What BoJo’s fresh Cabinet tells us about society
‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ star chats to Forge
Sonic returns to battle in this big screen release
THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD’S INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER
ISSUE 142 | WEDNESDAY 26TH FEBRUARY 2020 | FREE
New sabbatical candidates to be announced Ben Warner Editor-in-Chief
The Students’ Union is gearing up for another round of Officer Elections, with candidates for the eight sabbatical roles set to be announced next Monday (2 March). Figures seen by Forge Press reveal there are currently more than 30 candidates set to stand for the roles, although that could change before they are formally announced
Olivia Blake MP outside the Students’ Union Image: Chelsea Burrell
New MP pledges to support Sheffield students Ben Warner Editor-in-Chief
The new Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam, Olivia Blake, has reaffirmed her commitment to representing students in an exclusive interview with Forge Media. The politician was elected to Parliament in December’s General Election, one of few wins for the Labour Party on an otherwise poor night for them nationally. She has
now represented the seat for two months, and is very aware of the high proportion of students who live in her seat, in the Endcliffe and Ranmoor student villages, and around Crookes. She sat down with Forge Media to talk about her priorities in Parliament, how she will represent students, as well as everything from the legalisation of cannabis to the fight for transgender rights. “I have been a student, I know the issues around housing and mental
JUST USE CODE:
health support, and they’re issues which quite often get put to one side,” Blake said. “There’s a whole issue of marketisation in our universities and colleges, so it’s really important we work together with staff and students. The concerns of staff are just as equal to students’, because their working environment is also students’ learning environment.” The new MP, as well as tackling her constituency work, has also been supporting university staff who are
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currently striking as members of the University and College Union. She has been on picket lines, and spoke at a joint Sheffield University and Hallam rally in November. “It’s about working conditions but it’s also about having respect and listening to your staff. There’s been moves away from things that were already agreed and it’s absolutely clear they do need to get round the negotiating table and recognise that there is an issue with the workplace and try to adapt... (cont. on p5)
following candidate training. Alongside the elections for the eight Officer positions, students will also be tasked with voting for a new student trustee, as well as someone to take up the Black Woman’s space in the delegation to the NUS Liberation Conference. The yearly elections give students the chance to vote for a new Officer team, also known as the Student Executive Committee (SEC). The team is made up... (cont. on p3)
SU Officer Mid-Term Grades from Forge Press
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Editorial Team Editor-in-Chief Ben Warner Managing Editor Becky Sliwa Webb Deputy Editor Bethan Davis Deputy Editor Patrick Burke News Coordinator Tevy Kuch Sport Coordinator Michael Ekman LOF Coordinator Jack Mattless Entertainments Coordinator Ella Craig Entertainments Coordinator Ash Williams News Editor Lucas Mentken News Editor Georgie Marple News Editor Niall O’Callaghan Features Editor Anastasia Koutsounia Features Editor Bernadette Hsiao Opinion Editor Jack Mattless Opinion Editor Jack Redfern Arts Editor Kate Procter Arts Editor Rosie Davenport Lifestyle Editor Em Evans Lifestyle Editor Taylor Ogle Music Editor Ella Craig Music Editor Dana Raer Screen Editor Dan Cross Screen Editor Josh Teggert Games Editor Catherine Lewis Games Editor Ash Williams Science and Tech Editor George Tuli Science and Tech Editor Bárbara Pinho Break Editor Luke Baldwin Break Editor Alicia Hannah Sport Editor Alex Brotherton Sport Editor Harry Harrison
Welcome back to Forge Press! This will be the last regular issue of the newspaper for a while, as we start to get into the nitty-gritty of second semester. Next issue will be our SU Officer Elections special edition, while almost immediately after that we jump into covering Varsity with another special edition. For the first time in what feels like ages, we haven’t got an overarching theme this issue, but that hasn’t detracted from the quality of content which our section editors have been able to bring to you, as I’m sure you’ll find out as you flick through this amazing paper. News are trying something a bit different this issue, as part of something I hope will become a semi-regular feature: Officer report cards. We believe in holding your elected sabbatical officers to account for the things they do during their time at the SU, and the news team have taken them to task on pages 6 and 7. Features, as usual, have a real variety on offer, from pieces on the coronavirus and streaming services,
to one on virginity testing, while as usual Opinion have found some amazing contributors from across campus. We recently saw the end of the awards season, and Josh from Screen has neatly summed up everything you need to know, from the BAFTAs to the Oscars. A little closer to home, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie returned to Sheffield this month, and the lead, Layton Williams, has spoken to Arts. Games have sparked a debate about violence in video games, and whether or not it’s a good thing, as well as featuring a number of reviews and contributors reminiscing about games which made their childhood. Sports have a solid range of content as usual, and Science & Tech have once again impressed with their content I often can’t quite understand. They’ve also done this following the introduction of new section editor Bárbara, who I’d like to extend a warm welcome to. Joining a committee late on can be difficult, but she’s taken to it like a duck to water and hopefully will continue to
PIC OF THE PRESS
kick on as we work through a busy second semester. This is likely to be the last time you hear from me until you’re reading about your new Students’ Union Officer team, so I’d like to encourage you to go out and vote when you have the chance, starting on Monday 9 March (it feels like ages away, but I promise it’s sooner than you think). It is genuinely really important that you have your say on who runs your Students’ Union, and it only takes five minutes so you really haven’t got an excuse. A lot of the time, the things the Officers do can go under the radar, but they are there and it’s important you have confidence in who you’ve chosen, so go vote, and keep track of what they’re doing once they take office. Most importantly though, make sure you’re checking out all of Forge Media’s sublime coverage of the whole thing.
The amazing view of Bole Hill, even as the wind and rains batters everything around me.
Head of Design Claire Gelhaus Secretary and Social Secretary Tom Buckland Inclusions and Welfare Officer Chloe Dervey Head of Marketing and Publicity VACANT Head of Photography Chelsea Burrell Head of Online Aimee Cooper
Get involved Want to join the team? Get involved! This year’s committee want to have as many people writing for the paper as possible. No prior experience is necessary, just join the Facebook group Forge Press Contributors and get involved with our SU Officer Elections and Varsity coverage. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook with any questions.
Image: Chelsea Burrell
Editor’s Picks: Film Unit screenings Bend it Like Beckham SU Auditorium 14 March 2020, 3.30pm
12 Angry Men SU Auditorium 29 April 2020, 7.30pm
Four Lions SU Auditorium 24 May 2020, 3.30pm
This mid-2000s picture is a classic sporting film, not least because it breaks down barriers and shows that female footballers are just as good, if not better, than male footballer. With its twists and turns, this makes the perfect Saturday afternoon viewing, and isn’t to be missed.
One of the oldest films on offer from Film Unit semester, this screening will test your patience but is well worth sitting through and features a great performance from Henry Fonda in the lead role. Afterwards, you’ll be screaming to watch it again and again.
Set in and around Sheffield - and even on our very own campus - Four Lions is a cult classic and should be on any Sheffield student’s bucket list. It hasn’t aged fantastically, but is still well-made and features a young Riz Ahmed, directed by Brass Eye’s very own Chris Morris.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
News in Brief
Got a story? email@example.com
News editors Tevy Kuch, Lucas Mentken, Georgie Marple and Niall O’Callaghan
UNIVERSITY Hallam gives strike money to students
UNIVERSITY Free water policy renewed
SHEFFIELD Two coronavirus patients in Sheffield
Sheffield Hallam University is to give the £200k that has been saved from the strikes back to “particularly disadvantaged students”. The University is handing out up to £2,000 each to students who come from a low-income background. The rest will bolster the hardship fund.
The SU Council has voted to renew the bottled water policy, which prohibits the selling of bottled still water in the SU in favour of selling reusable bottles and providing free water fountains across the building. The policy was originally established by an all student referendum in 2011.
Two patients with coronavirus are being treated at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have confirmed. The patients were from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked in Japan. There is “no risk to other patients” because the unit is “self contained”.
The Royal Hallamshire Hospital
NATIONAL SHEFFIELD NATIONAL Oxford City player Witness appeal after Scottish FA to ban wins Love Island shooting in Darnall heading for kids
Finley Tapp and his girlfriend Paige Turley have won the first-ever series of Winter Love Island. Finley signed for Oxford City last summer after he was released by MK Dons. Paige previously appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 and reached the semifinals.
Detectives in Sheffield are seeking witnesses and information following a shooting in Darnall on 22 February. Officers were called at 10:09 pm to a property on Shirland Place following reports two men had been shot. A 34 year-old man and a 27 year-old man were taken to hospital.
The Scottish FA is banning children under the age of 12 from heading footballs in training after a Glasgow University study which proved a link between football and dementia. The Scottish FA is also restricting heading for 12-17 year olds while the English FA have updated their guidelines.
Nearly 30 new SU Officer candidates to be revealed Ben Warner Editor-in-Chief
(cont. from front) ...of an SU President, SU Development Officer, Women’s Officer, Welfare Officer, International Students’ Officer, Activities Officer, Education Officer and Sports Officer. The Elections will be covered in detail by Forge Media, including two nights of Forge Debates on 3 and 4 March, which will be livestreamed by Forge TV on YouTube, as well as another livestream of the results as they are announced on Thursday 12 March. Voting will open on Monday 9 March, and this year there is a reduced voting period of just three days, compared to four in previous years. In the last two election cycles, one role had to be announced later than the other seven due to an outstanding complaint, and it is thought a shorter voting period will aim to mitigate this issue. “Whether it’s decisions made about SU Policy right through to Pop Tarts, Officers have the
opportunity to lead that and it’s so important students feel empowered in these elections to push for the changes they want to see,” said Jake Verity, the current SU President. “I wanted to run because I cared about introducing new, exciting ideas in the Students’ Union. I spoke to a lot of students during this time who were frustrated at the rising costs of transport. Students told me they wanted new and exciting technological innovations like an SU App and also as Tramlines has gone from strength to strength, I said that a cool, new music festival run by the Students’ Union would be a great idea. “I ran because I wanted to take all of this on board, and drive all these ideas forwards for the benefit of our students for now and years to come. “The people you elect as your SU Officers have a huge role to play in your life at University and it’s important you vote for the leaders you want to see running your Students’ Union. “Whether it’s representing you in rooms with the University,
Campaigning during the 2019 elections Image: Sheffield SU
Government or internationally, the people you choose to be your Officers can make real, impactful change.” Voting will open from 9 to 11 March on the Sheffield Students’ Union website. You can follow Forge Media’s coverage of the SU Officer
Elections on forgetoday.com throughout the campaign period.
14 days of UCU strikes commence on campus Georgie Marple News Editor
Staff members at the University of Sheffield and other universities around the country are currently on strike due to pay inequalities and pension schemes within the University and College Union (UCU). Industrial action began on Thursday 20 February. The strikes are taking place over a four week period, totalling to 14 strike days. They will finish on Friday 13 March after a full week of strikes. This period of strikes is the largest ever wave of strikes on university campuses with 74 universities currently taking industrial action. University staff strikes are centred around universities’ failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. UCU employers have argued that employees’ final pensions should depend on how their investments perform rather than their contributions, demanding that employees get paid more for existing pensions. Lecturers that are striking will abstain from working on strike days, meaning they will not be completing tasks including marking, replying to emails and teaching students. SU President, Jake Verity, has collaborated with other student unions around the country to help seek a resolution for these striking staff and to avoid further disruption for students, and he has written a letter on to a number of key stakeholders in this dispute.
Police investigating incident at Sheffield city centre student accommodation Tevy Kuch News Coordinator
Sheffield 2, owned by Student Roost. Image: Bernadette Hsiao
Residents of student accommodations in the city have raised concerns over recent breakins on the premises. Sightings of a man and a woman on Student Roosts’ stairwell drinking and smoking had residents’ concerned. They had pretended to be residents by wearing Student Roost backpacks. A resident of Student Roost, who does not want to be named, said: “I encountered two people who must’ve tailgated someone inside at the stairwell. They told me they didn’t live here and continued smoking and drinking alcohol for half an hour. “I called the security who tried to escort them out. The guy tried to swing the bottle back at him but it didn’t work and they got kicked out. It made me more alert of who comes behind me when I enter my accomodation. “These people are violent and
have no respect for the premises. It’s usually really safe because the doors lock automatically so I didn’t really think much of it before that encounter. I think it’s a safety warning for people to not let others inside their accommodations and just close the door behind them.” The issue had been reported
I called security who tried to escort them out ... it made me more alert of who comes behind me when I enter my accommodation to South Yorkshire Police for investigation. It is reported that three other student city accommodations have faced similar incidents. In another encounter, a man was spotted going through residents’ laundry and remained on the
accomodation’s premises for a few hours. The man has since been reported to the police. A spokesperson for Student Roost said: “We can confirm that we are currently supporting South Yorkshire Police with their investigations into a break-in at Sheffield 2. “The safety of our residents is vitally important to us. This is why all of our properties in Sheffield have full security camera coverage and staff on site 24/7, who conduct patrols throughout the night and are available to students who need support at any time. “Despite all these measures, student properties can sadly be an attractive prospect to some criminals. We work closely with South Yorkshire Police and follow their recommendations to keep our residents and their homes safe and secure.”
Wednesday 26 February 2020
News UoS student selected as local Labour City Council candidate
Olivia Blake speaking at a UCU really in November Image: Ben Warner
Ben Warner Editor-in-Chief
Olivia Blake calls for prioritising the fight for trans and non-binary rights Ben Warner Editor-in-Chief
(cont. from front) ...and be sensible about it,” she said. “When staff are this angry about these issues there is clearly something breaking down and going wrong, and that’s on the employers to solve and work with the unions to solve.” Olivia Blake also has a task in rebuilding trust in the Labour Party in
There is clearly something breaking down and going wrong and that’s on the employers to work with the unions her Sheffield Hallam constituency, following Jared O’Mara’s stint as the Labour MP for the area following the December General Election. He had a controversial two years in Parliament, including rarely turning up for votes in the House of Commons, firing his office staff and making a number of controversial comments before and during his time in the role. O’Mara eventually quit the Labour
Party in 2018, leaving the seat with an independent MP, although Blake has now regained the seat for Labour despite stiff competition from the Liberal Democrats’ candidate, Laura Gordon. Blake is only the second Labour MP to represent the seat since its creation in 1885. She says her work to rebuild trust in the party has already begun, which is why, she says, they were able to win December’s poll. She said: “We spoke and listened to people about the issues which really mattered to them, and made sure we were working on those issues in the campaign. “I’m totally working on them as a Member of Parliament now, whether it’s on the green agenda, or on public services, or just being a good constituency MP, we’re getting on with the work and hopefully we’ll continue to rebuild that trust.” A few months before her victory in the December General Election, Olivia Blake quit her post as Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council over an impending referendum in the city. The question at hand is whether to change the system of governance of SCC back to a committee system, rather than the Cabinet system which is currently in place. Blake, along with a number of her Cabinet colleagues, quit in order to
support the fight to change back to the previous system, and says she still believes this was the right thing to do. “That was quite a hard decision to take but I felt it would’ve been hypocritical for me to continue in that role while also calling for change,” she added. “For me, this is all about democracy and after ten years of austerity it has become really difficult for local people in Sheffield to feel like they are connected to their democracy, and this gives us an opportunity to build stronger links and review what we do as a Council going forward.” The new MP is currently also a councillor for Walkley ward on Sheffield City Council, but will be stepping down at this May’s local elections. A leadership election often throws up new issues which any political party must deal with, and this time around for the Labour Party the two issues in particular have been the legalisation of cannabis and the fight for trans rights. The leadership contenders all denied they would legalise the sale and consumption of cannabis, while Blake told Forge Media that she would be more in favour of harm reduction in policy, and that it was
a task for the whole public health sector. On trans rights, she added: “I think it’s important we have politicians willing to stand up for our trans and non-binary siblings so it’s clear that this isn’t an okay thing to deny someone their identity. It’s really important we are able to have the voices of trans people in this
It shouldn’t be a debate on this trans rights and it’s important to make sure there are safe spaces for trans people debate.” “It shouldn’t be a debate on this fight for more rights and I think it’s really important to make sure that all our spaces in the Labour Party and outside the party are safe spaces for trans people.” In December, Olivia Blake was elected to succeed Jared O’Mara as the MP, beating Laura Gordon of the Liberal Democrats with a slim majority of 712 votes. The full exclusive interview with Olivia Blake MP can be seen on youtube.com/forgetelevision.
The Labour Party have selected a University of Sheffield student as their candidate in the Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward ahead of this May’s local elections. Martha Foulds was selected from an all-women shortlist at the local branch Labour meeting on Thursday 20 February, ahead of the poll on Thursday 7 May 2020. Broomhill and Sharrow Vale is one of the last wards to declare its Labour candidate, after a number of hiccups in the selection process, as well as the December General Election, hindered the final selection. However, Martha was eventually selected and will go up against candidates from the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and more in May. Martha will be hoping to defend the Labour Party’s final seat in the ward, with the Greens having won the last two local elections in the area.
Language study shaping how grammar is represented Lucas Mentken News Editor
A new International research project launched by researchers from the University of Sheffield could help improve our understanding of linguistic challenges for languages of Central and Eastern Europe. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Sheffield academics will collaborate with researchers from seven institutions based throughout the Czech Republic, Croatia and the UK. Professor Neil Bermel, Professor of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield, said: “Results from the project could help speakers of these languages to have more accurate information from official sources that doesn’t undermine their native intuition. “We also hope to show that treating an excess or lack of possible forms as a commonplace occurrence - in other words, as something characteristic of language rather than an exception to be worked around - could be a good route to understanding how we learn language throughout our lives.”
Forge Press’ Two-Third Term SU Officer Report Cards Jake Verity President
Officer Objectives Forge Press says: “It’s been a 1) Reintroduce £1 bus fares and cheaper tram fares good year for Jake Verity. He 2) Curate an SU music festival has managed to get £1 bus fares 3) Create an internship networking website back where previous Presidents 4) Introduce an SU app with digital uCards have failed as well as creating an internship networking website and curating a music festival to be held Objectives Achieved at the SU - announcement soon. 1) Successfully reintroduced £1 bus fares He is coninuing to work on an SU 2) Internship networking site is now live app and mobile uCards, though this 3) SU music festival to be announced soon seems to have been ‘in progress’ since the beginning of time Objectives Not Achieved several Presidents have tried and 1) Reduced tram fares failed on this one.” 2) SU app with digital uCards “I’m currently working on ensuring I can get digital uCards over the line, but this is likely to take some time due to the complexity of introducing them. I’m also spending a significant amount of time trying to introduce cheaper tram fares, by working with Supertram to do this. Finally, I’m really keen to ensure
Rosa Tully Women’s
the music festival is a huge success. The next few months are going to be really exciting, and I can’t wait to complete these projects before the end of my term in office. It’s been a great year for our Officer team, and between us all, I think we’ve had a gigantic impact on the lives of students!”
Officer Objectives Forge Press says: “Rosa has 1) Create a mobilised, organised and politically done an exceptional job this year, engaged campus making sanitary products available 2) Reduce the cost of sanitary products on campus around the SU free of charge as 3) Create an anti-racist campus well as moving the SU from a non-racist campus to an actively anti-racist campus, for which she received a disproportional amount Objectives Achieved of backlash from certain sections 1) Led the Reclaim the Night women’s march of the press. Who knew being 2) Improve free sanitary products availability anti-racist was so controversial? 3) Led comprehensive anti-racism training She is still working on her toolkit 4) Support BME committee launch but has failed to lobby the University successfully for a BME Objectives Not Achieved officer this year.” 1) Educate students about their political campaigning rights 2) Lobby for a BME officer “I still have lots of great things coming up: the launch of the toolkit (which features a section on political campaigning rights), the launch of the manifesto,
a sexual harassment campaign, a collab with a disabled womens collective and a decolonisation event. Keep your eyes peeled!”
Harry Carling Development
1) Tackle the SU’s budget deficit 2) Embed a more sustainable culture across campus 3) Introduce digital uCards and phone charging banks
1) Phone charging banks installed 2) Led three climate strikes 3) Lead discussions on sustainable development
Objectives Not Achieved
1) Launch SU App with digital uCards
“It has been an honour being the student-lead for Sustainability this academic year, to represent students on the biggest existential crisis humans have ever experienced: Climate Change. I am looking forward to pushing the University to finally publish their Sustainability Strategy, campaigning for a Decarbonised University and ensuring the Students’ Union
Forge Press says: “Carling has been incredibly visible on campus this year promoting sustainability, most notably leading three climate strikes through Sheffield and attempts to change the culture in the SU. He has managed to balance the books too, however he might run in to similar problems as Verity when trying to implement digital uCards.”
continues to embody Sustainability. I am also excited to achieve all of my finance goals, all of which are very much on the way, and will contribute to a Financially Sustainable Students’ Union. Finally, I would be thrilled if we can ensure that Digital uCards become a reality for Sheffield students”
Charlie Porter Education
Officer Objectives Forge Press says: “Charlie has 1) Accessible education such as rent cuts managed to freeze rent prices in 2) Narrow the BME degree-awarding gap university-owned accomodation 3) Democratising the university for the next academic year which 4) Fully-funded education including support services is an incedible feat when you consider the price has been raised each year since ACS took the Objectives Achieved contract over. He has also been 1) Froze rent prices in uni-owned accommodation visible in standing with striking 2) Led student support for UCU strike lectures, but he has failed to launch the National Education Objectives Not Achieved Service he had in his objectives 1) National Education Service though Jeremy Corbyn also failed 2) Contextual offers for new students on that one.” “In my time in office I have stuck to my principles and pushed for them to be implemented both in senior meetings and on the ground. I am currently focused on student-worker solidarity, which has taken up much of my time in the role, due to the strike action taken by the UCU. As well as the strike
solidarity campaign, I am focusing my efforts on working to democratically design a cross-faculty module, which will be available to the new intake of students, called ‘Climate Crisis: Politics, Science, and Culture’ alongside colleagues from the SU and the University.”
