30th November 2020
Official free fortnightly newspaper by and for Sussex students · Printed on recycled paper
Sussex reveals plans to get students home for Christmas Stevie Elkington The University of Sussex is participating in the Government’s mass asymptomatic testing programme and they will offer tests from November 30 until December 11. Sussex will end face-to-face teaching between the 3-9 December across the different schools in the University, allowing students the time to get tested and return home during the travel window. The tests will be run out of the Sports Centre on campus. The government has released an evacuation-style plan for end of term travel, aiming to control the potential spread of COVID-19 from UK university students returning home. Mass testing programmes are being rolled out across UK universities, with tests being made widely available to all students. Students who test negative are advised to travel home during a weeklong ‘travel window’ between December 3rd and 9th. Sussex Student Communications informed students in a mass email that they will ‘need to take two tests over a fourday period… once you have received negative results, you are asked to travel as soon as possible’. Student Communi-
cations indicated the importance of both tests, stating that it will help students ‘be as certain as possible that you do not have the virus and so can safely re-join your families’. The testing will be done on the University campus, with results being processed and made available within 30-45 minutes. Sussex students are being offered lateral-f low tests, which the email reported are ‘rapid turnaround tests that can process Covid-19 samples on site, without the need for laboratory equipment’ - with results generated in under half an hour. Students with two negative test results are instructed to leave campus as soon as they can and are advised to travel by car or arrange to be picked up at campus if possible. If a student receives a positive result, they must self-isolate for ten days following the government guidelines with support from the University. Third year Geography student Erin Jones said that she will be taking advantage of the testing scheme; ‘I want to take all the steps I can to ensure I am not putting my family or my local community at home at additional risk. If mass testing is utilised by the majority of students, it could really help
Vacine prospects & England’s new tier system 3
Movember & Should Christmas be cancelled? 8
Features Simon Carey to limit the spread of the virus across the country, as long as the guidance is followed.’ Some students have raised concerns over the accessibility of the testing site. Zoology Masters student Emma Ingram said that she felt that students off campus may find it more difficult to access the tests; ‘students off campus may have to use public transport which will defeat the point of being tested, as they will not be able to isolate immediately following the Covid-19 test. It would have been a good idea to have a testing site in Brighton for students living in town.’ The concerns of University of Sussex staff were raised in the national media, with a Guardian article detailing that ‘University staff have voiced
concern after their employers asked them to join a hastily assembled army of workers who will carry out mass Covid-19 testing of students before the pre-Christmas exodus home’. Vice-chancellor Adam Tickell sent an email to staff on the 18th November, stating that only with the help of the University staff could the mass testing programme succeed. Tickell informed staff that ‘The mass testing programme will entail very significant challenges in an extremely short time period, and we are planning the logistics now so that we are as prepared as possible’. It is understood that over 100 members of staff have volunteered to help in the testing effort. Continued on page 3...
The Green Centre & Finance jobs
Alt xmas films & Live streamed review 15
Travel & Culture Cultural Bite Christmas Special & Seven Sisters26
Science & Tech
Fossil findings & Lockdown: A science take 29
Jade Hylton 22-23
An ode to Maradona & ATP Finals 31
Editor-in-Chief Josh Talbot firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Joshua McLaughlin Sam Kimbley Ewan Vellinga Grace Curtis badger-news@sussexstudent. com The Comment Team Issy Anthony Will Day Libby Mills Joel Renouf-Cooke badger-opinion@sussexstudent. com The Features Team Alana Harris Olly Williams Teddy Parkin Beth Pratt badgerfeatureseditor@gmail. com The Arts Team Jessica Hake Robyn Cowie email@example.com The Books Team Jasmine Smith Eric Barrell thebadger.bookseditor@gmail. com The Music Team Alice Barradale Percy Walker-Smith thebadger.musiceditor@gmail. com The Film & Television Team Yazz James firstname.lastname@example.org The Theatre Team Elijah Arief Harrison Fitzgerald email@example.com The Artist Focus Team Luisa De La Concha Montes firstname.lastname@example.org The Travel & Culture Team Hal Keelin Bryony Rule Katya Pristiyani email@example.com The Sports Team Charlie Batten Max Killham firstname.lastname@example.org The Science & Technology Team Isaac Hallé Eleanor Deane email@example.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 and welcome to the Badger's last edition of the term! First off- how are we here already? For the few, realistically nonexistent, people who have been habitually reading my editorials over the term you will remember that I have highlighted how fast term seems to have gone before. Last week it stopped being funny. It was no longer an 'oh it's the weekend again, that's nice' but instead a 'why is it the weekend again? How could it be that another week has gone by and we are cruising towards Christmas, the end of 2020 and, by the rate time seems to be passing, a full-time job, family life, retirement and then eventually, the end of it all?' It's only a matter of time! But on a slightly less existential note- this edition of The Badger is a good'n and I'm glad to say that I don't feel like I'm being biased in telling you that. This term, despite everything stacked up against them, the team have really pulled through and the fact that we are on the sixth edition is really testament to the grit and determination that they have put in. There's been big news since I last wrote here! Christmas isn't cancelled, for better or for worse, a vaccine could be rolled out very soon, apparently, President Trump has reluctantly conceded to a Biden administration and the university have laid out their evacuation plan. Read about those stories in News this time round. There's more though- all of the other sections have really pulled it out of the bag for the final horah of 2020! Thanks for reading this term; The Badger would like to wish you a very merry holiday season and all the best for the new year. The paper is going into hibernation for the winter but we still hope to be active on other platforms, so if you have any ideas you want to pitch or even to just say hi, email: firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to hear from you!
Hi everyone and thanks for reading The Badger’s last edition before Christmas! I’m sure you’re all looking forward to a bit of a break from the monotony that is home and the library in lockdown. Hopefully the content in this edition can provide an escape in the meanwhile! News is packed with all of the big stories from the past fortnight- from the U.S election saga to the UK’s new teir system, they have the content relevant to you. In Comment this week they debate whether the UK should be having a Christmas at all and ask the question of why it’s so expensive to be vegan. Features this week shine a spotlight on a Freshers’ perspective of the second national lockdown and harness some graduate wisdom in a look at job prospects in the financial sector. A glance at Arts will give you a list of alternative Christmas film recommendations and new music from System of A Down. With Travel and Culture we look into Christmas deserts from across the globe, and lose ourselves in a Daytrippers’ Spotlight out to the Seven Sisters. Science and Tech put on their lab coats for a scientist’s impression of lockdown and sport pay homage to the late great Diego Maradona. We’ll be back in January and as always, we love to hear from you so please feel free to send in any stories, pieces, or bits of news you think we should know about! Enjoy your Winter break!
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The Badger 30th November 2020
Continued from front... The concerns of staff have ranged from whether PPE would be widely available to whether they would be held responsible for false negative tests, resulting in students infecting their families once they return home. With job cuts rife across university campuses, Vicky Blake, the president of the UCU, said ‘Junior and newer staff felt pressured to take part… it speaks to holes in the planning around student return that we have been warning about’. However, a spokesperson for the University reported that staff had been informed that the voluntary testing duties would be ‘instead of, not on top of, their usual duties’ with full PPE provided and their usual pay being received.
With an estimated 40,000 students having been infected with the virus, concerns were raised about asymptotic students spreading the virus further upon their return home. The student age group is less likely to display symptoms, as the virus affects the younger generation less severely.
Andrew Diak description. The University should be protecting their staff, not putting them at risk in a situation they have not been trained for’. In response to asking if she thinks the testing will help minimise the spread of the virus, she commented that ‘I think the testing will be beneficial in terms of not spreading the virus during travel home, but people will mix with friends and return to areas that have higher virus rates than Brighton, so there could be a spike in January’. The government has created
Fourth year history student Elissa Stoddart said that she felt that asking for lecturers to volunteer to test students was insulting; ‘lecturers are there to teach, not to test. That is completely out of their job
the mass testing scheme in response to the high levels of coronavirus cases which arose in major university towns across the UK. With an estimated 40,000 students having been infected with the virus, concerns were raised about asymptotic students spreading the virus further upon their return home. The student age group is less likely to display symptoms, as the virus affects the younger generation less severely. The Universities Minister Michelle Donelan, interviewed on BBC Breakfast, indicated
that the ‘travel window’ was calculated to allow any students that developed any coronavirus symptoms up until the last day of the programme to complete their self-isolation before Christmas. Any students which test positive between will be required to undergo the isolation period, without the risk of missing the winter festivities. Michelle Donelan commented that “students will pose a muchreduced risk to their loved ones and their community” if they return home during this period, once they test negative.
The government’s plan asks students to travel when infections will be at a lower point, due to the five-week national lockdown that is currently in place in England. Despite this, the general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), Dr Jo Grady, said that only giving one week for almost a million students to travel across England ‘leaves little room for error’. The National Union of Students had warned the government of the health risks posed by allowing students back into universities, urging the government to move all courses online to temper the spread of the virus. Despite the critique from the NUS, the government defended their decision to allow face-to face teaching at universities. Despite their differing opinion in teaching approach, the NUS have vocalised their support for the voluntary testing plan and encouraged all students to take advantage of the scheme – ‘we really do think students will be seeking to take these tests and to do this safely’, said NUS President, Larissa Kennedy The government’s plan for students to return in January has not yet been released. Unlike the start of Autumn term, the concentration of students departing their homes after the winter vacation period will be far more concentrated, so it is expected the government will lay out guidance for the return of the student population.
Hove seafront venue petitions to stay open Josh Talbot Editor-in-Chief Over 13,000 people have signed a petition to extend the alcohol licence and tenure of a popular seafront venue, despite local residents’ attempts to prevent it. On November 22 a petition was set up to support Rockwater’s Shacks and Igloo Village, in light of what it describes as ‘10 local residents trying to shut them both down for spiteful and disingenuous reasons’. Penned by Maeve Davis, wife of venue owner Luke Davis, the petition says: “We are urging the Council to listen to the overwhelming majority of residents, and wider community, who are incredibly supportive of Rockwater’s Shacks and Igloo Village, what Rockwater is doing for the community and what it brings to a long neglected part of the Hove seafront. “We are also asking them to consider the huge impact shutting the Shacks and Igloo Village will have on local employment in the hospitality industry as
well the detrimental impact on a large number of local suppliers.”
The Brighton and Hove City Council website displays that there are 600 comments collected in favour and 28 against. As it stands the venue is able to continue to operate until the previously agreed date of De-
cember 14. In agreeance with the application was The Hove Civic society who wrote one of the many letters of public support for the venue. It said: “The recent improvements already made at ‘Rockwater’ have shown the potential to bring more energy and appeal to this section of the seafront. “We dont believe the altera-
tions and extensions will have a negative impact of the quality of the conservation area.” Also expressing support, a letter from Hove MP Peter Kyle read: “In the short time which it has been ien the business has been a big success with the community and brought some much needed relief to locals and families during such a difficult period. “I view this as a positive development for the area and for the local residents in Hove.” The Brighton and Hove City Council website displays that there are 600 comments collected in favour and 28 against. A letter submitted opposing the development, written on behalf of the Walsingham Road Resident’s Association expressed concern for the application. It read: “A genuine concern here, despite what the application suggests the use to be, is that this scheme may pave the way for a late-night entertainment venue very near a residential area. “In the absence of a noise as-
sessment local residents have no indication at all of the noise implications of this proposal.” A submission from the Conservation Advisorory Group details that it voted to refuse the development, claiming: “The proposed development is harmful to the beachscape.
Also expressing support, a letter from Hove MP Peter Kyle reads: “In the short time which it has been ien the business has been a big success with the community and brought some much needed relief to locals and families during such a difficult period. “The proposed two storey structure is unprecedented on this part of the sea front and would harm both the beachscape and the setting of the Sackville Gardens conservation area.” The 28 day consultation period ends on December 4 and a decision is yet to be made. Further detals can be found on the council’s website.
The Badger 30th November 2020
4 Manchester University faces student protests
University of Manchester students end successful protest calling for better commincation and reduced rent costs Luke Thomson Staff writer
A group of nine students at the University of Manchester have finished their occupation of the recently decommissioned Owens Park Tower building. They were there since 12 November in hopes of better treatment and communication from the university management. On 25 November the University of Manchester announced there would be a 30% cut in the rent fees for students’ accommodation. This will be for just the first half of the academic year. In total the rent reductions come to £3 million, the largest ever amount deducted after a rent protest of this type. Following the move, Uni management also declared that they would attempt to safely open up places for study, further ensure checks on security, and also try and communicate with students to create a “community pledge” Both the occupants of the tower, as well as the wider rent strike group have ended their campaigns after the decision. The students are part of the wider protest group 9k4what, advocating the fees
Bradshaw79 for universities be lowered. They managed to get by thanks to stable facilities as well as homemade meals dropped off by supporters. One student was particularly vocal. A selection of photos posted on twitter by Ben McGowan stated that the university had threatened his rent striking with “extortionate fines” and had outright refused to talk to him. Such allegations have been dropped since the result. Not all public figures of authority around the Uni opposed the students’ actions. Some teachers gave approval of the move and local MP Afzal Khan implored for the Uni to cooperate.
During the protests, media workers at the Independent were denied access by armed security guarding the building, and no attempts were made to reach out to the students until last Wednesday when the result was announced. The protest followed the events of 5 November where large fencing was erected around Fallowfield Campus without any notifications to students. The students responded by tearing down the barriers. The University responded to the outrage by apologising for the lack of talking to students and have dedicated a better reaching out scheme. Thankfully, they have fulfilled such a pledge it seems.
Students have also attacked the University for its general lack of communication in this period as well as poor attitudes to student mental health.This is in relation to the death of a 19-year-old student on campus, which - according to Sky News - has created a sense of fear and dread for everyone’s well being. Another case that contributed to the strikes and outrage at Manchester is a racial profiling incident that occurred on 13 November. First year student Zac Adan was pinned up against a wall by security officers and asked for proof of ID. According to the student, the only justification they gave for this was that he “looked like a drug dealer”. On 19 November, ViceChancellor Nancy Rothwell spoke to BBC Newsnight about the event, to which, on live television, she falsely claimed that she had spoken to Zac personally for the incident. Just the morning after Rothwell was quick to come clean for the lie, telling the Guardian that “I realised that one of the things I said in that interview, with good intent, was, in fact, incorrect”. Aside from this, the University
of Manchester responded to the incident by suspending the officers in question and launching an investigation into the incident as a whole. Students at the University, both in the protest at the tower, and the Uni as a whole, have expressed grievances over the lack of in-person teaching given out. This is especially upsetting considering the promises given by the Uni of having at the very least a mixed learning experience, yet no later than one week into term going back on that promise. Authorities at the Uni responded to these points by declaring that nobody could have seen a second lockdown occurring, despite the fact the decision was made a month before the lockdown was announced. Rent strikes have also occurred at both Bristol and Glasgow, and after the second Lockdown ends, students at Sheffield and Newcastle have promised more “direct” protests in regards to the situation and this great result is surely only added motivation.
New Tier system to be introduced after lockdown Oliver Mizzi News Editor A new tier system is to be introduced in England from 2 December – the end of the monthlong national lockdown. The system, which is a modification of the pre-lockdown tier system, is intended to ensure that the virus doesn’t pick up after the Christmas holidays, where more social activity is expected to happen. A parliamentary vote scheduled for Tuesday will decide if the new system is implemented. Like the pre-lockdown tier system, it will involve three categories: medium, high and very high. Medium restrictions allow for indoor and outdoor mixing of up to 6 people, with hospitality venues opening till 11pm, with final orders being made at 10pm. Businesses and venues can open in a covid secure way. Venues showing performances or sports will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, or 4,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors, which ever number is lower. This would mean that Brighton and Hove’s Amex stadium would only allow 4,000 people to attend matches.
Number 10 High restrictions mean you won’t be able to socialise indoors with people outside of a social bubble, however the rule of six is still applicable in an outside setting. Hospitality venues can only stay open if they serve substantial meals, meaning alcohol can only be served with a meal. Venues showing performances or sports can still open at a 50% capacity, or 2,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors, which ever is smaller. Very high restrictions entail further restrictions, with the rule of 6 applying to select outside settings such as parks and beaches. Hospitality venues will be able to provide takeaway services, and shops, gyms and personal care services can open if Covid secure. Venues showing performances or spectator sports
must close, including cinemas and theatres. When England comes out of national lockdown on 2 December much of the country will be in the high or very high tiers, with the Isle of White, Isles of Scilly and Cornwall being placed into the medium tier. However, the government intends on reviewing the tiers every two weeks, starting from 16 December. Although the tier system comes into force during the Christmas holiday period, the 23 – 27 December will see the allowance of a temporary bubble consisting of three households, with the aim of allowing families to gather for the Christmas period. This temporary bubble will be able to mix in private homes but will not be able to go to hospitality venues. Whilst MPs will vote on the new system in parliament on Tuesday, there is speculation on how long the tiers will be enforced for. This speculation has been prompted by Boris Johnson, who wrote a letter to conservative MPs stating that the “regulations have a sunset of 3 February”, with parliament voting at the end of January on
whether to extent the measures into March. The letter sought to gain the support of Conservative MPs, who have criticized the government’s response of the pandemic, especially the economic implications of restrictions. Sky news has reported that 60 MPs have voiced unhappiness over the measures and are unlikely to support the adoption of new measures. This includes the chair of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady. This may mean that the government will have to seek support from the opposition Labour party. However, labour has asserted that more clarity is needed to attain their support. Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy stated that “The reason that I’m not committing to vote for these measures is because we’re not convinced at the moment that they are either sufficient or workable”. This wouldn’t be the first time that the Conservative government has faced a rebellion from his party requiring support from the Labour party. 32 Conservative MPs voted against
the November lockdown when parliament voted to pass it. The reports of 60 MPs voicing unhappiness is a substantially larger number than the previous rebellion and would require firm support from Labour for the passing of the vote.
Although the tier system comes into force during the Christmas holiday period, the 23 – 27 December will see the allowance of a temporary bubble consisting of three households, with the aim of allowing families to gather for the Christmas period. Moreover, worries about a third wave surfaced after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that if the government do not “get the balance right”, a third wave in the new year may happen. Talking to Andrew Marr, Raab also stated that the government was “doing everything we can to avoid” a third national lockdown. It is hoped that due to tighter restrictions being in place immediately after the national lockdown, a third wave will be avoided.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Presidential transition begins despite Trump’s refusal to concede Aiala Suso
Staff Writer Donald Trump has directed his team to coordinate a formal transition with president-elect Joe Biden, three weeks after the US election on 3 November. However, Trump still considers himself as a legitimate winner claiming widespread electoral fraud and refuses to concede. While the core of the Republican party is worried about his unfounded claims damaging the party, Biden has appointed his cabinet picks counting with long-term Democratic loyalists and excluding left-wing candidates. Joe Biden announced first cabinet posts for his administration on 24 November, after the General Services Administration (GSA) declared him as winner the previous day and Trump allowed transition to begin. It includes several members of Barack Obama’s administration for which Biden was vice-president, like long-time Democratic loyalist Anthony Blinken, as Secretary of State. It excludes the socalled progressive faction of the party, namely Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Biden’s cabinet includes a Special Presidential Envoy for Climate,
Gage Skidmore John Kerry, who would become the second person appointed to the role in US history after Carol Browner during the Obama era. Trump’s tentative move towards leaving the White House in January is a matter of concern for the GOP. Despite the GSA confirming that Joe Biden was the winner of the US elections, the strong-headed Republican insists in fighting the results with unfounded claims of widespread electoral fraud for which he has presented no proof. Most Republicans fear, for instance, that his actions will result in losing control of the senate in the historically red state of Georgia. The outgoing president has filed over 40 lawsuits since election day, of which 26 have been denied, dismissed,
settled or withdrawn. So far, all battleground states have certified their results in favour of Biden. In Wisconsin, the latest state to share its results in favour of Biden, the recount process ordered by Trump cost his party $3 million. Trump’s litigation actions are varied. A few of them were issued in the key swing state of Pennsylvania, where voters can fix issues with their ballots after the polling date, for instance if their required identification was missing. The local secretary of state, Kathy Boockvard, extended the deadline to fix ID issues until 12 November, three days after the deadline under state law. Trump sued this attempt and the state judge granted the request. Trump also sued Boockvard at
federal level, claiming that the whole electoral process in the county was unconstitutional. The case was dismissed on Sunday 22 November, due to lack of proof, by US District Court Judge, Matthew Brann, who compared Trump’s legal case to “Frankenstein Monster”. Trump also sued against COVID-19 social-distancing measures at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre in Philadelphia, where votes were counted. The state high court ruled against Trump’s request for observers to stand 6-feet-away. In that state, Trump also tried to halt the count, while votes were counted, claiming that observers weren’t allowed in the room. The case was settled after the campaign’s lawyer admitted in an emergency hearing that, in fact, observers were present. US states must resolve any election-related disputes and complete their vote count by the so-called ‘safe-harbour’ date on 8 December. That is six days before the Electoral College meets to vote for the winner on 14 December. Trump has said that, if he loses the Electoral College vote, he will finally concede and leave the White House for good. While Trump’s allegations of election fraud don’t seem
to stand in court, the fervent supporters of his administration see in the litigation process, evidence that the election was rigged. At the same time, Trump’s now former attorney Sidney Powell contributed to the political upheaval with a conspiracy theory. She claimed, at their ‘Path to Victory’ press conference on 19 November, to have evidence of the “massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China”, that allegedly interfered in the results of the 2020 US election. Even though Trump’s campaign has distanced from Powell and the Republicans are pressuring Trump to drop his fight, some experts are concerned. They warn that recent events could potentially lead to some people losing faith in democracy, and not consider Joe Biden a legitimate president. Alex Woodward wrote for The Independent: “Even if the president’s lawsuits are shot down in court, the damage is done – he has sown enough doubt among his supporters to construct the lie of a stolen election, giving Republicans a political legitimacy to challenge the results.”
