__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

BADGER ·

thebadgeronline.com

·

15th February 2021

THE

Official free fortnightly newspaper by and for Sussex students · Printed on recycled paper

Sussex reveals no-detriment details

EXCLUSIVE: We Spoke to two key players who have been part of the new policy being put into place this academic year.

Georgia Keetch Online Production Editor

Sussex University has officially announced that there will be a no detriment policy put into place this academic year. This has come after weeks of students asking the University to put something into place as the pandemic is constantly making student life and workloads even harder. Decisions concerning the policy have been made through the University Executive Group (UEG) and the University Education Committee (UEC). As details continue to emerge, it is certainly clear that it will not be similar to last years and according to the SU in an officer update, due to the fact that Sussex is one of the first to announce a policy like this, there is a potential of the university itself ‘being accused of devaluing the quality of their degrees’. Official communication from the University on the 5th of February said that “We entirely recognise the challenges of this year for assessments, and we are determined to support you by ensuring that your grades are not negatively impacted [..] These measures are part of an ongoing process of supporting your education”. In the same email, the University said that the reason

that this policy is so different to its predecessor is because “last year our final no detriment policy could be announced in one go, as it came towards the end of the academic year […] this year we have taken a more comprehensive approach, providing a range of measures to be applied across the year”. The University has consistently let students know that “no detriment measures would not be applied to reduce grades only to uplift them” The Badger had an exclusive interview (over email) with Professor Kate O’Riordan, who is currently chairing the Education Continuity and Students Group (ECSG) whilst Professor Kelly Coate is away. This new group was created so that staff could “work together much more quickly and responsively during the pandemic; more than existing systems allow” and has representatives from University schools and from the Students Union. When we asked Professor O’Riordan whether she believes if the no detriment policy is fit for purpose, she responded by saying “Yes […] it has a clear framework with the capacity to be responsive” and then further explaining that “The policy this year has two

Hotel quarantine & Plans for uni return? 3

Comment

Flirting from home & Fake future? 9

Features

University of Sussex phases because we have two assessment and examination periods, and it applies at two levels- individual students and whole cohorts”. The Badger now understands that the new policy and its two phases mean that “grades will be protected across this year’. As a result of this interview, The Badger can reveal that the three main principles of the new policy are that “grades are protected as much as possible, no detriment measures can apply equally to as many students as possible and that quality assurance regulations are satisfied”. The Professor then went on to explain how the new policy was created, formed and developed by saying that students were involved at all parts of the process, which included

Maddie Ross 22-23

News

“Student Reps, connectors, advocates, ambassadors, and students across the schools in lots of different ways”. What was clarified in the interview is that in some cases “decisions about this policy and other education issues are made through the University Education Committee (UEC), and the University Executive Group (UEG), led by the Vice-Chancellor”. We communicated to the Professor that at times information passed on to students has been both confusing and worrying; so The Badger asked whether student feedback has been a priority or just a lot of paperwork. In her response she said that she was “sorry that students have had this experience of our communications”

Continued on page 3...

Too much info? & Considering trauma 13

Arts

LGBT Film focus & Lana Del Rey’s Poetry 17

Travel & Culture California Dreams & Influencers’ Dubai Travel 26

Science & Tech

SpaceX’s Starship & Hacking in the pandemic 29

Sports

Football romance & Test Cricket’s revival? 31


Editor-in-Chief Josh Talbot badger@sussexstudent.com Print Production Editor Ellie Doughty Online Production Editor Georgia-May Keetch Print Production Sub-Editor Gurpreet Raulia Online Production Sub-Editor Margaret Arabambi Marketing Managers Alex Norman Sarah Wong The News Team Oliver Mizzi Ewan Vellinga Grace Curtis Jake Nordland Aiala Suso badger-news@sussexstudent. com The Comment Team Issy Anthony Will Day Libby Mills Joel Renouf-Cooke Rosie Cook badger-opinion@sussexstudent. com The Features Team Alana Harris Olly Williams Teddy Parkin Maisie Thorman badgerfeatureseditor@gmail. com The Arts Team Jessica Hake Robyn Cowie badger-arts@sussexstudent.com The Books Team Eric Barrell Molly Openshaw thebadger.bookseditor@gmail. com The Music Team Alice Barradale Dylan Bryant thebadger.musiceditor@gmail. com The Film & Television Team Yazz James Rob Salusbury thebadger.film@gmail.com The Theatre Team Elijah Arief thebadger-theatre@gmail.com The Artist Focus Team Luisa De La Concha Montes thebadger.street@gmail.com The Travel & Culture Team Hal Keelin Bryony Rule Katya Pristiyani badger.travelculture@gmail.com The Sports Team Charlie Batten Max Killham thebadger.sport@gmail.com The Science & Technology Team Eleanor Deane Rob Barrie thebadger.science@gmail.com Events and Publicity Jess Dingle Grace Ochieng Proof Readers Yasmine Yaguer Jake Nordland

Editorial Josh Talbot Editor in Chief

Ellie Doughty Print Production Editor

Hello one and all! Welcome to the second edition of The Badger this term. We’re raring to go with plenty of postValentines reflections, LGBT celebrations and coronavirus laments. We’re really happy to be welcoming new team members as we step into second term and everyone has really hit the ground running with the content they have collabed on, in what is their first edition! I’d like to personally say thanks to them for coming on board in these crazy times and for fitting in so well! When producing the paper in this current climate it is very easy to feel as though there isn’t the same pay-off for the hard work put in, as there were in a time when we were able to print a physical copy. Whilst this is factually true, it was fantastic to hear that in the Student Publication Association’s (SPA’s) regional awards for the South East, The Badger was awarded a Special Mention in the Best Publication Category. This was very rewarding news, and has, to me, justified the time and effort that the team have relentlessly put in, even despite coming up against numerous seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Thank you SPA! Looking back to this term and the work that we are doing now, it makes me very excited for the remainder of this academic year. There isn’t so much uncertainty any more, which sounds strange to say, considering that there are still so many unknowns in the world at the moment. What I mean is that after a certain amount of forced adjustment, this feeling of uncertainty is strangely familiar and not as frightening. We can review each change as it comes up and tentatively work on moving forward in whatever way we can. This edition and the content within is testament to a new era of progression and Badger optimism- enjoy!

Hi everyone, thanks for reading our second edition of the new term! In this edition we’ve got some important news updates on decolonialism efforts in education, vaccination rates in the EU, global finance news, a thorough explanation of Sussex’s nodetriment policy, and more! Comment this time discusses climate change, the recent trials of Rihanna’s venture Fenty, schools reopening in the UK and Valentine’s Day during times of coronavirus. Check out Travel & Culture to read about influencer antics in Dubai, coronavirus and vaccine passports, or to skim a new recipe! Sport this time discusses football and a personal retrospective take, as well as a new phase for English cricket and the financial impact of coronavirus. Check out Features to read about Brexit and expat-covid life in Cyprus, browse an informative story of gender neutral, or an interview with senior Microsoft manager Hugh Milward, chatting all things coronavirus and tech. Naturally Science & Tech have more useful and current wisdom to impart on us, with a piece on the new virus strain among them. Some great thought pieces on capitalism and scientific developments, using vitamin D to get through lockdown and a comforting retrospective about hacking remotely in online communities. And let’s not forget Arts; taking a look into drama at Sussex in pandemic life, an op-ed about the classic Romeo & Juliet, the romance novel genre and Lana Del Ray’s recent poetry collection. Artist Focus brings a fresh perspective with theatre director Maddie Ross, and Editor’s Choice provides a great recommendation worth checking out. That’s all from me, thanks for reading our second edition and as always feel free to send anything our way you’d like to share!

Want to advertise in

BADGER?

THE

THE

BADGER

Follow The Badger online @thebadgersussex @thebadgersussex @thebadgerarts @thebadgersussex www.thebadgeronline.com Student Publication Award News The team was very humbled, since the last editon, to recieve a Special Mention at the Student Publication Association’s Regional Awards for the South East. Thanks SPA!

Do you want your local business or student relevant venture to reach a campus full of students? Contact us at badgermarketing.sussex@ gmail.com for prices, advert sizes and more info about online and in print adverts


The Badger 15th February 2021

News ... continued from front She continued to say that her and her team would be open to receive feedback from Sussex students. The ECSG is also currently “working on FAQs for issues in the area […] and an open forum as well”. The Professor finished off her response to us by saying that “I know this is a really difficult time for everyone, and there are really significant inequalities that are being exacerbated through the pandemic”. Finally, she relayed to us her pride at how the Sussex community has come together, and that she “really appreciates all the work that staff and students are putting in to try and hold onto some kind of continuity of education, research into music, and to keep pretty important questions about access to education and social justice visible in what seems to be impossible conditions”. The Badger had a second

3 email interview with another key player within this new policy; Dr Graeme Pedlingham, the Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor of Student Experience. He revealed to us that this new policy was in the works after the announcement of a new lockdown in January this year. Dr Pedlingham said that “we really wanted to let students know as soon as we could […] to provide some early reassurance”. The Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor also said that the reason this policy will be different from its predecessor is simply due to where we are at in the academic year. In his email response, he states that “We don’t have Non-Covid impacted grades at the same level […] but we are very confident that impact on students can still be mitigated through the new measures announced”. We put the question of how much Dr Pedlingham thinks this new policy is adequate for safeguarding students’ grades,

ity and high value of your Sussex degree”. Dr Pedlingham revealed to us that the University is in touch and consulting with professional bodies to make sure our degree’s are not being devalued as a result of this new policy.

“ and his response was optimistic. “We are doing this from two angles” he said, “For example, where individuals have been impacted by particular circumstances […] we have expanded exceptional circumstances and self-certification so that we can also take action at an individual

level”. To conclude, the Deputy ProVice Chancellor wanted to put across that Sussex University has student support as a priority. “The only reason for doing a no detriment policy is to protect students’ interest […] that does include protecting the qual-

The Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor also said that the reason this policy will be different from its predecessor is simply due to where we are at in the academic year. In his email response, he states that “We don’t have Non-Covid impacted grades at the same level […] but we are very confident that impact on students can still be mitigated through the new measures announced”. Professor O’Riordan and Dr Pedlingham both relayed to The Badger that they welcome student feedback and thoughts on any aspect over the new no detriment policy.

Plans for university return set to be announced Jake Nordland News Sub-Editor Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to announce plans for the return of students to universities in England on 22 February. The upcoming plans are said to introduce a phased return starting as early as 8 March for some students, according to The Guardian. Final-year students taking practical-based degrees are expected to be the first cohort of students to go back, trailed by other subjects and year groups. Asked about the return to face-to-face teaching, a spokesperson for the University of Sussex said: “Semester 2 teaching will remain in its current remote mode (except for those cohorts currently allowed in the government guidance) until existing government restrictions are changed”. “Currently, we anticipate that this may be from the week beginning 8 March onwards, but will not be earlier than this”. The spokesperson said the university would provide students with further details on the return in the week beginning 22 February. They did not comment when asked whether face-to-face teaching would be resumed for all students before the end of the teaching term this summer. Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has previously said the government will look at data up until the 15 February, before announcing their decision on the 22nd. She told The Tab that

PM, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak requesting greater government support for students. The letter details the “unprecedented” pressures faced by students amidst the pandemic, and asks for further avenues of financial support. It also highlights the “extraordinary mental health challenges” besetting students, and raises concerns over the lack of equal access to technology. Mr Williamson’s announcement is set to be made on the same day as the government outlines its wider roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

Number 10 getting students back is their “number one priority”, and that higher education will follow the same roadmap as schools. However, both Ms Donelan and PM Boris Johnson have expressed caution, warning that while they expect schools and universities to open, the final decision is not definite and will depend on Covid-19 data. In the interview, Ms Donelan said: “[we] will be looking at data including death rates, the virus rate, the vaccination programme, and the pressure on the NHS. Then the decision will be announced on the 22nd February”. And in a Downing Street press conference on 3 February, Mr

Johnson said that educational institutions will only re-open on 8 March “if the data allow”. Some unions have advised against a hasty return to faceto-face teaching. Jo Grady of the University and College Union told The Guardian: “The priority right now must be to keep as much teaching as possible online for the rest of the academic year”. He warned ministers and universities not to reopen campuses simply to stave off financial pressures, citing the lessons learnt from last term. The start of the academic year saw a hasty return of pupils to universities, and has since been criticized after coronavirus cas-

es spiked on campuses across the country. A senior University of Sussex lecturer estimated that roughly 14,000 Covid-positive students returned to universities across the UK at the start of the first term. Students at Sussex and elsewhere also launched rent strikes last year in protest at being lured back, only to be stuck with virtual learning and high accommodation rents. Mr Williamson’s 22 February announcement will come just weeks after multiple ViceChancellors, including the University of Sussex’s Adam Tickell, signed an open letter addressed to the Education Secretary, the

The spokesperson said the university would provide students with further details on the return in the week beginning 22 February. They did not comment when asked whether face-to-face teaching would be resumed for all students before the end of the teaching term this summer. Mr Johnson is expected to hold a highly anticipated press conference on 22 February detailing plans to lift the nationwide lockdown restrictions that have been in place since 5 January this year. Restrictions are predicted to be lifted gradually to allow scientists to measure the impact of any changes and adjust policy accordingly. But Mr Johnson is facing pressure from forces within the Conservative party to ease restrictions more quickly in a bid to help boost the economy.


The Badger 15th February 2021

News

4

Covid-19: New UK arrivals face potential £10,000 fine Grace Curtis

News Print Sub Editor On 9 February the UK Government announced the details of their new travel enforcement plans, that will come into effect on 15 February. When the program starts, all new arrivals from the 33 “red list” countries - that have reported Covid-19 variants - will have to isolate in a hotel for 10 nights to protect from community transmission. Bookings will open from 11 February and all participants will be charged £1,750 for their stay. Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announced that any passenger who fails to abide by these rules, or who lies about their prior destination on official forms, could face up to 10-years in jail or a £10,000 fine. According to documents seen by the BBC, hotel guests will be served three meals a day in their rooms and any contracted accommodation will be required to work with governmentapproved security staff. The security guards will “prevent unauthorised access” and escort guests outside for smoking breaks. The new rules will affect UK

Ben Brooksbank residents and Irish nationals travelling from the 33 countries on the Government’s so-called “red list” - which covers much of South America, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Portugal. Travel is already banned from the majority of these countries. However British residents, and long-term visa holders, are exempt from these rules and therefore will have to partake in the mandatory quarantine program if they arrive on or after 15 February. However, Government scientific advisers have warned that nothing short of quarantining every new arrival or completely

closing borders will “get close” to excluding all foreign-borne variants. The minutes from a meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on 21 January were recently released, and resolve that the “complete, pre-emptive closure of borders or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival in designated facilities, irrespective of testing history, can get close to fully preventing the importation of cases or new variants”. After criticism from the Labour Party that the hotel plans were taking too long to finalise, on 9 February Mr Hancock an-

nounced to the House of Commons that 16 hotels have been contracted for the programme, with 4,600 total rooms secured. Previously, the shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds had called the implementation of the mandatory quarantine system “too little, too late”. “It is beyond comprehension that these measures won’t even start until February 15,” he said. “We are in a race against time to protect our borders against new Covid-19 strains [..] Yet hotel quarantine will come in to force more than 50 days after the South African strain was discovered”. He further stated, “even when these measures eventually begin, they will not go anywhere near far enough to be effective in preventing further variants”. A Downing Street spokesperson has said that the delay in organisation occurred because it was “vital” that the government get the program “right from the start”. As part of the planning process, discussions with Australia and New Zealand took place to “share expertise” on the hotel quarantine system. The news of the hotel quarantine programme has come as a shock to many Sussex students currently living abroad, some of

whom were hoping to return to the UK as restrictions ease later into the term. Robyn Cowie, a final year student whose parents recently emigrated to the Netherlands, told Badger how the announcement had impacted her. “The ever-changing policies by the government regarding quarantine hotels...did cause me some anxiety at first”.

The new rules will affect UK residents and Irish nationals travelling from the 33 countries on the Government’s socalled “red list” - which covers much of South America, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Portugal. For Robyn, “it is the uncertainty of what exactly the protocol will be when I do return, as there have been so many changes already and it is hard to predict what the next supposed policy shall be”. She is also concerned about the potential financial expense of a hotel quarantine. “The ever-changing potential cost implication of returning to university, for any type of face to face teaching, is another stress when trying to work out if it is worth travelling back to the UK”.

Decolonising the Curriculum: Proposed Changes at University of Leicester Cause Controversy Ewan Vellinga News Online Sub Editor The University of Leicester has received significant backlash around a proposal that could include staff being made redundant and certain modules being discontinued. Proposed changes would put 145 posts at risk of redundancy, and specific modules in English language, linguistics and medieval literature being dropped from the curriculum. This was “informed by a drop in demand from undergraduate and postgraduate students” for these modules. “Our curriculum is very broad, and we cannot continue to offer modules that consistently attract small and ever-declining numbers, especially given the pressures across the higher education sector.” The proposal has received significant criticism from staff and students. The University and College Union (UCU) said the proposed redundancies were “cruel and divisive,” especially given continued uncertainty caused by Covid-19. They also cited a recent freedom of information request,

which shows that the University of Leicester already made 162 redundancies between March and September 2020, part of a similar trend across various UK universities. The UCU further said the discontinuation of specific modules would damage the university’s international reputation, and the quality of teaching, research and student experience. Members voted in support of a no-confidence motion in the vice-chancellor on 25 January, and passed a motion for sustained industrial action. Controversy has also arisen over the reasoning behind the proposal to end certain English modules. Although the university has reiterated the lack of interest from students, some staff and students feel there was an implication these modules were being discontinued in an attempt to create a more “decolonised curriculum.” In an article covering the controversy, the BBC quotes the university as saying that restructuring the course would involve reconsidering how “it could be more inclusive and reflect emerging developments” in a bid to decolonise the curriculum.

A university spokeswoman said “for example, many reading lists are dominated by white authors.” “This ignores many great BAME scholars and also means that BAME students do not see themselves reflected in what they are being taught.” This could involve new modules being offered as replacements, covering topics including race, sexuality, ethnicity and diversity. An open letter was sent to the university, signed by academics both at Leicester and other institutions, on 25 January. It urged a reconsideration of the proposals, arguing that cutting staff and modules would damage the university’s reputation and quality. The BBC reports that Professor Catharine Clarke, an examiner for the English Studies MA, has resigned, and Professor Isobel Armstrong, a fellow of the British Academy, returned her honorary doctorate, both in protest at the proposals. Armstrong argued in a letter addressed to the vice-chancellor that the proposal to discontinue modules had “no sound pedagogical basis” and that the university’s reasoning “was either a cynical exploitation of the language of ‘decolonisation’,

or genuine (and appalling) ignorance of the work medieval and early modern subjects can contribute to this endeavour.” Dr David Clark, an associate professor in the English department, similarly criticised the proposal by saying he was “bemused by the implication none of us already teaches/writes about…decolonising the curriculum.” The BBC also quotes Rhiannon Jenkins, student course representative for final-year English, who said “the student body does want decolonisation”, but “we think (the university has) used this rhetoric of decolonisation to suggest that the English department haven’t done any work towards it, and suggest that medievalism and early modern literature has no place for decolonisation in it.” Jenkins also claims the university has not allowed the English department to poll first-year undergraduate students on which modules they were interested in. The BBC notes that a university spokesperson said “this is not the case – the university’s module selection process for next year’s English course has not yet commenced.” The university has adamantly

denied the implication these modules are being discontinued in an attempt to decolonise the curriculum, saying “there have been a number of erroneous assertions in the media regarding the proposed changes.” “Any assertion that authors, such as Chaucer, will be ‘banned’ from the English literature curriculum have no basis, nor do any stories suggesting these are linked to a programme to decolonise the curriculum.” “Under our proposals for English, we will continue to offer a wide chronological range, covering hundreds of years of English literature – enabling students to experience the scope of literature they tell us they want to see in an English curriculum today.” “We understand this is a challenging time for our community, but any decisions made will ultimately be taken with the longterm interest of the University at heart.” The university has reiterated that these are only proposals, and they are currently in a 90-day consultation with staff, students and external stakeholders. As such, whether the proposals will go ahead is as yet still unclear.


The Badger 15th February 2021

News 5 Bitcoin’s $1.5 billion investment by Tesla sends value to an all-time high ture”. These announcements led many investors to rush into the asset, which in turn led to a spike in bitcoin’s price in a matter of hours, from about $39,000 to a new all-time high of $48,000. The transaction is part of Tesla’s new 2021 investment policy aimed at diversifying and maximising its returns on investments. Spreading one’s wealth across various assets is common financial practice, but its adoption has gained increased popularity over the last year. This is partly due to the dollar’s decrease in value during the last several months, to a large extent a consequence of the Federal Reserve’s policy to

Matteo Marchionni The price of bitcoin hit a new all-time high of $48,000 following Tesla’s announcement that it purchased $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency. Monday 8th, Elon Musk’s Tesla filed its documents to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which revealed the company had invested an amount equivalent to $1.5 billion in bitcoin during January. The document also states that customers will soon be able to purchase the company’s electric vehicles with the cryptocurrency: “we expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near fu-

print new money in order to sustain the economy during the Covid-19 outbreak. The latest example of this occurred last week when the U.S. Senate approved Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue bill. The latter was immediately followed by a slight decrease of the American currency’s value coinciding with a small surge in bitcoin’s price, as investors speculated inflation in the near future. More good news for bitcoin came in the following days of Tesla’s announcement, which actually led the cryptocurrency’s value to surpass by just a slight margin the record hit on Monday. On Wednesday, the financial

service corporation Mastercard communicated that it will begin accepting cryptocurrency payments later this year, following its competitors Visa and Paypal in this approach. On Thursday, Nigerian Senator Sani Musa said: “Cryptocurrency has become a worldwide transaction of which you cannot even identify who owns what. The technology is so strong that I don’t see the kind of regulation that we can do. Bitcoin has made our currency almost useless or valueless” Following Monday’s price increase, businessman Michael Novogratz stated that he expects bitcoin to reach up to $100,000 by the end of this year

if other big-name firms follow Tesla’s footsteps. Other major companies have already pursued Tesla’s same avenue, including MicroStrategy Inc. and Square Inc., but most firms remain sceptical about investing into the asset principally due to its high volatility. Furthermore, some such as UBS Wealth Management strategist Kiran Ganesh, regard bitcoin as a bubble, arguing that the asset’s value is in reality equal to zero. But for the time being, thanks also to Tesla, the cryptocurrency is doing better than ever, and it is likely that its maximum value is yet to be reached.

