Comment, Prose

Roughly Elementary

by Michael Angerer The City of Oxford has a sad reputation for its particularly high number of homeless people; according to city council data, 61 rough sleepers were recorded in 2017, up from 33 in 2016. At the beginning of February this year, the city council had to activate its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol in […]

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Comment, Culture, Prose

Slow Travel: Colonised by Capitalism

by Tobias Thornes It was with some regret that I set out again to sea, and left the magical island and its comforting solidarity in exchange for days and nights sliding across the empty waves. This time, though, my journey was to be much shorter than before, and it wasn’t long I had to wait […]

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Comment, Prose

Potential Power

by Michael Angerer Our life in a modern state is made comfortable by our trust in the power of its institutions: we know that administrative difficulties are not our problem, but that of the civil service; the presence of the police makes it so much less likely that we will have to defend ourselves against […]

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Comment, Culture, Prose

Meme Analysis: Expectation vs. Reality

by Emma Gilpin “Expectation vs. Reality” is a classic meme, one that has achieved its success through the relatability of its wry analysis of the sometimes seemingly unrelenting disappointments of modern life. The internet is a strange, ethereal space where we are able to connect with people who have similar, or wildly different, interests and […]

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Comment, Prose

Dissonance Management

by Michael Leong I’ve been meditating again recently; 10 minutes a day is a relatively low cost for a sense of having dedicated time and space to take care of myself. One exercise I’ve always struggled with is visualisation – imagining a ball of light at the top of your head, sending warm, spacious sunlight […]

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Comment, Music, Prose

The Sound of Instability

by Lauren Hill Dissonance pervades our world. Tensions and conflict can tear apart the perceived stability of our lives, shifting harmony and order into a harsh cacophony of sound.  In relation to psychology, cognitive dissonance can be explained as the inner mental conflict which results from simultaneously holding contradictory and incongruous beliefs; in order to […]

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Comment, Prose

Pleasant Discord

by Michael Angerer It seems that the most desirable thing to achieve in life is harmony – that is, at least according to many religions and a sizeable number of personal coaches. Your life is supposed to run along like a well-crafted symphony: all dissonances are to be resolved at the end. That is also […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

The Sound of Sheer Silence

by Amanda Higgin Xanda and I, reluctantly and rushed by timetables, exchange our goodbyes a few times in between final parting witticisms. I really do have to go!’ She laughs, ‘Bye!’, and with a click of her mouse and a low bee-doop Xanda disappears from my laptop screen. I lean back in my chair, still chuckling […]

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Comment, Prose

Slow Travel: Rich Lands

by Tobias Thornes It was nearing summer in the Northern Hemisphere when my boat at long last docked, but somewhere along the way we had slipped imperceptibly into the South, and – for now at least – winter was setting in around me for the second time in six months. I didn’t know it then, […]

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Comment, Prose

Current Narratives

by Michael Angerer To us, narrow-minded land-dwellers that we are, the sea has for millennia been the great unknown, the Other, a fear to be overcome. Even now, in the age of submarines and recreational scuba-diving, it has managed to remain enigmatic: it is one of those so-called interesting facts that less than five percent […]

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Comment, Prose

Making a Move into a Movement

by Amanda Higgin Xanda and I sit at a coffee shop window overlooking Cornmarket, exchanging forecasts for the term ahead as we warm our hands around drinks. Xanda is drinking green tea; I’m in dire straights with my collections revision, so I’m on coffee. I’ve been complaining about the need to make life choices, although […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Love Note to Oxford

by Shirley Russell I suppose it should come as no surprise that I’ve fallen completely in love with you. After all, this is a return and not an introduction. I’ve seen you before; I’ve seen your spires and your streets and your narrow little lanes and cosy coffee shops. I’ve been in your libraries and […]

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Comment, Prose

Slow Travel: The Vanity of Man

by Tobias Thornes How curious it is, my friends, that my memories should remain so vivid of the far distant journeys that I made so many decades ago. I have now recalled to you that first happy adventure I had, in the long-ago summer of 2017, which so piqued my yearning for exploration and magnified […]

