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Th THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM’S OFFICIAL STUDENT MAGAZINE
Editorial “Vote for me for Activities!” And so it begins. Two weeks of avoiding hecklers outside Hallward and weaving in and out of groups of strangers offering freebies for five minutes of spiel. At Impact, we know the drill. We’ve been covering SU Elections for long enough now to begin dreaming of the word ‘transparency’ as soon as March 1st arrives. So, what makes this year’s elections any different? It’s a question we’re asked to ponder by our readers every year. Perhaps this year, we’ve found the answer: the five-year plan. It has a relatively simple premise: if we want a sustainable Students’ Union, we need to think about long-term points rather than annual ones. It all makes a lot of sense, really. Candidates dream of lasting legacies but their manifesto points are seldom feasible for a single term in office. So when an idea really is good, why not work together to see it through? That said, it does seem to undermine the whole manifesto process. How much of our vote really goes towards the point that makes candidate A better than candidate B if they’re ultimately going to work on something that was initiated four years ago? Thankfully, 2017 is the founding year for a new fiveyear plan, which means the officers you vote in later this month really do have some power to shape the SU for the next five years. For that reason, I join Matteo in encouraging student engagement in this year’s elections. We can complain about £80,000 rebrands and seemingly unnecessary screens, but it’s all a bit redundant if we don’t act when we can. Happily, for those of you looking to escape campaigners, this issue is not just about student elections. We bring you four glorious pages on every student’s pre-deadline pick-me-up: coffee. We asked how you take your caffeine and now offer you a coffee-based recipe to spice things up a bit. Followed by some tips for dessert, of course, because what is coffee without a good slice of cake? We also question the masochistic need to go on a night out although most of us would rather binge-watch Netflix, and then take a look at four students’ reasons for getting creative in some of UoN’s most arty societies. Speaking of creativity, there’s still time to join our team. Why not have a flick through the mag, figure out where you’d fit in best, and pop along to a meeting? It may be the best decision you make all year.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF TAMSIN PARNELL
12 ETHICAL? 18 coffeebreak
26 Exploring the uk 38 UoNâ€™s eSports
40 notts in fILm 62 welfare in uon sports
66 made in nottingham
WORDS BY NICK SCOTT
ILLUSTRATION BY POPPY ANNE MALBY
FREE & EQUAL Nick Scott talks to Chris Smith, Welfare Officer at UoN’s LGBT Network, about support for the University’s LGBT+ community
As a welfare officer for the University of Nottingham’s LGBT Network, I had an expectation that Chris Smith would be an upbeat and positive person. I was delighted to have this expectation met as, despite me having chosen an appalling place to conduct an interview (Mooch, really?), Chris quickly becomes animated and engaging in conversation, totally undeterred by the noise. Straight off the bat, he surprises me by saying that his experiences as a gay man when he first came to the University were “completely fine”. “I didn’t experience any kind of problem”, he tells me, seemingly contrary to many stories we see in the news about LGBT+ issues at university. There is a brief caveat to this. “Lads in a club” making a comment is a recurring theme, not just here but up and down the country. Yet Chris is keen to point out that on the whole, he has had a good time of it. He laughingly admits to having a “terrible gaydar” on nights out, but as minorities tend to gather together, there’s often not a lot of call for it and that might explain why it’s a little rusty. When asked to comment on the stigma surrounding LGBT+ students at the University, Chris says that the problem now lies more with trans people. He readily states that “it’s all still a very new way of thinking,” but that people should be more ready to embrace these changes, and that ignorance nowadays is not an acceptable excuse. When asked to go into more depth, Chris is careful with his words, remarking that “lots of people have different views on gender based on where they were brought up and that this has definitely informed people, but the trouble is that ignorance often leads to phobia”. I’m struck by how well he plays the Devil’s Advocate. Not content to just preach from on high, Chris is much more interested in tackling the root of the problem and is adept at putting himself in the shoes of another in order to understand their perspective. “Essentially, it’s about acceptance and respect, even if you don’t like it”. This is a theme that runs through the whole of the interview and is something Chris clearly regards as part of his mantra. Having come out at the end of GCSEs, he already had two years of experiencing an education system as a gay man and he feels this gave him adequate
preparation for university life. Oddly enough for someone who is now a well-known figure in the LGBT Network, he wasn’t that involved in it at first. “I actually couldn’t find them!” he jokingly protests and goes on to say he was involved in lots of other societies which simply gave him no time. So what changed? “My friend said ‘let’s go on the Manchester trip with LGBT Network’, and the fun I had on that convinced me to get involved”. Crediting the Network with building up his confidence and broadening his opinions, becoming an active member is something Chris clearly doesn’t regret. Hailing from a rural community in Buckinghamshire, the University of Nottingham has been quite a change of scene for Chris. His time here has taught him “to constantly question myself and other things around me” to the point where he feels he will never be sure about certain issues. Regarding certainty and clarification, I broach the subject of the rumours surrounding last year’s trip to Manchester, namely that they had problems with students taking drugs. As one of the organisers, it’s clear that the topic is a little uncomfortable, but Chris maintains that the members who were guilty have since apologised and that the Network will learn from this mistake. Chris stresses that “when a couple of people feel like they have to stop their night to help us organisers, something has gone wrong if not everyone is having fun”. The trip seems to be on the cards again, especially as Nottingham’s LGBT+ nightlife keeps dwindling and, as Chris says, “there’s only so many times you can go to Propaganda”. Events like Pride Ocean, an Ocean club night for LGBT+ students, are of enormous benefit according to Chris, as “everyone in the community comes together” and feels safe and ready to have a good time. But as a welfare officer, Chris sometimes has to deal with the darker side of life as an LGBT+ student. He reels off numerous cases of discrimination Network members have experienced and in one such case, a bar in Nottingham had to apologise after a member was insulted and barred from entering by one of the bouncers. “Mental health issues in the LGBT+ community are quite common,” Chris claims, and clearly feels it is his duty to help them, ranging from just talking things through to referring them to University services which
often provide professional counselling. He grimly acknowledges that the long waiting lists are quite unhelpful, hinting that to cope with rising demand, the University of Nottingham should consider spending a bit more if it is serious about helping its students who need it. Much like the experiences Chris has gone though till now, life for an LGBT+ student at the University of Nottingham seems to be improving. With a vibrant society, a myriad of events and eager volunteers like Chris on hand to help, there is much cause to be optimistic. At the end of March, the Universityâ€™s Human Rights Law Centre will be holding a conference about LGBT+ issues, something that demonstrates an acceptance of the issues not just in a social aspect but in an academic one as well. Progress has been made and will have to be maintained if the University of Nottingham wants to remain serious about being a place for all students to enjoy.
UON LGBT NETWORK firstname.lastname@example.org NOTTINGHAM LGBT+ NETWORK 0115 934 8485, email@example.com OUTBURST 0115 952 5040, firstname.lastname@example.org STONEWALL 020 7593 1850, email@example.com
WORDS BY MADDIE DE SOYZA
IMAGE BY SOPHIE RIDLER
/‘marɪdʒ/ Josh (a fifth-year medical student at UoN) is ready to tie the knot with his fiancée of five years
My fiancée and I have been together for nearly five years now and felt we were at a point in our lives where we might be able to afford to tie the knot. I knew I wanted to be with her forever and really didn’t see a point in waiting any longer. This is not something I had planned; I always expected to get married eventually but probably after I had a bit more stability. Having said that, I never ruled it out because ultimately I don’t think age or financial stability should change your mind – within reason, of course. The amount of people making comments has been surprisingly limited. Occasionally some people say things like, “Really? How long have you been together?”. After I tell them, they say, “Oh, that’s probably long enough then”, to which I think to myself, “thank you for validating the most important decision of my life”. But I know they don’t mean anything by it, it’s just slightly unusual to them. Then again, I’m a medical student and there are a lot of graduate students in my year group who are, naturally, older, so being married or engaged whilst being a student isn’t all that uncommon. I’m 24 anyway so I’m not as young as some people. My fiancée has faced some comments on her age, though – people implying they think she is too young, even though she’s 23. Obviously one of the biggest problems with being an engaged student is the lack of an income. Weddings are expensive but I have a bursary and my fiancée is not a student so that makes things easier. We are trying to save a lot on the everyday things – I’ve
tried to avoid the Boots meal deals as much as possible! We’ve spent a lot of time researching the best possible deals as well, including finding a slightly eccentric bloke with a vintage car to drive us around; buying suits and dresses in the January sales; and my mum’s going to make the cake. Our parents have also helped us out financially. I was actually really surprised that my fiancée’s parents were okay with me being a student. On the day I asked them, they just said, “Great!”, which took me aback, so I asked, “Don’t you want to know my plan? How much money we have? Where we’re going to live?” and they just said, “No, it’s okay, we’re just really happy!”. I was actually a bit disappointed because I had a whole speech ready about the life plan. What’s been harder than the financial issues is the fact that she currently lives and works in London, and I am still up in Notts. It’s difficult to see each other, let alone plan a wedding. I’ll be moving down to London with her after we are married, though, so this is only a temporary problem. I would advise people to not worry about getting engaged young; you can have a wedding on a tight budget. It won’t look like a Hollywood film, but you can do it. Don’t worry about being students or what others will think – people are usually pleasantly surprised and often find it refreshing that there are still some young people who place so much value on marriage. Also, if you’ve been together long enough and feel it’s right, don’t let being a student stand in your way; it turns out wedding planning is an ideal break from revision!
COSTUME FROM LUVYABABES
WORDS BY MATTEO EVERETT
IMAGES VIA UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM’S STUDENTS’ UNION
SU 4U? Matteo ponders why we need SU officers
What does the SU actually do? I spent a week sitting in on a meeting, talking to some of the officers and reading through manifestos, constitutions and reports. Simply put, the answer, as I found, isn’t that straightforward.
The first meeting I attended was with Welcome, who are in charge of organising Welcome Week. The meeting solely reviewed post-Welcome Week surveys, filled in by first years, to plan next year’s event, limiting the actual input the officers could have on the process. I later learned that starting next year, the groundwork for Welcome Week will no longer be handled by Welcome, but by the SU themselves. Whether this means the elected officers or the full-time staff remains to be seen, but it made it all the more disappointing when I looked around and realised that, while I was taking notes, many of the officers were flicking through Facebook and Twitter and replying to emails. I must stress that this was one meeting - which had little to do with the current officers, at that - and it is commendable that there was nevertheless a strong turn-out of officers. However, with 84 full-time SU staff, you have to wonder how relevant the 13 student officers are, if the actual bulk of the work is done by invisible agents who only hear students’ views through the grapevine. After the meeting, I sat down with Ismail Sadurdeen, President of the University of Nottingham’s Students’ Union, to see if I could learn a bit more about what the SU does. I asked him about the relevance of student figureheads, and he emphatically replied: “This is a Students’ Union. A very important element of [an] SU officer’s role is representation, especially for disabled students [or] international students. The
staff team support some vital work, but the key drivers for success are the officer team”. Most interestingly, I found that the SU works towards ‘Five Year Plans’. Planned by the fifth cohort of the old cycle and implemented by the first officers of the next, every year each new body of officers aims to achieve these very same goals drafted years ago. This poses the question: is there any point heeding each prospective officer’s manifesto before voting, if they will be working for goals that are not actually their own? If the SU elections really are just a popularity contest, as has been suggested several times, maybe this is because there’s nothing else for the elections to be based on. I put this to Ismail. He refuted the idea, telling me that “there is always scope to implement your own manifesto points”. He added: “If you were elected on a particular manifesto point, it clearly indicates that the student population is keen for that to happen - it is up to you to lobby or negotiate that”. Happily, the current SU team is the penultimate for this current ‘Five Year Plan’. As the fifth year’s team finalises the draft for the upcoming half a decade, the forthcoming SU election is the most important since 2012. In two years’ time, I suppose, we’ll be asking again why we cast our votes at all. However, this does not mean that the current SU officers are completely devoid of influence. Earlier this year, as per Ismail’s manifesto, the SU set up a WeChat account to keep in touch with students who use non-traditional forms of social media,
and the team is currently working to instal more water fountains across campus, also promised by Ismail. The Global Buddy Scheme was also recently piloted, where international students are buddied up with peers from Britain to help increase international integration on campus (an issue close to Ismail’s heart as UoN’s first International SU President). Other recent changes are the new SU logo, the use of meal cards in Mooch (finally!), and the recent release of the SU’s ‘Spotlight On Societies’ video. However, other manifesto points are nowhere to be seen, even in the notes for the Minutes Meetings released since the current SU team has taken office. For instance, monthly videos about what each officer has done throughout the previous four weeks - which we were promised - are difficult to find, if they exist at all. The SU has not (visibly) done more to publicise events, another point which appeared on some of the manifestos. And while some of the SU officers publish on their Facebook pages what they have recently done and plan to do, these are often vague and never regular, noting the attendance of ‘meetings’ and ‘discussions’ without detail about what is happening therein. What can we expect for the future of UoN? Well, our current team is working towards implementing ‘Halls of Fame’ pop-ups around campus, the International Buddy Scheme which should hopefully flourish after the initial pilot, and a scheme attempting to reduce the stigma of mental health issues for international students who may come from countries where these issues are not openly discussed. Other than that – and perhaps a few points from the 2016 manifestos that can feasibly be implemented in less than 6 months – we cannot know for sure. It will be down to next year’s officers to decide what will happen for the next five, and it’s clear that debates about the necessity of these interim officers will persist until students actually see the
implementation of their ideas and manifesto points, rather than changes which should have really happened a long time ago. We do not exist in a world without SU officers, so we cannot tell if the issues faced by UoN students, and their subsequent resolutions, would have different outcomes without an elected body of student figureheads. However, from what I’ve seen and garnered from student opinions, SU officers, while hardly a practical necessity, provide representation where otherwise there would be none. While it is unlikely that we need so many roles and paid positions, SU representatives from the student body will invariably exist because students need to feel like they have a voice, no matter how quiet it is. So while the SU continues its fight for transparency, we should focus on the manifestos of the candidates during this year’s election, as next year’s team will be the one mapping the future of UoN. After that, we can all stop thinking about the SU for another half a decade – then it will be the students of 2022’s problem.
