The Tribe February 2012
This yearâ€™s new resolution.
t the start of semester two, it’s all about saying Yes. Yes to the new library gates. Yes to the new Vic. Yes to starting your dissertation at last. And Yes to reading this issue of the Tribe cover to cover.
Alexandria Grant takes you through the reasons why you should just say Yes on page 27 having taken her Yesolution at the beginning of the year, and Katie Smith embraces her year as an Erasmus student on page 28. More broadly, 2012 is about saying Yes to a year of political change – Newt’s on the Loose in America (again), and Ed Milliband’s doing his best to control the Labour Party on pages 9 to 11. Advances in Science (pages 33-34) are showing us how to be happy and technology continues to dominate our lives as Facebook says Yes to going public (page 13) and Fashion debates whether blogs are the new glossies (page 24). Maybe it’s just that Gilbert and Gubar I read for my exams, but feminism seems to be on the minds of some of our writers as Polly Warrack explores the relationship between male artists and female models throughout time (page 6), and Louise Gundry ponders the merits of housewifery (page 14). So whether you’re saying Yes to bikinis (brrr) or trying that new hat, or broadening your horizons by saying Yes to an undiscovered country, semester two is all about the affirmative. Welcome to the first printed issue of The Tribe of Semester Two!
Editor-in-Chief, The Tribe.
4 8 12 16 26 32 arts&culture
arts& culture... get your daily quota of
In Austria the museums are alive with the sound of daring, so why is the Tate Modern so boring?
n a recent trip to Vienna I discovered the delights of an upmarket McDonalds (McCaron anyone?), public transport which was efficient and even reliable, and exhibitions so bold I was actually required to think. I truly had left London behind.
The average visitor seems to pay greater critical attention to the contents of Topshop, Tescos and the TV guide, content to be guided in their large crowds, with the occasional wall text to anchor and reassure them. Herein lies the problem. The availability of the modern museum has not elevated the cultural expectations of its visitors, but limited its own cultural power. It has become domesticated rather than didactic. We are supplied all of the answers without checking if the questions are even right. The more we are shown of these types of exhibitions the less inquisitive and open-minded we become. Whilst some more controversial artists such as Takashi Murakami and Tracey Emin have shown in major London galleries recently, there is nothing like a famous name to persuade an unsuspecting public of quality. There seems to be more prestige attached to the genitals they produce than those of a lesser known Viennese artist. So, the problem is not that we are prudes, but snobs and lazy ones at that.
In the heart of the MuseumsQuartier I stumbled, quite by accident, upon the KunstHalle. I was drawn in by the prospect of an exhibition entitled ‘Vanity’ which displayed fashion photography over the years. However, being told that I could gain admittance to the other exhibition it was showing for a mere extra euro my attempts to appear European and cool were abandoned and the miserly student in me came out; I bought the ticket for both.
No Thinking Please
I must admit that I had turned my nose up at the posters for ‘No fashion, please!’, assuming that as a third year Art History student I would have little interest in a weird little photography exhibition. I had pictured Vienna in Imperial splendour with a few Secessionist paintings to stand in for the cutting edge (and with Ultravox blaring at every corner if I’m being entirely honest). Thus, I was not quite prepared for what I saw as I confidently strode into the exhibition; for what greeted me was genitalia. This was genitalia so explicit and clear that even Gustav Klimt would have blushed.
The problem is us. I didn’t even mean to see the exhibition initially, and had it been a family holiday I can confidently say that it would not have been on the agenda. Yet, there the exhibition was; in the middle of ‘the institution’ and over the road from the Natural History Museum. Happily, the solution also lies with us. We must no longer enter museums and allow curators to do the thinking for us, nor smugly make claims of our visits to our friends and Twitter followers as though simply visiting was on a par with creating one of the works inside. We need to enter museums with open and active minds. So much is easy in the modern world; I can contact friends, write my essays and order food through the same device. So, the ability to engage with art on a personal level must not be lost.
Not to be defeated, higher minds and all that, I persevered, and, as I went through the exhibition I tumbled down from my pedestal. The exhibition claimed to be about photography between gender and lifestyle. What I saw was the delicate evocation of life, death and beauty. However, what I thought was ‘you wouldn’t find any of this in the Tate Modern!’ I am not inherently against the Tate Modern, and its exhibitions offer invaluable opportunities to view ‘great’ and famous art in Britain. My issue is that it panders to popularity, where curating should be challenging it is herding. It’s like going to see ‘The Artist’ at the cinema, but finding the reel has been replaced with ‘Rocky III’. It is formulaic, sycophantic, and worst of all boring.
Don’t worry though, if we get tired from this we can always switch off and enjoy the mind-numbing activities of the Lizard, the new series of The Only Way is Essex, or even the Tate Modern.
