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/mpls/ | noun

1.a sudden and unreflective urge or desire to act.

Founded in Edinburgh and reborn every year under a different
guise, IMPULSE is a collection of inspired stories that are
scribed by young journalists.
From underground rap to the most beguiling visual artists,
IMPULSEs collective set out to bring you the most intriguing
figures from the ARTS world.

While it is all well and good looking to the stars, sometimes the
most interesting folk are those staring right at us. Our
MOVEMENTS writers are the ones at ground level, picking up on the
people who are doing interesting things all around us.
Understanding our wishes to up sticks and escape to foreign
lands, the TRAVEL JOURNALS, tucked neatly in the back pages,
unveil an abundance of places that young people could find
themselves heading to. From rubbing the dust in your eyes one
morning in Berlin to exploring the coastline of Cape Town, our
sumptuously written stories will transport you to the seldom seen
sights of beautiful cities around the world.


Coutts | PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Viktorija Scerbavoka | SECTION HEADS Peter Carson, Veronica Jasek, Kyle
Dunn, Sonia Sarha | DESIGN EDITOR Clara Ribera | DEPUTY DESIGN EDITOR Ailsa McEwan | DESIGN TEAM
Stacey Drumm, Lauren Buchan, Toinon Denoyelle Sauvage, Jessica Mercer, Brogan Howie, Lily Baker|PICTURE
EDITOR Bruce Watt|PICTURE TEAM Anna Roos van Dongen, Marit Donders|HEAD OF MARKETING
Jennifer Nicol|DEPUTY OF MARKETING Craig Leiper|MARKETING TEAM Lindsay McEwen, Bine Hubert
van Blijenburgh, Siobhan Brown, Rachel Henderson | CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Sean Gordon | SUB-EDITING TEAM
Natacha Woods, Georgia Downie, Cameron Bark, Andrew Fleming, Robbie Thomson | FACT CHECKERS Dan Smith,
Silvio Grocchetti|ONLINE EDITOR Anna-Roisin Seren Ullman-Smith|DEPUTY ONLINE EDITORS Stuart
Johnston, Adam Sturrock|SOCIAL MEDIA Jordan McIntyre, Jennifer Frame|DISTRIBUTION Fabiana Cacace,
Kirsty Rogen
Special thanks to Clare Trodden, Derek Allan and J. Thomson Colour Printers.
IMPULSE magazine is produced by BA Journalism students from the School of Arts and Creative Industries, Edinburgh
Napier University. The views and opinions within this publication are not necessarily those of the university.

A letter from our editor

The words in the following pages were thought of, written and
simultaneously loathed and adored by a young creative collective.
These writers set out to redefine the idea of what it means to craft a
student publication.
For many, the idea of approaching something with a wider scope is
daunting, as if you are setting yourself up for failure a little later
down the line. For this, the 16th edition of Impulse, we cast our nets
further, both literally and figuratively crossing continents, rejecting
the instinctive fear that comes with a project like this.
Although not plastered on our cover in bold lettering, the theme
of ESCAPISM runs through every page of this issue. Heading up the
ARTS section, hip hop group Hector Bizerk are proud non-conformists,
showing that Scottish music can escape old-fashioned ties.
Within the forward-thinking, kinetic realm of MOVEMENTS, Russias
Lumpen Modelling Agency have lifted the veil on fashion ideals.
Revealing a collection of post-Soviet faces with unique but beautiful
flaws, they are trailblazers in an industry dominated by lip fillers and
forced, gaunt frames.
Escapism comes naturally in our TRAVEL JOURNALS too, taking you to
cities both idyllic and industrial.
Much like the people and subjects of IMPULSE, the
is suddenly slipping from our hands in an elusive
appreciate these pages. If not for the words that
simple idea of print publishing surviving in this
This means a great deal to us thank you.

Douglas James Greenwood

idea of ink on paper

fashion. Savour and
grace them, for the
increasingly digital

In this issue




Rap in the 131


The (Un)usual




Revolution in Print


Hit Like a Girl




New Nostalgia


Yellow Movement


Cape Town


Canvas Collective


Glasgow (Re)Cycles




Hector Bizerk


White Horses




Kids of Castle Rock


Factory Woman



Artists Billy and Will present hip hops new wave

Rap and hip hop from the US are rightly known
as the best in the world, even London has a claim
in its own right. But how does urban music from
Edinburgh compare?

We werent trying to copy anyone, our own style just

came naturally, through influences from the internet,
from looking at blogs and listening to music


trated our countrys own urban identity through

refusing to modify their voices and rapping about
how the referendum would affect the northern hip
hop landscape. Despite this, rap north of the border
seems to fall short into a restricted category that is
not necessarily taken seriously.
Seeking to fragment the stigma of Scottish rap is
Edinburghs latest duo, 131 Northside. Made up of
Will Nicoll-Ford and Billy Keddie, the pair identify
their resonance as unprecedented in the 131 (Edinburghs version of the six).
Galvanised by submerging themselves headfirst
into the online hip hop and grime cultures from an
early age, 131 Northside have outlined both the internet and music as consistent influences in their
lives and the reason they both thought, I need to
be creative.
While the energy surrounding the hip hop culture retained a hold on them, the duo originally
collaborated on artwork as Will pursued a career in
freelance graphics. This led to the pair sharing

hen The Games classic, How We Do,

projected from my Motorola flip phone,
my love for rap and hip hop was prematurely solidified. I was 11. From then on,
LimeWire became my best friend. My iTunes library was filled to the brim after download frenzies, with music from Missy Elliott to every member of YMCMB (that is Young Money Cash Money
Billionaires, obviously).
As a fascination with old school R&B flourished
into an obsession with rap, American and London-centric sounds dominated my extensive collection. My interest in these genres progressed, as
did the realisation that all of my favourite artists
were situated far from my hometown. While men
with Burberry caps and Buckfast t-shirts paraded
across the screen, my search for Edinburgh rap was
not quite delivering all I had hoped for.
In the mid-1980s, seeds of the hip hop culture
travelled north and began to take root in Scotland.
Artists such as Loki and Stanley Odd have illus-