WORDS BY ELLIE MCDONNELL
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JESSE YU
‘UNETHICAL?’ Is UoN’s use of imported dog cadavers unethical?
The University of Nottingham Veterinary School has recently come under fire for its allegedly unethical sourcing of animals for teaching purposes. Cruelty Free International, an animal rights advocacy group, has made an official call to the University of Nottingham to end its importation of dead dogs’ bodies from the USA. The organisation obtained information under a Freedom of Information request that allegedly revealed that the UoN imported cadavers from a commercial company based in the United States. According to information supplied by the charity, the University of Nottingham admitted to using 34 dogs’ bodies a year for veterinary classes At a time when the general public is becoming increasingly more aware of animal rights discourse and action, questions must be asked about the extent educational institutions are involved in protecting and supporting the ethical treatment of animals. As an institution with a Veterinary school, it is understandable that UoN will need to use bodies of dogs for dissection and teaching purposes. However, it is important to question the sourcing of these animals. The potential ethical grey area with sourcing cadavers from commercial
companies in the states arises because US legislation, in some states, allows for unclaimed but often healthy dogs to be killed after as little as 5 days, if no one claims or adopts the dog into a home. This leaves room for a potential market in which companies legally kill dogs, simply because it is cheaper than trying to get them adopted. Dr Katy Taylor, Cruelty Free International Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs, spoke to us: “Having institutions, such as [the University of Nottingham], willing to pay for the bodies of these shelter animals, creates a conflict of interest. Because of this ready market for dog cadavers, pounds and shelters may kill animals rather than make a concerted effort to sterilise and find homes beyond the prescribed holding period. The veterinary profession should be at the forefront in stopping this ‘surplus’ from occurring, not benefiting from it”. Of course, all of this is speculation. Whether the imported dogs were actually killed for commercial gain is questionable, but we have to ask whether UoN should even risk being associated with these
practices. When I approached Veterinary School students for their opinions on the issue to get a better knowledge about how the dogs have supported their learning they were allegedly advised by the School not to comment. I approached the Nottingham Veterinary School for a comment on Cruelty Free International’s accusations. A spokesperson for the Uni defended its use of the imported cadavers, arguing that they are essential for teaching purposes: “As a leading Veterinary School, we are responsible for equipping the next generation of Veterinary Surgeons with the necessary skills to ensure the health and welfare of companion, farm and other animals. “The use of post-mortem material continues to be an essential part of this training. [...] Unfortunately, we do not have a hospital on site and so we are unable to benefit from dog owners donating their animals for teaching purposes, unlike other schools. We therefore need to source dogs from outside of the school. There are no commercial organisations in the UK that supply the range of dog cadavers required by the Vet School”. The University gives fair reasoning about their use of cadavers and the limitations of being a veterinary school without a hospital. In order to train vets to effectively treat and protect animals, students will need to be trained with a wealth of resources. However, the issue remains with the school’s apparent ambivalence towards where the cadavers come from. Nottingham explains that, “This is tissue that would otherwise be destroyed and we hope that people will understand the need to for us to use this material for the training of veterinary students”. There is nothing UoN can do to prevent the killing of healthy dogs for commercial use from happening, nor can the Uni ever be certain that it is happening, but it does not need to support the system,
neither morally nor financially. I inquired about other options available to universities. Martin Mallon, Cruelty Free International’s Media and Celebrity liaison mentioned a few options including SynDaver, a company that creates synthetic cadavers for surgical training, an Educational Memorial Programme which lets owners donate their deceased animals to veterinary colleges and Rescue Critters who provide manikins that teach skills for injections, IV blood collection and various other procedures. He added that Cruelty Free International argues that a combination of high quality models and computer programs as well as early exposure to animal patients in the clinics is a more effective way of teaching veterinary students than the traditional programme of requiring each student to dissect a dead animal. The Nottingham Vet School was unable to make a comment about their reasons for not exploring others options. The question remains whether the imported dog cadavers are really the only way to go for UoN. Is it not the responsibility and the aspiration of vets to protect the well being and livelihoods of all animals? And is Nottingham, by paying for these cadavers, part of supporting the commodification of animal deaths?
WORDS + IMAGE BY GEORGINA BRAY
THE PEREGRINE FALCON The fastest animal on earth seeking refuge in our University grounds
The peregrine falcon is most commonly known for being the fastest animal on earth, diving for prey at speeds of up to 389km/h with deadly precision. With a wingspan of up to 1.2m, this streamlined rocket is a force to be reckoned with, and a bird to be remembered. Unfortunately, although a highly prolific bird of prey, the peregrine falcon is often not welcomed, especially in the countryside, where it is considered a hindrance and threat. With the bird being persecuted nationwide, it now relies on cities and even universities like those in Nottingham as safe havens to nurture their young. Peregrines have suffered a troubled history in the UK, partly as a result of chemical poisoning on agricultural land. In the 1960s, the species reached an all-time low when numbers plummeted after the use of the pesticide DDT, thinning the shells of eggs which led to them breaking during incubation. Thanks to the banning of the pesticide, UK numbers have since recovered to around 1,700 breeding pairs. Whilst peregrines are protected from the exposure to harmful pesticides, persecution against the peregrine is still a common occurrence in the countryside. Egg collectors, gamekeepers, those smuggling chicks overseas, and other interferences have an alarmingly high impact on the peregrine populations. Gamekeepers of intensively managed grouse moors have been reported to shoot the peregrines or remove their eggs in order to prevent them from nesting in their natural habitat. This reduces the threat they pose on the farmed wild grouse, and as a result, many peregrine breeding attempts fail. As the country lifestyle for the peregrine falcon is becoming ever more dangerous, the birds are now looking for safer and slightly more unusual places to nest.
Tall city centre buildings provide peregrine falcons with safe areas to nest and reproduce. One fine example is the Newton and Arkwright building at Nottingham Trent University. This site is home to a very successful breeding pair, and with the help of the University, and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, we can watch video footage of life around a peregrine family home dating back to 2011. Since the Wildlife Trust and NTU started following the falcons, 28 chicks have successfully left the nest. It is fantastic to know that our city is providing a nesting site for the peregrine falcon and to be able to witness the couple returning every year to raise yet another clutch of chicks. Despite this already huge success, more could be done. Peregrines, raised by the original breeding pair, have been found to nest near Nottingham Trent, and seem to like the look of UoNâ€™s tower building. The height of the building, allowing the birds to show off their swooping and deathly dives, makes it ideal for nesting. Whilst peregrines are regularly spotted around the tower building, local raptor experts have voiced concerns over the disturbance to the site, which is hindering any birdâ€™s chance of raising a family there. Having birds nesting at the University would be a fantastic mark of conservation efforts, providing a valuable home for a species looking to move away from areas where it is persecuted to the point of near extinction from countryside habitats. Already, the peregrines attract the attention of conservationists nationwide at Nottingham Trent University. Now it is time to extend our cityâ€™s welcome to our very own University as well, to promote the survival of this iconic species against the persecution it endures elsewhere in the UK.
WORDS BY ROBERT BARBER ILLUSTRATIONS BY INDIA ROSE MEADE
What is Cannabis?
Why is cannabis used as medication?
Cannabis is one of the most popular controlled substances worldwide, with an estimated 178 million people aged 15-64 years using the drug in 2012. In our own poll of UoN students, over 73% admitted to trying cannabis during their time at University. Surprisingly, given its widespread use, fairly little is known about how it affects our brains and what it does to our bodies. To change this, the most comprehensive review of the health effects of cannabis to date was published in the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine, outlining the health benefits and potential risks of cannabis. This outlines the findings of hundreds of studies on cannabis, and shows conclusive evidence of medicinal uses, including chronic pain relief and nausea relief from chemotherapy. Yet ,despite the growing body of evidence, our lawmakers are still adamant that cannabis has no therapeutic effect, and those who chose to use it as medication could face criminal prosecution.
This latest review on medical cannabis was published on 12th January. It’s a fairly conservative report that tries to refrain from identifying health benefits without conclusive evidence, yet some of the findings are striking. The most striking is the substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain, that it helps to treat muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis, and that it can help nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. This is an incredibly important result for those that suffer from MS, fibromyalgia, chronic arthritis or many other conditions associated with long-term continuous pain and discomfort. There was also moderate evidence that cannabis was not connected to increased risk of cancers associated with smoking, and these risks were only a consequence of also using tobacco. That said, regular users are more likely to experience non-cancerous lung disease, such as chronic bronchitis, so moving to vaping instead of smoking is preferable.
The collective term Cannabis actually refers to the genus of plant, including the species Indica and Sativa. The plant contains at least 85 different cannabinoids (the active components), including the most famous, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Another important cannabinoid that’s found in high concentrations within cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD), which is used in medicine and hemp production.
Although I’ve largely been singing the praises of cannabis, it’s not all good news. Whilst there is currently little conclusive evidence for a link between poor mental health and frequent users, an association has been suggested between the two. Frequent smokers were more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, but it’s unclear whether this is due to cannabis consumption, or because some smokers chose to alleviate symptoms of depression by taking cannabis. For those that do indulge, if you are feeling anxious or depressed, the first step may be to stop smoking for a few days and see how you feel. Like most things, each person has their own response, and too much of a good thing can cause adverse effects over time.
How does cannabis affect our mind and body? Unlike alcohol or most other drugs, we naturally produce cannabinoids as neurotransmitters, compounds that allow neurons in the brain to talk to each other. With their receptors, they make up the endocannabinoid system that’s used all over the brain, including regions associated with memory and learning, emotional responses and higher thinking. As well as in the brain, endocannabinoids and their receptors are found in organs, glands, connective tissues and the immune system. This explains why cannabis appears to have so many varied effects, and has been trialled to treat all manner of diseases, from multiple sclerosis to anxiety. Endocannabinoids generally act to keep our bodies in a stable state, and do this by affecting the way different cells communicate. At sites of injury, they reduce extreme reactions to stimuli by inhibiting neurons, and reduce the inflammatory substances released by immune cells, generally causing a decrease in pain. In our brain, they affect the way neurons talk to each other. When neurons fire, there’s a refractory period that prevents further messages being sent immediately, allowing us to think in a calm and controlled way. Cannabinoids alter this system, with either excitatory or inhibitory effects. THC can reduce the refractory period between neurons that are already firing, which is why when we smoke weed, sometimes our perception, emotions and imagination can become magnified. THC also releases dopamine and adrenaline, leading to a sense of euphoria and relaxation. If you or a friend are dealing with depression, you can contact the University Counselling Service at 0115 9513695, The Student Advice Centre at 0115 846 8730 or student run, anonymous, listening service Night Line at 0115 951 4985 from 7pm - 8am. Head to UoN’s website for more contacts and information.
Cannabis and UK Legislation A lot of this information isn’t new. In 1990, there was a 15-yearlong study following over 45,000 Swedes. They found no increase in mortality in those who used cannabis, after controlling for other factors. Another study in the American Journal of Public Health (1997) followed 65,000 people in America aged 15-49, and found that there was no effect at all on mortality in women or non-AIDS men. Despite these large landmark studies, cannabis remains illegal under British law. Currently in the UK, medicinal cannabis remains under the same laws as recreational substances, yet it’s estimated half a million people in the UK use it for therapeutic purposes. That’s half a million people that are forced to choose between living with debilitating symptoms or the possibility of criminal prosecution. That’s not to mention that cannabis makes up an estimated six billion pound underground economy in the UK. However, the laws are slowly changing. Several police constituencies are admitting to treating cannabis as lowest priority. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has stated CBD oils are now classified as a medicine, finally admitting that there are real therapeutic effects. As the rest of the Western world moves to legalise medicinal cannabis, the UK parliament stands with its feet firmly planted in the ground. Hopefully a growing body of evidence and our need for self-determination may sway parliament in future.
Have you used cannabis at all during your time at university?
How often have you A use cannabis? No No
Less than once a month A
Less than once a week
Once ever Less than once a month
One or more times a week
Less than once a week
Less than once a month
No a week One or more times Never
Less than once a week
Yes One or more times a week
To No what extent do you agree that A youYeshave always enjoyed the times you have used cannabis?
Less than once a week
Less than once a week
Never Mostly agree
Less than once a week One or more times a week
Less than once a month
Mostly agree Disagree Definitely disagree A Never
A Never COLOURS ARE INVERTED TO WHITE SO IT
LOOKS INVISIBLE ON ILLUSTRAT
A Definitely disagree
Definitely agree COLOURS ARE INVERTED TO W
LOOKS INVISIBLE ON ILLUSTRATOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One or more times a week
Once ever Less than once a month
One or more times a week
One or more times a week Definitely agree A
Once ever Less than once a month
Mostly agree A Disagree
Less than once a week
A than once a month Less
No Do you know anyone who treats a Definitely agree medical condition withYescannabis?
