7 things you’ll only know if you’ve been a student at Birmingham University


The UK’s second city is a hugely popular student hub. Far from the concrete jungle it’s known as, Birmingham has long had University of Birmingham students captivated. From the shopping utopia of the Bullring to the oldest Students’ Union in the country, Birmingham has lots to offer. Here are some of the things you’ll only know as a Birmingham student.

1. We have the tallest free-standing clock tower in the world

(Picture: Charlotte Wilson) (Picture: Charlotte Wilson)

Stop going to London to see Big Ben – we have his big brother. Named after the famous Birmingham politician and first Chancellor of the university, Joseph Chamberlain, Old Joe stands unaided at 100 metres. Every Birmingham student holds this building close to their hearts: it’s an iconic focal point of campus, and makes the university a great addition to the Birmingham skyline.

Of course, every Birmingham student knows the darker side of Old Joe. You are…

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Norwich is inbred, Dundee is shite, Birmingham is a dump: What Google thinks of where you live


Yeah, Derby's crap. Google says so (Graphic: Steve Nimmo/metro.co.uk) Yeah, Derby’s crap. Google says so (Graphic: Steve Nimmo/metro.co.uk)

Miley Cyrus called Birmingham the sluttiest place in the UK this week and now property website Rightmove has named east London the worst place to live in the country.

But who says they are any kind of authority on the subject? For that we must turn to Google – which has been providing all our true-fact research needs since 1998.

When we asked Google about places in the British Isles, its predictive search offered some enlightening results.

Hertfordshire is ‘posh’ while Inverness is just ‘shite’. Sorry Inverness, but can we really argue with Google?

Of course we can. Arguing is what the internet is all about. So has Google got a point?

True, Edinburgh IS colder than London but is Chester irritable? We’d have ask Chester to be sure – but first checking that it’s a good time to ask it…

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Not that bollocks about trigger warnings again

Another angry woman

That argument about trigger warnings has popped up again, and I feel compelled to write about it again.

This time, the nexus of nonsense seems to be around putting trigger warnings on classic books, with university students asking for this concession to be made. It seems like a reasonable and trivial request, but this hasn’t stopped the commentariat nonsensically screaming censorship.

Let’s start with the obvious: warning that a book contains content likely to cause trauma is not the same as censorship. Do these hacks sit in the cinema, harrumphing about Big Brother when the BBFC certificate pops up and announces that the film will contain scenes of violence? Do they switch off their TV in a rage and write a column about censorship when the announcer points out that there will be an abuse storyline in the next episode of Hollyoaks? How does one even live…

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Miliband can’t tell promise from process, Balls can’t tell his Arsenal from his Eldorado, Dan Hannan can’t tell the irregular from the deregulated, and the Old Bailey isn’t telling us anything.

An interesting take on the current situation with Labour here in the UK…

The Slog.

The Opposition Leader has been in overdrive during the last week. There is no end to the things he’s going to do “under my Government”. We will ban it, we will abolish it, we will save it, we will double it, we will stop it.

So far, I’ve yet to see a single worked-out process (financial or legal) for any of it. As for Ed Balls, over the weekend he gave us the heads-up on the Eurovision Song Contest (he’s definitely not a sceptic) and Norwich City – they didn’t play well, but this kind of Twitter crap plays well with the target audience.

What we haven’t heard at all from the Shadow Chancellor as yet is a single word about Osborne’s econo-fiscal con-trick (he doesn’t want to rock the boat, see, mustn’t talk Britain down) or the biggest financial and austerity fuelled slump in world history heading our way.

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Dear Labour: your election broadcast was crap. Here’s an alternative:

Pride's Purge

(not satire – I think!)

 Dear Labour,

Your recent party political broadcast was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Admittedly I can’t say it’s actually the very worst I’ve seen –  because that distinction goes to the English Democrats whose PPB was so, so very crap I had to check it was for real and not a parody.

Of course, I’m sure the English Democrats don’t have millions to spend on their PPBs – unlike you. And I’m sure the English Democrats don’t have teams of PR experts and media goons and internationally famous spin doctors – unlike you.

But despite all those things – you still managed to produce a crap PPB of epic proportions.

It was amateurish, cringeworthy, negative, pointless and aimed at the wrong target.

Luckily for you, I’m prepared to offer my own expert advice on what your PPB should look like. Happily, it’s so simple it…

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Is Feminism Depressing? Ableism, mental illness and fourth wave feminism


I took part in a discussion with a few Twitter users the other day in which we spoke about the appropriation of the term “depressing” in the title of a webchat about the effects of fourth wave feminism. This conversation took many meandering paths and we were pretty unanimous in our opprobrium of medicalised terms to discuss everyday experiences. We spoke, at length, about the myriad ways in which we, as women with disabilities, are erased from the discourse of mainstream feminism. On the one hand my instinct is to ignore the word “depressing” as something which has become deeply assimilated into our everyday conversations, but on the other I am aware of the hypocrisy of ignoring such terms whilst feeling offend by the use of other medical terms such as “schizophrenic” or “retarded” as adjectives for negative terminology. 

 My life has been full of a variety of tragic strands…

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