Who is afraid of comics?

by Karolina Przeklas

Violent protests erupted last September when Charlie Hebdo’s French cartoon was published which “ridiculed” the prophet Mohammed. A talk this week investigated why comics and cartoons have been targeted by censorship and why they create moral panics worldwide.

London’s freelance journalist, Paul Gravett, curator and lecturer has been involved in comics publishing and promotion since 1981. His talk explained the unsurprising journey through the history of comics and the reasons why for these amazing works of art have been subjected to prosecution and in many cases destroyed.

Paul Gravett - Who is afraid of comics?

Who is afraid of comics?

“Who is Afraid of Comics”, held at the Central Library in Islington as part of a Word2013 Festival.

It’s not who is afraid

“It’s who uses that fear of comics, rather purposely because it’s a very good way to distant attention from other, probably much more serious things that are going on in the society, like unemployment or god knows what to have a focus on something like comics.” – said Gravett.

Check out children’s and young persons harmful publications act from 1955 – still in use today

Mohammed Cartoon

In September, French cartoon caused outrage in the Muslim community worldwide after Hebdo’s controversial intake on the life of the prophet Mohammed. Hebdo newspaper was calling itself a “defender of free speech and a denouncer of religious backwardness”.

 French magazine editor threatened over Mohammad cartoon

huff.to/Up8oYK

— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) September 22, 2012

1001 comics you must

read before you die

Check out Paul Gravett’s 1001 comics you must read before you die collection of comics from around the world.

1001 comics you must read before you die
Word2013 Festival takes place across the Islington borough for the whole month of May. With over 50 events to choose from you get a chance to celebrate reading, writing and freedom of expression. A range of events, exhibitions  and performances showcasing some of Islington writers, artists and organisation.
word2013

Word2013 Festival

The project has been developed in partnership with Islington Library and Heritage Service; Islington Arts Service; All Change and Free Word.

Islington Community Theatre – Word Festival – Flash Mob 2012 from Roman Sheppard Dawson on Vimeo.

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Local Hero

by Karolina Przeklas

In the UK thousands of people give up their time as volunteers. Financially, their work is never paid.  Emotionally, their commitment  has a dramatic impact on many local communities. Steve O’Neill is one of those amazing people. He has given 30 years to Islington Admiral Football Team and is still counting.

Steve O'Neill with trophies

Steve O’Neill with Admiral United trophies

The first time I met Steve O’Neill, head of football for Admiral United, he was standing on the sidelines at the Market Road football pitch. For the last 30 years you could find him there at least twice a week.

It all started by simply wanting to play some football. In 1983, together with colleagues from The Sunday Times on Grays Inn Road, Steve started a football team.

sunday times lads

Steve O’Neill with The Sunday Times lads

Admiral fc 86' with trophy

Admiral’s FC 86′ with the winning trophy

Today, Admiral United consists of two adult and four youth teams.

“Volunteering is very important in the sport,” says Steve. “Behind every champion or a team there is always someone willing to give out their time to help that person or team to achieve something. They could be anything, from team manager, coach, secretary, treasurer, fundraiser or even someone who cleans the kits, but they are vital to a club.

“Admiral’s managers, coaches, secretaries are all volunteers. They give their time freely and willingly to help. When one of our teams wins a trophy, the whole club wins it with them. It’s a shared experience.”

Admiral players come from many different nationalities. This reflects London’s multiculturalism, and Steve believes that the city is welcoming to everybody. “Londoners have a deserved reputation for letting everyone have a go at achieving something, we don’t see different cultures as being obstacles to being a Londoner,” he says.

Steve is all about football. His passion is contagious. When you talk to him about Admiral you get a warm feeling that this really is his extended family. Undoubtedly his involvement in the club is also a great personal achievement.

What does the future hold for Admiral? Steve’s dream is to “have a team full of players who have made their way through from our youth teams to play in the senior teams and to enjoy winning trophies in that team”.

But to achieve this dream and ensure the future of the club, Admiral needs help. “Playing football in Islington is very expensive and lots of our players come from lower-income families in the borough. The club is always on the lookout for anybody willing to trust us with their generous donations to enable us to continue the good work of the past 30 years,” says Steve.

Admiral Youth

Admiral’s Youth

It is thanks to people like Steve that many of the community centres around us have a chance of surviving in today’s recession. In the times of austerity measures, medieval cuts, failing education system and what can be called ‘a broken society’, we should be treating people like Steve as heroes, for these are the real role models for our children to look up to. Their commitment and passion is a corner-stone of any community.

