University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper
15th February 2016
Does Bristol University ignore student drug use?
Features Is it time Bristol Uni came to terms with it’s dark history?
• University claims they ‘do not turn a blind eye to drug use’
• In a survey, 77 per cent of students at Bristol claimed to have tried drugs • Bristol students have been disciplined for drug use four times less than at other universities Ben Parr Investigations Editor
Epigram/ Sorcha Bradley Epigram ‘Because so many people take drugs, a workshop on it seems stupid to them, they see it as a joke and don’t care,’ one student told Epigram in regards to drug and alcohol awareness workshops being run in university residences.
The University of Bristol are taking on a number of new initiatives as a result of an enquiry into drug use, after a student asked about ‘Bristol’s rampant drug problem’ at a Question Time event involving the ViceChancellor last term. At the Question Time event, the University management appeared unaware of Bristol’s ‘druggy’ reputation. Following the event, Epigram found in a survey of nearly 300 students that 77 per cent have tried drugs, the vast majority of which did so whilst at the University of Bristol. A Freedom of Information request has also revealed that during the 2014/15 academic year, only one student was disciplined by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for drug use. The university have since told Epigram that a further 109 students were disciplined by hall wardens during this year. This compares to at least 468 students who were disciplined for drug related offences at the University of Exeter during the same period. The University’s new initiatives are designed as a way to introduce awareness of the ‘risks of drug use, including potential disciplinary action.’ They include drug and alcohol awareness workshops for students in University residences, for which student attendance is ‘expected’. One resident at Badock Hall said she doubted how good the attendance at the awareness sessions would be: ‘Because so many people take drugs, a workshop on it seems stupid to them, they see it is a joke and don’t care’, she said. continued on page 3
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A note from the editor
Inside Epigram News 4 Professor dies in Taliban attack Former Bristol Professor, Syed Hamid Hussain, a hero last month after saving two lives
Travel 30 ‘Where the f*** is Bruges?!’
Ella Ennos-Dann makes us all jealous recounting her recent visit to the Belgian town, Bruges
Going Veggie for Lent?
Matilda Bailey shares her delicious falafel recipe as she goes 40 days and 40 nights without meat
Lets, for a moment, hark back to 2013, when Russell Brand first argued that voting was effectively pointless in an article in the New Statesman. ‘I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites.’ Pretty passionate stuff - and I don’t completely disagree. Indeed, I’m increasingly sceptical about British politics, especially as it often seems like governments focus on short-term goals which will help them to get re-elected. But, contrary to Brand’s claims, this is exactly why it is so important to vote. During my first year at Bristol, and a couple of months after Brand’s comments, I went to an inspiring lecture by David Blunkett. The Labour politician argued that if you don’t vote, you won’t be listened to, and there’s strong evidence supporting this claim. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, the average voting household saw an annual drop of £1,850 in their disposable income due to the coalition government’s austerity measures. This compares to an average, and significantly larger, drop of £2,135 in disposable income for non-voting households. My cynical side wasn’t, and still isn’t, surprised at Blunkett’s argument. Why would a government reward those who it cannot rely on for votes come the next general election? Basing decisions on electoral success it nothing new, and has clearly continued since the last general election. In 2015, 18-24 year olds were the only group in which Labour had a significant lead. According to Ipsos MORI, 43% of this group voted Labour compared to 27% voting Conservative, while 47% of over 65s voted Conservative compared to 23% voting Labour. Is it therefore surprising that the new government have promised over 75s a free licence fee and refuse to mean test the winter fuel allowance, while also cutting maintenance grants and excluding those under 25 from receiving a living wage? Yet targeting certain groups is something every political party
is guilty of - so perhaps I’m naive to believe that a government should work for the good of the entire country, instead of constantly worrying about how to get re-elected? On a more positive note I truly believe that if more young people voted, and showed they cared about politics and the effect it has on them, national politics would begin to change; politics doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Following Russell Brand’s advice not to vote won’t achieve anything; abstaining doesn’t demonstrate you have a voice and it isn’t good for democracy. If you feel so strongly against all choices on offer, ruin your ballot paper - that, at least, gets counted and is a statement in itself. In May 2015, 58% of 18-24 year olds voted, compared to a national average of 66%. In the upcoming EU referendum, this figure needs to be higher; the referendum is the biggest decision in a generation and the outcome will impact the rest of our lives. Bristolians have the added significance of the upcoming Mayoral election - do we want to keep George Ferguson, or is it time for a change? So, what am I getting at here? Voting is important, so do it, and make sure you’ve registered. It takes 5 minutes, tops. As Epigram has recently reported, many Bristol students are not currently on the electoral register - indeed, Labour have estimated that there are 7,000 young people missing from said register in Bristol. This is partly due to changes in electoral law back in 2014, which meant that individuals had to register themselves; the ‘head of the household’, which for students was the University, could no longer register everyone. However, others are missing out because they have not responded to Council letters clarifying their address, which were sent to 9,000 students in Bristol this month. Whatever the reason, you may not be registered - it’s clear that voting is important, so don’t miss out on a technicality. As Eddie Izzard commented in a recent youtube video, ‘don’t waste your change to have your voice heard.’ You can register to vote online, at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
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was also shortlisted for Chief Executive of the year. Executive Manager Suzanne Doyle was shortlisted for an impressive three awards: EDI lead of the year, most inspiring individual of the year and community champion of the year - the last two of which she received a special mention for.
Bristol SU Bristol SU Chief Executive Samantha Budd (left) and Executive Manager Suzanne Doyle (right) pose with the Student Union of the Year award, as well as certificates for caterogries they were shor
Bristol SU celebrate award Emily Faint Online News It was announced that the University of Bristol Students’ Union (Bristol SU) has won Students’ Union of the year at the National Centre for Diversity Awards in January 2016. The awards are run by the National Centre for Diversity, an organisation which aims to advance fairness for all in the workplace. They celebrate organisations and individuals that positively influence beliefs, attitudes, behaviour and conduct towards issues surrounding equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). The awards celebrate the achievements of grass-root communities that tackle these issues, giving them recognition for their dedication and hard work. This award follows the work of Bristol SU officers who produced successful diversity
campaigns including #ThisGirlCan, aimed to encourage more women to get involved in sport, and the 2015 Festival of Liberation, which centred around the four key areas of diversity at the University of Bristol: LGBT+, Women, BME (Black & Mixed Ethnic) and disabled students. Ruby Hinchliffe, a second year Classical Studies student, commented: ‘I’m very proud that Bristol is leading the way for other universities to follow concerning diversity.’ ‘We are in an era now where the word ‘normal’ concerning issues such as sexuality is simply fading away, and rightly so! Every sexuality, every ethnicity, every everything is ‘normal’, and I’m glad my university is advocating this so well.’ In addition to winning the Students’ Union of the year award, Bristol SU were ranked number 31 in the top 100 organisations for EDI in the country. Bristol SU Chief Executive Samantha Budd
‘Leading the way in equality and diversity is something that staff and students alike have highlighted as crucial to our organisation and ethos’
Jamie Cross, Bristol SU’s Equality, Liberation and Access Officer, said: ‘I’m so pleased that we came back from the awards having won best Students’ Union, and having had staff being nominated as well. ‘Leading the way in equality and diversity is something that staff and students alike have highlighted as crucial to our organisation and ethos, and have done for years. We’re really proud that this has been recognised and we will continue to work hard to make positive change in these areas.’ However, one medical student told Epigram, ‘I don’t know what the union has done to promote and encourage diversity. If, for example, it has tried to increase the amount of BME students - I don’t know the stats - but it doesn’t feel like it’s worked.’ With the ‘Union of the Year’ award reflecting the vast progress that Bristol SU has made in its attempts to prioritise increasing diversity in the student body and its campaigns, comments such as these from students do suggest that diversity campaigns developed by Bristol SU have yet to reach every corner of the University.
Uni deny claims they ignore drugs continued from front page Hall wardens and the Head of Student Residential Life will also now be making their periodic reports on drug use directly to the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Group. The University have said that there will continue to be patrols of halls of residences by Security staff and ‘all identified incidences of drug use will be reported.’ Despite Exeter disciplining more than four times as many students as Bristol for drug related offences, the University of Bristol cite the number of students they disciplined last academic year as evidence that ‘university staff do not turn a blind eye to drug use.’ However, a number of students have said that they believe the reason the University management were unaware of Bristol’s reputation, and consequently why the number of students disciplined for drug-related offences is relatively low, is because staff do not report it. ‘Our block in hall smelt strongly of cannabis most of the year. Either the senior resident who lived in the block had no sense of smell or they just didn’t care enough to report it. I’m fairly certain they just didn’t want to deal with something that no one had explicitly complained about and would make their life more difficult,’ said one former resident of Wills Hall. The University have denied that senior residents ignore drug use in halls, saying: ‘Senior Residents within halls of residences are very aware that all drugs-related issues must be escalated and all students found guilty under the disciplinary rules are required to undertake a drug awareness course. ‘Repeat offences are escalated in accordance with disciplinary regulations and the matter may be referred to the police,’ they added.
Landlords urged to take responsibilities seriously Dalia Abuyasin Deputy Editor Bristol City Council has approved a new voluntary West of England rental accreditation standard for private housing, urging landlords across Bristol to sign up. It replaces an older, outdated model, and can be used by prospective tenants including students as an assessment of property quality. It sets a consistent standard for landlords and letting agents across the area to follow.
There is a pressing need in Bristol’s student areas for more private housing quality control: in September 2015, a report emerged from Bristol SU which found that over 90% of Bristol students experience problems with private accommodation, which was called at the time a ‘housing crisis’. In fact, the Bristol SU survey also found that general student satisfaction ratings have decreased due to housing discontent, an effect sparked by both rocketing prices and low standards. The new property standards cover in detail aspects such as insulation, security, condensation and mould, and set out guidelines for minimum sizes for individual rooms (6.5m
Over 90% of students experience problems with private accomodation
² for a single.) They also include management practices. Despite the fact that signing up to the accreditation is voluntary, it will serve as a valuable benchmark for students choosing between renting options. However, the high demand for student housing may mean that not all students will be able to rent with an accredited landlord or agency after the scheme launches in March 2016, highlighting the need for standards which are more enforceable. The move comes at a time of rapid growth for the private rental sector in Bristol: demand is currently outstripping supply in central areas, an issue in which steadily increasing student numbers at both universities certainly plays a part. The new standards replace the previous ‘Bristol Accreditation Scheme’. According to the report, the previous accreditation scheme was ‘out of step with the current financial situation’, with take-up of the scheme very limited at only 1200 properties in Bristol. It is hoped that as the new scheme strategically encompasses more of the region, and has costs covered, it will become widely adopted as a significant indicator of housing quality. George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: ‘I welcome adoption of this new standard for Bristol which aims to set decent but realistic conditions for landlords and agents to work to. The standard will help more landlords and agents understand their responsibilities to their tenants and equip them with the knowledge they need to protect themselves from mistakes.’The London Rental Standard (LRS) is a similar scheme, which has had limited success; an estimated 4% of homes in London are now managed under this standard.
Many students across Bristol have experienced problems with a poor quality of houaing.
Epigram 15 .02.2015
Former Bristol professor dies Man behind bars for graffiti a hero in tragic Taliban attack damage to Avon Gorge Jack Francklin News Reporter A former University of Bristol PhD student, Professor Syed Hamid Hussain, was killed during a terrorist attack last month at Bacha Khan University, Pakistan. The attack left 21 dead, including Professor Hussain, who died trying to save his students. There were an additional 50 injured. ‘We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Professor Syed Hamid Hussain, particuarly in such tragic circumstances,’ the University said in a statement released after hearing the news. ‘He studied at the University in 2011, on a six month Higher Education Commission of Pakistan Scholarship placement, as part of his PhD from the NW Frontier Agricultural University in Peshawar. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and students at this extremely difficult time.’ The violence broke out early in the morning, with the attack lasting around three hours
Professor Hussain has been labelled a ‘martyr’ by Bacha Khan University The Professor had finished his PhD at Bristol in 2014 and decided to move back to Pakistan to teach. Many of his former students and colleagues have taken to social media in the aftermath of the attack. Najmul Hasan wrote on Twitter, ‘We lost an asset… a doctorate person, a professor, a mentor, a spiritual father.’ Indeed, Professor Hussain has been labelled a ‘martyr’ by Bacha Khan University, which is true testament to his bravery and courage demonstrated during the attack. There has been confusion as to who carried out the attack. Although a Taliban commander called Umar Mansoor initially claimed responsibility, a spokesman from the terrorist organisation then denied the attack, stating that is was ‘Un-Islamic’. A similar attack carried out by the Taliban had taken place in 2014, just 30 miles from Charsadda in Peshawar, killing 130 students.
Zoe Thompson News Reporter Stephen Tiger, aged 33, has been sentenced to 17 months in prison after admitting to spray painting his graffiti tag ‘WES’ on the Avon Gorge in Bristol. Tiger, also known as Stephen Burke, was arrested in the St. Paul’s area of Bristol. Identified by a member of the public who photographed him in the act, Burke was jailed at Bristol Crown Court on January 22nd following eight counts of criminal damage. PC Stuart King expressed satisfaction with the court’s zero-tolerance policy to Tiger’s defacement of the UK’s Green Capital’s protected environmental site. ‘Tiger caused significant damage to a prominent landmark in the city which is seen by people every day,’ King said. ‘I am very pleased with the sentence as it shows that act of mindless vandalism will be treated seriously by the court.’ The steep-walled Avon Gorge is a 1.5 mile long gorge on the River Avon, which passes below the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Tiger’s
ten-foot white painted tag cost £20,000 to remove. Natural England, the government’s advisory body and protectors of England’s natural landscape, were involved in the clean-up process to ensure protected f lora and fauna remained unharmed. ‘The Avon Gorge is one of Bristol’s natural wonders and is internationally important for the rare wildlife that lives there,’ said Matthew Heard, Natural England’s Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire team Area Manager. ‘Some of the plants grow in the gorge and nowhere else. While we want people to enjoy Bristol’s beautiful wildlife, the graffiti in the gorge has been a long standing problem’. As Bristol is home to globally recognised graffiti artists such as Banksy, Bristol’s City Council encourages street artists to make a positive contribution to the local cultural environment. Ellen Jones, a first-year student, considers Tiger’s sentencing a necessary cautionary measure. ‘17 months initially seems quite extreme, but hopefully this will act as a preventative example to stop further defacement of such a beautiful area,’ she said.
Flikr: Gareth Hughes
Twitter / Sherytheketchup
The chemistry professor
before four gunmen were killed by security forces. It was reported that Professor Hussain fought back, firing a pistol at the oncoming attackers in order to protect his students before being shot himself. This, however, gave enough time for two of his pupils to escape the atrocity. His resilience and bravery has been widely praised.
The Avon Gorge, where the graffiti was found.
Students join the fight against slavery
victims have been reported from 97 different countries of origin, whose vulnerability is driven by factors ranging from economic and social instability, to lack of education, to war. The issue of slavery is prominent in the United Kingdom, but only recently has it been reaching mainstream media. Over the past few years there have been more charities forming to tackle the issue of human trafficking, with Unseen, Hope for Justice and the A21 Campaign being just a few that have started to grow.
The problem of Modern Day Slavery is widespread; there are an estimated 27 million people in slavery across the world Sophie Lomer ‘A lot of people I speak to think that slavery is something of the past, but it is in Bristol’- Sophie Lomer, organiser
Will Awad News Reporter On February 20th the Anson Rooms will play host to Bristol Acts (Against Slavery), a studentrun event focusing on raising awareness of
modern day slavery. In partnership with the charity Unseen, this group of students are hoping the event will promote Unseen, as well as bring to light the slavery that exists in Bristol. In the UK in 2014, 3,309 people were identified as potential victims of trafficking. Potential
The problem of Modern Day Slavery is wider than most people recognise, with an estimated 27 million people in slavery across the world. Unseen is a Bristol-based charity, which works on a national scale to help survivors of slavery, as well as working to raise awareness of slavery in society. Unseen runs safe houses in Bristol and London for those who have been victims of slavery and need support. Sophie Lomer, a second year Philosophy student and one of the organisers of Bristol Acts, has explained where the money raised by the event will go. ‘It’s mainly about raising awareness and
money for Unseen, with all the money raised at the event going directly to the charity,’ she said. ‘A lot of people I speak to think that slavery is something of the past, but it is in Bristol.’ The event will run from 7.30pm (doors open at 7.00pm) on February 20th and will play host to a variety of musical acts ranging from Josie Blakelock, a UK based singer/songwriter, to acapella and jazz, as well as spoken word. The night, which will be in a cabaret style and includes a bar, will also feature a talk from a representative of Unseen, with an opportunity to ask questions after the talk. There will be a further opportunity to talk to the representative and ask questions in the interval. The organisers are keen to show how students can join the fight against slavery. Sophie explained that nearly every product we buy will have been connected to slavery in some way or another, which goes to show how widespread this problem is. ‘As students, probably the most effective thing we can do is raise awareness and spread the word,’ she said. Furthermore, Unseen are always looking for volunteers. Despite Modern Day Slavery being an often overlooked issue, Sophie and the other students involved are set to make an impact with this evening of information and entertainment. For more information on the event and Modern Day Slavery, see Bristol Acts (Against Slavery) on Facebook, and Unseen at www.unseenuk.org.
9,000 students risk removal from electoral register
‘These letters have been sent to those students living in all student households where there has been no recent communication between the individuals and the Council. We are therefore unable to verify whether these address details are accurate and any
Epigram/ Sorcha Bradley
The letter which threatened students with disenfranchisement
were dated 22nd January, the letter did not arrive until the weekend of the 30th January. However, the council have now extended the deadline to the 29 February. ‘Following receipt of calls from a small number of students contacting the council to query their letter and how they can respond, our Electoral Services team have extended the deadline for responding. Anyone who needs to respond to this letter should now do so before Monday 29th February. A follow up letter will be sent to these addresses shortly to advise of this extension.’
The potential accidental disenfranchisement of many students could be a source of embarassment to the Council
Nevertheless, there are concerns over the potential for a mass disenfranchisement of students at the University of Bristol if students do not check their post, or fail to appeal against the decision. It is unclear how Bristol Electoral Services have come to the conclusion that students are no longer resident at their address, or if they attempted to contact the university, with whom students are required to confirm their address every year. Concerns have been raised over Twitter over the process of appeal, with Alex Mulroy tweeting to Bristol City Council, ‘[unimpressed by attitude of letter! Shouldn’t need to appeal to remain on register.’ The letters, and the potential accidental disenfranchisement of many Bristol students, could be a source of embarrassment to the Bristol City Council, who have been involved in pushing the ‘Your Vote Matters’ campaign across their social media accounts.
‘Have a drink with a robot’ Council tax set to increase Magdelena Zingl News Reporter
Ellen Jones News Reporter Councils in the West of England, including those in Bristol, are expected to increase the rate of council tax levied on residents within the next year, a BBC investigation finds. In Bristol, taxes are likely to rise by up £60 next year, seeing locals face a two per cent increase in their bills. The neighbouring areas of South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon are all subject to similar Council tax increases, with residents of Somerset expecting a huge £65 increase due to future flood defence work.
Recent graduates could be some of the most affected by a council tax increase
Flikrr: Trevor Hurlbut Flickr / Kyla Borg
This year, the annual hackathon took place on January 30th-31st in the Merchant Venturers School of Engineering. The event challenges students to ‘build something cool in 24 hours,’ and is hosted by the university’s Bristol Electrical and Electronic Engineering Society (BEEES). The teams were awarded points by judges (usually university professors) based on creativity, ingenuity and function. This year’s winning team was No Comment with their AI robot Steve, that can express emotion by changing facial expressions and is also able to move its arms. It’s possible to interact with Steve by either using the hashtag #talktosteve or by saying ‘Hello Steve,’ like you would with Siri. The winners were granted a prize of £500 and their names will be engraved on the hackathon trophy, which is now displayed in the Merchant Venturers Building Atrium. The runners-up, who received £250, were team Gin and Tonic, with their Gin and Tonic Machine. To use the machine, the student’s Ucard must be scanned, followed by them selecting a gin. It will then automatically fill and serve a glass with gin and tonic. 22 teams, consisting of two to five people per team, took part in the 2016 hackathon. Teams could choose to build a product from one of four categories: free-for-all (anything); Internet of Things (IoT); general purpose GPU and embedded graphics. The teams were also
provided with a range of development boards including mBeds, Raspberry Pi 2s, a choice of Samsung devices and some basic electronical components. ‘This year we had 22 teams sign up with some of the most creative ideas we have ever had,’ commented Will Beasley, the BEEES president. ‘These included a radio telescope made out of tin foil, Dominos pizza boxes and glue, a sign language interpreter glove, a wake up alarm that makes you walk out the room to deactivate it, a robotic hand controlled by a motion controller and many more.’
Obviously not the winning robot...
Fortunately for current students, who are exempt from council tax charges, proposed hikes will not increase living costs whilst at university. However, recent graduates could be some of those most affected by a council tax increase if on a modest starting salary. Sarah Redrup, Bristol University’s Student Living Officer, notes that whilst ‘Bristol University has long boasted a high retention of graduates’ in the city, ‘an increase in council tax will only make the cost of living here after they
graduate less affordable for many.’ First year Sociology student Rosie Humphrey shares such concerns, arguing, ‘Recent graduates do not always earn a great deal, and a hike in regressive taxes will only serve to drive young professionals away from Bristol, into cheaper areas.’
‘An increase in council tax will only make the cost of living here after they graduate less affordable’
Despite councils’ attempts to freeze bills in recent years by reducing office and staff numbers, it seems that council tax bills will be rising and that local residents will see further rises in their living costs. Councils will be setting their budgets, which will confirm council tax rises, in February and March ahead of the new financial year. The BBC predicts such rises in response to increased police and fire service costs, as well as reduced funding from the central government. The extra £3.5 million that increased rates could raise, could also contribute to the council’s £190.1 million proposed capital budget, which would fund investment and building projects including the Arena, the Bristol Aerospace Centre and the Metrobus scheme.
The small window of opportunity students had to appeal the decision had also been criticised
potentially incorrect registrations must be considered for removal from the register.’ The letters originally told students that they would have to attend a hearing in order to provide proof of address, however the council seems to have backtracked on this requirement – which had been deemed ‘obstructive and likely to cause a drop off [in student voters],’ by Bristol West MP Thangham Debbonaire. A second letter was then sent updating students on the situation. ‘We urge students living in all student households to check their post for any letters regarding their registration entitlement. Should anyone be in receipt of such a letter they can confirm their address simply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to provide their name, address and a declaration that they live at that property.’ The small window of opportunity students had to appeal the decision had also been criticised, with some students claiming that although the letters they had received
Epigram has learnt that 9,000 students across Bristol could become disenfranchised in the coming weeks, as letters have been sent to students threatening to strike them from the Electoral Register. This could have a serious effect on students’ ability to vote in the upcoming Mayoral Elections. The letter accuses students of no longer being residents at the property to which the letter was sent and tells them that they will therefore be taken off the Electoral Register unless they appeal the decision within 14 days. The letter informs the recipient that they are ‘not entitled to remain registered at the property for the following reason: No longer in residence at this property.’ The mass scale on which this could affect students was revealed in a statement received
by Epigram given by a Bristol City Council spokesperson. ‘In line with our statutory duty to ensure a full and accurate electoral register, approximately 9,000 letters have been sent to students across the city asking them to confirm their current address to avoid being removed from the Electoral Register,’ we were told.
Sorcha Bradley News Editor
Editor: Alex Green
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It’s time Bristol came to terms with it’s dark history of tobbacco, slavery and Henry Wills Sophie Hunter Letters Editor Grappling with one’s own history can be a complex matter, especially when said history is far from morally sound. Feelings of guilt, debt and apology can be difficult to navigate - this is exactly what Oriel College of Oxford University have had to do regarding a commemorative statue of former student Cecil Rhodes. The international ‘Rhodes must fall’ campaign has aimed to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes, a former student of the college who went on to become Prime Minister of the Cape Colony 1890 to 1896. He was an imperialist and by today’s standards unapologetically racist.
“ The graffiti that covers the statue of Edward Colston, in the city centre, is far more symbolic than the statue itself.