Man fined £25,000 over Increasing violence as India farmer online review protests continue Lucy Evans Phillip James Waymouth had hired London based law firm Summerfield Browne for legal support, and after being dissatisfied with the service, had left a scathing TrustPilot review which according to court documents accused the firm of being ‘another scam solicitor’. Subsequently Summerfield Browne took legal action, accusing Waymouth of libel, stating that his review was ‘untrue and defamatory’, a statement which on the 4th February was upheld within the High Court. The law firm stated that in the five weeks following the review, enquiries had significantly dropped, from 50-60 per week to 30-40. Mr Waymouth was disappointed with the service he received having paid £200 plus VAT, alleging that “what I got was just the information I sent them, reworded and sent back to me.”. Judge Master David Cook stated that Waymouth’s review “had a clear tendency to put people off dealing with the claimant firm”, and thus determined Waymouth had libelled Summerfield Browne, and ordered he paid £25,000 in damages. Waymouth did not attend the hearing, nor sent a representative. Judge Cook stated Waymouth ‘never fully articulated’ why he was unhappy with the work of the legal firm. TrustPilot have since responded, condemning the legal action taken, stating that they “strongly oppose the use of legal action to silence consumers’

freedom of speech”. A banner warning other users of the legal action has also been placed on Summerfield Browne’s page. TrustPilot continued, stating this was “the first time we’ve seen a business taking such extreme measures against a consumer voicing their genuine opinion”. They also stated that they were never contacted by Summerfield Browne, nor were proper review flagging protocols followed prior to legal action being taken.

Judge Master David Cook stated that Waymouth’s review “had a clear tendency to put people off dealing with the claimant firm”, and thus determined Waymouth had libelled Summerfield Browne, and ordered he paid £25,000 in damages. Summerfield Browne’s profile is now closed for new reviews, following an influx of negative reviews, left in support of Mr Waymouth- their average star rating having dropped to 2.1 out of five. TrustPilot continued to criticise the response by the legal company, stating “It is much better for businesses to engage, respond and improve upon the feedback they receive, rather than using legal action to silence consumers”, a sentiment echoed by Jason Williams from Lawgistics, who stated that businesses should not react defensively or demand the comment be removed, but reply to negative comments with a “carefully worded response”.

Aiala Suso

News Sub-Editor Farmers in India have been protesting since August 2020 against three new government laws which deregulate agricultural activities. Farmers fear that these new regulations around sale, prices and storage will drive them out of business. Their confrontations with the police have been increasingly violent in recent weeks. So far, one protester has died, many have been injured, hundreds have been detained and some journalists have been charged for covering the protest. Under the new legislation, farmers can sell their products directly to big businesses, bypassing wholesale markets. The Indian government said that these changes will protect their rights and benefit them financially. That is because they believe that opening up agricultural trade will attract investment and technology, and will create alternative markets for farmer families to benefit from. During the annual meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) last December, Indian Prime Minister said: “The aim of all government reforms is to make farmers prosperous. The new legislation, which was approved in the previous Parliament session, gives farmers an additional option outside of the designated mandis to buy or sell their crops.” Farmers, on the other hand, believe that it will mean the end of the long-established guaranteed price on crops, and that

would make them vulnerable to exploitation from big corporations. The government has offered to suspend the laws for 18 months, but farmers will not stop protesting until these laws are officially repealed. The guaranteed price on crops is called Minimum Support Price (MSP) and it has provided insurance to agricultural producers since it was first established in the late 1960s. Since then, the crops are procured by government agencies at a promised price to farmers that cannot be altered. For decades, this ‘safety net’ has protected farmers from financial fluctuations, either derived from market price falls or natural disasters. During the protests, tens of thousands of farmers have blockaded highways across the country and have set up camps in busy streets around the capital, New Delhi. On 26 January, during a public holiday that commemorates when India adopted its first Constitution in 1950, a procession of tractors turned violent when protestors deviated from the pre-agreed routes, tearing down barricades and clashing with the police. Protestors also stormed in the emblematic New Delhi’s Red Fort that day. These violent clashes resulted in the death of one protester, many people injured and 200 protesters detained. The government has responded to the increasing violence by setting up iron spikes and steel barricades to prevent protesters from getting to the capital. The authorities have also cut internet access in different locations

where protestors gather in big numbers, especially in New Delhi and surrounding areas. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has also requested Twitter to delete over 1.000 accounts claiming that they spread misinformation about the farmer-led national protest. Whereas Twitter has already deleted some accounts, it has refused to accommodate Modi’s request, considering it inconsistent with the Indian law. The government has responded by threatening the social media giant with jail terms for its executives. Other social and mainstream media have also received similar threats, and nine journalists have been charged so far for covering the protests. Some critics believe the government is using the protests to crackdown on freedom of speech. Some international human rights NGOs have asked the Indian government to retract itself from some of its actions. For instance, Human Rights Watch has asked the government to drop the “baseless” cases against journalists in order to protect media freedom. Amnesty International has demanded that the government stops “crushing farmers’ protests and demonizing dissenters”. A counter-protest movement has also arisen after public figures like pop singer Rihanna, and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, showed their support to Indian farmers through social media posts. Government supporters in Delhi have burnt pictures of both denouncing their interference is neither appropriate nor welcomed.


The Badger 15th February 2021

News

6

Government calls for evidence from domestic abuse victims Miranda Dunne Staff Writer

TW: This article contains reference to domestic violence. The UK government has released a call for evidence from those with ‘lived experience of or views on violence against women and girls’ ahead of its 2021-2024 strategy for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). It closes on 19 February 2021. The call for evidence published on the gov.uk website reads: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on both existing problems of accessing services easily and quickly and, the strains on support services across the whole area of hidden harms.’ It stated that ‘men and boys experience crimes which fall within the definition of violence against women and girls’ and as such the report acknowledges male victims of violence. The strategy is calling for evidence from the general public, which can be completed via an online survey. It also asks for published data and research from ‘academics and others who have interest and expertise in vi-

olence against women and girls.’ It came after a study released in Radiology in August concluded ‘a higher incidence and severity of physical intimate partner violence (IPV) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic compared with the prior 3 years.’ Intimate partner violence during the coronavirus pandemic was found to have increased by nearly two-fold. The call for evidence is not just for domestic abuse, but a number of crimes that either do or ‘should’ fall into VAWG such as image-based abuse, sexual assault, female genital mutilation and cyber flashing. The strategy is supported by FGM campaigner Nimco Ali OBE, who was appointed as an Independent government Adviser on Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls in October by Home Secretary Priti Patel. Ask for Ani, a UK-widescheme, was also launched on the 14 January by ministers whereby those at risk of domestic abuse can give the code word ‘Ani’ (Action needed immediately) in pharmacies. The scheme is available across 2,300 Boots pharmacies and 255 independent pharmacies, with other pharmacies being asked to sign up. Safeguarding minister Victo-

Supremes Co-founder dies aged 76 Georgia Keetch Online Production Editor Mary Wilson, one of the original members of the Supremes, the 1960s group that helped define the Motown sound and style and propelled Diana Ross to superstardom, has died. She was 76. The Supremes are known for songs such as ‘Baby Love’ and ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’.

The group was founded in Detroit as The Primettes in 1959,

when Wilson was 15 years old. The singer passed away at her home in Henderson, Nevada, her publicist Jay Schwartz announced, but he did not confirm the cause of death. Wilson became a New York Times bestselling author in 1986 with the release of her autobiography, ‘Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme’. Just two days before her death, Wilson uploaded a video on YouTube announcing that she was working on releasing new solo material. The founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy, said in a statement: “I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes.”The Supremes opened doors for themselves, the other Motown acts, and many, many others... I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.”

ria Atkins said: ‘The codeword scheme offers a lifeline to all victims, ensuring they get urgent help in a safe and discreet way.’ Labour shadow home officer Jess Phililips, however, questioned the scheme, saying, ‘domestic abuse and community support services are currently planning for redundancies in March… the staff being made redundant are the very people the minister needs for ‘Ask for Ani’ to have any chance of success.’ In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics reported that police recorded crime data demonstrated an increase in offences categorised as ‘domesticabuse-related’ during coronavirus. However, it is highlighted that police have improved recording of such offences in recent years, meaning it is yet to be determined whether the increase can be directly assigned to the pandemic. The London Metropolitan police received a spike in calls for domestic incidents following the lockdown. Most of them were from third-party callers such as neighbours, likely due to people spending increased time at home. Along with this, demand for domestic abuse services for vic-

tims has increased during the pandemic, with helplines receiving more calls as lockdown measures have been eased. The report says: ‘this does not necessarily indicate an increase in the number of victims, but perhaps an increase in the severity of abuse being experienced, and a lack of available coping mechanisms such as the ability to leave the home to escape the abuse, or attend counselling.’ An anonymous woman spoke to ITV in an interview published last week which read that she found it easier to have her abuser at home so ‘she could keep an eye on him,’ Saying: ‘Obviously I was scared of the pandemic, I was scared of the abuse and harassment from him, and in a weird way, me knowing where he was meant he couldn’t tamper with my car or just let himself in.’ The abuse, she said continued after they were no longer in a relationship. Speaking to ITV News West Country, she said she eventually went to the police, though she had been worried they wouldn’t believe her. The perpetrator has been jailed with a sentence of 25 months and ‘Rosie’ is now living in a safe house. Data gathered from survivors and services by SafeLives char-

ity in August last year suggested 61% of victims were unable to reach out for support during lockdown, with some reporting being unable to ‘access phone or online support, or the perpetrator was with them all the time.’ ‘Women killed by intimate partners of family members account for 58% of all instances of female homicide.’ Leaders have also emphasised that the rise of domestic violence during the pandemic is a global issue UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement in April: ‘...Lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19. But they can trap women with abusive partners.’ ‘... as economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying global surge in domestic violence. In some countries, the number of women calling support services has doubled.’ In an emergency call 999 Refuge, 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247 Mankind, 01823 334 244 Galop, LGBT domestic abuse helpline 0800 999 5428 (823)

Lebanese Dissident Lokman Slim Murdered Diane Naimeh Staff Writer The dissident and leading Critic of Hezbollah was found dead in his car the morning after he went missing. On the 4th of February, Lebanese citizens, politicians and foreign embassies in Lebanon woke up to shocking news that political activist Lokman Slim was killed. Slim, 54, was known for his opposition to Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon. Lebanese citizens described his killing as ‘severely cruel’ and quite vicious. Lebanese activists put the blame on Hezbollah for Lokman’s assassination, describing Hezbollah’s actions as sending the wrong message to the world. Former MP Mr Souaid stated that: “the assassination taking place in the Area dominated by Hezbollah , so either tell us how this murder happened or let them bare direct responsibility”. However, Secretary General of the party Hassan Nasrallah described the accusation as being incorrect.

Many politicians such as Micheal Aoun and Saad Hariri as well as foreign embassies including those from the US and Sweden spoke up about the murder of Lokman Slim. Anne Grillo the french ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea the UU ambassador to Lebanon, and Jan Kubis the UN forensic investigator described his death as being ‘cruel’ and ‘inhumane’ as well. Several sources such as MTV, LBC and many other Lebanese outlets revealed that he had gone missing the night before he was killed. Various embassies such as France, Sweden, the US, and German ambassadors to Lebanon expressed sorrow and grief towards Lokman’s murder and demanded an immediate investigation into his killing. The investigation into Lokman’s death is also being demanded by Lokman’s family. Lokman Slim’s family demanded that his death should be investigated properly in order to reveal whether or not he was tortured before he was assassinated. He was shot 6 times before he died. Lokman’s murder is to be taken seriously and has been described as ‘a major inspection’

by Jan Kubis, and more than that related to the one connected with the Beirut Blast last August. Slim’s death was reflected as the most horrendous reality that Lebanese citizens and population have had to deal with. Lebanon’s citizens and the country has been facing many issues such as a financial and economic crisis, lack of food and poverty , inflation, high rate of domestic violence whilst in a global pandemic. Lokman’s death left a major and wounding mark on the Lebanese people, having faced tremendous hardship 6 months back related to the 4 August ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut. The explosion led to 204 deaths of deaths and 7, 500 injuries. This has left many lebanese citizens homeless and living in poverty. The murder and assassination of Lokman left a huge scar to the Lebanese population as well as his own family members. The Lebanese population fear that this assassination will give a bad name to the country and its citizens, and it leaves the whole world in misery and shock.


The Badger 15th February 2021

News

7

Anti-coup protests erupt nationwide in Myanmar Oliver Mizzi News Editor Protests have arisen across Myanmar after the military orchestrated a coup that ousted the civilian leadership of the country. The coup that occurred on 1 February has had an overwhelmingly negative reaction throughout Myanmar, with protestors coming out against the military in major cities such as the capital Naypyidaw, Mandalay, and Yangon. Protestors have used a variety of protest tactics to signal their anger at the coup. These include banging on pots and pans from balconies, as well as clashing with the police in mass rallies, defying the restrictions that have been placed on rallies due to Covid. The result of these rallies has been the deployment of security services. The police have come out in force in many cities, firing tear gas and water cannons against protestors. On Tuesday a protestor was shot in the head when police fired a live round into a crowd of people in the capital Naypyitaw. She is currently on life support. The National League of Democracy (NLD), the ruling party

whose members include the now detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and President Win Myint, initially called for resistance against the coup, but the call has been taken up by a variety of entities within Myanmar. A wide array of non-Burmese groups has joined the calls against the coup. Many of these minority groups have a long history of fighting the military dominated state which has traditionally been ethnically Burmese and exclusionary to minority groups. These include the Shan, Karen, and Kachin ethnic groups. Moreover, armed groups which are made up of minorities have also entered the scene. The Ta’ang National Liberation Army has expressed support for the anti-coup protests, whilst the Arakan Army and Kachin Independence Army have noted that they are monitoring the situation, especially the army’s actions towards counter coup demonstrators. On Thursday, several protestors who had been arrested by security forces in the city of Loikaw, the capital of Kayah state, were freed after the Kayan New Land Party – an armed group in

£50m added to universities’ funds to support students Aiala Suso News Sub-Editor On 2 February, the UK government announced an additional funding of £50 million for universities to help students facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. This adds to the £20m announced in December. This new budget will be distributed directly from the Office for Students (OfS) to universities, which will then give out to the students most in need, including international students. The government has explained that it will allow universities to support “students impacted by the pandemic, for example those facing additional costs for alternative accommodation, loss of employment, or extra costs to access their teaching online”. According to OfS, this budget is aimed to help students as soon as possible with their immediate needs so that it can be allocated before the end of the current financial year, on 31 March 2021. “£40 million will be prioritised for rent-related hardship, while £10 million is used to boost the £20 million hardship fund previously announced in December 2020”, OfS explained. However, Chief executive of Independent Higher Education,

Alex Proudfoot, highlighted that the funds will not get to all students in the UK: “It’s extremely rare for a university to extend any of its hardship funds to partner institutions, such as pathway colleges.” A spokesperson for the University of Sussex said: “We don’t currently know how much of this will be accessible to Sussex students but we will share further information when available.” According to the BBC, “a survey from the Office for National Statistics suggested that a growing proportion of university students were not happy with their academic experience - and nearly two in three had seen their mental health worsen.”

We don’t currently know how much of this will be accessible to Sussex students but we will share further information when available.” In January, the Welsh Government announced a further £40m budget for vulnerable students and Scotland did so with £30m. Northern Ireland started giving out financial aid to students due to COVID-19 in May 2020.

the province – intervened. This occurred after hours of negotiations between the two groups. As well as minority groups, a wide range of professions have participated in a general strike across the country. This includes nurses, teachers, civil servants, firefighters and Buddhist monks and nuns. As well as piling on pressure against the military, protesters have called for solidarity from the police. Although the police as an institution has joined the military in cracking down on protestors, there are cracks. 52 police officers defected to the protestors in Loikaw on Wednesday, and there have been other reports of lone police officers joining the protesters across the country. Since protests began, 220 people, many of which are members of the ruling National League of Democracy (NLD), have been arrested, and a further 200 are in detention. The arrests and detentions of protestors and activists have drawn condemnation from international actors, such as Pope Francis, who on the 7 February stated: “I want to again assure my spiritual closeness, my prayers and my solidarity with

the people of Myanmar”. Whilst the EU has considered re-imposing sanctions on the country, President Biden has already given the order stating: “The military must relinquish power it seized and demonstrate respect for the will of the people of Burma”. On the day of the coup, the military, led by General Min Aung Hlaing, detained both State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. Both figures have been charged by the military, with Kyi being charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies, and Myint being charged for breaching Covid restrictions for a rally he attended on 20 September last year. Both are popular politicians in the country and are part of the NLD. The party won the 2020 general elections with 80% of the total votes. Likewise, they both have a long history of prodemocracy activism, actively participating in the 8888 uprising against the military back in 1988. This isn’t the first instance of the military meddling in politics in the country. Since a military coup in 1962, the military has been waging a tug of war against pro-democracy groups

over control of the central government. This has often been bloody, with the military resorting to crackdowns against mass protests movements, most notable the 8888 uprising that led to the deaths of thousands of protestors after 3 months of protests. The most recent instance of bloodshed was during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, when the military put down protests calling for the establishment of democracy that led to the deaths of up to 31 people. On Friday the military announced a general amnesty, releasing 23,000 prisoners in a move that has created fears over a fresh round of arrests will take place against protestors due to the freed-up capacity in state prisons. Given the historical record of the military in Myanmar, this move has provoked fears that the protests could once again culminate in a violent crackdown. During the early hours of Monday, reports came out that the military was being deployed to the streets across Myanmar, firing live rounds at protestors in the northern city of Myitkyina.

Clubhouse: The Invite-only Audio Chat App used by Mark Zuckerberg Ellie Doughty Print Production Editor Clubhouse is an invite only social networking app launched in 2020 where users can join group conversations on various topics, and has been called “the next Twitter”. Recently speakers including Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla founder Elon Musk and Shark Tank businesswoman Barbara Corcoran have joined conversations on the app. Launched by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Rohan Seth and Paul Davidson, the app was worth $100 million by May of 2020 and is now worth $1 billion. Garry Tan, managing partner at venture firm Initialized Capital said “If they can get growth with retention, this is going to be the next Twitter”. Sean Ellis, CEO of GrowthHackers and entrepreneur voiced concerns over slow growth if the app was opened to the general public too soon. Over 180 organizations and venture capitalists have invested in Clubhouse to date, investment which is only possible through the private capital market.

Investment is also restricted to those who are accredited, meaning investors with significant trading experience and a net worth of at least $1 billion. Andrew Chen, who represents venture capitalist firm and Clubhouse investor Andreessen Horowitz on the app’s board, wrote that the company “grows explosively through viral loops” by its invitation process.

Over 180 organizations and venture capitalists have invested in Clubhouse to date, investment which is only possible through the private capital market. It’s being considered a ‘Unicorn startup’, i.e. a privately held startup company worth $1 billion or more, joining the ranks of AirBnB, Uber and SpaceX. Similar to live participation in a podcast, once in a ‘room’ users can raise a virtual hand to contribute, but only if they have an iPhone and have been invited. Upon joining users can select topics which interest them, including but not limited to technology, business, finance or health, and send out two invites to new users. The live audio chats are not

Anthony Quintano recorded, and disappear when the room is shut. But many listeners have recorded the conversations, especially when they include high profile speakers. A YouTube user recently live streamed a room launched by Elon Musk, where he covered topics including space travel, Mars colonies, Artificial Intelligence and COVID-19 vaccines. Competition from other social media platforms is apparent, with Twitter testing a copycat version called ‘Spaces’. Ben Rubin, co-founder of start-up Slashtalk and Clubhouse investor said: “It has all the ingredients to be something sustainable and big”.


The Badger 15th February 2021

News

8

News Where You’re Not

Grace Curtis, News Sub-Editor, reviews some of the big stories from across the country

Edinburgh - Refugee elected as the new rector of Edinburgh University

Nottingham – Baby’s 1st birthday party ends in £11,000 worth of fines

Debora Kayembe, a Human rights lawyer and former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has shattered records by becoming the new rector of Edinburgh University. She joins former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was elected as rector in 1972. As part of this role, Kayembe will chair the University’s highest governing body. According to The Herald, Ms. Kayembe said: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to be elected as the first person of colour to hold the position of Rector of the University of Edinburgh. I am fully aware of the importance of my role at such a critical time.” “We are facing so many challenges: from the Covid-19 pandemic to the battles for racial justice and the reckoning from the past in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the birth of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

County Down, Northern Ireland 180-year-old pier on Annalong Harbour is set to be rebuilt

Edinburgh

County Down Locals were delighted this week with the news that the pier on Annalong Harbour, which is critical to the life of County Down village, will be restored and rebuilt for daily use. Concerns about the structural safety of the pier were first raised in 2018, but until now nothing had been done to halt deterioration. Glyn Hanna, a councillor representing the area, told the BBC that the restoration will be accomplished with “all of the traditional materials that were used 150 years ago”. Many noted on social media that, due to lockdown restrictions, the ball had travelled much further than they had in a while.

Flagship Topshop store to close

Cardiff, Wales – Historic urinals saved from closed pub The team responsible for rebuilding the historic Cardiff pub The Vulcan, which was 170-year-old when it closed in 2012, made headlines this week for saving several distinctive orange-brown urinals from the venue. Workers with the St Fagans National Museum of History are planning to rebuild the pub brick by brick, and their plans involve restoring the distinctive urinals (from 1914!) for public use. The museum hopes that the recreation of the pub will “tell the story of an expanding and changing Cardiff” to their visitors.

