The Killers Review: Imploding The Mirage (The Silver Lining of 2020)

Picture by https://shop.thekillersmusic.com/products/imploding-the-mirage-standard-vinyl-digital-album

Rather than writing about something terrible that happened this year (the list is too long), I have decided to offer a break with a review of one of the positive aspects of this year. 2020 graced us with the sixth studio album by the Las Vegas band The Killers, and I’m here to review it!

You may be aware of The Killers thanks to their breakout single Mr Brightside. The track has become the staple of every British party and has appeared on the UK Top Charts every single year since its 2004 release. After the immense success of their debut single, the band continued to release popular hits such as the catchy Somebody Told Me or the confusing Human with the infamous lyric “Are we human or are we dancer?” Today I will be presenting my opinions on the newest addition to the selection, released on the 21st of August, titled Imploding The Mirage.

Our first look at the newest album was Caution, released on the 12th of March. While I still find it hard to believe that such an uplifting and beautiful song came out during what for many was such a depressing and uncertain time as the world entered a lock-down, I know that it happened for a reason. The slow and almost eerie beginning as frontman Brandon Flowers’ voice echoes in the distance is quickly interrupted by the quick and up-beat rhythm of what feels like an 80s classic. In fact, the entire song has such a timeless feel that many would struggle to pinpoint the year that it was written, much less connect it with being the product of the 2020s. The powerful chorus automatically gives you the feeling of strength and inspires you to “throw caution” and break out from the confinement of everyday life. While I do agree that the lyrics may come across as almost ironic (how are we supposed to break free during a pandemic?), in my eyes, this only highlights the fact that change will come. I instantly knew that the song has the potential to be added to The Killers’ hall of fame as the overall sound is reminiscent of the band’s previous discography while still being able to stand on its own two feet and prove that The Killers are improving with each release. Though it is not the first song on the album, it promises an epic collection of songs to follow and leaves you hungry for more as the new era of The Killers begins to blossom in front of our eyes. After having treated this song as the go-to summer tune, I can confidently say that this is by far my favourite feature of the entire album and has even found its way into my top ranking of The Killers songs in general. 

Another radio classic that in turn opens the album is My Own Souls Warning. All about following your heart and reaching the finish line no matter what, fits in perfectly with the preaching of Caution and once more provides a catchy and uplifting melody that sets the tone of the album and welcomes you in without startling you with the bold new sounds. 

The two songs that follow are Blowback and Dying Breed which further work to cement our high expectations for the album as both tracks are able to tackle heavy subjects with an air of positivity and hope. Blowback serves as a song of empowerment by using phrases such as “It’s just a matter of time, she fights back” and Dying Breed becomes another one of my personal favourites with the words serving as a clear love letter to Flowers’ wife. The song effortlessly encapsulates an intimate promise while still proving to be a song that makes it easy to belt out the lyrics.

For the first time in The Killers history, Brandon Flowers is joined by an outside talent to provide the vocals in two songs: Lighting Fields (featuring K.D. Lang) and My God (featuring Weyes Blood). While at first, I was skeptical of this venture and unaware of either of the singers, after hearing both songs for the first time all of my worries vanished. The pairing of Flowers’ voice with the two artists immediately felt natural, making me wonder why this sort of crossover was never done before in their studio albums. On one hand, Lighting Fields is a soft ballad that warms your heart but once the record ends you are often left forgetting about it due to the other giants that simply prove more memorable. On the other hand, My God is in my eyes one of the strongest songs on this album. The heavy Biblical imagery that has almost become expected of the group is at the forefront but never in your face. The title refers to the feeling of relief once “the weight has been lifted”, offering the listener comfort and peace. In an album that leans heavily into empowerment and anticipation of a better future, this song perfectly balances these statements and doesn’t let the listener get carried away with needing to achieve everything at once. It slows the pace lyrically while still providing a heavy beat that matches and maintains the momentum set out from the beginning.

One of the songs that I was not won over by immediately was Fire In Bone. Wanting this review to be as honest as possible, I have to admit that upon hearing this song, I was quite confident that the song was one of the worst that The Killers have offered in the 15 years since their first record. Fire In Bone came across as uninteresting and completely disconnected from their usual style which forced me to skip it on numerous occasions. What do I think of this song now? I like it. Okay, that was not what I expected to say after my first experience with it but I stand by this statement. My change of opinion occurred when I finally decided to commit to it from beginning to end, finally finding that it is not as much of an outcast as I previously believed. The funky and irregular beat proves reminiscent of the overall tone of the band’s third studio album Day & Age, feeling most compatible with tracks such as Joy Ride and A Crippling Blow. While I still feel that the song does not fit in with the rest of the album quite as harmoniously as its companions, the simple and repetitive lyrics burrow their way into your soul compelling you to shout out “Here I am” just as passionately as you have during the songs that came before it. Trust me, this one grows on you.

