Seatbelts in Palestine: Blurring the boundaries between culture and resistance

[Written by Jack Jeffrey] [Image Credit: flickr//Martin Abegglen] If you take a look at the World Health Organization’s road safety statistics for Gaza and the West Bank, you will see two blank boxes. The first is ‘% of road traffic accidents related to alcohol consumption’; for obvious reasons, the absence of data here is not surprising. The second empty box is ‘% of passengers who wore a seat belt’, which is strange for numerous reasons. Firstly, wearing a seat belt is obliged by the law in both Gaza and the West Bank, with an apparent police enforcement rate of 7 out of 10. Consequently, one would think that they would at least have a rough estimation of how many passengers were breaking the law. Secondly, unlike the discovery of a drunk-driving epidemic, a high number of strapless passengers would not come as a major shock to the rest of the world, nor would it undermine the piety of a predominantly Muslim society.

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State of the Union

[Written by Katharina Eisenhardt] [Image by Julia Rosner] GUM relaunches its Brexit series with Katharina Eisenhardt's 'State of the Union'. With a focus on broader EU issues, it will seek to highlight the changing dynamics to scientific funding, comparing coverage of EU priorities in the media, and exploring the impact on personal identity. 

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Is Instagram Killing Us?

[Written by Stephanie Reynolds and Anastasija Svarevska] [Image Credit: Instagram//Jonathan Lo (@happymundane)] Content Warning: This article includes discussion of body dismorphia and other mental health issues. I scroll aimlessly through Instagram, looking for nothing in particular. I see people who are much better looking than me, cooking something much more delicious than my last meal while in a beautiful location that is—you guessed it—much more picturesque than where I am. I am both enthralled and loath to continue looking. I study her skin and her hair. They’re so much better than mine. She has a fitness routine that is so disciplined and difficult yet she does it with such ease and energy. I feel guilty, as I can’t be bothered to do anything. She has the best diet plan and the best ingredients. She knows exactly where to purchase hemp seeds and her cupboards are never short of the essential vegan morsels. She has an expensive blender that she uses every day to show us how to make the most delicious vegan smoothies. She has a gorgeous boyfriend who poses with her in pictures. He is loyal and caring and they are the best couple in the world and they never disagree or have any arguments.

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Re-evaluating Extinction – Why Declining Birth Rates Cause Alarm

[Written by Kaisa Saarinen] [Image and animation by Rafe Uddin] The global birth rate has decreased starkly over the past few decades. In the early 1950s, there were 36.8 births per 1000 people; today the figure stands at 18.5, and is expected to continue falling. The spatial distribution of these births is also not equal; children are significantly more likely to be born in Sub-Saharan Africa than in East Asia. These statistics have yielded a variety of regional discourses. In countries with declining birth rates, the numbers are often discussed in concerned and alarmist tones. In a world where the ‘population explosion’ is recognised as one of the most difficult problems of our time, contributing to the global environmental crisis, there is a need to critically examine why the fact that fewer children are born is presented as a serious problem.

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Hostile Environment Policy – British Till When?

[Written by Hester Lee] [Image Credit: Creative Commons//Flickr.com//Chris Fleming] Birthright citizenship, while now almost exclusively applicable to countries in the Americas, still holds considerable political issue in the UK as it sheds light on the current dispute of certain migrant’s claims to citizenship and the vilification of migrants in the media, regardless of their absolute legal right to be in the country.

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Escapism vs. informative filmmaking

[Written by Ellen Magee] [Image by Adriana Iuliano] Watching a film is often an experience akin to invading the fantastical imagination of a stranger—that is, by the creative environment we enter, or the feelings invoked in us, or the fanciful characters whose lives we feel a part of. It is often thought that watching films is a method of escapism and a distraction from real life; a time to switch off and to fully immerse oneself in this fanciful world, far from any daily woes of our often bleak in comparison lives. This fantasy of cinematic experience is apparent particularly in films that depict imaginary utopian worlds, such as science fiction films, and superhero movies, to name a few. Indeed, the highest grossing films from 2018 are abundant in their fantasy worlds, not least The Incredibles 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Black Panther, and Ant Man and The Wasp. However, there are other films that—whilst still encompassing this cinematic experience—enforce important information on their audiences, such as Netflix’s 2018 hit Roma, which teaches its audience about the workings of a housekeeper in Mexico City, and BlacKkKlansman (2018), Spike Lee’s retelling of a true story about an African American cop infiltrating the KKK in 1970s America.