The ‘Rhodes must fall’ campaign at Oxford follows in the steps of a number of American universities, such as Yale University, who are under mounting pressure to rename John Calhoun College, a former American advocate of slavery in the early nineteenth century. At Princeton University, there have been calls to rename the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in an attempt to remove associations with the racist former President. Closer to home, there is the Wills family. From chants mocking Will’s Hall on the Wessex 16 in first year to graduation in the Memorial Building, their looming presence at Bristol University really is unavoidable. The University was, in fact, only able to apply for an official charter in 1909 because of a £100,000 gift from the Wills family. Henry Overton Wills, the tobacconist giant with links to the slave industry, served as the University’s first chancellor. It would seem that association with immoral characters of days gone by it isn’t so uncommon for universities. The nature of the association inevitably develops, however, when money is involved. Rhodes left a great deal of money to his former college on his death in 1902 and continues to have a scholarship programme named after him which has been awarded to over 8,000 overseas students. It becomes no longer just a question of ideological legacy but of tangible financial reward. Are we, as Bristol students benefitting from the tainted money of a slaver? In the case of Bristol, this may be an over simplification. Although engaged with the slave run tobacco trade as importers, the Wills family were not producers of the product. Nor were they actually established until 1786, just 21 years before slavery was abolished. By these standards should the entire economy of the city should be considered
blood stained? While this does not deny a connection, we must properly understand the nature of this connection. This grey area between imperial racist and educational philanthropist is just one of the issues at hand. At Oxford, like at Yale and Princeton, calls for the removal or symbolic feature (a name, a statue) have been criticised. Can simple iconoclasm erase a questionable past? Memorials adopt the meaning imposed on them by their society, so perhaps the removal of a name or a statue actually removes the discussion of them. Indeed, the graffiti that covers the statue of Edward Colston, an active Bristol slave trader, in the city centre is far more symbolic than the statue itself. This is the angle taken by both Bristol and Oxford universities. Following the decision to keep the statue of Rhodes but to add ‘A clear historical context’, Oriel College stressed in an official statement that ‘By adding context, we can help draw attention to this history, do justice to the complexity of the debate, and be true to our educational mission’. Likewise, the University of Bristol acknowledged that ‘We have never sought to hide our association with the Wills family. Of course, at that time the health problems caused by smoking were unknown’. They told Epigram ‘Our University’s relationship with the Wills family was raised during the first part of the new strategy development process. To us, it would seem disingenuous to seek to deny or cover up our relationship with the family. ‘However, we would be interested in hearing the views of other students’. It would seem that as a University, the best way is to not to rename our Law School, or to pretend we have not benefitted at the cost of others, but, fittingly as a university, it is to educate ourselves. A key part of the ‘Rhodes must fall’ campaign at Oxford were demands to ‘Decolonise our Curriculum’. Similar calls have been heard at Bristol, arguing many degree programmes, especially within the arts and social sciences, have a tendency to be Eurocentric, or ‘White-washed’. The ‘Why is my Curriculum White?’ series in particular highlights the importance of these issues to students and academics alike. Again the University has stressed ‘Some of our academics are interested in Bristol’s relationship with the slave trade from a research perspective and we have held well-attended public events and discussions about it as well. We believe that it is important to be open and reflective about our history’. ‘Apology’ is a difficult word as it carries a different meaning for everyone. It suggests personal blame but can also be interpreted as a symbolic gesture, a peace making. For an institution such as a university it is even more confusing. In a way, there is no way to please all. What is clear is that, in the case of Bristol, we should focus on recognising our questionable history for what it is. Discussion is paramount to educating ourselves and understanding the foundations of both our city and our University.
A secular cathedral to education or a monument to slavery?
Following the crowd: Mourning on social media Francesca Newton Features Writer By the morning of Friday 15th January, I must have read the word ‘Always’ on my Facebook timeline more times than I had in the past nineteen years of my life. It never ceases to amaze me the strength of personal emotions that celebrity deaths cause in all of us – and the recent spate of them has been no different. They caused a storm in the media and, in recent years, social media particularly has borne a sizeable wind.
Just 24 hours after the news about of Ziggy’s death hit us, the Mail Online reported that 4.3 million tweets had been written celebrating and commemorating the popstar and his work. Even the cultural minister of the Vatican chipped in. Internet mourning has hit in a big way. But you might ask: why? Why use the same platform that you normally share your sweaty drunken photos from a Friday night on to lament the death of geniuses? For a start, there’s a macabre FOMO at play. Social media is, by definition, a group experience. Is your post on Facebook commemorating Lemmy really there to remind your friends of the world’s loss? Because, chances are, they’ve scrolled past fifty like it already
should be commemorated publically. And, of course, there are those who say that internet mourning is no mourning whatsoever. How much time and dedication does it actually take for you to google a picture of Wogan and post it on Instagram? Julie Burchill at The Spectator begged her readers to spare the ‘Sob-signalling’ over Bowie’s death, even scalding a particular Instagram photo of Ziggy-esque makeup with the words ‘It’s all about you!’ The virtual world is separate from the real world, and the confinement of your tributes to one is perhaps a sign that you don’t feel
anything very strongly in the other. ‘Grief police’ – that is the term given by The Atlantic to those thinking there is one way of mourning correctly, and that deviation from that is wrong. That is what we all risk facing in this new, unchartered and ruleless world of online grief. Loss is a highly personal experience; mourning is communal. It’s unsurprising that clashes occur when the two are thrown together. Any way you see it, belittling the role of the internet in celebrity lamentations is dangerous.We all would have preferred to be in Brixton on that Monday night,
singing along to Heroes with the rest of the party. Unfortunately, joining in with the communal heartbreak on Twitter was as close as most of us could get. Some, like me, chose not to post anything, despite my sadness. I had nothing important to say. And yes, it’s easy to claim that the millions of people typing ‘RIP Bowie’into their smartphone keyboards had nothing important to say that day either. But maybe there was a silence that just needed to be filled. We used to sing hymns – the collective tapping of keyboards is how we fill it now.
“ 24 hours after Ziggy’s death 4.3 million tweets had been written celebrating and commemorating the popstar
this morning. Lurking beneath every click of the ‘Share’ button seems to be an inherent desire to express to others that we are also mourning; that we are also aware of what’s happened, that we also appreciate the wonderful lives of these individuals. Communal grief is nothing new. What else is a funeral? Misery loves company; ever has it been so. The only difference is that now, we grieve together from behind the keyboards of our iPhones and our Twitter avatars. But does sharing your sadness with a million people rather than just family and friends make it less legitimate? Some think so. One writer for The Independent website went so far as to say online mourning makes us all ‘Hypocrites’ and that lyrics are only tweeted in the wake of a music-world tragedy so people can ‘Look cool’ in their ‘Faux-grief’. The ‘Jumping-on-the-bandwagon’ debate is brought up time and time again when a disaster like this occurs. Allegations of insincere sadness degrading those of us with ‘True’ pain fly through cyberspace. Social media has definitely made a competition out of tragedy – I can reference the most obscure Lemmy quote, while you manage to share the most heartwrenching monochrome photo of Severus Snape. Well done. But others point out that the massmourning phenomenon is indicative of how many lives were touched by these artists. Social media’s levelling effect on celebrity and commoner alike makes it popular; it’s one of the very limited ways in which as many people who were moved by the deceased can express their love for them in return. It only makes sense that public figures
A public memorial to Alan Rickman at Kings Cross commemorated the actor’s death in a more traditional way
The secret life of a Nazi supporter Zoe Barrington Features Writer Inside Helena’s chair, Dr Daniel Lee found Robert Gricinger. Helena, a Czech student, had unknowingly been lounging on this member of the Schutzstaffel for as long as she can
remember. In the late 1960s, Helena decided to get this chair reupholstered and it was only then that Robert Gricinger was discovered. Obviously we’re not speaking literally. Nobody found a Nazi inside a chair. What was found hidden inside the cushions of the chair was a bundle of personal documents all covered in swastikas. When Helena went to collect her altered Facebook/The hidden lives of Nazi enthusiasts
Dr Daniel Lee spoke at the University of Bristol about his research
chair, the documents were handed to her by a furious workman raging about how he didn’t do work for Nazi’s, or their relations - quite to the shock of our oblivious Helena. The documents belonged to Robert Gricinger and they soon found their way into the hands of historian Dr Daniel Lee, who went on to unearth the compelling life of this Nazi supporter. On 4th February Dr Daniel Lee spoke about his research into this intriguing individual at the University of Bristol, in a talk organised by the History Society. After initially receiving the documents, Lee travelled to Berlin to put his head into the archives there and it was here that Lee was given the first insight into the character and voice of the papers inside the cushion. All the files were from 1935 and 1936 and most apparent was Gricinger’s overtly ambitious nature. He was desperately trying to forge a career for himself, viewing Nazism as a sure way by which to climb the ladder of state administration. Since we will never meet Robert Gricinger, we cannot determine whether he truly did believe in Nazi ideology, or if he was simply an opportunist. Gricinger’s father was born in New Orleans into a traditional, Southern family; his roots were embedded in the New Orleans cultural past. With Gricinger not having the
expected background of a Nazi, perhaps Nazism was a lot more globalised than is commonly thought. In the early 1930s, Gricinger fell in love. Getting married in Nazi Germany was hard enough for anyone, but the apple of Gricinger’s eye was a German divorcee with a son, so permission for their wedding was initially declined in November 1935. It wasn’t until February 1936 that they were eventually able to marry. But was it really love or merely Gricinger’s driving ambition prevailing once more? In Gricinger’s position at that time, promotion was only possible if you were married. Having wrung out the archives, Lee turned to a less formal tactic. Opening up the phonebook, Lee began calling all the numbers listed under Gricinger, inquiring for relations of the man inside the chair. Just as Lee was beginning to think he had reached a dead end, a young man on the other end rewarded his efforts, ‘Of course! Uncle Robbie!’: Gricinger’s nephew was living in the same house that Gricinger grew up in and Lee arranged to meet him there. The treasure hunt continued. Lee learned that Gricinger was killed in Prague in 1945. His suspicions about Gricinger’s dislikeable nature were confirmed as his nephew spoke about his uncle in an unfavourable light, offering one account where Gricinger
paid off a local woman when he found her pregnant with his child in the 1920s. Lee was also told that Gricinger had two daughters and a son. Lee met with the two daughters who were shocked to discover their father’s involvement in the Schutzstaffel, lacking any real knowledge about their father at all.
” Who knew so much could come from an old piece of furniture?
At this point, all evidence and sources have run dry. Many questions remain unanswered – who put the documents inside the chair? Why were they hidden and not destroyed? Did his American past influence him? Yet Lee’s research of Gricinger, who at face value appeared to be an ordinary German bureaucrat, is truly incredible in revealing the hidden lives of Nazi supporters. Although we will never meet Robert Gricinger, Lee’s discoveries and explorations allows us to metaphorically shake his hand 70 years later. Who knew so much could come from an old piece of furniture?
‘Veganuary’: more than a fad in Bristol Bea Gentilli Features Writer The practice of ‘Veganism’ was originally associated with animal activists, green peace movements and eco-warriors - and quite rightly so. However, over the years the pure idea of veganism seems to have been diluted by the health-conscious and food-fanatical. More and more people have started to flirt with the idea of veganism as a detox strategy or dairy-lovers, like myself, as a method of raising money for charity. To a committed carnivore adopting the restrictive diet of no meat, no fish, no dairy and no eggs – it really is an absolute challenge. However, this apparent trend of temporarily becoming vegan has little to do anymore, amongst its novel members, with being opposed to the meat industry. For some, it only lasts days to weeks before once again they find themselves in McDonald’s inhaling Big Macs without a second-thought of recognition for the meat and dairy content. Perhaps, this interest in temporary veganism is derived from Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s 22day vegan detox: what they called their ‘Spiritual and physical cleanse.’ Maybe it is
derived from influential figures such as James Cameron, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates who have adopted this lifestyle. Quickly after their vegan-stints were splashed about the magazine covers; the movements seemed to gain more popularity.
of vegans in the UK. The city is buzzling with vegan-eat outs, which serve warm, nourishing and delicious food day in, day out! Speaking to a friend of mine, a very active vegan Lana Jagger, I found out a little more about how to support a vegan lifestyle in Bristol. She told Epigram: ‘I found I could not lie to myself anymore and forced myself to stop turning a blind eye to the violent videos I had watched, that were filmed in slaughterhouses. So after contacting countless “humane” farms, I discovered that there wasn’t such a thing… The government guidelines are so tenuous, allowing farms and abattoirs to get away with the merciless treatment and slaughter of animals. I decided enough was enough; I wasn’t going to be a hypocrite any longer. If I loved animals then I had to become a vegan.’ She explains how the combination of being vegan, living in Bristol and being a student is perfect: ‘Meat is so expensive, so instead of buying meat I can afford a wide range of herbs, seeds, oils and nuts to infuse into my cooking. ‘I go to Stokes Croft to buy all my vegetables, where it’s unbelievably cheap and I can hand pick from the widest variety of fresh produce. Then I just combine these with an
abundance of carbs like rice, pasta and quinoa. It gives me loads of energy and I adore it! ‘I’ve also found that there’s an alternative to almost all animal products that we so badly crave, such as delicious vegan chocolate bars and mock meats like Linda McCartney sausages. There’s also soy, almond, hemp and coconut milk, instead of cow’s milk, which is a lot healthier and makes food richer in flavor and more varied.’
agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, world-hunger and is responsible for up to 91 per cent of Amazon destruction. So stopping the slaughter of animals doesn’t just prevent thousands of cases of unnecessary violence, but it also massively reduces the strain on the planets natural resources, which we are in serious need of, given the rapidly increasing population! Veganism is so wonderful because you can be an environmental activist every time you sit down to eat a meal.’ Most people’s main concern when Epigram asked them was that eating out would become a hassle and impossible to enjoy. However, with Bristol housing the largest number of vegan cafes per square mile in the UK - isn’t just one worth going to? Lana gave Epigram some recommendations; “The Kinoburger at Café Kino is to die for, along with that be sure not to miss out on their curly fries or rosemary fries. They have a full range of cakes and delicacies baked daily and delicious! Or if you’re down by Cabot, check out the menu at Eat-A-Pitta.’ If you’re curious about veganism and want to find out more, Lana recommends watching ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘Forks over Knives’ on Netflix,
as well as videos on YouTube including: ‘101 reasons to go vegan’, ‘Gary Yourofsky best speech’, ‘Earthlings and the beyond Carnism’ TED talk. It seems Lana is not alone in loving meat-substitutes. According to Mintel, the meat-free product market for products such as tofu, burgers, and imitation chicken fillets was put at £625m in 2013, up 21 per cent from five years earlier and is now looking more at £926m a huge increase. The ‘free-from’ market has also increased by 76 per cent in this period, showing a genuine commitment to meat-less products.
“ “ “ Veganism is so wonderful because you can be an environmental activist every time you sit down to eat a meal.
A charity called ‘Veganuary’ was born encouraging people to take on veganism for their post Christmas detox in January. In its first year the campaign saw 3,200 people commit to going vegan, thrilled by the figures that there are now 150,000 fulltime vegans in the UK- almost 1/400. In the US, this figure is raised slightly to 1/150 which is surprising as us Brits like to pride ourselves on being a healthier chunk of land than our good pals the Americans. So what about Bristol? Where do we sit in all this? Being the European Green Capital it is by no means surprising that we sit very nicely in one of the cities with the highest populations
The city is buzzling with Vegan-eat outs, which serve warm, nourishing and delicious food day in, day out!
But Lana isn’t just a vegan for ethical reasons, as she emphasizes it is also about the wider impact of animal agriculture on the planet: ‘Livestock and their by-products account for 51 per cent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emission. 2,500 gallons of water needed to make one pound of beef: the equivalent of two months worth of showers. Livestock covers 40% of Earths total land.’ She continued: ‘Animal
The combination of being vegan, living in Bristol and being a student is perfect
It seems a lot of people are trying it, and liking it… So why not challenge your house to cooking a vegan meal once in a while and let Lana know how you get along.
Follow Lana on Instagram for recipes and advice: @Lana. jagger and buy beetroot not burger!
A Vegan food festival on Bristol’s College Green
@epigramcomment Editor: Jordan Kelly-Linden Deputy Editor: Stefan Rollnick Online Editor: Liam Marchant email@example.com
Cameron: Why did U-turn your back on us? Twitter reacts Hope Carpenter explores the ethical and politcal consequences of our PM’s broken promises Hope Carpenter Comment writer
Flickr / Seamus McCauley
Every financially prudent Bristol student must act as a careful accountant, meticulously balancing their cash flows to sustain a balanced diet of the ASS library, Bunker, and Clifton Down Sainsbury’s. With living costs particularly steep here in the South West, the least privileged of us currently rely on government grants of up to £3500 to remain solvent. Trainee teacher Liam, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most recent crowd-sourced PMQ questioners, is similarly propped; facilitating the procurement of his own geographic equivalent of books, booze and bacon. Faced with David Cameron’s commitment to maintenance grant cuts (and higher loans) he will now graduate with debts in excess of £50,000. This, Corbyn calculates, ‘is roughly twice what his annual income would be.’ Accordingly, Liam’s account book - and those of other students previously receiving the grant - will now rebalance away from what was, for many, already a teetering security. The panic and outrage this threat of financial insecurity, induced by Cameron at a PMQs session last month, came to a head when students blocked Westminster Bridge in protest. Leftists everywhere are up in arms. One Huffington Post commentator scolded the Prime Minister for his betrayal, suggesting he should ‘grow some gonads to fill his ever-changing underpants [by which he meant mind].’ Performing a complete about-turn over student bursaries, Cameron had retracted a ‘sincere’ pledge to ‘always help people from lower income backgrounds to go to university’ and a corollarycommitment to ‘keep and expand bursaries.’ The focus now is to be on loans instead, but - like Liam - what student wishes to be saddled with yet more debt? Corbyn capitalised on Cameron’s inauthenticity, reaffirming his own commitment to maintenance grants. He chastised the PM for failing to give students a heads up on this policy in his 2015 election manifesto.In response,Cameron confirmed that the manifesto had instead promised to ‘cut the deficit and uncap student numbers,’ assuring the Commons that the Conservatives had ‘done both.’ Student numbers have indeed increased but now that maintenance grants will no longer offer support to those who need it most, young adults
Apparently, some people don’t trust our supreme leader. Blaspheme!
from poorer households may shy away from further education when they consider the necessary cost of living away from home. Even if Cameron isn’t ideologically in favour of grants, surely there’s a political and electoral incentive to listen to students. We are a problematic demographic: hard to pin down geographically, often liberal-minded and have a historic tendency to vote red over blue. Shouldn’t Cameron be courting student campuses then? They could be pivotal in this year’s EU referendum - over which the PM is currently obsessing - given many university executive bodies have pledged to support the ‘in’ campaign and help get the vote out. Moreover, according to a HEPI report, students made a substantial impact on Cameron’s majority in 2015 with the student-Conservative vote share increasing by more than the national average. Significantly,
this was in part an expression of the swing from the Lib Dems as punishment for their abandonment of students when the coalition partner agreed to scrap tuition fees. Just as Cameron has offered students further credit, I offer some reciprocation: loans will still be available and these are the cheapest kind we will ever be able to obtain over our lives. Perhaps bearing these costs is sensible given the wage windows university degrees can open for students. Indeed, Cameron went on to wish Liam all the best with his career and provided him with the consolation that ‘more money [will be put] into the hands of students’ and he ‘wouldn’t have to pay back a penny of his loan until he’s earning £21,000.’ Nonetheless, it is unlikely affected students will be able to forgive and forget the promise he made to never turn his back on them.
Caption competition: #FeelingTheBern With Bernie Sanders still polling ahead of Hilary Clinton in New Hampshire, Epigram attempts to make sense of this mystery man.
Flickr / Wikimedia commons
Flickr / Gage Skidmore
Flickr / AFGE
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It’s time to change the way we look at sex education Ellie Bartram argues for a fundamental rethink in our approach to teaching children how to explore their sexuality Ellie Bartram
The number of young people who self-identify as LGBTQ+ is rapidly increasing: according to a recent YouGov poll, 49 per cent of people aged 18-24 in 2015 categorised themselves on a ‘sexuality scale’ as ‘something other than 100 per cent heterosexual.’ Taking this context into consideration, is it right that the government denies almost half of the country’s youth an accurate education about their sexual identities? An LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education, if made compulsory, would help to de-stigmatise the topic and reduce homophobic bullying within schools. In a generation increasingly questioning and
It is an incredible shame that the education system fails to offer this same support at an earlier stage
Flick / Wikimedia commons
Britain must stop being embarrassed about sex education. We need to know about it. We need to talk about it. Most importantly, we need to make it inclusive. In light of the recent parliament petition to make LGBTQ+ sex education compulsory in UK schools, I enter the debate of whether or not the UK’s schoolchildren should be educated about non-heteronormative sex and relationships.
Hevean forbid children were taught to explore their sexuality in a way that actually made them happy
challenging gender norms, it seems only right that a relevant education be provided. The University of Bristol’s Student Union is doing a lot to destigmatise LGBTQ+ issues on campus, offering advice and support to all students in the form of the Just Ask LGBT+ Student Support Group. It is an incredible shame that the education system fails to offer this same support at an earlier stage. Pupils shouldn’t have to wait until university to be offered the education and advice so desperately needed in schools; an inclusive sex education should be fundamental to every classroom and campus. Although many organisations implement workshops to tackle stigma and bullying concerning LGBTQ+ issues in schools, such as the campaign organisation Diversity Role Models, which calls for workshops in schools to tackle homophobia and introduce LGBTQ+ role models
to students, it should be the responsibility of the government to fill these gaps in education and target the marginalisation of LGBTQ+ education within the UK’s system.
Ultimately, everyone should be entitled to an inclusive education
Already in 2016, opposition to LGBTQ-inclusive education has been vocalised: the Omaha Public School in America attempted to update its sex education curriculum for the first time in thirty
years to include teaching of LGBTQ+ issues and parents responded with the statement that such education ‘rapes students of their innocence.’ What is needed here is generational attitude change and education is the ideal vehicle for this: LGBTQinclusive sex education certainly seems a good place to start in confronting and overcoming this stigma within the school environment and the rest of society too. Ultimately, everyone should be entitled to an inclusive education, particularly regarding physical, sexual and mental wellbeing. Whether it be LGBTQ+ or not, sex education doesn’t encourage sex, it encourages a knowledgeable approach to it and it doesn’t discourage ‘innocence’, but ignorance. The right to make informed decisions about sex and relationships shouldn’t be neglected any longer in the 21st century.
Impersonal statements: What’s the point? Darcy Rollins harks back to the bizzare stresses of applying to university and the dreaded personal statement Darcy Rollins
The second peculiarity of the‘personal statement’ is that ‘personal’ word. Excuse me for the rhetorical question use, but is there anything less personal than a personal statement? It’s an exercise in constructing a self; a version of you most suited to a particular degree path; it’s a very logical construction of self. A cold, rational dissection of you where you pick out isolated skills that show your suitability. Mine, in essence, was ‘Debating! I can do debating! Law requires
Those 4 dreaded letters: ‘UCAS?! More like UCRAP! Ha!’
debating! Please let me in!’ In the quest to locate said skills within your life, the truth was often misplaced. It’s an open secret for our generation that things were notoriously bulked up in those all-important 4,000 characters. Turning up at choir every so often was a fullyfledged commitment highlighting your stellar extra-curricular dedication. I would even go as far as saying that for those whose degree choice was truly close to their heart, expressing such love is discouraged. For the earnest future doctor who dreamt about helping people from a young age, it is wiser to rationally show your suitability than perhaps stray into the territory of the dreaded cliché. For those who picked their subject according
The omnipotent UCAS warns about trying to attain this elusive ‘uniquness’
to the classic formula of ‘I like and am good at X,’ things are equally odd. The whole process presumes a level of certainty of mind that doesn’t exist for most postgraduates, never mind 17 year olds.
The whole process assumes a level of certainty that doesn’t exist for most postgraduates, never mind 17 year olds.