Wednesday 26 February 2020
With the Officer elections now imminent, the Forge Press news team have decided to take a look at what the current Officer team have done during the first eight months of their
term. We’ve taken their Officer objectives, which they submitted to SU Council when they first took office, and compared them to what they have achieved so far as well as what they haven’t.
Sissi Li International
With four months, or one third, of their term left we’ve asked them what they are planning on doing for the remainder of their time in office and what projects they are looking to begin or
complete. Candidates for the 2020/2021 academic year will be announced on Monday 2 March at 10.00am, with voting between 9-11 March. The new Officer team will be announced at
Beren Maddison Welfare
a ceremony in Foundry on Thursday 12 March from 7.00pm. Remember you can hear all the latest news first from the Officer elections at forgetoday.com.
Officer Objectives Forge Press says: “Sissi has done 1) Host family scheme and events for ‘stayers’ well this year, completing nearly 2) Language buddy scheme all of her tangible objectives. 3) International sports day She has created events for those 4) WeChat platform and microwaves and kettles international students that do in libraries not go home over the holidays as well as launching an SU WeChat platform and getting the University Objectives Achieved to put microwaves and kettles in 1) Led first ever Christmas ball in the SU libraries. She is continuing to work 2) Led #WeAreNotAVirus campaign on a language buddy scheme, 3) Microwaves and hot water confirmed however her time in office has been 4) Lanched WeChat platform mired by accusations of inpropriety by Hong Kong and Taiwanese students on campus.” Objectives Not Achieved
Officer Objectives Forge Press says: “Overhauling 1) Increase student engagement with welfare the SU Welfare system looked like 2) Promote a culture shift towards wellbeing no easy task when Beren first took across campus office. However, with innovative 3) Ensure meaningful support is provided across the ideas like Report + Support and university a new ‘Wellbeing Service’ it looks like Beren’s objectives are coming together just in time. He still has Objectives Achieved not managed to get Wellbeing 1) Ran ‘Our Mental Health Week’ Wednesdays off the groud as he 2) Report + Support had hoped, nor has there been any 3) New ‘Wellbeing Service’ to launch soon visible increased help for working students, though he has run several campaigns successfully throughout Objectives Not Achieved the year.” 1) Wellbeing Wednesdays
“Recently I’ve been working on the host family scheme for a while which will connect students with staff and even some local families. But due to the security issues and complexity of regulations it will
“I’m currently working with Charlie and Jake on the supporting students during the industrial action and pushing for a resolution to the national dispute. Also, Rosa and I are working on the OfS consultation
1) Host family and language buddy scheme 2) International sports day
Martha Evans Activities Officer Objectives
take a bit of time to launch. I’m also working on the language buddy scheme which will help exchange students keep practicing a foreign language after they come back from the countries they went to.
1) Design a Comprehensive Disability Strategy 2) Provide opportunities and support to student groups 3) Launch new room booking system 4) Create a safe student-focused storage for Societies
1) Uni committed to Comprehensive Disability Access strategy 2) Passed policy proposal passed for storage
Forge Press says: “While the University has committed to a landmark comprehensive Disability Access Strategy, the policy proposal for student-focused storage for societies is still in its infancy and will take alot of work to make happen. Although the room booking system is a massive task to overhaul there seems to have been little done on it.”
Objectives Not Achieved
Britt Bowles Sports Officer Objectives
for sexual violence, and an overall project looking into the way that the University and SU handles these cases. I’m planning a big support campaign for the summer exam period and running workers’ rights week in May.”
1) Reduce the cost of sport for students 2) Create an inclusive environment for sport 3) Ensure that the University value sport
1) Ran campaigns such as This Girl Can, Pride in Sport and Disability In Sport 2) Ran “Ask Your University - Let’s Talk About Sport” 3) Goals “being discussed at senior levels of the university” regarding investment in facilities
Objectives Not Achieved
1) Wednesday Afternoon Policy 2) Reduced cost of univeristy sports 3) Increased investment in sport and facilities
1) New room booking system 2) Storage system for societies
“I am continuing to push hard for finding effective storage solutions for student groups and have a number of meetings over the coming months to this effect. Furthermore, following the commitment from the University
2) Increased help for working students
to create and implement a Disability Access Strategy, I will be working closely with staff and students to ensure this is comprehensive.”
“Although it is very busy now with Varsity approaching, I am still very committed to working hard on my goals. One project I am working on at the moment is a Wednesday Afternoon Policy.
Forge Press says: “Britt has led on successful campaigns like This Girl Can, Pride in Sport and Disability in Sport. As well as this she is having high level meetings to lobby for increased sports funding. However, little has been done to bring down the cost of sport at the University with a Goodwin gym membership still an eye-watering £29 a month plus joining fee. The Wednesday Afternoon Policy has not yet been consistently implemented though there may be more news on that in June.”
There is already one that exists but it is not followed particularly well and it is not very visible. I am hoping to get this passed at the Student Support Committee in June.”
International Cultural Evening
Experience over 10 short performances by international student groups from all over the world displaying their rich and vibrant cultures.
Saturday 14th march 2020 Sheffield City Hall Doors open 7pm ÂŁ7 (ÂŁ6 NUS) in advance
Tickets available from the SU Box Office or from tickets.sheffieldstudentsunion.com
Wednesday 26 February 2020
Anastasia Koutsounia Bernadette Hsiao Features Editors
Hello guys, welcome back! We have prepared another four amazing articles for you. First, from the controversial virginity testing and a postpartum product ad being banned from the Oscars, we look at stigma against female bodies. Next, we have a closer look at the recent coronavirus outbreak, focusing on
the discrimination of Asian people and those of which Chinese descent face. Then we have a piece exploring the rise of streaming services and how they could affect the cinema industry, and last but not least, we look at the newly announced Ofcom regulation of social media, and how it may affect freedom of speech. We hope you enjoy it! And, don’t forget you’re always welcome to contact us if you have any ideas or questions, we’re always here!
Virginity Testing - Look no further for a glimpse into society’s fascination with women’s innocence Eve Thomas Features Contributor
on the Ladies Like Us podcast he admitted to having ‘yearly trips to the gynaecologist’ with his eldest daughter to ‘check her hymen.’ He then went on to reject suggestions that his daughter’s hymen could be broken through other activities, quoting his initial response to the doctor: “she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, a n d give me back my results
In an era of expectation, the female body finds itself oscillating between ideas of purity, sexualisation, physical conformity and individual beauty. It’s an environment in which no woman can win, but all can suffer in the court of public opinion. T h e s e ideas are no more evident t h a n in the practice o f ‘virginity testing’. Virginity testing is also expeditiously.” Image: Concerttour known as ‘twoHe has since finger testing’ and is apologised and his a degrading process by which a comments have been edited out woman’s virginity is supposedly of the podcast. The question stilll checked by establishing whether remains as to why any individual her hymen is intact. The twocould condone the intrusive, minute, highly invasive procedure and traumatic experience, is, according to WHO, a violation of outside of any scientific evidence. a woman’s rights, as well as being The answer seems to be a sense of incredibly unreliable. A 2004 study entitlement and ownership over the of 36 pregnant women found that female body. 34 still had an intact hymen, which Society’s disturbing fascination should have dispelled the myth, but with a woman’s virginity stretches the tests are still commonplace. into history, although attitudes Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen towards it are surprisingly mixed. Støkken Dahl liken the hymen to For example, 14th century thinking a scrunchie: “It’s very elastic – for saw virginity as spiritual, meaning a lot of women, elastic enough to that one could be a virgin in soul, if handle vaginal intercourse without not in spirit. 200 years later in the sustaining any damage.” Yet, 16th century, people believed in the despite the scientific evidence to the ‘disease of the virgins’, a disease contrary, societies worldwide are that could only be contracted by obsessed with intruding upon the those who had not had sex. The only most private regions of a woman’s cure for the disease was, of course, body, normally whilst she is young, sex. In modern-day, our ideas about and with the full consent of her virginity are far less nuanced, paving parents, but not the woman herself. the way for the brutal virginity This issue was brought into testing. In South Africa, the Zulu the spotlight again by rapper T.I. religion includes virginity testing, who, when asked about the sex and the tests are performed only by education his children received virgin women in the belief that this
maintains purity. The outlawing of virginity testing in South Africa therefore saw l a r g e
virgin protests. Despite some attempts to legislate against the practice, the tests have been recorded from Egypt to Tanzania, Malawi to India, Indonesia to Sweden. Virginity testing is a nod to the widespread stigmatisation of an overwhelming sense of entitlement towards women’s bodies. In the era of Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the female body remains taboo, evident in the recent banning of a Frida Mom advertisement at the Oscars. The advert depicts the female body after pregnancy; it was banned for ‘partial
nudity’, but shows no more than film, Scruggs effectively prostitutes a stretched and pained stomach. herself for the story, sleeping The idea that the postpartum body with FBI agent Tom Shaw. There is somehow unacceptable for the is no evidence to suggest that the public eye reinforces expectations that the female body is idealised and The two-minute any contradiction of such a standard procedure is, is deemed inappropriate. Just as according to women should be virgins, so their WHO, a violation bodies should look a certain way. The Oscars’ decision speaks of women’s volumes in regards to wider issues rights, as well as of sexism and sexualisation in being incredibly Hollywood. Most people are familiar unreliable with the idea of ‘the casting couch’, but the very fact that such a euphemism exists is unsettling, real Scruggs took part in any such to say the least. It tells us that activity, but Eastwood encourages us Hollywood hardly tries to hide the to villainise her because of her body: rampant sexism, because there are an attractive woman must use sex few consequences to it, something to her advantage and a woman who Seth MacFarlane discovered in 2013 has sex is a villain. The film places when he sang ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ comparatively less blame upon at the Oscars, and quipped that Shaw, a testimony to Hollywood’s nine-year-old Quvenzhané historic inability to protect Wallis had “16 years its female community before she’s too old from excessive for Clooney.” sexualisation and As a society, discrimination. we watch The final individuals question of fame and remains: influence what do we make sexist do now? In a r e m a r k s world which w i t h o u t attaches stigma consequence, to the female Image: Gage Skidmore broadcasting body, a woman worldwide the becomes ironically message that the female unnatural if she is not both body is accessible and slim and curvaceous, a virgin and acceptable material for a mother, sexual and modest. In humiliation, degradation and an environment of contradictions, publication. where does the female body stand? Not limited in the real In an ideal world, it would be a world, Hollywood woman that stood in a woman’s sexism has a history of body, separate from stigmatisation being deeply embedded and entitlement: alone in its honest, within its productions. unaffected physical form. Such a Recently-released Richard Jewell modest ideal should be achievable. tells the story of an innocent If society were able to see the female security guard declared guilty in the body as belonging only to its owner, court of public opinion following an and not to any external opinion, we article written by a female journalist, might finally see the shift in sexism Kathy Scruggs. According to the which is centuries overdue.
Coronavirus Outbreak: reports and impacts of media outlets Flora Cornell Features Contributor
With nine confirmed cases in the UK, growing fears over the coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly affected those especially of Chinese descent living in the UK, who now face increased discrimination. In light of the global panic that the coronavirus has caused health-wise, the virus has also exposed increased levels of xenophobia and racism towards Asian people. There is a fundamental lack of understanding towards parts of Asian culture, especially in Western media, which in turn has contributed to growing tensions. The misleading information and reports by international media trying to make sense of the coronavirus has led to increased racial stereotyping and xenophobic attitudes thrown at those of Chinese-descent living in the UK rather than focusing on the stories about actual sufferers. Reaction to the coronavirus has had incredible implications for people who are of Chinese descent, who have been on the receiving end of both xenophobic and racist comments in public and online. The University of York’s anonymous confession page, Yorfess, has had backlash over some xenophobic submissions posted on the popular page. This came after a University of York student became one of the first people to test positive for the coronavirus in the UK. After that, one of the published anonymous posts commented on how YUSU and University were ‘happy’ to “let the Chinese swarm over here and kill us.” In Leicestershire two students,
People believe sourceless suggestions of flase cures and preventative methods instead of checking in with organisations like WHO
who were thought to be Chinese, were abused and had eggs pelted at them in an attack linked to the coronavirus. Recently, a University of Sheffield postgraduate student was reportedly verbally and physically harassed whilst walking down West Street wearing a face mask. In many East Asian countries, wearing surgical masks on public transport or on the streets is completely normal. Whilst some wear masks for fashion, a large number of people use surgical face masks as a preventative measure for illnesses. Not only does wearing a surgical mask have cleanliness
story they can get, but that comes at the cost of misinformation and increased discrimination towards Asian people. In trying to find the ‘answer’, media outlets have published articles that reinforce racial stereotypes. The Daily Mail reacted to the news publishing a story of a Chinese woman eating a bat, which spread virally on YouTube as well as in the tabloid press. While scientists say the source of the outbreak is likely to have come from an animal, there is no proof that it came from the consumption of bats. Racial stereotypes have not
Yellow Peril’. Headlines like this fuel xenophobia and racism, ultimately leading to further discrimination in society. It makes Asian people seem abnormal and inhuman, rather than supporting those who are fighting a battle with the virus and the scientists who are trying to find a solution. In the face of misinformation being disseminated so widely, some social media platforms do have plans to limit misinformation and harmful content. In a blog post, Kang-Xing Jin, Head of Health at Facebook, said: “We will also start to remove content with false claims or conspiracy
Confirmed and supected cases as of 15 February. Image: Pharexia benefits, it is also a simple act of courtesy to reduce the spread of illnesses to others around them. Everyone from Twitter trolls to news outlets are fumbling to find the cause of the outbreak. The BBC reported on 15 February that a further 2,641 people have been found as newly infected contributing to the growing number of China’s COVID-19 cases. The number of confirmed cases has risen every day alongside increased media coverage. Some conspiracy theorists argue that 5G is to blame for ruining immune systems and causing the outbreak while others say that it is a bioweapon, although The Washington Post spoke to several experts who said there was no evidence to suggest so. It is undeniable that the media are lapping up every single coronavirus
only been placed upon those of Chinese-descent in the UK, but also across the world, including as far afield as Australia. Other posts have circulated on social media which warned that fortune cookies and Chinese Red Bull could be contaminated with the virus. These circulated images further a false narrative of Asian people and also creates a discord between those of Chinese descent and their homes. In France, #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I am not a virus) was created by French Asians to share their experiences and frustrations with regards to reactions towards the coronavirus. One French newspaper, Le Courrier picard, published an article on 26 January about the outbreak with the headline ‘The
theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them...We will also block or restrict hashtags used to spread misinformation on Instagram, and are conducting proactive sweeps to find and remove as much of this content as we can.”
The Daily Mail, reacted to the news of the virus by publishing a story of a Chinese woman eating a bat Twitter’s Public Policy account explained they want users to have access to legitimate information, especially regarding the global scale of the coronavirus, stating: “We want to help you access credible information, especially when it comes to public health. We’ve adjusted our search prompt in key countries across the globe to feature authoritative health sources when you search for terms related to novel #coronavirus.” Whilst fear is a natural reaction to invasive threats, such as the regularly g r o w i n g number of cases of the coronavirus, misinformation spread by news and media outlets has only furthered the discrimination Asian people face in society. The East Asian community is met with falseinformation and racial stereotypes that do not reflect who they are, but serve as a tinderbox for xenophobic and racist attitudes towards them. In the face of a global outbreak of a disease on this scale, understanding and educating ourselves with legitimate sources is key to not spreading hate alongside fear.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
Is Netflix the downfall of the film industry? The jury might still be out on that Juila Kearns Features Contributor
In the past decade or so, the tradition of flicking through channels in the hopes of finding something interesting to watch has been gradually replaced by subscriptions to streaming services, where an unlimited choice of films and shows is available at the touch of a button. Whilst any young adult can give a passionate speech in honour of their favourite streaming service, it is worth looking into why these services might be so popular. For one, they allow accessibility in a way that we have never really experienced before. Now the activity of watching a show or film is no longer limited to the comfort of our own homes but can be an enticing option at any place where a device and internet is available. Streaming services have even gone a step further, allowing you to download certain movies or TV shows so you can watch them regardless of your access to the internet; music to the ears of travellers. The increasing use of smartphones is a likely tie into this.
The easy access becomes toxic when the viewer succumbs to the shows’ pull; episode after episode ending with intriguing cliffhangers making it impossible to stop However, there are implications to these kinds of services. Do they breed a form of laziness, where p e o p l e prefer to
spend time in their bedroom rather than with family? Or, as noted before, do they provide a new level of accessibility? Episode after episode ending with intriguing cliff hangers makes it practically impossible to ever stop watching. Streaming services like Netflix have made it possible to have various profiles on just one subscription giving people access to Netflix from different screens, but this convenience also succeeds in disconnecting them from the people around them. With so many shows available to binge who has the time to go out and spend time with others? There is another genre of streaming that seems to have benefitted from this accessibility: sports. Without paying loads for a particular sports package you can now sign up to a streaming service that will grant you access to unlimited matches of the sport of your choice. This easy-to-watch method makes watching certain sports on television p r a c t i c a l l y o b s o l e t e , especially when they are filmed and broadcasted in America and people in the UK are unable to access it on the TV. The power to stream anything anywhere has brought forth a reality where no one has to miss a game because of commitments. To make the idea even more enticing, there is no time constraint in watching a streaming service. Provided you’re not looking to stream something live you can watch anything at anytime as many times over as you want! No
waiting around to watch an entire season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine by waiting for a new episode everyday with services such as Amazon Prime you can watch episode after episode without losing much sweat. However, in recent times, streaming services have not only become competition for TV networks but also the cinema industry. With so many movies readily available you start to wonder why you should bother attending the cinema at all. However, time restraint is one way that cinema does prevail over streaming services. The biggest blockbusters of the year are still made by those i n
obsolete just yet. An Art House Convergence survey found that out of 22,500 moviegoers, 65 per cent thought that their local town theatre was valuable for their overall quality of life. This survey didn’t just refer to cinema chains such as Odeon or Vue, but those who make up for their lack of space in aesthetics, cheaper prices and a greater variety of films. Cinemas continue to be a
of 22,500 moviegoers thought their local town theater was valuable for their overall quality of life.
popular destination during outings for friends or families and that is a primary reason why this industry is still holding strong against streaming services. However, you cannot deny that, even with cinemas making their best efforts to provide multiple screening times, the variety that can be found on certain streaming services is incomparable. Furthermore, by signing up to more than one streaming service, people are doubling the number of movies and TV shows they can watch. The choices are vast, there is something available to appease every subscriber; it Image: Wikimedia Commons gradually becomes hard to imagine why you’d need any other form of entertainment. It does seem that the idea of options is what keeps people hooked, as soon as they have finished one film or the traditional film industry, so TV show, there is another one to be when a new movie you want to watched. A dependant relationship watch is released, the cinema is still is slowly formed between the the first place you’ll have to go! viewers and the service that results Nonetheless, I do not think in them never cancelling their that cinemas are going subscription.
With so many movies readily available you start to wonder why you should bother attending the cinema at all It is the hype of streaming companies that keeps them so popular. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video have started producing numerous original TV shows and films that are available only to their subscribers; to not be on any of the big streaming services leaves audiences rather disconnected from the entertainment world. This finds particular resonance with teenagers, with series such as Thirteen Reasons Why and Breaking Bad having such a large presence in modern media, who are eager to be part of discussions and theories of such shows - if you are not able to access the show it is difficult to join in discussions with your friends, online and offline. It has become evident that streaming companies have taken the entertainment industry by storm, especially thanks to Gen Z embracing and hyping up new forms of technology. The result is leaving other areas of the industry struggling. However, whilst popular now, every new generation brings a new era of technology more advanced and easier to use. Streaming services might be currently on the rise, but who knows when something bigger and better will take over.
Social media censorship:
A safety measure or a threat to free speech? Stephanie Lam Features Contributor
For the first time in history, the UK is planning to set up an ‘internet watchdog.’ The announcement to have the Office of Communication, known as Ofcom, become the head of the new regulations came on 12 Feb. This will see the use of an independent company which will regulate the content of UK social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Tik Tok. Ofcom is a regulatory authority approved by the UK government,founded in 2003. It is known for regulating daily communication services such as phones, televisions and mobile services. It also oversees broadcast and radio license as well as the United Postal services. Although its responsibilities are determined by Parliament, Ofcom itself is independent and funded by fees paid by the companies it regulates. Its existing duties include protecting viewers and listeners from harmful or offensive content on TV or radio. It does not interfere with advertisements, the BBC licenses, or what people post on the internet.
