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ST LE THE YORKER ISSUE 9


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - OUR MAGAZINE MAKERS

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OUR MAGAZINE MAKERS EDITOR’S NOTE Hello York!

MEET THE TEAM On the Words: Jenny Brown, Amelia Clarke, Laura Cox, William De Chazal, Andrew Dennis, Charlie Dos Santos, Rebecca Fletcher, Izzy Jones, Dom Lawson, Ruth Matthews, Allie Nawrat, E Nelson, Megan Russell and Lauren Steele. On the Cover: Ali Amer On the Art: Sinead Donnelly Magazine Editor: Rebecca Fletcher Deputy Editor: Nicola Choon Copy Editor: Allie Nawrat Design Editor: Nicola Choon Marketing Director: Emily Stevenson Magazine Advertising: Alexandra Peckham With Thanks To: Henry Raby

People have often said that trends come and go but true style always remains. Well here at the Yorker Magazine as we release the first issue with the new 2015/2016 team in charge we aim to prove that to be true. Before the seasons have had a chance to change, shops rush to drop their ‘old’ products and move onto the new, all in the name of trends and style. As we ourselves are going through a change we decided to look at the idea of ‘style’, which is so often taken to relate to the world of fashion and catwalks and little else. But we have unpicked the seams and discovered there is an awful lot more to say and created some great work because of it.With the beginning of a new academic year we’ve lost a lot of good people and it can be hard to fill the gaps left behind, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team. It has taken a lot of hard work and effort to put together this magazine and so many have given up time from their summers to help make it happen. So to all those in the Writing, Advertising, Designing and Editorial teams and all those beyond, thank you! Until next time, Rebecca


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THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - CONTENTS

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CONTENTS I Am a Lipstick Feminist – E. Nelson Gazing Down the Rabbit Hole – Rebecca Fletcher You Got The Look! Style, Politics and Jeremy Corbyn – Andrew Dennis Nail Painting; Why Is It A Thing? – Allie Nawrat White On White: Why Fashion Needs To Embrace Colour – Megan Russell An Interview with Henry Raby – Amelia Clarke and Rebecca Fletcher Beauty Through the Veil – Sinead Donnelly Musical Styles: Four Under Appreciated Genres – William De Chazal How Has Style Changed? – Lauren Steele The American Invasion – Dom Lawson Silence on Screen – Rebecca Fletcher Stylistically Speaking, What Is The Best Way To Lead Britain? – Allie Nawrat Running on Adrenaline – Frances Treveil The Social Style: To Obey Or Not? – Laura Cox Creative Writing Competition Winner: The Turning Page – Izzy Jones Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell: PDA, That’s my style… – Charlie Dos Santos Nicki Minaj’s Rapping Style: More complex than we give her credit for? – Ruth Matthews Stylish Allotments – Jenny Brown Travelling in (Unusual) Style – Rebecca Fletcher Let’s stop being so harsh on Taylor Swift! – Allie Nawrat The Last Word on Style

7 8-9 11-13 14 16-17 20-22 24-25 26-27 28-29 30 31-32 33-34 35 36-37 38 39 40 41 42-43 44 45


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THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - LIPSTICK FEMINISM

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I AM A LIPSTICK FEMINIST. E. NELSON

Lipstick feminism is a variety of third-wave feminism that seeks to embrace traditional concepts of femininity, including the sexual power of women, alongside feminist ideas (Lankford, 2010).

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ll too often, women (and men) are criticised for their emphasis on make-up and physical appearance. If you do wear what some deem ‘too much make-up’, you are at risk of being called ‘trashy’ or ‘slutty’. If you do not wear any, equally people are judged for being ‘lazy’, or even ‘unfeminine’. So whether you believe that the cosmetics industry exploits vanity and personal insecurities, or if you are, like me, empowered by it, why have we still not eliminated the social stigma around it?

If you do wear what some deem ‘too much make-up’, you are at risk of being called ‘trashy’ or ‘slutty’. Personally, make-up is part of my extended daily routine. I consider the holy trinity of cleanser, toner and moisturiser as important as brushing my teeth. Whilst I agree it flatters my vanity, I enjoy the artistry of experimenting with different types and applications. It’s an expression of my sense of style, much like my choices of clothing. But isn’t avoiding wearing laddered tights also ‘vain’? No one wants skin blemishes or blackheads, or to be told they look ‘tired’, ‘pale’ or ‘ill’. The illusion of a clear complexion is often

associated with good hygiene and a healthy lifestyle. But nor should these physical attributes be reinforced into ‘unattractive stereotypes’ (no thanks to the contradictory #dontjudgechallenge). When it comes to expense, it comes down to how you choose to spend your disposable income: you do it within your own personal means, much like holidays or cinema trips. The Power of Makeup YouTube video, with over 20 million views, explains how fun its application is. Similarly, the ‘My Pale Skin’ channel showcases all the reasons why no one should have their personal appearance commented upon in their video YOU LOOK DISGUSTING, regardless of whether you choose to wear make-up or not. So yes, I am a lipstick feminist because I like having control over my own image and the empowerment I feel when I have taken time to care for my appearance. But it is also okay not to.

© P-J-TRASH March 4 2009 https://flic.kr/p/65edHA


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - GAZING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

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GAZING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE REBECCA FLETCHER

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s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reaches its 150th Anniversary, we are drawn to look again at these beloved children’s novels and see what makes their popularity so enduring for children and adults alike through the generations. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first conjured up in the mind of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll, supposedly on a rowing outing in July 1862 with the Lindell children and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth. The inspiration for works of art have always fascinated people and with Carroll, one of the children in particular has been singled out by some scholars as being highly influential for the eponymous heroine, the middle daughter Alice Lindell. As the party of five made their way down the river, the tale of a young girl named Alice who went on an adventure was told to entertain the children. The story took hold in the mind of Carroll who, encouraged by the Lindell children’s delight, decided to publish his story. A handwritten, illustrated manuscript of what was then known as Alice’s Adventures Under Ground was

gifted to Alice Lindell in 1864 as she had requested, and on the 26th November 1865 the expanded Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published and the rest is literary history. Since then, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel – Through the Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There – have been drawn from and adapted by writers and artists for books, plays, musicals, movies and beyond. There is something in the way that Carroll has moulded his narrative that captures and inspires the reader, creating a lasting impression.

“..until you are sitting with a self-labelled chessboard trying to work out if the game in Through the Looking Glass is even possible and what its significance is, you will be doing better than I.” I always found that the novels drew me in with the pace that is created due to their


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - GAZING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

© John Tenniel 1st Russian Edition

09 episodic nature; the story jumps from one scene to the next with little to no logical progression or seeming plot development at times, often reminding me of a Monty Python film. The leaping about of the narrative puts the reader on the back foot, you either surrender yourself to the mad ride or fight against it and try and make sense of it all. I once tried that approach, and until you are sitting with a self-labelled chessboard trying to work out if the game in Through the Looking Glass is even possible and what its significance is, you will be doing better than I. The novels actually seem to invite the reader to just enjoy the story and to delve deeper simultaneously. One section of Alice in particular that is often singled out for study is in Chapter V “Advice From A Caterpillar”. “‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.” Talk about a loaded question; there is either a very simple answer or a philosophical look inside the human condition. Quite a lot for a girl of around 7 years-old to deal with wouldn’t you say? But Alice’s answer in itself is surprising and hints at a better understanding that she and the text has than the reader, “Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I-I hardly know, sir, just at present – at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’” Wrestling with ideas of self, growing up, innocence, the meaning of life and many more the Alice novels are a never-ending labyrinth of thoughts, themes, symbols and signs as Carroll plays the text and the reader like an instrument.