Hope for COVID-19 vaccine to be available mid-2021 Grace Raines COVID-19 trial vaccines have produced promising efficiency rates of 90% and above this month, though mass vaccination is not expected until mid-2021, with society’s most vulnerable to receive vaccinations first. The most prominent vaccines in development are being created by companies PfizerBioNTech (combined Phases 2 and 3), Moderna (Phase 3), Oxford Uni-AstraZeneca, (combined Phases 2 and 3), and Gamaleya (Phase 3, given early approval for use in Russia). To comply with global health committees who ensure new medications are safe for widespread use, new vaccines must pass through the following stages: Preclinical Testing; Phase 1 - Safety Trials; Phase 2 - Expanded Trials; Phase 3 - Efficacy Trials; and finally Approval. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have applied for emergency use authorisation in the US following encouraging results from their Phase 3 (or combined Phases 2/3) trials, with efficiency rates of 90% and 95% respectively. The respective
health board decisions based on these results are expected to be announced within several weeks. Whilst companies Oxford UniAstraZeneca and Gamaleya are utilising the conventional model of ‘viral vector’ vaccination, examples including the Hepatitis B vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s trials are instead employing a new inoculation technique, using fragments of the virus’ RNA to stimulate an immune response, and subsequent pathogen antigen production, in those exposed to the experimental drug. So far, the UK has ordered approximately 145 million doses of COVID-19 vaccinations from the four aforementioned companies, 100 million of which coming from Oxford UniAstraZeneca, where trials have shown encouraging numbers of older individuals experiencing higher than expected immune responses to the treatment with very few side effects. As the older generation typically have weaker immune systems than younger individuals, and therefore react less positively to vaccinations, these findings bring extremely good news to
some of the most vulnerable in society. Furthermore, Oxford UniAstraZeneca have found that more than 99% of participants of all ages experienced antibody production in response to their trial vaccine, with T-cell responses peaking two weeks after an initial dose. Further data needs to be collected and processed to tell whether the vaccine is truly effective at preventing individuals from catching COVID-19, and Professor Andrew Pollard of the University of Oxford hopes this data will be released “before Christmas”. Whilst numerous COVID-19 vaccine trials are taking place, the World Economic Forum stated that the development of new vaccines generally takes approximately ten years from start to finish, passing through five key stages before they can be deemed safe and used within the general population. This process of progressing through stages however has been accelerated to quicken development, with many companies combining phases to expedite the search for an effective, yet safe, vaccine,
with Dr. Jerome Kim, the International Vaccine Institute’s Director General, stating that the speed which multiple trial medications have been developed is “unprecedented”. Simultaneous to the race for a COVID vaccine, the British government has begun to roll out a new flu jab initiative from 1 December, offering free vaccinations to an extended group of society’s most vulnerable individuals. Matt Hancock, Secretary for State Health and Social Care, says the scheme is functioning to tackle the “twin threats” of flu and COVID-19 this winter, as co-infection can occur if individuals catch COVID-19 and are also not immunised against the flu. The free flu jabs will be available at local GP surgeries and pharmacies and are expected to be offered to more than 30 million people. The new guidelines below outline those who are eligible for free flu jabs through this scheme: • Adults aged 50 or over • Pregnant women • Those with certain preexisting conditions • NHS and social care workers
All children up to year 7 Household contacts of those clinically extremely vulnerable As the flu vaccine has been heavily pushed by government officials and ministers throughout the year to take part of the strain off of the NHS and its services, vaccine uptake rates have skyrocketed compared to 2019’s rates, as most vulnerable groups eligible for free vaccines before this new scheme have seen an increased jab uptake, as can be seen for example with ‘72.9% of those aged 65 and over’ having been inoculated according to Public Health England, a large increase in turnout compared to the previous year. For more information on the developing vaccine situation, visit nhs.uk/conditions/ coronavirus-covid-19/ for updates from the NHS, or alternatively visit the New York Times webpage, consistently updated with vaccine information as it’s released, found at nytimes.com/ interactive/2020/science/ coronavirus-vaccine-tracker. html.
The Badger 30th November 2020
United Nations warns of “humanitarian crisis” in Ethiopia Ewan Vellinga News Online Sub-Editor The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned that a “full-scale humanitarian crisis” is developing in Tigray in Ethiopia as thousands of people have been displaced or are fleeing ongoing violence in the region. Conflict erupted on 4 November as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TFLP), a political party from Tigray, accusing them of having attacked a federal military installation in the region. Ahmed stated on 28 November that the war had ended as federal forces took control of the Tigray capital Mekelle, yet Reuters reports quotes TFLP leader Debretsion Gebremichael as saying they will not give up, and that they intend to “fight these invaders to the last.” The UNHCR was already calling for “lifesaving assistance” in early November for over 40,000 civilians that have fled into neighbouring Sudan, and stated they were “working flat out to get enough vitally needed assistance to women, children and men in great need.” Fears were also raised over the impact on the 100,000 civilians in Tigray who were already dis-
WikiCommons Media placed, including 96,000 refugees from neighbouring Eritrea, which was in an unresolved war with Ethiopia until a peace settlement in 2018 for which Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Al Jazeera quoted UNHCR representative Ann Encontre as saying that although Eritrean refugees mostly live “in harmony” with the local population, “any breakdown of normal life puts those in camps at higher risk, particularly in an area where stocks and access to services are dwindling.” Alongside the refugee crisis fears of civilian casualties have also been raised, with both Ahmed and the TPLF having levelled accusations at one another. Notably, an investigation by
Amnesty International concluded that “scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death” in the town of Mai-Kadra on 9 November. Both Ahmed and local witnesses have blamed the TPFL for the massacre, which the UN warns could amount to war crimes. According to the BBC, the party has denied the accusations, and have stated that they would be open to an independent international investigation into the event. Accusations have also been made against the federal government, with Reuters reporting that the TPLF accused the government of killing nine civilians and injuring many more during an attack on Adrigat, the second largest city in Tigray, on
21 November. Notably, the TPLF also claimed that Eritrea aided the federal government in the attack, contributing to fears that the war could grow beyond the region. These were already heightened following confirmation from the TPLF that they fired rockets at the Eritrean capital Asmara on 14 November. Tensions between the TPLF and Ahmed have been high for some time. The Guardian has noted that the party, which has held a dominant position in Ethiopian politics since the establishment of a coalition government in 1991, have claimed they have been side-lined since Ahmed’s election in 2018, although he claims that he has simply been attempting to restore law and order and unify Ethiopia’s multi-ethnic population. The Guardian also notes that tensions have only worsened since Ahmed announced plans to replace the coalition with his own Prosperity Party, which the TPLF has refused to join, and the postponement of a general election scheduled for 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Tensions finally broke on 4 November as federal troops launched an offensive into Tigray. News agencies including the BBC and Reuters reported
steady gains, with federal forces reportedly taking Tigray’s second largest city Adigrat on 21 November and Mekelle on 29 November. Reuters also reported that the federal government had rebuffed calls from both the African Union Bloc and the United Nations to seek a ceasefire and enter talks. However, similar to the problems facing aid agencies, who have had difficulty entering Tigray and distributing aid, news agencies have been barred from the region, and alongside issues with phone lines and internet, news from the region has been sparse. The Addis Standard reported on 20 November that the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority had suspended the Reuter’s press license and sent warning letters to the BBC and DW. As such, it has often been difficult to understand what is happening day-to-day. As such, the current situation is difficult to assess, with Sky News noting that, despite Ahmed saying military operations in Tigray have been “completed and ceased”, a clear and decisive end to the conflict is unlikely. The rapidly emerging humanitarian crisis in the region is therefore also unlikely to end soon.
New peace deal ends Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Russia assisted Armenia and Azerbaijan’s leaders in negotiating a peace deal which has ended the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Matteo Marchionni On 9 November, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had mediated talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The outcome was the signing of a peace treaty between the two sides, which has ended the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The ceasefire became effective from 00:00 Moscow time on 10 November, and comes after six weeks of renewed armed confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The announcement of this latest peace treaty was met with many protests in Armenia. Just a few hours after its revelation, hundreds of angered citizens stormed the Prime Minister’s official residence as well as the country’s parliament in Yerevan, calling for Pashinyan’s resignation. The main reason for this is that the deal states both sides must recognize as legitimate the territories they each currently occupy. This means recognizing
Aliyev’s forces’ valuable land gains into the Republic of Artsakh over the past six weeks as part of Azerbaijan. This is why many Armenians see the agreement as favourable to Baku. Further outrage was sparked by the fact that as part of the deal, Armenia must return the Kalbajar District, the Agdam District, and the Lachin District to Azerbaijan by November 15, November 20, and December 1 respectively, as well withdraw its forces from Nagorno-Karabakh. As a consequence of the treaty then, many Armenians are being forced to abandon places they have inhabited for decades. Some are even deciding to set fire to their homes before leaving them in the hands of the Azerbaijanis. One person said this about his house: “In the end, we will blow it up or set it on fire, in order not to leave anything to Muslims.” Nikol Pashinyan described his decision as “unspeakably painful for me personally and for our people.” But he argued that it was a necessary one, and “the best possible solution to
the current situation,” as Azeri forces had captured Shusha and were slowly closing on the most important city in NagornoKarabakh, Stepanakert. Ilham Aliyev took to Twitter to share his comments about the deal: “This statement has historic significance. This statement constitutes Armenia’s capitulation. This statement puts an end to the years-long occupation. This statement is our Glorious Victory!” Beyond having provided mediation Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia will also have a physical role in assuring that peace between the two sides is maintained. As part of the ceasefire agreement, the Russian Federation will in fact send almost two thousand troops to control the Lachin corridor, the crucial passage which connects Armenia and Artsakh, for at least the next five years. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed contempt for the signing of the peace deal: “our dear Azerbaijan achieved significant gains in the field and at the [negotiating]
table.” Ankara has been heavily supportive of Azerbaijan during the conflict, by supplying it with weapons as well as sending mercenaries recruited from Syria to fight alongside Aliyev’s troops. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which borders both Armenia and Azerbaijan, demonstrated satisfaction with the signing of the deal. President Hassan Rouhani said: “we will spare no efforts for de-escalating the tensions and establishing stable and fair security in that region for the sake of stability and peace.” With Azerbaijan having acquired new territories and Armenia having lost some, the former country has benefited the most from the deal. Though the treaty has put an end to the armed confrontation between the two countries, there is a chance that war may ignite again in the future, as this is the third instance in which the two states have signed a ceasefire to end combat in Nagorno-Karabakh. The zone has been contested between the two nations since the decline and later fall of the
Soviet Union. Up until 1988, when the first conflict broke out, both populations had lived relatively peacefully under the jurisdiction of the USSR. Soon after, in 1992, the United Nations officially recognized NagornoKarabakh as part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This inevitably exacerbated tensions and fuelled the war, which ended with the signing of the first ceasefire in 1994. But the origins of the dispute over Artsakh date to the early 1920s, when Joseph Stalin decided to assign the latter territory to what was the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, even though over 90% of its inhabitants were Armenians. In fact, in terms of ethnicity, the land of NagornoKarabagh has historically been occupied by an overwhelming Armenian majority. The consequences of Stalin’s decision remain influential to this day, with tensions still high between the two sides even after the signing of this latest deal, suggesting that the longstanding dispute has not yet expressed its final word.
The Badger 30th November 2020
7 Corbyn Readmitted to the Labour Party
Ettie Langridge Staff Writer
On Tuesday 17 November it was announced Jeremy Corbyn would be readmitted into the Labour party following a ruling by the NEC panel. The divisive decision to suspend the former labour leader came after he failed to retract comments made about the EHRC Report regarding antisemitism within the labour party during his time as leader. Corbyn admitted regret that
“it took longer to deliver that change than it should” with regards to complaints processes, but stated “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons” within the report. The report had described the parties “serious failings” in handling antisemitism complaints during this period. The party, now headed by Keir Starmer, responded by making a swift decision to suspend and withdraw Corbyn’s whip, a move that further split the unity of the
Group launch survey to expose sexual violence at Sussex Under the Sheets, a student-led campaign group at Sussex, has recently launched a survey investigating experiences of sexual violence at Sussex University. The survey is in response to the recent exacerbation of discussion around sexual violence on campus this term, and aims to gather extensive data on statistics of sexual assault and harassment within the university community. A survey from 2016 which polled 14,000 university students across the UK found that Sussex was the worst statistically for groping, with 96% of women undergraduates reporting its occurrence during a night out: https://babe. net/2016/11/19/91-per-centfemale-students-groped-nightclub-806. A study in January of 2019 found that 56% of respondents had experienced some kind of sexual violence, with only 8% reporting to the police or their univerisities: https://www.theguardian.com/ e d u c a t i o n / 2 0 1 9/ f e b/ 2 6 / more-than-half-of-uk-students-say-they-have-facedunwanted-sexual-behaviour. This statistic (from the first
Ellie Doughty Print Production Editor
already fractured party. Some praised Starmers seemingly strong stance on tackling problems within the party, while Corbyn and his supporters vowed to fight what they saw as a politically motivated injustice.
survey), as well as others, have circulated widely on social media within the community, and acted somewhat as a catalyst (along with the general progression of social discourse) for further research conducted by The Tab Sussex and Under the Sheets. Ellie Doughty, one of the campaigners in Under the Sheets, told The Badger that the group is hoping to gain enough data from the survey to present a case to the university regarding increased attention and action on this issue. Time will tell of course if the data is significant enough to ensure this is the case.The group, currently made up of ten Sussex students, aims to promote and raise awareness surrounding issues of consent, healthy relationships, and sex positive education. They have historically conducted consent workshops in person, and organised various other events, giveaways and informational stalls on campus. In these COVID times, though, they like all other Sussex societies and groups have had to reframe. Events are now held remotely, and more engagement is being encouraged in the online sphere. The survey can be found here: https://linktr.ee/ Underthesheets.
The fight isn’t over yet however for the former labour leader, as his whip is yet to be reinstated. Corbyn was told Thursday 19 November that it would be withheld for 3 months at least pending further inquiry. The ruling to reinstate Corbyn has been met with similar mixed reaction. Those who welcomed the sanction of the former labour leader expressed skepticism and shock at the U-turn on the party’s position. The Jewish Labour Movement called the “extraordinary” move the work of a “fractionally aligned political committee”, as the current leader Starmer echoed this disapprovement, calling it “painful day for the Jewish community”. Nevertheless Corbyn’s supporters heralded the decision, with Corbyn thanking
Rwendland those who stood in solidarity with him as the decision was announced, tweeting “I am pleased to have been reinstated in the Labour Party and would like to thank party members, trade unionists and all who have offered solidarity.”. The fight isn’t over yet however for the former labour leader, as his whip is yet to be reinstated. Corbyn was told Thursday 19 November that it would be withheld for 3 months at least pending further inquiry. This decision prompted a
strong reaction from some members of the NEC, who wrote to Labour’s general secretary calling it a “deliberate political interference” that “flies in the face of natural justice”, declaring their expectation that Corbyn’s whip be returned following his readmittance. Pending the result of the continuing investigation, it’s clear that regardless of the outcome, fractures within the party grow as the vulnerable left unity continues to be shaken.
Petition aims to secure ‘real’ graduation ceremony at Brighton University Josh Talbot Editor-in-Chief A petition to secure a ‘real’ graduation ceremony for the University of Brighton’s class of 2020 has reached over 2500 signatures, after they were told that celebrations would be moved online. The graduates who had been anticipating an in-person event in February 2021, after the original date was cancelled due to lockdown restrictions, received an email from the university explaining that celebrations will be “virtual”. Author of the petition, Laura Donkin, wrote: “Graduation is something I imagine we all looked forward to, not just since our final exams, but since joining the university many years ago. It is a chance to celebrate our achievements and say a final farewell to Brighton itself.” “It’s an opportunity for us to spend the day with our families who have mentally (and for some, financially) supported us to reach our goals.” The decision to make the celebrations fully online was described as ‘a thoughtless and a cold one’. Brighton University told the Argus: “The university took this
Simon Carey decision with huge reluctance and we recognise how disappointing it is to all those concerned. “Each of our graduation ceremonies typically bring together around 1,500 attendees from around the world. “The rapidly-changing Covid-19 restrictions which are currently in place across the United Kingdom and internationally make the holding of large-scale indoor events impossible. “Our virtual celebrations will allow graduates to celebrate their success safely.” For students who graduated from Sussex in the summer, restrictions saw the forced cancellation of what would have been the “biggest graduation” the university had ever seen. A spokesperson from the University of Sussex said: “Gradu-
ation is a highlight of the University calendar. We hope to be able to put on in-person graduation events in the summer of 2021, as it is extremely important to us that all our students have the opportunity to attend a ceremony. “We are currently exploring a number of options and hope to be able to announce these plans in the spring, when hopefully there is clearer guidance on large-scale events. “If students can’t attend a summer 2021 graduation ceremony, we will welcome them back to a future ceremony.” The Sussex event that is of a larger scale by comparison to that of Brighton University’s, was set to be split into 13 ceremonies with around 2000 students in attendance at each.
The Badger November 30th 2020
News Where You Aren’t
Grace Curtis, News Sub-Editor, reviews some of the big stories from across the country Inverness - First indoor music gig since March Scotland’s first indoor live music gig since lockdown has taken place at ‘Ironworks’, a venue in the Highlands. Folk band ‘Torridon’ had the honour of performing, which was allowed under the Scottish level one rules. This was not gigging as you remember it – dancing and queuing at the bar were banned. In order to keep Covid-19 safe, the audience was restricted to a maximum of 100 people, who had to be seated and socially distanced. Caroline Campbell, the director of the venue, said the gig was the start of their “new normal” for Saturday nights. Scottish rules mean that in Inverness, as a level one area, indoor venues can seat up to 100 people with social distancing in place.
Nottingham - Banksy bike stolen; later replaced A bicycle that formed part of a Banksy street art piece has been replaced after the original was stolen. The striking image of the bike, missing a wheel, next to a small girl hula-hooping with the lost wheel became a popular attraction when it appeared on the side of a Nottingham beauty salon in October. The artwork made headlines this weekend when the bike disappeared, which one local described as, “very sad, if not surprising”. However, a brand-new bicycle - featuring a different-looking tyre and seat - was spotted on Monday, November 23. According to the BBC, resident Jasinya Powell, 39, said she thought it was “amazing” someone had replaced the bike. She added: “It’s brilliant that, in the midst of vandalism and criminality, you’re getting a soldier.”
Bethesda – New trail to mark 120 years since Great Penrhyn Strike A new self-guided historical trail has been unveiled to mark 120 years since one of Britain’s longest industrial disputes divided a Welsh town. The Great Penrhyn Strike started in 1900 and lasted for three years. “It changed the town of Bethesda forever and contributed to the decline of the slate trade, with serious consequences for north Wales,” said historian Dr Hazel Pierce, who advised the project. Now, tourists can use their smartphones to participate in the “Slate and Strikes” tour - using coded HistoryPoints markers that retell the story of the strike. 19 locations across the town are marked with plaques, each bearing a QR code which can be scanned by a mobile phone. These link to online information and stories about the site, and how it fits into the turbulent history of the Great Strike.
Norwich – ‘Review’ YouTuber Ashens releases new comedy movie Bethesda
Isle of Wight – Sailor begins 3,000 mile challenge 23-year-old sailor Natasha Lambert, who has no use of her arms or legs and uses her breath and tongue to control her boat, has begun a 3,000-mile transatlantic journey across the sea.She has athetoid cerebral palsy, but she has not let it slow down her sailing achievements – she became the Young Sailor of the Year in 2014 and previously completed a channel crossing and a solo sail around the Isle of Wight. Her new journey from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia is expected to take three weeks.our seas around the UK,” says Dr Richard Unsworth, from Swansea University.
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Stuart Ashen, a YouTuber from Norwich, who has gained one and a half million followers by comically reviewing a variety of goods, has released a comedy heist movie. Ashen’s most watched video, of him playing a board game with a friend, has been viewed 17 million times. The Norwich film-maker co-wrote the film with director Riyad Barmania. The pair raised an impressive £200,000 through crowdfunding to fund the project. Mr Ashen said: “Every time I watch it I find something new that makes me giggle, and I must have seen it hundreds of times, so I think that’s a very good sign.”
Isle Of Wight
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The Badger 30th November 2020
THE BIG DEBATE In The Big Debate this week, two writers debate whether the tier system should be suspended for Christmas, or if the risks are too great.
Issy Anthony Comment Editor
Josh Talbot Editor in Chief
It’s that merry time of year again, and we all have those classic Christmas questions on our mind-What should I buy for my dad? What Christmas film will my siblings insist on watching? And a relatively new one- will I be able to see my family this Christmas? For those of us who celebrate the holiday, Christmas can be one of the most important times of the year. Whether you’re a practicing Christian, or you just love a good mince pie, Christmas has a lot of meaning to many people. And that’s why I agree that restrictions should be suspended over the Christmas period. Now, I know, Covid-19 doesn’t know its Christmas, and there are obviously great risks. But the recent lockdown has shown rates to be dropping, with a 25% fall in people testing positive between the 19th26th November, in comparison to the previous week. While I know the cases will rise when we come out of lockdown, at the very least we have attempted to drop them down significantly before this rise. The vast majority of England has now been put into the two strictest tiers for after the lockdown, with only Cornwall, Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight being in Tier 1. These stricter measures in the lead up to Christmas will hopefully continue to mean that rates stay low, while allowing people to have some sense of normality and be able to work. What bothers me more is that the government has been completely unfair is how they’ve treated other religious holidays. Just before the start of Eid, Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted a reinforcement of the lockdown rules in northern England, stating that people could not celebrate with others outside their household, either indoors nor in their gardens. This was obviously not received well, as it was likened to cancelling Christmas on Christmas Eve. The government did not take into account the more than 2.6 million Muslims who live in England, and how this would affect them, and no real attempt was made to consolidate this, or prepare for the next religious holiday. The Jewish holidays of Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains were all unable to be celebrated, with no exceptions made for them. I could try and argue that the government has put Christmas above all other holidays as the UK’s official religion is Christianity, but really I think it shows a lack of consideration for the millions of people from different religions and cultures.
