Page 1

Barnet Edition 2014 Faith and Spirituality Conflict and History Exploring Feminism Ar ts and Culture Community Wellbeing

Editor’s Letter Barnet’s Big Society Innovation Bank offered a multicultural group of young people of different faiths the opportunity to learn from one another, whilst working towards a common aim. This magazine is the end result. Following six volunteering sessions where these young people united with older residents from Barnet to exchange learning, the team bonded and were inspired to learn more about the borough. Several community issues were explored; from the benef it of local exercise classes to the challenges facing different faith groups within Barnet. Our volunteering sessions and editorial meetings were a unique forum where we each learnt about, and from, one another; largely because of our personal and cultural differences. Each team member made their own distinct contributions and it was my pleasure to see everyone develop their skills, interests and personal attributes. As one young

Sarah-Jane James Team Manager, Editor and Writer

person said, this magazine has given them a voice and a creative outlet. This creative outlet explores a range of topics; those more serious and complex, as well as lighter topics focusing on positivity and those of general interest. I would like to thank the team for their continued commitment and substantial efforts in making their vision for this magazine a reality. I have been truly inspired and am very proud to have been a part of this exciting and rewarding project. We hope you enjoy reading the magazine as much as we enjoyed working on it.

Contents Community The Value of Volunteering Saving Friern Bennett The Green Team Barnet Council Taxes What the Old Man Wrote

Page Page Page Page Page

6 10 12 14 16

Exploring Feminism The Over-Sexualisation of Women in Pop Music What the ‘F’?

Page 18 Page 20

Wellbeing The ‘S’ Word Chi Kung and Taoism Exercise for Wellbeing

Page 22 Page 24 Page 26

Faith and Spirituality Barnet, Modernity and the Or thodox Jew Alan Watts and Zen Buddhism Secular Nation Faith in Politics

Page 30 Page 32 Page 34 Page 35

Conflict and History Remembering the Holocaust Will Africa’s Voice be Heard?

Page 38 Page 42

Ar ts and Culture Dare to Dream Page 44 Crush Page 46 Little Venice Page 48 Coffeegraph Page 50 Spotlight Celebrities in the Suburbs Dal Recipe

Page 52 Page 54

Meet the Team

Page 55



There are many signif icant reasons to offer your time to a volunteering project; you help your community and yourself. Research shows that altruism increases happiness, conf idence and one’s sense of belonging and control. In addition, altruism helps to reduce stress and negative feelings, and can even make you live longer. Volunteering can also boost your skills and therefore your career prospects. Interact’s magazine has been created by a team of 12 volunteer writers, photographers and designers. In order to create an edition on Barnet, we wanted to fully explore Barnet community life. To this end, we decided to run some volunteering projects in Barnet involving local residents. We also wanted our volunteers to focus on a positive activity that would unite everyone as an editorial team. As Barnet has a large older population, we thought we would create an oppor tunity where young and old could come together to exchange learning in the form of six ‘digital clinics’. Our young volunteers provided knowledge and exper tise on computers and mobile phone technology, whilst local residents offered their insights into Barnet community life.



Digital Clinics This is a piece of poetry inspired by the ‘digital clinics’ I took part in as a community volunteer in and across the London Borough of Barnet. These sessions comprised a mutual effort to further the knowledge of Barnet’s older demographic in the use of modern technology. The wise folk sit before a fast-paced computer, Or stand patiently over the new, untapped world of an iPhone5, To be given a helping hand by the technoids of youth, Themselves facing a foreign land in the words of those who came before. Bonds form. Chuckling breaks out among us, The short-stinted giggles moving between one and the next like a Mexican wave of laughter, And smiles, boy the smiles! Springing upon the faces at the faintest sign of giving, By which we lessen the divide and break down walls, Only to be flabbergasted by tales told, And the happenchance delivery of a life story. I hear of an Italian lady that came to London shortly after birth, Who agreed with me on the divinity of Sicily, And who was pleased to meet me as I was with her, Like a bird meets a tree. I hear of a retired engineer and his despair of short-term memory loss, And the quarrels of adjusting his skills, A happy man nonetheless, His sharp resilience burning a blaze over the ills. I hear of multiple cultures resting their heads on one pillow, A pillow of learning and hope, Humanity of all ages and creeds, Serving the poetry of this memory-filled trope. Robert Clark

Interact’s volunteers quickly bonded with one another, helping all to feel committed to the project and its goals. Each team member also developed their conf idence in talking to people of different ages and backgrounds. In addition, their time with Barnet residents increased our volunteers’ care for the Barnet community. The older people we worked with were very positive about their experiences, in par ticular about the help they received to understand the functionality of their mobile phones. The residents were also pleased to have the chance to positively engage with a range of younger people from various cultures. Our volunteers were invited back to run fur ther digital clinics, and Friern Barnet library have asked that the clinics become a regular f ix ture.




If you are interested in volunteering, there is a diverse range of oppor tunities to get involved with. You can take people with learning disabilities on kayaking trips, offer one-to-one suppor t to vulnerable young people, or help out in theatres and music venues. The options are endless, so what will you choose?




For further information on the benefits of altruism visit: For Barnet volunteering projects visit: To search for volunteering opportunities across the United Kingdom visit




kevin ntueba

saving friern bennett community




the mission is a key. In April 2012 FRIERN BARNET Community Library was closed due to COUNCIL CUTS, wounded but not beaten. The community rose together; squatters, petitioners, donors and campaigners. In a LEGAL BATTLE that would last over two years. In the end they were SUCCESSFUL in the reopening of their local library. Lead Designer NAOMI LOO


February 14


Photographer CARLOS A. AGUADO


Kevin Ntueba

saving Friern bennett ‘We’re closing in five minutes’ echoes Throughout the columns, the exit packs The joy in the eyes of those who leave Behind their leather jungle of hardbacks As the key-holder, her job was to keep it secure - To be the first and last on the ground floor

She’d been having a reoccurring dream of late Men in navy-blue uniform swarm the dorms Dropping shelves and carrying out the fallen Everything had gone, All except her resonating sob ‘what have you done’

All would make sense come morning The key she had, wouldn’t work on the lock Confusion solidified the air she respired, Staring through the misty glass window Without breath, she descended to one knee Clinching unto the latch on the bolted door Glaring at the emptiness within, her eyes fill The air was tranquil and she remained still

In the light of the siege she would pledge, Its restoration, those in favour congregated Regiments exceeding seven thousand Equipped with purpose all within their faction. She would lead the rise to oppose the chancery.



Leanne Kingsley

The green team Saving the world - no costume required

The stereotypical view of a hero is a

the environment. Especially since 2013

Many people have previously said that

person flying in a cape, or a man with

when the Intergovernmental Panel on

recycling is either ‘too difficult’ or ‘too

‘spider’ abilities swinging from the

Climate Change reported that humans

complicated’, so Barnet council have

rooftops. However, everyone has the

are the main cause (a 95% certainty)

recently developed new ways to address this.

ability to make a difference in the world;

of rising temperatures since the 1950s.

this can be achieved through looking after our planet and by going ‘green’.

Since 14 October 2013, recycling has never Just like in the classic superhero movies,

been easier with the new schemes that have

the world is under threat from a deadly

been introduced, such as the collection

Many people aspire to do great

force that could wipe out mankind; in our

of all recycling together, reusable plastic

things, like winning the Noble Peace

case global warming. Unlike in a film, the

packaging and separate food waste bins.

Prize or being awarded an Olympic

world cannot be rescued from the ‘brink

medal. Aspirations as prestigious as

of destruction’ by one person alone. The

When I was younger, I enjoyed ‘dressing

these can only be achieved through

shared responsibility of saving the earth is

up’, as it allowed me to become a different

action. In order to accomplish (pause

in all our hands. Although this may seem

person for a while. On one occasion, I

for dramatic effect), ‘Saving the Earth’,

like a terrifying prospect, we can each take

purchased a Batwoman costume as I

everyone has an important part to

simple steps to contribute. One of the

was convinced that wearing the uniform

play to help reduce their impact on

easiest ways to help is through recycling.

of a hero was the same as becoming one.


Community What I didn’t realise is that I could be my own hero and wear normal clothes. I realised that this ‘hero’ status could be achieved by helping the environment. For example, damage to the environment from carbon emissions can be reduced by limiting the amount of times you use a car on a weekly basis. Although, sometimes it can be easier to ‘go green’ by starting off with smaller changes, such as separating waste materials when recycling household rubbish. According to Barnet council, more than 30% of the rubbish in household bins is food waste. As part of the new

How plastic bottles are recycled. Source: IQS Directory

recycling programme, Barnet have given residents a brown container for

Furthermore, many plastics are not

types of rubbish helps to make

food leftovers. By placing your food

biodegradable, which means they do

the environment a cleaner place.

waste into the new brown container,

not decompose on their own. This is

disposal costs and the environmental

another negative for the environment.

impact of food leftovers are reduced.

Recycling allows people to get involved and feel like they are making a difference.

A friend of mine inquired, ‘what happens

Most importantly, it can enable anyone

Barnet has a target of recycling

to my plastic after it is collected?’ The

to add ‘planet-saver’ to their list of

50% of household waste by 2020.

answer is that it is taken to JayPlas in

life accomplishments! In addition, it

This objective can be met through

Leicestershire where the plastic bottles

saves vast amounts of energy and

the collection of household plastic

are sorted into the different polymer types.

money; as evidenced in 2011 when

packaging including yogurt pots,

They are then granulated and turned into

Londoners saved £30 million by recycling.

margarine tubs and food trays.

new plastic products such as pipes. So the

d rs save e n o d ‘Lon lion by l i m 0 £3 ng’ recycli

next time you throw an Evian bottle in

So, the next time you have the urge to

the bin, consider reusing or recycling it.

invest in a cape and tights in order to adopt a ‘hero-like’ persona, try becoming

As a result of the new Barnet scheme,

environmentally friendly instead. It will

there is now a weekly ‘bin day’ where

allow you to achieve the same result

the refuse, recycling and food disposal

without having to look a little strange!

bins are all collected. This has increased recycling in homes. A Barnet resident

Remember, there is no ‘I’ in team; we

Recycling plastic is important because

told me that ‘being able to help the

must all work together to help reduce

it is derived from oil, which is extracted

environment is now so much easier as it

our carbon footprint. So forget about

from fossil fuels. It is estimated that

is no longer difficult to remember which

Superman, Spiderman and all the other

plastic production uses 8% of the

day of the week each bin is collected’.

heroes; it’s time to make way for the

world’s oil production. Oil is a finite

‘Green Team’! Are you willing to join?

resource in high demand, so recycling

Individuals now have the opportunity

plastics helps to protect a valuable

to reduce their environmental impact

For more information on recycling

commodity, which could be used for

from waste disposal. Taking action


more important services such as heating.

to refrain from mixing different 12


Barnet Council Taxes: Are they being spent wisely? Uriel Roth Municipality taxes are a reality for probably the majority of people that live in a developed area. For those that live in Barnet, London, it would be wise to assess the quality of services available within the council in return for the amount of money that is being spent on council tax. Individuals that pay council tax surely would like to receive benefits in return for their obligatory tax expenditure. With this article I would like to discuss the various council services provided for Barnet resients.

the local youth to keep fit, in addition to keeping them occupied. The same may be said of adults.

Barnet council tax contributions are partially distributed to the Greater London Authority, which funds the Metropolitan Police and fire services. There isn’t a uniform amount of money to be paid for council tax; it depends in what zone one lives.

There is, however, much to be desired in the way of well-paved roads. Pot holes are of a regular occurrence throughout the various parts of the Borough of Barnet. This clearly has an adverse effect on car tyres and a positive effect on car mechanic finances. However, over recent years, I have seen somewhat of an improvement in road resurfacing.

Having lived in this area practically all my life, I can attest that new community facilities have sprung up over the years. For example, the Hendon Leisure Centre has been a fixture near Brent Cross Shopping Centre for over a decade. This centre has an indoor gym that costs ÂŁ20.00 per month to use without a contract, which is useful for those of us that do not like to commit. Additionally, it offers gymnastics lessons with an additional gymnastics club. There is a sports hall for those that enjoy playing badminton. A basketball court and football pitch can also be found here. This facility appears to have been a good investment on behalf of Barnet council as it encourages 13

Now we can move on to issues such as street lighting, road maintenance and garbage disposal. Throughout my travels in this area over a number of years, during some long cold nights and dark winter mornings, I can say that the streets are generally well-lit, providing a safe journey for us residents.

