Serial Culture March 2021

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Exploring the lives and art of young people in Halton


MARCH 2021





Serial Culture Zine- Origin Story! Serial Culture zine has been created to provide a platform for the young people of Halton aged 11-25 to share their artwork, cultural activity and lifestyle loves. Through Halton Borough Council’s youth provision programme, young people responded to our survey and call out for contributors. A small team have developed the zine from scratch with a larger community of young contributors. If you want to add your cultural voice and artwork contact The views expressed are those of the contributors. LOOSE has been creating opportunities for the people of Halton to perform, record, share and develop creatively since 1997. In 2010 LOOSE opened The Studio in Lacey Street, Widnes. This community venue is home to our current Lottery funded project, partner organisations and community groups. To find out what we currently offer, visit:

@lary_the_dinosaur Pride Lary by Charlotte Hughes for LGBT History Month

I initially created Lary while bored in high school many years ago. The doodle evolved into a few drawings I called 'The Dinosaur Story'. I'd occasionally draw them as other things, however it wasn't until years la I was bored in a uni lecture (there's a theme here haha) that I decided up my Lary Instagram page. I mostly use coloured and watercolour pe occasionally venturing into other mediums. 2

04 Cover Art 06 Wanderlust 10 The Scarlet Watch 12 Community Talks - Lockup Vintage 16 Glow & Growetry 18 LCR Spotlight - Quinn 20 In Raeality 24 Gallery 26 Culture Pigeon 30 Kickstart Creative 32 Community Talks - HCR 34 The Birth of Goldenarm 38 Gig Review- Liam Gallagher


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Tasha Bowden

Meet Tasha,18 and from Widnes.

How long have you been creating art? I’ve been creating art for as long as I can remember, when I was little, I always loved stealing my mum's nail polish and making pretty designs on a piece of paper. But I think my first piece of “proper” art was when I was around 10, I think. We were watching the discovery channel and I saw an animal. A leopard or a cheetah maybe? And I thought “I want to draw that” so I got my colouring pencils and began to draw them. Looking back now it was probably terrible but I remember creating it and loving it. I knew from then on that I wanted a creative future. How did you first get into it? I first got into art when I was very young, obviously, most kids have crayons and a colour inside the line book that they never stick to but, my mum always used to take me to the nail salon with her. She’d let me pick out a colour and id get my nails and toes both done. I kind of thought in my head “that’s cool, maybe I want to paint peoples nails all the time”. So, for Christmas that year I got so much nail polish and began drawing little doodles with the nail polish. I think my obsession started then. What training do you have? I’m currently studying in my second year at college and I was in art lessons since year seven. I have had really supportive teachers and tutors over the past few years who have helped me gain all the skills I have today. What media/ software do you use? I am a multi-media artist, but for my digital work, I use Procreate on my iPad! If I’m creating physical work, I usually use watercolour, acrylic paint, pen and sometimes charcoal. Where do you get your inspiration?


I get inspiration for my pieces from all kinds of artists. I want to capture so many elements of beauty within my work. Within my digital pieces, I want to create a three-dimensional element to my work, to make it feel more alive. I like to focus on portraiture and creating texture within that to normalise the bodies we call home.

With my physical pieces, I love not only creating texture, but I love making my pieces huge and busy and colourful to create this chaotic energy, which I think represents me as a person. My art incorporates so much of who I am. What is the aim of your art? The aim of my art is to show that you don’t have to have one style of art to be successful or enjoy what you do. For the longest time, I was envious that other people had a set style for their work and I didn’t. I thought it didn’t make me a “real artist” I want people to see that art is fun and creative and can be whatever you want it to be, there are no boundaries. Where can people find you on social media? You can find me on social media @tashabowdenart on Instagram or Facebook!


Studying Abroad - a once in a lifetime experience! I spoke to Finn Oldfield and Clara Popp, two students from the University of Edinburgh, who told me about their experiences of studying abroad and how it impacted their lives. What made you decide you wanted to study abroad? Clara: I had always wanted to study abroad, even before I went to Edinburgh. One of the things that attracted me to Edinburgh was that I’d heard they had a really good study abroad program which they really promoted when I went to visit. Also, Finn and a few other friends in the year above had studied abroad the year before me and it looked like they had such a good time that I feel it strengthened my desire to go. When I saw the list of places available I thought why not try? Finn: I was the same. The reason that I chose to study at Edinburgh Uni was because of their amazing study abroad program. That was the thing that attracted me as I had always wanted to study abroad. I didn’t actually apply to the place I ended up at in the end, I think I got it completely on a fluke. I was offered a place in Mississippi which I turned down, and then I got Washington D.C. when somebody dropped out and Finn Old field is I decided that was where I wanted to go. When 22 years old and lives in I got the offer there was a bit of deliberation W idnes. H graduate e because I had envisioned it happening for years d with a d egree in P hilosoph and then when it finally did happen, I thought y and Po litics i ‘Is this real?! Is it too much to take on?’ as the summer n of 2020 and spen there was a lot to think about. his thir t d year o f univer sity at Georg e Washingt Clara: Yeah, it’s scary when you get the offer U on niversit y in Was and you’re not sure if it’s going to work out. It hington, suddenly feels real after wanting to do it for so D.C. long!


Had you visited America before you studied abroad? Did you specifically want to study in America or were you open to studying anywhere? Finn: I had been to New York, with Clara, in 2015 which is the only time I had been to America. For me it was a process of elimination. I am terrible at languages and so I couldn’t go anywhere that wasn’t a predominantly English-speaking country. I considered Australia, but I couldn’t deal with the spiders! So I narrowed it down to America and Canada, America being my first choice. Clara: My dad married an American about five years ago and moved over there so I actually took a gap year and lived with him for a year. I lived in the suburbs of Pennsylvania in 2016 so I’d had that experience but it was a very specific experience in the suburbs at quite an unusual time. For me it was always about New York rather than America as a whole. I have always been obsessed with New York and I had kind of idealised the city, which influenced me to pick it for my year abroad. I was the same as Finn with languages too so my second choice was Canada and I also ruled out Australia because of the spiders! I felt like America presented the best opportunities.