Disagree Definitely disagree
COLOURS ARE INVERTED A TO WHITE SO IT No LOOKSDisagree INVISIBLE ON ILLUSTRATOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes
Definitely disagree Never
DATA BASED ON SURVEY TAKEN BY 494 INDIVIDUALS IN JAN 2017
WORDS BY REBECCA HARDING
BLACK MAGIC? Scared your caffeinated cure-all will leave your body in worse shape? Fear not, for we know the facts, and those facts are as good as that energy boost each morning
54% percent of us enjoy coffee on a daily basis, and for some this is as necessary a part of your morning routine as brushing your teeth. With effects such as increased alertness and concentration making coffee so appealing, it is unsurprising that the UK consumes 55 million cups per day, and globally it is the world’s favourite stimulant drug. So what exactly does caffeine do, and why are we still not ready to leave this 400-year-old dependency behind us? The average cup of joe boosts around 150mg of caffeine (although on Monday mornings you may opt for a grande containing around 300mg of the good stuff). After gulping down your coffee, the effects of 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, AKA caffeine, are mostly achieved through blocking the actions of adenosine: a neurotransmitter released, as a product of neuron firing, to slow down neuron activity. Since caffeine has a similar structure to adenosine, it binds to and inhibits adenosine receptors, and so increases neuron firing frequency. The increased neuron firing after caffeine intake also causes a release of hormones such as adrenaline, eliciting a fight or flight response. This causes the characteristic increase in pupil dilation, heart rate and blood pressure that we are all too familiar with. Stopping the action of adenosine does not only keep drowsiness at bay, but also means the brain’s own stimulating hormones can work more efficiently. Dopamine is one of these chemicals which is involved specifically in the activation of pleasure centres in the brain, and is linked to the addictive properties of caffeine.
Caffeine has been used throughout history for its positive effects on cognition and performance. Many athletes use the drug in their pre-workout plans to improve speed and endurance, and us students use caffeine to support long stints in the library. Its mind enhancing effects last for around 45 minutes, although the time varies depending on each individual’s genes and other environmental factors. For example, women on birth control may experience its effects for double the time because their body takes much longer to break down caffeine. As well as improving alertness, caffeine enhances the ability to remember information. This undoubtedly gives students all the more reason to treat themselves to a beverage in George Green. However, the increase in memorising speed means accuracy is sacrificed, perhaps due to the impulsive nature resulting from high adrenaline levels. The delicious brew has long lasting benefits on your brain, with 4 cups of coffee a day halving the risk of Parkinson’s disease due to the increase in dopamine activity. Coffee drinkers will be delighted to hear that blocking adenosine receptors may slow down the build-up of the toxic brain plaque amyloid beta, which translates to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps this is not as much of a terrifying read as you first thought, sitting down with your morning brew, expecting to read the prediction of your own death due to caffeine abuse. Caffeine functions through many different pathways in the central nervous system, and as well as improving your cramming ability, it may even protect your brain in the future too.
WORDS BY SARVENAZ HOSSEINI
FROM QAHWA TO LATTE Ever wondered what events lead up to your cup of simple americano or your super skinny soy milk extra foam caramel latte?
Legend has it that around 800 A.D, Kaldi, an Ethiopian goat herder, once found his goats galloping around intriguing red berry shrubs. After taking a closer look, Kaldi noticed his goats chewing on the mysterious red berries, and he thus, just like his goats, felt the rush of caffeine for the first time. Around the same era, Ethiopians are rumoured to have made ‘power bars’ using the ‘berry’, AKA coffee beans, and animal fat - like a greasy British breakfast and coffee in a bar. Fast forward a thousand years or so and here we are - humans all over the globe gulping down 151.3 million bags full of 60kg coffee beans. That’s nine billion seventy-eight million kilograms of coffee, an astonishing number impossible to get your brain to digest. How did Kaldi and his goats get us here? News of this energy-boosting berry spread to Arab traders, who brought the berry back to Arabia, where coffee brews as we know and love, were born. Aptly named ‘Qahwa’, literally translating to ‘that which prevents sleep’, the world got hooked on the brew that allowed for sleepless cramming sessions. Where Islam went, coffee went with it. Until, eventually, Europe got its hands on the energising bean in the early 17th century. Now a £7.9 billion industry in the UK alone, the humble ‘Qahwa’ is available in coffee shops on every corner. The first English coffee house was opened in 1652 in Oxford by a Greek man
named Pasque Roseé, who opened a franchise in London later that year. A focal point for intellectual debate, men gathered to voice their opinions and challenge each other’s views. At the cost of one penny to enter and join the intellectual conversation, coffee houses were frequently referred to as ‘penny universities’. The growing culture of coffee houses made Charles II paranoid, which nearly led to the banning of coffee houses, as he worried they would be fertile ground to plot against him. Intriguingly, the ban was undone by several ministers of Charles II as they themselves enjoyed coffee, despite sources comparing the taste to soot, ink or excrement. Not really your average caramel soy latte. Nevertheless, coffee houses survived and in the late 17th century some doubled as stock exchanges where men would gather to set prices on their stock, giving rise to the modern London Stock Exchange. The history of coffee is a rich one, just like its taste. Maybe next time you’re in the queue at Hallward cafe, you’ll appreciate Kaldi’s goats, the Arab traders, ministers of Charles II and all the history in between, which provided you with all you need to survive that all-night cram session.
WORDS BY RAPHAELA RING
WHAT YOUR HALLWARD COFFEE ORDER SAYS ABOUT YOU Black Americano
£1 vending machine coffee
You are a self-proclaimed coffee lover. You may even own a t-shirt/magnet with an almost-funny coffee pun. Nothing is more upsetting to you than someone offering you a coffee and then proceeding to take out a box of instant. You can be a bit snobbish about your beans and trying Kopi Luwak is on your bucket list, but everyone in the queue behind you appreciates how quick your order is.
You need that caffeine and you need it now. You don’t want to fuck around with milk, sugar or all of that other crap. It is likely that you have had your first cup of steaming goodness before you were 15 and you genuinely like the taste of nothing but pure energy. Also, with a caffeine addiction as serious as yours, you really can’t afford to get anything fancy.
English Breakfast tea
You are a simple soul who loves coffee but have no need to be pretentious about it. Others may perceive your order as inferior to the pure black magic of the Americano, but you know where you stand and you are comfortable with your splash of milk and (when you want to treat yourself) a pack of sugar. There is something so comforting about a cappuccino that gives you not just an energy boost but a mental break to start that new chapter.
You are a traditionalist. You know a good cuppa will give you the energy you need to survive exam season and won’t leave you on the edge of your chair or get your heart racing at a worrying speed. You tried coffee a few times, it was ok but you just don’t get the hype. You are a solid, stable person who only gets mad when someone pours the milk in first.
Soy latte WITH hazelnut & cream
A bottle of coke
You are a handful. Out of everyone, you are the only one who doesn’t drink coffee for the energy boost. For you, it is a snack. You get excited over seasonally themed cups and spend by far the most on your daily caffeine. For you, drinking coffee is about the experience and the break from reading the same line over and over again. And good for you, just know that you are really drinking a milkshake.
You despise coffee and have had frequent arguments with friends and relatives about what exactly is wrong with you (clue: nothing). You know that Coke is much worse for you than coffee, but you have never, not once, thought about changing your order. The familiar red label with its cold, refreshing liquid life elixir is something you are just not ready to give up.
COUNTING THE BEANS Coffee
what is your preferred method of caffeine consumption?
By how much does your Yes caffeine Other Energy drink consumption increase during exams? Caffeine tablet
Coffee Other A No
Energy drink No
Caffeine tablet Other
A Coffee I spend my entire exam period completely wired
By about 50 per cent
Caffeine tablet A
I spend my entire exam period completely wired
No By about 25 per cent
By about 50 per cent
Yes My caffeine consumption doesn't change
Arts, English and
By about 25 per cent
Medicine and medic
My caffeine consumption doesn't change
A Do you consume caffeine on a regular basis? Yes A
Social sciences Science A
Arts, English and Languages
I spend my entire exam period completely wired
Arts, English and Languages
By about 50 per cent
I spend my entire exam Social sciences period completely wired
By about 25 per cent
Medicine and medical sciences My caffeine consumption I spend my entire exam period completely wired By about 50 per cent
Medicine and medical sciences
Arts, English and Languages
By about 50 per cent
By about 25 per cent
DATA BASED ON My caffeine consumption SURVEY TAKEN BY 570 doesn't change INDIVIDUALS IN AJAN 2017
By about 25 per cent
Medicine and medical sciences
MyEngineering caffeine consumption doesn't change 0
80 % 50
RECIPE BY JOSH CALDICOTT
IMAGES BY VIRGINIA MOORE
ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CAKE Ready to indulge? We present to you: two layers of chocolate sponge, filled with a generous amount of chocolate buttercream icing and covered in chocolate ganache. Just waiting to be adapted to your liking.
Preheat the oven to 190C before creaming 225g of the butter and the same amount of sugar together until itâ€™s pale and fluffy. Then add the four eggs one at a time and whisk them in.
Break up 120g of the chocolate into a microwavable bowl with 120ml of milk, and heat on a medium heat, checking and stirring every 20 seconds until it has all melted. Then allow to cool slightly.
Fold in the 200g of flour, 25g of cocoa and the cooled melted chocolate into the mix. Then divide it all between two cake tins and bake for around 30 minutes before allowing to cool.
To make the icing, whip 250g of the butter with 500g of icing sugar and 65g of cocoa powder, and then add a tablespoon of water.
Once the sponges have cooled, spoon the icing generously on top of one, before layering the other sponge top.
Bring the 200ml of double cream just to the boil in a pan and then pour over 200g of broken up chocolate in a bowl. Wait a moment before stirring gently to combine the mix.
Put strips of baking paper around the edge of the base of the cake before pouring the chocolate ganache on top and letting it dribble down the sides of the cake. After leaving for a moment to set a bit, rip the baking paper away to remove the excess ganache, leaving a tidy finish.
WORDS BY JOSH CALDICOTT IMAGE BY VIRGINIA MOORE
PUMPED UP PUDDINGS Puddings seeming pathetic? Desserts seeming deserted? Here’s the solution
It’s not a birthday without cake and there is always room for pudding. So when it comes to baking, you want to get it right. Whether it’s using new flavour combinations or adding fancy looking decorations, it’s easy to make dessert that extra bit special.
Chocolate combinations Of course, chocolate is best served with more chocolate, but there are plenty of other fantastic flavours that complement it well. Adding some finely diced sweet chilli can give a nice little kick. Crispy bacon cubes are great for decorative sprinkles, adding a nice savoury contrast, especially with salted caramel, whereas simply adding nuts like hazelnuts or peanuts gives a nice contrast in texture.
Tempering Chocolate To make amazing designs, temper your chocolate when melting it. Whilst stirring constantly, simply heat dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water up to 46C (making sure water and chocolate never mix). Then submerge the bottom of the bowl in cold water until it reaches 26C, then heat back up to 32C. You now have perfect tempered chocolate, ideal for decorating.
Vanilla Combinations The simplicity of vanilla is generally good at highlighting other flavours it’s paired with. Coffee works well with vanilla ice cream as the dairy proteins binds to tannins in coffee, making it slightly less bitter. Pomegranate seeds look great as decoration and have a lovely sharp taste that is best brought out in a simple vanilla dessert.
Adding Alcohol It’s not easy to get right, but when done right, it’s irresistible. The best advice is to just experiment: add your tipple of choice with the flour (adding more flour to balance the consistency of your mix). Sometimes it may be too much, sometimes it might all bake out, but keep trying and eventually you’ll get it right. When choosing flavours, cocktails make a great source of inspiration.
Edible Flowers Flowers make easy and beautiful decorations, but it’s important to remember a couple of things: first, buy organic flowers to avoid nasty insecticides/pesticides that the body can’t deal with. Secondly, decorate as late as possible, as some flowers soak up fat and go bad quickly. Otherwise, violas, borage and clitoria are good flowers to use as they both look and taste great.
Strawberry Combinations Strawberries are great for a sweet freshness in a dessert, which can be complemented by some freshly torn mint. The almond flavour of Amaretto also works well with strawberry, especially blended together with a little water to make a sauce. Anise brings out the freshness of strawberries, sprinkled into the bake or mixed into sauces and creams.
IMAGE BY ELEANOR TAYLOR
LITERARY PILGRIMAGES England is full of literary heritage, so we decided to explore some of our favourite places
STRATFORDUPON-AVON Stratford-Upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, father of the English literary canon. Stratford is a quaint town and tourist hot-spot, notably home to the Royal Shakespeare Company which put on plays, give guided tours and provide a view of the River Avon from the Tower. Visitors can find Shakespeare’s grave, situated in Holy Trinity Church, and the houses of both Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway, within the town centre. Aside from all things Shakespeare, there is also Stratford Arts House, a venue for comedy, theatre, and music. SOPHIE HUNT
LAKE DISTRICT Wander lonely as a cloud around Dove Cottage in Grasmere, a tranquil corner of the Lake District which was home to the renowned poet William Wordsworth. This is not the only stopoff, however. At Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm in Hawkshead, you can delve back into the childhood world of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. The 2006 film Miss Potter was also largely filmed in the Lake District and many of the fictitious locations in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, such as the famous Wild Cat Island, are believed to be based on various locations around the two lakes. Rent a boat in Coniston and spend the day on the water with a picnic and ginger beer, renamed “grog” in the book, pretending you’re one of the Swallows’ party - I just hope no one has to be Titty. ANNA SETON
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE D. H. Lawrence was born in Eastwood and many of his works are set in Nottinghamshire and the area remained throughout his life “the country of my heart”. Anyone keen on Lawrence should take a trip to Eastwood where he attended Beauvale Board School; equally, just outside the town is Haggs Farm, renamed Willey Farm for its use in Sons and Lovers. Alternatively, if you want to go and see the real, squiggly Lawrence handwriting, head to the dark depths of Kings Meadows Campus where you can access many of his original manuscripts. Nottingham’s other literary star is the unruly Lord Byron who lived at Newstead Abbey. Parts of the Abbey date back to the 12th century and it is well worth a visit, even if you just want to potter through the gardens. Notably, Byron’s first poem, written at the age of ten, was about Nottingham. ANNA SETON
EDINBURGH The home of Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh is well worth the pilgrimage. The grave where the loyal dog waited for its master is labelled with a plaque, and a statue stands as testimony to Greyfriars Bobby’s loyalty. If you’re feeling like you’ve had a cultural overload, but are still in awe of this darling dog, the Greyfriars Bobby Pub is situated right behind the statue. Meanwhile, fans of the infamous ‘007 shouldn’t miss a trip to Fettes College, the fictional agent’s alma mater, which is also said to have been J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Hogwarts’ iconic look. Edinburgh is the backdrop to many great films, such as Trainspotting and Chariots of Fire and, of course, should you be so lucky to be there around Fringe season, don’t miss one of the many amazing shows that pop up everywhere in this great city. ISLA MCLACHLAN
BATH Although it wasn’t the long-term home of Jane Austen, Bath was home, or inspiration, to many of her novels. The BBC production of Persuasion in 2007 was filmed in and around Bath, with the Royal Crescent in particular putting in a cheeky appearance. The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, however, is a bit of a disappointment, so if you’re making a literary pilgrimage there, stick with the inspirational sights rather than the museum representations. The Fashion Museum is another gorgeous place to visit, filled with beautiful and outrageous dresses dating from way long ago to modern times, including those worn by royalty; one of Queen Victoria’s voluptuous black dresses, which she famously wore after the death of King Albert, is among the collection. ISLA MCLACHLAN
WORDS BY KARMEN TRUONG
ILLUSTRATIONS BY INDIA ROSE MEADE
NOTTS IN A DAY Whether you are in your final year and have just realised that you have seen little more of Notts than the road from Rock City to Lenton, or your parents have come to visit and are expecting a tour, here are some of the best stops for a trip around the city.