Community Garbage disposal is another important part of services provided by Barnet council, and it appears that garbage is collected in a timely and generally efficient fashion - from my perspective at least. The introduction of recycling is also a welcome development as nonrecycled garbage creates harmful chemicals in the atmosphere. Furthermore, recycling reduces the need for raw materials, therefore rainforests can be preserved. Recycling is now a major aspect of waste disposal throughout the country and other developed countries.

station. This project seems particularly useful in that it allows Barnet youth to develop their skills and talents, and encourages them to potentially pursue their interests within a more professional framework. I believe that this is certainly a good investment by the council. There does not appear to be any festivals that are directed at Barnet youth which is a shame. This is something that the council could consider looking into.

The matter of low crime is also of prime importance to Barnet residents and in my opinion, it is a relatively safe borough. It feels quite safe to walk the streets at night without fear of a mugging or any similar problems. Here are some interesting statistics relating to crime within the borough:





Barnet crime rates compared

Anti-social behaviour





Residential burglary





Violence against the person





Most serious violence





Source: Metropolitan Police Service

Interestingly, Barnet council offer a ‘drop-in’ service where the youth of this borough can speak to youth workers within a confidential environment. These workers are trained to deal with issues that relate to: • housing • relationships • travel • sexual health advice • university applications • drugs and alcohol, and • volunteering opportunities • careers advice. Clearly, these are all pressing issues that concern a wide range of young people. In this instance, Barnet council has shown a willingness to invest in its youth.

Another important council provision is the ‘Family Focus’ initiative for families that encounter a range of issues, from domestic violence to raising children with disabilities. This function may prove vital in providing support, advice and assistance to vulnerable families. In relation to education, Barnet council has stated, ‘we are proud of the achievements of all our schools and will continue to work in partnership with them to improve standards’. Barnet does acknowledge that, while success can be seen in the education system in Barnet, more work needs to be done in order to close the gap between high-achievers and students that are still struggling in school: ‘Barnet schools have some of the most successful, high-achieving pupils in the country sitting alongside a sizeable minority who will get fewer than five good grade GCSEs’. However, it is not clear how they aim to do so. This could be addressed in a more open manner. In all, Barnet council appears to offer its residents an array of services in return for the taxes it receives from them. There are some interesting and useful initiatives for young people in the borough. Road maintenance should be improved, however. Importantly, crime is relatively low in this area, which is clearly beneficial for all its inhabitants. Well done Barnet!

An after-school centre based in Graeme Park offers activities and holiday playschemes for children aged 5-11 years. Interestingly, older children, aged 13-19 years, can benefit from the ‘Rithmik Project’ at Canada Villa Young People’s Activity Centre. Sessions here include music production, lyric writing, performances and studio recording. In addition, the project runs an internet radio 14


AT ANY ONE TIME, 25-45 • • •

Around 85% of rough sleepers in Barnet are men Rough sleepers are 35 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population In Barnet, the HABcentre specifically works with homeless people that have a connection to this area

For support with homelessness go to:




What the Old Man Wrote What if life stripped you of necessities The man was clearly poor, yet he thrived on being heard His possessions, a mashed up biro pen and a few sheets Torn from the remains of a child’s book he scavenged Words flow, although all else for him has failed He sits on streets hoping for generosity But his hope isn’t lost. Or is it? what is it he writes? His overgrown beard chases tears to the sheets No man knows his story yet they know it must be bad My empty pockets drive me crazy with guilt How I’d like to help this ol’man, - my desperate attempt at humour No man deserves to write and run out A life, that’s what he is, a sitting life, in London’s caves And many like him exist among us, yet few stop to help None imagine a life beyond their own When we possess, choose to give some, we are better off Care for those with less, his story is written in blood and tears As we go back to our homes and warm beds He and others shelter under bridges, buildings, - seeping in the cold Our prayers are the same, don’t forget those luck forgot

Kevin Ntueba 16

Still from ‘Hard Out Here’ video by Lily Allen. Source: Regal/Ruckas Pictures

Exploring Feminism

Nellie Zulu

The Over-Sexualisation of Women in Pop Music The year 2013 had many defining and

in Vogue UK last May), you might walk

iconic moments for women and feminism.

away feeling somewhat sceptical about her

There are many reasons to celebrate just

statement. This past Christmas she released

how far the feminist movement has come.

her self-titled visual album filled with

For example, actor Jennifer Lawrence

empowering songs and accompanying

inspiring women to love their bodies; pop

videos. One particular song, ‘Flawless’,

star Robin Thicke getting the backlash

has stood out for many people and has

he deserved for his sexist song and video

been labelled ‘the new feminist anthem’.

‘Blurred Lines’ (despite it being one of the biggest selling singles of 2013); and

In this song, Beyoncé samples a TED

musician John Legend stating that: ‘All

talk that African writer and feminist,

men should be feminists. If men care about

Chima manda Adichie, recent ly

women’s rights the world will be a better

gave. She does this in order to define

place…We are better off when women are

feminism because there is still confusion

empowered — it leads to a better society.’

surrounding the term. We live in an age

These are just a few of the amazing victories

where many female artists do not want

in the movement towards gender equality.

to associate themselves with feminism, so using the power of music to make a


One defining moment was when Beyoncé

feminist statement is very significant.

announced to the world that she is a

The Beyoncé we see on this visual

modern day feminist. However, if you were

album contrasts to the Beyoncé seen on

to read the whole interview (published

previous records. This time she embodies

Exploring Feminism power, sexual liberation, control and

in order to achieve the success of stars

self-ownership. But despite it being

like Miley and Rihanna. I think that

a commercial success, Beyoncé has

if the artists truly want to perform in

still faced considerable criticism. For

this way then kudos to them. However,

example, negative comments abound

I suspect there are influential (male)

on Twitter such as: ‘Beyoncé is a very

music executives pulling the strings on

irritating woman and I’m hoping one

these pop stars, as if they were puppets.

day soon she will fall into Jay Z’s nostril, never to be seen or heard of again.’

When Lily Allen recently released her first Pop star singer Rihanna. Source:

Thus far, Beyoncé has carved out a career

music video in years, ‘Hard Out Here’, it cause divided opinion amongst the

based on class and privacy. But as she

During 2013, I do not recall seeing a male

masses. Personally, I think Allen manages

delivers her ‘most personal record’, some

artist using his sexuality or wearing as

to successfully use humour to convey

feel that she has jumped on the female

little clothing as some female artists

a vital message about a controversial

pop star ‘sexploitation’ bandwagon.

did, just to sell records. In fact, I recall

subject; music industry sexism. She not

For me, Beyoncé has always provided

most men appearing fully clothed e.g. in

only sings about refusing to conform

inspiration to go against the tide and

the ‘Blurred Lines’ video where Robin

by losing weight, she also mocks

land beautifully on the shore of success.

Thicke and Pharrell Williams are clearly

twerking and the use of the word ‘bitch’,

But with her new album, I no longer feel

objectifying the models around them.

whilst singing in her lovely, sweet tone.

this inspiration, or it has at least lost

What is the point? That women can be

its strength. Initially when I watched

sexual? As actor, Rashida Jones, said, ‘2013

Allen’s ‘controversial’ video suffered some

the 17 music videos from the album, I

was the Year of the Very Visible Vagina’.

counterattack when she was accused of

was in awe of how she achieves so much.

When Miley Cyrus proclaimed to be one

racism by using black women as back-

‘They may even think that being so overtly sexual or wearing revealing clothes is feminist. Yet, feminism is about equality.’ This woman has been doing a world

of the biggest feminists in the world, I

up dancers who, unlike her, were not

tour, recording her album, promoting

wondered what the prominent feminists

fully dressed. However, if you watch

her documentary, and taking part in

of the 1960s and 1970s would say. Surely

the video carefully, Allen also uses non-

interviews whilst being a mother and wife.

Betty Friedan would be turning in her

black dancers (and she later claimed her

grave? I cannot help but think Miley

reason for being fully dressed was due

Yet later I began thinking that

may have set the movement back by a

to chronic cellulite). I do not believe

Beyoncé may have waded into the

good few years. She seems to be equating

that Allen is in anyway exploiting

sea of sexploitation. For example, a

feminism with a ‘You Only Live Once’

women. I think it is obvious that she is

considerable amount of her famous

mentality. In spite of this, her fan base

trying to parody the current pressures

derrière is on show in these videos.

has increased and she continues to sell

on female pop stars to be hypersexual.

Personally, I find it too much and it feels

records and make money. Although

as if ‘Mrs Carter’ has joined the ranks of

veteran singer-songwriter, Sinead

I would like to see more videos by female

Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj.

O’Connor, publicly advised Miley: ‘You

artists that do not submit to music industry

These talented women seem to have given

have enough talent that you don’t need to let

sexism. In addition, I hope that the efforts

into the idea that they have to use their

the music business make a prostitute of you.’

of Lily Allen and other courageous singers

sexuality in order to sell records. They

that go against the tide, receive positive

may even think that being so overtly

There seems to be a belief within the

recognition. The self-objectification of

sexual or wearing revealing clothes is

music industry that female artists have

female pop stars will only hinder the

feminist. Yet, feminism is about equality.

to wear very little in their music videos

feminist fight for a world free of sexism. 18

Exploring Feminism

What the ‘F’?

Sarah-Jane James


Source: The Fawcett Society

eminism is a ‘dirty word’ in our society, yet what does feminism really mean? Do we still need feminism in the

twenty-first century and if so, what can be done to dispel

the misconceptions surrounding the movement and its name?

Feminism has been a misunderstood term for a considerable time; seen as an aggressive, female supremacist hate movement by some people. Even Prime Minister, David Cameron, is not

Comedian Bill Bailey

entirely sure of its definition. He recently declined to call himself a feminist, but later backtracked, explaining to news presenter Jon Snow that, ‘if feminism is about equal rights for women: yes’. If the most powerful man in Britain is unsure of the primary objective of the feminist movement, what must Joe or Jane Bloggs think? A common definition of modern feminism is ‘the fight for gender

have equal rights and opportunities; feminism has accomplished

equality within a patriarchal society’. Another more specific

its mission. Yet statistically, men still have more power than

definition is ‘the movement for the social, political and economic

women in politics and in important societal institutions including

emancipation of all women’. Feminists essentially believe that a

the police, the National Health Service (NHS), sports bodies and

person’s gender (male, female, trans or other) should not hold

the military. For example, in both the House of Commons and

them back in society and that no one group or person is superior.

the House of Lords, 77% of members are men.

Feminism originally began to gain women’s suffrage, which came

In 2013, the Health Service Journal reported that women are still

into effect in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1918. Second-wave

in the minority in NHS leadership roles. In 2012, the Guardian

feminism (around 1960s-1980s)

reported that 83% of chief police

was largely concerned with

officers and 77% of judges (in

‘David Cameron is not entirely sure of its reproductive rights, sexuality and definition. He recently declined to call himself women entering the workforce. a feminist, but later backtracked, explaining to The third-wave began in the news presenter Jon Snow that, ‘if feminism is late twentieth century, with a about equal rights for women: yes’.’

2013, the online journal, BMJ

strong focus on intersectionality;

female scientists are less likely to

England and Wales) are men. In Open, published details of a recent study that found that

the theory that different types of oppression do not act

receive funding. The study’s lead researcher advised this might be

independently of one another. In order for oppression to be

due to the lack of women in senior roles within academia.

successfully addressed, it is critical to understand how different forms of discrimination (including racism, homophobia, Women are also still disadvantaged financially. For example, in classism, ableism, and sexism) interrelate.

2013, the Trade Union Congress reported that in Britain, full time working women earn £5000 less per year than men, or 15% less

Considerable progress has been made towards female liberation

per hour. In some jobs, the pay gap is three times bigger. These

since the nineteenth century. First and second-wave feminism

statistics suggest that centuries of sexism and gender stereotyping

fought for and won several important legalistic freedoms for

have passively created a patriarchy. So, it seems the feminist fight

women. As a result, many people believe that men and women

for female liberation does need to continue.