The hidden cost is the post-traumatic stress disorder felt by moderators when viewing the graphic content flagged by users for review Plans to have an independent regulator for UK social media have been in the works since last year. The government released the Online Harms White Paper, a set of proposals detailing how they will deal with identifying and minimizing online harm. Public support for social media regulations heightened after the 2017 death of Molly Russell, who took her life after viewing selfharm images on social media. Last year’s Christchurch shootings also increased criticism against platforms like Facebook for their lack of control over blocking graphic and obscene content. In a 2018 study done by Ofcom on internet user’s experience of harm online, 45% of adult internet
Image: Lewis Ogden users had experienced some form of online harm. However, only 21% had taken action to report it. Ofcom will now make sure social media companies take down illegal content, specifically terrorism and child abuse imagery, in a timely manner. In order to do so, it will also hold social networks accountable for enforcing their own terms and conditions policy. How Ofcom will enforce this, and the consequences the platforms will face if failed to meet the requirements, is still unclear. While the government offers no specific policies, it does allow Ofcom the flexibility to create and finalise the details. A response from the government and Ofcom about these topics will be published in the Spring. The lack of specificity about Ofcom’s control concerns Dr. Paul Reilly, Senior Lecturer in Social Media and Digital Society at the University of Sheffield. For Dr Reilly, the lax writing leaves the policy up for interpretation. “We probably need more details before assessing the full impact of this announcement.” For Chelsey Weight, an International Criminology master student at the University of Sheffield, regulating social media is a step in the right direction for making sure it is a safer place for users. “I do think regulations are good
just to protect young kids from predators in general, and from bullying and harassment.Just most importantly, I think regulations are good for the safety of mental health, for young, old, all ages.” Miss Weight said her views on regulation are also shaped by the passing of American NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant in early February. She saw hoax videos of the crash circulating Twitter, and saw the amount of views and retweets it gained as problematic. “You’re promoting that and people are watching. It’s hard to stop watching things like that because everyone wants to know things these days.” David Haywood, a Mathematics undergrad at the University of Sheffield, is an avid user of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. He said that while everyone has the right to voice their opinions online, there should be consequences if the responses are illegal. “If you’re saying radicalised things or something like that, you should be regulated more, and there should be more consequences.” Dr Reilly sees the appointment of Ofcom as a first step towards holding companies like Facebook and Twitter accountable for their
current lack of regulation. He said that these corporations hide behind the term, ‘platforms’ in order to avoid taking responsibility for the content published on their sites. The consequences of not owning up to removing online harms results in users having to do so on their own. “The hidden cost of this process has been the post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by these moderators when viewing the graphic content flagged by users for review.” Dr Reilly said. Ofcom’s newly granted powers quickly resulted in concerns being raised from both the public and media outlets about its interference with free speech. A study done last year by the regulatory authority showed that 47% of adult internet users acknowledge that websites and social media platforms support free speech. They also recognise that in doing so, offensive content may be published and widely shared. Big Brother Watch, a non-profit privacy campaigning organisation said the proposals are “set to be a disaster for freedom of expression and privacy online”. The organisation also pointed out concerns about Ofcom storing and collecting user’s data. However, Dr Reilly thinks it is
too early to assume how Ofcom’s new regulation role will affect freedom of speech online. Governments, whether democratic or not, want to exert a larger control over online platforms. Dr Reilly said that forcing social media giants to comply with the mass surveillance of its users could potentially lead to speech being restricted or filtered. Looking forward, it is difficult to say whether or not this new “internet watchdog” will achieve or stray from the government’s goal to make social media a safer place for users. However, regardless of how the future regulations play out, people should be mindful about what they see and post online, and hold themselves accountable for removing inappropriate content if need be.
The death of TV presenter Caroline Flack has raised questions surrounding social media regulation Image: Scottish Beauty Blog
Wednesday 26 February 2020
Jack Mattless and Jack Redfern Opinion Editors
Hello Opinion readers, This issue we’ve had loads of pieces to reflect on all that’s been happening, from the world of celebrity to current affairs at our own Uni. To start, Bethany Wilson weighs in on Natalie Portman’s controversial Oscar dress as well as a piece on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Cabinet. Then, on
page 14 a piece on the proposed ‘Caroline’s Law’ following the death of Caroline Flack, and Chelsea Burrell on celebrities coming out publicly. Finally, on page 15 we’ve got a piece about what’s happening here at the Uni in the next few weeks, with Shekha McCarthy’s piece on the upcoming UCU strikes, and another piece on new immigration points system which was announced by the Home Office last week. Enjoy!
Deeds not words for better female representation says Bethany Wilson Bethany Wilson Opinion Contributor
Lulu Wang, one of the snubbed directors on Portman’s dress Image: MiamiFilmFestival
Recently we all watched and refreshed our Instagram feeds as the stars graced the red carpet for the 92nd Academy Awards. Natalie Portman provided the biggest fashion moment of the evening with her black and gold Dior cape, subtly adorned with the names of eight female directors who had been snubbed for a nomination in the all-male Best Director category. But is this sort of protest really the right move to make in regards to increasing female representation in the film industry? Portman herself has only ever worked with two female directors in her career, one of them being herself, and she is the sole female director to be hired by her own production company. Merely
stitching the names of female directors onto a designer cape is not going to solve any problems, it’s not going to increase representation and it is a shallow move to present the image of feminist protest because that is perceived as the right thing to do. Despite initial support, criticism led by Rose McGowan has opened up this discussion: should you be able to protest without yourself being an activist? Can you make a statement on a red carpet and then not back it up with action? No. Clearly that superficial attempt of making a difference isn’t the fight that should be happening. The film industry isn’t going to change because Portman wore an embroidered cape. But Portman’s own response to this criticism highlights the true issue here. She states that she has tried to make female-led films but
that they are difficult to actually get picked up, made and equally as hard to distribute and make successful. She has “tried and will keep trying” to make a difference and her fashion choice was simply a subtle protest to raise the issue at hand. Ultimately, any statement made that endorses an increase in female directorial representation is an important one but it shouldn’t be a fight that ends on the red carpet. If a difference is truly going to be made, it needs to be a bigger push than fashion choices, it needs to be louder than eight names subtly added to a cape because change isn’t going to be simple to achieve, but it is necessary.
Johnson’s new cabinet reveals growing class inequality Grace Mainwaring Opinion Contributor
Boris Johnson’s reshuffled cabinet contains the highest number of privately educated ministers since 1992 which, frankly, is a little bewildering. Surely those who use government-funded public services should be the people who decide their future? How can we expect those who went to Eton to grasp the consequences of not going to school five days a week, like, for example, the pupils who attend many UK comprehensive schools? Or those with private healthcare to understand the distress caused to the loved ones of those who can’t even receive a bed in NHS hospitals? You may argue that empathy alone should be enough to rectify these issues, but the privileged leaders of the Conservative government have been in power for ten years, achieving little to counter this point. Privately educated MPs leading this country are less inclined to recognise the inequalities in society
because they never come face to face with them. Not everyone has parents with the means to pay £15,000 a year to ensure their success. The school system should be a meritocracy, where those who work the hardest do the best. If you are willing to work hard, smaller classes, longer hours and teachers who instil confidence in their students is an undeniable advantage. I went to a north-east London comprehensive. It would be a huge stretch to claim that I am anywhere near salt of the earth, but I wasn’t sent to private school because my parents wanted my sister and I to know that when we got to university, we had earned our right to be there. In response to my dad asking if my older sister could do the three sciences at GCSE, in case she wanted to be a doctor, we had teachers who said: “we don’t get kids like that here.” Looking back, if the privileges good private schools allow their pupils to enjoy were made available to all pupils, maybe more state schools would produce the
of the cabinet are now privately educated.
academic, confident achievers that make up 65 per cent of the cabinet. If Johnson and his colleagues were to admit this disparity in opportunity, they would be left with no choice but to fix it. State schools would get enough funding to match the quality of education received by those within the private school system. We would have leaders who would have been on the receiving end of underfunded government institutions and therefore more motivated to fight to change them. Yet, the depressingly vicious cycle continues in a government that is incapable of relating to its own electorate.
Image: 10 Downing Street
Olivia Hutton on the problem with ‘Caroline’s Law’ Olivia Hutton Opinion Contributor
In light of the tragic death of the TV presenter Caroline Flack, many have called for new regulations in order to control what the British press can legally publish. A campaign named ‘Caroline’s Law’ has nearly 840,000 signatures and aims to “make it a criminal offence … for the British Media to knowingly and relentlessly bully a person … up to the point that they take their own life.” Although the campaign is laudable, there is a problematic assertion that the media knows the emotional limitations of every individual celebrity, with journalists facing potential vilification for free
Hyperbolic language and opinion is well within the rights of a journalist, whether you agree with it or not
speech, with intent to comment, rather than abuse. The implementation of this law would suggest that we do in fact know what goes on behind closed doors, opening up more avenues for distress, with the people behind such articles able to deny culpability on the grounds that they would be fine handling such criticism. The prospect that we should know these limits would make the emotions of celebrity’s public property, with their mental state as a barometer for the extent of criticism which can be reported. The whole notion of “bullying” in this sense is so subjective that regulation would become near impossible, and not even the person in question is likely to know the amount they can mentally endure. If ‘Caroline’s Law’ was concerning the spreading of false information, then I’d entirely agree. Rather than pitting celebrities’ emotional limits against one another, legal emphasis should be on tackling the reporting of unconfirmed and ‘fake’ news. In December 2019, Caroline
Flack was charged with assault for allegedly attacking her boyfriend, Lewis Burton. This inevitably received substantial media attention, yet in this scenario, the line between what some may view as reporting and some as bullying is impossible to draw. Reporting private information is something which should become more staunchly criminalised, but using hyperbolic language is opinion and well within the rights of a journalist, whether you personally agree with it or not. ‘Caroline’s Law’, too, could become difficult in the very sense that a tipping point would need to be agreed, with a journalist or paper being determined to have gone too far. Arbitrary labels such as “knowingly and relentlessly” are not fit to capture the complexity of human emotion. There is no possible way to regulate opinion, disgust, or approval: but what we all must do is be more mindful of our words. The only way to solve this is to be kind.
LGBT+ figures in public life are important, but they needn’t feel overburdened with responsibilty Chelsea Burrell Head of Photography
As a queer person, representation of LGBT+ people on TV, whether it be fictional or not, modelled my journey in discovering my identity, sexuality and more. That being said, although it was undeniably important for me to see LGBT+ people represented on TV, at no point have I ever thought that any particular celebrity who has come out owed it to our community to do so. Philip Schofield, who recently came out as gay, is no different. In the past, many celebrities like Schofield have come out on their own terms whilst others have unfortunately had their autonomy stripped away from them, being
Coming out isn’t the end. It comes with a lot of transitions Image: Fixers
outed or forced to out themselves in order reclaim some control of a narrative that I believe is rightfully
theirs. A recent example of this is how YouTuber NikkieTutorials publicly acknowledged she was transgender on her channel, but that it was driven by blackmail and fear of being outed. Colton Haynes is another example of media circles reporting about a celebrity’s sexuality when Haynes himself wasn’t ready to talk about it publicly and it led to severe flareups in his anxiety. As the actor said himself when he finally addressed his sexuality in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “I didn’t feel like I owed anyone anything.” It’s hard not to agree. Public representation on any media platform is crucial, especially given how accessible media platforms now are. Without artist Hayley Kiyoko singing about how it was okay for me to like other girls and then addressing the fact that she feels the same way too, my own discovery about my sexuality would have stagnated. Without fictional characters from TV shows I watched being written as bisexual, I wouldn’t even have the vocabulary to describe how I felt. I truly believe that writers, producers, directors and so on owe
Individuals have the right to control their own narratives and to come out when they are ready representation to minority and under-represented communities including the LGBT+ community, to write our stories in the narratives they control. However, that isn’t the case in real life and individuals have the right to control their own narratives. To come out when they are ready, and then be allowed to be as active or inactive in the community as they wish. Coming out isn’t the end. It comes with a lot of transitions and I am of the opinion that the public are not privy to everything that goes on in other individuals’ lives, including celebrities like Schofield. If they choose to use their privilege to help raise awareness for the LGBT+ community and our issues, I thank them. If not, I wish them the best.
We should match our demands for strike compensation with displays of support for lecturers Shekha McCarthy Opinion Contributor
The University and College Union (UCU) recently commenced another 14 days of industrial action, set to take place across 74 universities over the next four weeks with staff striking in two separate ballots over better pay, working conditions, pensions and more. Across these universities participating in the strike, many have started petitions for financial compensation for lost contact hours. Tom Barton, a third-year Sheffield Hallam student, has even started a petition for financial compensation on behalf of students. The petition, which has so far gained over 14,000 signatures, calls for extended deadlines and £860 for each student. These appeals raise the question, do these demands help or hinder the purpose of the strikes, and will they help get the lecturers’ demands met?
Inevitably, requests for compensation risk pitting students against their lecturers, as well as the other university staff on strike. In an increasingly marketized education system, students are fundamentally customers and it’s easy to see how university bosses could turn to narratives of customer dissatisfaction to deflect from the real issues at hand, risking relegating the attention given to genuine concerns of striking staff. Calls for financial reimbursement from students will help put pressure onto university bosses who have repeatedly refused to meet UCU demands insofar as they force the universities to justify their ridiculous fees. However, these calls should be accompanied with a clear declaration of support for the striking lecturers so that the blame of this block to students learning isn’t placed on them. The parties at fault for students missing out on their education are those in power
ignoring the lecturers calls for better working conditions. The calls for compensation also bring into question why students are paying so much for their education and what this fee is for. The current University of Sheffield Vice-chancellor Koen Lamberts earns around £285,000 per year, yet will not meet the demands of the UCU for better wages for university employees. Students have a right to be angry about missing out on education they are paying extortionate fees for and have every right to ask for compensation. But their anger needs to be directed at the people who aren’t meeting the demands of the UCU and not at the staff who are trying to improve the state of higher education for employees and students nationwide. Students hold power to help get these demands met and should be standing in solidarity with their lecturers, researchers and support staff.
Image: Shekha McCarthy
New requirement of immigrants to be able to speak English is a divisive move from Government Jack Redfern Opinion Editor
Home Secretary, Priti Patel Image: Richard Townsend
Last week the Home Secretary Priti Patel, the daughter of Ugandan immigrants, announced the Government’s new immigration system, with a points-based approach that considers the ‘value’ of people based on their skills. One of these skills, she announced, was that they have to speak English. I’m sure that to a lot of people across the country who heard this announcement, this seems like an obvious requirement. This is England, here we speak English. To me however, this is an alarming move from the Government. Not only does this announcement blindly and conveniently ignore the existing variety of languages and dialects that coexist in the country right now, which are demonstrably not harming anyone, it also reveals the way this new government is going to conduct itself. It is so dangerous to associate an immigrant’s success in entering the country with their ability to speak English. A language can be learnt but learnt or not, it should never determine what position
someone has in a society. It is clear that this Government is sticking with its message of quick and simple solutions to large and difficult problems. Not surprising though, that is what won them the election. In an era of political soundbites and quasi-ambitious, borderline Orwellian mantras like ‘Get Brexit
A language can be learnt but learnt or not, it should never determine what position someone has in a society Done’ and ‘Take Back Control’, this announcement to the country that immigrants will now have to speak English only adds to this trend that seems to be cloaking politics of today. This is clearly an announcement that has been thought out and meticulously crafted so that the Boris-voting electorate will believe that this new government is delivering on its election promises;
promises that our apparently out of control, old, dusty immigration system is now going to be shaken up, and that somehow is going to fix all the problems in the country. This is a classic political move that wins elections but only then leads to further societal division. When asked by Nick Ferrari on LBC whether, under this new system, her Ugandan parents would have been let into the country, Patel replied: “This isn’t about my background or my parents.” Yet under this new system, immigrants and their so called ‘value’ will be determined by exactly those two things. This announcement is not to be underestimated as a clear move from the Government to create a sense of reactionary patriotism, that not only will further blur the line between patriotism and nationalism but will also consolidate the power of this Government.
Em Evans and Taylor Ogle Lifestlye Editors
With the new term well underway and uncertainty surrounding the strikes, uni stress can build up quickly. This issue we’ve got loads to distract from the midwinter blues. If you’re interested in exploring options for placements or internships, we’ve spoken to students about their experiences. Check out Eve Thomas’ article on
green spaces around Sheffield for a list of places to visit to destress. We’ve also got the low-down on The Birdhouse Tea Bar and Kitchen from Oliver Morgan. Many people have jumped ship on their New Year’s resolutions, but this doesn’t have to be the case! Em offers loads of tips and tricks to stay dedicated Finally, if you’re revitalizing your wardrobe, Beth Hanson shares insight into considering sustainability when choosing new clothing.
Placements: How can they benefit you?
Whether it be that your course requires you to have time spent doing an industrial placement or not, placements are known for being an incredible way for students to gain some experience outside of their degree in the field that they’re interested in. It is also very common for students to graduate and struggle to fall into a profession that they’re genuinely fulfilled with, mainly due to not having enough work experience. However, applying for a placement in industry or a summer internship can ensure that you’re one step closer to falling into your ideal line of work once you’ve graduated. Samantha Skinner Lifestyle Contributor
As an environmental science student, it wasn’t particularly easy to find placements that would challenge all aspects of my degree, from the geographical to the biological. However, my placement at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust did just that. My year with the GWCT was shared between two departments: the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) department, where tasks consisted of using ArcGIS to conduct detailed mapping for all
aspects of spatial data within the trust, and the Wetlands department, where I was able to develop my fieldbased ecology skills, including offroad driving, nest finding and bird handling, radio-telemetry and data handling. Furthermore, working for a research-orientated organisation has inspired me to take an active role in science communication, writing articles and blogs to share my passion for the natural world and more importantly, make science accessible for everyone. I probably wouldn’t be writing this piece if it weren’t for my placement.
My time on placement has enriched my student experience, I have nurtured a variety of social and technical skills, many of which I have harnessed in my final year of university. I feel more prepared to enter the world as a graduate, with a better idea of what motivates me and what waits for me in the world of employment. I feel equipped with the skills I need to have a fulfilling and exciting career in environmental science.
Helena Davies Lifestyle Contributor
Medicine isn’t easy. Placement isn’t easy. And medicine is FULL of placements – non-stop from third-year until graduation. What people don’t know is that placements aren’t always in Sheffield hospitals – there just isn’t enough room! Ranging from Rotherham and Chesterfield to Scunthorpe and Grimsby (not fun) – where will I be next? Currently, I’m doing paediatrics which is very different from adult Kirsty Turner Lifestyle Contributor
Placement years offer so much in terms of personal development, graduate employability and actually having a bit of cash for once. But I didn’t do one, despite lots of encouragement from my department. If you don’t want to do a year in industry, I 100 per cent advocate spending your summers doing internships instead. Work experience is invaluable to this generation of students as degrees
become more commonplace and the job market becomes scarcer. What’s more, using the summer to try out different careers narrows down your options as a graduate as you discover what you look for in a career and what you really want to avoid. Summer internships can last anywhere from one to 12 weeks, meaning you can spend your entire summer with one company, try multiple companies, or even split your summer between work and travel. The options are endless. I myself have done two summer internships in completely different
industries during my time in Sheffield, and I have built a stronger professional network, developed my skills and refined my career interests as a result. I’ve given myself plenty of content to discuss in job interviews while remaining on track to finish my degree in 2020 – the best of both worlds!
medicine as well as incredibly interesting. I am situated in Wakefield, but precisely, where is Wakefield?! It’s principally a Leeds medical school hospital, and we are offered accommodation nearby in order to save the travel time. Encouragingly, Wakefield has exceeded expectations, as my expectations weren’t very high before visiting. Staff teach us daily and offer us help which is a truly warming environment. However, outside the hospital is a different situation. Besides sleeping, eating
and watching Netflix, there is little to do – even procrastination is now boring! Consequently, my productivity has increased which I hope isn’t a temporary change. Thankfully, my housemates are amazing – they message me, help to motivate me and then let me rant on weekends! I cannot thank them enough for helping me through this placement.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
The Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen
Oliver Morgan Lifestyle Contributor
I’d never heard of the Birdhouse Tea Co. before – that was until one of my societies decided to arrange our Christmas meal there! I was a little sceptical at first, especially regarding the price tag. For a Christmas meal, it was a little higher than other events I have attended this year, but I decided to tag along - it’s Christmas, after all. Stepping into the Birdhouse Tea Bar and Kitchen, the atmosphere welcomed us with a warming, teainfused hug, and I just knew that this was going to set us up to have a great evening. A local business, it’s the finishing touches that make all the difference. As a customer, you feel appreciated. The staff were attentive to our large party, but it wasn’t just about the service. The little touches, from the shop to browse the impressive selection of tea, the eco-friendly Christmas crackers, and the cute wall hangings, made this place feel unique. We were a large party, with about 20 of us in a petite tea bar, and if they
were having a logistical nightmare behind the scenes, we didn’t notice it. The food was swiftly served by friendly faces with military timing throughout the night. Naturally, the food was the main event, and the staff certainly made sure of that! It wasn’t purely the fact that it was tasty that made this experience so memorable. When it arrived, its presentation on the plate made the food even more hunger-inducing. Every dish looked like it had originated straight from the realms of Instagram. From the starters right through to the desserts on offer, I could easily have chosen all of them. I even felt a twinge of jealousy when the
person sitting next to me ordered something different because everything looked, smelled and tasted so good. What they did very well indeed
was add a modern twist to what could have been a traditional Christmas meal of soup, turkey and Christmas pudding. What we were served was more than enough to fill me up and to satisfy my hunger, and I could tell that the ingredients were crafted with the care and attention it deserved. If there is one criticism, the portions felt as if they were a little on the small side. Don’t let that put you off, however, because what we were served was nothing short of delicious. This was unequivocally a treat not to miss. Not only that, but I am already longing for my next visit
because the food was exceptionally good. An indulgence for all the senses, this was by far the best Christmas meal I have had this year. For the price, yes, it was a little costly, but the humble, homely setting and the wonderful atmosphere made this place feel a little more upmarket than the restaurants that I tend to frequent. If you are looking for a place to meet a friend and just have a cup of tea, or if you are arranging a sit-down meal, the Birdhouse Tea Bar and Kitchen is well worth a try if you feel like splashing out, but not going too overboard. And once you’re done, take a look at their tea selection, too – because after all, it is a Tea Bar and not just any swanky café.
Beth Hanson Lifestyle Contributor
Fast fashion is the mass manufacture of cheap throwaway clothing in response to the latest trends. The clothes make their way very quickly from production to shelf to consumer and then to landfill, and are produced without ethical concern for working conditions or consciousness of their environmental impact. The fashion industry contributes more pollution to climate change than aeronautical and shipping industries combined and accounts for 25 per cent of the global carbon budget by 2050. There is also a large requirement for materials and water, leading to shortages. So, how can we as students make a difference? As consumers, we can make changes in our habits to reduce the waste and environmental impact of our clothing. The easiest way to shop sustainably is to upcycle and repair items you already own. In this way, we can get the maximum value for the clothes and keep them in use for
as long as possible. If you just can’t find the same love for your clothes that you did when you bought them, why not try thrift shopping? Sheffield is home to several charity and vintage stores that sell preloved clothes at a fraction of the price you would pay on the high street. You can also use it as an opportunity to donate and clear your closet without contributing to landfill. The next vintage sale is on in the Students’ Union on Thursday 27 February, so check it out to pick up a bargain!
