Fortnightly 12th February 2018 Issue 323 Winner of Best Publication and Best Use of Digital Media 2017
University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper
Epigram / James Heale
Students march against proposed halls model - page four
Sex survey delves into the less glamourous side of Bristol’s boudoir business Georgia Marsh Online Editor An exclusive survey released by Epigram investigates the sexual health of Bristol students, revealing some startling statistics. The survey of 241 Bristol students sought to uncover the realities of sexual health in university life. We probed students from a range of year groups, sexualities and gender identities
and discovered that 62.2 per cent of students have been tested for an STI since arriving at university. However only 1 in 10 students revealed they had actually caught an STI – with only 11.7 percent receiving medical treatment. STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are spread through unprotected sex and genital contact, especially vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. The most common STI among Bristol students is chlamydia – a disease which tends to be symptom-less but can cause infertility
the planet? Page 14 EpigramPaper
Oliver Cohen defends our lecturers’ right to strike
Travel Epigram/ Tim Dodd
Josie Roberts on dating apps
Epigram/ Katy Hubbuck
Are plant based
spread among campus communities due to the prevalence of casual sex and one-night stands, with a whopping 95.2 per cent of students saying they have had this kind of sexual encounter in comparison to 2 in 5 respondents who have had sex within the parameters of a relationship. Whatever kind of sex you are participating in, the sexual health service Unity highly recommends you use protection (such as male or female condoms) unless your partner is someone you trust. Continued on page four...
To swipe, or not to swipe... Page 18
in those affected – with over 30 per cent of those surveyed claiming they have had chlamydia at one time during their university education. Although not technically STIs, thrush and UTIs can manifest after sex, and an overwhelming 58 per cent of respondents noted they have been affected by one of these infections. There are a variety of factors that can put someone at risk of STIs, such as unprotected sex – an activity undertaken by 62.7 per cent of those taking Epigram’s survey. STIs tend to
Tim Dodd takes us on a tour of Rio de Janeiro
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Epigram | 12.02.2018
Editorial Best of Bristol Media: Burst TB2 schedule The University’s very own student-run radio station Burst Radio is back for TB2! It is an exciting term for Burst - not only have they just launched an app and hosted a widely successful JazzFunkSoul event at Stoke Croft’s The Love Inn, but February will see the return of Burst Dates as well as a co-hosted disco night with Epigram and UBTV. Not to forget the wave of exciting new programming such as indie music show Fresh Juice, the SU’s Burst debut State of the Union, ACS’ show Talking Culture and the flagship Hangover Brunch shows, every afternoon 12-2. The shows are more diverse than ever, and you can tune in to your friends exercising their radio chops on burstradio.org/listen.
Chief Proofreader Lucy Moor Sub-editors on this issue Noah Forbes, Chloe Snell, Chloe Moloney, Samuel Wong, Francesca Howell, Izi Miller, Poppy Price, Nadia Hassan, Jamie Muddimer, Cecily Donohue-Hall, Gianina Dwek, Imogen Benson Managing Director Calli Keane Director of Communications Joe Jones Director of Finance Josh Moloney Deputy Finance Jeremy Mei Head of Ads and Sales Aravin Skantha Ads and Sales Assistants Grace Rose, Frances McNab, Cameron Hooley Head of Marketing Lowri Daniels
Distribution Manager Thomas Jordan Epigram is the independent student newspaper of the University of Bristol. The views expressed in this publication are not those of the University or the Students’ Union. The design, text and photographs are copyright of Epigram and its individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission.
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Co-Editors in Chief: Alex Boulton and Noa Leach
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A note from Alex So far this term, one theme that cannot be underplayed has been protest and dispute at the University of Bristol. In this issue, we have stories on further opposition to the pastoral review in the forms of the ‘Hands off our Halls’ march (page 4) and the SU referendum (page 4), as well as a protest against the University of Bristol’s animal experimentation. These issues firmly show how engaged Bristol students are, something we should be proud of and celebrate. But while a lot us may be enraged by the same issues, maybe we don’t do enough to make our grievances heard as an article written by our Features Editor inspired by on the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote aims to illustrate (page 8). However, one dispute that I don’t think has received enough attention amongst students is the UCU strike (page 3). Whenever it comes up in conversation, there is normally someone who hasn’t heard that 4 weeks of their teaching might be affected. Even if people have heard about it, maybe they don’t know why university staff are striking, a common theme in the survey we ran to collect opinions on the action (page 3). Students are in uproar that university officials have taken so long to reach out to its students. Indeed, the only contact I have had is from my lecturers who have informally told us why and when they were striking. At the face of it, it seems deeply unfair. We are losing 14 days of university teaching. In your final year, in any year, can that be justified considering we pay so much in tuition? Exams aren’t going to be changed to reflect the material we haven’t been taught, no extenuating circumstances and no rescheduling of teaching (something the UCU have recommended to cause maximum disruption to persuade employers to return to negotiations). However, when you look deeper, I think it is obvious why university staff see striking as their only option, and I firmly support their action, a sentiment shared by our Deputy Science Editor in his comment piece on page 11. Cuts to the
Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) mean the average staff may be around £10,000 a year worse off in their retirement as their pension schemes move from a defined benefit to a defined contribution scheme. They are taking on a financial burden by striking as staff members do not get paid for every day they strike. As one respondent to our survey said: ‘I stand to lose £1626.80 in salary in the next couple of months… I can’t afford to strike…nor can I afford not to.’ It is important to remember striking is the last resort- negotiations between the UCU and universities have been long-running and ultimately failed, prompting the action. The student mentality that the strikes mean we are not getting what we are paying for is a symptom of the marketization of higher education and rising tuition fees. In our new position as customers of universities, we ignore the rights and future quality of life of staff members who work so hard and enjoy teaching us. The marketization of higher education affects all of us negatively, and rather than criticise staff, we should join them to protest issues that actually affect the whole university community. Lecturers have a future too, and they have every right to strike to safeguard this future. In more positive news, the University have successfully divested their investments in companies that make significant profits from fossil fuels after successful campaigning from Fossil Free society (page 5) and Bristol has seen the biggest increase in the admittance of state school students in the Russell Group (page 4). In Epigram news, shockingly we only have FOUR issues of the academic year left until we pass control of the media suite, email accounts and social media onto the next team. Determined to make the most of the time we have left, Noa and I are planning something exciting for the next issue, a green issue which will kick start our Epi-green week. Our online team (shout out to Georgia, Lucy, Joe and our webmaster, James) are busy working on a new website to be released as soon as possible (it is looking amazing) and we now have a radio show on Burst, hosted by Cameron Scheijde and Ollie Smith on Wednesdays at 9am. See you in two weeks!
Alex Boulton, Co-Editor in Chief
From the archives: ‘Wills at One’ Epigram looks at a blast from the past - not from our own archives this time but the BBC’s, whose 1983 video stars our very own university students On the 25th of January BBC Radio Bristol released a video from their archives showing a journalist in 1983 explaining the ‘Wills at One’ phase of the University’s life. This phenomenon saw Bristol students, or ‘poseurs’, parading their most expensive and extravagant clothing and hairstyles outside the Wills Memorial Building at 1pm every day. When asked whether she funded her clothing from her student loan, one student replied: ’No it’s not on the grant, at all. It’s from my father.’ Another said ‘No no no, I fought for this in the Harrod’s sale.’ According to former students, to be dressed for ‘Wills at One’ you should be wearing a mini skirt and leg warmers. The video received a lot of attention when it resurfaced last month, and caused Bristol students to question the class structure of the University community. Members of the Epigram team were discussing whether Bristol has always been so ‘rahrah’ (as our former students called it in the video) or whether that was a general symptom of all universities at the time. This said, the video also shows the classic ‘gap yah’ student, including one who went hitchhiking through Africa with his surfboard when he decided to not cut his hair. ‘I’m just a normal person growing my hair,’ he said: ‘a surfer Rastafarian, yeh.’ Perhaps the stereotypes we parody now have deeper-rooted foundations than we think…
BBC / BBC Archive
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The full video can be found on the BBC Archive or BBC Radio Bristol Facebook pages.
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Animal Justice Project activists stage protest against animal testing at University of Bristol every instance. That’s why, when absolutely necessary, we also support the principle of using animals in research in order to advance our understanding of health and disease and improve the lives of both animals and humans.’ The Animal Justice Project, in collaboration with the University’s VegSoc, set up ‘Campus without Cruelty’ campaign in 2016 to apply pressure on the University to change its approach to more ethical methods of research and experimentation. The project revealed that government figures show that around half of all experiments take place in universities. Claire Palmer, founder and spokesperson for
Animal Justice Project, revealed the motives behind the campaign that took place outside We The Curious this morning: ‘Despite other universities turning to humane, cutting-edge non-animal work, Bristol University looks set to f ly in the face of overwhelming public and scientific opinion by continuing its macabre practices on animals. The public will not tolerate cruel experiments going on behind Bristol University’s doors.’ The attendees to the University’s symposium at We The Curious, including Professor Hugh Brady, arrived over the course of the protest, the activists making their agenda regarding animal testing on campus very clear to all onlookers.
The public will not tolerate cruel experiments going on behind Bristol University’s doors
At the time, a University spokesperson responded,‘Wherever possible, the University’s research relies on computer models, human volunteers or cells grown in the laboratory. However, these methods are not suitable in
Epigram / Hannah wakefield
A symbolic demonstration against the University’s involvement in animal testing practices has been staged outside Bristol’s ‘We The Curious’ science museum, while the Vice Chancellor and other university researchers were attending a conference inside the venue. The Animal Justice Project, who held the demonstration, are part of the ‘Campus Without Cruelty’ campaign, an initiative that was established in 2016 to tackle the two million animal experiments being carried out each year on university campuses. The University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Hugh Brady, was in attendance at the site of the protest to launch University of Bristol’s £21 million National Institute for Health Research Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Bristol BRC). Dressed in striking animal masks and holding props, including rabbit masks and veterinary gloves to symbolise their concern over the practice, the group stood in solidarity and silence outside the venue to protest the powerful message. The activists, who included students from the University, also exhibited large, poignant signs, with emotive messages
such as ‘Killed. Hearts ripped out. Bristol Uni’ on the facades. The protest follows the highlyanticipated reveal of the University’s animal experimentation figures last September. The announcement had been the result of many Freedom of Information requests dating since 2011, by the Animal Justice Project and other NGOS, in which they demanded that the University make their animal experimentation statistics public. The figures subsequently released for 2016 revealed the university used 26,990 animals in research that year. The majority of these were rodents (63%) and fish (33%), although the figures specified that 94 dogs and 1 cat were involved in studies.
Emily Vernell Deputy Online Editor
Protestors gathered outside We The Curious
Students and staff react to the UCU strike Cameron Scheijde and Alex Boulton Online Comment Editor and Co-Editor Following continued pressure on Universities UK, the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) have announced widespread strike action will go ahead. UCU announced on Monday 29th January that there will be a large-scale walkout of staff who are members of the union to protest the pension funding dispute. The UCU are striking on 14 dates at 61 Universities, including the University of Bristol, culminating in a fiveday walkout between 12 – 16 March. The action will see disruption to teaching, marking, supervising, and other student services on the strike dates. This comes after UCU Bristol announced over 90% support in their ballot for industrial action. Action is motivated by rows over planned changes to pensions, which could cost the average lecturer £10,000 a year in retirement. The full strike dates are as follows: Week one – 22 and 23 February (two days) Week two – 26, 27 and 28 February (three days) Week three – 5, 6, 7 and 8 March (four days) Week four – 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 March (five days) Talks between the two parties broke down, leading the UCU to state that there was no other option but to seek ‘unprecedented disruption to teaching’. Sally Hunt, General Secretary for UCU said, ‘Staff who have delivered the international excellence universities boast of are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions. They feel let down by vicechancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff. ‘Strike action on this scale has not been
seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out.’
Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses
On the 30th January, the NUS released a message of solidarity to staff ahead of the strikes and said, ‘NUS is worried that the imposition of these cuts in the face of sectorwide opposition will lead to a demotivated and unhappy workforce and consequent recruitment and retention problems as staff vote with their feet and move elsewhere.’ A survey conducted by Epigram reveals that while a majority of students (80% of respondents) support the upcoming UCU strike action in February and March, many are angry at the delayed communication from the university about the potential impacts to teaching. One commented: ‘Lecturers deserve the pensions! They often give their all to university; I know mine are worth the money.’ Another wrote: ‘I support the strike action because I think it’s incredibly unfair that the staff are losing out on their pensions when the higher paid staff such as the vice chancellors are better off.’ At the time of writing, a week and a half after strike action was confirmed, students had not heard anything from university surrounding potential impacts or mitigation efforts. One respondent commented: ‘Any anger by students should be directed at the
University’s Executive Group who have put lecturers and their students in a terrible position. Their response to this strike has been laughable. They have made no attempt to communicate with us. We need to be told who is striking, how it will impact us, and whether we will be allowed extenuating circumstances.’ Others agreed with the dispute, but questioned the methods used: ‘The staff dispute is valid but is with their pensions provider, not the students, so the student shouldn’t suffer. I will be writing to feed department for the refund on hours of teaching missed which adds up to around £600.’ Another wrote: ‘I think it is unfair that the tutors may lose so much of their pensions, but it is also unfair that it will affect our education, which is already so limited and so expensive as an arts student. I agree that they should be protesting, but it should not affect us - we are the wrong target.’ Although in the minority in this survey, some student respondents disagreed entirely with the action: ‘Completely unacceptable. I pay £9000 a year for tuition, not to subsidise tutors to go on strike’ and another stressed the strikes were ‘very disruptive to student learning’. A number of staff members also responded to the survey to explain why they are planning to strike. Responding staff members largely stressed they didn’t want to strike, but are being forced to due to the severity of the issues involved. One commented: ‘We love teaching, we love our students, and we want to give them the best education possible but we need to withdraw our labour power to force the University back to the negotiation table. We hope that students will understand - and join in to fight for their rights, for a good education, and for solidarity in the face of systematic exploitation.’ Another stressed
the fact staff members will lose income over strike days: ‘I am striking despite the fact that I stand to lose £1626.80 in salary in the next couple of months. I can’t afford this. I have no savings, only debts, and I’m going to be buying food and probably paying bills with credit cards. I can’t afford to strike…nor can I afford not to.’ A key explanation for staff strikes includes concerns over their economic position in retirement: ‘I would prefer not to starve in retirement, and because of the absurdities of the academic job market I did not start paying into a pension until I was 30 years old, so I need everything I can get.’ Another common threat was against the marketization of higher education: ‘I am striking because I care about my students: this attack on pensions is one more step towards the privatisation of Higher Education.’ A University spokesperson said: ‘Following a UCU ballot, members voted for strike action in protest against planned pension reform. Negotiations are continuing at a national level between Universities UK and UCU. This is likely to affect our University, and dates for strike action have been confirmed as follows: 22-23 February. 26-28 February, 5-8 March, 1216 March. ‘We anticipate that this will be disruptive for many students and we will do all we can to reduce the impact this might have on them. We will be communicating directly with all students throughout the industrial action. At this stage we do not know what the specific impact of the strike action will be. As soon as we have more information we will be letting students know. We support the right of our staff to take strike action and make their voices heard. We know that they will not have taken this decision lightly as they are dedicated staff who want to provide the best possible teaching for their students.
‘Hands Off Our Halls’ march takes place to protest changes to halls of residence Lucy Downer Deputy News Editor
therefore…completely unhelpful’. Students also voiced their concern about the University’s role in sex education. One anonymous student wrote, ‘There is hardly any thought/ advice for LGBT+ people, especially women who have sex with women and trans people. We still have sex, we still need services that are aware of specific issues or concerns.’ Many students also voiced demands for free condoms to be readily available to students, especially during Freshers’ Week when excitement is at its peak. With over half of students admitting to getting frisky in the past week, sex clearly is a sizable member of our campus concerns – with many seeing sexual health as an important conversation coming into the forefront of our pillow talk.
Bristol has highest increase in state school admittance in the Russell Group Cameron Scheijde Online Comment Editor Official government figures have revealed that, while the number of state school places awarded across UK universities has fallen, the University of Bristol has seen the biggest increase in places awarded to state school applicants. Nine out of the 24 Russell Group universities saw drops in the number of state school students, with Edinburgh, the London universities, Newcastle and Liverpool faring worst, seeing changes of up to three percent. Nationwide, the trend points towards stagnating involvement for those from areas of economic deprivation. The universities with the worst figures included the Royal Academy of Music, where just 44% of students come from state schools. However, Bristol topped the tables with an increase in the number of state school pupils of 3 percent. According to the figures, in 2016/17 65% of the new intake of students at Bristol came from state schools. While this figure is still low in comparison with the national average, it shows an increase from previous years. Similarly, the percentage of students from ‘low participation neighbourhoods’ and ‘no previous higher education’ is 10%.
These figures come after an Epigram investigation revealed that those admitted through Bristol’s contextual offer scheme, the goal of which is to widen participation, are as likely to achieve high grades as those who received unadjusted offers. Ed Southgate, who authored the contextual offers story, saw the nationwide figures as an illustration of the failure to widen participation across the country He said ‘It is no surprise that government pressure on universities to widen participation and include more students from deprived areas and state schools, such as mine, has failed, because the responsibility and ability to achieve this does not lie with Higher Education institutions. ‘Pressuring universities to widen participation is the same as treating the symptoms of an illness instead of the cause. We need to stop treating the symptoms of the problem, lack of state school participation at top universities, and focus on the causes. We need to improve state schools and help to develop the move deprived areas so pupils can realise their potential and give them confidence to apply.’ Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, responded to the figures, ‘Many universities are already doing brilliant work to ensure more young people go on to higher education, and I would encourage this best practice to be shared across the sector. Of course, these is still more to do.’
Epigram / Hannah Wakefield
Wills Memorial Building.
On the 3rd February, a march took place on the streets of Bristol to protest the proposed changes to halls by the University. It was organised by the student-led organisation ‘Keep Our Communities’, who want a reversal of the proposed changes to the support provided in residences. The #HandsOffOurHalls march started at 2pm at the Stoke Bishop Transport Hub, and ended at 3pm at the Victoria Rooms next to the University. Protesters chanted ‘No ifs, no buts, no RHS hall cuts’, ‘Simon Bray, Go Away’ and ‘Rub a dub dub, we don’t want a hub’. At the Victoria Rooms, Keep our Communities were joined by Bristol, Cut the
Epigram / Hannah Wakefield
Continued from front page... 68.7 percent of those who said they had sex knowing they had an STI said their partner was not aware of their infection and thus of the risk to their own sexual health. In relation to this, almost three percent noted that their sexual partner has previously lied about using protection. Furthermore, the influence of drugs or alcohol may also put you at risk of STIs, as 30.4 percent claimed their altered state has predisposed their decision to not use contraception or protection. Epigram also wanted to investigate students’ attitudes to and experiences with the University’s sexual health services, currently located at Hampton House. Just over half of respondents have sought help regarding their sexual health at university, however 45.9 percent of these students favoured external services, such as the NHS, over the University’s services. This may be because over half of students are unsure of or do not know what support is available to them if they were concerned about their sexual health. However, those who had used the University’s sexual health services tended to rate them highly, with 42 percent giving them a helpfulness rating of 7-10 as opposed to the 30.3 percent who rated them with a helpfulness score of 1-4. However, those who rated the service poorly have called it ‘severely underfunded and
Protestors marching down Whiteladies Road.
Rent (another student-led organisation who protest the rising costs of halls) and Bristol Labour Students. A number of speakers, advocated for protestors to stand up against the changes they believe to be dangerous to student welfare. Speakers included co-founders of Keep Our Communities, Cris Oehling Pascual and Tom Phillips, and Senior Resident Ella Fraser. The Facebook event describes the aim of the march as to ‘Show the University management that our communities matter, and that these changes will cause more harm than good’. The protest comes as students learnt of the details of the changes to pastoral support in December. Changes include changing pastoral support services from residences based to hub based system, getting rid of Wardens and Deputy Wardens and reducing the number of Senior Residents by 2/3. The march signals the culmination of large-scale upset amongst students who believe firmly in the importance of having on-site wardens for the protection and safety of students in student residences. Other action against the changes has included a petition, which has now closed as it received more than 3600 signatures, a series of open letters from Senior Residents, JCRs and Hall Associations and the establishment of Keep Our Communities. In protesting, students are making a stand for community life in halls, arguing that the proposed changes could have a detrimental effect on the mental health of residents.
Bristol SU to hold a referendum on its stance on the Residences Review Alex Boulton Co-Editor-in-Chief On Friday 26th January, Bristol SU received a petition of 400 signatures from Keep Our Communities to hold a referendum on its stance on the University’s review of pastoral support in halls. As the petition met the threshold of 367 signatures or 1.5% of the student body, for a referendum on policy to be held, the SU announced that a referendum will take place. Campaigning officially began 9 am on the 5 January and runs until Monday 12th February when voting opens at 9 am. Voting will close at 9 pm on Wednesday 14th February and the results announced the next day. The referendum is open to all Bristol students. Students will be asked: ‘The University of Bristol has proposed changes to the pastoral support system in residences which include a change from managing pastoral support in each residence to managing pastoral support in clusters of residences (‘hubs’). Should Bristol SU oppose any model for pastoral support which includes this change? • Yes • No’ As co-founders of Keep Our Communities, Tom Phillips and Ben Bloch are running the ‘Yes’ campaign, while Lucky Dube, Student Living Officer, is running the ‘No’ campaign. The NUS is acting as Returning Officer. The SU’s position on the review has been controversial. Lucky Dube, Student Living Officer, expressed broad support for the review in December. A new statement was released on January 17th and although identifies ‘issues that will need to be resolved for the model to be successful’, reasserts SU support for the review. The statement supports the review’s ‘basic framework’ due to the ’24-hour professional cover’, the ‘separation of pastoral and disciplinary roles’ and the chance to develop support in City Centre residences it provides.
In light of the referendum news, Dube said on the 5th January: ‘Informing our response to the current iteration of the residences service model, I sought to consolidate as many views as possible. I believe I was successful in doing this when I sent off a formal response to the model to the University. The referendum will be a chance for students to tell the SU whether they feel a principle underpinning the proposed changes, managing halls in clusters, is one they agree with.’ Keep Our Communities said in a statement: ‘The Keep Our Communities campaign is very happy with the fast turn around on this referendum. Given the exceedingly fast timeline that the university is proposing to move to a hub-based system, it is essential that this vote is held now to give all students the opportunity to have their say on how residences should be run. ‘The aim of this vote is to stop the implementation of ‘hubs’ in September 2018 and to demonstrate how important halls staff are to Bristol students. We want to show our SU officers that the bulk of the student body is opposed to a hub-based model and that they should be representing these views to the university. In the words of the Deputy Registrar today, the SU “campaigns on the issues that matter to you and represents your views to the University and the city.” We hope students join us in sending a loud and clear message to the university by saying YES to the SU changing their position to oppose hubs. ‘This is a purely democratic exercise, and we look forward to engaging with as many students as possible from across the university to hear a wide range of views, and work together to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and happiness of incoming students.’ The referendum follows other action protesting the changes including a petition set up in December which has now received over 3,600 signatures and a march from Stoke Bishop to the Victoria Rooms which took place Saturday 3rd January.
Nikki Peach News Editor
Bristol celebrates 100 years of women’s suffrage Jecca Powell Online News Editor
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s talk on Conservatism at the University of West England (UWE) tonight was disrupted within one minute by the entrance of balaclava-clad protestors from the rear of the hall. The protestors chanted ‘Nazi scum’ as well as accusing Rees-Mogg of being a sexist, a misogynist and working for a fascist government. Rees-Mogg approached the protestors and attempted to ask them what they wished to discuss before protestors and members of the audience at UWE began to shove and yell at one another. This
culminated in a woman being shoved by a counterprotester and Rees-Mogg returning to the front of lecture hall in a bid to calm the shouting. Jacob Rees-Mogg then spoke for several minutes until University of West England staff entered the hall and removed the protestors amid cheers from the audience. Paul Townsley, a member of the audience, claimed that he approached the protestors, at which point a woman stood between him and them, spitting at him. At this point, Townsley claims that he pushed the woman in the back, resulting in an outcry that he punched her, which Townsley denies. Max Rubens, 19 and a student at UWE was also involved and stated that he was assailed, being
The balaclava-clad protesters disrupted the talk within one minute
called a ‘Nazi’ despite being Jewish. The Vice President of the UWE Conservative Society, William Bates, asked Epigram to explain that the protestors were members of the ‘far left’ and not members of the University of West England. A statement by the Society will be issued later. During the incident, Bates attempted to record footage, resulting in his phone being knocked to the floor, resulting in the screen cracking. Local police attended, but were unavailable for comment, directing Epigram in their usual manner to the Press Office. An investigation has been launched ‘following a report of a public order incident’. No arrests have been made. The rest of the talk carried on uninterrupted, with Rees-Mogg speaking on his conception and belief in Conservatism, before taking questions for around an hour. Jacob Rees-Mogg avoided controversial topics, talking largely about his belief that the state is the servant of the citizen, and that ‘Conservative ideas appeal to everyone’ focusing on the economic opportunities of ending Britain’s membership of the European Union. In answering questions, Rees-Mogg remained equally uncontroversial, focusing on housing, the youth vote and universal credit. In particular, Jacob Rees-Mogg sought to appeal to the students by saying that the youth vote was not a separate block, but part of the wider electorate, and by moderating his stance on fox hunting by presenting hunting as the ‘least cruel’. Jacob Rees-Mogg was very well-received by his audience at UWE and spent much time afterwards engaging with members of the audience.
University successfully divests from fossil fuel giants Mary Richardson Editorial Assistant The University of Bristol has declared that it has successfully divested all investments from companies that derive significant income from the most carbon intensive sectors of the fossil fuel industry. The announcement follows a pledge made last year to focus energy sector investments in companies who seek to reduce the impact of their carbon emissions. Robert Kerse, Chief Financial Officer at the University of Bristol, said, ‘Our aim was to end investment in companies that derive more than five per cent of their turnover from the extraction of thermal coal or oil and gas from tar sands by January 2018. ‘I am very pleased that we have achieved this aim which supports the University’s strong commitment to sustainability and fighting climate change.’
to continuing such positive communications with the University to further reduce the remaining 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases still owned by the University’s investments in fossil fuel companies.’ Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy resources, including oil and coal, which release carbon dioxide when they burn, adding to the greenhouse
‘I am very pleased that we have achieved this aim which supports the University’s strong commitment to sustainability and fighting climate change.’
effect and increasing global warming. Rathbone Greenbank Investments has been employed by the University as a fund manager to reduce the carbon emissions profile of the endowment assets invested in the energy sector. The University claims that the company will take account of their environmental, social and ethical concerns. The University has also been actively managing the wider impact of the Endowment Fund investments on climate change. Embedded carbon in fossil fuel reserves associated with the Endowment Fund investments have decreased by 78 per cent over the last nine months from 280,742 to 62,289 tonnes of greenhouse gases. In a statement to the press, the University revealed its ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.
University of Bristol Press Office
A parade was held Tuesday the 6th February to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage. The parade, organised by Bristol Women’s Voice, marked the passing of a century since the signing of the Representation of the People Act, which allowed many women to vote in the UK for the first time. Bristol residents marched from Berkeley Square, past Wills Memorial Building, and to City Hall, to celebrate this historic achievement. Members of the parade carried lanterns, wore suffragette colours, and was accompanied by an all-female marching band in an eyecatching display. Wills Memorial Building and the Victoria Rooms were lit in suffrage colours. The snow falling did not stop the hundreds of marchers, many of whom were holding lanterns and signs which read slogans including ‘thank you for my vote’ and ‘still a bit cross’. Sally Patterson, Chair of Bristol University’s Women’s Network, welcomed the news of the parade. She said: ‘This is such an exciting and worthwhile event! It’s so important for students to unite with one another, academics and locals to remember this ground-breaking moment in women’s history. ‘The centenary of the first women’s suffrage also provides a platform to reflect on those who were not given the vote at this time, including women of colour, and women with no property, as well as shining light on the racist and classist values that permeated much of the suffrage movement’. In 1876. Bristol was the first institute of higher education in the country to admit women on an equal basis to men.
Will Charley News Writer
Epigram / Will Charley
LGBT+ History Month was launched at the University of Bristol on 7th February. Each year during LGBT+ History Month, people are encouraged to observe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. The month will run from 7th February until the 1st March. It has been organised by a host of student and staff LGBT+ groups. There is a range of events on offer from a special Richmond Lecture, panels about religion and activism, Storyslams, displays and more. They will also be promoting external events in the city so you can keep up with everything that’s happening. ‘At Bristol, we want this month to seize the opportunity to remember LGBT+ people who have come before us, those who have fought for us, and those who have made sacrifices so that we can live in the world we live in today.’ Thought-provoking speakers, panels, displays and social events will fill the month’s calendar. For example, there will be a panel discussion between those with LGBT+ identities of different faiths, and a talk entitled ‘Remembering the forgotten T in LGBT+ History’, focusing on transgender experiences.
