Category Archives: News

Meet Alan: the Male feminist

Alan Howell is not your average feminist.

For starters, he’s a white British man. A descendent of Sir Walter Raleigh, Alan was brought up to be a proper and chivalrous gentleman.

Taught to open doors and give up seats for women. However, it was last year at the Seven Dials music festival when Alan worked alongside the CEO of Sister London, a PR firm located in Soho, that he found himself, almost a year later, working as a promotional officer for International Woman’s Day 2019.

After the festival, he went back and told his employers how much he enjoyed working with Sister.

“I love the fact that I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he tells me as we sit on a velvet pink couch in a pop-up shop in Seven Dials.

“We’ve been educated on the subject matter but not on the content or the opinions. I wondered what I was getting into, but I wanted to be educated, and to learn as a man.”    

The theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceisBetter, which targets body positivity and the gender pay gap. As a seasoned actor, Alan had never been exposed to the plights women face in various industries.

“I’ve never had an experience when I knew a fellow colleague was earning less than I was. Obviously, if they were the lead then they would earn more but for those of us in the ensemble, we’re all on a minimum wage. It’s only when you become more important that the gap becomes bigger.”

When I asked Alan what it was that men needed to learn, he chuckled,

“Everyone needs to learn, not just men. International Women’s Day and other events highlighting difficulties women face can make a difference and both sexes can walk away from this event learning something. However, the lads who lunch definitely need waking up when it comes to business industries- especially the older generation.”

Alan has been no stranger to body positivity, even confiding in me, a complete stranger, about the struggles he’s dealt with in the entertainment industry.

“I’ve been told I need to lose weight- and I know I do.”

I stare at him cynically as he continues,“But, if you’re going to change something about your body it should be because it makes you feel good not because society is telling you it’s something you should do. You should be able to look in the mirror and embrace who you are no matter what sex, religion, social class, or whatever your background. That to me equals #BalanceisBetter.”

Influencing future generations with events like International Women’s Day is the most important thing to Alan. When promotion for the event first began, himself and another cohort passed out flyers around Seven Dials, he says with a massive smile painted across his face. 

As Alan tells me about how passionate he is about closing in on the wage-gap or promoting body positivity, I can’t help but think what the world would be like if all men and women became as proactive about fighting social issues or even opening our minds to new information in the way he has.

“Everyone needs to be open to change,” he says, “especially elected officials”.

I pondered on what Alan had shared with me so far before I imposed my last question, contemplating how a white middle-class cis-gender British male could be sat before me saying everything he had, I probed.

“Are you sure you didn’t just sign up to this to meet girls?” After letting out an uproarious laugh he insists “No, I’m madly in love with a beautiful woman who makes me strive to become better than I am because she is just so strong, driven and wonderful,”

It was exactly at that moment when women all over the world were heard sighing, “ why can’t all men be like Alan?”

Like a virgin: Millennials are waiting longer to have sex

New research by The Next Steps project found that millennials are waiting longer to engage in sexual activities than previous generations.

The project is a University College London study that followed 16,000 people born in 1989 and 1990 since they were 14 years old. One in eight millennials reported they were still virgins at 26 during interviews carried out in 2016.

The study also shows that young people maintain personal independence later into adulthood and are less likely to have sexual partners than older generations, as they grow older.

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, blames it on millennials being ambitious and motivated. She told The Washington Post: “a lot of them are afraid that they’ll get into something they can’t get out of and they won’t be able to get back to their desk and keep studying.” London is certainly a city where young people are focused on thriving.

The results support the common myth of fear of intimacy and commitment amongst young people. Susanna Abse, psychoanalytic psychotherapist of the Balint Consultance, told the Sunday Times “millennials have been brought up in a culture of hypersexuality, which has bred a fear of intimacy”.

Student health nurse at the University of Westminster, Martin Jones, says he is surprised with the results, as his own experience proves otherwise. He points out that the sample of the study is very early on in an entire generation and that “there are certainly more partners now than their parents”.

Featured image by Crew on Unsplash

How to celebrate the royal wedding in London

If your invite to the royal wedding got lost in the mail, the city has plenty on offer to so you can still celebrate the big day. Here is our list of what you should check out:

1. Right Royal Knees Up, 19 May, 10am – 5pm

The Book Club is offering an East London twist on the royal wedding. Expect plenty of Pimms, prosecco, drag queens, bingo, markets and live music – all the whilst the wedding is being broadcasted on screens. Advance tickets are £5.

2. The Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, Thursday, Fridays, Saturday and Sundays in May

Step aboard a classic Routemaster Bus that will take you around the must-see sights of London. On the road you’ll be treated to an afternoon tea that includes Californian-inspired avocado and crab verrine in ode to Meghan Markle’s heritage. Tickets start at £55.

3. Throwback Royal Wedding Disco, 19 May, 8pm – 2am

Put on your dancing shoes for this celebration. Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen is bringing you a night of disco, soul and house music whilst supplying retro photo booths and a lot of glitter. To put a royal spin on the night, there will also be royal fancy dress and cardboard cut-outs of the royals.

