STUDENT COMMENT AND NEWS
Established since 1967 February 2022
Exclusive: New Light
Shed on the Racist
An anonymous source close to the original investigation
speaking exclusively to SCAN, has shed new light on
the racist graffiti incident at Cartmel College...
SEE PAGE 7 FOR FULL ARTICLE
Elizabeth Train-Brown | NEWS
47% of students no longer
feel safe on Bowerham Road,
Lancaster after theft crime
Between October and November
2021, there was a surge in attempted
bike thefts and even home invasions
around the Bowerham area.
This was concentrated along
Bowerham Road with 30 incident
reports of burglary and theft to
My house was one such victim of
One of my housemates sleeps in
the bedroom downstairs. At around
4 AM, he woke up at the sound of
someone knocking over our recycling
bags which had luckily been left
by the back door. My housemate
listened and heard someone moving
around the kitchen next to his room.
When he opened his bedroom door,
whomever it was bolted out of our
back door, leaving it wide open.
The rest of us found out about
this the next morning. There were
varying reactions. I experienced
extreme anxiety and struggled to
sleep well the next few nights. One of
my other housemates fretted over his
bike, which was accessible from the
kitchen, and considered trying to fit
it in his room.
All of us were feeling unsafe in our
CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
10 Days of
SEE PAGE 6
SEE PAGE 24
LU Pole Fitness
Gear Up For
SEE PAGE 30
NOTABLE CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE
TABITHA LAMBIE • ELIZABETH TRAIN-BROWN • AMY BROOK • WILL DOE
A Letter From The Editor
Elizabeth Train-Brown &
ONLINE ASSOCIATE EDITOR
ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR
FASHION & BEAUTY EDITOR
CREATIVE WRITING TEAM
Sam Allport & Thomas Huddleston
The Editorial Committee above is responsible for
all content and production of SCAN. Compliments,
comments and complaints to be addressed to Editor
in Chief in the first instance. VP Societies & Media,
Dom Casoria, is responsible for all legal matters and
significant reputational harm and can be contacted at
(Printed by Mortons)
For the past two weeks, SCAN has been working
hard to produce our second print issue of the
year. Although incredibly proud of our first
issue, this next one has come leaps and bounds
in both quality and appearance.
Fantastic work has been done across all
sections and it’s clear to see the effort that
has been put in by both our writers and
Editorial Team. The sheer breadth of content
is truly remarkable and it’s amazing to see the
commitment given by everyone involved.
Included in this issue of SCAN, we have some
brilliant contributions from the News Team with
articles covering the life of Desmond Tutu, the
recent shop fire in the City Centre, and an exclusive
update on the racist graffiti incident in Cartmel
Our Comment section includes some exclusive
guest pieces on racism at Lancaster University and
a candid account of ableism in connection to Molly
Mae Hague’s recent comment: “we all have the
same 24 hours in a day.”
Arts and Culture brings to life the Manchesterbased
exhibition on the life of Derek Forman and
enough book recommendations to last a lifetime.
If you’re into romance or desperate for a review of
Michelle Obama’s autobiography, don’t worry we’ve
got it all.
Do you think that music can ever be original? Find
out with our Music team.
If you’re a film fanatic, you’ll love our Screen section.
It’s absolutely jam-packed with reviews of Encanto,
opinions on the upcoming release of Batman, and
the disastrous consequences of the Disney-Fox
Lifestyle brings you all those cheeky tips and tricks
to kick start your gym journey, shed light on the
toxicity of #NewYearNewMe, and provide you with
all the best vegan recipes. I can personally guarantee
you’re going to want to write those recipes down.
Next up, it’s the Poetry Showdown. Who doesn’t
love poetry? This issue includes the top 7 from our
Poetry Showdown alongside some great articles on
how to get involved in poetry competitions and why
we should all read and write poetry.
Last, but never least, Sport. This term is already
gearing up to be an exciting time for sport with
societies getting ready for competitions, charity
events, BUCS, and so much more. Check out our
sports section for more about the Strongman
Society and Pole Fitness.
With so much to offer, there’s no time to be dawdling
on the Editor’s Letter.
I hope you enjoy this issue and if you want to read
through more of SCAN, don’t forget to check out our
Uni News at a Glance
On the Friday before term began,
the University’s Deputy Vice-
Chancellor, Professor Steve
Bradley, sent out an email to all
This reconfirmed the University’s
commitment to delivering inperson
teaching throughout the
Lent term, with online studies being
offered only on a smaller number of
The expectation for international
students is that those who travelled
abroad over the Winter holidays
should be able to return to
Lancaster in-person by the end
of week 12, or in the case of
being unable to do so, defer
their studies till next year.
This is a similar position to
the one the University took
at the start of the academic
year. Students whose course
allowed them to take Michaelmas
term remotely will be
allowed to continue doing so.
Why settle for watching the television,
when you can get a real
taste of Chucklevision?
The absolutely brilliant Paul
Chuckle came to Glow for one
The legendary Chuckle brother
took to the stage on the 31st
January, spreading the love with
his comedy skills in the DJ booth
for a much anticipated mix of
gags and tunes.
Say it with me: To me! To you!
Since the report of racism
by former student Sa’ad
Mustafa, the presence
of racism on campus
has returned to the
After hearing of the
of Mustafa who
claims to have had
the P slur written on
his door within his first
term at Lancaster University,
students have been quick to act,
declaring their solidarity.
Recognised as a reoccurring issue
at Lancaster University, Mustafa’s
account has led to countless
students coming forward with
similar stories of racism.
“Why is My Curriculum White?”
alongside Fabiha Askari have created
a form for anonymous reports
of racism which will be presented
to the University Management and
The Students’ Union so that they are
able to appreciate and recognise the
extent of racism on campus.
Over 50,000 staff
inequality, the use of exploitative and
insecure contracts, pay, and working
Week 1: 14th – 18th February
Week 2: 21st – 22nd February
Week 3: 28th February – 2nd March
The final day of strike action in week
3 has been organized to coincide with
the National Union of Students (NUS)
student strike on Wednesday 2nd
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Break-ins & Bike Thefts:
Nothing had been
taken that we could see but, had we not had a
bagful of glass bottles and tin cans ready for
we might never have
known someone was in
And we aren’t the only ones to experience
something like this. On the 9th of November
2021, a second-year Lancaster University student
had a bike stolen from a locked shed.
“I had some friends around for my birthday. I
went outside [about 10 PM] to throw out our
empty pizza boxes and I noticed that the shed
door was open. I was confused but assumed
that perhaps I had just forgotten to lock it or
something. I went over to shut the door when I
realised my bike wasn’t there.
“I started to panic and
that’s when I noticed that
part of the latch had been
ripped off the door and
thrown onto the ground.
“The bike was virtually brand new. I’d had it for
less than 6 months.”
When asked about how the investigation was
going, the second-year explained:
The broken lock discovered on the student’s shed.
“I phoned [the police] in the morning once I had
calmed down. The lady on the phone was pretty
helpful but as it was outside and it had been
raining, there wouldn’t have been any forensics
for them to find so they didn’t come over and the
trail ended there, unfortunately.
“I don’t want to go into [my initial feelings at the
time] too much beyond that it ruined the evening
for everyone as I was very upset.
“I’m a lot more aware
of the crime rates in
Lancaster now. It’s been a
bit of a learning curve.
“We now usually leave a light on when we leave
the house in the hopes that it will deter people
from breaking in and we keep the curtains drawn
nearly all the time now. I got a new bike with
the insurance money and my savings which I
no longer store in the shed. I keep it inside the
house, again with the curtains drawn so people
can’t see it from the street.
“We’re with LU Living and they came out within
a couple of days to fix the latch on the shed, the
back gate, and the outdoor light – all things that
my flatmate and I asked for to help us feel a bit
safer. They even filed down the screws on the new
latch so that it would be much harder to break
“Unfortunately, they don’t insure bikes when
they’re not on campus. It’s probably important
that people know that before renting with them.
Luckily, my parent’s insurance covered it but that
was a bit annoying. It would be nice if they would
update their policy to include bikes.”
Multiple bike thefts have been
reported in the Bowerham
area, including a 3rd-year
Biology with Psychology
student whose friend’s
bike was stolen from their
property while they were the
only one home.
“It was my friend’s bike, and it
was near the winter holidays
“It wasn’t just
that the bike
was stolen, it
was near to our
kitchen door. So
basically, got us
“I told the landlord because
she’s really nice and helps
out but she was like, ‘A lot of
bikes get stolen so it’s no use
reporting it because there’s zero
per cent chance of the police
In November 2021, SCAN
learned of a second attempted
break-in to a house on an offstreet
of Bowerham Road. The
house in question caught the
would-be home invaders on
CCTV which has since been
handed to the police. The
two suspects were reportedly
masculine and wearing puffer
A SCAN reporter on the
scene learned from a PCSO
that there was a suspected
opportunistic burglar in the
area. This is someone who will
try back doors and sheds for any
unlocked entryways into homes
or access areas.
When asked about the progress
of the investigation in November
2021, our reporter was told that:
had a suspect they knew
operated in the area.
However, they did not
have enough evidence for
While speaking to the PCSO, a member of the
public approached to report to the officer that
two people matching the same description of
the suspects had attempted to steal his bike from
the back of his house. The bike was reportedly
chained and locked.
Since November 2021, Lancashire Police
have released no
the specific recent
activity of burglars
in the Bowerham
area besides a post
burglars are more
active at this time of
(included in both
and John O’Gaunt
& Bowerham on
the site), there
were 14 reports of
burglary and other
thefts in October
2021 followed by a
further 16 reports
Police.UK, in the
There is no indication in current statistics that
might suggest this is an unexpected increase
compared with previous years but students
are concerned about the rate at which these
The door through which a potential burglar broke into.
incidents have occurred.
Police.UK defines burglary as theft or attempted
theft from “premises where access is not
authorised.” Robbery is “theft with the use of
force or threat of force.” And theft is defined
as “theft from a person, motor vehicle, bikes,
residential or non-residential properties.”
72 students in a survey hosted on SCAN’s
Instagram reported having either experienced
burglary, theft, bike theft, or a break-in while
living in Lancaster or know someone who has.
Furthermore, 47% of those who answered the
poll (62) reported that they did not feel safe in
the Bowerham area. This is a massive increase
compared to the 9% of 134 surveyed students
who reported that they did not feel safe in
Lancaster, as a whole.
Part of this could be due to the actions of
landlords. While some have received immense
help from their landlords:
“The landlord from Mighty
Student Living gave a call
to the local authorities and
as they knew that I was
alone in summer, I always
used to see cop cars go
around until 2 AM.”
3rd-year Biology with Psychology student.
Others are still feeling unsafe and wary in the
“My private landlord
never showed an ounce
of concern [after we had a
3rd-year Lancaster University student.
It is perhaps, then, no coincidence that 91% of
students feel safe in Lancaster yet only 53% feel
safe in student-central Bowerham.
N e w s
SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.uk
Olivier Marie--Considère (Deputy)
Lancaster University Professor Set To Head
New Home Office Scientific Advisory
Professor and Pro-
Dame Sue Black, is set to chair a new
scientific advisory committee discussing
age assessments for asylum seekers.
The introduction of new UK laws for assessing
the age of asylum seekers is set to move UK
policy in line with other European nations like
Finland, Normandy, France and Greece, who use
scientific evaluations including CT-scans, MRI
imaging and x-rays of teeth and bone fusion.
Due to asylum seekers often failing to have any
form of documentation such as birth certificates
or passports, whether destroyed, lost, forged
or never awarded, accurate methods for
determining age are important.
Previously, the UK has followed a policy whereby,
if the age of an asylum seeker is doubted by Home
Office upon the first application for asylum then
they will undergo an analysis based solely on
appearance and demeanour.
If determined to be ‘significantly over the age of
18’ they will then be referred to an in-depth local
authority-led assessment which should follow
guidelines set out by the Association of Directors
of Children’s Services – during which time they
should be treated as a child.
6,066 asylum child
1,530 had their age
50% were revealed to be
The age of asylum seekers, and the classification
as a child, is important with it determining what
social care is provided to an individual, their
education, whether they are detained as an adult
and even their asylum provision.
Equally, it’s important, in a number of cases,
to understand whether an individual is over
or under the age of 16 as it determines their
placement in semi-independent living in
accordance with the Children Act 1989.
However, due to what Home Secretary Priti Patel
described as “blatant abuses” by those with “no
rights to be in our country,” namely “single grown
men, masquerading as children,” inquiries into
new scientific ways of determining age aims to
ensure that asylum seekers
who falsely claim to
be children will be
adults due to
the visual and
currently used will be
more accurately provided
with the support that they need.
In March 2021 the Court of Appeal highlighted
the damaging effects of children being detained
as adults. describing them as:
Court of Appeal
In June, the Refugee Migrants Children
Consortium (RMCC) identified a case study
where a 16 year old asylum seeker was
wrongfully grouped with adults at the
hands of the current assessment
system; psychological trauma was
highlighted as a direct result of
Consequently, the new Home
Office scientific advisory
committee – chaired on an
interim basis by Dame Sue
Black until a permanent
appointment is decided on –
will comprise a range of experts
from medical, academic, scientific
and social working backgrounds.
Reporting directly to the Home Office
Chief Advisor, Professor Jennifer Rubin, the
committee will be considering a range of ways of
determining age, alongside the possible ethical
and medical issues accompanying them.
Photo: Anne Rothwell
Lancaster 93% Club Delighted As Student Beans
Launch Social Impact Programme
On the 10th January 2022, Student Beans
announced the launch of its first-ever Social
Impact Programme which will provide tools
and opportunities for underrepresented,
unsupported or otherwise disadvantaged
Student Beans are already recognised for
supporting millions of students nationwide with
exclusive discounts throughout the year, whether
that’s clothes, takeaway or even travel. However,
in its continued commitment to students,
Student Beans hopes to provide more students
with the support, tools and opportunities they
need to thrive, work harder to create a more
sustainable and equitable future and provide
students with better mental health advice and
Through its official partnership with the first
and largest network of state-school students, the
93% Club, Student Beans has launched its Social
Impact Programme with the hopes of providing
more public awareness for social inequality
“As a foundation, we are
proud to work alongside
organisations dedicated to
shifting the dial on social
With 93% of the UK population
Beans’ Social Impact
that may not
c h o o l
As well as
Student Beans will
also be organising
bespoke workshops and
training for the team at The
93% Foundation as part of their student living
initiative, including skill-sharing workshops,
mentoring programmes and awareness
Mike Eder, CEO and Co-Founder of Student Beans
expressed they’re “proud to join forces with The
93% Foundation as its first campaign partner”
and are excited to use their “expertise
in student marketing to develop
creative campaigns to help
break down barriers
for students from
SCAN reached out
to The 93% Club
H a m p t o n ,
M a r k e t i n g
Director for The 93%
Foundation and VP
Media and Marketing for
The 93% Club Lancaster,
commenting that, “we are
delighted to be working alongside
Student Beans to support their new Social
“We are immensely
excited to be working
with Student Beans to
and showcase stateeducated
talent, in the
shared belief that stateeducated
be entitled to access the
same opportunities as their
privately educated peers,
on an equal footing.”
Chloé Hampton, Marketing Director for
The 93% Foundation and VP Media and
Marketing for The 93% Club Lancaster
The 93% Foundation
Photo: Chloé Hampton
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
Painting Peace For The ‘Rainbow Nation’
DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
The man who gave a voice to the muted;
Desmond Tutu will be forever remembered as
the painter of the ‘Rainbow Nation’.
Desmond Tutu died on the 26th of December
2021 in the Oasis Care Centre in Cape Town: a
particularly peaceful passing when cast against
the extreme violence that he had witnessed
throughout his life.
As one of the leading figures of the anti-Apartheid
struggle in South Africa, Desmond Tutu stood as
a symbol of hope, using his position within the
church to spread messages of protest against
an oppressive and racist regime. He became
Johannesburg’s first Black Anglican bishop in 1985
and the Archbishop of Capetown in 1986.
As a key spokesman for the rights of Black Africans,
he drew international attention to the Apartheid,
encouraging trading nations to apply economic
pressure as a means of nonviolent opposition.
Desmond Tutu became famous worldwide for
his passionate speeches, calling for non-violent
protests against the Apartheid regime and warning
his government officials against the extreme
backlash that could arise from townships in South
Africa, which were densely populated, racially
segregated residential areas during the Apartheid.
He notably wrote a letter in 1976 to John Vorster, the
former South African Prime Minister, petitioning
to secure the rights of Black South Africans and
warning him about the ongoing frustrations in
Black communities that would likely feed popular
The letter captured his hope for the government
to ease its repressive politics against Black South
Africans as a possible first step towards peaceful
unity. However, the ignorance of it proved fatal as
6 weeks later the 1976 Soweto Uprisings erupted.
