Can Twitter/Online forums help mental health struggles?

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The author of So Sad today definitely seems to think so- through her poetry, published initially online, she charters her experience of twitter and the web, as a place where sharing about struggles with mental health was more easily facilitated than every day.

In some ways it should be basic, when posting to Twitter or Instagram you are accessing the potential for an international group therapy session, you don’t have 1-10 people who could identify and relate to you, you have 1 – 313 million. The physical silence of online provides equal possibilities to share vulnerable-making, or at least vulnerable feeling information, which many mental health related things can be. However, silence can as easily be interpreted as a rejection as any explicit message, and if a trolling hate reply is received (of which there are many) it could silence the speaker for good.

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A divination from coffee grounds

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We are living on the threshold of so many transformations: witnessing the beginning of the Anthropocene, anticipating the loss of most of our wild animals by 2020, going through a cycle of technology-induced mass unemployment not witnessed since the Industrial Revolution. Yet in this whirlwind of changes, there are still people sticking their fingers in their ears and pretending none of this is happening. Continue reading A divination from coffee grounds

Gig Review: Beans on Toast

Rogue folk singer, story teller and cult legend Beans on Toast returned to Stereo last week. After releasing albums almost yearly for the last 8 years, Jay McAlliste AKA Beans on toastis on tour again in anticipation of his forthcoming album Spanner in the Worksthat is out on December first.

Beanss set starts with a rather sombre reminder of the terrible year 2016 has been, as he carefully lists the rise of Fascism, Brexit, terrorism, TTiP, fracking and the loss of all our heroes from Bowie to Mohamed Ali, in one of his new songs. Fear not, though, for while what Beans sings about is depressingly true, and he knows just wishing it all away wont help, he calls on us all to be the best we can be and change what we can to make 2017 a whole lot better. This is the draw to Beans charm, for despite much of the serious, politically charged issues discussed in his music, he always tries to find the humour or silver lining that will make life better, if not for the world, for yourself. Beans tells the crowd early on that all he can do amidst this doom and gloom is to try and have a laugh about it and spread a more positive message, and this is what he does. He also assures me privately that he is not secretly pleased about Trumps victory despite the song writing potential it offers him.

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Sex and the University: All I want for Christmas is…

 

Tis’ the season of giving and we must selflessly put the desires of others before our own. Naturally, we have to acknowledge that our own pleasures will have to wait another month. But does this act of giving not come with slight pressure? I cannot help but wonder if the only real hope for anything to ignite at University is the classic or not so classic one-night stand. We are all entitled to use and abuse our bodies in whatever way we see fit but do we forget that what we have is a gift? The need for a little token of appreciation or the general itch from essay writing frustration, can make us forget that our bodies and who we give them to, can be, significant. Truthfully then, any act of giving, inevitably brings about a degree of pressure.

During this time of advent, it’s no wonder everyone appreciates a gift or two. We were all impatiently waiting for essays and exams to finish, desperate to crack open the bottle of red- preferably Buckfast and mulled- to stay out until the sun decides to wake up. During this period of time between freedom and Christmas, we are all in advent of the birthday of Jesus, who gave us our life and our chance to have choice. Coupled with the desire to spend money on our loved ones, this period is also a time of reflection for many of us and amongst the numerous questions that Christmas time brings, one can think of another: when is the right time to give ourselves? We are all sexual human beings and in order to create an all round healthy relationship, you must give as much as you take. However, when you’ve given yourself to someone only to be disappointed by certain areas that might have been lacking or having overly high expectations of the opposite sex, it can make thick ice appear between you and your new flame. It really is a question of whether you are willing to get that bit closer and release yourself from your own past storms to open yourself up to a new setting.

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Lost Letters

Dear December. Your chilly nights are suddenly upon us and the festive spirit is contagious. Christmas trees have been popping up everywhere since mid November and stacks of sparkly cards are on the shelves, enticing us to take pen to paper and write to our family and friends. Whilst for many, Christmas card writing may be an annual tradition it is also true that, particularly for our social media driven generation, the practice of sending paper messages to our friends and families is disappearing. Many charitable card companies, such as Oxfam, have noted that in the past five year sales have decreased rapidly. One provider said that that in ten years time card sales will be consigned to history as people “simply move on”.

A decrease in Christmas card sales may seem trivial, and affected by the ever rising price of stamps but it reflects a larger, more worrying trend; the dying art of letter writing. We are a generation accustomed to the immediate; from the vast array of information available to us at the click of a search engine button, to the message we can send within seconds to anyone in the world. It is now even possible for us to know when others have viewed our messages and are replying. There is no longer any intrigue to our communications at all, and I do not think it reflects natural human connection. I cannot undermine the wonders of technology and, like everyone I know, I use it everyday: the internet allows us to maintain relationships across great distances, and opens up vast arrays of opportunities to share opinions with others around the globe. However, it also brings about, perhaps subconsciously, an anxiety in our relationships. We can easily become overly analytical about the text message we have just sent in a click, that we can later read over repeatedly or think nothing of delivering a flippant one liner, even to those we love the most. Our increasingly busy lives propelled by the pace of technology and the impatience coupled with it has led to a culture in which slow, long and thoughtful messages are becoming rare. Yes, I know I might seem like an old soul but I’m nostalgic for handwritten letters.

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The Little Black Dress

Fashion, like all art, evolves. New ideas come into play each day, and designs which were once the height of fashion are now considered dated, unoriginal, and antiquated. Though, among the array of fleeting fashion trends, there are some looks which always remain the same. Most iconic of all, perhaps, is the Little Black Dress.

This classic silhouette has forever been a necessity to the fashionista. Simple, understated, and cool, it is the epitome of simplicity in design. Having been introduced in a time of overstated, elaborate fashion, the Little Black Dress came as a breath of fresh air in 1926 when Coco Chanel swept it onto the scene. After years of decadent styles, where designs utilised every material under the sun, the lack of adornments allowed this piece to become timeless. Though this was not, of course, the first black dress, it was Chanel’s minimalist modernity that made the dress ubiquitous. Through the years there has been a steady evolution of the style, each ‘era’ of dress fitting in with the current trends whilst also remaining bare enough to not cement it to a particular period.

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High Court throws spanner in the works of May’s ‘Hard Brexit’

So much for Brexit means Brexit. The high court has made its decision, and said that Parliament alone have the power to trigger Brexit. This decision came as a shock, as Theresa May had previously insisted that government would decide when to trigger the process. The defining reason given by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, was the fundamental factor of the UK constitution that the parliament is sovereign and unable to be bound. Despite this, almost immediately an uproar followed. Politicians from both side of the debate have chimed in, with Nigel Farage being one of the first to voice his dismay over the decision. Others, including the leaders for both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, have reacted more positively; both leaders cited that now was the time for negotiations to be made, and that transparency was required with all matters affecting Brexit.

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