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On serendiption and all its friends

[Written by Martina Bani] [Illustration by Silvia Sani] Today I broke up with my boyfriend. “Long-distance relationships never work”a sentence I’ve heard so many times that it sickens me now. Most of all because it’s true. Dealing with feelings framed by long-distance is intense; euphoric one moment, and hopelessly dispirited a second after. No half measures. You could say that such an intensity of feeling best encapsulates the “rise and fall” paradigms of relationships, as the possibility of time together is limited. If the squeezebox of time shrinks, so do the bellowing feelings within it, and the sound comes out at a higher pitch. In this way, exploring the rapid dynamics of long-distance relationships can offer us insights on how relationships, in general, work.

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The Robots are Coming?

[Written by Flora Anderson] [Image by Anna Shams Ili] In 2017 Hanson Robotics’ social humanoid robot Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia. Sophia is very human-like in appearance: she can speak, move her face realistically, recognise other faces and even cracks a few jokes. It is strange, perhaps that the world’s first ‘female’ robot citizenship is granted in a country where many women still have to ask permission from their male relatives to leave the house. Despite this, is Sophia really the intelligent, conscious machine that she seems?

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The Monster and Me: learning to live with an eating disorder

[Written by Anonymous] [Image by Karin Tokunaga] Trigger Warning: this article includes discussion of eating disorders. Being skinny was part of me; at least that was what I’d been taught to believe. I remember how my friends told me how lucky I was to be skinny, how I got into modelling and my family was so proud of me, how my body shape was the first thing anyone seemed to notice about me. And then it turned into an obsession.   It’s a tale that has played out countless times.

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#MeToo – Zero-hours contracts, sexual assault and NDAs – Uber’s Public Image Priorities

[Written by Toju Adelaja] [Image Credit: freestocks.org//flickr.com] [Trigger Warning: This article includes discussion of sexual assault.] When Uber driver Rebecca Graham was sexually assaulted by two passengers and reported this to Uber; she was offered no counselling, reimbursement for lost wages, or anything remotely helpful. They also refused to disclose the identity of the passenger without a subpoena and that she couldn’t get a warrant since there was no evidence beyond her testimony.

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In Conversation with Effie Crompton

[Written by Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood] [Image Credit: Cuba photos 2018 by Effie Crompton; header and footer by Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood] On a sunny Glaswegian morning before the dreaded exam season had begun, I met up with Effie Crompton, a third-year communication design student at GSA and fellow North Londoner. Although it was our first time meeting, I had been following her dreamy Instagram (@effiecrompton) for some time. Over coffee at Papercup we discussed the intentions behind her art, the importance of community, and her recent trip to Cuba.

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Overcoming the Obsessive Urge to Pick at My Pimples

[Written By Annegret Maja Fiedler] [Image By Annegret Maja Fiedler//20th Century Fox Animation Studios] Trigger Warning: Discussions of mental illness, blood (minor), body hatred and self-harm (ritualistic). Since the age of eight, I have struggled with acne and dermatillomania, which also known as skin-picking or excoriation disorder. Dermatillomania is characterised by uncontrollable picking at skin on any area of the body, which can lead to emotional and physical damage. It can be triggered by boredom, negative feelings, and skin conditions such as acne or eczema. My toxic relationship with dermatillomania began with squeezing zits on my forehead before bed. I found it oddly comforting and addictive; perhaps for the same reason YouTube channels such as Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) have gained millions of subscribers.

