CUSTOMS AND CULTURES WESSEX SCENE AND THE EDGE
ISSUE 3 The Edge Team
HEAD OF DESIGN
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
RECORDS / LIVE EXECUTIVE
CLASSIC CULTURE EDITOR
CLASSIC CULTURE EDITOR
Morgan McMillan Maddie Lock
Rebecca Ormsby Kiera Gormley Becky Davies
Harry Geeves Theo Smith
Olivia Dellar Lucy Maggs
Wessex Scene Team
E D ITOR Linnea Lagerstedt
FE AT U RE S E D ITOR
Macey McDermott HEA D OF DE SIGN
H EAD OF IMAGERY
Mary Frances Rose
Katie Byng-Hall O P IN IO N E DITO R P O L IT IC S EDITOR
Sam Pearson SCIENCE & TECH EDITOR
Lisa Stimson LIFE ST YLE E D ITOR
ONLINE & MARKETING MANAGER
HEAD OF EVENTS AND OUTREACH
S P O RTS E DITO R
SU B-ED I TOR S
PAUSE EDITOR Rebecca Alice MacArthur Williams
N E W S & I N V E S TI G ATI O NS
Hi Everyone and Happy Holidays! Cultures and customs are deeply ingrained in all of our lives but more so than ever during the holiday season. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, something entirely different, or nothing at all, we wish you a wonderful time this holiday period! The funny thing about customs is that we often don’t realise just how special they are to our own cultures until we meet others who choose to celebrate differently. Therefore, we are so excited to bring you this magazine filled with articles on customs and cultures from all around the world. Culture forms a key part of the construction of our identity, so in this magazine writers from different cultures explore not only their own traditions but also learn about new ones and how they can help you reshape your life. Christmas is a wonderful time, but it is steeped in traditions, not all of which are positive. To read about racism in the Netherlands and Zwarte Piet head to page 25, and to learn about the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, and why you should never do the latter, head to page 13. Entertainment is fundamental in our understanding of culture. So, if you fancy a break from binging holiday movies, we hope our pieces on Bollywood Dance (p. 12) and Chinese Cinema (p. 21) might help introduce you to other artforms and entertainment outlets you usually don’t consume. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who’s contributed to this magazine, as well as you, our dear reader, for taking the time out of your day to enjoy what we’ve created. It’s been a labour of love so we hope you enjoy it as much as we do. As we embark on the holiday break, remember to see it as just that: a break. Let yourself breath. Let yourself spend time with friends and family. Sit back, relax, have a read and enjoy the small things in life. The university will still be here when you come back, we promise. Your Editors, Linnea Lagerstedt and Morgan McMillan
Cover image courtesy of Festa 2020 / BTS COVER DESIGN BY MADDIE LOCK
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PASSION VS CAUTION: SURFING IN SRI LANKA DURING AN IDEOLOGICAL CONFLICT THE ART OF VIDEO GAME LOCALISATION KPOP ISNT A GENRE AND SHOULDN’T BE USED TO DESCRIBE ALL POPULAR KOREAN MUSIC
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: AFRICAN BLUES SPORTING RIVALRIES AND NATIONAL IDENTITY
THE STRUGGLE OF A MIXED NATIONAL IDENTITY THE PREVAILING POPULARITY OF LATIN MUSIC IN THE TOP 40 THE HISTORY OF BOLLYWOOD DANCE THE FINE LINE OF CULTURAL APPRECIATION AGAINST CULTURAL APPROPRIATION ACTOR IN FOCUS: STEVE YEUN
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@ OFFICIALWES S EXS CENE W ESSE XS CE NE . CO . UK @WE S S E XS CE NE
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DIEGO LUNA: MEXICO’S GOLDEN BOY REAL PEOPLE FOUND TO HAVE BEEN INHABITING EAST ANGLIA FOR 10,000 YEARS FAIRY TAIL: NON-STOP FANTASY FUN WE NEED TO EMBRACE THE SWEDISH TRADITION OF FIKA INTRODUCING: CHINESE CINEMA CORNISH IDENTITY POLITICS AND THE EU THE MASTER AND MARGARITA: ‘TRULY THE CREATION OF A GREAT MIND’ ZWARTE PIET: THE RACIST CHRISTMAS TRADITION DIFFERENT AUDIENCES ACROSS THE GLOBE IS THERE A REASON BEHIND A HUMAN’S NEED FOR CULTURE AMERICANS SHOCKED TO DISCOVER THAT BBQ SAUCE IS NOT CULTURE NOSTALGIC NEWS
F B . C OM / TH E E D G E S U S U @TH E E DG E S U S U TH E E D G E S U S U . C O. U K @TH E E DG E S U S U
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PASSION VS CAUTION: SURFING IN SRI LANKA DURING AN IDEOLOGICAL CONFLICT In April 2019, I headed to a month-long surfing trip to Ahangama, Sri Lanka. Little did I know the trip would be full of surprises and challenges. Surfing from sunrise to sunset, drinking coconut water straight from the coconut, trying local cuisine, interacting with a foreign culture and meeting people from North America to New Zealand. Although the dream I was living was not just full of joy and laughter, the last days of the trip were memorable, but not in a way you would think. What sort of mindset and attitude do we ought to have knowing how different our travel destination's customs are? Should we cancel out of fear? Act the way we would back home? Do thorough research? Be overly cautious? I think it might lead us to forget why we are there in the first place. I'm not saying we should turn a blind eye to how things may differ from our usual perspective, but then how do we cope? Depending on the location, constantly looking over our shoulder takes away the free-spirit that most surfers are driven by.
After being picked up from the airport by a chauffeur, I experienced firsthand Eastern religious customs - no pictures can be taken on Buddhist places of worship nor any Buddhist images. It was not a rule tourists had to follow, but rather a sign of respect. In the whole surfing community, wherever we surf, regardless of location and how popular it might be amongst tourists, the newcomers must always respect the locals. Due to the fact itâ€™s their country, their home and seasonal surfers just come and go, we are not there to stay. Culture involves countless aspects, even the small things we might not take into account can be a violation of their ideological customs. However in our pursuit to be respectful to the local population, there will be moments where we lose ourselves in the wonder of the country we are exploring and forget to take these customs into account.
The 21st of April was a bright sunny day, the swell enabled us to surf up to 4 hours and, due to the low tide, reefs were exposed making us more cautious than usual. On the day of my arrival, I thought I had Wherever you look on the horizon, surfers been fully prepared for this trip. Stepping with salty blonde bleached hair catch your off the plane I was informed that my eye immediately, restless undulating waves surfboards had been stuck in Abu Dhabi clash with surfboards as the turquoise and my visa would expire a week before ocean swallows you into its mystery and I was scheduled to leave. I felt like I was the people, giving me a new sense of stuck with one foot on the plane. I was appreciation and belonging. As four of us ready for my adventure in Sri Lanka, but just got back from our session, all we could apparently, Sri Lanka was not ready for me. hear in the distance was the flow of police Surprisingly, I was not bothered by it. cars rushing onto the highway, heading toward Colombo. In that moment, we could hardly notice the chaos on the streets, still hyped from a sensational surfing session. 03
CUSTOMS AND CULTURES
Wherever you look on the horizon, surfers with salty blonde bleached hair catch your eye immediately, restless undulating waves clash with surfboards as the turquoise ocean swallows you into its mystery and the people, giving me a new sense of appreciation and belonging. As four of us just got back from our session, all we could hear in the distance was the flow of police cars rushing onto the highway, heading toward Colombo. In that moment, we could hardly notice the chaos on the streets, still hyped from a sensational surfing session. Only minutes later would we hear the explosion that, like a switch, awakened us to the gravity of the events that were unfolding on the island. The silence amongst us was dreadful. Turning on every news outlet, headlines of Islamic terrorist attacks in churches and hotels captures our attention immediately. Unanswerable questions arose â€” What has happened? How close was it? What are we going to do? My heart was beating out of my chest, wondering about unexplained and unthinkable things.
