16 February 2017 Vol. 18 Lent Issue 3 www.tcs.cam.ac.uk
Charity Fashion Show headliner attacks audience member
Princess Nokia accuses white man of disrespecting her
Headliner ends her set after just two and a half songs
rincess Nokia, the headline act of the Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show, apparently ended her act after just two songs when she launched an attack on an audience member. The hip hop and R&B artist is said to have begun her set by saying “there are so many beautiful women of colour in here tonight” and performing two songs before stopping abruptly thirty seconds into her third. She then allegedly asked an audience member “are you being disrespectful?”, threw a drink over him, and leapt off the stage before hitting him three times, according to front-row witnesses. The witnesses have told The Cambridge Student that the audience member may have provoked the singer in some way, but this remains unclear. Princess Nokia returned to the stage, threw another drink towards the crowd, and said “that’s what you do when a white boy disrespects you”. She then stormed off the stage, ending the concert just two and a half songs into her set. The Charity Fashion Show took place on the evening of Wednesday 15 February, and was raising money for The Douglas Bader Foundation.
Shortly after the incident, Princess Nokia retweeted @rosamariot, who said “@princesnokia just punched a white guy in the face for disrespecting [sic] at a gig in Cambridge and walked off stage, i am LIVING YES GIRL”. The tweet was shared by dozens of people. The audience member who was attacked told The Cambridge Student: “I was standing in the audience and was told by a fellow audience member that the name of the performer was ‘Abigail’. Given that I was enjoying the performance, I shouted out ‘Let’s go Abigail!’. “After I shouted this, she came down from the stage. She slapped me and threw drinks on me.” The fashion show and concert took place at the Corn Exchange on Wheeler Street. The Fashion Show Committee had previously faced controversy when the charity they initially chose to support turned out to be unregistered and based only in Florida. The Committee were accused of failing to carry out substantial background checks, and were forced to drop the charity. The guest model Richard Browne Jr also dropped out of the show on the day, citing personal reasons. The Cambridge Student await comment from event organisers. Signs of the season are springing up around Cambridge: Here King’s Chapel is lit up by early sunshine. Image: Luke Naylor-Perrott
Sexual misconduct guidelines further criticised Joanna Taylor The Grace on sexual misconduct, which was first proposed last year and delayed over concerns for rights of the accused, has received further criticism. According to the University Reporter, Mr R. E. Shah, from the Faculty of Law, told the Deputy Vice-Chancellor that it would be “very problematic” if the University further pursues disciplinary action once the Police have dropped investigations. The Police could decide not to prosecute based on “CCTV images, medical reports, and information obtained in the course of another investigation” which the University does not have access to, he argued. The Special Ordinance also does not “contain adequate safeguards” because currently the Academic Secretary would be able to suspend the accused from their studies or ban them from University buildings even when they have not been found guilty. Mr Shah also raised the concern that banning certain students from their studies could lead to “adverse legal action” against the University if a student’s payment for their visa was complicated by this without proof of their guilt. “The aims of the Report are undoubtedly good ones but I fear that as it stands they have not been properly executed”. He suggested an Academic Secretary should have to state the “evidential basis” they have for bringing disciplinary measures against a student.
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
Editorial Team Editorial: TCS’s commitment to the 16 February 2017
Volume 18 • Lent Issue 3
Lili Bidwell Sophie Dickinson Joanna Taylor
Reetika Revathy Subramanian Khushali Dodhia Matt Gurtler Abby Watson
Deputy News Editors Science Editors
Noella Chye Caithlin Ng
Matthew Harris Molly Moss Harry Robertson
Joe Richards Gemma Sheehan
Fashion & Beauty Editor
Food & Drink Editor
TV & Film Editor
Chief Sub Editors
Howard Chae Cait Findlay Dom Waters Kaitlin Cunningham William Grace Dee Dee Lee Beatrice Obe
Sub Editors Staff Illustrator Directors
Stevie Hertz Jessie Mathewson Tom Patrick Urvie Periera Will Tilbrook
Will Tilbrook Editor-in-Chief
elcome to this third issue of The Cambridge Student for Lent 2017. Over half of the term has passed by and, for penultimate-year undergraduates, this means that we have now reached the half-way point of our degrees. If ever there was a time for reflection, this would seemingly be it. Nearly a week has passed since the news broke that a Cambridge student had been filmed burning a £20 note in front of a homeless person. This shocked and horrified the TCS team, as well as the rest of the Cambridge community, and people from across the country. The Cambridge Student joins the thousands of people who have publicly declared their condemnation of what has happened. However, while the focus on this individual incident must fade away, the core problem should not be forgotten. We reported last week that the number of people homeless in Cambridge last autumn was double what it was a year ago and the highest number for six years. To just condemn the individual’s actions would be to miss the point as to why they were so thoughtless and cruel in the first place.
As such, The Cambridge Student feels strongly that it should make a long term commitment to highlighting the challenges faced by homeless people, especially in the city where we all live. To this end, we will be publishing a series of articles, starting next week, focusing on these challenges which we hope will inform, infuriate, and galvanise readers into action. Since the incident, it has been heartening to see that there has already been a significant and constructive reaction amongst the student body in Cambridge. The TCS team supports this and will be getting involved. We will be donating to Jimmy’s, a Cambridge-based charity that helps to address the issues faced by homeless people. We hope to be volunteering with them, alongside other local charities and organisations which focus on the same issues, in the next few weeks. We would like to encourage readers to do the same and continue the supportive projects that have been recently set up. It is not enough to distance ourselves from the individual or their actions – we have to act to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I would like to thank my friend Theo Demolder for suggesting that I ask the TCS team to get behind this, so that, as a newspaper, we could take a stance
and plan to make a difference to the ‘bubble’ in which we live. Some people will argue that it is not the place of any newspaper to ‘interfere’ with the events which it is reporting on. However, journalists have the ability to effect change, and so they have the responsibility that comes with that. Placing last week’s news to one side, this week’s print edition has some really thought-provoking content. The news story that the University has been given an amber warning over its commitment to free speech (p.7) should perhaps be concerning to readers, as might the subject of this week’s Long Read which reveals the selective reporting on the democratic government in the media of Myanmar (p.12). Our Interviews spread (p.14-5) has a very student-based theme this week, which lends us an interesting insight into what some of our peers have been getting up to alongside their academic studies. The theme for The Thursday Magazine this week is ‘LGBT+’ to acknowledge LGBT History month which was recognised by the flying of rainbow flags above colleges a few weeks ago. We hope you find the perspectives offered in this issue interesting and informative, and we hope you enjoy this week’s content.
The Cambridge Student takes complaints about editorial content seriously. We are committed to abiding by the Independent Press Standards Organisation rules and the Editors’ Code of Practice enforced by IPSO, and by the stipulations of our constitution. Requests for corrections or clarifications should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to The Editor, The Cambridge Student, Cambridge University Students’ Union, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX. Letters to the Editor may be published.
Feeding the birds
The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
Donations flood charity after cash burning
Hundreds give to homelessness shelter after incident of student burning £20 note Khushali Dodhia Deputy News Editor
onations have flooded in to a Cambridge homeless charity after a University student was filmed trying to burn a £20 note in front of a homeless person last week. Night shelter Jimmy’s will receive over £8,000, raised by two Just Giving pages set up following the incident. One, created by Matt Turner, assistant editor of the website EvolvePolitics, has raised £4,725.17 so far. The second, made by Shashwat Jha, has currently generated £3,383.60. Further fundraising initiatives that have started include a Facebook campaign set up by University researcher Richard Dent, urging students to donate a symbolic £20 to the shelter.
which was later exposed. A petition to remove Coyne from the University has garnered over 23,000 signatures after the incident hit national headlines, provoking widespread condemnation. He was expelled from the Cambridge University Conservative Association, and his actions have been described as “thoughtless and cruel” by his mother. Speaking to Cambridge News, Turner, who spearheaded fundraising efforts, said: “We’re humbled by the response we’ve had to our fundraiser. It shows that the story has outraged not only the people of Cambridge but the entire country – and people have responded so generously and compassionately.
“What Ronald Coyne did was despicable, but now it’s time to take the attention away from him and make the story about the shocking rise in homelessness that we’ve seen over the past few years.”
The incident has been referred to Cambridge’s disciplinary process Recent government figures reveal that the number of people sleeping rough in Cambridge more than doubled in 2016. Statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government estimates that 40
people were sleeping rough in 2016, compared to 18 the previous year. Davies, who has been homeless for three months, described the incident as “absolutely disgusting” in a video released by The Tab Cambridge. He added that it “was horrible. Just plain nasty. I suppose it’s better than being punched, kicked, and even spat on ,because that has happened before.” A statement posted on Pembroke’s Facebook page read: “We are aware of an incident that took place in the early hours of Thursday 2 February 2017. This incident has been referred to the University’s disciplinary process. We cannot comment further while this process is underway.” In an email to the college’s student REPTONIX / WIKIMEDIA
23,000 The current number of people who have signed a petition to remove Coyne from the University.
Last Thursday, it was revealed that Pembroke student Ronald Coyne had burnt the note in front of a homeless man, alleged to be Ryan Davies. Coyne was filmed on Snapchat, in footage
Ronald Coyne is an undergraduate studying at Pembroke College
body, Pembroke’s Master, Senior Tutor, JPC, and GPC acknowledge the scale and severity of reactions to Coyne’s behaviour: “We recognise that this unacceptable incident has caused distress and outrage. Understandably there have been strong reactions. This is, however, not the right time for hatred or abuse.
“£20 would have provided up to 20 meals for Jimmy’s guests on any given day.” “As a community, Pembroke places great value on how we treat others. We have a longstanding history of respect and support for others, especially those in need. We are actively seeking practical ways to build on this continuing commitment.” Jimmy’s has also commented on the University’s committment to supporting those in need: “[W]e have many volunteers, friends and supporters throughout the University and colleges and we are proud of our association, not only with the student body, faculty, and staff, but to all who donate by whatever means, to allow an opportunity for individuals to come in from the streets. “This incident is an isolated event and it is, perhaps, more important to focus on the fact that £20 would have provided up to 20 meals for Jimmy’s guests on any given day, giving tangible support for those who need it most.”
Rock thrown into Natural Sciences lecture Pensioner trapped in Sidney Waterstone’s Matt Gurtler Deputy News Editor
n Tuesday morning, a part IB Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) lecture was interrupted when a rock was thrown through the back window of the Biffen lecture theatre on the Downing site. Broken glass was scattered over the back row of seating. Fortunately, no students were seated in this row. As far as is known, no injuries were incurred either by students or by staff. An eyewitness, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Cambridge Student: “There was this loud crash and shards of glass flew over the crowd. Everyone sat bemused for a minute, and then the lecturer just ploughed on anyway.” Reportedly the lecturer quipped that
A protest group has claimed to be responsible
the rock was thrown by a person who was having a bad Valentine’s Day. It is believed that the rock was thrown intentionally and a protest group has claimed responsibility. Cahir O’ Kane, the CDB course organiser, although not present in the lecture, sent an email to students on the course expressing shock at the incident and ensuring that an investigation will be carried out to find those responsible. He wrote in the email: “The overt target seems to have been the University as an institution, and not the CDB class, the Genetics Department, the student body, nor any group of students or staff. “We would like to hear from anyone who did see or hear anything, since this may be valuable evidence in identifying those responsible.”
Abby Watson Deputy News Editor
n Monday 13 February a man was trapped in Waterstone’s for over an hour after the bookshop had closed. Oliver Soskice, a 69-year-old, had been browsing the upstairs section of the store at around 7 pm until he realised that it seemed too quiet. Speaking to Cambridge News he explained that he realised something was wrong when he came downstairs. “But then when I came down there was an unearthly silence and then I realised I’d locked myself in.” When trying to leave the store the alarms and lights were activated, but it was to no avail at first. After ringing the police it took a while to find the appropriate contact numbers for the
There was “an unearthly silence” in the bookshop
bookshop and Mr Soskice himself could not work out how to use the store’s telephone. After a tedious wait of an hour and twenty minutes, the manager came to his rescue, and commented that this had never happened to a customer before at the shop. This was not a complete first for Mr Soskice, however, who claims that he has nearly been left locked in the University Library. Commenting on his experience ,he emphasised the importance of remaining calm. “I was mostly thinking how on earth do I unravel this mess I got myself into.” Still, it was not all bad news. After all, “there are worse places to be trapped than in a Waterstone’s.” Mr Soskice, a Cambridge-based painter, enjoys browsing for books in the sections on philosophy and art.
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
Recent attacks on Cambridge stud Downing Site is the location of highest concentration of crime in Cambridge city centre, Police data reveals
Matt Gurtler Deputy News Editor
n act of vandalism occurred this week when a rock was thrown through the window of a lecture theatre at the Downing Site (see page 3). This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, however, as this area has in fact been a crime hotspot throughout 2016. The area defined as “Cambridge City Centre” ends at Jesus Green in the north, the department of Engineering to the South, the river to the west, and the Elizabeth Way bridge over the river Cam to the east. In this area 4,421 crimes were reported to the police in 2016. Of these crimes, 446 occurred at the Downing Site, where the majority of science students have lectures and practicals. That equates to 10.1% of the crimes in the area. The UK Police department split the City centre into smaller areas and provide crime statistics for each area. The Downing Site has a far higher proportion of crime than any other place in the city. Only during
10% of City Centre Crime reported from Downing Site
the months of July, August, and September 2016 was the Downing Site not the single area with the highest crime rate in the city centre. Other areas with high crime include Parkside and the area surrounding Fez nightclub, near Market Square. The proporiton of crime reported at the Downing Site each month compared to the rest of Cambridge falls between 6-14% (see graph, middle-left). The most common crime committed at the site is “theft from the person” which is defined as “crimes that involve theft directly from the victim (including handbag, cash, wallet, mobile phones) but without the use of threat or physical force”. There were 142 incidences of this at the Downing Site in 2016. The monthly percentages are shown in the second graph (middle right). The lowest percentage is in July, when only 25% crimes classed as “theft from a person” came from the Downing Site. It is worth noting that this may be due to the lower numbers of people passing through the area during the University
summer holidays. Other forms of crime frequently committed at the Downing Site in 2016 include “violence and sexual offences” and other forms of theft which, according to the the UK Police department, “includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment”. Although rarely seen at the Downing site, bicycle theft is also a common crime in Cambridge, more so than in the rest of the country due to the concentration of bicycles in the city centre. There were 816 cases of bicycle theft reported in 2016, which is 18.4% of the total number of crimes reported. This number is also more than triple the number of “theft from the person” cases reported over the year. The Downing site saw 22 cases of cycle theft in 2016, with a regular count of 0-4 cases each month. Located on Downing Street and Tennis Court Road, the Downing Site is home to the Zoology Laboratory, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, and the entrance to Downing Street.
Cambridge students warned against wearing gowns and suits in the city following Silver Street attack on St Catharine’s student Reetika Revathy Subramanian News Editor
niversity students have been warned against wearing their gowns and tuxedos in and around town by Dr Paul Hartle, Senior Tutor of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, in the wake of an attack on a student on 12 February. According to the student’s complaint lodged with the Cambridgeshire Police, a “tall, white, medium-built man with a beard” assaulted him as he was crossing Silver Street bridge. The incident took place at around 9.15am, when the attacker is alleged to have made an attempt to steal the student’s bike and hurled abuse. “The student was wearing his gown, which may have occasioned the incident,” wrote Dr Hartle in an email sent to all college students, adding: “Whilst I suspect this was a random act, it might be prudent for a while at least not to wear your gown about town.” This is not the first time that Cambridge University students have received such a warning. In 2012, Sidney Sussex College authorities filmed a four-minute video in collaboration with the police, warning students that academic dress and dinner jackets could make
“We fear that one incident might scale up revenge attacks”
undergraduates an easy target for abuse and attacks by aggressive residents. “Ditch the gown and the tux before you head into town,” pronounced the video, which was called ‘Cambridge Stay Safe on A Night Out’. This latest warning comes at a time when the University is attempting to tackle the high-profile case of first-year Law student Ronald Coyne, who was filmed burning a £20 note in front of a homeless man. Coyne was wearing a white tie and tails on Bridge Street when he attempted to light the cash note near the rough sleeper. Authorities fear that college students wearing gowns in public spaces could be more vulnerable to ‘revenge attacks’ on the street as a result of this incident. Dr Hartle stated that the “recent unhelpful local publicity over the stupidly arrogant behaviour of a particular student” could have motivated the attack on the student biking on Silver Street bridge. When contacted, a University Spokesperson told The Cambridge Student: “We can confirm there was an incident on Sunday morning that has been reported to the police”. Students have reacted to the Senior Tutor’s warning in various ways. A
Girton College student who was verbally abused after a formal commented: “It is true that we draw a lot of attention on the street when we are wearing our gowns. This is especially true when we are returning home after formal dinners. “There were a few people on the street, presumably drunk, including college students, who started calling me names as I paced back home.” Loui Williams, a student of Gender Studies, who works with the Cambridge Homeless Outreach Programme, said that we need to engage more effectively with homeless people on the street. “For many, homelessness is unexpected and in large contrast to the life they had lived previously. Reflecting on our similarities, how can our two communities unite and support one another?” Sarah Adams, a second-year student called for greater “collaboration” amongst students and locals in the city. “I have known friends who have been attacked – verbally and physically – even when they were not wearing gowns. “We fear that this one incident, which has garnered so much public attention, might scale up the frequency of revenge attacks on the street,” said an MPhil student from Corpus Christi College.
Clockwise from top: Lensfield Road, where t portion of crime within Cambridge City Cen on the Downing Site in 2016 was ‘theft from
The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
dents reflect wider crime patterns
TLER - MICROSOFT EXCEL
KEITH EDKINS VIA GEOGRAPH
Anti-Semitic stickers plastered on Cambridge synogogue, amidst spate of incidents Abby Watson Deputy News Editor
MATT GURTLER - MICROSOFT EXCEL
ROGER KIDD VIA GEOGRAPH
the third worst blackspot for cycling accidents is located; graph showing the prontre which occurred on the Downing Site in 2016; graph showing how much crime the person’; Silver Street Bridge where a St Catharine’s student suffered an attack
12-month community order has been given to a man who stuck anti-Semitic stickers on a synagogue on Auckland Road, Cambridge. Kristian Omilian, 30, was caught on CCTV in November 2016. On 9 February he pleaded guilty to a racially and religiously aggravated public order offence. As well as being handed a restraining order, which prevents him from stepping within 100 yards of the synagogues in Thompsons Lane and Auckland Road, he must participate in up to 15 days of rehabilitation activity and do 120 hours of unpaid work. This comes in the wake of numerous other anti-Semitic incidents at the University and elsewhere. Earlier this month, up to thirty notes denying the Holocaust were left on cars on University property, with reports that some ended up in the common room of the History faculty. Anti-Semitic leaflets have also been distributed in a restricted area of the Sidgwick Site, whilst Swastikas were drawn on a map of Jesus Green. Christ’s College, meanwhile, has had to remove posters bearing anti-Semitic
Anti-Semitic leaflets have also been found within the University
content from college property. This prompted the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, to issue a statement condemning anti-Semitism. “I strongly condemn the distribution of Holocaust denial leaflets across the University and elsewhere.” It has become clear, however, that there is a wider problem, following a series of anti-Semitic incidents at Exeter University. According to the student news website Exposé, a swastika had been carved into a door in on-campus accommodation block Birks Grange. A “Rights for Whites” sign decorated with a Union Jack was also spotted on the door of a student room in Llewellyn Mews. Following this, Exeter University released a statement. “The investigation is ongoing and no conclusions have yet been drawn, but it appears, from initial inquiries, that this may have been an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke on the students’ part, parodying a sketch in a TV comedy show. “The university believes any form of racist or discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable and the actions of those involved are in contrast to the vast majority of students, who help to build our tolerant and inclusive university community.”
