Up until now, you’ve probably bought your beauty products – be it a hairbrush or foundation – from the Superdrug down the road or online. But as you might have already heard, technology has and is revolutionising everything from the workplace to how we interact with each other and that goes for the beauty industry too. There’s now magical mirrors, apps like dermatologists and more customization than ever before.
As a fourth year student, set to graduate in June, I am thrilled that my life will no longer be plagued by essays, exams or perhaps worst of all, The Dissertation. However, despite the jubilant sense of freedom my friends and I experienced upon completing our exams and throwing off the shackles of never-ending study, there remains an overriding sense of anxiety bubbling away under the surface.
As I prepare for four months away to the land of Italians, where the men are famously known for their romantic tendencies, golden skin, flowing dark hair – and where the relationship between the Greek and the Roman Gods becomes a little fuzzy – I can’t help but feel excited to escape Glasgow. I have never left the city for longer than one month at a time – I, like everyone from here, have the infamous ‘fomo’ condition. Nights out in Glasgow can alter according to the choice of club, but we all have our favourite bars, our wee hotspots where we just know we’re bound to bump into people. For first and second years at university this inevitably becomes the Glasgow University Union, where we all happily charge down the sticky tiled floor and bump into a handful of our ‘closest’ pals. Now, older and ‘wiser’, we appreciate the smaller things in life – maybe not the small and overpriced cocktails from the Finnieston strip, but our tastes have certainly become defined over the last few years.
While the university exam season has begun and our blood pressure rises astronomically at the sight of exam rooms, we all have one thing in common: the strive to make ourselves have that little edge that says “we’ve got this” to our tutors. This led me to wonder, why is it others succeed to get noticed more than others – not just at university but in everyday life? We each fight with the disco ball for a little stardom and spotlight during a Saturday night boogie. A statement designer top which one couldn’t simply purchase from Urban Outfitters can prove to catch the eyes of a few, and while some use clothing, others use vibrant hair dyes, statement piercings, or twist-and-shout dance moves.
Isabelle Hunt-Deol shared with us some empathy-themed pictures she took wandering in Glasgow.
“seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” ― Alfred Adler
Almost every year the same topic hits the headlines – the serious and pressing issue of air pollution in cities across the UK. Since 2010, the UK has exceeded the EU nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution limit every year, often or not within the first few weeks. In London, this troubling pattern continued into 2017, this time breaching the limit in just 5 days.
Despite the extent to which it has become intertwined with our twenty-first century lives, the Internet is often regarded with caution. The recent election of Donald Trump and the notable rise of the alt right across Europe has only brought criticism against online culture into sharper relief. It is undeniable that the Internet can be a breeding ground for hate. Online chat forums lead angry young men to believe that white masculinity is under threat from those who don’t agree with them – feminists, the LGBTQ+ community, etc. – and a space such as the Internet naturally provides an echo chamber in which hateful subcultures fester and churn out trolls. On an individual level people worry that excessive use of social media can have an adverse effect on mental health, that genuine empathy is being replaced by the angry-face react button. Millenials, the world’s first ever Internet generation, are seen as ‘self-obsessed’ and unable to have decent conversations IRL.
As the sun appears to have emerged for the start of the Easter holidays, everyone is shining up like a new penny. Our white 60s shades can be worn, our wax appointments are booked and it seems we are feeling a little more prone to putting ourselves out there in the search for a mate. Just like this week’s hot topic – the one-pound coin was given a revamp due to its apparently dated appearance – we are also casting off our old shells.
When we come across people at University, one of the frequently asked questions that crop up in conversation is “what are you studying? “. When I answer “History of Art” I’ve often received responses like “oh… right” or “must be an easy ride for you” – words which indicate that such a degree has little, if any, relevance.
As the days grow longer and the sun has awoken after a long winter, we all are expected to crawl out of our slump and begin our days early and with a determination to complete our assignments. Our focus is on – or should be – on our work, but a getting away from everyone and everything is necessary during this stressful time. While travelling around I got to reunite with some of my best friends, people who I used to be inseparable with before work and the world around us got in the way, before I focused my attention on succeeding and being the ‘best version’ I could be. Not only the best version I saw for myself, but also the one attractive in the world and its eyes and wishes from me.
My legs were shaking, palms sweltering, head banging and I knew what was coming. Stood there, in the middle of the shopping centre, I was having an anxiety attack. Again. Quick, run to the bathroom and nobody will even notice you…but I couldn’t; my legs didn’t want to move. Sweat dripped down my forehead and people began to stare. ‘What’s wrong with that man, mum?’, ‘Stay away from him’, ‘what a weirdo’, ‘haha loser!’
Eventually, I made it back to my flat. I locked my door and it was over. I didn’t need to think, talk or scrutinise it. Just forget it, I said.
How many people go through this every day? 15 million.
How many of those receive frequent treatment? 5 million.
It seems something isn’t quite right.
How can we get out of the New Years Slump?
To break free from the post-New Years slump, we must first realise what causes it in the first place.
The festive period can be a wonderful time, however it leaves us vulnerable to becoming deeply embedded in our comfort zones. First comes Advent- we indulge in streets illuminated by fairy lights; christmas markets made of woodhuts; winter wonderland themed window displays; concerts; christmas soundtracks (even the trashier tunes have an aesthetic tone to them) and films which work up a feeling of nostalgia within us, that traces back through many an encounter with the month of December – we already feel we’ve escaped reality.
Last year, I succeeded in sticking to my first ever New Year’s Resolution. Until 2016, I was of the opinion that New Year’s Resolutions served no greater purpose than creating an easy topic for small talk in the first week or so of the year, to prevent everyone from having to think too hard whilst still bloated and lethargic from the previous weeks of festivities. Most New Year’s Resolutions, I think, fail because they are based on what people think they should be, rather than what they want to spend their time doing. Continue reading “Positive New Years Resolutions”
Me and my friend Sine Harris recently set up Figurehead Theatre together and our first production ‘Mr. Earhart’ goes up at the Flying Duck this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. We had worked together before on a small scale student theatre project but felt that it would be good practice to find out some more things for ourselves while also having the freedom to make the kind of theatre we wanted.
If like I was you are slightly daunted by the prospect of setting up and running your own theatre company, you might find this handy list of tips a good place to start. I definitely haven’t covered everything but this very brief four step plan should hopefully answer some basic questions, help you set up some timescales and give some very amateur business knowledge.
Our editors take us on a journey into the albums that transport them to a special place. Read more in Issue 2: Space and Place!
Bulletproof Picasso (2014)
I have been a fan of the band Train for years yet I have never been so attached to any of their albums. You rarely see any album names that directly refer to art, therefore, ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ really caught my eye. The album is supposed to be pop rock genre, although it’s more pop than rock, which I personally have no problems with. None of the songs are ‘go crazy’, ‘dance in your room like no one is watching’ worthy which is what I normally listen to, yet even I love every song in this album to bits: this is because it makes me feel different. Songs like ‘Angel in Blue Jeans’ and ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ relax me, make me lie down with my legs up on the wall, close my eyes and listen. While listening I drift away into the world where every emotion is valid, where you can think and feel anything you want. As funny as it sounds, it inspires me to live a fulfilling, versatile life. To be honest, I could blab random things about this album that probably do not make sense to anybody but you really have to listen to understand and even develop your own thoughts and feelings about this album.
Sometimes I think my favourite part of travelling is the spaces in between; the downtime, the long, sleepy train rides watching a place completely new to you crawl by your window, or absentmindedly taking photos through the window of the bus. The parts that are less often recorded in the travel diaries and gloss pictures, the time in between the iconic sights and photo-ops, the liminal spaces of the bus station or the airport can in some ways be the most memorable, the most quietly affecting. Over the last few years, whenever I’ve had the chance to travel, I’ve come back with countless photos, that have taken me hours to sort through, and often my favourites aren’t of the landmarks or of the breath-taking landscapes, as exciting as they are, but of the little details; the kind that just caught my eye for a second, or that I forgot the first time around. Here, I have collected a few of the pictures that really take me back to the places I’ve been.
As we shuffle through the months, leaving behind the bleakness of January, February arrives as a pleasing reprieve, somewhere between the icy beauty of winter and the greening optimism of spring. And yet, with all this potential for hope, with some resolutions still withstanding, in the middle of the month we come to a crossroads, that splits heads, hearts, and directions. Yes, that ol’ 14th February junction, with St. Valentine as the guardian of the crossroads, clad every hue of pink and red you ever thought possible. Valentine’s Day causes much division, many debating origin, practices, worth, and value. In the end, it partly comes down to this: partnered, or single. While those partnered whine over prices, last minute gifts, and forgetting to make dinner reservations, we, the loveless, the nuns and the monks, the maiden aunts and bachelor uncles, are faced with two options, two pathways, not strewn with rose petals to choose from. For us single people, Valentine’s Day has two possibilities: self-love or self-pity.
During my hectic week in freshers, my flatmates and I were invited down a cobbled path into a small festival where we painted rocks, created bags out of old shirts and had the delight of tasting Beetroot Humous made from ‘surplus food’. We got chatting to the girls who told us all about the Food-sharing organisation. They are a volunteer-run branch who aim to eradicate food waste by redistributing surplus food. As we devoured the vegan apple flap jacks made by the girls, they explained how they collect waste food from small shops and businesses and redistribute to people in need of food, this can range from hungered students to homeless people.
What makes a safe place?
Just what can we define as a safe space? Is it our physical environment? or perhaps our emotional welbeing? Our mindset?
Usually, the place that makes us feel safe is the environment that is familiar to us. Having been a student for over three years now, a prime example for me is the University Library. It’s obviously not the most exciting or lively of places – however, there is something about it which encourages us to feel safe. Firstly, it offers peace and quiet, which is a “must have” when it comes to getting work done, especially during the build up to exams and deadlines when we are vulnerable to becoming consumed by stress.
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.
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”
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.
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.
All photography is, in some ways, a form of nostalgia: an image captured is a moment passed, not lost but forever retained in a visual form. And maybe it is this almost supernatural ability to capture a fleeting moment that has caused the international obsession with photography, spawning online sites such as Instagram and Tumblr. However, many have come to question the merit of modern day photography; can a picture taken with an iPhone really be considered a form of art? This, in addition to the ability to delete and modify these images until they are unrecognisable from the original ‘moment’ of capture, could be considered as detracting from photography’s romanticism. This romanticism being the ability to freeze time, to develop, print, and frame a fleeting instant on your wall. Continue reading “Flash Forward”
Some days, I think uni isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The visions I had when I was submitting UCAS forms of echoing, beautifully dusty libraries, constant new journeys of self-discovery and romantic dates in cosy coffee shops don’t exactly feel like they’ve come to pass when I’m on level 11 rushing to finish an assignment before the library closes, pretending to have done the reading for the second week in a row, or trying to forget a disappointing winch the morning after a night in Hive. Sometimes, in the blind panic of impending deadlines, it can be easy to long for a time before all this pressure, before the intrusion of thoughts of post-uni career prospects into daily life.
Fairies at the bottom of the garden. Sticks as swords to slay dragons. Bedtime stories to help you sleep. If it hasn’t already been sold on eBay, chances are your imagination has taken a back seat. As we age, our ideas of fantasy – where our mind wanders, the scenes we’d like to see – change, or are even left behind completely. It’s hard to daydream about being a superhero when your mind is occupied with deciding how you’re going to approach your passive-aggressive flat mate. But our imagination, the fuel of our childhoods, is surely the crux of all nostalgia. We look back to those days of dens made from blankets and cardboard boxes becoming pirate ships, and we are remembering not just our childhood, but our imagination. I can remember hours of entertainment with a simple stick: a wand, a sword, a lightsaber. I walk in the park and see children doing the same; it makes me wonder when I stopped imagining, and started only seeing. Perhaps, with the stresses of reality, as students staring into the abyss of impending adulthood, it’s time to use our imaginations again?
As the Autumn leaves fall and abandon the trees, stripped bare of their colour and decoration, we wrap up in the skin of animals or cling onto the skin of someone else, to protect ourselves from the chill that the crisp Glasgow air inevitably brings each winter. Whether we have been residing in the library’s box shapes or the reading room’s hollow shell, the past few months of University have been tough on us all as we adjust to the lack of sunlight. Here we are, students caved into the studying world after a summer of adventurous travels: country hopping for some, bed hopping for others.
Kaisa Saarinen interviews Glasgow Unity Centre in order to clear up some important misconceptions – and finds out what we can all do to help.
Good news doesn’t sell. This simple truth explains why the media is, and always has been, so eager to make the worst of everything. Most major media outlets have been happy to contribute to the ongoing mass hysteria about immigration in order to boost their sales. Several studies have been conducted on the topic of media portrayal of immigration, and they consistently show that the coverage in the UK is amongst the most negative in Europe, and that the continuous flow of fear-mongering headlines and images has a very real impact on its readers. We have all seen examples of this: people described as ‘illegal’, their movement as ‘invading’ or ‘flooding’.
Source: Lonely Label Lookbooks
We all know the fashion industry is big business. A huge yet skinny white arm of that is lingerie. It is worth over $110 billion dollars globally; people love frilly knickers. While we can’t get enough of matching sets, the industry as a whole has been pretty selective in what it wants. The both tall and sculpted-skinny babe with flowing locks enticing you into her bedroom has dominated campaigns.
The female form is beautiful. I’m a straight girl and I can understand the sex appeal of boobs and bums. So, surely embracing all kinds of bodies is even sexier? The modelling industry is founded upon beauty; I’m sorry but that’s just the reality of lifestyle advertising and branding. However, what is seriously an issue when it comes to lingerie is what that ‘beauty’ has been defined by: Heidi Klum, Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Don’t get me wrong; Rosie’s lingerie brand for M&S is one of the best on the market for the price range (I’m wearing a set right now) but what do these three women have in common? They are all tall, skinny, blonde models with legs for days and the shiniest hair known to Instagram.
I don’t want to undermine these women. They are powerhouses of the lingerie industry and I salute them for their business-savvy in creating lingerie empires. Nevertheless they shouldn’t be our sole definition of what is beautiful in a thong. While they are undoubtedly stunning, so are many other women.
New Zealand brand Lonely Label is fighting these stereotyped images within the world of lingerie. Their advertising campaigns feature armpit hair, a range of shapes and sizes and gasp black women. Fashion as a whole has been notoriously awful at representing people of colour but lingerie is by far one of the worst offenders of the fashion faux pas. The concept of ‘nude’ underwear in the West has always focussed on pinky-beige tones with the occasional murky pop at a darker tone. Nubian Skin is offering what they call a ‘different kind of nude’ to cater to the often-ignored women of colour: they make a variety of shades for lingerie and hosiery and are available from House of Fraser.
Source: Nubian Skin
Many lingerie brands are also now offering an entirely sexual experience for their audience. The sultry and luxurious Coco de Mer has everything from the French knicker to straps on and leather ball gags. They do a gag in a lovely ‘wine red’. Some of their dildos are actually artwork including the delightful Fornicouture Fuji Glass dildo and whip at a slight £900. There is also a dildo in a floral ceramic but that just conjures up too many memories of my Gran’s tea set. Coco de Mer UK’s Instagram currently has over 34,000 followers, people are embracing the fapp-worthy revolution of women’s lingerie.
Source: Coco de Mer
The industry has also come on in leaps and bounds in how it includes size. While I’m against the condescending phrase ‘body type’ – hello, you can’t just Dewey System our figures – long gone are the days where we were all measured as a 34B, no matter what. No longer are we all forcing our poor boobies into the wrong cups and backs. Better training and an encouragement to get your boobs regularly checked for size has meant that the industry has had to cater to our new demands.
Recently, co-founder of luxury British lingerie company Agent Provocateur and son to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, Joe Corré said that he would burn £5 million worth of his memorabilia in the protest of the mainstream’s adoption of punk culture. Agent Provocateur was founded on this punk attitude in 1994 in the hope of bringing sexual and fun lingerie to the masses. Although I’m not entirely sure what’s ‘punk rock’ about charging £195 for a thong, the sentiment was nice. Brands like these are bringing erotic lingerie to the masses with no shame attached. Want to wear nothing but your nipple pasties? Go for it gal, you’re liberated, no matter your booby or body size.
Let’s not demonise the gazelles of Victoria Secret and their media extravaganza every year. They are beautiful women and they make great lingerie models. They are athletic, lean and voluptuous all at the same time. However, the homogenisation of this industry has been damaging and is slowly being addressed.
It’s 2016 and we are (I hope) at a watershed in sexy lingerie in both the campaigning and what is on offer to us, the lowly non-Angels. Just because you’re not a size 6, white, blonde female, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wonders of modern lingerie. Get your suspenders on or your M&S cotton briefs, the lingerie industry has grown up and so have you.
By Anne Devlin
I’m not a Kardashian fan. I think they are a sad representation of what the modern mass values today: excessive wealth, materialism and the vacuous. However the way the media (along with the keyboard warriors of the world) shames this group of women is archaic and highlights our worrying surveillance of how a woman should act.
Just this week, Kim Kardashian – muse of mastermind Kanye and mother to child fashionista North – posted a naked picture to her Instagram account which has a mere 63.1million followers as of this minute. Following Instagram’s female anatomy hating guidelines, her vagina and nipples are completely blacked out. Just by having access to the Internet, I have seen Kim Kardashian’s naked body many times in my life so this time was no different; I thought she looked great and then instantly forgot about the image.
It was only later on during another social media binge that day that I started seeing the outrage that so many had for this specific image. I’m not talking about outrage from the usual women-boycotting suspects like the British tabloids but rather the many people I would consider to be your standard student liberal shaming this woman for daring to bare her flesh. I saw comments ranging from disgust to the condemnation of her ability to be a mother.
If you believe women like Kim Kardashian should stay covered up, try telling that to the women of this world who don’t have that same kind of freedom of expression. Just this week, the Saudi Arabian UN delegation blasted a report claiming that the country is in extreme violation of human rights. Women in Saudi Arabia are not even permitted to go swimming for the prohibition of showing skin. In Syria, women are forced to cover up due to the threatening presence of Daesh. Airing this week, BBC’s documentary Sex in Strange Places: Turkey features a young Syrian woman who tells her story of how Daesh’s control of Syria meant she was forced to start covering her entire body. Despite this, one day she accidentally made eye contact with a Daesh fighter and was forced to be his sex slave.
