Graduate Show 2015

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Private view

Friday 5 June 2015

Public exhibition

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Avodart online in india

Private view

Friday 5 June 2015

Public exhibition

Monday 8 — Friday 12 June 2015


Classical cellist Oliver Coates talks about the creative process behind his music

Innocent Love

Hana Barten


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I am writing this, not as a Kanye West fan, but rather out of compassion for a fellow human being

In Defence of Self Belief and Ambition


I love Kanye’s music and I believe he is a very talented artist, but this is secondary. Kanye doesn’t deserve respect because of his artistry; he deserves respect because he’s one of us.

There is this tendency to think that successful people, be they actors, singers or athletes, do not live in the same world as we do. And while there is some truth to it, the difference is only materialistic. There is a segment on Jimmy Kimmel’s show called ‘Mean Tweets’, which consists of celebrities reading mean tweets written about themselves online. Their reactions make for some really funny moments. But while this is a light-hearted segment, it underlines a real phenomenon. Because of the Internet, people feel they can say whatever they want about anyone without causing any harm.

The problem people have with Kanye is that he is outspoken. He says everything on his mind, no matter if there’s a camera next to him. In that sense, he’s not wearing any kind of mask. However, it also has its disadvantage. Because he has a constant desire to speak his mind, it leads him to being inappropriate sometimes. How many times have you said something you regretted after thoughtful consideration? Kanye knows that his actions will be witnessed by millions of people worldwide, and he refuses to be what people want him to be. We want our celebrities nice and gentle, with strong enough opinions to give them character, but without too much self-belief and ambition to avoid them seeming arrogant. We want them to be perfected versions of ourselves, and when they don’t act the way we want them to, we criticise them and loathe their caste. Unfortunately, it’s only the bad things that get picked up.


When Kanye West argued at the Grammys that Beck should have given his award to Beyoncé, people took to their keyboards to express their disgust at someone having such a strong opinion. The question here is not whether we agree with Kanye, but whether we think snap judgments really will improve the situation or not. Of all the reactions that followed, the most intelligent came from none other than Beck himself, who admitted his own surprise at winning a Grammy that night and expressed his admiration for Kanye’s music. Talk about taking the higher road. This led to Kanye apologising and clarifying his comments regarding ‘artistry’. And all was good with the world again. Of course, saying ‘Beck should respect artistry’ sounded wrong but all he meant was that if anyone deserved a Grammy for ‘Album of the Year’ it was Beyoncé. And, let’s be honest, he had a point. Beyoncé’s latest album was not only her best, but it had a resounding impact and influence, both for its release strategy and its musical content. Although it came out at the tail end of 2013, no other record’s influence was more felt throughout 2014 than Beyoncé.

Aside from the Grammy incident. Kanye West is constantly painted in the media as a crazy egomaniac. Last year he played at London’s Wireless festival, and was booed for speaking at length about the ills of modern society, fame and fashion. The story was printed in numerous music magazines, all ridiculing what they qualified as a ‘rant’. Attendants expected music and rightly so, but they were so closed off to getting anything other than music that no one actually paid attention to what he said.

“Fuck whatever my face is supposed to mean. It’s about my dreams, it’s about everybody’s dreams. What have I ever done that was so wrong other than believe in myself? They want to control everybody, you know, rumours, lies, media, marketing. They want to make you feel like you less than you really are. As far as I’m concerned everybody’s a star”. Sounds familiar? On his new album To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar starts off by sampling the song Every N*gger Is A Star, and he has been applauded for it. For some reason, however, when Kanye says we’re all stars, we throw shade at him.

It is saddening to see that some people are so comfortable with spreading hate and negativity about an artist that they would go as far as writing a petition against him playing at Glastonbury festival. Have we really come to this? What’s worse is that many don’t seem to realise the importance of what Kanye West does. He is all about taking a stand and being brave in the face of defeat. We have the power and not only can we do everything we want, we have a duty to do so. When he raps ‘I am a God’, he’s not talking about himself only. It’s about all of us, and knowing that we are the sole deciders of our fate. And if there ever was a time when we needed that kind of artist, it’s now.


Diving into the future of virtual and augmented reality

Seeing is Believing

Ollie Didwell

No matter where you go these days, someone will stop you to tell you about virtual reality. “How about Valve’s new prototype?” says the guy at the post office. “Did you hear that virtual reality could be a $30 billion market by 2020?” mentions my dentist in casual conversation. Okay, maybe it’s not that widespread, but the ever-looming presence of the new age of gaming feels so close it’s starting to feel awkward. But how far away are we from donning the headsets and diving into Dental Simulator 2015?

Nico Locke believes there is still work to be done before we are truly satisfied with immersing ourselves in the unreal. “I really think that the concept is there, but I think at the moment people aren’t going to use VR headsets as a serious gaming device,” he admits to me from his home office in Hertfordshire. The Unity3D developer is currently specialising in augmented and virtual reality experiences, making cutting edge concepts come to life in time for the commercial arrival of the long awaited devices. But right now he believes there are still things that need to change before we’re full happy with VR. “The hardware just isn’t quite there yet. Most devices are 1080p, but personally I don’t think it’s enough. In my experience games can still appear distorted and the distance rendering can be really off.”

While a little stunted at the current time, by the end of the year Locke believes that virtual and augmented reality will finally be ready to perform. “I’m especially excited about the Valve + HTC headset ‘Vive’ and Facebook have said that a consumer version of the Oculus will be available towards the end of the year.” Nico is well aware of what’s on the horizon for both VR and AR, and is currently in the process of developing a virtual pet augmented reality game similar to the kid’s craze that once swept the nation. “It takes a lot of inspiration from Tamagotchi, but the augmented reality gives the game another platform in which it can engage its users.”

Rather than seeking to revolutionise how we play, virtual reality provides a depth to existing concepts, enhancing their interactivity and creating a deeper layer of immersion for players. The carefully engineered headsets pull you close to the experience, and twinning it with AR technology (the ability to replicate and manipulate real world objects) is what Nico believes will make his project stand out in the market. “As the project is targeted at young children they might not necessarily be able gage how the technology is working, which is going to increase playability and game longevity,” he explains, “It will help create the illusion that the game is coming into real life.”

Despite us all itching to play Grand Theft Auto in first person mode on a headset, it’s important to note just how beneficial these emerging technologies could be to a learning environment. “I think it’s going to really benefit educational games and experiences, the more absorbing and engrossing an application or game is – the better. AR & VR are only going to add another element in which users can achieve this.” It’s exciting to think that it may not be too soon before classrooms are incorporating these devices in the form of interactive world maps, or historical event simulators.

One of the features Nico has previously worked with is the incorporation of ‘Smart Terrian’ into a project. Created by Vuforia, Smart Terrain allows the recognition of real world objects, creating a 3D replica within the app to then be used within the program. “There’s a fun little game on the app store right now called Shatter Isle” Nico recalls, describing one of the fun ways Smart Terrain is currently being used, “Imagine a 3D version of Angry Birds where you can generate your own terrain with the objects around you and you’ve got Shatter Isle.” The technology can essentially bring your living room to life; changing a dining table into a playable game surface, or perhaps more worryingly, an advertisement.


As well as education, we are also likely to see VR and AR soon being integrated into workplaces, retail outlets and most of all, social lives. Facebook buying the Oculus Rift VR headset means big things for social networking in a virtual world. While originally creating a buzz through the games industry, following the $2 billion purchase of the technology Mark Zuckerberg and co made it known that the Rift was going to enhance the way we connect online. Alongside networking, Nico believes that that we will also see other uses such as “selling VR 360 video experiences of events such as football matches and concerts.”

Without a doubt it’s hard not to get excited about the upcoming explosion of augmented and virtual reality. Yes, everyone is talking about it, but you can’t blame them for preparing themselves for technology that been teased since the sci-fi movies of the 80’s. Speaking of sci-fi, when asked about which games Nico was looking forward to in the future of virtual reality games he had his sights set in the sky, “Eve Valkyrie looks stunning, I think anything VR and space is going to be unreal.”

Hoping to one day set us his own digital agency in the not too distant future, Locke’s position in such a forward thinking and innovative industry is definitely one to be rivalled. He hopes one day to be seeing his own creations come into life in the form of 2D and 3D games and experiences.


Illustrator Sean Ryan talks about his badly drawn series

Badly Drawn Boy

Sophie Pengelly

What do William Shakespeare, Alexa Chung and Miley Cyrus’ tongue have in common? Aside from being big names on the party circuit, probably not a lot. They have, however, all been the subject of illustrator Sean Ryan’s Badly Drawn series. “I’m just not very good!” admits Liverpool’s homegrown Picasso. “To my surprise, people seem to like how bad [my drawings] are.”

Sean’s project started two years ago when he came across his 1994 Merlin Premier League sticker album and started to draw all 200 players in the book. “I knew I couldn’t draw them all properly in the time I had, so I’d just spend about two minutes on each one, which is why they all came out looking so terrible.” He adds, “Almost every person in [the sticker book] was a pleasure to draw. So many of them had severely-broken noses, missing teeth, oddly shaped heads, bad hair styles and strange facial hair, which was a dream for drawing.”

Not only is the Badly Drawn series a trailblazer for all the Average Joes among us, it’s also proof of how technology has been such an enormous help to modern day artists like Sean. It’s glaringly obvious that social media has completely flipped business logic on its head (blah, blah, blah), but thanks to the mammoth rise in popularity of online marketplaces such as Folksy and Bigcartel, getting your work out there has never been simpler. Allowing him to reach out to a whole range of audiences, the hip and trendy folk of Instagram love his Badly Drawn Models series, whereas his Badly Drawn Authors prints are most popular on online craft market Etsy.

“I’ve found Etsy to be a great way to sell my work. It’s a perfect opportunity to get a little bit of money,” Sean says. “Where artists may have previously been limited to selling their work at local arts and craft fairs, there’s now this opportunity to sell stuff to people all around the world.”

He adds, “It’s pretty exciting shipping a poster off to someone in Australia.” Although illustration is just a side-project for Sean, who currently walks among us lesser-folk as a 9-5 office worker, he’s certainly making friends in high places along the way. Despite his work getting nods from the likes of The Guardian and MTV, Sean is quick to add that it’s ‘surreal’ having a growing army of celebrity supporters behind him (including the famous faces of designer Jeremy Scott and supermodel Allison Harvard, no less).


“[Renowned filmmaker and photographer] Nadia Lee Cohen asked me to send her portrait to her, and she sent me a few of her prints in return,” Sean says. “It’s a bit crazy to be swapping artwork with someone whose work I’ve admired for so long.”

So while he would certainly admit that he’s unlikely to be dubbed a 21st century Van Gogh any time soon, it seems that Sean’s pitiful portraits are getting attention for all the right reasons. But the way things are going for him, who knows? Those boobies you drew over David Cameron’s picture in the Metro could be displayed in the Tate Modern before you know it.


Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman talks sunburn, patience and punk rock

Meet Kevin Lyman: Your Punk Rock Educator

Sadan Mustafa

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the creative force behind a huge festival like the Vans Warped Tour? Well genius, mentor and all around living legend Kevin Lyman is here to tell you all about how he started Warped Tour and why.

Kevin Lyman has run Warped Tour since its formation in 1994—making it the longest and largest touring festival in America. The man, who was the first stage manager at Lollapalooza and was already working in the music industry for 13 years before starting Warped Tour, has since made the festival a household name in alternative music.

Kevin’s inspirations behind Warped really came from the culture he was accustomed to, and his genuine love for skateboarding. “It was kinda a lifestyle thing in Southern California,” he explains. “We were all skateboarding and [all about] music and doing things in backyards, and I saw this whole culture of skateboarding and music kinda growing.” Kevin explains that the announcement of the X-games in America helped develop this hand-in-hand culture of extreme sports and music.

Even though he knew that this culture was about to explode and this tour was about to be soughtafter because of it, he didn’t expect to still be running Warped 21 years later. “I said I was going to go do this one last summer and then I was going to go get a real job,” he explains. “My daughter was being born and it was going to be one last summer with some friends, doing a tour the way I would want to run it.”


Although Warped Tour is now one of the most important and powerful festivals in music, it wasn’t very well planned or thought out in the beginning. “[The first year] was really by the seed of our pants to be honest,” says Kevin. He went to the people he knew from previous shows he worked on, and the bands that really trusted him and his work (Sublime, No Doubt, Quicksand).“

It really came together quick to be honest,” he says. “It was like March 23rd or 24th and we were doing an event in the snow for charity, and I said, ‘I want to do this thing’ and we were literally on the road by the end of July the first year.” Kevin also mentions that although the process to get Warped together and on the road was quite quick, the first year wasn’t really successful.

