Art + Culture Featured

‘Pageboy’: New Elliot Page Memoir

‘Pageboy’, the upcoming memoir from Elliot Page, is set to be an Immense Personal Triumph

Described by publishers as “ground-breaking”, Juno and The Umbrella Academy star Elliot Page has announced the release of his first book and memoir, ‘Pageboy’. With a release date of June 6th 2023, Page took to Instagram to share the news, along with an in-depth and personal explanation as to the contents and meaning behind his decision to write such a memoir. 

The actor wrote, “The act of writing, reading, and sharing the multitude of our experiences is an important step in standing up to those who wish to silence and harm us.” Pages’ use of ‘us’, here, is in reference to the trans community, following the actor’s December 2020 announcement that he identified as a transgender man following months of intense self-reflection during the COVID-19 enforced lockdowns.  


Elliot Page
@ Ruven Afanador

He reflected on this further through the announcement of ‘Pageboy’, highlighting how promotional photoshoots often left him feeling uncomfortable in his own body during his pre-transition stardom: “At many points in my life it felt unbearable to be in front of a camera but making this cover with acclaimed photographer Catherine Opie was a joyful experience that I will never forget.”

He takes this notion further, ending the post on a note of hope for other transgender individuals that this comfortability is achievable, which appears to be a message that will continue throughout the pages of his memoir. “I could barely sit still, let alone focus long enough to complete such a task. At last, I can be with myself, in this body.”

Page is best known for his role in the coming-of-age teen movie Juno, released in 2007. More recently, the star has taken on a leading role in popular Netflix superhero series, The Umbrella Academy.

‘Pageboy’ by Elliot Page will be published by Flatiron and available for sale in stores and online from June 2023.

Featured TV and Film

Avatar: The Way of Water: What to Expect

Avatar: The Way of Water has taken so long to come out that most people forgot that the iconic blue aliens were in for a sequel

It’s been thirteen years after the original Avatar, which was, for the better part of a decade, the highest-grossing movie of all time. But, do people care or even remember anything about Pandora or that it’s not really a planet but a moon of another? Avatar: The Way of Water, released December 16th 2022, is set in the oceans of Pandora.

Cameron was so ambitious with the film that he spent years developing new technology to film motion capture sequences underwater. Of course, that also means the movie’s budget was astronomical. To even break, Avatar: The Way of Water would need to at least reach the top five in gross terms. That’s at least $2.04 billion, beating Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

Performance capture underwater has never been performed before, which is why the film, originally slated for 2014, was delayed eight years. Filming concluded mid-COVID-19, in September 2020. Its budget has been estimated at $350-400 million, the fourth most expensive film of all time.

Avatar: The Way of the Water
@ Digital Spy

So, who’s returning to the film? Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, and Stephen Lang are all reprising their roles, with Sigourney Weaver returning, but in a different role. Stephen Lang played Colonel Miles Quaritch, aka the big bad of the previous film, but apparently, he and other characters were resurrected by a process known as recombination. 

Cameron is confident that his film can find an audience, despite the long delay between the last one. He mentioned in an interview how the success of “Aliens” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” are both proofs that he can draw an audience of loyal fans for his movies. On top of that, the initial reception of the trailer was warm, but some fans hope the second film’s screenplay isn’t a rehash of the first one.

That would mean a love story between Na’vi or other creatures from different clans, and this time learning to ride a water alien animal instead of a sky one. The fact the trailer hints towards a soft restart more than a sequel doesn’t help matters. For example, Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) would supposedly be the villain of this one and all other possible sequels. Considering the timeline of these films, it might not be until mid-2040 that we’ll see the end of Avatar.

Still, should Avatar: The Way of Water reach or exceed Cameron’s expectations, that would make Cameron the first director with three consecutively released movies grossing two billion dollars each, all of them with a ten-year gap in-between.


Featured TV and Film

The Price of Glee: What to Expect

Glee was one of Fox’s most iconic musical hits, yet many of the show’s young stars passed away IN unfortunate circumstances

A three-part limited series called “The price of Glee” has been announced, discussing the events that caused the three deceased actors’ deaths. Investigation Discovery is producing it.

