Fortnightly 12th March 2018 Issue 325 Winner of Best Publication and Best Use of Digital Media 2017
University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper
Epigram / Evy Tang
Strike action hits the University of Bristol Strikes have disrupted normal life at the University of Bristol for over three weeks, making the campus seem the ‘ghost-town’ that several protesters endeavoured to create. National action at 61 universities started on the 22nd February with a two-day walkout
and is planned to continue until the 16th March with five days of action. This is the result of a pensions dispute between the University and College Union (UCU) and Universities UK (UUK). The strikes are in response to proposed changes by UUK which could leave a typical member of staff £10,000 worse off every year in retirement. On strike days, participating staff members do not attend scheduled teaching, consultation hours, assessments, reply to
emails, or mark work. Action short of a strike also began on the 22nd February. It is a continuous action and sees UCU members work to contract but not undertake voluntary duties such as covering for absent colleagues. This action may continue until June 19th. Depending on whether a solution is found, the action could last longer or finish sooner than planned. An Epigram survey conducted at the
beginning of February revealed 80% of students supported the strike action, although many questioned whether students would receive compensation for the teaching hours lost. The University of Bristol has been a hotbed of action in the past weeks. From occupations and marches to pickets and lecture disruption, read all about it in our guide to the strike action so far. Continued on page 3...
Nikki Peach and Alex Boulton News Editor and Co-Editor in Chief
spread on bisexuality Pages 10 - 11
Lottie Moore interviews Treasure, Stokes Croft boutique charity shop
Epigram / Nick Bloom
Unsplash / Peter Hershey
Epigram and LGBT+
Page 26 EpigramPaper
Salsa, solo travel,
International Women’s Day: Ellen
Narcos: ¡Vamos a
Kemp looks at female directors
who have revolutionalised cinema
Pages 28 - 29 @EpigramPaper
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Best of Bristol Media: Her Campus Political Societies series Her Campus profile editor Fran Golinski Drinkwater tells Epigram about her recent project: ‘As the profile editor for Her Campus I published a series on Bristol’s Political Societies where I posed the same set of questions to the societies representing the four major political parties. My aim was to gather student opinion from all sides of the debate, offering platforms for everyone to express their opinion and perhaps show that their views, where it matters most, are not all that different. I have a keen interest in politics and I am interested in understanding and challenging controversial political opinions; I also put forward the idea for Her Campus to interview a Brexiter, which proved informative though contentious.’ You can read the interviews at hercampus.com/school/bristol/.
Chief Proofreader Lucy Moor Sub-editors on this issue Noah Forbes, Gianina Dwek, Chloe Snell, Willow Smith, Max Lewthwaite, Samuel Wong, Dani Salvalaggio, Anna Hart, Izi Miller, Nadia Hassan 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 Marketing Assistants Kate Nissen, Tara Lidstone 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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On the 1st and 2nd of March Bristol came to a halt as snow took over the city. University was closed, and instead of studying students took to the streets to sledge, have giant snowball fights on the Downs (as pictured), and rescue tiny animals (read about the ferret rescue online). Now, it is as if it never happened.
From the archives: ‘Eight ’til late’ If you think 9ams are bad, imaging having an 8am on your timetable as Bristol students faced in the 1990s Following the recent news that the University are considering extending the working day to end at 7pm, we look at an earlier attempt to extend the working day from 8-6. In 1990, the teaching day was 9-5, compared to 9-6 now. However, in February 1990 an article was published in Epigram which describes the ‘extraordinary proposals’ placed before the Senate to extend this working day from 8-6. In the article, the University claimed ‘the extra two hours each day are required in order to ease pressure on bulging timetables, especially in science and engineering subjects’ The news that the university was considering introducing an 8am was met with disbelief across the university. One university professor said: ‘its already hard enough getting students to attend 9 o’clock lectures. I see no prospect of this programme being feasible’. The article also interviews catering staff at Wills Hall, one said: ‘how will be staff get buses that reality in the morning? they will have to come in before 6am to prepare breakfast’. This mirrors a proposal recently put before the Senate to extend our current working day to 7pm. As the debate on the proposal was due to be on a strike day, UCU successfully campaigned for this to be postponed. Even if our working day does get extended to 7pm, at least we won’t be faced with the prospect of an 8am.
BBC / BBC Archive
Last week my mum called me a coward. A bit of backstory may be helpful: when calling for a catch-up, I told her I was staying at home to work that day because I didn’t want to cross the picket line to go to the library. Her reaction, then, was explained by her belief that I should be either in the library, having crossed the picket line, or standing outside with the protesters. While her view is a little extreme (she did grow up in times when strikes were commonplace – as we all know from Billy Elliot), she helped me realise that we can’t just wait for these events and obstacles around us to pass. These aren’t just snow days like those that began this month, but opportunities for democracy. I have been delighted and impressed by the number of responses to Epigram articles covering the strikes and the level of discussion that we have facilitated both in the articles themselves and in the reception on social media platforms. On page three Ed Southgate reports on the student occupation of the top floor of Senate House as part of the strikes, which is still going on at the time of writing. On the same page, Nikki Peach reports that a motion was passed at the AMM for a £350 initiative to support UCU campaigns. Responding to the news in the Comment section, Kate Raison (a member of the Student-Staff Solidarity group) argues that the strikes are everyone’s issue: ‘strikes are purposefully disruptive, and students must join the picket to end them’. Finally, on page 13, Sophie Preston argues that students should not be calling for refunds for lost teaching during the strikes. If this is all new to you, on the opposite page to this you can see a full summary of the strike action at Bristol. Online there is even more content, including a visual article that shows the best placards from the strikes. Given just how much this is being talked about, like these writers, commentators, and most other students at Bristol and many other universities, I would not have been able to overlook the strikes and their repercussions even if I wanted to. And with all the time on my hands due to cancelled contact hours – the few that I had before, anyway – I have been more able to improve the clarity of my own opinion by talking and reading about this issue. I fully support our striking lecturers, and do not resent their choices to protest rather than work for futures that have been taken away from them. I am even happy to be part of their ‘bait’ for the University, as it were, so that change may be affected. Where I struggle with current arguments, however, is where certain protesters say that we must not attend contact hours which have not been cancelled – or even use university buildings like the library during the strikes. To this I respond that it is the choice of tutors whether they teach or not, and several will be continuing their teaching in order to get paid. On another side – having paid £9,000 for this year alone (plus whatever I have had to spend on books), and being in my final year of university – it seems like unnecessary personal sacrifice to not work at all for weeks and throw away the money and effort spent on my course so far. Further to this, it would completely reverse any teaching I have received from my tutors if it were all undone by a few final poorly researched and badly written essays. We are bait, and happy to be, but we should not suffer unnecessarily in addition to what we are already missing. That’s at least what I believe for now… While I am not wholly decided on the picket-line business – particularly when it comes to academic sacrifice – I believe that discussion and even disagreement is not only healthy but necessary for change. By deciding our own opinions, but allowing them a degree of flexibility, we make protests and strikes worth any disorder or inconvenience caused.
First published in Epigram on the 15th of February 1990
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‘This is inHUGHmane’: strike action at Bristol With contributions from Alex Boulton, Nikki Peach, Cameron Scheijde, Ed Southgate and Jecca Powell
he was ‘very concerned’ about the impact the strike is having on students. Second week- 26th-28th February Monday 26th February saw protesters disrupt both lectures and students working in libraries. ‘I’d rather be a picket than a scab,’ some allegedly shouted. One student described the action as becoming ‘a bit too militant’ while another tweeted ‘heckling students entering the lib... that’s a disgusting way of showing support’. In an exclusive interview with Epigram, members of the Student-Staff Solidary group, a group of students supporting striking staff members, argued the importance of not going into university on strike days, claiming that ‘every time you cross the picket line you undermine the strike.’ The Student-Staff Solidarity group also have linked the pensions dispute to what they see as a wider ‘marketisation of Higher Education’, arguing that university should be free but is currently being treated as a ‘business’. Students and striking staff once again marched from the University of Bristol campus to College Green, banging pots and pans, playing music and setting off f lares. Rallies also took place outside Wills Memorial Building. Protesters stormed a meeting of the Senate chaired by Hugh Brady in Wills Memorial Building. Videos taken by Epigram show protesters playing loud music and chanting outside the Reception Room, when Registrar Robin Geller emerged and announced Brady would speak to three elected members during the meeting. According to the protesters, attending staff members ‘responded really well’ and the atmosphere was ‘welcoming’. Footage shows Hugh Brady crossing the picket line into the Wills Memorial Building before the meeting. Protesters shouted ‘walk of shame’ and sang: ‘Hey Hugh Brady, I wanna know where my pension’s gone’ to the tune of ‘Hey Baby’ as Brady walked past. Measures were also started to be announced by university departments in an attempt to mitigate the potential impact of strikes on students. The Department of History extended a third year deadline by 6 days, with similar measures being taken across other schools and faculties.
The SU’s Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM) took place on the 27th February and saw a motion entitled ‘students support strike action’ pass. On the 1st March, Epigram published a letter written by Hugh Brady. In it, he states: ‘The past week has undoubtedly been one of the most difficult in my (almost) decade-anda-half as a university vice-chancellor.’ Further talks between UCU and UUK were also confirmed for the following week, to be mediated by the conciliation service Acas. Third Week- 5th-8th March On Monday 5th March, students from the Student-Staff Solidarity group staged an occupation of Senate House to deliver a list of demands to Hugh Brady. Read more about this on page 5. Picketing continued on Monday and protesters marched to Great George Street. Tuesday 6th March saw a spontaneous rally outside Senate House to support the ongoing occupation. On Wednesday 7th March many prospective students visited Bristol due to UCAS PostOffer Visit Days. A main picket line was set up outside Wills Memorial Building as ‘a great opportunity to speak to prospective students and their parents… explaining why we are taking action, emphasising why Bristol is a great place to study, and why we are making sure that this continues to be the case.’ Events in individual schools were cancelled, except in Biological Sciences and Engineering where pickets took place in the afternoon. On Thursday 8th March an event was held at Woodlands Church as part of Thursday’s strike action to ‘celebrate International Women’s Day, and the upcoming submission of the Gender Pay Claim,’ according to organisers. Talks were ongoing this week between UCU and UUK, but at the time of writing had yet to reach a resolution. The future A fourth week consisting of 5 days of strike action is planned 12th-16th of March. If a solution is not found before the end of the planned strikes, Sally Hunt, UCU’s General Secretary, has said strike action ‘will be ongoing until we find a solution’. Currently, the University of Bristol says assessments and exams after Easter are expected to take place as planned.
Epigram / Hannah wakefield
Continued from front page... In this issue, we run through everything that has happened during the UCU strike at Bristol so far. The vote to strike was announced in January, with 90.5% of Bristol UCU members voting in favour of industrial action. Throughout February, details slowly started to emerge about the logistics of the strike. Despite a petition set up by Bristol students that demanded compensation for strike action (at the time of writing the petition had 5000 signatures) the University say they ‘do not plan to provide financial reimbursement for any specific missed teaching sessions due to industrial action. Tuition fees relate to your education as a whole, including the other services and facilities that you receive as a student, and not to individual teaching sessions.’ Staff were also told by email that they would not be paid for days they strike. An email sent to all staff from the University of Bristol’s HR department and leaked to Epigram reveals the university are withholding 100% salary from striking staff members, at a daily rate of 1/365th of the annual salary. For action short of strike, the university are withholding 25% of pay at a daily rate of 1/365 of annual salary. In mid-February, Mason Ammar, Undergraduate Education Officer at Bristol SU, released a statement in support of the strike. In it, the decision taken by the University to deduct pay for action short of a strike is condemned and calls the university to reinvest lost salaries ‘into mental health and wellbeing services for students’. The statement ends: ‘we encourage students to attend the rally and to NOT cross the picket line’. On the 20th February, a proposal set to be debated before the Senate was postponed following pressure from UCU. As the proposal to end teaching at 7pm rather than the current 6pm was set to be debated on a strike day, there were concerns that the full Senate would not have had a say on the proposal. Following pressure, the University decided
to postpone the vote, but insist it will still go ahead. On the 21st February, a day before the strike action started, an annotated version of ViceChancellor Hugh Brady’s strike email to all students was distributed around campus. The letter is entitled ‘tugging on the Chancellor’s robes’ and details the anonymous author’s objections to the Vice Chancellor’s comment on the USS dispute and imminent strike action. The author ends the handout ‘this is total lip service. The VC has made it completely clear that he is supporting UUK on this issue.’ First Week- 22nd-23rd February On the first day of strike action, picket lines were set up from 8am outside Woodland Road, Wills Memorial Building, Senate House, the BioMed building and the SU. Thursday 22nd February saw the first rally and march take place solidarity. The march involved hundreds of students, staff and members of the public who held signs and chanted. Mason Ammar, Undergraduate Education Officer, and Tracey Hooper, Bristol UCU President, were amongst the speakers at the rally outside Wills Memorial Building ‘We want our Vice Chancellor to join the eleven other Vice Chancellors who have agreed we need to go back to the negotiation table,’ said a UCU representative present at Thursday’s march. ‘What’s the point in a shiny new building if the librarians and staff don’t want to work in it?’ she then asked, referring to the new campus planned over the next few years. There were many calls for Hugh Brady to join other Vice-Chancellors who had publicly pushed for negotiations between UCU and UUK to restart. Signs and placards at the march and picket lines included phases such as ‘Shady Brady’ and ‘inHUGHmane’. On the evening of Friday 23rd February, Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady released a statement urging UUK to reopen negotiations with UCU over the proposed pension change on Friday 23rd. This statement was met with calls from staff and students for the ViceChancellor to speak in support of strikes like other Vice-Chancellors across the country such as those from Newcastle and Glasgow. Sam Gymiah, Universities Minister, also urged both sides to return to the negotiating table ‘without any preconditions’, adding that
Strike action in pictures All photos taken by Epigram
The University of Bristol ‘not a good employer’ claims staff member Nic Hamer Letters Editor An Epigram investigation has uncovered allegations of poor working conditions at the University of Bristol. Here, a retail assistant at one of the University of Bristol’s catering outlets speaks to Epigram about these allegations. F, who wishes to keep her identity anonymous, has been working as a retail assistant in one of the University of Bristol’s catering outlets for about four months now and ultimately believes that the University’s senior management ‘does not care’ about its workers. Epigram met with F to discuss the poor working conditions experienced by non-academic staff members at the university. ‘The university is not a good employer,’ she begins. She was not given an induction when she started work. Nor has she been provided with adequate footwear to keep her safe in the workplace.
her assistant manager sent out a version of the rota that was incorrect. When F arrived at work at the time specified, her assistant manager blamed for the mistake and shouted at her. She stresses that she is aware of many others that have had similar experiences. There is apparently no way of formally addressing these problems, although F tells Epigram she has looked into joining a union. F argues that conditions are worse for the agency staff who work alongside her at the University’s many catering outlets. ‘They were working 12 hours without a break’, says one of her colleagues. Employed by third parties on the behalf of the university, these staff members are generally on zero hours contracts and earn the minimum wage for the first three months of work. F believes that the university uses agency workers ‘to save money’, at the expense of staff welfare. Equally troubling for F is the fact that the university’s catering outlets ‘waste a lot of food’. She accepts that homelessness charities and the like cannot accept out of date food, but points out that
other products, such as fresh soup, are thrown away every day, despite being completely edible. F thinks this is particularly concerning, given the University’s commitment to sustainable, environmentally friendly practice. In response to these allegations, a University spokesperson said: ‘The health and wellbeing of our staff is paramount. We pride ourselves on being good employers, creating a rewarding and comfortable place of work for all and where every employee feels valued, supported and respected. ‘As this account has been submitted anonymously, we’re unable to investigate or respond to the specific claims made. We would strongly urge employees with grievances which have proved unresolved by their line manager to register a formal complaint which will be investigated and resolved formally in line with the University’s official policy.’ ‘Sustainability is core to the University’s ethos and all residential and hospitality staff receive training to support them in upholding the University’s food policy. Waste is limited where possible, while also adhering to food hygiene and safety guidelines.’
‘They were working 12 hours without a break’
Epigram / Evy Tang
F says that she is not given the 20 minute break to which she is legally entitled, given that she works a 7.5 hour shift. Instead, she is told to leave half an hour early; the law states that this does does not count as a rest break. It also worth noting that, unlike the striking lecturers, F has no pension. Furthermore, F claims that she has been personally ‘bullied’ by her managers. ‘They don’t speak to me well’, she adds, citing a number of examples. She mentions a time when
The interview was given by a member of non-academic staff at the University.
Bristol students launch charitable feminist fashion label Jecca Powell Online News Editor Two Bristol students have launched an ethical feminist fashion rage that aims to fight inequality by spreading an empowering message and raising money for women’s charities. She-Shirts, founded by students Sally Patterson and Ceini Bowen and launched on the 28th of February, will sell T-shirts featuring feminist designs and messages such as ‘Woman Up’ and ‘Sexism isn’t Sexy’. All proceeds will go to women’s charities such as Women’s Aid, which supports victims of domestic violence; Smart Works, which helps vulnerable women to find jobs; and Bloody Good Period which provides menstrual supplies to those who can’t afford them. Each T-shirt will tell the story of a different contemporary challenge faced by women. ‘All bodies are beautiful’, for example, will challenge the modern demand for women to conform to an idealised body image. Ethical production is a core value of the label, and the T-shirts will be manufactured by Teemill, printed in the UK using low-waste printing technology in a renewable energy-powered factory, and made from certified organic cotton sourced from ethically accredited suppliers. The venture is volunteer-led, and the founders, models, photographers and graphic designers will all be unpaid. ‘As modern feminists, our aim is not just to highlight inequality but also to do something tangible about it,’ said Sally Patterson, cofounder. ‘Our she-shirts may be playful but our business model and our message is serious, powerful, philanthropic, and designed to change the prevailing narrative of the patriarchy.’
CLICENDALES bare all in yearly charity strip dance show Lucy Downer Deputy News Editor
the crowd were supportive throughout and there was no hint of nerves during performance. The positive atmosphere on both sides of the stage made for an incredible night, as the dancers came back into the crowd after their performances to support their fellow students still yet to strip. At the end of the night the event put on DJs so that the dancers and audience could celebrate the hard-work that had gone into the show together. Despite the obvious draws of seeing the crème de la crème of Bristol medical students strip, it’s safe to say that ultimately everyone was there for a good cause; to raise money for charity. The registered charity CLICENDALES helps in all aspects of care for children with cancer. The main event is the famous annual
charity dance show performed by Bristol medical students. Over the last eight years, CLICENDALES has raised over £100,000 for this very worthwhile cause. The entire production is run by students - the committee, the dancers, the choreographers and the make-up artists. Auditions are fierce. With only 180 spaces for dancers, getting into the show is an intensive process. Many of the dance groups have set up their own justgiving pages, for anyone unable to buy a ticket or who would just like to donate to this extremely important cause. It’s safe to say the future doctors of our NHS are a pretty raunchy bunch, saving lives by raising money through this high-energy, entertaining and enormously successful event!
‘The entire production is run by students’
The half strip - underwear - dances ranged from all-male, all-female and mixed. And finally there were two all-male and all-female full strip routines, based on Peaky Blinders and Sex and the City respectively. They were the final performances of the night. For what must have been an intimidating experience,
Epigram / James Heale
Bristol medical students performed a soldout strip show at the O2 Academy on the 3rd March to raise money for the charity CLIC Sargent. The CLICENDALES returned for their yearly charity dance strip show performed by students from the University of Bristol Medical School. The theme of this year’s performance was ‘Netclix and Chill’ and included dances from TV hits such as Planet Earth , Doctor Who , Peaky Blinders and even a raunchy version of Downton Abbey. The ‘medic event of the year’ brings together medical students from all years to raise money for charity whilst also putting on a show that entertains Bristol students year in year out. Performing to a crowd of over 1500 people semi-nude can be a daunting experience. Second year medical student Annie Fox, who performed as part of the Downton Abbey routine, enjoyed it, however. ‘It was an amazing experience, and all the hard work was so worth it on the night’. One of the all male dances, entitled Bristol’s Next Top Model, released a trailer prior to the performance, giving a taste of the spectacle that was to come. The show did not disappoint, as the boys
danced to hits such as Miss-Teeq’s ‘Scandalous’ and Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ in full leotard, bra and pants, throwing their clothes into the crowd to be fought over by their new and adoring fans. The themes for the dances, each based on a popular TV show, included: Absolutely Fabulous, Countdown, A Question of Sport, Orange is the New Black, Planet Earth, Downton Abbey, Narcos, Love Island, Ghostbusters, Breaking News, Doctor Who, ‘Bristol’s’ Next Top Model, Grey’s Anatomy, Peaky Blinders and Sex and the City. There were also two non-strip dances to open, based on the films Pitch Perfect and Chicago.
All motions passed at AMM, Bristol SU’s largest democratic event of the year Nikki Peach News Editor
don’t feel safe on campus’ and that radical feminist groups denying their female identity continued to marginalise their community and put them in danger. The motion was passed without amendment by secret ballot after debate lasting almost an hour. MOTION 4: Support Refugee and Asylum seeker access to higher education - PASSED The motion was proposed by Matthew Dominey encouraging the University to actively support and promote refugee and asylum seekers in gaining a university education. It was passed very quickly without debate. MOTION 5: Denounce Brexit - PASSED A proposal for the SU to formally denounce Brexit before the final terms of leaving the EU are finalised was raised by Max Langer. There were a few queries as to whether this motion is a valuable use of resources and whether the Bristol SU can make significant change in national policy. One student suggested the SU opposes changes to the Erasmus scheme specifically as it is relevant to students, rather than Brexit as a whole. After mild debate the motion was passed. MOTION 6: Increasing Inter-faculty Open Units
The AMM meeting.
Students occupy top floor of Senate House as part of UCU strikes Ed Southgate Comment Editor
and working to contract are not deducted pay at a rate of 25 per cent, as we see this as legalised theft and undermines the sacrifices made through strike action. 3.The management of Bristol University resolves to become more transparent and accountable to both staff and students, without whom the university would not function and they would not have their own pension pots or extortionate salaries. 4.We demand that the University of Bristol open our occupation, allowing students to freely join as would only be fair as this is a peaceful form of protest. 5.We demand that these efforts through occupation be taken seriously and there be no retrospective and tenuous disciplinary processes as have been seen at other recent occupations around the country. This occupation was not an official event of the Student-Staff Solidarity group, but was independently initiated by individual members.
Facebook / Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity
Members of the Student-Staff Solidarity group occupied the fifth floor of Senate House during the third week of ongoing UCU strikes, with a set of demands for Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady. The occupiers walked into Senate House at around 7.20AM on Monday 5th March, when the building was not secure. The occupation was closed at the time of writing, meaning security have let individuals out of but not into the building. Unable to meet Hugh Brady on Monday, the occupiers slept in Senate House overnight and met the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of External Communications on Tuesday 6th March. Their meeting lasted from 10AM until 11.15AM, and agreed to meet again the following day with the addition of the Chief Financial Advisor. This second meeting had not occurred at the time of writing, but the group had said the occupation will continue. The occupiers described their first meeting as ‘constructive’. A spokesperson told Epigram: ‘We have negotiated with the management of the University to ensure that their legal right to withhold pay from striking staff is clarified and that working to contract will not result in reduced pay for staff who meet these conditions. This will be done to avoid the university taking what would be regrettable punitive action.’ The group emphasised that they have been peaceful, and paid tribute to the University for accommodating their right to protest. The spokesperson said: ‘The University have been respectful of our occupied space and access to necessary facilities, putting other
universities such as Bath, Liverpool and Exeter to shame in dealing with such issues.’ Following their first meeting on Tuesday 6th, Professor Hugh Brady said: ‘We have welcomed the students to stay in Senate House where they are safe and comfortable, with access to meeting rooms, kitchen and bathroom facilities and balcony. ‘These students will not face any disciplinary action as a result of a respectful, peaceful occupation.’ The SU’s stance on the occupation was not known at the time of writing, although there has yet to be an official endorsement of it from a full-time officer. Bristol UCU has openly supported ‘the students’ commitment to the staff cause.’ The occupiers had five demands: 1.Hugh Brady openly supports striking staff and the UCU in their position against the UUK, and openly disclaims the projection of deficit for the USS scheme 2.Staff taking part in action short of a strike
The occupation at Senate House
- PASSED The motion was proposed by Anya Sharma who raised concerns about the narrow range of open units. ‘There are 95 open units available at Bristol and 65% of them are from the faculty of arts’. Her request is for a fairer, wider selection from across all six faculties. Her motion was passed without debate. MOTION 7: Protecting students in nightclubs and bars - PASSED Sally Patterson proposed the motion to further the SU’s current Zero Tolerance policy and ensure this occurs at all events hosted or supported by the SU to reduce sexual harassment and abuse in nightclub and bar settings. The motion was passed quickly and brought the evening to a close. The three remaining motions will be transferred to the next student council. They were ‘Boycott the border industry on campus’, ‘Establish a multi-faith network’ and ‘make PG education accessible to International PG students’. The SU wishes to make it known that AMM is not the only opportunity for students to have a say on Union policies: there are regular student council meetings open to all students once a term, although only student representatives can vote.
Epigram / Nikki Peach
The AMM - Annual Members’ Meeting - took place in the SU on Tuesday 27th February. The event was chaired by Hari Sood, Chair of the Student Council Seven motions were debated and passed during the evening, with the remaining motions being transferred to the next Student Council in June. Students arrived to be given voting cards and free pizza. The cards not only included the usual ‘for’ and ‘against’ positions, but also a ‘lost’ option, for those who find the debates incomprehensible. Each person had ninety seconds to propose their motion. After this someone could either put forward an amendment to the motion, oppose the argument or ask a question from the floor. A quorate system is sometimes used by the SU - meaning if enough students attending the AMM vote in favour of a motion then it will be immediately adopted - but as the meeting was not quorate, passed motions are not yet SU policy and will be voted on again at the next Student Council meeting. In between the proposed motions, the current SU officers played short YouTube videos explaining to the audience what they have achieved in their roles so far and what goals they have for the rest of the year. MOTION 1: Students support strike action PASSED The first motion of the evening was ‘Students support strike action’ proposed by Chanté Joseph. She stated that ‘61% of students nationally support the strike action’ and queried UUK’s right to cut pensions when ‘the Vice Chancellor has claimed over £4000 in business lunches’. Josie Hooker amended the motion, proposing a £350 initiative to support UCU campaigns by
providing drinks in the cold and materials for banners. Both motion and amendment were passed without great debate. MOTION 2: BeMankind active (PASSED) Isaac Haigh asked for a male equivalent to the female-based exercise programmes the SU currently offers - such as ‘Fit & Fab’ - to be provided. He cited mental health concerns, stating that many men are intimidated by the gym environment as well as women and would benefit from a class community where they feel included and comfortable. One person speaking against the motion asked if it would take venue space away from the existing clubs and classes. The SU is currently run at capacity. ‘There’s enough male dominance in sports, why is there the need for this?’, said a questioner from the floor. However, the proposer explained that it could hugely benefit nervous people who are keen to exercise and want an anti-lad culture alternative. He also explained that currently, 86% of class-based attendees identify as female. After some debate the motion was passed. MOTION 3: Prevent future trans-exclusionary radical feminist groups from holding events at the University - PASSED without the amendment This motion was proposed by Charlotte Buchanan arguing for TERF groups to be banned from speaking at the University as they incite hatred and put the trans community in adverse danger. TERF groups - trans-exclusionary radical feminist - form part of the feminist movement that argues that there are differences between trans women and women born as women. An amendment was proposed which asked for the no-platforming element of the motion to be removed in defence of free speech and expression. The amendment stated that ‘no-platforming should be reserved for fascists’. Chair of the Trans Network spoke in defence of the original motion and said ‘8 out of 10 trans students
Over 300 nominations made for Bristol BME Powerlist Luke Unger News writer Over 300 nominations have been made for the Bristol BME Powerlist, a publicised list of the 100 most inf luential Black and Minority Ethnic individuals that live, work and study in Bristol. Nominations for the list opened on Monday the 15th January this year and close on Friday the 9th of March. Winners will be notified in April and invited to a celebratory event happening in June. The list will be published in Bristol24/7. Founder of the project, Social Policy student Chanté Joseph, released a statement to students at the University: ‘The BME Powerlist came about as a result of the university conducting research into the BME attainment gap. ‘One of the recommendations of the report was that BME students should have more visible role models across the city, and additionally I’ve spent most of my three years at Bristol engaging in activities and events across the community and I know that there are some incredible people and unsung heroes who really do deserve recognition.’ ‘This project is incredibly important to me and I want to get as many nominations as possible. I’m enjoying reading your stories so far; they are incredible, and they are inspiring. Please share and please nominate!’ ‘40% of nominations are a student or staff member at the University of Bristol. The remainder of nominations have come from the community.’ To nominate all you need to do is give the person’s name and a reason why you think they should be on the list.
Editor: Ellen Jones
Deputy Editor: Dani Bass
Online Editor: Ollie Smith
Bristol’s transformation into a spring wonderland Ollie Smith describes the impact of storm which turned Bristol into a snowy paradise Ollie Smith Online Features Editor
the coming of the sun. Spring Equinox this year will fall on 20th March, which for a while seemed a very long time away. There was major disruption for Epigram too; with our offices being in the SU and this being closed on Friday, for a while we weren’t even sure if we’d be able to lay up this edition, although thankfully we continue to report. I myself had been scheduled to interview Bristol North West MP Darren Jones on the Saturday, but like many commuters across the country he was stranded in London. Thankfully we did it over the phone and I’ll be bringing you the results very soon. There were some fun snow stories of course: the
rescued snow ferret Doris being a great example or the giant snowball fight on Clifton Down. I saw much activity on social media regarding the homeless where people were informing of helplines to call if you saw someone sleeping rough and there were even reports of people leaving warm clothing out for them. And just like that it was gone. The bitter winds died down, light flurries became light showers, and snow turned to slush. My winter coat has returned to the cupboard for the rest of the year (I hope), my boots are still drying by the radiator and I am very much looking forward to the warm rays of spring.
