WHATS THE DEAL WITH CANCEL CULTURE?
BY KATE ANDERSON
November 27, 2020
What is it?
The most concise definition of Cancel Culture is given by Urban Dictionary: “A desire to cancel out a person or community from social media platforms”. Although Cancel Culture has been around for years, the Covid-19 pandemic and various other factors have exacerbated to issue, resulting in it becoming a worldwide phenomenon and the topic of many controversial debates. Cancel Culture embodies more than just the desire to cancel out a person from social media as the Urban Dictionary claims, it involves entire generations identifying and calling out problematic behaviour that would previously have gone unnoticed and unaddressed. The subsequent result of a person being identified as problematic is that they are ‘cancelled’, or in other words, completely boycotted.
Why would you ‘Cancel’ something/someone?
An example of a recent focus of Cancel Culture would be the anti-Karen movement that has been catapulted into the limelight during the Covid-19 pandemic. The name ‘Karen’ began life as a minor pop-culture term popular in memes used to refer to mildly annoying middle aged women such as soccer moms, or women who demand to speak to the manager when their local grocery queue is too long. It has now become a mass movement aimed at calling out certain behaviour(s); for example, when individuals or groups refuse to wear face masks, or the problematic attitudes some have demonstrated towards things such as the Black Lives Matter movement and blatant racism. Pavel Paulinich, a former chef in Washington DC, started an Instagram account called ‘Karensgoingwilds” (highly recommended) as a way to raise awareness and publicly shame people who display prejudice, racism or behaviour considered as bigotry. Today, the account has over 700,000 followers and more than 350 posts. In Paulinich’s own words: "The times of doing whatever you want without consequences are over". Cancelling also goes beyond social media - being ‘cancelled’ could result in anything from losing your job and income, being blacklisted from other countries, being both physically and verbally harassed, and even becoming a social pariah in your own community.
Should we be ‘Cancelling’?
Although Cancel Culture seems like an effective tool to ensure people check themselves and their behaviour in a society that is continuously progressing, what is the cost of this type of community policing? Have we, as a society, become intolerant to the point where if someone expresses an opinion that clashes with the majority, they automatically get ‘cancelled’ from social media, fired from their jobs and harassed by the public? Do we no longer allow people to correct and better themselves before writing them off and labelling them as cancelled?
In a letter penned by over 100 writers and academics, including JK Rowling and Noam Chomsky, the argument was given that Cancel Culture has challenged the traditional norms of debate and has even threatened the right to free speech. However, the counter argument is presented that free speech does not allow for hate speech, and ultimately the question becomes where should the boundaries be drawn between the two? When should people who express blatantly racist or prejudiced ideas be held accountable as racists or bigots and not just ‘people exercising their right to free speech’? As a progressive society, we should always be more focussed on education than on punishment as we have already seen the results of the former being prioritised. People need to be aware that racism and prejudice are no longer acceptable and hate speech will not be tolerated to any extent in the world of today - but when confronting it, our general goal should be education and rehabilitation rather than punishment and exclusion.
The young creative from London made waves in the music world with ‘Night Time’ reaching over 500k streams on Spotify.
Having since collaborated with the likes of JME, SG Lewis and others, Master Peace has released his debut EP named “Love Bites” which puts him centre of the stage and showcases his versatility riding on a blend of Indie beats with a touch of hip hop as seen in thesnare used in “Never Wanna Be”.
His voice is very unique making you want to listen to more.
Eyes On You
The London rapper has been making waves the last few years and deserves a shoutout. The song “Rack Up” is my favourite of his and one of my favourites from 2017, that song will get you jumping in your room as the clubs are shut for now. The eerie beat produced by Kadiata, rides well for Wise’s flow and cadence making it an instant party banger.
His full length project “Sorry You Were Saying” was a well-crafted album and featured a blistering verse from fellow rising star Blanco in the song “Follow The Leader”. For those seeking an alternative spin on UK Hip Hop, Mr. Wise is your man.