“People saw the vision and when we decided to do it the second year, [we] had bands like NOFX and Pennywise who brought a certain amount of credibility to the show—you gotta remember I was just the guy who loaded everyone’s vans at that point. I ran the shows, but I wasn’t an artist or musician… I was like one of the first people who did this kind of thing without being one.”

So we know that Kevin’s job in 1994 included loading equipment, whilst running a whole festival, but what does his role include now? Well, according to Kevin, Warped Tour preparation begins in September/October and starts with him booking a killer line-up.

“If I book a good line-up, then everything else should become easier,” he says. “I [then] have to work with the couple girls that do all our sponsorship. We need sponsors to help run this tour because our ticket prices are still pretty reasonable, and we need to offset that somehow.” He also has to work on getting buses, trucks, sound, lights, everything that gets the show up and running.

“Really my job out on the road is to deal with those unforeseen problems; those unforeseen problems can be mostly weather related (laughs),” he says. “But I can also read the temperament of the tour, like if the tour is getting bogged down, or there’s some sort of conflict, I can step in and fix things really quick. We mitigate those [problems] by having such a good team of people who work on this tour and I think it works well.” Kevin’s job is also to make sure the kids get into the venue on time and don’t wait around (complaining) for too long.

On a perfect day Kevin can barbeque, work on his many other projects—including Mayhem Festival, his brewery and the various university talks/seminars he gives—and maybe even watch a few bands.

“Fifty three years old and you get to go check out bands in the middle of the afternoon, on a Wednesday, somewhere in the country—and now it’s totally different because my daughters come on the road and work with me. They love being on the tour, I look at it as though, how often does a dad get their teenage daughters to want to hang out with him for two months you know (laughs).”

It’s accurate to describe Kevin Lyman as a teacher—even though he refers to himself as more of a mentor or disciplinary. “I’m really pushing to learn about music,” he says. “Warped Tour’s an education. Everything I do about Warped Tour is hopefully to teach people about things. I think when I was going to leave [the music industry], I was maybe going to be a schoolteacher, so with Warped now, it’s more like how am I going to educate you,” he says passionately. Kevin also mentions that the Warped line-up is announced the way it is to influence people to listen new, young bands they would never have known otherwise, like Brit rockers Moose Blood.

“I can reverse it and announce all the big bands at the beginning,” he continues. “But I don’t think these little bands – the younger bands, will get the notice and help. What I want to do is help their careers as much as we can while they’re working with us—and it’s just really fun when people go, ‘ahh man, I didn’t know that Mod Sun was so cool’ or something.”

Kevin also explains that although the mission Warped Tour is on is still a positive one, there is a lot of negativity surrounding festival—mostly in terms of line-up—and sadly Kevin is the subject of abuse from disgruntled fans. “Now to make myself feel better about it, I go, ‘they’re just very passionate about what we created’ (laughs).” Kevin also expresses that he feels “almost obligated” to put on Warped Tour every year. “If you don’t like [Warped] don’t come, or create something better. I’m trying to inspire kids to do something better than what I do. When they do, I won’t be able to do this anymore…”

It will be a sad day when Warped Tour is over, because it is definitely on a mission to educate the masses. With more than a dozen non-profits and charities setting up tents on the Warped grounds, skating isn’t the only big part of the tour; philanthropy is definitely a foundation of the festival. “[Social consciousness] is important for me. We do over half a million tickets here in the United States, 90% of the people just want to run in circles and get sunburnt, but what if ten of those people walk out, and they’ve signed up for a non-profit, or if they all of a sudden understand or learn something about Peta that changes their lifestyle in that way, or they sign up to vote (laughs)…”

“I still think Warped Tour leaves a place in a better situation than it was,” he says. “The kids that come to Warped Tour, most of them come out somewhat, a little better. They become more confident in themselves, they realise they’re not alone, they realise there is other kids like them and you know what? We give a good day. What’s wrong with bringing a good day to places?… You can come [to Warped], and just be who you are.” Kevin Lyman is definitely an inspiring, passionate teacher and Warped Tour is definitely his giant, sweaty classroom.


6T’s at the 100 Club: still going strong after 34 years

Faith Restored

Tom Bacon

The two main lessons I gathered from going to the 100 Club are as follows: 1. Rhythmically speaking, I am somewhere between a pebble and Mr Wobble from Noddy. 2. Never eat a Chinese at quarter to four in the morning and expect your body to be able to digest it fully. The reasons for both these lessons will become abundantly clear by the end of this piece.

I arrived at the 100 Club around half past midnight and was met by two of the nicest bouncers I’ve ever come across. One politely reminded me, almost apologetically, ‘you know it’s a Northern Soul night tonight?’ I nodded. The other one patted me down. It was one of the most passive searches I ever had. Maybe they had been told that amphetamine use might be the only way to keep it busy past two o’clock.

The 100 Club has been a live music venue since 1942. 6t’s at the 100 club started in 1981, 34 years ago, by the late Randy Cozens and Ady Croasdell from Kent Records. Previously it was held at the Bedford Head pub in Covent Garden amongst other places. Before you enter the main hall, there is a cloakroom to your left that also acts as a buyer’s room. If you ask, someone will bring out a wooden box of 45’s for you to flick through.

I’m too nervous. People sit down and go through the records with knowing eyes and have discussions about who was supposed to play the drums on the B-side, but couldn’t because their dog was ill. I don’t mean to make it seem as if this was done in a snobby way, these people just really know their shit. In fact, if I had anything to contribute, anything they didn’t know, they would have welcomed me in. It’s not a competition; everyone is just hungry to know more.

The 100 Club itself looks like a British Legion club. As you enter the hall there is a wooden bar immediately to your right. A pint of Stella served in a plastic cup costs a fiver. A double G & T costs £8.50. These prices aren’t actually too bad considering it’s Oxford Street. The gin comes out of a bottle of Gordon’s on an optic that adds to the authenticity. There are framed pictures all over the red painted walls. Nothing is sterile or overly clean about this place. There are no gimmicks. No neon lights or trendy sofas.


It looks as if a load of friends rented out their local conservative club, put some plastic chairs at one end and just never gave it back. I’m sure that in fact the layout is very carefully planned and the effortless Brassed Off feel is all on purpose. But you don’t feel as though you’re being exploited for any notions of nostalgia. Maybe we are, who knows. The floor is a classic wooden dance floor. One of those with crisscross boards and a slick top.

I’ve been to hundreds of nights where Northern Soul is played but never as the headline event, or perhaps for just half an hour or so. I have also never seen proper Northern Soul dancing in the flesh. I don’t claim to be a good, or even competent dancer, but these moves were impossible to get. This was not for the faint hearted.

Northern Soul dancers glide around in a way that I can only compare to the moonwalk, minus the creepiness. It looks so effortless and graceful, as if the floor was actually made of ice not wood. And instead of the Vel-Vets, it was Strauss playing. One interesting thing I observed is that you dance by yourself. I don’t mean you stand completely solo ignoring everyone around you. I mean there are no partners. No contact between lovers, or would be lovers for that matter. You are completely by yourself but with everyone else at the exact same time. Everyone knows how and when to move. They know exactly which tunes deserve a clap, where to clap in Tainted Love and which tunes it’s okay to have a rest for.

Northern Soul can be split up into many categories, including stompers and floaters. Stompers, as you can imagine, are more up-tempo tracks that are designed to get the crowd going whilst the floaters are slower. So you would expect the stompers to get everyone going whilst they rested through the floaters. This simply isn’t the case. Some stompers would clear the dance floor whilst some floaters had everyone dancing. I think it’s more to do with the emotional connection than the sound. It’s about what it reminds people of. A track like I’m Waitin’ by Bill Bush will fill the floor because they used to play it a lot at The Torch but it’s not as upbeat as Luther Ingram Oh Baby Don’t You Weep. This great romance with the music supplies the energy. I know all about the use of speed in the early days of Northern Soul, but that seems to have disappeared now. Maybe over time that generation has mellowed and the love of the music has overtaken the need for any kind of stimulant.

The outfits fascinated me. I had a Harrington jacket, borrowed from a friend, and a pair of brogues on but I still felt more like a Martyn Gerrard employee than a Wigan Casino veteren. The boys look slick and the girls look cool. One girl in particular stood out. She looked like the woman from all those videos of screaming girls when the Beatles first landed in America. Hair cut in a bob down to her shoulders, a trademark mini skirt and a stripy turtleneck. She’s cool. She reminded me of my mother. Or what my mother would have looked like when she used to go to The Torch. It made me proud. It made me think, “Jesus Christ mum, you were cool. You were doing this thing 15 years before I was born and to some extent, you did it better than any other scene that followed.”

Some men are dressed in slim fitted suits and some in more traditional Northern Soul polo shirts. One girl wears a Wigan Casino t-shirt. A lot of the guys are hanging on to their last strands of hair. One exception to this is probably the best dancer in the room. He bears no resemblance to a typical Northern Soul fan in terms of dress but glides around perfectly in time. Another man is dressed in a complete sailors outfit whilst someone else looks like Trainspotting gone wrong, or even worse. The outfits and haircuts

vary a lot, which is a refreshing change from boys with iced gem haircuts, and t-shirts of cities they’ve never visited printed on them, that attend your local Vodka Revs. One thing unites all of them. The music. The sound isn’t always crystal clear but the tunes are always superb. Some of the DJ’s sound like they present a local mid western radio stations designed for truck drivers:

“A classic there from the contours. This is DJ whatshisname taking you through to the early morning. Just keep on truckin boys. Ohhhhhh yeah.”

Of course they don’t actually say this, but you get the idea. It doesn’t matter though, they can do no wrong, they are the ones who spent god knows how much money on records to keep up dancing. So they can talk a bit if they like. I had my trusty fruit branded smart phone equipped with an app that will identify tracks for you. I had it on for five hours. I got fifteen tunes. Fifteen. This shows how rare these tracks are. This all seemed very poignant at 8:30 in the morning without any sleep. I was thinking just how very poignant it was whilst projectile vomiting into my toilet.

Lesson two: Never eat a Chinese at quarter to four in the morning and expect your body to be able to digest it fully. At about quarter past three I was starting to lag so I went in search of coffee. Outside on the street is the smoking area. I stood next to two men and listened in to their conversation about football. One was saying “I think I’d rather get relegated than see my team play with no passion”, “yeah” the other man agreed. “I mean all United fans are from Reading. Do you know what we sang when we played Chelsea? Fuck off back to Guildford.”

This appeared to amuse both of them greatly. This serves as a metaphor for how the people of Northern Soul feel about their scene. It’s gritty and it has a chip on its shoulder, but its true and for the people. There is hardly any glamour in Northern Soul. It grew up in poor, industrial towns like Stoke and Wigan and it will never forget that. I tip my hat to this. On the other side of the road there was an open Chinese buffet. I headed straight for it. They didn’t do coffee but I thought maybe if I have some food, I’d

perk up. I was full half way through a plate of food that had no doubt been on display since around half past four that afternoon. It was not a wise choice. It was more my fault than theirs. What did I expect at that time of night? Feeling like someone has stuck a needle full of MSG directly into my heart I strode (trudged) back to the club.

I was greeted by one of the best vocal lines I know. Inell Young’s What Do You See In Her. It was a moment of pure ecstasy. I forgot about the Korean beef and sweet n sour chicken in my stomach, plotting their escape when I was at my weakest. Soon after came Luther Ingram’s Oh Baby Don’t You Weep For Me, with a bass line that makes it flow with a Latin American tango feel. They kept it together seamlessly and this tune really got the room going. One of the main reasons I left the dance floor unblemished by my presence was a young couple I spotted and saw from time to time during the night.


She’s an incredible dancer. She has time and really made it look easy. He was trying so desperately to keep up with her that it almost seemed like he felt that if he lost the rhythm, he’d lose her too. And he was probably right. By half five the place was pretty empty, save a few people sitting down waiting for the last tune. I upped and left. I don’t know whether they played Tobi Legend last or maybe they have their own traditional final tune, sorry. I stumbled into the daylight, found a coffee and took a cab. I got on the train at Victoria and an hour and a bit later, I was home. Thinking poignant thoughts as Korean Beef and Sweet n Sour chicken made their escape to victory down my toilet via my mouth.

