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Issue 2 | March 2015

Cheat Sheet to the



MINUTES WITH Student Comedian Joe Hart







Micah Sulit Deputy Editor

Eric Johansson Brand Manager

Anna D’Alessio Features Editor

Lesley-Jane Carroll Chief Sub-Editor

Kevin Long Sub-Editor

Alessia Nava Art Director

Kari Ann Norton Layout

Anna Koppenhöfer Visuals Editor

Elizabeth Abrahams Social Media Manager

HEY! “

Welcome back to the second issue of Synced! International Happiness Day is 20 March so break out the Pharrell Williams, put down your study notes and have a great day away from the stresses of uni. We’re halfway through the semester so it’ll all be over soon; make sure to enjoy it while it lasts! It’s also Women’s History Month, which highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. Make sure to check out the Women of the World Festival (p9) on our #Events page. Similarly, if you’re interested in how men are seen by society, turn to our comment section to read ‘The Changing Face of Masculinity’ (p26). Or, if you’re in need of a laugh, our feature on student comedians will no doubt crack a smile. If you like what you see, check out for daily updates on trending, viral and student-friendly topics as well as articles on student survival and pop culture. Mary McFadden| Editor | @Mary_Mc_Fadden



4 #Talking Point 6 London Musicals List 8 Column: Race to Tough Mudder 9 #Events 10 A Student’s Guide to the Election 14 Real Talk 16 Comedy Special: These Lads are a Right Laugh 18 Comedy Special: 5 Minutes With... Joe Hart 19 #Trending 20 What Not To Do on Paddy’s Day 22 Reviews: Still Alice, Marina And The Diamonds and Once Upon a Time 24 Column: Entertain Me 26 Feature: Men Unmasked: The Changing Face of Masculinity 29 Spotted: Style Inspiration 31 Column: The Commentary

6 29

9 10

With Special Thanks To: REX Alastair Muir/REX Andrew Shaylor/REX Ben Cawthra/REX Brands Of The World/V&A Broadimages/REX Cultura/REX David Parker/Associated Newspaper/REX David Rowland/REX David Hardley/ Rupert Hardley/ REX Design Pics Inc/REX Gallo Images/REX Geoffrey Swaine/REX Gill Allen/REX Isopix/REX Janine Wiedel/REX Jim Smeal/BEI/REX Kent Williams/Flickr Ken McKay/REX KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/REX Kieran McManus/BPI/REX Marina and the Diamonds/Line Of Best Fit Mark Hunt/REX Mark Thomas/REX McPix Ltd/REX Moviestore/REX Patrick Frilet/REX Pixabay Ray Tang/REX Sam Lloyd Shaun Turner Silvia Olsen/REX Sip Press/REX Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett/REX Steve Meddle/REX Stock Connection/REX Tom Dymond/Comic Relief/REX Vickie Flores/LNP/REX WallpapersBQ/ABC Wang Lei/REX Wayne Tippetts/REX WestEnd61/REX WOW Festival 2015/Southbank Centre Xinhua New Agency/REX ZUMA/REX




The spikes outside Selfridges in Manchester, assumed as a ward against homeless people sleeping outside the shop, are set to be removed after a petition garnered thousands of signatures and the store was met with heavy criticism.

A new poll of 1,000 British Muslims revealed that while 78% find images of the Prophet Muhammad offensive, 68% oppose violence against those who publish such images.

GAY MARRIAGE The weekend of 22 May is shaping up be Ireland’s gayest with the same-sex marriage referendum falling on the Friday, followed by the Eurovision Song Contest on 23 May.

#TALKING POINT A round-up of the latest hot topics

BAD HAIR DAY Giuliana Rancic, E! Fashion Police, recently apologised for comments made against actress Zendaya Coleman’s hair at this year’s Oscar’s ceremony. Zendaya refused to let the comments get to her and called for more acceptance and pride in natural black hair. Peter Oborne



Peter Oborne’s resignation from The Daily Telegraph has sparked new debates on the eternal battle between fulfilling a journalistic duty to report the truth and keeping advertisers happy.


Recent stats revealed that homeownership in England is at its lowest in 29 years. No thanks to rising house prices, 25 to 39 year olds are now more likely to rent privately rather than buy a house. Zendaya




sica #Mu





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Inform yourself on the general election with our easy guide, note down exciting events and check out the best musicals London has to offer

Musical Bucket List By Anna D’Alessio


Jersey Boys

2 Ermahgerd!

The Lion King

Substitute a TV screen with a theatre stage, add some breathtaking live music, a couple of life-size lion masks, a tear-jerking death, and you get Disney’s The Lion King - the musical. Warning: you will cry when Mufasa dies.


‘I should have peed before the show...’