Follow The Leader
Australian singer, Blush’ko blends electronic music with soul to make for an interesting synergy that makes your body move while thinking of someone special. I first heard his music two years ago through his EP, “Blush’ko in Love, Pt.1” which showcases his subtle yet beautiful voice that carries on through the rest of his discography.
Like a Heartbeat
Peng Black Girls – ENNY, Amia Brave
This song has been on repeat, the beat the vocals and the message behind the song are all strong. The song recently received radio play from Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1. The flow by ENNY is outrageous and should be on the lookout next year for some more.
though i do not know
if i am loving
out of sheer hunger
for your succulent juices
or out of awe
over your deepest colours;
it is the desperation
for your wine,
fruity and bitter
though i do not know why
i call to you,
if you hear me calling
along the grapevine,
will you answer me?
this is not love; a lie also
i tell myself
sweet little words of comfort,
to try and cure
this unrequited love
i almost convince myself
i almost do,
but every time you speak
the bells of love ring true
i cover my ears
i reject the sound
but my heart knows the melody
and it beats so very loud
tell me has this sealed my fate?
i don’t know why i am afraid,
is this love
is this damnation
i dream of you;
it’s my unconsciousness’ recreation
ENTERTAINMENT SNIPPET: TOP 5 FILMS & SHOWS TO WATCH IN DECEMBER
BY HARRY MEMBREY
MANK - NETFLIX (4TH DECEMBER)
Starring Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) in the titular role alongside director David Fincher (Gone Girl), Mank is potentially the most Oscar-tipped film of the year. It follows screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the now Hollywood classic, Citizen Kane. Mank’s focus is around the screenwriter’s relationship with director Orson Welles and who would get the true credit for Citizen Kane’s oscar-winning screenplay.
Shot entirely in black and white by cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt (Mindhunter) and originally written by Fincher’s father in the ‘90s, Fincher himself has admitted that Mank may not be loved by the most casual of film viewers. However, it’s hard to ignore how good this will likely be, with Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) co-starring and 25 years in the making.
THE GRAND TOUR PRESENTS: A MASSIVE HUNT - AMAZON PRIME VIDEO (18TH DECEMBER)
Have you ever wondered what a Ford Focus would look like with tank tracks attached to it? James May driving through a minefield in a Caterham? What about an offroading Bentley? Well, your answers lie here.
After the hilariously dramatic boating fiasco that was The Grand Tour Presents: Seamen, the original Top Gear-turned-Grand Tour trio are back for another adventure special.
This one sees these three musketeers on a hunt for pirate treasure through Madagascar, braving the wilderness along the way in some questionably-converted vehicles. It looks to be everything you want from this lot and it’s safe to say there’s probably a fair few laughs to be had. Likely, as usual, at their expense.
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM - NETFLIX (18TH DECEMBER)
Another Netflix offering for December, and this one looks to be a vibrant celebration of music with a touch of inescapable melancholy. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom sees the immeasurably talented and charismatic Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) in the final acting role of his career alongside a transformative Viola Davis (The Help).
The focus is on Viola Davis’ Ma Rainey in 1920s Chicago, “Mother of the Blues”. This strong willed and fiery singer fights against her manager over the rights of her own music whilst Boseman’s Levee inspires a revolution of music, truths and race all in an afternoon’s recording session. With evidently strong acting and galvanising themes throughout, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom may provide that lively Christmas spirit you’re after.
THE MIDNIGHT SKY - NETFLIX (23RD DECEMBER)
The Midnight Sky is a dystopian science fiction movie directed and starring George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven) and Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything). As the Earth nears a mysterious extinction event, a lonely arctic scientist races to warn a group of astronauts that returning to Earth can only end in catastrophe.
Based on Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel Good Morning Midnight, it looks to be somewhat of a post-apocalyptic christmas movie as George Clooney trudges through the snow and Felicity Jones looks out onto the sparkling expanse of space. Even if George Clooney’s directing ventures aren’t the most critically acclaimed, The Midnight Sky co-stars David Oleyowo (Selma) and involves the talent to make it a promising addition to the Christmas watchlist.
