Bohemian Rhapsody, the highly anticipated biopic following nearly two decades of Queen’s career, premiered in the UK last Tuesday. No-one was entirely sure what kind of timeline the film would follow, or whether it would cover the events leading up to and after Freddie Mercury’s passing in 1991. There was equal uncertainty about the film’s director - they went through several of them, as well as several people playing Mercury. The roles were eventually credited to Bryan Singer (of X-Men fame) and Mr Robot’s Rami Malek.
Malek’s performance was easily the best part of the film. His physical appearance isn’t all there - this isn’t the first Queen-based piece that shoves some teeth and a moustache onto a man and labelled him as Freddie. However, there’s more than that to Malek’s performances. He brought the voice, the movements, the all around flamboyance needed to convince the audience that it was him. It’s easy to get lost in his recreation of the rock star and forget that it’s not Freddie.
The content of the film, however, does not quite live up to the loud and out there intestines of its namesake song. It gives viewers plenty of Queen music - but it skims over much of their history.
The three other members of the band - John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian May (played by Joe Mazello, Ben Hardy and Gwilym Lee) certainly have their moments. They bring a sort of comic relief to the film with their antics and stupid nicknames for one another, but they easily become background noise when the film is so heavily Freddie focused.
The biopic does delve into the complications and confusion surrounding Mercury’s sexuality. A lot of the first half of the film is about him and his former fiance, Mary Austin (played by Lucy Boynton) - and their eventual break up. Whilst probably being romanticized for cinema, it did hold a sense of emotion. Mercury’s ‘I think I’m bisexual’ claim was met with ‘no, Freddie, I think you’re gay.’
So, for every one of Freddie’s sideway glances at another man or homophobic comment by a journalist, there is a reference to Mary and how at one point, Freddie did date and intend to marry a woman. It was as though they had to constantly remind the audience.
One thing the film didn’t shy away from was his AIDS diagnosis. He clearly states it on screen, amid fears it would be skimmed over to make the film more ‘family friendly.’ The timeline of the biopic doesn’t reach far enough to cover his death, but to cram 21 years of music and events into one film would be difficult.
All that aside, and referencing back to Malek’s performance, the biopic still manages to jerk emotions and humanize Mercury. He’s such a flamboyant and significant figure that it’s easy to forget that he too dealt with life’s hardships. In the final few scenes, he’s seen as an antagonist to the band - he does redeem himself, but this may be an issue for some fans.
The show stealer was easily the Live Aid scene at the end of the film - it’s become known as the return of Queen, and them solidifying their place in rock history. A replica of the old Wembley was built in an airfield to recreate the show, with Malek, Hardy, Mazello and Lee miming along to soundtracks of the original performance - and they do it well. It’s truly the pinnacle of Malek’s Mercury - from the skippy-dancing in Radio Gaga to the belting of the ballad section on Bohemian Rhapsody.
Overall, it’s not a bad film. In fact, it’s very much a decent recreation of Queen’s peak with a show-stealing lead role and a great soundtrack. However, it feels rushed in some areas which made other parts hard to understand. It’s a good biopic that doesn’t quite live up to the song it’s named after.
Halloween can be expensive. Once you’ve brought the makeup and the outfit (and maybe the wig), it can come up to £30-£50.
I know that I, as a student, could never afford that. You can find Halloween stuff in Poundland, but it’s very bad quality and lasts a grand total of five minutes (and let’s not forget to mention the break outs that will follow in the coming days). So, how can you do Halloween on a budget?
Upcycle old clothes. If someone in your household has a large t-shirt they don’t mind sacrificing, it could become a little black dress for your Marilyn Monroe outfit. Your old school shirts could be splattered with ketchup or paint and become the outfit you were wearing when you got bitten by a zombie. You’d be surprised by what you can create with some simple arts and crafts.
Charity shops. I’ve found some proper gems in charity shops - both for everyday wear and Halloween. If you don’t want to ruin your clothes for the sake of a costume, you can find t-shirts, trousers and jackets in charity shops for between 50p and £5. Plus, your money is going to a good cause.
Ask your friends. If you know a friend who treats Halloween like a religious holiday, they might have an old costume they don’t mind lending you. Equally, if you know a friend with a lot of siblings or a large household, they’ll probably have one laying idle somewhere.
Use your imagination. If you’re completely stuck for what to do, just have a good ol’ stare at your wardrobe. You an orange dress that inspires a Lisa Simpson look. I managed to turn a red jumpsuit into a David Bowie look. You might find that you don’t have to spend a single penny.