I was brought up on Northern Soul. My mum is a Soul girl from Stoke and she would play these Sound of Detroit CD’s in the car and in the kitchen. I’m glad I went to see what all the fuss was about. I’m proud to be a part of this. I buy into all of it: the music, the fetishisation of vinyl and the dancing. Even if I do need to get someone to show me how to do it, I want to learn. I want to be able to know when to clap at the right time and when it’s okay to sit down. I think Northern Soul is about your ability to glide. Whether that be the dancing, or the carefree attitude, it unites and liberates. It’s a one of a kind and a special sound. Seamless movement across the dance floor of life. 6t’s is the elite of the Northern Soul all-nighters. It may not be the best night to start with if you’re new to the scene. But it felt like home to me.


Investigating the role of the banana peel in comedy

The Banana Peel: Friend or Foe?

Amy Watson

The banana; a tasty fruit or a deadly weapon used in Mario Kart? Whichever you think, the banana peel has become a staple in comedy. But how did it obtain this threatening reputation?

Before it reached comedy stardom, the banana skin already had the reputation of being a major hazard to the public. In the mid 19th century, an increase in the importation of bananas to New York City began, which led to it becoming the most popular fruit around America. The influx of migrants coupled with a lack of hygiene on the streets posed a difficult situation to some cities. People often threw their rubbish onto the street, which lead to a decaying smell and piles of waste on the paths; a banana skin was the least threatening thing at the time.


The banana peel made its comedy debut on the big screen in Harold Lloyd’s The Flirt. Whilst sitting in a restaurant, Lloyd’s character starts to peel a banana and then throws the skin onto the restaurant floor. A waiter walks by unawares with a full tray, and the inevitable happens. Though the traditional trip and fall gag became very predictable in silent films, comedians would try to find ways to outdo each other. In the 1927 film The Battle of the Century, Laurel and Hardy used the banana peel to instigate a full-scale cream pie fight.

Thanks to the silent film industry, we can no longer trust a sole banana peel on the floor. Even American comedian and director Woody Allen fell victim to the smooth effects of a huge banana peel in his early film Sleeper.

In 2009, Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters decided to put the banana peel to the test. After countless experiments they found that one banana peel does not produce any slippage. If one banana isn’t scary then what about a large concrete surface completely covered with skins? Mythbuster Adam slipped six times in one minute while trying to navigate this slippery surface.

TV show How Stuff Works said that it comes down to the amount of friction between the foot and the peel. They also point out that comedy shows are designed with variables such as these in mind, so the risk is pretty low.

But surely people aren’t foolish enough to trust a lonesome banana peel? In 2011, an American woman sued a supermarket for slipping on a banana skin, which led to her suffering from a herniated disk in her back.

So if you encounter a fresh banana peel on the floor what will you do? Avoid it, or become a punchline in somebody’s story? To be honest – it’s probably harmless. But always use them as a weapon in Mario Kart.


Investigating the increasing rate of the gentrification of London


Toby McCarron

It’s in human beings’ migratory nature to divide and conquer, when an area becomes oversaturated we embark on journeys to find a more desolate area and slowly assimilate it. It’s in people to come around to our particular tribal brand of thinking. In many cases, it’s often up to the youth to set the new standard in a tired area, to react to boredom in their new circumstances with a cultural or architectural renaissance often disbanding the local communities to achieve their utopian vision of comfort.

I a sprawling city like London, the redevelopment and instigation of communities is accelerating at a hither-to unseen rate. With the wealth divide as it is, and London being an economic hub the demand for high-end property particularly for overseas investors has skyrocketed. The oligarchic nature of current UK politics has led to a culture of the uber- rich seeking out luxury lifestyle quarters in previously unchartered territories. Twenty years ago in North Greenwich there was little more than rubble and ‘Here be dragons’ signs, but with the turn of the century with the erection of the millennium dome interest in the area dramatically increased with the tube link making it easy for professionals to commute quickly without paying astronomical zone 1 living rates. Now walking along towards the renamed dome (the 02) the skyline is blocked with high-rise accommodation. The area is trumpeted as ‘village living in the city’ and is one of hundreds being established across the capital. But contrary to the rest it is setting up a community rather than getting rid of one.

Just across the river, a similar regeneration has happened to Stratford with the Olympic boom transforming the area into a hotbed of new middle-class family units and more-money-than-sense students. The social change however has had a significant effect on the previous residents and communities in conjunction with the new East London elite established in areas like Hackney and Shoreditch. In Hoxton, the plight of the New Era estate gained mass media attention as residents of over 60 years fell victim to council plans to unceremoniously boot them out of their houses to make way for a new development of luxury flats. With extended backing through protest’s spearheaded by Russell Brand, the predominantly working class community banded together against rents projected to triple from an average cost of £800 to £2400 a month. With the disparity in wealth as it is, asking people already barely living within their means to plunge into debt or relocate has become worryingly commonplace, displaying a flagrant disregard for the human right to have shelter and also living needs within the established housing authorities.

Thankfully, the charity foundation ‘Dolphin Living’ bought the development from US investors, giving some temporary relief to the families. Unfortunately the same cant be said for other more deprived areas of London. In 2005, the Kidbrooke Ferrier estates were demolished with the residents losing their fight and having to be relocated to Thamesmead. Which is one of the most neglected areas in South London, miles away from their previous homes and places of work. The area now is a sea of balconies and unnecessary water features. With half the flats still empty, the questions build as to whether the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Culture is suffering too from the rampant regeneration. Countless venues and pubs are shutting their doors most notably in Soho where the vibrant Madam Jojos has been bought out and has fallen victim to office building and a shift to capitalist ideals in retail with big brands overturning businesses that have been entrenched in communities for decades. Network Rail have become detrimental for small business survival in Brixton, which is one of the biggest community strongholds still surviving in South London. Plans to renovate Brixton’s famous railway archways are being terminated at an alarming rate, with many being given
final notice until September to vacate. The effect of the larger chain businesses asserting their domination is that of a city unified and assimilated. Where before the variety in local businesses gave the area character, conglomerate investments will inevitably lead to a stasis whereby no area is different to every other, a form of capitalist utopia whereby everyone consumes the same food or buys the same clothes from the same retail outlet.


The unification presented is a fallacy, and further reinforces a stamping out of diversity by segregating those who lead alternative life-styles or live below the average wage. The protests in Brixton and Stratford with the ‘Yuppies Out!’ slogan are admirable but ultimately, in the cutthroat world of business and calculated economics aren’t turning as many heads as they could. Furthermore, with society becoming increasingly competitive, those who ordinarily would be unaffected are falling victim to aspirational advertising, informing their spending habits through peer-associated sharing. With social media as prevalent as it is, many people now aspire to a status of being the best; be it culinary ‘excellence’ in their pub lunches with wooden boards sporting a mountain of pulled pork, or palming off the local pub for the newest craft brewery because it’ll garner more likes on Instagram. Now even the most humble JD Wetherspoons is boasting locally brewed pale ales and gourmet burger options.

Some may argue this is simply progression and that people are realising that they have a finite time on this planet and are extending their consumption to give the illusion of having a meaningful life. But until their favourite local venue is turned into a juice bar or a designer clothing store, many people fail to grasp the significance of their local communities as a much more valuable source of meaning. Kingston-upon-Thames has long fostered an admirable music community, with venues New Slang and The Hippodrome recently boasting chart topping alternative artists from The Vaccines to All Time Low. With new plans from the council being unveiled to eventually convert the venues into flats and more shops, it’s one more area where outcry is being accumulated through concerned local business owners with Banquet Records’ Jon Tolley running a campaign to preserve the entertainment culture. But why should he have to? It’s difficult to imagine any member of the public, no matter how pernickety, who would rather sacrifice a long-standing local institution for yet another Starbucks.

Gentrification is turning into a form of cultural vandalism, encouraging uniformity and a rolling over of established communities for new institutions, which only benefit a small proportion of society. It’s these communities that have the power to limit the damage by demanding a seat at the table for council meetings and making their views known and acknowledged. You too, can play your part if like so many South London residents you’re tired of the corporate stranglehold over ordinary working people. It’s more important now than ever to maintain cultural identities because what else does London have if the wonderful diverse differences in society are bulldozed for flats?


Exploring a cure for depression through mindfulness

The Cure for Depression

Sam Allmark

Mindfulness is a way of becoming more aware of all senses and accepting non-judgmental focus on ones attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. This is useful in meditational practice, and can help to cure depression, anxiety as well as have a positive effect on physical as well as mental illness including heart disease, low blood pressure and ADHD.

Meditation coach and teacher Chelvi Mailvaganan who works at Haruka meditation center in London believes that mindfulness meditation is one of the most creative process’s someone can undertake to understand ones own mind, by connecting the relationship from the mind and body, “The mind is free! Why would no one want to explore it further” Chelvi states, “for example how stress and anxiety can have a physical effect and contribution to heart disease and all kinds of other illnesses.” Mindfulness also helps with a greater awareness of mental health. The ultimate goal of meditation is to look after your mind and general well-being.

According to mindfulness scientist Dr. Bruce Lipton, gene activity can change on a daily basis. If the perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body, and if your nervous system reads and interprets the environment this then controls the blood’s chemistry, you can literally change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.

In fact, Dr. Lipton’s research illustrates that by changing your perception, your mind can alter the activity of your genes and create over thirty thousand variations of products from each gene. He gives more detail by saying that the gene programs are contained within the nucleus of the cell, and you can rewrite those genetic programs through changing your blood chemistry.

In the simplest terms, this means that we need to change the way we think if we are to heal holistically. “The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and the reality we experience,” Dr. Lipton said. “What that means is that your mind will adjust the body’s biology and behavior to fit with your beliefs. If you’ve been told you’ll die in six months and your mind believes it, you most likely will die in six months. That’s called the nocebo effect, the result of a negative thought, which is the opposite of the placebo effect, where healing is mediated by a positive thought.”

The intention of mindfulness meditation is to trick the mind into releasing itself, trick the mind into giving the thinking apparatus a rest, allowing one to forget any worries and become absorbed in the sensations of the present moment. Mindfulness Meditation is secular; namely, to train the mind, in the same way that we would lift weights to strengthen a muscle, to be able to concentrate — and avoid weakly wandering around on autopilot — for longer and longer periods of time.

In western culture, life is very busy and so the use of mindfulness meditation can be very practical in daily life. Seen as a very alternative, bohemian practice by some, many are beginning to see it as more of a relaxation to cure the mind from the stresses and problems people face on a daily basis. “It’s very integrated into your daily life, how you are as a person, how you work with your mind and train your mind in response to how you deal with the stresses and problems with life. How you relate to people in your life, with love and compassion” says Chelvi “I think meditation is a very creative process, when you are meditating you are freeing your mind up from responding in a habitual way, so usually when something happens rather than using your own habits you can adapt. So through meditation you understand how your mind works and you’re creating a space in your mind and that space brings out different choices.”

It creates the opportunity to ask a question: How does meditation affect people suffering from illnesses?

People with a short attention span are often diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the most common treatment for ADHD is pharmaceuticals. The popularity of Ritalin and similar drugs has increased dramatically in recent years with the United States manufacturing and consuming five times more of these drugs than the rest of the world combined. Instead of this actually treating the symptoms, the drugs are only suppressing the mind. This has a highly detrimental effect on the empowerment of the individual who becomes reliant on them. Instead of healing from within it is often the case of a “quick fix” making for a temporary improvement.


This is the story of one individual who has ADHD: “I was suffering from depression for about two years, I have anxiety attacks when I’m in public places and this means that I struggle to keep a job for very long. I went to the doctors and they diagnosed me with ADHD.” Like the majority of suffers, he was given pharmaceuticals. “They prescribed 120 milligrams of Elvanse. After two months I had to go back and ask for a smaller dose as I was knocked by it. When I dropped down to 70 milligrams life became more manageable but I started to have severe mood swings”. Had he ever considered stopping? “I constantly toy with the idea of coming off the medication but my doctor keeps telling me that it is the best treatment available. I still take 70 milligrams but I am aware that the mood swings aren’t me, they’re just the drugs”. Last month Felix went two weeks without taking his medication, but he said that he started drinking a lot and taking some drugs – “sometimes it feels like these straighten me out”.