“Football is not just a game” – Steve O’Neill

Do we believe in hangover cures?

by Karolina Przeklas

Why are the mornings after a good night out so hard to deal with?  In an attempt to answer this question, Roam conducted a survey looking in to the best ways of dealing with ‘delirium tremens’.

Sacha Gatica

NHS Direct says that hangover cures are “generally myths”. But 70% of the people in our sample believe differently…

Drinking causes damage you can’t see

“Alcohol is a powerful nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream,” says nutritionist Susana Montenegro. “The liver can only get rid of a small amount of it at the time, leaving any excess to cause havoc in the body.”

An old truth tells us that the best way not to have a hangover is simply not to drink alcohol at all.  As much as 50% of our sample agreed, so for the remaining half that don’t believe the old adage, could food be an answer?

Bring on the bacon

“Full-fat coke and a bacon sandwich always work for me,” says post office worker, Andy Armitage. Only 17% agreed with this opinion and answered ‘always’ when asked if greasy food always works as a hangover cure. On the other hand,  54% said “only sometimes” and 17% think that “it depends on what you have drunk the night before”.

“People mistakenly think can of sweet fizzy drink will help, the carbon dioxide actually gets the alcohol to the brain faster and the rush causes you to crash later on,” Montenegro says.

What about water? Chemist Raj Patel chemist says keeping your liquid levels high is important. “I recommend a high dose of vitamins B and C, lots of water and Milk Thistle, preferably before and after sessions.” Only 19% agreed, saying that a glass of water before bed always works as a hangover cure. What’s more, half of our interviewees said “no'” when asked if vitamin tablets relieve hangovers, and 15% don’t take vitamins at all.

Who let the dogs out?

How about the good old hair of the dog? Does like cure like? Charity fundraiser Kelly Kay often drinks after a night of drinking. “Hangover cures? Mine are Bloody Marys,” she said. Only 10% of our participants agreed, with 47% believing that the hair of the dog is not the way to cure a hangover.

Other things that could help are exercise and painkillers. We asked our participants and as many as 80% disagreed, what’s more almost 10%  admitted to not exercising at all.

In fact, sweating out the booze probably does nothing for hangovers at all. Too much exercise could do untold damage, especially if you are already dehydrated from too much drink.

Sex is best

So how about sex? Seventy percent of those surveyed said “no” when asked if sex is the best cure for a hangover, with 11% saying “yes” and 26% saying “sex is best for everything”.

Around the world in 40 remedies…

Our cultural search for hangover cures took us through some interesting and unusual remedies. Here are just a few we found:

  • In Poland, stomachs are lined with a thick chicken broth before drinking, and have a glass of pickle juice or eat sauerkraut the morning after.
  • In Germany, eating pickled herring called “rollmops” is used as a next day remedy.
  • The Scottish swear by Irn Bru,  while Bavarians have “Weisswurst Fruhstuck”, which is a sausage in pretzel followed by a beer.
  • In Chile, a glass of “pisco sour”, an alcoholic drink with line, is consumed, followed by a doughy empanada.

If the non-drinking option is not for you, we hope that Roam’s recommendations will ease your pain.

Please remember drinking can have a detrimental effect on people’s lives. There are organisations and other support groups that can help,  for example don’t let the drinks sneak up on you, part of Change for Life campaign, set up by the NHS.

drink-tracker-image

Check out other pictures and drawings created by Sacha Gatica, an artist who kindly donated the above drawing. One of our lucky readers, who completed the printed version of a crossword, had the chance to win this drawing for keeps.

Top 10 things to do in London with toddlers

by Karolina Przeklas

Parents are always on the lookout for a cheap day out, not only because keeping babies entertained  has a huge impact on their development, but also because boredom makes children naughty. Here are Roam’s top 10 cheap things to do with toddlers in London.

1. Go swimming

Babies spend the first nine months of their lives in water, so it’s a no-brainer that most toddlers love swimming. Many local pools run family sessions, which cost very little compared to special swimming classes. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, pack your costumes and head to your family fun sessions. With the “summer” upon us why not check out open-air swimming pools like London Fields Lido? It will be money well spent.

Londontown.com

2. Visit animal farms

Local animal farms are a great chance to introduce your little one to some “moos” and “baas”. Check out Freightliners Farm in central Islington – a wonderful place for the whole family.