The trailer includes an image of the memorial for Cory Monteith, who died at 31 from a drug overdose in 2013, and then a photo of Mark Salling, who died by suicide in 2018. Scenes of Lake Piru, where Naya Rivera drowned at 33 in 2020 also feature.

The series will apparently focus on the themes of fame and media and how it would affect the young stars that achieved fame through Glee. The new show is set to air on January 16; you can watch the trailer here.

If anything, the trailer’s quality seems to be the only redeeming feature of the upcoming series. As one Redditor commented, the trailer looks like a badly-edited YouTube video. Fans also weren’t pleased with the exploitation of the deceased actors, especially considering how no one actually involved in Glee is participating in the documentary, or at least anyone who has been confirmed. The only related person to appear in the trailer was Naya Rivera’s father, George Rivera, who appears and says “Fame can be poisonous.” 

“Exploitative as hell. Allow Naya and Cory’s souls to rest peacefully and respect their loved ones,” a comment that nails the audience’s sentiment accurately. The show ended long after Naya passed away, and even after she published her memoir “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up” where she put most of the Glee drama behind her and focused on raising her child.

the price of glee
@ The Price of Glee

The trailer heavily hints towards a true crime approach to the cast member’s deaths, and appeals towards the audience believing every celebrity death is part of a conspiracy. In this case, it’s giving “The Glee curse” vibes. While Glee became a cultural phenomenon, its show and cast had endless controversies, many of which we’ve yet to fully unveil, and perhaps never will.

The Price of Glee promises to give a comprehensive look into all the drama surrounding the how, and look into it with “unbiased filters”. The interviewees include people close to Monteith, who will disclose his issues with substance abuse, and Naya Rivera’s family members. It’ll also feature interviews with Salling’s coworkers.

The deaths of the Glee cast members, all of which were before their time, are nothing more than a tragedy. And, while it’s too early to criticize the docuseries without watching it fully, the trailer hints more at milking the deaths of the actors rather than providing insight into the perils of young fame.


Featured Leader TV and Film

Wednesday Addams Viral Dance Recreated by Lady Gaga

Following Netflix’s Wednesday, a dance scene set to a sped-up version of Lady Gaga’s 2011 cult song “Bloody Mary” has gone viral on TikTok and Fans Want her in Season 2

Follwoing her recreation of the now viral dance routine, Gaga fans are now asking whether Lady Gaga herself could be in season two of the ‘Wednesday’ Nexflix series. The dance scene, which was choreographed by Jenna Ortega herself, blew up across social media. And, Gaga’s own version, which was posted to Netflix’s official Twitter account, is as unique as you might expect.

Fans have loved the recreation, shouting out their appreciation in the comments. One fan added “Gaga in season two please”, in a hopeful bid to get Gaga herself to arrive at Nevermore School. There is an opening for a headmistress after all, following the dramatic departure of Larissa Weems.

When the scene of Wednesday dancing began to go viral after being set to “Bloody Mary”, the Wednesday Addams Twitter account wrote:“I see you doing my dance moves to @LadyGaga’s Bloody Mary. I understand she is followed by little monsters. I approve.”

Gaga herself then quoted the tweet, writing: “Slay Wednesday! You’re welcome at Haus of Gaga anytime (and bring Thing with you, we love paws around here)”.

Released on November 23rd 2022, the Netflix series ‘Wednesday’ is a modern-day spinoff of The Addams Family, with Jenna Ortega taking on the role of everyone’s favourite spooky character, Wednesday Addams.

The new series was created by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and, of course, the king of creepy movies himself, Tim Burton. The show follows a teenage Wednesday as she navigates life at Nevermore Academy, a school especially created for outcasts. Christina Ricci, the actress behind Wednesday’s iconic portrayal in the 1991 ‘The Addams Family’ movie, even stars in the new show as Nevermore’s Dorm Mom, Ms. Thornhill.

Art + Culture Featured

Jonathan Coe: Author Spotlight

Jonathan Coe: One of Britain’s best narrators of contemporary literature

Each country has an author who can narrate its story better than anyone else: for the past 35 years, Jonathan Coe has become one of the most original and remarkable narrators of contemporary-age Britain – if not the best one.

Through his fourteen novels, Coe managed to capture the highs and lows, the contradictions, the customs and the atmosphere of each decade of the UK’s 20th century in unique ways, with the development of unforgettable characters and the use of different literary genres. 