Jacob Rees-Mogg interrupted by protestors during talk at UWE
LGBT+ History Month launched on February 7th by SU
Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy resources, including oil and coal
The student-led Fossil Free Bristol Society, which has campaigned for the cause since its formation in 2014, praised the move as ‘one of the clearest and most wide-ranging in Britain’. Member Robin Boardman said: ‘We look forward
Members of the University of Bristol’s Fossil Free Society on the left. On the right is Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Paloma Parkes, from the Fossil Free Society, and Robert Kerse, Chief Financial Officer at the University of Bristol.
Editor: Ellen Jones
Deputy Editor: Dani Bass
Online Editor: Ollie Smith
University strikes: How did it come to this? Ollie Smith discusses reasons behind the recent University strikes
Ollie Smith Online Features Editor
Secretary of the UCU, Sally Hunt, wrote that ‘staff pay has fallen by 16% since 2009’ with the union clearly feeling its membership had been left
What this all reflects are the rising costs of UK higher education
These developments are nothing new, with the USS requesting £500 million more a year from its contributors in 2017 due to a shortfall in funding. In the summer of 2017 it was reported that the USS had a deficit of £12.6 billion which, when adjusted for life expectancy, rose to £17.5 billion. The pension scheme is therefore clearly struggling in the current financial climate, especially considering its funding deficit sharply rose from £5.3 billion in 2014. Since the USS has over 390,000 members the level of concern surrounding pension protection seems understandable. Back in December the General
I couldn’t help but feel a certain level of irony when, as I begin a new unit on the strike-ridden era of 1970s Britain this week, my tutor informed me that we may actually be experiencing it firsthand. There were questions in the room over whether it would affect important submission dates, to which thankfully the answer was no. Epigram broke the news last week that a series of university staff pension strikes totalling 14 days will be held in February and March with the longest lasting five days from the 12th to 16th of March. As is the desired effect of planned industrial action this has understandably caused much debate in the university with an anonymous author writing in an Epigram Comment piece that ‘This is a display of incompetence, and it shows a total disregard for student welfare’. There is no guarantee this action will actually go ahead with both sides clearly keen to avoid disruption if possible. Whilst the university have said they will reduce the effect on students, some will undoubtedly miss teaching if the planned strikes do go ahead. As a History student whose degree consists mainly of reading I don’t expect to be hugely affected by such action, but those in later stages of their degrees and those in more tutor-led subjects will no doubt experience disruption far more. Given the potential effect on students it is important we properly understand how this strike came to be and its potential implications. This is, after all, a country-wide strike that will affect not just Bristol but 60 other universities,
with the UCU (Universities and Colleges Union), which has called for the strikes, representing over 110,000 members nationally. As reported, the USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme), the pension provider at the centre of the dispute, has proposed an altered pension scheme that the union fears will have a negative impact on its membership, with lecturers potentially left £10,000 a year worse off once they begin to claim their pensions following retirement. This has understandably led to much anger among UCU members with the union holding talks with the USS to try to prevent this potential damage. Upon the collapse of these talks a vote was held and the decision was made to take strike action.
Staff at University of Bristol strike over pensions
behind as staff pay has fallen despite university fee increases. Current pension problems are not limited to the higher education sector, with BT among a number of employers also with a pension scheme deficit. What this all reflects are the rising costs of UK higher education. With increased political pressure to keep tuition fees down, institutions seem to be finding it more difficult to maintain the status quo. In a time when the number of university applications fell in 2017 and much debate has been held over the pay of university vice chancellors, the issue of university costs and funding is now morwe heated than ever. This is so particularly in a political climate where the Labour Party has vowed to end tuition fees and the Conservative Government has been forced to freeze them at £9,250 a year following a disastrous general election, scrapping further planned increases. The fact that the NUS has chosen to support the strike highlights the heightened political climate surrounding our universities. There is bound to be further debate as the issue progresses and for students it is unlikely we will know for certain until days before the strikes are due to begin whether or not we will be affected. The UCU union has made it clear it would prefer to avoid a strike so there may be further attempts at negotiation; it is certainly a finely balanced situation with both sides in a difficult position. The pension provider is struggling to find the money to guarantee pensions and the union members are concerned that changing the benefits scheme will leave them sizably worse off. I hope these disputes do not dissuade people from wanting to work in higher education and that for the sake of all sides, students included, a solution will be found.
How and why you should celebrate Galentine’s Day? Layla Link talks about the celebrating love between your friends this February Layla Link First year, History
your friends for granted. Galentine’s has become associated with feminism, friendship, and the broader celebration of women. It is, in the most cheerful of ways, political. Especially now I’m at university, I have learned
more from the women in my life about myself, about how to be there for another person and about how to grow than I have ever learned from any romantic partner. If that’s not worth celebrating, then I don’t know what is.
Flikr/ Sarah Mason
While Valentine’s Day is coming up, there’s another special date that I’m much more excited about. When I was younger, I was always jealous of the girls who got Valentine’s day cards hidden in their school lockers or book bags, or even those who got bags filled with chocolates and a teddy signed “hugs and kisses, Mummy and Daddy.” During my A-levels, I finally managed to celebrate Valentine’s with my then boyfriend, with store-bought paper hearts and a dinner out. Fast-forward to right now, and I’m expecting to celebrate my single-ness with a bunch of my friends and a bottle of vodka. To me, the holiday represents more than doodled names and flowers from Tesco. Friends can rejoice Valentine’s Day, too. Contrary to tradition, and what all the ones Hallmark cards constitute, the day is indisputably now not unique to being in love and fancy dinners. The term ‘Gal’entines day was created by Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation. It is celebrated by single women the day before Valentine’s Day. As Leslie says: ‘Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfaststyle. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas’. Why should you celebrate it? Romantic relationships are fleeting and messy, and Valentine’s Day makes a lot of people feel miserable. Plus your gals don’t care
what you look like. So, how to celebrate Galentine’s? 1) Reminisce What’s more fun than burning pictures of your exes or laughing ‘til you cry about your year five hair cut? Go ahead and remember all the stuff you’ve done together, without guys. 2) Girl’s Night Out. Get some drinks, and really appreciate yourselves with a night out on the town. Then threaten any boy who attempts to hit on your friends. Arrive with your girls, go home with your girls. No regrets in the morning (apart from maybe that last tequila shot). 3) Host a nail-painting party. Between studying, sleeping, and dying in gym classes, us gals hardly have any time to paint our nails. Use February 13th to do it. Pull up a nail art Pinterest page (or something similar) and experiment. You may not be able to paint Zac Efron’s face onto your thumbs straight away but practice makes perfect. So, go out for dinner, drink too many martinis and break down the reasons why the guys we liked were clearly the wrong choices. Or spend the night snacking and bowling and making jokes about Drake. Valentine’s Day proper would be reserved for Netflix and chips, as all reasonable winter nights should be. February 14 is officially Just Another Evening™. The holiday has become associated with feminism, friendship, and the broader celebration of women. It is, in the most cheerful of ways, political. Galantine’s is great for us female students. In the rush that is university life, it’s easy to take
Galentines has become increasingly popular in recent yearsUniversity
Is the 70th birthday of the NHS a call for celebration or a call for a total rethink?
Dani Bass discusses the impacts of NHS privatisation including its effects in Bristol Dani Bass Features Deputy Editor Aging is a process which hits us all. And for the NHS, as it celebrates its 70th birthday this year, it is no different. We see the NHS struggling to keep up with the youthful and prosperous years it once possessed. However, with age comes experience, and it despite its problems, the NHS isn’t ready just yet to be placed in an old age home and discarded. As students, we will be the ones to inherit the NHS and therefore must look for ways to improve it rather than hastening its decline. There is constant criticism of the NHS. It is slated it for its long waiting hours and lack of beds and has recently been declared by the British Red Cross as facing a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ These serious concerns for the NHS are possibly worsened by the governments agenda to outsource services to private companies. This process begun in 2012 with the Health and Social Care Act, but has recently been accelerating at an alarming rate. Last year the NHS increased their spending on care provided by private companies from £700 million to £3.1 billion, with £1 billion being spent of Richard Branson’s Virgin Care. This saw the giving away of almost 70% of clinical contracts last year to private companies and the number is only expected to increase in the forthcoming years. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt, appears to be in favour of privatisation. In a recent tweet, he expressed his desire to see the US and UK health services work together, aligning our own health care system with one which optimises privatisation. Back in 2005 his book Direct Democracy which he co-authored, stated that the NHS should be dismantled. Despite this, the government still claim that privatisation is just a small and insignificant part of the NHS. By privatising the NHS through the back door in this way, there lies no public consent to these drastic changes.
NHS staff who had previously worked on this service will have been made redundant or moved to a different service and therefore the NHS will have no choice but to pay the company these extortionate rates.
More people are having to pay for urgent procedures
Private companies taking on NHS contracts have witnessed a multitude of failures. This includes private firms abandoning their service because it costs them too much, was unable to recruit enough staff or often because of serious complaints about the quality of their service. On example, can be seen with private firm Circle who in 2014 landed a 10-year contract to run a hospital in Cambridgeshire. However, just two years after beginning the contract, they pulled out due to financial difficulty and substantial criticism of quality of care. This may be emblematic of the nature of our future NHS. This is of course only one prediction. However, it is not a prediction which lacks grounding. We have witnessed a similar occurrence with the privatisation of prisons. When the management of prisons was contracted out to companies such as Sodexo, Serco and G4S to run them more ‘efficiently’, their offers seemed appealing. Sodexo was awarded a 15-year contract to run HMP Northumberland as the company said it would deliver savings of almost £130m.
However tempting, I am sure the government must now regret accepting their offer; an offer which was too good to be true. The reality was that prisons were in the worst state the country had seem them. Levels of riots, drug taking and self-harm were at the highest they’ve ever been. Not only could the private companies not cope with the management of prisons, but they had failed financially due to fines and much required reinforcements. This caused contracts to be stripped from private companies and put back in the hands of the public sector, leaving them to clean up the mess. Hopefully Virgin, who have recently landed a huge contract with the NHS, can handle things better than the private companies which took over prisons. However, Virgin’s allegiance to the NHS has already been put into question. Even though it is the UK tax payer which has funded its contract, Virgin do not pay any tax to the UK and are instead registered in the British Virgin Islands; a tax haven. To further hinder their reputation, they have recently sued the NHS £82 million for not wining one of their contracts that they had hoped to gain. The effects of privatisation can be witnessed here in Bristol. Emerson’s Green treatment centre, owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, offers a choice of both NHS and private health care. Patients were handed a price list of the routine operations and encouraged to use private services rather than go for free on the NHS to save waiting time. Mike Campbell, of campaign group, Protect Our NHS states that ‘More people are having to pay for urgent procedures, either by dipping into savings or by taking out health insurance. For those who can’t to pay, waiting lists grow. This provides a window on the future direction of the health service – one where the NHS is shrinking,
and private healthcare continues to expand.’ Surly if the staff and recourses were moved from private to public, these long NHS waiting times would be reduced. By offering a choice of services, it sets up a competition between both practices rather than a pooling of expertise. Dr Porteous, a doctor working in Bristol, said the choice offered by the treatment centre is a ‘part of the wider privatisation, but the more sinister thing is it normalises people paying for the healthcare that is provided free by the NHS – albeit with delays and obstacles’.
“ As students, we will be the ones to inherit the NHS and therefore must defend it or face the alternative
The NHS faces an array of challenges in its path and it is debatable whether privatisation will aid its development or be its ruin. As the public sector has a responsibility to the state, it will always run, even if not highly efficient. However, with private companies, their responsibility lies solely with financial profit and therefore have less interest in loyalty to its clients. With the way things are looking it is possible that the NHS will be eroded by default, without people realising it. The NHS isn’t perfect, but as students we will be the ones to live through its future and it is therefore up to ourselves whether we defend it or face the alternative.
Private companies taking on NHS contracts have witnessed a multitude of failures.
Epigram /Dani Bass
With the NHS facing its most stretched and fragile state, the promises made by private health companies to significantly cut funding is surely a compelling one. However, this may be a very short-sighted view. The private companies will be using the very same qualified staff and recourses from the public sector, and therefore weakening the NHS. By undercutting rival bids from NHS proposals, the private companies can succeed in securing contracts. Yet as soon as these contracts have no potential to yield profit, or they have to be removed from the hands of private sectors as they are inadequate at providing sufficient care, they are handed back to the NHS in the mess that they were left in. Additionally, there is nothing stopping the company, a few years down the line, demanding more money for the contract. By this point, the
The NHS is facing its most stretched and fragile stateUniversity
100 years of female voting: do students honour the struggles of our predecessors?
Ellen Jones looks at students’ political engagement, 100 years after the 1918 Representation of the People Act Ellen Jones Features Editor On 6th February 1918, the first women in Britain gained the right to vote in parliamentary elections. The Representation of the People Act added 8.5 million women to the electoral role, granting all women over the age of thirty who owned property or were graduates the right to vote. The male vote was widely extended too; 5.6 million men were granted the right to cast their vote, as the age was reduced to 21 and the property qualification was abolished. Since its enactment, the 1918 legislation has been met with mixed response. It was undoubtedly a limited victory for women, who were to wait until 1928 to win the right to vote on the same terms as men. Of continued significance was the classist nature of the Act, which considered only middle-class women to be appropriate candidates for the vote. Unlike men, women had to be wealthy or highly educated to be of the ‘right mind’ to contribute to Britain’s democracy. Despite its glaring limitations, however, the 1918 is of great significance to students. A university education empowered women to cast their vote at the ballot box, contributing, for the first time, women’s opinions regarding politics and society. Now, as university education is more accessible than ever before, we not only appear to take the privilege of higher education for granted, but the power which it has yielded women throughout time. 100 years on, how complacent are we as to our democratic rights? Do female students today honour the struggles of our predecessors to win the right to vote, by exercising their rights as fully as possible? Overwhelmingly, the answer to this is ‘no’. According to statistics provided by YouGov, in the 2017 general election, a whopping 43% of 1819 year olds, and 41% of 20-24 year olds did not to turn out to vote. This is despite the fact that the election witnessed the highest youth voter turnout in over 25 years. As recently as 2005, 18-25 year olds represented just 7% of the overall votes cast, in contrast with the over 65s, representing 25% (Financial Times data).
union, and yet student turn out is devastatingly low… Before running to be the Chair of the Women’s Network, I didn’t even know that the position existed.’
Democracy is at the heart of our students’ union, yet student turn out is devastatingly low
‘Perhaps this is because students are busy, or simply don’t know that elections are taking place. Or perhaps students feel that their votes will not make enough of a difference- this could not be further from the truth.’ Many commentators have suggested that young people are alienated by mainstream politics, which influences their blasé attitude towards elections. The Guardian’s Helen Lewis, when looking into young people’s political concerns, suggested that the ‘big issues’ in mainstream politics – immigration being a major one – do not affect students and young people in the same way as other members of society. ‘Many [young people] conceded it was a big issue – or, at least, so they had been repeatedly told. No one nominated it as the issue that most concerned them personally.’ But how are the ‘big issues’ for students to make their way into mainstream politics, and to engage students more? I don’t blame young
people for feeling disillusioned, or disconnected from politics altogether, given the chronic lack of political education in schools, colleges and universities. However, surely, we have some role to play in making our own voices heard, and forcing politicians to listen to our concerns? The reason the mortgage-paying, pension-drawing generations benefit most from government policies is because they cast their votes at the ballot box. Indeed, relatively few young female students can be considered to ‘honour’ the fight of our Suffragette and Suffragist foremothers by actively seeking to have their voices heard. Of my female friends, I am confident that all would consider the tampon tax a misguided and unfair policy. Yet I know only one person who joined the female protest to challenge the policy in Westminster in December. I, myself, am included in this number who could undoubtedly do more to have my voice heard.
“ it is predicted that by 2030, women will own 60% of Britain’s wealth
So, 100 years on from the Representation of the People Act, how far have women come in our democracy? We’ve had two female Prime Ministers. A high-profile businesswoman successfully challenged ‘Brexit’ procedures in the Supreme Court. We now have ministerial
departments dedicated to Women and Equalities. These democratic feats have led us to the position where women have penetrated typically ‘male’ professions such as banking, engineering and medicine, more women than ever before are becoming CEOs, and it is predicated that by 2030, women will own 60% of Britain’s wealth.
I don’t blame students for feeling disillusioned given the chronic lack of political education
It nevertheless remains important for us all to remember the vulnerability of our position in the British democracy. Regardless of our progress, female students in particular must avoid complacency, and continue to exercise our democratic rights to win further feats, and reverse continued inequalities. Just 100 years ago women in Britain had no method of being heard. They smashed windows, chained themselves to railings, and attacked politicians to gain their rightful votes. Now, we take a short walk to the polling station, or navigate our way towards a webpage to vote for our political representatives. It’s all at our fingertips. 100 years on, we should honour this legacy and the struggles experienced on our behalf by staying engaged and exercising our rights whenever we get the chance.
9 million women, failed to turn out to last year’s election, in comparison with 8 million men
Masks made for a march through Bristol to celebrate100 years of female voting
Epigram / Noa Leach Twitter/ @BristolUni
Epigram / Sally Patterson
Even more striking is that, according to the Telegraph, 9 million women failed to turnout in last year’s tightly fault election, in comparison with 8 million men. This is in spite of the fact that women have the vote on the same terms as men, there being a higher female population, and one of the Prime Ministerial candidates being a woman. The consistently low female and youth vote are worrying patterns. Whilst Labour has pledged to increase women’s engagement by ‘bringing politics to the school gate and shopping centre’, how are we to address female voter apathy amongst students: the most educated, time-rich, and, in the current political climate, potentially vulnerable women in Britain? Sally Patterson, Chair of the University of Bristol Women’s Network, has shared her concerns over student voter apathy. ‘Democracy is at the heart of our students’
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Epigram Comment is the home of the student voice. The opinions expressed here are from individual students with an individual perspective. As an independent newspaper, we do not affiliate or associate ourselves with any one view, but aim to publish all views of the student body as and when they come to us. If you would like to respond with an opposing point of view in a subsequent issue, please contact the Editors.
It appears that standard arrogance has gone out the window, replaced with a far uglier beast. Instead of boasting about your achievements, university has turned into a place where we boast about our imperfections, trying to outdo others in how inconvenient and difficult our lives are. Since when was it such a competition to have bad things happen to you? Where once the norm was to boast and brag, it seems that university has twisted this into an ironic game of negative one-upmanship, as everybody competes to see who has it worse – and I’m not sure which one is better. University students love to complain, this is undeniable, yet all too often this goes too far, to the extent where it seems people actually want bad things to happen to them, just so they can tell you all about it. But why do it? Is it a cry for help? Or a coping mechanism? Or is it simply a sort of internal Schadenfreude complex – we take such pleasure in having others know how ‘terrible’ our lives are. If we were truly looking for help that would be fine, but I don’t think that is the case. This self-obsessed attention seeking has to stop for good.
Bryony Chellew provides a damning indictment of the university’s substandard support system, contending that urgent change is needed Bryony Chellew Second Year, English In the months of November and December in my first ever term at Bristol - in 2016 - I was sexually assaulted twice. Both instances were at the hands of people I didn’t know, and in both instances consent was very clearly, objectively, not given. I am aware that the multiplicity of my assaults, and the fact that they happened so close together, is highly unfortunate and not common. However, what I went on to experience as a result of the university’s highly problematic system of pastoral guidance is in no way a rarity.
My pride stopped me admitting that I was part of the rapidly growing demographic of students in need of mental health support The first assault happened on the 26th November, 2016, the second taking place in December. Initially, I dealt with it alone; my pride stopped me from admitting that I was part of the rapidly growing demographic of students who are in need of mental health support - a demand that each university has a duty to accommodate. On the 15th March the following year, I emailed my personal tutor; a meeting was arranged, and on the 16th March the university were ‘officially’ notified of my assaults. On the 18th March, I emailed the senior tutor after being told that they would contact me, but didn’t; a decision to discuss my circumstances was reached on the 28th, and it was to take place ‘over the phone’ on the 3rd April. Feeling less and less confident that I would ever receive any kind of support, I gave them my number, and was never contacted. My first actual, face to face meeting with a senior tutor was last term, on the 23rd November 2017. Nearly a year after the assaults themselves occurred, and eight months after the university was officially notified of them. It was the result of some months of meetings, and emails, and trying to balance my studies with my deteriorating mental state something which had a significant impact on my grades.
The idea that, were I to undergo counselling, it would be at the expense of another student receiving it, was a deterrent When I got to the appointment, filled with hope that perhaps, finally, I would be receiving some professional, pastoral help, the senior tutor didn’t know why I was there, despite my personal tutor having emailed them about my situation, and reassuring me that I wouldn’t need to revisit the assaults by having to relay them - again - in conversation. Instead, the senior tutor read the email halfway through the appointment, due only to a prompt by me. In addition, it transpired that the senior tutors were simply another stage of the process leading up to receiving some kind of routine counselling; I was given a card and told to fill in an online form. I left the meeting feeling let down, alone and unsupported.
Epigram / Harry Coke
What the #editors are saying...
UoB: Improve your support for sexual assault victims
A drone from Dan...
‘Bristol University’s support system is heavily flawed, and it is shameful, and it needs to change’.
It is this kind of lack of professionalism and organisation that leads many students to not bother seeking university pastoral help at all. And I entirely empathise with this - as someone who dealt with the majority of my trauma completely alone, in a constant state of anticipation that I might be getting help soon, but never receiving it. I was entered into what felt like an obstacle course; the waiting list for counselling is so long that the months following the University’s notification of my circumstances - months that should have been filled with pastoral support and university guidance - consisted of meetings and emails to gauge as to whether or not I ‘met the requirements’ to warrant having my case prioritised, so I wouldn’t have to wait at the end of a ludicrously long list in order to receive the support that should be readily available. The very idea that, were I to undergo counselling, it would be at the expense of another student receiving it, was a deterrent - and quite frankly, is also morally wrong. Bristol University is a highly-funded institution; priorities regarding expenditure should lie with expanding the pitiful pastoral department, rather than planting daffodils in the Botanical garden. I am an English student - I currently pay over £9000 a year for an 8 hour week, and I do not have access to anywhere near the level of university support that the fees would justify. I reject Bristol’s urging students to ‘look to the pastoral care available’. I do not believe that the little to no support offered regarding the mental health of students is sufficient to be the sole thing to fall back on in the context of something traumatic; I am, of course, referring to sexual assault in this article due to my personal experiences, but it would be ludicrous to assume that Bristol’s lack of care is reserved for sexual assault survivors alone. This is undoubtedly a widespread and systematic flaw, and one that Bristol has a duty to rectify.
Incidentally, the one pastoral figure I can only speak of in high regard is Robert Villain, the Wills Hall warden. Within fifteen minutes of having emailed him relaying my experiences, I was sat inside his home discussing the potential ways to progress. The support he offered was only kind, considerate, and validating, and a genuine polar opposite to everything the university’s pastoral team have been. And Bristol is currently deciding as to whether or not to remove the Wardens’ positions.
The only pastoral figure I can speak of in high regard is Robert Villain, the Wills Hall warden Look to the support of the people around you. Strive to immerse yourself in the most caring surroundings you can. Be there for your friends who are suffering. Because currently, if you base overcoming your trauma on the level of pastoral guidance the university can provide you with, you risk ending up unsupported and left to try to make some kind of sense of your situation alone. There is a reason that Bristol’s student satisfaction remains so consistently low in the league tables, and it starts with the current pastoral system. Bristol University’s support system is heavily flawed, and it is shameful, and it needs to change. This is not a cry for attention. Quite frankly, it is embarrassing having to discuss such an intimate and private aspect of my life on public ground. This is a very calm, objective response to the fact that Bristol University have known about my assaults for nearly a year now, and I am still dealing with the psychological aftermath alone. And this is unacceptable.
UK politics: Piers Morgan interviewed Donald Trump, in the President’s first international interview since taking office Bristol politics: A brawl breaks out during a speech by Jacob ReesMogg at UWE (see page 5) The round-up is from the time of writing; developments in these events may have since occured
Phoebe Chase reviews Piers Morgan’s much-maligned meeting with Trump
Phoebe Chase First Year, Archaeology and Anthropology Having purposefully avoided watching Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump when it came out a week ago, I finally sat down to view it with a heavy heart and a strong drink. I had to admit to myself that in order to write this article, I would actually have to watch what I already foresaw to be a continuation of the bigoted train wreck that is current American politics. That Piers Morgan is, unfortunately, British only added to my despair as I clicked play. The sickening chummy ‘banter’ between Morgan and Trump, starting from as soon as they sat down, was excruciating. Morgan’s continuous emphasis on their ‘long term’ friendship and his constant flattery of Trump, combined with the president calling Morgan his ‘champion of The Apprentice’ - Morgan was winner of Trump’s show in 2008 - shifted the whole tone of the interview into a self-congratulatory circle jerk. An amusing - if I would venture so far as to call it that - element to the interview was Trump’s clear determination to bring up the issue of unwanted people crossing ‘the borders’; he managed to somehow include this point in completely unrelated topics such as whether he agrees with women’s rights ‘basic principles such as gender equality and safety in the workplace’. Donald Trump clearly couldn’t care less about issues for women, and Morgan disappointingly but unsurprisingly did not chase up his complete avoidance of looking at the topic in any depth. Trump’s only response was that he was sure women ‘want to feel safe at the border, and don’t
Instagram / @thepiersmorgan
US accused by Iran of ‘shamelessly threatening’ Russia with nuclear weapons
Trump interview: a pointless affair
Love was in the air between Donald and Piers, much to the disgust and despair of many
want people pouring into the country’. In fact, throughout the interview Trump’s misogyny is made clear through his tone of voice, his choice of words and his general disregard for the topic of women’s rights. When asked if he was still sure of his plans regarding a state visit to the UK, his offhand response was merely: ‘Yeah, she just invited me’. That Trump couldn’t be bothered to even address our prime minister by either her name or her title further emphasises his casual disrespect for women. It is constantly disheartening to see the extent of which Trump’s official decisions and stances are influenced by his ignorance and bigotry. The topic that Morgan seemed to push the most was that of gun control in the US, or rather the lack thereof. He clearly cares about the issue personally, and this appears to be the main reason why on this topic alone he does not let the president sidestep his questions. But even here Trump escapes addressing the true gravity of the situation. The Vegas shooting of last year Morgan points out as one of the most serious in American history. However, the shooter ‘was a sicko’ is the only response Trump warrants
A response to the news...
fit to address a tragedy that injured 489 people and took the lives of 58. Guns, according to Trump, don’t seem to be the problem. Sticking to a theory basic enough to have been formulated by a very stupid six year-old, if the regular people have guns as well as the bad guys - who apparently will magically always have them - then they can shoot back at those firing and somehow this will cause fewer people to die. This interview was a pointless undertaking for Piers Morgan. Saying at the end that he was glad they could have a ‘catch up’ sums up the entire conversation. These two men could have done exactly the same thing in private, by a fire with some whisky and they would have bothered a lot fewer people in the process. It adds nothing new or productive to the political conversation, nor does it serve public interest. It only caused increased frustration and incredulity on one side and smug, blind assent on the other. When will this pointless bigoted flattery end and the real conversations begin? There is no sense in conducting an interview with Donald Trump, or anyone for that matter, if he is not going to be held to a higher standard.
A response to the round-up...
Staff strike is moral but may achieve little
Oliver Cohen defends our lecturer’s right to strike, but questions how effective the walkout will be Oliver Cohen Deputy Science & Technology Editor The news that university staff had all but unanimously voted to strike at Bristol was always going to court controversy. The strike is due to go ahead later in the year and stems from a disagreement between UUK and UCU - the university and lecturer’s unions respectively - over pensions. Amidst the discussion of the rapidly developing situation, the usual questions arise about whether lecturers can morally go ahead with this strike given the immediate and direct negative impact it will have on students. Nevertheless, I fundamentally believe that they, like any other worker, have the right to strike and whilst disruption may happen it is an unfortunate consequence of industrial action that must be accepted. More to the point, the whole idea of complaining about a strike because of the disruption it may cause is ludicrous. It is akin to complaining that a fire burns when it is lit; in other words, the very point of the strike is to cause disruption. The threat of disruption
is precisely what causes an employer to take notice and eventual change to be brought about.
The whole idea of complaining about a strike because of the distruption it may cause is ludicrous
If it is to be accepted that lecturers are workers and employed in no different manner than a tube driver or factory worker, then they necessarily have a right to protest any working condition or restriction they see as unfair. Even if you were to make an argument against the specific reason for which they strike, you cannot argue against their core right to strike itself. Of course, the disruption is not wanted nor appreciated, but we must see its place in the wider context of what the lecturers are doing to improve their own working conditions. Facebook/ University and College Union
The UCU may have the moral right to strike, but will it prove effective?