Later, in 1986, Tutu spoke on Vorster’s ignorance:
Tutu is born
Ordained as a
minister in the
first Black Dean of
-secretary of the
“He did not even
think that I, as a
could have the
to know the
my own people
or the ability if I
did to compose
a letter to express
Desmond Tutu at a press conference
held at Johannesburg, South Africa, 1986
His braveness against tyranny was constant
throughout his lifetime; in 1984 he spoke in
Washington against the United States’ support of
the Apartheid regime, during which he confronted
Ronald Reagan expressing that:
“Africa’s apartheid is as evil,
as immoral, as unchristian
as Nazism and, in my view,
the Reagan administration’s
support and collaboration
with it is equally immoral,
evil and unchristian.”
The courage needed to confront the major global
power at its peak is unprecedented and stood
as a pillar for his activism; similarly in 1988, he
called for the boycott of the South African general
election despite the risks of being jailed.
However, Tutu also embraced a philosophy of
forgiveness and reconciliation. He coined the
phrase the ‘rainbow nation,’ at the downfall of the
regime following South Africa’s first democratic
election in 1994, showing inclusion for the white
minority, the Afrikaners.
During the post-Apartheid era, he also worked
in conjunction with the election winner, Nelson
Mandela, to investigate the numerous human
Wins Nobel Peace
President Nelson Mandela
appoints Tutu to be
chairman of the country’s
Truth and Reconciliation
rights abuses of the Apartheid.
In 2014, Tutu published “The Book of Forgiving:
The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our
World,” which describes a type of stoicism that
he shared with his humanitarian peer Nelson
Mandela. Following unconsciously the example
of the philosopher Epictetus, he and Mandela
embraced a virtuous way of life with the selfcontrol
of emotions such as anger, resentment, and
revenge at it’s core.
His dedication to defending the oppressed and his
fearlessness in the face of corruption never ceased,
even at times when peace seemed achieved.
Later in his life Tutu strove against the actions
of the African National Congress, ultimately
culminating in his decision not to vote for the
party from 2013 onwards.
Desmond Tutu gave voices to the muted from his
religious desk and was eventually awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his commitment.
Desmond Tutu will be remembered amidst the
highest company of 20th-century humanitarian
activists and leaders, always ready to raise his voice
against any form of oppressive authoritarianism.
of Freedom from
U.S. President Barak
LGBTQ rights in
Photo: Niklas Maupoix via Flickr
Urges the British
Tutu dies aged
90 in Cape Town
N E W S
EDITOR IN CHIEF
In the early hours of the
18 th January, The Exchange
Lancaster was reported to be
in flames after a fire broke
out leaving shop owner
According to The Exchange
Lancaster, who released a post
via Instagram regarding the fire
at 3am this morning, the shop
caught fire and fire engines were
sent to the scene.
Considerable damage was
shown to both the interior
and exterior of the local shop,
located near Common Garden
Street, with the front window
broken and shattered glass on
The owner of The Exchange
Lancaster commented on the
incident expressing that they
were “devastated” and asked
customers to “please bear with
me until the insurance sorts it
The Exchange Lancaster has
already seen considerable
support in response to the
incident with numerous
individuals leaving heartfelt
messages on their post.
Lancaster based independent
shops have also reached out
to The Exchange offering their
sympathies with local yarn shop
Ethel and Em commenting, “this
is devastating. So sorry to see
Upon reaching out to The
Exchange Lancaster for further
comment on the incident, it was
confirmed no one was hurt and
the incident occurred due to an
electrical fault and not foul play.
N E W S
Despite the Government announcing that
all Plan B restrictions have been lifted in
England, Lancaster’s Sugarhouse will still
require a Covid Pass.
Today saw the announcement that all Plan B
restrictions are now lifted meaning that face
coverings will no longer be mandatory in indoor
venues and Covid passes no longer necessary for
entry to nightclubs.
However, despite England’s move to Plan A
reassuring the population that the end of the
Pandemic remains in sight, concerns have risen
for the sudden abandonment of Covid passes,
particularly for entry to nightclubs.
Although GLOW has announced it will no longer
require a Covid pass for entry, The Sugarhouse
have decided to retain the requirement of a
Covid Passes/negative LFTs despite the changes
announced by the Government.
“We’re going to retain the
requirements for Covid Passes/
Negative LFT results at Sugarhouse
despite the changes announced
by the Government. We believe
students and our student staff value
the extra measures we have in
place to keep them safe whilst at
The initial announcement that The Sugarhouse
would require an NHS Covid pass upon entry
occurred back in December last year in light
of new Government guidance for tackling the
Covid passes could be obtained if you had either
been double vaccinated, had a positive PCR test
in the last six months, or received a negative PCR
or LFT test result in the last 48 hours.
With these measures recognized as valued by
both students and staff who appreciate the “extra
measures we have in place to keep them safe
whilst at our venue” they will continue.
However, these measures won’t be permanent
with the Students’ Union expressing that “we are
going to review this decision internally every five
This decision on behalf of The Sugarhouse will also
be enforced at other events including Refresher’s
In regard to face coverings, the University is taking
a similarly cautious approach to the lifting of all
Plan B measures, encouraging the continued use
of face coverings in teaching spaces as well as
regular LFTs whether symptoms are shown or not.
With the unpredictable nature of new variants,
The Sugarhouse’s commitment to five week
reviews should ensure that the measures in place
continue to reflect the current climate for student
health and safety.
SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.uk
10 Days of Campus
for Lancaster University
68 Universities to
Participate in Strike
As part of the UCU Strikes, over 50,000
staff are expected to participate in campus
walkouts as part of the ‘fight for the future
of higher education’ this February.
The University and College Union (UCU) has
labelled these strikes a “fight for the future of
higher education” with staff at “breaking point”
after a decade of cuts to pensions, falling pay
and worsening working conditions.
Like the UCU Strikes in December last year,
these staff walkouts are in response to pensions,
unmanageable workloads, pay inequality, the
use of exploitative and insecure contracts, pay,
and working conditions.
The February strikes are intended to run across
3 weeks beginning on Monday 14th February. A
full list of dates can be found below:
Monday 14th – Friday 18th
February (USS pension dispute
Monday 21st – Friday 22nd
February (both the pension and
the pay & working conditions
Monday 28th February –
Wednesday 2nd March (pay &
working conditions dispute only)
Further industrial action is still on the cards.
Rolling regional and UK-wide action is planned
in response to pay & working conditions and
preparations are being made for a UK-wide
marking and assessment boycott.
The final day of strike action in week 3 has been
organized to coincide with the National Union
of Students (NUS) student strike on Wednesday
The NUS student strike shares the UCU values,
calling for higher and further education to be
free at the point of use for students, and for
staff to get better working conditions, pay, and
Yesterday, UCU shared proposals that could
avert the pension strike, following the scheme’s
assets jump up to more than £93bn. UCU will
be meeting with employer representatives,
Universities UK, on the 11th February.
To resolve the pension dispute, UCU is
demanding employers revoke the cuts to staff
pensions and formally accept UCU’s counter
To resolve the pay & working conditions
dispute, UCU is demanding a £2.5k pay rise for
all staff as well as action to tackle unmanageable
workloads, pay inequality, and the use of casual
UCU general secretary Jo Grady commented:
“[It is a] damning indictment
of the way our universities are
managed that staff are being left
with no option but to walk out
“For a sector that is worth tens of billions of
pounds and enjoys record levels of student
growth, it is beyond disgraceful that in return
staff get vicious pension cuts, falling pay, and are
pushed to breaking point under deteriorating
“Time is quickly running out for vice chancellors
to avert strike action, but it can be done.
“Staff need a proper pay rise, action to tackle
insecure contracts, unsafe workloads and pay
inequality, and for devastating pension cuts to
be revoked. Any disruption that occurs will be
the clearest indication yet that university bosses
don’t value their staff.
“This wave of strike action is a fight for the
future of higher education and staff are proud
to stand alongside students in the fight for an
education system that treats students and staff
NUS National President, Larissa Kennedy, has
yet again noted:
“Students’ unions and student
organisers have a proud tradition
of standing in solidarity with
Larissa Kennedy, NUS National President
Last December, following the referendum,
Lancaster Students’ Union proudly stood
alongside staff in their fight against University
Management. These strikes will be no
different with LUSU President Oliver Robinson
confirming that “we continue to stand in
support of our colleagues in the UCU.”
“LUSU would like to see a swift
and dignified resolution of this
dispute, that allows all our staff
to flourish. Students know how
much their staff do for them
every day, and we call on our
University leaders to ensure
that we are creating a healthy
“We know that the staff working
environment is our learning
environment, so benefits to
them are benefits for us. This
particularly applies to our
postgraduate students who often
sit in both categories, and are
Oliver Robinson, LUSU PresIdent
As well as supporting these upcoming staff
strikes, NUS are calling for students to walk out
in solidarity against the education system that
doesn’t work for anyone on the 2nd March.
“Come together to re-imagine a
new vision for education.”
National Union of Students
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
N E W S 7
EXCLUSIVE WITH SCAN
Exclusive: New Light Shed on the Racist
Graffiti Incident at Cartmel College
An anonymous source close to
the original investigation
speaking exclusively to
SCAN, has shed new
light on the racist
graffiti incident at
On the 20th January 2022, Former Lancaster
Student Sa’ad Mustafa revealed in a Tiktok,
which has since gone viral, that after a racist
graffiti incident occurring in 2018, he was
discriminated against by Lancaster University.
When Sa’ad reported the racist graffiti found on
the door to his accommodation he claimed he
was “kicked out of the room, moved to another
room,” charged for the door and required to make
an apology if he wished to continue studying at
Lancaster University. Lancaster University have
denied this and stated that they have no record
of any charge being made for the door. Our
source also casts some doubt on these claims.
Although an investigation was started into
the racist graffiti incident, Sa’ad claims it was
dropped after two weeks and he was allegedly
told not to go to the police.
When Sa’ad eventually went to the police to
file a report in September 2018, he claims to
have been told that the University is known for
advising students not to contact them.
SCAN have contacted Lancaster Police and
received the following statement:
University released a second statement the
following day, revealing that they had “reviewed
an extensive 2018 investigation into a number
of complaints and counter-complaints within a
Upon review, Lancaster University claimed that
“we have not been able to find any evidence
to suggest that the University required this
student pay for damage to their door, pay for
accommodation they did not use, discouraged
them from going to the police, or was requested
to provide an apology.”
Likewise, Lancaster University detailed the 2018
investigation which “examined photographic
and other evidence and took statements from
a number of staff and students” was “completed
in full, a formal outcome letter was provided
alongside an offer of wellbeing support and the
opportunity to appeal.”
Since Sa’ad’s allegations were made public, an
anonymous source has reached out to SCAN to
shed new light on the racist graffiti incident, due
to concerns for individuals identified in Sa’ad’s
Tiktok whom they believe haven’t been properly
supported publicly by the University.
The source revealed that
some details disclosed by
Sa’ad, namely that he had
to pay for a repair to the
door, he was required to
move to another flat, and
he was required to make
an apology were in fact
disturbed that details of these
individuals have been posted
to social media in this way.
“We have not been able
to find any evidence to
suggest that the University
required this student pay for
damage to their door, pay for
accommodation they did not
use, discouraged them go to
the police, or was requested to
provide an apology. If further
evidence is forthcoming we
“We have also contacted the
former student, inviting them to
engage directly with us so we
can understand the full picture,
gather evidence from them
and take action, wherever
SCAN have also contacted Sa’ad for further
Photo: Sa’ad Mustafa
“In September 2018 we
received a report of racially
aggravated criminal damage
in Lancaster. It was reported
racist graffiti had been written
on the door of a room in
Cartmel College at Lancaster
University. An investigation
was conducted and no arrests
However, the source says that Sa’ad’s claim that
these ‘penalties’ were linked to the racist graffiti
incident is not correct.
The source also shed light on the investigation
into the racist graffiti revealing that it began on
the day that Sa’ad made his complaint.
Our source said that it was taken very seriously
and that fellow students were questioned and
required to give handwriting samples.
Since these allegations have come to light,
Lancaster University have released statements
detailing examinations of University records.
The source said it was likely true that the
investigation finished after around two weeks
however this would have been due to the
investigation having expended all evidential
The initial statement released on the 24th
January said that “examination of our records
does not support a number of claims that
Sa’ad makes in the videos he posted including
that he was advised not to go to the police,
made to apologise, made to pay for a door or
accommodation he did not use, or that the
university failed to undertake a full investigation
into racist graffiti appearing on his door.”
Lancaster University claim these to be “new
allegations being made which do not appear to
be part of the original investigation.”
Following up on this initial statement, Lancaster
After reaching out to Lancaster University, SCAN
were issued the following statement:
“A number of new allegations
about University staff actions
have been made on social
media and those staff
members’ details have also
We have no evidence that
there is basis for these
allegations and are very
N E W S
SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.uk
When Chickens Are Left
“Panting, Crippled And Resorting To
Are You Still Down For A
After years of speculation, Nando’s has
finally announced its arrival in Lancaster
this summer but I’ll be honest, “Nando’s,
Nando’s, Let Me Be, Keep Your Animal
Cruelty Far From Me.”
As well as their intended commitments to
chicken welfare, Nando’s have also set targets
to achieve absolute zero emissions and reduce
the carbon footprint for their meals by 2030.
Since 2015, Nando’s have managed to reduce the
carbon footprint for their meals by 40% which
is commendable but still a long way off climate
As a passionate activist against animal cruelty,
I think you can all see why hearing of Nando’s
coming to town with their peri-peri chicken
didn’t fill me with joy. Yet another major chain
that pretends they care about the climate and
animal welfare, despite being so well known
for animal cruelty. Pro-vegan organisation Viva!
has uncovered on several occasions Red Tractor
assured farms used by one of Nando’s suppliers,
Avara Foods, failing to meet the minimum for
But for those who are unaware of the cruelty and
empty commitments behind food chains like
Nando’s, hopefully I can shed some light on the
absolute monstrosities these capitalist dirtbags
allow behind the scenes.
Firstly, let’s have a quick peruse of their
commitments to both climate change and
animal welfare. After being criticised by ‘World
Animal Protection’ in 2019 for failing to make
any robust commitments to improve chicken
welfare as well as refusing to publish extensive
data on its progress towards better chicken
welfare, Nando’s went on a PR offensive.
Nando’s promptly signed up to the Better Chicken
Commitment in May 2020 as well as releasing a
public commitment to raise chicken standards
across its UK and Ireland supply chains on the
27th July 2020.
Nando’s promised that by 2026 all chickens used
by the chain would be sourced from approved
breeds that have better welfare substrates and
natural light. I just want to add here an emphasis
on natural light; being bred in a
dark and dingy shed
should never be
Photo: Luis via
Similarly to the likes of KFC, Nando’s also
advertise its charity partnerships. In this case, it’s
the Kariba Forest Project in Zimbabwe, which
focuses on reducing the impact of deforestation
and improving the lives of over 37,000 people
through better nutrition, health care, and clean
water, as well as donations for the fight against
malaria in Mozambique.
Nando’s is also committed to increasing its plantbased
menu and reducing the carbon footprint
of its chicken feed, having already committed to
exclusive use of free-range eggs, organic milk and
These are certainly steps in the right direction.
I will admit Nando’s initiatives are wonderful
to see, but as I said before, it’s all empty
commitment that could never outweigh the fact
that Nando’s still uses factory farm hens that are
not even given half a life.
Unlike some, including the Global Director of
Food Business, Dr Tracy Jones who revelled in
these commitments, “delighted to see such a
popular brand like Nando’s, famous for their
peri-peri chicken, championing the move for
better chicken welfare,” my views on the brand
haven’t changed. Ethics are ethics and Nando’s
fails to reach my standards.
Gravel Farm is one of the major reasons I
severely doubt the ethics of Nando’s. Concerned
for the welfare of the animals being housed, Viva!
set up numerous hidden cameras on the farm in
November 2019. The captured footage revealed
thousands of turkeys who “never saw the light
of day,” were “mechanically fed and
watered” and slaughtered using
Gravel Farm had been
recognised as part
of the Red Tractor
note that in
declared that they’d
“decided to remove the
farm in question from
our supply chain.” However,
if Avara Foods had been holding
the farm to the high standards it implies all of its
sites are kept to through compulsory audits, then
how was Gravel Farm allowed to operate for as
long as it did?
What’s worse is Gravel Farm wasn’t an
isolated incident, with Open Cages carrying
out undercover operations at farms in
Gloucestershire and Herefordshire in October
2020. The farm in Gloucestershire, owned by
Avara Foods, shows fast-growing chickens in
Avara Foods claimed to have conducted an
internal investigation which they concluded
“didn’t highlight any welfare concerns.”
A spokesperson went even further to insinuate
that “the undercover footage shows the
overwhelming majority of birds are clean, in good
health, moving freely and accessing food and
water as they wish,” suggesting that the “edited
footage” focused on “a handful of atypical birds
that are either ill or have a natural deformity.”
How can there be no welfare concerns when some
birds are left unable to walk and consequently
struggling to reach food and water? It’s truly
horrifying how welfare concerns can be so
More recently in July 2021, footage was released
of birds “panting, crippled and resorting to
cannibalism,” according to a vegan charity.
This footage claimed to be taken from three of
the UK’s largest poultry producers who were
approved by the Red Tractor Scheme and supply
to the likes of Nando’s, Tesco and KFC.