The fashion industry contributes more pollution to climate change than aeronautical and shipping industries combined Shopping locally for clothes is another good way to lessen the
impact of climate change as it reduces pollution from shipping and transport. There are some great ethical and sustainable brands in Sheffield such as Syd and Mallory for graphic sweatshirts and Noble & Wylie for durable, handmade boots. There is also a blooming Sheffield scene for handmade jewellery, which you can pick up from craft and flea fairs or from local stores such as MoonKo or Foundling Studio. Many high street brands have also made a start on assembling sustainable collections such as H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection. H&M also allows you to drop off any unwanted clothes and materials for recycling in exchange for vouchers to spend in-store. Zara also launched their ‘Join Life’ initiative and are aiming by the end of 2020 to send nothing to landfill. If you prefer to shop online, there are plenty of brands such as Reformation, Weekday, and Mango. Fjallraven currently has a limited edition Re-Kanken backpack which is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Goodonyou.eco is a really good resource for checking the values of companies you purchase from. They score brands and retailers on how they treat people, animals and the planet. The ‘people’ aspect considers everything from child labour to payment of a living wage and even the auditing practises they use. Their ‘animals’ criteria include whether the companies use fur, down feathers or exotic
animal skins. It also considers if the company is taking steps to change legislation for the better. Finally, under the ‘planet’ criteria they assess resource use and disposal, carbon emissions and chemical and water use. Goodonyou is a simple system to use and can give you peace of mind when purchasing from a retailer who you don’t know much about.
Keeping New Year’s resolutions
It’s easy to feel defeated if you’ve given up hope on your resolution already, but February can be the perfect time to start fresh or keep going! Em Evans Lifestyle Editor
Did you know that less than 10 per cent of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions? Now, that is a stat that really ought to jump up a little bit, and here is how you can stick to yours! Whether you’ve already given your resolution a back seat or you’re on track to meeting your goals, making
adjustments to our lives can often seem challenging and somewhat daunting - but they don’t have to be. The first and most important piece of advice that can be given when it comes to making changes is to make them manageable. You’ll admit defeat far too quickly if your goal is to save £500 a month or lose 5lbs in a week. By setting yourself attainable targets you will not only put your mind at ease when things don’t instantly change, but you’ll also feel a sense of pride when you can tick off your daily tasks that contribute to your overall end goal. Get organised It may seem obvious, but this point isn’t made to patronise! According to sciencedaily.com, you’re 52 per cent more likely to achieve your goals if you track them and notice the small changes. Seeing the
clear-cut evidence of your habit transformations will give you that extra push to keep going. One such way of getting organised is by simply writing down three or four realistic targets at the start of each day and trying not to get distracted when crossing them off. For example: if your goal is to get into the habit of leading a healthy lifestyle, one of the points on your checklist could be to get your five-a-day or to fit in a 20-minute exercise session. For those who want to increase their overall fitness but are complete beginners, the Couch to 5K app is the most ideal way to achieve this. Being free, and thus completely studentfriendly, this app monitors your running abilities whilst gradually increasing in difficulty in order to get you up to speed to run 5K in a matter of weeks! App recommendations: Habit-
Bull, Productive & Habitify are amongst the countless tracking apps that are designed to encourage you to achieve your goals. Don’t beat yourself up Both this saying and ‘results don’t come overnight’ are phrases we’re all tired of hearing, but ones that speak nothing but the truth. One of the single most vital things that goal-achievers possess is patience. It is inevitable that at times you’ll just want to give up because you feel as though you’re putting so much time and effort into seeing little results. However, persevering is crucial because, at the end of the day, New Year’s resolutions are all about making your long-term-self proud of your dedication. Make it a habit… but be realistic A little birdy told me that if you do
something often enough, after 21 days it becomes a habit. Now, do we all do the same thing? Act and think in unison? No - we don’t. So in order for you to feel comfortable with attaining your resolution, you have to understand that what may be easy for someone else to complete could be a long process for you to grasp. But, that is not to say that you can’t get where you want to be. Get it into your daily routine: drink two litres of water, make lunch instead of spending money on a meal deal, walk instead of getting the bus. Whatever it is, make one small change every day and before you know it, it is ingrained in your normal routine so much so that you will no longer see it as something that needs to be ticked from a list. And what does that leave you? A New Year’s resolution that you can proudly say you didn’t quit.
Beat the blues and go green Eve Thomas Lifestyle Contributor
February might be the shortest month of the year, but it doesn’t always feel like it. The new year isn’t so new anymore and you’ve probably already forgotten your resolution; just as you begin to catch your breath after exam season, lectures are back in full swing and you are introduced to the next few months’ worth of work. The daunting prospect of strikes brings added stress: there is work to be done and no-one to teach it. So, if the February blues are hitting hard, it might be time to counteract them with the natural stress-busters that Sheffield has to offer. The Botanical Gardens are perhaps the obvious example. Originally laid out in 1836, the gardens are a ‘green lung’ in the city with over 5,000 species of plants offering various aromas and colours to relax as you walk around the gardens and greenhouses. If plants aren’t your cup of green tea, the gardens also host open-air theatre, music and art events throughout the year, all of which provide both fresh air and a distraction from university pressures. The dates and times of these events are all available via
their website: www.sbg.org.uk Graves Park is home to rare breeds of cattle, pigs, chickens, and donkeys, to give
y o u t h e opportunity to destress in their company whether you’re spending time petting the rabbits or watching the pigs wallow in the mud. There is ample scientific evidence to suggest that interacting with animals reduces stress, anxiety, and depressive feelings. So, if you’re in need of an endorphin boost, Graves Park might be the perfect place. Another widely-accepted feelgood activity is playing sports. Graves Park also has a golf course, two bowling greens and several tennis courts,
Perhaps already familiar to many students is Endcliffe Park. Within the park is Shepherds Wheel, an old grinding shop run by a water wheel with displays if you f i n d
a l o n g s i d e football and cricket pitches. Furthermore, the park has three lakes for a picturesque walk and a park run every Saturday morning (with a café for those less sporty!).
yourself interested in its history. The water that turns the wheel is from the Porter Brook river which continues beyond to provide scenery for walks when you’re in need of some space and greenery. If you can manage to travel a little further than Endcliffe Park, Hillsborough Park is easily accessible via public transport. It has basketball and tennis courts, a football pitch, fishing lake, bowling green and is home to a running club, also hosting a weekly park run. If
Endcliffe Park feels a bit too familiar, Hillsborough Park could certainly provide a space to destress and kick those February blues. With more trees than any other city, Sheffield is saturated with stress-busting green space. Weston Park is a stone’s throw from the University, Endcliffe Park is local to many student living spaces, and the Botanical Gardens is similarly accessible. If you feel that some fresh air might cheer you up in the midst of the cold, the dark, and the daunting prospect of another semester, wrap up warm and head outside.
Sheffield’s Botannical Garden Image: WikiCommons
GET MORE TIME IN BED. STILL BE ON TIME. ROCKINGHAM HOUSE 1 Newcastle Street, Sheffield, S1 3PD
Within walking distance to Sheffield universities, so you can lie in.
0330 134 7052 wearehomesforstudents.com @_homesforstudents
Luke Baldwin and Alicia Hannah Break Editors
Break As aforementioned, this crossword is all about MEME. Do you know your Jared, 19, from your Shalissa?
FUN FACT Tiktok, launched in 2016, is now the world’s most valuable startup. Laugh away boomers, the app is now worth $75 billion.
Is it just me or has February gone by really quickly this year? You know who else had a quick February: Woolworths who launched this month in 1878. The store, which sold everything for less that 5 cents, proved to be a global success. RIP Woolworths, I miss you everyday. 25 February -Muhammed Ali (then Casius Clay) TKOs Sonny Liston to earn his first heavyweight championship title (1964)
26 February -Galileo is arrested by Roman Inquisitors due to his belief in heliocentrism, the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun (1616) -The Original Dixieland Jass Band record the first ever jazz records (1917) 27 February -The first ever Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans (1827)
1. What is the full name of the gent 5. This food item is FRE SH (7) most famous for saying *smacks lips* 7. What day is it, my dudes? (9) NOICE (12) 9. Hi and welcome to ___ (6) 11. Who is being described in this quote: 2. Jared is 19, but there’s one thing he “Oh my f*cking god she f*cking dead” can’t do. (4) 3. What is the name of the green (10) cartoon frog who practically took over 12. Which cartoon character’s fist is the internet? (4) now a famous meme? Clue: Hey! (6) 4. If you don’t know how to flush the toilet after you’ve had a SHET… you are what? (10) 5. If someone blew your whole vape cloud away - whose name would you call? (4) 6. What is the food that a man almost dropped when someone jumped out on him? (9) 8. What does he need? Some ___ (4) 10. HEY - In which city did the man fall into the river this week? (4)
28 February -Francis Crick and James Watson discover the chemical structure of a DNA molecule; a double helix polymer. (1953) -The brains of two rats are successfully connected allowing them to share information (2013)
Did you Know?
On this Day
1.Michael Rosen 2.Read 3.Pepe 4.Disgusting 5.Adam 6.Croissant 7.Wednesday 8.Milk 9.Chilis 10.Lego 11.Miss Keisha 12.Arthur
Hello lovely break readers, you’ve reached the pit stop of the paper, time to breathe, fill out some puzzles, and get your bi-weekly fill of Sheffession goodness. The SECOND best way to destress and distract is to mindlessly scroll through memes. Whether it be TikTok content, or plain old Twitter - oh, and don’t worry to those of you
who use Facebook for your fix, you’ll get the quality we see currently in around three months time. If you’re a meme connoisseur, a Vine fanatic, or a Youtube compilation lover, then you might just crack our crossword. Also, while we’re here, I’m so excited and pained to announce, through committee led pressure, Forge Press are getting a TikTok account. More on that soon. (Alicia)
29 February -The first women are accused of witchcraft in the town of Salem (1692) -Hattie McDaniel becomes the first person of colour to win an Academy Award for her role in “Gone with the Wind” (1940) -The Beatles “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club” wins the Grammy for Album of the Year, the first rock LP to do so (1968) 1 March -Captain America created by cartoonists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby is first published by Timely Comics (1941) -Pink Floyd release their album “Dark Side of the Moon”, which went on to sell 45 million copies (1973)
Images courtesy of Wikimedia
Wednesday 26 February 2020
#Sheffession8720 Hey girl are you my coursework? Because I can’t stop thinking about you and you’re keeping me up all night. #Sheffession8715 Everyone talks about IC crushes, but no one talks about Western Bank crushes. I mean damn skinny boy with your 1920s-style trousers and laptop with a ‘Love Has No Borders’ sticker, let me snap you like a twig #Sheffession8684 To the couple basically shagging in the garden room, Can you not. The only acceptable bodily fluids in the library are tears. Sincerely, a stressed student. #Sheffession8682 3 Truths: 1. Gravity 2. Evolution 3. When you shag a stranger, you’ll see him 8 times a week around campus for the next 2 years
#Sheffession8728 My flat recently got a Wii and wow. People’s true personalities come out in Mario Kart. Some of the stuff I’ve heard I don’t think I could ever repeat. #Sheffession8724 Do they wash up? Never wash up Do they clean up? No, they never clean up Do they brush up? Never brushed up They do nothing. The housemates do nothing #Sheffession8716 Dear neighbours, unfortunately the moans you’re hearing from my apartment are not due to sex. I am an 18 year old girl with severe lower back pain #Sheffession8650 At an afters I put 2 potatoes down my flatmates toilet and they’re now stuck. So today I wrapped my flatmate’s arms in cling film so that he could stick his arms in the toilet and pull them out. He failed however, and now he has to ring maintenance and explain why there are 2 potatoes in his toilet
#Sheffession8714 Can the SU staff do a end of semester report for the funniest things they’ve seen and stories from behind the scenes? I reckon I’m a hilarious drunk personally. It’s what the people deserve #Sheffession8691 It is time. I, a Hallam student, am being smuggled into my first Roar this Wednesday. The hunt will be on to find the undercover Hallam piss-head. Happy hunting. #Sheffession8713 Hellooooo! It’s the undercover Hallam student from #sheffession8691, fresh from Roar, and relatively sticky. My overall experience at Roar can be summed up by decent tunes, awkward lads doing the side step thing, and sticky (but not enough booze to be wet) floors. I may we’ll be back, but damn the guys at UoS are difficult to flirt with. Anyway, until next time. - The Undercover Hallam xoxo
This page is pure art. I don’t visit any other page more than I do sheffessions. We have posts about drunken shenanigans, the wonders of life, jokes, romantic stories, stories about sex kinks, all whilst keeping the fire of hatred roaring for the IC doors/ lifts. And if you read that and thought that we are seriously one fucked up uni (well we kind of are), we know how to come together when needed. If someone is going through some stuff, this is a safe page to tell everyone your situation and ask for advice. We are seriously one wholesome group. In conclusion, we should easily win the competition. I mean, have you read Durfess...
Word Wheel How many words can you find in the word wheel? Each word must contain the central letter and be at least 3 letters long. Unless it appears twice, you can’t use letters twice either. Proper nouns are fine with me. There’s 50 to find in total so get cracking.
#Sheffession8730 Sheffessions didn’t get the recognition it deserves on the Tabs competition. “18.3K followers and surprisingly few posts about arctic monkeys”. Fuck off.
S E S
Place a digit from 1-9 in each of the empty squares. Each column and row should add up to the number to the left and above. Columns and rows cannot have repeated numbers. It’s like sudoku but with more maths. Fun!
Wednesday 26 February - Wednesday 4 March
Doughnotts pop up second hand clothes market
29 February, 10am 200 Degrees Coffee Shop Do I need to say anymore? Doughnut sale, from 10am. Be there before I eat them all!
Big Bummit to Krakow 6-13 April Join the Bummit committee on the largest student hitchhike for charity.
It’s so much fun and is an opportunity of a lifetime. More information can be found on the Bummit Facebook page and tickets can be bought from the SU website.
3 March 19:30-10pm The Green Room Interested in spoken word and poetry? Come along to the Poetry Society’s open mic event and listen or share some poetry in a relaxed environment. There will also be performances from our 2020 Uni Slam team so come along for an insight into UniSlam and how to perform poetry competitively. £2 entry on the door, free for members!
‘All mic long’
Film Unit 1 March 7:30- 9:30pm Nelson Mandela Auditorium Cynthia Erivo gives a stunning performance of Harriet Tubman, a real-life freedom fighter against slavery. Once free, she risked her life to liberate other slaves from the plantation fields. Harriet is a story of courage,
tenacity and strength. A perfect start to explore International Women’s Month. Tickets: £3.30 Adult, can be bought on the SU website or at the SU Box Office.
Souljam: The Boogie nation tour 5 March, 11pm-3am Foundry A classic Sheffield club night. Boogie the night away with soul music and feel good vibes. Tickets are on their final release price, £8, and can be bought on the Foundry website.
28 February, 11am-3pm Foundry Wanting to go fast-fashion free but don’t know where to start? Sustcom has got you sorted. Find new clothes at a bargain price and even ornaments to spice up your room with in their second hand clothes market. For any clutter nutters, you can even sign up to sell your own unwanted clothes. Get in touch at: Sustcom@ sheffield.ac.uk.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
Society Spotlight Getting to know...
Patrick Burke Deputy Editor
Allotments have been a feature of our landscapes for centuries, offering people the chance to grow their own vegetables, make the most of the fresh air, and get closer to nature. The noble allotment shows no signs of letting up as a part of our culture, with demand in some parts of the country potentially leaving those keen for their own plot stuck on waiting lists for years. Fortunately as a student at the University of Sheffield, you don’t need to go through the rigours of joining lengthy queues to make the most of the outdoors of one of the greenest cities in the country. The Allotment Society owns its very own plot close to Crewe Hall Flats near Endcliffe, measuring approximately seven by six metres, and featuring raised beds, a shed and a greenhouse to maximise space.
We went for a coffee with the society’s co-presidents, Callum Hughes and Jevan Menezes-Jones, who emphasised its relaxed and flexible nature. “We go out there every Sunday and do some gardening and some outside bits and bobs. We often get people who come once and then don’t come for another six weeks, so you can dip in and out of it. People come on different days, so last year lots of people couldn’t make the Sunday session, so they came and did some things on Wednesdays instead,” said Hughes. Menezes-Jones agreed, highlighting some of the different activities that members can partake in. “We do lots of art and get involved with lots of different things. We’ve got communal raised beds, and whatever people would like to get involved with they can do. We tend to bring the seeds. We’re very
relaxed so there’s no commitment to it.”
It’s very relaxing, therapeutic and peaceful, and you’ve done something productive, so it’s quite nice The society is small in scale, but offers an opportunity for students to socialise in a friendly environment with like-minded people. It organises collaborations with other societies and outside organisations, including the Arts and Crafts Society, where they made wreaths from holly, willow and lavender from the allotment, and the Hedgehog Trust. It also arranges regular visits to the pub, where it discusses plans moving forward in a
chilled-out setting. One project which the society are currently working on, which was initiated by two members, is the building of its own pizza oven. It’s a development that Hughes is excited about. “Other similar societies in other universities have a pizza oven, and it just sounds like a great idea. When the weather’s good, we always like to have barbecues, so why not make pizzas as well? We had space for it, and we just thought it would be nice.” The pizza oven may have been the main attraction which drew people to the society at the Freshers’ fair, but Menezes-Jones was also able to affirm the well-being benefits to being a member, with the plot allowing students the chance to escape from the stresses of full-time education. “We’re very relaxed so there’s no commitment to it. You can come
down and do a bit of gardening. It’s very relaxing, therapeutic and peaceful, and you’ve done something productive, so it’s quite nice.” Hughes also attested to the power of working on an allotment as a hangover cure. “It’s also good I feel because it’s on a Sunday. Sunday’s often a day where people have gone out the night before and often don’t get out, but with Allotment Society there’s somewhere to go. Even if you only go for half an hour you’ve been outside and you’ve got some fresh air.” If you needed any further incentive, membership is free of charge! You can find them on Facebook, ‘University of Sheffield Allotment Society’, and drop them a message to find out more about getting involved.
Interview by Ben Warner Words by Patrick Burke
Image: Allotment Society, Facebook
Kate Procter and Rosie Davenport Arts Editors
Welcome back to Arts! In this week’s issue we have a double page spread on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. The musical premiered at the Crucible Theatre in 2017 before transferring to the West End. Now it’s made its long awaited return to Sheffield on the first stop of an extensive national tour this year.
Rosie caught up with lead actor, Layton Williams, ahead of press night to chat about preparing for the role. Meanwhile, contributor Alice Preece gives her mixed verdict on the show after reviewing it last week. On our last page is Kate’s interview with photographer Simon Bray about his poignant exhibition, Loved&Lost, currently on display at Weston Park which explores grief in all its complexity.
“We are bringing the show home to spread some love”: Layton Williams on his lead role in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie I spoke to Williams about bringing the show home to Sheffield and the legacy of Jamie’s story. How are you finding Sheffield? It’s fab, I love it. I toured here three or four times before and worked here over Christmas last year at the Crucible. I am chuffed to be here. I am all over it. The people [of Sheffield] are going absolutely mad for the show, we will have sold nearly 26,000 tickets by the time we are finished here, which is crazy! It is nice to come back and I’ve felt the love for sure!
INTERVIEW Rosie Davenport Arts Editor
Layton Williams has been dominating the West End Stage since he was twelve years old chosen from 4,000 hopefuls to play Billy Elliot. More recently in 2016 he
has starred as Angel, a flamboyant drag queen, in the 20th anniversary tour of Rent. He may be best known for playing Stephen in BBC Three comedy Bad Education - the camp pupil in Jack Whitehall’s unruly class. Aged only 25, Williams is quickly becoming a household name and it is clear with his enthusiasm
and passion why he has gone so far. Last year he took the lead role in Everyone’s Talking About Jamie - the hit musical about a 16-yearold schoolboy with ambitions to become a drag queen. Now the show has returned to Sheffield - it’s 2017 birthplace - for the first stop on its national tour. Ahead of press night
How did you go about preparing when you first got the role? You know what, it is actually really nice to be back here in Sheffield because I prepared for the show here. I was doing Kiss Me Kate at the Crucible last Christmas and I performed ‘Too Darn Hot’, a 10-minute number that left me sweating, and I would run straight to the studio and I would sing every single song for the show in order to try and get my stamina up. I had to keep thinking if I can sing the songs now whilst I’m dripping and so out of breath, by the time it comes to the actual rehearsals I should be fine! My preparation started here in Sheffield, even my first proper rehearsal was in the Lyceum. Sheffield is basically part of my Jamie story as well so it’s super lovely and special. You’ve played some amazing roles from the likes of Billy Elliot to Angel in Rent. How does playing Jamie compare to them? Do you know what, it is hard to compare these kinds of roles because
every single one is so different. Angel was gorgeous but apart from the red heels there’s not much comparison. They are all such different journeys. This has been a lot more work when it comes to singing every darn song and performing in every scene, and spending hardly any time off stage, Left: Layton Williams as Jamie. New Below: Williams playing Jamie alongside Sharan Phull’s Pritti. Photos: Matt Crockett.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
but I don’t complain, I like to keep busy! I like the challenge of it. All the roles have been iconic in their own way. How are your feet holding up after having to perform in heels? Oh god! I could now do it in my sleep! I played Angel in Rent so it doesn’t really touch the sides for me. Luckily I don’t really dance I just get to wander and strut about. I just tell myself “I got this!” Did the South Yorkshire accent come easily? Not easily! I mean, I am northern but I’m from Lancashire so the twang is a bit different. I definitely wouldn’t say it is an easy accent but like I said, I like a challenge! I think I have got it… I’ve not had any complaints at the stage door yet. What is your favourite number from the show? It is not even a number but I love a little moment called the ‘Spotlight Reprise’, and I sing a little bit of that with Pritti. I don’t know why but it just makes me feel all tingly inside. I obviously love the ‘Finale’, I always feel like a popstar. I get that mic and say “Come on, on your feet Sheffield!” – not that I even need to tell them to get on their feet they are already up. The ‘Finale’ is just so cute, it just wraps everything up with a cheeky end.