Jonathan Coe was born in Lickey, on the outskirts of Birmingham. And, in 1961 studied at Trinity College in Cambridge and at Warwick University. Throughout his uni years, he cultivated his passion for literature and music, two disciplines that he successfully managed to pursue and mix together at various points of his career. In the late 1980s, Coe moved to London to follow his artistic ambitions: he started writing songs for two bands – The Peer Group and Wanda & The Willy Warmers – as well as publishing his first novel, The Accidental Woman. Then, in 1987 and from this moment on, one successful book after another, he became one of the most interesting voices of English contemporary literature and one of the most acclaimed worldwide.   

Throughout his career, Jonathan Coe has defined a style which can be considered a mixture of mystery, drama, comedy and grotesque (like in The Dwarves of Death or The House of Sleep), but it’s in the genres of political satire and family sagas that he demonstrates the best of his potential. What a Carve Up! unveils the secrets and dishonesty of the Winshaw family, whose members are all conservatives and supporters of the Thatcher government. In the book, Coe attacks sharply the ideologies and the shady manoeuvres of a political class that put a whole country at risk to accumulate benefits and wealth, with characters made to be hated and a clear depiction of the 80s political scene; its sequel Number 11 is set thirty years after and describes what life is like in Britain for the wealthiest 1% (some of them being Winshaw family’s descendants), while the rest of the population faces the catastrophic consequences of austerity post-2008 financial crash. 

Coe’s most acclaimed work is probably the trilogy consisting of The Rotters’ Club, The Closed Circle and Middle England. In each novel, set in the 70s, 90s and 2010s respectively, we follow the story of the Trotters, a family living in Birmingham, and their extended circle of friends and acquaintances. Through their eyes, Coe masterfully records 40 years of political and societal history, perfectly intertwining the private lives of the characters with external events and the inevitable passage of time. 

In his production, there’s also space for more gentle and introspective moments, like in The Rain Before It Falls – a touching story about passing down family memories -, A Touch of Love – crowded with lonely and lost characters -, or Mr Wilder and Me – a historical novel about director Billy Wilder as told by the memories of a Greek woman. 

Jonathan Coe returned in November 2022 with a brand-new novel Bournville, titled after a suburb in Birmingham once famous for its chocolate factory. The novel gravitates around the lives of the characters: main protagonist Mary witnesses nearly 80 years of social change, from her carefree childhood through the chocolate-scented streets of Bournville to WWII, from post-war optimism to technological advancements and the Covid-19 crisis. 

Jonathan Coe
Jonathan Coe @ Josefina Melo

Recommended works: 

  • The Rotters’ Club (2001), The Closed Circle (2004), Middle England (2018): this trilogy is a fundamental read for any Jonathan Coe fan, or for whoever wants to get a better understanding of the past 50 years in the UK. The Rotters’ Club is set in the 70s: teenagers Benjamin Trotter, Philip Chase and Doug Anderton attend the same school in Birmingham, they’re obsessed with music and girls and ahead of them there seems to be a bright future. Meanwhile, around them, the world is bursting with trade union strikes, political conflicts, racial tensions and IRA attacks. In The Closed Circle – set twenty years later, during Tony Blair’s new labour government – the protagonists have grown but still have to deal with the demons of the past: some characters are trying to overcome traumas and to find answers to questions that have been left open in the previous book, and some new problems arise; differently from The Rotters’ Club, The Closed Circle is more mysterious and tense, and the unexpected final plot twist would keep anyone on the edge of their seats. Middle England takes place during the 2010s and follows the series of events and tensions that will result in the Brexit referendum. Benjamin, his sister Lois and his friends are now middle-aged and mildly disillusioned with how their lives have turned out and the state of their country but, even though the political and social climate makes everyone expect the worst, they’ll realise that it’s never too late to make life more bearable; this novel also follows a new storyline focused on Sophie, Lois’ daughter, who embodies the tolerant and reasonable youth that tries to stay afloat through the deliriums and conspiracies of the older generations. 