The West consistently demonises the perceived to be Islamic extremist notion of covering the female body yet regularly shames western women for showing theirs. At the root, can you really separate these systems of surveillance? Both concepts are based on an inherent need to control the sight of the female figure. We just celebrated International Women’s Day while we still regulate and shame women like Kim Kardashian.
Despite popular opinion, the Kardashians aren’t all that is wrong with the world. The waves of greed and oppression that have swept through history resulting in the destruction of liberties are what are wrong. These people who are wound up about Kim K’s booty need to remember that.
At the end of the day, nobody has to worry about Kim K. She is raking it in; she made $80 million on her app alone in one year. How about worrying about your own desperate need to validate your antiquated views of how women should behave and view their body. It could be that people are bitter that a family of women dominate media, filling their armies of designer purses to the brim in the process. So they can’t sing or dance but they do have one of the best business strategies of the 21st century.
While it is undoubtedly worrying how desperate many girls are to emulate the Kardashians’ honed and sculpted figures, essentially it comes down to the fact that a woman can choose to look a certain way. This is something we have to protect and even value.
Also, can I just be pedantic for a second. The picture Kim uploaded has all the NAUGHTY bits censored. She actually had to censor herself just so that the picture would be acceptable for Instagram. You see cleavage, stomach and some leg. Maybe I’m a pervert, or just a normal adult, but I have seen way more explicit imagery in my lifetime. Therein lies the issue; she isn’t doing anything illegal, pornographic, explicit or dangerous. She simply shared an image of her figure and many are absolutely outraged, suggesting she is inherently a bad person, mother and role model. Culture has coded the female image so excessively as sexual that we can’t shake it off.
The reality is that many of us get self-gratification from our own image. As long as this isn’t our sole basis for self-worth, I think it’s ok to find some happiness in how you look.
So, just get a grip. If Kim Kardashian’s body offends you, then I don’t know, throw your phone and laptop into a river and bleach your eyes out or go join Jeremy Clarkson in a man cave somewhere and do manly things like men do. Since you know, the female body is so offensive.
By Anne Devlin
People love the spectacle of a miserable fat person. The ‘unhappy fatty’ is pervasive: from tell-all interviews where a size 14 reality TV star bemoans her cellulite, to hordes of obese people on The Biggest Loser being publicly berated for their weight, to the sneaky beach pics of celebrities with jiggling bellies and touching thighs which a few months later lead to a book deal and insipid exercise DVD. Happiness is for the thin.
But what’s so wrong with being fat?
The answer many people would give is that it’s ‘unhealthy’, but often, that isn’t what they mean, at least when commenting on an individual’s weight rather than the problem of obesity. Of course many people are rightfully concerned about the health of the general population, but when it comes to individuals, what really bothers people about fat – whether or not they admit it to themselves – isn’t that it’s unhealthy. It’s that it’s unsightly. Unappealing. Unattractive. On the whole, we tend not to care much about that guy on the TV’s health unless it negatively affects our viewing pleasure.
Being overweight can be damaging to health; that’s a fact. Another fact is less commonly acknowledged: that it is perfectly possible to be healthy while also being overweight. This, when brought up by the body positivity movement, seems to provoke nothing short of derangement in otherwise sane, rational, open-minded people. ‘What do you mean, fat people can be healthy? Every single fat person without exception is going to rot in an early grave, buried under the rubble of OUR MURDERED NHS.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the statistics – excess fat can lead to heart disease, diabetes, etc, etc. But people aren’t statistics, and it makes no sense to treat every single fat person as a representative of the whole.
And isn’t that what people are doing, when they see a plus sized model or a confident fat person showing their body on Instagram and immediately jump on them as ‘promoting an unhealthy body image’ or ‘not taking care of themselves’? There are a vast number of ways that a person could be taking care of themselves that aren’t immediately visible. Maybe they workout more than most but are naturally bigger, or prefer their body with a few ‘extra’ pounds. Maybe they don’t care about how their body looks because they’re busy trying to become a neurosurgeon or write a novel or look after three kids and an ageing parent. Why does it matter? Why do people care so much?
And we can’t deny that people do care, so much. As a culture, we are obsessed with bodies, particularly women’s bodies – although the point I’m making is relevant to all genders, the issue is magnified for women due to the excessive value assigned to their appearance – and particularly with thinness/fatness and the personal worth we assign to people based on their position on that reductive and somewhat arbitrary spectrum.
I say arbitrary, because beauty is subjective. To a larger extent than most of us realise, what we find attractive is learned, not innate. It’s true that in the homogenised culture of the West, we can all roughly agree which people are good looking and which aren’t, but these definitions aren’t consistent across cultures and eras. In the 17th century plump Rubenesque beauty was highly prized (and no one made snarky ‘get on the treadmill’ comments about his muses). In the Elizabethan era, big foreheads were a thing, and women often plucked their hairline back by about an inch to create the illusion of a fivehead (why?). In Arabian society in the Middle Ages, female beauty lay in having a round face; in Japan in the 17th and 18th centuries, female beauty lay in having a long, narrow face.
Two hundred years ago in Britain a tan was about as desirable as a third leg – poor people were tanned because they had to work outdoors, and so paleness signified wealth and nobility. With the rise of the middle class and the invention of air travel, the significance changed: suddenly a tan meant you could afford to go on holiday. Similarly, in poorer countries extra weight equates to extra wealth and is thus seen as a desirable social symbol. Beauty is not only commodified by capitalism, it is defined by it.
And the changes aren’t always separated by centuries or continents. In the 90s, beauty was over-plucked eyebrows and ‘heroin chic’ skeletal thinness. Now, in our post-Delevigne, post-Kardashian world, big butts and heavy eyebrows are the look to emulate, and the sorry teenagers of the 00s are desperately trying to HD Brows their 3 remaining eyebrow hairs.
Now, beauty being a social construct and not some solid, hyper-real thing doesn’t mean it’s easy to disregard. It’s cultural, and that shit is buried deep. Take movies and TV shows as an example. Fat girls are almost never the protagonists; fat girls are almost never the romantic leads. No one pines over fat girls. No one writes songs for fat girls. And average-sized or chubby girls, girls who aren’t Hollywood thin but aren’t overweight either, don’t exist at all.
This last point is illustrated best by the anecdote which accompanies this picture.
The actress explains: ‘I had a meeting with a casting director from LA. Without a glance at my headshot or resume, and not even a decent introduction, this stranger looks at me, all 5 feet and 2 inches, 125 pounds of me and says, “You need to lose twenty or gain thirty because where you are right now, I can’t do anything with you.” A bit thrown, but not wanting to be rude, I ask, “Can you elaborate on that?” To which she replied, “Your face says ingénue but it wouldn’t quite work, and I can’t put you as fat best friend because you’re not exactly fat.”’
In our shared cultural imagination, fat girls and ‘not exactly fat’ girls are not ingénues. They do not have – cannot possibly have – the Interesting and Exciting and Quite Possibly Dangerously Thrilling lives that we all lusted after as teenagers. And for teenagers, young people who are just beginning to define themselves and their futures, being able to imagine yourself as the exciting ingénue or the badass lead character is incredibly important.
When I was twelve, I remember inspecting my figure in the mirror critically for the first time and asking my gramma when my stomach would get flatter. When I was thirteen, I bought a padded bra and delighted in the fact that it made the rest of me look thinner by comparison. When my problems with my body really began, I was fourteen years old and perfectly average: 5’7” and a size ten. And I thought that I was fat.
Let me clarify. I knew I wasn’t fat: intellectually I could look at my body and know I wasn’t overweight, and that I was in fact thinner than a lot of people. I was, as that casting director so carefully put it, not exactly fat. But I wasn’t exactly thin thin either. I didn’t look like the girls in the magazines or the movies. I didn’t have a perfectly flat stomach. And so I when I was fifteen, I started a thinspo blog.
Thinspo, to the blessedly uninitiated, is thinspiration: pictures of thin people designed to motivate you to lose weight. I spent hours every day on Tumblr – literally hours – poring over pictures of waifish girls with concave stomachs, protruding hips, knife-sharp collarbones, and thigh gaps wider than their actual thighs. As someone with wide hips and big boobs, I was never going to look like those girls no matter how much I dieted.
But oh, how I longed to. Really. I pined. I looked at these girls with the yearning desire of a long distance lover. These girls were a wish and a promise: that I too could be as beautiful, as beguiling, as effortlessly chic as them if only I had the willpower to become Thin Me. The temporally distant but oh-so-alluring Thin Me was not only physically improved, oh no: she was bestowed with all the confidence, charm and grace that her suave new look must surely foster – as though confidence, charm and grace could only manifest inside skin stretched tautly over bone.
I took action too: I eagerly collected diets I had no way of following while living with family; I counted calories occasionally; I avoided food all day only to binge on biscuits later; I calculated with mathematical precision exactly what weight I’d be on a specific date if I ate x amount of calories per day; I spent a feverish month going running every night in sub zero temperatures; I bought diet pills on the internet; I toyed with making myself throw up. But mostly, I looked at these skinny girls for hours and then I looked at myself, and that was the worst thing of all.
Ironically, it was on Tumblr that someone finally articulated what my thinspo Tumblr did to me, what happens when you subject your body to such intense scrutiny:
My body wasn’t bad, but it felt all wrong: I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, uncomfortable in my clothes, and incredibly self-conscious almost all the time. I yearned to ‘be able’ to wear whatever I wanted, as though I was physically incapable of donning a crop top – as though the world would implode if I dared to wear a bodycon dress without first starving off my podgy belly.
I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, and I don’t particularly consider myself to have had one. My behaviours around and attitude towards food were pretty fucked up at times, but many of my friends went through similar stages falling under the broad headings of ‘being weird about food’ and ‘quietly hating yourself’. When, at eighteen, I confessed my secret thinspo blog to my best friend, she excitedly admitted that she had one too. I recognised her blog name. Hell is a teenage girl.
Self-hatred is the logical conclusion in a world saturated with photoshopped perfection. Consciously unlearning our self-hatred is a damn sight harder than subliminally learning it, but it can be done. I gave my thinspo blog up a long time ago, but held on to some tenuous link with the idealised Thin Me of the Future by following fitspo instead, rationalising it as healthier, motivating, good for the soul; in the end – for me at least – it was just more of the same.
Now, the only bodies I admire on the internet are those of the women of the body positivity movement, who come in all shapes and sizes and often a range of exciting hair colours, like the Barbies we were never taught to dream of but so desperately need. My Instagram feed is full of women showing off their podgy stomachs and big thighs proudly – all the things I was so incredibly ashamed of having – and that has helped me see myself, finally, as I actually am: totally fine.
So when people say that that the inclusion of ‘plus-sized’ models and actors on the catwalk and in films and magazines is harming us, that the body positivity movement is ‘promoting an unhealthy body image’, I want to scream. The body positivity movement didn’t create my unhealthy relationship with food and my own body. The body positivity movement doesn’t fuel the eating disorders which have the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. And we didn’t reach a point where more than half the population of the UK is overweight due to fat people being accurately represented in the media.
I agree that if increased representation of chubby and fat bodies on our screens resulted in humanity flocking en masse to their nearest McDonalds to stuff their faces in the hopes of being the next Tess Holliday, that would be a bad thing. But that’s not what putting ‘plus-sized’ people in magazines and films and on runways is going to do, even if they are as big as size-22 Tess. All it will do is create a comparatively tiny push back against the hulking giant of the entire Western culture and media that tells us that women over a size 8 aren’t worthy of our attention. Hopefully, it will help the next generation of teenagers (and current adults!) to escape the self-hatred which is, unequivocally, the unhealthiest thing of all.
Eating disorders affect around 7% of people in the UK, a quarter of whom are male – but these figures don’t reflect the real impact of our obsession with our bodies, because being ‘weird about food and quietly hating yourself’ isn’t necessarily qualified as an eating disorder. Much more telling are the statistics that state ‘50% of teenage girls and 30% of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control methods such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives’. 80% of ten year old girls in America have been on a diet. More than 50% of women see a distorted image of themselves in the mirror. Yes, sometimes, fat is unhealthy. But it’s a damn sight healthier than our cultural obsession with thinness.
Mental health is health too.
Ten years after I first asked my gramma when my stomach would be flat, I do not have a flat stomach. As I write this, I’m sitting in my bra looking down at the little roll of pudge poking over the top of my jeans. This pudge used to mean that I was a failure, destined for an unremarkable, mediocre life. I would never be the cool girl, or the hot girl, or the girl someone falls in love with.
My pudge doesn’t mean that any more. My pudge exists because of all the times I ate pizza in bed with my boyfriend, or ate a bunch of snacks while marathoning Lord of the Rings, and I fucking love those times. And I can be hot and cool and loved. It was never the pudge that was stopping me – only my anxious teenage brain and what our body-obsessed culture did to it.
That’s why the body positivity movement is not only important, but essential: it teaches us that in a world where flaws are unforgivable, we don’t have to forgive ourselves. There was never anything to forgive.
by Lauren Jack
Photograph: Brand New Images/Getty Images
You’ve probably heard the term ‘lad culture’ thrown around at university or in the newspapers. Headlines such as The Telegraph’s ‘Can universities ever get rid of boozy, sexist lad culture?’ and the Guardian’s ‘It’s not lad culture – it’s misogyny’ conjures up images of alcoholic rapists running rampant on the street while mid way through an honours degree.
I don’t mean to be insensitive when addressing this issue; certain consequences of pre-conceived ideas of lad culture result in sexual harassment and alcohol abuse and this is unacceptable. And while it is thought that ‘lad culture’ is a black and white issue, insomuch as, it’s a sub culture of predominately men who endorse sexist, racist, homophobic behaviour – this is only sometimes the case. Those who consider themselves affiliated with lad culture can come from a variety of backgrounds and have diverse range of interest and opinions. So how do we define lad culture when it’s such a subjective term?
The NUS (National Union of Students) describes lad culture as ‘a group or ‘pack’ mentality residing in activities such as sport, heavy alcohol consumption and ‘banter’ which was often sexist, misogynistic, racist or homophobic’. This is a common understanding of lad culture, particularly amoung young women. Gemma Clark, a multi-media journalist student at Glasgow Caledonian University believes lad culture is ‘groups of guys that act hyper-masculine. I see lad culture as drinking, being derogatory towards women, being loud, anti social behaviour and travelling in packs’. Similarly, UWS (University of the West of Scotland) student Heather Armstrong says ‘I’d say lad culture is a negative part of the socialisation of young people, especially young men’. However, people can associate themselves with ‘lad culture’, or deem themselves a ‘lad’, without being guilty of endorsing sexist or antisocial behaviour, yet this isn’t something that is openly discussed. ‘Lad culture’ is portrayed to have ridged pre-requisites, when actually it’s a versatile culture that encompasses different aspects of what is considered ‘popular culture’.
As the term itself originated in the 90s, it has evolved and changed over the years. In the 90s it was associated with bands such as Oasis and was understood as a brotherhood of sorts, a support network of male friends who enjoyed the same activities. The understanding of the term in 2015 is wholly different, with an emphasis on sexually aggressive and bigoted ideals. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that those aspects didn’t exist in the 90s, it was hardly a decade innocent of sexual exploitation, but lad culture sprouted mainly into the cultural fields of Britpop and did so with a ferocity equivalent to the Spice Girls infamous ‘girl power’. In the 90s, both ‘lad culture’ and ‘girl power’ were gendered consumer cultures that, on the outside, pretended to empower each gender but, underneath, simply reinforced stereotypes in a largely benign way.
Nowadays, ‘lad culture’ can be associated with anything from car enthusiasts and sports fans, to Playboy readers and homophobes. But whatever the association, it’s now a dominant sub culture that surrounds us daily, compared to previous years when it merely acted as a social escapism for young people. Chris of feminist zine TYCI says, ‘Personally I love football and I used to like Oasis (a long time back). At the same time I am certainly not homophobic, I don’t drink much and I co-founded a feminist fanzine so for me any real definition (of lad culture) immediately breaks down.’ Thus, we are faced with the problem – if lad culture covers such a broad range of attitudes and interests then how can we pinpoint where the destructive elements of this culture stem from?
I think it’s important to address the damaging aspects of lad culture within the wider context of society and its inherent traditional views of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’. It is not justifiable to blame all young men for the negative aspects associated with this culture, we must take into account the shades of grey within such a dominant issue. Generalisations are rarely ethically sound, but having said that, whether you consider yourself part of lad culture or not, it’s beneficial for everyone to recognise unacceptable behaviours and pave the way for a societal shift in consciousness that is reflective of its actions and attitudes.
It can be argued that ‘lad culture’ feeds into the wider ‘popular culture’ and both of these terms merely act as umbrellas to more specific complex issues. These issues exist within a nebulous universe of fixed ideas and inadvertent principals concerning femininity, race, sexuality and class.
‘Lad culture’ therefore, is a complex term that spans many regions of thought in the western hemisphere. It can’t be boxed in or pigeonholed. However, there are certain negative and archaic attitudes that exist within lad culture that should be challenged. Tackling the root of these attitudes will allow us to move forward as a progressive, compassionate society.
By Mina Green
Every night, between the hours of 8am and 8pm, a church in Glasgow’s West End becomes home to up to twenty destitute male asylum seekers and a handful of volunteers. The volunteers then depart to their warm homes and, somewhat tiredly, go about their daily activities. The asylum seekers however must occupy themselves, feed themselves and stay warm for twelve hours, with no work – unless they have managed to find something illegal.
As somebody who leaves the shelter and heads back to another day at University, I am left each shift with guilt about what the guys are going to do to pass the time. As a man told me: ‘the nights go fast. Before you know it, it’s morning.’ They are in limbo: waiting on their claim to work its way through the long maze that is the Home Office asylum process. If someone is at risk of being persecuted in their own country, they may go abroad and ask for asylum in another country. Granting ‘asylum’ means giving someone permission to remain in another country because of that risk of persecution. The right to claim asylum is international law, and governments are obliged to provide protection for people who meet the criteria for asylum. Although they may have entered the UK illegally, once they have applied for asylum they are no longer ‘illegal’ and are entitled to stay in the UK whilst awaiting a decision. Someone who has received a positive decision on his or her asylum claim is given refugee status and allowed to remain. However, the decision making process is very tough, lengthy and many people’s claims are rejected. Meanwhile, they are prevented from working and are provided with only £36.95 a week to live on. Some of the men at the shelter will spend hours in the library; at least there they can get some warmth and use facilities for free. But for how long can you sit reading books and using a computer, day after day? Boredom is one of the main difficulties for these guys, for it is not only the lack of material resources that makes life difficult, but also the struggle of having no job and no money.
