Jacob Banks interview

[Written by Ellen Grant]

[Image Credit: Grace Rivera @__gracerivera]

Jacob Banks is, in his own words, a storyteller. At just 27, he exudes a self-assured wisdom that belies his years. He was the first unsigned artist to perform in Radio 1’s Live Lounge, and has already toured with Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith, and Alicia Keys – but now he is a headline name in his own right.

Continue Reading

Making it your way? #1

[Written by Joycee Choong]

[Image by Kate Zápražná]

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

Continue Reading

Between Mental Illness and Health

[Written by Vaiva Gikaite]

[Image by Kate Zápražná]

Content Warning: This article includes discussion of mental illness

The language that we have to talk about mental illness is limiting. Currently we speak of disorders and illnesses as discrete sets of symptoms, you have X or are suffering from Y. But anyone who’s been struggling with their mental health for a while and has Googled their symptoms even once can see that the lines between diagnoses are blurry.

Continue Reading

Glasgow Walking Tour: Southside/ Battlefield / Queens Park

[Written by Hannah Lane]

[Illustration by Grace Elder]

Grain and Grind

First stop is a relaxed coffee shop located in Battlefield in Glasgow’s Southside. From Mount Florida station – which doesn’t take long to travel to from Central – Grain and Grind is just a short walk. The all-day café have a focus on grains – including several waffle dishes on their brunch menu and fresh bread for sale – and coffee. They also stock homemade doughnuts on Saturdays and Sundays, which are amazing! The interiors are relaxed and modern and the food is lovely, so this is somewhere really nice to go for a few hours if you want to get away from the West End!

Continue Reading

Being Single When Literally All Your Friends Are In Relationships

[Written by Morgan Laing]

[Image by Morgan Laing]

Like many women who have obsessed over the seminal romantic dramedy Sex and the City, I have found myself – alone, on a Saturday night in front of the TV – pondering the similarities between the four fabulous protagonists and myself. Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda, me… our lives aren’t all that different. Just like them, I have a tight-knit group of friends. I also live in a city, and I attend blowout brunches that I can’t financially justify but still indulge in anyway because, hello, have you tried the pancakes in this place?

Continue Reading

Glasgow Walking Tour – Trongate

[Written by Betty Henderson]

[Illustration by Betty Henderson]

Glasgow is a city that celebrates culture. A place that is buzzing with art, history, and the most incredible music scene. It’s a place that is loud, proud and oh so friendly – and although it may be home to some of the best art galleries and museums in Scotland, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a city that thrives on art and eccentricity, and nowhere encapsulates this vibe more than the eclectic Trongate area. Here is my guide to the ideal way to spend an afternoon in the East End of the city, from vintage shopping to totally instagrammable cafes. There is something for the art lover in all of us.

Continue Reading

TOMORROW: Between

[Written By Arianne Crainie – Editor-in-Chief]

Hello everyone! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to take a browse at the articles published over the past few days. If not then click back to the feed where you’ll find some pieces on the theme of ‘Tomorrow.’ This mini-theme was chosen to coincide with our Freshers zine-making workshop last Friday (what a great turnout – tysm to everyone who came!!). It also prompted us to reflect on what we wanted for the magazine.

Continue Reading

TOMORROW: Zine Making Workshop

Last week we ran some of our first workshops of the year including a wonderfully well-attended zine making workshop! To coincide with our Fresher Week mini-theme of ‘Tomorrow’ we collected pages together to create a zine on the theme and the result is absolutely fantastic!

This is just a taster of the kinds of workshops and events we’ll be running for the next year. Always with a goal to be inclusive, encourage collaboration and engage in creative pursuits, regardless of experience or ability!

Continue Reading

TOMORROW: Making the most of Tomorrow

[Written by Maisie Joanna and Ellen Grant – Events Managers]

Glasgow is never short of goingons, and this month is no exception. Whether you’re a fresh-faced first year ready to get to know the city, or you’ve been pacing these streets your whole life, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Tomorrow doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom…

Continue Reading

TOMORROW: “Where are we going tomorrow?”