THE

BADGER needs you!

On 4 February, Nottingham police handed out over £11,000 worth of fines to 14 adults who were caught attending an illegal 1st birthday party. Officers were quoted as saying that they found 24 people total bunched into a “small flat”. The gathering occurred in a clear breach of the current Covid-19 lockdown and the subsequent ‘stay at home’ message. Each adult present was fined £800 under new regulations that mean anyone caught attending a gathering, or house party, of more than 15 people could be given a higher-police fine. Nottinghamshire Police said a number of people travelled from as far as Birmingham to attend the celebrations. Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper said: “Officers are putting their own health, as well as their families’ health, on the line by attending these kind of house parties night after night”.

Cardif

Fashion fans throughout London were devastated this week when the news broke that the Topshop store on Oxford Street will not reopen after lockdown. The 90,000 sq. ft. flagship store – which opened in 1994 - will not open its doors again when Nottingham non-essential shopping returns. The large threestorey building was famous for having its own nail bar, food stalls and DJs booths. London fashion stylist Katie Impey told the BBC that Oxford Street’s Topshop held a London “Mecca-like status” for a generation of fashionloving teenage girls. Ms. Impey will “never forget the buzz around the Kate Moss collection... and that red dress she wore in the window for the launch. Looking back, it was a real iconic moment in time.”

Want to find your inner journalist? Come to our Zoom Writers’ Meeting! Fridays 12pm - details on social media.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Comment

9

THE BIG DEBATE In The Big Debate this week, two writers debate whether children should be sent back to school, or is they should remain closed.

Yes

Dexter Clark There’s a reason why education is one of the most funded bodies in the public sphere and that is due to it being integral to our society. Here I state why schools should re-open despite COVID-19, due to them being crucial to children’s health, well-being, and education, whilst also being beneficial to the parents of those children. If we do not open schools we could be seeing the negative effects of this for many years to come. Schools are now closed at least until the end of March, and this will have an overall negative effect. Although the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks must be taken into consideration, school outbreaks have not been a prominent pattern of the pandemic. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and control, transmissions here have not been integral to the pandemic spreading. Children who catch the virus very rarely develop more than a mild case. 5-17 year olds were 9 times less likely to be hospitalised than 18-29 year olds, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, the Office for National statistics stated that the hospitalisation rate of children aged 5-14 was the lowest in all groups at only 0.6 per 100,000. I do not believe that schools should reopen solely due to this, but rather the huge amount of benefits pupils get from attending - which I believe outweigh the risks. Schools provide high quality education from professionals and it is easier to teach in the classroom rather than over the internet. Additionally, it is not fair on parents who now have to home-school, they may have no expertise in teaching while having to balance it with their own work life. Education may be completely absent to poorer children who have no access to the internet or a computer. Ofcom has estimated that between 1.14 Million and 1.78 Million children had no home access to the internet or a computer in August 2018. This leaves thousands of children without any access to online education. Can we really continue to leave primarily disadvantaged children without their necessary education? There is a wealth gap clearly present, as BBC report that richer families are spending 30% more time on learning at home than poorer families. We cannot allow for there to be inequalities like this in education, as these will lead to inequalities later in life. If we reopened schools, children would also have access to the Child Welfare services provided by the people who work there. We all saw the awful food packages provided by Chartwell, which did

No not even achieve the bare minimum of food to provide children’s lunches for a week. If these children were still going into school, they would be guaranteed at least one good, free meal a day, instead of having to ration the frankly inadequate packages. Free school meals provide disadvantaged children with a safe and substantial meal, and without schools being open they would not be able to use this service. School meals are not the only form of child welfare that schools provide to pupils attending. Children going to school are being placed in a safe environment, where the people who work with them have been trained to spot abuse. By leaving their house and interacting with teachers, victims of child abuse are far more likely to be identified and helped. The Department of Education state that Child Welfare is the responsibility of everyone who works in schools, therefore children in school will be safeguarded and easier to identify as needing help.

Megan Stratford I have been working as a teacher for the last 18 months in a school that has not closed during the pandemic. Navigating the pandemic whilst working in a school has been a new challenge and one that has been incredibly difficult for those involved. The following points are my reasons for why I believe that schools should not reopen. If schools reopen, there is an increasingly likely chance that at some point they will have to close again due to rising case rates. This is incredibly disruptive to students’ education and their routines as they get used to learning from home, then being back at school, then at home, and so begins an endless cycle where they struggle to cope. This becomes far more detrimental to them than keeping them home-schooled for a substantial amount of time because pieces of work get interrupted and it is routed in anxiety. Students expect school to be a happy

Should schools reopen? Children’s mental health is also important when considering reopening schools. Research from NHS Digital showed that 54% of children with a mental disorder had felt worse since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. These numbers could perhaps be crunched, with access to support from schools such as school counsellors, while also allowing pupils to interact with other children.

Flikr The COVID-19 pandemic is a clear threat to public health, and I’m not trying to downplay the severity of the problem. However, stopping children from having quality and equal education is going to affect our society, not just now, but in the long run. Schools need to re-open to treat these issues, as well as provide child welfare and improve their mental health. Otherwise, the full effects of this could be detrimental to their future.

place, one where they can play with their friends and learn in a safe environment. Some of the children that I teach have hearing difficulties, and wearing a mask around them can be detrimental to their learning. If I am teaching online I do not have to wear a mask and they can at least see me properly, and I can smile. It does not matter how many times we clean the desks and equipment, it is impossible to control, especially in a school with many students, what items are being touched and whether things are being cleaned appropriately. It does not matter how many masks are worn and how many antibacterial wipes have been used, it is still very hard to keep on top of. Moreover, the virus can be passed through those who are asymptomatic, which is incredibly common in children. There is not enough PPE to go around in schools, the government can sometimes barely give the NHS the equipment they need, let alone schools. Social distancing poses a huge problem in schools. Firstly, school buildings have not been built to facilitate the distancing of students and staff. I teach in an ICT classroom and there are not enough computers or space for students to sit with one empty computer between them which results in the risk being higher. Social distancing is also not appropriate for young children, disabled children or those with special educational needs. Some of these children are not yet old enough or have the understanding to

take part in social distancing. Forcing children to be apart when they are playing and socialising can cause anxious, unhappy and scared children. This also reverts back all the learning that pupils have done when it comes to teaching them to share. They are suddenly being told they can’t share their toy with their friend in case it makes them ill. For small children this is a sudden change that is confusing. Staff wellbeing has not been considered by the government throughout any of the pandemic. Many staff have been highly anxious and have not been supported in their return to work. At the beginning of the year, UNISON wrote a letter to schools explaining that staff were able to use their contractual right to not attend an unsafe place of work. The letter stated that there had been 73,512 deaths in the UK, and within just a couple of weeks that figure had risen to over 100,000 suggesting that it is not yet time for schools to reopen, putting staff and students at risk.

Forcing children to be apart when they are playing and socialising can cause anxious, unhappy and scared children. They are suddenly being told they can’t share their toy with their friend in case it makes them ill. For small children this is a sudden change that is confusing. SAGE released information in January explaining that schools should not open because scientific advice stated that it was not safe. The fact that the government pushed for schools to reopen says that they do not care about the safety of staff and students, and believe that an education is more important than remaining alive and well long enough to use that education. Students, teachers, support staff and admin staff will die. The government in my opinion has not supported nor praised school staff for the hours they have put in during the pandemic. Schools reopening causes there to be far too much physical interaction: students walking to and from school together, teachers having to go to meetings with other staff members, admin staff who have to sit together in tiny offices with no option for distancing. Many teachers have already fallen ill due to the pandemic, how many more have to get ill or die before the government realises that education means nothing if the children have no teachers left?


The Badger 15th February 2021

Comment

10

Deepfakes and cheapfakes: Is the future fake? Miranda Dunne Staff Writer “My friends, I wish to rise above this divide, and endorse my worthy opponent, the Right Honorable Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister of our United Kingdom,” enthused Boris Johnson ahead of the 2019 general election, ‘Only he, not I, can make Britain great again.’ He went on, ‘Alas, why should you believe me? Much like Odysseus and his encounter with the cyclops, Polyphemus, I too, am nobody. I am a fake. A ‘deepfake’ to be precise.” This video, extremely fake yet highly convincing, was produced as part of a project between AI think tank Future Advocacy and UK-based artist Bill Posters to raise public awareness of the threats deepfakes pose to democracy and trust. In response, a digitally manipulated Jeremy Corbyn urged his supporters to put ‘people before privilege and back Boris Johnson to continue as our Prime Minister.’ Other high-profile representations of deepfake technologies have included Channel 4’s recent Alternative Christmas message from the Queen, and a fake Obama in 2018 urging viewers to ‘Stay Woke, bitches.’ But such projects depicting funny or otherwise harmless deepfaked media are vastly outweighed by the swarm of deepfakes that exist on the internet - at least 14,000 are out there. As such, experts have ranked deepfakes as ‘the most serious AI crime threat.’ ‘Deepfake’ typically refers to a video of an individual that has had the facial likeness of another synthesised over the top, mainly via machine learning. However, it is often used as an umbrella term referring to a range of manipulated media, from ‘cheapfake’ videos to manipulated audio, the latter of which was used to scam a CEO out of $243,000 in 2019. Elon Musk-backed company Open AI even built a text generation software trained on 8 million web pages. This was dubbed the ‘deepfakes for text’ due to fears it could be used to impersonate people and fabricate irrepressible quantities of falsified news. It was deemed by its creators as being ‘too dangerous for release.’ The term deepfake itself was coined in 2017 by a Reddit user who created a space where users would share fake pornographic videos featuring nonconsenting individuals. The technology behind it, however,

Lite-Trac

had existed for years prior. Notably, deepfake tech was used in 1994’s Forrest Gump which used archival footage of JFK to create his interaction with Gump, then later on when Paul Walker died during the production of ‘Furious 7’. For the latter, the filmmakers shot Walker’s brother in a scene and inserted an image of the late actor’s face. The difference is now, thanks to machine-learning, the technology is becoming increasingly accessible for amateurs to use as legislation lags behind. This raises myriad questions surrounding trust in video as a form of evidence. The more obvious threat posed by deepfakes is as an extension of ‘fake news’. Corrupt actors can create deepfakes to manipulate public opinion, with serious implications for democracy. However, the threat here is not simply in the form of deepfakes being formulated, but the very fact that they exist gives a route for corrupt actors to claim that a legitimate video clip is a deepfake, as a mutation of Trump’s ‘fake news’ retorts. In other words, the ‘liars dividend’: what could happen in the future if a politician is caught in the act of corruption and video documentation of the act is dismissed as a deepfake? On the other hand, claims of deepfakes can be invoked in the event of legitimate videos featuring legitimate actions. In Gabon, 2018, “deepfake” was cried amidst public speculation about

the whereabouts of President Ali Bongo who had not been seen publicly for several months. Eventually, when the government released a video of Bongo giving the traditional New Year’s address, the military initiated a coup against the government, citing the President’s strange appearance, a few days after an article has been published claiming the video was a deepfake. Forensic analysis found no evidence the video had been manipulated. Whilst the political climate of a particular country cannot be explained away via deepfakes, it is nonetheless a stark example of the legitimacy crisis they pose. The threat of deepfaked corruption is a highly gendered one, as an extension of imagebased abuse. 96% of deepfakes exist in the form of non-consensual pornographic videos, with women, nearly exclusively, being targeted. Researchers such as Dr Aislin O’Connell have called on the UK government to formulate a specific piece of legislation that classes deepfaked image-based abuse as a crime. In April 2018, Indian investigative journalist Rana Ayyub was targeted with deepfaked sexual abuse. The perpetrators conducted the attack after Ayyub spoke out against the rape and murder of an eight-yearold girl. Local members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had shown support for the alleged predator. A source from the BJP sent the deepfaked to her and

it ended up being shared more than 40,000 times. She was doxed and barraged with harassment and abuse, men often threatening her with death and rape. Speaking of the incident, she said: ‘It was devastating. I just couldn’t show my face. You can call yourself a journalist, you can call yourself a feminist but in that moment, I just couldn’t see through the humiliation.’ ‘I used to be very opinionated, now I’m much more cautious about what I post online. I’ve self-censored quite a bit out of necessity.’ The abuse against Ayyub is an example of how deepfakes do not simply exist in a vacuum. They are best considered as a symptom of pre-existing societal sicknesses. Sexual abuse via deepfakes draws parallels with attitudes towards physical sexual assault. For example, in 2012, Australia, a 17-year-old had her likeness stolen by perpetrators who then generated pornographic imagery, leading her to begin a successful campaign against image-based abuse in Australia. Upon contacting some of her abusers to ask them why they were targeting her, to which they would respond: ‘what do you expect when you post all these images of yourself?’... ‘we’re just men being men, what did you expect?’ Sensity, an Amsterdam based company committed to countering deepfakes, provide risk ratings on public figures who

may be targeted by video manipulation with their deepfake detection system. In 2019, they identified 14,678 deepfake videos. They scored US president Joe Biden with a risk rating of 100. Despite these efforts, malicious deepfakers may still have a huge advantage. This is because companies such as Sensity need a huge quantity of deepfake videos to train their detection systems on, whereas one corrupt actor with one goal would only need to generate and release one video to achieve their goal and cause huge damage, as we saw with journalist Rana Ayyub. To tackle this, in 2019, members of the ‘Silicon Six’ including Facebook and Google collaborated to create the ‘Deepfake Detection Challenge, efforts aimed at releasing a dataset of deepfakes using paid actors, so researchers can use them as training data for their models. Despite the huge qualms many rightly have with big tech, it is undeniable that the private sector has a huge role to play in tackling this dilemma. It’s difficult to see how a national government alone would be able to tackle it. Moreover, government-focused solutions should be taken with enormous care, as the issue of deepfakes is also one of free speech. Yes, deepfake technology has had and will continue to be used for corrupt ends, as with any new technology. However, they have also been invoked for political satire of powerful figures, therefore flat out banning public use of the tech would attack free speech. Deepfakes are an issue that need to be treated with the urgency they warrant, but without being alarmist - as with any new technology, malicious usages are par for the course. I would echo Professor Philip Howard, professor of internet studies at Oxford, who, speaking at CogX 2019, argued: ‘It’s not just cybercriminals that do the most politically poisonous stuff. It’s our existing political structures that produce the poisonous stuff.’ We saw earlier how deepfake pornography drew parallels with traditional understandings of sexual corruption, and we saw in Gabon that deepfakes were invoked, but not solely responsible for the attempted coup. Author of ‘Deepfakes and the Infocalypse’ Nina Schick argues that people are, overall, still conditioned to believe that video is incorruptible. This will change, for better or for worse moving forward.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Comment

11

Flirting from home (A guide to Covid Valentine’s) Rosie Cook Comment Online Sub-Editor Valentine’s day is always a funny one, isn’t it? Consumerism hits full speed and soon enough you’re paying double the price to show the same amount of love you show to someone every day or, even more frustratingly so, you’re just trying to go about your normal life without having that intrusive pop of red obstruct your vision. Part of me wants to hate Valentine’s day, but the girl sitting on the sofa every night watching the same rom coms a thousand times over and crying every single time, is telling me to stop fooling myself. When it comes to love I’m here for it, I’m ready to be showered in affection and constantly told how great I am, so why then, when the Valentine’s day bomb is dropped I, amongst so many others, am at the firing line ready to bash it, agreeing that it is in fact a waste of time. Isn’t it ironic that Valentines is felt to be futile in so many re-

spects but love itself is the fuel that arguably keeps the world going? Or perhaps it is the consumerism that the world of love attracts, that keeps the world going – what a bleak thought. Is this the needle of consumerism infecting everything and everyone once again? It and COVID, working in perfect harmony to convince you that the Amazon Prime delivery waiting outside your door, is a good thing.

Whether we are fighting it out or loving every last bit of it: dancing in the kitchen with the one you love or crying on the carpet with your cat, it will be done within four walls and telephone calls. The Guardian states that at the end of October last year, it was recorded that pandemic sales helped the company triple its profits amid a 37% increase in earnings. With Valentine’s day possibly just being fuel to the fire when it comes to these

figures, it is no wonder that it is viewed with such scepticism. What does the 2021 Valentine’s day look like then? How is this funny day going to come to be without a meal deal at Prezzo followed by a below average film at the Odeon? Oh, simpler times. As many of us are at home, not even with our respective other or maybe with them but wanting to kill them at this point, a day of LDA (lockdown displays of affection) makes us roll our eyes and laugh out of a feeling of ridiculousness as Valentine’s day has possibly become the most complex and confusing yet. “Am I bad for not getting them a present?”, “Are we even doing valentine’s day?”, “How about a ‘galentines’ on Zoom?”. No longer are we able to drown out the constant murmur of ‘treat the one you love this valentines’ with double vodka and cokes, in a bar blasting ABBA, crowded by friends. Instead, this year the murmur is maybe louder than ever and blocking it out becomes a pint of wine, slouched in your front

room with the depressing ambience of Boris’s Coronavirus updates embodying the backing track to your evenings. Whether we are fighting it out or loving every last bit of it: dancing in the kitchen with the one you love or crying on the carpet with your cat, it will be done within four walls and telephone calls. It’s easy to say Valentine’s day is pointless and, in many respects, I would agree. But if we take the soppiness and consumerism out, is there something good left? I would argue that the problematic nature of Valentine’s Day has intoxicated and clouded its main purpose of what it’s actually trying to celebrate: love. Its attempt to categorise love as a box of chocolates, shiny roses and an abundance of heteronormativity insults modern-day love: the two don’t correlate. Therefore, that is why we can love, but also hate, Valentine’s. It feels as though it’s stuck in the past, dominated by clichés and traditionalisms that could

not feel further away from love’s current moment. The question arises of whether Valentine’s should be forgotten or rehabilitated into something more reflective of what love actually looks like in 2021. What it looks like where so many ‘I love you’s’ and words of care are not being physically spoken between two people but typed out on the screen of a phone or heard over the faint crackle of video calls.

It feels as though it’s stuck in the past, dominated by clichés and traditionalisms that could not feel further away from love’s current moment. With nowhere to go to outwardly display your love, will creativity spark and the limitless possibilities of love flourish? Not through the trap of consumerism but out of the simple, ultimate, undeniable necessity that in a world clouded by hardship all you need and all you want, is love.

Insitutions over indivuals: fighting Climate Change Katie Drake An institution refers to a large and important organisation. Examples may include bureaucratic organisations such as the Government as well as corporate organisations. Regardless of public opinion towards climate change, without concrete action from our institutions we will not be effective in keeping the increase below 1.5C of warming by 2030 In many ways, government organisations are more effective than individuals. For instance, environmental governance triggered the healing process for the o-zone layer as a result of the Vienna convention in 1985. In addition, The British Government passed the Climate Change Act which legally required the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The act requires governments to set legally binding carbon budgets that provide a 5 year cap on emissions. Since the act, the Government has legislated 5 carbon budgets running from 2008 to 2032. The Committee on Climate Change has reported that the first and second budget has been met, reducing carbon emissions by 35% in 2020. Under national EU schemes the UK govern-

Wikimedia Commons ment introduced Carbon Pricing, something that penalises the emissions of green-house gases, which is ultimately what needs to be tackled in order to fight climate change. Fossil fuels are burnt and used in so many ways, that it is only corporations and institutions who have the power to reduce them. Buses for example use petrol engines (by majority), releasing fossil fuels. Thus, we need the State or either new rules and regulations to control fossil fuel consumption. From our successes in the case of the Vienna Convention, governance, be it international or national, proves that institutions are more effective to reduce CFCs and thus climate change.