Junction between Trumpington and Lensfield Road is third worst cycling accident blackspot in the UK Matt Gurtler Deputy News Editor
tatistics Company Mapmechanics has published a report detailing the locations of the most cycling accidents in the UK. The data was collected using statistics from the Department of Transport from 2009 to 2015, and first published in The Sunday Times. The junction between Trumpington Road and Lensfield Road was the blackspot with the third highest number of accidents over the period: 34. The junction is a miniroundabout near the Royal Cambridge Hotel, Hot Numbers café, and the Department of Engineering. The worst location for cycling accidents in the country was the junction of Millbank and Lambeth Bridge in central London. There were a total of 53 accidents at this location, including one which was fatal for 55-year-old cyclist, Moira Gemmill, in the year 2015. The location with the second highest number of accidents from 2009-2015 was in Oxford. The roundabout joining Iffley Road and Cowley road, close to Magdalen
34 accidents were reported between 2009-15
College, saw 45 accidents over the period. The rest of the top ten cycling accident blackspots were all located in London. Three cyclists were killed in accidents in London within four days this month, leading to a protest where cyclists lay down in the road with their bicycles at the roundabout where Moira Gemmill was killed last year. Chris Boardman, the British cycling policy adviser, told The Times: “Cycling infrastructure in the UK is way behind that of our European neighbours. Without it, we will not get more people doing normal everyday things like the school run and the shopping unless they feel safe.” Earlier this month, Cambridge city council spent over £250,000 developing a new cycle route intended to make it safer to travel by bicycle in the city. The route runs through the Babraham research campus and will make travelling from the villages on the outskirts of Cambrdidge much safer. It was launched on 2 February with a group cycle ride.
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
Images: Jessica McHugh
A Clare College common room has been closed after being damaged, allegedly by members of a drinking society. In an email sent to the student body, Clare’s Estates Manager Stuart Baker said that the “Common Room in Memorial Court has now been closed temporarily due to an incident involving damage to the room . [...] “I will send an update once the situation has been resolved. Your access cards will no longer work on the Common Room door.” Two students, thought to be members of a Clare drinking society, have apologised publicly for the closure of the Common Room, which they trashed after they had been drinking. They said they had offered to clean the room themselves, but were informed by the Head Porter that the damage needed to be dealt with by the College’s maintenance department. Until the room has been restored, library staff and porters will not be able to give students access to the Common Room. The Crabs and the Bears are Clare’s male drinking societies. Khushali Dodhia
Homerton bops are “on the line” after “significant damage” was caused to the college, according to Homerton’s Union of Students (HUS). In an email to the student body, HUS noted that, “after the last bop, there was a huge amount of litter and significant damage done to the flower beds. HUS, on behalf of the small number of students responsible for the damage, have been fined £500 to cover the costs.” The email acknowledges that this is not the first time the College’s bops have come under threat, continuing: “This is so frustrating as we worked really hard to get bops back this year, only to have them on the line again.” They were banned for a period from last February to the beginning of this academic year, due to the “noise and damage caused by some students, including excrement, urine, and vomit found across several residences” caused by one particular bop. To prevent them from being cancelled again, HUS have asked students to “look after your friends and behave responsibly.” Khushali Dodhia
Changes have been made this year to the Queens’ College ballotting system. Students will no longer be able to ballot with friends in groups of four, six, or eight. Room allocation will instead be on an individual basis. Other changes have induced complaints from students who will not be able to track the ongoing allocation of rooms. In fact, the College has warned that any attempt to publicise room choices could result in exclusion from the ballot. The prevention of disruption and the promotion of greater integration between years have been cited by the College as reasons for the changes since last year. Speaking to The Cambridge Student, a fresher expressed her annoyance: “The only way you can be sure you’ll be near your friends is to share a set which really isn’t for everyone.” Pointing to the sense of betrayal evident among second-years, she added: “Obviously, it isn’t the end of the world, but it definitely has made the process fare more stressful than it needs to be.” Abby Watson
The John Hughes Arts Festival (JHAF) took place this weekend at Jesus College, and was directed by former TCS editor, Amelia Oakley. According to event information, the festival “sprang from an email inviting undergraduate members of Jesus College to suggest ways to remember a beloved friend, teacher, priest, and son”, in celebration of the late Dean of the Chapel, Revd. Dr. John Hughes. After an opening speech by BAFTA-winning playwright David Hare, events included a comedy smoker, jazz brunch, open mic night, and life drawing class. The array of events concluded with a Sunday night formal with the theme of ‘Enlightenment’, which quickly sold out. Speaking to The Cambridge Student, Amelia commented that the festival was “a huge success” which was “warmly welcomed by students, staff and visitors alike”. “JHAF received its largest ever number of sumbissions to our open gallery”, the launch of which was a “fantastic occasion”. Joanna Taylor
The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
Cambridge given ‘amber’ ranking for free speech due to CUSU policy Abby Watson Deputy News Editor
and students. For the last three years the University has maintained its amber ranking. It is therefore part of a contingent of 35 universities given an ambera assessment. The survey assessed 115 institutions, 73 of which were ranked as red, whereas only 7 universities were awarded a green ranking. In contrast to Cambridge, Oxford was marked red, a ranking it has maintained for the past three years. In fact, the report described its “hostile environment for free speech”. Among other factors, it highlights Oxford’s restriction on “offensive” and “needlessly provocative” speech. Oxford was named as one of ‘the most ban-happy’, alongside Swansea, Newcastle, Cardiff, and Edinburgh. This contrasts with only three institutions in
the UK with no instances of apparent censorship in 2017: the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the University of Buckingham, and the University of the West of Scotland. The report concluded that the problem is getting worse. In 2015, 41% of universities were ranked red, but this has risen to 63.5% of universities in 2017. A corresponding fall in green rankings was recorded. 20% of universities achieved this ranking in 2015, compared to 6% in 2017. A distinction was made between the actions of students and those of university administrations in terms of censorship. The report claimed that “It’s not just the students . . . University administrations are becoming more and more censorious.”
he University has recently been graded amber in The Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR), a report conducted for the Oxford was third time by spiked. According to the traffic-light ranking given a red system amber describes a university ranking which “has chilled free speech through intervention”. This compares with red, which describes a university which “has banned and actively censored ideas on campus”. On the other hand, green describes a university which “has a hands-off approach to free speech”. A breakdown of the report on the University reveals that the university administration itself has maintained its green ranking, whereas it is CUSU’s ranking which has lowered the overall rating. The report points to CUSU’s Safe SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL NEWS Space Policy. The Safe Space Policy restricts free speech in that it states that “disparaging, mocking remarks are unhelpful to debate and do not serve to maintain an atmosphere of respect and tolerance.” In justification of the amber rating it added that CUSU had condemned the fact that the Cambridge Union hosted Germaine Greer as a speaker two years ago. She was accused of making transphobic comments at the time. Further oppressive features of the University’s stand on free speech include its IT policy, according to the report. In 2015 the University was forced to take down a fundraising video, in which the historian David Starkey appeared after allegations of racism from both staff The University took down a fundraising video headed by David Starkey amid accusations of racism.
Cambridge professsor warns against new grammars Khushali Dodhia Deputy News Editor
he Government’s plans to introduce new grammar schools could have “dire consequences” for certain schools, a Cambridge academic has warned. Giving evidence to the Education Select Committee, Anna Vignoles, a Professor of Education and fellow at Jesus College, said that allowing grammar schools to select the most able pupils would have “dire consequences for the schools at the bottom of that system”. The Committee raised doubts about the Government’s claims that opening new grammar schools will help social mobility, with Neil Carmichael, its chair, branding the focus on grammar schools an “unnecessary distraction”.
“We heard that these concerns could snowball further, with low-achieving students seeing their support reducing and their class sizes growing; therefore, the ability to guarantee the quality of their education is much harder. “The Government must look carefully at the consequences for school funding, the supply of teachers, and the overall health of schools in England.” It continued with: “The Government must demonstrate how the creation of new grammar schools will help close the attainment gap within the wider school system, not just for individual pupils.” The cross-party Committee added: “The Government has yet to demonstrate how an admissions system could be designed in a manner which would be immune to gaming, or
New grammar schools will have “dire” results
being reduced by the ability to pay.” Currently, all of the top 20 state schools for Oxbridge applicants are at least partially selective. Sol Gamsu, a researcher from Kings College London led a study into “elite” state schools, and said that “expanding the grammar school system will not redress the inequality in access to Oxbridge.” Speaking to The Independent last year, he continued: “Not only are elite state schools contributing to inequality in access in their local areas, they show a clear geographical bias towards London and the South-East, the causes of which will not be addressed if the grammar school system is expanded.” A government spokesperson said the new grammar schools will ensure that “all children, whatever their background, can go as far as their talents will take them.”
NEWS BULLETIN Over 25 student unions encourage NSS boycott Following the announcement of the government’s plans to use their Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) to potentially raise tuition fees, student unions across the country have encouraged students to boycott the National Student Survey (NSS) The survey is open to final year students in any University in the country, but the results for a University are considered invalid if less than 50% of the finalists respond to the survey. Over 25 student unions are now encouraging the boycott, including those of Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, Manchester, Bristol, and Warwick. Warwick University’s official position remains that students should still complete the survey.
Cambridge named as one of UK’s best cities for dating Young heterosexual women looking for love may find that Cambridge is one of the country’s best bets for eligible dates around Valentine’s Day. According to new research, Cambridge has one of the highest male to female ratios in the country, with around 18,824 men aged between 20 and 29 compared with just 14,944 women, or 126 men for every 100 women. The gap narrows amongst teenagers, however, with just 103 men aged between 18-19 per 100 women. Those who have already found love may have celebrated their Valentine’s weekend in a variety of ways around the city, but few could beat the Valentine’s-themed ‘pug walk’ in Milton Country Park on Sunday. Around 25 pugs, many dressed in themed costumes, paraded as part of Cambridge Pug Group.
‘Significant literacy issues’ amongst adults in the city
Figures released by the National Literacy Trust and data analysists Experian have ranked Cambridge 303 out of a list of 533 areas in England on adult literacy. Each ward within an area was given a ranking out of 10, with 1 meaning it was in the country’s top 10% of highest need. King’s Hedges was ranked 2, Abbey 3, and East Chesterton, Arbury and Cherry Hinton at 4. Trumpington, on the other hand, scored a 7, whilst Newnham, Castle, and Market all received a 10. Daniel Zeichner MP said: “It is very worrying that a city associated with lifelong learning such as Cambridge still contains parts with such low literacy rates. “These numbers should ring alarm bells from Shire Hall to Whitehall.”
Syrian refugee U-turn criticised by Julian Huppert
Julian Huppert, Cambridge MP under the coalition Government, has said that the UK has a “moral obligation” to help Syrian refugees. This is in response to the Government’s change of plan on how many unaccompanied refugee children they will allow into the country from Syria. They were originally going to accept 3,000, but last week decided only to accept 350. Speaking to Cambridge News, Huppert said: “This should not be a party political issue. It is a simple moral question, to help those in a desperate plight. If history were different, it could be us or our families in need.”
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
The news roundup BOOKS
Cambridge to host Christie conference Lucy Cavendish College will host the University’s first academic conference celebrating the works of prolific crime fiction writer Agatha Christie. Scheduled to be held in June this year, the conference, titled ‘Agatha Christie: A Reappraisal’ will host scholars and guests from around the world.
Scholars to discuss Agatha Christie’s bestsellers
Teachers to experience student life at Trinity
Cambridge diners sample 3D printed food
A new scheme will let four teachers experience student life at Trinity each year. They will meet students, admissions staff, and observe a supervision. Admissions tutor Adrian Poole told Cambridge News the college hopes to gain a “sense of their perspective on the challenges and opportunities their pupils face”.
24 people in Cambridge have become the first to try 3D-printed food. Diners were treated to an eightcourse tasting menu of traditional and contemporary dishes, enhanced by “intense flavour bursts” printed by a kitchen robot called nūfood, according to its creator, Cambridgebased company Dovetailed.
Man mugged at knifepoint in city centre
The number of jobs the new Sainsbury’s will bring to Cambridge.
A man claiming to be from a “Communist organisation” has attempted to enter a Cambridgeshire house. He is thought to be a “distraction burglar”, someone “who gains access to your property by distracting or tricking their way in,” said a police spokeswoman. He left when the homeowner phoned police.
A new Sainsbury’s is to be built at the University’s North West Development, which will bring 150 new jobs to the city. It is due to open in September. The Development will also eventually contain 1,500 homes for University staff, 1,500 private houses, and accommodation for 2,000 postgraduates.
Man fakes Communism New Sainsbury’s due to in bid to rob home open in September
DANIE VAN DER MERWE
Police have released images of a man they would like to interview in connection with a mugging that took place in the city centre. A man in his 50s was mugged at knifepoint outside The King Street Run Pub on 5 February at around 10pm. His wallet, which contained cash and cards, was stolen.
Teachers invited to experience Trinity life
NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED FROM TCS.CAM.AC.UK
Class lists display may become illegal by 2018
Despite months of campaigning and two referendums on class lists, new EU data protection laws might mean that the public display of Class Lists will become illegal before the 2018 Easter term exams. Amatey Doku said: “once we have a clear idea of what that [the future] will look like, we’ll make sure that all students know the exact process.”
The percentage of Remain voters in Cambridge Market in the European Union referendum.
Ten-year-old applies to Uni Lego Professorship Ten-year-old Aedhan Brown from Aylesbury has applied for the Lego Professorship of Play in Education, Development, and Learning that the University recently closed applications for. In response, he received a letter stating that there had been about 200 applications for the role, however the University could only interview four or five.
Cambridge most proRemain place in UK
The ward contains eight Cambridge colleges
New EU referendum statistics show that “Cambridge Market”, the central ward in Cambridge, had the highest percentage of remain voters in the country. 87.8% of the area’s inhabitants voted to remain. The ward contains eight colleges: Christ’s, Corpus, Downing, Emma Jesus, Pembroke, Peterhouse, and Sidney Sussex.
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The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
Why should I care about... Astronomer Vera Rubin Emma Pollard
stronomer Vera Rubin is known for her revolutionary work in helping to confirm the existence of dark matter. The term ‘dark matter’ had been conceived in 1933 by Fritz Zwicky to explain why the Coma Cluster of galaxies did not blow apart. Rubin’s observations on galactic rotation, along with frequent collaborator W. Kent Ford, provided convincing evidence for dark matter’s existence that made the astronomy community sit up and pay attention. Rubin and Ford found that gas and dust particles orbiting the outer edges of the Andromeda galaxy were rotating just as fast as that at the centre of the galaxy, contrary to previous theories that matter closer to the galactic centre would move faster. Their findings, confirmed by similar studies, gave theorists little choice but to reach a conclusion that galaxies sit within a stabilising field of matter that we cannot detect in any range of the electromagnetic spectrum – hence ‘dark’ matter.
Despite this discovery, which could be considered as one of the greatest advances in physics of the 20th century, Rubin and Ford were not awarded a Nobel Prize. Vera Rubin advocated for women in science thoughout her career. Rubin’s parents were supportive of her ambition but she had received no encouragement from others to pursue her love of astronomy. Her high school physics teacher advised her to stay away from science in college.
Rubin never won a Nobel Prize despite helping to confirm the existence of dark matter Rubin’s dream had been to complete her Masters at Princeton. The university didn’t accept women into its graduate astrophysics program at the time, so she studied at Cornell instead. After Rubin and her husband moved to Maryland, physicist George Gamow heard about Rubin’s work on
galaxies by chance and asked to talk with her. She then completed her PhD at Georgetown University under his guidance. Her thesis on the spatial distribution of galaxies broke new ground in the field. After building confidence in her field, it is said that she demanded a job at Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. Vera Rubin was also a passionate feminist who advised the Pope to have more women on his committee and advocated for women in science, providing support and encouragement to young women hoping to enter the field, which still remains an issue. She once tweeted: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough. My science teacher once told me I wasn’t good enough for science and look at me now.” Vera Rubin passed away on 25 December 2016, aged 88. Her obituary in the New York Times said she “transformed modern physics and astronomy” through her discoveries on dark matter. NASA
Ned Booker Science Editor
Approximately 43,000 light years or so away, the two dwarf galaxies of the Magellanic Clouds are connected by a bridge of stars. This was determined from some of the earliest data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia telescope three years into its five-year mission (this data is incidentally free for everyone). The satellite has been cataloguing the positions of around 1 billion astronomic objects and will continue to do so for the rest of its five year mission. Each object will be catalogued about 70 times in total giving a detailed 3D map of the Milky Way which will allow researchers to chart the evolution of the galaxy. The two Magellanic Clouds appear to be linked by a bridge composed, in part, by stars “stripped from the small cloud by the large” according to Dr Vasily Belokerov, the lead author on a paper discussing the detail and structure of the Magellanic Clouds based on the Gaia evidence.
Gills were pretty useful for the earliest ever vertebrates: they allowed them to become mobile hunters by allowing them to pursue an active-lifestyle. Or perhaps the fact that some of the earliest vertebrates started hunting other primordial aquatic creatures gave dominance to those which developed an efficient way to breathe when moving through water. Whichever came first, hunting or gills, it has now been determined that the move from filter-feeding to hunting happened at a similar time to the development of gills for all vertebrates. It had previously been thought that our ancestors and the other vertebrate branch (lamprey for example) had developed this crucial evolutionary technology convergently. New research which imaged whole skate embryos show their jaws emerge in the same way as Lamprey, which overturns a half-century-old belief based on an inferior technique by looking at slices of embryos.
Illinois University scientists create two-way LED lights Ned Booker Science Editor
undamentally, there is little difference between an LED (a kind of solid-state light source) and a photovoltaic cell (PVs, the components that make up solar panels for making electricity). LEDs convert electricity directly into light, while PVs collect light and convert it to electricity in essentially the reverse process. They do this by having two semiconducting (e.g. silicon) materials in contact (this contact is called a heterojunction) with different electron energies. They then either apply a voltage to get electrons to the top of the energy gap and fall down, releasing light, (LEDs) or use light to push electrons up the gap and use these excited electrons usefully as electricity (PVs). Alternately, PVs can be optimised to detect incoming photons, and so these can also be used as photodetectors. Different sorts of heterojunctions are optimised for LEDs (type-I) or PVs (type-II), so although the process is similar the devices end up being quite differently designed.
LEDs could detect ambivalent light levels and accordingly adjust display brightness
Vera Rubin (second from left) during the NASA Sponsors Women in Astronomy and Space Science 2009 Conference
A paper published in the journal Science based on work lead by a group at the University of Illinois shows a material which allows for both type-I & II heterojunctions at the same time. What they have made arenanorods,
A transatlantic team led by Cambridge scientists have received some of Cancer Research UK’s biggest ever research grants (their so-called Grand Challenge awards). The team (including Swiss, Canadian, Irish, British, and American researchers) is aiming to build interactive 3D models of breast cancer tumors that will allow scientists to enter the tumour with virtual reality headsets and manipulate what they see there, offering unprecedented insight. The maps will be produced by taking detailed reference images of the tumours. The tumours will then be sliced up, and the slices will be analysed by a barrage of tests which will all go towards building a complete picture of the tumour. The lead researcher, Professor Greg Hannon, said about the scale of the challenge: “This is an enormous challenge. I liken it to the idea of putting a man on Mars – there’s so much technology that you have to develop to do it.”
particles of semiconductors that are around 50 nm long and 5 nm in diameter, with a blob (about 8 nm in diameter) of another semiconductor on the end. This allows the rod/blob structures to have two different energy alignments at once, which then forms two different heterojunctions with surrounding materials.