How well did you settle into life in America? Finn: As soon as I stepped off the plane, the first thing that shook me to my core was the temperature! It was so hot and the air was just so different. It was so humid and I had turned up in a big duffel coat! Acclimatising took a few weeks and there were periods of feeling homesick, but also really enjoying it at the same time so it was this sort of weird multi-experience going on inside. The culture was also so different to the UK. I felt I could walk down the street and be as ridiculous as I wanted and everyone would be like ‘yeah sure go for it!’. I felt like I could have become a blogger if I wanted to! Whereas in the UK people would be like ‘why are you doing that?’. It’s definitely a different vibe in America. Clara: For me I found that even the small things were different, like language that people didn’t understand. For example the word ‘jumper’ – no one knew what that was! Also, I had a lot of roommates which is very common in America but was a huge adjustment for me. I didn’t really have much privacy, but I feel that people in America just expect that when they go to university. I did find that a struggle. I think I was alone twice the whole year I was there! It was good though because I feel it encouraged me to go out more and do things in the city. Like at times when I was having a down day or felt a bit homesick there was less chance I was going to stay in bed because people would be in the room watching me! So in some ways it was positive. Finn: Also, what Clara just said about going out into the city, I think that is another cultural difference. In the UK I feel a lot of students will go to a lecture, go to the shop and then just go home and watch TV, whereas in America there was just so much more to do and experience. Clara Popp is 23 years old and lives in Widnes. She is currently in her final year of university studying Social Anthropology and studied abroad at Barnard College in New York City during the academic year of 2019/20.


How would you say that studying and living abroad has impacted your life? Finn: You really do broaden your horizons when you go abroad, and not even just in America as we did, you could go to France and you’d meet such amazing people. If someone was wanting to get out of their echo chamber and social bubble that we often find comfort in, studying abroad is such an amazing way to do that. As soon as you say yes to it all these amazing experiences just come to you and the people you meet, you would never meet them if you don’t go on that year abroad. Clara: Definitely. I know it may sound cheesy but for me living abroad was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s made me grow in my confidence so much. You’re put on your own in a foreign country and you have to deal with it, you have to make friends, more so than freshers in the UK. And like Finn said, it’s not just America. We have friends who went to France and Spain who would agree. And the people I met are some of my best friends now and it really did broaden my horizons. It also shows that you can do these things and you should be confident in yourself and take up opportunities. It also made me want to get up every day and do everything I possibly could to make the most out of my time there. Finn: I think it also makes you a more fully rounded person. I kept saying to people when I came back from my year abroad that I’m finally a ‘360 degree person’ and no one understood what I meant but I just felt fully alive and re-energised, and I knew who I was a lot more after my year abroad. I don’t know if I would be the same person that I am now if I hadn’t gone abroad. It sounds really cheesy but it’s true! Clara: I also feel like even though the experience was only for a year, the connections I made during that year haven’t ended. I’m still in touch with teachers and friends that I met there. So even when the year abroad is over, the connections that you make will last forever and you can make use of those connections years down the line.


"You really do broaden your horizons when you go abroad...If someone was wanting to get out of their echo chamber and social bubble that we often find comfort in, studying abroad is such an amazing way to do that." How was it coming from Halton to live in America? Had people heard of Halton? Were they intrigued to know more? Finn: I went on a road trip after my year abroad from D.C. through the South and onto California, and the number of random people we met along the way who knew about Widnes was crazy. I must have met at least five or six Americans who knew about it, and one even had a cousin who used to live there! There was a running joke on my year abroad that Widnes was the centre of the world because I used to tell everyone about it! It almost became a cultural phenomenon and a reference point for conversations. Clara: My experience was the opposite - no one I met had heard of Widnes. I had to get it up on Google to show people where it was. I had a few friends who really loved England, and London in particular, so there was a lot of focus on London whenever I mentioned England. A lot of them had heard of Liverpool, but still weren’t sure where it was so even saying I was from near Liverpool wasn’t very helpful to them! They loved learning about where I was from though and I feel very good about the fact that there’s a load of random Americans walking around the States knowing about Widnes and where it is! They might even come and visit one day and it’s nice to know that I’ve helped to put Widnes on the map by going abroad and telling people about it.

"living abroad was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s made me grow in my confidence so much." Is there any advice you would give to considering or preparing to study abroad?





Clara: I would say that wherever you go, whether it’s America or another country, try and travel as much as you can outside of the place where you are based. Explore the country and surrounding areas and experience the different cultures across the country. Don’t limit yourself to the place where you are studying because there is so much to see and experience by travelling. It is very expensive, and you have to be aware of that but it is so worth it. It feels much scarier before you go than the actual experience ends up being. I was terrified, but as soon as I got there I knew it was the right decision. I also think though that if you do go abroad and decide it isn’t for you that’s fine too! You can always come home but I think it’s definitely worth giving it a go. I would say that it is scary at first, and it’s okay to be scared but don’t let that stop you from taking these opportunities and having a good time. Finn: Yeah, I would totally agree. You experience so much from travelling but even just going on the year abroad itself is such a transformational journey, and you come out of it a completely different person so if anyone is looking for a confidence boost and a great experience I would definitely recommend studying abroad. Studying abroad gives you a lot of independence and responsibility and I think it also makes the jump from university life to graduate life a lot easier because it shows you that you are capable of so much, having lived alone in a foreign country. The application process can be very daunting as there is a lot to do but it all works itself out and it is not as unnerving as it initially seems. I would also say that in the first few weeks that you are there you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and if you are in that mindset of being open to everything and stepping outside of your comfort zone you will get so much more out of the experience. Anything could happen which I think is so exciting and having an open mind will lead you towards so many amazing experiences.