Epigram/ Cameron Scheijde
It was something I expected never to see in my time at Bristol. Indeed I had even questioned whether I would see it again. As a southerner who grew up in the ‘sunniest town in Britain’, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, the very concept of snow was beginning to become alien to me. Of course there have been flurries: the day before my 24 hour exam, for example, being a torturous experience as I gazed out of my window in jealousy of those not in deep revision. Then came the ‘beast from the east’, the cold winds of Siberia which gripped our nation for the best part of a week. Like the weird weather world of Game of Thrones, the season would be unpredictable. Red weather warnings were issued in Scotland and the South East, scraping the tip of Wales and covering most of Devon. Combined with the might of Storm Emma, the UK has endured one of its most wintery springs ever. I have never been that cold in my life. The winds were strong and powder snow blew along the ground like a scene from an Attenborough documentary in the Antarctic. Facing the blizzard stung my eyes and I found myself wearing socks and layers in bed to keep warm. Thursday brought a downfall of snow; it had been non-stop all day and by the evening there was so much that for the first time in my life I made a snow angel. I came back to my student flat to find a snow slide where the steps once were and a front door that was fast on its way to being half covered. There was a certain magic about the morning
of Friday: in some parts of Clifton I felt as though I had stepped back in time; I couldn’t see where the road began and the pavements ended. It looked a little like the streets from the era of Sherlock Holmes; I half expected to see horsedrawn carriages and cloaks. I took a walk to the Suspension Bridge to see the picturesque views. Children were sledging down the natural slide, couples were on romantic walks and a robin I encountered was clearly very confused before kindly posing for a wintery picture. I carried on along the Downs Trail and through the trees; snow was coming down heavily at this point and with the old lampposts and snowbound woodland I could have been in Narnia. Ironically the snow caused more disruption than the recent strikes. The university reached a standstill with everything closing at 2pm on Thursday. It was at this time that my last lecture finished and as we left we were greeted to a full scale evacuation of the Arts and Social Sciences Library. I must admit that when the University first announced it would be closing I was a little surprised; someone even made the joke that this is why we are sometimes dubbed ‘the snowflake generation’. In all seriousness, however, it was a sensible decision. A red weather warning is, after all, extreme weather that poses a serious risk to life and whilst Bristol just avoided the worst, it wasn’t without risk. People have died across the country and the army had to be called in to support the strained police and hospitals. I had friends informing me of people they knew getting injured by slipping on ice, a reminder that what is fun for some can bring real struggle to others. I found the shelves of the local supermarket bare. There was no bread, very little meat and almost no vegetables. There was a certain level of irony in that daffodils were being sold to mark
Cllifton looked even more scenic in the snow
Helping and humanising Bristol’s homeless Fabian Collier discusses his experience volunteering with the homeless and the characters he meets along the way Fabian Collier First Year, Anthropology Providing help to the homeless begins in Champion Square at the Quaker meeting house, and supported by the donations of many generous individuals and organisations, from a multi-faith chaplaincy to Greggs, from Starbucks to St Mungo’s, and more besides. Everyone works together, regardless of outward differences in bottom line or final objective, to help those in need. Volunteers turn the donations into a moveable feast with clothes wagons attached. We are a motley bunch including students, retired people, and Syrian refugees, too. Having fled civil war, our airstrikes, ISIS, their own President’s chemical weaponry and blockades, they still turn out to help others. After prep, and spending half an hour feeding and watering the 40-50 unfailingly polite people who gather in the square, we get underway on a long route through Cabot Circus, Broadmead, Corn Street, the Waterfront, Park Street and back, to see who else we can help, and hopefully raise some money, too. Our route introduces us to all sorts. Last week an extremely well dressed elderly man barked in outrage that we simply should not help ‘these people’, the implication clear that we should leave them to die. He clutched his thick coat close to his neck, for it was a cold cold night, and marched on, triumphant in his rectitude. For every one of him, mercifully there are many who will give much of what little cash they have when we hopefully clank our tin, a gesture which restores hope.
Then there was the drunk man angrily, and wrongly, accusing us of ignoring him and his friend, who we were simultaneously already providing with food, a hot drink, and clothing. His friend provided a counterpoint of quiet gratitude. While one railed erratically at our neglect, the other was self-effacing, peaceful, and apologetic. If it wasn’t so pitiful, it could almost be funny. Interactions with these strangers can never be second-guessed, provoking one minute demoralised misgivings at man’s inhumanity to man, while the next minute we are cheered and humbled by someone’s generosity and encouragement. We have been personally castigated in the wake of the Oxfam revelations, but... we keep going on.
his son, despite John believing he would have a better life with his mother. But a new man moved in, and the son stuck with John. After 25 years of continual employment on the wrong contracts, John was then fired, leaving him with no income. This dominoed into his being evicted and, with no fixed abode, he was denied access to benefits. A vicious and depressing cycle replicated up and down the country. John sat and openly cried at his son’s trust in him, and edged near the words to express the embarrassment he would feel were his son to encounter him now, homeless on the street, and dependent on the kindness of strangers. He tucked a sandwich into his pocket for breakfast. I wasn’t alone in feeling just a little bit broken inside.
Grabbing the headlines of someone’s life, learning how a couple of random events can cause a dramatic downturn, does not reduce that person. They are just like us, and that’s easy to forget, as we saunter past ignoring them, perhaps dropping a few casual pennies against our conscience, protecting ourselves from closer involvement by dismissing them as drunkards (yes, maybe) and crackheads (maybe some) or claiming that it’s their own fault (woefully simplistic). It didn’t take long for me to change my outlook and see beyond the crumpled form under a blanket to the human being. And so I will continue to be there Friday night after Friday night because no man is an island and it’s the least that I can do.
They are just like us, and that’s easy to forget as we saunter past ignoring them
And we can get to know the people we are helping. At least a little. Like John, who told an everyday story of devastating ruin. At 43, a freshly laid-off scaffolder, his tale of naïveté, heartbreak, and loss started when he was just 16, when he fell in love, and tied the knot, which she broke 25 years later forcing him to pack up and go. He took
Homelessness in Bristol has become something of an epidemic in recent years
Only a cup-ple more pence! The arrival of the coffee cup charge
Tessa Lloyd discusses Starbucks’ recent decision to trial a 5p takeaway cup charge, and looks at how this could impact students Tessa Lloyd Third Year, English Epigram’s focus on environmental lifestyles in recent weeks has coincided with a wider media focus on sustainable living – articles about plastic-free living, recycling efficiency and the reduction of waste are to be found across most major media platforms lately. This public interest has, it seems, been transferred now to large corporations, with many companies listening to the call from their customers for eco-friendly products. Starbucks is one of the most iconic and well-known coffee shops in the world; they are the brand behind the infamous ‘Unicorn Frappuccino’ of 2017 and can be found in almost every UK shopping district. Given their vast wealth and influence as a brand, the decision by the Starbucks chain to levy a 5p charge per disposable cup is ground-breaking. They are the first major UK food company to do so, and their decision will likely be the catalyst for further environmentally-minded action. The track record of the corporation is not without severe faults, namely their ongoing tax avoidance, and so it would not be unreasonable to take the, albeit cynical, perspective that this move is yet another instance of corporate ‘greenwashing’: that these enormous brands are just trying to entice yet more customers to their newly-ethical image.
by their minimalist cardboard design, is currently ineffective, since only about 1% of cups produced are recycled. This is largely because the paper cups are lined with plastic polyethylene, and only three UK recycling plants are sufficiently equipped to recycle them. That means that even if you do put them into a recycling bin, of which there are many dotted around the University and the city, the likelihood is that it will end up in a normal landfill sight. Alex Boulton, Epigram Editor-in-Chief, commented, ‘I think it is disgusting how you can’t recycle disposable coffee cups and fully back initiatives to reduce their use. I have noticed an increase in those bringing a reusable mug, which is great as ultimately reducing is better than recycling.’ Yet despite the condemnation that unrecyclable coffee cups have recieved, in 2016, the UK government failed to pass into law a nationwide 5p charge on disposable cups. The current momentum around reducing plasticity may now, hopefully, reverse that legislative decision.
The impact of the 5p increase may be minimal financially. A 5p additional charge on a coffee, say five times a week, won’t come to more than a 25p increase on a weekly budget. But this can nevertheless impact students trying to balance a tight budget. Ellen Jones, third year History student, told Epigram, ‘Even though it’s such a small amount of money, it does add up. With bag charges, cup charges and potentially even plastic straw charges being introduced, it will start to really pay to be proactive. Saving a few pounds a month pays for a night out or a lunch with a friend.’ The biggest impact that it will hopefully have, however, is a psychological one. Currently, the chain offers a 25p discount when customers bring their own ‘keep cup’, so this is not their first environmentally-minded measure. Pret-AManger have recently increased their discount to 50p, which will pay off the price of the keepcup after only 9 or 10 cups. Similarly, within our university, the Source Café and the Balloon Bar offer 20p discounts. Yet the difference in this
But on the other hand, who cares? Whether or not this move is another mere marketing ploy, the impact will likely be highly beneficial as 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away in the UK each year. Their alleged recyclability, fuelled
Flikr/ Keiichi Yasu
With plastic straw charges also potentially being introduced, it will start to pay to be proactive
After Starbucks introduces a cup charge, will other places follow suit?
case is that every single customer at a Starbucks shop will have to consciously consider the plastic waste crisis. Trends set by major influences will invariably trickle down to smaller businesses and into the mass consumer mind-set.
Measures such as these capably combat the ‘throwaway culture’
The success of schemes such as this 5p coffee cup charge, minimal financial change for vast environmental benefits, has been proven in the 2016 decision that supermarkets should add a small plastic bag charge. The positive impact was unprecedented, since, to date, the distribution and usage of plastic bags has fallen by 90%. I personally, as I’m sure many others do, feel a pang of guilt every time I have to buy a plastic bag, remembering the Sainsburys ‘Bags for Life’ stuffed into a drawer in our student kitchen. Measures such as these capably combat the ‘throwaway culture’ of our consumer society, and there is no reason to suspect that the coffee cup charge will not have as successful an impact. The Starbucks decision will hopefully lead to a mass movement towards similar charges by other brands, and potentially successful legislation. I praise them for their decision, as a leading business corporation in food and drink industries, to shed light on the issue of plastic consumerism. Personally, I am more likely to respect a shop, whether a chain or independent, if I know its ethical standpoint. For a student, the decision to buy a keep-cup is financially viable too; not only do you receive the first hot drink for free, but you will consistently get further discounts upon every use. The abundance of brilliant recent articles by Epigram contributors are testament to just how easily we can make small adjustments to our lifestyles that will, nationwide, have positive environmental impacts.
Snapchat claptrap: new update gives us no control over what we watch Ellie Rowe discusses how the new Snapchat update has made the app harder to use, and could worsen student’s self image Ellie Rowe Second Year. English Snapchat has changed a lot since its launch in 2011 – initially, it was a fairly straightforward, simple photo-sharing app that fed on the growing presence of social media in our lives and the desire to share day-to-day events with your friends and family. However, after Snapchat’s most recent update, its interface and user-friendly design have become a lot more complicated, leading to over 800,000 users to sign a petition for a redesign. Kylie Jenner, renowned for her use of Snapchat, publicly announced that her use of the app after the redesign has decreased, prompting her followers on both Twitter and Instagram to agree with her opinions on the new design. As we all know, what Kylie Jenner says, goes. The main issue with the redesign is the interference of the app with our ability to decide what we want to see, and what we don’t.
The new ‘stories’ app encourages us to swipe blindly through each media broadcast – as soon as you finish reading all the content from one digitised outlet, it immediately connects you to the next one without much indication that you’ve finished reading everything from that outlet. This confusion is encouraging people to engage with and swipe through media outlets such as The Sun and The Daily Mail, which perpetuate harmful misogynistic and xenophobic stereotypes that are now more accessible than ever. Whilst we used to be able to choose that we wanted to watch Vice’s exploration of ‘why we date who we date’ without having to read about Kim Kardashian’s latest nude photo straight afterwards, now we are encouraged to read that article, followed by some drivel about Love Island and lots of stories about pink Starbucks drinks. According to a study conducted by eMarketer, 78.6% of snapchat users are 18 – 24 year olds, young people who are likely to go to or already be at university. Growing up alongside apps like Snapchat means that they have become a
fundamental part of a young person’s life. The encouragement of the new Snapchat design to constantly consume endless celebrity stories and harsh criticisms of behaviour and body type is therefore harmful, encouraging the younger generation to behave in a way that conforms to the opinions of things like The Sun and The Daily Mail. Another issue with the app – an issue ever present in any university student’s life – is clutter. Having the stories in the same place as where you receive snapchats from others makes it appear as if there is ‘too much going on’, according to one Bristol University student when asked about the new design. There is a strong feeling that the introduction of the Bitmoji alongside the users name as well as placing the stories in the same place as everything else makes everything visually saturated, and encourages people to open things immediately without checking what it is or who it has come from. The new Snapchat seems to be rooted in the idea that apps, as they compete against each
other for popularity, are becoming too similar. As Instagram and Facebook have both introduced the ‘story’ feature, where you can upload something current about your day (a feature that was previously unique to Snapchat), many feel as if apps are all trying to do the exact same thing. Snapchat’s decision to change how it works and what content it produces may be a reaction to pressure from other apps that now offer similar experiences. Frankly, the main issue is that the once simple app, which required very little brain power, has become a little too complex for us millennial students. If strikes and snow have proven anything, it’s that we’re not big fans of change. Snapchat can rest easy, however – as a social media presence, it has become so ingrained in everyday life that no matter what changes it implements, its user count will undoubtedly remain considerably high. Those 78.6% of 18 – 24 year olds have most likely been using the app since it was first launched in 2011, and old habits die hard.
Has over-education in environmental issues had a detrimental effect? An anonymous student responds to the recent Epigram ‘Green Issue’ and discusses whether over-education in environmental problems has led to apathy
“ Every aspect of my teaching referenced the environment and the need to protect it
My fear is that drilling the environment into everyone minds simply has an inverse effect
Outrage from environmental groups prevented this change to the national syllabus and yet Trump still tweets his environmental scepticism that ‘Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against.’ The method for raising environmental awareness needs to change. Yes, there are a lot of people in the world to care about the environment and apply pressure but we need to do more to win over those who are environmentally apathetic and have not been swayed by their education. How do we get across to these people? The spotlight the Epigram gave to the environment is noble but this may be in vain. We have been taught about the environmental impact and
We need to utilise the social media platform available in today’s society
damage we are causing instead of telling them, create an atmosphere where climate change cannot be avoided. We need to utilise the social
media platform available in today’s society. Social media pages like the online presence of the National Geographic are educating people about the environment through their footage. A recent image they circulated in December 2017 showed a starving polar bear and received 2,700,000 ‘likes’. Using their following, they can engage with people who have not sought out a specifically ecological platform. Similarly celebrity action helps engage people outside of the environmental sphere. Leonardo Dicaprio’s film Beyond the Flood received a record 60 million views worldwide, whilst Blue Planet II was Britain’s most watched TV show in 2017, with 14.1 million views. By placing the conversation into mainstream television and social media we can attempt to persuade those who have not been moved by learning about global warming in the classroom.
In school syllabuses across the UK we are consistently reminded about climate change. Based on the national curriculum the environment must be referred to within most subjects. We have all learnt about climate change, global warming and the effects of acid rain. In my secondary school we discussed the environment in Form Time and Religious Studies. Every aspect of my teaching referenced the environment and the need to protect it. This emphasis did not stop at secondary school: from my History degree, I was forced to learn about a strand of environmental history and how the British Empire affected the ecosystems of colonies. From my peers I have learnt that most other degrees also have an environmental module - in Politics, it is called ‘Apocalypse or Ecotopia’ , looking into ‘green politics’. Now, I am not arguing that educating people about the dangers of the environment is wrong; I strongly believe that everyone should be aware about how the environment is endangered by human activity. Nevertheless my fear is that drilling the environment into everyone minds simply has an inverse effect.
the Bristol students who will engage with these green issues are those who already care about the environment. We need to target those who have not been incentivised by what they have read. My solution to this would be to show them the
Are we putting too much emphasis on enviromental education?
The last issue of Epigram was labelled the ‘Epigreen’ and had a focus on green issues in order to ‘celebrate sustainability and raise awareness’ of the environment. I for one am in favour of increased environmental measures and a genuine drive for environmental change. However the large scale coverage the environment recieves does lead me to wonder, are we making people apathetic towards environmental issues?
It would appear that despite this emphasis on climate change and global warming in our schools, the world does not do enough to stop our carbon footprint. Epigram claims that 77% of students in Bristol see themselves as environmentalists, but this self definition does not appear to have translated to the general public or our politicians. In Western Europe, our use of plastic is growing by 4% each year and in 2017 Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, where 195 parties agreed to reduce global warming by 1.5 degrees centigrade. We must then question to what extent bombarding people with information on the environment is effective. We find ourselves in the position that our politicians are refuting what we have been taught in schools from a young age. In 2013, news broke that Michael Gove was attempting to remove environmental studies from the school syllabus.
Anonymous Second Year, History
Bertie Lloyd discusses his experience with giving up plastic and suggests what others can do to help Bertie Lloyd Second Year, Zoology I was suggested the challenge by my lecturer, Dr. Andy Wakefield a few weeks ago and I thought it sounded really interesting to see how much I could stop using plastic products. It has been easier than you would think, I’ve found most things have an alternative, e.g. Making pasta from scratch and buying things in jars and cans rather than plastic packaging. I think we all see plastic waste in every day life and how it doesn’t break down naturally at all. Globally, it obviously has a massive effect on the environment and if things keep going this way there will supposedly be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. There is already a layer of micro plastics building up in our soil and you only have to
watch the newest series of Blue Planet to see how seriously it is effecting our marine life and as a society we do very little to help the situation, with only 9% of plastic over the last 70 years being recycled.
there will supposedly be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050
When motivating yourself and others to reduce plastic usage it’s important to be aware of how far the impact of plastic travels, with the uninhabited
Henderson Island in the South Pacific recently found to have the highest density of washed up plastic in the world. It can obviously be difficult to reduce plastic use as it can be more expensive and time consuming, so hopefully more supermarkets will follow Iceland in committing to reducing their own brand waste to 0 by 2023. This kind of change makes a massive difference and is where major reductions are likely to be made as supermarkets currently produce almost 1 million tonnes of waste per year Until then, just aim to reduce waste whenever possible by making small changes to and hopefully global attitudes will continue to change. Plastic can be found in most products we consume, and even if we don’t give them up completely it is important we take steps in reducing our use. Just making sure that you absolutely need to
buy items with plastic packaging, and refusing single-use plastic items on a regular basis, such as plastic straws, vegetable packaging, plastic bottles and re-useable bags when shopping etc.
Checking your items use recyclable plastic is a big step forward
Checking your items use recyclable plastic is a big step forward and generally encouraging mates to do so always helps.
@epigramcomment Editor: Ed Southgate
Deputy Editor: Jake Porter
Online Editor: Cameron Scheijde
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.
Bisexuality: it is not a myth
Epigram Comment teams up with the LGBT+ society to tackle the common misconceptions faced by members of the bisexual community. Check Epigram’s Instagram for the full campaign!
An account of internalised biphobia
Nura Alyah explains that internalised biphobia can be just as harmful as external biphobia, and that we must rid society of bisexual misconceptions Nura Alyah Social Secretary, LGBT+ Society This article was proposed to me as an exploration of the damaging effect of biphobic stereotypes. If you want to see ‘damaging,’ look no further than me in March of last year. It happened towards the end of my first year. After years of being confident that I was a lesbian who never had a genuine attraction to men, nothing had been as damaging to my sense of identity than this one stupid boy. Anyone that was friends with me at the time can tell you what a mess I was. It didn’t help I had a particularly boozy month that March, or that when I’m drunk I overshare. But there I was, telling anyone and everyone - except for him - about the stupid and ‘probably fake’ feelings I had for this guy. It’s ironic that when I first came out some six years ago I also identified as bi. At 14, as an unguarded child that knew who I liked, I had no problem being bisexual. But after years of seeing stereotypes as a funny thing you could tack onto your identity if you were gay or lesbian, and comparing it to the stereotypical cries of ‘bisexuals are sluts!’ and ‘bisexuals are lying!’, it was inevitable that I’d tamper down how I felt any time I looked at a guy and thought he was attractive.
It took me far longer than it should have to realise that when people talk about internalised homophobia, it’s not just kids hearing homophobic parents telling them their identity is a sin. I wish I had known that the people that tell you bi people have ‘straight privilege’, that bisexuality is ‘easier’, that biphobia isn’t real - I wish I had known that these people were wrong.
At 14, as an unguarded child that knew who I liked, I had no problem being bisexual
Biphobia sucks, and internalised biphobia is just as damaging as any other type of bigotry. Internalised biphobia thrives on all the stereotypes you hear: that bisexuals are fake, that we’re not as LGBT as other sexualities, that you have to be gay enough to be bi and think of yourself as part of the community. It takes these stereotypes and tells you that you shouldn’t want to identify as bisexual. Internalised biphobia twists genuine feelings you have, feelings that should be celebrated and enjoyed, and makes you doubt and question whether or not you want people to know you feel that way, until you’re more distressed than anything else at what
people will think of you. It tells you that you should say you’re a lesbian, because then people will take your sexuality seriously. You should look at a guy who identifies as bi and judge whether or not he’s actually ‘gay enough’ to deserve that label. You should use any other word to describe yourself other than bisexual because that way no one will look at you and think you’re lying for attention. I did all of those things, and I hate that I did. I identified as a lesbian, I used the word ‘queer’ until I could accept that being bisexual wasn’t lesser, and I had awful, awful thoughts about some of my closest friends. I have all the guilt you’d expect, and I wasted a lot of time denying how I felt towards men. I know deep down that relying on other labels and having initially bigoted thoughts - which I fight any time I notice them - aren’t things that make me a bad person, or a bad ally to other sexualities; sometimes you have to do some avoidance until you’re comfortable with yourself. But I’m sad and I’m sorry that I ever felt like I had to do such a thing. We’re a year on from this big bisexual crisis, and I’m now loudly and proudly chanting that I am bi. I’m bisexual! Suck it, biphobes. I have a bi pride flag hanging above my bed, a poster declaring ‘LIBERTÉ, EGALITÉ, BISEXUALITÉ’, and I can look at a guy and think he’s attractive without thinking that I need to lie about what I feel. I do like girls more often than guys, but bisexuality doesn’t mean 50/50 - hell, it
doesn’t even mean “You like boys and girls and no other genders!” - my sexuality being more of a 80/20 deal doesn’t mean it’s invalid or bad.
We’re a year on from this big bisexual crisis, and I’m loudly and proudly chanting that I am bi
There are still going to be issues and caveats, of course. For instance, I have yet to tell my parents, in the case that they look at what it means to be bi and think ‘well, she’s dating a girl, so I don’t need to accept that she has the potential for any other type of attraction’ (although now I have a nice article to link them to - Hi Mom! Hi Dad!) But at the same time, after a hectic year of ups and downs and boys and girls, I’m taking this victory for what it is. I am bisexual. Maybe that’ll change again in another six years, but at the very least, I am proud of who I am right now. People have a very specific image of what it means to be bisexual, and honestly? It’s usually bullshit. Destroy the idea that you need to be ‘gay enough’ to count yourself as bi and part of the LGBT community. We’re here, and we’re bisexual, and that’s good enough.
Epigram / Ed Southgate
Epigram / Ed Southgate
Epigram / Ed Southgate
Epigram / Ed Southgate
‘You can definitely know you are bisexual before you have ever even kissed a girl. We love being a part of the gay community just as much as anyone else; we definitely belong in there and should be included.’
‘If all straight people had to interact with everyone that they’re attracted to, then monogomous relationships in their world wouldn’t exist! It’s misguided to not apply the same logic to someone who’s bisexual.’
‘Pansexual does not mean polyamorous and does not mean you want to sleep with every person on the planet. It is just the same as any other identity. I like what I like, I have my types. It means that I am not limiting my attraction to one gender.’
‘Bisexuality for me is more fluid. I can be attracted to men more than women, or women more than men, but both attractions are equally valid. You wouldn’t ask a ten year-old boy who fancies a girl: “Are you straight? You never actually kissed her”’.
Educating Ed - learning about bi-visibility Epigram Comment Editor Ed Southgate offers his reaction to the bi-visibility campaign
Ed Southgate Comment Editor As Editor of Epigram Comment, I receive messages multiple times a week from individuals wanting to write their opinion and more often than not, I disagree with their view, but at least they are issues that I had thought about and formed an opinion on. I am ashamed to admit my ignorance, therefore, that I was not as educated as I thought I was – or
indeed as I thought I needed to be – on the issue of Bisexuality. When Deputy Comment Editor, Jake Porter, suggested we ran a campaign with the LGBT+ society, I was naturally intrigued and willing. Speaking to members of the bisexual community throughout this campaign has taught me a great deal about this issue of ‘marginalisation.’ It seems all too easy to think that everybody in the LGBT+ community has the same experience and that they feel marginalised in the same way, but this, I have
discovered, is not the case. The most shocking thing that I have been taught through this campaign is how the bisexual community often feel outcasted within the wider LGBT+ community as a whole. Having heard about the misconceptions those who identify as bisexual are often faced with, it makes sense. Indeed, while some volunteers put forward the misconception along the lines of ‘if you are in a relationship with the opposite sex then surely you are now straight’,
while other volunteers came with the misconception of ‘if you are in a relationship with the same sex then surely you must be gay’. Not only does this seem contradictory, but it shed light – for me at least – on how bisexual individuals still feel that their sexuality is perceived as a ‘faux’ sexuality, and that they must only be attracted to one sex or the other. To my eyes, that this misconception came up throughout shows just how much bivisibility campaigns still matter.
Epigram / Ed Southgate
Epigram / Jake Porter
Epigram / Jake Porter
Epigram / Ed Southgate
‘I would ask those who believe this: ‘could you choose to be bisexual if you wanted to?’. If they say ‘no, sexuality is not a choice’ then I guess they have disproved their point themselves. Also, statistically it is more likely that heterosexuality is a trend, because more people are straight.’
‘People might see me and think I embody bad stereotypes about bi people. Every single person is unique in the way they experience their sexuality, and the way they practice their relationships. Being bi does not mean that you are inherently polyamorous, but you can be both of those things at once.’
‘If you are bisexual and also believe in the ‘percentage thing,’ then that is completely valid, but that does not mean you have to translate that to other peoples’ experiences. You should not have a conversation with someone with preconceived notions, and not expect them to be challenged.’
‘Just because I am in a long-term relationship [with a man] does not mean I have made up my mind. Don’t judge people by what they look like. There are people who are bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, and they can be with whoever they want. That does not take away their identity.’
Epigram / Ed Southgate
Epigram / Ed Southgate
Epigram / Jake Porter
Epigram / Jake Porter
‘Since I had a boyfriend when I came out, people asked ‘are you sure you are bisexual? Are you sure you’re not straight?’. I fnd that a lot of people think that I am not bisexual. Even when you are in a relationship, it does not stop you from being attracted to other people.’
‘It’s very common for people to perceive bisexuality in men as just a front for being gay. As well as invalidating so many people’s identities, this is just a lazy form of homophobia reinforcing the notion that being gay is something to be ashamed of, that needs hiding or softening.’
‘Alright, here’s the 4-1-1, folks. Bisexuality isn’t always a checkpoint on the path towards gayness. Not that sexuality is some kind of path you have to follow. Or that it takes longer to become gay. Anyway, being bi isn’t some kind of pseudo-sexual orientation. It’s a big player. It’s real. It’s lit.’
‘Sexualities are not a fixed state. Just because you are bisexual does not mean that you are 50/50 either way. It does not work that way. Bi people are people too; you tend to connect and date people who you have a chemistry with. We do not consciously think about gender when we are looking for partners.’
Political round-up World politics: Vladimir Putin reveals that Russia has developed a new range of nuclear weapons UK politics: StreetLink post record numbers of homeless alerts following the freezing cold temperatures Bristol politics: Bristol SU’s AMM passes a range of policies despite lacking a quorum (news article on page 5) A response to the news...
A response to the round-up...
The SU’s AMM is an illusion of student democracy
Oliver Chapman argues that the SU’s AMM is not representative of students
Oliver Chapman Third Year, Physics There was once a time that student politics represented the views of those it claimed to stand for. Not anymore. At its Annual Member’s Meeting on Tuesday, Bristol SU yet again demonstrated its incessant inability to connect with the student body. It was a long evening of messy debates which crucially failed to inspire enough interest to manage the most basic of requirements: a quorum. The measly quorum of 1.5 per cent of the student population was missed by over 100 people; each student in that room held the power to vote on behalf of nearly 90 other students. If the largest 9 of the UK’s 650 constituencies took it upon themselves to vote for the rest of the country there would be outrage, but this is exactly what we saw at the AMM.
Each student held the power to vote on behalf of nearly 90 other students
A mandate is surely crucial in order to call itself both democratic and representative, but with such low turnouts the SU’s only democratic meeting is left dead in the water. In fact only once in the last 5 years has an AMM been quorate when in 2016 the meeting only just scraped by.
Further still, what’s perhaps more insulting than the under-representation by the student body is the SU’s desperate policy to forward motions from failed AMMs to be approved by the Student Council. The problem lies in the fact that, while the SC is democratically elected, it is formed from sports captains, society presidents and course reps who – despite their crucial roles in student life – weren’t elected to represent the political beliefs of their electorate. The blatant failings of the SU to represent the fundamental interests of students were depicted by a question to the SU’s Undergraduate Education Officer. When asked whether he’d continue to support the strikes in the months to come, Mason Ammar quite proudly proclaimed that even after months of missed lectures – and with the very real possibility of exam turmoil on the near horizon – he would support the strikes no matter what. I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t said that they are not worried about the strike. It universally affects all students at the University, but the ‘debate’ was one of the shortest of the night. Not one person questioned whether the SU should support action which so clearly disrupts our degrees. Not one person brought up whether it is the SU’s place to fund a late amendment to fund the protesters to the tune of several hundred pounds. It was with no great surprise that Ammar’s response was met with a roar of approval – with the same ferocity that strike supporters have confronted the brave students crossing picket lines in recent days. And why not applaud? The
protesters had after all voted in their proposal to fund their protests with your money.
What saddens me is the fact that the AMM could be a place for students to genuinely change life for the better
One might have thought that the SU should be investing our money to improve the wellbeing of students at the University. Certainly, one might think, the SU should have no business dishing up tea and scones for protestors who freely chose to sit in the cold, harassing the rest of us, while we pick ourselves up from the shambles that have become of this strike. What saddens me is the fact that the AMM could be a place for students to genuinely change life at Bristol for the better. There were certainly glimpses of this, from the exciting new program ‘Be Mankind Active’ which aims to support men’s mental health, to a heart-warming motion to prevent the University cutting funding to a program which supports a small number of refugees and asylum in taking degrees. It seems that without an intervention the SU will ultimately continue to fall short of the mandate it needs to carry out the crucial work it could be completing. Indeed, it strikes me that until the SU remedies its endemic failings to engage with the wider student body, it will be unable to cater for the unheard needs of its members.