The LEDs can switch between emitting and detecting light so quickly that the light appears to stay on The result of this is that by applying an alternating voltage (like mains electricity) that varies quickly enough, the team were able to have one device that could efficiently work as an LED at one voltage and then as a device to detect light at another. The really clever part is that the devices can switch between emitting light and detecting it quickly enough that the light appears to stay on. This technology could be integral to future electronics as it could allow for displays that can detect the ambient light level and update their brightness accordingly (this was demonstrated in the paper). The double function LEDs also allow devices to respond to gestureswithout the user needing to touch the screen at all, so maybe you could navigate your phone without obstructing the view of your screen. The technology may be developed in future for this and other purposes.
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16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
Do stereotypes actually influence our identities? Noella Chye Features Editor
pon reflection, it seems a little fishy that most American high school movies depict the same few stereotypical characters: the cheerleaders, jocks, nerds, goths, et cetera et cetera. We see it in Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club, High Schol Musical – the same tropes manifested in different plots. It is even stranger that to some extent, despite regular deviations, we see that these social groups exist in reality, albeit in a (thankfully) less Hollywood-esque version of it. Given how easily we appear to fit into such distinct categories, the question arises: how much do stereotypes shape our identity? In other words, do we naturally fit into stereotypes, or mould ourselves to fit into them? The human brain is wired for pattern recognition: that’s why we stereotype other people. It aids in forming templates of social categories and it helps us understand the world. There exists a confirmation bias towards stereotypeconsistent information: we are more inclined to believe it over what is stereotype-inconsistent because it is easier. Just as stereotyping can be used to understand other people, it can also be directed at ourselves. Once we have been stereotyped and recognised as such, we tend to emphasise the similarities we share with the group, and exaggerate differences with others. It comes down to having a group identity. When we find it difficult to
Identities: How we are s
understand ourselves, having something to call our identity to can be a great source of comfort. Perhaps this partly explains why stereotypes are particularly prominent when we’re teenagers, and less certain of who we are, a factor heightened by the compact environments of schools. Here in Cambridge, stereotypes abound. We seem to be particularly keen on forming categories everywhere we can; Trinity is for mathmos, King’s is for the argumentative, and the identites of all Girtonians are apparently unified in how far away they are. There are also subject stereotypes, and more broadly, a divide between the arts and sciences - the former have a penchant for culottes, the latter for parkas. In my experience, it is a minority of people for whom these stereotypes are true. We do not adopt them because they are true to experience, or to serve a cognitive purpose – they exist purely for Tab-article-writing and meme-making. Perhaps they exist partly because of the university’s reputation, for prospective students, college stereotypes remain a novelty, as shown on The Student Room. Stereotypes undoubtably shape at least a part of our identity, whether they are of our culture, class background, taste in music, or more. The extent to which they do is also dependent on the people around us, how much they themselves attend to stereotypes, and our own choices about how much we want to partake in it – Cambridge is a prominent example of this.
Remembering Derek Parfit: Philosophy and identity Noella Chye Features Editor
ou are in a hospital, unconscious. Your body has suffered irreversable damage in an accident, but your brain has remained intact. The doctors are working to transplant it to the body of a patient with severe damage. You wake up, look at your body, and find that it is not the one you had before. Is your identity tied with that of your mind, or your body? Are you still the same self? We each have a sense of self, and regard it as a serious consideration in looking for an explanation of identity: if a theory cannot explain our sense of self, it must be missing something. Yet we are still in the midst of an irresolvable conflict between having a sense of self and lacking an explanation for it. The problem goes deeper still: we also don’t know whether we persist as the same self in time due solely to psychological or bodily continuity. Locke, for example, believed that identity lies in memories – all we are is all that we can remember., and that therefore our identity refers to
our mind, or psychological continuity. He refers to a scenario like the one above, and points to the fact that we identify with our mind. Philosophers have attacked the theory, wielding a series of thought experiments. One, in particular, goes: imagine that a brain is split into two; one half is put in person A’s body, the other in person B. Are they the same person, and share the same identity? How can two people be the same person? Consequently, others argue that identity refers to bodily continuity, as it is the biological processes like breathing and metabolism that give us life, and hence are uniquely ours. This isn’t quite right either, because when we refer to the same situation, we do intuitively associate with our mind over our body. For Derek Parfit, the question of what constitutes our self is a mistake – he didn’t believe there is an adequate criterion for identity. Our identity is found in our entirety, and the relations between our components, in the same way that nations or states exist. He found abandoning the
idea of a substantive self liberating. This was not an esoteric revelation; once he adopted the view, its implications for his ethical theory were explosive. He was most concerned with how we make ethical decisions based on moral responsibilities towards people of the future. We believe it is right to combat climate change to protect our descendants. He abandons the notion of people of the future, Picture two copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix smushed together into one. Now, imagine three separate volumes of this, and you have Derek Parfit’s beast of a book, On What Matters. Parfit was a philosopher of today’s age, and his views on personal identity and ethics remain some of the most tantalisingly counter-intuitive, yet personal. He asked a question which we forget in most discussions of personal identity, yet which precedes all others: do we have one? For all of his academic career, Parfit was based at All Souls College at Oxford, where he was an Emeritus Senior Research Fellow. Larissa MacFarquhar’s profile of
“Is your identity tied with that of your mind, or your body?”
him in the New Yorker described him: “In the way that he moves and carries himself, Parfit gives the impression of one who is unaware of being looked at, perhaps because he spends so much time alone. He clutches his computer bag. He fidgets. His hair is white and fluffy and has settled into a pageboy of the kind that was fashionable for men in the fifteenth century. He wears the same outfit every day: white shirt, black trousers.” At a time when moral subjectivity, the belief that our morals are mere extensions of our desires, was the norm, he refused to believe it. He thought, we care too much about ethics, and give it such precedence, for it to be reducible in that way. For me, Parfit embodies the untiring drive for answers, and a fearlessness to face what evidence tells us, no matter how counter-intuitive or uncomfortable it is. He passed away on 1 January this year, but his theories, which have been described as the most original in moral philosophy in the English-speaking world, will live on.
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LGBT+ Music Icons Nipples at NY Fashion Week Self-perception and\ Body Positivity
The Thursday Magazine
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
Redefining self-identity: LGBT+ music icons Pippa Smith Music Editor
he music industry is no stranger to LGBT+ icons. David Bowie and Prince, two recently passed great names, epitomise the ability to use music for self-expression, however derivative that self might appear to be. Bowie in particular, with his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, completely redefined self-identification in music in a way which fostered a great LGBT+ following. Artists like this demonstrate how powerful a medium music can be for self-expression. The music industry is also a realm in which experimentation is encouraged and even welcomed. Artists such as Bowie and Prince were able to create onstage personas, which only increased their following and allowed them to bring invention and reinvention into the forefront of popular music; in the performative world of music these individuals helped to create, you can be whoever you want to be.
unfortunately still exists today. LGBT+ artists should be free to allow their sexuality to shape their music as much or as little as they like, without external pressures. However, in my opinion, whilst it is still considered ‘huge news’ to speculate about individuals and whether or not they identify as LGBT+, the music industry has not yet become quite accepting enough. There also seems to be a clear gap in music between the number of openly gay or bisexual male artists and the number of females who feel comfortable enough to ALEXIS MARTINEZ
be equally as open, or who are treated with the same level of respect. This is of course a gap which mimics some of the tensions still existing in general in the wider society. Nevertheless, many proclaimed female ‘gay icons’, though they may be keen activists for LGBT+ rights, are themselves not members of the LGBT+ community.
Many proclaimed female ‘gay icons’ are not themselves members of the LGBT+ community Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand, and even Judy Garland are upheld, amongst others as artists whom the gay community particularly embraces. We might want to consider why straight female artists seem to command a higher adoration than bisexual, lesbian, or trans artists. However, in recent years, artists such as Lady Gaga have been able to fly the LGBT+ in mainstream music, with many many others campaigning tirelessly in less well heard genres of music, for example Donna Dresch and Patricia Barber. Most important is that music is a safe space for artists, however they identify themselves sexually, to experiment and create. No matter how much pioneers in the industry have opened up an environment in which this is possible, there is certainly still room for further improvement.
In the performative world of music you can be whoever you want to be Some artists, such as Elton John and George Michael, had a much more troubled time using music as a means to fully express themselves. Both artists were plagued by media scrutiny of their sexuality—something which
“Fighting bigotry one joke at a time” Annalise Higgins
he Newnham Smoker is an education,” explains Caroline Feijão. Her observation cuts right to the crux of the Newnham Smoker’s self-professed mission: to create a comedic space that “exists to give women, non-binary people, and LGBTQ+ folks a launching pad into the Cambridge comedy scene.” It strives to be “an expressly feminist comedy night, standing up for equity and fighting bigotry one joke at a time”. As it enters its fourth year, Callie Vandewiele and Chris Waugh, who co-founded the Newnham Smoker, reflect on how it has come to be “one of Cambridge’s most lively and original comedy nights”.
They sought to host a show that was explicity feminist and queer-friendly The first show came together in December 2013. Waugh recalls how he and Vandewiele “were exasperated by the prevalence of misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and rape apologism in the comedy circuit [and] sick of hearing from friends that they felt comedy was closed off those vulnerable groups”. They sought to host a show “that was explicitly feminist and queer friendly”. Vandewiele was a member of Newnham MCR committee at the time, and booked out the College bar. Waugh put together a lineup. The rest, as they say, is history. “What might have been a one off special”, reflects Waugh, “became a regular show”. The Newnham Smoker identified an opening in the Cambridge comedy scene and never looked back. The organisers arrange an average of two shows per term
with the support of the College MCR and “a donations bucket to cover the cost of headliners”. Each show features a professional or semi-professional headliner alongside a selection of Cambridge student performers, many of whom are making their first foray into live stand-up comedy. All are welcome, with two exceptions: misogynists and bigots need not apply.
All are welcome, but misogynists and bigots need not apply Since 2016, the Smoker has ventured beyond Newnham College’s bar into Cambridge’s wider comedy scene. In November 2016 it graced the main stage at the ADC Theatre for the first time. The Newnham Smoker is well known for encouraging newcomers to the Cambridge comedy scene. It self-identifies as “one of the friendliest springboards into performance in Cambridge”. This is more than encouraging rhetoric. Each term, the group puts on a range of comedy workshops and brings together new and old performers in an attempt to create a culture of support and mutual development. Over the course of three and a half years, 17 people have ventured into comedy for the first time on the Newnham Smoker stage. Maddy Booth, of Darwin College, successfully made her comedy debut at the Newnham Smoker in December 2016. “It’s been particularly difficult for me to try writing feminist political material this year, since”, she explains, “I’m a new navigator trying to sail in between the Scylla and Charybdis of anesthetised, detached, cynical humour, and plain raw anger.” Booth found that the Smoker offered an opportunity to take the plunge into stand-up
in an encouraging and supportive environment, “greatly reduc[ing] the stress of being a neophyte”. The Newnham Smoker offers an opportunity to combine laughter and acerbic social critique. Feijão recalls how, “[at] every gig I attended I felt inspired, informed, moved and surprised in between bursts of laughter. The Smoker goes beyond whimsical storytelling by placing the spotlight on feminist comedy. It is in fact a comedy show that takes women’s issues seriously. Its growing success is certainly a reflection of its quality.” The Newnham Smoker has become an important part of an increasingly socially aware Cambridge comedy scene. In summing up the Newnham Smoker, and her experiences founding and co-running it, Vandewiele says: “Comedy can be so much more than simply funny. It can open doors, educate us and tear down walls. But to really do so, comedy has got to be diverse.” CREDIT: MARISA HENRY
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
Queering my space: Pirates and Pride flags Miriam Joy
’ve never felt comfortable being subtle about my identity – that’s always made me feel like I’m trying to hide something. From the day I came out, I’ve been as obnoxiously, obviously queer as possible. Nobody, upon entering my room, would mistake it for the room of a straight person. If the ‘Lesbians And Gays Support The Miners’ t-shirt hanging up to dry or the ‘Nobody Knows I’m Gay’ mug on my desk weren’t enough, then there are two Pride flags to remove any ambiguity. The most obvious one is the rainbow flag. You can see it from the window and, since my room overlooks Newnham’s main bike shed, I imagine most people walking past would have noticed it. It’s a proper flag, by which I mean it’s made of fabric and has a stick, and I keep it in my desk tidy. I bought it at Exeter Pride, after unintentionally picking MIRIAM JOY
the weekend of the parade as the first time to visit my friend at university. We didn’t join in with the parade, but I stil got far too excited by all the rainbow merchandise and only the sky-high prices stopped me leaving with more than just the flag. I’ve loved rainbow and multi-coloured things since long before they had any Pride connotations for me: I still own the elbow-length rainbow gloves I
I loved rainbow and multi-coloured things long before they had any Pride connotations for me bought from Claire’s when I was twelve, for example. The flag lived in my kitchen at home from early May until I came back to Cambridge in October, propped in a jar I was using to store spaghetti. My parents weren’t thrilled, but they didn’t ask me to move the flag, which felt like a victory in and of itself. So I left it there. It wasn’t exactly a deliberate statement, but it made it very clear to any visitors passing through the kitchen that somebody living there was queer. That is, if my stereotypical short hair and plaid shirts hadn’t already made that point for me. My other flag has less of a story behind it. I printed it off in first year, partly to test my printer, and it’s been pinned to my college noticeboards ever since. It’s an asexual pride flag, but, as well as the usual stripes, it features a skull and crossbones with the slogan ‘Asexual Pirates are not interested in your booty.’ It always seemed kind of unimpressive that my only ace flag was printed off the Internet, but George Norman’s talk on asexual history earlier this month made me realise how appropriate that actually is. The asexual community is unique in how much it has been shaped by the Internet and by online interactions: the design of the flag was decided by online vote, and one of the considerations was
the ease with which it could be printed. The fact that I came across this terrible piratical pun online and thought, ‘yes, I need that on my wall,’ is about as in keeping with the history of the asexual community as acquiring my rainbow flag at Pride is with the LGBTQ community as a whole. I also think this flag says more about me than just the fact that I’m asexual: it says I like pirates, and that bad puns make me laugh far more than they should when I’ve seen them every day for two years – I have another, smaller copy of the flag on my wall at home, too. It’s easier than coming out to everybody I meet, and it’s been the catalyst for a few conversations about asexuality, with the added levity of puns to put people at ease. My room is unapologetically queer. And as for my ‘Nobody Knows I’m Gay’ mug? Well, it’s technically untrue on multiple levels, but it made me laugh and it’s brightly coloured, which is all I care about. MIRIAM JOY
Frivolous, fun, flirtatious: gay food culture in ‘70s New York Emer O’ Hanlon Food & Drink Editor
he ‘Nigella’ school of cooking and eating: the idea that cooking is not staid and based on a strict set of French rules, but instead something much more fun, playful, almost flirtatious. It’s accessible to everyone and it thrives on being indulgent and sumptuous. It is often thought that this type of cooking took off after the publication of Lawson’s 1998 ‘How to Eat’, but in reality, the movement had its roots much earlier, in the thriving gay subculture of 1970s New York. American food culture in the ‘70s was, as the author and chef Daniel Isengart describes it, divided into two “increasingly polemic factions: the West Coast-based earnest camp… whose members wanted to change the world, and the frivolous East Coast camp, whose aficionados wanted to change themselves”. It was in this climate that a certain group of gay chefs emerged, who viewed food, not in a serious, culinary science light, but as something light, there to be enjoyed. This thriving subculture was cut tragically short in the ‘80s when many of its forerunners lost their lives to the AIDS crisis, but we still feel its influence today in the American chain Dean & DeLuca. We call Dean & DeLuca a deli now – in 1977, there
was no name for what the business was trying to do, and the founders even suggested that ‘food gallery’ was the best approximation. The founders were three gay men: Joel Dean, his partner Jack Ceglic, and Giorgio DeLuca. Dean & DeLuca revolutionised the idea of food store layouts: Ceglic, the designer, went for a minimalistic look,
Ceglic said of the stores that ‘art, design and food became one’. laid out more like an art gallery than anything else, with the food arranged in still-life displays. This art gallery aesthetic was to have a major impact on kitchen designs in the years to come, as they too strove for an open plan ‘loft look’ with startling white backgrounds and pseudoindustrial wire shelving. Ceglic said of his store design that “art, design and food became one”. These three business partners considered their approach as a backlash to the rise of frozen foods, poularising instead fresh ready meals (think pestos, patés, and salads), pioneers of the gourmet take-away before it became conventional. They also introduced to the general American public items which are now considered staples,
like extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes and radicchio. Dean famously refused to sell garlic crushers on the principle that chopped garlic tastes better. Although the store is now an international one (with a branch in Mayfair to open early this year), Ceglic was always adamant that their ambitions were never that big: “we sold good, healthy food – not a lot, but good”. What’s the status of gay food culture now? There’s certainly a movement to try to re-establish its former prominence, especially among online magazines and journals. Two recent efforts, Jarry and Mouthfeel, are very conscious of going back to these laid-back, fun 1970s roots, with Mouthfeel’s mission statement declaring: “Filled with profiles, photos, love letters, recipes, essays and more, Mouthfeel is not a gay men’s Good Housekeeping, it champions the spirit, creativity, and counter culture ethos of the world, which has historically defined gay culture and the best of culinary arts.” If this is the insight into food that gay culture can lend us, then I say bring it on. Food is only as interesting as the chef preparing it, and needs an independent and creative spirit to thrive. I can only hope that this new wave allows for better vegetarian food than the 1970s did.