  • What a Carve Up! (1994): undoubtedly Jonathan Coe’s political satire masterpiece. Young writer Michael Owen is commissioned by Tabitha Winshaw to write a biography about her family, receiving a generous remuneration in return; Tabitha has been estranged from her relatives for alleging a betrayal involving the death of one of her brothers, so she has every interest in showing to the public the Winshaws secrets. Michael works slowly on the project but, as he discovers more information, the downward spiral of selfishness, dishonesty and madness swallows every member of the family. 


  • The Rain Before It Falls (2007): in this novel Coe showed the most intimate and reflective side of his writing. Gill learns that her aunt Rosamond died: when she visits her house to collect her things, she realises that Rosamond was in the middle of recording a series of tapes for a girl named Imogen, whom Gill saw many years earlier. The only thing she can remember of her is that she was blind; in these tapes, Rosamond meticulously describes photos and anecdotes of her life in order to allow Imogen to understand where she comes from.
Fashion Fashion + Beauty Featured

Why Did Balenciaga Release the Bear Ads?

When Balenciaga isn’t getting caught in drama with Ye, it’s getting fire for controversial Ad campaigns that exploit children

In this instalment the Balenciaga Spring/Sumer 2023 drama collection, they’re featuring Kim Kardashian. Here’s a timeline of what happened when the fashion house released the most controversial ads of the year:

November 16th

Balenciaga first announced their newest Gift Shop campaign, photographed by Gabriele Galimberti.

November 23rd

The teddy bears wearing the BDSM attires were part of Balenciaga’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection. 

Their scandalous ad on Instagram had a purse covering a document on a desk containing a slightly visible message from a court ruling on child pornography, which Balenciaga confirmed was from a 2008 Supreme Court case, United States v. Williams. And, the fashion giant was quickly bashed for its supposed pedophilic messages, prompting Balenciaga to pull the campaign and apologize on social media.

In a statement, the company said, “We strongly condemn the abuse of children in any form. We stand for children’s safety and well-being.” Of course, this only ensured their relevance during the holiday season. Photographer Galimberti also issued a social media statement claiming he didn’t have any creative control over the commercial shooting.

@ Getty

November 27th

While things could’ve stayed that way, Kim Kardashian spoke out through Twitter, expressing how she was shaken by the disturbing images. She mentioned she’d have to reevaluate her relationship with Balenciaga, as a mother of four.

Two separate publicity controversies caused Balenciaga to file a $25 million lawsuit against the production company North Six. Balenciaga hired the company to produce one of two advertising campaigns. A representative from North Six admitted that the company managed the ad shoot that included the court document, but they didn’t disclose any information.

The second ad wasn’t produced by North Six, and it featured kids holding teddy bear bags dressed in bondage-styled garb. But, the real question is, who thought these were good ideas? 

A user commented that Balenciaga is the champion of calculated “shocking” free publicity, and he might be correct. It might be that the brains behind the campaign knew that sharing these pictures would rile people up, including those who don’t care much about Balenciaga. Twitter had Balenciaga trending for three days straight after the accusations began. 

Regardless of the controversies caused by the fashion house, they had the world’s eyes on them, although for negative reasons.We might be living in an era where fashion publicity has gone a tad too far.

Featured Thought + Opinion

Twitter Ends COVID-19 Misinformation Policy Under Musk

It’s a great time to spread fake news, at least after Twitter nosedive

Musk finished purchasing Twitter last month and since, has implemented severe changes in its management and company culture. And, things have only got worse since November.

Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation policy has been chopped off for good, as they’ve officially stopped taking action against tweets that breached its COVID rules as of Wednesday 23, November. For comparison, Twitter suspended around 11,000 accounts for spreading COVID misinformation in September this year. This means, that no actions would be taken against accounts that spread misinformation about COVID-19.

While the previous system had its flaws, it still provided users with the option of reporting accounts tweeting inaccurate information on COVID-19. Strangely enough, their other policies on misinformation still remain on their website, although it’s safe to say they won’t be for long.

The company already got into hot water with the Eli Lilly free insulin scandal. An Eli Lilly Twitter Blue impersonator already showed the economic impact of spreading misinformation. Then, to pour salt into the wound, those who were suspended on the website for breaking these rules are returning. The personal account of US congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, banned in January, was reinstated.

