The Alleynian 710 Summer 2022

Alleynian the Summer 2022 No.710


The Alleynian no.710

Opinion, Interviews & Features 02–37

Creative Writing 38–53

The Union 54–59

Art 60–80

Music 81–95

Drama & Dance 96–119

Sport 120–145

CCF and D OF E 146–149

Wellbeing, Free Learning, Partnerships & Pupil-led Projects 150–173

Valete 174–190

All tied up 191–192

Staff editor Josephine Akrill Deputy staff editor Charlotte Judet Student editor Abel Banfield Deputy student editor Fred Edenborough Student team Oliver Abraham Nicholas Adamides Ekow Amoah Henry Armstrong George Bichard Jamie Chong Zaki Kabir Daniel Kamaluddin Francis McCabe

Sitting down to write this during the summer half-term break, I realise that the Alleynian we have created this year is incredibly ‘Dulwich College’ – in only the best ways. The wide-ranging ideas, themes, experiences and writing styles presented in this edition are so brilliant and thoughtful – with more than a few flashes of the niche and, frankly, eccentric – that the editorial team and I found it near impossible to find a cover and title that would do this Alleynian justice. My initial list of titles had a playfully terpsichorean theme; I was tickled by Dr Croally’s disco discendo , while my own favourite was ‘Boogie Wonderland’. However, setting aside these fanciful notions, we settled, more sensibly, on the theme of ‘Emergence’. This is not only an allusion to our emergence from the shadow of Covid, but it also captures, I feel, a touchingly dream-like vision of generations of various pupils in various ties, all of whom have passed, or will one day pass, through the gates of the College, only to emerge eventually, blinking, in the sunlight of the wider world. I’m not a very pragmatic worker; my modus operandi is essentially creative, so I can sometimes find it a challenge to plan ahead without being dispirited, and that is why working on the Alleynian this year has been such a hugely fulfilling and enjoyable experience. The ongoing help and advice from Ms Judet and Ms Akrill – as well as their kindness in letting me skip past my own deadlines while insisting on maintaining those given to our younger contributors – have turned this edition into something which I hope entices our readers to delve deeply into the multiple curiosities presented to them on every page. The Alleynian is a source of delights, at times strange, and often informative. Having the privilege of being its editor this year is a gift I know I shall treasure far into the future.

Ozan Okvuran Alexander Pisa Alexander Poli Zakariah Zahid Staff section editors Art: Robert Mills Drama: Kathryn Norton-Smith Music: Lesley Larkum Sport: Phil Greenaway Original commissioned artwork James He Photography

The Alleynian features photography by students, staff and professional photographers. We would like to acknowledge all those whose photographs appear in this edition. Particular thanks go to Nobby Clark, Eddie Elliott, Catherine Ibbotson, Matt Jessup and Kathryn Norton-Smith. Cover image by Ennis Yukselir (Year 12) Back cover image by Rahul Ramakrishnan (Year 11) Design and layout Nicholas Wood Proofreader Frances Button Printing Empress Litho Our sincere thanks go to Mary Jo Doherty and Georgia Mackie for their expertise in curating the beautiful and striking student artwork in this edition. We also wish to thank Joseph Spence for his support. Finally, we acknowledge, with gratitude, the efforts of all our contributors, both students and staff. Your hard work and enthusiasm make the Alleynian what it is!

Abel Banfield Editor, the Alleynian No.710



dreams There’s a charm in having OAs teach us – I’m sure they see the spectres of themselves running around campus “



Ekow Amoah (Year 13) articulates the strangeness, for students, of getting ready to leave the place which has been their world for so long, but which is far from being the ‘real world’

Given that incessant sequences of lessons have a tendency to stupefy and numb the senses, the most significant punctuation to the school day, for me, consists of moments of aberration: a teacher breaking character, or a monumental task. The constant requirement for excellence on the part of students can feel overwhelming: an Orpheus-bind between wanting to look back, in order to appreciate the work we’ve put behind us, and being forced to focus on what’s ahead of us. Recently (I write this during the first part of the Lent term), things have felt exceptionally liminal. There’s been an odd air permeating the campus, in which all causes and consequences appear to be suspended as we wait for university offers. I thought much of that miasma would be dispelled by my own, thankfully positive, news, but knowing the unease persists for others doesn’t really allow me to breathe, free from the smog. Further to that point, all offers are conditional; they feel more like mirages than the miracles people interpret them to be. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the lauding and adulation are slipping through me or whether I’m slipping through them. The most important part of your education lies outside the syllabus, or so I am told. In consequence, I have to worry that what I am learning is a Greater Life Lesson: that when I move into adult life, which feels so imminent yet distant, things won’t necessarily go the way I want. Big whoop! Anti-climactic conclusion! Yet the insulation and mollycoddling, rectifying and rewriting, erasing and tippex-ing that goes on at school mean that for many of us this could be the first time things really haven’t gone the way we need them to. This is the Dulwich Experiment. There’s a charm in having OAs teach us – I’m sure they see the spectres of themselves running around campus – but there’s a danger in the alarming insularity and smallness it makes of our world. Dulwich College is physically and spiritually a Möbius strip, and it’s troublingly easy to forget there’s a world outside these four walls – a world which neither knows of us nor cares about us.

