Books vs Films: The Hobbit

By Charles Armitage

The Lord of the Rings is, in my opinion, the best trilogy to have ever been made. Peter Jackson created an (albeit being very long) masterpiece in visual effects, action and storyline adapted from J.R.R Tolkien’s novels. So why then could he not do the same thing for The Hobbit? Set in the same universe and by the same author, Jackson produced a trilogy of films so disappointing that it made me seriously doubt my love of Tolkien’s novels.

It is unfair to say the entire trilogy of The Hobbit is bad, however, as there is some real excitement on screen in the movies. For instance, Martin Freeman’s performance as Bilbo Baggins is possibly the greatest casting choice ever. His comedic value and likeable personality makes audiences connect with the protagonist and hope he succeeds in the quest – even though we know he does as he appears in The Lord of the Rings. The dragon Smaug is also excellently portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch as his voice creates a sense of fear whilst simultaneously having the typical “Britishness” of a villain with his softly spoken dialogue and very good manners towards Bilbo. Andy Serkis reprises his role as Gollum in the first movie and is, as always, brilliant to watch in his performance. It is also pleasing to see, from someone who absolutely loved the novel, that some scenes imagined in my head became a reality on the screen. The barrel river scene, although rather ridiculously portrayed, did make me nostalgic as it reminded me of reading the scene in the book and thinking how this would look on film.

This, however, leads me on to my criticisms of the Jackson adaptation. Let’s start with the elephant in the room – the fact it is a trilogy. The 1937 novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien was a singular book, around 300 pages long. So why feel the need to split a short book into three 3 hour movies filled with cringeworthy action, slapstick humour only a child would find funny and over the top references to the original Lord of the Rings? The answer is simple: money. Hollywood can make the most of paying customers by forcing them to pay a rather pricey fee to hear a character put fruit in his top to simulate breasts and hear him say: “Abandon the cripples!” (an actual quote from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies). Whoever wrote the script for these movies, although credit is due for using direct quotes from the book, needs to be fired as Middle Earth language would not stoop to 21st Century dialect.

Overall, the book is a lot better than the movies. My favourite of The Hobbit trilogy is the first movie (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) as it is the only one that reminds us of why we loved The Lord of the Rings. Maybe I am being too harsh on Jackson as The Hobbit was never going to be as good as The Lord of the Rings, so I may just be comparing the two, rather than looking at The Hobbit on its own merits. But when compared with the book, the film does not live up to the excitement as the added in characters and storylines by Jackson show little desire from him to truly show Tolkien’s creation on the screen and instead just make a trilogy that will make money. I could go on and on about how the book is a lot better than the film – the introduction of Legolas, the terrible finale movie, flimsy portrayal of action and ‘danger’ – but I only have a finite amount of paper. So, I’ll just finish with this: read the book because it is awesome but only watch An Unexpected Journey and parts of The Desolation of Smaug for comparison. Don’t bother with the third one, it’ll spare you the pain.

Image “The Hobbit Character Poster” by Jakarta Fail licensed under CC BY 2.0

Battle of the Bands for Migrant Solidairy Campaign

By David Winlo

If I were to ask you where you were exactly last Friday night, chances are many of you won’t remember. For those who do, if it wasn’t the Blue Bar, I’d say you missed out. Entertaining acts, DJs, dangling LED decorations and, most importantly, the chance to donate to a very worthy cause. It was, of course, Livewire’s ‘Battle of the Bands’ in aid of Migrant Solidarity.

Five acts took part in the competition, but for me there were two stand-out performances. Isobel Zarb impressed with her relaxed acoustic sound and her interesting guitar work. From chilled out music to something more loud and energetic: the rock group, ‘The Silver Jacks’ ended the night perfectly, with the audience being able to rock out and let off some steam in their performance.

Victory, however, went to ‘Saltfen’ for their energetic and intense alternative rock setlist. Big congratulations to the winners Tom Hall, John Kirby, and Tom and Alec Woolner of ‘Saltfen’, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of their work, and that of the other acts, in the future.