I spoke to a man from Algeria who was a fireman back home. When he arrived in the UK he was told he was too old to be a fire officer because he’d have to begin training again, his experience in Algeria counted for nothing. He then worked in a hotel in London for six years, starting as a porter and working his way up to becoming a chef. However, when he got divorced the Home Office removed his right to work and he had to begin his asylum claim again. He is now homeless and jobless in Glasgow. Another guy has been showing me some maths puzzles, and taught me how to do one – really well considering the language barrier. I found out he used to be a maths teacher. I struggle to deal with the idea of a man being degraded from a maths teaching position to teaching the occasional willing volunteer how to complete a puzzle. But with a smile on his face and a lot of patience, he sits and talks me through in broken English and plenty of laughter.
The optimism and resilience of the men I talk to is incredible. It would be incredibly easy to lose hope. They are just a few of the thousands of asylum seekers who have slipped through the gaps of our supposedly supportive government. With no access to jobs and less state support than the minimum provided for UK nationals, it is very easy for asylum seekers to become destitute, and they are not offered the usual homeless services for nationals, relying on charities like the Night Shelter for food and shelter. Most of the men I talk to want to work, and if they could work they would put money back into the economy. The only other option is to work illegally, which means no protection, no minimum wage, and can undercut workers from the UK. Although the government says it provides a place to live for all people going through the asylum process, the reality is that many cannot access accommodation in a country with a lack of sufficient public housing. Asylum seekers do not jump the queue for council housing and they cannot choose where they live. The local council does not pay for the accommodation allocated to them.
As another volunteer said to me, coming to the Night Shelter provides some perspective on a life outside of the student bubble. We can all get tied down with our studies, societies, and social lives, but it is important to sometimes reflect on the troubles of others in the city around us. As a Sociology student, I have studied the effects of migration, but from my studies alone I have no sense of what life is really like for an unwelcome migrant. We take for granted small things in life like being able to make a cup of tea or having a shower. We don’t have to worry daily about being taken away to a detention centre and potentially ejected from the place we live to a place we could be persecuted. This is a reality that many face every day of their lives in the UK. Yet the number is far less than the media makes out: in 2014 just 24,914 applied for asylum, less than Germany, Sweden, Italy and France. And most have the intention to return to their home country when it is safe to do so.
Whatever the backgrounds of these men, they have come from homes where they have friends and family, a good job and a language and culture they are proud of. Many did not want to move. Imagine uprooting your entire life and leaving for somewhere where you have no connections, no work and must start from the very beginning. Most of us would not choose to do this. Imagine if, after you went through the struggle and pain of leaving a life behind, you were denied the right to work and the right to housing and state benefits in the country you had arrived in. With recent media attention at the situation in Calais it is clear something has to change. People are dying whilst fleeing their countries. We are now bombing Syria. We therefore have a duty to accept the refugees of conflicts we are perpetuating. But we cannot simply allow people into the country; they must be treated as equals, with the same human rights to food and shelter that the rest of us take for granted.
To find out more about the Night Shelter and if you are interested in volunteering visit:
For more information about asylum seekers and refugees in the UK visit:
By Annie Tothill
Here at GUM we have always had a spark for all things fashion, especially when it’s from our very own Glasgow. From GSA graduates to established brands, we have featured a string of inspiring designers in our editorial spreads. Back in 2013, Obscure Couture graced our pages. An award winning brand, Obscure Couture also found themselves in the pages of Vogue and on the backs of numerous celebrity fans. Unfortunately, after 5 vibrant and sparkly years, the brand is shutting its doors.
The adored Scottish label announced their closure after years at the top of its quirky game, offering stage-ready couture and ready to wear lines. The bold and contemporary look was worn by the likes of Arianna Grande and Marina and The Diamonds. The brand had a cult following due to its unique mix of a fairy tale fantasy with a hard edge.
Not to be shut down quietly, Obscure Couture will be partying until the end. Taking over BLOW Finnieston for the most fun wake ever, the salon will be playing host to a farewell party on January 30th from 7pm.
Not to be forgotten, samples and stock will be available to buy on the night while an online auction is underway. The event Death By Glitter is the perfect chance to celebrate the creativity of Glasgow as well as bagging a piece of fashion history. If you’re a fan of great hair and all that sparkles, this is the event for you.
The end may be nigh for Obscure Couture but your wardrobe doesn’t have to suffer. Help them blow out with a bang at Blow Finnieston this weekend.
By Anne Devlin
“Can I just have a quick smoke first?” grins the ever-charismatic Gregor Hunter Coleman as we approach him during a break in his busking set one Friday afternoon. Gregor, we note, is something of a local celebrity in Glasgow nowadays, having become an almost permanent fixture in the city centre.
“I’m out here busking every day,” he confirms, glancing around the bustling street. Arduous as though this might seem – braving the biting Glasgow wind to bring covers of popular songs to the masses – Gregor is by no means alone in this game. Glasgow is, in essence, Scotland’s busking capital. If it’s not a slice of pristine indie pop greeting your ears as you ascend the steps of the Subway station, it’s a tuneful accordion or triumphant saxophone. Voices drift along every street, singing songs both jaunty and mournful. It seems there’s room for every genre in this thriving metropolis.
Despite his dedication to the trade, Gregor’s quick to inform us that performing on the street isn’t without its problems. “All my stuff broke yesterday so I had to replace it,” he says of his equipment. He also tells us that busking at night carries an element of risk – when darkness descends, there’s an increased chance of people stealing the day’s earnings from your case. He knows this from experience.
Nonetheless, Glasgow’s busking scene suits him well. “Busking’s the only time you get paid what’s 100% yours,” he tells us earnestly. His statement rings with truth – playing in the middle of Buchanan Street doesn’t incur any agent’s fees, after all. Busking has also awarded him plenty of valuable opportunities. After hearing him play in the centre of the city, a woman requested that he play at her wedding – in the Lake District.
Any pre-wedding jitters?
“It’s a big day”, he smiles. “If I ruin the songs, then…”
It’s worth betting he won’t ruin the songs. In any case, Gregor’s certainly establishing himself within the music sphere, his endeavours now extending beyond the realm of street performance. He has gigged with Nicholas McDonald, Motherwell-native who was placed runner-up in 2013’s X-factor, as well as reality TV personality Jake Quickenden. He’s also aiming to get his band truly up and running, with their first show due to take place on December 18 at the 02 ABC.
Life could’ve been quite different for Gregor had his family gone through with plans to relocate to Dunoon when he was younger. He reckons he’d “literally just be a farmer” by now. When asked what he’d like to do in future, Gregor smiles coyly. “I just want to busk and see what happens.”
It’s a similar story for Jackson Harvey. The twenty-one-year-old once busked every day, but is now channelling most of his energy into The Modests, a band he’s been with for seven years. On the occasions he comes into the city centre armed with his guitar, it’s for enjoyment purposes only. He’s graduated to venues now, having played “everywhere in Glasgow… except The Hydro.” We probe him to tell us about his favourite venue. “It depends what you’re looking for,” he responds sensibly. “The 02 Academy is great for the ‘big venue’ experience”. Meanwhile, he thinks Box offers a nice intimate atmosphere. Jackson’s foray into the music world began upon the realisation that he’s too uncoordinated to be a footballer. “I’m not ambidextrous,” he laughs. “I can’t play with either foot.”
Halfway down Buchanan Street, a crowd has gathered around Glasgow-based duo Wandering Sons. The song they’re playing is not just toe-tappingly good, but a real foot-stomper. It transpires that it’s an original: the first track on their new album, which can be downloaded from their Facebook page for free or picked up in physical form for £5. The original music is delightfully interspersed with an energetic rendition of Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love.” Though technically proficient, Wandering Sons may strike as being decidedly unorthodox. Their guitar case is adorned with rubber ducks; the drummer, David, has forgone a proper drum kit in favour of plastic buckets.
The band’s history, it seems, is as interesting as their aesthetic. Lead singer Barney (20), originally from Belgium, met David through Church, and the pair formed as a two-piece in 2012. Despite their talent, Wandering Sons embody Glasgow’s trademark self-deprecating humour. Starting out, they considered themselves “the worst musicians out of [their] whole friends group.”
It is soon revealed that their first time busking was in the Lake District, their efforts being met with a fairly enthusiastic response. “I think people were just being polite,” Barney says modestly. They admit that busking on Glasgow’s streets presents some challenges. It has been so cold on occasion that Barney has had to wear fingerless gloves while playing guitar. They’ve taken big risks for the band – quitting their day jobs and higher education courses – but things seem to be working out for them. They’ve toured mainland Europe and are beginning to gig seriously now, co-headlining shows with an Australian artist.
“We just do this and play gigs,” the boys say. “We love it at the moment… We’re making what we need to live.”
The band began to perform on the street after seeing others do the same. They praise the Glasgow busker scene very highly. “I don’t think I’d be busking [if I hadn’t moved to Glasgow]. There’s no busking scene in Belgium,” Barney muses.
As we approach Anna Shields – one of the only female buskers we’ve seen all day – we note a sign advertising a gig at the 02 Academy on the 11th of October. Clearly she’s doing quite well.
“The first time I went busking my mum wouldn’t let me go by myself,” Anna says, recounting her first experience performing in the city centre. Consequently, her brother stood and watched her from the side that day. “I made £12… I was so excited!”
Though Anna busked “for the fun of it” back then, she’s got bigger things on her mind now. She formed a band at the start of the year with her boyfriend – who plays guitar – and their bassist friend.
When asked if Anna suffers at all in such a male-dominated industry – and, indeed, within a male-dominated band – she doesn’t give the answer we’re expecting.
“It’s actually quite good for me,” she says. At this point, she begins to talk about the male buskers who garner attention on the basis of how they look. “When people see us, they’re coming to see the music. People are there because they want to listen to us,” she explains.
Like the others, Anna is picking up gigs in a number of Glasgow’s venues. She’s played the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah hut on two occasions already.
Any hopes for the future?
According to Anna a CD is now in the works, due for release next year. She’ll have to juggle this with the music degree she’s studying for at the University of the West of Scotland. “Even if I don’t make it as a musician, I still want to be involved in the industry.”
If you hadn’t been born and raised in Glasgow, do you think you’d still be doing this?
“I would probably still be doing music – but probably not to the extent I’m doing it,” Anna tells us. “The Glasgow scene is the best for buskers… It has the best busker scene in the UK.”
This is a view echoed by Alexander, a Polish saxophonist who moved to Glasgow four months ago. He too has an extensive musical catalogue: besides performing in Buchanan Street alongside his guitarist, he has also played various gigs during his time here. He doesn’t seek out these shows as such – Alexander seems quite content with busking for the moment. “We live from music,” he says poignantly. “Busking is enough.”
Finally, we meet a guitarist who goes by the name of Mike. Mike’s still “finding his feet” on the busking scene, but his story’s a fascinating one. “God made me want to start busking. I used to run a lap dance club, but I had a dream one night… And now I sing to God. The songs and the words are for God.”
By Morgan Laing
‘Let’s Talk’ Providing Safety and Support on Campus
Sexual violence and discrimination are never acceptable, and a group of students at Glasgow University are making a positive stance to challenge sexist action and assault. The campaign, ‘Let’s Talk’ is a joint initiative built upon the foundation of varying societies who provide campus support and outreach including GU Amnesty International, Sexpression, Isabella Elder Feminist Society, GU Feminist Society and GU Mental Wealth.
Asking Glasgow University to build a communication system for reporting rape, make necessary resources available to survivors and provide education on bystander intervention, ‘Let’s Talk’ hope to launch a campaign that will actively support safety on campus and involve Glasgow in UK-wide university pledges against sexual violence.
The launch of ‘Let’s Talk’ will take place on 3rd December at 6pm in the Queen Margaret Union. The evening will include a screening of acclaimed documentary ‘The Hunting Ground’ about rape culture on US campuses, an introduction by Sarah Bacom, a talk by Ailish Carroll-Brentnall from Sexpression and Rape Crisis, and the launch of the petition to the university outlining important demands. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of campus reform from the ground-up.
Tickets are free and available online at lets-talk-campaign.eventbrite.co.uk
By Heather O’Donnell
I would like to preface this essay with an offering of #notallmens to ward off the twin menaces which haunt articles such as these: the demon of wilful misunderstandings and the phantom of hurt feelings. Let me say now: I am of course not talking about all men, because most of you are genuinely wonderful sparkly little beacons of light who deserve nothing but warmth, affection and very good sex for the rest of your sparkly little lives. However, some aren’t; so please excuse me.
#notallmen #notallmen #notallmen #notallmen #notallmen #notallmen #notallmen #notallmen
Thank you. Now we can begin.
As we all know, there are men in the world who will drag a girl down a dark alley and rape her. There are men who will lock a girl in a bedroom at a party and rape her. There are men who will purposely drug a girl or get her blackout drunk so they can rape her. This is terrible and horrible and I feel all sorts of hideous ways about it, but it’s not what I’m going to talk about here, for the following reason.
You and I know these men are bad men. I have no doubt that the majority of these men know they are bad men. Unless you’re a bona fide psychopath, you don’t commit these horrible acts without knowing that you’re doing a Bad Thing.
However, there is another class of men who also do Bad Things but who genuinely believe that they have done nothing wrong. These men have the potential to cause just as much harm as our straight-up Baddies, and these men worry me more because I know them. I’ve met them. I have, on occasion, been friends with them. And so have you.
These are the men for whom the Yes means Yes laws were instated. These are the men who take a woman’s silence as agreement, for whom reluctance is a form of flirtation, for whom a quiet ‘no’ is a token resistance, for whom quite a few ‘no’s are just a barrier to be pushed through. These are men that assume that because a woman is kissing them, she’s consenting to everything else. They aren’t violently holding down their partner and their partner isn’t screaming and crying but it is still wrong.
When I was seventeen and drunk and making out with a guy, and he continued doing what he was doing even after I said ‘no’ a bunch of times and tried to push his hands away, I didn’t think I’m being sexually assaulted. I thought, oh, I guess we’re doing this now, and even though I don’t want him to be doing this I also don’t want to cause a scene so I suppose I’ll just let him.
The next day there was no doubt in my mind that he hadn’t done anything wrong. If I’d really not wanted him to do it, I’d have screamed, right? I’d have pushed him off the bed or smacked him in the jaw. And I’d kept kissing him while saying no to his hands in my pants, because I’d still wanted to kiss him, so I guess he just thought I was fine with it. And anyway, I didn’t feel particularly upset, so what’s the big deal?
I didn’t think about this again until a couple of years later, when a friend was telling me that a similar thing happened to her. The difference was, she did feel upset about it, tremendously and rightfully so: she had said no and he had ignored her. We agreed that this person was a bad person who had done a bad thing.
And then I thought about that night when I was seventeen, and thought Oh.
Why hadn’t I felt at the time like the guy who had stuck his hands in my pants even after I said no was a bad person? Why hadn’t I felt like he’d done anything wrong? Looking at the facts, I knew he shouldn’t have done it, but I had a hard time attaching the label rape or sexual assault to something that made me feel less like I’d been violated and more like I’d been forced to go to a party that I didn’t really want to go to but ended up having an OK time.
Art by Terri Lee
In the end, it doesn’t matter that I hadn’t felt violated; plenty of women would have, and quite rightfully so. But this demonstrates why there are otherwise normal, caring, good guys out there studiously ignoring a lack of consent without realising they’re doing anything wrong, because it happened to me and at seventeen I didn’t even realise it was wrong. I just figured that’s how things go.
Where did we both get the idea that that’s ‘how it goes’? Why on earth did I feel like it was OK for my protests to be ignored, and why did an otherwise good guy feel OK ignoring them? The problem lies in what straight men and women are taught – explicitly, by countless dating guides and the pick-up artist movement, and implicitly by our media and culture – about how men and women (should) behave regarding sex. This is why I’m phrasing this piece in terms of men and women; of course rapists aren’t all men and victims aren’t all women, nor all sexual encounters heterosexual, but a big part of what leads to the situations I’ve described is the way straight men are socialised in our society.
How many films glorify men who keep pursuing a girl after she’s expressed her disinterest? How many tell men that they can indeed get the girl if they just keep trying? Many of them focus on ‘getting’ the girl in terms of a romantic relationship as well as a sexual one, but serve to create and reinforce the idea of the man as the pursuer and the woman as the pursued – which is just a softer, cuddlier, Hollywood-endorsed version of men as the predator and women as the prey.
We have all been taught by the media, by our culture, that the man should be the aggressor, that he should ‘escalate’ the situation. Men have been taught that women might seem reluctant or put up a ‘token resistance’ but that they shouldn’t be disheartened, it’s just how girls are! So innocent! So coy! Just push a little more! Don’t give up!
Please. Give up. If a woman says no, listen to her. If a woman seems reluctant or uncomfortable, ask her about it, or slow down, or pull back; give her the space to express her desire and don’t keep pushing for something you aren’t absolutely certain that she wants.
Women, express your desire! If you want to have sex with someone, tell them. Show them. Ask them. This largely isn’t our problem to solve but playing hard to get when you genuinely desire someone fuels the idea that consenting women have to be hunted, pursued, and pushed in order for a guy to get what he wants.
As I said, I don’t think most of the men doing these things are bad men by any means. They are good men who need to be taught better. This was a difficult essay to write because it’s a difficult situation: I’m aware that the modern dating game is largely predicated on these harmful gender roles and it can be difficult to escape from them. We’ve all been born into this patriarchal culture. No one alive now is the source of the problem, but we can stop perpetuating it by no longer buying into antiquated notions of how men and women are supposed to interact.