Plan in advance. Stuff around Halloween is ridiculously expensive and costs a lot - after all, it is a selling opportunity. Costume makeup at any other time of the year will be less expensive. It’s also worth keeping an eye out in charity shops at any time of year for any potential DIY jobs or costume additions.
One of the most important things to remember as well is that your costume doesn’t have to be amazing. Some people will spend lots of money and time on theirs but it doesn’t mean you should feel bad if you don’t. Not everyone is in the position to break the bank.
On the other hand, it’s also important to remember not to get jealous or annoyed at those who do. I’ve been at parties where people have got very shady at those who went all out - don’t. Halloween for some is the most important night of the year. It’s different for everyone.
The most important thing is to stay safe, have fun and get as many sweets as you can.
Politics is confusing. No country’s political system is the same as any others; for example, Scotland uses a different voting system to England (for the Scottish Parliament, not Scottish seats within Parliament - I reiterate: confusing.). It can be difficult to get your head round it all and frankly, I only did so because I do politics A-Level.
There are some words and phrases that you might hear a lot but not understand. I used to find myself thinking ‘If I don’t understand it, it’s probably not important.’ This is not true - some of them are extremely important and understanding them could be useful in using your vote the way you want.
(Or, you could just use these to impress someone in a conversation.)
General Political Terms
Donkey voting - this refers to when someone votes for a party simply because. But because, what? Just because. No reason at all - and in the eyes of democracy, there’s nothing wrong with that. No-one is required to give a reason at all for why they’re voting.
Tactical voting - this is when someone votes for a party not because they want that party but because they don’t want the other party. For example (and this example is not reflective of anyone’s political opinions, nor mine) - if someone didn’t like the Conservatives, but they were set to win a majority, they might vote for the Liberal Democrats. Not because they like the Lib Dems and think they deserve their vote, but because they want to use their vote but don’t want the Tories.
Coalition government - this is often confused with the Supply and Demand government. There are some gray areas but on the whole, these two are not the same. A coalition government is when a deal is brokered between two parties to form a temporary, bigger party (till the next election) so they can have the majority between them. The bigger party will normally have more leverage. The last coalition government was between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories in the 2010-2015 Parliament. Nick Clegg and David Cameron acted as PM and deputy PM, the latter of which is not seen in every Parliament.
Supply and demand government - this has the same basis as a coalition government; no party has a majority but they need the help of the other parties to get one. This is a less formal agreement that a coalition - a deal is signed to say ‘we need your party and your seats but not all the time.’ This is where the biggest party operates independently without the other, but when it comes to a vote they’re going to lose in the House of Commons, the second party steps in to give them the majority. This was seen between the Conservatives and the DUP in the 2017 election.
First past the post - this is the voting system that the UK uses for House of Commons. Evelyn has a very useful article called Putting the Government Together that explains it in detail. There are other voting systems too such as Alternative Voting and Single Transferable Vote. Some of these are used in different places in the world but they are not massively important to UK politics.
House of Commons - one of the chambers in Parliament. This is the democratically elected one, consisting of 650 MPs. As of writing this article, the Conservatives are the biggest party with 318 seats (328 if you take into account those with the DUP deal). Labour comes in second with 262 and the SNP with a huge jump down to 35. This is an example of a two party system government; two parties dominating the chamber which gives very little way to the smaller parties.
House of Lords - the second chamber in Parliament, made up of Lords and Ladies. They are not elected, but the PM will give names to the Queen, and from there she will give them their title. There are over 700 Lords/Ladies currently so it is bigger than the Commons but they always trump the Lords because they are elected. There is often controversy over the Lords as they are deemed undemocratic but there have been times when they shared the public’s opinion where the Commons have not. All the Lords/Ladies are given their title for being experts in their area - Lord Alan Sugar was given his Lordship for his experience in business.
Bicameral - this refers to a political structure with two chambers (bi meaning two). If there were one chamber it would be unicameral, and if there were three, it would be tricameral.
Cabinet - this is made up of the Prime Minister and their chosen ministers. There is generally several, such as Minister of Health and Social Care, Minister of Transport, Minister of Defense and the Chancellor, who is in charge of government finances.
Shadow cabinet - this is the same as the cabinet, but it’s the second most popular party’s cabinet.
Parliamentary Supremacy - the idea that Parliament is above all other political bodies in the UK. However, it has decreased in years with EU integration and delegated government bodies such as Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly (this can be viewed as positive or negative depending on your own opinion).
Safe seats - this is when one party securely holds a constituency. For example, my area ia Aldershot and this is a safe seat held by Leo Docherty. We have a candidate for Labour and the Monster Raving Loony Party (yes, that is a real party and yes, they have won seats before) but their chances of winning are so low as the area is dominated by Tory voters.