“Barbaric” farming practices caught on camera
Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur via Unsplash
With the reports of animal cruelty I’ve included,
spanning across at least three years, I fail to
see how any commitment made by Nando’s for
either the climate crisis or animal welfare can be
genuine and I’m not alone on this.
Having spoken to several students as well as
the Veg Society, the opinion that we should be
more focused on campaigning to get existing
restaurants in Lancaster to become more
conscious of animal cruelty rather than having
another massive chain introduced with more of
the same food is certainly shared.
Although it’s great to see chains including plantbased
options on their menus and considering
the climate more, animal welfare will always
remain the most important issue.
Nando’s need to do more to show us that they
really care about animal welfare, until they do,
why should we want them in our city? Ponder
that a moment and then think about how much
that peri-peri chicken really costs.
Nando’s have been contacted for further
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
C o m m e n t
Philippa Bowers (Deputy)
Molly Mae & Ableism
A Discussion with Lancaster Uni Ex-Women+ Officer
One of the great promises that has been used
to endear the capitalist system throughout
modern history is the belief that it
offers an egalitarian chance for
people to make their own
the virtues of
hard work and
T h i s
i d e a ,
m o s t
e m b o d i e d
through the promise
of the ‘American Dream’
has of course been subject to
scrutiny since its conception in the
1930s with works such as The Grapes of Wrath
and Death of Salesman exposing the sad reality
for those whom upwards social mobility proves
This ‘dream’ is often perpetuated by the fact
that in our current celebrity-centred culture,
increasingly more exposure is given to the few
people who are able to successfully mobilise
upwards in the economic system, rather than the
majority who remain in place.
Notably, this was recently brought into the
conversation through comments made by
influencer Molly-Mae Hague on the podcast
Diary of a CEO. Hugue, who came to prominence
after taking part in Love Island in 2019 as well
as her recently earned role as Creative Director
for fashion company PrettyLittleThing, implied
that it was up to the individual to try harder and
put in more effort if they wanted to achieve their
dreams in life, claiming that:
“We all have the same 24
hours in a day.”
Hague prefaced her comments by mentioning
that she’d faced backlash
proved to be no
One of the people to speak out in protest was
Lancaster University’s ex-Women+ Officer Charli
Clement, who as a person with disabilities found
Hague’s comments to be deeply ableist, with
them presuming that the disabled have the exact
same opportunities as the abled, despite their
disabilities often effecting day-to-day life.
Speaking to SCAN, Clement was keen to stress
that she doesn’t believe that Hague deserved the
personal hatred that came as a result of these
“She’s not the first or only
person who has ever
said it, but she sparked
a conversation in the
mainstream media about
meritocracy and so the
education and discussion
has to happen.”
Clement believes this to stem from a wider
problem in our society, the idea of hustle culture,
where “we put so much pressure on productivity
and work, and so little on rest, mental health,
and self care.” Concepts of worth are too often
reserved for the “contributions” we are seen to be
making to society.
She argues that these standards are toxic:
“Many chronically ill
people have little
energy and struggle
to shower or eat,
meaning they can
often not work or
work limited hours.”
Clement went on to acknowledge
that “many neurodivergent people
also struggle with traits such
as executive dysfunction which
causes work to be harder.”
In regards to Hague’s comment
claiming everyone has the same 24
hours in the day, Clement pointed out
that “we can’t all use those in the same way,”
as “disabled people may have less hours in
which to work due to fatigue and pain, or
spent hours doing appointments, therapies or
It is also as much
a problem of class,
with those “who
have to work three
jobs to survive,
hours for a tiny
wage” not having
the same 24 hours
as “someone who
has a cleaner, nanny,
chef and secretary.”
Equally, those from
groups will also be
affected by wage
gaps; “a disabled
woman of colour
would not be on the
same wage as Molly
Mae even if they did
the same amount of
backlash that she
and those calling
out the comments
for ableism and classism face, Clement expressed
that “people said chronic illness is no excuse
for not working just because they can, which
is ableist in itself as disability affects everyone
Addressing those who have likened the critiques
to cancel culture, she disagrees: “I don’t believe
it’s cancel culture - I certainly wish her well
with her work and don’t believe she needs to
be “deplatformed” by any stretch - but I think
accountability is important and we should be
dismantling these ideas when they do come into
Clement is currently working on a book detailing
her own experiences being both autistic and
chronically ill, which she feels are seldom
discussed in combination.
“I’ve spent a decade trying
to find resources but those
for autism don’t account
for chronic illness and vice
versa, so I’m honoured
to have the opportunity
to provide that. It will
include discussions of
the workplace, education,
adapting support, and
Charli Clement, Ex-Women + Officer
Left: Tommy Fury and Molly Mae Hague
UKGossip TV via WikiCommons
Right: Charli Clement
C O M M E N T
I arrived at Lancaster University in
2018 with high expectations of the
Uni life and all the new and friendly
people I’d meet.
Although I have definitely met some of
the most important people in my life, I
also sadly met a few people who didn’t
quite understand my culture and took this
misunderstanding out on me in the form of
Growing up as a British
Pakistani, I have always been
insecure, feeling as though I
don’t belong and that I am not
Unfortunately, coming to Uni only
heightened these feelings, instilling in me
the idea that I will never be accepted simply
due to the colour of my skin.
Not just one or two, but a total
of 4 boys at my University
called me the P slur ‘as a joke’.
SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.uk
Being A Person of Colour
At Lancaster University
Whilst I have not
experienced racism in the form of slurs
being hurled at me as another student has
experienced, I can definitely vouch that
being a person of colour in the setting of
Lancaster University has come with its
Whether it be having racially motivated
microaggressions aimed at me or feeling
excluded from certain university experiences
due to my visible differences from the majority
of the student body here at Lancaster
I had certainly heard of other racist acts
occurring. For instance, within 24 hours of
arriving at Lancaster University as a student,
fellow freshers had jokingly told me that they
thought that their flatmate of Pakistani origin
had been assembling a bomb in his room, due
to them rarely seeing him. This was an example
of racial profiling that students in Lancaster
University felt they could freely speak out about.
This made me concerned for
the wellbeing of the student
who would be having to share
a flat with these individuals for
an entire year.
It is increasingly isolating knowing of the
unaccountability taken by the staff as brought
to light by Sa’ad Mustafa. As said earlier, I
personally have not experienced any racist acts.
However, in social situations, often being the
only person of colour has meant that I am more
susceptible to certain comments.
Individuals are often
interested in my ethnic
background, as opposed to
me as a person.
This would not happen to a white person from
the UK. I have been consistently asked about
my country of origin several times when it
comes to meeting new people.
As I was born and brought up in the UK, I
tend to respond with the city I grew up with.
However, this doesn’t tend to be the answer
that individuals were hoping for, leading to
more questions being asked like where my
parents are from.
Although I am proud of my heritage,
individuals often characterise me as solely as
my ethnicity without getting to know me as a
person. Leading to me being the token brown
friend of white students to make themselves
appear as ‘woke’, when in reality they are still
attaching themselves to the same stereotyping
tendencies as others.
I have also worked for Lancaster University,
and have seen how fellow colleagues have
treated students of colour and international
students. When serving them in hospitality,
individuals have been disrespectful toward
customers, in that they raised their voice in an
angered manner towards them as ‘they don’t
understand anything anyway’.
My colleague knew nothing about this student
that I had been serving despite the fact that
they were of colour and spoke with a non-
This same colleague of mine
had not bothered to learn
my name properly despite
pronouncing correctly and
knowing all of the other
My experience here at Lancaster University
has still been a good one amongst this so far.
However, I know that if I were a white student,
my university career would not have been
tainted by the microaggressions that I have
The racism present in Lancaster University
has made me feel isolated as a student. There
is a need for desperate change alongside
accountability to be taken by the faculty of this
institution as these racially motivated incidents
have occurred and continue to.
There is a slippery slope when it comes to hate
speech being spread in this manner, making
people of colour feel unsafe and unheard here
at Lancaster University.
When I told 2 of them to stop because I
didn’t find it funny, they laughed and carried
on. One even started recording me saying it
over and over again and then sent this video
to his large group of his white, male friends
I have been told that I am not
worth getting in a relationship
I am not white.
A former friend of mine has also told me I
couldn’t never be viewed as attractive as a
I don’t understand what the difference is
between me and a person who is white.
I don’t understand why I am viewed so
differently when I have grown up in the same
country, had the same education, speak the
same language, share the same morals and
values as someone who is white.
My message would be for people to realize
that the only difference between you and me
is that I have slightly different pigmentation
in my skin due to genetics, which is why this
shows up as different in my skin tone.
Apart from this, I promise you
I am no different to you and
wish I had been treated with
more respect, growing up.
My heart hurts for Sa’ad as I can imagine the
pain he went through and long for the day
people of colour are treated with the same
value and respect as white people.
At Lancaster University
When I was in first year, I was walking from
the hall in county to Pendle where I lived
after the campus Diwali celebrations.
I was wearing a saree and passed a bunch of football
guys, they followed me almost the full way making
comments calling me things like “mowgli”, “curry
c*nt,” and “Taliban bride.”
They pulled on the back of my pallu
(the bit of the saree that goes over
your shoulder) and I fell back nearly
fully on the floor.
They laughed and said I should have got a forced
marriage sooner so I’d have Apu to protect me.
Images: @wimcwlancuni via Instagram
There were plenty of other times I would wear
traditional clothing or have my bindi on and receive
negative and discriminatory comments from other
Thankfully for me, staff never had issues with me.
But I was a religious studies student so generally the
department are all very culturally aware.
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.uk
Arts & Culture
ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR:
Lucia Garcia-Figueras Gonzalez (Deputy)
Shadow and Bone
S2 Cast Drops:
A Memorial For The
Fancasts That Never Were
Fancasting: An age-old practice of choosing who,
in an ideal world, would best portray a character on
Since Shadow and Bone hit Netflix in early 2021, the
original books by Leigh Bardugo have grown from a cult
following to a worldwide sensation. This has led many
to discover the fan-favourite ball of sunshine, Wylan
Wylan is due to appear in Season 2 but was as yet unseen in
Season 1. Naturally, this sparked some conversation about
the ideal casting. Since the official cast announcement
dropped on January 13 th , Netflix announced that Jack
Wolfe will be taking on the role.
Fans are hailing the casting choice as another phenomenal
decision on the team’s part after the exceptional casting
of the existing main characters. But, of course, this means
we have to say a farewell to the fancasts that never were…
One of the more optimistic choices, sure. But Tom Holland
is the right height for Wylan, he’s got a brilliant smile, and
we know that he can play emotion exceptionally. No Way
Home was a triumph for Holland and could have been a
great segue into Wylan’s role.
A personal favourite of mine: Chalamet. Wylan’s
characteristic feature is his curls and Chalamet certainly
brings them in force.
With an ageless face and proven singing voice, Sivan could
have been a great potential for Wylan. And, considering
there is a book scene of Wylan’s character drunkenly
singing the national anthem, I think it’s safe to say we
would all have been excited to see Sivan pull that off.
After having shot to fame playing Alex Standall in the
controversial 13 Reasons Why series on Netflix, Heizer
became another fan-favourite for the role of Wylan. One
of the strongest reasons Heizer was due to his candid
account of struggling with internalised homophobia as a
Finally, the man
himself: Jack Wolfe
Coming from a
theatre work with
the National Theatre,
Company, and more,
Jack Wolfe has
appeared in many
shows you might
recognise from BBC’s
Inside No. 9 to Netflix’s
Kit Young and Jack Wolfe on set.
Photo: Instagram @ShadowandBone
Not only does he have
Wylan’s famous twelve-year-old face and wild hair but
Wolfe is both openly LGBTQ+ and waves at spiders. You
can’t get more Wylan Hendriks than that.
With just a few initial shots from Wolfe and his on-screen
partner, Kit Young, fans are already going wild and it’s
probably safe to say that Season 2 will bear plenty of
Wylan indulgence for fans of the books and the TV show
I made a New Year’s resolution to read more in 2021:
Here are my top 5 books
At the beginning of January 2021, I
challenged myself to start reading
again, after not really reading many
books since starting university.
At the time, we’d been plunged into another
lockdown a couple of days before Christmas,
and the rest of the year wasn’t looking
promising. In fact, we were looking down the
barrel of another two terms of predominantly
online university and a life of the rule-of-six
and daily LFTs.
Under the circumstances, I found it relatively
easy to get back into reading – and a great
escape from the bleak news of the world –
and with the year starting with the startling
scene of the January 6 th riots in the US and
increasing covid cases, an escape is just what
we all needed. I read a total of 37 books, so
here are my top picks, and with this list, I
hope I can inspire you (or perhaps make you
face the same reality I did) to pick up a book
5. Nineteen Eighty-Four,
The classic George Orwell (maybe one of
his easier books to get into) novel set-in
dystopian London where there’s no way of
knowing what’s true or what is a lie. Our
protagonist works at the Ministry of Truth,
where they ‘correct’ newspapers to reflect
what the Party would like to be the truth. It
is an immense book that has stayed with me
ever since I read it.
The dystopian world in which the protagonist
lives is well-constructed, feeling oppressively
cold-hearted and bleak, although some of
my favourite passages reflect the warmth
of feeling of the human experience and how
this prevails over any political situation. This
is a story that should be read and re-read by
generations to come, as not only a warning
of what could occur in society but also as a
reminder to appreciate what we have.
Michelle Obama’s memoirs were an excellent
read – it was so interesting to read about the
life of such an influential woman, who was
First Lady of the US for eight years. She talks
about the challenges of growing up as a black
woman in America, whilst acknowledging
her luck in terms of the opportunities she
The things that have stuck with me after
reading this book are when she talks about
her dislike of politics (sorry everyone who
wants her to be president!), and how she
was affected by the death of her college
roommate when she was very young. It is an
inspiring book by an inspiring woman, and I
would recommend it to anyone.
3. Beekeeper of Aleppo,
This is another incredible book – and one
very relevant for our time: putting feelings
of human experience on the media stories
of refugees crossing borders for a better life,
which are too often used to further racist
right-wing agendas. It follows the story of
a refugee family travelling towards the UK
after a friend of theirs successfully claimed
The narrative jumps between the family’s
journey through Turkey, and when they’re
staying in UK accommodation navigating
the bureaucratic nightmare of the officials.
This is a beautifully written story that cannot
help but evoke strong emotion, and have you
hanging onto the story until the very last
page. I recommend this to anyone wishing to
understand the challenge that refugees face
and the dire reasons for which they make the
journey in the first place.
2. Prisoners of
This book had been recommended to me
several times, and online reviews said it
was excellent – so I was thrilled that it lived
up to expectations. Marshall explains the
geopolitical situations of 10 regions around
the world, using his journalistic and personal
experience to provide a compelling mix of
political analysis and personal anecdotes
about the places he visited.
If I had not read this work, I think I’d have
more trouble understanding what has been
going on around the world and what is at
the root of the media stories, for example,
about Afghanistan and Korea, and possibly
in the near future, Russia’s obsession with
Ukraine. Additionally, this book is not at all
intimidating – a 300-page paperback (with
maps) – and so is the perfect introduction to
global politics for anyone looking to better
understand the world we live in.
I bought this book as a wild card – I was
intrigued by the concept of it being set in
near-future Margate, with rising sea levels
and far-right governance, but the level of
feeling and incredible beauty of this book
took me completely by surprise.
The book follows the story of a young girl,
Chance, and her family as they escape a
nightmarish London after receiving a cash
grant to move to Margate for a better life –
but quickly government policies and rising
sea levels make this a life without hope - until
Chance meets the love of her life. A book that
made me laugh and cry, a story of hope and
love in a world spinning out of control, and
a warning letter from the future, this book
has everything. I never wanted it to end, and
neither will you.
Photos: Tom Culf
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
Manchester’s ‘Derek Jarman
MUSIC DEPUTY EDITOR
The Manchester Art
Gallery is currently
the life works of queer British experimental
artist Derek Jarman.
I cannot tell you how excited I was to get out of
the house after the dreaded Omicron variant
restricted me to just several square feet for
a week. I was even more excited to finally
have the time – and health – to attend
an exhibition of an artist I had dipped
my toe into: English film designer,
model, director, author, and fine
artist – you name it he’s probably
done it – Derek Jarman.
The exhibition is called ‘Derek
Jarman Protest!’ and is available
to view for free at the Manchester
Art Gallery. The exhibition has
been curated by Fiona Corridan,
Manchester Art Gallery and author/
filmmaker Jon Savage. Like most
exhibitions focused on a single artist, the
layout takes the role of a biography, with each
room showing a different era of Jarman’s life in
the fine arts.
Upon entering the exhibition, I was greeted with
one of Jarman’s most striking paintings: the 6ft
tall 1992 piece ‘Queer’. Using a piece that came
so late into Jarman’s life was a smart choice, as it
also encompasses an incredibly important part
of his identity, not only as a homosexual but also
as a political activist. ‘Queer’ was a response to
the homophobic slander surrounding the Aids
The piece uses the word ‘Queer’, a word that had a
lot of negativities surrounding it at the time, and
reverses its purpose and meaning, to become
a celebration instead of a condemnation. This
piece left me looking forward to finding the
full context of the work towards the end of the
Photos: Will Doe; (Column) Karolina Abornevaite
Vivid, Confident, Iconic
Onto the rooms, of which there are several
covering his many adventures into different
mediums. The exhibition is incredibly open,
allows you to
v i e w
r o o m
in any order you
want. I should note the sounds that come from
various sections using film can clash in quite
an ugly fashion – I was being hit with ominous
electronic sounds coming from one room, and
The Smith’s ‘The Queen is Dead’ from another.