VISIT: WOLLATON PARK It’s a trip that marks the first steps of exploration for each new student at Nottingham and a place that’s beautiful to visit whatever the season. Whether you go to pester the deer for photographs, as a pilgrimage to Christopher Nolan’s beloved Batman series, or for the music of No Tomorrow/Splendour festival, Wollaton Park has a little something for everyone. My friend who graduated last year has a tradition of visiting whenever she’s in town - I mean, did you even go to UoN if you never went to Wollaton?
LUNCH: YE OLDE TRIP TO JERUSALEM I’ll shamefully admit I hadn’t even stepped foot here until last year (and I’m in my final year). Apparently the oldest inn in England, dating back to 1189, its interiors are fascinatingly quaint, having been built into the rocks. If you can manage to find a table (we squeezed ourselves into a cosy little corner of graffiti-covered rock), stop and treat yourself to a traditional pub lunch.
VISIT: NOTTINGHAM CASTLE After lunch, it’s only natural to visit Nottingham Castle, just a short walk away. As a student, it’s worth investing in the annual visitor pass. Costing the same as one entry (£5) into grounds, you (or a friend?) can re-visit as many times as you like within the next 12 months. With a changing roster of exhibitions in the museum, there’s bound to be something that’ll make you return, even if that means showing another friend around. If you don’t end up returning, you can always keep the card as a nice little souvenir.
TAKE A BREAK: THE NOTTINGHAM DONUT CO. A deliciously exciting new venture to Nottingham, stop by here to pick up a wonderfully unhealthy snack. Curious combinations and mouth-watering flavours will satisfy your doughnut-related needs, but be sure to come by early (9am is their recommended time) as they regularly sell out.
VISIT: NOTTINGHAM CONTEMPORARY For something catering to the student budget, visit Nottingham Contemporary for free access to thought-provoking pieces from a variety of artists. Check the website for up-to-date information on exhibitions, live events and even cinema screenings, or pop by when in the area for a surprise and discover something new.
DINNER: ANNIE’S BURGER SHACK Another staple of Nottingham life, visit Annie’s for a ridiculously large selection of burgers and a generous serving of fries to end your day. They offer a 10% student discount, making the thought of working your way through their 32-burger combinations very enticing. Vegetarians and vegans fear not, meat-free options are also available!
WORDS BY SHERRY WANG
ILLUSTRATION BY DANIEL NORMAN
WHEN LONDON IS CALLING Our beloved capital through the eyes of an international exchange student
I went to London with my friend Sabrina on a November weekend. Although I had been in the UK for around 2 months, it was a shame that I hadn’t been to its great capital. Applying for the France Schengen Visa meant a visit to London and therefore gave me a great chance to explore. For me, London is a city of combined styles. It is definitely a city steeped in history and culture. Many scenic spots are well-known around the world: Hyde Park, the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and so on. I could feel its history while riding the Underground, which has some lines probably dating back to several centuries ago, which can be seen from the appearance of trains. Despite a little grumble about the puzzling lines (the tube map looks like a maze to me), the tube felt very cool and historic. From another aspect, London is a metropolitan of great vigour and vitality. Infrastructures are complete and modern, facilitating the daily life of citizens there. I found a series of coffee chains as well as many independent ones and heard that London has a coffee festival, which is a must to check out next time. For a foodie, considerable joy must be had from discovering great restaurants. For international tourists who want to check out British afternoon tea culture, I would recommend Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms,
located just behind the Disney store on Oxford Street. The well-decorated surroundings, comprehensive menu and the attentive waiters will definitely give you a lovely experience you won’t forget. Having filled up my stomach, it was time to explore the city. Before visiting, I had heard the rumour about the cold personality of London people. But this wasn’t true according to my experience. When I appeared to be a little bit hesitant or lost on the tube or the street, someone would immediately come and ask me if I needed help. I don’t know whether I just met kind people or I just looked so in need of help, but I found people in London were surprisingly helpful and friendly. Unfortunately, for sight-seeing, because I had my visa work to do, I was limited to time and did not get to see all of the main tourist spots. Nevertheless, it seems to me that evening is a better time to appreciate the beauty of some famous places, like Big Ben and the London Eye. I hung around from 3 pm until it got dark and saw how Big Ben revealed its charisma more and more when its lights glittered in the moonlight. Even though my trip was short and unfortunately not as productive as I would have liked it to be, London has left her effect on me, with her history, fashion and food, and I know it won’t be long until I return.
IMAGES BY GEMMA BROWN
MAKEUP BY VIRGINIA MOORE
MODELLED BY ELLE MAGILL
TEXT + STYLED BY JO GRIMWOOD
AU NATUREL Body Shop and Lush used to be just two of a minority of brands that ensured the production of their products is a sustainable process. However, the ethically sourcing and producing movement has rapidly escalated, with many well-known brands moving away from animal-tested products. Here are some beauty treats that you can enjoy guilt free.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria
Urban Decay ‘Naked’ Eyeshadow Palette £39.50 Urban Decay
£24.00 Charlotte Tilbury
Offering a selection of beautiful muted tones, both amateur and professional makeup artists are a fan of this eyeshadow palette.
Although a bit pricey for a lipstick, you can be assured that the beautiful colours and exquisite finish do not come at the cost of any animal.
Bare Minerals bareSkin Brightening Serum Foundation
NYX Professional Cream Highlight Contour Palette £12.00 Boots
£27.00 Bare Minerals
If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive contour palette, which does not cut corners on quality, then the NYX Cream Highlight Contour palette will be right up your street.
Coming in twenty shades, this Bare Mineral foundation will leave you with a smooth complexion, whilst appearing almost nonexistent.
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner
The Nars Creamy Concealer is the perfect tool for reducing the visibility of the dark circles that make an unwelcome appearance after a long night in Hallward.
This toner by Body Shop will not only reduce the size of pores, but can be mixed with mattifying powders to reduce the appearance of shine.
£6.00 The Body Shop
MAKEUP RECOMMENDATIONS BY TRISHA DASWANEY
Connie Grace Turton
WORDS BY AYŞE CLARKE
ILLUSTRATION BY FAE SAPSFORD
LARA CROFT: EMPOWERED OR OBJECTIFIED? When looking for positive examples of women in games, Lara Croft of ‘Tomb Raider’ fame seems to fit the bill for hardy, capable female protagonist, often directly compared with Nathan Drake of the ‘Uncharted’ series. Yes, she has the famously large polygonal chest and short shorts, but that doesn’t automatically make her a sex object, does it? A Eurogamer article discussing the twentyyear history of the game series explains that: “The tiny waist and huge breasts appealed to the teenage male gamer demographic of the time, but Tomb Raider found a female audience too – unprecedented for other video games at the time – because of Lara’s other characteristics. She was strong and intelligent. Yes, she had massive tits, but she didn’t need a man”. So, fans had their reasons to like the choice of protagonist, and if that were all there is to say on the subject, all would be perfectly fine. Props to the developers for taking the risk and ending up with an incredibly successful series starring an intelligent, interesting, capable woman, a step forward for gender equality. That’s certainly significant, but
interpretation is only one half of the story, and the intentions of the designers and marketers always affect things.
players, “they just loved killing her,” and that “part of it was made stronger by the fact that she was a strong character”.
Programmer Gavin Rummery, one of the original team responsible for the development of the first game, claimed that initial creator Toby Gard always meant for his protagonist to be “curvy and attractive” because “if you’re going to be following behind her, she might as well be appealing to look at”. Initial marketing strategies capitalised on this design, with provocative adverts intended to make her, in particular her body, the central focus. Nathan Hardy of Platform Nation points out that: “Instead of marketing her towards women as the equivalent of playing the ultimate heroine, she was taken and exploited to men”.
Certainly not the most pleasant reaction to being able to play as a tough woman.
Teenage males remained the target demographic, and the choice of protagonist became more of a way to stand out and capitalise on the ‘unique selling point’ that the female body was reduced to. Such a stark anomaly in the industry was bound to get reactions, but in an interview with Critical Path, Gard recalls that when observing early
Of course, the original game was a product of the 90s, and a lot of things have changed in the last two decades. So let’s compare with the 2013 reboot, exploring Lara’s first adventures which shaped the character seen in the preceding games. This Lara is weaker, and honestly a more realistic portrayal of how an inexperienced adult would react to being stranded and placed in perilous situations. Ron Rosenberg, the executive producer for the reboot, spoke at E3 in 2012 about the connection between players, which raised a few eyebrows: “When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character… They’re more like ‘I want to protect her’ [...] you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character [...] She is literally turned into a cornered animal [...] It’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s forced to either fight back or die”.
37 There goes any pretence of a female protagonist bringing the opportunity for relatability into the lives of female players, allowing vicarious experience of overcoming adversity and being forced to survive and kill as necessary, as is automatically assumed of other games in the genre. Instead players are envisaged as protectors, tapping into the age-old assumptions that a woman needs to be aided in dealing with difficult situations. It also disempowers Lara more than already happens within the game, as her achievements are not her own, but the player’s. An article by Robyn Miller on Gameranx blames Square Enix’s disappointment in the game’s performance on their choice to market “Lara as victim more than hero,” and highlights that in the E3 2012 trailer Lara raises her weapon of choice to deliver a killing strike but we never actually get to see her finish the job. As for this ‘cornered animal’ portrayal, where Lara must do what she needs to out of sheer necessity under extreme threat, this is not a treatment that many other action hero protagonists receive. Developers wanted to provide reasons for her behaviour, essentially justification for the powerful and capable woman she had always been without anyone questioning it, and it comes down to a tale of extreme vulnerability including the threat of rape, a heart-breaking trope used to add ‘character’ to fictional women’s lives. The desired outcome of seeing Lara broken is that players will ‘root for her’ out of pity, fostered by scenes of her suffering, which Miller picks up on as suggesting that “producers felt that a victimised Lara Croft would be more marketable than the action hero Lara Croft”. Taking all of this into account, Lara Croft’s impact on the gaming world and her perceived role as a gateway for female representation in games looks much more like a fortunate accident than anything else. Gard’s own summary was that the choice of a buxom woman “worked for both men and women [...] because women liked that they were playing as a female character in the first place”. Those responsible for influencing how we perceive games, i.e. the designers and marketers, made little attempt to appeal directly to the female gamer demographic, instead allowing it to be a side effect of their efforts to create a character who would be in some way ‘interesting’ to male gamers. I agree with Hardy’s comment: “It’s odd then that it all comes down to marketing, and publishers could pretty much guarantee doubling their revenue. Maybe it’s because we’ve become such a boy’s club that publishers would see it as a loss or something”.
INTERVIEW BY ANTHONY OSMASTON
UNIVERSITY ESPORTS: MEET THE TEAM Anthony interviews three of the Universityâ€™s gaming team captains
With the rise in Esports and the increased popularity in competitive gaming, the University of Nottingham GameSoc and the National University Esports League (NUEL) have teamed up to bring competitive play to the University scene. The NUEL provides a platform for competitive play, where students can enter into some of the most popular games to represent their University on a semi-professional level. I spoke to Max Bucknell, Ayşe Clarke and Dylan Dhokia, captains of their University teams for League of Legends, Overwatch and Counter Strike: Global Offensive respectively, about their experiences with competitive gaming and NUEL.
Max Bucknell, League of Legends Captain I got the role for captain of the Diamond Team which I was very happy about! I quickly set up a Facebook chat and league group, and we played some normal and ranked team games together with huge successes. We all met for the first time on Discord and played a few games together. We won pretty much every game we played in normal and team ranked, and seemed to gel well. When the season started, I didn’t set my expectations too high because I’ve watched NUEL before and I know how high the standards of the teams are. 300+ teams signed up with only 32 slots in nationals, so I hoped we could make it. After a rough first week, I wasn’t so sure. In week two, we had some brilliant games and I believe we went 3-0 to go straight into national league. Since then, we’ve had some wins against some of the best teams (and lost a couple of games that we definitely shouldn’t have) but, overall, I’m very proud of how we’ve done and glad everyone is getting on well. I’ve really enjoyed playing in the NUEL and definitely will continue to next year. It’s been a great experience to bond both over the game and socially, and it has also been really enjoyable making friends with some of the opponents we played against. I often talk to and play with some of the other Top-laners, helping each other improve, as well as discussing university life and work. Overall, I would strongly recommend NUEL to anyone, because the layout means everyone has something to compete for and you can be a great team by working together and be stronger as a team than 5 better individual players.