It’s clear that the use of pharmaceuticals is redundant for many people suffering from depression and ADHD. If you look online and in books the positive effects mediation can have on individuals diagnosed with ADHD and depression is vast. Alan Wallace states “pharmaceuticals combat severe symptoms. But they don’t cure anything. They merely suppress symptoms while generating harmful side effects, and even if you don’t become addicted you may develop a dependence on them. But the sooner we can get children, adolescents and adults off their drug dependence and provide them with methods for maintaining attentional balance on their own, the better it will be”.

Wallace is a leading expert and teacher of mindfulness meditation and has strong beliefs that many mental imbalances can be balanced by this practice. Without the dependence on pharmaceuticals, mindfulness meditation could treat the individual and help them generate holistic balance on their own. As the side effects of these drugs cause common symptoms such as depression and anxiety it seems like a perpetual cycle with no way out – but this form of self-discipline offers a different possibility.

Mindful meditation is becoming vastly more popular amongst people in western society. The primary reason is because scientists have been conducting a tremendous amount of research on the practice. They are confirming the benefits that practitioners have been advocating for many years, and they’re continuing to make breakthroughs every day. Chelvi says, “The 3 main components that make up the foundation of the mindfulness meditation practice are concentration, mindfulness, and loving- kindness. Specifically, concentration and mindfulness are your primary tools of investigation. By developing them, you’ll be able to look deeply into the true nature of your pain and suffering.”

Researchers are finding that mindfulness meditation helps people overcome many health-related issues such as stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, substance abuse, and much more. They’re also finding that the practice helps people enhance their mental capabilities such as abstract thinking, memory, and creativity. It even helps people improve their leadership and social skills.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to look after yourself and set your mind free.


Rob Da Bank talks the ins & outs of Isle of Wight’s Bestival

Making the Best-ival of it

Hollie Donovan

After talking to DJ and co-founder of Bestival and Camp Bestival Rob da Bank, it is evident that his enthusiasm for making Bestival is definitely high. In respect to influences and how Bestival started Rob says:

“Bestival wasn’t really island-related to start with because we didn’t even know we were going to do it on the Isle of Wight when we came up with the idea. We were doing Sunday Best shows at other festivals like Glastonbury and we just wanted to do our own little show so we were looking along the whole south coast and we ended up on the Isle of Wight. At the time I didn’t even realise there was another Isle of Wight festival; I know there was one in the 70’s but when we started off we didn’t even realise there was another existing one. So I think our links with the island have sort of grown from that point and have got stronger and stronger and I’m really glad that we did start here.”

Feeling rising amounts of pressure is not uncommon in the festival business, and with each year Rob feels that he has to come up with “new fresh ideas that are going to stand out.”

“Every year it doesn’t get any easier trying to book everyone’s dream line-up. Everyone wants their dream headliner, so it’s tricky juggling that and judging 50,000 people to second guess what they want.

And I see the other festivals getting it in the neck as well – it’s just impossible to please everyone. So I think at the end of the day people come to Bestival for the atmosphere, the sun and the spirit of it as much as the acts, so we just try and ride that balance.”

With respects to making Bestival better Rob says: “It’s a learning curve of trying to come up with new fresh ideas that are going to stand out. I still think that there are big hordes of people that will just come to Bestival whatever, so that’s reassuring.”

Trying to think of the hardest thing about organizing Bestival was an easy question for Rob to answer. “I think probably one of the hardest things at the moment is the competition and not knowing when and if you’re going to sell out. I think everyone feels that whether you are organising Reading, V, or the Isle of Wight festivals; there’s lots of tickets to sell so it’s an uphill battle every year.”

It seems as if Rob never gets a break from planning, booking, and setting up the Bestival. Rob goes on to say: “We are always busy. In October and November we try and give everyone a bit of a rest, but we are in the office all year round and working on stuff. We are working on stuff for 2016 now; it’s a non-stop process. And now with Common People and Bestival in Toronto suddenly we have got four shows instead of two. But that’s good, I like a challenge.”

What inspired Rob to introduce the new Bestival in Toronto? “We have turned down a lot of offers over the years to do an international show. I think it would be tricky to do a show that you haven’t got a hundred percent control over and you’re not there a hundred percent of the time, and you don’t know the market so we finally got persuaded by the partners we’ve got out there and everything was right. So far it looks really good. We are selling good tickets and we have got good headliners with Florence and Nas, so it seems to be shaping up well. But I think it is a big challenge for us to do a show in another country, we are control freaks so we would rather be doing it all ourselves, but it’s worked out well so far.”


Da Bank recalls his favourite and worst Bestival memories. “Crikey, best memory. I mean Elton and Stevie were both pretty spectacular. But after ten years of Bestival we could finally kind of enjoy a headline act, stand there and have a drink with our friends and family. That was really good because probably the previous nine years I’ve always been running around only catching bits of songs here and there. So I think we finally made the decision that when we have headliners that big to actually watch them and enjoy them and the moment. Bad ones? Well, the wet year was pretty bad, and the year when a guy unfortunately got killed outside the site. That was very dark and stays with us, the Bestival coach crash. They stay with us forever, those sorts of things.”

Rob seems to have fallen in love with the Isle of Wight, saying that in five years time Bestival will definitely still be on the island. “I think the way we are going, we probably will have one or two more shows somewhere, whether in the UK or abroad. Now that we have started expanding we’ve had a lot more interest and our partners are really up for expanding it so yeah I think we will do more shows, but Bestival on the Island will always be the core mothership where we put most of our energy.”


Last years Bestival saw the world record for the largest disco ball being broken, I wondered whether he would be trying to break any more world record this year. He replied with “We have got a little one up our sleeve; it’s not going to be anything like the disco ball one. We are not going to be focusing our whole energy to something like that. I think Slow Motion, the area that we have just announced, the big sort of holistic wellbeing area is a really huge thing for us this year. It’s not about breaking records, it’s about creating something really radical within the site. There is going to be a fun little world record, someone got in touch about an idea so it’s going to be a musical one. It should be fun.”

It is important to maintain support within local charities and environmental causes on the island as a community. Rob agrees: “We give away hundreds of tickets a year. I keep getting told to slow down but I try and support everyone who gets in touch in some way. I’m patron of the youth trust and St Catherines school in Ventnor and Platform one. I think it’s very important for me to be active on the Island. Environmentally we try and do everything we can to reduce waste and to recycle. It’s very important to us.”

Obviously the main competition for Bestival on the island is the Isle of Wight Festival. but Rob recognises their differences. “I think we are two different beasts really. John Giddings is doing an amazing job each year, bringing down huge headliners to the island; it’s a great show for the music fans. I think it’s a very different audience. I go most years. Me and John get on well, initially maybe we were a bit suspicious of each other but now that’s gone. I think we are both very proud to be helping bring all these amazing acts to the Isle of Wight, and hopefully creating some jobs and, generating some interest for the island.”

Rob wouldn’t give any hints about the Sunday headliner. “I’m working on it. It’s not confirmed; it’s still up in the air. But there’s movement so fingers crossed it will be soon. I keep reminding myself there’s still five months to go until Bestival. I’m in a rush but not a crazy rush. I’m not panicking yet.”


Dropped like a pipe-bomb into the British rock scene, Wolverhampton band God Damn have spent the last three years nailing audiences to the walls with their sonic blasts of glorious noise

“We Wanna Be Known for the Quality of Our Music”

Ciaran McDermot

“People like Classic Rock have said the great thing about them being from the Midlands is that we’re due another great hard rock band, which is fucking wicked and if that’s the case I’ll fly our fucking flag until we die”.

They make music that appears – initially at least – as curt and brutish as their name suggests. A curse word. A blasphemous affront to Him upstairs. God Damn. A name to be rolled around the mouth and spat out, a rheumy glob onto English pavements. But scrape away the layer of the greasy grime that coats their early singles like bacon fat in a post-hangover fry-up skillet and there is much more on debut album Vultures than just machismo, bombast and bluster. There is nuance and melody. Purpose and meaning. Heartfelt intent.

“It’s our musical journey and it is reflective of the band, capturing the darkness and leaves you on a positive message to be yourself” Thom reminiscing on the arduous but thoroughly enjoyable process recording Vultures, with comrade Ash cleaning up with “diverse, atmospheric and fuckin’ heavy”.

They ain’t kidding about, Vultures is a fiery number you’ve been waiting for and to be the talk of the town, not a nattar with your nan over Sunday dinner, it’s the pulsating intense dark-psychedelic rock beast ready to be awakened. Raised on a pool from Slade, The Stranglers to Led Zeppelin the former trio founded in 2010 and due to circumstances unseen, are now a two-piece of Thomas Edward and Ash Weaver.

Not knowing what the future held, Ash and Thom had commitments to fulfil and so this duo was born, just as God Damn were arriving on the wider radar. They signed to One Little Indian shortly afterwards and embarked upon making Vultures, a debut which, sound-wise, they say “is everything we hoped for – and so much more.” They already have plans to expand into a three-piece – and possibly even beyond. Which is exciting because these hairy, hoary motherfuckers already burn with the magnesium-white intensity of the best superfuzzed psych, monolithic stoner and finely-honed hardcore in a most modern way.

“We want to be known for the quality of our music”, Ash comes across as eager while Thom has some stern words for the music press – “like you know, two piece isn’t a fucking genre. Comparing us to Royal Blood is like comparing them to The Ting Tings, or Simon and Garfunkel”.


May 2015 will see the debut touring of Vultures, including Midland stop offs in Birmingham & Stoke. Overly pumped and raring to rage, this follows with summer shows at Download Festival and a headline slot at One Beat Festival, Cannon Park. “We’ve never played One Beat/Cannon Park before so we’re really excited about that. It’ll be great to play an open air show, and we don’t get to do that many all ages gigs”.

As debuts go, God Damn have nailed their colours to the flagpole and torched the fucker. Modern life can be complicated sometimes, but what this creative pairing does is remind that this thing called rock is a multi-headed beast that wears many different masks and experiences many moods. And it needs whipping into shape from time to time. It needs new blood and new ideas – and a regular ass-kicking. God Damn are just the boys to do it.


Listing the world’s quirkiest music merch

Weird Merch

Michaela Elliot

Over the years we have seen bands make the standard merch items such as t-shirts, wallets, wristbands etc. But along the line there have been some musicians that go above and beyond to bring their fans the most unique items. I have managed to find a few gems in the sea of weird merch items, and you can read about some of the favourites below!

1. Deadmau5 Cat Headphones
Have you ever been sad that your pet cat doesn’t get to hear the sweet music that you listen to on your headphones? Deadmau5 feels your pain. That’s why he started selling cat headphones. The specially designed headphones complete with “dog isolating technology”, sold for $999 with proceeds going to the ASPCA.
Perfect for: Turning grumpy cats into happy kitties

2. Paramore “Broken Heart” Onesie
Are you feeling so sad from a failed relationship that you can’t get out of bed? Never fear! Paramore sells broken heart onesie PJ’s. But keep in mind it’s intended for sad teenage girls so “if you are ordering for adults or guys we recommend buying a size larger than normal.”
Perfect for: Sitting on the couch eating copious amounts of ice cream

3. Slayer Christmas Jumper
Nothing says Merry Christmas like a little Slayer. It may sound ridiculous, but Slayer was one of the original artists to release some special holiday swag in the form of a Christmas jumper. With lovely sewn skulls and pentagrams, what better ways are there to gather around a fire with loved ones on a snowy Christmas night than in your satanic, metal-loving Slayer holiday jumper.
Perfect for: Wearing to grandmas house on Christmas day

4. Fall Out Boy nesting dolls
Do you ever look at a piece of band merch and wonder, “how the hell did they even come up with this?” Those were my exact words when I found the Fall Out Boy nesting dolls. Obviously, Patrick Stump is the smallest one—any coincidence that traditionally, the smallest doll is the baby? It’s not the kind of merch you can wear proudly and show off to the world.
Perfect for: Sitting on your desk, ready to start what’s bound to be an interesting conversation with your friends or coworkers.

5. Pierce The Veil hot sauce
Never has a band stuck to their heritage as much as Pierce The Veil. Their fans describe them as “mexicore”, their ethnicity has always found its way into their career, and it quickly became a trademark of the Pierce The Veil name. So was it really a surprise to anyone when the band released a bottle of hot sauce? Now with an entire line under the very strange listing of “accessory,” you’re well equipped with the perfect, practical gift for anyone in your life that leaves an underlying message of great tunes right on their kitchen counter.
Perfect For: Appling liberally to hot wings!