In some ways the anxiety is to be expected, especially given our interaction with teachers. The fourth wall of teaching is sometimes broken by a reference to life, which takes us outside the pages of Hamlet or an AQA maths exercise book, and whilst it’s nice to be treated as person rather than pupil, part of me wishes it’d all come sooner. Many teachers have been people since day one – with their individual personalities, idiosyncrasies and their modi operandi; equally, many have been totems – figures who live and breathe by the book and by party lines. This great transition of totems into people just as the exit door creaks open is somewhat tragic: it makes me re-evaluate all the teachers by whom I’ve been fortunate to have been taught; it makes me wonder what they wish they could’ve told us, and the jokes they wish they could’ve made; it makes me wrap my head around them as people before, during and after Dulwich and its four walls.

But the students; the students!

I’ve watched their follies and I’ve witnessed their vices; their faux pas and shortcomings I know too well. To think that these are the adults of the future – parents, managers or even just drivers! I know not whether to laugh or cry. The thought crosses my mind that I’ll be one too, and that sends shivers down my spine. Me? I know myself too well to consider allowing myself to drive, let alone connecting with all the other tortures and trappings of adulthood. Should age alone be a gateway to responsibility? Time is relative, and I don’t believe that this is exhibited any more glaringly than in the concept of ‘maturity’, the abstract index of intelligence according to which we prohibit and inhibit. Regardless of my misgivings, we Year 13s do, I realise, have to grip the reins of newfound responsibilities tight, and ride towards the dawning of opportunities. However, I suggest we approach the sunrise with squinting and caution, watching ahead, so as not to lose our way, or take the same missteps as those who trod before us.




I don’t think we’re taught as young people to talk about difficult feelings “

Oliver Lam-Watson OA, two-time Paralympic medallist and advocate for inclusivity, talked to Ozan Okvuran (Year 13) about life, sports and how he would like society to change for the better


Ozan Okvuran : Can you start by giving an idea of how things were for you when you were a student at the College, and to what degree you discussed issues around disability? Oliver Lam-Watson : To be honest, I wasn’t ready to talk about my disability, and I think that a lot of people realised that. No-one questioned it; no-one asked. That was kind of the way I liked it for several years, because I didn’t want to draw attention to my leg, or to the fact that I couldn’t walk. For me it was about being as far away from the word ‘disability’ as possible and about just saying, oh, it’s an accident. It was a sports accident. It will get better soon.

OO : What motivated you?

OL-W : I had years and years of just feeling like I was less than everyone else; of feeling, you know what – I can’t do this. People had always told me I couldn’t, and then, I thought, well, what if I can? What if people telling me what I can and can’t do all the time is wrong? What if I can be an athlete? What if I can walk and run again? What if I can go to the gym and train? OO : You were at a significant crossroads in your life. You were faced with the prospect of amputation. How did you deal with the stress? OL-W : Actually, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I don’t think we’re taught as young people to talk about difficult feelings and to acknowledge those things. Amputation is usually forced on a person as a result of an injury or an accident. So to be faced with the decision of whether or not to amputate is very unusual. It’s akin to being faced with losing a loved one, because you’re losing a part of yourself. I was studying architecture at the time and I was into cameras, so I would drive around in my car, put a GoPro up and just talk, for hours. I did it once a week, and it was

OO : Did things change, and if so, when?

OL-W : It was actually at Dulwich College Prep School [now Dulwich Prep London] that my disability got worse. Around the age of about nine, my leg became a lot more painful. I remember that going from lesson to lesson was just a nightmare. So I actually started using crutches at that point. And I think as I grew, and didn’t use my leg, it became very tight. The nerves, the tendons and the muscles didn’t grow in the same way that they would have done if I had been walking on my leg.



very therapeutic for me, making this diary, and then looking back at it. I never uploaded those videos. I still have them on my hard drive. Looking back, I can see that was sort of the start of the kind of work I do on my YouTube channel. OO : Through sheer dedication, in a year or two you reached one of the most elite levels of Paralympic fencing. Could you say something about what that requires, what that feels like? OL-W : I think people imagine that elite athletes, Olympians and so forth, are these amazing people who are really strong, and who love training every day. When they give interviews, you hear them say: oh, I’m so honoured to be here; it’s so, so good; I really enjoy everything. But it’s not always like that as an elite athlete. Sometimes we wake up, and we just don’t want to go to training. Sometimes we go to training and we can’t hit a single thing. Sometimes, leading up to the Games, I was sitting there thinking, why am I going to the Paralympics? I’m not good enough, even though I qualified. I think the thing about being an athlete is that you think, well, I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to keep pushing, because I want it really badly. It’s about having the drive to achieve. I emailed Red Bull, Nike, Adidas and everyone at Marmite, telling them that I was going to Tokyo 2020 and asking them, do you want to back me? And every single one said no. But now I’m working with Nike: I did a shoe with them, I’m about to release my own range of T-shirt designs and I’m also working with them on accessible shoes.