Anyways, the introductory rooms showed
Jarman’s early paintings and did well to convey
his trajectory towards ambience as he began to
expand to other mediums.
I located the eerie echoes that rang around
the exhibition in the 3rd room. The room was
running Jarman’s 1981 film ‘In the Shadow of the
Sun’, a 47-minute long collection of disturbing
but ethereal short films. The images combined
with the futuristic ambient sounds was very
does great work
to emphasize this,
screening the film
in a dark room
with no chairs for
comfort – or to
The 4th room
the London born
artist’s work in
film and costume
of costumes he
made for the likes
of Nigel Terry and
a young Tilda
Swinton. The room
also opens up
aspect of his life
design in his
appearances at the ‘Alternative Miss World’.
The wall is littered with pictures both from
photoshoots and casual snaps of Jarman
alongside his longtime friend – and creator
of ‘Alternative Miss World’ – Andrew Logan. I
feel these images and the accompanying film
of the event help add some personality to the
Derek Jarman was a man who enjoyed life and
the images of him fooling around with his queer
friends show him as a charming, inventive,
but also playful genius. Room 5 explained
why I was hearing The Smiths, Orange Juice,
and Pet Shop Boys as the smaller enclosed
space showcased many music videos
Jarman directed throughout the 80s as the
behemoth that was MTV became what it
Jarman’s political side became apparent in
the final rooms, as the HIV epidemic hit and
Thatcher continued in her quest to become the
most despised British person in modern history;
Jarman’s art turned towards the satirical.
Some of his pieces combined religious aspects
with sex toys in a darkly comedic presentation
of his conservative Christian upbringing, while
other artworks linked thematically to ‘Queer’,
using abusive slogans, and spinning them into
words of empowerment and beauty.
There was also a rather intriguing room playing
his auditory film Blue, featuring a dialogue that
explores the HIV epidemic from the ground,
with the only visual being – you guessed it – a
blue screen. Jarman explains his avoidance of
visuals simply “because the Virus is invisible,”
which gave an unnerving sense of relevance to
There was also a wonderful video of various talks
he made at his exhibitions/rallies.
He was diagnosed with HIV in 1987, and
even though his health was deteriorating, he
continued in the public eye, using himself as
a reassuring face to a shaken community. As
Derek Jarman’s life drew to an end, he spent
his final years in a cottage off the coast of
Dungeness, where he tended to his beautiful
garden alongside his work.
In his final year the prospect of death was
something he faced, and the exhibition’s final
piece, labelled ‘Death’ was a morbid end to an
exhibition full of life, but one that seemed to fit
his untimely passing.
I would highly recommend a short trip to the
Manchester Art Gallery to experience this
exhibition, which runs until April 10th. It’s
a fascinating look into a man whose talents
seemed to know no bounds, the art is fantastic,
and I had very few complaints about how the
exhibition was curated.
But the most notable thing I took from this
exhibition was that Derek Jarman was a man
who took every step of his life with the fullest
intent; he seemed a genuinely great person at
heart, which makes his death sting just as much
as it would have 27 years ago.
A R T S & C U L T U R E
Novels of 2022
With a new year fully in swing, we are
treated to a new batch of romance novels
to sink our teeth into.
The Roughest Draft
Emily Wibberley and Austin
Tipped by Bustle as one of the most anticipated
novels of 2022, The Roughest Draft is a collaboration
between real life couple Emily Wibberley and Austin
The novel follows co-writing lovers Katrina and
Nathan who are reunited after a rocky end to their
partnership when tasked to write one last romance
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care
Ashley Herring Blake
Revolving around a guilt-fueled trip back home,
successful New York City photographer, Delilah, finds
out that love strikes at the oddest moment.
Sparks fly with her sister’s uptight best friend, Claire,
as they are forced together during the planning of
her sister’s nuptials. This queer romantic comedy
discusses pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
and accepting love.
Written by the author of The Flatshare, this upcomer
follows three women who, on the surface have
nothing in common, faced with a dilemma of being
involved with the same man on Valentine’s Day.
The Wedding Crasher: A Novel
This novel narrates a story of two strangers and a fake
As Solange and Dean play the part of a typical couple,
they soon realise that some things, including their
feelings, are not just part of the show.
Love & Other Disasters
Dahlia is set on a fresh new start as she enters the
Chef ’s Special after a depressing divorce and veering
Whilst Dahlia’s competitor, London, makes history by
announcing their pronouns on the show, declaring
themselves as the first nonbinary contestant, they
find their lives collide and soon Dahlia realises that
she might want a future more than she needs the
M u s i c
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Will Doe (Deputy)
Is Any Piece Of Music Truly
Behind the scenes,
there’s a great, sprawling
network of musicians
stealing from one another.
There’s a notion surrounding artists that to be
great, they have to be completely original, or
else be written off as a fraud. They stand on their
own and their work simply arrives; it’s a myth.
Nevertheless, it’s a myth upheld by law.
Every few months, there seems to be a new
music copyright case, with the thieving artist
painted as uncreative. Most recently, Taylor Swift
has fallen under such accusations, with ‘Shake It
Off ’ suggested to be stolen from 3LW’s ‘Playas
This demonisation of influence disregards the
fact that every single creative work, whether it
be a song, novel, or painting, has stolen from
somewhere. It may sound hyperbolic, but it’s
true. Picasso supposedly said:
“Good artists copy.
Great artists steal.”
In 2018, Lana Del Rey settled
a plagiarism case with
Radiohead over the uncanny
similarities between ‘Get
Free’ and ‘Creep’. An
ironic case, considering
were sued over ‘Creep’
being too similar to The
Hollies’ ‘The Air That I
‘Karma Police’ also
appears to be clearly
inspired by – or has stolen
from, depending on your
stance – The Beatles’ ‘Sexy
Music’s greatest thief,
however, is most likely Oasis.
Noel Gallagher, often dubbed a
‘magpie’, is famed for his brazenness
in repurposing ideas.
’Don’t Look Back In Anger’ lifts from Lennon’s
‘Imagine’, ‘Half The World Away’ from Burt
Bacharach’s ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’, and
even himself, with the chords of ‘Wonderwall’
being on ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’.
Perhaps the reason Oasis
generally got a pass in the
public eye was that it fit
They stole, they openly pointed where from,
and they didn’t care. To me at least, it’s become
almost endearing to hear some band from the
‘80s and realise “ah, so that’s where Oasis got it
For a time, I think it made them the ideal band.
Their songs tended to be basic music-wise, not
really covering specific themes in their lyrics.
This meant they could steal from any genre or
style and it would fit the formula, which was
allowed by their laddish attitude. Only thing is, it
stops being endearing when you’re veterans and
not the new kids.
So stealing isn’t uncreative.
In fact, it’s necessary for
is, of course, t h e
argument that it devalues the original work.
However, I don’t think that can be true. ‘Imagine’
hasn’t become some quaint, obscure little
number because Oasis overshadowed it. If
anything, they’ve added to its legacy.
As well as stealing musical patterns, artists often
lift in a different, less obvious and therefore less
suable way, which is conceptually.
One of my favourite songs of 2021 was Bo
Burnham’s ‘Welcome To The Internet’, however
something I noticed about that and the whole
of ‘Inside’ was how it borrowed from what came
before. The song shares components with David
Bowie’s ‘Station to Station’, in that it’s multisectioned
and sung by a dark character. For
Bowie, this was the fascist, romantic, cocaineaddicted
Thin White Duke, whilst Burnham
adopts a more sly, cunning and yet alluring
persona, seemingly the internet personified.
The song also delves into the paranoia
surrounding technology, which is perhaps most
famously tackled in Radiohead’s ‘Ok Computer’ -
like I said, it’s a vast network. The back-to-basics,
do-it-yourself style of the special’s production,
which is actually far more tightly put together
than it is made to seem, owes a debt to Bowie’s
I’m not saying Burnham definitely
took directly from these sources,
just that these ideas were
already out there. It’s
probable that Bowie and
Radiohead were both
inspired by the same
work, or maybe they
inspired a work
that would inspire
network is complex
and hard to read
sometimes, but it’s
There is, however,
an area in music
where the audience
accepts that a song
is a blend of multiple
artists: covers. I don’t
believe there is a better
example of how art is
made than Chris Cornell’s
rendition of ‘One’, which took
advantage of the fact both U2
and Metallica have songs titled
‘One’, putting Metallica’s lyrics over
U2’s chords and melody. The result is
something new without any new elements. Can
Cornell be considered a writer of a song that was
I think so, as I think what happened with his
version of ‘One’ is essentially what takes place
with any work of art, which is a remix of old
Another favourite cover song of mine is Kurt
Cobain’s version of The Beatles’ ‘And I Love Her’.
With only an alteration of tone and tempo, The
Beatles’ upbeat love song becomes one about a
sick, possessive relationship, as the song lyrics fit
“A love like ours can never
die as long as I have you
Okay, so if stealing is necessary in order to create
new art, then why do we discourage it? Why do
we publicly shame artists who steals when it is
inevitable? Maybe we feel deceived, or perhaps it
breaks our assumption that artists are geniuses.
But then, might it be possible to alter our
perspective so that we accept we require one
another in order to forge art? Isn’t building a
community instead of drawing dividing lines a
pleasanter image? Or maybe it’s even simpler
All I can say for certain is that it’s worked for me.
This article was inspired by – or stole from – Kirby
Ferguson’s fantastic Ted Talk titled “Creativity Is
Photos: Roman Lopez & Raphael Lovaski via Unsplash
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The Lost Hobby of Record Collecting
MUSIC DEPUTY EDITOR
The record is the loyal old dog of music consumerism,
and the day the record dies, will
be the day the music dies too.
To find the origin of the record player we
have to go back all the way back to the 19th
century, where Thomas Edison’s creation, the
Phonograph, used the vibrations of sound itself
to engrave its information on a rotating wax disc.
To reproduce the information back as sound
waves, the process was seemingly reversed.
the bloated giant
that is Spotify,
Music, and the list
You can now have
thousands of songs at your fingertips, for as little
as £5 a month. So why would anyone spend £20
or more on a single album? And not to mention
spend up to hundreds of pounds on a machine
just to play the damn thing.
‘Making a Comeback’
For Over A Decade
The technology used wasn’t exactly that
advanced, in fact, it would’ve been possible to
make a resemblance of the machine as far back
as the Roman era.
The quality that the Phonograph produced
was horrific; it sounded just like a jump scare
from a bad horror movie. But Edison and his
compatriots wouldn’t have cared as they’d
captured something impossible.
Before the Phonograph and its later, improved
remakes became available to purchase, music
could only be played live, and was seen more as
a social event.
The popularity of the record peaked in the 1970s;
it was the golden age of music. Over 200 million
units were sold per year in the US alone, as vinyl
fever swept the world. Then came the vinyl’s
cheaper, portable, and shinier younger cousin:
the CD. By the time the 90s came around, the
annual sales of vinyl had quartered - although
they still clung to relevance especially in the
blossoming hip-hop community - and by 2007:
1 million records were sold
in the U.S (2007)
It seemed that the CD had all but destroyed its
older cousin, but then something interesting
happened. Since 2007, the sales of vinyl have
been on a continuous climb, to the point where
their annual U.S. sales of 27.2 million in 2020 now
match that of the 90s, not quite the 70s, but not a
number to be laughed at in the slightest.
27.2 million records were
sold in the U.S (2020)
You’ve probably guessed how the record clawed
its way back from its retro grave: it came with
the death of the CD, and the monumental rise
of streaming. It started with the iPod and has
It could be the same reason we buy expensive
clothes, treat ourselves at bougie restaurants,
or go for that pricey cocktail. The record has
something earbuds and a phone screen will
never have: style.
If you own a record, I don’t think it would be
rude to make the assumption you enjoy music,
and not just whatever’s on Radio 1 every week.
What’s a better way to show gratitude to some
of your favourite albums than to have a massive
physical copy of them to worship?
The CD carried that power to an extent, but
it’s metallic glimmer is no match to the classic
look of a jet black record. Not to mention you
can now get snazzy new presses in every colour
combination known to man.
My personal favourites have been the ‘lucky dip’
album presses produced by - the band with the
best name in the world - King Gizzard And The
Lizard Wizard, where the LP could be any of the
primary colours, and punk band IDLES’ limited
edition press of their debut Brutalism, which has
the ashes of the lead singer’s mother embedded
within the clear record itself - now that’s punk!
However, record collecting isn’t all about selfindulgence.
It massively supports the artist - at
least a lot more than streaming services. On
average, record companies pay the artist 10-15%
of the revenue of their record sales.
If an artist sells a vinyl press
at £20, they get £2-£3 in
It may not sound much, but when a local band
like The Lathums sell around 60,000 copies to
claim number 1 on the UK billboard record sale
charts, that turns into an impressive amount of
cash. Alternatively, you could support a band
like The Lathums through Spotify, but you’d have
to listen to the whole album nearly 50 times to
generate the £2 revenue of single vinyl sale.
Now, I know that record collecting, and buying
a record player with all the trimmings, isn’t the
cheapest of hobbies but, it seems more and more
people see it as value for money. Plus, albums
sound better through vinyl - don’t ask me how,
it just does.
I’m glad that the record has made a comeback,
because in an age where everything is digital, it’s
still the physical that gives us the connection we
want. So if you’re thinking of getting a turntable,
and have the money to do so, then I say join the
Nothing will make you look more classy when
you host Friday evening pre-drinks before that
regrettable night out, than whipping out a ‘Best
of Bowie’ record you found at a thrift shop,
and watching the whole house bounce to ‘Let’s
From a family playing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ in the
darkness of World War 2, to 60s hippies spinning
The Beatles’ ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ whilst
bugging out on whatever cocktail of drugs they’d
taken that night, to MCs spinning the hottest
tracks from the West Coast 90s.
However, there are always other ways to support
your favourite small time artists: attending gigs,
buying merch, supporting any funding services
they have etc. Even streaming and sharing an
artists’ music can help in ways much more than
Photos: (above) Will Doe; (below) Peter Lamont
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Samuel Wu (Deputy)
Edgy, Insecure, and Done Before
Why I’m Not Excited for Matt Reeves’ The Batman
The other day when loitering (procrastinating)
in the Instagram “Discovery” tab, I stumbled
across an image of Paul Dano’s incarnation
of The Riddler from Matt Reeves’ upcoming
Batman’s nemesis was masked in a tight leather
bondage hood and draped in a binbag; I was
overwhelmed by how pathetic it was. True,
gimps do exist in our world - they are technically
more realistic - but:
Should I pay £5.99 to see
one when I could just walk
down Halifax high street?
In my opinion, this adherence to a perceived
realism has diminished the franchise to such a
dull state that I’d rather put bleach in my eyes
than slog through another insecure Bat-romp.
Viewing the trailer for The Batman and
seeing a myopic Robert Pattinson rasp “I am
vengeance!” cemented my despair; the grim
and gritty approach cinematically popularised
by Christopher Nolan in 2005 has only
stripped the character and his
world of any imagination. I no
longer have any inclination
to see a Batman who
could exist in our world,
especially when he’s an
angry, childish killer
with a silly voice.
character largely stem
from Gen-X insecurity
fuelled by childhood
memories of Adam West
camp and a reactionary fear
of Joel Schumacher’s kitsch,
but above all, I believe it to be a
misinterpretation of Frank Miller’s work
on the character in the 1980s. Zack Snyder’s
joyless and anxiously ultra-masculine Batman
of the 2010s especially embodies this, yet every
filmmaker has credited Miller’s works as a
Many a dilettante see Miller’s The Dark
Knight Returns as the birth of a
gritty Batman. But that text
is anything but dark or
realistic: it’s the operatic
story of an elderly
to youthful glory and
aided by a nuclear
explosion, a gang of
cyclopic mutants, and
an inner monologue
that sounds like a
just discovered Nietzsche
for the first time. It’s
unabashedly daft, appealingly
mythic but never grim.
Yet in 2022, the fallacy remains onscreen.
Batman as a character is now a dark antihero,
with conflicts limited to childhood trauma and
beating up goons in car parks. I’m not asking for
a return to frivolous camp, merely an embracing
of the fantastical and an aspirational protagonist
instead of a pitifully grimdark one. If you can
believe in a billionaire tech CEO concerned with
working-class lives, what’s so ridiculous about
him fighting a giant crocodile occasionally?
“He died saving me. I said,
‘I’m not worth it.’ He said,
‘Everyone’s worth it.”
Thus speaks the villainous Clayface in Neil
Gaiman and Andy Kubert’s comic Whatever
Happened to the Caped Crusader?