In fact, from a purely moral point of view, there is only one reasonable argument I can make in opposition to the strikes, which is that students have little to no agency in choosing to go along with it. What I mean by this is that if a tube driver strikes, although the tube will be disrupted (and possibly even cancelled) for the day, you do have the choice not to pay for the service. Students have no such choice, as fees will have been paid well before the planned strike goes ahead, and as such we will effectively be missing out on lectures and teaching that we have paid for. This may not seem like much but considering a 24 week term and annual fees of £9,000, this works out at £61 paid a day. Whilst this is not a perfect analysis, as it does not account for things like exams, it definitely shows there is a significant amount of money at stake - almost 250 Freddos! I have no serious rebuttal for such an argument other than to say our degrees will probably still be fully taught and we will not be missing out on any content. Furthermore, I am sure that lecturers will take no happiness in having to strike. In my experience, most lecturers enjoy their role in helping and educating students, and I am sure this extends to most of the faculty. This is no doubt a decision taken with a heavy heart; by extension this emphasises the gravity of what is at stake. This brings me nicely to the final issue. Is the current situation worth the strike? I am beyond doubt that students would be behind lecturers if they truly had a reasonable grudge, but this works both ways should they be striking over a minor issue. The issue focuses on pensions, and just
by luck, this writer happens to have a father who specialises in such a thing as a career. After speaking to him for a while, two things became apparent: the lecturers are right to be angry, and secondly, this strike may not achieve much.
The lecturers are right to be angry, but this strike may not achieve much
These ideas are more clear with context included about the proposed change: the pension scheme is switching from a defined benefit to a defined contribution scheme. The first guarantees a specific pension amount and the employer pays what is required to sustain the pension fund. The latter, however, has a defined contribution from the employer along with the employee and the money gets placed in a stock market scheme. This means that how much you get is dependent on the twists and turns of the ever-changing market. ‘They could certainly stand to lose money,’ in my dad’s own words. My father did, however, mention that this is the way the industry is going in a general sense and it is not limited to university lectures. So, whether the strike has the power to stop the tide of this big shift is yet to be seen but it could unfortunately add a sour final note to the whole debacle. Read the original news story on page 3
12 Epigram / Cameron Scheijde
Uni students should find part-time work
Will Charley argues that, to change the public’s
perception of uni students, we should contribute to the city with part-time work Will Charley First Year, History Exams are over, and the Blue Militia are out in force. Let me clarify: the Blue Militia are the hordes of blue-coated individuals who stand around on Woodland Road and the ASSL with clipboards in hand, looking like grumpy teachers on a field trip to the sewers. They are the ones who will be intentionally in your way and assault you with the words ‘Do you want a part time job?’, said so feebly that they make the zombies in Shaun of the Dead seem like Olympians. Yes, the hecklers of the UoB campus are back. But in spite of their annoying nagging about jobs at 9am on a Monday, they have a point. More students at the University of Bristol should take on part time employment, albeit not by going through the Blue Militia. And here is why. For many arts students such as myself, the reality is that our degrees probably have fewer contact hours in a week than in a normal working day. If the average city job is from nine-till-five, that means they are doing two more hours in one day than I have in a whole week. And in first year, it would be a lie to say that students spend the rest of their waking hours doing individual work.
More students at the University of Bristol should take on part-time employment
Put simply, for many, and particularly first years, there is plenty of time for students to take on a part time job and earn a little bit of money. Perhaps even more pressingly, some students may find themselves physically incapable of filling the vast void of time with nothing to do, and chances are that carrying out a job is going to be more productive than succumbing to rewatching The Office for the third time. However, students should not simply be getting a job purely as a means of procrastination. If you pick up a national newspaper anytime
soon, I can pretty much guarantee that some oldie-columnist with nothing to do is ripping into students, whether about being snowflakes, for moaning about our tuition fees, or even about how ‘in their day’, they just got on with it.
Our relationship with tutors need not be formal
Alina Young suggests that informal relationships
In getting a job, students would actively engage with those outside of university
with tutors can be academically benefial
Alina Young Arts Editor
By getting a part time job, students would show the public that we are not simply pathetic individuals who rely on the family fund for money, but that we are capable, resourceful and independent, and can add value to the community that we live in. And that is another thing. A popular criticism of students is that we are stuck in our ‘uni bubble’ – the notion that the UoB campus could be put on Mars and drained of ordinary people, and most of us would not notice. However, in getting a job, students would actively engage with those outside of university, and providing a service for ordinary Bristolians, whether by serving cups of coffee or stacking the shelves of the Clifton Sainsbury’s. Sure, it might not be as altruistic or as influential as helping Bristol’s homeless or volunteering at a charity, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction. This may all seem a bit obvious, and in all honesty, it is. Yet when you ask students why they have not yet got a job, often the thought has simply evaded them. Bristol students have the capacity to engage so much more in the city itself, and with the number of contact hours so low, there is no excuse not to make the most of the opportunities available. If you want to be able to afford those extra VKs in the club or get that Telegraph writer to stop stating that our generation is lazy, then pop into town, and get a part time job. No-one is saying that it will necessarily be all that easy, but it is worthwhile. Ultimately, to lose the reputation of being self-entitled, narcissistic alcoholics, students should take on part-time jobs and prove to the nation that we are so much more.
Epigram / Jake Porter
Should part-time work be encouraged for uni students, or will it get in the way of academic study?
Should tutors provide just academic support, or do they have a pastoral responsibility as well?
Tutors and lecturers are at the centre of our academic life, and it is important to make the most of them. Yet to do so we must realise that the best way to benefit from them is to not confine our interactions to the formal. Personability inspires enthusiasm – it’s undeniable that when we enjoy the company of a tutor we try harder to come to their seminars and to complete the work they set. That’s not to say that a formal relationship is disadvantageous; you can naturally still be inspired through a purely intellectual connection.In certain situations, a sense of distance from your tutors may increase productivity – perhaps if a class is too ‘matey’ with their tutor, discussion can be less focussed. Considering we may only get an hour each week with a tutor, this could be said to limit our potential understanding of the subject matter. A further argument is that over-friendliness with figures of authority can impact your ability to remain professional later in the workplace. In my experience however, the friendlier you are with your tutor, the more your academic work improves. It is in fact an important skill to be able to interact with your superiors with a good balance of respect and amicability – a useful ability both in education and in professional life. Friendliness can in fact help your studies. Thinking back to school, many people can agree that their most successful classes depended upon a teacher who was engaged with the students as well as the subject matter. Likewise at university, even a module that you originally thought you would resent can quickly become your favourite. It can even take the sting out of a 9am start when you know the seminar will be enjoyable as well as useful. Although you don’t need to be best friends with your tutor, what makes the difference is a relaxed group atmosphere. In a friendly environment, all students feel they can talk freely. This helps to improve the peer dynamic amongst the students, as well as encouraging original discussion since individuals feel at ease. This is the basis for truly academic discourse – a space where ideas are offered and explored. To help you achieve your best, it’s invaluable to visit your tutor during their office hours – although this is a lesson I learnt later than I should have. When seeking assistance, it’s natural that the conversation will be more useful when both parties feel comfortable. It’s less intimidating to ask for help, and to question further regardless of how ‘stupid’ you think you sound. Knowing you more personally, tutors can tailor their advice better towards your needs.
For students who find group discussions a source of anxiety, an amicable relationship with the tutor is essential to help them grow. If the tutor is intimidating, many such students could feel pressured into silence. With so many students feeling let down about the mental health services at our University, social stress connected to learning must be minimised.
I prefer to think of my informal relationships with tutors as not ‘less academic’, but rather ‘not only academic’
With this in mind, it is important to consider the potential pastoral role that a tutor can play. It’s true that they may not be trained to deal with personal issues, or in fact have any official responsibility except helping your academic progress, but generally fostering a good relationship with them may help you in a time of need. After all, personal issues unavoidably impact studies. Your tutors are the most easily accessible staff at the university; even if they feel they cannot help, they can point you towards the right person to contact, and provide a second opinion on your situation if needed. They may not have personal power to, for example, approve extenuating circumstances, but will have a better understanding of a process which can often seem too unclear. In many faculties, students are assigned a personal tutor to bridge the gap between academic and pastoral, however many of my fellow students – myself included – don’t have a clue who they are or how to reach them. My tutor assigned in first year went on a sabbatical, without proper warning from the faculty, and I was simply told at the beginning of second year through word-of-mouth that new members of staff would replace her. Several of my friends had a similar situation and were contacted by their new personal tutors; others, like me, were not. I accept that there must be ways for me to start forming a new relationship with this unknown person, but at the end of the day, the relationships most useful and most immediate are those of my module tutors. All tutors have an understanding of the stresses of the course, and much experience with prior students. They were students once themselves, and can relate to the strains of developing new skills and the difficulty of time management, and offer brilliant advice. I prefer to think of my informal relationships with tutors as not ‘less academic’, but rather ‘not only academic’. With unrestrained communication, they can enhance both our academic progress and our lives at university.
Science & Tech
@EpigramSciTech Editor: Emma Isle Online Editor: Bethany Harris
Deputy Editor: Oliver Cohen email@example.com
Bristol research uncovers gut instinct
James Charlick discusses new Bristol resarch on how basic animalistic drives can lead to intelligent behaviour angry when hungry is good for foraging animals; they work harder to find food. But like so many evolutionarily conserved traits, this response is now inordinate in humans, as the intensity with which we ‘forage’ has considerably dropped. Still, how animals respond to environmental changes is nonetheless relevant to us when considering the impact of human activity on habitats. In the extremes, there seems to be some room for Bayesian learning.
“ rapidly changing environments are conducive to better learning?
Higginson’s model suggests that its extra cost is compensated for by its efficacy compared to a reserve-based strategy when changes in food availability are either large and abrupt or subtle and infrequent. Does this mean that rapidly changing environments are conducive to better learning? It is certainly an interesting contradiction to the suggestion that learning is better in a steadily changing environment. Despite its reliability in stable
Flickr / sue seecof
‘The best is the enemy of the good’ is the Italian proverb serving as the epigraph of a new theoretical paper asserting that simple, internal systems are more useful in situations like foraging, than a computational system that integrates all prior information to generate an accurate temporal representation of an environment (Bayesian learning). Selection in nature is not by complexity or ‘perfection’; rather, simplicity is often energetically desirable, and so prevails throughout the animal kingdom, at the heart of the heartbeat, hand wave, appetite for food and motivation for getting it. Professor Andrew Higginson at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, provides new mathematical evidence that even if gut instinct is just a roundabout description of a feeling, it is also a mechanism highly conserved throughout evolution at the expense of a more sophisticated, albeit costly, system. The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, investigates the way in which organisms integrate information about past events to develop a picture of food availability with enough accuracy that it can be used
to determine future foraging behaviour. Traditionally, research has dealt with the uncertain nature of environmental information, such as amount of pollen, by incorporating a Bayesian system into models that describe animal foraging. This is likely to be impossible in nature: it would require a large brain, and would waste energy where it should be conserved for actual foraging. Thus, Higginson proposes in a new model that we have evolved with a much simpler mechanism by which we judge and act within our environment; one that is heuristic and which seems, on the surface, inferior to a much more sophisticated system like Bayes’. Higginson’s model predicts that with respect to food levels, conditions are good when energy reserves are high; this prepares the animal for bad conditions, or low food availability. It also demonstrates the similarity in foraging between a hypothetical animal with perfect knowledge of food availability, and one with a knowledge based on energy reserves. Under fluctuating conditions, in Higginson’s model, a reserve-based foraging strategy performs almost as well as sophisticated Bayesian learning; and since it would require far less energy, it has been conserved over this more sophisticated strategy for integrating environmental information. Becoming frustrated and possibly
Epigram/ Imogen Robertson
James Charlick 2nd Year Pharmacology
Basic feelings such as hunger could be responsibel for efficient behaviurs according to the research.
conditions, gut instinct for foraging does not adapt well under extreme changes. However, it is an effective way of keeping track of current food levels; and so if the environment changed atypically over a long period of time the forager would modify its decisions in line with the environmental change. There’s no need to calculate the intensity with which you should go hunting, forage around a brush or plunge into the ocean, beak first - your belly is empty, and is telling you to find a place to eat.
The model proposed by Higginson is convincing because we already know that hormones like ghrelin and leptin, cortisol and adrenaline, control appetite and levels of stress, respectively. These physiological – and associated psychological - changes make us behave in a certain way. The study also looks to the future, proposing applications of the model in practice: might we compare foraging based on hormone level, with the success of cognitive information processing in, for example, avoiding a predator.
Are plant based diets destroying the planet? Are plant-based diets really better for the enviroment than meat based pallets? 2nd Year Chemistry | 3rd Year Law
The debate around what type of diet is better for the environment can often get heated, and it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction with so many conflicting arguments out there. So what is the truth behind the arguments? An argument,heard often,is that plantbased diets are production-intensive and high in emission of greenhouse gases. A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon investigated how vegetarian and ‘healthy’ diets could be harmful to the environment. This controversial study suggests that eating basic fruits and vegetables, along with ‘super-foods’ actually requires more resources per calorie than pork or chicken. In Mexico, the Western avocado craze and consequent rising prices are fuelling deforestation. On top of this, a mature avocado orchard uses nearly double the amount of water as fairly dense forest. The high use of agricultural chemicals and the large volumes of wood needed to pack avocados are other factors that could have negative effects on the area’s environment and the wellbeing of its inhabitants. Soy agriculture is also damaging according to WWF, its expansion is threatening biodiversity, endangered species, and also impacting the subsistence of the local people where the crop is grown. Vast amounts of
land is needed to grow soybeans and as deforestation accounts for 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions, soybean plantations evidently have a large environmental impact. However 90% of the crop grown is dedicated to feeding livestock, which contradicts the claim that veganism is contributing to the destruction of the rainforest. Even so, the advantages of reducing meat consumption arguably overshadows this. Agreement amongst 15,000 scientists that a vegan diet would help save our planet shows how misleading claims to the contrary must be. And indeed, calculations estimate that if 10,000 people went vegan for one week it would save 147,000 kg of CO2, or enough to fly to the moon and back. It seems then that whatever your diet, it might be sensible to cut down on your consumption of exotic foods, as well as meat and dairy. So what about the impact of our diets on the oceans? The beef and dairy industry is a significant contributor to ocean pollution: in 2013, a Scientific Consensus confirmed that ‘beef production in the surrounding catchment was responsible for 75% of sediment, 54% of phosphorous and 40% of nitrogen in the [Great Barrier] reef’s waters’. Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of ocean ‘dead zones’ - areas of water where there is so little oxygen that marine life cannot survive there. With
fishless oceans predicted by 2048, animal agriculture is a serious concern: to date, it has been the cause of over 500 dead zones across the world. Accordingly, in industrial fishing, for every 1 pound of fish caught, around 5 pounds of marine species - such as turtles and dolphins - are also captured and killed as a byproduct. Any budding environmentalist - even just anyone who likes marine life and the seas - ought to consider this when doing their weekly shop. Another claim often heard when discussing the relative environmental impacts of different diets is that diets incorporating some animal-source foods make better use of land than their vegan alternative. Varied diets can make use of varied land types, but a more prominent landrelated dilemma is that of deforestation. The increasing demand for land for large scale animal agriculture means that livestock and feed-crops have become the leading cause of deforestation and loss of habitat worldwide. 1 to 2 acres of rainforest is cleared every second predominantly for livestock and feed crops, meaning animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon forest destruction. Environment Minister Steven Miles has described deforestation rates as ‘catastrophic’, with environmental experts warning of ‘irreversible damage’ if this is not addressed. It is of course not individuals or small household farms which are contributing
Flickr / Núcleo Editorial Epigram/ Katy Hubbuck
Miriam Davies and Lauren Wills
So called “Superfoods” could be damaging to the planet due to their intensive production
significantly to this problem, but Western consumers must be aware of the potential journey and impact their food has had on the planet. The current scale of the Western animal agriculture industry is a threat to the planet, and its inhabitants. Indeed, when compared to plant-based foods, the production of beef requires a whopping 160 times more land, and the grain used to feed livestock could feed 3.5 billion people. Undoubtedly we can conclude that decreasing the consumption of meat has a positive impact on the environment. Even a ‘meatless monday’ is well worth it
for its impact on the planet. But we must all also be cautious about the impact of supposed superfoods, which may also be damaging to rainforests and local habitats in the countries in which they are grown. Everyone ought to be mindful about what they’re eating, and the process that has occurred for it to end up on your plate. Cutting out or reducing animal products is a brilliant first step to becoming a better environmentalist, but - sadly - the task does not end there. However, do not let this deter you the power to save the planet is in your shopping basket!
This Month in Science
Vilhelmiina Haavisto 1st Year Biology
According to new estimates, the universe is expanding faster than was previously thought. The speed of the perpetual expansion of the universe is measured using a value known as the Hubble constant, and was last estimated in 2015. Recently though, a team led by astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess have calculated a higher Hubble constant than the last estimate, suggesting that the universe is expanding 5-9% faster than it should be. The reason for this discrepancy is currently unknown. Riess’ team believe that it may be a case of scientists simply not knowing enough about the early universe and the very beginning of its expansion to make these estimates accurately. It may also indicate that dark energy, the enigmatic matter that is the driving force behind the expansion, may have grown progressively stronger over the billions of years since the Big Bang.
Flickr / chemicalmokey
Let it grow
Flickr / Eric Hossinger
A team of researchers from Vienna, Heidelberg and Dresden have sequenced the entire genome of the Mexican axolotl, a type of salamander. This is the largest genome ever sequenced, comprising of approximately 32 billion base pairs. For reference, the human genome consists of just around 3 billion base pairs. The axolotl and its genes are of scientific interest due to its ability to regenerate its tissue. The axolotl can regenerate bone, muscle, and nerve tissue to completely rebuild lost limbs – it can even repair a severed spinal cord. These regenerative abilities are thought to be thanks to several genes exclusive to the axolotl and a few other amphibian species, which are expressed during limb regrowth. The genome has been made publicly available for further study of tissue regeneration and its possible uses in areas such as medicine
Flickr / Karl-Ludwig Poggemann
Flickr / NASA
Flickr / AJC1
Axolotl genome decoded
Martian Ice sheets
Geologists at the US Geological Survey have discovered layers of ice on Mars, only a few feet below the planet’s surface in certain regions. Two spacecraft orbiting Mars captured images of eroded regions on the planet, where the layers were clearly visible. The ice itself is not a new discovery – evidence of water on Mars was first collected in 1971 by NASA’s Mariner 9 mission, and has been studied ever since. However, this discovery provides insight into the extent of these subterranean ice deposits, as well as their proximity to the dusty surface of the Red Planet. The ice may even be suitable to act as a source of water for future manned missions to Mars. Because of its arrangement into distinct layers, it also provides clues about Mars’ geological and climatological past - some scientists believe that Mars was likely a watery world at some point in the past.
A team at the University of Manchester has measured the carbon footprint of various sandwiches. They included homemade and ready-made sandwiches in their study, and factored ingredients, packaging, storage, and food waste into their calculations. The UK collectively spends around £8 billion a year on sandwiches, so the team was keen to understand the industry’s contribution to greenhouse emissions.They found that the highest mass of CO2 was produced by ‘all-day breakfast’ sandwiches, containing bacon, egg, and sausage. Egg mayo and cress was crowned the lowest-emission ready-made sandwich, producing around half the emissions of the ‘all-day breakfast’ sandwich. The lowest-emission sandwich overall was a classic, homemade ham, cheese and mayo sandwich. The team identified agricultural production and processing of ingredients as the top contributor to CO2 emissions, and suggested that making sandwiches at home rather than buying them ready-made could as much
Brain-like chips No computer chip can currently match the processing power of the human brain, but engineers at MIT are hoping to change that. They are working on designing computer chips to work more like the human brain – this field is known as neuromorphic computing. Computer chips carry out computations in an on/ off, binary fashion, but these innovative, brain-like chips would ideally work on signal gradients, much like neurons that activate at different levels depending on the stimulus. The designing or hardware equivalents of synapses, the meeting points of neurons, has been complicated, but the MIT researchers have now built a chip with what they call artificial synapses. This is a major step forward in neuromorphic computing, as the team hopes to design low-power, portable neuromorphic chips for use in AI learning tasks, for example.
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Valli McAdam.. tells us about a recent development in hologram technology
Flickr / thellr
Editor: Ellie Chesshire
Deputy Editor: Lily Hammond
This morning I smiled at the person in the mirror
However, in recent years I’ve found myself leaning towards less healthy resolutions. Anyone who has spoken to me for more than about five minutes will know that I am a girl who loves anything pink and sparkly. I love books, acoustic music and my idea of a crazy
Epigram / Ellie Chesshire
We’ve made it to 2018! I know that New Years was actually almost a month ago, but what with exams and the holidays it feels like we’ve only just began a steady routine again. Due to this, over the last few weeks I have been thinking about New Year’s resolutions and what I want to get out of the next year. I’ve always been big on New Year’s resolutions, every year I tell myself that I’m going to get a six-pack, only eat cake once a week and never argue with my mum. While these resolutions are never fully completed (sorry mum) they do keep me exercising regularly, eating fairly healthy and trying my best to always be positive. We should always try and see the best in ourseleves..
night out is going for dinner with my best friends. Over the Christmas holidays I started to consider whether I should change some of these qualities, and do things to make myself ‘cooler.’ Should I ditch my sparkly pink wardrobe for more serious, mature colours? Should I start going out more often and listening to drum and bass? Should I make myself watch Black Mirror instead of my alltime favourite movie Pride? Changing
these things would certainly help me blend into the crowd more and would stop my friends teasing me quite so much about my shopping habits. Recently my good friend Molly Gorman started a blog called The Health Diary. Its aim is to teach people to redefine health and love their bodies - it’s a fabulous campaign. But it got me thinking, it is so important that we embrace our physical appearance, but it should be equally important that we
learn to love what’s inside as well. I, like everyone, have had my insecurities about what I look like. However, I am content with the fact that I am always going to be 5’2, always going to have size four feet and always going to have slightly knobbly knees. So when I was thinking about New Resolutions for 2018 I realised that I shouldn’t be looking to change myself to fit in with everyone else, but I should be learning to love myself for who I
am. I am always going to be someone who loves the colour pink, I will always be able to read away entire days and I will always much rather go to Gravity than Motion. I am very emotional, I love happy endings, and I hate horror movies, drum and bass, and cheese. That is me. What I have learned is that the quirks my friends tease me about are also the things that make them want me in their lives. They are the things that make me a unique person with a bright personality that drives me to do loads of amazing things. And I am proud of that person.
Ellie Chesshire Letters Editor
We’ve made it to 2018!
So instead of making 2018 the year that we constantly try to better ourselves, let’s make it the year that we learn to love ourselves. Having goals and ambition is amazing, but not if it overshadows the wonderful qualities that make us all individual. This morning I put on my bright pink (brand new) knitted jumper and my sparkly converse and smiled at the person in the mirror. Take the time this year to smile at the person in your mirror because I guarantee they are incredible.
Dear university wardens and
“ I thought I was fine, but I wasn’t
It got so bad that I ended up calling my parents at 4.30 in the morning, distressed and just wanting to be home with the people I loved, far away from this wretched city. After three days of living this painful mix of misery followed by calm followed by misery again, I went home and did not return to Bristol for ten days. I was in a state to say the least. During this time, one of the people who offered me genuine, heartfelt support was the Warden of my hall, Professor Robert Vilain. On the morning of my departure,
Epigram / Robyn Meredith
On the 21st October 2017, at 5am, I was put into a strong headlock, taken to the floor and mugged. I couldn’t breathe. They set a barking, seemingly trained dog on me and then snatched my phone and my wallet. All of this was in Bristol, a city I had grown to love since arriving only weeks before. My own actions are partially to blame - I was intoxicated, which led to me being too friendly to the wrong people in the wrong area - but it was still one of the worst experiences of my life. After the ordeal I did all the things I was supposed to do: I called the police, I called my parents to cancel my card and lock my phone and made the (unfortunate) three-mile walk back to halls. The police were there waiting for me and I gave a statement. I thought I was fine, but I wasn’t. The shock took time to register. In the subsequent days I struggled to understand what had happened; my mind going from fear of seeing my attackers, to acceptance that the ordeal was over, to anger at myself for ever getting in the situation. Daytime was mostly fine. I was with friends who supported me and I worked at university
to take my mind off what happened. However, night time was disturbing - tossing and turning in my bed attempting to make an attempt at sleep. I was scared that at any point, the attackers would barge through my door and threaten me again (I know the fear was almost baseless but it’s hard to get these thoughts out of one’s head in these situations.)
Halls are communities that look out for eachother through the good and bad.
Professor Vilain knocked on my door and we had a frank discussion about the events of the previous days and what could be done to simply wake me up from the trauma. He gave me guidance on the ways I could help deal with the stress of being scared. He even offered to pay for my taxi to the station! It was the little things like this that started the mending process, and that was invaluable. So why am I writing this sob story? (*insert X Factor reference*) My experience showed me the value of having dedicated, personable and ultimately caring people, like Wardens and Senior Residents, whom you can
speak to when you are truly feeling miserable during the first, daunting year at university. Centralising pastoral roles, a change that the university is planning on undertaking following a review of how halls work, takes this connection out of the equation. Halls are communities, and ones in which members - including students, Senior Residents and Wardens - look out for one another through both the good times and the bad times. The proposals do the exact opposite of what wellbeing care should be about: they are distant, corporate in nature and scary to those who lack confidence to find help. Much has been said about
Benjamin Salmon First Year, Politics International Relations
the university’s (mis)handling of an unfortunate spate of recent suicides, and for good reason, as the way Bristol deals with these issues has much to answer for. But these changes will not improve student wellbeing; they will create even more of a disconnection between students and the wider university community. Not to sound too soppy but senior residents and wardens are there to bridge the gap between the social and academic sides of university life and, in a more simplistic sense, make sure university is what you wanted it to be.
These changes will not improve student wellbeing, they will create even more disconnect between students and the wider university community
The support I received from my hall community helped me through a bad time. A time that will, to some extent, haunt the rest of my time at university in Bristol. To lose this vital organ of university life will only serve to detriment the wellbeing of students like myself. I hope the university takes into consideration concerns like mine and puts a stop to these damaging plans.
Living Wellbeing Food Style Travel
Epigram / Evy Tang
Nothing beats a Bristol sunset
Editor Jordan Barker
Online Editor Josie Roberts
Epigram Living Section 2017/18
To swipe, or not to swipe... ... that is the question! Josie Roberts gives her two-cents on dating apps
parallel paths, but Tinder was the platform that we met and without it we would have never had the romance and love that has sprouted from it. After asking whether romance is dead due to dating apps Lucy Russell, a fellow 2nd year English student, replied: ‘It’s not like romance is dead just because you met on an app. There’s far less romantic ways to meet. How you meet is so not a big deal. Romance is all the little things you do within a relationship you know, rather than like ‘oh I fell off my horse and into his arms’. Romance is what you make of it and it evolves with the times.
It’s not like romance is dead just because you met on an app
In some cases I think it benefits people
This decade we have seen social media usage and influence take over our lives. Our whole world is documented online and therefore, naturally, modern romance today has evolved onto these platforms. For better or for worse that’s your individual choice as everyone is different. For me, especially as a gay woman, it opened up the bubble I was in, enabled me to meet new people and actually find the girl I now call my own. People have said that we are more romantic than their own relationships that were formed the old fashioned way! I believe
it is time to go with the changing times and embrace the new. Of course I accept that social media is taking over, limiting society’s ability to go up to strangers and have one-on-one contact. Yet in some cases I think this benefits people. Those who are shy, or afraid of the unknown, can have the safety net of texting and vetting the other person out. For me, my girlfriend had so many mutual friends with me, it made me more confident; I knew she was legitimate and probably very similar as our circles overlapped.
When asking my friends about what they thought of dating apps I was met with a very common theme: ‘Err, well I have now deleted it. You just get bored of it after a while. Unless you want casual one night stands, because half of people just want that… and then also it’s just weird. I’m just a dabbler.’ - Ciara Regan Dating apps seem to be widely used for hookups, ego boosts (to see how many matches you get), or boredom. Indeed, that’s exactly how I started using Tinder myself. Over Easter 2017 a week before I got back to Bristol I joined the not-so-elusive world of Tinder late one night after my friends had been talking about this match and that over drinks. Low and behold, I did meet many people wanting one night stands and quickly swiped left. However, I also met my girlfriend of 9 months very quickly. We started chatting on Tinder, swiftly moved to texting, met up in London a couple of weeks later, and haven’t looked back. Both of us lived very similar lives up until this point and from getting to know each other in the early months we discovered that we had almost crossed paths many times. We could have gone through our lives never meeting, walking
Flickr / Daniel Avelino
People are no longer having to actually leave their room to meet people
Dating apps: why do so many people use them? Have they ruined 21st century romance? Serial dating app user or not, I’m pretty sure a large percentage of people reading this article will have at some point downloaded a dating app. Whether you’re mumbling your way through Bumble or titillating about Tinder, dating apps have become a widely frequented forum for people who want to meet others beyond their normal social bubbles. The chances of meeting your significant other in a coffee shop fumble or lecture stationary mishap, as depicted in every film ever, are very slim. Now dating apps are becoming the reality. But is our obsession with these dating apps causing our society to be incapable of interacting with new people without the safety net of our small screens in front of us? People are no longer having to actually leave their room to meet people or to engage in conversations with peers. Instead all you have to do is swipe left and swipe right. Isn’t that too simple? Is this ruining 21st century romance? Is the concept of modern romance dead?!
