Podcast: Tattoo talk

 

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Kelsy Karter’s fake Harry Styles tattoo caused quite a stir. (Photo credit: Instagram/kelsykarter)

 

 

Earlier this week, singer Kelsy Karter released a photo of her new tattoo of Harry Styles on her cheek. She then revealed that it was simply a publicity stunt to promote her single ‘Harry’. What do we think about face tattoos? Listen to Luka Kenyon, Olivia Hill and Linnea Lind as they discuss all things tattoos.

 

 

 

 

Museums over meditation for under 30s?

Visiting museum and gallery spaces seem to be a more popular way of dealing with stress and anxiety than mindfulness or mediation, according to a recent study conducted for a national arts charity. 

The report commissioned by the Art Fund at the end of last year showed 63% of people under the age of 30 would visit a museum or gallery as a way of relieving stress or anxiety, the same percentage that talking to a friend or family member received.

In response to the report, that found under 30s to be one of the most stressed generations, Art Fund have decided to increase the age for their under 26 national passes to under 30, allowing for a larger number of people to benefit from discounted exhibition entrance fees.

A spokesperson for Art Fund told EN4 News: “We give around seven million pounds a year at the moment, a lot of that which is facilitated through our national art passes.”

This change was launched earlier this week but is already said to be being “well received” they said.

They also said that the report as a whole showed “those who visit museums and galleries on a regular basis are more likely to have lower levels of stress and anxiety than those who have never visited one.”

The results found by the report, Art Fund believe, have further solidified the existing research around the benefits exposing oneself to arts and culture on a regular basis can have on a general wellbeing.

Museums and Galleries, with their cafes, bright open exhibition spaces, and interactive displays, are used for numerous activities that could lead to an increase feeling of wellness.

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National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Megan Merino

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. Photo by Megan Merino

 

But it may not only be the act of going to these spaces that can be beneficial to mental health. Instillations around Scotland are tackling themes of mental wellness and self reflection to allow for an even more introspective cultural experience.

A current exhibit at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art aims to allow visitors to reflect on their feelings and state of mind through an interactive light instillation.

EN4 news spoke with curator of the HappyHere exhibition Màiri Lafferty.

Màiri Lafferty, Daskalopoulos Curator of Engagement at National Galleries of Scotland.

HappyHere uses an interactive board to allow visitors to answer seven questions that are then presented in the form of light and colour on a custom-built screen for an abstract visualisation of the thoughts and feelings associated with the responses.

The instillation is inside the Pig Rock Bothy, a small space in the grounds of the Modern Art Gallery.

Credits: There will be no Miracles Here- Nathan Coley       Everything Will Be Alright-Martin Creed 

Despite creating a space that facilitates self reflection, Màiri added that it was not the job of a curator to force emotions on the visitor, but instead to allow the space for a personal experience and interaction with art.

 

 

Another new Edinburgh based exhibition addressing the theme of wellbeing is Beings at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery opening on February 2.

We spoke to Richie Cummings, Outreach Officer at the National Galleries about the upcoming exhibition that will display the artwork of young people as a response to other pieces in the National Galleries’ collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Zwiftly into the future

In the ever-changing world of technology which is increasingly relied on for convenience, things are taking a turn for the physical in eSports. Gone are the stereotypes of gamers being couch potatoes who lounge in their man caves, there’s a new breed of gamer and they are drastically different from the ones you might think you know.

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Credit Jade Du Preez.

But gaming has come a long way – the 70s was the golden age of the arcade game which actually forced gamers to leave their homes and game in public, the 80s saw tech like the ZX Spectrum and Commodore VIC-20, 8-bit computers that you could code your own games on (you plugged it into your TV!), then the 90s saw more handheld gaming with the Game Boy console finding a new niche in the market, then the turn of the century ushered in the most popular age of gaming and eSports captivated the world.

eSports is different from just gaming at home – you take part in a tournament that is often live streamed to people around the world, and not just anyone takes part, it’s normally always the upper echelon of players who battle against one another. It’s the cream of the crop and there’s normally a lot of money at play.

The prize pool for Dota 2’s The International 2018 tournament was over $25 million and people have been making a living out of eSports gaming for years now, and that looks like it’s going to stay as Fortnite creators Epic Games are looking to offer $100 million in prize money for tournaments during the 2018-2019. Dota put $38 million in for the previous season ($25 million of that going into the International 2018 tournament).

