Archive by Author

Feature: The Fall of the Alpha Male

15 Apr

It seems like the role of the “alpha male” has begun to decline since our passing into the 21st century. The image of the aggressive, hairy-chested, overtly macho, and mostly sexist man is being passed over by the more intelligent, geeky, fashion-conscious and more considerate “Metrosexual” man.

As the shift to a more “politically correct” society had seen the behavior of such alpha males now frowned upon, “beta males” like Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg have risen up to show the world that you now don’t necessarily have to beat your chest to be heard in business anymore.

This trend is also being seen in other professions as well, with men like lead singer and songwriter of the Arctic Monkeys Alex Turner demonstrating that you don’t have to be brash and cocky like Liam Gallagher to be a rock and roll superstar.

And let’s not forget probably the most influential beta male on the planet, the current President of the United States, Barack Obama. With his smooth, easygoing nature, smart dress sense and calm but authoritative manner, he is single-handedly showing the world that a man doesn’t need to be a ruthless dictator to command respect.

The times are changing, and it’s time for those who still cling to the Gordon Gekko mentality to dust off their caveman attitudes and embrace their “beta” halves!

365 days of Victoria Sponge charity

23 Feb

Photo courtesy of Bruce Adams

A teacher from Cheshire named Cath Webb has pledged to give away a Victoria sponge cake every day for a year!

The idea came about when she had found out a friend of hers had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As a gesture of support, she made her friend a sponge cake.

She said: “I didn’t know what to say to her so I made her a Victoria sponge, left it on her porch and drove off. On the way home, I got a text saying ‘You can feed people with love’. It was so moving.”

Her aim is to give one of her cakes to family, friends and strangers for the simple reward of getting them to smile. Having already started last year, she is only (at time of counting) 85 cakes away from completing her goal.

Cath is far from excited about reaching the end of her challenge, as she has so enjoyed bringing smiles to people’s faces. She says, “It’s incredible how happy baking makes people.[…] My children must be sick of cake, and my husband has done all the washing-up for 280 days, but I will be so sad when I’m done.”

Biochemist’s cake quest

18 Feb

Maria Michael is mother to a son who – like an increasing number of children his age – has multiple food allergies. These allergies can take many forms, from an intolerance of multiple food groups, e.g. dairy or seafood, to a life-threatening potential for food-induced anaphylactic shock.

Most mums would settle for the inevitability of preparing specified allergy-free food for her son for the rest of his childhood. Maria, however, is a Biochemical Engineer, so to her it seemed a relatively straightforward process to find an alternative solution.

She said: “My son has allergies to four or five food groups and the cakes I found looked different, so I just tried making him something.” She was keen to make her son’s cakes just as fun looking as the ones most parents could buy for their children. Once she’d created her cakes, her next step was to go into business for herself and start up a catering business for all occasions. The difference in Maria’s cakes is that they are free of eggs, dairy, nuts, soya and sugar. Past designs have included a hotdog, burger and a running shoe, but she is also producing more traditional cakes.

She added: “My vision is to have a universal cake which anyone can eat, whether you are a vegan, allergic to egg and dairy or allergic to nuts, and for it to taste the same as conventional cakes.”

Its inspirational to know that in these hard times, a noble idea can develop into such a lucrative business!

Starbucks music video

17 Feb

An interesting music video by John Wesley Harding, a solo artist with a unique way of writing songs. This video was filmed in front of twenty-eight different Starbucks locations in New York city in less than five hours.

Harding said about the song: ”Starbucks isn’t the real target. To me, its a song about gentrification. It could be Starbucks, it could be The Gap, it could be Barnes and Noble. It could be anyone. It just happens that Starbucks – its like saying ‘God’ or  ‘the Devil.’ People know what you mean.”

Harding has a sort of split-personality in that his other job is as a novelist. He says, “I think that novel-writing is kind of taking care of a lot of the fictional impulses that I have. Now, when I think of an idea for a song, I often think, ‘Oh, no — that’s a terrible idea for a song. But it’s a great idea to put into a novel,’ ” It has changed the way he produces music too: “Suddenly, I find myself writing rather more personal material — which, of course, is what a lot of people do use music for. I’d just never really used it in that way.”

Hertfordshire Council topped LGBT-friendly Workplace Poll

16 Feb

Image courtesy of

Hertfordshire County Council has been recognised as one of the most gay-friendly workplaces in the country.

They were listed in the top 60 of the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, which also included MI5. Companies featured in the index were graded on employee policies, staff engagement, learning and development support and external and community engagement.

Cabinet member for Equality and Diversity Councillor Derrick Ashley said “We are delighted to be recognised as a top employer for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Our place on the index acknowledges the hard work the county council puts into its equality policies.”

Stonewall is a lesbian, gay and bisexual charity that was founded in 1989, and which has grown to become one of the leading LGBT rights organisations in the UK. They started the index for Workplace Equality in 2005.

News: Cake beats Chicken to top spot in BBC food search

15 Feb

The word “cake” has replaced “chicken” as the UK’s most searched for food term. According to the BBC’s Good Food website, more people are now searching for cake recipes than chicken ones, ousting our main-meal staple from its top spot.

This new trend appears to have been caused by the recent rise in popularity of TV cooking shows like The Great British Bake-Off and Baking Made Easy.

Pizza also moved up the list to forth place from tenth in 2010, and pasta has moved up into the top 10 for the first time.

Editor of the Good Food Magazine Gillian Carter said: “It’s not surprising that in tough times we reach for comforting food. One of the ways we keep calm is with cake and a cuppa – or our imported national favorites – pasta and pizza.”

With the economic climate as it is, as well as comfort food, people are leaning towards cheaper meals as a way of saving the pennies. Shows like The Great British Bake-Off are showing how easy it is to bake a good cake on the cheap!

Feature: Pistachio Dominatrix Advert

10 Jan

Dominatrix does it on command! A clever little advert for lovers of S&M and nuts! (the food, not the other thing you were thinking!)  Wonderful Pistachios has come up with a clever little advert which puts an interesting spin on how we look at food advertising!

First Transsexual MP in Poland

28 Nov

Anna Grodzka is the first Transsexual MP to be elected to office in Poland, a major achievement considering Poland’s strong Catholic background.

Originally born Krzysztof Begowski, Ms Grodzka is a member of the Palikot’s Movement (PM) party, Poland’s third largest and most progressive political party.

Ms Grodzka was sworn in alongside Robert Biedron, Poland’s first openly gay MP and also a member of the Palikot’s Movement Party.

Art Show – Deicide by Helen Gorrill

24 Nov

Helen Gorrill has been researching Feminism and Theology for 4 years, and her art show called Deicide is a showcase of her findings.

Going into the ideology behind female submissiveness, Helen’s research explores such connections as post-feminism and biblical references.

Deicide is running from the 3rd – 28th of November.

TV Spotlight – My Transexual Summer

23 Nov

I’ve recently been watching “My Transexual Summer” on Channel 4.

The show is a documentary about 7 Transsexual people from various walks of life who are attending a summer camp as a way of coming together to help each other out with their shared problems and change people’s perception of what it is to be a Transsexual person.

I believe its been a long time coming that a show like this to appear on television, because it gives the issues of Transgender a much needed shot in the arm. They’re still in the minority, and as a result there is still a level of ignorance and fear where there need not be. Lets hope this show paves the way to greater things in the future.

My Transexual Summer is shown at 10pm Thursdays on Channel 4