The strikes are your issue: do something about it Kate Raison argues that strikes are purposefully disruptive, and students must join the picket to end them
Kate Raison Member of Student-Staff Solidarity
The whole point of a strike is for it to be disruptive
Large crowds and noise aids the pressure on management too. And this is something we, as students, can do. We can’t withdraw our financial support to the university because most of us haven’t technically paid it yet, and they’ve got the money already. But we can create awkward situations. Case in point: the Senate meeting last Monday. The Senate is the governing body of the university, consisting of the Vice Chancellor and all his managerial mates and the heads of departments and schools. We made enough noise as a group of thirty or so students outside the doors of the Senate meeting for the university management to invite three students in to speak to them directly. That included Hugh Brady, the Vice Chancellor. Although what happened in that meeting was mostly lip-service, and we didn’t have any
concrete demands prepared as it was a little out of the blue, the important thing is that we made enough noise to bend management into a position where they had to let us in to talk. And, believe me, they didn’t want to – they had already refused to let us in when we asked politely at the beginning of the meeting. It’s reassuring to think that these people are not untouchable. But why should you care about these strikes? I understand that many don’t empathise with the pension situation, especially given that pensions are so far in the future for the majority of university students. But this is not just about pensions. Members of staff, including lecturers, are chronically underpaid and overworked at this university, especially junior members. Put on top of this an awful prospect of retirement, and you have some very unhappy staff. Their working environment is our learning environment. Do we really want to be taught by tired, unhappy people?
Whether you agree with the treatment of education as a commodity and fee hiking, the reality is that our higher education is costing us in some way. However, that money is not going towards the research and education at this university. Most is going to developments that aren’t used by most students and they are usually marketing ploys. We need investment in the staff at Bristol, and that includes their pensions, to create a healthy and vibrant research-rich environment for our education, because an investment in the staff is an investment in us as students. There ought to be clearer control in the hands of the students and staff together, as without us, the university does not function. And while university management currently operates on the basis of profit over people, it doesn’t mean that our voices must not be heard. We can force them to listen to us. Read the original news story on page three
Epigram / Evy Tang
Until these strikes, I had never seen the power of protest first hand. By this, I don’t only mean getting voices heard and demands met, but the feeling of solidarity with those around you. Knowing that you are part of something that is working for positive change with people from all different walks of life is liberating. The initial rally at the beginning of the strikes is a testament to this, with over a thousand people there, despite the limited knowledge among students of the strike. The level of support was incredible and exceeded the expectations of most. Students and staff came together to stand for the rights of those around them. This unity has only grown over the last two weeks. The next rally was just as big, with an impromptu march down to College Green due to its sheer size and energy. The music, chanting and walking together with people you know believe in the same things as you, is an amazingly warm feeling. As someone who is heavily invested in both the problems leading to the strikes and the wider issues at play, it can be frustrating when struggling to communicate with students who don’t seem to care. Trying to find new ways to engage students who either don’t know what is going on, or aren’t getting engaged is crucial to at least informing people of the strike, and hopefully promoting discussion that leads to more support. Disturbances are necessary for this. The
whole point of a strike is for it to be disruptive, to force management into a position where they have to consider their staff’s demands. University teaching and research grinding to a halt puts pressure on management, which is why crossing the picket lines and continuing as if all is relatively normal is damaging to the strikes. It’s easier for those at the top to ignore the pressure of those striking, if the students seem to be able to carry on without them.
Is asking for compensation a fool’s errand for these passionate protestors?
Epigram / Harry Coke
Students shouldn’t be calling for refunds over the UCU strikes Sophie Preston questions the validity of students requesting compensation over the recent UCU strike action
Higher education is facing the biggest strike action in years – action that is entirely necessary, as academics face losing £10,000 of their pension every year. Our lecturers work hard in educating the next generation and deserve justice. At the same time, students face the prospect of huge debt once they graduate. Consequently, because of tuition time lost over the course of the strikes we are being urged to write to Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady to demand a refund. But is this really a fair outcome for students? It is difficult to fully support strike action while our future hangs in the balance. Students are being coerced into joining the pickets; many have been harassed for attending lectures that are not affected by strike action and for entering libraries. How can we continue our studies in the absence of tuition when we are being placed under pressure not to use study spaces and resources? Realistically, other tactics could have been used and are arguably more effectively. There are academics who are striking, yet continue to work on their research. As a Russell Group university, we are founded upon research. Each paper could be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Therefore withholding research could have been an excellent strategy to put pressure on UUK to reach a favourable outcome with UCU. However, it is obviously tuition strikes that will garner the most media attention.
Demand more information from your Schools. Demand extentions. Demand special considerations.
This is not about future generations of academics. We will not lose academics as a result of reduced pensions – pensions in the private sector have been squeezed by an ageing population for quite some time, with private sector employees
receiving half the employer pension contribution than UUK even under the proposed new system. Yet new graduates join private sector professions year upon year. Academia will not be any different. Academics are not the only people to have faced a change in the ‘rules of the game’ after signing a contract. The interest scheme of our student loans were changed after we began our degree such that repaying the loan will cost much more than we agreed to. For many students, especially those in their final year, the strike action is causing stress and anxiety. It could not have come at worse time – as our lecturers are aware. In the crucial final four weeks before dissertations are due in some Schools, students will receive no guidance from their dissertation supervisor. We have been told there is to be no extension on deadlines for coursework or dissertations despite being deprived of office hours and contact via email. To add insult to injury, coursework handed in on time will not be returned on time as a result of the strikes. Extending the interval before receiving feedback on work will surely also heighten anxiety regarding marks. Refunded tuition fees cannot possibly account for the detrimental effect this is sure to have on our work. Therefore, I believe students should not be demanding refunds. Compensation will never account for the possibility that we do not receive the final grade in our degrees that we deserve. Academics deserve their pensions back, but we also deserve an appropriate outcome for three years of hard work. I urge students to contact their Course Reps to demand action in the form of extensions and special consideration in marking. Additionally, we need assurance from our Schools regarding the protocol for extension of the strikes into the exam period. Demand more information from your Schools. Demand extensions. Demand special considerations. Don’t demand a refund because, although the strike opposes marketization of higher education, it has already happened. We have already paid our fees for an education that has not been delivered. However, if you are really concerned with the affect the strikes will have on your degree, it is our Schools that need to put mitigation measures in place and communicate them to us.
Following a series of burglaries in student properties, Will Charley decries the University’s lack of responsibility Will Charley First Year, History The thought of being burgled seemed ridiculous to me. As a first year in halls, my biggest worry is that I will lose my door key on a night out, not that I will return to find my door hanging off its hinges. Nonetheless, since I’m moving to Redland next year, an area recently hit by a spate of burglaries, I decided to do some digging. According to the official Police.UK website, there have been over 50 burglaries reported in a one-mile radius of Redland last December. More worryingly, between September and December 2017, there were 243 burglaries within that same radius, and 82 reports of bike theft. Redland is one of Bristol’s most popular areas for students to move to in second year, with other very popular areas including Clifton Down, Whiteladies Road, and much of Cotham. What the crime statistics reveal is that Bristol students are heavily targeted by criminals, most of whom are aware that students often lack adequate security, being first-time renters. However, it is not just students living in Redland. Around Clifton, there were 153 burglaries reported and a staggering 103 bike thefts between September and December 2017. It is time for the university to take some responsibility. While some may argue that it is not the University’s responsibility to protect their students - especially when they are in private accommodation - I strongly disagree. Burglars usually steal laptops and other devices, often causing massive problems for students studying at the university. Since students are now increasingly being recognized as ‘customers’ of Higher Education, it is the universities’ responsibility to ensure that students can complete their degree unhindered.
Bristol students are heavily targeted by criminals
Twitter / @Bristol_SU
Is asking for compensation a fool’s errand for these passionate protestors?
UoB must do more to protect burglary victims
Furthermore, burglary and theft can be highly traumatic for some individuals, leaving students feeling unsafe in their own home. No student paying £9,000 should be left unable to carry out their degree to the best of their ability as a result of the University ignoring its duty of care. However, aside from critics who might argue that the University should not come to the aid of second and third year students, some – including the University itself – suggest that they are in fact unable to help whatsoever. As the University puts it: ‘Sadly student accommodation is often targeted by burglars.’ Their solution: insurance. I think that they can do more. The University actively protects its first-year student community, using security officers, a 24-
Sophie Preston Third Year, Geography
Is asking for compensation a fool’s errand for these passionate protestors?
hour hotline, and a fleet of security patrol cars that are regularly seen roaming between the university campus and Stoke Bishop. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that crime statistics for the University’s halls are considerably lower. In the same period as previously examined, in a one-mile radius of Stoke Bishop, there were only 39 burglaries reported and a shocking – wait for it – two reports of bikes being stolen. This means that where the University actively protects, there are 84 per cent less reports of burglary and 98 per cent less reports of bikes being stolen, when compared to Redland.
There is an argument for the University to take more responsibility over guarding its student communities
There is more to the lack of crime in Stoke Bishop than just wannabe bouncers and the occasional fake cop car. But what I think it does reveal is that there is an argument for the University to take more responsibility over guarding its main student communities. If the University of Bristol provided more information on preventing burglary and drove the occasional patrol car through Redland and Clifton on a late night out, I am sure that students would feel safer and that the rate of burglary would drop from just under two reports every single day. Fundamentally, with the provision of a health and mental health service, as well as campus security, a student union and even its own letting agency, the University openly acknowledges that it has a duty of care towards its students. In the wake of a ridiculously high crime rate, why can’t this be extended to protecting vulnerable firsttime renters from being burgled? Put simply, the University of Bristol should be doing more to protect its students. A University of Bristol spokesperson said: ‘The safety and wellbeing of staff and students is of utmost importance to us. The University’s Security Services and resident Police Officer work hard to ensure our estate, including the halls of residence, are safe 24/7. Our online e-induction and UniSmart presentations for students entering university residences are designed to support students transitioning into independent living and cover a range of topics including security, personal safety and community living. ‘It would be impossible for our security services to patrol the wider city and monitor private residences, however we work closely with Avon and Somerset Police and issue personal safety advice to students living in privately rented accommodation. We urge students to use the Police non-emergency number 101 to report any damaged property, vehicle theft or suspicious activity in their area, or to ring 999 in an emergency situation.’
Science & Tech
@EpigramSciTech Editor: Emma Isle Online Editor: Bethany Harris
Deputy Editor: Oliver Cohen email@example.com
All about Antidepressants
Camille Hnat discusses new findings from a meta study into antidepressant effectiveness Camille Hnat 4th Year, Biology
never be used as a first-line treatment for mild depression.” Talking therapies are still one of the most useful tools we have in treating all forms of depression. We can’t ignore the possibility that an increase in the prescription of antidepressants is, at least in part, a product of a healthcare system that is overworked, understaffed and underfunded. We are facing a worsening mental health crisis in the UK. It is the sad truth that therapy is fast becoming something of a luxury, and a box of pills may provide a faster and cheaper alternative for those seeking treatment. This research in support of antidepressants may provide some hope for mental illness sufferers who have limited access to mental health services. This is especially true within universities, where mental health services are strained, and many must wait months for counselling. In a 2017 report from Student Minds, inadequate support and long waiting times were the biggest issues raised by students when it came to accessing university mental health care. For young people with severe depression, antidepressants may provide at least a short-term treatment plan when therapy is not an immediate option.
Epigram / Oliver Cohen Epigram / Imogen Robertson
Whether you have been affected by it or know someone who has, mental illness is an unfortunate part of many of our lives. 1 in 4 adults in the UK will struggle with mental illness throughout their life. According to the most recent Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS, 2014), 19.7% of people over the age of 16 experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. And these numbers don’t seem to be diminishing. As rates of depression and anxiety increase, so does the need for accessible treatment. Currently, antidepressant prescription is at an all-time high. The NHS have reported that the annual number of antidepressant medications dispensed has risen from 31 million in 2006 to 64.7 million in 2016; an increase of more than 100% over the last decade. This increase has occurred amidst much controversyastowhetherantidepressants are an effective form of treatment. The benefits of antidepressant drug use for common mental disorders (including depression, anxiety and chronic pain) has been highly debated, with research often producing conflicting results. In a recent report published in the
Lancet, a global team of researchers have undertaken a meta-analysis of a vast amount of data on the effects of antidepressants in patients with major depressive disorders. The study included data on 21 different medications, with 116,477 participants across 522 experimental trials. They found that all 21 antidepressant medications were more effective than placebos at alleviating symptoms of severe depression. Many are hailing this research as a huge step forward in the treatment of clinical depression. But is this new information enough to end the antidepressants debate? The study does not give much insight into the use of antidepressants on patients showing symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression or anxiety disorders, who are often prescribed these medications. Some antidepressants can have nasty side effects, ranging from nausea and loss of libido to increased anxiety. In more extreme cases, some individuals may experience heightened suicidal tendencies. In a 2016 article for the Guardian, Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at mental health charity Mind, said: “We must remember that while antidepressants can be very effective for some, they are not the solution for everyone and they should
All the different drugs were found to be more effective than placebo
No matter what side of the debate you are on, reducing the stigma around antidepressants may be life-saving for some individuals. The discussion around antidepressant use, and mental health treatment in general, is hugely important and should be continued. However,
we should not be hasty in placing medication above alternative treatments when treating less severe cases. Rather, increasing opportunities for talking therapy and good mental health support are needed to allow patients to access the treatment that is right for them.
Plant research evolves
Vilhelmiina Haavisto discusses new research from Bristol University about plant’s and their evolution Vilhelmiina Haavisto 1st Year, Biology
“ Everything changed once the first plants colonised the land
The timing of this pivotal colonisation event had previously been discerned from the oldest known fossil plants, which are some 420 million years old. However, new research by a team including members of the University of Bristol’s Department of Earth Sciences, Cardiff University, and London’s Natural History Museum, indicates that this colonisation actually took place 100 million years or so earlier than what was previously thought. The new estimates place the origins of land plants in the mid-Cambrian or early Ordovician period
Flickr / Se Re
For the majority of its existence, Earth has been a lonely planet populated by nothing but microbes. However, everything changed once the first plants colonised the land. This is probably one of the most important events in Earth’s history, as it is plants that enable life to thrive outside of water. Today, they are absolutely vital to the planet, as well as our everyday lives. Not only do they take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen, but they also provide food, materials, and habitats for all living organisms, including ourselves.
– around 550 to 480 million years ago. The researchers arrived at their conclusions by using what is known as the molecular clock method. This involved using DNA of living specimens to trace the evolutionary history of the earliest land plants, also known as embryophytes. Molecular clocks rely on the assumption that mutations in DNA occur at a steady rate throughout time, and across many different lineages. These mutations accumulate over long periods of time as organisms evolve, and so the discrepancies in the genetic code of different organisms can tell us something about how long ago they shared a common ancestor. The information derived from molecular clocks was then used to construct phylogenetic trees, or trees of life, which display evolutionary relationships. The researchers believe that the molecular clock is more reliable than the fossil record when investigating evolutionary relationships; Mark Puttick, the co-lead author of the study, says that “the fossil record is too sparse and incomplete to be a reliable guide to date the origin of land plants.”It was not completely disregarded in the study however, as fossil ages were used as a “loose framework” for the molecular clock data to build on. One challenge the team faced was that the evolutionary relationships between the earliest land plants are not currently known. To overcome this, they explored whether different proposed relationships would change the estimated origin time, and found that the various relationships did not have an effect on the estimated age of the earliest land plants. The findings also informed the
The evolution of plants has a huge effect on the general evolution of the earth
team about the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere – namely a drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and subsequent global cooling. Puttick’s co-lead author, Dr Jennifer Morris from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, explained that “previous attempts to model these changes [decreased carbon dioxide levels and global cooling] in the atmosphere have accepted the plant fossil record at face value – our research shows that these fossil ages underestimate the origins of land plants, and so these models need to be revised.” It is thought that land plants evolved from ancestral green algae – however, a lot of biological innovation was needed
for the revolutionary transition from water to land. This new habitat came with many advantages: life on land supplies plants with direct sunlight and a plentiful supply of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, and the ability to obtain minerals from the soil. The first plants to colonise the land are thought to be ancestors of what are known today as bryophytes – mosses, hornworts, and liverworts. It seems almost unbelievable that pine trees, cacti, daisies, and all the rest of the plants that now populate almost every corner of our planet all originated from these humble beginnings. Then again, they have had just around 500 million years, according to the study, to adapt and diversify in
their form and function. Puttick explains that “[the] results show the ancestor of land plants was alive in the middle Cambrian Period, which was similar to the age for the first known terrestrial animals.” Indeed, the team concluded that their findings also point to the co-evolution of land plants and the first terrestrial animals. This hypothesis suggests that once plants made the world beyond water a hospitable habitat, early animals soon followed and made their homes there, too. It is safe to say that life on land as we know it would not exist without the colonisation of land by the earliest land plants, as well as their contributions to the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere.
Oliver Cohen discusses the worsening problem of prejudice in the AI sector
Algorithms were better at correctly identifying a white male face than that of a darkskinned woman
This is not to say that all of Silicon Valley/ the tech sector are a huge bunch of white-cloak wearing, 1960’s racists. Pardon the oncoming cliche, but it is a lot more complicated than that. I think a lot of the situation can be looked at through the facial recognition example. Firstly, however, I need to explain how such an algorithm works, very briefly of course. The exact mathematical process whereby you teach a computer how to recognise a woman’s face versus
Epigram / Imogen Robertson
Race is not usually a topic discussed in a calm and cerebral manner. In fact, that’s why I was all the more surprised to learn the perpetual flame war had moved to the realm of the tech sector. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the realm of an AI, a mechanical computer processing task, that doesn’t usually encompass the emotion and foibles of its human creators, had inherited the sins of the parent and is now being accused of the very same prejudices. What I’m referring to is a study that recently was published by the MIT media labs by Joy Buolamwini as part of their thesis. It is a long, detailed document that is too complex to fully explain in a short article, however well worth the read if you have some spare time on your hands. Essentially, it was looking at facial recognition algorithms for gender classification and their performance across a variety of modalities, with a particular emphasis on the skin colour and gender of those being identified. The results are ‘interesting’. Looking at the classification algorithms, there was a large discrepancy with the error produced by the algorithms when tested on light skinned versus darkly skinned data and also in males vs females. The algorithms were better at correctly identifying a white male face than that of a dark-skinned woman. It was not by an irrelevant margin either. The error discrepancy for males vs females was between nine and twenty percent for the various algorithms and for skin shade, between ten and twenty-one percent. These were also not algorithms confined
to use in the labs. The algorithms surveyed included ones from Apple, IBM and Microsoft. The chances are that most people reading this have no doubt used one at some point quite rencetly. The obvious question might be: is it a big deal amongst the myriad of racial problems persisting today? As far as I’m concerned, yes. The problems that cause such issues are certainly not limited to facial recognition. In fact, from cases of inappropriate chatbots, to a court risk assessment algorithm that was biased against black prisoners; this is an issue that pervades a lot of past, current and possible future AI. Artificial intelligence in its current form starts as an empty vessel and is programmed by its creators. In other words, it is nothing more than a reflection of the environment in which it was created.
Oliver Cohen Deputy-Science Editor
Could the inherent prejudices and bias from humans be transferring to the algorithms they write.
a man’s is not just complicated but well beyond the realm of this author’s understanding. One of the key details that I think is quite simple is the training data. Essentially the process is such that once you have the algorithm to “train it” you show it examples of data and the correct classification. In other words, if you were training it to recognise shapes you would show it many squares while telling it what it’s looking at is indeed a square. This is a gross over-simplification, and other algorithms work in different ways. But it hammers home the point
that an algorithm of this sort is only as good as its training data. What was interesting was that the reason the MIT study ascribed to the differential inaccuracy was the training data specifically. Along with the benchmarks that are used to test such algorithms, both were found to be inherently underrepresented in minority departments. The issue could lie in the fact that although people of colour are an inherent minority in the US (around 12.6% according to the 2010 US census), training data that mirrors this percentage
is never going to produce algorithms that achieve an accuracy of the white counterparts. With a future that will no doubt amplify the present, where mortgages, loans and insurance are all decisions made on the basis of AI such as those talked about here, as students we must be mindful. We belong to a generation which could be the one both creating and being the victim of inherent biases of the prejudices that will pervade our machine counterparts.
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Emma Isle... discusses new research on Tasmanian tiger development.
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Emma Isle... examines the arguments around the revelation of the cheddar man’s skin colour.
Oliver Cohen... talks about the discovery of fish that have falshlight eyes.
Flickr / thellr
Editors: Nicola Hamer and Lily Hammond firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Theresa May
in debt for a comparable course, and that’s before compound interest at 3% above inflation takes effect.
Mitchell May Second Year, English
“ ‘We need a bold restructuring of fees and repayment’
Figures from across the political spectrum have called for a reconsideration of the current system, and rightly so. Your government has signalled a move away from some of the failed and pernicious aspects of the fees regime, such as raising the repayment threshold from £21,000 to £25,000. While this measure isn’t
Howard Lake Flikr / Library Flickr / Special Collections Toronto Public
Your announcement last Monday of a review into higher education fees is a welcome sign of attention being given to an overlooked issue. Since 2010, the government’s marketisation of higher education has failed to benefit students, bringing little competition to the undergraduate degrees market. While researching universities in sixth form, I didn’t come across any charging less than the full £9000 for a BA in English - hardly the most resource-intensive degree. As in any market, if the providers can get away with charging a vastly inflated price for a product, they will. In this respect, marketisation has been a roaring success.
Theresa May changes her stance on tuition fees.
unwelcome, I can’t help feeling that such incremental change skirts around a very real problem, and that this seems like an exercise to detoxify the Conservatives before the next general election. What we need is a bold restructuring of fees and repayment, if not the abolition of fees entirely. In December, we saw the government’s Social Mobility Commission walk out in protest at the lack of political attention being given to social mobility; it would be disheartening to see a similar lack
of action on the current and future problem of higher education fees. Behind the complex question of university funding is the simple concept of fairness, which seems to have gone out of the window in the quest to extract as much money as possible from those of us who have been audacious enough to aspire to a higher education. It isn’t just the £9000-plus fees, but also the conversion of the maintenance grant into a loan and the extortionate interest charged - currently 6.1%, imposed from
the first payment date - which show that the funding of higher education is a business, rather than an investment in the education of individuals, putting us at odds with most comparable nations. All of this contributes to the student’s feeling of penalisation for seeking an education. A student, like my sister, attending university at the end of Labour’s time in office, six years before me, was left with debt of around £10,000 after a three-year Bachelor’s degree. By comparison, I will have around £50,000
‘It’s a shame that English universities are looking increasingly like a money-grubbing cartel’
It’s not just idealistic students who see this as unfair and unsustainable; there is a growing consensus that the current fees regime needs to dramatically change, whether this is outright abolition of fees or a moderate graduate tax. Evidence of the damage done by the Conservatives’ policies can be seen in the effect on part-time and mature students, for whom tuition fees prove a higher barrier: there has been a 56% drop in part-time students since 2010. University is supposed to be an inclusive environment with a mission to educate the citizens of this country, which is why it’s a shame that English universities are looking increasingly like a money-grubbing cartel. It would be cynical to dismiss the higher education review before its first sitting but if precedent is any indicator, meaningful change to fees is unlikely to materialise.If a few superficial alterations are made, then students, graduates and parents will make themselves heard at the ballot box.
Dear students that don’t support the strike management team have hiked our rents, enabled the government to hike our tuition fees, proposed merciless cuts to welfare systems in halls AND used welfare as a bargaining chip in their e-mails to us. We should view the strikes as an example of the drastic measures that need to be taken just to be listened to by a structure that no longer serves us. The most straightforward reason to support the strikes is because it will end the strikes sooner. The point of a strike
is to be disruptive. We are meant to be annoyed, we are supposed to react. If no students join staff at the demonstrations our voices will not be heard. If we continue to come into university on strike days, it looks like we don’t care. The main concern of management is to keep students placated; their emails are evidence of this. We should speak up, write to the VC and write to our striking staff. We should be voting with our bodies to be on the side of those in opposition to the management, either attending rallies or going to alternative study spaces.
‘Our collective efforts forced Vice Chancellors to encourage negotations’
Epigram / Sumar Khan
‘At Bristol, 19 members of the management team are on more than £100,000’ We can agree that as students we are lost without our educators; the structure of contact hours has been wiped from
pensions and are on eye watering salaries. Hugh Brady is paid £282,472 and has a £1 million pension waiting for him. At Bristol, 19 members of the management team are on more than £100,000. Hugh has overseen the dismantling of democratic structures that allowed staff within faculties to vote for their Deans and Heads of School, in place of a corporate, top-down structure. This management team has already axed the pensions of professional support staff - librarians, technicians etc - and rolled out casualised pay per hour contracts for teaching staff. This same
Students support the strike!
Facebook / Bristol, Cut the Rent
In the midst of the UCU strike action, student voices appear simultaneously fractured and unified. At the Annual Members Meeting of the students’ union, of the 250 students in attendance, 235 voted in favour of supporting the strike. This vote suggests that 94 percent of Bristol students support the strike. But a different story was told online. A video was posted of a group seeking more students to attend the rally on Monday by disrupting lectures and study spaces; they were lambasted by commenters on Facebook for ‘militant’, ‘disgusting behaviour’ and ‘harassing other students’ in ‘a good old selfindulgent middle-class Bristol Uni kid protest’. With nine more planned strike days, how should we respond to the activities that have been taking place on campus, what do we need to know about the strikes and how can we bring them to a close?
our routines, and I can’t imagine why any student would be pleased about this. Negotiations between UUK and UCU have started but if they fail we could be in for a much longer period of disruption. This will not be the case if students make their move. As the largest body comprising this university, it’s crucial that we learn about what is going on, realise our power, and actively decide where to place our support - with the bosses or with our educators. We should bear in mind that these bosses, UUK, are a team of Vice Chancellors that all have secure
Samar Khan Third Year, Physics and Philosophy
In reality, if protesters hadn’t been making noise outside the Senate meeting, Hugh Brady would have been able to continue his sermon about the new buildings by Temple Meads that are costing us £300 million that will not benefit anyone studying today. After just a few days of strike, our collective efforts forced Vice Chancellors to encourage negotiations, that are still ongoing. Only by standing shoulder to shoulder with others can we produce a change.
Living Wellbeing Food Style Travel
Epigram / Cameron Scheijde
Bristol covered in snow
Editor Jordan Barker
Online Editor Josie Roberts
Epigram Living Section 2017/18
Tyranny of the keyboard warriors In a world where every Tom, Dick and Harry owns a Macbook, Maia Miller Lewis asks: how can we survive the constant clicking in lectures?
In truth, this is more of a petty grievance
Of course, this is an ignorant distinction. I am in no place to judge or prescribe the proper way to learn about academic issues, ranging from Neo-Liberalism to the larynx. I am aware that some people can sit for an hour and then perfectly regurgitate everything they have somehow learned through osmosis when necessary. In truth, this is more of a petty grievance. I am unable to do this; instead, constantly trying to strike a balance between listening and listing what I think I need to know. It is that age old, secondary school jealously of the kid in your class who would do nothing, yet
Flickr / OIST
There are many forms of keyboard warriors that grace the lecture theatre. The first is the diligent digital. The diligent digital makes sure to write down everything - word by word - that the lecturer says. Once, I swear I saw one of them typing in the lecturer’s Scottish accent. Such commitment! But you really don’t have to replace the word ‘small’ with ‘wee’ just because the lecturer did. I don’t think it will get you that extra mark! I often wonder whether this kind of keyboard warrior ever actually learns anything during the fifty minutes they are seemingly present in the room. I have never seen them stop and simply listen to what is being discussed. They are too busy making sure their notes are perfectly aligned to the left… Up next is the dizzy digital. The dizzy digital, often sporting either ‘wavy garms’ or a Jack Wills gilet, spends most of their time on Facebook, chatting with their absent friends about what Tara said to Winston at the formal, or enquiring if anyone found their strawberry sock at Thekla the night before. The funniest trait of the dizzy is their ability to disguise the fact that they are in a totally different social dimension from the lecturer. Experts of the multi-page switch, their ability to seamlessly go from WhatsApp to Word as soon as the lecturer comes past is a feat to be admired - even if all the text on the page is copy and pasted from the lecture slides. What is most ironic is that, unfortunately, the dizzies probably learn more than the diligents.
Maia Miller-lewis First Year, Politics and International Relations
The lecturers aren’t stupid - they know who has checked out of the present and they make every effort to re-engage, whether they like it or not, the ones they spot. Often, those on the receiving end fluently reply with a completely coherent, tuned-in answer. To me, it remains a mystery. Perhaps the most annoying of the keyboard warriors is the indifferent digital. Struggling to even open up their laptop, the indifferent can spend the whole lecture typing nothing, preserving a pristine, perfect, white page, void of any obvious learning.
Once, I swear I saw one of them typing in the lecturer’s Scottish accent
could do everything. The girl who played dumb and got ten A*s, the boy who would throw paint around in art class but able to draw a photorealistic shoe... It is an analogy for the unfairness of life, but one that - with awareness - can make you laugh. In the end, you have to giggle, not only at their unawareness and subsequent misuse of their privileged, innate skills, but at your own childlike envy. After all, we’re all supposed be adults, right?
Flickr / brett jordan
There is nothing more annoying than having to sit behind someone typing in a lecture. The constant click, click, click of a keyboard is enough to drive you slowly insane. I often compare it to the form of ancient Chinese torture, where water is slowly dripped onto a prisoner’s forehead for days on end. The unrelenting, monotonous pattern of drip, drip, drip is enough to cause the inmate to spill everything he knows, just to be free from the banality.
Student chunders outside Lola’s and gets nominated for Turner Prize A Bristol student has become critics’ new favourite artist. It’s enough to make you throw up... Epigram / Jordan Barker Epigram / Jordan Barker
Jeff Adams was just your average Biochemistry student. He liked football, pizza and Cara Delevingne. A self-styled ‘ordinary bloke’, Jeff was quite happy living a peaceful, uneventful life. But following a wild night at Lola Lo’s last Tuesday - ending when Jeff chundered up his guts - the Bristol undergrad became an overnight art sensation. After a friend uploaded a photo of Jeff’s vomit entitled ‘My Vom’, offers to buy the piece started rolling in thick and fast. ‘That night, no one wanted to go near me or the vomit’, Jeff told Epigram. ‘People were telling me to bugger off, that I was disgusting, that I should be ashamed of myself. But now, everyone wants a piece of Jeff and his puke.’ ‘I didn’t even know I was creating art. Who knew it was that easy?’ Jeff’s work has been met with universal critical acclaim, and the unlikely artist has just been nominated for this year’s Turner Prize. Renowned art critic Marcel Augé, who is currently writing a book on contemporary art, called Jeff ‘the greatest British artist of the 21st century.’