I recently read an article in The Guardian, which quoted the Chair of Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, Imam Qari Asim, saying ‘It is a relief knowing that those celebrating Christmas will not endure the same disappointment and deflation that Muslims experienced at the last minute cancellation of Eid celebrations earlier in the year’. With this, I think we should be grateful for the freedom we have been given for Christmas, but also acknowledge the millions of others who were not considered, and make sure that next time, they are. We all have different family situations, and with this we need to be reminded that just because the government announces that something is allowed, it doesn’t mean this should be followed by everyone. For example, if you’re a university student who has been careful, and gets tested twice before going home (as Sussex has offered-remember to get your
There appear to be two ways that you can go about answering a question that has such an effect on the lives of so many. At face value, to deny the people of the experiences that they are potentially never likely to encounter again i.e. a first family Christmas, or to restrict the contact that grandparents have with their grandchildren, goes against all of the compassionate instincts that I rule my life with. An argument for acting with your heart in making these decisions is an obvious one but, as time has gone on, it has appeared to me to be slightly short-sighted. I am not head over heels for the alternative, dare I say, more logic-driven approach, but one thing I never thought I would find myself considering as a slightly positive prospect is the thought of Christmas with less family. I’m a family orientated person; a family Christmas is magic in my opinion and I consider myself to be very fortunate to be in a position where I look forward to a big family
Should restrictions be eased for Christmas ? tests!), and your close family is not made up of any high-risk members, then you should be able to enjoy a relatively normal Christmas period with them. However, if you have been breaking lockdown rules, don’t get tested, and are planning on spending Christmas with high-risk or elderly relatives, it may be a good idea to rethink that decision.
It will mean so much to so many people to be able to spend just a few sacred days with their family, without fear of punishment. My argument is that it’s good the government has given us this option, as with such a terrible year, it will mean so much to so many people to be able to spend just a few sacred days with their family, without fear of punishment. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, we can all try and safely enjoy this time home with our families as best as we can, before returning to our student flats. Many people will not have seen their families in person since they moved down to Brighton is September, and I believe this time at home will be a morale booster to get us through a Covid Christmas.
gathering every year. I therefore find it quite unsettling in a way, that a reasoning has crept into my mind which has made me think that this year perhaps should be different. I thought I would start in this way to highlight the deep-rooted conflict that I feel at the fact that, despite not being a Scrooge in any way, I was a little disappointed at the announcement of a Christmas amnesty window. The way I have come to see it, it’s all or nothing, and although it has been everyone’s desire to have a ‘normal’ Christmas, we have been trying to get back to ‘normal’ since March; it hasn’t worked since then and, although I’m not willing to rule out the power of a potential Christmas miracle, I dread to see the peak that will come two weeks on. What’s done is done though and it would be a bit of a Grinch move for Mr Johnson to steal Christmas back from the UK, after restoring faith for so many in the fact that 2020 might just have a silver lining. For better or for worse we will be lapping up the festivities and, despite whatever restrictions have been put in place, most likely throwing caution to the wind. Christmas is a time for sharing, after all, and COVID-19 is set to be an unfortunate symptom of 2020 festive fun! OK, maybe it won’t be that bad, but you can’t tell me that, after a taste of
gingerbread-spiced freedom, everyone will go back to their respective lockdown tiers and do as their told. As a nation, we have caved to the romantic illusion of Christmas liberty but it’s not too late to avoid the inevitable spike. Christmas has to be different this year, it just does. To give ourselves a pat on the back now would be to risk another lockdown, more deaths and more irreparable damage to people’s livelihoods. Don’t just take my word for it; the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling, who work with SAGE, issued a report on November 18 which detailed that a Christmas amnesty window could easlily see coronavirus cases double. Respiratory infections in the elderly are noted to always increase in a normal festive period and there is a warning of a ripple effect as, after an unusual five days of mixing, people return to their regular patterns, potentially spreading the infection exponentially. After what seems to be a prioritisation of shortlived public moral over society’s long-term wellbeing, SAGE released a document of precautionary advice about how to negotiate this period. It’s advised that you avoid hugging, excessive overnight stays, singing at a high volume and, to give a generalised overview, it’s recommended that you avoid anything that resembles a good old fashioned Christmas get together. For those of us who would actually take note of this advice, I feel that if this ‘amnesty’ were a stocking filler it would be more of a lump of coal than a chocolate orange... Not likely to be a very enjoyable eating experience and bound to leave a sour aftertaste to the tune of a deadly virus ripping its way through your family. ‘Tis the season to be jolly careful’ indeed. So careful that, although Christmas isn’t totally cancelled, this year should, for the future of society, not resemble previous years at all... It’s all very well being told we can do something but, if all the facts suggest that the progress made in the second lockdown will be compromised, wouldn’t it be wise to use our initiative and re-think our plans this year? I think the answer to that question for me is yes. I’d be the first to say that 2020 has been a tough year but, Christmas miracles aside, without a vaccine this virus isn’t going away. I’m an optimist but I’ve been wishing for a while and it doesn’t seem to have had much effect. Lockdowns arguably work; restrictions work and at least part of 2021 will have to be dedicated to sorting this out once and for all.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Nigeria’s Youth Campaign Against Police Brutality Chikerenwa Ihekweme What began as a story of resilience and hopeful immanence for a society weakened by the rampaging exploits of the elites on its poor segments, would unbridle the letting mood of wishers of a turnaround for a country seized by political bands of leadership terror. Amidst swaths of protection by a security apparatus far removed and distanced from the people. In October, a hope-filled movement of #EndSars campaigners took over many metropolis of Nigeria, chanting their dismay against a section of the country’s police force that had become brutal in its gales of attacks, robberies, and highhanded committance of youth murders. From the country’s Lagos city down to Benin, Abuja and across Nigeria’s southern part, youths disenchanted by police brutality began a peaceful campaign to get the leadership to do something. Youths were being murdered and maimed, and their wealth carted away by those empowered to protect them. Families were losing their bread winners to police assault killings and financial thievery. Though Nigerians had been weakened so much by state policies that incriminated their resolve to win and succeed, and fear now locking eyes with the masses, the youths would slumber up into a dressing revolution against anomalies that have attained troubling status. SARS was an acronym for the Nigeria Police Force State authorized and delegated special anti-robbery unit. A squad set up to combat armed robbery and would become reminiscent of unlawful killings, torture, and extortion. An informative narrative by Aljazeera paints the picture of a hostile, ruthless and financial crime minded squad unit. According to the medium; “Philomena Celestine, 25, has also seen SARS brutality up close. In 2018, she was travelling home from her university graduation ceremony with her family in Edo State, when their car was
Wikimedia Commons pulled over by SARS officers and her two brothers taken out. My four-year-old niece was in the vehicle, but they cocked their guns at our car and drove my brothers into the bush where they harassed them for over 30 minutes, and accused them of being cybercriminals. They could see my graduation gown but that did not deter them. My sister was trembling and crying
in fear, Celestine recalled.” One among many others that ignited swift protests against the unit across Nigeria, SARS Nigeria was in irony, a unit licensed to steal and incriminate falsely
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and kill innocent citizens, many who fall within the youth age range, as against their mandate to protect and secure the land. Voices of angst and disband were peacefully demonstrating, when some dubious political actors masterminded an offensive onslaught on the armless protestors. Hoodlums were recruited across Lagos, Abuja, Benin and other cities and they
went on a spree of destruction of public and private properties and businesses. Masses ravaged by hunger swooped on the Covid-19 palliatives hidden in stores and warehouses by the coun-
try’s rabid politicians wishing to share them to their battered voters during political campaigns. In Edo State, hoodlums seized a prison formation and set over two thousand inmates free. Some of these were calculated attempts by leadership to undermine human rights to expression of displeasure within peaceful arrangements. State curfew was declared and another form of terror loomed large as soldiers took over roads, making movement for road users difficult. Commuters and drivers would become economic objects of exploitation by teams of military who demanded fees ranging between 200 to 500 and a thousand naira. Hoodlums would also create their own landmine of money making, side by side the country’s soldiers, as they barricaded roads leading into the villages, they and the military personnel not batting eyelids. Across states and communities, police stations and security facilities were damaged and burnt. In Imo, Rivers, Plateau, Enugu and streams of other cities and communities, angry local boys went at very high degrees of destruction, looting, and in major cases, sending
police personnel packing from their workstations. These unrest had been offshoots of the Lekki Toll Gate shooting of protestors in Lagos. As the peaceful protestors cooked their foods and danced and waved the Nigerian flag, calling for disbanding of SARS and a return to good governance, the military were dispatched by the ruling elites to murder the youths in their cold blood.. Though the politicians have tried to put up one panel here and there to discredit a believed complicit act, few Nigerians believe mayhems following #ENDSARS protests were calculated to undermine citizen participation in governance. A Nigerian politician who has massive political fiefdom in Lagos is fingered in no hushed voices to have coordinated the efforts to incriminate protestors. There were fears that the politician did not want to be the major loser to a swinging possibility of the erase of an elite leadership, so brazen in political rascality and damage to the people.
The #EndSars movement within its confined demands was an opportunity for Nigeria to truly re-mould a security sector in need of fresh perspective, rather than the undermining of the rights of her people for peaceful demonstration. The #EndSars movement within its confined demands was an opportunity for Nigeria to truly re-mould a security sector in need of fresh perspective, rather than the undermining of the rights of her people for peaceful demonstration. Political measures being undertaken currently against #EndSars facilitators and supporters are immutable symbols of the crush and silencing of collective resilience against political leadership treachery and abuse. Social activists are being hurled to the courts, and there may be no hope in sight that justice finally would prevail.
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The Badger 30th November 2020
Comment Influencing feminism: What’s the point?
When feminism is employed for personal brands, are we really being offered anything new? Miranda Dunne Staff Writer “If you want to run for Prime Minister, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too. Shave your armpits, don’t shave them, wear flats one day, heels the next; We want to empower women to do exactly what they want.” This is a quote from Emma Watson, shared by the Women’s Organisation in August earlier this year, in a tweet that has since been deleted, perhaps due to the criticism it received. The comments were made over six years ago and don’t undermine her work as a feminist. But the question begs: what woman genuinely feels she needs to be empowered to wear a particular style of shoe? And what can the promotion of this sentiment tell us about pop feminism today? The pandemic has cost a lot: some have been left questioning how to pay rent, let alone if we’ll ever get on the property ladder. I was unable to find work over the summer, regardless of searching every day, even scrubbing down a living room on an unpaid trial shift. This is a
reason why Watson’s resurfaced comments made me laugh at the time. It got me thinking about the inconsistencies of other well-off feminist influencers who forge their careers as individuals by making public claims that any given woman feels constantly oppressed and in need of external empowerment. Social media, despite the echo chambers it’s produced, has given like-minded groups across the world the chance to converse online; it was a great tool for me a few years ago when I was discovering feminism and wanting to learn more. However, whilst feminist dialogue should be accessible and grounded in everyday experiences, I’m put off by a lot of the stuff that would have appealed to me a few years back. Florence Given is an influencer with over 500K followers who has built her success by sharing her feminist illustrations on Instagram, and selling them printed on bags and t-shirts. This year, she released bestseller Women don’t owe you pretty, a self-described “game-changer” aimed at “anyone who wants to challenge the outdated narra-
tives supplied to us by the patriarchy.” An accessible look into feminism, many women found it empowering, and it did provide important insights into consent and self-esteem. But despite the positives, Given and her book embody a contradictory and unhelpful version of feminism, one that centres claims of gendered oppression to generate a brand and treats class as an afterthought. It seems that pop feminism is more about prescribing a list of rules about what is correct and incorrect as opposed to opening conversations about difficult and important topics between women with different worldviews. In other words: feminism along a unilateral line of influencing, not a call to converse on equal terms. This is especially key when many feminists (claim to) reside within the radical left, believe that capitalism is inherently evil and feminism should take an intersectional approach so we can all ‘pass the mic’ to those who we view as more oppressed. It doesn’t add up to use capitalism and your criticisms of it to elevate yourself, an individual, to influencer status,
all while making a killing. When feminism is employed for a personal brand, why would the influencer benefit from patriarchy and capitalism being dismantled? Any book should be read critically and open-mindedly, so we can extract and employ the parts we find helpful. But in Given’s book, and in an advert for Lucozade, she brushes off criticism of her work as the projection of the critic’s “insecurities.” Therefore, the accessible language of the book seems completely wasted if, in the same breath, she explicitly opposes criticism. To criticise is to dissect a set of ideas, as opposed to making a personal attack on the individual behind the work. Criticism is not always to dismiss something as a whole; instead, we can apply it with the hope of making something better – for example your country, or in this case, feminism. Whilst I share many of Given’s gendered experiences, my resulting worldview is different. I have experienced assault, harassment and “professional” sexism, but I do not feel perpetually oppressed or under threat.
However, it wouldn’t be sound for me to take my own conclusion as proof that everyone feels the same way. We shouldn’t all have to think the same to contribute to issues that impact us. “Branded feminism” does nothing to persuade or encourage those with different opinions or experiences into feminism; rather, it confirms what consumers of that brand are already thinking.
If feminism has to be wrapped up in influencing, I’d like to see more feminists who truly live up to their own standards of making feminism open and accessible. If feminism has to be wrapped up in influencing, I’d like to see more feminists who truly live up to their own standards of making feminism open and accessible. But ultimately, will a branded feminist ever achieve anything radical for women’s rights, or will she just be paying lip service to anti-capitalism and anti-patriarchy whilst using both as stepping stones?
November: Men’s Mental Health Month Roxanna Wright Staff Writer Men’s mental health has and continues to be a taboo topic, with hundreds of thousands of men suffering in silence every day. However, November is the month where we focus on it and hope to normalise men talking and reaching out for help to do with their mental health. It only seems right, as it is the last day of November, to dwell on the importance of the topic and the actions that people have been taking to support men all over the world. From young ages, men are taught very narrow-minded and confining notions of masculinity. In Western countries, including the UK, men are presented as people of power, strength, and dominance. These societal expectations pressure men into being a certain way and making them feel less of a man for being different. These traditional gender roles are so toxic as it does not teach men to talk about their feelings as being emotional, soft and nurturing is linked to weakness and femininity. In the media, men are the superheroes, the warriors and the princes
www.movember.com that save the damsel in distress, so no wonder the majority of men do not reach out when they are struggling with their mental health. It is very necessary to talk about male mental health because, according to the ‘Movember’ movement, one man dies of suicide every minute, of every day, globally. Moreover, according to the mental health foundation, suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50-years-old, and 75% of suicides in the UK are men. Even though male suicide and mental health rates are so high, there is little recognition and fundraising in comparison to women’s
mental health. The likely reason for this is due to a low percentage of men reaching out for help when they are struggling. The ‘Priory Group’ found that 40% of men would only reach out once they start having thoughts of suicide or self-harm. It is so upsetting that for nearly half of men, their mental illness would have to build up and take such a toll to think about inflicting physical pain before reaching out. Fortunately, more and more awareness, fundraising and work is going into men’s mental health. A well-recognised foundation is the ‘Movember’ movement, which is an Australian
charity founded in 2003. Movember has become an annual event where men all over the world grow out their facial hair during the month of November and raise awareness and money for men’s mental and physical health, such as prostate and testicular cancer. In 2019 to April 2020, a total of 121.7 million Australian Dollars was raised worldwide to invest in programs that support male mental health and suicide prevention. The main aim of the Foundation is to decrease male suicides by 25% by 2030. Originally, I had planned to write this article on how toxic male stereotypes are dying, and how we are progressing into a more equal society where men are listened to about their mental health just as much as women. However, after the actor Johnny Depp lost the domestic abuse case against Amber Heard, it was clear that my beliefs were not true. In cases where men are the victims, their voices are not taken seriously, and they are overpowered by women. This could be explained by the outdated stereotypes that women are weak and fragile, and men are the more violent and domi-
nant gender. It is scary to think that a loved and respected celebrity, like Johnny Depp, was not even listened to when he opened up after 5 years of domestic abuse, let alone a normal member of the public. However, this is what the Movember and other male health charities are working against. They are fighting to normalise men talking about their emotions. I hope that in years to come, young boys are taught different messages about the men they are supposed to be when they grow up. I hope they are taught that to be ‘manly’ is to be comfortable in your own skin and be happy with who you are. Being strong is being able to ask for help when you need it. Being tough is not feeling like less of a man when you cry. Being powerful is talking about your emotions and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Being masculine is dressing how you want to dress, loving who you want to love and being unforgivably yourself without caring what insecure, misogynistic men have to say about it. Men need to take a step back and reflect on their mental wellbeing regularly, and not just in November.
The Badger 30th November 2020
The extravagant pricing of vegan foods Megan Taylor Recently, I went out for a dinner with my boyfriend. I am a vegan, he is not. This particular restaurant we went to had a range of vegan items on the menu which was obviously great for us. When our food came, a range of complimentary condiments arrived with it; Ketchup, mayonnaise, some sort of ranch. I asked the waiter if I could have some vegan mayonnaise, he brings it back. The same amount is in the pot as there had been for the other condiments however this one (I found out when presented with my bill) set me back £1. Now I’m not that tight with money, so obviously I paid it without any complaints. But it got me thinking... Why was my condiment an extra £1 when all of the others were free? You could claim that it is because the cost of the vegan mayonnaise is more than the cost of the other products. This is probably true however this implies two things: first, that the cost of my portion of mayonnaise was more expensive than all three of the other condiments combined to the extent that it was chargeable. This means that three portions of sauces don’t match one portion of my mayonnaise. This is fine in terms of the restaurant charging me extra as it may well cost that much more that it needs to be paid for. But this implies that either somewhere along the line of product manufacturing my mayonnaise costs over three times the amount to produce compared to non-vegan alternatives, or they have priced the vegan mayonnaise a lot higher than it needs to be. Of course, I could be venting about nothing here and it could just be that the restaurant thought they could make a quick buck off of my dietary requests. So l have to wonder-why am I being charged that bit more for these products that are seemingly almost identical to the original? In an attempt to find the solution to my problem I set about researching the ingredients in normal mayo vs vegan mayo (because I have nothing else to do in lockdown). Hellmann’s seemed like the best option as it is a big brand company who do a vegan version of their famous sauce. I found that the original mayonnaise was 25p per 100g whereas the vegan mayonnaise was 64p per 100ml. Considering ml to grams are an equiva-
Mad Mags lent conversion this difference in price is pretty extreme. I wondered what could be in the vegan mayonnaise that makes it nearly triple the price? Turns out the only difference is ‘Modified Maize starch and natural flavouring’ as opposed to ‘pasteurised free-range egg and egg yolk’, and ‘colour’ as opposed to ‘flavourings’. So, what I learnt from this is in reality there is no physical reason as to why the vegan mayo needs to be more expensive. If you have read all this and aren’t surprised by what you’re hearing well, then, join the party. What you may not know is that there is a term for this unnecessary price rise. It is ‘elasticity of demand’. In short what it means if products are constantly in high demand, the demand will remain high no matter how much the price on it rises. A classic example of this would be tuition fees. The people raising the prices of the fees know that students will still go the Universities because getting a degree is so important in our society today. It doesn’t matter how much they put the prices up, we will still all go. Elasticity of demand relates to vegan produce in that people who have chosen a vegan lifestyle will only buy vegan products. Given the limited number of vegan products and alternatives there are in the world, companies know they can put the prices up and
we will still buy them because we have no other choice. You could say ‘but vegans do have a choice it’s a lifestyle not a dietary requirement’. And while you are right that it is technically a choice, for pretty much all of us it doesn’t feel that way, it feels like a moral obligation. Whether you agree with that statement or not, it doesn’t change the fact that companies are taking advantage of the lack of choices we have. If you still don’t agree then think about people with coeliac disorder, or people who are lactose intolerant. The products created for vegan diets almost always also fit the criteria for these two dietary requirements. Why should they be charged £1 extra when the other condiments are free? Obviously, my whole point doesn’t revolve around a menial £1 in a burger restaurant. The problem I have with this system is the rising importance of environmental issues, and that the diet that aims to fix this is being penalised. I am a low waste vegan student living in Brighton. It’s a ‘type’, definitely. There is one way in which I don’t conform to this stereotype. I am not willing to spend a lot more money for a product made for vegans or a product not wrapped in plastic when I could get the same one for a fraction of the price with the plastic on. And I hate this. As a society we are all aware of the environmental issues we have
There are so many families, students, people living on low wage incomes that can’t afford these vegan or low-waste alternatives. Whilst it may be true that the majority of people living low waste vegan lives have the benefit of being able to afford the more expensive products, it doesn’t change the fact that there should be a realistically priced alternative. This isn’t even the extent of the issue. It’s almost irrelevant whether or not people can afford it. Anyone earning less than the average middle-class individual won’t be spending their money on products they could get for a fraction of the price. There are so many students who are like me, beating ourselves up over not spending the extra money, not putting in that extra bit of effort to help the planet. But the reality is it’s not us who’s the problem. It’s the capitalist system we have in place that demands niche products to be raised in price because they can do it.
going on at the moment such as plastic-polluted oceans. It appears to me to be incredibly ironic that a government and a society which frequently presents news about plastic pollution, and the moral and environmental issues surrounding meat, dairy, and egg consumption, is also making it far less achievable to live a lifestyle which significantly decreases these issues. Brighton is fantastic as a community in terms of providing vegans and low waste peoples with plastic-free alternatives to a lot of produce in the world. No one is denying this. My issue is that there appears to be a significant rise in price as soon as the words ‘vegan’ or ‘plasticfree’ come into play. I haven’t come here and written this story to berate Brighton and rant about all the ways we need to change our economy. Cheaper made equals cheaper sold, and I understand this. Please don’t think that I am assuming that all independent companies or specially catered companies have the ability to slash their prices. I am aware of the living costs and taxes involved with running a small independent business- especially in our current economic Covid-effected climate. But you can’t deny there is a huge difference in the prices of the products and there must surely be a way of cutting these down.