Ayse Clarke, Overwatch Captain I only got onto a team in the first place because, despite being pretty new to the game, I loved it and was excited at the chance to compete. A few friends banded together to help form part of a team to support me and give me that chance, and I’m so grateful to them! Being a captain simply came from me being the one willing to do the admin work. I assumed no superiority in the games, I’d simply volunteered to be the organised one. Our team placed bottom of the table, but we didn’t expect fantastic results since half the team hadn’t played for much
more than two months. We were in it for the experience. We gave it our best – I remember practicing for at least a level up every day – but we didn’t expect to win or anything. I think we’d hoped to do a little better, but we accepted what we got and had fun along the way, especially the experience of bonding as a team. In a competitive gaming environment, we’d have been more surprised not to see anyone being irritating or mean, but fortunately we didn’t come across it much. I think it was our penultimate game where we faced a pretty troll-y team who messed us about while setting up the match, and were generally rude and uncooperative when we were initially winning but had tech issues. Personally, I’ve wanted to be more of a competitive gamer for a while, and the team has continued playing together and grown our numbers, so it would be wonderful to have the chance to do it again, now we’re even better connected and have even more experience, both as individual players and as a functioning team.
Dylan Dhokia, CSGO Captain I initially went to the Gamesoc meetings and talked to them about it as I was enthusiastic to get a good CSGO team for the Uni. I was surprised when the captain from last year put me in charge so that he could focus more on League of Legends. We are the only CSGO team for the University, mainly because at the deadline for sign ups not many people had approached us to say they were interested in playing. We ended up getting out of the league into the playoffs (top 16) and then ended up coming 5th-6th in the playoff bracket. I’m really happy with how far we got - we never really put in time to practise as a team except for the actual NUEL games, so it was good to see how we improved as we went on. I think the main setback was this lack of practice and the fact we fielded different players for each week rather than keeping a core 5. I do really enjoy playing and would love to continue, but being captain and trying to organise everyone to play is very time consuming. I still want to be captain and lead the team, but I also feel like we need to find some more talent as there are definitely better/ more experienced players at the Uni who probably have just not heard about NUEL or Gamesoc.
WORDS BY NICOLAS CABALLERO
FAMILIAR SCENES A list of the biggest films that have been filmed partly or entirely in your city
The Dark Knight
What can I possibly say about this one? You’ve all seen it. You all know what I’m talking about. Nottingham is a historically rich, culturally affluent place. Yet, if you are like me, you’ve probably identified the city in which you study as “where they filmed parts of Batman”. And so it is. Wollaton Hall, an illustrious Elizabethan manor from the 1580s which is just a short walk away from campus, was the set for the latest on-screen depiction of the Wayne Manor (we do not speak of BvS). Many of the cast and crew from Rises came to visit for the occasion, and it has since been a landmark that tourists yearn to see.
Most students have been to the King’s Meadow campus of the University at least a few times. These days, many associate it with some of the University’s business-related processes and a bit of exam-related stress. However, back in the 1980s, the campus was home to the Carlton recording studios, a film and television studio that hosted the filming of numerous successful projects. Probably most notoriously amongst those is the 2007 biopic of the band Joy Division, Control, which went on to win a BAFTA and was nominated for a few more. The film tells the story of one of the biggest, if short lived, British rock bands of the 1970s, at a time where British rock was at the pinnacle of its popularity. If you’re into rock, or really just music in general, this is a must see, and it was filmed around the same rooms where you’ll be stuck for hours to come in May. Fun.
Once Upon a Time In the Midlands For all you fans of rom coms out there (as if there is such a person who is not), you’ll find solace in knowing that one very funny and tear-jerking British romantic comedy was filmed not far from your homes. In fact, in the very heart of Lenton. Once Upon a Time in The Midlands tells the seminal tale of trying to win a girl’s heart back while being chased by your criminal gang of friends. Quite standard really, and all within the backdrop of Nottingham, with filming locations mostly around Lenton and Dunkirk (a number of scenes were, for example, filmed in Ilkeston Road). Aside from the whole criminal aspect of it, the heart of the story will be all-toofamiliar for some students out there. Keep tissues close by.
TV + FILM
Nottingham is known for a lot of things, but perhaps not particularly for its film scene. That being said, there are a number of films and documentaries that have been filmed and even set in Nottingham, some big and some hidden gems. Here’s a list of some of the films that will make the Notts cinephile feel proud of where he chose to go to uni.
This Is England The term “skinhead” has some terribly awful connotations attached to it nowadays, but some of the first skinheads (a subculture that developed around London in the 1960s) were very apolitical. The film This Is England, which went on to win Best Film award at the 2006 BAFTA, is an illustration of this change in dynamics in the skinhead culture, and how far-right, white-supremacist nationalists adopt the skinhead culture, leading to rifts in the skinhead community. It is quite a heavy film, really, but one that will educate you and help you put the subculture into perspective, as well as simply being a story about friendships and relationships. Aside from that, the film was almost entirely shot in St. Ann’s and the Meadows, both in Nottingham, so even if big historical pieces are not your cup of tea, you will at least find joy in spotting all the different locations from your city.
NG:83: When We Were B Boys This documentary was filmed in Nottingham and is entirely about Nottingham. More specifically, the Nottingham break dance scene and whatever happened to it. It won best documentary at the Hip Hop Film Festival in New York, the birthplace of hip hop. It tells the story of former hip hop artists and dancers in the Nottingham scene around the 1980s, and there are current attempts to recreate some of the magic that was lost after the Nottingham hip hop wave calmed. It is an inspirational story about getting the Nottingham hip hop crews together for one last jam in Rock City, and you should keep in mind that none of this is fictional. Needless to say, if you’re at the University of Nottingham and even remotely into hip hop, this independent documentary is a must watch.
Bronson Another big, Hollywood-level production that chose to film in Nottingham (if perhaps lesser known) is the Tom Hardy-starring character portrait of one of the UK’s most notorious criminals, Bronson (2008). As someone who has seen this film, I cannot recommend it enough. It was filmed almost entirely in Nottingham, particularly Welbeck Abbey which is the set for the psychiatric hospital in the film. It is estimated to have created 43 jobs for regional crew members (and many more extras) and injected £2 million into the county’s economy. A lot of praise surrounded this film, particularly in favour of Hardy’s performance. It didn’t receive some of the award recognition that other films in this list did, but I think unjustly so. Also, it was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who went on to direct Drive and The Neon Demon, so if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, I don’t know what will.
WORDS BY NICOLAS CABALLERO
NEW WAYS TO CONNECT We sat down with Nottingham-based marketing director and distributor Sally Hodgson, collaborator on Moonlight and I, Daniel Blake, to discuss the industry, and her position in it
BEFORE STARTING YOUR MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY, PIPOCA, YOU WORKED AT EM MEDIA. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THAT?
to win all sorts of awards, like BAFTAs, and at the British Independent Film Awards.
THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, YOU’VE BEEN RECOGEM Media was one of the regional agencies that NISED AS THE UK’S FIRST PRODUCER OF MARKETING was set up to support film and media industries. AND DISTRIBUTION (PMD). COULD YOU EXPLAIN A Initially we distributed lottery BIT WHAT IT ENTAILS? money, helping local cinemas “IF YOU HAVE PMD is a crew term. John Reiss [Producer] with their costs and their cinema A DESIRE TO stated that there should always be someone programs, but then we secured a TELL A STORY, in the crew who was working on marketing six million pound production fund since the production phase - as early as through Brussels. It was European TO MAKE A possible when it comes to independent Regional Development Fund (ERDF) FILM, YOU films. This way you can create an audience money. With that we could invest in and a desire to see the film from very early JUST GOTTA the production of films, and that’s on. MAKE IT” when the landscape changed in the East Midlands. We could invest up to quarter of a million pounds in each film WHAT WAS THE EXTENT OF YOUR INVOLVEMENT production, and part of the stipulation was that the WITH MOONLIGHT AND I, DANIEL BLAKE? production would have to come and film [a certain percentage] here and recruit trainees and crew. It My role in those two films was very similar. It was all was amazing; there was inward investment because about connecting the film to regional audiences and of the money coming at the region, and people in organisations that might be interested and may not the region were being skilled up with experiences have been thinking of seeing it. What I try to do, in in all these great feature films. The films went on
TV + FILM
my work, is provide different roots into the story of the film. So rather than just producing posters and putting them up everywhere, it’s more: how can I offer a deeper level of engagement for audiences into the film? Blake has a very key speech towards the end of it and I used that speech as something we could involve audiences with and let them have a bit of ownership and involvement with. So I set up some filming. People and organisations that were interested in the message of the film came here and each of them recited lines of the speech. We then cut together a little film and gave it to them so they could share it on social media. To me, it’s more about connecting with why is this film being made. Why is it important? Then if you think about why those organisations and and charities are doing what they’re doing, you can link those together. Blake was amazing. We did sell out screenings and asked people what they thought of the film. They were sad, angry. We gave out a lot of tissues at the end. […] Moonlight isn’t out yet, but plans are in place to make that also a celebration of the story.
YOU WERE ALSO INVOLVED IN SMALLER FILMS, MOST RECENTLY NG83: WHEN WE WERE B-BOYS ABOUT NOTTINGHAM HIP-HOP CULTURE. HOW INVOLVED WERE YOU, AND DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
I immediately knew this film had an audience. It may not be a big national release but we can do some fabulous things with it. My role was distributor; I submitted it to festivals where it won ‘Best Documentary’ at the Hip Hop Film Festival in New York last summer, which was a dream to the guys, giving huge kudos to the film being awarded at the birthplace of hip-hop. Then we did some UK cinema screenings and I put it out to cinemas in October last year. We had a really good, supportive audience. I did was what I always do. This is a film about people’s childhoods and memories, so it’s quite rich in terms of reminiscing. I wanted to give the audience some ownership of it because it is their history. We did a Q&A in most screenings with the directors and someone who really connected with the local hip-hop or break dance community. In Newcastle, the equivalent of the Saturday afternoon jams at Rock City used to happen at a place called Tiffany’s, and so the guys that used to be at Tiffany’s threw a massive party around the film because they wanted to celebrate it.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE STATE OF INDEPENDENT FILMS IN THE UK OR NOTTINGHAM, IN TERMS OF SIZE AND POTENTIAL FOR THE MARKET TO GROW?
That’s a tough question. I’ve known a lot of filmmakers who’ve waited a long time “WHAT I TRY TO DO IN to get their film commissioned or to As for inspiration, Claude Knight and MY WORK IS PROVIDE get some broadcaster or sales agent to Luke Scott (Directors) had the idea to make this film. They were working distribute it, but there comes a point where DIFFERENT ROOTS in a warehouse together years ago and INTO THE STORY OF you just need to make a film. I think ever chatting about how big the Nottingham since the demise of EM Media, there’s still THE FILM” hip-hop scene was. They asked thema healthy filmmaking community, especially selves: “What happened to those guys? We in Nottingham. There’s a guy here called Ben Wigley want to make a film about it”. So for the next 8 - he’s a director and his producer is called Anna Griffin. years, that’s what they did around their jobs. They brought They made a documentary and it’s just gotten in South by in another filmmaker, Sam Derby-Cooper, who actually Southwest, so there is a good, supportive network of peoknew what to do with a camera, because neither of them ple making films. There’s a guy called Simon Ellis here who had held one before! makes amazing short films and he is always making films. It’s all he does. It goes to show that if you have a desire to I knew the film was happening and it was in my peripheral tell a story, to make a film, you just gotta make it. vision. Then I got into contact with Claude and he told me that it was finished. He sent me a link to watch it and
WORDS BY EMILY HARBOTTLE
ILLUSTRATION BY POPPY ANNE MALBY
IT’S NOTHING LIKE THE MOVIES We all know the feeling - turning up on your first day, feeling slightly sick but also full of excitement. You’ve seen the films, you’ve heard the stories and you’ve read the magazines. Uni is going to be the best time of your life. But what happens when it’s not? “The films lied to me!” you cry, as you realise that the fit lecturer probably won’t fall in love with you, and yes, you do actually need to do some work. So, to prepare you, here are all the films to avoid if you don’t want to get the wrong impression of ‘Uni Lyfe’.
PITCH PERFECT Just watching this film gives me the cold sweats with regards to the Welcome Fair. How she can walk around looking so relaxed and not be jostled to and fro is beyond me. Anyone who’s ever experienced trying to get an Ocean t-shirt and a slice of Domino’s pizza during Welcome Week will know the hell that ensues. None of the gleeful sopranos and tenors seem to be doing any uni work ever, which is again misleading to poor naive 18 year olds who think they’ll have the time to spend singing in competitions or working at radio stations rather than slogging away over that lab report or essay in the furnace that is Hallward Library.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY This film is misleading from the start, mainly because it gives you the idea that you’re always going to know what subject you want to study, and which uni to go to. Perhaps, as UoN’s tagline suggests, your time here really was #MeantToBe, but we all know the process of actually getting here is not as simple as this film suggests. Monsters University also mistakenly suggests that you’ll know what you want to do after Uni. Unless you’re at Nottingham doing Law or Medicine (or just really lucky), you’re probably going to have no clue what your plans are for the majority, if not all, of your time here. What’s more, your mum definitely won’t enjoy doing your washing for you when you go home so don’t kid yourself; it’s time to man up and use that washing machine.