He continued: ‘Jeff Adams is the natural successor to conceptual artists like Tracey Emin. Raw, gritty and unrelentingly honest, Adams has taken the avant-garde to a place where artists have previously feared to tread.’ But Jeff has been baffled by the praise, admitting he’s a bit of an outsider to the art world. ‘I don’t really know what the Turner Prize is. To be honest, I don’t really understand art. But I know what it’s not, and it’s not Damien Hirst and his shark. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love sharks as much as the next guy. But putting one in a museum? That’s bang out of order.’ That being said, Jeff knows what he likes. Apparently, his ‘favourite Turner Prize runner-up’ is Anthea Hamilton. ‘Yeah, I loved the golden arse. That was a classic. An ‘El Classico’. Nothing says ‘f*** you’ to the establishment like a gigantic golden butt. That’s the kind of art I can get behind!’ Now the art world waits with bated breath for the sequel to Jeff’s grotesque tour-de-force.
Jordan Barker Living Editor
He’s climbing in your windows, he’s snatching your hummus up
Deputy Living Editor, Emily Hayman, questions whether we can really feel safe living in Bristol as students
Unfortunately, it seems students tend to attract property crime for a variety of reasons. Jonny Foster, Community Officer at Leeds University Union, believes the combination of high value goods and a lax attitude is partly to blame. In an interview with Corin Faife, he said that the reason these houses appear as easy targets is because: ‘Every single student has a laptop, probably a smartphone, maybe an iPad. All these gadgets might be worth more than £2,000 per student, and then these students are living in fairly decrepit
Flickr / Informedmag
our very own Clifton placed in the top 20, with a total of 77 buglaries just in the one year
houses, with either poor locks or poorly fitted windows. On top of that, students can be a bit lazy, a bit forgetful... you might be thinking, ‘Oh shit, have I locked the front door? I can’t be arsed to get out of bed to check.’ Whereas, if you had a family, you’d do that. That combination of factors leaves students very susceptible to being burgled, and the burglars know that.’
Maybe he’s right, that as students we are lazy and careless, not checking our locks as regularly as we should or even leaving our valuables lying around in plain sight. Having chatted to my friends who live just off Hanbury Road in Clifton and were burgled back
in first term, it made me realise just how careful we truly need to be. Their laptops, personal belongings and even a car was stolen, leaving the girls feeling extremely distressed and violated. They not only felt like someone had invaded their personal space and waded through their own house, but the laptops had their work and dissertation planning on. Luckily, they found the car abandoned in a carpark a week or so later, but this event shook them and left them feeling unsafe.
I don’t know about you, but for me, burglaries aren’t really something I think about often, or lie awake at night panicking over. When I was a kid and the Dr. Who episode had just finished with the scary air-raid child, I was kind of bricking it that a terrifying monster was going to leap in through my window and take me away with it, including all my stuff. But these irrational thoughts have no place in our heads now as students living independently here in Bristol, right? Well, according to a recent survey which looked at 2017 burglaries in our student areas, the results show otherwise. SellyOak, Birmingham and Hyde Park, Leeds are tied for first place with a staggering 293 burglaries throughout the year. Shockingly, our very own Clifton is placed in the top 20, with a total of 77 burglaries in just one year. On an even larger scale, the UK crime stats also highlight the growing problem of crime in Bristol, putting our safety into question, with the Crime Plus ASB Breakdown for Bristol City Council showing a staggering total of 4,369 burglaries last year.
‘It ain’t safe for the block, not even for the cops’
Recently, another burglary has struck a 12-person student house in Clifton, swiping all their laptops holding their dissertations. For us third years, the calamity of losing such a big project is unimaginable, with the stress levels it would induce reaching so high that one would prefer to curl up into a ball and quit. I don’t mean to leave you feeling scared or anxious, I just want to urge you to take appropriate precautions to help stop this happening to you: a) BACK UP YOUR WORK ONTO GOOGLE DOCS. Please don’t make the error of not taking 5 minutes to do this, as it is your future mark that’s at risk, and b) lock up your house securely every time, leaving no possibility for anyone to spot and identify your house as vulnerable. Just remember, in the wise words of Skepta, ‘It ain’t safe for the block, not even for the cops’.
Emily Hayman Deputy Living Editor
Aunt Aggie: my boyfriend says ‘po-tah-toe’ instead of potato. Should I dump him? This week, Aunt Aggie offers her advice to a farmer’s girlfriend at the end of her tether
Dear Farmer’s GF, There’s nothing worse than when someone says something like ‘poh-tah-toe’. In fact, there’s no excuse for it. It’s downright detestable. When I was a young woman, I had a lover who said ‘testicles’
instead of ‘tentacles’. Slightly different, I suppose. But this malapropism had a terrible impact on our relationship. Worse still, he was a fish monger who mainly sold octopus. You can imagine the endless nights spent hearing about ‘how well the octopi testicles are selling this time of year.’
You can imagine the endless nights spent hearing about ‘how well the octopi testicles are selling this time of year’
In the end, we parted ways. But I’ll always regret never forcing him to apply for speech therapy lessons. This is what I advise you do. It sounds like you have a pretty good thing going on. If you stick with him, you’ll be the proud owner of a potato farm. That’s not something to be sniffed at. But before that, start recording your conversations. Re-play every time he uses the word ‘potato’. Only then will he realise how much of plonker he sounds. Once your boyfriend has this epiphany, then ask him to seek psychiatric help. Of course, if he still refuses to acknowledge any wrong-doing, then I think it’s best you dump his ass. It takes two to tango, and there’s no worse tango partner than a farmer who can’t even pronounce the word ‘potato’ correctly. I hope he comes to terms with this terrible affliction. Good luck with the potato farm. All the best, Aunt Aggie
Flickr / Mike Mozart
Dear Aunt Aggie, I’m in a relationship with a man. A kind man. A loving man. A man who’s a full-on Adonis. I don’t have a bad word to say about the guy. There’s just one problem. My boyfriend’s from a family of potato farmers in the South East. He’s got one of those non-accents, the kind that all people from the south have. Weak as the coffee in Spoons. But whenever he says the word ‘potato’ – which he says a lot, given that he’s going to inherit his family’s potato farm in a few years – I want to scream. That’s because he pronounces it ‘po-tahtoe.’ Like in that song that goes ‘you say potato, I say po-tah-toe.’ Unfortunately, he says po-tah-toe. I’ve lived with it for so long that it really shouldn’t bother me. But it really does. Last night, as he was sleeping, I had this uncontrollable urge to hold my pillow down on his face for a very, very long time. Should I dump him? How do I stop him? Whenever I mention it, he tells me I’m talking nonsense, and carries on carving potatoes into the early hours of the morning. From, Farmer’s GF ________________________________________________________
Editor Chloe Payne-Cook
Deputy-Editor Jasmine Burke
Online Editor Leila Mitwally
Learn more about eating disorders at www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk @epigramwellbeing
Having a ‘healthy relationship with food’
Wellbeing online editor, Leila, and deputy Food editor, Holly, discuss what it means to have a healthy relationship with food
What is considered restrictive eating? How is this damaging to us emotionally and physically?
Leila - Again, to come at this question from a mental perspective, restrictive eating is any form of intentional dietary restriction with unhealthy intentions. It’s a tricky area – which, you guessed it, differs from person to person. For example, if you follow a vegetarian diet for ethical reasons, you’re fine; but if you do have a history of disordered eating, then any form of restriction can be dangerous. Those who are in recovery should be wary of dietary restrictions in any form (except for allergies, obviously) as they can’t be sure that these are coming from the ‘right’ place, so to speak. Restrictive eating that doesn’t account for our natural dietary requirements is obviously physically damaging, but for some people psychologically it can be the trigger for incredibly serious and dangerous eating disorders.
Do you think it is possible to watch what you eat without being restrictive?
Holly - Yes, as cliché as it sounds it really is all about balance. As Deputy Food Editor, I try to promote a fairly healthy diet but also a healthy attitude towards food. Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to count calories or cut out any particular food groups but listen to your body. My advice would be to eat when you’re hungry and try to eat the right things as often as you can. Treating yourself is not a sin, it’s something we all do and something we all deserve, enjoy it for what it is. Leila - For some, yes – though given the warped sense of what’s ‘healthy’ promoted by the media it can be difficult, and as usual it’s a very fine line. However, if you are in recovery, or are recovered from an eating disorder, the answer is a straight up no. No supposed health benefits are worth putting your life in danger, and as dramatic as it sounds, to someone who has a history of eating disorders an innocent ‘I’m going to start watching what I eat’ can open up a whole can of very scary worms. It’s not worth the worms. Keep the worms enclosed. Epigram / Leila Mitwally
Holly - Cutting out entire food groups without medical requirement, or limiting your calorie intake to a level which has you sustaining weight loss with no end goal, is a restrictive eating pattern and if done over a long period of time can be damaging to both your physical and mental health. Eating less calories than you are burning can lead to you feeling drained, faint and run-down. What’s more, cutting out food groups can lead to deficiencies which cause more complications. For example, if you cut out or severely restrict carbohydrates you may not be getting enough dietary fibre for smooth digestion.
It is equally – if not more – important that what we eat does not become a source of distress, angst or something we avoid for fear of the emotional repercussions
With so many people promoting ‘clean eating’ and other regimented dietary requirements, how can we avoid feeling that our own diets are inadequate? Holly - Recently the internet has been overrun with clean eating, health food Instagrams, blogs and recipe sites. For a lot of people this is great, it means free access to healthy recipes and tons of meal inspiration, but for others it can be damaging because we don’t always
get a complete picture of their diets and begin to feel like everything the person running the account eats is perfectly balanced. This is unlikely and attempting to replicate such diets is a fairly unrealistic goal which could lead to us feeling like a failure. Try to remember that the images on these accounts are often just a small sample of the food that person eats, and more often than not it is the most aesthetically pleasing, nutritionally balanced and colourful portion of their diet. People seldom post images of their four am kebab. It doesn’t mean they aren’t eating them.
Whether you’ve a history of disordered eating or not, if social media is negatively influencing your relationship with food or your body you should take steps to protect yourself
Leila - Honestly, it all comes down to educating yourself about what it is you’re actually seeing. Platforms like Instagram allow influencers to manipulate exactly what you see of their life to make it look as though that’s the full picture, when in reality they’ve probably spent half an hour lining up that photo of their avocado toast, or shifting around to get the best angle in their gym gear. I think it’s also helpful to think about what your life would look like if you actually followed a lifestyle like those you see on social media. For starters, I would personally find it pretty difficult (read: impossible) to go to the gym every day and follow a strict diet and get done everything I need to do as a student, while also finding time to socialise and relax. Also, so much of what we enjoy as students that is ‘unhealthy’ seems far more important in the grand scheme of things! In ten years time: would you rather remember the late nights you spent up with friends, drunken nights followed by hungover takeaways and full house roast dinners, or the countless days you routinely ate the correct number of calories and squeezed in two gym sessions? I know which I would rather. How can we deal with social media influences when they become damaging to our relationship with food and/or body image? Holly - Don’t look. It seems like an obvious answer but many of us are guilty of the self-punishing ritual of scrolling through images of people we deem fitter, healthier and more attractive than ourselves and feeling deflated and unsatisfied with our own lives as a result. Whilst it’s fine to have role models, setting unrealistic expectations for your body and diet is setting yourself up to be let down. If you find yourself comparing your progress to that of a fitness blogger, or your Buddha bowl to a renowned TV chef’s, then you’re setting yourself up to be let down. Take control, unfollow them, post that picture of your slightly-shabby stir fry and be proud of it. Don’t be slighted by your admiration for other people, chances are, there is something they feel insecure about too.
As Deputy Food Editor, I try to promote a fairly healthy diet but also a healthy attitude towards food.
Leila - Absolutely, and vice versa – sometimes a diet high in conventionally ‘unhealthy’ foods can be the best thing for your mind, especially if you’re trying to improve on an unhealthy relationship with food in general. A diet which consumes your thoughts and influences your mood – for example, through feeling accomplished when you’re strictly controlling your diet and avoiding unhealthy food or feeling low when you break this strict diet – is mentally damaging and should be addressed as soon as possible. Even if you’re eating enough quantitywise, or are not losing weight, but you’re strictly controlling your diet in one way or another, you should evaluate your relationship with food and your actual motives for eating healthily. Epigram / Leila Mitwally
Leila - In all honesty, a ‘healthy relationship with food’varies from person to person.From a mental health perspective, as a general rule of thumb a ‘healthy relationship with food’ is one that you really don’t think too hard about. Food should never be a dominating factor in your life – as ridiculous as it sounds, it’s just something that you need to live. If you’re too stressed to cook yourself a proper meal which includes all the food groups (which are, of course: carbohydrate A, carbohydrate B, something that is green and The Frozen Item™) it really doesn’t matter. As long as you are getting enough food - as in you are eating when you are hungry until you aren’t hungry anymore - you’ll be fine until you have more time on your hands. That’s not to say you should eat toast for every meal for an extended period of time just because you can - just that rustling up three balanced meals a day isn’t something you need to add to your never-ending to-do list. Though I should say: the only exception to this is if you actually have a history of disordered eating – in which case eating enough (not to be confused with eating healthy foods) should be a priority until you’re in a better place.
Holly - Sometimes diets which are technically healthy for your body can be very damaging for your mind. You may be getting exactly the right amounts of each food group according to the recommendations and functioning at an optimum level physically, but if doing so has become an obsession or something you feel you need to do in order to be in control, then your mental health may be suffering at the expense of your physical health. It is important not to prioritise your bodily health over your mental wellbeing. If adhering to the guidelines is making you unhappy or if deviating from them makes you feel guilty, remember than your worth is not defined by what you eat or how you look.
Holly - Having a healthy relationship with food is not about eating kale and getting your five-a-day. Whilst it is important that our diets are varied and balanced, it is equally – if not more – important that what we eat does not become a source of distress, angst or something we avoid for fear of the emotional repercussions. There is an incomprehensible amount of advice about how much of each food group we should be putting into our bodies each day, which fats we should be eating, which we should be avoiding and which vitamins we need for our bodies to function, but getting hung up on these figures can take the enjoyment out of eating and make it seem like a daily test in which we score ourselves for hitting the targets. It truth, it needn’t be this arduous, in my opinion we should take a more common-sense approach to eating. Avoid eating too much of the things you know are bad for you but also eat what makes you happy, be kind to your mind and taste buds too.
Can diets which are healthy for your body be unhealthy for your mental wellbeing?
What does it mean to have a ‘healthy relationship with food?’
People seldom post images of their 4am kebab. It doesn’t mean they aren’t eating them
Leila - Get rid of it. Whether you’ve a history of disordered eating or not, if social media is negatively influencing your relationship with food or your body you should take steps to protect yourself. If you feel you can’t delete your accounts on these platforms altogether, you can now make choices about the kind of content you receive – for example, if you see something on your Facebook feed that you find upsetting or damaging, there is an option to ‘see fewer posts like this’ which will hopefully prevent content of a similar nature appearing again. Social media in general has promoted an unhealthy relationship with food and our bodies since, like, forever - so if you find it affecting you the safest thing to do is to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.
Holly Penhale and Leila Mitwally Deputy Food Editor and Online Wellbeing Editor
WE NEED YOU! Whether you’re a budding journalist or just have an interest in mental health and wellbeing, we want to hear from you! If you are interested in writing about your own personal experiences with mental health, offering advice or writing about current mental health events, join our Facebook Writers’ Group or email us at: email@example.com
An interview with Thangam Debbonaire MP Highlights from the Epigram and Burst interview- read the full article online
As we know, you’ve worked for the Women’s Aid Federation of England, and also Respect before your current role as MP for Bristol West. When did the issue of mental health first come to your attention? With Respect, I was working with perpetrators of domestic violence, and at Women’s aid I was setting policy for what goes on in refuges and outreach for women and children who’ve experienced domestic violence – and in both of these groups there are really complex mental health implications. When working with domestically violent men and male perpetrators, we were using the techniques of mental health practitioners: we used things like CBT [cognitive behavioural therapy] - which wasn’t to give the perpetrators therapy, but to use therapeutic techniques to try and change behaviour. So really, mental health has been part of my working life since the beginning in one way or another – though I’m not a mental health practitioner! Do you believe that we are experiencing a mental health crisis in the UK and particularly in universities? Yes I do. There is a mental health crisis that is presenting itself to me in my case work as a member of parliament. I don’t think it’s just in universities – I think young people generally are experiencing high levels of mental health crises – but I think it sometimes presents itself more visibly in universities because there is a body in which it can present itself, whereas young people more widely who might be at the workplace or doing apprenticeships don’t have that body to coalesce within as students at universities do. What do you think of the claim that this is a so-called “snowflake generation”? There’s a parallel here with the domestic violence movement: in that once we raised the awareness of domestic violence, and showed people what the signs and symptoms were, we saw higher rates of
Men and body image First year Law student Matthew Lu discusses male body image and toxic masculinity.
Epigram / Chloe Payne-Cook
Toxic masculinity effectively is perpetuating harmful stereotypes about what’s deemed ‘manly’ or ‘masculine.’ Body image is an area that opens men up to vulnerability and that’s something that’s not supposed to be discussed
Historically, it was not until Harrison Pope, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, published his seminal work around muscle dysmorphia - an obsession with bulking up also known as ‘reverse
1 in 4 people across the UK are experiencing mental health issues every year, and 60,000 people in the city of Bristol. Why do you think that Bristol is particularly affected, and do you think this has a link with the high rates of drug use in Bristol? Bristol’s one of those wonderful cities that is partly a victim of its own success. We’ve always been ground-breaking in how we treat drugs, mental health and how we respond to forms of homelessness – but as a result, the word on the street – and I use the term street loosely – is that Bristol is the place to go to if you’re in any sort of difficulty. That’s a reputation I am proud of, but it does carry its own consequences. People will often come here for drug treatment, or to try and get off the streets, and their problems don’t disappear when they enter the city. I think this does give rise to increased levels of mental health problems, homelessness and drug addiction, and though those three groups are not the same groups, there is some overlap. That leads to a complex mesh of problems, whereby for example if your homelessness is addressed but your mental health problems and your debt problems aren’t, then you might soon find yourself in more difficulties and you might then lose the home – which may then send you back to your original problems, or others. If you don’t fix everything at the same time, which very few local authorities are in a position to do because of austerity, then you’ll keep experiencing those problems. What can we do as a Bristol community to support issues of mental health and wellbeing within our city? For a start, let’s stop using language like “snowflakes”. In my parent’s generation, nobody referred to cancer, it was just a “long illness” at best. That is no longer the case – when I was diagnosed with cancer I rang up my mum and said: “mum, I’ve got cancer”, and she was shocked just to hear the word, because her generation just doesn’t say it. I think it’s
anorexia’ - in the late 1990’s that there has been a focus in boys and males with body image issues. One of the biggest roadblocks surrounding the issues of boys and body image issues stems from the appalling fact that up until 2013 men couldn’t be properly diagnosed with anorexia nervosa (one of the most common eating disorders). The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that came out in 2013 exempted the previous criteria for anorexia nervosa of a loss of menses. This was so significant and finally brought men into the ray of being affected by anorexia nervosa, as a loss of menses is physically impossible for males (this is what stopped them from being diagnosed). Despite these very recent developments, body image and men are still a very taboo topic that remains unaddressed to this day. The problem is that people are unwilling to address this broad issue. Body image affects everyone in different ways but, the one thing that remains constant is that no matter the issue people want to reach a ‘physical ideal’ that is presented to them. Now, the first step to fixing a problem is first identifying why people are unwilling to address the issue. Recognising that there are very personal reasons, such as family ideals or views, is one of the main reasons that seems to be stopping people from talking about a sensitive issue like this is the idea of toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity can take form in very different ways but, for the sake of this issue it seems that toxic masculinity takes form in the ideology that men shouldn’t be vulnerable. Toxic masculinity effectively is perpetuating harmful stereotypes about what’s deemed ‘manly’ or ‘masculine’.
similar now with mental health, and we haven’t got all the way there yet. People should not be afraid to say that they’ve had mental health support. I personally have, and I’ve valued it as it’s got me through some difficult times. We should all be thinking and talking about mental health on a parity with physical health. On a practical level though, there are all sorts of schemes now which train people in the workplace to recognise symptoms of mental health problems. Also, we should be making the arguments for proper funding of mental health services. Given your high-pressure job, how do you take care of your own mental health? In my first year, I had some really good mental health support – because I was ill. I was elected on May 8th 2015, and on June 16th of that year I was diagnosed with cancer. At first I was doing ok, through the bad weeks and good weeks – because there are both – but in the autumn I found that I was struggling a bit to make sense of how to do this thing called being and MP and at the same time having a life-threatening illness. I had some excellent help from a psychologist, who helped me do some work on focusing on my values, which helped me think about how these would be experienced by somebody who comes into contact with me as an MP – both when I have cancer and also when I don’t anymore, and that’s really stayed with me. They also helped me process other things – like the fact that you’re never not an MP. I’d be going into oncology and a nurse taking my bloods would say “oh you’re my MP!” and would want to talk to me as her MP rather than as a patient. I can’t fault the quality of my care, and I know people didn’t realise they were doing that. But the work with my psychologist helped me deal with it – it made me think about what this nurse and I were getting out of the interaction and how she was experiencing me. Also, because I was ill, I got a good sense of the fact that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t work 14 hours a day, seven days a week. If you get good staff around you and have good teamwork, with some routines and exercise built into your day your mental health will benefit, and though I learnt these things through treatment, they’ve done me more good since I stopped having treatment and went back to work.
Leila Mitwally Online Wellbeing Editor Body image is an area that opens men up to vulnerability and that is something that’s not supposed to be discussed in this day and age. People must realise that it’s okay to be vulnerable and discuss sensitive topics. This holds true not just for the issue of body image but, other topics as well.
One of the main reasons that seems to be stopping people from talking about a sensitive issue like this is the idea of toxic masculinity.
Men need to come to the conclusion that no matter what society may say or dictate, the most important factor is your own personal health and happiness. People must realise that society’s generalised views doesn’t represent the same values that everyone shares. Everyone has different ideas of what’s deemed ‘cute’ or ‘sexy.’ Heck, I’d be lying if I said the only thing I look for in a guy is big muscular arms. Society must be more forthcoming and recognise that men have issues with body image as well. It may be in a different fashion but, it doesn’t mean that they do not exist. Men need to realise what is healthy and what is unhealthy. Epigram / Jasmine Burke
Body image is described by the National Eating Disorders Collaboration as, ‘the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception… feelings can be positive, negative or both and are influenced by individual and environmental factors’. Due to media and societal values, much needed attention has been brought to this topic and women. A progressive society has led to the recognition that women face a huge pressure when it comes to their own body image and the pressures placed upon them to look or present themselves in a certain desirable light. But, it seems as if the topic of body image and men has been brushed under the carpet. People don’t realize that women are not the only people who are conscious of themselves or judged harshly by society.
domestic violence. It wasn’t that people were suddenly experiencing more violence, it was just that we were noticing it more. And that’s a good thing, because it means more people getting help. I think there’s a parallel there with mental health awareness – with people of my generation saying “you young people are all snowflakes, pull yourselves together”. I think some of this is out of regret: that the mental health problems in our own generation weren’t better picked up.
Online Wellbeing Editor, Leila Mitwally, along with Burst Radio presenters Ella Fraser (Mental Healthy?) and Hester Careless (Odd One Out) had the oppunity to interview Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West, about her views on government mental health policy, mental health support in Bristol and her own personal mental wellbeing.
Everyone needs to realise that looks deteriorate, and the most important thing is health. That includes both mental and physical. Self-acceptance and love is a journey, but one that is surely attainable.
Matthew Lu First Year, Law
Nightline: How can you get involved? Instagram / @bristolnightline
Sam sounds a bit like a politician. They have been volunteering with Bristol Nightline for just over two years, and agreed to talk to Epigram about Nightline’s work. Sam answered all questions posed; yet, very little is revealed about the organisation, for reasons of confidentiality.
While Sam acknowledges that mental health is still often treated like a taboo, they underline that many members of the university community in Bristol are interested in the topic, as well as ready to get involved to make a change. Raising public awareness of mental wellbeing and increasing the visibility of Nightline’s activity are on the top of the organisation’s agenda for the near future. It can be a balancing act to become more present on campus whilst remaining faithful to the promise of confidentiality or anonymity.
Calls are being taken by student volunteers who are trained to listen and to thereby help callers to each their own conclusions
Instagram / @bristolnightline
‘ W e go through life and try to give everyone advice but what many people need is someone who really just lets them be the centre of the conversation and lets them talk’
Personally, they appreciate that Nightline is a space which allows callers to be simply listened to, and to cast off a sense of duty to function and perform
As mentioned above, the information revealed is vague and little – but Sam and their fellow Nightliners hope that it is enough to encourage people to both call and to volunteer. As long as there are volunteers and callers, Nightline Bristol can continue to build on its achievements.
Here you’ll find a new person or service to follow or check out online which you might find beneficial to your wellbeing. This weeks is...
@bodyposipanda Our find for your mind this week is Megan Crabbe, aka ‘bodyposipanda’! She is one of Instagram’s most well-known body positive accounts! She frequently posts pictures of herself dancing or in her underwear, expressing the importance of embracing your body; whatever the size or shape. We think that her Instagram is particularly useful this week, as it has been a week dedicated to eating disorders awareness! Megan is a “anorexia conqueror”, in her own words, and has overcome a huge battle with her own body, and now dedicates her time to making people feel great about themselves. We hope that her posts will provide you with feelings of empowerment or the hope that it is possible to overcome eating disorders, despite how it may feel most of the time. She is a prime example of how our worth is not and should not be defined by our weight, bodies or the food we choose to eat.
Instagram / @bodyposipanda
Instagram / @bodyposipanda
Instagram / @bodyposipanda
Instagram / @bodyposipanda
Instagram / @bodyposipanda
Instagram / @bristolnightline
Instagram / @bodyposipanda
The over seventy volunteers are the backbone of Nightline, and most of them join because they want to ‘give something back’, or in order to contribute to the fight against the stigma which is still attached to mental health, as Sam told Epigram. Personally, they appreciate that Nightline is a space which allows callers to be simply listened to, and to cast off a sense of duty to function and perform: ‘I wanted to get involved because […] we go through life and try to give everyone advice but what many people need is someone who really just lets them be the centre of the conversation and lets them talk. Here at Nightline, we all believe in the power of talking about whatever is on your mind, and in the power of listening.’
Sam emphasised that Nightline strongly cares about the welfare of its volunteers, as well as its callers. Within the organisation, a large support network has been built over the years, and there is a wide range of resources available.
Find for your mind
Instagram / @bodyposipanda
Calls are being taken by student volunteers, who are trained to listen and to thereby help callers to reach their own conclusions, or to signpost them to sources of further support. Asked about the demand for Nightline conversations, Sam replied that ‘this really varies from night to night, but we find that Welcome Week and exam periods get busier.’ Which seems to, once again, rebut the common assumption that the first week of university is necessarily the best week in people’s lives.
Volunteers have very different backgrounds, but share the ‘drive and motivation to make the student experience more pleasurable and overall easier’
‘Confidentiality’ – a key word on the Nightline website, on flyers, and in Sam’s answers. Anonymity is another one – Sam was ready to give an interview provided that their real name and gender would not be mentioned. The concept behind Nightline is fairly straight forward. The central organisation was founded in 1975, and today, the branch in Bristol is one of thirty-six confidential, anonymous, and non-advisory listening and information service centres on campuses across the UK and Ireland. Every term night, between eight in the evening and eight in the morning, students can call the Nightline number, to talk about anything they feel upset or distressed about – following the slogan ‘No problem is too small or too big.’
Volunteers have very different backgrounds, but share the ‘drive and motivation to make the student experience more pleasurable and overall easier’, as Sam explains. New volunteers are always welcome – and well trained and looked after. ‘We run weekend training sessions over the course of two days. There we discuss a large range of topics and make volunteers fully aware what Nightline does, what we stand for and what volunteering involves. Even if people don’t get involved after the training, the sessions are a great opportunity to learn about different topics and ask questions.’
An anonymous writer interviews a Nightline volunteer about their work with the service and how students can get involved.
Deputy Editor Holly Penhale
Editor Jane Cowie
Online Editor Sarah Roller
Epigram Food 2017- 18
Review: The Old Bookshop Jane Cowie reviews ‘The Old Bookshop’, a Bristol restaurant offering a new, predominantly vegan menu
All of the produce is sourced locally from Bristol when possible. They source from Total Produce, WJ Harris, Toveys, Dano, The Bristol Loaf, Lovett Pies and The Naked Kitchen. The menu’s focus on sustainable, seasonal and local produce fitted in perfectly with the decorations that felt very ‘Bristolian’: a real tribute to the beautiful city. In order to get some variety, we decided to share plates and try one fish and one vegan option. We asked for the Cornish sea bass fillet with crushed new potatoes, olives and tomatoes, with Leigh Woods wild garlic pesto, and the deep fried sweet potato and aubergine katsu curry with sticky aromatic rice & pickled cucumber. Both dishes were priced modestly at £8.50, a fair price considering the reasonable portion sizes we received.
The menu’s focus on sustainable, seasonal and local produce fitted in perfectly with the decorations that felt very ‘Bristolian’: a real tribute to the beautiful city
There was an extensive list for wine, cocktails and beer, and the addition of the DJ decks in the corner made it seem as though the place would be ideal for a casual drink, a first date, or a delectable evening meal. I highly recommend making the trip across the city, perhaps stopping by after a trip to the Tobacco Factory for a try of their vegan-filled menu. It’s incredibly refreshing to find a place that extols sustainable, seasonable eating with local produce, and are able to carry off the dish to the level of excellence they did with the aubergine curry. I will certainly be returning, whether that be for their tempting brunch menu, or to experiment with more of their evening meal options.