Just look at all the poems and random tales in the novels! Scholarly papers have been written on the nonsense poem “The Jabberwocky”, “A boat beneath a sunny sky” is an acrostic referring to Alice Lindell, the riddles and parody poems, all of these attract a quest for logic and answers. The search for meaning in them is such a widely known endeavour that even the 1999 film Dogma introduces two of its main characters in a scene talking about the supposed religious implications of “The Walrus and the Carpenter” poem in Through the Looking Glass – with the Walrus representing Buddha or Ganesha, the Carpenter as Jesus, the oysters as the faithful believers all culminating into a criticism of organised religion. But who knows if this is true, or if any reading of it is wholly correct? Maybe it is just a zany poem about two creatures trying to get some food.

Maybe it is just a zany poem about two creatures trying to get some food. The ability to make the readers think both seriously and creatively, to both enjoy a fantastical work of fantasy or muse on the complex composition and meaning of the story, is a hallmark of a true classic and Carroll’s genius. Through his unique style and imagination he has inspired people for over one hundred years and though many children’s novels have emerged since 1865 it is Alice who, despite falling down the rabbit hole, has stood her ground.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - YOU GOT THE LOOK!

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YOU GOT THE LOOK!

STYLE, POLITICS AND JEREMY CORBYN ANDREW DENNIS

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uring the 1980s a fresh faced Tony Blair said “I don’t think it’s a matter of left or right, I think it’s a matter of style”. In 1997 this man became Prime Minister in an extraordinary landslide, remarked by some as one of the best campaigns of the twentieth century. Of course, there were several reasons why Blair stormed to victory that year but his style was a primary one. He conveyed a message of hope and optimism, his campaign used a big pop-song and he was gifted with a very good smile thanks to genetics and probably a good sense of oral hygiene.

politician sporting a suit and tie. Corbyn, however, looks more like a Bolshevik revolutionary. His brown-jacket probably bought from the Oxfam in Islington, that black Lenin-cap, the lack of a tie. It all symbolises his rebelliousness and has no doubt contributed to his current popularity. Style in politics is important. It sets you out from the rest of the rag-tag bunch of 650 MPs and symbolises what you stand for. All the memorable Prime Ministers since the 1960s have had good style that we can remember and this has contributed to their success.

Fast forward to 2015, we have a Labour leadership contest being dominated by Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is very different from his three competitors; he is the most left-wing, the most rebellious and his image is unique amongst today’s politicians. Show a picture of Andy Burnham to someone with little knowledge of politics and they could tell you he is a politician because of how he dresses. It’s generic to see a

© Garry Knight

Style in politics is important. It sets you out from the rest of the rag-tag bunch of 650 MPs and symbolises what you stand for. Let’s rewind to the 1960s, a most extraordinary decade in the history of the West. Amongst the rise of rock music, hippies and cold-war tensions we also saw the rise of the television. TV brought a huge change to the world of politics starting in America. In 1960 John F Kennedy battled Richard Nixon for control of the Whitehouse and Nixon, the former VicePresident, was expected to win. However,


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - YOU GOT THE LOOK!

12 in the televised debates, the youthful, charismatic Kennedy came across far better than the unshaven, sweaty Nixon. As we know, Kennedy won and became known by his initials, JFK. His style was imperative to his victory. When you look at various polls of the 1960 presidential election, one striking thing is that those who listened to the debate on radio preferred Nixon to Kennedy. Kennedy had a style that was visual; it needed to be portrayed to the US public through the medium of television.

© Pachman Brothers, New York 1912

© WHPO 1961

Back in Britain, Harold Wilson, a Labour MP, was probably taking notes. In the 1964 general election Wilson was the Labour leader and was fighting against the incumbent Alec Douglas-Home. Wilson portrayed himself as the ordinary man. He spoke in a soft, Yorkshire accent. He smoked a pipe and drank bitter. He took holidays to the Isles of Scilly and spent his time doing ‘normal’ things like fixing his son’s bike. Meanwhile, Douglas-Home was seen is his big mansion, hunting grouse. We all know what happened, Wilson was victorious. He got a majority and was arguably the most successful Prime Minister of the 20th century, having won four general elections. The sixties was the decade that saw the rise of personality politics, Kennedy in the States and Wilson in the UK. Style has since become key to success.

The sixties was the decade that saw the rise of personality politics ... Style has since become key to success. Let’s go to the late 70s and early 80s. In the USA, Presidents Ford and Carter were regarded as weak and unmemorable whilst in the UK Wilson retired and Jim Callaghan led a government which lost a vote of no confidence. Step forward two of the most memorable leaders of the last century. In the UK there was Margaret Thatcher. There were multiple factors to her victory in the 1979 election but her style was crucial. There was that hairstyle that everyone associates with her, the blue jacket and the pearls around her neck. She was also a strong orator and had a stare that would earn her the nickname ‘the Iron Lady’. Meanwhile, America had Ronald Reagan. The former actor was smooth and had a chest full of one-liners. These two figures dominated Western politics in the 1980s and their style was a big part of it. Later on in the 1990s we saw the aforementioned Blair as well as Bill Clinton, who was also rather charming. The 2000s saw the lovable idiot George Bush Jr. and in 2008 the brilliantly cool and down-with-da-kidz Barak Obama. All these figures had a positive image and most of them will forever be remembered for that image and what it represented.

All these figures had a positive image and most


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - YOU GOT THE LOOK!

13 of them will forever be remembered for that image and what it represented. However, image can cause more harm than good. Some of those mentioned will always retain a positive image; Wilson, Kennedy and Obama in my opinion. Others, however, soon found that image could be a double-edged sword. Thatcher soon became the bullying brute who humiliated cabinet members and was kicked out of office. Blair’s smile became a symbol of egotism and the megalomaniac who took Britain into an illegal war. Clinton is a symbol of adultery, Bush became the idiot, no longer lovable, and Reagan, the man who founded Reaganomics, put America in a huge amount of debt and was increasingly described as a clown. Then there are the multiple politicians with a poor image. Alec Douglas-Home has already been mentioned. John Major was dull and boring with his big glasses, Michael Foot was seen as a loony, Gordon Brown as a big bumbling Scotsman who shouted at cabinet members, Presidents Ford and Carter were associated with a decline of the presidency. The list goes on. Get the image right and it helps sweep you into power. Get it wrong and history is not kind.

Others, however, soon found that image could be a double-edged sword. In the 2015 election, only two politicians had a good image in the public eye and

both were from minor parties that are no longer minor. Nigel Farage is almost like a modern day Wilson with his cigarette and pint-drinking persona. It is not a surprise that UKIP refused to accept his resignation as leader and that the party essentially won the European elections in 2014. Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon came close to winning every seat her party stood in. Several political commentators said that she was the only politician who ran a good campaign. Of the other party leaders, none had a positive image. Despite Milifandom, Ed Miliband was seen as a North-London geek who would be held at gun-point by the SNP. Cameron was the posh boy from Eton with no connection to the people; his return to power with a majority was thanks to fear of the SNP and a very negative campaign. Nick Clegg could not shrug off the fact that he came to represent sell-outs everywhere and led his party into its worst ever election.

Get the image right and it helps sweep you into power. Get it wrong and history is not kind. Today, Jeremy Corbyn dons his unique style which contrasts him from the suit wearing Burnham. Perhaps image represents what someone stands for and for Corbyn it adds to his rebellious, anti-establishment standpoint. In modern politics style is important and should Corbyn win the leadership, perhaps his style and image will have been a contributing factor.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - NAIL PAINTING; WHY IS IT A THING?