No matter what type of music you may be into, or how old you are, you’ll end up becoming a fan of this musical. Jersey Boys is based on the real story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons - a four-piece which rose to stellar fame in the 60s. It’s a turbulent story, but inherently beautiful. Just try not to fall in love with the talented cast. The upbeat, feel-good, catchy songs will make you wish you were born into the 60s, trust us.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Wouldn’t it be great if real life was as colourful and awe-inspiring as life in Willy Wonka’s factory? Our generation had the privilege of growing up reading Roald Dahl’s children’s novels, and now, arguably his most beloved one, has been brought to life in the West End. We all know the story - little Charlie Bucket’s dreams come true when he wins a golden ticket to the wonderful and mysterious chocolate factory, but nothing is what it seems.

Lifestyle ‘Assignments next week? Look at all the fucks I give!’



Who knew the Wicked Witch of the West was actually not wicked at all? This musical, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel of the same name, is a less-than-conventional story of friendship, acceptance, and second


chances. You may find yourself rooting for the one character you never thought you’d want to see succeed. Prepare yourself for an emotional

roller coaster West End style.

The Phantom of the Opera

It’s no coincidence that this is one of the longest running musicals on Broadway so it comes as no surprise that it’s also a West End hit. The disfigured ‘phantom’ of Paris’ Opera House falls in love with the beautiful chorus singer, Christine, who,

in turn, falls in love with her handsome childhood friend Raoul. It’s a classic tale of who gets the girl, set to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s enthralling music. The Phantom of the Opera will have you hooked from the outset.

‘You wot m8?’

Sync Yourself |



Race To Tough Mudder By Eric Johansson

Revelations Underneath The Pull-Up Bar


cribbled words in blue ink run along the pages of my workout journal. These words, written beside the number of pull-ups I managed to press out (eight), reads ‘Spornosexual and MMA – a thing?’ Another blurred line says, ‘Tattoos are a marker that divide social classes’. These are ideas I had whilst trying to whip myself into shape. Okay, they’re really more like concepts. ‘Ejaculated streams of consciousness that could lead to actual opinions’ is probably the most apt description, but the point is that they came when I was working out. I can spend hours at uni, crunching data and trying to complete my assignments, but it’s when I exercise that the ideas come. It could be an idea for a feature or a new angle for an essay. Whatever it is, it gets me ready to write, to move on and improve my work. To me, working out is like meditation, an opportunity to disconnect, unplug the hard drive and just enjoy the emptiness. It’s curious then, that this is when inspiration dawns. Haruki Murakami described the same thing in an interview with Runner’s World. The writer said that he tries to run with an


empty mind and “something naturally and abruptly crawls in sometimes that might become an idea that can help me with my writing”.

“I can spend hours at uni, crunching data and trying to complete my assignments, but it’s when I exercise that the ideas come”

I’m not sure how this works, but I think that it could be the endorphins. You know that feeling you get while having sex or eating chocolate? The same chemicals are released in your brain when

you work out. This could explain why so many guys show their O-faces while doing dead lifts. Murakami probably recognised it as a runner’s high. That could be one reason as to why ideas come more easily whilst working out. You forgive yourself more when it feels like you’ve just done the ‘horizontal shuffle’, if you know what I mean. That’s when every singular observation becomes an epiphany ready to be scribbled down with blue ink and smeared out by sweat. At least that’s how I feel. But working out can have more benefits than just helping the creative juices to flow. It can also give your grades a power boost. A recent review of 14 studies showed a strong correlation between working out and getting higher grades. The study in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that exercising increases your oxygen levels. It also does wonders for your mood by releasing norepinephrine and endorphins, as well as helping increase the growth of your cells. So hit the gym the next time you pull a blank on your project. You never know what revelations you might have underneath the pull-up bar.

Lifestyle RED Nose Day is coming up on 13 March and it’s a time to embrace the comedian in all of us. Stand-up Alan Davies’ Little Victories tour runs throughout March. Tickets start at £29.40



some friends and head to see the weird and wonderful Noel Fielding Exhibition coming to the Royal Albert Hall from 7 – 15 March.

all ‘future’ enthusiasts! With Vivienne Westwood headlining, Futurefest is a weekend full of radical speakers seeking to challenge perceptions of our future. From 14 – 15 March. Tickets start at £40 for students.

# EVENTS Your guide to the most exciting March events taking place in London



stories of sex, identity and personal transformation on the big screen at the BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. The event is on from 19 – 29 March.

India’s festival of colours, the Cinnamon Kitchen is building a special party-pod called House of Holi. People can swap their hoodies for protective suits before pelting each other with paint. From 5 – 14 March at Devonshire Place.

CELEBRATE St Paddy’s Day, rowdy Irish-style, by dancing at a traditional céilí in Greenwich’s Borough Hall on 14 March.

Sync Yourself |



to the

ELECTION Your Complete Cheat-Sheet for Party Policies By Eric Johansson You will determine the future of the UK on 7 May. With your vote in the General Election, you will decide if there should be a EU referendum and who will govern the country. Most of the parties are still hard at work with their manifestos, but these are the policies affecting students that we know about so far.



Tuition fees Ed Miliband has said that he wants to cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000, but so far has not made any solid promises to do so. At the time of writing, the party is still considering its policy on this with no substantial decision yet to be made.