And yet, for all my railing against the bizarre fakeness of the personal statement, it is actually
Flickr / University blog spot
For me, it was the bane of my generally baneless existence (life before law) and the trigger of many a tear in my school. It was a standard part of every member of our generation’s life and yet – it’s actually a very odd thing. To start with, a series of near contradictions was the received wisdom for writing it; they should have passion but not be too passionate, have confidence but not be too confident and be unique but not too out there. The omnipotent UCAS warns about trying to attain this elusive ‘uniqueness’: ‘Try to stand out, but be careful with humour, quotes or anything unusual – just in case the admissions tutor doesn’t have the same sense of humour as you.’
incredibly fitting for our times. For us young adults, on the precipice of ‘the future’ etcetera, it’s the beginning of forever. It is the first real instance where we have to sell ourselves to a specific thing. The first instance of many applications that aim to persuade the reader that we’re perfect for them and only them (as we fill out twenty more forms). It’s a kind of ‘be your own don draper to sell you’ moment. This construction of the perfect you to obtain a university place equally belies something else about this day and age. It plays upon that idea that the modern human being is in control of their destiny. We know exactly what we want and why we are made for it. Chance apparently has nothing to do with it.
The Big Debate: is there any point in studying a foreign language?
As Bristol introduces a Cultural Studies and Modern Languages MOOC, we ask is there any point in taking foreign languages at university?
YES Lewis Graham Comment Writer The last time I had a French class I was thirteen years old. My school didn’t have a requirement to study a language at GCSE (curiously, the same applied to English Literature, making me perhaps the only teenager in the country who hadn’t read The Great Gatsby) so, due to the terror instilled by my Brummie-cum-Geordie teacher, I didn’t study a language for a second longer than I needed to. This means that if I’m ever in Paris, I can give you directions to the nearest swimming pool, but very little else. That decision was, in retrospect, a terrible one. Worse still was the decision not to take a beginner’s language module at university. The form was complicated and I couldn’t be bothered to email the faculty so I reneged. In spite of my own laziness, it’s clear to me that there are a whole host of reasons why studying a language at university is anything but pointless. The first reason reveals my paper-thin thirst for validation; there’s a definite intellectual badge of honour pinned to anyone who speaks another language. Insipid as I am, I’m immediately impressed by anyone I meet who is fluent. I want to be friends with them. Look at me, with all my brilliant, clever friends. Aren’t we all so cultured. Let’s sail away in a rowing boat together.
The second reason and the one which I’m sure will resonate with the majority of this university’s overdraft-hammering denizens, is that learning a language makes you more employable. Why anyone would loathe themselves enough to embark on a career as a lawyer is beyond me, but commercial law firms in particular show this unabashed fetish for bilingual candidates. The same goes for just about any big career– I can’t think of a single application I’ve ever submitted which doesn’t ask about languages spoken.
Learning a language opens up precious channels of communication with other wonderful countries and cultures.
I confess that I’ve definitely exaggerated (see: completely made up) the amount of languages I speak on application forms; the (thankfully hopelessly non-verifiable) claim that I have a ‘basic grasp’ of Language X frequently peppers my submission forms. As the world is becoming ever more
interconnected, it’s important to show such skills to remain relevant (in an unrelated note, Tony Blair’s recent speeches have all been published exclusively in French). In short, learning a language at university can make you richer. However, the most salient argument, in my view, is that learning a language opens up precious channels of communication with other wonderful countries and cultures. A host of classic art and literary works are (apparently) best experienced in their original tongue – as much as I enjoyed Bergman’s The Seventh Seal the subtitles did definitely distract from the experience somewhat. L’Etranger is miserable in English, so I can only imagine how it reads in Sartre’s moody French. More personally (and excuse the faux-spirituality that follows), language opens up to you not just a new vocabulary but also shared experiences with a whole host of different cultures and backgrounds. There’s a whole world out there beyond the
dull reaches of the English language. Why close yourself off from that? University should be about much more than just getting a degree (and, by extension, life should be about much more than the job that hopefully follows). Time spent learning a language is only wasted when you prescribe to a predictably bland definition ‘valuable’. For many, learning a new language is a wonderful endeavour, providing a greater choice of life experiences, wider communication and a meaningful pursuit of education and self-fulfilment, as well as enjoyment for its own sake. Language taps into something organic; it touches on the spirit of common humanity. Vivre la vie comme un lettre d’amour. Translation courtesy of Google translate.
Flickr / Alana Mendrek
NO Ciara Lally Online Editor Alex Rawlings, the UK’s most famous multilingual student, says that studying languages is about far more than just memorising verb tables, vocab lists, or a five-minute presentation about your hobbies. Languages allow you to connect with other people, hear their views and share their stories and in this way gain an invaluable insight into the way they think. And I agree with him entirely but for one aspect - it’s not the study exclusively of languages that achieves this invaluable insight - it’s the study of cultures. The current structure of our foreign language degrees prioritises those verbs and vocabulary lists over the cultural awareness, insight or
understanding that the study of more than just language can build. Whilst degree structures do offer a wide and rich array of different cultural modules, they are presented as a complement to the large proportion of the core curriculum which assesses foreign language technical proficiency - the balance of understanding isn’t right. I think back to my little brother on holiday, playing football every day with the little brother of the Spanish family next door. A pair of eight year olds without more than a few words of common language, playing together as naturally as they would with their friends back home. Whether or not you mispronounce the past participle or use the subjunctive behind the wrong verb really doesn’t matter when you’re building real relationships across cultures and nationalities. Now a GCSE student, my little brother actually loves languages, his favourite subjects are French and Spanish. But he is in a minority. The number of students taking GCSEs in foreign languages has experienced a well-publicised national decline for years and does nothing to take away from the international stereotype of stubborn Brits refusing to speak or learn anyone’s language but their
own. The best way to combat this is for us to start learning foreign languages as primary school-aged children, the way the majority of international education systems do. Where our cognitive development is still in that critical period of growth and malleability, before we reach the age where practising anything other than our own language becomes so much more difficult. Without stronger foreign language teaching in schools, the success of studying those languages at undergraduate level will always be limited.
The number of students taking GCSEs in foreign languages has experienced a well-publicised national decline
So if you are a child, your time should absolutely be spent studying foreign languages, in their speaking, listening, reading, writing, every grammatical intricacy. But if you’re an adult, your time would be better invested in learning cultures, not languages. Technology is improving every day and in
d e ca d e s to come we will be able to break down language barriers almost entirely. Google Translate’s visual translation and voice recognition functions, bar a few hilarious exceptions, pretty much do this now. It will become easier and easier to communicate effectively in a foreign language (which is, after all, what language degrees achieve; no languages graduate will lay a claim to fluency) – but we will not be able to download cultural understanding or insights in the same way. This kind of awareness will always need to be built through experience, immersion, time, and this kind of expertise will become increasingly important in our ever more globalised lives. And that’s why I think the new MOOC that the university has created is actually rather a good one - it encourages the study of monuments, images, language, literature, slogans, history and more; how they can contribute to different cultures and can all reveal insights into nations. Note that language is only one aspect of this cultural understanding. There will always be an important place for foreign languages in cultural studies. But in the future, I see more and more courses and degrees, like this MOOC, offering a better, more holistic approach. Where foreign language study exists as a complement to cultural studies rather than the other way around, where essays can increasingly be written in the student’s native language to allow for more sophisticated articulation, and where the core focus is on understanding foreign culture, national identity, and the awareness that a common language is just one of the ways we as people can connect.
Science & Tech
@EpigramSciTech Editor: Alfie Smith Deputy Editor: Matt Davis Online Editor: Amy Finch
Talk is cheap and effective for treating depression David Morris Science Writer
“ CBT is more than ten times cheaper than conventional therapy and has been shown to be more effective in the treatment of depression, even in the long term.
While far from conclusive, several independent studies have shown that CBT in general is a very promising and much less costly alternative to the employment of antidepressant drugs. However, these tests have only proven the efficacy of CBT in the short and medium-term (up to 12 months). Bristol psychologists at The Lancet Psychiatry performed a study following up a large-scale study conducted by CoBalT. This study was done to compare and contrast the efficacy and cost of CBT as opposed to conventional treatments of depression in the long-term (3-5 years). In the original CoBalT study, 73
general practices across the UK recruited patients of 18-75 years who had been prescribed antidepressants for at least 6 weeks and saw little to no improvement. CoBalT then used computer-generated randomisation techniques to allocate roughly half of the patients to continue their antidepressant course. The remainder were told to undergo CBT in conjunction with their antidepressant course. The participants of the original study that were willing to respond were then subjected to a questionnaire to reassess their mental health after three to five years of the original study occurring. Extensive statistical analysis of the group showed that according to the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) test, a 21-question multiple choice questionnaire used to diagnose severity of depression, the patients subjected to the antidepressants alone scored an average of 23.4. Those who were subjected to CBT in conjunction with the medicine scored on average 19.2. According to the parameters of the test, the former are characterised as having ‘moderate’ depression and the latter having ‘mild’ depression, placing those treated with CBT in a lower class of depression. Analysis on the financial aspect of the study showed that the course of antidepressants costed roughly £5374 per individual. The addition of CBT to the treatment added roughly £343 of costs to the study. These results prove that on a
large scale, CBT is more than ten times cheaper than conventional therapy and has been shown to be more effective in the treatment of depression even in the long term. With the prolificality of CoBalT and its efforts to make CBT a more feasible
and easily accessed practice, the NHS is recognising the potential of CBT as a cheaper and more effective alternative to antidepressant drugs, or as a synergistic method to treat depression in conjunction with antidepressant drugs.
Depression is an immensely complicated phenomena. This is partly because the blanket term ‘depression’ really represents a broad spectrum of issues that resist easy classification. From a research standpoint, it is an area of substantial overlap between biochemistry and psychology. Whilst depression can be attributed to the deficiency of certain hormones or a chemical imbalance in the brain, it is an incredibly difficult condition to treat chemically and even to diagnose. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an alternative method to the conventional treatment of depression which focuses on changing the psychology as opposed to the biochemistry of a patient. CBT is a kind of ‘talking’ therapy that focuses on contemporary problems concerning the individual and acts to convert the psychological process resulting in negative feelings into more positive ones. This is done by talking through the problems and breaking them down into smaller and more fundamental issues that can potentially be corrected using daily psychological exercises. These exercises act to ‘unlearn’ problematic behaviour and try and substitute them for more helpful ones. CoBalT Therapeutics is a company that offer computer software packages
to help make CBT more feasible and effective wherever possible. This software can help treat a wide variety of psychological problems, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and most notably depression. CoBalT has performed large sample testing on the efficacy of the treatments. I inquired about the results of these trials.
Spreading the green feeling across Bristol On Wednesday 27th January, the university-wide competition Bristol is Global (BIG) was officially launched, asking students, ‘How can we further emotionally engage students, senior university management and the wider community in tackling climate change?’ The winning team will have the opportunity to present their proposal to the university’s senior leaders and receive a cash prize of £500. The launch consisted of an ideageneration workshop, whereby
groups of students were assisted by professors and professionals of various disciplines and academic departments, including several of Bristol’s own staff, in their search for an answer to the question. I attended the launch of this competition. Two of its organisers, Osian Rees and Val Ismaili, outlined their inspiration for the competition. They believe that humans must be engaged both rationally and emotionally to be fully motivated towards a goal. Or, to borrow a phrase from the event’s page, ‘humans are driven by emotions, not facts.’ Using the Syrian refugee crisis as an example, the former defined
the difference between rational and emotional engagement with current affairs. ‘It was only when the image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, washed up on Turkish shores, surfaced, that the public experienced the shift from rational to emotional engagement with the issue.’ It is therefore their objective ‘to provoke a similar shift with regards to climate change. Dr. Richard Pancost of the Cabot Institute delivered an enthusiastic keynote speech on the variety of problems caused by climate change. Building on BIG’s guiding concept, he outlined the numerous ways in which our emotions are ‘informed by
personal experience’. According to Dr. Pancost, this fact is the fundamental problem. ‘We have not and cannot experience the future [therefore] we are not particularly emotionally affected by a future problem,’ he explained. ‘This seems particularly acute when the issue is a vague notion of gases and temperatures.’ After an extensive Q&A session, small groups of four or five were formed and began brainstorming. The professionals assisted each group during the brainstorming process, before their ideas were then submitted to the organisers. They will shortly be uploaded to the competition’s Facebook page whereby users will be able to vote for their favorite ideas. The competition is still open to submissions, even from those who did not attend the launch. One point that was constantly reiterated throughout the workshop, by both the introductory speakers and Dr. Pancost, was that we need not worry about sharing ‘bad ideas’ for we need to acknowledge and potentially implement ‘every idea’. Here in Bristol, we should expect: flooding, extreme changes in weather, food deprivation and the health impacts such conditions entail. Climate change is causing and will cause such a vast range of problems, some of which are still
Harry Bennett Science Writer
being discovered. BIG’s next event will take place on the February 10th in the Anson Rooms. Anyone is welcome to attend this event where climate researcher and TEDx speaker Gregor Vulturius will expand on the findings of his most recent research paper on ‘climate communication’ before leading a second idea generation workshop for both existing and new teams.
Bristol should expect: flooding,extreme changes in weather, food deprivation and the health impacts such conditions entail.
Towards the end of his talk, Dr. Pancost addressed the concerns in regards to the futility of our current efforts; is it simply a case of being too little too late? ‘No’ would be the short answer. He remains optimistic, highlighting the fact that despite ‘exponential degradation’, we as a race are also experiencing ‘exponential growth in technology and knowledge’. With an unprecedented array of tools at our disposal, the future may be a little warm, but it’s certainly bright.
Going for gold in the STEM diversity competition Melanie Wedgbury Science Writer
In your opinion is Athena SWAN pro women or pro gender equality? There have been numerous reports about the isolation, bias and obstacles women in STEMM have and continue to face in their career. Athena SWAN was keen to address this and so made the initiative in its early days hugely focused on women. By having applicants undertake rigorous data analysis, it becomes clear where in the career pipeline gender diversity becomes extremely narrow. However, as most schools and institutions found, when effective actions to address these ‘leaks in the pipeline’ were put in place it really did benefit everyone. Actions such as organising all school meetings within family friendly hours, ensuring equal male/female numbers of speakers at events etc. have become effective and, whilst for SWAN this was aimed at female academics, all staff have
been able to benefit from them. As the charter has now expanded to includ non-STEMM and professional and support staff, it has taken stock of feedback received and is now asking applicants to consider shortfalls in male numbers in particular areas (e.g. in undergraduate numbers for example or in disciplines such as Veterinary Sciences) and to look at intersectionality (i.e. how gender and ethnicity together needs to be addressed in academia). Therefore
collaborative activities to improve the inclusiveness of the school. As the award is valid for three years, it is an ongoing process and there must be evidence of impact, so arguably, SWAN provides the traction to get E&D action addressed in earnest and contributes to making an inclusive environment. Athena SWAN is also an international and well known initiative and so once an award is received, the logo can be used on
and family. This has a huge impact on female careers and initiatives such as the returning carers scheme, maternity mentoring scheme, demystifying the promotions process workshops, workload models, carers networks etc. have all been established to support this. I encourage schools to make visible and provide case studies of successful female role models and in particular those with family or caring responsibilities, as there is data to
Athena SWAN has developed and recognised the complexities of equality and diversity and is much broader now than just being ‘pro women’.
job applications, the school website and any marketing materials. This is a good way of attracting talent who will be able to see that the school has been awarded for its work for gender equality. In other words, it shows that it is a good place to come study or work.
show that females are often put off of a career in academia, feeling there may have to be a choice of work or family in this field. As I said, this is not my opinion but one of the key issues surrounding attainment of female academics. --
In your opinion, what is the most difficult obstacle women must overcome in regards to progressing their careers within the field of science? I would feel uncomfortable making this my opinion but from my work with schools on SWAN, the most common issue is the juggling of work
Layton has highlighted some key points. The school applying for gold should have a standalone merit, not only should it be doing all it can to push equality and diversity in the workplace, it should continue to look at how progress and improvements can be made in this area. Hopefully Bristol will achieve the ‘golden ticket’.
How will the school benefit from this award? The Athena SWAN process requires data that schools have to produce and analyse to then establish a SMART action plan, addressing the issues that the analysis identifies. By having the SAT undertake this task, it is uncovering gender equality and intersectionality issues, encouraging staff and student engagement, implementing effective and
The University of Bristol is very well known for its pioneering attitude towards women. It was the first university to admit women on an equal basis to men. This proactive forward thinking has not stopped there - it not only participates in the Athena SWAN initiative, but for the first time in the University’s history, the School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience (PPN) are hoping to achieve gold status. The Athena SWAN Charter is a charter that was established in 2005, with Bristol being a founding member. The main aim of the charter was to encourage institutes to take a proactive approach in supporting women throughout the entirety of their career. This involved careers in the key areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM). There are three award types: bronze, silver and gold. The bronze award is achieved by showing a good action plan towards improving equality within gender. The silver award requires evidence of impact from good quality practises and the gold award requires the department or institution to be beacons of achievement in gender equality. The charter shows, without doubt or bias, that there is a problem with the underrepresentation of women in these key areas. In some universities the ratio of female to male professors is one in ten. In 2012, Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies announced that the National Institute for Health Research would not consider funding research unless the applicants’ respective departments had achieved a Silver Athena SWAN award. This
was a bold stance and has forced a reaction. The message is clear: discrimination will not be tolerated and the underrepresented must be supported. There are 14 awards across UoB with a mix of bronze and silver awards. All of Bristol’s medical schools have achieved silver status. The school of PPN achieved silver status in 2008 and this is about to run out. Under encouragement from Athena SWAN, the school is resubmitting an improved document in March to better represent their data and this time they are strong candidates to achieve gold status. An interview with Vikki Layton, the HR officer for Diversity, has made it easier to understand the impact this will have on the school of PPN. She was posed the following questions, which she answered with knowledgeable passion.
App of the week: Caustic 3 Matt Davis Deputy Science Editor
Let’s be honest, the ability to play the piano is nowhere near as cool as being a DJ or being able to synthesise music. So after ten years of music lessons, I jumped at the chance to try an app that would allow me to pretend (however briefly) that I was the next Calvin Harris. When you start the app you get a choice of several different synthesisers which are basically small keyboards with a variety of options available to change the sound. It’s great fun (having not much idea what you’re doing) fiddling with the different settings and I found it oddly reminiscent of messing around with the DJ function on the keyboards in year 7 music lessons. If you are interested in sampling audio and playing around with it, Caustic unfortunately doesn’t have the facilities to do this, but you can make entire songs composed entirely of effects and pre-recorded audio. There are 14 different electronic instruments that can be used, including beatbox and baseline, all with their own individual sounds and with alternative controls. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with synths or if you’re a composition virgin, one of the ideas behind Caustic is the simplicity of the controls (once
you’re familiar with them) and the ease at which it can be picked up by someone with no previous experience. The design of the app means that although it can be played on a phone, it is a lot easier to play on a tablet, simply due to the reduced chance of pressing the wrong piano key. With different effects, you can drag and drop them to play in sequence, adding a drum beat first and then a bassline followed by some sampled audio. In this manner you can build a very decent tune in a matter of minutes, from absolutely nothing and knowing little about music. One thing that may put people off is the price of the app. You can get a free trial on android phones, but the full option will set you back £6.99. This is very reasonable considering the range and abilities of the programme and is significantly less than what ‘real’ programmes would cost you. All in all, although fun to play around with, if you were really interested in this sort of thing I’d suggest investing in some professional software. I mean, I don’t think the Bunker DJ is going to be using Caustic 3 on the next Monday. 7/10 - a good way to try electronic synthesising, but not going to replace the real thing!
@EpigramLetters Editor: Sophie Hunter firstname.lastname@example.org
In defence of the paper back Dear The Academy Sophie Hunter Letters Editor Dear members of The Academy,
Flickr / PROGiorgio Minguzzi
“ I’m not accepting that they’re more expensive, either; shift your whiny butt up to Oxfam or The Last Bookshop.
A virtual, electronic picture of a bookshelf is not a library or a bookshop. You can’t wander its aisles, getting lost amongst the different sections, picking up obscure little paperbacks. You can’t go in, looking for one thing, and find something else a thousand times better, leading to a three-year love affair with a new author. You can’t spend golden afternoons curled in an armchair, knowing you’re surrounded by kindred souls who love the printed word as much as you do.
Preferring paper books to e-books is illogical. But then, so is fiction.
Laptop and phone screens already take up more of my attention than I’d like. Finally tearing myself away only to rotate my eyes into another bright-white display feels like a bit of a cheat. The thought of our inheritance of bookshops being slowly killed off by glassy-eyed millennials, incapable of engaging with anything that isn’t presented to them on an electronic screen, breaks my heart. This is not a blame game – I include myself in their number, and it frightens me. Not to mention that books have personalities. Spotted your colleague on the bus flicking through Morrissey’s autobiography? Now you know who to invite to that Smiths tribute night that none of your friends wanted to go to. The corner of Murakami’s Norwegian Wood sticking out of that bloke’s (probable) satchel? Clearly marching off to debate postmodernism with his friends at a pub that serves thirteen different craft beers. But that lady huddled over her Kindle in Costa? No discernible characteristics.
Probably none of interest anyway. Might as well be a robot. The book is a symbol. For nearly seven-hundred years, a volume’s open leaves have connoted wisdom, learning, communication, imagination; everything that makes the universe a wonderful place to be. Marx, de Beauvoir, Darwin, Anne Frank, Friedan, Orwell: books contain, in their pages, a magic powerful enough to change the world. This is something that cannot be translated onto an electronic screen. It is visceral. The act of turning pages is one that links you to all those who have done the same before. And it is something that needs to be preserved. Preferring paper books to e-books is illogical. But then, so is fiction.
effort to recognise the achievements of black and ethnic minorities within film. Steps have been taken to make sure another #OscarsSoWhite situation doesn’t happen again by your approval of a series of changes aimed at making its membership and its voting body more diverse. The changes aim to double ‘the number of women and diverse members of The Academy by 2020,’ and to move away from the predominantly white, middle class, male dominated institution that it currently is.
‘when you talk about racism, you’re talking about Hollywood’
I hope these baby steps will encourage change within the film industry its self as this is where the real problem lies. This sentiment has been echoed by George Lucas, a long term critic of the Oscars, who said ‘you’re not talking about the show, when you talk about racism, you’re talking about Hollywood’. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should recognise their influence not only within show business, but also within American culture. Given this, I believe it to be the responsibility of The Academy to take a leading role. Diversification of members and nominees are the first step on a long path towards a more equal society. Kind regards, Sophie Hunter
Want to write for Epigram? JointheFaceBook group: Epigram Letters 2015/16
Flickr / Shinya Suzuki
When I want to read - and I am an English student, so that happens quite often - give me pages. Give me the yellowing leaves and musty scent of a seventeenth-hand Penguin Classic. Give me corners that I can fold, and margins that I can scribble in. Give me a spine to break. Give me a front cover to judge. The BBC has predicted that e-book sales will overtake those of hard copies by 2018. This is bad. If siding with the latter in the e-book versus book debate makes me old fashioned, so be it. Never attempting to replace the printed word with an LCD screen is one of the things that previous generations did right. I’ve been told millions of times how their brother’s girlfriend’s sister was of the exact same attitude to me, and then she got a Kindle for Christmas and BAM! She loves it - I don’t care. If I’m going to be old-fashioned, I might as well throw in stubborn, too.
Francesca Newton Letters Writer
Yes, you’re limited to the stock they have; yes, it takes longer; yes, you have to actually leave the house (shock, horror) to get one. But unless your boss has done a Devil-Wears-Prada, and told you they simply must have the new Game of Thrones book by midnight or you’re getting sacked, these are little excuse. I’m not accepting that they’re more expensive, either; shift your whiny butt up to Oxfam or The Last Bookshop. If I can get all ten novels on my reading list second hand for less than £23, so can you.