Brighton is fantastic as a community in terms of providing vegans and low waste peoples with plastic-free alternatives to a lot of produce in the world. No one is denying this. My issue is that there appears to be a significant rise in price as soon as the words ‘vegan’ or ‘plasticfree’ come into play. This is especially notable when it comes to a vegan diet. I am a pretty strict vegan and have been for 3 years. I cannot count the amount of times I have been to a restaurant, or bought a vegan alternative food from a supermarket that is pretty much identical to the nonvegan option yet I am forced to pay 3 times the amount for it. It’s ridiculous. We are all aware that we live in a capitalist system, and the elasticity of demand is just another cog in the wheel. For now, all we can do is whatever we can do. Whether you can’t afford the lifestyle, are trying to cut down or even if you are just interested in the topic that’s great! We can all hope for a future where elasticity of demand is no longer a problem, not just in the vegan/ zero waste market, but in all areas where we are unnecessarily being overcharged, until then, we can only try.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Lockdown 2.0: A first year perspective Staff writer and first year student Luke Thomson details the trials and tribulations of lockdown 2.0.
’ve been at Uni for two months now. It’s been a time which has gone both extraordinarily quickly and slowly if that’s somehow possible. The first few weeks, as I said in my Freshers: Covid Edition piece, was both a tough but also rewarding experience. There was never a dull moment to say the least. Things started to settle down as the weeks went by. I settled in well with my f lat; I got my feet on the ground when it came to my course and I had started to get used to a few societies I had joined. Then, around halfway through October almost all our f lat was infected with Covid. My aforementioned love of walking and running around the Southdown area was put on hold for a whole two weeks, as well as pretty much anything I had planned to go out and do. Somehow though this wasn’t as bad as I had dreaded it would be. Actually being in the f lat with several others was a massive help to getting through this, we all had each other and in some ways I think this period actually made us a lot closer.
I just can’t help feeling like we’ve been robbed, although there’s nobody really to blame for this, I want to make that clear. Finally we were let out, and I kid you not, no later than 5 days after this, the new lockdown was announced. Unlike the full-on Covid isolation, we’ve actually been able to go outside too, it’s not like before where I had the kitchen and my room and that’s it. On paper this should have been a far more bearable situation, but in reality things have been increasingly challenging. I really can’t explain this either. Maybe it’s the thought of it going on for longer, with a whole month of imposed restrictions. Unlike the selfisolation period there’s no 14-day definitive end to be excited for. But then again at the end of this lockdown we get to go home and celebrate Christmas, so it’s not like there’s nothing to be hopeful and optimistic for. Either way, it’s been really tough for the last week or two. Thankfully it’s not as bad as I found the first lockdown in March. The difference now is at least we still have the enjoyment of living with others our age and we’re still getting some level of a University educational experience. Unlike before, there’s enough to be busy with. I just can’t help feeling like we’ve been robbed, although there’s nobody really to blame for this, I want to make that clear. Of course the government could and should have handled this whole situation better but there’s nothing we can do to change the situation we find ourselves in. Yet, saying this, I just think maybe the Uni could
Pixabay be doing a bit more? Even with the lockdown we were told “mixed learning” would continue, yet, since the lockdown I’ve had absolutely nothing in person. In fact, since coming here I’ve received less than 3 hours of total learning in person. In fairness I think this is because teachers, at least in my subject, have been able to choose what they feel most comfortable with and I respect this and their freedom of choice. But then, surely to still advertise this Uni year as one of a mixed learning nature is slightly misleading? It’s hard to be motivated for lectures and seminars when we don’t get to feel that magic which comes from being there in the moment. Putting my rant aside, the lockdown
really couldn’t care less if a few more people are infected so they can continue partying, as if it’s the pinnacle of life itself. Then again how can we prevent this? Surely it’s natural human nature for younger people to act in this way. It’s inevitable really. This sort of conf licted dialogue really evokes the feeling I think a lot of first years, and probably students as a whole, are having right now. The fact these things are happening adds to the general stress I find I’ve been having over the last few weeks. Obviously the lockdown has to be followed at all costs and I’ve been keeping to it, but it’s not easy seeing hundreds of people breaking said rules, meeting new people, whilst others are
Tom Lee has been tough for a multitude of reasons aside from just this. Unfortunately and inevitably, there have been several people breaking lockdown rules. Don’t get me wrong I think the government has been wrong for making youths constant scapegoats for the increase of cases. But if we’re being completely honest here, there is a huge amount of people our age who
out to me virtually and helped chat to me with some issues. It’s not like they can magically make the problems connected to Lockdown life go away but just having someone to chat to is a massive boost of morale. I really do encourage fellow first years to try and make an effort into entering any societies they may be interested in. I know it’s tough as hell right now, and virtual chats and calls may be getting a bit tiring, but the only way I’ve found to break into any social circles is to really make an effort to do so. I’m not sure I’ll get away with putting this in but give the guys at Liberate the Debate and Album Listening Society a go! The latter especially is great if you just want to relax one evening, listen to new kinds of music and share your views with others. LtD is a bit more intense but equally more rewarding.
stuck inside for the evening. Anyway. Enough of the morbidly dreadful writing. There are definitely things that keep this time a bearable and even enjoyable experience. The student life/RES connectors I have been in contact with have been phenomenally helpful. There are a couple of individuals in particular I’ve spoken to from my societies that have reached
I really do encourage fellow first years to try and make an effort into entering any societies they may be interested in. I know it’s tough as hell right now, and virtual chats and calls may be getting a bit tiring, but the only way I’ve found to break into any social circles is to really make an effort to do so. Plugs aside, I would also recommend trying to get into as many as discord/ Facebook groups as possible. There’s quite a cool page on Facebook called “Sussfessions” in which you can type anonymous posts into. This can be something silly or funny, or if you have a genuine worry or question type it in and there’ll be several responses in a matter of minutes. I know none of these things can replicate the social aspect of having real, tangible contact with people but it’s really the best we can get right now. Plus, putting the effort online now will hopefully give you a bit of a head start when we can finally go to these things in person, hopefully after Christmas as some point. I’ve managed to avoid mentioning it so far but going on long leisurely walks has still been a great thing to do. In fact there’s actually a fairly priced tea room based near Stanmer Park I managed to find the other day (serving outside of course), highly recommend the hot chocolate. That’s pretty much the gest of Lockdown life. Not an easy time by any means but still one that I find has often been rewarding the more effort I’ve put into it and a useful experience both socially and academically. Things should only get better from here.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Melanie: The waste is history Staff writer Andreas Lange speaks with Melaine Reese, founder of the volunteer organization “The Green Centre”
f you’ve ever walked through the open market in Brighton on a thursday in the last couple of years, there is a good chance you’ve seen the following scene: A line of people carrying boxes and bags are queuing up in front of a temporary stall, people behind the counter inspecting the contents of these bags, chats with the people and points towards the buckets on the ground. One of the people behind the counter is Melanie Rees, founder of the volunteer organization “The Green Centre”, that has been helping people in Brighton with waste management and sustainability for 14 years. But who is she and what led her here? In the middle of 2004 Melanie takes a break from her career as a special needs teacher, little does she know that what follows is a series of catastrophes that will change her life forever. “September 17th in 2004 I was diagnosed with a long term chronic health problem which robbed me of my energy and meant that I was unwell. Several months later it meant that I could not return to full time work.” Melanie explains over the phone.
In the middle of 2004 Melanie takes a break from her career as a special needs teacher, little does she know that what follows is a series of catastrophes that will change her life forever. Three months later Melanie and her partner decide to go to Thailand for christmas, but when christmas day comes around, their relationship is over. The day after the break up, one of the biggest Tsunamis seen in modern times hits the Thailand shoreline, killing approximately 230 000 tourists and locals. Yet Melanie and her former partner survive the catastrophe. But upon their return to the UK, Melanie’s life is altered once again, as their landlady decides she wants the f lat back, Melanie has now lost her home. “I read a lot about the tsunami and the community that I had been in, and were finding myself drawn to things related to weather and the environment. I decided that I’m just a born teacher. What do I think is the most important subject on the planet right now? And my view was that the environment was the most important subject.” Melanie takes matters into her own hands and sets up a paste table on George Street in 2005, to ask bypassers about what they knew about climate change. What happened next would once again change her life. “People started asking me lots of questions about recycling. So I started taking peoples names and addresses, names and phone numbers, going off
Georgina Klovig Skelton and finding the answer to their questions.” That’s how the Green Centers recy cling scheme ZERO WASTE recycling program was born, to offer citizens of Brighton a place where they could bring their recyclables free of charge at the Open Market every fortnight. Offering more information about recycling and the environment for anyone who would want it. “Some people don’t, they turn up, they recycle, they have a chat with us, and then they go, they are not interested in anything extra. Other people we will share snippets of information and once you’ve given them one snippet, they are interested in learning even more, so we’re able to give them that.”
their free time to come and make this contribution to society, why should they be abused in that situation? That is for me the biggest issue. Not the pace at which people learn.” Melanie has on several occasions offered to take in the things and sorted or cleaned it herself for the reason for keeping the harmony in the community. A harmony that in many cases is at the core of their work, and an impor tant contributor to sustain that harmony is their presence online. “We share our story on our facebook page, and it’s the story about our lives running the green centre. And we’ll use that opportunity to drop some information in. But in an authentic way.
Because it’s actually the actual story
Magda Ehlers However there are challenges with people not reading up on what they can and can’t bring, leading to some unpleasant situations for herself and her volunteers. “When you say, no we can’t take that, some people are very rude, some are aggressive. So I have to be very careful in how I manage that. Because why should volunteers who got autism or really serious health conditions give up their free time, literally give up
hours.” “It’s an opportunity for me to reiterate that contamination is the biggest problem. It’s an opportunity for people to realise that they are making ordneys life hard. By not respecting the rules of contamination. And because they know her, and care for her and know that she is 70 and that she is a volunteer, there is an emotional attachment and then there is a motivation to not want to make ordnery’s job hard. Because she is a human being and why would we want to do that?” But the problem with contamination of recyclables doesn’t only apply to the Green Centers as Melanie adds that. “when there is more than 10 percent in any load with the council then they have no choice but to incinerate it. Because the companies that are taking the actual material of them to do the actual recycling, will refuse to take it off them if it got more than a certain amount of contamination in it. So then all the sudden you’ve now taught people about the importance of not contaminating your council recycling.”
of our organisation.” And a central part of the story of her organisation is the people in it, and how people’s way of handling recycling directly affects them. “I had to put a post on the facebook page to say that I’d had a call from Ordney who was quite distressed because the vanload of crisp packets, which she was processing with Shana, was absolutely full of contamination. Which means instead of her processing one box in one hour, took her three
Melanie takes matters into her own hands and sets up a paste table on George Street in 2005, to ask bypassers about what they knew about climate change. What happened next would once again change her life “You can only work with what you have in front of you, and if you have a whole bunch of people who want to know more, then you tell them more. But there are lots of people in this city who don’t come and visit us. So therefore they don’t want to come and visit us. So I’m not about to go out enlisting loads of volunteers to go knocking on everybodys’ door and say you need to get to the green center, that’s gotta be a part of everyone’s personal journey.” “So that’s how it started, a personal crisis for me, and all of the planets lined up to put me in a position that I felt that the rest of my life would be dedicated to. Finding a way to share information about how you live sustainably, but doing it in a way that was sort of digestible for people.” The long queues at the open market in front of the Green Centre Stall haven’t been seen at the open market during the second lockdown, but one can trust that Melanie and her volunteers at the Green Centre will eventually be back again Thursdays every fortnight at Brighton Open Market. But If they will spend large portions of these Thursdays at the open market handling peoples recyclables or handling the people themselves, remains to be seen.
The Badger 30th Novermber 2020
Killing under the cloak of ignorance. Features Sub-Editor Olly De Herrera reflects on the annual report for the murder of Transgender and Gender-Diverse people.
emembrance Sunday, International Men’s day and Transgender Day of Remembrance made for a week spent more of ref lection in the philosophical realm than days in the living now. Remembrance days, awareness weeks and history months seem to saturate the global almanac. Transgender Day of Remembrance always has a particular dreaded poigniance on my calendar and that of the LGBTQ community’s. On the occasion of the International Trans Day of Remembrance held every year on 20 November, the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide research project publishes updated data gathered through the Trans Murder Monitoring. This is a painfully detailed compilation of media reports on transgender murder victims worldwide, including the violent and induvidual cause of death of each victim. After repeated failings and rejections of the rights of trans people in Parliament , I - like many others- find myself allied more with the Pink, white and blue than the Union Jack. The trans community is precious and for many people it is the only family they have. Knowing that not only our rights but our lives are a site for political and moral discourse is a barbaric reduction of our humanity. Even in death the treatment of the victim’s legacy and memory is often without consideration and dignity. The first slaying occurred merely hours into 2020, bloodying the fresh slate for what would become the worse year for Trans Murder since documentation began. In fact, there have been very few days since the beginning of 2020 where a Trans person has not been murdered. Dustin Parker was the young man killed by multiple gunshots through his window in the earlier morning hours of New Year’s Day, whilst working as a Taxi Driver in Oklahoma. He was a husband and father who “loved fiercely, worked tirelessly and took on life with so much hope and enthusiasm that his presence brightened all of our lives”, as expressed by family on social media”. Two more trans people would lose their lives on January first, 2020. The 351 names on TMM’s list certainly do not account for the total number of trans murders this year. “Due to data not being systematically collected in most countries, added to the constant misgendering by families, authorities, and media, it is not possible to estimate the number of unreported cases”, the charity states. It is likely that the numbers are far greater, and of course the list only ref lects those who ultimately lost their lives to transphobic violence. Non-fatal attacks, incidents and near misses permeate the trans existence. Evidence of this is around me in my own life, stories of targeted vio-
Ted Eytan lence provoke increasingly far less shock in me when coming from my trans friends than it would from my cisgender friends. The youngest person on this year’s list is 15 and many more young people experienced their lives cut short. The phrase “too close to home” just doesn’t do enough to articulate the genuine fear that shrouds the trans community not just on this day of ref lection but always. Nikki Kuhnhausen would have been 18 when her skull was recovered in a forest area, months after her disappearance. Her mother speaks proudly of her “Bubbly and outspoken” daughter who dreamed of being a makeup artist or clothing designer for stars. In a statement to the press, Lieutenant Tom Ryan of the Vancouver Police Department Major Crimes stated: “We suspect that there was probably some interaction where - and by his own admission - that he determined that, somehow found out during conversation that she was transgender”. How could learning about someone’s trans identity lead to choking the life out of a teenager? What about this girl’s identity possessed a 25-yearold man to wrap his hands around her throat and hold them there for the agonising and terrifying minutes it would have taken for her to die? Sickeningly, those are not rhetorical questions in the field of political debate, social discourse and the law. The social and legal codification of the “trans panic” defence is vomitinducing proof that global legal systems codify a culture of acceptable transphobia. The heavily criticised “gay panic/trans panic/trans rage” legal facet arose out of medical/psychiatric theory but has proliferated globally and has many variational appearances in the law. The basic narrative of this defence follows that “’Sexual misrepresentation’ should be considered legally adequate Provocation” (Bigler 2016). The defence of provocation has had many complex ap-
British Vogue as Mexico’s ‘third gender’. They were shot dead in the beauty parlour where they worked, along with another Muxes person. Across the globe, many cultures have recognized those who do not fit into conventional binary definitions of gender. Besides muxes in Mexico, in Tahiti, there are people referred to as ‘Mahu’. They occupy a similar space to India’s ‘hijras’ (recognized as a third gender in that country) and the ‘fa’afafine’ in Samoan culture. We live in a world where transgender identity and gender nonbinary is far from unnatural or new. Transphobia has galvanized the globe and smothered cultures with a historic nonbinary identity to become the popular rhetoric that can justify violence against another human.
plications but follows the notion that the set of events that occurred might cause a reasonable person to lose selfcontrol, thus making them less morally culpable.“The panic or rage defense strategies invoke the legal elements of insanity diminished capability and provocation and attempt to justify, or excuse violence and victimization based on gender sex or sexuality” argues legal academic Jayne Von Delan. Indeed, the notion that a “reasonable person” would react in such way is a gross endorsement of trans murder, entailing that the “reasonable person” may be a murder, not least a transphobe. “She was never afraid to be Nikki,” Nikki’s mother ref lected on social media. “I fear that’s a part of the reason why she got killed, because she didn’t think anybody would hurt her’’. It should not be naïve of Nikki to believe that no one would hurt her. The transgender experience should be a celebration of the self and of a rich history of gender non-binary identity, instead it is a daily and tireless plight for humanity.
Ted Eytan Marco Antonio Cruz Jiménez was part of an ancient group of non-binary identity individuals in Mexico called Muxes. Muxes were represented on the cover of Vogue Mexico and featured in
The list is for the cis community who wield the power to have mercy on our plight to be ourselves As a community, we have never relied on the approval of outsiders. We are fearless in our righteousness and so are the spirits of those who have lost their lives. It seemed contrary to all the duties as a welfare officer to prepare something so abrasive to be published in the faces of my trans siblings. Being a mature student, an officer and just a long-suffering Queer: I feel somewhat maternal to the many precious trans lives I’ve met through this small but mighty university community. I want to protect them, and I try. I run meetups, reply to messages, smile; but I cannot protect them from being burned, buried alive, tortured, hanged. That’s why this list, and the awful words and truths within, them are not for the trans and gender diverse community. The list is for the cis community who wield the power to have mercy on our plight to be ourselves, who don’t live in perpetual fear and knowledge of these things. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as growing racism and police brutality, the lives of trans and gender-diverse people are at even greater risk. Data is a testimony of how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting trans people worldwide, especially those most marginalised, such as Black and women of colour, sex workers, migrants, youth, and poor. Behind the statistical representation of numbers and percentages, there are people whose lives we value and who we, as societies, failed to protect. Closing words from Transrespect TMM Press Release. If you are effected by issues covered in this article, you can find support with the National Trans 24hr Helpline. Call or text 07527524034
The Badger 30th November 2020
The Wolf of Weeping on my Way to Work. Ben Phillips Alumni Writer
One Sussex Graduate’s quest to achieve both financial and emotional stability.
finance career never really jumped out at me whilst reading Jane Eyre or Ulysses; the only places where finance seems sexy is Hollywood, and only because they chose Leonardo DiCaprio to portray a man who quite frankly looks like a troll. When I began to search for jobs that a recent, mid-pandemic, English graduate might be able to do somewhat competently, I didn’t expect to get a call from a small start-up stock brokerage firm. My employment dilemma began with trying to find a good work-life balance because full-time employment after effectively doing what I wanted for the last three years was not enticing. After three years of occasionally deciding to do some reading instead of sleeping, playing video games or drinking dressed as a pirate, a 9-5 was not the most appealing next step of my life. I think this is a stage that most of us who went to university just to get a degree inevitably end up in; I can only speak for my own degree, but there wasn’t much career building in the core English Literature modules. School made me believe that after three years doing a subject I should have some idea of where to go next. I began to apply for jobs that Indeed recommended to me and after a few days I got a call from a recruitment agency and the realities of a future dealing with non-students became apparent. As any working person will tell you, people are the worst part of any job. At least with students you aren’t holding too high hopes: Students are non-committal, unreliable, and they don’t do things when they say they will, but at least you knew to expect that by the end of the first term. These weren’t things I expected from a qualified recruitment agent. The call itself went well and he scheduled an interview for the following Friday at 1pm, along with a follow up email to be sent to me later that evening.
director and his desk was so laughably masculine that it looked like he had googled “cool boss desks”, picked the manliest one and gone straight to Amazon. There were brass bookends in the shape of a lion and a bear and nestled between them were Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Jordan Belfort’s Wolf of Wall Street and Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. The largest possible Apple Mac sat facing him and just below it stood a Pickle Rick action figure holding the director’s Range Rover keys. Behind me on the f loor as I sat down lay a framed poster depicting ‘Scrooge McDuck’ bathing in money. The interview consisted of the director bragging for 15 minutes, a short three-to-five minute interval where I told him why I’d be good for the job then followed by a further ten minutes of him boasting about a £42,000 paycheck one month among other things. This turned out to be a good sign since he quickly transitioned to talking about the next interview and handed me some materials to look over beforehand. I returned a week later, delivered the pitch he had given me and was asked to come in on Monday afternoon for my first day.
The director would come back into the office discussing the women they found attractive that worked in the building, dividing them up as if they were prizes. My senior co-worker was left behind one day to talk to us about the perks of the job. This colleague deserves his own section purely because he is the best indicator I can give of the vibe. His behaviour is apparently very indicative of the financial sector and it’s unsurprising, quite frankly. He oozed masculinity and he made the office feel like a frat house.
I found my way to a painfully cliché stockbroker office.
I didn’t get the email until the night before the interview, despite four calls during the week to check if it had arrived. The morning of the interview the recruiter called postponing the interview until 4pm, and then 45 minutes later to postpone the interview by a week, with a confirmation email promised to me later that day (surprise: it did not come that day). One week later, I found my way to a painfully cliché stockbroker office in London. On the walls were posters depicting the Monopoly Man saying that “enough is never enough” and 50’s style posters telling me to “always be closing [deals]”. The man I was interviewing with turned out to be the
Alamy Stock Photo He came in some days telling us he had not slept or had spent the night having “freaky sex” with either his girlfriend or other women, I’m still not sure. He was the main perpetrator in the casual vein of misogyny that ran in
Tumisu - Pixabay the small office. After cigarette breaks some days the colleague and the director would come back into the office discussing the women they found attractive that worked in the building, dividing them up as if they were prizes. He once said to me that he got most excited when I managed to “send women across to him” (meaning get them interested enough to warrant an information email and a follow up call) because “women were stupid” and he could get them to invest and make us money. As the most effeminate looking in the office, on account of my longer hair, I came to expect some kind of misogynistic assault: while we were on the phone we were encouraged to stand and I expected the colleague to slap or squeeze my bum every time he walked behind me to leave the room. One day after we had finished work, I untied my hair which prompted my colleague to ask did my partner pull it during sex. All the while this was going on, he still subscribed to the self-important arrogance that the director had shown during the interview stage. What follows here I take only from what he told me, but that is by no means a ringing ensdorsement that any of it is true: By the age of 22 he had two houses; drove a £60,000 Maserati to work; was buying a £120,000 BMW; owned a watch collection worth £40,000 and he wore suits worth £2,000 to work every day. He told us a story about how one year he spent £29,000 on food and drink one year, most of which went on champagne in clubs “because of the spectacle”. One morning the director walked into the office, noticed a £400 Burberry scarf he had lent this colleague poking out of his desk and shrugged his shoulders, leaving it to him have it as if it were a tub of Vaseline he’d forgotten to get back. In three years sat in classrooms and lecture theatres, I had kind of forgotten men like this existed in real life and not just tv or social media. Taking the constant out of touch bragging and the fear of being assaulted into account, it felt fairly unsur-
prising to be waking up every morning feeling nauseated and anxious. I craved the time away from the job and not in a way I’d craved time away from school or university, because being at home now meant I got to stay away from a hugely toxic environment which made me feel unsafe and inadequate. Every day sat on the tube into work I contemplated telling the boss that I was leaving. I knew deep down that even though I knew I wasn’t some telephone dialling, manipulation machine, but I could shut up and do the job if it was a good career move. The close relationship between the director and my senior colleague shut both the other new hire and me, their constant bragging and pitting us against each other making us feel like less than dirt by the end, causing neither of us to take the job.
