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retrospect journey

a twenty-four hour magazine


editor

Lydia Willgress @WillgressLydia

deputy editor

Oliver Giles @OliverGiles

design editor

Josh Peter @drawjosh

contributors

contents

Simon Thornton @simonthornton

contributors and acknowledgements 2 contents 3 editor’s note 4

Sukey Scorer @sukeyyy Sophie Dimitriadis

music syron 6 move over madonna 8 ruby goe 10

Peter Cadot

travel paris: an unromantic folly? 14 lyon: without the reputation 15 travangelism 16 macau: roll of a dice 17 bologna: la bella vita 18 estonia: taken for a ride 20

special acknowledgements

comedy daniel sloss 22 relationships she’s surprisingly affordable 25 love, actually. 26 diary of an army girlfriend 27 design caggie dunlop 28

The Retrospect team @RetrospectHCA

creative if only my cap could talk 32

Danielle Graph @DaniGraph Pete Cashmore @TweetCashmore Andy Bodle @_Womanology_

No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the editor. All opinions expressed are those of the writers, and are not necessarily endorsed by the publication. Rights reserved.

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editor’s note

stop! do we need

What can I say about a 24-hour magazine that hasn’t been revealed already? The aim is to create, design, write, edit and finish an entire online magazine in 24 hours. There should be no planning undertaken beforehand, the theme should be picked out of a hat and the team should immediately glue together, as if they were built for the moment in time when they were all thrown into a room in order to make something ‘artistic.’ OK, so we cheated a little bit. An opportunity like this does not tend to present itself often, and at the thought of being able to produce a whole magazine I ran with the idea. Admittedly, I prepared a couple of the interviews beforehand. However, the bulk of the work: the commissions, the transcriptions, the interviews, the research, the writing, the editing, the design: we did it all in one day. 24 hours.

a comma?

I cannot just thank those who moved into my flat for the day. Contributors from across the globe got involved and I was more than delighted at the response we had. I am particularly grateful for those who wrote despite having full-time paid jobs in journalism. This also extends to those who allowed us to interview them, as they gave up their valuable time to help a student-based project. The content is of an exceptionally high-standard and I feel privileged to have been able to play such a role in this amazing venture. There are already talks about when we will create another 24-hour magazine, but for now I hope you enjoy this issue. Lydia Willgress. lydia.willgress@googlemail.com

Nine o’ clock on a Friday morning is not the best time for anything, let alone a last minute panic over what the hell you have taken on. Luckily, the team who arrived at my office (read: bedroom with a table) were excellent and willing to take on the challenge; we pushed the theme ‘Journey’ as far as we could. 18 hours in, our brains had turned to mush. Deputy editor, Oliver, turned to Google to help him through: his excellent copy-editing skills and general motivational speeches meant this wasn’t actually necessary, and it was only when he turned to Wikipedia that we stopped him. Our design editor, Josh, was fuelled by coffee and the chic black-and-white minimalism can be wholly attributed to him. I sat happily chatting away, gradually getting more confused with words (‘light’ is not the same as ‘lesbian’) and generally just coping with the interesting combination of too much caffeine and adrenaline.

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syron says words: oliver giles Describing 19-year old singer Syron as ‘one to look out for’ is starting to feel a bit overdone. Syron first burst into the spotlight after being featured on Rudimental’s track ‘Spoons’ earlier this year and she hasn’t been out of the music press since.

Nine months later, Syron has been touted as ‘one of the coolest new female talents’ by style bible i-D magazine, been blogged about by supergroup The xx and adopted as a Radio 1 favourite. Musicians rarely acquire so much praise so early in their career: Syron is clearly something new. Last week, German electro-house producer Tensnake released his 90s-inspired single ‘Mainline’, which brilliantly places Syron’s soulful vocals centre stage and adds to Syron’s ever-growing list of collaborations. However, it’s Syron’s solo single ‘Breaking’ that is really making headlines.

There’s something uniquely British about Syron’s music and her striking fashion sense; London has clearly played a major part in Syron’s musical development. ‘London has played a massive part in my music career; from the producers I’ve worked with to being the inspiration behind the songs I’ve written. London has an amazing network of musicians and producers. I love being part of that and coming from this amazing scene that’s happening right now. Most of the producers I work with are London based too and I wanted to get that across in my music.’

‘Breaking’ is a simple garage-inspired ballad that tells the universal story of recovering from a painful break up. Syron’s soulful and arresting voice floats above the dub-step base line before the hook kicks in and Syron heartbreakingly admits ‘I keep forgetting that I’m not allowed to love you’.

Considering that she has only officially released one single, the excitement that Syron has generated in the music industry is unbelievable. Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait too long for her debut album: Syron hopes to release it in early 2013, something she is clearly excited about. ‘Breaking is reflective of the album but at the same time all the tracks are pretty diverse. I just want to make great music.’

However, despite her recent solo success, Syron is quick to point out how musical collaborations have helped shape her as a singer. Talking about both Rudimental and Tensnake, Syron explains ‘they’ve been really helpful in my development as an artist and it’s been great to see how the guys work. Performing live with them both has been pretty amazing as well.’

Third year English Literature student Oliver Giles has been published in a variety of international magazines.

On top of recording her debut album, Syron has recently completed a string of live performances in London and also accompanied Tensnake to perform at famous nightclub Pacha in Ibiza. Her live performances are clearly what excite Syron; ‘singing live is one of my favourite parts of this whole thing because it’s so rewarding. It’s wicked to see people having a good time and enjoying my music.’

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If this was the case, there should have been no hope for 2012. This year saw one of the most boring turnabouts: Lana Del Rey released ‘Born to Die,’ an exceptionally popular song, but a ballad that asserts the pain of unrequited love and the fickleness of life. Bon Iver followed with ‘Towers’ – yep, that one’s about love too. The most exciting thing to have happened at the beginning of the year? Beyoncé gave birth to a baby: not a feat that was ever going to create great harmonies and thumping beats. Bring back the PVC.

move over

Lady Gaga marched around covered in meat. Again.

madonna

However, this year has seen a (possibly surprising) move away from the ballad infested months that ended 2011. Alt – J burst on to the music scene, won the Mercury-prize and became a household name overnight, with their rockier version of the indie pop that The xx pioneered. The interplay between the voices of Joe Newman and Gwil Sainsbury outshines anything previously seen, with the simple bass line being led by Newman’s talent. Alt – J were tipped to win the prize before they had even started. Their video didn’t need to be shocking.

In the past year British music has taken a battering from music critics. With music from 2011 being touted as ‘The New Boring,’ dull and, at best, good for constructive criticism, the New Year looked bleak. 2011 had been welcomed in by Rihanna’s sex-crazed S&M video, and was followed by the graphic, over-zealous images Lady Gaga chose to illustrate ‘Born This Way’; but despite their best efforts, not even dildos and suggestive kaleidoscopes could save the year.