Have you found any of the numbers more personal? The emotional numbers are always emotional which takes a lot and can be exhausting. Being so dramatic, going through such dramas and singing about feeling ‘Ugly in this Ugly World’ eight times a week takes its strain but it is therapy. It is nice to be able to go on stage, put all your things into the role, put yourself in there and then at the end of the show I just think “wow, I did that”. At the end of the show I literally can’t wait just to do it again. Have you met the ‘real’ Jamie, Jamie Campbell, who the show is based on? Of course, many times! He is fab. He will probably be here on press night and he has been to so many shows, galas and celebrations. He is a gorgeous guy, a fabulous person. Did you speak to him in preparation for getting into character? Not really in that sense because as much as it is inspired by him it is not necessarily him. I find my Jamie within myself. I search from Layton and my past experiences and I make it my own. It does help when I see him and can see his gorgeous vulnerability and aspects of him that are present within the character. When he is in the audience it does feel like pressure. Do you find your performance and the story inspires fans? Yeah, it is so cute. People come to the show in outfits and all dressed up. People rock up at the stage door in full looks, looking gorge and glam! We had a ten-year-old drag queen the other day – the nails were on fleek, the face was beat to the gods, the wig was laced! I was like “YAAS”. The kids really come through and it is just gorgeous to see that we are making a wave through the UK and we are inspiring kids to do their thing and be them. Not even just kids, everyone. What do you hope locals from Sheffield specifically will take away from the show? I hope they come and connect with the story. Even though Jamie Campbell is from Newcastle, the director, Jonathan Butterell is from Sheffield and he’s got me in it, a lad from a council estate in Bury. These things, dreams and aspirations shouldn’t be pushed aside because you’re from a certain place. We are bringing the show home to spread the love, hope, kindness!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Above: Shane Richie as Loco Chanelle and Layton Williams as Jamie alongside the Drag Queens. Below: Amy Ellen Richardson as Jamie’s mother Margaret. Photos: Matt Crockett.
The Lyceum Alice Preece Arts Contributor
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie made its long-awaited return to Sheffield ahead of its nationwide UK tour, and has been showing at the Lyceum since Saturday 8 February. The musical tells the story of 16-year-old Jamie New, a Sheffield council estate boy who dreams of becoming a drag queen. The show is based on the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, which followed the life of Jamie Campbell, a boy who wanted to wear a dress to prom. This production features stars straight from the West End production; naturally, hopes and expectations for the Sheffield show are high. The first number, ‘And You Don’t Even Know It’, proves to be the best number of the night, leaving me somewhat disappointed with the rest of the show. The toe-tapping tunes slowly fade to forgettable ballads with odd storylines as the show progresses. ‘The Legend of Loco Chanel (And the Blood Red Dress)’ features particularly bad staging and story, and feels entirely unnecessary to the plot and progression of the performance. The show also struggles with songs performed by the character Pritti, played by Sharan Phull. It feels quite jarring when the character switches from a heavy
Sheffield accent to perfect Received Pronunciation every time she breaks into song. Standout performances though, come from Layton Williams playing Jamie who has clearly perfected this character during his West End run. His performance throughout is consistent and he really flexes his rock-pop vocals in the show stopping number ‘Ugly in this Ugly World’.
providing the audience with a welcome laugh. It’s odd, however, that the whole show focuses on Jamie becoming a drag queen, yet we never see him in full drag at any point in the show (unless you count a projection). Also slightly off is the transition of Miss Hedge, played by Lara Denning, from caring teacher in the opening number to raging homophobe. The shift doesn’t translate well. One would also expert technical perfection in a professional touring production, but the mics failed to pick up many of the times Layton flipped into his high head voice. Hopefully, that will be quickly fixed in the run. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is at its best when characters are blasting back and forth witty dialogue, not when breaking out into sometimes verging-on-cringey songs. It feels as though the show might even work better as a play than a musical.
Amy Ellen Richardson who played Jamie’s mother also shines through most of ‘He’s My Boy’ – she cannot be blamed for the interesting addition of misplaced high notes written into the music. George Sampson proves he is much more than just a dancer in the role of Dean and Shobna Gulati as Ray delivers a perfect balance of comedy and heartfelt emotion
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is at the the Lyceum Theatre, until 29 February and then on a nation-wide tour until August.
Photo credit: Museums Sheffield
Meet the photographer who wants us to talk about death Weston Park Museum Kate Procter Arts Editor
“It’s really nice to share these stories with people and try to encourage them to engage with loss and talk about it,” photographer Simon Bray tells me as we discuss his exhibition at Weston Park Museum. Loved&Lost is the culmination of a photography project Simon has worked on over the last six years of his life. Inside the gallery nine sets of selected pictures are featured with accompanying text. Each set consists of an original photo, depicting a person with someone they’ve lost, and a new photograph taken by Simon restaging the old photograph in the same location. It is a simple but moving concept. One participant recreates a childhood photo taken on a family walk, sitting on a bridge with his brother who looks nearly identical. Another returns to the prom in Penzance where they’d taken a selfie on holiday with their boyfriend, having met on Guardian Soulmates. While another goes back to Hillsborough’s Stadium to watch Sheffield Wednesday for the first time since his dad died, reliving a routine they’d kept for 20 years. Simon’s mother, Anne, was the first person he photographed for the project. Her husband Peter (Simon’s father) died aged 51 of prostate cancer in December 2009. Simon describes the loss as wounding
the deepest part of his being and shaping the following years of his life. But visiting St Giles Hill in Winchester, where his parents had a picture taken a few days after they got engaged in 1981, helped to change his perspective. Talking over a cup of tea with his mum up on the hill after recreating the photo, Simon found it therapeutic to hear her share stories about his father. “It made me realise that the photographs are a really good way into this story and they represent the loss as there is a clear space in the recreated image, but it was in the conversation after that the real depth came out.” Since then Simon has photographed a further 19 people for the project. After establishing his process, he opened it up to public participants who approached him via a website. He says they might have a phone call or Skype chat beforehand but for the most part he was meeting a stranger at a location they’d chosen for their photograph. “This could be somewhere they know very well and go back to very regularly or it could be somewhere they haven’t been for 40 years and everything in between, so there is a real range of stories and breadth of experiences contained within these stories.” He found the sensory experience of these places – their sights, smells and sounds – would evoke memories for his participants. They would engage in intimate conversations about their lost ones and “largely
celebrate them through stories.” “There is a level of trust because there is that inherent understanding that we’d both experienced significant loss so it meant that the conversations felt open and easy,” Simon explains. “I was amazed by the sentiments that people shared and the stories people were willing to offer for the project.” One of these stories in the Loved&Lost exhibition was specially commissioned by the museum. Simon met Sheffield local Kyle Campbell and spent time in St Luke’s Hospice with him where they recreated a photograph in memory of Kyle’s grandfather who was cared for there, having moved to England from Jamaica as part of the Windrush generation. Simon, 32, grew up in Winchester but lives in Manchester, where he went to university and his interest in photography began, using it as a medium to explore the city. He started the project at the beginning of his journey as a photographer, and so describes his method as “very instinctive.” “I feel like there isn’t a very distinctive aesthetic - it was more
Simon’s mother, Anne Bray, on St. Giles Hill overlooking Winchester, recreating a photo taken shortly after her engagement to her husband Peter. Photo credit: Simon Bray.
Left: Kyle Campbell photographed in St Luke’s Hospice, Sheffield shaving his grandad. Right: Kyle on his own after his grandad’s passing. Photo credit: Simon Bray.
about what do I need to adequately tell this story. And I’ve had to stay true to that. Obviously over six years my photographic style and my influences have changed a lot and so I’ve tried my best to maintain that fairly clean feel for the photographs.” Simon believes the participants feel like they are given an opportunity to honour somebody no longer with them and so has crafted it into a positive experience. “I don’t want to sound too presumptuous or even verging on arrogant but I think I knew when I was starting the project that it had a lot of power to engage people with a subject matter that is seemingly very difficult to talk about. “Restaging an old photograph isn’t a new technique but I suppose it was that belief in it that has kept me working on it for so long - it’s rare to find a project that keeps giving back to you.” However, there have been times when the project has been challenging. Simon admits the project can be emotionally tiring to make – spending a day with someone talking about their loss before going away to transcribe their interview means he has to spend long periods of time dwelling on their stories. Then 18 months ago Simon’s family was shaken by tragedy when his sister, Jess, died from a brain tumour aged 29. Simon decided to take a break from the project to look after himself for a while,particularly as his wife gave birth to their daughter shortly afterwards. For a while Simon thought he couldn’t work on any more stories, but when the opportunity came up for the exhibition at Weston Park he felt able to embrace it. “I had a very strong idea of what I wanted the exhibition to look like and I’m delighted with it. I didn’t want it to look too formulaic or too busy – I wanted to make it look approachable and warm; to be inviting and a space you want to spend time in.” Simon visited the exhibition with his mother and says it was really special if not slightly overwhelming for her to see her photo on display. “I always wanted a lot of people to see the stories because there are a lot of people who have lost someone like I have but don’t know where to turn. “I wanted these stories to translate to people to offer a bit of support and solace and I know they are doing that because I get messages from around the world telling me they have provided comfort.” Loved&Lost is at Weston Museum until 19 April.
Candidates announced 10am, 2nd March Use your vote to shape the future of our SU 9th - 11th March sheffieldsu.com/elections
Dana Raer and Ella Craig Music Editors
So you’re here in the Music section, you probably enjoy going to gigs right? Well, imagine if you couldn’t go see the artists you love due to venue accessibility issues. Contributor Tierney Green explains the issues with disability access at music venues. We also have a variety of reviews including; X Ambassadors live at The Leadmill; Justin Bieber’s latest
installment Changes; Tame Impala’s new album The Slow Rush; a review of Billie Eilish’s latest single, made for the new Bond movie of the same name, ‘No Time To Die’. This review also touches on how Eilish has impacted pop culture, from her 2019 Grammy’s controversy to being the youngest Bond soundtrack singer. Also, we have a short feature on the record label Speedy Wunderground.
The issues with disability access at live music venues FEATURE Tierney Green Music Contributor
When attending a gig, generally people will check three things: the date, the time, and the price. You know who’s playing, and you can figure out how you’re getting there either on the day or a day or two in advance. At least, I have asked a few people about this and I’m told that’s all there is to it. I wouldn’t know. I suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, coupled with fibromyalgia and some gut issues. In short, everything is exhausting, and everything hurts. I can’t stand for longer than a couple of minutes, can’t walk far, can’t dance at all. For a long time, I attended exclusively classical concerts - they are reliably seated, in accessible venues, and somewhere near public transport. Eventually, though, I wanted to get back into gigs with music written more recently than 1875. Before I can decide if I’m going somewhere, I have to do my research. I’ll take the most recent gig I attended as an example: Is the gig seated? No. Is it an accessible venue? Partially, but you have to call or email in advance to let them know you’re coming. Is it open before the gig or will I have to queue? I’ll have to queue, so I’ll have to ask about that in the email. Is there parking nearby, as I can’t reliably
get on public transport? Yes, there’s a very expensive car park a few minutes’ walk. I’ll have to pay the fees if I want to go. Can they provide adaptations? Unsure, the website doesn’t specify. They never do. So, before I buy tickets, I send an email asking if they can provide seating and if they offer priority access. It takes a few days to reply, but they say that they can. I just need to ring when I arrive and they’ll let me in early. As it’s not going to sell out, I don’t get tickets. It’s possible the day will come and I won’t be well enough to attend, and I prefer not to faff about learning about cancellation policies unless I absolutely have to. I’ll buy them when I get there. I go with my housemate, who will bring me a drink before it starts and then go into the crowd for the actual performance. They help me to and from the venue, and (as has happened before) sit outside with me if the lighting makes me ill (we’ll get to that). We call at the allotted time and someone comes to let us in the fire exit, to the glare of everyone queueing. The manager on the day was there, and nobody told them they needed to get seats ready. They had no idea I was coming. They let us in, and the manager runs off to find chairs. He’s not back before my legs start to hurt. When he does turn up, he has an odd-looking armchair for me to sit on. They set
me up next to the stage, and brought a footstool for my friend. The first problem is that these places are absolutely freezing. Because the band/performer/ musician will be under stage lights and the crowd will be packed together, everyone else will be boiling. I’m sitting apart for safety, and for some reason I’m always positioned near the fire exit - which is always constantly being opened. The major advantage of my friend going into the crowd was that they left me their coat; so at least I had a makeshift blanket. I leave my own coat on the whole time. The music starts, and then the lighting goes down. I use ear plugs to rescue my hearing - which I recommend for everyone - and, aside from being cold, I’m enjoying it. Part way through, a fellow attendee with a cane comes over they tell me they’re jealous of my chair. I tell them the other one is available, if they need to sit. They go and collect their friend and join me - they tell me they didn’t know that venues could even provide chairs. It’s not advertised anywhere, and it’s simply listed as a standing gig; so my new friend was stood near the back, in pain. I made it to the end, but was far too tired to stay and have a drink. I had to drag my housemate home more or less immediately after it finished. One of the key things you must
remember about being disabled is this - we still like to do things. Often, when I mention that it’s difficult to watch music even though I like going, the reaction is, “well you don’t have to go, do you?” Well, no; I suppose not. Neither do you. Neither does anyone else. In fact, all we really need in life is a roof over our head, adequate nutrition, and to keep ourselves and our environment clean. However, such an existence would be miserable. Event venues, where possible, should make more of an effort to update their accessibility policies and information on their websites. That said, physical disabilities (or physical requirements, at least) are sometimes the only ones which are taken into account. The hearing impaired, for example, can feel the vibrations of sound through speakers - and a sign language interpreter can sometimes become part of the performance, where one is available. Visually impaired people may also want to attend, but low lighting can make that difficult. Strobe lighting can also cause issues (including for me with motion sickness) - it appears in most gigs, but can cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. Fog machines are popular for atmosphere, but anybody with asthma or breathing difficulties can have a reaction. When a venue is prepared, accessibility is really quite easy
to manage. Most places have designated wheelchair spaces; they should also have a small seating area with a stock of chairs, and this should not take away from the wheelchair space. They should warn for strobing and smoke machines and be prepared to switch them off when requested; and have an alternative lighting system that’s a little brighter for the visually impaired. In large cities particularly it is not difficult to find a sign language interpreter, though they would need time in advance to prepare. Currently, all of the onus is on the disabled person to organise, request, and explain their requirements. It would be unreasonable to expect a venue of any size to offer such accommodations to everyone just in case; however they should have set adaptations they can offer to anyone who requests it. Aside from having to suggest adaptations myself, the thing that makes me feel the most like an inconvenience is when a venue is unprepared even when I’ve made the effort to let them know what I need in advance. I don’t know what it’s like to know I can definitely attend any event I’d like. But I’d like to find out.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
How has Billie Eilish influenced pop culture?
REVIEW Billie Eilish: No Time To Die Uditi Singh Music Contributor
Billie Eilish has, to put it plainly, taken the world of pop by storm. Since her first single, ‘Ocean Eyes’, was released in 2016, the public cannot get enough of her music. Her songs, which are written and produced in collaboration with her brother Finneas, are hauntingly cathartic. Her bedroom pop style of music, with a strong hiphop influence, was previously undiscovered in the pop world. The subtlety of her voice mixed with electro-pop synthesisers has made her music instantly recognisable. Her music and her personality relate with the youth so well because she is one of them. Far and away from the distant, aloof popstar, Billie is casual, relatable - an open and honest teen thrown into the spotlight for her incredible talent. This is why, when it was announced that she would be performing the theme song for the latest James Bond movie, ‘No Time To Die’, the decision was met with a few raised eyebrows. There was,
Image: RBMG/Def Jam
REVIEW Justin Bieber: Changes Alex Bruce Music Contributor
of course, a sense of anticipation to see how this 18-year-old, up-andcoming pop star would do justice to the theme for a franchise over 57 years old. Critics and fans alike were waiting to see how Billie and Finneas would write to the dark, chilling Bond chords that send shivers down one’s spine, and how her characteristic synthesiser-heavy sound would influence them. This song helps to bring out Billie’s true colours and explore a vocal range that is different to her normal music. She well and truly goes beyond the soft, haunting sound of her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? There is a richness to her voice in this song that is truly refreshing to hear. She belts out an impeccable high note at the climax ofthe song - and she makes it seem so easy. It is safe to say that her soft, haunting voice is very well suited for a track of this nature, while also leaving room for listeners to be surprised at her high notes. It looks like the producers of the film want to attempt to make the Bond franchise more accessible and relatable for a younger demographic, like Billie’s usual audience. Their efforts to keep the suave, dashing spy relevant to the youth of today do not end at the music. The script for the film, too, was reportedly ‘lightened up’ by the producer of Fleabag. Daniel Craig’s portrayal of
a brooding Bond fits right into the song’s melancholic lyrics. Craig’s Bond is of an isolationist nature; he ends up pushing those close to him further away. Billie explores this when she sings “I’ve fallen for a lie / You were never on my side.” What makes this theme song so special is how it portrays how James Bond and, by extension, the world he lives in has progressed as technology has become more advanced. The use of Billie’s trademark synthesisers in the song is a subtle reminder that the music industry, too, is evolving along with technology. Writing the theme song for such an iconic franchise is only one of the many well-deserved accolades Billie has accumulated over the years. Along with taking home five awards at the 2020 Grammy Awards, Billie has countless gold and platinum records under her belt. Her talent and persona have put her into the spotlight. Critics will argue that the teen does not deserve the recognition she has recieved, but the truth remains that her kind of talent is something special. Such a big pop sensation has not been seen since the debut of New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde way back in 2013. Billie is influencing the entire pop industry in more ways than one. Her fanbase has been compared to that of Nirvana, ‘devotees’ of her
music. When asked why they love her so much, her fans usually have the same responses. She is relatable, being of a similar age. The songs that she writes are about teenage angst, first loves, loss, growing up, and dealing with change. These are feelings and experiences that the youth have, all over the world. Having those emotions and
stories written down and expressed for them helps them feel seen and understood. That is Billie’s powershe tells our stories in a way we are not able to articulate. She reminds us that she is growing and changing alongside the rest of us, and that whatever may transpire, music will ensure that we do not have to walk alone.
Changes is the fifth studio album from pop music superstar and notorious opinion divider Justin Bieber. It marks his return to music after a four year hiatus, the longest of his career, during which he has only appeared on several high profile feature spots, from the remix of Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’ to dance hits like ‘Cold Water’ by Major Lazer and ‘2U’ by David Guetta (yes, I know you have completely forgotten about both of those songs). Although it follows on from Purpose in Justin’s discography, Changes sounds a lot more like a sequel to the 2013 mixtape Journals, a bland R&B project which somehow remains a favourite within the Belieber community. The lead up to Changes has felt a little weird, from the use of the
polarizing ‘Yummy’ as lead single to the rushed release of the next two singles, ‘Get Me’ and ‘Intentions’, both underwhelming R&B tracks with little personality. Nevertheless, I was still excited to hear Justin again, especially given that his previous album Purpose was by far his best. However, this album is absolutely worse than Purpose in almost every way. The first thing you will notice as you listen through this project is how every track sounds weirdly identical. The culprit is easy to find – the production is terrible. Almost every instrumental has the exact same trap percussion and horrible distorted snares which sound as if the production team have spent the last year listening exclusively to the music of Dababy, particularly on ‘Intentions’ and ‘Forever’.
Trap pop and trap R&B fusions can work – Charli XCX and The Weeknd particularly excel at this - but the lack of interesting melodies kills any hope of this on Changes. The features on this project are pretty dreadful too; Travis Scott collects feature bag number 1,000 since Astroworld on ‘Second Emotion’ with little enthusiasm, Post Malone and Kehlani also sound less animated than usual, while Clever pushes his voice to the point of near-yodelling on ‘Forever’. The worst feature however belongs to ‘Freaky Friday’ man Lil Dicky, sounding unfunnier than ever with extremely questionable lyrics about scrolling too far back on Instagram on ‘Running Over’. There are some bright spots on the album, mostly courtesy of Justin himself. The lyrical content on this
album is definitely Justin’s best so far, moving on from the awkward preaching of Purpose to far more personal territory, particularly the positive influence of his marriage to wife Hailey on his life. It’s genuinely heart warming and enough to pull you through the slog of listening to near identical tracks at least once. The biggest weakness however is the abject lack of variety. While Purpose had beautiful moments like ‘Life is worth living’ mixed in with fun Skrillex-produced dance tracks such as ‘Company’ and ‘Children’, the only moment which really stands out here is the highly catchy ‘Yummy’, which is a highlight despite dreadful lyrics. Ultimately though Changes suffers the worst fate possible for a pop record – it’s just boring.
Billie Eilish Image: crommelincklars
The rise REVIEW of Speedy Tame Impala: Wunderground The Slow
OPINION Thomas Hirst Music Contributor
Anyone who knows me well will have heard my rambling about Speedy Wunderground and the sheer calibre of the bands they’ve produced over the past year or so. The indie label was created by the producer Dan Carey, an industry vet that’s worked with artists ranging from Tame Impala to Kylie Minogue. Carey however, is now doing something different. He built this philosophy into Speedy Wunderground, embedding it into his incredibly compact recording sessions. They start in the morning and finish before midnight, with no lunch breaks. The mixing happens the next day in a similar format. What this creates is a raw, engineered style that pushes bands to be tight and well-drilled, encouraging spontaneity and inthe-moment experimentation. Carey uses the approach to “prevent over-cooking and faff” and to be fair to him, I think it’s paying off. The best example of this is the label’s poster boys, Black Midi. The band is on a meteoric rise, garnering widespread attention and critical acclaim, including a Mercury Prize nomination, for the grimly and exploratory and neo post-punk sound of their debut Schlagenheim. The label also produced some of the coolest bands of last year, my personal favourite being Squid. A band who tiptoe around the sinkholes of genre, ingrained with a distinct groove and Talking Headsesque delivery which allowed them to craft their sensational debut EP Town Centre. You also can’t ignore Black Country, New Road, a weird and wonderful musical collective dissecting the obstacles of the modern world through a melting pot of spoken word poetry and their own brand of orchestral punk. They’re inconceivably original, selling out a tour from just two released tracks and word of mouth. So, you may ask, how is Carey doing all of this? Well, the scouting from Pierre Hall cannot go unnoticed as the talent he brings in is second to none; but I believe Carey is close to a mythical status in the producing world. He has injected a newfound originality that’s shaping the modern post-punk scene and long may it continue. I just can’t wait to see what’s next.