14 The reasons why girls wear make-up make sense to me; it personally makes me look significantly less like a corpse. But why do we paint our nails? It doesn’t seem to have any immediate benefits really, you can tell if it’s done badly and it chips so easily that it feels like you are constantly topping it up! I see colourful nails as a part of my ‘style’ or look, especially for nights out or other occasions, but where did the fashion start? And why has it continued?

NAIL PAINTING; WHY IS IT A THING? ALLIE NAWRAT Let’s start with the history of nail polish. According to Good Housekeeping magazine and ‘The history of cosmetics’ website, nail polish originated in China as early as 3000 BC and was used there, as well as in Ancient Egypt, to signify class ranking. But its popularity reached new heights during the industrial revolution, as that was when it began to be widely used by the general population. Throughout the nineteenth century it became more popular but reached its apex in the 1920s and 1930s. This is apparently due to the invention of the car; automobile paint inspired the formula we are familiar with today. Like most fashions, it’s popularity was furthered by celebrities; Rita Hayworth for red nail polish in the 1940s and Uma Thurman for vamp (dark red and black) coloured nails following the film Pulp Fiction. There have been many reasons people chose to paint their nails in the past few centuries—to cover up grime under their nails, to signify you could afford it and that you weren’t working with your hands. I made the mistake of thinking about nail polish as constituting a trend in itself. But different colours and styles come in and out of fashion, you can tell this just by watching adverts for different brands.

There have been many reasons in the past few centuries—to cover up grime under your nails, to signify you could afford it and that you weren’t working with your hands. Recently Rimmel was advertising its line ‘Pop Art’ by Rita Ora, yet soon that will probably be gone. Nail polish is simply the same as any other fashion trend; the general idea persists but develops over time. Just think about denim.


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THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - WHITE ON WHITE: WHY FASHION NEEDS TO EMBRACE COLOUR

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WHITE ON WHITE: WHY FASHION NEEDS TO EMBRACE COLOUR MEGAN RUSSELL

© George A Spiva Centre for the ArtsLayer 1https://flic.kr/p/ekes5c

White has been huge this summer - white cheesecloth gypsy tops, white Kardashian bodycon, white minimalistic nails and, surprise surprise, white runways. I’m not talking about the hallowed paths of Avant Garde themselves, but the sea of white faces sashaying down them. Lorde, the world’s first non-white modelling agency has proved successful in their very first year of business, with models appearing in publications such as Dazed & Confused and i-D. Yet major fashion houses such as Dior and Louis Vuitton continue to use one token black girl, with 80% white faces every season. Confused? Don’t worry, so is the fashion industry.

‘Asian’ models are more and more prevalent on the runway, conveniently coinciding with the strength of the market for luxury goods in China. Jennifer Starr, casting director for Calvin Klein and Gap, points to a half-hearted attempt to provide a more culturally representative backdrop for fashion after Italian Vogue brought out an all-black issue, around the same time Barack Obama

was elected president, but then states “I feel [like] the next season things kind of went back to the way it was”. No one seems to want to accept responsibility. Leia Ananna, casting director for Burberry and Gucci, told Buzzfeed last year: “we think we need to keep in mind that these are shows. A show needs to make you dream, and it doesn’t necessarily need to represent reality.” I suspect the reality is more to do with models being chosen to reflect markets. ‘Asian’ models are more and more prevalent on the runway, conveniently coinciding with the strength of the market for luxury goods in China. Unfortunately, designers choose ‘Asian’ models, ranging from Korean to Japanese to Filipino girls, to attract Chinese customers, despite these customers being able to tell the difference relatively easily.

Successful models such as Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman are told, “we already found one black girl. We don’t need you any more,” by designers.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - WHITE ON WHITE: WHY FASHION NEEDS TO EMBRACE COLOUR

17 Although this is great news for the huge number of amazing Asian models, the stories of industry racism towards black models are well known. Even successful models such as Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman have spoken about being told “we already found one black girl. We don’t need you any more,” by designers. It seems incomprehensible that major, successful fashion houses can make these kinds of decisions. Looking at models such as Arlenis Sosa Peña, who is quite possibly one of the most beautiful women in the world, and then implying that non-white models are any less capable or attractive seems crazy. The wider assumption that only white (and some Asian) people have money seems downright stupid. It appears beautiful, non-white people are not the only minority enjoying the catwalk limelight of late. Smatterings of OAPs have appeared on the runways and gracing magazines. Jacquie Murdock, Angela Lansbury and Daphne Self have all appeared in Vogue, Gentlewoman and Harper’s Bazaar, despite the publications’ habitual shunning of any model over the age of 25. Over 60s also appear to enjoy token status in ‘kitsch’ or ‘novel’ shoots, usually showing them alongside a flawless teen á la Alexis Bittar’s spring campaign, featuring 93-year-old Iris Apfel side-byside with 18-year-old Tavi Gevinson. Although similarly using age to shock, French house Céline made an admirable show of using 80-year-old literary creative Joan Didion as an embodiment of their values in their hyper-raw, warts-andall campaign earlier this year. Didion appeared tough, formidable and most of

all, real—a world away from the ‘graceful’, ‘elegant’ and drastically retouched images we are usually fed. Surely it would be refreshing to see a mainstream campaign or advertisement using plus-size, or even just “inbetweenie” size 10 models outside of their familiar “token bigger girl” role. Why should it be such a shock to see somebody who represents the nation’s average size in a magazine? Google Myla Dalbesio and all you’ll find are shoots with names like “Perfect Fit” and “Body Diversity”, despite the fact that she is merely a size 10. Is it so abnormal for a size 10 girl to buy a pair of designer jeans? Would it not be a little more interesting to see clothes on a different frame for a change, be it a different shape, age or race?

Why should it be a shock to see somebody who represents the nation’s average size in a magazine? It only takes a moment on Lorde Inc.’s website to see that the models they employ would be a great advertisement for any fashion house, and indeed some designers are creating shows with nearly half of the models being non-white. Others are taking further steps outside the box, using more and more plus size and older models. It looks like the rest of the fashion world might take a little longer to see that fetishizing young girls, glamorising unhealthy bodies and excluding the majority of races is unimaginative, unfair and frankly, unexciting.


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THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - AN INTERVIEW WITH HENRY RABY

20 © Intel Free Press Sept 3, 2010 https://flic.kr/p/bubokv

AN INTERVIEW WITH HENRY RABY The spoken word can be a powerful thing, bringing new ideas to people and fostering discussions, but it is a style of literature that not everyone explores. Someone who knows the power of this medium well is 27 year-old performance poet, Henry Raby. A York local from Foxwood, Henry has been writing and performing poetry for many years and recently cofounded his own poetry competition in York, The Say Owt Poetry Slam. AMELIA CLARKE & REBECCA FLETCHER

W

hat drew you to poetry as a medium and spoken word in particular?

