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Issue 1411 Monday 2 November courieronline.co.uk


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Dealing with body dysmorphia

On male body image, self-love & portrayal of fatness in the media

Year abroad: witnessing the protests in Chile

Lifestyle | page 16

A sense of sabbness The Postgraduate Officer on representing students at a time of uncertainty page 9

Beauty | pages 18-19

UCU threaten industrial action

The Newcastle branch of UCU passed another motion to ballot for industrial action at last Thursday’s EGM Ella Williams & Ella McCaffrey — Editor & News sub-editor


niversity and College Union (UCU) Newcastle Branch have passed a motion that reaffirms the failure to reach an agreement with the university and consequently to ballot for industrial action. The development, which was announced on the UCU’s Twitter page, comes a week after an agreement was reached with the university to make in-person teaching voluntary in Tiers 2 and 3 of coronavirus restrictions. The motion was passed by 68 UCU members at their Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Thursday night, while 32 voted against the and 14 abstained. The EGM was attended by just 114 members, as opposed to the 300 present for the previous motion to ballot earlier this month. Another motion, passed on 14 October and pending confirmation with the National UCU, holds that Newcastle UCU will be moving to an indicative ballot. This includes the options of both indefinite strike and indefinite action, as in an overtime ban and a call out ban, in short of a strike. 7 UCU members who voted against the motion via email were not included in the final result. Prior to last week’s agreement, Newcastle’s UCU branch accused the university of failing to take health and safety responsibilities “sufficiently seriously”, demonstrating a “lack of leadership”. A deal was struck in a joint statement issued by the university and the UCU on 22 October. The statement confirmed that online teaching would be the default, including if the restriction level dropped from Tier 3 to Tier 2. Multiple UCU members were approached and declined to comment. The Shark of Solidarity, Newcastle

UCU’s mascot, said: “I respect the democratic process of the reef and its decision-making, and I await the decision from UCU National on whether this is a sufficiently high enough number to proceed to industrial action. “I know that so many colleagues are very aware of the impact on students, and want to minimise this – together we are stronger.” The Solidarity Shark urged the UCU branch to “not forget that the core business of the university is teaching and learning – and that vital bond between students and staff is what keeps the en-

“We are very disappointed that [...] UCU members have taken this action, despite the agreement we reached last week” Newcastle University spokesperson

ergy of the reef alive”. A Newcastle University spokesperson said:

“We are very disappointed that a small number of UCU members have taken this action, despite the agreement we reached last week where both sides agreed a way forward that would offer the best educational experience for our students while keeping our University community safe. “We remain committed to working with our local branch of UCU to resolve outstanding concerns and we very much hope there will not be a ballot for a strike.” The UCU had two strike periods last academic year due to concerns with un-

Image: UCU rally at Edinburgh University taking place in February 2019, Source: Magnus Hagdorn on Flickr

fair pay, contract casualisation, equality issues, increased workloads and changes to pensions. UCU members at 60 UK Universities walked out between Monday 25th November to Wednesday 4th December 2019. Following Universities’ failure to make improvements to pay, equality, casualisation and workloads, UCU members across 74 UK Universities participated in a second 14-day strike action between Thursday 20th February and Friday 13th March 2020. Newcastle University participated in both strikes.

Monday 2 November 2020 THE



2 Inside 2nd November 2020 Current Affairs | News Durham accent discrimination "She said she had a 'poverty fetish'": students in the North East talk about the judgement they face for their Northern accents. Page 5




Writers' meetings now on Discord! Wednesdays 1.30-2.30pm @CourierOnline @TheCourierOnline facebook.com/TheCourierOnline

Current Affairs | Campus Comment Confessions of a sabb Postgraduate sabbatical officer Charlotte Boulton talks about the backlash she and her team have received. Page 7


Current Affairs | Science Last chance to stop climate disaster? Lilla Marshall discusses the significance of the US election on the future of out planet. Page 7

Life & Style | Lifestyle A year abroad like no other... The winner of the Max O'Connell essay prize talks about getting caught amid social unrest during her time in Santiago, Chile. Page 16

Life & Style | Beauty Trying body positivity on for size Beauty writers discuss male self-image, body dysmorphia and the representation of fat models in mainstream media. Pages 18-19

Culture | Arts Celebrating black artists Our writers share their favourite authors, painters and poets of colour. Page 28-29 Durham book festival We review the various literary events on offer during Durham's annual festival. Pages 28-29

Sport Women in football A survey has revealed that 2/3 of women in the sport face discriminition. Elana Shapiro talks about the finidngs. Page 38



Life & Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Cayla Viner Em Richardson

Relationships Lily Abery Phoebe Eyles

Lifestyle -- c2.lifestyle@ncl.ac.uk Meg Howe Victoria Osho Yasmine Bridge

Beauty -- c2.fashion@ncl.ac.uk Margarita Ivanova Chloe Buchan

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

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

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

Dom Lee Finlay Holden Joe Smith

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

Film -- c2.film@ncl.ac.uk Peter Lennon Geordie Rivett-Carnac Hattie Metcalfe

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

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

Puzzles Joeseph Caddick

Sport -- courier.sport@ncl.ac.uk Senior Editor: Tom Moorcroft -- t.bmoorcroft@ncl.ac.uk Sam Slater Elana Shapiro Phil Etchells



Monday 2 November 2020



Should students have returned to university? Survey suggests that many believe it was the wrong decision for them to come back to the city


Sophie Wilson

ocal news outlet The Chronicle conducted a survey asking its readers about the recent return of university students to Newcastle. The results show an overwhelming majority believe they should have stayed at home.

82% of the participants thought that students should have stayed at home

73% of those who completed the survey believed that universities should have shut in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading. An even higher percentage, 82%, thought that students should have stayed at home when they reopened. Education Officer, Sian Dickie, told The Courier: “It is unsurprising to me.” She continued: “We have to remember that The Chronicle readership is a different demographic to the students of Newcastle University, and it is those people who I am here to represent.” This survey was conducted following the national move to the ‘tier’ system by the government. Newcastle is currently

in Tier 2, meaning there are relatively high rates in the area. Dickie added: “No one could have predicted the fluctuation of the R rate in the North East and lots of the student population moved up to Newcastle before the tier system was raised.”

“It would be unfair and unsafe if the student population would now be made to travel back home” “It would be unfair, and unsafe, if the student population would now be made to travel back home after they have just settled in.” The survey also asked whether universities should have done more to stop the spread of infection. 73%, approximately 12 000 people, agreed that they should. The university institutions in the North East have all put measures into place to protect students and staff alike, including face masks, social distancing and a rigorous cleaning regime. And yet, when the readers were asked if the government was wrong to allow universities to open, 75% said ‘yes’. This report has been followed by a deal between Newcastle University and the University branch of the University and College Union (UCU), which states that Newcastle University staff will not be forced back into working on campus unless it is essential to the course.

Image: Wikimedia

Child poverty rates Interview with '9k4what' rise in the North East organiser Unity Addison The increase in child poverty has put renewed pressure on food banks to care for families in need


Alicia Curry ew data reveals that child poverty in the north of England has drastically risen over the last five years. The study, commissioned by the End Child Poverty campaign, notes that the North East region has seen the greatest rise in child poverty. The data is based on children living in households below

The rate has increased from 32% to 41% in the past four years 60% of the median income. Between 2014-15 and 2018-19 the region has seen an increase from 32% to 41%. This means the North East has the

“The children affected are on a cliff edge" second-highest rate, behind London. As this data predates coronavirus, the analysis points to lower family incomes and the escalation of housing costs as the main reason. The pandemic will

worsen the situation due to headline rates of unemployment. Anna Feuchtwang, chair of End Child Poverty, commented: “This data reveals the true extent of the hardship experienced by families on low incomes – the majority of which were working households before the pandemic. The children affected are on a cliff edge, and the pandemic will only sweep them further into danger.” The findings were published days before Conservative MPs voted against the motion to extend free school meals for children over the holidays until Easter 2021. The overall vote was by 322 votes to 261. The Children’s Society estimated that one in six families are worried about providing for their children at this time, likely turning to charities for support. South Tyneside Food Bank, in South Shields, has stated it will need 15 tonnes of food and toiletries to get though the coming winter. A spokesperson for the organisation said that the coronavirus pandemic has made the demand for the service greater than ever. They added that the food bank is there to provide emergency help for people in the area “facing food poverty.” They said: “We are able to offer a livery service for people who qualify for a food parcel and are currently isolating, but delivery slots are limited." “If you are in need of a food parcel, one can be arranged via the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) housing charities, social workers, children’s centres, schools, and health workers.”

Thomas Wrath


fter a survey by The Courier revealed last month that just 34% of respondents are satisfied with Newcastle University, Tom Wrath spoke to student rights activist Unity Addison about growing discontent among the student body and the upcoming demonstration. What were your motivations for organising the protest? Basically, the idea came about when I read an article online about students’ experiences with food parcels when they were self-isolating… and seeing the signs on people’s windows. There was something haunting about seeing those signs that would usually just be a flat number, or ‘bring beer’, turn into political statements such as ‘9k 4 what?’ and ‘fuck Boris’. There were more disturbing ones about mental health and how students felt like they were in a prison. Students were misinformed by the government and universities, being told it was safe to go back to university… and they promised us a blended learning approach that included vital practical work and necessary in person teaching, but this has not been the case. Why should students have to pay more than £9000

(nearly £23 000 for international students) for an online degree? The quality of the teaching cannot be maintained whilst online and this has been proven over the last month. What do you hope to achieve with the organisation?

A demo and a rent strike will give students a voice to express their concerns about their safety, well-being, and education. I hope it will show the government and the universities across the UK that students won’t be taken advantage of and we will demand change, as well as encouraging students to stand up in the face of adversity. How can students get involved? The demonstration will take place on

Image: Unity Addison on Facebook

31 October from 1.30pm onwards at Greys Monument, with participants being spaced 2m apart. Stewards will be directing proceedings, and we are encouraging students that fancy dress is more than welcome! Please wear masks at all times, and if you have any accessibility issues please let us know in advance. How can I get involved if I’m having to self-isolate and am unable to go outdoors? Share, share, share online! We really need placards with bold statements on how this situation is affecting you! Get creative with it! We are also wanting to read out people’s stories of their difficulties so far at uni to make the event emotive, and give students a voice: this will all be anonymised.


Monday 2 November 2020




Newcastle University Startup

Newcastle University & CSF create new wins Entrepreneurs Award Black British scholarship programme Kate Lovell

— News sub-editor


ewcastle graduate Ngozi Ossai has won the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year prize for her start-up company, GOZI

Image: PxHere

haircare. The award was granted by Great British Entrepreneur Awards at the end of September at an online ceremony. Ossai, who graduated with a degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2016, will go through to the National Final in London on 23 November. She said, “I feel really excited and happy about the award, more recognition for GOZI Haircare, spotlighting what we are doing.” Ossai launched her company with the help of the University’s ‘START UP Founderships’ grant in 2018. This is a six month initiative supporting recent graduates wishing to work full time on a small business they’ve already begun. GOZI haircare describes its

vision as providing “non- toxic, natural and vegan-friendly products […] for the tightly curled hair-types”. A lack of suitable hair products for Ossai’s own hair led her to research the best natural ingredients, using social media to chart her experience. Noticing that this was a problem for many inspired her to create a business addressing the issue.

“I feel really excited and happy about the award” Going forward, Ossai said her business goal remains the same: “grow bigger and better. We are working on expanding our current range, reach, collaborations and partnerships with a focus on growth and keeping our customers happy.” For more information on GOZI haircare, visit: https://gozihaircare.com/collections/frontpage

Image: NCL University Founderships

In partnership with the CSF, scholarships will provide a free undergraduate course and living costs Alex Downing


— News sub-editor

he University's partnership with the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation (CSF) will provide any successful Black British applicants with a free undergraduate course, as well as covering living costs. The scholarship will help provide mentorship, role models, and resilience programmes for the students, in addition to funding both tuition and maintenance fees. Newcastle University is one of only five universities that will offer this scholarship from October 2021,

including Edinburgh, Southampton, Liverpool and Queen Mary University of London. The tuition fees of at least three students a year will be covered by the University for over a decade. This support comes in response to the disadvantages Black British students face in higher education. Founder of the CSF, Professor Richard Oreffo, said the institution aims to “address a significant barrier: the financial cost of university education”. He acknowledges, however, that there are many other factors in place that have an impact on Black British students and their university prospects. A Gov.uk investigation into ethnicity within undergraduate degrees for the academic year 2017/2018 found that 30.9% of white graduates achieved a first class degree. This was compared with 14% of black graduates achieving the same grade. These were the highest and lowest percentages out of all the ethnicity groups examined, demonstrating the disadvantage of black university students. The charitable foundation was established earlier this year and

intends to raise £500 000 to fund these scholarships. It seeks to provide 100 scholarships to disadvantaged Black British students that attend leading universities in the UK. Vice Chancellor Chris Day told Newcastle University’s press office that “access to university should not be limited by race or social class, but unfortunately this is not the case for all in our society. The financial cost of going to university can often be a barrier, so these scholarships could transform the lives of Black British students”. To apply for the scholarship, most candidates must live in the UK and be of Black African or Caribbean heritage. They must also have a confirmed place for entry to Newcastle University for a first undergraduate degree. This requirement also includes mixed race applicants. The applicants will also have to be assessed for a fee status as a ‘home’ student and have already applied to the relevant Student Finance body for a tuition fee and maintenance loan.

Continuation of railway line from Ashington to Newcastle The Northumberland railway line is set to reopen for passengers for the first time in 56 years Dom Lee


— Music sub-editor

roposals have been made for the revival of a disused railway line that would link Ashington with Newcastle Central, cutting journey times to less than half an hour.

Six new stations are being built for the proposed line

The Northumberland Line may be transporting passengers between Tyneside and South-East

Northumberland by around mid 2023, with six new stations being built for the proposed line at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and an expansion of Northumberland Park Metro station. The expansion of Northumberland Park would see the line connect with the Tyne and Wear Metro, allowing passengers from the coast and other areas across North Tyneside easy access to Northumberland. Newcastle University student and North Tyneside resident Bethany Richardson said: “Currently, the only public transport access to Ashington and Blyth is through the bus service.” “For many, this results in over an hour journey into Newcastle alone, on top of having to change to the metro if wanting to go anywhere else.” Bethany went on to add: “By reintroducing the Metro service, not only does it reduce travel time which means my friends don’t have to leave two or three hours before a shift, it’s the beginning of connecting the North East as a whole.”

Transport executives in the region are hoping that the £162 million project will attract government funding this year, which would help kickstart early work on the project. The line, which is currently only used by freight trains, hasn’t seen passenger services since they last ran 56 years ago.

"It's the beginning of connecting the North East as a whole" It is hoped that the revived service will rejuvenate the area economically, which has been suffering since the closure of the mining and shipbuilding industries around 30 years ago. Improved connectivity between Northumberland and Newcastle city centre will likely open up more job prospects as well as boosting the economy of the towns situated on the line. Image: Geograph



Monday 2 November 2020



Northern students contend with discrimination at Durham Uni Students experience abuse from peers and staff based on their background

Elsa Tarring

— News sub-editor

D Image: PickPik

NCL drug dealers show their hand Drug dealers’ business cards were being slipped under students’ doors

Alex Walker


n light of the two recent deaths at Newcastle University, it has been revealed that drug dealers in the Newcastle area have been slipping business cards under the doors of flats at a private hall of residence. According to students, the cards directed students to an Instagram account where they could buy drugs. Residents of private student accommodations remarked that the cards appeared only for a short period of time after they had arrived at university, possibly indicating that drug dealers could be targeting freshers. Professor Fiona Measham, Chair in Criminology at the University of Liverpool, highlighted this issue. She said she had warned “all summer to anyone who would listen” about the risks of students going back to university amid covid restrictions. This news came after two Newcastle University freshers were found dead at Park View a few weeks ago. A 21 year old Northumbria University student and an 18 year old man from Washington, Tyne and Wear, who was not a student, also died in drug-related instances. Prof. Measham continued: “Nightclubs are a semi-safe space, they have registered door staff and security, the bigger clubs often have paramedics, they have chillout spaces. If you don’t have nightclubs open, you lose that safety net.” “My concern was that over the summer there were illegal raves and now the weather is turning bad, young people will be having parties in private residences but they won't have paramedics on hand.” Instagram addressed the scale of the problem around the drug trade over social media. A representative of the social media company said: “We removed 1.4 million pieces of drug sales content between April and June, 95% of which we found proactively. [But] we know there’s more to do."

urham student Lauren White has compiled a report of northern students’ experiences at the University that details bullying and abuse from students’ peers and tutors. White grew up in Gateshead and started studying at the University in 2018. She described the attitude towards her and others as “toxic”. She described how she has been called “feral” and “degenerate” because of her upbringing. The student began the report a week after she wrote an article for North East magazine Beep, entitled ‘Things posh people have said to me’. She said that, while at university, she “was made to feel like [she] was an alien in [her] own corner of the country”.

“Someone said that she would sleep with me as she had a ‘poverty fetish’” Following the article, other northern students came to her with similar encounters, which encouraged her to assemble a document entitled ‘A Report on Northern Student Experience at Durham University’. In the study, a former student from

Liverpool described her time at Durham as “horrendous”, recalling how she was bullied for being from a workingclass background. “I was accused of stealing, I was told I would never get a job because of the way I speak, I was told that I was a waste of a worthy student’s place”, explained the student. She went on to define the term ‘rolling in the muck’, which was used to refer to students who were “sleeping with a northern working-class person”. She said there were “nights dedicated to [this] where sports teams or societies would go out to try and get with northern working-class people”. Student Jack Lines reported a similar

“I'm judged as being less intelligent than other students” experience: “On a night out, I was approached by a female student who said that she would sleep with me as she had a ‘poverty fetish’”. He also detailed being belittled for working to financially support himself, as well as being refused entry to college bars because staff didn’t believe he studied there. A Durham University student from Leeds, who wishes to remain anonymous, noted that some of the findings in the report were “quite familiar”. They told The Courier: “I often feel like I’m judged as less intelligent than others, simply due to my accent”. They continued: “Sometimes I feel out of place and definitely at first I was apprehensive to participate in seminars”, though they admit to using this to their advantage: “it motivates me to prove them wrong”.

Another student at Durham, also from Leeds, added: “I didn’t realise how obvious the class division was until I got to Durham”. Some students also felt forced to drop out of university, one of whom said: “I now tell anyone who’ll listen that it’s one of the worst institutions I’ve ever been a part of ”. Since sending her report to Vice Chancellor Stuart Corbridge, White has outlined five pledges she wants the University to commit to. These include providing support for students from the area and adding background to the Student Pledge as a characteristic all students should respect. Corbridge has vowed to look into the findings in more detail and commented that “we believe that everyone has the right to study and work in an environment that is respectful”. Since the report was published, students from across the UK have come forward with details of discrimination they’ve faced at other higher education institutions. Nina White, a student from Stocktonon-Tees who studied at the University of Warwick said: “[the experiences] made me feel like I did not belong at my university, that I’d got there by mistake.” Olivia Allen, from Birmingham and studying at the University of Exeter said: “I shouldn’t have to speak more eloquently to be listened to when I know the worth of what I’m saying regardless of my accent”. Allen continued: “If this is happening at university, what will it be like going forward, in the workplace?” If you experience discrimination at Newcastle University, you can contact the Student Progress Casework team at casework@ncl.ac.uk to make a formal report Image: Flickr (WISEBUYS21)

Image: Ian WaldieGett via inews

Northumberland prisoners kept in cells for eight days Inmates were not allowed to shower or access open spaces Kaitlyn Maracle


nspectors visiting the privately run HMP Northumberland found that prisoners with COVID-19 symptoms were kept in cells for eight days. Prisoners were kept in cells for 24 hours a day as a form of “unofficial punishment”, according to inspectors. While waiting for test results, prisoners had no access to open spaces or showers. BBC News also reported that a disabled prisoner was unable to shower for seven months due to lack of access to an accessible bathroom. This was allegedly due to social distancing restrictions, as the only accessible shower was in another cell block. The inspectors recommended “all prisoners should have access to a daily shower”. Last week, four staff and one prisoner tested positive for the virus. The prisoner has been isolated according to officials, and visits may be stopped if the area moves into Tier 3 regulations. Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said in his statement: “Most prisoners had only one hour a day out of their cell, in addition to collecting meals” and acknowledged that this was a more limited time compared to other prisons. In this one hour a day, prisoners could shower, exercise and use electronic kiosks to make various requests. According to The Chronicle, inspectors found little evidence of social distancing outside of enforced queues in their September inspection and noted that staff and prisoners were frequently grouped together. However, Samantha Pariser, the director of the prison, said that the institution had been following government guidelines in regards to social distancing, and mentioned that there were “extremely low levels of violence and self-harm” during the period.


Monday 2 November 2020




Flu jab delivery delayed due to high demand Alicia Curry


esidents in the North East – including the most vulnerable – are facing potential delays in receiving flu jabs due to high

demand. Several GPs and pharmacists have raised concerns that they have yet to obtain stocks of the flu vaccine, with delayed deliveries consequently leaving practices having to cancel fully booked clinics. Dr Alan McCubbin, Chair of Newcastle and North Tyneside LMC, said vaccine supplies were coming through to GP surgeries and local community pharmacies in “fits and starts”. “Some sites have received significant amounts of vaccines, some have yet to receive any,” he added. GPs are now facing a high volume of requests from worried patients, who are unable to access the vaccine as usual.

However, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson has urged: “There is no national shortage of the flu vaccine, with enough doses for 30 million people to be vaccinated in England. It is completely wrong to suggest otherwise.” “The vaccine is already being delivered for those in at-risk groups, including the over-65s, and this will continue throughout the winter months, so there is still time for those eligible people to get their vaccinations.” In an attempt to alleviate the pressure off of surgeries and pharmacies, a new initiative spearheaded by supermarket group Asda has been launched to deliver the flu jab service. Asda has announced a drive-through flu jab facility, specifically for those most at risk of catching coronavirus and being severely affected by it. It offers the flu vaccine, free of charge, to anyone eligible. This includes elderly people, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions and frontline health workers.

“The sad truth is that there is an increased mortality risk if you catch COVID-19 when you already have the flu,” said Asda’s lead pharmacist Maq Din. “As a result, some of our most vulnerable members of society are at twice the risk compared to others, which is why we are encouraging everyone to get a flu jab this year; it is more vital now than ever,” Din added. The stores offering this service are: Accrington, Bodmin, Eastbourne, Gosport, Hartlepool, Hyde, Nuneaton, Old Kent Road, Oldbury, Pilsworth, Sheffield, South Shields and Wakefield Durkar. “We are putting a number of measures in place at our drive-through flu jab centres, so patients can be assured that it is safe to visit – and they won’t even need to leave their car to get a jab,” Din advised. “Contact time will be kept to a minimum in order to allow pharmacists to be as efficient as possible.” Image: PxFuel

North of Tyne invests £1.6m for innovation of small businesses After ranking 23rd on the Smart City Index, Newcastle will receive a fund for innovation Ella McCaffrey — News sub-editor


he North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) will invest in digital innovation, benefitting 230 small Newcastle-based businesses. Investments are being made as part of a wider £10 million North of Tyne Digital Growth and Innovation Programme. The NTCA is partnering with the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) at Newcastle University, based on the Newcastle Helix building. This will enable small businesses to tap into data science to assess their performance and plan their next

Image: Geograph

moves. Firms will also receive training in digital sector skills. This includes support through digital training and business acceleration programmes, creating new jobs whilst supporting existing ones.

run at low-productivity and lowpay, such as social care, tourism, and hospitality.

“This is a digital investment that looks to the future”

Further, by growing the digital sector it is hoped that skilled graduates will be attracted to Newcastle, making the city a hub of digital talent, research and creativity. The announcement of investment came after Newcastle was one of the four UK cities to appear on The Smart City Index. Ranking 23rd in the world, Newcastle has beat cities such as Chicago and San Francisco. “These investments – in digital skills so people can access the jobs of the future and in one of our chief regional assets which is the National Innovation Centre for Data – will be absolutely crucial for small businesses to survive in the post-covid economy,” says Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council.

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Business Competitiveness and Leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes told Business Live: “This is a digital investment that looks to the future”. “Our digital sector is already one of the fastest growing sectors anywhere in the UK.” The North of Tyne Combined Authority hopes that the investment will support businesses in their recovery from COVID-19. In particular, the sectors that typically

Firms will receive digital training

Pub & restaurant owners’ open letter to Government Owners protest against the 10pm curfew

Alex Downing — News sub-editor


he Courier recently reported on the damage to Newcastle's nightlife due to the constraints on the North East, but it appears the problem is much more widespread.

