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


— 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 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.


The Leveson Inquiry: Who Wins

Call it regulations if you will, I say it’s the end of a free press. The British 4th estate as we know, love and loath it may be ending with this farce of an inquiry  (The Leveson inquiry into the culture and ethics of the British press) Not since the Watergate scandal has the free press been under such scrutiny. Common sense must prevail or the press as we know it will die and instead of journalism we’ll be left with PR robots that toe the party line and are afraid to break eggs.

Ok, so let me sum up what this inquiry is really about, if its not just here to make the Murdoch’s life uncomfortable. I think we can all safely say that the red tops in this country (NOTW, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily star) have behaved in immoral ways for decades. Until a few stories came out with the celebrities involved not knowing how the information had leaked. Oh the Horror.

Sienna Miller I’m afraid to say I don’t have much sympathy for, the same goes to Max Clifford, Andy Grey, Jude Law, Hugh Grant and all the other fame hungry celebs that seem to think they can become public property with no consequence. They all got substantial pay offs from the NOTW.

I do on the other hand feel some sympathy for the former Royal editor of NOTW Clive Goodman, who was the initial scapegoat to save the skins of Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks both former NOTW editors. January 26th 2007 Clive Goodman and Private Investigator Glenn Mulcaire were both jailed for illegally accessing the Royal phone messages. Andy Coulson subsequently resigned from his post as editor of NOTW only to become David Cameron’s media advisor for the Conservative party. Clearly it’s not what you know but whom.

Rebekah Brooks whom I admire somewhat, revealed back in 2003 to a Commons Committee that the paper (NOTW) had regularly paid the police for information. Coulson sitting next to her at the time tried to rebuff what she had said but the damage was done. I often wonder why an inquiry wasn’t started at this time, as this worry’s me more than getting frivolous gossip from a celeb’s mobile.

So the shredding begins, the News of the World is closed down, lots of good journalists lose their jobs while Rupert, his son, Mr. Coulson (Dave’s mate) and Rebekah Brooks (again Dave’s mate LOL) remain in uncomfortable coziness shall we say?

This is where the Leveson Inquiry loses me. From the outside looking in I see a national newspaper proprietor and editors clearly breaking the law. So as a straight thinking person I’m of the opinion that these offenders should be brought before a court of law for justice and not an inquiry in to the ethics of the media. If we have laws in place to dissuade the media from using immoral tactics then why not just use them.

David Nash at Kew – A Natural Gallery 2013


David Nash, one of the UK’s most successful sculptor began to exhibit his work at Kew Gardens in April. He created the art of sculpture as a response to nature and the extraordinary exhibition includes sculptures, flowers, art drawings and film preview all over the Gardens.

From April to September 2012, David Nash created his sculptures with new pieces from ‘wood quarry’ – using trees from the Gardens that had showed the natural atmosphere of Kew Gardens to visitors.

Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, the Wood Quarry and stunning piece of work by the Nash Conservatory was the three main galleries which displayed on the exhibition.

British artist Nash’s historical sculptures invite you to understand the relation with nature in the astonishing place of Kew Gardens. “Some of his works fit better into the gallery, while others worked better in nature,” said one of the visitors at Kew.

The Guardian newspaper claimed his work of art as ‘dramatic artworks’, as he has generally been trying to create sculptures from fallen trees, which gives Nash an inspiration to re-create a dead wood to a magnificent piece of art.

27-years-old, London-based industrial designer Yasmin Celik said that; “Nash’s pieces are great example of re-creation of the nature by woods. As a designer, I am very glad to see how fallen dead trees can become a piece of art by an artist like him.”

Tickets to the Gardens and the exhibition – adults £14.50, concessions £12.50, children 16 and under FREE

Exhibition closed last week on Sunday 14 April 2013.

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David Nash – A Natural Gallery: Seeds of Inspiration, you can find out more here;

Tweets about David Nash’s exhibition;

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David Nash on Pinterest;

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Follow N. Seyda Yilmaz on Twitter @nseydayilmaz

The Color Purple Comes to London

Copyright Wikipedia

Copyright Wikipedia

By Soraya Downie

A stage production of the 1982 novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker is set for a show at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory on July 5.

What is The Color Purple

The African American drama sets around the life and times of Celie, as she journeys from childhood to adulthood, along the way she experiences joy, tragedy, hope, love and anguish.


Film adaption

In the Steven Spielberg film adaption in 1985, Celie was played by US actress Whoopi Goldberg, Akosua Busia played her sister Nettie and US actress and TV talk host, Oprah Winfrey starred as their friend Sofia.

Proving to be a huge commercial success, the film was awarded 11 Academy Awards nominations and four Golden Globes, with Goldberg winning Best Actress (Drama).


Divided opinion

The novel is still considered to be one of the best novels of the 1980s and in American history.