If minimalistic, alternative music is not your scene, Lianne La Havas, another Mercury-prize nominee, spent the year bringing a little bit of soul back to the radio, with her deep, velvety tone and captivating rhythms enthralling listeners. Praised for ‘not falling down the mascarafilled abyss’ like previous female soul singers may have done, Lianne’s sound is refreshing. If folk is your thing, you’ll love her. If not, it makes a change. It is not just new artists that are shaking things up. Ben Howard’s new EP Esmeralda is darker than his previous work: a far cry from the happygo-lucky songs that dominated his first album. Rihanna takes on darker themes and almost sadistically discusses abusive relationships in Unapologetic. Ed Sheeran branched out and even wrote a song for One Direction. OK, that doesn’t count, but at least the sentiment was there. Alongside this, we have also seen previous artists trying (and failing) to stay in the spotlight. Every time a newspaper is printed, or a website updated, a whole host of attention-seeking stunts are revealed. In October, Madonna singlehandedly offended an entire audience – and probably a fair few others – as she pulled a gun out in Colorado: a state that had been recently devastated by the actions of a crazed man. Lady Gaga marched around covered in meat. Again. 2012 is the year for new talent, new shocks and new scandal. Can we argue that this is a vital step in the move away from the ballad? Sure, The X-Factor still has its adolescent hopefuls that seem to be judged at their ability to stand by a piano and look pretty. There will always be the acoustic albums, the powerful voices and the gentle melodies. Admittedly, a lot of the artists who dominated the charts in 2011 are still around. However, with an influx of new talent and the beginnings of some innovative ideas, the music world is certainly not the tumbleweed riddled playing-field some have made it out to be. Lydia Willgress is a third year student studying English Literature. She has previously written for national and international magazines and newspapers.

music

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‘People seem to be hungry for something with a different sound’ asserts singer-songwriter Ruby Goe. If there’s anyone in the British music industry who is working towards this new and exciting sound, it’s Goe herself. Ever since she released her first single ‘Get On It’ in 2011, Goe has been steadily building up a global fan base of people now all eagerly awaiting her next single. Goe’s music has fascinated the music press partly because it’s so hard to categorise. There will always be the temptation to file her alongside the Azealia Banks’ of the music world, with her sexually explicit lyrics and pounding base lines. However, Goe’s songs are more emotionally charged than banal party anthems and her vocal talent pushes her music into a whole new league.

ruby goes

‘Get On It’ was the first single that Goe released and she remains surprised at the acclaim it received. She modestly exclaims: ‘I thought it was going to be a kind of underground thing! I was surprised that people were really feeling it because I just thought that it was a bit of a club jam, rather than something that would get played on daytime radio.’ However, with its radio-friendly combination of synths, fizzling drums and powerful vocals ‘Get On It’ manages to appeal to the Radio 1 crowd without losing its status as an independentlyreleased single.

words: oliver giles

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music

After the success of Goe’s singles ‘Get On It’ and ‘Badman’ she has now revealed that she has a third single due for release. ‘I had my first meeting for the video yesterday and it’s a really big director who has said that he wants to work with me! I’m really excited about that. The video will be shot in the next four weeks and then released very early January.’ The upcoming single is called ‘Square One’ and Goe describes it as ‘a big, epic space-odyssey sounding track about a dying and fading relationship. I’m feeling that the more I write the more epic and cinematic it’s sounding.’ Incredibly, Goe releases all her music independently through her own record label. Goe says: ‘I’m just really into being true to what I want to do. [Record labels] look at me [and say] “you should be the new Rihanna - you should do R&B”; it’s clearly because I’m black. I have other influences. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and the music that I make is the natural thing that comes out. I don’t think “Oh I have that skin therefore I should be more urban.”’ Unnecessary pigeonholing is something that understandably frustrates Goe, so it makes sense that many of her musical influences are singers that cross musical genres. Somewhat surprisingly, when you consider that Goe’s music remains

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primarily electro-driven, she can’t rave enough about Bjork. ‘I think Bjork is one of the most amazing vocalists of our generation. She is just absolutely incredible. She’s another [artist] who is a really strong female who just does what she wants to do. Some people will like it and some people won’t, but that’s art.’ Moving quickly across the musical spectrum, Goe also cites Nina Simone and India Arie as musical influences while she was growing up; however, she names Kanye West as the musician she’d most like to collaborate with. ‘I think he is really terrific. I think he is bigger than a hip-hop artist. For me, it’s very difficult to pigeonhole him and his music a lot of the time. One of my favourite albums of all time is 808s and Heartbreak because I just think that it’s a real artist’s album. I think it’s great.’ By creating her own record label, Goe has an unusual level of freedom in what can be a restrictive industry. However, it also creates an extra level of pressure to release more music simply to fund a career. Thankfully, Goe has avoided the trap that many young singer-songwriters fall into: that of releasing a substandard album in order to maintain public interest.

music

Instead, Goe remains admirably determined to release only music that she is proud of. When asked when her debut album will be released Goe calmly replies: ‘it’s going to be done when it’s done. The time has got to be right. It’s got to be completely right. I want to make sure my album is a really cohesive body of work, rather than a lot of singles put together. It’s not there yet; I want it to be like a proper story, like reading a book from cover to cover.’ Goe jokingly refers to herself as ‘a perfectionist, a pain in the arse, whatever you want to call it’ but her determination to release an album on her own terms may be exactly what’s needed to shake up an industry dominated by Brit School graduates. Rather than emerging into the music industry correctly moulded as a stage school graduate, Goe is instead learning the ropes as she goes along. ‘I don’t mind developing while putting stuff out because I think every single artist, no matter what they do, is always learning and always developing. And I might listen to some tracks in two years’ time and think “Oh My God, why did I release that track?” But I think that’s just part of the learning curve and it’s all part of developing as a person. It’s putting yourself out there and seeing what reaction you get in everything you do.’ However, unbeknown to many, music isn’t Goe’s only creative outlet: she also has a jewellery line called By Rogue. Even in the jewellery world Goe strives to assert her individuality and originally designed only for herself. Goe explains: ‘I love knuckle-dusters and I just wanted a range that was just for me. It kind of just spun out of that.’ Very excitingly, Goe has just confirmed that her By Rogue pieces will be stocked in Harvey Nichols in time for the Christmas rush. Speaking to Goe, it’s clear that she is a ball of creative energy who is resolutely determined to maintain her individuality in an industry dominated by a few big players. With a new single on the way and a debut album lurking somewhere on the horizon, Goe is sure to add to her ever-growing fan base. Her enthusiasm is infectious and her personality may be exactly what makes her music that bit different. With only her own record label behind her, the music that Goe releases is irrefutably her own. Goe may be a perfectionist, but it undoubtedly pays off.

‘It’s going to be done when it’s done...It’s got to be completely right.

Third year English Literature student Oliver Giles has been published in a variety of international magazines.

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paris je t’aime city of love

or

the folly of a romantic imagination?

words: simon thornton

The common idealised image of Paris as a city for lovers began in the nineteenth century when the city was the epicentre of European romanticism. It was a place crowded with young and hopeful artists and writers wishing to be inspired by the city’s free and bohemian atmosphere. They certainly aided in founding the ‘City of Love’ brand, and it is a selling point that has continued right up to the present day. One only has to look at the city’s role in our pop culture to get a real indication of its prominence, as it has provided the setting for over 800 movies and countless works of art and literature. I think it’s fair to say many of us, myself included, have been blinded by this bombardment. Rewinding the clock almost a year, when it came to choosing where I would spend my year abroad, I never had any doubts of where my first choice would be: Paris. Despite numerous warnings from lecturers, tutors and former students about the hassle and stress of moving to the French capital, I was hypnotised by my romantic disposition fuelled by the many films and books I’d consumed concerning La Vie Parisienne. Indeed, stepping off the Eurostar at Gare du Nord on that fateful September day, after taking in the glorious sunshine and stunning architecture, my Parisian dream lasted all but a few minutes. Cue me getting stuck with my bag in a ticket barrier and circumnavigating the entire city for nearly an hour only to find I was on the wrong metro line.

travel

The following few days were also not ideal, as I hunted in earnest for somewhere to live, encountering rude hotel staff and feeling a general sense of hostility from those around. It’s only when one arrives here with a purpose, to live, that one realises that Paris is just a huge, working, gritty, real city like any other. The constant blaring of a siren, the sharp and incessant beeping of horns, the interesting (gut-wrenching) aromas emanating from the underground, the beggars and homeless on every street corner, the locals pushing past you without so much as a ‘pardon.’ The reality of Paris is a far cry from the rosy romantic ideal I set out with.

without the reputation

Ah Paris . . . the ‘City of Lights,’ the ‘City of Love’ and a city of which the mere mention of its name is enough to provoke a delectable array of images in the human imagination. Whether it’s the majestic Cathédrale de Notre Dame standing tall and proud on the Ile de la Cité, or the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower as it glitters amidst a velvet night sky, we all have our own idealised image of Paris. It’s these iconic scenes that have attracted lovers and hopeless romantics seeking love (of which I consider myself a veritable member) for hundreds of years. But is there more to this city behind its magical façade of beauty and romance? Has a furore of clichéd ideals deluded us all into thinking we’ll find happiness in Paris? Well, having spent nearly three months living in gay Paris, I feel well authorised to explore and answer this issue.