EDUCATING RITA Now, this is a British film, so you might be forgiven for thinking it will give you a better insight into life at an UK uni, but you’d be mistaken. Think you’ll get one-on-one tutoring from your older, alcoholic, sexy lecturer every week? Wrong. (This isn’t Oxbridge). I mean, yes you’ll see your personal tutor every now and again and you can always go and see lecturers to chat, but they won’t help you with the same dedication that your beloved school teachers did, and there probably won’t be much, if any, sexual tension between you. This film is realistic in that Rita does lots of work, as you will also be doing. However, if you’re an English student like me, you probably won’t enjoy everything you do and certainly won’t enjoy reading all the set novels.
WORDS BY ELLEN SMITHIES
IMAGE BY VIRGINIA MOORE
From Stone-Age erotica to contemporary ‘tit pics’: how the female nude became emancipatory “Send nudes”. This poetic line, and polite variations of its synonym “tit pic?”, have been received by a fair number of female students at some point during their time at University. With selfie cameras on practically every phone, one hundred and one filters to make your skin glow, and a wave of sexual liberation (plus Snapchat limiting the risk of finding your masterpiece on less-than-legit sites), it has become easier than ever to oblige, should you wish to do so. Some of you may have perfected the angle to get just the right ‘tit pic’; for others this is completely new terrain. Either way, none of you are the first to portray the female body, in all its nude glory, as sexy and arousing. This artistic practice has been going on for years - the only difference is that now, you have control over your body and how you wish to present it. The female nude can be traced as far back as Palaeolithic times, where small female figures with emphasised breasts, vulvae and buttocks, called ‘Venuses’, were created for purposes unknown. Some scholars have argued that they represent an Earth-Mother Goddess, and others regard them as Stone-Age erotica; without written records, it is hard to decide which is the correct interpretation. The idea of women being objects to be viewed by the masses continued in Classical times. In a society that valued male strength and valour, the male nude was seen as an example of physical prowess; something to aspire to and envy. The female nude, however, was something more inherently sexualised; it was immediately associated with desire and passion. Flash-forward two hundred years and Velázquez’s The Toilet of Venus follows a similar form. Here, a naked woman is stretched out on a bed. We feel as though we have intruded on a private moment; the woman is completely unaware of our presence, making our viewing seem illicit,
and so inherently sexualised. Perhaps it is of little surprise that the painting was slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914 because she didn’t approve of how male visitors “gaped at it all day long”. Way to go, girl! One of the first examples of changing attitudes towards the portrayal of women in art is Manet’s Olympia, first exhibited in 1865. The painting depicts a naked female, but she is fully aware of our presence and meets our gaze unashamedly. Elements of the painting – the black ribbon around her neck, the orchid in her hair - identify her as a prostitute. The woman is presented as aware and in charge of her own sexuality; she rejects flowers presumably given by a client, stares us directly in the face, and blocks access to her most sexualised features with a defiant hand. Olympia is presented as a woman who can freely grant or deny access to her body in return for payment and rejects the sexualisation that her pose could bring. Contemporarily, as the Guerrilla Girls show with their defiant wit, modern art has slowly become much less about displaying an object and much more about conveying a message or a statement to whoever views it. Happily, the sexualisation of the female form in art has accordingly lost its place and - dare I suggest? - has become obsolete in the process. The power of the female nude has been given to the women themselves, rather than the painters and sculptors. Now it is the woman’s role to decide who she wants to share her body with, making the nude pic inherently a much more powerful statement than ever before.
WORDS BY AMY WILCOCKSON
IMAGES BY VIRGINIA MOORE
VINTAGE VARIETY Amy Wilcockson talks antiques with Hopkinson’s Abi Whittaker
Much like the Hogwarts Express, if you take a train to Nottingham and leave the station, a world of wonder awaits on Station Street. I’m not talking about Tesco Express or Starbucks on the corner, but Hopkinson Vintage, Antiques and Arts Centre. A living definition of the words ‘treasure trove’, this old industrial engineers’ merchant contains four floors of vintage goodies, from dresses to maps to stuffed animals. After discovering this place last year and falling in love with it, I decided to have a chat with Abi Whittaker, a retail assistant at Hopkinson, about her weird and wonderful workplace. After bonding over a shared love of vintage clothing (Abi is wearing a fabulous jacket that belongs to her mum, whilst my jumper wouldn’t look amiss on a 1970s children’s TV presenter), I ask about her favourite parts of the job. Over ninety people sell at Hopkinson, which, in Abi’s own words, is “a lot of personalities to keep happy!” Because all these dealers specialise in different items, Hopkinson are able to get the best available. It isn’t hard to believe that “even today, we’ve had three dealers bringing more stuff, so it’s hard sometimes to know what’s in the shop!” Apart from the eccentric finds, creating displays also sounds like fun. Abi informs me that she’s just completed a science-based display, and was able to use a variety of items, including microscopes and old test tubes, thanks to all the different dealers bringing in items that they can utilise. “There’s always something new going on,” she shares. Looking around the shop at all the oddments on offer, I cannot help but ask Abi how she found herself working here. She tells me old things have always attracted her, as they have most of the staff. A lot of them have arts-based degrees - Abi herself is from Nottingham Trent’s Design for Film and Television course - and does freelance work on the side. Abi has returned to Nottingham after travelling around the country working on productions. For her, one of Hopkinson’s many perks is that “it’s like working on a props stall,
which is an environment I’m used to”. Unsurprisingly, the shop does get a lot of custom from the film industry, as “if you’re doing a period drama, you’ve got to have the right props for the time” – something Hopkinson unfailingly provides. I decide it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, and ask Abi what, in my opinion, is the most important question for any vintage-lover. “My favourite item that I’ve ever bought? That’s a really hard one. I recently bought an amazing jacket from the top floor, which I had my eye on for ages”. She also told me that she likes “the more individual, interesting things”. “Liam [Hopkinson’s owner] will sometimes get in deep-sea diver helmets. It’s great when something mad comes in”. Personally, I love antiques and vintage items because of the history of the object, and the story attached. Abi is no different, telling me about some of the most memorable finds. She enthuses, “We did once have in this diary from around 1914, and it had all the author’s musings in it. There was one page which had a stamp accidentally stuck in and the person had written next to it, “By gum, my stamp!”, using such amazing old-fashioned expressions. What’s also amazing is that you have a snapshot into someone’s life”. “There’s a girl who always bought photos when she came in. In our big vat of photos, there were a bunch depicting the same girl. So the customer kept coming back, and over time built up a little album of this girl’s old photos. Each week she’d come back and learn a bit more about this person. You can get wonderful stories like that in a place like this”. Always thinking of my stomach, I then ask Abi about the new Wonderland Café and the other businesses Hopkinson contains. She told me that now in store are a vintage guitar shop, a vintage beauty parlour, a pop-up vintage photography studio and, of course, the Alice-themed café in the basement. As to who might work with
Hopkinson in the future, Abi is unsure. “It depends who walks in the door. We’re also an arts centre, and we rent out the space to that artist to do with it what they will”. As with all uni students in third year, jobs are also at the forefront of my mind. Abi shared with me her tips for those wanting to work in the antique and vintage industry: “Surround yourself with the objects. There are a lot of books out there to read, and it’s about being really interested in objects and history”. Sound advice indeed. Abi’s also keen on the benefits Hopkinson offers students, telling me that it’s actually very good value. “From being a student myself, I know that you don’t have much that you can spend, but here you’re going to get some great items. If you’re doing any sort of degree, if you have something beautiful in your home, I think it helps inspire you. In terms of clothes, you can get some bargains. My jacket was only about fifteen quid, and anywhere else they’d be selling it for fifty! It’s good inspiration for when you’re dressing up to go on your nights out in Ocean. Why not come in here and get a fabulous vintage outfit? It’s also such a great place to buy presents. I’ve got some really good ones”. Present-buying aside, Hopkinson is truly an amazing place and, speaking to Abi, I can tell how much she loves working at this bizarre bazaar-like shop. A mixture of film set and treasure hunt, there are few expressions adequate enough to capture its charm. Abi gives it her best shot, though: Hopkinson is “eccentric (you always get crazy people in here), diverse and relaxed”. From my guided tour, I think I’m inclined to agree.
Head to 21 Station Street, Nottingham to experience this virtual vintage wonderland for yourself, or check out their website hopkinson21.co.uk.
INTERVIEW BY ISOBEL DAVIDSON
IMAGE BY PAMELA RAITH
Isobel Davidson talks challenges and opportunities with Jack McNamara, Artistic Director of local theatre company, New Perspectives
TALK TO US ABOUT NEW PERSPECTIVES – WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES IT GREAT? We are a touring theatre company based in Nottingham. We take our work all over the country and occasionally abroad. A big part of what we do is touring our work to rural village halls as well as theatres, which means we turn up at small villages in a van and create a makeshift theatre in their community spaces. Our programme of work is very eclectic, international and unexpected. To date we have done premieres by Lars Von Trier, Saul Bellow, Daphne Du Maurier, David Rudkin, Athol Fugard and MR James, as well as new local writers, including Jane Upton, John Harvey and Tim Elgood. What I love about our company is that anything is possible. One month we are doing a rural tour, the next we are doing a site-specific event in a church; then we might be doing a major production in a mid or large scale theatre or a show on headphones. There is no norm for us, other than to create the best theatre we can, in a range of different environments.
WHAT GOES INTO SELECTING A PIECE TO PRODUCE AND WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THAT YOU FIND IN YOUR JOB AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR? In deciding on whether or not to do a show, I tend to think about three things: 1) Is doing this piece valuable to the wider theatre culture? 2) Is this a show that will work practically and resonate on tour and around the country? 3) How does this production offer us or our audiences something genuinely new? In terms of biggest challenges, I would say it is that your cogs are turning constantly. You are always thinking or working out the next thing, reflecting on the previous thing and then thinking again about keeping the wider picture going all at the same time. Like being a parent, the job is never done.
NOT ONLY HAVE YOU BEEN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SINCE 2012, BUT YOU’VE ALSO DIRECTED A NUMBER OF PRODUCTIONS FOR THE COMPANY. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BOTH JOBS? Being Artistic Director gives you the chance to do a lot of dreaming. It gives you a chance to design your dream ros-
ter of shows and think about the character of each year as you plan ahead. It goes back to my earlier point that anything is possible, and it’s great to live surrounded by a feeling of possibility. Directing is my lifeblood. I am probably at my happiest in a rehearsal room. That’s not to say that it isn’t sometimes difficult or maddening, of course it is. But there’s nothing better than being in a room with talented artists and building something great together.
WE’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING PRODUCTION. It’s an adaptation I have written of a children’s book called The Giant Jam Sandwich - a wonderful book and one of my childhood favourites. It’s about a fictitious village that, after being overtaken by a swarm of wasps, decides to make a huge sandwich to trap them in. Children’s theatre is relatively new for me and I love it - adapting a colourful crazy kids book is so full of possibilities. It’s going to be a production full of music and mad characters; I’m hoping to give it a really strange, rural feel.
WE NOTICED THAT YOU ALSO DO SOME EXPERIMENTAL THEATRE THROUGH YOUR COMPANY, FUTURE RUINS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT WHAT YOU PRODUCE? Future Ruins is the hat I wear when I make weird stuff, exploring what’s possible (or not) in theatre. I’m very interested in the line between what is and isn’t a performance, and my projects through Future Ruins have given me a chance to interrogate this. I created a number of shows through improvisation and have also explored how using limited devices can deliver a theatre experience. Running New Perspectives has given me very limited time to focus on Future Ruins, but every now and again I go back to it to try something very likely to fail, just to keep testing what’s possible.
IS THERE ANYONE WHO YOU’D LOVE TO WORK WITH, AND WHY? Samuel Beckett. Just to see if I could make him laugh.
OK, THREE QUICK QUESTIONS. YOUR FAVOURITE… 1. Playwright:
PRIOR TO YOUR ROLE AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AT NEW PERSPECTIVES, YOU’D WORKED WITH A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT COMPANIES, INCLUDING THE RSC. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE LOOKING TO WORK IN A SIMILAR FIELD? I would say on the one hand you can have a scatter gun approach and send out emails and letters to people trying to get work and opportunities, but at the same time, [you should] always find ways to make your own stuff. Some people get locked into brilliant careers assisting at very high levels and learning from brilliant people, and end up barely doing any directing or making of their own. I could never have done that. When I was working for various companies and drama schools as a freelance director, I always had something I was developing on the side. Even if your own things take several years to get off the ground, it’s important to keep making. Also, check out the RTYDS, which is the scheme I trained on for a year. It has been a game changing scheme for a lot of directors and artistic directors and still one of the best regional opportunities available.
Every time I work on a playwright’s play they become my favourite and my least favourite at the same time. I’m not sure it’s useful to have a constant favourite, because a director’s relationship with a playwright’s work has to be critical. 2. Director: For actor’s performances, Ingmar Bergman. For formal innovation, Jean Luc Godard. 3. Theatre production you’ve ever seen: Probably Inferno by Romeo Castellucci.
New Perspectives’ production of The Giant Jam Sandwich opens at Derby’s Guildhall Theatre and is on tour until March.