Foreign students While Labour has pledged to create stronger border controls for immigrants, Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, has promised to exclude foreign students from future government immigration targets.

Youth unemployment If elected, Labour will guarantee a job for people aged between 18 and 24 who have claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than a year. Older jobseekers have to be on the Allowance for at least two years. Jobseekers would be required to take these jobs provided by the government, or else risk losing their benefits. ‘Red Ed’ plans to fund these jobs by taxing bank bonuses and restricting the rich’s pension tax reliefs. 10

Ed Miliband

Lifestyle Tuition fees Nick Clegg had promised that tuition fees would not rise before the 2010 election, but after a few months in a coalition with the Conservatives, they voted for higher tuition fees. The party has recently backed the rise from £3,000 to £9,000. The Lib Dems claim that this has not deterred young people from applying to study and Clegg has apologised for breaking his pre-election pledge.

Foreign students In their pre-manifesto, the Lib Dems promised to stay in the EU and to allow skilled labour to immigrate to the UK. They want to ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students, especially if they study science, technology, engineering and maths. At the same time the Lib Dems have also promised to crack down on immigration, but have proposed that international students should be removed from those immigration targets.




Youth unemployment

The Liberals have promised to add an extra £1 an hour to wages for the lowest paid apprentices and are campaigning to create a million more jobs.

Nick Clegg

Tuition fees

David Cameron

Together with the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives raised tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000 in 2012. Last year, the Universities Minister, David Willetts, refused to rule out that tuition fees might increase further after the upcoming election, but the exact Tory stance on this is not yet certain.

Foreign students The Conservatives have promised to get immigration under control, but will allow foreign students to stay in the UK provided they have graduated from a UK institution and have secured a job in their degree field which pays a minimum of £24,000 a year.

Youth unemployment No one should be surprised that the Tories plan to cap people’s benefits, but this time David Cameron has promised to use the capped benefits to fund three million apprenticeships. The Prime Minister announced his plans in September and said it was a part of his goal to “abolish youth unemployment”.




Sync Yourself |


Tuition fees UKIP have announced that they will drop tuition fees for approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering and maths. Their only condition is that students live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees.

Foreign students UKIP want to raise tuition fees for EU students to the same level as international students, which can technically only be achieved if the UK leaves the EU or if the terms of the membership are renegotiated.



Youth unemployment

UKIP wants to legislate for businesses to discriminate in favour of young British workers. At the same time, UKIP proposes to repeal the Agency Workers Directive, extend the right of appeal for microbusinesses against HM Revenue & Customs action, and fight for free parking on high streets.

Nigel Farage

Tuition fees The Green Party has promised to abolish tuition fees and make higher education free.

Natalie Bennett

Foreign students Leader Natalie Bennett has expressed concern that last year saw a decrease in the number of international students studying in the UK, the first drop in 20 years. A policy document states that the Green Party wishes to make sure that the fees paid by international students better reflect the true value and cost of the education they will receive.

Youth unemployment In a bid to save the environment, the Greens want to introduce a citizens’ income and step away from dependency on economical growth, even allowing for negative growth. However, the party still plans to create thousands of new sustainable jobs, while simultaneously promoting local production of food and goods.






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Your worst sex experiences, how to avoid a broken nose on Paddy’s Day and a comedian special featuring talented ‘jokesters’ from around the UK

Real Talk


By Kari Ann Norton

Sex is all fun and games until you’re covered in chocolate, trying to save what is left of your dignity. Here are some of our readers’ craziest and worst hook-up experiences. Prepare to cringe.

Girls often want to hook up with me because they’re curious as to whether the stereotypes are accurate. I often get asked if I have a bigger penis than most since I’m black or if the whole ‘once you go black you never go back’ saying is true. There’s nothing more annoying than a girl holding you up to these high expectations when you’re hooking up. One night when I was having drunk sex with a girl she told me I was hurting her but then said I was smaller than she was expecting. Talk about a slap to the ego. Choco Teddy Bear, 24

My boyfriend at the time decided that we needed to have sex in a public place so we went to a beach with a lot of big sand dunes. We found a sand ditch that he decided would be a good spot. It ended up being so awkward. There was sand where there really shouldn’t be, we couldn’t even make eye contact with each other and then he made a noise that echoed. It was such awful sex that I had to pretend to orgasm just so he would stop and I could get out of the sand. When we got out of the ditch this guy was looking at us like he knew what we had just done. Sand Goddess, 22

I once slept with a woman over 30 years older than me. She was an outed lesbian and married with two kids. I met her in a gay bar and I had already hooked up with her daughter. Since I was drunk, it made it worth it. Cougar King, 21

One night, when two of my girlfriends and I were on holiday in Tenerife, we ended up getting really drunk. When we got back to our hotel room, one of my friends fell asleep and the other friend and I started making out. We ended up hooking up in the same bed as our other friend. The next morning she was really angry with us. We tried to joke about it but the whole situation was just messy and I ended up having to sleep on the sofa for the rest of the trip. Lady Lover, 23 14

One summer my friends and I decided to rent a beach house for a week. We would have crazy parties, but one night I took it too far and got way too drunk. I ended up hooking up with this random guy in a room where all of my friends were sleeping as well. From that point on they refer to it as ‘pump, pump, pump’ since they watched us while I was on top. They still continue to bring it up.