Having studied abroad in America myself I can fully relate to Finn and Clara's experiences. I would definitely agree that studying abroad opens your mind to a new way of thinking, both about life and about how to use our time to experience as much as possible. It shows you how other people around the world live and it teaches you so many valuable lessons that can be used in all aspects of life. It certainly shapes you as a person and helps you to discover who you really are outside of your comfort zone. Much appreciation to Finn and Clara for chatting with me!

Mia graduated from the University of Hull in 2020 with a degree in American Studies. Studying abroad opened her eyes to a whole new world of travel and exploration. She is also a keen travel photographer. You can follow her on Instagram @wanderlustermiaa. Her contact email is


Miss Americana: Not a story about the Hold up! Before you turn the page, hear me out. You may not be a Swi�ie, like me, or think documentaries are your cup of tea but hear me out. My love for TS and documentaries are not the only things that place this film in a permanent so� spot in my heart. This is simply undeniably a great film. I had an�cipated watching Miss Americana but somehow didn't find the �me, so my expecta�ons mounted. This film was more than I could have ever expected. It does not ma�er your opinion of Taylor Swi�; this film is so much bigger than just her story. Before we really get into this, I would like to say that these are simply opinions and views and I respect that people will disagree, but I do hope you take my advice on board and watch this film. If you want to watch it, it's on Ne�lix. Ok, so here is the basic plot of the film, you can also watch the trailer on YouTube and Ne�lix. This documentary is an insight into Taylor Swi�'s life as a pop icon, singer, songwriter and woman as she tries to harness her voice and use her pla�orm for good. It follows her through her worst and best �mes as the magnifying glass on her gets bigger. The documentary shows the


double standard in society for men and women and how s�ll to this day the inequality in the world, and media especially, is as potent as ever. She explores the belief systems that are forced on women and the poli�cs that affect all of us in our day to day lives. Even if you thought you knew everything there was to know about Taylor Swi�, you didn't. It is directed by Lana Wilson and has great visual shots using both original footage of the singer caught by a camera crew, footage caught on Taylor's phone as she writes songs etc., footage of when she was a child and footage from the wider media including interviews and tour coverage. This shows you a very broad picture of Taylor Swi� throughout all ages and all se�ngs. You really feel like you get to know her and learn more about the massive amount of pressure put on people in the public eye and how that mirrors pressures put on us all by society. In my opinion, this is a great film and I would really recommend people watching it for a mul�tude of reasons. It is great on educa�ng young women and girls on rejec�ng the misogyny that is constantly trying

The Scarlet Watch from Elkie Atherton

e Heartbreak Prince, so much better to be ingrained in their minds and I heard a journalist say that in their opinion that this film should be shown to girls all over the world. It is a great insight into the public life that people like Taylor Swi� lead. If you are interested in songwri�ng or music videos, the film also gives an insight into the processes of wri�ng songs and how music videos are created. My mum and I agree that it is a great film and a new look at feminism which has been lacking in society. This film should be shown to girls all over the world. It is a great insight into the public life that people like Taylor Swi� lead. We see how she deals with the stress and her exis�ng insecuri�es, which is beneficial to all people in my opinion. It also shows the processes of falling from fame, sexual harassment cases, queer rights in the US and beyond and poli�cs in America today.

enjoyed wri�ng this review and watching this film for the second �me, every �me I watch it I like it more. It all accounts for a great watch, making you think without hur�ng your brain and I think lots of young people would like to watch it. All there is le� to do is thank you for reading this far along and if you choose to I really hope you enjoy watching the film.

Stay safe and watch some Netflix.

Overall, this film covers a lot of ground and I think it should be watched by as many people as possible because of the messages it covers. I know I've waffled on but honestly its really worth a watch I really hope you, if you choose to watch it, find what I found in it. I really




LIV SORVEL the new face on the Northern fashion scene By Finn Oldfield and Clara Popp Spring was in the air and the sun was shining when we sat down with Liv Sorvel to chat about her Widnes-based business Lockup Vintage. Launched during the first lockdown, she sells secondhand vintage clothes on her Depop and has built a growing online community on Instagram.

“When I was in high school there was nothing for anyone who was interested in fashion,” she tells us. Luckily though, she found her calling during her Creative Direction course at the London College of Fashion, and when - like many of us - she found herself bored and stuck at home due to the pandemic, she took the chance to put her skills to use. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,'' she admits, ‘there wasn’t any jobs in the creative industry at that time and my grandparents very kindly let me have all the stock that was left over from their vintage shops. So I sifted through and picked out things, at the time it was more like it might make me a little bit of money to save, but I was just bored and had nothing to do.”


“I want to grow the social media following to have a community where we can discuss different things about sustainable fashion,” she elaborates, “and have it just as a fun space for people who shop from Lockup.”

As fashionable Northerners ourselves, it has been great to watch her business flourishing outside of London. “I do feel like, obviously from living there, there’s such a huge push on everything fashion has to be in London,” she informs us. “So I think even to grow it here in Widnes is fun.” Seeing a young person in Halton succeed pushed us to ask what more could be done to support others in the community to start their own business, and Liv was more than happy to share some ideas.

“If you think back to when we were in school, I don’t know what the curriculum is like now, but there was nothing about how to run your own business or how to work for yourself,” she says. “I think workshops or mentor buddy schemes for people in Halton could be really nice to inspire people to say if you love doing something, you can do it for yourself and make money out of it.” “I would have benefitted from something like that when I first started it.” she admits. “I feel like so many people have something like that where you enjoy it, but you could make it into a business if you had the right support and mentorship.”


Moving on from this, we wanted to know what advice Liv would give to other young people who wanted to follow in her footsteps.“If you find someone on social media, just reach out and ask, because everyone will be so nice and willing to help you,” she offers, “find something you really enjoy and if you love it, you will be able to tell with what you’re making, whatever it might be, and other people can tell that you love it.”

