormed to a record-breaking 9th Australian Open title in Melbourne. But the question is, can he overtake Federer and Nadal in Grand Slams to become the greatest ever? Djokovic entered Sundays final confident with 8 Australian open titles under his belt and sure enough, he did not falter. Winning all 3 sets, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, the world number 1 crushed Medvedev leaving himself with 18
Novak Djokovic has won the most Australian open titles of all time: 9
major grand slam titles, only two behind the joint leaders, Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Despite Medvedev’s suggestion that Djokovic would be under the pressure of history, playing an opponent with nothing to lose from the second set until the final forehand, it was the Russian who was suffocating under the pressure. Djokovic was tearing through Medvedev’s outstanding 202.7Km/h serves, breaking 7 in the second set, eventually leaving Medvedev down three sets to love and the match.
"At this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones I value most" Following 2020’s triumph in Melbourne, Djokovic stated in an interview with ESPN that “at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones I value most”. With this in mind, Djokovic had hoped that Last year's achievement would set the tone for the year ahead. However, it was not an easy 12 months for Sport as we know, and when COVID-19 hit, it left only two slams for Djokovic to compete in The US Open and Roland Garros.
The US open did not go accordingly for Djokovic, surprisingly for reasons other than COVID-19. Out of anger, or so it appeared to many, after falling behind 5-6 to Carreno Busta, Djokovic
Djokovic was precluded from the tournament, and lost $250,000 in prize money firmly struck a ball to the back of the court where it hit a linesman in the throat. The decision was made for Djokovic to be precluded from the tournament and stripped of his ranking points and $250,000 prize money. The 2021 Australian open was a chance for Djokovic to put the mistakes of the previous year behind him and hit reset. Not even an abdominal tear caused by a fall just nine days before the final could stop the world number 1 from taking the victory. If Djokovic
had lost in Melbourne, this would have left him 3 slams behind Federer and Nadal, meaning he would have needed to win 3 majors after his 34th birthday in May - something no man has ever done before.
Image: Twitter @DjokerNole
Djokovic has secured himself yet another Grand Slam title leaving him closer than ever to the top. What will the Serbian achieve next as he chases down history?
Image: Twitter @RogerFedererz
Monday 15 March 2021
Outdoor sport to return in March after PM’s announcement
Lucy Rimmer gives us the rundown on sports restrictions in the UK following the latest Government roadmap Lucy Rimmer
n the 22nd February golfers and tennis players alike likely cheered at their screens after Boris Johnson outlined the government’s roadmap for the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in England, which included the opening of outdoor sports facilities. From the 29th March, outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and outdoor swimming pools will be allowed to reopen. Formally organised outdoor sports will also be allowed, including
football, according to the gov.uk site. Children’s sport is being prioritised as part of the wider plan for school reopenings that occurred on March 8th. This means Under 18s sports will be able to take place at school as part of their education or as part of wraparound care. The 8th March also marked the start of outdoor recreation being allowed, meaning sport can be done recreationally outdoors with your household, support bubble, or with one other person from another household.
From the 29th March, outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts will be allowed to reopen Similarly, the rule of six for outdoor gatherings will return on March 29th, which will include informal sports.
However, formally organised outdoor sports will able to restart and will not be subject to the gatherings limits.
"The turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate, subject to capacity limits on the venue”
and exercise classes. So in the meantime, dust off your tennis rackets, golf clubs, or basketball and make the most of the many outdoor spaces that Newcastle has to offer.
Image: Unsplash @martzzl Image: ITV, YouTube
The national lockdown has not seen the complete demise of sport. Elite sport was granted permission to continue during the third national lockdown in addition to, bizarrely, angling or fishing. It was highlighted that tennis and even golf is a naturally socially distanced sport but was banned during the third lockdown, so this move should hopefully serve to create more sense with the lockdown rules regarding sports. We will have to wait until 17th May at the earliest for adult indoor group sports
INSIDE SPORT TODAY
Women in Sport We celebrate International Women’s Day by talking to a variety of women in the sports world... Page 36 Images: Maddy Wood and Claire Nelson
Pep the Great
Red vs. Blue
Can Pep Guardiola be considered the greatest manager that the Premier league has ever seen?
How did the Merseyside derby go down, and what does it mean for Everton and Liverpool?
Page 39 Image: Twitter @BrFootball