As long as our men are taught that they are the ones who must push things forward, that women will seem reluctant in order to fulfil the cultural requirement for girls to be innocent and good; as long as women do sometimes put up a token resistance in order to get what they want without being judged; as long as the discourse around one night stands and promiscuous sex remains buried in the assumption that men are the hunters and women are the prey; as long as we maintain that ‘boys will be boys’ and fail to hold them accountable for their actions; as long as we demean men by insisting that when it comes to attractive women, they just can’t control themselves; as long as we demean women by failing to see them as sexual actors, aggressors, women who know what they want… This will keep happening. And no matter how I felt that one night when I was seventeen, it’s not OK. I know better now.
Hopefully, soon, we all will.
By Lauren Jack
If you have any thoughts or experiences surrounding this complex issue of sexual consent please head over to The Grey Area our anonymous forum and help us raise awareness of this difficult problem and affect change within it.
The general consensus is that we’re all very busy, all the time. Students get a hard time for being wasters but in reality, the hours of any given day seem to slip away as easy as our student loans. That’s where Tech Meets Paper steps in. Designed for the Type A stereotype, Tech Meets Paper is a Scottish start up attempting to reorganise your work life.
Branded as ‘Stationary that talks’, Tech Meets Paper is a line of beautiful stationary as well as an augmented reality app. The app learns to react to your hectic lifestyle, prompting you to take breaks as well as undertaking daily tasks. Think of it as a personal assistant; it can book you a taxi, remind you of a meeting or simply send you an inspirational message to get you through the day.
Tech Meets Paper understands that we are on our phones 24/7 and that we all have a lot of commitments in our lives. The multi-channel app is a unique way to deal with modern pressures most students face.
Tech Meets Paper is a Scottish, local, women-run start up that is currently crowd funding on indiegogo. Kirsty Mac and Rachel Ferguson are the brains behind the operation, with the app currently being developed in Aberdeen. It’s an exciting triumph for both women in business and technology as well as Scottish enterprise.
By Anne Devlin
“They changed the world. Not the shirt.” is the tagline for one of the biggest pushes in global advertising this year. GANT is a brand that has long been rooted in the American East Coast. What was once a lifestyle brand for the beach is now shaking off its sandy image for an international and highbrow persona.
GANT has completely revamped its advertising strategy, rolling out an international campaign for the first time in its history. Their promotional video shows how great minds of the 20th century went on to change the world, all wearing GANT shirts. The campaign also highlights how their heritage is in the veins of world-class university campuses such as the Ivy League.
It’s a bold move for a brand whose previous incarnations were more American Eagle than American pioneer. GANT isn’t trying to make a sexy campaign pumped full of celebrity faces and gimmicky clothing. What GANT is doing is saying, “We believe in quality”, in both garments and education.
What’s really engaging about GANT’s approach is who is now fronting the brand. Instead of a Kardashian or a Hadid, GANT has chosen five ‘talents’ to be the face of their print campaign. Tracy K. Smith (Pulitzer Prize Poet), Natvar Bhavsar (Painter), Mark Platkin (Rainforest Advocate), Jennifer Staple-Clark (Founder of Unite for Sight) and George Weiner (Founder of Whole Whale) are GANT’s chosen ones to promote the brand and their philosophy of quality.
Started in Connecticut, USA by Jewish immigrant Bernard Gantmacher – who had arrived from the Russian empire in 1914 – GANT was then sold on to Swedish company Pyramid Sportswear and is now in the hands of Swiss holding company Maus Frères, making it a truly international look; American sportswear with European sophistication.
The classic shirt is a wardrobe essential and GANT are essentially saying that with the right one, you can achieve anything. Their approach to advertising is an exciting and innovative one. Campaigns aimed a students have the tendency to be repetitive; assuming all students just want free stuff or to get off their faces. Invest in a shirt and maybe you’ll invest in your future.
By Anne Devlin
How to become a local in Glasgow
When you move to another city, one of the first things you want to achieve is a feeling of home, and the idea of belonging to the place. Feeling at home has both a physical and a social component. A physical feeling of belonging refers to the ability of finding your way around your new hometown, and knowing little things, such as: where the best place is to park your car and getting used noise at various times of the day. The second component involves becoming socially embedded in your neighbourhood and town. This can include random encounters with your neighbours or developing strong ties with friends during various activities, such as sports recreation or cultural events. In this piece, I give you a few signs that you are becoming a local in Glasgow.
When you arrive in a new city, your mental map of the urban environment is filled with voids. If you flip through the Lonely Planet before a plane drops you in your soon-to-be hometown, you might only have a small notion of places you must visit and the only thing you know for certain is how to get from the airport to your new room. However, as you spend more and more time in the new city, your mental map evolves into a network of places, linked through various routes. You are able to go from A to B without constantly checking GoogleMaps. You find your favourite spaces, collect memories and know where it is safe to walk both day and night.
Hopefully, you don’t limit your experience of Scotland by only staying in Glasgow. Scotland’s nature is beautiful: the lochs, highlands and forests might surprise you with a glimpse of their hidden magic. There are new impressions to be found around every corner and there is never a dull moment. After an exhausting day, during which your hand got lame because you tried to take a snapshot of every single magnificent view, you finally head back. Suddenly, you cross the city’s borders, and surprise yourself by thinking: “almost home!”, as if this new city has become your new home.
So far, I have mainly written about the physical aspects of attachment to places. But experiences are not the same when you cannot share them with others. Of course, you can share your pictures and stories with others when you return to your home country, but that’s not the same as to experience something together with the ones you miss. To become socially embedded is maybe the hardest and most stressful part of moving country. Luckily, Glaswegians are very including and tend to care about the wellbeing of newcomers. So if you go to Glasgow, you will not have trouble finding a group of friends that you can live and laugh with during your stay. For me, Glasgow was a positive change from Amsterdam, where everybody stays in his or her own bubble and does not want to let anyone in.
However, to become a real Glaswegian local is difficult for an outsider. Mastering the Sco’ish accent is by far the hardest thing to do and the main characteristic with which people can distinguish you from a real Scotsman or Scotswoman. In Glasgow, I found that there is a double language barrier: the first is the English language, and the second is the Scots. But this is the least of your worries if you have come to feel at home. And life without challenges would be boring in the end.
By Rosa de Jong
The Orange Walks and the Independence Referendum
There are only three certainties in Scotland this year; Death, taxes and the omnipresence of the Independence Referendum. Campaigners from both sides of the vote have tirelessly canvassed, debated, trolled, protested, donated and recruited in what is arguably the largest and most exciting event in recent Scottish history. Unfortunately, the debate on Scotland’s future could become a political bed-sheet waved right at an angry orange bull.
The rub lies in existing issues. For although the Orange Order may seem little more than silly hats, penny whistles and a slightly longer journey to work, religious differences have given it a violent side leading to frequent clashes with the police. As much as the majority of arrests – for drinking in public and antisocial behaviour- can be filed as the inevitable by-product of a large gathering of people on a sunny day in Glasgow, it remains impossible to disguise the link between Orange Order disorder and Sectarianism. ‘ScGlasgow’s East End in summer can be stunning, but it’s no place to nurse a hangover. Each weekend the early afternoon is filled with the whistles, drums and Sunday best suits of the Orange Order. Divisive, fiercely Protestant and strongly unionist, the Order is most active during the ‘marching season’, a series of walks primarily in Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland culminating on the 12th of July, the anniversary of William of Orange’s victory over James II way back when.
This year, the marches in Glasgow are juxtaposed against two major socio-political events – the Independence Referendum and the Commonwealth Games, each with the potential to exacerbate longstanding issues surrounding the parade. And as calls to close down the parades continue, could 2014 be the Order’s last tango on Clydeside?
otland’s Shame’ is a longstanding issue in its largest city, stemming from historic discrimination against Catholic immigrants. Today it is reflected in trouble between fans of the Old Firm clubs -the traditionally Protestant Rangers and Catholic Celtic – and their political allegiances; Celtic fans anti-fascist and pro-Palestine in the current Israel conflict, Rangers the opposite. With Celtic’s stadium and supporters pubs situated in the East End, the walks are tense affairs at best; at worst, this tension quickly gets nasty.
But how does this tie in with independence? Well, essentially, an already politically charged radical organisation (to put it lightly) involving itself with a huge, impassioned movement spells nothing but trouble. The warning signs are present. As expected, The Order has registered as an official supporter of the No Campaign, actively displaying this in brazen WordArt during marches. Their involvement, it seems, couldn’t be further from ‘compassion, peace and stability’: The official Better Together campaign has already publicly distanced itself from the Orangemen; Sam McCrory, widely suspected of plotting to murder senior IRA members, has voiced fears that the Order could disrupt the No campaign by alienating Catholics and centre-left Scots. When a star of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men tells you to calm down, it’s obvious there’s a problem.
There’s more than the No Campaign’s reputation at risk. With their reputation for disruptive sectarianism ,the Order already face strong opposition within Glasgow – with a petition calling for their ban as ‘discriminatory supremacist Orange hate marches’ gathering over 4,500 signatures – and the IndyRef could trigger genuine conflict. Indeed, it is not far-fetched to speculate that fears of reactionary violence played a large part in Better Together’s choice to ostracise the Order.
It has been argued that the order are actually playing the classic antihero in the independence tragic-comedy, enfranchising ‘tens of thousands in housing schemes across the country’ who would previously never bothered to vote. Surely there is a better way of doing this than through an organisation built on religious discrimination? It seems more likely that the Order’s involvement in the independence campaign will cause greater unrest at the marches.
The Orange Walks and the Commonwealth Games
As the locals debate and speculate ahead of September the 18th, Glasgow City Council has been gearing up for the Commonwealth Games. Fronted by the ‘People Make Glasgow’ campaign in a bid to present a progressive and united city, government funded graffiti, Salmond Cycles and repainted shop-fronts have all emerged as part of an increasingly dubious regeneration programme. With less than a month to go ‘til the competitions start, the council will be understandably keen to avoid any negative publicity; the marches will be a major cause for concern, and it is likely there will be a heavier police presence in an attempt to deter troublemakers.
This creates problems in itself. Over-policing at the Orange Walk could leave the city appearing divided, its elected officials paranoid. Under policing could give the red tops a field day. It’s some conundrum, and GCC and Police Scotland will have to be spot on with their crowd control when the 12th of July comes around -even more so than previous years. And if the marchers fail to live up to the grand words on their anti-independence flyers, decisive action may have to be taken against them.
Since their conception, the Orange Parades have been a permanent bone of contention in Glasgow. Sympathisers see them as a way of expressing freedom, religious and political pride; others see a volatile and incendiary danger. This year as violence at parades continue, political tensions exacerbated by the IndyRef grow – and with the walks carrying strong potential to disrupt the squeaky-clean Commonwealth image – the bell could finally toll.
When one runs as frequently as I do, it is easy for various jaunts to simply blend into one. By the weight of
their number and steady accumulation there is, for each run, a stealth to the quirks and features that obtain
and thus stands in defiance of individualisation. They are though, all different. Even if one deploys the same
route (or a ‘routine course’), one is unlikely to feel the same, or to run at an identical pace and time.
My run that day was notable in that I only managed to traverse the first couple of kilometres of a (planned)
longer run. This, and the fact that it was a full five hours following my departure before I returned home
distinguished this particular bout of exercise. I had, it emerged following an impromptu hospital visit, check-
up and diagnosis at the Western General Hospital, suffered a seizure at some point, presumably about ten
minutes after setting off.
There is a hallucinogenic quality to my recollections of the seizure itself. I can recall brief impressions and
sensations that flitted across my mind’s eye (or mind’s ear; or mind’s extremity) though they are mere
synaesthesic snapshots that defy any attempt at re-ordering, or chattelling them into some kind of storyline.
There are flashes of light; the brush of a branch (or bush) as my hand mis-gropes in attempting to break a
fall; voices of others elide with mumbled replies from me.
When attempting to imprint a timeline or narrative thread on otherwise abstract sensations the logical step is
– as with frayed wool or thread – to look for a start point. I can just about remember walking out the door at
the foot of my stairwell, I think. Am I recalling That Day’s exit, or merely another identikit run? I would like
to think that I can recall jogging downhill onto the walkway beside the river Kelvin. But these final, pre-
seizure and ‘conscious’ steps are sufficiently embedded to preclude divorcing any one instance from the
One is left instead with piecing together the story from the shards of memory that emerged from the
shattering of sanity, and attempting to weave backwards from the tendrils of impressions that occurred in the
ambulance and, later on, in the hospital.
x X x
The sharp and jagged pain to the rear of my tongue only really emerged as I half-sat, half-lay on a hospital
bed-cum-trolley in the corridor adjacent to the A&E department. Borderline supine, I was also still in the
process of resuming acquaintance with most of my autonomic responses. [I should add that at roughly the
same time that this pain began to command attention, I alighted on the bed-heads of the hospital trolleys
likeness to a tombstone. Coincidence?]
I had been relatively lucid – or recently returned to lucidity – for about an hour by this stage, and had talked
at length to the paramedics who retrieved and admitted me, though had yet to alight upon this source of pain.
It was a strange and delicate sensation as flaps of skin flit over the surface of my teeth, as if an errant piece
of food has become stuck there. Despite the general viscosity of the skin on our tongues, they are nonetheless
tautly affixed to the organ itself – as with any other part of our upper dermis.
Furthermore, had the doctor examining me not queried as to whether I had bitten my tongue, there is every
chance that I would not have volunteered it. As it was, this was apparently the clincher (no pun intended…)
so far as my diagnosis was concerned. The pain, over a week later, was still occasionally sharp and severe
depending on the temperature of the food imbibed.
x X x
‘Do you know why you’re here?’ a male voice demands of me, fairly insistently. He repeats the question,
primed, no doubt, by my shocked and vacant demeanour for little in the way of insight. This interrogatum
gives way to a minor personal reverie as I take in the apparatus that surrounds me in the back of the
ambulance. It is said of presidential (and prime-ministerial) bunkers that such is the infrastructural network
contained within that a war can be waged and managed from one. Ambulances may be constrained by their
dimensions, but the sheer variety of ailments and conditions that they are equipped to deal with – to staunch,
to splint, to revive – is never far from one’s attention, no matter one’s confusion.
‘Do. You. Know. Why. You’re. Here?’ A female voice this time, though less questioning than designed to
command my errant focus – the explanation hot on its heels: ‘You were found running around in circles; you
didn’t know where you were/what you were doing.’
Still I glance between the faces of the (three, in total) paramedics, my gaze alighting on some tube or
tourniquet. I may at this point have mumblingly interjected that I did not indeed know, or that I didn’t
understand. Didn’t understand any of it. One faceless soul proffered the factoid that many runners wear
bands or some form of neck-wear that bears details of prevailing health ‘issues’, or emergency contact
details. This catalysed my own sense of alarm, and momentarily sharpened my focus.
‘This has never happened before,’ I mumbled, or something to this effect. I padded around my midriff for
possessions that I must presumably have left the flat with. My only pocket bulges with keys and my running
hat, though my mobile phone is missing. The male paramedic – the other two being female – peels off; to
look for the phone? I think I supplied him with a number, though I’m simultaneously struggling to recall my
address. I tell them my name, and there is a palpable release of tension as I am addressed as ‘Scott’ where
previously I was but a nameless, and wholly unwilling convict of circumstance.
Am I a student? Do I have a job? What do I do for a living? Am I supposed to be at work just now? The
sheer variety of probable, and likely, responses to these queries returns me to mass-confusion. How many of
these questions were put to me by the paramedics, and which merely flitted across my mind I cannot at this
stage recall with any confidence. Before long, it was deemed appropriate to take me to A&E, and I readily
On the journey over lunacy jockeys with lucidity for primacy, and there are snatched conversations with the
two female paramedics about running in general, and races ran and entered, before some form of reflection
eventually seeped out of the patient. The walk from the driveway entrance to A&E is deemed an insufficient
and inappropriate addendum to the episode, thus far, and I was squired by a hospital bed upon a trolley to the
bowels of the Accident and Emergency department of the Western General hospital.
x X x
The paramedic who had wheeled me in stated that the couple who had found me claimed I was speaking
‘gibberish – as if a foreign language.’ I assured them that I speak no other language fluently, though did
briefly wonder whether my episode had afforded me a savant-like, near-perfect command of a foreign
The clinical aroma that shrouds one’s apperception of the frailty on show lingers in the memory. One
wonders if actual doctors and nurses can ever completely free themselves from this psychological anchor.
There is an aphorism that states that much of what we recall is based in – and can thus be triggered by –
smell, and this is especially pertinent in a hospital setting. Much of my visit was, initially, expended in the
corridor, and thereafter waiting in an examination room as various blood samples and heart-readings were
taken and filtered through the medium of my responses and recollections.
Once ensconced in a room of my own I was permitted a moment of privacy to relieve myself. Having taken
on a fair bit of water during the course of the day, my bladder was now full; mercifully so, I ought to add: it
is not uncommon for minor bouts of incontinence to afflict the seizure patient. This aspect of my hydration
levels was at some odds with my other symptoms, which spoke to prevailing states of dehydration. My lips
felt dry, and the skin on my face rather pinched. I could almost feel the friction of my eyelids against the
surface of my eyes. My brain felt as if it had shrunk to a quarter of its size, and was now bashing around my
parched skull. The resultant headache is the one ailment that was medicated during the course of my visit, as
the young doctor attending me dispenses a pair of aspirin.
I’m left alone for a little while whilst a vial of my blood is ferried away for analysis. In the room next to me
a patient awaiting further consultation – and perhaps diagnosis – manages to sound both resigned and
concerned at the same time as he claims to be cognisant of a figure looming over him. I glanced across the
hallway where one of the tombstone silhouettes hooks my gaze once more. I occupied myself by pacing
around my temporary commode in my hospital gown – a loose-fitting, backless number.
Shortly before being discharged, an elderly female patient and I were afforded the luxury of a visit to the tv
area where Question Time is showing. My concentration had not yet recovered to normal levels, though I
would, without hesitation, question the holistic appeal of the political squabbling on show. I was eventually
released, and trudged resignedly uphill to my flat, a short walk from A&E’s back door, making it home
shortly before midnight. Weariness and an adrenal exhilaration sparked by my ordeal keep me awake for a
while, before putting the day to bed.