Here, we see the superhero’s funeral and every
villain or sidekick gets a chance to speak of their
responsibility for his death. These two panels of a
gooey monster crying epitomise the appeal of the
Batman myth, and simultaneously, everything
lacking from its live-action adaptations: a
compassionate character that never gives up
on others - even in the face of a world both
whimsical and terrifying.
Photo: Instagram @TheBatman
Disney’s Acquisition of 21st Century
Fox Forbodes Industry Oligopoly
ASSOCIATE ONLINE EDITOR
A string of box office bombs, including The
Call of the Wild, The Last Duel, and West
Side Story, have one thing in common:
they’re all holdovers Disney inherited when
they acquired 21st Century Fox.
While the changes wrought on the film industry
by COVID-19 haven’t helped, could it be that
A still from Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Photo: Instagram @TomHolland2013
the underperformance of these films is a
consequence of the Disney-Fox deal?
The acquisition of Fox’s film and television
divisions has had multiple casualties since
the deal was finalised in March 2019. Among
them was Blue Sky Studios, Fox’s animation
studio behind the Ice Age and Rio franchises,
which was officially shut down by Disney
last April. The reason? Disney considered it
unsustainable to be running three animation
studios (including Disney Animation and Pixar)
in the current climate. Blue Sky’s upcoming
projects were scrapped and its staff laid off, but
the Ice Age franchise is being continued with a
Disney+ spinoff. Disney has effectively bought
out its competitor, stripped its most valuable
intellectual property to bolster its own streaming
service, and dismantled it.
The second casualty came
just a month later when
Disney announced they’d be
closing Fox 2000 Pictures
This specialised in films for underserved
demographics, producing such classics as
The Thin Red Line, Fight Club, and Life of Pi.
Their final film, The Woman in the Window,
had its distribution rights sold to Netflix with
no theatrical release. In a landscape where
franchises and IP are king, this studio catering
to under-represented groups has, unfortunately,
had its life cut short.
20 th Century Studios’ streak of box office bombs
began when the ink was barely dry on the Disney-
2019’s Dark Phoenix
underperformed so badly
that Fox was operating at a
$170 million loss in the first
quarter after the deal was
In response, Disney axed a majority of Fox’s
upcoming projects in order to “focus on a select
group of properties,” according to then Disney
CEO Bob Iger. These select properties include the
four Avatar sequels, as well as resurrecting Fox’s
established franchises, such as Home Alone, Night
at the Museum, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with
direct to Disney+ sequels.
Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel continued Fox’s
financial flops, grossing less than half its
budget after playing exclusively in cinemas for
45 days. While Scott blamed this on apathetic
young people who “do not ever want to be
taught anything unless you’re told it on a cell
phone,” contending that “Disney did a fantastic
promotion job,” the many people who hadn’t even
heard of The Last Duel before Scott’s comments
would beg to differ.
The recent underperformance of Guillermo
Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley begs the question
of whether non-franchise properties are being
adequately promoted before being sent out to
pasture. While the business strategy of collecting
competitors and IP like infinity stones isn’t
unique to Disney (Amazon is currently in the
process of buying MGM) it’s a troubling sign
of corporate consolidation and oligopoly that
could lead to the same handful of conglomerates
controlling the entire industry.
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The Reason Why Disney
Has, Once Again, Become
To the general public, animated films are
made to inspire. But to the studios behind
them, they’re made to produce money
— and a lot of it. In trying to find the most
effective way to make both parties happy,
one has seemingly been sacrificed in more
For too long, Walt Disney Studios have descended
into the blatantly corporate tactic of live-action
remakes, sequels and spin-off franchises without
putting their bygone charm and soul into
For someone with a lifelong adoration for
the studio’s ingenious creativity and laudable
filmography, I feel that the recent lack of new
storylines, messages and characters has left a
void in our culture. I don’t know about you, but
I’ve found it difficult to find inspiration when
a company behind some of our most beloved
animated classics has ceased to produce
anything to get excited about.
It’s because of this that when I saw that Disney
had released a new film, I wasn’t rushing to buy
my cinema ticket. But after a bit of motivation
from my friends on a weekend away, I walked into
Bournemouth Odeon to watch Encanto without
any expectations. And I walked out astonished
— in a way I hadn’t experienced since watching
Inside Out all the way back in 2015. As supporting
character Abuela says in the trailer,
“This candle blessed our
family with a miracle.”
For those who haven’t seen it yet, Encanto is
set in Colombia, combining the typical Latino
family culture with Disney’s signature fusion of
magic, music, bursts of colour and phenomenal
Characters live in a house
— their “casita” — which is
very much alive as its own
Each individual in the Madrigal family is blessed
by a magical candle which grants them a unique
gift: a power that allows them to help out the
residents in the conjoining village, and each
other. Our protagonist, Mirabel, however, is the
only one who did not get granted a gift and has
been virtually cast out of the family and banished
to the nursery room. She is left powerless
and longing to be accepted by the ones she
loves the most.
However, we find that it isn’t just Mirabel
who is struggling under the family’s strict,
ritualistic ways. Her two sisters also begin
to suffer: Luisa begins to lose her powers,
and Isabela announces that the man she
is due to marry is not at all to her liking.
We discover that her uncle Bruno was cast
out of the family many years ago for the
distress his gift caused the family, and Pepa,
would have liked
to see one of
come out openly
at the end of the
film, they kept
them single and
who can control the weather with her mood, has
difficulties with her emotional regulation which
means that the house literally begins to thunder
as the family descends into turmoil.
stories to focus more on self-discovery, which is
a unique and important part of life for anyone
on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. I believe this is a step
forward for Disney, giving us hope that we can
We see the Madrigal family crack under the
intense pressure of Abuela — the lonesome
grandmother whose previous trauma of losing
her partner has caused her to stop believing in
expect a queer storyline in the near future. And
my goodness — on Encanto’s resurgent evidence
it seems that they’re not going to let us down
when they finally do!
the miracle and has caused her to become blind
to the love she has for her family. Ultimately,
we discover that this seemingly flawless family
(with a fantastical gift to boot) is, contradictorily,
broken, but has a hope to cling onto in the form
of the message that, through rekindling their
love and ability to accommodate each of their
insecurities, they can create a sense of perfection
on their own terms.
Disney certainly has
blessed us with a miracle of
their own — this film!
Encanto is particularly special as it focuses on the
oxymoronic relationship between familial unity
and dysfunction — an unusually heavy topic
for Disney to deal with as a corporation whose
filmography has strayed away from the “adult”
in more recent years in spite of their previous
resonation within that market in Finding Nemo
and Up. They make the effort to include a
variety of characters that, albeit without explicit
clarification, realistically represent minority
groups, such as Pepa standing in as a figure for
people experiencing emotional challenges.
Similarly, as a neurodiverse person, I found
myself relating to Mirabel on a deeper level.
Of course, they’ve fused this taboo, yet beautiful
subject matter with their signature musical score
and astonishing visuals. I was, without any form
of scepticism, transported into the world which
hundreds of creators have worked tirelessly on
for a year. I enjoyed every minute and, truth be
told, it is exceptionally hard to find flaws within
Confidently addressing a story of family, grief and
inadequacy which can inspire those around the
globe to feel a very necessary sense of identity,
Encanto gives me hope that Disney has returned
to creating content that addresses what it means
to be human, just like the good old days. I’m
proud to let myself say that they have returned to
a place close to my heart.
As someone who has felt unable to please her
family and the people she loves the most due
to simply being different, Mirabel represents .
Despite Disney having (STILL!) not made the
plunge into the addition of an openly queer
character, the coding within the film was very
evident within the characters of Mirabel, Isabela
and Luisa whom I believed represented three very
different kinds of queer women. In fact, my friend
pointed out that Mirabel was wearing a butterfly
brooch containing the bisexual flag colours
on it for a large segment of the film. Although I
Photo: Jayme McColgan via Unsplash
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Another Step Forward
For Adult Animation
Over the last few years,
adult animated shows
such as Invincible
(2021) and Harley
the movement towards progress in the
recognition of adult animation as a lens
through which serious art can be produced.
Netflix and League of Legends show Arcane (2021)
exploded onto the scene in November, managing
to topple the streaming platform’s recently
dominant show Squid Game from the plinth of a
#1 debut in 37 countries (IGN).
Does Arcane’s global
success mean the curse of
painfully bad video game
to series adaptations is
From both its global viewing figures and
considered approach to character and
worldbuilding, it’s safe to say that we can look
forward to more animated masterpieces made
for adult consumption in the future.
Based on the lore of the hugely popular video
game League of Legends, Arcane acts as a
backstory for some of the most beloved ‘League’
characters. Set and staged amongst the
boiling of building tensions
between the idyllic city
of Piltover and the
social unrest of the
of Zaun, Arcane
animation lends an
unspoken, visually capable hand
to this division, with Piltover’s soaring, bright,
modern architecture drastically contrasting the
Don’t Look Up
dilapidated and dingy backstreets of Zaun.
Arcane’s most appealing (and refreshing) aspect
is its ability to incorporate horrible flaws
within each character. You’ll find
yourself rooting for the
characters for a while,
but the writers
are happy to
throw you for
a loop when
s o m e
of their heroism.
Silco was a major stand out
for me; whilst being an obvious
antagonist from his first introduction,
his genuine anger and heartbreak for the plight
of Zaun, combined with his attempts to be a
good father within a bloodthirsty society left a
huge personal impression, as he’s not a villain for
the sake of being a villain. His aphorism “There’s
a monster inside all of us” heartbreakingly
encapsulates the arcs of every character within
Whilst League of Legends is universally renowned
for amazing songs, I was similarly blown away by
the sheer spectacle that is Arcane’s soundtrack.
Combining voices such as Sting, Woodkid,
PVRIS, and Imagine Dragons created a rather
unique concoction of genres.
Admittedly, it was very strange to see animated
avatars of Imagine Dragons directly in the show,
which elicits interesting implications of Dan
Reynolds being from Zaun. Especially notable is
Sting’s haunting rendition of ‘What Could Have
Been’ accompanying one of the most emotional
scenes in the show and closing the series (no
spoilers of course, but it’s safe to say tears were
The combination of these factors means that
Arcane successfully breaks the sequence of
horrendous game to show adaptations and,
crucially, provides evidence of further steps
in the right direction for adult animation as a
Photo: Instagram @ArcaneShow
Star-Power Not Enough to
Save McKay’s Satirical Mess
Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, with its
Christmas Eve release date, Oscar-studded
cast and promise of mainstream climate
change discourse, represented one of
2021’s most keenly anticipated releases.
It comes as a great shame, then, to say that it is a
mess barely saved by its cast. McKay’s signature
style of interjectional comedic direction (played
perfectly in his career-high The Big Short) instead
jams its foot relentlessly onto the pedal from
the off, revving up to the infantile max with an
obnoxious brand of satire that takes the wheel
and steers the premise off a cliff.
Don’t Look Up substitutes global warming for
the arrival of an Everest-sized comet which
gives Earth six months to plan a response, a
microcosmic representation of our own timebound
rage against impending climate change
disaster. Where The Big Short succeeded in
simplifying the complexities of the devastating
financial crash with left-field techniques, thus
allowing an easier translation of the human
cost, Don’t Look Up drowns the more obvious
humanity of global extinction in a sea of visual
and plot-related distractions.
of fear and realisation at the real possibility
of our planet’s death, often provided by the
acting prowess of Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo
DiCaprio or the standout Timothée Chalamet,
there is an abundance of overpowering satire on
hand to drown the moment.
Satire has serious
filmic potential, but the
deficiencies of Don’t
Look Up are greatly
exaggerated by its misuse.
Not only does McKay only lazily parody such
targets as Donald Trump and Elon Musk in an
easily seen-through manner, nullifying the razorsharp
potential of this branch of comedy, but
through it, he also creates a version of reality
entirely populated by inconceivably vapid
morons and insufferable wrecks that the ultimate
result is a portrayal of a world not worth saving.
Watching Don’t Look Up
is akin to sitting in a room
full of your least favourite
people with no means of
escape and the added
insult of a post-credit
scene to boot.
the film’s final, and only, satisfying scene, which
plays as a melancholic meditation on human life,
providing a glimpse of Don’t Look Up’s potential,
only too little and too late.
McKay is guilty of numerous cinematic
peccadilloes, but his primary transgression is a
fundamental failure of storytelling. Suggestions
of interesting ideas and jumping off points are
introduced and then swiftly snatched away
before being developed. Characters don’t
progress and neither does the story, turning a
potential hit into one long take of its director
screaming “We’re all going to die!” over fellow
And, well, maybe that’s the truth. But sorry, that’s
just not a movie.
Photo: Instagram @DontLookUpFilm
Marital affairs, multiple kidnappings and
humourless jibes at social media infatuation
(including an excruciatingly bad replication of
meme culture) bloat the runtime with needless
segues and detractions. For every rare moment
Its characters’ intolerabilities turn large
segments into a chore, redeemed only by
the seemingly accidental moments of peace
afforded by considered acting and sporadic
cinematographic stillness, which reach a peak in
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L i f e s t y l e
Sacrificing A Month For Enduring Benefits
After all the
ourselves during Michaelmas –
and the few more we may have
scraped out of the barrel during
the holidays – I’m sure many of us
are entering this term with a light
wallet and a tapered hangover.
The commitment we have to an
alcoholic lifestyle is something I’ve
commented on before, but I continue
to find ever more absurd angles with
which to illustrate it. The UK was the
only nation in Europe where alcohol
use increased over lockdowns in
2020 and 2021.
With Covid continuing to loom over
us and threatening to send us once
again into a “day drinking in your
favourite mug at home” dark age – I
think we’re subconsciously playing
catch up with ourselves. Returning to
University, however, I am pleasantly
surprised to see that we aren’t so
Living Abroad In The New Normal:
Studying abroad is one of the
most exciting opportunities a
student can have.
I’m five months into my own year
abroad in France and I can’t praise
it enough: it’s been an unforgettable
experience for which I’ll always be
incredibly grateful. I even started a
blog so I can keep talking about it!
However, with Covid having thrust
us into what seems to be a whole
new world at times, there have been
some changes from previous years.
Ever since the Pandemic began,
travelling has come with an entourage
of ever-changing restrictions. Going
to France in the summer wasn’t too
tricky but the spread of the omicron
variant across the UK led to the
French government banning British
entrenched in our ways as I thought.
Dry January asks a simple but
enduring task of its devotees: give
up alcohol for the first month of the
year. Year on year, those undertaking
such an outlandish mission begin to
initiate a genuine question over our
relationship with alcohol: are there
benefits to not drinking? Would we
continue to drink less after taking
a month off? Can the human mind
tolerate this increasingly hellish
world, while withstanding all social
pressure to drink, for a month?
Riffing off several published research
papers about the social, physical,
and mental benefits of drinking is
informative but also rather abstract.
I think we should focus on what
really matters in January – what can
alcoholic abstinence do for you?
1. Sleep, glorious
Being well-rested when going into
another term of late-night library
sessions and dissertation write-ups
tourists in December.
Luckily, thanks to my study visa, I
was allowed to travel back in early
January under the condition that I
isolate for 48 hours after my arrival,
at which point a negative antigen
test would let me back outside.
All this was a bit
the day I
came out of
but at the
time it felt
like a small
price to pay
to be back in
In terms of living abroad, there are
is a valuable commodity. With an
70% of Dry-Jan
fall into better
This isn’t a benefit to snooze on.
2. Money! Money!
Forgive the ABBA pun and instead
focus on the financial aspect of a
drinks tab. With Christmas-presentbuying
and New Year’s parties
pushing many well over budget,
Dry January can assist with the
recouping of those losses, thanks to
some prudent saving.
certainly some big differences when
compared to the covid rules back
home. Back in the summer, when the
UK was shaking off every restriction
that had previously been in place,
the rules in France seemed to be
Although everything from
cafés to nightclubs still
re-opened at around
the same time, entry
to these places
now required a
(a health pass)
with proof of
vaccination or a
Whilst this took
to, it ended up being
something I much prefer
having around. When I go into a
bar in France, I know everyone is
vaccinated or negative. Even with
Some estimates predict anywhere
from £65 to over £200 can be saved
in a single month.
3. Wellbeing. At last.
Forgive the repetition, but it can’t
be understated that you will see a
general improvement in your health
and wellbeing. Your health should
be the priority of the month – and
ideally, beyond. Whether it’s clearer
skin or lower cholesterol that you’re
after, there’s a shopping list of health
benefits we can all afford to enjoy.
Quitting drinking is not easy.
Whether we drink like it’s a morning
cup of coffee or once in a blue
moon – we can all get caught out.
Wetherspoon’s making Becks 99p
got me, but I’ve taken the hit and
returned to not drinking since.
I believe that actively making a move
in the right direction is the real
achievement during January. And
if you missed the month of January,
go wild and try again in February!
Progress isn’t linear or absolute, so
why should being alcohol-free?
the new variant floating around I feel
much safer than at home.
The laws around mask-wearing were
never removed in France. This is great
for people like me who need to use
public transport to get to university
every day. As all of my lectures are inperson,
it’s nice to know that every
student (besides those exempt) in
the lecture theatre is required to
wear a mask to keep each other safe.
If you go on a year abroad, you’ll
hopefully have a great time with or
without covid restrictions.