You’ve probably noticed that your annual awards ceremony, which to many highlights the best pieces of acting, filmmaking and music within the industry has received much criticism recently. This comes as all nominees for the top 4 categories this year have been white for a second year in a row. This has been a reoccurring pattern in the history of nominations, with only 5 minority actors having ever won the top two awards. Many big names within the film industry, such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, have chosen to make a stand by boycotting the ceremony. Furthermore, the general public on both sides of the Atlantic have shown their disapproval of your choice of nominations by getting the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag trending on social media. Thankfully, this outcry has been acknowledged by the Academy’s president, Cheryl Boones Isaacs, who admitted that she was ‘disappointed’ by the fact no black actor or actress has received an acting nomination in any category over the last two years at the Oscars. But disappointment alone simply is not good enough. As the actor Dustin Hoffman has said, the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations is down to ‘subliminal racism’ and a wider problem in the US. So, as The Academy is one of the most influential bodies within the film industry you should make a greater
Francesca Newton explains why no tablet can ever replace turning real pages, and why books need our protection.
Tweets of the fortnight: @sammasonjones-
‘I got bored of the music at Just Jack last night, so resolved to recite some Keats and Wordsworth instead. It was poetry in Motion.’
‘Just walked down woodland road at lecture changeover time #rookiemistake #anxietycentral #uobproblems’
‘Just saw a frog on the way to Uni. Nothing worse than knowing your day has peaked before it’s even begun’
Puzzles Codeword 18
13 14 16
The Townhouse As we face the cold and wet month of February, there are no better ways to find comfort than in the warm and friendly atmosphere of the Townhouse Bar & Restaurant on Whiteladies road. The quirky mix of contemporary and old-fashioned style makes it an extremely attractive place to have a catch-up drink with a friend or a lunch reunion with some classmates. Owners Nick Armitage and Vanessa Adam began running this independent restaurant in 2011 with a unique approach to first-class British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish gastronomy and a great selection of beers from around the world. They are now the proud winners of the Best British Restaurant and Best Gluten Free of the Bristol Good Food Award 2014. Their lunch and early evening specials, which run from 12pm to 5pm Monday to Saturday, will tempt the student food-lovers with 2 courses for £10 or 3 courses for £12, representing incredible value for money, considering the impressive and extensive menus. The battered fish with the chips was delicious and my friend had the chocolate nemesis, which is definitely a must! It’s a perfect place to surprise your special someone with an evening date, as the evening special offers 3 courses for £17.50 from 7pm to 10.30pm or £12.50 for the early birds from 5 to 7pm. You can spice up the night with prosecco at £19 a bottle and there’s also a great choice of spirits and cocktails for the more adventurous. If you’re looking to organise a party, keep on reading! The Townhouse offers two spaces for special occasions at advantageous prices. You could host your birthday in a mezzanine room overlooking Whiteladies road or in the newly launched ‘peter’s sellers room’, a funky 70’s themed room that can sit forty or host a party for up to ninety. Moreover there is plenty of space outside for all the smokers in a covered and heated terrace.
E 196 C in the W 5 T onR aF P 7SWE Ma C U 12 N on F
I T Z
17 Avera 23 Good 29 Very
M M A O P E I N T
18 Avera 24 Good 30 Very
A U A M P T O N R
9 Avera 12 Good 15 Very
R N I O C C Y E G
18 Avera 24 Good 30 Very
3 S on O B
Decode the clues to work out what things the numbers represent. (E.g. 7 D in a W = 7 days in a week)
Riddle me this
A cabin, locked from the inside, is perched on the side of a mountain. It is forced open, and thirty people are found dead inside. They had plenty of food and water. What happened? Tweet your responses to @epigrampuzzles using #riddlemethis
How many words can you find including the middle letter, with at least four letters per word? 8 = Average 10 = Good 12 = Excellent
Editors: Suzie Brown; Andrea Philippou email@example.com
ACROSS 1. Aching for French bread and a bit less than half a glass - that’s optimistic (7) 5. Large box said to be Parisian monument (3) 7. Confused soldier’s lost Infantry Regiment starts to indicate direction (5) 8. Assumed as a donation (5) 9. Train line back in a previous time suits Romans (4) 10. Sheltered side of the French power’s base (3) 11. Take holy person from horses’ house - can do (4) 12. References areas on map? (5) 14. Almost complete, but there’s nothing in it (4) 16. Daring second-best party (5) 17. First person to be of certain thickness - it’s enough (5) 18. Proverb for marketing era (5) DOWN 1. It makes perfect publicity - puts drama on the rocks (8) 2. Angry about apparatus to distribute water (8) 3. Heard of unfair play in a game - maybe Chicken (4) 4. A bit short with a soft manner (7) 5. Smith’s tool in Indian villages (5) 6. Hustle will bring frustration round, maybe (6) 11. Off course, like homeless animal (6) 13. Beside first letter of great length (5) 14. Pay attention to the man with initially empty desk (4) 15. Crash into male sheep (3)
This content is an advertorial
3 courses for £17.50 from 7pm to 10.30pm 2 courses for £10 or 3 courses for £12 from 12pm to 5pm Monday to Saturday
your views, our future. From October to December 2015, we invited you to tell us what you loved and what you would change about your University as part of our work to develop a new vision and strategy. Thank you for getting involved. You attended events, wrote comments on flip charts, posted them online, and had conversations with staff and each other. Your feedback was varied with differing and sometimes conflicting views being expressed. Here’s a summary of the main themes.
The quality of pastoral care provided by tutors
“ ” I value the attention and the genuine concern the staff shows for each and every student.
We asked what you value the most…
How well it cares for students academic and pastoral care…
“ ” “ “” ” “ “ “ ” ” ” “ “” ” “ ” The vibrancy of Bristol Closely knitted to a cool city with a great social scene.
How close and integrated the University is with Bristol. It feels like part of Bristol and it’s so close to everything.
The expertise of staff who are passionate about teaching
Being taught by world-leading academics
The passion conveyed by University staff and lecturers.
World-class teaching and excellent staff
The teachers being at the forefront of important internationally recognised research.
I really have found all of the staff to be very helpful and inspiring. All of the staff I have encountered thus far seem to be passionate about their work and show enthusiasm for teaching.
The availability of student counselling, disability and health services
The open lines of communication and support offered to students through staff and facilities like the health centre.
The University’s great reputation with employers
The student health & counselling services. Bristol is almost unique in providing them, and should be proud of them.
The quality of study spaces open round the clock, great IT facilities and libraries Lots of library and study space.
The extended library hours around exams, it really helps.
University sponsored content
4739_UoB_Epigram DP spread_ARTWORK.indd All Pages
V pleased @bristoluni now 4th in the Unis targeted by the largest number of top employers
It being a University of which I’m proud to be a member. I want it to remain so and expand the aspirational aspects of the experience for all members.
@stujohnson, Twitter Jan 2016
Kindness of students and staff.
The richness of extracurricular activities, sports clubs and facilities
The support given by the Careers Service
Clubs and societies.
Representing the University at sport.
The positive culture and outstanding people
How the University’s high reputation improves my chances of employment.
Very good careers service and advice facility.
We asked what changes you would make… Food – healthier, good value, more variety, and more eating spaces We know that food is a really important part of University life. We aim to ensure that University catering continues to meet your needs, providing good value for money. We’ll continue to consult with you on future developments.
Students’ Union – stronger presence on campus You told us you love the Richmond Building, but would also like a greater presence for the Students’ Union on campus. We are working with the Council to make the heart of our city campus more welcoming for you. The Students’ Union is a key part of this and we are considering the development of a student resource centre with an enquiry hub, catering and social space, bookable rooms, more study areas, a destination café and possibly a global lounge. We’re also looking into a new library, particularly given feedback from Arts and Social Sciences students. We need your ideas to take these plans further.
Upgrading libraries with better access and 24-hour study spaces
Better value sports premises with improved facilities
We’re working hard to improve your University learning experience by providing better study spaces. For example, we’ve recently increased the opening hours of the Senate House Study Centre and in Beacon House, opening later this year, there will be an extra 370+ study spaces to support social learning, group learning and quiet study.
Our new Director of Sport, Matt Birch, has some ambitious plans to increase participation and visibility of sport at Bristol. As part of our programme of improvements, we’ve refurbished the gym on Tyndall Avenue, expanded the Get Active programme and introduced more flexible membership. Your feedback will help us to prioritise future developments.
Increased diversity of the University community (ethnicity, gender, background, wealth) You were really passionate about this topic. We agree that it’s time for more concerted action to increase diversity, particularly in the student population but also among our staff. We’ve come up with ideas of how to do this - have a look on our website and let us know what you think.
End our investment in fossil fuels Increased staff contact hours We know that contact hours are an issue in some disciplines. We want to resolve this and are reviewing our curricula and delivery. For example, we have just reviewed the English curriculum, and contact hours will increase in this programme, as part of the University’s curriculum review process.
More frequent public transport We introduced the current bus services a few years ago. Each year we review bus routes and frequency to see how we can improve the services for you. There have been some successes here, such as the number of people using buses doubling in two years and satisfaction levels of students using the Number 16 bus rising from 60 to 88 per cent.
We’re already looking at alternative ways of investing our money through funds that respond to the challenges of fossil fuel dependence and climate change. This is a topic of debate that will continue over the coming months.
Greater access to student welfare services You told us that you value the support on offer at the moment and want more. We’re looking at how we support student wellbeing and resilience through possible enhancements to current services, through new initiatives such as the Big White Wall and, for example, through linkages with sport and physical activity.
Teaching – new ways of learning Many of you love the teaching you receive and told us about the passion, enthusiasm and professionalism of staff. It’s clear from feedback that we must do more to help all students enjoy the highest possible standard of education. Our idea is to set up a Centre for Educational Innovation to find new and better ways of teaching and learning.
What happens next? Drawing on your feedback from this first phase of the strategy consultation, we’ve put together a draft strategy which gives ideas about how we plan to move forward. Our next step is to gather your views on these proposals and there are several ways you can do this. We need your input by the end of March 2016. Go online to give your feedback and find out about events where you can share your views in person: bristol.ac.uk/strategy-consultation. Email us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Will Soer
Online Editor Maya Colwell
Epigram Living Section 2015/16
Agony Aunt and Uncle: Bitches and Breakups
2016 began with a set of celebrity deaths that broke all of your facebook friends’ hearts. However, everyday tearjerking problems remain, James Higgins and Rachael Saunders are here to aid your woes. Dear James and Rachael I have a friend from halls ingrained in my social circle. At first we got on well, but her constant moaning and self-interest made me whiney and introspective; ‘misery loves company’ as my Mum says. It reached a point where I hated her. She’s constantly asking to hang out and I want to say no but it’s impossible because we have to see each other so much. It would be social suicide to actually criticise her but shaking her off is impossible. My friends sympathise, but don’t find her as difficult as me and are content to let sleeping dogs lie. What do I do?
James says: Don’t let her under your cage, or rattle your buttons, or push your skin. Or effects to those phrases. If mature advice is what you wanted, then your letter would have been better directed to the big O. I speak of Oprah and not my orifice. If I’m in this situation (when, not if) my solution: get drunk and instigate an argument. With ethanol and anger as emotional laxatives you can empty your bloated soul. Once the initial shock is over you can both talk it over.
My Solution: get drunk and instigate an argument If mutual friends sympathise it’s likely that some of her issues are real and need addressing. Likewise, don’t be surprised if she has a list of faults for you and your self-help books to address. Dysfunctional relationships are rarely unrequited. If (however) you don’t have the guts to speak up (drunk or sober) then get drunk and shake it off. (I hope T-Swift sues me for breaching her copyright. T, I’m a big fan, but I have questions. Nothing to do with the boys or the Kinder Küche Kirche look your sisterhood are conjuring – I need to know where we stand with Katy. She’s on my jogging playlist but I feel guiltier listening to her than when I ignore fairtrade options. Cheap chocolate tastes the best even if morally and dentally damaging).
Rachael says: It doesn’t sound like this girl is a candidate for harsh discipline or straightforward ‘cutting out’, so let’s explore your options. Certainly, allowing her bad vibes to make you miserable
Have you got a perspective on student life in Bristol? Whether it’s because of your experiences since joining the uni, your background, or your tastes, we would love to hear about it; just because you don’t think of yourself as a writer doesn’t mean you can’t write a great article! It’s also useful if you want something to put on your CV... If you have any ideas for articles then please come and say hello on Facebook (join the ‘Epigram Living 2015-2016’ group) or email email@example.com
is beneficial to neither. You need to tolerate – a good quality to nurture – which comes from trying to understand, rather than criticise and hate her. The more you can picture that her meanness and self-interest stems from some unexplored insecurity, the more patient you’ll become. Try exuding positivity and insightfulness, she might change her behaviour accordingly. That might sound idealistic, but it would actually be social suicide to let your frustration be the reason you withdraw from your friendship group. Start faking it ‘til you make it.
Dear James and Rachael For the last five months of second year I was head-over heels for a guy – eventually last summer things changed. We were never official but all our friends knew we were exclusive. I had never had a boyfriend and obviously I wanted to call him that, but was happy to go with his flow and just be casual. At Christmas he said that because we only had six months left of uni he wanted to be single. I was heartbroken that he didn’t want to commit, so I spent all of Christmas rebuilding my confidence. Just when I felt ready to see him again, I found out he has a girlfriend. How do I enjoy the last six months of uni now?
Except with Vogue - 1990 Madonna is infinite Madonna. Have dates with friends. Make sure you have to be somewhere at a certain time and look presentable doing it. Sounds silly, but asides from doing some cardio, I truly think that will take your mind off things that aren’t in your control and focus your mind on things that are. You’ll strengthen your friendships and you’ll distract yourself. Throwing pity on this will only make the fire burn longer.
Rachael says: Firstly, understanding that rejection is a rite of passage will help you feel less like the ugly duckling. The best lesson I’ve learnt is always to view other people’s interaction with you as a reflection of their relationship with themselves rather than you. His ability to jump between relationships without recourse to your feelings shows just how fickle, superficial and immature he is.
Throwing pity on this will only make the fire burn longer
James says: I feel like this is well trod ground. Kim would tell you to go buy yourself a little happy. Gwyneth would offer you a tasteless paste made from the husk of her once promising acting career. Jessica Alba might suggest one of her moisturisers. Madonna would tell you to sing a song about your own success... I take that back; I know exactly what Madge would say because she has herself once whispered a wisdom: ‘power is being told you are not loved and not being destroyed by it’. Whatever else she’s given us, I truly think she’s never been closer to the truth.
There are several explanations - other than ‘I’m not good enough’ - for why you weren’t first pick: he might have unfinished history with this girl or maybe your differences outweighed your commonalities (would you really want to have common ground with someone who sounds so shallow?) Why choose to focus on the only explanation that makes you the loser? If you really are finding it hard not to wallow, write a list of things that you liked about him and then burn it. It’s therapeutic.
Tinder’s slogan is‘It starts here’. But what exactly is‘it’? Whether you’re happy to admit it or not, a majority of people look to Tinder for a certain sense of validation. Don’t try and tell me you don’t feel that little bit smug when you get a notification telling you that the tall, well dressed boy you spotted in the library last week has matched you back. This is no earth shattering revelation. It’s nice to feel attractive. But does this mean that everyone is on Tinder looking for their confidence fix? Absolutely not. For me, Tinder gave a girl with severe resting bitch face a chance. Having been on more than my fair share of Tinder dates, I approached every one with the simple intention of getting to know someone new. I’d sort of missed out on the society bandwagon at the beginning of first year and figured I had little to lose.
Is it lame to be seen trying to meet someone new? From my perspective, meeting someone from Tinder isn’t dissimilar to random conversations in the smoking are; the latter is just less formally planned. Since then, the same people who were quick to label me ‘Tinder queen’ (yes, actually) have gone on their own Tinder dates and three of my close friends have even found stable relationships through it. Whilst I haven’t been quite so lucky, each date I went on was enjoyable if only because for a few hours it let me get to know someone new.
Coffee turned into an art gallery, then into dinner, then into watching him perform at a gig
My crowning Tinder moment was being ‘Super liked’ by a couple looking for a threesome Will Soer
Within the first few hours of downloading the app I had organised to meet someone for a coffee. Coffee turned into going to an art gallery, which turned into dinner which turned into me watching him perform at a gig that night. Two years later, we’re still friends. I know - sounds like an anti-climactic way of saying he got friend-zoned, but ultimately Tinder allowed me to meet someone who’s been a huge part of my student life and I otherwise wouldn’t have known. However, when I first downloaded the app I had no intention of ever actually meeting anyone from it, instead viewing it as a purposeless distraction from essay writing. My only experience of it had been watching friends absent-mindedly swiping through people and having non-committal conversations, never resulting in a date. I viewed it as a type of Chatroulette, only with people I found attractive. Although Tinder has supposedly removed the social stigma associated with online dating, at the time  I was ridiculed for using it ‘seriously’. People who were active on the app themselves declared it ‘weird’ and ‘tragic’ to actually meet up with anyone from it. But why is this?
Love it or hate it, Tinder does make for some delightfully awkward situations. One friend recounted turning up to a date and being met by a completely different person to that shown in their picture. No tactical camera angling, just an entirely different person. Not knowing what to do he found himself continuing on with the date, never addressing the elephant in the room, before conveniently remembering that he had a big deadline to be getting on and rushing off. So why are all of these people on Tinder? I asked a selection of people, and here are the responses I got: ‘To cure boredom’ ‘To meet new people, especially those who you wouldn’t come across if you didn’t have it’ ‘To pick me up when I’m feeling a bit shit. The prospect of going on a date makes me feel better about myself ’ ‘When I was staying in Minneapolis, in return for a few favours I found a place to stay from it’ Needless to say, everyone is on Tinder for a different purpose, be it to promote an awful club night, see how many matches one can get under the alias ‘Bacon’, or indeed to find genuine love. Perhaps my crowning moment in my Tinder career was being ‘Super liked’ by a couple looking for someone to join them in a threesome. It just goes to show that you can use the app to whatever end you like.
As well as my musician pal, I still snapchat the hairdresser from East London and art student from Chelsea every now and then. Equally, I probably won’t be in a hurry to get back in touch with the engineering student who repeatedly sneezed on me and walked around the Tate separately from me.
Though Tinder can make for some cringe inducing moments, at the same time it’s responsible for connecting and reconnecting people across the world. The platform breaks down social barriers and allows people to interact with one another knowing that they have expressed some level of interest and therefore with reduced fear of being humiliated or rejected. Surely that makes it a positive force? Conclusion: Tinder serves whatever purpose you want it to. It’s your choice what you do with it – whether that’s to facilitate your journey towards sexual discovery or simply to go for a drink with a new face.
Bristol Top Spots: The ASS Library Laptop packed, snacks-to-go and previously prepared revision flash cards at the ready, these are the students who head straight to the silent area of the ASS library in preparation for an intensive four hour study session. Where the almost ominous silence is undercut by not-so-subtle whispers and phone calls in hushed tones, there is something about the separated desk tops and one’s proximity to the well-stocked shelves of books that lends to one’s studiousness and productivity. Then there are those who set off with all the best intentions, surrounded by an eclectic array of highlighters and a pair of headphones to help fuel the common case of how-long-can-Iprocrastinate-for lurking in every corner.
productivity and procrastination have equal reign Rosslyn McNair
A productive fifteen minutes passes, your phone buzzes and suddenly you find yourself milling around Source Café with a ‘well-earned’ coffee in hand whilst lamenting to your friends that you’re being so unproductive that you’ll probably fail all your exams.
Whether working towards a deadline or casually catching up on work with friends, the ASS is one of the most popular student hubs in the university precinct where both productivity and procrastination have equal reign. The knowledge that you are surrounded by others who are diligently working, or at least give the impression of studiousness, encourages you to persevere through the ‘wall’ of motivation and yet there is something oddly comforting about the fact that if things aren’t going well, there is a strong likelihood that at least a few of the surrounding students are similarly suffering, albeit in silence. Turn your attention outside and notice still further evidence of the library as a hub of social student activity. For example, a trip to the computer room on a Tuesday morning will simultaneously reward you with a fresh copy of Epigram, deployed by its enthusiastic editorial team, as well as a free slice of domino’s pizza to curb last night’s hangover. Whether your trip elicits success, failure to focus, a catch up with friends or, well, free pizza, the ASS library caters for both the academic and the social student experience. Plus, I am able to boast to my parents that I spend most of my time in the library which, thanks to its stereotypically scholarly connotations, works wonderfully well in my favour. Ellie Donnel
Love in the Time of Technology Have we become incapable of real love? Bily Holmes discusses the effects of modern technology on our relationships
A wise man once said that ‘it is out of our want for love that we ceaselessly adapt our personality to suit what we perceive to be the wants of others.’ In other words, we interact differently with each person, based on our assumptions of them, because we feel it makes us easier to love. The love in question concerns partners, friends and even strangers. However, this notion is problematic due to it being, at worst, impossible and at best, exceedingly difficult to guess what another person would truly love in you. We must keep this in mind to second-guess such assumptions and keep this process of change in check. Otherwise, we risk constructing alternate versions of ourselves, from traits not originally parts of us, in the name of love. Changes are merely aimed at perceptions of people, not their real selves! Making such changes can also make our true selves inaccessible and thus incapable of being loved.
‘Where would any of us be, were there no one willing to know us as we really are or ready to repay us for our insight by making recognizant return? We ought, all of us, to realize each other in this intense, pathetic, and important way.’ William James
It is our difference that deserves celebrating, not a willingness to conform to what we believe someone else wants to see. However, this is no mean feat:
‘The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.’ e. e. cummings Despite having being written prior to the invention of the internet, this appears truer than ever now. Although the technological revolution brought multiple avenues with which to pursue love and affection, i.e. internet dating, Tinder, SCRUFF and HER, it also brought new risks. Now, access to the World Wide Web has brought with it access to the opinions and peer pressures of millions of people. With this comes a heightened degree of self-awareness and self-censorship due to a greater influx of what we perceive to be societal norms and expectations. Nowhere is this made more apparent than in the Arts and Social Sciences Library on campus wherein, you see students incessantly grooming themselves for selfies or aggressively swiping through dozens of potential ‘matches’ on the aforementioned apps. Our changing may sometimes be reducible to the influence of others but is often due to ourselves. One way in which we may alleviate some of this selfinflicted pressure lies in simply realizing this. However, it may become increasingly difficult to be loved for who we are in the internet age. This is due to the constant editing, if not censoring, of our thoughts prior to uploading them in a bid for affection. This may occur via tweet, status update or IM. The ability to draft messages several times may give a false impression of all parties involved. Furthermore, our tendancy to attune aspects of our personality when speaking and the problems this entails, increase exponentially in the realm of technology. As we construct versions of ourselves that are now entirely embodied in cyber space, the process becomes ever more conscious: we typically think more about each message and its implications when engaging in indirect communication, i.e. text and email. This is due, in part, to the response times permitted in these mediums when compared to dialogue. Conversations would grow very stilted were 24-48 hour response times to become commonplace.
‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return’ Nat King Cole Marlo Mancuso
We should recognise the risks of indirect communication to prevent Nat King Cole’s message from being forgotten. This article pleads for a greater number of phone calls and face-to-face conversations, and fewer texts and e-mails. It does so in hope of highlighting the importance of being true to yourself and portraying a corresponding version to those around you. Please do not try to become what you think others want you to be because 1) you cannot know what that would be and 2) if you do so, others cannot come to love the real you.
The Singleton’s Guide toValentine’s Day Magdalena Zingl’s comprehensive guide to surviving Valentine’s day (WARNING: involves large quantities of alcohol)
Step 4: Get some love (alternative to step 3) Epigram / Lois Johnson Perkins
The approach of Valentine’s Day and the inevitable increase in pink, glittery window displays tends to split single people into two camps; those who feel really frustrated by the constant reminders of romance, and those who just don’t care which day the chocolate and flower industries make their big bucks and carry on with their daily lives. If you count yourself among the first category, here are some suggestions on how to spend the day.
Step 1: Spoil yourself
The first step is to treat yourself. Be it by stuffing your face with all the unhealthy (but all the more delicious) food you usually forbid yourself from having or binge-watching that new series you love while wearing your embarrassing, unbelievably comfy pyjamas. Some of my fancy jumpers might have been impulse buys on days that weren’t too good, but oh how good I felt after buying them! So, spend quality time with yourself and do whatever makes you happy against all reason.