I recorded much of the preceding account in the days immediately following the event, whilst various
impressions were fresh in the memory. A couple of weeks later I was referred to the seizure clinic of the
Western General Hospital where a specialist groped for a fuller diagnosis. This isn’t intended as criticism of
any of the care or insight that I received; but the primary diagnostic feature of seizures (particularly first-
time or isolated incidents) is their unpredictability and – therefore – an inability to attribute them to any
particular cause or menu of lifestyle factors.
As such, the offerings of the consultant supplied little in the way of succour, though retained the capacity to
focus the mind, somewhat. I currently occupy a hinterland between the experience itself and a fuller
diagnosis that could in turn presage a prolonged period of medication. I was packed off with a bulk of
literature on epilepsy, and how we might come to regard it as less of an affliction than a mere challenge.
Once again, much of the insight contained within is slightly eye-watering. I cannot, for the time being, drive.
Marathons of partying and nightclubbing are verboten; alongside retiring the dancing shoes, climbing
ladders without supervision is now also a feature of my past.
The ‘missing’ phone was at home all along (I never run with it). I can only offer grateful and belated thanks
to the paramedic who both attended to me and partook in this fruitless treasure-hunt.
Independence. Efficacy. Fallibility. Frailty. These are some of the synonyms that I had jotted down in the
margins at various points over the course of crafting this piece. I don’t feel different, though have never felt
more alien in those moments immediately following the seizure. I am relatively free of concern as to my long-
term, life prospects, though too often we are labile as to the short-term implications of our lives. The fact that
another seizure might strike me, without warning, at some point in the future ought to be alarming, though
really I’m ill-disposed to live life on such tenterhooks.
In the early hours of last Tuesday, following the end of classes celebration known as Bermuda Shorts Day, Matt De Grood, a University of Calgary graduate recently accepted into the school’s law program, arrived at a party and fatally stabbed five students. He was sober, having come straight from his job at a nearby grocery store. He was an invited guest. And though he’d brought his own weapon, described as “an instrument” by police, De Grood carried out the attacks with a knife he found in the house’s kitchen. Three died immediately. The other boy and the only girl died in hospital a few hours later. De Grood, having fled the scene, was chased down and apprehended within the hour by a police dog.
As Calgary awoke, hungover, face painted and oblivious, the news filtered across Facebook feeds and Twitter, hitting with a heavy stomached sickening. Calgary is a city which, for its million citizens, never shed that uniquely North American small town feeling, and it had just been dealt “the worst mass murder” in its hundred and fifty year history. And the perpetrator was a sober law student.
Calgary is The Town that Oil Built, and for the petroleum-illiterate, the province of Alberta (10 provinces, 2 territories) contains 96% of Canada’s oil and gas. Most of it is eight hours North, in the slushy lucre of Fort “Mac” McMurray, oilsands where riggers and toolpushers earn an easy six figures hauling the black stuff out of the ground. But operations, spending and decompression seem to trickle down to Calgary, where all persons oil spend their 3 days off.
For those who don’t ski or snowboard, the city of Calgary hasn’t much to offer, and unless looking for oil, one would be forgiven for skipping from Vancouver to Winnipeg. It’s fair to say that most people here have a purpose, and it’s fair to say that mine was meant to lead me to Toronto. I came to Calgary as part of an exchange program, relishing the chance to spend the year, without VISA or employment worries, in a big North American town. I prayed for Toronto, and landed in Cowtown, where I’ve been living since August, the 3rd of my 4 years reading English Literature at the University of Glasgow.
Between the resource extraction and the minus thirty winters, Calgary is a town characterized by a physicality which this Londoner had never encountered. Even by Canadian standards, Calgary is rugged, and it’s fair to say it isn’t at home to the conceptual, the political, or the artistic. The tiny English department I attached myself to bobs happily in a sea of engineering, and our inaugural film festival was woefully under-attended. Perhaps the punters were at a Flames hockey match, or cheering on the Calgary Fillies in Canada’s Lingerie Football League.
Likely the case with all local murders, quickly our horror turned to prurience. A morbid speculation emerged, surrounding first the identities of the victims and their killer, none of which had been released. Drip fed titbits by the starved media, the details that surfaced prompted more questions, rather than offering resolution. Was it true the suspect’s father was a cop? What could possibly prompt a boy of twenty two to commit so visceral a murder as stabbing, and not once, but five times? Friends, no less, who’d invited him to their house and wanted to celebrate with him? And most pressing, how had he managed to stab, one by one, five people without being apprehended, before making off into the night, bloody and on foot, headed God knows where?
I wasn’t alone in my curiosity. I watched as “Calgary Stabbings” overtook “Calgary Stampede” on search engines, and Mayor Nenshi assured us that our prurience was “only natural…only human”, as he appeared at a campus vigil. Recognizable from flood-era photos, grinning in wellies and poncho, Naheed Nenshi was summoned from City Hall to pick up the pieces. He barreled into the room with his usual charisma, but I saw him falter, and it took an aide to indicate, discreetly, the grieving mother of one of the boys, before he could scoop her in a bear hug. She disappeared beneath pinstripes and a bald patch, and I began to weep. So did the man next to me, Where the Wild Things Are tattoo sleeves heaving.
Mayor Nenshi followed the University President and two chaplains onto the podium, a burning candle projected on the screen behind him. He didn’t speak for long, from a spot generally reserved for oil executives and function compares, assuring us that we would get past this tragedy. A handful of cameras flashed, and the air was heavy with the word “community”. The dog that savaged De Grood has been wheeled out for the day, and lay curled and bored at its handler’s boots. I hope this wasn’t Nenshi’s idea.
Like Alpha Piper, or the July 7 bombings, nobody is distant from the events. This is mathematical. Take five undergrads from a pool of twenty five thousand, and you’ll never be more than a few people away. An older friend played a set with Zachariah and the Prophets, the band that Zachariah Rathwell and Josh Hunter played in, just weeks ago. A girl whose project I was assigned to in my first semester graduated high school with one of the boys. But there is another side. And this was something Nenshi, for political reasons, perhaps, or his suit still creased from that brave woman’s embrace, hadn’t felt able to voice.
For every five who knew one of the victims, there is one who knew their killer. One who, if not friends as such, has an identity to assign him. A memory, an anecdote, an image beyond the same three or four Facebook photos, plucked and dragged onto the news websites that refresh themselves on the hour. It was Raphael Jacob, the President of the Students Union who brought this solace, and addressed the elephant in the room. You have no reason to be ashamed, or to feel guilty, Raphael assured any of De Grood’s friends amongst the grieving. And it needed to be said.
Comatose students and citizens drifted out, and I saw the dog had fallen asleep. Some stooped to sign the flag. Canadian, mind. This is a nation unused to this sort of violence. Canada’s history is as bloody as any ex-colony’s, but there have been no Dunblanes, no Columbines. Gun crime isn’t really something that happens here, nor terrorism outside of Quebec.
I suppose the vigil brings a closure of sorts. The names, the timeline, the detail of the two knives, all slot into place, and we have a story. But there is no meaning. These events haven’t been tied together by explanation, or understanding. We know the order, but not the reasoning. We’ve learnt how De Grood killed those poor students after spending the day celebrating the end of the school year, but will we ever know why? No answer emerges from a dredging of his Facebook profile for photos and ideology, though speculation clings to a lyric he posted a few days before the act.
Dread and the fugitive mind- the world needs a hero.
A gobbet from the world needs a hero by American thrash metal band Megadeth.
There are no real answers though, and no solace to the 10 parents, or De Groode’s own family. His father, a 33 year veteran of the Calgary Police force, expressed horror stricken condolences to the families from behind short lived anonymity. But Calgary isn’t a big enough town for him to be anything other than the father of “The Bermuda Shorts Day Killer”.
Individually, those touched by Tuesday’s massacre will never recover. But the blow which seemed at first to strike the town itself, and the university which lost six students to an unexplained shambles? When an institution feels a tragedy as violently as Calgary University took the Bermuda Shorts Day Massacre, how does it ever move past it? How does a body so large progress through the grieving process?
“We’re going to get through this” says Nenshi, “It’s what we do”.
Visiting a contemporary art exhibition has always left me feeling slightly perplexed. As an art history student devoted to Symbolism and Post-Impressionism I don’t often feel inclined to explore the unchartered regions of contemporary art practice. Volunteering at the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, however, has forced me to experience art on a whole different level. Being stuck for hours in one dark room while looking at a video slowed down so much that it seems like it’s never going to end truly changes your perception of what the term ‘art’ might mean.
Usually, people come into the galleries, glance about, stop at a video or two and then leave (the only exception seems to be Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne’s exhibition at Govanhill Baths which became a sanctuary for couples in love and stoners who spend hours on end in the bouncing castle known as Love Box). Contemporary art festivals seem as fast-paced as our everyday lives, governed by a schedule almost bursting at the seams. I’ve seen people who actually raced through the floors of the galleries as if they were hoping to win a prize for the most art objects seen in one day. What I discovered is that, on the contrary, art reveals itself to you slowly. If you’re forced to look at the exhibition for more than twenty minutes you begin to notice recurrent themes and contradictions; your mind creates a map of the gallery space, with the meanings lurking in the corners.
This is what happened to me in Charlotte Prodger’s rooms at McLellan Galleries. At first glance the space looks uninviting, deliberately made hard to navigate through by the artist. One day, I was standing in the smaller room feeling quite tired and uninterested. Progder’s voice hovered and echoed around me, recounting the names of Youtube users who have uploaded films of their pet bullterriers in a sort of ‘trance,’ which apparently is quite common to their breed. The show had its effect on me as well – I was mesmerized and almost did not wish to move. The format of the works is set against the content: something in Progder’s voice tells you to relax, but your body is physically unable to because of the claustrophobic arrangement of cables, TVs and speakers.
It is worth spending more time while at the shows because, ultimately, you’re not going there to see objects, or even art in general, but a person, the artist. Getting to know a person takes considerably more time than appreciating a 5-mintue video. In some ways or others, all four artists exhibited at McLellan Galleries reveal a lot about themselves in their respective shows. I had a chance to meet both Prodger and Avery Singer, whose monochromatic paintings occupy the central room upstairs. Prodger’s pedantic nature reveals itself in the care with which she arranged the cables and objects in the rooms. Singer’s shyness is concealed behind the scale of her works and also the impersonal technique she uses: she designs her works in a 3D modelling program called SketchUp and then transfers them onto the huge canvas. Hudinilson Jr’s show in the other room upstairs feels personal for other reasons; due to his recent death, the exhibition of his personal objects and collages preserved in his diaries indeed renders the room into a sort of a funereal shrine (if you look very closely, you can even see an unidentifiable hair stuck to one of the objects on the podium next to Hudinilson’s glittery name).
Whilst the Brazilian artist was primarily concerned with the body and its representation in art, Jordan Wolfson’s exhibition on the lower level, on the other hand, feels like a journey through the artist’s mind. Darkness envelops most of the rooms and strangely familiar sounds can be heard: yes, it is indeed Beyoncé’s ‘Sweet Dreams,’ only slowed down and made to sound as if it was ripped out from her throat by some hellish creatures. Like Prodger, Wolfson also invades the visitors’ privacy. You are forced to remove your shoes before watching Wolfson’s adventures as a gay punk in New York in Raspberry Poser. Then you go on to listen to a lover’s exchange in a room called by the volunteers ‘the kitchen,’ tucked away behind all the other rooms like an unwanted memory. Lyricism of some videos is shattered by vulgarity of others. It feels like the artist is staring at you through the eyes of the different personas he assumes in his videos, constantly judging you.
Time stands still in McLellan Galleries, a building which was abandoned for years and now reclaimed by the artist community. Having spent countless hours in its murky rooms I feel both compelled to return and slightly terrified of seeing the artworks which I know so well by now, and which seem like ghosts haunting me with questions I can’t answer.
Words by Natalia Masewicz
What strange secret made rich, beautiful, tempestuous Bella Baxter irresistible to the poor Scottish medical student Archie McCandless? Was it her myseterious origin in the home of his monstrous friend Godwin Baxter, the genius whose voice could perforate eardrums? This story of true love and scientific daring whirls the reader from the private operating-threatre of late Victorian Glasgow through aristocratic casinos, low-life Alexandria and a Parisian bordello, reaching an interrupted climax in a Scottish church.
What strange secret made beautiful, tempestuous, Texan, Katie Ryder irrestible to the English literature student Jakob Hofmann. Was it her mysterious origin in the USA? This story of true love and scientific daring whirls from the gurning heights of Glasogw’s SW3 to the pastures of the Botanics and Kelvingrove, slurping half ‘n’ halfs in the Arlington and dunking baguettes in Naked Soup.
Veteran Romantic Jakob Hofman shares his 7 tips for the couple trying to make it long distance:
1) Skype Sex
Urban Dictionary calls it: (noun) the act of performing sexual intercourse, acts, or favours using skype including, but not limited to the following: stripping, masturbating, dirty talk, licking the camera, licking anything, food sex, inserting objects into body orifices.
We say: if you know a couple living apart you know a couple who spend a night or two a week making sweaty, pixelated one handed love to themselves. Embrace it. Open some wine and see if you can get into it. Dim the lights, find your best angles, and prepare for the crushing loneliness that accompanies an E-climax. Before long the metallic tinkle of an incoming Skype call will have a positively Pavlovian effect on you. And be assured, we all do it.
2) Be Resourceful.
Crossing Canada for the long weekend can be an exhaustive endeavour for the time poor and generally poor romantic abroad. Between the monopolised Canadian flights at $300 (£180) a pop and the fifteen hour Greyhound (Megabus), more conventional ways of travel might seem unattainable. Consider instead posting on Craigslist (GumTree) asking for a ride.
Be warned- this modus operandi isn’t for the faint hearted or unarmed. The only vetting process to post or reply on Craigslist is access to something than can access the internet. A car can seem like a very small, steel, speedy box once a confirmed nutter gets behind the wheel.
3) Adopt a Mentor/Buddy system.
The internet (I’m looking at you eHow, Buzzfeed) is useless for advice; Bunch of monkeys on typewriters telling you to make eye contact and spellcheck your CV. Instead locate and adhere to a couple who’ve run the long distance gauntlet and come up smiling. They’ll know the fears, insecurities, likely catalysts for loneliness, and tricks. Try your local immigration detention centre, prison, or oil rig.
Failing this, read a book about love long distance. You might feel alone in your halls or flat, but the bookshops of Glasgow are packed with lovers kept cruelly apart. Try Heloise and Abelard, where better to start than the letters of a castrated 12th century monk to the scholar turned nun he seduced and impregnated?
4) The Man on the Ground
A you-positive friend of flatmate is an essential tool in the arsenal of the Long Distance Romantic. Planning to surprise your loved one with the time honoured Naked Cake Jump routine? You’ll need a set of keys beneath the mat and half a dozen eggs picked up. Have an 8 hour window to fill while your SO is at an unshirkable shift? You’ll probably want someone you can have a few beers with in her city.
5) Keep it off Facebook.
The Digital Wedding Ring of a relationship status is invaluable to indicate takenness and being uninterested. Leave the Social Network side of your relationship there. You check in at JFK, you check in at O’ Hare, you wake up at DFW. Nobody wants to see it. A youtube link to a song we can ALL enjoy? Fine. A genuinely hilarious photo? Acceptable. A status telling your 748 “friends” it’s been a year? Revolting. A cutesy faux arguement splayed across the ether like a petulant Jackson Pollock? Nauseating.
#PDA #Tacky #Notspecifictolongdistancebutgoodtogetoffmychest #Youknowwhoyouare
6) Because we’re better than you- and we know it.
Hygiene/grooming aside, there are few upshots to seeing the love of your life once a month. Make one of them the legitimate arrogance that you can make it work transatlatically. Don’t be bitter that your pals get to see one another every single day- just know that what you’re in is…better.
“Oh so your girlfriend ALSO studies medicine and lives just the other side of Byres Rd? Tell me more about how she’s The One”
You know its meant to be when the dream is same same citizenship and everything is striving to keep you apart. Stay strong. Oh and don’t piss away the snatches of time you find to spend together.
It’s everybody’s favorite time of the year; Halloween, the season where everyone’s entitled to one good scare. Below is a list of some of the most essential celluloid scare-flicks that cinema has to offer. Beware though, this is not a list of the greatest horror films ever made but rather a guide to get you in the mood for Halloween. I picked the lucky number 13 and chose the films that I feel best invoke the true spirit of All Hallows Eve so sit back, cuddle up, get some popcorn (and a few beers) and enjoy these nightly terrors. Oh, and have a happy Halloween!
13. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983, Dir: Jack Clayton).
OK, so this is a children’s film from Disney but hear me out… This twisted little tale is adapted from the Ray Bradbury classic of the same name and tells the story of two little boys who are confronted with evil itself in the form of a strange and dark travelling carnival. Set in October, Something Wicked is full of gorgeous autumn imagery and feels so right for Halloween viewing. Although this on is suitable for kids, it has some truly chilling moments – watch out for the room-full-of-tarantulas scene!
12. The Amityville Horror (1979, Dir: Stuart Rosenberg).
“For God’s Sake Get Out!” exclaims the poster for this classic 70’s scare machine. James Brolin (father of Josh Brolin), Margot Kidder (Black Christmas) and Rod Steiger star in this creepy chiller about a family who move into a house with an extremely violent past and that appears to “have memories.” If you think you know the trends of the haunted house movie it’s because Amityville got there first. Be prepared for some of the best jump-scares in horror history! Amityville is set in the autumn too so although it has nothing to do with Halloween, it will certainly get you in the mood.
11. Silver Bullet (1985, Dir: Daniel Attias).
An adaptation from the Stephen King cannon, Silver Bullet is about a boy who is determined to prove that a werewolf is causing the grisly murders in his hometown and armed with a high-speed motor wheelchair he sets out to do battle with the howling fiend. This one is great fun and stars The Lost Boys’ Corey Haim and Twin Peaks’ Everett McGill.
10. May (2002, Dir: Lucky McKee).
This is a much underrated little independent gem and concerns a girl called May who is trying to piece together her life after a traumatizing childhood. Poor May just wants to interact and connect with those around her but her method of making friends soon becomes deadly and violent. This is as emotional as it is horrific and with noticeable nods to directors such as Dario Argento, it really packs a punch in the final 10 minutes. There is a great climax on Halloween night too! If you like this then check out McKee’s other films The Woods and The Woman, highly recommended!