For me, the final straw came when the director added me to an office WhatsApp group chat.
For me, the final straw came when the director added me (and not the other guy) to an office WhatsApp group chat which was hopefully meant with the best of intentions, but it somehow felt incredibly invasive. In it we were expected to post “goals you’ve hit, cool stuff you done, stuff you’ve bought or gonna buy, inspirational quotes”. I knew this job would be time consuming after the first day, but my phone was my space. I didn’t mind watching The Wolf of Wall Street or learning how to “control my inner chimp”, as long as I had a choice in when or how that happened. That evening and the next morning, I was assaulted with overbearing videos of the director driving his Range Rover to his accountant’s offices and my colleague driving his Maserati to the gym whilst I sat on the tube. It was meant to be motivation for me to drag myself out of the perceived filth of public transport, but there is a fine line between motivating me and rubbing your wealth in my face. There is no shame in not having the money to buy a Maserati and I am glad that this experience reminded me of that fact. Being a student taught me two things: Ernest Hemingway once took a urinal home from his favourite bar, and that you deserve to be in control of your own life. If you have read this far and concluded that the real issue was that I wasn’t cut out for that life, yeah, perhaps you’re right. It certainly wasn’t a huge waste of time to realise that not all goals have to boil down to becoming mega rich though, and that is something that might be more valuable than the £250 these ‘wealthy’ men are, at time of writing (and still at time of printing), refusing to pay me.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Arts • Books
Review: Imitations by Zadie Smith Jerry Silvester Staff Writer Zadie Smith’s latest book, Intimations, a collection of six short essays, is both petite and understated aesthetically, whilst unabating in sincerity and commitment to observation and dialogue throughout. The collection is a volume of intimate deliberations that descend deep into hidden pockets of people’s lives. In each essay, Zadie picks apart her own thought processes about human beings, and of humans, being. Every chapter is a crucial and coalescent puzzle piece with reference to suffering, but also of indifference, of class, of race, and of privilege. Not every piece of art relating to an unpleasant event consumes us in a way we want to resist. In fact, sometimes, just as we’re ready to close the door on a certain chapter of inner turmoil we’ve endured, we realise that this piece of art, essay, or film, may be the culmination that is gently nudging us towards the exit sign, armed with a little more digestible clarity than we would’ve had beforehand. Perhaps this concept is not too dissimilar to Zadie’s description in the foreword, in which she details that for the first time in her life, she picked up a book, “not as an academic exercise, nor in pursuit of pleasure, but “with the same attitude I bring to the instructions for a flat pack-table- I was in need of practical assistance”. Zadie’s ability to annotate the behaviour of those who live in her neighbourhood, strikes both
humorous and relatable cords, especially when referencing social distancing rules, which now stand to represent this very particular moment in time, forever. When introduced to Barbara, readers quickly learn that she is endearingly oblivious to both her dog’s bad behaviour, “The funny thing about Barbara is she has a little dog whom she insists is a well-behaved dog but who, in reality, either barks or tries to bite pretty much everyone who comes near except Barbara”, and her own unusual and somewhat socially awkward attempts at interacting with Zadie, “Sometimes, if I’d published a piece in a magazine that day, or a book of mine had just come out, she’d start shouting at me from six feet away, repeating some small, unlikely detail of whatever it was that had struck her, but without any further commentary, complimentary or otherwise”.
“What was once necessary appears inessential; what was taken for granted, unappreciated and abused now reveals itself to be central to our existence. People find themselves applauding a national health service that their own government criminally underfunded and neglected these past ten years.” This essay ends with, seemingly, the first meaningful exchange between Zadie and Barbara, motivated by the current social crisis. Barbara said, “Nothing to be afraid of we’ll get through this, all of us, together.” This appears to leave
abused now reveals itself to be central to our existence. People find themselves applauding a national health service that their own government criminally underfunded and neglected these past ten years”. Sympathising with experiences of suffering of which she admittedly cannot rationally contextualise herself, Zadie is unapologetic in establishing a definition of suffering in a way that she sees fit. “Suffering is not relative; it is absolute. Suffering has an absolute relation to the suffering individual - it cannot be easily mediated by a third term like privilege. If it could, the CEO’s daughter would never starve herself, nor the movie idol ever put a bullet in his own brain”.
Zadie uncharacteristically, yet relatably, lost for words: “‘Yes we will’, I whispered, hardly audible”. In the essay, “Suffering like Mel Gibson”, Zadie is clear and concise in her analysis of the economic disparities made painfully apparent by the actuality of COVID-19. “More poor people are dying than rich. The virus map of New York boroughs turns redder along precisely the same lines as it would if the relative shade of crimson counted not infection and death but income brackets and middle-school ratings”. This point is furthered to emphasise the shift in mindset of the general public as a result of such widespread violent subjugation of the working class and minorities, when Zadie goes on to state, “What was once necessary appears inessential; what was taken for granted, unappreciated and
“Considering the likelihood of a world that would be willing to challenge any current unjust segregation, Zade writes: ‘There would no longer be those who are taught Latin and those who are barely taught to read. There would no longer be too many people who count their wealth in the multi-millions and too many who live hand to mouth...But the question has become: Has America metabolised contempt? Has it lived with the virus so long that it no longer fears it?’” Polarisation between the rich and the poor has little meaning to Zadie when seeking to speak of social order and ideologies, it’s instead proposed as merely a social construct that has potential for reformation: “Class is a bubble, formed by privilege,
shaping and manipulating your conception of reality. But it can at least be brought to mind; acknowledged, comprehended even atoned for through transformative action”. Although there isn’t an explicit reference to Black Lives Matter, Zadie likens systemic racism to a virus, of which she conceives to be contempt in its truest form. Referencing George Floyd’s murder as, “the virus in its most deadly manifestation”, this emotive essay appears intentionally left till last, so as to leave its mark, and thus encouraging the conversation to continue: questioning the current racially motivated exclusion and inciting of violence, embedded parasitically in society. Considering the likelihood of a world that would be willing to challenge any current unjust segregation, Zadie writes: “There would no longer be those who are taught Latin and those who are barely taught to read. There would no longer be too many people who count their wealth in the multi-millions and too many who live hand to mouth… But the question has become: Has America metabolised contempt? Has it lived with the virus so long that it no longer fears it?” Much like Zadie’s decision to donate all royalties from this book to charity, her astute and often deeply personal observations are given freely and unstintingly in this essay collection. An exceptional exploration of life as we know it at present that is, perhaps, just what we need right now.
Review: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein Jasmine Crowhurst Staff Writer This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate is an urgent and powerful polemic in which Naomi Klein pins the blame for the global climate crisis on the capitalist systems. Klein capitalises on the zeitgeist; a suggestion that capitalism under the current societal system may not be working. As a result of human activities, large scale climate change is underway, and if it goes on unchecked it will fundamentally alter the world in which future humans will have to live. Klein urges on a social movement that joins the dots between climate change, poverty and development. The first section of the book analyses the problems the globe is facing; fossil fuels, extractivism, inequality and
the marginalisation of climate change which has strong ties with conservatism, unethical trade and money that influence its political conversation. She details how the environmental movement has been brutally derailed by a financial crisis and an aftermath of austerity, together with corporate promotion of climate denial. Klein quickly compliments these problems with discussions of hopeful solutions that aren’t necessarily new but certainly well presented. The second section explores Klein’s concept of “magical thinking”. Here she considers some of the technical fixes for climate change. She debates schemes such as geoengineering, and a rather grandiose proposition involving dimming the rays of the sun with sulphate-spraying helium balloons has been proposed in order to mimic the cooling
effect on the atmosphere of large volcanic eruptions. In the last section, Klein is concerned with movements that are swinging up in a wide variety of contexts to challenge the
neoliberal order. The population problem and the problem of bringing ‘super consumers’ into the world is mentioned but not fully addressed by Klein.
“Klein urges on a social movement that joins the dots between climate change, poverty and development.” Klein’s argument is that it is the ‘reigning ideology’ of our time for the majority to believe climate change is a threat. However, at the heart of this book, her core message is one of social environment justice. Klein supplies us with the challenge of asking,:“are we on the right path, are we doing the right things for ourselves and the future?” It is as much about the psychology of denial as it is about climate change, as Klein writes: “it is always easier to deny reality than to allow our worldview to be shattered”.
Throughout This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein describes the climate crisis as a confrontation between capitalism and the planet, and it is quite obvious that there is a collision between humankind’s expanding demands and a finite world. The book draws to a conclusion through a discussion on the connection between consumption and climate change, highlighting rising emissions due to their production of goods consumed by the western world. Rather than denying this irreversible shift, we would be better off trying to find ways of living in it. Klein leaves us with the glint of hope that with the social mobilisation of climate justice movements we can determine our path to change. This is a powerful and urgent book that anymore who cares about climate change will want to read.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Arts • Film & Television
Alternative Christmas Films
Try something a little different this Christmas. Three writers offer some alternative festive flicks.
Die Hard (1988) by Emma Green As an ardent fan of the holiday season, and the syrupy sweet cinema it produces, my choice for an ‘alternative’ Christmas film is a tad controversial. It seems the mere mention of the 1988 action thriller Die Hard in reference to the holly jolly season is enough to send yuletide traditionalists spinning into a tinsel-filled fury. Aghast, naysayers question how a film about an NYPD Detective in Los Angeles saving his estranged wife from a group of German terrorists imbues the sentimentality of Christmas. So let me count the ways… One, the film takes place on Christmas Eve. Two, John McClane’s (Bruce Willis) wife is called Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). Three, a Santa-hat clad baddie ‘gifts’ McClane a Machine Gun. Four, and here’s where things get a little tenuous, the actress portraying Holly is the real-life Aunt of Macaulay Culkin. Die Hard is simply the R-rated version of Culkin’s classic Home Alone. Both feature male protagonists protecting their ground with weapons ingenuity and a whole heap of onscreen pain: physical pain inflicted at the antagonists and emotional pain directed towards the hero. While Home Alone takes a humorous approach to the cruel traps inflicted on Harry and Marv, Die Hard provides a constant adrenaline rush, climaxing atop a high-rise building as Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber plummets to his death. Yippee Ki Yay indeed. The conclusion of Die Hard, akin to the ending of most traditional Christmas movies, has Eve Morgan I have always loved romance. As a teenager Nicolas Sparks novels lined my bookcase, I binged every bad CW show for the “ships” and I still use Nora Ephron films as my main stress relief. However, there’s one category of romantic fiction I once obsessed over that now, due to personal experience, makes me uncomfortable: teenage illness. After the vampire genre was exhausted and dystopian adventures were awaiting release dates, “terminal romance” became the next teenage fad. This wasn’t new, I remember weeping over Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember long before The Fault in Our Stars was released, but after making over $300 million at the box-office, John Green’s cancer romance had given Hollywood a winning formula: a low budget, a chronic health issue and two conven-
John McClane and co. returning to normality with a renewed sense of gratitude; mistakes have been forgiven, friendships forged, families reunited. This is the modus operandi for many Christmas capers. Die Hard bows out to the sound of Vaughn Monroe’s ‘Let it Snow,’ as a final kiss seals the merriment. Undoubtedly an ‘alternative’ choice, but a great film, nevertheless. To everyone in agreement with its status as a Christmas movie, I say ‘welcome to the party, pal.’ To those still unconvinced, address all complaints to Nakatomi Plaza, L.A, 90067.
When Harry met Sally (1989) by Robyn Cowie, Arts Editor Written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner, this film is not only my favourite nontraditional festive flick, but also a masterpiece of its genre. It poses the age-old question: “can men and women ever just be friends?” Or does “the sex part always get in the way?” The film stars Meg Ryan, as a high maintenance Sally Albright and Billy Crystal, as Harry Burns, a man who takes the world and its experiences as it comes. We witness two unlikely friends age over a period of twelve years. Although, for many, this is not their first answer when thinking of a christmas film, I think it has to be one of the more subtle festive classics. It presents a perfect montage of Christmas in the big apple. There’s a snowcovered Central Park, the iconic Rockerfeller Christmas tree, and the city streets covered with lights and tones of red, green and gold. Although the film is not solely set around Christmas, the two crucial points for both Harry and Sally occur on New Year’s Eve. Firstly, when they first
sleep together but fail to address what has occurred and most importantly when Harry confesses his love to Sally: in between all of the balloons, celebrations of a new year and singing of Auld Lang Syne, we finally here the declarations of true, love “ I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”. When Harry Met Sally offers up all of the festive feels, and also allows us to ponder if we ourselves have someone with whom we can rely on to help us transport our own christmas tree? If anyone is lucky to find themselves the Harry to their Sally, then I too “shall have what she’s having” please this christmas time.
Carol (2015) by Emma Frith Todd Haynes’ 2015 film can be read in many different ways, but it is predominantly a period romance. Set in a romantic vision of 1950s New York, we follow Therese - an unsure 19-yearold with an artistic eye. Whilst working over Christmas in a department store, Therese falls for a gorgeous woman who leaves her gloves after her shopping trip: Carol Aired. With slender wrists, red lips, and a fur coat that might as well be a royal gown, Carol is a sensual, glamorous personification of the 1950s upper-class discontented housewife, as eye-catching and elegant as she is mysterious and untouchable. This is a story of love at first sight, created in a way that is neither forced nor unnatural. Therese sees Carol as her muse, someone to admire and capture on film, as well as to love. For Carol, Therese is a chance at happiness; a means of escape,
The Fault in Our Stories tionally attractive rising stars falling in love. Like so many young people I was compelled by the tragedy, heartache and grief in these stories; until I became unwell myself. At 17 I went for an X-ray on what I’d come to call “my bad shoulder”. Expecting a physiotherapy referral, I was instead diagnosed with a rare tumour, put into an MRI machine and sent to a bone hospital 50 miles away. Over 2 years I’d have 7 operations, drop out of sixth form twice and eventually my entire shoulder blade removed, leaving me physically, mentally and notably different. Whilst I may well have grown out of YA’s target audience by my remission, my opinion on this genre is not just disinterest but distaste. Telling my story makes me uncomfortable. I feel like publicly disclosing my experience could
add to society’s fetishization of illness, this is compounded by the intrusive responses I often get, and this genre is partially to blame for that. It’s also worth noting that everyone who has experienced health issues will think differently and some may feel represented by these films, this is just my perspective. Being ill as a young person is scary, frustrating and isolating. For me, the fear of being a burden and knowing that I was going to look different meant that I pushed any romantic interest away. Recent research found that it was very common for cancer patients and survivors to avoid romantic relationships all together or remain in unfulfilling ones. Many ill people feel as though we don’t deserve love and there is an argument to say that this genre shows that we do.
a reason to carry on. Their relationship is characterised by understanding and attention that transcends what they can feel with men, but the beauty of Carol is in its stolen gazes, soft touches and the characters’ unwavering longing for one another. These characters say a thousand words with something as simple as lingering eye contact, a candid photograph across a crowded street, and a request for the other to simply stay. At its core, however, Carol would not have the depth and warmth that it does if it were not set at Christmas time: Therese photographs Carol in the snow, Carol asks Therese to go away with her just as the snow starts to fall; the colour red is pervasive throughout, seductive when shown on Carol’s nails, but also serving as a way of breathing life into the screen, adding a festive flair through mass produced Christmas hats and deep red winter coats. A lot of the film is set at night, in glamarous, lowlit restaurants, and bustling yet intimate parties. Carol exudes warmth with traditional decorations, the fire of a cigarette lighter and the headlights of a taxicab piercing through the wintery darkness. Despite being half a decade old, it is a timeless classic, and is perfect for those wanting comfort and romance. this festive season. is captured through a bustling New York City, and Carol creates comfort with old fashioned Christmas decorations, the fire of a cigarette lighter and the headlights of a taxicab piercing through the wintery darkness. Despite being half a decade old, Carol is a timeless classic, and is perfect for those looking for something both comforting and romantic this festive season.
However, most of these films are written and made by healthy adults. The actors are always able-bodied and - apart from pale makeup, an occasional breathing tube or bald cap remain aesthetically appealing so that the target audience can fawn over them. This audience is also mainly in good health, so the stories allow them to romanticize and be entertained by our pain from a place of privilege. This romantic retelling of real trauma by, and for, those who have not experienced it is glorifying, patronising and serves only as inspiration porn. There might be romance in our stories, there might even be stars named after us or trips to Amsterdam, but they are for us to tell if we wish and not for others to dramatize purely for emotional responses that sell cinema tickets.
What’s On In this edition the What’s On section highlights films related to Disability History Month. Together! 2020 Disability Film Festival The Together! Film Festival screens films by deaf and disabled filmmakers and films with strong central deaf and disabled characters. The festival’s priority is to provide a platform for strong storytelling and highlight the lived experiences of deaf/disabled people from diverse backgrounds, whilst also celebrating the talents of the community and its filmmakers. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution Released in January, Netflix’s Crip Camp is an American documentary written, directed and coproduced by Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht. Opening in 1971 at a New York summer camp designed for teens with disabilities, it tells the story of campers who became activists for the disability rights movement. The Peanut Butter Falcon This heartfelt comedy features Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen as its leads. Directors Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz wrote the role for Gottsagen after seeing his talent at acting camp. Gottsagen plays Zak, a man with Down’s syndrome who has dreams of becoming a wrestler. The protagonist runs away from his home and meets outlaw Tyler who becomes his coach and ally. On the Way to School On the Way to School is a 2013 French documentary film. It tells the story of four students from around the world and follows their long journeys to school. In India, Samuel is pushed over two miles in a homemade wheelchair by his brothers. This films reminds us how lucky we are to have access to education. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Listed as one of the BBC’s ‘100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century’, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is based on JeanDominique Bauby’s 1997 memoir of the same name. Bauby, who suffered a stroke and developed locked-in syndrome, was the editor-in-chief of French Elle. The film serves as a portrait of his achievement in writing his book, which he dictated via blinking.
The Badger30th November 2020
Arts • Music
Live Stream Review: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes “You Can’t Furlough a Rockstar”: An intimate gig from an empty venue. Alice Barradale Music Editor Even during England’s second national lockdown, music lovers from across the world are able to enjoy live music from the comfort of their own homes. Unlike the typical acoustic sets played by artists from their homes during the first national lockdown, we are now witnessing a powerful change within the way we consume live music. Thanks to the MelodyVR app, bands across the world can deliver live performances directly to the homes of thousands of fans in a livestreamed concert for a fraction of the price, a great way to cure the lockdown blues. Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes delivered a classic performance live at Alexandra Palace on the 13th of November, keeping close to their roots and even producing the worlds “First Interactive Mosh Pit” as Carter stated. The intimacy of the gig was illustrated through the change in power made by the band by allowing the audience to not only choose the set list, but to also engage with Carter himself. The set list therefore undoubtedly featured many classic hits, including the fan
favourite ‘Fire’ from the Blossom deluxe album that was released October 23rd. It was clear throughout the performance that audience interaction was of high importance for Carter; selecting individuals from the live stream to discuss matters of their personal lives to even wanting to see their pets. This undoubtedly was a special moment for many adoring fans,
a once in a lifetime experience to meet the band from the comfort of your own home. The design of the live stream was incredibly innovative, where users with a VR headset could feel as though they were actually at the gig, and for those who did not own such devices could also move around the stage using the trackpad on their laptops. Throughout
the gig, Frank Carter spoke to the audience about the meanings behind some of his favourite tracks, especially ‘Anxiety’ from their brilliant latest album ‘End of Suffering’. Given his own experiences with anxiety, Frank had collaborated with the mental health charity CALM for their #abetterplacefor youandme initiative back when the album
was first released, an initiative that strives to help provide education for identifying and dealing with anxiety. It was clear that Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes aimed for an entirely inclusive gig whilst taking into consideration the challenges of a live streamed event. There were undoubtedly some awkward silences due to technical glitches and pauses, however this is to be expected when live streaming to the masses. The highquality audio and technology used only emphasised the sheer amount of effort placed into the performance in the name of catering live music to audiences and highlighting the need to save the industry by keeping the arena’s open. A special moment for all fans was the introduction of Frank’s mother who spoke about his time within his past band ‘Gallows’ and the evolution of ‘The Rattlesnakes’. These interactions are somewhat rare to come across, making this a special performance to have witnessed. The gig speaks to live music’s resilience; continuing to survive in a global climate that is inhospitable to such performances.
System of A Down Release Two New Tracks after 15 Years The release of two new songs “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” to raise awareness of the conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Alice Barradale Music Editor The Armenian metal band have ended their 15 year hiatus to release two new head-bang worthy songs to help raise funds towards the recent humanitarian crisis between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the bands homeland, raising over $600,000 for the Armenia Fund so far. SOAD announced through an Instagram post on the 6th November: “We're here to protect our land, to protect our culture, and to protect our nation. This is not the time to turn a blind eye.” In 1915, The Turkish Ottoman government created a systematic genocide against the Armenian people which resulted in the murder of 1.5 million Armenians. This historical event, as stated by SOAD, has been ignored
people have been ignored to this very day, where bands such as SOAD must use their platform to ‘Protect the Land.’ Right now, there are reports of civilians being attacked and killed, where ‘cluster bombs’; a weapon of mass destruction that is banned under international law, are also being used against civilians.