There is serious money backing eSports, with millions at stake, and that’s a drastic change from when Dennis Fong (also known as his gamer tag of Thresh), recognised as the first professional gamer, was playing Quake and Doom. Over his career, he made roughly $16,000 and famously won a Ferrari 328 that was owned by id Software CEO John D. Carmack. The players who finished 17th and 18th in the International 2018 tournament made $63,830.00 – that’s almost four times Fong’s entire career winnings.

But where are things changing? Yes, gaming has become a spectacle watching by many and held in huge arenas, but where does it go next? The answer could be helpful in cycling and running video game Zwift. It allows users to connect their turbo trainers (stationary bike technology that gathers data on performance) to their account and cycle indoors whilst playing the video game which simulates a world. You can connect with friends across the globe to cycle together and the video game aspect comes with power-ups (short performance enhancing the character on screen).

So, if eSports was like a game of chess, Zwift is like playing chess whilst on a bicycle peddling up a steep hill – not easy at all. The video game really comes into its own when Zwift introduced their eSports league – the KISS Super League – which enables four Pro Continental, nine UCI Continental teams and two Zwift community teams to race each other for 10 weeks on Wednesday nights.

 

A Zwift spokesperson told EN4News: “We are now in an exciting position because we are able to connect the Zwift community with the lofty heights of the professional peloton. KISS will be a demonstration sport, illustrating how we can do this – the KISS Super League will provide high octane action for spectators worldwide featuring some of the best riders in the world.

The KISS League, however, provides an accessible eSports league for the rest of the Zwift community to compete in. It’s important that we recognise both ends of the spectrum. This is just the beginning for Zwift – we have big ambitions and will be unveiling our big plans for 2020 in the very near future.”

Is this the future of eSports gaming? Gaming whilst physically racing on a bike is immersive and highly skilled, incredibly addictive to watch and possibly one of the coolest new steps for eSports. You might not physically be able to defend yourself from demons and the undead like Dennis Fong did in Doom, but you can conquer volcanos and Alpine-like mountains in Zwift. Ushering in a new age of fit gamers, Zwift’s contributions to eSports are ones to watch.

If you want to hear more about gaming from the EN4News team, check out Liam Mackay’s Review of Battlefield V!

 

The Self-Care Epidemic

Ahead of this weekend’s Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, EN4 News considers how the self-care phenomenon is improving the way we function in 2019.

Although it is unclear when ‘self-care’ became one of the most frequently used words in the millennial vocabulary, the term itself seems unavoidable – inundating social media feeds and steering conversations.

There’s something almost addictive in learning how others practice it, how often, and how it’s changed them for the better — and with the turbulence of political negotiations and the world in a state of near crisis, who would deny anyone a glass of wine and a long bath?

However vague it may sound, ‘ self-care’ encapsulates anything that makes you feel like you’re taking care of yourself. We’ve finally accepted that it’s no longer considered selfish to take time for yourself and your wellbeing but the fear of becoming self-indulgent remains prevalent.

The whole concept of self-care loses its value when it is used too frequently as an excuse for bailing on people and plans, promoting self-isolation and a sense of laziness that avoids all benefits that ‘self-care’ can bestow on our lives.

Never leaving what becomes your ‘self-care comfort zone’ could result in you missing out on experiences that could be beneficial. We begin to lose sight of how a meal out or a night in with friends can also be ‘self-care’ — just enjoyed with others for a change.

Edinburgh is leading the way for the widespread awareness of well-being by hosting the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, which will return to the capital after the immense success it achieved in 2018.

Bringing together some of the biggest names in the wellness industry to deliver a weekend of talks, classes and workshops to officially diminish those January blues.

Set to appear on one of the panels alongside Julie Montagu — one of London’s top yoga and nutrition teachers — is Edinburgh-based Gail Bryden.

As an aromatherapist and holistic massage therapist with her own independent product range ‘JustBe Botanicals’, Gail is one of many inspirational guests coming to the Scottish stage.

EN4 News spoke to Gail in the run-up to the event.

“Getting fit, eating well and feeling good is relevant to us all — and mental and physical well-being should be accessible to everyone.

“The end of January is often a time for us to reflect and consider making more conscious choices to feel better. Attending the Wellbeing Festival this weekend can be a first positive step.

“The headliners and line up for this year are incredible. I’m personally looking forward to attending some of the workshops, talks and fitness classes — especially Mr PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) Faisal Abdalla who has worked alongside Joe Wicks — the founder of Lean in 15,” she said.

Gail will be part of the panel discussing ‘how to build a successful well-being business’ on Saturday, where she’ll be sharing her stories and passing on some practical tips and advice.