Step 2: Meet people
Step 3: Go crazy
If step 2 involves alcohol (in my experience it usually does) Valentine’s Day is not the day to have one or two decent drinks and then go home. It’s a night to celebrate your freedom! I like going into a club, watching the couples there and do everything that they’re not able to do. You’d like to spend the night dancing with these five hilarious Spanish guys who don’t speak English? Go for it! You want to do karaoke with your friends and get really into it, impersonating the different Spice Girls, even though none of you can carry a tune? Go for it! I’m quite glad that there was no boyfriend around when I bought a drink for a cute DJ and slightly annoyed him, trying to force him to play my favourite indie song at an electronic party… Enjoythe fact that there’s nobody who can be ashamed of you or get mad at you. Go crazy and do whatever you feel like.
Pixabay Emilia Levett
Just because you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, doesn’t mean that you have to lock yourself in and pity yourself. There are other people like you – get together with them. Grab your best single friends and have a blast with them. This step usually involves alcohol, but it doesn’t have to. If you and your friends like going to the movies together, climb a mountain or take a trip to another city - that’s fine as well.
If you’re not so much into partying and going crazy I recommend you spend time with an animal. Cuddling up with a little kitten or a puppy will instantly boost your good mood. If there is no animal at hand, you can visit an animal shelter, take one of the poor three-legged, scrappy dogs for a walk or play with one of the homeless, one-eyed cats that nobody else wants. The thankfulness that you’ll experience will warm your heart and you’ll feel loved instantly, I promise! If the animal shelter staff are eyeing you a bit suspiciously, grab your three-legged dog closer and be grateful that Valentine’s Day is going to be over soon.
Deputy Editor Tom Horton
Editor Izzie Fernades
Online Editors Issy Montgomery; Becky Scott
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Wishing goodbye to dry January Beth Hopkinson shares three Jazz Age cocktails worth breaking your abstinence for Dry January is officially over! Whether or not you took part let’s be honest, not many of us actually did - it’s February, love is in the air, and that pendulum of guilt is no longer hanging over your head. How better to celebrate the end of your temperance (or lack of) than with these three fabulously sexy prohibition era cocktails?
THE GIN RICKEY
This is a slightly posher affair. It was enjoyed by the wealthiest of party-goers because it used expensive imported spirits like Cointreau and Cognac. The Sidecar packs a punch, so sip out of the most delicate of martini glasses. Wet the martini glass with the lime wedge and dip into the brown sugar to coat the rim (it helps to sprinkle it on a plate). Add all the drink ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until well chilled. Pour into the glass, being careful not to wet the sugar.
For the drink: 50ml Cognac 25ml Cointreau (or Triple Sec) 25ml lemon juice 1 tsp. sugar syrup Ice
To Serve: A Highball glass Ice Epigram/Beth Hopkinson
Originally made with bourbon, but tweaked to use far more speedily produced gin, this was rumoured to be the choice tipple of Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald.Packed with fresh lime juice (to hide the taste of t h e s u s p i c i o u s bathwater gin that was being produced at the time) and finished off with soda water for a bit of fizz, this sparkling mix may just top the classic G&T. Squeeze the lime half into the glass, add the gin and stir well. Drop in plenty of ice and top with soda water.
THE WHISKY SOUR
To serve: A Martini glass 1 Lime wedge 1 Tbsp. Brown sugar
For the drink: 50ml Bourbon 25ml lemon juice A dash of egg white 1 tsp. sugar syrup
For the drink: 50ml Gin (I like Bloom but any will do) Juice of a half a lime Soda water
To serve: A Rocks glass Orange twist (made by peeling a thin strip of orange skin) Maraschino cherry (optional) Ice
Subtle, mysterious and androgynous, the sour embodies the heart of the Jazz age. This can also be made with Amaretto for a slightly sweeter drink, but the classic is the best here. Best enjoyed lounging moodily on a Chaise Longue. In a shaker filled with ice, combine all the drink ingredients. Shake really well (I would recommend a good minute) to ensure the egg white has been combined. When chilled and frothy, pour into a rocks glass filled with ice, and garnish with the orange twist or Maraschino cherry - or both if you’re feeling fancy.
‘Can I take your order please?’
Valentine’s Day is upon us, but Charlotte Wass explains what should you NOT eat during the dating season? 2. Pizza This is often a popular choice, but it’s one I’d recommend avoiding. Regardless of whether you’d go for a margarita or if you love a bit of mighty meaty, the problem with pizza is how to eat it. The best and only way to enjoy pizza, in my opinion, is to use your hands, but this isn’t necessarily first date etiquette.
It’s an obvious one, don’t let it catch you out. Even if you spend time carefully twiddling the strands round your fork there always seems to be a wild one, which will whip you around the face just as your date looks up at you. Eating spaghetti is never going to be as romantic as it was in ‘Lady and The Tramp’. Just stick to fusilli or penne - two much safer options.
This may seem like a sophisticated and intimate choice to go for, but save it for when you know them well enough to fight over the last chicken wing that you obviously both want. Whatever you choose to eat, I’d recommend slyly popping a mint post-eating. You can’t beat a minty fresh kiss after all!
1. Unshelled prawns There is no polite way to eat prawns: it’s brutal and incredibly messy. Even once you’ve finished them you’re left with a plate full of prawn heads staring up at you and with sticky, fishy hands. I don’t know what it is, but it just doesn’t scream ‘romantic’.
4. Sharing platter
Choosing what to order when you’re out for dinner is one of life’s most distressing and difficult decisions. There are so many things to consider that by the time the waitress comes over it seems going out for dinner was a bad idea after all. You could have saved yourself the stress and just made cheesy pasta in the comfort of your own home. You need to decide whether to be bold and try something new or play it safe and stick to what you know you like. Do you go for a starter and risk being too full up to enjoy your main, or do you hold out for dessert? Do you choose the same thing as someone else in your group to avoid getting ‘food envy’ or do you go for something that no one else has chosen so you can feel smug when your dish looks by far the most appealing? When it comes to what food to chose when you’re on a first date however, there’s a whole new world of complications to add into the mix. We are now in the month of Valentine’s Day, so I thought it would be useful to provide a list of the foods that are probably best to avoid if you’re hoping to impress a special someone. For the singletons amongst us, you can rest easy on February 14th in the knowledge that there are no tricky menu choices to be made.
5. Onion and garlic These are tricky ones to avoid as they’re hidden in so many foods, so my advice is to stay away from anything that has these words in their name i.e. garlic mushrooms and onion rings. If you’re hoping for a goodnight kiss then maybe laying off that garlic mayo for a night is not a too big a sacrifice. So good luck to all those lovebirds out there, may your dates be magical and embarrassment free! As for all you singletons, I once read that people who are in a relationship put on up to a stone in weight, so how’s that for a silver lining?
Going Veggie for Lent? Why not try this?
Matilda Bailey shares her delicious falafel recipe as she goes 40 days and 40 nights without meat After consuming pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Shrove Tuesday, I will be making the switch from a carnivorous meat-eater to a simple herbivore. I propose trying out a plantbased diet for just 40 days and 40 nights; vegetarianism could make you feel better whilst also pushing you to try out some innovative and exciting new recipes. There are numerous benefits for the planet. According to the UN, the meat market causes almost 40 percent more greenhousegas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined. Cutting out meat will help stop global warming and save the animals. Being a vegetarian can also help you stay healthy. As well as cutting your food budget, following a veggie diet makes eating healthy easier by restricting certain foods, not calories. While you’re naturally consuming less fat, every meal will still make you feel full. My top veggie recipe to kickstart the 40 day trial is falafel served with hummus and salad. This is one of my favourite recipes because the balance of flavours and textures are just right. The thick and creamy hummus accompanies the crispy falafels, and the zingy Za’atar salad dressing compliments the colourful crunchy salad. First, make the salads:
There is not much to do here apart from finely slice some red cabbage and set aside, sprinkled with lemon juice.
Cucumber and Tomatoes
Core and then finely slice the cucumber. Mix well with cherry tomatoes cut into thirds. I like the different colours, flavours and nutritional vitamins of red, yellow and baby plum tomatoes, but you can just finely slice a normal tomato.
Mince a garlic clove with salt. Next, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard, Tahini and Za’atar and mix well to emulsify. Epigram/ Matilda Bailey
Grate up some carrots, apple (I like Granny Smiths) and fennel. The majority should be orange with about 30 per cent green. You can add some raisins too if you want a slightly sweeter salad.
A Gloucester Rd Food Shop Tom Horton compares shopping at supermarkets with independents
Rinse a can of chickpeas in cold water and put into a food processor with some tahini, garlic, salt, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Once blitzed you can top it with more extra virgin olive oil and a few coriander leaves. Lastly, assemble the salads with a big dollop of hummus and drizzle the dressing all over it. Top with warm falafel and some black or green olives and enjoy!
The death of the cookbook? Hugo Lebus ponders the future of sourcing recipes
Flickr: Tim Sackton
On Christmas day, I gleefully unwrapped Nigel Slater’s Notes from the Larder, taking my cookbook collection to 10 books in all. The humble cookbook has been a part of kitchens for millennia, however like with many other traditions, the internet has threatened to undermine its existence through a seemingly unlimited supply of free blogs, apps and websites dedicated to bombarding you with every recipe known to man. While this has undeniably made the cookbook more obsolete in some regards, to gastronomes everywhere it is still irreplaceable even just in terms of the pure joy gained from casually leafing through one to procrastinate. From the hill of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna in Egypt, where the earliest inscriptions of recipes in stone can be found, to today’s world of celebrity chefs and internet recipes, humans have always been striving to find the best way to pass on recipes. However, it is my firm belief that through the dawn of the Internet and everyone suddenly becoming a ‘foodie’, creativity has been killed by everyone simply following the next trend and, if social media is to be believed, rarely venturing from the instagrammable avocado on toast or the various combinations of bacon/ cheese/ Oreo monstrosities that now plague Facebook. The internet has damaged the cookbooks previously standing in the world of gastronomy but it has also strengthened it in other ways. Who amongst us does not take the utmost pleasure from browsing through cookbooks looking for inspiration? Any book lover will testify to the fact that a book simply cannot be replaced by its electronic version.
Flickr: Peter Roan
Supermarkets dominate the food retail market. They offer customers a convenient one-stop opportunity to buy all of their groceries. The high level of competition in the industry means that prices get driven down and the emergence of budget brands such as Lidl and Aldi have lead to even lower food costs. These large supermarket products are now more easily accessible than ever before, with a high percentage of people choosing to order their food online. However, Bristol’s thriving independent shopping scene presents a viable alternative to large supermarkets. In certain areas of the city, there is a large enough range of food shops that together cover the range of products that are stocked by the large chains. The best example of this is along Gloucester Road where the selection of independent food shops means that supermarkets can easily be avoided altogether. Surprisingly, this can often work out cheaper than shopping in a supermarket. Whilst obviously there are artisan bakeries and butchers aplenty where you can expect to pay a premium, there are also a collection of highly affordable shops that can actually save you money. A price comparison between Full Basket, near Zetland Junction, and the Sainsbury’s local just down the street shows the grocers to charge less for almost everything. Other shops such as Oriental Market, Scoopaway and The Bread Store provide further independent options and used in conjunction could form at the very least a large portion of your weekly shop. There are good reasons to shop locally using independents. Money spent in small shops will go more directly into the pockets of the owners and those who work there. In contrast, in supermarkets fewer employees are needed per customer and much of the profit will go to business people who have nothing to do with the dayto-day running of the store. Supporting a local shop is a way you can give a boost to your local economy and often save money yourself in the process.
That primordial pleasure in feeling the pages and looking over the dishes, gorgeously photographed like works of art, has a value that cannot be equalled or duplicated by looking through Internet recipes. Cookbooks give us page after page of unequalled inspiration. I certainly would not have thought to make glow-in-the-dark G&T jelly with taking inspiration from my latest purchase Jellymongers by Bompas & Parr; a collection of the extraordinary and the bizarre jelly recipes that would have suited any grand Victorian feast. Looking over at my bedside table, next to my alarm clock and lamp are The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson and my new Nigel Slater book. I must admit I may have somewhat romanticised the cookbook, but simply put, the cookbook forms an integral part of any gastronomes’ reading. Of course I enjoy looking through the plethora of ‘food porn’ - a term coined by writer Rosalind Coward in 1984 - available on my various food apps on my phone, but for me the cookbook shall always remain, as it does for every other gastronome on earth, simply irreplaceable.
The History of Varsity Malik Ouzia Deputy Sport Editor
have never lost a Varsity series - in 2014 their women beat UWE a whopping 29-0!
Bristol won last year’s series 21-16 having trailed 7-5 before Varsity Day.
decide the events’ outcome. The event was also organized jointly by both Student Unions for the first time, having previously been coordinated by Oxfam. A year later Varsity went stateside (sort of) with the introduction of American Football and Ice Hockey. The former has become one of the most popular events and was last year’s curtain raiser, although sadly the latter was withdrawn in 2012 with the closure of Bristol’s ice rink. In recent years there’s been a shift towards mass participation, with the introduction of a Varsity 10k last year, open to students of all abilities from both universities as well as the general public. This year cycling joins the fun for the first time with an open-to-all race on UWE’s campus. For more information on the history of Varsity visit www. varsityseries.com
‘Varsity is a close second to New Zealand in my best atmosphere experienced at a game. To be honest, it might be top. I hate UWE’ Dave Attwood, England and Bath second-row
In 1995 the inaugural Bristol Boat race took place. The University of Bristol taking on the University of the West of England in a test of sporting endeavor for the very first time. Bristol won, with victories in both the men’s and women’s fours and eights. A proud day for the university and the start of an unbeaten streak on the water that would run until 2003. More importantly though, this was the birth of Varsity. From the historic waters of Bristol harbour, building ground for Brunel’s SS Great Britain and departure point for John Cabot’s transatlantic explorations, Varsity fever spread. The following year the first rugby varsity was held at the Memorial Stadium, home of Bristol Rugby from 1921 until
2014 and the then-new home of Bristol Rovers. The ground remains a fixture of Varsity having held all bar one of the rugby meetings. Rugby is the field where we can perhaps find Varsity’s most famous sons. Three of England’s 2003 World Cup winning squad had tasted the Bristol rivalry. Josh Lewsey pulled on the maroon, Simon Shaw starred for UWE and Kyran Bracken played for both. In 1997 football was added to the rostrum, and has since been held everywhere from Coombe Dingle to Aston Gate since. This year the match will be held at the Stoke Gifford Stadium, home of Bristol Women’s Football Club. Yet it was in 2003 that Varsity really took on the form in which we know it today. Varsity Day was added, increasing the number of sports and participants as well as creating a full day of sporting rivalry with the potential to
In Men’s Football Bristol will have the psychological advantage - their 3s knocked UWE 1s out of the cup earlier this year! The Boat Race is the oldest of Varsity’s flagship events, having first been
‘The experience of playing under the lights, in front of a big crowd and against local opposition in a grudge match was like nothing I’d done before.’ Sophie Hemming, ex-Bristol rugby player and 2014 World Cup winner
‘Nothing more satisfying than putting them in their place with emphatic victories.’ Tim Downes scored a hat-trick as a fresher in the last Varsity football game at the Memorial Stadium
contested in 1995.
What, when, where? Football 1st
Woman: 6pm Men: 7:45pm SGS (Filton Wise) New Road, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8LF
SGS (Filton Wise) New Road, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8LF
Flickr: Richard Matthews
7:30pm Bristol SU Anson Rooms, Richmond Building, BS8 1LN
Facebook: UoB Basketball Club
11am Cycling Hill Climb is on 6th March, location TBC UWE Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union, BS16 1QY
Basketball 1st Woman: 6pm Men: 7:30pm SGS (Filton Wise) New Road, Sotck Gifford, BS34 8LF
To buy tickets or find out more about where the events are being held, head over to the official varsity website: www.varsityseries.com
Facebook: UoB Windsurfing Club
Varsity Day This is the big day, with nearly every Bristol sports team competing against UWE at a range of locations across Bristol, including: Quidditch Rugby Union SAGUWE Snowsports Squash Swimming Tennis Trampoline Ultimate Frisbee Volleyball Waterpolo Windsurf and Kite
Badminton Basketball Canoe Polo Climbing Cricket Fencing Football Futsal Golf Hockey Lacrosse Netball
All of the events held on Varsity Day are free to attend, so simply turn up to support #mightymaroon
Facebook: UoB Boat Club
Flickr: Ryan Knapp
Boat Race Bristol Harbourside
Womans: 6pm Mens: 7:45pm Memorial Stadium, Filton Avenue, BS7 0BF
Facebook: Rugby Varsity/Steffan Jones
Rugby Union 1st
5K Run 11am Clifton Down, Stoke Road, BS9 1FG
Epigram will be covering Varsity extensively, both online and on the paper. Check out our website to keep updated: www.epigram.org.uk
What does Varsity mean to you? How will you celebrate beating UWE? Couple thousand pints maybe. That’s what happened when our 3s beat UWE 1s earlier this season anyway so we may as well order them now.
- James Motley, Men’s Football
Who is your player to watch? Twitter: @UniBristolRFC
Tilly Vaughan-Fowler, Tilly is the one to watch because she has the pace of Twitter: @UOBrisSEH
a cheetah with the agility of a gazelle.
- Izzy Day, Women’s Rugby
What is your favourite Varsity memory? All six netball teams thrashing UWE last year.
Would you rather lose to UWE or get a 2:2? My job prospects with a 2:2 would still be better than that of a UWE graduate.
- Thomas Wilson, Men’s Hockey
- Livi Ellis, Netball
What would you do if you lost to UWE? Wallow in a sea of self pity and regret. But we will not lose. That is the end.
- Karoline Drønnen, Women’s Volleyball
What is your worst Varsity memory?
Would you rather lose to UWE or
Having to dye all my bodily hair red with some top quality
get a 2:2?
poundland hair dye after losing a bet. It got everywhere.
I’d rather get a third than lose to UWE
- John House, Men’s Volleyball
Waking up the next day was terrifying.
- Fergus Pickles, Men’s Rugby
Editor Plum Ayloff
Online Editor Phoebe Jordan
Deputy Editor Beatrice Murray-Nag
Deputy Online Editor 15.02.2016 Julia Pritchard
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com @e2style
Bristol’s Best Dressed
Did you get papped by our street style team? Epigram Style catches up with the most perfectly put-together students on campus.
Epigram/ Christy Nunns
Epigram/ Christy Nunns
Epigram/ Christy Nunns
Ellie Jacobs, 2nd Year English, @elliejacobs Ellie channels monochrome-cool with her striking yet relaxed style. She describes her look as ‘comfy and cheap’ the ultimate buzzwords in student fashion.
Luke Dimond and Lucy Lorimer, @lucylorimer55 This impeccably coordinated pair of Classics students are advocates of checked-scarf-chic. Both bought their tartan numbers in Scotland; Luke’s is even a traditional clan scarf. Pair with a green wool coat á la Lucy and Luke for a sleek, smart look.
Zara Huband, 1st Year Russian and Spanish, @zarahuband Zara creates an elegant, boho images with her colourful flairs and embroidered bag. She buys her ethnic, bright coloured pieces ethically and second hand, if possible.
Epigram/ Christy Nunns
Lucy Pullicino, 4th Year French, @lpullicino Lucy is impeccably put together in this blue Topshop coat and white Stan Smiths. Even her mustard yellow bicycle adds to her picturesque, clean cut style.
Epigram/ Christy Nunns
Epigram/ Christy Nunns
Rory Cooper, 3rd Year Physics, @cooperrory Rory looks slick in a classic camel coat. This Physics student told us that ‘it’s quite nice to dress a bit smarter’ around uni sometimes, and definitely gets a 1st for shoe to sock coordination.
Poppy Waring, 1st Year Biology This turtleneck, shirt and Barbour combination makes for perfect grungy chic. Poppy bought her bottle green shirt from Rise, so gets extra style marks for shopping locally.
BEAM Shoes: LED trainers to light up your wardrobe Plum Ayloff talks to Bristol graduate and co-founder of BEAM, Gus Slator, to learn more about the brand that is putting the fun back into fashion We all know that it’s never too late to have fun with your style. Light-up trainers are making a comeback, and Bristol-borne startup, BEAM Shoes, is bound to leave you glowing with excitement, with it’s range of adult light-up shoes. A nostalgic childhood trend reinvented for adults; with a distinctly sleek modern aesthetic and dazzling LED technology, this style statement will ensure that you never go unnoticed in a crowd. BEAM shoes aim to transcend age boundaries in fashion, and encourage you to embrace your fashion sensibilities with a childlike sense of fun. BEAM was founded last November by Serena North, who found inspiration for the concept while at a festival in Iceland, and her best friend Gus Slator, a Bristol graduate and entrepreneur. Serena discovered the gap in the market for adult light-up shoes after trying to order some for herself. The main aim of the brand is to ‘have fun and for people to enjoy themselves’, Gus explains, ‘to take people back to the times when they used to have light up shoes as a kid’. BEAM has tapped in to this sense of fashion nostalgia that has grown increasingly popular both on the catwalk and on the high street in recent years. Their up-to-date technology and innovation is key, reflecting t h e vibrant youthfulness that is at the very heart of the brand. They have teamed up with LoveSpecs w h o s e r e c e n t l y developed solar panel charger and trendy light diffraction sunglasses can be used in combination with the BEAM footwear. A collaboration with East Cycle Studios has also led to the incorporation of cycle safety in their reflective
laces. So, what other developments can we look forward to as the brand expands? Gus reveals their plans to add to the number of styles, including high tops, and potentially LED wellies, which of course would be the perfect unique and modern twist on
festival chic. The feedback is, on the whole, vastly positive, demonstrating what a hit the concept is proving to be so far. The brand’s dazzlingly colourful Instagram presents this radiant fusion of vibrant nightlife and playful innocence, punctuated with graphic tributes from fashion bloggers, musicians and customers alike.
With the growing buzz surrounding BEAM and plans to expand the range, it seems hard to believe that the brand is less than 6 months old. This success is likely encouraging for hopeful entrepreneurs looking to start a business during or after uni. Recently announced as the winners of the first round of the University of Bristol’s New Enterprise Competition, Gus credits the financial support available to both students and alumni at the university. ‘I wish I had known about the support available for Bristol students when I started at uni’, he notes, ‘first year is the perfect time to develop business ideas, validate them, and then get help with the planning and execution’. In terms of style, this funky footwear has a versatility that can be worn as a colourful accent to uplift or intensify any given outfit. Pair with bright printed leggings for a bolder psychedelic look, play with contrasting textures such as velvet, or keep it striking and streamlined with a simple black outfit for maximum impact of the LED glow. The shoes come equipped with all colours, interchangeable depending on your mood, preference or outfit colour scheme; another appealing novelty that may never grow old. Their ability to remain fun and fashionable is evident with the best-selling Silver Edition for women, with space-age metallics reflecting the current on-trend aesthetic in fashion. It may seem unlikely that a style gimmick you once lusted after as a child would resurface as a cutting-edge fashion feature in your twenties, but it seems clear that the future of lightup trainers has never looked so bright.