6. My Chemical Romance Action Figures
Back in 2005 during the prime of their career, My Chemical Romance decided it would be an amazing idea to make some action figures, and what that really said to fans is “now we can film our weird fanfiction scenes”. Standing about 5-inches tall they could form the best kind of paperweight for your desk now. They will probably knock you back between £10 and £280 if you can even find them at all (we couldn’t find a Gerard Way figure at all!).
Perfect for: Recreating your weird MCR fanfictions or as a paperweight / conversation starter

7. Weezer snuggies
Weezer are a band that are well known for embracing the weird and wonderful, and they’re not afraid to admit they’re much happier slouching about like the rest of
us, watching Netflix marathons instead
of going outside. Creatively named the Wuggie, if you don’t have one already, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re currently feeling the need to own one now. Next time you’re wondering if you want to let it all hang out, or you can’t stop partying while tripping down the freeway, the Wuggie is the answer.
Perfect for: Those who like to sit at home with a glass of wine feeling like a rockstar.

8. Gwar-B-Q Sauce
Classic metal monster rockers Gwar have always been known for their wild live shows, which include puppet executions and flying blood and guts. They’re probably the least likely band that you would expect to release a BBQ sauce. Nonetheless, Gwar-B-Q sauce exists and I think that it’s pretty ridiculously awesome.
Perfect for: Anyone really!

9. Kiss Kaskets and Urns
I will never stop being surprised by the Kiss merchandise… So when you’re ready to leave the mortal realm, what better way to head to heaven/hell than in a beautifully crafted piece of merchandise that will be buried in the ground, slowly disintegrate and never be seen again. Blowing £440
or £2700 in the process. Seems to make sense to me…
Perfect for: Those special kinds of Kiss fans…

10. ACDC Oven Mitt
Well this is something we didn’t really see it coming, ACDC are classic rock and now can become a classic in the kitchen. We had a good chuckle in the office when we found this because all we could think was that some of our dads would go absolutely crazy if they got this for Christmas / their birthday / fathers day.
Perfect For: AC/DC fans that like to cook inside or even outside!


Investigating the Free The Nipple movement

Calm Yo’ Tits

Sarah Armstrong

Why is it that women’s nipples are still getting people on the internet all flustered? In this modern age why does the naked human body have to evoke such controversy? Surely we are past censorship and patriarchal ideals. Nope. The Internet remains a battleground for censorship vs. expression, with images of nudity constantly monitored and removed from social media sites. People are still offended by the naked female form and that can blunt self-expression. Instagram guidelines state that there is no nudity or pornography allowed on the site, but since when are all images of the naked body pornography?

There are different levels of nudity. It is understandable that the site must invoke some level of censorship in order to protect the minds of the young people on the site, but with a vast amount of nude images, there is still a call for the content to remain on the site. Instagram and Tumblr are two of the most efficient and popular platforms often used as a means of self-expression and so it is inevitable that this would regularly include some aspects of nudity. However both of these sites have guidelines against this, but it that necessary?


The naked body can be seen as art, so why shouldn’t people be able to show it off? It is unfair that the female nipple still has to be censored whilst the male nipple can be shown on social media sites and in public. Just because the body is bare, it doesn’t make it porn. Yet the old school mentality of human image means that male and female bodies can’t be viewed equally. The nude female body is often seen as offensive even when it is shown by choice. Girls posting topless photos are ‘shameless’, but a photo of a man topless in a gym is simply the norm.

This double standard has provoked a wild backlash from thousands of social media users, with the Free The Nipple movement being a key part of the campaign against female oppression. The 2014 film has inspired women across the world to freely celebrate the beauty of their bodies.

Their mission statement reads: “Free The Nipple is a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world. We stand against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe. Today, in the USA it is effectively illegal for a woman to be topless, breastfeeding included, in 35 states. We’re working to change these equalities through film, social media, and a grassroots campaign.”

Many images posted on Instagram do not violate the Terms & Conditions, but there are still people who choose to disregard the thought and person behind the photos and have them taken down. Instagram aficionado Abbie Lou Fowler is fed up of repeatedly having her images reported and removed.

“The people that report my photos on Instagram are pathetic and selfish! I’ve never posted inappropriate/ pornographic photos that violate the sites terms and conditions, the worse thing is that someone else has some sort of control over your profile and can actually get other people’s posts removed anonymously. They should be named and Instagram should actually look into what it is deleting as all the genuinely inappropriate stuff gets filtered into another hashtag. Like “lust”… That’s a code on there for porn basically. It’s ridiculous.”

It seems that instead of Instagram and Tumblr understanding the beauty of the human body, they remove popular images with a blatant disregard for expression and subjectivity. But how can one person reporting an image allow Instagram to remove it? It’s clear that these sites ought to take into consideration the amount of likes and positive feedback on images and whether or not the image really is offensive. They can also remove these images without consulting the person who posted it first.


“I’ll always repost my photos after some pathetic person reports them,” Abbie continues. “Most of the time I’ll make a point that someone had it deleted, and 99% of the time it doesn’t get reported again. But that doesn’t deter me from posting those images in the first place. It’s my body and I’ll do what I please with it. I haven’t posted anything inappropriate and I have never had anyone message me or tell me I have been inappropriate or offensive so I shall carry on!”

Abbie also uses Tumblr but claims that Instagram is the easiest platform to share her pictures. Both sites reach such a universal audience, making it understandable that they should all have some sort of regulations against inappropriate content like nudity/drug abuse/violence and animal cruelty due to young children accessing the content. But the line between nudity and porn is something that needs to be looked at closer.

Abbie’s opinion is that “just because someone is naked, it doesn’t make it porn. Especially on Instagram, where I get grilled constantly and my pictures get deleted for taking my top off or showing a bit of nipple, but you can search through thousands of men doing the exact same thing without anyone batting an eyelid. It’s really important to educate the children of the future not to discriminate and feel intimidated or awkward about a pair of tits, whether it be male or female.”

However there is still an overload of nude and near pornographic images that remain on Instagram despite their guidelines and the removal of reported images. #FreeTheNipple should invite feminist images of self-love and beauty, yet when you search for it, the tag is overloaded with pornographic images that somehow surpass the nudity guidelines. By simply covering a nipple, an image that is defined as ‘pornographic’ can remain online. So surely if Instagram are enforcing a no nudity rule, it needs to include everyone.

Tumblr has such a diverse audience including a lot of underage users, hence why it is understandable that the creators are not too fond of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content. Although they allow for NSFW content to be filtered through the flagging system, plenty of untagged content still filters through to the average user.

In order to successfully create a barrier between NSFW and SFW content, people need to correctly tag the content which they post, but many don’t. Other platforms that allow NSFW content do not have the same popularity and accessibility as Instagram. There is no site that successfully caters to both NSFW and SFW content.

But who decides what is porn and what is self-expression/art? The naked human body is subjective – to one person it is art, but to another, it is offensive and for your partner’s eyes only and not to be shared. But how do we come up with a unified agreement? The human body has been too often sexualised into making people view it as porn or ‘inappropriate’. The female body is still often limited to being seen only as an inherently sexual object. Society needs to stop seeing the female body in a one-dimensional way – as a sex object.


Young film-maker Charlotte Perkins talks about how she dealt with her “fear of fear”

The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety

Chloe Gynne

Charlotte Perkins is a pleasure to be around. She speaks with passion and a quiet humour about film, music and art, and is bubbling with ideas. But underneath, the 22 year-old student filmmaker has a struggle on her hands: a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder. The disorder isn’t uncommon but its symptoms can severely affect the sufferer’s day- to-day life, from communicating with the outside world to a fear of how they are perceived by others. The life of a filmmaker is one of presentation and, in many cases, criticism, so how does a filmmaker blend the world of anxiety with a future in film? There’s no short answer, but as Perkins explains, it’s not impossible.

Perkins was first diagnosed with social anxiety disorder in 2008, aged 15. From then on, education was a battle worsened by the symptoms of anxiety. “I remember trying to go in for one day, having a panic attack,
and going home,” she recalls. She took a break from education, focussing on photography instead, before deciding to apply for university. “I remember seeing everyone going to uni the year before me, and it made me think that I would like to do that,” she explains. “I applied and explained my situation… It was a very long, complicated way of getting in, but I seemed to get in on my photography portfolio.”

She got into the University for the Creative Arts, and began a degree in Digital Film and Screen Arts at their Farnham campus. This new venture involved a move across the country, and a step outside of her comfort zone, but Perkins was quietly confident. “I think in some ways I was ready to go to uni,” she says. “I feel like that gap helped me in some ways because I felt like I was more mature, potentially, because everyone else usually comes straight from education so it’s like sometimes they are just wired into doing the same thing again and again, whereas I felt like in some ways I’d gone out and lived in the world.”

But with change comes stress, and for those with an anxiety disorder, it can easily become much worse. In her words, “Little things came back up” when she started her course. “Throughout uni, I’ve always had a patch where I’ll stop and then I can’t start again, so I have missed things, usually for really petty reasons in the end. Every single year it’s been like that.” This is an example of a common anxiety trait, known as “fear of the fear”: that is, when the sufferer ends up in a vicious cycle of worrying about their anxiety, to the point where it affects their life.


But instead of letting it overcome her, Perkins has taken her experience with anxiety and created a number of short films related to the disorder. In her first year, she explored nervous habits in her short film Waiting, which pieces together the act of fidgeting and the overwhelming feeling that causes it. Her interest in her own mind feeds into a wider goal to explore human emotion in film, and how thought is created. “I’m interested in the deconstruction of film,” she says. “I’m interested in the emotion- why do we all feel the same emotion and why is everyone made to feel that way? What’s doing that? Is it the music, is it anything else?”

Now for her final major project, she is working on a short film which analyses the individual effects of anxiety. The film, which she is currently shooting, will feature interviews with anxiety sufferers from a range of backgrounds about what their disorder means to them. Her usual worries before making a creative piece have, ironically, been given a purpose; “I was really worried about using a mental illness in some way- I feel like sometimes it’s really depressing or too personal, or it’s boring. It’s like I am processing all of that anxiousness into this project. I am putting all my feelings of everything that I’m actually going through into a project so it’s kind of a good way of ending university.”

This new trek into the human mind is vastly different from her nature-centric early work, which Perkins admits was a result of her anxiety. “I find it very hard to have the idea of filming people. I always feel like I’m inconveniencing people, and that I’m being annoying,” she explains. Short films such as Commute are shot in secluded areas, where the patterns and colours found within natural life are snapshotted. She
said, “I think that nature’s quite a calming thing, so just going out and being on my own can also be quite therapeutic. I like to go on photo walks, where I just go to a random place and I film or photograph it, and it’s quite a therapeutic thing that I’ve learnt to do.”


Now, about to graduate, Perkins is feeling ready to continue with a career in visual arts, whether her anxiety disorder likes it or not. “I think I’ve got used to anxiety. Because I’ve had it for seven or eight years, I feel like I’ve got used to my way of thinking, so I kind of treat it as this annoying little voice in my head.” While she acknowledges that her worries – namely what others think about her – still pop up, she says “I know now, after having it for so long, that it’s a part of me, so it’s about trying to balance knowing what your anxiety is and not letting it overcome you.” The Charlotte Perkins who speaks of the future truly isn’t letting anxiety overcome her, and her upcoming film on anxiety aims to help others who are suffering from the same thing.

“I never thought that I would be here in some weird way. If I went back and told myself that I would be here I don’t think that they would really believe them,” she confessed, “but the reason I stepped forward and did it was because I knew that otherwise I wouldn’t do anything.” Now, with her degree almost completed and with plans to continue making visual content, Perkins leaps forward from the boundaries of anxiety and into a creative future.


Pursuing nirvana on a Parisian dancefloor

My Love is Underground

Will Harris

It all began outside a coffee shop in Leeds. My friends and I were talking about how for the last year we had not experienced a true night out like we did in the old days. A night of music that grabbed an entire collective, created goose bumps on the heat of a dancefloor, and an experience of the pure unity of Love.

We scrolled through Resident Advisor looking for the right night or that would provide this deeper source of the divine. There was nothing going on, not in England anyway. So we decided to take the search further, and that was when it presented itself. The label My Love Is Underground were celebrating their fifth anniversary at Rex club in Paris – two days away.