“Don’t overload yourself,” she cautions. “Just make sure you’re enjoying it all the time, and if you’re not enjoying it, other people aren’t going to either.” A lot of Liv’s motivation has come from the encouragement she receives through Lockup’s social media platforms. “Even if you’re making little things and selling it on etsy or whatever, have a social media to go along with it, because you’ll get so much support from that,” she says. “Even if it’s just your friends at first and it feels like there’s no outsiders supporting me, it will grow from people sharing things so just build your own little community to support you, and that will grow further.”


For building her business and online community, Liv found that confidence was key. “[It’s about] not being afraid of what people think” she informs us, ‘if you go confidently, people will like it.”

Turning back to the question of sustainability, we see how Liv’s commitment to social responsibility extends far beyond her own business and she left us with a few tips on how to live more sustainably in our everyday lives.

“If you just take some time out of your day to source something sustainably,” she advises, “the planet will reap the benefits, but so will you.” She suggests supporting her fellow second-hand shops through apps like Depop. “You’re going to look so much more stylish” she promises, “and you’re going to be saving the planet.” It’s clear that Liv follows her own rules as she points to the mutlicoloured fleece she’s wearing and tells us she bought it for a low price on Depop. She leans closer, letting us into a secret: “It’s got a hole in the back, but I can fix it.” We have no doubt that she will fix it, because Liv Sorvel has proven herself a fixer. From her knowledge of styling and upcycling to building a sustainable business and social media community from her home in Widnes, she has been working to fix things that could be better. Leaving the interview we can’t help but feel hopeful that more and more people, especially in the Halton area, might be inspired to go confidently and unlock their potential, whatever that might be. You can find Lockup Vintage at @lockup.vintage on Instagram and @lockupvintage on Depop, and find Liv at @livsorvel on Instagram.



I always dreamed this is what love would be like. Fried chicken on a Monday, Coffee in my favourite cafe, Daydreaming of days spent driving, Of days spent shouting and dancing through life, And of quiet days in which to say anything is too heavy, so we just sit instead sometimes i wish they'd just asked us. instead they just decide who we are.

just as much glitter as rain, it's the type that sticks and never comes off

GROWETRY i miss the sunshine, the loud whistles and support, flags held all round.

We spoke to poet Rosa Wright, 18 from Widnes. Like every small child, I wrote acrostic poems when I was little about stuff like volcanoes but I seriously started writing when I was about 13. It’s a way for me to verbalise how I feel and be able to take time to form coherent thought (something I can’t really do all too well). It’s also a great way to have a kick off about political things and social justice things too. Sadly I've had a huge struggle with writers block through lockdown, but when I can write it’s been very cathartic. I hope to be able to publish my poetry in more zines and eventually publish a poetry book of my own. I also hope I can inspire more angry, queer, disabled, working class people to pick up poetry. You can find me @grow_etry on instagram Rosa recently led an online poetry workshop for the GLOW group. Here is a comment from a participant. My personal GLOW lockdown highlight was most definitely the poem session. I particularly liked how it was young person led which encouraged me to participate in the session as poetry is not something I would usually choose to participate in - the session itself was incredibly entertaining and thought provoking and has completely changed my attitude towards poetry in general. Liv Eren 17

Quinn – The Cycle Quinn is a singer songwriter who has been a member of The Studio since its reopening in 2010, in that time they have made two Ep’s with the band Outside the Day, which featured a Grunge Rock feel. While some songs capture a fun and energetic feel such as ‘Weirdo’ and ‘Teenager’ there were also song that has a deeper meaning in the lyrics with songs like ‘Girl of My Dreams’ and ‘Friends’. In 2018 Quinn released their first solo EP; Dysania. Which took a very different tone than previous work, the songs were lyrically much more personal and there was a style created by synthesisers and a keytar. The song ‘Nine Lives’ Features masking the lyrics so that it is not easily audible, this in itself creates the theme of being honest about how they are feeling while also creating some level of mask via the technology, which is reflected in the artwork for the EP. This feeling of masking is removed completely in the new EP, The Cycle. The EP feature openness and a level of maturity that has been only touched upon in previous work. In terms of style and tone you get a feeling that this is very much the ying to Dysania’s yang, they fit together, they have similar themes and concepts and yet completely different. The opening song ‘You Were My Happiness', ‘Ghost’ and ‘Lock Heart' all speak openly and emotionally which will always be a difficult thing to write while also keeping the music interesting and engaging for the listener.


LOOSE Community Records SPOTLIGHT Here’s what Quinn had to say: Q: How would your describe The Cycle to potential Listeners It is mix between Grunge Rock and Lofi, with lyrical themes of relationships, mental health and sexuality. Q: You've been putting out music for 10 years now, do you think the process of releasing has changed I am a lot more internet focused. For this EP, I made a music video for each song before release. I am always learning new ways of promoting myself online, and learning from other artists. Q: How has your song writing changed between releases and more specifically between Dysania and the cycle I have been influenced by artist such as Joji and XXXTENTACION, who have influenced the sound of ‘The Cycle’, with mixing Lofi and Grunge Rock together. However they also influenced the lyrical content, as their music deals with breakups and mental health. It give me the listener something to relate too, which is what I wanted to emulate. Q: In terms of tone how has your song writing changed? I feel like I have become more comfortable in writing more serious topics,. Within my EP the lyrical content being the main driving force of my music. I feel less worried in not trying to depress people, as I feel like its important to have music to help you through life. Q: What is next for your music? I am working towards making another EP. It is going to be a follow up to ‘The Cycle’, driving further into mixing Lofi and Grunge Rock together. But also mixing elements from Hyperpop too. I really wanted to write music, with focuses on my main fears/worries; themes such as dysphoria. You can find Quinn, on YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify. Follow them on Facebook, twitter and Instagram. By James Swift for more information on LCR contact


in .