Public Pleaser, 24

One night, I was having anal with my girlfriend for the first time. It was fine at first until my penis got stuck inside her. She started telling me to pull out but the harder I tried, the worse the situation became. Eventually I managed to remove myself from her but obviously the relationship didn’t last too much longer after that and I will not be having anal sex again. Back Door Dabbler, 22

When I was 16, I was hooking up with my boyfriend at his parents’ house. We decided to use chocolate sauce, but since neither of us were very experienced, we didn’t take into account that we should have heated it up first. I ended up covered in cold chocolate and no matter how much I licked it just wouldn’t come off completely. The worst part was when his mum walked in and I was wearing a white T-shirt that kept sticking to the chocolate. I had to casually keep pulling it off my skin while acting like nothing was going on. It was mortifying. Chocolate Fiend, 21

Once my ex-boyfriend had to take me to the hospital because he dislocated my shoulder while we were having sex. He says it’s because we were banging like real troopers. When the ambulance people asked how it happened we had to explain that we were hooking up and he tried to pop my arm back into place while we were drunk so we could continue. I don’t regret any of it. Adventurous Lover, 21

I was taking a shower one day and decided it was a good time to masturbate. I grabbed what I thought was shower gel and started getting into it, when I realised it was actually hair removal cream. The pain was ridiculous and I had to awkwardly explain to my mum what had happened. From that point on I have been very cautious about what I put near my man parts. Naked Mole Rat, 21

Sync Yourself |



LOLs, e h t n o Bring dians Sam me ent co Turner d u t s say Shaun d n a d Lloy

By Micah Sulit


am Lloyd and Shaun Turner want you to have a laugh at their expense. Both are vying for the Chortle Student Comedy Award and joke about being veterans, having taken part in the annual competition for the last few years. “I find comedy quite therapeutic,” says 23 year old Turner, who suffers from cerebral palsy and uses it in his ‘autobiographical and therefore egotistical’ comedy. “In a way I’m laughing at my life with a room full of strangers, and that can make things better and easier.”


Turner, a Linguistics student at De Montfort University, began doing stand-up at the age of 20 after he’d gone to see a student comedy show hosted by his friend, Jack Campbell (2014’s English Comedian of the Year). “He blew me away, he was fantastic! I remember thinking ‘I can’t be as bad as [the newbies], but I’d love to be as good as Jack’, so I signed up.” For 20 year old Lloyd, comedy seemed like a natural progression. “I’m a massive egomaniac and if I go four hours without everyone looking at me, I break down into tears… is a much more interesting answer than what I’m about to say,” he

teases. “I have very funny parents and brothers, so I’ve always been able to enjoy laughing and making people laugh.” The final year Sociology student at Cardiff University says the first time he watched live stand-up sealed the deal. “I was totally captivated by it. I began to think in my own comic discourse, and for the first time I had a comic voice.” At 17, he seized the first opportunity he saw in Newport, Wales: an open mic night mainly targeted at music acts. “While I had planned five minutes, I did 15 bad minutes,” Lloyd jokes. “The environment was surprisingly supportive. It was like when I

met my girlfriend’s dad for the first time and he turned out to be lovely.” As young comedians, Turner and Lloyd both admit they’ve got some way to go before they’re on par with the pros. Turner says, “I saw Daniel Kitson do an hour a couple of years ago. I went home and crossed so many things out of my notebook that night because when you see acts like him, you just realise what you are. “I’m really like a Tesco Value tin of beans. My brand of comedy makes people laugh for a fiver and not feel ripped off.” Lloyd counts himself a fan of Bridget Christie, Brendon Burns, Doug Stanhope, Elis James and Sara Pascoe. He’s also developed a fondness for Canadian comics, particularly Tom Stade and Glenn Wool. “They have such a great way of delivering material to wring out every big laugh possible. It taught me that jokes don’t have to be told quickly, and that you don’t have to rush to the next one.” ‘Breaking the script’ is something else Lloyd has learned. “It’s much more fun once you start to put yourself out there and take more risks. When you tell an improvised joke for the first time and it gets a big reaction, it feels so satisfying, but it’s not something you can predict or plan, as audiences can tell and appreciate what’s authentic.”

“Comedy changes you,” says Turner, who once did standup at a hen party with only six people. “Doing something like that normally intimidates me, but after a couple of years [performing], it’s not that much of a big deal anymore.” For inspiration, Lloyd says the best thing to do is go to gigs – regardless of who’s on stage. “Watching stand-up is always a great way to get creative

Lloyd, on the other hand, has to fit comedy around his classes and his work for Cardiff University’s student radio and TV stations. “Any gigs I do are fairly few and far between, but they mean a lot more to me, so it’s important that I perform well,” he says. Neither of them are looking to pursue a professional career in comedy, but both plan to continue dabbling in the art.