Exploring Feminism This isn’t to deny that men face inequality within society too. Most

normalised, instead of being ridiculed as ‘gay’ or ‘weak’. Men’s

feminists care deeply about men and do not believe that each

mental health may improve, and women might not be viewed as

individual man is personally responsible for our historical and

‘less than’ for having an emotional life.

cultural sexism. The majority of feminists recognise that patriarchy has disadvantages to people of all genders. And most feminists

Whether or not we change its name or add men’s problems to the

appreciate that men are under extreme pressure to conform to

agenda, some believe that feminism’s image would best improve

limiting, traditional male roles where physical strength, emotional

with a ‘rebrand’. By working with three feminist groups, ELLE

stoicism, financial success and sexual prowess are most valued.

magazine is currently focused on making feminism accessible and relevant to young people today, stripped of its complications.

In which case, would an all-encompassing term that

Some people are questioning whether or not the biggest-selling

highlights the importance of equality, such as ‘equalism’

fashion magazine in the UK is an appropriate leader in modern

or ‘humanism’, be more appropriate than ‘feminism’? The

feminism. Some feminist writers are also arguing that ‘rebranding’

negative connotations of feminism are certainly very strong

erroneously suggests there is something inherently wrong with

and perhaps the modern movement for gender equality needs

feminism. And the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman says a rebrand

to focus on the problems men face as well? A movement

isn’t necessary, ‘some people just need an education’.

towards ‘gender-liberation’, perhaps.

‘Can true liberation for women ever be achieved if we do not simultaneously focus on the unaddressed needs of boys and men in today’s society?’

Whether or not feminism is renamed or rebranded, feminist issues must feature more in daily conversations if the movement is to accomplish its primary goal; to create a world where people, regardless of gender, have equal social, economic and political rights and opportunities. One of the primary challenges is shifting

Since most social movements concern themselves with equality

cultural attitudes, since many legalistic battles have now been

and human rights, many feminists worry that a broader term

won. To this end, it is critical that more people, men included,

would lose the necessary focus on women as the primary group

openly identify as feminists and challenge sexism whenever it is

requiring liberation. Also, using the term ‘feminism’ to primarily

encountered. So, are you willing to call yourself a feminist?

advocate for a specific group of people does not mean excluding other groups. The specificity allows advocates to become fully

am i a feminist?

informed about the particular problems of an oppressed group. There are feminist groups that also advocate for men’s rights and some feminist communities that challenge transphobia. These

Though it is simplified, limited and cannot represent all facets of feminism, this flowchart is a

groups believe that modern feminism should be fully inclusive of

basic way to understand your overall perspective on gender equality issues.

all people that suffer in a patriarchal society.

Do we currently live in a world where people, regardless of gender, have equal rights and opportunities?

Not everyone agrees that men’s rights should be fought for by feminists though, men included. Ally Fog, a male writer for the Guardian, states that: ‘The ultimate goal of all feminists, male or female, is and rightly should be the welfare and social and political



emancipation of women. If men are concerned about the problems men face, not just the problems men cause, then the pews of the feminist cathedral are rarely the most comfortable place to sit.’

Should people, regardless of gender, have equal rights and opportunities?



Can true liberation for women ever be achieved if we do not simultaneously focus on the unaddressed needs of boys and men in today’s society? It seems intuitive that gender equality issues are interdependent. For example, if men were socially sanctioned to



express emotions, this traditionally ‘feminine’ trait may become 20


Leanne Kingsley

The 'S' word Stress

reason behind all those ‘temper tantrums’, which they blame on ‘hormones’, is in fact teenage stress. This can be due to the pressure and expectations of obtaining

Do you ever have those moments where you feel like

A*-C grades when completing GCSEs and 'A' Levels.

pulling your hair out in frustration, wishing you could

By feeling pressured into obtaining these grades,

just buy a one-way ticket to nowhere? I know I do. And

youngsters often adopt an unhealthy lifestyle. This

I know that the reason for ‘depressed’ being a status

might mean they eat junk food and develop a loving

constantly posted across my Facebook newsfeed, is stress.

relationship with the couch.

I believe I’m in a position to speak out on behalf of

‘50% of young adults were stressed from educational worries’ - NSPCC

my fellow peers across the United Kingdom (UK).

A fellow student at my school explained that 'stress

I say that stress is a real and very serious issue for

is an overpowering feeling, which can leave a person

many school pupils. A recent study carried out by

feeling the need to escape and clear their head'. She

the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty

said that sometimes reading a book or going out for a

to Children (NSPCC) determined that nearly 50%

walk can solve the problem.

Some people assume stress affects adults more than teenagers. As a teenager undergoing exam pressures,

of young adults were stressed due to educational worries. Sometimes responsibilities prove too difficult

The term 'YOLO' is a phrase that has become a key

for teenagers to contend with, and this may lead to

word in my vocabulary. I think teenagers need to

mental breakdown and erratic behaviour.

understand the gravity of the message that ‘You Only Live Once’. Instead of concentrating all our

There is a theory that most teenagers go through a

energy into work and school, it is important that we

phase where they slam doors and yell at their parents

also have fun. With such intense focus on exams it

until their throats are raw. What my parents and many

can sometimes seem like teachers try to deprive us

other adults do not always realise, is that a common

of having a good time!


Wellbeing Some people might ask who is to blame

Sport is considered a very important

The Mental Health Foundation has

for the increasing pressure on teenagers.

step to reducing stress, as getting


Personally, I determine the Department

physically active encourages a person to

outlining how regular exercise, enough

for Education to be the culprit. Students

clear their mind. Regular sport can also

sleep and a balanced diet can help

already have a full plate contending with

help ensure that any tension inside your

school, family, friendships and other

body will begin to subside, enabling

commitments. The government then

you to concentrate on other things

implement new measures, supposedly

besides work. The burden from the piles

designed to improve learning, such as the

of papers on your desk will become a

scrapping of modules and stricter marking

distant memory. So consider getting

on spelling and grammar. Yet this has only

involved with a sport that interests you.

improve mental health. ‘Eat at least

put further pressure on students to do

Whether its tennis or running; using

three meals each day and drink plenty of

well. Unnecessary stress has exponentially

those muscles will help to reduce stress.

water’ is the advice given by their experts.

increased as a result. The average teenager




‘Regular exercise, enough sleep and a balanced diet can help improve mental health’

It is important that you endeavour to

in the UK is already juggling at least nine

Often going to sleep late can leave

have a healthy, balanced diet, rather

GCSEs. Now pupils are forced to take their

a person feeling moody and tired.

than substituting proper food for

exams in the summer, rather than sitting

Sometimes going to bed that extra hour

chocolate and sweets (tempting,

modules in January or March. This is a

earlier is all you need to help you get

I know). So the next time you

highly irrational plan.

through the next day. It can also help to

open the fridge and reach for a

improve the quality of your work and

second chocolate bar, maybe

How are teenagers supposed to cope

will prepare you for any challenges life

consider a carrot instead!

with this mindboggling workload? A

throws your way.

friend of mine had 27 GCSE exams all

You cannot afford to let stress hold you

in the space of five weeks. This meant





back; so take up a new sport, sleep longer,

she felt unable to leave the house in the

school advises that, 'in

or arrange a date with friends. Life’s too

months prior to exams in order to revise.

order to avoid walking

short, so don’t waste it stressing!

If that hasn’t provoked her into pulling

the school halls as a

her hair out, then I don’t know what will.

zombie, it is best to get

Furthermore, this amount of stress can

a good night’s sleep'. So if you want

affect performance levels in school and

to avoid being one of the 'undead', try

can lead to various other problems. I

not to stay up too late! We all know

speak from experience when I say that

that delaying the alarm for ‘five more

stress has the tendency to result in a girls’

minutes’ is never long enough.

worst nightmare: grey hairs. Teenagers should not solely focus their In order to avoid stress (and buying vast

time on either work or friends. It is

quantities of hair dye), it is important

fundamental in life to have a balance

to find ways to relieve it. The three ‘S’s

between the two. If you put all your

outline some helpful steps to reducing

effort into work and concentrate all

the amount of pressure that a teenager

your energy into getting top grades, it

experiences. These include Sport, Sleep

can lead to depression. Seeing friends

and Socialising.

during intervals between work will

De-stress with 3 ‘S’s: Sport, Socialising and Sleep

help you relax and enjoy life more. Facebook and Twitter time are no

For more information visit:





interaction with friends. 22


THE CHARM OF CHI KUNG A TASTE OF TAOISM Discover an ancient Eastern healing practice and a world philosophy that emphasises our interdependence with nature Sarah-Jane James

It is a bleak and bitter Tuesday morning

Michael Richards (a Chi Kung veteran

Maria, 67, tells me that she really likes this

in dreary January as I walk into a Barnet

whose own teacher studied under one of

class because it is very slow and gentle,

church to observe a weekly Chi Kung class.

the first Chinese masters to live and teach in

unlike some other more robust classes

I am surprised to see the room packed full

England, Master Chu King-hung) leads the

she has tried. Long-timer Mary says: ‘I

of members eagerly setting up, despite

class with ease and humour. He encourages

feel fitter for it, and more relaxed and I

the British weather. This is clearly a very

the group to ‘be gentle to yourself. Be easy on

can breathe properly. It gives you more

popular community class, frequented by

yourself… Be gentle with your movement,

support; you are stronger. You think about

elderly women who live in the local area.

gentle with your breathing…’ A bald Michael

your breathing and it helps to relax you.’

ensures laughter features in the class, joking Chi Kung (also spelt Qi Gong) is a set of

that he keeps meaning to get a haircut.

gentle exercises, originally developed in

During the exercises, Michael says the human mind can be likened to a wild

China to increase longevity. ‘Chi’ can roughly

The focus of the class is on feeling the

horse or a wild monkey; a high-spirited,

be translated as ‘life energy’ and is the basis of

sensations within your body, whilst aiming

uncontrollable animal intent on doing its

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese

to relax and let go of tension. Michael

own thing. However, ‘the home of your

martial arts. Chi is said to flow through

uses imagery to this end: ‘Imagine your

mind is in your body… rest your attention

the acupuncture meridians (meridians are

spine as a coat hanger and everything else

in your body, and it [the mind] softens’.

part of a complex internal energy network).

is just hanging loose… just think loose.’

‘Kung’ is often taken to mean ‘cultivation’ or

Some participants choose to use a chair

Helen, 86, who has been coming to

‘mastery’. So, with disciplined practice, Chi

for balance or extra support and the group

the class for nearly three years, advises:

Kung can improve the flow of life energy

breaks halfway through for a short rest

‘You can’t sleep sometimes you know,

in the body, and therefore a person’s health.

and some water. One attendee of six years,

you can’t sleep, but you think of your


Wellbeing breathing going down to your belly

Taoists see all life forms (including human

is used throughout, which can make the

button, and it helps. And I do think of

beings) as part of, and interdependent

underlying messages less accessible to the

that sometimes.’ May, another participant,

with, nature. Taoists focus on their lived

western mind. Michael explains that part

emphatically agrees with her and further

experience of life, aiming to live in harmony

of his professional training was to discuss

explains some of the benefits: ‘It keeps

with nature ,whilst practising an attitude

and meditate on the stanzas. He also

us mobile, you don’t’ stumble around so

of non-judgement and acceptance. Taoists

had an expert help him relate its content

much, we like it because it’s so calming.’

follow the ultimate path or way of the ‘Tao’

to daily life and Chi Kung movements.

in order to become one with nature and As the class are being directed to ‘flap

the universe (the ‘Tao’ is said to connect

I wonder whether the participants

your wings like a pigeon…in…out’,

us to a formless, non-theistic realm).

continue to return to this Chi Kung class

Interact’s photographer, Carlos, is

for the occasional drops of ancient Eastern

weaving between the women, taking

Michael explains to the class that Taoists

wisdom that Michael offers. It is great that

multiple shots at awkward angles. Michael

see life as a continuous journey and that

local residents can learn about an entirely

asks Carlos if he would like the group

the continuous movements of Chi Kung

different world conception by visiting their

to smile. He then invites the women

reflect this. He says: ‘Life is moving along,

nearby Christian church; an appropriate

to ‘rest your attention on the camera, I

you don’t have to do anything… it happens

setting for interfaith exchanges. One

mean your body… do not think about

no matter what we do.’ A Taoist might

woman told me that she would like to have

smiling.’ Further laughter follows.

encourage someone to ‘go with the flow’

further talks on the history of Chi Kung

and ‘let go and let life happen’. When we

and Taoism after the class, when they can

Towards the end of the class, Michael

observe nature, we can see that nature is

hear (and presumably concentrate) better.

explains that Chi Kung dates back

effortless; no instruction or orchestration

several thousand years and that it was

is required. Instead of striving for things

Besides this, all the women I interviewed

influenced by a philosophical tradition

to be different, or manipulating people or

advised that they return to the class

called Taoism (also known as Daoism).