I was a member of York Youth Theatre, and I always knew I liked performing, but not always that into ‘acting’. Then I discovered John Cooper Clarke and thought “I can do that!” How did your first spoken word performance go? Did performing come naturally to you or did you find that sharing your work out loud with others was difficult? It was at the Big Youth Theatre Festival open mic that happened down in Epping Forest. I found is quite easy to share, coming from a theatre background. I always wanted to write plays and books, so writing poetry

felt fitting my punk sensibilities of just getting on and doing it. For those who don’t know, could you explain what a poetry slam is? A poetry slam is where each poet gets a limited amount of time to impress judges, usually chosen from the audience. It makes the whole affair competitive which means poets are giving it 110%. There’s a lot that’s problematic about slams, but a lot that raises the game. What was it that made you decide to found your own slam, the Say Owt Poetry Slam, with fellow York poet Stu Freestone? There hadn’t been a slam in York for years and years, and I really wanted to


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - AN INTERVIEW WITH HENRY RABY

21 do something with Stu, who shares my background in theatre, as well as something that would challenge the York scene somewhat. York has a really diverse scene, poets need to learn from one another and go outside their comfort zones. The idea was the try and mash the scenes together, as well as bring a guest to represent the talents in the UK scene. You just recently held your fifth slam, a Battle of Champions bout, have you been really pleased with the response from the area so far? It proves York poets were keen for a new night, but also that audiences really wanted to tap into the spoken word scene happening across the UK. Spoken word is fast becoming a really exciting art form for audiences, and if all gigs were just made of poets it would be a dead-end scene, we need audiences as much as performers.

“Spoken word is fast becoming a really exciting art form for audiences, ... we need audiences as much as performers.” How important do you think it is to have slams like this and create a forum for spoken word? Slams limit what the poet can do, which means they need to say all they want to say in a limited time and context, with the added pressure of being liable to an audience. Poets must try and be succinct,

but also engaging and appealing. A hard skill to master, and one you can only achieve by gigging, not just at slams, but at all sorts of stages and to all sorts of audiences. With spoken word the performance is often integral to the poetry and therefore might not have the desired effect when printed. Has the creation of websites like YouTube, where the poems can be shared vocally as the poet intended, helped spoken word poets? The YouTube video is essential to get a preview of what the poet can offer, and it’s a platform for the poet to experiment with a different medium to accompany the poem, but at the end of the day spoken word should rely on the live-ness of an immersive gig. Many of your poems on YouTube have a political angle to them. Yep, that’s who I am. I didn’t even think twice when I started writing political poetry. I’m always assessing what makes work political, how to deliver political work and who is it for, but I try not to make a long political speech on stage and just let the poems speak for themselves.

“Yep, that’s who I am. I didn’t even think twice when I started writing political poetry.” Does the public nature of YouTube as a platform have an effect on the political


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - AN INTERVIEW WITH HENRY RABY

22 nature of your poetry? For example, ‘If I Can’t Skank, It’s Not My Revolution’ seems to have an element of appealing to public refutes of complacency, is publishing this content on YouTube a powerful tool for a spoken poet?

you feed off the audience. When filming, you want to capture every word and make sure all the inflections are just right. It’s more subdued and careful in front of a camera, more immediate, a bit messy and more fun in front of an audience.

Publishing a video on YouTube has two main uses: Firstly, and bluntly, it’s a marketing tool I can use to promote myself for audiences to see me live, because I’d much rather have a conversation about politics at a gig or venue or demo than in a comments section of YouTube. But secondly, it is adding to the vast sea of political work online and that’s a technique to show that online there’s a movement of people sharing their anger and fears about the injustices of the world.

“When you perform live, there’s a rawness, you feed off the audience.”

The internet gives creatives a chance to self-publish, has this freedom allowed you to develop in a way that more conventional forms of publication would not? I use my blog to keep active in writing. The 20.15 blogposts, which are written in 20 minutes and 15 seconds over 2015, try keep my brain active. Obviously the internet is good to connect with new people and new work, but I also self-publish zines, which are hand-made pamphlets made with glue and scissors and staples to give out at gigs. You perform both in venues around York and alone in front of a camera, does the performance of your poetry differ for each situation? Are there merits to each? When you perform live, there’s a rawness,

Have you any plans for the future, both for yourself as a poet and for your slam? I’m, off to EdFringe with a show called Up The Nerd Punks 23-30th August 18.1519.15 at the Stafford Centre and after the summer I just want to make more work and gig more wherever. I’ll hopefully be touring with my mate Jenn Hart again, we did a northern tour in March so we want to do a southern too because she’s based in Bristol. We have the next slam booked for 9th October with Monkey Poet, and the next will be December so as long as poets are still willing to slam, and audiences are still willing to vote, we’ll continue to put them on! But it’s not like me and Stu have a monopoly on slams, we want to run them bi-monthly to keep them fresh and an ‘event’, but there’s plenty of venues and plenty of poets, and plenty of different ways to run slams, so just set up your own night!

Henry and his poetry can be found on www. henryraby.com. Search for “The Say Owt Slam” on Facebook to find out more.


n io ard iss C m T ad Y M EE ur FR yo ith w

York Art Gallery is NOW OPEN ➜ 60% more exhibition space ➜ The new Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) ➜ New Gardens ➜ New Learning Resources and Research Spaces ➜ New café by Café No. 8

yorkartgallery.org.uk


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - PHOTOSHOOT

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BEAUTY THROUGH THE VEIL A PHOTOSHOOT BY SINEAD DONNELLY


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - PHOTOSHOOT

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THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - MUSICAL STYLES: FOUR UNDER-APPRECIATED GENRES

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\\MUSICAL STYLES

UNDER-APPRECIATED GENRES// WILLIAM DE CHAZAL

© Michael Taylor

Like all art forms, music is highly subjective. Many of us enjoy chart music: Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and Mark Ronson, to name a few. The number of people professing their love for all things House has also noticeably risen over the past few years. Then there are of course the multitudes who avoid the charts and moan endlessly about the music on offer in York’s clubs (many of whom will simply have to deal with it now that the home of cheesy pop, Willow, has closed its doors for the last time, R.I.P).

But there is a worryingly prominent opinion that music is at a low point and that ‘samey’ artists in the charts represent a decline across the entire music industry, which simply isn’t true. Whether or not you enjoy ‘popular’ music, it should not be viewed as a reflection of an industry which continues to diversify and from which exciting new artists emerge every year. So without further ado, here are four under-

appreciated genres that I personally think deserve to be celebrated. 1. SYNTHPOP Sure, Little Boots may have disappeared from the musical radar as quickly as she appeared on it, but there are plenty of synthpop artists around that are worth listening to. The Desired Effect, Brandon Flowers’ (of The Killers) follow up to his 2010 debut album Flamingo, is a strong combination of synthpop, alt-rock and pounding 80s beats and is just one of the great recent synthpop albums. Hot Chip, Chvrches, Passion Pit, Miike Snow and Twin Shadow are some prominent artists in the genre currently. Recommended: Brandon Flowers - ‘Can’t Deny My Love’ Hot Chip - ‘Over and Over’ Chvrches - ‘Tether’ Twin Shadow - ‘Old Love/New Love’ 2. JAZZSTEP Yes, you read correctly. Jazzstep. Also known as Dubstazz. Possibly the genre here most likely to put off a reader through the immediate association with dubstep, a highly polarising style of music - or not music at all, according to some critics that brings to mind artists like Skrillex and


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - MUSICAL STYLES: FOUR UNDER-APPRECIATED GENRES

27 Knife Party. Nevertheless, it is very different to dubstep and is worth a try. Unusual but surprisingly easy to listen to, jazzstep may not be about to hit the mainstream, but it makes for some good, laid back listening. Even Moby has tried his hand with a song or two. Artists include Jazzsteppa, Jack Sparrow and E-Z Rollers.

songwriters singing about unglamorous tales of sex, drugs, class and exploitation. It may be trashy and exaggerated at times, but its honest and raw quality provides a nice opposition to stereotypical love songs about failed relationships. Artists include young pop queen Lorde, Sky Ferreira, Charli XCX, Lykke Li and Lana Del Rey.