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Comment, Prose

What You Think Will Happen

by Michael Angerer Every ending is an invitation to look forward. As we move through time, the impenetrable murk ahead, like infinite layers of cobwebs, resolves into wispy strands of memory that trail behind us; and with every new layer we brush aside, we hope to get a glimpse of the next. This, ultimately, is […]

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Comment, Culture, Prose

Becoming Vulnerable

by Michael Leong It is 3am now. A couple of us had been playing ice hockey; afterwards, JJ and I retired to my room and decided to plan next term’s Oxford Mental Health Support Network launch over a couple of beers. Our conversation returned, as it tends to do, to the people we’re hoping to […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: A Journey to Remember

by Tobias Thornes The representative of the Vietnamese travel company was most apologetic. ‘We could not get your ticket to Beijing,’ she said. ‘Only to Nanning. You can buy the Beijing ticket in Nanning. We will refund your Beijing ticket.’ So that was that. It was nine o’clock at night; the Nanning train would leave […]

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Comment, Creative Writing, Prose

Thursday Morning

by Aidan Chivers Written on my year abroad in France, where I am working as an English assistant in the small town of Romorantin. It was 10.30am on an average Thursday morning. I was in class with a group of 12-year-olds, fielding questions about the texture and consistency of Yorkshire puddings. The kids were bright, […]

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Comment, Prose

The Symbolism of Poppies

by Cora MacGregor Each November fresh controversies arise regarding the Remembrance poppy. These ostensibly emerge out of individual cases or concerns particular to the present day: the expectation for public figures to wear a poppy, how to reconcile this with the demands for neutrality, and fears over the potential for slimy politicians to exploit the […]

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Comment, Creative Writing, Prose

How to Write Yourself a Past 

by Michael Angerer Our memories are the stories that we tell ourselves: to remember is to scribble in faint pencil across the fabric of our lives. When inspiration strikes – a light across the ceiling, the warmth of a bed, a cup of tea – we conjure up an image of the past that neatly […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: Soul of a Nation

by Tobias Thornes Through the green heart of Thailand we had rushed, where the hills erupt like forested thimbles or rounded dice scattered across the plain: a mesmerising memory of a land where Earth still stores some beleaguered secrets amidst her lofty nooks. The train snipped the undergrowth, charging over little-serviced rails. Yet, sluggish seemed […]

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Comment, Prose

The Power of Music

by Josh Cottell ‘Music can shine light into places where nothing else can reach.’ James Rhodes seems to sum up my thoughts exactly. A pianist by profession, his 2014 autobiography describes his journey through an abusive childhood leading to a tough relationship with mental health. His journey is certainly an inspiration to anyone, yet it […]

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Comment, Culture, Prose

Gaps

by Amanda Higgin On the last day of Summer Eights, Oriel’s first crew walks away from the river exhausted and a little disappointed. A couple of promising bumps in the first races were followed by a few uneventful row-overs, leaving them the fourth boat on the river. Close enough to take the headship next year, […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: Inter-Railing

by Tobias Thornes ‘Hotel,’ said the border official, pointing to the place I’d left blank on the form. I must have looked conspicuously European as I waited amidst the queues of Malaysians to cross into Thailand, for almost at once he had come and beckoned me into a side office. Britons, as I knew, did […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: Re-Orient

by Tobias Thornes I have now, in the course of some twenty-one instalments, related to you most of the adventures that awaited me on setting out, so many years ago now it seems like another Age, in the spring of 2018 on my long journey of Slow Travel. Many miles I ventured by foot or […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: The Costs of Growth

by Tobias Thornes The winter’s freeze was beginning to thaw as I made my way south: into the Heart of Asia. This was the land where Russia and China meet: a large, land-locked expanse surrounded by its powerful neighbours, the mythical heart of an infamous ancient Empire that was the largest contiguous power the world […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: Bodies of Water

by Tobias Thornes Like a great, central artery, the Trans-Siberian Railway sweeps right across the vast expanse of Russia the giant. From Vladivostok in the East to Moscow in the West, through snowy plains and forested mountains, crossing countless streams with names unknown to travellers overwhelmed by so great a swiftly sweeping, vanishing array, it […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: A Point of Fracture

by Tobias Thornes Saint Petersburg was famously said to be the most ‘intentional’ city in the world. In some respects it has always resembled more symbol than settlement: the symbol of what its founder, Peter the Great, wanted his Russia to be in 1703; the symbol of an artificially Europeanised ‘western’ Russian culture under the […]