If you don’t feel too confident just yet about declaring your love for dating apps, you could always go with what my girlfriend wrote as her bio: ‘If anyone asks how we met I’m just gonna say I rescued you at 3am on a raft on the Thames whilst blaring the Bee Gees out on a bluetooth speaker. Thanks Xo’ Happy swiping!
Josie Roberts Online Living Editor
Fli Flickr / Denis Bocquet
Flickr / Denis Bocquet
Hayman’s guide to Bristol’s best boozers Take a trip down to the log, grab yourself a jar and listen to the reasons why these pubs are class There are endless reasons why going down to the pub with your friends will always be 10/10 for a good time guaranteed. The hustle, bustle, warmth and stench, quite unlike anywhere else, is one that goes amiss if to be ignored for even just a few days. Bristol is proud to boast in its pub scene, with a wide range to offer; from cheap and cheerful to sophisticated, Bristol has got you covered. Here are just some of the many pubs I hold dear to my heart.
yourself a cocktail (2 for a tenner, not bad?) and charge across the road with the crowd into Bargs’ lair.
HIGHBURY VAULTS Situated on the dark pilgrimage into the ASS, or rather the freeing walk AWAY from Uni, this tiny little place is cosy and perfect to wind down in. The smoking garden has long benches and heating and is somehow able to squeeze all your 30-man squad in, but don’t make the mistake of falling for the ‘place the 5p on the lemon in the glass’ trick in a rash attempt to score some cash: it’s CERTAIN you will fail, and its back to square one of the broke student life.
MR WOLFS Fancy a dash of live jazz? Mr Wolfs is the place to head, with £2.50 pints and quote, ‘the best kebab house’ literally opposite as you exit, meaning you can grab some cheeky cheesy chips to aid you on the long walk home back up Park Street. The buzzing vibe resonates in the air, as people crowd around, standing on chairs and benches alike, in order to see the wonderful music being played and groovy moves being thrown around on the D-floor. JFS (Jazz, Funk and Soul) use this venue weekly on a Tuesday, but dare I say, still nothing will ever quite beat the Small Horse Inn for me, their previous venue choice and perhaps my absolute favourite pub in Bristol, which was closed just over a year ago for no apparent reason. We will never forget you! #BRING BACK THE SMALL HORSE INN!
THE CAT AND WHEEL Karaoke and disco, sports TV, pool and darts, this buzzing pub down on Cheltenham Road near the Archers is perfectly situated: head here for a couple, pop into Leftbank on your way in to Stokes Croft for some live music before charging on into the Love Inn, now doesn’t that sound like an ideal night out?
Epigram / Emily Hayman
Epigram / Emily Hayman
THE WHITE HARTE Just one of the many pubs beginning with ‘white’ (oh dear, unavoidably bringing to the light the dark undertones of the history behind this city, oops), this gem down by the Wills Memorial Building is truly one not to be missed. With a beautiful lit-up smoking garden, comfy sofas and 3 quid pints, it’s got it all - not to mention, always a favourite spot for pub quizzes.
Epigram / Emily Hayman
W.G GRACE It’s got to be up there, doesn’t it? There’s no denying the affordable approachability of the classic Weatherspoon’s pub, and I can certainly vouch for the food being more than half decent: crunchy nachos or chunky chips compliment that 6 quid pitcher down to a tee, or perhaps you’re feeling classier so go for a 3.99 double GnT! Either way, the Grace will forever be the number one place to prelash, full to the brim with familiar faces and just the everyman.
THE APPLE In summer, this place is abounding in cider, sunshine and contented faces: half pints at only 2 quid with a student card, this is the ideal boozing day session, with benches aplenty outside, or seats upon the boat which sets so comfortably on the river. No need to worry though, it’s still worth a trip down in the cold, with blankets available on request and about 10 different types of Cider to choose from to help warm you up nicely.
THE BRASS PIG Oh yes, what a babe. Opposite Bargs, it would simply be rude not to go? Packed full of the typical Bristol student in furs and flares, glass of wine and cig in hand, this rowdy institute always certifies a good time. With a large open space on the bottom floor which becomes a dance-floor (YEEE), and often very loud live bands on the top, peace and quiet are terms unheard of here; so, grab
Emily Hayman Deputy Living Editor
English prof. admits he’s ‘a regular Sparknotes user’
Disclaimer: the Co-Editors in Chief of Epigram would like to point out that this is a satirical article. Sorry.
Academic in hot water after confessing to a student that he often uses cheat-websites websites to academic integrity and moral fibre. A spokesperson from the University responded to claims of ‘pathetic recruiting strategies’. In a statement, they said: ‘The University does its utmost to provide our students with a first-class education. Sparknotes is an insult to academia, and only the most peabrained numbnut would ever consider using it as an educational resource.’ ‘Questions about how this happened need to be asked, and our students deserve answers.’ Students are now calling for an inquiry into the number of academics using Sparknotes. The disgraced lecturer has been suspended and will appear before the Academic Board of Ethics on Monday. Lillian’s meeting has been cancelled, though she said she would have ‘enjoyed a glass of M&S vino as a change from the Tesco’s pignot’ she usually buys.
Jordan Barker Living Editor
Epigram / Lillian McHale
Epigram / Lillian McHale
An English lecturer at the University of Bristol has admitted to using Sparknotes on a regular basis. Student Lillian McHale leaked several emails on Monday, in which the academic in question confessed to using the website, as well as several other ‘cheat-sites’ to aid research. The academic in question cannot be named for legal reasons. The student was ‘sickened to the core’ and immediately emailed her Head of Department. ‘I can’t believe he just came right out and admitted it,’ Lillian said. ‘As if it’s something to brag about. It was so creepy hearing it from someone in a position of authority, saying that he regularly uses Sparknotes. I’m morally outraged.’ ‘I don’t want to pay £9000 for an education which I could’ve got from Sparknotes for free!’ In 2007, Sparknotes was blacklisted by the government as one of the most harmful
A day in the life of a senior resident Grace Kendrick reveals what it’s like to live as a UoB senior resident
The importance of this pastoral care at the heart of student life couldn’t be more important
Firstly there is our monthly duty. For me, this requires being on-call duty for all residents. Equipped with the sturdy (no smart phone in sight) duty phone, I spend either a weekend daytime or weekday night shift answering calls from students. By being oncall we locate ourselves within the university hall throughout our time on duty, so we can attend any problems that arise throughout this time. This could be anything from a lock out of your room (we’ve all been there) or an electrical fault in a flat. We act as an intermediator between students and the services which can get problems solved. In addition, we ensure the safety of students whilst on duty. This means locking up rooms after use and conducting evening routine checks around halls to check all is in order. As an undergraduate, it
made me feel comforted to know I’d got a team of staff who were always present and keeping a watchful eye - especially when my own eyes were potentially infected by a rather indulgent amount of alcohol.
The shock of the University’s decision to remove Deputy Wardens and many Senior Resident roles from halls of residence across Bristol University has become a hugely debated topic across campus. Whilst this article doesn’t wish to contribute to these debates, the importance of this pastoral care in the heart of student life couldn’t be more important considering the rising need for mental health provisions and a focus on wellbeing at the university. But it’s more than that, as a Senior Resident myself, I see the daily activity and importance of this residential team in action and its vital part of creating a positive student experience for undergraduates during their transition to university education. Therefore, if you ever wondered exactly what we get up to as Senior Residents, I thought I’d give a little insight into the daily practices and routines we commit to during our time in halls.
Having a great team of Senior Residents and Deputy Wardens in each Hall is key to ensuring good pastoral care
Pastoral care is probably the most important aspect of a Senior Resident and Deputy Wardens’ role. Beginning my education at university as an undergraduate was probably one of the most terrifying things I ever did. I had never left home before, never lived in a big city and I had grown up with the same group of friends since I was a child. From the first day of moving in, I felt anxious about making friends, scared of the rumours of life in halls and in desperate need of guidance. Senior Residents and Deputy Wardens are there from the very start - helping you to move into the halls, watching over those first burnt toast moments, on hand when someone drinks a bit too much at your flat pre-drinks and conduct flat meetings to outline the key roles of students in keeping the halls safe, tidy and clean. We check up on students who might have additional needs, to make sure they feel happy within their new home and have first aid training to deal with those kitchen dramas that affect us all during our first experience of cooking. In addition, having a great team of Senior Residents and Deputy Wardens in each hall is key to ensuring good pastoral care - particularly at the heart of student living. This network allows students to feel well supported with any issues that arise
throughout the year - and trust me, there’s always something. In addition, we help international students to adjust to student living in the UK, by advising on any practical issues students may be facing in addition to the fact that many Senior Residents stay in halls over the Christmas period to provide on-going support for students who are unable to return home during the university holidays. As a Senior Resident, I also need support and have been continually grateful for the dedication and guidance of the on-call Deputy Wardens who help us to conduct our duties. This guidance is key to our success at ensuring a positive and safe environment in halls, as their experience and knowledge helps us to perform our duties to the best of our ability, especially at times when this may exceed what we may be able to manage on our own. Most importantly for me, Senior Residents and Deputy Wardens help create a sense of community. We are actively involved in the halls social events, joining in Drama and Musical opportunities and encouraging students to take part! I know from my experience that students in my halls feel encouraged by the community of Senior Residents. An important part of student wellbeing is finding a time to get involved in extracurricular activities and spend time with friends socialising. This facilitating role is key to such benefits. It has been very rewarding seeing so many of my students getting involved in drama opportunities or volunteering to be part of the JCR not to mention their very competitive edge in the hall’s bake-off challenge. By taking part in activities and encouraging others to do so, we help students to become more confident in themselves throughout their year. So that was a little insight into our daily routines. Next time you spot me running around with an ancient Nokia in hand - then you’ll know it’s the daily routine of a Senior Resident helping to restore order within the halls. Whilst our future is uncertain, we will continue to help fulfil our vital role within halls.
Grace Kendrick M.A., Law
Pierre Pomipdou’s guide to seduction Pompidou’s the name and passion’s the game. This guide is guaranteed to get you some action this Valentine’s Day! Are you a disgusting, unattractive, unlovable, weasel-faced nincompoop? So was I once. Yes, dear reader, there was a time when I was not so young and easy under the apple boughs. For years I lived in solitude, walking the streets of Paris alone, with no one to call my own. But after taking enough laudanum to kill a rhino (or some other large mammal), I discovered the key to winning the heart of any woman you desire! It’s a tried and tested method, which has worked just as well as blokes. Therefore, I can’t be accused of sexism. Ha got you now, feminists! So, strap in (or strap on?) as we journey through fragrant corridors of love.
First, give her a long, hard stare
Compliment her ankles Women love compliments, and they love nothing more than when a man compliments her ankles. Times may have changed, but everyone throughout history has known that the most erotic part
Charm her with your knowledge of mechanised warfare To make a lasting impression, charm her with your extensive knowledge of mechanised warfare. You’ll appear modern, intelligent and powerful, like Elon Musk or Jeremy Clarkson. So, fire a few facts about tanks her way! Also, whisper ‘War is hell, war is hell’ in her ear, so she understands the full extent to your suffering during the great battles you fought in the trenches.
Regale her with tales from your adventures on the high seas The Sea! She be a cruel mistress. To tame the sea is to have conquered the passions of all women. Regale your lady with tales of love and loss that you experienced on the high seas.
Paint her portrait Ladies love artistic types, so always have a paint brush to hand during the seduction process. Painting can be a difficult task, so
make it as abstract as possible. That way, she won’t be able to tell that you’ve got the artistic talent of a paraplegic kitten. You don’t need to be Leonardo da Vinci to be a Leonardo DiCaprio!
Finally, offer her a lovely sausage Time to seal the deal. Offer the lady a sausage. It can be a meatbased sausage or something a bit more cosmopolitan, like one of those Linda McCartney sausages you see nowadays. Offering a sausage is a very subtle way of saying: ‘Yes, I would like to go to the boudoir with you, and give those ankles a good seeing to.’
Epigram / Pierre Pompidou
Hold your horses, buckaroo! Once you’ve picked your flower from the garden of delights, resist approaching her. First off, you need give a long, hard stare. Conceal yourself from sight behind a bush or large butcher-like man. Make sure she’s aware of your presence in the periphery of her mind. The optimal time you should spend gazing at her is between 30 and 35 minutes.
of a woman is her ankles. So, start off by saying something like: ‘My, what lovely ankles you have, m’lady!’ or ‘Gee willikers, them’s be the mightiest fine ankles I seen in a long time, mhmm!’ No doubt this utterance will overwhelm her with sexual desire.
Editor Chloe Payne-Cook @EpigramWB
Deputy- Editor Jasmine Burke
Online Editor Leila Mitwally
If you ever need to talk to someone, try www.bigwhitewall.com and register with your Bristol email @epigramwellbeing
My experience with EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) around, in front of all of my friends, pretending I was drunk when really I was trying to burn off the calories. Honestly this seems immensely irrational and alien to me right now and I’m so embarrassed to even write that out - but that was the head space I was in. When you’re in that head space, you feel isolated, trapped and like no one understands.
The main reason that my peers might not have realised that I had eating problems was because I was not anorexic
I was not bulimic, and I did not have a binge-eating disorder. I did not fit into any of the categories that are medically diagnosed by the NHS as an eating disorder. It makes it all the more difficult to explain that I believe what I went through was on the same scale. I’ve always been ‘top-heavy’. I’ve always had big boobs, which I’ve always hated. However I can’t change that and I don’t even think I’d want to anymore. I’ve also never had that skinny, ideal figure that epitomised and was the face of the fashion and diet culture of the 1990s. Again, I do not aspire to have such a figure anymore. However in the summer following year 9, in September 2010, I looked at pictures of myself and thought I looked humongous. Both admittedly and factually, I had put on weight - although I was nowhere near large. From here onwards it almost seems like a blur. All I remember is a firm decision that I was going to lose weight, and as quickly as possible.
I remember one time as I tucked into my lunch of two slices of ham and half a pepper, being shouted at by a girl telling me to ‘get some carbs down me.’ I wish I could have. I became anti-social, unhappy and self-absorbed - all in a desperate attempt to lose weight. And I did lose weight, just in the worst way possible. If you would like to lose weight - I would suggest taking the advice of a qualified nutritionist or a doctor, and not taking a restrictive approach - we NEED food to survive. Our bodies stop functioning without it. I’m not sure entirely if my friends picked up on my weight loss, but I was aware it was noticeable when my P.E teacher pulled me aside asking if I was okay, because I had lost a lot of weight so quickly.
But I do know that those who haven’t experienced mental health issues either themselves or through those close to them will always have some kind of distance in understanding them, and that’s okay. The main reason that my peers might not have realised that I had eating problems was because I was not anorexic. I have never been and I never will be.
Epigram / Chloe Payne-Cook
So, this is my attempt to both condense and describe in as much detail as I can possibly convey what I went through from around the end of Year 9 to Year 12. This was the point where at most I felt like I had reached a milestone in recovering from EDNOS: an eating disorder not otherwise specified. I’m hoping that this piece of exceptionally personal writing will reach out to someone. I can’t pretend that I don’t feel somewhat embarrassed whilst writing this, as I can imagine some of my school peers won’t have the faintest of clues that I had issues surrounding food and my mental attitude towards it. I almost feel worried that people will think that I’m weird and that I will be judged for writing this.
I started running around, in front of all my friends, pretending I was drunk, when really I was trying to burn off the calories
Then, following my January exams, my sister had made me a cake to say congratulations for getting good exam grades. I got home, saw the cake and felt terrified. I didn’t even regard it as a sweet, kind gesture but instead felt full of fear, worried about what excuse I would have to come up with next. I didn’t expect my mum to get angry, but she did, pointing out how rude I was to ignore my sister’s kind efforts It was at this point, finally, that I said I needed to go to the doctors. I felt ridiculous. I’d had enough, I was drowning myself in horrendous thoughts and I could not live through that anymore. It was heartbreaking for me and my family.
I was absolutely shattered all the time, I was incredibly irritable and all of my thoughts were consumed by food
I felt so ecstatic when she made this comment as it meant that I was finally getting somewhere and that evening, the number on the scales corresponded. Yet, the next day I got sent home from school because I was so tired from a lack of energy that I felt sick. I didn’t gain any confidence, but I lost it because I was so anxious all the time. Dreading meals. Dreading starving myself but also dreading the thought of putting on weight. It was a never-ending and unresolvable cycle.
Instagram / @thehealthdiaryinsta
I would ask people what they had eaten to make myself feel better and any discussion of food would make me feel uncomfortable to the point where I would have to leave a room, especially any mention of the word ‘diet’ or ‘gym’. It was mentally and physically draining. The next phase was binging. As a reactant to my body’s lack of nutritional intake, I was becoming ridiculously hungry to an uncontrollable point, where I thought that if I was going to eat, let’s make a day of it. Binging happened frequently and I even at times looked forward to the cycle of binging then starving, because at least I got to eat nice food for one day. Although, the taste was not what I was focusing on - it was eradicating the sheer feeling of hunger. In one binge, I consumed thousands and thousands of calories and I couldn’t stop. One time, I distinctly remember a plate of freshly-baked brownies being on the table which I then ate uncontrollably. This was followed by hysterical crying, hyperventilating and ringing up both my mum and my best friend asking for help. I felt helpless, ashamed and like I could feel the fat filling up my body. I even remember being at my friend’s house party and there were chocolates on the side and I had a few of them. I started RUNNING
Epigram / Chloe Payne-Cook
So despite how pleased I was with my physical progress, I was going through mental torment. I cannot put it more simply that food was constantly on my mind - a possessive pervading thought that would never leave, not even when I slept. When would I eat next? How many calories will I eat? How many calories have I eaten so far today? What would Mum make for dinner? Shall I weigh myself when I get home?
Before I knew it, I had almost eliminated most of my calorie intake. I was absolutely shattered all the time, I was incredibly irritable and all of my thoughts were consumed by food. I was so tired that I couldn’t exercise other than completing my rigorous routine before bed. I couldn’t stand people talking about food, I couldn’t stand being around food and I tried to avoid any outings with my friends that surrounded food.
The next two events were the pinnacle catalysts in my call for help. My mum had baked a lemon cake one Sunday and I felt so compelled not to eat any whilst at the same time really wanting to try some. I had two voices battling it out in my head until I started to cry and told my mum ‘I feel like my brain’s going to explode.’ My mum said that my dad cried himself to sleep that night. I was completely out of control, out of my mind and in a completely lose-lose situation. If I ate, then I’d punish myself and if I didn’t eat, I was punishing myself.
Before writing this, my 17-year-old sister told me not to be scared. She said that it’s such a big part of how I’ve become the person I am, it’s not shameful, it’s just something that happened to me. And she’s right, it happened to me - with the past tense being crucial there - and I’d rather it happened to me than her any day of the year. I want to prevent it from happening to anyone else, because I know this kind of thing is affecting millions of people on a global-scale.
Now looking back, I feel so sorry for myself. My irrational behaviour is overwhelming to me now, but at the time it was my life - I didn’t recognise that it was unhealthy. I needed professional support before this destructive behaviour really began to ruin my life. Thank God I did, and I encourage any person with harmful thoughts to do so if they also feel like they are at a point like this. It was full of misery, starvation, binging and tears. Of course it wasn’t all horrendous - I got into Sixth Form with good GCSE’s, I had a wonderful family by my side who I am eternally grateful for and friends that I will value forever. However I would describe it as the toughest time of my life so far and how strange to say that it was dominated by food. However, it has been such a valuable experience for me that I want to use for the better - to help young women like myself. I want to use it to help friends, family and strangers. I have now learnt to have a wellrounded, healthy and happy approach to food, love, my body and my mind.
Molly Gorman Third Year, History
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Being single on Valentines Day
(n.) a hopeless longing - and involuntary solitude in which one feels incompleteness and yearns for something unattainable or extremely difficult and tedious to attain
Proposed changes to the pastoral system are dangerous for students suffering with mental health issues
when first settling into university, helping you to refer yourself to Student Counselling Service, and even menial things such as setting up your university bus pass. This role is vital to a smooth life in halls, which will not be the same if this role is scrapped under the new system. Personally, I have regular contact with my hall’s Student Support Advisor, along with the Warden and Deputy Warden, who are my first port of call when I feel I am struggling with my mental health. Our meetings are invaluable, helping me to notice when I am falling into crisis.
Recently, the news has broken that the University plans to make changes to the pastoral system in halls of residence. This will result in the current system of Wardens, Deputy Wardens and Senior Residents being replaced by a hub system, with a Clifton hub, Stoke Bishop hub, and City Centre hub incorporating residences in those three areas. There will be a reduction in the number of Senior Residents, called Residential Life Mentors under the new system, by approximately 2/3, and less staff will live in halls.
Personally, live-in members of staff have stayed with me when in crisis until I could get proper professional attention, which ensured my safety and security. They work extremely hard for students, are a vital intermediary point between students and professionals if needed, and are an essential form of support. However, in the case of the new system, centralising pastoral care will result in little rapport or trust between Residential Life team members and students.
Valentine’s Day, first and foremost, is a holiday for love - romantic love, friendly love, family love, or even self-love. Focus on trying to make yourself into the best version you can be before thinking about pursuing a love interest. If you think about it, the logic behind it is pretty simple. If you’re a great success in what you do and have an amazing personality and social life to boot, chances are love will come knocking on your door in no time. That way, not only do you end up with the man/woman of your dreams, you also have a rock-solid foundation to fall back upon in case things go south with the relationship. In the words of my dear friend, Matthew Lu: ‘You got to work on yourself first before you think about getting together with the perfect man.’
Firstly, the new system seems very removed and centralised. By reducing the number of staff members living in halls you also get rid of the relationships between students and pastoral team members. One key aspect of having enough Senior Residents to cover each block of flats/floors is that you can build a relationship and rapport with them. You know who they are and where they live, and they know you because they have a manageable number of students under their care. Because of this, it is easy to knock on their door and ask for help with a wide range of issues
Centralising pastoral care will result in little rapport or trust between Residential Life team members and students
This is problematic as certain levels of trust do need to be established before going to someone about your problems and worries. Students will be less likely to seek help from people they’ve never met before, especially when talking about such a highly stigmatised and deeply personal topic as your own mental health problems and struggles.
I guess what I’m trying to simply say to all my readers is to not put too much weight on being alone on the 14th of February. It would be ridiculous to rush into a relationship all for the sake of having a companion on Valentine’s Day, only to find yourself regretting your decision a few months later. Just remember, true love is definitely worth waiting for. For any sceptics out there who doubt these words, get on Netflix and start streaming the movie ‘Never Been Kissed’. You’ll know what I’m on about after watching the entire film.
It is hard enough to ask for help in any circumstance, let alone if you have to go to people in an impersonal, centralised hub system, rather than in your block or down your corridor. There will be less staff members, meaning less help available. It is vital to have enough staff members, especially living on site with students, as they can keep an eye out for students after a particularly bad night, and be the first to notice a change in a student’s behaviour which may signify them falling into crisis. This ensures that students continue to stay safe and know where the support is if they need it again. In the new model, however, what will happen in case of a really bad night when multiple people are in crisis or require support? Currently in my halls of residence, there are enough SRs to have both a main Senior Resident and a support Senior Resident assigned to your block, as well as the Warden, Deputy Warden and Student Support Advisor.
At the end of the day, it should always be you first, and other people (love interests included) second. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be a day where you feel horrible about yourself for not being in a loving relationship; it should be a day where you give yourself the love and pampering that you know you deserve.
But with most likely a maximum of 5 Residential Life team members on site in each residence, the lack of staff could become dangerous for students’ wellbeing, especially if you consider that 100-500 students live in each hall. Furthermore, in the current system, the Student Support Advisor is so helpful with every aspect of student life, providing support
Jeremy Tan First Year, Law
They provide a personal, easily accessible form of support, look out for us, and work hard to ensure we are happy in halls. It is a real oversight on the University’s part to get rid of SSAs as this will further diminish the quality of pastoral support in halls. Of course changes need to be made to the University’s pastoral model, but not these changes that make support more impersonal, and reduce the number of staff. I think it is positive that the University are making moves to put in place better support in City Centre residences, and recognise that 24hr support needs to be put in place. However, the proposed Residential Life Model seems to make pastoral care worse in Clifton and Stoke Bishop halls.
I have been a sympathetic listener to dozens over the years, ranting about how they were upset for being single for yet another Valentine’s Day. Never apologize for being alone on an overly-commercialised holiday bursting with illusions of false companionship and fleeting love. There is nothing wrong with staying single and saving your time and affection for when Mr Right/Ms Perfect comes walking along by. Instead of trying so hard to get a date for Valentine’s, why not try building a positive, loving relationship with yourself first. Once you have built up a certain amount of respect and self-love for yourself, you’ll start realising that your value as a person is not defined by other people or relationships.
So why does society as a whole function on the understanding that to be single on Valentine’s is to be unloved and unwanted? As someone who has been alone during Valentine’s up until recent years, I can say with utmost confidence that I have never felt so just because I was not a recipient of a heart-shaped box of sweet treats and red roses.
Certainly, this will impact the sense of community in halls. JCRs are being scrapped, but more importantly these changes are in fact unhelpful from a mental health and wellbeing perspective. I will be looking at why I think the new Residential Life Model will be disastrous for students living in halls with mental health problems.
Epigram / Jasmine Burke
Epigram / Chloe Payne-Cook
If I have learned anything in my twenty years of existence, it is that people do not to be in a relationship to be happy. I’ve been single through my entire high school years and yet I remember thinking to myself whenever I’m in good company: ‘I’m really happy with where I am right now.’ In my mind, happiness doesn’t come from being loved and showered in affection by a significant other, it comes from within oneself.
It is hard enough to ask for help in any circumstance, let alone if you have to go to people in an impersonal, centralised hub system
Live-in members of staff have stayed with me in crisis until I could get proper professional attention, which ensured my safety and security
The University needs to fund services better. We need to recruit more, highly-trained staff, which are made obvious to students, not be cutting numbers thinner than they already are. The University is still lacking in the support it provides its students, despite the £1 million pledge to fund mental health services, and my fear is that these planned changes will only make the situation worse.
Ruth Day First Year, Maths and Philosophy
Find for your mind Here you’ll find a new person or service to follow or check out online which you might find beneficial to your wellbeing. This week’s find is...
Thoughts From Jasmine is the blog founded by none other than our very own Deputy Editor, Jasmine Burke. She writes about everything from mental health to being a student. Her posts are bound to engage and inspire you, and are especially great for students! Go and give her a follow at thoughtsfromjasmine.wordpress.com
Jane Cowie @janecowiefood email@example.com
Epigram Food 2017-18
My Veganuary: Time to face the facts Cerowyn Browne explains how Veganuary made her face up to the realities of animal cruelty
I was already vegetarian but I knew in my heart that the video would be right about the benefits of veganism. I’d be made to feel bad about the dairy and eggs I eat and I’d rather not think about that. Then it struck me, you can’t go around just ignoring problems because they are inconvenient. So I watched the video and was convinced to try to be vegan for a month.
friends I’m not going to be strict. This is both to make life easier for those I am with and also to treat myself. On the whole, however, the idea of going back to eating dairy full time is no longer as appealing as it was initially. Since the start of the month I have done research and found out that each week in the UK 3,000 male calves and 40 million male chicks are killed soon after they are born. The calves are often exported to mainland Europe in cramped conditions without their mothers or their natural food: milk. They are then soon killed for veal. Even if animal welfare is not enough to persuade people to cut down on animal products, the cost to fellow humans should.
Christmas was over and it was the time of year everyone asks what your New Year’s resolution is. I have never been a massive fan of these, but this year was to be different. I came across the idea of doing Veganuary (being Vegan for January) when scrolling through Facebook and quickly skipping past a video about Veganism.
Being a healthy 5’7” woman brought up without meat, I am living proof that it isn’t necessary to eat meat when growing
The first week was tough. I was still at home, and although my parents kindly cooked me vegan meals I couldn’t help staring at the cheddar they grated on their pasta and was crying inside as I scraped the yoghurt from my plate to my mum’s after I had forgotten I was vegan. Coming back to university made it easier as I cooked for myself, discovering the joys of almond milk porridge and munching through a 2kg bag of raisins as a revision snack.
Furthermore, the meat industry is also much worse for the environment. In the average meat eating diet in the US, animal products make up 60% of the carbon emissions, despite making up just 25% of calorie intake. A vegan diet has 40% less carbon emissions than a meat-based diet, when comparing diets of the same calorie intake.