All images by the BEAM Team, unless otherwise credited
Nostalgia for our youth, using fashion to reminisce
On waking up with a hangover and scrambling out of bed only to scuttle into lectures 10 minutes late, coffee spillage down your front and praying no one has turned around to ogle at the newcomer, it’s definitely easy to feel nostalgic for times of little responsibility. Making the transition from teenager to twenty-something is no easy feat, and as the indecipherable electricity bills fall ominously through the letterbox of our rented flats, we cope simply by regramming a picture of Britney Spears circa 1990 and letting the sweet sound of ‘Baby One More Time’ whisk us back to the era of fluffy scrunchies and pleated mini-skirts. Yet as we walk through Bristol amid a sea of patterned leggings and butterfly clips, it’s clear to see that we’re not alone in feeling nostalgic for our youth. When we live in an age where #throwbackthursday is actually a thing and Facebook taunts us daily with a new shot of exactly what we were doing 5 years ago, the culture of looking back has become a predominant part of life. Maybe it’s our way of channeling our childlike spirit; maybe we’re simply shirking the newfound responsibilities of being an actual adult, but there’s something inside us that makes us reach into our wardrobe, pull on a pair of dungarees and skip along perfectly unprepared to our seminar as if it might as well be a finger-painting class. We’re not the only ones feeling the pressures of progression; in the media we have been dubbed us the ‘Peter Pan generation’ after our unwillingness to progress into adult life. The Mirror has even declared that 29 is the new 21, since the culture of shirking the responsibilities of adulthood for as long as possible has resulted in a survey finding that we only actually start feeling like proper grown ups when we hit the big 2 9. In fact, our delaying tactics have become so prominent that the average age to get hitched has also slipped from 23 to 31 years old since the seventies, giving us a lucky eight more years of adolescence to play with. This pervasive nostalgia is far from just a psychological state. The mindset sees recollections of our youth surfacing in all walks of everyday life; adult colouring books became a must-buy, and we all revived our obsession with ‘Barbie’ as the toy got a body-positive makeover for 2016. The shiny-plastic style icon also popped up on our Instagram radar as @socalitybarbie, gaining
1.2m followers as she mocked wannabe hipsters by posing innocently in square frame glasses with endless cups of filter coffee and copies of Kinfolk. Our reluctance to let go of childhood seeps into our wardrobes in the form of some serious fashion flashbacks. Nineties-style chokers, hi-top trainers and halter neck crop tops have all worked their way back into our wardrobes whilst youthful style staples have even slipped into high fashion collections. A Missoni scrunchie will set you back $95, whilst dungarees have been dubbed by Elle as the A-list’s street style staple with Alexa Chung, Cara Delevingne and even our old-school nineties style hero Gwen Stefani all bringing back the look. Moschino’s Creative Director Jeremy Scott famously keeps us young with his humorous pop-art patterns, previously endorsed with Spongebob Squarepants and now featuring Cartoon Network’s Powerpuff Girls for Spring 2016. Sibling’s A/W’15 collection even featured male models hugging giant pink teddy bears as they sauntered down the catwalk, whilst Vogue Japan was busy shooting an editorial at Disneyworld. Lego-brick sunglasses and a jacket made entirely from Care Bears are also available for purchase. So if you’re a born kindred spirit, or simply a student shying away from adulthood, wearable reminiscing is the latest way to revive our youth. Whether it be going full-blown nostalgic with dungarees layered over a retro cartoon tee, or simply popping a sparkly butterfly clip in your hair to remind passersby that you’re just not quite yet ready for adulthood, childhood flashbacks are our new wardrobe staple. Now, excuse us while we go and do some colouring…
Beatrice Murray-Nag Deputy Style Editor
Keep calm and carry on- the best bags for everyday use Bags - the ultimate outfit and wardrobe necessities. While buying a different bag for every outfit is impractical to say the least, it’s worth investing in a few quality bags that cover most scenarios, whether you spend most of your time in the library, gym, partying or shopping! How to find the right bag for you: - Think practical. Certain styles, particularly clutches, can be a nightmare to carry for long periods of time, as simple tasks such as texting or answering the phone whilst holding your drink quickly become arduous. - Be mindful of your personal style and colour palette. It’s important to opt for something that can easily be integrated with your existing wardrobe to get maximum wear, particularly if it’s an expensive investment. - Pick an appropriate size. Although capacious designs like the oversized shopper bag offer plenty of room, over-filling your bag can break buttons and zips, as well as stretch and wear out the material.
Uni: A new year, a new term, but the same student rituals call for an essential piece of gear: the backpack. For several seasons it has been given the luxury treatment by a number of high-end designers, such as Burberry whose monogrammed backpack has been worn by the likes of Taylor Swift and Margot Robbie. Luckily, the backpack is equally on trend on the high street, meaning they can be found at much more affordable prices. Fjallraven Kanken classic backpacks, with their adjustable straps, top carry handles and side pockets, are as stylish as they are practical.
Gym: Why should you care what your gym bag looks like? Because you’re probably carrying it around all day. From updated duffel bags to roomy bowling bags, the array of athletic bags available has never been wider. The Hershel duffel bag is lightweight with a detachable, padded shoulder strap, ideal if you find yourself lugging it around for extended periods each day, complete with a separate compartment for gym shoes.
Going out: Anya Hindmarch’s S/S’16 collection features fun and colourful crossbody party bags and those with a chain are the ones to keep an eye out for. Alternatively, Topshop has joined the mini backpack craze with the most practical accessory for any night out. Stocked in red, black and silver, they not only look cool, but also leave you free to dance the night away.
From left to right: Fjallraven Kanken backpack, £60 Herschel duffel bag, £62 Anya Hindmarch at Selfridges, £795
Nia Price Style Writer
Editor Camilla Gash
Deputy Editor Ella Ennos-Dann
Online Editor Annabel Lindsay
Epigram Travel Section 2015/16
“Where the f*** is Bruges?!” Ella Ennos-Dann
I couldn’t write this article without mentioning the food. Of course the chocolate goes without saying; there are an abundance of chocolatiers around, many of which will give you free tasters. But in terms of restaurants, I was overwhelmed. On our first night we were starving so headed to the main square to find some food. We paid just €17.50 for a delicious 3 course set meal that consisted of mussels to start (another must when you’re in Belgium), Flemish rabbit as a main and a chocolate mousse for dessert. From researching Bruges prior to our trip, I had also come across a restaurant called ‘RibsNBeer’ for which I had immediately booked us a table after reading the Trip Advisor reviews. It offers all-you-can-eat ribs in a variety of flavours for just €19. I’m not talking low quality food like you get in some all you can eat places; these were slow cooked, fall off the bone, full-flavoured ribs! Although its not traditional Belgian food, it is definitely somewhere I’d recommend to anybody going to Bruges… just make sure you book in advance! The huge number of tourist attractions made it difficult to get round them all in a weekend. I found some of them rather expensive but many do discounted tickets for under 25s so make
sure you take your ID. There are also a number of free walking tours which are great; we did the Legends of Bruges tour which gave us a wealth of historical background to various parts of the town, they claim that after the tour you will know more about the city than the locals (and you get a free beer and discounted waffles!). The boat tour was probably my favourite however, as you got to see so much of the city in a whole new way. Also don’t let the long walk up the narrow 336 steps of the belfry put you off; the best view of Bruges comes from the top! There’s something magical about the atmosphere as you walk around Bruges, it feels like you’ve gone back in time, are on a film set or in a theme park that’s been designed to feel historic. Yet I don’t think that anyone could design a historic, medieval town better than what Bruges already is. It’s romantic whilst still being fun and so incredibly interesting! Whether with friends or your significant other, Bruges is the perfect weekend getaway.
If you’ve seen the film In Bruges, I’m sure you’ll know by now that Bruges is in Belgium (and you’ll have understood the reference!). But if not, Bruges is a little historical ‘town’ about an hour and a half by train from Brussels International Airport or three and a half hours by Eurostar from London. I use the term ‘town’ loosely, as Bruges is more like a theme park than a real life settlement where people actually live and normal life happens every day. You enter the historical centre from the train station by crossing a busy road. Suddenly the tarmac turns to cobble stones and the buildings around you become rustic and colourful. Once you catch a glimpse of the famous belfry, you really feel like you’ve gone back in time. After watching the film, I had incredibly high expectations of Bruges, but it did not fail to meet and often exceed these in many ways. Two things that stood out for me in particular were the beer (of course!) and the friendliness of the people. Everyone I came across, whether serving in restaurants, working in the tourist attractions or just the locals I asked for directions, were more than happy to help and everyone spoke amazing English (typically ignorantly British of me, I know). It really felt like tourists were welcome and weren’t seen as a hindrance like you sometimes get in other cities. I’m not normally much of a beer drinker (I’m more of a G&T girl) but since I was in Belgium I decided to make it my mission to try as many different beers as possible. In total I think I tried about 10 and I was surprised by how much I liked, in fact loved, them (NB: judgement may have been slightly impaired due to the high alcohol percentages!). My favourite bar was one called Le Trappiste which was a cellar bar and had a very Bristol ‘edgy’ feel to it. After our walking tour of Bruges we received a free glass of their home brewed beer which was great! They also offered tasting paddles of five different beers of your choice for €10. Needless to say, I don’t remember much after our visit there!
Is Val d’Isère truly ‘in the gutter’? reverberates across the pistes has characterised the area around the La Daille bubble and Mont Blanc chairlift most afternoons during the season for at least the last 15 years. These ‘terrible’ Brits that come to the area to ski, party and disturb the peace, are merely taking advantage of a highly successful après ski business set up by none other than a FRENCH entrepreneur, named Luc Reversade, who has now expanded to other popular resorts including the three valleys. I
I was quite taken aback recently when I saw that the Daily Mail had compared my top choice of skiing destinations, Val d’Isère, to ‘Magaluf on ice’ and was accusing us Brits for it. Why are we, the British, solely to blame for an image or reputation that, in my view, is nothing new? Are we just being made the scapegoat for a mountain drinking culture that the French refuse to accept? Granted, the ski resort is known for its buzzing nightlife and even better après ski but let’s be honest, its main attraction is the unbeatable skiing which some (myself included) claim to be the best in the world. In the last few years, new bars have popped up and the everexpanding nightlife is (I’m sure) becoming a nuisance for the French locals. Particularly as they have now brought La Folie Douce (or the Folie, as it is known) to the town in the form of new après bar Cocorico (if you don’t know the Folie, think loud music and dancing on tables). However, in my experience there weren’t many Brits getting dragged home across the snow - I encountered just as many young French revellers as English. Being a language student, I am always tempted to practice my French whilst on holiday. And although they may not have been ‘locals’ as such, the French people that I met were more than happy to chat, beer in hand. They were and are clearly in Val to have just as much fun as the English. It surprises me that the Val D’Isere and Tignes ‘locals’ have suddenly become outraged with the noise pollution that emanates from the top of the mountain above La Daille. It surprises me because the infamous Folie first set up shop in Val back in 1981 and because the loud, thumping music that
also think it’s safe to say, as with the bars in the town, its not just Brits that go to the Folie and dance on tables. Undeniably, Val d’Isère has always attracted a very middle class clientele and the idea that this is changing seems to me slightly questionable. The mountain restaurants will have to stop charging €20 for a spag bowl and €5 for a soft drink if Val is really to live up to this image of ‘Magaluf on Ice’ – of course bars will similarly have to lower their London-like prices. The prices speak for themselves; it is just not as feasible to get as blind drunk in Val, where the price of a pint could get you three fishbowls in Magaluf. Let’s be realistic here, the resort is a well-known party destination but the idea that this is something new; a recent development in the last few months or even years is completely unfounded. The Folie was opened in the 80s and Dicks Tea Bar (Val’s iconic nightclub) was founded at the end of the 70s, and both attract the French and English in equal measure, although there may be more English seasonaires. Most people – and yes that does include the Brits - are in Val to ski (or snowboard, if you’re that way inclined) and make the most of Espace Killy’s extensive ski area (300km). The idea that we’re all heading to Val to spend the whole week drunk is not only offensive but also unrealistic. Given that a week’s ski pass will set you back €270, it’d be a real feat to be able to sustain that level of inebriety with such expensive drinks prices.
The world’s biggest party
Jenna Abaakouk explains what to expect at Rio de Janeiro’s carnival enough if you are planning on taking part in the festivities. If you are visiting Rio’s carnival, you might want to take note of the following tips:
1. Drink plenty of water:
Rio’s summer is extremely hot. That, added with constant huge crowds of dancing locals and visitors, will lead you to be on the receiving end of a blistering heat. On this note, if you have typical English skin, you should use sun cream and wear a hat (but don’t worry, there are a multitude of fun hats to wear if you really want to get into the spirit of carnival!)
Currently deafened by the torrential Bristol rain hammering at my window whilst aimless scrolling through social media, I receive a notification from Facebook’s ‘on this day’ feature. It has been precisely one year since I was in very different surroundings; I was in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, and more specifically, amidst the city’s biggest event of the year, Rio carnival. Carnival takes place at the peak of summer, when the locals – that is, the Cariocas – are at their best. Carnival has been a tradition since 1933, now attracting thousands of people from all corners of the world. There are over 580 carnival street parties, known as blocos, taking place all over the city, with Samba bands playing out, inviting all to dance to the contagious rhythm of the music. Not only is carnival one huge party, it is a chance to dress up in the most ridiculous costume you can whip up without being judged. Carnival has something for everyone, with the blocos varying in theme (a personal favourite of mine was the band ‘Sargento pimenta’ playing Beatles classics to a Samba beat). However simply knowing that carnival is a party is not
2. Be aware of your belongings:
Rio carnival may be one big party, but as is always the case with big crowds, there will be pickpockets. Within three days of carnival in full swing, three of my friends had had something subtly snatched from them under their nose, including phones and cameras, so this is something to bear in mind. It is highly recommended that if you want to grab all the action on camera (who wouldn’t?) that you keep it in an across-the-shoulder bag where it is visible to you at all times. You can also go as far as hide your belongings, such as hiding money in your socks (I did this, and I can confirm that no one attempted rummaging around my feet). The bottom line is: you can never be too careful.
3. Be aware that you won’t have much personal space:
If you think I am referring to the huge crowds sardined together, you are partly right. Yes you will have to shuffle your way through the masses, and this can be daunting if you have never experienced Carnival before. However there is another part to this point. Caught up in the carnival atmosphere, some
people will dance with you and will be very friendly, maybe a bit too friendly, which can be a bit intimidating for us Brits, especially when they invade your personal space, which includes swooping in and kissing you without authorisation – yes, I have seen it happen. Some might say that’s just the loving spirit of carnival, though!
4. Most importantly, be prepared to have fun:
Carnival is all about dancing, meeting new people and having a great time. Don’t let this experience be dampened by the above dangers. Follow these tips and there is no reason why you won’t have one of the most unique and incredible experiences of your life. If you missed out this year, Rio’s 2017 Carnival will start on the 26th February!
How to feel at home abroad and it’ll instantly cheer you up. I’m not a huge fan of cooking, so basically most of the food that I make is the simplified version of what I would have at home. But maybe you’re a pro at cooking and can do more! I know sometimes it can be very hard to stick to, but another great thing to do is establishing a weekly routine. I believe that this could be a help to anyone because stability is vital in order to feel settled. As an example, every week, my Monday yoga class helps me get in the right mindset for the week ahead; it’s also a detox from the weekend and an empowering exercise class. It’s a point of reference that will make me feel stronger and more balanced - just like at home.
‘the voice of the sea speaks to the soul’ I also strive to be mindful, which means being active and aware of the present moment in a way that can lead you to well being. To achieve that, I practice mindfulness through yoga, meditation, dancing, reading and writing. In other words, I do what I love! When doing such activities I let go of my negative feelings and just feel happier. This could correspond to different activities for you; you might like cooking, practicing sports or listening to music with your eyes closed. Everyone has got different ways to stay happy, and the key to find your inner balance is to do more of it. And finally, my usual advice when it comes to everything in life: have the right attitude! If you embrace your vulnerability, the fact that you are away from home, but are willing to be open and positive about it, you will achieve great things! Once you accept your new home as your real home, you will be able to get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons, be that your wanderlust, your professional growth or other types of life challenges. So, wherever you are in the world, at home or abroad, I hope that my advice was or will be useful to you. My ultimate
suggestion is to find what is good for you. I have shared my own tips, but you may have a completely different outlook on the subject. It’s important to work on this and with time feeling home abroad will only get easier and easier, you will soon realise how much you are achieving and how much you have grown from the experience.
- Travelgram Dreaming of summer by @livingoffcaffeineandglitter
How many of you, Bristol students, have struggled to settle in during your year abroad? How many of you have found it hard to create an environment that resembled that of your home? I bet that a high number of people reading this could relate to such circumstances, as many of us are exposed not only to travelling, but also to working and studying abroad for long periods of time. In my experience, I have found a trick to find happiness outside of your country or away from your family: create that homely feeling that you are missing in your new place. The way you face work, university and going out is, in my opinion, a direct reflection of how ‘at home’ you are feeling. In short your relationship to the world mirrors the one you have with yourself. What does feeling at home mean? I think that feeling at home means feeling a sense of inner peace; being content wherever you are and accepting of the culture you’re surrounded by. Starting from the basics, I like to make my bedroom a cosy and welcoming space. When living away from home, your bedroom is most likely to be your little haven, and you want to make it as comfy as possible. To do that, I decorate my room with posters of things I like (I’ve always got a colorful world map that reminds me of my passion for travel and some postcards of my latest trips), lighting up candles at night and adding fairy lights. I also try and keep it as clean and tidy as possible, even if it’s a big challenge. I love coming back home after a long day at university or work, entering my bedroom and instantly feeling safe and relaxed. By talking about the bedroom as a safe place, I don’t mean you should stay inside all the time! Get out and explore new places around where you live or where you’re visiting so that you can feel more comfortable with it. I like to go for walks and visit art sites, but there are lots of other things one can do. Spending time in nature is perhaps my favourite outdoors activity. In my first two months in Valencia I spent a lot of time at the beach, which definitely made me feel at home; not because I usually live near the sea, but because ‘the voice of the sea speaks to the soul’ (Kate Chopin). Another thing that could bring you back home is eating comfort food. You know those meals that taste so much like home and that you miss immensely? Cook some of those dishes
Tag your travel photos with #epitravel to be featured on our account. Each issue, we’ll print the photo with the most likes.
Editor Ben Duncan-Duggal firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Loyle Carner
BBC Sound Of 2016 Nominee Loyle Carner is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting new rappers in this country right now. Stepping right back from the macho, false-aggressive grime scene dominating rap today (though he does claim to be inspired by it), Loyle Carner instead raps about love and loss. What’s more, he raps over some of the most compelling slow beats since Massive Attack. A must see, if only because in a year he’ll be playing the O2 Academy. Exchange, Tickets available from Ticketmaster for £10 Exhange, Tickets available from Ticketmaster for £10
Apex & Edible presents Eats Everything All Night At Lakota This is probably the most Bristol night ever – Bristol dance music hero Eats Everything returning to the club where it all began for him for the first time in 17 years, in which time he has shaped house music. What really makes this event such a draw is not the music, though, but the atmosphere – such a massive event will simply be One Big Party. Tickets available for £20.95
Trinstram Hunt - ‘Principles, Politics and the Pathway to Power: Why Labour lost, and how we can win again.’
Trinstram Hunt MP, Labour’s former Shadow Secretary for Education under Ed Miliband, is in Bristol at the politics society, presumably to practice speaking to university audiences. I’m only saying that because last time he made what can only be described as a complete mess of it, getting a little carried away/drunk and telling an audience of Cambridge University Labour students that they were the ‘top 1 percent’ within the Labour party and they had to ‘take power again’ following Corbyn’s victory. Good luck to him for his speech to an audience of Oxbridge rejects, then. Time and Location TBA
David Bowie: A Tribute & Charity Fundraiser Since David Bowie’s unfortunate passing, several vocal (idiotic) journalists have called for the end of ‘false grief’, the process of mass grieving of somebody who the masses have probably never met. These are the sort of people who need to ignored at every opportunity and what better way to do it then by going to this event, which features two sets by a Bowie tribute act including 30 of the Thin White Duke’s songs. Plus, all proceeds go to charity. Not bad for a venue I and no one else has ever heard of. Marc Wathieu
15. 20. 05. 25. 28.
Queenshilling, 19:00, tickets available for £11 from Bristol Ticket Shop
Epigram/ Ella Kemp
C U LT U R E
Editor: Mattie Brignal
Deputy Editor: Ed Grimble
Online Editor: Amy Stewart
‘Your calling card needs to be big and loud and maybe a little blemished’: An interview with Jim Crace Ed Grimble is in conversation with Jim Crace, prolific British novelist and three-times Booker Prize nominee.
Courtesy Jim Cracee
haven’t made any changes. Well, that was the day’s work gone.’ After a few mins of cathartic lamentation on the perils of technology, and our shared frustrations and incompetencies with it, we move on to talk about the book from which he is reading that evening, Harvest. Published in 2013, the novel was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. It was this subordinate clause that I wanted to ask Crace about and what kinds of effects having that association of significant critical success attached to your name produces. ‘It reminds you that you’ve got to do your thing rather than do their thing, because there’s no predicting which of your novels will make it big time’, he says. Of Crace’s 13 novels, three have enjoyed attention from the Booker Prize, but he doesn’t put this down solely to the quality of the works themselves. ‘Some things
Courtesy Jim Cracee
‘Crace’s 2013 novel ‘Harvest’ was both shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and won the prestigious IMPAC prize in 2015.’
you do just really hit a nerve, and for some reason this very English book Harvest, had a readership waiting for it and that was hungry for it.’ He does concede though, that the difficulty for writers is to produce the novel that comes after a successful one, given the hike in expectations from readers and critics. Speculation has begun to dog Crace about whether each successive novel will be his last. As with many of my questions, he is playfully antagonistic, in saying that ‘I may have said, they always were my last novels, but they just weren’t my final novels.’ There is certainly an anxiety, however, rooted in not wanting to produce a bad book and he has a strong belief that ‘scraping the barrel was not something that I wanted to have to do’. Despite the fact that he owes his career to the financial backing from publishers’ advances, Crace also talks of ‘the heavy weight on your shoulders that comes from owing someone a novel.’ As such, he agrees that he is very much liberated in his writing life now. ‘I needed a break, I needed to get off the hamster wheel’, he says, ‘the truth of the matter is now I have retired from writing, but like so many other people my age I have taken up novel writing as a hobby. So the novel I’m writing now, I don’t have to show it to anyone if I don’t want to. If it doesn’t work out and it’s not a good novel, I don’t have to publish it. If it does fail, no-one is going to be asking me to write them a cheque - which is good.’ Being a practitioner of fiction certainly has its disadvantages though, it would seem. His status as a writer is obvious and so I ask how Crace is as a reader and how he sees himself as a consumer of literature, to which he readily admits that ‘the days of falling in love with fiction are over.’ ‘I cannot read a sentence without editing it’, he confesses. We agree on this much, that there is something sad perhaps in that undergraduates, writers, etc. (anyone who encounters fiction on a daily basis in their ‘day job’) may lose the potential for an unadulterated and pure reading experience. ‘If it’s bad, I’ll hate it because I hate bad writing, and if it’s good I’ll be envious and hate it all the more’, as Woody Allen’s Ernest Hemingway quips in Midnight in Paris. Similarly, he also does not agree with the often dispensed advice that all writers should be voracious readers. ‘Books don’t come out of other books, that’s just a snake eating its own tail.’ I fear there may be something of the anxiety of influence lurking behind this ouroboros image, but I don’t press it too much. Crace enjoyed a career of almost two decades as a feature journalist, as well as many years as a full-time novelist. Asked what drew him to journalism as an avenue for
writing, he cites a combination of two things. The first was the opportunity to contribute to ‘the debate’, to produce writing with a far more explicit social purpose and in a paradigm that felt ‘more workman-like’. Interestingly, there also seems to have been a romantic draw. ‘I loved the Hemingwayesque, Orwellian image of being the correspondent’. Indeed, it was the travelling to new places to meet new people, and the opportunities afforded by journalism to foray temporarily into unknown fields of interest that he most enjoyed. Crace concedes that it is that ‘collaborative lifestyle’ that he misses most about his former occupation, compared with the often very solitary life of the novelist.
My conversation with Jim Crace, visiting the University of Bristol for an evening event as part of the Man Booker Big Read, does not begin as expected. My cordial inquiry into how the day has been thus far is met with a resignation. ‘It’s been terrible’, he admits. ‘I made a classic mistake last night. Before I went to bed, I thought I’d print out the day’s work from my new novel. It then asks if I want to save the changes. Of course I say no - I
‘If a publisher is told he needs to drop some writers, he’ll drop the bastards’
Given the setting of Harvest, an English village around the time of the Enclosures Act, and his upbringing in the intertidal space of Enfield, where ‘if you looked north it was green fields, and if you looked south it was buildings all the way to Croydon’, I am intrigued to hear his opinions on the rural and urban spaces. Whilst in Texas teaching last year, he recounts a story where, ‘we were going down to Big Bend National Park. The driver pulled over at the side of this track, and said I’ll show you something you’ll never see again. He put the radio on seek and it went round and round
and round. In America every town, university, wherever, has a radio station. But here we were and there was absolutely nothing. And I love that, that there’s a landscape which you can tread on that may well have never been trodden before. It’s too big for every part of the expanse to have footfall. Places don’t have names. Whereas in Britain, England particular, you know that everywhere has been trodden on, and is named, and has been mapped, and is spoken for’. This implied criticism of our tendency to flatten the landscape through cartography is certainly present in Harvest. This is not to say that Crace is a through and through country-boy. He professes a love of urbanity, and of streets. ‘There was a sort of conspiracy in the 60s and 70s’, he says, ‘to think that the very things that streets are good at is bad for towns. In other words: weather, crowds and traffic. I think those three things are what make cities so successful’. On this subject, we are united in our assessment of the retail paradises of shopping malls: that they represent a bizarre simulacrum of the world, and are strange ‘non-places’, holes in the map. Crace hates them; ‘not being able to know day from night, north from south’. I love them. His parting advice to undergraduates, ‘make friends for life’, reflects the importance he places on family and on being a personable and amicable individual in day to day life (‘if a publisher is told he needs to drop some writers, he’ll drop the bastards’, he asserts). He implores young writers to take risks, saying that ‘you want to you want to read the big expansive work that goes into dark places and does crazy things, and maybe falls a bit short. Your calling card needs to be Ed Grimble loud.’ Sound advice, I’d say.