Has a furore of clichéd ideals deluded us all into thinking we’ll find happiness in Paris?

But do I regret my choice? Having been here nearly three months, my perspective has changed radically and I’m sure it will continue to do so the longer I stay. Originally I felt isolated but now I completely empathise with the locals: I’ve often found myself muttering expletives when stuck behind masses of slow, dawdling tourists when needing to get somewhere in a hurry. Indeed, I suppose all of the chaos and carnage of Paris, if anything, adds to its charm in a warped way.

words: sukey scorer When I tell most people I live in Lyon, they’ll cock their heads with a slightly confused expression and reply, ‘Lille?’ ‘No, Leeyon!’ I’ll say, ‘The second biggest city in France, widely renowned as its gastronomic capital, and the place where cinema was invented?’ ‘Cool,’ they’ll reply, and then proceed to tell me about the last time they saw the Eiffel Tower. While I do think everyone should go to Paris, being a tourist in France’s capital comes with a constant sense of déjà vu, because you will have seen it all before. Lyon, on the other hand, is relatively underexposed, and whether you’re thinking about it in the context of a semester or year abroad or just a weekend break, it will inevitably surprise you.

One thing none of that can take away is the undeniable beauty of this city; it is quite something to be able to look around anywhere in the city and see something that has the ability to take your breath away. I know that for me, the novelty of seeing the Eiffel tower on my way home on an evening will never wear off. Whether or not Paris is the ‘City of Love’ is subjective, all I know is that Paris is most definitely the city I love. Simon Thornton is a third year English Literature major currently living in Paris.

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Everyone knows what the French eat – steak tartare so bloody it seems to have been hacked off the cow mere moments ago; frog legs (which can twitch whilst being cooked due to the muscles’ aversion to rigor mortis); and snails, which have in the past been eaten in Scotland as famine food. Luckily, for the slightly less adventurous of us, France’s regional specialities often sound a great deal more palatable, like the salade Lyonnaise, whose combination of bitter leaves, bacon lardons, runny poached egg and warm vinaigrette approaches a level of exquisiteness I have struggled to find in any other raw vegetable based dish. Had my breath not started to appear in cold white clouds, transforming me into one of the ever-puffing French, who smoke more like Guy Fawkes Night bonfires than chimneys, I would have eaten the salade Lyonnaise every day of my stay here. But with the nights drawing in, it’s better to seek out comfort food in the romantic Renaissance old town of Vieux Lyon, a UNESCO world heritage site that’s all twisting cobbled streets and sun-kissed orange façades. Here, amongst the traboules, eerie passageways once used by silk merchants to transport their goods, you’ll find countless bouchons, traditional restaurants that serve three course meals for as little as 12 euros. Not to be missed is the tarte aux pralines, a bright pink, crunchy, sticky filling in a short crust pastry case that’s utterly delicious, although overwhelmingly sugary after more than a slice. In terms of culture, Lyon cannot truly rival Paris. However, it does its best to give it a run for its money, and certainly in literal terms many museums, galleries, films and plays are cheap, and in some cases free. One drizzly Saturday I spent a good few hours wandering round the Musée des Beaux Arts and taking in the collections, which ranged from Egyptian antiquities to Rodin sculptures and Picasso paintings. For those looking for something slightly quirkier, the Musée Miniature et Cinéma contains a strange but fascinating mixture of exquisite miniatures (such as tiny realistic reproductions of dilapidated cinemas) and film costumes, prostheses and animatronics (think V is for Vendetta masks next to Babe the pig).

When the weather is good, the Parc de la Tête de l’Or is definitely worth a visit for its glassy lake, elegant botanic gardens and small zoo (complete with giraffes, monkeys and, of course, lions). In terms of evening activities, the more musically minded will find that a large number of bands pass through Lyon. In fact, this evening, I have just returned from seeing fellow West Londoners The xx float through a mesmerising set at the Transbordeur, where I will be returning in a week to see alt-rock goddess Shirley Manson fronting Garbage. Next month I have also been told I will witness a cultural highlight of the year with the Fête des Lumières – a solely Lyonnaise tradition during which the council put on professionally run light shows and every house places candles upon the windowsills to apparent spectacular effect. While Lyon may not be quite as picturesque as Paris and cannot boast acclaimed landmarks round every cobbled corner, it has an undeniable charm of its own. You won’t have to queue for hours in an attempt to glimpse disappointing paintings (Mona Lisa, I’m looking at you, or at least trying to), the cuisine is superb but reasonably priced, and there are attractions aplenty if you know where to look. In short, Lyon is an excellent tourist city without the reputation. French and History student Sukey Scorer is a regular contributor to national music magazine BEAT.

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roll of a dice words: oliver giles In 2005 Vegas moved to Asia. Macau, a former Portugese colony situated off the coast of Southern China, was overtaken by international casino chains including The Venetian, The Sands and MGM. Incredibly, Macau now welcomes 2.17 million tourists a year and numbers continue to rise. All of this should be great news for the Macanese economy; however, it has also succeeded in destroying much of the charm that made this port city special.

travangelism words: andy bodle Travel is great. It broadens the mind, spring cleans the soul, sweeps away prejudices, yada yada. The flipside? Travel can also turn you into a wanker. We’ve all met a travangelist. The destination junkie who can’t go five minutes in a bar without trotting out an anecdote about the time he au-paired with the Inuit, or backpacked along the Marianas Trench. It’s an understandable foible: humans are, after all, fundamentally a nomadic species. But, as Vita Sackville-West put it, ‘travel is the most private of pleasures’; travel stories, ironically, tend not to travel well. So how can you avoid becoming the person everyone dreads sitting next to? Below is a quick-reference guide. • Keep a diary of your journey. Even better, keep a blog. That way, you’ll remove the urge to splurge from your system, and friends can follow it as and when they want. • Don’t crowbar your escapades into the conversation at the earliest possible opportunity. Introduce them at a natural point or, even better, wait to be asked where you’ve been before launching into your travelogue. • Pause periodically to check the faces of your audience for signs of fatigue. If anyone is using their phone, drooling or banging their head against a wall, wrap up pronto.

travel

Macau was the last European colony left in Asia, as it only relinquished its Portugese status in 1999. However, Western influence didn’t stay away for long. Only six years later, the Macanese government ushered one of the world’s shadiest industries over its doorstep: gambling. 33 casinos now dominate the Macanese skyline, filling the atmosphere with unwelcome pollution and flooding its streets with gambling addicts, eternally waiting for that one roll of the dice.

• Have your listeners been anywhere interesting, or done anything of note themselves? Bravo - you’ve demonstrated a healthy curiosity about the world. Now show some curiosity about your fellow man. • Try not to judge others on the basis of the exoticism of their last holiday destination. OK, so instead of a gap year diving for treasure in the Pitcairn Islands, they spent a gap month driving round the Midlands in a Volkswagen Polo, but that doesn’t mean their stories are any less interesting than yours. (Mine were, but the theory is valid.)

This contemporary Macau, dominated by tasteless replicas of Vegas casinos, has romantically been referred to as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient.’ However, the suggestion that contemporary Macau holds any of Monte Carlo’s lingering charm is laughable. Unfortunately, Macau even fails to match up to the charming but cheap tat of Vegas. However, unlike the desert town that existed before Vegas landed, Macau was a charming port city that attracted tourists through its unique fusion of Portugese and Chinese culture.