Actually, He’ll Take Manhattan
ver inter-semester I settled down to watch ‘We’ll Take Manhattan’ on BBC3. It was a feature length dramatisation of the infamous relationship between David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton, and the trip to New York which changed the future of their careers, fashion photography and British style. It was engaging, stylishly presented and a delight to watch. However, if Spiderman has his spideysenses which start tingling when danger is near, than I have my feminist radar to detect misogynist thought. This varies from an uncomfortable twitch, the sort provoked by the recent Virgin Atlantic advert where the only females involved appeared as air hostesses whilst men were cast as pilots and executive clients, to full blown outrage. Full blown outrage tends to be provoked by a lecture on Rodin or Gauguin, or someone criticising Caitlin Moran. On this scale ‘We’ll Take Manhattan’ scored a re-
sponse of irritated muttering. This is because despite being a tale of great social change, Jean ‘the Shrimp’ Shrimpton was reduced to the role of signifier. She was a stand-in for the Swinging 60s, the birth of the supermodel and the opposite of the voluptuous aristocratic women who were seen near the beginning of the programme. She was defined by her physical features and her relationships with men to become a type. Whilst David Bailey back chats the editors at Vogue and expresses his desire to capture something ‘alive’, Jean remained the silent representative of his goal, soon to resign her name to the new ones of ‘supermodel’, ‘gamine’ and ‘the sixties’. To me this seemed to represent the relationships of models and artists throughout time. Where David Bailey had Jean Shrimpton, Rosetti had Lizzie Sidal and Degas had his ballerinas. The artist exposes the model to the voyeuristic gaze of the viewer because we can
Image: BBC look without being seen. We do not engage with the model, but with the artist. The model is merely the signifier, or middle man, of this relationship. The model is pre-seen; the artist has already determined how we will regard what has been painted. For example, if we look at Lucien Freud’s painting of Sue Tilley, called ‘Benefits Supervisor Sleeping’ then we do not see an individual woman as though she stood before us. Instead, we see what Freud experienced in her presence. We can sense the imposing nature of her fleshy body. She is both vulnerable in her state of slumber, but intimidating as she seems ready to wake at any moment and expose the viewer, displacing the shame of nudity to us. She is all of these things, and yet none of these things for it is Freud’s gaze which cast her in this role.
Guerrilla Girls, a group of radical feminist artists, asked on a poster in 1989, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?" and found that 85% of the nudes at the Met were women, while only 5% of artists represented in the museum were women. upI do not necessarily argue for the abandonment of male representations of women, that would just be silly, but I implore the discontinuation of female types. In ‘We’ll Take Manhattan’ the big bad Vogue editor only accepts Jean Shrimpton when an even bigger and badder Vogue editor declares her ‘beautiful’; the pinnacle of female types. This seems massively unfair to me, but still seems to echo through the editorial pages of glossy magazines today as women are hoisted onto pedestals of what is fashionable and beautiful. Mind you, being a red-haired young woman I must be a femme fatale and thus hell bent on the destruction of the masculine creative spirit. I shall let you know how I get on...
More often than not it seems that this relationship of artist and model seems to take place between a male artist and a female model. The
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Newt’s On The Loose! Spencer Summers sheds some light into the serial hypocrisy of one of Romney's main challengers
f you’re a little bit older than I am, you will probably remember the calamity that was Mr Gingrich’s tenure as speaker of the house in the 1990’s. Whether it was the government shutdowns in 1995 or 1996 or the 84 ethics charges filed against him, Newt Gingrich was certainly a controversial and polarizing figure during the Clinton administration.
convince congressmen to support legislation in favour of the company. Gingrich is also fond of telling the current President to be more fiscally responsible; yet his $500,000 debt to Tiffany and Co. clearly indicates his inability to comprehend sound fiscal policy. Although he was charged with 84 ethics violations he was only convicted of one (using tax-exempt money for political purposes) and fined $300,000. Other charges were dropped because he was no longer engaging in such activities.
Fast forward to 2012 and this supposed paragon of Republican moral values is running for president. That is correct. Some arch social conservatives are backing the man who cheated on his first wife (and divorced her) while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery and then allegedly proposed an open marriage to his second wife (to clarify, he is now happily married to his third wife with whom he had an affair six months after his first divorce). The sheer level of hypocrisy from the man who spearheaded the impeachment of Bill Clinton over allegations that he lied about his infidelity is quite overwhelming. What is perhaps more shocking is the fact that with such a record, Mr. Gingrich won the South Carolina primary with 40% of the vote (a state which is traditionally known for its social conservative leanings).
The Republican primaries have been interesting so far, with Mitt Romney holding steady and many other candidates rising and falling. This indicates displeasure among voters over the candidates presented. Gingrich’s rise came relatively recently and he rode the surge to victory in North Carolina. Fortunately for sanity’s sake Romney won in New Hampshire, Iowa and Florida. It would appear the voters are making the reluctant choice to support the “least bad” candidate in Romney. Gingrich has too many skeletons in his closet to ever defeat Barack Obama in November and the Republican electorate is beginning to see that.
Multiple cases of infidelity aren’t the only skeletons Newt Gingrich has in his closet. Yet another example of the candidate’s hypocrisy are his attacks on the government mortgage organization Freddie Mac. What Newt failed to disclose was that as a lobbyist for the very same firm he was paid over $1.5 million to
Image: Newt Gingrich. Ajagendorf25 - Flickr.
Like Red on a
Stuart McMillan on the state of Ed Miliband's
t is an inescapable truism so long as the laws of physics stand: what goes up must come down. So it goes with the capricious business that is democratic politics that whatever party rides high at one point must, inevitably, slide-or occasionally fall-to the bottom. The Labour Party is undoubtedly in its worst position since the late-1980s (it is nowhere near the position it was in 1983). Many MPs, not to mention the media and the public, feel that the blame lies with a nice lad called Ed Miliband; currently the embattled leader of the Her Majesty’s Opposition. Many have even started wondering how the alternatives stack up, most notably-and quite without reason - Yvette Cooper, billed by The Spectator as ‘Labour’s Iron Lady’. Last month the elder statesman of the party Neil Kinnock came out to defend Ed against the ‘cowards’ who have repeatedly tried to stab him in the back. So what’s the truth behind the spin? Is Ed really quite as bad as people say he is? Are all the cards even on the table yet? What’s more, has a leader in Ed’s position ever managed to come back from his current position to the point of winning an election?
kept the party together. His handling of the Unions has suggested neither the overt support of his predecessors such as Michael Foot and Kinnock nor the blunt dismissal of Tony Blair.