Apart from bureaucratic institutional successes, corporations are more effective than individuals at fighting climate change namely in the reduction of waste. Since they can reduce waste on a mass scale and also prevent waste from entering the supply chain, their ability to reduce emissions is far more effective than individuals. One example of this is Toyota, who has used its production line to eliminate waste. Whilst individual actions of recycling and reducing plastic waste are important, stopping excess waste from entering the supply chain or waste management altogether, is far more effective in collectively reducing climate change. A similar initiative has been

set up to reduce waste in the context of slow fashion: fashion that focuses on quality via climate conservation, rather than prioritising fast fashion that produces unsustainable pieces. One example is Grace Beverley’s company TALA, a slow fashion company that recycles plastic bottles and turns them into gym leggings. TALA is effective by catering to the collective consumer and providing an outlet for active recycling. Arguably, companies like TALA may not exist if it was not for the individual consumer demanding sustainable clothing, however ultimately the consumer gets sustainability information from some sort of institution such as school, university or a news outlet. Corporations such as TALA therefore have access to more resources in comparison to individuals and thus can use them to help fight climate change far more effectively. Finally, there are NGOs, another kind of institution that is far more effective in fighting climate change due to the access to resources. One such organisation is Greenpeace, who have been able to ban UK plastic waste from Malaysia and declare a huge area of the Artic Ocean off limits to industrial fishers. Tangible actions such as these

show that NGOs can create huge change that individual action cannot fathom. They work on donations, so although their work relies on individuals, it is collective action that creates the most significant and effective change. Another NGO, Friends of the Earth, have been able to lobby local governments and set up groups to help combat local and global issues faced by the environment, something that individuals alone could not achieve. Individuals do have some power in fighting climate change however. One example is veganism and the reduction of our meat intake. Deforestation is caused mainly by clearing land in order to allow animals to graze. By each individual reducing their meat consumption we can conserve vital natural ecosystems and thus reduce carbon, but this is only if each individual plays their part sufficiently and effectively; efforts to reduce climate change can only work if collective actions contribute to a larger collective whole. To conclude, although individuals can help fight climate change by changing their consumption habits, institutions are far more effective since they can mobilise individual wishes into collective action.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Comment

12

The Rise of the Savage and the Fall of the Angels How the Fenty empire has birthed a new era of beauty empowerment – and it’s defined by you. Libby Mills & Joshua Shipp Badger and Fabrik editorial colab Founded in 1995 by Edward Razek, the Victoria’s Secret model show set the world alight with shows being hosted in cities such as NYC, LA, London, Paris and Shanghai. With its elaborate costumes, musical performances by A-list celebrities and illuminating set designs, the brand quickly gained international success and an irrefutable reputation in the fashion world. However, 2019 saw the birth of a whole new genre of show: the Savage X Fenty Show. Rihanna is no newbie to expressing herself outside of the world of music. In 2014 she hit the ground running, collaborating with Puma where she was also made a Creative Director. Since the launch of Fenty Beauty in 2017, the Fenty empire has only accelerated and expanded; with the rule-defying lingerie collaboration Savage X Fenty in 2018 and Fenty Skin just earlier last year. Rihanna is an emblem for embracing the multi-faceted, within her companies as well as within herself. Savage X Fenty Vol.1 graced the world as a runway show unlike any other. An experience in itself - an immersion into the world of the savage. The narrative of the size 0, 6ft, blonde western model being the only true epitome of beauty, was turned on its head. However, this was not an attack or rejection of this type of beauty, instead a true and genuine celebration of so many others including the singular representation we’ve become so accustomed to. When being interviewed by British Vogue about Fenty Beauty, Rihanna commented on people’s amazement at her inclusion of 40 foundation shades, “I’m like, ‘What? You thought this was, like, a marketing strategy? Like I’m a genius?’ It’s shocking most of the time, then it turns into disappointment that this is ground-breaking right now. In my mind, this was just normal.” It is also clear that Fenty skin care, make up and underwear is not only for all women, but for men – for anyone. With Gianluca Russo sharing in Teen Vogue: “I have never seen a male model with a body type close to mine what wasn’t there as a joke. Seeing this made me really happy. They even kept the stretchmarks.” Unlike Savage X Fenty, the Victoria’s Secret show have been repeatedly slated on its lack of diversity and creating a sense of exclusivity within the ‘sisterhood’. In the 21st century, there

Anthony Crider Gerard Stolk has been a turnaround within the fashion and beauty industry, but VS seems to have had a selective awareness whilst this change was marking history. Instead of taking the instinctive to revamp the show to match public demand, it continued to sell out on unobtainable beauty and fantasy, which eventually cost viewership and sponsors to the show. With 2018 seeing the show’s lowest number of views at 3.3 million,

Liam Mendes after a steady decline each year. Marketing one’s fashion brand is an integral part of promotion and Victoria Secret has successfully captivated a large audience with its iconic catwalk for the last two decades. But has Victoria’s secret gone from iconic to idiotic? A fatal dip in viewership is a sign of the times, whereby westernised standards of beauty are no longer the unobtainable standards women aim to achieve. The Victoria’s Secret catwalk has endured a number of major slip ups over the last decade; and

I’m not just talking literally. Despite giving platforms and stardom to iconic models such as Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, Victoria’s Secret has failed to give all women the same level of empowerment that they endorse so much in their media campaigns. Critics of the show have claimed that VS objectifies and exploits women’s bodies for male pleasure rather than empowering them. A company founded and predominately run by men; it could be argued that in reality Victoria’s Secret is built upon the sexual fantasies of men disguised as empowering women #girlpower. Despite how the models must feel down the catwalk, the misogynist set up of the show and its patriarchal tendencies cannot be ignored. On the flip side of the coin, the unifying message within the brands throughout the empire of Fenty Beauty, Skin and Savage X Fenty, is external expression for your internal self. The sense of competition and idea of bettering yourself for the approval of others, that is – if not a direct message from the beauty world – an inarguable by-product of it. Instead, Rihanna has reintroduced elements of genuine fun and exploration into her creations, creating a ripple effect of self-expressive liberation for all to enjoy and be a part of. The models and individuals representing segments of the Fenty empire do not feel to represent something so far out of the consumer’s grasp. Instead for the first time we are invited to see parts of ourselves within them,

bridging the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and creating a welcoming community you want to and can be a part of.

Despite the success of the Victoria’s Secret brand, beauty is no longer a secret. Beauty is slowly moving away from the unreachable standards, whereby woman feel obligated to conform to such ideals whereby their body and looks are something to meticulously gruel over. It’s no secret that Victoria’s Secret has stirred several controversies during its reign. Intentional or not, it has been repeatedly accused of cultural appropriation in its shows. VS prides itself on its varying themes, but this has caused a backlash from critics who claim that VS has ignorantly failed to respect other cultures and traditions. From using white models to sport Chinese emblems to dressing darker models in animal print, VS has a lot to answer for. Their lack of diversity and prominence of tokenism sticks out like a sore thumb. Victoria Secret executives have repeatedly denied plus size models a chance to fly down the catwalk, as well as constraining the number of models of colour. Furthermore, when asked whether transgender models could play a part in the brand, the executive at the time, criticised the idea of transgender models due to the fact VS is built on the idea of a fantasy- in other words- not meeting the sexualised expectations of the male au-

dience. He later apologised for his remarks. To be a global brand is to hold responsibility, global responsibility, and it is rare to come across a company with such exposure that has not been involved in some form of controversy. However, with the Fenty empire appearing to be a beacon of inclusivity and representation, to fall short on this can be detrimental to not only the brand but the community you’ve created on the basis of this very factor. That’s why when Fenty Beauty released a line of highlighters, including one under the name ‘Geisha Chic’, the means in which they responded to insensitive branding towards the Asian community was fundamental in ensuring their brand message of inclusivity and sincerity came to truth. The authenticity of their brand message also came under fire in the latest Savage X Fenty Show when a song performed included an Islamic text known as Hadith. Rihanna’s public apology of the “irresponsible” use of the song, is a reminder that putting individuals and brands on pedestals isn’t always helpful. Particularly when individuals who are not directly affected by brand insensitivities can turn a blind eye to the hurt caused by a poorly researched brand decision. However direct acknowledgement, action and apologies from Rihanna and the Fenty brands exemplifies how steps can be taken to amend insensitive and offensive choices made by such brands. Whilst authenticity has come to be nothing more than a buzzword in today’s culture, it seems the authenticity reflected across Rihanna’s Fenty empire is one of sincerity. In a world where consumer culture is inescapable, to find a successful brand that represents something genuine can feel like a rare eclipse. But perhaps what we’re witnessing is the shift in mainstream culture we’ve all been waiting for. Despite the success of the Victoria’s Secret brand, beauty is no longer a secret. Beauty is slowly moving away from the unreachable standards, whereby woman feel obligated to conform to such ideals whereby their body and looks are something to meticulously gruel over. Angels only live in heaven, so why stress yourself out now trying to become one? Much like the penultimate scene of Mean Girls, it may be time to stop obsessing over superficial beauty and share that crown around.


The Badger 15th February 2020

Features

13

A short history of Gender Neutral De-gendering fashion for the 21st Century: from the factories to the fashion shows

Olly DeHerrera Features Sub-Editor

B

lue for a boy and pink for a girl is so ingrained in our understanding of gender that it seems almost like an aspect of biology. It’s quite a wellworn classroom fact that until the Victorian era, these colour associations were exact opposites with pink being a masculine colour to dress young boys for its strong vibrancy. With cisgender male celebrities Billy Porter and Harry styles receiving high praise for sporting dresses, it’s hard to imagine a time where those wishing to blur the gendered lines of fashion faced not only prejudice but persecution. 1950’s New York woman Rusty Brown started dressing as a man, first as a disguise to get a factory job since she lost her war-time position as a machinist at the close of World War II, then in order to work as a drag king. “I have been arrested in New York more times than I have fingers and toes,” she told an interviewer from the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project in 1983, “for wearing pants and a shirt.” At that time, she says, “you had to have three pieces of female attire” in order to avoid being arrested for cross-dressing. In 1969 the solicitation of homosexual relations was an illegal act in New York City (and indeed virtually all other urban centres). Gay bars were popular gathering places for young gay men, lesbians, and transgender people to socialise freely. On the streets of Greenwich Village, New York, a small and soonto-be infamous bar by the name of The Stonewall Inn played host to the community.

are increasingly advocating for the de-gendering of all fashion within the fight for recognition and dignity beyond the trends – and it appears they’re slowly being heard.

Gender neutral does not belong solely to those wishing to defy stereotypes within their own gender, neither does it only represent gender diverse individuals.

John Wisniewski - Flickr Mirrorpix - Getty Images riots: a series of violent confrontations that began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, between police and gay rights activists. As the riots progressed, an international Gay Rights movement was born.

Marko Milivojevic photography Many such bars were, however, subject to regular police harassment and police were particularly known to target those for their clothing. In the early morning hours of Saturday, June 28, 1969, nine policemen entered the Stonewall Inn, arrested the employees for selling alcohol without a license and—in accordance with a New York criminal statute that authorized the arrest of anyone not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing—took several people into custody. This was the third such raid on Greenwich Village gay bars in a short period and thus began the Stonewall

Choosing to use gendered clothing to reinfiltrate factories is a more radical example of the way women began to use fashion to resist their oppression In the still ongoing struggle to remove sex constraints and gender roles from fashion, another movement has been stepping to the forefront of social gender politics. The term unisex was first used in 1968 in Life, an American general interest magazine. The idea of unisex clothing emerged in conf lation with growing changes in attitudes to gender roles, in her new book Sex and Unisex: Fashion, Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution, the University of Maryland professor Jo Paoletti tracks how social changes brought about this concept of genderless clothing. In many disciplines of study World War Two is looked at as a focal point in global modernisation, and fashion is no exception. The war made a massive impact on the way gender was understood; the role women played in factories showed many that there was no real reason that women couldn’t take on a “man’s” role and began to break down the social barriers of gender attitudes. Rusty Brown choosing to use gendered clothing to reinfiltrate the factories she had dedicated her labour to during the wartime is a more radical example of the way women began to use fashion to resist their oppression. In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent introduced le smoking, a tuxedo for women, bringing into the mainstream what lesbians and transmasculine people

had been representing for decades prior. In a 2014 interview with PBS Newshour, transmasculine fashion blogger, Rachel Tutera, described this sociopolitical fashion movement as “the right to be handsome”. Unisex or ‘Gender neutrality’ is not

In 2015, fashion retailer Selfridge debuted their Agender fashion concept space in stores, calling it “the future of genderless shopping”. The section of their website states: “Agender literally means ‘without gender’, but it also suggests a plan of action or an ideological goal. This project sets out to move fashion forward and to reflect the realities of the way we live now”. In 2017 John Lewis took steps towards unisex fashion, announcing that its own-brand children’s clothes will no longer be divided by gender. There will now be no separate sections in the stores, nor completely binary labels on the clothes themselves; instead, the labels will read “girls and boys”. In 2018, the CFDA, the organiser of New York Fashion Week, added ‘unisex/non-binary’ as a new category. As gender critical attitudes expand, they come to encompass all forms of identity.

WalterlanPapetti - wikimedia comms

only a facet to combat gender roles, but to combat gender itself. Within the LGBTQ community, “gender neutral” expresses not just a fashion movement but an identity and way of being in itself.

People of all genders are increasingly advocating for the de-gendering of all fashion within the fight for recognition and dignity beyond the trends Androgyny goes beyond the cisgender models of the later 90’s ‘heroin chic’ movement who promoted androgynous trends with their f latter petite figures and ‘gender swapped’ hairstyles. Agender and other non-binary gender identities see androgyny as a social as well as a fashion concept. Androgynous fashion does not define or apply to all nonbinary people and is not a ‘quick fix’ to the gendering of clothing. People of all genders

Rodger Smith - Flickr Gender neutral does not belong solely to those wishing to defy stereotypes within their own gender, neither does it only represent gender diverse individuals. Fashion crosses barriers and expands expression in a way that is very visible throughout history. In the words of Hollywood legend Orson Welles: “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn”.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Features

14

Brexit and Covid Ellie Loakim Writer

How Cypriot expats continue to enjoy their residency and adapt to COVID Europe

B

rexit and the pandemic were the last push for expats to relocate back home. Despite the rise of covidcases in Cyprus, retirees still feel safe to reside on the island. Having lived his whole life in the busy rhythms of London, Denis Whoolmark is now able to sit back and relax in a place which once was his favourite holiday destination, but has now become his home, Cyprus. The stone-built villages, the neighbourhood’s coffee shops where everyone cares to know how your day was, and the access to calm beaches for his summer swims are everything he has dreamt and worked hard for. With Brexit finalised, British expats have had to complete the necessary procedures to receive their Cypriot citizenship.

Because of covid-19 travelling restrictions, not many expats have moved within the last year.

Alexander Gerst - Flickr

Families Association) and Healthcare providers in U.K. when needed.

So, how have British nationals coped with the transition procedures amongst a global pandemic, and why would an expat choose to relocate their lives without looking back? Normally, the paperwork and procedures would be slowed down by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the British High Commission in Cyprus helped expats with any difficulties through Cyprus Residency Planning group. CRPG was there to support expats in taking the right steps before moving to Cyprus. “I arrived with the necessary paperwork and was in and out within fifteen minutes with my yellow slip which is the residency” said Mr.Denis Woolmark,67, resident of Paphos who got his paperwork done in 2019. An officer in Cyprus Residency Planning group explained that because of covid-19 travelling restrictions, not many expats have moved within the last year. “Of the small number, most head for traditional areas like Paphos which has a large expat community. Our information relates largely to retirees, younger people coming to work here will more likely live in Limassol or Nicosia” said Mike Groves, Operations manager of CRPG. CRPG was formed back in autumn 2019 from CPFG (Cyprus Pensioners Focus Group, focussing on finance issues from the 2013 crash) to cover this and Withdrawal Agreement effects. CRPG is responsible only for residency matters but according to the operations manager, they signpost matters to British High Commission and SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and

Brits who chose Cyprus as a holiday destination were 33.5% of the island’s tourists Cyprus has been the host country of thousands of British citizens of whom at least one third have retired and are enjoying their British citizen benefits in Cyprus. Based on the office for national statistics, British expats in

normal. Cypriot expats end up choosing Cyprus after having spent holidays on the island the previous years. “I had many holidays in Cyprus, and in many respects it is like the UK, so it’s very easy to fit in. “They drive on the left and almost everybody speaks English which is a massive help” said Mr.Denis. The last summer before the pandemic started in 2019, the Brits who chose Cyprus as a holiday destination

Xaris333 - Wikimediacomms

2018 in Cyprus were over twenty-four thousand. And a 2020 survey showed that 62% of UK expats will never return home, with the rest 38% being undecided. The British Government announced that all British retirees living in Cyprus before the end of the year will continue to receive their pension as

ficer, within the last four years the number of British expats in the town dropped by only 1000, with the British expats’ population in Pegia being at five thousand now. Not all of those who left, have returned to the UK, some just relocated to other cities in Cyprus. What seems to be an important factor of British people’s alienation from their home country is the independence of British elderly people from their children. Opposed to Cyprus, where elderly people feel the need to be close to their family, as children usually take caring roles when their parents age. “I’ll leave my kids to their own lives and even if I went back [to the UK] I would still be on my own, but I don’t plan to return” noted Zera, 82, resident of Paralimni.

were 33.5% of the island’s tourists at 1.3 million, making Brits the main nationality between tourists. The most popular location of stay during the summer holidays is Paphos where 35.6% spent their stay in 2019. Pegia in Paphos is the home of most British expats in Cyprus. According to Pegia’s town hall of-

Medical rights of expats already living in Cyprus were secured before the end of 2020. Since the start of the pandemic, Cyprus was one of the European countries that instantly handled the outbreak with strict lockdowns. British elders currently living in Cyprus seem to feel very at ease regarding the virus, as the medical rights of expats already living in Cyprus were secured before the end of 2020. “I am enrolled in the Cypriot equivalent of NHS, which gives more or less the same cover as I get in the UK. Recently, I had to see a cardiologist, called the hospital for an appointment on Monday afternoon and saw him on Friday morning. Tests were done with instant results” said Mr. Dennis who has lived in Cyprus the past 5 years and is satisfied with the health system. Zera Farrelly shares this satisfaction. Ms Farrelly has been in Cyprus for the past seventeen years and was repeatedly in and out of hospitals for operations during 2020, she is also battling skin cancer. “Well, my lifestyle hasn’t really changed from before the lockdown. I can’t walk. I only go out once a week, that’s probably why I feel safe” explained Zera, in response to the rise of covid-19 cases in Cyprus. Back in the neighbourhood’s coffee shop, Mr. Denis is enjoying his cup of traditional Cypriot coffee while f lipping through his British newspaper knowing his rights are protected. Having lived through the first covidbreakdown in Cyprus, it is due to the well-handled pandemic response that he trusts that the Cypriot government will continue to take the right measures, and that he will be able to continue relishing the laid-back way of life.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Features

15

Considering Trauma: PTSD, Triggers and AOC’s Account, Are We Moving Forward? Print Production Editor Ellie Doughty discusses congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent criticism of Republican senators. *Content Warning: this article contains references to sexual assault*

week in the UK, 4 in 100 people suffer from PTSD.

The impacts of victim-blaming attitudes and rape myths can also exacerbate the development of PTSD in survivors

H

igh profile New York Democrat politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has compared the action of Republican senators to that of abusers, as she revealed her history of surviving sexual assault in a moving Instagram live video this week. Prompted to speak out by her fear during the assault on the US Capitol on January 6th, and the events that followed, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has accused Republican politicians of def lecting blame and pushing others to move on, which she compared to the “the tactics of abusers”.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has compared the action of Republican senators to that of abusers, as she revealed her history of surviving sexual assault in a moving Instagram live video this week.

nrkbeta despite her valid claim that “traumas can intersect and interact”.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez revealed few details about the abuse she suffered, choosing to focus instead on the lasting effects of the attack, and said: “When we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other”. Following her admission, she said she was prepared for criticism, suggesting that certain people might say “She’s just trying to make it about her”,

Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s words speak volumes about the culture of trauma response that we collectively uphold, beyond just the political implications of the attack. Chip Roy, a Texas congressman, has demanded an apology for Ted Cruz from Ms Ocasio-Cortez after she held him publicly responsible for his part involvement in the attack. The congresswoman responded in her video by labelling this as “the tactics abusers use” and said: “When I see this happen,

Pixabay

BADGER needs you!

THE

Triggers vary widely from person to person depending on their situation, but can include objects, places, thoughts, emotions and situations. While Ms Ocasio-Cortez does not describe any such specific triggers, or indeed PTSD, she does describe the links between traumatic episodes - and an old trauma that is revived by experiencing a new one. The fear, dread and panic she felt as she said she believed she was about to die was likely a trigger to the trauma she felt when she was assaulted.

how I feel, how I felt was: “Not again.” I’m not going to let this happen again. I’m not going to let it happen to me again. I’m not going to let it happen to the other people who’ve been victimised by this situation again.” Despite a polarised and fractious climate in US politics, Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s words speak volumes about the culture of trauma response that we collectively uphold, beyond just the political implications of the attack. The Survivor’s Trust UK detail some of the effects of sexual violence on their website. Among many lasting effects such as depression, anxiety, and more, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is not uncommon. Often used to describe the suffering of veterans or active military, it can also apply to survivors of any kind of trauma, including both sexual assault and what happened to those inside the Capitol on January 6th. The impacts of victim-blaming attitudes and rape myths can also exacerbate the development of PTSD in survivors, according to a paper in the McGill Journal of Medicine. PTSD is found in around 3.5% of the US adult population every year, and women are twice as likely to have it. On any given

The fear, dread and panic she felt as she said she believed she was about to die was likely a trigger to the trauma she felt when she was assaulted. It will be interesting to see whether responses to her admission will refer to the political implications of what happened at the US Capitol, or whether there will be a considered response to Ocasio-Cortez’ story of being a survivor of traumatic experiences.

It will be interesting to see whether responses to her admission will refer to the political implications of what happened at the US Capitol, or whether there will be a considered response to Ocasio-Cortez’ story of being a survivor of traumatic experiences. As this is Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, it would be good if there was a considered response to what it means to have survived traumatic abuse and the long lasting effects such abuse can cause.

Want to find your inner journalist? Join one of our Writers’ Meetings! Wednesdays 12pm, Zoom Link On Social


The Badger 15th February 2021

Features

16

Are we drowning in a sea of information? Features editor Alana Harris discusses the downfalls of the digital age and its onslaught of information

L

iving in the digital age means that we consume an unprecedented amount of information on a daily basis. For most, reaching for their phone, replying to messages, looking at their emails and taking a scroll on Instagram is the first thing they do when they wake up, and the last thing they do before going to sleep. And now, with a global pandemic forcing as much of our lives to migrate online as possible, it’s becoming increasingly important to examine the consequences of our online activity. Before the online world, there were numerous restrictions when it came to publishing new information. Time restraints, distribution costs, issues with accessibility, censorship and limited reach capabilities all meant that new information was much more restricted in how far it got, and how many people saw it. Digitizing content has meant that these barriers have been removed, and now, not only can anybody be the publisher of information, but a lot of content can be distributed with no human input at all. Now that the information f loodgates are well and truly open, information thrusts itself at us in countless ways. We view, receive notifications for, and create, text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, emails, TikTok videos, Instagram posts and news updates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no pause on the volume of information which is constantly being added to the internet.

Information overload is the state of feeling overwhelmed from exposure to too much information, it’s the term which describes the stress or anxiety you feel when you consume more information than you can digest It’s hard to fathom the volume of the information available to us online. As of 2019 there were roughly 4.6 billion internet users around the world, which means that soon, two thirds of the world’s population could be online. And the more users there are, the more data there is. In 2019 it was estimated that there were 4.4 zettabytes of data in our digital universe. And it has been predicted that by 2025, that figure will have increased to 175 zettabytes. I know what you’re thinking – what on earth is a zettabyte? Well, a single zettabyte is equivalent to 1,125,899,910,000,000 megabytes, which, yes, is a very, very big number. To translate that figure into something slightly (emphasis on slightly) more comprehensible, if you were to attempt to download 175 zettabytes at the average internet speed, it would take you 1.8 billion years. Welcome to the concept of information overload,

whether by an email, text message or phone call, means less information is absorbed, and less gets done. In fact, it has been shown that it can take between 10 and 24 minutes to return focus to the initial task being completed before an interruption. The obvious question seems to be, what can you do to help alleviate the negative effects of information overload? A question which is incredibly important during a time when escaping from screens indefinitely just isn’t an option.