Some other notable tracks on this record that I have no doubt will continue to reign supreme and firmly hold their own among the previous releases are Running Towards A Place and When The Dreams Run Dry. Both songs are over four minutes of pure bliss and prove their worth as powerful ballads. The first reaffirms the message of achieving dreams but not doing so alone while the second may be considered taking a more pessimistic stance when addressing a similar theme. The cynical line marking the beginning of the second verse “We’re all gonna die!” is simply Flowers’ way of letting us not get too carried away with false hope. Message wise, the song once more serves as a breather between the heavy inspirational imagery of its album siblings and reminds us that there is no rush in achieving our targets. While dreams are important to have and accomplish, we will all get there “running at our own pace” so there is no need to push ourselves unnecessarily. 

The final and title song of the album is in my opinion the definition of ending on a high. While the overall album leans into the themes of maturity, bravery and perseverance, the title track takes all of these motifs and gives them a fun and quirky spin synonymous with a “last hurrah”. Whilst for some the song could be bordering on cheesy and considered an anomaly among the rest of the pieces that come before it, I would have to disagree. For me, the song drips with joy and every time I hear it I can imagine the smiles of the members as they indulge in a little bit of cheeky fun to commemorate the journey that the entire album has taken us on. The almost operatic tone that Flowers adds each time at the end of the chorus by elongating the word “mirage” practically transports me straight into a Disney movie as the prince proclaims his love to his princess. Yes, the song does stand out quite visibly when compared to the rest of the discography, but is that necessarily a bad thing? The Killers have proven their versatility and originality in many instances beforehand and Imploding The Mirage is simply another gem to add to our precious collection.

Overall, as a fan of The Killers, I am extremely happy with their latest release. The album delivers phenomenally with instant classics and the band’s signature heartfelt lyrics. It is impossible to lose focus of any word and by the end, you are left feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Has this album pushed its way into my top spot? Unfortunately not, however, I still consider this to be a worthy component to the band’s portfolio and one of the best releases that this year has offered which I would encourage everyone to experience for themselves. 

By Bogna Bućko

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

Time management from a professional procrastinator

As a first-year university student, there are a lot of new things to get used too. However, perhaps the most important is time management. I wouldn’t say I’m the best at time management, far from it! But, given the heavy workload, I understand the importance of effective time management.

Considering I’m a professional procrastinator, I figured the first thing I needed to do was to put time in perspective for myself. During summer, in between my tasks and reading, I played Fallout 4 and managed to clock over 400 hours in game, all the while wishing I had more time to do this that or the other.

First, I put four-hundred hours of gameplay in perspective for myself.

There is only 168 hours in a week and just 336 hours in a fortnight. That means I’ve spent 2 weeks, 2 days, and 22 hours of my allotted life span solidly playing a video game. Moving nothing more than the digits it takes to take down a Chameleon Deathclaw. (Although in a panic that might be ten digits.)

Having realised that 400 hours is an incredible amount of time, I asked myself whether this was the only thing I wanted to do with my time, and then positively reflected on all the things I wish I had done or would also like to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I love gaming, but as a student, balance is vital.

This leaves the question of how do I transition from the summer sofa creature into the proactive and productive person I need to be for university. And preferably how do I do this in a way that doesn’t feel like someone cracked a glass plane on my head come September’s start date?

For me, this required a simple but effective 3-step plan. Something I can adjust as needed and that wasn’t demoralising.

Step 1: Exercise.

I’ve found that by using the natural motivation we all have to stretch in the morning, I could find the motivation to exercise. Taking that time to roll out my shoulders, back and stretch my legs has helped a lot. Personally, I’ve noticed: Improved posture (which seemingly disintegrates into another dimension when you’re stuck at a desk all day!), a better mental attitude and sense of motivation. And I look forward to a day more after a quick but invigorating workout.

Step 2: The Study Plan.

Creating a study plan was initially challenging as the workload in August, while important, was very sporadic. However, come mid-September, I was quickly introduced to my new academic best friend: the reading list. For me, a simple note pad does the trick. Once or twice a week, I check and write down my allotted workload and then leave the notepad open on my desk. Having a list ready helps me to stay focused without having to panic about what I need to do at the start of every day. It also helps keep distractions to a minimum as I know that once my allotted work is complete I have time left in the day for other aspects of life.

Step 3: The Chill Out.

Every night, I set time to hang out and chill. Time that I can spend rewarding myself for a day of hard work. If I’m tired, it might just be watching some TV or reading a chapter of a book or hanging out with friends. It doesn’t matter what you do in this chill-out zone, as long as it’s something fun and relaxing.