The Post-Lockdown Roadmap & Your Wellbeing Recently we have been seeing glints of hope for a return to a new normal later this year, and while this announcement is greatly welcomed it will always be met with many different reactions. Desperate to get out again? Missing interacting with friends, your classmates and family? It’s great news we’ll be back together soon isn’t it! Feeling anxious, overwhelmed and a bit fearful? Absolutely valid and normal too! I find myself drifting between the two states - very rarely landing in a rational middle ground. What's important to bear in mind is that you can take the easing of lockdown at your own pace in ways that protect you. It doesn’t matter if your friends or family are adapting, quicker and easier, it’s all about looking after yourself. Everyone has mental health and looking after your own has never been so important. The last 12 months have led to drastic changes in our everyday routine - whether this was a breeze for you, or a tiresome effort, the uncertainty of what was to come next affected everybody physically and mentally. To what extent is not relevant, someone who struggles daily is just as valid in their emotions with someone who has had an odd blip every few months for instance. Remember mental health is a continuously fluctuating state and no two minds are the same. So let’s discuss the ways you can improve your own mental and physical wellbeing; whilst supporting your nearest and dearest also.

The Big 3 Basic Needs Sleep The benefits of sleep are impressive. It varies from person to person though on average you need 8 hours per night for healthy bodily functions. Lack of sleep affects your mood and physical health as you have no time to recharge. Sleep is required to boost our immune system functions and lack of sleep can even contribute to weight gain as your body produces less of the chemical that makes you feel full.




Diet is essential to your physical and mental wellbeing. The best way to view your body is as a vehicle to get through your days so you need to fuel it right for effective function. A healthy, balanced diet contributes to maintaining good health while making you feel good. You want to be eating the correct portion sizes of a variety of foods to maintain a healthy weight. And don't forget to keep hydrated too, 8 glasses of water a day.

Exercise reduces your risk of major illnesses whilst keeping your body in a healthy condition, People aged 18+ should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of activity per week. People aged 5-18 are recommended to aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of an moderate intensity physical activity a day across the week. Though best of all it's a quick mood boost for you.

Advice & Support: I spoke to the Halton Health Improvement team to see what they suggested for general Health and Wellbeing in young people. The team specialises in working with schools, colleges, and public venues to run campaigns bringing awareness of the support we can do to look after ourselves and others. They work closely with the age range of specific campaigns which means your voice is heard and the support is tailored to your peers needs that you have identified.

The 5 Ways to Wellbeing

Be in the present Connect with Friends & Family Trying/Learning different things Be Active Give Something Back

A great way to track your thoughts and feelings is through journaling. Write whatever you like whenever you like but daily practice has the most effective results. There are many video tutorials on Youtube about practicing Mindfullness. It's all about staying present and focused on the here and now, letting go of the past and not worrying about the future. Connecting with loved ones builds a greater sense of self worth whilst providing emotional support to you and for you to do the same with others. Provides you with a sense of purpose. Can boost your confidence and self esteem. I challenged myself to learn new recipes each week and I really have become a decent cook! Opportunity for you to set goals to achieve helping with self worth. Being active also causes chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively impact your mood. It's been proven that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing as doing good creates positive feelings and a sense of reward. It also adds to the sense of purpose and of self worth. Depending on what you do it can also provide the opportunity to connect.

If you want to try any of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing there is plenty of advice online including the NHS Website for activity suggestions and the Do's & Dont's of Wellbeing (which is super useful speaking from experience!) Halton Health Improvement run Fit For Life, Bite Size Sessions exploring the different ways you can help support young people. Upcoming sessions starting in April include: - SLEEP AND SCREENS - FUSSY EATING AND SNACKING - MENTAL HEALTH AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING For more information:

For Parents & Guardians

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What I need you to know... Everything I've said so far are the very basic starting points for you to begin taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing. There is so much more you can implement once you've laid the foundations of self care and have created routines that include the 5 Ways to Wellbeing as well as the Three Basic Needs for yourself. Creating new habits takes time so be kind, be gentle and be patient you will get there but it won't happen overnight I'm afraid. You've got this!

The importance of listening! A lot of the time, if someone is venting to you or opening up, just because what they say isn't positive it does not mean they are looking for a response. Solutions whether that's from yourself, a doctor or a professional are not always the answer, the person is simply looking to be heard. Sometimes that doesn't feel active enough, though the best thing you can do for anyone who approaches you is to contain them. Be present with them in their feelings and don't comfort as you may be accidentally dismissing or downplaying their emotions. Acknowledge that you're listening and gently help them navigate through their thoughts where possible

Your weight does not define you! I can only go off my own social media algorithms here, but not even within 24 hours of the roadmap out of lockdown being announced, my feeds were flooded with weight-loss tips specifically targeted at women. I want to say that after almost a year of lockdowns, your friends, family and loved ones are going to be more focused on being able to hold you, and spend time with you rather than your appearance. Please watch you say to people. Data has shown eating disorders increased drastically in lockdown. Treat people with kindness and continue to uplift people without the focus of being on their physical appearance.


And while you're here: It's okay if they don't understand. Mental Health use to be a very taboo topic and previous generations were not supported or taught about how to take care of their own mental and physical wellbeing as well as we have. You have to understand that any contradicting/ conflicting advice from those older than you, may not be correct unless they keep tabs on current conversations around self care and support; otherwise they will not be able to align their viewpoints to those who are more in the know. Understand where their views are coming from: Generational issues from their upbringing, structural societal issues or even time constraints if this person is in a profession with multiple responsibilities though are around young people constantly i.e. teachers.

There's no shame in seeking external support. If you've tried seeking support from those closest to you and you think professional help would benefit you, do what's best for you! There is nothing wrong with going to therapy, there is nothing wrong with taking medication, there is nothing wrong with seeking the support you need in order to feel your best self!

Recommended Apps: Ok I know I've just said to reduce your screen time though we are becoming increasingly more reliant on our smart-device use and even I use my phone to get through the tough days. Did you know there are apps designed to help with specific needs? Here are some NHS recommended apps that may be really useful to you.