Shaun Turner: “I find comedy quite therapeutic. In a way I’m laughing at my life with a room full of strangers”

Sam Lloyd: “It’s much more fun once you start to put yourself out there and take more risks” juices flowing, in the same way reading a good book makes you want to write one.” Is it difficult to juggle performances with uni life? “Not really,” says Turner. “Being a student comedian is like being a regular student with a hobby.”

“It’s just too fun,” Lloyd says. “I have no idea whether I’ll get good enough to go professional, but I’m going to try and keep getting better for as long as I can.” Turner sums it up neatly: “I don’t think there’s anything in the world like making people laugh.” Sync Yourself |


By Anna D’Alessio


ith steely determination, passion, and perseverance, your ambitions really can come true. Joe Hart, a 22 year old MA student at Goldsmith’s University has been dreaming of becoming a stand-up comedian ever since he was 15, and now, seven years later, he is about to embark on his first solo show. You probably get asked this often, but how did you get into comedy? “I would always watch Mock The Week. I was never particularly cool as a kid. I was never particularly strong. I was fat and nerdy but somewhere in my teens I got kind of funny. I secretly wanted to be a comedian but never really tried it until I got to university. I joined the comedy society, had my first gig, and it was the best feeling in the world to have a room full of people laughing with you. I’ve been doing it ever since.” What’s the best thing about what you do? “That’s a really tricky question. Because I’d like to think that it was this altruistic sort of ‘I get to make other people happy’…but the feeling of being on stage is incredible. Stand-up is the most refined form of performance. If it was a drug it would be the worst

kind of drug. Because when it goes well you feel absolutely fantastic, but if it goes badly, it’s the worst feeling in the entire world.” What is your biggest achievement? “Probably coming third in ‘So You Think You’re Funny’. It was surreal. It was this really nice moment where I thought ‘maybe I could actually do this as a career, I am sort of funny!’ which is nice because there is always that little voice at the back of your head saying ‘what if I’m not funny, what if I’m just lucky, or what if the 30 odd minutes of material I have written is the only stuff I’ll ever write?’” What kind of things are going on for you at the moment? “The thing I’m working on at the moment is my Brighton Fringe Show called Joe Hart Dirty Rotten Apples. It’s my first ever solo show. It’s 40 minutes of looking at some historical stuff like the ancient Greeks,






the Medieval Crusades. That’s the focus of everything that I’m doing right now.” What is your advice for other students who want to break into this field? “Just spend three years being shit, because at the beginning you will be shit. If you want to get into comedy, you need to be in it for the long-haul. There are lots of open mic nights you can pop into, but if you want to get into it properly, and do it as a career, it will definitely take a couple of years to get to the point where you think ‘I can do this’. I think I’m kind of good at this comedy thing.”

Entertainment PASSIONATE



women from around the globe will gather from 1 - 8 March at the Women of the World Festival at Southbank Centre to celebrate the achievements and future obstacles for women and girls. There’ll be a range of talks and debates with networking opportunities for men and women to come together and fight for equality.

Insurgent. Out 19 March, it’ll fill the Hunger Games void in your life. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see the lovely Shailene Woodley kick ass?

Parks and Recreation

DOWNLOAD Parks and Recreation. The hilarious comedy starring Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza finished its 7th and last season on 24 February so we recommend going back and watching the hilarious show from the very beginning.

# TRENDING A collection of the most viral, trending topics of the month


down Mother’s Day somewhere. The last thing you want is to wake up on 15 March and realise you haven’t bought a card.


The Script


at the Staying Power exhibition at the V&A and discover beautiful photographs of the black British experience from the 1950s -1990s.

a selfie with some friends at The Script live in concert at the O2 from the 13 - 14 March. Tickets from £33.

Sync Yourself |


y a D s ’ k c i r t a P

St What Not To Do


cFadden By Mary M

‘Acting’ Irish

We’re not going to be too strict about this, but we’ll warn you anyway because sometimes this kind of thing ends with a tearful lad in splotchy green face paint nursing a broken nose. St Patrick’s Day is a great way for people to get together and celebrate Irish stereotypes culture. Most people are just out for a bit of craic but you get the odd eejit who puts on a fake Irish accent and says ‘Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!’ or does a little jig while singing ‘The Fields of Athenry’. If you insist on doing these things, wait until everyone else is drunk so they won’t be able to see clearly enough to swing at you. 11am should do.


Patty’s Day Even typing that hurt. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of saying ‘Patty’s Day’ instead of Paddy’s Day; it’s not Burger Day! St Paddy’s Day comes from St Patrick’s Day which derives from the original St Pádraig’s Day or Lá Fhéile Pádraig. Saying ‘Patty’s’ may be endearing at first but after hearing it several times, it can lead to silly, unnecessary fighting on a day that is meant to be full of craic.