On the advice of the lecturers, I also like to try and aim for one day off a week. For me it’s Sunday. It’s the ultimate chill time, and if you do fall behind on anything, then you have this one day in the week that you can take a few hours to catch up. (It happens more than I like but thank the heavens Sunday’s there.)

So, if you’re struggling and left wondering where the time goes, remember to take advantage of your time. Be aware of the clock during your work hours and always set time to chill after a long day. You deserve the reward of a good giggle and solid rest for all your hard work and effort.

P.s. If you have any top-secret tips or discover a spare time-turner laying around, then please feel free to share below!

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

Authors bio: Hi, I’m Leanne and am currently working towards my dreams by studying History and English Joint BA. I have a passion for writing and love meeting new people to learn their stories.

Green hair and Vans – What it means to be a mature student at university

Photo by Julie Sanford

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that taking the leap and going to university is pretty daunting. The unknown, the constant doubts: Am I good enough? Will I settle in? Will I make friends? Now ask yourself the same questions but imagine you are a forty-year-old woman. I will give you a moment to process that as some of you may be so fresh out the womb that forty seems like a literal lifetime away. Others of you may be struggling with the woman part, but that’s a discussion for another day. 

Did you think about it? The age thing makes a difference, right? How can a forty-year-old woman justify actively trying to befriend teenagers? As a mum to teenagers, I am certain that my children would consider such actions plain embarrassing. How do I start befriending anyone when I am as old, if not older, than the majority of the tutors? This is when the doubts set in: Do I go the full hog, purchase a pair of Vans, learn to ride a skateboard, dye my hair, and try to blend in?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Julie, the midlife crisis I’m-so-cool-it-hurts-(literally when I fall off said skateboard)-cool mum. Because that’s all I can achieve with that look: An attempt to be a cool mum. I may be ancient but I can still recall the cool mums of my youth. They let multiple amounts of teenagers stay over whilst they went to the pub. They come home drunk and encourage everyone to do shots.

Cool mum ruled out; What are my other options? Keep myself to myself, go online, or to campus, do my lectures and leave? Except I can’t help but wanting to interact, I can’t help but start every conversation with: I have children your age. I know it’s condescending, I know it is not what you want to hear every time we break off into a meeting, but it’s all I have, guys. I need help. 

This is a learning process for all of us, this further education lark, an opportunity to grow mentally and emotionally, to be educated further and harder than we have ever before. I appreciate this opportunity but with it came something else. A shameful development has occurred on my part. I am becoming a Karen. I can’t help myself. A recent purchase of footsies and serious consideration about buying sketchers confirms it. So spare a thought for us oldies, the middle-age woman skating around campus with a green inverted bob and an overwhelming urge to speak to the manager. We are not okay. 

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

Feminism Society – Interview with President Nele Leitolf (Short version)

To read the full interview with Nele and find out even more about the Feminism Society, click here.

Describe your society in one sentence

We are fighting for equality, defending women’s rights, having fun and making friends at the same time.

What is your main goal/plan as a society?

“That’s a tough one because obviously everyone who is a member of the society has different ideas of what […] feminism is. What I want to do with the society is creating a safe space […] for people who are interested in feminism and equality, a space where their ideas can be discussed because maybe in their spaces at home, they can’t discuss those things. We as a society try to not educate people on feminism, but for example, terms like toxic masculinity or beauty standards, we are trying to have events where we explain and discuss and explore all these topics.” 

What are your plans for the future (events, activities, working with other societies/organisations/the SU)?

“We are going to try and have a lot of academic talks and have guest speakers that are not necessarily from the university, for example the women’s equality party. We also want to step away from the activism part a little bit and have more socials and get-togethers.”

What drives you personally as the president?

“I knew about feminism from quite an early age on, but I never really thought it was my thing and I was kind of intimated by the movement. Obviously, if you are not so much in the topic as I am now, you kind of think: Oh it’s cool, women can vote, women can do the job they want, they can go to university but that does not mean we have equality. I want it known to people that not only does it only seem like we have equality, but the women are still very, very disadvantaged at almost everything.”

“I am also very passionate about because I made a lot of friends last year through FemSoc which is why I think the friend-making part is so important because you are not going to be able to make a change alone whereas when you are a group you feel much more empowered.”

What do you love most about the society?

“What I love the most is that I always get super stressed out when I plan an event and then when you are at that event and people actually do turn up and people afterwards come to you and tell you how good it was, that is really, really rewarding.”

Who can join/what do your members look like?

“Everyone can join the society and I would love for everyone to join who wants to. It doesn’t matter if you have known feminism for years or if you just know the concept and are interested in it. There is absolutely no obligation to turn up to events, it is not signing a contract. You don’t even have to be a woman to join, you can be a man, you can be non-binary, you can be identifying as whatever you want, everyone is welcome.”

Is there a fee and if so, what is it used for?