Even though we had received warnings of uprisings and conflicts occurring on the island, it never stopped me personally from coming to Sri Lanka and I was not the only one. But why is that? Shouldn't the horrifying news scare us and make us think twice about travelling so far from home? My heart was set to go on a surfing trip, and nothing would have changed that. It might sound selfish and naĂŻve, but I think this sort of attitude is much needed in these situations, which took place while I was planning my trip and even being there. On the one hand, I highly recommend doing thorough research on ethics and specific customs the country practices. It helps to avoid disrespectfulness and embarrassment towards locals. No matter where we are travelling, fear is inevitable. Rather than trying to control situations the best we can do or, as I did during the devastating times locals had to go through over Easter Sunday, was to be there for them as you would be for your community back home. When I had been in Ahangama for almost a month, it made me understand how vital the support from the community is. Due to the difficult times we must endure quite often these days, doing what you are passionate about and caring for the people around you are key features in our ability to cope with hardships. WORDS BY LAURA PROST IMAGE BY MOONJAZZ VIA FLICKR
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THE ART OF VIDEO GAME LOCALISATION Localisation is the art of preparing games for their respective releases across different areas around the globe. There are many reasons for localisation, but the most important one is to make sure no group or individual is culturally alienated within the game. The most common example of game localisation can be seen through translation and replacing slang with its regional equivalents. However, the process is so much more than just translation; it can include changing idioms to reflect cultural understands, localising cultural or historical references which would otherwise not be understood, adding new voiceovers, changing music and soundtracks to fit more with the culture, changing or removing some plot lines to fit with other countries censorship laws or even redesigning characters. There are many ways in which localisation transforms and adapts games to international audiences. The Battle Rangers (also known as Bloody Wolf ), a 2D run-and-gun game released by DataEast in 1988, is a clear example of translation gone wrong and conveys the importance and art to localisation. In one scene a character says: “You! Invaders! Get you the hot bullets of shotgun to die!” The sentence makes entirely no sense, though the game is thankfully not text-heavy and so this did not ruin the gaming experience as it would if it were an RPG.
clearly apparent especially in the first stage of the game; in the Japanese version, the scene takes place in a typical Japanese outdoor train station, whilst in the American version, the scene takes place in a subway station similar to what you would see in New York. Character modifications can also be seen. In the Japanese version, the street gangs are dressed in Japanese high school uniforms representing yakuza gang members, while the American version sees the gang members’ attire inspired by movies like The Warriors, showing the influence of American popular culture on the localisation of the game.
Character and game redesign are also quite common in the localisation process. An example of character redesign can be seen in Final Fantasy X where character Zidane was renamed in the French release, so they were not to be confused with the famous footballer of the same name. A more major change came from the localisation of Renegade, also known as Nekketsu Kōha Kuniokun in Japan, which completely changed its setting. The difference between the settings of the game are
In all, the goal of localisation is to create a product that appeals to an international audience. By editing or tweaking the content of the game it allows a bigger group of people to play and appreciate its gameplay -- important for branding and success.
Another example of localisation can be seen in the front cover of the game Kirby: Squeak Squad – also known as Hoshi no Kabi Sanjo! Dorroche Dan. For the American version, the localisation team completely redesigned the cover art to fit the American audience. For example, in the Japanese version, we see the protagonist Kirby running away from a small villain looking cute and childish. However, in the American version, Kirby crosses over the game’s box image and has angry eyebrows, with the villain also appearing to be much bigger. This edition makes the game appear more highaction and aggressive than its Japanese counterpart.
WORDS BY MORGAN MCMILLAN
Image courtesy of UBISOFT and Atlus
CUSTOMS AND CULTURES
'K-POP' ISN'T A GENRE, AND SHOULDN'T BE USED TO DESCRIBE ALL POPULAR KOREAN MUSIC In recent years, k-pop has taken the world by storm. The first band that will probably come to mind is BTS, and it’s no wonder; the seven-member boy band have achieved three number 1 albums in less than a year, performed at numerous sold out arenas across the US and UK, and recently (August 2020) got their first US number 1 single with ‘Dynamite’, their first song entirely in English. Another huge k-pop band currently taking over the globe is the all-female group BLACKPINK, made up of four members. They’re the first ever k-pop band to join the ‘billion views club’ on YouTube, with their single ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’. However, labelling BTS, BLACKPINK, and all other popular artists from Korea as ‘k-pop’ is narrow and restrictive - imagine if Stormzy, Little Mix, Ed Sheeran and The Beatles were all labelled ‘b-pop’ simply because they make/made popular music in the UK. It wouldn’t even begin to touch upon the diversity between these four artists. This is the issue that arises from labelling all popular Korean music and artists as ‘k-pop’, and is why we should define these artists by genre, not nationality. As put on Ask a Korean, the bands BTS (hip-hop), IU (pop) and FT Island (light rock) have very little in common musically, but are all labelled ‘k-pop’. They continue, stating “the commonality among IU, BTS and FT Island is not, and cannot be, music. Their only commonality is that they all perform popular music of Korea” which sums up this oversimplification perfectly. Similarly, as these current bands are simply given the same generalised label, each wave of music that has come from Korea into the mainstream has been labelled ‘k-pop’ - again, imagine if every wave of popular music from the
UK had been called ‘b-pop’, despite the obvious shifts from rock n roll, to pop-rock, to psychedelia, to drum and bass, and so on. It would be a definition based upon country, opposed to musical style, which doesn’t make sense. In their Netflix documentary Blackpink: Light Up The Sky, the band and their music producers discuss this topic. They delve into the limitations of the all-purpose label ‘k-pop’, and argue that it takes away from their creativity and individuality. Even in the context of BLACKPINK, their members, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa, come from a mix of countries - Korea, Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia. This alone shows that, despite the band creating popular Korean music, their influences range from a mixture of cultures and should not be defined by this one label. In a 2018 interview with Goldman, Suga from BTS stated similarly “I’m a little careful to talk about Kpop as a genre because I don’t want to be defining Kpop as a genre”, arguing that k-pop is more an “integrated content” of genres, fashion, visuals, and more, opposed to simply a style of music. Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of calling popular Korean music ‘k-pop’, this is far from the all-purpose label that it claims to be. Instead, call BTS a hip-hop band as you would Brockhampton, and call IU an R&B artist - when you really think about it, ‘k-pop’ doesn’t make sense as a genre, and shouldn’t really be considered one. Rather than call these artists by their musical country of origin, refer to them and their genre as you would if they were an English or American band/artist.
WORDS BY MADDIE LOCK IMAGE BY ZOË SHORT
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FIRST IMPRESSION: IMPRESSION: AFRICAN AFRICAN BLUES BLUES FIRST WORDS BY MORGAN MCMILLAN IMAGE BY EDWARDX VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS the electric guitar and kora. Though Touré may be gone, his music is alive, and his presence fills the atmosphere whenever it’s played.
Africa is often cited as the home of the blues, both spiritually and musically. Listening to African Blues is an intense and powerful experience, whether that be through the passion of the vocals or the rawness of the music. It’s a diverse genre and can be divided into many different sub-genres; because of this, it’s difficult to give the genre one simple definition. However, what you can expect to hear throughout is an emphasis on the importance of its African roots, and instruments such as the djembes, kora, akonting, mbira and the shekere, that play a vital role in showcasing the power and beauty of the genre. A notable figure in African Blues is Ali Farka Touré. He’s not just influential in African music, but made global prominence winning three Grammy’s in the world music category. Even though Touré passed away in 2006, his music has had a lasting impact, as evident by the inclusion of his track ‘Bèrèbèrè’ in Marvel’s 2018 movie Black Panther. In Touré’s final album Savane, before his passing to bone cancer, we are greeted with some of his best work. The title track is remarkable; the simplistic, repetitive guitar plays quietly in the background as we are made to focus on Touré’s raspy vocals accompanied by
The diverse nature of African Blues can be seen through the work of Fatoumata Diawara, a Malian vocalist who is known for her sensual textures and raspy voice, which is a common trait for many African singers. Diawara sings in Bambara, and like Touré, is becoming known on an international scale. Her music mixes modern elements with Wassoulou traditions. This is heard on ‘Sowa’ and ‘Kokoro’ where she mixes a variety of instruments to create a completely new and unique sound. This is what sets Diawara’s music apart from other artists in the African Blues genre; she adds new components and often experiments with her sound. Just listen to the differences of her Fatou record in 2011 to her Fenfo record in 2018 to see what I mean. Diawara’s experimentation has led to her most recent collaboration with British electronic band Disclosure on ‘Douha (Mali Mali)’ which is a joyous ode to Mali – her place of origin. Diawara is just one of many examples of how flexible and diverse the genre of African Blues is, and shows us how the genre itself has acted as the foundation of many other genres in popular culture, like hip-hop, go-go and jungle. In Phizbarz’ music, he uses African Blues’ emotiveness and passion to voice important messages, such as in ‘Mr. Officer’. The song highlights the challenges of Nigerian youths and the mistreatment by police in Nigeria. He also incorporates other elements of African beats like the call-and-response format which sees two phrases, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary or response to the first phrase; for instance, in ‘Ifunanya’ which also uses traditional African percussion mixed with Afrobeat influences. Only a select few of the amazing musicians of African Blues have been mentioned throughout this article, but there are so many that have had a massive impact both musically and culturally across the globe. African Blues is a beautiful genre which highlights the beginnings of one of the most influential genres in the world. As Touré himself famously said, blues is “nothing but African”.
CUSTOMS AND CULTURES
IT'S MORE THAN JUST A GAME: SPORTING RIVALRIES AND NATIONAL IDENTITY
Sports and national identity are intertwined. Sports create communities and enforce collective spirit as they gather thousands with one common interest. Whether that be football, basketball or cricket, sports and their competitive nature have played key roles in our national and personal identity. With rivalries like Rangers v Celtic in football or Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers in basketball, we are able to see the power of sports and how it transcends to be more than just a game.
