Category Archives: culture

How young Ukrainians are fighting for a better future

Ukraine is still healing. Following the shocking deaths of over 100 protesters in the Euromaidan uprising – a wave of protests triggered by frustrated citizens calling for European integration and an end to political corruption – Ukrainians are still processing the violence that ensued. After the bloodless Orange Revolution in 2005, many thought these protests would be similar. Now, stuck between warring neighbours – Russia pulling in one direction, Europe in the other – many of Ukraine’s youth feel torn between their Russian roots and potential European Union future.

The Euromaidan protests are credited with not only removing President Viktor Yanakovich, but uniting an apathetic disjointed youth. In a country like Ukraine where corruption ran unchecked for years, few citizens were interested in politics. But when

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Gliding through Hawaiian waves with Stephanie Gilmore

As complicated as life gets, there are always a few things that are relaxing: sitting under the shade of a tree during summer, for example, or reading a book by the pool with a cold beer. At times, we city dwellers might even dare to dream of spending hours in the ocean, surfing in one of the most beautiful landscapes the world has to offer – which unfortunately is a little harder to achieve. For world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore and image-maker Morgan Maassen, however, that daydream is everyday life.

In his latest short film, Morgan takes us to Hawaii, capturing the carefree way that Stephanie glides through the transparent water, surfing with her uniquely relaxed style. In the background, a dreamy track by Brazilian band … Read the rest

Exploring the back streets at London Pride 2017

This weekend, Pride took over the streets of London. The annual march, which is now in its 45th year, has become an almost integral part of the LGBT experience – with thousands of revellers across the capital taking to the streets to celebrate their sexuality.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the creeping commercialisation of the parade has become harder to ignore. Now the big brands at Pride are loud, prominent, and unavoidable: emblazoning themselves across double-decker buses (HSBC), cock-shaped rainbow flags (Nandos), and even hosting their own parade floats (Tesco). While this may not necessarily be a bad thing – it’s better to show support than not, after all – the mass corporate sponsorship has left many mourning over the loss of soul and authenticity at the … Read the rest

How a self-taught skate nerd became Toy Machine’s go-to filmmaker

I’m two blocks from Toy Machine filmer Kevin Barnett’s apartment, grabbing a six-pack at the nearest liquor store, and there’s a Hells Angels sticker slapped on the wall behind the counter. No other stickers decorate the bare white walls, and no other motorcycle memorabilia occupies the shop. Just this lone sticker, front and centre. But it’s not tough-ass biker gangs that run the streets of Long Beach. It’s skateboarders.

“I feel like it’s growing every month,” says Barnett about the Southern California community he calls home. “You can feel the pull of skateboarding here. It’s palpable.”

And it’s true. Over the past few years, since Huntington Beach relinquished its title as the West Coast’s official Skate City, there’s been a steady stream of world class skaters … Read the rest

You’re right to worry about a revolving door between the Tories and the BBC

Yesterday news broke that two senior BBC figures, James Landale and Robbie Gibb, had held discussions with 10 Downing Street with a view of appointing Theresa May’s new director of communications.

James Landale, an Old Etonian who joined the BBC from The Times, is currently the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, having previously worked as deputy political editor under Nick Robinson. This morning he confirmed on Twitter that he had been approached by No.10, but said that he had ‘decided not to apply’. This apparently leaves Robbie Gibb, the BBC’s Live Political Programmes, as the frontrunner for the job.

The news that two BBC men were … Read the rest

How the hell do the British tabloids get away with it?

Huck‘s media lawyer Alex Wade has spent a life making sure the likes of us – as well as The Times, The Guardian and others – manage to keep publishing without getting sued. And now he’s written a novel about it.

Loosely based on his days legaling copy at The Times, Flack’s Last Shift is a pretty spectacular effort in narrative storytelling. Think about it: to turn a story about an average, most definitely pedestrian middle-aged media lawyer into a compelling tale of personal revenge is no small feat.

In his fourth book and first novel, Alex takes us deep into the arcane world of night lawyers: the guys who go through copy to ensure it’s ‘legal ok’ before a newspaper goes to … Read the rest

Does Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron really hate gays?

When the Liberal Democrats last week launched their general election campaign, no doubt they had high hopes and expectations. Despite having just nine seats in the British Parliament since their poor show at the 2015 general election, it seemed that for the Lib Dems the tide might finally be turning.

As the only one of the main parties to be demanding Britain’s impending exit from the European Union be halted, their hope is to appeal to swathes of the remain-voting 48%. It’s a fairly sizeable chunk of the population.