Overall though, I feel like my experience was successful. I’ve decided to stick to veganism at home but when I am out or visiting
‘Many of us shrink from judicial execution of even the most horrible human criminals, while we cheerfully countenance the shooting without trial of fairly mild animal pests. Indeed, we kill members of other harmless species as a means of recreation and amusement.’
Epigram / Jane Cowie
Epigram / Cerowyn Browne
The worlds population has doubled since the 1960s, but meat production has quadrupled with western societies eating more meat. A varied vegan diet requires a 1/3 of the land that a meat based diet requires. The calories fed to animals are mainly converted into bodily functions rather than meat. When this is seen next to a UN report that 1/9 of the world’s population is chronically undernourished, it is clear that a vegan diet may be an important way we can feed the rapidly growing number of humans on the planet.
Shopping was only made hard by having to check the labels for everything. It is fairly intuitive what has meat in and what doesn’t but apparently milk powder is an essential ingredient for almost everything. The hardest time, however, was when I spent a weekend in Bourdeux. As France is famous for meat and cheese it seemed like baguettes would be all I would be able to eat. Finding a falafel stand in the local market was a complete lifesaver, but I have to admit I caved and tried a local cake. My friends also told me that most wine isn’t Vegan either but I decided to not check and assume my wine was.
guilty. I feel like this is the same argument I used to have for quickly scrolling past videos about veganism on Facebook. You either disagree that meat and dairy are bad for animal wellbeing and the environment, in which case hearing others talk about it shouldn’t bother you, or you do agree but don’t want to think about it. That was me for many years, but I think it is time to start thinking about it. No one would call someone ‘preachy’ for standing up against treatment of humans half as bad as that which animals are put through. I feel it is time to start realising that just as it is wrong to treat others cruelly because of their gender or race, it is wrong to treat other beings cruelly because of their species. Richard Dawkins in the Selfish gene sums it up very well:
Dawkins talks in his book about how it may be ‘natural’ to be selfish, but it does not mean it is the way we should behave because we are aware of the suffering it accounts for. I think the same is true of eating meat. However, even if ‘natural’ does mean ‘right’, the farming industry is far from natural. I believe that hunting and killing an animal for yourself to eat, holds much more respect for that animal’s life than buying faceless meat from a supermarket. I am not trying to make anyone feel bad, being vegetarian and vegan is not easy and I have slipped up and had cravings. I have thoroughly enjoyed finishing my Christmas chocolate since February has started. I don’t think everyone should turn vegan tomorrow or anything nearly as drastic as that. I just believe that starting to think about the facts and cutting down on meat and dairy is a great way to help animals, humans and the planet.
Some people argue that diets without meat or dairy are unhealthy and lack enough protein. Lentils, however, contain a high amount of protein whilst containing only a trace of fat and are a great source of minerals and fibre, unlike beef which has no fibre at all. Rice and lentils can be part of a delicious Indian dish and together provide the complete proteins which our bodies can not make. Also, I hope that as a healthy 5’ 7” woman, brought up without meat, I am living proof that it isn’t necessary to eat meat when growing. Throughout my life I have never been a very preachy vegetarian and I live with people who cook and eat meat around me all the time. However, I actually am starting to think that it is important to discuss openly the effects of our diets. People often say they don’t mind people being vegan, as long as they don’t make others feel
First year, Psychology
Recipe: Cauliflower, sweet potato and parsnip curry Josh Francis shares his delicious curry recipe to warm up those wintery evenings and make use of this season’s best produce This no-fuss curry offers a hearty finale to those chilly, Bristolian winter days. What’s more, it’s a pretty easy way to get in three super-seasonal veggies. Amongst other, numerous nutritional merits, the cauli is an excellent source of antioxidants and choline, sweet potatoes pack vitamins A and C, while parsnips are rich in heart-healthy potassium and quality soluble fibre. Make it your own by choosing a fav curry paste, or shake up the rice with pilau or a wholegrain basmati mix.
Serves: 3-4 Time: approx. 45 mins Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil (or an alternative) 1 onion 1 sweet potato 1 parsnip 1 cauliflower 150ml vegetable stock 400ml light coconut milk 2-4 tbsp curry paste Handful of coriander, roughly chopped To serve: (optional)
Epigram / Josh Francis
180-240g basmati rice (0% fat) natural yoghurt Mango chutney
Method: Fill a kettle with water ready for the stock. Put the oil in a large, deep frying pan on a high heat. Finely slice the onion and dice the sweet potato into bitesize chunks, then add to the pan. Fry for 8-10 minutes, until the potato is starting to soften. 3. Meanwhile, remove the cauliflower leaves and cut into florets, removing any excess stalk. Dice the parsnip, then add both to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes. 4. Prepare the vegetable stock and pour this into the pan, along with the desired amount of curry paste (I chose Patak’s Tikka Masala here) and the coconut milk. Stir well and bring to the boil, then simmer for around 20-25 minutes on a mediumhigh heat, or until the veg is tender. Stir occasionally to stop the mixture sticking and add water if it starts to dry out. 5. After about 15 minutes, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the rice for 10-12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions. 6. Once the veg is tender, stir the coriander through and plateup with the rice. For an extra kick, serve with natural yoghurt and mango chutney. Josh Francis 1. 2.
Fourth year, Geography
Foodies online: Are they sending mixed messages? Matthew Lu weighs up the potential health benefits of online food icons against the mounting pressure Let’s start with the pros. One could take the standpoint that being inundated with glam shots, short workout snippets, and aesthetic pictures of healthy foods could influence others to follow suit. This helps to create a cohesive atmosphere and environment that is helping to shape societal values to include healthy eating. I will admit that while gathering research for this article I did find myself thinking, ‘oh, I could add that treadmill exercise to my regular workout routine’ while checking out Healthy Chef Steph’s famous Instagram.
But, what lots of people don’t realise, are the implications of some people’s posts and the effect they have on their lives. Humans are creatures of adaptation and are easily mouldable by what they are exposed to through different channels. A foodie is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, a person who loves food and is very interested in food. The new trend of ‘healthy foodies’ is a very prevalent force in our modern-day society. But, with the addition of such a force, it is important to consider whether they are a force of good or evil for society.
On top of offering exercises and ideas about how to incorporate a more active outlook into their lives, educating those that have no knowledge of exercise, ‘healthy foodie’ accounts share an abundance of healthy food pictures. A lot of these healthy foodies add ingredients and directions as to how to make the food as well. This is very helpful, as it obviously allows us robot humans to follow the programming we’re essentially being given by these social media influencers. It also helps that the ‘healthy food’ seems to look amazing when photographed and posted - I wonder how many filters and lightroom edits were used.
Epigram / Jane Cowie
This is an ageless debate that will probably be forever unsolvable, but, it is necessary to remain an informed member of society and analyse and formulate your own opinions about the pros and cons of such people. As my mama always told me, ‘Knowledge is power’.
Food also holds a lot of trends that can be easily proven to be a fad in a matter of a few days
But, at the opposite end of this argument one could say that these accounts are actually detrimental to society. By posting glamour shots, they are effectively enforcing stereotypes about beauty and trying to legitimise themselves through positing healthy foods. What bothers me while going through some of these healthy foodie accounts, is the lack of actual nutritional science information behind the photos they share with the world. A lot of the pictures posted depict all of the foods that someone would stereotypically assume are healthy but, they don’t show any of the nutritional information. Isn’t one of the most important aspects of being healthy, knowing exactly what is going in and out of your body? Just like clothing, it seems as if food also holds a lot of trends that can be easily proven to be a fad in a matter of days. A lot of diet trends that are endorsed
Epigram / Holly Penhale
With the power of the internet comes serious consequences. The internet has revolutionised the ways human beings live their lives. People have the power to connect to a global community and interact with people all around the world. One of these new afforded powers is for ‘normal’ people to share their lives with others and inadvertently - or advertently - influence others with their content. It has allowed people to choose who and what they want to see in their daily lives.
by healthy foodies are ones that emphasise or even drastically tell people to cut out food groups. Is this not enforcing unhealthy mindsets? These healthy foodies effectively villainise some of these food groups - I’m talking about you, carbohydrates - and depict them as something that isn’t healthy and will actually make you fat. Whilst everybody is different and reacts to different foods in different ways, it is important to note that a lower number on the scale doesn’t always equate to a healthy body. Depriving one’s body of necessary nutrients that they normally get from some of these villainised food groups can actually have an adverse effect for people’s health. There is no doubt that foodies have the power to influence and change the way people think about food. I think it’s important that people take into consideration the science behind foods and really listen to their own bodies. Foodies and people in general have the ability to portray themselves anyway they want. That’s one of the great wonders of the internet. But, when it comes to something as personal as food people can’t just look at someone they perceive as fit and blindly listen to every food, diet, and exercise tip they’re given. So, in conclusion, healthy foodies have their pros and cons but, it’s important people realise foodies aren’t always right - they’re human too.
First year, Law
Healthy hype? A closer look at gluten-free diets Josh Francis explains why going gluten-free might not be as healthy as you think
Going gluten-free has occupied the mainstream foodfocused vernacular for several years, but now its health credentials are increasingly being placed under the proverbial microscope. Here, we take a closer inspection… Before diving into the murky waters of pros vs cons, however, a critical distinction must be made. And that means dabbling in a little science - only a little, promise.
Eight per cent of Brits are said to be followers of a gluten free diet
Over the past several years, however, the uptake of glutenfree lifestyles based on supposed health benefits, instead of medical needs, has skyrocketed; around eight per cent of Brits are said to be followers. Indeed, abandoning the traditional bread-bin has been advocated by both health whizzes like the Hemsley sisters and hip celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow as another string to the ‘clean’ eating bow, with purported benefits ranging from weight-loss to smoother skin.
For coeliacs and those with gluten sensitivity, the necessity of staying away from gluten is obvious; less apparent is the dramatic rise in health-driven abstinence, despite a dearth of proof that it produces the aforementioned effects. Arguably, wellness figureheads who live by a gluten-free mantra have made it a mesmeric trend, more of a fashion label than an
But it’s not all health-conscious celebs. Many pro-cycling teams are now pursuing gluten-free regimes, while tennis maestro Novak Djokovick, who is gluten-sensitive, swears by the performance benefits. Surprisingly, however, the evidential basis for this shift seems limited, at best.
Epigram / Jane Cowie
Gluten - a protein originating in rye, barley and wheat that lends doughy produce its elasticity - manifests itself in all manner of everyday foodstuffs, as well as some drinks and even cosmetics. But it initiates an immune reaction in people affected by coeliac disease - about one in every one-hundred Britons. This means gluten damages the small intestine lining, with potentially severe consequences, including infertility and seizures. Gluten sensitivity is similar but less severe, with the intestine remaining unaffected by the protein.
eating habit. Indeed, in 2016 Zara even produced a t-shirt inscribed with the inquisition, “Are you gluten-free?”, until a bitter backlash by coeliacs prompted its withdrawal. Moreover, with gluten-enriched substances appearing in various cosmetics, brands are increasingly hopping aboard, even crafting quinoa-based alternatives.
A central tenet underpinning the anti-gluten movement is that, as humanoids, we’re not built to digest it. But research from the University of Utah indicates our ancestors were fuelling-up on wheat 3.5 million years ago, eons before we began to feast around the primordial hog-roast. Another claim that cutting gluten can improve heart vitality finds no support from a Harvard study, which analysed over 100,000 individuals across a 26-year period. Indeed, for those without medical cause, the scientific compass appears to swing towards the risks, rather than rewards, of going gluten-free. Importantly, cutting out carbohydrates like bread may diminish uptake of whole grains which promote a healthy heart and provide quality dietary fibre. Meanwhile, barley and wheat are a source of inulin, a prebiotic substance that aids your gut - another hot topic in the world of wellness - while a 2017 analysis suggests limiting or purging gluten entirely may
elevate the danger of Type-2 diabetes by up to thirteen per cent. Opting for gluten-less eating may well result in weight-loss, as regular processed foods and sweet treats are off the cards. However, with cakes and bakes now readily available in glutenfree incarnations, this could actually result in additional pounds, as many free-from products have greater quantities of fat and sugar to compensate for banished gluten. A recent paper from the University of Hertfordshire found most gluten-free options (the humble cracker being the exception) in UK supermarkets were nutritionally weaker than their counterparts; what’s more, they were up to two and a half times pricier - worse for waistline and wallet alike. Ultimately, a gluten-free diet is, as mentioned, unavoidable for coeliacs. With the possibility of government-led cuts to glutenfree prescriptions, the supermarket prices alluded to above are concerning. What’s more, as highlighted by the Zara t-shirt debacle, the ‘fashion-isation’ of booting gluten – ostentatiously proclaimed as a ‘cleanser’ for the soul – risks belittling what is, lest we forget, a medical issue. Overall, it seems clear there is no real evidence reinforcing glutenfree health-kicks; of course, as in life generally, there are shades of grey, but the overwhelming consensus points to the advantages of retaining gluten as part of a well-balanced, everything-inmoderation kind-of lifestyle. However, with supermarket shelves wheezing under the rise in free-from fare, and restaurants evermore attending to wheat-wary customers, gluten-free is likely to continue to be part of the gastronomic conversation. Whatever your view, just avoid sticking it on a t-shirt. To find out more about gluten and coeliac disease, visit coeliac. org.uk. If you think you might have a gluten intolerance, check with your doctor first before removing it from your diet.
Fourth year, Geography
Editor Nancy Serle firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Editor Lottie Moore
Online Editor Hannah Worthington
Epigram Style 2017/18
90s sportswear: an unlikely introduction to androgyny Style writer Ben Jaffe discusses Bristol’s obsession with the 90’s sportswear aesthetic and its implications for gender normative style amongst students. Aside from a few pockets of progression, the majority of Bristol University’s student life is embedded with gender normativity and sexism. Problematic attitudes exist casually across the campus, and sports night (a weekly club night where sports teams receive discounted entry for their members) is merely a formalised demonstration where activities such as ‘pull the ugliest girl’ are reported. Surely it would follow that fashion, one of Bristol students’ best-known exports, would follow suit? That the cosmetic image of the student population would, at least in part, reflect the content? Amongst Bristol University undergraduates,
else may wear Gucci. The difference is Adidas is both comfortable and holds a (false) image of not trying as hard to look stylish. What is unique, however, is that this return to 90s sportswear fashion offers an unlikely introduction into the world of androgynous fashion. For many people, clothing is a potential opportunity to dispose of a gender binary and normativity. From performative drag to everyday androgyny, if one is willing to dare, fashion is an opportunity to break beyond the rigidity of social traditions. However, whilst for the bold, fashion may be about standing out, for most it is what the people they interact with are wearing. If a
shapeless garments. But to distinguish on size thoughtlessly assumes that all women will be smaller than men. Furthermore, to distinguish on colour is outdated; fashion has grown out of the idea that so-called effeminate colours are for women and so-called masculine colours are for men. The notion that 90s sportswear is androgynous is due to its contemporary resurgence. During the 90s and the early 2000s, these garments were mainly promoted and worn as fashionable sportswear, not as fashion in its own right. Today, retailers have reinterpreted the style. Many vintage stores make subtle nods, recognising the
wearing her boyfriend’s jumper around. Under the androgynous nature of 90s sportswear, he might very well be wearing hers. Bristol students are like many other students across the country who have transformed their wardrobes into that of casual retro sportswear. This contemporary British student style presents a comfortable and passive introduction into the genderless reality of clothing. Even if it is simply an androgynous grey Adidas sweatshirt. Undeniably, gendered fashion traits remain popular at Bristol, and on nights out clothing often accentuates gender normativity. But this does not detract from the fact that a fixation
90’s sportswear is evidently a leading fashion trend. To replicate the look, the iconography of brands such as Adidas or Champion is essential. If it is true vintage, even better. Fashion is famously cyclical, but the arrival of 90s sportswear pairs comfort with branding. Students are able to wear comfortable clothing while still demonstrating social status by wearing branded items that aren’t typically cheap. Simply, students wear Adidas around campus for the same reason someone
community wears gender normative clothing e.g. women in skirts and men in trousers, then that is what people in the community will perceive as stylish. But this is where 90s sportswear is different. Key components of the style (sweatshirts, sneakers and tracksuit bottoms) vary insignificantly, if at all, between the different ‘target genders’ they were designed for, and consequently are somewhat androgynous. The only gender variations people could cite are the colour or size of these fairly
androgynous nature of 90s fashion by disposing of a ‘male’ and ‘female’ sections in their stores. Even ‘Depop’, the online vintage clothing giant, makes disclosing gender optional when signing up so not to narrow down suggested items. Decisions to not market clothes toward a specific gender, dismantle (in part) the construct of gendered clothing as garments are no longer arbitrarily matched to a target gender. Typically, in a heterosexual couple, a girl was distinct in
with 90s sportswear is introducing the idea of androgynous fashion to those who would otherwise shy away from the concept. This opening for androgyny in fashion does not undo the misogyny and gender normativity around campus, but items of clothing are visual props, and they undeniably contribute to the subconscious values of a community.
A tribute to... my Han Fu blouse (Han Fu): It refers to the attire worn by the Han people from the enthronement of the Yellow Emperor (about 2698 BC) till the late Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD). It became known as the Han Fu (“fu” means “clothes” in Chinese) because the fashion was improved and popularised during the Han Dynasty. It is usually in the form of long gown, cross collar, wrapping the right lapel over the left, loose wide sleeves and no buttons but a sash (travelchinaguide.com). To my shame, I have never actually delved that deep into Chinese history - fashion or otherwise - let alone actually visited the country. I am the cultural equivalent of the person who wears a Nirvana T-shirt and hasn’t even heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. It is with this foot-shuffling apology that I’d like to present this tribute to my favourite item of clothing: a red Han Fu style (according to the internet) blouse. I didn’t purchase this top on my gap year. Nor has it been passed down the ages by my Chinese foremothers (my grandmothers are
Welsh and German). In fact I found it, in a stroke of divine intervention, a few days ago while worrying about what to write for this article. If you are familiar with the huge vintage shop on Park Street called ‘Thrift’- haha I had to eat porridge all day to afford this shirt but it’s finethen you will know that their lack of changing rooms and returns policy makes every purchase a leap of faith. I don’t know how you feel about stripping off in front of strangers to try on a shirt, but I opted against this, deciding instead to carpe diem and buy the top without even seeing what it looked
like on… Anyway, it was a risk worth taking: it’s a fab shirt, it’s red, it’s shiny, and it’s currently in my laundry bag because I wore it while trying to make onion rings from scratch. It looks as good with a mini skirt as it does with flares, and it has a charming habit of unbuttoning itself when you least expect it to. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must wear a Nirvana T shirt while listening to the Hairspray soundtrack.
Millie Haswell First Year, English
l-r: Instagram/ @vintagecomeupuk, Instagram/ @vintagecomeupuk, Instagram/ @vintagecomeupuk, Instagram/ @vintagecomeupuk, Epigram/ Millie Haswell
Ben Jaffe Second Year, French and Philosophy
Do you have a favourite item of clothing or want to pay homage to a particular fashion icon? Message Epigram Style on Facebook, Twitter to write a tribute...
H&M’s hoodie scandal: intentional or misguided?
Style writer Jemima Carr-Jones shares her thoughts and opinions on H&M’s recent scandal: THAT green hoodie.
This has caused monumental controversy in the media
Unfortunately, this process has lost the Swedish multinational company - who have previously collaborated with a multitude of big names such as Karl Lagerfeld, Madonna, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Versace and Beyoncé - partnerships with singers G-Eazy and The Weeknd who took to Twitter writing, ‘Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…’
Last month, H&M UK released an advertising campaign on their website in which a young black boy, Liam Mango, models a green jumper which has etched on it ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’. This has caused monumental controversy in the media-of-late due to racial connotations drawn between ‘monkey’ and the boy’s African heritage. The image has now been taken down and a series of apologies released by the company: ‘We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering. It’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.’ ‘This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended’. The company have since additionally hired a diversity leader.
They were not the only A-Listers to express their opinions on the subject matter: Lebron James added to the backlash by tweeting, ‘I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that we can never be denied!’. Shortly after, James reposted the image on his Instagram, editing on a crown where the original message had been positioned. Sean Combs aka. ‘Diddy’ likewise responded, instead altering the message to write ‘Coolest king in the world’, tweeting, ‘Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and supernatural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful.’
This is not the first time that H&M has required defending in the recent past
Meanwhile in Sweden, the parents of the child Terry Mango and Frank Odhiambo, have stated that they do not believe the image to be of racist content. Of the couple Terry Mango has been especially penalised by critics for her comment instructing people to ‘get over it’ and has since expressed that she is now viewed as ‘an embarrassment’ to black and African-American people for defending H&M. Interestingly, this is not the first time that H&M has required defending in the recent past, the company is no stranger to media storms and public scandal: in 2013 issues arose regarding a collection of faux-feather headdresses released in Canadian stores as many perceived the accessories to be ‘offensive to Canada’s First Nations aboriginal peoples’. Although the company swiftly removed the item from the annual summer music festival collection, an official apology was never issued. In 2015 H&M South Africa were accused of having a distinct lack of black models in their photography. The company published a response
Style Pick: Instagram of the week
stating, ‘H&M’s marketing has a major impact and it is essential for us to convey a positive image. We want our marketing to show our fashion in an inspiring way, to convey a positive feeling’. This, of course, proved problematic in that this directly insinuated that the brand views white models as disseminating a more ‘positive image’. Now, in 2018, there is of course the debate of the green hoodie. If you ask me, I’d say first, one must consider the dictionary definition of racism, which is: ‘prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.’ In light of this, I reject the notion that the green hoodie with the aforementioned words written on it are racist as they simply do not insinuate prejudice or superiority among races. It is well known that, as part of British culture, calling young children ‘monkeys’ and other variations, such as ‘cheeky monkey’, is perfectly normal and purely a term of endearment. Would you suppose had the hoodie said that the child was a ‘silly sausage’ that H&M thought the child to be a ‘meaty child’? Of course not! The hoodie was admittedly tactless in a time of such societal scrutiny of what is politically correct.
jumper has damaged the brand irrevocably with the Swedish clothing giant having to temporarily close their stores in South Africa due to protests and demonstrations. This is perhaps more a reflection of naive misguidedness and lack of liaison with diverse focus groups, rather than abject and intentional racism.
Liam Mango is blissfully unaware of the media storm he has created
And you will be interested to know that Liam Mango to this day is blissfully unaware of the media storm his H&M modelling has created.
Jemima Carr-Jones First Year, English
I reject the notion that the green hoodie with the aforementioned words on it are racist However, in this scenario I believe there is only racism in considering there to be such a thing the supposition of a link between monkeys and the boy’s race, his African heritage. In light of this, I would say that it is highly unlikely that H&M’s objective was to cause serious offence, or to offend their consumers; this scandal has had zero benefit to the business. The green
Online Style editor Hannah Worthington introduces you to @katiejanekonstanz to update your instagram feed. Katie’s instagram page is brimming with style ideas, beauty bits, baked treats and creative days out in Bristol, making her page a perfect follow for a student in the city. From beautiful bedroom decor inspiration, to brunch spots on the harbour, or picturesque skylines of Bristol’s balloon fiesta, Katie’s instagram is all about the aesthetic. One of the best features about Katie’s profile is that she always attaches her location, so, if you see a cocktail you fancy, or maybe afternoon tea, it’s highly likely to be tagged so you can have try it yourself. If pastels are your thing, check out her page with just over 1,000 photos to brighten up your feed. Instagram/ @katiejanekonstanz
Editor Nick Bloom email@example.com
Deputy Editor Evy Tang @evy_tang15
Online Editor Ellie Caulfield
Epigram Travel Section 2017/8
Ever looked for love abroad? Or desperately rejected it?
In a “Travel Tales: Valentine’s Day” edition, Bristol students recount their intimate moments on the road
Calzone and canals in Venice? Evening salsa class in Asunción? Romantic bike ride in Leiden? Snuggled up in chilly Edinburgh? Laughter and wine in New York? Late-night wander in Tehran? Breathtaking opera in Innsbruck? Dancing and fiesta in Nairobi? Magical star-gazing in El Dorado? Hot cachaças night in São Paulo?
I became friends with a bar tender at a gringo-filled club in downtown Bogotá. He was fairly personable and threw a few free drinks into the mix, so why not? When he found out I was leaving the county, he decided it was the right time to text me to ask whether we could spend the night together just once before I left. Of course he had a long-term girlfriend. I wasn’t surprised. In fact, at times I reckoned polygamy was institutionalised in Colombian culture. I never understood why he thought he had a chance. I was even good friends with his girlfriend! “She doesn’t have to know,” he initially told me. I then received an ambitious message - “Only once, between you and me. I won’t see you ever again” - but he quickly backtracked when I lost my temper. He eventually apologised and we parted ways on fairly good terms. Thanks, compadre, but no thanks. Don’t really know what else to say. It was weird.
Steamy sauna nearby Damascus? Open-air museums in Aarhus? Gold-spired temple inYangon?
Bristol students give us the low-down on their most memorable romances abroad...
Your first crush. Lives long in the memory, doesn’t it? I was in Portugal on holiday with my parents and sister, kicking back by the pool under the baking sun. Girls were a still bit of a mystery - I think I was still in the maddening PlayStation days - but when I caught sight of another young holiday-goer elegantly lowering herself into the water... “Stop! You’re staring,” rang in my ears. I couldn’t help it. Long brown hair, tanned skin, cute smile and big blue eyes. She looked a little older than me and a lot more self-assured. And when I heard her speaking in Italian I thought she must have been sent by the gods. I desperately wanted to pluck up the courage to talk to her, to try out the one phrase I knew in her language, “Maria, la chiave!” - what was I thinking?! - and set myself the impossible task of attracting her from afar. Puff your chest out, tense constantly and act as if she didn’t exist. I had little success. A furtive glance across the breakfast room sparked far too much excitement on my side, and mild bemusement on hers. Days went by until one morning I told myself enough is enough. I strode purposefully to the pool - I’d noticed she’d gone there just before lunch every day. Lines? Check. Smile? Check. English charm? Check. She’d already left. Gutted. Lesson learnt.
I was seeing an Italian guy throughout my entire time working in Italy - we went on romantic dates, I met his friends and went out with them, and I even met his family and took his dog for a walk once! We knew our time together had a sell-by date but he’d often tell me how he dreamed of moving to London one day to start his career as a sommelier, and told me I was now another reason why he wanted to move there. After I had been home for a few weeks I noticed he had blocked me on all social media, but didn’t take much notice of it because he had still been sending me messages saying how much he missed me. Long story short, I found out that he had been in a relationship for 4 years with a girl who he had introduced to me as his friend whilst I was there.
Interested in travel? Want to boost your CV? Write for us!
Travel Tales - stories worth telling from your trips abroad Travel on a Budget - tips on how to keep the costs down while at university EcoTravel - the importance of sustainable travel and how to reduce your carbon footprint Foreign Affairs - political news/travel safety - or the actual affairs you’ve had abroad..!
Epigram / Nick Bloom
We’re always on the lookout for contributors - any background, with any travel experience/ interest - to improve Epigram Travel. We want our section to be as accessible, interesting and “worldly” as possible! It’s a fantastic way to share your ideas, get out of the Bristol bubble, reminisce, and develop your writing skills. From now on, we will feature several themed articles - see below - in every #EpiTravel issue, so stay tuned and contact myself, Evy or Ellie if you fancy sending us a piece or two.
Flickr / Pedro Szekely
Perhaps it was his strong hands grasping the pipes, or maybe it was the tartan kilt and the mystique of whether he was wearing something underneath. Whatever it was, the only thing I know for sure is that I fell in love with a Scottish bagpiper on my trip to Edinburgh.
Epigram / Evy Tang
I never told my ex-girlfriend that on a ‘boys’ holiday’ to Prague, I slept with an Aussie traveller. Come to think of it, I never told the boys that I did it in our shared hostel room either. My companion and I raced back to the club in a cab, hoping to pass our disappearance off as an extended cig break. Not that I even smoke or anything. Karma works in mysterious ways, though: that girl and I are no longer ‘dating’, and I’ve not seen that friend for over a year.
When I was working as an au pair in Germany, I fell in love with a local Berliner. Having a partner who is a native in the language you are learning is a great way to pick it up quickly. I’m now working on my French so allez les gars, envoyez-moi un message... ;)
I jetted off to NYC last summer, only to end up spending Saturday night at ‘Sapphire’, an upmarket Manhattan gentleman’s club. Frankly, I quite liked what I saw. And it turned out so did she. She, my interlocutor, was a student trying to pay college tuition. She loves blue eyes and British accents. She loves “tall, tanned guys, with stubble”. She’s been to the Tate and has seen Prime Minister’s Questions. So she brought me to a private room to explain just how much she loves blue eyes, British accents, tall, tanned, Tate-going, PMQs-watching guys. And it turned out she liked them a lot. For free. I got her number and found her IG. Her bio says she’s a “performer and aerialist”. I hope she stuck with college though. 30 minutes later... Emboldened by this success, I looked on as another woman approached. She, too, liked blue eyes and British accents. Minded to move through the gears a bit quicker this time, I asked for her number. “Honey, do you know how many blue eyes I see every day?” she shot back.