28th May 1888 marked the beginnings of the biggest rivalry in football history, Glaswegian sides Rangers and Celtic. Both teams dominate Scottish football, with no other team winning the Scottish league since the 198485 season where Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen came out as champions. Out of all 123 editions of the league, both Rangers and Celtic have won a combined 105 times, which makes their rivalry seem as if it’s based upon the fact they are the only two teams in Scottish football who seemingly compete with each other for the spoils. However, their rivalry is entrenched in national identity. Both teams represent a different aspect of Scottish history. Take Celtic, for example: formed by Glasgow’s growing Irish Catholic community, as in the late 19th century, Glasgow saw the arrival of many Irish immigrants after fleeing from the potato famine in their own country. Scotland was a strongly Protestant country and the Irish community were met with disdain and were discriminated against. Football was a way for the Irish community to express their national identity through their team, Celtic. Their Irish roots are strongly linked within the club today: their crest is the Shamrock and their team colours are white and green. Celtic is still a symbol of Irish nationalism despite being a Scottish team. Rangers is the complete opposite. The Light Blues embrace everything that is Scottish and has a huge link with the Orange Order, a Protestant fraternal organisation that champions British Unionism. Their colours are blue, red and white, the same as the British flag and are the team for those who believe in a united England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Both teams express a different national identity and often clash due to this. It is no surprise the two sides hold one of the most violent rivalries in football history due to the political and national history behind the teams, manifesting in the 'Old Firm' derby games between the sides.
A less violent but just as popular rivalry in sporting history is that of the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics in the NBA. They are two of the biggest franchises in NBA history, both winning a total of 17 championships each (though Lakers fans would like to point out only one of the Celtics' championships was won in the 21st century). The peak of their rivalry was in the 1980s, specifically between two hall-of-famers, Larry Bird (Celtics) and Magic Johnson (Lakers). These players were the best at their game in the East and West conference but represented so much more than just being two of the greatest players in the league. Johnson-Bird / Lakers-Celtics rivalry represented the clashes of many cultures: Hollywood (Lakers Showtime) versus Blue Collar grit (Celtic Pride), East Coast versus West Coast, Black versus White. They brought national identity and power to a faltering NBA and lifted the NBA into a global arena. National identity can be built on sports, but the rivalries are also primarily established on cultural and national differences; in Rangers-Celtics case, it was the war between religion and country, whilst Lakers-Celtics was on the national differences between the West and East. Sports brings collective unionism but also collective hate.
WORDS BY MORGAN MCMILLAN IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE
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THE STRUGGLE OF A MIXED NATIONAL IDENTITY In recent years, my nationality has been quite the topic of discussion, and surprisingly, I don't mean within the recesses of my own mind. In fact, the current political turmoil surrounding a certain topic that rhymes with â€œschmexitâ€? has led me and those around me to reassess my own national standing.
UK makes me British. I've come across this when applying for jobs, when applying for loans and even when applying for University. In fact, it has got to the point where I put British/Irish just to avoid choosing and to negate the complications of explaining how I'm neither one nor the other.
A fact that often twists people's brains is that I was born in the UK and have lived here my whole 22 years, yet I've only ever owned an Irish passport. With the developments of Brexit, having such a passport is quite the advantage. Yet, seeing all these people locate Irish grandparents from the woodworks of their ancestry has caused a growing sense of bitterness in me. My mum is Irish and my dad is British and I've never until now had an issue with those two identities existing within me. I've never explicitly claimed I'm Irish, and I've never explicitly claimed I'm British either, and that is where this conflict begins.
So that's where I sit - right smack in the middle, confused but somewhat comfortable. I guess that's what Brexit has made me realise: that I'm okay with just sitting in the middle. I don't want to have to choose, because doing so would feel like choosing between my Irish mum and my British dad. Honestly, at the end of the day, I think these categories of nationality are restricting and pointless. Why must I choose which piece of land I belong to? Because I need to be patriotic? Because I should feel proud? Or because people want to make my identity easier for them to digest? Well, I don't choose.
My whole life I've been raised with both cultures and nationalities in mind, never forced to choose one way or the other. Someone might argue that I'm British because I've never lived in Ireland, but to that I would say that you don't get to tell me who or what I am. I know for certain that I am not solely British, and I know that on a level of relation I don't only feel a connection to that identity. But on the flip side, the same can be said for being Irish. There are key cultural aspects of life that I've missed out on both sides of the nationally-diverse coin. I talk with my British friends and notice things that I've never done or seen, or even felt. But I also talk with my Irish family and know that I just don't fit into the same national category. This is only made worse when it comes to filling out official documents and forms. I put British and they correct me, telling me my Irish passport makes me Irish. I put Irish and they correct me, telling me my 22 years of life in the
WORDS BY LUKE BOULTON IMAGE BY BENJAMIN SMYTH
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FROM ENRIQUE IGLESIAS TO 'DESPACITO' - THE PREVAILING POPULARITY OF LATIN MUSIC IN THE TOP 40 Remember ‘Despacito’? The expression of distaste that would automatically show on peoples faces when the flamencoesque guitar commenced and the far too desperate claims of everybody ‘hating’ the song, which was a total lie. People were most definitely listening to that song and were captured by the exoticisms of the record, which being British with zero culture and traditions compared to Latin America is hardly surprising. But why, if people constantly denied their enjoyment of the genre, does Latin music prove to be so popular? Is it cultural appropriation and the romanticising of Latin America, or is it the celebration and enjoyment of the catchy upbeat vibe that has given it a worldwide recognition for being the ultimate mood booster? One of the most important narratives in pop culture has been the emergence of Latin music as a potent force in the top Billboard 40. Between 2016 and 2018 there was a massive influx of Spanish-language entries to the top 40, with numbers rocketing from a measly 4 to an astounding 19. After years of being a genre that has been wrongfully overlooked, Latin music is now getting the streaming boost it deserves. Once where there was only heart-throb Enrique Iglesias and Colombian Shakira as worldwide sensations; there are now artists like Boy Pablo, Daddy Yankee and J Balvin creating Spanglish lyrics, which have proven to systematically appeal to the masses, and in doing so, streaming content of Latin music saw huge inflation. Streaming platforms have taken the popularity boom of Latin music into their own hands and created playlists specifically tailored to the obsession of Latin music (many of which appear in my own Spotify library). The streaming infrastructure of these particular playlists, which enabled the achievement of remarkable success, separates the music industry from this moment from what came before. Streaming services are now more popular than individual album purchases meaning that Spotify’s Baila Reggaetón and
Viva Latino! can almost single-handedly create hits in the US. The way in which we listen to music, and how music charts, has changed dramatically. Although there’s an extensive amount of Latin pop at our hands there are still, unsurprisingly, countless sub-genres waiting to be explored and climb their way to the Top 40. Every single Latin hit has either been of the reggaeton or trap genre, that both have extremely urban sounds and overlap each other creating a false security of something familiar and yet cultured, when in fact, other sub-genres of the blanketed term ‘Latin Music’ have complete polar opposite sounds. Spanish born singer and composer, Julio Iglesias, is recognised as one of the most commercially successful continental European singers and composers in the world, and one of the best record sellers in history. Yet, despite his commercial acclaim and success, he’s never held a top 40 spot amongst the reggaetón and trap records. This could purely be because Iglesias’ genre of music doesn’t appeal to the masses and has a niche audience in comparison, yet this leaves other elements of culture in the dark. Trap and reggaetón may be wildly popular and be constantly on the rise as ‘the most popular genres’ of Latin music, yet it doesn’t leave any space of introductory air-time for Electrotango, the Latin Ballad, or even Salsa music. Sure trap and reggaetón are the mood booster genres that place you on scorching beaches and bring the holiday vibes allowing you to engage with the ideal romantic exoticism of the culture; but what about other genres? There’s so much more out there for people to explore and fall in love with just as much as they have with the ‘popular’ genres and in doing so enjoy and celebrate the culture further.
WORDS BY OLIVIA DELLAR IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE
WORDS BY OLIVIA DELLAR IMAGE BY NAME
CUSTOMS AND CULTURES
THE HISTORY OF BOLLYWOOD DANCE
Bollywood dancing is a style of dance that is heavily influenced by Hindu art, music and culture and originated in Bollywood films. When Bollywood dance first began it was only common and popular in areas where Indian films were published such as the Middle East and Asian countries. There is a huge history behind Bollywood dance from cultural to religious however one thing that can be stated is that the international appeal of Bollywood dance blew up in the early 21st century. The success of Bollywood dance can be seen through the artists like Britney Spears, Shakira and the Pussycat Dolls incorporating the Bollywood style of dance and music into their songs, videos and concerts. Bollywood dance is made to tell mythological tales or stories, this is demonstrated by the dancers and performers through the use of hand gestures which are taken from Hinduism and Buddhism. For example, two hands together in a prayer position is Namaskara which means adoration, hand gestures speak as sign language which is an international language that has no cultural or language barrier. Facial expressions are also vital in Bollywood dance as they assist with telling the story of the dance.