Eddie Peake’s art often deals with nudity
Since graduation Eddie Peake has exhibited
and sexuality, and the distance and overlap
in London; Rome; New York and Southend.
between these two subjects. ‘Touch’, 2012,
Recently commissioned by the Barbican to
landscape; following the lineage of Sarah Lucas and Damien
was a nude game of 5-a-side staged by Peake
exhibit in its Curve gallery, Peake filled the space
Hirst, his work interrogates the mundane and flirts with the
in Burlington Gardens - probably one of the
with a boisterous combination of painting,
absurd. Artistically, Peake’s practice is loaded; his website
most historically significant nude games of 5-
sculpture, video and performance, which
a-side in West London’s recent history. Toying
saw rollerbladers kitted in only translucent
with homoeroticism as a theme in his oeuvre,
jumpsuits skate through the City of London
critic Adrian Searle seems to have been a consistent creative
viewers often become voyeurs to Peake’s
goal for Peake since the request was printed in May 2013.
Born to Tate-celebrated artist Phyllida Barlow, Eddie Peake is a young British artist in a post-Young British Artist
hosts only a close-up picture of his erect penis. The published demand for “more voyeurism! More bodies” by Guardian art
RWA showcases trio of landscape exhibitions How does the artist engage with the natural and urban environment? What does it mean to imagine a landscape? Ed Grimble and Myla Lloyd visit The Royal West of England Academy’s new collection of exhibitions, all three of which take the English landscape as their subject matter.
Inquisitive Eyes Curator Gwen Yarker has drawn together a seriously impressive breadth of paintings for the
Dorothy Parker wrote of the Bloomsbury set that ‘they lived in squares, painted in circles, and loved in triangles’. During the first fifteen years of the twentieth century the area of Dorset that is the subject of Inquisitive Eyes was the frequent retreat of Slade Painters, including painter and critic Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and husband Clive, and Virginia Stephen (later Woolf). The paintings shown here represent the group’s attempts to move away from a style of British landscape painting that they saw as having become stale and stagnant. In Purbeck the group would paint en plein air before returning to their studios, and the works on display, particular Bell’s ‘The Bathers’, show perfectly this process of distorting the documented landscape by overlaying quintessential modernist techniques. Ezra Pound’s cry of ‘Make it new!’ rings around
Flickr/ freeparking :-/
If you were to ask me to date Simon Quadrat’s work, without referring to the little white labels that accompany his paintings, I would have guessed him a contemporary of German Expressionists George Grosz and Otto Dix. The decay and nostalgia embodied in many of his landscapes strongly evoke a post-war world quite distinct from contemporary experience. Although grounded in realism, Quadrat’s compositions are in fact drawn from memory and imagination as opposed to real life, the surfaces of his canvases ingrained with scratches and scrapes which betray the working processes behind the finished pieces. Whilst many elements of Quadrat’s work are clear references to his own childhood memories of 1950’s London, there is something very familiar to be found in the grey terraced houses repeated in his work. From the helter-skelter to the Punch and Judy show, clichéd motifs of childhood are employed to disconcerting effect. Whilst Walking Home appears to be an exploration of Quadrat’s Jewish upbringing, other works such as The Swimmer are more broadly concerned with the human condition. Here a lone figure, face hidden from the viewer, swims laps in a pool disconnected from the wide ocean by a mere brick wall. Whilst it would be easy to read this piece as a comment on the dislocation between man and nature, one feels this would be a reductive interpretation of Quadrat’s more metaphysical concerns. Here is an artist whose knowledge and admiration of the masters emanates throughout his work, a path inspired by childhood trips to the Tate and a subsequent period of study at the Slade School of Fine Art. Quadrat references the Western canon explicitly with works such as Annunciation 2015, an homage to Fra Angelico, and more subtly, with many compositions including textual elements reminiscent of Picasso. Linear perspective is disregarded in many of the works, the act of recollection resulting in a distorted patchwork of viewpoints stitched together onto the canvas. The result of this exploration between what we see and what we know is frequently surreal and unnerving. As a former President of the RWA, and New English Art Club’s newest member, Quadrat’s artworld prowess is evident from his title. But is his artwork worthy of the prestige bestowed upon it? This reviewer would argue, yes.
RWA’s third exhibition, Inquisitive Eyes. Taking works from the last decade of the 19th century, through to the outbreak of the First World War, the exhibition presents movements from British genre and landscape paintings, through to the early modernist works of the Bloomsbury set. The common denominator here is the landscape of the South West of England, and this visual recurrence allows Yarker to exhibit in close proximity these differing artistic styles. To see the landscapes of Frederick Whitehead, Arthur Meade, and William Wieher Collins as realist antitheses to the more abstract and purely imagination vistas of Imagined Landscapes is perhaps to only take these green fields and scenes of rural domestically at face value. Indeed, the invisible, brooding presence of novelist Thomas Hardy cannot be ignored
Augustus John, ‘The Blue Pool’ (1911), oil on panel. This work typifies the modernist approach to landscape painting in twentieth century.
in works such as Whitehead’s ‘East Stoke Mill’ and Meade’s ‘Old Mill on Frome’. Hardy’s literary landscapes, filled with dislocation and apprehension at the growth of urbanity, inform these paintings of the 1890s. Both works have an eery calmness, and the built environment of the mill stands somewhat ominously in the mid-ground. The trees here have ‘inquisitive eyes’, as Hardy writes in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and these are landscapes that fear the coming of mechanised modernity. These artists show a tragic and prophetic vision as, as modern life encroaches irrevocably on the countryside, these bucolic scenes that were once painted en plein air, will soon be condemned to memory and imagination only.
this corner of the gallery. Inquisitive Eyes, then, sits effortlessly alongside Imagined Landscapes and the section of Quadrat’s works, and shows the shifting attitudes of these late 19th and early 20th century British artists towards this particular corner of this green and pleasant land. EG
Imagined Landscapes A collective show of contemporary art in a milieu of media, Imagined Landscapes provides a distinct point of comparison to the fixed locale of the accompanying exhibit Inquisitive
Eyes. Here, a range of artists address the theme of imagined spaces, memories or invented environs mapped for the viewer, both literally and symbolically. The breadth of media and style on show provide something to suit everyones taste. Among my personal favourites is Thrift, a collaborative work that combines photography, lists of bird behaviour, plant samples and other methods of gathering memories, to create a rich tapestry of information to delight the viewer’s imagination. The resulting work is a multilayered exploration of place, that prompts the viewer to consider different ways of experiencing nature. Also of note is Stephen Felmingham’s Transition series, which caught my interest for it’s technical accomplishment and expressive qualities; large circular charcoal compositions, characterised by violent mark-making, oppressive skies and absence evocative of Cold War training sites. Conversely, the beautifully serene canvases of Gill Rocha reminded me of Edward Hopper, atmospherically lit roads fraught with cinematic anticipation; oil paint applied so thinly that you could mistake them for photographs. Other works in the show left me feeling rather baffled, particularly the bizarre presence of a small boat in the centre of the room. A remnant of the public art project Some:when, itself a response to the recent Somerset floods, the work lost all resonance when brought into the gallery setting. Whilst demonstrating that the role of the contemporary artist in capturing notions of place has come a long way since the painterly traditions of twentieth century Wessex, I felt many of the works were personal to the point of inaccessibility, and perhaps would have been better kept in the imagination of their creators. Kudos to the curator for hanging the most accomplished works at the entrance of the main room, for the further one ventures in to the gallery the less accessible the work becomes. As is often the case with RWA collective shows, many of the pieces seem to have been selected on reputation and personal connection as opposed to artistic merit. Whilst many of the private view patrons could be overheard praising their favourite pieces, the less-favoured compositions were met with silence rather than critique, most likely for fear of offending the artists or their friends who were no doubt in close proximity. As an aside, for those readers who like to plan ahead, UoB’s very own MA History of Art students will be curating an exhibition in response to Imagined Landscapes at the RWA from 19th May. ML
Eddie Peake is a contemporary artist who graduated in Though his work spreads through many genres and
always been interdisciplinary, throughout his career he
disciplines, Eddie Peake’s approach is consistently
has worked in music: in the same year as graduating, Peake
whimsical: it seems that his work comes from a need
gained international recognition having been featured in the Darren Romanelli-directed video for Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Sing About Me (Part 1)’. In 2014 Peake continued his music video work, this time stepping behind the camera to direct the video for Gwilym Gold’s ‘Muscle’, released on Peake’s own record label, ‘Hymn’.
Flickr/ Francesca D’Alessandro
2013 from the Royal College of Arts. Though his work has
to play with convention. In a 2015 interview with AnOther magazine, he stated that he is ‘just naturally riffing in [his] own impluses’ : the work produced by Peake follows his gaze, and is consequently always shaped by his curious gaze.
Film & TV
@epigramfilm Editor: Ella Kemp
Deputy Editor: Kate Wyver
Online Editor: Georgia O’Brien
Do we really have to give him an Oscar?
Opening the Oscars Special issue, Film & TV Editor Ella Kemp sparks controversy about Hollywood’s most loved actor and the year’s biggest film.
Why does Di Caprio’s name being on the tin suddenly make the performance Oscar worthy?
Like many others at the moment, The Revenant doesn’t take the risk of spinning a completely new tale. What if it’s not credible? What if it’s just not interesting? So, as one does when in doubt, it plucks a heroic real life act of endurance and coats it with a thick meaningful message about one man against the world. Or something like that. Not only does The Revenant have all the elements setting it up for success. It also, most importantly, has one man with a lot of unfinished
business. Leonardo Di Caprio takes on the lead role in the two and a half hour epic, battling with the men, the bear, the script and The Academy. He is determined to get his Oscar, once and for all. And boy, doesn’t the world know it. The Revenant’s marketing technique doesn’t seem to focus on the story, the place, or anything to do with the film as an independent entity at all. It is a means to an end, the path on which Di Caprio walks leading him to an Oscar. At least, this is the way the world seems to be portraying it. Every preview, trailer, interview, press release and review without fail ticks the ‘Di Caprio’s Oscar!’ box on The Revenant checklist. The hype around not The Revenant, but its leading star, has tainted viewing experiences of the film, the pressure of applause following Di Caprio’s performance always looming in cinemas everywhere. Let’s for one moment imagine The Revenant as a film with a low profile director and an unfamiliar face. Wouldn’t it be a great watch? The story doesn’t do anything wrong and as mentioned earlier, it does look good. Take away the big names and the overwhelming hype and you have an interesting film. Man gets attacked by the bear, gets attacked by man, dies, comes back to life, what a life it is. But to say that Leonardo Di Caprio has to win the Oscar for Best Actor in The Revenant? You must be having a laugh. Don’t get me wrong, Leonardo Di Caprio is a fantastic actor, a fact that needs no justification. Arnie Grape, Jay Gatsby, Frank Abagnale and more recently Jordan Belfort - all rich and complex characters that Di Caprio brought to life in sensational ways. But Hugh Glass’s name
deserves no place alongside these others. His tale is astonishing and by all means deserves to be told, but why does this mean that when Di Caprio’s name is on the tin, the performance suddenly becomes Oscar worthy? Hugh Glass goes through a lot in The Revenant and his ordeal is expressed through Di Caprio’s physical performance. The duress under which a lot of scenes were shot transpires in the film, there is an undeniable weight in the protagonist’s ordeal which at times is overwhelming. But the man himself doesn’t actually do a lot. Pants, grunts, muffled cries and battles, these are the motifs of Glass’ existence as he fights his way back to life for justice. And sure, Di Caprio embodies this - but since when do we give Oscars for endurance? I applaud his commitment and commend the whole production’s dedication to atmospheric realism. But we do not have to give Leonardo Di Caprio an Oscar for this.
As the new awards season rolls around, months of gossip and countless sleepless nights of predictions unravel at last. Independent films finally shine in the overexposed light of Hollywood and beloved stars, unfairly snubbed in previous ceremonies, get the pat on the back they deserve with a nomination or two. Or twelve. That’s right, 2015’s golden boy Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is for the second year running at the top of the Oscar nominations leader board. The Revenant has completed the must-have checklist for Oscar nominees and seems to be fanning the Academy’s ego quite nicely. It is undeniably beautifully shot, the silent words of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki etched in the battle scenes and endless landscapes - watch and learn, kids.
This is not I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, gold stars are not dished out for eating raw meat
In the key face off with the bear, I found myself turning to my friend in the cinema. ‘Is that it?’ I asked. Months of anticipation and showers of praise for this cinematic wonder, which actually turns out to be little more than a rough-andtumble. When Glass is faced with his new found pawnee friend, there is no rich characterisation
that one might expect, a celebration of diversity and an exploration of human relations between both men. They grunt and stick their tounges out at each other. 25 years of an acting career for this? Actor and character complete each other - a good character is wasted on a bad actor and a good actor can only do so much with a somewhat weak character. The problem that has arisen with The Revenant isn’t the performance or the actor as such. It comes from the unjustified expectations that the world has placed on Leonardo Di Caprio and The Academy to finally agree on giving him an Oscar, after multiple extremely worthy performances. I wish that was the way it worked - I wish an actor was given an Oscar for his career and just let him know he was great every once in a while regardless of his most recent project, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works. Yes, he was extremely worthy of an Oscar in 2014. Yes, I think Leonardo Di Caprio should have multiple Oscars because he is a great actor. But no, we do not have to give him an Oscar for his performance in The Revenant. This is not I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, gold stars are not dished out for eating raw meat. The Academy should recognize outstanding and inspiring performances, instead of apologizing for past snubs by making an embarrassing mistake.
Does Leonardo Di Caprio deserve an Oscar for best actor? How should the winners truly be determined? Join the discussion @EpigramFilm
Actor, writer, communist? Who is Dalton Trumbo?
Film and TV Writer Phoebe Graham reviews Trumbo, the biopic about the man who took Hollywood by storm.
Flickr/Bernhard Benke BFI/LFFPRESS
It’s a story that is better off being told, even to simply avoid the personal misconception that Trumbo could be the long-lost sibling sequel to Dumbo. This idiocy is not just a testament to an unforgivable lack of film knowledge, but also to an ignorant perspective on the witch-hunts of Hollywood’s finest ‘Commies’ by the House of Unamerican Activities. So who better to eradicate my historical ignorance on one of the most controversial political upheavals of the 20th century than Jay Roach, director of Austin Powers and Meet the Parents? Any preconceptions are rendered irrelevant as Roach glosses this politically dark era through the lively mind of Oscar winning writer Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston). He literally tints this segment of history as footage drains from black and white and seeps into colour, using both mock and real newsreels to stitch up the emotive gaps of a not-so-distant past. This is essentially an ‘Are you now or have you ever been?’ biopic, following the fall and rise of one of the best paid screenwriters of the century as he is hunted down for his communist loyalties. Alongside the politics of many creative minds battling against the red-hatred of Hollywood is
Trumbo, the family man struggling to maintain his loyalty to both his rigidly radical beliefs and his family duties. After being thrown in prison for 11 months for contempt of Congress, he is released and begins a ‘Family business’ of anonymously working with directors to get his work heard whilst his face unseen. It’s a tricky feat to create a script that tells the story of one of the world’s most revered screenwriters, now credited for the works such as Roman Holiday, The Brave One and Spartacus. But John McNamara manages a spritely attempt which oozes intelligence, moustaches, handheld cigarettes and a baseball bat. At times, the very theatrical script pushes the boundaries of patronising, particularly in a moment when Trumbo spells out to his daughter Niki the idealism of the communist outlook, ironically whilst leading her pony across the pastures. The film provides a 20:20 vision of Trumbo with Cranston doing a grand job of executing an array of epigrams and witticisms as well as balancing this with a poignant feud between his egotism and personal generosity. These character traits do become quite tiresome as Trumbo remains one-levelled within the edges of his character.
The contradiction of the champagne socialist is drummed from the very start and hit upon again and again when more time could have been spent on deciphering in more detail one of the many other real-life characters appropriated for the production. Cranston is supported by individually strong cast members, particularly through Trumbo’s blacklisted associates who capture the dilemma of denouncing your friends or ruining your career. Important characters pop up at dispersed moments both pre and post the prison cell, many of which become lost in a crowded storyline. Helen Mirren bubbles up infrequently as Hedda Hopper, the Hollywood columnist witch who could always be found gossiping and stirring up the hunt for the reds. Her flamboyant dress sense seems more like a caricatured evil Effie from District 1, but this certainly emphasised the superficial sheen of the Hollywood media. Director Otto Preminger is played by a very comical and very bald Christian Berkel and steals the best line of the film, telling Trumbo to ‘Write every scene brilliantly and I will direct unevenly.’ The combination of close ups and shot reverse shots creates wit and pace, giving Trumbo a unique and stylish look
supported by a beautiful production design. At times, this intimacy makes it difficult to frame the picture within its wider history, which is known but not considered as for granted general knowledge - I came out wishing I had done more research beforehand. The surrounding history is blurred at the edges and almost too much attention is paid to the old witty writer in the bathtub. Trumbo covers a lot of time in little time, meaning there was no buzz moment, no moment which declared its intent in a radical way. I was walking on even ground throughout, a little too aware of real time passing and not quite fully absorbed but never bored. Perhaps what was lacking was a pinch of uneven directing. Instead, Trumbo does thrive in its consistency. It tastefully uses satire but is not completely satirical. Its grasp on history is fruitful but only really ripens one fruit of the whole tree. It’s tickle-the-tummy chuckle worthy but is no fullblown comedy. Though its minor-keyed tension never quite climaxes, it serves the same purpose of a chicken Korma. You look forward to it, you know what it will taste like and it will leave you satisfied afterwards.
Heads down and lights up: Digging up the truth in Spotlight Film & TV Writer Josh Hunter digs deeper into the film telling the tale of the journalists who risked it all at the cost of the truth with a review of Spotlight in Spotlight, albeit the ‘Cheesy’ scoring and some extended montage sequences undermine some of its impact. In some ways, Spotlight strikes more as vanity than catharsis. Almost the most chilling moment in the entire film is the pre-credits scrawl that presents a list of all the cities affected by ‘Major abuse scandals,’ the sheer scale of which is hardly believable but for its truth. Something the rest of the film fails to do in some ways. Yes, Spotlight talks about the scale of the issue: the Catholic Church has essentially conquered Boston like organised crime in 1930s L.A but while the audience are told about the immense scope and extent of the corruption – we are even made to feel complicit in it – there is no tangible sense of this wider existence until this pre-credits list. This is not to say that there aren’t moments of cinematic brilliance in Spotlight. Rachel McAdams has nailed her incredibly relatable investigative journalist, a role she’d already had practice at in State of Play, albeit this time with some interesting familial conflict - given her attendance of Catholic Church, accompanying her Grandmother on Sundays despite her knowledge of its institutionalised perversion. However, it is Mark Ruffalo’s performance as Michael Rezendes that stands out. He is breathtakingly energetic, fizzing across the screen carrying the audience along with him as their surrogate in the film: his passion and emotion are contagious – it is his frustration at the staggering immorality of the abuse in the film
There seems to be an idea in Hollywood at the moment that stories are not interesting in their own right anymore. Every film has to have some interesting or experimental cinematography for the Academy to masturbate over. How refreshing then, that Spotlight harks back to an older time, tapping into film noir and following many of the conventions of a procedural drama – a style mostly left to television and even then all bar one iteration of CSI has been cancelled. At the heart of this film is a good story and it’s told well enough. The uncovering of systematic sexual abuse of children and its concealment by the Catholic Church is so well documented at this point, that the film doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the story. However, it’s a testament to this sin’s seeming impossibility and scale that the film remains tense throughout, as if the audience is rediscovering this abuse all over again. It might be damning the film with faint praise, then, to say that its direction and its cinematography don’t get in the way of an incredibly compelling narrative. Naturally, this is a Hollywood film, so there are only so many risks it’s allowed to take, but by firmly recollecting the truth, the story itself is so controversial that it raises the film above this conservative mire. The Catholic Church and Boston replace the seedy underworlds of ‘Noir’ Los Angeles from the outset – Tom McCarthy, the director, is instantly promising the audience an uncompromising revelation of the key ‘Mystery’
that becomes the prism the film is seen through. Spotlight’s most engrossing moment is a simply framed, but brilliantly written meeting where Rezendes’ frustration at being forced to delay exposing the scandal erupts, raising his voice and stealing the scene; there is an emotional heft. As Ruffalo barely contains his tears, the accumulated pain of this systematically hidden abuse is etched in every detail of his expression. This is not the best film in this round of Oscars, it’s certainly not the most excitingly made or technologically spectacular but it is a worthy addition to the cinematic landscape
for that very reason: its simplistic approach is refreshing and its careful recollection of facts, rather than wilful hyperbole, is almost radical. Spotlight treats its mystery with necessary gravity but was inevitably never going to be as overtly aggressive as it could have been because of Hollywood conservatism. However, in some small moments and through brilliant performances from its entire ensemble, it hints at a more disdainful depiction of the Catholic Church, often thought to be untouchable in the USA: ‘What’s that smell?’ ‘There’s a dead rat in the corner.’
42 Behind the four walls of Room: The great power bestowed in one small space Film & TV Writer Max Tyler delves beyond the walls of a story so beautiful it’s cruel, by taking a closer look at Room
There’s an innocent freshness to how Jack embraces the limited surrounding within the four walls of Room. Wardrobes, chairs and holes in the wall take up personalities of their own whilst rodents derided and hated by the haunted Joy become friends to Jack. The splendour of a child’s imagination is truly embraced by Abrahamson during the film’s first half. The events of Room are told to us like words from a storybook and through this we are encouraged to reminisce in our own times of innocence – yet Room’s overwhelmingly oxymoronic setting always reminds us of what a melancholy tale this truly is.
Room contemplates the two-sided coins which life deals us whether by choice or force; deaths and rebirths, dreams and realities, acceptances and rejections. The film’s press material has perhaps painted it as darker than it actually wants to be. Certainly its subject matter is dark. Room follows the journey of Joy (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) during the entrapment, escape and rehabilitation from the room of which the film gains its name. But do not be mistaken; Room is not about the rape, torture and debauchery that occurs within the
four walls of the room, but instead the fallback from this. What happens when the door is shut? How does one create normality in an existence so surreal? How does one readjust to a world so large when all you’ve known is so small? The magic of Room originates from director Lenny Abrahamson’s decision to stay true to the film’s source material and present its narrative as a rebirth through the eyes of the unbeknownst Jack. This passage of perspective is the first way in which Abrahamson really questions childhood and upbringing in modern times.
Room’s overwhelmingly oxymoronic setting always reminds us of what a melancholy tale this truly is
The film’s true power lies in the relationship and conflict of two breakthrough performances Larson and Tremblay deliver as Joy and Jack respectively. There is a rawness to Larson’s performance, her turn as a mother caught between love and hate is nothing short of spectacular. In Joy we see a mother’s protective instinct put to the true test. Jack is her everything - her point of contact, voice of reason but also a sour reminder of what her life has become. Larson emits this internal conflict with rhythmic perfection. Joy is placeless without Jack and this intense infatuation is balanced perfectly between subtle glares and moments
A Bigger Splash
How to Be Single
Out February 19th
In cinemas February 10th
Everyone is obsessed with finding their other half, but this new movie is about readjusting to life in New York without a partner. Anything Rebel Wilson stars in is absolutely hilarious, so How to Be Single is bound to be a fun and light-hearted event.