Through the wellbeing revolution, the idea of taking care of ourselves has been turned on its head. While we’re so often taught that our mind and bodies are separate entities, ‘self-care’ teaches that they really have a connection that fundamentally controls our well-being.

“The festival is carefully curated to bring together a range of different speakers from Scotland and further afield to cover topics which affect all of our lives, including mental health, healthy eating, stress, parenting and mindfulness,” said Jaz Lacey-Campbell of Good Thinking Events who are working in conjunction with the city of Edinburgh Council and The Assembly Rooms, one of the capitals landmark cultural venues.

“Edinburgh Wellbeing festival is part of the commitment Scotland is making in terms of encouraging people to improve their health and wellbeing. We bring together some of the biggest names in the wellbeing industry along with the Scottish wellbeing community to inspire people to adopt a happier and healthier lifestyle,” she explains.

“On Saturday cookery writer Jack Monroe will show us how to eat healthy food on a budget, Dr Rangan Chatterjee will be talking mindfulness with Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim, and nutritionist Madeleine Shaw joins our expert health panel Fit for Life.

Over the weekend there will also be workshops on parenting, cutting out alcohol, positive ageing and sleep, as well as a marketplace where you can sample delicious vegetarian and vegan food, shop for natural beauty products and take advantage of free tastings, treatments and health advice.”

Home to a large and growing wellbeing community, from yoga teachers to healthy food entrepreneurs, The Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival aims to bring this community together and create something completely new at a time when our thoughts turn to get fit and feel better.

Like most things, ‘self-care’ revolves around balance, and ultimately finding a healthy one. You shouldn’t feel guilty when you need a night off to recharge and enjoy your own company, but also don’t avoid things that push your boundaries. In the long run, it’s the combination of ‘self-care’ with everything else that supports the well-rounded and purposeful lifestyle we’re all striving to lead.

For tickets and more information on the festival head to https://www.edinburghwellbeingfestival.com/

Should we introduce a maximum driving age in the UK?

Questions are being raised regarding the safety of elderly drivers and other road users after Prince Philip, 96, found himself involved in a collision on the Sandringham estate this week. 

Currently in the UK, the minimum age for driving is 17, with no maximum guidelines on how long you can drive for. Both the Queen, 92, and Prince Philip, are frequently seen driving their signature Range Rovers.

While people are reluctant to remove rights from elderly citizens, many are concerned that the growing number of accidents, caused by OAP’s, are starting to become unignorable.

For example, in October 2018, 80-year-old John Norton and 87-year-old Olive Howard were killed after Norton took the wrong turn on the M40 in Buckinghamshire, and travelled up the wrong side of the carriageway for eight minutes.

The tragic accident also saw 32-year-old soldier Stuart Richards killed when his Ford Mondeo crashed head-on into the pair.

Another pensioner recently failed a breath test in Lanarkshire, also in October 2018, after crashing his Audi A6 and colliding with a parked car. Francis Broughton admitted to courts that he had been drinking the night before and was eventually banned from driving for 17 months.

As of November 2018, over 5.3 million British drivers are still on the roads, with 110,790 being over the age of 90 and 11,245 incidents recorded for over-70’s in recent years.

It has been reported that 2.8 million drivers are between the age of 17-21, and they are four times more likely to be involved in crashes.

However, people across social media have started to  debate whether there should be tighter regulations in place for OAP drivers.

Currently, there are no reported plans in place from the British government or councils to reassess driving ages after Prince Phillip’s incident.

How would you feel about your Grandparents being told they can no longer drive?  

Maximum driving age

Infographic by Michaella Wheatley for EN4News

The art of social prescribing

Last year the government began to fully embrace art and culture as an alternative means to benefit the wellbeing of the nation. GPs are now allowed to prescribe, or recommend, undertaking activities to do with sports, music, dance and art as part of a bid to improve people’s mental health.

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Hannah Lavery, Learning and Engagement Coordinator at the Scottish Poetry Library. Photo credit: Iona Young

 

The NHS define social prescribing as ‘an approach (or range of approaches) for connecting people with non-medical sources of support or resources within the community which are likely to help with the health problems they are experiencing’. As well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, the idea is to prevent loneliness and social isolation which can later lead to mental health problems.

The University of Edinburgh Museums Services are embracing social prescribing with their pilot project ‘Prescribe Culture’. Their aim is to benefit the student community through community referral or non-pharmacological support.