Twitter logo
@ Getty Images

Musk’s objective in purchasing Twitter was to make it a hub for free speech and even said, “The people have spoken… amnesty begins next week.”

When Twitter Blue launched, users who paid $8 a month could be verified on the site. Whereas, before, Twitter verification was only available to public figures, journalists and government officials to verify their identity.

However, issues have already become apparent with this new access to verification. An account, @EliLillyandCo, re-labelled itself as “Eli Lilly and Company”, slapped the logo as the real Eli Lilly in its profile and purchased a Twitter Blue verification company. They were practically indistinguishable from the real Eli Lilly.

This caused Eli Lilly to lose billions after the impersonator promoted free insulin through a tweet which read, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” Their shares plummeted by $22 billion.

During COVID-19, Twitter created labels and warning messages on tweets featuring information about the health crisis to better flag tweets that disseminated false claims related to vaccination or the symptoms of COVID-19. The same measures were also adopted by FaceBook, YouTube, and Instagram. To achieve this, Musk said on October 29 that he’d create a new content moderation council that had widely diverse viewpoints. 

After firing top executives, laying off half the workforce and searching for a new leader to take care of Twitter, Musk has also spoken about the possibility of the company going bankrupt. 


Art + Culture Featured

“4321” by Paul Auster – Book Review

‘4321’ Asks the question, “what if?” and delves into what might have been; something we’ve all considered

Each one of us has certainly found asking ourselves at least once these questions: what would’ve my life been like if I did this instead of that? What if I didn’t choose to walk that particular street on that day? What if I never stumbled upon this person? What if my parents never met?. ‘4321, Paul Auster’s successful (and so far, last) 2017 novel, takes hold of those doubts. 

Paul Auster is a writer who has proved very prolific throughout his career: not only he has published a large number of works spanning fiction, non-fiction and poetry, but he also explored the cinematographic world by contributing as a screenwriter and director. In his novels, recurring themes like coincidences, the fragmentation of the self and metafiction – as well as detailed attention to American history and how it affects the characters – ascribed him to Postmodernist literature: features that constitute the foundations for ‘4321 as well. 

The book focuses on the character of Archie Ferguson, the only child of Stanley Ferguson and Rose Adler, and the four different versions of his life – all absolutely plausible and unique – from childhood to young adulthood. To do so, Auster created a steady structure, with a first chapter which provides a common genealogical background to the story, and the four lives (divided into sectioned chapters, like: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2 etc.) following each other cyclically.

The book starts with chapter 1.0, which tells the sequence of events that led to Archie’s birth: how Grandpa Ferguson came to the USA (and changed his name) and what Stanley’s upbringing was like; Rose’s exciting life in New York and the tragic death of her first boyfriend; how Archie’s parents met and fell in love, and Rose’s difficult pregnancy. This chapter ends in 1947 in Newark, when and where young Ferguson was born, but over the course of his four lives everything changes according to different elements: in each chapter, where his parents decide to move to has a significant effect on Archie’s upbringing, as he attends different schools and makes different friendships; also, the adults around him change, whether it’s their parents’ marriage and jobs, or how his grandparents and other relatives interact with him. The same person can appear in each life, but with different roles (like Amy Schneiderman, a recurrent character in the novel, who enters Ferguson’s life as a girlfriend, cousin or step-sister). 

4321 Book Cover
‘4321’ Book Cover

Another central theme is the relationship between nurture and nature: the context and the influences around him may vary, but Archie will always be drawn to his true vocation. In each chapter, he grows up experiencing different hobbies and passions by becoming a promising athlete, a journalist, an avid music listener or a French poetry translator, but what he’ll eventually realise is that he’s destined to become a writer. This last detail is important not only because it’s what transforms the novel into a metafiction masterpiece, but also because it’s one of some autobiographical anecdotes that Auster included in the story. But, despite these details, the author himself declared that Archie Ferguson is not his alter ego and therefore ‘4321′ is not an autobiographical book, instead, they’re more like two peers who share the same chronology, geography and certain interests. 