SOUL - DISNEY+ (CHRISTMAS DAY)
Originally set for release in June, Disney have decided to go down their tried and tested straight-to-streaming route for one of the most anticipated films of the whole year. The difference? At no extra cost to subscribers. Surprisingly, it looks like no one enjoys pay-per-view.
In Soul, Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) stars as band teacher Joe Gardner, a musician who never truly chased his passion for jazz. So when an untimely accident causes Gardner's soul to separate from his body, he must race to teach fledgling souls about the value of true passion before his body is lost forever.
Directed by renowned Pixar director Pete Docter (Inside Out) and boasting what looks to be some of Pixar’s most vivid animation to date, Soul is about learning to dream and the very meaning of life. It strikes me as the perfect kind of movie to sit in front of the fire with at Christmas.
Hey there! I’m Kate.
I’m a freelance illustrator currently based in Cornwall.
I have worked for amazing clients like Cornwall Museum Partnership, Kongs Bar in Cardiff and The Falmouth School of Film and Television. I also run a personal business by the name of knee_soxx_studios from my studio at Krowji. My work is inspired by folktales, narratives and stories which aims to take the viewer on a journey using both traditional and digital media. I am always open to new briefs and commissions so let’s work together!
AN INTERVIEW WITH SHAGADELIC RUGS
BY DEVON HARVEY
Shagadelic Rugs is a small business which makes handmade custom rugs and wall hangings. Charlie's work is beautiful and we had the pleasure of interviewing the brains behind Shagadelic Rugs, to see what the motivations behind the business were.
You can find Shagadelic Rugs at:
They would make a fabulous Christmas or Birthday present for anyone looking to support small businesses at this time of year.
November 27, 2020
What was your inspiration behind starting to create rugs and wall hangings?
'It's been in the back of my mind for ages as something I'd always love to learn, but not really in a way of 'I'm going to do it!' until the first lockdown. I follow a lot of cool small designers who do similar things and saw a lot of work on Pinterest, and one day I just decided to bite the bullet and try it. Definitely a lot of trial and error came into it - funnily enough after learning how to latch hook and showing my family my first rug pattern, my dad said, 'your grandad tried to make a rug in the exact same colours you're using'. It was a running joke because he never actually got to finish it, so I kind of feel me finishing the rug was paying homage to him. Also, my uni flatmates started their small businesses around a similar time and that inspired me to get going with mine.'
When did you decide to turn your hobby into a business?
'I think it was after creating my first rug, I had so many comments and love for it from family and friends that I kind of wanted to make new things not just for myself but for other people. Especially being a uni student and in the times we're living in, I knew it would be a struggle to find a job when I moved back to uni, so this way I could do something I love whilst kind of making money. I didn't really start with a budget or plan at all, I thought I'd just roll with it and if I didn't have money to make rugs or wall hangings themselves, I would create patterns to sell and use the money from those sales to buy the supplies!'
What is your favourite rug that you’ve made?
'Has to be my 70s inspired rug, I feel like it's my baby and even though there's been stretched times where I thought I'd need to sell it, I'm so glad it hasn't got to that point and I can cherish it for the rest of my life. It kept me sane during the first lockdown and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it in those 4 months of making it (quite literally)!'
What role do you think the lockdown’s have had on Shagadelic Rugs?
'Because I started my business during lockdown, I can't really make much of a comment on whether it's made much of a difference, but what I can say is that it's given me the time and opportunity to spend as much time as I can to make sure whatever I put out there I love. I think its special in a way - if there hadn't been a lockdown, I don't think Shagadelic Rugs would have been born, not this year anyway. I don't think many of the other new small businesses or my friend’s businesses would have either. I guess a lot more people had more time on their hands, so the online exposure was probably better. However, it would be nice to show off my work on more of a personal level, for example at craft fairs.'
I know you’ve mentioned on your Instagram about shopping local and independent - are you happy to elaborate on this?
'I think I've always been very conscious about where I spend my money, especially when it comes to holiday times and giving people gifts. Sustainability is something I'm very passionate about and seeing so many small businesses struggle during lockdown and seeing how well corporations like Amazon have done really struck a chord. I feel like shopping local and independent, not just in a 'giving gifts' sense, is more personalised and special, as well as knowing that each of the components have been carefully selected and sourced. It's almost like you can feel the love, time and effort that goes into the things you buy.'