MadSec and denied to this very day, supressed also by the current news climate surrounding COVID-19’s and the recent US election. The Armenian people were displaced from their homes and forced to march across the Mesopotamian
desert without food and water, where many were also forced to walk naked to then be left to drop dead or shot if they were to stop. Many were also burnt alive, raped or forced to serve as sexual slaves. The war crimes against the Armenian
“The corrupt regimes of Aliyev in Azerbaijan and Erdogan in Turkey not only want to claim Artsakh and Armenia as their own but are committing genocidal acts with impunity on humanity and wildlife to achieve their mission. They are banking on the world being too distracted with COVID-19, elections and civil unrest to call out their atrocities.
“The corrupt regimes of Aliyev in Azerbaijan and Erdogan in Turkey not only want to claim Artsakh and Armenia as their own but are committing genocidal acts with impunity on humanity and wildlife to achieve their mission. They are banking on the world being too distracted with COVID-19, elections and civil unrest to call out their atrocities. They have bankroll, the resources and have recruited massive public relations firms to spin the truth and conceal their barbaric objective of genocide.” - System of A Down via Instagram, Protect the Land and Genocidal Humanoidz are available for purchase on the bands official Bandcamp page, where the download of the two songs and the pre-orders of merch should be considered an act of charity towards the cause.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Arts • Theatre
Shakespeare: Stagecraft & Spellcraft Elijah Arief Theatre Editor As an avid lover of the occult and a practicing neo-pagan, I am constantly on the look-out for art that speaks to me in a spiritually profound way. Art that has mythology, lore and a history to it, something ancient and arcane. And Shakespeare for me fills that need. My love of his work comes from some place very deep within my psyche. I love words. More importantly, I love spoken words. Words that are glittery, words that bellow and shake and words that make no goddamn sense. As an occultist I am a firm believer that words have power and meaning behind them, and that you can conjure up a whole manner of feelings and imagery within a spoken paragraph. Words are magic. I became interested in studying Shakespeare when I was young. I had read Macbeth when I was thirteen and starting out on my journey as a pagan and found myself completely entranced by the use of language and I finished the play the day I had picked it up from the old Oxfam nearest to me. Now did I understand it? Absolutely not. But I found myself going over the opening scene and analysing the spell of the Three Witches, which led me down a rabbit hole into studying witchcraft. I found that in reading, watching and studying Shakespeare’s plays that feature magic as a main theme, I was able to pick out the struggles he was facing spiritually. In Macbeth we see our eponymous protagonist struggle
Wellcome Collection with the concept of fate and free will, as supernatural forces seek to decide his future for him. Shakespeare is keen to point out that ultimately Macbeth has free will however, and though these supernatural forces obstruct and create problems for him throughout the course of the play, Macbeth is faced with a choice. Either he can give into his supposed destiny or he can change his fate. This is a spiritual and philosophical struggle many of us face today, especially those who are interested in the occult. How much free will do we possess, and does fate have a role to play in our lives? In modern day paganism, it’s not unusual for people to believe in supernatural forces such as deities, fairies and other such figures from mythology. As a lot of neo-pagans also practice witchcraft, many seek to befriend or work with these
forces within their practice. The thought is that by befriending or establishing a work-based relationship with these beings, divine intervention won’t create obstacles for you, or you can learn from them. Shakespeare plays on this aspect of paganism quite heavily in both A Midsummers Night Dream and The Tempest. In both plays, we see spirits and fairies wreak havoc on the mortals who enter their land with the human being completely oblivious to the supernatural mischief that is befalling them. Throughout The Tempest, we the audience are keenly aware of the spirits of the island and the magic the island has; however, the mortals are completely unaware of their fate. There are two separate worlds within this play that coincide together simultaneously, and these two realms blend to create chaos.
However, within this play the ending is optimistic as we witness two goddesses bless the marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand, Juno the Goddess of Marriage and Ceres the goddess of fertility. The Sorcerer Prospero summons these two goddesses to bless the marriage, and we see Shakespeare use divine intervention for celebration purposes rather than something chaotic and negative. It’s no secret that witchcraft was a hot topic back in the Bards day. James VI was fascinated with the occult and the supernatural, but his fascination was not a positive one. The newly crowned King of Shakespeare’s day believed that a coven of witches was planning to kill him via magic, and that the reality of witchcraft was a great danger to him and his kingdom. This started the great witch trials of 16th century where many women where falsely accused of witchcraft and killed. It could be said that perhaps Shakespeare utilised witchcraft in such a way in order to keep the new King interested in his work. In any case, the era was full of superstition and belief in the supernatural, and by judging Shakespeare’s plays we can see him wrestling with concepts such as divination, free will, fate and the Gods. Of course, it would’ve been an insult to the royal family at the time to be a sceptic, but it’s hard to ignore the heavy occult themes that feature throughout so many of his plays. A Midsummer Night’s Dream for example takes place on the Summer Solstice, more
commonly known to pagans as Litha, an ancient northern European and Celtic festival that is dedicated to Sun worship and fertility. It is said that on Litha the veil is thin, and fairies are known to cause mischief. So, we can gather that Shakespeare was aware of these pagan concepts and wrote and performed them enthusiastically. Many of those who work in theatre have often pondered about the lasting effects of Shakespeare including occult practices into his work. For example, Macbeth is known as the ’Scottish Play’ due to many thespians believing that the play is cursed. Many actors believe that uttering the name will cause mayhem, and perhaps even death. In 1937, a production of Macbeth took place in which the stage manager had a heart attack and died on his way to the dress rehearsal. An actor avoided death narrowly when a stage weight almost fell on him, and another night his sword flew into the audience and hit a man who then died of a heart attack. Many say that this is because the Witches’ verses are all written in tetrameter, with a rhythmic foot to each line rather than Shakespeare’s usual pentameter, and when spoken allowed they cast a jinx onto the speaker. This superstition has long lasted and thus has become part of the ‘magic’ of Shakespeare. Next time you watch or read a play by the Bard featuring ghosts, witches or fairies, I ask you to investigate the folklore and history. You may uncover something fascinating.
Trans Awareness Week and #SinceUBeenGone: A Review Elijah Arief Theatre Co-Editor
their journey as a non-binary individual journeying into adulthood.
Tabby Lamb’s sugary sweet exploration of gender, friendship and mental health in ‘#SinceUBeenGone’ is a nostalgic, poignant and hard-hitting piece of theatre which I adored. The show itself took to the Edinburgh Fringe back in 2019 and gained rave reviews, even getting itself included in the Guardians ’12 Comedy Theatre Shows to See’ at the VAULT festival 2020. It’s not hard to see why the show gained such fantastic reviews and awards, as the audience is earnestly welcomed into Lamb’s stage and story, almost as if they are pouring you a cup of tea and telling you about their day. It’s safe to say that the show has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and as the audience you feel as if you are cultivating a friendship with Lamb as they express their growing pains and
The set is extremely minimal, with only litter on the floor to represent pubs and gigs which helps Lamb’s carefully chosen costume changes stand out even more. Each costume represents where Lamb is in terms of their own personal journey with their nonbinary identity, and it is certainly emotional witnessing them blossom into who they are, and this is evident as the play progresses and we see the costumes differ.
A whirlwind of colour, Kelly Clarkson and chiffon we are thrown into Lambs world where they are struggling with grief, mourning over lost friends and finally coming out of their shell to celebrate their identity as a queer individual. In a world
where trans people’s stories are often portrayed as something tragic, #SinceUBeenGone celebrates being trans with an uplifting bubble-gum aesthetic whilst also touching on the sometimes-dark world of adolescence. As an audience you are invited to cry, reminisce and delve deep as the autobiographical piece hits home on mental health issues and what should you say when a friend is considering taking their own life. The accompanying pop soundtrack is perfect for the tone of the show, as Lamb often slips into a sugar rush of distraction taking the audience down memory lane that goes from funny to saddening within minutes, the score keeps up and sets the mood wonderfully. The set is extremely minimal, with only litter on the floor to represent pubs and gigs which helps Lamb’s carefully chosen costume changes
stand out even more. Each costume represents where Lamb is in terms of their own personal journey with their nonbinary identity, and it is certainly emotional witnessing them blossom into who they are, and this is evident as the play progresses and we see the costumes differ.
As an audience you are invited to cry, reminisce and delve deep as the autobiographical piece hits home on mental health issues and what should you say when a friend is considering taking their own life. The accompanying pop soundtrack is perfect for the tone of the show, as Lamb often slips into a sugar rush of distraction taking the audience down memory lane that goes from funny to saddening within minutes, the score keeps up and sets the mood wonderfully.
What I loved best about this show is how nostalgic it was for me. We are thrown back straight into the late noughties where growing up LGBT was somewhat of a difficulty, as resources where available but the social acceptance was minimal and important conversations revolving around gender identity just weren’t happening in most secondary schools. I found myself being brutally reminded of being a young emo teenager who hangs out in graveyards and feels awkward in drama class, and that’s what made this piece so fantastic because of how real and visceral it was. Though I streamed the piece from home which can be challenging at times in terms of audio and visual quality, the quick pace and diarist narrative kept me on my toes and kept me thoroughly engaged. I seriously cannot recommend this piece enough.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Arts • Editors’ Choice
A new column: Editors’ Choice Editors’ choice is a new 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 For this final and festive edition of the editors choice, I wanted to discuss the one christmas tradition I have participated in all my life. Every year, without fail on the Saturday before Christmas, I watch one of the many variations of a company performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Some years it has been in a theatre watching the Royal Ballet company, other years it is watching a livestream of a production in a cinema, when I was young it was watching the same video of the nutcracker, which was played so much it eventually broke. And this year, I shall be indulging by watching one of the many renditions of this classic ballet, from the comfort of my home For me, my annual viewing of this classic ballet is an integral part of me preparing for the festivities to come. Since I was a child, it has been a comfort for me. First performed in 1892, the ballet did not gain its infamous popularity and association with Chrstmas time since the middle of the 20th century. The ballet is loosely based upon the Victorian novel The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, but was adapted to be a light-hearted, fairytale adventure which incorporated the fullness of a classic orchestra to work in partnership with the refined and perfectionist techniques of ballerinas to allows this holiday classic to come to life and continue to do so each year. The English National Ballet has performed this ballet every year since 1950 and it has always been a sold-out success, with audiences returning each year for their festive, ballet fix.
Wikimedia Commons The ballet is the most performed one every year globally and is often children’s introduction to both ballet as well as to classical music. From the exquisite costumes used throughout, to the stunning sets, the excitement of the story and the artform of ballet itself, The Nutcracker is the most iconic ballet of all time for a reason.
The plot, simply put, is the on Christmas eve, young Clara is presented with her christmas present, a new nutcracker toy, which once she sleeps, takes her to a magical realm where they battle the Rat King, encounter the Sugar Plum Fairy and explore all of the mysticism that this dreamy land can bring. We witness the dance of the Snowflakes, the pa de deux between Clara and her Nutcracker, the tense fight scene against the Rat King and his rat army. Most importantly and also the most iconic dance of the whole batter, the Prima ballerina offering a spellbinding performance of the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Wikimedia Commons And, like many events within the arts this year, there is a multitude of eays to access many different inerpreations and rendtions of this classic ballet. From Moscow, to London, to San Fransico and Austin. Many different ballet companies are offering streaming of their shows of christmas past. I think continuing a certain christmas tradition you have, such as watching your favourite christmas film, that favourite festive playlist or album or rediscovering a holiday special from years gone by, all of these are still very much achievable and a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday, since the alternative options we would usually participate in, we most likely shall be missing out on this year. For me, the rewatching of a childhood favourite is how I am hoping to capture those festive feelings of previous years. But however you can and are able to celebrate, I think getting lost in some light, festive escapism is the perfect way to get into the christmassy mood this year. And with that wishing you happiness and health in 2021 and whatever it may bring!
Jessica Hake Arts Co-Editor As I lie in bed and ponder what to write for this installment of Editor’s Choice, I’m hit by a sense of nostalgia. This time last year I was writing a seasonal piece as theatre editor of The Badger and worrying what pantomime my mum had decided to acquire family tickets for that year. How funny to think that just merely 365 days later we would be in the grips of a pandemic, the term ‘lockdown’ a commonly used phrase and being unable to meet up with relatives and family friends who seemed to dominate the holiday period. It seems odd that a holiday that has been dictated by the visiting of aggravating aunts, infantilizing family friends and smothering relatives for so long, must now define itself with a whole new set of criteria. I guess this year we will just have to accept that getting blotto on mulled wine with your cousin’s - girlfriend’s aunt’s - friend, is not what christmas is all about. Instead, focusing on bringing joy to those you love, with a healthy two metre distance in place. This brings me to the topic of my article for this edition. What is the meaning of christmas? A cliche title for schools across the country to set as homework, yet a relevant question nonetheless. I think I’ll need to watch It’s a Wonderful Life in order to get the very best possible answer, but that won’t stop me exploring the idea in the next few hundred words.
is relatively normal to do so. As lovely as the film is, and it really is truly lovely (Jack Black you beast), it has created a horrible ideology in my mind where holiday romances are the norm and if I leave a festive season single then I have failed. According to this logic, I have failed 19 times so far in my life.. Hopefully 20 is the year for me! Elf is another classic. If watching when PMSing then Will Ferrel’s meals act as truly inspiring meals to satisfy cravings. The four food groups; candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup, really do hit all the spots when trying to appease menstruation induced snack deprivation. Coupled with this, the film combines comedy with a whimsy that is associated with, but rarely truly embraced, this time of year. Elf demonstrates that the meaning of christmas is love, acceptance and sugar. The latter may be due to America and the growing obesity crisis; nonetheless, sweetness and food are contributing factors to the meaning of christmas.
Pxhere: Canon EOS REBEL T3i When considering the meaning of christmas, I am drawn to the films that seem to encompass this holiday like a grandparent with their favorite grandchild. The Holiday instilled some borderline toxic ideas that, in brutal honesty, make me grateful that consecutive, big group gatherings are banned this year - as I won’t try to fall madly in love with someone in the space of a few days and then move into his very nice big house (45 minutes outside of central London). Christmas films lead one to believe that a deep, passionate and healthy relationship can form in less than a week and that it
Yet the quintessential christmas holiday film that holds the answer to every question on earth is Love Actually. It deals with grief, heart break, cheating, career failure/lack of progress, family issues, caroling, learning a new language, ageism and more. The film itself is one of the view romcom-esque pieces of media that leaves me crying with joy but with no pit of sadness in my chest making me feel alone. With doors locked, shops shut, the world in crisis and Zoom our only form of communication - may Hugh Grant dancing to Jump (for my love), as the last politician we could all really get behind, bring you joy. I don’t know what the meaning of Christmas is, I guess it differs person to person. All I do know is that it is a time of year where we are cold and seek warmth in the smile, laughter, love and arms of the people we cherish the most. Or, failing that, a classic film that can satisfy most of our needs.
ARTIST T H E A RT I ST S
Artist Focus: Jade Hylton For our last instalment of Artist Focus before the Christmas break, I interviewed Jade Hylton, a creative based in Brighton who works in an array of different mediums. From art modelling, to poetry writing, graphic designing and photography, Jade’s creative approach has no limits. In this interview, we discussed her latest project, White Gaze, which was a personal response to white privilege in the creative industries, and the tangible disparities between Black and white journalists and photographers during the Black Lives Matter protests in Brighton. Tell me a bit about your background. I do a lot of things besides photography. I’m also an artist and writer; I write poetry, I do collage art and digital graphic designs for musicians, such as album artwork. I went to University almost ten years ago, where I studied Digital Media Design. After finishing, I tried to get a job in that area, but everything I found were office jobs, and I really wasn’t the sort of person cut out to work in an office –you know, sitting in a chair and being in one position all the time. So, after I decided that wasn’t something I wanted to do, I started working at Colourstream, a photo lab in Brighton. I worked there for five years, and afterwards I moved to China for five months. After coming back to the UK, I became an art model, which has since then been my primary income.
How did your project White Gaze come about? I came up with the idea on the first Brighton Black Lives Matter protest, which took place on May 3rd. As I was protesting, I noticed how many white media moguls were there. There’s always going to be a heavy press presence on events like this, but with this being such a delicate situation, it was very contradictory to me how a majority of the people documenting what was happening were white men. Even though this march was meant to bring everyone together, I felt that there was a strong segregation taking place in the streets. On one side, there were the protestors –those demonstrating against racial inequalities–, and on the other, there were white spectators, glorifying our pain with their cameras, and photographing the event for projects, social media, newspapers and magazines. In that moment, I realised that since we were protesting to fight against racial inequality –not just in daily life but also in the work space– it made sense for me to document and show the feelings that these disparities caused me. In order to make a real difference, we need to look at ourselves, and consciously reflect on our actions. Even the smallest details could have an effect on the situation that we are in, preventing progress. My project is therefore about explicitly showing what this ‘segregation’ during the protests meant and what it made me feel. I also felt that this was a shared sentiment; many other people had probably experienced a similar uneasiness, particularly
Words by Luisa De la Concha Montes
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The Badger 30th November 2020
O F B R I G H TO N
Black people who were trying to capture their own moment and write their own history by protesting. All these ideas lead me to decide that during the next protest I was going to attend, which took place on June 3rd, I was going to take photos of all the white people who were photographing the Black people. I knew this wasn’t going to be a problem because they already had their cameras out, and since they were already exploiting the situation for their own ends, I didn’t really need to ask for permission to take their pictures.
That’s the main message I wanted to convey to white people with my project. I wanted to push white viewers to think about where they came from; why they’ve had the opportunity to own expensive equipment; and why they were able to use it, study it and make a career out of it. Perhaps their parents understand and accept creativity as a profession because they themselves had the chance and financial freedom to express themselves in that way. I want my project to make people ask themselves: “Why do I have this opportunity”, or “Why do Black and people of colour don’t have this opportunity, and how can I help break the cycle?”
What do you hope viewers get out of your project? One of the things I struggled with when I was growing up is that my family, particularly the older generation, like my grandparents, didn’t understand why I wanted to go down the creative route. When they came to the UK as part of the Windrush Generation, they learned to keep their heads down, survive, and make as much money as they could so that their children and grandchildren could live well. Our parents and grandparents never had the opportunity to go to art
I’ve seen that you also work on other artistic mediums, such as collage and videos. What made you decide to approach this topic through photography? Originally, it was supposed to be an article, but I kept putting it off, until I realised that I didn’t really know how to translate how I felt into words without it sounding it a bit ‘drony’ or moany. So, photography became the ideal medium. It felt like it was going to be more hard-hitting that way. But I also bought a new camera recently, and I
classes, express themselves creatively, and hope to make a living out of art. Because of this, it can be hard for Black people and people of colour of my generation to be creative, and have our families supporting that choice.
wanted to use it as much as possible.
Contact us at: email@example.com
Head to our website to read the rest of the interview.
To see more of Jade’s work... Website: https://jadehyltonphotography.wordpress.com/ Instagram: @the_hylton
The Badger 5th October 2020
The Badger 30th November 2020
Travel & Culture Five Ideas for Sustainable Xmas Presents Inès Bussat Staff Writer In less than a month, most of us will finally be reunited with loved ones to celebrate Christmas. This year, more than any other, we have realised how crucial are strong relationships and meaningful lifestyles to our wellbeing. In this article, I am going to mention five ideas for thoughtful and sustainable Christmas presents. My first advice might sound obvious but I think it is still worth mentioning: less is more. In other words, one good quality, useful present, is better than a few cheap and made in China ones. I know, it is satisfying to surprise a loved one with lots of wrapped presents… But is it not even more rewarding to notice that this loved one still uses the present you gave them, months later? A fun way to reduce the number of presents is to organise a Secret Santa within your family or group of friends. Each person picks a piece a paper on which is written the name of someone else in the group. They will only choose a present for the person they picked. In that way, everyone receives a personalised and thoughtful present. I recently discovered online generators that will help you to draw names randomly and to send to each person the name of the one they
will offer a present to. Another tip to offer sustainable and affordable presents, is to make them yourself.
Especially with the current pandemic and its effect on local economies, it is crucial for citizens to help small business by choosing them over other big firms.
sustainable, it’s an opportunity to mindfully learn new skills! My favourite kinds of presents are the ones that last. This is the
There are so many possibilities: knitting a scarf, making pots out of air-drying clay, creating jewelleries, painting a canvas… Besides offering a unique and personal object and being
reason why I believe moments and experiences are amazing presents. It could be a meal in one of your friend’s favourite
restaurant, a massage, concert or theatre tickets, a salsa dancing class or a weekend somewhere new! It will be a beautiful opportunity to do something special with your friend or family member, and the memories will last forever! Most importantly, please don’t buy your Christmas presents on Amazon. Especially with the current pandemic and its effect on local economies, it is crucial for citizens to help small business by choosing them over other big firms. From the 2nd of December when lockdown ends, we will be able to go back to the lanes to support shops. Brighton is full of wholesome businesses where you will be able to find local and handmade presents.
“My favourite kinds of presents are the ones that last. This is the reason why I believe moments and experiences are amazing presents. “ My favourites are Flock on Sydney Street, and Nola on Gardner Street. There are also lots of second hand shops where you can find unique objects and pieces of clothing! I hope this article inspired you to choose more sustainable present options for this Christmas. Wishing you all an end of the year full of joy, love, and delicious food!
The local Businesses you should support this Xmas Rory Hinshelwood Co Founder @SussexRanger Good old Corona has managed to take a lot from us this year, but we refuse to let her take away Christmas. Due to the current restrictions varying across the country, Christmas shopping has somewhat been put on hold, leaving us a little lost on what to buy our loved ones, and from where. Lucky for you, our team at Sussex Ranger will do the hard work for you! Since the beginning on the COVID crisis, local communities have been encouraged to ‘shop small’ and ‘support local’ to help local businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. In Brighton, we are spoilt for choice, with a huge array of local businesses, some which were even born out of the pandemic. What better time to support these locals and as John Lewis said well in their Christmas ad, “give a little love” to small businesses this festive period. Here’s a run-down
of the best places to shop local, whether its gifts for others or treats for yourself!