Recommended: Pretty Lights - ‘Around The Block’ RJD2 - ‘Ghostwriter’ Gramatik - ‘So Much For Love’

Recommended: Lorde - ‘Tennis Court’ Sky Ferreira -‘Everything Is Embarrassing’ Lykke Li - ‘Gunshot’

3. TRIP-HOP There are those of you who may point out that this genre is not remotely new. That being the case, despite trip-hop emerging in the early 90s with bands such as Portishead, arguably the founders of the genre, it remains surprisingly little-known to many people. Whilst a few Massive Attack tracks may have received widespread circulation, trip-hop is still woefully unknown within our generation, an important genre that has influenced huge artists including Faithless, Little Dragon, FKA Twigs and Gorillaz. You might not have heard of trip-hop, but you will definitely have heard some of the music it inspired. Recommended: Portishead - ‘Only You’, ‘Sour Times’ Massive Attack - ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, ‘Paradise Circus’ 4. HEROINE POP Emerging partly in defiance to the brokenhearted sound of Taylor Swift-esque songs, this genre tends to feature female

However, with the sheer wealth of music being produced and the musical diversity it encourages, there are an increasing amount of songs and artists that are not confined to any single genre. It has arguably become quite reductive to discuss opinions on favourite music purely in terms of genres due to the merging and combining of various styles. The last few years have seen the emergence of styles such as electro-swing, CDM (country dance music - Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ falls under this bracket), Slouch Rock and Filter House. Nevertheless, genres can be a good place to start finding new artists to listen to. So whether you’re a diehard Swifty, a Victim - the macabre name for a Killers’ fan – or, god forbid, a Directioner, give some other genres a chance, you might be surprised by what you find. The genres and artists mentioned here are just the tip of the musical iceberg, and the amount of different, exciting music available to us in 2015 is staggering.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - HOW HAS STYLE CHANGED?

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HOW HAS STYLE CHANGED? LAUREN STEELE

F

ashions have changed over the past thousand years by a considerable amount, from the simple tunics of the medieval period to the iconic flapper dresses of the 1920s and beyond. This article is by no means a comprehensive chronology of fashion, but I hope you enjoy it and that it encourages you to find out more! Peasants in the medieval period were unable to keep up with the fashions of the higher classes as clothing was made entirely by hand, which made it very timeconsuming. Accessories were used instead, such as belts and shoes, to keep up with fashion. Professionals during this period did not follow fashions but, similar to the modern day, wore clothing that identified their profession. Medieval tunic lengths for the elite altered as trends changed. In the Late Middle Ages, tunics were very short, but only for those with the worthiest buttocks - peasants’ posteriors of course being deemed too vulgar to be seen. Long, pointy shoes also became so popular that the French King tried to prohibit them as they were impractical and were worn by the lazy nobles. Headdresses that covered the

ears also failed to be practical, impinging on hearing abilities. However, fashions such as straw hats suggest that sometimes practicality and fashion were in sync. At the beginning of the Renaissance, clothing started to become rounder and fuller. Women’s clothing began with high waistlines and square necklines. Sleeves became rounder and had to be stuffed. The farthingale was perhaps the biggest contribution of the Renaissance, which was a conical shaped skirt with wire hoops graduating in size. Skirts also became shorter so they might show pretty high-heeled shoes and even glimpses of stockings. Needless to say, during the entire Renaissance the desired female figure was shifting to a silhouette of wide shoulders, a long, narrow waist, a flat chest, and full hips. An unusual fashion for women was that they would pluck their foreheads and sometimes entire eyebrows to have the appearance of a high forehead, and therefore greater intelligence. The Early Modern period drew on some of the trends of the Renaissance and they were spread through Europe by way of


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - HOW HAS STYLE CHANGED?

29 royal courts. The style of Henry VIII contributed to popular trends in Western Europe, particularly slashing and puffing sleeves that gave a wider appearance of the shoulders. His six wives also made significant contributions to fashion in the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn presented French hoods and square-necked bodices, while Katherine of Aragon introduced the Spanish farthingale to English courts. Waists were continually lowered and had tapered into v-shaped points by the end of Elizabeth I’s reign. Male fashions were stereotypically associated with The Three Musketeers during the reign of the Stuarts; for example capes, pointed beards and moustaches and wide-brimmed hats with feathers. Eighteenth century fashion was less restricting than that of the Renaissance. Although the general style remained, stiff corsets and farthingales were replaced by flexible stays and layered skirts. Solidcoloured silks were used more often than patterned fabrics, and usually decorated with lace, ribbons, limited embroidery, and simple pearl jewellery. In the 1840s and 1850s, dresses were simple and pale, and incorporated realistic flower trimming. Petticoats, corsets, and chemises were worn under gowns. Day dresses had a solid bodice and evening gowns had a very low neckline and were worn off the shoulder with shawls. Small hats were perched towards the front of the head, over the forehead. To complement the small hat, women wore their hair in elaborate curls. Men wore tight-fitting, calf length frock coats and a waistcoat or

vest, which were single or double-breasted, with shawl or notched collars. For more formal occasions, a cutaway morning coat was worn with light trousers during the daytime, and a dark tail coat and trousers was worn in the evening.

Later fashions of the 1990s drew upon previous styles, but fashion became more of an artistic representation of clothing rather than about your everyday clothes. The late 1930s witnessed a move away from this body-skimming line in favour of historically inspired corseted dresses. During the Second World War clothing was subject to quantitative and design restrictions that aimed to conserve scarce resources while also retaining some element of style. Fashion celebrated modernity and scientific progress in the 1960s. However, in spite of the use of new materials and space age imagery, the short shift shape of women’s wear dominant at this time can be traced back to the 1920s. Later fashions of the 1990s drew upon previous styles, but fashion became more of an artistic presentation of clothing rather than about your everyday clothes. Style has changed throughout time, but many trends still draw upon previous eras. Changes in fashion have become more rapid and its purposes have also been transformed but it remains an important part of life.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - THE AMERICAN INVASION

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THE AMERICAN INVASION DOM LAWSON As the media adjusts itself from our May 2015 election towards the US election in November 2016, a clear contrast is apparent. US elections have always seemed more focused on personalities and fanfare, largely due to our differing political systems. However, our elections seem to be adopting some American characteristics. The first US Presidential debate took place 50 years before Britain’s first leaders’ debate, but they have now become an important part of our campaign. Similarly, five years ago Gordon Brown and David Cameron were both interviewed in depth about their lives. They talked about their family life and even their faith, ignoring Alastair Campbell’s warning that religion should remain private. This is usually a dimension I would consider to be American and not part of our political debate. Many commentators have referred to Labour’s upcoming leadership contest as a ‘primary’. This gives the process the sense that they are picking the leader who

they will get behind, not the leader that will represent them. It makes our election seem more like a head-to-head contest between the leaders than a campaign between parties. This is curious, because British General Elections are, after all, about electing a governing party or parties. Thus it suggests a move towards a more ‘American’ style of politics more focused on individuals/where individuals are the primary focus over the policies. The 2016 US election has very much been dominated by individual personality, especially now it has been hijacked by the infamous Donald Trump. Known for being a billionaire, a media personality and expressing his outlandish, controversial views, he is not a figure we have seen the like of in UK politics. He has already grossly offended Mexicans and war veterans, and he is unlikely to stop there. While we occasionally have outspoken candidates, such as Nigel Farage, we rarely have politicians with Trump’s profile. Prior to his arrival into the Presidential race, the election was seen as a Clinton versus Bush contest, and these are two candidates who cannot escape their personal ties and family reputations. Though the UK’s election may be becoming more similar, they are still a long way from emulating the US style.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - SILENCE ON SCREEN

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SILENCE ON SCREEN REBECCA FLETCHER

W

hen The Artist blazed onto screens in 2011 it was the first time that many people had seen a silent film, and let’s be honest, that was part of the appeal for so many. There is a certain novelty about a film that peels back the layers, emulates a simpler time in cinema history and eschews the CGI, big effects and booming sound that we have all become used to.