Pexels also known as “infobesity” “infomania” and “infoxication”. Regardless of what you call it, the meaning stays the same. Information overload is the state of feeling overwhelmed from exposure to too much information, it’s the term which describes the stress or anxiety you feel when you consume more information than you can digest, to the point where you feel more confused than knowledgeable, and where effective decision making becomes much more difficult. So rather than the plethora of information available online meaning that we can make more informed choices, it may actually be doing more harm than good. The occurrence of information overload means that without even realising it, our online habits could be detrimental in a number of ways. Some researchers have argued that the modern online environment can lead to attention deficit traits. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers from the Technical University of Denmark has suggested that attention span is narrowing across the globe due to the amount of information that

information, so when it comes to decision making, another energy consuming process, our abilities are significantly impaired. Which is why even simple decisions like what to have for lunch can seem overly challenging. It isn’t just your decision making which could be suffering, with researchers suggesting that the stress caused by not being able to process information as quickly as it arrives, in combination with the pressure to respond to every email, text message, snapchat and phone call can lead to depletion and demoralization. And, due to your willpower utilising the same energy stores as decision making, the ability to remain productive and motivated can be weakened when there is an overload of information in your head. It has even been suggested that the relentless torrent of data could be taking a toll on our memory and focus. According to neuropsychologist Dr Freundlich, by continually overloading our system by trying to store too much in working memory, the brain loses some of its processing power,

Pexels is presented to the public. It has been suggested that this could be caused due to the large amounts of energy needed when consuming a lot of information. Our minds are already tired from the continual processing of

and, by overloading the circuits, our brain doesn’t get the rest it needs, resulting in a deficit in both long-term and short-term memory. Numerous studies have also shown that when completing tasks, being interrupted,

So rather than the plethora of information available online meaning that we can make more informed choices, it may actually be doing more harm than good. Simple solutions can be found by unplugging for a few hours, and by making sure you’re getting outside into fresh air, and engaging with real life. Perhaps obviously, the worst thing you can do when you’re overloaded with information is to digest more information. So when you’re able to take a break, make sure it’s away from any screens. Looking at memes or watching a mind-numbing reality TV show may seem like a break, and even though this type of information is easier for your brain to process, it’s still much more conducive to go off line altogether. Better yet, take a break away from any screens, and take a walk outside, no notifications, just you and the real world. A report by The British Journal of Sports Medicine has revealed physical benefits of taking a walk outside like improvements in blood pressure, reduction of body fat and reduced cholesterol. But physical wellbeing isn’t where it stops, with Stanford university finding that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent and professors of psychology at Iowa State University found that just 12 minutes of walking resulted in an increase in joviality, vigor, attentiveness and self-confidence. It’s also important to remind yourself that you can’t process everything. For every possible question you may have, the internet will have more answers than you could ever possibly grasp. It’s important to remember this and to know when it’s time to hit the pause button, and when to eventually hit the stop button. Our minds are not plates at an all you can eat buffet. We need to pay attention to the quantity and quality of information we consume, just as we would our food. We know not to consume too much junk food because of its impact on our bodies, we need to have the same outlook on what too much content can do to our minds.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Arts • Books

17

The Romance Genre Needs Diversity Molly Openshaw Books Co-Editor As Valentine’s day approaches, romance novels are reaching the top of the book charts. One of the most popular books on Amazon at the moment is Julia Quinn’s “The Duke and I”. After Netflix hit Bridgerton was released in late December, fans have been eager to get their hands on the bestselling book series from the early 2000s. However, readers have been shocked that despite the colour-blind casting in the television series, the novels are a different story. It is apparent in the novel that the majority of characters are white, with the Duke being presented as fair with blue eyes. This is a drastic change from the diverse, refreshing portrayal in Shonda Rhimes’ hit show. However, the most concerning issue is the depiction of the Duke’s travels to the continent of Africa with no specific explanation of where he travelled to and the only descriptions of his travels occurring in reference to violent or savage behaviour. There are specific examples where the African communities are only

ever described when relating to animalistic, feral behaviour. This is problematic and these disturbing undertones throughout the book mean that we cannot paint the novels with the same brush as the television series. As a result, this Valentine’s season, there are some more progressive, diverse, and beautiful books to deliver the themes of love and relationships. Over the course of January, conversation surrounding equal representation in literature has reached a new high, with Penguin forming the new “Lit in Colour” programme to diversify the English Literature curriculum in British schools. This shows how important it is to diversify our reading habits and look at inclusive literature, especially within genres such as romance that are dominated by heteronormative characters. Below are some examples of novels and memoirs that not only depict relationships in all forms but include diverse and equal portrayals of love. Mira Jacob’s “Good Talk: a memoir in conversations” is a graphic memoir telling the story of a relationship between a mother and a son facing racial discrimination. As a first-gener-

ation American, Jacob’s beautifully honest memoir shows the uncomfortable truth of a mother preparing her son for a future of prejudice in New York. Jacob combines her skilled illustrations and humorous narrative style to show the conversations she has with her son. These discussions include that of racial inequality, what it means to be different and how to treat others with respect.

sition 8 in 2008. This memoir depicts life as a series of small fragments that come together to create beautiful relationships and love. In terms of this memoir’s form, it is characterised by merging poetry, autobiography, and literary critique. This multi-modal approach to writing seems to mirror the ideology behind this memoir, the idea that we do not need to be castrated by binary gender identities or restricted to one form of love. This beautiful memoir shows that relationships are not two-dimensional and can adapt and change as much as we can as people, if not more. Candice Carty-Williams’ “Queenie” is a coming-of-age story of Jamaican-British girl trying to get to grips on her own cultural identity. Throughout this story, Carty-Williams shows the struggle with mental health, class, and cultural identity as well as toxic relationships and love. Queenie is a character unsure of her place in society after her Jamaican family mixes with the culture of Britain. This hilarious and relatable story shows how important identity is and the importance of self-love in relationships. Sambra Habib’s “We Have Al-

ways Been Here: a queer Muslim memoir” follows Habib as a refugee in Canada escaping the terror threat in Pakistan. With discussions of the struggle of arranged marriages, racism, queerness, poverty and growing feminist liberation, this memoir discusses what it is like to feel out of place and different. Habib struggles to keep her family happy by maintaining their Muslim identity whilst simultaneously conforming to the new society. This memoir discusses the role of forgiveness and family strength in a beautiful lesson for all people that have ever felt powerless and displaced.

Maggie Nelson’s “The Argonauts” tells the story of gender identity and trans rights in the wake of the Californian Propo-

Candice Carty-Williams’ “Queenie” is a coming-of-age story of Jamaican-British girl trying to get to grips on her own cultural identity. Throughout this story, CartyWilliams shows the struggle with mental health, class, and cultural identity as well as toxic relationships and love. With these books we can see an inclusive, diverse, and beautiful depiction of love and relationships in different cultures, races, genders, and sexualities.

Lana Del Rey’s Poetic Mystique Eric Barrel Books Co-Editor Lana Del Rey, the melancholic millennial voice of Old Hollywood Nostalgia, is a controversial figure. Her music has been branded as antifeminist and a glamorisation of toxic relationship dynamics. Her comments on current political and social issues are sometimes inarticulate and problematic. Yet I believe she represents something often lost in the age of social media: the mystique of the troubled artist, drawing on her own experiences and imagination to create something both uniquely personal and still accessible to a niche yet devoted audience. She is popular with young women and gay men because she expresses a unique kind of femininity set apart from the commercialised ‘strong girlboss’ narrative that has oversaturated the music industry. Her articulation of desires to be loved and protected by a man, to be appreciated by her feminine allure, is camp in its subversion of the limiting narrative of confidence and power found in a lot of mainstream music. Lana’s portrayal of melancholy love and complicated relationships with men expresses the taboo, libidinal desires of many women and gays; her glamorous aesthetic

and uniquely dreamy sound further contributes to her drag queen, Blanche DuBois-like aura. Last September, Lana released a poetry book entitled Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass. It is a collection of 13 longer poems and several short pieces that she began writing in 2017 to help her through a bout of writer’s block when creating her acclaimed 2019 Album Normal Fucking Rockwell! Lana has long been influenced by great American poets such as Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg, and themes found in their works – such as a vacillating romanticisation and critique

of scenes of American culture and landscapes – is also found in her music. The collection begins with the poem LA Who Am I to Love You, setting out the collection’s sun-drenched, southern California scenery. “L.A, I sold my life rights for a big check and I’m upset” croons Lana, going on to describe her relationship with the city that best characterises her aesthetic vision: “And I love that you love the neon lights like me / Orange in the distance”. The imagery she uses is often cliché, but comforting. Lana is not an artist known for changing up the basic concepts of her work, but the formula is effective, and evolution is still evident in the refinement of her voice and melodies over the years. This doesn’t always translate well in her poetry, however, and I found the experience of this collection a lot more enjoyable when I listened to the audiobook version. Hearing Lana’s soft voice recite her poems better captured her intended rhythm and cadence, making the experience more like a live reading, with the inclusion of many melodic refrains to each piece. It is clear that Lana’s writing works better in song format, but Violet Bent Backwards still has some gems that capture a glimpse of that romantic allure so present in her music. My favourite poem in the col-

lection is called My Bedroom is a Sacred Place Now - There Are Children at the Foot of my Bed. It expresses imagery of fear and darkness: “I let you know that I knew the true nature of your heart / That it was evil, and that it convinced me that darkness was real”, whilst, in true Lana fashion, hinting towards a less-

than healthy relationship with an unnamed man. This is interspersed with pastoral imagery of the American West: “I plant violets every time someone leaves me / I love the great sequoias of Yosemite”. It’s classic Lana: beautiful imagery of feminine florals

alongside indulgent descriptions of bad boys and mental distress. It feels reminiscent of the poem at the beginning of Ride, one of my favourite Lana songs: “Because I was born to be the other woman… With a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom”. Reading this poem, it felt exciting to have that sense of the wild, rebellious Lana that encapsulated the iconic Ride music video. Despite its limitations, Violet Bent over Backwards captures a lot of the magic, romantic mystique of Lana Del Rey that true fans will love. In Bare Feet on Linoleum, she references Sylvia Plath, another artist often dismissed as a cliched symbol of teen girl angst. Having re-read The Bell Jar last summer, I can see in Plath’s writing the inspiration behind much of Lana’s image of mid-century melancholia. Although Lana’s work is camp and sometimes cheesy, her commitment to an aesthetic too-often dismissed due to its failure to fit into the commercialised categories of modern female pop artistry is what makes her work special. Violet Bent over Backwards is a small contribution to the pantheon of her artistic output, paling in comparison to the highglamour poetry of Ultraviolence or Young and Beautiful, but it still captures the essence of Lana Del Rey’s melancholic mystique.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Arts • Film & Television

18

Queer Foreign Film Recommendations (That Aren’t Blue is the Warmest Colour) Emma Firth - Staff Writer Despite its career defining performances, intimate shots and clever use of colour, the award-winning French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour unfortunately fed into a larger problem of representation within queer cinema. Many films that depict lesbian relationships are directed by men (eg. Disobedience, Carol, Ammonite) and although this is not always a problem, it is extremely noticeable in Blue Is the Warmest Colour, in the worst possible way. The pervasiveness of the straight, male gaze imposed so heavily on a film aimed at depicting passionate love between two women does not go unnoticed by a queer audience: straight men directing lengthy, relatively impassionate sex scenes and a relationship that lacks communication and even chemistry at times does not serve the queer community. Rather, it adds blue coloured fuel to a filmic fire being kept alive by poor representation. The creator of the original comic book described the film adaptation as “a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex”. This negative commentary aligns with actress Léa Seydoux’s lived experience on set: when asked if she felt that she was perpetuating a male fantasy, she answered “Yes. Of course it was kind of humiliating.” Unfortunately, Blue is the Warmest Colour continues to be a staple piece of lesbian cinema, but not for a queer audience. Considerably better representation is out there, and luckily is becoming increasingly more common. Here are our picks for our queer foreign films that offer a less harmful, more honest image of queer love...

blemaker, who shows up at Yiu-fai’s door with bloody fists and a bruised face after previously leaving him high and dry on what was meant to be a trip across the globe together. What follows is a rollercoaster of emotions; jealousy which leads to fighting and yelling, which then leads to tenderness, which then leads back to fighting, and so the cycle continues. Happy Together teaches us that sometimes in order to be truly happy together, you have to take some time apart. Sometimes you both realise that you don’t truly like each other that much; but maybe this doesn’t mean that you could ever see yourself loving anyone else either. Sometimes real love is not about being with someone, but not being able to be without them. With black and white sequences contrasted against scenes bursting with warm colours and evening lights, Happy Together, is a beautiful and tender piece of queer cinema centred around characters with great depth that resonate and linger with you long after watching. Daisy Holbrook - Staff Writer Of Love & Law is a charming 2017 documentary from Hikaru Toda which follows Fumi and Kazu, the first openly gay couple to open a law firm in Japan as they attempt to eradicate the fear and ostracization of the ‘Other’ in a society where laws protecting minorities in regard to race or sexuality are non-existent.

Happy Together is as much a story of love as it is of loneliness and distrust. Wong Karwai’s 1997 film focuses on two men who undoubtedly love one another, but in such contrasting ways that they might as well be in different time zones. For one, love is climbing into his bed, annoying him until he lets you stay. For the other, love is buying him cigarettes, so he never has a reason to leave you ever again. For them both, it’s slow dancing in an empty kitchen together or standing at the edge of a waterfall hand in hand. We follow Lai Yiu-fai, a man who drifts between jobs in a bustling Buenos Aires. His part-lover-part-enemy-butonly-constant Ho Po-wing is a cocky and easily bored trou-

Exploring the devastating effects Japan’s homogenous societal culture has had on minorities, and the archaic legal system that exists behind it, we are given insight into the Japanese legal system through some of Fumi and Kazu’s cases.

Toda seamlessly blends together the personal and political struggles faced by minorities in Japan, in both a societal and structural capacity, with emotional accounts of Fumi and Kazu’s family and clients alike, whilst simultaneously educating the audience about Japan’s legal system and the wider cultural attitudes that shape it. Exploring the devastating effects Japan’s homogenous societal culture has had on minorities, and the archaic legal system that exists behind it, we are given insight into the Japanese legal system through some of Fumi and Kazu’s cases. This includes an artist

on trial for obscenity due to her vagina-shaped artwork, a teacher appealing a recent termination after refusing to sing the national anthem, and individuals who cannot gain full recognition as citizens due to issues like being born out of wedlock, childhood neglect, or fleeing domestic violence. Despite the heavy, subject matter, Toda succeeds in delivering it in a light, heart-warming and humorous manner. Through the delightful and authentic Fumi and Kazu, and the intimate detailing of their lives and shared love, we are left with a beautiful portrait of the duo’s experiences as LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as a wider commentary

The film focuses on the lives and apparent rivalry between Eddie and Leda, the Madame of an underground gay bar, detailing a bitter feud between the two over a complex love triangle that ultimately descends into chaos and tragedy. Intertwined into this drama are clips from interviews with trans people, who answer questions about life living as an LGBTQ+ person in a time when this was widely kept in secret and confined to the underground scene of central Tokyo. The film is thought to have inspired Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange and serves as a landmark in the growth of LGBTQ+ culture in mainstream discussion and entertainment.

Rob Salusbury - Film & TV Co-Editor

on Japanese society, resulting in a documentary that is equally educational and endearing.

Emma Norris - Staff Writer

Combining elements of documentary, arthouse and experimental theatre, Funeral Parade of Roses offers us an utterly enchanting and dazzling insight into the gay scene of 1960s Tokyo. Released in 1969, the film follows protagonist Eddie through their life, struggles and joys, living as an LGBTQ+ person in an era in which, to live true to this identity, served as an act of bravery and defiance against societal norms and expectations. The film artfully combines elements of drama, romance and documentary to create an energy that is unique, experimental and exciting, offering the viewer an authentic insight into LGBTQ+ culture that is so rare for this time period. What is most significant about this film is its placing of the trans experience at the forefront, refusing to shy away from the experiences of a minority that are so often overlooked or misrepresented.

Relocating Herman Melville’s legendary unfinished novella Billy Budd to the sweltering desert heat of Djibouti, Claire Denis’ 1999 film Beau Travail is an enthralling, hazy tale of jealousy and desire. Following a group of French Foreign Legion soldiers led by Sergeant Galoup (Denis Lavant) as they carry out intense physical exercises and stalk through the local towns and nightclubs, Denis gradually deconstructs the strictly-regimented order of the group to reveal a deep core of unrequited passion and bitterness. Narrated in the present day by Galoup as he reflects back on his time with the Legion, we learn of his repressed desires for his superior officer Bruno Forestier (Michel Subor) and the threat he feels when a confident young soldier, Gilles Sentain (Grégoire Colin), joins the group. As we are drawn into Galoup’s paranoid, hazy memories of this triangle of lust, the tension swells within the group. What really elevates this intriguing tale of male desire and anger is Denis and cinematographer Agnès Godard’s almost impressionistic style of filming that feels at once both light as a feather and impossibly intoxicating. The camera floats between the shirtless, glistening bodies of the soldiers and then suddenly flits away into the golden sand dunes of the desert and the dull lights of the nightclub, lending the whole experience a hallucinogenic air that strengthens the heady cocktail of emotions Galoup is wrestling with.

What’s On This edition’s What’s On column is focused on highlighting queer cinema. Beach Rats (2017) dir. Eliza Hittman Eliza Hittman’s minimal filmmaking style, packing huge emotional punches without ever straying into melodramatic territory, makes Beach Rats one of the most riveting and quietly devastating explorations of the intense friction between toxic masculinity and gay identity. With her latest drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always becoming one of the most acclaimed releases of last year, there’s never been a better time to revisit the sweaty tension of her previous work. Watch it on Netflix. If It Were Love (2020) dir. Patric Chiha For those missing the sweaty energy of Brighton’s nightlife scene, MUBI’s latest release may be just the thing to tide you over. Winning the LGBTfocused Teddy Award for best documentary at last year’s Berlinale, If It Were Love immerses us in the hectic rehearsal process for a dance performance exploring the 90s rave scene, complete with strobe lights and a thumping techno soundtrack. Matthias et Maxime (2019) dir. Xavier Dolan Xavier Dolan’s tender Matthias et Maxime tells the story of two slightly-more-than-friends as they attempt to navigate the complexities of their late twenties and love-lives. Where Max is endearingly scruffy, Matt is cool and clean-cut; a kiss between the pair leads them to question their relationship, with conflict arising out of the characters’ confusion and fears. The Canadian drama is also available on MUBI. The Watermelon Woman (1996) dir. Cheryl Dunye Celebrated as the first Black lesbian feature film, Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman sees the filmmaker play herself in this fake documentary. Cheryl’s video-store job leads her to research a forgotten Black 1930s actress. Ordering tapes out under the name of Diana - a girl Cheryl is interested in - comically scores the employee a dinner invitation. The light-hearted film follows Cheryl’s research as she learns that the actress was also queer. Catch it on BFI Player.


The Badger 15th February 2020

Arts • Theatre

19

How has the pandemic affected Drama at Sussex? Speaking to students and staff alike to find out how the department has adapted Megan Taylor Staff Writer

The Coronavirus pandemic hit the UK all the way back in January 2020 and it is safe to say it has had a significant impact on all of us. Universities especially have been hit hard with modules switching to online or socially distanced learning. For those of us with courses that are mostly dependent on interactive or in person learning- such as Drama- this has proved a real challenge. However, students and tutors alike have been working hard to make the best of these tough times. I spoke to some of Sussex’s drama students and tutor Jason Price to see how they feel they had been affected by the pandemic: As you can expect, many commented that they felt their learning and subsequent performances had been ‘hindered’. 3rd year student Francesca Hotten said she felt a feeling of disconnect that came from this online learning. When coming to University all of us expected the course to be physically engaging. The reality we face now is staring at computer screens, sometimes for hours and ‘it is very alienating at times’. This is something that I think all of us across the University can relate to. Being almost trapped in our rooms for weeks in a lockdown has meant we are easily distracted, we struggle to concentrate,

@pleasereturntoyourseats

and we feel ‘alienated’. For so many of us this has had a huge impact on our mental health which, unfortunately, also affects our assessments. With everything that is going on it is difficult to focus on anything that does not directly relate to Coronavirus. I think for most of us, the most important thing to focus on at the moment is keeping ourselves safe and healthy. For some, going to University has given them a routine to stick to which can be helpful. For 2nd year student Evie Toswell, keeping up with work has given her purpose. Evie said ‘I have found this year somewhat manageable… the fact that things have been online has enabled me to be more proactive on my note taking etc.’ In terms of making performances and getting feedback, things have been difficult for us drama students especially 3rd years- we are used to the supportive environment that

comes with performance exam days. 3rd year student Katie Webb said, ‘I was disheartened about creating performances online, as we never had an opportunity to show our work… we could only discuss ideas then get feedback on a one-off video which was quite jarring.’ Usually when we show our work to our peers there is always a sense of camaraderie and collaboration that goes into it, it is definitely a supportive environment. As Katie says, now doing things on our own and recording them only to be seen by tutors is significantly more challenging, and we do not get that same peer support that is so important to the course. Many of us feel that we are not getting what we are paying for in terms of our course expectations when we signed up to the University. Francesca said: ‘I would have chosen a different course if I knew that

learning would be online, this is not a course that should be done virtually.’ Drama is obviously intended to be an interactive course. When we applied to study at Sussex we were expecting to put on live performances once a year and more so than this, we WANTED to do these performances. It is what we love and enjoy doing. Having this integral part of the course taken away and replaced with long hours staring at screens has definitely been a hard pill to swallow. Having said this many of us agreed that we are impressed with the performances put on in the last year given the circumstances. I personally saw some fascinating performances done cramme in various corners of our houses- my housemate even did a very physical performance hunched underneath our kitchen table! Tutor Jason Price commented ‘The pandemic has been challenging for all university subjects, but those which involve practice-base elements, like ours, have had to contend with significant levels of adjustment. But right from the beginning the Drama faculty consistently emphasized that creative possibilities can still be found in working remotely or in a blended way. Students and staff have stepped up to this challenge and we couldn’t be prouder of the results… the kind of work we are known for at Sussex, which tends to be more experimental in form,

means that working with social distancing has not been an issue.’ As Jason says, both students and staff are trying to make the best of things given everything that is going on at the moment. At Sussex we are known to create alternative styles of performance at the best of times. Now, in the most difficult stages we have all done what we have learnt over the years studying here and have created some really fascinating performances. First year student Emma Bean did not experience Sussex without the social distancing and said her experience may well be different from ours due to this, but she has been impressed with the work that she has seen so far- ‘everyone knows that the socially distanced style of these performers is necessary now and people have really dug deep into their own creativity to harness this restriction… it has altered my perception of what constitutes a stage.’ To end on a positive note, in some ways you could argue the pandemic has given us the opportunity to create performances we never would have previously thought of. Although it has been difficult, we remain reliant on the support of our peers and are thankful to those in the drama department who are trying to make the process easier for us. Follow Please Return to Your Seats to find more about the final year performance project.