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Andy Shanks, University of Edinburgh Director of Student Wellbeing. Photo credit: Iona Young

 

The reason behind the project is an increase in students registering mental health issues. The increase could be attributed to more awareness around mental health and the facilities available, however other contributing factors must be taken in to account:

“1 in 4 people in the UK have a mental health disorder so it is really common for people to suffer. We now also have a bigger range of students from different backgrounds. And more people coming to university – it used to be 1 in 10 who went to university and now it’s more like 1 in 2,” explains Andy Shanks, University of Edinburgh Director of Student Wellbeing.

The rise in mental health issues in young adults in the student community can also be attributed to the 24 hour competitive culture. With social media people are always comparing themselves to others. This combined with pressure from families, working during university, crippling student debt and constant looming deadlines can be overwhelming.

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Dr Ewan Clark, GP at Edinburgh University Health Service. Photo credit: Iona Young

 

Dr Ewan Clark, GP at the University Health Service, has also noticed the added pressure from the increase in student patients due to mental health issues: “there is less stigma and more awareness which is a positive thing, however it is also a burden”.

For him it is also important to remember that what suits one person does not suit another. However he sees social prescribing as a positive step forward:

“It can be used with other therapies or on its own. It is good for people who have tried everything, and (in comparison to some medication) it is a safe thing to do.”

The pilot project aims to work together with cultural organisations to use creativity as a form of early intervention and prevention of more serious mental health problems down the line. For them it is important to support University Student Support Officers, Campus GPs, nurses and other care professionals through developing a referral system which will allow the collaboration with the arts to be a clear and simple process.

This will begin with a healthcare, or allied health professional who will make the initial referral to a link worker. This link worker will then be able to provide information on a range of local voluntary, community and social enterprise groups.

For now the project will take part within the Edinburgh University student community, however if successful they would like the model to be expanded in order to become a citywide initiative and help contribute towards the City of Edinburgh’s promise of ‘Delivering a Healthier City for All Ages’.

People and organisations outside Edinburgh University are also encouraged to join the initiative.

For more about recreational activities and mental health, see Maria Gran’s article about the therapeutic effects of knitting.

How dementia friendly is Edinburgh?

Dementia can be a lonely affliction but it doesn’t have to exile sufferers to the confines of their homes. The wider community can help the 90,000 Scottish people who battle the disease too, by making their area less daunting to tackle.

The fast pace of the big city might not seem like the kind of place to accommodate dementia but there are 7,647 people (as of 2017) in the City of Edinburgh area who live with it every day. And it’s not just a health concern for the elderly, it affects more than 40,000 under 65 in the UK. So, how can the city help make Edinburgh a more welcoming place for dementia sufferers? Simple changes can make a real difference to those living with the disease.

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Infographic designed by Jade du Preez for EN4 news 

Pin-up culture in Scotland

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Pin-Ups: Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery Photo Credit: Iona Young

Pin-up girls have been a global phenomenon since the 19th century. Originally pin-up culture began as a form of advertising for burlesque dancers and actresses, with the term ‘pin-up’ coming from the pinning up of photos and posters on walls.

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Jane Avril as seen at Pin-Ups: Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity. Photo Credit: Iona Young

Paris, known as the ‘city of pleasure’ at the end of the 19th century, was famous for its bohemian lifestyle which brought a generation of pin-up personalities such as Jane Avril and Yvette Guilbert.

Later the trend moved on to celebrities, particularly during war times. All American girl Betty Grable was a staple vision on the lockers of American soldiers during the Second World War.

Alice Higgins, also known as “Minnie Knot”, won the Miss Scottish Pin Up 2018 competition hosted at the Scottish Tattoo Convention. She tells us more about pin-up culture in Scotland. 

What do you enjoy about pin-up culture?

I feel that the pin-up culture encourages body positivity within women. Often the media can focus on negative portrayals of women’s bodies, however, from my experience, a lot of the wonderful ladies of the pin-up scene that I have met joined this community as a means of embracing who they truly are. It goes a lot deeper than just a portrayal of a woman’s sexuality and is more about celebrating and enjoying our own expression of our femininity. I enjoy how pin-up culture can shift perceptions of body image and encourage women to love their own bodies.

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Alice Higgins. Photo Credit: Emerald Photography

Do you feel there is a pin-up scene in Scotland?

I think there is most definitely a pin-up scene in Scotland, it’s just about knowing where to look for it. I have found that the Scottish pin-up community have close ties with the Scottish burlesque and Tattoo scene too. For example, Glasgow hosts the Glasgow Festival of Burlesque which showcases an array of talented pin-ups performing some of the finest burlesque acts. There are also some amazing cabaret events in Glasgow such as The Gatsby Club, which is a pop up 1920’s themed cabaret club night which is great fun for those who appreciate a bit of retro.

Do you have any pin-up inspirations?