4. A courtyard celebration with food and drinks, 19 May

Join the Bluebird in Chelsea as they deck their courtyard with bunting, screen the wedding, cook a BBQ and host a live DJ. There will even be a special Royal Wedding cocktail. Tickets are priced at £25 and include a glass of champagne.

5. Royal Poutine

This Instagram-ready, plant-based cafe by Chloe, is serving a vegan alternative to Meghan Markle’s favourite food; poutine. By Chloe have created the dish using air-baked fries, spicy seitan chorizo, cashew mozzarella, gravy and chipotle aioli.

6. A royal-inspired cabaret dinner, 19 May, 6pm – 10pm

Alongside hosting a dinner, the famous cabaret club Café de Paris will capture Meghan and Prince Harry’s love through an exciting performance. The show will follow their relationship starting with their early dates in Soho to the day of the proposal. Tickets start at £30.

7. Try the Meghan Markle Cocktail

Whiskey, champagne, violet liqueur and cherry bitters create the Meghan Markle inspired floral cocktail that will be served at London’s oldest restaurant, Rules.

8. A royal wedding Garden Party, 19 May, 11am – 6pm

The Devonshire Club is opening up to non-members for a day of afternoon tea and sparkling wine held in their Garden Room and terrace. The club will be screening the wedding as part of the celebration. The event costs £32 per person.

9. Prince Harry Tour of London, 20 May

This two-hour walking tour will take you on a journey of some of the most important moments in Prince Harry’s life. Locations include Trafalgar Square where he began his charity trek to the South Pole and Westminster Abbey where he was the Best Man at Prince William’s wedding. An adult ticket costs £12.

10. Bottomless brunch, 19 May

Gastro pub Galvin is offering a bottomless brunch accompanied by a special royal menu. And of course, they will also be screening the royal ceremony whilst you feast. The meal costs £15 per person.

Find an interactive map of the events by clicking this link.

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Read more WNOL posts about the royal wedding here and here.

Cuts to police and youth ‘linked to rising crime rates’

London’s crime rate continues to rise as the Metropolitan police struggles with numbers.

The total number of murder victims in the capital reached 63 on 6 May, overtaking New York’s murder rate, following a surge of 44% in homicides.

Harrow MP Gareth Thomas said his area has seen 173 officers taken off the streets since 2010, putting a strain on the police resources.

This follows a cut of £600m from the Met Police’s annual budget and a decline in police numbers, according to a Home Office report.

Thomas said: “The recent spike in crime can only be evidence that the Met’s capacity is greatly reduced.”

In a similar way, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has said falling police numbers were a concern in the rise of crime rates.

The figures, released in January, show cuts to youth initiatives and a historic low of police numbers with reductions of more than 20,000 police officers across the country.

The Serious Violence Strategy launched by the government last month doesn’t make mention of that and instead puts the focus on social media activity and the role of local communities to prevent crime.

A series of shootings over the Bank Holiday weekend put a spotlight on the rising crime rates. The latest fatal victim is Rhyiem Ainsworth Barton, a 17-year-old who died of gunshot wounds in Southwark on the evening of 5 May. He was shot while playing football and died at the scene shortly after he was found.

Another incident followed the next day in Harrow, where a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old were shot in Wealdstone High Street in Harrow within minutes of each other. The two are now recovering from their injuries.

Moped crime has also seen record numbers in the capital. According to a BBC investigation, it has increased 30 times in five years with 40% of incidents happening in Camden and Islington. Transport hubs are considered hotspots for crime as people are usually distracted around these areas.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has recently announced a city hall investment of an extra £110m for the Met and a £45m youth fund to prevent more violent crimes.


Featured image by Paul Townsend on Flickr.

Ban on junk food ads: What is the point?

As childhood obesity levels skyrocket, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is proposing that junk food advertisements are banned from all London public transport — buses, tube and trains.

So will we no longer see fast food chains advertising everywhere?

No. Well, not as they are today. Instead of advertising burgers, chips and ice creams, we will see carrot sticks and salads making their way on to the tube.

Carl W Jones, senior lecturer for PR and Advertising at the University of Westminster, told the university’s radio station that the new advertising campaign will help to battle childhood obesity within the city.

“If TFL don’t advertise those brands, the organisations have to adapt” so they’ll have to come up with new products or find other ways to reach the same audience. As TFL tube alone reaches 4.8 million commuters each day, companies do not want to lose their advertising spot.

Advertising healthier options rather than junk food will help to reduce the amount of junk food seen across the capital as the publics “opinions will be influenced” as at the moment it is all we see. It will seem as though there is a wider range of choice of food that is available to the public.

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Graphic by Tabitha Durrant     Statistics from: 

Jones also mentioned the companies targeted will have to be seen as though they are “caring about children”. Children are easily influenced and as society becomes more health conscience we need to give children a range of choice, without only advertising unhealthy foods and drinks.

The ban on junk food advertisements comes shortly after the sugar tax, which all companies, aside from Coca Cola, which will help reduce the intake of sugar. Now, if you wanted to buy a full fat Coca Cola, you need to pay an extra 12 pence.

A quarter of children aged between two and 10 being classed as overweight. In 2014/15, the NHS spent £6.1 billion treating patients suffering from the condition.

See what you can do for National Eat What You Want Day

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