Business representatives demanded more support for pubs, bars, and clubs Business representatives of Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland wrote a letter to the Chancellor in early October demanding more

support for the region's pubs, bars, and clubs. The open letter called for an easing of the 10pm curfew and financial support in the form of an extension of the furlough scheme. They argued that the employment of over 10 000 people and a revenue of nearly £680 million annually had to be taken into account when imposing restrictions. The letter also drew attention to the safety of hospitality venues and low infection rates. There were warnings that the situation will very likely get worse, due to the “despairing operators simply shutting their doors with the very realistic prospect of staff redundancies following at the end of October, when furlough stops.” In the following weeks after the open letter, Newcastle and the North East have only seen more business closures, and not just restricted to the nightlife scene. Leisure facilities that have been forced to close indefinitely include West Denton Swimming Pool, Eldon Leisure Centre and Walker Activity

Dome. As well as this, Sage Gateshead, a charitable organisation, announced in September that they would have to make 110 staff redundant. This came after deliberations that had lasted since early August.

The North East has only seen more business closures Despite fighting to avoid redundancies and receiving £300 000 in the first three months of their ‘Crisis, Recovery and renaissance’ fundraising campaign, the financial impact of the pandemic was on too large a scale to be challenged. A spokesperson for Sage told The Chronicle that charities like this organisation “have seen the most immediate financial impact” in comparison to the more heavily reported on nightlife closures.

Image: Pxfuel



Monday 2 November 2020

Image: Chris Day on Twitter and Joe Molander

Campus Comment

An overwhelming sense of sabbness

Any other S ideas?

The Postgraduate Officer discusses the recent backlash against the Sabbatical Officers Charlotte Paige Boulton

If tuition fees aren't going to be reduced, what else could the University do to help? Meg Howe


— Lifestyle sub-editor

hile students seem divided on whether the University should reduce the fees for this academic year, one thing we can all agree on is that the University should do something to make this year worthwhile for students! It seems that reducing fees is not an option. After petitions to both the government and the University, not much as been said in terms of the University’s stance. However, what seems a little more likely is that there could be a change in what is taught this year, and how it is taught. One thing that seems rather fair is giving students another ‘safety net’ policy (or something similar to this, since they have no data with which to calculate the predicted results for those in stage one of their degree programme). With many students having to isolate for different periods of time, and some even getting quite ill, being lenient when it comes to assessments might be in the best interests of students. I cannot imagine the extra stress and pressure that someone could be under if they fell ill whilst in the middle of writing an assignment or just before the deadline day! Of course, the University does have the PEC system, yet I still believe more could be done to put student minds at ease. Further, something that one module leader in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology has done that could definitely be replicated across the wider University is uploading more lectures! Rather than two hours of contact time that this module had previously had, the students registered onto this module now have up to five contact hours of which to take advantage. It is very reassuring to see some members of academic staff understand that this year is rather different for everyone, and that the value for money we are receiving this year is nowhere near the usual standard. This is definitely something that could (and should) be implemented across the entire University. Something that is needed without a doubt is continuity across each degree programme. It is not helpful when senior staff members contradict themselves and are unclear when it comes to communicating with students. We need some clarity!


ince June, I’ve been thrown in at the deep end starting work as a Sabbatical Officer. Not only have we had to contend with a global pandemic, which is completely altering the long-standing structures and assumptions in universities, we’ve also been hit by the A-level grades fiasco, a cyber attack which brought many university systems down, and the horrific tragedies of the loss of two students’ lives only a few weeks ago. All students are being impacted by at least some of these crises, and I understand why people are feeling angry, anxious, lost and wanting answers. I’m there with you. I’m here to explain the work we’ve been doing, the obstacles we’ve been hitting along the way and, honestly, to ask that people remember we’re also humans living through this awful situation just like you.

Comments on Newfess accuse the SU of being shit, and call officers “ lapdogs” Recently there has been a lot of posts on social media, like Newfess, slating sabbatical officers and the Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU) for a perceived lack of action on pressing student issues. Comments include ones claiming that the “SU is so shit…they just sit on their arses”, that the SU needs to “get your act together and start making a difference”, that “there is no point in any of you remaining in your jobs”, that “sabbs are merely there to be lapdogs” and that “executive officers [are] virtue signalling and furthering their future career prospects”, and so on and so on. With criticism like this, I want to be clear what the issue is with these thoughts being posted on (mostly) toxic anonymous Facebook pages. Criticism, and questioning what’s going on at NUSU and the University, is so fair, and needs to be raised. Students should be demanding answers and looking for them if they can’t see them clearly, and I will be the first to admit we haven’t always been able to be as vocal about our progress in meetings and policy-making as we’d like, which is frustrating for students who perceive that as nothing being done. But why not email us? Why vent on an unmonitored, unofficial site that thrives on exaggeration, cruelty and hiding behind anonymity? I understand that some people feel Newfess is more engaging than the actual democratic structures of NUSU, like Student Council, but ultimately you’re directing your frustrations in the wrong place. If you actually want answers, Newfess is not the place to get them. I’ve honestly lost track of the number of days I’ve worked from 9-5 with back-to-back meetings with

no breaks, worked late and over my paid hours to finish up, and there have been many days of tears and feeling like I’m failing, just stumbling through reacting to crisis after crisis. I’m aware that, sadly, much of this work is invisible to students and I know it’s frustrating. The nature of being in highlevel university meetings representing students is that, a lot of the time, the discussions are confidential and we can’t share information publicly right away. Many of the issues facing students are hugely complex issues that cannot be solved in a single meeting. We are all physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted after fighting for months for progress on key issues of tuition fees, accommodation ‘pay as you stay’ systems, mental health support, personal tutoring and so much more.

Students have valid concerns, but what officers do is sustained, rigorous work. In short, it needs time Students’ concerns that they aren’t seeing anything said are valid, and I’ll personally be writing more regular updates on my officer blog on the NUSU website in an effort to be more transparent. We k n o w where we

can do better and we are working so hard to represent all our students. There are no quick, easy fixes. This is sustained, rigorous work that needs time. You cannot rush into these battles when students’ lives, finances and academic outcomes are at stake. We are here for you: we are a students’ union and none of us take that lightly. If you want to know more about what we’re doing, just get in touch through the appropriate channel (our work emails or questions at Student Council, not our private accounts or Newfess). We’re people, doing our best, but it’s infinitely harder to do our jobs well when our mental health is suffering from the consistent anonymous hate being broadcast without actually speaking to any of us about the issue first. We are passionately working as your student representatives living, and leading, through the biggest crisis we’ve ever experienced. We’re definitely not perfect, but we’re doing all we can to support our students. Image: Joe Molander



Monday 2 November 2020




No contactless for the homeless

Is the move to a cashless society going to be detrimental to homeless people?

W Abjol Miah

elcome to the post-covid world. The office is empty, efficiency is the new normal and cash is dead. For middle-class affluent workers, the radical societal shifts in the last nine months can be seen as an overall positive. To them, cash was merely a constraint on tap-and-go transactions and enabled the annoyingly poor twits in the front of the queue to create a backlog. Not to mention, a vector for covid transmission, which has the potential to massively inconvenience their perfectly scheduled week. For the ‘feral and wicked’ underclass of homeless people and panhandlers, who are constantly snubbed for a 20 pence donation, however, life without cash would be a different affair. By 2026 the use of cash is projected to fall to just 21% of payments, with contactless and card payments taking centre stage. COVID-19 has only drawn this closer. The homeless are first limited by their lack of permanent address – a key criterion to open a bank account and receive a debit card. They then face the problem of what to put into said non-existent bank account. No bank? No job. With contactless payments eliciting more impulsive spending , the argument is made that if homeless folk were able to tap into such a donor market, they could increase their revenue. This fails to consider that the homeless lack that infrastructure, and do not have bank accounts, further highlighting the immense privilege it is. Start-ups such as TAP London have trialled projects where contactless payments can be taken throughout

the city, for redistribution to local homeless. However, this deprives the homeless of the little autonomy and self-fulfilment they can entertain, putting their survival in the hands of bureaucrats.

The homeless may risk losing their anonymity Furthermore, the digitalisation of transactions to obtain essential goods and services abolishes the anonymity of the homeless. Unlike the rest of us, the option to buy back some sense of their privacy, navigating alternate ways to put food on the table, is nonexistent. Society is on the fast-track to cashlessness, and while the affluent might save a few minutes of their life or slightly reduce their risk of an infection, these said benefits are not ubiquitous in their appeal. In an age of alienation, non-autonomy and commodification of privacy, cashlessness will render the most vulnerable dependent on an institution which can never really care.

ments, meaning that for homeless people it is very difficult not to be reliant on cash. Some Big Issue sellers have started using card machines to generate more sales in an increasingly cashless society. However, you still need a bank account for this. This means that people in the most dire situations are losing out on sales to those who have managed to set up a bank account, in a job that is meant to be accessible to all. Card machines also need a data connection to work, which is very difficult to get on the street, especially in more rural areas. Many people have also suggested that having access to a card reader makes homeless people seem disingenuous, as people associate access to technology with prosperity and therefore doubt how in need someone with a card reader really is.

Scarlett Welsh


hen a homeless person asks members of the public for spare change, the most common response they will hear is “sorry, I haven’t got any cash on me”. Most people these days don’t carry cash on a regular basis, and since the pandemic began this has been heightened as many establishments are discouraging cash payments in an attempt to reduce germ transmission. On a day-to-day basis, most people don’t need to use cash. But how is this affecting the homeless population? Having stopped to give a man some change in Jesmond recently, on the rare occasion that I had any on me, he said to me “I can’t make any money because no one is carrying cash”. For people experiencing homelessness, it is almost impossible to get anywhere without physical money. Without an address, you can’t set up a bank account, therefore you cannot receive cashless pay-

There are some benefits, but they're few and far between Another issue with cashless payments is that they can take a few days to process, which can be a huge problem for the homeless as the majority are surviving donation to donation with no back up reserves of money. However, some homeless people have said that this encourages them to budget more effectively, so there are some potential benefits for the homeless in a cashless society, though they are few and far between. As we move rapidly towards a cashless society, as idealistic as that may sound for many, the homeless population is continuing to suffer. Donations are dwindling due to less people carrying cash, and most have no way of becoming cashless. Image: thenounproject and stickPNG

The Presidential Penis A look at the history of the cultural fascination with the Presidential member Muslim Taseer


ohnson, Dick and Jimmy and Willy. You might think I’m naming words for a man’s privates, and I am. But they’re also the names of four American Presidents. That’s a joke, sure, but there is something there worth looking at. The American Presidency has, to date, been a male profession. Men, generally, are obsessed with their phalli. It makes sense, therefore, that there will be some sort of public interest in the presidential penis, right?

There is a huge amount of writing which focusses on President Lydon B. Johnson’s johnson Well, maybe. The strongest evidence for this is the huge amount of writing done on Lyndon B Johnson’s johnson. LBJ was a VP-turnedPresident. The presidency was thrust onto him: he wasn’t voted in. By that point, it had been almost a century since a sitting president was assassinated and the consideration that a VP might need to assume the presidential office wasn’t an important one. Still, one man made it to the 3rd floor of a schoolbooks depository and cut JFK’s term short. The point is, Johnson wasn’t really meant for office, as his refusal to r-

un for a second term makes apparent. Throughout his presidency, Johnson maintained a certain penchant for whipping his johnson out, as some sort of strange power play. He wasn’t shy on talking about it either, famously describing his ‘bunghole’ and his balls in a phone call with his tailor. White House staff were all familiar with Johnson’s privates due to him being keen on urinating in the parking lot and turning to face anyone unlucky enough to walk in on him at a urinal. He called it ‘Jumbo’. LBJ once answered reporters badgering him about why the United States was in Vietnam with a simple, unmistakable off-the-record gesture: he unzipped, pulled out his penis and said, “This is why!”. That kind of sums up US involvement in Vietnam: totally senseless. If using phallic imagery to make arguments is good enough for the ‘Leader of the Free World’, it should be good enough for all of us. It’s not just Johnson though. Richard Nixon, another absolute disgrace of a person, spurred the use of the term dick to describe a penis, a linguistic meme that spread like wildfire. The nickname ‘Tricky Dick’ followed him around his whole career. His ‘tricks’ eventually lead to the Watergate scandal, forcing him to resign and relegating him to the bottom of president ranking lists forever. He made a real dick of himself. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bill Clinton’s wil-

ly and the amount of trouble it got him in. The President couldn’t keep it in his pants. It got him impeached, and in no small part influenced the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. The loss of prestige for the Democrats helped Bush win, and in such a closely contested election, who’s to say it wouldn’t have helped Al Gore win if Bill kept it in his pants? With the presidential penis having caused so much of a stir throughout history, it makes sense that people have some fascination with it. It’s also good to be reminded that the office of the POTUS is always going to be filled with strange, often horrible men that at the end of the day are just h u mans, n o better than you or me. Image: Pikrepo

Nagorno-Karabakh We examine the conflict in Armenia and Azerbaijan Faye Navesey


he conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is a perfect example of an already complicated and delicate situation being escalated and worsened by foreign intervention and misinformation. Almost all human rights organisations agree that a peace agreement must be reached soon. This is the only way to avoid the conflict becoming even more devastating. The conflict re-emerged over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area is recognised by the UN to be part of Azerbaijan, but the majority of the population is made up of Armenians. It is governed by the unrecognised Republic of Artsakh. This isn't the first time conflict has occurred over this territory, but there has been a general stalemate which had lasted since 1994. Foreign intervention from Russia and Turkey has done little to help. The Turkish President Erdoğan proclaimed his support for Azerbaijan over Twitter and has since been arming Azerbaijani forces. Conversely, Russia has expressed support for Armenia, but claims to be acting a peace broker in the conflict. Other foreign states such as Canada and the UK have condemned the violence and called for a ceasefire, without supporting either side. Social media hasn't helped, spreading is often false and only confuses the situation and creates hysteria in which a peace deal cannot be reached. The situation has never been a simple one, and it will certainly not be resolved through separatism and hasty foreign intervention. It is safe to say that the best solution for both parties is a peace agreement that is longstanding and avoids any further casualties.



Monday 2 November 2020



It's grim up North Operation Oak

Is the government applying restrictions fairly between the North and South, or is it being harsher on the North? Gemma Powell


he pressure is on the North East, as a potential Tier 3 lockdown looms over the area, despite evidence of a flattening curve according to local council leaders. Newcastle, in particular, is an area with a decreasing case rate among both local and university populations. With both universities on Tier 3 of the Higher Education scale and likely to remain there for a while, students will no longer play as big a part in the spread of covid as they once did. The local population of Tyne and Wear should not be subject to further measures that will impact their livelihoods, while Nottingham (a city in either the South or the Midlands depending on outlook) is able to remain on Tier 2. Nottingham is the worst area in the UK with 880 cases per 100 000 and was not placed into Tier 3 along with Liverpool, a city with only 635 cases per 100 000. Liverpool University, along with multiple other northern higher education providers including our own, are now teaching online, except for cases where it is necessary to have present-in-person teaching. This appears not to be the same in Nottingham. An anonymous student living in the city told The Courier that they are still receiving three hours of face-to-face teaching and were only

told this week to wear masks in lectures. The response from Newcastle University may not have been perfect, but it has always been part of their statement that masks will be compulsory, indoors, on campus, at all times. If northerners and northern HE providers are behaving safely, but both the student and locals are being served greater punishments, it is impossible to see that this is anything but anti-northern bias. I was upset, but not surprised, at the shock and outrage coming from Londoners at what freedoms they are having removed, when Tier 2 has been our scenario for nearly two months. The lack of care for northern cities, northern jobs, and northern lives throughout the pandemic has been obvious; it only leads to further resentment against the South and the ‘metropolitan elite’ bubble that is our capital city.

Image: Joe Molander

Cora Herbert


s the coronavirus situation develops further in its second spike, the regionality of the restrictions to combat the virus are becoming ever more apparent. Undeniably the North of England has been hit harder with heavy restrictions, from bans on household mixing to the closure of pubs and bars in more extreme cases. It may feel as though the North is being targeted unfairly with these stricter measures, but the evidence suggests these steps are more than just an unwarranted attack on Northerners, but a scientifically justifiable move that aims to protect the population. The rules laid out by the newly imposed ‘tier’ system are not to single out the North and be a ‘ban on fun’ but are in place to help bring down the rate of infection in places that need it most in order to protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. We can speculate the reasons behind this regional divide, such as the higher number of university cities, the arguably greater drinking economy or the socio-economic difference from North to South. But at this moment the explanations for the higher cases in the North are of less importance as the numbers remain undisputed. All major northern cities remain well above the national (England) average of 95 positive cases per 100 000 people in an area (figures for 7-13 October): Liverpool - 643 Manchester - 431 Sheffield - 412 Newcastle - 396 Leeds - 373 Bradford - 338

It's understandable that the North may feel victimized, but we must look at the objective figures It is understandable that the North may feel vic-

timized, but we must look to the objective figures for an explanation for the division in rules. Higher cases mean higher restrictions. Unfortunately, this has meant a geographical divide.

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Needpix and Joe Molander

Instead of focusing on the differences between regions within England, taking a broader perspective reveals greater disparities between the four nations of the United Kingdom. The severity of social distancing measures varies hugely across the UK: Scotland imposed a ‘tier 3’ style system across its central belt, Wales is looking at border control while Northern Ireland has adopted the controversial full ‘circuit-break’, meaning a four week closure of the hospitality sector, work places and schools. Although the North-South divide in English restrictions should not be overlooked, of greater concern is the variability of constraints on daily life for different nationalities within the UK. The North-South restrictions imbalance are based on science, but the national disparities remain an act of politics.

The University contributing funds to police patrols in student areas sets a dangerous precedent Stephen Dawes


few weeks ago, the University announced that the so-called ‘Operation Oak’ will be stepped up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a deal between Northumbria and Newcastle University to fund more frequent patrols in student neighbourhoods. The rationale being that where students are concentrated can often become a crime hot spot, putting students and residents at risk. This is a scheme that already sets the Universities back some £125 000 per year and to assist in safeguarding the city from COVID-19. Police patrols will now supposedly take place every night of the week in parts of the city with a high student population (Jesmond, Heaton, etc).

Operation Oak has always seemed out of step with how public services in this country are meant to act The concept of Operation Oak has always seemed somewhat out of step with how public services in this country are meant to act. The operation basically sees the police perform what is ostensibly their job in exchange for financial incentives from the Universities. If the need for preventative policing in Jesmond is so great that the Universities were able to identify it, then surely Northumbria Police must be able to do the same. After all, aren’t all new police officers now graduates? If there is a crime problem in Jesmond, then the police should be upholding the rule of law and protecting the people regardless of whether the central budget is being aided by the Universities. If the case is that the police won’t adequately patrol a section of the city unless certain people donate money, it'd be a scandal, tantamount to a protection racket straight out of an old timey mob movie. This is hopefully a mischaracterisation of events, but it begs the question of whether the policing in student neighbourhood would be adequete if the University did not pay. Again, I suspect not. Police officers busy on Operation Oak are officers not patrolling in other wards of the city where crime is considerably higher. The upshot is that Operation Oak sees police services bought and paid for the leafy pleasant streets of Jesmond while more needy parts of the city whose residents cannot pay the toll are not privileged with the presence of police patrols to keep them and their neighbours safe. While £125 000 is pocket change to institutions with budgets just shy of the 500 million mark, it is still a worrying precedent to have police policy bought and changed by external institutions, no matter their perceived benevolence. Image: Wikimedia Commons


Monday 2 November 2020




Word of Shooting high to save the planet the week Serotinal Prince William and David Attenborough launch The Earthshot Prize to save the planet Isabel Lamb


Oshin Sharma

ow do you describe the season after summer but before autumn? That time of year when summer becomes slightly drier, and the breeze brushing past you begins to give you chills. When you’re warm enough to wear your shorts, but still carry around a cosy hoodie. Or when the sun shining through the window heats your skin but the wind starts to whistle through the cracks. If you’re like me, you were probably not aware of the fact that there was a word for this time of year, but there is. The word is serotinal.

First known use of the word dates back to 1898 Serotinal is used in relation to the latter and usually drier part of summer. It’s derived from the Latin word sērōtinus meaning “late of time”. Although the first known use of the word dates back to 1898, the word has more recently been employed by botanists to describe the life-histories of freshwater organisms during the late-summer season. With autumn fast approaching and our cosy sweaters coming out, feel free to use this word to reminisce about the serotinal nights that passed us not too long ago.


rince William, a member of the British royal family, and Sir David Attenborough, arguably a royal of the animal kingdom, have announced the launch of their brand new Earthshot

Prize. Comprised of five goals, known as ‘Earthshots,’ and backed by an international collection of philanthropists and organisations, it aims to encourage a new generation of global thinkers, activists, and intellectuals to challenge environmental change by 2030.

Five one million pound prizes will be awarded Over the next 10 years, the Earthshot Prize pledges to annually award five one million pound prizes, one per ‘Earthshot’, to those who have the largest positive impact on environmental change and help to improve global living standards. The winners can be anyone from individual scientists and small scale community projects to entire cities and countries, and are decided upon by the Earthshot Prize Council, whose members include athletes, CEOs, politicians, royalty, and even an astronaut. The five goals of the Prize aim to improve life for everyone everywhere by 2030 and beyond. They are underpinned by global scientific targets and by bringing them together, the Earthshot Prize hopes that the urgency required to tackle all five simultaneously will be realised.

What are the five ‘Earthshots’?

1) To protect and restore nature

The stability of the world we inhabit is vital. The Prize pushes for the repair and preservation of all habitat types, promoting growth rather than decline of nature by eliminating illegal wildlife trafficking and encouraging reforestation. 2) To clean our air

By 2030, the Earthshot Prize aims for everyone to breathe clean air. To achieve this, they are searching for those who are working towards removing out-of-date transport, implementing sources of renewable energy, and confronting pollution.

from our atmosphere than we put in. The Prize is looking for those who are helping people affected by climate change, building defences and rebuilding lives.

The Earthshot Prize appears to be a collaborative, inclusive award that should set a precedent for rapid action to tackle the pressing issues of environmental change affecting every species on the planet. The incentive to act will hopefully inspire a plethora of innovative, ground-breaking ideas and technologies that will help to combat the ongoing struggle of planet Earth. For more information visit https://earthshotprize.org/

3) To revive our oceans Our oceans are in peril. To heal, they require humanity to continue developing technology that does not just preserve, but revives coral reefs and marine species on the brink of extinction. Implementing sustainable fishing methods to fight declining stocks is a priority. 4) To build a waste-free world The Prize wants fresh, cutting-edge technology and methods that eliminate food waste and single-use packaging, and instead encourage the reuse, repurpose, and recycling of all forms and types of materials. 5) To fix our climate To combat climate change, we must work towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, by removing more carbon

Image: Greg Rosenke via Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons

US Election 2020: the last chance to stop the climate crisis?

With a day to the election, here’s why another Trump term could be catastrophic for Earth Lilla Marshall


n 3 November 2020, the United States of America will go to the polls to choose between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. With the climate crisis clock ticking down, and two candidates holding very different views on how to handle it, this could be the most important presidential election in history.

Donald Trump Donald Trump’s presidency has prioritised deregulation, in an attempt to keep businesses happy. Environmental regulations have been a common target of this. One example is the replacement of the Obama-era ‘Clean Power Plan’ with significantly weaker legislation, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions by just 1% more than if no regulations were in place at all.

Trump initiated plans to remove the USA from the Paris Climate Agreement Most famously, Trump started the process to take the USA out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which would make the USA the only country outside of the arrangement. The process of exiting is not official until 4 November, the day after the election. Trump has also rolled back regulations on coal

production, in an attempt to revive the USA’s coal industry, which was a campaign promise in 2016. Regulations that required oil companies to reduce methane leaks were also rolled back. Donald Trump’s personal views on climate change are questionable. In 2009, he signed a letter to Obama praising his efforts at fighting global warming and stated that it was a real issue. Yet by 2010, he was calling global warming a “con” and by 2012, saying that it was a “hoax” that was “created by and for the Chinese,” although he later claimed this was a joke. One tweet in 2018 read, “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”. The climate crisis does not appear to be at the top of his agenda. Michael Mann, a professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State and leading climate expert, declared this year, “A second Trump term is game over for the environment – really!” “Another four years of what we’ve seen under Trump, which is to outsource environmental and energy policy to the polluters and dismantle protections put in place by the previous administration … would make that [limiting warming to below a degree and a half Celsius] essentially impossible.” A spokesperson for the Trump campaign told Vox, “Unlike Joe Biden, who is willing to sacrifice millions of US energy jobs to appease the radical left, President Trump and his administration are promoting both energy independence and environmental health through innovation."