A great evening, we mustn’t forget ‘Battle of the Bands’ was in support of Migrant Solidarity UEA, which continues to strive to help with the ongoing refugee crisis, and it still isn’t too late to get involved. So if you missed out on a chance to help out on Friday, look for one of their next events, sign up on the SU website or donate to or support the cause elsewhere.

Mental Illness: Let’s Talk About It

By Celine Hawkins

In the UK, 75 per cent of mental illnesses are established by the age of 24. Furthermore, one in ten suicides reported are by those between the ages of 15 and 24. Indeed, these figures could suggest a rise in the people opening up about their experiences, but it also indicates a lack of help for those suffering.

With continuous funding cuts to the mental health services in this country (UEA, as an example, leaves students waiting up to twelve weeks for an appointment with a counsellor as a result of such budget constraints), it is no surprise that the problem surrounding the treatment of mental health is growing, and at an alarming rate. When a government appears to be giving up, how does it make those who need hope and reassurance feel? True, the growing discontent over the lack of sufficient support for those in need of help signifies an overthrow of the stigma of mental illnesses that has been so rampant throughout history, but it would be naïve to think that this stigma has been completely erased.

Though it is placed under another health bracket, mental health is the same as physical health. Nobody has 100 per cent perfect physical health, just like nobody has 100 per cent perfect mental health. It is that simple. So how can we work towards ending the uncomfortable atmosphere that comes with talking about mental health issues? By fighting fire with fire: keeping the conversation going.

Time to Change, set up in 2007 by Mind UK and Rethink Mental Illnesses, is both an annual event and online community that aims for ‘everyone with a mental health problem to be free of fear’ by ‘changing how we all think and act about mental health problems.’ It is a website that allows people to write about their own experiences in order to encourage and inspire others. Similarly, This Space, a submission based magazine, claims to ‘join the movement to destigmatise, without romanticising, mental health issues’.

The romanticism of mental health via social media, in particular Tumblr, often acts as a step in the wrong direction when trying to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Simply put, there is no aesthetic surrounding mental illness, as some websites would rather have you believe, because dealing with a mental illness is an all-consuming and sometimes frightening ordeal. Yet the reality of them is usually ignored in favour of making them a fashion statement (Urban Outfitters have excelled particularly in this – their clothing that celebrated eating disorders and depression definitely left its mark on people after being successfully pulled from its stores). In addition to this, those who do speak out are far too often shut down for seeking attention.

It is time to prove that maybe attention is what is required. Despite all the hurdles, the ability to keep the conversation flowing about mental illnesses is what will persevere over the torment in the end. The more that we open up about experiences, the more people will not only feel comfortable to talk about theirs but will also feel comfortable listening to them. It is a process that due to ignorance is taking longer than it needs to, but if the talk continues then the wall of stigma will fall. Suffering with a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, it is common and something that can be tackled. Focus on you and your wellbeing, not the remarks of those who do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Whether it is a general chat with your friends and family or to complete and total strangers, it is important that the conversation does not cease. It is time to start accepting mental illnesses for what they are: real.

 Statistics can be found at these sites:

http://www.youngminds.org.uk/about/whats_the_problem/mental_health_statistics

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-children-and-young-people

 If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, why not try these. Talking about it shouldn’t just be about ending the stigma but also helping your wellbeing:

  • Samaritans: 116 123 or +44 (0) 8457 909090

  • UEA Nightline:  +44 (0) 1603 503504

    Image from Unsplash

 

The Science of Finding Dory: What it Got Right and Wrong

By David Winlo

This will not be your ordinary film review. I’m not going to discuss the plot of the film, how funny it was or whether or not it will make you cry. I’m here to look at it scientifically, whilst ignoring the talking sea creatures of course. So here are some things that were and were not scientifically accurate in Disney’s latest animated animal adventure.

1. Right: Octopuses are amazing! They look weird, they squirt ink and they have sucker-covered tentacles. But octopuses are also excellent colour-changers and mimics, as seen in the film. The colour changing is done with chromatophores, coloured cells which are under the octopus’ conscious control. It basically just flexes its muscles in order to disappear.