If you want to know more about what
it’s like living abroad, take a look at
Lucy in Lyon
Photo: Lucy Whalen
How Covid Has Changed The Study Abroad Experience
Rebecca Newman (Deputy)
I’m Okay With
Despite the festivities,
the New Year period
can often force
on the year gone by and increase
pressure on resolutions to magically
transform our lives.
This time of introspection is hard enough, but
throw a Pandemic in the mix and it’s almost
impossible to feel entirely positive about the
past 12 months. Yet, for some inexplicable
reason, the expectation to abide by the
tradition of creating new year’s resolutions
and leaning into the “new year, new me” trope
Year in and year out, we joke about making
changes that we’ll never stick to, and
whilst the concept can be discussed lightly
amongst friends, it’s easy to let breaking your
resolutions get you down.
If we know that resolutions are essentially
made to be broken, and if we know that
setting these goals is largely unrealistic, then
why do we continue to pressure ourselves?
Following the comedown of the busiest
calendar month, and entering such a cold,
dreary and joyless time, January actually
seems like the worst month of the year to try
and magically transform your life.
Who wants to realistically trek to the gym
every morning or evening when the days
are still so short and it’s almost always dark
outside? Who has the savings after a month
of present-buying and celebrating to be
able to invest in a brand-new wardrobe full
of clothes to upgrade your style? Who has
the ability, especially within a still raging
Pandemic, to be able to travel more and see
the world right now?
I think self-improvement is, at its core, an
amazing concept but it has also become
increasingly demanding to the point where,
if we’re not constantly wanting to change
something or reinvent ourselves in some way,
life feels too stationary.
This pressure is on us all year round but is
perceptibly heightened in the new year to a
toxic level. Many of the desires to create a new
version of ourselves stem from growing media
consumption where we’re encouraged to feed
into trends and fads that are advertised to
make us feel better about ourselves but in
reality, do the complete opposite.
A lot of the time, our perception of the term
‘self-improvement’ ends up being shaped by
social media influencers and subsequently
becomes less about what we individually
want to do to improve our lives, and more
about what society is telling us a perfect life
I suggest we take a second to acknowledge
the toxicity of trying to change up our lives
every 12 months and making ourselves feel
like we’ve failed when we inevitably break our
Instead of trying to suddenly reinvent
ourselves for 2022, we should instead learn
to appreciate where we’re at right now and
take small steps towards self-improvement
throughout the year.
L I F E S T Y L E
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We Are The Vegans,
Before I begin let me say: Veganism is
not the be-all or end-all.
You don’t need to go vegan to save the
planet from global warming. Veganism isn’t
a cult. Vegans can still live very happily with
a high protein diet.
For many, veganism can seem quite
daunting, especially the athletes among us.
There’s always the worry that a vegan diet
may not have everything meat or vegetarian
diets provide. But if we step back and give it
a little think, there isn’t much that you can’t
get from a vegan diet that you can from
There’s so much protein in soya alternatives
to meat: chickpeas, lentils, nutritional yeast.
Soya milk has the same amount of calcium
as cow’s milk. This is because soya is
naturally high in calcium and vitamin B.
Don’t worry, you can still binge eat your
pasta and midnight choco pillows – just
check they’re the vegan ones.
Ok, so you will need to give up some of the
good stuff (like those Katsu Curry Pringles)
but there are plenty of awesome vegan
alternatives. And even so many accidentally
vegan treats! For all you essay biscuit eaters,
you can get a pack of vegan bourbons
from Aldi for just 22p. And party rings are
accidentally vegan too.
Life doesn’t get much better than that, does
So, in reality, going vegan isn’t as bad as you
might think. It’s definitely an idea to go on a
trial run first. It’s all good at the start when
you go on a £60 shopping haul for all those
cool vegan alternatives that you keep seeing
but, especially for us students, it needs to be
To help you on your way, here are some of
my favourite affordable vegan recipes:
• 200g block firm tofu- recommend the
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp maple syrup – you can also use
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp smoky paprika
• Lettuce, tomato, vegan cheese, and
ketchup (optional; for sandwich
1. Mix together the soy sauce, maple
syrup, black pepper, salt, and paprika in
a bow. Add thinly sliced tofu and leave
to marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Once marinated, whack the tofu in a
frying pan with a little oil and cook for
3-5 minutes on each side.
3. Now assemble your sandwich; lettuce,
tomato, tofu bacon, vegan cauliflower
cheese, and (optional) ketchup.
Lentil, Chickpea and
• 1 tbsp mustard seeds (optional)
• 2 knorr vegetable stock cubes
• 300ml + 200ml boiling water
• Fresh basil leaves
• 1 tbsp Oatly single cream – found in
Tesco, Sainsbury’s etc…
1. Add 200ml boiling water to a saucepan
along with the lentils and chopped
potatoes, then cook for 15-20 minutes
Vegan BLT sandwich with tofu bacon
2. Add the chickpeas and continue to
cook for 5 minutes then drain.
3. Add the paprika, onion, salt, black
pepper, turmeric, and mustard seeds to
the pan and combine.
4. Pour the mixture into a food processor
and blend until smooth whilst adding
300ml vegetable stock as you go.
5. Now heat the soup in a saucepan and
you’re ready to go.
6. Pour into a bowl, drizzle with oat
cream, and add the basil leaf on top.
Vegan BLT Sandwich –
• 1 can of chickpeas
• 60g red lentils
• 60g potatoes
• 3 tbsp paprika
• 1 tsp onion salt
• 2 tbsp black pepper
• 2 tbsp turmeric
Vegan raspberry gingerbread slices
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• 100g @yumandyay milled mixed
seeds & raspberries – found in
• 250g plain flour – or gluten-free flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 0.5 tsp xanthan gum – for gluten-free
• 2 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 120g dairy-free butter or margarine
• 175g sugar
• 1 tbsp flaxseeds + 3 tbsp water
• 200g raspberry jam
• 200g dairy-free chocolate –
• 10g walnuts
1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking
powder, xanthan gum, ginger, and
cinnamon into a bowl.
2. Add the dairy-free butter to the
bowl, using your fingers to make
3. In a separate bowl, mix the flaxseed
and water together then let set in the
fridge for 15 minutes.
4. Once set, add to the dry ingredients
and combine to make a dough.
5. Once combined, wrap in cling film
and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes.
6. After chilling, roll out the dough to
approximately 3cm thick and place
in a 30cm by 20 cm baking tray lined
with baking paper.
7. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes
8. Once baked, leave to cool for 10
minutes before spreading raspberry
9. Melt the chocolate and pour evenly
on top of the jam (this can be messy
but it’s all fun).
10. Final touches: sprinkle some crushed
walnuts on top and leave them in the
fridge for a couple of hours to set.
Vegan and Gluten-
Free Double Chocolate
• @creativenature Carrot Cake Mix –
can be found in Tesco or Aldi
• 150ml vegetable oil
• 130ml cold water
• 30g dairy-free white chocolate, cut
• 30g dairy-free dark chocolate, cut
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line a
cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
2. Add the cake mix to a mixing bowl
with the water and oi, mixing for 5
minutes until combined.
3. Now add the dairy-free dark and
white chocolate chunks and mix.
4. Using two spoons, evenly distribute
the mix into 6 cupcake cases then
place in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
L I F E S T Y L E
Make The Most Of
5 Things To Do
Before Spring Hits
It may be cold and miserable but winter also brings
snow, festivities, and early nightfall perfect for a
not-too-late evening party.
Spring is due to start with the equinox on 20th March
this year. That gives you several weeks to make the most
of winter and all it has to offer in Lancaster.
1. Huddle up in The Herbarium
with a vegan hot chocolate
Found near Dalton Square, this vegan café is home to
original gourmet dishes and the most aesthetic interior
design you’ll find in Lancaster.
Curl up with a book and a mug of vegan hot chocolate
with coconut whipped cream.
2. Take a blanket to Williamson
Park and try stargazing
One of the best things about winter is the clear night
skies:. Take some snacks and a blanket (and some bin
bags to lay down underneath if the ground is wet).
Then, lie back and enjoy the stars in the sky. Where
better than Ashton Memorial Hill?
3. Host a sparkler night with
Find environmentally-friendly sparklers, find a safe
open place outside after dark, and channel your inner
child. Use the light painting settings on your phone’s
camera to get some great shots, too.
4. Stroll around the high street
Chinese New Year lanterns
Stroll down Lancaster’s high street and enjoy the
bunting up for Chinese New Year in February.
Take a camera for some great photos and visit some of
Lancaster’s Chinese businesses to bring in the new year.
5. Say goodbye to the winter
solstice with a (safe) bonfire
Most bonfire laws are about how much of a disturbance
they cause. You cannot burn household waste, allow
smoke to drift across a road, or cause a nuisance.
Build a safe bonfire (check for hedgehogs!), research
the how to light and douse, and get some vegan
Vegan and gluten-free double chocolate muffins
Say goodbye to winter the fun way.
The All-Powerful Soya
L I F E S T Y L E
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Your Guide To Using Your New Gym Membership
I’ve been going to the gym for 2 months,
with nothing but my Vans and my notes app
to join me in achieving my ‘gains’.
I can’t say I’m an expert – there are still a lot of
things that I have to learn about machinery,
etiquette, nutrition, and form. But as a 20-yearold
too stubborn to ask for help, I’ve figured out
a lot on my own.
Here are my top tips to help you overcome that
daunting first trip to the gym this year:
Ask for help
Rather contradictory to my intro, ask for help if
you’re unsure about something. The staff at the
gym are there to help – it’s literally their job.
Gym-goers are generally friendly and glad to help
you lift the bar into place for squats, carry that
heavy dumbbell across the room, or check your
Focus on health, not
There’s an overwhelming amount of information
on the internet about different workout plans
and diets to try out. While it’s a good thing to
know what’s good for your body, it can lead you
into a wormhole of calorie tracking and food
The basic thing you need to know is that food is
your fuel. If there’s not enough of it, there is no
way you’ll reach your goals. Not eating is NEVER
Don’t go without
There’s no point
in going to the
gym to pick up
and do a few
talk to a
how to reach
goals or do some
research into a
quality workout plan.
If you choose the latter,
make sure this plan is legit and
has come from a trained professional
– whatever you do, don’t just go for one that
has been promoted by the aesthetically toned
Heavy lifting is your new
Whether your goal is to gain muscle mass or
achieve a healthy weight for your
body type, lifting heavy
weights will help you
to achieve both.
Nutrition is the
b e t w e e n
t h e
L i f t i n g
h e a v y
w o n ’ t
m a k e
You need sleep
This is tightly connected to #2. Nutrition, sleep,
and hydration are key to achieving the best
results in the gym.
Absolutely take those
It’s not cringy and they don’t need to be seen
by anybody but yourself. But you won’t regret
seeing how far you’ve come on your fitness
journey. Progress pictures are a great motivator
to continue doing what you’re doing. In the same
way, they can show what to stop doing, if you’re
However, if this negatively impacts your selfesteem
then stop immediately. Going to the gym
should always be about feeling good in yourself.
No one is judging you
Everyone is there to do their own thing and
unless your form is atrocious and you’re in
danger of hurting yourself or you’ve pulled up to
the gym naked, no one cares about what you’re
All you need is a little push from yourself to get
up and go to the gym. It’s not that scary. Trust
Don’t Wait For Monday To Start
Olatz Ocáriz De Frutos
If I could choose my addiction,
I would exercise every day.
A year ago, the idea of running
for more than 2 minutes seemed
like a suicide mission. I would rather miss my
bus than run a few meters.
However, fast-forward to today: it’s difficult to
see myself missing out on the opportunity to
I would love to say that my obsession with
exercise came from within but I would be
lying. For me, getting healthy began as a way
of following a trend. I felt like everyone around
me was getting fit and so, as a naïve yet faithful
believer that I could do anything, I began my
In order to understand
this madness of physical
torture, we need to talk
first about serotonin.
To put it simply, serotonin is known as the
happiness hormone. It is released after doing
physical activities. This explains why after
we run, for instance, we feel encouraged and
accomplished – or at least I do.
But enough about the biological explanation,
let us really get into what no one tells you when
going into the world of exercise: You want to give
up every day.
Despite the ability to make you feel better,
it’s difficult to make regular exercise a habit.
I wish I was exaggerating but sadly I’m
not. The first weeks – and you are reading
correctly, ‘weeks’ in the plural – are hell. Yes, you
feel good about yourself but you won’t be able
to see any changes or feel like it has become any
easier to put yourself out there.
Being healthy feels more
like an obligation than a
And so, the questioning stage begins. Should I
just give up? Why do I put myself through this? Is
it really worth it? Am I even doing it right? Why
do my muscles feel sore all the time?
I wish I had the answers for you. No one will
know what’s going on inside your head except
for you and so the answers to these questions
are entirely yours to decide. (Except for the one
about sore muscles, you should stretch before
and after you exercise.)
All in all, exercising is a
For some people, it’s worth it. For others it’s
torture. But maybe it is time to face reality:
nothing good ever comes easy. Sure, not every
day will be fun, yet I see no reason why this
would be a bad thing. Isn’t life a bit of a roller
coaster in itself ?
Maybe exercising is just a reflection of what we
should expect from life.
Photo: Olatz Ocariz De Frutos
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2021 marked my 40th
publication as a writer
and came with two
shortlisted Poet of the
Only a few years ago, I
had never shown another
person my creative writing
– and now, I’ve been offered
a publishing contract for
an entire poetry collection
and I’m beginning to
approach literary agents
for my novel.
What is the key to
succeeding in the
world? How do you take
the leap from writing in the
comfort of your own home
to having your writing
published in print and
shared with the world?
1. Understand that editing
needs to be ruthless to
Try the staggered method
for the most effective edit
of your work: start with the
macro (plots, character
arcs, poetic extended
images), then go into the
structure and scenes, and
finally word choices and
2. Go through lists of
and journals accepting
Neon Books, Curiosity
Never Killed the Writer,
and Authors Publish all
host regularly updated lists
of organisations actively
seeking submissions in
The general acceptance
rate ( for both emerging
writers and established
award-winners) can be as
low as 20-30%. The more
you submit, the better your
3. Draft up a short
template submission cover
Start each letter with the
editor’s name or ‘Editor’.
Introduce yourself in a line.
Why You Should Read & Write
Some people argue that
poetry is dull. Dreary. Dead.
Why should you pick up a
collection by Carol Ann Duffy
when you can scroll through
TikTok or watch Netflix?
GCSE English Literature has undoubtedly
snuffed out potential flames of poetic
passion for many – I am yet to meet a fellow
OCR Conflict studier who hasn’t been
traumatized by studying The Charge of the
‘Sometimes the moon
is missing and beyond
the windows the low,
grey ceiling seems
Claudia Rankine (Citizen, p5)
This article intends to reignite any fleeting
embers that may remain for those people, to
prove that poetry can be pleasurable, that
it serves a purpose beyond being analyzed
and picked apart for the sake of a good
Poetry makes us feel
At some point in our lives, we’ve all felt it:
the pang of numbing loneliness. It’s hard
not to occasionally feel isolated in our joys,
miseries, hopes, and disappointments.
When you read poetry, sometimes you’ll
stumble upon a line that resonates with
your knotted neurons, a stanza that
expresses something you’ve never been able
Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves
Hidden weeds flower,
Philip Larkin, ‘Here’ (The Whitsun
As Alain de Botton states: “Artists and
philosophers not only show us what we
have felt, they present our experiences
more poignantly and intelligently than we
have been able [to].” Poetry conglomerates
two of the most beautiful forms of human
expression: music and language. It allows
us to connect with others in a uniquely
Poetry as a source of
education and change
In a powerful recitation of her poem, ‘The
Hill We Climb’ at Joe Biden’s US presidential
inauguration ceremony, Amanda Gorman
proved that poetry can be a powerful form
of activism. She used poetry to inspire
social change and replace ignorance with
In Claudia Rankin’s poetry collection,
Citizen, she presents the experience of what
it’s like to be an African American person
in the 21st century, deepening the reader’s
understanding of the social structures
perpetuating systemic racism. Poetry is a
medium that forces us to be thoughtful, to
step into someone else’s shoes, to reflect
upon things that we haven’t considered
And the webs they
weave with lies
Each thread a broken
We’re all but blinded
Maria Hill, ‘British Pride’
The first poem I fell in love with was
‘Half-caste’ by John Agard. Suddenly, the
whitewashed bubble of my hometown
was popped and my privileged ignorance
Open that poetry book: you might learn
something. And pick up that pen: you might
Poetry as a medium of
Many people have, at least once in their
lives, grabbed a ball-point in high emotion
and scribbled out an assemblage of words.
This might have been a journal entry, a
private letter, or even song lyrics but each of
these, in their own way, was poetry.
You should consider doing the same. Nobody
expects you to be the next Shakespeare and
you don’t have to show anyone if you do not
wish to. However, being able to disentangle
the messy ball of wool that is the human
brain will help you communicate with and
understand yourself better.
‘Some days, although we
cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman
her head from the sieve
of her hands and stare
at the minims sung
by a tree, a sudden
Carol Ann Duffy, ‘Prayer’
This will aid you in the gift of
communicating with and understanding
others, thereby strengthening your
relationships. Psychology Today declares
that the first steps to healing are acceptance
and insight – poetry can assist with both.