[Written by Morgan Laing – Deputy Editor]

[Illustration by Julia Rosner]

Last week, during a spontaneous road trip with my best friends (HI, AM I IN AN AMERICAN COMING-OF-AGE FILM??), I experienced what can only be described as a “moment”. A “moment” is one of those occasions where the sky seems unbelievable and the music is right and you all of a sudden sense – in your heart and in your bones – that everything is going to turn out exactly as you dreamed it would, when you were a child building the perfect world in your mind.

Continue Reading

TOMORROW: The classic fourth-year existential crisis

[Written by Perry Stewart – Online Editor]

I’m almost certain that a whole stack of people around the internet will have written about this already, but I’m entering my fourth and final year of university and I am filled with a dreadful sense of unease. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to returning and getting back into the groove of lectures. No, it’s the fact that I have to make proper adult choices soon and I’m in no way ready for that. I bought a giant plush shark from IKEA today with my own money, that is how much of an adult I am. So, when I was given the brief to talk about the concept of ‘tomorrow’, I decided I’d talk about how much I’m dreading it.

Continue Reading

The Career Fear

[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]

So, we did it. In a few weeks we will officially have degrees, and can plaster that first, 2:1, 2:2 onto our bright and shiny CVs that we will  (or already are) ramming down the email-shaped throat of anything, anywhere that is vaguely related to the kind of job we imagine ourselves doing. For me, it’s somewhere in the realm of film and arts, but I’ll also happily take a job in marketing/ journalism/a bar. Anything that will allow me to pay my rent, basically. And I know from talking to friends that it isn’t just me being massively melodramatic (although that has been known to happen on very, extremely rare occasions…). But everyone seems to have, what I call, The Fear.

Continue Reading

The Thing About Gender

[Written By: Emma Lees]

In the April of 2017, Caitlyn Jenner gave an interview with Diane Sawyer in which she discussed her transition from a male to a female. People all over the world seemed fixated upon the fact Bruce had once been a wealthy, successful, inspirational man, an Olympic athlete. Suddenly, it seemed the act of a gender reassignment surgery had stripped her of the right to be held in such high regard. The interview was memorable and one statement in particular still sticks with me: ‘I’m not stuck in anybody’s body, I hate that phrase. I’m just me.’ This is everything – everything that is wrong with our notions of gender identification.

Continue Reading

Productivity = self-worth?

[Written By: Hannah West]

The irony of me writing this article is that I have been putting it off, and off, and off – procrastinating entirely and finding something else to do the minute I sit down at my desk.  But that’s not all – I’ve also had the exact same internal fight every single time this has happened. I end up beating myself up about the fact that I can’t seem to find it in myself to be productive, even when I know how much time I have to do something and what my other commitments are.

Continue Reading

TEDxUniversityofGlasgowSalon: All Kinds of Minds

[Written By: Kritika Narula]

[Photographer: Erifili Gounari]

The narrative on mental health has strengthened over the years. Yet, a very small proportion of the people seek help. The reasons vary. The identification of mental health issues is hard because of their conspicuous absence from the mainstream medical narrative. Even if one identifies the issue, it is difficult to muster enough courage to acknowledge it in entirety and reach out for help. What complicates matters is that these experiences are extremely personal and explaining what one is going through is a daunting task in itself. To add to this, there’s unfathomable stigma about accepting such illnesses and disorders because they are seen as a character flaw.

Continue Reading

Quietly Confident

[Written By: Hannah Lane]

‘Don’t talk much, do you?’ These were words uttered to me a matter of days ago, as I sat in the back of a car with my older sister and two others. We were undertaking an hour-long journey and, unsurprisingly, my sister had been talking non-stop the entire time whilst I had hardly spoken only one word beyond the necessary polite greetings and initial small talk. I then smiled at the person addressing me and mumbled something about a tendency to zone out during car journeys, and that I was more of a listener anyway.

Continue Reading

The Value of Fiction: Why are we intellectualising our reading choices?

[Written By: Emma Harrison]

[Illustration: Julia Rosner]

There is a pretty strong consensus, when it comes to fiction, that there are “good” and “bad” books. In a less complicated world, this would simply mean that there are books that are well-written and enjoyable to read, and books that aren’t. Instead, the issue is far more convoluted – a good book must also be considered proper literature, of academic interest, of sound reputation, and as far from commercialised writing as possible. Whether it is actually enjoyable to read or not often seems to be less important than how far it can distance itself from its contemporaries.