“There is no fee, but we will have an email-sign-sign-up at the welcome week.”

FemSoc on Instagram: @uogfemsoc

FemSoc on Facebook: University of Greenwich Feminism Society

FemSoc on Twitter: @femsocuog

By Anne Blombach
Second year Creative Writing student, part of SODA and FemSoc and avid dog lover. Born and raised in Germany, chose London as my home in 2016. When I grow up, I want to become a journalist to provide information and raise awareness for mental illnesses and the rights of pretty much any living creature. My friends would describe me as a creative and extroverted person with great organisational skills and a passion for music and especially concerts.

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

LGBTQ+ at Greenwich – Interview with President Ryan Bryce

Photo by Greenwich Students Union

Describe your society in one sentence

“We are a safe, judgement-free network of people where you can freely be yourself.”

What is your main goal/plan as a society?

“The main goal is and has been since I took the reigns last year, to provide a community for LGBTQ+ students. Where that might sound like a very loose goal, homophobia – and all its different strands & branches – is still rife in the world and with Greenwich welcoming students from all walks of life, many students will have com from societies perhaps less welcoming than ours.”

What are your plans for the future (events, activities, working with other societies/organisations/the SU)?

“We have a couple of annual events but collaborations with other societies (and external businesses for that matter) build the bulk of our events. Annually, we have SHAG (Sexual Health and Guidance) week in tandem with FemSoc (Feminism Society) as well as the Annual Soho Bar Odyssey (ASBO) and LGBT History Month in February.”

What drives you personally as the president?

“I want to see the LGBTQ+ community at Greenwich thrive and I want other students to be able to find a home, much like I did.”

What do you love most about the society?

“I like the openness and honesty. I don’t think there is another society like it, that is so integrated with self-discovery and love. It makes it so much more of a positive experience.”

Who can join/what do your members look like?

“Anyone can join! I am more than happy to have allies within the society, so long as they are respectful and, on a political level, make sure they don’t speak over people who identify as being on the spectrum.”

Is there a fee and if so, what is it used for?

“I’m actually currently discussing scrapping the fee for joining. It’s unfair that anyone who is in any sort of financial jeopardy to not be able to join. On the other hand, I’m also considering using it much like creators do for Patreon – having it as a way for people to, if they’re able to, support the society financially so that we can run better events and make sure members have an even better time.”

LGBTQ+ at Greenwich on Facebook: LGBTQ+ at Greenwich

LGBTQ+ at Greenwich on Instagram: @lgbtqgre

By Anne Blombach
Second year Creative Writing student, active member of SODA and FemSoc and avid dog lover. Born and raised in Germany, chose London as my home in 2016. When I grow up, I want to become a journalist to provide information and raise awareness for mental illnesses and the rights of pretty much any living creature. My friends would describe me as a creative and extroverted person with great organisational skills and a passion for music and especially concerts.

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

Society of Dramatic Arts – Interview with President Daniel Chedgzoy (Long version)

Photo by Daniel Chedgzoy

Describe your society in one sentence.

The Society of Dramatic Arts (SODA) is a place for anyone who has a passion for creating theatre and making work they can be proud of.

What is your main goal/plan as a society?

SODA was formed primarily to give opportunities to perform and explore theatre to students. We wanted to be able to offer an experience that wasn’t available from any other society. These opportunities have varied from play writing to performing to devising and most recently the opportunity to work with the drama Department in Producing Theatre for Edinburgh Fringe which some members will be heading up to Edinburgh this summer to do.

What are your main goals/plans for the future?

As of now SODA is still thinking about 2019-2020 but we still plan on offering amazing opportunities. We have a Theatre trip lined up for fresher’s week where we are going to see falsettos at The Other Palace. We also want to continue offering out performance opportunities, there will definitely be another play in the coming year and combined with that we also want to produce original work. I myself am a part of the playwriting course and have seen the great plays that get written, I’d love to have some of our creative writing students, or any student with a passion for writing to devise new work that can be performed. We also plan on growing our relationship with the drama department in hopes of securing acting opportunities for the shows that head up to Edinburgh. This past year we were offered the chance to apply for crew roles which was an amazing opportunity, but we’d like to expand that to performance opportunities.

What drives me personally as a president?

Honestly, this past year, being the V.P was one of the most exhausting things I’ve undertaken. It was so much bigger than what I originally thought, and there were times when I’d just want to shut out the world. Then I’d go to rehearsals and see the joy those sessions meant to all the members. At the end of the year, we performed a show. It honestly meant so much to me, seeing how happy it made all the members, When I would see someone at the beginning who was unsure of themselves, but by the end was so confident. When members would ask if we could keep rehearsing and we’d have to say no because the building was closing. It’s these things that make it worth it. I along with the other amazing committee take on the boring paperwork and organising bit, but we only do that because it brings us such joy and pride when we see all our members giving their all.

