by Alex Valente
2019 is drawing to a close, but the turmoil and trauma of this turbulent year show no signs of abating. As we wrote on the cold, miserable and particularly unfortunate morning of Friday the 13th,
in the coming months and years, many in this country and elsewhere will suffer under a Tory government led by a racist liar. Social services will be dismembered. Workers’ rights will be eroded. Vulnerable people will face violence at the hands of increasingly aggressive immigration authorities and police. All of which will be sanctioned, incited, and protected by the country’s highest authorities and institutions.
The turn of a decade is an important time to review, to remember what the good fight is actually about, and what type of work is expected from us, as people, as a community, as a society.Continue Reading
by Alex Valente
This past year has seen a global increase in horrible news stories. From the victory of the extreme right-wing in Brazil with Bolsonaro, to Italy’s rising black wave of fascism, to Russia and Turkey competing in totalitarian games, to the US and UK’s attempts to dehumanise the trans* community and migrants (no, there is no crisis), and the constant influx of horror that are the Trump administration and the Brexit shambles, we’re at a dangerous, terrifying, angering moment in history – and most mainstream media is complicit or silent.
I started one of our monthly emails in a very similar vein, back in October, and I’m sad to notice that not that much has changed since. Continue Reading
by Sara Harrington
The chime of another year done; the fireworks and sloppy kisses, children hiding under tables amongst the tinsel, and Tesco party food ‘3-for-2’ deals. Arms fold and clasp as the initial verses of Auld Lang Syne are mumbled (bravado kicking in only during the choruses). Between those arms lay the best laid plans that the New Year brings with it – the promise that finally we can be the best version of ourselves. Final Year Lists clog up every media outlet and newsfeed, the staccato confetti that bursts out between Yoga Pants ads and Gym Membership deals. They diligently list the authors’ favourite things during the year past, whether it be music releases, comic books, or hair products. These lists give the reader some advice and allow the author a sense of closure on the year and affirmation that the time passed was not futile – something was gained.
by Alice Thomson
cw: mentions of suicide
Hurray, 2018 is upon us. January always seems like a month of reflection and contemplation to me, mainly because nothing much happens, and most people are recovering from December. Although, I feel this way as I type, there is a niggling dread at the back of my mind for 2018. I’m probably not the only one that feels this way. A new year invites new opportunities, but it also means that these openings provide an element of risk or failure.Continue Reading
by Natasha Senior
The series of coordinated sexual assaults and robberies across Cologne on New Year’s Eve, prompted an outcry from the media when it came to light that a majority of the perpetrators were refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. A steady stream of articles surfaced examining and criticising Angela Merkel’s mantra of “refugees welcome”, all of them reeking with an infuriatingly smug “I told you so”. The tabloids dealt with the news with as little finesse as you’d expect—publishing quotes from questionable sources about how some refugee was overheard to be describing western women as sex objects (as if this was somehow representative of the opinions of all refugees). Others have taken a more sympathetic approach, pointing out that these refugees probably didn’t understand our esteemed cultural practice of not robbing and sexually assaulting people.
Amidst all of this was a cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo depicting Alan Kurdi, the drowned toddler whose body was photographed washed up on a beach in Turkey. This haunting image has come to represent the plight of refugees. In this particular cartoon he was portrayed to be all grown up and groping a woman in Germany. Rightfully, this elicited a furious media backlash.
by Faizal Nor Izham
I kicked off 2016 by … not going out at all.
At first glance, that would not seem completely unusual. Many would prefer to stay indoors than brave the rain, cold, and the above-average bustle of crowds on New Year’s Eve — however this was during a recent holiday spent in London, which hosted some of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the country. Watching the display afterwards online, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of regret at not being there to see them in real life. Having said that, fireworks are usually the same old spectacle anyway, regardless of the event.
Another factor behind not going out this time was due to mild agoraphobia on my behalf— agoraphobia being the fear of going outdoors and wide open spaces. This, admittedly, was perpetuated recently by the constant bombardment of paranoid news stories from the media on the possibility of more terror attacks. ‘Security will be tight’ some said, with experts speculating even more attacks are to be expected in 2016. No matter how resilient a person thinks they are to all this, feelings of paranoia can eventually get to you.Continue Reading
By Josh Clare
The thing which I most enjoy about each Christmas since I learnt that there wasn’t a magical man bringing me countless gifts is the time available for reflection. This year as I sit by the open fire of my mother’s house, far too full on turkey next to the sleeping dog there is only one thing that I can think – how lucky I am. Sure, I have a rigorous job, but it’s certainly nothing like the dirty, tiring job my dad had or the chicken farm jobs my far-too-young mum had to take on as a child. I’m the first generation in my family to be enabled to think for a job and when I stop to contemplate about what that means I’m so grateful for the sacrifices that others have made to get me here but also, sadly, embarrassed by how I’m spending my opportunity, my ability.
by Josh Clare
I’m going to start this article as you should start every new year; by taking a few minutes to have a look back at the events which transpired. Instead of the traditional twelve month ponder though, let’s think about the past 55-ish months (or 1703 days for you maths fans).
It’s just a whistle stop tour of my (patchy) memories but I recall something about university tuition fees going up a bit, the NHS being squeezed, some guy with a pint being on TV a fair bit, the film council and a load of other quangos being cut, Scotland considering leaving the Union, recession, recession, recession, the Olympics, dubious corporate tax arrangements, the London riots and revolution in North Africa. A lot happened in these past 243 weeks.
We mustn’t dwell too long though, it’s easy to spend the first few days of 2015 considering what you did or didn’t do, and well, that’s just not good for the soul. So, to the future reader, to the future.