2. Wrong: Marlin is not female. When a clownfish is born, it will always be male. In time, or when it is the larger member of a breeding pair, it will become female. If the female of a breeding pair dies as poor Marlin’s mate did, her mate will then become female. And you thought human relationships were complicated, right? So, here’s hoping that Marlin is a woman in the next film, should there be one.

3. Right: Beluga whales can use echolocation. Whilst I’m not at all sure about how it was depicted in the film, it is true that beluga whales can navigate and hunt by echolocation. They can hear a far greater range of sounds than humans can, and send out noises using a special organ in their skulls, which rather pleasingly is called a melon. These sounds then bounce off their prey or surroundings and are picked up again by the lower jaw, which sends a signal to the brain.

4. Wrong: Only clownfish can live in sea anemones. This is quite a common misconception, but there are in fact several species of clownfish, as well as other species which are also able to sit happily within the stinging tentacles. These include various cardinalfish, as well as some damselfish and wrasse species.

On a final cautionary note, I would like to indicate that in the unlikely event that anyone was enamoured enough by the new film to want a ‘Dory’ (or a regal blue tang, Paracanthus hepatus, to give the fish its scientific name) of their own, I would advise against it. Blue tangs don’t breed in captivity, so they’re all wild caught and don’t enjoy being handled by humans, as they tend to indicate using some surprisingly sharp and painful spines located near the base of the tail. By all means enjoy the film, but please do the proper research before buying any aquarium fish.

Image: “Blue Tang” by Liz Lawley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Louis Theroux “My Scientology Movie”

By Sophie Lurcuck

If asked whether you could name a journalist or documentary maker, presumably many young people will come up stumped. Except from the likes of David Attenborough, the name most students are interested in is Louis Theroux. Whether that is due to the streaming mogul, Netflix, exposing a new generation to his infamous past of rapping on an episode of Weird Weekends, or growing up with his charm and ability to gain answers, he definitely has a way of captivating his audience.

His latest documentary entitled, ‘My Scientology Movie’ was no different being a truly funny, informative and even tense in places, insight into the enigmatic religion that is Scientology. Since being created by Sci-Fi author, L. Ron Hubbard, the religion has grown, with its base in Los Angeles where the documentary is set. Unfortunately, Louis was denied access into Scientology to make his film, which inevitably raised the question for both Louis and the audience of how can he make a documentary about a subject that he cannot be witness to or investigate fully?

His vision, shared by director John Dower, of reconstructing some of the most extreme events that allegedly took place within the church became the key basis of the film. The main source behind these reconstructions was former Scientologist, Marty Rathbun, who was the Attorney General for the church. He was accused of carrying out some of the most violent incidents although not even Louis with his trademark long pauses could elicit further details on the matter. In a gripping scene Marty demonstrated, using a team of actors, the practices scientologists undergo in order to achieve a believed divine goal. This included bizarre activities such as screaming at an object placed on an adjacent chair.

Although the documentary was not the overt expose into Scientology I was expecting, it still provided coverage of the fundamentals of Scientology, such as current leader David Miscavige’s belief that he is going to save the entire universe. After being denied interviews, Louis improvised by using actors to play the role of Miscavige to recreate the alleged explosive incidents that the church has always denied. One such recreation was very distressing and emotionally effective in conveying the fear reported by ex-members to the audience. The film successfully depicted the immense power one man has within this religion, and explored his relationship with celebrities such as Tom Cruise, who recently praised Scientology on the red carpet.

However, Marty is scorned by the Scientologists as a traitor and accused of being bitter by the church and therefore is not a very reliable source for the majority of the film to depend on. Arguably the documentary itself was biased, by exploring the negative sides of Scientology predominantly through talking to people who have left the religion, also known as defectors. The only interview with a current member was an exposé of the consumerist side of Scientology, demonstrating how people are ‘manipulated’ into spending thousands of dollars on books, to achieve higher status within the church.

However, with credit to Louis, he did approach the Church for access to their side of the story, and when faced with impromptu encounters with members of Scientology he did attempt to hear their views, but they were reluctant to participate. The validity of his intentions are questionable, but Marty did provide an interesting glimpse into how tough life was after leaving scientology, through the capture of incidents of harassment he has had with ‘Squirrel busters’, an organisation I was previously unaware existed.