What do you love most about the society?

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but it’s genuinely the people. If I didn’t enjoy spending time with the members of the society, I would never have applied to be president. It’s the members that make the society, it’s the reason I was so proud we were nominated for Societies Community Award, a testament to the amazing community of people within SODA.

Who can join/what do your members look like?

Anyone and everyone! Any shape, size, race, religion, any person. All are welcome!

Is there a fee? If so, what is it used for?

There is! The fee going into 2019/20 is going to be £10, this is all given back to our members in the form of trips to plays (which we cover part of the ticket price), props and costume for shows along with all the other fees that come with putting on a show (we learnt last year, there is a lot of them!). We’re also in talks with Greenwich Theatre about setting up a ticket scheme that would involve us getting free tickets for our members!

SODA Instagram: @soda.uog

SODA Facebook: Uni of Greenwich – Society of Dramatic Arts

By Anne Blombach
Second year Creative Writing student, part of SODA and FemSoc and avid dog lover. Born and raised in Germany, chose London as my home in 2016. When I grow up, I want to become a journalist to provide information and raise awareness for mental illnesses and the rights of pretty much any living creature. My friends would describe me as a creative and extroverted person with great organisational skills and a passion for music and especially concerts.

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

Feminism Society -Interview with President Nele Leitolf (Long version)

Photo by Nele Leitolf

Describe your society in one sentence

We are fighting for equality, defending women’s rights, having fun and making friends at the same time.

What is your main goal/plan as a society?

“That’s a tough one because obviously everyone who is a member of the society has different ideas of what […] feminism is. What I want to do with the society is creating a safe space […] for people who are interested in feminism and equality, a space where their ideas can be discussed because maybe in their spaces at home, they can’t discuss those things. We as a society try to not educate people on feminism, I’m not a lecturer or anything, but for example, terms like toxic masculinity or beauty standards, we are trying to have events where we explain and discuss and explore all these topics.” 

“There is fine line between educating someone and having a discussion with someone. I am willing to listen to people who are trying to challenge me on my ideas of feminism, but I am not willing to discuss with people if women are inferior to men, why we need feminism. Being a white woman, I come from a very privileged background, but I think it’s no women’s job to explain to someone why we need feminism. We can discuss the ideas behind feminism and how to fix them, but I am not going to discuss whether rape culture exists or if women are inferior to men. We are happy for people to come to our events and start a discussion, but I am not going to have the movement that I am so passionate about questioned by someone.”

What are your plans for the future (events, activities, working with other societies/organisations/the SU)?

“Last year our most popular event was SHAG week which we also won the best event award for at the society awards. A week-long series of events about sexual health and guidance. We got many different societies and sports teams in. Something that I want to keep on going as events are so much better when different societies work together because you have a different audience and it’s supporting us and it’s supporting the other society.”

“We are going to try and have a lot of academic talks and have guest speakers that are not necessarily from the university, for example the women’s equality party. We want to step away from the activism part a little bit and have more socials and get togethers. All our academic talks are kind of socials anyway, but also things like meet for a drink or a coffee and not take everything too serious all the time because I think that is important.”

What drives you personally as the president?

“I think it is kind of shocking how almost every woman I meet has a history of sexual assault. I knew about feminism from quite an early age on, but I never really thought it was my thing and I was kind of intimated by the movement. Obviously, if you are not so much in the topic as I am now, you kind of think: Oh it’s cool, women can vote, women can do the job they want, they can go to university but that does not mean we have equality. We have the big things like rape and sexual assault but also things like everyday sexism, sexism in film and advertisements, sexism on the street, being catcalled. I think it’s a very common misconception that just because we outwardly have equality does not mean we actually have equality in everyday life. I want it known to people that not only does it only seem like we have equality, but the women are still very, very disadvantaged at almost everything.”

“I am also very passionate about because I made a lot of friends last year through FemSoc which is why I think the friend-making part is so important because you are not going to be able to make a change alone whereas when you are a group you feel much more empowered.”

“There is misleading picture that society has of women that we tear each other down and are in constant competition. Women still get more judged on the way they look and the way they act, they get judged for everything and that is not okay.”

What do you love most about the society?

“What I love the most is that I always get super stressed out when I plan an event and then when you are at that event and people actually do turn up and people afterwards come to you and tell you how good it was, that is really, really rewarding. I am enjoying being at the events myself, but I also really enjoy providing events and spaces for students to come to and enjoy themselves.”

Who can join/what do your members look like?