Marie Kolawole, 30, a dental nurse from Camberwell, said, “The Color Purple is an exceptional story and I really enjoyed the film when I was growing up. I am slightly dubious in whether the British cast can capture the American nature of it.”

“As it looks at the hard times of African Americans, I’m hoping they really try to imitate the essence of film and really show Celie’s journey and everything she had gone through.”

Who’s who

This will be the first time that a theatre production of The Color Purple will take place in the UK, as it had been previously on Broadway in the new York in 2005.

The Color Purple’s first European premiere will showcase British talent, with stars from other big productions starring in the big lead roles.

Cynthia Erivo, who stars in Sister Act: The Musical, will take on the role of Celie and Abiona Omonua, stars in both Legally Blonde and Hairspray, will play the role of Nettie.

A worthy winner

Walker’s novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, making her the first African American woman to achieve this.

Fanatic theatre fan, Callum Moore, 27, from Camden, said “I think the show will be amazing. I’ve been waiting a long time to see a stage production of it here and it’d be interesting to see how it turns out.”

The Primary school teacher also said, “The book itself was fascinating, I’m just praying that all the British cast do a good job and bring the story to life on stage.”

Look out for…

The UK show will be directed and designed by Tony Award winner, John Doyle and adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman.

The London Menier Chocolate Factory is located on Southwark Street, South London.

Tickets are on sale now and are priced between £29.50 and £37.50.

We Aim Too High As Women?


Are ethnic minorities having trouble finding a job in the UK or is it a general issue about the rise of unemployment? The latest Survey of Ethnic Minority’s Unemployment Problem shows the reality across London. With a growing concern about the economic crisis in the UK, youth-unemployment and cultural subgroups struggling to find a job, a new survey has found that there is a huge amount of unemployed ethnic minority women. Some are even considering changing their appearances and going against their religion to find a job. Immigrants of East London, especially women around the area, are the perfect example of the unemployment problem in the UK. This was recently under- lined by the parliamentary report. Being an immigrant in a different city can be a hard feeling, and being jobless can make this much harder, making many feeling hopeless and desperate.

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Some women go as far as removing their hijabs Muslims, Jews etc. or making their names sound more English. 17.6% of people would consider changing their names in order to get a job, and some would also change their physical appearance, but 88.2% wouldn’t do this, even if they stay jobless for a long time. They did not want to be ashamed of their own cultures and traditions or religion. Fazilah Kilinc, 32, a London School of Economics (LSE) graduate on Global Media said, “I’ve worked for the BBC and never had any problems with my hijab or with my name. I don’t know other industries or sectors, but I don’t believe people would consider changing their names or surnames for only a job. We are what we have in our past, and if we are going to ignore our past or our cultures, we are not going to have a future at all.” Over half of people stated they do have problems, and only 35.3% of people think that it is difficult to find a job in the UK, even if you are not an ethnic minority.

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26-years-old Mine Gul is a graduate student from Central Saint Martins, and is now working as a Fashion Assistant in London. “Even as a British citizen, it was so hard to get a job. Even after I had graduated from an amazing Fashion college, and had my own designs and clothing lines, I still haven’t found my dream job. I don’t think it is about ethnicity. In these days it is
a main problem for all European cities.”

The report illustrated that 17.7% of Black women and 20.5% of Bangladeshi and Pakistani women are unemployed and are seeking a job, compared with only 6.8% of white women. It also showed that if you have an Asian, Middle Eastern or African background, it is nearly impossible for you to find your dream job. Walking down the bohemian East London streets, the reality is clear. A recently conducted survey shows just how hard it is for an African, Asian or Middle Eastern woman to find a job 
in the UK.

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Despite being jobless or unemployed, Londoners are still hopeful, and many don’t believe there is real discrimination in the UK’s job market. Still, they admit that these problems were based on the economical crisis and not specifically discriminating ethnic minorities. Over half said that it is a typical unemployment problem like every other country but 35.3% of people think the real problem is the person’s ethnicity. Ultimately, whichever person we asked about
the problem of unemployment, they all still had hope. The facts this survey found out show that ethnic minorities are still the orphans of British society, and that being an ethnic minority woman is even harder.

Ethnic groups in London boroughs;

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Interactive Data Map Link; http://batchgeo.com/map/46ac9fba46a5b4585e17682b34f90c81

Follow N. Seyda Yilmaz on Twitter @nseydayilmaz

Willesden Green Library to convert into Cultural Centre

By Zanib Asghar

With the help of Brent Council and Galliford Try, Willesden Green Library Centre will be combining the old and the new to create a cultural centre in the Town Square.

The agreement between Brent Council and developers, Galliford Try, will deliver a new cultural centre in Willesden Green at no cost to Brent taxpayers. In addition to the new centre, 92 residential units will be delivered by Galliford Try’s sister company, Linden Homes, on adjacent land.