situations, Taoists aim to ‘do by not doing’.

because it is slow, gentle exercise that

Taoism allegedly supplied the main

is ‘good for them’; good for their bodies

philosophy behind Chi Kung and gave

When asking Michael whether a Taoist

and their minds. In addition, many

purpose to some of the movements.

would warn against the dangers of over-

members have formed lasting friendships.

analysing and worrying, he explains that a

I suspect the warmth and humorous

true Taoist would not pass judgement on a

approach of the teacher factors in too.

person’s choices; Taoists simply recognise that there are consequences to all the

Whatever the reason, this is one

various ways of living life. A person may

community class whose membership

enjoy and be interested in deep thought

has stayed strong since its start six years

and analysis. However, ‘the main thing is

ago. So, are you curious about Chi Kung?

having a choice’, Michael says. ‘If you can’t stop over-analysing, then you’re in prison and you have no freedom. The main thing they [the Taoists] are looking for is seeing that there is choice - through awareness.’ The Tao Te Ching is considered a classic Taoist text, said to be authored by a Chinese sage called Lao Tzu around the fourth century BC. It has been described as an anthology of wise sayings relating to morality. Poetic and evocative language

CHI KUNG CLASSES: - Tuesdays 10.15-11.15am (Hyde Church, Varley Parade, Colindale NW9 6RR) - Tuesdays - 12.15-1.30pm (Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet EN5 4JJ) - 27 September - 4 October 2014 (Chi Kung/Tai Chi Holiday. Corfu, Greece) T: 07788 630 097



Exercise for Wellbeing Carlos A. Aguado

We all know that exercise keeps us physically healthy. Perhaps less well-known are the benef its that exercise can bes tow upon us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Barnet Multicultural Centre is a community hub that offers a variety of classes to its diverse membership, including an assor tment of exercise classes. The centre aims to bring together people from multiple cultures and backgrounds to promote community cohesion, social inclusion and wellbeing. Yoga, Seated Exercise and Karate are just some of the exercise oppor tunities available here. I had the oppor tunity to visit the centre, as well as a nearby Chi Kung class, and reflect with my camera. Although Yoga, Chi Kung and Seated Exercise all begin differently, they actually possess a common root; as a class progresses, one sets sail on a sea of calm and light and enters a world of peace and relaxation. Negativity and residual stress from the day slip away. External pressures from school, work, friends and family 25

Carlos Aguado


fade to the background, and the subsequent mental and emotional space created allows one’s true being to shine through. Karate and other more robust classes also offer its practitioners many benef its. To become accomplished in a mar tial ar t, one must be ex tremely disciplined and dedicated. Students are often rewarded with emotional development and conf idence. Observing someone masterful in Karate is truly spectacular. Tennis, swimming, gymnas tics, football, ice-skating and many other spor ts all offer their practitioners impor tant gifts. These include a feeling of positivity, self-belief, a s trong sense of self, determination and concentration. Though there is a double-edged sword to be mindful of when one becomes masterful in their chosen discipline. Arrogance, pride and a lack of control are some potential pitfalls. How can one avoid these dangers? It is advisable to keep your eyes and ears open and listen to your inner voice, your gut feelings and your body. They will always be trying to communicate with you and assist your development. I find it helpful to remember that every person encounters hardships, makes mistakes and falls down in life; the important thing is to accept this and to pick yourself up again. With a class like Karate, practitioners get used to falling down (literally and metaphorically speaking!), but they always get back up and become stronger as a result. 26


All of these exercise classes have one thing in common; with disciplined practice they each offer their own unique way for the dedicated practitioner to develop self-knowledge, patience, awareness as well as calmness and clarity of mind. Every person is unique and we are each on our own personal path to creating our lives. Does exercise feature in yours?




Faith and Spirituality A common day in Golders Green, Barnet, London

Lauren Carbran

Barnet, Modernity and the Orthodox Jew Modernity and Orthodox religion do not sound like they go hand in hand, but are they closer than we think? Lauren Carbran investigates how some Barnet Orthodox Jews are embracing modernity. ‘FFB’ (Frum From Birth) is a phrase I only

sh*tty weather and big red buses, these

heard of earlier this year. ‘It means you

places are minority-thriving Jerusalems.

are born directly into the Orthodox Jewish tradition with set morals and values’, an

Golders Green is one big Kosher kitchen,

FFB or Frum Jew told me in front of

home to the London Jewish Cultural

the Kotel in Jerusalem (the holiest site

Centre, the Jewish Learning Exchange

in the world for Jews). This was the start of my journey into seeing what the twenty-first century Frum Jew was all about, and where I learnt about their views on modernity.

‘Golders Green is one big Kosher kitchen, home to the London Jewish Cultural Centre, the Jewish Learning Exchange (JLE) and 20 synagogues.’

(JLE) and 20 synagogues. It is ‘home away from the real home, Israel’, one resident told me. She explained that all religious Jews would ideally live in Israel, but in modern day times this is not always possible.

Back in Barnet where the air is a little


cooler and the sun a little less present,

But ‘do Orthodox Jews in Barnet have a

Orthodox Jews can be seen on every

balance between modern and traditional

street corner. They mostly frequent the

life?’ I asked myself as I ventured on the

areas of Hendon, Golders Green, Brent

82 bus to Golders Green to meet some

Cross and Edgware. There you are Jewish,

people who might know the answer -

then English and bar the pollution,

Modern, Orthodox, Barnet-based Jews.

Faith and Spirituality With social media developing at space-

an easy and cheap way, so it is perfectly

However, there are some sects

engine pace and billboards with messages

acceptable. The common misconception

within Judaism that entirely refuse

that you cannot miss, there must be

is that a religious person cannot lead

to accept Modernism. Hasidic Jews

some friction between the magnetic

the same lifestyle as you, but they can.

believe in committing to traditions

pull of Modernism and traditional

The difference is that modern Orthodox

and view modern society as a

orthodoxy? However, when religious

Jews make sure to moderate their use

barrier to this. You will not see any

Jews see billboards that are disturbing

of modern inventions (such as social

Hasidic Jews watching television,

‘they have been taught to ignore the bad

media) to prevent them from getting

reading newspapers or going to the

stuff ’, one insider told me. Religious Jews

distracted by any negative aspects.

cinema as many feel it would mean

take the bits they like and psychologically

hearing threatening ideas and being

block out the aspects they do not.

exposed to contrasting religions.

The positive Internet

Ultimately, some Orthodox Jews

Many modern Jews believe that in the

may be more modern than others.

twenty-first century you have to keep to

They adapt to modern standards in a

tradition as well as adapting to modern

healthy and positive way. It is about

times. It is essential to maintain laws

thriving in your environment but also

and traditions like learning the Torah,

staying true to your heritage, which

but at the same time understand that

is not always an easy thing. Perhaps,

the modern world seeks integration.

as the world becomes more modern,

Modern technology like the Internet

An Orthodox Jewish girl

this will become more of a challenge for religious Jews. Who knows. The

is sometimes shunned by religion


question is open and the answer

because of its dangers, but modern

The truth is that modern Orthodox Jews

uncertain. What I can say for certain

Orthodox Jews know how to use the

do not believe that religion is meant

though, is that the chicken noodle

Internet in a positive way. Whether it is

to restrict, and this message certainly

soup with two matzo balls in front

for university work, keeping in contact

got to Allison Josephs who made a

of me, will momentarily be gone.

with friends or furthering knowledge on

blog all about it. Allison Josephs is

religion, many people agree that if you

the Orthodox Jew Carrie Bradshaw

Would modern society benefit from

incorporate it into your life in a useful

equivalent in her hit blog ‘Jew in the City’.

adopting the traditional matchmaking of the modern Orthodox Jew?

way, it will not reflect badly on religion. Her mission is to break down ‘We take modernisation in our stride’,

stereotypes about religious Jews and

When it comes to love, the modern

one girl told me. ‘Yes, we have phones

offer a humorous, meaningful take on

Orthodox Jew sticks to the traditional

but we use them in a useful way. I’ve

the religion. ‘In terms of Orthodox

route of a Shidduch (match-making).

got a Hebrew calendar and an app

people being crazy, many of us are

There isn’t any flirting between

that lets me read the Torah whenever

really very normal’, she says in one

the sexes or any ‘dishy Jew at two

I want.’ The belief is that God created

of her videos. She adopts the tagline,

o’ clock’ business. Girls and boys

the Internet for a reason, perhaps to

‘Orthodox – Unexpected’, and presents

preserve themselves until marriage

make things easier. So, basically, you

Modernism as an advantage to religious

and are matched on interests, life

can still be ultra religious and have an

Jews. ‘The Torah doesn’t stop you from

goals, physical characteristics and

iPhone – it is just used in the right way.

doing what you want to do, but there’s

location. Perhaps modern society,

Although there is no mention of

more depth and beauty to the Orthodox

with its

Instagram or Twitter in the Holy Book,

religion than people realise, and more

benefit from basing love on carefully

a network like Facebook allows people to

balance too. We can still wear modern

matched similarities than on the

keep in contact with a group of friends in

clothing, it just has to be modest.’

gamble of a dating game show!

love of television, might


Faith and Spirituality

Who was Alan Watts? The voice of late Zen Buddhist philosopher Alan Watts is an enduring one. It hums, fluctuates and plays out like a brass band. It is also known to send a revelatory shiver down the spine of the curious, open-eyed student. Watts’ lectures resonated with American intellectual crowds of the 1950s and 1960s, but have, in recent years, been uploaded onto YouTube and watched with comparable fervour (The Real You, 1,482,684 views). What’s all the hype? Well, his talks are supremely witty, radical and bursting with uncharted wisdom. In short, they entertain something of a spiritual - and unmistakeably cool - alternative to the predefined givens of modern life as we know it. Watts, this real life, slightly less grey-bearded Professor Dumbledore figure, was unusual in that he was a Westerner teaching a branch of Eastern 31

thought. He was also a follower of Zen Buddhism: a lovemaking of Taoism and Buddhism that occurred around the sixth century in China, and which propagated across Asia to find its eventual – post thirteenth century abode in Japan. What is Zen Buddhism? Zen Buddhism is a tough nut to crack and it would be problematic - if not entirely un-Zen like - to begin defining it. An old Buddhist saying goes that if Zen had a meaning, it would be moon pointing. In practice, Zen is teaching one to see and experience all that is around them, at once non-judgmentally and with a calm, and clarity of the, mind. Whilst learning to bring oneself to the present moment, it is as much about exploring the innate ‘nothingness’ of reality. For the nature of Zen is to wholly embrace the beauty of meaningless void. One method which practitioners

undergo is Zazen (seated meditation), which involves delving beneath the visual and verbal chaos with which the mind typically concerns itself. The ritual entails emptying the mind without force by using the breath as an anchor and object of observation. Zen masters see it as a way to attain direct insight into the nature – or natural flow – of the universe. Granted, the discourse surrounding Zen appears quite profound, and its way of looking at the world may be foreign to most. And since a casual pondering over the cosmos has become a somewhat taboo pastime (with maybe the exception of Brian Cox’s much talked-about ‘Wonders of...’ series), Zen has all the earmarks to be snubbed at first glance. The irony lies in the fact that Zen Buddhism is not a farfetched ideology, not by any stretch. There is pure simplicity to it. For Zen encourages learning through direct (non-intellectual) experience, thus

Faith and Spirituality

Alan Watts and Zen Buddhism Robert Clark

nigh on psychotherapy for the alienating effects that come with modern life. His talks went some way to appease the existential angst, a feat which modernist philosophers such as Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus and Heidegger could not attain without feeling contempt for civilisation. While certainly an avid scholar of the school, Watts refrained from day-long devotions to Zazen practice. When he was once questioned for half-hearted zeal to meditating, he replied: ‘A cat sits until it is tired of sitting, then gets up, stretches, and walks away.’ It was such displays of genuine personality and a wry sense of humour which attracted his many followers.

shying away from dead-ended bouts of philosophical chin-wagging. In this sense, Zen can be seen as a way of celebrating oneself and one’s surroundings as they are: mere expressions of the universe in which we live. Watts’ background Watts floated to and fro between Japan and the United States throughout his life. Still, he took to Far Eastern motifs from an early age, with Chinese and Japanese landscape art serving his childhood muse. At 14 and 17 respectively, he wrote for the Journal of the London Buddhist Lodge and produced his first Zen-related pamphlet - ‘An Outline of Zen Buddhism’. Zen was to form the soul of his lifelong literary, and oratory, compendium. And yet, Watts brought charm to the practice, giving it his own unique take. He could appeal to the West through desert-dry humour and

Mindfulness practice There is physiological evidence that ‘mindfulness practice’ (any technique to help bring the mind to the present and a recurring aspect of Zen) can improve one’s sense of wellbeing. Studies on the neurological benefits of mindfulness tell us that, when mindful over sustained periods (roughly eight weeks), brain activity flourishes in the left-side anterior - a realm associated with positive emotion. It would be fair to say that ‘mindfulness’ (sitting royally alongside ‘twerking’) is the latest buzzword. So much so, we now live in an era where commercial franchises have cottoned on to the wonders of the spiritual. You read about scores of business folk telling us

how they were once persuaded by a second cousin’s pet feline to attend their first mindfulness class, took to the spiritual life and consequentially brought it to the workplace. Indeed, Google have had their own programmes in place for years now, with the incorporation of the ‘Search inside Yourself ’ scheme, as have General Mills. And these firms are jumping on the metaphysically curious bandwagon because of its life-enhancing symptoms. But to what avail one might ask? Spirituality and capitalism Are capitalist milieus being adorned with a Wattsian, non-judgmental spirituality that sees all as one? Is that even possible in environments where the implicit, sacred law revolves around outdoing your business kins, and where people are spurred to creatively destruct, if not one another, then at least the natural world? Surely any endeavour to see beyond oneself is a good thing, and there is no doubt that such workshops comprise a requisite ‘breather’ amidst the digital rush of late. I certainly think that, whatever form it may take, exploring the wisdom of Gautama Buddha’s teachings is both a useful and rewarding endeavour. So, if ever choosing to take a mindfulness session, I would also recommend reading the literature, or watching a video, of Alan Watts.