Of those surveyed, 56% said they were dissatisfied with Miliband’s leadership compared to 30% who said they were not; down four points on December. Amongst Labour supporters 46% said they were satisfied whilst 44% said they were dissatisfied, meaning that a slim majority of the party is still in favour of Ed leading the party. Meanwhile, neither the front bench nor the backbenches are in the same level of disarray that was experienced during Gordon Brown’s last years-no walkouts, no open war, and no strife wracking the party. On the contrary, in the eighteen months after the Blair-Brown era; a period that could have crippled the party and caused it to fracture into several harmful splinters, Ed has managed to be the mixture of socialism and capitalism that has
He has a strong Chancellor in Ed Balls, but an acceptance of the public sector wage freeze has moved the Labour Party perilously to close to thenicer-version-of-the-Tories party. This is where Ed Miliband will continue to lose momentum; regardless of how far away the next election is he needs to demarcate his policies from those of Cameron’s, why he hasn’t is probably partly the reason why the Prime Minister’s personal approval ratings are their highest yet the field is free of challengers.
Lord Glasman’s statement that the party under Ed’s leadership has ‘no strategy, no narrative and little energy’ was one of the few stabs in the front
fledgling leadership Below: Ed Miliband. Image: PlashingVole— Flickr
the wilderness with a blunt machete when Smith was leader. This time round Ed is fighting a Coalition Government where the main party does not actually have a majority and with policies that are neither insanely popular nor difficult to criticise. Labour’s rating in a latest MORI polls puts them neck-and-neck with the Conservatives on 38%, whilst YouGov has them on 38%, two points behind the Tories. 1983 it ain’t. Here is where a strong, focused, and fundamentally Labour manifesto comes in. To hit the right marks that convince the public that Labour is on the side of low- and middle-income families whilst still not alienating the businesses and the banks, something which it is difficult not to do given their current standing with the country, will put Labour back on top. ‘The longest suicide note in history’ is not an option, but it is unlikely such a thing will happen; Ed is nothing if not a pragmatist, no doubt having been taught too much by his predecessors. Ed needs to be his own person, not a Brownite, or a Blairite, or even something different or in between. To connect with the public, he needs to appear human, something which David Cameron is much better at doing.
that he actually received, but he shouldn’t let this get to him. Glasman’s anti-statist Blue Labour did not connect with the voters and his speed in turning should leave Ed with a painful but useful lesson in politics. But what’s more, he should have taken the opportunity to attack him back-it is a truth universally acknowledged that Ed Miliband is just a bit too nice.
Kinnock can defend him, Glasman can attack him, his entire front bench could try to walk out and his party could attempt to overthrow him, but as any party leader knows, the difference between success and failure is slim. Ed Miliband faces the greatest challenge of his political life. Thankfully, unlike many of his predecessors, he finds himself part of events that mean the hurdle is nothing if not insurmountable.
Comparisons with Iain Duncan Smith and, more obviously, Michael Foot, are expected but unfair. Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership rating was actually lower than Ed’s is and the latter is in no position like the beleaguered IDS was. New Labour was riding high and with an incredibly large mandate whilst the Conservative party was still hacking through
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Going Public With It
acebook ‘going public’ has set off another round of accolades and scepticism about the viability of the company. As the largest internet-company IPO to date, the market value of what Facebook does (accounts sway from making the world a happier place to selling your soul to advertisers) will be much more readily available, and the company will be much more open to the sort of scrutiny that causes companies to lose all of their value in a day: Bloomberg have already published an article pointing out the lack of any women and the vast majority of white men on the firm’s board.
The financials may not imply a company quite as valuable as the $100bn that has been bandied around, or even the $80bn implied by the IPO. A primary concern is the dependency on advertising revenue. Would-be advertisers can do one of two things on Facebook – pay Facebook to let them target users with the annoying and easily ignored sidebar adverts, or set up their own fan page for free and abuse Facebook’s own network effects (its apparent main selling point for the first kind of advertising) to let users sell to their friends by ‘liking’ it. As firms become more Facebook-savvy themselves, they could find it cheaper to use their own fan page, managed in-house, rather than let Facebook do the dirty work. The impact on users could be dramatic – either
Facebook has some impressive numbers. It counts itself has having 845 million
By changing their privacy setting to public, will Facebook cause users to do the opposite? Facebook cuts its targeted ad prices or tries to increase the value of user information by letting advertisers harvest more and yet more of the user data to be even more precise. With little effort you can already target people who ‘like’ specific pages or other objects, and exactly how far Facebook is willing to take this release of data (some argue it is already too open) and how widely this release is advertised (not widely enough) will determine whether users accept the intrusion or decide to clam up.
Monthly Active Users. It took 3.7 billion dollars in revenue in 2011, and that was an increase of 88% over the previous year. Profit, as Dragon’s Den has told us, beats turnover and Facebook’s profit for 2011 was (a surprisingly precise, after-tax) $1bn. Break these down and Facebook has some apparent problems. 845m users, generated 3.7bn in revenue for a grand-total revenue-per-userper-year of $4.37. The profit number is also rather shaky on a per-user basis, coming in at $1.18 after tax. So Facebook does the internet version of “stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap”, with advertising driving the vast majority of revenue. Still, a billion dollars is a billion dollars and at least Facebook’s costs are low enough to make the profit margin 45% before tax. For comparison, World of Warcraft / Call of Duty owner Activision Blizzard had roughly 10% in 2010, LinkedIn 7% and Tesco’s languishes around 5% (both 2011).