This Is Where I Want To Go
I want to go where the trees smell of pine and maple
And the road tastes wet in your senses
The rain shines with new beginnings and new mornings.
I want to go where pumpkins line the street in autumn
Where burnt orange and apple green dusts the roads with leaves
And Christmas round the corner twinkles and winks at you.
I want to go where snow dusts the pavement like icing sugar
Where streetlights glow in the evening,
With the distant hum of carollers inside warm homes, not houses.
I want to go where the first tree blossoms
And colour bursts into vision
A city awakens from its deep, grumpy winter hibernation.
I want to go where the grass has never shone so green
And crepuscular rays slip and shine through leaves, creating dappled sunlight on the earth Where dogs bark and children laugh and families play and people dance
Where music rings and ice cream melts and balls are pitched
Where eyes are met and hands are held with a smile on a porch
This is where I want to go.
I’ve been really interested in capturing the quiet parts of Austin recently. Although some of the pictures give off a dark and eerie feeling, while shooting it was peaceful. In the near future I plan on expanding past Austin and capturing the quiet parts Texas as a whole.
BY KATHY BALDOCK
CLAP WHEN YOU LAND- ELIZABETH ACEVEDO.
November 27, 2020
“I’m the child her father left her for in the summers. While she is the child my father left me for my entire life.”
“Camino lives for her father’s visits to the Dominican Republic. But this year, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people.
In New York city, Yahaira is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two sisters are forced to face a new reality in which their lives are forever altered. Now Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with their grief, their newfound love for one another and what it will take to keep their dreams alive.”
Clap when you land is a novel in verse that deals with mourning and love. It’s tells the story of Camino and Yahaira two sisters whose fate comes together when a tragic accident forces them to learn some truths about their father and each other.
On the day of her father’s arrival to the Dominican Republic, Camino goes to the airport to find a crowd of people surrounding a TV screen crying. In NYC Yahaira is called to the principal’s office where she finds her mother waiting for her. Independently both sisters wait for the inevitable news, the plane has crashed and there are no survivors.
Neither Camino nor Yahaira know of each other. As they try and deal with their grief, secrets from their father’s life come out into the open, namely each other.
I love that this novel is told in verse and it alternates from each protagonist’s point of view. Allowing you to delve deeper into their lives, their feelings and their grief. This one really stays with you once you have put it down, it is incredibly heartfelt whilst also dealing with some really deep and dark subjects. Including grief and sexual assault. It also deals with some very prevalent subjects, such as sexuality and multi-cultural differences.
This is absolutely one I will recommend time and time again. This is Elizabeth Acevedo doing what she does best, hitting you right in the feels the only way she knows how, with some hard hitting immersive verse.
CLOUD VINCENT: BEACH HOUSE
"My name is Cloud Vincent and I'm an artist born in the US, raised in France and currently live in the UK. I make music in a bunch of different genres but mainly focus on an indie pop/rock sound. I take influence from artists like The Strokes, Dominic Fike, Frank Ocean, Brockhampton, Travis Scott, and Mac Miller. I am currently working on a new album that will be releasing early 2021 and my new song "Beach House" is the lead single from this project."
PARTNERS IN RHYME: THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF COLLABORATIVE HIP-HOP PROJECTS
BY ELIOT K. RAMAN JONES
November 27, 2020
One of my favourite video game series of all time is Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. I owned ‘Super Smash Bros. Melee’, along with the Nintendo Gamecube, when I was growing up. It was the first fighting game I was truly captivated by, not because I was any good (although my younger self would vehemently disagree with me here), but because of the very premise of the title. The game, for those unfamiliar with one of gaming giant Nintendo’s flagship franchises, essentially sought to combine multiple Nintendo characters together in one game to duke it out on some iconic stages from each of these separate games. This allowed a chance for the game to answer questions fans had asked for years, like whether Super Mario could really beat Bowser in a one-on-one, or whether Pikachu from Pokemon could shock The Legend of Zelda’s Link on home turf, perhaps aided by F-Zero’s Captain Falcon.