Overall the documentary is an insightful depiction of the life of a Scientologist, in which you learn some of the stages you have to complete in order to reach this perceived idealism. The entertaining portrayal of the secretiveness of the church itself left me just as fascinated with Scientology’s impenetrable exterior as Louis himself.

Image “Tom Cruise” by Gage Skidmore licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Risks of a Meat-Based Diet

By Tilly Abraham

As a vegetarian, many people ask me what my reasons are for my choice to not eat meat. Although they are mainly ethical, another strong factor is for the good of my health. After revelations about what meat and other animal products do to your body, the sobering truth about eating meat made my vegetarianism even more justified.

  1. Stay out of my arteries

  The meat industry continually promotes the positives of consuming their products. ‘Meat=protein’ is usually the main benefit boasted. But red meat also amounts to a whole lot of cholesterol. High cholesterol can be life-threatening and the main things that contribute towards bad cholesterol (other than what your body naturally makes) are animal products, especially red meat. Therefore, a Vegan diet will usually mean an astonishing lack of cholesterol. This is not to say that all big meat-eaters have high cholesterol: for example, fish and chicken are much healthier alternatives.

High cholesterol, however, could lead and is linked to a bounty of other health issues such as: coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes and peripheral arterial disease.

 2.The C Word

Perhaps the most shocking discovery I have made is that high consumption of animal products can actually cause cancer (sources below).

 My first thought upon learning this was ‘Why did no one tell me?’ – it is well documented and factually correct. The World Health Organisation has even gone as far as to classify processed meat – that is, ham, sausages, bacon and salami- as being a ‘Group 1 Carcinogen’, meaning there is strong evidence that processed animal products cause cancer. In fact, eating 50g of processed meat a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18% and veggies are about 40% less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters!

But why would we be sold food that has the potential to kill us? Well, the meat industry is incomprehensibly huge, and in the same way that we are sold alcohol and sweets, from which an immense profit is made, it is no wonder that they conceal the effects of their produce.

Note however, that many food products are said to cause cancer and the like, so moderation in everything is most important.

 3. The long and short of it

Fact time. Our intestines are around 7-13 times the length of our torso. Contrasting this, the length of carnivores/omnivores is around 3-6 times the length of their torso.

The shorter intestinal length means that rotting meat, animal proteins, cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats pass through the intestines quickly, thus it is nearly impossible for carnivores to clog their arteries. Consequently, with the longer intestinal length, almost 52% of meat-eaters suffer from or are killed from clogged arteries.

Moreover, we humans and other herbivores have carbohydrate digestive enzymes in our saliva – which is a massive nod to the fact we are supposed to eat fruit and veg! Even the way we eat is indicative of this: we grind our food with our teeth (which are broad, blunt and spade-shaped) the same way other herbivores eat. Carnivores, on the other hand, possess sharp, fanged teeth, which are used to rip and swallow flesh (contrasting our grind and chew motion) – hinting to their biological intention for meat-eating.

 4.Got Milk?

Besides meat – the by-products of animals can also have their health risks. As a vegetarian it is true that I drink milk. However, the startling facts of what is actually in milk have left me reaching for the nut-based alternatives… Human breast milk is deemed the most nutritious thing for a newborn baby. This is because it is intended to aid the growth and development of a child. Therefore, cows’ milk is intended to aid the development of a calf – not a person.

But what’s worth further considering is the chemical cocktail that makes up cows’ milk: growth hormones, steroids, hypothalamic and thyroid hormones to name a few.

It is also estimated that there are around 350 million cell-counts of pus per litre of milk– yum. This comes from infected udders on the cow, often caused by excessive milking, and the consumption of this pus is well linked to Crohn’s disease.

Cows’ blood is also mixed in and any antibiotic medication cows are subjected to due to their mistreatment at dairy farms; however, you can still drink cows’ milk and avoid this by purchasing organic milk which may be more expensive but much better for you.