All possible transport options, however, were way over our budget. But then the idea came to me. Hitchhiking! ‘Fuck it!’ We had 34 hours to travel 480 miles. High on the idea of an adventure we decided to go for it. But the clock was ticking.

Once in London we managed to get a cheap bus to Dartford. We arrived there very late at night. It was freezing but we just decided to walk along the road in the direction of the M20. By one in the morning we reached the junction that turned onto the M20. The roads were clear, our thumbs were frozen and our legs were starting to ache. Who’s idea was this? The more we thought about it, we’d never even witnessed a hitchhiker in the UK. Hope was dwindling, but we couldn’t turn back now.

Around 4am an Eddie Stobart lorry turned in. A combination of adrenalin and excitement rushed through as we broke into a run to the lorry. We were greeted by a bearded Scott named Andy and asked him if he could take us as far down the M20 as possible.

Andy was fascinated by our hitchhiking. “I simply could not believe my eyes,” he said, “when I saw two travellers with their thumbs up at this time in the morning.” He went on to say he could have done with the company anyway simply to keep his eyes open. He seemed to have become immune to the copious amounts of Redbull he’d drank over the course of his 10-year trucker life. We were proud to be the first hitchhikers he’d picked up in his career and went into a story of his youth and how he used to do it as a sixteen year old to get around Scotland. We told him our story and our aim to get to Paris. In Love with our dedication he agreed to take us all the way to Dover so that we could jump on the ferry.


Still laughing at our luck we arrived at the ferry port for 6am. Starting to believe the trip was actually going to happen, we boarded the ferry and decided to ask everyone if they had two spare seats to Paris. This was pretty daunting when we saw that there were at least 100 people on board and we didn’t speak very good French.

After half an hour we had approached everyone inside the ferry with no luck whatsoever. We went on deck to try a new plan of attack. The spring ocean wind hit us hard and looking out to the southeast we could see France approaching. Although we didn’t know what would happen next, I couldn’t control the ecstasy I was feeling. The sun was shining and I felt free. I had broken away from my normal day and the spontaneity of it all was an incredible rush. As we gazed into the sparkling sea, a couple of fellow travellers approached. They greeted us with a smile and we instantly got talking. Hunter was a dreaded hippie from Colorado, travelling with her Parisian boyfriend, Anthony. They were telling us about their winter adventures they’d spent in Scotland, driving their ancient Toyota up to Inverness. They were now heading back to France to see Anthony’s family. We had the opportunity to spill out the details of our short venture and miraculously they said, “Hey we’re going to Paris, you should come with us!”

Before we knew it we were sprawled out on a foam mattress in the back of an old van, sharing crazy stories with these eccentric hippies. However two hours out of Paris, just an hour before sunset, the van began to splutter and stutter. It was the sound of our luck running out. Forced to a stop, we all hopped out and looked at he engine, which was absolutely roasting. Lost in stories of adventure, Hunter had completely forgot to check the water before leaving the ferry.

Although we didn’t want to leave this adventurous couple, there was no chance they could get the van fixed in time. We carried on hitching and half an hour after dark a car pulled in. We were greeted by a woman named Elodiè, a journalist specialising in natural food and medicines. “I’m sorry guys but I can only take you as far as Paris tonight,” she said. We laughed hysterically and told her our story. She was astounded with our dedication to the music. She happily agreed to drop us at the Place de la République. very near the Rex club. We had made it to Paris!

In the club the atmosphere was buzzing. The bass drum shook in my chest, and that feeling was there – those dark butterflies in the pit of my stomach, not knowing where the music was about to take me. As we walked deeper into the neon dimness of the crowded club, my mind body and soul recognised those raw bass lines and the sizzling hi-hats of classic underground 90s house groove. I stood, transfixed in the lucidity of the eternal now, high on the spontaneity of our trip.

Soaking in this sea of rhythm, music was like a portal. All the clubbers were part of a collective force heading into the abyss of Love; a space opened up via the low bass drum and contrasting hi hats. After a fantastic hour of rawlin’ soulful house, both Innersense and SE62 left the mix. Jeremy, Brawther & Tristan took to the stage and without hesitation, one by one lit the fuses. A six hour back to back set really is a beautiful thing to witness, not only because of the sublime artistry but also because of the strong connection they have as friends.

The peak of the night was the drop of Dungeon Meat’s release, ‘The Fuck Off Track’. When Tristan mixed this in, the crowd literally went wild. No one had any choice but to embrace the beautiful madness. After this peak they finished with Bill Withers’ ‘Lovely Day’ which was utterly perfect.

When everyone had left we went over to the booth and shook Brawther’s hand. We felt utterly privileged to sit down and have a conversation with him and his crew after such a historic night. Jeremy was dumbstruck at the idea that he’d accomplished his dream, and revived a hidden love for 90s house music that he thought had been forgotten. I told him how much he had not only inspired me but so many friends. He had educated us in the quality of Love within music.

My Love, is Underground.


Exploring both sides of competitive eating

Tough to Swallow

Ashley Howell

It had been a battle to rival the very best in history. At times the struggles were intense and the greed shameful. For some, both heart and soul had both been lost throughout the fight, and on occasion, it was hard to stomach what lay ahead. And at the climax, unfortunately for some, there could only be a single winner.

Across the globe, competitive eating is in itself considered a serious sport. Noted by many health professionals as dangerous and irresponsible, food challenges have taken over television globally and caused a surge in competitive gluttonous gourmet creations in every type of gastronomic restaurant.

Throughout history, the documentation of illustrious banquets held by kings and queens, with mounds of food buckling the tables, where lords and ladies would gorge and guzzle on geese and turkeys have dawned the screens in many feature films. In present day, these images have now been replaced by average Joes with enormous hearts and appetites to boot. Swallowing down more than they can chew, fighting to win the recognition as a food challenge champion, and quite often an undersized t-shirt.

Since the domination of YouTube over the past decade, the way we indulge our fascination for food viewing has been flipped on its head. Once upon a time we’d tune in to BBC One to marvel at a pissed up Keith Floyd flambé scallops nuzzled onto a nest of wild rocket. Instead, we’re tuning into the likes of the bearded Epic Meal Time team constructing giant nugget sandwiches encased in 10lbs of bacon and Jack Daniels.

With the likes of personalities such as Furious Pete and Adam Richman pushing their bodies to the limit for the satisfaction of great viewing, we cannot only gain an insightful view into the world of competitive eating but also cuisines British television hadn’t even touched upon.

So what motivates a person to punish their body for the satisfaction of great television? Many personalities who take part in such daring challenges happened to stumble into the profession accidentally. For instance Peter Czerwinski, commonly known by his nickname Furious Pete has a University Qualification as an Engineer. When taking part in a World record challenge in 2013 against Gino D’Campo on ITV show ‘Lets Do Lunch’, Pete revealed how he stumbled into competitive eating:

“I went out for breakfast after a night out with the boys and we had a few too many drinks, so we needed a greasy breakfast. Went out to a place that served a breakfast dish with everything on it, huge challenge dish.”

“One of my buddies challenged anyone at the table to try and break the record which was eating two of those plates in an hour. I ate four of the plates in an hour, and after that I just started doing different challenges, posted them on YouTube and that’s how I got recognised.”

Since then Pete has participated in hundreds of competitive eating challenges globally and breaking several World records including the fastest time to eat a raw onion and the eating most Jaffa cakes in a minute. As well as devouring the UK’s largest breakfast, the notorious 10,000-calorie quadruple bypass burger from the Heart Attack Grill and downing a 25,000-calorie, five kilogram tub of Nutella.


When asked how he hasn’t become enormously overweight after competing such challenges, Pete’s response was: “Ultimately I’m not fat because I don’t want to be fat so I live the right lifestyle. Apart from doing crazy eating and all that, I live a healthy lifestyle, I eat well and I obviously exercise.”

Furious Pete’s YouTube profile is not only filled with obscene amounts of clips of him swallowing down food from all corners of the globe, but he also boasts himself as a professional sponsored body builder. This explains his muscular physique despite his eating endeavours.

However like most things performed at speed, an element of danger is always around the corner. For in this challenge, whilst Pete ferociously stuffed a 12-inch pizza down his throat trying to break his current world record of 43 seconds, he found himself choking live on national television.

With all these seemingly normal people taking part in these mammoth challenges this lead me to wonder how difficult an eating challenge could be. Throughout Britain, restaurants up and down the country are developing their own personal challenges, ranging from enormous burgers to spicy wing challenges, with pub chains even getting in on the action.

The chain of Flaming Grill gastro pubs boast three enormous challenges for customers to put to the test, which they advertise on gigantic boards outside to entice prospective competitors in. One such challenge appropriately named the ‘Trashcan Challenge’ was to be my opponent. Inclusive of a giant rack of ribs, double cheese and bacon burger, chilli beef sundae and a giant skewer of southern fried chicken, double portion of baked beans, corn, onion rings and a triple portion of chunky chips, all served up in an enormous “trash can lid”. No time limit, no catches, just a challenge to finish it.

This meal for one could feed a small family of four. The sheer terror and almost shame as locals watched over us try to chew, crunch and scrape our way through this monstrosity of a meal was overbearing. In the end it wasn’t imminent diabetes that beat me, nor the meat sweats, but the soggy cold onion rings and dried up corn on the cob that did me in. Ploughing hard on the things I like and leaving those I don’t until the end was my ultimate demise, and for that, the trashcan challenge came out victorious.

The hours that followed only got worse. I felt tired, lethargic, constantly uncomfortable and periodically in pain. This led me to wonder for many weeks following how those who do this to their bodies on a seemingly regular basis combat these pains and struggles. How they both physically and mentally prepare themselves for what they know is to come. And what would a doctor say about the dangers of the food challenge phenomenon.

I got in touch with Dr. Sabine Klapper to lead some insight into the potential dangers and risks of over eating, and to find where the NHS currently stands in the present day of Britain’s obesity epidemic.

As everyone should be aware, it is not advised to excessively consume more than your recommended daily calories, so what are the effects of doing so during an eating challenge? “Consuming multiples of calories is okay if it is just on a special making swallowing difficult and causing chest pain), Gastritis (an inflammation of the stomach lining, which can cause vomiting and stomach pain), and Colitis (an inflammation in the lining of the colon, which can cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea and infection).”

So for those looking to partake in a food challenge, is it advisable to steer clear from those containing processed meat? “It’s not really advisable to even do an eating challenge… natural is always better than processed, but even with natural it is advisable not to eat excessive fat.”


How has this glorification of excessive eating caused a strain on the NHS in British hospitals, and what are the side effects of this lifestyle choice? “At least 50% of people are admitted due to complications of excessive eating or obesity, some of the complications being diabetes, ischaemic heart disease and liver disease.”

Should television be broadcasting shows that send out positive messages about the excessive eating of unhealthy foods, and is it right for restaurants in the UK to be offering such challenges? “It’s dangerous and should be banned, it sends out the wrong messages and glorifies the wrong eating habits.”

For some, eating challenges are seen as a bit of fun, and wont cause any harm, but clearly there are many factors to consider should you wish to compete. There are those who can naturally indulge with very little effect on their body besides the feeling of being full, and on the flip side there are those who suffer with different problems in the days that follow.

Much like drinking, for those planning to push their body it’s best to know their limits. The very fact that the original face of the food challenge phenomenon, Adam Richman has vowed to hang up his hat in the food challenge race, sends out a very alarming message about the potential dangers. Watching your general health and looking after oneself is obviously a key aspect, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that over 73,000 people in the UK die per year due to heart disease.


William Kroll talks Tender denim

Tender Jeans

Charles Exelby Jackson

William Kroll is a name I have long admired since I first caught a glimpse of a pair of his jeans at a menswear store I was working for back in 2012. It was also around this time he had released his woad oil soap, woad being an ingredient he uses to make dyes, which you see used in many of his garments. I remember how this soap filled the entire office with a curious but also pleasing smell that I still to this day have not been able to pin down. This has long since summed up Tender for me, a whimsical and stylish brand that is constantly experimenting and doing things a little differently.

With plenty of heritage companies emerging over the past couple of years, the denim community on the blog Superfuture quickly lapped up Tender’s entrance to the market in 2009. Offering something different to your usual brands stamped with the “heritage” label, Tender is a much needed alternative.

“I started Tender in 2009 after several years working for a Japanese jeans brand. I love the Japanese and Americana approaches to design and production, but I wanted to have a go at something that felt more personal to me, so I really started looking into British traditions in workwear, tailoring, and manufacturing and Tender grew out of that research.”