9. The Blair Witch Project (1999, Dir: Daniel Myrik and Eduardo Sanchez).
This film needs no introduction – the film that defined (but didn’t start) the found footage sub-genre revolves around 3 student filmmakers who venture into the woods to shoot a documentary about the local legend of the Blair Witch. With each night something sinister tampers with their gear, makes strange noises in the woods around them and leaves piles of rocks outside their tents. Is it a person warding them off? Is it a rabid animal? Or is it the Blair Witch herself? You’ll just have to watch it to find out but be prepared for a white knuckle ride all the way to the nerve-shattering finale. This one is genuinely creepy, I strongly advise you watch this in the dark.
8. Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981, Dir: Frank De Felitta).
An angry mob hunt down a mentally challenged man named Bubba – a man suspected of killing a little girl – and exact justice in the most unforgiving and harrowing way. Years later the members of the mob are hacked off one by one by what appears to be a walking scarecrow. This was a TV movie so is low on gore but heavy on atmosphere and inventive kills and jump-scares. The lovely rural location lends this film to be a treat for the eyes, especially around this time of year.
7. Night of the Demons (1988, Dir: Kevin Tenny).
OK, if you like your Halloween flicks trashy but fun this is the one for you. The set-up is thus; a group of annoying teens go to an old (supposedly haunted) abandoned funeral parlor to celebrate Halloween, they have a séance, awaken a vengeful demon, they die in a variety of different ways and come back as demons. Be prepared for some cheesy lines, gratuitous nudity and sex, gore and DEMONS! This one is perfect for a late Friday-nighter accompanied with plenty of friends, beer and pizza… enjoy. P.S. This one has spawned a few sequels which are just as fun and a really decent remake in 2009.
6. Satan’s Little Helper (2004, Dir: Jeff Lieberman).
Jeff Lieberman directed a number of underrated horror classics in the 70’s/80’s such as Squirm, Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn. Staying under the radar for a number of years he made this little low budget horror/black comedy which is about a boy who befriends a man dressed up for Hallowen as Satan, the main character in the boy’s favourite video game. Unbeknownst to the boy, Satan is actually a serial killer who is out slaughtering people under the guise of a Halloween costume. This is a strange little film but ultimately enjoyable and darkly comedic. If you can get over some clunky acting, this is a great celebration of all things Halloween. I strongly urge you to check out Lieberman’s horror oeuvre.
5. The American Scream (2012, Dir: Michael Stephenson).
Michael Stephenson isn’t just “the child actor from Troll 2,” he’s also an astounding filmmaker. The only documentary in this list, The American Scream follows the trials and tribulations of 3 families in Massachusetts who spend 365 days a year (and all their
money) preparing their houses for Halloween. More commonly known as “House Haunters,” these families dedicate their lives to making one night memorable for their local community. An extremely fun (and at times emotional) look into the spookiest night of the year and the people who love it.
4. Trick ‘r Treat (2007, Dir: Michael Dougherty).
From the team that brought you X-Men and Superman Returns comes a modern take on the anthology or portmanteau format and a celebration of all things Halloween. Set on one Halloween night we see 4 interwoven stories; a serial killer story, a Red Riding Hood tale, a creepy prank gone wrong and an old man’s confrontation with a serious trick or treater. This film is a lot of fun and is guaranteed to get you in the mood for Halloween.
3. Halloween (1978, John Carpenter).
Another film that needs no introduction, the original stalk-and-slash fright Flick starring Donald Pleasance and Jamie Lee Curtis. Halloween was an independent, low budget labor of love that kick started the screen careers of legendary genre director John Carpenter and screenwriter/producer Debra Hill. Although not the first ever slasher film (this is arguably Psycho, Peeping Tom or Black Christmas) it is the most imitated and is a staple of the modern horror movie. Halloween is simple but effective; a group of young babysitters are stalked and slashed one Halloween night by an escaped psychotic murderer called Michael Myres (credited as The Shape). This is a classic horror flick that remains as scary and suspenseful as it ever did.
2. Ghostwatch (1992, Dir: Lesley Manning).
After watching this you will forever shudder at the mention of Mr Pipes… Ghostwatch was originally broadcast by the BBC as a TV drama Halloween special but was subsequently banned due to too many complaints and causing widespread panic across many homes in the UK. Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith and Craig Charles all star themselves, presenting a real-time paranormal investigation. With Sarah Greene reporting live from the home of a family tormented by the aforementioned spectre Mr Pipes, Parkinson leading debates and interviews with paranormal researchers and skeptics, Mike Smith manning the phone lines with calls from the public retelling their own spooky experiences and Craig Charles out on the street, tensions rise as the people you know and trust find themselves in some truly nerve wracking situations you will not forget! Ghostwatch really was a one of a kind phenomenon and should be watched every year in true tradition of Halloween.
1. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Dir: Tommy Lee Wallace).
Yes this is the 3rd installment in the Halloween franchise but no it doesn’t feature Michael Myres, but let’s forget that for a second. Season of the Witch is a stand alone movie that was meant to mark the beginning of the franchise broadening out but the idea didn’t catch on. What we are left with is a true piece of terror cinema that captures a dark side to Halloween. Starring Tom Atkins (aka the nicest man in horror), Season of the Witch tells the tale of a Halloween mask making company called Silver Shamrock who mass produce masks that turn children into TV addicts, ultimately making their heads dissolve into a squirming mass of insects and reptiles. This is a great shocker that almost doubles up as a sci-fi horror too and is so Halloween-y it’ll make your head dissolves! I feel this film never gets the praise it deserves but it has recently had a cult following. It also has a song that will stick in your head forever, I guarantee it.
– Sam Massey
Sam runs the Cult and Horror film discussion group Glasgore. The group meets on the first Wednesday of every month in the Glasgow GFT at 6.30pm.
Glasgow’s largest annual LGBT celebration will take place again this weekend as Glasgow Pride comes to town.
The festivities will begin with the annual parade around the city centre with Glasgow Green as the epicentre. Many attendees will be standing in solidarity with the international LGBT community in protest against Russia’s recent displays of homophobic atrocity. Pride in the Green is the place to be through the day providing the biggest entertainment in the form of Heather Small, with a variety of other stages and activities.
The weekend will also unify smaller student lead organisations pushing for equality in Glasgow. Local queer collectives TYCI Lock Up Your Daughters, Blitz are joining together with monthly gay night Birdcage for Alternative Pride Party with Floyd at Saint Judes on Saturday night.
Stand up and support equality this weekend!
Pride is just around the corner – an event that alleges to promote equality and diversity but to what extent is that really the case? I’ve been left wondering about the diversity of Pride and who it’s really there to serve.
The run up to the event has not been without controversy this year. Glasgow, as well as Manchester and Leeds Pride, had booked a duo called Queens of Pop and subsequently pulled them from the lineup after receiving a lot of backlash. Queens of Pop, for those of you who are blissfully unaware, are an internet act who parody various celebrities and are best enjoyed if you both hate women and are a racist. I feel like maybe someone should have raised questions before booking an act that thought parodying Will.I.Am by dressing up as Black and White Minstrels while making stereotypically racist jokes was an acceptable form of entertainment. When you’re staging an event that aims to promote acceptance and understanding for one group it’s more effective when you’re not at the same time engaging in behaviour that is discriminatory towards another. Yes, they pulled the act, but what the booking exemplifies is the fact that Pride is largely geared towards white gay males.
Take a look at this weekend’s lineup – almost all of the acts seem to have been selected based on their appeal to gay men, there’s little for anyone else. Of course, Pride is more than a stage and a couple of acts, it kicks off with a parade that marches through part of the city. A diverse range of groups take part and it’s fantastic – this is when the atmosphere is at it’s best, but that doesn’t seem to be maintained throughout the day. Pride particularly struggles to be inclusive of bisexual and trans* folk. Last year I can remember thinking it was a bit inappropriate that the host was making jokes at the expense of bisexuals. I don’t care who it’s coming from, I like my biphobia non-existent, particularly at an event that claims to be educating against the discrimination of bisexuals.
One of the aims of Pride is to promote the acceptance of LGBT people in this country; parading through city centres is a way of asserting our presence in society. But perhaps we should be looking a bit closer to home when we’re thinking about acceptance. There are so many problems within our community that Pride could be tackling – biphobia, transphobia and misogyny to name but three. If we want society to accept us we need to accept one another and a zero-tolerance attitude towards any kind of bigotry needs to be adopted. There are different kinds of discrimination – the discrimination I face as a queer woman is not the same as what someone may face because they are a transman, for example. The discrimination I do face, however, should make me aware of the fact that discrimination in general is pretty awful and that I do not want to be a part in its perpetration in any shape or form. There seems to be a lot of reluctance when it comes to acknowledging the issues in our own backyard but it’s about time for hands to go up; you most certainly do not need to be heterosexual in order to be a bigot.
It’s not as though there isn’t plenty we could be doing to help those groups in our community who are often sidelined. Let’s have a look at equal marriage, which has been a cause for celebration recently. Are you aware of the spousal veto? It’s a clause that means a married person who is transitioning and wishes to gain their Gender Recognition Certificate must have their partner’s permission in order for the marriage to continue. The
problem here is that unsupportive spouses (and half of trans* people report a negative reaction from their partner) can dig their heels in and make a divorce difficult – and until either permission is given or a divorce is granted a person can not gain their full GRC. Our community should be concerned about the welfare of trans* people and it’s not a victory for us all when we’ve left someone behind. This isn’t just a failing of the of the government, it’s a failing of the very people who have been campaigning for marriage equality.
What do I want from Pride? I want a real sense of community and that means working on stamping out the bigotry that is detrimental to it. I want everyone to enjoy celebrating their own diversity without facing negativity during an event that is supposedly for us all. I also want us to get a little bit more angry. Let’s get serious for a moment: LGBT people are more likely to suffer from depression, they are more likely to attempt suicide (the estimated rate among trans* people is enough to make you cry), they are more likely to be sexually abused, they are more likely to face bullying at school and in the workplace – and that’s just for starters. Educating is part of Pride’s remit so let’s educate ourselves and get more political.
Pride is a platform with a lot of potential for doing good, but if we’re going to maximise that we first we have a bit of work to do.
University of Glasgow Narrative Non-fiction Writing Competition
We’re inviting you to submit pieces inspired by any research at the University of Glasgow, past or
present, from the sciences to the humanities. So you might write a personal essay about the origins
of Scotland’s oldest museum, or maybe you’re more interested in writing a moving memoir on
ultrasound, developed at Glasgow University in 1956. The competition is open to all and we are
also running free writing workshops in Glasgow on narrative non-fiction to get people started,
along with monthly social evenings where researchers, writers and readers can meet and discuss
their interests over a glass of wine. More details can be found at
Give it a go; we’re looking forward to reading what you come up with!
The riots that have electrified the city of Istanbul for four days now continue to endure, despite heavy police retaliation. What began as a peaceful protest to prevent the redevelopment of Gezi park in Taksim Square has now escalated into a nation-wide demonstration against the current Government.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been repeatedly criticised for his dogmatic influence over the country based on grassroots Islamic ideals, and his latest staunch refusal to listen to protesters has ignited anger even among those who had voted him into his third term as Prime Minister. In his address to the country on the 2nd June he referred to the protesters as “terrorists” and has been quoted as saying “every four years we hold elections and this nation makes its choice”. Despite the democratic election Erdoğan seems to have forgotten that a democracy constitutes the decisions of several members of a party, yet it is shockingly clear that Erdoğan holds the majority of the power, and indeed earns more than any other politician in the world at $989,000 a month, although Wikileaks claims that his earnings may be far higher. It would not be a far stretch of the imagination to envisage Erdoğan as the next Putin and Turkish President Abdullah Gül serving as Medvedev, however in stark opposition to the Prime Minister, Gül has defended the people’s right to protest stating: “democracy does not mean elections alone. There can be nothing more natural for the expression of various views, various situations and objections through a variety of ways, besides elections.”
Despite Gül calling for a peaceful end to the violence and a more mature handling of the situation, suggestive of mishandling on both sides, Erdoğan has continued to belittle the extent of the riots claiming that he would not ask permission for the redevelopment plans from “a few looters”. It has emerged that the destruction of Gezi Park is not only to free up valuable real estate for a shopping mall, but also includes the construction of a Mosque, a symbolic representation of Neo-Ottomanism and Turkey’s new incentive under the Justice and Development Party to engage with areas previously under Ottoman rule in the Middle East.
Although the riots are being referred to as the ‘Turkish Spring’ in reference to the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings of 2010, this would be a false representation. The events in Turkey are more an uprising against fascism than an Imperialist fueled uprising against Islam, which in such countries as Egypt were conducted by armed extremist groups. The protests in Istanbul began as a reaction against heavy handed police retaliation in Gezi Park, where peaceful environmental protesters were viciously attacked in their tents during a dawn raid. The nature of the events has magnified into a nationwide protest against an increasingly authoritarian government, with anti-government demonstrations appearing across Turkey including Erdoğan’s hometown Rize.
With cries rising from the crowd of ‘shoulder to shoulder against fascism’ the riots are not as complicated as Erdoğan has suggested. In an address on 3rd June he encouraged the view that the riots have a politically subversive agenda, stating “citizens should not be part of this ‘game’”; a ‘game’ that alleges the opposition party, the People’s Republican Party, are involved in actuating the riots for their own gain.The demonstrations, however, are obviously not instigated by a few extremist “marginalized groups” as Erdoğan has stated; it is the result of a highly pressurised problem that has finally discovered a fissure out of which to escape. A large part of the population are fearful of being forcibly dragged into a theocratic state run by a “Sunni Islamist tyrant”, as one source expressed. As proudly stated by the men on the streets as well as by Erdoğan himself, albeit with different intent; “this is no longer about trees, it is about ideology”.
As the fourth night of the demonstrations descend on the city, Taksim Square remains occupied and the streets are a cacophony of clanging pots and pans and car horns which can be heard from the other side of the Bosphorus. Despite heavy police intervention including tear gas canisters and high pressure water jets fired directly at the crowd just a day before, people are still resisting against what is being called a Dictatorship. Although Erdoğan conceded that “there have been some mistakes, extremism in police response” he also insisted that “the police were there yesterday, they are there today, and they will be there tomorrow.”
It’s that time of year again when the only thing to get us through the next few months of dire weather and exams is the promise of adventures to sunny horizons. But for those who dare to venture beyond Europe to less developed countries, there are things to consider that often we’d rather not think about. When tourists opt to visit countries experiencing political unrest, tyranny and extreme poverty, do they bear any responsibility for contributing to and legitimising questionable regimes?
Lupine Travel is one of many tour operators offering trips to North Korea, with a four-day visit costing £499. Their website makes no attempt to gloss over the reputation of the isolated state. Instead, it uses it as a selling point, “the Secret State. The Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea. Whatever you wish to call it, it is a place like no other, completely shut off from the outside world since 1953.” Considering the extreme poverty that North Koreans face and the government’s recent nuclear testing, referencing a country’s political status to sell holidays seems rather unsavoury. While it may not be our duty to tackle irresponsible governments, tourists who visit North Korea can be seen to be condoning Kim Jong-Un’s rule. It seems impossible to visit a country without benefitting its government financially. What’s to stop money spent by tourists being used to finance missile experiments and other questionable projects? The revenue that tourists generate in North Korea could surely be better spent by charities seeking to help North Korean refugees. The same can be said of any country that faces tyranny or poverty.
On the other hand, it’s possible that the money brought in by tourists could help to mitigate the effects of economic sanctions on North Korean citizens. In a country that does not rely on tourism economically, perhaps it is only the people who suffer, rather than the ruling elites who live luxuriously despite being responsible for North Korea’s political isolation. Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has encouraged foreigners to travel to Burma for this reason, saying that they can choose to go about their trip in the right way, supporting ordinary citizens and not the government that oppresses them.
This poses the question of how to travel ethically – a relatively recent trend in tourism. Go Differently, an ethical travel company, cites small things such as not buying objects made from endangered plants or animal shell, and making the effort to support locally produced goods, as vital to ethical tourism. Other issues of importance include declining to ride poorly treated elephants or pet drugged tigers in Thailand. Choosing tours led by locals when you’re out there, as well as using homestays or smaller hotels are further steps in the right direction.
On a larger scale however, this might not be enough. There have been recent claims by The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice that some attractions around the country are linked financially or politically to those allegedly involved in violations of human rights. This means that a visit to a National Park may not be as innocent as expected. Local people are often displaced so that their land can be used for tourism. This has been the case most recently in Tanzania, where last month the Minister of Tourism announced the opening of a “wildlife corridor” – a 1500 square metre land grab that will displace thousands of Maasai people and deprive them of essential grazing land and water for their cattle. Problems like these are highlighted by the charity Tourism Concern, which campaigns for “a world free from exploitation in which all parties involved in tourism benefit equally.” Not only do they raise money and awareness of their cause, they specifically target ministers in less-developed countries where unregulated tourism leads to problems for local people, such as the loss of access to clean water.
It seems somewhat unfair to say that just by visiting a place one supports the actions of hostile regimes. It’s fair to say that our own government does not do enough to discourage foreign powers from oppressing citizens. Returning to the example of North Korea, there is also the possibility that for those living in states that rely on censorship to maintain control, tourism provides a rare opportunity to make contact (however minor) with the outside world. Perhaps the biggest change we can make is to just pause and think, and make the effort to change the small things that we support while abroad. In particular, we can plan trips personally rather than travelling in organised groups. A good step is also to pay for things in the foreign country instead of through a travel agent at home.
The real problem for those who want to avoid unethical travel could even be before you leave home – air travel. The effects of the decision to take long-haul flights are far easier to gauge than attempts to make small changes in foreign countries. What can help is increased information about potentially unethical aspects of travelling. By all means go but do your homework and consider the consequences of your actions whilst there.
There’s been an unfamiliar new addition to my university life throughout this All-American year; the car. The open road has long characterised the values and soul of the states. The freedom to “take off”, to get in a self contained machine and drive, to roll the windows down, in complete control of the interior, and to reach out into the warm breeze, almost touching the tumble weeds following the hot tires down the desert highway.