So how can you avoid becoming the person everyone dreads sitting next to? • Do not insist on wearing, day in, day out, that amazing garment you picked up for a song at a Kerala market. It doesn’t make you look sophisticated or exotic; it makes you look like a tool.

If you’re willing to look hard enough, you can still glimpse the old Macau; unfortunately, most of it is literally overshadowed by the obscenely large casinos. To get a true feel (and taste) of Macau, a visit to restaurant Fernando’s is in order. Everyone from locals and expats to international celebrities queue up outside this restaurant to experience the very best of Macanese cuisine. Pan-Asian fusion dishes, like the sardines served with Macanese fried rice, are best washed down with the classic

• If an anecdote requires the rider ‘you had to be there,’ drop it. They weren’t. Andy Bodle is a scriptwriter and journalist who writes for the Times and the Guardian. He blogs at www.womanology.co.uk

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Mediterranean sangria, which perfectly encapsulates the cultural crossover that makes Macau so special. Despite the influx of gambling money, the famous Ruins of St. Paul’s can still be visited and remain a must-see. However, unfortunately you may have to walk past the odd Prada boutique or Starbucks coffee shop that has been unceremoniously built into these classic imperial buildings. Now, Macau has overtaken Vegas as the most profitable gambling industry in the world. Despite the money that has flooded in, it is yet to be proclaimed an economic miracle. Due to its status as a Special Administrative Region of China, Macau remains subject to the whims of fickle Beijing politicians. Worryingly, gambling also now makes up 50% of the Macanese economy, a dangerous imbalance for any country. Despite the immense changes, Macau remains a popular weekend away for both residents and tourists from Hong Kong; however, it’s hard not to lament the destruction of the old Macau. A row of Macanese fishermen lined up on a traditional fishing boat is a far more touching sight for both locals and tourists alike than the masses lined up in casinos praying that (just this once) their game of roulette goes right. Call me a hopeless romantic, but somehow the spectacular pool parties hosted by world-renowned DJs at The Venetian fail to match up to the experience of being able to swim in the previously unpolluted South China Sea. Third year English Literature student Oliver Giles has been published in a variety of international magazines.

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to learn that the majority of Italians flee the city when summer arrives. A week later, when I arrive at the University office to enroll, the haunting words of my Italian tutor from Edinburgh come back to me: ‘going to University in Italy is like going into battle, everyone must fight for themselves.’ With this in mind, I arrived before the office opened. However, despite my early arrival I still had to wait an hour, as there were only two people at the desk: stereotypical Italian admin. I will say no more.

la bella vita

A vital lesson to learn when living in Italy is that one should never assume that things will go according to plan. Italian time schedules are always at least fifteen minutes late. Irritatingly though, this doesn’t apply to trains. I often find my weekly exercise comes in the form of sprinting along train platforms for a weekend day trip.

travel

Finally, ladies. Italian men aren’t stallions. There is only one chat up line in Bologna and it’s normally a grammatically incorrect version of ‘Where you from?’ More often than not, Italian men seem to believe that words aren’t even necessary. One of my Italian friends summed up Southern Italian men best when she described one of them as a ‘monoctopus’: a crazy hybrid of a monkey and an octopus who is both uncontrollable and unable to keep their hands to themselves. Halloween was one of my favourite nights of the year as having a spider’s web painted on my face seemed to be a guaranteed way to avoid being creeped on. My flat mate and I now endeavor to look like creatures of Halloween on a more regular basis.

As you can imagine, there is little these days which shocks me. However, to use the most clichéd of expressions: la vita really is bella in Italy. Sophie Dimitriadis is a third year English Literature and Italian student who has contributed to a variety of publications.

When university finally began, I was baffled by the slack system: the university here is open to the public and you can attend any lectures that take your fancy. Then, at the end of term, you decide which exams to sign up for. Bizarre.

words & photos: sophie dimitriadis

My Erasmus experience began in Bologna when I discovered my flat mate-to-be, who is best described as a modern day Mogli, sitting on the steps awaiting my arrival. Four floors later and the first barrage of Italian began, which confusingly came in the form of a lesson: how to use a key to open the flat door. A tricky feat, I kid you not. Eventually, I was let in and shown my room: large, bare and with walls in dire need of fresh

Amusingly, these are only a couple of the abundant oddities I’ve noticed whilst living in Italy. One of many next to impossible tasks has been finding un bollitore (a kettle). As a true Brit this became a top priority in my first couple of weeks. When I eventually found one, it felt like I’d won the lottery. Secondly, do not be fooled into believing that Sunday is a day of rest. Since arriving, I have been woken from my Sunday morning slumber by brass bands, protests and half marathons.

Having never visited Bologna before, I decided that food shopping would have to wait until dawn, so I munched on a few crisps to last me through the night.

The University of Bologna’s claim to fame as the oldest University in Europe quickly becomes apparent when sitting in lectures. To summarise: authentic but uncomfortable. The lecture theatres are far too small for the masses that attend and on multiple occasions I have seen students sat on the floor, spilling out into the corridor. Anyone would think they were queuing for the next iPhone.

I spent my first day, in short, lost. Taking the ‘off the beaten track’ route is never wise when everything looks identical. In Bologna, each street resembles a paint store colour strip with an assortment of vibrant buildings tainted with varying shades of ochre yellows and deep reds. It is definitely a beautiful place to live. However, having walked miles through labyrinths of porticoes in the sweltering heat of the day, I wasn’t surprised 18

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taken for a ride (2005) words: andy bodle

introduction With its seductive blend of ancient and modern, urban and rustic, cultural and decadent, the Estonian capital of Tallinn has something to offer even the most jaded traveller. For the sightseer, a picture-postcard old town laced with winding cobbled streets and crumbling fourteenth century churches. For the history buff, an extraordinary wealth of relics from medieval and communist eras alike. For the nature lover, acres of verdant woodland and blustery, unspoilt islands. For the bargain hunter, scores of quaint boutiques offer the pick of local handicrafts. For stag parties of 12 thirtysomething middle-class white men from London, desperately trying to misspend the last remaining shreds of their youth, cheap beer, ritzy nightclubs and sleazy strip joints.

climate The Baltic states’ dark, venomous winters mean that late spring and summer are the best times to visit, but even then you’d be well advised to pack some snug winter clothes. Not forgetting a hilarious jester’s outfit for the stag.

nightlife When darkness falls, Tallinn comes alive with the sound of all manner of night spots, from gay clubs to karaoke bars, seedy dives to chichi jazz hangouts. By far the most unimaginative place to go is Club Hollywood, a throbbing multi-level emporium with four kitsch, oversized floors juddering to four different unlistenable Euro beats.

things to do You could spend a month in Tallinn and barely scratch the surface of its cultural treasures. As well as the fascinating City Museum, there’s the opulent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the minaret-like Town hall tower, the spectacular Danish King’s Courtyard and the former KGB headquarters. Not to mention a panoply of art deco patisseries, cosy candlelit anterooms and breezy sunlit patios, ideal for strong coffee and people-watching. Alternatively, you could just make your own entertainment by kitting the stag out in his jester’s costume, dragging him to Town Hall Square, and forcing him to play outdoor Twister with three random passers-by.

the language Estonian is a complex language with 14 cases, no future tense, and no close relatives. As a result, many of its words can seem very alien to English eyes. One of the most common girls’ names, for example, is Epp. the locals Estonian women are famed for being among the most beautiful in the world. Slim and strong with fine, high cheekbones, they are striking even when they have prominent flaws, such as an unusually large nose. While Estonians have earned themselves a reputation as a slightly standoffish people, a warm smile, a friendly word and an effort to speak a little of the local tongue will go a long way.

food Tallinn’s vibrant restaurant scene offers delicacies from every corner of the globe, with fine examples of Estonian, French, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Mexican and even Middle Eastern cuisine, all set in decadent olde-world dining rooms, charming wine cellars and super-stylish bistros. However, if it’s cheap thrills you’re after, try the “medieval lesbian banquet” at the Olde Hansa restaurant.

