Author: Sian Billington

Arts & Culture Editor | 19-20

2019’s been a big year for the Walt Disney Company, releasing five live-action remakes of their animated classics within nine months. Although Disney has been releasing live-action remakes of their content since 1994’s The Jungle Book, this recent trend arguably kicked off with 2014’s Maleficent, with the company re-hashing their classics for a newer audience. But there’s a bigger question here, especially in an age where animation is gaining respect as an art form: “but why?” Well, to answer that question, we must go back a long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away… America, 1984. Michael…

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Every year in late October, the charity poppy sellers set up shop in supermarkets and in schools all across the country, handing out the traditional paper and plastic poppy, now a symbol of remembrance of those fallen in war. Poppies have also expanded out, now with the classic design being sold on dresses, umbrellas, and even jewelled versions to be found in traditional retail stores. But where did it come from, and how did we get here? The story goes that in 1915, a young Canadian doctor named John McCrae was serving in Ypres and was inspired by the poppies…

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The first recorded “invasion narrative”- a story or piece of work depicting an invasion or post-invasion world- followed the mass media sensation caused by the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870’s, where after an invasion of France, the various German states unified to create the massive European superpower of the German Empire. ‘The Battle of Dorking’, was a short novel depicting a successful invasion of Britain by a German-speaking enemy, as told by an elderly grandfather to his grandchildren, who are now the heavily-taxed lower-class citizens of a colony. This story was a national sensation and a national controversy, with many…

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The National Theatre will end its sponsorship deal with the fossil fuel company Shell, after announced plans to accelerate the theatre’s plans to be carbon neutral. This follows the Royal Shakespeare Company’s end of its partnership with oil giant BP after harsh criticism and a student protest earlier in the month. Despite BP sponsoring a programme that subsidises tickets to sixteen to twenty five year olds, school students threatened to boycott the company if they did not end their partnership immediately. Shell previously sponsored an annual youth theatre festival at the National and has been a partner since 1995. When…

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There has been a new call by TV executives for an independent regulator to pick guests for reality television appearances, instead of networks choosing contestants, which may lead to networks selecting guests who will make the best television, despite any potential effects the shows might have on the contestant’s health. This comes following the death of Steve Dymond, a guest on the Jeremy Kyle Show, and the suicides of Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis. On BBC Radio 4, managing director Jonathan Stadlen said: “I think we need some independent body to try and help us to decide…

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On the fourth of January 2019, National Trivia Day, nobody expected this historic, surprising, and actually very unasked for tweet, courtesy of Pottermore’s official Twitter account, J.K Rowling’s official post-book source of content for her Harry Potter series. “Hogwarts didn’t always have bathrooms. Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence. #NationalTriviaDay” This tweet caused volumes of internet scorn, from incredulous fans who never wanted to know such a detail, to an outpouring of despair-filled memes. No-one wanted to know this, and yet Rowling chose to bless…

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New potential extradition legislation in Hong Kong has sparked off a wave of protests against the bill.  The action was ignored by the government, until police action against the young protesters turned violent. We spoke with Amanda*, Hong Kong resident and a participant in some of the protests. There is a solid reason why the protests started. It’s a reaction to a proposed amendment that would allow Hong Kong to bypass prior extradition agreements. This is especially worrying due to Hong Kong’s connection with China. Protesters are worried that residents, or even just visitors to the island, could be arrested…

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