American 20th-century history can be considered another main character of the book. At the beginning of the story, Grandpa Ferguson is embarking on the long journey from Belarus through central Europe, which will lead him to officially set foot in New York on January 1st 1900. Stanley’s childhood is marked by economic struggles, his parents’ difficulty to fit in the society and the premature death of his father. While Rose – a child of immigrants too – grows up in a family that soon abandoned their European roots in favour of a more sophisticated American identity. There are also the consequences of WWII, as Rose experiences an excruciating heartbreak when her ‘Great Love’ David dies in Europe as a soldier, and the post-war economic recovery, with the now married Fergusons enjoying their new life as an average middle-class couple working to build a family. Archie lives what are probably the most exciting and turbulent years of the 20th century through his teenage and early adult years. What he witnesses shapes – directly and indirectly – his consciousness: the cold war and the Red Scare, the assassination of JFK, the civil rights movement, the counterculture, 1968 student uprisings, the Vietnam war and the protests opposing it, and so on. 

Chance is a recurring theme in Auster’s work, and this novel is no exception: the author believes that life is the product of the choices and coincidences that shape us. For example, a simple forgetfulness transforms Isaac Reznikoff – Archie’s grandfather – into Ichabod Ferguson, and the unexpected death of Rose’s beloved uncle provides a name for the protagonist; throughout the book, Ferguson’s path deviates radically according to the decisions and accidents he has to deal with.   

Finally, we can’t talk about ‘4321′ without mentioning its two brilliant female main characters, Amy and Rose. Amy Schneiderman is a key figure in Ferguson’s life, as she accompanies him through adolescence in different roles, depending on the circumstances: in the first cycle, she and Archie fall in love and their relationship will be vital for their maturation, while in the third and fourth cycle Amy is his cousin and step-sister respectively, becoming a trusted family member and supporter of Ferguson’s choices; she’s a smart, witty and passionate girl, and a fundamental presence in the story. Rose Adler, Archie’s mother, is a poignant character: she’s strong, light-hearted, ironic and independent and her wisdom, mixed with her unconditional love for her son, always draws her to make the best decisions possible, even in the most troubled times. 

4321′ is a complex work that’s difficult to define: it can be considered an ambitious coming-of-age novel, a notable postmodern story or a human development study. But, however we decide to read it, one thing’s for sure: to tell the complexity of life, one is not enough. 


Featured Music

Hugo: Loyle Carners’ 3rd Studio Album is a Musical Magnifying Glass

 What Loyle Carner did with ‘hugo’ was an unprecedented stroke of genius, but a stroke of genius nonetheless

Born and raised in South London, Carner used ‘hugo to enhance not only his old sound but his societal commentary. His typical jazz-influenced sound has dug its heels into the majority of the album’s tracks, but with a speed and intensity that we haven’t yet heard from Carner. With singles and first tracks “Hate” and “Georgetown” setting the tone for the album as something that is not only deeply personal but inquisitive; a man that is clearly angry with the view of society his magnifying glass has shown him. 

‘hugo’, Carner’s third studio album, takes on the role of exploring identity with issues of race and family co-existing at the forefront, ignited by the more recent birth of his son. To which Carner has dedicated a song, ‘Homerton’. The song represents a self-discussion that sees him come to terms with the mistakes he has made as a father, as well as taking on a new understanding and forgiveness towards his own father, having seen him make similar mistakes. “Sometimes, the parents need their kids more than the kids need the parents”. It is a track that emulates the start of a journey of reconciliation, with himself and the man that came before him.

Whilst ‘Homerton’ starts the journey of forgiveness, ‘HGU’ finishes it. The track takes on another introspective approach and sees Loyle finish the album with a clear message; in what is a short story of the forgiveness he has recently experienced towards his father for the mistakes he made, Carner forgives himself. It is a much bigger message than what it may initially seem and is a message that a lot of people will be able to relate to, especially with such an unmistakably sincere and urgent quality of production. Carner does not only want us to listen to his words, but to carry them with us in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of ourselves and, perhaps, our familial relationships. 