I could give you examples of classic pin-up icons such as Betty Page or Marilyn Monroe as my pin-up inspirations but truthfully my one and only pin-up inspiration will forever be my Granny Martha. She always wore the best dresses back in the day for going out to the dancing with my Papa and she even had her own clothing store on the main street of my hometown back in the 1960s. She is my ultimate style icon and always will be.

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get involved in pin-up culture in Edinburgh?

On the last weekend of March, The Miss Scottish Pin up competition is hosted at the Scottish Tattoo Convention held at The Corn Exchange. The event opens the doors to many pin-up enthusiasts and it has been a great opportunity for me to meet like-minded pin-up ladies like myself.

Also, the incredible ladies of Vanity Thrills Hair and Beauty hold a stall at the Scottish Tattoo Convention each year offering pin-up hair and makeup to the public at a discounted rate. These ladies specialise in styles from bygone eras and have worked wonders on my locks throughout the years, coiffing my hair to vintage perfection.

“My one and only pin-up inspiration will forever be my Granny Martha”

Edinburgh also has so many charity shops and vintage stores dotted around everywhere, with the likes of Armstrong’s on the Grassmarket, which sells beautiful vintage clothing to help find that perfect pin-up look. I also like to look out for pop up vintage events such as Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair and The Vintage Kilo Sale which come to the city every couple of months.

What did you enjoy about the Miss Scottish Pin-Up competition?

All the ladies who participated were incredible and there was so much support and encouragement from everyone. I would encourage any Scottish pin-up’s out there to give it a go and apply this year. Part of the prizes I received included a ‘Golden Ticket’ into The Miss Pin Up UK contest and a photo shoot for a publication in ‘Pin Up Worship Magazine’ which were both amazing opportunities for a Pin Up lover like me.

The exhibition Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity is showing at the Scottish National Gallery until January 20.

 

Podcast: New Year’s resolutions

The day to ditch your New Year’s resolutions has now passed — January 17 — but have you managed to keep your grip on your goal for 2019? If you have, then you are one of the few.

Join Michaella Wheatley and Olivia Hill as they chat about the most common resolutions made at the New Year and how to ensure you do not fail before January ends.

If you would like to share your own resolutions for the New Year, please use the comment section below or get in touch on social media.

New Year’s resolutions: yay or nay?

For more than 4,000 years, New Year’s resolutions have existed, but why do so many people put themselves under pressure to change their lives for the better? EN4News gives an insight into what it’s like beginning new year without an ambition for 2019.

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New Year in Edinburgh. Photo credit to Robbie Shade

Five… Four… Three…

Two…

One…

Happy New Year!

And just like that, 2019 begins.

All around, people are celebrating — a “cheers” here, a kiss there. There’s a chorus of “all the best for 2019” that rings through the gathered crowd, and it’s all with the best intentions.

This is because a new year means a blank slate, a chance to become a new version of yourself. In the first few days of the year, when the mantra of “new year, new me” still echoes around your head, it is easy to follow whatever goal has been set. Your entire being is focused on completing your New Year’s resolution.

Yet, as reported by YouGov last year, most Brits’ resolutions begin to crumble on January 10. The pressures of everyday life return, with work starting back up and bills from Christmas appearing on your doormat, and your goal of drinking more water or getting your five a day begin to slip through your fingers.

If January 10 passed by, and your resolution was still going strong, then another hurdle forms on January 17 — the date chosen for the American creation of Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day. Most resolutions of the exercise and weight loss variety are the first to go in this instance.

However, this is only the case if you have a resolution for 2019. If not, then you are like me.

You buck the trend, and why shouldn’t you? New Year’s resolutions put so much pressure on people to make big changes to their lives, and that is a large part of why so many fail. They’re too ambitious, too negative on themselves, too restrictive on what they can’t do or have. It makes for a difficult time and then before they know it, January isn’t even over and they’ve given up.

As someone who can be too hard on themselves, I find New Year to be quite daunting. Of course, I do see every new year as a time to accomplish something different.

Last year, I told myself I would be more confident by the end of 2018. This gave me a full year to make small, attainable changes to my life that would improve my confidence. Getting out more, speaking to new people, saying “yes” to situations that make me anxious — these were all things I did over the 365 days that created 2018.

And that is what makes completing your resolution easier. By making small changes, and reminding yourself that setbacks are acceptable, and to be expected, it will be more likely that you end 2019 with a successful resolution under your belt.

This year, just like 2018, I have chosen to follow the same rule of “this time next year I will have…” but as for what I will have accomplished, that’s for me to know and you to find out.

 

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