 Believe it or not you don’t just have to eat grass, the alternatives to animal products are endless! Now that supermarkets offer meat-free and ‘free-from’ ranges: try swapping your cows’ milk with the healthier almond milk. Maybe change your beef mince for Quorn or a bean burger. BONUS POINT: a meatless diet is generally the cheaper option for students!

 Though there are many negative health issues attributed to us from meat – it is not only the meat industry that conceals things about their products. Even soy products – which tend to be marketed at vegetarians – have been found to have protease inhibitors which affect digestion and have excess amounts of oestrogen, putting you at an imbalance. Perhaps the need to be more food savvy is more important now than ever.

Sources:

World Health Organisation – http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/
Gallagher, James. BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34615621
NHS http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cholesterol/Pages/Introduction.aspx
BHF https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol
‘Dairy’ link: http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html#
‘Humans and Herbivores’ link http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html#
Groop, Edward. Global Health Centre http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-cows-milk/
‘The dangers of soy’ – http://paleoleap.com/dangers-soy/

Image from Unsplash, by Isidor Emanuel

Diabetes – Diagnosed at 19

By Elizabeth Wigley

It’s the same with every long-term or chronic illness – you never think it will happen to you. I am a fit, healthy, active 20 year old, so I certainly didn’t think I would ever say the words ‘I have Type 1 Diabetes’.

But that all changed about two months ago. I had suffered from the symptoms for about a month and a half, however it’s likely that my illness had gone undiagnosed for much longer than this. Fortunately, I am not someone to ignore my body acting abnormally, and so I realised I needed to act.

Diabetes was something I learnt about in GSCE Biology, but the main things I remembered about it was that it was likely to occur in older, overweight individuals; had I known that even 18-month olds could have it, I perhaps would have caught it sooner.

On my fourth trip to the doctor my symptoms had not cleared, despite being prescribed antibiotics. My glucose levels were tested only for the first time, which was when they were noted as worryingly high. Seeing the expression on the nurse’s face confirmed to me the results, and I was submitted to A&E that evening.

I had never been in hospital before that week for anything other than my birth, and having a drip in each arm and my blood tested every hour was a real shock to the system. I ended up being in hospital for five days, whereas I was told I may not have to stay even one night.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on my second day in hospital. The wave of information given to me over that week was overwhelming to say the least, and I found it difficult to absorb it all. My mum remarked that I was handling it surprisingly well, but I think it just hadn’t sunk in yet. When you’re in hospital you’re normally there to get better, and then you go home. But I knew I wouldn’t get better, even when I went home, and I struggled with that.

On leaving hospital with a large carrier bag of medication, consisting of needles, blood-testing kits and insulin pens, I felt like a completely different person. Yes, my original symptoms were gone and I felt a sense of resolution from having an actual diagnosis, but I knew my life was never going to be the same again. Those who know me well will agree that I have a very sweet tooth, and the thought of having juice or chocolate as a ‘treat once a month’ actually upset me (although I am now pretty much eating as I did before my diagnosis).

Two months on I am back at university for my second year, I am injecting myself with insulin and testing my blood glucose levels as if I’ve been doing it my whole life, and I’m doing approximately 10 hours of exercise a week. I was told whilst in hospital that the Diabetes should fit around my lifestyle, not the other way around, and already I feel like I’ve got to a place where that is happening.

I will have this for the rest of my life, but I won’t let my illness change the quality of the life I lead. I would encourage anyone who has Diabetes to not allow it to conquer you, because your life can still be whatever you want it to be.

If you are experiencing any odd symptoms that you think may be a sign of Diabetes it is so important to get them checked out. Even if they are nothing it’s still worth investigating. The help I have received at UEA has been amazing, from my advisor to Student Support Services to the Medical Centre, so I know there are people out there more than willing to help.

Some links to helpful sites about Diabetes:

www.diabetes.org.uk

www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/What-is-diabetes/Diabetes-Symptoms/

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/What-is-diabetes/

Grosvenor Fish Bar Review

By Cassie Waters

In my last article I wrote about how my friends are cocktail snobs. I happen to be a chip snob. Sadly, there are very few benefits of being a chip snob, it’s not glamorous, you can’t precociously discuss it with people and it won’t bring you much kudos. But it does mean I can spot a good chip when I try one. I have eaten my way around the fish and chip shops of Norwich and I can safely say that Grosvenor’s does an excellent chip.

