SOCIAL PRESCRIBING – CURING LONELINESS IN OUR DISTANCING SOCIETY

By Nicholl Hardwick, for The Grow Organisation

In contemporary Britain, our lives are pervaded with unique health and economic pressures. Capitalism, globalisation, Brexit and the internet have all contributed to a new era of loneliness, community isolation and disconnectedness. We may go days at a time without speaking or having sentimental engagement with another person. In particular, elderly members of the community frequently fall to the wayside as our distancing society ceases to encourage them to function as active participants.

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BOOZING BY THE BOOK

by Kelvin Smith 

In more than fifty years I have rarely been to a publishing event (a book launch, company celebration, party of any kind) that did not focus on the availability and consumption of alcoholic drinks. Likewise, the academic world nearly always includes ‘drinks’ or ‘wine’ on the announcement of seminars, conferences and academic celebrations.

As someone who has a long history of enjoying alcohol and a more recent period of several years’ total abstention, I wonder if alcohol doesn’t have a significant bearing on the current debates on inclusivity in both publishing and in universities. Both publishers and academics are now exploring what it would mean to be more inclusive – of different classes, ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, languages, genders and political views. But I have yet to hear or read much about the role alcohol plays in limiting inclusion and acceptance. Perhaps it’s time to look at this.Continue Reading

“HI, HOW ARE YOU?”

by Kev Walker

Content warning:  mentions substance misuse, mental health, homelessness, conflict

It’s all bling and totter, down the lights of the highstreet, drunk by the train journey there
Cackles and shouts, tales of shagging and swearing, cosmetics squeeze out the air
Bravado and vanity, beer and wine, heading for the first open club
Boys strut with their chests out, showing a leg, only thoughts are of getting a rub.

He’s crouched in the corner, a-top a damp box, wrapped in a half soaking doss-bag
A dog by his side, as companion and protector, a mucker to share a sparse nose-bag
He shakes with the cold, but also the comedown          the cider has long since left him
A blot-out, a release, from the pain in his mind and the mess he now finds himself in.Continue Reading

REVIEW: A BOOK OF FRAGMENTS AND DREAMS, REBECCA McMANUS

by Lewis Buxton

Despite being called A Book of Fragments and Dreams, the poems in Rebecca McManus’ collection are far from fragmentary. They speak loudly to one another and are rooted decisively in the people, places, and objects of her life. Unthank Cameo has released this collection posthumously after Rebecca McManus was killed by a speeding driver whilst waiting at a bus stop. She was 21 and just weeks away from graduating from the University of East Anglia.Continue Reading

FRESHERS GUIDE #3: ADOLESCENTS AND ALCOHOL

by Robyn Banks

This weekend, thousands of freshers will descend on University towns across the UK, and pubs, clubs and takeaways prepare themselves for busy nights and big takings. Four years ago I was a fresher in Norwich, and this week my younger sister is hitting the town in Brighton for the first time. Before either of us even arrived in our respective new towns, we knew the score: pre-drinks, pub, club, after-drinks. Our party dresses were the first to be packed and the first to be unpacked.

We grow up in a culture where we know that the first year of university is about drinking, surrounded by tales of students who spend more money on beer than on food and the collective assumption that this is what our maintenance loans are for, and gently edged towards arranging our own priorities similarly. If the entire first year is not about drinking, then fresher’s week definitely is. That’s the first weekend and the first week. And the second weekend. And some of the second week. Fact.

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BAN KI-MOON PLANS A HOLIDAY

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

Ban Ki-moon wonders if he’ll look much better
wearing a bindi. He Googles to see if they sell
them at the airport. Everyone has been having
so much fun, and now it’s his turn. Darling!
he cries. I’ve booked a ticket to a ‘foam party’!
Ban Ki-moon poses his questions to a forum,
in a thread titled KOS BOYS.