Different users clearly have different advertising values attached to them, and those already highly entwined to Facebook (perhaps the most valuable) are probably also least likely to terminate their accounts. Thus, Facebook might see a drop in revenue growth, or a drop in users. It may be the largest internet IPO of all time, but questions over the viability and adaptability of the business model loom over the future of the company.
Housewi Or Something
Do you want to find someone rich and become I have written lots of articles. Most of them are dull. Granted this dullness is often masked with an edgy photo and a hard hitting title, but, they are nevertheless almost always dull. Mostly I try to appeal to the mass market by writing about something current. But please don’t be under any illusion, current does not override boring. This article though is not even going to try and pretend to be interesting. I’ll be clear about it right from the outset. This article has no relevance to anyone except me. How delightfully narcissistic. So if I were you, reader, I’d buzz off and find something much more interesting to do, make a cup of tea, write a letter to your Granny, call your Mum, pick your spots. Really, I really really would just stop reading now. Stop it. Stop reading.
How romantic. How idyllic. I don’t care what all these hyper-metro-oh-so-frightfullymodern feminists say, who wouldn’t want that? Well, as it turns out, me. I wouldn’t. Well, I mean I would like the picture described above. I would not like the reality. How persistent. You’re still reading. Why do I not want the reality, you ask? Well I have just been treated to two weeks of surrogate motherhood over my thirteen year-old brother and it has not been anything even slightly resembling the domestic bliss I had envisioned. The first problem: thirteen year-olds are grotty. The male variety are worse. They smell, they are pubescent and, unless your face resembles an X-Box, conversation with them is nigh on impossible. Victory, I have discovered, lies in the fine arts of bribery and confiscation. As a duo they command compliance.
Ok fine, I shall indulge you with the topic, although a clever reader might have gleaned it from the somewhat transparent title. Yes, it’s about housewifery. You see, I always quite liked the idea of it. Cooing over the children as they eat breakfast in their crisp and fresh uniform, all scrubbed and shiny from their bedtime bath and ten hours sleep. And then trundling them off to school, bundled up in hats, scarves and gloves with the dog in tow. Waving them off at the school gate and then preparing for eight hours of peaceful bliss, perhaps intermingled with coffee dates, lunches and yoga classes, after which the little ducks would be welcomed back into the fold - which would by now smell deliciously of pastries and dinner.
The second problem: the school day is not long enough. Can’t the educational sector work out a way to keep the little darlings in longer? I mean a lot longer? There just aren’t enough hours in the day to walk the dog, scoot round Waitrose, have lunch, do the washing and ironing, and make a gourmet dinner all before school’s out. Let alone squeeze in all the many other essential things that need doing, the hour at the gym, the hour at the beauticians, the lunches, the coffee dates. How on earth 14
Image: James Vaughan on Flickr
fery, Like It. a housewife? Don’t. some mothers juggle all that and a career I shall never know. (Well, actually, I probably will know, seeing as that is most likely to be my fate. Oh the horror). The third problem: the dog. Goodness they’re high maintenance. They need walking, they need feeding, and they need constant letting out - unless you want to find brown coloured presents on the floor every time you come in. They’re also four-legged financial hazards as I soon found out when mine needed stitches as a result of Wimbledon Common’s poor health and safety standards. Just a few hundred pounds later (and they better have sewn up the wound with gold for that price) and we were on our way again. Late for the school run. Obviously.
your boss is a thirteen year old who lacks any capacity to acknowledge the sanctity of Sunday night dramas, no, not even if it’s Birdsong, and even less capacity to realise that the sole point of your existence is not to serve them. So that’s it, the watered down version of why my dreams of playing the little wife have been shattered – and believe me, that was watered down. Congratulations, you’ve reached the end. I did warn you that this article had nothing to say about anything remotely relevant. Yes, I’m sure that somewhere in there you might have discovered pertinent questions about the modern women’s role, or asides aimed at the frightful cost of almost everything in our economically unstable times, but I promise you that none of these references were remotely intentional. It really was just about me. Just think, by now you could have finished discussing the weather with your Mother. And no, that reference to your Mother was in no way symbolic or an attempt at parody. I promise.
The fourth and final problem: the car. An even bigger financial hazard. Wing-mirrors, it turns out, are horribly expensive. Even more expensive than gold threaded stitches. On the plus side, at least the garage is still intact, although, perhaps this is unsurprising considering the fact that it is horribly solid. So, the reality of housewifery is quite unlike the haven I had thought it was. It’s like housesitting, dogsitting and babysitting combined and a lot lot worse. It comprises of running at full pelt without the pay packet waiting at the end of every month and here, in domestic hell,
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Ladies of the Loch
Director: Erin Greenglass. Hair and Make-Up: Olivia Mackay. Stylists: Erin Greenglass, Hannah Anderson. Models: Chloe Matharu, Sadhbh Moore. Photography: John Trevor. Assistants: Luci Beaumont, Marcela Bellettini, Sophya 17 Gordon
Through the Michael Currie is just like any other 2nd year maths student. He goes to class, knows all his times tables and understands exactly what trigonometry really is. He’s a keen snowboarder and an even keener Lizard regular. But he’s also one of the lucky few hand-picked to model in prestigious St Andrews fashion shows Sitara and Réfèt Afrique…
Photography: Anna Samson. Model: Michael Currie. 18
First off, can you explain how you got inter-
all sorts of backgrounds and of all different body
ested in modelling?
shapes. Réfèt tend to go more for the taller, skinnier sort, but I’m only 5’10” so there is still variety.