“Everyone can join the society and I would love for everyone to join who wants to. It doesn’t matter if you have known feminism for years or if you just know the concept and are interested in it. There is absolutely no obligation to turn up to events, it is not signing a contract. The dream would be to have a big group of people who are interested in everything, but we are still students and still have private lives so that’s not going to happen. You don’t even have to be a woman to join, you can be a man, you can be non-binary, you can be identifying as whatever you want, everyone is welcome.”

Is there a fee and if so, what is it used for?

“There is no fee, but we will have an email-sign-sign-up at the welcome week.”

FemSoc on Instagram: @uogfemsoc

FemSoc on Facebook: University of Greenwich Feminism Society

FemSoc on Twitter: @femsocuog

By Anne Blombach
Second year Creative Writing student, active member of SODA and FemSoc and avid dog lover. Born and raised in Germany, chose London as my home in 2016. When I grow up, I want to become a journalist to provide information and raise awareness for mental illnesses and the rights of pretty much any living creature. My friends would describe me as a creative and extroverted person with great organisational skills and a passion for music and especially concerts.

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

Society of Dramatic Arts – Interview with President Daniel Chedgzoy (Short version)

Photo by Daniel Chedgzoy

To read the full interview with Daniel and find out even more about the Society of Dramatic Arts, click here.

Describe your society in one sentence.

The Society of Dramatic Arts (SODA) is a place for anyone who has a passion for creating theatre and making work they can be proud of.

What is your main goal/plan as a society?

SODA was formed primarily to give opportunities to perform and explore theatre to students. These opportunities have varied from play writing to performing to devising and most recently the opportunity to work with the drama Department in Producing Theatre for Edinburgh Fringe which some members will be heading up to Edinburgh this summer to do.

What are your main goals/plans for the future?

As of now SODA is still thinking about 2019-2020 but we still plan on offering amazing opportunities. We have a Theatre trip lined up for fresher’s week where we are going to see falsettos at The Other Palace. We also want to continue offering out performance opportunities, there will definitely be another play in the coming year and combined with that we also want to produce original work. We also plan on growing our relationship with the drama department in hopes of securing acting opportunities for the shows that head up to Edinburgh. This past year we were offered the chance to apply for crew roles which was an amazing opportunity, but we’d like to expand that to performance opportunities.

What drives me personally as a president?

Honestly, this past year, being the V.P was one of the most exhausting things I’ve undertaken. Then I’d go to rehearsals and see the joy those sessions meant to all the members. At the end of the year, we performed a show. It honestly meant so much to me, seeing how happy it made all the members, When I would see someone at the beginning who was unsure of themselves, but by the end was so confident. It’s these things that make it worth it.

What do you love most about the society?

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but it’s genuinely the people. If I didn’t enjoy spending time with the members of the society, I would never have applied to be president.

Who can join/what do your members look like?

Anyone and everyone! Any shape, size, race, religion, any person. All are welcome!

Is there a fee? If so, what is it used for?

There is! The fee going into 2019/20 is going to be £10, this is all given back to our members in the form of trips to plays (which we cover part of the ticket price), props and costume for shows along with all the other fees that come with putting on a show (we learnt last year, there is a lot of them!). We’re also in talks with Greenwich Theatre about setting up a ticket scheme that would involve us getting free tickets for our members!

By Anne Blombach
Second year Creative Writing student, active member of SODA and FemSoc and avid dog lover. Born and raised in Germany, chose London as my home in 2016. When I grow up, I want to become a journalist to provide information and raise awareness for mental illnesses and the rights of pretty much any living creature. My friends would describe me as a creative and extroverted person with great organisational skills and a passion for music and especially concerts.

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

The Cheer Team- Interview with Chairlady, Coach and Events Sec

The Cheer Team is well established part of Team Greenwich. They have many members and are sociable with many other sports teams.

The Crow’s Nest interviewed Chairlady, Yoshie Reza Fuentes, Coach, Hannah Upton and Events Secretary, Danielle Lynn.

Here is what they had to say about their team!

Describe your team in one sentence.

‘Our sports team is very supportive of each other in and out of training.’ -Yoshie

‘I’d say our team had the perfect balance of passion for the sport, trust in the team, and a love for each other as individuals’ – Dani

‘Damn I can’t think of a good one now you’ve taken all the good ones’ – Hannah

Are you exclusive to female members?

‘The team the last few years has been all female but has been coed in the past. It all depends on who comes out for the team’- Yoshie

‘Heck no! We don’t care about gender, race, religion, clothing size or any other form of personla expression!’- Dani

‘Cheer is a universal sports for everyone and anyone! We’re all about inclusivity’- Hannah

Do you have any plans for event coming up in Freshers/ Welcome week?

‘We do! We will be attending BOTH Welcome Fairs. We will also be having our own meet-and-greet where we will be holding a ‘Make a cookie/ Make a Friend’ event! We will also be having a couple of socials and even some early team bonding events! Make sure to check out our Intsgaram for updates! (shameless plug)’ – Dani

What’s your favourite thing about Cheer at Greenwich?

