The Worst Place for a Girl to Grow Up

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Middlesbrough, my home town, recently collected perhaps the least wanted accolade in the country: the title of Worst Place for a Girl to Grow Up. The predictable avalanche of outrage which followed sprawled across the Teesside branch of social media and spawned a hashtag: #GirlWhoGrewUpInBoro. Patriotic smoggies turned out in force on social media to … Continued

Three Weeks is Too Long

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This mini-series follows the experiences of one of our writers during a period of anxiety and depression. The aim of these pieces is to reduce stigma and raise awareness. Read part one here.  If you are affected by any of the issues discussed, you may find support with Mind, The Samaritans or, particularly if you … Continued

When Nature Calls

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Do you give a shit about the environment? It’s just one of those things, right – if the question is asked, the answer is invariably ‘yes’, but as soon as ‘eco measures’ or ‘green living’ enters the conversation, eyes glaze over and everyone starts thinking about whether or not they need to put a wash … Continued

Harry Potter: Invention is the Mother of Connection

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There’s a moment in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader is trying to catch the Millennium Falcon. To do this, he has assembled five of the galaxy’s most formidable bounty hunters. Of the five visually distinct bounty hunters we are introduced to, we only ever see one of them, Boba Fett, again. The genius … Continued

The Quiet Ones

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During the summer, I went to see Laura Marling play, and she was just as wonderful as ever. She’s tiny, but her stage presence is what a music journalist might refer to as ‘commanding’ – she walks onto the stage a little tentatively, but once that guitar’s in hand, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind … Continued

Man Meat and those Bleeding Vegans

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Earlier this year, in the hot summer streets of Tbilisi, a crowd of sausage wielding men descended on a vegan café.  Fillets were thrown, chops brandished.  Whilst the men had an overt political motivation to their actions – they were members of a far-right group, who objected to the liberal minded patrons of the café … Continued

Shakespeare in Hong Kong: Global Ambitions

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This year is the 400th year from Shakespeare’s death and you can still go anywhere where British influence crept, and still creeps, and find Bill’s face. This ranges from Instagram frames in Nairobi to tours of acclaimed productions across the USA and the Far East. Indeed, in Hong Kong, Shakespeare seems both an obviously relevant … Continued

Robot Wars: Hard Reset on Geek Chic

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When I was ten I sang the Madness song Baggy Trousers at a school talent show. There was no backing music, I couldn’t sing, and I was so nervous that I barked the lyrics arrhythmically and half the audience thought I was doing performance poetry.   The resulting, and deserving, ostracisation meant that I had … Continued

Looking Forward: Time for a Mindset Reset

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Over the last few months Britain seems to have come a cropper. This great nation of ours has got itself into binds; tangled tensions of apparently irreversible decisions: Brexit, we are told, will bring about our destitution. The NHS is on the brink of collapse through financial stresses and doctors’ exhaustion, politics is the stomping … Continued