A few people mentioned in passing that I could give
Both shows draw on global cultures for inspiration.
it a go, and I quite fancied the experience. I’ve nev-
Some outfits are full traditional dress, which are
er really been hugely into fashion, but I thought it
really cool to wear. Others are interpretations us-
might be a bit of fun, and I’d heard about the par-
ing shapes and patterns, and are designed by peo-
ties. In the end I went along to the auditions with a
ple from a range of backgrounds. Your finances,
friend, and that was that.
where you’re from and who you know really don’t
How much of a commitment is it to model for two shows? Every Sunday I rehearse for 2 hours with Sitara, and then 2 hours with Réfèt. We practise alking
come into it at all. Everyone’s just out for a good time. What aspects of the shows are you most excited for?
and posing with our choreographer, and get feed-
Well, I can’t give too much away, since we try to
back on how we’re doing. 4 hours of rehearsals is
keep everything top secret until the night… But I’m
quite a long time, and it can be difficult combining
really looking forward to the rehearsals paying off,
it with studying, but people who are in musicals or
seeing it all come together and knowing my friends
theatre shows will practise for far longer. On top of
are there in the crowd watching. And of course, the
that, we have photoshoots and socials every so of-
adrenaline buzz – when the music starts and you’re
ten – it’s really important to have a good connec-
like “Oh, shit. This is it”.
tion with the other models along with the directors and choreographers.
Are you planning on continuing modelling after you graduate and leave The Bubble?
Do you ever find people treat you differently when they find out that you model?
I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of catalogue just for some extra cash, but I know I’d never chose it as a
I’d wondered about the “stupid model” stereotype,
career. Criticism is okay, but complete rejection is
but I can’t say I’ve ever encountered it. Most people
hard and I’m not sure it would get any easier. I’ve
are quite interested when you mention it, especially
only really had a taste of it, but I think as a profes-
since the shows are for charity. And nobody’s ever
sion the stress would be immense and take away
said “are you fucking kidding me?!”, which can on-
from my enjoyment.
ly be a good thing! Finally, any tips for students interested in St Andrews fashion shows have sometimes
modelling while here in St Andrews?
been criticised for being elitist. Do you feel this is an accurate point of view? Not at all. Sitara use loads of different models from19
Understand your strengths and remember that, at the end of the day it is a bit of fun for charity. You really don’t have anything to lose.
Mad as a Hatter
Photography: Rachel Neely. Model: Irina Earnshaw. Director, Make Artist, Styling: Sophya Gordon. Post-Production: Rose Zevos King
Style on the Sands
he sun is shining… in the Seychelles. Sick of coats, scarves and thermal underwear? Take courage, Spring is only 51 days away. But before you bare the bod, take some advice from a self-confessed beach bum. I made my beach debut two weeks old and within a year caused a scene with this darling cutaway number. Note the bow detail. They don’t make them like they used to, but there’s definitely something for everyone. There are also some definite "don’ts".
barrassment? Believe me when I say you couldn’t catch me wet in one! Grant me leave to state the obvious: swimwear is unforgiving. Every curve, bulge and midnight snack is on display for the entire world to see. So, why, do women insist on wearing bikinis that look like they’ve been fashioned from coloured dental floss? Leave something to the imagination, and wear something you can play volleyball in.
Image: Siobhan Dooley
Ok, to recap quickly, no budgie smugglers or tighty-whiteys, avoid white swimsuits and dental floss. Next on the list, make sure your shorts fit. Surely, you ask, this is just common sense. The twenty-one summers I’ve spent on the beach suggest otherwise. Swimwear is unforgiving. The sea has a cruel sense of humour. You do the maths. Since you are now aware of how to avoid a charge of public indecency (read: nudity), we now turn to accessories. The rallying cry of stylists everywhere seems to be: “Accessorise! Accessorise! Accessorise!” As far as I’m concerned the only accessories worth having are a beach bag, a pair of sunnies and a surfboard. No fancy-schmancy chandelier earrings. No costume jewellery. I mean, come on, on the beach? Are you mad? And don’t get me started on footwear. It’s a beach. Go barefoot, or wear flip-flops. Girls, please don’t wear ridiculous heels. It’s just too painful watching you spike your way across the sand like intrepid arctic explorers. It makes long romantic walks on the beach nigh on impossible. Of course, if it’s your intention to sprain your ankle, and adopt the ol’ ‘helpless-female’ ploy, good on you. You’d think the men would’ve caught on by now. Anyhow, if you must accessories, get yourself a hat.
First things first, let’s get something straight: there is only one hard and fast rule when it comes to beachwear, the rest is advice. The rule is this: No Budgie Smugglers! Speedos should only be worn near Olympicsized swimming pools. Not open for discussion. The only thing worse than a man in a Speedo is a man in his underwear. For the love of all that’s good and decent in this world, please don’t swim in your tighty-whiteys, especially when the tighty-whiteys are, in fact, white. What ever makes a grown man think swimming in his jocks is a good idea is quite beyond me.