The new Willesden Green Cultural Centre will consist of a play area for pre-school and primary school children, as well as a dedicated teen space for study breaks and quiet corners. There will also be a new community gallery and exhibition space for local artists, a purpose-built Brent Museum, a bigger Brent archive, a cafe, a customer contact centre and prayer room.

As the preliminary proposals began, the original suggestion was to tear down the Victorian library and create an entirely new building in its place. After several petitions, town meetings and public hearings, the proposals for a futuristic building are now combined with the current structure of the 138-year-old building.

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Although this plan seems like a great way to combine the old and the new, not everyone is supporting the arrival of the new cultural centre. Several local residents have been blogging their concerns for the library and town square.

In addition to their online protests, the Keep Willesden Green group have also been holding public meetings where residents voice their concerns over the loss of the library, how construction will disrupt peace in the area and how public space should remain public.

Despite their protesting against the new construction plans the claims were thrown out following the conclusion of a public inquiry.

Joweliya Senyonjo, a former student at the College of North West London says, “I still go to the library to study here and I like that the library is going to change. It’s good that they’re making the library bigger and adding new rooms. This way students will have a separate place to study, which is the whole point of having a library so close to the college in the first place.”

A report by Brent Council, finalized on March 11th states, “The difficulty for this application, however, is that the law requires land to have been used for LSP (leisure sport and pastimes) for a period of 20 years or more before it qualifies for registration as a TVG (town or village green).

“Whatever the affection with which the Site is held today by local residents, there is in my view simply not the evidence there to support the conclusion that the same was true in the early 1990s.

“It is also clear to me that there are many people who have come to value the Site as a civic space. However, that is not the test for registration as a TVG.”

Plans for the new cultural centre will continue, with Galliford Try hoping to start construction work in 2013.

For more information on the cultural centre and the latest construction plans, visit the Official Brent Website.

Follow Zanib Asghar on Twitter.

Tech-News: What to expect this summer

By Nayara Chaves


Google Glasses

This summer promises increasing advances in the world of technology. Some innovations are already on store shelves, while others are still dreams –  that each day become more of a reality…

Sounds like science-fiction

The first item on the list is an innovation brought by the multinational corporation Google. If augmented reality has become part of everyday life through dozens of applications for smartphones and tablets, Google Glasses promises even more. With them, you can view real-time information on everything that is in your field of vision.

How does it work?

The new gadget is said to take normal experiences to a new level of extraordinary, just point the camera in someone’s direction and you will know all about their virtual presence. Using face recognition software the glasses can supply everything about you, like your name, occupation and much more. So much for privacy, right?

The Glasses became available this month for selected developers, and will eventually hit the market by the end of 2013. Microsoft and Apple also patented similar technology and will be releasing similar versions of the product

Incredibly late 4G 

Orange T-Mobile EE 4G Mobile Store, London, Britain - 24 Oct 2012

Everything Everywhere Limited, EE mobile network operator

Second on the coveted list is the 4G technology already widespread in the United States, but just recently arrived in the UK with EE. With the fourth generation on mobile ultra broadband you can perform large data transfers to mobile devices, increasing the connection between users. Forget the headaches to play games or watch videos with your 3G modem.

The much expected technology arrived late in the UK due to technicalities. Forty other countries including Angola and Germany are already adapted to 4G networks. As EE had a full six months exclusivity, only this summer other networks will be able provide 4G to its customers.

“That’s a great improvement, it is so much faster, it really improves my IPhone experience. I couldn’t watch Netflix or the BBC Iplayer on my iPhone before, now I just have to press play,” says Brunel University, art student Claudia Suarez, 28.

Google as always, is determined to overcome. 

Google automated car model

Google automated car model

Just five years ago, a driver-less car was totally experimental, and could not be tested in any public areas. However, since the Internet giant Google presented its driver-less automated vehicle, public opinion has changed. In late 2012, three U.S. states have already legalized the use of these cars in their streets and highways, and the forecast is that these numbers are set to increase.

“If technology is this far advanced towards cars I wonder when will they reach air travel. Most people are wary of news things. I never seen one of this cars before but heard of them in other Estates,” says Eric Dir 43, a pilot from Georgia, USA.

These clever machines are set to drive much better than any of us and here is why:

The main part of the car is a laser rangefinder built-in the roof: the Velodyne 64-beam laser, creates an elaborate 3D version of its surroundings creating a perfect view of the street. But that’s not all; the built-in computers then compare the 3D data received with maps of the place. The data exchange enables the car to avoid obstacles and respect the law simultaneously.

The car adapted with: four radars, located in the front and rear, allow the car to “see” far ahead and predict different traffic conditions, promoting incredible awareness of other vehicles and pedestrians.

“Looking into the future I think the difference between manual and automated driving will be so great that people won’t be allowed to drive by themselves anymore,” says Rashid Patel, a London driver instructor.

Technology today is a part of almost everyones life. How important is technology for you?

Take the survey below and let us know your opinion…