‘Getting all glammed for competitions is really fun, seeing other teams and showing off the work we put in for the whole year is a great feeling’- Yoshie

‘My beautiful friends. There’s a bond that happens when you’re on the team. You have an entire group of people that will support you through everything. There’s a mutual love and respect.’ – Dani

‘It’s like a home away from home! The bond that you create not only on the mat in training, helping each other gain new skills and literally put your life in other’s hands in stunts; but also off the mat in socials!’ – Hannah

Is there a joining fee and what’s it used for?

‘As with all sports teams there is a joining fee, but this depends on what type of member you are. Competition memberships are £60, Varsity memberships are £40 and Social memberships are £20.’ – Yoshie

What makes you a competitive side? (How many competitions do you do? Where? When? etc)

‘We do 2-3 competitions a year. A couple in London at the Copperbox Areana (where we were crowned National Grand Champions), and nationals at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham (where we placed 2nd out of 22nd teams in our division this year).‘ – Yoshie

Where and when do you train?

‘We train in 2 different venues. On Mondays we train at Avery Hill campus 7-10pm, to allow us to use the mirrors in the dance studio to teach choreography, and on Tuesdays we train at Talent Central gym 8-10pm, to allow us to practice on a sprung floor!

You don’t need any prior experience to join the cheer squad’ – Hannah

Do you have a social scene?

‘Yes we do! Every Wednesday we have a team social before going out to Lower Deck (but we have so much more than that!) Even on non-social nights we have cheer out having fun! We like to support other teams by participating in each other’s events and supporting fundraising’ – Dani

As you can see, Greenwich Mermaids are an extremely close and talented group! Don’t hesitate to get involved as much as you want, as all are welcome!

Find their Instagram here: @uog_mermaids

The Spider-verse: What it means to be part of the cosplay community

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As kids we all aspired to be a superhero or we had a superhero we looked up to, someone who made us feel safe during the bad times, some people envisioned their Dads as Superman or Batman and their Mum’s as Wonder Woman, these people that could do so much but never seemed to break a sweat and seemed almost invincible to you.

Growing up, you find more appreciation for the costumes, you find a deeper understanding and connection to a specific character or set of characters, you end up putting yourself into this fictional world that not only makes you feel safe but makes you feel whole. In an interview with Kevin Smith, Stan Lee once said that “that’s the great thing about Spiderman, it’s the reason I created him, because once he put that mask on he could be anyone, he could be White, Black, Hispanic, Asian it doesn’t matter, you could be him and go through all those stories together, that’s why I wrote him how I did, I wanted a character people could connect to so I made the most down to earth hero that I could.”

But what does this mean for the Cosplay community?

In recent media such as The Big Bang Theory you hear about conventions such as San Diego Comic Con, a place where people can meet, enjoy nerd pop culture and most of all… COSPLAY!

When attending my first comic con, I noticed that people were coming together in their grouped cosplays, whether you were dressed as a Marvel, DC, Anime or Gaming character or even celebrities not from nerd pop culture, it didn’t matter you were accepted, you’d take photos together, you’d blend in and create this group dynamic that you wouldn’t have in your everyday life. Now while at first, I wasn’t very body confident and wasn’t up for cosplaying characters I truly wanted to, people I met at the convention helped build my confidence, they helped me find a way to dress as who I wanted to dress as and not feel stared at or overwhelmed. That’s when my first true cosplay fell into place, with my love of all things Spider-Man I decided to cosplay Scarlet Spider and find out what the cosplay community was, changed my life forever.

I saw a whole new part of cosplay, I saw a level of creativity even more intense than the costumes themselves, the photo and video shoots that were planned months ahead of time or sometimes on the spot, to show the character in situations from the comics or in dream situations, the possibilities were endless. And when I got to talk to members of what’s referred to as the Spider community, I met people who made me feel not only involved, but like I belonged. Since then I’ve attended every Spider-Verse meet up since.

But cosplay isn’t all sunshine and rainbows per say, there is a darker side to the community, or more so situations that negatively affect the cosplay community. Much like the Me Too and Times Up movement in recent years, the cosplay community has had its own controversy, one that I have personally been affected by. In 2014, the cosplay community coined the phrase: Cosplay is not Consent. Now while some of you may never have heard this phrase, I can assure you, after reading this you will never forget it.

During my first attendance to MCM dressed as Scarlet Spider, people were coming up to me, asking for photos and complimenting my costume. I felt like a Rockstar and was more than happy to oblige… that was until one situation happened, during a photo shoot with another Spider cosplayer I was having the time of my life, until someone came up behind me and grabbed me, at first I thought it was a friend that I was with having a joke, but no, a con attendee was full on grabbing me and running off, he would then follow myself and other cosplayers around the convention hall and continue to do the same thing, it caused me to feel so insecure that I was ready to leave the convention, I had to have a friend stand behind me at all times just so I felt like it wouldn’t happen again.