The journey is not quite so romantic and picturesque when taken around a Greek style, doll-house like campus, but the car – a machine almost entirely cut out of my student life in Glasgow – has suddenly merged lanes with my life. This was never more evident than last week with the coming of the ultimate road-trip holiday; spring break. Running, open-eyed in my new blue florescent ‘sneakers’ – as I often do to spy on the social wildlife and have a nosy at the tree-lined frat houses – the streets were lined with boys in khaki shorts, holding crates of Bud lights and Daddy’s credit card, girls in short summer dresses around their arms. They were all packing up their oversized pick-up trucks and four wheel drives. Cars so big they towered over my ever slowing pace as I gazed in awe and slight terror at these gas-guzzling machines all heading to the beach.
Sitting in a library which is becoming both worryingly and quite pleasantly more and more like a home to me than anywhere else, I am alerted to the terrible irony of what I’m doing. Here I am, all the way across the pond, in a place that only ever brings to mind the words “Republican” and “fried” – both of which I never cease to be brought to both unashamed laughter and tears by – reading Kingsly Amis’ 1954 novel “Lucky Jim”. I have come all this way to take a class in modern English literature. Not just modern English literature, but to read a novel that directly critiques the British academic and intellectual structuring of UK universities. A structure that I have just left in search of bigger fish to fry –no pun intended. Of course, I’m exercising a little sarcasm here. Finding an outlet for it here has proved rather difficult. It usually lands on some pale faced sorority girl with perfectly pruned blonde locks in symmetrical layers, who turns away from me looking unamused and usually slightly offended by the comments I have just made.
It’s not all that bad, that I actually have to read books written by English authors, authors who make up the canon of some of our more praise-worthy exports to the rest of the world. And it’s not all that bad, because alongside my disgruntlement of no longer being enclosed by my own case study of Amis’ novel, I have been taking a class entitled simply “Into the Wild”.
The Trans Siberian Railway spans the largest land mass on Earth, officially starting in Moscow and finishing in either Vladivostok, Russia’s most eastern city, or in Beijing by passing south through Mongolia via the Trans Mongolian line. Intrigued by the possibility of travelling from central Europe to North-Eastern China solely by land, we chose the latter.
After a few days in Berlin it was time to board our train to St. Petersburg. As we had bought our tickets through DB Bahn we made the mistake of presuming that our train would be German and thus, to some extent, English speaking. However the “Vash Passport!” demand that greeted us as we boarded the train told a different story.We quickly identified the speaker as our provodnitsa, the term for the infamously strict female train attendants, and waited for the journey to start. But the consequences of our linguistic presumptions soon posed a large problem. As it was a 36-hour journey we had naively presumed there would be some way to buy food on board the train. And that may have been the case, but despite our Russian phrase book and best attempts at body language (something not really understood in Russia) the fact that it was an exclusively Russian speaking train meant we never found out. Thankfully we had brought some basic supplies with us but we still arrived in St. Petersburg a day and a half later very tired and somewhat malnourished.
The first time you arrive in Russia it is a strange experience. As a westerner, the familiar faces of the Russian people are juxtaposed with the completely unfamiliar language, alphabet and culture – it is like you have stumbled upon a lost world or a parallel universe. Equally, the first night in Russia is also one to remember. Or not, as the case will most likely be. After getting ushered out of our hostel by an eager and extremely friendly staff member, the power of the Russian shot measurement was unleashed, and once the initial hit of the famous soviet juice was eased by a tactical slice of lemon, one shot soon became somewhere well above ten. Normally spontaneous night outs are relatively harmless, but spending my first night in St. Petersburg blind drunk was not the safest choice and it was only by some form of divine intervention that we woke up safely in our hostel the next morning. As you can imagine the next day’s plans were not quite as punctual as we had hoped but the glory of St. Petersburg, often referred to as the “Venice of the North”, is not one to be missed and we wandered the lengthy Nevsky Prospect and enjoyed the fantastic architecture for the next couple of days.
Why is traveling so alluring? Perhaps it’s the excitement of departing from the routine of our daily lives, or of experiencing things previously unimagined; it’s something we all dream about at one point or another. With globalisation propelled to the extent that a journey to the ends of the Earth is not only affordable, but mostly achievable in under a day by plane, the idea of the truly remote seems to be a myth of the past. London based photographer and filmmaker Christo Geoghegan spoke to GUM about what travel means to him, and how he goes about capturing the lives of those who live in some of the last isolated places on Earth.
- What prompted you to become a travel photographer, any specific instance where you felt you knew this was the thing for you?
I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as a travel photographer. Whilst almost all the work I do is indeed abroad, the basis of the work isn’t about the notion of travel. I’m not trying to capture the essence of a country, but document a particular group of people living within it. I spend around 10 months to a year researching and organising a story I’m working on, so it’s very much less about travelling around and photographing the country as a whole. At the moment, I’m very much dedicating my work on communities that are marginalised in some way, or those whose way of life is under threat.
The reason why I choose to work further away from home is not because I am in search of the exotic other, but because I feel that an outsiders perspective, without internal bias, allows me to document and photograph in a more well rounded manner.
- You’re on your way to Mongolia on Thursday to continue your project on the Kazakh nomads, what made you decide to return?
Last time I went to visit the Kazakhs in Western Mongolia, I was only there for a month. It gave me a decent amount of time to give an outsiders account of their way of life, but still was only enough time to scratch the surface. I’m hoping my second visit will be able to start doing just that. I want to be able to tell more personal stories from the nomadic way of life, rather than the brief overview I managed to photograph last time. I’m also hoping to start work on a short film out there. So this is the second of many visits to come!
- What has been your favourite experience whilst traveling with the nomads, and anything particular that you’ve learnt?
Without a doubt the sheer kindness I’m greeted with every day. I found from travelling a lot and from working all over the world, that those with the least, are willing to share the most. I would travel to the far corners of the Kazakh state of Mongolia and would always be ushered into houses, thrust a large meal in front of my face, and poured an endless flow of tea. That sense of community and willingness to help strangers is just something that’s been lost in the West; everyone is so guarded.
Continue reading “Christo Geoghegan: Behind the Lens”
Just before Christmas the Rubix boys put on the fifth installment of what is becoming one of Glasgow’s staple nights. With past acts including South London Ordnance, Joonipah, Elphino, and staple Point To C; Rubix is the night for those who are particularly enamoured with the cutting edge of electronic music. Subclub was forcefully launched into the festive spirit with lashing of UV lights and rubix cubes hanging from the ceiling, the night proved to be the final assault against those pesky exam blues. GUM caught up with newcomer Dauwd at the afterparty to chat about music, his heritage, and his unwavering obsession with Dylan Thompson.
Interviewing on a sunken sofa surrounded by party goers I begin by asking the inevitable first question; how does Glasgow compare to other cities he’s played in? Without hesitation he says “The Glasgow crowd is really good, they’re boss!”, a statement that reflects the pull the city has on similar musicians, such as James Rand who played at Rubix in May last year. With friendly rivalry in the air at the mention of Rand, Dauwd exclaims “he’s so shit, he’s just like Skrillex”. The musicians met when doing the rounds of the Liverpool club circuit, playing at institutions such as Chibuku Shake Shake, where Dauwd played a supporting act back in October.
A relative newcomer on the electronic music scene Dauwd Al Hilali has taken it by storm, with roots in Iraq, a childhood in Wales, he now oscillates between London and Liverpool. His first EP ‘What’s There’ was released on Pictures Music in November 2011, while his reputation continues to be solidified by excellent live performances and a few strategic placements on compilations. One such compilation is Adult Swim’s ‘Unclassified’ which includes the likes of Kode9 and Lukid, as well as a recent mix he curated for 22 Tracks, where samples of Andy Stott are used to great success.
Going out with friends, grocery shopping, the odd takeaway and that ski trip coming up…the costs whilst at uni can easily mount up and in the lead up to Christmas things can seem pretty tight. However, there are ways to make a bit of extra cash without a huge deal of effort, and free from the commitments of that bar or supermarket job.
Sell Stuff: The perfect way to de-clutter your digs, earn some money and make someone the happy owner of second-hand stuff too! There are designated websites where you can sell DVDs and CDs and, if you’re hoping for a new iPod or phone for Christmas, these can be flogged too.
Today, ideas about environmentalism are nothing ground-breaking or unheard of. They’ve been adopted into our mind-set of political and social consciousness to the point that every other advert appeals to our sensibility of ‘green living’. While many of us will prescribe to a vague environmental principle, we still aren’t questioning the most environmentally harmful decision we make: flying.
Aviation is a growing industry and according to governmental advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions in the country. Both current projects and plans for airport expansion across the UK are a very real threat to aims to meet reduced carbon targets by 2050. Pitched as an economic solution, BAA’s recent advertising campaign claimed that ‘The road to economic recovery isn’t a road, it’s a flightpath’. Thus, airport expansion appears to be favoured and financially backed by policy makers: Boris Johnson’s proposal to develop an airport on the Thames Estuary is estimated to cost £50 billion and plans to accommodate 150 million passengers per year. While this may be one of the most far-fetched proposals on the table, the list of UK airports undergoing and potentially embarking on expansion is lengthy.
Short-haul flying (anything under three hours) bears the weight of responsibility for much of the increase in demand. Virgin have announced their new domestic flights from London to Manchester to be the first of many routes, keeping up competition with BA. The majority of fuel is burnt during take-offs and landings, meaning that short haul flights are even more disproportionate in terms of fuel to distance and more ridiculous compared to emission levels of travel alternatives. Domestic flying is ten times as carbon intensive as train use before we even consider the difference in altitude.
On the 10th of October GUM were asked to fly down to the heart of London to see the film that would kick off the acclaimed London Film Festival, the 56th year the British Film Institute have thrown the city into movie-mania.
That film was Tim Burtons new 3D stop-motion masterpiece Frankenweenie, a story about a boy and his dog taken to macabre heights by the ex- Disney animators’ notoriously bizarre mind. Heavily based, as the title might suggest, on Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel Frankenstein, it’s modern animated counterpart is a surprising return to the early days of Burton and his 1984 short of the same title. It is interesting to see how the world has changed that Disney are now wholeheartedly endorsing the flick after sacking Burton for the same unconventional animations over twenty years ago.
For those of us who grew up on a staple of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more recently the likes of Corpse Bride, will not be strangers to the wonders of stop motion animation- but to see it in 3D and in black and white was a new experience altogether. The films plot rotates around Victor, a young, gaunt boy in typical tortured Burton fashion, and his dog Sparky who gets hit by a car and then resurrected by his stricken owner. With the film being cited as a ‘labour of love” with the director working closely with people of his past, such as Winona Ryder and Caherine O’Hara, as well as long-time musical partner Danny Elfman, the film hits a personal chord any Burton aficionado would be proud of.
With a “traveling road show” of actual sets from the film and an Animators Masterclass after the Press Conference (Burton is just how you’d expect him, wild haired and full of impersonations with madly gesticulating hands) the highlight of the film was indeed expounded to be the talent of the animators.
And it was just like the movies…
New Orleans, Nola, the big easy. You can call it what you will. In the end, this city is anything you want it to be. After a few gin fizzes I was ready to believe I had waltzed straight into the thirties. The rest is a spinning whirlpool of flashing lights, a French man, and hotel lobbies.
The city is built on stories. Unfortunately, the jazz is a myth. If you’re looking for music New Orleans has little to offer. But that was pushed to the back of my mind as soon as I found the casino. I wandered around for hours watching the dark, serious faces shoving bills into neon machines, the fat polo shirted men who could barely move their arm to pick up their winnings. It was all fun and games until I stopped to listen to the repetitive background music and began to notice the constant surveillance. So I moved on.
We caught an arts festival, this city is a constant source of entertainment. The gallery was full of waistcoats and expensive shoes. As I stood looking at a painting of the devil running down a street holding a bottle of liquor and a bag of money, a drunk fifty-looking woman stumbled toward me. ‘You can find him here honey’, she said, ‘he’s everywhere in this city’. She was right of course, but as long as you don’t outstay your welcome, it’s easy enough to avoid a serious encounter.
Later we joined the tail end of a marching band which had stopped the traffic, put on our blue shiny beads and headed off to a few bars… At the hostel the next morning, it was story time again. The Australians had ridden around town with the locals, taking pictures with a gun. The Belgians had snuck into a penthouse to watch the sunrise, performing for the security guard. The French had woken up in a parking lot at 9am trying to piece the night back together. And I sat wondering who had driven me home. I’m pretty sure he was Mexican.
The truth is, no one here could care less.
Words: Lucy Cheseldine
After a month of American infestation, stars and stripes surrounding me like proud hornets, I looked down at my feet and, thankfully, wasn’t wearing cowboy boots yet. But this is Alabama, and anything could happen. Literally anything. Just yesterday did I see a woman carrying a red cup chalice in the street, a super-red cup if you like. She herself had taken time out of her day in order to stick the stand of a candle-holder onto the bottom of her red cup to make it bigger and better than everyone elses. They’re all about the extremes here. Extreme hygiene for example, in the local supermarket I couldn’t get through the door without first being prompted to wipe down my trolley with specially designed ‘trolley-wipes’. I went to the pharmacy and they had plastic bags designed purposefully to hold your wet brolly. This is a nation paying attention to the most absurd of details. As my Grandma warned me before I set off, ‘They’re a nation of eternal washers, just remember that. I don’t want you coming back….’ She was right.
Perhaps this farcical attention to detail is part of the South’s way of ignoring the rather glaring vacuum of emptiness here, a hole that back in Glasgow was filled with the beautiful sentiment of acceptance. Alabama University houses one of the biggest Frat and Sorority communities in the whole of America.The campus is filled with khaki shorts and boat shoes. But I don’t see any fishing. Instead, you can smell the money and the Father’s who are have recently become honorary members of country clubs and the girls who put on fake British accents in order to be picked for social success. They weren’t as good as mine. Social elitism is unmissable. It’s like stepping back into a time I didn’t particularly want to remember existed. But it’s still going on. They call them the ‘greeks’, perhaps attempting to create some near classical culture to make up for the lack of their own.
You can find a rabbit hole to fall down though. The thrift stores and twenty-four hours diners draw out some of the more cinematic scenes of America. Cheap clothes and waffle houses are filled with people living on the outskirts of life, nights filled with game-show wacthing and days of manual labour.I witnessed the midnight Wal-Mart crowd with their stained t-shirts and burnt-out cars. This is a world away from the green college, tinted with the façade of legacy. It’s a university funded almost entirely by football. They have the best college team in the country and for home-games the town is over-run by football-fuelled celebrations and over-sized, processed hotdogs.
As I was floating lazily in the Black warrior river one night, surrounded by questionable pond-life I thought to myself, it’s no acid-washed Glasgow but what more does the American dream promise to offer. And after all, that’s what seduced me into romancing with the capital of the world.
Words: Lucy Cheseldine
I’m no Asian food expert. In fact, my ventures into that culinary territory are limited to an occasional Chinese take-out and the one-off trip to Yo-Sushi! – inevitably reflected in my handling of chop-sticks, which comes close to resembling a circus performance. But things might very well be on the cusp of change, after being invited to attend Bar Soba’s Christmas Menu launch. Right now, it is true, my mind could not be further away from thinking of festivities amidst a whirlwind of uni work and essay deadlines, but seeing as we’re talking Asian fusion cooking, it was inevitably going to be Christmas food with a twist – something, I feel, I’d quite happily tackle at any time of the year.
Admittedly not your “241 burger” or “lunch for £3.95” deal, Bar Soba – tucked away at the foot of The Lighthouse – is nevertheless within the student price-range with a 2-course lunch for £9.95 or sushi plates starting at £2.75. Following a prosecco welcome, Wednesday evening’s event saw us tasting a range of Asian canapes: from duck gyozas dipped in plum sauce to the more adventurous small toasts of Korean chicken with pear on a bed of rocket, or sticky tempura prawn balancing on sweet chilli & coriander mayo. All this was rounded off nicely by a mini Um-Bongo cocktail and a Thai massage that sent everyone reeling home to bed, full, content and sleepy. In any case it was proof that Bar Soba can do food tantalising to the taste-buds, and that their Christmas menu boasting the likes of Cinnamon and Plum Duck Confit should be a good’un. Disappearing down Mitchell Lane for the space of an hour or two is therefore well worth a shot.
Review by: Ginger Clark
This weekend let’s hope it’s a scorcher in Scotland for the Kelburn Garden Party, which is fast-becoming one of the country’s favourite fixtures on its festival calendar. Billed as ‘two days of musical magic and hi-jinx in a fairytale setting’, this is one summer festival that won’t disappoint. Set in the grounds of Kelburn Castle near Largs, the event boasts cross-cutting acts across a range of genres. These range from ‘from folkies, rockers and funk brothers to clubbers, dubbers and jazzers’ we are reliably informed. The festival prides itself on being free from corporate ties. You won’t find any shameless plugging of brands here: it’s all about the music and the festival spirit. More than merely music, festival activities include workshops, acoustic sessions, poetry, walks in the glen, mystery gigs in secluded spots and performance art and theatre, all in the idyllic setting of the grounds of Kelburn Castle.
The venue is equipped with three stages and a dance tent, as well as the many hidden spaces for pop-up events and gigs. This venue has hosted two successful mini-festivals earlier this summer – The Viewpoint Sessions in June and July, both to great acclaim. The festival is an inclusive day-to-night event, and weekend tickets cost only 55+BF, including camping. Children and families are welcome (under 13’s free), and fancy dress is encouraged during the revelry. The impressive line-up favours homegrown talent, with some big names from Glasgow including Sons & Daughters, JD Twitch, Mungo’s Hifi and Jackmaster.
Kelburn’s organisers invite you to ‘So, come one and all, discover Scotland’s quirkiest, funkiest boutique festival for yourself; come dance with us,and share in our dream, built with only you in mind.’
