BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike)

While Germany is building a cycle highway connecting 10 cities that aims to remove 50,000 cars from the road, cycling in Glasgow still feels like a highly dangerous affair with seemingly very little being done to make getting around by bike easier, safer or more acceptable. Since the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games, there has been an increase in the interest in cycling, definitely partly due to government campaigns surrounding these events. That same government, however, seems to be lost on how to accommodate this growth of cyclists. The national vision of having 10% of everyday journeys be made by bike in 2020 still seems very far away. A lot has to change, considering that current rates are under 2 per cent across Scotland.

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Preview: Aye Write

From crime set in India, Scandinavia or the Scottish Islands, a book about 9 months in Tibet or one about a wander through twelve of Glasgow’s finest parks – Glasgow’s Book Festival ‘Aye Write’ takes you everywhere you want to go, and even further. This year sees an incredibly international, engaging program – looking beyond the sensationalist headlines to foster a genuine understanding of modern Islam and Muslim culture, featuring two of Nigeria’s best writers or an investigation of how China became the powerful country that it is today.

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Facebook’s Fact-Checkers Fighting Fake News

Just days after the American election, Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said “I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way — I think is a pretty crazy idea. Voters make decisions based on their lived experience.” Yet with the German parliamentary election happening in September this year, the social network is introducing new tools to counter the spread of fabricated news stories in Germany, which mostly blackens Angela Merkel. In a similar fashion, the Czech government has very recently set up “anti-fake news” units, scrutinising disinformation and attempting to counter it.

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Crying Over Courgettes

While shopping for groceries in Co-op, a sign greeted me at the vegetable section: “Sorry. There’s currently a shortage of lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peppers & tomatoes, and we may run out.” While I had heard something about a lack of courgettes, apparently a bunch of vegetables had been hit by the “flooding in Spain” – the south-eastern part of Spain, supplying 80% of Europe’s fresh produce during the winter months has suffered the heaviest rainfall in 30 years – and “bad weather throughout Europe” – low temperatures in Italy resulted in that country having to import vegetables rather than their normal export – that had resulted in the Co-op having to apologise for these vegetables being out of stock.

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Film Review: One Sings, The Other Doesn’t

In association with Glasgow Film Festival 2017

The friendship between Pauline or Pomme (Valérie Mairesse) and Suzanne (Thérèse Liotard) starts out with the former giving money to the latter to travel from Paris to Zurich in order to get a safe abortion. Abortion and birth, or family planning more generally, prove to be a recurring theme in Agnès Varda’s feminist landmark One Sings, The Other Doesn’t.

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Album Review: Half-Waif – form/a

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In the opening track of Half Waif’s EP ‘form/a’, soft and simple rhythms build up into an electronic sound, obscuring Nandi Rose Plunkett’s singing. The artist – who wrote, recorded and produced this album –  presents us with a full sound and evocative layering of different pitches of her voice with mechanical, fuzzy sounds as well as Celtic influences.  

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Arts Review: Illuminate

GSDC, Mitchell Theatre, 17 – 18 Feb

One of the dances of Glasgow Student Dance Company’s show ‘Illuminate’ opens with the words of Chimamanda Adichie, sampled in Beyonce’s song Flawless: “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. […] We teach girls that they can not be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” The whole show seems to be a celebration of Adichie’s words, a celebration of female strength and girls, or any way they may identity, coming together and standing together.

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