There’s something infinitely appealing to me about the crossover aspect of the game, and as a young man seeing all these different video game characters in the same game was mind-blowing. It’s equal parts fascinating and slightly off-putting when two characters who dominated their own titles are on screen at the same time. Both Donkey Kong and Kirby had dominated their separate universes in title upon title, but on neutral ground there’s no immediate clear favourite. This love of crossovers affects me in films and comic books I like (I’m a sucker for superhero ensemble movies, and both the Justice League and X-Men stories are favourites I think mainly for this reason), and, perhaps most frequently, in the music I listen to.
While I will continue to be starstruck whenever a new character is announced to join the ‘Smash Bros. franchise’, the large amount of work my adult life has brought, means my exposure to that heady excitement I used to reserve purely for ‘Smash Bros.’ has been superseded by my appreciation for collaborations in music, specifically in rap and hip-hop. 2020 has been a great year for collaborations. Just last week, Lil Uzi Vert and Future released their collaborative album PLUTO x BABY PLUTO, to commercial success and critical acclaim. In October, the long-awaited sequel to rapper 21 Savage and producer Metro Boomin’’s 2016 EP Savage Mode, Savage Mode 2, was released. Before that, in June, duo Run the Jewels released Run the Jewels 4 as well as two other big collaborative albums in February: Unlocked by rapper Denzel Curry and producer Kenny Beats; and Stop Staring at the Shadows by hip-hop due $uicideBoy$. But how did we get here? And what is it about collaborative albums that set them apart from solo projects?
One of the first pioneers of the collaborative album in rap music was the highly influential duo of Eric B. and Rakim, and their 1987 debut Paid in Full, which became one of the most famous hip-hop albums of all time. Although it was only a moderate success on the charts, peaking at number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100, Rakim’s refined internal rhymes and Eric B.’s heavy sampling both set benchmarks for writing and producing rap music for years to come. Eric B. and Rakim also were the archetypal “rapper and producer duo”, and this mould would set the stage for future pairings, such as 1988’s DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince album He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. This would become the industry standard for collaborative albums in the late 20th century, with acts such as Gang Starr (DJ Premier and rapper Guru) and Mobb Deep (producer Havoc and rapper Prodigy), both releasing critically acclaimed collaborative albums with Moment of Truth and Murda Musik in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
It wasn’t until the turn of the century when hugely successful collaborative albums began to be created by two artists who were both rappers and successful in their own right. Outkast’s 2003 album Speakerboxx/The Love Below was one of the most successful collaborative albums of all time, and it was created and rapped by two rappers, Antwan ‘Big Boi’ Patton and Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin, breaking the previously unchangeable formula of having a dedicated rapper and a dedicated producer. Outkast had a very successful joint career, and both members enjoyed solo success after they split, which was also unheard of from previous members of collaborative albums. But this was another benchmark, and from 2003 onwards, collaborative albums would be produced more by two individual rappers and less by a rapper and a producer. Probably the most famous collaborative album of the last ten or even twenty years was made by two rappers at the peak of their powers: Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne, released in 2011. After years of working together on big hits as solo artists, the collaboration album and subsequent tour was immensely popular worldwide. Jay-Z and his then-protégé West struck gold with the collaboration, as it sold more than 400,000 copies within the first week and earned both rappers another number 1 album.
Since Throne the collaborative album landscape has become more focused on mixtapes and EPs from the newer, younger generation of musicians. Kanye West and Kid Cudi’s KIDS SEE GHOSTS aside, collaborative mixtapes have been the hallmark of Future’s career working as a non-solo artist. His What a Time to be Alive mixtape with Drake, released in 2015 was a particular highlight, as each song debuted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart, selling 375,000 copies within their first week – not as good as Watch the Throne, but still tremendous numbers for an up-and-comer in Future and a Drake, still a couple years from their artistic apex. Since then, Future has released Super Slimey with Young Thug in 2017, Beast Mode 2 with Zaytoven (another rapper + producer throwback) and Wrld on Drugs in 2018, with recently deceased young rapper Juice WRLD. Therefore, while PLUTO x BABY PLUTO with Lil Uzi Vert is the first formal collaborative album, his experience working with artists has been honed over the last ten years. Perhaps this latest project will see his unique album production technique change from the mixtape to the album. For Future’s PLUTO x BABY PLUTO partner Lil Uzi Vert, this latest project marks his first foray into collaborative albums. And who knows, with the clear financial and cultural benefits that these teamwork-based endeavours yield, perhaps the Roaring Twenties of the 21stcentury will not be The Jazz Age, but the Collaborative Hip-Hop Project Age.