Just as writing poetry heals, so does reading
it. Certain poets and poems embody hope
so beautifully that one cannot help but
be lifted. As Carol Ann Duffy states in the
preface to Sylvia Plath Poems, “Poets are
ultimately celebrators, of life and poetry
itself.” We often forget to appreciate or even
notice life’s small beauties, yet some poets
and poems can remind us of these details.
Poetry as an
examination of the
world through a
Life loses its luster if we do not continue to
see it in new, extraordinary ways. Below, we
can see how a raven takes on a symbol of
grief in Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’:
‘And the Raven, never flitting, still
is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just
above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming
of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him thrown
his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow
that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!’
Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Raven‘
Stepping into someone’s shoes means
looking through their eyes. With just a
couple of syllables, the way we view the
world can be permanently shifted. Poetry
enables us to look at things in refreshing
ways: suddenly, the lights of a city on the
night-shrouded horizon become a golden
bracelet glistening in the sun. Autumn trees
morph into grieving widows longing for
their dead husband, Summer.
A last note
There is no better way to appreciate life, to
educate others, to heal, to connect, than
by picking up your notebook and favourite
biro, investing in that poetry collection
with the pretty cover you keep passing in
Waterstones freeing those metaphors and
similes caged inside each and every one of
us. Ignite those poetic embers longing for
There is nothing to lose. There is so much to
“My name is Elizabeth
Train-Brown. I’m a circus
performer, tarot reader,
and award- winning
Creative Writing at
Then write about any
previous publications or
awards. If you’ve never
been published, I suggest
something like this:
“I am an emerging writer
as yet unpublished.” (And
include a note about how
long you’ve been writing
or any relevant hobbies/
4. Excel spreadsheets are
your new best friend
Track all of your submissions.
I have a goliath spreadsheet
that has been tracking my
creative writing submissions
for nearly four years. It helps
you track where you’ve
already submitted, what
you’ve submitted, and when
you need to chase up late
My columns: Issue/
Sent Date, Response
Expected, Response, Title of
Work Sent, Notes, Contact
Details, Link to Published
5. Develop and engage your
greatest asset: social media
Literary agents and
publishers put considerable
weight on the social media
presence of writers. It
demonstrates that you
have a good presence, you
engage with the community,
and you already have an
To build your social media,
focus on Instagram,
TikTok, and Twitter. Post
engaging content with
relevant writing hashtags
such as: #AmWriting and
Post all of your writing
Use interaction stickers on
stories, follow other writers,
ask for shout-outs and offer
shout-outs in return.
Breaking into the
professional writing world
can feel daunting. Going in
with a healthy balance of
confidence and humility in
your writing will serve you
Kick the imposter syndrome
and get your writing out
SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.uk
24 C R E A T I V E W R I T I N G
Creative Writing hosted the
issue’s first ever Poetry Showdown
where our team asked the public vote
for their favourite poem.
With the competition whittled down
from 14, we can now declare the top
7 poems of Lancaster University, as
voted by you, and our first winner of
the Poetry Showdown.
To take part in future public votes,
follow SCAN on Instagram:
And suddenly, the young flower turned her
back to the sun
Sold her piece of land, her carefully cared
for green grass
Chasing old illusions of blissful reveries
She put on the blindfold and started
Who would have thought, fortune favours
But too much of a good thing can make
Your misery unfold along.
Run away from happiness
But love is paid in gold.
The flower that turned
Her back to love
the snow doesn’t give a
soft white damn whom it
we lie in the tracks of angels
peering out from under hoarfrost
– like the creatures of the labyrinth
after the walls fall down.
our hands spider between us
to find each other
until I can’t feel the blood in my veins
until we’ve finger-painted ourselves
the snow doesn’t give a soft white damn
whom it touches
and neither does the cold
and neither did you.
Bodies die, yet their patterns persist
Legacies left behind in the midst
Longing to connect with something old
Bound to a realm masked by laughing
Once warmth and comfort prevailed in
Turned to sacrilege hidden within icecold
Everything we are is a reflection
Loves numbing flair always seemed an
Eager to please easy to wound
Senses drowning simply feeling
Life is a design and its purpose unfulfilled
Now is the time to begin to rebuild.
All illustrations by SCAN’s official illustrator, Amy Brook
We Need To Go
Rolling head and empty glasses,
Circle stains like high school dances.
It’s always safe until it’s not,
Never past 9 O’Clock.
Under blankets, living lies,
We hear each strike and what it buys.
Bedtime, now we’re left to beg,
Silent steps we’re made to tread.
“Don’t be like that,” he always cries,
Cold hands land upon my thighs.
Deep inside, I begin to bleed.
TAG, I turn and fear I’ll freeze.
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
C R E A T I V E W R I T I N G25
She is cold and calculating, feral and cruel
With skin of ice, cracked.
While the world is coated in frosted glass
She grips hands and nails to the ground, shattering it, pulling herself
with the force of a tsunami
As She travels on all fours,
She isn’t as silent as one would think, snow falls quietly, but hailstones
She screeches as she moves, a piercing warning cry as She rips
through the earth.
She tears through homes, families, limbs, while leaving a trail of frost
as She goes,
looming with the height of a mountain, cloaked in snow
Her hair is of a thousand icicles, pointing, ripping
with eyes like glaciers, hollow.
She is unforgiving and dangerous, wild and brutal
Reminding us that hell isn’t just fire, the ninth circle is ice.
The Cold Beneath your Shadow
Oh it seems, you have finally locked me into your cage,
Drink the milk from my soul and I will thank u for loving me.
The only warmth has melted into ice,
I fear there is no way out for you except to hit me.
You froze my fingertips off and melted them back into the shape of
You are my blanket and you are my warmth and you are the man who
And I am the ice to your eyes,
I understand that you’re hurting,
However I’m beginning to understand the innocence you took from
I finally cut off my limbs for the fire,
I know that you want what’s best for me but why has my blood turned
Frozen dust echoed whilst your pale skin sliced open my body,
The winter has finally beaten me; you have finally killed me.
It’s cold down here. Please don’t leave me.
In the midst of desperation
Howling artic winds
Everyone is hiding
Nobody is standing still.
The rabbit’s in the foxhole
The bullets cut the air
They go back to the shadows
Shallow is the river that awaits.
Rest ye merry men
The snow is raging still
Yet my heart is beating
Felipe Sanchez Burgos
Where To Publish
When it comes to publishing your creative writing as a student, it can feel daunting to
understand and research where is currently accepting new writing. Luckily, one of the
great things about being a student is the opportunities it affords emerging writers.
SCAN’s Creative Writing section is always accepting submissions of creative writing and
articles about creative writing. We also host regular competitions and events like this
issue’s Poetry Showdown.
For more informatuon about SCAN’s Creative Writing section, get in touch with our team:
Sam Allport and Tom Huddleston or message the SCAN Instagram, @SCANLancaster.
Other creative writing opportunities on campus:
• Flash Literary Journal (@LancasterFlash) - Currently accepting submissions of flash
fiction for Flash Issue 33.
• Cut / To Film Journal (@CutToJournal) - Accepts creative critical academic essays
• LU Theatre Group (@TheatreGroup) - Encourages emerging playwrights to submit
original scripts that could be produced as a live theatre production.
C R E A T I V E W R I T I N G
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The woman’s eyes didn’t blink as the rain fell into
them. They just filled up with water as it dripped
from the slatey sky.
Every dream was like being back there. On that
beach. In the rain. Five years ago. With that dead
As the little girl stood, watching, a tiny crab appeared
body lying crooked on the rocks like a discarded
from a crack in the rocks the woman was lying on. It
scuttled onto her shoulder, up her cheek, and into
her mouth. A few seconds later, it shuffled out again.
Sometimes, in the darkest nights, her subconscious
would wonder how it would feel, to have someone
Looking down, the girl saw that the woman’s sodden
– she could never guess who – squeeze the life from
black hair splayed out like the rays of a rotten sun,
her with the strap around her neck.
ending just inches from the toes of her pink wellies.
She stepped back as if the hair was crawling towards
She snapped the cold tap on full and hurled water on
her face, trying to scrub away the nightmare.
There were no bloodstains on the grey sand, but the woman was covered in slashes and cuts. They sliced As she dried herself, she remembered that she would have to ask Karla to let her take her Prazosin dose
her white skin, livid like sores around the edges. Some could be glimpsed through the rips in her clothes. before they all left for town.
The flesh of her neck had been mangled by the Kevlar strap wound repeatedly around her throat. The noise, as she stepped out of her room, redoubled: laughing and music blaring through a Bluetooth
speaker. Penny padded down the corridor and into the kitchen.
Every time a small wave rose high enough to rush over the shelf of rocks that fringed the beach, the
woman’s body writhed with the movement of the water. Her unmoving shoulders would lift as if she was
taking a deep, ragged breath, and then settle back as the sea flowed away. The slow, undulating motions
made the girl feel sick to the pit of her stomach.
A hard, knocking wind blasted across the huge beach, buffeting the small girl where she stood. It rippled
the tattered fleece and trousers the woman wore. Her bent anti-shock walking pole rattled on the rocks
every time the breeze rolled it, or the waves jostled it.
The child had no idea how long she stood, staring. She only knew that the first conscious movement she’d
made since finding the woman came when a gull, the size of an eagle, flapped down and landed beside
the motionless figure. At that, she gasped and jumped as if an electric current had been channelled into
the base of her skull.
The bird glanced at the girl, dismissed her, and bent over the woman’s colourless face. Its pitiless yellow
eye blinked, and its dagger-like beak clicked.
It pecked at one of the rubbery blue lips.
Penny hadn’t fully awoken when she sat bolt upright. How long had she been holding her breath in her
sleep? She gasped and spluttered for air, her chest and shoulders heaving as she drank oxygen into her
lungs and tried to steady her hammering heart.
Even after she got her eyes open, she took a moment to work out where she was. She clutched at the
bedclothes to convince herself they were real, and that she wasn’t asleep. It didn’t help that, when she’d
lain down on the bed, a grey afternoon sun had shone through the window, and it was now pitch dark
with only an orange streetlamp beaming outside.
Gradually, the overwhelming fear subsided, leaving a shaken emptiness behind – the way you feel after
being sick for hours. Penny’s breath steadied.
She went to stand up and felt something crumple in her lap. It was her copy of Mrs McGinty’s Dead, by
Of course. She’d taken a break from revision to read and had made the mistake of lying on the bed to do
it. The comfortable duvet over her, and the warmth of her room, had lulled her into sleep.
Penny’s head was full of that strange, jetlagged haziness that comes with napping for too long. Placing
the book on the shelf above the pillow, she got up and went to the window.
Edward Robert’s Court was like a quarry below her building – a deep, round well full of glowing lights
from the takeaways. As always, the queue outside Sultan’s stretched beyond the door. The babble of
voices glided up to Penny’s window. Low conversations, loud laughter, occasional troops of bellowing
lads. Penny glanced at her watch. Ten o’clock on Friday night. The campus was teeming with the built-up
energy that came before busloads of students descended on town, and the clubs.
Ten o’clock? Penny thought. She had been asleep for hours! She flicked on her desk lamp and look at the
research materials strewn across the surface – half-completed mind-maps in pastel highlighter, books
borrowed from the library and renewed twice already, her laptop displaying a slideshow of images.
Penny sighed, dragging a hand over her face, which felt tight and tender after being pushed into her
pillow. She sighed at the dress hanging on a hook on her bookshelf.
If she’d been working these last three hours, she could’ve finished her essay, had a quick shower, put it
on, and gone into town with her flatmates, who she realised she could hear talking and laughing in the
kitchen on the other side of her wall.
Now, she’d have to stay behind.
Penny went into the bathroom – a tiny
square cubicle in the corner of her room
with a shower, a toilet, and a sink – and
clicked on the light. She leaned on the
sink, staring at herself in the mirror. Her
long brown hair was tousled and knotted.
The creases on her pillowcase were
imprinted into her face. Her jeans were
twisted from tossing and turning.
Penny reached forward to run cold
water, and noticed her hands were still
Three of her flatmates, Chris, Velda and Karla, sat around the table, Karla perched on her boyfriend,
Ross’s, lap, while Welcome sat on the countertop. They all swung round as Penny came in and cheered
when they saw her.
‘Here she is!’ cried Welcome. ‘Where’ve you been?’
‘Sorry, everyone. I fell asleep,’ said Penny, crossing over to Welcome. Welcome planted a kiss on top of
her head – her usual affectionate drunk self.
‘Well, you’ve still got time to change and stuff before we go out,’ said Karla.
Penny grimaced regretfully.
‘I can’t come tonight I’m afraid,’ she said.
There were several groans of disappointment, which Penny knew had more to do with the fact that
someone had decided not to go clubbing that night, than the fact that that someonewas her.
‘I overslept so I need to catch up on work.’
‘Work?’ said Chris incredulously through a huge mouthful of crisps. ‘It’s just psychology. How long do
you have revise only to tell people to just get on with it?’
Penny resisted the urge to scowl and changed the subject.
‘Where are Dalil and Lucien?’ They were the only flatmates missing.
‘They’ve both got late shifts, so they’re gonna meet us at the club,’ Velda told her.
As Penny nodded understanding, she spotted the days of unwashed crockery stacked around the sink.
Lucien’s plates, Karla’s cutlery, Dalil’s bowls and Velda’s mortar and pestle.
‘Oh, come on guys,’ she groaned. ‘Would it hurt to get some of this washing up done?’
‘None of it’s mine.’
‘Well, it’s your turn to take the bin out, anyway,’ Velda chimed in, pointing to the white bin in the
corner. The hinged plastic lid sitting on top of the overflowing mound of waste underneath. All of
them had taken to holding their breath as they came through the door.
‘Yeah, yeah,’ said Chris, slopping Coke onto the three measures of vodka in his stolen pint glass. ‘Now,
what are we playing?’
‘Truth or Drink!’ shouted Karla.
by Joe Dodd
C R E A T I V E W R I T I N G
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
As everyone leaned in to refill their glasses and cups, Penny glanced around at her flatmates.
Chris’s sheer presence dominated the room. He was one of those young men who you could easily
imagine being Prime Minister, although you’d never vote for him. Handsome, built like a wrestler, with
dark eyes that flared when he laughed aggressively. Every movement was huge, exaggerated, designed
to draw attention, especially when he was drunk, like now. Penny thought he was the archetypal ‘lad’,
in that way that men call friends who they regret being friends with ‘lads’.
Velda was refilling her drink. Penny noticed with faint amusement how sporty that side of the table
was, from Chris, to Ross, to Velda. A maths student, she never seemed to be out of sports leggings
and Lycra tank tops – she was wearing both right now. Penny had seen her play football, and even
someone as un-sporty as her could tell she was gifted. Always incredibly health-conscious, she never
drank – even during this drinking game, her cup was full of a disgustingly healthy-looking green
smoothie she’d made earlier.
Beside her, Karla swung her legs on Ross’s lap. Karla reminded Penny of a springer spaniel – small,
but with enough energy and life to account for three people. She was a beautiful, buoyant girl with
bouncing waves of golden hair, who looked incredible whatever she wore and whose resting face
seemed to be a radiant smile.
Her boyfriend, Ross, was tall and athletic, with an aristocratic sort of face, but also happened to be the
most down-to-earth person Penny had ever met. He was a second-year who had met Karla through
mutual friends. He studied Medicine, and Penny could absolutely see him as a kind and reassuring GP.
Karla adored him, and he adored her.
Finally, there was Welcome, sitting at Penny’s shoulder on the counter, stroking her hair. Before she
came to uni, Penny had never expected to have a friendship that had started on day one and lasted
On Arrivals Day, right after Penny had collected her keys and been shown to Slaidburn House, her dad
had received an urgent phone call about the campsite, which he and Penny’s mum ran. He had had to
leave right away, and Penny would have had to move all her boxes in by herself. As they stood in the
car park, dithering about what to do, another new first year girl came over, smiling, and said: ‘Do you
need a hand?’
That was how she’d met Welcome Haruna.
While Penny’s dad left to deal with the business, Welcome and her unbelievably friendly and
encouraging Nigerian parents had helped her move her stuff in. The two girls hadn’t stopped talking
once in the time it took them to ferry boxes back and forth. Once Welcome’s family had hugged her
(and Penny herself !) goodbye and left, they both felt that they already had a foothold in this strange
new place – each other. The talking had continued as they unpacked their things and occupied their
chosen kitchen cupboards and fridge shelves. Penny had never got to know someone so well in so little
time, and even though two whole terms had passed since, talking to Welcome was every bit as freeing
and easy as that first time.
Welcome had an inherent likeability and compassion that invited you to open up to her. She could
make you laugh and tell a wonderful story. She was an amazing actor, singer and dancer, an icon of
the Theatre Society. Penny went to see Welcome’s every performance. This was not a one-sided pact.
Every time Penny held a fundraiser for one of the charity societies she was in, Welcome came along
and donated. Whenever she plucked up courage to give a speech at an event, Welcome cheered the
loudest. If she was handing out leaflets on the Spine, Welcome made sure to take one. They trusted
and supported each other completely.