Adam J Sundle Music Contributor
After a four-and-a-half-year hiatus, Tame Impala have returned once again with a smooth-psychedelic sound that has taken an increasing synth-based bliss that wouldn’t look out of place on the dancefloor. Kevin Parker has proven once again that he is an impeccable perfectionist with layered compositions, but has moved away from crunchy guitar sounds into a more electronic synth-pop sound – something which Parker has identified as being Tame Impala’s base. Parker has become something of a trailblazer with his synth sound inspiring rock bands to introduce similar synth and electro sounds. But their influence expands beyond the rock scene and into the mainstream too and has been lauded by the likes of Kanye West and Lady Gaga and has had tracks covered
LIVE X Ambassadors at The Leadmill Jonathan Slater Music Editor
The X Ambassadors show at The Leadmill on 19th February embodied the enigma that is the three piece New York rock band. They do sultry post-2018 Arctic Monkeys-esque synth rock, they do sensitive and emotionally vulnerable, they do chart-topping monster hits like ‘Renegades’ and ‘Jungle’. I didn’t know what to expect when I turned up to the gig, but I definitely wasn’t expecting such an array of lyrical vulnerability and vocal mastery. The band, who have worked with mega-star JAY-Z in the past, should be applauded for making music that means something to them, rather than trading their integrity in the search for chart supremacy. Lead singer Sam Harris’ amazing vocal range was a prominent feature of the night. Indeed his energy carried the gig through a wet night at the half
by the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Rihanna. Indeed, to be ‘like Tame Impala’ is now a generalised byword to describe how artists have been influenced by the band. The Slow Rush is from the beginning evidently an album that should be listened to in full due to its cohesion and how easily each track flows into one another. It feels like a relaxing time-travelling experience, with time, being a theme that Parker has portrayed as being one of the motivations for this project. Songs like ‘Lost In Yesterday’ focus on the past and on nostalgia, whilst tracks like ‘It Might be Time’ reflects on aging and looks towards the future and the fear of it. ‘One More Year’ too highlights the emotional distance one can have between the space of 12 months. ‘Borderline’ was tinkered to support the continuity of the album and to link it to the other funky-synth tracks, but with a more powerful bass added to it as well and is personally, a true highlight of the record. Similar tracks like ‘Breathe Deeper’ epitomise the true escapist nature of the album with its smooth funk roll that is so easy to immerse in. ‘Posthumous Forgiveness’ also has a funky bassline but is one of the slower tracks and diverges towards the end to become much more
stripped-back. The lyrics reflect the musical tone of the song, with Kevin returning to the complicated relationship he had with his father. Indeed, he brings back the narrative of time to this track saying “Wanna tell you ’bout the time, I was in Abbey Road, Or the time I had, Mick Jagger on the phone.” Parker’s father was a powerful influence on his musical endeavours after all. As a consequence of the fluidity between the tracks on the album,
full Leadmill. The £20 ticket price certainly didn’t help fill the famous venue. In a world increasingly filled with hate, it was refreshing to hear Harris declare that X Ambassadors’ gigs were a safe place for everyone, regardless of who they were and what they believed. Energetic, enthusiastic and
at the same time somewhat of a commercial weakness. Huge artists like Ed Sheeran and Stormzy have been able to diversify their repertoire after achieving huge success, nailing a distinctive trope and creating a huge fan base. X Ambassadors have tried to take those three steps at once. The song ‘Joyful’, including
typically American rock songs such as ‘Hey Child’ were interspersed with slow vulnerable songs such as ‘Unsteady’. It seems X Ambassadors enjoy being purposefully insensitive and sensitive in equal measure. Over the course of the evening Harris, who fronts the band alongside keyboardist brother Casey and drummer Adam Levin, displayed most of the emotions humans have discovered. From confident to confused, rowdy to relaxed, his band’s chameleonic character requires him to give his all, every gig. The band is an enigma. They don’t fit into any ‘genre’ neatly. Perhaps this in part explains why they do not pull larger crowds and command stadiums this side of the pond. They’re definitely good enough to. It seems perhaps their versatility, which is their largest strength, is
there are few stand-out moments and fans of previous Tame Impala albums like Currents and Lonerism will miss the catchy guitar riffs of iconic and memorable tracks like ‘Elephant’ and ‘The Less I know The Better.’ Whilst not littered with distinctive singles, The Slow Rush is still a captivating experience that combines a funky psychedelic sound that transmits one into a smooth and tranquil euphoria.
Image: Modular Records
the lyrics “I’m joyful and happy just being alive”, struck me on an emotional level I simply wasn’t expecting when I turned up, much less after hearing the band’s opening
song ‘Jungle’, which on reflection, doesn’t represent the band at all. The night ended on an uplifting triumphant note. One of the band’s big hits, ‘Renegade’ is catchy and proudly resilient. Harris correctly gauged that the audience had warmed up enough from the cold to catch him as he performed the classic rockstar crowd dive. If you get the chance to go to an X Ambassadors gig, go. Unless you’re a mega fan, you’ll turn up not knowing what to expect and still find yourself very pleasantly surprised.
ACADEMIC AWARDS Celebrating our Academic Community
Nominate someone who has improved your educational experience this year Categories including: Most Supportive Non-Academic Staff Member Outstanding Personal Tutor Outstanding Contribution to Student Wellbeing
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Awards Evening: Wednesday 20th May Registered Charity: 1147855
Dan Cross and Josh Teggert Screen Editors
We’re celebrating all things awards in this issue as the 92nd Academy Awards brought the latest awards season to a close. Enjoy Josh’s thoughts on the season in general and how the lack of diversity is such a big issue within the industry. As always we also have several reviews from our excellent contributors. Ash Williams has slid across from
Games to give his thoughts on the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie (what is this, a crossover episode?), while we’ve got a review of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S I Still Love You by Betty Wilson. Gwynnie Naylor has been to see Emma and then in a bold move from us we’re reviewing Forge TV’s content, as Sama presents a show aimed at how to help you work on your cooking skills and meal prep in general - all on a student budget.
Awards Season 2020- More of the same or has the game changed for good? FEATURE
climate is not without its merit. Indeed, it does not appear as if the establishment has come very far Josh Teggert since his last appearance at the Screen Editor Golden Globes - heck Hollywood and This year’s awards season has its coinciding awards institutions once again been plagued with have barely changed in the last controversy from the start. Despite decade, despite evolving somewhat the clear on-the-night diversity with attempts to make voting based endeavour (the performance on a more balanced scope. of Frozen II’s nominated piece, In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became ‘Into The Unknown’, featuring the first woman to take the Best the voice actors from versions of Director award at the Academy the film around the world Awards for her turn in The was certainly a special Hurt Locker. Only highlight), the five women have inescapable truth been nominated was that The for the award Academy failed in ever. However, the eyes of many this year to recognise art saw Parasite produced by a the 12th wide spectrum international of filmmakers; feature film Image: MovieDB women and BAME (labelled “Foreign communities suffered Language Film” prior chiefly. to 2020) to be nominated for Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais’ Best Picture - sweep the Oscars hit-and-miss attempt to prove that with four total wins, and the first Hollywood has not evolved much international feature film in the since the last time he presented Academy’s 92-year history to win back in 2016 - nearly a year before the Best Picture award. the Harvey Weinstein abuse reports Representation matters so broke - saw some jokes land with much in film and its accolades, cold apprehension; a particularly and there’s no better summation striking gag regarding Leonardo of its importance than the one DiCaprio’s taste for younger women provided by classic psychoanalytic being “his thing” came in the and film theorist Jacques Lacan, same sentence as a stab at Prince who postulated the concept of the Andrew’s alleged indiscretions with mirror stage of development and its Jeffrey Epstein. correspondence with the shaping Enjoy his PC-subversive humour of identity as crucial in cinema. In or not, Gervais’ take on Hollywood’s his argument, Lacan identifies that
Parasite is the first film not in the English language to win Best Picture. Image: MovieDB
infants recognise their own likeness in a mirror, which acts as the first step towards seeing themselves as a complete, integrated being. This can have a huge impact on the ways in which people view themselves and consequently establish an identity, and though Lacan believes no-one can be completely integrated, nor a fully accomplished “whole” being, it is critical that all human beings are represented and mirrored in wider society to reinforce this essence of personal individuality in a collective society. For this reason, it’s crucial that people see themselves, or an identity associated with their personal distinguishment, paralleled in popular culture. Identities are shaped by what people see in film, television, sport, and other areas of the public forum. The identity that the awards institutions have made for themselves is one of cultural negligence and ignorance, and this year’s ceremonies further perpetuated the perfunctory nature of the Academy et al. in their efforts to diversify. As one example of such nescience, the BAFTAs this year delivered an all-male directing and best film shortlist, while there were absolutely no nominations in the acting categories for BAME actors. Female Oscar voters are currently put at around 28 per cent of the overall demographic, while BAME voters are at a meagre 13 per cent. Compare this to the LA Times’s study of 2012, which uncovered that 94 per cent of Oscars voters were white and 77 per cent were male, and what becomes apparent is a rather disinclined effort to shift the entrenched, systematic privilege that white males have in Hollywood. It is undeniable that strong, constructive representations can play a massive role in the fight to break down stereotypes in society that can be detrimental to individuals and peoples. It shouldn’t be down to the stars accepting the awards to advocate for young people
The Farewell grossed over $20 million at the box office globally Image: MovieDB of heterogeneous backgrounds to take up an interest in filmmaking; it ought to be encouraged in the art that is produced, made accessible and finally commended by Hollywood. But change needs to stem from a deeper place within Hollywood; the awards institutions cannot be entirely blamed for the lack of diversity as not enough projects are being funded, submitted and consequently campaigned for in the first place. Shockingly, only 13 per cent of the 250 top-grossing Hollywood films of 2019 were directed by women, as outlined
Change needs to stem from within Hollywood, the awards cannot be entirely blamed for the lack of diversity in a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, signifying a clear, prolonged problem within the film industry of allowing women the chance to direct features that have the capability to succeed in the wider market. This issue is further extrapolated by BAFTA’s revelation that, of the films submitted this year, only 19 per cent of them were directed by women. Awards campaigns themselves are led by specialists who are specifically hired to give a film the exposure necessary within the industry to succeed at the likes of the BAFTAs, though the process
is much more fervent and expensive at the Oscars (some insiders claim that Netflix spent somewhere in the region of $20 million on their Oscars campaign). Efforts have certainly been made in recent years to widen the span of films up for awards, and the significance of Parasite’s big wins should not be ignored. But is it really enough when so many other projects, such as Lulu Wang’s marvellous The Farewell which boasts a $20 million global box office take on just a $3 million budget, are completely snubbed? Of course, the quality of a film is not dictated by its box office success, but an isolated incident as this in combination with the general consensus on the lack of diversity at the awards indicates a perceptible reluctance to break the path set out by the convention of this century-long history of film award. So was this year’s awards season a big turning point for Hollywood? The short answer, no. Drastic change is vital now to ensure the growth of a divergent pathway forward for modern cinema, one which recognises the achievements of a person or peoples regardless of reputation, class, ethnicity, gender or previous accolades (all of the supporting actor nominations at the Oscars this year were previous winners, albeit Brad Pitt’s prior win came in the form of Best Picture for his work in 12 Years a Slave). It may look like things are improving, but long-standing, centralised tradition still dominates this playing field.
Wednesday 26th February 2020
Film: Sonic the Hedgehog Ash Williams Games Editor
If someone had said after the first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog dropped, that it would result in a movie that wasn’t absolutely terrible, they would have been ridiculed. Rarely has a film trailer attracted such a negative reaction, all circled around the design of Sonic himself. It was horrifying, only topped in sheer nightmare-factor later on by the infamous Cats trailer. People complained, rightfully so, and in a surprising twist, Sonic was redesigned. Unlike Cats though, the movie attached
Jim Carrey shines as Dr Robotnik Image: MovieDB to the S o n i c trailer turns out to be a quietly enjoyable ride. Not great, but by no means terrible. After finding himself isolated
Film: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You - Netflix Betty Wilson Screen Contributor
Note to self: don’t choose to watch a cute teenage rom-com alone on Valentine’s Day. It won’t make you feel any better, especially not
when the film centres around a love triangle. You can’t even get one person to text you back; Lara Jean (Lana Condor) can get the most popular boy in school and her childhood crush to respond to actual
in a strange new world, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) must find a way to defeat the villainous Dr Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) with the help of local sheriff Tom Wakowski (James Marsden). It’s a simple plot that veterans of the long-running game series will be familiar with, and there aren’t many twists and turns that deviate from a conventional video game or children’s story. At times, there are leaps in logic to advance the plot (Wakowski deciding to help a creature he’s only known for less than twenty minutes being a primary one), but the slower moments where the leading pair chat about their life goals are nicely written, an ironic positive in a movie about a hedgehog known best for going fast. Sonic fans expecting this film to pay homage to nearly 30 years of gaming history will be left fulfilled, with easter eggs that are easily missable but are nice touches nonetheless. However, the film aims to write its own history, separate from the games it’s based on, with mixed results. The iconic rings, typically used in the games to signify Sonic’s health and used as a protection from hazards, are instead used in the film as portals to transport characters from place to place. It’s a neat idea, resembling devices like in Stargate or, in gaming terms, portals from the series of the same name. However, while the opening ten minutes or so tries to evoke the games the film is based on with some stunning visuals of Green Hill Zone, the narrative introduces this strange owl character as Sonic’s
love letters. P.S. I Still Love You is the sequel to the 2018 film To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo and directed by Michael Fimognari. After Lara Jean’s sister released her privately written love letters to all her past crushes, this second film depicts the love triangle formed when one of them - John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher), Lara Jean’s childhood crush - responds to her letter and the two of them end up volunteering at an old people’s home together. It also has a deep focus on Lara Jean’s relationship with her now-boyfriend Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) as they struggle to navigate the early days of teenage romance. The film is cute and enjoyable but it’s not ground-breaking. It’s the type of film you’ll put on at a girly sleepover or when you’re hungover on a Sunday morning. It’s fun, with lots of colourful imagery and fantastic costumes that give the high
Sonic was redesigned after heavy initial backlash Image: MovieDB protector in a world where everyone seems to be after his power, only to vanish before you get a chance to get a real connection. It’s a choice that doesn’t work. Carrey and Marsden, as well as
Carrey, however, is the biggest plus of this film. He steals the show as Robotnik Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, do a decent job carrying the film, with Schwartz’s off the wall attitude
school love story that optimistic air that any good romance should
It simultaneously feels like this dream scenario - something that is definitely the overarching feel of the first film
fitting the character of Sonic perfectly, acting and talking just how fans would expect from the iconic hedgehog. Marsden plays off Schwartz’s hyperactive Sonic well, with the two contrasting attitudes combining into a believable and heartwarming relationship. Carrey, however, is the biggest plus of this film. He steals the show as Robotnik, with his performance harking back to iconic Carrey films of the past, such as The Mask or Ace Ventura. It’s clear that he’s having fun with the role, and while it’s slightly less comical or goofy than his video game counterpart, it’s no less captivating to watch,
and his superiority complex is an interesting dynamic with the rest of the characters in the film, even if the same joke is used just a little too much for its own good. Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog is a simple film aimed more at a younger audience than fans of the classic series, but both sets will find enjoyment out of this movie, albeit for different reasons. It’s certainly not the best video game adaptation, not with those plot issues, but by no means is it the worst. Given the reaction to the initial trailer, I’d call this a victory.
sets out to do. It adds to the plot of the first and develops all the central characters (shoutout to Anna Cathcart as Lara Jean’s sister Kitty for having some fantastically funny one-liners) whilst staying true enough to the original Jenny Han
book series, which is sure to satisfy old fans. It’s a lighthearted story that ends with a very cute resolution and makes certain viewers will be looking forward to the final instalment, due to be released next year.
have. It simultaneously feels like this dream scenario - something that is definitely the overarching feel of the first film - yet Lara Jean is so ordinary and relatable. She’s awkward and unsure about dating one of the most popular boys in school whilst also trying to figure
out if she still has feelings for John Ambrose all these years later. She’s an attainable character type in a situation that you wish you could be in. Ultimately, the film does what it
Image: Movie DB
REVIEW Film: Emma. Gwynnie Naylor Screen Contributor
Following the recent trend of adaptations of classic works by women from the 19th and 20th century, Autumn De Wilde’s Emma could be considered an easy cash grab from film studios after Greta Gerwig’s massive success with the incredible Little Women last year. The film is wonderfully directed, and early on it became apparent that the producers intended to stick to the novel closely. This was very welcome given how previous adaptations, such as Amy Heckerling’s Clueless,
have played fast and loose with the source material. It was refreshing to have a fairly close adaptation. What is always questionable about these adaptations is their relevance to a modern audience, and why they need to be made. However, this adaptation is vital and thoroughly reminds audiences that social meddling and complicated dynamics have always been present in society. While in previous adaptations it has been easy for the audience to root for the titular character, as one might root for Cher in Clueless, this adaptation allows the audience to view her as the layered and often selfish character that she is. Anya Taylor-Joy provides a nuanced and layered performance of her character, and definitively commands the ensemble cast, just
as her character does. Another stand out is her father, portrayed here by Bill Nighy, who is just one of the excellent ensemble cast who all bring excellent performances to this balanced and deeply funny film. What should not be overlooked also is the wonderful production design. While costumes are firmly rooted within the 19th century, the eclectic and bright colour palette allows the audience to transplant the world that Emma lives in into the 21st Century. Reminiscent of the production design of works by Wes Anderson, the eccentricity of the production design only heightens the comedic elements of the film. Overall, it is a funny and heartwarming experience, although it initially takes a little while to become immersed into the world. However, once there it is likely the audience would want to remain there for as long as possible.
Dan Cross Screen Editor
From the network that brought you hit shows such as the awardwinning Forge vs The World and Bursting the Bubble comes a new show all about healthy eating and meal preparation on a student budget. The host, Sama Ansari Pour, takes the audience on a journey of cooking and healthy eating, producing meals for the classic trilogy daily meals. For breakfast it’s egg muffins, lunch is halloumi veggie balls with roasted tomatoes and salad, then finally for tea it’s a healthy salmon dish with vegetables. All of these meals could be cooked by students themselves for under £20, showing how healthy cooking
Sex Education star Connor Swindells stars in Emma. Image: MTV International
REVIEW TV: Narcos Mexico S2 Josh Thory-Rao Screen Contributor
REVIEW TV: MA Chef
Narcos: Mexico was the muchanticipated spin-off of the critically-acclaimed Narcos, a series which follows the Colombian drug trade. This spin-off focuses on the Mexican drug trade, and similarly to regular Narcos, their relationship with the Mexican and American authorities. The show has now entered its second season, and continues to follow the epic rise, and consolidation, of the drug empire led by Felix Gallardo (Diego Luna). Following the events of the first season, the DEA are re-energised in their desire to thwart his operation, and this amps up the heat throughout the season; will they
and eating at university needn’t be expensive or time consuming. Excellent graphics accompanied the recipes, with colourful cartoon food teasing what was to come in each section. Host and producer of MA Chef Sama explained the reasoning behind the show: “I always searched for student friendly meal prep videos but I was never really satisfied with the content shown. If they did do budget friendly videos, it would be like getting tinned tomato soup and not fresh & healthy ingredients. The entire video cost £20 and it lasted me 3 days. I wanted students to not blow the bank but still eat good and feel good.” Overall the show is informative and helpful, delivering on the task it set out to achieve. The kitchen setting enhances the professional nature of the production. More excellent content from Forge TV is available on their YouTube channel at youtube.com/ForgeTelevision.
Host Sama takes you on a journey of meal prep Image: Forge TV catch him? This story really keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, and makes it far too easy to binge watch the entire thing at once. Luna’s acting is one of the highlights of the season. He has a unique ability to portray Felix Gallardo, a ruthless Narco trafficker, as a likeable character. Despite the terrible acts that he was committing, the audience is likely able to root for him somewhat, both over his competitors and his pursuers in the US. The remaining cast were also hugely important in weaving the story – Kiki Camarena’s character, Michael Pena, was sorely missed, however his replacement as lead DEA character Walt Breslin (Scoot McNairy), who narrated the whole of season one, relieves the pain of no longer having Pena in the series. He portrays a morally conflicted character, who the audience can still get behind as a ‘good guy’. There is conflict for the audience here - at times the Americans do perform atrocious acts, questioning whether they really are as morally righteous
as they proclaim themselves to be. The way that the DEA visits Mexico is typical of the US imperial tradition, though nipping the problem at the stem is the most effective way of ebbing the flow of narcotics into the USA. This sort of moral conflict is a really interesting angle for the audience whilst adding depth to the plot. Visually the show is very pleasing to watch, with several shootout scenes that are not only fairly realistic but also pretty gruesome, and there are moments where some would be inclined to look away. These scenes add a much-needed break in dialogue to give the audience time to fully digest the plot. Overall Narcos: Mexico season two is extremely satisfying to watch, with pleasing visuals, excellent acting, and a well written plot that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. It builds on the momentum created by season one, continues to drive forward with the story and is a credit overall to the Narcos series.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
Ash Williams and Catherine Lewis Games Editors
We here at Games have a thing for nostalgia. More so than any other medium, appreciating games and memories from years gone by seems to be in our DNA, and we thought it was time to celebrate some of those memories in this issue. We’ve asked you to give us some of your favourite gaming memories from your childhood, and so many of you responded, so
thank you! We also have contrasting arguments over the depiction of virtual violence in video games, so give that a look below. Who do you agree with more? Finally, grab a coffee (at Coffee Revs, because why not?) and read our Secretary Tom’s review of Coffee Talk, as well as our very own Catherine’s review of Rune Factory 4 Special, which comes out this Friday! Enjoy!