Why I... W
hen I first came to University, I found myself signing up to all sorts of societies, and inspired by a combination of Glee and Pitch Perfect, I hoped a cappella singing would be a solid choice. If I could go back in time and high-five my twoand-a-half-years-ago self, I totally would. A decision that started life as a whim ended up introducing me to some of my best friends, and has filled my weeks with learning a variety of musical arrangements for songs ranging from Disney’s Hercules to a Michael Jackson medley. There are two full society showcases a year and groups are also able to sign up for numerous other performance opportunities, including singing on Nottingham Hospitals’ Radio. A Cappella functions as an umbrella society and currently has seven groups. Our group coordinator is always on hand to help new members set up groups, even if it is just an idea for a one-off song. I love how inclusive the society is and the fact that people are able to get involved, whether they just want a casual environment in which to learn new music and improve their singing, or whether they want the chance to compete at The Voice Festival UK, or even appear on BBC television with Gareth Malone - as one of our groups did this past November.
joined the Latin, Ballroom, and Salsa Society (LBSS) after admiring Strictly for years. Our brilliant coaches teach us five Ballroom and five Latin dances on a Monday evening which we practise in the week. Learning new steps, and looking elegant in Ballroom and seriously sassy in Latin, are elements of LBSS which I find enticing and entrancing; but the competitions are absolutely incredible - the best being the National Competition in Blackpool. This competition is defined by hairspray permeating the air, fake tan-covered towels, and lots of dancing! Having got up at 5, washed off layers of fake tan, gelled our hair into a helmet, and applied bronzer and more bronzer, we migrate to the glorious Winter Gardens ballroom (accompanied by 500 spare hair grips). The elation and pride felt after hearing your number called out, knowing you get to dance again, is incomparable; and the blisters don’t hurt on the dancefloor. The energy and passion radiating from every team member is astounding, and the lack-of-sleepcraziness makes the day even more fun. If you have a voice by midnight you haven’t been shouting “We are Nottingham” loudly enough. LBSS has been my favourite University experience - my only regret is that I’m not doing a Latin and Ballroom degree!
PHOTOS BY RHYS THOMAS
ILLUSTRATIONS BY CHRISTINA FUSCO-HOUSE
do improvised comedy with Improv Society because I like performing. What makes Improv great is that it involves zero rote memorisation, no again-and-againuntil-we-can’t-get-it-wrong rehearsals. Coming from an am-dram background, that’s really refreshing! There’s also a really lovely camaraderie to it. The golden rule of doing Improv is “accept and build”, followed closely by “but remember, there are no rules”. That’s so short and philosophical sounding, it could comfortably appear in a self-help book. By immediately accepting each other’s ideas and working to build on them, improvisers are able to find funny stories out of nowhere, that no performer would have come up with alone. It’s necessarily collaborative - you and your scene partners versus the world. We meet on a Sunday evening, and in a session, our creative director will spend the first hour showing us something new about improvising characters and situations, and then we sit down for members to play games like those in Whose Line Is It Anyway?. It’s essentially a free show every session and it’s the highlight of my week.
We pride ourselves on inclusivity, and having no barriers stopping anyone from getting involved. Joining Improv is probably the best decision I’ve made at Uni.
efore I started directing and acting at the Nottingham New Theatre, I became a member so I could get cheaper tickets to see the shows. I was amazed by the professional standard and wide variety of shows they put on, and was particularly interested in Fringe shows with student-written scripts. After playwriting for a creative-writing module in my second year, I decided to propose my show to the New Theatre. This opened the door to many opportunities - I met a lot of interesting and friendly people, and quickly felt a part of a very big community. Directing at the New Theatre is incredibly fun, and is a wonderful chance to put your creative ideas into practice. I loved being able to direct plays that I had written; it’s incredibly rewarding to see your work performed by very talented actors. The New Theatre is very addictive, and you very quickly get sucked into watching and participating in the shows. Even if directing and acting aren’t your style, you can get involved with producing, lighting and sound, make-up and costume design, meaning there really is something for anyone who wants to get creative.
Putting pen to paper
A Collection of some of UoN’s Best Poetry
Paper, words, glue and a spine The bell sings hello as you enter, Telling us all that you are here. Waiting for you felt like forever, But we knew this day was drawing near. The wind from outside rustles our pages, Uncovering all our secrets and tales, Turning us page by page with its icy nails. You look ready to begin, so off we go! A voyage of discovery, But of the self you know! You’ll learn something from us, No matter how big or small. We will help you to escape that rotten life, Stopping you from hitting that wall. You never know when you need us, But we’ll always need you, Our lives without the reader, What would the world come to? So go ahead, take us from our wooden bed, Dust us off if need be, We promise we aren’t dead. One piece of advice when struggling which of us to choose, Do not judge us, because we do not judge you, A cover is simply a mask, and not something to lose Your head over, under, round and round, What we store between our pages and glue Are stories, friends, family and now… you. JESSICA RUSHTON
21st Century Woman Judgement is an everyday occurrence, From the moment we wake till the sun avoids its own critique, Perfection can’t be bought or taught, It is a façade that allows the industry to carry on, Greedy from our insecurities that were bred from the pictures they created. Advertisements constantly shoved down our throats, Buy this, buy that, there is no choice, And yet we are taught to believe we do, This skirt wasn’t designed for us to decide, It was fate of course. Patriarchy exists because we purchase the pill, The cream, the diet, or worse still, The acceptance desired by all is what truly ruins us, And those who don’t give a damn are ostracised and defy the rules of ‘God’, Because the wars of religion pale in comparison to the fashion world. Instilled within us is regret for what we have lost, Or not achieved even though it wasn’t achievable, Hypnotised, Lost to reality. Who are you? Who are we? We are the closeted people, We are the ones you avoid, We are everyone, Yet no one, Because who would admit truly to their crime? Wear a mask, doll yourself up love, Because today we are not ourselves, We are a 21st century woman. That no one knows. KATIE CASH
Birthright Sunflower seed, dew-drops of rain and one single umbrella-leaf bending in the wind. Sweet scents, flowers of the night, romanticised perfumes bleed violet. Pan pipes playing a tune, reverse lullabies. I kick toward the light. Unbathed, unbaptised, breaking the shell of the earth I reach the sky, spot the lightning-bolt of pulsing light. Maker, I have met my match! Waving my dainty yellow hands I will be a deep clear pool, a reflection of you, your own image. I am exposed to the elements waiting for the rain to come. Still I stand upright, and before the clouds, I will be the sun. MATTEO EVERETT
Box She hid inside that little box because she wanted to feel pure. Underneath she could feel the light seeping and turning and revolving right through the cracks. And like a little mouse she hid. Far away from the yellow sprigs that infiltrated her mind in all the wrong ways. She would draw a pattern. Like a barcode, white on black. Black on white. Lines of symmetry that weren’t obstructive but helpful - straight shapes and edges that break apart a murky routine of the unknown and the unreliable. She could help herself now. ISOBEL DAVIDSON
Morn Hello, let’s fade the day together. Go on. Scribble it out. Rub. Erase. It can get tiring up there, alone in the abyss of swirling moons and talking mountains. Rubble at your feet, you say? Nonsense. That’s simply chit chat. Make that sun rise, I tell you. They’re far lovelier. As fresh as oranges and coffee. Good morning! Drip, drip, drip, water down the teacup handle. Let us draw something together, like monsters and sea creatures. I’ll sway in the mist whilst you outline the music notes. Wonderful. ISOBEL DAVIDSON
IMPACT WORDS BY JOSHUA OGUNMOKUN
IMAGE BY ALEX FARZAD
Josh talks to Hashtagobi, student at UoN and talented rapper, about his debut album A Day In The Mind Of A University Student
Hashtagobi isn’t your typical UK rapper. In fact, I’m not sure he takes much influence from the scene at all, as his debut independent release A day in the mind of a University student is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I sat down with Hashtagobi in the Impact office to get a better understanding of his work and what it’s like to be a student rapper. Hashtagobi started rapping in his sixth form days, almost by accident. When we asked how he got his name, he responded, “When I made my Twitter in sixth form, everyone was making Twitter and the word hashtag was used a lot. So, I thought ‘hashtag my name’”. In terms of the genesis of his career, he almost stumbled on the opportunity. “There was this guy in my school who made a song and he released it, and all my friends thought it was bad. We were like “I could do better than that”, so I went home and recorded something and came back. It was like a diss track against this guy and the whole school thought it was lit”. After his short-lived sixth form fame, Hashtagobi went on a hiatus while he focused on his University career as a Computer Science student. However, upon looking at his options and deciding he wanted to defy the traditional route of ‘go to school, get a job, have kids, pay taxes then die’ (to paraphrase the chorus on ‘Clark Kent Syndrome’), he thought, “what did I used to do when I was younger that I actually liked [and] could pick up again?”. This led to the revival of his rap career and this student-inspired album. Being a fan of the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Tyler the Creator, I wasn’t surprised to hear that, in terms of rap and hip-hop, concept albums were his “fave”. It made sense that his debut album would also be a concept album with an underlying theme and cohesive running order, rather than a compilation of songs he’d created over a period of time. “I knew how it was gonna start and how it was gonna end. So from there, it was just about filling in the pieces”. In the album, Hashtagobi creatively documents the life of a university student and gives the listeners a window into his university experience. “My favourite kind of artists are the ones that give themselves to the audience, so, obviously, these are things that I’ve experienced and I just wanted to find ways to make them interesting”. As a result, we get funny songs like ‘One Night Stand’ and ‘Student Loan Dropped’, as well as more insightful and quietly emotional songs like ‘Depression’, which use sarcasm and dark humour to soften the blow of deeper issues faced by students on a daily basis. “Obviously, you can talk about depression, but if I use literary devices like personification and say “I’m calling happiness, but happiness is not picking up”, it makes it easier to assimilate”.
Listening to his debut album, I had to ask him whether Tyler the Creator was an inspiration, because the similarities were easy to draw in the split characters used to explain Hashtagobi’s mental state. “Some people have said [my inspirations seem to be] Chance and a lot of people have said Tyler. When I was creating the album, I had a list of people that were helping me, that I would try and follow, and he was one of them”. Similar to Tyler’s characters, Wolf and Sam, in his trilogy of albums preceding Cherry Bomb, Hashtagobi has characters Lindell and Obi. They argue throughout the album on pretty much every topic incorporated into the sandwiching songs, which moves the album along nicely. “So the negative character Lindell is partly me, but it’s partly everyone [else], and people around me saying “you can’t do shit like this and who do you think you are?” Like “you need to get a job” - that’s kinda like my parents’ mentality. And then there’s him saying “you’re a Computer Science student, this isn’t your lane”, and that’s me saying it as well. But then sometimes the other guy, which is Obi, is a bit bewildered by this guy and is just like “Nah, I think I can”. The more I spoke to Hashtagobi, the more I realised how autonomous his operation was. I found that not only does he rap, he also produces, mixes and masters his tracks, and edits his videos. The artist learnt this skills out of “more necessity than interest” because he didn’t really have anyone to go to. “You can find a lot of the stuff online, so I just did it like that”. It was interesting to get an insight into his creative process. I’ve talked to many musicians about how they write music, but I believe the fact that he writes and produces allows him to tackle music in a different way. “If the concept is like walking to a lecture, what does that sound like? Is there a bus engine? Is it slow? Would the tempo be fast because we’re going like 30mph? All those sorts of ideas I’ll just write down, so when I’m producing they’ll just flow in nicely”. Going forward, it seems that new music is not something to be expected for a while as Hashtagobi wishes to promote the album more, with a campaign of videos. “I’m getting recognition now from vlogs and blogs and stuff, but no one knows what my face is. Also, I have a Youtube channel, the Hashtagobi Show, which I used to do. I wanna bring that back again, every couple of weeks or so”. With a niche in the music market that he is ready to exploit, I am sure you’ll be seeing much more of Hashtagobi. Let’s hope he can avoid Clark Kent Syndrome and live the life he wants to lead. “I have all these dreams in my head that seem impossible, but realistically if I’m gonna get there, I have to try”.
WORDS BY MADDY HAY ILLUSTRATIONS BY EMILY CLARKE
From Hip Hop Wannabes to Unrelenting Emos
Hip Hop Wannabe
The Hip Hop Wannabe (HHW) is a special breed of person; a hybrid, if you will. Each and every HHW will undergo a life transition, namely from cardigan-wearing posh guy to Kanye-worshipping Market Bar disciple. Changes begin to occur during the HHW’s first week at University. A soon-to-be HHW will discover that, if they are to reach their desired level of ‘edgy’, they will need to take immediate action and restrain their hitherto fondness for Ed Sheeran and James Bay. From then on, transformation is guaranteed. An N.W.A crash-course will soon be underway. Note: a HHW may be inclined to make slight alterations to their origin story. Please be aware that if a HHW says that they’re from “Manchester”, they’re just as likely to mean the fancy bit of Cheshire as they are the gritty inner-city. In Nottingham, “London” is a broad term which also allows for the whole of Surrey.
While the HHW seeks to shed their past, the 00s Loyalist (00L) longs to revisit it. Remember the 00s? Popular music was completely dominated by bands that consisted of 4-5 white guys who accessorised themselves using denim, leather and electric guitars. Sure, it was great then(?), but times have changed. The 00L condition is rife among students and fairly easy to spot. Look out for warning signs, which may include a stack of NMEs in the bedroom, a lingering reverence for Alex Turner, or prolonged periods of time spent in Rescue Rooms on a Tuesday night. Are you worried that your friend or housemate might be a 00L? Perhaps it’s worth giving them a gentle reminder that, whilst we all still love The Strokes, idolatry of the past is dangerous and could lead to misplaced feelings of adoration for the (at best average) new releases from the likes of Pete Doherty and Jamie T.. Mic drop.
The Delicate Hipster (DH) of Nottingham is a true zealot. Sometimes cut from the same cloth as the 00L, it is possible that the DH was too an Arctic Monkeys fan, many moons ago. Nowadays, this is a distant and embarrassing memory. If the Bodega’s DJ had the audacity to taint the room with a spin of ‘R U Mine?’, the DH would hang their head in disdain and perhaps consider removing themselves from the dance floor altogether. Such is the punishing and fastidiously aloof nature of their existence. A DH’s eclectic music collection is restricted by just two simple rules: it must be reasonably obscure (or else their fandom is purely ironic) and a minimum of 80% must be owned in vinyl form. To encounter a DH in Rough Trade is to see them in their natural habitat; bonus points if you manage to spot their matching tote bag.