The Conservatives - also known as the Tories. Confusingly, they conservative by name, but not by nature. Their policies and such do not follow the conservative ideology. In fact, they are closer to being neo-Liberals. Their policies used to be much more right wing, but as of 2018 it would be easier to place them on centre right. They tend to prefer privatised industries and their policies are generally more based on financial or capitalist ideas. Some notable Prime Ministers; Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May.
The Labour Party - the Labour Party came about after the working class were granted the vote and had to have someone to represent their views. They also tend to follow neo-Liberal ideas too but can also be seen as socialist depending on which era you’re looking at. They are more left wing and have stayed as such throughout their time but in modern day, have been forced to pick up economic related policies in their manifestos to stay popular within the public. Noteable Prime Ministers; Tony Blair and Clement Atlee.
The Liberal Democrats - despite being a smaller party, they are certainly an interesting one. They’ve gone from small, to being in a coalition, to losing many of their seats. They lost popularity for shooting themselves in the foot; campaigning for free universities but then voting to triple the fees. With that said, it’s always good to watch this space as they may make a comeback.
UK Independence Party - a controversial party, to say the least. They have tended to have what some may consider to be xenophobic, even racist, views. For example, they wanted to ban the Burqa and their pro-Brexit stance focused a lot on border control, but extreme border control. They are not generally popular within younger votes, or any voters at all, it now seems. They are all but a memory now in the Commons, but are strangely popular within the European Parliament. The irony.
A Brief History of PMs (or, at least the ones you’ve probably heard about)
Theresa May - ah, yes. Theresa May. Whether you love her or hate her, she is certainly an interesting one. She took over from Cameron following his 2016 resignation and at first, things seemed to be okay. She had a majority, her party were okay with her - and then, she called the infamous snap election. She lost her majority, her party became divided between Stay and Leave and then there was that speech where she had a cough attack, someone tried to hand her a P45 and then the letters on the background behind her began to drop off (along with her popularity). But, she’s managed to stay on the top to the surprise of many. Again, a super interesting space to watch! There’s always something happening.
Margaret Thatcher - I could probably copy and paste that first line from the previous summary of May. She was the first female PM and she won three consecutive elections. Her policies today would go down as extremely controversial but they were popular at the time - she privatised a lot of industries and then handed lots of Parliamentary Sovereignty to the EU. But her downfall? When she suddenly became Eurosceptic - people like politicians who don’t contradict themselves. Eventually, her own party forced her out and she was replaced by John Major (who frankly didn’t do so well either) . She was PM for 11 years in total, from 1979-1990. Her legacy still stands, through Thatcherites in Parliament and Thatcherism based conservatism.
Tony Blair - him and Thatcher actually have a lot in common. They both won three elections, brought new and shiny political ideas to the table and then got forced out by their own parties, only to have their new leader to flop quite badly too. Blair’s chancellor Gordon Brown actually became as popular as him within the cabinet and it was torn into two, Team Blair and Team Brown, like a political version of Twilight. In fact, it got so bad that the two barely spoke to other each for the last part of Blair’s term, but still retained their roles.
Clement Attlee - I know I said ‘ones you might have heard of’ but Atlee deserves more recognition. He helped to piece the country back together after WW2 and introduced this tiny thing called the NHS. He only served one term before Churchill knocked him back down to second spot.
Winston Churchill - probably the most iconic Prime Minister. He lead the country through WW2 and said some popular stuff (‘we’ll fight on the beaches’ etc) - however, he lost the election after the war to Atlee, but six years later he bounced back, served another year and then retired. Some of his work is still influential in Parliament today.
So this brief explanation of politics has turned out to be four pages long, but education is good! I’ve tried to type this free of my own political bias as keeping a neutral stance when teaching about politics is super important. Forming your own opinions is the pinnacle of democracy and if you’re still unsure about which party you’d like and would like to find out more, there are some useful links below with manifestos and the latest stuff in politics from some unbiased news sources.
Buying your first car can be very stressful. I was looking with my mum who is hopelessly clueless about cars, so I had to learn some stuff. I figured I could have done with a literal step by step (or at least a list) of things to know, so I thought hey! I’ll do that. Obviously, it’s different for everyone so I’ve tried to generalise this as best as I can.
These are just a few key things I have learnt - if you have a family member who knows loads about cars, they can be massively helpful. It may take a while to find the car perfect for you but it’s worth a long search.