Costumes play a crucial role in the storytelling aspect of Bollywood dance, one of the main assets in the pallum is draped around the torso in the front and tucked into a kamarbandh. The attire has become the symbol of Bollywood dance for its bright and colourful nature which fits with the vibrant and loud movements of the dance. Clothing is important as it determines the feel of the dance and has a significant impact on the story. It is important to note that unlike the West, where musical is considered its own genre, in South Asia the relationship between theatre, music and dance is more intertwined. Bollywood films, where the dance originated, are full of dance and music as it is a major component to the genre. Bollywood dance is the essence of the film and is expected when watching a Bollywood film.
Bollywood dance is an important part of Indian culture, it is unique in its ability to tell a story through bodily movements. Bollywood dance is full of colour, showing a perfect amalgamation between music, dance, storytelling and costumes. These themes all intertwined when looking at ankle bells which are often worn by The transnational hand gestures and facial expressions the dancers to show that the story, music and dance are are one of the main reasons for Bollywood’s international performing all at the same time. There are many varieties appeal, it is a dance that everyone can understand. The of Bollywood dance such as – Bharatnatyam, Kathak, success of the dance is most evident through the use Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohinattyam, Odissi of the dance in popular films such as Disney kids film and Sattirya – and though they may all be different WORDS BY MORGAN in MCMILLAN The Cheetah Girls: One World which introduces young nature, they have one thing in common, they are IMAGE BY NAME western audiences to the beauty and nature of the dance. absolutely breath-taking. As shown through popular movies and music videos, AUTHOR costumes are essential to Bollywood dance WORDS BY MORGAN MCMILLAN
IMAGE BY FREEPIK.COM
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THE FINE LINE OF CULTURAL APPRECIATION AGAINST CULTURAL APPROPRIATION SAM PEGG Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole. There's a fine line concerning cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, and it's first important to acknowledge the fact that people's stances on the subject are quite varied. What one person may find okay, another might find disrespectful, and so straddling the line of whether this form of emulation is ever really appreciative can be hard to decipher. However, no matter where you look, cultural appropriation is constantly happening around us. This is most notably in the fashion industry and it's important to consider one key question: can emulation ever be appreciation or is it always offensive?
There are many forms of cultural appropriation happening all around us. One must not forget that blues was the music of the slaves, dreadlocks are a staple of Caribbean culture, and saris are a beautiful traditional attire originating from India. Yet all three along with many others have worked their way into many cultures where they didn't originate from. While African-American musicians still dominate blues, it hasn't stopped white artists from exploring the genre either. Dreadlocks appear all throughout the world and often don the heads of many white people, and Saris are often worn by non-native Indians when attending an Indian wedding. None of these examples may seem inherently bad on first glance, but there's more to the picture you have to consider. Let's take a step back. Let's consider what has a more unanimous rejection than the murky examples above. More people are starting to agree it’s insensitive to wear an ‘Indian’ Halloween costume when it is evidently a costume of a Native American. Firstly, it’s completely culturally inaccurate, and secondly, it seems insensitive to dress as a Native American when the design is built off stereotypes, inaccuracies, and with no inherent appreciation for the culture in question. The costume is built for laughs or fun, and it holds no regard to the persecution and history of the Native Americans. Although, this isn't the only example. Any costume or dress-code built off a cultural stereotype is largely deemed offensive because they often play off negative stigma that large amounts of people have about different cultures and
CUSTOMS AND CULTURES this can never be seen as a form of appreciation. It's outright offensive and people are thankfully starting to realise they need to stay away from this form of appropriation. Another form of appropriation that actually happens quite a lot is the ‘borrowing’ of a culture's iconography and using it in a different way than it was intended. Many American sports teams steal their names from Native American tribal names or poach the imagery of their mascots from tribal artworks. This also happens in Australia with Aborigines and even (although to a lesser extent) England with the use of Celtic or pagan symbols that are taken without context. The reason this is insensitive is that it often disregards the iconography's true meaning and over-time people begin to associate the symbol with the wrong idea or principle and in effect begins to erase a significant part of history. It leads to a form of ignorance as people fail to consider something's true meaning. That said, this appropriation is not always as clearcut. In recent years, there's been a huge boom in tattoos that use imagery and iconography associated with different cultures. From using images of the Buddha, symbols relating to Taoism and even the copying of indigenous tribal tattoos from those like the Māori people, the Western world often has poached imagery without comprehending its significance. Simply put - just because it looks cool doesn't justify getting it tattooed on your body.
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Despite this, there are genuine arguments put forward that also question whether a tattoo like this is always disrespectful. There's certainly a strong case put forward when you have people who genuinely understand the significance of the symbol or iconography they are having tattooed on themselves. They're enforcing its significance to themselves as well as their appreciation for that culture. Yet, in a similar situation like someone travelling to New Zealand and having an indigenous person give them a tribal tattoo, it suddenly feels less divisive. It's certainly more acceptable than having a western artist steal the design from a culture they know nothing about. Then again these tribal tattoos are much more than just an aesthetic for the Māori people. So there really must be a deepseated appreciation or bigger understanding of the significance of the design to really ever justify it. Even then you have to consider, is it achieving this appreciation you think it is? Now, this brings back to my first examples: blues, dreadlocks and saris and in fact, I think we can apply it to anything that we may ‘borrow’ from another culture. If we ask ourselves some key questions, we can then begin to understand if we're appropriating the culture or if we're trying to appreciate it. Is it likely to cause offence to native people or in general? Do I understand its significance? Have I taken it out of context? Do I understand its history? These are four questions that can really make a difference and help you navigate the fine line of cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. Ultimately, if you're unsure, then leave it out. Trust your instincts because potentially harming another person's beliefs or threatening their culture is never something you should strive for or be unsure on.
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KATIE EVANS Seoul-born, American actor Steven Yeun’s most notable roles include his portrayal of recurring character Glenn Rhee in the AMC television adaptation of the post-apocalyptic comic book The Walking Dead (2010-) and his role in 2018 Korean psychological thriller film Burning. He has certainly built a name for himself in film industry circles due to his varied acting credits. From low-budget indie flicks to high stakes serial television, Yeun’s filmography shows his strengths in straddling both American and Korean markets, both of which are extensive and interesting and very much deserving of an in-depth focus piece.
the beautifully quirky Okja being his first. The actionadventure film, which competed for the coveted Palme d’Or in 2017, starred a host of famous Hollywood actors and was directed by Bong Joon-ho as a KoreanUnited States co-production. Alongside this, Yeun had a central role in Boots Riley’s black-comedy film Sorry to Bother You, which I personally believe to be one of his best roles to date due to his brilliantly spoken oneliners and overall angst. Voice roles have also been an important part of Yeun’s career and span its entirety, including his work on the television series Final Space, The Legend of Korra and Netflix’s recent release Legends: Tales of Arcadia (2020).
The infamous horror/drama television show The Walking Dead, which first aired just 10 years ago, helped build a name for Yeun through his portrayal as the nerdy and lovable Glenn Rhee. His character, who seems to be the only one in the whole show with any morals and sense, became one that was appreciated by many and his performance allowed him to quickly and surely build up a strong and supportive fanbase. As such an important character in the drama-fuelled show, it was a huge surprise when Glenn Rhee’s death was broadcast to millions of audiences across the globe. The outcry that creators Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore faced after the episode aired was extensive, proving to audiences and filmmakers alike just the strong connection Yeun had built between himself and fans, as well as demonstrating the brilliant talent he had to offer.
In more recent years, Yeun starred in Lee Changdong’s Burning as the elusive character Ben. His performance was acclaimed by audiences and critics, and won him multiple Best Supporting Actor awards at a wealth of notable festivals, moving Yeun back into more serious roles similar to those from which he started out. Just this year, Yeun starred in the A24 produced film Minari (2020), which explores themes of immigration, family and relationships. Yeun also served as an executive producer for the film, which we can only assume will be his first of many.
After his shift on The Walking Dead, which spanned an incredible 6 years, Steven Yeun began his venture into both international and independent feature films, with
Future projects for Yeun include the much anticipated one-act play adaptation of Stephen Karam’s The Humans (2016), in which Yeun will star alongside Amy Schumer and more. I can’t wait until we can see Steven Yeun’s latest role as he goes from strength to strength throughout his film career. Maybe one day we’ll catch him directing? (I can only dream so much).