Family History Unless you’ve actually lived in Ireland, or you were born there, you’re not Irish. It’s as simple as that. Even if your great greatgrandmother’s cousin’s sister once lived there, that still doesn’t mean that you can personally lay claim to Irish nationality. By all means, boast to your friends back home that you’re one eighteenth Irish, but don’t tell a native on Paddy’s Day.


Trying To Impress


Some people have strange notions about what they’re ‘meant to do’ on the day, particularly if they travel to Ireland to celebrate it. Everyone is ordering a Guinness? Fantastic, but don’t continue sipping on a drink you despise just because everyone at the table is downing the black stuff. Please, don’t be that guy.

Dressing Like A Knob

There’s a lot of green to be seen on 17 March, so you may not spot these buggers in the wild so easily, but you’re bound to see one or two in full-length leprechaun outfits bellowing “Kiss me I’m Oirish!” into a megaphone. Feel free to punch anyone wearing these. We guarantee they’ve already done something to deserve it.

Sync Yourself |


REVIEWS Once Upon A Time The writers of the beloved show, Lost, have teamed up to produce this fairytale-inspired TV hit Once Upon a Time; a show that’s just about to enter the second half of its fourth season.

Once Upon A Time


The premise is stellar; characters from various fairytales are robbed of their memories (by the Evil Queen’s curse, naturally) and transported to the ‘real world’ in the fictitious town of Storybrooke, Maine. The town’s only hope lies in a bounty-hunter (Jennifer

Morrison), the daughter of one of our most favourite Disney couples: Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). When we last saw the characters, we were left on the edge of our seats at the prospect of the villains getting their happyever-afters. The show culminated in a shocking conclusion that left one main character stranded on the other side of the town line. The talented cast in this show are definitely not the only thing that sets Once Upon a Time apart from other TV dramas. The brilliant costume designs, a familiar plot blended with shocking twists, and impressive scene constructions make this series the most magical one around. If you haven’t been watching it before now, where have you been? | AD & MMF


Still Alice is a heart-wrenching story of one woman’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and the rippling effect it has on everyone in her life. Julianne Moore plays Dr. Alice Howland, a Linguistics professor in New York, whose life is turned upside down once she’s diagnosed with the disease. Her children become embroiled in Alice’s bad news once she’s told that she genetically inherited Alzheimer’s from her father. Directed by husband duo Richard Glatzer and Wash West, Still Alice is handled with a sense of sympathy, honesty and vulnerability. It manages to avoid emotionally manipulating its audience with over-

sentimentality. The script is sharp, and the cinematography complementary. The real pull here is Julianne Moore’s absolutely captivating performance. From beginning to end she draws the audience in with utterly remarkable skill and compelling grace. Moore is unshakeable, unflinching and unanimously deserving of the Oscar for Best Actress. Performances all around are fine, especially Kristen Stewart as Alice’s struggling actor daughter. By avoiding the clichés of films such as My Sister’s Keeper, Still Alice superbly manages to pull off painting a depressing subject in a raw light; thoughtprovoking, touching and gently understated. The quiet resilience and hope alluded to at its close is sure to draw many a tear. | KL

to move on from lost love. It feels like Electra is still with Marina here, the same disappointed wounds are still fresh. ‘Happy’ is unlike anything we’ve ever heard, with an almost celestial sound giving it beautiful depth. References to finding religion and a higher being are gleaned. Stripped back and bare, with a delicate melody, this is easily her best track. Marina appears to

have saved her more vanilla sounds for the album, choosing not to prerelease tracks like ‘Blue’, ‘Weeds’ and ‘Gold’. There’s nothing wrong with them per se, but they definitely lack the bittersweet, sharp tastes of her other FROOT offerings. Long-time fans of Miss Diamandis are sure to adore this new sound; with a decent mix of The Family Jewels and Electra Heart thrown in to inspire sufficient nostalgia. Yet it’s captivating enough to catch a new crowd with its fresh voice and taste budtingling hooks. | LJC

Still Alice

Still Alice

Marina And The Diamonds — FROOT

Our favourite half-Welsh/halfGreek pop goddess explodes back on to the music scene in a dazzling burst of neon and smelling decidedly of FROOT. Marina And The Diamonds’ third studio album has been long awaited and is reportedly her ‘favourite so far’, with good reason. Title track, ‘FROOT’, is a cosmic tune which does little to hide its darker undertones and ‘ripe’ sexual innuendos. It’s sassy and we get a sense here that this is the real Marina, no alter egos or fakery. ‘I’m a Ruin’ is simply stunning. A heart-breaking tale of selfdestruction and learning how

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Entertain Me By Lesley-Jane Carroll