Epigram / Jane Cowie
Without doubt, the Aubergine katsu curry stole the show. The aubergine was thickly sliced into five large pieces and deep fried, giving it an irresistible crunch before hitting the smooth, creamy interior. It was mixed within a delicious katsu sauce – a sweet and fruity sauce with a base of caramelised onion, garlic and garlic – and sweet potato puree. This was accompanied by a cup of perfectly made sticky rice. The only confusion regarding the dish was its naming; we had expected the sweet potato to be deep fried as well as the aubergine, however our waitress explained it was pureed and added to the sauce. Nevertheless, the dish was thoroughly enjoyed, and earned itself a prestigious 8.5/10 because of the intensity of flavour. Needless to say, it was difficult to prevent ourselves from licking the bowl clean. The Cornish seabass had the most beautiful presentation; it was a joy for any foodie with a camera to gaze their eyes upon. With a crispy skin coating and a flaky fillet inside, it was cooked exceedingly well; we could tell from one bite the fish was great quality and
Epigram / Jane Cowie
With Mother’s Day upon us, the eternal question of what to do/ buy/make long-suffering mums across the country still remains unanswered. Here at Epigram Food, we’d like to propose cake as the answer. Cake is great - and pretty straightforward to make, to be honest. To inspire you, here is a recipe which has gone down well with family and friends alike over the years… Enjoy!
extremely fresh. The fish was accompanied by a homemade pesto, mixed with Leigh Woods garlic and sunflower seeds; this made for an aesthetically pleasing green dish with a sprinkle of purple herbs as a garnish for an extra pinch of vibrant colour. The seabass was placed on a bed of crushed potatoes, which admittedly, were more mashed that crushed. The addition of black olives was a tasteful and perfect accompaniment with the fish, although the tomatoes did not come through enough. In addition, the potatoes could have done with a touch more seasoning and butter to be more flavoursome. Whilst the fish and pesto were a treat, the potatoes somewhat let the dish down, being slightly bland and lukewarm, pulling the overall dish down to a 7/10. All in all, the restaurant was intimate, comfortable and friendly. Epigram / Jane Cowie
Epigram / Jane Cowie
The restaurant/bar was eclectically decorated with items one may expect to find in a vintage store. Upon the walls there was a variety of old and new paintings that depicted scenes around Bristol, creating the sense that this truly was in the heart of the city. On the shelves there was everything from vintage cameras, radios, books, to typewriters, and the eye-catching stuffed animals (Owls and Deer) alongside the mounted bull’s horns. Perhaps my favourite decoration was the enormous tuba that hung from the wall, that was used to hang glasses on by the barmen. We were taken to our seat, nestled in the corner of the restaurant: a perfect place so we could hear one another, whilst also listening to the upbeat background music and soak up the lively ambience around us. We were given the new menu, and ordered drinks; I opted for a pint of lime and soda (£1.40), whilst Holly chose orange juice (£3.00). The menu was predominantly vegan, with the odd option to make it vegetarian (by adding duck egg or halloumi). There was just one dish that was not vegan, the sea bass; however this was gluten-free. The new evening menu accommodates for the recent surge in gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diets that seem to dominate the Bristol food scene.
Epigram / Jane Cowie
On a cold, snowy evening Holly, Epigram’s Deputy Food Editor, and I journeyed out to Bedminster to try out ‘The Old Bookshop’s’ new menu. Located in the heart of Bedminster, conveniently sat just a stone’s throw away from the Tobacco Factory, The Old Bookshop is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of Bedminster’s finest foodie haunts. Rarely explored by Bristol student’s due to the distance (35minute walk, or 1.6 miles from Wills Memorial Building), few of us have had the pleasure of really diving in to the plethora of cafes and restaurants that populate the diverse and character-filled North Street. Whether you want an Oowee Burger, a Tincan Coffee, or a Thali Tapas meal, North Street can offer you the lot. As we approached, The Old Bookshop looked as though it was a popular hub, with most of the tables occupied by cheerful groups, embracing the buzzing atmosphere, the music and the drinks of their choice.
Recipe: Coffee and Walnut Cake Method
150g butter / marg 100g soft brown sugar 50g caster sugar 3 eggs 150g self-raising flour 1 tsp baking powder 75g walnuts, chopped. 1 tbsp instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp hot water 225g icing sugar 100g butter 1 spoon hot water mixed with 1 spoon instant coffee.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, whisking after each one. Mix in self-raising flour, baking powder, coffee and walnuts. Place in a tray-bake tin and cook at 180 degrees for 20-25 mins. Whisk butter and icing sugar together, then add coffee. Once cooled, ice and top with some more chopped walnuts.
For more Mother’s Day cake ideas see epigram.org.uk.
Epigram / Sarah Roller
Coffee & Walnut Cake
Online Food Editor
Tasty, fast, natural: the first anniversary of Rice n Spice A year on, Freddie Keighley reflects on the success of Rice n Spice and looks forward to its future ventures
Since then, Simmy has moved beyond his University Hall kitchen and grown his Rice n Spice Brand at a phenomenal rate. It has transformed from a simple Bristol-only delivery service into a fully fledged meal preparation business with a flourishing branch in his home town of Hitchin. There can be no question about the success and popularity of the meals – whilst in February of last year there was a single dish option - Jerk Chicken and Rice n Peas - currently, there are 588 potential meal combinations.
Rice n Spice has catered for Premier League winners, Champions League winners, investment bankers and even the homeless
It’s interesting that Simmy never allocated a marketing budget to grow his brand. He instead decided to utilise his connections in Bristol University Football Club to debut his dishes at the club’s Annual General Meeting. Wanting to gain a stronger foothold within the university community, in the Spring of last year he formed a partnership with University of Bristol Law Club. General interest in the brand has attracted other student media organisations, for example the particularly positive Tab article written by Conrad Young in late March entitled ‘The student run food business taking Bristol by storm’. In the article it explains why Simmy wanted to set up a branch in his home town of Hitchin. After finishing first year, Simmy decided to dedicate his summer to establishing and growing the brand in Hitchin. His intentions were that once he returned to Bristol, he could entrust this branch to his brother, Jhai, who is also an accountant and semi-professional footballer.
So, if that’s the medium-term plan then what’s the long-term plan for ten years and beyond? ‘I’ve got a number of ideas and, depending on how the next five years go, I’ll decide which one to pursue. Consumer trends change so often that it’s good to keep your options open. I’ll occasionally get asked what I’d do if people stop buying Rice n Spice, but I’m fortunate that food never goes out of fashion - we provide a great product at reasonable prices with excellent customer service and offer value in so many ways.’
We provide a great product at reasonable prices with excellent customer service and offer value in so many ways
I sat down with Simmy in the ASS cafe to hear his reflections on the first year of Rice n Spice, his plans for the future and some trivia for his fans.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the first year of Rice n Spice? ‘People are creatures of habit and are often reluctant to change, so getting them to try their first meal can be difficult. Once they’ve tried it, they realise what they’ve been missing out on! In order to address this problem, we’ve introduced incentives such as £5 off first orders.’ What are you most proud of at the first anniversary of the business? ‘If we stopped business tomorrow, there would be a lot of upset clients. For many, Rice n Spice has become a part of their daily routine, saving them time and improving their health. I could never have imagined that would be the case a year ago. The demands of the business mean that I’m not able to go out as much as usual students. However, when I do go out, I’m often stopped by someone who wants to have an in-depth conversation about the business. In their drunken state, they sometimes highlight things that may otherwise be overlooked!
What’s your favourite Rice n Spice combination? ‘If I had to eat one every day for taste and health it would be peri chicken, swash and courgetti. Having said that, I love them all and fortunately they’re all healthy! If I could have a one-off meal right now, it would be peri salmon, peanut chicken, rice n peas, plantain, extra meat, veg - basically all the sides. If someone wanted to order that, it wouldn’t fit in a single container!’ While Rice n Spice’s rise has been nothing less than meteoric, it would be an injustice to solely define the business as a rapidly growing start-up. Simmy’s vision for the company is multifaceted, as shown in the recently published mission statement, while profits have never been a principal goal for him. Since very early on, Rice n Spice has donated to a different charity for each meal sold, with the causes supported to date ranging from marathon runners for Meningitis Research to volunteers in Kenya. Simmy’s understanding as an economics student shines through here as he explained the multiplier effect; funds reach a cause, but do so indirectly via the fundraising efforts of a client, thus engendering a relationship between Rice n Spice, the client and the wider community. Simmy himself decided to run a marathon for Movember in December - he had no training but was fuelled by Rice n Spice, naturally. Although difficult to comprehend as an outsider, Rice n Spice has altered the day-to-day lives of its devoted customers. As anyone who reads the weekly ‘Monday Motivation’ Instagram post knows, effective and constructive use of time is central to the Rice n Spice philosophy. For many including myself, its a daunting prospect researching macronutrients and training splits, while meal preparation involves shopping, cooking and cleaning up. Rice n Spice takes this hassle away, providing meals to meet your individual needs, as well as specific training programs and diet plans. The taste of Rice n Spice will be deeply missed in Bristol - Simmy has already been touched by the number of messages he’s received from previous clients. He has even been contacted by a Nottinghambased student asking if he could open a branch up there! It was a pleasure to hear about the rise of the brand and the direction of the company. You can follow Rice n Spice on Instagram @rice_n_spice_ , on Snapchat @rnsmeals, on Facebook @RNSMEALS, or visit their website here https://www.rnsmeals.com
Also, I’m always touched when I hear my friends talking passionately about Rice n Spice; special mentions go out to Al Harlington, the first adopter of the fifty meal package and a top campus ambassador, and Tyrone Salami, my flatmate and trusted advisor! There are countless others as well.’ What are your plans for Rice n Spice’s second year and your third year of university? ‘Being an economics student, I have to think about efficiency and specialisation. Its always been in the back of my mind that to maximise what I want to do with the business and to grow it as much as possible, it’s inefficient to continue operations in Bristol. The medium-term vision is to focus on the Hitchin branch and
Epigram / Freddie Keighley
Utilising Jhai’s contacts from his background as a professional footballer, the pair were able to set up the branch with a slightly different operational structure to the the original one in Bristol. The main difference between the two branches was the range of delivery – whilst in Bristol, Simmy was able to manage the deliveries himself as they mainly fell within the university halls and campus, in Hitchin the business operates within a larger ten mile radius and delivers weekly packages. Further, the clientele differs – whilst in Bristol the majority of Rice n Spice customers are students, in Hitchin they include athletes and working professionals as well as students. Indeed, Rice n Spice has catered for Premier League winners, Champions League winners, investment bankers, doctors and even the homeless - all of these people have featured on the social media feeds with the infamous Rice n Spice pose; a meal in
The meal preparation aspect of Rice n Spice was brought from Hitchin to Bristol as Simmy returned for his second year of university - upgrading from his University Hall residence to a spot on Whiteladies Road and employing Rahul Gogna as Stoke Bishop distributor in October. Noticing that demand declined as term progressed and student finance was spent in the likes Mbargos and Lola’s, Simmy introduced an innovative solution. He offered a fifty meal option which would not only save students £50, but also ensure that they had meals in the impoverished dark of days of December. However, with meal prep taking off in Bristol and the mounting pressure of second year university, Rice n Spice made an important shift, stopping single deliveries and operating exclusively as a weekly package service.
Epigram / Freddie Keighley
This astounding growth can be partly attributed to the power of social media marketing. Within a fortnight of his first delivered batch, a Rice n Spice Facebook page had been created and garnered over one thousand friends. Not dissimilar is the popularity of the Instagram account which currently boasts over five thousand followers.
grow the number of dedicated customers there.’
Epigram / Freddie Keighley
In February of 2017, Economics student, food enthusiast and entrepreneur Simmy Dhillon cooked up the first batch of ‘Rice n Spice’ in his University Hall kitchen. It was a move that would both dramatically alter his career and ambitions, resonating with students throughout Stoke Bishop and beyond.
one hand and a business card in the other.
Second year, History
‘You are what you eat’: A phrase we need to start ignoring Maia Miller-Lewis discusses the importance of recognising that what we eat does not define us
I saw it used by bullies to pick on the kids who had ‘smelly’ packed lunches, filled with delectable, such as a homemade curry, or a cheese and pickle sandwich. For a seven-year-old, trotting out this well know saying was simply a way to articulate their lack of understanding of different cultures and things outside of what they considered, ‘normal’. When you think about it, if you’d never seen a shisha kabab before- long, thin and brown, as tasty as they are, you may have mistake them for a something else entirely…. It was also used as a force for good. Who wasn’t eager to eat sweetcorn, imbued with the promise of becoming a big, green friendly giant! I often dreamed of the day, while stuffing my face with carrots, when I would be able to see in the dark.
There are many manifestations of this confrontation. You may
Emotions around food are fleeting and will be forgotten the next day
criticism of those around you. But…… it’s not all doom and glum! There are always people who care about, who can pull you back from the brink of whatever has pushed you to your own, personal edge. Hold on to the time when you were sat on the kitchen floor with your friends, eating ice cream out of the tub - even though you’re lactose intolerant! Never forget, the joy you felt having that drink to celebrate getting that great grade, or a that new job. At the end of the day, you chose who you are! Emotions around food are fleeting and, more often than not, will be forgotten the next day. Take ‘you are what you eat’, as a rallying cry, supporting your campaign to be the next sweetcorn giant. Don’t take it as a reason, not to eat the stinky cheese!
It is not just the individual who self-reinforces this mentality either. The societal expectation, especially on women to ‘eat ladylike’, is a corrosive force. Forgoing that rare steak in favour of a salad to ensure you won’t get ‘bulky’, every day, women are linked with their food preferences; judged on what they choose to digest to get the vital energy every human body needs. It’s an insidious, parasitic mentality, one that eventually, will cause even the strongest person to question their choices. Skipping lunch one day in fear of being watched can have a spiralling effect - one that isn’t easy to stop. As many have surely tried, if you only eat apples, you may be able to retain your rosy, sweet exterior; perfectly polished and presented. But on the inside, you are slowly rotting - shrivelling under the pressure to ensure that what you eat doesn’t incur the
Epigram / Jane Cowie
But, for someone who struggles with food, whether they are a fully fledge adult, or a vulnerable child, this idiom takes on a whole new meaning. Staring at a slice of toast, stomach rumbling, having had nothing to eat that day, ‘you are what you eat’ conveys the image that you are just that - nothing. Losing all desire and love for food, you become an empty shell, devoid of the base pleasure of tucking into a fresh croissant - a blank page stating at an equally black plate.
feel that your physical appearance is inadequate. Spending most of the morning stood in front of a mirror, in place of the power to write, play an instrument or simply hug your friend, all you see is two big, fat, flabby arms. It could be about control. If everything is seemingly going wrong in your life; your grades are slipping, you’re not getting on with your mum, you may feel that the only thing you have any power over is your ability to say no - to punish yourself for something that in truth, you’re not to blame for.
When I was a kid, my mother would always tell me ‘you are what you eat’. Repeated over and over again, this phrase became a mantra to follow when approaching every meal. Whether it was used to get me to eat more vegetables, or less chocolate, it stuck with me everywhere I went - whether I liked it or not.
First year, Politics and IR
Bristol Food Tour: The ultimate eating experience Josh Francsis walks us through the culinary delights he encountered on The Bristol Food Tour Talk soon turns to the exquisiteness of Bertha’s creations. We try two of the ‘white’ options: The Woods, with generous handfuls of mushrooms scattered over onion chutney, and Zucca, with an utterly delectable slathering of butternut squash purée, spiced up by dices of N’duja. A couple of dreamy slices down, lots more still to come.
Next port of call is The Bristol Cheesemonger, a tiny, temperatureregulated nook of Cargo 2 stocking a range of locally-sourced fromages, of which we sample a trio. As with each of the businesses we visit, Anika provides a passionate overview of their history, ethos and crafts, satisfying our hunger for local knowledge as well as for tasty produce. It’s less than a stone’s throw to Gopal’s Curry Shack, a hubbub of Indian street food that started life as a pop-up, before being crowdfunded into a Wapping Wharf residency. And it’s worth every penny: the aloo tikka chaat is a mesmeric melange of flavours and textures to the last forkful, and one of the day’s standout dishes amongst our discerning band of foodies.
Epigram / Josh Francsis
Our quest begins at Bertha’s Pizza of Wapping Wharf, where the intrepid crew of eight guests and Anika – our guide for the day – assemble, hungry for the inaugural tasting. The tBFT folks stick to this size as many venues would be swallowed up by any larger party, but also because it elevates the camaraderie of each tour. Before the sourdough pizzas are crafted and slid into the woodfired oven, we’re already chattering away, fuelled by a commoncalling of food and all its attendant joys.
Epigram / Josh Francsis
With more gastronomic haunts than you could shake your chopsticks at, the foodie terrain of Bristol is diverse and ever evolving. There’s no doubt there. And yet, this also poses somewhat of a dilemma for even the most earnest of diners: just how to squeeze in trips to all those restaurants, cafés, and everything else in between. Luckily, the visionaries behind The Bristol Food Tour (tBFT) have the perfect solution. Created by fellow-foodies Alice & Jo, tBFT run regular weekend excursions linking together numerous gastro stopovers, with the eating-walking balance happily swung firmly towards the former. Their original tour, currently running weekly, encompasses the array of eateries in Stokes Croft and the City Centre; it was the monthly ‘South of the River’ trip, however, that I eagerly booked on to, having shamefully overlooked the delights of Southville and Bedminster thus far.
Our culinary mission reaches a triumphant crescendo at Zara’s Chocolates, where I select two suitably boozy truffles
Spices still clinging to the palette, we venture over the Gaol Ferry Bridge, now (well and truly) south of the river. With the next eatery still several minutes away on this no-holds-barred tour, that could only mean one thing – a cake break. Luckily, Anika has dutifully conveyed a box of sweet bakes, courtesy of Chandos Road’s Pearly King; gathered on a street corner, we soon hoover up the moist, delicately decorated squares. But more feasts shimmer on the horizon. Our penultimate sitdown stop is Marks Bread, a community-facing café-bakery that freights produce to carefully chosen eateries…via bikes. We’re treated to an array of breads, cheeses and chutneys – an artisan ploughman’s dream. Beginning to feel rather well-fed, we stroll east to the Soukitchen, transported instantly from the farmer’s table to a mezze extravaganza, where we indulge in everything from tabbouleh salad to possibly the most incredible cauliflower dish ever created, trust me. Our culinary mission reaches a triumphant crescendo at Zara’s Chocolates, where I select two suitably boozy truffles – a margarita and an espresso martini – to pack a punchy end to the tour. And what a journey it was. You’re left feeling full – not the ‘You could pop me with a pin’ kinda full, but a deeply satisfying fullness that can only result from munching your way through some of Bristol’s finest gastronomic delights. With tBFT, though, such delights are inexorably improved by sharing the experience – chatting, laughing and ambling – with fellow eating-enthusiasts and a guide visibly passionate about all-things food. Further, it’s an insight into local communities you may not normally engage in; a chilled-out way to explore new phenomena you may otherwise miss. As a way of navigating Bristol’s ever-changing foodie landscape, and enjoying a truly uplifting afternoon to boot, look no further than tBFT – just be sure to save room after breakfast. Visit thebristolfoodtour.com to find out more and book a tour for yourself
Fourth year, Geography
Editor Nancy Serle firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Editor Lottie Moore
Online Editor Hannah Worthington
Epigram Style 2017/18
Find the Treasure
Deputy Style Editor Lottie Moore interviews Neko, manager of Treasure, a boutique charity shop in the heart of Stokes Croft
So how did you get started? The charity shop was originally started up about six years ago by a couple of friends who were part of Love Bristol, a small Christian charity active in the local area. They saw that a charity shop could be a great way to raise some money
While Stokes Croft is seen as an edgy and cool area, it has a dark side
They saw that a charity shop could be a great way to raise some money to help local people and projects
How does Treasure benefit the local community? On a personal level, I love clothes and fashion, but deep down I am passionate about working with women, fostering creativity and promoting self-confidence and self- worth. This comes through my work, as we have an all female team of staff and volunteers. We also just launched a weekly women’s group called Tea Time Thursdays where we invite ladies to come and enjoy a cuppa and sweet treat while doing craft activities or a bit of pampering. It’s great to be able to be a community hub where we can offer something more. What is the coolest/wackiest piece Treasure has ever been donated… who did it come from, what was/is its history?
I am passionate about working with women, fostering creativity and promoting self confidence and self worth
How can students get involved? Donate: We are always looking for more clothing donations and our shop is popular with students, so if any of your readers are having a spring closet clear out - please think of us! We always need more men’s stuff, it feels like guys tend to shop less and wear their stuff out. We primarily sell clothing, shoes, accessories and homewares as well as a small amount of books, CDs, DVDs and vinyl. We try to sort through donations and sell good quality stock. Volunteer: Our shop is always in need of female volunteers to join our small team of shop assistants. Typical duties include sorting donations, prepping new stock and dealing with customers. We would love students to get involved who are interested in style, fashion, photography, marketing, and social media as well as those passionate about social injustice and being a positive influence in the community. Interested women can email us at treasurestokescroft@ gmail.com for more info.
Epigram/ Lottie Moore
Why did you feel there was a need in the local area for Treasure? While Stokes Croft is seen as a cool, edgy and creative area, it has a dark side. Surrounding neighbourhoods are deprived and lots of people struggle with poverty and social isolation. Drug use and sexual exploitation are also commonplace. We want to particularly welcome in women who are at risk, helping to offer a safe space where they can enjoy meeting other women and do something simple and creative that makes them feel good.
We are blessed to have a handful of amazing people who regularly donate incredible stuff to us. Recently we have also had a couple of generous boutiques (Fox & Feather and Portobella) that have given us their end of season stock. Once we had a lady donate a collection of early 90’s silk shirts where the couture designer had also made 200 shirts for Paul McCartney’s world tour around that same time. Very collectible!
Epigram/ Lottie Moore
Treasure, Stokes Croft
to help local people and projects. They set up our Treasure Chest Fund, which gives the profits from the shop to applicants through micro-finance grants up to £500. Stokes Croft is filled with charity shops, but Treasure certainly stands out. How has it grown since its conception? When we first started, we were in a small space next to the Elemental Collective, but we soon outgrew it and moved to our current premises across the road. I came onboard as manager in 2016 with a vision to revamp the shop inside and out - putting us on the map by doing a mural on the two storeys above our shopfront and making the shopping experience feel fresh and inviting.
Treasure, Stokes Croft
Opening times: 100 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RJ Open from Monday – Saturday 12noon – 6pm Lottie Moore Deputy Style Editor
Style on the small screen
Style Editor Nancy Serle rounds up a list of fantastic fashion films and documentaries perfect for a hungover Sunday For more suggestions on what to watch if you love all things style, check out our longer artile on Epigrams NEW website
The Devil Wears Prada (2006): I’m sure many of you won’t believe this film is 12 years old, I know I don’t. Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway star in this feel good film that explores the fast paced, glamorous life of the fashion magazine industry.
Fresh Dressed (2015): Featuring interviews with the likes of Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and André Leon Talley, the documentary that can be streamed on Netflix, depicts the relationship between fashion and hip hop, the street and high fashion catwalks.
Instagram/ aspassoconsimona, Instagram/ freshdressedmovie, Instagram/ queereye
Queer Eye (2018): Recently new to Netflix, Queer Eye features five fabulously gay men who sort out the lives of straight single men; from home decor, to diet, to confidence, to style. This show is all about male empowerment, introducing guys to the power of self-worth and showing you can boost your self-esteem by making a few simple changes to your life.
If you would like to write for Epigram Style, contact us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or by email!
Nancy Serle Style Editor
An interview with She-Shirts
Style editor Nancy Serle talks to Sally Patterson and Celini Bowen, co-founders of feminist t-shirt brand She-Shirts
In conversation: Custom Coats
First year Law student Oliver Briscoe speaks to Zoology student Fred Marshall about his style inspiration and inventive, custom made coat linings to catch a breath and an order. Renny startled, bumps into him and we’re introduced. Tall, with fair-skin and red checks (probably the exhibition), Fred extends a firm hand and compliments my coat (JW Anderson x Uniqlo), immediately I know I have met a man who would enjoy Epigram style section and when he tells me about his coats, I know I have met one who should feature in it. He tells me about his appreciation for a stylish coat but how he likes to tinker with his lining, change it up. The drinks have arrived, we can barely hear each other and Renny is waiting, I take his number and promise to give him a call.
searches in-store and over the internet. He does most of this back home and tells me he likes to keep it local. I ask if he has ever considered selling his coats, currently no. They are all personal statements, his to wear and to express himself creatively. However, he is not adverse to the idea of selling them and will help a friend in need of a new lining. I was struck by the simplicity of this very Paul Smith technique, and I have arranged to meet him again soon, this time to follow his process, and I must admit, I too have a few bland linings.
Oliver Briscoe First Year, Law
I sit here trying to recall when we first met, the smooth sound of Davis’ So What slowly bringing me back to Friday night. After a bit of in-house drinking and pizza at the White Rabbit, I coaxed a few of the guys to come with me to the Cori Tap, an evening at the Cori Tap rarely ever just ends as that. We stroll down the oft treaded cobbles, only to be confronted by a herd of students, despair! Suddenly, grabbed by the arm I turn and find, to my surprise, Renny, a friend from Law. After some pleasant chatting and strategic waiting, following her lead, we elbow our way to the bar and find a small unoccupied pocket,
I try to call him Saturday late afternoon, turns out he can’t talk, England have just won and he’s at Twickenham, my impression of him has only improved - he supports England. We rearrange for Sunday and I set about preparing for my first interview for the Epigram. I start by asking the basics, he’s Fred, studying Zoology - loves biology, not keen on plants - a resident of Churchill and originally from the Isle of Wight. He tells me about a certain Mr Scott, an always impeccably dressed, dandy, teacher from his school and founder of the Aesthetics society. He explains how Mr Scott always inspired the boys to put a bit more effort into their style and look and he tells me about his first project, he was 14. A navy blue French Connection trench; long, sleek, classic but it turns out the coat had a less-than-inspired black lining, not good enough, he wanted to “funk up his coat”. It gets taken to Bentley’s Tailors, a local culkhead, and Fred finds out if his plans are possible and how much textile he’ll need. His next visit is to a local textile store, King Textiles, where he purchases some blue and gold Chinese dragon patterned silk. Everything is brought to the tailor’s; £50 and a week later, he has a completely transformed coat and has a host of schoolyard admirers. He has now done quite a few creations and likes to go, as is the rest Bristol’s favourite pass-time, thrift and charity shopping, to find cheap coats which he will then have fix up and lined. The whole process can take a few weeks, Fred enjoys ensuring that the fabric is perfect for the coat. He looks at pattern, weight, material,
and hyper-consumerism, people are incredibly conscious of the way they look and how they come across. High street and designer brands have increasingly tapped into the feminist market, designing slogan t-shirts such as ‘Females of the Future’ and ‘Empower Women’. Although I think that this shift towards feminism becoming more ‘mainstream’ and less taboo is positive, such products are obviously deeply problematic. For me, they just felt like empty phrases sprawled in eye-catching fonts. Feminism isn’t just about what’s written on your t-shirt; it’s about your beliefs, your actions. Moreover, the manufacturing and distribution of
our aims and values! We have a few exciting ideas for future events in the works, so watch this space! But, for now, we’re focusing our efforts on ensuring the growth and success of She Shirts - starting by getting the word out about our products. Tell us a bit about your product range... Sally: Every she-shirt tells a story, focusing on contemporary challenges faced by women. ‘Hands Off’ has a simple design of two handprints over the chest, “Women Up” is a word play on Man Up (a common phrase used to embolden men), “Feminist Legacies” pays tribute to inspirational feminists emblazoned across the chest, “Sexism isn’t Sexy” directly confronts discrimination, and “All bodies are beautiful” challenges the relentless demand for women to conform to the ‘ideal’ body image. Our aim is to empower women through the production, distribution and profits of the products. At times, feminism can feel alienating, daunting or tokenistic, and purchasing a sheshirt is an easy and affordable way to engage with the conversation. Finally, where can we buy your products? Sally: All of our products are available on our website, sheshirts.teemill.com. We know it’s not the catchiest URL to remember, so don’t worry, simply follow our Facebook page and Instagram (@sheshirtUK) and follow the link directly from there! Also keep an eye out for new designs, deals and more!
Nancy Serle Style Editor
Tell us a bit about yourself… Sally: I’m a third-year Politics and Sociology student, Chair of the Women’s Network at Bristol SU and women’s rights activist. I’m currently working on my dissertation, examining the scale and scope of sexual assault on campus. Ceini: I’m a postgrad student, studying for an MA in History with specialisms in contemporary feminisms and gender, and am currently Publicity Officer for the Women’s Network - I also volunteer for Bristol Women’s Voice in my spare time. What inspired you to start She-Shirts? Sally: I started thinking about feminist t-shirts almost 2 years ago. In a world of identity politics
corporate t-shirts rarely actually support women. In fact, they are often made in sweatshops and factories where women in particular are vulnerable to exploitation, as ethical fashion activist Amy DuFault recently highlighted. There was a gap in the market for ethical, feminist t-shirts, and about 3 months ago, I decided to just go for it. University is the perfect place to try something like this out, test the waters, and it seemed particularly timely given the political climate. I reached out to Ceini, who had the artistic skill that I seriously lack, and I don’t know what I’d do without my Right-Hand Woman! Where do your proceeds go? Sally: She Shirts is a charitable enterprise, and we endeavour to donate as high a percentage of the money paid as possible. Everyone involved in She Shirts is a volunteer, including the founders, models, photographers and graphic designers. Ceini: On average, for every product sold, £3.50 is made in ‘royalties’. Of this, 50% goes back into repaying start-up costs, and the other 50%, the profit generated, is put straight into our charity pot. This money is then divided equally and donated to our charities; Women’s Aid, Smart Works and Bloody Good Period, all of whom we’ve established strong relationships with. We’re also very open to charity suggestions! You recently launched- how was that? Do you have any other events coming up? Ceini: Launching was so exciting after having kept the whole venture so secret for the past few months. What was even more exciting was that we actually sold our first she-shirts on the very day we launched! We also hosted a celebratory tea with some very special people, including some women who have been instrumental in supporting us with She Shirts - it felt poignant to be surrounded by such supportive women given
Editor Nick Bloom email@example.com
Deputy Editor Evy Tang @evy_tang15
Online Editor Ellie Caulfield
Epigram Travel Section 2017/8
¡Vamos a Latinoamérica! ¿Plata o plomo? Narcos falls short with Colombian audience Amy Cartledge asks Colombians what they really think of Netflix’s hit series
Colombian nationals are tired of ‘narco-series’. They are especially tired of westernised and glorified interpretations which do not reflect the experiences of the Colombian population. Narcos is the clearest example of this. I, of course, don’t want to act like I’m speaking for the entire country’s audience. Yet when I reached out to students to gain their insight, many were eager to share their opinion about this period of history that many want to forget. Esteban gave me a deeper understanding of Colombia’s general perception of such programmes. “Dramatisations of drug trafficking are made for profit rather than telling the true story. This can be seen when a series shows the luxurious lifestyle of the traffickers, but not the suffering experienced by the Colombian community.”