3. Grab a bite to eat

Watching how kids experiment with flavours and textures can be mesmerizing. As one of the most multicultural capitals of the world, London offers different cuisines practically on every street corner.  Ignore the generic fast food joints that offer nothing apart from bad fats and high sugar content. There are plenty of other options like That place on the corner or Giraffe. Kids are very unforgiving when they don’t like something, so let your baby discover which places serve good food and which don’t.

4. Check out museums and galleries

Museums and galleries are a great source of entertainment and knowledge for everyone. For example, the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green provides a backpack designed by Montessori full of books and toys. It allows children to  lead their play, encouraging them to learn independently.

Virtual  tour of Childhood Museum 

Check out MUMSNET for honest and up-to-date reviews of events in your local museums.

5. Pop in to London Zoo

Zoos are so much fun for everyone. At London Zoo in Regent’s Park, check out what the penguins have been up to or simply hang out with the gorillas.

kumbuka, gorilla

6. Visit adventure playgrounds

From sandpits to hanging bridges, curled slides and pirate ships, playgrounds offer hours of joy – and most of them are free. We recommend the Princess Diana Memorial Playground,  with a Peter Pan-inspired design.

princess-diana-memorial-playground-pirate-ship

If you want to get more involved, why not join Londonplay and be part of a scheme design to make London streets safer for children?

7. Take part in special classes

Local libraries run special toddler classes. Islington’s Baby Bounce helps babies learn rhythm and rhyme through songs and stories. A great way to encourage children to socialise with others.

“I love coming here for an hour of singing with all the local mums” – say Kelly Davids, mum of David who offten takes part in the Baby Bounce Classes

8. Go to the park

London gets a lot of rain, but rain can be lots of fun. So if you don’t mind getting a bit grubby and wet, grab your wellies and head off to the your local park, or choose one of many dotted around London.

“Go to Westow Park in SE19, Crystal Palace. A Bug Hunt started again in March. Expect wonderful nature lovers teaching about seeds, planting trees, and story telling. All ages welcome, it’s free and quite wonderful. We had mulled apple juice to warm us up last time we went. The Park has excellent children play areas, and Crystal Palace is full of gorgeous cafes and restaurants which are all child friendly. There are Antique shops with kids toys, and independent trading shops of all varieties, and Crystal Palace Park is a five minute walk away. You have the leisure centre and pool, the petting zoo, a maze, and of course the giant stone life size dinosaurs” – says Roxana Aman, mum of Zayan and Dalia 

9. Visit an aquarium

Just like the zoo, this trip is worth every penny. The best time to visit this underwater world is during feeding times. London Aquarium has the world’s biggest collection of Caw Nosed Rays.

sea-life-london-aquarium

10. Join street parties and festivals

London’s best festivals are happening in the summer so have a look around. On the 25th of August Londoners will be dancing to the rhytms of calypso, Nothing Hill Carnival one of the world’s biggest street parties, with a special kids day opening the weekend of fun.

We also like the look of  the Lollibop Festival.

Lollibop Festival 2013

A bash for little people

And there are always smaller events that run though out the year, like Southbank’s Imagine Children Festival.

And if you want to travel further afield, take a trip outside London and visit the Butterfly World Project in Hertfordshire, the biggest butterfly experience in the world.

professor-david-bellamy

Southbank Cheese and Wine Festival 2013

by Karolina Przeklas
 
For all the cheese and wine lovers looking to broaden their horizons and sample some of the best products from around the world, why not check the Southbank Cheese and Wine Festival? Based on Southbank Square, the event runs over three days at the end of April. Roam spoke to some of the exhibitors and here are our best recommendations.

Vintage Roots – Advertised as “organic wine people”, they offer a great selection of not only wines like Argentinian Malbec but also English ales and ciders.Well done for promoting English homemade brews.

Wines of Uruguay – Delicious dessert wines from small vineyards in Uruguay, those you are not able to find in any supermarkets.

La Fromagerie – Offers a huge selection of amazing cheeses, mainly French, but also British Cheddar. Originally set up in the founder’s garage, the company now has a shop in Highbury. “We were becoming bigger and bigger so we finally got our own shop,” says salesperson xxx xxxx. So go get some cheese in your life!

La Fromagerie

Teifi Cheese – Sells raw milk cheese made with unusual and interesting ingredients.

Flour Station – Serving amazing artisan breads and pastries. We tried the potato sourdough – well worth a recommendation.

tasty sourdough breads

tasty sourdough breads

Grays & Feather – Offers award-winning bubbly from around the world. Check out the smallest bubbly bottles.

Grays & feather     Grays & feather