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DIEGO LUNA: MEXICO’S GOLDEN BOY
For those Star Wars fans, mention Diego Luna and you’re bound to get an immediate reaction for his portrayal of Cassian Andor in Rogue One, but mention him to perhaps a die-hard fan of his work, you’ll get a whole IMDb page-worth of work credentials. Born in Toluca Mexico, Luna was the rising Hollywood Golden Boy doing wonders for representations of minorities in Hollywood blockbuster films. However, since Rogue One the actor has returned to his Mexican roots, distancing himself from the film-making central of Los Angeles. There’s no denying that Luna loves his culture and is extremely patriotic and loyal to his Mexican origins which is where his acting career blossomed. Following a career in Mexican telenovelas from a young age, Luna bagged one of the main roles in Alfonso Cuarón’s coming of age film Y tu mamá también as Tenoch Iturbide. Talking to GQ, Luna likened himself to Tenoch as he grew alongside the character and found joy in the journey and experience of Tenoch, all whilst living in the country he loves. The film was a raging success and received many award nominations, including a BAFTA in the Foreign Language category. Still, 19 years after its release, it sits 20th on Empire Magazine’s ‘100 Best Films of World Cinema’. At the age of 21, Luna became a fully established actor on the big screen and began branching out from Mexican cinemas and landing roles within the mainstream, starring alongside Kevin Costner and Michael Gambon in the Western film Open Range. For a long time Luna was landing supporting roles, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, but now, flipping back and forth from Mexico and film sets, he is most certainly getting the well deserved recognition for his craft.
and other conversationalists engage in fundamental topics of Mexican lifestyle and universal interests in contemporary societies. They even touch upon systematic functions such as ingrained racism and migration of Mexicans. Not only has Luna engaged in politics and societal issues of his much loved country, he engages in bringing the classics of his profession to Mexico City by starring and co-producing adaptations of William Shakespeare’s complete works. Luna has, in interviews, previously expressed his love for the plays: ‘even if I don’t have time for these, I make time, they’re very special projects for me...I love merging Mexico with other cultures’. Luna also starred in nostalgic 50s Latin dance film Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights which takes on a similar preface of the subsequent cult hit, but with rich and feisty Cuban culture, and the sensual romance of Latin America. Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal also reunited for Rudo y Cursi (2007). Directed by Carlos Cuarón (brother of Alfonso Cuarón) it tells the lives of football-crazed brothers living on a banana plantation but not unlike Y tu mama tambien, the film follows conflicting ambitions and dreams of the brothers. Diego Luna, like many Mexican actors, has gone wrongfully unrecognised for his work in the realm of Mexican cinema. Whether you know him from the Star Wars universe or his portrayal of Mexican drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo in Narcos: Mexico, watching a few of his earlier Mexican films will form a full understanding and appreciation to his work.
Whilst Mexican cinema continues to evolve from the Golden Age of the 1930s, many Mexican actors and directors have followed the same path, fleeing to Hollywood for larger films and roles; yet Luna has done the opposite. Now living back in Mexico, he has made all the efforts to celebrate Mexico’s culture and customs. Amazon series Pan y Circo sees Luna
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REAL PEOPLE FOUND TO HAVE BEEN INHABITING EAST ANGLIA FOR THE PAST 10,000 YEARS! Anthropologists have discovered that against all odds, a micro-ecosystem of our very own species has managed to cling on life in the barren hellscape that is the Hump of England. It used to be common knowledge that upon viewing a map of the United Kingdom, you could safely ignore the area just east of Cambridge - also known as the Negative Zone, or The Shadowy Lands that The Light Does Not Touch. However, it seems now that the triple-sealed Supermax fortifications built around the Forbidden Area may be opening more often, as research teams turn up in droves to study these people who are very much like us - but aren't. “So what are these people like?” is the burning question on the tip of everyone's tongues, like a habanero pepper your boyfriend assured you wasn't as spicy as you thought, but you're not sure you like that mischievous grin of his as you go for the chomp. “Well, they're very similar to us regular people,” reported Dr Marcel Chunk, lead Researcher at EastAnglia Research - E.A.R. for short. “They wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, wash, go to school, work, the toilet and the grave. When hungry, they go to an American fast-food restaurant, or if they feel guilty they like to pretend to go on a diet while snacking on biscuits and chocolate while they think no one is looking. But we're always watching them. There isn't a single second from kicking and screaming birth to the alone and unloved death where we don't violate their privac- Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I used the incorrect terminology there - study their cultures and customs.”
And yet the news has not sparked joy in everyone. Many activist groups on both sides of the spectrum are shocked and appalled at the prospect of increased contact and unregulated probing of the natives. Groups on the left liken the circumstance of the EastAnglians to that of the North Sentinelese, saying that these people simply want to be left alone and to recklessly introduce them to society would be an unmitigated disaster, citing the diseases Europeans brought to the New World that decimated the native population. Meanwhile, Ludlow Smogrun of the “Keep Up That Wall or I'll Bash Yer 'Ed In” branch of the BNP had this to say: “My family has been keepin” that there wall there maintained and keeping them lot out for over 1000 years! I'll be damned if they tear that wall down over my dead body!” Food for thought. WORDS BY JASPER MARSHALL IMAGE BY UNIVERSAL
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FAIRY TAIL: NON-STOP FANTASY FUN
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Against the constantly growing backlog of Japanese anime, one show has always stood out as exemplifying all the quirks that make anime so appealing to Western audiences as well as staying true to its Japanese roots. Grand fight scenes, goofy characters, a surprising amount of heart, and exploration of prevalent themes surrounding the word ‘family’; Fairy Tail has always felt much more than just a show for enjoyment’s sake. Don’t get me wrong, there’s never a dull moment on the continent of Fiore, but you’ll always find many meanings and heartwarming moments packed into its whopping 339 episodes that will make you laugh, sometimes drop your jaw and even perhaps tear up at times. Following chiefly the story of Natsu Dragneel, Lucy Heartfilia, Erza Scarlet, Gray Fullbuster, and the flying talking cat (well, technically an Exceed) Happy, Fairy Tail is an episodic adventure split into narrative arcs, some lasting two episodes, some 53. These stories have them battling childhood rivals, competing against friends for honour, saving the world from disaster (multiple times), and even competing in Olympic-style team events to be named the Kingdom’s greatest guild of mages. At the heart of the show, there’s always a celebrated core of friendship and family, something that is often explored to poignant depths. In fact, with most of the main characters lacking blood-related parents, Fairy Tail is often a show about the friends that become our family. You’ll watch Fairy Tail and constantly feel this idea empowering its host of characters to overcome even the greatest of trials, with backstory that often predates its villains and sometimes drives them towards good. It makes the show simultaneously about loss and pain as well as being about how we can find a true family in those we love around us. Yet that’s not the only thing that makes Fairy Tail so captivating to watch. While covered in messages and shrouded in subtle moments of reflection, it’s just as much of a power fantasy and feels exhilarating to experience. It has characters that breathe fire, summon spirits, and switch armours at will; these only just scratch the surface of the weird and marvellous abilities that the show’s wizards often have. It’s like a Japanese interpretation of the world of X-Men, except it’s not limited to Western sensibilities that often make shows or films “too
safe”. It’s completely unadulterated fun, often taking moments to extremes for the simple fact of enjoyment, never fearing in taking a pause from narrative to simply get people laughing. Granted, its sexualisation of the human body (often more so of women than men) sometimes leaves an air of awkwardness that doesn’t feel necessary, but its acute awareness of the absurdity of these moments as well as many others, often pave the way to great jokes and witty one-liners that always hit their mark.
Fairy Tail was the first anime I ever watched and I doubt it will be my last. It made for the perfect entry point and always takes me on an unmatched journey of enjoyment whenever I watch it. It’s a show that is as equally about fun as it is about exemplifying a message, and it never fails to balance these two aspects with perfection. It cannot be stressed enough at just how good this show can be, and as an entry point into the Japanese art-from that is anime, it’s a perfect start to become acquainted with another culture’s approach to media and storytelling. WORDS BY SAM PEGG IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE
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The Swedish fika. It’s an untranslatable word. It’s a verb and a noun. It’s a quick break, a catch up, a time to energise and a time to wind down. It’s a ritual and a tradition, a custom you may even say, but more importantly, it’s a state of mind. If Swedes, often known to be distant and reserved people, are passionate about one thing, it’s fika. To fika is to sit down for a coffee and a piece of cake with friends, family, co-workers, classmates, strangers. You might ask how this is different from a coffee date or sitting down for a cuppa here in the UK, but the thing about fika is that it is deeply and completely integrated into the Swedish day of life. Your day is not complete without at least one fikarast - that is, a break for a fika. To quote IKEA, ‘it’s more than a coffee break, fika is a time to share, connect and relax with colleagues’
Every morning when I go to work, we open up and sort out the most pressing issues, but about an hour in, before properly getting into the day, it is expected to sit down for 10-15 minutes with a cup of coffee to take a breath and chat with your co-workers. This short break sets us up for the rest of the day, and lets us mentally prepare for the work ahead. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, fika is a social institution established at all workplaces in the country. There’s always time for a break. This mentality doesn’t only help our mental health, but it actually also promotes productivity. Don’t fancy coffee? A cup of tea or even a glass of water is okay too! Whether you’re munching down on a Swedish cinnamon bun, a biscuit, or even a sandwich, a fika is just a moment where you sit down to eat and drink, and pay no attention to anything outside of that very moment. Even if you’re not having a stressful day, a fika allows for you to disconnect with the outside world and reconnect with yourself and those around you. Even lazy days in front of Netflix call for a fika break, where you put your phone away and focus solely on what is in front of you. It can be 10 minutes at work or it can last four hours with your best pal. Haven’t seen a friend in a while? Fika. Lecture is running on long? Fika. Had a long day at work? Fika. Had a short day at work? Fika. Celebrating something? Fika. Mourning something? Fika.