Equally, it’s important that your first car is meant to be a bit crap. It’ll get scratched up and probably dented quite a bit. You may want to even have a car in mind for your second vehicle that’ll be more expensive - for example, my absolute dream car is a Ford Mustang but they are ridiculous in every sense of the word.
It’s also important to remember that every situation is different for everyone. If I look in my college car park, there’s every kind of car from 1998 Peugots to brand new Fiat 500s. An old car that has four wheels and a working engine does the exact same thing as a brand new car so go with what you can get, and what is best for you, without looking at what everyone else.
Lastly - don’t feel any pressure to buy a car straight away. It may be your financial situation or the fact you just don’t want to drive, but like I said before, it’s different for everyone. For example, my best friend isn’t learning to drive because she knows she’s going to London next year and will be using the tubes more than anything.
So, in short - go with what you can afford and what you like, don’t compare your car/driving situation to anyone else’s and only do it if you feel ready.
I always used to shy away from standing out - I would never wear clothes that would draw attention and I would never do anything that would put me in the spotlight. I was too scared of what other people would think of me, whether they were strangers of people I went to school with. It sucked quite a lot, in all honesty, because I spent far too much time worrying about other’s opinions of me.
But why we do it? Because we’re scared of people thinking we’re strange? Because we want to be liked?
It took me a while to realise that I would rather be liked for my perhaps-a-bit-odd self than as someone who wasn’t really me. I had to start making decisions for myself rather than for other people’s opinions.
It does seem really scary, but I’m so much happier now. I’m more comfortable with myself as a person and I’m more confident too. I know my friends like me for me, and I also know some people probably don’t like me for me - but what does it matter?
I always got comments from people in my year. Why do you dye your hair so bright? Or why do you wear so much makeup? - it’s pathetic, really. They choose to make nasty comments about other people but that says more about them than it does about you.
I’ll always remember a quote from Agent Carter (a Marvel TV show based off a high up female secret agent in the 40’s and 50’s) - ‘I know my self worth so no one else’s opinion really matters’.
It really stuck with me because it’s so true. We withhold ourselves because we’re scared of others’ opinions but do they really matter? If we’re happy with ourselves and we have people that care about us, why do we spend so much time worrying about the people who don’t actually matter to us?
I spent so many years worrying about other’s opinions that I forgot about the only person’s who truly mattered - my own.
Saving money as a teenager can be difficult, especially when you’re too young to get a job. I know the feeling well, I get pocket money but when I want to save up for something it can be a struggle because I also want to spend it on other things like going to the cinema, buying makeup and going places.
However, there have been occasions where I’ve managed to save up money for things I really want, like for a convention or a concert. Here a few ways;
It also helps to keep track of your money, so it might be worth signing up for online banking. It made it a lot easier for me to know how much I had in my bank by just checking the app rather than having to find a cash point.
I also found it useful to have the money I was saving up separate from my normal bank. For example, if I was out shopping and I saw a nice pair of shoes that I wanted but didn’t necessarily need, I probably would have bought them with the money I had saved up - but I couldn’t, because I didn’t have it.
It might seem like a difficult, lengthy process but it’ll all be worth it once you have what it is you wanted to save up for.
Feminism is a controversial subject today. There’s people who claims it’s a pro-female and anti-male movement and there’s so many misconceptions about the true meaning of it. There’s people who pick and choose what parts of feminism they do and don’t like and then there’s the people who use feminism to cover their sexism.
The original movement was to get women the same voting rights, and general human rights as men in the early 1900’s. Women would go on hunger strikes and put themselves in danger (ie throwing themselves in front of a horse) to get their point across - and they did, because women were granted voting rights in 1928.
But how about nine decades later - what’s feminism nowadays?
There’s misconceptions that it’s a movement for women to become anti-male and hate on all males - and I know and have seen some women do this, particularly towards men who are cisgender or straight. But that is not feminism.
People think that it’s for women only. A movement to encourage females to speak up about being sexually assaulted but at the time not doing the same for men despite being aware that a major percentage of male sexual assaults go unreported because they don’t have the same support. That is not feminism.
It might be a woman getting angry at a male in the street for cat calling her but refusing to acknowledge the wider, scarier parts of sexism (referring back to the previous paragraph) and only bothering with the parts of the movement that make them look good. That is not feminism.
Feminism is women and men and all genders alike having the same rights and chances as each other. It’s encouraging men to speak up about sexual assault. It’s about encouraging women to go into male-dominated industries without being afraid. It’s about every gender having the same support and the same chances at life, regardless as what they identify as, regardless of what they were born as.
It’s about encouraging people and supporting people, caring for people and seeing somebody for who they are and not what they are.