Biden will ensure a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050 US achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions by 2050; reinstate the regulations on methane emissions; ensure that all government buildings are ‘climate-ready’; reducing carbon emissions from transport and more. Biden has been criticised by climate activists for his stance on fracking (which is a prominent producer of methane), due to his refusal to back the idea of banning it outright. He has, however, stated that new fracking contracts will be rejected, if he is elected president. His reluctance to commit to a full ban is likely because of Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground state, which is the 2nd highest producer of natural gas in the country, behind only Texas.

Paul Bledsoe, former communications director of the White House Climate Change Task Force under Bill Clinton, said “Joe Biden is proposing that the US adopt climate change tariffs on nations who do not reduce their emissions. Biden’s international climate plan, if anything, is even more ambitious than his domestic plan. So the contrast [between him and Trump] could not be starker.”

Does it even matter? We’ve already passed many crucial tipping points in fighting the climate crisis, where it is now impossible to turn back. Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases immediately, the planet would continue to warm for many more decades. It is not too late, however, to do something. By mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions, we can prolong the effects of climate change – giving us more time to prepare and adapt for disaster.

Joe Biden While Trump believes that the climate crisis is a “hoax”, Joe Biden has stated that it is a priority. He has stated, previously, that he will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on day one of his presidency and has claimed that he will take it even further. The ‘Biden Plan’ states that he will ensure the

Images: Flickr and Wikimedia Commons



Monday 2 November 2020



COVID-19 or common cold? How the prolonged wearing of face coverings can cause sore throats One of our writers unmasks the science behind sore throats Freda Tuor


s face masks become a staple of our day to day lives with their various colours and designs, more people have reported sore throats as a result of wearing their mask. While a sore throat is a less common symptom of COVID-19, it can be still be indicative of the virus. So how do we tell the difference? In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, one of our main responses has been to use face masks and coverings to trap droplets when we talk, cough or sneeze. This avoids the spread of the virus by preventing these droplets from transferring between individuals, especially among those who have the virus but do not show symptoms such as a sore throat.

Speaking louder for longer periods of time may cause inflammation of the larynx

particles. This can irritate the throat, resulting in soreness.

One overlooked reason as to why a person may experience a sore throat after prolonged mask wearing may be speaking louder for a longer period of time. This may cause inflammation of the larynx (containing your vocal cords), giving your voice that familiar hoarse sound. Although sore throats are a less common symptom of COVID-19, suffering from one may lead people to incorrectly think they have contracted the virus. This could cause an increase in the demand for unnecessary covid tests, putting additional strain on the NHS. While sore throats are most commonly a symptom of viral infections such as pharyngitis, they can be caused by bacteria, for example streptococcal infections (strep throat).

Cleaning your hands before and after removing your mask can prevent the transfer of bacteria The transfer of bacteria can be increased by the constant touching of your mask with unclean hands. Cleaning your hands before and after taking off your mask, as well as washing the mask frequently, can help prevent this. It is also important that you allow your mask to completely dry before wearing it. If you choose to air dry your mask in direct sunlight, this can help kill microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses by damaging their genetic material. With all this in mind, there's only one thing left to say: happy mask wearing!

Unwashed masks can lead to the acquisition of bacteria from dirt and dust particles Therefore, wearing a mask for long periods of time without washing it can lead to the acquisition of bacteria from dirt and dust

Image: Pixabay

Mythbusters: let's set the record straight Are bats really blind?

Is Antarctica actually growing?

The truth behind one of the most common scientific myths

Polly Stevens

An explanation of the climate denier’s favourite defence


Shreya Dube

You’re blind as a bat!” We’ve all heard it. Myself particularly, when missing the most obvious objects in front of my own eyes. Naturally as a biologist, I mused to myself, are bats actually blind? Most bats, especially the larger species, can see up to three times better than humans. Their optimal visual spectra is what humans would consider ‘pitch black,’ while their true tact lies in an ability to echolocate. Echolocation works by emitting a series of clicks, allowing bats to detect desired objects (such as prey) from the time and frequency of the reflected sound wave. This is followed by a number of morphological adaptations including their oversized ears, which aid in echolocation by funnelling sound to be heard correctly. This adaptation continues to the inner ear where the middle inner ear muscle (the stapedius) contracts to deafen the bat to its own ultrasonic call, which can range from 50-120dB. Luckily, we aren’t privy to these frequencies, as they fall below the human hearing range. Humans can detect sound waves to an upper boundary of 20 kHz, whereas bat calls range from 20-200kHz. Whilst the whistles and clicks of most bats originate from their mouths, a few species such as the Horseshoe Bat produce them from their nostrils, which have specially shaped structures to act as an amplifier for their calls. So, next time a companion brands me with the jest that I’m “blind as a bat”, I’ll stick my nose up at them and thank them for the comparison to such a marvellous creature. Image: Pixabay

he idea that Antarctica is experiencing ice expansion is commonly cited as an argument against global warming: how can the frozen land mass be growing when the climate is supposedly warming at an unprecedented rate? But is there any truth in the climate denier’s favourite piece of evidence: is Antarctica really growing? The answer is – technically – no. While the interior of East Antarctica is slightly gaining mass due to increased snowfall in a warming climate, ice loss from West Antarctica means that, overall, the continent is losing land ice at an accelerating rate. Scientists estimate that between 1992 and 2017, Antarctica lost 2 720 billion tonnes of ice, equating to a sea lvel rise of 0.3mm/yr. So where has the myth of the continent’s expansion come from? The answer lies not in Antarctica, but in what surrounds it: sea ice. Formed in salt water during winter and almost entirely melting during summer, sea ice surrounding Antarctica has experienced long term growth since the start of satellite observations in 1979, prompting the misconception that it is the continent itself that is expanding. However, unlike land ice, when sea ice melts, global sea levels do not measurably change. As to the causes of this growth in sea ice in an ocean warming at an unprecedented rate of 0.17°C per decade, there are several theories. A drop in ozone levels over Antarctica may have strengthened cyclonic winds which create open areas of water, known as polynyas, in turn increasing sea ice production. Ocean circulation is also likely to have played a role: increased rain and snowfall due to higher air temperatures leads to ocean stratification as freshwater is deposited at the surface, reducing heat transportation from deeper water and melting of floating sea ice. In summary, Antarctic sea ice is a complex mani-

festation of the variable impact of climate change on the planet. But in any case, our focus should lie on the principle message that Antarctica is sending us, in the form of an unprecedented rate of continental ice melt with the potential to raise sea levels by 6.5m in the next century.

Image: Pxfuel

Got a question about science? From the science of how stuff works to explanations behind bizarre scientific phenomena, put your weird and wonderful questions to our writers. Contact The Courier on social media to get in touch with our editors.



Monday 19 October 2020



My ups and downs of the keto diet Snack of the Cayla Viner -- Food sub-editor ith no restaurant visits planned, no social drinking sessions in the diary or any excitement on the horizon, I thought why not try a diet? To fill up a couple of months of nothing, I decided to attempt the Keto diet. To put it simply, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb (as in really low-carb) diet. The intense removal of carbohydrates puts your body into a state of ketosis. Your body starts to become super-efficient at burning fat for energy, rather than finding energy from carbs. Besides being wellknown for weight loss, research from WebMD says that it can help prevent heart disease and type two diabetes. Now, in order to get into ketosis, I had to start logging my food. This is really tedious when you start out, because everything you eat has to be noted down to track its contents. The idea is for your daily intake to comprise of just 5% carbs and a whopping 70% fat. The remaining 25% should come from protein.


coconut flour, erythritol, psyllium husk and xanthum gum (gluten-free chefs will know this one). The only thing I recognised on the list were eggs. Where on earth was I meant to source these?! Had I not been stuck at home and now an expert in online shopping, I think I would have given up right there. Instead I persisted, obtaining everything from a WholeFoods website (it was legit, I checked). I have to warn you, I balked a little at the cost- things definitely add up when you’re restocking your entire dry-goods cupboard. I had a lot of fun making new things and even surprised my family with the success of some of the alternatives. The best foods I ate on my keto diet were: • Banana bread • Tortilla wraps • Twenty minute bread • Avocado and scrambled eggs on toast A couple of things to take away from this article is that a Keto diet is not a long-term solution, and if it starts making you view food negatively or affects social gatherings, you should bring the diet

to an end. Secondly, one of the most important things you need to be wary of throughout this diet is making sure that you are still getting a good amount of fibre, which can be easily overlooked with the reduced number of carbs. Unfortunately, I learnt that the hard way! In summary… Pros: • Weight loss can occur, if that is a personal goal of yours • You don’t feel the need to snack through the day • You can find some sort of alternative to your fave foods Cons: • It is very restrictive • You have to keep track of foods so you stay in ketosis • It is expensive to source alternatives • There can be some annoying side effects • It is not a long-term diet solution Image: Pixaby

Cayla Viner


Greek yoghurt and honey


hatever the time of the year, whether it be a super hot day in the middle of July, or a curlup-in-a-blanket-by-the-fire December night, I am always in the mood for a snack. I used to happily indulge in chocolates and baked goods, until my waistline said no. I needed to find a snack that would satisfy my cravings and not end in a massive sugar crash at 4pm. So, I give you this healthy, yet super filling alternative. I am a little particular when it comes to which yoghurt I like, but in order to have the best yoghurt and honey experience, I urge you to to avoid any products that advertise 'low fat.' To replace the lack of real fat, companies fill the supposed 'diet friendly' versions with extra sugar, completely removing the natural creaminess needed to fully enjoy this year-round snack. In regards, to the honey, while we would all love to reap the benefits of manuka every day, you will be just fine with Rowse - affordable and easy to mix. Sometimes if I really want to treat myself, I'll add some raspberries and blueberries. Yum!

Your daily intake should compromise of just 5% carbs and 70% fat As I started this journey, it became evident that carbohydrates were hidden in many foods that are regarded as healthy, such as: shop-bought ‘healthy snacks,’ nuts and a lot of fruit and vegetables. To make the whole process harder, I was the only member of my family embarking on this crazy new diet, and so I suddenly had to plan all my meals by myself. That being said, it was exciting to discover the internet actually had tonnes of keto alternatives, so I didn’t feel so alone. With a love of baking and a lot of lockdown time on my hands, I was determined to find some low carb treats. Every recipe included almond or

Uni food vouchers get mixed reviews from students Lottie Wright takes a look at how isolating students have found the university's food voucher scheme

Lottie Wright


ccording to the The Chronicle’s latest figures, there have been over 1750 confirmed coronavirus cases at Newcastle University in the past fortnight. Subsequently, a growing amount of Newcastle’s student community have headed into self-isolation as the academic term begins. In response to this, Newcastle University announced added support for those affected by the virus, including a greater focus on student welfare, medication delivery and academic help.

Alongside these initiatives derives the big old question about student food supply. Nationally, universities across the country have come under much scrutiny on their differing approaches to food packages and vouchers.

One off £50 voucher to spend at the Co-op store in the Student’s Union

Image: Flickr

With supermarket delivery services limited and delayed in the region, and likewise the issue of communal student kitchens across accommodation, how have Newcastle University addressed the provision of food and safety of their students during the lockdown? At a glance, the food voucher scheme seems very credible; a one-off £50 voucher to spend at the Co-op store in the Student’s Union for self-isolating students. Very handy if you are struggling to get a slot on the online delivery and a quick form to complete. The voucher is valid for one year from the date it is issued to you but can only be used in one transaction. Simply, be sure to make the absolute most of the £50 when you receive that voucher. Although, upon speaking to some selfisolating students who have previously applied for the voucher, things haven’t appeared quite as ‘smooth sailing’. The key issues identified involved: problems with the voucher codes,

delays with arrival, and in sometimes, no delivery at all. A third-year student, who requested the support while in quarantine alone, responded: “It has been disappointing to say the least … when I was isolating, the Uni reassured me they would send it and I’m now out of isolation and still have not been sent the voucher. As a result, I’ve had to spend more money and time getting hold of a delivery.” Meanwhile, another respondent, who was self-isolating in their shared student house, sympathised with the University’s efforts to accommodate increasing requests: “I think so many students are ordering at the moment, the University must be overwhelmed! For instance, my friend has only had half his order delivered because apparently, they were out of stock. I am self-isolating now; I’m not even attempting to order!”

"I'm now out of isolation and still haven't been sent the voucher" Alternatively, we spoke to someone isolating in catered accommodation, who benefits from onsite staff and delivery to flat, stated: “I tried applying for the voucher today and the codes are expired. This meant I had further complications trying to contact the University, which was quite time consuming!”

Monday 19 October 2020



Relationships Finding your people at University takes time 14

Sofia Chiscop gives advice to freshers on making long lasting friends at university. Sofia Chiscop


tarting university can be equally exciting and intimidating. Both international and home students face the same fear… meeting new people. Will you fit in? Will you find your group? How will you cope with so many new faces? First of all, take a deep breath. I know how stressful this can be. Believe it or not, I was more stressed about making friends than I was about the workload. And then I went to my first lecture, and I realised that unlike in high school, it’s impossible to befriend everyone in your “class”. As grim as this may sound, it was a liberating moment for me as I let go of the pressure I had put on myself prior to that moment.

Your people are out there, and you will find them in the most unexpected situations Still, it may sound like a cliché, but we really were or are the same boat. And the constant pressure to have “the unforgettable uni experience” or the university friendship stories


Image : @expressionsbhanastassia (Instagram))

that your parents can’t stop retelling only make the situation more stressful. As I said, it’s important to remember that everyone is going through the same things and that no one has it all figured it out (although their Instagram stories may tell you otherwise). That being said, putting pressure on yourself to “find your tribe” can only do harm. Your people are out there, and you will find them in the most unexpected situations. For i nst anc e, I met one of my best friends at the dog café and this wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for my lack of punctuality - good things can come out of bad habits, apparently. On t h e same note, contrary t o what you h a v e heard, you don’t necessarily need to befriend people that a r e on your course. Sure, it helps when you are freaking out about deadlines but that’s not all there is to friendship and you know it. G o o d things really do come to you w h e n you don’t force them. So, focus on yourself and your passions. Join a society, a sports club or take part in the activities organised virtually by NUSU. People will come and

Connecting to people is more important than ever right now

hand when you are freaking out, who will carry you home at the end of the nights that you don’t remember, who will make you laugh when you don’t even feel like moving.

people will go and the ones that matter will stay in your life. I know that considering the chaos that the current situation is, making friends seems even more daunting. However, if we look for the silver-lining, connecting to people is more important than ever right now and the bonds that will be formed during this year of uni (let’s be honest, you are going through a pandemic together) will be a lot of things but not shallow. Appreciate the beginning of a friendship, all those cringe moments when you get to know each other, the first bonding moments. “Falling” into a friendship is kind of like falling in love: one moment you are going through that awkward stage, next thing you know you are inseparable. I am sure that everything will work out and you will find your people. The ones that will hold your

Image : pixabay.com

The joy of female friendships

Toxic Friends

Annabel Hogg discusses the joys of female friendships.

n terms of friendships and relationships, ‘toxic’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot. I love that we are acknowledging relationships that aren’t good for us and raising awareness of toxic traits to look out for. There are also some more subtle toxic traits in friendships that too many of us have put up with for too long. Here are some toxic traits that we need to leave in the past. Jealousy of their success Jealousy of your friends’ success can occur when you are having a low day yourself. However, if you struggle to ever be happy for your friend, that is concerning. Society often dictates that we need to compete with one another. We need to change this mindset. It is empowering to lift each other up and support our achievements. Everyone is on their own path and there is enough space for us all to achieve greatness. Making you feel special when it suits them If you feel like you must work hard to get your friends attention and love, please, get rid of them. All too often there is one friend who almost looks up to their other friend and craves their attention. The other friend then abuses this power dynamic and treats their friend terribly, except when they need their support. Feeling excited when your friend is nice to you is not normal. There are people out there for you who will support you no matter what. Friends and partners are supposed to add to your life. If anyone in your life makes you feel drained, you need to re-evaluate their place in your world. Once you realise your value and worth, you will have the strength to confront any toxic situations within your social life.

Stop gossiping and stop caring!

Annabel Hogg


hen was the last time you tried to impress someone with the phrase ‘I’m not like other girls’? Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone about Feminism, only for them to respond by saying that women are their own worst enemies? The stereotype labelling female friendships as bitchy is persistent and it’s boring, but it’s also somewhat true. Now let me get this straight; I ADORE women. My friends make me laugh until I cry, they encourage me to go after my dreams and they care far more about hearing about my personal achievements than gossiping- but it wasn’t always this way, and for many women; it still isn’t. From day one, women are fed the idea that their purpose in life is to be fit for the male gaze. In fact, this is SO drilled into society that sometimes we don’t even realise it’s happening. So what does this have to do with friendships? Well, it is our world’s obsession with the male gaze and being fit for it that creates a toxic competition amongst women. When being the apple of someone’s eye is a priority, it creates jealousy of anyone we deem prettier than us. It also creates a fear and a judgment of those who dare to step outside the realms of patriarchal perfection- AKA where slut shaming comes from. So, how do we form real, beautiful friendships with other women without adhering to capitalist theory and becoming competitive and jealous?

Well for starters, stop making talking about other women a foundation of your friendships. If you and your best friend only ever get together to judge other women then you’re probably not as good friends as you think you are, you’re just bitching partners. Stop gossiping and stop caring. You do you. Similarly, don’t bitch about your friends. Any time you’re about to talk about them, ask yourself if you actually disagree with their actions or if you’re just jealous and reflecting your own insecurities. We all get angry sometimes and that’s okay, but casual backstabbing and jealously is unhealthy for you and for your friends. Work out what the problem is, be it you or them, and fix it together. Most importantly, learn to love yourself. The easiest way to form beautiful and empowering friendships is to stop being threatened by one another. This can only be done when we are truly secure with our individuality, and this takes timebut it’s worth it. Other women aren’t your competition and the sooner you realise that, the happier you’ll be. Beautiful friendships start to form when we focus on self-love and become comfortable in our own skin. Start matching the girl power energy found in club

bathrooms in everyday life. Being a woman is hard enough as it is, we shouldn’t be making it harder for each other. It’s time to start celebrating out individuality, encouraging braveness, empowering every woman and recognising that the patriarchy is the enemy, not each other.

Image : Instagram: @sasa_elebea

Phoebe Eyles




Monday 19 October 2020


Hi Sarah, why did you sign up for Blind Date? So me and my flatmates thought it would be fun to sign up as we mainly met people through nights out last year, but that’s obviously changed and we thought it would be fun to try something new. What is your usual type? I usually go for height, being fairly tall is a bit more important to me, and someone sporty. Also someone with a good sense of humour and are generally easy to be around. What were your first impressions of Dom? He seemed really open and friendly. He was also wearing a shirt which put my jumper to shame! Did you enjoy going on a Zoom date? It was quite different to being able to meet in person – probably more pauses where there was a lag in connections. Plus it was weird going back to doing a more social zoom rather than for uni, gave me flashbacks to lockdown in April! If Dom were a drink, what drink would he be and why? Hm, probably a beer? As he was relaxed and easy going. Would you want to meet up in person, when restrictions allow it? Potentially! We’re quire different in terms of interests and things but he seemed really nice and the conversation flowed pretty well!



Hi Dom, why did you sign up for blind date? Because I’m sad, lonely and single and I thought going on a date would help… stop that. What is your usual type? Ooh, that’s a really tricky one! I don’t think I have one type, I think there’s a couple. First is someone who shares a lot of interests and whose life I can become invested in, but then I have this other second type which is just girls that scare me… not sure why. What were your first impressions of Sarah? Well, I thought she was very pretty. She seemed a little nervous at first but that’s probably because Zoom isn’t the ideal platform for a first date. But I found her really interesting and she had a lot to talk about so I’d say really strong. If Sarah were a drink, what drink would he be and why? Sex on the Beach, eyyy! Nah, I think she’d be something like a Pina Colada because they are colourful, fun and they put a smile on your face. That’s really fucking soppy that *laughs* Would you want to meet up in person, when restrictions allow it? Yeah, we discussed it at the end of the date actually. I’d definitely be up for it. Could you sum up the date in three words? Awkward but fun.


Monday 2 November 2020





“Chile Despiertó” : The Earthquake that Shook Chile 2020 winner of the Max O'Connell essay award Emily Pearce writes about her experiences in Chile during recent protest and unrest Emily Pearce


ctober 2019, student led protests against a small rise in transport fees in Chile’s capital, Santiago, became the catalyst for the worst social unrest the country had seen in thirty

years. On the evening of the 19th October, the city, shortly followed by the rest of the country, erupted in anger against the long-term austerity measures and deep inequality that Chile has endured for the past three decades. The unrest lasted months, never quite settling despite various economic reforms and the offering of a referendum on the country’s current constitution, and has only quelled under the coronavirus lockdown. Only days before the outbreak of social unrest in October, Chile’s President had claimed that when looking at Latin America comparatively with Chile, Chile was an “oasis” stating, “we have a stable democracy, the economy is growing and we are creating jobs”. In a continent that is not known for any of these things, Chile was an anomaly, and had become a beacon of hope for many

One percent of Chileans hold more than a third of the country's entire wealth

other developing countries. It was for these exact reasons that I had found myself so attracted to choosing Chile for my year abroad. Surrounded by the Andes, Santiago boasts the diverse and exciting Latin culture, whilst having a westernised feel. It is unlike anywhere I can describe. Anyone who has paid attention to Chile over the last three decades would know that it is nothing short of an economic miracle. Thirty years ago, Chile freed itself from the shackles of fascism with the overthrowing of their dictator, Pinochet. The neoliberal economic model that it undertook led to the privatisation of many sectors, which in turn has forced

extreme economic growth. To put this into context; the economy has grown an average of 4% every year since 1990, resulting in Chile having the highest GDP of the continent. No one can argue that this isn’t impressive, and in a world obsessed with capitalism, economic growth and consumerism, these statistics place Chile as a near perfect model for all developing countries. However, the inequality and wealth disparity prevalent in Chile is quite staggering; 1% of Chileans hold more than a third of the countries entire wealth, placing Chile in the top 20 most unequal countries of the world. In fact, Chile’s income gap and economic inequality is 65% higher than the average OECD country, with the average salary in Chile equating to around £431 a month. You only have to spend a week in the capital, Santiago, to understand that Chile is not a fair and equal country. So when Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, announced a 3% rise in metro prices, (the equivalent of 3 pence) the Chilean public decided they had had enough. For the average family of four, this rise in transport fare meant that 20% of the monthly income would be spent on two working parents travelling to and from work alone. Everybody has a boiling point, and it has since become apparent that this was Chile’s. The Chilean people claimed to have finally “woken up” (“Chile despiertó”), and a cascade of emotion and anger from the thirty year long period of extreme austerity poured out onto the streets of Santiago, with chants for the President to resign, demands for a fairer society and a new constitution, all under the explanation that “it's not thirty pesos, it's thirty years”. Whilst the first few weeks of my time in Chile was spent travelling on the weekends, eating in restaurants, partying in bars and visiting my friend’s houses whenever I wanted, overnight, I suddenly found myself living in a city ravaged by social unrest. The noise of helicopters, tanks, people protesting, and singing all became the new lullaby to which I fell asleep every night, whilst dodging tear gas, water cannons and protests on my way home from work became my latest hobby. Buses, metro stations, supermarkets and public buildings blazed every evening. There was a fifteen-day state of emergency in which there were night curfews monitored by armed police and the military. Shops and supermarkets were shut for a week after the unrest started, meaning we had to ration the food that we had in our flat until we could shop for more again. Naively, I had thought (or hoped), that a few reforms would

pacify the unrest, and that Santiago would go back to how it had been before, but I was incorrect. On around day eight of being housebound, it dawned on me that I had somehow found myself in the midst of a social revolution. As exchange students, we were caught in the crossfire, forced to navigate the grey area between supporting the protests whilst understanding that they were not our fight. Chile had come to a crossroads; for better or worse, the country would never be the same again. When I gingerly stepped back into my life that I had made for myself, I found a version of Santiago that was so different to the one that I had previously known. The outpouring of pain and anger was so intense that there was literally no stopping it. Graffiti was used as a form of protest and it was incredibly powerful. I read about the poverty people faced, I read about people’s hatred towards the government and the police, but most disturbingly, I read about the human rights abuses that were taking place.