would be nervous about defence on the Paralympic stage or the World Cup against really good people. It’s normal. OO : Can you talk about the level of support you received, especially from the UK Olympic Committee? OL-W : There are definitely differences between the Olympics and the Paralympics. They’re two different companies, essentially. So what the Olympians get is different from what the Paralympians get. There are definitely chicken and egg scenarios like, why don’t they show more Paralympic sports? Because people aren’t that interested in Paralympic sports? Why? Because they haven’t seen them on TV as much. So it’s very difficult. But I think since London 2012, we’ve changed a lot. Of course there are always going to be differences. And I do think people see it as the normal Olympics and the not-normal Olympics or the Special Olympics, or the Olympics and the disabled Olympics. It’s not any of those things. It’s a Paralympics: we’re our own thing.

OO : Could you talk a little about your views on the social model of disability?

OL-W : I guess it’s the idea that people are disabled more by society than they are by their diagnosis. It might take me a second longer to get in a car than you, or you can be on the phone while you walk, while I can’t. But that’s my normal: I don’t feel disabled by the fact I can’t do those things. What I do feel disabled by is society’s perceptions. I think there’s a lot of work to do in society about how we approach disabled people. And there are millions of types of disability, ranging from someone with diabetes to someone with one leg or someone in a wheelchair. I’m hoping that it will get its time in the spotlight, like many of the other movements have. Disability is definitely lagging behind a lot of the minority groups, especially recently with BLM, and the LGBTQ+ movement, which is paving the way, I think, for minority groups. I think disability is lagging behind purely because it’s, I’ll be honest, the least sexy. It’s the less marketable minority. We need society to stop seeing people as less because they’re disabled. People need to stop thinking, if there’s a disabled person with a nice car, that they’re scamming, or that they got the blue badge to skip parking tickets. Honestly, when you look at the way that disabled people are talked about, you should just imagine changing the word disabled for another minority group: it’d be recognised as being disgusting.

OO : I’d like to ask you about an issue that many athletes in the College face: performance anxiety and stress. I’d like to ask about your approach on it. You said that you had moments of self-doubt in major tournaments. How do you deal with this?

OL-W : I think the biggest problem is when someone tells themself, oh, I’m nervous, I shouldn’t feel nervous. They try to tell themselves not to feel a certain way when in fact, whenever I feel nervous, I think, yeah, anyone in my position

OO : Are you looking forward to Paris 2024?

OL-W : Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, but you can never count on these things until the day you actually qualify. All I know is that if I don’t qualify, it won’t be because I didn’t try hard enough!





Known and valued by all who work and learn in the Lower School, Barry Gower retires from his job as Lower School Porter this year, having worked in different parts of the College for well over two decades. Sam Cowell , Henry Fletcher and Alfred Godfrey (all Year 7) and Henry Findlay (Year 8) interviewed Barry about his memories of life working at the College, and about his enduring passion for cars and motor racing.

When did you come to the College? BG: I came in 1998, I think it was. I worked in the changing rooms until 2002 when I got an offer to go to BT, so I left. I was there for two years, then made redundant. Under the old system here, when there were porters, there used to be a school sergeant, and one day he said, ‘I’ve got six months of work for you if you want it’, so I came back, and then someone left, and I’ve been here ever since! You said in those days at school there were sergeants and porters. So are there no porters any more? I’m the last standing porter as well as Paul Bird, in the PE Centre. He’s still there; he’s been a technician for a while now. Back then you had a porter in each block. I think it was two in the Centre Block and one in the North and one in the South Blocks, one in the Music Block and one in Science. Originally, there were two down here in the Lower School.

Tell us, what was the worst locker incident you’ve ever had to deal with?

All right, the funniest locker incident I had was when we used to get sandwiches left in them. You know, the boys are supposed to clear out the end of term. Well, some of you weren’t as good as others, and you would have come back to maybe a new life form at the beginning of the next term!