Unfortunately, I cannot squeeze twenty-one years of experience into a single article. Instead, I’ve had to decide what is truly important, what no self-respecting article on beachwear should forget and it is this:
And girls, while we’re on the subject, I’ve yet to see a white swimsuit work. Don’t get me wrong; they look fantastic when sashaying up and down the beach. But are they designed to go see-through when wet and cause public em-
A hairy chest isn’t a license to wear gold medallions. 22
Behind the scenes at a fashion shoot
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ost of us have been exposed to magazines from a young age. I myself can remember flicking through Vogue before I could properly read and gazing at the vibrant cover shots that would make our coffee table groan. But are we starting to leave the era of the fashion magazine behind us?
course talking about blogs. Bloggers have become almost as famous as the new designers whose clothes they flaunt. Bloggers like Bryanboy (www.bryanboy.com) have even had bags named after them, whilst Rumi Neely of Fashiontoast (www.fashiontoast.com) has had a capsule collection with Dannijo. So why do we all love to look at the sites of these, for
Now there’s a Vogue idea... want of a better word, nobodies? The reason bloggers can be so successful is their inspirational and refreshing sense of style. Sites are brimming with street-style images, allowing readers to envisage clothes out of the studio and in real-life situations. They also provide a constant flow of information, unlike our monthly magazines, which suck us in and then let us wait for more. Take the fashion weeks, the time separation between the runway and the internet is a matter of minutes. Some magazines have become completely internetbased like the Net-A-Porter weekly magazine, which can also be downloaded straight to your iPad simulating the experience of a paper copy. Whilst it’s true that publications like Vogue, Elle, Tatler et al are making more of their content available online, due to the constant presence of the paper edi-
...are blogs the new glossies? Fendi baguette got my heart racing) and histories of brands. Truly there is nothing I love more than snuggling up on an afternoon off with a cup of Royal Blend tea and a good fashion magazine.
tion, they are very restricted and you end up buying the real thing anyway. But is that really a bad thing? After all we may love to gaze at the stylish adventures of our favourite fashion bloggers between university lectures, but can they really rival the flutter you feel holding a bold, brand new glossy?
However, a new realm of fashion media has come to the forefront of our attention, I am of
Image: French, American and British Vogue - Tara Atkins
As I turn the pages of the latest Vogue editions I am appalled at the copious pages of adverts I have to leaf through just to get to the contents page (over 40 in the case of American Vogue), but not as disappointed that I have, once again, forked out over £15 for 3 magazines… However, Vogue never really fails to disappoint me. The most recent shoots from the UK, US and Paris are so delicious I c o u l d just stare at them all day ( j u s t d o n ’ t look too hard at the price tags) and my head starts to f l o o d with style inspiration for the coming spring season. Between photos you are always guaranteed snippets of information like scattered gems; pieces on upcoming designers to keep an eye out for, exciting new projects (the re-release of the iconic
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find something new in our
o what’s your New Year’s resolution? Actually, allow me to rephrase that: what was your New Year’s resolution? Now that the dark and depressing month of January has finally closed its doors, the festive season’s celebrations, along with those ridiculous resolutions we made, seem like a dim and distant memory. Were you really going to get up two hours early every day to go to the gym? Did you actually think you’d manage to kick that chocolate habit? Somehow I don’t think so.
‘giving up’ something wasn’t going to work), I knew any resolution I made would have to be simple in order to give myself the best chance of sticking to it. It was then that the idea of a YESolution popped into my head – my 2012 New Year’s resolution would be to say YES!
Yet every year we persist in making these rather absurd promises to ourselves saying, “This year will be different, honestly.” If you’re currently shouting: “But I always stick to my resolutions!” then I think it’s time you shared some of that self-control and determination you’re hoarding with the rest of us. If you don’t have the required willpower to keep a resolution, please don’t be offended by my accusations – I am just as guilty as you, having never stuck with one for more than a few weeks.
Many a year I have toyed with foolish promises such as giving up crisps, chocolate and biscuits and replacing them with celery or something equally unappetising. I’ve also dabbled with the more whimsical/pathetic ‘simply be happier’ philosophy, knowing all too well that as soon as exam time approaches my resolution is sure to go flying out the window along with my sanity and desire for a degree.
However, given my previous failures at adopting and failing to keep a resolution, I decided to take a different approach this year. With a willpower similar to that of a wilted flower (simply
My first opportunity to put the YESolution into practice arrived on the 1st of January in the shape of a wasabi pea. Now, I’m not sure how common these peculiar little dried peas are, but I had never seen one before. My idea of adventurous eating consists of maybe trying some Parmesan cheese with my pasta, instead of just butter. Well, not quite, but I certainly wouldn’t normally be seen eating a wasabi pea, which turned out to be quite tasty when sampled in the spirit of the YESolution!
From this small, pea-sized beginning, the first fortnight of January proved equally successful. I went on to wrangle two shout-outs on Xfm radio and nervously asked for my first new hairstyle in over 5 years at the hairdresser, after my friend said: “I think you’d suit a full fringe”. I’ve also applied to an online extras’ agency (keep your peepers pealed for my debut performance in a crappy low budget film coming to very few screens near you soon), will be camping in the Scottish wilderness to celebrate my next birthday and am planning to go interrailing over summer.
I’m one month into the YESolution and I’m pretty pleased at how things are shaping up. Here’s to another 11 months of saying YES, and hopefully at the end of the year I’ll be able to say that I’ve actually stuck to one of the numerous New Year’s resolutions I’ve made over the years. Oh, that’s my mum asking if I can load the dishwasher and walk the dog... I’d better pretend I didn’t hear that one – shall I go out? YES!
Academic Gap Yah:
Première Partie Katie Smith on the escapades of an Erasmus student in Paris...