Nick Bloom Travel Editor
You can’t win ‘em all.
Tudo bem, tudo bom...Why should you visit Brazil?? Tim Dodd takes us on a whistle-stop tour of Rio de Janeiro Epigram / Tim Dodd
Rio is an exciting mix of culture, mountains, beaches, skyscrapers and forest, making it quite unlike anywhere else I’ve been in the world. This summer I was lucky enough to travel to Brazil to volunteer for four weeks. With so many sights to see, mountains to climb, and caipirinhas to drink, there really isn’t a dull moment in this city. Let me share with you the whistle-stop tour which without doubt provided me with some of the best memories of my life so far. Let’s start with the most obvious: Christ the Redeemer, or Cristo Redentor to the locals. A cable car trip takes you on a steep scenic incline up Corcovado mountain to the statue. You can hike up - which I’d love to have done - however, I wouldn’t advise this unless you’re in a large group or with locals, as I was told many tourists get mugged on the way up. As spectacular as he is, Jesus himself is only half the picture. Swivel yourself around and you have yourself a view of the harbour, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and definitely one of the most breath-taking views I have seen.
Epigram / Tim Dodd
Speaking of views, look no further than Morro Dois Irmãos, or ‘Two Brothers’ mountain. This one is a safe but challenging hour-or-so hike. The trail is pretty much created from footsteps over the years, so be prepared with grippy footwear to hang onto trees, be greeted by marmosets, and climb up some slippery rocks to get to the top. Also look out for clearings in the forest, as the route up has incredible views of the favela below.
The view from the top is just spectacular, but absolutely check the weather forecast before you go, as you could literally find yourself in the clouds with brief glimpses of the city, like I did. To get to the base of the mountain, you’ll enjoy your first favela experience as you enter via Vidigal, the most tourist-friendly favela in Rio! Definitely visit a favela whilst you’re there, but only if you’re with a tour or some locals who know where they’re going, or you could end up at gun point, which happened to a friend I made at the hostel. Be sure to check out Escadaria Selarón, also known as the ‘Selarón Steps’ - a set of world-famous steps by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón, who claimed it as his ‘tribute to the Brazilian people’. With 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world, this will be the most engaging staircase experience of your life.
With 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries, this will be the most engaging staircase experience of your life
After searching high and low, I finally found the Welsh tile, making me very happy to have a taste of home when I was on the other side of the world. Finally, no trip to Rio is complete without a visit to the famous Sugarloaf mountain. Proudly standing 396m high, a cable car journey will take you to the top where there are superb panoramic views of the city, especially if you go for sunset, alongside places to eat, drink and relax. My four days was simply not long enough for a city that has so much to offer, so if you’re planning to go, I would advise you to spend at least a week there to fully experience it. Of all the cities I’ve visited, Rio is my favourite; having met such wonderful people, I know it won’t be long before I return.
Speaking of views, look no further than ‘Two Brothers’ mountain
Check out Epigram Food this week for the best food to eat while travelling! Are you a fan of Chilean empanadas? Or are you more into Japanese sushi vibes? We believe that one of the most exciting things about travelling is all the food on offer - endless new flavours and concoctions to taste. This week we’ve teamed up with our EpiFood pals to bring you our favourite culinary delights on the road... Yum. Flick back to pages 24-25 to read more.
Nick Bloom Travel Editor
Epigram / Tim Dodd
Epigram / Nick Bloom
Epigram / Nick Bloom
PS: If you don’t have the time or money to travel, get yourselves to Camden’s street food market in North London. You’ll find the world’s best food on your doorstep!
Tim Dodd Third Year, Biology
Travel on a Budget: BlaBlaCar is the AirBnB of transportation Travel Editor Nick Bloom discusses why BlaBlaCar still hasn’t exploded onto the UK scene
The French app works much like uber - there is social network verification, driver reviews and ratings and even “ambassadors”, who have experience using the service. You can tailor your journey needs to the driver; if you fancy a chat with someone your age, you can easily select a driver profile which matches a personalised set of criteria.
Why this isn’t popular in the UK beats me. What’s not to like?
Given an opportunity to make up ground and invade some Ubercontrolled territory, BlaBlaCar has gone from a small start-up to a global competitor. The company has come a long way since it was founded in 2006, when founders Nicolas Brusson and Frederic Mazzella found it difficult to convince customers and potential investors that it was anything but “hitchhiking online”. Now, the BBC reports that the company is worth well over £1 billion - generating revenue by taking a percentage of the cost of journeys - and that millions use its services every months. BlaBlaCar has evolved into an attractive employer, launching successful advertising campaigns and playing on notions of camaraderie, trust and friendship, as well as offering practical and affordable travel solutions.
I, for one, used the app this summer, travelling from Bordeaux to Barcelona for €30. The journey was great; I was driven by a young, chilled out French guy and spent hours talking to him about his work for a humanitarian NGO in Africa and the first child his wife was expecting. We stopped for regular breaks, took it easy and “lived for the journey”, if you excuse the slightly crass cliché. So maybe we should listen to Tracy Chapman and give BlaBlaCar a go in the UK!
“You got a fast car I wanna ticket to anywhere Maybe we make a deal Maybe together we can get somewhere”
BlaBlaCar is well-positioned to make a name for itself
Are Brits less incined than our European neighbours to jump in a car with a ‘stranger’ for ten hours?
Epigram / Nick Bloom
Why this isn’t popular in the UK beats me. What’s not to like? For those of you who don’t know, BlaBlaCar is a long-distance ridesharing community, connecting drivers and passengers prepared to travel together between cities, and indeed countries, sharing the cost of the journey. Millions have signed up all over Europe and frequently use BlaBlaCar, either online or on the mobile app, to avoid extortionate train tickets or unsustainable air travel. Students, in particular, are aware of the financial benefits of sharing a ride over a long distance, and enjoy meeting new people to boot.
Nick Bloom Travel Editor
Travel on a Budget A new and essential fortnightly guide on how to minimise costs and maximise fun while travelling.
Here are some of our ideas for future issues... Stay tuned!
And yet BlaBlaCar isn’t that well-known in the UK, and there aren’t many established apps offering similarly cheap services. Is there a gap in the British carsharing market? Is this because we have fantastic trains and buses? Or are we less inclined to jump in a car with a ‘stranger’ for ten hours? It seems the latter is most likely - hitchhiking is frowned upon here, (extremely rare) cases of abductions or carsharing violence dominate the headlines and age-old adages that the Brits are introverts and socially inhibited still spark debate.
- Getting better flight deals online: Skyscanner and more - Efficient group budgeting and avoiding conflict - Food, glorious food... how to eat a lot for little If you have any more ideas, be sure to let us know and you may feature in the next issue of Epigram Travel!
Visit Paris with French Soc! Travel Editor Nick Bloom interviews Chloe Newman, French Soc’s Vice President, about their flagship event.
NB: Ooh la la! Go on Chloe, sell me French Soc’s trip to Paris! CN: Excitement! This term, we have organised a society trip to Paris for the first weekend of the Easter holidays. The trip is open to all our members, but the deadline is approaching and places are filling up fast!
crêpes along the Seine, tender frogs legs and garlicky snails for the more adventurous, oysters and crème brûlée for the more indulgent! And, of course, as many croissants as we can get our hands on and plenty of café au lait to keep us energised for our jam-packed schedule! NB: Is a weekend enough?
NB: Tell me more! Travel plans?
Epigram / Chloe Newman
CN: We’ll be taking a bus and ferry - typical student travel and the cheapest option. Money saved on travel can be put towards a fun treat, such as entry to an art gallery or a fancy patisserie. Also, nothing says group bonding like a 13-hour coach journey!
Defo! We’re planning on getting lots done, so get your walking shoes on! An afternoon stroll around Montmartre, a trip to Notre Dame and Invalides, a few museums, a bar crawl and lots of eating are on the menu. NB: The inevitable student question... How much is it?
NB: Talk to me about food... CN: The Committee has organised a group meal for the Saturday at a really lovely restaurant near the hostel. A coffee in Montmartre,
£149, including two nights accommodation, return travel to and from Bristol, breakfast, a group meal and a few additional perks!
NB: Last but not least...Are you worried about the Seine rising?! Of course!! C’est une catastrophe... The rat problem is bad enough in Paris! All jokes aside, the Seine is rising to levels that many fear will lead to worse flooding than the city suffered in the famous floods of 1910. I don’t anticipate that our trip will be affected, but I’m concerned that the floods will cause irrevocable damage to Paris’ beautiful architecture.
If you would like to find out more about UoB French Soc or the trip, please see the Facebook page or feel free to contact Chloe Newman.
Nick Bloom Travel Editor
â€œMeeting and celebrating all our different cultures with hundreds of people what an experience!â€? Meghna Jeetah
what kind of rep could you be? PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS
asian dub foundation (;3/25($&7,9,60$7%5,672/
lgbt+ history month
Nominations are open for next year’s student reps Which position should you stand for?
What would you like to organise? a. A free lecture event b. A protest c. A club night d. A puppy room e. A pub quiz in the SU bar What do you care about most? a. Tackling hidden course costs b. Accessibility for students, eg: wheelchair access c. Making extra curricular activities more affordable d. 0DNLQJVXUHÀUVW\HDUVKDYH enough support from their halls e. Making sure that everyone’s voice is being heard Which would you rather star in? a. A documentary about your subject area b. A video about sexual consent c. An aerobics video, in which you’re the instructor d. A video guide to coping with stress e. A political music video
Would you rather: a. Attend regular meetings with the most senior people at the Uni b. Organise a showcase of all our international societies c. Run a Give it a Go campaign, encouraging students to join societies d. Lobby lettings agents to lower agency fees e. Decide the menu in the SU bar Which would you rather work on? a. A panel at an event such as ViceChancellor’s Question Time b. A research project on the experiences of Black & Minority Ethnic students c. Offering training to student leaders d. A committee that sets halls fees e. A redesign of the SU’s democratic systems
Find out more about all the roles, and stand for any position at bristolsu.org.uk/elections by midday on Thursday 1st March.
#SUyesyou BRISTOL SU ELECTIONS
Mostly As – Academic Rep You want to help improve the academic experience at the University. You could be running lecture series or social events for your course mates, consulting on the development of new study space across the University, or campaigning for curriculum changes. Mostly Bs – Liberation Rep You’re most interested in working towards equality at the University. You could be organising marches against sexual violence, making campus more accessible for wheelchair users or working for a more diverse curriculum. Mostly Cs – Sports or Societies Rep You’re most interested in helping our student leaders develop their skills, organising events such as the Varsity series, or working to improve the room bookings system for student groups! Mostly Ds – Student Living Rep You’d like to be running campaigns around mental health or student housing, working with the SU letting agents or helping students live sustainably through initiatives such as bike-hire schemes. Mostly Es – Union Democracy Rep You want to make sure that all students are fairly represented and that the Union is run in a democratic and transparent way.
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LGBT+ History Month is a time for both celebration and remembrance. Throughout February, we are running events to tell the stories of how we got to where we are today, and where we go from here. There will be the opportunity to look at our history and to learn from a range RI/*%7DFWLYLVWVZKRDUHĂ€JKWLQJ to change the world today. Weâ€™re also drawing focus to aspects of our history and current experiences that are less well known, in the form of our LGBT+ Identities and Faith panel and remembering the forgotten â€œTâ€? in LGBT+ history.
fun along the way! For me, LGBT+ history month is an LPSRUWDQWWLPHRIUHĂ HFWLRQ6DGO\PXFK of our history is painful, and often illrecorded, so it is all the more important to celebrate the movements and people ZKRGDUHGWRVWDQGXSDQGĂ€JKWIRURXU rights. In my opinion, the most important part of history month is to continue on their legacy. Whilst, in law, we have equality, our reality is very different. And it is so important, now more than ever, to FDUU\RQWKHĂ€JKW:KHWKHUWKDWEH through embracing and celebration our identities, or through engaging in activism, we are LGBT+ history in the making.
But this is also a time to celebrate where we are now! This is a time for the LGBT+ community to embrace and share what our identities mean to us, and have some - Vala Biggart, LGBT+ Network Chair
The Big Colour Run 3 March
Total Varsity Wipeout 25 April
Ashfords LLP Harbourside 10K 29 April
See the full events listing and buy tickets at
VARSITYSERIES.COM All events are subject to change
WHAT'S ON Annual members' meeting Tuesday 27th February, 6pm, Anson Rooms All students are invited to attend the Bristol SU Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM), our largest democratic event with over 400 students attending each year. There will be student debate, policy making and reports from the %ULVWRO68(OHFWHG2IÀFHUV7KHUHZLOODOVREHSL]]D Doors open at 5:30pm and the meeting begins at 6:15pm sharp – please arrive early to sign in and get some pizza.
Sustainability Month: Protecting the Biosphere, Tuesday 13 February, 12-2pm, Odlum Room. In collaboration with the Green Curriculum team we’ve organised a series of panel events for Sustainability month. This panel will be based around the sustainability development goals of Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life on Land.
Richmond Lectures: Stuart Milk, Thursday 22 February, 6-7pm, Anson Rooms. Stuart Milk joins us on 22 February to deliver his talk "Global LGBT+ Rights and the Power of Your Story." Stuart is an international human rights activist and youth advocate. He is the co-founder and Executive Chair of the Harvey Milk Foundation.
Making History: LGBT+ Activism, Tuesday 13 February, 6-8pm. As part of LGBT+ history month, we have invited speakers that have a variety of intersecting identities. They will be talking about their personal experiences living with a variety of identities and how this has impacted their role in activism.
African Caribbean Soc Arts Space, Tuesday 13 February, 8pm, Balloon Bar Bristol ACS are taking over the Balloon Bar for a real treat this Tuesday with ACS Arts Space! Expect spoken word and singing performances before an evening of Open Mic. It’s going to be a night to remember…
Postgraduate Network Gala Dinner, Saturday 17 February, 7pm, Anson Rooms An exciting formal event for Postgrads across all disciplines and across all years to come together and celebrate their time at Bristol.
Story Slam | LGBT+ Edition, Sunday 18 February, 2-4:30pm, Wardrobe Theatre Come hear people's amazing true stories told live on stage. All stories are told by volunteers from the audience. Put your name in the hat for a chance to tell your story, or just enjoy everyone else's.
Proper Jokes Comedy Club, Thursday 22 February, 7:30pm, Anson Rooms Bar Join us as our comedy season continues with a night of laughs courtesy of Phil Jerrod and Suzi Ruffell.
For more information on all upcoming events see bristolsu.org.uk/events
Editor: Charlie Gearon Deputy Editor: Gabi Spiro Online: Tim Bustin Deputy Online: AshleyYonga @GearonCharlie
Film & TV
Oscar nominees 2018 announced - a necessary shake up of the establishment? Who’s being celebrated and who’s being snubbed for gold in this years film of cinema? Patrick Sullivan
Third year, Engineering and Design
Flcikr / BagoGames
For the past few years in particular, the Academy Awards has been embroiled in political controversy because of a lack of diversity. Every year, the glitz and glamour emphasises the systematic bias towards white men in the film industry. Finally, with the Oscar nominations announced on 23rd January, the industry has provided the opportunities to talented women and people of colour and will – thankfully – reward their successes at this iconic event. Throughout Epigram’s coverage of awards season, the leading actress nominees (Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormand, Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep) have been the shining light and their roles, and subsequent performances, represent a shift to more developed female roles this past year. alongside the universal praise of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The five choices for the award were the standouts, and only Jessica Chastain and Annette Bening, after their respective roles in Molly’s Game and Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, will be disappointed knowing their work would have been contenders for the title any other year. There were two surprise nominations in the Leading Actor category which epitomised the change in consideration from the Academy. Daniel Kaluuya and Denzel Washington Jr. sneak in ahead of James Franco and traditional frontrunner, Tom Hanks. The overall critical and commercial success of Get Out is a gamechanger, and the its inclusion in the ceremony will draw new interest from the general public. Heralded from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, the film is difficult to categorise, directly addresses the casual racism of the bourgeois society, and is an original concept from the mind of Jordan Peele. The celebration of the film, Kaluuya, and both Peele’s writing and directing a year on from its premiere is a sign of the lasting legacy Get Out will have. And, while the topic is legacy, Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer of Netflix epic Mudbound, is now the first woman ever to be nominated for the award. Considering the outrage over the inequality in cinema for actresses and female directors, it is remarkable how the ignorance of cinematography has lasted. Morrison is talented, has a growing portfolio including Fruitvale
Station, Cake, and soon to be Black Panther, and has broken through this lesser known glass ceiling. The recognition of Mudbound is part of a wider diversity beyond the obvious race and gender. It is the first non-documentary work produced by streaming pioneers Netflix to receive nominations at the Oscars. Mary J. Blige also becomes the first person to receive song-writing and acting nominations in the same year. Competing with Blige for the Supporting Actress gong is yet another surprise, Lesley Manville. Any fellow Bristol students who saw Manville grace the Bristol Old Vic stage in Long Day’s Journey Into Night in 2016 will know what a genuine performer she is. On the night I saw the play, she outshone the legendary Jeremy Irons and also won an Olivier award in 2014 for her role in Ibsen’s Ghosts. However, an infrequent performer on screen, she was not expected to feature at the Academy Awards this year, with a lower key role than her theatrical successes. Elsewhere, romantic comedy The Big Sick picked up an original screenplay nod, and of course the multi-talented Greta Gerwig will
make headlines for kicking down the door to enter the boy’s club that is the Best Director category, becoming only the fifth woman to do so. The frontrunners on all fronts are The Shape of Water, with thirteen nominations, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, with seven nominations, and Dunkirk, with eight nominations. Barring any further surprises, they – and Gary Oldman – will be the main winners on the night. However, the shunning of household names such as the aforementioned Franco and Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and more for a new, different cohort of voices was necessary for the continued relevance of film awards in a society growing in awareness.
You can check out the full list of Oscar nominees for 2018 at: http://oscar.go.com/nominees
Slapstick Festival: The Rocky Horror Picture Show review - the cult gift that keeps on giving Leah Roberts reviews the classic film, screened at Colston Hall as part of Slapstick Film Festival Leah Roberts
Second Year, German and Russian
Martha’s Vineyard Film Society
The fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) have always been known as dedicated and slightly obsessive, and this was definitely apparent this weekend at Colston Hall. The film was being shown as part of the now finished Slapstick Festival. The event was introduced by Jason Donovan, who played Frank N Furter on the 25th anniversary tour of this cult classic, and involved pre-show entertainment from drag performers in the foyer. The atmosphere was tangible, with most film-goers dressed as characters from the film. This led to much confusion for the few of us that had never seen the film before; the audience was constantly shouting and singing along with the film, with many of them wearing newspapers on their heads for one scene. The environment prior to the showing and during the film was incredible and was probably what made the night so special. The event capitalised on this cult following, with pictures of fans dressed up displaying on the screen, and Jason Donovan judging the costumes. The winning costumes were worn by an older couple clad in leather and extremely heavy white paint, assumedly dressed as Eddie, an ex-delivery boy, which goes to show that everyone is accepted into this so-called cult, and everyone could feel welcome, even in the presence of so many men wearing black thongs. When Rocky Horror was originally released in cinemas on the 14th August 1975, it only made $140.2 million at box office, with the majority of showings being cancelled and the film being generally
shunned by critics and the public. The cult following started to develop a year after release, when the audience began shouting along to the film. The film has subsequently never been pulled from the cinemas and is one of the longest running films of today, still being shown not just in the UK and USA, but all over the world. The casting was done perfectly, and Tim Curry gives an enigmatic and captivating performance as the lead part of Frank N Furter, a mad scientist who also happens to be a transvestite. It later comes to light that he is the apparent leader of Transexual Transylvania. Brad (Bostwick) and Janet (Sarandon) are extremely reminiscent of a perfect 70s American couple, with Janet constantly turning to Brad for help and protection and Brad trying to emanate the manliest man possible. The rest of the ensemble consist of people living in Frank N Furter’s house, supposedly all of whom have been in love with the mad scientist at some point or another, and are servants who clean, cook, and clean up all the blood that their master leaves around at every possible opportunity; the man is a borderline psychopath. The soundtrack really brings the film to life and is probably the most enjoyable aspect of the film. The catchy tunes and amusing lyrics make the film unique and was one of the last of its kind in this theatrical aspect but also inspired a new wave of musicals such as Grease. The soundtrack is arguably what makes this film so rewatchable and engaging. The film itself, however fascinating, was deeply confusing for a first-time watcher, but the devoted following of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will ensure that this incredible and arguably groundbreaking film will be enjoyed for decades to come.
Sleeping Rough review - ‘honest and humanising’ UoB third year student tackles Bristol’s homelessness head on, in a feature film about a fall from grace
Pastles Productions / Owain
Film & TV Deputy Editor This gritty, honest and humanising portrayal of street homelessness promises to create a stir amongst the local community. University of Bristol third year student Owain Astles screens his feature film Sleeping Rough in the Winston Theatre for its Bristol premier. Sleeping Rough was born after director and producer Owain Astles went out on the streets of Bristol and interviewed the homeless. He made a short documentary, and inspired by its reception and feedback, decided to work on the docudrama. After two years in the making, Sleeping Rough had its Bristol premiere at the Student Union’s Winston theatre, and will show at Watershed on 26th February as part of Homelessness Awareness week. The film follows three characters on their journey to homelessness, and dramatizes information collated from Astles’ interviews. Sleeping Rough overlays its beautiful shots with interview soundbites, constantly reminding the audience that, despite the film’s polished feel, all events are based on truths. All dialogue is ad-libbed and inspired by acting workshops featuring both the cast and rough sleepers. The mixture of drama and documentary combines to create an honest and touching film, unafraid to tackle difficult subject matter in a humane way.
Luisa Torre’s portrayal of Eva is particularly touching and believable. An immigrant, Eva is forced into gruelling, underpaid work in order to escape deportation. Unable to continue working under such circumstances, she is forced onto the street, and is uncomplainingly stoic in the face of adversity. Nolan Willis as Jack is also remarkable. In a poignant scene he calls his mother from a pay phone, and says nothing about his homelessness to protect her from the truth. The scene is heartwrenchingly sad, and Willis’ commitment to a genuine portrayal of guilt, obligation and raw sadness is impressive. Despite the film’s veracity, its focus on humanising and normalising rough sleepers seems to draw away from other issues surrounding homelessness. For example, the film negates to mention any problems of drug addiction on the streets. Perhaps in its attempt to dissolve the stereotypical association between homelessness and drug abuse, the film counterintuitively stigmatises and isolates users more. Yet Sleeping Rough stresses the help and support available to the homeless, shot on location in various homeless shelters and soup kitchens. It has a bittersweet note, highlighting the kindness and dedication of charity workers and institutions, and a sense of solidarity amongst the homeless community. As well as a film designed to raise awareness, Sleeping Rough encourages community engagement and support of these charities.
Most people have heard the troubling statistic that Bristol has the highest number of rough sleepers outside of London. The impact of this gritty film is strengthened by the audience’s awareness and personal responses and experiences with homelessness. Astles brings this to life by shooting in iconic Bristol locations, and student hotspots, like Stokes Croft and Whiteladies Road. Sleeping Rough opens with a beautiful, sensitive scene, immediately crushed by the reality of life. A couple gaze at each other under the sheets before the shot changes and we realise the man, Jack, is lying on the hard, damp floor of the street. The film closes with the same shot of Jack on the ground. Despite the tones of optimism, and occasional comedy, these paired scenes embody what Sleeping Rough is about – a fall from grace. The film lies at the stable intersection of professional, artistic and political cinema, projecting the voices of those who are ignored and marginalised by society, despite often being blameless. The film is admirable for its subject matter, and deserves praise for the crisp, high standard and production quality on such a small budget. Sleeping Rough is powerful, moving and truthful, and promises to make an impact in Bristol and beyond.
Catch Sleeping Rough at Watershed on 26th Febuary
This week in cinema history 14th February 1991: ‘I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti’ - The Silence of the Lambs premieres
flickr / varun suresh
When you think of horror, you think of Hannibal Lecter. Perhaps more than any other character in the cinematic canon, the cannibalistic, psychopathic and punishingly intelligent antagonist of The Silence of the Lambs is the archetypal bad guy. He perfectly encapsulates the ability to strike fear into on-screen characters and in-seat audiences alike. Anthony Hopkins’ performance is entirely indelible The character of Hannibal, though, is only half of the story. Due to Hopkins’ stellar performance, some of the finer details of The Silence of the Lambs often get swept under the rug. Tak Fujimoto’s cinematography, for instance, is criminally under-discussed. His tactile and precisely composed shots, punctuated by stark and gothic lighting embodies and mirrors the tonality of the film. The Silence of the Lambs also offered cinema one of the greatest female protagonists of the 90s. Jodie Foster’s Clarence served as a precursor for the like of The X Files’ Dana Scully, and even more
recently Frances McDormand’s character in Three Billboards. She is gritty, tough, and bucks outmoded on-screen female stereotypes beautifully. The Silence of the Lambs is remembered as an all time classic of not just of the horror genre, but of cinema in general. It’s one of the first pure horror films to receive real, widespread critical acclaim within the industry, picking up five Oscars in 1992, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director. It frequently appears on best-of-all-time lists, and rightly so. It is an exemplary study in pacing and atmosphere, which, despite its grizzly subject matter, never feels cheap or melodramatic; it fights tooth and nail to earn every terrifying or shocking moment, resulting in an unsettling experience which lasts long after the final credits roll. If romance isn’t your thing, maybe skip the rom-coms this Valentine’s Day, and revisit a masterpiece of the horror genre.
A Retrospective of Paul Thomas Anderson Watershed begins its PTA season in conjunction with the release of his latest, Phantom Thread Miles Jackson First Year, English and Film
Watershed / Tommy Curtis
Is Paul Thomas Anderson the greatest filmmaker working today? One would be hard pressed to think of any competitors, barring perhaps Scorsese, who regularly make films which are beguilingly complex and formally radical. Anderson’s latest film, Phantom Thread, was released earlier this month. To celebrate its release, Bristol’s very own Watershed are screening five of his films on glorious 35mm filmstock. Anderson is one of the few remaining stalwarts of the practice of filming and projecting on filmstock, and having seen some of his films in 35mm before it’s not hard to see why. They are universally sumptuous. The season is sure to be a treat - an extremely rare opportunity for Bristolians to see these films in the way they were truly meant to be seen. There are no bad Paul Thomas Anderson films, so you can’t really go wrong with which you choose to see. At the same time, it’s still worth taking a look back at the filmmaker’s storied career to see where and how his singular style evolved, and where might be the best entry points for newcomers. Anderson exploded into the cultural conscious with 1998’s Boogie Nights. From the first shot - a magnificent four-minute long take that might be one of the most exotic, exciting openings to any film ever - the film establishes itself as a wild, funny, alluring ride through the last days of disco. Featuring a killer soundtrack as well as star-making turns from a legion of acclaimed actors, perhaps the only real sin the film committed was in turning glorified meathead Mark Wahlberg into a movie star. Yet his starring turn as a ridiculously earnest pornstar named Dirk Diggler is perhaps the only vital work of his career, a performance that anchors the film’s wild and often unwieldy structure in a place of pure empathy. Boogie Nights was, shockingly, made when Anderson was just 26, but there is little in the film to belie his lack of experience. It’s perhaps a little less mature than his other works, not quite reaching the same profound psychological depths. But when a film is this much fun, that doesn’t seem to matter much. Following the widespread commercial and critical acclaim of Boogie Nights, Anderson was pretty much given carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. The result was Magnolia, a sweeping three hour epic of the lives of a bunch of lonely, broken people in LA. Like Boogie Nights, the film is a disarmingly lovely study in empathy. Featuring colourful characters such as a pickup artist played by Tom Cruise and John C. Reilly as the world’s nicest policeman (why
doesn’t this guy get dramatic roles anymore?), it’s by turns sad, sweet and daring. In an acknowledgement of Magnolia’s gargantuan length, Anderson sought to ensure his next film was both ninety minutes and a comedy. The result was Punch-Drunk Love, an often adorable but occasionally intense rom-com/thriller starring Adam Sandler. It’s a genuinely weird, idiosyncratic little film, and whilst it might not be considered Anderson’s best, I think it might actually be my personal favourite of his. There’s such an off-kilter sweetness about it, yet the film totally bucks cliche and saccharinity, instead offering a genuinely affecting portrait of a man suffering from chronic social anxiety and his lonely search for human connection. Many acknowledge 2007’s There Will Be Blood as Anderson’s masterpiece. A brooding, portentous epic starring Daniel DayLewis as an early 20th century oil prospector, the quasi-Western is a searing critique of American capitalism. Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview is one of his finest roles, a bizarre and almost comically exaggerated huckster who swiftly transforms into a monster, as greed eats him from the inside. The accolade of Anderson’s masterpiece goes, fittingly, to 2012’s
The Master. Perplexingly, however, it hasn’t been included in Watershed’s season - a shame, as it is quite simply one of the most beautiful films ever made and really deserves to be seen on the big screen. Instead, Anderson’s stoner-comedy adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice rounds out the bill. Far and away the weirdest film the director has ever made, Inherent Vice is a lengthy, sprawling mystery set in the dying embers of the 1960s. It’s incredibly slow-paced, features a genuinely incomprehensible plot and literally dozens of characters whose names are impossible to remember. For this reason, many will be turned away by it. Yet those able to lose themselves to the film’s jarring rhythms and suspend any desire to understand the intricacies of the film’s plot will find it an immensely rewarding, often very funny experience. There’s something rather hypnotic about it and its smoggy, hazy depiction of the ‘60s, and there’s a moving commentary on the dying dream of ‘60s idealism at its elusive core. It is definitely not the place in Anderson’s filmography to start, but those accustomed to his meditative pacing and profound dissection of Americana will find much to enjoy here.