The more you take from people, the more they have to fight for

Image (left): Wikimedia commons Images of graffiti from the protests, taken by Emily Pearce. Translations (from left): "Piñera asesino" = "killer Piñera" (Piñera refers to current Chilean president) "lucho por mi familia" = "I fight for my family" "el slieldo minimo es violento " = "the minimum wage is violent"

An investigation by the UN concluded that 345 people had suffered eye truama The official death toll of the protests is 27, but I know from living in Chile that the overall consensus is that the real death toll is a lot higher. An investigation by the UN concluded that 345 people had suffered eye trauma, whilst it was also clear that there was evidence of systemic torture, abuse and sexual assault being enforced on the protestors, with the hope that this would deter people from protesting. Still, regardless of all of this and a few reforms quickly being issued, the unrest didn’t stop. The Chilean people kept fighting, and the whole world looked upon the unfolding situation with a mixture of horror and confusion. It seemed that the world’s media were missing the point: the more you take from people, the more they have to fight for. I had really underestimated what it would be like to move to a country with a relatively new democracy, and had not really understood or even thought about the hangover affect that the turmoil’s and terrors of a dictatorship can create within a society.

Image: Emily Pearce



Monday 2 November 2020



Students really can live plastic free! Victoria Osho gives her tips and tricks for living a waste free life on a budget


Victoria Osho

hen it comes to being environmentally conscious, everyone these days is becoming more and more aware of their negative impact on the environment. One thing that comes to mind is plastic and its damaging effects. But avoiding this foe is a completely different ball game when it comes to being a students with limited resources. So what are the ways in which us students can attempt to reduce our plastic use easily without damaging our bank accounts?

Reuse any reusuable items From shopping bags to plastic bottles, reusing any reusable items makes it easier to recycle plastic while reducing overall usage in the long term. Delegate how to use what and follow it diligently. With time, this will simply become second nature, so you will not even have to think about it. Practice makes perfect!

Eat your own cooked food as much as possible I completely understand that this is not accessible for some people, but if you can, eat your own

cooked food as much as possible. Giving yourself a set time to do some meal prep will not only save you some money over the week, but also make it easier to avoid buying food wrapped in plastic from the stores. We do not realise just how much plastic we go through by buying meal deals! Even on the weekends, try seeing if you can make your own 'fakeaway', without having to order in.

bulk buys can be found in certain bulk stores, or more easily, online. For instance, bio-d cleaning products has a lovely range, from washing up liquid to fabric softner, and can be bought in bulk to reduce plastic use and save money. They are also generally more Eco-friendly, vegan and cruelty free!

Invest in a resuable bottle and straw, and take it absolutely everywhere Make sure your bottle is constantly filled with water or any other preferred liquid so as to avoid the need to buy bottled water. Reusable bottles can be found absolutely anywhere, so keep a look out for cheaper ones if you are on a budget, and make sure they are steel as these are more durable. The same goes for the reusable straws which can also be found in any store near you, but there are collapsible ones on eBay which are much more portable and won't cost you much money.

Glass, glass, glass

Use more glass in place of plastic, as these are more easily recyclable and can be used for other purposes. For instance, buy glass containers of spices instead of plastic, as these can be used for various things in the future, and can also be refilled. If you are the clumsy type, or cant deal with glass for other reasons, then simply doing number one already reduces your plastic use. Reducing plastic use as a student can be tough, and sometimes, not very practical. But as long as you're trying your best with whatever means you have available to you, you are doing great. adopting these habits, with time, can become effortless.

B u y certain i t e m s in refills or buy in bulk There are certain items, such as cleaning items, which make it easy to buy refills instead of a completely new plastic container of the same thing. It also saves money and reduces plastic to buy certain items in bulk. By doing this, you are substantially reducing your plastic use while saving a bit of money as well. These refills or

Image: Wikimedia Commons Image Pixabay: @Kevin_Snyman Image Pixabay: @LilyCantabile

David Attenborough's quest for social media

Molly Taylor delves into the importance of Sir David Attenborough's venture into social media Molly Taylor


n the 24th of September, the world was treated to a lovely surprise… Sir David Attenborough’s first Instagram post. The account took only four hours and forty-four minutes to reach one million followers, breaking the previous world record by thirty-two minutes. The 94-year-old states in his first video that he

By breaking away from traditional methods, his social media presence is an adaptation towards a fast paced and ever-changing world is exploring a new method of communication in order to raise awareness about the world’s climate crisis and “explain what the problems are and how we can deal with them”. Social media in recent years has received criticism for encouraging bad mental health, self-esteem and

even sleeping habits. However, events like this remind us of how and why social media can be used in beneficial ways. What is so clever about Attenborough’s gravitation towards this modern medium is that social media is almost second nature to many of us, and therefore by conveying the message through an aut hor ity figure that we trust, and a medium we find accessible, it makes the climate crisis easier to absorb and listen to. This act of modernising the message in order to adjust and appeal to the younger generation is one which is both necessary and smart; by adapting and engaging with the people who will inevitably have to deal with the consequences of the climate crisis, Attenborough shows an awareness that salvation, inevitably, lies with young people.

We have seen other examples of the benefits of social media within the climate crisis in recent years, a prime example being Greta Thunberg’s rise in popularity due to social media and the press. The genesis of Thunberg’s activism career starts in 2018, when she sat on the steps of Swedish Parliament every Friday in protest of the climate crisis. Since then, she has attended numerous conferences including the UN ClimateC h a n g e Conference in Poland and the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Her fame and popularity, for the most part, is down to social media and the press, whose coverage of Thunberg allowed her to gain traction in her cause and spark an interest in the climate crisis amongst young people all over the world. We can see in the past that social media has educated many people and

Figures like Greta Thunberg have shown that no one is too small to make a difference highlighted the detrimental effects that environmental degradation is having on our planet, and why we should care about it. By both recognising and harnessing the power of social media, Attenborough has sparked an interest and instigated concern amongst many people regarding the longevity of our planet, whose landscapes are disappearing, oceans are dying, and climates are fluctuating. Yet it is not all doom and gloom.

Image: Pixabay, @Minakel2003 Image (Left): Flickr, @DavidWilson

Monday 2 November 2020





Fenty x Vol.2: trying on male body positivity for size Eve Brennan discusses Rihanna's inclusion of plussize male models in her newest SavageXFenty show Eve Brennan


Photo: @savagexfenty on Instagram

Truth hurts: "being fat is normal" Margarita Ivanova explores the impact of the first black plus-sized woman on the cover of Vogue

Margarita Ivanova In 1998, Oprah Winfrey lost twenty pounds to be on the October cover of Vogue. When the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, proposed she lose weight, Oprah “welcomed” the suggestion. Now, more than twenty years later, the October cover features Lizzo, a woman who refuses to be defined by her weight. As she exudes confidence and beauty in her crimson Valentino dress, Lizzo sends a powerful message: there is nothing wrong with her body. The “ideal” body in the 90s and early 2000s was

'We have to make people uncomfortable again, so that we can continue to change...' a body that was slim, toned — and predominantly white. Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that Oprah found it difficult to imagine herself ever making the cover of Vogue, or why she took up Wintour’s advice. In the cover story of her 1998 shoot, Oprah, when asked if she had ever dreamed of being photographed in the magazine, said “I’m a black woman from Mississippi. Why would I be thinking I was gonna be in Vogue? I would never have even thought of it as a possibility”. Oprah went on to state that she had been “fighting weight all [her] life”, that she never even considered herself an “attractive girl”, so again she pondered the question — why would she dream about being in Vogue? Lizzo, on the other hand, does not ask this question, but rather, poses another. Talking to Claudia Rankine, she makes it clear that body positivity is not just some “cool” movement, that it is not enough to be body-positive, because positive is not normative, even though “being fat is normal”. Lizzo understands that there is still a long way to go to normalise bodies like her own: “I owe it to the people who started this to not just stop here. We have to make people uncomfortable again, so that we can continue to change. Change is always

uncomfortable, right?” Change is not just uncomfortable — it is also difficult. Especially when a movement created to uplift women becomes a way to commercialise their bodies. Lizzo makes a point of mentioning that many body-positivity campaigns feature “smallerframed girls” instead of the “girls who are in the 18plus club”, and who, ultimately, become estranged from the movement. As with “everything that goes mainstream”, Lizzo says, the body-positivity movement “gets changed” to fit society’s notions of what is “acceptable”. Lack of diversity, likewise, defines what is perceived as beautiful within the fashion and beauty industries. Although Lizzo is “glad that this conversation is being included in the mainstream narrative”, it does not change the fact that the majority of plus-sized models are white, or belong to the category of “smaller-framed girls” who obscure other plus-sized women from the movement. Yet despite the lack of representation of plus-sized black women, and plussized women as a whole, Lizzo is full of hope. Women whose bodies look like hers — women like Oprah, all those years ago — may not have been wellrepresented in the past, but Lizzo proudly sets the foundation for a better future. Her cover shoot is not just a turning point for Vogue, but a call for other magazines to follow suit, and for the media to normalise the bodies that have been marginalised for so long. Change is uncomfortable, because it challenges what is acceptable, and what is acceptable is often difficult to challenge. But with a leader like Lizzo, we can begin to rewrite the narrative.

Photo: @lizzobeeating on Instagram

adgal Riri has done it again! Pushing boundaries and expectations is what Rihanna does best, and her lingerie line is no exception. Her second fashion show, which aired at the beginning of October, included models of all genders, sexualities, body sizes, abilities and ages. But it was the plus size male models, Steven G and Soouizz, that caught everyone’s attention. The second fashion show for Rihanna’s brand, Savage x Fenty, has received a lot of attention since it aired on Amazon Prime. The first show that aired last year amassed heaps of praise for its’ diverse range of female bodies. This time, Rihanna went one step further by including men in this celebration of inclusivity. Men on social media shared that the inclusion of male models with bodies like theirs made them feel sexy, confident and even emotional. Steven G. responded to the positive reaction from social media saying, “this is for every guy built with some extra meat…” and “I didn’t imagine I would be a pioneer for a movement that has been slept

on”. Soouizz added “we made history” after being showcased in the fashion show too. The female body positivity movement has come a long way, celebrated by plus size models like Ashley Graham and body-positivity advocate, Lizzo. But it’s important to remember that it’s not just women who are held to unrealistic body standards. Steven G. disclosed that his main challenge as a plus size model (size 2XL) is finding clothes that fit him in men’s shops, but this isn’t the same situation for curvy women. And he’s right! More and more brands, like ASOS, are making an effort to include plus-size women on their websites and advertising campaigns, but there has been a slack in pushing this movement for men.

"This is for every guy built with some extra meat..." What makes Rihanna’s decision to include plus size men so revolutionary is that the inclusion was not introduced as a separate feature to the main Savage brand. The plus size models for Savage, both men and women, are integrated with the other body sizes both in the Vol. 2 show and on the Savage x Fenty online shop. The overwhelmingly positive reaction to this inclusion could be a turning point for the male body positivity movement. Since Rihanna is notorious for making anything and everything fashion, it is undeniable that other brands will be tripping over each other trying to follow in her footsteps.

Brand of the week: ASOS Charley Moran tells us why ASOS is worthy of celebration for its body inclusivity in the fashion world Charley Moran I'm sure we are all guilty of scrolling through ASOS and somehow managing to have a basket full of clothes way exceeding our budget . Their size inclusive attitude is a less talked about topic but is hugely admirable and is really helping to change the fashion industry and the overall attitude towards body positivity. looking at their clothes, a high majority of their products come not only in a variety of sizes but also for tall, straight, curvy, plus,

maternity and petite. The sheer volume of body types they consider and accommodate for is such a positive attribute. It allows all body types to erase the thoughts that we all have whilst online shopping, such as, “will this fit me?”, or “urgh they don’t have my size!” because with ASOS there is something and everything for all body types. Another area of ASOS I want to look at is the statement on their website - “we want to give our customers the confidence to be whoever they want to be”. Now although these words can often be throwaway statements for fashion brands, in many ways ASOS demonstrates that they genuinely live up to this passion. My absolute favourite part is that they do not edit out any part of the model. They let the stretch marks shine, the scars sit proudly and let the models natural shape take centre stage. You cannot scroll through the website anymore without finding a body you recognise. The brand boasts diversity, as well as unity between all body types. I think this is so important for our mental health; like many others I can put my hands up and unfortunately say I have compared myself to models online, an unhealthy habit that can lead to poor self-esteem. Leaps are being made with brands like ASOS promoting real bodies and portraying how the clothes really sit. It helps us to move away from the unrealistic expectations of what we think we should look like based on the common image of perfection in the media and more to simply loving ourselves. Bodies should have never gotten into the trend of being edited to fit this unrealistic expectation in our heads. Brands like ASOS are trailblazing the incorporation of real, natural bodies in all their glory and thus meeting their mission to make fashion “fun for everyone”.

Photo: @asos_sophia on Instagram



Monday 2 November 2020



Catfishing blackfishes: catching Dressing with dysmorphia Kaitlyn Maracle opens up cultural appropriation about her experiences with Sophia Ayub delves into the history of tanning and how 'cultural appreciation' can turn into 'cultural appropriation' Sophia Ayub Being a woman of colour, I am no stranger to the odd comment of admiration in regards to my complexion, all of which I heartily appreciate. But unfortunately, more than often it triggers racist treatment and views from uneducated, ignorant individuals. So, it’s safe to say watching people actively toss and turn between skin tones doesn’t sit easily with me, and here’s why. To begin with, it’s essential that I outline that I do believe in freedom of expression and that we reserve the right to do what we wish to our bodies. We’re all about love here. Yet, when I do see influencers as well as everyday individuals, express ignorance towards minority unsettlement over the topic of fake tan, I find it extremely frustrating. How did we get to this place? Victorians did not stan’ with the tan Summer glows weren’t always a popping trend. Deeper tones were typically associated with lowerclass individuals in western culture, whereas fair tones were symbolic of beauty and wealth. This just so happened to coincide with degrading societal views against ethnic minorities. Victorian ladies were known to intensify the paleness of their skin through cosmetics, even creating artificial blue veins. Caspar himself would be spooked. Then along came Chanel It was in 1923 that people began to appreciate the beauty of deep tones, thanks to French fashion icon Coco Chanel, who made a trend out of sunburn. All it took was a wealthy white woman’s

accidental glow to open up admiration for tanned skin – this in itself is shocking. From this point forward, melatonin moguls were hitting the scene, transforming darker tones into a hallmark of wealth and privilege. After all, when living absent to the luxury of a hot climate, only those who could afford to be well-travelled could jet off to

We need to understand the delicacy of colour; how its more than just a trend - it's people's lives soak in the sun. That was all until bottled tan. How much is too much? Today, bottled tan provides a solution to the dangers of sun-tanning alongside skin cancer, and gives many a chance to replicate a natural glow. It has become immensely popular, with the market being worth millions of pounds in the UK, and over a billion globally. However, there has been a recent uproar in the conversation surrounding ‘blackfishing’ – a term which describes individuals pretending to be black through makeup and over-tanning. This has resulted in a mass controversy over when tanning becomes excessive and has escalated to influencers receiving death threats on one side, and many individuals involved not taking responsibility for causing offence on the other. My two pence on the topic would be that, like with many conflicts, what we need is an encouragement of respect towards each other. We need to understand the delicacy of colour, how it's more than just a trend – it's people’s lives. To do this, we need to educate and support one another, celebrating our differences, whilst maintaining mutual respect. Image: @brown.girl.illustrations on Instagram

body dysmorphia and inspires us to practice self love and dress comfortably on days of struggle Kaitlyn Maracle

Body dysmorphia is defined as a mental health condition which causes a person to spend "a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance". These flaws, though "often unnoticeable to others", become an unhealthy fixation; they turn into the only thing you can think about. This is something I struggle with quite severely, and I think a lot of people do too.

Caitlin Sinclair The Barbie x Skinnydip Collection is everything you would expect it to be. With the classic fuchsia pink and a sprinkle of sparkle, the collection features accessories including phone cases, tote bags and eye masks, as well as t-shirts, jumpers and jackets. Many of the items are currently sold out online, demonstrating its high demand. Some of the pieces include empowering slogans such as “dolled up for myself ”, but this appears hyperbolic considering the harmful beauty standards Barbie dolls have set. The popularity of the collection is representative of the continued relevance of Barbie which has been embroiled in its fair share of controversy. Many of us likely had our very own Barbie doll, or at least had a friend who had one. What harm could it really do, it’s just a doll, right? When looking at the current unobtainable beauty standards which infiltrate social media and as a by-product, our sub-conscious mind, there are many parallels that can be drawn from the infamous doll. The large breasts, hourglass figure and disproportionate waist to hip ratio is literally impossible to achieve.

Influencers and celebrities are lining up for Brazilian Butt lifts and liposuction in pursuit of their perception of perfection. Where does this come from? Of course, Barbie isn’t the sole cause of this, but it’s hard to imagine that it had absolutely no bearing on beauty standards in young minds. Studies have demonstrated that children that played with Barbie dolls reported a greater desire to be thinner and had a more negative body image, which is demonstrative of the longstanding impact of unrealistic standards of beauty thrust into children’s hands in the form of a doll.

Children that played with Barbie dolls reported greater desire to be thinner and had a more negative body image... The collateral impact of this and the continued lack of representation of different body types online and in the media means other body types are no longer normalised. If Barbie continues to be a dominating brand, many young people may continue in pursuit of unobtainable beauty standards. However, there seems to have been a recent shift, particularly with fashion brands who are recognising these issues and are embracing a variety of different body types in their advertising. As a result,

Image: @NEDA and @bpeppersart on Instagram

If you study from dysmorphia, try to practice self-love. Wear things that make you feel confident... Body dysmorphia definitely affects how I dress. I have a fairly average body, I would say, but sometimes looking in a mirror all I can think is "you look like a pear", even though I don't. I would definitely say I dress to try and hide my imaginary pear-ness. The longer I look at myself in the morning, the worse it gets. Tiny spots or scars become huge oozing cysts, slightly greasy hair turns into "you haven't washed in three weeks" and my 'lockdown chin' becomes a "thumb". It's not great. Baggy tops are my go-to, especially when I'm feeling insecure. They take attention away from my arms and tummy, the parts of me I "hate" the most (only on bad days!). I usually pair those with plain black leggings or jeans, and a baggy coat. Incredibly unremarkable. If you relate to any of this, you'll understand the feeling of wanting to just blend into the crowd, not being too noticeable, making sure no one looks at you for too long. However, on complete opposite days

Barbie x Skinnydip collection Caitlin Sinclair debates the issues with the world famous doll and its new contemporary collab

when I feel great about myself (meaning I haven't yet seen myself from a funky angle in the reflection of my toaster) I'll dress completely differently. Maybe still not 'fashionable' since fashion is hard sometimes, but definitely aiming to stand out, have people look at me and think "wow they're cute". I wear a lot of pink when I'm having a good day. If you suffer from dysmorphia, try to practice self-love. Wear things that make you feel confident. Insecure about your arms? Tops with flowy sleeves. Insecure about your legs? Get a banging pair of loose jeans. Find clothes to fit your body - don't hide it! You can still be fashionable and feel insecure, because once you think you look good in that dress, you’ll feel unstoppable.

they have stopped airbrushing images and are promoting body confidence for people of all sizes. This is an incredibly positive step as people are seeing models and influencers with similar body types to them and are therefore feeling represented in online spaces. The collection itself does offer nostalgic value to those that played with Barbie dolls as children. And yet, the implications of keeping the brand relevant could be considered problematic.

Image: skinnydiplondon.com

Monday 2 November 2020





Halloween Around The World Alice Holmes delves into traditions around the world, to celebrate the dead. Alice Holmes


n the UK, Halloween is widely appreciated and celebrated by carving pumpkins, dressing up in terrifying outfits, trick-ortreating and watching a continuous stream of horror films. However, I thought it would be interesting to investigate how countries around the world celebrate Halloween differently and discover any other spooky celebrations which occur. Here are three countries which all share different traditions:


Although not a replacement for Halloween, on the 1st and 2nd of November, there is the annual Day of the Dead festival in Mexico. It is believed that on this day the border between life and death dissolves and therefore it’s common practice to leave out offerings

for passed away loved ones. For instance, many families will leave out the favourite meals of lost family members whist the souls of the dead return to Earth on this day to celebrate, feast and eat with their families.


There are multiple arguments over which castle in Romania was inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and one of the front runners is named Bran Castle, situated in Transylvania. This 14th century fortress, steeped in haunted history, holds a yearly celebration on Halloween within the grounds of the castle. Extremely popular with tourists, this party perfectly epitomises the Halloween festivities for those who wish to relive a story over 120 years old.

Hong Kong:

On the fifteenth day of the seventh lunarmonth, the Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated in Hong Kong. This festival is celebrated to appease the ravenous ghosts. The people of Hong Kong participate in these traditions by creating paper origami gifts and burning them, holding choirs at night leaving the front row seats empty for the ghosts and burning fake paper money. Image: Pikist

Image: Evan Swigart, Wikimedia Commons

The North East’s Most Haunted Places Khanh Ngo explores the terrifyingly creepy places that are right on our doorstep, here in the North East. Khanh Ngo


he North East is filled with lush natural scenery and magnificent architectural sights but few knows that every inch of this land hides a dark history of war, murder, witchcraft, plague and suicide. It’s not surprising that ghostly tales and supernatural events are rife.

Chillingham Castle– Northumberland

Having hosted numerous paranormal investigation teams including that of “Most Haunted”, Chillingham Castle has a well-known reputation as one of the most haunted buildings in Britain. A visit here is not for the fainthearted but

you can take organised ghost walks and even stay the night if you’re feeling particularly brave. You might encounter the ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley still wandering the halls waiting for her unfaithful husband, or see the ill-fated “blue boy” appearing above your bed.

Bamburgh Castle– Northumberland Bamburgh Castle is a gorgeous structure overlooking the Northumberland coastline. But even “England’s finest coastal castle” is reportedly a prime location for the supernatural. The castle is haunted by the Pink Lady – a heartbroken princess who threw herself off the rocky c l i f f centuries ago. She is said to return every seven years

dressed in a pink gown wandering the castle halls and the beach.

Castle Keep and the Black Gate – Newcastle Also featured in “Most Haunted”, Newcastle’s namesake is a hotspot for paranormal activities right in the city centre, hiding numerous ghost stories within its narrow hallways and staircases. Go on a ghost hunt and keep a lookout for apparitions in the dark: victims of the 1694 witch trials, a vengeful Black Monk who attacks visitors, and the “Poppy Girl” murdered on the castle grounds.

Victoria Tunnel– Newcastle

From personal experience, a late-night visit to this 177-year-old tunnel is sure to rattle you. The Victoria Tunnel is a 19th-century waggonway beneath Newcastle city centre, with parts going right through our campus. Ghosts of people that died here still haunt the place, including William Coulson, remembered by name for his gruesome death. If you find yourself braving the darkness of these narrow tunnels, prepare for he paranormal: unexplained footsteps, shadows and plummeting temperatures; and whether you believe in ouija boards, seeing the planchette move would definitely spook you.

Image: Flickr, Floyd@

Image: Bamburgh Castle. Flickr, Floyd@overdoz.com, minor cropping changes

Monday 2 November 2020





Interview: British indie-pop icon Declan McKenna The Courier chats with indie artist Declan McKenna after the release his second album, 'Zeros'. Finlay Holden — Music sub-editor

FH: You’ve clearly been busy throughout lockdown releasing songs, announcing tours, and doing lots of promos – but has this period affected you in negative ways as well as those positives? DM: Yeah, lots of negative ways! It’s been hard work; it’s been a completely different environment to what I’ve been used to, and the people you’re collaborating can’t really gauge where you’re at with things in the same way as normal, so it makes you more susceptible to being really overwhelmed with stuff, which I’ve definitely felt a few times in lockdown – just having way too much to do, and struggling to achieve the same things from home that I would normally be able to do with other people around me. FH: Your recent single ‘Beautiful Faces’ talks about how we are all victims and propagators of the anxiety that social media and modern culture can induce – during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as time spent online has inevitably skyrocketed, is that something you have felt? DM: Yeah, I’ve definitely been engaging more with social media – there are elements to the internet that I really love as a young adult who has grown up with that in my hands constantly. There are positive conversations, but also those that non-intentionally amount to a lot of stress and problems, and ultimately pressure can be piled on just by seeing so much out there. People being presented in a ‘perfect’ way can be a big part of it.

FH: Being a public figure on those platforms, you must see loads of comments about yourself on there too. ‘Humongous’, the opening track from your first record, saw you discuss your struggle to handle all the feedback you receive, be it criticism or adoration. Do you think it has become easier to deal with this as you’ve matured, or is it as overwhelming as ever? DM: It’s still not always easy to deal with, I just try to avoid reading about myself. There is just so much of it and it’s not healthy, not one bit. You can sit around blaming people for saying things but ultimately people on the internet do say stupid things all the time and that is the reality that we live in, so thats what you have to find your own way to deal with. I think nowadays I understand the way things are a little bit more – that doesn’t mean I’m okay with certain things, but I can just accept them and get on with it.