Ground yourself in reality! All your anxieties around the pandemic and around post-lockdown life are valid. You are not the only one feeling this way. Social Media can either make you feel like you're alone in your ways of thinking, or adversely, that everyone is in a state of dismay. If you find yourself too reliant, or equally too disturbed by what's appearing on your feeds, consider a social media detox. Reducing your screen time will do wonders for you and bring you back into your thoughts to learn to handle them better.

THINK NINJA Designed for 10-18 year olds Think Ninja is a great place to start to educate yourself about mental health and emotional wellbeing. Through a variety of content and tools within the app you develop skills used to build mental resilience and stay well. CALM HARM Calm Harm provides tasks to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm. They see the desire to harm yourself as wave and their exercises are designed to help manage riding out those urges, SILVER CLOUD SilverCloud is an eight week online course which helps you manage stress, anxiety and depression. Based on your specific needs, a therapist will provide you a series of topics to work through. You can complete the course at your own pace which is why I'm a big fan of the app, there is no time constraint placed on you or number of sessions to work through so there is less pressure to be feeling better. SMILING MIND This app was created to help practice your daily meditation and mindfulness exercises from any device for a suggested 10 minutes a day. It's a great place to start developing skills required for mindfulness.

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If you'd like me to expand on anything in this article, or you would like to hear more about Mental & Physical Wellbeing, Feminism or Sustainability then please email me at - You can also see similar bitesize content on my Instagram - @in.raeality





To see more photography from Phoebe and Tom follow them on Instagram. @phoebebellphotography @thomasjjbarton






‘Hindsight’s 20/20’, they say.


It’s easy to consider 2020 a lost year when looking on in hindsight – our lives collec�vely ground to a halt three months into the year, and the events that followed have completely changed the way that we live. I can see why many would want to write the year off completely, but it’s important to remember, in discoun�ng the year so flippantly we are doing the people who worked so hard in redeeming it a massive injus�ce. Although it may seem a generally hellish year, 2020 did provide some real beauty, not only in communi�es across the country but also in the ar�s�c world. A year presen�ng a set of impossible circumstances that saw ar�sts truly unite, not only in collabora�on with one another but also with their audiences, giving ar�sts a chance to truly show their apprecia�on for their fans. This segues me nicely into the album that helped me power through 2020 when things got difficult: Bombay Bicycle Club's, 'I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose, live at Brixton’.

I’ve been familiar with Bombay Bicycle Club for a while now – I first listened to their iconic ‘Always Like This’ gazing moodily out the car window on a par�cularly cold winter’s night in late 2019, and the experience has ingrained itself into the very fibre of my being. It amazed me how such a danceable song could be so very melancholy, which turned out to be a common trait in all of their other songs. I was absolutely hooked, and have never looked back. I mounted an expedi�on to the nearest HMV the very day a�er this, determined to secure a copy of their debut album, and there was a long period following this where I would simply listen to it over and over again endlessly, sparing no �me for anything else. There’s an ethereal quality to it, underpinning every track – an eclec�c assortment of influences amalgama�ng seamlessly, displaying a graceful, erudite technicality, converging towards one of the most strikingly original alterna�ve rock records ever released.

Bombay Bicycle Club Review BY BEN COOPER For some reason though, despite having the opportunity to go for free, I passed up on the opportunity to see the band perform this album live in celebra�on of its 10th birthday in 2019. I have regre�ed this decision every waking moment since. It's safe to say then when I heard they were releasing a recorded version of the performance I missed out on, I was overjoyed. From the very offset of their career, the band was lauded as an extremely engaging live act – domina�ng the floor with a cap�va�ng energy, control over the stage which is reflected in the incredible control the band exhibit over their instruments, seeming incapable of ever hi�ng a bum note. I bought the vinyl the day it came out and prac�cally sprinted home to play it, listening to both the original studio album and the live version in rapid succession of one another. It’s incredible to see how much the band has matured in the ten years since they ini�ally came to fame. Lead singer Jack Steadman puts it best in his introduc�on to live performance of ‘The Hill’ – “we wrote a lot of these songs when we were 15 or 16, s�ll at school, doing our GCSEs… some of these songs are about very small, mundane parts of our life this song is literally about just si�ng on a hill behind the school where we went to.”


.” I’ve always loved that about Bombay Bicycle Club - the scrappy, youthful undertone beneath the complexity of their songs paired with their arguably rather geek-chic aesthe�c really resonated with what I thought of myself in school, a quality which I have always adored in the studio version of this record. However, when listening to the live album, I was fascinated to hear how the growth of the members as ar�sts really changed the dynamics of the songs (mostly) for the be�er, retaining, and even expanding on their resonance with me. ‘Emergency Contracep�on Blues’ packs a ferocious punch, immediately sha�ering any reserva�on you may have held towards ge�ng up and dancing, followed by an unsurmountable rendi�on of ‘Lamplight’, my favourite song from the studio album; the rumbling, stripped back bass of ‘these sca�ered flashes…’ is more divine than ever before, making for one of the most powerful choruses I have ever heard in music, ever.


The recording engineer must be given massive credit when discussing this album’s aural brilliance, as it is in a moment like this where I feel the wonderful an�cipa�on surging through the room seeping out of my speakers - as though I am genuinely in the room with all of these strangers, joined in a love of music. It’s a feeling I was star�ng to forget, and it’s beau�ful to have that sensa�on returned somehow. The group maintain incredible focus through ‘Evening/Morning’ and ‘Dust on the Ground’, as well as a spectacularly beau�ful rendi�on of ‘Ghost’, the lucid focus devoted to the impeccable rhythm sec�on revealing a previously unknown depth to a song I had always been quick to skip over - hearing the audience chant along the guitar refrain is a par�cular favourite moment of mine on the whole album. The rendi�on of the band’s most well-known song ‘Always like this’ is rapid in pace but manages to perfectly capture the overflowing excitement in the room, and the opening to ‘Cancel on me’ more than ever demands to be danced to, its dreamy ending delivering an incomparable sense of catharsis.