Nottingham residents: do you own a bucket hat? Does your mum buy your jeans from Next? Exactly how long is your fringe? All of these questions are of utmost importance. Your answers will provide you with an essential insight into your true standing as a music fan. They will also almost definitely expose your very essence as a human being. Everyone loves being reduced to a cultural stereotype, right?
No one is further from the DH than the Ocean Addict (OA). Drawn to a simpler way of life, the OA’s schedule is dictated by just two things: attending Ocean and acquiring tickets in order to attend Ocean. Sure, the OA will probably also go to Crisis, or Ink… maybe Baa Baa on a quieter night, but these alone cannot suffice. Other clubs possess the unfortunate stench of respectability; someone, somewhere considers them to be ‘cool’. Ocean, however, is free from this destructive label. The combination of Queen, High School Musical, Abba and Justin Bieber is both heavenly and highly intoxicating. For an OA, dancing under the relentless and very real - threat of getting soaked in someone else’s orange VK only serves to enhance the experience.
The OA is not the only one that enjoys a chaotic clubbing experience. This city houses a large and thriving populace which I will henceforth refer to as Bucket Hats (BH). A BH is highly likely to be a current or former member of another Notts Tribe: one can be converted without warning and at any moment. One significant feature of the BH is the proclivity for movement. One does not need to ‘dance’ per se, but one must complete any night out drenched in sweat. House, dance and techno music must be consumed regularly and so the existence of Stealth is absolutely essential for the continued survival of the BH. To clarify: ‘Bucket Hat’ is a general term. Not every member of this species will necessarily own a bucket hat (though it is recommended). The name Bucket Hat could reasonably be replaced with ‘North Face Jacket’, ‘Nike Airs’ or ‘Water Bottle’.
Finally, the Unrelenting Emo (UE) is someone that every Nottingham resident is surely familiar with. If you have walked past Rock City on a weekday between 5pm and 8pm, you have most likely encountered a UE. Theirs is a type of extreme fandom that requires both devoted endurance and earlobe stretchers. Perhaps you are a UE yourself. Do you strive to listen to Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance with a serious and unwavering sincerity? Have you proudly bestowed a neon skull motif upon your snapback? Are you, or have you ever, been described as a ‘scene kid’? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you are an Unrelenting Emo and it’s likely that you have been for quite some time.
WORDS BY JOSHUA OGUNMOKUN
ILLUSTRATION BY EMILY CLARKE
IS MUSIC BROKEN, OR AM I JUST GETTING OLDER? I will be honest: this is another rant. Please donâ€™t expect the responsibility and sophistication of a comment piece
I’ve recently realised that my favourite pieces of music have come from those artists that tend to utilise the sounds of their predecessors, rather than those trying to create brand new sounds. This is evidenced by the fact that two of my favourite albums of 2016 were 24k Magic and Awaken! My Love. One album pretty much aims to be the perfect mixtape for a 90s house party, mixing RnB sounds from the 80s and 90s. The other pays tribute to legends of soul, RnB & Funk and takes influence from acts such as Prince and Funkadelic. Maybe there’s a resurgence of the old-school not for a lack of ideas but a lack of substance. Kids born after her death still look back at Aaliyah’s music. The greats of this generation look back. Because, what else is really out there at the moment? Yes, there’s mumble rap and trap soul, which seem to be two of the newest sub-genres in urban music, meant to push the genre forward. But it seems that artists are more concerned with showing off their new toys and watches. Meek Mill’s whole rap career can arguably be mapped out as a young man that wanted a Rolls Royce Wraith, bought a Rolls Royce Wraith and then can’t stop talking about his Rolls Royce Wraith. Damon Albarn sums it up with: “Look at music now. Does it say anything? Young artists talk about themselves, not what’s happening out there. It’s the selfie generation”.
So, I feel that one of the reasons why those trying to separate themselves from the crowd look backwards, is that critics and experts tend to look back on the ‘golden ages’ of music more fondly than they view the new waves of music. While Kendrick Lamar’s phenomenal good kid m.A.a.d. city has been regarded as a hip hop classic, his jazz-infused, funk-inspired album To Pimp A Butterfly saw more recognition, including being archived in the Harvard Library. Even Daft Punk, famed for their electronic music back in the early 2000s, returned with a funk album rather than riding the wave that they helped create with EDM music. Now, there will always be new waves of music, new ways to merge genres, new techniques (I mean, two of my favourite projects last year include the user of prismizer by Francis and the Lights), so I don’t think music is going to stop evolving. Looking to later in 2017, I wonder who else will come through with a throwback album. Judging by her single with Tinie Tempah I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some 90s vibes on Tinashe’s upcoming release Joyride. So for now, let’s enjoy the nostalgic vibes and I’ll tune back into the innovating front soon.
ILLUSTRATIONS INSPIRED BY CHILDISH GAMBINO
THE TRUE MAVERICKS We take a closer look at the Mavericks’ season so far
After a significant win of 5-3 for the Mavericks A team against the Sheffield Bears back in October, the Nottingham side have hit a losing streak, leaving them fifth in the table. The B team find themselves in the same position in the British Universities Ice Hockey Association (BUIHA) Division Two, while the C side are second in their league, just two points off the Sheffield Bears. But with half of their games left to play for, this season is not yet decided for the Mavericks’ squads. At the time of writing, the two Nottingham universities are looking forward to an eagerly anticipated ‘Battle of Nottingham’ match, which follows a similar style to the Varsity Series and takes place in the Motorpoint Arena. The encounter gives an early chance for battle lines to be drawn and bragging rights to be grasped ahead of the main event this spring. Unlike other BUCS and University of Nottingham sports sides, the Nottingham Mavericks are formed of both UoN and Trent players, as well as those from further afield. This allows for a huge player pool and leaves Nottingham as the real focal point for university ice hockey in the East Midlands. Fixtures secretary for the Mavericks, Luke Watson, who has the highest goals per game ratio in the first division, told me: “We have players from places across the Midlands, with teammates from Derby, Leicester and Loughborough. We also have a lot of Canadian players as well”. He continued: “We have training once a week and games every other week. We [also] play
against other universities across the UK. In a typical season, we play around about ten games, playing each team home and away”. On the thrills of playing in the BUIHA divisions, Mavericks’ club Treasurer, Jay Porter, said: “The level of hand-eye coordination required is phenomenal. It’s the fastest sport in the world, if you don’t count Formula One, because of the speed on the ice. Your mind needs to be switched on. We’ve had a huge increase with forty sign-ups this year, including twenty girls. Five have gone into the first team”. On Varsity, Porter divulged: “There’s nothing like it really - we talk about Varsity all year round. After the match we get together and all go out, even though the emotions might be quite contrasting at the final whistle”. The unique amalgamation of university ice hockey players from all over the East Midlands will certainly be beneficial for the Mavericks’ prospects throughout the rest of the campaign, likely to include potential title challenges and relegation battles for the club’s sides.
WORDS BY JOE TANNER IMAGE BY CHUD PHOTOGRAPHY
WORDS BY AMAR MEHTA
ILLUSTRATION BY POPPY ANNE MALBY
HELPING HANDS How Welfare in Sport is helping remove the barriers preventing students playing sport at UoN Welfare in Sport is a student run campaign aiming to raise awareness of mental health in sport and fight the stigma it appears to have at the University of Nottingham. Working alongside sports clubs, the initiative supports team members to become more inclusive and improves welfare services offered to members. As well as this, the campaign aims to remove obstacles that might prevent people from participating in sport at the University. Clubs are asked to write a pledge each year, outlining what they will do to become more inclusive. Pledges have ranged from running more inclusive socials to creating ‘club families’. Welfare in Sport is not exclusive to BUCS teams, it is a campaign for all. As the website states: “Whether you’re a BUCS athlete, someone who plays IMS, or you just go to the gym, we are here to raise awareness of mental health”. The campaign is the brainchild of former Students’ Union Officers Kiri Madhani and Chloe Averill who founded it in June 2015 and it has grown ever since. 2016 has been particularly successful; it has been recognised as a formal campaign group by the Students’ Union, and there has been a significant increase in the number of clubs incorporating a Welfare Officer into their committees or integrating welfare into existing roles. Club Development Co-ordinators have also received special mental health training from Student Minds. This is incredibly important, as 39% of students at UoN experience emotional difficulty during their time at University, many of whom are involved in sport in some capacity. From elite level to IMS, sports men and women place a large deal of focus on their physical health, often neglecting their mental health. However, being active can often help overcome a variety of mental
health issues, from stress to anxiety, which is why it is so important to foster both aspects of health.
Adam also hopes that Welfare in Sports’ presence on campus will grow, especially during the Varsity series.
Welfare in Sport aims to ensure sport clubs continue to improve the welfare offered to their student athletes. Vice-Chairperson Adam Pratchett believes it is “creating an environment in which those who might feel unable to take part in sport due to mental health, think otherwise. We want to encourage everyone, regardless of their mental health, to take part in sport”.
When asked how can people get involved with the campaign, Adam says: “We’re planning on running a number of events, giveaways and challenges this semester, so make sure to check us out online to know when we’ve got things going on”.
Adam hopes that the new committee can help Welfare in Sport to grow in 2017. He intend to meet with the University’s Chancellor, Sir Andrew Wyatt, later this year to discuss plans and progress with him. University of Nottingham Sport has and will continue to support the campaign.
INTERVIEW BY JOE TANNER
IMAGE BY OLIVIA VILLARREAL
EN ROUTE TO THE TOP We discuss teams, training, Trent and Tuesday pasta parties with UoN Netball President, Katie Hunt, and second team captain, Amy George
IMPACT: HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE START TO THE SEASON SO FAR? Katie Hunt: I think we’ve had a reasonable start to the season so far. Some of our teams had some very tough games on the trot and having those games together definitely affected our performance. The fourth team has started to make the step up since promotion last year and the fifths are gelling really well in their matches. The ones and twos are through to the quarter final of the cup which is really good. IMPACT: WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE STANDARD AT TRIALS - HAVE YOU BEEN IMPRESSED WITH THE FRESHERS THAT HAVE COME IN? K.H: Yes the standard was very high. There were about 200 freshers competing for places. For the first time in a long while, we’ve got three first years in the first team and a lot more in our BUCS squads. Amy George: We have five BUCS teams and two IMS teams. The IMS teams play against other halls and courses’ netball sides, but they act as a talent pool for when our BUCS squads are struggling with numbers. This will be extremely useful next year when a lot of our final year students leave University, and it’s a great way of involving more girls in netball rather than just having the five BUCS teams. IMPACT : WHAT IS THE FORMAT WITH TRAINING? K.H: Our performance sides have one strength and conditioning session a week, with the higher teams getting a further strengthening session to top up the skills that they need. On Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, our teams do a lot of fitness and also ball work, with a focus on control which was a big factor in preseason. IMPACT: LAST YEAR YOU LOST VARSITY, WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING THIS YEAR TO CLAIM IT BACK? K.H We will definitely be winning Varsity back this year - we cannot lose it again! Our Varsity preparation involves a lot of ball
work and gameplay. It’s unfortunate that we have to play Trent twice in February in the cup and the league, but it will be good practice for Varsity. IMPACT: WHAT KIND OF SOCIALS DO YOU HAVE ON AT THE CLUB? A.G: We do team meals a lot to help the teams gel and help people get to know each other off court - this enhances our team spirit on court. We have Tuesday pasta parties sometimes, which are a good carbo load before the big games! We are big fans of Crisis Wednesdays as well.
WORDS BY FREDDIE STUART
IMAGE BY VIRGINIA MOORE
LETTUCE HAVE FUN! From Green and Gold to gold medals: How does university sport change your diet?
When taking a closer look at famous sports stars and their extravagant diets, there seemed to be only one logical place to start: Michael Phelps, 28 time Olympic gold medalist, 5 time world record breaker and all round 6 foot 4 carb machine. I can imagine being the most decorated Olympian of all time does take it out of you, but Phelps’ average day sees him fight his way through 12,000 calories, compared to the measly 2,500 recommend for an adult male. To put that in perspective for the rest of us, that’s the equivalent of 48 Chicken Joe’s wraps, 250 McDonald’s chicken nuggets or, for those of you who had a big Christmas, 15,000 Brussels sprouts. Obviously, being an elite level sportsman means having the diet to match, but do our University’s sporting heroes take their diets as seriously as their famous role models? We caught up with some of our University’s top sportsmen and women to see how seriously their diets were affected by regular competitive sport. Peter Clamp, former Social Sec and current member of the UoN Athletics society, told me: “In terms of instruction, the coaches pretty much leave our diets up to us, apart from the obvious emphasis on staying hydrated when training”. Peter competed in the second men’s team at the University last year and told us his diet plan when training was essentially a normal one, “but included protein shakes for at least a month before events” and he had to “make sure there was no drinking in the week before races”.
It seems the student lifestyle is a tough one to permanently shake, even for University’s top competitors, and the constant promotion of Domino’s pizza around our campuses probably doesn’t help us with that either. We talked to some of UoN’s top Rugby Union players to get more of insight into the day to day student lifestyle of competitive athletes. Adam Peever of the University’s second team, Brad Chew of the fifth team and Francis Dwan captain of the fourths, told Impact that finding the time to organise a proper meal plan was often the hardest part. “We’re just like any other students, really sometimes it’s difficult to eat clean when you’re in a rush during the day and after matches. In terms of eating right, it’s really at your own discretion. It varies between teams, with the firsts probably paying more attention to a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not really imposed on us by our coaches,” Francis told us. The lure of a cheap Dinos or D2 pizza on a cold winter’s evening, and the radiant warmth of Simply Chicken and Chips on the post-Crisis stumble home will forever be a test for even the most strong-willed of UoN sportsmen,. However, with conscious effort and forethought, it is possible for all of us to eat our way to 28 Olympic gold medals.
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The Official Student Magazine of the University of Nottingham