Of all the different Heads of the Lower School you have known, what have been the differences, and are there any other people you work with who you’ll miss? John Devlin was the Head of Lower School when I first came here. He was good fun actually. Then it was Iain Scarisbrick, who organised things really well, and very rarely got angry with boys. Then Sameer Tanna took over, and he’d been through the whole system – he’d been here as a boy as well; I think Mr Middleton took him for sport in Year 13. Miss Cooke is very nice, and I think she’s good for you lot as well. Of course, Lisa Hillgrove is really good: she’s one of the best people working here. One of my previous jobs was working in a garage when I first left school. This kind of job has changed beyond recognition now, but back then it was dirty! There was only one sink in the building I worked in and 20 people who wanted to use it, and sometimes the tap was unreliable and didn’t work, which caused lots of problems. Do you own any interesting cars? I’ve had a selection over the years. Currently I’ve got an Escort – probably won’t mean anything to you! 1972. I might pick up racing again when I’m retired. My car is not very nice to drive on the road now – it’s made for doing circuits on the track. It’s raced at Brands Hatch and Silverstone. We have heard that you’ve got all sorts of knowledge about cars which is quite interesting, so can you tell us a bit about that?

Wow! It has raced on those tracks? So, how did you first get into motor racing, and what was your first car? We once modified a car that was owned by Graham Hill – and his son Damon who became World Champion – so I drove that one for a while. I didn’t actually race it, but I used it on the road, which was quite good fun because it looked like a standard old car, but it was a little bit quicker than most, so it was good to show off to your friends with! That car actually went to Japan, believe it or not: at that time, it was trendy for people to go to Japanese night clubs in old British cars. Goodness knows why! Then I purchased an old Ford Anglia that had been dumped in Biggin Hill Airport car park by the local priest! When I sold that, the money that I got for it I used to buy the Escort, which I’ve still got. What would you say are the most memorable moments you’ve experienced during your time here? I think it would have to be the people. Back in the porter days, there were a lot of big characters – the other Barry, for example – but then there were a lot of characters in those days. They seem to have been ‘engineered’ out nowadays: there are all sorts of rules and regulations these days which there weren’t back then. There weren’t computers in those days, no mobile phones. But we had a really good laugh in our makeshift office under the stairs – it was hard work without modern technology, but we had a great time! If you walked past our office you would always hear gales of laughter if we were all in there together. But of course the dead rats and smelly lockers, and pigeons and blackbirds getting stuck in the Common Room – they were memorable too!

I purchased an old Ford Anglia that had been dumped in Biggin Hill Airport car park by the local priest “



Taking the Pulse of Peckham

Fred Edenborough (Year 12) reflects on discussions with his English teacher, Miss Milton, about the changing nature of SE15, where they both grew up

Truth be told, I struggled a little to find a route into this article. Discussions about geographical identity and gentrification, and the frequently misguided stereotypes arising from these phenomena, can often reduce people to factional, polarised defence of their ‘territory’. While discussing with me the social context of Peckham, Nunhead and Dulwich, Miss Milton, who grew up in SE15, as did I, highlights a key issue – the reductionist outlook with which we view parts of London. Why is it that when we think about Peckham, we think of Rye Lane, the high street? It becomes a metonym for a larger area, and the conflation of a small portion of it with the whole leads to complicated identity politics – especially with the after-effects of the pandemic, and given the ways in which corporate expansionism have impacted this slice of South London. Place names and postcodes both play vital roles in establishing and consolidating the cultural identity of an area. Equally, rising house prices and gentrification, and their intersection with geography, bring with them a narrow aesthetic that then falsely characterises the rest of the area. Peckham is a perfect example of this: walking down

Rye Lane, you are absorbed in the bustling, multicultural, vibrant atmosphere of pop-up markets, drawn in by the smell from stalls of fresh food. But, if you look around, small side roads branching 200 metres off the high street take you to secluded townhouses, smattered in greenery, tastefully tucked away on quiet back streets. Some residents in and around Rye Lane have been living there for generations: Miss Milton makes a valuable point, remarking that ‘you’ve got to imagine how it was for people who grew up here … to allow these people to mourn these spaces’. More noticeably, the post-lockdown encroachment of East Dulwich-esque denizens upon Peckham’s borders, well- heeled people who can’t quite afford the high prices of Dulwich Village, is subduing Peckham’s unique personality. We are seeing this process play out not just in Peckham: neighbouring Nunhead, too, known to some as ‘white man’s Peckham’, is morphing into an indistinguishably gentrified region. Yes, this will bring wealth and development, but nonetheless the cost of this invasive expansionism is becoming starkly clear – pricey coffee shops, the diminishment of local businesses, more pricey coffee shops.