Faith and Spirituality ‘For as long as we have had freewill, we have chosen to divide and conquer our neighbours’ The purpose of our existence is the infinite question. The stepping stone, foundation to the lives we lead. Through primary socialisation, family ideals form; traditional values, faith, religion. All in which are premature. Our minds are wired by the wombs that bore us. The blind lead the blindfolded as they, hand in hand, elevate their souls in common practise. Their feet meet the first step, on the unforeseeable flight of stairs. Faith is the warmth of sunrise, you can feel it surging deep and through its beam, the world alights, clarity prevails. Hush


Your modest tongue invites the purge. Under religious oath there have been Holy Wars, Massacres and Crusades. Men, women and children slain. Religious-bound states overtly execute people, to teach people it is wrong to kill; the hypocritical paradox. Clothed in draping blood,(are you praying to a compliant God?). No man is born hating another. Hatred is taught. The common message in all faiths is naively overseen. Love. It comes more naturally to us as beings. It is the notion, in which we were created. So, before you raise your arsenal, reassess your actions Is violence the ideal in which your religion would teach? Do not be deceived by these man-made authorities who inject division into our veins, time bombing a civil war. Our young are being exploited to fornication and prejudices. Made to grow too quickly with deviated ideologies. Policies act to oppose your faith, do not part from it. When they moon over and plague your homes, remain. Passive Quakers, loyal and just, pioneering martyrs. Society has dressed religion as extremist terror so that we tread in fear of one another, our neighbours and brothers. What if religion is the device aimed to separate nations, its misinterpretation has made us evade our power in unity. Pray and stand together against those who may conspire. Speak


We won’t fear persecution for what we believe. Strong as we may be, a single strand, it is in the merging. The united acceptance of religious diversity. Politically correcting the face of religious perceptions (just as we did race), in turn strapping together in the firmest state of stability. (Out of it we will tower) A string of securer nations, in communities of diverse cultures. Where no faith is superior to another. In the wake of the foul smoke and ruins, emerges a solution, to love all, trust a few and do wrong to none.




Faith and Spirituality

Pastor Rupert Lazar, minister from East Barnet Baptist Church, Barnet, London

Nellie Zulu

Faith IN Politics

Pastor Rupert Lazar is a minister for East Barnet Baptist Church. Recently, Pastor Rupert sat down with me for an interview to reveal his personal views, as both a Christian and a minister, on some current political issues. This interview outlines just one person’s perspective but I believe it is important that people understand why some Christian ministers may have controversial views, which they carry with conviction. Nellie Zulu: What political party do you support?

I certainly wonder if that would... be true now. That poll was 2011,

Pastor Rupert: The Labour Party. But, it’s not out of conviction

we’re now in ‘14. I wonder if that would be true now because

in the sense that I have not studied by way of looking into

we’re far more multicultural in our mix. It certainly has been

their manifestos and things. I obviously see the news, like

more multicultural in the three years I have been around. So,

everybody else, so I’ve got insights into what they’re about, and

I wonder if that will still be true now. But the truth is, I don’t

essentially what they are about resonates well with the kind of

know the answer.

values which I hold as a Christian and as a Christian minister. NZ: Conservative MP Mike Freer, who has represented Finchley NZ: The last census in 2011 showed Christianity to be the

and Golders Green since 2010, has described himself as openly

more favoured religion in Barnet. Why do you think that is?

gay. Do you think that he could be fully accepted within the

PR: My speculation is that, only having been around for

London Borough of Barnet despite it’s favoured religion being

just over three years… my sense is that this has certainly


been a very white, middle class well-to-do area and I think

PR: Yeah, this is the hot potato isn’t it? This is one of the few

a poll, going back a few years, [where] you ask people about

contentious issues in our society at present. I would like to think

their affiliation (their faith), they will automatically say

that this MP would be embraced for who he is. That is including

Christian. Whether that means they regularly go to church

his sexuality, but I am aware that Christians have different views

and actively practise or not is another matter; but that is

as far as this is concerned. I certainly would not want (assuming

what they will declare.

that this MP is not a Christian) … to put onto him values, that I 34

Faith and Spirituality

Advert by Stonewall, an organisation working for justice and equality for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals

think are important values for Christians. So, in other words, I

the space to have a proper conversation about it where we are

don’t expect him to live by the same values by which I live - by

allowed to differ without calling each other names.

the same biblical teachings by which I live - because he hasn’t declared himself to be a follower of Jesus Christ. So, I personally

In much the same way at present in our society, we need to talk

would have little problem with this.

about immigration but nobody, rarely, has a proper conversation about it because everybody is scared that they are going to be

However, I think that many will, I think many will. And I think

called ‘racist’ or something like that. And so, we all have this

the problem here would be; how do we embrace, accept, receive

immature way of not having a full, in-depth conversation where

someone with a different side to them i.e. his sexuality? How

we can, like mature adults, agree to differ - simply because

do we accept and receive such a person whilst saying that we

we see things differently. And that, of course, is the basis of a

do not appreciate nor condone that type of behaviour? Because,

democracy - in my opinion.

for the Christian, that type of behaviour is sinful. NZ: If David Cameron or Nick Clegg walked into East Barnet I say for the Christian. As I said, not all are agreed with this, but

Baptist Church one day and asked for your guidance and advice

certainly for me - if I may speak for myself. And the danger is

on political issues despite neither of them being from the party

we, in our society, are not allowed to talk about these things

that you support, how would you feel about that?

without being, well certainly without a Christian being called a

PR: It’d be exciting. Humbled.

‘homophobe’, or homophobic, in some way or the other. NZ: But none of them are from the party you affiliate yourself But if I may speak personally about myself, and the teaching I


would have in this church, for example, I would certainly want

PR: But that’s not an issue for me. That’s not an issue for me

to embrace such an MP. And I would certainly want to embrace

because, you see, for me, as a Christian minister, I want the whole

anybody who has that tendency or that behaviour. But I most

nation to take on the values of Jesus. So, if I get the opportunity

certainly at the same time would want to acknowledge and see

to speak to a government leader, or any people, anybody beyond

it as sinful behaviour, for which the bible teaches you need to

them, anybody in positions of authority and power; of course

repent (like you have to repent for any other sinful behaviour,

I would jump at the opportunity to speak into them because

be it gluttony or lying or whatever else).

this gives me the opportunity to do precisely what I am here to do - which I do every day, week in and week out - but not at

So, it’s not having a big thing about sex, which is what the

that level. So, I am open to everybody.

media and society says: ‘You Christians are so hung up about sex.’ Maybe we are, to some degree, but for me, this is not about

NZ: What if it were a power move on their part?

that per se. It is about whether it is a sinful behaviour or not. So,

PR: Well, it would be a cynical approach that says that this is

I think he will probably be given a rough ride because this is

purely for them to stay in power, unless they have declared that

such a blurred area of understanding, and we are not allowed

they are doing this just because they want to stay in power. In


Faith and Spirituality Percentage of faith groups in Barnet


15% 10%

6% 1%






0% Sikh

1% Other religion

East Barnet Baptist Church, Barnet, London Source:

which case, then, I think people would see through them for

I’m not a political animal, I’ve already told you. In my little

some level of hypocrisy or something. So I’m not cynical enough

understanding of what politics is all about. So I want to say,

to think so. I think very few people are that overt about it.

it is hard to be a Christian leader and not get involved in politics. So when, people talk about the Archbishop Welby

I said earlier on that these guys have good intentions but they

and others when they make comments and say things like,

become pragmatical along the way. But you know, even then, ‘they shouldn’t get involved in politics’, they really don’t know thinking about this, I value the opportunity to speak into the

what they’re saying, in my opinion, because they haven’t really

life, theologically, the things of God, for any person - whatever

stood back and understood. But then, maybe not surprisingly

their motives. You see, I’ve got nothing to lose, because for me,

because, in our country, once you say ‘politics’, all people

it’s giving me the platform and the opportunity to speak into

think of is party politics.

somebody’s life. It is up to them how they then misuse or use that. That’s their abuse and not mine. I will not be colluding. Now,

NZ: Do you think that England will have a Prime Minister of

if they have covertly come out and they’ve said, ‘you know, I’m

colour in your lifetime?

going to East Barnet and I’m going to see that minister because,

PR: No. But I would like to see it happen. We go about our

I know if I see him, I’m going to stay in power’, then I might say:

business differently over here. In America they have an

‘No you’re not using me that way.’ But I think very few people

underlying philosophy of ‘The American Dream’; we don’t have

are that, corrupt. But I may be wrong [laughing].

that over here. Although we are quite a multicultural country, we tend to tolerate each other more when we have to go beyond

NZ: For those that don’t know or understand why Christianity

that. It has to be acceptance.

is about politics; why does it play such a major role in politics? PR: I was saying to you earlier, it’s not about party politics

I found that the time I had spent with Pastor Rupert was very

because I think, Jesus, when he walked the earth, he was, by

insightful. I had learnt a lot; not only about Christianity but

his very presence, embroiled in the politics of the day. And the

also about the man who has been the pastor of my church for

politics of the day, is that, there were ruling powers. In that day of

the last few years. Whilst some may disagree with his views,

Jesus it was the Romans and of course, he came with a message,

we do live in a country were freedom of speech is supposed to

which ran right across that type of leadership of the day. So, he

be practised. However, over the last decade we have seen our

was into servant ministry and he was into loving and caring

nation become ever more politically correct, with people being

for the marginalised, and all that sort of stuff. Whereas, often,

somewhat afraid to exercise their right to speak freely. Here is

those in power tend to forget these people; they remain on the

one man who is not afraid to say what he thinks.

margins. And so Jesus came, if you want, against the political establishment (the ruling powers of the day) saying: ‘Hang on,

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this

how you are going about this is not just, it’s not right, its not

interview do not necessarily reflect the views of

fair and that’s not the way God will have it.’ That’s politics, in

Interact Magazine in Barnet or Interact UK.

my little understanding. 36

Interact |History History Faith and Spirituality Conflict and Auschwitz concentration camp

remembering the holocaust

Leanne Kingsley

The Holocaust is often described as the mass

This act of genocide resulted in the

was being fought between the ‘Aryans’

murder of European civilians by the Nazis

massacre of six million Jews. An additional

and the ‘Semites’.

during World War Two. However, this

five million deaths contributed to the overall

definition fails to emphasise that the Jews

loss of lives as the mentally handicapped,

Hitler described the Jews as a ‘disease’

were specifically targeted by Hitler’s regime.

homosexuals, Gypsies and other minorities

that needed to be wiped out and he

Furthermore, it insufficiently captures the

were herded into concentration camps

believed it was his duty to ‘cleanse’

extent of the tragedy and horrors that the

where they were murdered.