Image, this page: Majeed Panahee on fotocommunity
oing from St Andrews to Paris was a bit weird, to say the least. When you’re a country girl who’s grown accustomed to a glossy little university town where wearing expensive wellies is frightfully de rigueur, dahling, and where everybody is far too well-brought-up to even consider yelling “BonJOUR mademoiselle!” somewhat salaciously as you sashay innocently down one of the very few streets, it can be quite daunting to arrive in a massive
city where you’re at constant risk of being run over, where silence doesn’t exist - oh, and where everybody speaks French. Luckily, Mum had had the presence of mind to cram my suitcase full of proper English teabags, so I could drown my sorrows in a mug of Twinings when the going got tough (that was before I cottoned on to the extraordinarily low price of French wine). But once the stress of the first week was over, I discovered that the Erasmus lifestyle is actual28
ly rather nice. The free money from the British were too drunk to remember to catch the last Council definitely doesn’t go amiss, for one métro home is a far cry from the classy soirées thing; and living with a quirky French Counat the Westport – but I felt right at home when tess who likes to defrost the freezer whilst I stumbled upon an Empire-esque place on the wearing nothing but a T-shirt and a string of Rue de Rivoli for the obligatory post-night-out pearls is stop-off always a f o r laugh. someA n d t h i n g never d e l i before ciously has simply being British been so glamorous – unhealthy (some things never change). so much so, in fact, that the line “Je ne sais There is, of course, the small matter of studypas, je suis anglaise” has proven remarkably ing which has to be squeezed in between all effective as a get-out-of-jail-free card (do bear these jolly this in mind japes... ah if you ever yes. So far I find yourself h a v e having to learnt that deal with French peoa n g r y ple love MoFrench seculière (I’m rity guards going to after accistart dreamdentally ing in Alexbreaking inandrian to Napoleverse if I on’s library have to read at F o none more tainebleau play) and palace. I defthat the Sorinitely wasbonne’s idea n’t expecting of a seminar the intruder is in fact a alarms to three-hour be quite that lecture (yes, deafening...) Above: The scene of the library incident. Image: JHox2011 - Flickr three hours.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting the intruder alarms to be quite that deafening…”
I’m bound to be biased, I suppose, but Paris really is the perfect place for a year abroad – especially since, when you know you only have a year there, you are determined to bloody well m a k e t h e most of it. So I ’ v e done all the class i c things: clubbing on the Champs-Elysées, picnicking by the Eiffel Tower, mojitos in the Moulin Rouge, having my purse stolen in Montmartre... yep, definitely throwing myself into the Parisian lifestyle. Staying out 'til 6 a.m. because you
I mean, tch, you’d think I was a science student or something). I’m very proud to say that I have survived my first semester as an Erasmus student in Paris – a n d what’s more, i t ’ s been an absolute blast. I f you’d like to live vicariously through my second semester Parisian escapades then keep your eye out for the deuxième partie in The Tribe – mais c’est tout pour aujourd’hui!
“...living with a quirky French Countess who likes to defrost the freezer whilst wearing nothing but a T-shirt and a string of pearls is always a laugh.”
It is one of the world’s newborns, having gained its independence only in 2008, nine years after the Bosnian-Kosovan War and fragmentation of former Yugoslavia. The capital, Pristina, is a buzzing city of half a million people, where high-fenced EU and UN peacekeeping agencies stand next to the city’s numerous clubs and bars. Pristina is where taxi drivers tell you off if you dare put on your seatbelt and where it's safer to smoke two packs of Marlboro’s a day than to cross the street. It is the place where Fridays are like Mondays, and Wednesdays are like Fridays and where every-
ing in the city is an unfinished Catholic Church. It is the country where the most popular snack is spinach burrek but nobody ever sells it, where there are more “Empire”equivalents per square mile than there are houses and where you can feed seven people for as little as 16 euros, given of course that they all have beef. Kosovo is where the local beer, Peja, tastes better than Carlsberg and where any single raki shot is the size of a double. Where everyone hates corruption but nobody can escape it and where development is blocked by the need for institutions that support development. Despite a whopping 47% unemployment, Kosovo is where happiness is not measured in GDP and where hospitality is effortless, genuine and heart-warming. After all, this is the place where it’s considered rude to refuse a cigarette even if you don’t smoke and where everyone will hold your coat for you
My Kosovo Elena Georgalla
one has beautiful hair and is not afraid to pay each other compliments. It might have something to do with the fact that Kosovo boasts Europe’s youngest population with nearly 50% of Kosovars under the age of 25. It might also be the Balkan love for life. You can feel it in the music, in people’s voices as they gather at the ubiquitous coffee shops of Pristina to enjoy sweet macchiato and Turkish mocha, to talk about the same things they talked about yesterday and to renew their date for the same place same time.
to help you put it on.
Pristhina is where it is physically impossible to form a proper line and where you work six days in a coffee shop in order to be able to pay for your coffee on the seventh day. It is where it’s both a curse and a blessing to be an international and where nearly half of the city’s hotels are unlicensed and the stars on their roofs are nothing but the lofty aspirations of their owners. Pristina is where life is sweet just because everyone knows that it is also fragile.