For example, if you were approaching a beautiful 22-year-old woman, you might break the ice thus: “Tere (hello). I’m from England. I’m leaving tomorrow, and I haven’t talked to any locals yet. Would you like to be my first?”Follow this up by buying her and her friends a drink and, if all goes well, you’ll be past the conversation stage within five minutes. After an hour or so, with a little luck, she will pull away and say something like, “I want to go home. Why don’t you come with me?”

drugs Exercise extreme caution when attempting to purchase drugs from any of the local dealers. Be particularly wary of buying so-called “ecstasy tablets” that look like horse suppositories. If you do consume any such pills, you may be overcome by nausea so suddenly that you have no time to find a toilet and are forced to vomit into the nearest ashtray.

getting around Tallinn boasts an excellent network of buses, trams and trolley buses. However, if you wish to travel any distance at 3 o’clock in the morning, you will almost certainly have to take one of the city’s 5,000 taxis. Cabs can be picked up at ranks around the

city – the largest is located near the main bus station – or outside Tallinn’s biggest nightclubs. A 10-minute taxi ride should cost you around 50 Estonian kroon (£2.50), with fares rising around 20% at night. A 45-minute trek into the deep, terrifying forests outside the city, though, is anyone’s bet. if it’s cheap thrills you’re after, try the “medieval lesbian banquet” local customs If you are accompanying a local woman on a nightmarishly expensive cab ride into the middle of nowhere, do not be alarmed if, on arriving outside her charming Hansel and Gretel cottage, she gets out, slams the door in your face, and shouts, “I don’t think my husband would like it if you came in.” This is perfectly normal. the sex industry As a magnet for western men seeking excitement and eastern women seeking payment, Tallinn has, perhaps unfairly, earned itself a reputation as “the Bangkok of Eastern Europe”. The average price for full sex with a stunning Tallinn prostitute is 900 kroon (£50). The average price for a kiss with a girl with a big nose, meanwhile, is £80. glossary of useful phrases Mis te nimi on? What is your name? Tule minuga. Come with me. Kas hommikusöök on hinna sees? Does it include breakfast? Ei. No. Minge ära! Go away! Ma ei saa aru. I don’t understand. Kui kaugel see on? How far is it? Kas teil saab maksta krediitkaardige? Can I pay by credit card? Andy Bodle is a scriptwriter and journalist who writes for the Times and the Guardian. He blogs at www.womanology.co.uk

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have. I like to know how I come across as I’m often a wanker – I’m lucky that TV shows often edit that out!

love is a retarded emotion

You’ve worked with some very famous comedians, including Michael McIntyre and Jimmy Carr. Are you daunted by them? No I’m not. I’ve met some incredibly famous people, but it doesn’t faze me. I thought I’d be awkward, timid and shy but it turns out I’m not like that: I’m actually excited to meet them. It doesn’t freak me out which is a talent I didn’t know I had - I always thought I’d be a shrieky little girl.

words: lydia willgress

Comedian Daniel Sloss came on to the scene when he still sported the traditional fringe-in-face haircut that many hormone-ridden teenage boys love. Five years later, a large handful of TV appearances and a sell-out show, the 22-year old Scot is about to release his first DVD.

You often refer to how offensive you are, is this deliberate?

Here, Daniel discusses how he found the transition on to the stage, why he’s probably going to be single for a while and his plans for the next year.

I know that I’m not the darkest comedian in the circuit, but I like to think that I’m the comedian in the circuit with the darkest sense of humour. I love dark jokes. I find them fucking

I imagine being on tour can get tedious. Do you enjoy it? Being on tour is very easy, just boring as fuck. My life is just long, hard journeys filled with nothing. It is great fun for the hour or two you’re on stage, but then after that the twelve hours between waking up and the gig are just awful. However, it beats an office job: I’m hardly going to complain about the situation I’m in, even if it is a bit tedious. It’s the greatest job in the world, so any time I complain I’m just being a dickhead.

I’ve said some really offensive stuff on stage. I offend old people all the time because I swear –and swearing is fucking hilarious. I genuinely think that swearing is the closest thing that we have to magical powers. They are the only words that can make you react in any way. If I said cat nobody would do anything, but if I walk into a nursery and say c*nt – Jesus Christ. It’s just words. The most common people who walk out my show are the older generation because they have very different opinions on life. Old people are just set in their ways. I think as you grow up you stop paying attention to other people’s opinions. When you’re child you don’t really care – opinions don’t really exist and you just ignore them. When you get to 40 or 50 I think you just think fuck it, I’m the only one that’s right. You often discuss your family when on stage. Do they ever get annoyed? No, I get ripped by my family. They love it. My mum is a very proud mum and my dad is a massive stand-up comedy fan so they love the attention. My mum and dad know my material. Thinking about it, I don’t think my dad knew I smoked weed until I went up on stage and spoke about it for ten minutes, but when I came off stage he just said ‘that was funny, so fair enough.’ Are you offended by anything? The only thing that really offends me is heckling: if I get heckled aggressively I don’t even try to be smart or funny. The second you heckle me the show is over and my mission from there on in is to try and convince you to hate yourself. Heckling is utterly inexcusable. Any time I get heckled I stop the gig, I get the sound people to bring the lights up and I get whoever the heckler was to stand up and repeat the heckle again. I then give them the option of sitting down and shutting the fuck up or me ripping into them.

Isn’t it a comedian’s job to complain? Pretty much! It is my job and I’ve been practicing that role for years, so I think I’ve pretty much nailed it. I really have no right to complain about anything but I do because I’m British. How did you get into comedy?

On your blog, you wrote that relationships are moronic before 30. You’re going to have to elaborate.

I had always worked at being funny because I’m an attention-seeking piece of shit. Instead of developing a valuable personality that would benefit me later in life, I realised that you could cheat life by making people laugh, as it forces them to like you instantly. Making the transition to the stage was a fairly obvious step. However, I was awful when I was 18: if I could go back I would kick the shit out of me. I think that way now in the same way I know that when I’m 25 I’ll look back and hate my 22-year old self. I’m vain and I watch myself back so I’ve seen my show how members of the audience comedy

hilarious in a sadistic way. I enjoy watching people get offended because taking offense is such a stupid thing. If you’re offended it’s entirely your own fault - it’s a pointless emotion that a person chooses to have because they’re so full of themselves.