Germany. The Nazis issued nearly 2,000

victims had to endure under Nazi rule.

decrees against the Jewish population from March 1933 onwards, and random

This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day

attacks were made against Jewish citizens

commemorates the 69th anniversary of the

and their proper ty. By 1935, the Nazis

liberation of Auschwitz. It is an annual

established the Nuremberg laws, which

remembrance of the murder of eleven million

denied members of the religion many basic

people during Hitler’s reign of terror.

civil rights. These laws included banning

Middlesex University in Barnet holds a

Jews from taking part in German elections

ceremony in remembrance of these people.

Auschwitz fences

and excluding Jews from restaurants,

The day serves the significant purpose of


reminding the world that the atrocities

The hostility towards Jews is often referred

committed in the twentieth century should

to as ‘the longest hatred’ as anti-Semitism

On 9 November 1938, the Nazis engineered

never be repeated.

began over 2,000 years ago. Nazi

‘spontaneous’ violence against the Jews

ideology was based around prejudice

throughout Greater Germany, using the

During the period 1941 to 1945, Hitler tried

towards Jews, as their principle belief was

assassination of Ernst vom Rath as an

to exterminate the entire Jewish population.

that a never-ending battle for the world

excuse. Vom Rath was a German Diplomat


parks and swimming pools.

Interact Conflict and| History History 1933

3 August: Hitler receives powers of both President and Chancellor


15 September: Germany issues Nuremberg Laws, stripping Jews of citizenship and marriage to German non-Jews 16 July: Buchenwald concentration camp opens


14 December: Nazi decree declares Gypsies as ´inveterate criminals´



30 January: Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany after securing a majority of seats in the Reichstag (parliament), appointed by President Paul von Hindenburg

Uriel Roth The Nazi Holocaus t of the mid-t wentieth centur y is a well-documented and chillingly brutal period in his tor y, involving the sys tematic genocide of six million Jews. Another f ive million individuals would per ish including Gypsies, homosexuals, numerous Poles and those tha t were disabled. Here is a timeline of the key events leading up to, and those tha t took place

15 November: Jewish children expelled from German schools 5 October: Jewish passports are marked with the letter ´J´ for ´Jude´


throughou t, the Holocaus t.

17 August: Jews are required to add ´Israel´ to their name for men and ´Sarah´ for women (Germany)

who was killed in Paris by a Polish Jew. This murder led to the the windows of synagogues and Jewish homes. More than 7,500 Jewish shops were defaced. This event is known as

responded to the question ‘how did Kristallnacht affect you?’ by exclaiming: ‘I was aged 12 when the worst pogrom of the twentieth century took place. I learned about the terrors committed on 9 November the next day, when I was walking to school with my brother. I could smell the burning of the ground. It was very frightening.’ Kristallnacht signified the first instance in which the Nazis

19 July: Telephones confiscated from Jews (Germany) 1 March: Himmler orders a camp at Birkenau (Auschwitz 2) built 3 September: First gassing tests at Auschwitz 23 October: Jewish emigration from Germany prohibited 20 January: Wannsee Conference takes place –´The Final Solution to the Jewish Question´ is finalised amongst top Nazi leaders


wood from my synagogue, which had been burnt to the

27 April: Heinrich Himmler, SS chief, orders the opening of Auschwitz


My grandfather, Hermann Hirschberger of Karlsruhe, Germany,

21 September: Reinhard Heydrich of the SS orders ghettos to be established in occupied Poland under ´Judenrate´


Kristallnacht, and is referred to as the ‘Night of Broken Glass’.

3 September: Britain and France declare war on Germany


Nazis and the Hitler Youth burning Jewish books and smashing

23 July: Treblinka death camp established 26 February: First transport of Gypsies to Auschwitz - placed in Auschwitz 2 in the ´Gypsy Camp´

Gestapo arrested 20,000 men and incarcerated them in

19 April: Revolt in the Warsaw ghetto (duration 27 days)


imprisoned Jews on a massive scale; units of the SS and concentration camps. Afterwards, the Jewish communities


5 April: Jews in Hungary must wear the yellow Star of David 20 July: Soviet troops liberate Majdanek concentration camp; assassination attempt on Hitler 2 November: Gassings at Auschwitz terminated


were fined one billion Reichsmarks to pay for the damage.

In September 1939, war broke out as a result of Hitler’s invasion of Poland. This act defied the Treaty of Versailles (which was begin the first of their large-scale killing programmes - involving gas, starvation and lethal injection. The Nazis now controlled a large portion of Polish territory where they established 300


drafted after the First World War) and allowed the Nazis to

27 January: Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz 30 April: Hitler commits suicide in his Berlin bunker with his new wife, Eva Braun 7 May: Germans surrender to Allies 22 November: Nuremberg trials begin, prosecuting Nazi war criminals (ends on 1 October 1946)

concentration camps and prisons. In order to eliminate potential resistance, the Nazis murdered 1.8 million non-Jewish


Polish citizens including teachers, churchmen and political 38

Interact History Conflict and |History Escape was not an option for the people trapped inside the camps as there were electrif ied fences and security cordons that encompassed an area of 40 square kilometers around the camp. Victims were ordered to make their way into the gas chambers where they were Cattle wagon - trains used for transpor tation to camps

told to undress, in preparation for a shower.

leaders. All Jews over the age of 12 were

situated in each carriage. In addition to

This deception fooled many people into

forced to wear a white armband with a

the lack of resources, there was limited

thinking that they were being given the

blue Star of David. In the annexed

ventilation, which resulted in many

oppor tunity to wash themselves, but in

territories, they had to sew yellow stars

suffocating to death.

reality Zyklon-B canisters were fed through

onto their clothing. Their freedom of

the vents by the prison guards. Each gas

movement was limited and men had to

Concentration camps

sign up for forced labour.

Recent research shows tha t ou t of

chamber could kill 2,000 people at a time.

1.3 million people depor ted to

Prisoners slept crowded together, usually


Auschwi t z- Bir kenau, a t leas t 1.1

in three-tiered bunks. They consumed very

The Nazis used the European Railway

million people were murdered; over

little food as mealtimes consisted of

sys tem to transpor t people to the

a million Jewish.

watery soup or a piece of bread.

for ‘resettlement’ were crammed into

Auschwitz, as well as being the largest


cattle wagons. More than 100 people

of Nazi dea th camps, was a huge

Details about the kiling operations at Auschwitz

were shoved into a single carriage,

complex of concentra tion camps.

became known to Britain in the spring of 1944.

resulting in many depor tees dying

After the victims arrived at the camps

The Allies armies reached Auschwitz in 1945,

along the journey.

via trains, they suf fered appalling

where around 190,000 people were rescued

condi tions. Pr isoner s were divided

from Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’.

concentration camps. Victims destined

Leo Bretholz, a Holocaust sur vivor

into groups of men and women and

depor ted to Drancy, referred to the

were ordered to s tand in rank s of

There are numerous commemorations

transpor tation system saying ‘the process

f ive. These people would then f ile

held in Barnet including ceremonies at

of dehumanization had started in earnest’.

pas t an SS doctor, who would judge

Middlesex University, where Hitler’s

Bretholz’ comment was an accurate

each prisoner’s f itness for work. On

crimes against humanity are remembered

ref lection of the dire conditions on the

a verage, 80% of each transpor t

in accordance to the millions of lives lost.

trains since food and water were not

(including the old, sick, mothers with

This day ensures the memory of the men,

provided. There was also a lack of

children and pregnant women) were

women and children brutally murdered

sanitation as only one bucket latrine was

sent to the gas chambers.

in the Holocaust will never be forgotten. Auschwitz 1 - work camp

For more information on Holocaust Memorial Day in Barnet visit:


Conflict and History

Entrance to Auschwitz: ‘Work Makes You Free’

Auschwitz today - over 25 million visitors have been here. Source: ryarwood on Flickr 40

Conflict and History

Will Africa’s voice be heard? Uriel Roth Although the recent passing of former South African President and icon of the anti-apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela, has received virtual wall-to-wall coverage in the media, the fact remains that conflicts and problems throughout Africa are still underreported. Indeed, over the past six decades, there appears to have been vigorous media coverage of conflicts that have occurred throughout the Middle East. These range from Iraq to Libya. Conversely, deadly conflicts that have raged throughout Africa do not seem to have attracted nearly as much deserved attention. It must be stated that many more lives have been lost in conflicts relating to Africa than those that have taken place throughout the Middle East. It would now be beneficial to look at the history of these two regions over the last century. By the turn of the twentieth century, Western powers were already making inroads in their influence of Middle Eastern territory. Egypt had become a protectorate of the United Kingdom; the Ottoman Empire had certainly begun to decline. It


should be noted that the Ottoman Empire effectively controlled the Middle East for approximately four hundred years. At the same time, the numerous European powers had commenced their colonisation of Africa in earnest. Britain was fighting the Boers in South Africa. The French Empire began to colonise large swathes of Central Africa, alongside the German Empire. Notably, the Zionist movement had already laid its foundations in Ottoman Palestine, purchasing land for Jewish settlement and cementing institutions designed to ensure a future National Home for the Jewish People. By 1914, the stage was set for the major European powers to go to war against one another via pre-existing alliances. The Ottoman Empire, allied with the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires, faced the British Empire, united with the French and Tsarist Russia. Ultimately, the British and French defeated the Ottoman, German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, leading to the disintegration of the vast Ottoman control of the Middle East.

Conflict and History Africa. Hawkins opined: ‘Priority in coverage is clearly given to foreign situations in which the home country has a stake. As such, stories for which there is no home connection or angle may well be unlikely to be covered at all.’ The concept that conflicts are given media attention primarily when national interest is at stake is both serious and startling, as moral and humanitarian considerations are clearly not taken into account when deciding what news stories, in particular conflicts, are newsworthy. Another major conflict to ravage Africa has been that of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It has its roots in Rwanda and the genocide that took place there in the 1990s. After an independence struggle in the 1960s from Belgium, regions throughout this territory fought one another. Joseph Mobutu subsequently seized power in 1965, crushing rebellions and eventually unifying the nation, renaming it Zaire.

This inevitably led to the breakdown of a centuries-old existing order. States that had never existed before would come into being. Indeed, the British and French would carve up former Ottoman territory amongst one another, and make contradictory promises to the Arabs and Jews with regards to the question of who would control Palestine, setting the stage for a conflict that has not ended to this day. Furthermore, at this point in history, a very valuable natural resource - oil - would be discovered throughout Middle Eastern lands, notably the Arabian Peninsula. This would make the Middle East a region of geopolitical and strategic interest, whereas Africa could not offer such a natural resource in such large quantities. The post-Second World War era saw a disengagement of colonial interests in Africa by Western Empires and indeed the eventual demise of these Empires. This appeared to solidify the lack of interest that has been shown by Western media outlets in comparison to Middle Eastern conflicts. For example, in 1956, Israel alongside Britain and France would launch an attack against Egypt, partly as a result of guerilla attacks that emanated from Egyptian territory into Israel. It became know as the ‘Suez Crisis’. The Suez Canal, an important maritime pathway that links Asia and Europe and constructed in the mid-nineteenth century, had recently been nationalised by new Egyptian President Abdel Gamal Nasser. This caused substantial irritation in British and French government circles. Indeed, at the time it caused uproar internationally. Eventually, due to American pressure, the British, French and Israelis were forced to halt their assault and withdrew from the Sinai. In contrast, at this same time period ,Sudan had newly become a sovereign state, being made independent from Britain. Sectarian concerns were taken with seemingly little foresight; severe friction ensued due to rival clans and ethnicities being molded into one state. Essentially, it pitted the mainly Arab northern Sudan against sub-Saharan Christian and animist southern Sudan. The northern half of Sudan was considered to have gained more power and representation in government, thus serving as a catalyst to the first Sudanese civil war from 1955 to 1972, ending with the Addis Ababa Agreement. Throughout the duration of the conflict, approximately half a million Sudanese lives were lost. Peter Viggo Jakobsen, Associate Professor in the Department for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College, has noted that: ‘The media ignores most conflicts most of the time.’ This would seem to imply that conflicts, particularly foreign conflicts with no strategic interest to the country in which a media outlet is based, struggle to interest the media. Virgil Hawkins is an Associate Professor at the Osaka School of International Public Policy, Japan, and an experienced NGO worker in the field in