Steadman has managed to harness his idiosyncra�c vocal style brilliantly, demonstra�ng a brilliant discipline whilst retaining its spellbinding originality, best demonstrated on ‘The Hill’, where I believe the band as a unit peaks on this recording. The glistening guitar intro to ‘What if” and the complete reinven�on of ‘The Giantess’ both serve as haun�ng new addi�ons to two songs I deemed perfect. The fact the band manages to elevate almost every performance above its original counterpart, in a live se�ng, whilst retaining some of the youth that made their songs so compelling in the first place, surmounts this as my very favourite live album, and one which eased the uncertainty accompanying 2020 greatly. Listen to the original, then listen to this album – it might just change your life. - Ben Cooper




Halton Community Radio By the people, for the people

by Mia Ridehalgh


Tell me a little bit about Halton Community Radio and what the station offers. Matt: HCR is about the experience that the station provides to its presenters and all those involved. It is about giving the people of Halton a community where they can come and learn about radio and meet people who share their interests in radio and music. Stations such as the BBC and other commercial radio stations provide a service for the benefit of their listeners. Commercial radio stations want to provide a product that will keep people engaged in order the make profits. What we focus on at Halton Community Radio is primarily the experience that the presenter has. We don’t mind if no one listens, or if we don’t have a huge audience. What we really care about is that the presenters enjoy themselves and gain skills such as confidence that are transferrable to other aspects of life. I came to HCR when I was sixteen and I loved it. I saw it as a work experience and thought that maybe I could do this when I was older. I wrote comedy sketches and played records that me and a friend would buy for the show and I really enjoyed being a part of the project. I was always involved with the project as a presenter but when I got involved behind the scenes about five years after I initially joined HCR I realised that the purpose of the project was to improve the lives of the presenters, rather than to provide a product for listeners. I realised how much it had done for me, my confidence and self-esteem had improved so much and being a radio presenter was such a huge thing for me. It gave me an identity. People would ask me on the bus to sixth form college what I was going to play on my show, and it made me feel like Steve Lamacq or John Peel! HCR allows people to come and express themselves and have some fun. Your show can be whatever you want it to be. The focus of HCR is to use broadcasting to change people’s lives for the better. What does the station offer for young people? How can people get involved with HCR? Matt: So, anyone aged eighteen or over can come and present their own show once they have been shown how to use the equipment which consists of a very small amount of training. Right now, however, the station has no staff that can supervise under-18s, so if anyone under eighteen is interested in presenting a show we ask that they team up with an adult who is eighteen or over. It can be anyone from a parent or carer, to a friend or schoolteacher, as long as there is a person aged eighteen or over in the building with them. All you need to do to get involved is email the station.


What impact does HCR have on the local community in Halton? Why is it important to have a community project like HCR? Matt: I don’t think there are enough things in Halton that specifically belong to Halton. We need to have pride in our community, and I believe HCR offers that. It is amazing to be able to put local people from within our community on HCR talking about local things. It gives Halton something to be proud of and a form of identity. Halton Community Radio is ours. It doesn’t belong to Liverpool or Manchester or London, it belongs to us. It’s great to have something that can play a part in the life of our borough and impact the local community so positively. It’s great to broadcast a local voice from local people that understand how our community works, and what is important to the people of this community. You can talk with your own voice and about what matters to you. Radio as a medium is timeless – the world is constantly moving on with new technology, but radio always persists. How does Halton Community Radio survive? Matt: Well, there aren’t a lot of community radio stations that do survive for as long as HCR has. Halton Community Radio has been surviving since the 1990s and it’s great to be interviewed by outlets such as Serial Culture to help get our name out there. HCR was born out of Halton College in the early 1990s as part of a college project and it has just evolved since then into what it is now. Up until 2008 HCR was on air every now and again whenever we could get a one-month licence. We then received a full-time community licence in 2008 and we’ve never been off-air since. The biggest reason we have survived is the fact that we have always stayed true to our purpose – to put the presenters first and provide people with an outlet to express themselves. We don’t focus on making a profit or spending lots of money on advertising. We’ve always been much more interested in the experience of our presenters, rather than increasing our listening base as much as possible. When we are asked if we’ve changed anyone’s life we can honestly say yes as that is our main focus at HCR and it is why people love to get involved. There is a section on our website called ‘How HCR Has Changed Lives’ and it shows exactly why we do what we do and why people believe in Halton Community Radio. We can firmly say that we are a community radio station because our focus is on the local community and the experiences that we provide for the people of Halton. How do people that you talk to receive HCR? What do they think of it? Matt: Initially, anyone that I speak to about the station always asks me how many listeners we have, and I have to tell them that that’s not the point of HCR. People tend to look at me like I don’t really know what I’m doing because commercial radio is always aimed at the listeners. People don’t see the point of running a radio station if you don’t focus on the listeners. But when I explain to them that it’s about the experience we can provide for our presenters, and I tell them about presenters we have at the station whose lives have been changed by HCR, people then understand what I mean when I say we don’t care about the number of listeners we have, and they see how beneficial it is to have a project like HCR available within our community. What advice would you give to the younger generation who are considering a career in broadcasting? Or to anyone who might want to join HCR? Matt: I would say you’ve just got to give it a go! If you don’t enjoy it no one is going to force you to do it, but there’s every possibility that you will fall in love with it and have the most amazing experience. You will have fun and it’s so creative and awesome. You can make your show into anything you want! Also, even if you don’t want to pursue broadcasting as a career, the skills that you will learn as a radio presenter will help you at school and university, and they will certainly help you at job interviews and in workplace situations. It really helps you to improve essential life skills and there’s so much you can learn. You never know where it might lead to! Some of our presenters have even gone on to pursue professional careers in broadcasting and for them, it all started at HCR. It’s a really fun and creative hobby and you have nothing to lose by giving it a go.

I would like to thank Matt for taking the time to talk to me about this wonderful communityproject!



Edigbe Ubido - The Birth of Goldenarm 34

Four more pages coming in each issue! If you can’t wait you can buy the full version on Etsy!