I regularly refer to relationships as cancer. I’m not one of those sad, miserable people that are against all relationships, I just think that if you do get into a relationship before you’re 30 then you’re an idiot. I do get why people do it. The first bullshit argument: ‘I’ve been single for 21 years.’ Well you haven’t, as you weren’t single when you were 5 because no one was trying to have sex with you. I’ve seen how

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much I’ve changed in the last year alone – I’ve changed personality, I’ve grown up a bit more, I’ve matured, although I’m still a dickhead. I don’t know what sort of person I will be in the future. While you’re trying to find yourself why would you start going out with someone who’s going to try and shape you to what they want you to be. That’s pretty sceptical . . . It’s not like I don’t believe in love, I fall in love every day. One of my best friends says it’s my biggest flaw, because whenever I’ve been on a date I fall in love instantly. It is only the rational part of me that comes out and rejects this love. I think that’s the difference between me and most people. Everyone else thinks they’ve fallen in love because love is built up as this big, amazing magical thing that you must have in your life and they just accept this. Whereas when I fall in love I think ‘this is a retarded emotion.’ Love fucks up most people’s lives: very rarely is it a positive experience. Most of the time, love is the worst thing that could happen to you so I avoid it like the plague.

she’s surprisingly affordable

A lot of the guys go to the gym to work on three main muscle groups: triceps, biceps and pectorals. The reason I don’t spend most of my time working on these categories is because I don’t have a tiny dick. When I look between my legs, I go ‘do you know what, that’s a great penis!’ But I imagine, if you wake up and you see a pathetic thing between your legs you would probably think that you had to work out more so people don’t question if you’re a man.

words: pete cashmore

In 2003, I went to Barcelona for the first time and fell in love. There’s nothing particularly unique about this. Indeed, it’s very difficult to go to Barcelona and not fall in love with someone every few minutes (although you may wish to take a closer look at the Adam’s Apple regions of the comely young ‘ladies’ who saunter up and down Las Ramblas after dark on any given evening). But this wasn’t just a fleeting holiday fancy that I forgot as soon as I passed back through passport control at Gatwick. I fell in love and I fell in love hard. I mean, I am still passionately in love nearly a decade later: even now there is a hole in my heart that cannot be filled. That spring I met Zarzuela for the first time, and the last time, and my God, I miss Zarzuela so much.

You’ve been compared to Chris Ramsey a lot. Is there a bit of competition between you? Chris is lovely. The only reason we’re compared is because I used to have long hair which was very similar to his. But no, there’s no competition because if there was he would have very certainly gone and won it. He’s a lot more famous than I am and he has so much talent. He’s genuinely lovely, whereas I think I’m a challenge to like! Daniel Sloss’s DVD Daniel Sloss Live is released on Monday 19 November.

You’re a big fan of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and have now done four solo shows. Will you be coming back next year?

Zarzuela was beautiful, delicious, sensual. Over the course of the four days that I was in Barcelona, I binged on her until I could take no more. She was saucy, spicy. And she smelled very strongly of shellfish.

Yes, definitely. I quite like the idea of doing the fringe every year until I’m 30. It forces me to write new material and it allows me to improve as a comedian. I’m not one of those comedians who go to the festival with the best show possible to get the greatest reviews and rewards. I do the Fringe like a deadline – it’s homework. I want to improve as a writer and a performer and I think the only way you can do that is by having a very high turnaround.

Yeah, I feel like I should point out at this juncture that zarzuela (I’ll drop the capital Z now that I’m getting to the punch line) wasn’t a woman with whom I enjoyed a brief holiday dalliance: I imagine my girlfriend, with whom I was travelling, might have been a little bit miffed about that one. Nope, zarzuela is a traditional Catalan seafood stew, and by far the most delicious thing I have ever tasted and will ever taste. Yet I have never managed to find it anywhere other than in Barcelona – indeed, not long ago I lived just down the road from a tapas bar actually called Barcelona, and yet when I asked the owner if he knew how to make it, he had never even heard of it. That’s why I don’t eat there anymore.

Are you one of those people who have never been in a gym? No, I go to the gym – I’m one of those dickheads. I also have a personal trainer. I very much do it to keep in shape, instead of building myself up: I tone myself so I can survive through tour.

In a typical zarzuela, you can expect to find langoustines, vast mussels, razor clams, monkfish, tuna, cockles, squid and sea bass – basically, pretty much anything that ever lived or breathed on the Barcelona seabed. That all gets hurled into a pan and then gravy made of tomato and brandy gets dumped in for them all to swim in. And that’s that. The end result should be a huge, garish, entirely unsubtle megastew, with which you should provide an almighty surplus of bread, because once you taste the sauce, you’re not going to leave any of it. As is often the case with the greatest of romances, my love affair with zarzuela was doomed – I have scoured the Spanish restaurants of the UK and have yet to find any that serve it apart from a couple which seemed to want to be proffering a diet version. So I’m simply going to have to go back to Barcelona and see if the love of my life is still there. I imagine I’ll find her hanging out at the historic Can Culleretes restaurant (culleretes.com) just off Las Ramblas, for less than thirty Euros. Oh, that’s one more thing I ought to mention about zarzuela – like all the best holiday romances, she’s surprisingly affordable . . . Pete Cashmore is Editor-At-Large of Nuts magazine and a contributor to The Guardian and NME

If you Google zarzuela, the first thing that comes up will probably not be an outrageously decadent seafood casserole at all, it will be a style of seventeeth century Spanish musical theatre, but be not confused. It’s actually a very good signpost as to what zarzuela is like – the dish, like the theatre, is colourful, exuberant, loud, a touch chaotic, a celebration of stuffing food into your face as much as the theatrical style is a celebration of singing loud and overacting. With its masks, mythological creatures and wild operatic solos, zarzuela theatre is meant to be one heck of a wild party. Well, zarzuela the dish is like a wild party in a plate. A very large plate.

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diary of an army girlfriend words: lydia willgress

After internet dating, drinks with guys met in clubs, screwing around with men from my office (never really advisable, though it was fun at the time), I never imagined myself finding ‘the one.’ Imagine my surprise when I did fall in love and eventually marry a man who’s become my best friend. This journey has scared me something rotten. You see I married one of my brother’s friends. He was my schoolgirl crush.

love, actually. words: danielle graph Growing up, I never believed in love. Falling in love seemed impossible. I came from a household where my parents loathed each other. All they did was argue and scream. To be heard in our house, you had to be able to shout, loudly. Don’t get me wrong, I was loved by my parents and it was a loving household, but there was never any togetherness between them. No partnership, no camaraderie, just two people who never had the balls to get up and leave. I’m assuming this is why I didn’t believe in marriage in my teens and twenties. I guess I just never wanted to end up like my folks: bitter, twisted and stuck. I remember I used to go to my school friends’ houses, just to be near their parents because they got on. They did stuff together and, for me, it was a fabulous novelty. I’d watch in awe at how they’d chat and treat each other with respect, it was so alien!

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GET TROOPS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW. UK SOLDIER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN ‘INSIDER ATTACK.’ BRITISH SOLDIER KILLED BY AFGHAN COLLEAGUE.

We’d only been dating a month when I came home to find a bunch of flowers from him, with a card saying ‘Here’s to the next month.’ I remember crying to my mum, ‘Oh shit this is it. This is the one I’m going to marry. I’m terrified’ and she told me just to go with it, let it roll out. Then she told me how lucky I was to be in love, as she had never had the real thing. (My parents married because my mum was naive and my dad was devilishly handsome. They looked beautiful together).

I blinked. The wine was still in my hand, the candle on the table. He sat across from me, perfectly composed, waiting for an answer. A week ago we had met. 2012 had not been good year for me so far. I had learnt, through a series of unfortunate (albeit possibly predictable) events, that sometimes in life you were going to be given lemons. Head down, I spent four months working hard (aside from the occasional drunken escapade) and ignoring all other aspects of life. It quickly became April and I travelled South on the obligatory nine hour train ride home.

And as it turns out, my then boyfriend (now husband) and I were head over heels. I didn’t know how to cope with it. This overwhelming emotion was like they describe in the movies: it swept me off my feet. I became rubbish at my job, I couldn’t eat, I lost a load of weight. Bonus! In my house now, there’s very little shouting. If on the rare occasion I do argue with my husband (and to be fair, I’m probably the instigator), I immediately start shouting; it’s like an automatic function. But he reminds me to just talk. He’s got my back. He’s the ying to my yang, the left to my right, and more of these rubbish clichés.