Hit or miss: do we need to re-evaluate the amount of violence in our games? FEATURE
Violence in games has long been a hot topic in the media, and unfortunately, often negatively portrayed. With this, we ask: is it time to reconsider how much is acceptable? We asked our contributors if they were for or against overt violence in games, and how we should act going forward.
Winning feels good. Almost indescribable is the rush that comes from outright dominating an opponent who underestimates you, or stealing victory away at the last minute from an overconfident ‘king of the hill’ - convinced that their title was untouchable, and that they’d never lose. How wrong they were. Be it a football match, a Mario Kart grand prix or the annual family game of Monopoly (there’s a reason it’s only once a year), the vast majority of sports, board games and video games all involve some kind of competition. Regardless of whether they’re played to earn respect, win a bet or simply to have fun, it’s undeniable that there’s an inherent appeal in competing against others. Most games are designed this way, operating on the inherent desire that humans
have to engage in competition. This is evident in the nature of games themselves - with the exception of games such as Minecraft, Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, which all encourage creative freedom through their endless sandbox or ‘zen’ styled gameplay with no hard and fast ‘objectives’ or definitive win conditions, most of the games we see and play are fundamentally built around determining winners and losers. Ultimately then, the vast majority of games we play both on and offscreen tap into our primal desire to win; to be the best. Most games, but especially video games, offer a safe recreational environment where we can compete against one another; as friendly and well intentioned as real world physical sports such as boxing and martial arts can be however, engaging in these sports
isn’t completely safe, sometimes causing life changing injuries. In contrast, violent video games merely feature simulations of dangerous real world activities, and so lack their real world consequences. With this in mind, why blame video games for safely portraying real-world violence? I believe video games are just the newest scapegoat to be blamed for what film and television have been doing for decades; representing violence through different creative lenses. In my view, censoring violent video games wouldn’t just suppress the medium’s ability to artistically convey messages, but would also deny people elements of the emotional outlet that a simulated recreational environment provides; one that can safely accommodate urges to indulge in violence without
consequences where real life sports cannot. Far too often, video games are used as a scapegoat for all manners of crimes, from carjackings to mass shootings. Many fail to understand that there are an abundance of factors at play that can cause people to commit violent crimes, and frankly the media fuelled vendetta that many seem to have against video games needs to stop. As mentioned before, film and television have featured on-screen violence for decades. What makes games worse? Violent video games have a role in society; the same role that violent films and television shows have. Although violence itself isn’t worth celebrating, in my opinion there is nothing to gain from needlessly censoring the media we consume.
We’ve heard it all before, the whole ‘violent video games cause violent people’ idea. With games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare garnering an audience of around 20 million acolytes, it’s surely unlikely that they’re all going to turn to violence, right? But what about the effect on mental health? Many studies have shown that being exposed to the normalisation of killing, blood and gore in video games can have negative effects on mental health with links to depression, anxiety and insomnia. While playing any video game has its benefits such as increasing focus, sociability by playing with friends and enjoyment, spending leisure time shooting zombies doesn’t seem very relaxing to me - but maybe that’s because I’m not very good at
shooter games and give up as soon as I get knocked down. However, there isn’t necessarily a decline in violent video games, as shooter games such as Apex Legends, Red Dead Redemption, Modern Warfare and Resident Evil 2 were some of the most popular games of 2019, but rather there is an increase in the popularity of non-violent video games. Games such as Splatoon 2, a third-person shooter with a twist, allows more creativity, by switching the bullets for paint to splatter all over the enemies. Covering your foes in colourful squid ink may seem like a bizarre alternative to taking them out with guns, but the game features the exact same principles of a regular shooter, all without the bloodshed. Not only this, but it also allows for new and unique
concepts to be introduced, such as swimming in the ink in your squid form to hide and ambush enemies. Can you do that in COD? ...Well, I hope not anyway. The implications! On the other hand, video game graphics are becoming increasingly realistic due to technology advancing, and that’s what scares me about shooters. Making them realistic takes away the escapism, and makes the fantasy world inside the game feel more like real life, and therefore more like killing in real life. Some games are also becoming more and more graphic in the violence they display. Take Mortal Kombat for example; while this fighting game is known for its detailed and quite unique deaths, the latest installment, Mortal Kombat 11, was the most violent
of the series, which lead to many complaints that the designers took it too far. Also, with virtual reality technology getting more advanced, games such as Blade and Sorcery take video game violence to a whole new level, because you are physically controlling the character with your movements, and the headset really puts you inside the game’s world. Raising your arm in a throwing motion may look innocent from outside the headset, but inside, you’re launching a dead zombie across the room. Watching horror films where characters are killed in horrific circumstances is one thing, but physically controlling that yourself is taking the violence too far.
Image: id Software
The games that made our childhood it’s unlikely that your favourite childhood gaming memory is the same as anyone else’s, but that’s what makes them so special. We hope you enjoy the ones shared to us by our lovely contributors, and look out for the extended version online!
LoZ: The Wind Waker Callum Brown While The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker defines my childhood, I must confess to not ever finishing the game until a couple years ago. You see, as a child, I was incredibly bad at video games, rarely making it past the first few levels of a game before giving up. Wind Waker was something I always came back to, even if my poor attention span usually made me want to play something else. Every few months, I’d turn on my dad’s GameCube, boot up the game, and start a new save from the beginning, promising myself I would beat the game this time. That never happened; I always gave up around Dragon Roost Island. However, I always cherished Wind Waker because of this; every time I see the amazing cell shaded design, I’m filled with warm childhood memories. The music of Outset and Dragon Roost Island is permanently imprinted into my mind, and just hearing the menu’s main theme fills me with joy. Despite the fact I never finished the game, it’s definitely the game that I have the fondest memories of, and I suspect it has defined what I enjoy the most in a game for the rest of my life.
Image: Radical Entertainment
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aliens, zombies, and conspiracy theories kept the player waiting on every new mission to see where this never-before-seen Simpsons story ended up. But the fondest memory that we all share, which is a staple in the Gen Z childhood; immediately kicking Marge around as she flails and makes her catchphrase noises, sometimes all the way to the KwikE-Mart.
This has been an ode, a poem, to my first love - Skid McMarx… I jest, I actually planned mine and Ratchet’s wedding.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Tag Force Chelsea Burrell
Tomb Raider series Tom Buckland
The Simpsons: Hit & Run Adam Carter The Simpsons: Hit & Run is a game that fondly permeates seemingly every childhood. The answer to every child who wanted all the violence, vehicular collisions, and explosions of Grand Theft Auto, disguised under the tongue-in-cheek, globallyloved comedy of The Simpsons, this meant that it not only got children’s approval, but parents wary of violent video games too. Hit & Run, and I say this with huge amounts of nostalgia, was an incredible experience. It allowed you to interact and play as the famous characters you knew and loved. On top of this, the story it crafts is surprisingly engaging. The writers didn’t rely on The Simpsons’ monstrous popularity to keep players; a funny yet actionpacked plot including brainwashing,
I could gush about countless memories from the Tomb Raider series, but instead I’ll talk specifically about my nostalgia around Tomb Raider II. So, myself, a young babe, and Tomb Raider games being monstrously difficult (unlike the entries of video gaming present), meant that I tended to visit Croft Manor. Croft Manor is dressed to the nines in terms of facilities ripe for helping harness your tomb raiding abilities. However, one fridge in particular became more important than anything else... Miraculously my sisters and I managed to figure out how to lock our beloved butler, Winston, into said fridge. Why? Because we felt like it. And we liked hearing him grunt violently as he bumped himself and his tray of assortments into the fridge door in a desperate attempt of escape. No, Winston, learn your place, this fridge is your home now. I do not need your creepy model
ambling after me wherever I go, I want to be able to do five hundred backflips in quick succession in the ballroom without being tripped up by your gross body. Sorry. I couldn’t tell you how many times we locked poor Winston in the fridge, but upon reflection I can still confidently admit he deserved every second within his frosty confines. That game was about me and Lara Croft, not him. It was called “Tomb Raider” for a reason, not “Croft Manor Butler”.
Image: Core Design
Whether it be enjoying a particular level on a long car ride, or associating a game with visiting a certain family member, we all have fond childhood memories of video games that sit close to our hearts. This is something completely unique to every person;
Ratchet and Clank Paige Cockbain Gaming was a big part of my childhood, what with having so many brothers so close to my own age, meaning it was a constant battle of finishing your tea first so you could run up to the PlayStation 2 or GameCube, and claim it as yours for the night (or however long it took for one of the others to start whining about it being their turn). There are a few games that stand out for me, but the biggest culprit of this tradition would probably be Insomniac’s
Ratchet and Clank. It’s only since replaying the absolutely stunning PS4 remaster that I even understand the plot - as a child it was all about dividing up claimed territory with my brothers, and the sweet clink-clink of nuts and bolts as they found their way into Ratchet’s pocket. For the record, I would like you all to know that my “house” in that game was the cave on the first planet you ever go to. Ratchet and Clank reminds me of rainy days sat for hours running that Lombax around, but being too stupid a child to understand what I was actually supposed to be doing.
As a kid, no toy or game was better than the ones where I got the opportunity to insert myself into a world I loved as a main character. YuGi-Oh!, a Japanese card game turned anime franchise, was something I obsessed about. Although I often collected the cards and fancied myself a master of the game with my duel disk, the game Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Tag Force and it’s sequel games meant I could not only get immersed in the world of Yu-Gi-Oh!, but also allowed for me to become friends with and fight alongside the beloved main characters of the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX series. There is something quite special about being able to partner up with and become best friends with the cool heroes, and as a kid, I never got much of that except for these games. It was an experience that bonded me with my fantasies. And what seven-year-old doesn’t want that?
Wednesday 26 February 2020
REVIEW Rune Factory 4 Special Catherine Lewis Games Editor
Get ready to farm, craft, adventure, and more in the town of Selphia, as Rune Factory 4 returns in its beautiful enhanced form on the Nintendo Switch, eight years after its initial release on 3DS. The game begins as your character is knocked out from the sky and falls into the town, losing their memory in the process. There, they meet the Native Dragon, Ventuswill, and through a series of minor mishaps, are appointed as the new prince or princess. As newly designated royalty, it’s the player’s task to earn the trust of the people living in the town, earning ‘prince’ or ‘princess points’ in the process. They can then spend these points on various ‘orders’, which vary from putting on a festival, to expanding the town shops. There’s a lot that makes up the overall gameplay experience of Rune Factory 4 Special, though a lot of it can be compared to the likes of Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley. You have a farm in which you can grow crops and flowers, and raise friendly monsters such as Woolies and Cluckadoodles. Some monsters may give you produce such as eggs, milk or fur, and some you can
also ride around on - my personal favourite being the apple monster, Pomme Pomme, that rolls around everywhere with you on top. You’ve also got the classic fishing and cooking skills, as well as mixing medicine, forging weapons, and making armour. All of these are skills that you build up over time through practice; learning ‘recipes’ through sheer luck or eating ‘recipe bread’. Then, it’s a case of having the right ingredients, pressing ‘go’, and profit. Even though it’s nice being able to make all these things yourself, the actual process feels like it could have been fleshed out a bit more. Cooking is the more interesting one of these ‘crafting’ skills, as you have to get different equipment such as a frying pan, knife and oven to make different recipes. Even then though, it still feels rather basic; they all could have done with a bit of a mini-game of sorts, in my opinion, to feel more like you were actually doing something. Of course, there’s the whole relationship building aspect here too. Talking to the villagers every day and giving them gifts will raise their friendship, and doing this enough with certain romance-able characters will lead to relationships and eventually marriage, if you wish. Speaking of which, a new addition to Rune Factory 4 Special is ‘Newlywed Mode’, in which all of the marriage candidates have a special additional side-episode, which unlock when you marry them in the main story. Even if you’ve played the original game, if you just couldn’t get enough of your spouse
Coffee Talk is unique in concept (though many have compared it to VA-11 Hall-A), in which you play as a barista who runs a coffee shop in an alternate Seattle. Your customers are a diverse cast, consisting of fantastical beings including orcs, werewolves, vampires, and mermaids. The game’s focus lies on the customers, and your only participation in events is serving them drinks. Sometimes they’re specific in what they want, sometimes they’re unsure, but that decision is yours to make. The game makes it clear that this is the player’s only role in the narrative, and it holds steadfast. It’s artstyle is breathtaking, with “imageries often associated with lo-fi chillhop music.” By very little other than visual aesthetics, the game creates a relaxing and patient atmosphere. When it comes to the story Coffee Talk tells, its introduction is compelling. This world is similar, though strangely
before, maybe this will be all the justification you need to jump back in again. Unfortunately, despite my relentless onslaught of milk delivery to my favourite bachelor, Dylas, he’s still yet to pop the question, but I won’t be stopping until he does. It’s also worth noting here that, unfortunately, there are no samesex marriage options available in the game. This is definitely a missed opportunity, especially after there were already a number of fans upset at the lack of any LGBT+ options in the original release. Hopefully, the series will address this when Rune Factory 5 releases, though it’s still disappointing that it was neglected here. What really sets Rune Factory 4 Special apart from other similar games though is the combat and adventure element of the game. As well as a wide variety of weapons, such as dual blades, staffs, and lances, which all have unlockable skill-based attacks, you can equip various different ‘Rune Abilities’, which take the form of special attacks, magic, and healing spells. The story progresses through traversing the numerous dangerous dungeons and taking out the bosses that lurk within, rather than being tied to set points in the in-game calendar. Personally, I’m a big fan of this; you can choose to progress the plot at whatever pace you want, whenever you want, and it felt like I always had something to be doing
surreal to that of our own. It takes place in 2020 and in a known American city, yet its entire world is populated by interesting characters that we’re likely to never encounter. The issues these characters face are sometimes new and strange, sometimes similar and relatable, yet the issues occasionally possess the ability to be both. Somehow touching on real-life matters such as veganism, healthcare, racism, and love, it’s interesting to see how Coffee Talk adapts these concepts and presents them in this surreal setting. Though the game, by trying so hard to cover everything, often trips just before the finish line, which is disappointing to see when some of its ideas are so innovative and interesting. Coffee Talk, despite its flaws, is a fantastically charming game. There’s no other game that’s commenced 2020 that says “simple, but effective” any better. Full review online...
rather than having to wait around for something to happen. The dungeoning itself is really fun too; you can bring along a couple of allies, either villagers, your monsters, or a mix of the two. Special has also introduced a new ‘Hell’ difficulty mode, giving veterans of the series a new challenge to try. Overall, I love Rune Factory 4 Special, though I say this as a newcomer to both Rune Factory 4 and the series in general. For people who played the original, there isn’t really that much new added that’s going to give you a
completely fresh experience, though the new difficulty option and Newlywed Mode will at least give you something different. As a standalone game though, there really isn’t much to fault, though I wish there was a quicker way to switch between your tools and weapons, as you have to go all the way into your menu or bag to do so. Also, a six character name limit always pains me. Despite this though, especially if you’ve not played the original, Rune Factory 4 Special is a perfect addition to anyone’s Switch game library.
Image: Marvelous Entertainment
REVIEW Tom Buckland Secretary
Image: Toge Productions
Science & Tech
George Tuli & Bárbara Pinho Science & Tech Editors
And here we are, another issue of Science & Tech, once again delivered by a duo. My name is Bárbara, I’m the new Science & Tech Editor, and this week, we have some hot science (quite literally). Global warming remains a hot topic, and recent research shows that there are major reasons to keep up with the conversations. Antarctic
temperatures have exceeded 20°C, and the impact of such a record is further explained. Moving on to research conducted in Sheffield, we cover findings on growing food in mattresses (yes, apparently it’s a thing) in refugee camps in Syria. Finally we talked to Luz Delgado, a PhD candidate at the University, about all things microbial and her latest research on resistant microorganisms. Enjoy! (Bárbara)
Antarctic temperature exceeds 20 degrees Celsius for the first time on record Louise Elliott Science & Tech Contributor
As the windiest, driest, coldest continent on earth, Antarctica is no stranger to extreme weather. So, you might be surprised to discover that while Sheffield has been toughing it out under storms Ciara and Dennis, the continent of Antarctica reached a balmy high of 20°C on Sunday 9 February this year. Is it time to take a winter break down south? This record-high temperature, recorded at Seymour Island, hails a new kind of extreme weather for this continent: extreme heat. Although this latest temperature record is surprising, it is not unexpected that such extreme records are being realised now. Historically, Antarctica has been the fastestwarming continent in the southern hemisphere, with temperatures rising by an average of 3°C overall over the last 50 years. While this may not seem like a lot, it is worth
bearing in mind that average air temperatures across the planet have only risen by 0.74°C over the whole of the last century. 3°C of warming in Antarctica alone is demonstrative of how our polar regions are the most likely to be affected by climate change of anywhere on earth. Temperatures are not just rising in Antarctica; they’re becoming more volatile too. The past 20 years have seen large fluctuations in the Antarctic climate, particularly in the Antarctic Peninsula, where Seymour Island is located. This is telling of the important effect which rising sea temperatures have on the terrestrial climate, as sea surface temperatures to the west of the continent and surrounding the peninsula have increased by an average of 1°C over the last 50 years. Home to 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater in the form of ice and snow, climatic changes in Antarctica have large knock-on effects for the global hydrological cycle. If all this
ice were to melt, sea levels would rise by 50 to 60 metres, wiping out all coastal cities as well as much habitable land. Even though this scenario is unlikely, it is predicted that we will face oceans between 30-110 centimetres higher than they presently are by the end of this century. Another threat posed by such increasing temperatures is the breakup of the Arctic Peninsula. Already, glaciers have been lost from the peninsula, which contributes to increasing sea levels as well as further warming through the reduction of the surface albedo. Albedo is the measure of the fraction of light reflected by a body. Thus, something white, such as snow, will reflect more light having a higher albedo. As warming temperatures lead to ice melt, the Earth’s albedo is lowering. This will increase further warming due to the exposure of dark surfaces in places where snow and ice should be. These consequences of warming
don’t just impact us, they also impact on what little biodiversity this barren continent holds. Chinstrap penguins, one of the key species of
Antarctica, have declined by 50 per cent since the 1970s. This is thought to be down to global heating, which has seen huge reductions in the sea ice cover on which these penguins rely. The record-high temperature recently recorded in Antarctica is, while in itself an anomaly, overall indicative of the general trend of rising temperatures in the last decades. Climate change is spurring more variable fluctuations in temperature than would be expected of this region, and Antarctica is suffering the effects of global heating more severely than the rest of the globe. Warming in recent decades is pushing the Antarctic ecosystem to the edge, endangering both its resident wildlife and, ultimately, ourselves. It now remains to be seen whether our efforts to mitigate climate change in the upcoming decades will be successful, and if (or when) this latest temperature high might be beaten still.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
Science & Tech
Discarded mattresses could feed millions of refugees, say scientists Stephanie Lam Science & Tech Contributor
An array of tiny vegetable plants sprouts up in Zaatari, the world’s largest Syrian refugee camp. The produce is fresh, healthy, and grown in mattress foam. Zaatari was established in 2012 by the United Nations to host refugees fleeing from the Syrian Civil War. The camp, located in Jordan, is considered a temporary home; the refugees are unable to engage in any activities that suggest a permanent stay, such as getting a job or fixing their houses, and as of 2019, the population of the camp exceeds 76,000. In 2017, Tony Ryan, a professor at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemistry, and his team of researchers went to Zaatari to help the refugee crisis. Their goal was to take waste material collected at the camps and repurpose it. Of all the issues faced by refugees, the one that stood out to Ryan and his team was the lack of resources residents had to grow their own food. Many of the residents of Zaatari came from the Daraa, a region in Syria known for its agriculture and farming. The refugees are not allowed to plant anything on the campgrounds in Zaatari – even if they use pots, the soil is salty, acidic, and has little organic matter content. Professor Ryan and his team came across a warehouse filled with discarded mattresses. Prior to going to Zaatari, Ryan had looked at research done by PhD student Harry Wright on the use of foams to grow high-value crops. The two ideas came together, and a plan to create a garden from mattress foam was born. The United Nations Refugee Agency provides the residents at Zaatari with mattresses to sleep on.
Photo: University of Sheffield
Once the mattresses have reached the end of their life, they cannot be reused. This leads to piles of mattresses tucked away in storage units. The team saw hydroponics as the most viable solution for resolving the farming issue. Hydroponics is a gardening method that substitutes soil with another growing medium. The roots of a plant are suspended from the ground and nutrients are absorbed through them. The foam from the discarded mattresses is cut up and serves as artificial support for the plants.
They are then placed into yogurt tubs along with a sprouting seed. Over time, solutions and water are pumped into the foam, and the plants begin to grow. Over 200 refugees were introduced to the concept of hydroponics and trained in its basic techniques. They applied their previous farming background to the planting process. Before long, they created a production line of cutting foam, mixing nutrient solutions, and planting seedlings. Within a year, a tennis-court sized garden emerged in the middle of Zaatari.