131 Northside have applied art, design and all that

has cultured their minds via the web to their music.
Their sound is emotionally driven, unconscious
rap, all of which they stress is entirely true to
them. Pushing a new wave, hip hop feel, their mixtape, Digital Memories, has six tracks which fuse
up-tempo raps with slower chill-out jams.
Billy adds, We aim to give people something
they can really listen to while at the same time telling our story of being from Edinburgh.
Being urban artists in Scotland, they admit it
is difficult to gain support from organisations offering funding. Will described having no financial
backing as an incentive and driving their desire to
We made our own opportunities because there
was nobody handing us a studio and a website or
telling us to dress like this. We did it all ourselves

music and, with the help of a drunken night

out, the formation of 131 Northside.
Over the past year their composition has been
dedicated to producing something current and flavourful, without compromising their authenticity.
They aim to produce content that is visually intriguing and sonically pleasing. Scenic shots of Edinburgh landmarks flicker between piece to camera
raps and meticulously designed logos overlaying
negatives in their debut music video, My City.
Admittedly, their vibe is much more edgy than a
Bucky and Burberry combination.
Will emphasised, A song can be good, but if you
dont have a connected visual, it is not as interesting. We have tried to compare ourselves on a global
level to make sure that the taste and quality of it all
is unique to us.
With fire in their bellies and a fresh take on rap,


Going visual, the duo are known for mixing music and visual art

through researching, being sociable, making connections and ultimately sculpting 131 Northside to
what we wanted.
Admitting that they are not shy of receiving criticism, Billy recalled others dubbing their venture
into the music scene as embarrassing.
Seeing people putting time and effort into doing
what they love and having real drive is what inspires
us. I never listened to anyone apart from myself. If
I want to do something, then I can succeed at it.
In the words of A$AP Rocky, How can you
knock somebody in the world for actually trying to
do something? Since when has it become not cool
to try? Although we may not all be aspiring rappers from the 131, there is a deeper message that
can be extracted from examining the duos ethos.
Even if we are deprived of opportunities, should
this define our ability to be successful? // JF

A song can be good,

but if you dont have a
connected visual, it is not
as interesting


For many, printmaking has become an outdated
and overpriced commodity. A new wave of urban
creatives partnered with an innovative design
studio in the making looks to revitalise this art
form and deliver a new artistic culture


Words by
Pictures by
Edinburgh Printmakers gallery space


I dont see
why anyone who
is putting
out bland
print promo
cant use a
to jazz it
up a bit

from commercial artistic printing services to colourful Risograph has experienced a surge in the
design market.
Ideally I dont see why anyone who is putting
out bland print promo cant use a Risograph to
jazz it up a bit, explains Dominic Kesterton, the
co-founder of Workhorse Press in Edinburgh.
Situated in Edinburghs city centre, Workhorse
Press are an independent printing and publishing
studio. Founded in 2010, they provide printing services using a Risograph printer. Workhorse Press
was set up while the two founders, Dominic Kesterton and Orlando Lloyd, were studying at the Edinburgh College of Art. They started the printing
service to meet the needs of the art college community but now serve a variety of local, national and
international clients.
Yet the Edinburgh Printmakers CEO explains,
It is difficult [for independent designers and artists] to get visibility, it takes an awful lot of knowledge and commitment and also sustained presence
to build and keep a customer base.
It seems the promotion of design and craft disciplines are decreasing in todays colleges and universities, making it increasingly difficult for those
pursuing a career in the creative industries. Yet an-

dinburgh has no shortage of artistic, creative

and literary brilliance, yet with competition
from big cultural cities such as London,
Glasgow and Manchester, the creative scene in the
capital is often overlooked.
In the past few years there has been a real rise of
creativity within the city. The zeitgeist is changing.
There is a reawakening of peoples interest in handmade objects and the quality of craftsmanship.
Sarah Price, CEO of Edinburgh Printmakers, passionately describes the importance of printmaking
and creative industries in Edinburgh, while also
outlining the need for competition. I dont think
there is a risk of over-supplying creative hubs. I
think the more diverse the sector, in terms of the
range of creative studios or spaces, the better.
Castle Mill Works a former rubber factory
was awarded funds from The Heritage Lottery
Fund in partnership with Creative Scotland to
transform it into a hub for printmaking and creative industries.
Printmaking has seen an unexpected growth in
popularity over the past five years, with hundreds of
independent designers and artists combining their
skills and entrepreneurial ambition to start businesses in Edinburgh and further afield. Everything