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Out with the Old, in the with the New: Why We Need Less Television Reboots

[Written by Emma Harrison] [Images by Tosca de Wilt] We have never had such a broad range – or, arguably, high level of quality – of televisual content as we do right now. The monumental success of streaming services like Netflix has led to the production of an unprecedented number of programmes - we almost have too much choice in what we watch, from hundreds of sitcoms to colossal undertakings like Game of Thrones. But are we truly living in a ‘golden age’ of television? It seems a questionable claim considering that so many of its great successes are inspired by (or a direct reboot of) older material.

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#MeToo – A Catalyst for Legislative Change?

[Written by Pauliina Ketonen] [Image by Kate Zápražná] [Trigger Warning: this article includes discussion of sexual assault.] Scandals come and go, but in the last year, their number and media permanence has been dizzying. With reports spanning from Hollywood to the UN we are forced to acknowledge how deeply bullying, sexual harassment, and abuse are embedded in our society.

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Feeling Christmas

[Written by Elsa Lindström] [Image by Elena Roselli] Until last year, I was never that excited about Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, of course it was nice to have a reason to not go to school and get presents, but if someone asked me what my favourite holiday was, I would always answer Halloween. Christmas just simply was not that special, and I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about.

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Putting the Cult in Culture

[Written by Reiss McInally and Andrew Trower] [Image Credit: Flickr.com//Gage Skidmore] Jordan Peterson @ Edinburgh Playhouse | 28th Oct ‘18 It’s not just the price of the ticket or the cost of getting to Edinburgh. I like to think that my time is worth something, too. Peterson obviously disagrees.

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Glasgow Zine Library Interview

[Written by Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood] [Images by Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood] I sat down with Lauren Davis, director of the newly opened Glasgow Zine Library and long-established Glasgow Zine Fest on a particularly dreich Glaswegian day. The space is a haven, tucked into an unassuming street near The Laurieston Pub. Zines of all descriptions that are inspired by an endless range of diverse life experiences clad the walls. A multiplicity of thoughts and voices are housed here, completely open to whomever steps in; that is the essential beauty of this community space. Lauren’s passion was truly infectious, and this interview was a testament to the importance of both the library and the festival withinand beyondGlasgow’s art scene.

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Beyond Borders #6: personal accounts exploring how identity is found when you are living between cultures

[Written by Maja Soomägi] [Image by Elena Roselli and Aike Jansen] Since the beginning of my life, I have been in a state of existing in between countries. On one side, a language without a direct translation of “please”. On the other side, a language with an abundance of vowels. When my grandmother calls me, we say hi in the same language. Opening phrases, how are you, I’m good how are you, same. But then it changes, and our mouths form different words, provides different sounds. She speaks to me in one language, I respond in another. Growing up, I never saw that as a weird thing. It was just everyday life, that my dad spoke to me in one language while I responded in another and laughed at my friends when they accidentally called my dad “dad” in a language they knew nothing about.

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The effects of working in retail on Christmas spirit

[Written by Charles Pring] [Image by Elena Roselli] I have generally always been in good supply when it comes to festive spirit, especially once the days of mid-December starting drifting past. Sure, the predatory commercialism can be disillusioning, and my acrid rage smoulders at the sight of Christmas goods before Halloween, but it is hard to resist the charms of seemingly endless food and drink, the gathering of family, and the glorious receiving of free stuff.

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Powerful pages

[Written by Elena Roselli] [Image by Grace Elder] Since a very young age, I have always been described as a “bookworm”. Growing up, I quickly grew bored of usual stories you could find in kid’s books, to the point that my father had to make-up a new story every night to get me to go to sleep. The problem was pretty much solved when I started to read alone. I was finally able to form my personal image of the stories written in the books I loved, to choose the characters I wanted to dream of, the type of story I was intrigued by.

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Mental health and television

[Written by Dalia Gale] [Image by Anna Shams Ili] Content warning: this article includes discussion of mental illness and the representation of such. Mental illness is a thing. Some people would still like to keep it a taboo subject, while others deny its existence, but mental illness is not going anywhere, and those who suffer from it will not be silenced. Creators in particular do not like being silenced in any matter, and for that reason they often reach for art and its various form of expression to discuss mental illness and share their experiences with it.