It scared and scarred me, for a while I was unsure of putting the costume back on and though the person was found out and banned from MCM for sexual assault, it’s a situation that happens all too often. Some people feel that just because you’re in a skin tight suit, or a cosplay that shows off some part of your body which they can sexualise, that it’s okay to grab, ogle or do poses that you would never do in everyday life and the unfortunate situation is, because you don’t know who the person is, because they run off, because the conventions are so large, most of the time it goes undealt with, no matter how much you report it, no matter how far you take it. This happens much too often to male and female cosplayers alike, when attending conventions yes fair enough the costume may make the person feel sexy and attractive, a feeling which possibly they don’t have on the day to day, but it does not give anyone the right to lay their hands on you, it wouldn’t be done in everyday life so why do it at an event where everyone is supposed to be enjoying themselves and feeling safe.

During my time as a cosplayer, I’ve met some incredible people who’ve had situations at conventions themselves or who’ve had opinions on the community that I felt needed to be heard so I wanted to bring those opinions forward to all of you.

‘Really, cosplay means a lot to me, but at the same time the community can be vicious and cruel in some places and wonderful and kind in others. Cosplay in a sense is a release for me, there’s nothing I love more than pouring my soul into a new project and getting behind my sewing machine, but the toxicity of the community sometimes makes me wish I wasn’t a part of it, it’s stressful and people within it can be cruel to no end. I’d define the community itself as cruel, harsh, wonderful and brilliant all at once, because it can be those things all at once’ – Ellena Ezreal Camp

‘People struggle with belonging. With mental health issues and feel that they aren’t connected to a certain kind of group. You don’t have to, but the cosplay community is filled with so many misfits and outcasts that all feel the same way that they end up belonging together. I met some of my best friends through cosplay and that was because of the characters that we had mutual interest in. It’s hard to find someone who likes all of the same things as you, but when you see someone dressed up as your favourite character from a film or niche comic, you instantly have that connection. The love of the character’– Logan Wolfe

‘To me this community is all about bringing people together no matter who you are, whether if you’re a social outcast, or shy, or have no friends, or just different, there’s people in this community that will get you and just like you for you. Everyone is unified by the one thing they have in common, whether your cosplay is handmade or bought, or comic related, or anime related. It brings people together cause they all love the same thing in one single way, plus it’s pretty awesome’ – Harry Mustafa

If I’m honest my personal experience in the cosplay community has not been massively supportive. It seems like everyone I’ve interacted with or seen interact with each other prefers to split their time between bragging about their cosplays and putting down other people’s. It’s been quite sad to watch and is why I just stick with my friends when I go to cons instead of talking to groups of people. However, when there is a sense of supportiveness they can be a lovely bunch – I’ve just not seen that much’ – James Hameed

‘It’s a second family, inclusive and something that connects you to likeminded people, I’ve met so many close friends through cosplay and it’s just all-round good fun. Plus, I don’t have to pretend to be an adult when I can be someone else! Some people use it as a form of escape from day to day life to be another person for a day’ – Shannon Jade

‘It probably means the same to me as it does to a lot of people… freedom. Freedom to do my art, my craft and gives me the freedom to be who I want to be, how I want to be and when I want to be, it gives me the opportunity to make new friends and acquaintances with celebrities and express my inner self, I spend my time making costumes and being who I want to be, not who society wants me to be’ – William Conley

I, like many others in the cosplay community, suffer with poor mental health. I’ve met countless others who do. It is a correct stereotype, but not 100% of the community are as such. This however does not mean I am unkind, rude or inappropriate to others I meet within the community. Sadly though, many others find excuses to do so. The cosplay community in itself is not a bad group, it just has bad individuals. And as long as I have my close friends with me during these events, where I can share a night in the hotel room, with pizza and a few ciders. Making and wearing costumes to characters I love embodying, there isn’t another community I’d rather be a part of’ – Chazz Greenwood

So in the end, how would I define the cosplay community, I’d say overall the cosplay community is like a family, when you find the right group you finally feel as though you belong, but much like every family, there’s always one bad apple that tries to ruin the bunch and though some people attempt to make conventions feel unsafe and take things too far, for the majority cosplay is a safe haven, it’s a group of like-minded individuals who want to give something back to the community and creators that helped them be who they want to be. I probably wouldn’t be where I am in my life without the cosplay community and I know many feel the same, so it’s easy to throw around words like nerd and geek, but take a second to try it, give yourself that experience and find that camaraderie, take yourself out of your day to day life and just jump into a little bit of fantasy.

By Tommy Monkhouse

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.