Continue Reading

Instagram: is it improving our photography?

[Writer and photographer: Silvia Sani]

Currently, Instagram is one of the most-used applications. Its purpose is rooted in letting people share moments in their life through pictures: a photo with friends on a night out, a beautiful sunset, the university viewed from the library (I have done that), an image of summer holidays in a sunny country, and so on. When scrolling down on Instagram, all one sees is memories of other people’s lives.

Continue Reading

No Glow-up Pending (Just Learning to Accept my own Mediocre True Self)

[Written By: Shamso Abdirahman]

My last Instagram post was a selfie. I thought I looked cute in the picture and, more importantly, I remember feeling carefree and happy at the time. It had made the cut from the dozen others I’d taken, and after seeking the counsel of various WhatsApp group chats (it absolutely was not a spontaneous post) I posted the selfie. So came the post-upload wave of validation from friends and followers, and it’s fair and honest to say that my two hours of social media traffic was validating but soon enough – over. The many love heart emojis and messages with the words ‘glow-up season’ were all appreciated, but it never dawned on me that I had glowed up.

Continue Reading

Interview: Deacon

[Interviewed by Hannah West]

South London rapper Deacon is an up-and-coming performer on the British hip-hop scene who has already generated incredible hype with his first single, ‘No Evil’ – a hugely political piece inspired by the shape that today’s world takes, and by recent events that he has witnessed around him. Deacon certainly keeps his writing up to speed with the world, and his candid voice will undoubtedly influence many.

Continue Reading

Difference of Opinion?

As humans, we like to have opinions. We value and trust our own opinions. But things change, and we often find ourselves realising that the opinions we once held no longer stand. Sometimes, our view on something – on a film, or a song, or a book – starts to alter, or dwindle, or degenerate. We grow out of things. We start to think differently. We realise that the thing in question may never have been particularly good to begin with (hi, low-rise jeans). Three writers talk about how their appreciation for particular pieces of media has changed – or, in some cases, declined – over time.

 

Continue Reading

DEGENERATION // Living Sustainably

[Written By: Hannah Lane]

[Illustration: Julia Rosner]

In a world slowly being torn apart by environmental destruction, and with people consistently adopting a ‘disposable’ attitude towards everyday life, a personal effort to live more sustainably can often feel futile. We’re constantly aware of the impact our every move has on the environment, yet it can be difficult to distance ourselves from our plastic-infused bubbles and properly examine what exactly our everyday actions, habits and lifestyles do to the world we live in. Nevertheless, it seems that more and more of us are becoming aware of the benefits of sustainable living and making a conscious effort, big or small, to live more mindfully and be more environmentally aware. Recently, I’ve come to realise that we can make an effort to live more sustainably in so many areas – from our food and drink habits and everyday commutes, to our fashion and beauty addictions.

Continue Reading

DEGENERATION // Photo Essay

[By: Elena Roselli]

RISING FROM ASHES

In front of the building site of the building that recently burned in Glasgow city centre, the man coordinating the site is the only splash of colours in an otherwise grey landscape, representing to me the potential of creation that a single human being represents in front of a symbol of destruction.

 

Continue Reading

Platonic Breakups: Don’t Fight Them, Feel Them

[Written By: Emma Reilly]

[Photographer: Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood]

While the mantra “all you need is love” has become something of a cliché, the vitality of our relationships with others cannot be denied. How we connect with others influences how we connect with ourselves, and thus how we experience life. We rely on our relationships for support and reassurance, and we naturally crave substantial connections to others. This is likely why we feel the sting so prominently when our relationships end, especially if one was not the instigator of the breakup. However, while the media often focuses on romantic breakups, the end of a friendship can be equally as painful and affecting and is arguably a more frequent, even universal, experience. So why are the impacts of lost platonic loves so overlooked and underplayed?