 Grosvenor’s has been around for a long time but it’s only more recently that it’s become the unique chip shop it is now. It describes itself as a “fish and chip grotto”, which puts me in mind of winter and elves. I would instead describe the low ceilings, the tunnelling walkways and corrugated iron walls of the underground seating area as being like a cave or secret bunker, a place to hide and stuff yourself with chips and batter until it’s safe to come out.  Upstairs where you are served the atmosphere is busy and cheerful and the staff make sure you’re never waiting too long, no matter how many customers there are crammed into that small space. If you fancy having a drink with your fish and chips you can take them across the road to The Birdcage and sit in there.

I am usually suspicious of fish and chip shops that look too nice as my dad always says that it means they don’t try as hard with the food, but this is absolutely not the case with Grosvenor’s, the food is equally as good as the decor. The queue spilling out onto the street is a permanent fixture! The chips aren’t soggy or overly greasy, nor are they too dry. Their fish is delicious – not a bone in sight! And the batter is perfectly crispy, I could eat it on its own (and I do, thanks to a friend who just prefers the fish!). They don’t just do traditional fish and chips, their menu extends to wraps such and “Bass with Sass”, a sea bass fillet wrap with lettuce and spicy mango salsa, a favourite amongst my friends and the cholesterol busting “B.B.L.T”, a treacle and beer cured crispy battered bacon in a roll.

So that’s how Grosvenor’s has worked its way into one of our favourite places to eat and up near the top of my expertly compiled best chips list. Go and treat yourself.

Image From Grosvenor Fish Bar’s Twitter Page

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Review

By Jodie Bailey

It seems like we have YA book adaptations popping up here, there and everywhere these days, and with such an over-saturation of the YA genre you would be forgiven for holding out little faith that original stories could be told. And fine, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a quirky mash-up of X-Men and Harry Potter so it’s not entirely original, but thanks to Tim Burton’s masterful ability to add a Gothic twist to anything he creates, Miss Peregrine manages to stand out from an otherwise formulaic genre.

Our story focuses on Jake (Asa Butterfield), a Harry Potter-type who actually has parents and a grandfather, whose bedtime stories aren’t the works of fiction Jake believed them to be. After a family tragedy Jake is haunted by monstrous dreams, so he goes to Wales to put his fears to rest, only to find that the monsters in his dreams are all too real. At the titular home, he meets several children with an array of ‘peculiarities’ and of course Miss Peregrine herself (portrayed by Eva Green, who sadly doesn’t get enough screen time). Asa Butterfield takes on an archetypal hero role and holds his own in a great cast including Chris O’Dowd and Samuel L. Jackson, who begins to grate on you only ever so slightly towards the end of the film.

Whilst the film strays away from the original plot of the book, the movie has enough peculiarities to keep it fresh and engaging. The special effects are great, but not in an overly Tim Burton fashion, so those who aren’t huge fans of his work shouldn’t be put off. After watching the movie your usual YA series will no longer suffice, so go on, embrace the peculiar!

Image from 20th Century Fox

Stop The Hate Campaign

By Khalea Robertson

On Friday 4th November, UEA’s Migrant Solidarity Campaign, in conjunction with People and Planet’s Undoing Borders campaign, will be carrying out a day of action protesting the inflammatory and discriminatory reporting of the Daily Express, particularly in relation to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The campaign targets Specsavers, a major advertiser in the Daily Express.

Why the Daily Express?

Here are some sample headlines from the newspaper:

* How Mass Migration May Kill Off Core British Traditions Such as Christmas

* Migrants Take All New Jobs in Britain (N.B. ‘all’ was emboldened by the Daily Express, not me)

* We Must Stop the Migrant Invasion

* 12 000 Asylum Seekers Vanish… and that’s just the ones the Home Office knows about

What is the problem with these headlines? They are either flat out wrong or have wildly and deliberately misconstrued or exaggerated facts. Take for instance the last headline. It was based off a report from the Home Office which stated that one in six asylum seekers (amounting to a little less than 12 000 people) do not show up for their first interview (N.B. ‘first’ was emboldened by me, not the Daily Express). This figure, however, includes asylum seekers that attended later meetings, as was clarified in an article by the Huffington Post which also included this quote from the Policy Director of the charity Refugee Council:

“There are many legitimate reasons why people may miss appointments with the Home Office; they may never have actually been informed about the appointment in the first place, they may not have been able to arrange childcare or they simply may not have had the bus fare to get there.”