An example of colourful Riso printing

Printmaker at work in the Edinburgh studio

bitions. These efforts coupled with the new development are hoped to push more people into this
creative outlet. We have a gallery here that attracts
10,000 people a year, but in the new space well be
able to double the number of exhibitions we have,
Sarah adds.
The work on the old factory will be taking place
as early as autumn this year. While refurbishment
goes on, the boarded-up windows of Castle Mill
Works are being used as canvas frames to display
the work of Scottish artists. Thousands of commuters will take in this display, with over 60,000 people
walking, cycling or driving along Dundee Street
on their way to work. Our first intervention with
Calum Colvin Scottish based multi-disciplined
artist was looking at a retrospective of his lifes
work that we were displaying at Edinburgh Printmakers, Sarah explains. By putting it on the windows, we were saying this is a building that is going
to be supporting an artists lifes work here it is,
isnt it magnificent you can cover a building with
it and its fantastic to look at.
A revolution within Edinburghs artistic community is taking place, that much is certain. With these
facilities and such strong encouragement of young
talent, it wont be long before Edinburgh is seen as
one of the art capitals of the world. // KR

other reason for the Castle Mill redevelopment. Sarah highlights the attention received so far. Weve
had increasing interest from graduates in creative
courses and a broad range of other disciplines. Professionals are interested in printmaking and want
to come and learn. As the courses are scarce in
mainstream education, there is actually more of a
demand, which is what we are responding to.
Two independent organisations: Edinburgh Palette and Edinburgh Design School are both already
successfully promoting and supporting design and
craft disciplines.
Edinburgh Palette, based in St. Margarets
House, have created studio spaces for artists, crafters and the wider community. They provide a place
for artists and designers to not only produce their
specialties but network with like-minded people.
However, the space tends to be limited and can be
costly too.
Likewise, Edinburgh Design School are a small
independent design school in the Arts Complex of
St. Margarets House specialising in ceramics, textiles, print and millinery. The school offer classes,
workshops and industry-focused talks.
The charity behind the whole redevelopment,
Edinburgh Printmakers, also offer an assortment of
classes, sell artists work online and promote exhi-



Inside tape artwork for Crystal Surges 2016 release, VCR

The Internet has given birth to a movement of music, blending

records and layering synths to emulate the warm sounds
of the 80s and 90s. From the deep web comes a chemical
imbalance pushing boundaries of electronic music


...unrecognisable and
dripping in irony

Pictures courtesy

chopping and skewing samples into different forms

while dropping something new into it. VHS Logos
(Jarrier Modrow) found his voice when producing Vaporwave tunes, Ive been producing house,
hip hop beats and experimental stuff with my own
name and some other aliases for a long time, but
VHS Logos is my most successful project.
London-based record label AM DISCS releases music associated with Vaporwave and its sister
genres such as Future-Funk, but admires anyone
trying to do something different. The label started
back in 2010, but we have been supporters of experimental, electronic music since long before that
in an unashamed way.

aporwave is a genre made up of all the old

pop songs you never heard, slowed down
and chopped around until they are unrecognisable and dripping in irony.Musically and aesthetically, it is characterised by a love of retro video
games, 90s web design, cyberpunk and VHS. The
style is associated with anti-capitalism; ignoring intellectual property as it spreads a satirical view of
pop culture.
The name comes from the tech industry term
Vaporware a product that generates hype but fails
to make it to release, in tune with the movements
aversion towards consumer culture.
The charm of the movement is its DIY style,

Words by

done much live, AM DISCS has attempted to host

live events but it has not been what they expected.
We used to do web events where artists performed live but the recordings we made available
for download afterwards had more listeners than
the performances themselves.
Still, he is optimistic about the future of the music they release as it gains recognition. We rely
only on the support of our audiences, we dont do
any marketing, but thats how you do it when neither sales nor fame are your priority. With relatively
upcoming niche genres like Future-Funk, it is only
a matter of time till the present generation of young
producers will be reflected in the club scene. // PC

Label founder and owner, Rado Z, expresses

deep passion for new music. The way we feel pure
emotions is incorporated into sound, [and that]
directly reflects our own creative vision. Nostalgia has steered things in to lo-fi territory for AM
DISCS as they release tapes for their artists. If we
mutually resonate with the artist and share similar
wavelengths, we are happy to do it. We release the
album beforehand digitally and if there is an audience that shows an interest, we agree with the artist
on producing the limited cassette edition.
Although there is a following online for these
artists, Vaporwave hasnt seemed to transition into
the live music scene. VHS Logos says he has not



The logo for Edinburgh-based charity REACT, reinvented by The Too Much Fun Club

A group of artistic activists are creating masterpieces in

a matter of hours. Bruce Watt headed underground to
find out more about this enterprising group
Among all the fun and seemingly
chaotic nature of the creation at
hand, it is important to recognise the
cooperation, accuracy and artistic merit
that is on display. Missed pen strokes
are near non-existent. Artists duck and
weave between each other, layering the
canvas. The stark, black marker pens
leave little margin for error as they work
at speed. The end
result is nothing
short of incredible.
origins began in
nightclubs, so it
seems a fitting place
to witness the current crop at work.
Officially established in 2009, some of
the members have been collaborating
for almost 14 years. Edinburgh based,
The TMFC formed with the aim of
supporting charity through artwork and
giving artists within the city a platform
to network and display their talent.

Words and
Pictures by

As a collective we have
great interest in visual
art, illustration and
urban beautification


n illuminated corner of Edinburghs Studio 24, surrounded

by samba dancers and pummelling drum groups, is where The Too
Much Fun Club (TMFC) can be found
plying their trade. Their aim, to bring
visual presence to a charity event.Spread
across the wall, a 12-foot canvas is coming under the sustained attack of several
artists armed with
black marker pens.
skill of the artists in
question has shaped
a dense collage.
Tropical colours and
trees intertwine through gifted pattern
work. Each individual brings their own
style to the creation, the final piece
flowing into a single, coherent display.
Not bad for four hours work.
There is a cartoonish feel to this
evenings work, images leap from the
canvas with both life and character.

