THE RICH NOTHING AT UGLY DUCK

by Carmina Masoliver

On a rainy Friday, people in-the-know gathered to listen to poetry in Ugly Duck for the launch of Sophie Fenella’s debut poetry collection The Rich Nothing. Ugly Duck is actually a series of different event spaces, with this particular one being located at 47/49 Tanner Street in Bermondsey. Inside this old Victorian tannery (where leather skins are processed), therein lies ‘The Garage’. On the ground floor, the space is described as having ‘a grungy urban warehouse feel’, and without much natural light at the back, it has an underground vibe in more than one sense of the word. With genuine caution signs for wet floors from leaks, it feels like an abandoned building that has been turned into an exhibition space – but in a cool way.

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THE US IMMIGRATION COURT & THE POWER OF ITS JUDGE KING, PART II

by Ana M. Fores Tamayo

Continued from Part I here.

When the police in Guerrero, Mexico told this young woman to leave their station, not to report her missing brother or something worse could happen, she realized she could not count on the police’s help to go after the cartels. Luckily, her brother was returned, beaten up but alive. hen she began to get harassed later that year, because she saw a woman abducted and then murdered, when she began to get subsequent death threats, when she began to hear that they were going to take her small son unless she complied to whatever they wanted from her, when they began accosting her sexually — so that she had to leave her job — she knew she could not go to the police: she had learned her lesson  that first time.

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THE US IMMIGRATION COURT & THE POWER OF ITS JUDGE KING, PART I

by Ana M. Fores Tamayo

I went to an Immigration Merits Hearing at the Dallas Courts recently — the last hearing before an individual or family is deported or given asylum — and this young mother and child from Guerrero, Mexico, lost – as asylum seekers in the majority of these cases do. Although the judge admitted that the young woman “might be in danger,” he said he could do nothing about the consequences such criminal activity affects these poor folk in the countries from which they are escaping. The actions perpetrated in such countries were individual criminal proceedings, not governmental undertakings, and thus the people who suffered individually were not privy to meriting asylum under our government statutes, according to the judge’s ruling.

How can these learned men say such a thing? Continue Reading

AMERICA’S FADING ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

by Gunnar Eigener

America’s influence in the Middle East is beginning to fray at the edges. This is bad news for both the region and the global community. America has, over the past decade, became something of a pariah in the area. Its foreign policy, already distrusted by enemies and allies alike, has looked increasingly unclear and erratic under the current administration.

While previous Presidents acted with caution and measure, the Trump White House presses on, having found in its new National Security Advisor John Bolton the man who would seemingly give weight to any decision that Donald Trump would be likely to favour, yet is already being rumoured to be behind Trump’s decision to withdraw from the North Korea Summit. Continue Reading

IRAN AND THE ART OF THE DEAL

by Gunnar Eigener

The US President, Donald Trump, has announced that the US will pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran much to the dismay of all those involved and many other countries around the world. The deal was viewed by Trump as ‘the worst deal ever’, possibly an overstatement since Iran surrendered 97% of its enriched uranium stockpile and limited to installing at a maximum 5,060 centrifuges, making the production of a nuclear weapon impossible. Still, time limits were placed on these and other elements of the deal, meaning that in 15 years, Iran could have begun its nuclear programme again. While the JCPOA can, and should, be viewed as a successful deal, it is another example of not dealing with the root cause of the problem, which is the part Iran plays in propping up terrorist organisations and brutal regimes worldwide.Continue Reading

OPIOIDS AND BAD PHARMA

By Gunnar Eigener

Content warning: addiction, needles, mental illness.

Last week, the US President, Donald Trump, instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis that is currently raging across the country a public health emergency. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that six out of ten drug overdoses involve an opioid, at a current rate of 91 deaths a day. Despite these kinds of statistics, this problem has not been declared a national emergency, as Trump promised it would be, resulting in no funds being released to tackle this crisis. Trump stated that; ‘we are going to overcome addiction in America’. In reality, this barely addresses the deep-seated problems of supply and demand and the culture of the pharmaceutical business ingrained in American life.Continue Reading

CANADA LEGALISES PRESCRIPTION HEROIN – WE SHOULD DO THE SAME

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by Eve Lacroix 

Back in September, Canada approved drug legislation allowing all Canadian physicians to apply to Health Canada for a special-access programme to prescribe pharmaceutical heroin to their patients.

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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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FRESHERS’ GUIDE #2: ECSTASY AND THE SEROTONERGIC SQUAD

by Robyn Banks

Ecstasy, or MDMA, has long been a popular student party drug. Despite being relatively safe for use, not many people understand the chemical change in the brain that comes with being high on MDMA, and the rise in students being medicated for anxiety and depression threatens to make a once rare overdose in to an all too common event.

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FRESHERS’ GUIDE #1: WEED ETIQUETTE

by Robyn Banks

UCAS deadlines have passed, interviews are taking place across the country, college students are going through the clearing process. For many, university isn’t just about learning- it’s about the life experiences, the parties, and the new experiences you’ll have within your own minds. That is to say, drugs, and namely those most common university drugs: alcohol and cannabis.Continue Reading

MEANWHILE, SOME GOOD NEWS: PEACE IN COLOMBIA

by Zoe Harding

You know what? Everyone’s writing about how my racist Gran and 17,000,000 of her mates have screwed the UK over. Instead, let’s talk about something positive.