Tender is directed by William alone with all orders being picked and packed then sent from his home by himself. It’s the personal touch that keeps customers like myself coming back. This dedication to his trade reaches out to his pursuit of fine craftsmanship across the UK.

“I’m really lucky to have built up some great personal relationships with the people who make my things. Because Tender is a one-person business I can really get to know and work closely with the makers- if I come across somebody doing an interesting technique who’s up for working with me then I‘m in the happy position of having the flexibility to work out what we can do together based on their skills and interests. I don’t like to be too prescriptive when it comes to working with people, or when I’m looking to get a particular thing made. I prefer to work to the strengths of the makers, and the design evolves from there.”

It’s the tiny details that set Tender apart from most companies for me. Right down to stitching techniques. On your average pair of jeans you will notice that the inseam is stacked, which means that one half of the leg is folded and stitched over the other whereas Tender has reversed this direction which has many benefits, such as not getting caught on bicycle saddles.

Tender denim is arguably some of the finest on the market. The 17oz right hand twill selvage denim is sourced from Japan and cut and sewn in the UK. Some details that you can find on Tender jeans are the domed rivets made by Universal in Japan, what William likes about domed rivets are the fact they don’t scratch furniture like your common donut rivet and bar tacks are less strong. Along side this, staying true to authentic workwear design, you can find only two buttons on the fly, the buttons used on the fly are reproductions of Levis fly buttons. These are designed so they are easy to undo whilst wearing gloves.

Solid brass buttons featured on the jackets and waistbands of the jeans are sometimes removable, this feature is based on railway worker jackets that were supplied by their employers. The reason was that when these jackets were washed they would be put through a mangle, so to save the hollow buttons from being crushed they were designed so that they could be removed. The buttons are created using the “lost-wax” or “precision casting” method in Devon. This method of casting dates back as far as 4500- 3500 BCE and is an incredibly slow process but means the buttons are left with an incredible cast finish. The printed stamp on these buttons is called “Platus” and was taken from a vintage book of stock advert images along with the Elephant Logo. This was an old method of distributing editable designs, which allowed businesses to edit any text they desired on to an image.


Williams attention to detail also extends to simple things like belt loops, which are lined with a selvage calico from Lancashire. The calico is also used to line pockets, which are made from denim.

The snobs thumb pocket is feature that can be seen on many of Williams trousers. The snob pocket is an idea that was inspired from 18th century to early 19th century trousers and was usually a pocket to keep ones watch or thumb (if you like to parade or strut about at a soiree). This pocket also allows the wearer to get into their coin pocket easily whilst wearing a thick belt or sitting down. You may also notice another little detail on this pocket, which is continuous stitching. This idea came from a book on penmanship that William inherited. The idea talks about the importance of flow and not removing then pen from the page whilst drawing or writing. William transferred this concept to stitching, which you can also see on the back pockets of Tender jeans.

Tender jeans and other garments are usually available in a selection different colours, which are created using natural dyeing methods. The stand out dye used by William is woad, which gives a beautiful pastel blue. The woad comes from Norfolk and is hand dyed on the same site the woad is grown. Other interesting dyeing methods include wattle which leaves a brownish town, weld which gives leaves and incredible golden finish, chlorophyll that leaves a pastel green colour and logwood with produces purple and black. Williams work also extends Tender belt leather comes from a British tannery that has been producing leather on the same site since the Roman ages. The tanneries leather sources their hides from Devonshire beef cattle, which is then tanned with oak bark from Somerset.

The oak tanning is a painstakingly slow process in comparison to other methods of tanning but all is forgiven when you take a glance at the finish. Stitching on the leather belts is then done with tiger thread, which is heavily waxed and extremely strong, highly recommended for leather work.

With such attention to finer detail it’s hard not to become obsessed with this company. Williams’s dedication to achieving interesting and stylish designs is an inspiration. From the selection of beautiful materials and fine craftsmanship it all has a story to tell. If you’re looking for a true heritage company to fall in love with then this is the one.


Pop-punk: fun and friendly or diluted and dull?

The Thing About Pop-punk…

Sam Lawrie

There’s no doubt about it; pop-punk is fucking hot. You can barely move for the rising pool of fresh pop-punk faces ready to stop being high school kids and become musicians. The scene is thriving, with bands such as State Champs, Neck Deep, The Story So Far and The Wonder Years on the up, while bands born from the pop-punk seed are finally breaking through that underground glass ceiling into mainstream success; Paramore (winners of this year’s ‘Best Rock Song’ Grammy) and Fall Out Boy (headlining arenas worldwide) are just two examples. Some would say that the future of pop-punk has never looked brighter.

Some wouldn’t. Some would say that while Paramore and Fall Out Boy are enjoying heaps of commercial success, they are doing it with nothing more than riff-heavy pop songs a million miles from their pop-punk roots. Some would say that, although the pop-punk scene is growing, the bands within it are not innovative artists with spark and imagination, but are in fact just carbon copies of one another, each as indistinguishable as the next. Some would say if play-it-safe ‘vanilla’ bands such as 5 Seconds of Summer are now the faces of mainstream pop-punk, that there isn’t really much of a future at all.

When I began listening to music off my own back – as opposed to whatever radio station my parents tuned into – there wasn’t a whole lot of variety to choose from. The only hint of rock music in the charts was the sugary-sweet pop rock of Avril Lavigne, Busted and P!nk who fulfilled the quota of being a little edgy, but still okay to play in front of my parents. They might not have been very rock ‘n’ roll, but at least they were better than the awful mundanity of pop groups like Girls Aloud and Blue. Luke Beasant, vocalist of Talk Us Down, agrees: “One of the first albums most people of our age group went out and bought was either Busted [self-titled] or McFly’s Room on the Third Floor and although they’re not strictly what we would consider pop-punk, they were the ‘gateway drug’ into that world.”

At the age of eleven, thanks to a boy in my class that I had a crush on, I was persuaded to buy American Idiot by Green Day, which had just been released a few months’ back. I’ll be honest – I hadn’t a clue what I was buying, but it had a parental advisory sticker on the front and album artwork like nothing I’d ever seen before, so I stuck with my gut and parted with my well-earned pocket money. That decision changed my life. Sitting with my mum’s old Walkman plugged into my ears, I listened to American Idiot all summer. It was the best album I’d ever heard. From the simple, gutsy chords blasted at full volume, to Billie Joe Armstrong’s brutal vocals shouting right at me, to the handwritten scrawl of heartfelt, honest lyrics in the album booklet, it was everything I’d been looking for. No more radio pop-rock-hallelujah!

It didn’t take me long to delve into Green Day’s back catalogue, where I soon discovered that they hadn’t always been this conceptual rock band but actually began with punk, finding fame with their 1994 album Dookie, which saw the start of ‘90s pop-punk. I fell in love with this album too, and eventually found myself revelling in not only stateside rock and classic punk, but also pop-punk bands such as blink-182, The Offspring and Sum 41.

For MOSH magazine editor and pop- punk fan Rhian Westbury, these bands had a very similar impact. “blink-182 were definitely the band who got me into pop- punk music. Back in 2003, their self-titled album came out and it was one of the first albums which bridged me from loving pop music to listening to rock music.”

Just from looking at those two genres alone – classic punk and pop-punk – it’s clear that while punk strives to be anti- establishment, it always finds itself swept up into the mainstream. Despite much effort to hold onto its counter-culture roots, even the first-wave punk explosion of the ‘70s didn’t see its against-the-grain style last very long; Sex Pistols topped the UK Album Chart, several of The Damned tracks reached the UK Singles Chart and The Clash ‘sold out’ to major label CBS Records. Punk rock ‘weirdos’ were front page news and ripped clothes and safety pin fashion became the high street norm. Punk ended up with mainstream written all over it.

All was quiet on the punk rock scene during the ‘80s; that is, until pop-punk came along. Green Day and The Offspring both formed in the late ‘80s and relentlessly pushed their new style of raw, aggressive pop until people finally caught on. Green Day’s Dookie topped charts since its release in 1994, while The Offspring’s album Smash did just that, smashing the record for the most albums sold on an independent label. Like a musical relay race, bands such as blink-182 and Sum 41 then took the pop-punk baton and ran it into the turn of the century, both achieving hit after hit. Despite some punk rock snobs turning their nose up, it’s impossible to deny the revival that pop-punk created for the whole scene.

It’s not surprising that this recent pop-punk resurgence has found its way into mainstream culture once again, but this time, it’s just not the same. If you take the chart-topping, arena-filling pop-punkers of the ‘90s and put them next to today’s closest comparisons, youthful Aussies 5 Seconds of Summer, the latter would be eaten alive. Surely their PG brand of pop-punk ultimately defeats the object? If pop-punk is no longer
about angsty teenagers finding an outlet for all that pent-up pubescent rage and alienation, but instead hides behind pretty faces and inoffensive crowd-pleasers that both kids and their parents will approve of, then what’s the point?


That’s the most commercial end of the spectrum, of course. Bands who are still fighting it out within the underground scene continue to create pop-punk that fans will relate to; sing-a-long anthems of torment, anger and rebellion. But problems arise here too – they all sound exactly the same. Again, if we look back at the height of the first pop-punk explosion, the bands all have something that makes them stand out. Sum 41 had some of the most shocking lyrics we’d ever heard, whereas blink-182 stuck to toilet humour and piss-taking; New Found Glory found their niche with pop-punk cover songs, while Simple Plan made themselves stand out with frontman Pierre Bouvier’s distinctive vocals. You could tell them all apart. But if you stood many of today’s young pop-punk band in a line-up, I’d have a hard time being able to distinguish one from the next – and not just because of the regurgitated skinny-jeans-ripped-vest-and-baseball-cap look.

Some argue that the value of bands like 5 Seconds of Summer or British supergroup McBusted, who incorporate elements of pop-punk into their mainstream sound, is that they can ease kids who love chart-topping pop music into the punk scene gently; Luke seems to be in favour of this side pop- punk. “Pop punk is branching out to the point that a lot of our idols have gone more pop-rock; others have tried to make themselves a lot heavier. We [Talk Us Down] really want to focus on the more mainstream ‘pop’ side of it,” he says. “We’ll never become 5SOS… as much as we’d like to be!”

Rhian agrees, commenting on this commercial twist on today’s pop-punk. “In my mind, what makes bands like McBusted and 5 Seconds of Summer dissimilar from As It Is, or bands like that?” she asks. “They all write their own music and play their own instruments.” However, I disagree. Of course the influence is clear and, because of that, these bands could become a musical springboard; but on the other hand, kids who are going to fall in love with punk don’t need a softly-softly introduction into the scene.

While I do believe that if a band such as 5 Seconds of Summer had been around when I was that age I probably would’ve been a fan, I definitely do NOT believe that they, or any other band who are willing to water down pop-punk for the sake of chart success, are a necessary stepping stone into the world of punk. If you need to dip your toe into the pool before throwing yourself in at the deep end, then this whole punk thing probably isn’t for you…


Exploring the history of Fleet Street ten years on

Hot Off the Press

Alana Anderson

Walking down London’s Fleet Street today is no different than walking down any other street in the capital. Once the heart of the newspaper industry, the reminders of how important Fleet Street was have all but disappeared, reduced to a road of coffee shops and trendy cocktail bars.

With Reuters being the last agency to leave a decade ago, we take a look back at what Fleet Street was like in its glory days and how its origins have shaped the industry into what it is now.

To the people who worked there, it was a village. With 10,000 workers and 24-hour-a-day newspaper production and circulation, Fleet Street was the definitive hub of British journalism. “The main thoroughfare linking the City of London, the seat of financial power, to Westminster, the seat of political power, Fleet Street was the ideal location in which to gather news,” says The Independent’s Jonathan Brown. “A few minutes walk east and reporters could be taking notes on the latest blood curdling case at the Old Bailey. A short walk west and you were in the public gallery at the High Court, detailing the salacious revelations of a society divorce or libel case.”