To learn more about The

Too Much Fun Club, visit
their website @thetmfc.

A psychedelic jungle scene: one of The Too Much Fun Clubs colourful murals

Conor McAllister has been working

with the club for over six months. As
a young artist, it allows him a place to
work away from the studio. I love the
attitude everyone has adopted. Its not
about money, or prestige. Its about
coming together, creating and having
fun. This is why I got into art in the first
place, but with all the deadlines and
stresses that come with the job, it can be
very easy to forget this along the way.
The charitable and communal ethics
of The TMFC remain a core component.
Artistic Director and founding member,
Tom Dutch, believes strongly in this
ethos. In the future, were looking to
start a community interest company
that offers a range of artistic services
and facilities to artists and communities
As a creative group The TMFC is constantly evolving, finding the right artists
and building relationships with various
festivals and organisations. They have
ongoing working partnerships for creating dcor and murals at Kelburn and
a series of other festivals, including,
Knockengorroch, Eden, Boomtown and
Audio Soup. Looking to the future, Tom
and The TMFC are not planning to slow
down anytime soon. As a collective, we
have great interest in visual art, illustration and urban beautification. I hope
that The TMFC will continue to act as
a platform for artists to collaborate and
develop. The TMFC say they aim to do
great things, and on the basis of this
evening, it is a hard statement to contend. // BW




Hector Bizerk boast of being the proprietors of a vibrant

and unique Scottish hip hop. Kyle Dunn sits down
with emcee and frontman Louie to find out about their
impressive trajectory in modern music

Words by
Pictures by

music out there people will critique it thats the

way it is they either like it or they dont. Theres
only two styles of music: there is music that you like
and music that you dislike.
Audiences soon turned to appreciate the duo as
they caught a lucky break. We had only written
one song and Radio 1 picked it up and started playing. It wasnt even registered for PRS or to collect
royalties because it just seemed so impossible, like
just something that wouldnt happen. They started
playing the song and we got booked for the biggest
festival in Scotland so we were like oh sh*t, we better get a repertoire together and get some kind of
show that can play at a festival.
Through this endeavour the duo expanded to
eventually incorporating Jennifer Muir, on synth,
percussion, vocals, and Fraser Sneddon, on bass, to
the line-up. By the time follow-up album Nobody
Seen Nothing emerged in 2013, the band sound
was fuller and lyrics were more sharply obser-


Frontman Louie mixes poetic bars with a bad-man sensibility

lasgow is one of the greatest export cities

for music in the world, with sonically diverse bands coming through the gauntlet
and achieving superstardom on the back of enthralling live performances. From the relatively unheard scene of Scottish hip hop, Hector Bizerk have
exploded into the limelight gaining fame across
Europe and the US for their visually stunning performances and unparalelled talent.
Hector Bizerk began life in 2011 when Louie
(real name John Lowis), from Robroyston, and
Audrey Tait, from Rutherglen, began playing together during lunch breaks at the Impact Arts summer music workshops in Drumchapel. Their first
full album release in 2012 crashed onto the scene,
titled Drums. Rap. Yes. It focused heavily on the
relationship between Audreys drumbeats and the
forceful syllabic sounds produced by Louies bars.
The album was met with mixed reviews, with many
seeing the harsh west coast accent as inappropriate
for the genre.
Everybody has prejudices in all walks of life
whether you want to admit it or not. We do not
understand the speed of our own brains; we never will, so right away we are forming opinions on
things that we dont want to form, explains frontman Louie, as he casually sips on an Americano
coffee late one Thursday afternoon. If you put your


live performances are restricted to a practised recital of their songs. I dont want to be that band,
said Louie. I want to be the band that you cant
take your eyes off during the live show, that theres
always something else going on. Its that kind of
sensory explosion that Im looking for when I go
watch a show. Hector Bizerk refuse to conform and
showcase every aspect that hip hop culture has to
offer, from beat boxing and breakdancing, to beautiful visual art being created live on stage while the
band performs.
For many, the idea of a hip hop band from Glasgow having any success within the music industry
is almost impossible, but the band have proved to
defy the odds and gather increasing recognition for
a music genre that has been cast onto the naughty
step in many areas of Britain, as Louie describes it.
This is partly down to the immense passion that the
band has for not just their music, but for all aspects
of hip hop culture.
Hector Bizerks new album The Second City Of
the Empire launches this April and will be followed
by a live performance working in tangent with the
Royal Orchestra of Scotland, an effort to push their
creative limits even further. The Glaswegian band
are charted for incomparable success within their
genre and we can expect to hear a lot more from
them. As Louie casually remarks before disappearing into the Glasgow sunshine, As long as this bus
is moving, Im f***ing staying on it. // KD


not ever
going to be the
type of band that
is stylised to look a
certain way

Pearl Kinnear paints the back drop for Bizerks live performances


To learn more about Hector

tight as f*** and thats it. The crowd went nuts. The
journey allowed the band to develop a rapport with
a US-based agency that would go on to arrange
showcases in New York, bringing the Scottish west
coast to an American east coast audience.
Hector Bizerk have set themselves apart from
others within their musical genre, not just through
the talented and evocative music they produce, but
also in terms of the live show that is delivered to
their audience. When I go see a live show I want
moments moments that you remember, Louie
explains, with a wry smile crossing his face as he
recalls many of the better moments he has had
while performing. The frontman expresses that he
has certain contempt for indie rock bands whose

vational, earning it a nomination at the Scottish Album of the Year Awards.