Some people may ask, ‘How has this come around?’ The answer is complex. It includes accelerated gentrification as we eased into and out of lockdown, with councils subsidising new organisations, or franchises buying up ailing small businesses. Miss Milton highlights the link between the ‘suffocation’ of a community, and ‘the government or councillors trying to pump money into Peckham, trying to highlight its culture when actually in fact it was already there’. The sudden emergence of a vacuum (particularly on Peckham High Street) where people can no longer afford to live, or run businesses, has left vacancies in which up-market start-ups can take root. By injecting cash, by ‘highlighting its culture’, the local council and the big franchises have adversely diluted Peckham’s cultural variety. And so, the cycle resumes: flats and houses are bought as a result of an area’s improved image, the frontier of the middle class advances, and whatever remains of Peckham is slowly drowned out. So, what can we make of this? Should we view the idea of a location, and its identification with a community, as an invaluable concept that must be protected against encroachment? ‘Wait,’ a counter- argument might run: ‘Change brings with it more

The history of SE15 is rich, loaded and not always pretty “

cultural integration.’ Or is it in fact the very opposite: does the one-sidedness of this ‘integration’ threaten to push Peckham’s cultural identity to the periphery? The history of SE15 is rich, loaded and not always pretty. Might it be that to celebrate the so-called ‘authenticity’ of a Peckham now almost stifled by its quasi-fetishisation is to ignore its real roots, and to deny those who have grown up there the privilege of reminiscence? Equally, don’t fall, as Miss Milton warned with a telling anecdote, for the idea that it is ‘authentic’, and therefore desirable, not to have flushing toilets in a bar on Rye Lane. Buying into the seductive narrative of the authentic can be dangerous, no matter who is telling the story.





Nicholas Adamides (Year 9) questions A-level Physics student Konstantinos Doran (Year 13) about their shared love of the subject

What made you choose Physics as an A level? I had had my eyes set on studying Physics A level in Year 10, not because of GCSE Physics but rather due to a series of books that I had read, one of which was Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili. This book covered several apparent paradoxes within various areas of Physics (such as the Twin Paradox) and then proceeded to give a solution. Reading books like this encouraged me to choose Physics for A level. What other A-level subjects did you choose? In addition to Physics, I currently chose Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science. However, I was also very interested in Chemistry while studying for my GCSEs.

Do you think you will end up studying Physics at university and if so, why would you choose it over your other A-level subjects? I have chosen to study Physics at university as it is a highly mathematical science that rewards a person’s creativity in terms of problem-solving, and requires you to apply techniques you encounter when studying Pure Mathematics. A Physics degree also covers a wide variety of areas of study, from classical mechanics and material science to astronomy or particle physics, as well as involving coding and the use of computer programs within research and experimentation. Although I enjoy studying Mathematics (which is vital for a physicist), I take pleasure in understanding where and how to apply mathematical models to solve real problems. As for Computer Science, I was very interested in how computers are created and how they operate, from a Physics perspective, but Computer Science degrees focus a lot on the theory of computer architecture and the mathematics used in optimising systems.



I was eager to understand how the Universe works “

Where did your interest begin in the subject? Were you interested in the concept of Physics or a certain part of the subject? Like many others, I became interested in Physics shortly after discovering about quantum mechanics, as it was a strange form of Physics which fuelled my curiosity for the subject, and I was eager to understand how the Universe works. How have you found the A-level course? I think the Physics A-level course has a lot to recommend it, rewarding those interested in the engineering side by including lots of marked experiments that test the practical skills of students, while also providing topics that give a glimpse of the Physics studied in university, such as the double slit experiment, standing waves and lasers. A-level Physics is very different to GCSE: it does not give approximated or vague explanations for phenomena and has fewer questions that rely on memorisation. It rewards students who make connections between each topic. Do you find it complicated to understand? Some topics may be difficult to understand when introduced for the first time, but once your teacher gives you a simpler derivation or explanation about how physicists first approached the problems then it is a lot easier. Even though Physics A level is possible without Maths A level, I highly recommend studying both, to understand where some derivations come from. There are many topics to work on in the professional field of Physics. What interests you the most and what will you focus on during and after university? Currently, I would love to study particle physics and theoretical physics as I have read many books on these two areas of Physics, and both are developing fields. However, during my degree course, I will probably gain a large interest in some sub-speciality in Physics such as quantum. I am still uncertain about my post- university career if I don’t choose to go into research. What problem do you think is most important for the new generation of physicists to work on? There are several problems that are important to the coming generation: the solution to harnessing nuclear fusion and providing the Earth with completely clean and cheap energy, or the current race to create the first quantum computer that can be used commercially. There is even the problem within condensed matter physics of trying to understand what happened at the

exact moment of the Big Bang or what was before it. In cosmology there is the problem of dark matter and dark energy and trying to find the cause for the acceleration of the expansion of our Universe. Each speciality of Physics has its own major problem, some of which may be prioritised now, rather than in the future. Do you have a favourite scientist who has personally inspired you? If not, who do you think was most important to the subject over its history? The scientist who has inspired me the most is a physicist called Carlo Rovelli. He has written several books about quantum mechanics and quantum gravity in which he elegantly provides context and history about discoveries in Physics to help build the reader’s understanding before proceeding into complex topics. He is responsible for my interest in quantum gravity and has given me the drive to keep studying the subject. I believe that the most important person to Physics must have been Isaac Newton. His contributions in calculus and his laws of gravitation were highly impactful in developing classical mechanics. Even though Albert Einstein may have produced many important discoveries in such a short space of time, Isaac Newton was responsible, even after his death, for the foundations that Einstein built upon. This is primarily because Physics develops theories that always build upon previous theories that have been tested and proven. Do you think religion has a place in science, bearing in mind that many scientists have denied God, or accepted him, in the case of Darwin, Lavoisier, Faraday or even Maxwell? Religion has a place in science. It was only due to the backing of the Church that scientific investigation could be performed by Copernicus, who developed heliocentric cosmology. Many scientists are religious. There is no conflict between religion and science other than misunderstandings. People are just trying to understand why the Universe exists the way it is, while science explains how and what occurs within the Universe. Those that deny God do so from their personal beliefs, not because it is a shared belief in science.