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Beyond Borders #2: personal accounts exploring how identity is found when you are living between cultures

[Written by Sophia Archontis] [Image by Elena Roselli and Aike Jansen] Being bicultural is a double-edged sword. It feels ungrateful to say this, as biculturalism and bilingualism are definitely gifts: I can speak many languages and I find myself able to assimilate into multiple different cultures, feeling comfortable as I do. However, in spite of the cultural diversity I have gained, I find that I have lost my cultural identity – something that in others is innate never seems to have existed in me.

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Flexitarianism: The case for cutting back

[Written by Melissa Dunn] [Image by Kate Zápražná] Recently, it seems like we’re constantly being told that the single biggest thing we can do to save the planet in the next 12 years is to turn vegan - or at least cut cows out of our diet. But do you really need to go as far as giving up all animal-based products, or is it OK to just reduce your meat intake by going “flexitarian”? The answer to that question depends on your motives. Do you think that killing and consuming animals is unethical, or do you just want to do your bit towards saving our planet? Those in the former camp would argue that nothing short of veganism is good enough, but for those in the latter camp, the answer may not be so clear-cut. My perspective here is strictly environmental - I’m trying to find out whether flexitarianism actually changes anything for the better.

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Beyond Borders #1: personal accounts exploring how identity is found when you are living between cultures

[Written by Viva Gikaite] [Image by Dalia Sara and Aike Jansen] I don’t think there’s anything particularly interesting about my upbringing, despite its relative diversity. I was born in Lithuania, moved to the American Deep South as a baby and lived there until the age of 11 when my parents divorce and my mum’s desire to escape the States brought us to Scotland. (Scratch that, the fact that my mum was brave enough to start her life over in a new country with an adolescent daughter is pretty interesting. Snaps to mama. But not to me.)

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The science of action: free will

[Written by Katie Veitch] [Image by Grace Elder] It can seem completely intuitive to us that we do indeed have free will. Surely, it can only have been my prerogative, and nothing else, that led me to buy that vintage Louis Theroux T-shirt for £35. There can’t be any pre-determined reason making that an inevitable decision, right? To clarify, free will extends to more than just clothing choices; free will is the ability to have many choices in front of us and to pick one without any external influence. It’s the ability to be the playwright of our own life, instead of the lead actor. However, when we look into the science behind these concepts, it seems that there really may be an explanation for everything we do and think.

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Jacob Banks interview

[Written by Ellen Grant] [Image Credit: Grace Rivera @__gracerivera] Jacob Banks is, in his own words, a storyteller. At just 27, he exudes a self-assured wisdom that belies his years. He was the first unsigned artist to perform in Radio 1’s Live Lounge, and has already toured with Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith, and Alicia Keys - but now he is a headline name in his own right.

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IDLES at Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow, 20/10/2018

[Written by Annegret Maja Fiedler] [Image Credit: WikimediaCommons//Alexander Kellner] IDLES at Queen Margaret Union (QMU), Glasgow was an empowering, optimistic and loud audio-visual experience, which included a full body workout. Their tour features their newest album Joy as an Act of Resistance, which does not shy away from directly addressing Brexit, toxic masculinity, bereavement, xenophobia and mental health. It has been receiving rave reviews since its release in August, and has managed to inject heavy punk rock into European and US charts. Their sold out performance on the 20th October, 2018, of course, did not disappoint.

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Science and art: trapped between two worlds

[Written by Annegret Maja Fiedler] [Image by Annegret Maja Fiedler] “I thought you were going to study fine art,” says a former classmate. I wince in pain. I thought I was going to study fine art, too. Drawing has always been an escape for me. If I would not have moved away from Berlin before completing high-school, I would not be studying marine and freshwater biology at university. In the past, I have felt trapped between two different worlds, art and science.