I’m a fan of most things Marvel puts out and I’m particularly excited to see Deadpool this month. It’s tongue-in-cheek, action-packed and it’s got some kick-ass characters. It seems a little bit different to the superhero movies we’re used to. Definitely worth a watch.
Life and Death Row
On BBC iPlayer
Following two of the youngest men on death row in its first episode, this documentary tells the story of capital punishment through the eyes of those whose lives, or rather deaths, depend on it. The three part series follows a different case each time.
I started watching this from scratch on the recommendation of a friend and I didn’t quite realise just how much I needed a hospital drama in my life. Definitely worth giving a go and with 12 seasons, there’s plenty of episodes to keep you occupied.
Georgia Online Editor
Although this is by no means new, having been extremely behind on television, lately I have returned to the depths of Netflix upon the recommendation of my parents. Dark, gritty and exciting, The Blacklist ticks all the boxes. Always exciting, there is no dull moment.
Kate Deputy Editor
Join the discussion @EpigramFilm
Having missed this at LFF (London Film Festival) it has been on my mind ever since. The turquoise tinted trailer is electrifying and with an eclectic cast which is both enticing and fascinating - watch out for Voldemort and Anastasia from Fifty Shades - it’s set to be an extremely exciting watch.
Could Room be the show stopper this awards season?
Films to Faces
In cinemas February 12th
of implosion. Tremblay replies in similarly explosive fashion. Through Jack we see the rapid evolution of discovery, an imagination run wild. The maturity of Tremblay’s performance is quite startling. Both actor and character exude a natural freedom with secular moments of rage, love and playfulness; a performance untainted by the furore of celebrity, Hollywood and the media’s stare. But plaudits must also be given to director Abrahamson for allowing the platform for such performances to thrive. The rawness of its two leads exudes also into its mode of communication. Each setting and situation within Room is purposefully stripped back to its bare simplicity. Sets are never over-clogged and neither is the dialogue – life in Room is extremely fickle and its moments are presented in such a fashion. Room is never a film that attracts attention to itself and this is its crowning glory. It paints beauty in the smallest of details, the specks on the glass or the drip from the tap. In a world of such blaring beauty, we come to be convinced that our greatest flaw lies within, or in the high emotional expectations we place on each daily. Room encourages us in a world of systematic progression to just stop, even for a moment, and treasure what the world and our connections truly have to offer.
1. They Came Together An absurdist parody of romantic comedies, this film is wonderfully predicatable and makes for the perfect accompaniment to a night in on the sofa, with your significant other or a significantly large tub of ice cream. 2. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not This twisted tale starring Amelie’s Audrey Tautou is one of obsession, medication and unrequited love. On the quieter days in the skys it keeps me on my toes and on the lookout. 3. One Day We all know the ending but this story of two onagain, off-again friends manages to break my heart every time. That’s right, I have feelings too.
Who would you like to see interviewed for Films to Faces? Join the discussion @EpigramFilm
@epigrammusic Editor: Gunseli Yalcinkaya
Deputy Editors: Alex Schulte; Caitlin Butler
Online Editor: Sam Mason-Jones
An Interview with Bloc Party Ahead of Bloc Party’s show in the O2 Academy on 01/02/16, Caitlin Butler has a few questions to ask of three members of one of the coolest indie bands to emerge out of the United Kingdom... Bloc Party; ubiquitous in the noughties even to those who merely pondered the genre of indie music. They were the most darling of indie darlings; they have sold over three million albums worldwide and have released five albums, all the while collecting an assortment of award nominations and wins. Pioneers in their field, they brought to the music listening world, predominantly NME readers, a line of indie rock unique to the driving guitar of Russell Lissack, lead guitarist. The distinctive vocals of Kele Okereke ensure their music is unequivocally and recognisably Bloc Party. However, as of 2015, it is all change for the band. Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong part ways with Bloc Party and are replaced with drummer Louise Bartle and bass guitarist Justin Harris. A new record is released this year, Hymns, which, above all things, lives up to its name. On first listen, one is struck by the religious turn the lyrics have taken, but it is by no means a poorly written or substandard album. On the contrary, there is some true brilliance, such as the first single, ‘The Love Within’. Others on the album, such as ‘Only He Can Heal Me’ and ‘The Good News’, speak for themselves; somewhere along the line, it appears Bloc Party, or maybe just Okereke himself perhaps, have turned to God and religious salvation.
Unfortunately, I am not given the chance to ask the frontman directly what the exact inspiration for these apparently godbothering lyrics are. I am allotted exactly ten minutes to probe the band on whatever I see fit, but without Kele present, cannot ask about any religious tendencies. I do ask, though, about the other great seachange in the band; the two new members of Bloc Party. Both Bartle and Harris say they have experienced a pretty smooth transition. ‘Everyone, from crew to Russell and Kele, have been really great. It’s been really easy’, says Harris. ‘Everyone seems to get along pretty well’. And as for the fans? How are they adjusting to the new line up? ‘When members leave any band, it will be a difficult thing’, Bartle says. ‘It’s always a surprise. But people are starting to get used to it. I respect everything that’s happened in the past, but I hope people can just view Justin and I as a move forward. We’re just doing our best.’ Lissack observes wisely it’s just about the music. ‘It’s what you listen to that’s important. That’s what matters’. I ask them how Bloc Party is different to other bands they’ve played with. Harris has been playing music for a long time, but Bloc Party isn’t dissimilar. ‘It is a slightly different experience each time you play with new musicians, but, for me, it’s been a really positive one and I’ve really been enjoying it’, he says. ‘I played with Russell and Kele years ago, and thought “yeah, they’re really good”. But when you get into the songs, actually playing them, it opened up a whole new appreciation of the music in the past, and obviously everything we’re doing now.’ He has also formed a strong bond with the other latest recruit. ‘I’ve loved getting to know Lulu Bear. She’s a total badass on drums. I was sceptical at first, due to her age; how can this young pup play these songs? But she nails it every night’.
I wonder how the seasoned member of the band, Russell Lissack, finds working with the new Party members and again the response is positive. The loss of the two previous members had, according to Okereke, been due to ‘someone doing cocaine and someone not being into it’. This time round, though, the dynamic between the four is a lot better. ‘Everyone does get on really well. We’ve only just started writing together, so we’re still developing that process, but overall, it’s been a pleasure so far’. I ask Lissack a question that is possibly unanswerable, but wants asking nonetheless; of albums thus released, what has been his favourite? Bloc Party as a whole have been going for a long time. Can he choose his best? Of course, it’s never that simple. ‘Your favourite is always the last one you made. It’s the one that is most relevant to how you felt and what you most wanted to do musically at the time. Whatever I do next will be the thing that’s most exciting.’ After all, as Harris acutely notes, it’s like having a preferred child. ‘You obviously have one, but you can never say’. Fair enough. I ask them about playing their older music at their shows. Is it something they enjoy? Obviously, the focus is more on their newer music, with Hymns as a priority, but they still play some of the senior elements of their discography. ‘We would all like to throw in bits and pieces from the older albums. Throw in a few curveballs’, says Lissack. And the newbies? Do they step up to the challenge of performing the older stuff? Bartle thinks so. ‘The drumming on those tracks is really fun to play. They’re crazy, but in a good way. They’re really enjoyable to play out’. Our conversation takes place in the bar of the O2 Academy, so I steer the conversation towards a topic surely close to the hearts of the Epigram readership; how do they find Bristol as a city? Bartle drops a hitherto unknown
bomb; she was in the vicinity a few years ago filming the infamous teenage-oriented series, Skins. After subtle peer pressure from her bandmates, she reveals her history with the place. ‘I don’t remember where we were, but I remember really liking it. On our breaks, we’d go out into the city centre, and it’s really lovely. A pretty city’. Plus, we have one of the coolest venues ever, according to Justin Harris. ‘Thekla is so great. A club on a boat!’ This leads us to discussion of the wonders of Bristol wildlife. Lissack lays claim to seeing a giant bat in Bristol Zoo Gardens. ‘It was just lying upside down, then spread its wings and had a six foot wingspan. Does this creature exist? Or am I misremembering it?’ I, personally, don’t rightly know. Harris suggests it was a chupacabra. What’s a chupacabra? It’s a legendary animal from the Americas, which sucks the blood of goats and other such livestock. He tells me to google it, and with that, our conversation comes to a close. On stage later, there are no chupacabras or any blood sucking visible. The band’s talent at playing live together is clear. Bartle is true to her word and is more than adept at playing some clearly very complex drum parts. I finally manage to see Kele, and his stage presence is undeniable; he has, after all, had more than 16 years to hone his craft. Bloc Party rattle through most of their hits through their hour and a half set. ‘The Love Within’ is particularly impressive live. The opening crescendo of the song really works onstage. Unfortunately, they neglect to play ‘Flux’, a particlaur favoruite of my 16-year-old self. However, they do perform exceptionally well and the (mostly male) crowd love it. The main lesson I take away from the whole thing is the Kele Okereke has got some serious moves, and, above all, Bloc Party are cool. Caitlin Butler, Deputy Music Editor
Wet Don’t You Columbia, 29.01 7/10
Field Music Commontime Memphis, 05.02 8/10
Bloc Party Hymns Create Control, 29.01 5/10
Massive Attack Ritual Spirit Virgin, 28.01
A sincere and captivating collection of songs, Brooklyn-based trio Wet’s long awaited debut album amply delivers on their early promise. Kelly Zutrau’s soft vocals flit over sparse but slick production and palm-muted guitars, holding the listener’s hand through her stories of heartbreak. At times it’s almost guilty listening, so bare and diary-like are her lyrics, to the point that Zutrau has admitted that her bandmates Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow often don’t even know exactly what she’s singing about. Her confession that ‘you’ll make me weak/ you’ll bring me to my knees’ is strikingly evident throughout. Having released just one eponymous EP to date and after being named by The Fader as the most promising new musical group, this album’s release was the subject of no shortage of hype. Thankfully, Wet’s fusion of dream pop and R&B does not disappoint, producing some effortlessly infectious moments on songs such as ‘It’s All in Vain’, ‘All the Ways’, and ‘You’re the Best’, an older EP track that slots perfectly alongside newer material to showcase Wet’s startling progression as a group. With their somewhat nostalgic brand of R&B currently enjoying something of a renaissance, Don’t You isn’t a groundbreaking album, and may not even be particularly diverse. Nonetheless, the strength of the songwriting on show here makes up for its occasional repetitiveness, providing one of nu-R&B’s most enjoyable moments yet.
Field Music’s latest is a lesson in soul and eccentricity. Always a band producing music with bounce, with Commontime, they go a step further with an album that is consistently fun but nonetheless has real depth. The album opens with a ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’, a tidy and clever bit of funk, easily transferrable to the dancefloor. ‘But Not For You’ transfers a little Talking Heads into a clever track where unusual rhythmic drumming really drives the song along. Elsewhere, it is not hard to notice subtle influences of David Byrne; Commontime as a whole is certainly unconventional. Brothers Peter and David Brewis of Field Music have just become fathers, but they lose none of lose their trademark soul and flair in melancholy musings. They instead swerve to the opposite direction and embrace the joys of fatherhood, in songs such as the Latin-inspired ‘That’s Close Enough For Now’, where they tenderly croon ‘a baby’s crying’. Marital life is not complete bliss for the pair, as the song is bittersweet, but things are good nonetheless. They celebrate domesticity through their whimsical songs. The pair’s harmonising is consistently up to scratch. Like a less miserable but equally as lyrically introspective Simon and Garfunkel, the pair use each other’s strengths to produce clever songs that don’t really fit into a genre. This is only to their benefit, and Field Music produce an album that is totally theirs.
Nobody would expect this album to be a success. It has so many indicators of failure – a band long dormant as a relevant force, a depleted original line up, following a series of albums which lacked in original ideas – that any treats would be a surprise. Every Bloc Party Album bar one has had a concept at its centre, whether that’s a relationship, a city or the songwriter himself, and Hymns is no different. The concept, this time, is Okereke’s new found religion, and its impact can be felt both lyrically and musically. While Okereke sings of his saviour and how ‘only he can heal me’, his jagged vocal lines are infused with a gospel-like expansiveness. The music bears almost blatant evangelical overtones, with electronic organ galore. Such earnestness feels far more genuine than Bloc Party and their mid-noughties cohort’s other genre-stealing attempts to remain relevant. Ultimately, though, the album never transcends the pervading feature of Bloc Party’s previous two albums - that the music has long lost its urgency, formerly the key to its catchiness. Okereke may, once again, try and regain it by tripping into yet another genre, but aside from rare instances of vitality, most notably ‘So Real’, the album’s songs fails to demand to be listened to more than once. There is simply no bite, and any ideas the album does contain are well over used by the time the album limps to its end.
Ellis Mizen, Music Writer
Caitlin Butler, Deputy Music Editor
Perhaps, along with Portishead, the one truly unimpeachable act to survive the death-by-josssticks dissolution of Trip Hop, Massive Attack seem determined not to let their legacy rest in the 1990s. On this surprise release, the duo update their typically ponderous sonic palette with the help of some collaborators old and new, ending the EP with the return of prodigal son Tricky. On opener ‘Dead Editors’, the ever-welcome presence of Roots Manuva immediately improves Robert del Naja’s efforts to raid Burial’s effects vault. The result is a customary yet enjoyable piece of eyesdown streetlight dread, hinting obliquely at what UK Hip Hop should have been. After East London singer-songwriter Azekel ably assists del Naja in a return to the textures of 1998’s ‘Mezzanine’, things take a turn for the interesting with the entrance of Young Fathers on ‘Voodoo In My Blood’, their syncopated harmonics providing the inarguable highlight of the EP, setting the stage for Tricky’s longawaited return to the Massive Attack family on final track ‘Take It There’. While Tricky’s newly coarsened vocals should complete the ingredients for a seminal Massive Attack moment, the EP dwindles away in a plodding arpeggiated mope-out, a pleasant but ultimately unintriguing squandering of a major opportunity. While the group’s return to prominence has produced a few genuinely arresting pieces of music, Ritual Spirit is too reliant on its collaborative roster to shine through among their output. Nonetheless, if one listens hard enough, del Naja and Grantley Marshall sow the odd seed of promise for a great next album. Here’s hoping they grow.
Ben Duncan-Duggal, What’s-On Editor
Sunflower Bean The Louisiana, 02.02 Sunflower Bean can’t quite make their minds up. Like many a fledgling band they wear their influences heartily on their sleeves, having unfurled a slew of buzzy tracks which overtly straddle psych-pop, Sabbath and shoegaze.
Unlike most fledgling bands though, rather than homogenising these strands into their own idiosyncratic songs, the Brooklynites do not allow their formative parts to cross-pollinate, but choose instead to oscillate between them. On consecutive songs of debut EP Show Me Your Seven Secrets, the trio sound as if they could be two entirely different bands, nimbly switching between the guises of swaggering rock behemoths, and the drowsy DIIV-aping psych-dreamers. Singer/bassist/Yves Saint Lauren model Julia Cumming neatly embodies this duplicity: simultaneously capable of both a falsetto saccharine enough to lace a Grimes track and of howling with the manic intensity of Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, she represents a tantalising prospect. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that Cumming so dominates the stage to which her band take at the back of the Louisiana, atop a bill propped up by raggedy hard-rock quintet Human // Bones and Fall-impersonating four-piece Scarlet Rascal.
Alex Schulte, Deputy Music Editor
Despite sharing the vocal duties pretty much 5050 with guitarist Nick Kivlen (imagine a young Bob Dylan with a Marc Bolan perm), the majority of audience attention falls squarely on her shapely shoulders. The pair possess an evident report, swapping lines in a symbiotic call and response on ‘Somebody Call A Doctor’ and ‘Wall Watcher’, with Kivlen’s darker vocal underpinning the angelic optimism of his co-star’s giddy tones, before the two lock eyes over their sparring axes to bring each slice of shimmering psychedelia to a massive instrumental climax. Neanderthal sticks-man Jacob Faber keeps a consistently languid beat at their backs. ‘Tame Impala’ is the song which adheres least of all to the influence of the name-checked Aussie psych-rockers and effectively blows the band’s identity wide open. Built upon shuddering blues licks, Cumming’s snarled refrain of ‘You always say what’s on your mind!’ is worlds away from the likes of shoegazey new single, ‘Easier Said’, which
follows. Interestingly, though, it only takes the opening five notes of each to turn the Louisiana’s sweatbox into a snake-pit of wriggling limbs, as the front half of the crowd loses every morsel of its shit. The trio continue to conduct their measured mania with two unnamed new tracks, which perforate searing soundscapes with riffs picked from Jonny Marr’s back-pocket, like the rainbows which shine forth from oil slicks. They close with the typically incongruous pairing of ‘Space Exploration Disaster’ and ‘The Stalker’ before clambering, sans encore, from the stage. Sunflower Bean’s eclectic output seems to suggest the band’s bipolarity, the expostulations of a divided mind. Yet the stunning conviction and shrewd coherence with which the songs are delivered betrays their ultimate sanity. Who says psychedelia has to be psychotic? Sam Mason-Jones, Online Music Editor
Women’s Rugby resoundingly beat Cardiff Sue Neuman Sports Reporter
Bristol Men’s Hockey 1 - 1 Cardiff Met Bristol Women’s Hockey 3 - 3 Cardiff University Epigram : Sue Neuman
The women’s rugby team get into the mood of destroying teams ahead of Varsity.
More tries came from Tilly Vaughan-Fowler, with punishing handoffs and footwork giving her the edge. Bristol were dominant at half time, but soon after the break a series of penalties gave Cardiff the chance to come back into the game. They scored two tries in quick
succession, mostly through the work of their physical forwards. Bristol cleared up their discipline, and managed a few more tries before the whistle was blown. This was an outstanding performance from Bristol, stamping their authority over the rest of the league.
Star Player: Sue Neumann Forward of the Match: Phoebe Tomlinson Back of the Match: Emma Owens
Bristol Men’s Rugby Union 17 - 10 Cardiff University Bristol Women’s Rugby Union 66 - 14 Cardiff University Cardiff University Women’s Badminton 2 - 6 Bristol Cardiff University Men’s Ultimate Frisbee 6 - 13 Bristol UWE Men’s Badminton 4 - 4 Bristol Southampton Mixed Golf 4 - 2 Bristol
Hockey’s Dingle Day continued: Bristol 1s do just enough in 1-1 draw Jack Francklin Sports Reporter
Friday Football Show
Every Friday from 4pm5pm, Epigram Sport preview the upcoming weekend of football on Burst Radio! If you would like certain topics to be discussed, tweet us @EpigramSport. Be sure to tune in!
Epigram: Jack Francklin
Bristol 1s and Cardiff Met played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in front of a healthy crowd at Coombe Dingle. Significantly, this has meant they avoided relegation from BUCS South Premier League after Exeter beat Oxford. Bristol dominated large spells of the game, and would have felt they did enough to win against one of the top teams in the league. Bristol started the game well, showcasing their intentions from the start. A high press led to captain George Cairns winning the ball in the opposition half. The ball then found its way to Julian Bertie who had his shot saved by the keeper. Bristol had another good chance two minutes later as a long ball up front found Trafford who nipped in just ahead of the keeper before sending the ball wide. The early threat, which got the crowd in good voice, slowly started to wane as Cardiff grew into the game. After a foot foul in the box, they got the first short corner, and it took an important block by Jack Britt to deny the Welsh University from taking the lead. It was then Bristol’s turn to win a short corner of their own after skilful dribbling from Trafford brought about the foul. Tom Wilsons shot was denied by the legs of the Cardiff keeper as the crowd sensed a goal. Despite Bristol being camped in the opposition half, Cardiff were threatening on the break and were thwarted by an important Will Bray interception when danger loomed large. As the half time interval
Bristol Men’s Football 2 - 1 Southampton Bristol Women’s Football 2 - 3 Bournemouth
After a few months of frustration due to cancelled matches, UBWRFC 1s were back in action in a top of the table clash against Cardiff University, with Bristol resoundingly winning 64-14. A previous encounter resulted in a 7-7 draw, so the match was much anticipated. Bristol were out of the blocks quickly with a storming try from Alice Rooke. Two more came in the next 10 minutes and Cardiff were stunned by the dominance. They got themselves back into the game with a period of pressure on Bristol’s line, that was defended ferociously. The pressure was enough to cause a knock-on, with Bristol running the length of the field in fantastic team play, ending with captain Izzy Day scoring under the posts.
No, I didn’t know that there was a hockey pitch at Coombe Dingle either... the things you learn!
came about, Bristol would have been disappointed not to have been ahead. A key point in the game came soon after the break, with Cardiff receiving a yellow card after Wilson was brought down. A short corner followed, with Jordan Hussle smashing in after the original shot was blocked. This was just what the doctor ordered. There was no time to sit back though. Cardiff still pushed on despite their numeric disadvantage
and played some nice hockey, underlying why they are so high up in the league. Indeed, after a period of pressure, the equaliser came. A shot from distance fell to Davies who poked the ball past McNaught. This game was far from over, however, and another Cardiff yellow card meant the ball was back in Bristol’s court - Trafford again denied by an excellent save, whilst McNaught was again called into action late on after a goal bound deflection. It was end to end stuff. As
the final whistle blew, the 1’s can be very happy with their performance, for this was undoubtedly a point gained not lost. Line Up: Andy McNaught (GK), George Cairns (c), Will Chapman, Jack Britt, Will Bray, Rich Elston, Albert Padfield, Tom Armatage, Tom Wilson, Harry Robertson, Jordan Hussell, Julian Bertie, Hugo Trafford, Michael Batstone, Rufus Roy, Matt Collins
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Editor: Marcus Price
Deputy Editor: James O’Hara Online Editor: Malik Ouzia
Hockey’s Dingle Day delight: 2s brush aside the 3s
Epigram: Jack Francklin
Victorious 2’s celebrate their win
Jack Franklin Sports Reporter In the eagerly anticipated Derby fixture between the Bristol Hockey 2nd team and the 3rd team, the 2s ultimately proved too strong and emerged with a 4-0 win. On a nippy day at Coombe Dingle, the 2s, playing in red, got the ball rolling and started well, passing the
ball neatly in the opening stages and making it difficult for the 3s to get the ball to their front men. Although they were camped in their own half, the 3s, led by captain Noah Levy, were well organised and got more and more into the game as the match went on, evident with Alex Murray winning his side a free hit up the pitch after some good dribbling. Yet, as was often the case in the first half, the 3s lacked creative ideas going forward and were regularly thwarted by Oscar
Robertson who provided good cover in front of the 2s defence. It was the 2s that had the first real chance of the game, winning a short corner after a foot foul, only for Jacob Vincents’ shot to be well blocked and cleared. This set the platform for a 3s attack resulting in George Rolls firing just wide from a short corner of their own. As the half went on the 2s got stronger and Rohan Browning was being called into action increasingly often, getting down smartly to his
right to deny a goal bound Harvey Preston shot. Soon enough, the pressure told as the 2s finally broke the deadlock. After some scrappy play inside the 3s box, the ball broke to Tom Smith who finished well past Browning into the far left corner. The second half brought much the same and it didn’t take long for Smith and the 2s to double their lead. A break from the right found its way over to the attacker who, with the help of a deflection, hit it over the keeper from the edge of the box. Jason Trew, who was having an impressive game himself, deservedly got in on the goals - the 3’s being easily opened up after neat build up play. The 3s didn’t give up hope despite the score line and came close through Harry Turner who hit a shot late on across the box with no one on the end of it. The final goal came
through Smith again, who, after a mistake from the goalkeeper, had an easy tap in to finish off a brave 3s team. Clinical finishing from the 2s ultimately proved the difference between the two sides on the day. Line Ups: 2nd XI Michael Glerum, James Greenall, Jacob Vincent, George Jameson, James Padfield, Mikey Lunn, Oscar Robertson, Harry Woods, Joss Goodchild, Tom Smith, Jason Trew, Harry Ferguson, Sam Cole, Fergus Black, Harvey Preston 3rd XI Rohan Browning (GK), Matt Woods, Gareth Maver, Will Cunningham, John Page, Mikey Pelmore, Alex Murray, Tom Carter, Will Stonehewer-Smith, Will Buckley, Henry Fisher, Noah Levy (C), Harry Turner, George Rolls, Ollie Marshall
Varsity pullout - pages 23-26.
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