Continue Reading

Why Sport Needs Diversity

[Written By: Anna Lumaca]

[Illustration: Sophie Bryer]

The Glasgow Guardian recently published an interesting article on United Glasgow: a unique football team that promotes inclusion and anti-discrimination policies. Their message stresses the importance of representing a broad variety of cultural groups in sport. But why should we aspire to diversity? And how much does it impact our University activities? I spoke about these issues with three Glasgow University students, all of whom have very different experiences but similar concerns.

Continue Reading

Sex and the University: Sexpectations

[Written By: Charlotte Dean]

Another Valentine’s Day has swirled past us; couples have fluttered the streets with roses and chocolates. It is a day that is the equivalent of hell for a commitment-phobe. Spring, however, is here (with a little more frosting than we expected). After emerging from our coves, wrapped in duvets and multiple blankets, we can finally stop using hot water bottles for extra heat in our beds. I sometimes find the transitioning between seasons to be akin to shedding skin – the temperature increases (or should, at least), and we get more light with each passing day, making me feel like I really should get out of the house and become that active version of myself that the summer sees far more of.

Continue Reading

Big Concerts vs. Tiny Indie Gigs

[Written By: Hannah West]

[Photographer: Erifili Gounari]

When it comes to live music, the size of the venue is undoubtedly important in contributing to the general vibe of a particular gig or live music event, and of course expectations will differ between those going to see the likes of Taylor Swift and those going to see smaller indie performers like Lewis Capaldi or Gabrielle Aplin.  Luckily, living in Glasgow, we have no shortage of options for all kinds of live music experiences, ranging from the SSE Hydro (holding up to 13,000 people) to cosy King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut with its capacity of just 300. Personally, I am a frequenter of small gigs at small venues.  Aside from the obvious upside that they are more affordable, they feel easy-going and casual – like I could go to one every night of the week and still not be tired out.  However, when I saw Coldplay last summer at Hampden Park I was utterly taken aback by the show that I was witnessing before my eyes, and by the sheer magnitude and spectacle that these huge shows provide.  This shook up what I thought I already knew about live music, and made me think about the positives of both types of concert.

Continue Reading

#OscarsSoWhite… Still?

[Written By: Flora Spencer Grant]

[Illustration: Julia Rosner]

I love film. I study film. I one day hope to work in film, but I hate awards season. The nominees and winners never seem to reflect the films that I love – and yet somehow I still find myself watching every year. It’s generally the same story across all creative industries. Seeing Beyoncé nearly cry when Lemonade was snubbed for best album (she is the artist of my life and Adele’s life) pretty much solidified my hatred of the Grammys, and yet I still pay attention to the whole thing. Even though I’m aware of the fact that awards are not the be all and end all (I’m pretty sure Beyoncé isn’t losing any sleep) I can’t help but feel that they are still significant.

Continue Reading

IDENTITY// Struggling to Fit In Somewhere: Growing Up a Third Culture Kid

[Written by: Natalia Melenteva]

 

I will have to confess something straight away: I am one of these annoying people who starts sentences with “when I lived in…”

It is not that I always choose to do so. It is just that, as a Third Culture Kid, it is often difficult to avoid saying these things. There is no straight answer to the inevitable question of “where are you from?” Or, “where did you go to school?” For us, questions like these mean either telling the white lie of naming one country to avoid explaining your entire life story, or to go into lengthy explanations about how, why, when…

Continue Reading

Magic

[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]

[Picture taken by: Erin Robinson]

Throughout British history, it was believed that some women were witches – and for this ‘crime’, they were killed.

Now we know that this claim was made up by various political and religious powers who felt threatened by women (Thomas Lolis asserts this, among many other historians). Even though I know for certain that women aren’t witches, I do believe they are magic, in a way.

Continue Reading

IDENTITY // Why do we shun ourselves for being different?

[Written By: Leora Mansoor]
[Illustration: Julia Rosner]

A ‘Where’s Waldo’ of Good Conversation 

I remember once telling a guy I really liked that I didn’t listen to music. It may have even been worse than that though, because I’m pretty sure I actually told him I didn’t like music at all. Obviously it had been a lie, one of the kinds that fall out of your mouth when you’re flustered in someone’s presence. There was also this somewhat innate fear of admitting that I really didn’t know what I liked, or couldn’t remember. It was also pretty hard to admit at the time that I had three double sided Billy Joel CDs on my iPod accompanied by, what I only realised upon returning home this Christmas, an ‘ABBA Gold’ tribute CD. I was sixteen; of course I didn’t want to say the wrong things. I was young and still afraid that my identity could be the wrong one.       