Reality TV? Not In The World I’m Living In, Folks


his month, I’m sounding the death knell for reality TV and it’s with a genuinely heavy heart that I admit defeat. It hasn’t always been this way though. In years gone by, I revelled in the bitchiness of Big Brother, lavished in the opulence of Made in Chelsea and drank along (heavily) with Geordie Shore. My evenings weren’t complete without a dose of kangaroo testicles from I’m A Celebrity… or a decent amount of naked Welsh bottom courtesy of The Valleys. But recently I had a revelation kind of akin to something Socrates or Plato might have had back in their day. What is reality? What is it doing on my TV screen? Why does it mostly involve waiting for someone to have a public meltdown? Ok, so it might not be revolutionary thinking, but it still struck a chord somewhere inside strong enough for me to reach for the TV remote and press down the ‘off ’ button with as much sass as I could muster. For me, the term ‘Reality TV’ has become an insipid oxymoron; a platform for fake opinions, fake encounters and fake boobs. Chelsea residents are most likely horrified by the antics of jobless Jamie and his band of blithering idiots. The entire


female population of Newcastle will never be safe from Gaz and his tumescent parsnip (vom). The most recent series of Celebrity Big Brother solidified my ever-encroaching doubts and allowed me to finally hammer the last nail in the reality TV coffin. Perez Hilton’s frequent

“Why are we hanging on the every scripted word of attentionstarved Z-listers?”

The Valleys

and desperate cries for validation, Jeremy Jackson’s indecent assault of Chloe Goodman, and Ken Morley’s offensive and unacceptable vernacular left me with a decidedly sour taste in my mouth. What happened to celebrating the intelligence, talent and

human beauty of others? Why are we hanging on the every scripted word of attentionstarved Z-listers? I’m not an idiot (don’t say a word), and I understand that these kinds of shows bring in TV ratings galore and money beyond compare, but I’m struggling to see why we as a nation haven’t yet grasped what we’re witnessing. Sometimes it’s the upsetting personal defeat of someone with an untreated mental illness; other times it’s excess, debauchery and lurid decadence played out in glorious HD. I really think it’s time we champion a new era of television that does something useful with its airtime. Something that portrays life as it really is for the vast majority of those that are watching. It would be a lot less drama-filled but perhaps more engaging and identifiable. Let me finish by saying that I am not lambasting all reality TV. You’ll still find me glued to Dragon’s Den or The Apprentice. But that’s because these are shows with a little ingenuity. More factual than fake. For now though, I’ll wait patiently for other such quality programming. But allow me to tut heavily when the next I’m A Real Brummy Looking For Love In A TV Studio Version of London arrives. I think it’s out next week.



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The changing face of masculinity and the breakdown of gender barriers, March’s savviest style tips for cash-strapped students and the evolving perceptions of beauty and disability

Men Unmasked

The Changing Face of Masculinity and the Breakdown of Gender Barriers By Kevin Long


he image of the quintessential male has come a long, long way from the days of burly, hairy cave men. The 21st century has introduced the 21st century male: a metrosexual kaleidoscope of abs, tinted moisturiser and hair removal. “I think it’s about high time that men too must learn of the utter humiliation of simulating yoga in front of your bedroom mirror when trying to shave your privates,” says Vivian O’Riordan, a 23 year old Marketing student. It is a sentiment that echoes the development in men’s personal appearance in the last five years or so and the expectations and standards that they too now are expected to meet. Guys no longer get away with unkempt pubes, a checked Tommy Hilfiger shirt tucked into ill-fitting jeans and an unattractive, sweaty t-zone. 26

“I spend about an hour every morning deciding what to wear and styling myself,” says Cormac Hill, a 21 year old student of English Literature. “I scrub my face, moisturise, apply mattifier to keep my skin looking fresh. I mask once a week and, bar the

designer stubble, shave my body too.” Cormac’s style is apparent the minute he walks into the coffee shop. His hair is perfectly coiffed, his eyebrows immaculately neat and his Topman attire befitting of a man who prides himself on his looks. The moment he tears his lips away from the coffee mug, traces of balm linger around the rim. “When I first started to get into style, guys on my course did the typically laddish thing of calling me ‘gay’ and poking fun. It’s all good, but I’m not [gay],” he says. “I see photos of them on Facebook on nights out now, a couple of years later, and it’s obvious that they’ve finally started to up their game. I’m not narcissistic enough to assume they’ve outright mimicked me but there are similarities.” Cormac touches on an interesting note when he recalls being labelled gay for the way he dresses. Masculinity has become increasingly manipulated and remoulded; an emasculation of sorts, so that it now encompasses more than just stale body odour, flannel shirts and a lack of visible emotion. In general, men are more open to their own emotions and the blurring of the gender lines have allowed for a lot of men and women’s fashion to cross over. Harry Styles, allegedly, wears jeans from Topshop. “My thighs are too thick to fit into ladies skinnies,” Cormac jokes when told this. “But I think

“Guys no longer get away with unkempt pubes, a checked Tommy Hilfiger shirt tucked into ill-fitting jeans and a sweaty t-zone.”