Last year saw the band take on the US as they
were invited by NME to perform at the annual
South by South West festival in Austin, Texas. It
was really quite daunting going there, the 28 year
old admits. The band had worried that perhaps
they were stepping into boots too big for them because of the type of music that we make; because
its so different and because the NME is so England
centred. In fact, their unusual style and performance proved to be a major success among the US
audience. Were not ever going to be the type of
band that is stylised to look a certain way we turn
up rough as f***, said Louie. We play our song

Bizerk, head to



It felt like my own childhood burned

beautifully on to celluloid


Like a footprint left in the soil of Castle Rock, Stand By

Me, a 30-year-old coming-of-age masterpiece, has left an
indelible mark on the soul of every kid who witnessed it

The four boys from Rob Reiners 1986 classic


course of a camping trip into the woods. The aim:

to find the body of a boy who is missing, assumed
dead, from their sleepy, Oregon town.
What we witness is one of cinemas most delicate
and accurate portrayals of youth. One that, over the
course of its 30-year lifetime, has been emulated,
but never bettered. Those four kids now grown
from 12-year-olds to middle-aged men remain
the most natural of young performers, bouncing
off each other with the kind of quick-witted banter
that only kids could muster.
They were harsh, delightfully petty and the
butt of each others gags. Corey Feldmans Teddy
depicts the childhood fantasist in all of us, while
Wil Wheatons Gordie subtly represents the pain of
a childs over thinking brain. River Phoenix, who
found his footing here as the token troublemaker,
is an inspiration to every outcast kid stuck in a rut.
Eight years later, he would die on Sunset Boulevard
at the tender age of 23. He was gone before I was
even born, yet I manage to miss his immense
talent and charm as much as I miss the rebellious
character that he played.
Much like the boys venture into the woods,
revisiting Stand By Me is akin to a childhood
pilgrimage; a reminder of what this sparkling,
humble piece of cinema meant, or rather means,
to anyone who had a childhood brimming with
ambition and adventure. // DG

hrough the wooden slats of an oldfashioned railway bridge, the choppy river
that splits the Oregon forest below looks like
unequivocal death to a 12-year-old boy. Strapped
to him his signature comb and crawling on all fours
behind his comparatively confident friends, timid
and chubby Vern precariously makes his move to
the other side; unaware of the steam train hurtling
towards him from behind.
Growing up in a village festooned by woodland
and running rivers that would gleam in summer,
Stand By Me regardless of its age felt like my own
childhood burned beautifully onto celluloid. Like
Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern, better known as the
boys of Castle Rock, my friends and I would spend
searingly hot days wandering the wooded area
that shadowed our village. We hoped to uncover
an urban legend like the tale of Ray Brower the
Castle Rock resident who, after leaving home to go
berry picking, never returned. It seemed feasible
at the time; as if the idea of mystique could stretch
as far as our little Scottish village. We remained
unwavered, convinced that something interesting
could happen to us too.
It feels trivial to elaborate on the synopsis of Stand
By Me, perhaps because the film has reached iconic
status or because the story is so wonderfully simple.
Four best friends from different backgrounds, but
with equally frayed family ties, bond over the


A Russian-based modelling agencys
game-changing efforts are shaking up the
fashion industry. Pretty, tall, classic models
need not apply. Instead, Lumpen Agency
represents the normal people of the world
and that is what makes them abnormal

Lumpen models. Left to right: Anka, Dry and Ban / Albus, Burn and Salt / Omam, Lovech and Rob

Pictures by


Words by

n an effort to give exposure to societys outsiders,

25-year-old Avdotja Alexandrova started Lumpen Agency in 2014. Previously a film director
and photographer, she was always fascinated by the
obscure looks of certain people, and so created a
collection of the interesting faces she came across
in her home city of Moscow. Enter Lumpen.
She finds her models everywhere, from prowling
the streets and nightclubs of the post-Soviet nation,
to browsing her social media sites. Everywhere
she goes, there is potential to discover new faces.
The way I select models is very different from
other agencies, she tells us. I have many factors
for critically assessing the model, but usually those
who have interesting faces are interesting people,
and generally, the faces I like belong to people with
character. I think that is the most important thing.
Unlike the human coat hangers that parade the
catwalks of Milan and Paris, Lumpen models do

not fit within the conventional realms of beauty.

Consisting mostly of skateboarding youths and
dangerous rebels, they show the world how the
people of post-Soviet Russia really look.
Whats more, most of Lumpens roster had never
considered modelling before being scouted, image seemingly was an afterthought unorthodox
beliefs in the fashion world. In an interview with
Dazed & Confused, Alexandrova gave an insight
into her models character, Most of the guys dont
really want to be shot that much, they are not obsessed with their own appearance. They never like
their own photos on social media nor do they post
Age also appears to be irrelevant, with their
models ranging from 12 years old right up to the
age of 40. They are tied together solely by their
striking, unique aesthetic. And for Alexandrova,
thats the most important thing. The agency