Editors’ Picks This Valentine’s Day, break the norm with one of our favourite uncoventional romances
Twitter / yumikitchi37
Instagram / shrek4pres
Flickr / Enrico
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Alicia Wakeling Gus Van Sant’s road movie marks the dawn of a new era of cinema. Shrek (2001), the classic film by Dreamworks, is a perfect watch Second Year, The New Queer Cinema movement - a term coined by B. RubyFilm Rich & Television this Valentine’s Day. The green ogre Shrek falls in love with Fiona, in 1992 - aimed to deconstruct previously unquestioned attitudes toward gay and lesbian sexuality as portrayed in cinema. This movement presented a new opportunity for filmmakers, to create homosexual characters who were not victimised, nor depicted as sexual deviants, but rather painted in a humanistic and beautiful light. My Own Private Idaho is a perfect example of these changing attitudes. River Phoenix’s Mike is a tender and achingly sad character, whose sadness is not borne simply out of being gay; he is complex and conflicted, torn by allegiances to the man he loves (Keanu Reeves) and his estranged mother. It is a subversive masterpiece which begs to be watched and rewatched. Perfect Valentine’s Day watching.
a beautiful and genteel princess who is secretly transformed into an ogre at night. In the predictable rom-com arc, Fiona’s initial disgust at his beast-like appearance shifts to the realisation that he is simultaneously kind, brave and layered - like an onion. Yet Shrek also subverts predictability in a heartfelt scene where Shrek and Fiona profess their love and share a kiss. Fiona stays monstrous – unlike most romantic narratives, Fiona and Shrek don’t need to be attractive in order to be loved. The moral of the story? Ugly people can be happy too.
What if you fell in love with your A.I. phone? Sure it’s weird, but so is love. Think about how many real relationships falter in the long run; how some resort to telephone sex and chat forums. Can we call someone a weirdo for finding love in an unconventional place? How conventional does love have to be? Her is about the complex concept of love, told through Joaquin Phoneix’s vulnerable struggle to understand that the true power of love is not to cause regret when it ends but to cause growth. Heartfelt and rightfully embracing its idiosyncratic nature, this is a film that barely feels sci-fi, but rather a real near future. You can never provide solid answers when struggling to understand the irrational beauty of love, but only ask questions as earnestly and true to yourself as you can.
Editor: Alina Young Deputy Editor: Anna Trafford
Online Editor: Helena Raymond-Hayling Deputy Online Editor: Avital Carno
Why literary erotica is an artform
Bryony Chellew argues that sexy literature is more than just porn and can be a force for social change Bryony Chellew Second Year, English
Epigram / Kathryn King
The poetry of Sappho, one of the first female poets and also one of the first female poets to write about female homosexuality, shows the early establishment of eroticism and homoeroticism within literature, and illustrates that sexuality has been entwined with literature since the 3rd century BC (and most likely long before). In the current climate where male desire frequently takes precedence over female enjoyment- ‘feminist porn’ is a novelised category on most porn websites- the works of writers like Anne Desclos, a french writer whose erotic work was also originally banned on the grounds of obscenity, or Sappho can often provide consolation to the sexual validity of women as well as men. Erotica has often been criticised for lacking any kind of actual artistic merit, and relying merely on a narrative of explicit promiscuity. Despite the vast societal and canonical transformations that have undoubtedly come about as a result of erotic literature, its function as a focus on sexuality is also artistically valid; as Miller argues, ‘sex is at the heart of his writing’ purely ‘because it is at the heart of life’.
Epigram / Jenny Benson
Epigram / India Vecqueray
Sexuality has been a highly scrutinised and also historical aspect of world culture, forming the basis for a number of philosophies, religions, and works of art, which are still translated onto the pages of today. From Sappho’s Ode to Aphrodite, to one of the first mainstream erotic series, 50 Shades of Grey, erotic literature has a colourful and lengthy timeline that allows us to observe and connect to the ideologies, peoples, and desires of humanity’s past. Far from being just a form of pornography before the widely accessible porn industry, erotic literature has been a pivotal cultural catalyst throughout the 20th century, establishing many of the foundations our society is now built upon. The western canonical transformations undergone in the 20th century are largely responsible for our current access to freedom of speech and expression. The trial of Allen Ginsberg’s revolutionary poem Howl, originally criminalised for its sexualised and unashamedly explicit content, functions as so much more than just emotionless, titillating porn. In Ginsberg’s case, his erotic poem became a literary cornerstone; his ‘cocksucker’s, ‘cunt’s and ‘cock and endless balls’ may seem vulgar, and it was for these very additions to the poem that led to Howl becoming infamously placed on trial for obscenity. The trial of 1957 attracted widespread mainstream media coverage, and the publicity of such a trial - and such a poem - became so entwined with popular culture that Howl’s eventual acquittal then gave way for a number of previously censored books to be given publication, such as Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. All are now seen as classics, as central pieces of the 20th century canon- and all are terribly, delightfully filthy. Perhaps the reason erotica is so much more than just sheer titillation is because it is a form of art that uses a basis almost everybody can- or will, at some point- relate to. Everybody has a naked form, a libido, a sexuality; using this as a basis for art arguably just makes art more accessible to all, as opposed to the educated few. Establishing a grounding for mutuality not only widens art’s accessibility, but also helps to lessen the prudish social stigma surrounding eroticism and sex in general. Extending on this, erotic literature creates a space where even the most controversial or unorthodox of kinks are shown through a filter of consideration and appreciation- they are given a space through which they can be explored, observed, scrutinised. In this sense, erotica allows for both clarity for the curious, and perhaps consolation for those sharing the sexual desire they find themselves reading about. From Nabokov’s Lolita to Gaitskill’s Bad Behaviour, erotica allows us to discover more about the complexities of humanity and human desire through an art form which provides more validation and humanity than the sensationalised
pornography of the internet. The isolation that can often come with sexual uncertainties is perhaps, for a moment, lifted when reading about desires and sexual hangups similar to those experienced personally. Writing and reading erotica provides a good, healthy and non-harmful outlet for exploring sexuality through an artistic medium. In addition to this, despite the gender imbalance of the literary canon, women and female sexual enjoyment is given much more of a space to thrive in erotic literature, which polarises the often male-centric nature of most popular mediums of pornography today. Cleland’s 17th century novel Fanny Hill: Memoir’s of a Woman of Pleasure focuses entirely on the female protagonist discovering her own sexuality. Told entirely from a first person narrative, the sexual encounters are told from female-only perspectives, and focuses on the sensuality and femininity of sex, as opposed to sexual expression focused on a masculine domination.
Valentine’s Haikus ...with a twist We asked our writers to compose haikus to their one true (non-human) love Ode to Jungle Vision @ Lakota
Two waters please mate, My soul craves more BPM, All junglists, unite - Jonathan Bound 2nd year Biology
My yellow kitchen, Empty after a party: Tinnies and silence
Blue and white desire
An ode to Joe
You quench what is dry My disk of metal comfort Love you Vaseline
You got me so lit Full artisanal bliss Coffee, I love you - Hannibal Knowles 2nd year Geography
- Lucy Hall 2nd year Theatre Studies
- Millie Haswell 1st year English
Epigram / Jenny Benson
The dig life
Nike Theas, you make My heels bleed, but you are so wonderfully silver - Alannah Tail 3rd year Neuroscience
Trowels and steel-toed boots, Love getting down and dirty, Archeology - Tatiana Dowley 2nd year Arch. & Anth.
“Got a filter, mate?”
Sunset flash filtered Over waves moving over The edge at Land’s End - Esther Bancroft 2nd year English
Just want a rollie Baccie, rizla, check - and yet Fuck! Lacking filters - Tom Holmes 1st year Biology
An ode to hungover lunch
Noble other maps Telling of people and places Guiding the lost home - Nils Sorengaard 2nd year German & Russian
Can always smash some Cathedral City cheddar On a pasta bed - Morwenna Hall 2nd year Biochemistry
The Bear Pit: Bristol’s cross roads
Cameron Henderson went to investigate the community graffiti project, and uncovered the deep social issues plaguing this iconic Bristol landmark Cameron Henderson First Year, English
Φото.ART / Harry Bristol
as the Bearpit is shunned by much of the public due to its reputation for homelessness and inevitable crime, the problem remains screened from public viewing, covered up in much the same way as the graffiti. I am told how the police pass through the Bearpit on horseback once a week in a sort of parade. I cannot help noticing the ironic contrast between this ostentatious display of police presence and the startling lack of action taken. Indeed, a man has a ‘Spice’ attack while I am in the Bearpit - a paramedic quietly attends to him and the man comes around twenty or so minutes later, but no one bats an eyelid. I was less than thirty metres away and didn’t hear or see a thing, such is the normality of these incidents. Today is Sunday, ‘Suicide Sunday’ according to Anton, a local man who comes to the Bearpit to people watch and provide aid to those who ask for it. The volunteer-run food banks are closed on Sundays leaving the local homeless community to fend for themselves. It seems quite plain that more has to be done to help these people, indeed Bristol has one of the highest rates of statutory homelessness in the country, with 1 in every 170 residents homeless according to a report by Shelter. Meanwhile, St Mungo’s Broadway Charity estimate that the number of rough sleepers has tripled over the last 2 years. Attention has to be paid to the positive impact that cultural gentrification, encompassing street art, can have on locations such as the Bearpit. One only has to look across Bristol to the M32 spot to see this in action. Located beneath the M32 flyover, what was once a grimy area inhabited by homeless people and rife with drug taking has been refurbished after a crowdfunding scheme raised over £3000 in less than a month back in June. The space is now a thriving skatepark and community space, drug taking and prostitution has been drastically decreased and the skaters who now dominate the space organise regular clean ups. Street art has also played an important role in changing the aesthetic of the space, making the area feel more welcoming, as well as encouraging young people to visit, thereby helping to change the demographic of the space’s inhabitants. Yet still, young graffiti artists are persecuted by the police for their works - the problem appears to be treading the line between creativity and criminality. What does seem hypocritical however is how the likes of Banksy are venerated for their work, meanwhile his artistic contemporaries are persecuted and subjected to prison sentences completely disproportionate to the severity of their crimes. In the BBC documentary ‘Vandals and Visionaries’, the street artist Glynn Judd aka. ‘Noir’, who had his worked displayed at the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, speaks of the inmates he was locked up alongside, includ-
ing murderers, rapists and cannibals - is this really justice? In the city that plays host to Europe’s biggest annual street art festival, Upfest, more has to be done to bridge the gap between local artists and local government. The work of groups such as The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft is admirable: curating art exhibitions in the Bearpit and petitioning law makers to establish legal wall space to lessen criminal activity; however, it seems independent groups like them are single handedly upholding the city’s artistic reputation in spite of opposition from those in power. In this way the Bearpit acts as a microcosm for many of the city’s problems. Hearing the genuine human stories of the likes of Sammy B and Punk Paul made me come away from the Bearpit feeling deeply troubled. I find it hard to comprehend the amount of support these characters provided for others within their community, all the while dealing with their own personal problems, and the contrasting lack of support provided from those outside of it.
Φото.ART / Harry Bristol
Sammy B threw himself off Bristol Suspension Bridge last year, while Punk Paul died in the Bearpit this year from a suspected ‘Spice’ overdose, around 70 people attended his funeral in October. He is commemorated by a plaque in the Bearpit, paid for collectively by members of the homeless community. What is sad to hear is the people of the Bearpit’s lack of faith in the council’s efforts to aid the problem of homelessness in Bristol. Everyone I speak to appears to have the same opinion of the council - that they do not care. It seems that whilst they are aware of the problem of homelessness in the Bearpit, they would rather it was there than anywhere else - so long
Φото.ART / Harry Bristol
Φото.ART / Harry Bristol
Teenage skaters glide past bustling businessmen, elderly couples shuffle through the tunnels whilst artists paint upon their walls, seated at the piano a student is playing classical music, not ten yards from him a group of homeless people listen in. It’s Sunday, and I’m in the Bearpit for what has become a monthly repainting job organised by the Bearpit Community Trust - a group of volunteers whose aim is to manage the artwork of the Bearpit, maintaining a balance between standards the council threatens to impose and outright chaos. Not quite knowing what to do with myself, I pick up a roller and start to paint. I’ve been told to paint over the tags and other less impressive pieces of graffiti, leaving the works that take up the panels designated for the exhibition untouched. As I paint, Bearpit Community Trust volunteer Benoit Bennett (aka. object) explains to me the controversy surrounding street art in the Bearpit. Bristol is of course renowned for its rich history of street art stretching back to the 1980’s, and to many in Bristol the Bearpit is the defining symbol of this aspect of the city’s cultural heritage, so, I ask, why is the council attempting to crack down on it? According to Benoit, the Council claim to be responding to complaints from members of the public about what they view as unsightly vandalism, fulfilling their responsibility to maintain this public space. The council are particularly concerned with tagging, as they view the practice as merely vandalism, rather than a form of art. Benoit speaks passionately about his resentment of the council’s imposition of restrictions on artistic freedom, viewing the Bearpit as an important practice space for young artists to hone their skills. What is more, he believes that using it as a practice space will keep much of the street art to which the council is opposed concentrated within the Bearpit rather than spread throughout the city, as well as improving the quality of street art in Bristol as a whole. He makes the pertinent point that graffiti, when confined to an area such as the Bearpit, is in fact self-regulatory in the sense that artists will paint over other works they deem substandard. As an outsider I find it hard to comprehend that a city so celebrated for its street art could face so much opposition from within. The most recent reason for conflict has been over the controversial removal of a panel on WW1 protester Walter Ayles from an exhibition on Bristol’s radical history. The panel is due to be replaced; however, once again its removal brings to the forefront issues surrounding artistic freedom and local government’s power to censor individual expression - who controls this space? This seems to be the principal dilemma of the Bearpit,
whilst the most obvious answer seems to be that it is a space for the people, a space for everyone. The primary concern of the council on the other hand appears to be the link between petty crimes such as vandalism and the broader problems of drug taking and violent crime associated with the homeless community that inhabit the Bearpit, seemingly viewing the attraction of homeless people to the Bearpit as symptomatic of its aesthetic appearance. However, Benoit disagrees with this application of the Broken Windows Theory, opposing the conflation of graffiti and homelessness in the Bearpit. The reality behind the problem of rough sleepers in the Bearpit appears to be that so long as Bristol has a problem with homelessness, they will flock to the Bearpit due to the physical shelter that its tunnels provide, and so long as there are rough sleepers in the Bearpit, others will join them for its sense of community. This very tangible sense of community can be seen with the touching tributes to its recently deceased members: the likes of Punk Paul and Sammy B, that are littered about the Bearpit. The deference shown to these characters speaks volumes for the support they provided to many within this community; Sammy B was praised for his positive influence within the community, encouraging others to take up music to make money, rather than simply begging on the streets. Punk Paul was known for his kind heart, remembered for giving away his last penny to those who needed it more.
The fact that artistic expression, one of the few things that brings vibrancy and positivity to this dire situation, one of the few things providing an element of hope in its messages, is being attempted to be stamped out by an out of touch city council saddened me greatly. Meanwhile, the real problem of homelessness is ignored. According to Anton, the attitude of the police is: ‘shut your eyes and no one will know about them’. Herein lies the dark irony of the Bearpit: located quite literally in the heart of Bristol, not only famed as a symbol of the city’s reputation for artistic innovation and youth culture, but also a cross roads, bringing together people of all walks of life from across Bristol, yet at is core lies destitution - but the city turns a blind eye. All Photos Courtesy of Φото.ART © All Rights Reserved
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The fate of ‘world music’ Asher Breuer-Weil discusses the ‘woefully broad term’ ‘world music’ and the implications it has for different sounds trying to break out of this unspecific category of music.
What is a world music song? Or a Western song? Does the genre revolve around where the band is from?
Either way, for about an hour and a half they played a delightfully energetic set filled with swirling blues riffs and pulsating drum beats, mostly from their newest album Résistance, which if you haven’t listened to, you really should. It was exactly what I had come to see. But just as it felt like they were done for the night, the guitarist, Garba Touré, started to strum the all-too-familiar chords of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water.’ The singer, the unrelated Aliou Touré, then began a rather poor rendition of the vocals in English. Despite the Tuareg tinge to it, it was very much a Western conclusion to the concert. I started to think - how does one classify this? What is a world music song? Or a Western song? Does the genre revolve around where the band is from? Or where the song was written? In this context, it isn’t so important - Songhoy Blues are obviously a ‘world music’ band, and so one song played live doesn’t really matter.
Songhoy Blues performing at Rough Trade, 2017
and anything else is effectively put down. For those trapped within ‘world music,’ it is notoriously difficult to play outside of the few festivals and venues that cater to ‘world music.’ Being marketed as a part of the genre leaves little room for you to grow outside of its small and decrepit walls.
Some have instead attempted to rename the genre ‘global music’ in the hope of escaping its connotations
It seems relevant to note that the term ‘world music’ was initially coined in a London pub about 25 years ago, as a way of launching foreign bands into the market of Western music. It may have been a great idea at the time, and I suppose caused someone like me to listen to it 25 years down the line - but we have come a long way since then.
Charlie Gearon Third Year, English
Nils Frahm: All Melody
Flickr / Paul Hudson
What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘world music?’ I imagine that it’s anything from Malian Kora players to Indian Bhangra to Celtic folk. All of these would be fitting, as all of these are presently categorised within the woefully broad term of world music. Yet is there a way to refine the term? Can its horizons be reined in? I recently went to see Songhoy Blues, one of the biggest Malian Tuareg bands, perform at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, London. Already surprised that they secured such a big venue, I was even more shocked to find the venue at near full capacity.
But then my thoughts turned to Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s all-conquering ‘Despacito.’ Fonsi and Daddy Yankee were both born in Puerto Rico, the song is written in Spanish, and it is obviously a reggaeton song. So, is this ‘world music’? By almost every official definition that I’ve seen, it is not. It is either reggaeton or Latin pop. What separates desert blues and Latin pop from traditionally Western music? It is the same thing, i.e., that they are foreign to the West. Yet why is desert blues given the branding of ‘world music,’ and Latin pop is almost exclusively Latin pop or reggaeton? Perhaps because music from Puerto Rico can be readily associated with Spain and parts of America, and so becomes more easily ‘Western’? This doesn’t hold, however, because desert blues can easily be linked to American blues, and so could be regarded as ‘Western’ in the same light. Rather, I think that it’s basically a popularity contest. ‘Despacito’ blew up, Justin Bieber hopped on it, and suddenly it becomes impossible for it to be marketed as world music due to the limiting connotations that this carries. Instead, it transcends that tag and becomes the more relatable, and marketable, ‘Latin pop.’ This is not a complaint as such - of course the industry is going to try and market what will sell in the way that it sells best. But the downside of this is that it leaves the market of world music as the residue of foreign music that hasn’t made the mainstream cut. It has become a dark corner of the industry that seeks to mesh huge varieties of musical style and history together into one broad category. When something within this category takes the spotlight - rather than world music as a whole becoming popular - one style is filtered out and given a shiny new coat. The rest remains. For example, Reggae is an obviously Jamaican genre, yet due to its early integration into Britain and the US, it now is also a standalone genre. K-pop and BTS are the latest foreign music imports to break into the Western market, yet due to their popularity, have also been transitioned seamlessly from world pop into the more specific, K-pop. It gives off an offensively colonial attitude that what is Western taste is what can stand alone,
Asher Breuer-Weil Third Year, English
Nils Frahm has always possessed a unique ability to create music which feels like it’s alive. His loosely structured and sometimes improvised compositions are often sprawling and continually developing. They gradually explore themes and motifs with restraint and patience, allowing them to grow and diminish gently. While this ability has always been apparent, All Melody can be seen as the perfection of this craft. Half of the tracks run at 7 minutes or longer, and the entirety of the work lasts over 70. The album itself - as well as its constituent parts - feels like a journey, organically developing and always captivating. Part of the intrigue of All Melody comes from Frahm’s increased sonic arsenal. Several tracks feature choral parts, brass, and strings, as well as the usual collection of pianos and vintage analogue synthesisers. These features only add to the organic feel of the album and add a new element to the hallmark ‘post-techno’ sound which Frahm has embraced in his previous works. The album is, at points, fairly challenging and esoteric. The track ‘Human Range’, for example, features a close-miced and somewhat tortured dissonant trumpet part which leaks out over a bed of ambient strings. This may deter some listeners, but Frahm’s
I’ve noticed that Spotify now has no genre option for ‘world music,’ but has instead separated the bands once a part of it into the style of music that they play. Songhoy Blues now appear under ‘Blues,’ as they should, while K-pop and Latin are separate categories. Equally, British folk groups such as Lau are now no longer considered ‘world music,’ but come under ‘Folk & Americana.’ It is a welcome acceptance of this music into the general canon, though it still does not solve the problem. All it means is that the music will most probably become lost under the weight of more prominent blues, folk, and Americana bands or sound. Some have instead attempted to rename the genre ‘global music’ in the hope of escaping its connotations, though again, I don’t think that this will solve the problem. It will merely become a replica of the name that stood before it. I do not have the solution, nor am I sure if there even is one. Perhaps the music outside of the Western world is doomed to be only for those keen enough to seek it out. Maybe it’s audience will forever be limited. At least on the evidence of the sold-out O2 Forum, however, the issue is more a matter of principle than practicality.
ability to consolidate and resolve challenging themes such as these is almost uncanny. Here, and at other points throughout the album, it can almost seem as though Frahm has written himself into a corner. But, without fail, he manages to alter a piece of harmony, or add another instrument, or change a motif in some way, causing the piece to make sense suddenly. This makes for a challenging first listen-through, but on repeat listens, after gaining a better understanding of the brooding and meditative pace of the album, and of the general direction which the individual compositions take, it shows itself to be a well-constructed and infinitely detailed work. These more complex and sprawling pieces, including ‘Kaleidoscope’ and the eponymous ‘All Melody’, are interspersed with shorter piano interludes. These tracks are more reminiscent of some of Frahm’s previous work, particularly 2015’s Solo. Frahm’s piano work here is characteristically tasteful; using a technique first utilised in Felt (2011), Frahm mutes the strings of his piano with a piece of cloth, creating a gentle percussive tone which perfectly matches his minimalistic playing style. All-in-all it’s a challenging work to process after only a few listens. Like the music itself, All Melody is certainly a project whose impact will change and evolve. It begs to be re-examined and poured over again and again. Nils Frahm will be coming to Bristol for a live show at Colston Hall in February. While tickets are at present sold-out, music fans owe it to themselves to find some way of getting in.
Can you make too much music? Asher Breuer-Weil discusses whether artists can bring out too much material too soon, considering King Gizzard’s consecutive 2017 releases and BROCKHAMPTON’s album triology.
It’s not as if they were putting out weak material to satisfy a promise these albums could’ve been released over the course of a few years I suppose what’s more remarkable than the fact that they actually released all five, is that all five are properly worthy of release. It’s not as if they were putting out weak material to satisfy a promise - these albums could’ve been released over the course of a few years, and they wouldn’t feel hasty or rushed. But for all this work, I’m not sure that the reward for the listener is as great as it should be. It could be that my attention span is less than most people’s, but I find myself often having to listen to an album a number of times to fully grasp its atmosphere and what it might be trying to say. I can’t think of a single project that I’ve liked more on a first time listen than on a fifth. So, as King Gizzard’s albums were flying out, I found that just as I was getting to grips with
Review: Dj Marfox @ The Island 27/01 Joe Samrai Online Music Editor For those unfamiliar with Dj Marfox (real name Marlon Silva), he is a DJ and producer known for combining elements of Afro-Portuguese music such as Kuduro, Batida and Tarraxinha with UK Bass, House and Techno. The result is a polyrhythmic frenzy of non-stop energy. Alongside fellow producers such as DJ Nervoso, DJ Nigga Fox and DJ Lycox (and many more), Marfox has pioneered this hybrid sound in Lisbon and is now showcasing it around the world. However, it is ‘Príncipe Discos’, a label and collective from Marfox’s hometown of Lisbon that has pushed this unique club sound to the forefront of electronic music. On their Bandcamp page, the label states that it is ‘fully
2017 was a fantastic year for music; Kendrick Lamar affirmed his status as the premium artist of our generation, Lorde took pop to new places, Luis Fonsi brought reggaeton to the mainstream, Ed Sheeran and Drake smashed streaming records, and Cardi B, Post Malone and Lil Uzi Vert - three full-blown weirdos - shot to the limelight. There was so much good stuff coming out that it felt near impossible to keep on top of it. Yet within this wealth of music, there were a few bands who took it upon themselves to push the limits of just how much work you can put out. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard promised to release a whopping FIVE albums over the course of 2017, and true to their word, they achieved the unimaginable. Flying Microtonal Bananas was the curtain-raiser; followed by the more hard-core Murder of the Universe; then came the jazzy Sketches of Brunswick East; then Polygondwanaland; and finally, Gumboot Soup.
one of them, I felt the need to hop onto the next. They were released at such a rate that I couldn’t find the time to develop a relationship with any of them. Bearing in mind that I do listen to bands and artists other than King Gizzard, there simply wasn’t the time to delve deeply into any of their projects. Because of this, I found it detrimental to the music. My enjoyment of each album lessened, and I began to have less patience with every single one. As impressive as it was that they released all five, I would’ve been much more content with two or three. Given that - other than the last - these were all unique concept albums, it feels even more important to give them time. Migos’ Culture II that has just come out is unnecessarily long and contains too much material - but its music of which you know what to expect. You don’t really need the same patience to eat through the tracklist due to the form that the music takes, and so the amount of material is almost irrelevant. But for King Gizzard, the music is not throwaway music - it needs time. As much as we all like the excitement of a new album coming out, there is a case to be made that too much music is harmful to the enjoyment of it. A similar effect occurred with BROCKHAMPTON, ‘America’s favourite [new] boyband.’ Perhaps it was a coincidence that they did it the same year as King Gizzard, but they released three albums, Saturation I, II and III, all in 2017. Saturation I was one of my favourite albums of the first half of the year. It felt fresh, vibrant and unique, with a take on hip-hop as new as Odd Future’s was when they first emerged. It was an album that I properly got to grips with and enjoyed, and to be honest, still do.
With each album that was released, I found my interest waned
Then Saturation II was announced, and I got excited again. BROCKHAMPTON was a representation of youth and rebellion, of a ‘we don’t give a f**k’ attitude. Kevin Abstract, the lead member, sings and frequently raps about
dedicated to releasing 100% real, contemporary dance music coming out of this city (Lisbon), its suburbs, projects & slums. New sounds, forms and structures with their own set of poetics and cultural identity.’
At times, it felt like Marfox was pushing beyond 140bpm in moments that sounded like the combination of Hard-trance with Afro-Portuguese percussion It was a pleasure to see Marfox bring his sound to Bristol; an opportunity made possible by PTS, the local label and collective dedicated to bringing the most exciting new acts in electronic music to the city. The night began with support from PTS associates Ye Ye, Roy Bar and Mistareez, who in particular acted as a perfect precursor to DJ Marfox. Mistareez played tracks similar to the ‘Hard Drum’ sound of London based Her Records
being gay with little to no subtlety – ‘I just gave my nigger head’ is a line from ‘STAR’, Saturation I – and the other members equally write lyrics with a cold clarity of thought. Due to this, I was expecting the second Saturation to be equally new - to shock me the same way the first one did. After a few listens, however, I realised that it basically contained much of the same hip-hop style as the first - it was pretty much just an extension of it. This isn’t bad per se, but just left me a little disappointed. When Saturation III then dropped towards the end of the year, my expectations were lowered. Sure enough, it also followed much the same pattern.