Despite [The Artist’s] popularity, many who saw it never felt the desire to seek out other silent films and give this now mostly forgotten genre a try. With its 20s inspired flair, The Artist had a soft quality to it that has been airbrushed out of cinema as it drives towards clean, crisp lines with high definition and sharp colour contrast that burns your retinas out. The old-made-new mixture that it brought to the screens proved a hit with

audiences and critics alike, leading to a very successful award season. Despite its popularity, many who saw it never felt the desire to seek out other silent films and give this now mostly forgotten genre a try. To my eyes this is quite sad; it is not as if we refuse to watch other films because technology and the cinematic world have moved on. Westerns are still on TV every Sunday on at least one channel despite their general lack of popularity in recent decades, black and white films have not been tossed on the scrapheap and many still grace ‘Must-Watch’ lists as classics, I doubt Citizen Kane would be ridiculed for its lack of colour. So why then have silent pictures been largely forgotten or ignored? I suppose some might argue that silent films are hard to find and not widely available, and at a certain time that would have been correct. Many of these films have been lost forever, some experts have suggested that it could be as many as 75% of them, though it is impossible to know for sure and their preservation has been a top concern for film historians. Nowadays


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - SILENCE ON SCREEN

32 with advances in technology, after the films and fragments have been found they can be transferred onto digital formats to be preserved for generations to come. Of course, just because these films now have a way of surviving does not mean they have a way to get to the public. Few if any silent films would be for sale on DVD in your local shop. But no longer! The positive of many of these films being close to 100 years old is that the copyright on them has often expired. Therefore films like Wings, which not only stars the iconic Clara Bow but is also the only silent film other than The Artist to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, can now be viewed through online providers like Netflix, YouTube or the BFI website. In certain areas silent films are having a revival. The horror classic Nosferatu of 1922 – an early, unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula – was screened by Picturehouse cinemas as part of their Halloween series in 2014. Also, at the International Shakespeare Festival in York one of the highlights was a showing of a recently discovered German silent film version of Hamlet from 1921. It was screened with a live musical accompaniment making for what must have been a very special evening.

Despite their age and technical inferiority there is still a lot to be marvelled at in these films. Despite their age and technical inferiority there is still a lot to be marvelled at in

these films. The 9 and a half minute Alice in Wonderland from 1903, while very damaged, shows some of the amazing practical effects and camera trickery that could be employed even then. Early adaptations of Shakespeare and Phantom of the Opera show how enduring classics have been, not just in our own time but throughout the centuries. The unbelievable feats and stunt work of Buster Keaton in his infamous and much parodied and copied, 1923 film Steamboat Bill Jr. were he slips through a window as a building collapses on top of him has to be seen to be believed. And the list just goes on.

Silent films are a style of cinema that for many years has been ignored and dismissed by the masses, but I say give it a chance. Silent films are a style of cinema that for many years has been ignored and dismissed by the masses, but I say give it a chance. The soft and faded vision that these films present look like half-forgotten memories or dreams from another world, and in many ways they are and they are great pieces of creativity that deserve to be seen. So whether it’s sitting for a few minutes to watch Alice go down the rabbit hole, or to be astonished at the sight of a rocket flying into the moon’s eye in A Trip To The Moon, or witnessing the emergence of modern cinema in the highly influential and racist 1915 The Birth Of A Nation, take a moment to explore this silent but dying to be heard style of cinema.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - STYLISTICALLY SPEAKING

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STYLISTICALLY SPEAKING, WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LEAD BRITAIN?

ALLIE NAWRAT Britain’s Head of State is the Queen. Our Prime Minister is nothing more than the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons who makes up the Government. This means that our political leaders, compared to countries such as America and France with Presidential system, can adopt a larger variety of leadership styles. When you think of the current American government, what or whom do you think of? Barack Obama, maybe Hilary Clinton, and the odd republican who speaks out against the President in the Senate or Congress. Obviously Obama cannot implement whatever measures he likes but I never feel like his Secretaries of State are acting on their own agenda, as you feel with people like Jeremy Hunt or Theresa May.

Unsurprising no general conclusions can be made. Since the end of the 20th century, universities, media outlets and polling groups have conducted surveys of specialist academics asking them to rank the

performance of Prime Ministers since the beginning of the century or 1945. I looked at 4 surveys and what I noticed was that Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher consistently topped, or at least came in the top three, of the list whereas Anthony Eden was voted worst in all four. What do the results of these surveys imply about the most successful leadership style for the British Prime Minister? Unsurprising no general conclusions can be made. Attlee and Thatcher employed completely contrasting styles of political leadership. Clement Attlee was Labour’s first Prime Minister to serve a full five-year term but he also served within Churchill’s wartime coalition as Deputy Prime Minister (1942-5). Attlee employed a collective leadership style, listening to the opinions of his cabinet and then making a swift, final decision. Thatcher’s Prime Ministerial style is well-known; she led from the front, ad hoc holding of cabinet and committee meetings, she decreased the number by 2/3rds from Wilson, and when they were held there was a weak level of collegiality. She once said “I don’t mind how much my


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - STYLISTICALLY SPEAKING

34 Ministers talk, so long as they do what I say”. Let’s be honest she ruled as if she was the President. According to Victor Rothwell, Eden’s biographer, he was inept for the Prime Ministerial role, and was actually much more suited to a Secretary of State role such as in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which he held on 3 occasions. He did not enjoy being the centre of such a large staff and struggled to switch between different tasks. However, Eden was only in the role for 18 months and he could certainly have adapted his management technique and developed a distinctive manner of leadership. Furthermore, the reason why Eden is remembered in such a negative light is linked to the Suez Crisis rather than his leadership style. He decided to join France and Israel in employing military force against the Egyptian leader General Nasser, but he had to withdraw and accept that Britain was no longer a military power. He then resigned humiliated, although he cited ill health as the reason. So what does this tell us about how to successfully lead Britain?

So what does this tell us about how to successfully lead Britain? First of all, personality is a major factor. Some people were born to be leaders, others were not. Leadership style choices are made based on personality. Thatcher was too head-strong to embark upon a cooperative approach; I mean her nickname was the ‘Iron lady’, what does that imply? Whereas

Major was too weak to copy Thatcher’s approach. Even more importantly is the specific historical context in which the leader was operating in; yes my inner historian is going to come out, apologies. I don’t think this can categorised into times of crisis, both Thatcher and Attlee came to power at a time of economic troubles but they embraced contrasting leadership styles as I have already shown. What I think was more important for Attlee’s leadership style was that he was the first full-term Labour Prime Minister. Also his involvement in Churchill’s Wartime coalition may have had a significant impact. To add to this, Britain was coming out of a war where for the first time the ordinary people had been directly targeted, Britons really were all in it together! Thatcher did not have this type of background to contend with. What she did have was the fact that she was a woman in a man’s world. She was evidently very feisty and this could only have been encouraged by her position as the first female Prime Minister at a time when there were hardly any female MPs. Her strong conviction about her own judgements and the opinions of those around her were necessary for us to win the Falklands War. The Suez crisis probably needed someone more like Thatcher than Eden to combat it, someone to utilise the people around them to best effect and make a balanced decision.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - RUNNING ON ADRENALINE

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RUNNING ON ADRENALINE FRANCES TREVEIL It took me two weeks to be labelled an adrenaline junkie after coming to university. It’s not something I’d ever thought about myself, but, I did spend the first weekend scrambling in the Lake District, then White Water Kayaking. I was usually out doing something that gave me a buzz. As a general rule, my weekends consist of not being in York. My housemates have friends who are convinced I don’t really exist—they come to visit at weekends, but have never even met me.