Warehouses piled high with mattresses. Photo: University of Sheffield
In a blog post about the project in 2017, Wright wrote: “The willingness of the residents to learn and eagerness to put a plan into action was truly astounding, and
The willingness of the residents to learn and eagerness to put a plan into action was truly astounding. between the work many smiles, jokes and laughs were had.” The success of the project and the uniqueness of its location led to the nickname ‘Desert Garden’. Growing produce is now easier for Zaatari residents. Mattress foam is abundant and accessible in the camp. This helps conserve precious resources like water and fertilizer. The more food they can grow, the less reliant they have to be on external charities. Back in Sheffield, an abandoned
schoolhouse is being used to help researchers further incorporate foams into the hydroponics system, but they don’t have access to large quantities of foam. To compensate, the researchers mix foam with other substances, like clay, to see whether that improves the hydroponics system. The researchers aim to develop a biodegradable foam that chemically, physically, and biologically resembles soil. As of now, the plants in the farm grow two to ten times faster than they do in soil. The garden also uses controlled growing environments and low-cost technology. Like Zaatari, the Sheffield farm has the capability to provide fruits and vegetables at a community level. The produce could stock supermarket shelves, and further encourage local and sustainable farming. In addition to being used as a local resource, researchers hope the project can be used as a form of outreach to the local community. Unemployed or low-skilled workers can be trained to grow their own produce. Schools can use the gardens as an educational tool. Jake Nickles, a Knowledge Exchange Associate, said in the University’s research blog: “It’s about having a positive impact on the Sheffield region and deploying policies that have been put into place for sustainability. It’s the University putting words into actions.” The work done in both Zaatari and Sheffield proves that hydroponically-created produce can thrive in any part of the world. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, there are 815 million people in the world who suffer from chronic malnourishment. If the project succeeds commercially, it has the potential to help alleviate this hunger crisis.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs would have turned 65 this week George Tuli Science & Tech Editor
Steve Jobs was born on 24 February 1955, and died in 2011 aged 56. Last Monday would have been the Apple co-founder and former CEO's 65th birthday. Jobs, along with Steve Wozniak, founded Apple Computer Company in 1976 and produced the Apple I and Apple II personal computers.
The company was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. in January 1977, boosting sales of the Apple II. On 24 January 1984, on stage at the Flint Center in De Anza College, Cupertino, Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the world. It looked nothing like the computers of today, and nothing like the computers of its time. The following year, Jobs was fired
from Apple after disagreements with then-CEO John Sculley, and in the years after, the company struggled and came close to failure. While he was away, Jobs created NeXT, later acquired by Apple, allowing Jobs to rejoin the company as a special advisor. He axed more than 70 per cent of the hardware and software that Apple had developed in the 80s and 90s, including the
Newton PDA. Apple's workforce was reduced by 3,000 employees. In the years to come, Jobs streamlined the product line to just four products: one desktop and one portable device, aimed at consumers and professionals. This paid off, as one year after his return, Apple turned a US$309 million profit. Jobs's legacy lives on in every Apple product today, and his
influence and accomplishments in the technology industry and beyond are celebrated on his birthday by Apple fans around the world.
Science & Tech
Photo: Bárbara Pinho
^ Luz Gonzalez-Delgado: ‘I was always into this universal thing of “everyone can contribute to something on the planet” so, I was interested in doing research related to antimicrobial resistance, to help to deal with this problem.
Understanding how proteins bind could be key to kill superbugs Bárbara Pinho Science & Tech Editor
Some proteins bind to bacteria, killing them remarkably fast. Understanding how these proteins work could be the first step to create potent antimicrobial drugs to tackle superbugs. Scientists from the University of Sheffield published a paper last November describing how an enzyme called lysostaphin (pictured) kills S. Aureus remarkably fast – and the secret lies in the binding mechanisms. This research was the first to explain such potency and it could be a stepping stone towards producing a wider range of antimicrobial drugs. Luz Gonzalez-Delgado, a PhD student and first author of this research, explained how protein bonds could impact society. Meeting Luz The Krebs café, named after Sir Hans Krebs, was packed. The place was almost as loud as Krebs’s research. The Nobel
laureate is revered worldwide for his findings developed at the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, the department in which Luz studies. I met with the PhD candidate at this café to understand her research and her paper published at Nature Chemical Biology. We had barely started talking before I sensed a feeling quite common within the world of research: intrigue. The protein starring i n the paper, lysostaphin, is extremely good at killing bacteria, but no-one knows why. “This enzyme was discovered in the sixties and it has been a while now, yet little is known about it. It’s so potent, but its mechanism and how it works are not well understood,” Luz said. “So, our main goals were to understand how this protein binds to bacteria and which bit of the cell
wall it recognizes.” Impact and (cautious) excitement If research starts with
intrigue, results should bring enlightenment. Even though that is not the case for many research projects, fortunately, Luz’s research has brought straightforward answers. The team finally understood how lysostaphin binds to bacteria and described the binding process in the paper. But would this research
solve the problem of antibiotic resistance? Luz had cautious words while relating the discovery to this public health issue. “When it comes to talking about antibiotic resistance there’s a bigger picture always. When you do research that is so specific you don’t want to fall into maybe selling the wrong idea, because this is obviously one bit of a bigger puzzle when it comes to studying resistant microorganisms.” Lysostaphin as an antibiotic? Producing highly potent antibiotics is more than a desire, it’s a need to tackle the massive threat antibiotic resistance poses to public health. The World Health Organization describes that “without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill. However, even though
lysostaphin has a major potential to inspire scientists on designing and engineering new potent drugs, research still needs to be done. Luz said: “To come up with these new ideas and new strategies to try to face this big problem, you really need to understand the tools you have. At the moment, we are interested in studying how it all
This is obviously one bit of a bigger puzzle when it comes to studying resistant microorganisms works, because, in the long term, it could be useful.” Molecular biology and biomedical research do not always bring immediate results to the public, but Luz’s research is a humble step towards getting there. Thus, a small step as discovering how proteins bind could have the potential to tackle major public health problems. And, as a famous astronaut would say, small steps for Man could turn into giant leaps for mankind.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
PL clubs don’t understand the magic of the Cup Ben Woodcock Sport Contributor
The greed of Premier League clubs and the lack of consideration for those in the lower leagues is slowly becoming too much for supporters of smaller teams, especially when the top-flight big boys begin to disrespect the traditions of the FA Cup, our competition, the people’s cup. Most recently we have seen Liverpool’s under-23s squad play out their FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury Town, while the first team squad, set to win the Premier League title, enjoy the newly introduced ‘winter break’. The big talking point came when Jurgen Klopp blurted out he would not manage the first team fixture, leaving it to under-23s coach Neil Critchley to lead the team. Klopp lost a degree of respect here from many in the football world, who felt he was wrong not being there himself. This not only showed a lack of respect for an age-old competition, he was also showing a lack of care towards his future stars,
plying their trade in Liverpool’s Under 23’s squad, by not being on the touchline providing vital guidance. The reality, however, is that weakened sides in the FA Cup is now the norm for Premier League outfits that are battling against relegation or travelling to Europe in midweek. This has only brought more debate into the public eye. Should FA Cup replays be scrapped?
Weakened sides in the FA Cup is now the norm for Premier League outfits For clubs in the lower leagues and non-league the extra revenue that the FA Cup and the competitions replays create is crucial. Many supporters would rather lose a replay at Old Trafford, than beating Manchester United on their own patch before being knocked out in the next round, without having the experience of going to the home
Image: HonorTheKing, Wikimedia Commons of footballing giants to watch their side. It seems to be that those wanting FA Cup replays to be scrapped are those connected with Premier League clubs and consequently don’t see the magic of the Cup and the impact it has on smaller
teams. Instead, they are blinded by the pound signs of the Champions League and Premier League. Gary Lineker was very vocal on the matter, suggesting the competition should begin earlier in the season. This again showed the stark ignorance of the elites for the
common footballer as many nonleague clubs kick off their campaigns with an FA Cup tie and play more games over the course of the season than Premier League players, all while balancing a full-time job.
The case for improving England’s strong T20 top order Rahul Warrier Sport Contributor
As with the Test and ODI series, South Africa took the early lead before England came back to win the series 2-1. That doesn’t convey how closely fought the series was though, with margins of defeat being one run, two runs and five balls. This has been one of the more memorable bilateral T20I series in recent times, with high scores forcing bowlers to be at the top of their game. That, in turn, has produced a stellar exhibition of T20 skills, perfect practice for the World Cup in November. The order of England’s batting lineup, however, remains debated. It’s not for a lack of skill – the proficiency of white ball hitters has only been on the rise since 2015. Jason Roy’s opening spot is secure but beyond him there remain
arguments for a reshuffled batting order. Jos Buttler is England’s best finisher, but also has extensive capabilities as an opener. In a 120 ball format, it makes sense to front-load with your best batsmen. But a Buttler failure as an opener leaves potential room for a middleorder exposure that would call for a finisher in the mould of Buttler. The first T20I was an example of that. The third T20I supported the counter-argument: his 57 propelled England forward to chase down 223. England have the opportunity to have a flexible middle-order based on specific matchups against opposition bowlers. The main example of this is Moeen Ali, a batsman destructive against spin in the middle-overs. Pushing him up the order to target spinners could provide the boost needed ahead of the final overs.
Eoin Morgan was superb throughout the series - his 57* off 22 balls, with seven sixes was a perfect example of that. It also justified why he should be kept down as a finisher. Keeping Morgan for the end allows more leeway for error in the middle-order. Naturally, Ben Stokes should be sixth in the order, someone to fight out fires in case of early collapses. Naturally, there doesn’t have to be a set template. T20s are a volatile format that demands fluidity rather than the rigidity of ODIs. Roy, Buttler, Bairstow, Ali, Morgan and Stokes are a powerful top six. If England can get their order right though, they’ll be able to find better balance in the lower order. At the end, it may be a moot point given everyone’s ability to hit hard. But to build on their successes in 2019, England would be well served to play it smarter.
Image: Mike Prince, Flickr
Young racing driver Ben Wallace keen to prove diabetes is not a roadblock Harry Robinson, Freddie Coates & William Holmes Sport Contributors
“If I can do it, everybody else can do it” – Racing driver Ben Wallace says that diabetes doesn’t have to be a roadblock For most racing drivers, their main concerns during a race are dealing with chicanes and accelerating out of corners. For Ben Wallace, it’s a little more complex. The 20-year-old Liverpudlian suffers from Type 1 diabetes, meaning that he must use insulin to control his blood sugar levels. It’s a potentially fatal balancing act, but it doesn’t deter him. Forge Press spoke to Ben about his story and his aim of inspiring the next generation of diabetic sports stars. What ignited your passion for motorsport and how did you get into it? My dad is a big motorsport fan and I’ve always watched races with him since the age of four. I had my first drive in a kart when I was five, when we lived in Spain, and started racing before I was six. After that I was karting all over Europe, mainly in Germany where I won cadet and junior championships. At 13 I had my first real test in a Ginetta Junior and in races after.
As someone with Type 1 diabetes, how does your condition affect you when racing? I started in motorsport when I was five years old in cadet karting. It was a challenge, especially for my dad to work out the routine during a karting weekend. I quickly learnt the signs of when I was going ‘low’ and my dad worked out the blood sugar level I needed before a race. Sometimes this was dependent on the weather - I started karting in Spain and the heat made a massive difference to my blood sugar levels. Over the year we built up a pretty good routine. Sprint races were never a problem, but endurance racing was a massive challenge – driving up to 2 hours in an extremely hot car was something else.
If I can do it, everybody else can do it. It is mind over matter I started to use the Abbott Freestyle Libre sensor as soon as it came on the market. It made a massive difference; it gave us the ability to check my blood sugar quickly at a pit stop and we installed a drink bottle system into the car with 1 litre of full sugar Lucozade. In August 2018 I did a two-hour race at Brands Hatch GP, which
involved a one hour stint for me and my co-driver. When I took over the car for the second stint the temperature inside the car was approximately 55-65℃. After 15 minutes I lost ABS, then traction control and finally power steering. Normally you can race without, but the GT4 cars are designed to use these aids and steering the car without power steering is nearly impossible. I started the race on a blood sugar reading of 12-14, but after 50 minutes I needed to retire the car in the box and drink the litre of Lucozade. Endurance racing in the summer has real physical demands. You’ve driven a fair few races throughout your career so far. What is your best race memory? Every time the adrenaline rushes when I get into the car to be honest! But best of all was the time I went flat out in a GT4 Ginetta through Eau Rouge. The first race I did in Spain in the VW Racing Cup was great too. What are your future plans? In 2020 I’m forming a race team with John Paul, in cooperation with Student Motorsport. We decided we’d build a perfect platform for a young team in the newly formed Renault Clio Cup 2020. We plan to run a two car team, one for me and the second car for a young talent.
Young racing driver Ben Wallace with his car, bearing the logo of charity Diabetes UK As a fan, what’s your favourite category of racing and why? I like the complexity of endurance racing - the tactics, intelligent driving and the physical aspect of the drive. Endurance Racing would be my dream category to race in the future.
body and diabetes and even more importantly learning the amount of carbohydrates you burn during your activities. In a way it’s ‘trial and error’ but you will learn to balance it. Ignoring this causes serious health problems and your performance will suffer.
What advice can you give diabetic young people that want to get into sport? It’s all about knowing your
For the full interview with Ben, check out our website at forgetoday. com/sport.
Sheffield University Sailing Club reaches BUCS Team Finals for second year in a row Alex Brotherton Sport Editor
Sheffield Yellow’s team members included Sam Yale (captain), Elizabeth Geraghty, Robbie Langford, Hannah Baber, Peter Owen and Immi van Ruiten. Meanwhile, Sheffield Black’s were represented by Tim Harms, Henry Heath, Doug White, Jenna Fogden, Tabitha Ridgwell and Ania Klecun.
Sheffield University Sailing Club reaches BUCS Team Finals for second consecutive year. Sheffield University Sailing Club has qualified for the BUCS Team Finals for a second year in a row after finishing fourth at the Northern Qualifiers. The club entered two teams into the BUCS Team Racing Northern Qualifiers in West Kirby on 1-2 February, Sheffield Yellow (first team) and Sheffield Black (second team). Despite challenging weather conditions, Sheffield Yellow secured the fourth and final automatic qualification spot for the competitive sailing finals, where they will represent the North alongside teams from Durham,
Newcastle and Manchester. After the event, club captain Sam Yale said: “We are so happy. Everyone on the team sailed really well together, and we are really pleased that the hard work and commitment we’ve put in throughout the year has paid off. “Everyone, from our committee who run the club to the sailors who attend every training and social, is part of this achievement”. “We have a number of new sailors in the team this year which makes the achievement even better. Having qualified for two years in a row now I’m excited about where the club will go in the next few years.” The finals will be hosted by Cambridge University on 13-15 April and will see Sheffield, who have won the last four Sheffield Varsity events, compete against the best
teams in the country. Sam said: “We are training hard at the moment in preparation and are hoping to build on last year’s performance, when we finished 27th. “We are keen to prove ourselves against the other top teams competing, but ultimately we want to enjoy ourselves and have a good time. Team racing is a form of competitive sailing that sees two teams race each other with three boats each. The teams sail around a course in 10 minute races, with typically 10 to 15 races at each event. Points are awarded according to finishing position (one point for first place, two points for second), meaning the overall winner is the team that amasses the lowest points total.
Wednesday 26 February 2020
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Michael Ekman Sport Coordinator
Hi everyone! There has been plenty of sporting events happening these past weeks, with BUCS Nationals being the big one, along with several other BUCS fixtures as well. Featuring on the back page we have done an extensive coverage of the BUCS Nationals weekend, speaking to some of the medallists
from the event. Moreover, in Women in Sports, Netball 2’s won against league leaders Leeds, in a game that is seen as preparing for the ever looming Varsity next month. Additionally, we have an interview with a diabetic racing driver who speaks about what he has to overcome to get to where he is today as well as covering the sailing team that reached the BUCS Finals for the second year in a row.
In Sport Thoughts, we have a piece from a contributor speaking the importance of the FA Cup on lower league teams after talk from Premier League sides that replays should be scrapped. We also have a piece analysing England’s recent cricket form at the T20’s. Lastly, if anyone wants to help in covering Varsity, there are still spaces on our sign-up sheet we have on our Facebook pages. Hope to see some new people!
Sheffield Utd 1 - 1 Brighton
Aston Villa P-P Sheffield Utd
Birmingham 3 - 3 Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday - Charlton
Sheffield Utd Women 5 - 1 Blackburn Rovers
Sheffield Utd Women - Crystal Palace
Bridlington Rovers 0 - 1 Sheffield Wednesday Ladies
Harrogate Railway - Sheffield Wednesday Ladies
Hull 34 - 21 Sheffield Tigers
Sheffield Tigers - Tynedale
Sheffield Steelers 4 - 1 Belfast Giants
Sheffield Steelers - Fife Flyers
Manchester Giants 87 - 106 Sheffield Sharks
Leicester Riders - Sheffield Sharks
Women in Sports: Netball dominates at home against Leeds Michael Ekman Sport Coordinator
Despite a “rocky” start to the league season, Netball 2s managed to win 63-41 against league leaders Leeds 4s in preparation for next month’s Varsity. Captain Katie Littlewood, 21, believes it was one of the toughest games her team have had all season. She said: “The game was a fight as in it was pretty close up until the final quarter. It was a fast game that we had to fight for. “Leeds are a very strong side, which is why they play their 4s while other universities have to field some of their strongest teams to have a chance.” The West Yorkshire side came into the game unbeaten but Sheffield managed to outmanoeuvre them. Katie said: “As a team we all
played out of our socks. It was our best performance of the season. “I was particularly impressed with our goalkeeper Isobel bond,, who helped maintain our lead. Our player’s player of the match was Olivia Phillips, who was getting shots in left right and centre”. Katie, a third year politics and international relations student, also thinks that wins like this one show the potential that her team has. “We got off to a bit of a rocky start in the league as we are a really new team who have never played together before”, she added. “I am the only one who’s played in this league before so we knew it was going to be tough coming up against teams who have played together before. “Before Christmas we were at risk of relegation but now we are smashing the top of the league
which is testament to our hard work and commitment as a squad.” The team is now third in the league and hope to finish the season on a high. Games like this one also provide an important opportunity for the captain to assess her team’s strengths and what needs improvement ahead of Varsity. “In terms of yesterday’s game, it was great for our confidence and as a captain, it was nice to see our team bonding and playing as a unit on court in the run-up to Varsity. “I think in the last month we have really come together as a team which is great as it’s the last few games of the season that are important and allow us to go into Varsity feeling really positive.”
Sheffield success all round at BUCS Nationals Michael Ekman Sport Coordinator
(cont. from back) ... nerves are good nerves and mean I’m ready to fight. It’s a feeling I’ve experienced thousands of times before.” Preparing for the tournament, the final-year biomedical science degree student drew upon his experience from competing in European and World Championships. He said: “I know my strengths and my weaknesses so this allows me to be very critical when it comes to training to allow me to work on certain areas of my performance. “Due to the consistent preparation this makes me feel at ease and a lot more confident going
into the championships.” Cuba also highlights how much he enjoys fighting for the Uni and what he hopes to achieve going ahead. “No competition is similar to BUCS. I really love fighting at BUCS and representing the University of
These nerves are good nerves and mean I’m ready to fight. It’s a feeling I’ve experienced thousands of times before Sheffield.The whole is very different
atmosphere to other
competitions.” “After I’ve graduated I’d love to represent England again at another major championship and try and medal at a big international event in the future.” Along with swimming and karate, men’s epee also came away successful. Fencer Matt Cooper claimed a silver medal for Sheffield, having made the BUCS Nationals a focus for this season and improving on his result from last year. With BUCS Nationals including universities from all around the country, it’s not uncommon for friends from different unis to have to face off against each other. This proved to be the case for Matt, as he
came into the final having defeated some of his closest friends along the way, only to be faced with a frustrating final game. He said: “The semi-final saw me competing against one of my closest friends and we had a great match and it was probably the highlight of the day to win that match. “The final match was frustrating for me. Beforehand I knew I had the skills to win the match and with how I had been fencing all day I knew I could take the win if I worked hard. “I played the match tactically wrong and pressed too hard too soon letting my opponent get an early lead which he defended well all match.” Despite a difficult final game,
Matt still aims highly with his fencing ambitions. “I am taking my fencing seriously and am trying to make a name internationally, it is really difficult to break into the international scene especially being from a country with not much funding for its athletes. ”I have been competing internationally for Great Britain for four to five years now progressing through Cadets, Juniors and now Seniors. “I aim to continue competing internationally after university with my sights set on the Olympics.”
Swimming was one of the many sports that enjoyed successed at the weekend Image: BUCS
Swimming crush it at BUCS Nationals, along with karate and men’s fencing Michael Ekman Sport Coordinator
The BUCS Nationals saw sportspeople from all over Britain gather in the Steel City to compete in the acclaimed tournament, with University of Sheffield athletes excelling at the annual event on 1416 February. Swimming, karate, and men’s fencing were just some of the many Sheffield Uni teams and athletes which came away from the tournament with medals in hand, with strong performances also on show from climbing, judo, and track. On the first day, swimmer Amber Keegan, 22, secured a gold medal,
being crowned a BUCS Champion for her first time in the 1,500-metre freestyle long course swimming. She said: “I’m really pleased with it. The final length was good fun. When I turned it on a bit more on the last 100 and started pulling away I suspected I might win but you never know what’s going to happen. “I was just focused on controlling what I could with my technique, not worrying about anyone else except to have a good race and see what happened.” This was Amber’s fifth time competing in the BUCS Nationals but she has only won silvers before, making this moment just that extra special.
“I’d say there isn’t really any competition like BUCS. It’s not quite a “team” event like the English Arena league or German Bundesliga, but it’s also not just an individual event because you’re winning points for your uni,” she added. “It’s a strange but nice mix of everyone from social swimmers to some of the best in the country. That means you get the team spirit and also good competition.” It hasn’t been easy for Amber to get to this point in the sport, having to overcome several injuries and mental battles before landing this gold. However, this year she is just trying to focus on enjoying the sport. She said: “This year I’m grateful to
be injury-free, healthy and training consistently again. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. “I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself goal wise, other than to enjoy it and keep improving. It’s got to be fun for me, or else why am I doing it?” However, Amber wasn’t the only gold medallist from the University. Karate fighter Cuba Parris stormed to a third consecutive gold medal in the Men’s U60kg, having previously finished 2018 and 2019 as a BUCS Champion as well. He said: “It’s a really good feeling to be able to defend my title, as all athletes know sport can be unpredictable, especially fighting,
so I’m really happy to have done so.” Even though he was about to face some of the best fighters from across Britain, Cuba felt confident and unphased ahead of the final fight. “During the few hours before the final, I like to really unwind and relax with friends, get some food and refuel for later whilst also spending some time watching more of the event. “I was fairly confident for the final and because it was my final BUCS I wanted to put on a good performance for everyone watching and win in style. “I got a little nervous just before walking but these... (cont. on p43)
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