Romeo & Juliet: The Importance of Friendship Elijah Arief Thearte Editor Like Valentines Day, Romeo and Juliet is equally loved and loathed.. A play that is full of sexual jokes and references, and often critiques on how falling in love can lead to your downfall, somehow this play has set the standard for romance centuries into the future. Perhaps it’s the forbidden outlawed love that draws us in every time, the soft-spoken soliloquies and passionate balcony confessions which turn those of us who are die hard romantics into goo. Some of us watch this play and feel emotionally impacted by the

plight of both our protagonists; others quite rightly feel exasperated. I tend to agree with both sides here. I love this play. I love the characters, the setting and the politics, the drama and tension when acted and directed right is enthralling. However, Romeo and Juliet’s ‘relationship’ does not hold up well in 2021. I’m not going to talk about the flaws of love at first sight here, as we all know how much of a problem that can be, or Juliet’s age for that matter. Though these are both valid criticisms, what stands out to me every time is that both Romeo and Juliet have stronger relationships with their companions than they ever did with each other.

Opus Arte As I was watching a streaming Domonic Dromgoogle’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet at the Globe in 2009, I came to the realisation that the love that Romeo is so desperately looking for was always there. We see both Mercutio and Benvolio call out tirelessly for Romeo to spend time with them, both of them tell him separately that the love he is searching for will not bring him long

term happiness as they both can see through his romantic idealism. In this production we even see the two of them weep over the fact that they both miss their friend. In a similar vein, we witness the undying maternal loyalty of Juliet’s nurse, a woman who knows her and respects her more than her own mother Lady Capulet. Ultimately this makes the play even more

heart-breaking, as the hurried union of Romeo and Juliet ends up destroying the relationships that they hold dear. These two characters are extremely loved outside of their relationship, and yet their romance becomes an ultimate priority. To me, this serves as a clear message that though romantic relationships are important, the friendships that also surround you are of equal importance. We should not be romanticising Romeo and Juliet as the pinnacle of love, instead it's time we uphold the loyalty and dedicated friendship of Mercutio, Benvolio, and the Nurse. These three ultimately suffered the most.


The Badger 15th February 2020

Arts • Music

20

Review: Collapsed In Sunbeams by Arlo Parks Resilience, compassion, and poetic beauty: the voice of Generation Z Alice Barradale Music Editor Arlo Parks’ debut album ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’ is an oasis of resilience, compassion, and poetic beauty. The London-based neo-soul singer, writer, and poet has created a debut filled to the brim with emotional life experience. At the young age of 20, we are left speechless at the formidable talent and wisdom Park beholds, where each track paints an in-depth compassionate window into her world. The coming-of-age album consists of 12 tracks that follow her journey from adolescence to adulthood, tackling tough subjects such as mental health, identity, queerness, and body image. This album is only the beginning for Parks, where she has already justified the immense excitement that was produced within the countdown to this album’s release. The album’s title ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’ is a reference from the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction awardwinning novel, ‘On Beauty’, by Zadie Smith 2005. Just like Smith’s novella, Park’s debut album follows the narrative of finding beauty in not just others, but within ourselves. It has therefore become poign-

ant that intimate lyricism is of high importance within Parks’ work. As mentioned in previous interviews, Parks has stated that the contents of the album are based on journals written during her adolescence, where her sharp lyricism and ability to create universal experiences convey this sense of intimacy which is arguably a dying breed within contemporary music. One of the album’s most poignant songs, ‘Hope’, produced by Gianluca Buccellati highlights her unique writing style, where throughout the tracks bridge the lyrics are beautifully written with deep poetic symbolism of the human form...

“ “

“I’ve often felt like I was born under a bad sign/ Wearing suffering like a silk garment or a spot of blue ink/ Looking for light and finding a hole where there shouldn’t be one”. Whilst paired with a blunt unequivocal chorus that leaves a clear understanding of the meaning behind the track...

“You’re not alone like you think you are/ We all have scars, I know it’s hard”. This postmodern form is ac-

SamuelWren98 centuated by the gentle synths and reverb guitars that help nurture and highlight her lyricism. The influence of Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ is also clear within this album, where stripping solely down to the drums, bass, and voice accentuates the warmth of emotion within the delivery. Arguably, one of the most emotive songs on the album, ‘Black Dog’ refers to the experience of dealing with a depressed friend, an interesting look surrounding the area of depression within the arts. Usually, artists like to centralise their own experiences of such mental health disorders in their music, whereas Park highlights the difference

between having depressions vs dealing with loved ones who are battling depression and the helplessness that follows. The term ‘Black Dog’ was coined by the English poet Samuel Jackson, whilst later illustrated by Winston Churchill, becoming a renowned metaphor for melancholy and depression.

“Let’s go to the corner store and buy some fruit/ I would do anything to get you out of your room”. Parks’ lyricism once again highlights her blunt and straight-to-the-point lyricism within her work. The abrupt nature of her writing in contrast to her poetic lyricality empha-

sises that issues such as depression need a clear and comprehensible understanding to help highlight the importance and urgency of the matter. Another important theme within this album is the issue of identity and sexuality. The track ‘Green Eyes’ follows the initial pain of rejection and the added affliction of rejection for a young queer person. It becomes clear that Park was left unsurprised that the relationship only lasted two months due to her partner feeling uncomfortable dealing with the judgment from her parents and the world itself... Arguably, there is a lack of music that accurately addresses individuals’ rejections of sexuality. This is highlighted through the use of the word “lost”, where the initial parental anger is replaced by loss, emphasising how societal pressures can destroy one’s sense of identity and self-worth. Her poetic ability is made clear once we notice Park is not explicitly writing about her pain, instead, it’s her pain that apprises the songs she has written. This speaks to the audience rather than the characters themselves, creating a powerful and intimate technique that will provide enlightenment for generations to come.

Not Your Muse: Celeste releases debut album Not enough black female artists are being heard in the mainstream - Saltdean singer, Celeste releases debut album and announces Brighton show Dylan Bryant Music Editor It’s no secret that Celeste is making her mark in today’s music industry. Although, it’s a rarity for black female artists singing jazz and soul to be heard in the mainstream; Celeste may be the circuit breaker that’s needed Born in California and raised in Saltdean (Brighton), it’s exciting and encouraging to see a local artist making such a name for herself. Named as the BBC sound of 2020, (a somewhat harsh title to be given after the year we’ve all had!) Celeste had previously been presented the Brit Award for the Rising Star. A successful year for the artist in difficult circumstances, Celeste has also featured in the soundtracks of Disney Pixar’s ‘Soul’, Netflix’s ‘The Trial of the

fluffytoy77 Chicago 7’ and most notably the John Lewis Christmas advert. I was lucky enough to secure a ticket to the 2020 Brit Awards and I was blown away by Celeste’s

performance. Although unique and an individual talent in her own right, Celeste’s moving and impressive vocals from her

performance echoed the likes of her musical ancestors such as Amy Winehouse and Aretha Franklin. From her debut album, the track ‘Love Is Back’ shines a light on what we can expect from the Brighton raised singer. Emotive vocals, catchy melodies and an array of brilliant modern soul music. Celeste released her long-anticipated debut album ‘Not Your Muse’ on the 29th of January and with 21 tracks and 1 hour 18 minutes of captivating and effortless vocals, it doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend using your time in lockdown to get some headspace - especially after a lecture or meeting on zoom. It’s a perfect display of what Celeste has to offer, featuring upbeat tracks like ‘Stop This Flame’; the theme song to Sky Sports Premier League football and spell-binding

love ballads such as ‘Strange’. The singer has delivered a beautiful arrangement of refreshing new music. Celeste opens the album elegantly with the track ‘Ideal Women’ which is self-assured and confident. This is a theme that runs throughout, contrary to her shy demeanour. With moments that’ll pull on your heart strings and catchy pop melodies that once heard, you won’t forget; Celeste brings it all with her powerful debut. Whether slow and moving, or upbeat and commercial, it’s Celeste’s vocals that really steal the show. A debut Album that lives up to the hype and I’m sure there’s lots more we can look forward to from Celeste in the future! Not Your Muse avaliable to stream now.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Arts • Editors’ Choice

21 Editors’ Choice

Editors’ choice is a column in which the Arts Editors have both the platform and opportunity to share what we are engaging with from the world of the arts. We wanted to create this section so that we are not only being the Arts Editors this year but also have the chance to write as well. We hope you shall discover some up and coming events, ideas, artists, productions, musicians and texts which may peak your interest, as we share what has caught our eye as well as getting us thinking about the events, new releases and ongoings from within the arts. For our first article we wanted to share some of our all time favourite texts; movies, books, podcasts, artists, albums, magazines, social media accounts and our cultural highlights, as a way to establish this new column and also share the types of artistic media we consume and enjoy. Robyn Cowie Arts Co-Editor As this column is being published just after the day of St.Valentine, I thought it would be necessary to, instead of talking all about the stereotypical forms of love we celebrate on February 14th, to discuss a more universal perspective upon this over-commercialized ‘holiday’. That being, love as an all consuming emotion and how it comes in all forms. A universal thing which all of humanity desires. Modern Love begun as a humble column in the New York Times, printed in 2004, and little did the columns creator, Dan Jones, know what he was offering people, not only an opportunity to have their words published, both as a platform to share their stories and their greatest heartbreak, their happiness, true love, regrets and everything in between. Since the first story, ‘Just Friends? Let Me Read Between the Lines’, was published with no expectations and yet, with over 750 subsequent articles having been published for the column, containing countless stories of love in any and all forms that it can come in. From; all different people, experiences and walks of life, being bravely shared in no more than 1500 words. The column has grown and grown. Modern Love has been deemed an editorial masterpiece in capturing love, both its elation and vulnerability. As something which is the most common feeling and desired concept in the world. The column has evolved from its weekly edition in a far more expansive concept which has allowed, much like love itself, for it to transcend into a multitude of media platforms.

You’d think after 14 years at this, would have seen every love story imaginable. But then I pull up some strange tale full of surprising wisdom and am floored all over again. Some of music’s greatest genres, scenes and subcultures have emerged from times of immense hardship. Could history repeat itself for a post-pandemic Britain? The concept has grown in a best-selling book. An award winning television series on Amazon Prime, where a star-studded cast, present the highly diverse range of stories which have been published over the years and bring to life these very frank, honest and vulnerable retelling of love. From finding love again whether reunited after years, to rekindling romance in middle age, attempting to date with mental health issues, platonic love, intergenerational, familial love and most

importantly self love, the series has been renewed for a second season. Another success in this franchise is its podcast, where famous celebrities voice popular publications of the column and at the end of each retelling the writer themselves is invited to discuss and further humanise their experience. The show allows for people to re-examine their stories of their very real life experiences of love through both storytelling and the after thoughts with honest conversation of very raw human emotion.

What started out as a hopeless romantic venture by one New York Times staff writer has evolved in a modern endeavour of human emotion, pain, elation and experience. You’d think after 14 years at this, would have seen every love story imaginable. But then I pull up some strange tale full of surprising wisdom and am floored all over again.

What started out as a hopeless romantic venture by one New York Times staff writer has evolved in a modern endeavour of human emotion, pain, elation and experience. Modern Love is a weekly reminder of all of that. But most importantly the column and its subsequent forms all us to all remember that both life and love are never easy, everyone has a different story but all are worthy listening to. Simply put, this column allows people from all walks of life opening up and sharing their most sensitive stories, as well as the people, experiences, relationships and incidents which have made them who they are. Modern Love is a timely reminder of what makes us all human particular. No matter who we are, love is arguably the most powerful thing, Something that we all deserve and hopefully are all lucky enough to encounter in one way or another.

Jessica Hake Arts Co-Editor ‘What is love to you?’. It’s the sort of question that gets thrown around when you’re 16 and using your AQA poetry anthology to address a question on romance. You barely understand the concept, let alone have the ability to start to analyse what exactly ‘love’ means. When we consider love, the hegemonic portrayal is shrouded in roses and rain drenched kisses and walks accompanied by an orchestral soundtrack. However, I would like to challenge this (not solely due to my single lifestyle...). When we only recognise love in a romantic and (occasionally) sexual way, then we refuse to value other amicable and platonic relationships. Friendship. Loving your friends. Your ‘chosen family’ enables a level of friendship that can provide a fulfilling intimacy. In these pandemic riddled times, my friendship between my housemates has been a blessing, providing comfort and support as well as humour and the muchneeded distractions from everyday life. By loving my friends and appreciating them as such, I was able to reject the mundanity of life and embrace the precious moments friendship held. Another love is the love for life, manifested for me currently in the grieving of pre-pandemic sociality. As I am an Arts Editor and this is a column in the arts section of the paper, I guess it would only be right if I admitted to my media coping mechanism for such grief… Made in Chelsea. Our relationship began when I binged the show in Year 11 when I was off school for a whole week (yes that is roughly 14 seasons in 5 days). Initially it stemmed from the want for social drama, something pre-pandemic life I used to wish my life had no involvement in whatsoever. Now, this isn’t to say that I want to follow suit of season 5 Spencer Matthews or experience the turmoil Miles Nazaire has seen to display since… well ever since his introduction to the show, but I am definitely willing to entertain some sort of drama. I think my ideal character, in all honesty, is Lucy Watson. Although quite a controversial character for some, it was only her veganism that I had to learn to accept (joke of course, this is Brighton). Her loyalty, honesty and sheer decency was a welcome change to the Chelsea scene and although I did want her to end up with the show’s iconic Jamie Laing, I loved her entire storyline (and think James Dunmore and her will produce beautiful babies). However, as my Lockdown 3.0 binge spiralled, I realised there was an aw-

ful superiority complex I was giving in to. I adored watching the show with the knowledge of what was going to happen to the characters a few seasons on, whilst they were loved up with the partners, they thought they would be with forever (despite nearly all cheating on each other, some with their partners best mate). On the other hand, the knowledge of where they would all be in 2020 allowed me to enjoy certain moments even more – the development of Louise Thompson and, now fiancé, Ryan Libbey was pure and sweet. The sporadically dramatic aspects of their relationship, I was comforted with the knowledge that he was going to propose, she would say yes, they’d move in together and have a dog.

Another love is the love for life, manifested for me currently in the grieving of pre-pandemic sociality. As I am an Arts Editor and this is a column in the arts section of the paper, I guess it would only be right if I admitted to my media coping mechanism for such grief… Made in Chelsea. My love for Made in Chelsea was not only acknowledgement of my love for social life and media, but also tapped into another form of love. Rekindled love. My stumbling across the show again on Channel 4 catch-up was the equivalent of running into an old flame in a crowded bar. Years on, both still as beautiful as the day we met but now a more developed and accurate portrayal of our quintessential selves. Going into the binge I knew it would either be a night of passion or the start of something special. I am worryingly pleased to say it was the latter. Well, it was for three weeks. I have now moved on to re-watching Extras and Afterlife on Netflix because, as controversial as he may be, Ricky Gervais really can produce some quality shows. Focusing again on love, heartbreak (or perceived heartbreak) can be easily remedied through a 10-day course of Maisie Peters and Taylor Swift. Peters’ slow release is the worst edging that I’ve ever experienced in the musical world but luckily Swift’s excessive production of music during these pandemic times more than makes up for it. The Fearless album is the perfect band-aid to a broken heart and the reimagined version that will be hitting Spotify imminently, is sure to be an emotional paracetamol for the ages. Coupled with this, Someone Great (available on Netflix) is the perfect film to compliment the discography of Swift and Peters. Well, that’s it from me folks. Have a fantastic month and try to identify the love in your life.


ARTIST T H E A RT I ST S

Artist Focus: Maddie Ross In the previous issues of Artist Focus, we’ve mainly been focusing on visual artwork, such as illustrations and photography. However, the creative endeavours that Brighton has to offer as a city don’t stop there. With that in mind, I caught up with the theatre director Maddie Ross, and creator of Girl Code, a female theatre collective that aims to empower women through plays based on real-life experiences. During our interview we discussed her use of verbatim theatre, her understanding of applied activism and her upcoming project “Still Not Getting It”, which will focus on harassment and indecent exposure on Brighton’s beaches during lockdown. How did you decide to get into theatre? I studied drama at University, and after finishing, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do afterwards. I started applying for director roles, but I was really disappointed when I realised the way men dominated the industry, and that in any of these jobs, I would often be working under a man. I also noticed that a lot of the productions were purely for entertainment value, and just to sell tickets, rather than to carry a message across, and I just didn’t feel passionate about them. Simultaneously, I was working at a domestic abuse charity, and through doing that, I realised that the stories I was listening to weren’t being shown in the media. So, I took the decision to focus my career around reallife stories told by women. How was Girl Code born? What was the motive behind it? I started Girl Code in November 2018 because I wanted to write a play about sexual assault and harassment in nightclubs. That idea was born out of a personal experience. On a night-out, a guy grabbed me, and told me that I was coming home with him. Another man intervened when he realised this guy wasn’t leaving me alone. I was lucky, because I knew what I was dealing with, someone was there to help me, and I knew the language that I needed to use in order to get myself out of this situation. However, that experience made me realise how many women would have ended up going home with him out of fear, and because they might not know what to do. So, I decided to write a play about this, about how we can tackle these situations, and about consent –where the line is, and why we often feel like it’s blurred.That’s how my first play, “Coming Home with Me” was born.

The play follows a group of girls during a night-out, and it covers the many experiences that can happen to women in night clubs. For it, I used verbatim theatre, which is a form of documentary theatre that utilises interviews as the source material, and it creates a script purely based on the real-life dialogue. Besides victim testimonials, I also included government debates and big news stories about harassment in nightclubs, so the final product was an amalgamation of content; a sort of ‘collage’ without a linear narrative, but with a clear story-line. My motive as a director is to create material that empowers women and initiates a conversation. The best review I can have after a performance is someone saying “I didn’t stop talking about this for an hour with all of my friends after coming and seeing it.” That’s what I really strive for. I am also hyper-aware of the fact that I am a white, middle-class woman, so using verbatim theatre allows me to create stories from people who wouldn’t normally be able to have their story heard. I don’t think my experience is particularly exciting, so I feel that the content becomes meaningful through the amalgamation of a bunch of stories from different women. Do you see Girl Code as a form of applied activism? Absolutely. As I started getting more recognition for my work in the last year, a lot of people have started referring to me as an activist. I wouldn’t say I actively pursued this, but I do agree in the sense that my work can be read as an educational tool. I am also aware that traditional theatre can often be inaccessible so, in terms of promotion, I am not really keen on getting a theatre-going audience into the shows. Ideally, I want anyone to be able to come see the show, understand it and enjoy it, but more specifically, the audience I always have in mind are women who don’t feel like the theatre world was made for them, or women who don’t know how to start these conversations. And, if a man stumbles into the show, and learns a thing or two, and questions himself, amazing, but at the end of the day, I’m not making these plays for men, I’m making them to empower women and to tell their stories. Even though the main topic of your shows is quite serious, you often utilise a comedic approach. Why is that? The comedic side actually comes from the women themselves. The way that they talk about their experiences with harassment is deflec-

Want your work featured?


FOCUS

O F B R I G H TO N

tive and comedic, so I deliberately try to highlight that in my work to inject it with authenticity. Besides, I feel that without comedy, the audience wouldn’t be able to digest some of this stuff –it’s too much. I have always enjoyed working with comedy anyway, and I don’t see the point of making someone sit through an hour of them being told that harassment is bad in a really depressing tone. I also like playing with genres, and making things surreal. By playing with the space where the characters are, and by putting them into surreal scenarios while they deliver the verbatim dialogue, I am able to create a comedic perspective. A conversation that might not have been funny originally, becomes funny, whilst also keeping the original intent and tone of the message. To read the rest of the interview, head to our website. Girl Code Theatre’s Instagram: @girlcodetheatre FemFest Instagram: @femfestbrighton Maddie’s Instagram: @madz_ross Words by Luisa De la Concha Montes

Contact us at: thebadger.street@gmail.com

The Badger 15th February 2021


The Badger 15th February 2021

Puzzles

24 Sudoku

Easy

Normal

Medium

Hard


The Badger 15th February 2021

Travel & Culture

25

Lockdown California Dreaming Final year American Studies student Grace Curtis reminisces on her year abroad in L.A from a locked-down Brighton Grace Curtis News Print Sub-Editor I knew it was coming months before it happened. My phone pings. A text? No. The Facebook notification every fourth year American Studies student dreads more than any other. “You have a new memory to look back on”. As I look down at the photo on my phone I am reminded that exactly a year ago today, I was at Disneyland with my nearest and dearest. Not a care in the world, huddled in close proximity with thousands of strangers waiting for 45-minutes to enjoy the secondslong thrill that is Space Mountain. Not a mask, glove or bottle of hand sanitiser in sight. How different life today seems now, when a trip to Aldi is the highlight of my week and you have to think twice about the risks involved in sitting on a park bench with a friend. Having FOMO for any time prior to 2020 is not a revolutionary concept. However, I think everyone can agree that this type of nostalgia ‘hits different’ for ex-year abroad students. Not only does social media provide a constant reminder of what once was, we were also, in many ways, robbed of what might have been. We were blindsided when the idea that our year abroad could be cancelled was first seriously considered. Many of us were naïve, assuming that the virus won’t touch the country we are in, or that lockdown will only last a few weeks at most. I happened to be at home visiting my family when my University - Occidental College in Los Angeles - announced that they were closing. I was then trapped at home, with only a weekend backpack to my name. It’s laughable now, but I actually used the phrase “when this all blows over in May” as a justification for my plans to fly

Grace Curtis

back to get my belongings in the Spring. My possessions were, of course, later shipped.