” Business Insider
Between 1996 and 2005, somebody was kidnapped every 8 hours due to the narco-conflict in Colombia
A whole layer of Moura’s performance is marred by his lack of vocal authenticity
What do Indians think of Latin America?
Although eveyone had heard of Latin Ameica, most could say frighteningly little about the continent
But when Epigram Travel Editor Nick Bloom invited me to write this article and I asked people in my college “What can you tell me about Latin America?”, I was shocked to discover that, although everyone had heard of Latin America, most could say frighteningly little about the continent. In India, we’ve acknowledged and dwelled in bits of Latin American culture over the last decade but somehow superficially slipped on connecting the dots. I speak an ounce of Spanish and a pinch of Portuguese. I keep abreast of political and business news in Latin America and jump at the chance to learn more. I’m hopeful that the next generation of Indian people will take a greater interest in Latin American culture.
Vihang Jumle IT Engineering, University of Mumbai
All agreed Narcos was damaging Colombia’s reputation today
” Flickr / Nigel Burgher
Despite being thousands of miles apart, India and Latin America are linked. Officials in New Delhi sweat over the Venezuelan economic and constitutional crisis, taxpayers from Mumbai learn about the Panama papers, young couples sip Brazilian coffee in Kolkata, teenagers in Chennai drift to Despacito’s overused lyrics “This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico” and food-lovers from Bengaluru sink their teeth into spicy Mexican tacos. Meanwhile, my companion asks me to become her salsa and bachata dance partner, and I nervously accept.
I asked if it was right that non-Colombian production companies take this story to make money; Laura and Esteban disagreed with the idea that it was wrong, as amongst Colombians there can be discussion about the events and differing opinions. A lot of the time even the nation can’t truly comprehend what happened. “The important thing is that the story is told without profit as an end goal, that it is objective and shows different points of view regardless of nationality.” From a linguistic standpoint, accents are a serious negative amongst the Colombian audience. They are forced to listen to a Brazilian Escobar, whose wife and mistress are Mexican, and enemies are Venezuelan, Spanish, Argentinian and Puerto Rican. Instead of presenting Escobar as a true Antioquian, speaking with the Paisa accent that is native to the area where he grew up, Wagner Moura upholds his Brazilian voice throughout the performance. Despite having moved to Medellin to perfect the local dialect, some Colombians can’t help but cringe. A whole layer of Moura’s performance is marred by his lack of vocal authenticity. By stripping Escobar of this, an integral part of his character is lost. This was something Maria, a first-year student at Bristol, agreed with when I asked if this accent was important to his portrayal. “It is, yes. The socalled gift of Escobar was that he was a young Paisa like any other who could ‘succeed’”.
Esteban gave me a deeper understanding of Colombia’s general perception of these programmes
Whether Narcos glorifies cartels is undisputed by Colombia’s audience. Yes, it shows their brutality. But we never see the effects they had upon normal people. Between 1996 and 2005, somebody was kidnapped every 8 hours due to the narco-conflict in Colombia. Since the start of the conflict with left-wing guerrilla groups 55 years ago, 220,000 people have died due to the drug trafficking industry; not every Colombian can claim a difficult connection to this era. When Escobar’s violence is shown in a myriad of explosions and ruthless shoot-outs, all you can think is – does this represent history? Or is Guamont International using such largescale bloodshed to attract more viewers? Guamont International, a French production company, has been heavily criticised by Colombian journalists for westernising the story. The representation of gringo heroes swooping in from America to a ‘third world’ country is perceived as exalting America’s War on Drugs, ignoring the key role played by Colombians themselves. Central figures in Escobar’s downfall are completely disregarded, such as Guillermo Cano and Luis Carlos Galán, a journalist and a politician murdered for uncovering government corruption and cartels’ involvement in politics. They receive little to no mention in the series. The script writers clearly can’t include every single person involved in bringing down Escobar – but when completely fictionalised characters have more screen time than real people, the production of the series is likely to come under fire.
Over the years, Narcos, Netflix’s hit series, has gained huge international success. Its fast-paced action, addictive plot and stunning cinematography would surely guarantee popularity across the board. As a fan myself, I love that it shows the beauty of South America and uses Spanish-speaking actors rather than anglicising the plot. Although I may share the same opinion as many European and North American viewers, Colombians disagree.
Undoubtedly quick to question the popularity of the series, I asked each student what they thought of its success. Weary of this chapter of their history being considered a lucrative opportunity, all agreed Narcos was damaging Colombia’s reputation today. “Many of the people who aren’t from Colombia that I’ve spoken to about this issue have misconceptions about present-day Colombia,” Laura tells me. “They think we are still in that era of drug trafficking and violence perpetuated by the cartels.” This interpretation is sadly the outcome of Narcos’ widespread success. So next time you sit down to binge-watch a couple of episodes, it’s worth considering the other side of Escobar’s glamorous narrative: the Colombian people themselves.
Amy Cartledge First Year, French, Spanish and German
29 ¡Vamos a Latinoamérica! Latin Dance Society launch!
Ridin’ solo in Mexico
Nick Bloom talks salsa with co-President Naomi Myerson NB: Talking of timetabling, what have you guys got planned for the next few weeks?
NB: So you came back to Bristol and set up a society? NM: Pretty much! I got together with a group of Latin America enthusiasts and we were all keen. There are already a few dance societies at Bristol, but we wanted something new that was a bit more laid back, less competitive, and especially targeted at beginners. Latin Dance Soc offers a distraction from uni stresses, a sociable atmosphere and a great opportunity to learn about Latin American culture.
NM: So far, the response from students has been great! People like the fact the classes are open to beginners and no one feels embarrassed. We’re trying to work on getting a fixed dance class schedule – timetabling and room availability has been tricky – but we’re getting there. It may not be perfect by the end of the year, but we hope to build as strong of as base as we can for next year.
Epigram / Nick Bloom
a bit more laid back, less competitive, and especially targeted at beginners
NB: What would you say to Latin American students here? NM: Come along!! We would be over the moon to see you and learn a thing or two about your culture!
Epigram / Nick Bloom
NB: I’m proud to say I have two left feet, and six months in Colombia didn’t change that. Have you got any words of wisdom for students who can’t bear the thought of salsa classes, especially sober? NM: “Fake it til you make it!” You just have to get into the spirit... smile and look like you’re having a good time!
Nick Bloom Epigram Travel Editor
I never felt unsafe, but equally, I didn’t go out alone past 9pm
Despite its notoriously high rate of criminal activity, Mexico City was probably the highlight of my trip. I had the chance to do everything I wanted to do (mainly exploring art galleries, architecture and food) at my own pace, completely self-indulgently. When I wanted company, there were interesting people to meet at hostels. I never felt unsafe, but equally, I didn’t go out alone past 9pm, and kept an eye on my valuables on the Metro. Latin America does tend to treat its women differently: that’s one thing I learnt the hard way. Mexicio’s culture holds an emphasis on machismo, and being a girl who values her independence, I found this quite hard to process. Having said that, I learnt very fast that I felt more comfortable in cities wearing longer clothes, and saving my shorts for the beaches. But every culture is different, and adjusting to that is part of the joy of travel.
Epigram / Sarah Roller
Fake it til you make it! You just have to get in the spirit
Epigram / Nick Bloom
Epigram / Nick Bloom
NB: Have you faced any challenges getting the society up and running?
NM: There’s a weekly Tuesday class from 5-6pm at the SU, led by Alain, our wonderful Cuban salsa teacher. We’ve learnt a lot in the last few weeks, but people can join whenever. We’re planning on starting rotating Thursday classes focusing on other styles, such as bachata and kizomba, to give people as much choice as possible. We’re also thinking of taking Society members to dance classes at the Cuban or Hamilton House so we can meet the local community and get involved with something outside of the university. If we go as a pack we’ll be fine! Finally, we are aiming for two nights out a month at some of Bristol’s best Latin bars… fun nights drowned in mojitos and caipirinhas!
NM: Spending half a year in the salsa capital of the world! I had so much fun teaching in Bogotá on my year abroad, and did some dance classes in the evenings. I thought to myself that it would do us Brits a lot of good, and hoped to meet Colombians and make new friends. It was difficult at times – I kept going to parties and everyone was unbelievable at dancing – but I had a great time.
The perception of Latin America and solo female travel is that they don’t go together. ‘Mexico? What the hell d’you wanna go there for?’ asked Jeffrey from US Homeland Security when he read my immigration form at JFK Airport. To be fair, he had a point. Mexico isn’t top of most people’s bucket list, let alone as a 20 year-old girl, doing it solo. When I announced to my friends and family I’d be spending 2½ months there, most people thought I was barmy. Fortunately, other people’s opinions haven’t tended to put me off doing things, so hey – I arrived in Mexico speaking a few words of Spanish, and off I went. Being a 5’ 10, blonde English girl, I didn’t exactly blend in. Once I got past being stared at literally everywhere I went in central Mexico, it actually worked to my advantage. People seemed very puzzled and genuinely curious about what I was doing there, which meant wherever I went, there was always someone who wanted to chat, and I had no shortage of people offering to help.
NB: First off, what sparked your interest in Latin Dance?
Sarah Roller braves solo travel
Solo travel has honestly been one of the best things I’ve done – it gave me the time to do exactly what I wanted, meet new people, improve my Spanish, and find the time during university for some reflection and planning. I had the time of my life in Mexico and Belize, so much so that I’m heading to Colombia – solo – this summer. I was surprised at every turn by how kind, helpful and hospitable people were, but perhaps that’s a result of the way western society paints Latin America.
Sarah Roller Online Food Editor
Foreign Affairs Deputy Travel Editor Evy Tang’s love life took a spicy turn when she met a Chilean exchange student on her year abroad “I did not know that one could move their hips like that and he was by far the best kiss I will probably ever have. He patiently taught me how to loosen my hips, let go and just dance. I ‘d better go along to the new Latin Dance Society and get practising!”
to vote! 13 - 15 March
BRISTOL SU ELECTIONS
top 5 reasons to vote #WEAREBRISTOL
varsity day is coming! WHO INSPIRES YOU?
BRISTOL TEACHING AWARDS
TOP 5 REASONS TO VOTE You’ve probably heard something about the elections which are taking place 13-15 March. Nominations for all the positions are now closed, and it’s time to get voting. Why should you vote? Here are 5 reasons…
It only takes 5 minutes
We’ll stop pestering you
It’s true, it really doesn’t take long to vote. You could vote between lectures, as procrastination whilst you’re studying, or from the comfort of your own home. There’s no particular place to be as it’s done online. So there’s really no excuse!
Once you’ve voted for all the positions you can we’ll stop emailing you about it. Simple.
Get the candidate you want The people you are voting for will be representing you and your views to the university for the next year. That’s pretty important, so you might as well vote for a candidate whose policies you agree with.
Everyone has someone to vote for Whether you’re interested in the VDEEDWLFDORIÀFHUZKROHDGV the union, or who represents your course, we’ll be electing hundreds of students. At least one of the positions will directly affect you so even if you only vote for that one role, it’s worth doing.
Your vote will make a difference These reps are usually only in post for just one year. That means that they can only focus on a few key things. You want to make sure that the reps who are voted in are the ones who are going to focus on the issues that are most important to you. It could make a big difference to your time at university.
Voting is open 13-15 March Find out more and vote at bristolsu.org.uk/elections #SUYesYou
#SUyesyou BRISTOL SU ELECTIONS
FIGHT NIGHT photo highlights
Varsity Day Since itâ€™s inception in 2003, Varsity Day has gone from strength to strength and has become a massive festival of sport within the City of Bristol. Split over 9 venues, with over 1800 athletes in 222 teams, competing in 27 sports â€“ it is arguably the South Westâ€™s biggest one-day multi-sport event. â€œThe whole series has loads of great individual events on offer, but if you are a sucker of a bargain, and more of a Haribo Mega Party variety pack kind of person than simple Starmix then Varsity Day is the day for you!â€? â€“ John House, 6SRUWDQG6WXGHQW'HYHORSPHQW2IĂ€FHU After gripping events such as Friday Night Lights and Varsity Netball it will all be decided on the day who will win the Varsity points up for grabs for Netball and Menâ€™s Lacrosse.
What else can you expect? Badminton, Dance, Football, Squash, Tennis, Waterpolo and a whole lot more. If thereâ€™s a sport you enjoy, you should be able to see it. Come along and support your university team on a day where itâ€™s all to play for. #WeAreBristol For the full Varsity events listings, tickets and more visit varsityseries.com
who inspires you? Make your nomination in the
Bristol Teaching Awards .BLF your OPNJOBUJPO in the
Bristol Teaching Awards Voting open until the 23 March /PNJOBUJPOTPQFO'FCSVBSZ.BSDI 201 bristol.ac.uk/bristolteachingawards
WHAT'S ON Varsity BASKETBALL
Saturday 18 March, 3:30pm, SGS College – WISE Campus Last year’s event will be remembered for yet another nailELWLQJÀQDOHDQGZDVGHHPHGWKHHYHQWRIWKH6HULHV With its electric atmosphere and only 750 seats available, this event is sure to sell out, so get in early and whatever \RXGR«JHW\RXUWVKLUWVDQGIRDPÀQJHUVDWWKHUHDG\ Doors at 3.30 for a 4.15 start. Online tickets are advance sale, full price tickets will be available on the door. www.varistyseries.com Varsity: Poetry Slam, Monday 12 March, 7pm, Bath Spa University. UWE, Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa & other local university teams will battle it out through the power of their words. Each poet will grace the mic but only one team will emerge victorious. This is a slam not to be missed, with a mix of poetic styles.
St Patrick’s Day, Saturday 17 March, Balloon Bar. Celebrate St Patrick's Day with a pint of Guinness in hand. We'll be screening all the 6 Nations matches (don't miss England vs Ireland at 14:45) with deals running throughout the day and a special Guinness Bar.
Chortle Student Comedy Award, Thursday 15 March, 7:30pm, Anson Rooms Bar. Come and watch the Bristol heat of the Chortle Student Comedy Awards. For £3 a ticket it’s a cheap way to have a great night and you never know, that person you vaguely know from your course could really turn out to be the next Katherine Ryan...
Don Giovanni, 21/22/23/24 March, Winston Theatre. Don Giovanni is a high Á\LQJODZ\HUZLWKDPDUNHGKLVWRU\RI womanising and manipulation. Join Bristol University Operatic Society for their interpretation of this famous opera.
RAGaoke, Friday 16 March, 9pm, Balloon Bar. Hosted by Bristol RAG, it’s karaoke night - The Balloon's wildest night, guaranteed. Belt out a classic, or get a mate to do it for you.
RAG Jailbreak 2018, Saturday 24 March. Bristol RAG’s biggest event is back and bigger than ever! How far away can you get in 36 hours without spending DQ\PRQH\"+LWFNKLNHRUEODJDÁLJKW the choice is yours!
Big Fat Bristol RAG Pub Quiz, Monday 19 March, 8pm, Balloon Bar. Expect obscure facts, near-impossible challenges, general hilarity and extremely cheap beer. By far the best thing to do with your Monday evening!
For more information on all upcoming events see bristolsu.org.uk/events
Film & TV
Editor: Charlie Gearon Deputy Editor: Gabi Spiro @GearonCharlie
Online: Tim Bustin Deputy Online: AshleyYonga @timbustin1
‘An unconventional yet entirely believable romance’- The Shape of Water review Benjamin Smart reviews Guillermo Del Toro’s latest release, and it’s new take on the classic romance narrative Benjamin Smart Film and TV Masters
Del Toro is attempting to deconstruct the traditional fairytale romance whilst stamping it with his trademark hint of the grotesque That being said, the story isn’t the most unique. The film opens in a flooded apartment where we are introduced to a sleeping Elisa who is referred to as a “princess without a voice”, and as this dreamlike sequence melts away the tone is already established. Del Toro is attempting to deconstruct the traditional fairy-tale romance whilst stamping it with his trademark hint of the grotesque. While the characters have a sense of depth, their motivations within the story can define them a little too well at times leading to some predictable plot points. Nonetheless to its merit it is refreshing to have a cast with such fleshed-out intentions.
Youtube / fIlmselect trailers
In a response to the Universal monster films that inspired him in his youth, the BAFTA winning latest release from creature feature auteur Guillermo Del Toro may be his best yet. Set during the Cold War the film follows the life of Elisa (Sally Hawkins), an orphaned mute who works as a cleaner in a government facility. Her mundane life is turned upside down by the arrival of a top-secret asset in the form of a humanoid amphibian played by Doug Jones. What follows is an unconventional yet entirely believable romance. Del Toro is meticulous when it comes to building the worlds that occupy his films. Every character has pages of backstory that fill in the blanks from their motivations to their favourite colour. He may seem overzealous in his attention to detail but in the case of The Shape of Water it simply works. If the film was to be viewed as a machine then every part would be in motion, feeding the narrative from all angles to create a final product that feels substantial yet not weighed down by its technicalities.
Performance wise, Sally Hawkins does a stellar job as Elisa. Though lacking a voice her use of sign language and the subtlety of her physical presence speaks volumes, due in part to her interactions with a supporting cast of Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer. As characters who are also marginalised by society (due to sexual orientation and race) they are able to manifest aspects of her character that would otherwise go unheard: poetically giving a voice to the silenced. Michael Shannon plays Colonel Strickland, a barrier for Elisa’s forbidden romance, and an overtly masculine authority figure who in any other film would be expected to be the primary love interest for our mute heroine. Yet this is a Del Toro’s film and in this world of monsters he most definitely ranks above them all. Sadistic and driven by pride, Strickland embodies the dark side of the American dream and is a great antagonist for what at times can be a deeply personal film.
With the constant advancements in VFX most modern films seem to boil down to the spectacle of how they can push boundaries, sacrificing heart in the process. The Shape of Water bucks this trend. Whilst computer animation is present it’s used as the finishing touch to what is a predominantly practical film. While Sally Hawkins is endearing enough in her performance there would be a disconnect if she was forming a relationship with a digital counterpart. The amphibian-man is a practical suit that allows for a certain tangibility that can’t be beaten. Hawkins doesn’t have to use her imagination to woo something built months later in a computer; the creature is alive and has just as much presence as her. Sparingly used VFX animates its eyes and accentuates its actions. It’s safe to say that the days of the uncanny valley are behind us. The Shape of Water is more than just a creature feature. It’s a tale of forbidden love that wears its influences proudly and unashamedly looks back at the history of cinema whilst boldly moving forward.
‘Overwhelming and underwhelming in equal measure’ - Mute review
A weak protagonist and an inconsistent futuristic city: Patrick Sullivan tells us why Mute was disappointing Patrick Sullivan Third Year, Engineering Design In the first two months of 2018, Netflix has already produced 12 original feature length films. None, however, came with the credibility of its latest release, Mute. Directed by the BAFTA-winning Duncan Jones, who won Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Moon (2009), and starring Golden Globe winner Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux, Mute is an exciting premise. Set in the near-future in Berlin - an unrecognisable urban jungle with zero German culture or relevance apart from the odd war or
Youtube / Netflix
communism reference - Mute follows a bartender, Leo (Skarsgård), as he searches ferociously through the shady bars, brothels, and back alleys for his lost girlfriend. He also happens to be Amish and unable to speak, due to a childhood accident which opens the film poorly and again, with little relevance. In the grand scheme of things, those two attributes are pretty life defining and demand exploration. Yet, they are merely cheap ploys for two reasons: his technophobia is used for exposition regarding the futuristic gadgets and lifestyle (Amish people are known widely to reject technology, though that is not wholly true and especially strange given Leo’s departure from his background), and his muteness is used for explicit storytelling, with every sub-character who Leo approaches indulging in dramatic monologues and revelations. The last film I saw before Mute just so happened to be an exceptional example of how mute characters can and should be portrayed. Sally Hawkins, playing Elisa in The Shape of Water (2018), exudes personality as she uses a range of body language, expression, and sign language in her characterisation. Alexander Skarsgård as Leo is bland and ponderous, an expressionless wet drip of a hunky bruiser. Instead of the crucial, learned skill of sign language, Leo uses his natural talent for drawing and wooden sculptures for communication. The latter only proves useful for wooing his infinitely more charismatic girlfriend, Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh, whose character is unfortunately missing for the majority of the film), and impaling people in pursuit of her. When Skarsgård isn’t on the screen, the film is fast-paced, stylish, and wildly entertaining. When he is, its slow, awkward, and undermines the dark, humorous tone in which the film thrives. Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux run the show as two illegal, American former-army doctors, Cactus Bill and Duck. Throughout the two
hours, the moral ambiguity surrounding their true characters is fascinating and they are, at times, utterly hilarious. Paul Rudd proves again to be lovable - who knows how he does it? - despite his character being particularly prickly, and aptly nicknamed Cactus Bill. He’s the type of man who orders an old lady at cafes to stop giving him side-eye while discussing his job of torturing members of an underground Russian gang. But then again, he also has a really cute daughter, for whom he desperately attempts to get fake IDs in order to escape their dank and shoddy lifestyle. Mute genuinely shocks as well, no thanks to our dependably dull Amish bartender. It is, in fact, a great surprise that such a revered filmmaker and actor combo did not question his greater purpose as the hero during the production process. However, there are enough revelations concerning the more watchable characters, Cactus Bill, Naadirah, and Duck. The film benefits from having little concern with public and critical reaction (courtesy of a Netflix release and the creative freedom it allows) because it pursues controversy in its plot twists. They won’t be tasteful for some, but the shocking moments are effective and confrontational, if not fully developed. The creative design of the city and everything within it is equally inconsistent. It aspires to the brooding beauty of the Blade Runner films, but with aspects of Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997), especially regarding the wacky hairstyles, outfits, and robot dancers featuring in Foreign Dreams, the bar where Leo and Naadirah work. However it lacks the distinction of both those worlds. Mute is designed by director and co-writer Duncan Jones to be an homage to his late father, the iconic David Bowie, but the overall results are patchy. It is overwhelming and underwhelming in equal measure, unconvincing in how it portrays complex subjects, and suffers greatly because of its tiresome protagonist.
Women with Movie Cameras For International Women’s Day, Ellen Kemp looks at five films by female directors who have revolutionalised cinema
2) For the girl who
Post-Weinstein Hollywood is undoubtedly going to be an interesting place for women to work in future. Mainstream cinema is under more pressure than ever to prove that it is no longer the sexist institution it has been since Judy Garland first squeezed into her ruby slippers. Hopefully, recent events will add momentum to the quest for an equal presence of female-centric stories, told by women, and accessible to all, and perhaps even help to break down the gender divide that still stifles society on the other side of the silver screen. We’ve seen Wonder Woman, and I’m sure we all love Greta Gerwig, but it seems that the most compelling examples of female gaze are generally refracted through the lens of art cinema. So, in the interest of celebrating the varied perspectives of the female cineeye, I hereby present a selection of my favourite films directed by women, which I believe are truly captivating – and none of which end in the transgressive heroine driving off a cliff or marrying Humphrey Bogart.
with the insatiable appetite: Raw, Julia Ducournau In light of the mushroom cloud explosion of veganism across campuses, this film is both disturbing and timely. A bold, energetic horror film in which the main character is a young vet student, and a vegetarian – though not for long. An alumnus of the revered La Fémis film school, debut director Ducournau holds the spectator in kind of macabre staring contest: it’s the type of horror that takes your senses prisoner: bursting with style, colour, vitality, and a restless soundtrack, you can’t look away, but watching is an act of daring. The film flirts with Romero-esque irony, subtly raises the moral questions evoked by all the best supernatural thrillers (but without going overboard) and it’ll definitely freak out your more squeamish housemates.
A tragi-comedy, a heist film, and a piece of cinema as earnest as it is defiant, Divines updates and recalibrates the so-called Parisian “banlieue” films. It casts aside the sexual prejudices seen in landmarks of the genre such as La Haine, adding colour to the gritty poetry that so defines both. Its plot-line transcends the superficiality of the usual crime film, creating something near operatic in vision without losing sight of a certain degree of realism. But the best part is the friendship of its two misfit female protagonists, which consistently remains the story’s centre of gravity.
Twitter / @mattviajero
1) For the girl
dreams big: Divines, Houda Benyamina
3) For the girl at odds with a crazy world: I Am Not A Witch, Rungano Nyoni
Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not A Witch traces the bizarre complexity of modern-day African witch camps. It tells the story of a nine-year old girl who faces the choice of joining the government-approved community of witches, or being turned into a goat. Nyoni treats the subject with well-dosed touches of bleak wit – it is neither completely satirical nor greatly sentimental, allowing her to point out the incongruity of, say, a novelty ringtone interrupting the opening remarks of a community trial for theft, (in which the ‘witch’ gives the final verdict). The film is structured around the silences and stares of its young protagonist, Shula, such that the dialogue of the other characters and the odd bursts of the baroque score seem to express far less by comparison. As the story unravels, the increasing absurdity of the situation reaches a point of devastating irony which leaves the viewer stunned and spellbound long after the credits stop rolling.
Twitter / @Leiaorganias
Ellen Kemp Third year, French and Film
4) For the girl who
misses her dog: Wendy and Lucy, Kelly Reichard Whether you are slightly in love with a canine companion, or with Michelle Williams, Kelly Reichardt’s second film is sure to stir any spectator with a sympathetic leaning for struggling youth. It’s a quiet film, a tale of two drifters scraping by across the American Midwest, until disaster silently strikes. Williams’ performance is understated but highly nuanced, depicting masterfully the rarely seen character of a lone young woman, determined, but on an unsteady footing in an unforgiving social landscape. Although something of a slow-burn, the film is pensive and allows space to contemplate the sentimentally brutal society which allows such characters to slip through the net.
5) For the girl who just wants to have fun: Cléo de 5 à 7, Agnès Varda
Not a contemporary film, but a film which is so gorgeous, it gives Godard a run for his money for the quirkiest and cutest film of the Nouvelle Vague – though in fairness Jean-Luc does have a sneaky cameo. This gem of a film is filled with arty details, a passion for beauty in all its forms, with brilliant little technical flourishes and nods to existentialist themes too, as the eponymous Cléo sweeps through the city like a modern day Mrs Dalloway. It’s a leap away from the left bank for Varda, and it proves without question that her ambidextrous, all-embracing curiosity makes her one of the most underrated film-makers of her era - but above all, it’s pure charm caught on celluloid.
This week in cinema history The Godfather premiers - 15th March, 1972: ‘I’m a business man; blood is a big expense.’
With a film as prestigious as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, it’s easy to forget why it became so renowned in the first place. People often remember the decapitated horse head, ‘I’ll make him and offer he can’t refuse,’ and Michael (Al Pacino) closing the door on Kay (Diane Keaton) without remembering what a cohesive masterpiece all these individual moments make up. Once you move past the ubiquity of The Godfather, and manage to watch it with a fresh pair of eyes, the film’s true merit shines. For a film so incomprehensibly successful, it can be a surprisingly challenging watch. With a run time of around 3 hours, and an extremely slow and methodical pace, viewers may find it a little impenetrable at first. But with just the slightest bit of effort, the reward is arguably one of the most perfect pieces of cinema
ever created. The film is tonally immaculate, with pitch-perfect dialogue, a hauntingly memorable soundtrack and all-round stellar performances all playing a part. A beautiful dark colour palette of black, red and gold pervades the film, adding a sense of brooding intensity which refuses to be alleviated. Never before – and perhaps never again – has Hollywood produced a film simultaneously so commercially and cinematically successful. The Godfather has more than earned its place in the annals of film history.
Film and TV Editor
‘An undeniably remarkable work of originality’ Lady Bird review
Patrick Sullivan reviews Lady Bird, the soon-to-be cult classic filled with quickfire quips and mico-consumable sequences Patrick Sullivan Third Year, Engineering Design
Written and directed by esteemed indie darling and Baumbach collaborator Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird is the culmination of her working style so far and exemplifies her charm offensive to offbeat audiences. ‘I just want to live through something,’ the central teen - real name Christine, but self-proclaimed Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) - says early on when the Grapes of Wrath audiobook concludes, before arguing with her mother and then rolling out of the car suddenly, breaking her arm in the process. The whimsical statement and following melodrama epitomises the heroine’s certain yet ever-changing and conflicting opinions. Gerwig’s script is fizzing with both these oneliners and very human conversations, characters overlapping one another in argument and in tandem. It’s an absolute winner. On the receiving end of the teenager’s niggling wanderlust are three main objects of the film: her mother, her Catholic school, and her home city, Sacramento. Her mother is played by Laurie Metcalf with searing, sharp put-downs of her much-loved daughter. Metcalf and Ronan are the key performers in this showcase of female talent. It is Ronan’s most enjoyable part in an already distinguished career, more than her other Oscar nominated lead role in Brooklyn (2015). Her eccentricity in the role is not unlike Gerwig’s own acting, complementing the funky pink hair, glacial blue eyes, peculiar dress sense, and acne scars in the creation of a blossoming teenage calamity. The joint premise of Catholicism, high school, and Sacramento provides plenty of stimulus for an artist with Gerwig’s playfulness. They are all embedded within her own personal history, although she has declared the film to be non-autobiographical. Whatever the basis for her inspiration, she laces the film with subtle motifs and repeated references, the result being an environment which feels very much lived in. There are Sisters (the religious type) discussing Kierkegaard and informing frisky students at dances to stay ‘six inches for the Holy Spirit’, Fathers (again, the religious type) bursting into tears while teaching theatre class, and a delightfully quaint bedroom, in which Lady Bird etches, and subsequently strikes out, the names of two quirky teen heartthrobs, Danny (Lucas Hedges) and Kyle (Timothee Chalamet). The small details enrichen an already cult-worthy film,
and it shall be rewatched by many over and over again. Politics are sprinkled throughout this feel-good feature, with 9/11, abortion, and the danger of mobile phones earning repeated mentions. However, with Gerwig receiving only the fifth female Best Director nomination in Oscar history, and in the wake of mass sexual assault allegations, the handling of the teenage relationships is in keeping with the times. Danny, the first boyfriend, announces to Lady Bird, ‘I respect you too much to touch your boobs,’ in a safe, post-Weinsteinian manner. Good on you, Danny, proving the benefits of self-restraint by being deserving of your girlfriend’s love. Spoiler: he actually turns out to be gay. Another political box ticked, and in underplayed fashion. Kyle, boyfriend number two, reads Harold Zinn, only smokes self-rolled cigarettes to spite the corporate economy, and is aloof to the popularity game of high school in a way that makes him ten times cooler. But he turns out to be a pretentious douche - who knew? Even the sweet, depressed father (Tracy Letts) and Miguel, the mysteriously Latin brother (Jordan Rodrigues, another neat political tick), play backseat roles throughout. The women are the focus - Ronan, Metcalf, Gerwig and more - and they dazzle.