Personality and
are the things
that matter

is a success because we work with unusual people, she tells us. They are more interesting to look
at. They stick in your memory; their features and
their overall look attract you with their individuality. And for me, that is more important than, for
example, their measurements.
Changing the landscape of fashion model-by-model, the Lumpen faces have already appeared in well-known fashion magazines such as
Dazed & Confused, i-D and Vogue. Designers and
fashion houses, such as Balenciaga, Zara and Adidas have also taken notice, featuring them in their
latest campaigns. These companies may have done
more than simply select them to represent their
brand, they are helping the world change the way
we think about beauty.
And that is not all. We are starting to see these
models take to the catwalk, despite their anti-runway body shapes. The first man to take notice
was Russias street wear god Gosha Rubchinskiy,
who frequently dresses unusual models in his luridly-coloured clothes. Previously, he picked his
models from the Russian streets, making him and
Lumpen the perfect fit. But this season, the agency have crashed the catwalk at both Paris and New
York Fashion Week, thanks to the approval of
brands like Comme des Garons and Vetements.
Around the world, Alexandrova discovers joiners, cleaners and movie theatre workers who look
good in front of the camera. Her plans for the fu-


ture are to explore new cities and start new branches in Russia and across Europe.
[We] will be mastering the new grounds of
fashion, the words of Lumpens leader, laced with
confidence and conviction. Avdotja Alexandrova
is making us all believe that there could be a seismic shift in the perception of beauty on the fashion
worlds horizon. // AV



When you hear people say that you play like a girl, most
people would take it as an insult. Kayla Miller, from the
band True Violet, takes pride in it

Words by
Pictures courtesy of


True Violet band members. Left to right: Kayla Miller, Jessie Covets and Alayna Miller

profession. I still hear Wow, a female drummer!

almost every time we play out. Its not as common
as it should be.
For Grant, a strong feminist message has always
been the catalyst. I think the essence of being a riot
grrrl band is a feminist statement in itself, were all
really passionate about it and want to sing about
these things. At our gigs, sometimes well say this
song is about sexual assault. We were born out of
Girls Rock School, which is very feminist. Thats
still going on. The plan is to start a riot girl revolution.
Grant first identified as a feminist a few years
ago and admits she wasnt always so aware as she
is now. Before, sh*t stuff happened to me, and I
didnt know there was even a movement against. All
Id heard of feminism was this negativity. I was like,
what is this thing?
Kaylee Preston, drummer for Rabble Rabble and
Bleach Party, who was a finalist in the Hit Like A
Girl contest last year, looks up to a number of female drummers with Kiran Gandhi from M.I.A
being her biggest inspiration from women in music. Kiran is a powerful activist for women, a very
creative musician and a great role model for women
and girls.
In order to even the playing field, Grant believes
there needs to be more creative outlets such as the
Girls Rock School for young female musicians to
thrive. Once youve got that core group of people,
other people will say Oh, I can do that? I never
thought I could. Ive had so many conversations after gigs where people have come up to me and said
I wanna start a band and Im like Just go for it! In
your head it feels inaccessible, but it really isnt the
future is female. // SD&JM

longside her bassist sister Alayna, Miller

plays drums in the alternative band. Jessie Covets joins The Rhythm Sisters on
vocals and guitar. The Floridian band, founded
in 2013, has already headlined some of Americas
most famous venues including The Viper Room,
The Roxy and the House of Blues.
Stereotypes in the music scene are not exclusive
to drummers. For Kim Grant, guitarist and singer
of riot grrrl punk band Tongue Trap, it is common
place for a girl with a guitar to face sexist comments. Recently a guy commented on a picture Id
put up with me and a guitar, saying, Sweetie, can
you even play that thing? It is stuff like that. If it
was a man, his ability wouldnt even be questioned.
Tongue Trap was born in the Girls Rock School,
a musical initiative started to get young girls interested in rock music. It was there that Grant met her
bandmates, Emma and Sam. Since their formation
nearly two years ago, they have played venues such
as Sneaky Petes and most recently at the Glasgows
Queerfest event. I watched this documentary
called The Punk Singer with [Bikini Kill frontwoman] Kathleen Hanna and I was like, I really wanna
start a band. Anybody can do it.
But with the rock music fan base famous for
its misogyny and scepticism of female musicians,
it can be difficult to stand out. Its kind of intimidating when you have these male-dominated environments, Grant laments. I do skateboarding
and spray painting which are also male-dominated things. Where are all the women to show me
that I can do it too? Miller feels the same way,
even though there is a growing respect for female
drummers, there is still a long way to go. I do think
we have more to prove, as it is a male-dominated


David Dijancer Blair spreading the peace, love and mustard!


Peace, love and mustard. A new creative movement
is sweeping Scotland leaving a peculiar spatter of
yellow across the countrys festivals and beyond


ind yourself at Scotlands

smaller boutique festivals
and you will be faced with
a sea of yellow. The past five
years have seen the rise of an
movement with vibes akin to
the hippie days of the 1960s. The
Yellow Movement seeks to bring
together creatives and promote
positive change, boasting one of
the most diverse collections of
bands in the country.
Unlike many creative movements, the bands that fall under
the collective umbrella of the
Yellow Movement do not all necessarily fall into the same genre. No two bands in the group

sound the same, with everything

from the eclectic blend of folk
and blues courtesy of Have Mercy Las Vegas, to the urban indie punk of Edinburgh quartet
Jamie and Shoony.
Colonel Mustard and the
Dijon 5 are the group at the
helm. A genre-defying 15-piece
party band, they have a love for
dancing, shiny disco ball hats
but perhaps most of all, their
fans. Along with their musical
counterparts, Mickey 9s, the
band is responsible for the
birth of the movement. With
energetic dance offs and crowd
surfing grannies common sights
at their live shows, the band