With Thanks to Astrojazz & Kelburn Productions
Tickets are limited to just 700 this year. Outlets/prices are:
Day Tickets: TBC (depends on demand)
RIPPING RECORDS, South Bridge, Edinburgh
TICKETS SCOTLAND, Rose Street, Edinburgh
RUB-A-DUB, Howard Street, Glasgow
TICKETS SCOTLAND, Argyll Street, Glasgow
Read on for the full line-up…
Earlier this month, GUM Music Editor Yasmin Ali travelled to Barcelona for PrimaveraSound 2011, one of the most eagerly-anticipated indie music festivals of the summer, if not the year. Held at Barcelona’s Parc del Forum, a sprawling outdoor and indoor concert and conference venue which spans almost an entire urban quarter from the city grid to the sealine. The event boasted over 7 specially-set up stages, and over 275 live bands and DJ sets, with scheduling from 5pm-5am, drawing crowds totalling over 120,000 spectators.. Here are an edited selection of top acts in GUM’s Primavera Picks…
Read on for the top picks…
Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair comes to Glasgow this weekend, right on your doorstep! So put down your books for a couple of hours and head to the QMU for loads of vintage goodies that won’t break the bank. With 500+ as attending on the Facebook event page, it’s set to be a success. Show your support on the official Glasgow Facebook group and be sure to join the retro-themed shenanigans. After all, who doesn’t need a deserved break from the books at this time of year? We hear seats in the library are like gold-dust these days…
Open 12-5pm Sunday at QMU, 22 University Gardens, G12 8QN
All welcome, not just students!
Entry £2/£1 concessions / free for under 12’s
You can read on for official press info from Judy HQ.
This Easter’s Electric Frog Weekender looks set to pull in the crowds with its all-star line-up of local club heroes, and packed programme of dedicated after-parties. What with no work on Monday, you can stay out all night guilt-free, even on Sunday. We recommend it as an excellent way to spend the Easter weekend.
GUM will have more EF festival coverage to follow in the next week – Stay Tuned!
Day passes £25/ Weekend pass £45, available from Tickets-Scotland
For official line-up and after-party details, straight from the Frog’s mouth, click ‘Read More’.
Yasmin Ali, Music Editor
It seems we have all had it a little too good for a little too long in terms of free music streaming. In a move to restrict access to its free content, popular platform Spotify last week announced changes to its free subscription services Spotify Free and Spotify Open. These changes will not affect paid subscribers on Spotify Premium. The changes will apply from May 1st.
In general, subscribers will be limited to 5 plays per track and a total of 10 hours listening per month after the first six months. Ten hours may not sound much but it’s the equivalent of 200 track plays. Just no more of your favourite track on repeat…
The full details in an official statement can be read on Spotify’s website here.
Click the icon above to take you to the Spotify website. You can follow GUM’s mixtape here.
Happy (restricted) listening!
Today’s the day to go support your local indie record shop and show loyalty over the many internet Goliaths that dominate the music sales market. There are exclusive releases and events on offer at record stores around the world today. Glasgow has a dedicated line up of live music and entertainment at veritable indie record institution Monorail Music, over in Trongate, and reputable music store Rubadub, at St. Enoch’s. These events are free and last all day (until around 7pm) so be sure to head along if you are in town.
– Rubadub Facebook event here
– Monorail Facebook event here
‘Read More’ for the Line-up’s in Glasgow…
Tickets for Platform 18 shows (14-17th April) on sale now from Traverse Box Office: 0131 228 1404 // www.traverse.co.uk
Pause With A Smile
Photo courtesy of The Arches.
‘Pause With A Smile’ is an hour’s interactive dialogue of incidental anecdotes brought to you by the excellent double-act Gary McNair and Kieran Hurley. Written and directed by Platform 18 winner Gareth Nicholls, the show is a quality production which is bursting with ideas.
Pause… features an action-packed script densely populated by stories detailing a series of incredible coincidences. These are reeled off in quickfire succession to a bemused audience, who are left to ponder on their likelihood and plausibility. Each story begins with ‘Here’s one for you…’, used as a key pointer for anticipation.
Tickets for Platform 18 shows (14-17th April) on sale now from Traverse Box Office: 0131 228 1404 // www.traverse.co.uk
Money… The Game Show
Platform 18 award-winning playwright Clare Duffy brings us the brilliant and exhilarating interactive play ‘Money – The Game Show’. Duffy invites the audience to play and gamble with six thousand pound coins in a game show style play which challenges and questions our modern attitudes to risk management, the banking system and personal greed.
Strathclyde Police have arrived at the Free Hetherington Occupation. University security guards and police are currently inside the building trying to evict students from the peaceful occupation.
Photo credit: © Felipe Fontecilla
Cut Copy don’t just sound good live, they look good too. What better way to sum up their gig then, than through a metaphor of the band’s attire? They started off sharp and controlled in crisply starched shirts, but by the end of the night their shirts were crumpled, dripping with sweat and most definitely untucked. Continue reading “Cut Copy @ The Arches, 03/03/11”
BY GINGER CLARK
We all want to avoid fashion faux-pas, but instances do occasionally arise where we unintentionally stray from the stylish. Thankfully with more subtle trends, such blunders can go unnoticed; not so, however, if you are sporting fuchsia, lime green or canary yellow, as is likely to be the case this summer.
Continue reading “The Art of Colour”
Wednesday 9th March, 9pm, QMU
This is already the third time when the Glasgow University Polish Society team, cooperating with the International Society, is organising a great party for the International Women’s Day. Just for all the ladies that do not want to celebrate their very own holiday only by receiving flowers.
Continue reading “Polish Soc Womens Day @ QMU”
On Monday 7th February, two Glasgow Uni Expedition teams organized a Band Night at the infamous Captain’s Rest. The event was a fundraiser to send the teams out to Peru and Bolivia this coming summer, conducting scientific research on the ecology of two the most far flung and fascinating regions in the world. Alex Embiricos delved deep into the basement of the ‘Rest to soak in the musical talents, the electric atmosphere, and learn more about these daring student adventurers.
The Manu area of the Peruvian Amazon is a biologists dream come true, boasting 1,300 species of butterflies (15% of the world total), 800 species of birds (9%) and 160 species of mammals (4%). It is one of the most bio diverse region on the planet. Yet logging destroys this rainforest faster than it can regenerate, and although the Manu area is now protected, its history can not be forgotten. Six students are organising, funding, and executing an expedition deep into previously unexplored Amazon, adding new data to world wide information resources on the flaura and fauna proving just how invaluable the region is. This band night is only one rung on the ladder to raise the funds required to send the team hurtling half way across the world, and they need your help- after all, the devil is in the details.
The cause was kicked off by an acoustic set by Merchant. Lead singer Andrew crooned into the mic more persuasively than his young appearance would suggest. They showed a charming potential with some slide guitar being pulled out and a member of the audience shouting “sounds better without the drums!” Although lacking confidence at times they finished their set with a perfectly melancholic rendition of Lou Reeds ‘Perfect Day’, complete with energy and soaring vocals.
Rena Niamh Smith, Fashion Editor
Here is the fabulous image of Rebecca Torres’s dress from the Spring/Summer fashion photoshoot. MUA Kaeleigh Wallace did some fabulous neon eyebrows and lips that made the sublime colours of the Lycra dress by Glasgow-based designer Torres, whose work has featured in the likes of Grazia. Pick up one of her pieces at the next Bold Souls event in the Subclub: see Facebook for more details……. Photography was done by the amazing Ania Mroczkowska of Slave Magazine, Edinburgh. With her keen eye, she spotted this amazing, futuristic backdrop that resembles some kind of 1960s space-age utopia – can you guess where it is!?
Mardi Gras is a huge festival in the New Orleans calendar, the origin of Southern Comfort. The night will be unforgettable, with a juggler, stilt walker, facepainters, Mardi Gras Girls handing out free beads and masks, as well as a free sample bar of Southern Comfort drinks. For those of you who aren’t shy of a camera, there will be a photo area with Mardi Gras props for you to dress up and getsnapped in carnival style! Decor and beads are based around the three colours of Mardi Gras; purple, gold and green; take inspiration for your own style on the night.
Southern Comfort Mardi Gras! Party, Saturday 5th March @ Glasgow University Union. For more info check with the GUU.
George Galloway will draw on his extensive experience in International Affairs to provide an insightful analysis of rapid developments currently underway in this volatile region, and explain the role of the UK, past and present, in these currents. Chaired by Greg Philo of Glasgow Media Group, the meeting will take place at 1pm on Tuesday 1st March at the Sir Charles Wilson Building, University Avenue. All are welcome.
George Galloway was a member of Parliament from 1987 – 2010, and has signalled his intention to contest the Scottish Parliament elections for Glasgow.
In response to proposed cuts to university education across the UK, the former Hetherington Research Club has been the site for a revolutionary occupation as well as stormy debate over the past few weeks. Recently, an email statement released by the Secretary of the Glasgow University Court made various and sundry allegations against the occupation. In democratic fashion, those leading the anti-cuts action have released a response. Click here to read it in full on their blog.
Glasgow University Magazine supports any student and staff resistance to the cuts carried out in a peaceful and democratic manner.
Four more movies to add from the wild mix of GFF programme to our must see list.
Usually, more choice is better, but then even more of it leaves without a clue what to do and whether to do anything at all. It’s very likely to happen with GFF and its 250 movies, so to prevent choice fatigue GUM flags up those that shine through plenty.
Wake up and the sun’s already gone down? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of light out there at night.
Just after few days Natalie Portman – the star of “Black Swan” had won Golden Globe Award as the best actress – the newest Darren Aronofsky’s hit finally came to the cinemas of Glasgow. Some might say it’s a coincidence, but we would see it as a sign not to miss it.
It is said that when ordinary girls fight over men, ballerinas fight over parts. That’s exactly what’s happening in the “Black Swan” or at least inside the head of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) – “the most dedicated dancer in the world”.
Continue reading “Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan””
As this year’s SRC’s Media Week draw’s to a close, it’s a good time to catch a few of the last events this Friday over at the John MacIntyre Building. Final day fun is in store from Recoat gallery’s insight into infiltrating the art scene at noon, followed by Spacewood/We Can Never Stop‘s poster design workshop from 1-2pm.
The world of movies has long been calling: in the first of her film reviews for GUM, Greta Fedaraviciute introduces Sophia Coppola’s stunning new film set in an iconic Californian hotel.
Frankly, Sofia’s Coppola’s name isn’t the one I keep my eyes on or mark my calendar forthe first screenings. But, after Tarantino handed her the Golden Lion in Venice Film Festivalthis year, I’ve got curious enough to give it a try. So, without big expectations but with someoptimism I headed to see “Somewhere”.
Building on the success of last year’s “Alien Wars” scare attraction, the Arches has a terrifying new “Ghosts of Christmas” event this December, with a 10% discount for GUM readers. Read on, if you dare…
‘Tis the season to be innovative, and there are festive pop-up shops popping up all over the city. Brave the cold and visit the five that we consider among the cream of this year’s winter harvest…
Event, 12th December, 4-9pm
Silvia Pellegrino of Chouchou Couture heads up an entourage of talented Glasgow-based fashion and accessories designers for the second winter edition of Bold Souls hosted at GN Salons. The Christmas special pop-up featured fashion designers like retro re-styling from Jennie Loof; bold colourways from Rebecca Torres; fine knits and edgy detailing from Nicola Beedie; knitwear and fashion designer Stephen Tarnawski, and of course, Silvia’s sportswear-luxe label Chouchou which showcased a brand new line of bespoke fabric earrings made with recycled material and 925 silver.
Rena Niamh Smith
Last night the beautiful Silvia Pellegrino of Chouchou Couture hosted an intimate fashion show in her penthouse city apartment; teaming up with other Glasgow labels Jennie Loof and Oui! Designs, the presentation was a range of designs around the theme of celebration, fit for the festive season. Loof’s sumptuous designs that mix vintage prints with a funky modern twist to produce kooky feminine pieces; gorgeous mini dress with great structural twists on the cowl necks, puff sleeves and panelling. Oui! Designs presented some elegant statement pieces; favourites with the guests were the simple silver tiaras with feather clips, one of which was snapped up by a bride-to-be to complete the look for her special day. Finally, Chouchou’s own collection; despite the winter theme, the shorts were short and tight! In typical Chouchou style, the sex factor was still very much present. We particularly had or eyes on her signature hoods, now with a sterling silver chain that makes them accessory-jewellery lovechild heaven. Ever the busy bee, this isn’t Silvia’s only project; look out for the next Bold Souls event thats happening next Sunday for more indie fashion shopping opportunities……………
On a wintry weekend in mid-November, I headed down to Tramway to have my mind opened to a feast of new musical experiences. The Instal ‘10 festival was a three day weekend festival which aimed to show the radical side of music. Its tagline claims that Music is much more than music. The programme included performance artists, talks, experimental music and art installations from all over the world.
Kirsty MacQueen, Text and Photos
Breakin’ Convention returned to Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre for it’s third year and from the outset hosts Tony Thrills and Jonzi D created n electric atmosphere, which had the audience whooping all night.
Glasgow-based thespian Adrian Howells has temporarily re-branded The Arches Restaurant until end November as his alter ego’s ‘Adrienne’s Bar and Grill’. This was an extension from Howel’s theatre performance as part of the IETM Biennal Plenary Glasgow voices Artistic Programme, which featured 3 day run of live show ‘An Audience with Adrienne‘, with frank conversation, friendly banter and parlour games, served up tea and sympathy in Adrienne’s living room.
Sun, sea and the South of France! I can taste the salt in the air as the boyfriend and I arrive by boat to Saint-Tropez; makes a slight change to the Haymarket/Queen Street run! At the harbour we are picked up by a blacked-out Mercedes (don’t drug dealers get driven around in these!?) and taken to our hotel. A private chauffeur is not the only perk of staying at the newly opened Sezz Resort; we also get a private garden, private outdoor shower (in addition to a bath and a separate rain shower in the suite itself), Dom Perignon bar and spa treatments at the ready in the Payot spa. Later on that day we bike around the Cote d’Azur countryside to the beach where I try and do my best Brigitte Bardot impression. The 60’s sexpot definitely settled here for a reason…I might just follow suit.
Mon dieu! All of these croque monsieurs are making me feel bloated! How do French people stay so thin with such a carbolicious diet!? A well-heeled local tells me that the French don’t eat as many trans-fats or processed goods as Anglo-Americans do. When I think about it, as the average diet of a Glasgow University student consists of alcohol, Subway, and chips and cheese; certainly not chic. Well, it’s oysters for me tonight at Bib Gourmand-awarded Le Girelier by the harbour…
After an entertaining afternoon of witnessing a post-menopausal American woman yelling at her husband in the middle of Saint-Tropez harbour, seemingly threatening to leave on a jetty without him (a tiff at Hermès between the boyfriend and I definitely paled in comparison to this all-out brawl), it was time to set out for a 320 euro taxi ride back to airport. I must be out of my mind to be paying that kind of money in order to get back to uni life, right?! Merde…
Girls’ Day Out is in its second consecutive year at Glasgow’s SECC. Smaller than the Clothes Show Live, but bigger than GLAM in the city, it’s an affordable and enjoyable afternoon out for girlie groups. Attendees looking for cheap thrills of beauty freebies, samples, discounts and pampering were not to be disappointed.
Caledonia Books on Great Western Road is the place to start your exploration of the West End’s second-hand bookshops. It has a charming atmosphere and that characteristic “bookshop” smell. The iron spiral staircase draws your eye as you come in the door, and they stock beautiful antiquarian folios that you would be unlikely to come across in large chain-stores. The staff mainly leave you alone, but if you’re looking for a place where you can chat with the proprietors, go to Thistle Books on Otago Street.
Yeasayer/Suckers at O2 ABC Academy 24/10/10
Yeasayer’s second album, Odd Blood was released earlier this year to great acclaim, and looking back to before the record’s release is odd indeed because now it’s hard to imagine life without it. The same is true when looking back to times before this evening’s gig, because Yeasayer’s live intensity is astounding and hard to forget.
This much adidas® has not been seen in one hall since Ian Brown last played
Yasmin Ali, Music Editor
With clear stage presence and charisma, our masked anti-hero DOOM played a bass-driven set in Glasgow earlier this week. MF stands for ‘Metal Face’, in case there was any doubt, in homage to the rapper’s trademark mask.
Glasgow veterans Belle & Sebastian have captured our attention once more but is their new album worth a wee purchase? Adam Leo finds out…
Belle & Sebastian have experienced only limited commercial success, with their highest charting album being their last, ‘The Life Pursuit,’ at no. 8. Their failure to enter the mainstream in no way dilutes the fact that they are still one of the most uniquely talented bands on the Indie music scene today, particularly since the mainstream seems to be saturated with soggy teenage crap, vacuum packed straight out of Simon Cowell’s studio.
Therefore it is with great celebration that after 4 long years B&S have returned with their 9th studio album “Write About Love.” Naturally, the album opens with a delicate relay of instruments in I Didn’t See It Coming, followed by a beefy burst of sounds on Come On Sister. The 4th track, I Want the World to Stop, is one of the stand-out tracks of the album with lovely flourishes of keyboard and guitar to delight.
Along with frontman Stuart Murdoch, a number of other artists lend their hand, including Norah Jones in ‘Little Lou, Ugly jack, Prophet John’ and actress Carey Mulligan in the title track and first single Write About Love. With the help of guests B&S have produced a sincere and original album without departing from the typical melodies expected by their adoring fans. The theme of love is inspiring and upbeat where it could have easily been soppy and tacky. When the album draws to a close with the soft guitar of Sunday’s Pretty Icons it does make you want to reach out and hug something.
Overall, this is a fantastic return to form by Belle and Sebastian, staying true to their distinct summery style yet venturing into new territory. This album is definitely up there with the best albums of 2010; if only it had been released 3 months ago then Scotland may have been a little bit warmer.
Label: Rough Trade, released on October 11, 2010
Belle and Sebastian play Barrowlands on 19th,20th,21st Dec 2010
The launch of a new theatre society in Glasgow University’s already thriving theatre scene was a surprising breath of fresh air. Offering the audience (and open to all) a night of short plays a month, Staged Theatre Society aims to give a taster of all kinds of genres – as well as providing a challenge to the actors, directors and crew to provide a worthwhile performance in limited time and space. And the goods were delivered. Even the slightly ad hoc venue (Woodlands Hall of Wellington Church) only served to reinforce that it was in this type of event that the heart of student theatre lay. The artfully compacted plays show were: “Ashes to Ashes” by Harold Pinter, directed by Olga Silkina; “Play” by Samuel Beckett, directed by Amy Cameron; and “The Late Middle Classes” by Simon Gray, directed by Max Horberry – who’s initiative it was to start the society. All showed a high level of skill and were met with great enthusiasm by the audience – who will undoubtedly be returning for more next month.