To zone in on one minor flaw, Gerwig’s headline-grabbing direction rushes some moments, especially in the first half. The runtime is a minor miracle at 94 minutes, and something I celebrate in the modern era of overindulgence, but the original draft penned by Gerwig was supposedly six hours worth of script. There is a hectic year of teenagehood squeezed in the film, but it loses out on lasting impact because of the whirlwind pace. Montage, after montage, after montage, of friendships, relationships, and theatre rehearsals. I lost count, but there may have been fifteen montages by the end. It all slows down to a surprising epilogue, and the quick start is one to embrace more having seen the eventual coming-of-age, but, on first watch, the early build-up is not given the necessary time to be memorable. The script, though, is an undeniably remarkable work of originality. It is bound to nestle into the hearts of audiences, and define the hairstyles, fashion, and idiolects of more impressionable, trendy teens, like Juno (2007) and The Breakfast Club (1985) before it. The two major performances of Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are then the crucial components in making Lady Bird an early, career defining work for the marvellous Greta Gerwig.
Strike back - in light of the UCU industrial action, the editors’ favourite protest films
Twitter / @TheNation
Twitter / @LivUniEquality
Senses of Cinema
Deputy Online Editor
L’ Age d’ Or (1930)Alicia Wakeling
Second Year, Film & Television Never a pair to take the realist route, Salvador Dali and Luis This heartwarming historical docudrama tells of the unlikely Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or takes a surrealistic approach to the issue of alliance between members of the gay community in 1980s London and rural Welsh coal miners. Lesbians and Gays Support social revolution. The film follows a young pair of lovers as they desperately try to have sex, but are constantly hindered and the Miners (LGSM) - an eclectic, colourful and tightknit group interrupted by the upper-middle class populace with which they band together to offer solidarity, cash and friendship to a group of live. The film functions as an attack on the Bourgeoisie and the striking miners during the 1984-85 Miners Strike. Pride is edifying Catholic Church, with the two characters furiously attempting and heartfelt - it oozes the positive message of teamwork and to break free from the restrictive and puritanical ideologies compassion in the face of adversity, without commodifying the being imposed upon them. While not a protest film in the struggles of real people. It boasts a talented cast, witty script, and nostalgic 80s fashion and music. With lines like ‘I heard all traditional sense, L’Age d’Or achieves the same as any such film; it acknowledges, condemns and fights against the status quo. If lesbians are vegetarians’, Pride laughs its way through adversity, and pushes against the hegemony. It leaves you feeling inspired anything, the film’s surrealism serves to make the message all the more effective. to change the world.
Selma delves into the heart and soul of the people involved in the civil rights movement, focusing on their connection, their struggles and their sacrifices, to link this momentous occasion to individual lives. This masterpiece explores the suffering of the black community in the 50s and 60s, and how it all led to those pivotal marches which ultimately changed the lives of African Americans forever. The cast is flawless, reminding the audience that change is driven by people and their courage. The Civil Rights Movement was not easy; those people fought for their lives, fought for their freedom, stood up for something knowing that it may cost them everything and Selma does a tremendous job of showing that.
Editor: Alina Young Deputy Editor: Anna Trafford
Online Editor: Helena Raymond-Hayling Deputy Online Editor: Avital Carno
Who runs the art world? Girls To celebrate International Women’s Day, Arts writers share their favourite female artists
Performance art is not for everyone and neither is Marina Abramovic. But what cannot be denied is her contribution – through curiosity, innovation and sheer force of will – to the landscape of modern art. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1946, Abramovic’s work explores the vulnerability, connection and endurance of the human body. Her collaborations with German artist Ulay, whom she worked with from 1975 to 1988, explore the theme of duality, with one of the most striking pieces being Rest Energy (1980), in which the pair held a bow and arrow between them with the arrow aimed towards Ambramovic’s heart, causing the tension to increase between the two of them as she leant back. Her solo works have included living in public view for 12 days without food or water (House With the Ocean View, 2002) and eating a whole raw onion whilst complaining about life (The Onion, 2006) – we’ve all been there. During her 2010 retrospective at MoMA in New York, Abramovic sat in silence every day for three months as part of a piece called The Artist is Present, in which members of the public could sit across a table from her. The result was moving, baffling and at times disturbing. Abramovic is an artist who continues to create, perplex, and push the notion of art to its limits. - Hannah Green, First Year, English
MissMe could be described as a feminist, activist, or even as a vandal by some, but most importantly she is a female artist. Her works are popping up all over Montreal, from streets to galleries. Her style is unapologetically raw; she explores her own struggles with gender, race and class as well as the struggle of others – predominantly other women. MissMe portrays powerful women from history and presents them with a certain level of sainthood, from Nina Simone to Sarah Vaughn. She has also done pieces depicting the likes of Michael Jackson, Tupac and Marvin Gaye and treats them with the same level of reverence as she does her female portraits. MissMe’s pieces are composed with dignity and respect. They force the onlookers to face, and perhaps reconsider, the truths we, as a society, live with. She constantly battles with social media sites, as her photos are repeatedly taken down for portrayal of nudity. It cannot be disputed that a lot of her pieces openly show the naked female body – a recurring motif is a woman, whose face is hidden in a ski mask with Mickey Mouse ears, pulling up her shirt, openly showing her breasts. In newer pieces the breasts are morphed into different animals like sharks or unicorns. However, even these pictures are threatened with removal on a regular basis. MissMe is the new female vandal artist for the modern age and is not to be missed. - Sára Neužilová, Second Year, Theatre and Film
Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist whose work consisted primarily of grand-scale sculpture and installation work. Her work explores the subconscious, sexuality and the role of women in the family home. Femme Maison (1946-7) is a series of paintings which address the question of female identity. In these paintings, the heads of female figures have been replaced by architectural forms such as buildings and houses, below which her naked body protrudes. Femme Maison – literally housewife – explores the vulnerability of the archetypal domesticated woman. She feels secure in her home, incarcerated between the four walls of the house that she is expected to keep, whilst all the while her naked body is exposed, leaving her defenceless against the sexual desires of men who see her. Bourgeois was not associated with any particular artistic movement, but her work is closely linked to the Dadaists of the early 20th century and later the surrealists of the 1930’s and 40’s. Her Femme Maison series is a classic example of the direct juxtaposition of mismatched objects, typical of artists like Marcel Duchamp with his L.H.O.O.Q. work: a cheap reproduction of the Mona Lisa, adorned with a moustache and goatee, and André Breton’s Cadavre Exquis, a series of drawings of disjointed forms constructed of a human head and limbs encircling a ‘torso’ made from wooden furniture. Bourgeois says of her own ethos: ‘I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it’. It is clear that her essence as an artist and a woman is her admirable resilience in a then male-dominated industry, which is perhaps why she is so widely respected. - Helena Raymond-Hayling, Online Arts Editor
Epigram / Kylie Guan
Georgia O’Keeffe’s vibrancy has always drawn me to her work; her prismatic colours leap out of the frame. In her visions of New Mexico landscapes, such as desert plains that one would expect to be monotonously yellow and brown, she sees the colour in everything – from the different shades of monochrome in her skulls and desert flowers, to the sunset-soaked skies. As I’ve grown older, I’ve appreciated the images of femininity among the natural beauty. Many of the flowers that grow on her canvases are symbolic of female genitalia. They are beautiful snapshots of sexuality in an explicitly feminine context, as seen through the female gaze. - Georgia Marsh, Online Editor
An illustration of the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, inspired by her work
Despite this legacy, Adela’s contributions to art and archaeology are all too often overlooked in favour of her male colleagues, and her work was largely forgotten until a chance rediscovery in 1972. Exhibitions in Bath and Bristol in the past few years have finally brought her back into the spotlight, but there is still much further to go before she recieves the recognition that she deserves as both an artist and an inspiration to women everywhere. - Tatchiana Michaela Cardoso, Graduate, Archeology
TRACEY EMIN Tracey Emin is a name synonymous in the art world with bravery and defiance. She has been a personal source of fascination to me from a young age, partly because of the sensationalist scrutiny that surrounds her every act. Has Tracey Emin married a rock? She did what with a tent? But when you look beyond the shock factor, you find an artist who is completely aligned with modern feminine issues. Her work is so impactful because it draws together two opposite approaches and places them centre stage; transgressive boundary-pushing and explorations of her own vulnerability. In delivering often taboo-breaking messages, she wholly exposes herself in a way that defines and examines modern female life. ‘My Bed’ (1998) exemplifies her approach. It is a sculpture of her bed with items that embody her most despairing moments strewn around it. Vodka, cigarettes, condoms, dirty underwear and razors lay dejectedly at the foot of the bed. This piece reveals heartache and struggle in a poignant display of honesty and self-exploration. ‘My Bed’ is a powerful self-portrait. Emin makes a theatre out of her own most intimate moments and, in doing so, invites us all to reach into the very substances of our identities as women. - Jemima Stafford, First Year, English
An illustration of the artist, MissMe, inspired by her work
ADELA BRETON Epigram / India Vecqueray
Louise Bourgeois, ‘Maman’ (1999)
Epigram /Stefania Kasouni
Instagram /okeeffemuseum Georgia O’Keeffe, ‘Pink Ornamental Banana’ (1939) - One of a series of paintings inspired by the artist’s time in Hawaii
A Victorian woman, an artist, an explorer and an archaeologist walk into a bar. “What can I get you?” the bartender asks. “The usual”, Adela replies. Born in Bath in 1849, Adela Breton’s life defied the social norms of the period. She completed the majority of her work at the turn of the 20th century, when older women were socially invisible and geographically immobile. Already an accomplished landscape watercolourist, Adela made it her mission to preserve ancient Mesoamerican murals through meticulous reproductions, recognising their artistic and cultural significance despite the racial and colonial prejudices of the period. As the originals are slowly being eroded by the elements, her full-colour copies continue to be crucial in the study of indigenous Mexican
An illustration of the artist, Tracey Emin
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Lessons from a living artform Arts Editor, Alina Young, makes a case for the art of floristry, just in time for spring Alina Young Arts Editor
Discovering how we personally react to different shades is immensely satisfying
Epigram / Ritu Patel
While you may not have the confidence to wear head-to-toe bright yellow, it’s possible to get all the same benefits by decorating your space with colour to instantly brighten your mood every time you are in your room. This makes choosing and arranging flowers a wonderful medium for self-expression, as interiors are a living metaphor for our mental state. While we choose flowers to accent a room, they become like accents of colour on our mind. A unique aspect of flowers as an artform is that they are elements of nature and so continue the cycle of living rather than being preserved. One can view this, of course, as a reason for why they are an inefficient use of money – you could far more cheaply create a drawing, hang it on the wall and it will stay that way until you choose to change it. It is undoubtedly more cost-effective and more durable. Although this is a valid approach, it ignores the incredible positive aspects of working with something that is alive. You have to learn how to how to care for flowers, which simultaneously provides the enormous satisfaction of watching your efforts help to produce and rejuvenate something, and the feeling of responsibility.
Instagram / freddiesflowers
In essence, the process of selection is like picking a colour palette – colours that you instinctively feel compliment each other, or produce an interesting effect. You get all the pleasure of choosing the elements of your artwork, without getting frustrated with the content of a canvas if it doesn’t look as you had imagined it. We already hold ourselves to high standards and fear failure; flowers allow us to express ourselves in the safe knowledge that we will love whatever we create, and be able to create it relatively quickly. Experimenting with colour is also a cathartic experience. Our experience of colour is hugely personal; each person perceives it in a differ-
ent way and we feel different emotions towards hues. Colour psychology studies the active effect that colours have on our moods and their ability to alter our state of mind. Although there are many defined associations to colours, discovering how we personally react to different shades is immensely satisfying. For me, reds, oranges and yellows are stimulating and warming; walking into a room of deep autumnal hues relaxes me and encourages a sense of vibrancy. Meanwhile, whites, blues and purples make me feel serene. Flowers are a fantastic way to discover how colours personally affect us and, once you observe how different colours impact your mood, you can essentially create artwork that encourages whatever you want to feel. Floristry is a brilliant opportunity to use colour psychology in this way, as it has the advantages of being an easily adaptable, semi-permanent fixture in our own space.
Instagram / freddiesflowers
Best of all, it’s an artform that’s accessible to anyone
No matter how much or how little one knows about flowers, almost everyone can appreciate their extraordinary beauty. They are delicate masterpieces of nature, and their dazzling variety of shapes, textures, colours are, in my opinion, more innately creative than anything man-made. The process of arranging flowers and displaying them in your space has all the best aspects of an artform; it is aesthetic, expressive, meditative and fulfilling. Best of all, it is an artform that is accessible to anyone, as at entry-level all you need is an appreciation of beauty. As artforms go, floristry is ideal for someone that doesn’t ordinarily consider themselves ‘an artist’ to begin exploring their innate creative side. Although experienced execution can elevate the finished product, unlike painting, sculpting, or crafting, at a basic level just picking flowers that appeal to you will still give you an enormous satisfaction when you display them. Since flowers are ready-made perfect forms, you can simply focus on choosing which you are drawn to, rather than worrying about the execution of your artwork.
Flowers also encourage continuous creativity, as they inevitably wilt. In a bouquet, flowers wilt at different rates; as you throw out the finished flowers, you can add other complimentary flowers to those that are still thriving. It encourages you to re-experiment, to make new combinations and, therefore, to get fresh enjoyment.
Furthermore, an unusual meditative aspect of floristry is understanding the transience of what you create. For me, it has a similar significance to the concept behind Buddhist sand mandalas. Tibetan Buddhist monks spend many hours creating intricate mandala patterns from coloured sands and dismantle it once it is completed. While this practice is a doctrinal spiritual ritual and has many complex symbolic meanings, the acceptance of the cycle of creation and destruction is something I feel while working with flowers. Floristry reminds us to appreciate transient beauty and that things that die will be rejuvenated by new life. When feeling dull and burnt out, you can likewise rejuvenate yourself by bringing nature into your everyday and enjoying the vibrancy it gives to any early morning or essay crisis. Art should serve a purpose to the artist and with a vase of flowers on your desk you cannot help but be an optimist. Next time you’re looking to refresh your space and for a burst of creativity, try curating your own bouquet and see what it can do to lift your spirits.
Flowers... encourage continuous creativity, as they inevitably wilt
The artforms I find most enjoyable are those that are in some way meditative. Repetition, focus and careful work are some of the most pleasant elements of creating art, from sketching to knitting to moulding clay. The process of arranging flowers requires the same amount of careful composition and encourages a calm mind while dealing with delicate objects.
Alina’s arrangement tips
Picking your bunches
Caring for your flowers
Flowers don’t have to blow the budget, and the best way to save money is to pick blooms that will last the longest. Go for: - Freshness: avoid bunches where most of the buds have opened. - Long lasting: some flowers have a longer vase-life, such as alstromeria, carnations, tulips, and chrysanthemums. Many of these are available from supermarkets.
Looking after your flowers is essential to make your creation last as long as possible. Follow these steps to get the most out of them: - Aim to get your flowers in water as soon as possible. - Cut about an inch from your stems with a diagonal snip before adding them to the vase. - Tear off any leaves that would be below the waterline of the vase; soggy leaves pollute the water and aren’t very fun to clean from your vase. - Make sure you use flower food (the sachet provided with most bunches) in the water. If you’ve bought multiple bunches to make your bouquet, rather than putting all the flower food in at once, you can keep spare sachets to use every time you change the water. - The nutrients in water get stale and hungry flowers drink it all up, so it really helps to change the water in the vase every 3 days. Setting a reminder on your phone makes this easy. If the ends of the stems look a bit mangled when you’re changing the water, you can give them a little snip.
Crafting your bouquet For easily creating a large and varied bouquet, check out the below steps: - Choose 2 (or 3 if you’re feeling decadent) main flower types. Go for different shades of the same kind of colour and varied textures. - Choose an ‘accent’ flower. I find something taller than the others works well, or something with a rougher appearance like wildflowers. - Experiment with interesting foliage to add green into your bouquet and make the flowers pop. Florist shops have a wide selection and they last for a month so can be reused. Or just pick from the garden!
What makes this object what it is? Helena Raymond-Hayling shares her thoughts on Spike Island’s latest exhibition, ‘Material for 2018’ by Iman Issa
Instagram / spikeisland
Heritage Studies #20 (2016)
The experience of an audio piece in the expansive and uncrowded Spike Island gallery space was inescapably pensive and somewhat meditative. I sat and listened to the piece for about three cycles, watching fellow visitors come and go as I did. Some took the headphones and walked about thoughtfully, others put the headset on for a matter of seconds before returning them to the bench. Perhaps the dismantling of linguistic nuance in her work allows her to accentuate certain poignant ideas that resonate with some in an enthralling manner, yet ring hollow with others. Issa’s newest work, ‘Book of Facts: A Proposition’ (2017) is a fascinating guide to an exhibition that doesn’t exist. Furthermore, the images, documents and photographs in the collection are deliberately omitted from the work and are instead replaced by an empty frame with a few red marks indicating the locations of elements in the image. As I first sit at the table and flick through this book, I am not especially impressed. But, after
The arts can become a means of channelling their anger without resorting to violence
Occupying the central space in Gallery One is ‘Material’ (2010–12), a series of ‘displays’ that question the function of public sculpture and monuments and to whom they are dedicated. The series makes reference to existing public monuments which Issa strips back to their essential elements and re-imagines into other forms. The essence of exorbitant and immovable glorification is troubling to her and this work explores the capacities in which memorials and monuments are functioning, and how that has changed. Interestingly, Issa does not choose to specifically name the people and events referred to by these reconstructions of actual monuments. Of this decision, she says ‘the name of the figure or
the date of the vent is the least adequate way to recall this figure or event’ and that rather than ‘removing information’, Issa is expressing the information which ‘best captured the subject matter being expressed’. These ‘displays’ suggest the futility of honouring public figures in the form of statues and monuments, if their memory is to fade and their name become meaningless in just a few generations. Worse still, memorials can be erected in the name of oppressive ideologies or to express power in a regime. We need look no further than Bristol to see this in play, after the contentious discussions about the renaming of Colston Hall and noting the buildings in our University which were given patronage by controversial individuals (our overlord H.O. Wills) and unscrupulous groups (The Merchant Venturers). With these issues brought to light, the status of the castings of Bristolian pioneers dotted around our streets is called into question, as many of these characters will have been complicit in the slave trade and the oppression of the working class in their time. Issa’s ‘Material’ series is compelling not only because of its powerful political themes, but because of its resonance with the surroundings and the history of our beloved city of Bristol. This exhibition is an absolute must-see.
Instagram / spikeisland
Spike Island, the international hub of designers, creators, artists and makers from all walks of life will never fail to make you think, with the carefully curated and thoughtfully articulated exhibitions, talks and workshops all year round. Iman Issa is an artist originally from Cairo, but is now based in Berlin. This show exhibits work from her past 7 years of practice, including her most recent work, ‘Book of Facts: A Proposition’. The philosophy behind her work is that of the instrumentalism of forms, that is, posing the question, ‘what makes this object what it is?’. She creates her work using the essence of objects, text and words which she finds interesting and presents us an alternative version. By artfully stripping all nuance and emotion from her words, Issa creates the space for the listener to impose their own emotions upon the narrative. I am instantly drawn to a bench, where I see headphones for the viewer to wear. ‘The Revolutionary’ is an audio piece which tells a fictional tale of a ‘revolutionary’, exploring and questioning the semantics of the word ‘revolutionary’, both what it implies and makes explicit. The narrator describes: ‘in many ways, he was a normal man...aside from a few locations, he was mostly unseen’, ‘a believer, one who believes in the cause...the kind that threw empathy out the door’. Issa’s text is delivered by a text to speech machine, rather than recorded speech — she herself says an actor would have been ‘unnecessarily specific’. The use of a lifeless and robotic voice is rooted in Issa’s instrumental application of forms. By artfully stripping all warmth from her words, Issa creates the space for the listener to impose their own emotions upon the narrative.
quieting my mind and reading the book page to page, I become absolutely absorbed. Every individual page in the book refers to readings of different histories, mythologies, scientific discovery and muses on grand constructs such as the army and criminal justice. The pairing of such painfully specific and interesting details and knowledge from across a range of fields with the stark absence of the object being described by this ‘exhibition guide’, makes for a frustrating yet sensational journey into the mind’s eye. In conjuring such specific images from the imagination, in order to construct the seemingly objective truth given in the figure captions, joins the ‘subjective’ with the ‘objective’. In doing so, Issa ingeniously entwines me as the viewer, a ‘subject’, inseparably with the reality of these ‘objects’: the elements of her fictional exhibition.
Helena Raymond-Hayling Arts Online Editor
Heritage Studies #10 (2015)
Upcoming student productions The creative forces on campus have been hard at work. Catch some of the fabulous student theatre while you can! Not That Easy DramSoc partnered with City of SanctuaryMarch 22nd/ 23rd Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft
Bluebird Spotlights 25th-27th April The Alma Tavern £7-10
ting in the front seat. From acclaimed writer, Simon Stephens, comes this heartbreaking play which traverses both London and the workings of the human heart.
Taxi driver Jimmy hears about other people’s lives just for a few minutes. He hears about walking the streets, lost daughters, changing light bulbs in tube stations. He’s asked if he believes in love, in loss, in the human spirit. As he drives through the night, we delve deeper into his silence, unravelling the tragic life of the man sit-
Bristol University Operatic Society 21st-24th March Winston Theatre, SU £6.50 Don Giovanni is a high-flying lawyer with a marked history of womanising and manipulation. With his clerk, Leporello, Don Giovanni attends the Lawyers’ Ball and accidentally murders the High Judge after sexually assaulting his daughter. Over the course of the evening Giovanni spirals, dragging Leporello deeper into his world of seduction and deceit.
Epigram / Helena Napier
‘Not That Easy’ tells two stories from refugees who have come to the UK and their experiences here. They are given to us by Dave Smith from his book ‘Refugee Stories’ and are based on his interviews with refugees he knew working at the Boaz Trust. We are doing this piece in partnership with City of Sanctuary in Bristol, a charity that focuses on working with refugee charities to make Bristol effective as a City of Sanctuary, which it officially identifies as. We hope that this piece will help their current ‘Dignity not Destitution’ campaign by raising awareness of the perils refugees en-
counter when they do finally arrive here, due to the shocking behaviour of the government systems in place.
Shakespeare! The Panto
Epigram / Tom Younger
Panto Soc 15th-17th March Pegg Theatre, SU FREE ‘Shakespeare! The Panto’ offers a raucous speculation on the life of the famous Bard, following his endeavours to put on a pantomime in a desperate attempt to save his wilting career. Expect soliloquising, treacherous villainy, Renaissance tomfoolery and, of course, puns by the bucketful
as PantoSoc bring the spirit of the Globe to the Bristol’s very own Pegg theatre.
Look out for our reviews of the above productions online at www.epigram.org.uk
@epigrammusic Editor: Alexia Kirov
Deputy Editor: Kate Hutchison
Online Editor: Joe Samrai
An interview with Husky Loops A new Kellogg’s cereal? No - your new favourite band. Music Editor Alexia Kirov chats to Italian three-piece Husky Loops about the origins of their name, PledgeMusic and whether their latest single heralds a new musical direction.
However, both singer/guitarist Danio Forni and bassist Tommaso Medica agree that there is also a more practical meaning behind their moniker. Medica wanted the name ‘to be kind of unique so that when you search it on Google you find out immediately about the band’. Forni nods in agreement, and adds, ‘Yeah, that was really important to me - that when you Google it you find us and not 50 million other bands’. In an era of social media and Spotify, the experience of being in a band in its nascent stage is dramatically different than it was in ‘the old days’, feels Garrone. ‘There is a side of me that wishes we could go back to [that time] and we could just be the musicians focusing on the music. Right now you really have to kick it hard and think about the socials daily and stuff’. But for any misgivings about the digital age, it is undeniable that social media enables an unprecedentedly close relationship between artists and their fans, unimaginable ‘20 years ago, or even [for] bands like The Strokes - they didn’t have any of that’, says Medica. ‘They just based their whole career on touring and playing live shows and that was the contact they had with their audience so [the internet and social media have created] a very privileged situation in a way. You can actually output so much and it’s so easy, you can just let yourself go with it and be spontaneous with it. There are massive opportunities with it’. One such opportunity that Husky Loops have been utilising recently is the crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic. Dubbed ‘A unique marketplace where fans and artists connect’, the three-piece recently launched their ‘Help for Huskies’ campaign. Forni feels that ‘PledgeMusic is great for us. We come from an era in which we have the opportunity of doing so many things, and we took them all - putting ourselves into an often difficult situation financially, giving up jobs and just going for it. We did it and a lot of people really liked [us]. For us it was amazing, and we
We were just trying to find ways to exchange things with fans and find things they might like and find things we like doing as well Initiatives like PledgeMusic not only create new and exciting ways for fans to interact with their favourite musicians but also serve as a vital means of financial support. ‘It is really hard to be in a band today - we are unsigned, everything we do is by ourselves’. Having released two EPs in the last year, with European and UK tours under their belts and a rapidly filling diary of festival dates this summer, doing it themselves seems to be working pretty well for Husky Loops. But talking about the band’s writing process, Forni modestly feels that ‘We’re not the kind of band yet where the songwriting pierces through as much as the sound of the music’. That’s not to say lyrics are a secondary concern for Husky Loops. ‘To me personally, to them as well (he gestures towards his bandmates), the lyrics are very important - they’re what the song is about. It’s one thing really. It’s never “the song with the really good lyrics” or “the song with the good music”, everything is together’. Forni agrees, ‘A song is creating an environment in your head, and is creating, hopefully, many different feelings that all need to coexist. The lyrics go towards a certain section of that, but all the other sounds go towards another section - but they all need to work together’.
A song is creating an environment in your head, and is creating, hopefully, many different feelings that all need to coexist
Music and lyrics seem to be equal over at ‘Husky Loops HQ’. What, then, do the three-piece think of books like Jarvis Cocker’s Mother, Brother, Lover that publish song lyrics in a stand-alone, literary format? Medica appreciates them, feeling that ‘Putting that emphasis on the lyrics like they did, releasing those books, helps a lot of people from outside of countries that speak English to focus more on lyrics, because otherwise, a lot of people listening to rock music or modern music sometimes they just take it for granted, they don’t really read, they just enjoy the sound of the words’. To date, the lyrics to all of Husky Loops’ releases have been written in English, a decision that ‘comes massively from our musical influences. As we were growing up, we were all listening to mostly British and American music’, says Garrone. Forni agrees, and adds that it was a decision made ‘because we were in England, and
‘Husky’ means roughness, and ‘loops’ means repeating - a very musical concept
improved a lot doing it’. With PledgeMusic, ‘We were just trying to find ways to exchange things with fans and find things they might like and find things that we like doing as well’. The items on offer range from the more conventional, such as signed lyric sheets or test pressings, to the more inventive - a custom written ‘Jingle For Your Pet’ (yours for £30), an hour-long Italian lesson with a band member (£50), or even pasta and an acoustic gig at the band’s flat, ‘Husky Loops HQ’, (£250).
Flickr / Oscar Anjewierden
I chat with Bologna born, London based threepiece Husky Loops, perched on a pile of old sofa cushions in a back room of The Crofters Rights. Last time the band was in Bristol was eight months ago when they played the basement of The Island as part of Dot to Dot Festival. Since then, they’ve toured with the likes of Placebo and The Kills, recorded a Radio 1 Maida Vale session and are now two nights into their first headline UK tour. The band’s name is not an homage to Kellogg’s Honey Loops as you might think, but instead, the result of ‘a long brainstorming session with shit loads of arguments, [where] we came up with these two words that had weird meanings’ says drummer Pietro Garrone. He continues, ‘“Husky” means roughness, and “loops” means repeating - a very musical concept. The two words go together - as a band that plays a lot live, but has a lot of fascination with contemporary music, like electronic or hip-hop - that’s all in there’.
Alexia Kirov Music Editor
Singer/guitarist Danio Forni performing in Holland
we didn’t want to communicate to only an inch of the town - Italians’.
As we were growing up, we were all listening to mostly British and American music
I mention the commercial success of Sigur Rós in the UK, who don’t only sing in Icelandic, but ‘Hopelandic’, their own made-up language. Garrone agrees that ‘There is room to bring two different languages together. I think that right now, we are in a context where we are the first generation that really are mixing up so much, especially in a European context. You have so many foreigners who are speaking English - and that’s actually their own language - but they still are very connected to where they come from. There is so much room to do things like that’. He turns to Forni, and says ‘I think some of your songwriting, directly or indirectly, very much influenced by where you come from, and that gives you an edge’. Whilst a Bolognian upbringing might have influenced Forni’s songwriting, the band’s latest single ‘When I Come Home’ has a different Italian influence - the touch of the ‘brilliant producer’ Tomasso Colliva, who has worked with Muse,
Husky Loops first EP
Afterhours and Franz Ferdinand to name but a few. It’s the first Husky Loops track that Forni hasn’t produced himself. Dubbed on Facebook to be ‘A new step for us as a band’, the band’s latest single has a brighter, sunnier sound than the murky thunder of earlier single ‘Tempo’. ‘Arrangement-wise, it was definitely intentionally [different] - I think that’s what we meant as “a new step for us as a band”’, says Forni. ‘This time, we were really influenced by R&B. We listened to stuff like Frank Ocean and Kendrick and Beyoncé. We realised that some of those songs are amazingly intimate but have such a good energy. We wanted to do exactly the same thing in our own way, so it was our intention to do something like ‘When I Come Home’.’ Garrone adds that the track ‘is played in an upbeat manner, but it’s still in your face - and, at the same time, it’s intimate’.