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Comment, Prose

The Myth of Rhodes: Editoriel

by Aidan Chivers The Myth of Rhodes: a Special Report The Myth of Rhodes: Editoriel Rhodes: a Perspective Rhodes Must Fall: a Timeline Putting Rhodes in His Place Iconography Campaigns: a Global Perspective Safe Spaces and Student Protest Complete Bibliography for the Report Dr Ian Forrest: Guide to Further Reading Facebook posts cited  Previous Poor Print coverage […]

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Comment, News, Prose

Putting Rhodes in His Place

by Alex Waygood The Myth of Rhodes: a Special Report The Myth of Rhodes: Editoriel Rhodes: a Perspective Rhodes Must Fall: a Timeline Putting Rhodes in His Place Iconography Campaigns: a Global Perspective Safe Spaces and Student Protest Complete Bibliography for the Report Dr Ian Forrest: Guide to Further Reading Facebook posts cited  Previous Poor Print coverage […]

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Comment, Prose

Rhodes: A Perspective

by Joanna Engle The Myth of Rhodes: A Special Report The Myth of Rhodes: Editoriel Rhodes: A Perspective Rhodes Must Fall: A Timeline Putting Rhodes in His Place Iconography Campaigns: A Global Perspective Safe Spaces and Student Protest Complete Bibliography for the Report Dr Ian Forrest: Guide to Further Reading Facebook posts cited  Previous Poor Print coverage […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: Myths of the Arctic

by Tobias Thornes A vast and varied wonderland of unimagined splendour. Such new, dramatic sights had few parallels on the pages of sweet, well-tempered Europe or sun-scorched North Africa’s well-thumbed manuscripts. It’s no wonder the dumbfounded explorers, stumbling upon this immense set of scenes unseen, this blank book far, far across the Western sea, called […]

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Comment, Prose

Safe Spaces and Student Protest

by Juliet Butcher. Box by Alex Waygood. The Myth of Rhodes: A Special Report The Myth of Rhodes: Editoriel Rhodes: A Perspective Rhodes Must Fall: A Timeline Putting Rhodes in His Place Iconography Campaigns: A Global Perspective Safe Spaces and Student Protest Complete Bibliography for the Report Dr Ian Forrest: Guide to Further Reading Facebook […]

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Comment, Prose

Iconography Campaigns: A Global Perspective

by Emma Gilpin. Box compiled by Alex Waygood. The iconography campaigns that have taken place in recent years remind us of the fact that history is littered with people and things that it would perhaps be preferable, or at least more convenient, to forget. There have been movements across the University of Cape Town, Harvard […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: A Journey Northwards

by Tobias Thornes The North wasn’t designed for travellers. Even in a warming world, where my arrival was met with bitterly weeping rain that would have been snow in a more typical November – if ‘typical’ still exists any more – Canada is not a country easily traversed. As I wended my slow way northwards, […]

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Comment, Diary, Prose

Slow Travel: Castro’s Cuba

by Tobias Thornes Entombed forever in a place where sunlight never shines. Beaten and broken by remorseless hands and feet. Tortured until I no longer recognise truth from falsehood. Consumed by fear, is there anything left of what I once was – anything left of myself? This was not my reality. But it was, I […]

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Comment, Prose

Turning Up Trumps

by Eleanor Harris It is hard to put a positive spin on an inexperienced man, who is also vocally racist, sexist and homophobic becoming the next President of America. But over the past few weeks, that is the difficulty that we have been facing. Time and time again, our words have seemed to ring hollow. […]

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