Mobutu, however, used the DRC’s vast natural resources to his own benefit, plundering wealth for himself and his inner circle. Inevitably, this behaviour allowed his precarious position in power

Loucos Photography

to falter and Rwanda’s genocide hastened this downfall. The fallout of the Rwandan genocide proved to be a catalyst. After the Hutu Government collapsed in Rwanda, an estimated two million Hutus are believed to have fled to the DRC, hoping to avoid any reprisals of the Tutsis of Rwanda. Indeed, the Tutsi Government of Rwanda, backed by Uganda, overtook Kinshasa (the DRC capital) and reverted Zaire to the DRC. Laurent Kabila was installed as president. He failed to expel the Hutu militias that fled to Congo, and Rwanda subsequently sent a force to oust him as president. Kabila then requested aid from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola. The next few years saw these countries fight a proxy war in the DRC. These events ultimately led to what is considered Africa’s deadliest conflict. Five million people would perish from starvation and disease, in addition to the fighting that took place on Congolese land. The number of individuals that died was enormous. It is doubtful that the conflicts that have occurred throughout the Middle East since the Second World War have caused as many deaths as in this one African conflict alone including the deadly Iraq war of the 2000s, which is arguably the deadliest conflict the Middle East has seen in modern times, with estimates of up to a million dead from the invasion and subsequent civil strife. It goes without saying that all deaths that take place in conflicts are tragic and should always be averted. However, an underreporting of such deaths in Africa is definitely a cause for concern to those who really care about humanitarian issues. Indeed, a poignant example of the gulf of coverage afforded to Middle Eastern conflicts compared to African ones can be seen in a dissertation I wrote on the subject, revealing that the amount of articles published by the four major broadsheet newspapers in Britain (The Times, Independent, Telegraph and Guardian) regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were 33,561, compared to 11,346 articles relating to conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur (source: ProQuest). A clear disparity in the volume of articles can be seen here. There is a moral imperative that the media recognise the lack of coverage relative to the gravity of conflicts that have occurred throughout Africa and second, raise the awareness of the problems that have and are continuing to afflict this troubled region. It remains to be seen when this will happen.

Sources: Hawkins, V. (2008) Stealth Conflicts. How the World’s Worst Violence is Ignored. Ashgate Publishing Ltd (accessed in Dec 2013 - Jan 2014) (data analysed in April 2013)


Ar ts and Culture


The London Borough of Barnet is a diverse community with

school is something I picked up on very quickly. For example,

families from various cultural backgrounds, and a large

the theatre school is actually based at The Bull Theatre in High

population of young and older people. For as long as I can

Barnet. When you enter the building, pictures of students’ work

remember North London, and Barnet in particular, has been

abound, as well as motivational words and quotes such as: ‘Dance

somewhat of a hub for famous talent; the late singer, Amy

like no one is watching.’

Winehouse, came from the area.

The Susie Earnshaw Theatre School

When I sat down with Susie Earnshaw (the founder of Sets) to discuss the theatre school, there was an immediate glow on her

At 13 years old I attended The Susie Earnshaw Theatre School

face. She gleamed with joy when telling me about the success

(Sets), with dreams of someday becoming a household name;

of her son Toby (a musician signed by Andy Fraser from the

although I soon realised that I didn’t have a strong passion

band, Free), as well as the students - both past and present -

for performing. Unlike many of the other pupils that went to

which have been under her pupillage. Susie showed me some

Sets, I attended their Saturday school instead of the full time

YouTube videos of student performances, reminding me of a

one. I sometimes contemplated joining the full time school,

proud mother boasting about her children’s success.

especially when I had the opportunity to audition for a wellknown television show. My audition happened to be during

Aside from telling me about the students’ success, Susie talked

the day so I saw a glimpse of the fun being had by the full time

about how the school managed to make The Bull Theatre its

students; they were actually enjoying school! They looked like

permanent home and why she wanted to set up a theatre school

they wanted to be there and nowhere else.

in the first place. Susie explained that her idea for a theatre school came from her children not being happy at school; there was a

When I recently returned, I could see little had changed and the

ratio of thirty children to one teacher and her son didn’t succeed.

atmosphere was still vibrant. I felt welcomed upon entering the building, although a part of me still felt like the shy teenager who

Sets didn’t start off as a full time school from the get-go. For

attended a few years ago. The fact that Sets isn’t like a normal

its first few years it was a Saturday school where the likes of


Ar ts and Culture or Will.I.Am, and one day performing in the West End. Darcie, who has always wanted to be in the performing arts industry, had auditioned for Italia Conti but felt more comfortable at Sets. She aims to become a model or dancer since her dancing has improved since joining Sets. Both girls agreed that Sets is like one big family. There are only 12 people in each year group so everyone knows one another. They all get on and are close. During my visit, I bumped into one of my old teachers, Melissa Gillespie. Melissa, who was the very first student to attend Sets, Amy Winehouse began their journey to stardom. Yes that’s

now works as a theatrical agent for the agency that Sets run. She

right; The Susie Earnshaw Theatre School is where the late,

has appeared in various television shows and music videos and

great Amy Winehouse first began her journey to becoming an

has also acted on stage. Melissa has worked for the agency for

award winning artist, although her time there had to be cut

six years because she wanted to learn about how the other side

short. ‘I hadn’t set up the full time school at that point and so

of the business works.

I suggested to Amy’s mother that she try Sylvia Young,’ Susie advises. ‘I wanted to do more, but I wasn’t interested in becoming

Like Susie, Melissa seems incredibly proud of the success of

a franchise like Stage Coach.’

the students and was able to recall many of their achievements. She went on to tell me about her experience at Sets and her

With there only being a handful of full time theatre schools in

subsequent success; performing at The English National Opera

London, Susie decided to expand her theatre school into a full

with Amy Winehouse and appearing on both Grange Hill and

time school, whilst still maintaining the Saturday school for part

Nickelodeon. Melissa mentioned that a normal school didn’t

time students. In 2004, in what Susie describes as a moment that

cater to her passions and that, although the theatre school was

was ‘meant to be’, the theatre school moved from the church

smaller, Sets had the emphasis on performing that Melissa sought.

hall where they were originally based, to The Bull Theatre. The

She still assists with teaching some of the classes at Sets, even

move came when they heard that The Bull was moving to The

though running the agency is a full time job.

Arts Depot in North Finchley.

The students Despite its focus being performing arts, the school has managed to accommodate a regular curriculum, which takes place from Wednesday to Friday. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the focus is on performing arts. Amy Winehouse


I was able to speak to some students and ask them a few questions

Sets is a theatre school that has been around for 25 years and is

about their experience of attending a performing arts school.

still going strong. It’s a place where the students dare to dream,

Emily and Darcie are two young girls who have been attending

living and breathing their passions. It is a happy, buzzing and

the school for two years; Emily received a scholarship and

exciting school and there never seems to be a dull moment.

Darcie and her sister began together. Although they are still

You can definitely tell that there is always something new and

fairly young, both Emily and Darcie are very ambitious. They

exhilarating taking place in the building and I thoroughly

know exactly why they decided to attend a theatre school and

enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

what they want to get out of their time here. Emily was offered a non-scholarship place at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, so opted for Sets instead. She smiled with glee when disclosing her dreams of being taught by pop stars, Jessie J 44

Ar ts and Culture

Image description (photographers name etc)

title of the Article Here you can insert the subtitel, a sentence or a few words, but it shouldn’t be too long. You can also skip it. Painting by Thaomy Le


Ar ts and Culture


Dear Crush

ow do I tell you what you are? In narrow vicinity we sit hampered Melting, luring in admiration of suppressive ardour Only then do my feet immerse through hard carpet My eyes mesmerised by yours - prohibiting speech I hope you don’t hear my stammers - I try to digest them Or how I can’t look-see too long - I forget my being Everything you are I yearn, a school-boy rush of sugar Over my chest when I see you - every time Every single time. So when you speak and there’s a pause.... excuse me I only mean to reassemble myself - After the incline you trigger Discretely, I hide this, how can I summon the words Or bring it up in a conversation? Say – ‘that when I look into your dark enchanting eyes the world muffles distorting, sound and vision - My limbs go numb my throat ripples with words I ought to say but I consume its weight like gravel between my teeth - I stammer, stammer Subtle though - I’d hope they were Or that when you utter words, my tummy goes funny Like I’m 10 again, with a crush on the new girl Yet, we are both grown - love has come and left us - what it felt like continues to inspire What I want, can’t be taken without consent or bought Like a headless child my heart sports - chasing yours We’ve both endured hardships, cuts and bruises - look this is my scar Heed my plead, And let me crane my arms across your battered legs - patch you where you are torn And carry you with bare knees through - arrows, swords and thorns’

Kevin Ntueba


Ar ts and Culture

Little Venice A little escape in the big city

Town markets. If comedy is your thing, head over to the Canal Café Theatre, which hosts over 14 shows per week.

Lauren Carbran

The Little Venice Canal was built in 1801 and became an important waterways hub for London. Now the ‘Venice’ of London is an up-market area with pubs, café’s and restaurants, alongside a picturesque canal. Bridge with a view Without a doubt, the bridge running along Westbourne Terrace

The Prince Alfred Pub

holds the best view of the Little Venice Canal in London. I come

The Prince Alfred Pub - 5A Formosa Street, London W9 1EE

here sometimes to get away from the city air, the beeping buses

T: 020 7286 3287

and the crowded high streets; it’s a little haven kept on the down– low. The path along the water is frequented by local artists, runners,

The Prince Alfred sends you back in time to the Victorian Age,

walkers, bird feeders and canal enthusiasts.

when everything was royally grand; until I nearly knock myself navigating a low arch!

The canal is the epitome of a watercolour painting; still and tranquil. Today, the water only moves for the ducks who gently glide on it

In the heart of Little Venice lies this time-travelled pub, which

and leave ripples in their path. The boats are colourful with floral

has stumbled across the twenty-first century and is a Michelin

and marine patterns which all bare a truly British feel.

style restaurant to boot. This is a real treasure of a pub; one which was built during the height of social segregation but now seems

You can notice a little island with willows and flowerbeds from

solidly seamless and stress-free.

this bridge. The pool around it was made in the 1810s and went by the name of Paddington Broadwater. Surrounding it tower

The Prince Alfred is inviting with its Victorian décor and homely

the nineteenth century houses with balconies and terraces

setting. The tables, although few of them, are designed so that

overlooking this quaint and beautiful scene.

each room caters for intimate meetings, which makes this pub very popular amongst the local sophisticated drinker.

The Rembrandt Gardens, with their blossoming flowers and trees, overlook the canal. This was formed in 1975 to honour the 700th

The pub’s signature drinks are Bloody Marys (bloody good)

anniversary of the ‘Venice of the North’, also known as Amsterdam.

and traditional Mojitos. And you won’t be able to resist some of the finest cooking in London with the wafts of the

Wander along the canal and you’ll find a boat café, a Puppet

twice-cooked pork belly or sticky toffee pudding from the

Theatre Barge and waterbus services, which travel to the Camden

Formosa Dining rooms.


Ar ts and Culture The five main sections are all accessed through separate doors,

waiters make their drinks or engaging in a ‘hard day’s work’

as it was custom in Victorian times that the rich should enter

conversation. At the tables, people look infatuated by the class

through one, and the poor the other. ‘The poor would get the

and creativity of The Waterway’s dishes. Rasheed Shahin is Head

bigger section, and the wealthy would enter into a more tailored,

Chef here. He modernises French and Spanish flavours to taste

decorated and polished part of the room. Like a royal box, really,’

close to home and downright delicious.

the barwoman told me. It makes for a very exclusive feel and I cannot help but think it is what a lot of people want; essentially

This chilled out mood extends to the bouncy red leather

your own private pub experience.

sofas with cushions, set opposite a fireplace. Televisions are on Sky News for the inquisitive, and there is a beer garden

The switching between rooms is part of the appeal of this rare

outside for the ones who want to mingle. This evening there

place. Instead of walking outside to enter the same pub through

is live music with one man; his guitar and husky voice creating

a different door, there are five gnome-sized arches that lead

a jazzy beat - a suitable background soundtrack for this

through each room. If you fancy a change of scenery, for instance,

relaxing restaurant and bar.

head down to the cellar rooms, which offer an ancient vibe with brick walls and charming candles. It is all a good laugh until

Tables go at the click of a finger to the busy bees of Little Venice,

this social hierarchy maze turns into a bit of a hazard show as

so I order some water to start, to prolong my stay here, and it

you enter into the next part. I nearly knocked myself out when

tastes fantastic. Has The Waterway cast a water potion spell

venturing into the social class level three room; crouching under

on me? Maybe.

the two foot arch, drink shaking in hand and head getting an immediate bruise from the table that it met - a not-so-prince-like

Or perhaps it is the sweet jazz music encircling it and the syrupy

occurrence in the Prince Alfred, but fun nevertheless.

smell of apricot and ginger chutney with goat cheese fritters (£7) approaching my table. The cheese is soft, hot and has a buttery

The Prince Alfred is a scene of Victorian beauty and I urge you

bread crust. The fruity chutney explodes in my mouth and eases

to go and choose your own room. So I’ll give this pub a royal

the cheese to create a satisfying starter indeed.

review - rather splendid, actually. The language on the menu may sound a tad pretentious but the food really isn’t. Next up was the main: roast corn-fed chicken breast with pomme dauphine (crispy potato puffs) with lemon and tarragon sauce (£16). My chicken is perfectly cooked and succulent, leaving me wanting more. The lemon and tarragon sauce give that extra zing to make me want to further experience this tasty menu. So I tell my New Years resolution to wait another year and I order dessert: chocolate fondant with confit cherries and salted caramel ice cream.