It’s worth mentioning that life at home is far from exciting. When I’m not in Edinburgh drinking Sambuca on a ‘quiet’ Tuesday night or spending days cramming in a student-filled library, I live a relatively normal life in a quiet Devonshire village. I spend my time pulling

And it still surprises me to this day that I found true love. After never having believed in it for so long, finding it is pretty much winning the lottery. OK, I’m being a bit over zealous there, because that’s the ultimate dream, but it’s still pretty darn tooting amazing. Danielle Graph is the TV and Reviews Editor at Nuts magazine and regularly contributes to xojane.co.uk

endless pints of ale and discussing how bad the roads will be when the tourists decide to descend on Devon. However, this Saturday night was different. It was Easter Saturday, not that this is a particularly useful bit of information – my night wasn’t spectacular because I was filled with joy at the prospect of waking up with a slightly-dented, hollow ball of chocolate at the foot of my bed. Indeed, the ‘Easter Bunny’ will have undoubtedly already arrived and gone by the time I will crawl into bed. No, my night was different because there was a new person at work. And he was male. I should probably explain my excitement. I am by no means surprised by the idea of men. I am not a girly-girl who giggles, blushes and practically faints at the idea of a member of the other gender being in my general vicinity. However, after seven-years of working in a village pub where only girls are hired as waitresses, the prospect of something a bit better to look at was undeniably a good one.

He definitely fulfilled expectations. Attractive, intelligent, charismatic. A genuinely lovely person with dreams as big as my own and a way of making me smile like no one else. Every cliché I can think of would be appropriate to describe that first night. A week later, we were on our first date. It was then that he told me that he would be going into the army to become a pilot. It was then that I found myself remembering every headline I’d seen about the troubles in Afghanistan. Having had no experience of friends or family going into the forces, I could only imagine the bad: the stories that a girl who wants to be a journalist reads every day. It would have been easy to give up. Eight months later and I don’t know how I ever felt like that. Like every other 20-year old girl who has fallen in love, there have been ups and downs. The lack of contact is sometimes painful, but I know that he is achieving his dream, as I am by writing this story. Every day it gets a bit easier and sometimes being scared leads to the greatest decisions of all. For more insights into the life of an army girlfriend, follow @WillgressLydia

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you have to risk

to win words: lydia willgress

Caggie Dunlop is far from just a pretty face. Shooting to fame over two years ago, Caggie became a household name after appearing on popular reality TV show Made in Chelsea, quickly being noticed for her individual, bohemian style and laid-back attitude. However, it would be wrong to think that Caggie’s casual attitude is transferred to the workplace: burning the candle at both ends is an understatement when discussing the 23-year old’s projects. Not only is she currently working on her debut album, described as ‘dark, poetic pop,’ but she has also recently launched unique clothing brand ISWAI (It Starts With An Idea). ISWAI’s first collection ‘5 Ways’ includes a whole host of cool, chic tees and gorgeous, timeless jewellery. Unsurprisingly, the brand has been a huge success and is irrefutably based around Caggie’s own laid-back and individual style. However, ISWAI is also being used as a platform for other young designers to get involved. Caggie, whose own style is influenced by Erin Wasson and Lykki Li, explains: ‘I originally drew the collection myself, but then I had the idea of involving other people in the process and creating a “work shop” for young, artistic minds to get together. This will help give aspiring designers the boost of confidence they need in such a competitive industry.’

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Far from calling the fashion industry cut throat and cruel, Caggie believes that creating a comfortable, happy environment will enable young designers to thrive. And it’s working. Caggie says: ‘I’ve tried to do something that hasn’t been done before and turn the fashion world on its head a little: to create a community for artistic types to network and build relationships through their work.’ Whilst Caggie knew that the transformation would not happen overnight, she is pleased with the success of the brand so far, as she happily admits ‘it’s amazing to see how some people have moved on to bigger things already. ISWAI is about happiness, good vibes and a comfortable environment.’

However, Caggie is openly nostalgic about leaving the close-knit society seen in Made in Chelsea: ‘I miss the community aspect of it, being with friends the whole time. Whenever I get the chance to watch it I feel a bit sad. I made a very conscious decision to move on from the show and I must not forget that. An environment like that can make things very accessible to you - maybe too accessible - and I don’t think it’s the greatest framework to set you up for life.’

the designers at ISWAI The brand is evolving all the time, with the designers working hard to produce a range of different products. They said: ‘ISWAI is moving into all types of fashion. We are now doing a handbag and we will do more. For example, we have a Christmas dress coming very soon and one of our young ISWAI designers has created two fantastic scarves which are in production now: they are really original. We will do more product lines for the spring.

Caggie moved away from TV to concentrate on her music. Her famous cameo in Lonsdale Boys Club’s music video sparked a flurry of media interest and Caggie explains that starring in the video was ‘pretty easy, as cameras have never been foreign to me.’ As well as James Vincent McMorrow, Matt Corby and Lana del Rey influencing her work, her new album is also inspired by poetry and art.

‘At the moment, we are feeling our way gently. As we are working quite a bit with young designers it is a slow process, but hopefully one that pays dividends as it results in originality, rather than having what is in every other shop.’ When asked about their biggest accomplishment, the designers explained: ‘the reaction from young people has been great, especially those who feel marginalised or intimidated by the fashion industry. ISWAI is an inspirational brand rather than an aspirational brand.’

The idea of community has been an important part of Caggie’s life so far. Caggie has developed ISWAI with the support of her family. Sarah, her mum, helps to run the company and her cousin Alice, who ‘is more like a sister,’ models. Caggie notes: ‘I’m finding it increasingly difficult to know who to trust, as I keep going down the road that I’m on and people, and their intentions, change. Family will always stay the same.’

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If you’re a fan of ISWAI, a new collection of tees called ‘L’esprit de L’escalier’ are on sale now. A new website detailing information about the new designers and their lives will be available soon. To take a closer look at the collection, go to www.iswai.co.uk

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if only my cap could

wednesday june 25, 2003 I remember it well, a stark realisation that life can flash before you. I only had time to think about my family. Reality and instincts overwhelmed me. Then, it’s over. I am still standing, a smoking gun in hand, a little shaky perhaps but I still have all my faculties. I can only feel a rapid heart rate thundering away underneath my rib cage. My hands tremble slightly, as the full comprehension of what just happened sinks in. This is reality, a hard lump to swallow, a nightmare that will return regularly in dreams and flashbacks. I am sure it has happened to many a hunter under different circumstances. But I am not a hunter and never want to be. I felt this story needed to be recorded, if only for my children. It is very sad, but like all stories it has a happy, yet remarkable ending. ----

talk words & photo: peter cadot

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creative

Jeremy and Amelia, from England, were guests at Loisaba Wilderness. 61,000 acres of private land that create a true picture of Africa, full of mystery and littered with wildlife, from elephant, giraffe, lion, leopard, hyena, eland and impala, to name but a few.

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From the Lodge, the scene that unfolds before you is truly remarkable. The view captures the very best of African views; you overlook some stunning scenery before it drops off the precipice of an old volcanic lava flow, down on to the plains leading to the Ewaso Ngiro River. A scramble of Acacia disappears into dry country, rocky outcrops, the Loldaiga hills to the South East, with the finest of African Mountains, Mount Kenya, with its snow-capped peaks glittering in the sunlight. I was taking Jeremy and Amelia on a walking safari. Our walk would take us into the valley, and would eventually end up on a rocky outcrop, commonly known as ‘kopje’ (pronounced ‘kopee’) or ‘Falcon Rocks.’ Kopje is a giant rocky pinnacle, surrounded by huge boulders on either side, each crevice filled with indigenous plants, a real ‘market garden’ of Eden. This is a truly delightful spot to sit with a glass of wine or cold beer and gaze at the sunset as it slowly slips below the distant escarpment. At times the odd dik dik, impala or a huge elephant ambles through the thick bush unaware of our presence - peaceful, magical, magnificent. We traversed down the rocky hillside surrounded by brightly

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coloured insects, busy harvester ants, gorgeous birds and stunning scenery. Scanning the route below with our binoculars we searched for any dangerous wildlife, perhaps elephant or buffalo, to see if we should take an alternative route. Satisfied that it was safe, we continued down the slope on to the valley floor. In the meantime, Peter Lotoloi approached ‘Falcon Rocks’ from behind, parking his open Land Rover, casually removing the cold box from the rear of the vehicle. Whistling quietly to himself, he climbed the rock to set up our ‘sundowners’ of cold beer and wine. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He searched the thick underbrush carefully – nothing. He returned once again to the vehicle but still had that feeling of apprehension. He removed the radio ‘collar’ receiver and of course his rifle, a large .458, and once again he climbed the rock. A signal. Moving the aerial from one side to the other, a constant beep emitted from where we were walking. Jumping back into the vehicle, Peter drove quickly up the nearest hill. We ambled closer to ‘Falcon Rock’ when the radio crackled

leapt up on a rock, posing for yet another photographic opportunity, his antics and charming smile left us in good spirits as we strolled on.

into life, ‘Papa Charlie, do you read?’ ‘Go ahead,’ I replied. ‘I have a signal to your right,’ Peter said, a true man of the bush and Professional Guide, he has been with Loisaba for many years and his pride and affection for these beautiful creatures emanates from his enthusiasm.