On June 23rd 2016, while the eyes of the world were decisively elsewhere, the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos emerged from negotiations in Havana with the left-wing FARC rebel group and announced a ceasefire. This ceasefire is the first major break in a fifty-year conflict which has claimed 200,000 lives and left Colombia a mess of drug trafficking and insurgencies. While the deal is nothing more than a ceasefire, it has been hailed by many Colombians as the first step in a peace process that’s been a long time coming.Continue Reading

“TACKLE DRUG DEALERS, NOT DRUG USERS”, SAYS GREEN PARTY PCC CANDIDATE

by Norfolk Green Party

Martin Schmierer, the Green Party candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Norfolk, has indicated that he would prioritise dealing with large criminal gangs that supply drugs rather than focusing on low level users of class C drugs.Continue Reading

THE WAR ON DRUGS IS RACIST: EXPLORING THE USA’S CRACK COCAINE EPIDEMIC

By Eve Lacroix

John Ehrlichman, an aide to President Richard Nixon, has confirmed what black activists and drug policy reformists have known for decades: the War on Drugs is not only a failure, but it is also a racist and controlling political tool.

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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

‘THE RULES APPLY, UNLESS…’ — DOUBLE STANDARDS WITHIN CONSERVATIVE MUSLIM SOCIETIES

by Faizal Nor Izham

We keep reading news reports on the Islamic State, immigration from Syria and all-round growing Islamophobia that we often forget that there are other real, everyday problems affecting Muslim countries that are very easy to overlook. The increasing trend in focusing on much broader, impersonal issues by the international media has a tendency to de-humanise Muslims altogether, making it easy to forget that they too face ordinary problems, which often have nothing to do with the abovementioned huge issues.

In an increasingly globalised world, it is inevitable to encounter people from families who have settled in host nations with customs and norms that are different from their own. Coping with this culture clash and confusion of identities is therefore an increasingly common complaint, albeit one that is not always raised publicly. For example, Arabs who have been raised in the West not only have to endure daily Islamophobia (whether they are actually Muslims or not — other religions in the Middle East also include Christianity, Judaism, Baha’i, Druze, Yazidism and Zoroastrianism), they also have to deal with the inevitable clash of East meets West.Continue Reading

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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FEED YOUR BRAIN

by Mike Vinti

Flying Lotus, alongside Shabbaz Palaces and Thundercat, released their first single on Monday of new project WOKE. Featuring George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic, it’s a typically psyched out, funk laden cut, overflowing with strange samples and squelching synth lines.

Since the release of You’re Dead! last October, Flying Lotus’s profile has been growing. No longer merely the preserve of open-minded hip hop heads, he’s broken out to become a critical darling and gained lucrative mass appeal, having produced tracks on Kendrick Lamar’s latest LP To Pimp a Butterfly. Flying Lotus is also the founder, and head of, record label Brainfeeder, a collective of musicians from around the world specialising in experimental electronic music and hip hop, with a heavy jazz influence.

Brainfeeder has provided a home not just for Flying Lotus’ pet projects such as WOKE, but for some of the most challenging and boundary pushing artists currently recording. As its founder’s profile grows and grows, now is the perfect time to explore some of the other artists on its roster and their releases over the years.Continue Reading

LET US SIT AND TELL SAD STORIES: CREATIVE WRITING STUDENTS AND THE NEED FOR OPTIMISM

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by Jake Reynolds

Trigger warnings for mentions of rape, assault, substance abuse, violence.

When I tell people that I have recently moved into a house in which my bedroom window looks out onto a graveyard, I get one of two reactions. The first is a wince. ‘That sounds bleak.’ The second is a strange, slightly glazed and dreamy look. ‘Wow. Think of all the writing you’ll get done. That’ll be so inspirational.’

When I joined UEA as an English Literature with Creative Writing undergraduate in 2013, the prospect of my bedroom window allowing me to peek in over a graveyard was quite a dismal thought. As I prepare to enter my final year, nothing has changed. Yet being a creative writing student, there is an assumption that being so close to death in such a striking and obvious way can be nothing but a gift for what is, presumably, my twisted and morose mind.Continue Reading

AND I AM THE SUN OF YOUTH

by Hannah Jerming-Havill.

First inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s Kral Majales.
Originally posted on leonpoetry.

And I am the Sun of Youth round and fat
Buddha sighing
I am the Sun of Youth lean and boned
boy-shaped man suspended in mourning
and I am the Sun of Youth exploding clouded skies
skimming ozoned minds with UV-waves
sweeping radio faces shock-wave burnt
bored and dry
I am the Sun of Youth bursting balloon
stretched with canister thirst
bursting papered borders dividing
families dividing tolerance collecting
heavy guilted green infected
fat green capitalist dam burst
burst like young bodies ferociously fucking
and comingContinue Reading