Words by
Pictures by


epitomise fun, capturing

the spirit of the movement
Just one of many members
of the Dijon family, David
Dijancer Blair both witnessed
and contributed to the Yellow
Movements rise to fame. He
sports yellow trainers and a
Colonel Mustard hoody, beneath
which lies a tattoo paying
homage to the movement he
loves. To David and the rest of
the band, crowd involvement
is a crucial aspect of their live
shows, I think as a society weve
gotten away from embracing
our inner child. We want to
bring that nonsense back into
the mainstream arena so its
important that we get the crowd
involved, whether thats high
fiving to the beat or having hug
offs. We want to put the peace,
love and mustard out there any
way we can.
This relationship with their
audience is a particularly refreshing one. In fact, the group
refer to their fans as the 6th Dijon, regarding them as another
essential component of the band.
We really do have this
symbiotic relationship with our
audience, David explains. We
say they are a part of the band
because they get involved in it
just as much.
Although a passion for the
music seems to come first and
foremost for the 6th Dijon, it is
clear that the Yellow Movement
means so much more; a tightknit community has formed, one
that seems to transcend generational barriers, with everyone
getting involved from those


Yellow mania: Colonel Mustard in action

I think as a society,
weve gotten away from
embracing our inner

crowd-surfing grannies to the

slightly smaller Dijuniors.
Although much of this fanbase
reside in Scotland, Couchsurfing has allowed David to spread
their vibrant shade of mustard
across the globe.
Ive had over 250 couchsurfers
since February last year, he
tells us. I take some of them
out while theyre here. Some of
them have come to the festivals
weve played at as well and they
absolutely love it. They then
go home and tell their friends
and family. David regularly
receives photographs of fans
proudly sporting their Yellow
Movement and Colonel Mustard
t-shirts around the globe, from
as far afield as Zambia and South
While it seems the main ob-

jective of the movement is simply to have a good time, this does

not mean the bands involved
avoid touching on more serious
issues in their songwriting.
Politics can be a topic that
turns a lot of people off but these
things need to be questioned,
David says. You can start off
a song on just a comedic hook
but you can put that message in
there as well just to get people
thinking. Colonel Mustard
and the Dijon 5 are masters
of achieving this balance,
using satire to comment on
matters important to them; the
anthemic These Are Not The
Drugs (You Are Looking For),
for example, argues the case
for drug legalisation. In Davids
eyes the movement is more
relevant than ever after their


active involvement in Scotlands

independence referendum.
A select few of Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 played the
freedom rally in George Square
in front of about ten thousand
people the day before [the referendum] and Ive never experienced such tangible positivity
in such a large mass of people.
While the outcome was not what
45 percent of people wanted,
there is still a desire in people to
affect positive change in whatever way they can.
The future is looking bright for
Colonel Mustard and the Dijon
5 and the Yellow Movement as
a whole; group tattoo sessions
with the 6th Dijon lie ahead and
with 22 gigs and festivals already
confirmed, 2016 is set to be the
bands busiest year yet. // AM

From the Gorbals to Bearsden,

an army of two-wheeled
warriors have descended on to
the streets of Glasgow

Pictures by


Words by

hose in charge of the 2014 Commonwealth

Games would like to think that they are
responsible for the cycling pandemic on
the streets. The elite riders of the Commonwealth
traversed the streets of Glasgow in blistering fashion, with time to pay a visit to spots such as the
almost unconquerable wall of Montrose Street
and the citys West End before a run in to Glasgow
Green. Even more so, a purpose-built mountain
bike trail on the citys south side, at Cathkin Braes,
provided world-class facilities for those probably
not so keen to dodge traffic on the citys streets.
However, the advent of cycling in Glasgow
can be traced further back than the Games. After all, it is not a swarm of lycra-clad road racers diving around corners, putting pedestrians
in peril; it is the commuters and the shoppers,
those who otherwise would be walking, driving or using public transport, who are dusting off their wheels for a pedal around the city.
This movement can, in part, be attributed to
community cycling hubs. Certain areas of the city
are becoming awash with these projects such as
Common Wheel in Maryhill and Freewheel North
in Glasgow Green. The biggest of all the community
cycling hubs, however, is The Bike Station. Discreetly tucked away in a less frequented corner of the
citys West End, the converted fire station on Haugh
Road is home to numerous projects that work
throughout the city. Development officer Joanna
Smith explained a little bit about where the Bike
Station has come from, and what goes on in a typical day there: The initial thing that we did was, and
still is, bike recycling. We started out in the Barras
[Barrowlands] market as a little stall. We were just
taking bikes in there, refurbishing them and selling
them until about five years ago. Since then, weve
just grown, and grown and grown. We still do a lot
of the bike refurbishing but on a much bigger scale.
People either drop off bikes here or we do
pick-ups. The bikes then get stripped down in the
warehouse and built up again in the workshop.
Sprawling over the floor in the building


We do make a big difference

to the lives of the people we
work with, especially the young
people who are in the disengaged
A cyclist makes use of the fix-your-own bike station


A mechanic works on the bike recycling side of the project

ics, some ride leader qualifications and focusing on

enterprise skills, with the end goal being that they
will set up community cycling hubs in their area.
When quizzed on the function of the seemingly give give give attitude of The Bike Station,
Joanna said that it is simply to make Glasgow a
brighter place, Theres two aspects: the first is
the environmental aspect, thats why we do all
the recycling stuff, getting people on their bikes
to reduce carbon emissions and other things.
But the other side is the personal aspect of it, so
improving peoples mental and physical health.
I feel we make a big difference to the lives of the
people we work with, especially those who are in
the disengaged bracket. You cant go in and miraculously change everyones lives, thats unrealistic, but
the people were working with [leave] knowing that
they are good at something. // SG

are bikes with modestly marked price tags,

all with Bike Station stickers to denote its past life
in the hands of another owner. But the expansion
into bigger premises is symbolic of the development from their past sole function of the business
as a whole: Our two main projects at the moment
are Uni-Cycle, where we work with all the universities and colleges in Glasgow, increasing the
number of people travelling sustainably, obviously
by bike, or by walking or using public transport.
The other one is The Bike Station Academy,
which works in six different areas of the city including some of the more deprived areas working with
unemployed people and NEETs [a young person
who is Not in Education, Employment, or Training], a lot of the people we work with are in school
but not in the mainstream curriculum, Joanna explained, Were training them in bicycle mechan-


