Local Vagabond Max Bianco Impresses Cambridge by Nearly Selling Out His Art Exhibition

By Josh Robins – Max Bianco looks and sounds like a man born rather in the wrong decade. He seems about 50 years late to the party but always appears to be making the best of what he must assume to be god’s little typo with some humour…

By Josh Robins

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Max Bianco looks and sounds like a man born rather in the wrong decade. He seems about 50 years late to the party but always appears to be making the best of what he must assume to be god’s little typo with some humour.  The Hartlepool born singer- songwriter, with his huge hair and 70’s New York fashion sense is one of those rare people who can wear sunglasses indoors without looking like they are trying too hard.

The choruses to his tunes are sung in the pubs, clubs and afterparties of the Cambridge music scene, whether he is present or not. Apparently not content with this, Max decided to paint an exhibition’s worth of impressionist and abstract art, for a month-long exhibition in the Six Bells. Late last year, I came to chat to him in his natural habitat, the corner of this ‘musicians pub’ over a pint of Guinness, to find out why he’d made the change from recording artist to, well, regular artist.

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ROBINS: So obviously you’re known musically for the very successful Jar Family and the increasingly successful Max Bianco and the Bluehearts, but it is little known that you’re an actual artist, artist. With an almost sold out art display, is this your first step or have you done this kind of thing before?

BIANCO: Nahh this is the first first FIRST man. See, how it all started, I was busking around Europe recently, and my mate took me to see a Vincent Van Gogh display in Amsterdam. There was this display of his tree’s in bloom, from winter to spring, from when he was in France. This one picture struck me man. I was staring at it for ages, and the fireworks were going off in my head. It was magic man. I found out 10 minutes before I saw this that he’d shot himself. It added to how hard it struck me.

ROBINS: So, from leaving the gallery that you decided- right, from now on, I need to do that, I am an artist.

BIANCO: (laughs) Course not, I had some busking to do. Nah I was always into art; it was the only thing I ever scored at in school. I remember my old art teacher, Sharon, she’d give the class the brief for the day, then after that I’d basically just hang out with her, she showed me the Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, and got me into all the music I’m into now. And I would just doodle something that had nothing to do with class.

ROBINS: So, your musical education came from your art teacher?

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BIANCO: Yeah, like the rest of the class are doing 3D sculptures and we’re just talking about how wasted Lou Reed used to get. I was never included in the class and I loved it because it grew me as a person. Her classes were a one-to-one tutoring on growing up, in the right way, finding what you really care about and just going with it. Her classes were the only classes I ever put a hundred percent into, when I did do the work (which wasn’t a lot). Seeing the Van Gogh reminded me of her and made me want to go back to that time, when art was really important to me.

ROBINS: How long would you say you’ve been painting for? Or how long since you started again since your days with your art teacher?

BIANCO: Well I left the country around May and got back in September. Now soon after seeing the Van Gough exhibition, I asked the owner of the Six Bells if I could have the art exhibition. Then I got back and was reminded I’d booked the exhibition for December.

ROBINS: So, when you booked the exhibition, you hadn’t actually made any artwork?

BIANCO: ‘laughs’ That’s pretty much it, yeah, was bit of a shock to come back to. Being reminded that everything was booked and I had two months and no work. Ronnie, a mate of mine who drinks here, gave me the kick up the arse I needed to get it all in on time, he was showing poems, loads of artists I’ve never heard of to get me going, he took me to a few galleries… Then he bought me this set of oil pastels and said- ‘crack on with them man’. And most of the pieces ended up being with them.

ROBINS: How did you find the creative process, was is at easy as writing songs?

BIANCO: Well it’s like when you first start writing, you have all these different idea’s to start that all branch off in different directions, and before you have time to finish that idea you get another idea that you’ll have to start or you’ll lose it, it’s just a mess. You get into this weird mind-set where everything’s on fire all of a sudden, you don’t know what you’re doing yourself. I remember being sat around my place with like, 15 pieces strewn around the floor, I’d be flitting around the room, doing a bit on this one in charcoal and a bit on that one in oil, it was madness to be honest.

ROBINS: Do you find it easy to finish work? As typically songwriters have trouble with that.

BIANCO: Not really man, when it comes to songs, I’ve always been good at concluding stuff, cos I always knew what I wanted to say when I started it. But, as you know, the trick with writing songs is to separate the ones that aren’t really working from the ones that are hard but really worth the effort and the ones you’ve just got to bin. I’m not as experienced in this medium so I found it a little harder to make that distinction.

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My Cambridge Shots

By Tawanda Masvikeni – To say I have always been in awe of Cambridge would be an understatement. The city is gorgeous. I particularly admire the way it merges the old and new; an inspiring conglomeration of the antique and the modern…

By Tawanda Masvikeni

To say I have always been in awe of Cambridge would be an understatement. The city is gorgeous. I particularly admire the way it merges the old and new; an inspiring conglomeration of the antique and the modern. Many people from the UK, Europe, The United States and other developed countries do not seem to share that sense of wonder, which I find perfectly reasonable.

When one has been used to something, desensitisation is almost inevitable. In my case, it took a tragically short time for me to go from looking at buildings that once filled me with a sense of appreciation to hardly noticing them. It is a sad feeling. It is akin to loss yet still having whatever feels lost. When a once ubiquitous feeling starts to slowly fade, one has few ways of remedying it. An option is to accept that nothing, whatever the extent of its grandeur, can be eternally inspiring to behold. I tried that. It was my hope that with the passage of time I would accept it as being an inextricable aspect of the human condition that we lose admiration. That proved to be something I could not simply stoically stomach. There must be a way, I thought to myself, to rediscover the beauty Cambridge always availed to me.

Without expending too many words on what followed, that is the basic backstory of how I set out to love Cambridge again. This time around, I fell in love with it through photography. Having become a picture junkie of sorts in the past week, I feel the city invite me to play with it each time I am out. Photography has rekindled our love. Here are few pictures that evidence our brewing romance.

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I am particularly endeared to this picture because of how calm the water appears. There is a serenity to the whole scene that to me, is a distinct feature of Cambridge.

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This picture shares many of the qualities of the one that precedes it. What sets it apart, however, is the way it exposes a different side to the city. The building to the right of the bridge, introduces the business element of the city. That is the Jobs Centre Plus building, where I went to get my national insurance number to enable me to work; I cannot help but attach money to it.

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There is something ominous about this picture – like a parting of the clouds for a Messianic return as the world darkens.

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This still is a playful one. The green in the park is well-exposed. The shadows hint at a bit of sunlight, which excitingly signals the approaching of summer – my first in the UK.

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Easily my favourite picture, it captures this part of the university in a way that forces me to think about it more it more intimately.

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Finally, this image of Compass House, dark and dreary, yet somehow hopeful.

Reigniting my passion for Cambridge has been trying; I at times forget to take in the city and focus on the perfect picture. More and more, I am finding out that it is about letting this corner of the world have its way with me – and giving in to the whims of Cambridge and whatever it wishes to show me next.

The Film Corner: April Filmmaker of the Month

By Piotr Wysmyk – Scorsese is considered one of the most greatest directors. Taxi Driver (1976) was the first movie which developed the unique Scorsese style of filmmaking/storytelling. From that point, his career really started…

By Piotr Wysmyk

Martin Scorsese

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Born in 1942, American director and producer.

Scorsese is considered one of the most greatest directors. Taxi Driver (1976) was the first movie which developed the unique Scorsese style of filmmaking/storytelling. From that point, his career really started. His first success was later followed by the other, also highly popular films such as: Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006). All these productions are considered classics of gangster/mafia genre and, undoubtedly, have established Martin Scorsese as the master of this specific genre. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is Martin Scorsese’s most recent box office success. The Irishman (its release is already set for the second half of 2019) is probably going to be the director’s great comeback to the gangster/mafia movie genre.

 Are The Wolf of Wall Street and Goodfellas Similar to Each Other?

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Undoubtedly, The Wolf of Wall Street and Goodfellas are Martin Scorsese’s most recognisable films. At first glance, they might be considered to be different from each other. On the other hand, there is a possibility that the more detailed analysis will reveal some similarities. In my review I am going to analyse both movies to find out if there is any commonality in them.

Goodfellas presents the fact-based story of three gangsters: Tommy (Joe Pesci), Henry (Ray Liotta) and James (Robert De Niro). The story begins from Tommy’s and Henry’s childhood days and their introduction (provided by James) to the world of organised crime. The film is later followed by the images of their adult lives which are marked by the brutal struggle to climb up in the mafia’s hierarchy. However, at the end of the day, there is always a high price to pay for such a life…the main plot is interlinked with side threads which concern the main character’s private lives which are full of the often appearing images of decadence, emptiness and exaggerated extravagance.

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The Wolf of Wall Street is the fact-based story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) – the rich Wall Street Broker who is the owner of the Brokerage House called Stratton Oakmont. The film sweeps through the all stages of Jordan Belfort’s career – from the first days on Wall Street, through his days of prosperity (as the owner of the Brokerage House), to the breaking point and the final conclusion marked by downfall of his empire. The Wolf of Wall Street centres on the overall account of the main protagonist’s private life which is full of falsity, self-destruction and wrongdoing.

At first glance, both analyses’ reveal some similarities between Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street. Both films are fact-based productions and, due to that fact, they somehow belong to the genre of biography/fictionalised documentary. The plot seems to concern totally different topics. However, there are themes which appear in both films (e.g. self-destruction, wrongdoing, paying a high price, emptiness). From the technical point of view, both films contain of the no-dialogue/no-monologue scenes where voice-overs take the lead. Such scenes seem to be a part of Martin Scorsese’s signature strategy of filmmaking/storytelling.

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 -Martin Scorsese’s biography, available online at: https://www.biography.com/people/martin-scorsese-9476727

 

Filmography

 Casino, 1995. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA/France: Universal Pictures.

Gangs of New York, 2002. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA/Italy: Miramax Films.

Goodfellas, 1990. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA: Warner Bros.

Taxi Driver, 1976. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA: Columbia Pictures.

The Departed, 2006. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA/Hongkong: Warner Bros.

The Irishman, 2019. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA (not released yet).

The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA: Paramount Pictures.

 

‘Everybody Died So I Got a Dog’ by Emily Dean – Book Review

By Lily Brown & Emily Dean – I have listened to Emily Dean on Frank Skinner’s Radio Show every Saturday morning for the past few years and I have really enjoyed hearing snippets of information about her eccentric upbringing and about her cute dog, Raymond…

By Lily Brown & Emily Dean

I have listened to Emily Dean on Frank Skinner’s Radio Show every Saturday morning for the past few years and I have really enjoyed hearing snippets of information about her eccentric upbringing and about her cute dog, Raymond. When I heard that she had written a book I decided to give it a try as a break from the books on the reading list for my PhD research. However, nothing prepared me for the rollercoaster of emotions I went through while reading it. The book is beautifully written and is extremely honest, Dean does not sugarcoat either her upbringing or the losses of her sister, mother and father in quick succession. The book strikes the perfect balance between exploring the sadness of grief and the humour which came with growing up with a mother who was an actress and a father who would quote poetry in response to almost every problem.  

I think being a fan of the Frank Skinner Show, on which Dean is co-host, meant that I appreciated the parts of the book which included Frank and the impact that he had on her life. I also recognised some of the stories she has told over the years about her parents and her childhood and I felt that I was in on some of the jokes. There are heartbreaking moments as she describes how she navigates the last days of her sister’s life and the pain of their father leaving the family, however these are interspersed with tales of parties in exotic locations and with funny moments from her childhood including her skirt being ripped off by a dog!

I devoured the book in a mere 48 hours, wanting to reach the section of the book where she meets Raymond, her long wished for canine companion. I think it is interesting how she uses pets, and dogs in particular, as a thread to mark the different stages of her story. She has avoided getting a dog herself, not seeing herself as part of a ‘dog family‘ but her realisation that this can come in many shapes and sizes means that by the end of the book she is part of her very own ‘dog family,’ a beautiful ending to the book and beginning to her life as a person who has gone through a lot but come out the other side.

“The book resonated with me on a number of levels as it not only deals with grief but with parental separation, family dynamics and with the expectations that people put on themselves to fit into certain roles within both their own family and in society.”

Dean speaks with candour about seeking therapy and attending a retreat to tackle her ongoing struggle with feeling ‘unlovable.’ She also acknowledges that recovering from grief and from other issues people face is an ongoing process, that it takes time and that it is alright to have setbacks on the journey. I think her approach to therapy and the way in which she normalises it is so important and may help others to seek out support. At times the book can be hard to read as she describes in detail the impacts of her losses and the raw emotions surrounding the deaths of all of her immediate family members within three years. However, overall the book strikes a positive note and you feel that the she must have felt a sense of catharsis in writing this book. I would definitely recommend reading Everybody Died, So I Got a Dog, although you may also want to buy some tissues!

Do You Listen to Music Whilst Studying?

By Demi Marshall – Many University students listen to music whilst studying. The choice in music among students reaches various genres and styles. I wanted to investigate this further, and see what ways students find music whilst studying to be beneficial…

By Demi Marshall

Many University students listen to music whilst studying. The choice in music among students reaches various genres and styles.

I wanted to investigate this further, and see what ways students find music whilst studying to be beneficial. I was also curious as to what genres students prefer while studying. To collect some of my own data, I created Instagram polls and conducted a few interviews with University students.

A 2013 study analysed pros and cons of studying with music. After having students take a variety of tests both with and without music, the study concludes:

“The use of music as a companion to studying was shown to be quite individualised.”

After analysing my Instagram poll results and interview responses, my data also reflects this conclusion. Results show a majority of students find music while studying to be beneficial for their concentration, but not all.

When conducting a poll on Instagram, followers first answered whether or not they listen to music while studying. For this question, 75% answer yes, while 25% answer no.

The majority of students who said they do listen to music answered another question, asking whether the type of music changes based on what homework they are doing. Responses to this question show 61% answer yes, and 39% answer no.

The participating students prefer listening to music while studying. However, this is not exclusively genres they typically listen to.

The final question on this poll asks whether students find they concentrate better listening to their favourite music, or a different genre. 47% say their favourite genre, while 53% say a different genre.

Music not only motivates these students, but as they tailor the style to what homework they are doing, find improvement in their concentration.

When interviewing some University students about music and their studying habits, both students prefer listening to music whilst studying. Ellie, age 21 studying Music Education, describes how the style of music changes depending what homework she’s doing, “It depends more on how long I’ve been working- once I get bored or tired, I have to turn on pump up music”.

Ellie notes that music is distracting for her while studying if it has lyrics, “I find that music with words makes it more difficult to study, so I mostly use instrumental music”. When asked the benefits of studying with music, Ellie finds music helps improve her focus, “It provides good background noise so that the back of my mind can focus on something and I don’t get as distracted by random thoughts”.

A student named Emily, age 21 studying Creative Writing, also provides some insight into her use of music while studying. Emily discusses how she concentrates listening to her favourite music, “My favourite music changes quite frequently depending on my mood…but when I’m doing email stuff and writing…then sometimes I’ll listen to my current favourite genre.”

Emily links the benefits of studying with music to the way she takes in information:

“I know that I am a very auditory learner and processor, so I need to have music playing to block out any other noises, voices, or music. I think putting in my headphones and playing my music has also become a part of my homework and studying routine.”

The students interviewed, as well as those who participated in the Instagram polls, give an idea of some benefits that studying with music provides.

Not only do a majority of students find it helps them concentrate, but many also agree that it is an important part of their study routine.

What artists do you listen to while studying? Leave a comment in box below! 

(Image from https://www.themodernman.com/dating/how-to-talk-to-a-woman-who-is-wearing-headphones.html )

Winchester University Cancels Talk from Mens’ Rights Activists – But Who Really Benefits from this Situation?

By Hannah Cox – When Students of Winchester University discovered that the group Justice for Men and Boys was set to give a talk on the first of March, many were disgusted. What followed was a petition, now victorious with 719 signatures, requesting that this group…

By Hannah Cox

When Students of Winchester University discovered that the group Justice for Men and Boys was set to give a talk on the first of March, many were disgusted. What followed was a petition, now victorious with 719 signatures, requesting that this group be prevented from giving the talk and kept off the campus.

The petition was headed by this statement:

“While feminism welcomes men and discusses men’s issues, this group is not inclusive or concerned with equality for all. Rather, they give ‘awards’ to ‘whiny feminist of the month’ and ‘gormless feminist of the month’, as well as supporting articles such as ’13 reasons why women lie about being raped’. The leader can also be quoted to say ‘many feminists are profoundly stupid, as well as hateful’, ‘feminists are generally less attractive than normal women’, and suggests feminists should be arrested and forced ‘with the threat of denying them chocolate – to undertake IQ tests’. He also states he ‘has a strong suspicion that many feminists (particularly lesbian feminists) have male brains which might help explain why they are so masculine, assertive, and work-centred’.”

Whilst it is perfectly understandable to be upset by these statements made by the leader of the party Mike Buchanan, there is arguably something lost in not allowing them to talk about their party and why it exists.

Students of Winchester University received this notice:

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The University’s freedom of speech policy upholds that it will ensure “the protection of the rights of members of the University to hear ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions”. However, this event was deemed unsuitable due to the likelihood of it spreading hateful and damaging ideologies.

A Sky News interview with Mike Buchanan revealed the following:

Mr Buchanan said he was “disappointed” by the university’s decision and said the party had been “very badly misrepresented” by the petition, describing allegations of misogyny as “complete nonsense”. He said: “I was a bit annoyed that they didn’t refer to our Lying Feminist of the Month awards. We call out feminists for lying – including some MPs – for being whiny, for being gormless, for being toxic.”

Responding to allegations his party is not inclusive, he said: “We’re absolutely for equality and opportunity” and said there are “plenty” of women in the men’s rights movement.

Some students at the University do not support the party, but believe it is important to hear their views. Samuel Collis, a student currently studying at Winchester University had this to say:

“It is important to hear views which differ from yours, and even more important to hear and debate these controversial opinions. Denying these groups their right to speak simply reinforces their negative views and does nothing to discredit their arguments. I am disappointed that my university, who claim to support the right to free speech and to hear controversial opinions, would abandon that commitment so easily in the face of a vocal minority who wish to deny others this right.”

Once again, Universities have found themselves at the centre of an interesting debate. Do we silence those whose views we find harmful? Do we empower them by doing so? Universities have no-platform policies and withhold the right to cancel speakers and events, for which there are pros and cons. Marginalised groups do need to be protected, but do we empower harmful views when we do not engage with them openly? Will any University officially commit to hosting a platform dedicated to free speech?

 

Petition: https://www.change.org/p/su-admin-winchester-ac-uk-prevent-men-s-rights-activists-from-coming-to-winchester-university?fbclid=IwAR2tLfigKTDVHZo5Ig4vdpz-42jqHSosZ3XBuiaU4tu9WJZuFLL0tXMaDK8

The policies: https://www.winchester.ac.uk/about-us/leadership-and-governance/policies-and-procedures/?download=true&id=303&fbclid=IwAR2aV3Eo3LGl7SqyiJKRKSpednVMyKB2mVHGyyahf0C3txUsE_H9zPpT1aw

 

We Need to Talk About ARU’s Sexual Violence Policies

By Hannah Cox – Last year, students questioned the effectiveness in using the Code of Conduct and Human Resources Policy to tackle issues of sexual violence. Alumni have even taken to social media to report their dissatisfaction with ARU policies…

By Hannah Cox

Last year, students questioned the effectiveness in using the Code of Conduct and Human Resources Policy to tackle issues of sexual violence. Alumni have even taken to social media to report their dissatisfaction with ARU policies.

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That is not to say that Anglia Ruskin does not support its students in reporting and managing issues of sexual misconduct. One victim has stated how grateful she is for the support Anglia Ruskin has given her and the effective handling of her situation.

David Walmsley, who chairs the sexual respect meetings as the deputy director of student services, says it is important to understand the role of the university when reporting:

“It’s not always about solving and closure. It’s also about pro-active management and support with frustrating outcomes.”

There are issues with conviction across the system in regards to sexual misconduct. It is important that students know what will and won’t happen as well as the pros and cons. Anglia Ruskin has eight Sexual Violence Liason Officers (SVLOs). Anybody can contact the SVLOs at svlo@anglia.ac.uk. They are able to provide emotional and practical support. The counselling and wellbeing service are also on hand to provide support. Reports are made via the complaints procedure and as of January, ARU has installed Alice Evans as complaints manager, a new post which demonstrates Anglia Ruskin’s commitment to improving the effectiveness of current policies and procedures.

Colleen Moore, one of Anglia Ruskin’s SVLOs, highlighted the issues of current policies. There are no set outcomes, and therefore the actions to be taken are individualistic and not determined by policy. The complaints procedure is also not tailored to the reporting of sexual violence. The UK universities have been tasked with addressing hate crime, harassment and sexual misconduct and the complaints procedure has yet to take account of how different traumas need to be dealt with in different ways.

Another issue ARU is tackling, is the lack of specialist training within the complaints process. The formal complaints procedure has different stages and involves referral to a Deputy Dean or Deputy Director within the university to investigate. They receive training and guidance, but not on specialist circumstances such as sexual violence. David Walmsley assures that ARU aims to fill these gaps and that alternatives are available for the present, such as Intersol Global, who can act as external investigators. So far, they have not been required by ARU.

As of March 2019, a new tool should become available through the ARU website in order to make the complaints procedure more accessible to students as well as providing anonymous reporting. Improvements are constantly being made behind the scenes, especially in terms of support for victims. The challenge of the process can keep trauma on the surface; timeframes can be difficult, and the student can dip in and out of engagement with the process. ARU commits to ongoing support and the safety of its students.

Anglia Ruskin is also taking steps to educate students about sexual misconduct. As of September, ARU plans to work with the Consent Collective, who will provide brief guest lectures for welcome week and engage with students.

Student perception is important, and without being familiar to the process beforehand, it can be a daunting process to face. SVLOs are on hand to support students, as well as the counselling service. Anglia Ruskin does not want to put empty gestures in place, they are looking for effective ways of improving issues, especially in regards to sexual violence.

The Ruskin Journal will host updates to procedures, issues and improvements to the handling of sexual violence at ARU. Please contact hlc145@student.anglia.ac.uk if you would like to contribute to a future piece.

Sexual Violence at ARU: https://web.anglia.ac.uk/anet/student_services/sexual_violence/support_in_reporting.phtml

Out of Hours Support: https://web.anglia.ac.uk/anet/student_services/outofhours.phtml

Podcasts for Beginners

By Hannah Miller – If, like me, you seem to have missed the hype about podcasts when they became big about three years ago, you’ll be just as surprised as I was when I realised I actually really liked listening to them. While still a relative newbie to the world of podcasts…

By Hannah Miller

If, like me, you seem to have missed the hype about podcasts when they became big about three years ago, you’ll be just as surprised as I was when I realised I actually really liked listening to them. While still a relative newbie to the world of podcasts, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite podcasts.

Ross Noble: Poddin’ on the Ritz

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This was the first podcast I ever listened to, and let me tell you, if musicals are your thing, you will love it. Even if they aren’t I would still 100% recommend. Starring Ross Noble and Hadley Fraser, when they starred together in ‘Young Frankenstein’ at the Garrick Theatre, this podcast is by far one of the funniest things I’ve ever stumbled upon. With stories of bad audience members, mistakes on stage and interviews with the cast and staff of the theatre, the two of them work well together as a duo. Each podcast ends with the segment ‘Musical of the Week’, where they find a somewhat lesser known musical and talk about it, often ripping it to shreds, causing, on several occasions, me to literally laugh out loud when listening to it whilst walking to uni.

No Such Thing as Fish

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Probably one of the most well known podcasts out there, it would be amiss to leave this off the list. Starring the ‘QI Elves’, this podcast brings to light some of the weirdest and most interesting yet random facts out there. Both hilarious and interesting, it makes me wonder why I took so long to find it, especially as I’m a big fan of the show QI. While it is missing out on some of the quips that the TV show allows, with the comedians on the show, the podcast still manages to entertain and educate, whilst being one of the best podcasts out there.

Boys Don’t Cry

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Unlike the other two, this podcast tackles more serious issues. Created by comedian Russel Kane, he aims to tackle many of the problems men face in society today. With different guests on each episode, he tackles issues such as body image and friendship.  With three guests each week, including Joel Dommett and Jamie Laing. Combining both serious and comedy, he broaches subjects that challenge toxic masculinity and show the problems men face today.

Wonder Women

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If you know me at all, this podcast being on the list won’t be a surprise at all. Created by west end actresses Carrie Hope Fletcher and Celinde Schoenmaker, they talk all things female. With only two episodes released thus far, they’ve talked about forgotten women in history and female hysteria, with the promise to cover female relationships next episode. The episodes are released every other week and promises to be a good series. It feels like you’re just sitting there with two of your friends having a chat over a gin and tonic, talking about all things women. A brilliant podcast by two of my favourite women.

These are only a few of the podcasts I listen to, but if anyone else has any suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know!

The Independent Group – Who are they?

By Joe Bunkle – Have you been at odds with your mates about Brexit? Well our two main parties in Parliament certainly have. The PM (Theresa May a.k.a. Maybot) and the Opposition Leader (Jeremy Corbyn a.k.a. Jezza) have seen a few of their MPs…

By Joe Bunkle

The Independent Group: Who are they? And what might they mean for Brexit and British Politics?

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Have you been at odds with your mates about Brexit? Well our two main parties in Parliament certainly have. The PM (Theresa May a.k.a. Maybot) and the Opposition Leader (Jeremy Corbyn a.k.a. Jezza) have seen a few of their MPs resign their party memberships following disagreements over Brexit and equality issues in British politics. They have come together to form the Independent Group of Members of Parliament (catchy right?) Here I’m going to talk a little about who and what the Independent Group are, their goals, and what effect they might have on Brexit and the current British political scene.

With Article 50, the exiting clause of the Lisbon Treaty that lays out the rules for EU membership, being triggered in just over a month’s time (29/03/19), one has to wonder what this means for Brexit’s future? Are we set to get out? Or will these plucky few snatch a Remainer reprieve out of Leave?

From 7 members to now 11, Labour MPs such as Chuka Umunna and Tories like Cambridgeshire’s own Heidi Allen have rallied to challenge the incoming departure from the European Union. They’ve dumped their membership of their respective parties to stand as independent MPs, now calling for a People’s Vote (in simple terms: a referendum on the PM’s final Brexit deal), and even a second EU membership referendum.

Originally, our Gang of Seven, as they had been dubbed by a few British news outlets, did not only walk out from Labour due to Corbyn’s EU stance (his history of being a Eurosceptic, as well as committing here and now to Brexit). Ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger accused the party of being “institutionally anti-Semitic” and being too hard-left on the political scale. Meanwhile Corbyn and his supporters warned that leaving the party now meant they had handed voting power over to the Conservatives.

Speaking of Conservatives, deserting MPs naturally throw a spanner into May’s already strained works. Now, there’s not only a problem in Jeremy’s party with accusations of a rife of anti-Semitic bullying, the PM is now in the spot light for accusation that her party is being controlled by hardline Brexiteers. Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and our aforementioned Heidi Allen have officially jumped ship and joined their ex-Labour counterparts in the new group. Aside from their Brexit views, they’re also calling for a fresh, politically-central group to deliver more compassionate policies to fix the growing hardships that Britain’s most vulnerable such as the homeless. Homelessness has seen a rise in the UK by 4% according to a report by the charity Shelter and critics have placed a lot of the blame at the government’s failure to provide social housing and continuing systematic welfare cuts.

So, what does this mean for you guys? Well if you’re a Remainer then there’s good news and bad news. We’ll start with the good news (because who doesn’t?) and say that this shows more promise for a People’s Vote. Now, not only do MPs support one, but they’ve willingly left their own parties to show their disdain for how Brexit is currently being handled. However, this small camp of only 11 members opens the question: can they really stop a hard Brexit (or stop it all together)? They no longer have insider access to influence their former fellow MPs; they don’t concur on some policy issues outside of Brexit and equality; and they now lose the resources afforded them whilst members of a large party, none of which plays in their favour.

The prospect of by-elections could also be on the table. But what is a by-election? What it means in straight terms is that when you vote for a candidate at election, that candidate is usually backed by a party (Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, etc.) You might not necessarily like the candidate, but you do like their party, so you vote for them anyway. If they then leave that party, you may then feel a bit let down, and if enough people are in the same boat as you, then you can demand another election is held in your constituency, in order to make their sitting in Parliament democratic; it gives them a mandate. Jeremy Corbyn is one such person demanding that democracy be satisfied and that members of the Independent Group call by-elections. The Independent Group have announced that in spite of these calls for by-elections, they have no plans to do so.

Is this the beginning of the end for Brexit? Will the Independent Group form their own party and defy Maybot and Jezza? Or will the Group try and fail to bring about the change they wish? At this point, only time will tell, but at the rate MPs are becoming independent, that could even be tomorrow!

{Photo from – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47305860

Team ARU: Cambridge Half Marathon

Roughly 10,000 runners took part in the 13.1 mile race in its biggest ever year. This year was the 8th annual Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon and the 5th year we as a University have supported the race…

Sunday 3rd March 2019 – Cambridge Half Marathon

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Roughly 10,000 runners took part in the 13.1 mile race in its biggest ever year. This year was the 8th annual Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon and the 5th year we as a University have supported the race.

Sunday’s Cambridge Half Marathon took runners on a truly unforgettable journey through the beautiful city of Cambridge, passing countless historic landmarks such as the Round Church, King’s College and the Fitzwilliam Museum.

170 ARU Students, Staff, Alumni and family members/friends of ARU associates were entered into the marathon.

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The wet weather conditions did not dampen our runner’s spirits. It was a brilliant day which saw many different reasons for racing to come together to drive our runners on and towards that all important finish line. Ruskin the Rhino was out in full force, motivating runners and keeping their spirits high at the half-way stage as well as our team of staff who were supporting the event and our runners throughout the day.

Joseph Hawes was the first male member of the Anglia Ruskin team to cross the line in an impressive 1 hour 20 minutes and 15 seconds, with Susie Chesher crossing the line first from our female runners in a time of 1 hour 25 minutes and 03 seconds. Another impressive result was from Phoebe Aldrich who finished as the 3rd best female junior runner with a time of 1 hour 43 minutes and 25 seconds. All our entries put on a fantastic display.

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All ARU runners did everyone at Anglia Ruskin University proud and showed great effort not only on race day but putting in the hours of training beforehand.

The University also supported the event by hosting 2 training seminar evenings in early January 2019, these were open to all Cambridge half marathon runners who travelled from up and down the country to get an insight from experts into nutrition, pacing, injury rehabilitation and prevention. For the second time the university also hosted the Cambridge Half Marathon Expo event on Friday 1st March and Saturday 2nd March, which was a chance for all runners to collect their race packs and meet other fellow runners.

For the Cambridge Half Marathon official race results, please click here

To check out our coverage of the day, follow our social media activity here.

Ruskin Bicentenary: Letters to Ruskin

By Hannah Cox – The ninth of February 2019 marked the bicentenary of John Ruskin’s birthday. Since 2005, our University has been known as Anglia Ruskin University, in honour of John Ruskin’s work in multiple fields which led him to be regarded as…

By Hannah Cox

The ninth of February 2019 marked the bicentenary of John Ruskin’s birthday. Since 2005, our University has been known as Anglia Ruskin University, in honour of John Ruskin’s work in multiple fields which led him to be regarded as one of the leading art and social critics of the Victorian Period. Ruskin opened the Cambridge School of Art in 1858, the school which has transformed into the ARU we know today.

Anglia Ruskin’s Elizabeth Ludlow and Nigel Cooper hosted Letters to John Ruskin on February fourteenth, joining institutions all around the country honouring the Ruskin bicentenary. The letters, written by university members, reflected Ruskin’s own engagement with others’ works, leaving rhetorical questions for the author in his annotations. The letters related to a wide range of topics, as did Ruskin’s interests which included but were by no means limited to architecture, religion, botany, geology, ornithology, literature, education and art.

Zoe Bennett and Christopher Rowland, authors of In a Glass Darkly, The Bible, Reflection and Everyday Life attended and Rowland himself contributed a letter to Ruskin. Bennett began by discussing amongst other things, Ruskin’s annotations to his Bible and how it had influenced their work. Rowland’s letter drew on Ruskin and William Blake’s handling of criticism, their madness and their inner worlds. Elizabeth Ludlow followed with a letter recalling her first experiences of Ruskin as an undergraduate, and the importance of reading his works in context, as he continuously changed his mind.  Ruskin changed his opinions concerning women, becoming an advocate for women’s education. Ludlow’s letter reflected on the value she found within Ruskin’s work, despite her disagreements with some of his values.

“Mostly, matters of any consequence are three-sided, or four-sided, or polygonal; and trotting round a polygon is severe work for people in any way stiff in their opinions.” – John Ruskin

Nigel Cooper wrote a letter that highlighted a personal resonance with Ruskin and his work. Others wrote letters empathizing with Ruskin’s ecological values and his issues with industry taking away from the human experience with life and nature. Chris Owen wrote a letter showing how Ruskin’s influence continues to impact the Art School’s teachings today, something anyone in Cambridge can see come October when art students set about Cambridge to do their observation drawings.

The event ended after a discussion lead by Nigel Cooper. Questions were raised concerning the appropriateness of associating the University with John Ruskin, which yielded mixed responses. Ruskin has arguably been unfairly portrayed in films and literature, and his personal life was one of scandal. However, his works defined him as one of history’s finest critics. An admirer of nature and beauty, his views on life and art continue to influence students over a century later.

Ruskin’s influence within Anglia Ruskin continues to live on and inspire students! 2019 has many events lined up to celebrate the life and work of Ruskin, which you can see at http://www.ruskin200.com/.

Vegan Student Options

By Emily Christmas – Veganism is often perceived as a largely expensive lifestyle, meaning it appears particularly inaccessible to students. Since the growing popularity of veganism, there has been a wave of new products being released including ready meals…

By Emily Christmas

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Veganism is often perceived as a largely expensive lifestyle, meaning it appears particularly inaccessible to students. Since the growing popularity of veganism, there has been a wave of new products being released including ready meals and mock meats. Whilst many of these can be expensive, there are still so many ways to follow a vegan lifestyle, or decrease meat, egg and dairy consumption, without having to spend extortionate amounts on meals. Not only can vegan meals be cheap and tasty, but also very accessible to students through big UK supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Iceland and more, releasing so many plant based alternatives. Through this article I hope to show that the majority of the foods people eat everyday can be made to be vegan, and that this doesn’t have to be an expensive transition. Whilst there is no fixed definition to which foods classify as vegan, I will be mentioning foods that don’t contain dairy, eggs, meat or honey, however acknowledge that there are further steps many choose to take including a reduction of palm oil.

Firstly, there are so many breakfast foods that are already vegan, such as cereals and toast. The main products that can be replaced for breakfast foods to make them vegan are cows milk to plant milk and dairy butter to vegetable spreads. Alpro milks including oat, soya, coconut and almond (oat is the best in my opinion!) are often on offer for £1 and can be brought long-life, meaning when they’re on sale I tend to get multiple, as they’ll last. Traditional cereals that are fairly cheap such as Weetabix, Shreddies, Cheerios and more are vegan. As well as, the supermarket own brands such as Aldi’s cereals tend to be cheaper and also dairy free. Porridge can also be a healthy and cheap option. For toast or bagels, vegetable spreads such as the Pure and Vitalite sunflower spreads also tend to be on offer for £1 in the big supermarkets too, and can be accompanied by jams, marmite etc. also mostly being vegan! For days/weekends where you fancy something a bit more, cheap options are beans on toast with Linda McCartney sausages (often on sale in the frozen section of supermarkets for £1 for 6!), yoghurt with fresh/frozen fruit and/or fruit compote, smoothies and even pancakes!

vegan image.pngFor lunch, burritos and wraps are tasty and cheap options. Tinned mix beans are great for burritos and only cost around 45p, as well as falafel wraps with hummus and salad being quick to make. Big UK supermarkets also sell Quorn chicken pieces that are great for wraps too, especially if you want something more meat like. Quorn have also recently brought out ham and chicken slices, which are perfect for sandwiches. There are also multiple vegan mayonnaises sold in Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Holland and Barrett and more. Couscous is a very cheap lunch option that can be bought in packets so are super easy to make. For less of a healthy option, most packet noodles including Super Noodles are accidentally vegan, even the chicken one! Whilst pesto normally contains parmesan, Tesco sell a vegan basil pesto in their free from section which is great and perfect for a quick pesto pasta lunch. Most shops selling meal deals now have vegan options, with Boots and Tesco having amazing options, and both being close to uni!

Finally, there are so many vegan options to have for evening meals and it’s a great way to experiment with veganism. Using vegetables to replace meat can be a healthy and cheap way of ‘veganising’ meals. Some good examples of this are using baby sweetcorn, peppers and mushrooms for a thai green curry, lentils, peppers and tomatoes for a Bolognese, and mangetout, broccoli and carrots for a stir fry. Meat alternatives can also be fairly cheap and are regularly on offer in supermarkets, with some supermarkets even having their own range of mock meats. One of the most popular meat alternatives, Linda McCartney sausages, are regularly on sale for £1 for 6 so are great to have with dinners such as roasts. Quorn also have vegan meat alternatives such as fajita strips and chicken pieces that can be used in all sorts of dishes, from curries to pasta.

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I hope this gave some insight into how accessible veganism can be, through the introduction of so many options in UK supermarkets, but also through replacing animal by-products with plant based alternatives at a low cost. For further help in transitioning to veganism, The Vegan Society have a free guide on their website: https://www.vegansociety.com. I also have an Instagram account, @veganxmas, where I post daily vegan meals to give some food inspiration! As well as, Anglia Ruskin have their own vegan society with members who are more than happy to help with anyone considering reducing their meat, dairy and egg consumption!

Join the ARU Vegan Society: https://www.angliastudent.com/socs/vegansociety/

ARU Vegan Society Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aruVegSoc/

Vegan Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/veganxmas/

Miz Cracker Comes to Cambridge

By Brontë Taylor – Miz Cracker is a well known drag queen from New York, most known from Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On February 12th she came to Cambridge and gave a talk at Emmanuel College Chapel and then later in the evening…

By Brontë Taylor

Miz Cracker is a well known drag queen from New York, most known from Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On February 12th she came to Cambridge and gave a talk at Emmanuel College Chapel and then later in the evening (much later in the evening) performed at Cambridge’s Vinyl nightclub.

The ‘In Discussion with Miz Cracker’ talk was hosted by Emmanuel College Chapel but wasn’t largely promoted as it was booked very last minute. But if you happened to find it as an event on Facebook like I did and had ZERO plans for the day, then you would have turned up to a really insightful and educated talk by a drag queen. On entrance to Emmanuel College Chapel, Miz Cracker was standing at the centre, all attention on her. She was wearing an elegant, figure hugging dress with a powerful working woman vibe and elbow length leather gloves and started her talk by self title-ing it “A Wig of One’s Own”, before she delved into the history of drag and how this might shape the future.

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She started her talk by self title-ing it “A Wig of One’s Own”, before she delved into the history of drag and how this might shape the future.

She stated that drag is currently reaching a tipping point, where drag was previously hidden in the shadows but now is most definitely in the spotlight. After the success of RuPauls Drag Race, attracting 4 million viewers in its last season, drag carries a lot of potential to make money and a lot of people are trying to exploit this. As a result, Miz Cracker suggested that the core values of what Drag is, is being lost. She later spoke about how new drag queens, who are just starting out, aren’t aware of the history of drag but stated that she did not care because young queens should be able to create in any way they want but the history is forgotten by most queens. For those not performing drag, there is nobody studying the current stage of drag, there are no academic essays that are current, most previous academic essays are 30 to 40 years old and so people aren’t being given a well rounded education of what drag truly is.

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Miz Cracker spoke about the history of drag and how there is a broad misconception that Drag is age old, however she believes that drag is only about 100 years old.  Cracker mentioned that she believes that drag truly came from New York (although she may be a little biased) during what she called ’the pansy craze’ where straight people would go out to see people dressed in drag at speak-easys.

Her overall narrative stated that drag is a way of empowerment and it is okay for gay men to share drag so that women can feel empowered, strong and be able to be anything that they want to be as well! Miz Cracker spoke very eloquently throughout her talk and tackled every question that was asked with great insight and care for what she was saying.

Miz Cracker later performed at Vinyl and I was privileged enough to meet her. Although our meeting was short, she was very humbled and grateful to her fans while, of course, maintaining her witty banter. Miz Cracker was enthusiastically received by everyone in the club as she took to the stage (if you can call it a stage, it’s more like a step) and lip synced to Rehab by Amy Winehouse. To get the crowd going she then invited people on stage to take part in a dance battle.

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I was very privileged to be able to not only see Miz Cracker perform but also hear her speak about what she does. Miz Cracker opened my eyes to what drag truly is and the power it has for people. The main message I took away from it is exactly what she wanted me to, empowerment! Whether it’s through being dressed in drag or just watching it, drag can be empowering to everyone to show them that they can be whoever they want to be.

The Orchard Project

By Izzy Woodcock – The community of Cambridge has come together as part of an exciting new collaboration to create the first orchard at North Cambridge Academy. The initiative was set up by ARU’s Sustainability society with the aim of enhancing the connections between Anglia Ruskin students and the local community…

By Izzy Woodcock (Committee member of the Sustainability Society)

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ARU’S Sustainability Society Becomes a Change Agent

The community of Cambridge has come together as part of an exciting new collaboration to create the first orchard at North Cambridge Academy.

The initiative was set up by ARU’s Sustainability society with the aim of enhancing the connections between Anglia Ruskin students and the local community, as well as enabling sustainability at a local scale in Cambridge. The project is being made possible by a grant from Change Agents UK, an organisation that supports university students with a passion for making a difference to their local environment and community. The onsite orchard will consist of 9 fruit trees, chosen and planted by Year 7 pupils at North Cambridge Academy, and nurtured by the school. The project is a true community endeavour, with students receiving a 25% discount on the cost of the fruit trees from local garden centre, Scotsdale, and a donation of 12 posts (required for stabling the trees) from Cambridge’s Midsummer Common Community orchard. The planting will take place during the months of February and March, as this is the optimum time for tree planting.

“I know that lots of different activities happen at the school every day, and that it is a central point for many local communities” commented Emilia Idziak, Vice President of Anglia Ruskin’s Sustainability society.

“The orchard will be a great way to promote sustainability, natural healthy snacks, wildlife, biodiversity, gardening skills, and the benefits that gardening can have for mental health to families that live locally.”

From the outside, Cambridge might appear as a thriving city, but poverty is a huge problem here. With many families without a garden and living in flats, the orchard will provide a green space to connect young people with the environment, and will help to enrich the lives of students at the school.

The simple act of planting several trees in an otherwise bare plot of land can have years of benefits, providing continuous education for generations of students who pass through the school. The trees will produce an abundance of seasonal fruit, as well as helping to facilitate young people’s learning about nature in their community. One tree can be home to a huge array of living organisms and can support its own mini-ecosystem. It is hoped that the orchard will become a key feature of the school, with students learning about sustainability as they take care of the trees.

In a world where green spaces seem to be decreasing at a rapid rate, the addition of one small orchard might seem overshadowed by other negative reports on the state of the environment. Yet, for the Sustainability society, the best way to change the world is to start by setting the example in your own community; by supporting a generation of young people to care for nature, they are certainly living up to this aim and proving themselves to be inspiring change agents in the process.

A Holiday for One

By Tyla Brine – Whilst I was sat in the library on a Sunday evening, wallowing in post-Christmas blues, knee deep in deadlines, I booked myself a trip to Nice, and a week later I was off. The adrenaline from my spontaneity had me buzzing, and it still is. Before…

By Tyla Brine

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Whilst I was sat in the library on a Sunday evening, wallowing in post-Christmas blues, knee deep in deadlines, I booked myself a trip to Nice, and a week later I was off.

The adrenaline from my spontaneity had me buzzing, and it still is. Before this trip I had only ever flown once, so I thought it was pretty ballsy of me to do this alone. 4 days away in Nice wasn’t exactly a backpacking trip around the world for a year in order to ‘find myself’, but a year ago I had never flown, and having the confidence and zero anxiety to do this, didn’t exist. So, this was a pretty big achievement for me.

Booking only a week before my trip left me short of people to go with as it was so last minute, but that’s exactly why I went alone. I’m forever missing out on spontaneous opportunities and trips because one person is working, or this person has no money, or they don’t want to do the same things as me. Also, I’m very much someone who enjoys their own company and I don’t get to spend much time alone, so I decided to dedicate these 4 days away to myself.

Monday:

I arrived midday and although I technically couldn’t book into my AirBnB till 4, the owner allowed me to check in early, and sent a taxi to collect me from the airport. Already I felt a safe welcoming. I was so happy with the apartment I chose, as I was travelling alone I wasn’t exactly going out for dinners and cocktails every night, so I wanted a place nice enough to stay in and cook if I wanted, without the pressure of feeling like I had to be out every minute of the day.

I began my adventures by walking around and getting my bearings, I was staying in the city centre so everything was only a 15 minute walk away. I got myself lost through the Old Town of Nice, the streets were thin and narrow with hidden cafe’s and shops, with shutter windows and laundry hung above me. The weather was a nice break from the bitter cold back home, and the architecture was amazing. I already felt so happy and fulfilled before I even properly saw anything.

Tuesday:

Do you ever wake up in the morning and forget where you are? Whether you stayed at a friends house or just in a different bed, because that happened to me! At first I felt a bit disorientated but I had the best lie in and waking up in France instantly put me in the best mood. I had quite a lazy morning before heading to Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, an Art museum that was just around the corner. It was time to put my amazing GCSE French skills to the test.

The Art museum had so many unique and quirky pieces, with an open terrace of a view of the city.

Afterwards I visited another museum hidden in the old town, Palais Lascaris. Which exhibited ancient musical instruments and luxuriously decorated rooms, previously lived in by the The Lascaris-Ventimiglia family.

Wednesday:

Wednesday was my last full day in Nice, so I wanted to revisit a lot of the sights one last time as well as another Museum. I walked up to the Castle Hill, a historic hilltop park that provided an amazing view of the whole city. I arrived just in time for the sunset and it was a moment where I felt reassured that I had done something amazing for myself.

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My four days away was more needed than I thought, and has probably been the best TLC I’ve ever given myself. As I said before, it wasn’t necessarily a year long backpacking trip alone, but for me it was a big achievement, and despite being alone I had the best time sightseeing and just having some down time. If you’re ever gutted your friend can’t come away with you to that trip you both keeping talking about, then honestly just go on your own. I feel like there’s such a stigma to doing things alone, but learning to love your own company will be the healthiest thing you do for yourself. So stop thinking of excuses, and take that trip. You will not regret it.