Valentine’s Day is meant to be the international day of love - how lovely, right? But there is also the social convention in which you must buy your significant other flowers and chocolates and expensive items to show that. In my opinion, I don’t believe that’s right. Maybe it’s me talking from the POV of someone who spends Valentine's Day with their dogs, but do you really need to spend a butt ton of money just to express your love for someone?
Here are a few alternate ideas that are very cheap, or even free, but still say a lot.
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your S/O - remember that is a day where you should enjoy the presence of one another, and it’s not about spending large amounts of money on things. At the end of the day, it is a day of love and not a day of money.
Christmas can be a tough time if your family, or you yourself, do not have much money. I’m no stranger to the feeling of wanting to buy something wonderful for somebody to thank them for being a great family member or a great friend, but you can’t, because you have no way of affording something.
But sometimes gifts can be so much more meaningful than they are expensive if you make them yourself – so, here are a couple ideas to help you this Christmas;
Make A PlaylistYou can do this on many websites – Spotify and YouTube are very good ones. You could also simply write down a list of songs on a piece of paper for them to check out if you don’t have access to either of those. You could include songs you know they love, or songs that remind you of them. If they’re your boyfriend/girlfriend you could include love songs, or if they’re having a hard time you can include inspiring/positive songs. After all, music can say more than any form of words.
Write Them a SongIf you can’t find a song out there to fit how you feel about the person, why not write one? It doesn’t sound very simple, but if you’re a musical person or you play an instrument, you could create something very special and amazing.
A Photo AlbumYou can do this online or print out photos of the two of you, or make a washing-line style string of photos that they can hang somewhere. You can include photos of your favourite members, significant moments together, or any photos that you love.
A List of Reasons Why You Love ThemCheesy, I know. But if you can’t find a gift that really, really shows how much you appreciate them, why not just say it? It could be in a letter, or you could get creative and hang them around a place for them to find and read.
Draw SomethingIf you enjoy art or drawing, this could work out very well. You could draw an image of them, or something they love – their pet, a favourite celebrity, or even the two of you together. You could find a photo you like and draw that, or if you two have a goal you want to achieve together – whether it’s getting married or going to a concert – you could draw that.
Remember that Christmas doesn’t have to be materialistic, and people will cherish photo albums and personal things more than they would with a diamond necklace or the top they saw and badly wanted. It’s not about the price-tag, it’s about the thought and love behind the gift.
I hope you have a brilliant Christmas, or if you don't celebrate it, have an excellent day all the same!
I’ve dealt with trichotillomania/hair pulling disorder since I was eleven years old. I’m fifteen now, and I’m recovering better than I have before, hopefully this time. However, I know there are many, many people of all genders, all over the world who are still in the very rough parts of the disorder.
In fact, 1% of US citizens deal with trich. That may seem very minor, but if I have worked that out correctly (fingers crossed I have, maths is not my strong suit), that’s roughly three million one hundred eighty-nine thousand people. And that’s just in the US alone.
So, if you are one of those people, whether you’re in the states or not, here are a few ways that I have dealt with trich.
Some of these may also help if you’re dealing with dermatillomania (skin picking disorder.)
1) Making your hair look niceI’m naturally blonde, and my hair is curly and untame. I used to really love it before I started pulling it out, then whenever it was unbrushed, unwashed or plain messy, I would get itchy and uncomfortable. Looking good isn’t the main part of life, but once I dyed my hair a colour I liked and styled it how I liked it, I felt much less tempted to pull it out, simple because I felt it looked nice and belonged there.
2) Fiddle with other things
I found almost anything in proximity helped - hair ties, blu tac, pen caps, rubber bands. Anything you can roll between your hands. You can also buy things online like putty and fiddly toys that can help satisfy the need to tug and twiddle things.
3) Don’t look at things online related to hair
This might seem stupid given that is an article about it, but I found that videos online to do with hair often made mine feel so much more present. I could be watching a TV show where someone gets a haircut and suddenly I’ll have an itch to pull.
Looking at people who have recovered online can inspire you. I found before and after images of people who were nearing being bald to having amazing, lovely hair really made me determined to get better and love my hair.
Find (or even draw or imagine) a picture of your ideal hair. Then, use that as a sort of goal. So, whenever you go to pull, remind yourself of the hair you want, and eventually you can have such hair. For me personally, I want blue hair, and to get an undercut. I can’t currently have it because of school limitations, but I am determined to do it when I leave next year. I’ve grown my hair back enough to be able to do it, and it was probably my main reason for trying to recover.
I really hope this helps those of you dealing with trich and I wish you a well recovery.