I was going naturally with my progression as a songwriter and it's been very positive FH: Following your debut LP’s success, do you feel expectations of your sound moving forward or any pressure to change things up? DM: I’ve always evolved as an artist; even before I released anything properly, it was always about experimenting and trying different things and not really fitting in just one box. Anytime I try to write a single or pop song, I just end up with a shit Pulp song… even for the songs that I create which are pop songs, which you think are the simplest songs, the inception has to be something new for me because I think you get inspired by that and get better by experimenting, so it evolves naturally.

I was maybe a little bit worried initially, but as I started writing new songs I just felt that they were so much better and I felt so much more confident in them. Whatever people take from the songs, I definitely feel more happy with the recordings than I did after recording the first album. I was just going naturally with my progression as a songwriter and it’s been a fairly positive experience really. I haven’t had anyone be like “this is so shit man” or “this is so much worse than the first album, you’ve gone too far” yet, so I’m chilling! FH: Spotify CEO Daniel Elk said this week that “you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough” – as it has been three years since your last album, have you felt any pressure to change your artistic process in order to succeed in the modern music industry?

like to get in a video in the future? DM: Oooh, thats a good one! I kinda want to get Cillian Murphy? I feel like he’s been in a music video before so maybe he wouldn’t want to do it, but I am a big fan of Cillian Murphy. Inception is still my favourite film! And of course, he’s in the Batman movies as well – anyone who’s been in Batman would probably make the list. Cillian actually came to my Dublin show with his kids a few years ago, so I think I could make that happen.

DM: I’m not really a big ‘writing singles just to write singles’ person – those can be positive for your career in the modern landscape, as your man Daniel is saying, he just misses the point of art by just making such a general statement about that. My main problem with it was with him saying that “the modern landscape of art is about creating a dialogue with your fans”, I just think that is complete and utter bullshit. As if you, as the head of a company like Spotify, can just go around saying that the art that we’re putting out is the same as fans going “yeah, we liked it,” and that it takes the same energy to do both of those things. It’s not a dialogue, art is an expression of something and putting it into that hole is very dangerous. FH: Alex Lawther was a great choice to star in your music video for ‘The Key to Life on Earth’, – is there anyone you’ve connected with that you’d

Debut Dealbreakers: how an artist's career deviates from their Our writers highlight artists that "made it" with a huge debut, and how their career branched out from their initial

Joe Smith


— Music sub-editor

rom indie-bait to fucking great, the growth of alt-folk superstar Ben Howard has been a joy to follow. Since emerging onto the scene in 2011 with the BRIT winning Every Kingdom, Howard has had a severe switch in style. His first album was a catalogue of light-hearted yet complicated guitar numbers, perfect for the legions of beanie wearing, bushy beard having hipsters that were unfortunately rife in the early 2010’s. Simple music for simpler times. However,

in his endeavours since then, Howard has lain his chirpy folk alter-ego to rest and now instead opts for darker tones, for darker days.

I was going naturally with my progression as a songwriter and it's been very positive I Forget Where We Were was released in 2014. It was a complete shift in sound for Howard and hundreds of fans voiced their concerns with the singers new direction. Acoustic melodies were switched out for reverb heavy, brooding guitar solos, a cracking switch up if you ask me. The upset fans weren’t an issue to Howard, when heckled at a gig to play songs from his debut he called his audience a “Bunch of c**ts”. Charming, but understandable. It feels as though his switch in sound was almost an act of defiance against the outdated idea that musicians should only play their hits. It’s always great to hear a few classics, but when an artist is touring a new album, don’t be ticked off when they play new songs. We agree with you, Ben. A switch in sound is necessary for growth, especially when the new sound is as atmospheric and volatile as Ben Howard’s.

Image: Black Arts PR

Syd Lawther


listen through these Virginia Beach natives’ catalogue from start to finish will show the progression from a typical pop-punk band playing fast-paced, angsty teenage songs to smoothed out dream pop professionals producing daytime radio standard bangers. The band’s debut full-length, ‘Magnolia’, while interesting in places, was primarily a pop-punk record, lacking the twinkly guitar harmonies and poetic ability they’re renowned for today. Their sophomore album, ‘Peripheral Vision’, provided the perfect blend of indie rock, emo and shoegaze. It was as if they’d slowed down their previous efforts, drowned them in a shit load of reverb and given birth to some wonderfully miserable baby. With added guitar flourishes and a greater sense of rhythmic propulsion, this emotional masterpiece is a prime example of how a band can change their musical direction completely while managing to retain their old fan base and grow it considerably. ‘Good Nature’ was an excellent follow-up, providing a more spiritually concerned and feel good direction for the band, shrugging off the burdens made clear on ‘PV’ and transitioning to an almost surf rock infused state of happiness. The most recent addition, ‘Altogether’, feels like a more simplistic and accessible version of what the band used to be. While it seems a little unfinished in places, it is still an enjoyable album, and although it may not match the sonic cohesion of ‘Peripheral Vision’ or the magic of ‘Good Nature’, it is a pleasant improvement from the band’s early days. The changes in Turnover’s sound have been anything but inconspicuous, yet they have undeniably been for the better. With a more mature approach to song-writing and improved lyrical imagery, a much dreamier outcome has been achieved.



Monday 2 November 2020



You can't teach an old rocker new views Battle of the Bands: Oasis vs Blur Alex Walker reflects on the recent political tirade by older rockers

Our writers settle the age old Britpop band debate



don’t see how Blur versus Oasis is even a question. Oasis has put out some of the best, most recognizable songs ever and I hadn’t even properly heard of Blur until I took this article. Now granted, I may not be from this country and may have missed Britpop as a cultural sensation so maybe my frame of reference isn’t the best. Blur might’ve won ‘The Battle of Images: Pixabay, Britpop’ by a few dozen thousands Instagram (@oasis) of records sales,

Alex Walker

ockdown has brought up a bad side in all of us. I now know how long I can go without changing my bedsheets, and a great deal many more terrible truths that will haunt me. However, in the case of popular musicians, there has been an explosion in controversial views, often expressed on Twitter. Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown both have publicly tweeted anti-masker sentiments. Bizarrely, Brown, the lead singer of the Stone Roses, ended up in a twitter feud with Jedward, who dubbed him a conspiracy theorist. However, the most controversial has been John Lyndon, better known as Johnny Rotten for his rotten teeth, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols. Rotten has reiterated his support for Donald Trump in an interview in the Guardian. Despite the angry outcry, I believe there’s a reason for these comments. Musicians, and especially punk rockers, are inherently counter-cultural. They thrive in a world which bucks convention, and challenge cultural rules. If the general populous, media and establishment believe Trump is a dangerous lunatic, of course the natural response of someone who is entirely counter-cultural is to go against the grain. Punk has never been left wing or right wing; it’s just about kicking back, and shocking people. This somewhat explains why other musicians are expressing doubts about COVID, and why Rotten, the most counter-cultural figure in music, is fighting back so hard. Whether this will disrupt his legacy is a much more complicated question. Punk was never kind, it was always filthy, foul and nasty. All the talented musicians moved into either Rock or New Wave, but Rotten stands out, a bastion of the old way. While it’s not safety pins through the nose supporting Trump is still a part of the challenging behaviour which exemplifies the punk attitude by

r first impression


Avika Sharma ne of my favourite things about Glass Animals is how well they’ve developed their musical style over the years, while retaining the essence of their music that people loved to begin with. Vocalist and songwriter Dave Bayley has an incredible ability to bring stories to life, of both others and his own, through soft falsetto and heartfelt lyrics. The band’s debut album, ZABA, explores the stories of people who Bayley has met, taking the listener on a journey through their lives. The uncluttered mix of the instrumentals and beats heard in each piece amplify the vocals, and the continuous use of electronic pop beats and indie rock drum patterns throughout the album links each individual track to create the record’s overall concept.

It is important to recognise the unique talent here and not mislabel it Dreamland, their latest record, is autobiographical, unlike ZABA, and uses a variety of tones and styles, from playful melodies to exuberant tempos. In a live virtual Glass Animals concert I attended recently, the band highlighted their progression from ZABA, a mellow puzzle where each track fits together to blend strangers’ stories, to Dreamland, an exciting exploration of Bayley’s personal experiences through a larger variety of genres such as hip-hop, rock and R&B. His inclusion of audios from home videos drives home the nostalgic sentimentality of the album. Glass Animals are consistently creative, but they have explored so much more in their latest album. Their change reflects just how much this band has evolved, and how much they have yet to offer.

O Images: Wikimedia Commons (Michael Vadion, Man Alive!, Ed Vill), Instagram (@themightyi)

asis have admittedly produced some stadium anthems, but Blur’s consistency and artistry far outshines that of their Manchester rivals. When talking about the ‘Battle of Britpop’, look no further than it’s founding father – with Blur not only birthing the genre in 1992 alongside Suede, but also following up their debut with seven successive albums of quality. Blur’s album run is seriously impressive, with virtually all of their records holding significant influence and acclaim within the British music scene. In contrast, Oasis have very little to offer outside of their first two outings, with less than a third of their discography truly worth a listen. Additionally, Damon Albarn’s later work, most notably Gorillaz, significantly trumps Noel & Liam’s recent ventures, further demonstrating the rift in consistency. Blur have also proved themselves creatively ver-


Muslim Taseer

but it was Oasis that became a household name almost globally. Oasis was big all over the world, and remains one of the best-selling bands of all time, while Blur only exists in the minds of Britpop nerds. The drama surrounding the Gallaghers is also quite funny, and I wholeheartedly believe any good band should have intense amounts of drama and tear family’s apart. Furthermore, a friend’s dad was the Stage Manager for Oasis for a long time and he apparently says they’re nice blokes. (I am not joking). I mean really, who else could’ve made a song as unanimously known as Wonderwall is? It’s one of the first songs any guitarist learns and is just beautiful in its simplicity. Who else could’ve made ‘She’s Electric’ or ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger?’ Who cares how ‘respectable’ Blur’s discography is when Oasis regularly made absolute anthems?


Oren Brown

satile over the years, with the energetic, sarcastic “Parklife” offering something completely different to “13”’s melancholy psychedelia. Despite various re-inventions, though, the band has maintained their personality and quality throughout the years. With an eclectic style and one of the best album runs in recent British history, I’d say that Blur easily outclass Oasis, who’s legacy could be contained within Image: Instagram a single side of a samey Great(@blurofficial), est Hits Wikimedia Commons CD. (Johnny Najjar)

Keaton Henson Monument

IDKHBTFM Razzmatazz

James Blake Before




Mark Narayn-Lee

eaton Henson has found fiscal comfort in the forlorn, fragile, façade which is his form. Monument is full of folkish melodies, mixed and manipulated through the motions of its mastering; thus, guaranteeing a popular record amongst Henson’s avid followers. The similarity between this album and his previous releases cannot be denied. Tracks entwined with lo-fi home recordings chronologizes Henson’s childhood, providing a tenuous link across the LP. Indeed, the album cover reflects the nature of the artist. Sad ceramics cement his sufficiency at a craft that Henson has meticulously situated himself in throughout his brief but bountiful career. The songs featured are somewhat forgetful amongst the considerable ocean of Henson’s discography. Despite this, the most standout tracks are the ones that appear unique to Monument. Henson is at his most rocking and rolling, on tracks such as ‘While I Can’ and ‘Husk’, where emotion is channelled into catharsis, creating a welcome change. Upping the tempo liberates the listener from the languid, morbid emotion of Henson’s brittle vocals. The clutches of contemporary culture corrode Henson’s attempt to achieve liberty. Depressants and death feature across the board, demonstrating the daunting task of introspective reflection as well as achieving communion with the listener. Henson’s world is one of ideas, constantly changing, where the end is unknowable, let alone unachievable. Nevertheless, the unity of this piece, demonstrates a, “relentless transformation through pain”, whereby an embrace of the melancholy provides some comfort to the listener as well as the artist.

Thomas Wrath

DKHBTFM dazzle on their debut album, filled with luminous and hallucinogenic alt-pop that conjures a bygone era of neonstained soundscapes. Taking inspiration from 80s synthpop, bass-percussion duo Dallon Weekes (Panic! At the Disco) and Ryan Seaman (Falling In Reverse) move away from their emo-pop roots under the premise of a rediscovered fringe 80’s group. With crackling, polaroid quality on the long-time fan favourite, and self-deprecatingly meta ‘Nobody likes the opening band’, the tone for the enthusiastic and theatrical album is set early on. Weekes and Seaman truly exercise maximalism in their music, with bombastic and triumphant choruses even on the more reflective tracks such as ‘Need You Here’ and the beautifully melancholic ‘Door’- which on the surface yearns for a lover, but underneath projects a tear-jerking nostalgia. Sprinkled with psychedelia and thick with the smoke of hazy nightclubs, Razzmatazz is not just a tribute to the 1980’s, but a complete embodiment of a bygone era. However, there are slight glimpses of the albums futuristic production, with IDKHows trademark vocoda on the crooning ‘From the Gallows’, and Dallon’s Brandon Flowers-esque vocal on the flamboyant title track ‘Razzmatazz’. Referencing Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown’s iconic line in ‘Back to the Future’, the physical name of the band is not just a knowing wink to 80’s cultural phenomena, but a physical manifestation of their original desire to be unfound. Have Weekes and Seaman stolen Marty McFly’s DeLorean and found themselves deposited in 2020; we can’t be sure? But, bearing in mind the quality of this shimmering and prodigious album, we can be certain they want to be found…

Bridie Lonsdale

eleased on the 14th October, Before sees James Blake return to the acclaimed artistry of his early electronic club-roots which firmly established his career as a DJ. It’s a well received and welcome return. On opener ‘I Keep Calling’, a-likened by critics to Blake’s CMYK released a decade previously, Blake samples Canadian artist Charlotte Day Wilson’s ‘Falling Apart’, the primary material with which he constructs layers of ambient, distorted vocals. Shot through with an infectious, pulsating beat, there’s a notable confidence which sets it apart from those early releases. Born out of the frustrations and limitations of lockdown, ‘Summer Of Now’ offers an embrace and acceptance over what has been, and what is yet to come – holding neither in higher regard than the other. A rising warmth seeps through soft vibrato vocals paired with synth organ to open up the track, before breaking away from and offsetting nostalgia for summers gone-by with a cut to and urgency for “now”. Deep house track ‘Before’ takes blissful lyrics like “Nothing’s in vain ‘cause I’ve never had it this good before” juxtaposed with creeping, horror-like string motifs and classic dance breaks as just one of example of the ways in which Blake plays with form and genre on this latest release. Such experimentation is also at play on ‘Do You Ever’, a track co-written with Nico Muhly. It’s difficult to single out any particular track on such a strong EP, but the simplicity of Blake’s vocals against the deep pulse of synths in the breakdown of the second verse – into a deep pensive lull, creates a moment of intimacy on a track confronting insecurities and memory, thus making it a personal favourite.

Monday 2 November 2020





The Queen's Gambit: Anya Taylor Joy is great across the board Arnojya Shree


ver the past decade, a ridiculous amount of coming-of-age films and television shows have been released. So much so that by now, any person with an avid interest in pop culture would be dreading it. However, every once in a while, something unique comes along, which restores my faith in the topic. The Queen’s Gambit is set du r i ng

the Cold a n d

stars the very distinct and alluring Taylor-Joy as a child prodigy, Elizabeth Harmon, who is grievingly orphaned at the age of nine. Left alone by her mentally disturbed mother, Harmon discovers the game of chess being played by the janitor, Mr Shaibel, at the basement of the orphanage. After much persuasion by showing a natural talent for the game, Mr Shaibel agrees to teach her how to play, only to realise that she is not like any other chess player he has met.

War era

The story follows Harmon’s persistent effort to participate in the male-dominated game and leaving behind her winning games as breadcrumbs for others to learn. But, as you have it, fate continues to test her every step of the way by forcing her to face her fears, failures and Grandmaster Borgov.

Absent fathers, drug misuse, addiction and heartbreak... this show covers it all Although the show has not been promoted or marketed like the other Netflix Originals, it’s definitely better than the rest. The narrative highlights the wins and errs of an orphaned girl as she grows up during the Cold War, remembering her trauma and honing her talent. The story raises the question of “is it because I’m a female?” repeatedly throughout the series. Harmon is consistently reminded that her fame is built upon her gender, something she continues to question frequently over the series. However, accepting a narrative built for her by the people is not Harmon’s style as instead, she decides to make it about her talent, persistence and hard work. The art design and cinematography of the show is polished and clean with a rustic colour palette, creating a perfect visual landscape

for the story as we move through America and Europe during the 1960s. The music is absolutely fantastic and quite groovy, if I may say so. It would definitely have you searching for the tracks and adding them to your personal and even party playlists. The cast delivers believable performances yet Anya Taylor-Joy remains at the forefront. Much of her acting is reminiscent of her role in Emma (2020) as she brings in the charm of a girl learning the ways of the world. The rest of the cast seems to come and go out of the story space and becoming quite forgetful due to their lack of screentime. However, the performances of Henry Melling (Harry Potter, The Devil All The Time), Thomas Broadie-Sangster (The Maze Runner, Love Actually) and Bill Camp (Joker, Dark Waters) are still noteworthy in their own ways. The miniseries is an adaptation of a 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. With absent fathers, drug misuse, addiction, heartbreak, challenges of being a young girl to even politics, the show attempts to cover it all. The series is a fitting example of the engagement limited series must aim for within eight to ten episodes. It makes a strong start, covers diverse grounds and refuses to take a side while highlighting the importance of female-driven narratives. Yet, towards the end, it slows down and is not able to provide the worthy ending Harmon’s brilliant story deserved. Maybe it is a failure in the screenplay or the direction, but nonetheless, Anya strives to fill in the gaps and leave the audience wondering about Harmon’s next move.

Image: IMDb

The Boys are back in town for season two

We jump back into the hit Amazon Prime show for season 2 Anna Robson


WARNING: MAJOR spoilers throughout s we delve into The Boys Season 2 we are met with even more blood, guts, and gore (I mean would we expect anything less…) than its first season. Not only is Season 2 just as ghastly as Season 1, but we are also met with some very interesting backstories and our newest “supe” – Stormfront. Our favourite gang of rogues finds themselves in hiding at the beginning of the season. Their only escape? To hatch a clever plan to expose Vought and the abusive use of Compound V. But before the gang can gain more help from CIA operative Raynor,

Image: IMDb

some unknown being sharply blows her head up in front of The Boys. This is one of the season’s biggest mysteries, as we do not know any “supe” that has the ability to kinetically explode people’s heads like a big balloon! This is the time to mention The Boys’ brilliantly crafted scenes of exaggerated bloodshed, which other TV shows and movies usually just don’t get quite right. Although it is very graphic, it is very realistic too, and I believe that is what aids in the show’s success. Stormfront is introduced to us in episode 1, “The Big Ride”, and initially I think we can all say we enjoyed her rebellious nature against Vought. We were captivated by her courageousness to openly criticise a company that had just hired her. Her social media followers certainly thought the same, and not to mention Homelander too! She was just as deceiving to us viewers, since we were all shocked to learn she was in fact a Nazi. It is a haunting reminder of the ability of people in power to brainwash their audience and unfortunately it is not a far-flung idea that a neo-Nazi could control America in the 21st century. Was perhaps her speech about “white genocide” in episode 8 a direct message to all those who do not condemn white supremacists? Season 2 not only directly calls out neoNazis, but it also deals with the mistreatment of minorities and women. Luckily, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) is given much more of a backstory for audiences to feel more connected Image: IMDb to her. The

storyline with Elena and Vought’s manipulation of Maeve’s sexuality for profit strikes up something inside of us that doesn’t quite sit right. When Ashley says “Lesbian is an easier sell” than Bisexual, we are instantly angered by this on Queen Maeve’s behalf, but unfortunately bi-phobia is very much a real and current issue today.

It's a very modern programme and is refreshingly diverse, but in a forced way

The Boys is a very modern programme, far from the normal superhero comics. Including real-world issues, The Boys is refreshingly diverse but not done in a forced way. At the end of episode 8, Laila Robins’ (Homeland) Grace Mallory voices her concerns over whether Homelander’s son will turn out like his father. Begging the question, are people really born evil?

Review: The Haun Michael Duckworth makes us question: Do hauntings strike the same place twice? Michael Duckworth


s American Horror Story falls into the dust, a new anthology horror series rises to take its place. The Haunting of series is a new pillar in popular horror. Based on Henry James’ book 'The Turn of the Screw', Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor takes the form of a classic ghost story, told at a party with guests huddled around a blazing fire. The narrator of the story (Carla Gugino) takes us back to 1987 to hear the tale of an American nanny (Victoria Pedretti), referred to as an au pair, as she begins looking after two children in the fictional English town of Bly. The au pair, the children, and the titular Bly Manor each come with a past tangled in mystery and tragedy that accumulates in a somewhat familiar setting to fans of the series – an old spooky mansion filled to the brim with supernatural entities'

Each ghost is given enough time to feel like a real presence in the house This is not simply a rehashed Hill House, Bly Manor can absolutely stand on its own two feet, complementing rather than copying its predecessor. The tone and atmosphere continue as though they are two chapters from the same book. Ghosts lurk in the background of the majority of scenes waiting to be



Monday 2 November 2020


Image: nounproject


Who are the best killers on the small screen?


ost depictions of killers within the media come from TV shows. Whether they’re based on real people or entirely fictional, they’re terrifying, either way. Our writers discuss the most iconic characters who killed it in their roles.

The self-proclaimed family man finally admits why he continued to sell meth and tore his family apart in the final episode: “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really — I was alive.” (Walt to Skyler)

Caitie Wooldrige

Andrew White

Walter White - Breaking Bad When you think of TV serial killers, Walter White is likely not the first name that springs to mind. Seen as more of a drug dealer than a serial killer, the Methamphetamine kingpin is one of TV’s most divisive characters, with the character directly involved in 199 deaths throughout the course of Breaking Bad. Walt is undeniably one of the most iconic and intelligent characters of all time, going from a teacher with wasted potential to being one of the most powerful men in the meth game. The cost of this? His family, his morality, and his humanity. Walt became engrossed with the Heisenberg persona. One of the darkest moments in Breaking Bad is when Walt lets Jesse’s girlfriend, Jane, die of a heroin overdose due to the threat she posed to his relationship with Jesse, and therefore his power. He’s reckless, doesn’t care for his family and is power hungry.

Joe Goldberg- You Given the intense level of creepiness that surrounded the show You, it really is not a surprise that Joe is on a list of great TV serial killers. Not only did he kill eight people over the course of only two seasons, but he somehow managed to justify it every single time. The character of Joe Goldberg is such a great example of a terrifying TV serial killer because he appears so normal. The guy worked in a bookshop, seemingly one of the least dangerous places a person can be, and yet hidden was a state-of-the-art book cage perfect for those human captives. It’s one of those TV shows where you think no way could this happen, and then suddenly its 2am and you’re checking the locks on your doors; maybe that person you met in Tesco’s was actually a little sketchy and Joe-like. It is a terrifyingly realistic scenario. Girl goes to the shop, meets a boy, dates boy, the boy turns out to be a killer. I had to include Joe Goldberg on this list after seeing inside his head for two seasons, sitting on the edge of my seat to see what was going to happen next. No matter the situation, this guy found a reason to justify murder.

Muslim Taseer

Jaqen H’ghar- Game of Thrones Game of Thrones might seem like a distant memory at this point, but despite the absolute garbage last season, it’s undeniable the show had something to it. It was the biggest TV show throughout its run, and people would just not stop talking about it. Personally, I enjoyed what I watched, and I watched everything but the last season. In a show filled with a lot of people you’d consider killers, Jaqen H’ghar seemed to be one of the few that stood out. Member of the mysterious cult of faceless men, Jaqen showed up in the early seasons, confused the hell out of the viewers, and then came back at the tail end of the show to tie together Arya’s plotline. Despite being severely underutilised as a character, Jaqen and the entire faceless men plotline were cool as hell. I mean, an old stone temple called the ‘House of Black and White’ begs all kinds of questions as to what wacky band of killers reside in it. In a series stuffed with characters killing for power or for wealth, Jaqen shines through as someone serving something beyond themselves, which makes him one of the best characters in the show. Also, he’s a mysterious shapeshifter that speaks in the third person.