Although publishing there began as early as the 1500s, the Fleet Street most British journalists know is the roaring party between the 1960s and most of the 1970s. Woven throughout Fleet Street was a number of now well-known pubs, widely regarded as the breeding ground for eavesdropping, mingling and gossiping. El Vino, while highly established as a hot spot for journalists, became controversial when it refused to serve female customers. “El Vino was the melting pot for a trade where word-of-mouth was the favoured method of advertising jobs available, scoops obtained, and reputations destroyed,” says Bill Hagerty former Deputy Editor of the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror. “Giants of the trade would gather at lunchtimes in El Vino to argue over matters of national importance and whose turn it was to buy the next bottle of claret.” It was widely acknowledged that each newspaper on Fleet Street had its own pub; The Telegraph frequented The King and Keys, The News of the World could be found at The Tipperary (or ‘The Tip’), and the journalists from The Sun occupied the upper level of The Cheshire Cheese.

Though the days of extraordinary, alcohol-fueled tomfoolery might sound like a dream come true to a young journalist now, it wasn’t all fun and games on Fleet Street. Journalists that had the chance to experience it in its heyday recall the drunken misbehaviour, punch-ups, and angry mistresses bursting into editorial meetings. Sunday Express Editor Sue Douglas even recalls being “delivered home by a Sun newspaper lorry” on one occasion. It was pandemonium that was not only tolerated, but also encouraged. “If you indulged in journalistic bad practice you felt embarrassed in front of your peers the next day,” says Peregrine Worsthorne, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph. “Journalism is far more powerful today – and better respected by politicians – but the glamour has largely gone.”

Many blamed the death of Fleet Street on newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch, when he decided to move his titles, The Sun and The News of the World to a plant in Wapping in 1986 – The Times, The Sunday Times, and other publications owned by Murdoch were quick to follow. Will we see another Fleet Street? It’s unlikely. With journalists becoming entirely reliant on social media to interact with each other, there’s no need for the pubs that have now become famous for their role in London’s news media industry. Although we have now said farewell, we can accurately epitomise the strip’s significance through the words of the late, great Philip Gibbs: “Fleet Street is still my home, and to its pavement my feet turn again from whatever part of the world I return.”


A look into our relationship with the recent phenomenon of selfie taking and social media in general

Is My Narcissism Showing in This?

Jade Heath

Narcissus was lead to the pool to gaze upon his reflection, only to become so infatuated with what he saw and his own image that he drowned, still mesmerised by the face he witnessed in the gentle laps of the pool. We too are being lead to confront our own reflections in our own pools of social media and vast dense lakes of selfies [sel-fee]. Having been named Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, selfies have become an integrated part of our very day-to-day being. We gaze for hours, meticulously editing our appearance in order to release it onto the internet, where it will remain for the rest of eternity.

Is becoming more obsessed with our image and how other people view us physically dangerous to our mental welfare, especially when combined with and fuelled by smart phone technology? Are selfies reflecting back at us our own narcissism?

According to David Veale, psychiatrist of the Priory Hospital in South London, “two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, since the rise of camera phones, have a compulsion to repeatedly take selfies. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used to help a patient to recognise the reasons for his or her compulsive behaviour and then to learn how to moderate it.” Whilst it is unreasonable to imagine that selfie taking will form a new hoard of mental illnesses to add to the ever-growing Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is not far fetched to perceive that selfies are fuelling underlying conditions and already existing disorders. Perhaps it is reaching into and revealing narcissistic depths of ourselves that we were not aware existed.

To further illustrate and concrete the point that selfies and social media are in fact causing real harm to our mental health, I carried out a study in which one hundred random members of the general public were asked about their Facebook usage and various Facebook actions which may point to narcissistic tendencies. I also asked about their selfie habits. I asked participants how long, on average, they spent on Facebook daily and how they would react to various updates and actions on Facebook. And also how they would rate their own profile pictures from physically attractive, cool, fun, glamorous and fashionable, to none of the above.

I asked them questions about their reactions and general Facebook behaviour as to assess how narcissistic they are. Such as the question where they were allowed to rate their own profile picture anonymously. For example, over 25% rated their own profile pictures as physically attractive, only 15% less than the majority that rated their own profile pictures as fun, a less narcissistic suggestion, even though 100% of participants only changed their profile picture monthly.

Whilst lots of their most frequent activity on Facebook did not carry any ties to narcissism, other actions, such as how they reacted to certain statuses, did. When faced with the anonymous option, when detached from social reality and the pressures of conforming during face-to-face conversation 15% of participants said that if they saw that a friend had posted a clearly distressed update they would in fact ignore it, free to wallow in their narcissistic behaviours behind a screen.

This doesn’t prove that all Facebook users and partakers of selfies now have their futures laid out before them as deluded, hopeless, obsessive narcissists. It does illustrate that when given the option and anonymity, a vast majority of social media users begin to show narcissistic traits and perhaps with further use these can do nothing but grow. Especially for those who already naturally have narcissistic personalities and suffer with mental health issues.


The most extreme and tangible case of selfie addiction and the harm it can cause to mental illness was finally witnessed last year when teenager Danny Bowman came out to various press about his selfie addiction and the hardships it had imposed upon his life. Suffering with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Danny became completely obsessed and engrossed in his own self-image. His addiction forced him to take up to two hundred selfies a day, to drop out of school, lose two stone and not leave his home for six months. At the height of his addiction and BDD Danny attempted to overdose and take his own life.

He told the Sunday Mirror: “I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realised I couldn’t I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life. The only thing I cared about was having my phone with me so that I could satisfy the urge to capture a picture of myself at any time of the day. Perfection is impossible. I just kept taking them and taking them. I wanted to have one that was completely flawless. It was ten hours a day, two hundred selfies. I think this kind of thing can happen to anyone, for me it manifested itself in selfies; it could be something different for someone else. This would not have happened if it was not in the media age.”

Whilst Danny’s case and mental health was clearly an anomaly, as everyone partakes in selfies and it is certainty not an impulsive addiction for every single of them, it can signify and foretell the dangers to those who have an already vulnerable mental health. Since mental health issues are constantly on the rise with approximately 450 million people worldwide suffering from mental disorders (World Health Organization, 2011) and 1 in 4 British adults suffering from any diagnosable mental disorder in a single year (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001) there are an increasing number of vulnerable minds to be affected. When addressing the facts of the increase of technology and the constant rise of mental disorders and new cases that are constantly being added to the ever-growing list, we can do nothing but expect to see thousands more Danny’s in upcoming years.


That is also possibly because he is a man. Recent studies by the Ohio State University showed that men are far more likely to become addicted to taking selfies, and those that did scored highly on narcissistic and psychopathic scales. In addition, men who were more likely to edit their selfies before posting scored higher in narcissism and self-objectification, which measures how much they prioritize their appearance.

The sample included eight hundred men from age 18 to 40 who completed an online survey asking about their photo posting behaviour on social media. They also completed standard psychiatric questionnaires for anti-social behaviours and for self-objectification. The survey also inquired about whether the participants edited their photos before posting, most specifically using filters and photo editing software.

“It’s not surprising that men who post a lot of selfies and spend more time editing them are more narcissistic, but this is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study,” said Jesse Fox, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“The more interesting finding is that they also score higher on this other anti-social personality trait – psychopathy, and are more prone to self-objectification.” Results showed however that whilst this obsession with selfies was in fact related to both narcissism and psychopathy, self-editing photos was only related to narcissism and not psychopathy. “That makes sense because psychopathy is characterised by impulsivity. They are going to snap the photos and put them online right away. They want to see themselves. They don’t want to spend time editing, most people don’t think that men even do that sort of thing, but they definitely do,” said Fox.

“We know that self-objectification leads to a lot of terrible things, like depression and eating disorders in women. With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance. That means self-objectification may become a bigger problem for men, as well as for women,” Fox continues.

So, as well as the dangers we see to those who suffer from existing vulnerable mental health, we can also witness the rise of self objectification – which is dangerous to even the most sane of minds and can lead to self obsession and can appeal to our most narcissistic tendencies. This is where lies the true dangers of selfies, a risk that could affect us all and how prolonged and excessive use can lead to warped views of ourselves and increasing obsessive compulsions.

Obviously, this is not the be all and end all. Whilst it is unrealistic to expect every single individual ever to have partaken in selfies to manifest narcissistic tendencies, it is not unrealistic to expect that such actions are revealing parts of our mental state that would usually be left untouched. Carrying on with such actions excessively is encouraging them to the surface. The key to not exposing ourselves to these risks is extremely simple – moderation.

Just like if we ate two hundred pounds of chocolate everyday we’d be morbidly obese, if we take in excess of two hundred selfies a day, we’re probably going to become addicted and quickly obsessed with our own image. Where as if we take one periodically when we feel like it or we’ve done something especially exciting that particular day that is essential to make our social media followers immediately aware of, then these can do nothing but boost our self-esteem. Remember, moderation.


Steve Zaragoza from SourceFed speaks about how the recent live show came about

Live Tube

Jenna Young

A lot of creators on YouTube hold live stream events but rapidly expanding news website and video channel SourceFed held a live show in LA for a select few fans to attend. The event was then streamed live worldwide through YouTube.

“The idea for a SourceFed live show has been thrown around the office from almost the very beginning,” head of SourceFed Steve Zaragoza told me. As some of the presenters on the show come from a comedy background it made sense to them to transition into a live setting. “Bringing our strange brand of humour to the stage was only a matter of time,” confirms Zaragoza.


One of the original presenters who was heavily into the idea, having come from the improv comedy world was Joe Bereta. “Unfortunately we were only able to make it work after Joe had already left, but it really wasn’t until now that we could have really focused on a live show format what with our hectic production schedule,” says Zaragoza.

The whole team at SourceFed have very packed days, getting in at around 6-7 in the morning and writing out their sketches and news stories for the day before they even think about getting in front of a camera. Putting on a live show would obviously take even more preparation than their usual working day. “We had several meetings where we all pitched ideas,” Zaragoza said on the lead up to he event, and how they decided what to present to their live audience. “It was going to be our first live venture, so we wanted to take it a bit easy and not go too big.”

With as many people throwing ideas around as there were, some ideas went unused. “We talked about a big opening number with the whole cast singing, a Benjamin Franklin Time Traveller appearance, we were even going to show exclusive pre-recorded videos,” Zaragoza told us on the excluded content. “I think it’s almost a guarantee most of the ideas we didn’t use this time will eventually be used.”

Given the nature of the sketches, calling the show SourceFed Live could be considered a stretch. “SourceFed in general is a very news oriented thing,” Zaragoza commented. “I’d say the live show more mimicked the feel of the SourceFedNERD channel’s content, where we kind of get away with more ridiculous stuff. “Zaragoza credits his colleague Will Haynes with staying closest to the SourceFed brand as he directly transferred his videos ‘People Be Like’ to the stage. On YouTube these videos consist of Haynes talking straight to camera with his comedic take on the world, so its easy to tell how well it would translate to a live setting.

If SourceFed is anything to go by, then these live shows are definitely a way forward. “From an audience perspective as well as a business perspective, it was a success,” Zaragoza claimed, and the figures agree. Over 120,000 watched the stream since the event and while it was live it reached a max concurrency of almost 7,500. Seeing numbers like this is encouraging to creators who enjoy putting on live streams and Zaragoza says after such a positive response it’s safe to assume they’ll be doing this more.

But why was there such a hugely positive response to watching something you can often find on YouTube channels any way? As a creator Zaragoza claims, “I love performing in front of a live audience. That instant feedback you get from an audience, the cheering and laughter you get from the jokes you second guessed writing backstage is unprecedented.” Although he does claim the comments section on YouTube brings you the closest to that instant reaction you can get online.

“I think, from a YouTube perspective,” Zaragoza continues, “the audience already enjoys connecting with the creators in that very intimate, personal way. We’re all friends that basically ‘hang out’. So when the content becomes even more interactive and you can watch it in real-time, it’s even more exciting. It’s the closest thing to actually being, and for some people that’s just not possible.”


YouTube fan Victoria Toms claims she tries to watch as many live streams as she can, particularly those of her favourite YouTubers danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil. “You can actually interact with the YouTuber’s, “ she says. “[Live shows] are great because you get to see them without all the editing and effects.” This raises a good point, and echoes what Zaragoza said about it feeling intimate and personal. You get to see more of the real person behind the YouTube channel in a live setting, whether a stream or in person, as they can edit anything out.

Live streams just give viewers an extra insight into the world of the creator, and a more persona connection with them. It’s clear just from the SourceFed live show that these shows are popular with both creators and viewers, and therefore aren’t something that’s likely to disappear anytime soon.


Articles written by the 2015 Graduates from BA (Hons) Music Journalism, University for the Creative Arts, Epsom and courtesy of Method magazine

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