Daniel Kamaluddin (Year 11) and George Bichard (Year 12) got together with the former leader of the Green party, Jonathan Bartley OA, to discuss the future of the Greens, the voting system, local politics and societal change



Daniel Kamaluddin and George Bichard : Could you talk about how you see the path forward for the Greens? Jonathan Bartley : When I became leader, it was very clear that a big challenge for us was to win seats in Westminster in a general election. And there’s no shortcut to it. You can get massive poll ratings, but because of the first past the post system, the votes are spread out over the whole country, and don’t translate into seats. So, we knew that we had to win council seats, because that’s the way you build up your base in an area and concentrate the vote. Once people see that they can elect councillors in their local area, they’re much more willing to vote for the Green party. But the challenge is to translate that into people voting for the Green party, believing the Green party can win. Winning council seats shows that we can win [seats]. If you look at places like Bristol, where we were neck and neck with Labour on the council, or in places like Sheffield last local elections, we won the popular vote in those council elections. There’s no reason why we can’t win more MPs in those areas.

middle of the 2010 general election, we had a debate about disabled children. We will never have another debate about disabled children in the general election campaign unless we change the voting system, or someone else – another parent – can find some other party leader live on TV; the parties and I know this from working on the AV [alternative vote] referendum. Parties target a few (100,000) swing voters in marginal seats, to try to get them to change their mind. And it’s their views that matter. It will be their views that are taken into account, their views that frame the whole general election campaign. If you change to a proportional system, suddenly the voices of the 10 or 11 million disabled people in this country really do count, as do the voices of the millions who care about climate emergency passionately. So, when you change the voting system you change lives.

DK and GB : What are your views on changing the voting age?

JB: I’ve got some controversial views on this. It has always struck me that people are making decisions for you about the health care you might receive, or funding for schools or transport or roads or the age at which you can buy alcohol and whether drugs can be legalised and whether you can gain access to them or not: all sorts of decisions which affect your life in one way or another. But you have no voice in that. Now, I realise there’s a lower level of competency, but all I have to say is that I know a lot of 16-year-olds who know a hell of a lot more about politics and public life than some 50-, 60- or 70-year-olds. Do we say that someone who’s disabled and 19-years-old, like my son, shouldn’t have a vote because he’s got learning difficulties? Of course not: we make allowances for that. So, I think we should have representation in some shape or form even lower than 16. Now, that might not be a 13-year-old casting a vote, but it might be that there’s a proxy vote and a parent or guardian can cast a vote on their behalf.

DK and GB : Could you talk about diversifying the Greens’ election platform?

JB : If you haven’t read it, read our 2015 manifesto, which is all costed out, and, of course, was the basis of the Labour manifesto in 2017. They basically took out great big chunks of our 2015 manifesto. Things like free social care are massive. Even the Labour manifesto in 2017 and 2019 was nothing in terms of wealth redistribution compared to the 2015 or 2017 or 2019 Green party manifestos. We want to redistribute more wealth than any other party, including Corbyn’s then Labour party, whose spending proposals were small by comparison to what we were advocating through consolidated income tax, for example. That means that the proceeds of wealth are taxed at the same rates as the proceeds of income. In addition to wealth tax, we proposed a carbon tax, a basic income reform of the welfare state, huge changes in transport and huge changes in agriculture; the amount of council housing that we wanted to build was way more than any other party. And this was all costed and set out in our manifestos. The problem is people don’t ask us about those things. People don’t want to hear from us because they don’t see us as the government in waiting.

DK and GB : What are your views on the climate summit?

JB : Look at the figures: we’re virtually at 1.5 degrees of warming. We’re rapidly moving towards it. I think the important thing for me is to ask: will Glasgow result in meaningful action that will keep warming below 1.5 degrees, hand on heart? No. I genuinely don’t think so. I can say that now. I couldn’t have said that as leader: you won’t get an elected green politician saying that because we all want to be really hopeful. But for all the rhetoric about a climate emergency, this is not being treated as an emergency. We aren’t on a war footing, and we need to be on a war footing. This is an existential crisis bigger than any threat: it’s on par with the threat from nuclear weapons. And the tipping points that you can see us reaching already around the world make it feel like we’re on the verge of losing control. It’s like a big tanker which you’ve got to turn around, but we’re still heading in the wrong direction. I hope we can keep it under two degrees, and I hope that something

DK and GB : Could you tell us your views on the first past the post system?