Welcome was the only person in Lancaster who Penny had told about her nightmare.
Speaking of which…
‘Karla?’ said Penny.
‘Could I… y’know?’ Penny jerked her thumb over her shoulder, indicating the rooms down the hall,
and made a drinking motion with one hand.
‘What?’ demanded Chris. ‘What?’
‘Nothing,’ said Penny quickly. ‘Just need to get something.’
‘Oh yeah, sure,’ said Karla. She hopped down from Ross’s knee and beckoned. Penny followed her from
the kitchen and down the corridor, to her room, second from the end. Karla unlocked the door.
Inside was a blizzard of fairy lights and photos. The walls were covered with them; some which Karla’s
family had packed her off with to remind her of home, but most taken by Karla over the course of the
year so far. There would be more from tonight, Penny was sure.
On Karla’s bookshelf, in front of all her Law textbooks, was a small white plastic tub with a childproof
lid. On the side, it said: Prazosin.
‘Um, do you want the bottle back tonight?’ asked Karla.
Penny hesitated. She did.
‘Well… if you’re okay with…’
‘It’s just… Ross said I should take one tonight, just to be safe.’
‘Oh, okay,’ said Penny. ‘Well, that’s fine.’
‘I’ll obviously give ‘em back tomorrow morning,’ Karla promised, taking the tub down from the shelf
and opening it. She tipped one of the white capsules inside into Penny’s hand.
Prazosin was the medication Penny took for her bad dream, one tablet a night. However, recently, the
dreams had been few and far between – the one she’d had this afternoon was the first in almost a week.
Because of that, when Karla had complained yesterday about being unable to sleep for a few nights
and asked Penny if she could borrow her pills, Penny had said yes.
Hindsight, wonderful thing that it is, only later told her that it wasn’t a good idea. But she had
instructed Karla very carefully on how much to take and trusted her. After all, the side effects would
only result from taking too much, and it wasn’t like Prazosin was a drug that made you feel good, so
there was no need to misuse it. And if Ross, medical genius that he was, had advised Karla to take it
for one more night just to be safe, she was prepared to go along with what he said.
‘There you go,’ said Karla, returning the bottle to the shelf. ‘I’ll hang onto it, so I don’t have to disturb
you when we get back tonight.’ She smiled awkwardly. ‘I’m really sorry. I know I probably shouldn’t’ve
Penny remembered that when she first met Karla, she had considered her to be a shallow person
who lived to party and make a noise, but she had since learned that was not true. Karla considered
everyone’s feelings, and that was all Penny had to know to like someone.
‘That’s okay. As long as you’re feeling alright.’
‘Yeah, I’m fine. No side effects,’ Karla assured.
Penny went back to her room and put the tablet by her sink for later. Then, she and Karla returned to
As they came in, Velda was asking Chris: ‘Truth or drink?’
‘Truth,’ Chris replied.
Velda grinned mischievously, leaning across the table.
‘What happened at the hearing today?’
An awkward quiet fell, broken momentarily when Chris started to laugh.
‘It was a caution,’ he said. ‘And rugby gave me a suspension. But that’s it. I’ll be playing again in three
The quiet was taking a while to shake itself off. No one really knew what to say.
‘Bunch of snowflakes,’ Chris muttered with grim amusement.
Chris had recently caused something of a sensation – something that Penny knew he enjoyed. He’d
taken a gap year before joining Lancaster this year, and a group of friends he’d made in that time had
come up to see him. They’d gone out on a ‘white T-shirt social’, wearing blank tops which they could
write or doodle on. Chris and his friends had covered themselves in the most offensive, crude pictures
and slogans they could think of, and descended on the town.
Photos had done the rounds online, which had led to an outpouring of contempt. It had made local
tabloids, and even The Independent. Before long, several people had reported their behaviour to the
university, and action had been taken. As to what action, Chris had just explained.
Penny felt flushed with annoyance. She guessed that, because Chris had done this with a group of
friends from outside the university, proper punishment couldn’t be given to the group as one. The
others had all gone home. She supposed rugby had given Chris the strictest punishment they could
for a first-time offense, but it felt like he was getting away with it. More than that, Chris clearly thought
he was getting away with it, and that made her even angrier.
A Penny Godwin Mystery
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S p o r t s
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Henry Williams (Deputy)
Meet LU Strongman Society
One of Lancaster’s Newest Sports Societies
SCAN interviews co-founder and president
of Lancaster University Strongman Society
(LUSMS), Jacob O’Brien.
LUSMS is not just one of Lancaster’s newest
societies, as Jacob explains, “We are one of the
UK’s first university strongman societies. As a
society, we train both general strength and more
specific strongman lifts.”
The discipline of Strongman lifting in the gym is
fairly new but, as with many other societies on
campus, LUSMS is aiming to reach out to a wider
audience and help students enjoy the gym in a
more social environment.
They are open to everyone who would like to
try out Strongman, whether for general fitness,
socialising, or in a more competitive manner.
Alongside these training sessions, LUSMS also
hosts social events every Wednesday for their
Despite having started less than two years ago,
LUSMS has seen their membership “quadruple”
since the start of the last term, allowing the
society to buy their own specialist Strongman
equipment now in use during meets every
This new equipment includes atlas stones, a
yoke, farmer’s carry, and a log. This specialist
equipment is very rare in UK gyms, especially the
likes of atlas stones which are spherical stones
weighing above 100kg. For LUSMS to be able
to offer these resources, the society presents a
unique challenge for Lancaster gym-goers.
It is indeed the peculiarity of Strongman
equipment that inspired the inception of LUSMS.
Co-founder, Jacob O’Brien, explained, “During
lockdown, a group of us that lived together
decided to start working out outside. Without
any equipment, we used anything we could find
from logs to bungee cords.”
As similarities between these workouts and the
exercises within Strongman emerged, so did
LUSMS. An Instagram account was imminently
set up with photos of the founding members
lifting weighty tree logs found along Lancaster
University’s woodland trail. As soon as gyms
reopened in March 2021, more concrete plans
were put in place.
ended, we found a local
Strongman gym [Lean
Body Systems Gym in
Morecambe] that offered
everything and more.
They welcomed us and
helped us with the society,
including coaching and
contacts within the sport.”
Jacob O’Brien, Co-Founder
Since March 2021, LUSMS has evidently taken off,
allowing members with no previous experience
of Strongman to compete. Jacob noted that all
of their members have competed in Strongman
competitions in the past year and were all eager
to compete again.
A club competition is currently in the works
and LUSMS is also hoping to hold an open
competition for all categories.
To find out more about the society and how
you might be able to participate or even
compete in it, visit their Instagram page:
LU Pole Fitness Gear Up For
Pole Dancing Championships
Can Lancaster’s polers bring home
another podium performance in
this year’s Championships?
Despite being hosted by Edinburgh
University, this year’s Inter-University
Pole Dancing Championships
(IUPDC) will be held in Central Hall at
the University of York on the 26th
This will be the
up of nine
West Scotland, Teesside,
and Glasgow. Out of the
nine, only two of these universities will
progress to the next round in April.
The competition is split between
individual performances and group
performances. Individuals can
compete as beginner, intermediate,
advanced, or semi-pro. Groups can
include a maximum of six individuals.
Competing for Lancaster is Holly
Hughes in the beginner category,
Emily De Naeyer in the intermediates,
and a team of six in the group
performance. Everyone is incredibly
excited to perform especially on the
back of the Pandemic which stopped
the competition from going ahead last
The inspiration behind the
to Hedwig and
the Angry Itch’s
‘Origin of Love’)
has been drawn
the origin of
love in his play,
focusing on dance
choreo, the route will
be more theatrical with the
dancers acting out the story.
In 2019, LU Pole Fitness finished 3rd in
the group performances and hope to
return to the podium this year.
During an interview with SCAN, Zac
Hall noted that LU Pole Fitness isn’t
interested in an overall win, just that
each performance goes well and the
dancers can show off all their skills.
It’s been almost two years since any LU
Pole Fitness members have competed
so clean performances would be a win
In light of this and the reduced
amount of hours they’ve been able to
practice in, Zac also discussed plans
for LU Pole Fitness to run a showcase
the week before the Championships to
allow dancers to practice performing
in front of a live audience.
Zac hopes this will be a ticketed event
to raise some funds for the society.
They also hope that this will take the
edge off performing live as the IUPDC
will be some of the dancers’ first
time in the spotlight. LU Pole Fitness
intends to release details on this event
closer to the time.
With Edinburgh University
dominating the competition up until
now, it will certainly be tough but
Lancaster’s Pole Fitness team is ready
to rise to the challenge and show up in
(left) LUPF’s 2019 IUPDC group competitors
Photo: Instagram @LUGotPole
(right) LUPF’s 2021 IUPDC group competitors
Photo: Holly Hughes
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancaster
Discrimination in Sport 2021:
Even through the
Pandemic, Racism and
Sexism in sport has still
been a constant issue.
Fierce competitions were held
behind closed doors, whilst
the Olympics and Men’s European Championships
bore ‘2020’ on their logos. There was the proposed
European Super League, and, for the first time since
2016, Lewis Hamilton didn’t win the Men’s World
The past year has also been alarmingly problematic.
Whilst sports should unify people through setting
positive examples and providing equal opportunities
to all, we have seen many instances of racism and
other despicable behaviours across
the sporting world.
Infamously, English football
fans sent racist slurs and threats
towards Marcus Rashford, Jadon
Sancho, and Bukayo Saka, who
each missed a penalty in the Men’s
Euro 2020 final. These events came
less than four months after Rangers’
Glen Kamara suffered racial abuse
by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela.
Whilst the offender was banned for
ten matches, Kamara himself was
given a three-game suspension,
a decision reminiscent of Sulley
Muntari’s ban for protesting racist
chants that were directed his way
in Italy in 2017.
2021’s Tokyo Olympics were also
marred. Serbian volleyball player,
Sanja Djurdevic, made racist
gestures towards the Thai team,
pulling on the corner of her eyes.
The Serbian team evidently haven’t
educated themselves because just
four years ago, they came under fire
for the exact same gesture.
This speaks volumes about the
authorities’ failure to punish
Tokyo silver-medallist, Christine
Mboma, was subjected to sexist
accusations by former athlete,
Marcin Urbaś. According to
a Spanish newspaper, Urbaś
requested testing to determine “if
[Mboma] definitely is a woman”,
after she beat his personal best in
Why is her victory not celebrated?
Why is it, instead, met with sexist
and transphobic demands?
Furthermore, German Cycling
Federation director, Patrick Moster,
was filmed making derogatory
remarks about Algerian athlete,
Azzedine Lagab, and Eritrean
cyclist, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier,
adding further bigotry to an event
that should have been celebrated
by every nation and their athletes.
It is also worth considering the
vulnerability of young sportspeople
on the global stage.
Perhaps we are already accustomed to their youth.
Compared to Kokona Hiraki and Sky Brown,
who won silver and bronze in the women’s park
skateboarding event at ages 12 and 13 respectively,
18-year-old sprinters such as Mboma somehow
don’t seem so young. But the Namibian star noted
that she “was very scared” upon reaching the final:
“I just pretended I was okay, smiling and waving at
people, cameras and all that stuff ”.
The last year has seen young athletes exceeding in
various fields but this has clearly exposed them to
the sporting community’s harmful depths.
This is perhaps most apparent in the cases of
Rashford, Sancho, and Saka, who were 23, 21, and
19 at the time of the Men’s Euro 2020 Final. They
helped carry England to their second major final
with Saka, in particular, impressing throughout the
tournament. Yet these players were subjected to
horrendous abuse after the team’s loss to Italy.
Nobody should receive death threats for anything,
much less three young people who bore the burden
Bukayo Saka and Men’s England football manager, Gareth Southgate | Photo: Instagram @England
of England’s colossal expectations, whipped into a
media frenzy by public speculation in the months
preceding every major tournament. If anything, it
indicates a lack of careful reporting, particularly
during these politically divided times.
Indeed, inadequate professional discussion
surrounding these events only seems to encourage
more hatred: the media’s pressure on athletes is
immense and, when it inevitably devolves into
abuse, the response consists of isolated reactions to
It fails to provide an organised defence against
those who would marginalise these people.
Formula One drivers Latifi (26) and
Verstappen (then 23) each received
death threats in 2021 after crashes that
threatened Hamilton’s title hopes, whilst
Hamilton himself faced racist abuse after
a controversial collision at Silverstone.
These acts were surely spurred on by
the media’s careless exploitation of the
intense rivalry that ran until the final lap
of the season but their reports on the abuse refused
to accept any responsibility.
This is especially important when considering how
these stories of bigotry break on Twitter and other
social media platforms where misinformation can
reign and less reputable sources forge their own
narrative. The tabloids infamously vilified Raheem
Sterling over his tattoos back in 2018, using the
internet’s echo chamber to incite far greater outrage
than when he was assaulted
and racially abused just half a
equality in sports.
Here, the obligation lies with
trusted publications to set the
record straight and provide
a structured and accurate
campaign that challenges the
clickbait of socially regressive
online sensations. Yet they
still pass the buck, relying
upon athletes to take the first
steps as sporting figures of
moral integrity, even with such
inarguably positive stances
as Rashford’s call upon the
government to feed starving
children. If the most influential
figures in sports journalism
would proactively cultivate a
constructive atmosphere, we
might not rely so heavily upon
the good faith of a handful of
Similarly, we must promote
increased diversity in sports
In 2016, The Guardian
reported that 94% of British
journalists are white, whilst
only 0.2% are black. It seems
unlikely that those numbers
are significantly more
proportional today and the
rarity of endorsed reporting
by those who experience this
abuse is evidenced by the lack
of meaningful discussion in
In the Men’s Championship,
the second tier of English men’s
football, Millwall fans booed
Fulham players for taking
the knee to oppose racial
inequality. When Sky Sports
pundit, Jobi McAnuff, spoke
eloquently after the game
about racism in football and
why such gestures matter, it
was a powerful analysis of the
issues plaguing the industry
to this day. Unfortunately, it
stands prominently as one of
few examples of large news
proactive attempts to foster
We need to see more this year when the world is
watching the men’s FIFA World Cup, the biggest
sporting event until the Olympics return in
2024. Should it be another farcical summer of
discriminatory behaviour, we cannot defend the
failure to promote an inclusive atmosphere in one
of the world’s most beloved events.
However, if the major players in the press corps
successfully encourage an active rejection of recent
years’ unacceptable behaviour, it would be a major
step towards bringing the realities of the fight for
equality into the homes of the billions watching.
S P O R T S
They didn’t get the start they expected
after a surprise loss against Tottenham
but, in true City fashion, the switch has
For Manchester City, Men’s Premier
League titles often happen this way. Past
trends show the club is a silent assassin.
The season starts with blinding goals and
incredible victories. By November, the pace
picks up and a few losses creep in just for
New Year to hit and the competition left in
This season is looking no different. Since
their 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace in late
October, Manchester City has won every
game, accumulating a total of 33 points.
With relatively straight forward fixtures,
they’ve been able to burn down their
competition and soar to the top of the
League. Once the pace has been set, it’s a
tough challenge to knock them out of their
The surprising recent underperformance of
rival clubs has certainly helped Manchester
City in asserting their dominance. In
recent games, both Liverpool and Chelsea
have missed out on essential points with
Liverpool having only gained two points
in their last three matches and Chelsea
drawing at Brighton in late December.
With rival clubs showing signs of fatigue
and media drama, Lukaku’s interview
with Sky Italia has been the focal point
of Chelsea news, Manchester City are
stronger than ever.
The management and coaching of the club
definitely helps. Pep Guardiola’s style of
play since his arrival in 2016 has undergone
little change; his persistent strategy of play
is finally paying off.
Manchester City is rooted within every
player with Pep being apprehensive to
start players until they can display their
adherence to his system. Pep trains his
players to become winning machines; a
winning mentality is essential to his style
João Cancelo’s excellent season so far is a
direct result of Pep’s methods. Joining in
2019, Cancelo found initial adjustments to
the Manchester City style difficult. Yet now,
he is one of the best attacking fullbacks in
the League and is often found on the left
flank despite having spent the majority of
his career on the right.
There is no question that the management
of the club is a cornerstone to its success.
But what does all this mean for Manchester
City’s chances of a sixth title win? The short
answer is that they have the persistence,
management, pace, and quality to dominate
the League. The squad has endless pools of
talent. Every player is aware of the club’s
targets. Every goal is sublime either in its
buildup, finishing or both.
Manchester City never rests. Their hunger
for victory doesn’t seem to be running dry
anytime soon. To lose the title this year
would come as a massive surprise not only
to the club and its fans, but to the wider
It’s going to take a miracle to push
Manchester City off its pedestal.
SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.uk
“We plan to continue progressing
as a team and heading into
Women’s Rugby Union
“We want to increase
inclusivity and the
number of women in
Women’s Water Polo
“We aim to fundraise for smaller dog
charities and local dogs in need of
“We’re excited to
welcome new members
and host pole classes
run by SWs.”
“Uh...getting access to the
bank account would be pretty
“We want to have more