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
Dressing Queer Amiya Nagpal Lifestyle Editor
properly learned to express myself through appearance. Teen angst about the way I looked translated into a surprisingly dramatic outward expression; if everyone was looking at me because of my aesthetic choices anyway, then surely I was in control of how I was being received? It started with a haircut following a high-school length relationship that ended the summer before university. Taking ‘new me’ to whole new lengths, I chopped off the bottom seven inches of my hair and decided to reinvent myself in the image of someone my ex-partner had never known. Flash forward a couple of years, and an acrimonious break up led to my bleaching my hair eight times (this is bad, don’t do it) and dying my hair bright blue. This carried on, my mood would change, and I would change my hair. Pink, lilac, half orange, half yellow. I’m telling you this because I think it sums up what appearance does for me; it allows me to translate my feelings into something tangible that I can pin down and then examine. I have what I like to call ‘Dyke Days’. On these days I feel a bit gayer and need some way of reifying it. Because my aesthetic has always felt like the first layer of my personality, when I feel a bit more queer than usual, I dress to it. True, there are points where this falls into stereotype – checked button downs and skinny jeans, for example. But equally, there are times when the signalling is subtler – it’s in the way I do my hair, in which shoes I wear with which dress, or in how my makeup is done that day. Although the expression is overtly physical, it’s an expression of internal feeling; the clothes themselves aren’t explicitly gayer, but I’m carrying myself differently. That’s not at all to say that on the days where I don’t consciously make a choice to ‘dress queer’ that I am any less queer. But as a femme queer woman, I am often perceived as straight and because of this, I often don’t feel ‘gay enough’. And although there is definitely no such thing as ‘gay enough’, I do sometimes feel the need to literally wear my identity on my sleeve, to make sure that people know I am not the default they expect me to be. My ‘Dyke Days’ link to a wider culture too; queerness has roots in the subversion of norms and gender expectations through the theatre of fashion. Therefore fashion, although performance, also becomes identity. When the Orlando shootings happened in June 2016 I wore my pride flag like a cape and had someone who had lost a friend in the shootings stop me in The Lion Yard Shopping Centre to talk. It meant so much to me that in a time that was so harrowing for queer people everywhere, we could find and support one another. In this way, dressing queer doesn’t just help me fit in to the queer community; it helps me create it too. BENJAMIN KERENSA
NY Fashion Week and nipples Flavia Williams
ipples abounded in all their unbounded glory at New York Fashion Week 2017. Kendall Jenner’s nipples peeked through a sparkly, sheer gown on the La Perla Runway on 9 February, just weeks after Bella Hadid turned up to Dior’s Parisian Masquerade Ball sans mask or bra. Raf Simons seemed to be giving male and female nipples an equal standing in his debut collection for Calvin Klein. Men, women, and their oh-so-perfect nipples made their way down the catwalk in equally perfect, squeakyclean, transparent sweaters. The general applause in fashion for neat, symmetrical areolae hasn’t translated into the realm of social media: any female nipple, well-proportioned or not, will find itself removed from Instagram and Facebook. Apparently replicated images of the female nipple are worse than the real thing – photographic evidence of the female nipple is heavily edited before it is deemed fit for popular consumption. Female models self-censor images of their boobs with strategically placed pizza or heart emojis, as if the humorous twist makes it look more like a choice.There’s even an app which offers a range of art-inspired stickers to ‘add a new facet to your work or censor it to comply with your social media platform of choice.’ This last-ditch attempt to beat-them-to-it-andcensor-yourself-before-they-censor-you is submission parading as victory. To be social media acceptable, women’s nipples must be blurred, erased with a black strip or replaced with a – somehow more innocuous – male nipple. The Instagram account @genderless_nipples is using zoomed in images of nipples to prove that no one can tell the gender of a
nipple on its own. The offence isn’t in the female nipple itself but in the female body those little extensions of skins are attached to. It all depends on what kind of gaze that nipple is soliciting and Instagram has specified that ‘photos of postmastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.’ So female nipples can be looked at in the context of motherhood, breast cancer and non-photographic art but not looked at just for being a nipple? Social media censorship creates a hierarchy among gendered bodies through the production of difference. If female nipples were like male nipples and a part of the thousands of images we consume every day, then they wouldn’t be perceived as pornographic or sexual. No one makes a hullabaloo about a male nip slip do they? Fashion is decontextualising the female nipple and one of Raul Solis’s latest pieces features a cut out breastplate so that the model’s outfit is the only frame containing her nipple. This optical reconfiguration is central to the desexualisation of the female nipple as it allows a particular circumstance to determine what a nipple means. I’m not saying the fashion industry has single-handedly freed the nipple as you won’t find a hint of nipple abnormality at New York Fashion Week. But it’s certainly taking a step in the right direction towards seeing nipples for the gloriously uninteresting nodules of skin they are. It may seem like a far away utopian future, but the Victorian taboo about women showing their ankles has disappeared – so why not the 21st-century taboo about baring female breasts?
Review: Fences Eliza Dickinson Film and TV Editor
aving starred in the 2010 revival of August Wilson’s acclaimed 1983 play, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were well-placed to take up the two leads in the first film adaptation of Fences. The long wait for this adaptation was largely a result of Wilson’s request that the film be directed by an African-American director. This wait has certainly paid off, as Washington took up the reigns as the director as well as the lead actor, bringing his familiarity with the source material to the big screen in a vivid fashion. Fences stays close to the plot and atmosphere of the play, following Washington as Troy, the charismatic patriarch of a working-class family in 1950s America. Viola Davis plays his committed wife, Rose, with Jovan Adope as their son, Cory, who becomes increasingly disillusioned with the tyranny of his father. Mykelti Williamson steals the show at times as Troy’s brother Gabriel, and Stephen Henderson and Russell Hornsby play strong supporting roles as Troy’s best friend, Bono, and son from a previous marriage, Lyons. Fences is an intimate study of the relationships between this small group of people, taking place largely in the backyard of their home in Pittsburgh. While occasionally restricting the scope of the film, this intense focus also means that the audience becomes enormously invested in the emotions of the characters. Washington and Davis’ performances are the key substance in turning Fences from a fantastic adaptation into a
breath-taking and memorable film. Washington plays Troy to perfection, striking the balance between the easy charm of a man who has worked hard for what he has, and the bitter discontentment of someone who feels that they have been cheated out of a better life. It actually does little justice to Viola Davis’ performance that her Oscar nomination is for Best Supporting Actress rather than Best Actress. The film revolves around the relationship between Rose and Troy and how it still has the power to shock after eighteen years, and Davis’ beautiful acting plays a key role in this. Fences is, at its greatest points, realistic and gut-wrenching cinema. At times it is restricted by its adherence to the play, but this does not detract from the power of the characters, and the sensational performances of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.
ZERO MEDIA VIA YOUTUBE
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
Narcissism of small (porridge) differences? Emer O’ Hanlon Food & Drink Editor
’d always thought that the food section was rather an uncontroversial one, but that was before I started asking people about the best way to make a bowl of porridge. Personally, mine is a ½ cup each of oats, almond milk, and water, microwaved for three mins before adding a 1tsp of honey and sprinkling cinnamon, which I thought almost painfully normal. Much as porridge can be a great uniting force among people, though, how we cook it can also cause rifts among even the best of friends. Below is just a selection of the wide range of student opinions on the topic.. “I tend to use Quaker Oats with semi-skimmed milk. Generally I cook my porridge in the microwave to save time and washing up. The search for the “Goldilocks Zone” of porridge consistency is a personal struggle of mine. Each day I alter the cooking time and the ratio of milk to oats to try and find a consistency which is “just right”. I like to add golden syrup/honey and occasionally grated apple! If I feel like a particularly decadent breakfast I may also add some cream.” Isaac Johnston “A childhood aversion to any soggy foods left me firmly in the cereal camp, but an iffy tummy and some online recommendations led me to the oat world a few months ago. My inexperience combined with my shitty gyp means I make my porridge in the microwave. You may sneer, but the key to this is using a combination of
water and almond milk to cook, and cooling it down with cow’s milk. Sometimes, when I’m feeling especially adventurous, I put in some hot chocolate powder, and it works like a charm.” Amiya Nagpal “My favourite oats are Sainsbury’s own brand, which make for a smoother consistency. 30g oats and 200ml water for 2min in the microwave, then add 100ml milk (I use full fat UHT), and heat for 1min. I went through a phase of trying to increase my protein intake, and EMMA POLLARD
I’m now in the habit of adding a whisked egg, and microwaving for another minute. If microwaved too long, this step can be a disaster, leaving a cake-y texture, but if done well, it’s fine. My fave topping is a tbsp of crunchy peanut butter (for the protein, again), and then either jam — must be a tart one, like raspberry — or chocolate sprinkles (Dutch hagelslag). I vary the toppings a lot, or else I’d get well bored!” Laura Nunez-Mulder “Growing up without a microwave means I am used to the creamy goodness of pan-cooked porridge, so on a day I feel particularly inspired, I break my usual microwave routine at uni and treat myself. There are so many ways to make porridge taste great, but my fave has to be oats and water in a saucepan, with salt (to taste). When it’s cooked and creamy, slice a medium ripe banana over the top and enjoy. I don’t like it too stodgy, so don’t overcook it. If I’m feeling extra special I’ll drizzle some honey over the top, and maybe a few chia seeds just to assert the middle class Cambridge stereotype.” Lili Bidwell “When I was sailing up in bonny Scotland, the cap’n (a gruff old sea dog called Andy) hauled up sea water in a bucket and used that to make porridge (boiled of course for hygiene reasons, we’re not complete barbarians). It made the porridge deliciously salty, which is of course the traditional Scottish way.” Frances Myatt
LGBT+ Film Rec
Cambridge LGBT+ parenting
ox and His Friends – written, directed and starring the infamous martyr of New German Cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder – speaks of a generation lost to the legacy of its forefathers: capricious yet cruel, hopeful yet pitiless. The story is simple, but it also threads in and between popular culture. Working-class circus performer Fox, isolated in his homosexuality, falls in love with Eugene, a young, bourgeois industrialist. Over time the two develop a passionate relationship, yet it is one of asymmetric value: Eugene exploits Fox for his recently won lottery money, feeding it into his business whilst neglecting his lover’s charity and affection. Fox cannot mould himself to Eugene’s expectation – either in his clothes, his manners or his aesthetic appreciation – just as homosexuality, to Fassbinder, burns in places it should never have been lighted. Fassbinder, as with previous endeavours on stage and screen, depicts the difficulties of expressing gender in a society of richly ordained tradition – borne of religion, class and social approval. Homosexuality, nevertheless, in light of Fox’s struggle of expression, is presented as a bright, vibrant, and integrating force. Fox and His Friends closely abides to tropes that characterised Fassbinder’s short but prolific career. And yet here, something more is brought to the picture: something radical and unbearably cynical, but an impression of life that illumines the dark screen cast over much of post-WWII Germany. Love, to Fassbinder, matters more than a diamond coat, refusing to empower the men who are lost to its shine.
uring Freshers’ Week, I found myself, along with what seemed like half of Cambridge, on Parker’s Piece for the Freshers’ Fair. Among the crowded stalls, with students from all manner of societies, from the disappointingly mundane to the unimaginably niche, a small rainbow-bedecked table caught my eye. Along with many others, I signed up for the LGBT+ parenting scheme, as well as the mailing list for the LGBT+ campaign. The family system, which matches second- and third-years to bewildered freshers to create a ‘family’ of sorts, operates in a fashion similar to the college parenting scheme, but on a University-wide scale. It was the only mailing list I didn’t subsequently regret subscribing to. Sorry, Fencing Society, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The purpose of the scheme, which is led by CUSU LGBT+, is to put freshers ‘in touch with friendly people who can make them feel welcome and answer their questions’. For many LGBT+ freshers, who may be experiencing the heady rush of freedom that comes with the knowledge that you are now in a space where you will be accepted and welcomed by people who are just like you, the family scheme is a great way to meet a small subset of the LGBT+ community. For those whose relatives may not be particularly accepting, it offers them the chance to build their own families, which is especially important during the harrowing first weeks of the Cambridge term. It is, after all, what LGBT+ people have already been doing for hundreds of years – finding others like ourselves in an effort to feel validated and part of a wider community. Personally, I have found the scheme incredibly useful. My LGBT+ family is not only a set of smiling faces from
different colleges, but also a link to the wider community through their other friends; our family has expanded beyond the nuclear-family of children and parents, and now includes grandparents, step-parents, and cousins. We may all get a headache when we attempt to work out just how we’re all ‘related’, but that is secondary to the fact that the family system has opened us up to a whole new group of people who we might not otherwise have known, being from different colleges, and having different interests. It has also been an easy way to get involved in the LGBT+ community, which can be overwhelming, particularly for those who have never previously been out and active. When the time comes around, I will definitely sign up to be a ‘parent’. Although the scheme obviously has its imperfections, including the fact that it can be difficult to schedule a family meetup among pressing deadlines and hectic lives, the importance of being able to build your own family in a new place cannot be underestimated. AERYN GRAY
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
Review: HMS Pinafore Murat Demir
s one of the hugely popular Savoy operas written and composed by Victorian-era duo Gilbert and Sullivan, HMS Pinafore promised an entertaining evening of comedy and music on its opening night. The plot, which revolves around a love story between the captain’s daughter and one of the crewmen aboard the eponymous navy vessel, is relatively uncomplicated and leaves a great deal to the production to deliver on this promise. Under the direction of Zoe Morris, this rendition is able to achieve this to a large extent, although various problems prevent it from working as well as it could have done. The technical elements were wellexecuted overall. The set design is simple, but that is probably for the best since more
The success of the show owes much to the orchestra would have cluttered the stage with a cast so large. The contrast between the raised quarterdeck and the foreyard (where most of the action takes place) had the function of serving as a spatial reminder of the class and rank divisions which is the main theme of the play, and was a nice touch. The use of lighting was also generally successful, and a variety of effects were employed to set the mood and accompany the musical scores. However, some of these effects tended to drag on for too long, and detracted from the liveliness of the numbers. As a comedic opera, the success of the show owes much to the orchestra, who were outstanding from the overture until the final number. On stage, the show is carried by the terrific performances of the leading
parts, and some of these deserve special mention. Tiffany Charnley as Josephine uses her remarkable vocal range to give emotional depth to the comedy, and she is complemented in that role by Max Noble playing Ralph Rackstraw, who carries himself with poise on stage, even though he sometimes fails to get his voice over the orchestra. But it is Luke Thomas as Captain Corcoran and Michael Morrison as Sir Joseph who really raise the show to the next level; they were exceptional in almost every aspect and elevated the performance of those around them with their effortless movement and delivery. However, the show did stumble during scenes involving a large number of the supporting cast. There were some lapses in the delivery which prevented the visual and auditory elements from coming together in the same way as they did when the main characters were involved, and at times also created noticeable dissonance between the orchestra and the singing.
Outstanding singing and acting, presented in a most elegant way In the end, however, this rendition of HMS Pinafore was able to live up to the reputation of its name. At two hours long, the best testament to the show’s success was its ability to hold the attention of the audience throughout the whole time, and left almost everyone pleased with the array of outstanding singing and acting presented in a most elegant way.
7/10 IMAGE: THEO HEYMANN
“Politically incorrect, d The Cripple of Inishm Emer O’Hanlon
he title The Cripple of Inishmaan gives the best clues as to the tone of the humour in the play – it’s politically incorrect, dark, and irreverent. One slightly shocked viewer sitting behind me confessed during the interval that he’d thought the ‘cripple’ of the title was going to be metaphorical, rather than a reference to the physical disabilities of the main character, Billy (Conor Dumbrell). Set in the 1930s against the historical backdrop of Robert Flaherty coming to the Aran Islands to film Man of Aran, The Cripple of Inishmaan reacts to the same stereotypes that the film raises about the Irish, while brilliantly inverting them. When Cripple Billy hears about the filming from Johnnypateenmike (the local gossip-monger famous for his boring news), he along with the other young people on the island see it as a chance to escape the mundanity of his life on Inishmaan. What follows is a black comedy which is as dark as coal-dust, as well as being uncomfortable at times, and the plot never allowing itself to take a conventional turn.
The careful attention to detail across all parts of the production is really commendable here. The set is one of the more ambitious that I’ve seen in an ADC mainshow, with revolving pieces, wheel-on beds and changing backdrops. Particularly effective is the penultimate scene when the characters gather for a screening of Man of Aran and the film is projected onto the stage. The traditional Irish music used during set changes brilliantly captures the stereotypes about Ireland from which the play constantly tries to break, and the costumes were also perfect at conjuring up the atmosphere of the isolated community, the rugged knitwear, cardigans and shawls constantly reminding us of the island setting.
Hardly full of the milk of human kindness For those familiar with McDonagh’s work, it may seem strange for me to say that I came out of The Cripple of Inishmaan feeling more good-natured than I had expected. Though
The Cambridge Student • The Thursday Magazine • 16 February 2017
IMAGE: jOHANNES HJORTH
Review: Improv Actually
dark and irreverent: maan Review hardly full of the milk of human kindness – and ending on a distinctly hopeless note – the characters seem to have more goodness in them than is typical in McDonagh. The lies which propel the story forward, for example, are mostly told out of love and empathy rather than spite, and by the end of the play, they end up predominately sympathetic – even Johnnypateenmike who is trying to drink his 90-something mother to death. This is in large part due to the strength of the acting and, indeed, there was rarely a section of the play which felt tonally off. I particularly enjoyed Ellie Cole and Kim Alexander as Eileen and Kate, Cripple Billy’s pair of ‘fake aunties’. The former was stern and sarcastic (with a sweet tooth), the latter more naïve and waifish, with a penchant for talking to stones. The siblings Slippy Helen (Eve Delaney) and Bartley (Toby Waterworth) had their share of the biggest laughs, particularly in the scene when they play at being England and Ireland with a box of eggs. I won’t spoil the joke, but the scene was hilarious. The only weak link in the play is Henry Philips’ Johnnypateenmike (a
shame, as his character has more than his fair share of the best lines), whose performance couldn’t quite keep up with that of his fellow actors. Thankfully, the talent of those around him was strong enough that this didn’t hugely take away from the play as a whole.
It never stops being hilarious All this is not to suggest that The Cripple of Inishmaan is an easy watch, but it’s the easiest, I think, McDonagh can ever get. It’s dark, uncomfortable, at times sad – but for all this, it never stops being hilarious. McDonagh’s plays are often hard to gauge tonally – much of the humour can seem cruel and shocking – but the key to playing it right is to create a fundamental sense of sympathy between the characters and the audience, and this production captured these essential elements perfectly.
any of those who entered the Playroom last night to catch the Impronauts’ Valentine’s production, Improv Actually, may have done so hesitantly. Improv, by its very nature, is hit-and-miss. People struggle with the genre due to its sometimes self-parodying focus around energy, spontaneity and chaos. This is valid – in this production expect people to trip up, draw a blank, and impulsively word vomit without really thinking about the sounds, syllables, and ideas that are coming out of their mouths. However, the Improv Actually gang truly carries every blip and blunder without fear of self-consciousness, making fun of themselves and the genre itself. It’s not rare that a cast member blurts a strange or farfetched plot twist and their counterpart turns to them and hesitantly asks ‘really?… are you sure?’ But the ensemble takes it in their stride, and these additions ultimately contribute to a heightened sense of selfawareness and meta-theatricality. Alex O’Bryan-Tear and Marie Moullet truly stole the show, taking on audiencesuggested roles of a socially awkward mathmo who works in Spoons, and a guy who involuntarily vomits up hairballs in public, in a rom-com titled Imagine Them All Naked. This Cambridge-centric spin allowed the audience to poke fun at ideas we’re all too well-acquainted with – like whether mathmos can handle human contact, and whether Spoons really does have standards, along with some charming mathematical puns such as “I fell in love with someone and they broke my heart, and after that, I never wanted to multiply again.” Ben Spiro, Isabella Leandersson, and James Gard’s performances were also fantastic as the childhood best friends and confidants, and the Spoons manager who secretly harbours a PhD; all characters were well-developed and repeatedly revisited signature jokes. There were certainly awkward moments that didn’t quite work – the cast played around with a Lord of the Rings sketch that they ultimately ditched, perhaps due to lack of scope as members occasionally stumbled and allowed some silences to linger so long they became awkward – but
this is all relatively routine for the genre. Overall, the performance left me reflecting on how quickly creative and novel ideas can really come out of a person’s mouth without preparation. Alex O’Bryan-Tear impressively managed to ad-lib a poem on the spot, desperately squeezing out wobbly yet hilarious couplets like “my true love died, there was no hope, I was feeling as single… as the pope”. This hot-seated artistry was further reflected in Stephen Gage’s keyboard score: which, you guessed it, is improvised. Costuming, a.k.a a jumble-sale-esque fancy dress rack, was well-utilised – there was a point in which our protagonist was wearing a leopard-print shirt with a red bra over it. The lighting was also well timed, employed with tension-inducing dims and a couple of dramatic cuts to black. The playroom is the perfect space for a piece so dynamic that works so closely with the audience’s imagination – and to contradict the cliché, it actually didn’t feel ‘intimate’. It felt delightfully raucous and full. Ultimately, the performance was highly unique. Beyond the more literal fact that the show will have an entirely different plot and characters every night, many of the internal facets of the setup are different to your standard improv production. In one short hour, an unprecedented sense of characterisation was developed. The troupe expertly managed to sustain a watertight narrative structure, with the piece never feeling unbalanced or as if it were veering off in a strange or unnecessary direction. Direction from Moullet peppered the story with dramatic scene-juxtapositions and silent montages. In the spirit of Valentine’s, the show will undoubtedly leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling in the pit of your stomach, simultaneously without being too soppy. As O’Bryan-Tear concluded in the final dialogue of the night’s romantically improvised tale: “it might not work, and we’ll gloss over the small difficulties, but that is what love’s about”.