Another great Christmas gift idea for any fudge lovers or peo-
Nothing says Christmas quite like cookies. So that’s why this Brighton based couple who deliver fresh cookie dough right to your door will be the ones to make all your Christmas wishes come true. They would make a lovely gift for friends and family, or just to treat yourself. All for a very reasonable price (plus they offer 10% Student discount too!) ple with a sweet tooth. This Sussex Uni grad and his family make fudges of all flavours. They’ve just launched their new Christmas flavours which include; chocolate orange, gingerbread, white/dark chocolate & cranberries and baileys – it doesn’t get more festive than that! Check out their Instagram for more information of how to order!
Brighton Box - @brighton_ box Fancy creating a tasty cheese board this festive period? Brighton box make the job a lot easier, by handpicking fresh, organic and high-quality deli straight to your doorstep. This Uni of Sussex student run business provides the cheeseboard of dreams without any of the hassle and can also cater to most dietary needs .
The Fruit Shop - @thefruitshopbrighton
Are you and your housemates planning your annual Christmas
house roast? Brighton’s Open Market is home to some great local businesses providing fresh produce, but The Fruit Shop is one of our favs. Get all your parsnips, carrots, sprouts and those all-important roast potatoes for your dinner and support local whilst you’re at it! If your house all fancy doing their fruit/veg shop together, the Fruit Shop also offer contactless delivery for orders over £25. Merry Christmas from us at Sussex Ranger, and wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!
The Badger 30th November 2020
Travel & Culture 26 A Winter Ghost Town: Ostersund, Sweden Travel and Culture Editor Hal Keelin records a ghostly trip to northern Sweden while on Year Abroad
Hal Keelin Travel and Culture Editor The air feels thin. Crisp, cold, yet refreshing. Weak sunlight overhead. An ill sun desperately tries to warm up this northern land. The tarmac below my feet resists thawing and maintains its frost covering. The puddles from rainwater are solid. Their crystals crack under pressure. My younger brother is coming to visit me in Uppsala, Sweden. This makes me happy. Both of us are quiet people and only speak generally when spoken to but there is a knowing there, an understanding between siblings that words aren’t always needed. He’s just been into Stockholm for about two hours. Stockholm is south of Arlanda Airport. Uppsala is north. This was not in the plan: but I understand his intention. He’s about to turn 19, he wants to see Stockholm now he has the chance. I say I will meet him later than planned. And so, on this day of weak sunlight, and air that brings you into the day, I walk to meet him. He’s come out on the other side of the station from where I thought he would be. Suitcase in hand he’s at the top of the wrong flight of steps, he spots me at the bottom and walks down. I think he’s cold. “you’ll get used to it mate, this is warm!” I tell him. It feels good to have a companion again after so many weeks of enjoying a lot of solitary time here. I had been ill for a while, a perpetual cold clung around and I’d finally succumbed to the idea of holding up in my flat for a few days to rest. My brother wouldn’t
be too demanding as a guest either and I looked forward to his easy company. Easily pleased and wanting a break from his A level studies, I think he just wanted a few beers and to see some snow. Östersunds was somewhere I had always wanted to check out since moving to Uppsala for my year abroad. A northern bastion on a Scandinavian map. Home to the famous Östersunds FK.
Where current Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter made his name. Two consecutive promotions and huge success in the Champions League had turned many football fan’s heads. I stuck a drawing pin into the text on my map and booked a train to take us north. This journey would take us into the wilderness we both had little seen. The kind that has a lonely beauty and a solemn charm. The kind where a telegraph mast seen from a train window is the sign of some human activity. The wilderness of forest covered in whiteness that stretches for miles on end. Where common animals are made maddeningly beautiful sights. Sighting deer or fox becomes almost as transcendent as witnessing a wolf pack or snow leopard. I am pulled to this kind of place — as many young urbanites are — for its severe contrast to normal city life. The open sky, the severe weather, the chance to witness the dance of the northern lights. We come to it for change, for “a break” but what we get -cynically perhaps- is just a new batch of constants. The trees, the snow, the cold. These elements feel forever present. This combination implores you to seek them out for a short while, but you know not to stay too long. An early March morning. The sun is still below the horizon. A kind of twilight only reveals shadows of the town as we walk, this time together, to the Central Station. We take a risky trip to the Presbyran (newsagents) beforehand, stock up on kanelbullar and weak machineamericanos before boarding. I am not used to being the loudest
one with a companion. My younger brother doesn’t initiate conversation, his game is nodding, and smiling. On the train, we leave each other to our devices. It is a long journey, about five hours to Östersund, but we have a large window for the company. Grassy plains and the clumps of bare trees of Sweden’s Uppland’s county change at first gradually into squares with melting whiteness within them and then more readily into whole forests with clumps of the stuff clinging, weighing on their branches. We cross over a partially frozen river, then a half-frozen lake, and I am so glad that our journey in search of the white has come to fruition. We pass through Gävle, a grey town that hugs the West Baltic Coast. It is known for being one of the worst affected towns from the Chernobyl disaster outside the USSR, and for a giant goat that is traditionally set on fire every December. We don’t intend on stopping off. At long last, the train trundles into Östersunds having crossed nearly 500 kilometres of Central Sweden and Northern Sweden. A single row of houses below the railway line defines the edge of lake Storsjön. A bridge over the lake in the distance connects our side to a barren looking island. Its faint grey outline is the only thing to distinguish it in the whiteness. While we wait to leave, a woman has a baby cloth-strapped to her back in front. She struggles with three huge suitcases and we help her with a sense of panic, hoping the train doesn’t depart without us having a chance to leave. The air is so cold as we step off the train and plant our feet on
Östersunds for the first time. The frozen ground, the sheer coldness in the air and sky, the snow piled against the curbs of the modest station house, Östersunds feels different. We trudge together out of the train station. Snow piles half a metre high on the sides of quiet looking roads. We pass only about two people on our way to find the centre of town. The spirit of the place is quiet, and I feel it for the first time walking through, this nagging thought “why have we come here?”. I think this is heightened by the fact that I want to make sure my little brother has a good time. He’s still quiet but I’m glad I didn’t come on my own. We find the youth hostel with little trouble. We seem to be one of the only ones staying. The rooms are a tight fit but clean and secure. The staff are friendly and appreciate my pitiful attempts to come off as a Swede. The restaurant is empty, while a tv room has its device permanently switched on showing daytime Swedish tv. There it comes again, that nagging feeling, “why did I book for three nights !?” That evening we realise we need to make the most of this seemingly lifeless town. Our spirits perk up at finding a “Bastard Burgers” after walking the snow filled streets, and we spend a fortune here. But we don’t mind. This place is the epicentre of Östersunds “underground” counterculture: Polished concrete floor, skateboard clothing brands stickers, full glass cladding overlooking the tiny town square. We sit on bar stools and spend about an hour playing what can only be called mini curling. The
aim is to slide metal pucks with two fingers as far to the edge of the opposite side of the table without it falling off. It takes some getting used too. As fun as this is, I think we are both glad I at least have an activity for tonight rolled up my sleeve. There’s supposedly a lakeside pool and sauna, which might just come to be the saving grace of the entire trip. Darkness falls early. I am used to this by now, but I believe it takes him a little by surprise. We leave, wander through the small centre to see if anything’s changed. It hasn’t. No bars are open, the Irish pub is closed and the restaurants are empty. We have become dependent on finding the sauna open; and desperate to have something to do. Lines from The Specials begin to play in my head – “This place… is coming like a ghost town / all the clubs have been closed down...”. Behind a little wooden building, steam rises before the lifeless lake beyond. Ah, “what relief! thank god, there it is! We were about to give up. The “Winter Park’’ area the sauna was advertised in was of course empty. Totally dark and abandoned. We were laughing at our bad luck when I saw the steam. A huge snow remover nearly runs us over in the dark. It’s a modest building with a modest pool and modest sauna house but I am so
happy it is open, and we found it. This sombre little town does have something! We change excitedly into our newly bought trunks and step down gingerly into the warm pool. The warmth of the stove which heats the water is welcome. We can see the lake and the barren island we saw on the train earlier. We lay there relieved, finally able to relax and listen to the strange yet comforting Swedish conversation of the family in a separate pool nearby. The lake in front is eclipsed in darkness. The island has but a faint shadow and a few street lamps illuminating its presence. What a strange, eerie place this is. And I can’t help but think of this Northern outpost of civilisation, it is so unbearably lonely.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Travel & Culture
Day trippers’ spotlight: The Seven Sisters Lilah McKim Staff Writer The Seven Sisters are a series of chalk cliffs on the coast in the South Downs in Sussex. On the 7th of the November I went there exploring with my flat mates. From the Sussex University campus to the national trust car park it was about a 30-minute drive. A beautiful little road trip with views of the sea, the sunlight, and its shadows on the vast landscape of the Sussex Downs, whilst listening to Glass animals. As I have only recently moved to Sussex, it was lovely to see the natural beauty, so nearby, that surrounds us. These greenspaces are one of my favourite things about living in Sussex. When we got to the start of the walk, there were several people paragliding off the hills and
landing nearby where we were walking. Much to my annoyance, I kept on missing getting the perfect shot of them with the sun shining right behind them, on my Olympus camera. It seemed almost as if the paragliders were working against me. We began the walk with a lot of energy and with a spirit for adventure. It was so great to get out into nature for a little while, away from the tense news of the American Election, university work and boring lockdown life. Many walkers and their cute dogs met us along the way. We also saw a black Labrador and a little sausage dog playing in the river to the right of us; making me miss my two black Labradors from home, in Oxfordshire. It was as if everyone in Sussex and their dog had decided to come for a walk that day. We kept on having to jump over parts of the path,
as there was so much mud! It added a bit of fun, challenge, and excitement to the walk, although unfortunately it resulted in some exceptionally muddy shoes. After several hours of walking, we finally reached Seaford beach and the Seven Sisters. It was rewarding to see the sea finally after following the river, that lead to it, for the past couple of hours. People were dotted about in little clusters around the beach; typically, not to my surprise nor disappointment, accompanied by a dog. A young Beagle jumped around happily in the waves as we walked along the stony beach and up to the cliffs. The sun was just beginning to set behind thin whisps of cloud. Different shades of orange filled the sky. We sat atop the cliff nearest the beach mesmerized by the sunset for some moments. The horizon had become a haze and the sky was a red-orange blur. The colours were reflected onto the sea, creating an almost glow of colour. As my favourite quote from the protagonist one of my favourite films, ‘Wild’, states “There’s a sunrise and sunset every day. You can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” Though, not wanting to walk back to the carpark when it got dark, we had to force ourselves to carry on. Standing on the top of the cliff was a little but scary, especially after hearing that someone had tragically fallen off and died last year. Feeling very wind-swept we kept on walking. Ahead of us was an incredibly determined man suited up with all the walking paraphernalia. He was impressive, although slightly
intimidating. I would not be surprised if I found out that he is still walking now. We walked over most of the cliffs which involved going up, up, up, and then down, down, down, and then repeat! We then took a little path to the left, past a field of sheep, before reaching the cliff with the lighthouse on the top. Tiredness began to set in, and I really fancied going to a pub for dinner. But alas as it was (and still is) lockdown, and so they are all shut. But through sharing out some Aldi strawberries and
cream sweets we were recharged. Darkness began to descend, and I was glad we had set off from watching the sunset when we did. The waiting game to hear the outcome of the American Election was heavy in our minds as we walked on. After finding out that Joe Biden had won the election, we concluded our walk. On the drive back we listened to Leon Bridges and admired the starry sky out of the window. Post-walk exhaustion lead to a hot shower, pasta and pesto, and an early night.
Brighton businesses to support this Christmas Bryony Rule T&C Online Sub-Editor This year has undoubtedly been a hugely difficult time for small businesses, and with lockdown 2.0 restricting sales in what is for many businesses the busiest time of the year, it has never been more crucial to support independent local businesses. Christmas shopping is going to be quite a different affair this December, but many are offering online services, enabling you to find unique gifts for your loved ones. Shopping from small businesses is often a much more personal and rewarding experience, and you can feel good in the knowledge
that your money is going into the local economy. Check out the Brighton and Hove based independents below for gifts to suit everyone, even the friend who has everything!
The Paper Wild
www.thepaperwild.co.uk This beautiful online boutique offers an array of thoughtful handmade gifts, based out of a studio in the owner’s garden in Hove. You are able to choose from a range of customisable options, to create gift boxes that can be popped through the recipient’s letterbox. From seed packets, to luxury chocolate, cosmetic bags and badges with uplifting messages, The Paper Wild succeed in gifts which demonstrate love
and care, and as a bonus, are all eco-friendly!
Posh Totty Designs
www.poshtottydesigns.com If you’re looking for a gift with meaning, Posh Totty is a must. Totally handmade, their necklaces, bracelets, rings and other jewellery items can all be personalised – with dates, names, birth stones or whatever is special to you. This Christmas, they are also offering a beautiful gift wrap and delivery service, to make the present that touch more special.
www.dicesaloon.com Got an avid gamer in the family? Instead of purchasing their gift from the usual big stores, consider supporting this London
Road based shop instead. Offering a click and collect service as well as home delivery, they have a wide range of board, card, war and RPG games. This independent business is actively supportive in the local community, offering a safe and inclusive environment to many, so a great one to add to your Christmas shopping itinerary.
www.papersmiths.co.uk If you’re a lover of beautiful stationary, then you’re probably familiar with Papersmiths, located on Sydney Street. Specialising in elegant and colourful design, Papersmiths is the place for diaries, notebooks, pens and organisation tools, as well as mindfulness books, beautiful gift
wrap and cards. They have an extensive online shop, where you are guaranteed to find the perfect gift for your organisation loving friend.
Bird & Blend Tea Co.
www.birdandblendtea.com Not only do Bird & Blend offer an impressive range of teas, including some delicious sounding Christmas themed brews such as Gingerbread Chai, they also have a vast array of teapots, strainers, mugs and all you could ever need for the perfect warming cuppa. Their Christmas gift collection includes hampers packed with tea infused everything – from beer and gin to chocolate and biscuits!
The Badger 30th November 2020
Travel & Culture
Cultural bite: Christmas special For many, one of the highlights of the festive period is the food. Days drift by in a haze of cheeseboards, Quality Streets and mince pies, whilst we fight over Monopoly or enjoy the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special, again. For those who celebrate Christmas, it is often a time to dig out a traditional family recipe that has been passed from generation to generation. These traditional, staple dishes vary across the globe, with each country offering their unique spin on Christmas cuisine. So, if you fancy trying a new tradition this year, check out the recipes below. We’ve also included the classic British Christmas Pudding – love it or hate it, it wouldn’t be Christmas without it!
Christmas Pudding Christmas puddings get better over time as the alcohol has longer to soak in - start making yours now to have the perfect pud ready for Christmas Day!
What you will need: 110 g shredded suet (beef or vegetarian) 50 g self-raising flour 110 g white breadcrumbs (use blender if available) 1 tsp mixed spices Pinch of nutmeg Pinch of cinnamon 225 g dark brown sugar 110 g sultanas and raisin mix 275 g currants 25 g almonds (chopped) 1 small cooking apple (peel and cored, chopped fine) ½ Lemon zest ½ orange zest 2 tbsp dark rum 65 ml barley wine 65 ml – stout (Guinness) 2 eggs
Method Day 1 In a large mixing bowl put the suet, sifted flour, spices, breadcrumbs and sugar together and mix thoroughly. Gradually mix in the fruit, peel, and nuts. In a smaller bowl mix in the alcohol – the stout (you can use a can of Guinness), barley wine (special brew) and rum with the eggs and beat mix thoroughly. Pour your alcohol egg mix into the larger mix with flour spices etc – mix it all thoroughly until the consistency is sloppy and falling from the spoon easily. If in doubt, add more stout. With a tea towel or clingfilm cover and leave mix to soak overnight. Steaming the pudding Fill a saucepan with water, bring to the boil with a steamer on top. Scoop the mixture into a greased pudding bowl and cover it with baking paper. Place the pudding into the steamer for 8 hours. Top water up regularly if needed. After 8 hours, take pudding out and allow to cool. Take off the paper and replace it with a fresh sheet. The pudding is now ready for Christmas day! Store in a cool dry place away from light – a cupboard or even under the bed!
Polish Borscht Soup
Three Kings cake (Roscón de Reyes)
In Poland, Christmas Eve (‘Wigilia’) is an important day of celebration and features the main Christmas meal. Traditionally, people fast for the day until the first star appears in the sky, at which time they commence a feast of twelve dishes – one to give you luck for each month of the coming year, or to represnt each of Jesus’ twelve disciples. Often, a place is left empty at the table to welcome an unexpected guest, as in Polish culture no one should be alone or hungry. Before the meal, a large wafer biscuit depicting Mary, Joseph and Jesus, called an Oplatek, is passed around the table. Everyone breaks a piece off and eats it, saying a Christmas greeting. One of the staple dishes in the Polish Christmas Eve feast is this borscht (beetroot) soup.
A traditional Spanish Christmas desert, this cake is a centrepiece for celebration of The Three Kings’ Day on January 6th – the main day of Christmas festivities for Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Topped with jewel-like candied fruit, the cake is said to represent the crowns worn by the Three Kings. A fun twist to this cake is the tiny ceramic toy Jesus hidden inside – if you find it, it will bring you good luck for the year (but be careful of your teeth)! If you find a dried fava bean instead, it’s your turn to make the cake next year!
What you will need: 4 medium beetroots, peeled and cut in half 2 small pickled beetroots, coarsely grated ¼ cup of brine from the pickled beetroots 1 celery stick 1 onion, peeled 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half 3 large pieces of dried porcini mushrooms 1 tsp allspice 3 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, to taste 2 tbsp soy sauce 5 cups of water ½ tbsp coarse sea salt 1 tbsp butter (vegan butter can be substituted) Pepper, to taste
Method Add all ingredients apart from the butter into a large pot. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from the heat before adding the butter and adjusting the seasoning if needed. To serve, remove the vegetables (reserve the beetroots to make a side dish, such as a warming salad), and dish the broth into bowls. Traditionally, borscht is served with porcini dumplings, or uszka. Enjoy!
What you will need: 480g plain flour ½ tsp salt 28g dry baker’s yeast 80ml milk, lukewarm 80ml water, lukewarm 90g butter 75g sugar Zest of 1 large orange 2 eggs 15ml brandy or rum 1 egg white 2 cups assorted candied fruit, chopped
Firstly, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, before making a well in the middle. In a smaller bowl, dissolve the yeast into the milk and water. Once dissolved, pour this into the well in the larger bowl of flour. Scrape the flour from around the well into the yeast mixture, in order to create a thick batter. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 15 minutes to prove, until your batter feels doughy. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the butter and sugar using an electric whisk. When your dough is ready, add the eggs, brandy, orange zest and a splash of water, before mixing until you reach an elastic, sticky consistency. Add the butter and sugar mixture, and mix until smooth. Form the dough into a ball and wrap with clingfilm, before placing it back into a bowl, covering with a tea towel and leaving to prove. You want the dough to double in size – this can take between 1-2 hours. Once your dough has finished proving, remove the clingfilm and punch it down onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for two to three minutes, before rolling into a large rectangle, roughly 60cm by 15cm. Roll the dough inwards from the long edge to form a sausage shape, before bringing the ends together to create a doughnut shape, and place on a lined baking tray. Now is the time to add your ceramic toy Jesus and dried fava bean, if you want a truly authentic Roscón de Reyes! Wrap the dough in clingfilm for a final time, before leaving again for around an hour to double in size. Preheat the oven to 180°C. When your dough has risen sufficiently, lightly beat the egg white and brush it across the cake, before covering with the colourful dried fruits, pushing them gently into the dough. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Science & Technology
Lockdown from the view of science ‘The Great Barrington Declaration’ Rob Barrie With a vaccine for coronavirus on the horizon, an evergrowing group of scientists argues whether lockdown really is the best route into a post-pandemic world. During another surge of COVID-19 cases, the government of the United Kingdom once again, reluctantly, reached for England’s ‘offswitch’. Shops brought down their shutters, pubs closed their doors and aeroplanes were banned from the runways. As the country solemnly headed towards its second national lockdown in a year, the Government remain adamant that this is the most efficient course of action. But as an eerie sense of déjà vu engulfs the nation, the grim reality of the consequences of this economic strangle becomes clear for a second time. There has always been opposition to the concept of ‘locking-down’, but this time it’s not just from anti-lockdown and anti-mask protestors, it’s from the very sector that is closing in on the vaccine for the virus. Having gone through the motions of a lockdown already in March this year, the nation is, simply put, wiser. We are more informed and now have access to both data and knowledge. It is these statistics that a group of scientists studied carefully, and came to the conclusion that a fullscale, national lockdown is potentially not the optimum approach. Thus, at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a declaration was created. Its mantra, devised by infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists, was clear: ‘focused protection’. The evidence that supports it, they say, is clear. The Great Barrington Declaration isn’t particularly wellknown. It’s not being circulated in mainstream media outlets, but it is a strategy that is gaining momentum throughout the world, most noticeably in the scientific and medical communities. 12,115 medical and public health scientists, 35,237 medical practitioners and 638,925 concerned citizens have all put virtual pen to paper. In effect, the Great Barrington
Declaration is similar to the regional lockdown strategy utilised in September by the UK government which targeted particular virus hot-spot areas. But instead of cities being selected, the Declaration suggests locking down based on age or risk status – anyone included in a highrisk category should shield. A recent study in The Lancet, a medical journal, suggests that around 78% of the global population are not at risk of developing severe COVID-19. It is on this basis that the Great Barrington Declaration formed its recommendation of ‘focused protec-
A study by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) found that there has been an increase in cases of child abuse, with an increase in stress on parents and caregivers and a reduction in normal protective services being significant causes. Mental health amongst the younger age groups has been one of the worst affected areas. In a study of 3000 adults, it was found that suicidal thoughts had increased as a direct consequence of lockdown, with those aged 18-29 seeing the sharpest rise. 1 in 4 adults of the survey also report-
the same view. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), who advises the UK government, proposed a quick, short-acting national lockdown, known as a “circuit-breaker”, as opposed to a full, national lockdown. If the UK government had acted on the advice from its scientific advisors, the country might have arguably avoided a second lockdown, as it would have been applied earlier in the surge of cases. It is interesting to see two opposing schools of thought from the science sector, but both ultimately attempted to avoid a common scenario – a
Liverpool Street Station, London UK during COVID lockdown, Wikimedia Commons tion’. Age is one of the most important factors for average mortality rates from the virus. Throughout many countries, the chance a 20-29-year-old dying from COVID-19 is approximately 0.2%. A 50-59-year-old has a 1.3% chance of dying from the virus. If you are 80 years old or above, it’s 14%. The Declaration’s recommendation is that the degree of ‘shielding’ should be applied relative to one’s age. It also takes into account high-risk individuals, such as those who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions, who would be asked to protect themselves too. The AIER states that initiating a national lockdown, on all individuals regardless of their relative risk, is producing devasting effects on public health. Lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health are just some of the effects the Declaration’s founders state are occurring during a lockdown.
ed moderate symptoms of depression. Indeed, this problem is not just isolated to adults. The complete cancellation of children’s sport has potential implications for their mental health. Arguably, there are further issues but research into these is not widespread enough.