But it seems that for Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, gay sex just keeps getting in the way.

He’s been asked countless times now whether as a deeply religious Christian he thinks gay sex is a sin, … Read the rest

The liberal redneck killing stereotypes with humour

Trae Crowder uses comedy to disarm people on both sides of the Facebook News Feed. Growing up in a small town on the edge of Tennessee, he felt like a blue dot in a sea of red.

Today he plays a character called the Liberal Redneck who rallies against bigotry and hypocrisy in the South, while also challenging liberal stereotypes of the region.

Crowder had been doing standup comedy for six years before he decided to point a camera at himself, branching into porch rants about Southerners – racking up hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of views in the process.

The 30-year-old has exposed double standards in everything from the way ‘rednecks’ view Black Lives Matter – “This has been framed largely as Black Lives … Read the rest

Celebrating 70 years of Magnum Photos in New York

Martin Parr, Henri Cartier Bresson, David Alan Harvey, Susan Meiselas, Alec Soth, Jim Goldberg, Bruce Davidson.

When it comes to photography it’s hard to draw up a more impressive shopping list of names.

USA. New York City. 1951. A new face for the new world. Photo by Dennis Stock.

USA. New York City. 1951. A new face for the new world. Photo by Dennis Stock.

USA. New York City. 1956. Wall Street. Photo by Leonard Freed.

USA. New York City. 1956. Wall Street. Photo by Leonard Freed.

But they are just some of the legends past and present to join the ranks of Magnum Photos, and now in their 70th year the collective is celebrating its history and just how far it has come. In an exhibition – Early Magnum: On & In New York – Magnum looks back at the city that shaped it, a chance to take stock and reflect on … Read the rest

The story of Secret Garden Party in the words of those who helped make it

Three festival insiders share their personal highlights from Secret Garden Party’s humble beginnings, to its acclaim as the granddaddy of luxury festivals.

Laura Thorne, “Where The Wild Things Are” stage, 14-year Secret Garden Party veteran: [My first SGP] I was going as a driver, just someone to give people lifts. It was so secret, really hard to get to, and we travelled miles. When we got there it was just incredible — such an explosion of senses.

Ben DeVere, founder of SGP’s talks and radio station, 12-year veteran: I started off purely as a “fun-buster,” turning up with loads of friends in fancy dress, running a bar and DJ-ing. Then slowly, I got more and more involved and somehow my career became intertwined with the festival.… Read the rest

If Labour loses this election, MPs still criticising Corbyn must take a share of the blame

It’s no secret that a fair number of MPs in the Labour Party are less than pleased to have Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. It was an uphill struggle for the then backbencher to even make it onto the leadership ballot paper back in June 2015, reliant on a host of his fellow parliamentarians who professed not to support him for nominations to hit the threshold needed to get in the race.

Since then the frustration of his colleagues has  anything but died down; there have been coups, briefings against him and calls for his resignation in abundance. But despite his critics, some might even argue because of them, he’s survived.

There have been no successful attempts to unseat him, when asked again whether Labour members … Read the rest

How globalised agriculture is ruining lives in South America

Not much remains of Guayaqui Cuá in southeastern Paraguay. As fires continue to smoulder, wisps of smoke float over the charred slats of a wooden bed, burnt personal possessions and a few sombre peasants living under makeshift plastic tents, which are all that’s left of this small rural community.

Two days ago, security men from the nearby cattle ranch and local police officers, under orders of a large estate owner, moved in without notice to evict the community and raze their properties to the ground, explains a tearful María Lina Estorales. Sitting despondently on the dirt floor and wiping rivers of tears from her face, she’s trying to work out what to do next – surrounded by members of the other 21 families who lost their … Read the rest

Welcome to Lagos: Africa’s new skate hotspot

It’s all kicking off in Lagos right now. From fashion to food, film and hip hop, Africa’s creative renaissance is well and truly alive in the Nigerian capital.

Yet when it comes to skateboarding, there’s an palpable void. Home to a staggering 21 million people, and holding the title of Africa’s most populous city, Lagos – or Las Gidi, to locals in the know – might just be the biggest city in the world without a skate park.TB_2TB_6

But local crew Wafflesncream are in the process of changing that – and fighting to help Lagos punch its weight on the global skate scene. After dropping Jide, the very first homegrown Nigerian skate edit last year, the Wafflesncream family took things to new heights when they … Read the rest