Photo: Anna Koppenhöfer

men’s style has come on leaps and bounds, and yeah, sometimes guys’ and girls’ tees and jumpers can be very similar.” The conversation turns towards fake tan, make-up and the gym. “Yeah the gym’s important for health but I’m not going to deny that a lot of it boils down to vanity too. I like to look at myself in the mirror and see the progress. And I have used fake tan before. “I’m open to the idea of make-up if it’s subtly done but more so to hide acne scars than give myself Kylie Jenner lips,” he says. The man of 2015 is varying; traditional notions of masculinity no longer trap guys into adhering to one look. Options now exist, from the extreme gruffness of beard culture to the hairless, tanned and decidedly feminine aspects of Joey Essex and the likes. “I think it’s great,” says Vivian when talking about the development of masculinity. “It’s silly to think guys have to fit a certain mould. And when it comes to dating, girls like just as many choices as boys.” As for her own type? “I think I’d like a happy medium,” she says. “But if he could be six foot or above that would be great.” Not everyone is a proponent of the ‘new’ masculinity. Jeffrey Howe, a 24 year old graduate of Engineering, finds it utterly perplexing. “I honestly don’t get it. To think that guys shave their chests, legs etc is so bizarre.” As for skincare? “Nah, I’ll wash my face with whatever’s in the shower in the morning and that’s about it.” The evolution of masculinity aligns with the breakdown of the gender construct and the refusal of the millennial generation to stick to traditional norms. A quick glance at girls’ ‘boyfriend-fit jeans’ or guys’ ‘spray on skinny’ highlights this. Tom Ford has introduced a men’s make-up range onto the market and it is only a matter of time before Boots follow suit with a less-pricey No.7 version. “I think there’ll always be naysayers and the more conservative types that believe a man has to be entirely male, because any element of femininity is almost a dirty thing,” says Cormac. “But I’m 100% comfortable in my own skin and appearance, and that’s the most important thing for me.” 28

Photo: Anna Koppenhöfer


Spotted! By Elizabeth Abrahams



Queen of Edge


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SAVE THE DATE! Date For The Diar y : Savage Beauty Alexander McQueen

re’s a new yourselves, because the Fashion lovers, ready 2 August, the rch Ma 14 m Fro . event on the horizon great showcasing the late and V&A museum will be ion, ibit exh e Th e. ’s work in Europ Alexander McQueen ns from spa , uty Bea age Sav : een called Alexander McQu ished collection to his unfin his 1992 MA graduate tion. lec col 0 201 er int Autumn/W with prices w at, Book your tickets no pricey but nd sou y ma it ow kn We starting from £17.50. book in to dy rea be ry week and you could save £5 eve out for you! k loo n’t do we say three weeks. Don’t

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Fashion Mood Board Inspiration for the style-savvy student





The Commentary By Alessia Nava

Breaking Boundaries: Going Beyond The Beauty Stereotype


xciting things have been happening recently, and not just in the world of fashion. People with disabilities and disfigurements are finally being presented as people who can be as successful, strong and sexy as anyone else. This much-awaited change, which we had seen glimpses of back in 2014, has now come centre stage after this year’s New York Fashion Week, where American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer became the first woman with Down’s Syndrome to ever walk the runway. She’s not the only one. British personal trainer, Jack Eyers, was also the first male amputee model to strut the catwalk, along with Karen Crespo (the first quadruple amputee to walk in the show) and Danielle Sheypuk (the first model in a wheelchair to feature in a runway). Even the music industry ditched the stereotype when British singer and model, Viktoria Modesta, became the first pop star amputee to hit the charts with her single, ‘Prototype’, last year. The world has never seen such drastic strides towards creating a more diverse beauty landscape as

it has in the past couple of years. But are these times here to stay or just the latest marketing gimmick to attract more customers? Magazines have been pledging not to retouch their models (although, how many of these

“Are beauty standards finally being shattered? Maybe, but I’ll believe this really isn’t a fad when being a size 12 doesn’t place me in the ‘plus size’ category ” are actually keeping their word is another question), older women have been featuring in advertisements, plus-size models have been taking on major contracts and, now, disabled people are being embraced as uniquely striking. These positive transformations

are definitely a good start, and here’s hoping that they aren’t just a flash in the pan. Are beauty standards finally being shattered and replaced with the understanding that everyone is beautiful in their own way? Maybe, but I’ll believe this really isn’t a fad when being a size 12 doesn’t place me in the ‘plus size’ category. At the same time, this new opening to 2015 is an obvious demonstration that people with disabilities are as capable of achieving remarkable things as anyone else. And, seeing them presented - not as a challenge to the glamour of the entertainment world, but as an extension of it - is such a welcome sight. Even though it could be just a temporary thing, I really do hope that it inspires people to accept the fact that people truly are beautiful in their own way. I am certainly not the first person to come to the realisation that our standards of beauty are unfair. As someone who was bullied in school for being too muscular and not conforming to certain stereotypes, I’ve experienced enough trauma to last me a lifetime. But the fact that times are changing in such a radical and empowering way warms my heart, and allows me to hope that these days of acceptance are finally here to stay. Sync Yourself |



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Synced Issue 2  

Second issue of Synced magazine. Inside is a complete cheat sheet to the election, a comedy special featuring student comedians and info on...

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