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The song I know by heart

[Written by Pauliina Ketonen] [Image Credit: Flickr/kentarotakizawa] It all started in 2006. The album? Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits. Crazy Frog is a CGI-animated blue frog, that spawned from the insanity that was early 2000s marketing. Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits is one of several cover albums starring the frog and includes hits such as Cotton Eyed Joe and Everytime We Touch but most importantly for little 9-year-old me, We Are the Champions. Feeling like a champion, I told my mom how much I loved the song. She patiently listened to my rambling, and then made me listen to the original. And that’s how I discovered Bohemian Rhapsody.

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Ageism is never in style

[Written by Hannah West] [Illustration by Grace Elder] “I don’t feel old, I have never felt old.  I think you can dress any way you want to”, said 89-year-old Instagram sensation Baddiewinkle during a Refinery29 interview in 2016.  Baddiewinkle didn’t become the face of Missguided and gain 3.8 million Instagram followers by ‘dressing her age’ - this we know for certain. Instead, she became a social media megastar by sporting neon crop tops, multi-coloured fur, and platform boots that I would never even attempt to pull off. In recent years Baddie has been a part of the evolution of an ‘ageless’ fashion. By this, I mean that she has, within herself, totally debunked the socially prevalent idea that older women ought to ‘dress their age’ – a phrase which is really just a polite way of saying that women should conform to a societal norm that they don’t necessarily agree with.

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Love-me-nots

[Written by Sherlock Crockett] [Image by Alice Hill-Woods, Creative Writing Editor (@alice35mm)] I ask myself the same question until I can’t remember the answer. I figure that I can reach my limit, that I can choose to lose truth’s whisper and lose myself in the process. I struggle to make it so that maps will never matter. I want to forget the street under my feet until I’m standing in a garden

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Between Science and Art

[Written by Rowen Leverntz] [Image Credit: WikimediaCommons//Illustration from Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary] Art can be seen as an expression of human imagination that creates an emotive response, and science is exploration and discovery of the human mind. Both surround our own perceptions of life from the mind itself, meaning there must be some comorbidity or connection. I believe we find art so impactful because of its innate interaction with science: the relationship between the two is a layered question, as the effects of experimental art and biological composure consistently overlap. We may be drawn to art itself through the paradox of familiarity and discovery.

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Between Algeria and France: Pied Noirs and the Maghrebian Subject

[Written by Nora Aubry] [Image Credit: Pixnio.com//USFWS] For nearly a decade, the refugee and migration crisis has seen thousands risk the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa into Europe. This has increased significantly as civil war and environmental factors force individuals to leave their home countries. Most poignantly, it remains an issue that does not seem near conclusion. Isabelle Adjani - a French actress who defends the migrants’ cause - stated in a recent interview with ELLE magazine that the “nature of roots is to be able to adapt, acclimate and grow anywhere”, implying that people who are uprooted from their homeland should belong wherever they wish. Such a remark makes me question our notion of home, its meaning and leads to a reflection upon our own roots. Is our identity defined by where we come from and our family’s past?

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Who am I? An in-between real life horror story

[Written by Nina Panter] [Image by Tosca De Wilt] Picture this scene; you are in your friend’s car on the way to god knows where, or enjoying some simple pre's in a flat and music is playing; it’s an old pop song that was on the radio a couple years ago, it’s silly but catchy, and life feels good. As the song ends, your friend turns to you and says; “Next I was thinking we could put on a song you like! What’s your favourite band?” ….. Boom.

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Musings of a Swede: A 2018 Election story

[Written by Amanda Landegren] [Image By Aike Jansen] I never used to be very interested in politics. I never engaged with what I considered boring and aged discussions between people, with the elusiveness of straight and honest answers ultimately becoming exhausting. It wasn’t until I had to vote earlier this year that these questions suddenly burst into importance and I actively took a step towards being able to make an informed decision. I  have always had values and opinions, but never considered where these really caused me to land politically. Until this year. What surprised me watching debates and following politicians on twitter, was firstly the lack of basic respect; also the dishearteningly alienating and polarising political climate. However, the question that I find immensely interesting to ask is whether this polarisation is a true representation of the reality, or if it is a simplified image offered to us by propaganda and by the media?