A few feet on I came across a reasonably fresh buffalo dropping, large and very round. With my foot I stepped on the edge, breaking the crust, a crispy outside, but wet underneath: my senses came alert immediately and I looked around casually so I did not cause any concern for Jeremy and Amelia. I then paused in front of a bush, showing them where the buffalo had rubbed his boss, describing the reason why. All this time my back was to the rocks and a cavern close by.

Romulus was in the area, a large manned lion in his prime: a beast that we certainly didn’t want to meet on our walk. I did not mention this to Jeremy and Amelia, but my whole attention was now focused on fresh tracks, distant bush, movement, a whiff in the air, sudden bird flight, anything that would give an animal’s presence away. Trying hard to remain jolly and continue pointing out natures’ fascinating creatures, tracks and signs, but all the same ready for any evasive action.

Standing up, I was about to casually shoulder the rifle, a beautiful Rigby 416, but thought better. I held it against my chest releasing the safety catch halfway. Three paces further, a deep, ferocious, spine-chilling roar had me spinning, shouldering the rifle at the same time, safety off, then riveted firmly to the spot, staring directly into the cold yellow eyes of an extremely angry lioness. Amelia jumped in fright and started running, “STAND STILL!” I commanded. The lioness mock charged, puffs of dust and falling gravel scattering towards me, deep, vicious growls, she was almost at my feet. For an instant I was about to pull the trigger, but instinct told me to wait; the distance was a little too close.

That day a typical African sky, with wisps of clouds lazily drifting across the expanse of blue, caught the ever-changing rays as the sun was dipping behind the horizon, dispersing a flaxen light across the African bush, with the striking golden-yellow rocks enhancing the green colours of the plants.

Once again emitting a terrible hissing-growl as she backed into her safe cave of deep bush, her ears back and her tail lashing furiously, muscles rippling, one pounce was all it needed. Amelia was now being held firmly by Jeremy. Shivering at the thought that she would never see her children again, a solitary tear rolled down her cheek.

Jeremy and Amelia stood side by side, a great photo opportunity and a memory to boot. ‘Pocket,’ my shadow and wonderful Samburu friend,

I was now frantically scanning the undergrowth, looking for other lions or any other danger. With rifle shouldered, safety off, I was surprisingly steady. My

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heart had taken on a very slow calm beat: everything was cool, calm and composed. Muscles quivering, tail lashing, deeply growling, snarling, the lioness’s yellow eyes were riveted on Amelia. She was waiting for an excuse to charge us full on. I gently started to move my left foot, fully focused on this angry beast, hoping beyond hope that I could gently walk backwards with Jeremy and Amelia to safety - a silent prayer - please! My foot touched the ground, my rifle was steady. I had just started to move the other when she launched herself at the speed of lighting, she was no further than ten feet away. I pulled the trigger and the bullet went crashing into her right flank, ricocheting off the rock, singing away into the distance. She reeled, twisting in mid-air, biting viciously at her new pain in anger, the roar was distressing. She uncurled and charged again. The next shot rang out, hitting her somewhere, not sure where, who cares, I had two bullets left and a moving target, the third hit her in the shoulder collapsing her at my feet. Finally, for the first time I took careful aim and shot her through the back of the neck ending her pathetic life, a wretched end, something I did not relish, the poor beautiful creature. Later, Amelia said that her last breath was extremely sad, a final grunt with a lengthy deep sigh. Quickly reloading the rifle, I scanned the bush. I moved Jeremy and Amelia out of the area as quickly as possible, shouting for Pocket to take them away to the vehicle. Peter and I approached the lioness cautiously to make sure that she was no longer alive. We carefully checked her over and with a sigh of relief she remained still, sadly. A noise had us spinning around once again, rifles to our shoulders, hearts pounding. My heart sank with a deep ‘thunk’ - “Oh My God, she has cubs, oh shit!” I couldn’t help myself – “fuck!”

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A pitiful mew, as if crying for mum, arose; the cub froze when she saw us, then disappeared rapidly. What happens now as Peter and I made eye contact, the same thoughts flashing through our minds? A question that had our hearts sinking with dread, there was only one solution – they must be put down. It would be extremely unfair, if not cruel, to try and look after them and habituate them to humans, then try and introduce them back to the wild; it would certainly be another tragic ending, perhaps enclosed in a cage for life, it would be nothing like the wild freedom of the bush.

Two days later while I was in Nairobi, still reeling from this distressing incident, I received a phone call from Peter that Romulus had with him a young cub and my heart sank: there must have been a third, but nobody had seen it. He was aggressive and very protective with any approaching vehicle; it gave me a window of hope that at least we had saved one.

I moved away. Nerves stretched to the limit now, little noises had me spinning around. Jeremy and Amelia had been taken up on top of the rock by Pocket and given a glass of wine, something that was needed to calm their nerves. I called them down.

Finally, Romulus found the other pride of females, grunting his greetings and ready to intervene should any hostility occur. His pose was proud and a slow introduction began; Peter was now holding his breath, silently praying, observing closely, heart thundering under his rib cage, his binoculars glued to his eyes. Will they take the cub or will it meet a grizzly end? One of the females had other young, but there was a huge sigh of relief as the pride accepted the thirsty cub. Peter’s elation was contagious when he described the whole story to me excitedly over the phone, grinning from ear to ear and laughing out loud, a release of pent up tension, a saving grace and a little life in return.

For us all sleep never came, dreams had me sitting upright sweating profusely, hearing the smallest sounds, heart beating furiously. Two cubs were later quickly dealt with and not mentioned to Jeremy and Amelia; it was stressful enough without the added worry of those little creatures. I could not help but feel a deep remorse.

The only solution was to quietly shoot an impala, feed this to them and observe what happened next. Thankfully, the cub ate his share and with a full belly contentedly lay close to Romulus. This was encouraging. Early the following morning Peter went in search of Romulus, using the tracking equipment. Romulus and the cub were moving. It was a long morning with the cub lagging behind, panting furiously, exhausted, but Romulus was ever patient and plodded on issuing deep, reassuring moans, as if to comfort his little companion that it was not long now.

A remarkable ending to this tragic affair. I will forever be grateful for a delightful email I received a little while later from Jeremy for which I am eternally flattered, but take heart that they are safe and sound. They will indeed have a story to tell. This story is one chapter in a beautiful book being written by Peter about his life in Kenya. Peter is a professional safari guide and will share the deepest secrets and untamed parts of the African wilderness with you. Olive Tree Safaris 10-day trip combines great food with an abundance of animals and stunning scenery. Expect a trip to the Maasai Mara, an unforgettable moment with orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and a safari through Tsavo West.

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To contact Peter, please email theolivetreehold@gmail.com or petealicadot@gmail.com

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ed24: Journey