The Waterway

The first thing I spot is the chocolate fondant, which takes leading role in an instant. It’s a chocolate fondant which deludes you

The Waterway - 54 Formosa Street, London W9 2JU

into thinking it’s healthy due to its minimalist position on the

T: 020 7266 3557

plate. The ice cream oozes with sophistication and contrasts with the gooey chocolate. This is food that hugs you and tells you

Modern European meets home comfort-food, and everything’s

you’re home. I sway in my chocolate/ cherry/caramel coma to

good at The Waterway, even the water…

the husky jazz and decide I’ve had my fair share of The Waterway for one evening.

As you enter into The Waterway you can’t help but feel like Chelsea has come to Little Venice. There is an instant ‘Keep Calm

Charismatic and chilled out with cannot-resist food, I give The

and Drink’ vibe at the bar where people are perched watching

Waterway full marks. 48

Ar ts and Culture


® Lemuria, the Lost Motherland, 2013

The discovery of a new art Uriel Roth

Different art forms have intrigued us

This would continue for the next three

since ancient times, from stone carvings

decades until 2006, when Roth made

found throughout the former Roman

a discovery that would lead to his quest

Empire to the masterpieces of

to introduce the art of coffeegraph® to

Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.

a wider audience.

Now, we have coffeegraph® to ponder over, an art form native to Los Angeles.

Indeed, Roth is obsessed with coffee.

Its founder is Avi Roth, a photographer

The love of this drink is what led Roth

by trade, who has been working in the

to reveal to the public that images can

industry for over three decades. He has

be manipulated through coffee bean

recently turned his attention to an

residue without a paint and brush. On

innovative and intriguing concept;

a summers day in 2006, he was preparing

making pictures - some that are seemingly

his usual morning espresso when he

random - out of pure coffee beans.

suddenly noticed a peculiar stain on the coffee plate. He thought that this stain

Avi Roth was raised in Israel; he graduated

represented the turmoil that was taking

from Tel Aviv Polytechnic, being awarded

place throughout the Middle East. This

a degree in photography. Roth decided

event immediately triggered an interest

to further his knowledge of this craft and

in Roth that would lead to a process of

made his way to London, enrolled at the

defining and cementing this concept, now

London Film School and successfully

named coffeegraph®.

graduated again with honours. Due to its highly influential film industry, Roth then

Adjacent is a transcript of an interview

decided to try his luck in Los Angeles.

conducted with Roth. It should

He was quickly able to establish his own

certainly provide a helpful insight into

photography business, specialising in photographing a wide array of jewellery. 49

Transfiguration, 2013

the concept’s foundations and successes so far.

Ar ts and Culture

Q&A with Roth Q: What made you choose the name coffeegraph®? A: The pigment used to create my art is coffee, and the work itself is graphic in nature. Thereby, coffeegraph® was the most appropriate word to represent my art-creating art with coffee as pigment, hence the registered trademark of coffeegraph®. Q: What difficulties did you encounter throughout the process of perfecting the concept? A: Technically, the difficulty was to preserve the longevity of the work since I use a pigment without a binder. I have

Phoenician Labyrinth, 2013

experimented for many years since 2006 to stabilise the process. Through the use

Q: What aims did you have when you first started out?

of modern technology I arrived to certain

A: None really. When I first encountered coffeegraph® in August 2006, my initial

standards that I employ today. Aesthetically,

contemplation was, ‘what is this intended to mean? What could it possibly mean,

coffeegraph® is an unprecedented and

and what is its significance?’ I did not invent coffeegraph®, to the contrary it invented

revolutionary art. It is a compelling visual

me! I did not show the art in public until 2012. The reason; I needed time to decipher

form, a new experience, an intuitive art

the visual vocabulary and understand the conversations that are taking place within

originating in monochromatic tonality. At

the spiritual depth of my art.

its arrival, the acceptance of intelligibility and what they [the pictures and art itself]

Q: How successful do you feel it has

rendered was a constant challenge in some

been so far?

cultural discourses.

A: In less than two years since my first public showing in May 2012,

Q: What made you so determined to

coffeegraph® in and of itself, has

pursue it?

been presented to the public nine

A: It was my understanding of how

times in different events and galleries.

coffeegraph® distinguishes itself in form

The art still lives in its infancy with

and structure. By chance or purpose I am

a long journey ahead, but I believe

a groundbreaking artist. I took a new

to have successfully conveyed thus

direction using techniques and totally

far the experience of a culturally

original ideas that evolved into a style

meaningful visual content.

never seen before. It requires time to absorb it, apprehend it and interpret it. To

Thanks Mr Roth, for taking the time

be a vanguard requires courage, for often,

to answer our questions.

Gemlike Heartbuds, 2013

one could look like a fool. In this respect, I took my time to make sure coffeegraph®

Roth has now decided to expand into

is for a new visual culture.

Europe. Watch this space!



Lauren Carbran

Celebrities in the Suburb The London Borough of Barnet is one of great variety; state and private schools, mosques and synagogues, green parks and skate parks, council houses and mansions. In the leafy hood of Hampstead Garden Suburb, the roads are wide, the front gardens are immaculate and the cars are chic. This is the wealthiest area in Barnet with an almost entirely upper-middle class population. Hampstead Garden Suburb has been home to film stars, royalty, politicians and financiers. This prime location in south Barnet boasts luxury houses and mansions in an idyllic neighbourhood. These homes have a price tag of up to ÂŁ65 million and are state-of-the-art; perfect for the rich and famous. 51


‘The most expensive street in London is located here. Bishop’s Avenue has been nicknamed ‘Billionaire’s Row’ because of the extravagant display of fortune.’

The most expensive street in London is located here. Bishop’s Avenue has been nicknamed ‘Billionaire’s Row’ because of the extravagant display of fortune. In January 2008, Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, bought a 30,000 square foot mansion here for £50 million, which made it one of the world’s most expensive houses.

House in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London Source:

Television and radio presenter Jonathan Ross also lives here with his wife and three children. Mr and Mrs Ross are very involved in the local area as presidents of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Horticultural Society. Every year they open up their North London home to host a spectacular and celebrity-packed Halloween party. Regular guests include pop star Nicole Scherzinger, and models Kate Moss and Heidi Klum. This suburban house transforms into a haunted castle and there is even a maze with spooky surprises!

royals, who have only recently returned to Athens, took comfort in their £9.5 million Hampstead mansion for over 30 years. At a slightly cheaper price, boy band One Direction member Harry Styles moved to his £3 million Hampstead pad in 2012. The 2,300 square foot house boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms, three reception rooms and a large back yard with patio, deck, garden and sun lounges. House prices are soaring in London, but the homes of Hampstead Garden Suburb will continue to open their golden gates and offer a heaven of divine houses to cater for celebrities’ tastes. It is no wonder that this area is a growing hotspot for the wealthy. With swimming pools, tennis courts, private cinemas and lifts in your own house, the suburb offers billionaires from around the world complete privacy and a lavish lifestyle.

Former King of Greece, Constantine II, and his spouse Anne-Marie, reportedly lived in London for the past 46 years. The Greek

Gated house in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London. Source:

Jonathan Ross. Source: 52


Dal. (V) Kristina Shchetinina Dal (also spelled dahl or daal) is called ‘parippu’ in Sinhala, ‘parup-pu’ in Tamil, ‘pappu’ in Telugu and ‘bele’ in Kannada. Dal is a dish that is based on the preparation of dried lentils. It is an important part of Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, West Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. There are many variaions of dal that include different ingredients and spices. In this article we are introducing Indian dal or pappu. This particular dal recipe is completely vegan and very quick and easy to cook.

Recipe: 1 mug of moong dal or red lentils 3 big cloves of garlic, sliced 1 large onion, sliced 1 dried or fresh red chilli, finely chopped 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds Half teaspoon turmeric 2 or 3 tablespoons sunflower oil 1 can of chopped tomatoes Fresh coriander leaves (optional) Curry leaves (about a dozen) 1.5 to 2 teaspoons salt

Wash the lentils and boil in pan with lots of water (three or four mugs, be prepared to add more later). Do not let the dal dry up, burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. If it does, transfer the unburnt portion to another pan and start again (don’t scrape up the burnt bits). While boiling, add the onion, chilli and garlic. The dal will cook in less than half an hour, though it can boil on for longer so long as there’s plenty of water. Meanwhile, put a little pan on fire and when hot add the oil. When oil is very hot but not smoky add the cumin and mustard seeds. They will crackle and pop. Then add the curry leaves which will splutter and splash. Add the turmeric and turn fire off. Add this to the pot of boiled or boiling dal. Add in the tomatoes, the salt and the coriander and cook for a bit longer so all the tastes blend. And if really feeling decadent add in a knob of butter (or ghee) on top and serve on simply boiled rice! 53

Meet the Team


Amber Poppelaars

Sammy Hussain

Sarah-Jane James

I used to be addicted to malted milk biscuits. I ate a packet a day, seven days a week.

I am insanely good at mudsledding.

I am blind in my right eye after accidentally falling on a wine glass when I was a baby.

'He who laughs most, learns best' - John Cleese

'Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today' - Mark Twain

'What we see depends on what we look for' - John Lubbock

Carlos A Aguado

Lauren Carbran

Robert Clark

I'm often fighting with my mind but I love tennis because it helps to concentrate my mind and I forget the things around me.

I was born with a piercing already in my ear.

My family had five generations living simultaneously; from my great grandma to her great, great grandma. Got the portrait!

Project Manager and Designer


Project Officer

Writer and Sub-Editor

Team Manager, Editor and Writer

Writer and Sub-Editor

'If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change' - Wayne Dyer

'Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You' – Dr Seuss

Leanne Kingsley

Naomi Loo

Thaomy Le

I've been on television (Blue Peter) and I was on the front page of a newspaper.

Allergic to dairy but can always be found eating chocolate or cake.

My dream is to become a graphic designer or get involved with the creative industry to inspire others.

Writer and Sub-Editor

Lead Designer

'Courage is grace under pressure' - Ernest Hemingway


'Be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Go deeper than anybody else - that's how you'll get ahead' - Austin Klean

'If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way' - Napoleon Hill

'Creativity is contagious, pass it on' - Albert Einstein

Kevin Ntueba

Uriel Roth

Kristina Shchetinina


I am on a gluten free diet.

I am ambidextrous.

'If I am killed, I can die but once; but to live in constant dread of it, is to die over and over again' - Abraham Lincoln

'Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results' - Albert Einstein

'The important thing is this: to be able at any moment sacrifice what you are for what you could become' - Charles Du Bos

Neus T Tamarit

Nellie Zulu

Joe Bolder

I wanted to be an astronomist before deciding to be an artist. In fact, I still get fascinated with maths and physics.

I can't watch 'Finding Nemo' because I cry every time I watch it.


Poetry keeps sane, literally.

Writer and Sub-Editor


'The language of the eye, the intensity of the gaze and the steadiness of the gaze are more important than what one says' - Louise Bourgeois

Writer and Sub-Editor

'It always seems impossible until it's done' - Nelson Mandela

Photographer, Designer and Writer

Assistant Designer I have the ability to bend over backwards abnormally far.

'Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value' - Albert Einstein

Special thanks to Aaron Ginsburg - Photographer 54

Interact Magazine Barnet Edition