Tom Moorcroft

Edmund Kemper – Mindhunter While the term ‘best’ may be a bit too lighthearted to describe him, Cameron Britter’s portrayal of Edmund Kemper, the notorious Co-Ed Killer, is nothing short of extraordinary. Through a vigorous transformation which includes slick combed hair, a dark and straightforward demeanor and his cold icy spectacles, Britter is able to portray the American serial killer to a T (there’s even an insightful video on their YouTube in which he analyses his steps to becoming the ‘Ogre of Aptos’). Mindhunter details his extensive work with the FBI’s criminal profiling unit and his significant role in what would become the future of FBI investigations. Kemper’s 6’9’’ frame, an IQ of 145 and 10 murders to his name, including that of his paternal grandparents and mother, helped mold the canvas which would become perhaps the most captivating TV killer of all time.

Image: IMDb

Green Lantern series coming to HBO Max

nting of Bly Manor spotted and powerful, character-driven horror is manifested. However, the narrative, structure and even the way Bly Manor scares you is altered, emphasis on jump scares and shock is swapped for a dark quiet feeling of dread that looms over the series. Rather than a cacophony of ghosts, each one is given enough time to feel like a real presence in the house. However, the compromise is that Bly Manor is somewhat less scary than Hill House in a traditional sense. There is nothing that lives up to the fright given by the infamous car jumpscare in Hill House and no creature designs in the likes of Mr Smiley.

If you're looking for a chilling ghost story, The Haunting of Bly Manor is the perfect show Unfortunately, Bly Manor succumbed to a fate that Hill House succeeded in avoiding, death by poor child acting. The two children are successful in achieving the creepy behaviour that you expect from any child in a horror franchise, but the posh, Mary Poppins-esque Victorian accent used by Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) is immersionbreaking at best and downright irritating at worst. When surrounded by actors who are delivering outstanding performances such as Victoria Pedretti and T’Nia Miller, Flora sticks out like a sore thumb. Admittedly, after the first episode, the accent becomes less and less of a problem and the show doesn’t suffer too much as a whole. If you are looking for a good ghost story to give you the chills as the nights draw in, The Haunting of Bly Manor is the perfect show for that campfire feeling. However, if you are looking for a fright fest of jumpscares, gruesome creatures and gore, this is not that kind of horror show. Image: IMDb

Leo Dawson tells us all about the latest addition to the MCU Leo Dawson


— TV sub-editor

irst announced back in 2019 and touted as the “biggest DC Comics show ever made”, Greg Berlanti’s adaptation of the intergalactic superhero title will soon begin production for Warner Bros’ streaming service HBO Max. Producer Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Arrow) recently announced that the Green Lantern Corps series now has writers and a showrunner, both with their own history at DC. Seth GrahameSmith, writer of The Lego Batman Movie (2017), and Arrow co-creator Marc Guggenheim will write for the show, set for a ten-episode series from Berlanti Productions, on the WB streaming platform. Grahame-Smith was one in a long line of previous writers and directors attached to Ezra Miller’s upcoming The Flash movie, before leaving the project due to ‘creative differences.’ The film is now set for 2022 from Andy Muschietti, director of the IT franchise. Green Lantern Corps will follow several DC comic-book heroes that possess the Green Lantern power ring. Jessica Cruz, Simon Baz, Guy Gardner and Alan Scott will feature, all fan favourites from the comic of the same name. Cruz and Baz are two of the most popular characters of colour in recent DC history and Alan Scott was recently retconned to be a gay character in 2012, so the show is set to be very representative across the board. No actors are currently attached. Sinestro and Kilowog will also be included, last seen in Green Lantern (2011) – this series will thankfully not be a continuation of the Ryan Reynolds movie. The line-up of heroes announced for the show is an interesting one. Notably absent are fellow DC heroes Hal Jordan and Jon Stewart, arguably the two most popular characters to share the mantle of Green Lantern. It can be assumed

that Jordan and Stewart are being saved for a big screen debut in a new DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movie.

It's a major reflection of WB's plan to streamline their approach to the DC Universe

series following John Cena’s Peacemaker from the upcoming James Gunn movie The Suicide Squad (2021). It’s a major reflection of WB’s plan to streamline their approach to the DC Universe, after a shaky start to the franchise with several highly criticised films. The Green Lantern Corps release date is yet to be announced.

This Green Lantern series is the third DCEU streaming show to be announced for HBO Max, along with a prequel police drama set in the world of The Batman (2022) and a prequel

dsccomicsverse on Instagram

Monday 2 November 2020






Should Gal Gadot be allowed to be cast as Cleopatra? Lucia Qureshi discusses Gal Gadot's controversial casting as Cleopatra. Will the Wonder Woman's star do her justice? Lucia Qureshi


al Gadot’s announcement on her casting of Cleopatra might’ve focused on the benefits of a female-led project in the traditionally male-dominated world of Hollywood, but her casting has sparked a heated debate across social media and among the press. This casting choice has been seen as yet another instance of ‘white-washing’ in Hollywood, a trend particularly notable in previous depictions of Cleopatra by Claudette Colbert in 1934 and Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscar-winning film in 1963. While Gadot does have a relatively light complexion, the dispute is complicated by her status as an Israeli woman and that historians disagree about Cleopatra’s skin colour and heritage.

Gadot has become closely associated with her nationality; stating that she has a "strong sense of her identity." Nonetheless, the fact remains that the queen was born in Egypt and has become symbolic of her nation. Gadot has also become closely associated with her nationality; stating that she has a “strong sense of [her] Jewish and Israeli identity”. These self-perceptions of her identity are reflected in her experiences as the winner of Miss Israel in 2004

and her two years of service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which are imposed by the IDF’s mandatory conscription. In fact, Gadot thinks that the latter was the reason for being cast in the Fast and Furious franchise, as “the director Justin Lin really liked that [she] was in the military, and he wanted to use [her] knowledge of weapons.” These connections have been integrated into her public identity, posting the below, about the Gaza conflict in 2014, during which the BBC estimates 2,251 Palestinians (1,462 of which were civilians) and 67 Israeli soldiers and

Gadot has become more wellknown in recent years for her portrayal of Wonder Woman

6 civilians were killed: "I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children…We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom! #weareright #freegazafromhamas #stopterror #coexistance #loveidf." But what does this have to do with Cleopatra? Gadot has become more well-known in recent years for her portrayal of Wonder Woman. As this post shows, Gadot has openly supported the IDF (and more broadly Israel’s national interests) and has therefore been considered as a representative of their aims and actions. These could largely be seen as being in conflict with Egypt’s, with many thinking that Egypt should lead the Arab and Muslim communities in opposing Israel in its conflict with Palestine. Whilst this might seem a far cry from the film

industry, Gadot’s acting career has already been seen in connection with these affiliations, with the Independent stating that “Wonder Woman is officially pro-IDF.”

This went so far as Wonder Woman (2017) being banned in Tunisia, Lebanon and Qatar

In fact, this went so far as Wonder Woman (2017) being banned in Tunisia, Lebanon and Qatar, decisions that have since been labelled as a “Racist Protest Against” Gadot by CBN News. With this context in mind, it has been seen as highly problematic to have someone such as Gadot playing such an iconographic Egyptian figure. These complex cultural, social and political implications need to be remembered when discussing this casting choice. It will probably be a while before the film hits our screens and audiences can decide for themselves whether Gal Gadot should or should not be playing Cleopatra (or even whether someone else would be better suited). But one thing is certain, this decision has instigated important conversations that need to be had about representation in film. Image: IMDb

Anya Taylor-Joy to play Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road prequel Anya Taylor-Joy will join the Mad Max franchise as Furiosa, replacing Charlize Theron George Cochrane

Image: @madmaxmovie on Instagram


he star of The Witch (2015), Emma (2020) and The New Mutants (2020) will head up a cast set to include Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. The announcement comes after years of doubt and speculation about the future of the Mad Max franchise and appears to suggest that Furiosa has finally been given the green light. What a relief! To have rebooted the franchise so spectacularly with 2015’s Fury Road, only to then have it go away again, would have been too cruel. The film’s focus on Imperator Furiosa seems logical for it was her character, not Max, who stole the show in Fury Road. She was a total badass: her cropped hair, her itchy trigger finger, her fearlessness behind the wheel. Not since Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley had we seen such a strong female action hero on screen. Charlize Theron truly owned the role. The fact that Furiosa only had one arm was incidental. Her disability did not define her, putting paid to the Hollywood idea that a disability is something that has to be overcome. Quite rightly, the character received widespread acclaim as a positive role model. Furiosa looks to tell more of the character’s story and explore her origins. Hence the recasting of a younger actor in the role. Fans will inevitably be nervous about Theron’s replacement: taking on a role made iconic by someone else is no easy task. But if anyone can do it, it’s Anya Taylor-Joy. Since her

breakout role in the brilliant supernatural horror The Witch, the twenty-four-year-old ArgentineBritish actor has built up an impressive CV of strong female characters across a number of different genres. A post-apocalyptic action film should be no problem.

This new film is not a cash grab, but something that has been near and dear to the director's heart for a long time

She’ll have plenty to work with. Fury Road was in development for fifteen years, in which time writer-director George Miller created detailed backstories for all his new characters and even wrote a full-length screenplay about Furiosa to help with Theron’s portrayal of her. Clearly, then, this new film is not a cash grab, but something that has been dear to the director’s heart for a long time. What story Miller will tell, though, we don’t yet know. Perhaps we will learn how Furiosa came to serve under Immortan Joe. Or, more likely, given we already know what happens to Joe, we will get a completely new tale – a prediction supported by the hiring of franchise newcomers Hemsworth and Abdul-Mateen. No doubt we will learn more about the Green Place, that once-fertile area from which we know Furiosa was snatched

as a child. A younger version of this character would necessarily be closer in years to that trauma, so it follows that this event would be rawer for her and play a bigger part in her standalone film. But don’t get too excited. No release date has been announced for Furiosa and work is unlikely to start on it until Miller has finished his current project, Three Thousand Years of Longing. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait that long!

Image: IMDb



Monday 2 November 2020

Doctor Strange teleports into Spider-Man 3


enedict Cumberbatch is being lined up to reprise his role as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Sorcerer Supreme in Tom Holland’s third solo outing as Spider-

Man. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) may not be appearing in his own sequel just yet, with Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness pushed back to 2022, but he will be joining everyone’s favourite web-slinger in SpiderMan 3 – ‘home’ related subtitle currently unannounced. Long rumoured to involve the return of previous Spider-Men (Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire), Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange is likely to take over a mentorship role in the SpiderMan franchise from Robert Downey Jr’s Tony

the greatest hint towards Marvel Studios bringing together all their previous ‘universes’ under one single MCU ‘multiverse’ since J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson appeared in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

of Judge Hoffman (Frank Langella). The treatment of the eighth defendant, Black Panther Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), is particularly frustrating as he is denied his constitutional right to represent himself and is literally silenced before the jury in the film’s most memorable and harrowing scene. Featuring Sorkin’s typical brand of acerbic, combative exchanges the dialogue here is expectedly excellent, providing the film with constant propulsion and delivered by a committed ensemble cast. Baron Cohen is particularly watchable in an anarchic role that could have easily slipped into one-dimensionality and he effectively spars with Redmayne’s Tom Hayden. Hayden laments that the acceptance of progressive politics is undermined by Hoffman. These confrontations permit an interesting investigation into the nature of protest however with such a broad gallery of characters the film is unable to utilize many of them to the same extent. Where the film falters is in its narrow scope as Sorkin’s fascination with courtroom theatrics leave little space for character development and thematic depth. The parallels to today’s political turbulence and conservative authoritarianism are on paper ripe for exploration yet the film regrettably sacrifices this in favour of witty verbal contest. Perhaps a more disciplined and story-

focused director such as David Fincher would have translated Sorkin’s script into a more narratively impactful and weighty film as he previously did in The Social Network (2010). In his enthusiasm to capture as many of the players involved as possible Sorkin forgoes the opportunity to include impactful character arcs to ground the legal and political complexity with a human story unlike earlier work such as A Few Good Men (1992).Whilst admittedly a more classical and expected approach, the lack of a similar character-focus in Chicago Seven result in a film that although compelling largely lacks emotional investment. Additionally, one of the most interesting elements of the case, namely the political motivation to target the Black Panther movement, is curiously sidelined despite being an opportunity for engaging with contemporary concerns surrounding equal rights. Whilst the film does not completely abandon this facet, with Sorkin displaying the mistreatment of Bobby Seale and other Black Panther members with convincing gravitas, there is a lack of sufficient running time and consideration to make a lasting impression. The Trial of the Chicago Seven (2020) is an entertaining and engaging film. The subject matter however demanded more.


Leo Dawson

Stark, helping Holland’s Peter Parker cope with the clash of Marvel’s multiple universes. Cumberbatch joins returning Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) cast members Zendaya (Euphoria), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Far From Home) and Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel). Also joining the movie is Jamie Foxx, reprising his role from 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as comicbook nemesis Electro. It is currently unknown if this will be the exact same character from the 2014 Andrew Garfield movie, which is completely separate from the current Marvel Studios canon. This is Image: IM

Doctor Strange visits the web-slinger before entering the Multiverse of Madness

Nile Sharma


rolific screenwriter Aaron Sorkin returns to the courtroom drama for his second directorial effort, The Trial of the Chicago Seven (2020) which recreates the 1969 case involving the arrest of anti-Vietnam protestors charged with initiating citywide violence. Ranging from theatrical rebel Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) to strait-laced preppie Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) the seven are specifically targeted as part of a political reaction from the newly elected Nixon government. Although featuring well-executed reconstructions of the clashes between police and protestors the film is mostly concerned with the battleground of the courtroom as the seven are subjected to not only the prosecution but the formidable prejudice

Image: IMDb


Jon Watts will be returning to direct Spider-Man 3, currently setting up production in NYC

We can assume that the multiverse will be of great focus when Marvel moves into its next phase of movies, whenever COVID-19 allows the franchise to progress. Scarlett Johansson’s solo outing as Black Widow has been pushed back several times and is now set to release in May 2021. It has opened up the discussion concerning whether or not releasing the movie on Disney’s streaming service Disney+ is a possibility, something that Marvel President Kevin Feige seems very reluctant to do. Jon Watts will be returning to direct Spider-Man 3, currently setting up production in New York City and set to release in Winter 2021. Image: IMDb

Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (15) Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin tackles the infamous uprising at the 1968 Democratic National convention


Rebecca (12)


etflix’s Rebecca managed to both update and respect the source material. The film was visually stunning, paying very close attention to the colours being used in each scene. Both Monte Carlo and Manderley are a beautifully immersive window into the lives of the rich in the 1930s. The stylistic overlap of different scenes was an excellent device in telling this story, leaving the viewer feeling less like an observer to the events and more like they were privy to the heroine’s own reflections and memory. The performances from Lily James and Armie Hammer were extremely convincing. James mastered the arc of the second Mrs de Winter, from an awkward and inexperienced young woman to calculated and confident wife. Her transition was complimented by the more human approach taken towards the character of Mrs Danvers, played by Kristin Scott Thomas. Alongside Favell (Sam Riley), Thomas’ performance argued that Danvers’ actions are a result of her heartbreak, which is far clearer in this new version. This makes the character more terrifying than any previous interpretation, and also more understandable. Hammer’s character of Maxim de Winter lacked the sharp and mysterious anger demonstrated previously by the likes of Charles Dance (Rebecca, 1997) and Laurence Olivier (Rebecca, 1940), but captured his anxiety perfectly. But the leads were not the most interesting characters, as Beatrice and Clarice easily steal the show. The changes in plot were few and wellselected, including the preparations for the Manderley Ball, lulling both the viewer and heroine into a false sense of security. The biggest flaw was with the oddly out-of-place 60’s song by Pentangle “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme”, which although has interesting links to British folklore and culture, sounded very disjointed from the rest of the score. This new version of Rebecca is faithful, beautiful to watch, and hauntingly believable. Image: IMDb

Jennifer Mills

Monday 2 November 2020



Interview: Grace Keane We chat to Grace Keane, a manager for Durham Book Festival 2020 about the ins and outs of this year's virtual festival Maud Webster


—Arts sub-editor

isitors to the Durham Book Festival 2020 have had a very different experience to those attending previous years. Still in the midst of COVID-19 uncertainty, Durham were amongst many book festivals (including illustrious HayOn-Wye and Edinburgh programmes) to take the action online. Hosting authors for Q&A, readings and discussions virtually completely changes how an organisation plans their festival. We spoke to Grace Keane, who serves as a manager for the Durham Book Festival 2020, to get her take on how everything is different this year. Do you feel the authors speaking at your events prefer attending them online or in person?

based disabled writer and artist, to programme a Disability Arts Showcase called Writing the Missing: A River Cycle. Lisette appeared alongside three other North East disabled writers, and the film included BSL interpretation. We were overwhelmed by the response of audiences, particularly disabled audiences who are so often unable to attend events and we’re committed to continuing to work with artists like Lisette in the future, to make sure Durham Book Festival is as accessible as possible. Can you see online events becoming incorporated into the future of book festivals, even post COVID-19? This is one of the reasons we want to continue to incorporate digital events going forward. As well as increasing accessibility, on the whole it allows us to engage with audiences all around the world, and to create events that are a little different than the usual festival author talk. We’re so excited to hopefully be back in Durham for real next year – we’ve definitely missed the interaction and sense of community in the city – but we’re also keen to keep a blend of digital events going forward, even when we’re on the other side of the pandemic.

What’s your selection process for curating a That’s an interesting question. You might think line-up of events and authors; has this changed that some authors would prefer it, as it doesn’t under the new online circumstances? necessarily follow that someone who is a brilliant writer would be a confident public speaker. Every year myself and our Festival Director visit However, the overwhelming feeling from authors publishers in London to hear about all of the new this year is that they’re missing the interaction books coming and which might be good for the with their audiences and festival. Thankfully we desperate to get back got this trip in pre-Covid, out there once it’s safe We could connect with a lot more so the programming to do so. The one aspect wasn’t too different in of writing that isn’t so international authors than usual that respect – although solitary is the events and there was of course a lot the festival circuit, so and this was really exciting from a of uncertainty initially I actually think on the programming point of view. about what the situation whole authors are just in October would be. The as keen to participate in only negative difference live events as with online was that with a smaller events. Obviously sometimes it works out better, programme we couldn’t invite as many authors especially with writers who would otherwise not as usual and there were so many brilliant books have the time to travel, but I think that taking out this year. The festival team actually recorded part in an online festival is just a good way of a podcast talking about some of our bookish connecting with the readers that they would be highlights of 2020, outside of the DBF programme. meeting in person during a usual year. However, on a positive note, it did mean that we could connect with a lot more international Do you think holding the festival online makes authors than usual and this was really exciting it more inclusive, do you anticipate a larger from a programming point of view. We managed audience this year than in previous years? to create events with Brit Bennett, Jenny Offill, Fatima Bhutto – to name a few! I think this really An online festival is certainly more accessible and added to the global feel of the festival this year, inclusive for our audiences. Accessibility is very there really were no boundaries to who we could important to us, and we’ve made sure that all of this invite from a geographical perspective and that’s year’s pre-recorded events, which is the majority, led to some amazing content. have been captioned to be even more inclusive. We also commissioned Lisette Auton, a North East



Celebrating Black ar Malorie Blackman


Emma Leveson

alorie Blackman’s work has not only earnt her a large space on my bookshelf but numerous awards including the position of Children’s Laureate 2013-15 and an OBE for services to children’s literature in 2008. My personal favourite, her famous Noughts and Crosses series, which has seen a further increase in popularity during lockdown following the release of a BBC adaption in March, presents an alternate history in which Africa colonised Europe, where white people are brutally oppressed in ways that are only all too familiar if we look at the oppression and discrimination faced by Black people throughout our own history and into the present day. The engaging way in which Blackman addresses contemporary issues surrounding race, violence and technology makes her work a must read for everyone and a firm favourite of mine throughout my teens.

Kehinde Wiley Ella Calderwood


orty-five American Presidents have sat in the Oval Office, every one with an official presidential portrait hanging in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. But how many of those portraits were painted by Black artists. The answer is one. Kehinde Wiley, the first Black artist to paint a Presidential portrait. What could be more appropriate for Black History Month? Noted for his vibrant depictions of the Black community, he was first commissioned to paint the former President, Barack Obama, in 2017. In convention with his style, he incorporated elements of Obama’s life and heritage into the painting, surrounding him with purple African lilies, chrysanthemum and white jasmines, a common theme in his works. Aside from his Obama portrait, another famous Wiley painting, ‘Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps,’ depicts a young Black man riding a white horse in place of the French Emperor, Napoleon. This is the epitome of Kehinde Wiley’s style, which challenges stereotypes and presents Black people in a position of power and inspiration.

Image: @kehindew Portrait of N


s I settled into my sofa, tea in hand, I felt prepared to engage in the discussion about sexism – something I assumed I was relatively well educated in – by the acclaimed Feminist author Laura Bates. My mind was blown, and my expectations exceeded. Sexism and gender have been greatly discussed, especially in the past few years, and it is something I believed was one of the only things improving in our current society. However, I was brutally wrong. Bates explains how social media and online forums have led to the spread and radical antifeminist groups and picks up on murders performed by young boys who have been radicalised by these groups. If you fancy a whirlwind education in some of the most undercover events happening in society, I would definitely recommend the interview – and perhaps even her book!

Cayla Viner


finished reading The Thursday Murder Club a couple of days before the talk, so the story was fresh in my mind for Richard Osman to discuss his fantastic debut novel. Famous for creating the UK’s biggest TV gameshows, and being the face of Pointless the focus of the talk was primarily about how he managed to write a book. While I was definitely inspired by his writing tips (bashing out 500 words a day

is no mean feat), I was still holding out for some interesting insights into how he came up with his plot, characters and setting. He addressed the retirement village as being a place that, after visiting, would make for a unique mystery spot; the plot, I discovered, was always going to be crime-oriented, being Osman’s favourite genre; the characters were the most intriguing part of the book and ironically, whoever they may have been based on, remains unknown.

Image: @richardosman on Twitter

Writing the Missing

Iona Lowe

Richard Osman: The Thursday Murder Club

Laura Bates: A new angle on everyday sexism

Durham Book Festival: four writers review their


compelling and thoughtprovoking masterpiece of spoken art, addresses the fight for freedom in an ableist society; it is both heart-breaking and beautiful to watch. Award-winning disabled activist, Lisette Auton performs her mesmerising words in an idyllic setting of far-reaching trees and a gentle stream. The vastness and quietness of her surroundings emulates what she is saying as she stands alone. However, what she is doing is far from solitary and if you close your eyes, her expressive poetry transforms image description and thus her art becomes inclusive for the blind. Joining Lisette is Bex Bowsher, Sarah Crutwell and Vici Wreford-Sinnott who offered words that immediately stuck with me: “my constant companion is my own imagination,” “access denied,” and “they were different glasses when they were talking to me.”



Monday 2 November 2020



rtists in the industry Makeup: Is is art?


Daniela Vasilache

Lucille Clifton Lyndsey Sleator

“What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else”


hese are the words of Lucille Clifton, a prolific and widely respected poet, born in 1936 in Depew, New York. Descending from a family of slaves, Clifton’s poems have proven a lifeline to millions of Black men and women, dealing with the issues of racism and gender; a radical pursuit for a woman in oppressive 20th century America. Critically acclaimed, Clifton was awarded the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2007 and was the first author to have two books of poetry chosen as finalists of the Pulitzer Prize. My personal favourite poem of Clifton’s, titled “Won’t you celebrate with me” is a powerful sonnet, speaking against the world that has marked Black women as undeserving and invisible. It is a victory poem against discrimination in which Clifton calls upon people to, “Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed”. This is a vital message to the entirety of the Black community and poignantly reinforces an utterly inspiring message to all: the evil force of racism will never rise victorious.

Akala Syd Lawther


wiley on Instagram Natasha Zamor

he first individual who popped into my head when asked to think of my favourite black artist was Kingslee Daley, more commonly known by his pseudonym ‘Akala’. My reasoning for this is because of the way in which he exhibits his artistic abilities through such different yet equally impressive mediums. Whether it be through his music, his activism or his flair for poetry and writing, there seems to be no expression of his that does not in some way provide a clearer understanding of the subject he is referring to. As seen in his part memoir and part polemic from 2018 , ‘Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire’ – a book I cannot recommend strongly enough – he depicts the difficulties of growing up in Britain while being both Black and working class, a political system that works only for a select few and how this country’s history has made ‘race’ a much greater problem than the majority of Brits would ever be willing to admit.

what about the war; what about the women which war? my tampons cost more than his car, have you forgotten nonsense. about the food banks helpless in a typhoon.

Send us a photo of your arts & crafts successes (and failures!) with your name (or anonymously if you prefer!), a title for your piece, and a short description of what you intended and how successful you think it is, for us to publish in future editions. Send to c2.arts@newcastle.ac.uk


the future in terms of the individual and the universal is the tool that will help us understand it better. So, write; keep track of your peculiar thoughts even if they seem trivial, the speakers urge us. You may not have the answers now, but this might not be the time for answers after all. Perhaps now is the time to ask the peculiar questions.