We can think of a snappier name later.
MAYA CAROLL AND MATTHEW WILLIAM ROBINSON
Performer: Maya carroll
Direction and Edit: Matthew Robinson
Music: Tom Ashbrook
Mathew Robinson: "Creation is collaboration, it is community, it is communication. this project is an attempt to continue to collaborate, to work together across distance. To sustain the heart of what it is, to me, to work with dance, with movement, with people.
So far I have worked with four artists, creating four short films. The processes are individual, developing between myself and the collaborators over time to respond to our individual situations and schedules. The films are reflective of our shared situations, our shared feelings.
The wider project is titled California, with each solo named after a place that is somehow relevant to me. From a young age we visited California as a family, driven by my fathers fascination with the beat generation, his ashes are now scattered there. It has remained a place of dreams for me, a place of possibility and discovery. At this time perhaps we all escape at moments to somewhere other than the walls we are existing within.
For ‘echo park’ I collaborated with Maya Carroll. We worked together when Maya was part of VERVE, the dance company I am Artistic Director for. We discussed how isolation and time was affecting us, and through a back and forth of communication came to the final film. I feel it reflects a conversation, some of what Maya has experienced, some of what I have experienced, and a lot of what we have both experienced.
I guess my hope is an audience can experience empathy. That even if only for a second, they recognise something of themselves, their own experience, or the experience of those they know in what they are watching. And in that moment of empathy, my hope is we build understanding, not just of others, but of ourselves and our place in the world at this time."
AN INTERVIEW WITH CRAFTS & CROCHET
BY DEVON HARVEY
November 27, 2020
The second new and small business we are featuring in this issue is Crafts & Crochet. Crafts & Crochet is run by Layesha, who hand makes crochet accessories and home-wear. We had the pleasure of speaking to her about her business. Her designs would be the perfect gift for someone special.
You can find her at:
"I’m Layesha, I’m 22 years old and I started a business called Crafts and Crochet! I started learning to crochet this year during lockdown to give myself a focus during a hard time. I’ve always been creative and enjoy painting and drawing however was never very good so decided to try something new. Turns out my talent lies in yarn and hooks! I started small but soon my projects got bigger as I loved being able to make things I could actually wear and use. However, there is only so much I can make for myself so decided to start selling some things! The other love in my life is plants so my favourite product I make has to be my plant pot hanger. It’s also been the most popular thing people have ordered and I love seeing pictures of everyone’s beautiful plants in them. When starting a small business, don’t be afraid to ask you friends for support with advertising and sharing on social media. The more people that know about you the better!"
My substantial repentances are those
that were covered.
When I was declining them all,
I was on my own, I was halfway-
I could not pick “yes” or spoke “no”.
So do I regret?
When you express your burden,
So you will be never solus?
The answer is yes
But I have that taken.
And I will be here till we move.
Actuality of Life
Life isn't just full of merriment,
It's sunsets, it's relish, it's tears.
It's the notions of yesterday’s recollection,
That can wipe away all out fears.
It's that raging occurrence,
That each one of us experience.
It's the smile that pack the air,
It's the tears when you are miserable.
It's falling for someone special,
That bring that delightful smile.
It's the ache of losing that someone,
But the memories that make it worthwhile.
It's that infant in every one of us,
Although in time we'll all be mature.
It's the good moments we'll never forget,
It's the reminiscence we'll always hold.
It's the embrace that we all wish,
When we'd rather slide down in our desolation.
It's the hope that stays within us,
That makes us hold on for new beginning.