9/10 ADI GEORGE
16 Feburary 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
The ideal brownie for student life Lili Bidwell
erhaps the best comfort food, these gooey squares of chocolate can be enjoyed at any time of year for any occasion. Everyone’s Grandma has a secret recipe for brownies, some melt chocolate into the mixture, others add walnuts and some choose chocolate chips of all kinds. Some like theirs gooey, others chewy, others more cakelike, but trust me, there is a brownie for everyone. Even the chocolate-haters amongst us (seriously, who are these people?) can find solace in a blondie. When you need a chocolate hit, a brownie is the best choice, satisfyingly melting in your mouth and giving you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Whilst the supermarkets do their best to replicate these beauties (shout out to M&S brownie bites), nothing beats a homemade brownie fresh from the oven and eaten straight from the tin with a spoon, still so warm that the chocolate chips burn your tongue. Homemade brownies are a challenge at university, especially in Cambridge where, if, God forbid you ever had a moment spare to bake, the chances of you having an oven are pretty slim. Nevertheless, for the lazier among you (myself included, don’t worry) I have a solution to your number one first-world problem. Mug brownies. Mug brownies are perhaps my favourite food ever. Thank God we don’t have a microwave at home or I swear I would be as big as a house by now. These little babies can be cooked up in under five minutes, making them the perfect late night snack, or a much-needed sugar rush during that 4-o’clock slump. Flour, sugar, cocoa powder, butter and water, mixed in a mug. Two minutes rotating around inside every student cook’s best friend: the microwave. And there you are. A personal brownie just for you. Top with cream, ice cream, strawberries, caramel sauce, or even nothing – and I assure you, you will not be disappointed. The best thing about these brownies is the amount of diversity. The original recipe can be changed to your
tastes: add an egg for a more fluffy, cakey, result; cook for less or more time depending on how gooey you want it; and as for additional ingredients – the possibilities are endless! Oreos make a great addition for the vegans amongst us (only joking... but in all seriousness margarine instead of butter does make them vegan, and therefore healthy? Right?). Chocolate chips never go amiss, nor do nuts or even berries. M&Ms were the latest I tried, and I certainly would recommend, and go well with a swirl of peanut butter in the mixture too. In one desperate moment I shoved a Freddo whole into the middle, and as hasty as this decision was, I will never regret that beautiful day. If you’re feeling more adventurous – and you do have an oven – properly baked brownies are just as fun to make. Cooking is great as a destressing activity, and you’ll be the most popular flatmate for weeks. If buying all the ingredients seems a bit unneccesary, make a Rocky Road instead! Crushed digestives, swirled with milk chocolate and raisins or marshmallows, then frozen, is just as indulgent. Leaving some time in the week for cooking can be therapeutic, and will get you your dessert fix too! Overall, my advice to you is; treat yourself. Everyone likes a brownie and now they are so easy to make at home that you won’t have to settle for those pale imitations on offer in the nearest supermarket.
ABC OPEN RIVERLAND
Mug Brownie Recipe: Ingredients 4 tablespoons plain flour 4 tablespoons caster sugar 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 2 tablespoons water Chocolate chips
Escape the Bubble: Botanic Garden Cassia Price
t’s misty in the mornings on Coe Fen, damp and quiet. It provides a serenity very different from ticking library clocks and coffee shop buzz. The benches look out over the lower end of the river and company tends to be mostly birdlife. However, if duck-dodging isn’t for you and your idea of getting back to nature is keeping a basil plant on your college windowsill, walk a little further from town, down Trumpington Street, and past the Engineering faculty to the Botanic Garden. In the NBC/Yahoo series Community, Donald Glover’s character, Troy, finds a secret garden containing a trampoline on college grounds. It brings him total joy, but he is loath to share the source of his newfound happiness. I first visited the University Botanic Garden because of an association with Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, but instead of finding young love in a parallel dimension, I found Troy Barnes’s trampoline paradise. The Garden is open from 10am every day, CamCard holders have free entry. There’s a lovely, modern café if you haven’t already stopped at Hot Numbers on your way, and there’s something beautiful in bloom all year. I would not necessarily recommend a walk among the
manicured flower-beds until next term, dreary as this February weather is, but in the warmth, humidity, and abundant growth of the greenhouses, you might just find a bit of an escape, out of the bubble and into an overgrown womb of earthy smells and Latin-labelled leaves. The greenhouses are in the middle of the North side of the gardens, far enough from the roads and the cafés that they are completely peaceful, an advantage of the Botanic Garden over local parks or ‘pieces’. They feel like a kind of inverse Narnia, always summer, never touched by the torment of exams. Last February, I packed myself a sandwich and a copy of Far From the Madding Crowd (other, less appropriately titled books are also available) and sat among the cacti for a few hours, phone silenced. Since then, it’s been an invaluable resource. It’s a haven I’m not that keen to share, but people have started to notice my increased knowledge of scientific names for plants and succulents so I’m willing let you in on this leafy little secret. It’s Week 5 already, and sooner or later we’ll all be needing a break from the library, so maybe I’ll see you there. Hopefully, the plot twist involving a neo-Nazi gardener doesn’t happen to us, at least not in this timeline.
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
Playlist: Combating week five
Dee Dee Lee
ot to get existential, but the concept of ‘Week Five Blues’ is a counterproductive one: every week can be you week five, and every week can be stressful. Who knows, maybe week five will be your best week! Even if I do think that ‘week five blues’ is an antiquated artefact, fit for nothing better than a museum piece, we all need our happy songs sometimes. When you come home from that nasty two-hour seminar, or just a day that won’t go away, you’ll want a playlist to propel you through that mound of washing up. See that crusty oven dish full of old lasagne? These cheesy hits never sounded so good! This is meant to be a feel-good playlist, full of uplifting tunes. But prepare yourself for a sobering fact. I hope you’re sitting down. Did you know that it’s been six years since Beyoncé released ‘Love on Top’? I know, terrifying isn’t it? Console yourself in the knowledge that that is the worst thing you’ll have to face in week five. Do you need to feel alive again? Just listen to the song, and try to forget that when ‘Love on Top’ was released, Obama was still in the White House, Ed Miliband was still (gloriously) leading the Labour Party, and you were six years younger. How good was your summer? If it was good, put Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ on your playlist to evoke the hazy days of 2k16. If it was bad, put the tune on and look forward to next summer. The big discovery of 2016 was the French technoelectronica wunderkind Christine and the Queens. If you don’t know her, imagine how Florence and the Machine would sound if she was actually any good. Try the classic ‘Tilted’ for a slightly more mellow start to the week. If you’ve had enough of Fez’s edgy techno sounds, and
you want something clean, positive, and upbeat, then head back to the early 70s with John Martyn’s ‘Over the Hill’. If you are sick of funk during week five, and all you want is Daniel Powter’s ‘Bad Day’, stop being such a wet weed. Arguably last year’s best look-back at 70s and 80s funk and disco was Bruno Mars’ ‘24k Magic’. You might think it’s cheesy, but you’d be wrong. While we’re there, add in Stevie Wonder’s ‘Sir Duke’ to build up that brassy funk wall against the blues. Now, you might think I’m trolling you with this last number, but stick with me. Nothing can beat Vanessa Carlton’s ‘Thousand Miles’ for pure, unadulterated feelgood joy. There’s a sweet wholesomeness to the catchy piano lick. It might be mad and more than a bit silly, but there can’t be a better message than ‘be yourself ’. During week five – and also during every other week of term for that matter – pick the songs that make you happy and go have a listen. PIXABAY
DEE DEE LEE
hat is your favourite smell? Is it fresh bread, the sea, new books, or fried chicken? Mine is the smell of coffee. Over the years, and especially after traveling around Italy, my coffee habit has evolved and it has now become an essential part of my morning routine. I make my espresso with a moka pot, which was a gift from an Italian friend. It makes coffee by sending boiling water through ground up coffee granules, and was the best gift ever. In the mornings, my coffee is often ready before I am, leaving the kitchen filled with a lovely aroma – apologies to my flatmate! I also bought a milk frother to make my own cappuccinos, because I was disappointed by the cappuccinos from the buttery and decided life is too short for bad coffee. Now I make better cappuccinos than the buttery does and have saved enough on coffee to pay for a May Ball ticket! While in Cambridge coffee might be something you need to drink; in Italy it is a way of life. You can hardly find a single place that sells coffee-to-go. Rather, people go into a coffee bar in the morning and have an espresso with pastry. Some bars even serve espresso with a glass of sparkling water, intended to cleanse your palate before you sip your hot drink. I think the key is to take your time and really enjoy it, even if it is part of a routine.
Self-perception and body positivity Madeleine Iofchy
hen my friend Ellie Williams decided to create a magazine with a focus on ethical fashion and body positivity, I knew I wanted to get involved. I’ve always enjoyed fashion, keeping up with new collections of my favorite designers, as well as the changes in style over time. But I recognise, however, the importance of acknowledging that fashion is more than just pretty pictures, people, and clothes. It portrays an image of idealised beauty, showing people what is supposed to look good. Part of this is a concept of the body beneath the clothes it is wearing. The depiction of a body that is ‘right’ comes with the implicit notion that those that do not resemble this paragon of physical perfection are in their own ‘flawed’ ways, ‘wrong’. We are all aware of the skewed and narrow portrayal of beauty in films and magazines, but awareness doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect us: just because a person knows something doesn’t mean that the message hasn’t been internalized. At Garbage Magazine, we want to communicate that while the kinds of men and women who are hired to tell us what is fashionable and gorgeous might be beautiful, so are other people, and that’s worth acknowledging. The psychological effects of being marginalised in the media can damage self-perception, making someone feel lesser. By showing a wide range of
people in our photoshoots, we want to show that there is no single standard that everyone has to meet in their appearance. We also want to encourage body positivity, by recognising and celebrating all kinds of beauty in our photo campaigns. I had the chance to do a photoshoot for our most recent clothes sale, and apart from being lots of fun, and all the strange looks and enthusiastic compliments from tourists we got while strutting and posing down the street, Ellie also had us girls who modelled answer questions about what beauty meant to us, what made us feel beautiful, and what our favourite feature was. These were really difficult and frankly uncomfortable questions to answer. When I was trying to write out responses, I kept self-deprecating so I wouldn’t come off as arrogant, conceited, or too self-hating. I had to craft what would be deemed acceptable, not vain, and preferably not shallow answers to these questions. The trouble I had in answering these questions made me think about struggles with self-esteem that most of us go through. We want to make people understand that it’s normal to have self-doubt, but also that it’s okay to feel good about yourself. There’s nothing arrogant about being comfortable in your own skin. Corny though it may be, confidence is what’s beautiful, and so at Garbage, we adopt a body-positive ethos that encourages this.
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
To Depop or not Depop
Little Comets at The Junction
Pippa Smith Music Editor
ith Depop hitting over 2 million users, if you don’t have the app you either a) must have lost or broken your phone or b) have no interest in clothes and think Supreme is just a cheeky chicken dish. Either way, you should probably get to know the second-hand emporium that has its top sellers raking in thousands of pounds every week. The success of Depop demonstrates two over-egged but nevertheless fairly accurate characteristics of the millennial generation: lazy but entrepreneurial. I used to sell on eBay religiously, but when this alternative popped up that neither required entering in an encyclopedic list of details (including a definition), nor had any listing fees, I was easily converted – see ‘lazy’. Depop acts almost as a concentration of eBay’s finest and it makes me cringe to see the number of items I see on Depop that I had been watching or bidding on. Women definitely run the world of Depop and the app has a clearly gendered experience. Girls’ openness to a much wider range of styles has led to many more female sellers and buyers, and I’ve even met boys who have chosen to sell girls’ clothes rather than boys’, finding it easier. For girls, there is the choice of cheap, unlabelled pieces that my mum would declare to be ‘naff ’: boho floaty tops, flared trousers, big name designer brands like D&G and Dior, and high street brands such as TopShop. There has been a recent movement over to boys’ clothing, but scrolling down the list of suggested male users, it soon becomes clear that their stock almost entirely consists of
branded items. Supreme and Palace are the heavyweights, with Ralph Lauren, Hilfiger and Champion following at the heels. Ironically, despite my enthusiasm for selling on Depop, I buy clothes for myself on it extremely rarely. My unshakeably acute awareness that the item was probably bought for 50% of the price that it is now being re-sold at renders me reluctant to succumb to payment, when I could just have found it myself. Originally, I used to sell solely the old clothes that I no longer wore, but I now buy clothes to sell. Thus, Depop is essentially my weekend job that I use to raise funds to buy new clothes from brands like Sandro. That I actually quite enjoy spending hours scouring eBay finding the odd coveted item is a bonus.
Emer O’Hanlon Food & Drink Editor
have often found the Cambridge Junction an impressively intimate concert venue, but on this occasion the performances felt especially warm and familiar. Support band Eliza and the Bear opened with an energetically joyful set which really invigorated the crowd for the main event. They had a warm and relaxed attitude which married beautifully with their no-nonsense, upbeat sound. There was a strong vocal performance from lead singer James Kellegher, supported by charming folk-influenced music from the rest of the band. Highlights included the band’s rendition of their most well-known track, ‘It Gets Cold’ as well their closing song ‘Friends’.
The performance felt especially warm and familiar
Recipes: Homemade Pesto omemade pesto is one of the easiest things on the planet to make, and to do so, you need only a few simple ingredients (and about a gallon of olive oil). I won’t pretend that homemade pesto is a cheap treat – it’s far more expensive to make from scratch than a jar of Sacla. The first time you have to shell out the money for the ingredients, but after that, it becomes more economical. The sundried tomatoes and the nuts will keep for at least a couple more batches of pesto: the only perishables are the herbs and the garlic. Making your own once simply encourages you to do it more often. I find that the pesto can easily last for up to a week in the fridge, although be warned that the longer it stays in the fridge, the more oil it seems to need! Pesto is classically served with pasta and vegetables, but I find it’s good for more than just that. I use mine as a condiment in homemade burgers and as a dressing in brown rice and puy lentil salads. Deliciously Ella’s new book even suggests frying tofu in a little pesto, so don’t feel bound by the constraints of Italian cooking. Pesto is such a versatile ingredient, and a darn handy one to have ready in the fridge at all times. I don’t use cheese in my pestos, and never have done. When it’s homemade, the flavour of the nuts is really enough to let that richness shine through, and the saltiness of the sundried tomatoes at least is enough to make up for the loss of the cheese. In both recipes, blend all the ingredients together, and add olive oil until you get the right consistency – that of an oily, saucy paste.
GLEN BOWMAN VIA FLICKR
Sun-dried tomato pesto: This always feels like an indulgent treat, because everything involved is expensive and somehow decadent. 1/2 cup pine nuts ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes ½ cup fresh basil 3 cloves garlic Salt, pepper and olive oil to taste Olive oil Parsley pesto: This pesto is light and fresh, and it’s certainly very summery (sorry, I know that’s not what we’re in the mood for right now). It’s delicious as a condiment on the side of a veggie burger. 1/2 cup pine/ cashew nuts ½ cup parsley 2 cloves garlic Salt, pepper and olive oil to taste EMER O’ HANLON
Though Eliza and the Bear are rapidly gaining a large following and could easily play as head of the bill in the Junction, the majority of the crowd were there for Little Comets and the 5-piece dealt with this adeptly. They managed to work the crowd well with crowd-pleasing arrangements and a full stock of energy to play in a way that made dancing almost irresistible. Little Comets, therefore, had a tough act to follow, something which they themselves humbly acknowledged. Nonetheless, the laid back indie sound of this slick band could not fail to impress. These are clearly very talented musicians. At one point, one member seemed to be playing a keyboard, a guitar, and a drum machine all within the same track. A particularly stunning moment came when lead singer Robert Coles, then took to the keyboard and the band performed a tight vocal harmony with impressive moments of acapella. Coles’ voice was superb and reverberated beautifully around the venue, and the melodic guitar sections of songs complemented this very well. Admittedly, the band were overall fairly closed off from the audience and said very little. But I did not feel that we were excluded from the performance on stage and attributed this to a reserved character and commitment to making good music above stagemanship.
The new single sounded much better live than recorded The musical performance was certainly very strong, with good lighting to support both the more ethereal moments in the group’s back-catalogue as well as their catchy, up-beat tracks. The new single, ‘Common Things’ sounded much better live than it did when I listened to the recorded track which demonstrates the talent on display. Other memorable songs were ‘Bridge Burn’, “Dancing song’ and ‘One Night in October’, probably the band’s most well-known tracks. However, even the lesser known music spurred the audience into dance and delight; all in all, a pretty good Valentine’s night out.