Take last February: first weekend I was in Fort William in Scotland at a two day winter mountaineering course, during which we climbed Anoach Mor if anyone cares. Second weekend, I was in Glencoe, 15 minutes from Fort William, on a Kayaking trip this time (Middle Etive, Lower Roy, and the Orchy) Third weekend, I was in Plymouth (don’t ask). Fourth spent mountaineering in Scotland again tackling Ben More and another attempt at Ben Lawers.

The training and genuine mountain experience you can get at York is truly epic. Irrespective of any prior experience, there are enough people around who spend enough time on the hill that you can pick it up. It’s possible to become an Alpine Mountaineer, it doesn’t take long to be capable of routes in the Alps that make Mont Blanc look easy. Genuinely, if you have the skills and experience, it’s just a walk. Going from never kayaking before, to paddling down huge Austrian Alpine rivers with 6ft waves in two years isn’t that hard either. Technical Rapids on rivers in the sunny French Alps are one of the best things I’ve done. Just like you, two years ago I had no conception of any of being able to do these things. I just stuck around, and people showed me the ropes. Literally, in some cases. And all in all, I’ve only been to A&E twice. I’m not saying everyone should take up kayaking or go Alpine Mountaineering but if you think that it might be for you contact benlairig@yusu.org (which is different from ‘Mountaineering Club’; they do a different range of climbing-based activities) or canoe@yusu.org


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THE SOCIAL STYLE: TO OBEY OR NOT? LAURA COX

My friend walks into the kitchen in a new top and high-waisted jeans.

“Does this look okay?” I tell her that she looks fine. She clearly doesn’t believe me. I mean, she looks so worried you’d have thought I’d told her that Aldi was shutting down. There’s no point telling her that it doesn’t matter what she wears, there’s no helping some people. The realm of the fashion-conscious is a world I’ve never really understood. Case in point: Ripped jeans. Spending money on something that is already ruined seems a bit counter-intuitive. And what consequence is there in certain colours ‘clashing’ – for example, blue with blue or pink with red? The mind boggles. There are so many style rules it’s a wonder anybody leaves the house at all. The thing is, style has always changed. It’s a never ending cycle of the same materials in different arrangements, and it’s absolutely impossible to follow. Personally, I often feel as if things have taken a turn for the worst. Grannies used to look so cute and.. well, old... in their homemade pastel cardigans. Now it’s a little different, just the other day

I saw an old dear shuffling down Coney Street in skin-tight leggings. Ew. I’m not saying that style isn’t important it really is. It’s the visual way in which we present ourselves, and the way others have presented themselves in history when they haven’t had the liberty of using their voices. Look at the women’s franchise movement, for example. The green and purple sashes of the Suffragettes sent out a bold message to anyone who would deny them, the purple hue harking back to the power of Roman Emperors while the vivid green still represents Mother Earth. As well as making a statement, what someone puts on their body can also be pretty helpful. If you were Oliver Cromwell out for a walk, and you happened to spot a chap in Royalist get-up, you’d be best off calling the Calvary.

It’s the visual way in which we present ourselves, and the way others have presented

© Stephen Harlan Apr 21, 2007 https://flic.kr/p/Hk8me

THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - THE SOCIAL STYLE: TO OBEY OR NOT?


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - THE SOCIAL STYLE: TO OBEY OR NOT?

37 themselves in history when they haven’t had the liberty of using their voices.

© Nata Branttes Oct 17, 2012 https://flic.kr/p/dkn5MJ

Despite this level of utility, many people have been negatively defined by their style. For instance, take Medieval England. After previously extortionate dyes became widely available, the government actually passed laws prohibiting the lower social orders from wearing certain colours. They couldn’t separate the rich from the poor if everybody looked the same, and that was simply not allowed. Yep, they were even stricter than the late-Willow Disco. Even today, people allow themselves to be slaves to trends which only serve to make them look the exact same. I guess that’s why style is taken so seriously, it’s almost a personal decision to accept the social norm or to reject it.

For example, I present the leather jacket, jeans and white converse epidemic that is gripping our adolescent population. If you’re wearing this combination, then you’re probably a British female between the ages of ten and eighteen. And don’t even get me started on the brand ‘Obey’, that’s a

fitting name if ever I heard one. By the way, who knew that the brand actually donates a significant proportion of its profits to an array of different charitable causes? I might have to go out and buy myself a snapback… Er... Anyway, by self-admission into the sheep herd of style, people identify with a certain group and thus they project a certain message. Often the idea of fashion and style as a worthwhile concern is outwardly rejected. And to be entirely honest, I was a bit unsure about the theme of this magazine when it was announced. But when you look beneath the surface (and back to first year History seminars on Fashion, of all things) it’s very clear that style is integral to society and it always has been. Clothing like ‘Obey’, whether or not the provocateurs – I think consumers of the label have any idea about its origins and aims, spreads a message. I began this article with a view to putting an interest in style down to vanity. But actually, personal style is a gift. We’re lucky enough that we can wear essentially whatever we like, and it’s up to the jacketjeans-and-converse crew if they want to join the masses. While writing this, I’ve discovered that the take home message is this: Wear what you like. And try not to judge others, whether they’re attempting to pull off double denim or not.

Wear what you like. And try not to judge others, whether they’re attempting to pull off double denim or not.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - CREATIVE WRITING WINNER: THE TURNING PAGE

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CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION WINNER IZZY JONES [‘You are just like a poem’ the girl said, ‘Why?’ came the reply, ‘I shall tell you so.’] You invite a cult following by refusing to commit To one moment of sincerity, or a single hit Of that drug called passion, in your esteem so low, Your form so well constructed, eyes flow from top to toe. Consonants chequering your intent, though it was never there, Inhabiting that quiet where you aren’t what you could be, Tethered vowels droop in longing for some forgotten care, Lovely in their artlessness. Is tragedy not beauty? Your smile is decorated with pearls of syllables unsaid, Compose yourself my love, worm your way into my head, Scintillating sibilance sends shivers down my spine, Present me with your vagaries; you’ll have meaning being mine. Pattering your timed waves of sing-song flattery, Your words, like autumn leaves, crashing in my ear, A thousand-million vibrations honoured by you, truly. You only lift our faces to read what we want to hear. You are a mirage, poised in interpretation while We live on after you, all substance and no style.

THE TURNING PAGE

Image © Lauren Beck June 19, 2013 https://flic.kr/p/eUsPfU


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - SARAH POLLEY’S STORIES WE TELL

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SARAH POLLEY’S STORIES WE TELL: PDA, THAT’S MY STYLE... Image © Stuart Childs Apr 11, 2014 https://flic.kr/p/n6qULQ

CHARLIE DOS SANTOS

S

tories We Tell is a documentary teaching the imperfections of storytelling. Sarah Polley seeks to understand the life of her late mother through the fragmented memories of those who knew her. Yet, instead of a simple image of her mother, the stories reveal a woman of contradiction, who led an extraordinarily complicated life. Her mother is no longer just a mother but a wife, friend and mistress.

mother’s life strives to make the invisible visible. She mimics the human process of remembering, imagined images flicking through our mind’s eye. She interjects the interviews with home videos and acted reconstructions enshrined in a warming seventies-pastiche. Polley highlights the limitation to vocal testimony alone; only with visual supplement can the stories of her interviewees become truly valuable.