I used to love crea�ng characters and stories in my head but typically just kept it to myself for my own entertainment. I began wri�ng a mythology about my universe in novel form, however being a visual tale I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a be�er way to communicate it.


At first I came up with the idea of wri�ng a series of film scripts, however a�er some thought, I thought back to the things I used to love as a kid. One day I had the idea of drawing my comic en�rely on PowerPoint as the free-form tool allowed me to cra� lines this improved my drawings tenfold and I was finally able to produce something.


Thanks to encouragement from a friend I have released chapter 1 and am part of an amazing and thriving indie comics community! I’m almost at 1000 followers on Instagram and the response I’ve received from my work is absolutely incredible and humbling!




BY MIA RIDEHALGH As many of us well know 2020 was not the best year for live gigs. To many people's disappointment, hundreds of gigs and festivals from March onward were unfortunately cancelled and are yet to be rescheduled as we enter the third national lockdown in the UK. Numerous musicians took to the internet to provide their fans with live performances over Facebook, Instagram and YouTube live streams to compensate for the loss of concerts and boost the morale of music fans nationwide. Most of these streams took place in the living rooms and home studios of the artists themselves however Liam Gallagher, the former lead singer of the 90s Britpop band Oasis, took it one step further by hiring himself a boat and live streaming a whole concert-standard performance whilst sailing down the River Thames. For a reasonable £16.50 fans from around the world could tune into MelodyVR on December 5th to watch Gallagher perform songs from his two Number One solo albums – 2017’s As You Were and 2019’s Why Me? Why Not. – plus nostalgic Oasis classics from the 90s, some of which Liam has not performed live since the band split in 2009, all while sailing down the River Thames against the picturesque backdrop of the iconic London skyline at night. Being an online live stream meant that the performance was not limited on numbers and so all fans of Liam Gallagher who wanted to experience this event could. This allowed many fans who had previously been unable to get tickets to Gallagher's gigs, see the 90s icon perform live.


Onboard his amped-up and professionally lit barge boat alongside his band (which included original Oasis guitarist and close friend Bonehead), Gallagher could be seen wearing his statement parka with a black hat and cool shades accompanied by his iconic stance – knees bent, head tilted up, hands crossed behind his back. This was a true Gallagher performance and he gave it his all as with any other gig he has performed. Of course, any Liam Gallagher gig would not be complete without him spouting offensive slurs to anything that gets in his way. This was no different, and Gallagher’s songs were separated by his foulmouthed remarks which even included an insult towards the London Eye for stealing the limelight in the background!

Gallagher opened with his first-ever solo performance of Oasis classic 'Hello’ and followed with a setlist that included other Oasis hits like ‘Supersonic’, ‘Champagne Supernova’ and the generation defining ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’, alongside some of his newest songs such as the emotional ballad ‘Once’, the raw rock anthem ‘Wall of Glass’ and the classic Gallagher-style ‘The River’, after which the performance was named. Considering Liam Gallagher’s unfavourable track record of travelling on boats (having been deported from the Netherlands during an Oasis tour back in 1994 after a drunken brawl with a group of Chelsea F.C. supporters on board the passenger ferry), the performance was sterling. It was an exceptional way of dealing with the lack of live gigs as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and gave Oasis fans around the world the chance to experience as close to a live gig as possible in a year when concerts were almost extinct. After the performance, on December 17th, Gallagher released a charity Christmas single titled ‘All You’re Dreaming Of’. The Lennon-esque single has been described as ‘Imagine meets It’s A Wonderful Life’ and encapsulates the spirit of Christmas along with the hope of a better new year. ‘All You’re Dreaming Of’ clearly shows the influence that Gallagher’s icon John Lennon has had on him and his music and is a beautiful song with a meaningful message. The lyrics go; Oh what, are you dreaming of?/ Is it the kind of love/ That’ll be there when the world is at its worst?/ That’ll cover you in kisses unrehearsed/ When you’re losing ground, still tell you that you’re worth/ All you’re dreaming of. These words resonate greatly with most people after a year of hardships and struggle. We are all dreaming of a better world filled with unconditional love. What makes Gallagher’s single even more beautiful is that all of the proceeds go to Action for Children UK who aim to make a truly better world for young and future generations. The single can be purchased on CD, Vinyl and digitally from Down by the River Thames Set List – December 5th 2020 1. Hello 2. Wall Of Glass 3. Halo 4. Shockwave 5. Columbia 6. Fade Away 7. Why Me? Why Not. 8. Greedy Soul 9. The River 10. Once 11. Morning Glory 12. Cigarettes & Alcohol 13. Headshrinker 14. Supersonic 15. Champagne Supernova 16. All You’re Dreaming Of



MEET DEXTER DRAGON! Mia found Abby Moyle on Instagram. Abby was on work placement at the Hazelhurst ar�st studios in Runcorn. Meet Abby’s crea�on Dexter Dragon! Dexter Dragon has been on my mind for many years a�er my nan woke up and told me she had a dream about a small dragon who walked down a mountain and made some friends along the way. Since then I've had the urge to create my own cartoon character based off that story. fast forward six years later and here he is! I had many different designs at first but I only just recently se�led with this look. In the future I would like to create a children's bed�me story based on Dexter and some of his friends, my nan is also going to be involved with parts of this too. I am proud of my character because I've spent so so long crea�ng him, he's a part of my life and he will be, forever. @abby_m0yle

GET INVOLVED! Are you age 11-25 and living in Halton? Serial Culture would love to hear from you! We are looking for budding writers, artists, poets, photographers (the list is endless!), who would like to be featured in our new zine. Perhaps you have a local story you would love to share, want to write a piece on something you are passionate about or show us another talent of yours. We are looking for submissions for upcoming issues, so if you fancy sharing, email us at It doesn't have to be a finished piece; it could even just be an idea! We will work with you to make it print-ready. We only ask that articles are 500-700 words.