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The fika in itself isn’t what matters per se, it’s about a lifelong dedication to setting time aside for yourself and your surroundings. Fundamentally, fika is a way of connecting. Much like the British, Swedes can seem very distant. We don’t speak to strangers in the supermarket and we definitely don’t say hello to people when we cross the street. But when we sit down to fika, all social expectations are ignored and anyone is approachable. Sure, chatting about the weather is nothing revolutionary, it’s done in every culture, but I think we all could do well by valuing it a bit more. At the end of the day, it shows human connection and identity. I may never speak to this person again, but in this very moment, I get to experience a part of their world, and however minimal that may be, connection and mutual experience is always enriching. When it all boils down to it, fika is a part of the Swedish dedication to self-care. It’s an indulgence in the small but precious moments that make life worth living. We love cooking and baking, in fact it is very rare that we purchase ready-meals and premade baked goods. To prepare your own fika is most definitely a Swedish love language if there ever was one, and while our Cinnamon buns and Chocolate Balls may not be the healthiest, there is an emphasis on the awareness of what we put into our bodies. We eat to fuel our body and we fika to fuel our soul. Sweden’s one of the happiest countries in the world, and I’m not going to pretend that it’s all due to
Image courtesy of.Oscar Yildiz//Unsplash
a taking a coffee break or two everyday, but I do think that it plays a part. A study in 2013 showed that Swedes spend up to ten days a year just on these customary breaks. I’m not saying you have to start drinking copious amounts of coffee and eat a full Battenberg every day, but I am saying you should start incorporating short, social breaks in your everyday life. Setting aside 10-15 minutes in the middle of your study sesh, not to scroll through your socials, but to have a treat and chat about absolutely nothing, because sometimes that is everything. You can have a fika in the comfort of your own home, but if you fancy a traditional Swedish fika, why not head to Bageriet (The Bakery) in Covent Garden for a taste of some delicious fikabröd. And if you can’t make it to London, the IKEA foodcourt in Southampton will also do just as fine. LINNEA LAGERSTEDT
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INTRODUCING: CHINESE CINEMA With the rising popularity of anime, from Makoto Shinkai’s works such as Weathering With You (2019) and Your Name, to Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away and of course My Neighbour Totoro, Japan seems to be dominating western cultures’ interaction with East Asian cinema. However, Chinese cinema has a lot to offer and should hold equal importance amongst anime. From arthouse to politics, documentary to crime, Chinese cinema has it all; here are some of the best Chinese films. If we’re talking Chinese cinema, Jia Zhangke has to be named as one of the most significant directors. He’s often considered a leader of the ‘sixth generation’ of Chinese cinema - a movement post1990 which saw a return to ‘amateur’ filmmaking, due to censorship and low budgets. A personal favourite of Zhangke’s is The World (2004), which is set in the Beijing World Park, and follows the life and romance of two park workers, security guard Taisheng (Chen Taisheng) and his girlfriend and performer Tao (Zhao Tao). The film tackles love, marriage, migration, prostitution, betrayal, and death, all whilst highlighting the rise of technology and globalisation, and what this means for Chinese society. What is most notable about The World is its superb blending of animation with normal footage - it’s an aesthetically pleasing watch, which will certainly get you hooked not just on Zhangke’s work, but intrigued to explore Chinese cinema further. Another wonderful film is Lou Ye’s Suzhou River (2000). Set along a polluted river near Shanghai, this romance/drama follows a young motorcyclist Mardar ( Jia Hongsheng), who transports the teenage daughter of a criminal, Moudan (Zhou Xun). Caught up in feelings and plans of kidnapping and ransom, Mardar loses Moudan who drowns in the river Suzhou... or does she? This movie will
keeping you guessing, and you will likely leave it with more questions than before you began screening. It’s no surprise that Ye took inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s marvellous Vertigo for this thrilling, nail-biting, and somewhat confusing romance. For any fans of the classic Hollywood cinema period, wishing to re-live their favourite romance for the first time - Suzhou River is certainly for you. It merges American inspiration with the artistic and political wonders of Lou YE, making for an easy gateway into Chinese cinema. If documentaries are your thing, look no further than Jiuliang Wang’s Plastic China - an emotional look into the lives of Yi-Jie’s family, working long hours at a plastic recycling waste site whilst living amongst the waste, and their boss Kun. 11-yearold Yi-Jie dreams of going to school, and keeps herself entertained with broken Barbie dolls to talk to. Despite her father’s promise of sending her to school five years prior, he is yet to deliver; all his spare money instead is spent on alcohol. It is a heart-wrenching look into the lives of those living amongst our waste, working with their bare hands and putting their lives at risk simply to do it all again the next day. But it importantly reminds us that “we are all in this together, and we all play a part in this ever changing world”. Though this is nowhere near an extensive list of Chinese films, it hopefully gives an insight into what Chinese cinema has to offer, and proves why it should be just as popular as other East Asian cinemas like South Korea currently are. Most importantly, it has hopefully indicated that Chinese cinema is far more complex than what it is probably stereotypically known for - Jackie Chan (though filmed in Hong Kong, this is technically under Chinese rule) and wuxia movies.
WORDS BY MADDIE LOCK IMAGE BY BENJAMIN SMYTH
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CORNISH IDENTITY POLITICS AND THE EU WORDS BY REBECCA WILLIAMS IMAGE BY CAITLIN HARRIS The British Isles are host to a multitude of different cultures and identities, representative of old local traditions and newer cultures which represent the diversity and modernity of Britain today. Cornwall is a county with Celtic links to Brittany, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. It is rich in culture and fiercely proud of it. It has its own language, foods, incredibly picturesque towns, villages and coastlines. The EU has given Cornwall a lot over the years, largely in terms of funding and infrastructure. Yet, 56.5% of Cornwall voted for Brexit in June 2016. This contradictory relationship can be understood through issues surrounding Cornish culture.
not always been the case). This has naturally brought it into conflict with the EU.
Cornwall is currently under Objective One status of the EU, making it one of the 4 regions in the UK which qualify for a poverty related grant. Since 1999, it has received £765 million of EU funds, which have gone into projects such as building the Eden Project, Newquay Airport, expanding the A30, train stations, and further education. As Brexit approaches, Cornwall Council has petitioned the British government for £700 million over the next 10 years to plug the shortfall, a sum it is unlikely to receive.
There is a sense that EU investment just isn’t being seen by the average Cornish person, as most of it goes into tourism or education. In Falmouth and Penryn, there is active resentment by locals for the EU which built Falmouth University, which has overrun the town with students. There was much greater enthusiasm for remaining in the EU amongst younger people who had directly benefited from investment in further education campuses.
Furthermore, its signature food, Cornish pasties, were awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status by the EU protected food name scheme in 2007. This means that only a pasty made in Cornwall with a traditional pasty may be named and sold as a ‘Cornish pasty’. There are concerns that leaving the EU will remove the protection status on pasties and other foods such as Cornish clotted cream. It seems that Cornwall has a lot to lose by leaving the EU, so why did they vote for Brexit? A lot of this is about independence and sovereignty, much like the rest of the country. It has a strong identity of independence (although not from England, but this has
Yes, Cornwall has received a lot of EU money, which has done wonders for the tourism industry and for improving education prospects. However, Cornwall is still incredibly poor. It has one General Hospital at Truro which is underfunded and expected to service Cornwall’s entire 560,000 population. Compare that to Southampton’s two high performing and well-funded hospitals for 250,000 people. It isn't getting that from the British government either, but that isn't the point made by Cornish Brexiteers.
Another big Cornish concern regarding the EU was fishing rights. Fishermen throughout the country largely favoured Brexit, and there are a lot of fishing communities in Cornwall. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, in seas surrounding the UK, EU boats are entitled to more than 60% of landings by weight, with an even greater proportion for some species. For example, the UK is only allocated 9% of Cod caught in the Channel, while the French get 84%. If English fishermen collect more than their quota, they have to put it back in the sea. None of this means that either side is more right than the other, but this article has attempted to demonstrate the rationale. We’ve left the EU, but it is interesting to see how culture and identity in this little county fit into wider political discourse, and made its voice heard.