The Great Barrington Declaration isn’t particularly wellknown. It’s not being circulated in mainstream media outlets, but it is a strategy that is gaining momentum throughout the world, most noticeably in the scientific and medical communities. The Declaration, devised by professors from Oxford, Harvard and Stanford, represents a counter-strategy originating from the scientific, objective standpoint. A standpoint that is gaining hundreds of signatures a day. It must be noted, however, that not all scientists share
full lockdown. The long-term aim of the declaration is to restore as much of normal life as the pandemic allows until the vaccine is released, either late this year or early next year. The AIER hope that during this timeframe, immunity will continue to develop amongst the population. As more of the low-risk population contract the virus, more will develop antibodies. Recent studies have shown that this immune response, which involves our bodies producing ‘memory’ T-Cells that can remember the virus and help manufacture antibodies to fight it, is strong in many individuals; this bodes well for potential longer-term immunity. A study that was published just this month suggests that COVID antibodies can last up to 6 months. Immunity also has the added benefit of reducing vaccine demand which allows the supply the UK has bought to be given to the elderly, high-risk individuals and
also to front-line staff. It is naive to assume any sense of normality can resume quickly, but the aim of this scientific strategy attempts to reintroduce some routine to life. It is generally accepted amongst scientists that coronavirus will not be completely eradicated – at least not for a long time. Like many viruses, it will simply become part of the already large pool of ailments that dominate our microbial landscape. This air of inevitability is what seems to be at the forefront of the minds of the AIER. They are relying on basic epidemiological theory that indicates that lockdowns do not reduce the total number of cases in the long run. Indeed, throughout history, lockdowns, on their own, have never led to the eradication of a disease. In the words of the virologists at the heart of the Great Barrington Declaration, lockdowns simply delay the increase of cases for a finite period. The Great Barrington Declaration is therefore clear in its recommendation of focused protection as opposed to nationwide protection. Grave concerns about physical and mental health impacts have catalysed this counter-strategy put forward by infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists. Question marks still remain how it will be implemented and, equally, whether the traction it has built up will be enough to sway government officials. Though popular, it still has some way to becoming a mainstream talking point. The scientists at the heart of the declaration are hopeful, however, that their devised route out of the pandemic is the most scientifically optimum one possible. Perhaps, though, the most important contribution from the scientific community will be from the researchers in the laboratories of pharmaceutical companies in America, Germany and now the UK, who have all announced their own vaccines to battle coronavirus. Working tirelessly through the pandemic, they are part of the force, along with the selfless front-line healthcare workers, that shall change the tide against COVID-19 and, hopefully, usher us into a post-pandemic world.
The Badger 30th November 2020
Science & Technology
Gene editing mosquitos to curb Malaria Holly Tarn Mosquitos. The mere mention of the word gets the best of us irritated. And for good reason – aside from the incessant itching, mosquitos are a killer. In fact, they kill more humans than any other animal. The statistics are haunting: several million people die from mosquito-borne diseases each year, with around 3000 children dying of malaria alone every single day. Remember that number – we will come back to it later. Efforts to limit the spread of mosquito-borne diseases have been extensive, but only partially successful. You’ve got the obvious insecticides – namely DDT, which during the 40s and 50s eradicated the most disease-ridden of the mosquitos (Anopheles and Aedes species) from North America, and much of Central and South America too. But widespread resistance to DDT happened quickly, and pervasive concern grew about the environmental damage these mass pesticides were causing. So the international community began to look to mosquito nets, which since 2000 have halved deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. And then there’s the clinics. Malaria is largely treatable if you can get to a clinic on time, if that clinic has the medication required. But nets and clinics and medicines are all significant financial burdens. Many countries can’t afford them, and NGO’s aren’t always willing or able to fork up either. Even if the funds were there, medicines and nets are really hard to distribute – much of rural Africa is extremely hard to access. These drawbacks mean that malaria deaths remain shockingly high, with no end in sight. Until perhaps that is, the idea of gene editing came along. The idea is this: mosquitos have their DNA artificially edited to either be less efficient at carrying disease, or to be less efficient at reproducing. Although this sounds like a sci-fi novel, it’s real science, and it’s not as far away as you think. The technology used for gene editing is called CRISPR-Cas9 and it’s absolutely fascinating. To the nonsciency folks reading this, please stick with me; I’m going to explain it as simply as I can. CRISPR was discovered when researching bacteria. Bacteria get viral illnesses just like humans. Also like humans, bacteria have an immune system
A world without mosquitos might not be a world away
Mosquito, Pixabay: ArtsyBee that they use to fight off viruses. But bacteria have something we don’t – when they are infected with a virus their immune system has an ability to take a ‘cutting’ of the DNA sequence of the virus and store it in their own DNA so they can recognise, and mount an attack on the virus next time they get infected. (When researchers found these they saw lots of repeating patterns of DNA that looked totally random and they decided to give them the catchy name of ‘clustered randomly interspersed short palindromic repeats’, but to save my word count, let’s call them CRISPR). Scientists also discovered between these CRISPR’s that there was something called Cas proteins (the most common of which is Cas-9). These proteins are like the cars in which the CRISPR’s travel in to reach the virus. The Cas proteins also have little tools with them, like tiny biological scissors, which we call helicases, which unzip sections of DNA. Once the CRISPR-Cas9 has reached the virus, it uses its tiny scissors to dismantle parts of the virus, killing it – a victory for the bacteria’s immune system. In 2012, Jennifer Doudner and Emmanuel Charpentier made the ground-breaking discovery that you could take whatever piece of DNA you liked, and insert it into this CRISPR Cas-9 technology. The new DNA could travel to a section of DNA in a host cell and effectively change what the cell can now code for. The implications of this are huge. A whole new world of science came raining down: it was now within reach to gene edit babies to have specific traits,
eradicate genetic diseases, even create armies of superhumans. I kid you not. But I digress – we’re here to talk about mosquitos. This technology could now be used to curb malaria by creating a malaria resistant mosquito (called population replacement), or by wiping out mosquitos (called population suppression). But which genes to use? Many have been tested so far in the lab. The most recent and most promising research focuses on population suppression by targeting a gene called ‘doublesex’ which makes the females infertile and unable to bite.
This technology could now be used to curb malaria by creating a malaria resistant mosquito (called population replacement), or by wiping out mosquitos (called population suppression). It’s important to note that these concepts work by using something called a gene drive. A gene drive is the idea that some genes, rather than being passed down randomly (Mendelian inheritance), have the ability to spread faster and farther than other genes. Although this occurs a little in nature, using
CRISPR to create a gene drive makes a gene’s survival rate go up to almost 100% (see figure below). The importance of this is that this technology doesn’t affect just one generation. It affects them all. And once this technology is released, it can’t be taken back. And the reaction to this news in the general population? Well, overall terror. Our culture at large is sceptical, at best, when it comes to gene technology. There’s a broad sense that we shouldn’t mess with nature, and fear about the consequences if we do. What if we cause a wider disturbance in the food chain? What if the mosquitos adapt to have ‘off-target’ effects? What if we end up with giant mosquitos with 10 eyes and dagger teeth? All very natural questions when someone tells you their going to start messing with gene drives in the wild. But these questions have, in fact, all been thought of (OK, maybe all except the last one). In terms of the food chain question: scientists have looked at which predators rely on the Anopheles mosquito, and although several animals do eat them (the Vampire Spider is particularly fond of them), there is no animal that relies solely on it. In fact, in order to curb malaria, it’s only the one type of mos-
quito, Anopheles, which needs to be curbed, so other mosquitos will persist, meaning not a huge impact on the wider chain. Note that I said curbed too, the species will not need to be completely eradicated in order to stop spreading malaria, just enough of them to be infertile to cause a population collapse. And as for the off-target effects, the gene that scientists are experimenting with will have been used many millions of times in the laboratory before any gene drive is released into the wild. The testing is scrupulously rigorous. The benefits are obvious: because of the low maintenance costs and the ability of the technology to traverse borders, it has the potential to completely eradicate disease from large geographical areas, something that could never be achieved with nets and medicines alone. And whilst similar goals have been achieved with pesticides, it provides an alternative that potentially is better for the local ecology and won’t be met with widespread biological resistance. Although this technology seems promising, and the research outlined above may reassure us that we’re not likely to get an entire food chain collapse, or end up with 10-eyed monster mosquitos, many valid ethical questions about wild gene drives still exist. For example – should the African communities in which these experiments will be taking place have more of a say? Will this gene drive open up to more gene drives that might not be so safe? So the question becomes: can we overcome these ethical quandaries in order to have the first gene drive in the wild? I’ll take the opportunity here to remind you of that number we came across earlier – 3000 children die every day from malaria alone. Although many of us have become desensitized to hearing statistics of this sort about children in Africa, can we imagine if the same statistic were here in Europe? Perhaps the international community at large would be more ready to begin to solve these ethical quandaries. Using CRISPR to gene edit mosquitos is a controversial technology that provides much food for debate. But with millions of children’s lives at stake, it’s a debate, in my eyes, that’s well worth continuing.
The Badger 30th November 2020
We race as one or we race for money: F1 is going to Saudi Arabia Charlie Batten This year, Formula 1 has dedicated this season to the fight against all forms of inequality but last month they announced they would be going to Saudi Arabia which is one of the worst violators of human rights in the world. As this season of F1 comes to an end we can look back at what a strange year it’s been. The Coronavirus pandemic meant that the race schedule had to completely change in order to keep people safe, almost all the races had no crowd members and of course Lewis Hamilton managed to match Michael Schumacher’s 7 time world championship record with 3 races to spare. This year also saw the introduction of the “We Race As One” initiative which was created in response to the killing of George Floyd and aimed to raise awareness over racial injustice as well as other forms of inequality. Sadly, in retrospect this campaign seems more like a PR stunt in order to please spectators rather than an actual attempt and fighting inequality as Formula 1 announced that the 2021 season will have a race held in Saudi Arabia. This news follows a trend
Pxfuel of Saudi Arabia attempting to alter the global perception of it through sport and sporting events. Earlier this year there was a failed takeover bid of Newcastle United by the Saudi Arabian public investment fund which is essentially the royal family. The UN estimates that Saudi Arabia has been directly responsible for killing over 7,000 Yemeni residents which breaks countless Human Rights laws. The country is also known for suppressing countless activists and journalists who disagree
with the state or simply have a different way of thinking. Amnesty International’s Felix Jakens stated that “the Saudi authorities apparently still see elite level sport as a means of rebranding their severely tarnished reputation.” He went on further to say, “In the lead-up to a race in Jeddah, we would urge all F1 drivers, owners and teams to consider speaking out about the human rights situation in the country.” “If it goes ahead, at the very least F1 should insist that all contracts contain stringent
labour standards across all supply chains, and that all race events are open to everyone without discrimination.” When announcing the race Formula 1 released a statement saying, “For decades Formula 1 has worked hard to be a positive force everywhere it races, including economic, social, and cultural benefits. “Sports like Formula 1 are uniquely positioned to cross borders and cultures to bring countries and communities together to share the passion and excitement of incredible
competition and achievement.” “We take our responsibilities very seriously and have made our position on human rights and other issues clear to all our partners and host countries, who commit to respect these rights in the way their events are hosted and delivered.” “We are proud of all our partnerships and look forward to building on those in the years ahead.” As a Formula 1 fan, it is incredibly disheartening to see races take place in countries such as Saudi Arabia simply because they paid enough money so that F1 would simply forget their principles. I understand the organization’s statement that they want to help cause the change in the country by being there but I think it’s incredibly naïve for them to think that they will have a lasting impact on the government attitude towards human rights. The best thing they can do is raise awareness of what’s going on in the country but realistically the Saudi government won’t let that happen at all as this is their attempt to rebrand the country so would rather sweep all its problems under the carpet where no one can see it.
ATP Tour Finals 2020: A Review Max Kilham Sports Online Editor Another year, another enthralling end to the tennis calendar. The final time at the O2 Arena in London and my word what a spectacle it turned out to be. In the end, Russian world number four Daniil Medvedev was victorious, with a hard fought 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 win over Dominic Thiem. This was the second straight year in which the Austrian had fallen at the final hurdle. But how did we get here? First, group Tokyo 1970 consisted of 17-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic, young star Medvedev, US Open finalist and former finals champion Alexander Zverev and French Open semi-finalist Diego Schwartzman. In the other group there was 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, current US Open champion Dominic Thiem, last year’s finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and Russian Andrey Rublev, who won five titles this year. The tournament began with
Ennoti a comfortable victory for Nadal, who overcame Rublev in straight sets: 6-3 6-4. In the opposite group Thiem defeated Tsitsipas 7-6 (5) 4-6 6-3. After the first couple rounds of matches, the strongest competitors rose to the surface. Daniil Medvedev defeated both Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, whilst Thiem defeated Nadal and Tsitsipas. Both Schwartzman and Rublev were left in unsalvageable positions after losing both of their first two matches. This left tantalising matchups for the last round of matches.
Nadal would face off against the Greek Tsitsipas and would ultimately overcome his rival, grinding out a 6-4 4-6 6-2 victory. The other decider was between Djokovic and Zverev, with Djokovic taking care of business in straight sets, 6-3 7-6 (4). The semi-finals were set. Djokovic vs Thiem and Nadal vs Medvedev. Both were epics. Three-set slugfests that had each player pushing their capabilities to their absolute limit. Ultimately, it was the Russian and the Austrian who prevailed,
eliminating the top two ranked players in the world. Medvedev, 23, fought from a set down to triumph 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-3. This was a disappointing result for Nadal, who served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. This competition is still the only major event he has failed to win during his career. That wait is set to continue. Last year Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic played out a classic that ended with Thiem victorious in a third-set tiebreak. This year, they matched the drama. In the end, it was the same result, with Thiem ousting Djokovic 7-5 6-7 (10) 7-6 (5). Thiem even came back from 0-4 down in the final set tiebreak, winning six points straight on his way to victory. Medvedev proved once again his formidable form on the hard courts, recording his first ever career win against Nadal, after losing their first three meetings. The win provided some revenge for the Russian after his loss to Nadal in the 2019 US Open final. And so the final was set. Last year’s finalist Thiem vs the in-
form Russian Medvedev. The Austrian was looking to avenge his final defeat last year whilst the Russian was hoping to backup his Paris Master victory with a win in London.
Medvedev proved once again his formidable form on the hard courts, recording his first ever career win against Nadal, after losing their first three meetings. Ultimately, it was Medvedev who triumphed in another one for the ages, 4-6 7-6 (2) 6-4. The Russian became the first from his country to win the competition since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009. Elsewhere, Dutchman Wesley Koolhof and Croatian Nikola Mektic defeated Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2 3-6 10-5 to lift the doubles crown. After 12 years at the O2 Arena, we must finally say goodbye to London and move to Turin in Italy, for next years event. Let’s hope the spectacle continues to excite as it has done a number of times in recent years.
The Badger 30th November 2020
32 An Ode to the Greatest: Diego Maradona
Charlie Batten and Max Kilham Diego Armando Maradona, the Argentine great, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, passed away at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest. His status within the game is matched by few. Therefore, it only seems right to pay tribute to a man so instrumental to football culture, both in Argentina and globally. Maradona was born on the 30th October 1960 in Lanús, a province within the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires and quickly became involved in football. He was first scouted at the age of eight by Argentinos Juniors, a team based in Buenos Aires. He remained with the club for much of his youth, making his professional debut for the club at the age of 15. He quickly established himself as a prolific goalscorer, with 115 goals in 167 appearances for the club. In 1981, he joined historically rich Argentinian club Boca Juniors, where he began to make his name on the global stage. As for his international career, Maradona made his debut at 16 for Argentina but was omitted from the 1978 World Cup squad. He was involved in the 1982 World cup squad but it was
Nazionale Calcio a disappointing tournament, with Argentina going out in the second round courtesy of Brazil and Italy. After the tournament, Maradona made the switch to Europe, signing for Spanish club Barcelona for a world record £5 million fee. However, his international career is where he achieved his greatest feat, winning the World Cup in 1986, picking up the Golden Ball along the way. It is widely regarded as the greatest World Cup performance of all time, as he finished with five goals and five assists in just seven games. Of these was the famous ‘hand of god’ goal and incredible solo run, both against England in the quarter-finals. In 1990, Maradona led Argentina toa second consecutive World Cup final,
only to lose 1-0 to West Germany. In 1994, Maradona was sent home after a failed drug test, with Argentina exiting the tournament at the round of 16, courtesy of Romania. He ended his international career with 34 goals in 91 appearances. At club level, his time at Barcelona was successful in that he managed to pick up two Copa Del Rey’s in his two seasons there, but he was also marred with injuries which contributed to the Barca board selling after only two years. His final game for Barca ended with a mass brawl between himself and his teammates against Athletic Bilbao players who had been taunting him with xenophobic insults. Next for Diego was Napoli. If he wasn’t a legend of the game
already, this period certainly cemented this notion. He was welcomed in Naples to a stadium full of 75,000 fans who believed that their saviour had finally come. When he joined, Napoli had begun to stagnate, and their last two league finishes were 10th and 12th and over his 7 years there the team was rebuilt into one of the best teams in Italy. Whilst Maradona was there, Napoli picked up 6 trophies including 2 Serie A titles as well as a UEFA cup. These were the first titles in Napoli’s history, setting a precedent for future prominence within Italian football. His playing career was not all rosy. He left Napoli after a 15-month drugs ban after his cocaine addiction was brought
to the surface in 1992. He ended his playing career with stints with Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys before a return to Boca Juniors. His time in management was short and sweet, with the highlight being his position as Argentina manager from 2008 to 2010, in which he reached the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup. Maradona represented the flawed protagonist. A man so gifted with the ball at his feet throughout his career that despite his shortcomings, he still represented an exuberance and enjoyment for the profession he achieved so much in. A World Cup legend and one of the greatest. Diego Armando Maradona, you will be missed.
Reynolds’ Wrexham Revival Max Kilham Sports Online Editor Fifth-tier football club Wrexham AFC have been taken over by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in a move that has provided new perspective to the footballing landscape. Founded in 1864, the club is widely considered as the third oldest club in world football and is set to extend its rich history under the new owners. Whilst it is far from uncommon for wealthy owners to takeover football clubs, being taken over by Hollywood actors certainly is. There was clear support for the move from Wrexham supporters as Wrexham Supporters Trust Members voting at 98.6% in favour of the bid. As per BBC Sport, ‘Deadpool’ star Reynolds had this to say about the takeover: “This is the third-oldest club on the planet and we don’t see why it can’t have a global appeal. “We want Wrexham to be a global force.” Whilst the move has clearly
be made, and no one can blame a lower league club like Wrexham for trying to attain greater publicity, is football heading towards a landscape in which the extravagance of documentary is influencing football to a greater extent than football influences itself? The game is moving towards a commercial utopia, a structure that is demonstrated by the rumblings of a European Super League. However, Wrexham’s potential success could certainly be fruitful for all sections of the club. Manager Dean Keates spoke with the new owners and had this to say about their discussion, as per BBC Sport: “We had a conference call. Obviously they are extremely busy men. There were one or two things we spoke about, about the club going forward. “They are very humble, how they speak. They are very excited by the project and looking forward to working with the football club, developing it infrastructure-wise and taking it forward.
“The biggest thing for me they spoke about was the infrastructure of the football club.
Ennoti been greeted with feverish anticipation from the Welsh club’s supporters, there are concerns as to the motives behind the move. Will the club become a marketing opportunity enabled through a documentary-style TV show? Or will the club continue to build from its roots through the play on the pitch? However, director at the club, Spencer Harris, disagreed with this notion. As per BBC Sport, he conveyed that a documentary is not the sole focus for the new owners: “I think the documentary fits
into their vision and we think it’s an exciting opportunity to take the name Wrexham right across the world. “Is it the only reason they are doing it? I don’t believe that... there are easier ways to make a documentary!” A number of documentary series have been broadcast in recent years, with Tottenham Hotspur a part of the ‘All or Nothing’ Amazon series. Lower league teams such as Sunderland have also used documentary to boost their brand. Whilst there is clear money to
“They are very humble, how they speak. They are very excited by the project and looking forward to working with the football club, developing it infrastructure-wise and taking it forward. “People have worked and sacrificed a lot for this club. It now looks like the baton is going to be passed on and we’re probably going to have a lot more funds available to take us to the next level. “That’s not just league position, it’s going to be hard, but it’s going to make us a lot more competitive and the infrastructure side is going to be big.” There is little doubt that this move will transform Wrexham both financially, and likely, on the pitch. The question is, if this project is a success, will this set a trend for similar financial takeovers within lower league football? Only time will tell.
Pick up The Badger's last edition of the term! Christmas is coming but the big stories are still rolling in- have a flick through for all of...
Published on Nov 30, 2020
Pick up The Badger's last edition of the term! Christmas is coming but the big stories are still rolling in- have a flick through for all of...