Sarah’s father observes the impact the documentary had on his family;

She mimics the human process of remembering, imagined images flicking through our mind’s eye.

“Perhaps deep inside, I have suffered more of a shock than I would openly admit. I sometimes stop and realise that something inside has for the rest of my life changed… It’s not a real thing, it only exists because we have developed this certain facet called imagination, and that is all too real and tangible.” The documentary highlights the power the intangible bonds in our lives have over our existence. The relationships we have with those around us cannot be seen yet drastically shape our everyday thoughts. The ties we have with our family, our friends and our colleagues have an underestimated sway in the way we perceive our lives’ worth. Polley’s use of documentary footage to explore the intangible relationships in her

The viewer is confronted with a paradox. The invisible relationships in our day-today lives fail to reconcile with our need for tangible validation that those ties exist. Polley’s style advocates the simple tradition of showing people their value in your life. In a subtle and inventive way we are forced to realise the importance of the little things that get taken for granted; after watching the film, one feels a need to buy their mum flowers, to send birthday cards to old friends and laugh at bad jokes. We all need that little slice of comfort, the knowledge that the bonds in our lives are there beneath the surface and going strong.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - NICKI MINAJ’S RAPPING STYLE

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© Rory June 25, 2012 https://flic.kr/p/cmf7W7 cropped.

RUTH MATTHEWS When Nicki Minaj burst onto the scene with her debut album Pink Friday in 2010, it was no surprise to those who had heard her previous mix-tapes that she caused a stir. Her animated style of rapping is what set her apart from her female companions in the rap scene and allowed her to become the world’s most successful and high profile female rapper of all time. Since rap was previously, and still largely is, a male dominated genre, for a female rapper to break through she needed something more than a good beat and a poem. While the topics of Minaj’s raps may be a mishmash of girl power and more fragile, emotional songs, she is consistent in her animated, almost aggressive, style. It’s this lively manner that separates her from not just other female rappers, but also the world’s most high profile male rappers. Minaj’s verse on Kanye West’s Monster was widely accepted to be the strongest verse of the track – so much so that that it has been suggested that Kanye debated cutting her verse for showing him up and

NICKI MINAJ’S RAPPING STYLE: MORE COMPLEX THAN WE GIVE HER CREDIT FOR? has been quoted as saying she bested his performance on the track. If that’s not proof of Nicki’s raw talent, then I don’t know what is. Of course, it would be ridiculous to say that Nicki Minaj is under appreciated. With three chart topping albums, a sell-out world tour, and a strong following of ‘Barbz’, there is no doubt that the world recognises Nicki Minaj’s talent. What is perhaps overlooked however, are the particular issues she is able to tackle with such ease and subtlety. Instead of conforming to the ‘pussy, money, weed’ topics that plague the rap charts, Minaj raps about abortion, gang violence, racism, abusive relationships... the list goes on. To include these topics, whilst refraining from alienating the masses, takes more skill than a non-Minaj fan may give her credit for. Minaj’s subtlety in tackling these issues is perhaps why, although she as an artist is celebrated, the complexity of her rapping style often slips by undetected and it deserves more recognition.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - STYLISH ALLOTMENTS

STYLISH

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JENNY BROWN Buddleja bending purple in messy masses. Thistles tangling about my ankles. Soft sweet peas spraying a fence in magenta. Flowering brambles spilling over wiry arches. Runner bean plants knotted with vermillion flowers. Bee-brimming bindweed twisting through hedges. Abandoned barrels toppled over. Spangled fern fronds. A beautiful, tangled mess that is the allotments. “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”. When you wander, mute, through the allotments, you can see that individual style dictates the patchwork of plots. There is an array of ‘kempt-ness’, with some overgrown and others neatly tended. Some grow solely vegetables, others have fruit and flowers. They are each unique, they each have their own style. There’s a little plot that’s a particular conundrum. To one side there’s a black bryony plant that scales the fence, with scarlet poisonous berries blinking in the sun and yet the plot is covered in tumbling yellow daisies. They are called Benzingold and described as “prolific and easily manageable” on the internet, an oxymoron if ever there was one. They spill beautifully

over the plot, a happy, tangible sunshine of colour. There’s another plot that looks abandoned, dotted with wildflowers and not much sense of a styled garden but still rather lovely. But in the middle sits an apple green shed, perfectly painted without so much as a scuff, and hanging baskets of vibrant flowers. Through the window one can see intricate china plates set above a seat, one with a smiling sun beaming out. The weave of plots pour into each other, some bordered by fierce nettles, others with contemplative poppies. They are populated by bumbling bees, the sporadic murmur of voices, beautiful butterflies, drifting dandelion seeds and delighted birds. Gore Vidal said: ‘Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn’. It should not be dictated by others, it is innate and only needs a little tending. Style cannot be forced, it should be instinctual. It’s all about nestling in your little plot, and doing precisely what you want with it.

© Gareth Williams May 22, 2011 https://flic.kr/p/adB26a

ALLOTMENTS


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - TAYLOR SWIFT

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LET’S STOP BEING SO HARSH

ON

TAYLOR SWIFT © Jana Beamer Mar 19, 2013 https:// ic.kr/p/eaGDAU

ALLIE NAWRAT A er she named her summer tune ‘Style’, it would simply be rude to not write an article about Taylor Swi , especially as I think that song is one of my favourites of hers. is song, along with a large proportion of her most recent album 1989, breaks with the style of music that has become associated with Swi , pop, but even more speci cally relationship-obsessed pop (my naming of it). As I am sure most of you are aware, it is the kind of music that resonates when you are going through a break up but that can be played in any club and gets everyone hyped. I will never forget the screams of delight whenever ‘Shake It O ’ comes (or should I say came) on in Willow. Although it is nice to see some variety from Taylor, a er all she did start o with a much more country sound so she clearly has multiple strings to her bow, it annoys me how much negative press she gets for writing catchy pop songs about failed relationships and romances. Let’s be

honest, most musicians write about this stu and that’s absolutely ne! Sam Smith even thanked the man who inspired his songs in his Grammy Award acceptance speech. e main reason why Taylor gets such bad press for her relationship/break up songs is that she seems to be in and out of relationships quicker than Usain Bolt can run 100m. Gossip magazines are fascinated by her but can you imagine what it must be like for every guy you hang out with or kiss to be declared as your boyfriend, why isn’t she allowed to have ings like the rest of us? It is a free world and its good that people like di erent types of music, so obviously it is ne to not like Taylor Swi . But it’s not fair to claim that you don’t like her because she writes about relationships and break-ups. By that de nition you can’t like Beyonce, Paramore, e Beatles, Kanye West or Arctic Monkeys to name just a few. Rant over.


THE YORKER ISSUE 9 - THE LAST WORD ON STYLE

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THE LAST WORD ON STYLE

‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.’

‘Vain tri es as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important o ces than to merely keep us warm. ey change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.’ Virginia Woolf

Maya Angelou ‘In order to be irreplaceable one must always be di erent.’

Coco Chanel

‘Fashion is what you’re o ered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.’ Lauren Hutton

‘Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way live.’

Gianni Versace

‘Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.’ Edna Woolman Chase

‘One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.’ Oscar Wilde ‘All my stories are webs of ‘Fashions fade, style is eternal.’

style and none seems at rst blush to contain much kinetic matter. For me style is matter.’

Vladimir Nabokov

Yves Saint Laurent

‘To express oneself uently involves more than simply speaking the language properly. It includes in ection, voice, posture, gestures, and clothing. All of these elements add up to an individual’s personal expression. ey are the elements of style.’

Kate Betts


The Yorker Magazine - The Style Issue