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
The food lovers’ guide to Madrid Vicky Morrison
fter graduating from school two summers ago I, like many other people my age, decided to take a year off before starting university. Perhaps the most exciting and without doubt the most educational part of my year was living abroad for four months in Madrid, in arguably the most stylish of Madrid’s barrios, Malasaña. With its countless vintage shops, bookstores, retro bars, and boutique cafes, which populate the street artadorned alleys and squares, and are frequented by crowds of intimidatingly-cool madrileños, this bustling cultural haven was just one of the regions which enabled me to experience a fascinatingly different life in the heart of Spain’s capital city. I made it my personal mission to taste the culinary splendours of a rather impressive number of Madrid’s cafés, restaurants, bars and stalls. VICKY MORRISON
Below I’ll recommend just a few of my favourite spots to eat and drink in one of my favourite cities in the world. Cafés You can’t truly appreciate Madrid without embracing its rich café culture; tomar un café is more than merely a way of starting a day, it is a social event, and, particularly in the region where I lived, also a fashion statement. It’s safe to say that my trusty box of PG Tips was frowned upon. Café Bico is famed for its latte art, and it did not disappoint. Ambitiously, I asked for them to attempt an elephant latte, and it may have been one of the best moments of my life when they brought it to me (see below). Then again, I am quite easily amused. Gourmet Experience (top floor of El Corte Inglés) is an open floor of various food stalls, ranging from tapas to sushi bars. Granted, everything is a bit pricey, but it’s worth going just for the stunning views of Madrid (and the Palmera pastries). This is a must for any tourist in Madrid.
and the cacao smoothie Unsurprisingly, Meat is a burger joint which focuses on the quality of its beef. The title is as simple as its general approach; ‘el Cheeseburger’ is the only option on the menu, and it does the job very well. Situated in what appears to be a university building, Bosco de Lobos (Hortaleza, 63) is a library-inspired pizza restaurant which left me in awe. The pizza was ridiculously good, and the décor was wonderful. It almost made me excited to start university. Almost. Churrerías It goes without saying that churros are a big deal in Spain, and the 24-hour churreria is Madrid’s most famous one. Yep, churros are the best drunk food on earth and for this reason alone you should go to Madrid. That is all. VICKY MORRISON
Restaurants The term ‘restaurant’ here is used loosely. I wasn’t raking in the cash as an 18-year old au pair, so I had to make do with a slightly limited budget. The ‘restaurants’ below are more like affordable and delicious lunch spots. Federal Café is renowned for its hipster vibe and tasty plates of food. Located in the heart of Malasaña, the food is almost as quirky and attractive as its clientele. Must tries include: Shakshuka eggs, salmon and spinach omelette,
LGBT+ Books Retrospective: Arctic Monkeys Cait Findlay The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller Knowledge of Greek mythology is not necessary to read about the love affair between Patroclus and Achilles, explored here in sensitive detail – it can be read purely as a romance, with some fighting between the Trojans and the Greeks on the side. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan Levithan tells the stories of several different teenagers as they navigate their sexualities and gender identities, centred around the story of two boys who are attempting to break the record for the world’s longest kiss. It is written with an awareness of the AIDS crisis, a harrowing time in history which we should never forget. The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters Sarah Waters is an incredible writer with many works about LGBT+ characters under her belt, including Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith. The Night Watch is set during WWII, and follows the lives of four characters backwards through time, meaning we discover what made the characters who they are, rather than simply following what happens to them. An emotional and beautifully written book; well worth a read. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson This is one of the most significant works of queer fiction, considering the interplay between orthodox faith and ‘abnormal’ sexualities. It is powerful, poignant, and also relatively short – why not try to squeeze it in between your next essays?
rctic Monkey’s debut album, Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not, is one of our generation’s all time favourites. The drums that start ‘The View from the Afternoon’ were for me, in 2006, the most exciting music I’d heard. That doesn’t say an awful lot about my earlier exposure to music, but certainly, this album marked a personally significant transition into being an indie kid. But who couldn’t be, listening to this? More than ten years on, the album is still pure exhilaration. Musically, the album is a raucous thrill ride. It’s one hell of a statement of intent for what music should sound like, the scraping guitars and deafening drums in ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ blare fantastically. But there is also a great deal of control on other tracks – ‘Riot Van’ and ‘Mardy Bum’, for instance. When it needs to be loud, though, Arctic Monkeys don’t disappoint. The musicality of this album is great. This is something not based on any great talents of the band, but the unstoppable force they played with. Most brilliant on the album are the lyrics of Alex Turner. His inspiration from John Cooper-Clarke has been more recently shown through the band’s cover of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, and that rebellious punk-poet spirit is present in Turner’s earlier lyrics. This is most obvious in ‘When the Sun Goes Down’, but also on ‘From the Ritz to Rubble’: Turner’s witty condemnation of the “totalitarian” bouncers outside a club. He’s also a master of the love song: ‘Mardy Bum’ and ‘A Certain Romance’ are both favourites of the contemporary,
computer-loving generation that shot Arctic Monkeys to fame. The latter is a particularly special and overlooked finale. It’s in many ways a classic song about homecoming and love, a narrator who feels he’ll never be understood by anyone else – but here it’s a hell of a lot grittier, told from the perspective of a Sheffield council estate, with that dickhead drinking tinnies, kids fighting with pool cues. It’s difficult to pay tribute to this album in such few words. Two number one singles came from it, the album was the fastest selling in British history in 2006, and its influence is still being felt today in every British indie band that followed. The album is also suffused with nostalgia for me; it was the first album I bought myself, and the music was and remains, as I said, massively exciting, and has never quite been matched. THE ARCTIC RG VIA YOUTUBE
16 February 2017 • The Thursday Magazine • The Cambridge Student
The TCS staff show their favourite room decorations
Guess the subject
Keep collecting postcards!
Illustrations add an individual touch
Fairylights make any room inviting!
Photographs of your inspirations (and pets!)
Less isn’t always more
A beachy vibe
Add fabric to liven up old furniture
Welcome in the spring with florals
The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
shaped and by whom?
Features Mythbusting: The Oxbridge stereotype Calum McCain
he Oxbridge stereotype – most students here will be aware of it as involving private schools, thick wallets, chinos, and a castle hidden somewhere in the country. Films like The Riot Club have done little to deconstruct the stereotype, and the recent attempt of a first-year Cambridge student to burn a £20 note in front of a homeless person has only exacerbated public opinion. But as many people who go to Cambridge here will also know, the Oxbridge reputation is far from an accurate reflection of the student body. According to a recent Higher Education Statistics Agency report, Cambridge has only the ninth highest percentage of privately schooled pupils. To be fair, it is still in the top ten on the list, but, given its reputation as an elitist establishment, it is not bad progress. Admittedly, the colleges do little to change public perception of Cambridge: formals, matriculation, and the exuberant usage of gowns all fall into the hands of the reporter looking for an easy article on the rich versus poor split in access to Oxbridge. However, these traditions are testament to Cambridge’s rich history, and the hard work and effort that we have put into securing a place at Cambridge, regardless of economic background. Even those with money are usually
discreet about it. Apart from the occasional slip of ‘you should see the view from my chalet in the Alps’ in conversations, it is pretty hard to distinguish them from the typical middle class, grammar-schooleducated student population. A quick skim through Memebridge nevertheless brings up another aspect of Cambridge’s reputation – the endless work students face. Memes chart the multiple stages of suffering under supervisions and essays, and I have complete sympathy with those who have made these works of art. They highlight some truth in the reputation of the university: the environment is high pressure. But this itself is evidence of how hard we worked to get here – places are given to those who deserve them. However, one thing worthy of criticism is the infamous dining societies. Our very own Pitt Club and the Bullingdon Club in Oxford have been immortalised as the clubs to join if you want to make it in the political scene. The Bullingdon Club, especially, has been known for its outlandish behaviour, doing little in the way of changing Oxford’s reputation and, by association, ours. Nevertheless, these societies are merely a minority of the student population. It is just wrong to generalise us all as part of one identity. BEATRICE OBE
The Culture Conundrum: How much does culture shape identity? Caithlin Ng Features Editor
dentity is a question that has always bothered me. It is something we all try to puzzle out and define as we grow, but for me, it is also something that has deep roots in the culture to which I belong, and the country I am from. The influence of culture on identity is not merely conjecture on my part; psychologist Merlin Donald suggests that ‘the key to understanding the human intellect is not so much the design of the individual brain as the synergy of many brains’. Identity is certainly linked to individuality, and yet it cannot be completely detached from culture. Culture is itself an abstract concept. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as ‘the distinctive ideas, customs, social behaviour, products, or way of life of a particular nation, society, people, or period’, yet most nations and societies are far from isolated in this age. Growing interconnectedness of the world entails the blurring of boundaries and differences, but herein lies a problem for me.
I exist in the overlap of two worlds
Home, for me, is Singapore. It is a small, young country, one which will celebrate only 52 years of independence this year, and its culture can perhaps be best described as a coalescence of Asian and Western influences – about 80 percent of people speak English as their first language. I have always thought of myself as existing in the overlapping sphere of two worlds – one, with its Asian traditions, and another, dominated by Western ways. It is an inevitable symptom of our young, mixed culture, particularly reinforced by the way in which I was raised us with a leaning toward the latter Western world. I grew up celebrating Christmas and Easter, watching the Discovery and Disney Channels, devouring books from Roald Dahl to Orwell. I picked up American slang from films and incorporated that into my language. I was, in many ways, a product of Western culture. But I celebrated Chinese New Year too, lighting candles during the Lantern Festival and watching my grandmother burn incense. Learning your mother tongue is compulsory in schools, so the Chinese
language was a part of my life for many years. I remember labouring over Chinese characters, railing against how I had to learn them even though English came so much more naturally to me. Singapore represents two vastly different cultures pooling together to form an entirely new one, but the pull of Westernisation grew stronger the older I got, and eventually there was a compromise of Asian culture. The seeds of it are, in some way, already planted in Singapore’s culture, but I made an unconscious decision to take it further. I never watched local television programmes or incorporated Singaporean slang into my words. I knew more about American and English history than I knew about Asia’s, and the Chinese language now trips heavily over my tongue. Yet, I remember the looks we would get when we travelled overseas, the instant pigeonholing of us as loud and ostentatious Chinese tourists. Even here in Cambridge, I am often instantly assumed to be a tourist, or to be vastly ignorant of Western ways. For many
years, I struggled with the unfairness of how my compromise still never fully changed the way I was perceived. I existed in the overlap of two worlds, yet I could never embrace just one fully; I used to resent how Singapore’s culture seemed to innately present an identity crisis. Not all Singaporeans feel this way, of course; it was the personal way that I reacted to the diverse culture that engendered this particular feeling. It is still something I think about today, but with much less resentment. Along the way, I have come to realise that so much need not have been compromised. I based decisions on the desire to conform to what seemed like a homogenous Western culture and perception, but why should I define myself based on strangers’ fleeting opinions? I am no less less annoyed when I am dismissively judged by other people because of the way that I look, but it does mean that I feel less of a need to reject certain aspects of Asian culture. There are some things that have been irrevocably lost, but there are future compromises that no longer need to be made.
16 Feburary 2017 • The Cambridge Student
The Long Read:
Radio Silence: The Media and Myanmar Selective reporting of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government is detrimental to the democratic process
n 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD Party won a landslide victory, claiming 86% of the vote. Despite the military still holding significant power across Myanmar, the first democratic elections in 25 were hailed as a victory across the world. Freedom reigned; after nearly a century of unrest, Myanmar, and the media, celebrated the nation as a bastion of 21st century liberation. The story of the Nobel Peace Prize winner is a well publicised one. Daughter of the ‘father of modern Myanmar’, Aung San, she was educated at Oxford and went on to work for the UN. She came to prominence during the 1988 Uprisings; her message of non-violence and support for overthrowing military rule resulting in house arrest the following year. Her time as a political prisoner is well documented: Suu Kyi’s decision to stay in Myanmar (and thus be imprisoned) had personal implications; separated from her children and husband, her isolation became a symbol of the injustices of Myanmar. To many, she was the icon of a struggle for freedom. Her appeal was wide-ranging, both within the country and internationally. Myanmar’s history is marked by increasingly complicated political changes. A series of ill-prepared generals ruled the latter half of the 20th century, guided by superstition and suspicion. Natural disasters (most notably Cyclone Nagris in 2008) have ravaged the country and many areas are still attempting to recover, with malnutrition widespread. Importantly, Myanmar should not be fetishised as some bastion of mythical orientalist wonder: its mystery lies solely in oppressive political regimes, and this should be acknowledged in any discussion. Nonetheless, this is a nation with impressive rights for women: maternity leave is generous, and occupational opportunities are
impressively equal between sexes. As a nation of various states, Myanmar’s individual ethnic groups, languages, and cultures are as intertwined as the history of the country itself. Its diversity, then, is its strength. Except in one case. While journalists were writing coy editorials about the power of democracy in Myanmar, they were also turning a blind eye to what essentially amounts to ethnic cleansing. In the north-west of Myanmar, the state of Rakhine is home to the Rohingya, a Muslim group with disputed ancestry. To the Myanmar elite, they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh; to others, they are an ethnically Burmese group. Imperial influence here is undeniable – typically, as the British left, such issues became the responsibility of the new government. Of course, there is not room for every complication of internal south-east Asian politics to be covered in their depth in broadsheets. However, the issue with the Rohingya is something more than bureaucracy. The first hint of Aung San Suu Kyi’s discriminatory views in mainstream media was in a BBC interview with Mishal Husain last year. That everlurking arbiter of public justice, the left-on-mic, caught her saying ‘no one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim’ in response to the journalist’s questions. Needless to say, this was met with criticism in the British media. What was more telling than the condemnation, however, was the surprise – the Oxford educated woman, and supposed symbol of 21st century democracy, was not meant to say things like this. Fundamentally, the links between these comments, and the massacre and ghettoisation of the Rohingya were not made. It is difficult to discern what is truthfully happening in Rakhine state. The Rohingya are not entitled to state help as they are not technically viewed as Burmese nationals. Malnutrition, high mortality rates, and child marriage are common; displacement
Separated from her family, Suu Kyi’s isolation became a symbol of the injustices of Myanmar.
widespread. Villages have been burnt in their entirety by security services, resulting in homelessness, or the dangerous trip across the border into Bangladesh. The government, of course, denies the atrocities were in any way premeditated by them. However, a UN report on the topic has suggested the actions of the security forces amount to ethnic cleansing; the targeted attacks are crimes against humanity. In October, an organised group of Rohingya attacked a police force on the border. This was used as an excuse for a further crackdown: initial reports of a few casualties was recently revised to more than 1,000 Rohingya deaths. According to the Financial Times, ‘as of early February, about 1,500 houses in 30 villages had been torched and nearly 70,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh’. The fact that such horror could go relatively unnoticed by mainstream media is terrifying. Of course, Suu Kyi is not totally to blame. Her personal power is constitutionally limited to Prime Minister as her sons are British; the 25% of seats the military hold in the Lower House of Parliament is indicative of the junta’s lingering
It is difficult to discern what is truthfully happening in Rakhine state.
power. However, Suu Kyi’s comments, and the refusal to acknowledge the Rohingya as a defined group demonstrate a much wider cultural problem. There is a systematic denial here that amounts to racism: and this racism has in turn led to human rights abuses. Posters criticising Suu Kyi often show her wearing a headscarf and equating ‘sympathy for Muslims’ with poor leadership. Evidently, there are normalised discriminatory practices that make aid for the Rohingya all the more unlikely. Suu Kyi’s reforms in other areas have been too slow for some. However, her wide-ranging support almost dictates sensitivity – in order to please a nation of very different people, from the Yangon businessmen to the delta rice-farmers, radical change will be difficult, at least in the short term. However, bureaucratic criticism and the destitution of a race are two separate things. It would be morally unjust to contextualise this as just another slow development – the rhetoric (or lack thereof) regarding the official position on the Royingya demonstrates something much more worrying.
Of course, commenting on Myanmar’s systematic oppression is complicated by the fact that I am a white, British, educated individual. Imposing politics informed by Western ideals is exactly the attitude that formed modern South East Asia. Nonetheless, murder on the basis of race is an issue that should not be clouded by navel-gazing. The horror of north-western Myanmar, and the media silence on the issue, is something that requires comment. It seems, therefore, incredibly important that we are vigilant. The scenes in Rakhine state are terrifying: these people are stateless, and essentially voiceless. In an ever-more divisive and violent world, to be well-informed is to be powerful; to be vocal a necessity. The media silence on the issue is indicative of how little one can truly know. Such injustices must be happening elsewhere, and it is only through being active one can find out about such atrocities. Being aware of Human Rights Watch’s work, reading Al-Jazeera’s less ‘mainstream’ reports, questioning the news, and being observant is the first step towards international pressure.
In an ever-more divisive and violent world, to be well-informed is powerful; to be vocal is a necessity.
The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
What no one says about being mixed race A week in the life: Sam Raby
rowing up, everyone from anwho belongs to an ethnic minority in the UK has a realisation that they are not the same as everyone else. In primary school it inevitably crops up: both ‘where are you from? London? No you’re not, not really’ and ‘there are too many Indians in this country, we should get rid of some.’ Suddenly the carefully constructed, multicultural, narrative of you as a Briton, as someone who belongs in Britain is whisked away from underneath you. The New Labour rug is pulled from beneath your feet and you come crashing abruptly down. Add to this the constant negative chattering about ‘immigrants’ and ‘minorities’ on the news and high profile incidences of racism in the public (notably the Jade Goody/Shilpa Shetty controversy on Big Brother as I was growing up), and you realise that you will never have your citizenship for free. There will always be people who either openly or subconsciously don’t want you, or people like you, to live where you do and as you do, just because of the colour of your skin and the foreignness that it symbolises. Only a few months ago someone yelled ‘Wog!’ at me from the window of a passing van and the utter hatred on the man’s face for everything I was, was just astonishing. It’s hard to accept, especially as a child, that there’s nothing you can do. It’s
innate, irreversible, and no amount of daydreaming or scratching your arms will get the stain out. At the time I wanted more than anything to be white, to be normal, and to be allowed to be British just like everyone else. After recovering from this crisis of identity, which in my case required time and a bout of counselling, you leave with this latent certainty that you are not white English. You are something else. ‘Racism’ in the popular sense of the word is so reviled that many well-meaning white people tip-toe around the issue and wouldn’t tell you face to face that you aren’t the same as them. Deep down however both you and they know that’s the case. In reaction to the overwhelming and, to me, alien cultural whiteness and Englishness of Cambridge – the pubs, the roast dinners, the Great British Bake Off – I would emphasise my British Asian-ness wherever possible. Yes, I went to school in North London; yes, my parents expected a lot of me; yes, chicken shops and popular rap music were cool. While this common ground was fruitful in Cambridge however, back in London the fact that I wasn’t a real Indian was quickly identified by thoroughbred minorities. ‘I’ve always listed you as a white guy’, said one Hindi friend at a restaurant.’ How perplexed would the seven-year-old me who was desperate to be white have been if he came across that thought. ‘You’re only Asian when it suits you’, jibed a friend of mine. Maybe she had a point. I seemed to
Your body and your identity are not your own.
be running between the two races that made me up. It wasn’t that I didn’t, and indeed don’t, see any whiteness in me, either physically or culturally. Nor is it the case that I see anything wrong with it. It’s just that the whiteness would only be acknowledged by brown people and the brownness only by white. This is a quintessential part of being mixed – your body and your identity are not stable and they are not your own. People are clamouring to pin you down, figure you out. To some, you’re an exotic Asian boy wolfing down his curry at home, and to others you’re just another member of the overwhelming white majority. If you’re ambiguous, as I am, no one can easily cram you into a box in the same way. Iran? Italy? Portugal? Egypt? Each guess is so disparate and you are so fleetingly linked up to a new country, people, and set of stereotypes each time that it reinforces your disconnect from where you are actually from. There’s a big question mark over my head, and, in some respects, I’m even fond of that. Being hard to put in an ethnic box means that people can’t judge me quite as much before I even open my mouth, and feeling as if I have no specific ethnicity doesn’t stop me from feeling ethnic in general. There are experiences and cultural ideas that unite ethnic groups do not understand, which can forge meaningful connections, especially in London. Being mixed is not straightforward, but I have come to accept that.
VoxPop: “How do you deal with Week 5 blues?”
A Valentine’s card
Monday: Valentine’s Day is fast approaching – only one day left. Should you buy a card? If so, which one? Is it okay to write ‘I love you’ if you have not said it in person yet? All these questions surround me in the Sainbury’s aisle – all I want is to get off this shelf! Finally, I make my way into a sweaty boy’s hand. He fumbles for two pounds and hastily shoves me out of sight into the depths of his bag. Tuesday: My moment has come. A shaking hand tentatively passes me to a smaller, softer hand. It must be the girlfriend. She shyly opens my envelope and reads inside. Wednesday: The morning after the night before. Granted, I have already had my finest moment, but there is still much fun to come. I spend today being constantly read and re-read as my owner takes endless breaks from essay writing to caress my shiny exterior and trace the careful handwriting inside. Every so often, she will take a photo of me from a new angle to send to an excited friend. The fame is getting to me as I start to crease. Thursday: Today is terrible. Having spent the night under her pillow, an angry phone conversation this morning has led her to reconsider her relationship, and she decides to take it out on me. Brutally ripped into tiny little pieces by her manicured nails I am thrown into the bin, soggy from her tears. Friday: So here I remain, watching the world go by from my waste-paper basket prison. Snuggled up with the pencil sharpenings at least I am not cold. Boom. A soggy teabag lands on top of me. Really not an ideal situation here. I’m starting to wish I was back on the Sainsbury’s shelf.
My moment has come. A shaking hand tentatively gives me to another... “I don’t think it’s a thing they’re all blue.”
“I don’t get them. I get Week 6 blues instead.”