JB : To me, this is about how when you change the system, you change lives. I often tell the story of how I became involved in politics, which was I had an encounter with David Cameron during the 2010 general election, taking my son to a hospital appointment. I ended up having a confrontation with him on the street about his plans for disabled children’s education, and for 24 hours in the



Go against the flow. Challenge what people do. “

will be resolved that will enable us to keep it under two degrees. But I’m not even sure about that, hand on heart. We have to complete everything we need to do in the next nine years really, by 2030, and that means we should have started years ago. In the next 10 years, we need to provide people with the means to affordably take out all their gas boilers, super-insulate their homes, and put in heat pumps. We need a transport revolution. We need to radically cut down our meat intake. And that’s not to make it expensive, but to make food affordable, and that is going to take huge investment. And I just don’t see it coming from this government so we’re waiting for another general election. You know, the Tories will probably win again. And that will take us to eight years from now, and things won’t change. DK and GB : Can you tell us about your experience as a local councillor and leader of the opposition on Lambeth Council? JB : I lead the opposition on Lambeth Council. As a result, we were able to table the motion that made Lambeth the first in London to declare a climate emergency and the aim of net zero by 2030. And that was huge. I’m really proud of that. Many of my proudest moments come from the casework that I do as a councillor. I had councillor surgeries before COVID, and a man came in to my surgery, virtually in tears. He was a refugee, and he was just around the corner from where I am now, living in accommodation with his wife and three children. He was disabled himself. And he had just had the bailiffs on the phone, saying they were coming round to repossess several of his possessions because he had a debt that he couldn’t pay. And I said, where does the debt come from? He said that Lambeth Council gave him a council tax bill that he couldn’t pay, and then they took him to court because he couldn’t pay it. He explained that another load of fees had been added on that, which made the bill even higher. So, a £300 council tax bill turned into over £1000 because of the late payment charges and various fees, and he couldn’t pay. He said, ‘I just don’t know what I’m going to do,’ and I said, ‘I don’t think you should have been charged this bill. I’ll go and check it out. But in the meantime, here’s my mobile number. If the bailiffs come to your door, don’t let them in. Call me. I will come around and I will stand in the way, and I will come into your house.’ We managed to find out that the council had wrongly issued this



Parties target a few (100,000) swing voters in marginal seats, to try to get them to change their mind “

bill: he should never have been eligible for a council tax as he had 100% council tax relief. We got all the charges and his entire bill wiped away. I was walking in Streatham a few weeks later; I got this tap on my shoulder and I spun around and there he was, his face completely changed. He was a Muslim, and he said: ‘Every night I thank God for you, and for what you’ve done for me and my family. Thank you.’ You just could see his life completely changed. We made a difference. And there are Green councillors right up and down the country who do things like that. That, to me, is the most rewarding thing: the change to someone’s life.

have been tried, I don’t think it should have been. I think Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain have made mistakes. But you know, that comes with every movement: that came with the anti-apartheid movement and the suffragettes, and some mistakes will be made but the important thing is to hold your hands up and say that that was wrong and we’re not going to do it again and will try to make amends. There has been a peace tax movement for a long time – conscientious objectors who withhold a proportion of their taxes that will go on military weapons. You could have people hold a mass act of civil disobedience, withholding the proportion of your tax that goes on fossil fuel subsidies, for example. That would be a legitimate way of getting change.

DK and GB : What are your thoughts on nonviolent action?

JB : I think what Extinction Rebellion have done over the last few years has been absolutely crucial to shifting the agenda. Think of listening to the radio three years ago: every time there was a debate about climate change, they felt they had to get a climate change denier on as well, to balance the debate. In contrast, this morning, the Today programme was all about the climate summit. There has been a huge shift in three years. And it’s been because people have taken to the streets, because Attenborough has come out, nailing his colours to the mast, and because of Greta and school strikes and Extinction Rebellion, as well as the public discourse change. I don’t believe in violence at all. I’m passionate about nonviolence. But that doesn’t mean you can’t smash up a fighter jet that’s going to Indonesia: that’s not violence. That’s just disarming and saving lives. I wouldn’t ever hurt anyone. But I do think we can destroy property in the right context. We did that 20 years ago. They disarmed a fighter jet and were arrested but then they won their trial. They showed that those fighter jets would have killed people and they had saved lives and therefore under British law, they couldn’t be punished. I think there are many things that haven’t been tried that I would like to see being tried. But some things that

DK and GB : Finally, as an OA, do you have any advice to current Dulwich pupils?

JB : You know, I never expected to be doing this. When I was at Dulwich, all I wanted to do was to be a drummer in the band, and when I left school I did it for a year. It was great. I don’t know how true this is, but I think people like Shackleton and other OAs – a lot of them – didn’t have a very happy time here and some of them got expelled and kicked out and they tended to be flies in the ointment. They went against the flow, and I would just encourage anyone reading this to plough their own furrow, question everything, question the orthodoxy, go against the system because life’s too short just to go with the flow and knuckle down. I think Dulwich encourages people to do that: to be their own person; to think of themselves as independent. You may roll your eyes. But take that encouragement and be independent: go against the flow. Challenge what people do. And if they don’t, listen, then do it in double measure.



Jamie Chong (Year 13) explores the way in which fiction can be used as a vehicle to confront reality The function fiction of Artwork – James He (Year 12)



“If you look at things from a distance,” I said as I swallowed some lobster, “most anything looks beautiful. – Haruki Murakami

One dreary Monday after school, I had a conversation with another student, during which he stated, with great conviction, that he hated reading fiction. I’d rather read something that actually happened, he argued, to which I quickly responded: but it has. My passionate opposition to his statement arises from my experiences of being both an avid reader and an aspiring writer. Fiction, in my view, is an articulation of the human experience that can enhance our understanding of the world and of each other. The artistic organisation of fiction allows us to comprehend the world in which we live, turning facts and headlines into the living, breathing blood of human experience. Fiction makes sense of the waying, sweeping force of the present, rendering it understandable, all of it: the baffling political jargon; the slithering, slimy rhetoric of diplomatic policy-making and populist appeasement; the complexity, delicacy and sharpness that comes with the navigating of class struggle; the residual, sinister legacies of oppression that our generation has inherited and has to confront. As T. S. Eliot famously said, humankind cannot bear very much reality, but fiction helps us to bear a little more. Reading literature enables you to take on the role of a voyeur, watching from the outside, making judgements on what is happening within. It allows you to confront ideas that are too difficult in reality, whether conceptually or emotionally, and presents them within a safe, fictional setting. I like to think of it this way: imagine life as a photograph on Google Images. You look at it so closely you can see every individual pixel glaring back at you. That’s the reality of the human experience, built up of so many constituent parts, all equally demanding of attention. It’s overstimulating. Perhaps that is only one episode of a life, within a sequence of complicated episodes. Once you zoom out, though, allowing space between you and the event, you can see the overall image in a much more lucid way, through sacrificing the clarity of each pixel. Fiction offers a little distance; imagination is the smoothing over that makes the world digestible. You can inspect and interrogate aspects of your life from another perspective.

People have argued that reading builds empathy; writers channel that empathy in order to encourage their readers to engage with the text, inciting a certain emotion in them. Fiction enables readers to escape their own world for a while, and to enjoy the chaos of another, through characters they care about, plotlines that make them feel something, language that is tantalising. Fiction also imposes order on the world, allowing the politics and complications of life to be processed and organised via the writer’s craft, allowing us, through reading, to develop a new viewpoint. Perhaps we might look at it this way: all communication is a form of fictionalisation. Much of our language is metaphorical, and our everyday speech is littered with idioms and hyperbole. Even when communicating within the colloquial register, we have a tendency to create narratives, in order to incite interest in our listeners. It is an instinctive part of human nature to try to articulate our experiences, and storytelling, whether spoken, or written, permeates our lives. Literature, like all good art, sparks thought and conversation, bringing different ideas together (even if that means having to listen to people who have opposing views on the merits of literature). Ultimately, though, that conversation on a dreary Monday moved onto the next topic – and I had something to write for the Alleynian .

Fiction enables readers to escape their own world for a while, and to enjoy the chaos of another “



Zaki Kabir (Year 11) gains a glimpse of life working for the Foreign Office

A foreign

opportunity I began my inquiries with a light touch, asking what the working day in the Foreign Office looks like, and learning that each day involves a variety of activities, depending upon the given assignment. I discovered that working

In October 2021 I was able to interview Adrian Pisa, a member of the Foreign Office, which I saw as a great opportunity to gather some insight into what is an interesting, yet little understood, profession. My go-to question was of course, ‘What made you want to join the Foreign Office?’ Adrian’s answer alluded to a proclivity for history and geo- politics, but he did not specify having had any particular drive to enter the Civil Service. But perhaps this is the point: it may be that people don’t go searching out roles such as these, but rather that these opportunities present themselves and are often hard to turn down. Finding yourself in the unique position of representing your country is not a responsibility that can be taken lightly, nor are the details shared easily, as I was to find out during the course of this conversation.

at the headquarters of the Foreign Office in London affords a lot in the way of collaboration and a sense of being part of something bigger than oneself, whereas diplomats working overseas in an embassy have more autonomy and more responsibility, owing to the smaller platform. Daily challenges abroad are met as they arise, and include consular services responsibilities, such as helping UK nationals overseas with issues involving local law enforcement. Liaising with the hosting foreign government on bilateral agreements is another regular duty.

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