Kosovo is where Muslims celebrate Christmas This is where I spend a week in January, in my and where the American dream is still alive. It beautiful, sweet Pristina where friendship is is where electricity supply depends entirely on everything, where everyone wants to study the willingness of people to pay their taxes and Business and International Relations, where where there is no water between midnight and the streets are named after members of the the early hours of the morning. It is where you American senate and where tomorrow’s always can find a statue of Bill Clinton in the capital’s going to be a new day… busiest boulevard and where the biggest build- 30
Image: Wikimedia Commons
hen asked what I think of Kosovo during my one-week stay there I would usually describe it as an extraordinary place. Nearly a utopic dystopia. Oxymoron? It is after all the land of paradoxes.
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he Beatles once wisely said that ‘All you need is love’. As decades passed and science progressed, humans have actually managed to find the chemical responsible for this unparalleled feeling of contentment, fulfilment, and all-around stark attachment: a tiny nonapeptide (a peptide formed by 9 amino acids) that goes by the name of oxytocin. Its Greek name actually means ‘quick birth’, accurately reflecting one of its main effects - inducing contractions during labour. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of functions, many of which are still lying beneath sea-level, simply waiting to be discovered.
You Need Is
In 1906, British pharmacologist Sir Henry Hallett Dale uncovered the function that coined its descriptive denomination and its milk ejection property was outlined both by Ott and Scott in 1910 and by Schafer and Mackenzie in 1911. Made by magnocellular neurons in the hypothalamus and secreted by the posterior pituitary alongside vasopressin in order to act at a distance, oxytocin was the first polypeptide hormone to be sequenced and synthesized. For this break-through endeavour, Vincent du Vigneaud was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1955.
But what exactly makes oxytocin so eclectic? Its wellestablished roles in sexual reproduction (namely distension of the cervix and uterus during labour and stimulation of the nipples, thus facilitating breastfeeding) have been settled for nearly a century, yet recent research shows that there’s far more than meets the untrained eye. Apparently, this minute hormone (cysteine-tyrosine-isoleucine-glutamine-asparagine-cysteineproline-leucine-glycine-amine, to be more specific) is tightly connected to various behaviours, including orgasm, social recognition and pair bonding. The first MRI scan of a female brain during climax clearly shows that oxytocin literally floods the cerebrum
Oxytocin Julie Kanya
in an explosive sequence, distinctly suggesting that this ‘cuddle hormone’ might play a key part in the overarching concept defined as ‘love’. Moreover, the inability to secrete oxytocin has been linked to a wide variety of sociopathic behaviours, from general narcissism to full-fledged psychopathies. Nevertheless, its clinical applications are trying to bridge the gap between proper public etiquette and pervasive developmental disorders. For instance, when employed in the treatment of autism, it quenches repetitive drives and increases retention of affective speech. More recently, it has been proved that intranasal administration of oxytocin greatly improves emotion recognition in young people diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders, consequently proving that it also plays a pivotal part in increasing trust and reducing fear. All things considered, ‘the love hormone’ is as heterogeneous as all of the reactions it mediates. From maternal bonding to wound healing and from romantic devotion to overcoming substance withdrawal, oxytocin seems to make its tiny presence known in many aspects of life. Want to experience a sudden surge of it? There’s nothing simpler than giving your friend a proper hug. Not just a pat on the back and a peck on the cheek, but a lengthy embrace, just as honest as childhood encounters once were. Feeling better? Maybe all we do need is love. And just a pinch of oxytocin, for the seasoning. 33
he naturally occurring psychedelic compound psilocybin is produced by more than two hundred species of mushrooms. When ingested, psilocybin is converted rapidly into the aromatic compound psilocin. This compound produces a range of mind-altering effects, including euphoria, hallucination, distorted time perception, nausea and panic attacks. Recent studies have looked into the effects of these psychedelics on the brain.
in the future treatment of depression, as areas specifically associated with depression, the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), also saw a decrease in activity. Hyperactivity in these two regions usually accompanies depressive episodes. The PCC is responsible for one’s self-consciousness and ego, and is linked strongly with personality issues. Neurologists believe that the mental state induced by exposure to the drug has great potential for enabling effective therapy
A Mushroom a Day... Could mushrooms be used to treat depression? combatting mental disorders. Further results from the study lend weight to this belief: when test subjects (on psilocybin) were asked to remember positive memories whilst they were in the MRI scanner, they reported more vivid recollections in comparison to the placebo group. Apparent increased access to positive memories and their enhanced vividness was found to have a positive correlation to the subjects’ wellbeing two weeks after exposure to psilocybin. M ore st u di e s a re planned to explore psilocybin’s potential as a therapeutic opportunity, as the small size of the study and the fact that the participants had previous experience with psychedelic drugs means that the study’s findings are limited. Not enough is known about the compound yet for there to be significant impact on therapeutic procedures, and so Professor David Nutt warns, “We’re not saying go out there and eat magic mushrooms.” It looks like self-medicating isn’t recommended. Damn.
The results of the study are potentially helpful 34
Image by Dendroica Cerulea on Flickr
A study published in the December 2011 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry details how scientists at Imperial College London analysed the brain activity of volunteers exposed to the active ingredient of magic mushrooms using an MRI scanner. Thirty healthy participants had psilocybin injected into their bloodstream whilst they were inside the MRI machines. The subsequent brain scans showed that activity was lowered in the hub regions of the brain, such as the thalamus as well as the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex. Commonly, psychedelics are thought of as ‘mindexpanding’ drugs, and so these results are rather surprising. Essentially, psilocybin decreases activity in areas of the brain which have the densest connection with other regions. David Nutt, senior author and professor at the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London explains: “These hubs constrain our experience of the world and keep it orderly. We now know that deactivating these regions leads to a state in which the world is experienced as strange.”
The Tribe Magazine's February 2012 print edition.