Kate, Trinity Hall
“Go home to see my family.”
“Go watch Lion!”
Saturday: At last, I am out! The girl sheepishly picks me out of the bin, cursing herself for having been so stupid, and desperately trying to do the jigsaw to put me back Kate, Caius together. I am certainly not going to be making this easy for her, not how after how she treated me. Even so, after an hour of toiling away she has successfully patched me back together with her finest sellotape. And, lucky me, I am treated to one more night under her pillow.
Dee Dee Lee, Homerton
Sunday: Sunday comes, the day of rest, and here I am, stuck in the midst of a changeable relationship, not quite knowing where any of us stand. Boy visits girl; I hear them from my hiding place under the perfectly plumped-up pillow. They are going to give it a go, to try again at this failing relationship. Scrap the past week – they are starting with a clean slate. And so I go into her box of memories, next to the photo of her ten-year-old self with pigtails, and a birthday card from Grandma. Here I will no doubt stay, here to remind her of that Valentine’s day, that year.
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
Violinist and conductor Stephanie Childress talks to TCS Molly Moss
ou don’t forget a Stephanie Childress performance. On stage she is calm and collected, and hours of technical practice translate into effortlessness. I meet her in the slightly cramped downstairs Costa in Cambridge, and I’m shocked that she seems nervous. “I better think about what I’m saying”, she tells me. Childress seems a lot wiser than her soon-to-be 18 years would suggest. Unlike a lot of musicians, her family isn’t particularly musical. She started the violin at six, and the piano at five, and though this sounds young, it’s best to get as many formative years as you can under your belt. “My first teacher actually told me I was too old and shouldn’t pick the violin up,” she admits. “A lot of my friends started playing when they were three or four.” Childress plays a violin made by Gambetti in 1710. It’s gorgeous, she says. “I remember during my exam term I didn’t touch it because I was so in the zone, and, when I came back to it, I remembered what an amazing instrument it was.” Although she loves the rush of performing, she also appreciates the necessity of exploring the cerebral, and of considering the more theoretical and historical side of music. A lot of people are surprised that only
“A lot of my friends started when they were three or four”
10% of the Music course is practical performance, and, Childress laughs, “people ask me: music, is that a real subject? Yes, it is. I study history. I write essays. I swear I write more essays than history students.” The course at Cambridge teaches about the inner workings of the music, and how to interpret and analyse things. She sees studying music as one of the best things to have happened to her. “When I chose Cambridge I knew I wanted to study music, ultimately that is what I wanted to do, with a good dollop of violin.” Not everyone can lead such a hectic and successful life as Childress does, particularly at Cambridge and, when I ask her how she manages, she says, “that’s what has been the most exciting thing – trying to fit everything into the day. It’s always a challenge.” Last term, she conducted an opera at St John’s, and is planning another for next term. She admits that since coming to Cambridge it has been a challenge to fit in the hours of practice. “When I was at home back at school I’d do maybe three to four hours, which is not a huge amount by any standard. “When I’m outside of term I like to get up in the morning and practise but, when I’m here, I do an hour here and an hour there. I’m very lucky that my lectures are scattered round and I have Wednesdays and Fridays off. “A lot of the day is spent planning, planning for concerts, and doing
admin. People don’t realise how much admin goes into being a performer, and keeping yourself in the loop. Last year I went to London about four times.” Childress goes running to relax and listens to her “kind of insane” Spotify playlist. Depending on what mood she’s in, she listens to Muse, Queen, or Frank Sinatra. She’s a big fan of jazz. The last album she bought was Lady Gaga’s new album Joanne.
“There were too many broken bones”
Part of being a musician is thinking about all aspects of music, she tells me. When she was younger, she used to play rugby. “When you’re young you just get to run around. You don’t get to do that at university.” As the interview ends, however, Stephanie promises nothing will get in the way of her playing. The ice-skating had to stop, she admits. “There were too many broken bones.”
Talking to a PhD supervisor on the stress of teaching Matt Gurtler
ick Mayhew is a third year PhD student at Jesus College, working in the department of Slavonic studies. He teaches two translation classes and runs supervisions for the first-year Russian culture paper. So how did you get involved with teaching undergraduates? In theory, it’s meant to be part of our professional training. In your second year, they’re likely to ask you to do teaching, because they think that it’s important for your professional development. We could potentially just sit in a room for three years and no one would want to employ us. Of course, there is also the fact that there is a really heavy teaching burden and there is nobody to do it. If I didn’t do the translation class, I don’t really know who they would get to do it, because everybody is on sabbatical. I can’t remember how it came about, I think Rory [Head of department of
Slavonic studies] probably just sent me exploitative of people who are not full because she found it very stressful. I way in which students engage with time members of staff, who they get to think many PhD students might feel PhD students would be different to an email. do a lot of teaching, but they have on insecure teaching, because they don’t the way in which they would engage How do you find teaching as part of zero-hour contracts. necessarily have confidence. PhD with a professor, and I don’t know a PhD? students sometimes don’t understand whether that’s for better or for worse. I think I was excited to do it. Surely Do you feel it’s a big time the extent to which everybody is In some ways, it’s more difficult for academic work is also about teaching? commitment that takes you away “bullshitting” in the teaching scenario, a PhD student, depending on their – what’s the point of learning from your research? in the academic scenario, and in life in age to forge the same professional relationship with their students something if you can’t also explain it Sometimes yes and sometimes no. general. to somebody? Additionally, because It depends on what you’re like as a It’s also to do with students. The because the age gap is quite small. I was taught by people who I really person. I actually don’t spend huge MONTESBRADLEY respected, in some way being asked amounts of time on it, I think it’s a to teach is legitimising. It implies that matter of efficiency. But in my experience, just having somebody has confidence in you, and your research to do, doesn’t mean that that’s quite nice. But I think I found it stressful to start you will do your research. I’m much with, because initially I wasn’t really more productive when I have a variety sure how to do it. I wasn’t convinced of things to do, when I’m actually that I would be good at doing all of busy; I’m more likely to actually do my it or any of it. There’s quite a lot of PhD. It helps to have structure. room for paranoia, I think. But when I got into doing it, I understood that Do you know of other people who it didn’t matter. You can admit that are having a much better or a much worse experience? you’re wrong about something. It’s also quite a good source of Some people don’t like it. One of my revenue. So, for me it works quite peers did the same teaching as me well, but I think the University, and last year and this year basically said universities in general, can be kind of that she doesn’t want to do any of it
The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
Director of Careers Service: “Making the most of your time” Will Tilbrook
ordon Chesterman has worked at the Careers Service for nearly 20 years now, 12 of those years working as the Director. Sitting down with him to talk about what the careers service has to offer and the challenges that students face, I get the sense that Chesterman has seen a lot of change over that time. He talks about his background in recruitment and publishing and reflectively jokes: “Those were in the days before the Internet.” This is something we talk a lot about: how the world being connected online has changed the game for employers and employees. “It was very easy as you used to get a few thousand applications for 500 jobs, but now with the Internet, employers get 40, 50, 60 applications for everything. So, in a way, things are now harder for both the student and the employer.” This paints a somewhat gloomy picture, but the Cambridge Careers
Service has significant success when it comes to providing graduates with prospects. It was ranked best in the UK and fourth best in the world by Times Higher Education last November, and he tells me that by the end of first year, up to 60% of undergraduates on some courses have had some contact with the service, and by the end of third year this rises to 90%. I am impressed and ask why he thinks so many first years, particularly, are flocking to the service: “It’s driven partly by employers, requiring more relevant experience placements, on CVs, and students are conscious of that, but importantly, making the most of your time at Cambridge for the three or four years they’re here. To get a good degree, but also to get some of the other attributes that an employer would be looking for later on. […] It’s important to do extra-curricular activities whilst here at Cambridge to fill in some of those gaps.” I ask Chesterman whether he thinks being barred from paid employment
during term time puts Cambridge students at a disadvantage compared with applicants who have gone to other universities where you can work, and he acknowledges it is a concern for some students. “It might be a minor disadvantage if you’re hoping to pursue a career in the sector one would have worked in during term time. But I keep harping back to the fact that it is best to get a good degree than to have had ten hours a week work experience in a non-graduate level job. And we do have very long vacations compared with other universities.” The talk of difficulties faced by students turns to Brexit: “Interestingly, I think Brexit will present this University with all the challenges that are well-known, but also I think opportunities for our students as well. There has been a lot of comment recently that those with language skills are being sought after by employers and government as well, and that can be not necessarily through studying
foreign languages here.” I conclude that employers must be looking for well-rounded candidates who are able to weather these challenges, and he agrees. “When I was at PwC UK, we used to get really worried about someone heading for a first, in that, often in that particular industry, the skills that we were looking for would have been acquired outside the lab or the library.” He highlights that “65% of employers who come to [the Careers Service] don’t care a damn what degree discipline you study here at Cambridge” and this seems to suggest a significant flexibility on the part of the employers. However, I suggest that this flexibility may make it difficult for students to find these occupations which don’t fit into any given career path. I ask what the service can do to direct students to these careers. “If you sat down in the chair and said: ‘I’m very interested in trends, I’m highly numerate, I have fairly strong IT skills,
I like looking at forecasting, planning, interpreting data’, and I said ‘well have you thought about data analytics?’ And you said ‘no, what’s that?’, then we could talk at more length about that, get you in touch with some alumni who were working in that field who you could talk to, I would have told you about the event, shown you vacancies in that area, and then you can begin to lift the cover off that career sector.” Following each person who comes to the Careers Service through the process of finding a job, from start to finish, seems to be its hallmark, though Chesterman is keen to warn finalists not to rush to the service in their final months at university: “If you’re still floundering, confused, worried by the end of March, please focus on that final exam. The Careers Service is here to help you once you’ve graduated.” Indeed, this appears to be true – “You’re entitled to use this for life. We had a 67-year-old come in the other day! So with careers changers, we can help you too.” JAMES WALDEN
Creating ‘Tell me about’: Students start short video series Lili Bidwell
hree second-year students at Jesus College have founded Tell me about, a new enterprise which aims to make the knowledge found in the Cambridge ‘bubble’ accessible to the wider public. James and Patrick study Physics, while Caspar studies HSPS. So what is Tell me about? Tell me about is a series of short videos where Cambridge students interview leading experts on a variety of interesting topics. James appreciates the vast quantity of knowledge present in Cambridge, and these videos seek to make what we learn more accessible to the general public. For Caspar, our University is a great resource that needs to be shared. By speaking to experts they differentiate themselves from the majority of
University is a great resource that needs to be shared
popular science channels. The interview setup, says Patrick, makes the videos seem more accessible because the viewer is able to put themselves in the student’s place.
that anyone from the age of about 16 or more would be able to understand the content of the videos. It has also been recognised as a useful tool for potential Cambridge applicants.
Why are you doing this and what made you want to start it? They all really enjoy making the videos, and Patrick says he often learns a lot about topics he previously did not know much about. Caspar speaks about the positive support that get from their friends, who are eager to introduce them to their lecturers, and James adds how helpful their friends are when it comes to helping them plan the interview questions.
How have the lecturers you who have appeared in your videos reacted? Patrick explained how interest has grown as more people have found out about the project. Caspar points out that the people who teach here all want to spread their knowledge as much as possible, and this is an idea way to do so, using the Internet as a platform. Especially in this day and age, the online and digital medium is one to be harnessed as effectively as possible.
Who is your target audience? In short, anyone and everyone. James explains that the whole point is that anyone who is interested is able to access these resources, and they hope
How have people responded to your videos so far? Both Jesus College and the University have helped by sharing the videos on
It has been recognised as a useful tool for potential applicants
their social media, in order to attract as much attention as possible. James says the overall response has been good, but it can be difficult to reach their target audience and to include people outside of Cambridge. Nevertheless, CUSU have expressed an interest in using these videos for shadowing schemes, showing they have a precise use in this respect, and despite not being their original aim. The group are happy that the videos can be of use to prospective students. What is your long term aim with this? James says he would like to build it up as much as possible during their time in Cambridge. Patrick thinks that the ideal would be to create a self-sustaining platform which could be passed on to future students, something that would be possible were the videos to gain enough traction.
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
Are individuals responsible for upholding the University’s reputation? Cait Findlay
he Ronald Coyne incident involving a student being filmed setting alight a £20 note in front of a homeless man, a display of wanton entitlement and sheer inhumanity, is no longer news to the student body. The response of students has, for the most part, been one of shock and disgust, and has precipitated a greater push towards raising money for charities that support homeless people. One can only hope that this effort will last longer than the media storm which has begun to die down. However, since the event has become national news we must inevitably ask ourselves what responsibility, if any, we have towards the reputation of the University. Whether we like it or not, our behaviour and actions are intrinsically bound up with our position as students here. Coyne’s behaviour, though it is not representative of the whole student body, will serve to perpetuate the idea that all Cambridge students are wealthy, arrogant, and elitist. This perception is by no means undeserved. 37.8% of students admitted to Cambridge last year went to private schools, a figure which is completely
disproportionate to the fact that only 14% of sixth-form students are privately educated. Of course, not all students in private education have wealthy parents to whom money is not a pressing concern, but incidents such as this do not inspire people to consider nuance and context. Assumptions and generalisations are made immediately, and this will not be a story that is forgotten quickly. Reputation is power, and reputation is important to the University. In this respect, we should use our position as students to raise awareness of issues within the University which are not directly related to our own behaviour. This is necessary so that the changes are made to make Cambridge a more inclusive, more diverse, and better place to live and study, for both “town” and “gown”. It would be impossible and impractical for every student to monitor all of our actions and the potential repercussions upon the University’s reputation. Sometimes, in cases on a far smaller scale which are not directly linked to privilege and entitlement, as Coyne’s case is, problematic behaviour is a result of the general idiocy of students. It becomes an issue of determining where behaviour stops representing students as a whole, and where it starts being particularly
It was a display of wanton entitlement and sheer inhumanity
emblematic of attitudes and behaviour that flourish in the atmosphere at Cambridge. We don’t necessarily have a responsibility to the University, and we are not here to provide a ‘picture-perfect’ representation of Cambridge in order to “sell” it to future unwitting generations of Cantab hopefuls. Our responsibility, on our own behalf, is to behave like decent human beings who treat others with dignity and respect, no matter who they are. For those students who feel embarrassed by this event because of our proximity to it: good. This is not something we should ever be comfortable with. Equally, it is not enough to say that we would never act in the same way; our behaviour needs to speak for itself in our response to this event. The repercussions and media attention in this case may be positive in proving that we have our own reputation to uphold, and it is one which we should actively strive to improve. We have a responsibility to give an accurate and fair representation of ourselves, particularly to future students. Given the existing misconsceptions held by the general public about our university, these responsibilities should be upheld regardless of the impact upon our own reputation, and the reputation of Cambridge University as a whole.
Democratised deceit: The mootness of fake news Matthew Harris Comment Editor
f you’ve heard any news at all in the last few months, you will no doubt have heard the term ‘fake news’. In the past year it has become a buzzword used to denounce news sources by anyone and everyone, from Donald Trump to the BBC. Established news networks have attacked social media and internet news sources for spreading it. In turn, they have been accused of doing the same by the new media they attacked. In other words, while only recently coined, the term has already become meaningless. Accusing everyone of propagating fake news is counterproductive. The term, when thrown around too often, loses its power, leaving readers unable to distinguish between what is real and what is fake. If everything is denounced as false, nothing is false. But before we declare the dawn of a new era of fake news, we must first consider the possibility that it has already been with us for a long time. The public has seen fabricated news reports for decades. The media long abdicated its responsibility to present real news stories, free from falsehoods and propaganda. From Vietnam to the Iraq war, we have been fed lies and exaggerations. During the
Bush administration, the media accepted claims about WMDs without hesitation and published government-approved news reports without question. Even with that in mind, you might argue, we still seem to be living through a time when political lying is more common than ever. After all, according to Politifact, a fact-checking organisation, only 4% of Donald Trump’s statements are accurate or free from exaggeration. It seems that lies are more popular than ever. But this is not the case. What has changed is merely who writes it. Until the most recent American election, fringe conspiracy theories and wild accusations about corruption held little traction among voters. But with new media such as Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, and social media’s capacity to amplify the voices of ordinary people, the reign of establishment news is ending. Admittedly, in 2016, we saw the democratisation of deceit. The new media spread just as many fake news stories and falsehoods as the establishment. However, in doing so, they challenged and then brought an end to many establishment lies. With the release of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, we have been able to
The reign of establishment news is ending
see the extent of the deceit of established news sources. New media revealed the widespread collusion of the media with the establishment; for example, they uncovered the influence the Clinton team had in the New York Times and other establishment media. The established media attempted to avoid these issues, as it was often caught in the firing lines; some claim that American news networks colluded with Clinton in debates – it is alleged that she was aware of debate questions ahead of time. 2016 was not a year when politicians lied more often than ever before; with stronger challengers to established media, their lies were simply more exposed. KAROOMPICS / KAROLINA
We must rememb LGBT+ experien Holly Firmin
efore I came to Cambridge, I wasn’t ‘out’. I had spent my childhood living in a workingclass, conservative community in Essex, where to be a lesbian is to be an outcast. A place where, when I returned home from Cambridge in the summer, I was told that ‘gay people shouldn’t be allowed’ by a kind stranger in the high-street. For many, the Cambridge ‘bubble’ becomes the place where one can be comfortable with one’s sexuality. In Michaelmas of my first year, I found myself saying the words ‘I’m gay’ out loud for the first time. But coming to Cambridge didn’t blow the doors off my closet and thrust me into the world as a lesbian, just waiting to be un-shackled. I would go to LGBT+ club nights and events in Cambridge, but would never click ‘attending’ on Facebook, in case friends or family saw. I would laugh off questions from family about whether I’d found a ‘nice boy’ at university with excuses of being ‘too busy’. While coming to Cambridge can provide students with the space to explore their sexual identity, for some, coming from environments which actively encourage them to suppress their sexuality, inhabiting two totally different ‘worlds’ can be incredibly burdensome. Combined with the high pressure environment of the Cambridge ‘bubble’, a breeding ground for mental health issues of all varieties, navigating one’s ‘queerness’ at Cambridge can be difficult. Over a year later, I am one of the LGBT+ officers at my college. I wore the suit I always wanted to wear to halfway hall, whilst drinking out of a boob-shaped beer glass one of my bisexual best mates bought me for my birthday. Over time, the whiplash I experience when I transition between home and university has lessened, but the difference between home and university remains difficult to navigate. The flying of the LGBT+ flag this month by (some) colleges across Cambridge is an important act of solidarity. However, we must make sure it doesn’t obscure the need to actively support the LGBT+ community in Cambridge.