The Daily Express is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation which requires that its members “take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information” and “must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”. They must then be taken to task for failing to meet these standards.

 Why Specsavers?

In September, public backlash prompted Specsavers to withdraw a front page advertisement from the Daily Express. The advert, which featured the slogan “Just what you’ve been waiting to hear”, was placed directly underneath an article warning of “roaming gangs of migrants” (the words ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ are never used in the article) at the migrant and refugee camp in Calais known as ‘the Jungle’.

Specsavers’ retraction opened the door to calls for the company to completely stop any kind of promotion in the newspaper in order to divest irresponsible media of crucial advertising money.

Therefore, on the day of action, the Migrant Solidarity Campaign stands with the Undoing Borders Campaign to demand that Specsavers stop being #BlindToHate and remove itself from the #DailyHateExpress.

Gonzo’s – Burgers and Cocktails

By Cassie Waters

Anyone who knows my flat from first year knows how much we loved Gonzo’s Tea Room. Being a flat who frequently turned our noses up at the idea of a club night (unless it was our beloved Damn Good LCR), we had some truly brilliant bar crawls and our favourite place to end up was always Gonzo’s. We now know all the bar staff by name. But Gonzo’s isn’t just the place to go for drinks, during the day it turns from a trippy hipster bar, complete with a disco ball and subtitled films projected on the walls (the only time I have ever got round to watching Pulp Fiction was sprawled across the bed style seats, cocktail in hand), into an eccentric and eclectic tea room that serves possibly the best chicken burgers and wings in Norwich.

A huge draw of Gonzo’s is its amazing interior. Don’t be fooled by the tiny bleak entrance, once you walk down that hall and enter the main bar/tearoom you are met with an artfully decorated hoarder’s paradise. Any knickknack or curiosity you could imagine can be found in that small space; from board games to Chucky figurines to a modern image of the last supper to a picture of Heisenberg in military uniform. The decor of Gonzo’s has the same fascinating effect whether you go night or day, there’s always something new to look at and talk about.

The main reason why we would go was that as well as being occasional club snobs, my flatmates were cocktail snobs. Two of them knew how to make cocktails, having previously worked in bars and we all begrudged paying such a lot of money for a drink that wasn’t that good. As many bars as we have tried we have not yet been able to find a match for Gonzo’s cocktails. They truly are the best. They do everything from classics like the Negroni to their own creations like my personal favourite, the Queen and Country which comes served in a mug. If you’re a coffee drinker, I’m told they do a really fantastic Espresso Martini. Make no mistake, Gonzo’s cocktails aren’t cheap, usually costing between £8 and £9, but if you want a well made cocktail that’s different to the bog standard ones you can get almost anywhere else then this is your place.

After we’d been a few times at night, we expanded into trying the food in the day, adding a new dimension to our favourite place. If you’re on a health kick, Gonzo’s is probably not the best place but for burgers, chips and chicken wings you just can’t beat it. All interestingly named (the “Dead Elvis” anyone?), the burgers come in a wide variety that’s bound to appeal to everyone. My favourite is quite tame, “The Camilla” is a house fried chicken burger with Cajun chips but you could be a bit more adventurous and go for the “3 Little Pigs”, a pulled pork burger with pork scratching, cola soaked bacon and apple sauce. If you go between 3 and 6pm you can get chicken wings for 25p each and there are over 20 flavours to choose. The bacon and maple syrup wings are to die for!

But be warned, Gonzo’s can have an addictive effect. My flat and I realised we had a problem when we were in there 4 days in a row. And if I haven’t been able to persuade you to try it out then perhaps their tag line can: “Saving Norwich from Prince of Wales Road since 2008”.

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