Hugo Loyle Carner
© Christopher Currence

These sharp and insistent tracks do not stop at exploring his identity as a father, but also his identity as a mixed-race man. The most notable of which is “Georgetown”, a track featuring and born out of Afro-Guyanese poet John Agard and his well-known poem “Half-Caste”. Both explore the metaphor of a piano, and how its black and white keys are necessary to constitute a full instrument. It is a metaphor that highlights Loyle’s eventual self-acceptance of his mixed-race identity, as well as suggesting a reassuring self-love for his heritage. A piano is full and whole with its black and white keys, and so is he. It is a necessary and loving message but is not one that ends there. Tracks such as “Plastic” and “Blood On My Nikes” create a running commentary on societies handling of race-related issues. Particularly, the desensitising the media has created towards the violence young, black and mixed-race men experience in London, whilst the world continues to spin with its focus on shiny, ‘plastic’ things to take away from the real issues at hand.

And finally, Loyle, of course, does not shy away from exploring how his father’s identity as a black man played a role in impacting their relationship. We return to “HGU” to delve into such a connection; the opening lyrics “I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you” provide finality to a complicated relationship between father and son; forgiveness. But we’re not left with just that, we are shown an understanding that could come from self-introspection. Carner illustrates a notion that those with difficult upbringings may all hope to understand, “Hurt people hurt people.” But he takes it one step further, “Especially the ones who weren’t equal/the burnt treacle.” The black man, the men who were not equal to their white counterparts and by that logic were left waking up on the wrong side of the bed every day by society’s standards. Simply, it is harder to be black in contemporary Britain. We have not yet reached equality, and that kind of pain trickles through generations and relationships. It appears Carner, through his own battle with his identity, has discovered and come to terms with this notion in regard to his own father/son relationship. 

hugo‘ is a hugely successful album that takes a magnifying glass to society, to fatherhood, and most importantly, to how these affect Carner as an individual. It is a captivating, soulful album in both production and lyricism, and one that we should pay thanks to merely for its existence. Loyle Carner does not shy away from anything, perhaps in hope that, eventually, no one else will either.


Featured Gaming & Tech

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Under Fire For Bad Graphics

The new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Games can make a case study for a truly critic-proof game.

Both Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have sold ten million units in three days. And, despite being almost universally panned due to its abysmal performance for an AAA Nintendo Switch Game in 2022, the game has even broken records for Nintendo. 

The games have some of the best storylines from any Pokémon game, are more open-world than Pokémon Legends: Arceus (the de-facto open world Pokémon game), and have some interesting additions to the ever-growing Pokédex. They also had incredible marketing, which we covered in previous articles. The starters were almost universally loved, and the Iberian Peninsula-inspired Paldea seemed gorgeous, at least in the trailers. And, if the games didn’t run like a PowerPoint slideshow at some points and had a full Pokédex, they would probably be hands-down the best Pokémon games ever.

The game’s graphical flaws are glaring, and it’s almost impossible to play Pokémon Scarlet and Violet without feeling affected by its low quality at some point. Even gamers who don’t care about the graphics feel like Game Freak is trying to get away with far too much. Their predecessor, Pokémon Sword and Shield, was also met with similar criticism due to cutting out Pokémon, barebones story, and excessive hand-holding. 

Pokemon scarlet and violet
@ Nintendo

Fans of the games have shared funny clips of the game’s bugs and glitches, including one where the player becomes a giant Slenderman-like creature while riding the game’s mount or minor graphical bugs where NPCs phase in and out of existence spontaneously. This is also the first time that many gamers who pre-ordered the game actually went to request refunds from Nintendo. Those who pre-ordered either copy of the game already had it downloaded on launch day and paid for it once it finished.

Many of these gamers took to Reddit, Twitter and Instagram to vent their experiences with the game. Gaming YouTubers also praised the game. Not only that, but the game had a mix of new features that increased quality of life while also removing other features that were a mainstay from past games. Pokémon breeding is much easier and faster, while the games removed status effect animations on Pokémon battles, a feature that’s been in the game since Gen 5. Now, Pokémon also go to sleep and have their eyes wide open.

But, overall, while Gen 9 made several steps in the right direction, every other video game company is walking for miles.

Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise in the world, worth $118.5 billion. It doesn’t seem like Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Game Freak are paying attention to the gamer’s concerns and might be more focused on milking their cash cow. But, that doesn’t mean many gamers have enjoyed the game. You can identify a game’s flaws while still having fun out of the many new things added.

And, of course, more children and young teenagers only care about the Pokémon, so it’s not like the game’s target audience will care if a couple of fictional birds look pixelated in the distance.