The Cambridge Student • 16 February 2017
The Brexiteers should not be allowed to escape their huge promises Harry Robertson Comment Editor
ber that all nces are different Research has shown that mental health problems disproportionately impact LGBT+ people, with a 2014 survey by support group METRO finding that 42% of young LGBT+ people sought medical help for depression or anxiety, compared to 29% straight, cisgendered youths. LGBT+ students are therefore particularly vulnerable to struggle with mental health issues at university. However, we must also recognise that the experience of every LGBT+ student is different. A sense of community is incredibly important – as demonstrated by the flying of the flag – but within the LGBT+ community there are issues that further increase the burden on an individual’s mental health and well-being. The demographic of the LGBT+ community at Cambridge reflects that of the University as a whole. Because of this, students often have to contend with feelings of alienation within the community itself. LGBT+ students coming from relatively affluent, ‘middleclass’ and ‘liberal’ areas are likely to have had different formative experiences in understanding their gender and sexuality than students originating from workingclass, ‘conservative’ communities. Due to such poor representation of BME students at Cambridge, the LGBT+ community is predominantly white. BME people in the UK are more likely than white people to be diagnosed with mental health problems The diversity of the LGBT+ community therefore renders every LGBT+ student’s experience of Cambridge different. Community and solidarity are incredibly important and should never be undervalued. That certain colleges can continue to refuse to fly the flag is indefensible, and fosters a hostile environment for LGBT+ students in the Cambridge community. But every LGBT+ student’s experience of Cambridge can be wildly different, complicated greatly by the demographic composition of the ‘bubble’. The LGBT+ community needs to be supported, but the nature of that support is not always the same.
he Government’s Brexit bill to give the Prime Minister the power to trigger Article 50 passed through the House of Commons on 8 February without a single amendment. This was astonishing, and demonstrates the Government’s complete lack of willingness to consult or listen to the parliament that the vote for Brexit sought to make more sovereign. Of all of the amendments that the Government contemptuously knocked back, perhaps the most notable was one which would have seen the promise to send the ‘£350m we send to the EU every week’ (remember that red bus?) go towards the health service, as promised. Chuka Umunna had tabled it, probably not without some self-interest as Jeremy Corbyn’s slow-motion leadership collapse begins to speed up, and was outraged at the prominent Brexiteers who voted it down. Among them were Michael Gove,
Their promises were taken at face value and in good faith
Priti Patel, Boris Johnson, and Labour’s Gisela Stewart and Kate Hoey. Umunna instructed them to ‘hang their heads in shame’, say The Independent, and, whatever his motives, he is right. That bus is one of the most powerful memories of the campaign, and played a large part in the Leave campaign’s eventual victory. It had a powerful message: that Britain’s public services, particularly the NHS, are in decay while we are wasting money elsewhere. And it was taken at face value and in good faith by a public who have had to bear the burden of the criminal lack of investment over the last seven years. There is a prominent danger of forgetting all of the promises made during the referendum campaign as British politics turns inwards and squabbles over Brexit bills, Article 50, and Trump’s visit, and so on ad nauseam. But this cannot be allowed to happen. The prominent Brexiteers who cynically made these promises, many of whom now
find themselves in positions of power, must be held to account. The numerous pledges made must be remembered and they must be judged according to whether or not they are achieved. Aside from the NHS pledge, Andrea Leadsom’s promise that the funding British farmers receive from the EU would be replaced by government funding must be made good on, given that she is now Environment Secretary and in charge of agricultural policy. When Turkey fails to join the EU within our lifetimes, Boris Johnson, now our foreign secretary, should publicly explain why he and the other Brexiteers suggested they would enter the union, bringing up to five million more migrants into the UK. If these politicians are not held to the most rigorous standards, there will be no reason for any British politicians to tell the truth and stick to their word. And when that happens, we’ll begin the slide into the land of Trump-esque fake news. CHRIS ALLEN
Why we should continue fighting for gay rights Cait Findlay
ame-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2013, and in Scotland since 2014, with the first ceremonies taking place in England in March 2014. Two men or two women can enjoy both the legal benefits of marriage as well as the trials and tribulations that come with any wedding. Despite this, the fight for LGBT+ rights is not over in the UK. Instead, there seems to have been a stagnation in progress, particularly concerning the rights of trans and nonbinary people. This is especially significant for young people, like ourselves. We are, for the most part, not interested in getting married in the near future. We are, however, desperate to help victims of abuse, to improve education for young people, and to work on the rates of homelessness among LGBT+ youth. Marriage has never been our main objective, because we know that at a basic level, other rights are more important. Barely any children educated in the
UK will receive a sex education covering anthing other than heterosexual sex. This is especially relevant at the moment, since a recent attempt to amend the Children and Social Work Bill with the aim to make sex and relationships education (SRE) more inclusive was blocked by the Conservative MPs on the panel. Their argument was that the proposed amendment would not offer adequate protection for faith schools that oppose homosexuality. Evidently, the MPs forgot that children can be born into faiths that are hardly gay-friendly. SRE is not for the benefit of the educators, but for those who are being educated. Incomprehensive sex education leads to exactly the incomprehension and ignorance that fosters unaccepting attitudes and opinions. Bullies aren’t limited to playgrounds. Stonewall reports that one in six lesbian, gay, or bisexual people have been the victims of hate crimes in the last three years, while the statistics relating to trans people increase that figure to just over one in three. More strikingly, two out of five LGBT+ students have either considered
In the face of some issues, gay marriage is a small consolation
or attempted suicide. In the face of issues such as suicide and self-harm, which affect the lives and mental health of so many young people, suddenly gay marriage begins to seem like an incredibly small consolation prize. According to the Albert Kennedy Trust, young people who identify as LGBT+ make up a quarter of the population of homeless youth. Of these, 69% identified family rejection as the main reason why they had been forced out onto the street. No one should be homeless, especially not vulnerable youths rejected by their family for who they are. It is difficult to know how we can remedy the issue of homelessness among young LGBT+ people, in the murky midst of the many different causes of homelessness in general, but it is much clearer to realise that gay marriage is not a solution. Marriage is not the end of the matter for LGBT+ people. It never will be. There is no honeymoon period for gay rights. The three-year-itch is here, and it’s time to scratch it.
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
Comment Editor-in-Chief: Will Tilbrook Founded 1999 Volume 18
The tensions in our city In a city like Cambridge the relationship between the ‘townies’ and the students is bound to be fraught. The very structure of the city favours the student body, the centre of town is dominated by the university, pushing the local population further and further out of their own city. And after a mere eight weeks the students leave. The students change the whole atmosphere of the city, them being there drastically influences the everyday lives of ordinary people, suddenly faced with a huge queue in Sainsbury’s. Given that the students are here for such small periods of time, it is important that they respect the local population and that they do not provoke them. Understandably
there is tension between these two different groups, and the unfortunate stereotypes associated with Cambridge as an institution are only likely to perpetuate this problem. As students we are responsible for representing our University and also for treating others for respect, despite the difficult dynamic at times. It is by no means purely the fault of the students, but in order to solve the problem both parties need to own up to their mistakes and endeavour to behave in an appropriate way and not to disregard the feelings of the other people they come into contact with. One day we will leave the Cambridge bubble and it is good to start practising being in the real world before then, take this opportunity while we can.
The balance of free speech The news that the university received an amber rating in the spiked free speech survey reveals a lot about our attitude to individual voices. The notion of Safe Spaces (which ‘brought down’ the rating) is often decried by the right as evidence of millennial sensitivity, unable to engage in debate for fear of being upset. This worry, however, seems to be a fair one. This conflict in itself is evidence of the deeply polarised landscape surrounding free speech; as universities are a place of learning, heated conversation seems to be a positive aspect of student life. Abusive or hate-filled language does not.
It is with this in mind, then, that the ‘amber’ rating should not be viewed as a failure on the part of CUSU. Safe Spaces are important: whether it’s an informal lecture, panel on LGBT+ rights, or a mindfulness session, no one should feel at risk from attending. In fact, reasoned debate depends on a sense of inclusivity. It is through listening to marginalised voices that the university can flourish as an institution, and these voices should not feel intimidated or silenced. Getting the balance between debate and hatred can be difficult, but should not be compromised for the sake of a magazine traffic light system.
Rhetorical agency: Why we should reclaim the word ‘queer’ Molly Moss Comment Editor
’ve always been sceptical about labels. They can be suffocating. When it comes to gender and sexuality, the one-size-fits-all approach usually makes me feel like my body and behaviour will be labelled as right or wrong, natural or unnatural. Sometimes it feels like I’m being trapped in a box or being squeezed into a stereotype that will be difficult to escape from – call yourself gay or lesbian and, unfortunately, society can expect you to look and behave a certain way. This is frustrating: finding a label shouldn’t be about shutting yourself in, it should be about letting yourself go free. It’s about recognising and slowly accepting a part of yourself that you may not be entirely comfortable or secure in yet. The label ‘queer’ lets you do exactly that. As an umbrella term including all genders and sexualities, it is suitable for people who don’t fit neatly into any box, and is a powerful tool for fighting phobias. The LGBT+ community is continually expanding, and the acronym is already an awkward mouthful. The label isn’t all-
inclusive either. I have friends who don’t think they are ‘gay enough’ to label themselves as LGBT+. Adding more letters, however, isn’t really an option unless we want an alphabet soup community (and the plus or the decision to overlook additional identities is potentially offensive). An all-inclusive term is needed, and that’s why queer is taking root. Although the word is coming back into vogue, it originally had pejorative connotations. From the German ‘quer’, it literally translates as ‘oblique’ or ‘perverse’. It was first used as a homophobic slur at the end of the nineteenth century. Since then, many movements have reclaimed the word as a form of resistance. The first group was “Queer Nation”, a group of New York activists who wanted to challenge forms of oppression affecting the queer community. Reclaiming the word queer, however, is more than just a political statement. In LGBT+ communities, where certain groups including transwomen and bisexuals (among others) are often excluded, the word queer unites the LGBT+ community as a whole. The term encourages us to
forget about individual differences and join together to push for our rights. The reclaiming of the word queer is a strong cry for more heterogeneous spaces like this. It’s clear that we need to be more accepting of difference. “Every one of us is a world of infinite possibility. We are an army because we have to be. We are an army because we are so powerful.” These words were distributed at New York Pride March in 1990, in a leaflet titled ‘Queers Read This’. The leaflet promotes queerness as a means for imagining a new kind of community focused not on hierarchy and elitism but on the importance and circulation of desire, pleasure, and sexuality. What was once a word to describe ‘otherness’ should be reclaimed to promote inclusivity. It is an act of defiance and power. Who knows what the linguistic future of queer will be! While I’m advocating the use of ‘queer’ over other LGBT+ labels, I’m not suggesting that any label is something to be ashamed about. Any term you choose or that gets thrown your way: queer, dyke, lesbian, gay, whatever, if you like it, shout it out loud. Be proud to be you. NAEIMASGARY
SJWs and special snowflakes: How opposition attempts to shut down left-wing students
he word ‘warrior’ does not, to me, hold especially negative connotations: it makes me think of X-Ray Specs ‘Warrior in Woolworths’ and of the film Braveheart, both things which are actually quite cool. The words ‘social justice’, similarly, fail to fill me with horror, and actually just sound quite
nice and sensible. Why, then, ‘social justice warrior’ is the worst insult the opposition to far-left millennials could cook up, I’ll probably never know, just as I’ll never understand how they can fail to see the irony in calling someone a ‘warrior’ in one breath and a ‘snowflake’ in the next. There are as many types of snowflake as there are of ‘social justice warrior’, and, obviously, I don’t agree with the ideas of every single such ‘snowflake’, but as far-left millennials usually draw little but contempt and condescension, I hope this week to defend a few main third-wave ideas. No-platforming, safe spaces, trigger warnings, cultural appropriation, and gendered pronouns are all buzzwords ideal for Daily Mail headlines and
Facebook pages with the word ‘Lad’, ‘Banter’, or ‘Cringe’ in the title, but they are all ideas which deserve serious consideration and debate. Criticisms of these terms are ones which I would often agree with, if they engaged with what each term actually means rather than what they’re all too often represented to mean, particularly online, by right-wing opposition. Take no-platforming: it’s difficult to argue against free speech, or even against the invitation of controversial speakers from across the political spectrum: I know that I, for one, almost prefer listening to speakers I don’t agree with and certainly don’t shy away from being disagreed with. But being given an audience and a platform isn’t a human right, whether
that’s at the Cambridge Union or at a college event or even Twitter, and being debarred from speaking somewhere does not silence a person. No-platforming, or attempts to noplatform people, also occur incredibly rarely and primarily in instances where an individual is guilty of hate speech or erasure of minorities, such as trans-exclusionary feminists or Milo Yiannopoulos’s tirade against Leslie Jones, not simply where the speaker is disagreed with. Take Julian Assange who spoke at the Cambridge Union via video last year after a referendum on the matter: the opposition he faced was not owing to his political views or whistle-blowing, but because he has been accused of rape. Similar arguments could be made
for the others: trigger warnings are also rare, and hardly harm anyone while protecting those who may have undergone deeply upsetting experiences, and it’s not like content notes haven’t existed for years. Eradicating gendered pronouns is also hardly some new, half-baked millennial conception when the Swedish gender neutral pronoun ‘hen’ was first proposed in the 1960s. Each of these ‘politically correct’ concepts are only designed to support and protect people. The swathes of opposition to the millennial far-left are only going to push young people further away from mainstream politics and increase the worrying trend of polarisation between left and right.
The Cambridge Student • 16 Feburary 2017
Cryptic Crossword by Cameron Wallis
“Sin-bins”: Should football follow rubgy’s example? Tom Higgins Toon
1. Pompous, explosive, arsenic twitch. (9) Across Down 4. Explain, u delicate confusion. (9) 7. Hiding whore, main derivative of surplus. (9) 1. Pompous, explosive, arsenic twitch. (9) 1. Out of focus Shakespearean protagonist in past. (6) 10. Musical canines at war in the sky. (8) 11. Another word nymphs. (7) 4. Explain, u delicate confusion. (9) for concealing phantasy; no2. Serious commercials mix-up. (3) Down 7. Hiding whore, main derivative of surplus. (9) 3. I’ll never tell primary resident from a foreign 1. Out of focus Shakespearean protagonist in past. (6) 10. Musical canines at war in the sky. (8)mix-up. (3) country. (3) 2. Serious commercials 3. I’ll never tell primary resident from a foreign country. (3) 11. Another word for concealing phantasy; 5. At the end of a surprise attack comes help.5. (3) At the end of a surprise attack comes help. (3) 6. Volatile, sounds somewhat arousing? (7) no nymphs. (7) 6. Volatile, sounds somewhat arousing? (7) 8. Fan glows, camoußaging English origins. (5) 9. Sony, I mixed up roisterous. (5) 8. Fan glows, camouflaging English origins. (5) 9. Sony, I mixed up roisterous. (5)
by Thomas Prideaux Ghee
arlier this month, it was revealed that rugby style “sinbins” could come into the eleven-a-side game as soon as 3 March, when IFAB, the FA’s law-making body, next hold their AGM at Wembley. Presented as a measure looking to encourage fair play, there are doubts as to the effectiveness of pilfering rules from rugby, a sport whose culture of respect sets it far apart from football, the world’s most popular, and most illdisciplined, sport. At long last liberated from the corrupting influence of Sepp Blatter – a man who once fired his own PR chief for making a joke at his expense – football has finally been presented with the opportunity to make a fresh start. Too often in the past, proposals looking to make the game more exciting have run up against an ideological brick wall almost as solid as Ryan Shawcross. Case in point – the ridiculous struggle to implement goal-line technology in professional matches. The English may be fond of their traditions but, then again, tea and biscuits never prevented a deadcertain equaliser against Germany. Therefore, it is great news that for the last few years, temporary dismissals for yellow cards (the time is yet to be decided) have been tested in grassroots, youth, veterans, and disability football. However, we need to have a proper look at the evidence. In a moment of rare honesty for organisations pushing for change, IFAB admitted at the time that the “sin-bin” experiment was ‘by any means a success’, citing ‘an impact on flow of game and willingness of players to commit to tackles’. Part of the problem is that what constitutes a bookable offence in rugby is generally far more clear-cut than is the case with football. As well as the grey area surrounding a player’s intention with regard to the already confusing rules on handball, a quick delve into football’s vast repository of clichés confirms the ambiguity of the rules: ‘anywhere else on the pitch that’s a yellow’, ‘you’d have thought
on another day he could’ve just had a quiet word’, or, my personal favourite, ‘ten years ago that’s a good challenge…’ Of course, ill-discipline in football takes on a variety of forms ranging from challenges with no malicious intent to more aggressive offences in the form of shirt-pulling and diving. However, this added deterrent against such offences could well be exploited to try to force players on the opposing team into an early bath – just think of any recent Clásico, where players roll around and managers run about waving cards in a display of amateur histrionics completely contrary to the spirit of the game. As long as players encircle the referee like vultures during the game and managers get away with criticising his every decision after it, we are not going to see any real change in the mentality of the players. Football is, I believe, unique in its toleration of poor attitude and dishonest players, and it is this very acceptance of ill-discipline that gives football its bad reputation amongst other sports. Of course, it is not obvious how to set about searching for an antidote. However, if mutual respect is the end goal, so to speak, it seems sensible to target youth football, where impressionable boys and girls may come to internalise more favourable values. With one in five kids playing football at least once every few months, there is a great opportunity for well-trained coaches to hammer home the importance of fair play. Why go for the stick in the form of “sinbins” – which could be quite upsetting for some players – when the carrot could be greatly exploited to change mindsets? A much better idea emerged from the same IFAB conference – only allow the captain to speak to the referee during games, both at youth and professional level. That way, kids may have the chance to learn the important values of tolerance and respect that are lacking from the cultural make-up of this so-called beautiful game. STEINDY
Solutions from Volume 18, Lent Issue 2
16 February 2017 • The Cambridge Student
The ethics of competitive sport → p. 19
Jesus women racing Fairbairns last term
Clare women dominate the river ahead of Bumps Downing men and Clare women top the results table in Robinson head Lili Bidwell
rews took advantage of their last opportunity to row the bumps course before the getting-on race and Bumps later this term in the Robinson Head race on Friday. The college crews that entered were mostly from the second and third divisions, giving these crews a valuable opportunity to gain racing experience before the major race of term, Bumps, for which they have been training. The course started off with a rolling start from the Bumps Head Station and crews raced to a bow finish at Peter’s Post. Although lacking the adrenaline of the racing start so characteristic of the traditional Bumps races, these crews were nevertheless very exciting to watch as they sped down the river. The crews were off to a good start as they set off. The first corner was telling,
Every second of the race is of the utmost importance
such was the importance of getting a good line. The first division crews managed to stay snug in to the riverbank, minimising the speed lost during the turn. Coming around the second corner was a big turn for bow siders, with bow and three seats needing to dig deep in order to find that extra strength and precision to ensure that the crew did not stray off course. In such a short race, every second is of the utmost importance. Nevertheless, in pushing out of the corner, the coxes were able to motivate the crews into a short power or rate burst, depending on the crew. The conditions were challenging to say the least, with snow falling intermittently. It was the least the rowers could do to prevent their hands from freezing to the blade. Coming on to the reach the wind started to affect the rapidly tiring crews,
and the ferocious gale did nothing to aid the setting of the boat. The beginning of the reach was consistently a make-or-break moment for the crews psychologically, as the home straight was reached and they began to feel the physical strain of the race. The better crews were able to push on and find fresh legs for the reach, powering down this stretch of water. Less fit and technical rowers struggled to maintain their momentum and were prone to scrappy technique, and their rate slowed down drastically. It was very important that the coxes made sharp, concise calls towards the latter part of the race in order to get back the fading focus of the team members. Robinson College themselves, despite organising the event, only entered their second men’s team into division two, in
which they came third out of four. The winners on the men’s side were Downing M1, LMBC M2, and First and Third M3, with some of these wins being closer than others. Clare M1, for example, were a mere 10.9 seconds behind Downing. With Downing in second place in the Lent Bumps table, it is perhaps worrying for them to be so nearly beaten by Clare who are only in place 14 in the table. For the women, Clare W1 were able to secure a win, beating several of the men’s second and third crews. Clare W2 were just 29 seconds behind their first boat, also taking the prize for the fastest in their category. Overall, the race was an exciting day for all, with prize giving in Robinson bar at 6.30pm that evening. In spite of the dreadful weather, the crews rowed well.