IT HAPPENED

by Mollie Leveque

CW: miscarriage, bleeding, rape

Hard as I try, it’s difficult to rewatch David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor without smelling blood.

It’s not his fault. But in a bid to restore a sense of normalcy to the fact that I was miscarrying and just realized I’d been pregnant because of the miscarriage itself, I threw on The Doctor for familiar noise. It happened to be Ten’s era.

Close contenders for comfort media were The Thick of It, The Twilight Zone, and Sunset Boulevard. I like seeing Julius Nicholson squirm. Wickwire providing unwitting astronauts with “eternifying fluid” intrigues me. And Norma Desmond is always a good distraction.Continue Reading

UNTITLED

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by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Nadia Campana (1954-1985), untitled from Verso la Mente

more of the living during the journey
many horizons for hours and hours
submerged in distanceContinue Reading

ONE-PARTY STATE

by Julian Canlas

1.

She beheads
herself for independence

Patron saint of privileged beggars
she petrifies old edifices to fix
dying traditions

She bleaches the open fields
and the streets

She ceases to bleed

The body curses its own
mortalityContinue Reading

REVIEW: BURNT ROTIS, WITH LOVE, BY PRERNA BAKSHI

by Carmina Masoliver

Prerna Bakshi’s debut collection Burnt rotis, with love was published in 2016 by Le Zaporogue via Lulu.com. Poems featured in the collection have appeared in many literary journals, magazines and anthologies across the world. Hailing from India, Bakshi offers a refreshing perspective on feminism and the wider would, enlightening readers with its undeniable South Asian roots.Continue Reading

SHOCK, AWE, BOREDOM – PUBIC HAIR IN ART AND FASHION

by Jess Howard

(Note: Some links NSFW.)

I’ve written articles focusing on body hair before, with my previous article specifically discussing pubic hair. I was questioning why we, as a twentyfirst century audience, have such a problem with modern day depictions of perfectly natural hair growth in a way that, historically, viewers haven’t always had a problem with. Since then, Sarah Louise Bryan has gone a step further, and designed and produced an outfit consisting of a bra and floor length skirt, both made entirely out of pubic hair.

Bryan created the dress after spending six months collecting pubic hair, in a bid to create an item of clothing more shocking and scandalous than the infamous meat dress that singer and performer Lady Gaga wore to the MTV video music awards in 2010. “I really wanted the world’s most unique and disgusting design” said Bryan “so when someone sees a design they know it was me instantly”. But should we consider the creation an act of attention grabbing media fodder, or address and analyse what the creation, and the media’s reaction, says about our attitudes to body hair as a whole?Continue Reading

ANTI-CONFESSIONAL 3

by Jake Reynolds

I don’t know where I go
but boy, do I go.
Meadows, mole-holes,
traps of dead thistle.
Manholes for ditches.

You’ve been ditched. Remember?
I watched you cough dust and wipe
sand from your eyes. You said
you’d seen me in a past life.
We were here, on this dirt road.Continue Reading

LONDON

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

I find London throwing tennis balls
against the walls of my bank account
when overdrawn and, in despair,
I find it again in the coin London plucks
from behind my ear. Once, I dropped London
in the sea. The dolphins own it now.Continue Reading

BLAST FROM THE PAST – CHRISTINA AGUILERA: STRIPPED

by Carmina Masoliver

I have a strange memory of Christina Aguilera performing Genie in a Bottle on Top of the Pops and my dad asking if I liked her songs. Strange, because it’s so unremarkable to be kept inside my head. At this stage I her career, she had made her big break, and soon enough I was listening to her album, with hits such as What a Girls Wants and Come On Over (All I Want Is You). Yet, it was three years later, when she released what I will always think of as her best album: Stripped.

I was having a hard time at school, and listening to this album was the very definition of empowering. I had been pushed out of a friendship group during a time where looking back, I honestly believe I was depressed, and this escalated to the extent where I felt I was a target for lots of different groups at school. I did make some new friends, and remember connecting with one of them through a shared love of this album. This was before we had learnt to talk about why it is that Beautiful holds so much resonance with us, but fourteen years later and we are still friends, now sharing a love of bell hooks.Continue Reading

DEBRIS STEVENSON — PIGEON PARTY

by Carmina Masoliver

Deborah ‘Debris’ Stevenson is founder of The Mouthy Poets, based in Nottingham, who are a collective of 50 young poets. A poet herself, with a blurb of incredible achievements, I can’t help but envy her success as someone so near my age (she’s actually younger). Watching from the outside, I can see how much she has grafted to get where she is today, and her enthusiasm for what she does shines through at workshops, performance events, and is inside every well-chosen word on the pages of the Pigeon Party (2014) collection with flipped eye publishing.