Continue Reading

IDENTITY // “But you don’t look like a fan of that!”

[Written By: Hannah West]

[Photograph: Adriana Iuliano]

In this strange new world of internet fan bases and online communities, it seems that now more than ever there is a set aesthetic that is expected of fans of absolutely anything. From bands to sports to art, there is a “look” that is expected of people who identify or associate themselves with [X].  This can, of course, be a good thing: dressing according to interests is a way for people to code and identify themselves as a certified fan of a particular thing. It creates a certain group identity that can be very unifying; something that helps to find people around you with similar interests.  However, this can also be incredibly problematic in some situations – it can lead to the assumption that someone can only like something if they choose to present themselves in this one specific way.

Continue Reading

The Origins of the Rainbow Flag

[Written by: Hannah West]

Hannah West writes about the how the rainbow flag came to be an international symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.

 

‘’Gay pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one’’ – stop-homophobia.com

Continue Reading

Teens on Screen: How Real Life is Portrayed through Fictional Young Adults

[Written By: Elspeth Macintosh]

[Illustration: Skye Galloway]

Many TV shows portray the lives of adolescents. Teen dramas are churned out seemingly on a production line by television networks, but it’s only the best ones that are remembered. This is often because of the relatability of storylines and characters (or sometimes it’s just because of the addictive drama!) In my opinion, the most important feature of this genre is that there is usually a genuine focus on young people’s issues and experiences, and for this reason it has created some of the best content and characters out there. I’ve picked a few favourites to discuss. But because this is such an expansive category, it’s impossible to cover everything – so apologies if this selection isn’t for you!

Continue Reading

Glasses: A Love Story

[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]

My relationship with glasses isn’t ground-breaking, or even slightly irregular. I started getting headaches in class when I was about 14, so my mum took me to the opticians and, low and behold, I had a very slight amount of short-sightedness in both eyes. As I’ve gotten older my eyes have gotten progressively worse, to the point where most of my classmates won’t have seen me without glasses on. Seven years later, however, and I still don’t think of myself as a glasses wearer.

For the first few years, I would avoid my glasses unless I was in class or watching T.V. – leaving me walking around in a slightly blurred-out world. This habit kept up into university, the only change being that I donned contacts for nights out so as to see a little bit better in dark, disorienting clubs. After my first month or so here I realised not being able to see people in the street wasn’t something that was actually helping me much, and so glasses became a daily situation. For the past few years it felt like I had given in – as my prescription worsened I became, to my dismay, a full-time glasses wearer. And this felt like a defeat. My dreams of being clear faced and carefree fell away overnight.

But why did this feel like a defeat? Why did I feel like I had given in to something when I started wearing my glasses everyday – which I needed to do? The fact that I am able to see an optician and acquire glasses so easily is something I should feel lucky about – there’s ‘1.1 billion people worldwide who can’t see properly simply because they need glasses.’ (Vision Aid Overseas). That’s 1/7 of the world’s population who don’t have that privilege, and on top of that, ‘two-thirds of those affected are women’. So why, if I’m so lucky on a global scale, did I feel so unlucky on a personal one?

I think this issue is bigger than just me. It comes down to the pressure put on young women to be appealing to men, an idea that is sold to them again and again through advertisement, media, and the people around them. It’s a well-documented issue that women are often told to be pretty, whereas men are told to be strong, independent, clever. And so, glasses, which enabled me to see better in class and learn more by allowing me to read the board, as well as getting rid of my headaches - quite literally allowing me to learn more - were to me something to dread.

So, when I knew my eyes had gotten worse and I would have to go and get new glasses, (which for me consists of going into my opticians about four times before finally choosing the least terrible pair), I decided to reflect on the feelings I had towards my glasses. Without them I wouldn’t really be able to study at university. Without them I would be plagued with migraines. Without them I wouldn’t be able to enjoy films or art or plays as much as I do. These are all wonderful things. And I’m so deep now that when I look in the mirror, my face makes much more sense with glasses on than without.