Asher Breuer-Weil Third Year, English
I think it’s telling that they didn’t seem to make many end-of-year album lists because there’s no one work that you remember So, there were three very similar albums, each around 45 minutes long, all released in the same year. Like King Gizzard, I don’t think that there was a dearth of quality in any of the albums, but it was the fact that they released so much music that left me slightly disappointed. Each album by itself would’ve been enough to announce BROCKHAMPTON to the world, and to be honest, with each one that was released, I found my interest waned. They dulled the shock factor that came with the first album, and now it kind of feels like they’ve been around for a while - that they’re no longer new. In my eyes, if they had collated all three albums into one double record, it would’ve caused much more of a stir. I think it’s telling that they didn’t seem to make many end-of-year album lists because there’s no one work that you remember. They blur into a loose body of work without distinction. And this is all because they just released too much music, put too much faith in the attention-span of the listener to digest so much and maintain their interest. They already have an album lined up for 2018, and it seems strange to say for a group that I love, but I hope that it’s the only one. 2017 was a fantastic year for music, but perhaps we could turn it down a little for 2018.
label mates NKC, MM and Suda. The clear focus on percussion allowed a smooth transition into the rhythm-centric Kuduro sound that Marfox would provide later.Starting his set at 1am and playing for two hours, Marfox brought nothing but relentless energy from start to finish. The set began with some Reggaeton and Dancehall, similar to the likes of Dj Florentino’s production. A fitting introduction to the hyper energetic sound that was to come. Soon enough the tempo effortlessly changed gear to 140bpm and Dj Marfox’s hybrid club sound was unleashed to get everyone moving. When asked in an interview by Resident Advisor to describe his music to someone who has never heard it before, Marfox stated: ‘It’s 100% dancing and vibrant music, somewhere between house and techno, at 140bpm’. At times, it felt like Marfox was pushing beyond 140bpm in moments that sounded like the combination of Hard-trance with Afro-Portuguese percussion. It was music that was entirely unpretentious, revealing DJ Marfox’s simple agenda - to keep you dancing from start to finish.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard: 2017 albums ranked
An interview with Will Varley
From open mics to the Royal Albert Hall: Guy Marcham interviews self-made success Will Varley
Some of these venues are totally legendary in their own right and should have the same cultural status as great kind of galleries and theatres The folk troubadour described himself as ‘someone who has spent a lot of time at open mic nights and not selling any tickets.’ However, Will’s transition from gigs in front of ‘just three people’ in dingy pubs to the heights of the Royal Albert Hall and Alexandra Palace, in which he played to 9,000 people in support of fellow label mate, Frank Turner, is a testament to his constant hard work and ‘tinkering away’. Will also has special memories of his very own ‘magical night’ at Union Chapel, which he described as ‘mindblowing.’ You can’t help but think he’ll be having the same experience as he plays his biggest show to date in Bristol at the Trinity Centre. The latest tour sees a big change in Will’s usual DIY
setup. On his last run of UK shows, the entourage merely consisted of three people, himself and the support act, Molly’s Lips. However, on his latest release, Spirit of Minnie, the delicate fingerpicking, and political musings will be bolstered by a full live band who will be travelling with him on tour. Will told me that ‘having done it on my own for so many years, it’s quite nice to shake things up. You should never be too comfortable, and you should try to push things a little bit’. I was keen to ask Will his thoughts on the possible closures of some of Bristol’s most loved music venues. Having regularly toured the UK, Will had many fond memories of his Bristol shows and the city itself, admitting to having had ‘too many a lost evening.’
Some of these venues are totally legendary in their own right and should have the same cultural status as great kind of galleries and theatres
Sonic PR / Will Varley
Will mentions ‘great times’ at The Fleece and The Louisiana in particular, as well as shows at Thekla, The Grain Barge and a support slot for Frank Turner at Colston Hall. He went on to express his dismay and frustration at the closing down of so many independent music venues that he has graced in the past. ‘I think it is a nationwide problem. It’s terrifying really to me as someone who has spent the last 15 years building their way up through the independent music network. Some of these venues are totally legendary in their own right and should have the same cultural status as great kind of galleries and theatres. I think there is a lot to be done. It starts with people going out to see music at their local music venues. If everyone is out and using them all the time, then they won’t close’. During the interview, Will jokes about finding time to craft songs and lyrics ‘in between watching daytime TV.’However, it seems rather inconceivable that the very man who walked 500 miles to a show and even further to where he is today - a living embodiment of a do-it-yourself musical attitude can find the time to watch ‘antiques and Jeremy.’
Will Varley at the beach
Review: Jackmaster’s Mastermix series @ Motion 27/01 Josh Vincent Second Year, English Jackmaster brought down a line-up to Motion that featured arguably the most prominent selectors from the Glasgow house and techno scene. Revered veterans such as Optimo, SubCulture residents Harri and Domenic and Dixon Avenue Basement Jams were joined by Eclair Fifi, Big Miz, Jasper James and the seemingly ubiquitous Denis Sulta for a riotous night that stretched long into Sunday morning. Both Optimo and Harri and Domenic, who are veritable underground legends in their own right, were given a chance to deliver to a packed out main room early on. It was a notably fresh-faced crowd, many of whom had presumably been drawn by the billing of Sulta and Jackmaster, but the immense experience of the two pairs ensured that no one left the room. Tough techno workouts were
balanced by snippets of melodic euphoria and a few rave indebted numbers that left the crowd in a frenzy. What I saw of Jasper James was darker than his usual disco-house influenced fare and was immensely enjoyable. He played a slew of groovy techno numbers, including the Aril Brikha classic ‘Groove La Chord,’ that made full use of the new, bassy rig in the recently renovated Marble Factory. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to catch much of Denis Sulta, but I did witness him play his breakout tune ‘It’s Only Real.’ Having seemingly retired the track from his sets, as the crowd heard its unmistakable melody drifting in atop the militant toms, pandemonium ensued. Eclair Fifi and Jackmaster’s b2b set with Optimo proved to be my standout sets of the night. Eclair Fifi took to the challenge of clashes with both Jackmaster and Sulta with an admirable amount of gusto, delivering an hour and a half of uncompromising techno, melancholic electro and groovy house numbers that kept the packed-out Tunnel room immensely entertained throughout. She flitted through genres and time periods with nonchalance, proving why she has been one of the year’s breakout stars. Jackmaster’s set was as raucous as we’ve come
Epigram / Ellie Chessire
Kentish troubadour Will Varley takes some time out of his tour rehearsal to talk to Epigram Music about life on the road and ‘too many a lost evening in Bristol.’ Touring his 5th album, Spirit of Minnie, which is set to be released on the 9th February, Will Varley will be completing his biggest UK tour to date. The tour sees Will play one of Bristol’s most prestigious venues, The Trinity Centre - a repurposed Grade II listed 19th-century church. Will is often referred to as the archetypal musician. One who has built his career through constant touring across Britain’s extensive independent music scene and network. Such a DIY mentality has seen Will create his own record label, Smugglers Record, and promote his early material through ‘walking tours’ across the south of England. The latter of which saw Will walk 500 miles from show to show with just a guitar and tent on his back. ‘You’re kind of exhausted, you’re doing the gigs, and then you walk 25 miles to the next
venue. By the time you get there, all you want to do is sleep, and then a landlord comes along and says ‘here’s your beer, you’re on stage.’
Charlie Gearon Third Year, English
to expect from him over the years, and the ante was only further increased as he went b2b with Optimo for an extended session. With both Eclair Fifi and Denis Sulta’s sets ending at 5 am, the remaining stragglers spilt into the main room and provided a fresh injection of energy for both the punters and DJs alike. Jackmaster’s set proved a highlight from sheer variety alone. They delivered a set that saw them somehow thread together Annie Lennox and what sounded like slowed down Slayer with brutal electro cuts, sinister acid and even the UK funky classic ‘Seasons’ by Lil Silva (which was duly given a rewind). Amongst the crowd pleasers were some highly obscure digs that the Identification of Music Group will undoubtedly be salivating over for the coming weeks. Having finished their sets, Jackmaster’s full crew rolled out to enjoy the last few hours onstage with the man himself. Customised Buckfast bottles were being downed, the booth was packed with dancing DJs, and T-shirts and tour posters were being launched into the throbbing crowd. With a lineup as stellar as this one it was bound to be an unforgettable night, and the all Glaswegian crew ensured that they delivered.
Volunteers outside the Aid Box Community Hub
A letter from Ellie Chessire: Aid Box Charity Night Ellie Chessire Letters Editor My good friend Maeve Fennelly and I both volunteer at a local charity called Aid Box Community. The charity supports refugees and asylum seekers both in Bristol and in France. It is a charity that is run completely by volunteers, most of whom work in the Free Shop in Redland. The Free Shop relies on donations which are then distributed to refugees who are often referred to us from charities such as the Red Cross. In order to support our tiny charity, Maeve and I are hosting an acoustic night on March 5th at The Exchange. The Exchange is located next to the Bristol Marriott Hotel, 72 - 73 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 OEJ. The doors open at 7pm and we are hosting a whole range of student and local musicians who will all be playing their favourite acoustic sets. There will be a bar and several stalls selling merchandise related to the cause. We would love as many people as possible to come down and support us, tickets can be purchased from our Facebook page and cost five pounds. Here you can find out more information about the event. If anyone has any questions or enquiries please Facebook message either Maeve Fennelly or Ellie Chesshire for further details. We look forward to seeing some of you down there!
Aid Box Night Monday 5th March The Exchange 7pm
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Solutions will be posted online at epigram.org.uk and on social media.
The Omnipuzzle AIM: Obtain a word from the clues 1. Split the clues into groups based on a clueâ€™s title 2. Use the groups to decide which clues are solvable 3. You need to be able to travel from the start arrow to the end arrow using clue boxes which are solvable 4. Each clue will give you a letter or letters
Sudoku Fill the empty squares with numbers 1 to 9, so that each number appears once in each row, column and 3x3 box.
Can you get from top to bottom, changing only one letter from one rung to the next?
If you need any help, contact the editor by email or through social media
Word grid Word links
Just a phrase
How many words can you find including the middle letter, with at least four letters per word? There is at least one nine-letter word.
Find the word which can come before each of the three or four words given, in each case giving a common two-word phrase. E.g. LIFE line, LIFE time, LIFE less.
18= Average 24 = Good 30= Excellent
Find the two. three, four or four letters that can suffix the word on the left or prefix the word on the right, in each case giving a real word. E.g. HE-AR-MY.
KEY KID DUST TURN HEAD
WALL PIES CAKE COAT MATE
1. Age, Through, Water 2. Currant, Bird, Board 3. Shot, Shed, Thirsty 4. Child, Wash, Wave 5. Writing, Set, out
Killer sudoku Sudoku rules apply and all the numbers in a cage must add to the number in the top left corner of the cage.
Quick crossword ACROSS 1. English city (11) 2. Negligence (7) 3. Coming together (9) 4. Complaining (7) 5. At type of questions (10) 6. Word said to show agreement (3) 7. Illegal act (5) 12. Creators (9) 13. Criminals (9) 16. Time of life (3) 19. Organic molecule (5) 20. State in India (3) 21. Girlâ€™s name (5) 22. Expiry (5) 26. Political independence advocate (3) 27. Get (3)
DOWN 1. US state capital (1) 8. Organ (5) 9. Dreams (1) 10. Gardening tool (3) 11. Chore (7) 14. Scenery (7) 15. Vehicle (3) 17. Reproductive cell (3) 18. Betrothed (7) 23. Parton saint of chastity (5) 24. Scottish variant of round (4) 25. Fruit (7) 28. Former US vice president (4) 29. Past of eat (3) 30. Numbs (13)
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Find your match this Valentine’s Day Nicky Withers Sports Editor
Netball team in February and it’s one of the best decisions I could have made. Their training and match schedule fits in with university (and Epigram), I’m back to a sport I love and most importantly, I wouldn’t trade those women for the world. The prospect of graduating is a terrifying one, but I know that whenever I’m in Bristol I’ve got a base of amazing friends and team mates, which is pretty comforting. Admittedly, it can be a bit intimidating, turning up to a training session for a team who have no idea who you are. Just drop the captain a message (details are normally on the club’s website) and what’s the worst that can happen? Say you turn up, the people are horrible and you feel totally out of place. An unpleasant experience, certainly, but you never have to see them again and can try out a different team. Also, the chances are you’ll be welcomed along to wherever you choose. Of course, if you think university
Twitter / AvonNetball
The reasons to join a university sports team are often discussed: the friendships, the fitness and the competition. But maybe BUCS isn’t for you, or the training schedules don’t work with your other commitments. There are plenty of clubs around Bristol that you could join, to rekindle the love for an old sport or get passionate about a new one. Here are three reasons to join a team outside of university: One: Burst the geographical university bubble! So many students have never ventured any further than Clifton to city centre, but Bristol has so much more to offer. By joining a club outside of university you’re much more likely to see more of the city and most importantly, test out more of the pubs! Two: Burst the social university bubble! Of course, you will make
some lifelong friends during your time at university, whether in your flat, on your course or in a society. But why limit your friendships to other students? There are so many cool people out there from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a bunch of great stories, get out there and meet some. Three: Burst the academic university bubble! After a week of majorly stressing out about deadlines, seminar reading, labs or whatever else, the last thing you want to do is talk more about it. Training sessions provide a complete break from it all, not just physically de-stressing but also being in an environment where most other people aren’t thinking about academia. Whatever your sport, the opportunities are endless. Netball, football, hockey, running, rock climbing, the list goes on. Stop using the internet for cat videos and have a search for squads near you. Ok, still use it for cat videos, but also have a look around. I joined the Easton Cowgirls
Avon Netball Summer league, local teams often have tournaments outside term dates
sport is for you, then without a doubt you should go and get involved. But if there’s some reason you’re not convinced, don’t let that stop you from getting active. Team sport provides
a whole host of mental and physical benefits, you’ve just got to put yourself out there and find the team for you. So, this Valentine’s day, get out there and find yourself a match!
Bristol end Exeter’s seven match unbeaten run in 3-0 victory Freddie Keighley Second Year, History
Epigram / Freddie Keighley
UBAFC 1s cruised to a 3-0 victory over rivals Exeter
earned Bristol a corner on twenty-five minutes. From the corner, Byrne met Al Harlington’s low delivery with a thumping finish as part of a delightful set piece manoeuvre that was straight from the training ground. Knowing the importance of this goal, Byrne and the team emphatically celebrated with the fans. Exeter looked to respond instantly, but the home side dealt with multiple corners well and the back line of Ben Bodha, Jack Haire and Lloyd soaked up the pressure with a composed display. Cusdin produced a wonderful save at the half hour mark in a feat of acrobatics to maintain his side’s lead, while Al Harlington’s work rate to cover while his brother Jasper made probing runs from the wing back position was commendable. On the other touchline, Harry Cruttenden was invaluable both in defence and attack, showing great awareness in his tracking back and delivering many threatening balls into the Exeter box. Bristol deservedly doubled their lead on half time following Thomas’ earning of a free kick in a dangerous area. Lloyd’s pressure on the goalkeeper forced a punched clearance from the set piece delivery, and the ball fell to Jasper Harlington, who timed his volley sweetly and guided the ball into the corner of the net. Exeter grew back into the game as the second half began, moving the ball well and earning multiple corners. Sensing this, Bristol coach Alan Tyres opted for a change in personnel. The energetic Thomas made way for the fresh legs of striker Cam McEwan on fifty-five minutes. A knock to Bodha forced another change soon after, as he made way for Charlie Murgatroyd following a solid performance involving many strong challenges and forcing Exeter to play
Epigram / Freddie Keighley
The Coombe Dingle faithful were treated to an enormous game between the two behemoths of the Western 1A on Wednesday evening. An outstanding win for the home side was the product of an assured team performance featuring goals from James Byrne, Jasper Harlington and Al Harlington. Victory for the visitors would have seen them win the league with two games left to play and a 100% record, but Bristol took the fight to the runaway leaders. Fielding an attacking 3-5-2, the home side outclassed their opposition to keep their title hopes alive, however slight they may be. Bristol’s performance was characterised by excellent physicality and passing, epitomised early on by the interplay between midfielders George Coy and Byrne and domination of possession. A chance for the home side to take
an early lead was prevented by the offside flag, while at the other end of the pitch centre half Bertie Lloyd dealt with the pace of the Exeter attack well with excellent sliding tackles. Forwards Toby Thomas and Al Harlington set the tone for an energetic pressing performance, allowing the Exeter back three no time to compose themselves on the ball. Goalkeeper Ross Cusdin showed great judgement throughout the game, blocking a threatening cross on fifteen minutes. An Exeter centre half headed over from the resultant corner. Thomas’ intricate footwork drew a foul in the final third. From this dangerous position, Al Harlington narrowly overhit his delivery into the box. A better delivery followed soon after during a promising spell for the home side, although Lloyd was unable to direct his header goalwards. Thomas was cautioned harshly following two late tackles as a result of his vigorous work rate, while a fizzing half volley from the edge of the area by holding midfielder Oli Henery
The UBAFC lads playing under the floodlights at Fortress Dingle
the ball long on multiple occasions. McEwan earned a free kick just outside the box after a green jersey fouled him from behind, with the Exeter defender picking up a yellow card for his troubles. Al Harlington opted to go for goal this time, but his dipping effort flew narrowly wide. Shortly after being quick off his line to smother a through ball, man of the match Cusdin produced another fantastic save on seventy-three minutes. Lloyd was unlucky to see his clearance cannon off Henery, releasing an Exeter attacker through on goal, but Cusdin won the 1-on-1 battle, saving well with his legs. Al Harlington secured the third goal and a momentous three points for his side after interplay with McEwan in the box allowed him to release a shot which was deflected into the net via an
Exeter head, leaving the keeper with no chance. A fourth goal was almost added late on, as captain Coy rounded the keeper deftly but could only find the side netting from a tight angle. A final substitution saw Henery make way for Matt Hinks, while the only chance of the final minutes saw an Exeter striker fire wide from a good position while under pressure from defenders. Exeter’s three point advantage and superior goal difference of 17 compared to Bristol’s 10 means that their chances of being caught are very slim, but the home side performed excellently to avenge their 3-0 loss at Topsham Sports Ground earlier this season. This victory also extends their run of wins in all competitions to four ahead of another big game, a trip to UWE 1s on 7 February.
Opinion: in defence of VAR Henry Edwards Second Year, History Henry Edwards writes a passionate defense of VAR after its introduction to English football. This article does not represent the views of Epigram Sport, if you want to write an article in response feel free to get in touch.
The argument against VAR is essentially born out of a romantic adherence to tradition
For ‘clear and obvious’ errors, VAR has the capacity to overturn an ingame decision from any one of the four officials. Referees can use the technology to check the validity of each goal, and assist decisions regarding penalty awards and straight red cards. So far, VAR has only been active in certain FA and League Cup games,
Men’s Football Bristol 1s 3-0 Exeter 1s Bristol 2s 3-5 Bournemouth 2s Women’s Rugby Exeter 1s 55-0 Bristol 1s Bath Spa 1s 5-10 Bristol 2s Twitter / TalkSPORT
Match of the Day’s Alan Shearer labeled it a ‘shambles.’ Veteran commentator John Motson called it ‘a farce.’ Football365’s John Nicholson has gone so far as to claim ‘it will leave a permanent scar’ in the very fabric of the game we adore. The subject in discussion is, of course, VAR - Video Assistant Referees - which has only recently been introduced to English football for the first time.
but has already churned up quite the reaction. So what’s all the fuss about? The argument against VAR is essentially one born out of a romantic adherence to tradition; these selfproclaimed ‘football purists’ believe that the soul of football is under-threat, and that the removal of controversy risks robbing the beautiful game of its appeal. In their minds, football should be a game in which, once the final whistle is blown, managers and fans alike can find solace in defeat by brutally lambasting the referee for a mere human error of judgment. I accept that VAR may be flawed in its specific integration into individual games. This was evident in West Brom’s recent FA Cup victory over Liverpool, in which VAR was consulted three times in one half. Despite the fact that it led to the correct decision each time, it was condemned due to excessively lengthy consultation periods. But doubters need to appreciate that these are teething problems. As it gradually gains momentum, the process of reviewing decisions with technological assistance should become fast, natural and, crucially, fair. Rather than a threat to the game, VAR represents football’s ticket out of the dark and into the light. Our weekends have become tarnished by incessant barking at referees, including claims such as those made by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger about Mike Dean. The manager brandished the referee ‘a disgrace’ for awarding the opposition a
BUCS Results Wednesday 31st January
The use of VAR in Liverpool vs West Brom was highly controversial
late penalty in his team’s draw at West Brom. The accusation was that Dean behaved dishonestly, when in fact he was a man trying to do his job and made a difficult and immediate decision. We can’t have it both ways. We cannot cry about refereeing ‘injustices’ when one decision goes against us, and yet also say that frequent ‘injustice’ represents the untouchable soul of the game. Hopefully with the reduction of controversy that should come with VAR, football managers and fans can actually start looking at genuine reasons behind their shortcomings, such as - oh, I don’t know - tactics, rather than blaming the odd human lapse in judgment. The linesman who missed Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England
in 1986, died last year. The Bulgarian’s life was, in his own words, “ruined” by the Argentine, following a torrent of death threats from ‘passionate’ English followers. Referees are real people. We need to accept that the ‘soul of football’ shouldn’t reside within the verbal abuse they suffer. Those vehemently against VAR presumably condemned the introduction of goal-line technology, or indeed the arrival of foreign players to the English game, or perhaps the implementation of the familiar offside rule in 1925. To them, football, warts and all, is sacred and needs to be unspoiled from even the slightest touch. Change scares some people, and VAR has the most blinkered fans hiding behind the sofa.
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Bristol City support safe standing Peter Hanley First Year, History
Twitter / Ferco Seating UK
The campaign to reintroduce standing to the top two tiers of English football took a step forward recently, as it has been claimed that rail seats could be installed ‘this summer’ in Premier League stadia. Michael Burnett, Managing Director of Ferco Seating Ltd. claims that standing areas could be introduced in the summer, providing clubs ‘can get over all the regulatory hurdles’ currently faced. Bristol City back the campaign to reintroduce standing areas, having intended to install rail seats in both the Dolman and South Stands during Ashton Gate’s redevelopment in 2014. Martin Griffiths, Chairman of Bristol Sport said at the time that it was ‘frustrating’ that Ashton Gate did not match the criteria to be a safe standing tester stadium but went on to say that the redevelopments had been designed ‘to facilitate a retrofit of rail seating if and when the law changes’. If the campaign to reintroduce standing, led by the Football Supporter’s Federation, were successful, clubs in England’s top two leagues would be permitted to install socalled rail seats: a system in which seats can be folded up to create a standing terrace, or folded back down to comply with UEFA’s regulations on all-seater stadia. The FSF claim that ‘nine out of ten supporters back the choice to sit or stand’, and that rail seats comply with the ‘stringent safety standards’ set out in the Government’s Green Guide. Further support for the campaign has surfaced recently, following the
An example of what the safe standing provided by Ferco Seating would look like. Many football fans have found all seater stadia have reduced the atmosphere at matches.
successful installation of 3000 rail seats by Ferco Seating at Celtic Park. JP Taylor, Celtic’s Support Liaison Officer claims that the change has ‘revolutionised the atmosphere’ at Celtic Park, with ‘three thousand people there making a noise every game’. Other than boosting the atmosphere at grounds, the FSF claim that fans would benefit from the ‘typically lower’ prices of standing areas compared to seating areas, whilst those fans who prefer to sit during matches
will be less likely to ‘have their view blocked’. The FSF point towards the success of rail seating in the Bundesliga and the SPL as justification for the return of standing in England. Meanwhile, Jon Darch from the Safe Standing Roadshow believes that Tottenham Hotspur’s new 61,000 stadium could be the first Premier League ground to introduce rail seating. According to Mr Darch, ‘all that would be required … would be
for the Secretary of State to say ‘Yes’ to allow Spurs to include a standing area in their plans. Tottenham claim that they have ‘future-proofed’ the stadium ‘should legislation and licensing permit’ safe standing. Following the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster and the resulting 1990 Taylor Report, standing areas were phased out of the top two divisions of English football. Current regulations allow teams in League One and below to compete in stadia with
standing areas, however these clubs are not required by law to redevelop their stadia following promotion into the Championship unless they compete in the top two flights for three consecutive seasons. Other than The Robins, clubs including Aston Villa, Leeds United and Crystal Palace currently support the FSF’s campaign. With current progress, it may not be too long before safe standing becomes the norm in UK football stadia.
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Dingle to host stage of FA People’s Cup in Feb Tim Godfrey Twiss Deputy Editor
BUCS Fixtures February 14th
The University of Bristol will be hosting 5-a-side competitions as part of the student version of the FA People’s cup. The competition is exclusively for non-BUCS players, so there’s no need to worry about how rusty your skills are. The men’s event is on Saturday 25th February with the women’s the following day on the 26th, both at Coombe Dingle. Get involved! As you may have noticed from the intermissions between games on Match of the Day and Gary Lineker’s big ferrety grin, or from the fact your estranged overly-keen housemate from first year has messaged you out of the blue demanding you join their team called ‘Banterlona FC’: The FA People’s Cup is about to begin. Each year in early February almost 35,000 players from across the UK enter the country’s largest 5-a-side tournament, culminating in the final sides battling it out at Wembley. Although the scale of the FA’s endeavour is significant enough, what is more interesting from my point of view is that the competition is completely free, there are almost no logistical obstacles to stop you from going to play football.
Women’s Football AECC College 1s vs Bristol 1s Men’s Rugby Cardiff 1s vs Bristol 1s Netball Bath 2s vs Bristol 1s Men’s Basketball Middlesex 1s vs Bristol 1s Southampton 1s vs Bristol 2s
Leicestershire FA’s promotional photo for the FA People’s cup, showing it doesn’t matter what age, race or gender you are to play
Chairman’s England Commission 2014, two of the main goals for the FA were to improve: ‘The quality and impact of coaching and coach education especially in grassroots football’ and ‘The quantity and quality of grassroots facilities, especially all weather pitches.’ 11-a-side facilities are expensive and inefficient and the coaching/ officiating of them likewise. On one 11-a-side pitch you can fit 6 5a-side pitches, resulting in an extra 8 players being involved in grass roots football with fewer headaches, not only this but a focus on 5-aside also brings about a change in footballing philosophy.
are stronger, faster and more powerful - this effect is emphasised in the male game, whereas in the female game physical differences are less pronounced and for a shorter amount of time in a player’s development - hence the comparative international success of the Lionesses compared to the Lions. Likewise, the adult amateur 5-aside game is the ugly, non-politically correct, uncle of the glamorous futsal of our neighbours. English 5a-side is as much about which team can more effectively threaten the ref with physical violence as which team possesses more footballing ability. But within the racist team names, the two footed challenges on astro turf, the cardboard for shinpads and the ‘you’re now £112 in debt, please pay next week’ the FA has seen light at the end of the tunnel. It most be noted that the FA are not running an 11-a-side tournament of this nature, yes there are many leagues around the country but nothing nationwide at grass roots level. The reason for this is obvious to me as I sit in full football kit at my desk as yet another round of intramural is called off due to bad - currently sunny outside - weather: 11-a-side is a fucking nightmare to organise. There are issues of players, pitches, linesmen, large payments, proper equipment and a host of other problems that halt the actual playing of football. Within the FA
drops to the ground? Would you swap a 30 yard screamer for a backheel from 5 yards? Would you swap an international team dwarfed in class by economic and cultural neighbours for a competitive one? Maybe not, and maybe the FA has already made its choice. But finally, one last question, please can you join my team: ‘Andy Gray’s Anatomy’ for the FA People’s Cup?
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English youth are forced to run around on a gargantuan pitch and stand in oversized goal frames
The FA People’s Cup may be the beginning of a 5-aside takeover in the UK. 5-a-side as a format for football is more inclusive, cheaper and more skilful than its 11-a-side counterpart and this is why the FA is rapidly promoting it. Whether or not you agree with a shift in the FA’s priorities is down to you, would you swap a Sol Campbellesque 25 yard long slide tackle through a pitch that has become a swimming pool for quick passing game during which nobody even
Twitter / Coombe Dingle
The competition is also open to everyone, male and female, abled and disabled, young and old, skilled or unskilled and there is even a special competition for university students. The FA is clearly making a concerted effort to boost attendance and participation in 5a-side, in fact, an enormous effort. Although I’d like to believe that a nefarious conglomerate of 5-a-side operators have successfully lobbied the FA with promises of discounted pints after games, I believe that the FA is making a bold statement about the future of domestic grass roots football - mainly that it won’t be played on grass. In recent years the media have presented English fans with far off places of footballing paradises within Germany, Spain and Brazil where gifted youngsters develop their craft in indoor small-sided games allowing the countries to develop excellent professional players, and therefore a world-class international team. In contrast to the futsal played on the continent or in South America, English youth are forced to run around on a gargantuan pitch and stand in oversized goal frames. In this situation only players who have gone through puberty at the age of 7 - and are 6’2” for some reason - stand out, simply because they
Bristol 1s vs Cambridge 1s
Twitter / Leicestershire FA
Almost 35,000 players from across the UK enter the country’s largest 5-a-side tournament
A rather soggy Coombe Dingle pitch - one of the many difficulties for footballers