Sudden, dramatic and lacking in closure, without much notice we were suddenly ripped away from somewhere we had finally settled and where we had six more months left of hopes, dreams and plans without the chance to say goodbye. In this sense, many year abroad students went through what can only be described as a breakup. Sudden, dramatic and lacking in closure, without much notice we were suddenly ripped away from somewhere we had finally settled and where we had six more months left of hopes, dreams and plans without the chance to say

Grace Curtis

goodbye. The contrast between the life I am living now - locked down in Brighton and studying from my bedroom - with the one I lived last year is something you can only laugh (or cry) at. When studying abroad most people take every chance they can to travel, meet new people or try new things. Sometimes I felt like a character in ‘Yes Man’ (my second-favourite Jim Carey movie) where his character decides to say yes to every decision in his life. For me, year abroad felt this way because I was constantly aware that I was experiencing something that was finite and temporary. The whole time, I knew the year was going to be over before I knew it. Therefore, I felt a deep-rooted desire to seize every opportunity offered to me. In many ways, lockdown is almost the exact opposite. Especially this third time round, it feels much more like an infinite experience. With no end date in sight it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything as, really, you might as well just do it tomorrow? Instead of the pleasant feelings of nostalgia for the present that I felt on year abroad, lockdown number three has been more defined by nostalgic yearnings for the past and, ever more unlikely day dreams of a Covid-free future. Longings and desires to be somewhere else other than my bedroom grew with the trepidations we have all grown

accustomed to this past year... However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. If nothing else, the constant reminders of where I was and what I was doing exactly one year ago today remind me to be grateful for every opportunity I have been given. I honestly can’t imagine I will ever take a trip

to the pub - in a group of seven where we order only alcoholic beverages and stay out past ten for granted again. There are also little joys to be found in lockdown life in Brighton. The three-hour discussions and debates over which takeaway to get, the happy coincidence when the sun comes out in perfect alliance with your daily walk and the satisfactory, if rare, occasion when you can leave a break-out room conversation feeling relatively unscathed. These moments of happiness may not be as picture-perfect as my memories from California, but they still matter. At the end of the day, I feel tremendously grateful that I even got to go on my year abroad at all. The 20/21 cohort were not so lucky, and now even the next year is in question. Despite coming home early, I was able to go out there and experience American college life and those memories will never go away. Ultimately, I have a love and hate relationship with the social media memory notifications on my phone. Sometimes they provide an upsetting reminder of the life I used to live. However, more often they make me smile as I remember how lucky I was to get to live that life at all.

Grace Curtis


The Badger 15th February 2021

Travel & Culture

26

Will COVID-19 passports become essential for international travel? First Year Journalism student Sara Collins reflects on the continuing uncertainties of travelling abroad in the wake of the unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic. Sara Collins Staff Writer As I sit here in my living room, watching the light snow from the window slowly blowing in from a northerly direction, my mind drifts to my planned summer vacation to warmer climes. I have planned a 10-day family holiday to Cyprus in July 2021, a welcome escape from the restrictions of the coronavirus lockdown. The snowfall quickens as we look at the Airbnb villa we have booked, and we talk about swimming in the pool and lounging poolside for hours on end. Exploring the island and planning daily outings to add to the experience. However, Cyprus has already announced it might insist on the new vaccination passport for tourist entry in the summer. Several EU countries have insinuated that they will follow suit and make vaccine passports compulsory for entry. This raises the issue of the legality of the proposed passports: in the UK it is not mandatory to have the COVID-19 vaccine, so how can

minister for the vaccine rollout, said the vaccine passports would be “discriminatory” and the government has “no plans” to introduce them in Britain. The vaccine uptake has proven to be highly successful, with more than 11 million people in the UK having received their first dose. According to the Omni vaccine queue calculator, given a vaccination rate of 3,115,895 a week and an uptake of 70.6%, as a 51-year-old woman in good health, I should expect to receive my first vaccine between 21/04/21 and 06/05/21, and my second dose by between 14/07/21 and 29/07/21. This would be after the proposed holiday, so where would that leave me in regard to the vaccine passport? That is assuming I decide to take up the offer of the vaccine, which I still have not fully decided yet. And with my fellow travellers all under the age of 35, being offered the vaccine later still.

The snowfall quickens as we look at the Airbnb villa we have booked, and we talk about swimming in the pool and lounging poolside for hours on end.

Hanoi.eregulations.org

other countries insist on them to allow entrance to tourists?

Could the vaccine passport decision help to cripple its tourist economy and will other European Union members follow suit? In a television interview on the Andrew Marr show on BBC on Sunday, Mr Nadhim Zahawi, the

According to Mr Zahawi, if countries require immunisation passports, individuals could be able to seek records from their GPs to enable future travel. He also said the focus should be on the inoculation process itself. Greece is another country which has suggested the country could waive Covid quarantine restrictions from May for arrivals who can prove they have been

wikimedia.commons

vaccinated. Greece, who heavily relies on the tourist trade and is another favoured destination for my family, now seems a world away for a family who is not high up on the vaccination list. Could the vaccine passport result in fewer Britons travelling to Greece this summer? The British flock to Greece every year, as do the Germans and Russians, but their vaccine programme is lacking behind the British. Could the vaccine passport decision help to cripple its tourist economy and will other European Union members follow suit? Will the EU be given a diktat handed down by Brussels? Has this decision been as well thought through as the vaccine debacle that is currently plaguing the member states? Is this even something that will hold under international law? Will we be encouraged to pursue a vaccine-passport, almost inevitably at some expense to our group, only to find it unnecessary or irrelevant at the point of travel? So many questions are raised by this decision, only time will tell whether this proves to be another inevitability of the Covid-19 story.

faster now, as we discuss the possibility of travel or not this summer. It seems to become an unlikely reality now. So, what if we decide not to go. Are we covered by our travel insurance? Well, no is the simple answer. This decision is likely to be considered 'disclination to travel’ and no refund will be offered. However, if a flight is cancelled due to Covid by the airline, then you as a traveller are entitled to rebook on another flight or a full refund. Boris Johnson in the UK parliament stated that vaccines are not mandatory and “that’s not how we do things in the UK.” Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, however, suggested the vaccine passports “may be necessary” and stressed the

government should be “open” to the concept.

Mr Nadhim Zahawi, the minister for the vaccine rollout, said the vaccine passports would be “discriminatory” and the government has “no plans” to introduce them in Britain. For the first time in my life, and probably the only time, I find myself in agreement with the Tory government. The decision to have the vaccine is mine and mine alone. The snow flurries are thicker and faster now, and the thought of a family holiday to Cyprus seems ever more distant.

Several EU countries have insinuated that they will follow suit and make vaccine passports compulsory for entry. The snow is falling thicker and

wikimedia.commons


The Badger 15th February 2021

Travel & Culture

27

Upper Svaneti, Georgia, Summer 2018 Travel and Culture editor Hal Keelin recalls a memorable experience volunteering on a Hiking Trail project in the wilds of Georgia in the Summer of 2018. Hal Keelin Travel and Culture Editor It's just gone 6 am when I’m rudely awakened with a start by Paul, the trail camp leader’s distant shouts of “wakey, wakey”. I smile and wonder how someone can be so upbeat, so early in the morning. It’s the first day of work with the Trans-Caucasian Trail crew. An ambitious, long term project with the single aim to ensure that the wild yet beautiful regions of the Caucasus are made easily navigable by a single hiking trail. After almost a year out of university, saving money for an epic summer trip, I’ve finally made it to a country filled with people I could never forget. Some might say Georgia is a bizarre choice, and most are a bit confused when I mention afterwards that it's next to Russia, not Alabama. To me, it has felt like the perfect opportunity since I first saw it advertised online. That March I had been desperate to find an experience about as far removed from a 9-5 job as possible. Georgia had kept me looking forward in the months of soul searching after I had decided to transfer universities. My life had changed quite drastically already, instead of desperately trying to cram my brain with Latin – I had been studying Ancient and Mediaeval history earlier that year - by January I was wiping snow off a seat with a motorbike glove and driving a small scooter to a farmyard for work every day. I began to learn a vital lesson, that the path mapped out in my head was not always a path at all; it was very often an illusion, a product of a series of built-in presumptions.

latrine, this time 400 metres or so down the hillside from camp. Our lunch break was cut short by the now unstoppable tirade of bugs. At noon the horseflies came out in full force and for however slow they were, we could do nothing about their numbers. Kill two and three more would be back to take their place. In the afternoon, Dan and Paul decided it would be a good idea for us volunteers to see what we would be attempting over the next week and a half. They hadn’t seen what we unilaterally termed ‘the ridge’ hereafter since late May when there was still snow well within the tree line.

Hal Keelin

a breakaway sect has sculpted themselves higher, blocking the tips of peaks to the west. The soft churn of the snowmelt river below is just heard under the buzz of the horseflies and it's impossible to not wonder how England got on against Columbia the previous night. Afraid to use my phone for being charged a ridiculous data-usage fee I felt off-grid, and extremely thankful for it.

the water further down the valley and the first task of the day is to collect the remaining tools from the vehicle. At the site, we do well to clamber in through the back to retrieve our items. Another volunteer takes a photo, my legs are outstretched, horizontal sticks protruding from the back seat. Back at camp, the Polanski's and rakes are dropped thankfully onto the tarp with the rest of the

It’s an overcast morning, the clouds are light grey and they mould themselves over the peaks across the valley, while a breakaway sect has sculpted themselves higher, blocking the tips of peaks to the west.

I began to learn a vital lesson, that the path mapped out in my head was not always a path at all; it was very often an illusion, a product of a series of built-in presumptions. A slow mover in the mornings it takes all of ten minutes to peel off my sleeping bag and dress for the cold morning. The prospect of being last to the first meeting of the day is just enough motivation to step out into cool air. The outer layer of my tent is damp with condensation and I make a mental note to never leave anything I'll need dry for the next day outside. It’s an overcast morning, the clouds are light grey and they mould themselves over the peaks across the valley, while

the hillside, away from camp. The meadow is large and the ubiquity of snowmelt from the surrounding hillsides has meant there’s been time for plenty of spring growth. Wildflowers, thistles, nettles and grass are high, up to our shoulders, while the menacing din of horseflies remains. Unsure about slashing unnecessarily through the hogweed we return to our proposed site with Dan and Christen who had just finished setting up the kitchen: a piece of tarp tied to three trees, suspended in the air for a roof and another tarp as a groundsheet.

Hal Keelin

A huge pot of water boils away on an even bigger stove and I set to making myself some oatmeal with honey, and wash it down with some vile Nescafe. There was no time to mix it properly, so clumps are left around the edges. Paul delineates the camp chores, instructing me to help him collect water from the nearby stream. The Delica van is still stuck with its hind precariously submerged in

hand tools and Dan instructs me and Isobel to scout a spot for a toilet.

Some might say Georgia is a bizarre choice, and most are a bit confused when I mention afterwards that it's next to Russia, not Alabama. “BE CAREFUL OF THE HOGWEED !” he shouts as we amble up

Dan dismisses our spot without a second thought, leads us further up the overgrown meadow, he meanders around hogweed as if it's not there and, when reaching a cluster of trees, some 500 metres from the camp spot, decides this is the spot to start digging. Despite the walk, his experience in this exercise is obvious, the spot is well hidden, shaded and perhaps unintentionally, commands an excellent view of the surrounding landscape. Digging the trench took all of the morning, and it was twice as long as it was deep. With hindsight, it was only just about big enough and by the week's end, we had constructed a second

It had been cloudy for most of the day and when the light grey swirls turned angrier and denser, it was clear a storm was on its way. The land rover trail took us parallel to the sound of gushing water and then directly into the path of a wide tributary coming straight off the hillside. We used some of the larger upturned rocks as temporary stepping stones and crossed carefully while Vakho, behind, made more permanent steps by dropping rocks from the side and into the path of the river. A sister tributary ahead caused Paul slight concern. Water hadn’t been here last time and, with the snow still fastened to the upper third of the peaks ahead in July, was a sure indication that the volume of the river would only increase as the summer months went on. We veered right, through a dense thicket of high grass. The hogweed was enormous here, and Paul whenever he so much as saw a branch would carefully find its root and saw gently allowing the liquid to spill out, before standing (with equal care) and snapping its roots at their base. Late in the afternoon we set back for camp and enjoyed an alternative ‘golden hour’ nice light for photography but more thankfully it was the single hour which brought a brief rest-bite from the bugs. It had been cloudy for most of the day and when the light grey swirls turned angrier and denser, it was clear a storm was on its way. We cooked two ramen noodles each on the stove, chatted briefly, the trench digging sapping much ability for a long conversation and then dispersed swiftly when the rains eventually came.


The Badger 15th Februrary 2020

Travel & Culture

28

Influencers Flock to the Next Travel Hotspot Katya Pristiyanti T&C Print Sub-Editor With the intensive regulations that have been put in place this year, travel has become one most people take for granted and one that is a priority for people after this pandemic. The longing for the sandy beach and warm weather becomes more excruciating in Brighton’s gloomy and cold climate. The amount of content on social media of these ‘staycations’ definitely amplified the need for a quick getaway. The spike in Covid-19 cases in December has caused the UK to resort back to various travel bans and travel corridors – this being referred to as the red list countries. The recent update on the UK’s red list countries that are subject to a mandatory quarantine recently extended to the United Arab Emirates. This comes after the advent of various scenic snapshots of influencers on Instagram of their picturesque holiday to Dubai further inciting the influx of tourist travels. Some familiar names to the influencer sphere include James Lock, Sophia Peschisolido, Sharidan Mordew, Chloe Ferry and more have since partaken in the travels to UAE. Upon a closer inspection of their Instagram posts, these influencers can be seen to tag different brands or organisations that affiliate them to the trip itself. With 11% of Dubai’s GDP coming from tourism, the ‘Visit Dubai’ campaign launched in July. To attract a younger market, they acquired top influencers to promote the campaign and

Cultural Bite Japanese miso marinated aubergines Bryony Rule Travel&Culture Online Sub-Editor Aubergine provides the perfect, hearty vegetarian base to absorb the warming umami flavours in this dish. The easy to make marinade is sticky, sweet and savoury, and pairs perfectly with stir fried noodles and vegetables.

What you will need: (Serves 2)

PixaHive

promote the safety measures in place.

The spike in Covid-19 cases in December has caused the UK to resort back to various travel bans and travel corridors

travel as an ‘essential trip’ which negates the UK’s guidelines on international travel unless it is legally permissible and has been approved as ‘essential’. Sheridan Mordew faced this backlash as she claimed that her essential business trip to Dubai stems from her intention to ‘motivate’ her fans.

Despite the glorious pictures and seemingly relaxing disposition that one could experience from a vacation to Dubai, this travel faced a large hurdle as the UK announced a travel ban. Towie cast members, James Lock and Yazmin Oukhellou, have not responded to their travel situation and have since given the message that they are not in any rush to return as they continue to post their activities in Dubai. Former Love Island contestant, Anton Danyluk acted on the opposite route as he was found to have deleted some content on his Dubai trip after fans criticised him. Several criticisms emerged from this event centralising on the increase of excusing this

The increase of coronavirus cases from Dubai has now subjected travellers from the UAE to the UK to follow suit with a hotel quarantine for 10 days. The increase of coronavirus cases from Dubai has now subjected travellers from the UAE to the UK to follow suit with a hotel quarantine for 10 days. Information regarding this will be announced in the next coming days. Though it seems, for the time being, any need for a relaxing vacation has been halted.

Free-Photos

2 small aubergines Pinch sea salt Thumb sized piece of ginger 50g miso paste 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey 2 servings of soba noodles 100g kale or green leafy veg of choice 1 carrot Head of broccoli Zest and juice of 1 lime Sesame seeds Bunch of spring onions

Method Cut the aubergines in half lengthways. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh of each half in a diagonal criss-cross pattern. Place the aubergines on a lined baking tray, cut side up. Sprinkle the sea salt over them, before leaving for 15 minutes, to allow the salt to withdraw some of their moisture. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Peel and finely grate half of the ginger into a bowl, along with the miso paste and maple syrup, whisking together with a fork. After 15 minutes, rub each half of aubergine with a little oil. Place them into the oven for 20 minutes, until they are softened. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions and set aside. Prepare your vegetables. Chop the broccoli into small florets, shred your greens, and using a vegetable peeler, make carrot ribbons. Once the aubergines are softened, remove them from the oven. Using the back of a spoon, spread the miso glaze generously over each half. Place them back into the oven for around 15 minutes. Warm some oil in a wok or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add your vegetables, along with the remaining grated ginger, stir frying for 5 minutes until they are softened but retain some bite. Add the noodles, lime zest and juice to the pan, with a pinch of salt. Toss everything together. Remove the aubergines from the oven. They should be charred, soft and sticky. Serve on top of the noodles, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and sliced spring onions.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Science & Technology

29

Hacking your way through the pandemic Nauris Kalnins In the first term of my first year at university I attended the HackSussex 2019 hackathon, keen to experience a type of event I have only heard of before. A hackathon is a usually 24 hour long design-sprint where participants (hackers) collaborate on projects and the goal is to create functioning software or hardware. The organisers did everything to support the hackers. There were assistants there to help with coding/hardware/theory issues recruited from the staff and sponsors. Sponsors and guest speakers ran workshops related to the challenge themes/topics. Food and drinks were there to help through the 24 hours sprint and there was a setup for sleeping on the spot. In my case on a beanbag under the desk I worked on (I would not want it any other way). The

HackSussex 2019 , Nauris Kalnins teams came pre-agreed or assembled on the spot from the participants, as was the case with mine. I made a good friend in that team and more friends during the event. The spirit of ingenuity and innovation permeated throughout the event and culminated in presentations of the hacks in front of the judges. Not all teams made it to the end. Ours presented and in the end won one of the

tracks. If one can pinpoint specific memories of university that made the experience unforgettable for them, that was it for me. Last year the Covid pandemic hit and changed everything. No more in-person events, no large or small gatherings and constantly shifting restrictions would have seemed to deal a lethal blow to a type of event that precisely relies on getting a large number of

people into the same venue for at least 24 hours. There was no space for a group of people driven by passion for technology to come together and change the world. However, a community built upon working around unexpected challenges would not be stopped even when the world stopped. As I was making notes for this article I was also taking part in the HexCambridge 2021 hackathon. Going fully online opened the doors for an event that could connect anyone anywhere. The number of participants could be increased significantly as the event can be accessed from comfort and safety of your home. The sponsors can involve their staff on short notice to help the hackers with the challenges and the event and workshops can be streamed on Twitch for access that has never been wider. There is even more space

for involvement of sponsors and recruiters in the event as it now can be accessed on a specific time from anywhere. Every opportunity to use the online platform that was there was taken without a doubt and used to the fullest. The isolation stayed the same but now it is not a helpless one any more. I did not win a challenge this time, but I took away a realisation that there is always an opportunity to do good and try to push a change in the world. This is the perfect time for events like hackathons to bring people together from around the globe, from the isolation of their rooms to work together. Next time you sit down at your screen consider taking a look at hackathons happening online. Maybe that spirit of working together in the same room is not as easily recreated, but an obstacle has never stopped a hacker. Find out if you are one?