What I realised is the hatred I felt towards my glasses was based on things that no longer matter to me, and all the things I gain from having them are entirely positive. It’s simple logic that something that produces all good outcomes is, the majority of the time, good in itself. My hatred of glasses should have been left behind with the other childish fads I’ve shaken off throughout my life, such as believing I should wear make-up every-day, and my dislike of wearing baggy clothes. The idea that my glasses aren’t a positive make no sense to my life now, and, besides, I look pretty cute with my glasses on.

All glasses pictured were kindly lent from Specsavers Byres Road, which offers 2 for 1 on glasses or 25% for studentsand free eye tests every 2 years in Scotland.

Find them on instagram!

Continue Reading

Instructions needed!

[Written by Valeria Levi]

I have never written articles. Well, that’s not completely true – I’ve written some samples in school on a writing course but I would not consider them real articles. When you write for real, your work addresses people who are genuinely intrigued by what you may say, not teachers who have to deal with your writing regardless their sincere interest. The impact is very different – where teachers tend to criticise or encourage you in order to help you make some improvements, readers don’t care about your work-in-progress style and its derived imperfections. You must be good from the beginning because readers are looking for feeling a sort of appeal to your writing, a sensuous appeal to how you can put words together. Along with that, they are seeking for a new angle on things, something that will lead them to a different perspective from their general point of view.

Continue Reading

Why it’s ok to log off

[Written By: Isabel Thomas]

[Photograph: Ruarí MacManus]

Like many others, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It obviously has many pros; it fosters discussion, you can meet like-minded people, and it provides a network of support if necessary. However, after obsessively opening and closing apps for hours it also becomes very exhausting. When going through hard times, it can be hard to open up Instagram or Facebook only to see that everyone other than yourself seems to be having fun all the time and making the most of their lives. It’s difficult to remember that what you are seeing on your screen is just what people choose to upload, and that social media is such a tiny glimpse into someone’s life. At the end of the day, everybody has problems.

Continue Reading

Location Adoration: Is Puglia Perfect?

[Written By: Georgia Britton]

[Photographs: Adriana Iuliano]

It’s a typically cold and rainy day in Glasgow as I write this, and all I want is to be back lying in the sun in Puglia. Over three weeks during the summer, I travelled around the heel of southern Italy, and I saw some of the most beautiful scenery, beaches, and weather that I ever have in my life. Now all I want to do is go back and fall in love all over again.

Continue Reading

Sex and the University: Me Too

[Written by: Charlotte Dean]

 

*Trigger warning: abuse, sexual harassment, assault*

 

During a time where sexual harassment and abuse is becoming more public than ever, and the inequality of men and women is being tackled, I felt it was only appropriate to discuss what students might have to deal with at university. I know I haven’t discussed sexual tales yet, but before I do that I feel that the realities of what students and people alike can face these days needs to be spoken about. Without realising, one can be mentally abused in a relationship, and this can be just as soul-destroying as being physically abused. I recently read an article by The Independent online listing the main points of what occurs when in an abusive relationship.

Continue Reading

Sorry I’m late?

[Written By: Isabelle Hunt-Deol]

[Illustration By: Sofia Lopes]

“I am always late on principle, my principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.”
– Oscar Wilde

It’s highly likely that I’m submitting this article late… sorry, GUM.

I’m not sure whether it’s the struggle of parting from my cushy covers in the morning or the thrill and excitement I get from racing around my flat five minutes before I’m meant to be somewhere, but I never like to arrive places on time.

Continue Reading

Lost For Words

[Written By: Emma Harrison]

[Photograph: Annegret Maja Fiedler]

When sitting down to begin writing this article, fresh from the clutches of an essay, I was faced with an unhappy irony. My attempt to write about writer’s block had been stopped in its tracks by the very thing I was trying to discuss.

