OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES, CREATIVE WRITING, DRAMA & DANCE, ART, MUSIC, SPORT, CCF, THE UNION, VALETE
Staff editor Josephine Akrill Deputy staff editor Charlotte Judet Student editor Arjaan Amos Miah
Student team Ekow Amoah Abel Banfield William Brooke Jamie Chong
First thoughts 2–3
Emmanuel Del Prete Fred Edenborough Sebastien Grech James He Seymour Hine Daniel Kamaluddin William Lord Francis McCabe Alexander Poli Sito Udoaka Ned Wildgoose Bulloch Staff section editors Art: Robert Mills Drama: Kathryn Norton-Smith
Opinion, Interviews & Features 4–59
I’ve worked on the Alleynian since I was in Year 9. This year, I am its student editor. I feel a great sense of pride in being the one to present the work of the writers, the artists and the photographers whose words and images appear within these pages. I feel that this edition is a deeply important one. While none of the pertinent issues discussed in this edition are at all new, we – the editorial team – feel ourselves to be living through times of serious change. In compiling this edition, I have examined what I believe in and what I am willing to stand for, and I have thought hard about how I want to use this platform. I hope that the magazine you hold between your hands will entertain you, engage you, and, most importantly, challenge you, just as we have been entertained, engaged and challenged in putting it together. May the questions of political affiliation, of the heavy legacy of history, and of the impact of COVID spark conversations around your dinner tables, and may the questions raised around race, gender and inequality spark introspection and thought. I hope that you find meaning in the words that follow.
Creative Writing 60–85
Drama & Dance 86–104
Music: John Carnelley Sport: Phil Greenaway Photography
The Alleynian features photographs by boys, staff and professional photographers. We would like to acknowledge all those whose photographs appear in this edition. Particular thanks go to Valentino Vrahimis, Eddie Elliott, Matt Jessup and Khuram Mirza for their Drama photography. Cover image by Alex Whitwell Design and layout Nicholas Wood Proofreader Frances Button Printing Empress Litho Project manager for Empress David May Our warm thanks go to Mary Jo Doherty and her team in recognition of the time, thought, and expertise with which they have curated the artwork in this edition. We would also like to thank Joseph Spence for his support and encouragement over the course of the year. Finally, the editorial team would like to acknowledge the work of all the contributors to this year’s Alleynian ; we thank them for their willingness to meet tight deadlines.
The Union 150–155
The Look of Lockdown 174–175
Arjaan Amos Miah (they/them) Editor, the Alleynian No.709
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
Josephine Akrill , Staff Editor, and Arjaan Amos Miah , Student Editor, consider an issue that has come to the fore over the past year
Sadly, we do not live in a world in which misogyny, gender discrimination, and sexual violence are things of the past. On that we can surely agree. But how do we talk about these issues? How do we move forward? How do we actually achieve change? Individuals on the receiving end of sexual or gender discrimination should not have to put up and shut up. The testimonies of sexual assault victims should be heard. Those of us who are so used to everyday sexism, homophobia or transphobia that we have become inured to it should be empowered to call it out whenever we experience it. These words are so easy to write. We can all pay lip service to these issues. It costs each of us very little to state that we abhor misogyny, or to notice examples of sexism, or homophobia, or transphobia in the discourse and behaviour of others. Commentary is a start, but even highly critical commentary is not enough. Behaviour is what needs to change. We all agree about behaviours on the extreme end of the scale. Rape and sexual assault are criminal acts. We must trust in our police and judicial system to enforce the law of the land. Schools have a responsibility to teach what constitutes consent, and who can, or cannot, consent to sexual engagement. This school takes that responsibility seriously. But what about more widespread behaviours which, while not criminal, allow a culture of sexist, homophobic and transphobic attitudes to thrive? What is often referred to as ‘banter’ is still not taken seriously enough. Individuals, especially those in the difficult years of adolescence, during which it can feel so vitally important to blend into your peer group, are, understandably, loath to call out their friends’ or classmates’ careless or cruel use of language. Nonetheless, they need to be encouraged to step forward and challenge the off-hand reference to somebody’s sister; to object to the casual objectification of the female member of staff; to flag up the use of the word ‘gay’ or ‘sus’ when they are used in inappropriate ways. Similarly, colleagues should feel empowered to call out some of the language used in the College’s corridors, common rooms and offices.
Turning from what we notice in the behaviour of others, I would now like to ask the following questions. Are we capable of holding up the mirror to ourselves? Do we notice the ways in which our own everyday words, actions, even our thoughts, are influenced by the discriminatory attitudes of the society in which we live? Almost none of us can say that we do not at times make snap judgements about others based on their gender or on outward signs of their sexual orientation. Perhaps those thoughts remain private. Thankfully, there is currently no possibility of genuine thought police shining a spotlight into the darkest recesses of our brains. But I think we should be brave enough to do this for ourselves, to forgive ourselves for being flawed human beings, to face up to the ways in which living in a discriminatory society affects us all, and to take personal action. We should be capable of challenging our own prejudices – those which we inherit from our parents, which we acquire from our peer group, or which we imbibe daily from various media. It could be that genuine self-examination by all of us might be one of the most effective drivers of change. We often choose to point the finger at online and social media, blaming technology for many of society’s ills. Yet over this past year, those very media have been the means through which misogyny, sexual assault, homophobic and transphobic behaviours in our schools and universities have been exposed, challenged and denounced. Everyone’s Invited and the Open Letter have shown the power of sharing. Whether or not you have read these online documents and regardless of your personal response to the wide range of testimonies, you have all, or almost all, heard about them.
The recent testimonies shared through Everyone’s Invited and, closer to home, through Samuel Schulenburg’s Open Letter have sparked a conversation about sexual misconduct within our own community, and, more widely, in schools across the country. I asked Claire McHale, clinical psychology post-graduate student specialising in sexual abuse and trauma (and JAGS alumna), about our responsibilities as individuals and communities. ‘Sexual misconduct, which cannot be disentangled from gender- and sexuality-based violence, occurs neither spontaneously nor without reason. Educational institutions function as small systems within a broader societal environment – each person is a key component in the system output; each person has a role to play. Countless testimonials from victims show that, currently and historically, these systems not only fail to protect them from this violence, but actively perpetuate harm towards them. ‘A crucial first step in tackling this issue is to leave behind the “few bad apples” fallacy. The context within which these actions were learned, and often encouraged, must be considered. By only focusing on severe perpetrators, it is easy to overlook a culture of sexual misconduct that persists amongst student bodies and makes these behaviours socially acceptable and, in many cases, desirable. This culture can be observed in even seemingly inconsequential interactions, but every interaction that encourages this conduct, no matter to what extent, serves to uphold the very notions which make perpetrators believe their actions will be tolerated. Rather than simply removing the extreme “bad apples”, the system that shaped them must be amended to avoid future recreation of such behaviours, and this upheaval requires effort on all parts – from students, teachers, and governing bodies alike. ‘One major consequence and perpetuating factor of this pervasive culture of sexual misconduct can be explained through crowd psychology. Large groups, in this case
peers and classmates, create a loss of responsibility for the individual, making morally objectionable actions significantly easier to carry out as a group. The threat of social ostracism is particularly frightening for adolescents, discouraging victims of abuse from reporting such incidents, and peers of the perpetrator(s) from putting up resistance.’ Claire goes on to say that this social ostracism can also be weaponised against rape culture – when we discourage remarks and actions that encourage or make light of sexual wrongdoing, we discourage that behaviour – even ‘very minor negative responses, such as a swift change of conversation’ work to ‘begin the arduous process of disrupting this culture’ . Her description of rape culture as an aspect of crowd psychology seems, certainly, to be supported by the experiences of victims. The very first category of Samuel’s testimonials describes ‘mob mentality-based behaviour’ . Indeed, verbal aggressions where ‘DC boys would rate female students based on their looks and desirability’ or ‘mild harassment’ are described right alongside harrowing accounts of rape. A JAGS student wrote on Instagram about her own assault, referring to the ‘passive attitude’ of her assailant’s friends. When she wrote that she endured ‘manipulation, coercion, abuse and dehumanisation’ , I’m sure that many found themselves asking to what extent it was facilitated by a culture that labels vocal responses such as hers as ‘over-dramatic and unnecessary’ . Sexual misconduct is a manifestation of our culture, and it is a primary nutrient on which it feeds. The facts are made clear by the individuals and organisations qualified to speak out about sexual violence in the public sphere: verbal and physical manifestations of sexual violence share the same root. Our only solution is to excise the tumour before more women and queer people are punished for our collective failings.
That is the power of the written word, of our media, of speaking out, rather than keeping our experiences to ourselves.
We need to keep this conversation going, acknowledging that this diverse, interesting, multi-layered, changing society in which we live is far from perfect. We need to listen to each other, to seek to understand others’ experiences, to ask each other questions, and to listen to the answers. We need to allow our pain and anger to lead to positive change. We need to be prepared to change. Thank you for taking the time to read these editorial pages. I am not naïve enough to imagine that, in a year’s time, these problems will have been eradicated within our walls, or in society at large. But I do believe that some change will have occurred, and that the actions of all those who have spoken out, and the genuine empathy of those who have listened to them, will have made a difference. Josephine Akrill
Arjaan Amos Miah (they/them)
Opinion, Interviews & Features
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
While acknowledging the negative impact of social distancing, Ned Wildgoose Bulloch (Year 13) does see some positives from our response to the virus
ARTWORK — ENNIS YUKSELIR (YEAR 11)
Whenever I watch anything produced more than a year ago, whether fictional or not, I am struck by the lack of social distancing. Writing during the third lockdown, I am reflecting on the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has distorted the way we live and think. When speaking with someone whom I may not have seen physically for a month, or even interacted with for five, I want both to lean in, and to step away. Covid-19 is testing our ability to adapt our most fundamental social behaviours in ways we weren’t expecting. The spread of this disease, as much as our daily lives, thrives on the short distances we typically keep from each other. What are the results of this Covid experiment we are undergoing? For sufficiently wealthy countries, lockdown has stop-gapped disaster. We have conveniently hidden away from the virus. Yet many of us have struggled with lockdown. Not seeing family or friends for months on end – we’re just not used to it. Or not all of us. Others of us are more accustomed to this way of living. But even then, not quite so continually. When we physically distance, it is easier to emotionally distance. We have the capacity to become entombed within our own personal circumstances. When lockdown means lockdown, we are locked into the meaning and significance that home has for each one of us. Every day repeats the same way. For the lucky few, the only issue is boredom. The same curtains and carpets and piles of schoolwork can stifle us. Making the unchanging constraints seem different is the game we play. For the not-so-lucky of us, there can be siblings to look after, loved ones lost, or mouths we can’t as easily feed, and day after day we sink deeper into a much harder survival game than we had anticipated. Digital technology has been one of our tools in lockdown. We try to convince ourselves that remote learning is just like learning, but remote. If only. For those with the required technology, it has served as wood filler in educational
I want both to lean in, and to step away
terms. Ultimately, though, while the computer is a machine, we are organic. The computer is on or it isn’t. It’s so easy to go from unmute to mute in a Microsoft Teams video lesson, but this cannot adequately reflect the way in which we’d naturally modulate the volume of our voices. Equally, our life online is less spontaneous. We either message someone or we don’t and either are or are not part of a group chat. We don’t bump into people as much at random. And when we think that we found a profile, idea or video of our own accord online; did we? Or did a recommendation algorithm decide we definitely wanted to know about YouTube’s cutest kittens? Within countries, within communities, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities. We’ve also seen inequalities between countries. Richer countries can afford to convert deaths into economic losses. Survival becomes a pay-to-win game. If we look
at how quickly the virus spread, and how countries introduced such different measures, we can see how fragile our globalised world is. These interconnections are brittle; our world isn’t equal; our technology isn’t a golden bullet with which to beat a virus. Will we go back to normal? Will we return to standing closer? When it’s safe to do so, I don’t think it will take long. It’s only human. But I feel we can learn from what we’ve seen during this outbreak. Lockdown has shown me how uncontrollable life can be, while the lack of control and the highly restricted environment within lockdown has brought a certain clarity. If I feel I’m doing all I reasonably can, as a human, to do my best, then I find that I am less stressed about a problem than I would have been a year ago.
That’s one lesson from lockdown I don’t want to forget.
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
Dulwich students’ forensic interest in last year’s US presidential election was matched only by the extraordinary nature of the events surrounding it. Iain Hollingshead explores the whys and wherefores of this fascination with politics from across the pond
ARTWORK — ARCHIBALD MCCOMBIE (YEAR 10)
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
Dulwich students are sufficiently broad-minded to understand the former president’s appeal without condoning his policies
I wonder if you read about the school in suburban New York that was completely obsessed with the UK 2019 general election. Bleary-eyed American teenagers struggled to stay awake during registration after staying up late to watch Jo Swinson’s razor-close count in Dunbartonshire East. A group of Sophomore pupils tried to lure their History teacher away from their fascinating study of the structure of the League of Nations into a red herring about the relative gravitas of rival TV anchors Tom Bradby and Huw Edwards. Meanwhile, during morning break, a heated argument broke out among two 11-year-olds over whether Westminster’s first-past-the-post electoral system should be replaced with the more proportional d’Hondt formula or Droop quota. Perhaps you didn’t. But for much of November, during the US presidential elections, a similar phenomenon seemed to take place at Dulwich College. Politics is studied as an A-level subject by around 35 students in the Upper School, but suddenly everyone from Year 7 upwards appeared to have an informed opinion on the merits of the Electoral College, the significance of the Rust Belt and the surprisingly high level of support for Donald Trump among Cuban-Americans in Florida. Lower School pupils attended lunchtime talks in droves. Even between lessons I could barely walk through the cloisters without an enthusiastic Year 10 calling out, from behind an illicit mobile and an animated face mask: ‘Sir, sir, another batch of votes is in from Pennsylvania and Biden is consistently averaging 57.3%.’ This interest continued well beyond November, taking in everything from the Senate results in Georgia and the riots on Capitol Hill to earnest discussions about Bernie Sanders’ woollen mittens on inauguration day. Record numbers of Year 11s have signed up to study the subject next year. The explanations as to why we in the UK are so obsessed with the soap opera of American politics are well-rehearsed. Their politics are bigger, brasher, generally more relevant, and often less cynical. They have The West Wing ; we have The Thick of It . Their president lives in the White House; Boris Johnson, our Trump-lite, bounces between a nondescript terraced house and his girlfriend’s flat in Camberwell. POTUS’s motorcade drives up to Air Force One in a car with eight-inch armour plating nicknamed ‘The Beast’; Mr Johnson has had a three-gear hire bike named after him.
More seriously, this Biden presidency will have a direct impact on British politics, from Brexit and climate change to the Good Friday Agreement. No one in Washington DC is debating what a Starmer premiership might mean for the USA’s border with Mexico. Or whether the fact Boris Johnson was born in the USA might make him more likely to put in some extra import orders for chlorinated chicken. But why do British teenagers, in particular, follow US politics with an enthusiasm rarely seen for, say, the German Bundestag elections? Are they the poor, tired, huddled masses, welcomed by the Statue of Liberty, yearning to escape the storied pomp of Europe, yearning to breathe free? Or do they simply want something else to read about apart from Covid? Partly, I think, it’s due to the character of Donald Trump himself. While I haven’t spoken to many students who agree with his policies, most admit that they find him hypnotically amusing, whether commanding huge rallies or simply updating his Twitter feed. One of our most memorable moments on a school trip to New York and Washington DC in October 2019 was watching his motorcade en route to a World Series baseball game, where he was loudly booed. As with Trump’s fellow populist Nigel Farage, introduced at one Republican rally as ‘the King of Europe’, Dulwich students are sufficiently broad-minded to understand the former president’s appeal without condoning his policies. Furthermore, although the transatlantic political traffic is generally one-way, not all of it is populist or illiberal. The word woke originated in America as, of course, did the
Black Lives Matter movement. Both concepts have made a significant impact on Dulwich students’ lives and will no doubt continue to do so at university and beyond. In some ways, of course, it’s an old story. Britain has been obsessed with its political relationship with America ever since Churchill labelled it ‘special’. Subsequent prime ministers have variously tried to recast that hoary old adage, whether dubbing it ‘close’ (Wilson), ‘natural’ (Heath) or, more imaginatively, ‘the transatlantic bridge’ (Blair). We have come a long way from Macmillan’s attempt to portray Britain as the wise, superior Athens to America’s young, brash Rome. More recently, despite my GCSE History classes asking with alarming frequency what it was like to live amid the fear and uncertainty of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I do actually remember the interest with which my generation greeted everything from the Lewinsky scandal to the Bush vs Gore recount to the Iraq War. No doubt there are some Dulwich parents and grandparents with fond memories of the anti- Vietnam War protests of 1968 in Grosvenor Square. Culturally, too, the young have always looked to the New World, from the jazz era to hippies to start-ups. Sometimes, in return, we loan them Harry Potter. Or Harry Windsor. Or, less successfully, the Kinks, Blur and Dizzee Rascal.
As George Bernard Shaw put it, we are ‘two nations separated by a common language’.
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
In December 2020 Dulwich College students and staff, and students from partnership schools, attended a workshop on the troubling history of the sugar trade, which was part of the Being Human festival. Here Jamie Chong (Year 12) describes this enjoyable educational experience, which combined historical insights with a creative writing opportunity NOT SO SWEET
We began with a presentation by Dr Cocks on the colonial past of sugar, which explored the horrendous conditions in which the enslaved labour force enabling this trade were forced to work. We were introduced to the boiling houses in Barbados, and then to the prosperity created by the trade, both for slave owners in the West Indies and for the sugar capitals in Europe, such as Antwerp. Even Britain, which was decidedly abolitionist by this point, could not cease its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade due to the demand for sugar. Dr Cocks’ presentation was sobering and allowed us to think about the reality of sugar’s place in our history and culture. After this, artist Karen McLean, whose work explores the impacts of colonialism on the Caribbean, led a sugar sculpture workshop, during which we were able to create a sugar replica of the manillas used in the slave trade, which were metal armlets used as currency. This involved heating sugar until it was liquid, and then pouring it into moulds; the sugar then set into solid, clear forms. During this hands-on part of the workshop, it was interesting to learn about the more technical aspects of crafting these objects; heating the sugar to the precise temperature required was one of the most important parts of the project.
The last section of the workshop was a poetry session led by writer Keith Jarrett, whose work addresses issues of race and identity. This allowed us to reflect on our own experiences of sugar and to reconcile them with what we had learnt throughout the workshop. Jarrett’s tasks encouraged us to be creative with the written word, through exploration of figurative language, wordplay and, to quote him, having ‘fun’ with poetry. We also looked at poetic form, reading Wallace Stevens’ ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’, before devising our own ‘list poems’, through which we connected our personal memories relating to sugar with its wider history. We finished by opening the moulds for the manillas that we had made, which had just about set, and we heard from Karen McLean about the background for her sugar sculpture display, White Shadows: Presence and Resistance , which was based on her research on the chattel houses that were part of sugar plantations, and which have become emblematic of the sugar trade and its associated exploitation. The entire workshop was a new learning experience and encouraged us to use history as a creative outlet to understand the disturbing past of this seemingly innocent product.
We connected our personal memories relating to sugar with its wider history “
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
What is the point of the labels of ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘centre’? Is a centrist political position in one country the same as that in another? And how much attention does the average voter even pay to party branding? These are just some of the questions that Abel Banfield (Year 11) asks in this analysis of the language of political parties
ARTWORK — SIWOO RYU (YEAR 11)
Left, right and centrismalso depend heavily on the viewpoint of the person defining them “
Japan is, in almost every sense of the word, progressive: third in the world in terms of manufacturing output; third in the world in terms of technological advancement. However, their government has been almost exclusively run by the Liberal Democratic party since 1955 – a party that is, by its own definitions, conservative. But are the Japanese definitions of ‘left’ and ‘right’ different from those of, say, Venezuela? How does a country like Poland define political extremism? Is that definition the same in a country such as Egypt? Who decides what is ‘left’ and ‘right’, extremist and centrist? One thing must be considered when discussing the political orientation of a country, and that is the country’s political history. For example, were it not for Donald Trump’s constant reminders, the majority of us Europeans would have believed Abraham Lincoln to be a Democrat; he was, in fact, a Republican. It is important to see not only how political parties may change but also how words linked to politics and parties change too. For example, until 1940 (apart from sending loans to Europe and taking part in the final years of the First World War) the United States of America pursued (and mostly preferred) isolationism. They believed it was economically safer, and that European troubles and conflicts were too complex to an outsider, and as such they didn’t become involved in any wars between the First and Second World Wars. This policy of isolationism was widely accepted by Americans as sensible and respectable. It was only as the Second World War started spiralling out of control that ‘isolationists’ were accused of being selfish, putting America ahead of basic morals and rights. Whether these accusations were entirely correct or justified is less relevant; it is more important to consider the ways in which people, parties, slogans and words associated with these parties can swing ever so swiftly from ‘good’ to ‘bad’ or vice versa.
Left, right and centrism also depend heavily on the viewpoint of the person defining them. Does the average person define Le Front National (now Le Rassemblement National) as extreme right? Has our universal acceptance of what is too extreme changed? Do we still see far left and far right in as threatening a light? As the historian Hester Vaizey stated: ‘The popularity of those who offer simple solutions to complex problems is reminiscent of extreme politics in the past.’ Indeed, Trump’s unfulfilled promise to make America great again sounds hauntingly similar to these words from a speech by Hitler in February 1940: ‘Nationalism and Socialism had to be redefined … to carry new strength which would make Germany great again.’ Another important point of discussion is how a single figurehead can change the way in which a party is seen. For example, the Social Liberal Party of Brazil was seen as a centre right party, not dissimilar to the Social Christian Party, before the arrival of Jair Bolsonaro. However, when Bolsonaro became head of the party, he veered it off to the right, converting it into a more extreme, anti-communist, populist and nationalist party (before severing ties with them in 2019). Has the perception of the party changed in Brazil as a result? Whatever the effect it had, it certainly didn’t damage the party’s reputation or voter attraction; in the final round of elections, the Social Liberal Party was able to amass around 55% of the vote. Do parties need to be classified or even branded? Does it change anything in particular? Do voters even care? We have all heard stories of voters choosing candidates simply because their parents, friends or favourite celebrities did. Was the 14 billion US dollars spent by both parties in the run up to the US elections necessary? What is left? Right? Centrism and extremism? Do we need to classify political parties, beliefs and policies? The answer: no one knows. All we can agree on is that we need something to argue about and politics provides a perfectly divisive subject.
DIRECTION OF TRAVEL
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
If you think there are only two genders, think again, says Alleynian Student Editor Arjaan Amos Miah (they/them) (Year 12)
distinct third option; some occupy two, three or more genders at the same time (for example, being a man and a woman); some have no sense of gender whatsoever; and some fluctuate between different genders (for example, having man days and woman days). These identifications each have their own terms – bigender, agender, genderfluid, and others among them – while some choose to use non-binary as a distinct label in itself. Although this may not seem intuitive when navigating gender in the modern, Anglo-American sense, we must note that this traditional idea of gender – one with a man and a woman – is not, and has never been, universal. In antiquity, Egyptians, Sumerians and Akkadians wrote about the many different people who were neither male nor female – sekhets, eunuchs, intersex individuals and others. In Indonesia, there were five genders as far back as 600 years ago, one of which, Bissu, was a combination of all the genders. In South Asia, the Kama Sutra spoke about Hijra back in 400BCE (the first word that other Desis – people from the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi diaspora – think of when I describe my gender to them). Hijras were transfeminine individuals written about in Hindu texts, who existed as neither male nor female. They would typically be assigned male at birth – born with male sexual characteristics – and dress in feminine fashion, taking on traditionally female roles in the household. While there has been anti-Hijra discrimination throughout history, most of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh recognise it as a legitimate, distinct gender outside of the binary. Indeed, Hijras have been able to register as such on Bangladeshi passports since November 2013 – while the UK still has no legal recognition of non-binary people. Even in Britain, historically there has been some recognition of non-binary individuals. In 11th century Anglo-Saxon England, for example, they had the word wæpen-wifestre – broadly translating to penis-woman, man-woman, or, as we’d say today, intersex. Many years later, in the 17th century, a judge decreed that one Thomas(ine) Hall was ‘a man and a woeman’, making it a legal requirement for Hall to wear both masculine and feminine clothing at the same time. Furthermore, in the late 1700s, a Quaker preacher – The Public Universal Friend – professed that The Friend had no gender, refused to respond to The Friend’s birth name, and was referred to by most of The Friend’s followers and friends by name exclusively, rather than by pronouns – either being referred to as ‘The Friend’, ‘The Public Universal Friend’, or ‘P.U.F.’, as many diary entries from The Friend’s followers demonstrate. In a society where the ideas of masculinity and femininity have distinct associations with forms of speech, fashion and behaviours – and where people, therefore, cannot help themselves from instantly labelling others as female and male – navigating the world as an enby (non-binary = NB = enby) can be difficult, and full of misunderstandings. For some in the enby community, deliberately androgynous gender expression – the way that someone may dress, walk, speak or behave – is chosen, so as to challenge as many cisgendered people as possible, in a world where cisgendered people, by and large, refuse to treat people in a
gender-neutral manner. While many enbies are happy to present as clearly masculine or feminine, for others, the goal is to prevent the assumptions of the general public as much as possible. Pronouns are a frustrating part of navigating a binary world as an enby. Most enbies use singular they/them pronouns. However, singular they is not, by any means, the only option for enbies, and many use he/him and she/her pronouns, while others use neopronouns , such as E/Em (dating back to 1890s Boston), Xe/Xir and Ve/Vir. While these are far less commonly used, a significant and growing number of people in queer circles use neopronouns today, with Xe/Xir and E/Em being two of the most prominent. A significant number even use it/ its pronouns, no pronouns whatsoever, or multiple pronouns. The use of singular they in the English language, although used in many contexts outside of non-binary people, actually dates back to the 1300s (while we were still using thou as the main pronoun to address one, single person). This began to be challenged in the 1800s, when prescriptivist linguists declared that, since Classic Latin had no gender-neutral pronouns and was a superior language to English, singular they had to be erased. Nonetheless, use of they persisted in common usage and formal writing – and still does. In other languages, this problem can be greater or lesser than in English. In spoken Chinese and Bengali, for example, third person pronouns aren’t differentiated by gender but, in the case of Bengali, by proximity and familiarity of relationship. On the other end of the spectrum, some languages – romance languages like French and Italian in particular – have gender built into them. In these cases, the problem of language extends beyond pronouns into conjugation of adjectives, verbs and most parts of speech. For some enbies, notably in Canada, where English and French are both commonly spoken, highly gendered languages are a no-go, leading them to almost entirely eliminate them from their lives. This isn’t to say that there aren’t many attempts to accept enbies in countries speaking gendered languages, or that there aren’t thriving non-binary communities within them, but the intricacies of those extend far beyond the purview of this article. Even with the best of intentions, many people slip up and misgender non-binary individuals, using pronouns or language that doesn’t reflect their gender identity. The overwhelming majority of enbies, however, ask for nothing more than quick self- correction and minimal fuss – contrary to popular belief, we don’t get too antsy when you assume our gender . Most of us try to help anyone who works, in good faith, to change their use of language. Non-binary individuals are nothing new, but many binary people are still unaware of us or baffled by us. My hope is that, after reading this article, such people will have gained a slightly better grasp on some of the key concepts, so that they can go on to impress all the non-binary people around them, start thinking a bit outside of the binary, and, maybe, even help others better understand the rich world of non-binary gender.
AN INTRODUCTION TO NON- BINARY GENDER
ARTWORK — JUDE PEARSON (YEAR 13)
I would need more fingers and toes than I possess to count the number of times that cisgendered, heterosexual people have commented on the complicated terminology of the LGBTQ+ community. Commonly, this perception applies to identities that don’t fall under the first four letters of the acronym. Many people can manage to remember ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘transgender’, but get confused after that point. With the growing number of people who are coming out beyond those identities – as queer, asexual, aromantic, polyamorous, and, in this article, non-binary – it’s important that we all learn to understand the many people of genders and sexualities that we may not have heard of before. This article will provide a brief insight into the rich history of genders that don’t fall into the category of ‘male’ or ‘female’. It will not be engaging with the poorly evidenced arguments that such people do not exist, which many believe in, despite strong cases that stand against them. We will be operating on the assumption that nobody can understand someone’s internal identity as much as they, themselves, can. ‘Non-binary’ is a blanket term for those whose sense of gender falls out of the gender binary – the one into which most people fall, as either men or women . Some non-binary individuals identify with a
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
Teaching history has never been without controversy, and it is certainly true that today we find ourselves faced with a range of issues that give rise to deep-seated passions and ethical debates. The murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, in particular, have brought the question of historical injustices related to race to the fore. The teacher’s role is a challenging one in that we are responsible for creating and maintaining ‘safe’ spaces in our classrooms – ones where pupils can feel free to express themselves and their ideas without personal judgement – whilst simultaneously needing to act as moral arbiters: there are things that should not and must not be said, due to the distress doing so would cause. Furthermore, teachers are honour- and duty-bound to model and insist on academic integrity in their teaching of their subject: ultimately, it is the teacher’s role neither to validate nor dispute pupils’ individual ‘truths’, rather to impart the body of knowledge in which they specialise with honesty and integrity, and assist pupils in navigating it according to those same principles. Arguably, it is more straightforward to balance the imperatives outlined above when teaching, say, the Tudors, than the Holocaust or the rise and fall of the British Empire. One particular instance of failure in the discussion of an emotionally charged topic sticks clearly in my mind. As a PGCE student teacher, I attended a taught session at my university focused on teaching contentious aspects of the History curriculum. In it, the tutor took the example of the West African slave trade and attempted to illustrate that the historical causes of this abhorrent activity — principally the drive for profit — were distinct from the racism that was tragically enhanced by it, a racism used as justification for the inhuman treatment of fellow human beings by British imperialists and a great many others through history. His attempt to demonstrate that it would be reductive to define slavery solely as a manifestation of racism, and intellectually flawed to teach children that racism was the predominant or only cause of slavery, seemed reasonable enough to me. To one student teacher however, Black British and of Afro- Caribbean heritage, the tutor’s comments were as morally insufferable as they were factually flawed: his assertions violated the essence not only of her view of the past, but also her personal frame of reference - that intersection of past and present that gave meaning to her world and to her place within it. Tragically, her eloquence on this subject did not ultimately result in student and tutor finding sufficient common ground to move forward – she left the room, and the PGCE course not long afterwards. This episode has stayed with me, perhaps the more so because I remain uncertain as to what could have been done to salvage the situation. There are undoubtedly topics (sometimes whole A level papers, as with the British Empire) where classroom discussion will be far more emotionally affecting for some than for others, whether due to personal and family history, ethnic and racial self-identification or other factors. I would concur with the following view, expressed by the Twitter commentator Sarah Maddux: ‘When you debate [with] a person about something that
affects them more than it affects you, remember that it will take a much greater emotional toll on them than it will on you.’ In the face of this reality, there are no easy solutions or simple answers, and foolhardy would be the teacher who claimed to have these. From what I have learned thus far, I can offer the following observations. Firstly, acknowledging the potential for pain and difficulty when covering particular historical material is important, making all in the classroom aware that this will likely not be felt uniformly or equally, and that this is alright and indeed to be expected. Secondly, flippant and generalised observations, always best avoided in any case, should be guarded against and, where necessary, challenged in lessons. Such comments can be both personally damaging and intellectually dishonest (and in my experience are not exclusively aimed at minorities). Finally, History as a discipline offers both a body of knowledge that is evidence-based and a distinct approach to exploring and applying that knowledge to answer particular types of question. Those who undertake it must be taught the nature of the subject such that they can apply this approach in their study of the past and ideally – (the History teacher’s dream!) – in their present lives. Part of this requires acceptance of the existence of two distinct but overlapping spheres, as in a Venn diagram: the personal and subjective, and the objective – each informs and benefits the other; neither can claim with integrity to function in the other’s absence. Teaching contentious topics arguably helps pupils to learn one of historical study’s fundamental lessons: who we are informs how we approach the past; what we learn from studying it with as rigorous an objectivity as possible will in turn inform who we become. It is the teacher’s role to… impart the body of knowledge in which they specialise with honesty and integrity “
CONTROVERSIAL HISTORY IN THE CLASSROOM
Marina Instone reflects on the challenges, for teachers, of exploring emotionally charged historical topics
ARTWORK — DYLAN PUGH (YEAR 13)
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
Francis McCabe (Year 10) interviews Tobie Medland OA about his life as a jazz violinist Jazzing
Francis McCabe: How did you get into jazz violin?
I’d say Django is slightly more influential. And if you’re going to have levels of greatness, Django is also slightly greater. But Stephane lived much longer and recorded a lot more. So I guess he had a kind of a longer effect on the musical development of the industry.
Tobie Medland : As I was growing up, my father introduced me to the jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt, as well as the jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, along with music by Le Hot Club de France. I also had a schoolfriend, a guitarist, who loved Django, and who copied his style. FM: You mentioned your father. Do you come from a musical background? TM : Yes. Very much. My dad, who had actually trained as a singer, was an English teacher at Dulwich College, and my Mum is Head of Music at Ducks. They met at the Royal Academy when they were both studying singing. In addition, my Mum is a violinist and my Dad played piano. FM: Apart from the violin, are there any other aspects of music you are involved in? TM : Yes – I play the piano, and also do a lot of music production and engineering.
FM: Do you think jazz is dying? How do you see its future?
TM : To quote Frank Zappa, ‘jazz ain’t dead. It just smells funny.’ Obviously, in the 40s and 50s, it was basically pop music – everyone listened to it – and it’s not that now. But there is actually a kind of contemporary popular movement in jazz, which has only really come into being in the last few years, and which is being enjoyed by people who wouldn’t have explored jazz previously. So if anything, jazz as a whole is becoming a lot more popular. I play a sub-genre of jazz; it’s sometimes referred to as ‘gypsy jazz’, which is now a kind of controversial way to refer to it – I know you have another article in the magazine connected to this, so I won’t go into the reasons here. What’s important to me is that it’s really cool music. It’s accessible to listen to, and great fun to play. Recently, there have been some quite high- profile people promoting it and ‘crushing it’, such as Jamie Cullum, the radio presenter, jazz pianist and singer, who has played it on his radio shows and has been promoting it quite a bit. FM: Do you have any advice for someone who’s wanting to pursue a musical career? TM : You have to be dedicated and work very hard, because without that dedication, you won’t maintain the confidence and the determination to actually work at it and ride the rough patches. Networking is important as well. You have to go to every event you can, whether they’re jam sessions or folk circles or chamber orchestra concerts. Go to every single musical event that you feasibly can, and talk to people: if you make an impression in the scene socially, people do remember you, and will call you up for work. The older musicians really like to support the younger musicians; I guess it’s because a lot of them know the struggle of being a young musician. It’s a long, difficult journey. I think it’s very important to appreciate those people, and to pay them back with hard work and gratitude. Hopefully, when you in turn get to that sort of age, you carry on that tradition and support the younger people.
FM: Why did you choose to focus mainly on the violin?
TM : I don’t know why; it was not necessarily a great decision, as it is a very difficult instrument. When I went to university I stopped playing the violin; I was determined to be a jazz pianist. But a couple of years ago I realised that I was a much better violinist than pianist. FM: Do you prefer to improvise or to play from set music pieces? TM : In general, I prefer to improvise – it’s a lot more free, and it’s something I find easier; plus it suits my personality, my playing style. When playing jazz, there is both the element of playing what’s written, and improvising, so you have to interpret the composition. FM: On average, how long do you spend practising each day? Do you think that is key to becoming a successful musician? TM : I practise as much as I can. If I can only manage 45 minutes or an hour, I won’t beat myself up about it, but if I can practise for two hours, sometimes three, then I do. Sometimes if I don’t have much else on, I’ll do something crazy, like six hours. There are many, many elements that are key to becoming a successful musician, but practising regularly is the most important one. FM: What do you think of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, and who is a greater influence on you? TM : I love them. I think they’re the best. In my opinion, they’re two of the most influential musicians that have ever lived, and they are very, very important figures to me personally.
FM: What have you got on the horizon?
TM : Loads, as soon as restrictions allow. I run a festival, which should get going again once lockdown is over. I’ve just started a record label and I’ve got a personal album coming up. There’s so much to look forward to.
THE ALLEYNIAN 709
OPINION, INTERVIEWS & FEATURES
When Covid-19 touched down in the UK, millions of people had to face restrictions to their freedom on a scale never seen before. Jamie Chong (Year 12) examines the impact of this seismic change to our daily lives Lockdown vs
Law is everything that the
The arrival of the pandemic induced culture shock in a society that had been brought up on the ideologies of Western liberty. Within a few days of the first lockdown, the Coronavirus Act 2020 passed into law, granting Boris Johnson’s government emergency powers on a scale last seen during the Second World War. This isn’t something that was agreed upon so easily in other countries, though. The US executive struggled (or refused) to pass any nationwide motions. In Japan, the government did not have the legal power to enforce a lockdown. Lockdowns are controversial, although not a completely new idea: in the Public Health Act 1984, Parliament introduced the ability to lock the country down. But is lockdown effective? The jury is out. Certainly, some countries which enforced strict lockdowns, such as New Zealand and Vietnam, reduced their infection rate very effectively. However, other countries didn’t have a lockdown, yet recovered quickly, as was the case in Singapore or Taiwan. Here in the UK, at the time of writing, we are in our third national lockdown, due to unrelenting spikes in infection. It seems clear that the first lockdown was necessary because we did not, unlike some countries, have a successful track and trace system or a mass-testing system ready to roll out when the virus hit. Unfortunately, since then, lockdown has been lifted with cases still in their hundreds, allowing the virus to continue to spread. The economic imperative overrode the health concerns. Asian countries, ravaged by the SARS outbreak two decades ago, understood the devastating effects that outbreaks could pose, and when Covid-19 was declared an emergency threat by the WHO, they were ready to do whatever was necessary to avoid the same levels of destruction. Perhaps this is a lesson the West has to learn from this outbreak.
government is able to enforce,
whereas guidance stretches beyond that
One of the most significant ways in which the government has attempted to retain some form of personal freedom is through the distinction between law and guidance. Law is everything that the government is able to enforce, whereas guidance stretches beyond that, laying out the best actions to take. This allows for some element of choice, whilst keeping the majority of the population safe. Ultimately, the guidance is what the government wants everyone to abide by. There is also leeway in most of the laws, such as leaving the house during lockdown. The law currently states that there has to be a ‘reasonable excuse’, allowing for case-by-case judgement rather than a strict rule on what is acceptable. Ultimately, the most important thing that has justified the temporary changes to our lives has been the ticking time bomb we have faced. Overwhelmed staff, fully occupied hospitals, and patients dying in the thousands every day were some of the glaring reasons that action needed to be taken. Our right to go high-street shopping certainly does not take priority over the lives of others. Therefore, in order to protect the right of others to health and life – fundamental human rights – we have to restrict ourselves and compromise on some things we take for granted. We give up today in order to have tomorrow.
ARTWORK — ALEXANDROS DOUROUKLAKIS (YEAR 13)Page 1 Page 2-3 Page 4-5 Page 6-7 Page 8-9 Page 10-11 Page 12-13 Page 14-15 Page 16-17 Page 18-19 Page 20-21 Page 22-23 Page 24-25 Page 26-27 Page 28-29 Page 30-31 Page 32-33 Page 34-35 Page 36-37 Page 38-39 Page 40-41 Page 42-43 Page 44-45 Page 46-47 Page 48-49 Page 50-51 Page 52-53 Page 54-55 Page 56-57 Page 58-59 Page 60-61 Page 62-63 Page 64-65 Page 66-67 Page 68-69 Page 70-71 Page 72-73 Page 74-75 Page 76-77 Page 78-79 Page 80-81 Page 82-83 Page 84-85 Page 86-87 Page 88-89 Page 90-91 Page 92-93 Page 94-95 Page 96-97 Page 98-99 Page 100-101 Page 102-103 Page 104-105 Page 106-107 Page 108-109 Page 110-111 Page 112-113 Page 114-115 Page 116-117 Page 118-119 Page 120-121 Page 122-123 Page 124-125 Page 126-127 Page 128-129 Page 130-131 Page 132-133 Page 134-135 Page 136-137 Page 138-139 Page 140-141 Page 142-143 Page 144-145 Page 146-147 Page 148-149 Page 150-151 Page 152-153 Page 154-155 Page 156-157 Page 158-159 Page 160-161 Page 162-163 Page 164-165 Page 166-167 Page 168-169 Page 170-171 Page 172-173 Page 174-175 Page 176-177 Page 178-179 Page 180
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