Image: @durhambookfestival

whose turn was it to watch the men i swear there used to be these things that could fly; your teenager! he’s morphing

can do it too.

Maud Webster

Mary Tsiara

n 2019, Newcastle-based philosopher Mary Midgley’s biscuit tin embarked on a 12-month journey around the world, collecting notes and poems, and transcending geographical barriers. It is currently in lockdown in Tokyo, safe in the care of philosopher István Zárdai. Celebrating Mary Midgley’s memory in this year’s Durham Book Festival, poet Gillian Allnutt, philosopher-musician Jennifer Judge, and philosopher István Zárdai discuss poetry, philosophy, and the current reality. How can philosophy and poetry meet? The simple answer is through language. Poetry uses the language of the individual and philosophers often use poetic language to put the blood back in the ‘lifeless body’ of reason. Both poetry and philosophy are made to be communicated. During these times of isolation, they remind us that the world doesn’t exist for us but thinking about

what about depression; we don’t get those here;

into his porn, oh look your daughter

In conversation with Adrain Tombine

Notes from a Biscuit Tin & Young Poets

r favourite literary events

f it is generally accepted that drawing and painting are forms of art, then why make-up should not be? Painters and drawers have the ability to make people “see” new things and feel an amalgam of sentiments, but so do make-up ARTISTS. Make-up artists help people discover who they are, who they can be or who they wish to be. Because make-up, just like any art form, can reflect reality in all its complexity or create an imaginary world, open to countless possibilities. Furthermore, resemblances between these practices are easily spotted. Let’s take a look at the tools first. Just like a painter uses brushes and palettes and a sketch artist- crayons, make-up artists use a combination of all these instruments. Similar patterns can be identified between the techniques used by painters and make-up artists: they create lines in order to accentuate or diminish different features, play with lighting and contouring and combine colours in a harmonious way, making sure they complement the person’s skin tone, eyes and hair colour. Lastly, we should not overlook the incredible face paintings that truly bring to light the talent of a make-up artist. Like in any art, imagination, creativity and passion are the keys to some astonishing results. Examples of face art are: two faces illusion, skin rupture, pop art effect, 3D effect, broken mirror etc. There are numerous occasions where this kind of make-up are requested: Halloween, cosplays, theatre, film, kids parties, thematic events, music videos. Make-up is art and it ought to be recognized as such. It enhances beauty and captures the vision of a person, presenting it to the rest of the world. Everyone can be an artist in this domain with some creativity and dedication. Image: @kutsanvaleriya1 on Instagram


llustrator Adrian Tombine recently published ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cartoonist’, maybe a somewhat niche insight into an individual pursuing this profession. It follows his successful graphic novels, and his work in The New Yorker. As Durham Book Festival is now virtual (and free), I felt more inclined towards events I wouldn’t normally attend: Tombine’s talk amongst them. A major component of the discussion was the interaction between illustration and the text, and whether drawings compliment the plot, or vice versa. In response to the reception of the book, Tomine comments: “people focused on the content and the story, and saw the illustrations as a way to express that”. Attending the event online largely worked well and the chat-box allowed conversation within the audience. This event has certainly piqued my interest in Tomine’s work.

there’s too much fire or is that ice; what about education it is a shame about those polar bears. smile! the world is working off your cue. what about th- me?

Image: Maud Webster

Monday 2 November 2020



Crash 4 comes crashing in Joseph Caddick reviews the notoriously infuriating platformer, the first new entry to the series since 2001.


Joseph Caddick rash is back, and it’s about time! With his first original platformer that takes after the original games since Wrath of Cortex in 2001, the iconic bandicoot certainly isn’t pulling any punches in his latest adventure. Initially, this game felt like a return to form. Crash controls great, and you can still use the D-pad in sections where very tight platforming is needed. Jumping is responsive for the most part, and spinning enemies into the distance is as satisfying as it always has been. Crash 4 brings with it some new playable characters, although mostly

Image: IGDB

characters we’ve seen before. Each has unique abilities, like Cortex’s gun that turns enemies into platforms, Dingodile’s suck cannon (like a great weapon from Ratchet & Clank) and an alternate universe - Tawna’s grappling hook. They’re all fun to play, but Dingodile is my personal favourite. Toys for Bob nailed the cartoony charm of Crash’s world, with a lot of wacky animations that harken back to the classic cartoons the original game was inspired by. Some levels are truly stunning, like the Mardi Gras stage. Level design is problematic, however. This game has it in for the player. There are countless secret boxes that you can’t see unless you contort the camera, so it’s incredibly obnoxious to get them all in each level. Levels are long slogs, easily 3-4 times longer than their PS1 counterparts. The difficulty makes it seem like Crash 4 is actively against its players having fun at any point. If you’re aiming for 106%, just don’t. New additions to the controls were bothersome throughout, particularly grinding. Crash’s grinding doesn’t really work due to how complex it is. In addition to expected grinding mechanics, Crash adds hanging below the rail, leaning to each side below the rails and attacking whilst jumping on rails and more. There’s too much to focus on and it’s often overwhelming. Vehicle/animal controls weren’t much better, but passable in comparison. Repetition is a blatant way of padding a game’s length which this game does a lot. N. Verted versions of levels change minimally, and the most annoying thing about playing as the other characters is when their sections end, you control Crash in a slightly altered version of a previous level. Combined with the length of the levels, it very quickly becomes a chore. I have mixed feelings towards this game. The peaks are tremendously high but its lows drag it down to the point where it’s not even my favourite fourth Crash game. I’m glad to see the Crash franchise is



Clash of the Consoles

Joseph Caddick and George Bell battle it out to d

Joseph Caddick


—Puzzles editor

ersonally, deciding between the two consoles this generation was an easy choice. Sony has always had a more compelling first-party lineup than Microsoft, and the start of this generation doesn’t seem to be any different; Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Spider-Man: Miles Morales are the games I’m most looking forward to as a huge Insomniac fan, but there’s other great franchises getting PS5 entries like Horizon, God of War and Gran Turismo. Some timed exclusives sweeten the pot as well. With the two consoles costing the same price, I think the PS5 has much more to offer. It’s also fully backwards compatible with the PS4, which

is a nice plus. Some games are even being given enhancements to make the most of the new technology. This comes without the high price tag of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (one of that console’s main draws), perhaps making the PS5 the long-term cheaper option. Microsoft's naming is also abysmal and confusing. It’s a small thing but it makes it tough for the Series X to stand out from the previous Xbox consoles, the Xbox One X's sales have even gone up because people are confusing the two. Sure, the Xbox boasts about its stronger tech, but that doesn't always draw in consumers; the PS2 was the weakest of its generation and it dominated. The power difference between the two new consoles is relatively small in comparison as well, so it may not have a huge impact on sales. While there certainly are benefits to both consoles, what Sony is offering with the PS5 appeals to me more and that makes it a clear choice for me this generation.

Images: Creazilla, YouTube (Xbox), YouTube (PlayStation)

PlayStation 5 UI: Something we've already seen? George Boatfield Takes a look at the brand new interface for Sony's upcoming console.

George Boatfield


— Head of Digital and Design

t last, it is here! Sony has finally unveiled the PlayStation 5 user interface (UI) in their latest ‘State of Play’ livestream. The 15 October showcase marked the next step in Sony’s staggered approach to next-gen announcements. The State of Play event covered many aspects of the UI and its integration with games. However, the updates to the PlayStation Store are the most emblematic of the new interface’s development philosophy: it is directly integrated within the PS5 main menu, rather than as an app as it was on previous PlayStation consoles. The result of this is immediate and instantaneous access to the storefront and the games available for purchase. Providing Sony’s highest profit margin on game purchases, it’s no surprise that they’re keen to encourage people to use the service. Beyond that, now that a digital-only console is on offer to customers alongside the traditional disc-based variant, the importance of the PS Store has never been greater. As for aesthetics, a shimmering bronze and black welcome screen continues the ethereal, peaceful design language that harkens right back to the PlayStation 2 UI. That said, the new features on display are strictly next-gen, but with a renewed focus on refining and expanding the sharing components that debuted on PS4. Perhaps the biggest new feature revolves around ‘Cards’, which received an extensive showcase right as the presentation began. ‘Cards’ come in two main flavours: ‘Activity Cards’ and ‘Official Game

Help’, both of which have been added with the intention of maximising what a player can get out of the limited time they have to play video games. ‘Activity Cards’ are content markers for certain objectives, while simultaneously acting as checkpoints that a player can immediately load into – no doubt aided by the super-fast storage of the PS5 SSD. Additionally, the cards provide an estimate of how long any given objective will take to complete, bringing the emphasis on valuing player time back into stark focus. ‘Official Game Help’ also operates through the lens of player progress. Sid Shuman, who led the tour of the UI, described it as a way to progress in a game “without resorting to a web search or digging through long videos or articles that might contain spoilers”. The feature works in the form of context-sensitive video streaming, offering visual aid for players in a pinch. Avoiding spoilers will cost you though – this feature is exclusive to PS Plus subscribers. The new ‘Cards’ were showcased using Sackboy Adventures, undoubtedly a best-case scenario for the new features given its nature as a first-party production. Indeed, the developer authoring that these features require may not always occur with third-party-published games. Cards show promise, but they’ll be dead in the water without developer support. Cards sit within the Control Centre, which houses various quick-access functions such as voice chat and screen

sharing. While these are both returning features from PS4, they have been bolstered by PS5; screen sharing, along with video and screenshot capture, has been upped to 4K from the 720p resolution of PS4. A significant new aspect to this feature is picture-in-picture, which allows screen sharing and other windows, including cards, to be displayed alongside the main game screen.

reclined in a leather armchair, the attitude of that presentation now seems to have bled into the image of Sony itself. After coming out on top during the last generation of consoles, the company can operate from its own metaphorical armchair. Now, Sony is intent on leaving fans waiting for every last detail about the console, with yet more features of the interface still to be unveiled.

This presentation is indicative of a very different state of affairs for the console business The Control Centre can also be used to send captured pictures and video to PS5 parties and social media platforms like Twitter. Sharing is made all the more easy by the new built-in microphone of the DualSense controller, which provides a new way to ‘type’ on the console, making text messages just that bit easier on PS5. This presentation is indicative of a very different state of affairs for the console business. The PlayStation 4’s user interface made its debut during Gamescom 2013, the August prior to the console’s launch. Hosted by the illustrious Shuhei Yoshida, who was

Image: Twitter (@LittleBigPlanet)



November 2 November 2020

s: PS5 vs Xbox Series X

decide which console is the best buy this Christmas George Bell

X — TV editor

box may have failed quite spectacularly during the last generation of consoles but it is already clear that Microsoft has learned their lesson and are gearing up for a huge comeback. One of the big drawbacks for Xbox before was the

barren landscape of exclusives. While PlayStation had titles like Spider-Man, God of War, and The Last of Us: Part II I was more or less left twiddling my thumbs. But since then Microsoft has been on a spending spree with their never-ending wallet, buying every single studio they can get their hands on. Their biggest purchase yet was the parent company of Bethesda, Zenimax. So, with Xbox entering the new generation owning titles like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Dishonored Microsoft have turned the tables on Sony.

Microsoft have been on a spending spree, nabbing studios left, right and centre. Throughout the last generation, Xbox has been building up their Game Pass into one of the best deals in the gaming industry. For only £10.99 a month you gain access to a massive range of games, both triple-A and indie. And it seems to be only getting better with all of the Bethesda titles getting added, as well as EA Play, all with no added price. While PlayStation titles are getting more and more expensive, Xbox’s decision to keep gaming inclusive and easily accessible for all is something that deserves praise. The PS5 sure does look impressive but sometimes more isn’t better. The Xbox Series X is sleek and simple yet has been proven, when it comes to specs, to be more powerful. And you don’t have to spend an hour to turn it on its side.

Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access After 20 years of waiting, Lucy Elliot delves into the early access continuation of the series. Lucy Elliot


he previous entry in the Baldur’s Gate series, Shadows of Amn, was released by Bioware in 2000. Being two years old at the time, I didn’t get around to playing the series until only a few years ago - craving a game that scratched the same role-playing, dark fantasy itch that Bioware’s 2009 Dragon Age’s Origins did. Baldur’s Gate 3 is now available in early access, but there are a few interesting changes. Rather than the isometric gameplay that previous entries stuck with, Baldur’s Gate 3 steps things up with animated cutscenes. For the first time, your friends - and enemies - are brought vividly into life with expressive faces that can finally complement the engaging voice-acting. If you’re looking to fall in love with quirky companions, the game offers a stellar line-up. Personally, I was compelled enough by the noble vampire Astarion to let him suck on my neck. However, although every companion will eventually have a romance path, only four are available so far. There’s a huge treat here for anyone who loves a character creator. Although the options are somewhat limited currently, there’s a plentiful choice of backgrounds, origins, races, and classes. I spent over an hour messing around, and although that might just be my indecisiveness at play, it’s impossible to deny

that the wealth of options is magical.

While the game looked great, it wasn't long before I ran into bugs repeatedly If you’re the type of person who wants a complete, polished experience from the get-go, I would strongly advise you to wait. While Baldur’s Gate 3 shows incredible promise, it’s far from a finished product. It’s still in early access, which means that we only have one act out of three so far. While the game looks great, it only took me a few hours of playtime to repeatedly run into a bug where my character couldn’t move. One day, Baldur’s Gate 3 might become the game that satisfies anyone looking for old-school roleplaying fun. But not yet.

Image: IGDB



Review: Mario 3D All-Stars

Lewis Webster reviews the notoriously infuriating platformer, the first new entry to the series since 2001. Lewis Webster


his year marks the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros. With its expert level design, iconic musical score and universal appeal, Mario has dominated the face of the gaming industry. It was to my delight then, when Nintendo announced that a collection of the first three 3D Mario titles would be coming to Nintendo Switch. Having played 35 hours of the collection, does 3D Allstars deliver as a celebration for one of gaming’s greatest, or does it fall short of the goal pole? Unfortunately, what you see is what you get. Super Mario 64 remains just as exciting as it was back in the day. New players may struggle to enjoy 64 due to its poorly aged controls, meaning Mario doesn’t control quite as sharp as he should which, when paired with the cumbersome camera, can lead to many unnecessary deaths. Visually, the game has diminished since its original release in 1996, however the same cannot be said for its undying ability to surprise the player with its plethora of secrets and iconic locales. Super Mario Sunshine remains the same chaotic mess that it was in 2002. Sunshine is arguably the least inventive of the three and features many lazy oversights. These come in the form of the awkward camera controls, uninspired objectives and inconsistent pacing. A heavy reliance on Mario’s water spraying contraption, FLUDD, also

means that the player is never in full control of the action. While the tropical paradise of Isle Delfino remains an exuberant setting for the prototypical platformer, its shortcomings prevent it from reaching the heights of its successors. Super Mario Galaxy strays from the sandbox style levels of its predecessors. Although this means that levels are more linear in design, this is compensated by the variety of each Galaxy. The pacing is delightful too, with new galaxies becoming available with every star Mario collects. The magic of Galaxy’s story and gorgeously orchestrated soundtrack do nothing but intensify the sense of adventure. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a worthwhile collection, featuring the best versions of Mario’s first three 3D adventures. Although the individual games are just ports, the titles themselves hold up well and are a delight to revisit. Despite their age, these games are still brimming with individual charm and life, which diverts the focus away from the shortcomings of the collection.

Image: Youtube (Ninetndo)

Nintendo smash sales records Em Richardson examines Nintendo's financial success despite the 2020 pandemic. What makes the Switch so appealing? Em Richardson


he Nintendo Switch has been the USA’s best-selling games console for 22 months, beating the Xbox 360’s previous record of 21 months. So, what is it that has made the Switch such a runaway success? When I decided to buy a Switch, I was attracted by its portability. This suited me both because it reminded me of the portable games I had enjoyed as a child on devices such as the DS or Gameboy, and because it meant I could play games without needing a TV or computer monitor. Another of the Switch’s obvious selling points is that it can be plugged into and played on a TV screen, and I was also pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to “switch” (pun intended!) from one mode to another. You can also of course utilise multiple Joy-Cons similar to the Wii controllers and play with family or friends. There is also the cheaper and compact Switch Lite, which has a bigger emphasis on portability and retains a singleplayer focus, without having to make any other sort of compromise.

I love the fact that I can play my Switch on long car journeys or in bed, but can then plug it into a TV when I want to really focus on a boss fight, or play a multiplayer game. Speaking of gaming with friends, I also find the Switch to be a more “sociable” method of gaming - I love the fact I can take it to a friend’s house when we want to play together. To me, the versatile nature of the Switch is worth the sacrifice in graphics quality needed to play on a less powerful console. Even so, games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild do not have to make this compromise, and look beautiful even on such a small console.

I love the fact that I can play my Switch on car journeys or while relaxing in bed During the recent COVID lockdown, the Switch was sold out across the world. Some have suggested that this is just because people had more free time, but I disagree. I think it has more to do with the fact Nintendo released some great new titles, especially Animal Crossing: New Horizons, around the time quarantine began. Sure, lockdown might have led to a slight increase in sales, but the Switch was always going to appeal to the masses. Its three modes mean that Nintendo has created something truly new and unique.

Monday 2 November 2020





Crossword Across


1. German capital. (6) 4. Fastener for clothes. 7. Rock containing valuable minerals. (3) 8. Won Eurovision with Waterloo. (4) 9. ___ Campbell, British model. (5) 11. Vegetable, olive or sunflower. (3) 12. American tax collectors. (1,1,1) 13. Electrically charged particle. (3) 14. Flew too close to the sun. (6) 15. Meat-based pasta sauce. (4) 17. Knighted by Her Majesty. (3) 19. Eavesdrop. (6) 20. Artist’s inspiration. (4) 22. Won 2020’s Best Picture Oscar. (8) 24. Michigan’s most populated city. (7)

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)

Wordsearch - Fruit

Coconut Kiwi Mango Pear Raisin Strawberry

Durian Lemon Orange Plum Raspberry Tomato

Grape Lime Peach Pomegranate Starfruit

Last Week's Answers

Word Wheel: Satellite


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



Monday 2 Novemeber 2020





Nonogram 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.


Word Wheel


Sudoku 2 November 2020


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 2 November 2020


Van Dijk injured after VAR blunder VAR's been getting a lot of bad press recently, but could this be the straw that broke the camel's back?

Lewis Thompson


iverpool star, defender Virgil Van Dijk, is set to be sidelined for up to 7 months due to an ACL injury he received. Jordan Pickford committed a very rash challenge on the Dutchman, in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw away to Everton at Goodison Park. Thousands of fans have criticised the use of VAR in this situation, with many claiming that Pickford, Everton’s goalkeeper, should’ve received a straight red card for the challenge. His tackle on Virgil van Dijk came while the defender was ruled offside, but VAR didn’t suggest that Michael Oliver should go and have another look at the tackle. Many footballing experts have since came out and criticised the use of VAR, including popular pundit Gary Neville, who kept it short and sweet by simply stating, “Pen / Red Card”.

"The game is gone" As well as this lots of football fans took to Twitter to complain about not only the Van Dijk injury, but multiple

VAR mistakes that had occurred during the game, including a ruling of offside on Sadio Mane, when Jordan Henderson thought he had won the game in the final few seconds for the reds. One claimed that “The game is gone”, when referring to all the VAR mishaps. Liverpool’s manger Jurgen Klopp explained to the fans that there will be “no timescale” on Van Dijk’s recovery from knee ligament damage. This makes you think that he is very likely to not play another game in the 20/21 season.

He'll most likely be out for the rest of the season With Van Dijk set to miss the rest of the season in its entirety, the Premier League has been made even more interesting than it already is, with Klopp and Liverpool needing to fight extra hard if they want any chance at retaining the league title. This period without Van Dijk in their side will either expose the club for their reliance on a single player, or prove to rival fans that they can still challenge for the title with the huge squad depth they have, with the likes of Fabinho being able to play in the defence and younger talents such as Rhys Williams being called up to the first team. Can Liverpool win the league again? Image: Twitter @FootyAccums

Euan's FPL Preview: who'd be great for GW8? 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

Chelsea vs Sheffield United Timo Werner (9.3m) owners were finally rewarded with a 16 point haul against Southampton in GW5. Pulisic and Ziyech are back to full fitness, meaning that Werner should benefit from this boost in creativity, as they registered 7 shots on target against FC Krasandor in the Champions League last week.


The number of shots Sheffield United have received so far

Sheffield United have conceded 84 shots so far this season, fourth highest in the league and have also conceded 13 big chances, highlighting the potential for Werner to haul big points again.

Southampton vs Newcastle United Danny Ings (8.5m) has had a strong

start to the season, averaging 6.8 points per game. 10 of the 11 attempts Ings has had this season have been inside the box. Ings has a prolific goal conversion rate of 36.4%. Che Adams (5.8m) also looks exceptional value, especially considering he had 11 out of 11 of his total shots this season inside the box, highlighting how effective Hasenhuttl’s system is, due to its ability to bring the best out of the Southampton front two. Additionally, Southampton have had a shot accuracy of 47.8%, the third highest in the league. They have also had a very respectable 46 shots inside the box this season, 7th highest in the league, highlighting the high levels of consistency from the Southampton strikers this season.

Ings has a prolific goal conversion rate of 36.4% Newcastle have had the most amount of shots conceded, shots on target conceded and second most shots inside the box conceded, highlighting that this is the perfect fixture for the Southampton front two to add to their impressive statistics this season, which could easily equate to goals.

West Ham vs Fulham Fulham are the assured whipping boys on Fantasy Football this season, conceding the most big chances in the league this season (17), and the second most shots on target conceded (38). West Ham have prevailed this season

after a very difficult start, picking up 3 points against Wolves and Leicester, and a point against both Spurs and Manchester City.

Antonio is on for an impressive season After his deadly form in project restart, Antonio (6.3m) has continued to impress up front for West Ham, finding the net three times this season. The striker has had 18 attempts for West Ham this season (4th highest for strikers), and the fourth highest shots on target for strikers this season (8). Antonio could prove to be a fantastic differential at just 3.9% ownership

This weeks gamechanger: Ademola Lookman Ademola Lookman (5m) has impressed at Fulham this season, and scored a stunning goal against Sheffield United in GW4. The agile winger has recorded 4.1 successful take ons per 90 this season and has averaged 3 goal attempts per game this season, impressive for a player priced at 5 million. Lookman has also had 29.94 final third touches per 90. In relative terms, Raheem Sterling has 29.05 final third touches per 90 whilst Heung-Min Son has 28.22. Lookman has huge potential to be the best value fifth midfielder, and is a huge differential with just 0.5% ownership Image: Twitter @ALookman



Monday 2 November 2020




Who is the greatest tennis player of all time?

A certain three have dominated the sport, but do you agree with our Roger Federer


oger Federer and Tennis are synonymous, let’s be honest, when you think of tennis the first player you think of is Roger Federer. The reason for that? He is simply the greatest of all time. Throughout the big three era, only one player has remained at the top for the duration of the era, Roger Federer. Federer has won a record 20 grand slams (shared with Rafa Nadal) and been world number one for a record 310 weeks. That’s 5.9 years as world number one, a feat matched by no one. While Rafa Nadal’s grand slam total is largely amassed from Rolland Garros, Federer has a much more evenly split grand slam total, showing his prowess as the best on numerous courts. Federer has won eight Wimbledon titles, six Australian Opens, five US Open titles, and one French Open in 2009. No player has won as many grand slam matches as Roger Federer, with him reaching a record 31 Grand Slam finals including a streak of 10 consecutive and another 8 consecutive- the two longest streaks in history. His 103 career titles leave him behind only Jimmy Connors in career titles during the open era. With Federer still going strong at 39, who’s to say he won’t become the first ever player to reach 110 career titles? Alongside his success on the court, Roger Federer is a stand out guy off it. Roger Federer has been voted by fellow players on the court to receive the sportsmanship award a record thirteen times, the man oozes class both on and off the court. Federer has also won the ATP Fans Favourite’ award a for 17 consecutive years. Some would argue that Federer is bigger than tennis itself, winning the Laureus World Sportsman Award a record six times (in 2020 the award was shared by Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton). Roger Federer transcends sport in a way similar to Micheal Jodrdan, Kobe

Roger Federer transcends sport in a way similar to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant

Bryant and Lionel Messi. He reinvented the game and people thoughts of how tennis could be played, with his play style continousy courted as the most graceful and entertaining. Before Federer, Tennis was struggling to attract interest, Federer helped bring the popularity of the game to new heights. When Federer won the Australian Open in 2004 the prize money was a mere 85,000 AUD compared to 4 million AUD in 2016. For all these reasons, Roger Federer is clearly the greatest tennis player of all time, no one has impacted the sport as much as he has and despite being past his peak during the majority of the ‘big three’ era, he has continued to stay at the top of the game and win several grand slams during the period. Simply the best. Andrew White

Rafael Nadal


ceptics would be forgiven for assuming that Nadal’s newfound advocates in the GOAT debate are simply caught up in the afterglow of his recent dismantling of Djokovic at Roland Garros. When the dust settles, Federer’s superiority will become apparent once more, they might reassure themselves. But the Spaniard’s case is far from flimsy, and neither is it solely based on his utter mastery of clay. That said, let’s get the obvious out of the way: 13 French Open titles – no player has won more at a single Grand Slam, only four men have ever won more titles across all four Majors, two matches lost in 16 years. A record totally unmatched in tennis history. Inexplicably, some will use this dominance on clay as a stick to beat Nadal with, in a manner reminiscent of the way “can he do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?” is used to cast doubt on Messi’s greatness. Fortunately, Rafa has plenty of other stats up his sleeve to dispel such lazy analysis. The metric which has prompted this debate is of course the 20 Grand Slam titles on which Roger and Rafa are now tied. But considering Nadal has won his 20 titles from a fewer number of finals, in a shorter time period, and in spite of a number of injury

spells which robbed him of additional chances, this is not necessarily the equilibrium it first appears.