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Being in-between: Sexuality and The Rocky Horror Picture Show

[Written by Rowen Leverentz] [Illustration by Norliza Matheson @norxillustrations] The first time I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show I was probably about 14 or 15. My parents didn’t want me to watch it at the time, so I went around to my friends and we watched it secretly together. The show is based around a heteronormative engaged couple named Janet and Brad, who end up in a spaceship inside of a castle. The ship is full of aliens obsessed with fashion and sex that sing the whole way through. It’s probably the most ridiculous thing you will ever watch, but the show made me feel comfortable within myself due to its openness surrounding sexuality.

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Breaking Free from My Old Self

[Written by Tara Smith] [Image Credit: Popbuzz.com//DisneyStudios] So I’m 12 years old, chilling on the sofa, remote in one hand, while I wait on my best friend to put the DVD on. We’ve planned our whole sleepover out: fluffy PJs on, a bowl each of sweets, and hot chocolates. I am so ready to watch and fall asleep to a movie I have seen a hundred times before; recite all the best lines, play on my phone at the sad parts, then fall asleep at the end credits. But this isn’t the movie I expected.

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Tom Odell: Review

[Written by Katherine Jossi] [Image by Katherine Jossi] Oct 12th Barrowlands Tom Odell’s performance at the Barrowlands kicks off the tour for his upcoming album.  After a two-year hiatus, Jubilee Road is set to release later this month. When I think of British singer-songwriter Tom Odell, I remember his first album from 2013 - Long Way Down. I was 15 when it came out and I remember listening to his song Another Love after boy drama. So naturally I was expecting a fairly mellow concert, but it was anything but that.

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A defence of the term ‘basic’

[Written by Manon Klatt, Culture Editor @manonqueenbi] [Image by Kate Zápražná] Pumpkin spice, rose gold, Taylor Swift, Instagram, yoga pants. Either you just read that to the tune of Fairy Odd Parents, or the image of a basic, white girl just formed in your head.  A picture resembling me, a self proclaimed basic girl. People apply the term to girls in a derogatory way, who they deem as plain, without personality, maybe even a bit unintellectual. This might make you wonder, why did I chose to apply to term ‘basic’ to myself. The answer is simple, I am reclaiming the term ‘basic’, arguing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being basic.

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Making it your way? #1

[Written by Joycee Choong] [Image by Kate Zápražná] From freelancing to zero-hour contracts, extended internships to the gig economy, ‘non-traditional’ jobs are increasingly common. This series of articles will focus on how people experience these different roles; how it’s affecting their views on life and work; whether they feel it’s positive, negative, fun, scary, or maybe a combination of those things? To start things off, we have a contribution from Joycee, who writes about what she has learned since she started freelancing.

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Why did Glasgow University need another theatre society?

[Written by Amanda Landegren, Publicity Coordinator for GIST] [Image Credit: GIST//Facebook.com] With the current existence of over five other performing arts societies, was there really space—and need—for yet another theatre society at the university? When looking to the anglo-centrism of the content performed, the answer was a firm but enthusiastic yes! GIST, Glasgow International Student Theatre, was created last year with the intention of bringing attention to theatre from around the world. With a goal to perform, promote and celebrate theatre in translation and theatre from lesser known authors, the founders imagined a society where all are welcome, no matter accent, experience or prior knowledge. Looking then at the society’s first year in existence, the members are a small but devoted bunch who all contribute to diversifying the performing arts scene. The great advantage of multiple nationalities is not only cultural insight into the plays, but also the ability to share that insight with others.

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Halloween In Different Countries

[Written by Aimée Stanton, Elsa Lindstöm and Maria Jeleńska] [Image Credit: Pixabay//philprice13] It’s spooky season. People are picking out their costumes, planning parties, and purchasing massive amounts of sweets. Halloween is a beloved holiday for most people in the UK and the US, however, the rest of the world might have some different takes on how to celebrate skeletons, vampires, and a sugar-induced coma.

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