Hello, I am the former Secretary-General of the United Nations…

The replies come flooding in. People are so kind!
Ban Ki-moon learns what minesweeping is.
Darling! he cries. These young men tell me
that you can buy hydration tablets! Imagine!
They have little pictures of chickens on them!
But Ban Ki-moon isn’t finished yet.
He wants to see the wonders of the world,
the odd ruin, a place to get that fetching
UV paint he’s seeing so much of.
He consults the KOS BOYS, who tell him that
nipple tassels and strawberry-flavoured lubricant
should see him through fine. So he opens up
Amazon — he knows it’s a bit corrupt,
but fuck it, he’s got Prime — and orders everything.
His wife pokes at the lubricant when it arrives.
Ban Ki-moon is going to have the best time.
Paulfitness92 tells him he’s going to get

absolutely fucking wankered mate absolutely trollied

which Ban Ki-moon thinks sounds very appealing!
Ban Ki-moon books his tickets. Ban Ki-moon finds
his shorts, crumpled at the back of the wardrobe.
Ban Ki-moon checks his emails and gets ready for work.
Ban Ki-moon kisses his wife goodbye for the day.
There’s been another catastrophic humanitarian crisis!

Featured image © Reuters

IS AA THE ONLY WAY?

by Eve Lacroix

The meeting of the surgeon Dr. Bob S. and stockbroker Bill W., both hopeless alcoholics and members of the Episcopal Oxford Group, proved to be a turning point in the history addiction treatment. They built on the Oxford Group’s evangelistic Christian values with the added formulation that alcoholism was not simply a moral failing, as American society considered it, but a physical and spiritual malady. They broke away from the Oxford Group, creating the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s and starting up a regular meeting. Their vision differed from the Oxford Group in that it stressed that addiction is incurable.

Groups popped up all over the country, and today you can find AA meetings everyday in most cities in community centres and churches, in prisons. Specific groups are male or female-only meetings, homosexual-only meetings, and AlAnon meetings are open for friends and family members of alcoholics. Programmes following the same format also exist, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous… AA and NA are such an institution that Stateside, to reduce a DUI, many people who do not consider themselves alcoholics attend court-mandated meetings, receiving, in AA speak, “a nudge from the judge.”

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OUR HOUSE, IN THE MIDDLE OF NORWICH

by Rowan Van Tromp

House music, unlike other forms of music, is arguably apolitical — given the absence of lyrics. That doesn’t mean that the scene is apolitical however, as Lithuanian DJ Ten Walls found after committing commercial suicide following his public condemnation of homosexuals over Facebook. Subsequently one of the biggest house festivals in Europe, Hideout Festival in Croatia, cancelled his set, stating: “Hideout Festival is an inclusive event, which is open and accessible to all. Our fans and customers are important to us and we do not tolerate or condone any form of hate. For this reason, Ten Walls will not be playing at Hideout Festival this year.”

From its outset in the mid 80’s, house music has been about inclusivity, openness of expression, and removing society’s invisible boundaries. It is an environment intolerant of abuse and discrimination, with violence actively discouraged. The beauty of house music is in its diversity, fluidity, and ambiguity. What house represents for one person may be different to the next, yet they are still drawn together by the same four bar loop. The music in itself is like a socially binding drug.Continue Reading

HOW TO HAVE A GOOD NIGHT IN NORWICH

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by Jo Swo

It’s not exactly radical to say we live in a victim blaming society. I’m not just referring to sexual assault either, which that phrase is now so well associated with. We are blamed, and blame others, for drinking too much, staying out too late, not planning journeys home, going out in the first place, and leaving drinks unattended to go for a quick smoke outside. As a consumer, you are held accountable for everything that could possibly happen, whether or not it’s in you control, because you chose to put yourself in that position (i.e in a club/bar).

Going out is a fantastic paradox, because it’s when people want to relax, drink, and let down their guard, but the environment you’re in is universally accepted as unpredictable and often dangerous. You pay for the privilege to step onto private property, it could be in the form of a stamp at the front door or a drink at the bar, and you are left to your own devices (or the devices of others).Continue Reading