The Problem With Universities In The U.K 2017

I just published an article on MCXV which discusses some of the issues surrounding university tuition fees, graduate jobs and the hardships facing millennials in the U.K.

This article was inspired by last night’s BBC Newsnight debate. This debate was all about the ‘generation gap’ between under 30’s and over 60’s in the UK. They inevitably discussed tuition fees (they used to be free, now they cost £9,000 a year) and job shortages (you used to have loads of offers, now you have unpaid internships). I wrote

I wrote this article because it felt like everyone was going around in circles. They were talking about how unfair it is that things are so different now, but barely anyone tried to explain why things are different. People talk about free tuition fees as if they are the answer to all our problems, but university tuition fees are not the only issue.

How are more graduates going to improve an already overcrowded graduate job market? How is it surprising that it is so much harder to get a job now there is 1: so much more competition and 2: it is so much easier to find and apply for these jobs in the first place. Should we be encouraging more people to go to university? Why should degrees like events management or social care exist? And how can we realistically make things better for the future if we are still stuck in the past? These are the questions I am asking in this article, so if you have a moment it would be great if you could read it and let me know your thoughts!



#OscarsSoWhite and what else we can do about it

Read my article about #OscarsSoWhite here.

When people talk about #OscarsSoWhite I feel like they are missing a vital point. We need more diverse staff at all levels of the industry i.e in directing, writing, producing and casting as well as acting because without it we miss out on a lot of talent which we the audience could benefit from, but this isn’t the only way we can try and get more diverse actors in the short term. A lot of main and secondary characters are ‘racially neutral’ i.e their race hasn’t been specified and yet for some reason unless we are specifically told otherwise we assume that all these characters are white.

I remember the recent uproar when the part of Hermione Granger in ‘The Cursed Child’ was given to a black woman and a bunch of people  just couldn’t understand why this Hermione was black when the character was meant to be white. But was she meant to be white? Did J.K.Rowling specify her race? As far as I can recall from the books Hermione’s specific skin colour is not mentioned (although we know she has bushy hair) and so we didn’t actually know whether she was meant to be white or not. We just assumed.

The recent talk (however real it actually was) of having a black James Bond is another important point because there really isn’t any reason Bond couldn’t be black. The people who talk about the ‘historical accuracy’ of Bond’s race seem to forget that in the 1950s we didn’t have smart phones, lap tops or tablets. We didn’t have many of the fancy tech gadgets they use for the films now, hell we still haven’t invented some of the things they show in those films. So although it’s perfectly true that a historically accurate James Bond probably couldn’t be black, since when was historical accuracy an issue for the Bond series? James Bond is a timeless character who adapts to the time, fears and current threats the world has. He has no set time, and he needn’t have a set race either.

I believe that true equality in mainstream film won’t just come from hiring more diverse writers and hoping they write about more non-white characters (although that is a big part of it). Real equality can only come when we stop assuming everyone is white unless stated otherwise, when we stop limiting talented actors to specific roles. Real equality can only happen when we stop seeing people as representatives or spokes people for their race, gender, sexuality etc and start seeing them as individuals who can play individual parts. Only when we all have the freedom to play a superhero, a villain and a romantic lead without people focusing on “what our character says about our specific group and what kind of role model we are” will we have full equality.

To read my article on Diversity at the Oscars click here now.




Penny Dreadful review

I will admit it now, I have a TV problem. As I work during the day and try to be a social member of society  its not too much of a problem, but deep down all I really want to do is drink beer, lie in bed and watch TV shows. Last night I finished my latest TV obsession, the often ridiculous and yet strangely compelling Victorian Gothic horror show Penny Dreadful, so I thought I would write my first TV review on it. This show brings together several well known Victorian horror characters (Frankenstein and his monsters, several characters from Dracula and, best of all, Dorian Gray) as well as the intriguing and often possessed original character Vanessa Ives, a few devils and demons and an American werewolf. Whilst I love Victorians, I’m intrigued by horror and I have an unnatural obsession with Dorian Gray (and Oscar Wilde) I thought at first that Penny Dreadful was going a bit too far, that the story was too random to be good. But I was wrong. You have to suspend disbelief, but for such an array of characters and such an outlandish story (the first season involved, among others, Egyptian hieroglyphics, vampires and the Devil) it actually works really well.

I love the fact that there are no good characters, that they are all complex and have all done quite bad things in their lives, it seems to be a trend recently that people aren’t so much looking at ‘good and bad’ anymore but at ‘human’ and ‘bad’, which I find very refreshing. The most dislike able character, for me at least (although the second season makes him a little more human) is Sir Malcom Murray, a colonialist whose selfishness was partially responsible for his sons death in Africa, although I find the inclusion of colonialism (and a description of some of its horrors) refreshing in a story about Victorian London, as many times it seems to be downsized quite a lot despite being extremely important to the time. Victor Frankenstein is intriguing in a kind of lost, little boy way and his creations are the most interesting and philosophical Frankenstein monsters I have encountered thus far, Vanessa Ives is awesome, is a great, strong and messed up female character and plays being possessed very convincingly (whoever starred in the exorcist should be jealous). Billie Piper is great as the Irish Consumption ridden prostitute and perhaps even better in her new role in season 2 (watch it, I won’t tell you what happens) and I may be biased but I love that Dorian Gray is a character in this show, and especially that he is shown to have multiple male and female partners (the days of ignoring Wilde’s obvious homoerotic references in that book are officially over) although I do hope if they ever show his back story they don’t deviate too much from the original. The show is quite sexually explicit in a Game of Thrones style way, and I am very happy that it is inclusive and doesn’t appear to see sexuality as an issue. The sexual explicitness and often foul language is refreshing to see in a Victorian setting, and it doesn’t hurt that several of the characters are very attractive.

All in all, if you want something simple, realistic and normal don’t watch the show, but if you want to disband disbelief, expand your knowledge of victorian horror and become severely addicted, you need Penny Dreadful in your life.