One problem facing any musician is that fans become attached to a certain type of sound
Medica believes that ‘It’s the first time we managed to do one of those songs. Danio writes many different types of songs, and we tried for a few years, taking some of the tunes that were more melodic, and giving them an arrangement and we didn’t manage for quite a while.’ One problem facing any musician is that fans become attached to a certain type of sound - and some become disappointed when their favourite artist deviates from that. Garrone vents his frustration that ‘A lot of people ask “When is the next ‘Tempo’ coming out?” and [now] people are going to ask “When is the next ‘When I Come Home’ coming out?”’ He laughs, but with a note of defiance, says ‘They already came out - go listen to those! We are always going to try and make something new that [makes us] feel like we are growing […], that is exploring a new universe’. Medica adds that ‘That doesn’t mean that [‘When I Come Home’] is the new sound of the band - it’s just one phase of our musicality’. Whilst the exact future of Husky Loops’ sound might be unpredictable, it seems certain that it’s going to be good.
International Women’s Day: Why won’t music history take its phenomenal women seriously? In honour of last week’s International Women’s Day, Online Editor Georgia Marsh questions why women in the music industry seem to be less celebrated than their male-counterparts, and demands a more equal means of measuring success. Georgia Marsh Online Editor
Recording Acedmeny are celebrating women in music this month
as British Female. Is the art of women simply not worthy of acclaim? Critics and consumers alike have the cheek to call Beyoncé - a multifaceted vocalist, writer, record producer, dancer, activist, actress, director, musician overrated but laud the likes of Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars: pillars of sub-par mediocrity and blueprint songwriting.
The double-standards are boundless: Rihanna - a superstar in every sense of the word - is criticised for not writing all of her own music, but Elvis Presley - the man credited with inventing rock ‘n’ roll - also didn’t write his own music To add more salt to the wound, Wireless Festival recently came under fire for including only three women on their line-up - R&B songstress Mabel, dancehall star Lisa Mercedez and the inimitable Cardi B. To suggest there aren’t enough women in hip-hop to draw fans to festival fields - artists like Jorja Smith, Princess Nokia and Lady Leshurr
Launching EpiMix: Epigram Music’s new mix series!
- is unfathomable. Award ceremonies and festival line-ups have a duty to music fans and to wider music history to amplify the greatness of women, to signpost trailblazers and pioneers. Take Madonna, for example the world’s fourth best-selling artist. She encapsulates everything cherished about Bowie, Prince, and Freddie Mercury - the provocateur, the sex symbol, the cultural pillar, the versatile artistic chameleon - but she is never held with the same regard as her peers. She’s even recently spoken about the constraints against her creative freedom - how the hell is a woman who’s sold an upwards of 300 million records - who released ‘Ray of Light,’ for Christ’s sake! - not in complete control of her artistry? The clue’s in there somewhere... The double-standards are boundless: Rihanna a superstar in every sense of the word - is criticised for not writing all of her own music, but Elvis Presley - the man credited with inventing rock ‘n’ roll - also didn’t write his own music. Secondly, women’s mistakes are unforgivable: Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse were demonised for their mental health issues and downward spirals,
EpiMix is Epigram Music’s brand new platform for student DJ’s and mixers to promote their sound. We’ll be uploading mixes, complete with track listings and interviews to give you an insight into what it takes to kickstart a career in mastering playlists - be it for parties or the stage. But we’re always looking for new submissions. If you want to have your sound publicised to Bristol’s student population, then get in touch. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or Mixcloud now!
yet John Lennon abused his wife and son but has been made a martyr because he once wrote a song about peace and sat in a bed all day.
Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse were demonised for their mental health issues and downward spirals
Judging an artist’s greatness on their radioplays, record sales, magazine rankings or the number of awards is problematic and inserts capitalist values into art. Perhaps we should instead judge their work on the way it makes us feel - if it makes us want to dance, bump, sing, cry, smash shit, smoke, free caged animals, save the world, turn up or just lie down. However, if we’re going to measure success this way, we must demand more women be included in narratives of greatness. This is not just limited to music and the wider scope of art but is a sentiment that must filter into the rest of our lives.
Epigram / Luke Magar and Leon E.
Google search ‘the greatest musicians of all time.’ Rightly so, you will see the names Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, and so forth, yet the number of men heavily outweigh the women. Even in an algorithm, women are considered less impactful, less ‘great’. Although award ceremonies are generally considered giant crocks of shit, they’re nonetheless influential and are supposed to reflect the current pop climate. However, only two of the 17 most awarded artists at The Grammys are female - Alison Krauss has 27 awards, Beyoncé has 22. In 60 years of the awards’ history, albums by women have been crowned best of the year only 16 times - Taylor Swift and Adele were awarded twice each, meaning only 12 women have ever won. Even more devastatingly, only three black women - Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston and Natalie Cole - and no Asian women have won the ceremony’s top prize. And that’s just the history of the awards. In this years’ ceremony, only Lorde’s *Melodrama* - a blistering, heart-shattering, life-affirming pop masterpiece - was nominated for Album of the Year, and women suffered big losses throughout the ceremony. In response to this, the President of the Recording Academy said women needed to ‘step up’. In a year that gave birth to experimental, innovative and game-changing projects from female artists like Syd, Lana Del Rey, Saint Vincent, and breakout artist of the year SZA, the deliberate shutting out and belittling of women is outrageous. At this year’s BRIT Awards, pop princess Dua Lipa was the only female up for British Album and British Breakthrough, winning the latter as well
In this years’ ceremony, only Lorde’s *Melodrama* - a blistering, heart-shattering, life-affirming pop masterpiece - was nominated for Album of the Year, and women suffered big losses throughout the ceremony
Twitter / @RecordingAcad
For every music fan, the figures that litter their personal music history are just that: personal. Who did your mum play in the kitchen when she was cooking dinner? Whose music does your dad sing-along to loudly when it comes on the car radio? What songs soundtracked your tumultuous adolescent development? When I reflect on my musical education and the music that brings colour to my family and I’s lives, of course, I see Frank Ocean, Prince, David Bowie, A Tribe Called Quest, Kano, etc. However, I also see a whole array of female artists standing alongside them - Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Nicks, Sade, Beyoncé, and so forth. But where in music history are the latter being held in the same stead as the former? At a Radio 1 training day, we were shown a list of artists considered as radio gold - the timeless tastemakers. Okay, the list lacked the likes of Jay-Z, The Sex Pistols and Biggie Smalls, and other giants of anti-pop culture, but these artists aren’t ‘radiofriendly,’ so their omission was understandable. What was not so understandable, however, was the four women among the 50+ white men with guitars.
Where are the female DJs? Layla Link takes a brief look at the current electronic and dance scenes and questions the lack of females creating sound.
Review: Georgie and Jake Bugg @ Colston Hall Daisy Hall reviews rising Mansfield troubadour Georgie and Nottingham singer-songwriter Jake Bugg’s gig at Colston Hall. Daisy Hall Second Year, Psychology
Epigram / Kate Hutchison
Marie Davison performing at Simple Things festival 2017
Layla Link First Year, History
I know many male DJs who have egos the size of Jupiter, yet can’t even hold their own behind the decks to make a proper mix.
However, despite needing a more balanced ratio, I know of many women DJs who play gigs regularly both locally and internationally. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most amazing female DJs I could think of. I know so many amazing female DJs who underestimate their skills and value in the music industry, while equally, I know many male DJs who have egos the size of Jupiter, yet can’t even hold their own behind the decks to make a proper mix.
There are some amazing women fighting for their place in the industry. The DJ Hannah Wants has taken the male-dominated worlds of both sport and music by storm; she used to play football professionally at Aston Villa LFC . Described by Resident Advisor as being ‘hugely creative behind the decks,’ Hannah has an inventive style that blends house and bass. When she’s not playing significant festival dates, Wants releases bi-monthly 24-track mixes via her Soundcloud.
Sonic PR / GEORGIE
Gender discrimination took centre stage at last year’s International Music Summit, which was cofounded by legendary DJ Pete Tong. The gender ratio behind DJ booths tends to lean heavily towards male selectors, and in the lead up to International Women’s Day, I thought I’d look at one aspect of a massive part of most people’s lives: women in music. Why aren’t there more female DJs? This is a question that we hear far too often in the music industry and the dance music scene. Dance music has no excuse for being a boys’ club. HuffPost’s analysis of festival lineups in 2016 showed that for the ten festivals they looked at, women artists made up only 12 per cent of acts in 2016 — compared to 78 per cent male performers.
Georgie has been supporting Jake Bugg for over 2 years now and it’s clear to see why, her haunting vocals are incredible and unlike some of today’s artists she’s even better live than in the recording studio. Her track ‘Hard Times’ launches with a stunning guitar opening before her memorable voice takes over. She’s sweet and cool, sasses an ex-boyfriend who couldn’t handle his drink and just when you think she couldn’t get any better, she does a cover of ‘Be My Baby’ from ‘Dirty Dancing’. Part way through her set Georgie begins what she admits is the only love song she has ever written and it suits her gorgeous, eerie voice perfectly. It is clear that she is an incredibly talented artist who deserves more recognition than she currently has. She closes with her track ‘Beer Money’ which had a slight country vibe, unlike her other songs. She’s a very versatile artist, insane at the guitar and a pleasure to listen to. Then it was Jake Bugg’s turn. He launched straight into ‘How soon the Dawn’ from his new
album ‘Hearts that Strain’. First thought: Jake Bugg sounds a bit like an elf. Second thought: I wonder if his singing voice matches his voice when he speaks. It doesn’t. Whilst his vocals are light and calming, his deep Nottingham accent melts your heart and you instantly fall in love. FACT. For a man and a guitar, he completely commanded the stage. He played a mixture of tracks from both his old and new albums including ‘Simple As This’. There was minimal talking between songs except when he was being pressured into downing his gin and tonics by the audience! He was effortlessly charming and even performed a Neil Young cover as requested by the crowd. After admitting that he recently wrote a song with Noah Cyrus entitled ‘Waiting’, it is clear that Jake Bugg is on his way up in the world. He definitely deserves it, especially since he appears to get better as the night progresses. It’s clear that he is grateful for how he has gotten here too because the majority of his chat between songs, when not being heckled by the audience, consists of multiple thank yous. Both Georgie and Jake Bugg are forces to be reckoned with and I would highly recommend catching them on tour if you get the chance.
There are some amazing women fighting for their place in the industry
Maya Jane Coles is at the top her game and keeps moving from strength to strength. Miss Kittin says dance music has not come far enough in creating equal opportunities for women. Huffington Post reported that Novak, who goes by Jack - short for Jacqueline - was asked ‘Are you Jack’s girlfriend?’, as she was setting up for the night. Even Novak’s fans have assumed her to be male and were shocked by a photo of her in her home studio, published online. There has been a huge upheaval over the last few years, in which many serious female DJs have been displaced. It used to be your sound rather than your looks that mattered. Now as well as battling institutionalised misogyny, the few that do exist have to contend with a gross sexualisation of the job. So, the real answer for why there aren’t more women DJs is that they are out there, you just have to go out and look for them. This is the problem - It’s not that there aren’t enough, it’s that they aren’t recognised.
GEORGIE press shot
Sunflower Bean @ Thekla, 03/04 Female-fronted grunge rock band Sunflower Bean are bringing their New York sound to the boat in April - don’t miss it. Semi Peppered w/ Elena Colombi @ The Island, 01/04 NTS resident Elena Colombi joins Semi’s lineup with her ambient techno. Ready for the cells before she takes on Dekmantel this summer.
What’s on? Want to support female artists? Here are the Epigram Music Team’s recommendations ...
Editor: Joselyn Joanes firstname.lastname@example.org
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 five 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.
MAN HORSE RED AIR SWIM
MAN BRUSH LAND RIDDEN ABLE
1. Skin, Head, Going 2. Shake, Cuff, Book 3. Taker, Free, Full 4. Pit, Roach, Tail 5. Turn, Wind, Load
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. Parent (6) 4. Hit (6) 7. Gossips (7) 9. Part of the body (8) 11. Opposite of urban (5) 12. Second-hand (4) 13. Design (7) 14. Girlâ€™s name (4) 16. Human listening tool (3) 19. Natural disaster (10) 20. Structure built at a beach (11) DOWN 1. Grower (6) 2. Fever (11) 3. Occasional (4) 4. Greek goddess (9) 5. Circular (10) 8. Planet (6) 10. Hypersensitive (9) 15. A hundred thousand in India (5) 17. Hence (4) 18. Animal (4)
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Marvellous medics win NAMS plate final
Bristol remained resolute in defence and when the opportunity came, they took it
With Bristol now in control, they began to press Keele hard. A slick pick and go from the bottom of a ruck allowed Archie Watts to sidestep several Keele defenders and offload to William van Klaveren who dived under the posts for a third UBH try. With only several minutes left on the clock, the game had very much turned on its head. The UBH were utterly in control. Some strong carries sucked in the Keele defence, opening up space on the left-hand side and allowing Hamish Hamilton to walk in for the final try.
With time up on the clock, Hamish remained cool headed to slot a difficult conversion from the far touchline, bringing the final score to 29-8 for the UBH. This victory sets the tone for what is an impressive rise for Bristol’s medical side. UBH are making a clear statement of intent in this significant win, taking their first NAMS silverware since 2012. This year has seen unprecedented success for the Bristol medical side; alongside this NAMS victory, UBH have also been stamping their authority on the Gloucester league, where they look set for promotion with only one loss in all their games. Team captain Clement Stratford gave a few words after the game: ‘It’s fantastic to see us perform the way we did today. We were starved of possession for the majority of the match, conceding way too many penalties and allowing Keele into the game. True credit to the boys, our defence was nothing short of remarkable and to concede only eight points when we defended for over three quarters of the match is a fantastic achievement. I’m so proud of what we have achieved this year, but this is only the start. Captaining this side has been a true honour and scoring a double in the NAMS plate final is special to me. We’re building something special here and my thanks must go to our coaches Mike Armiger and Matt Welch for all the hours they’ve put in and the egos they’ve dealt with. We wouldn’t be here without them. Let’s see what next season will bring!’ After such a successful season it will be interesting to see what the next one bring for the Bristol medics!
Epigram / Felix Rusby
After losing valiantly to tournament champions Cardiff earlier in the NAMS competition, Bristol’s medical side went on to prove their pedigree by progressing to the final of the plate competition. Hosted at Clifton RFC, the game got underway at 12:30 on a windy Sunday afternoon. The first points of the match went the way of Keele, as early pressure in UBH’s 22 saw them concede a penalty under the posts, giving Keele an easy three-point lead. Discipline from the Bristol side was poor, but after putting together several phases, a two on one in the corner sent Clem Stratford through for a run-in try, putting the UBH 8-3 up. Despite taking the lead, it was Keele that continued to pile on the pressure. The UBH remained stuck in their own half, conceding a mounting number of penalties and after continued pressure, Bristol were finally handed a yellow card, as scrum-half Stu Roney was sent off for ten minutes. With a man down, UBH continued to struggle to get out of their own half, forced to defend hard against a pressing opposition. Then, at a break in play, a large hole was found in the turf, meaning the game had to be move to the first team pitch. Half time came and went, and Keele managed to slip by the UBH’s valiant defence, through a slick move that saw them exploit an overlap in the corner. Crucially though, they failed to convert, drawing the scores level at 8 all. Bristol’s ill-discipline continued to let them down as their run of penalties mounted. It was not looking
promising. However, Bristol remained resolute in defence and when the opportunity came, they took it. A misplaced Keele kick into the UBH half prompted a slick counter attack and after several phases, another 2 on 1 produced by fullback Kieran Smith put Clem Stratford into space down the wing. Displaying his blistering pace, Clem outran both the winger and the fullback scoring an impressive 60m solo try under the posts. UBH were back in the game. A neat conversion followed by Hamish Hamilton, who slotted the points with ease, bringing the score to 15-8. With newfound confidence, the UBH began to show what they can do. Some expertly placed kicks put pressure on the Keele defence as they were forced to retreat back into their own half.
Felix Rusby Deputy Editor
An important team talk for the ultimately victorius Medics
Winter time trial triumph for UOBCC Henry Edwards Second Year, History Seemingly as always, the University of Bristol Cycling Club has experienced great success as of late. Where to start? Well, I imagine not even the terrible recent weather has been enough to wipe the smile of Kate Mactear, who came an incredible first in the women’s Frome 10 mile time trial. Her final time of 24 minutes and 58 seconds, recorded on 18th February, meant that her average speed for 10 miles stood at just over 24 miles an hour – a rapid pace. Kate plays an active role in the University’s triathlon performance squad, and says that she received valuable support from them leading up to her winning time trial result.
Of course, it’s not only Kate who’s been finding individual and collective success with the UOBCC. On 24th February, Club President Freddy Carlton achieved second place in the senior men’s category of the SAS open
Facebook / University of Bristol Sport
“ Her average speed for 10 miles stood at just over 24 miles an hour
10 mile time trial in Iron Acton. His time of 23 minutes and 22 seconds must have taken some beating. Furthermore, yet another Bristolian cyclist, James Pittard, came third in that same category, with a time of 23 minutes and 53 seconds. The UOBCC also won the team prize for the event in question, which I suppose puts the cherry on the icing on the cake. Last but definitely not least, University of Bristol cyclist Rebekah Nash claimed second place in the overall rankings for the total winter racing series at Odd Down. This, in President Carlton’s own words, represents ‘a massive achievement.’ Indeed it does. Looking forward, UOBCC are expecting further triumphs heading into spring, as the BUCS time trials edge closer. With 10 mile, 25 mile and team time trials, the UOBCC stands, in Kate Mactear’s opinion, ‘a pretty good chance to get a medal and BUCS points.’ However, with the superb start the club has made to this season, Mactear’s prophetic assessment may just prove to be a huge understatement. For any additional news and photographs regarding the UOBCC, make sure you visit the club’s Facebook page. There you can browse photos, watch videos and generally learn more about the successes of Bristol’s student cyclists.
UOBCC cycling legend Kate Mactear smashing it at the Frome 10 mile time trial with a win and a PB
CollegeConnect: the alumni run business offering a £3000 prize Ben McCall-Myers Online Sports Editor
get started and make sure your club gets a fair shot at the £3000. There will also be fortnightly leader board updates so teams can measure their performance, up to the end of the competition on March 23rd. As a Bristol graduate himself, in his correspondence with us, Antonio noted with remorse the underfunding of sports clubs at the University. Whilst the competition is of course a great opportunity to win one large lump sum, his platform offers clubs an
invaluable opportunity to consistently make money from unused goods or services. This develops important communication and marketing skills which will no doubt come in useful once students have graduated, adding another positive dimension to the already profitable platform. Their mission, Antonio says, is simple: ‘To give students the opportunity to reduce indebtedness by earning, cultivate entrepreneurship and skills, and reduce waste on campus’.
BUCS Results Wednesday 21st February Men’s Football Cardiff 1s 1-4 Bristol 1s Women’s Football Bath 2s 1-3 Bristol 1s Men’s Rugby Swansea 1s 29-26 Bristol 1s Women’s Basketball Cardiff 1s 42-63 Bristol 1s Men’s Hockey Bristol 1s 0-1 Loughborough 1s Women’s Hockey Loughborough 1s 5-1 Bristol 1s
Offering sports clubs at the University the opportunity to win a staggering £3000
Essentially then, the company is rewarding the most entrepreneurial club. So far, Antonio says that they have managed to mobilise ten sports clubs, although it is never too late to start competing. It is actively encouraged that you contact him at Antonio. firstname.lastname@example.org in order to
Join our Fantasy Football League: Epidivisie Flickr / Unnar Ymir Bjornsson
CollegeConnect Competition gives Bristol sports clubs a shot at £3000 CollegeConnect, a new business set up by Bristol Alumni, is offering sports clubs at the University the opportunity to win a staggering £3000. After success in the USA working with Pennsylvania State University and the University of Virginia, Bristol Alumni founders Antonio Ribeiro and Jamie Baker have decided to launch CollegeConnect in the UK. The pair graduated in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Antonio with a Politics degree and Jamie with a Geography degree. Their platform can now be used at the Universities of Durham, Bristol and Oxford. The competition, which started on 23rd February, will run for exactly one month and measures the activity of different clubs on their online exchange platform. On this platform, students can interact with each other in three different ways, described by co-founder, Antonio, as follows: 1. Share: students can rent out underused belongings in the long/short term (e.g. bike, speakers, event space, camera et.c) 2. Services: students can sell services to one another to monetise their spare time and ample skills (e.g academic tuition, app development,
language classes, DJs, carshare etc) 3. Trade: students can sell their stuff (e.g. textbooks, tickets, furniture). Students can trade comfortably with each other in the knowledge that only other Bristol students are allowed on the platform, and that we have a £10k safety guarantee. Within the context of the competition, there is a particular emphasis on ‘Share’ and ‘Service’ listings so loading up on these is a key to success. Although this should not discourage ‘Sell’ listings (as some items do not lend themselves to being shared), it is the ‘Share’ and ‘Service’ aspects that make the platform so unique. Thus, the founders are looking for students to engage with these in original and creative ways.
All those items you keep stuffed in a cupboard to use once a year can be shared
Women’s rugby: a sport on the up
UBWRFC has seen a rise in members from 34 in the 2014/15 season to 91 today
I love it because more than any other group I’ve joined at uni people are so welcoming
‘I joined because the club is so fun and everyone was inclusive which was really nice when I first started uni. I love the sport itself because it’s fast and exciting. The team environment is my favourite part though because everyone at the club is so friendly and when you’re playing everyone on the team is equally valuable no matter what their strengths are.’ – Lucy Attwood, Performance Athlete If you think rugby could be the sport for you, don’t be shy! Training is on Mondays from 8.30 – 10pm at Coombe Dingle and Fridays 7-8.30am in the Sports Hall. We love hearing from new people, so please contact the club captain, Chloe, at ct16457@ my.bristol.ac.uk, or head coach Keith at email@example.com. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ubwrfc)
The team spririt at UBWRFC is clear for all to see
UBWRFC / Cecilia Lock
‘I did netball all my life and even got into the team during trials but I decided that I wanted a change. Although I had tried rugby briefly when I was about 14 it was a big leap. The club captain (Annabel) at the time was so welcoming and didn’t mind that I had joined later in the year. I love learning new things and gaining new skills so really
enjoyed progressing with the help of the coaches. There was a great sense of community in the team since I think we realised that being part of a growing sport was very exciting. It has provided many opportunities throughout my uni career such as 7s tournaments abroad and playing against sides that have capped players.’ – Nina Webb
UBWRFC / Steve Gazzard
Rugby – stereotypically the ‘manliest’ of manly sports, the reserve of men with more muscle than brain and more testosterone than they know what to do with. However, the past few years has shown a drastic increase in women chucking around the old egg-shaped ball. In fact, according to World Rugby data, the number of adult male rugby players is slowly declining, while the total number of adults playing rugby is on the rise, thanks to the significant growth in the women’s game. In 2009, one in 15 adults playing rugby were women; in 2016, the figure was one in eight. Last year the Women’s World Cup was the most viewed, most highly attended and most publicised Women’s Rugby World Cup in history. The improved coverage of the women’s game, through social media, online and most notably, in that golden ITV slot, has meant that now more people recognise women’s rugby as a sport. This TV slot has brought women’s rugby to an audience who would have never before considered watching it, and inspired a new generation of female athletes to give the sport a go. This growth in women’s rugby has been clearly reflected right here at Bristol Uni. The University of Bristol Women’s Rugby Club (UBWRFC) has seen a rise in members from 34 in the 2014/15 season to 91 today. In the past we would struggle to get a full 15 to play on a Wednesday – today we have 3
teams playing weekly. The majority of girls come to us having never played before, but incredible coaches and a welcoming cohort of older members has led our second team to win their league this year (despite the majority of them being new to the sport) and our 1st team continuing to battle big names in the premiership. We had a chat with some of our members to find out what made them pick up rugby in the first place. ‘I joined because my flatmate in first year wanted to try it but was too scared to go on her own; I was an insecure fresher so I went with her just so she’d like me (lol). Everyone there was so amazing and I realised I liked exercising so that’s why I stayed. I love it because more than any other group I’ve joined at uni people are so welcoming and funny, plus doing a team sport is really fun.’ – Frances Cummings, 2nd Team
Chloe Taylor UBWRFC Club Captain
Advertising at Freshers Fair this year, key to their rise in member numbers
@epigramsport Editor: Nicky Withers
Online Editor: Ben McCall-Myers
Deputy Editors: Tim Godfrey Twiss & Felix Rusby
UoB alumni to take on Marathon Des Sables
Bikram Yoga is essentially a series of yoga exercise in a room with temperatures up to 40 degrees NW: What are you planning on packing? JK: During the week we carry all of our food and kit. This means that the less you take the lighter your bag will be throughout the week. As a result, the weight of everything you take counts for a lot. Every item and pack of food is measured down to the last gram. The minimum weight of each competitors bag is 6.5 kg. We are using a company called
Expedition foods that produce lightweight highly calorific foods such as spaghetti bolognese and porridge. We cook each morning and evening using a small stove and snack on foods such as peanuts and beef jerky throughout the course of the day. Aside from food we will also be taking numerous blister plasters, vaseline, suncream, a sleeping bag and roll mat. We are also required to take a small first aid kit, emergency flare and pen knife.
He knew I might be more persuadable after a few too many pints
NW: Is there a personal significance to the charities you’re supporting? JK: I decided to take part in this challenge because I needed a reason to raise as much money as I can for WWTW (Walking With The Wounded), a charity close to my family and one that works extremely hard to help rebuild the lives of ex-veterans across the country. The effects of war have long term impacts on the human body, both physically and mentally and often these are invisible on the outside. Many ex-veterans without a home, a job or external support are put back on their feet through a number of successful programs run by WWTW. I have met a number of people whose lives have been turned around by WWTW and doing the MDS has given me opportunity to make a huge impact on many people’s lives, both now and in the future. NW: What is your fundraising target? JK: I am trying to raise £15,000. An ambitious target that is very much achievable through the help of so many individuals kind enough to offer a bit of support. Every
pound adds up and can go a very long way. NW: How can people sponsor you? JK: Below is the link to my Virgin Giving page. If you have been kind enough to read this far, thank you! Please donate if you can, it would mean a huge amount. https://uk.virginmoneygiving. com/JamieKelly4 Ed is running for Anthony Nolan, a fantastic charity that is very close to his family as he very sadly lost his father in 2013. Every day, Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with a blood cancer or blood disorder. They do this by matching incredible individuals willing to donate their stem cells, to people who desperately need a lifesaving transplant. They also carry out cutting edge scientific research, fund specialist post-transplant nurses and support patients and their families through the transplant process and beyond.
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They won’t stop until they save the lives of everyone who needs a stem cell transplant. Every penny you donate brings them closer to that day. If you’d like to know a bit more about the incredible work that Anthony Nolan do then please have a look at their website - https://www. anthonynolan.org/ h t t p s : / / w w w. j u s t g i v i n g . c o m / fundraising/edward-beazley
Flickr / Patrick Wuske
Bristol graduates to tackle one of the world’s toughest races This April will see two Bristol alumni tackle the challenge of a lifetime in the form of the Marathon Des Sables (marathon of the sands). Jamie Kelly and Ed Beazley, who both graduated in 2017, are taking on the six day, 156 mile challenge through the Sahara Desert to raise money for two charities. I spoke to Jamie Kelly about why on earth they’re taking on this insane challenge. NW: What inspired you to take on this event? JK: I first heard about the MDS aged 10 when a teacher at school did a talk on the event having just completed it, his name was Shem Banbury. I hope that somehow he comes across this, no doubt it would make him smile. Ed was more keen to sign up and knew that I might be persuadable after a few too many pints so after a number of weeks of nagging, the decision to actually sign up for the event occurred in the Brass Pig on a Monday night around June 2017. NW: Have either of you done anything like this before? JK: We have both done a handful of marathons over the years but nothing as challenging as this. The amount of time and dedication it takes to prepare oneself mentally and physically for this event should not be overlooked. NW: How on earth do you prepare for it? JK: Preparation for this event comes in a number of stages. The first is to get ‘running fit’. By this I mean to the point where we could fairly comfortably run a marathon. Beyond this, we then trained with bags of rice in our rucksacks in order to prepare for the weight of our kit bag. Combining these two
has hopefully enabled ourselves to be fit as well as strong enough. We have found that time on feet is paramount as our feet will be carrying us all 160 miles. We have embarked on numerous weekend trips where we have done a combination of hill walking and running for up to 30 miles a day. Finding the time to train for this whilst holding down a job has proved somewhat challenging! The final stages of the preparation comes in the form of heat acclimatising. The two methods for this without going to a hot country and running in the heat are Bikram Yoga and Heat Chambers. Bikram Yoga is essentially a series of yoga exercises in a room with temperatures up to 40 degrees. The Heat Chambers (sounds fairly horrible) is a small room with similar temperatures to the Bikram Yoga but we run on a treadmill. The idea behind this madness is that after a few sessions your core body temperatures gradually acclimatises to the heat and your heart rate drops thus meaning that the body doesn’t have to exert as much effort whilst running in the heat. These sessions happen in Kingston University where they have a heat acclimatising centre.
Nicky Withers Sports Editor
The Sahara desert where Jamie and Ed will be racing for 156 miles in six days
Bristol Rovers chairman with stadium update David Bates First Year, Ancient History
consultants would be the manager of the off-field development. In his interview, Al-Qadi insisted that the fans remain patient, suggesting that it is better to take time to ensure the project runs smoothly. ‘To some people one month is way too long to get this project up and running. ‘But we’ve appointed the project manager, who in turn have appointed their own team of designers and architects. It’s full steam ahead.’ Following promotion in 2016, manager Darrell Clarke has ensured Rovers have established themselves in the third tier of English football as they currently lie mid-table after securing a 10th-place finish last season.
Twitter / Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers will redevelop the Memorial Stadium on a stand-bystand basis, President Wael Al-Qadi has confirmed. The new plans are a result of the collapse of the deal for a new stadium in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE) in August last year. Speaking to the club website, AlQadi commented: ‘the UWE stadium deal fell through because we didn’t feel it was right for the club, that’s the only reason. ‘People keep on saying we don’t have a plan B or C, but we do have a plan B, C, D and E. We all know that we need new facilities and we are working hard behind the scenes to
achieve that, but it’s going to take time.’ The Jordanian owner, who has just marked his two-year anniversary at Rovers, also provided an update on the on the progress of the new training ground development. The League One club purchased land for a new training ground at Almondsbury last year. Colony, as the training ground is to be known, will be fit for purpose from July 2019. The aim is for it to accommodate all age-group sides in the same place. ‘We cannot make things public because it will affect certain negotiations or certain plans. Once there is something to publish, we’ll go with it’, Al-Qadi added. Rovers announced that Evan Jones chartered surveyors and planning
The Memorial Stadium, the place Bristol Rovers currently call home
Published on Mar 11, 2018