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Written between 1928-1940, amongst the monolithic presence of the Stalin’s regime, author Mikhail Bulgakov would not live to see his masterpiece Мастер и Маргарита (The Master and Margarita) published, a book which many refer to as one of the best novels of the 20th Century as well as the finest of the Soviet satires. The novel would not see the light of day until 1966 when it was published by Bulgakovs widow, at first as a censored version in Moscow Magazine, and finally as a book in Paris during 1967. The novel follows Woland (the Devil), and his retinue of demonic henchmen that are comically distinctive yet terrifying, as they wreak havoc throughout the officially atheistic 1930s Moscow. This is interwoven with the story of Margarita and her paramour, the author known as the Master, along with excerpts of the Masters’ pièce de résistance which follows Pontius Pilate’s convoluted condemnation of Jesus.
Despite its distinctly Russian characteristics, the genius of the book is its ability to relate to people of all cultures through the themes it explores. Having been incorporated into Russia’s national DNA along with inspiring The Rolling Stones 1968 hit ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, the true global scope of this book’s influence is clear. These themes, along with many others, are dealt with poignantly through the masterful employment of magical realism as Bulgakov incorporates chapters that seem both entirely misplaced yet logical. Thus, with a cheerful optimism, bitter evil and strong sense of imperishable love, The Master and Margarita is truly the creation of a great mind.
Throughout the novel, Bulgakov launches a subtle polemic that lampoons the censorship and authoritarianism which characterised the way communism was imposed under Stalin, and thus experienced by Bulgakov. Written in carefully, Bulgakov touches upon the Soviet Unions’ willingness to ‘disappear’ citizens as well as the corruption and greed that results from Soviet policy. Whether it is the disappearance ‘without a trace’ of the prior occupants of Woland’s apartment or Styopa being supernaturally transported from Moscow to Yalta, thousands of miles away, the humour of these episodes starkly contrasts the dark realities of the Soviet experience. Furthermore, escaping from the derivative narrative of the Devil embodying pure evil, Woland’s objective seems to be a demonstration of how good and evil cannot exist without each other. Bulgakov looks at the meaning of both ‘good’ and ‘evil’, as well as how it translates into real life by additionally using the human characters as vessels of evil.
Image courtesy of HANNA TROUPE//UNSPLASH / VINTAGE BULGAKOV
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ZWARTE PIET: THE RACIST CHRISTMAS TRADITION WORDS BY MACEY MCDERMOTT IMAGE BY FRANCES ROSE Often, when we think of the customs and traditions of different countries, we look to them with respect and appreciation. However, this is not the case with the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet. Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is a Christmas tradition that takes place every year on the 5th of December in the Netherlands. Zwarte Piet is Sinterklaas’ (Santa Clause’s) helper, and across the small European country, Dutch children are excited for the duo’s arrival each year. The tradition is said to be the creation of schoolteacher Jan Schenkman, first introduced in a children’s book he published in the 1850s. In the story, Zwarte Piet helps Sinterklass during the festive period by kidnapping bad children and taking them to Spain. Over time, the story has evolved into Zwarte Piet’s arrival being something children look forward to, instead of fear. Both Sinterklass and Zwarte Piet appear in parades across the country in early December, where they hand out sweets to the children. The racist aspect of this tradition is that those who dress up as Zwarte Piet do so in complete blackface. The character of Piet involves black face paint, curly black wigs, exaggerated red lipstick and gold earrings. As such, these parades involve the attendance of hundreds of white people dressed up in blackface. In recent years, the racist tradition has received great criticism. Many Dutch people have argued such parades are horrific and have no place in modern Dutch society. Supporters of the Zwarte Piet tradition have argued that Piet is covered in soot from going down the chimney and therefore those who emulate him are not doing blackface.
racisme’ campaign, which advocates an end to the tradition. In some cities, changes have been made. For example, in 2016, Amsterdam announced there would no longer be any blackface permitted at its annual Sinterklaas parade. Instead, Zwarte Piet has become ‘Schoorsteen Piet’ or ‘Chimney Piet’ who has soot on his face and a different outfit. In recent months, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also started to become ‘sceptical’ of the tradition. In 2014, Rutte revealed that, like many other Dutch people, he had dressed up as Zwarte Piet (with blackface) in the past. He was previously of the opinion that the tradition isn’t offensive. However, he now believes that Zwarte Piet will likely not exist in a few years and no longer has a place in Dutch society. Zwarte Piet is a very interesting subject when it comes to thinking about traditions. It allows us to understand how the Netherlands, and other European countries, are being influenced by their legacies of colonialism and racism into the 21st century. Through Piet, we can see how racism injects itself into all areas of society, even during the festive season. Zwarte Piet is a huge physical reminder of all the institutionally racist aspects of a society that are not on display everyday. As time passes and today’s generation better educate themselves on racist and problematic aspects of their country, they come into conflict with older generations who may support these traditions. It is now more important than ever that the tradition of Zwarte Piet comes to an end, and that Dutch people acknowledge there is no place for such practices in today's world.
These criticisms have resulted in the ‘Zwarte Piet is
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CUSTOMS AND CULTURES
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ALEX READ The ability of music to capture a moment, mood, or place is immense, and in many ways, music is a universally understood language that has the powers to transcend cultural boundaries and connect people from across the globe. Yet whilst it may bring people from all corners of the planet together, there are very noticeable variations to how live performances are received and interacted with by its attendees around the world. These differences are vast and can be dependent on the music genre or act, however by focusing on rock concerts and their reception generally in Europe and North America, South America, and Japan a clear sense of these distinctions can be made. Europe and North America are a staple tour circuit for artists of any level. Being spoilt for choice in terms of live acts playing in these countries, the crowds will have seen a lot and thus there is an expectation for artists to deliver. This can create both moments of magic with a band firing on all cylinders that ignites a crowd, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Slane Castle, or lacklustre sets that leave a dull jaded audience who were expecting a lot more. Additionally, the prevalence of mobile phones and ticket scalping further add to the hit and miss reception of crowds that starkly contrasts that of other regions. Amongst rock n’ roll folklore, South American crowds are notorious for their palpable energy and dedication to the act they are seeing. One only has to watch AC/DC’s pro-shot footage of them performing the blistering hit ‘Thundersrtuck’ to legions of Argentine fans for their dedication to become painstakingly clear. The crowd writhes and sways as Brian Johnson is almost drowned out by the 70,000 strong crowd, and as the song breaks
down the entire standing area erupts in frenzy to the point in which some of the camera angles are shaking. It is really no wonder that a large number of live DVDs are filmed from South American tours, and these fans are proof that the act is only half of the equation when it comes to concerts. This may be down to the fact that many South American countries are not extensively toured by big acts and thus the one or two shows a country may have gets packed out by the die-hard fans of that area. The passion and energy of these fans is truly unique, and any artist should feel fortunate when they begin to receive their ‘come to brazil’ messages. Arriving in Japan, the audience reception is a polar opposite to that of South America. Japan is a country that marches to the beat of its own drum, and its reception of live concerts is no exception. With most large concert venues, such as the Tokyo Dome, opting for seated shows coupled with camera and phone bans, the atmosphere can be a lot more relaxed compared to its western counterparts due to the lack of mosh pits or the constant jostling for a prime position. Fans mostly cheer, jump, and fist pump with everyone staying in front of their seat. This is clearly shown by Guns ‘n Roses’ 1992 Tokyo performance where the crowd was clearly in the hands of the band yet remained somewhat reserved. This audience characteristic could be related to the concept of Teinei, which loosely translates to ‘politeness’, that overarches both Japanese culture and life. That being said, audiences in Japan are incredibly passionate, they just express themselves in a different way. One can expect undivided attention and following the cheering at the close of a track, silence.
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CUSTOMS AND CULTURES FILM
Wherever you look in the world, human beings find themselves attached to a particular culture. Some people invest themselves in multiple cultures at once, some are able to appreciate another's way of life and spot noticeable differences. But why do humans feel the need to adopt a cultural identity? Could this be due to basic human psychology? Cultural psychology is a branch of study that brings psychology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and linguistic studies together to explain different cultures and how they reflect onto a human's psyche. The main problem with cultural psychology is that many findings would get rejected from the usual branch of research, mostly due to the inability to prove something that is often dedicated to only one small group of people. That being said, Steven Heine, a psychologist from the University of British Columbia, commented that "knowing that certain groups do or do not show the same tendencies under different social and cultural conditions is very informative of how minds work." It is clear to see that the culture someone is born into can greatly affect a person's view of the world. For example, those born into the Western individualist culture will experience life much differently from those who belong to the Confucian collectivist culture in China. People within the Western culture are more likely to strive for personal achievement and 'living life to the best' whereas a collectivist culture is focused more on the good of the
group and the community to which they belong. For collectivists, personal attainment is far less important than others' needs, which is clearly very different from the ambitiousness that underpins the British culture. But why do humans feel the need to belong to a culture? It is very obvious how a culture will shape and influence a person's life, but that doesn't explain why a human being will hang so tightly on the need to conform. The culture will shape a person's behaviour just as much as a person's thoughts will inevitably shape the culture itself. Theorists believe that, just as there would be no culture without human beings, there would be no human beings without different cultures. Some even argue that the only thing that separates us from other species is our ability to create and distinguish cultures. This would explain why as humans we feel bound to interact with particular cultures as otherwise, we would cease to be what we believe we are. As culture is a way of behaving through socially approved means, humans must follow a culture as we have adapted to becoming civilised beings with very particular ways of life. While it may appear that other species entertain the idea of culture, it is only human beings that have such a researched repertoire. It hasn't yet been thoroughly explained why there is such a thing as culture, just that it exists, and it is essential to who and what we are as a species itself.