Is capitalism slowing scientific discovery? Rosie Burgess Post-enlightenment science is purported to be committed to the overarching good and the supposed path to truth. Famous philosopher Immanuel Kant once referred to its motto as “dare to know! Have the courage to use your understanding”. Modern science as we know it would not have existed without ancient developments either. From Herophilus (335–280 bc) dissecting and describing the nervous system to Hippocrates (460 BC -370b) as the first to describe various diseases, science has come far. Despite what many may think, capitalism and science have interacted in a complex manner throughout the ages. This complexity continues through to the present day, and as such I will do my best to convey the most important points while inevitably leaving some things out. One of the first main scientific innovations discovered was the smallpox vaccine, which shaped humanity forever by allowing the eradication of a disease which killed nearly one in every three people infected. And, in light of another pandemic, capitalists

argue that the quick development of a COVID-19 vaccine could not have been possible in a system without remuneration tied to productivity. After all, it was hyper-capitalist America that has continually led the world in biomedical research and nuclear development. Hell, they even got to the moon first. If science is the primary solution to improving the world then capitalism seems to be the perfect accompaniment because scientists can be pressured to develop life-saving vaccines in record-breaking times. Some arguments against capitalism argue that profit is what determines research and this can be restrictive. Many types of research could be unprofitable and therefore are not pursued. The development of antibiotics is an example of how companies find certain pursuits unappealing despite a demand. Antibiotics’ clinical uses are limited to a short time whereas treatments for chronic illnesses for which the patient is taking medication for the rest of their life and this is much more profitable. It is unsurprising to see there is exceeding private investment in this sector despite the undeniable argument that the pursuit of

Pixabay antibiotics is much more urgent. The WHO has said that antibiotic-resistance is the ‘greatest risk to health’ because of the increasing possibility of common infections being able to kill people. Despite this troubling news, Big Pharma, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world has abandoned its pursuit of antibiotic research. Another argument is that scientists need to continually produce fast-paced breakthrough research to be published in the ‘best’ journals. These prestigious journals are not only selective but are driven by profit. Scientists are therefore unlikely to choose to publish that which is risky and long term. It begs the question, What would scientists such as double Nobel Prize winner Fred Sanger have done? Sanger spent a lot of his life working on the long term goal of understanding genetics instead of regu-

lar publishing but deservedly won the Nobel Prize twice. The ‘publish or perish’ model — where important scientific papers now lie behind paywalls has impacted the very course of science as we know it. Scientists have been pressured to pursue a one business model in order to survive where they must conform in a system that they have been taught to challenge but, only if it makes money. Some debates also propose that scientific progress has been controlled by capitalism because it creates unhealthy competition between countries, each racing to claim legal intellectual property for essentially the same discoveries. What innovations will lie still because of countries not working together? Instead of working to challenge new ideas and developing knowledge, scientists find themselves concerned about relevancy and profit in a sys-

tem that is essentially, the arbiter of creative destruction. Another example of how capitalism has impeded the progress of science is in response to the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance. Previously, The Soviet Union developed bacteriophages to treat infections because of restricted access to antibiotics. Phage therapy has since proved to be a promising development in the fight against antibiotic resistance because of its relative costeffectiveness and efficacy. The problem is that phage therapy has not been recognized as profitable to companies because bacteriophages cannot be patented and so are not being rightly invested in. In conclusion, from the capitalist grandiose proclamations about its effectiveness in the fight against COVID-19 to concerns shown by the people who question the real price of profiting off science -- capitalism’s ability to help solve one of the most threatening problems’ humanity has faced is clear. It has, however, highlighted the massive inequality and unsustainability of a system in which scientific progress has and will be unquestionably hindered.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Science & Technology

30

SpaceX’s Starship Meet the spacecraft that will take you to Mars, or to New York in twenty-nine minutes. Rob Barrie Its second test might have ended in a giant fireball, but nothing is stopping SpaceX’s Starship programme. The American space company is now tantalisingly close to offering civilian space travel. In 2016, Elon Musk, founder and chief engineer at SpaceX, heralded a new dawn for space travel. Humans so far have not set foot on a planet other than Earth, and it is this notion that occupies the very heart of Musk’s new ambitions. The South-African born entrepreneur, who in January became the world’s richest person, has suggested there are two options for humanity. The first is staying on Earth until the sun in our solar system burns. The second, as he outlined: “become a spacefaring civilisation and a multiplanet species”. This latter path, he added, is the one “I hope you would agree is the right way to go.” Currently, travelling beyond our solar system, let alone intergalactic travel, is far beyond our technological reach. But reaching our neighbouring planets, such as Mars, is a realistic target possibly within the next few years; certainly, by the close of this decade. A colony on Mars, for example, would be a gigantic step in humanity’s endeavour to travel amongst the stars. A dream that Elon Musk, and SpaceX, are working on realising. In 2016 a new programme at SpaceX, aimed at achieving this dream, was born. What gradually emerged from the hangars from years of development was an elegant, silver spacecraft. Comparisons were even drawn to the creations from the boundless minds of science-fiction writers of the twentieth century. The final model will stand at one hundred and twenty metres tall, comprising an additional rocket segment, known as the Super Heavy, and the aforementioned spacecraft proper. The combined system was originally called “Starhopper”, but the name was later changed to what is known as today: “Starship”. Super Heavy will burn methalox fuel to power its twenty-eight Raptor engines (a SpaceX

BFR at stage separation, Wikimedia Commons creation too) to help propel Starship, which would then detach, into the darkness of space. And with just over seven million kilograms of thrust from the engines, the resistance offered by Earth’s gravity will feel like no more than a mild pull. First, let’s revisit SpaceX’s Falcon 9, a rocket on a parallel space programme. SpaceX can now, almost with one hundred percent efficacy, land the engine segment from this rocket on a drone ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Landing completely autonomously on what is no more than half the size of a football pitch is an astounding feat of engineering. Not only is it a marvellous spectacle to watch, but retrieving and reusing the rocket saves SpaceX around six million dollars with every launch. Whilst components of this autonomous landing from Falcon 9 have been carried over to Starship, the exact manoeuvres the new spacecraft intends to pull off, which are even more breath-taking, disobey all sense of reality. Indeed, it simply defies the laws of physics. Upon attaining a set altitude, Starship will rotate from a vertical to a horizontal position. Known as a “bellyf lop”, Starship utilises precise bursts from its engines to change to a ‘lying down’ position. It then descends horizontally, similar to a plane on final approach to an airport. Then, once at a low enough altitude, it will ignite a secondary burn, f lip itself to a vertical position and land on terra firma, upright, via stabilising legs. When one considers that parts of the Saturn rockets that propelled astronauts to the moon in the twentieth century were either dis-

carded in space as debris or plummeted into the ocean, what SpaceX is creating with Starship almost beggar’s belief. There is no debris. Indeed, apart from the fuel that is burned, there is no waste. Thus, here we have a completely reusable rocket with quick turnaround times. It is hoped that this will place launching on an hourly scale, rather than weekly. The implications for interplanetary space travel are obvious. Civilians could be transported on Starship to a colony on another planet, the vehicle will be refuelled upon arriving, and return to Earth to collect more passengers for an identical trip.

As Earth becomes evermore overcrowded, more eyes turn to the stars of the night sky as possible new homes. There are, however, interesting hints of Starship’s employment closer to home. Elon Musk has suggested that Starship could act as a vessel for travel within Earth too. For a conventional aeroplane, the f light time from New York to Shanghai is nearly fifteen hours. In a Starship, which will be able to hold around one hundred passengers, it would take just thirty-nine minutes. London to New York would take a scarcely believable twenty-nine minutes. Entering low-orbit, returning to Earth’s lower atmospheres and conducting its trademark vertical landing, it would be ready for reuse in hours, carrying a further set of passengers back to its place of origin on a return journey, much like today’s aeroplanes. Serious entertainment of such revolutionary possibilities is perhaps best kept in the future. Indeed, before the

exact logistics of the Starship programme are finalised, SpaceX needs to first perfect the landing of the spacecraft. Five years after the announcement of the programme, the first prototypes are currently being tested from the Boca Chica launch sites in Texas. The launch site itself was built primarily for this interplanetary ambition, and SpaceX even bought an entire neighbouring town to continue expansion of the launch centre. Unfortunately, the two high-altitude tests conducted so far have both ended in explosions. The final f lip to vertical position and subsequent self-landing has proved difficult. However, the bigger picture must be kept firmly in view. The relatively short time it took to advance the programme from two-dimensional blueprints into real, tangible spacecraft was a feat in itself, and this achievement is made even more remarkable when one considers that SpaceX was also developing its Starlink missions (providing remote areas with internet via satellites) and also advancing its Falcon9 missions (sending humans to the International Space Station) at the same time. SpaceX engineers have even called the two tests so far, despite their fiery end-

ing, largely successful. Therefore, there are reasons to be hopeful that we shall see a successful landing of a Starship vehicle soon. As Earth becomes evermore overcrowded, more eyes turn to the stars of the night sky as possible new homes. Planets within our solar system may provide not just an alleviation, but a solution. Whether the majority of the public agrees with such a proposal remains to be seen. But it is clear that this programme is gathering huge public interest. The tests alone attracted a huge global following. Hundreds of thousands of viewers tuned in to the live-streams of each test, with viewing figures rivalling those of the widely-broadcast Falcon 9 launch to the International Space Station. The days of exclusive space travel for astronauts are fading. Space, it seems, can now be for anyone. Perhaps it is this thought that has captured the minds of so many. Though still in its youthful days of testing, the evolution of the Starship programme has made travelling to neighbouring planets not a question of if, but when. Indeed, thanks to Starship, it might not be a fully qualified astronaut stepping onto the red Martian soil, but you .

Starship SN8 launch, Wikimedia Commons


The Badger 15th February 2021

Sport

31 Football: A Cursed Romance

Charlie Batten With Valentine’s day just gone, it got my thinking about one of the loves of my life. Football. One of my earliest memories growing up was when I was 6 my Dad took me to see Southampton lose 2-0 to Charlton at home in the Championship. It was the first time I’d ever been to a football game and despite the loss, I’ve been to well over 50 since. Growing up in a football family it was pretty clear that I would have to get into the sport or then there wouldn’t be much to talk about in the house. Both my Dad and Grandad are Southampton fans, my Nan and Grandad both support Preston North End, my cousin supports Swansea because she likes the look of the swan on their badge and my Mum claims to be a Southampton fan ever since marrying my Dad but seemed to celebrate Liverpool winning the title last season a little too much for my liking. Since I was born my Dad was desperate for me to be a Saints fan so that he could take me to games just like his Dad had done with him. However, there was a slight blip in this plan after my Nan bought me a Wayne Rooney album when I was 7 which turned me into a Manchester

There is also something unique about supporting a club that’s far down in the footballing pyramid that creates an even stronger connection to the team you support. If you support one of the better sides like Liverpool or Man City you almost come to expect wins and trophies, but when you’re stuck in League 1 every victory is so huge because of how important it is, and every loss is so damaging because of the risk of relegation that comes with it.

Solent Creatives United fan for a little bit. This time is referred to as the “lost years”. Eventually I traded the Premier League glory in Manchester for the League 1, playoff chasing south coast. After the 9-0 Southampton defeat to United I’m really starting to wonder why I made the change but regardless, once I made the change I have never looked back. To me, going to watch a game isn’t just about the 90 minutes you spend at the stadium, it’s about the whole day. Growing up in London it wasn’t as simple as just walking to the stadium. For a 3 o’clock kick off me and my Dad would have to get up

around 10, set off by 11:30, spend 2 hours in the car discussing our chances to get a win, park up on the outskirts of the city, walk for about half an hour to get to the stadium, get a burger outside the ground, watch the game, queue for about 30 minutes to get out of the stadium, get back to the car either whilst either talking about either how good we were or how terrible we were, drive home with the radio either on or off depending on the result and then make it home just in time for dinner and the games highlight on Match of the Day. It was these 9-hour outings that caused me to fall in love with football and Southampton and become so close to my Dad.

The best part of supporting a football club, or any sports team for that matter, is the bond you create with the team but the people and places around it. That connection I have with Saints has made the back-toback promotions to the Premier League so special as well as getting into the Europa League as well as two trips to Wembley. On the other hand, it has meant I’ve been crushed by relegation battles, watching my hero Rickie Lambert leave the club, crying on my Dad’s shoulder as we lost in the League cup final and two 9-0 defeats in two seasons. The best part of supporting a football club, or any sports team for that matter, is the bond you create with the team but the people and places around it.

When I was younger me and my Dad would argue a lot, but it was football that allowed us to get past that and become close. For most of my life my late Grandad had Alzheimer’s so it would often be hard to have proper conversations with him, but I could always talk to him about Saints and that allowed me to still see the person in him even when he was slowly fading away. Even though I’ve never lived in Southampton, I still feel close to it whenever I’m there due to all the times I’ve been there and all the memories I have of the city.

Alan Batten Football truly is a cursed romance as the good times can be so amazing, but the bad times can be so hurtful. In the end though I don’t think I’d change it for anything.

Dull Deadline Day Harry Smith Much like this season so far, the January transfer window was very different this year. With none of the usual sightings - managers speeding up and down the M4 in pursuit of a last minute bargain, rowdy fans interrupting TV journalists stood outside the club’s ground, or Harry Redknapp with his head out a car window - this year’s deadline day was in fact dull, undramatic, and rather forgettable. The transfer market, which closed at 11pm last Monday, saw a major decline in spending for Premier League clubs. The total of transfer fees paid for players in the winter window was the lowest since 2012 with a reported £70m spent. To put this into perspective, last season the January transfer window spending stood at £230m. The flop in clubs’ expenditure is primarily due to the financial impact of the pandemic which, according to reports from financial services Deloitte, will account to the

Jeollo world’s top 20 highest-earning football clubs losing nearly two billion Euros. The impact of the global pandemic was felt across European football as the other four ‘big five’ European leagues’ transfer spending fell to just over half of the previous threeyear January transfer windows. Additionally, since the UK left the European Union on New Year’s Eve, some foreign players have struggled to qualify for a work permit because of the change in immigration rules. Deloitte estimates that during this season’s January

transfer window the Premier League clubs’ expenditure on players from foreign clubs fell to just £45m, compared to an average of £165m spending in this category in the previous two January transfer windows. Largely, the quiet deadline day is by cause of the country being in the midst of a global pandemic, but Brexit may also have been a contributing factor that could pose further problems for English football in the future. While bringing in a new player halfway through the season is often seen as a risky move, many clubs have managed to sign elite Premier League players that proved to be well worth the money in the past. From Luis Suarez’s move from Ajax to Liverpool for £22m in 2011, to Bruno Fernandes arrival at Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon for £47m last season. However, this year’s quiet deadline day was illustrated by the fact that late focus centred on who Liverpool would bring in to amend their defensive problems, and of those players

only one was a permanent signing with the other coming to Anfield on loan. Liverpool are missing three senior centre-backs through injury with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and recently Joel Matip all out. With midfielder Fabinho, who has been acting as a centre-back, becoming Liverpool’s latest absentee this season, the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was busy looking for at least one central defender to bring in on deadline day. Preston defender Ben Davies, 25, signed a permanent deal that will see him move from the championship club to Anfield for £2m. While Ozan Kabak was brought in on loan from Schalke with an option to buy the Turkey international for around £18m at the end of the season. Other significant deals were completed in the early hours of Tuesday morning, as Norway striker Joshua King returned to the Premier League in a move from Bournemouth to Everton for a nominal fee. While Japan forward Takumi Minamino, joined Southampton on loan

from Liverpool for the rest of the season. Both deals are not the most eye-catching ‘after hours’ signings in deadline day history, but they are intriguing ones. Additionally, Arsenal loaned out two of their promising young English players with Joe Willock joining Newcastle until the end of the season and Ainsley Maitland-Niles moving to West Brom. Albion manager Sam Allardyce, also loaned former Celta Vigo midfielder Okay Yokuslu in his attempt to keep the Baggies in the Premier League this season. 19-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo, signed for Brighton earlier in the day for £4m that keeps him at the Seagulls until 2025. With Premier League clubs deciding not to spend this winter, clubs will have to work with what they’ve got and depend on their youth ranks. All of which promises an exciting and unpredictable second half of the season with the title race wide open.


The Badger 15th February 2021

Sport

32

The 2020’s: The Great Comeback of Test Cricket? In what has been described as a ‘huge coup’ for Channel 4, the Guardian reported last Wednesday that Test Match Cricket will return to terrestrial TV for the first time since the fabled 2005 Ashes. Hal Keelin Travel and Culture Editor In 2005, 8.4 million people tuned in for an inspired England Ashes series win. When Flintoff, Harmison and Strauss nail-bitingly saw off the challenge ofPonting, Warne, and Glenn McGrath. . I remember some days of that July well. We must have been in something like year 5, the football season over and the playground buzzed (or four or five of us buzzed) with anticipation. One of the boys had got the goahead from his mum to have us all round to watch it at his and I remember hurriedly walking from school with my friends and some of the parents. I remember hardly any of the game but all the anticipation and a lot of excitement. This is part of the essential nature of test cricket. It’s often slow and attritional. Long-time watchers of test cricket will tell you of the beauty found in eking out the drama and plot of what’s not inherently before your eye. How every piece of information on the screen or ground reveals an array of options, possibilities, a story. A batsman’s innings is a meta-narrative of their life or career, the expression on the bowler’s face indicative of the ball bowled in five minutes. For those who aren’t obsessed by every ball, and for those who can’t afford the time to watch the best part of four or five days of one game, to keep up with cricket, a change of spectator mindset is required. You must accept that you might not be entertained by action. To accept that much of the game will drift in and out of your consciousness, to accept and love the background noise of the game. It is a relic of a different era, and it’s quite astonishing how it has managed to continue given the way the world has changed in the past half-century, let alone sport. For a generation that has grown up on the instant gratification of the English Premier League, with games results and goals so regular, it’s quite difficult to see a future for something like Test Cricket. It’s no surprise to most to hear that Colin Graves, England, and Wales Cricket Board chairman, has concluded that “the younger generation…are just not attracted to cricket…they want it more

Kristina D.C. Hoeppner exciting…shorter”. In 2015 less than half of cricket fans gave test cricket as their favoured format. This is shocking and sad to many of an older generation, brought up on ideas that “the test” was the epitome of sporting sensibility and sporting prowess. Many suspect and hope that Channel 4’s non-subscription coverage will significantly increase audience figures. Doomsayers have been lamenting the fall of Test Match audiences for decades, while concern for Crickets oldest format was ramped up with the inception and growing popularity of well-funded and far shorter T20 competitions in Australia and India. A BBC sports article by David Bond with the headline “does the oldest format of the game have a future” from July 2013, was typical of a cricketing world plagued by

Many of the elite players have simply become elite hybrids, successfully straddling test and white ball cricket almost simultaneously. doubt over the future of its most decorated and most unforgiving format. These worries are still present, although it seems the days of treating white ball cricket with snooty disdain are over. The Indian Premier League and the Big Bash of Australia, with their considerable pay checks have enjoyed a meteoric rise since their inception in the early 2010’s. Yet, rather than being made up of a few wantaway overseas stars, who take on roles as “mercenaries”, teams like the Kolkata Knight Riders egularly feature the best players around the world and England players are in high demand. Let’s

put it this way, Mark Wood upon staking his claim to join the IPL is unlikely to describe his conversation with Joe Root as that of explaining “gangsta rap to a vicar”, as Kevin Pietersen did less than ten years ago. At present, the IPL may still be a way of making an an extraordinary amount of money, yet the merits of training in the subcontinent’s conditions do not go missed either. Though there was some understandable lamentation over the considerable drop in the amount of support for test cricket and a great deal of disappointment over English test players decisions to play in shorter, quicker formats, there is less cause for concern now. The world’s best players are all still playing Test Cricket. Many of the elite players have simply become elite hybrids, successfully straddling test and white ball cricket almost simultaneously. Widespread consternation from Test cricket fans over Ben Stoke’s £1.4 million contract with the 20 over Indian Premier League in 2015 may have been deserved but it doesn’t seem to have reduced his desire to play Test cricket. Thanks largely to his heroics at Headingly in that heroic recovery in 2019, England’s current most explosive and famous batsman is many Test runs ahead of him, and is widely predicted to cause considerable damage in the coming Tests with India. If Stokes can produce anything close to Joe Root’s early 2021 form, England would be some force this year, but they might not even need the hero of 2019. In Root’s past three Test’s he has an astonishing combined score of 644 runs. Such form of

England’s players may be exactly what’s required for the doubters of Test Cricket to be firmly swatted aside for at least a few more years. To make an obvious but relevant point, for a national sport to flourish in any land, international success in tournaments and results against high profile opposition are essential. They bring the nation in via the medium of spectacle and all the support and resources tend to follow. Test Match cricket might not only rely on the Test match sides brilliance, nevertheless. For example, England’s equally remarkable World Cup win on home soil in the One Day international tournament brought Cricket to much of the nation’s conscious for arguably the first time since that famed 2005 Ashes series I saw with my school friends. People like to see their home nation winning, a point clearly emphasisedby viewing figures. Ali Martin in the Guardian recently reported a staggering 15.4 million in the UK watched (over the day) England chaotically triumph over New Zealand in the World Cup two years ago. An even more positive sign for Test Cricket is that 1/3 of this figure were new households. The caveat then is that this was one of the most unprecedented and extraordinary games ever seen, in a format that is much more likely to produce consistent high drama. As many commentators noted, it had all the major hallmarks of “exciting” cricket. A close game. Check. An unbelievable Run chase. Check. A heroic batting performance. Check. Late wickets. Check. The rebuilding of an innings. Check. Topped off with some of the greatest, most memorable commentary of all time. “He’s got it…England has won the world cup... by the barest of margins… absolute ecstasy for England... Agony... Agony for New Zealand!” Words that have gone down in folklore in my house, the drama, the fun, the jubilance all encapsulated in one rapturous sentence. Commentators and pundits of Indian cricket consistently cite the nation’s 1983 World cup win as the event that inspired India onto the path of becoming a Cricketing world heavyweight. Every major cricketing

nation has its historic year: In Sri Lanka, it’s the 1996 win over Australia after heated months of controversy and media spotlight, England has secured many famous wins before but perhaps they needed the performances of 2019 more than they dared to admit.

For a generation that has grown up on the instant gratification of the English Premier League, with games results and goals so regular, it’s quite difficult to see a future for something like Test Cricket. India’s astonishing performance in Australia this winter has shown that there is still great love, admiration, and desire for Crickets oldest format to continue well into the 21st century. In what was widely acclaimed one of the greatest games of the modern era, India’s performance effortlessly combined the defensive steel appropriate for the Test format with a ruthless freewheeling verve hitherto seen. It was a match that would have astonished the many sceptics of the early 2010s, for it provided one of the best outcomes any could have expected. In even rosier news, the Test format has widely been protected this year and 2022 with mouth-watering ties for England against India, Australia, and New Zealand, scheduled despite the pandemic throughout 2021. Indeed, the only thing that’s changed in my opinion,is Test cricket has become more exciting.

NAPARAZZI All things considered, a lot rides on the England team now, and performances in several Tests this year may just decide how much is scheduled in the future. Root and company need to continue their astonishing performances because there’s no easier way of going about it; success is now the very spirit of the game.

Profile for The Badger

The Badger Eighth Edition (15/02/21)  

Pick up a copy of the Badger's Eighth edition of the academic year! From post-valentines reflections to pressing uni updates, this edition...

The Badger Eighth Edition (15/02/21)  

Pick up a copy of the Badger's Eighth edition of the academic year! From post-valentines reflections to pressing uni updates, this edition...

Profile for thebadger
Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded