GOOD NEWS: A Win for Wild Places

Welcome to the first Good News instalment. Each month we will bring you some happier and
lighter news in relation to climate change and wild places. We are often shrouded with bleak
stories about the climate crisis, and in turn, this can create a negative space in our heads.
By also including some good news in your lives, we can instead choose to reclaim a sense
of hope and belonging…

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Soil isn’t Brown, it’s Green.

When you think of ecosystems, what comes to mind? Rainforests, coral reefs, thick woods full of life. What about the stuff beneath your feet? For too long we have dismissed what lies below as mere dirt and dead matter-this unknown and untapped universe is on the brink of extinction.

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Harnessing the Green-Eyed Monsters

It’s clear that politics and emotions are inseparable across the political spectrum. How could they not be? After all, when we vote, we’re voting based on which candidates and policies best bolster our hopes, assuage our fears, and share our anger. After each election, we see the same images time and again: overtired candidates and campaigners, crowded in some church-hall-turned-polling-station, moved to both elation and tears. It’s just the colour of the rosettes that changes between the photos…

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Queer Dating Stories

It’s Pride month! In addition to the over-commercialisation of Pride by brands and companies, it’s also a time of reflection for the queer community on our experiences and what being queer means to each of us. 

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‘Darling, I have no dream job, I do not dream of labour’

James Baldwin, discussing the mythology of the American Dream, spoke the words ‘I have no dream job, I do not dream of labour’. Decades later, these words are a popular TikTok soundbite comically backing memes and skits poking fun at work for our generation. Though comic, this satire is evidence of a larger sentiment surrounding work and labour for Gen Z, particularly the disillusionment many feel with the precarious prospects available to us…

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Dreams and Nightmares in Audrey Diwan’s Happening

The night after we watched L’événement (Happening), a 2021 French drama currently receiving a British release, two of my friends had dreams about being pregnant. This, I think, is the greatest testament to the power of Audrey Diwan’s direction and Anamaria Vartolomei’s leading performance: we began dissecting the film the second the cinema lights lifted; carried on for the whole walk home; through three rounds in the pub; and still we couldn’t get the story out of our heads…

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Luna

Luna

My mother used to live on the moon. 
She orbited my planet and controlled my weather. 
She smiled in my sunshine, and soothed my monsoons
Until they were drizzle on my cheeks.
During the days she turned to smoke,
But like the tides she always came back. 
She pleated my hair and spoke 
Of faraway lands before bedtime. 

She was forever leaving gifts on my doorstep, 
And remembering my favourite colour. 
She listened to my stories, and she spent
Her time on me, despite the distance.
My small arms reach out into the night and it seems 
As though I could clutch that white speck in my palms.
My spaceman mother, a woman of dreams. 

Robyn Barclay (she/her)

Instagram: @rxbynelena 

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What’s the point of sexual fantasies?

For many, their sexual fantasies are a source of shame, a well-kept secret or even a source of anxiety. For others, sexual fantasies are no different from the sex they are already having. The transition from one to another requires much unlearning of sexual norms, personal growth, and open communication with sexual partners. Although challenging, it allows us to expand our understanding of sexual pleasure and explore our sexuality both within and outside of relationships…

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Transfeminine masculinities – structural [trans]misogyny

I feel that the label ‘transmisogyny’ is a bit opaque. It often describes many of the moments where transfemme people are understood and treated as ‘biologically male’ by one means or another; an intersection between misogyny and transphobia. I want to talk through a little of what’s going on in the different moments and processes that make up these interactions and situations of transphobia, to give an insight into my world of masculinities. Within the bounds of transmisogyny, there is no room for me to explore my gender nonconformity; no room for my experimentation with pronouns, presentation, or personality; no room for any subversive tendencies without or beyond the original sin of my transfemininity. There isn’t a lot of room in people’s consciousness for masculinity from transfems. It’s hard for us to embody our masculinities as non-men without the people around us eroding, invalidating, and redefining us.

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Masculinity is an old friend

Masculinity is an old friend

I don’t think it’s fair to blame
My father who wanted a son
Or society who wanted
To treat me just a little worse
In truth, masculinity fit me well

For my sister, she claimed
The feminine through force
Pressed on nails and
Eyes winged perfectly
Despite protests or 
Hollow calls against

But I couldn’t find space 
for me with that paradigm
Until talking with a friend
He unraveled the gendered
Pointed out he was just a man
Who liked “feminine things”

Until the tarot brought me
The sun and the moon
Push and pull of tides
Both held within our husks
To give and to take 
and to give again

When masculinity calls
Like an old friend, I answer
Remember times they held me
Moments they made me worse
But recollection not regret
Reminds me why 
We don’t stay in touch

Magda Nawrocka-Weekes (she/they)
Instagram: @xan6ua

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The Home Front of the Culture War

Considering that we are currently witnessing one of the most serious conflicts in Europe in recent decades, you’d be forgiven for wondering why so much of the surrounding discourse appears preoccupied with pronouns, gender, and sexuality – topics that perhaps, on their surface, appear only tangentially, if at all, related…

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Who ‘leans in’ and how? Masculinities in workspaces

In 2010, the then Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivered a TED talk entitled ‘Why we have too few women leaders’. This talk spawned the now-infamous 2013 book Lean In which lays out her brand of corporate feminist doctrine in greater detail. The crux of Sandberg’s argument is that women lack the assertiveness and ambition of their male colleagues, and that is why they fail to get ahead in their careers.

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Talking anxiety with Nin-ja

Most alt-R&B tracks are centred around more or less the same thing – love. Love in all its agony, love in all its euphoria. But Nin-ja wants to dig deeper than that. The singer-songwriter’s just released her new single Lockjaw where she sings candidly about her struggles with anxiety. Nin-ja’s been in the music game for about four years now, but after taking a brief hiatus, she’s back with a new single and more honest than ever. 

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Awards Shows are for the Boys

For the majority of the 2000s and the decades before them, awards shows have been a cultural concept distinctly owned by the feminine. The prestige of the Academies, the swelling of romantic music after every award, and of course, the unparalleled glitz and glamour of the evening’s most decadent stars. Remember the running joke of the Oscars being the “female Superbowl.” Imagine groups of housewives prepping parties and organising bets on who would be wearing Chanel while their husbands stand stiffly in the kitchen over beers. Joan Rivers in gold, poking at the ribs of underaged starlets as camera click and waves of taffeta turned to fodder for tabloids…

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Dear Past Me, don’t run away from life

Dear past me, don’t run away…

It’s 7pm, and I’m guessing you’re still in bed after aimlessly scrolling on social media that make you feel like your body is not toned enough and that you aren’t having as much fun as other people your age. You woke up, and it was dark. You decided you were going to stay in bed all day.

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Reclaiming the Dildo

Dildos have a long and controversial history, and have existed for much longer than many of us think. Despite this, they continue to be a taboo topic of conversation. However, dildos can also bring a lot of joy, freedom, and liberation to those who use them. To write this article, I collected responses from a variety of individuals with different gender and sexual identities, and different opinions on dildos. In doing this, I wanted to explore the contested opinions and complex emotions that many have about dildos…

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get out of my skin please

get out of my skin please

I want my crannies to nook for you
But you don’t even look 
Look;
I want my biomap fingerprints to interlock with yours 
Inexplicably the maze patterns slot in harmony
written for the other, waited two lifetimes for this chance meeting

Racing to the maze middle
I am discouraged
By your disinterest
Cheers or jeers would be preferable to this silence
I find myself the lone contender 
You are unfit to adjudicate;
Trusting the leaves on the left
They lead me out
Heart lead
Guide me to the end of desire

The heartstrings that make up my right ventricle 
You appear to have turned into a hammock
Summer months approaching
The sway pulling strings in all the wrong directions 
Transcending my corp-Reality into a grotesque puppet mimicry
More and more it swings and stings and disrupts the flow from my head
unto my toe
And it isn’t red within, there’s translucence for dinner
This I know
Because a slice of me is cut for the prizewinner 
The ones who made it to the middle grossly engorged
Their fingers ragged and wrecked from dragging through unforgiving foliage 
bloated, bursting, not seen to be sightly
Unseen in safety, for he has forgotten me
And our fingertips never even touched

But the incessant twitch that makes me dream of itching the scratch right out of my chest 
Is treated in waking like a Victorian asylum patient: tightjacket escape artists
My little lost mazerunners bravely perform their Sisyphean trope 
and I traipse about too, comfort-grasping the lighter in my pocket closer to these wistful fingerprints.

Leah De Mey (she/her)

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Art Under Fire: Ukrainian Cultural Institutions 

I have a friend who is currently working in Kiev. He asked me not to share his name, to protect his safety and identity. He was originally on his semester abroad, but since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he has been working in a local art gallery and cultural museum with his fellow classmates…

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Dear pre-trauma me, men will harm you more than once…

I can tell you now, even with everything men have put you through, you will still try to see the best in people. Sometimes this will be your downfall. They will gaslight you so much that you will start gaslighting yourself – I wish there was a way to warn you to always trust your intuition. If it feels off, that’s probably because it is…

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Not Funny Then, and Not Funny Now: Responding to the Changing HIV Epidemic

New figures released last month by the UK Health Security Agency, to mark the beginning of National HIV Testing Week (7th-13th February), have revealed the changing form of the HIV epidemic in the UK. For the first time in a decade, the number of new HIV diagnoses in England is higher among heterosexual people than gay and bisexual men…

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You almost ruined my favourite song 

You almost ruined my favourite song 

I listened to the Wombats today
Only to be taken back 
To the dimly lit parking lot behind your flat in Cowgate
Pushing me against the wall and whispering into my ear 
You say I am the best thing that you’ve ever seen 
My bare back digging into the wall but 
I could have stayed there forever 
My very own New Jerusalem

The chorus of the song I sing to day and night 
echoes from inside 
So do cheers of people playing beer pong 
They awaken us from our trance 
There’s nowhere to hide 
1,2,3, time to dance

When we enter everyone takes out their flashlights pointing them at us 
My head is in the clouds and my Converse in the gravel of the parking lot
You on the contrary 

You 
are on one knee 

I
can hear my heart breaking 

Everyone 
is cheering
 
This is all that I used to want 
And now all I can think of is
You just ruined my favourite song

The greek tragedy of all of this is 
You thought you were buying tickets 
To see a romantic comedy 
But I turned out to be your Antigone

Flash-forward and I’m walking through the all too familiar streets
As a prisoner sentenced to live my life 
On the land from which you’ve been exiled 
The smell of smoke 
From when we burned with bad intentions 
Still fills my nose 

On days like these
I write you endless poems you will 
never see

My headphones blasting that one song by the Wombats 
On repeat 
On repeat 
On repeat 

If you ever see this 
Please let me know
When you hear that song 
Do you still sing along? 

Veronika

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In a dystopian time, we must be indulgent in our utopian fantasies

On March 6th, 2022, I attended a memorial protest at Scottish Parliament on the one-year anniversary of Sarah Everard’s murder. Several women spoke in her memory highlighting brutality of gender-based violence in the U.K and around the world, calling for the dismantling of the very systems that are meant to protect us but instead regularly create violence and fear.

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