Poems are enclosed in two-part poem After The Blackstone Rangers, which sets the scene for the collection. They describe a childhood growing up in cities, where “everyone was learning”, whether rolling cigarettes, or dancing. The words are both familiar and unexpected; a place where love and friendships are based on fun that is “still disposable and warm” — referring to the “can of Scrumpy Jacks”— but also holding a wider resonance, like most of Stevenson’s work.Continue Reading

KYLIE JENNER’S WHEELCHAIR PHOTOSHOOT

by Jess Howard

The Kardashian/Jenner family are rarely far from the press. From Caitlyn Jenner’s sensational Vanity Fair cover early this year, to the recent birth of Saint West, they are seldom out of the news. Recently, it has been model and the youngest of the Kardashian sisters, Kylie Jenner, who has been in the limelight.

Causing controversy by taking part in a photoshoot in which she posed passive and sexually in a gold wheelchair, Jenner’s photoshoot, directed by photographer Steven Klein, and accompanying interview, were part of a feature in Interview magazine, and it is explicitly clear why the internet has reacted in such a passionate and infuriated way. Continue Reading

REVIEW: THE WORLD GOES POP

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by Carmina Masoliver

I was moved to go to this exhibit with its promise that it would move beyond the mainstream artists we think of when we think of pop art, such as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Hamilton, working in the 1960s and 70s. I enjoy the work of these artists, but having seen them all before, I was intrigued to see more women exhibited, as well as those across the globe.

The literature on the exhibition states it ‘expands the notion of pop art into a far wider geographical context, showing how different cultures and countries contributed to the movement.’ With Warhol’s famous Campbell soup cans we had a critique of consumerism, yet the images shown at The World Goes Pop aim to challenge social imbalances, including the role of women and civil rights. Here, I will discuss some of my highlights from the exhibition.Continue Reading

BODY ART IN THE WORK PLACE

by Jess Howard 

Covering the body with tattoos has been a tradition among multiple socio-economic groups for centuries. From identification to decoration, the act of adorning the skin with ink is in no way novel or unique. Day to day it is incredibly common to see tattoos on people of all ages, from the first tattoo immediately after the 18th birthday, to the person in their mid forties with an exquisite and elaborate full sleeve. In short, ink is everywhere.

Yet the stigma attached to visual tattoos in the work place shows minimal chance of disappearing. When I started my first ‘proper’ job, I was told that tattoos were not allowed to be visible, and even today, ten pieces of ink later, I find myself wearing long sleeves to interviews and asking if my potential employer would like me to cover them up. Even I, a woman who has long loved body art in all of its forms, assume that the stigma is still attached.Continue Reading

PORNOGRAPHY AS ART

by Jess Howard 

Earlier on this month, Playboy magazine announced that their publication will no longer be featuring nudity as of March 2016. Citing the rise of easy access to internet pornography, the company has decided to pull their famous images from the publication in a bid to reconcile their disintegrating readership with their increasing online audience, which went nudity free at the end of last year.

Playboy made a name for itself during the 1950s, when sex and nudity where far less mainstream and far more taboo. Having previously worked for Esquire, after leaving due to a financial disagreement (when he was denied a raise of $5) founder Hugh Hefner set up the publication from his home in Chicago, Illinois. Unsure as to whether or not the publication would thrive, the first magazine was undated in case a second issue was not produced. Having purchased a nude image of film star Marilyn Monroe, taken before she had found success in the entertainment industry, Hefner placed it on the cover. As we now know, the magazine was to be a huge success.

Continue Reading

THE MALE GAZE WON’T CURE EATING DISORDERS

by Robyn Banks

Eating disorders and low self-esteem in women and girls have been making headlines in both feminist discourse and the mainstream press for years, usually being linked in a variety of ways to the media, be it advertising or the homogenous representation of women. 1.6 million people in the UK suffer from some form of eating disorder, of which 89% are female, and anorexia nervosa has been reported in girls as young as six.

The issue has resurfaced again recently after Dr Aric Sigman, a professor in child psychology, has said that boys are an ‘untapped army’ who can prevent girls’ diet disorders by telling them how attractive they find ‘curvy’ women. At the same time, France unveiled a plan to ban models deemed too skinny from the catwalk. Both of these prevention measures are well meaning, but both are rooted in a profound misunderstanding of eating disorders that could do more harm than good.

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WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL, 2015: PART 2

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by Carmina Masoliver

It was my third year of attending the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival, first envisaged and implemented by Artistic Director Jude Kelly, five years ago. The programme was full of interesting performances, discussions, and workshops. I’ll be focusing on some of the arts related events. Part 1 can be found here.

Sunday began with ‘Lips’ choir singing cover songs from artists such as Kelis, Sia, Destiny’s Child and Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer. They sparkled in a mix of sequins, shirts and bow ties, and drew a massive crowd. Poet Bridget Minamore began Who Owns Your Body? on the subject of street harassment, particularly highlighting the racial differences, reflecting on a trip to Peru.

Continue Reading