Rafa has a better career win percentage than both of his rivals - 83.9% Rafa also has a better career win percentage than both his rivals – 83.3% compared to Federer’s 82.0% and Djokovic’s 83.2%. Ah, I hear you say, but aren’t career win percentages misleading because they don’t reflect performance at the highest level? I’m glad you asked. Because Nadal’s win percentage at Grand Slams is also better that his contemporaries. If that’s not enough, if you only count the most prestigious tournaments (Slams, Olympics, Masters 1000, Tour Finals), the 34 year-old has more titles than Federer (56 to 54), despite the Swiss having more titles overall. When it comes to the statistics, far from showing us an objective winner, they reflect the values we apply to them. If you value pure quantity of achievements – weeks as World Number 1, overall titles won, Grand Slam finals reached – then Federer’s your man. But if, like me, you value quality over quantity, then it’s hard to deny Nadal’s superiority. Crucially however, our perspective on such matters is not formed from stats alone. Even the most neutral of onlookers is still compelled more by personalities than by facts and figures. And it is at this point that Federer fans tentatively take their fingers out of their ears, where they have been firmly lodged whilst inconvenient stats are espoused, and start grinning like Cheshire Cats. Buzzwords such as “gentlemanly”, “artistic”, “graceful”, will customarily be spouted to describe Roger’s undeniable style b o t h on and off the court, which are part of the reason for his widespread acclaim.

Frankly, the gushing praise heaped on him by his most ardent of worshipers can border on the nauseating, but it raises an important question in this debate: to be the greatest, does it matter only what you achieve? Or how you go about achieving it?I say the former. I say Nadal Cameron Hume

Novac Dyokovic


’m not gonna lie to you, tennis really isn’t my favourite sport. Don’t get me wrong I love a bit of Wimbledon (who doesn’t?), but I can hardly match up to the level of determination that the previous two writers have for the sport. That being said, I can admire the tactical side of tennis. As a snooker fan I’ve come to love the slow, tactile parts of the sport, and I can think of no player that’s epitomised this than Novak Djokovic. He’s won 17 grand slam titles, making him the 3rd highest in history (you can guess the two he’s behind). And guess where he’s ranked in the world right now? Number 1. I think that’s the argument over, don’t you? Not only that, but he’s held the title for 290 consecutive weeks, and where have Federer and Nadal been? Trailing behind. I remember being absolutely enthralled in his run to a 5th Wimbledon win last year, which saw him face up against fellow short-lister Roger Federer. His fantastic run of form which saw him go 2 sets a piece in the final showdown and win 1312 in the fi-

Image: Twitter @rogerfederer

Image: Twitter @RafaelNadal Image: Twitter @DjokerNole

His foundation has raised £1.165 million this year in aid of COVID charities, bushfire relief and the fight against

nal made for unbelievable viewing. Just looking at his run of form shows that Djokovic was truly a fine wine just waiting to mature. Over the last few years he’s been unbelievable, and I truly believe that he’ll be fighting for the top against these two giants. However, the question of ‘Who’s the greatest tennis player’ might not rely on stats about competitions won, world rankings and all that jazz. What about their impact on the sport? The Novak Djokovic Foundation aims to help impoverished children go to school, play tennis and gain social skills in a supporting and nurturing environment. Since it’s start in 2007 they’ve opened 43 kindergartens and trained 1,500 teachers, aiding those in his beloved Serbia and inspiring people around the world. He’s also got his wallet out for a number of charitable causes around the world. This year alone he’s donated around £1.165 million to COVID-relief charities, the bushfire relief in Australia and fight-hunger organisations in the US and Brazil. Something which I think a lot of people might not consider would be age. Federer might be some peoples first choice, but don’t forget he’s a good 5-6 years older than the other two. Djokovic is a giant of the sport, and has a few years to cement himself in tennis folklore as the greatest player to ever grace the court. If you think that being the greatest tennis player means living by example on and off the court, then Djokovic is your man. Tom Moorcroft



Monday 2 November 2020



Marcus Rashford MBE: leading by example The Manchester United striker has moved from football to politics, fighting against child poverty and hunger

M Ethan Todd

anchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has recently been awarded an MBE for his services to vulnerable children during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to his campaign which fought for the government to allow 1.3 million children to claim free school meal vouchers, during the pandemic. Rashford initially aired his concerns on March 19th as lockdown occurred, he sympathised with struggling families as he himself had grown up relying on breakfast clubs and school meal vouchers, with his single mother struggling to provide for a family of five on minimum wage. The 22 year old wrote, “Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals,” as he told his own humbling story of how in his younger years he and his family “relied on breakfast clubs, free school meals and the kind of actions of neighbours”. Boris Johnson and the conservative government came under immense pressure from the public, after initially rejecting the United star’s first plea to uphold the weekly £15 vouchers over the summer. Yet after MP’s aired their concerns over this, parliament announced the new 120 million “Covid Summer Food

The government initially rejected the United star's plea to uphold £15 food vouchers during the

expanding school food programmes as well as increasing value of the Healthy Start vouchers. Marcus Rashford’s selfless and exceptional actions d u r i n g


Covid-19, safeguarding our defenceless families rightfully so earned him the MBE title, garnering plaudits from the footballing world. His actions both on and off the pitch epitomise his character and show that he has not lost his roots of humble

beginnings despite being renowned as one of the best footballers in the country. However, his work on this matter is not yet over as he claims that he will ask the prime minister to “extend the vouchers at least until October half-term”.

Image: Twitter @ MarcusRashford

Fund”. Rashford’s outspoken manner against the government, using his position of social power for the benefit and health of over a million British children ensuring they do not go hungry during such troubling times, managed to reverse Johnson’s narrow-minded decision. After becoming an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list, Rashford told the BBC he felt “honoured” to be given the title and hopes that his work would “inspire more people to do good things”. 13 weeks after lockdown had begun in March, the Manchester born man had helped to ensure the supply of the equivalent of three million meals for the country’s v u l n e r abl e children. His taskforce called for the growth of free school meals,

From Stevenage to superstardom: Lewis Hamilton Hamilton has surely cemented his name in the history books with 92 race wins Lucy Rimmer

W — F1 specialist

ith 92 race wins, the six-time world champion moves past Michael Schumacher’s previous world-record Lewis Hamilton comes from one of the most humble backgrounds on the Formula 1 grid today. Lewis Hamilton’s father Anthony Hamilton, who was seen in Portugal this weekend emotionally filming his son’s 92nd podium on his iPad, worked 3 jobs to keep his son karting. Therefore, to have Hamilton beat his teammate in the exact same car by 25.5 seconds proves that Lewis Hamilton deserves to go down in history as one of the best Formula 1 drivers, if not the best.


The number of jobs Hamilton's dad had to keep his son competing

To some viewers, his continuous winning has become boring, seeing Lewis Hamilton on the top podium each weekend has become commonplace, but his achievements are far from unexceptional. Unfortunately, Formula 1 is a predominatantly white sport, Hamilton recalls people not wanting

his family at karting events while growing up because of their skin colour. Hamilton does not have the words “still I rise” on his helmet and tattooed on his back for nothing. All he has done is rise out of any adversity and hardship to the top of not only his game, but the sport’s. Regrettably, there were mixed reactions in the paddock today at Hamilton’s world record-breaking win. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who came 3rd today, believes Hamilton will hit 100 race wins. He said “It’s an incredible achievement 92 victories and he will go over 100.”

"He'll go over 100"

Max Verstappen on the future of Hamilton

But unfortunately, fellow Brit and Mclaren driver (the team that signed Hamilton at age 13) Lando Norris seemed rather unimpressed with Hamilton’s record-breaking drive. “It doesn’t mean anything to me, really. He’s in a car which should win every race, basically” said Norris. “He has to beat one of two other drivers, that’s it.” Norris made a statement on twitter apologising, but he also made comments about another driver on the grid, Lance Stroll, and it is therefore unclear if the apology is to both drivers or one and not the other. Norris’ comments alludes to the league in F1 coined “F1.5” the mid-

table teams fighting for 3rd and 4th, as opposed to the predictable Mercedes 1st and Red Bull 2nd. While for some view-

"He's in a car that should win every race" Lando Norris on Hamilton's record 92nd Grand Prix win

ers this may be the more exciting aspect of Formula 1 it should not diminish H a m i l t o n’s talent. The best driver ( usu a l ly ) gets put in the best car, and while t h e r e can be debates about whether Bottas deserves that second

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Mercedes seat, the same cannot be debated for Hamilton. He is the best driver on that grid hands down. Image: Twitter @lewishamilton


Monday 2 November 2020




2/3rds of women in football face discrimination, survey says

Shocking statistics reveal the extent of discrimination women face in football Elana Shapiro — Sports sub-editor


s a woman who has spent the last four years playing, refereeing and coaching football, the results of Women in Football’s (WiF) latest survey, revealing that two thirds of women working in football have experienced gender discrimination, did not come as any big shock. On any given weekend, women involved in football at any level, whether it be grassroots or the Premier League, will be facing abuse by people who are too ignorant or prejudiced to respect their place within the game. As well as abuse, their capabilities are often questioned because of their gender or they are doubted and mocked. 4,200 women who work in football were asked about their experiences in the survey which also tried to categorise the types of abuse, the most common category being labelled as an attempt at banter. Also no big surprise. Ebru Köksal described the results as “heart-breaking and devastating” adding that, “in this day and age, it’s no longer acceptable, inherent sexism in the game has been continuing for

decades”. Perhaps the most concerning finding of all was that only 12% of incidents were reported to a senior body.

"In this day and age, it's no longer acceptable, inherent sexism in the game has been continuing for decades" Ebru Köksal This could suggest a fear of speaking out about gender discrimination which former referee, Janie Frampton, believes is the case. Based on her own experiences she claims that women may have too high a tolerance for the discrimination that they face because they are “trying to fit in”.

Only 12% of incidents were reported, suggesting a possible fear of speaking out. Whilst much is being done by the FA, sports companies and sports media to promote women’s football and to tackle the discrimination that women in football face, gender discrimination is

a problem that is still far too prevalent across all sports and more work still needs to be done. WiF are calling for male allies which they believe is a key component in their strategy to remove the barriers that women face. They have also created a youth council in order to harness their “different mind frame”, tackling the problem from the bottom up. Two excellent initiatives that can hopefully grow and be replicated wherever they are needed.

However easy it may be to look away, or laugh uncomfortably, or to simply carry on scrolling, gender discrimination is still there, and we all have a responsibility to do more. Image: Twitter @AlexScott

WiF believe that male allies are essential in the fight on gender discrimination. Alex Scott offers a well-known example of a woman facing abuse for being a woman, while working in a predominantly male and footballing setting. As a female pundit discussing Premier League games, she is relentlessly targeted online by sexist and racist trolls. Her degree in journalism and media is disregarded as well as her 140 England caps, 6 league titles, Champions League and 7 FA Cups by those who claim she is there as she is a woman rather than being qualified for the position. Nobody expects gender discrimination in football to go anywhere quickly, but this survey has made clear that perhaps we are not quite as progressive as we seem.

Nike Vaporfly: guaranteeing you run away with the competition The shoe has been deemed 'mechanical doping' by critics Emily Oakshott


n order for a sport to be successful, its results have to have meaning; participants and spectators have to understand what the sport aims to achieve and what elements of the sport are important. Every sport decides what this meaning is. In F1 racing, spectators and participants acknowledge and celebrate the synergy between car innovation and athletic ability. In cycling, everyone recognizes the importance of the equipment, as well as the cyclist’s physiology. In running, it is expected that the winner will be the athlete who has trained the hardest, who ran the best race, and who has the optimum tactics and psychology. In 2019, 86% of runners achieving podium positions in the world’s 6 largest marathons were wearing Nike Vaporfly shoes.

86% of runners achieving podium positions were wearing Nike Vaporfly shoes. Composed of a curved carbon plate and springy Pebax foam, the Nike Vaporfly technology is said to improve elite athlete’s race performances by approximately 4%.

For context, a 4% increase in running efficiency across the marathon distance equates to the improvement of an elite athlete’s marathon time of up to two minutes. Two minutes may sound like a negligible difference. Yet in the 2020

Only two minutes seperated 1st place and 8th place in the 2020 London marathon. London marathon, just two minutes separated race winner Shura Kitata and 8th place. Many people argue that innovation is inevitable and essential to the advancement of running – it is unrealistic

t o expect e l i t e athletes t o c o mp e t e in outdated technology. Howe ver, others contest that innovation is developing too quickly

and unfairly. Celebrated sports scientist Professor Ross Tucker put it this way: “we accept that over time there is a creep of innovation and technology and knowledge that makes us better. But, when the technology is introduced suddenly, and it causes a step change, a large step change i n

performance… that, for me, distorts the race results”. Professor Tucker asserts that Nike’s Vaporfly shoes are simply too advanced, in comparison to other shoes on the market. Therefore, athletes with sponsorship from other brands, as well as athletes who respond poorly to Nike technology, suffer a significant disadvantage. Responding to the outcry surrounding controversial success of athletes racing in Nike’s Vaporfly shoes, World Athletics introduced a new regulation in early 2020 designed to regulate the influence of technology on race results. The regulation states that the stack height of road racing shoes must be a maximum of 40mm. In addition, approved shoes must be available for purchase or distribution to “any uncontracted elite athlete via an athletic shoe av a i l a bi l it y scheme”.

This regulation did seem to be a step in the right direction from World Athletics. However, with the release of the new regulation-compliant Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% racing shoes only 4 days after the announcement, critics argue that the regulation favors Nike and their athletes. Other critics, including American scientist Geoffrey Burns, also suggest that World Athletics could have done more to ensure that certain athletes don’t have an unfair advantage. Burns suggests that the ruling to allow the continuance of Nike domination in distance events will not only affect elite athletes, but also runners at school and university level: “Think of high school and college levels… the tip of the iceberg is the elite scene”. Nine months on from the release of the new World Athletics regulation, the topic of running shoe technology is still sparking controversy. This month, Sara Hall (runner up of the 2020 London marathon) has been under scrutiny as she was found to be competing in a “development shoe”. While Hall’s agent asserts that the shoes were legal, the fact that this debate is still prevalent outlines the danger that innovation poses to the sport. It would be unfair not to acknowledge and celebrate Nike’s incredible technology; to produce a shoe that can have such a significant impact on running efficiency and race results really is an astounding feat of engineering. However, as running is a sport that relies heavily on being able to accurately compare athletes, we must ask ourselves: does Nike Vaporfly technology really have a place in the running events that we know and love?

Image: Twitter @trackshack



Monday 2 November 2020



Ecstatic or envious England: did we hit the target this year? A run of UEFA Nations League games has seen England fly high and drop low. Did you rate our performance? Sam Slater

W — Sports sub-editor

ith two wins and one defeat, recent results distract from a glaring and obvious tactical problem for England. Southgate has begun to receive criticism for several bizarre tactical and squad related decisions, particularly on social media. However, have the signs always been there? Southgate’s decision making sparked fierce debate on Twitter The year was 2018. Pubs were full, Man City had just lifted the Premier League and the weather was glorious. The England national team travelled to St. Petersburg, their base for the 2018 World Cup. The nation, by now used to disappointment and underachievement on the international stage, held a small glimmer of optimism as new boss Gareth Southgate took charge of the most promising England team since the ‘Golden Generation’ team of the early 2000s. There was the right blend of youth and experience, with certified world-class talent in the starting lineup.

There was the right blend of youth and experience, with certified world-class talent. Southgate’s managerial career had not amounted to much up until that point unless you are a fan of relegation and the U21 Euros. As a relative unknown

entity, his early results had impressed. A 3-0 dismantling of Scotland and World Cup qualification was the least of expectations as the FA announced his four-year contract would not be terminated, even if England failed to escape the group-stages. For the first time since the London Olympics, some semblance of National unity was achieved. Even the tabloids could not break the spirit as Baddiel, Skinner & the Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions rang out from Transit vans and country estates across the land. Yet, despite the joint-2nd best finish ever at a World Cup, there was still an inclination that England should have done better. Three losses out of seven matches, blowing a 1-0 lead against an aging Croatian team, and narrowly beating Tunisia and a poor Columbia side seemed lacklustre for a team that contained the Golden Boot winner for the tournament in Harry Kane. Next followed the inaugural Nations League, the competition which would make Southgate only the second England manager to win a medal in an international tournament after Alf Ramsey. Another blown lead in a semifinal to the Netherlands and a penalty win over Switzerland earned England bronze. This illusion of success is what gives the backdrop to the most recent international fixtures. First up was a Friendly against Wales in what was easily the best England performance of the three. Jack Grealish, Danny Ings, and Dominic CalvertLewin all impressed, as Kalvin Phillips looked at ease in his new role. Despite the defensive formation, there were still some promising moments from the squad. Taking advantage of set-pieces and wide areas as Wales failed to contain England’s overlapping wing backs, the 3-0 win at Wembley could have been even more comfortable. It was a worrying prospect that the starting line-up would be entirely rotated for the following competitive fixture. The win against Belgium could almost be seen as a miracle. Not only were

Belgium going into the fixture as FIFA’s number one ranked team, but they were also the team England lost to twice in the 2018 World Cup.

The win against Belgium could almost be seen as a miracle. The miraculous element is not in the stature of the two teams, as England’s squad is arguably as strong as Belgium’s, it’s the fact they won with only three attacking players on the pitch and could have conceded three in the first fifteen minutes alone. It is a relief Belgium’s golden generations underperform as often as England’s. Southgate’s insistence on starting three recognised Right-Backs and two Central Defensive Midfielders in front of three Centre Backs left many puzzled. More puzzling was the omission of Jack Grealish. Having impressed against Wales as well as for Villa in the league, with only three creative players seemingly allowed in Southgate-ball, it was alarming that he would overlook Grealish’s form and the omission did nothing to dispel the rumours he has some sort of vendetta against Grealish. With a few new faces, Denmark was next up in the Nations League. Alarmingly, the same defensive formation emerged. Harry Maguire was sent-off in the first half for two reckless challenges in the Danish half after England were caught in possession, arguably a symptom of having two many defenders on the field and requiring them to join the attack. A dubious Danish penalty gave them the lead not long before half-time, as Schmeichel made an excellent save to deny Mount shortly after. England’s dreams of an equaliser were over as Coady’s header was well blocked by Kjær in added time. Following the full-time whistle Reece James was shown a red card for dissent, a sign of England’s frustrations.

This last round of international fixtures calls into question Southgate’s ability as England manager, eight months away from the European Championships and two years away from the Qatar World Cup. England currently has some of the most promising attacking players in its history, from promising prospects such as Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden to established world class talent such as Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane but a system that barely

Image: Twitter @HKane

accommodates any of them. The inability to pick an exciting team and tactics which suit this new brand of highly technical and ultra-fit footballer is worrying. Even more so at a time where club football at all levels are embracing the explosive attacking game which was previously only reserved for elite teams. Both Barrow and Harrogate, promoted from the National League last season, were praised for their adventurous attacking play. The Bielsa vs Guardiola masterclass days before the international break showed just how crucial an established philosophy is in modern football. The time is running out for England to establish a winning side and tactic before June arrives. If nothing changes in England’s set up by November’s fixtures, football will, once again, not be coming home next summer.

Jane Allen set to retire from Team GB amid claims of bullying The former gymanstics coach is shrouded in controversy after a culture of bullying was uncovered Lucy Nelson


ane Allen has announced she will be stepping down as British Gymnastics chief executive after ten years in the role. British Gymnastics is currently under an independent review into abuse claims, led by Anne Whyte QC and cocommissioned by Sport England and UK Sport. Allen denies that her decision to step down is related to the investigation or calls from GB gymnasts, including former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lisa Mason, for her to step down.

Allen denies that her decision to step down is related to abuse claims.

Following a series of welfare scandals that have arisen in British Sport, Allen believes that the time has come to establish an independent process to deal with complaints from athletes. This would ensure the most appropriate course of action is taken for the wellbeing and safeguarding of both athletes and coaches. However, it is clear that work still needs to be done within UK sport. It is critical to ensure that everyone involved in sport (coaches, in particular) are held

It is still critical to ensure that everyone involved in sport are held accountable for their actions. accountable for their actions. Despite the abuse claims under Allen’s leadership, GB Gymnastics has been successful on the international stage – winning 11 Olympic medals. Allen has overseen a period of transition in which GB Gymnastics restructured, rebranded, and revised its strategic priorities. They have helped grow the sport at both grassroots and elite levels, with around 300,000 people now

affiliated with GB Gymnastics. In 2015, GB Gymnastics won NGB of the Year, after the governing body trained 13,500 coaches to teach and deliver the sport around the country.

Allen has said that she looks back on her time as chief executive with “great pride”. Yet to many, her legacy will be one associated with abuse scandals and the organisation’s lack of action

to help those involved. An interim chief executive will be announced in the coming months, who will face the challenge of dealing with Allen’s legacy in the sport. Image: Twitter @BBCSport



Monday 2 November 2020



Newcastle fans donate £20,000 to food banks in ‘Charity, Not PPV’

The generous Geordies have outdone themselves with thousands of pounds raised for local food banks Tom Moorcroft


— Head of Sport

t’s no doubt that the recent £14.95 pay-per-view Premier League fiasco has angered a few fans, but Newcastle fans have taken to protest in their typical, community fashion. The PPV plan from the Premier League sees five games every round going straight to pay-per-view, urging fans to fork over the cash to see their beloved teams battle it out. Whilst many fans would be very happy to keep the £15 in their pocket,

watch a play-by-play update on their phones and call it a night, Newcastle fans decided to put their money back into their community, and have raised

Newcastle fans donated their £15 payper-view and raised £20,000 for local foodbanks. a total of £20,000 for local food banks. The initiative has been dubbed Charity not PPV. A number of other Premier League clubs’ fan bases have embraced the response, including Aston Villa, Leeds United and Manchester United, the latter of which can boast the good-willing Marcus Rashford, amid his political career and desire to keep Britain’s children fed. The issue has never been more prevalent in the UK, coming just in time for

the government’s voting against free school meals which has shocked the nation. The chief executive of Newcastle’s West-End Foodbank was ecstatic to see the initiative from Newcastle fans, voicing his appreciation online. “We are feeding 1,000 people a week and use 10-plus tonnes of food every month, which costs £1,700 a tonne, so these donations are really needed”.

"We have had donations from London, Spain and America so it’s not just locally that the interest has gathered” CEO of Newcastle West-End Foodbank

It’s also amazing to see that the response has not only been from Newcastle natives, but has also mad waves

across the globe, seeing many take part in that classic Geordie generosity. “We have had donations from London, Spain and America, so it’s not just locally that the interest has gathered. It really seems to have taken off.” Similar words were spoken by Bill Corcoran, who organised the campaign as part of the NUFC Fans Food Bank group. “The most we have ever collected outside a game was £5,800 but the response has been from all over the world. “Someone just suggested the idea on Twitter and we thought, ‘that’s great, let’s do it’. Whoever recommended pay-per-view, pitched it wrong. If you’re a season-ticket holder and already pay for games on TV, this was the metaphorical straw that broke the camel’s back”. It’s fantastic to see that though all the hardship that comes with being a Newcastle fan, they haven’t given up on respecting and supporting the community that they know and Image: love. Twitter @BillCorcoran5


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