The Lovely Eggs brought a buzz to an eager crowd at the Waterfront on a Tuesday night last April. Formed by the Lancaster couple Holly Ross and David Blackwell, the band delivers a charismatic hippie-punk sound which brings the room to life. Although there are only two members, there is enough going on to satisfy any noise-hungry gig-goer. Holly juggles vocals with the guitar, complemented by David on the drums, creating something which is lively, interactive, and absurd.
The presence of South Asian characters in British theatre is not the extreme rarity it once was. Whilst South Asians and people of colour more widely are still hugely underrepresented in theatre – as actors, writers, directors and in storylines – there has undoubtedly been some progress in recent years. What remains less visible, however, is South Asian characters engaging in rich discussions of history in all its complexity, from a questioning, left-wing perspective. If this is not for you, you should probably avoid playwright and Momentum activist Sonali Bhattacharyya’s Two Billion Beats, showing now at London’s Orange Tree Theatre.
To refer to The Other Side of Hope simply as ‘a literary magazine’ feels like an injustice. It is a beautiful, complex and painful collection of short stories, non-fiction and poems written and edited by refugees and immigrants. Having recently finished reading my copy, I find myself contemplating the journeys portrayed between the covers of the magazine days later. My mind wanders back to the melancholic ending of the fictional story ‘the Proposal’ by Qin Sun Stubis, or the heart-wrenching experiences of perpetual displacement, racism and otherness experienced by the protagonist of the poem ‘Engelestân’ by Kimia Etemadi. The Other Side of Hope is more than a magazine – it constitutes a tool for building empathy, for generating understanding, and an avenue through which to become immersed in the lives of refugees and immigrants for a brief, yet emotive period of time.
by Richard Byrt
Last December, I attended a pre-launch of the anthology, Poetry and Settled Status for All, edited by Ambrose Musiyiwa, and published by CivicLeicester in January, 2022. The event was held on Zoom as part of the 8th annual Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. A recording of the event is available, through CivicLeicester on YouTube.
The poems and short prose pieces in the Poetry and Settled Status for All anthology, including those read at the pre-launch, concern the experiences of refugees, people seeking asylum and other immigrants.
by Toby Skelton
Shortly after the 2016 amendments to the assessment of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), a cartoon scolding the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) began doing the rounds on social media. In it, a figure sits behind a desk declaring: “If they drown, they need PIP. If they float, they weren’t ill.” whilst a woman is dragged out of the office by her hair. Accompanied by the caption “Conservatives Disability Policy”, the illustration caught a lot of online attention for this comparison of the DWP’s practices to those of the elementally evil Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins. Some found it an absurdly distasteful comparison; others deemed it a justified piece of satirical exaggeration. But as Amie M Marie deftly exposes in her new play Scrounge, the cartoon was barely hyperbolic in its analogy.
by Rowan Gavin
Sometimes you go to a gig not quite knowing what to expect. I found out I would be covering The Neutrinos’ recent double-set Norwich Arts Centre show for the Norwich Radical at relatively short notice, and decided on a whim to perpetuate my ignorance of the band’s work until I could hear it live. What I discovered, one December Saturday evening in that beautiful converted church hall, was all the more delightful for my lack of expectation – in fact, I’m not sure that any amount of pre-listening could have quite prepared me for the experience of this show.
by The Norwich Radical team
If we’ve learned one thing at The Norwich Radical this year, it’s that solidarity is our strongest tool. It has been for the past year, and it will continue to be for the year just started.
Solidarity is what is keeping most of us going on this fascist little island, filled with transphobia and xenophobia; this island in which the government is enacting destructive and violent repression of migration, of self affirmation, of any form of protest; this island in which the media and arts establishment are complicit instigators of a mental and physical retreat to the dying nightmare of empire and colonisation.
by Alex Valente
The chance to talk about a piece of Italian media that makes it onto the international stage, especially through a platform such as Netflix, is rare to come by; even rarer is for that media to be of any actual quality. It was with pleasure, then, that I sat down to watch Strappare Lungo i Bordi (Tear Along the Dotted Line), written and directed by Italian comics superstar Zerocalcare.
I mostly read The Breakup Monologues: The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak over the course of one weekend, author and comedian Rosie Wilby’s conversational stage persona making it easily digestible and impossible to put down on a sunny weekend with few commitments. Mirroring the non-linear nature of breakups, the book flits back and forth in time, marked B.G. (Before Girlfriend) and A.G. (After Girlfriend). Using ever-changing vocabulary to describe a number of different ‘ghosting’ methods, the book delves into Wilby’s dating and breakup history, alongside incredulous anecdotes from others. The driving point of the book, inspired by the podcast of the same name, is that each breakup can teach us something. Despite this, the romantic in me can’t help but hope that Wilby, equipped with the knowledge and experience of past relationships, might find a happy ever after with Girlfriend. With this mixed sense of hope and impending doom, the book itself mirrors the structure of an uncertain relationship.
Content warning: references to and short descriptions of sexual harassment, sexual violence, xenophobia, homophobic & transphobic abuse.
Made by Sea and Wood, in Darkness, the debut novel by Alexandros Plasatis, weaves together a collage of stories that tell the experience of Egyptian immigrants in Greece through a variety of voices. The stories are primarily set in and around Café Papaya in Kavala, where Pavlo the waiter works nights, acting as both a main character and an observer of the Egyptian fishermen. In snapshots of a male underworld, violence dominates this narrative, as the central female character Angie the barmaid fights against being cast as a victim.