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AMERICANS SHOCKED TO DISCOVER THAT BARBECUE SAUCE IS NOT CULTURE WORDS BY ALYSSA-CAROLINE BURNETTE IMAGE BY SIMON JOHNSON
In keeping with the long-standing tradition of asserting independence from British rule, Americans have now escalated their efforts and attempts to insist that American culture is superior to that of their British counterparts. This tradition typically encompasses such charming assertions as, 'Americans got it right when we ditched y'all,' 'at least our food has flavour,' and rejecting the metric system in favour of measuring everything by 'McDonalds per freedom eagle.' The American people have yet to grasp the irony of any implication of cultural superiority coming from people who commonly microwave tea. They were, however, shocked to discover that slathering everything in barbecue sauce is neither culture nor a substitute for a personality. Although barbecue sauce can often be found in many pubs as a complement to a burger or a dipping sauce for chicken strips, the UK has never been so bold as to put it on everything or assert that barbecue sauce constitutes culture. However, an assessment of any American supermarket will reveal that barbecue sauce is the only personality trait most Americans have. When they are not putting it on their crisps or using it as a base for the baffling traditional 'barbecue, bacon, and pineapple pizza,' Americans can also be found dipping scrambled eggs, hot dogs, and biscuits in the stuff. In keeping with the appalling tradition of 'Florida Man' headlines, many Americans in Florida have taken this cultural staple to a horrifying new extreme by coating roadkill, alligators, and possums in the sauce.
Although I assumed this description was a stereotype that should be limited to American memes, I found that upon being confronted with the horror of their life choices, the response of my American interviewees can only be described as barbecue-flavoured confusion. When asked why this dipping sauce had become such a rich cultural staple â€“ and why it should be considered superior to British culture and cuisine â€“ American correspondents replied that the separation from England had guaranteed their right to enjoy food with flavour and that at least barbecue sauce has more flavour than tea. Any hopes that they were joking were quickly shot down; so far from acknowledging the grand irony of their assertion, the American people have remained steadfast in their beliefs, citing their rich heritage of crafting foods whose primary ingredients are colours. A quick review of any pack et of McDonald's honey mustard, for example, will reveal that honey mustard primarily contains 'yellow food colouring,' 'modified starch,' and an unidentified substance referred to only as 'food thickener.' A similarly ominous and unexplained component of this sauce is described as being 'natural flavours enhanced with other natural flavours.' It is worth noting that these are also the primary ingredients of barbecue sauce. When I reached out to some American interviewees for clarity on this topic, their questions were simply met with the reply, 'At least we've heard of honey mustard!' A quick taste test of the sauce in question has prompted me to conclude that the UK is not missing out.
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NOSTALGIC NEWS 15 YEARS AGO
Sympathy for Lady Venegance was released
The final entry in Park Chan-Wook’s masterful ‘Vengeance Trilogy’, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is perhaps the most introspective, tragic and beautiful film of the trilogy. Exactingly paced and gorgeously lensed, Lady Vengeance weaves surreal, dream-like aesthetics and affecting cinematic lyricism into an elegant, intoxicating swirl of uncompromisingly brutal, traumatic violence and moral ambiguity never truly explored to the same passion as the previous two. The vivid motifs of snow and blood, conjoined with the astonishing central performance of Lee Young-ae as Lee Geum-ja and the stirring juxtaposition of classical music, lead the way towards a riveting, chaotic noir-esque narrative strung together in a maze of discordant memories and empty retribution, without forgoing a slight, but consistently efficacious humour, as dark and macabre as it is.
Stromae’s Cheese was released
Belgium is home to the best electronic dance music out there and Stromae’s Cheese further highlights the best of Belgian electronic. The lead single, ‘Alors on danse’, reached number one across Europe and is arguably one of Stromae’s most well-known songs to date. ‘Alors on danse’ on the surface sounds like a happy dance track, however, the song is about surviving daily life by dancing, with its melancholic atmosphere surrounded by rave synths, something that’s a staple of all tracks on Cheese. Stromae paints a world of grey and depression throughout Cheese, on ‘Rail de Musqiue’ Stromae goes into the detail on the drugs needed to get him through life “ma weed, ma coke, mon speed, mon crack, mon musique”. Though the album is fully in French, the pain and anguish are understood transnationally. Stromae put his heart into this record and we are able to understand the artist behind the upbeat bass. It may be called Cheese though but there’s nothing cheesy about it and is definitely worth a listen to everyone who enjoys crying on the dancefloor.
20 YEARS AGO
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was released Katie Evans
Ang Lee’s Millenial classic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) turns 20 this year. The wuxia martial arts film that transcended borders with its co-production agreements became the highest-grossing international film in the United States making it a record-breaking achievement for pan-Asian cinema and beyond. The action-adventure masterpiece, fronted by the brilliant Chow Yun-fat as protagonist Master Li, is a tale of excitement. With its portrayal of multiple female characters with strong roles and important parts to play in the narrative, the film always feels like a somewhat feminist piece and will remain a masterpiece to this day. The visual effects and choreographed fight scenes were new for Western audiences, opening viewpoints and blending cultural boundaries in more ways than one. Lee, who has since become an acclaimed Hollywood director with hits such as Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012), stunned with his piece which will remain an important piece of cinematic history.
Images courtesy of CJ ENTERTAINMENT and MERCURY
CUSTOMS AND CULTURES
NOSTALGIC NEWS 25 YEARS AGO
60 YEARS AGO
Enrique Iglesias’ Enrique Iglesias was released
King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias released his debut album 25 years ago, and ever since then, he’s been stealing hearts of middle-aged mums everywhere, acquiring a reputation of the original heart-throb that was out there breaking hearts and bringing us absolute Latin bangers, what a man. But before romantic soppy ballad ‘Hero’ and party anthems ‘SUBEME LA RADIO’ and ‘El Perdon’ we first saw Enrique release a debut album that was worlds away and extremely different from the mainstream reggaeton and trap Latin songs we see him releasing now. It’s safe to say that the album is the epitome of Latin mellow bliss, every song starts with relaxed opening bars that exhibit his velvety smooth voice to no ends, just because it’s in another language it doesn’t mean you can’t vibe. The debut album is one with light rock tones and soft pop ballads and bagging an Emmy for best Latin album, and he’s definitely not to be dismissed as a ‘pretty boy’.
A Bout de Souffle was released
Breathless (1960), known by its official French title À bout de souffle, was released an incredible 60 years ago as the first feature film by the ever-so acclaimed and influential director Jean-Luc Godard. Godard’s critically acclaimed crime drama has captivated audiences and theorists over time and has become one of the most notable pieces of cinema to have ever graced our screens, with the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) which started in 1960’s France, instigating an evidential trend of New Waves across the world - think Mexico, China and more... The film explores both love and crime in a way that displays a delectable medley of ‘new wave’ splendour never seen before by classic era audiences. Handheld camera shots and sudden jump cuts formed a new style which helped define the work of not only Godard but the era of cinema in which his work proved a spectacle.
40 YEARS AGO
Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Uprrising was released Morgan McMillan
Uprising is Bob Marley and The Wailers 12th studio album and was Bob Marley’s last album released during his lifetime, making the album a more sentimental anniversary for his fans. Within Uprising we see Marley explore and address his Rastafarian beliefs on a whole new level than ever before and we get an even deeper look at the soul of Marley. ‘Could You Be Loved’ and ‘Redemption Song’ are arguably the best songs on the album, they both take on a completely different tone but show Marley’s musical variety and ability to adapt any musical style into reggae. ‘Could You Be Loved’ embraces funk and disco while sticking to its reggae roots, whilst ‘Redemption Song’ is an “acoustic ballad without any hint of reggae rhythm” as said in the book Marley Legend. The song was written after Marley was diagnosed with cancer and the powerful message of the song, as said by Marcus Garvey, urges listeners to emancipate themselves from mental slavery as no one can free our minds but ourselves. Images courtesy of FONOVISA and Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie
The Edge and Wessex Scene have joined forces to bring you a wonderful Cultures & Customs themed magazine! Whether you want to celebrate cult...
Published on Dec 8, 2020
The Edge and Wessex Scene have joined forces to bring you a wonderful Cultures & Customs themed magazine! Whether you want to celebrate cult...