Continue Reading

ZEITGEIST // Making Friends Online

[Written By: Amy Shimmin]

Long gone are the days of never using your real name or image online. Our lives come with a lengthy virtual footprint, and for the generation emerging their lives from the womb can be traced. With our relationship with the Internet deeper than ever, it’s not just our faces that are visible – it’s our personalities and interests, too. Making friends online seems like a natural progression – but why is this still, in 2017, frowned upon?

Continue Reading

ZEITGEIST // Missing: Youth Subculture. If found please return to 2017.

[Written By: Rachel Gillett]

[Photographer: Annegret Maja Fiedler]

 

What happened to youth subculture? In 2017, the defining characteristics of dress and music – which made subcultures easily identifiable – are largely missing. Clothing and music taste has become a lot more homogenous in recent years. This has largely eradicated the distinct groups that were present in the 70s and 80s. Films like This is England (2006) highlight the significance of subcultures, with the film exploring early and later skinhead culture in the 1980s, and the creation of identities through being a part of these particular groups. Personally, I do not think in 2017 we have the same level of subcultures – however, have they completely disappeared all together?

Continue Reading

ZEITGEIST // The Future Is Vegan

[Written By: Lynsay Holmes]

[Art: Aike Jansen]

 

Veganism. We’ve all heard of it, you’ve probably got a friend or a neighbour who identifies themselves as this “strange” creature. But in this article I aim to debunk the myths surrounding veganism; that it’s an “extremist ideology” or an expensive and elitist lifestyle for health conscious, 40-year-old yoga mums. Instead, I will reiterate its real roots and true core as a socio-political movement. Lesson one: Veganism is not about food, it’s about politics. The aim of the vegan movement is to make a permanent, ethical change that filters into all facets of our daily lives. It is everything you consume: food, clothes, beauty products, furniture; the thing we all consume most is food and thus why the image of veganism is food centred.

Continue Reading

Podcast Popularity

By Anna Shams Ili

 

Most of us remember audiobooks from our childhood. Depending on your age, it was either CDs or cassettes back then – but most of us let them go once we passed into adolescence. In a sense, these were rather similar to the podcasts we enjoy now. So too are radio segments such as ‘Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review’. In recent times, however, the podcast has grown as a medium in itself. Published in episode format, it’s a type of entertainment that’s speedily increasing its popularity.

Continue Reading

Getting into Character

Written By: Louise Wylie

Illustration: Skye Galloway

Twitter – or, as my mum calls it, ‘that place where I can argue with Trump supporters’ – is making a drastic change. Tweets will no longer be confined to a miserly 140 characters as a new gargantuan 280 character limit is being phased in. The reactions have been mixed, to say the least. Personally, I am deeply offended that I haven’t been deemed worthy of the added words yet, though my followers might not be all that surprised. Some argue that the expansion will solve some of the frustrations of trying to squeeze a point into a teensy space. Others claim that more characters aren’t necessary, and that wordier tweets have less impact.

Continue Reading

Sex and the University: Landslide

Written By: Charlotte Dean

We find ourselves adjusting to new routines with the constant changing of seasons.  After spending four months in the Italian Dolomites I’ve had to adjust to lower ground, and life in Glasgow doesn’t share the same peaks my Italian stay had to offer. Once in Italy it was not difficult to forget about Glasgow – its dark grey cloud and lack of adventure a distant memory when working in the Dolomites. People would appear to think that when you travel away from home for long periods of time that your patterns won’t follow and that you can de-root yourself entirely from the past. Is this the case, though?

Continue Reading

Millennial Magic

Photograph: Silvia Sani

It seems millennials can’t even have a cappuccino or a slice of avocado toast on a leisurely Sunday without someone dubbing them entitled, lazy, and wholly responsible for the state of the housing market these days. Four contributors celebrate millennial strengths by telling us why the constant criticism is unreasonable, and by explaining the ways in which millennials are trying to change the world for the better.

Continue Reading

“Get over yourself”: The Blurred Lines Between Vanity and Body Dysmorphia

Written By: Jennifer Bowey

Photograph: Léa Cyrielle

Being insecure is, unfortunately, increasingly prevalent in our social media obsessed society. Young people in particular are often dissatisfied with their own appearance and, on top of that, preoccupied with what their peers’ opinions on the matter might be. Poor self-image is, then, one of the most common problems facing individuals today. In its most extreme cases, however, it could be attributable to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – an anxiety disorder that causes people to have a warped perception of their own physical appearance resulting in extreme distress. This condition, according to NHS statistics, may affect as many as 1 in 100 of us, yet is given minimal consideration.

