Saturday, May 25Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Culture

Are Tote Bags Still Cool?
Culture, Culture & Literature, Literature, Visual Arts

Are Tote Bags Still Cool?

By Daniel Pepin A cloth sack with straps and a print. That’s all a tote bag is. And yet, it is so much more. Getting across campus without seeing at least one tote bag is impossible. A bold Brick Lane Bookshop tote here and a sleek London Review of Books one there; a rare sighting of the coveted Shakespeare and Co. bag straight from Kilometre Zero Paris – they tend to permeate our surroundings. Each tote comes equipped with its own prestige stamped on the front or hiding in the small pocket stitched into pricier models. At once, it is a fashion and intellectual statement. But are they still cool? You would be hard-pressed to find an established independent bookshop without a tote bag of their very own, which is their genius. Picture a trip to your favourite bookstore - a hidden gem may...
Words from the Wild: The Nature of Poetry – An Interview with Briony Hughes
Culture, Culture & Literature, Literature, Visual Arts

Words from the Wild: The Nature of Poetry – An Interview with Briony Hughes

By Charisse Hau Words from the Wild: The Nature of Poetry is an exhibition exploring different forms of poetry in response to the natural world. The exhibition has been curated by Royal Holloway and TECHNE researchers Caroline Harris, Briony Hughes, and Gareth Hughes, in collaboration with the Royal Holloway Culture Team. In exploring the interplays between materiality and ecopoetry, I had the chance to talk to one of the curators, Briony Hughes, who is also a visiting tutor in English and Creative Writing, and PhD candidate. There are so many intersections between material, and poetry. Why and how is that used in this exhibition? “All of the poets in the space agree that a shift in climate necessitates a shift in how we approach poetic writing, and in particular, a shift in p...
Step by Step
Culture

Step by Step

By Charisse Hau There seems to be a natural tendency to move upwards: the trees grow taller towards the sun; the mountains are formed by building up of sediments; humans grow taller – all upwards.  Similarly, I ventured upwards into the unknown world of mountains and cliffs in Greece. It was a 2-hour drive from the city centre of Thessaloniki – through the motorway, countless tunnels, driving up winding slopes, then we made a stop at a café to replenish. We had some mountain tea to cure the motion sickness and continued our journey. After another half an hour of driving, we finally got to our destination, Meteora. Well, not quite. To get to the monasteries on the cliff-tops, we had to tread hundreds of steps to get up there (more well-paved than I expected). The journey had only...
Women’s Progression in Print
Culture

Women’s Progression in Print

By Evelyn Fernandez-Jarvis Were you aware of the progression women had to make to have their work published and respected?  Well, I recently became aware during a trip to the National Portrait Gallery in London. For centuries women have been striving to get their work, not only, published but respected. Women were only allowed to publish their own work properly in the late 19th century; however, their work did not have as large an impact as their male counterparts because women’s work was not taken as seriously by society.  Once I started looking around, I was overwhelmed by women who had made drastic impacts on literature and published their work under pseudonyms to make sure it was received on an even playing field. A well-known example being Mary Ann Evans (1857-1911...
Hopeless Romantic by Dolly Alderton
Culture

Hopeless Romantic by Dolly Alderton

I have held myself back from discussing Dolly Alderton for quite some time now. I first read her debut memoir Everything I Know About Love three years ago, during lockdown, and I have not shut up about it since. I’ll admit, her fictional debut, Ghosts, did not impress me as much; I quickly realised it was her confessional tone that caught my attention, hence why her autobiographical work and her ‘Dear Dolly’ advice column have left such a lasting impression. Since reading Everything I Know About Love, I have continued to stay up to date with her work, but I only recently found an essay she wrote for The Pound Project in 2018 titled ‘Hopeless Romantic’.  The Pound Project is an independent publishing company founded by JP Watson. Their message is to shout about ‘the value of readin...
<strong><em>Will you go on the record? </em>How ‘She Said’ reminds us of the sad realities of Hollywood. </strong>
Culture

Will you go on the record? How ‘She Said’ reminds us of the sad realities of Hollywood. 

Released five years after the original article from The New York Times was published, ‘She Said’ tells the story of the two journalists who uncovered the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are played by Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan respectively, yet the film also includes actresses who were victims of Weinstein including Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd, who play/voice themselves.  The film itself is subtle, yet the statement it makes is bold. By criticising the very industry that it has been created in, the film sets out to confront the industry professionals who will be watching this film – many of whom will have worked with Weinstein, maybe even defended him. ‘She Said’ does not glamorise Hollywood or the media industry – it does the opposite.&...
<strong>The Narration of Sisterhood</strong>
Culture

The Narration of Sisterhood

I have asked my sister to plait my hair a handful of times in the past, since she has always had this skill that I quite clearly lack. I quickly realised I would rather go without French or Dutch braids, especially if she was going to do them for me. She would pull so hard on my straight, thin strands, tug my head to the point it hurt and even hold pieces of my hair in her mouth so she could use her hands more efficiently. And yet, whilst she clearly was putting in the effort, my plaited hair would never look as good as hers. My sister’s beautiful, bouncy curls will twist together perfectly, always looking thick and healthy and will stay in place forever; her hair is everything mine isn't. However, she will always complain about how much maintenance is required for her hair, whereas I wil...
A Love Letter to Four Weddings and a Funeral 
Culture

A Love Letter to Four Weddings and a Funeral 

A romance film where the romance is incidental. I watched Four Weddings and a Funeral for the first time relatively recently. I was expecting another Notting Hill–and indeed, there are parallels and similarities, in that Richard Curtis directs while Hugh Grant attempts to win the affections of a seemingly-out-of-his-league American, accompanied by a zany, tight-knit group of friends. Four Weddings, however, is a different film entirely, and quickly became one of my favourites. Four Weddings stands apart from the usual romcom genre in my mind for many reasons–not least because the romance that the film ostensibly follows is one of the least interesting aspects. It seems almost cliched now to reject Charles and Carrie’s central love story. After all, in the era of “hot takes”, it’s be...
<strong>The Self-Help ‘Genre’: Reading Towards a Fresh Start</strong>
Culture

The Self-Help ‘Genre’: Reading Towards a Fresh Start

Watching Sex and the City’s Charlotte York stumble through a bookstores ‘Self-Help’ section in search of Starting Over Yet Again, feels like a very accurate depiction of that particular experience, especially when you are a perfectly normal yet slightly unconfident and insecure person. Fortunately for both Charlotte and anyone else looking for novels like Starting Over Yet Again - which unfortunately isn’t a real book - Amazon exists. Therefore we don’t have to fumble through the self-help section shouting ‘travel… travel?’ in vain hope of masking any embarrassment.  But why should anyone be embarrassed of self-help books? Have we really created a stigma around reading for advice rather than asking? Whilst I haven’t (yet) bought a title similar to Starting Over Yet Again, I have r...
<strong>“We are the weirdos, mister”: Queer Identity and the Horror Genre</strong>
Culture

“We are the weirdos, mister”: Queer Identity and the Horror Genre

As the days darken and the nights grow longer, I find myself contemplating my fascination with the horror genre. Of course, the endless fantastical possibilities that the genre provides (along with a natural inclination towards everything macabre) piques my interest in the topic, but there must be something else that keeps me coming back for more. Horror must offer something altogether more crucial than a quick scare or an opportunity for escapism that makes these films appeal to an overwhelmingly LGBTQ+ identified audience, something that resonates on a profound level and keeps us invested in the genre as both filmmakers and spectators alike. Why is it that horror stories hold so many queer people entranced?  To determine why horror means so much to me, I’ll cycle back to where i...