Continue Reading

Say Hello to Tech-Beauty

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.

Continue Reading

The Trials and Tribulations of the Graduate Job Market

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.

Continue Reading

Sex and the University: Ciao Bella!

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.

Continue Reading

Sex and the University: Quick, Act Cool?

 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.

Continue Reading

The Internet and Empathy

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.

Continue Reading

Sex and the University: One is Not the Loneliest Number

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.

Continue Reading

In defence of the Arts!

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. 

Continue Reading

Sex and the University: Spring Forward

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.

Continue Reading

Fight vs Flight or Tend and Befriend?

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.

Continue Reading

New Years Slump

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.

Continue Reading

Positive New Years Resolutions

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

Starting Your Own Theatre Company

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.

Continue Reading

Space and Place in Music

 

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)

Train

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.

Continue Reading

Keep Moving

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.

Continue Reading

A Very Single Valentine’s Day

          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.

Continue Reading

Bread Meets Bin

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.

Continue Reading

Safe Spaces

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.

Continue Reading

Can Twitter/Online forums help mental health struggles?

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.

Continue Reading

A divination from coffee grounds

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

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

 

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

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

Continue Reading

Lost Letters

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

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

Continue Reading

Flash Forward

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

High School Sucked: on the perils of rose-tinted glasses, and learning to love the way you live.

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.

Continue Reading

An Ode to Imagination

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?

Continue Reading

Sex and the University – Is Halloween only in October?

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.

Continue Reading

Rejecting the Headlines: finding alternatives to the mainstream narrative of the ‘refugee crisis’

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’.

Continue Reading

The Coming of Age for Lingerie

df7369e01f87b204bf1cdfb06083ddb1

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.

 

Nubian-Skin2

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.

coco-de-mer-ss16-dinah

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

Continue Reading

The Fear of the Female

gty_kim_kardashian_mm_150714_16x9_992

 

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

 

Continue Reading

Bad Bodies

BAD BODIES MAIN IMAGE

 

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.

 

ElizabethI

 

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.

 

fat-actress

 

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:

 

BAD BODIES IMAGE 2

 

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.

 

Tess-Holliday-Bikini-Hashtag

 

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

@laurenajack

 

Continue Reading

What is Lad Culture?

'Using 'lad culture' as an umbrella term potentially trivialises misogyny.'

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

 

 

Continue Reading

The Nights Go Fast

351957

 

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:

http://unitycentreglasgow.org/projects/night-shelter/

For more information about asylum seekers and refugees in the UK visit:

http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/

 

By Annie Tothill

Continue Reading

Death by Glitter

Annie2

 

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.

 

Annie1

 

By Anne Devlin

Continue Reading

The Buskers of Glasgow

IMG_4392

 

“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.

 

IMG_4370

 

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.

 

IMG_4314

 

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.”

 

IMG_4267

 

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.

 

IMG_4343

 

“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.”

 

IMG_4309

 

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

Continue Reading

Let’s Talk

 

‘Let’s Talk’ Providing Safety and Support on Campus

 

Let's Talk Article Image

 

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

Continue Reading

Bad Boning

Lauren Jack 2Art by Annie @hashtag_grunge through The Artidote

 

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.

 

Lauren 1Art 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.

Continue Reading

Tech Meets Paper

Tech1

 

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.

 

 

Tech2

 

 

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

Continue Reading

Brains and Beauty: GANT

GANT

 

“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

 

Continue Reading

How to Become a Local in Glasgow

unnamed

 

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

Continue Reading

Fear , Loathing and Penny Whistles; How the Independence Referendum and Commonwealth Games could end Glasgow’s Orange Walks.


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.

James McAleer

Continue Reading

The Seizure- Scott Campbell

The Seizure

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

multitude.

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

complied.

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

tongue.

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.

Continue Reading

End of content

No more pages to load