Battling against sub-zero temperatures and ferocious conditions,
Scottish surfers are making waves in the sporting world

A female surfer barrel-riding in Dunbar

Whitewash after a hard day surfing


Enticed by the excitement of it all, many people are

hanging up their golf clubs and replacing them with a
board and a wetsuit

and life-threatening waves. The hardships

created a bond between surfers. Jamie Marshall,
coordinator of the Scottish branch of the Wave
Project (a charity which teaches children and
young adults from troubled backgrounds how to
surf) says the dangerous sport can make a person,
Scottish people are known for being friendly and
accommodating, and this extends to surfing. We
help teach people about respecting the waves and
the thrill that accompanies the sport. I want to help
surfing in Scotland reach as many people as it can.
So whether you are the next Kelly Slater or fancy
trying something new, it is well worth surfing the
Scottish waves to experience the new movement
sweeping across our freezing but beautiful country
first hand. // BH

university], she tells us. The response we had was

fantastic. It was a mix of genuinely cool people who
were either pro surfers or had never surfed before.
Everyone had a shared respect for the sport and
ambition to try something new. To be part of it all
is awesome!
Ever year, the Scottish Surf Championship
comes to Thurso. Renowned as one of the biggest
competitions for the sport, people travel from all
over the globe to compete against the aggressive
waves. As a result, this seaside location once known
for being no more than a small fishing town has
adopted a new persona, becoming the capital of
Scottish surf.
No one claimed that it would be easy: dodging
ice, wrestling with the worlds thickest wetsuits

The trouble is, Scotlands best waves are in winter,

lasting from October to March when temperatures
rarely reach above 1C. As a result, the Scot surfers
tend to be seen as the hardiest as they fight massive
waves and the frigid, grey weather. Despite the
extreme temperatures and the increased chance of
catching frostbite over a summer glow, the sport
has become a lifestyle to many of its most avid
Lisa Monteith, founder of the Edinburgh Napier
Surf Club and manager at Coast to Coast Surf
School (the biggest of its kind in Scotland) talked
to IMPULSE about how the sport has become a
passion for many. When I first started the surf club
it was daunting. I knew Scotland had a growing
surf culture and was motivated to bring it into [the

hen we think of stereotypical Scottish

sports, the usual images that spring
to mind are the firm favourites;
football and golf. Scotlands climate means
often the players must battle the elements
as well as their rivals. However, one sport is
finding its home on the wet and windy coasts.
The international rise of surfing has reached
the Scottish isles, with Tiree, Dunbar and Thurso
(home to the best right hand breaking waves in
Europe) becoming popular wave hotspots. Enticed
by the excitement of it all, many people are trading
in their golf clubs and replacing them with a board
and a wetsuit. Although the question that crops up
when discussing this movement is a predictable
one: Is it not too cold?


Words by SONIA SARHA | Pictures by MAX REIBERT

the boring conference I thought I was attending.

I was at Factory Berlin, the largest tech campus
and start-up hub in Germany. A co-working community that hosts all kinds of events. The woman
behind the scenes making it all happen is Ashleigh
Bell. Born in Glasgow, raised in Switzerland, she recently made the move to the buzzing city of Berlin
I was keen to know why.
Here in Berlin I am like everybody else. Everyone has some form of international story to tell. I
feel totally in my zone. Many spend a lifetime finding their zone but it has only taken 26 years for
Ashleigh to find hers. Having been introduced to
the world of start-ups on a work placement, Ash-

alking the streets of Mitte, the most central borough of Berlin, I approached a
large, modern building. Deep house
music rumbled from within and neon lights flickered in the windows, I began to doubt if I was in
the right place.
I entered the venue to be greeted by a drinks
cooler. Intrigued, I lifted the lid. A man enjoying
an ice-lolly approached me recommending I get
the Moscow Mule, apparently a favourite in Berlin. Usually a Gin-and-Tonic girl, I tore away from
my comfort zone and went with his suggestion. We
parted ways merging ourselves with the rest of the
lollipop-licking crowd. This did not appear to be

IMPULSE follows an ambitious woman from

her humble, Scottish beginnings to the buzzing
start-up scene of Berlin

Ashleigh was invited to

a VIP event hosted by Mark
Zuckerberg just another perk
of the job!
leigh knew she wanted to help entrepreneurs fulfill
their goals and empower them to make an impact
in the world.
Her role as event manager enables her to achieve
her goal hosting events that bring entrepreneurs
from across the country (and beyond) to meet,
pitch and share ideas. A good event manager
should not have much to do on the day, it should
have all been planned before. Everything from coordinating visuals, lights and playlists, hiring technicians and equipment, ordering the right number
of pretzels per expected guest and enough beers to
go around all aspects as important as each other.
As an event manager who is chaotic and always
late in her personal life, Ashleigh makes up for it in
her social skills. Far from shy, she often joins the
fun and hosts the events she creates. One of her
most successful events is her after-work jam sessions where she is known to showcase her musical
talents. She explains that it is the freedom and flexibility to organise events that allows her to combine
personal passions with work.
If anything, business is about having the right
contacts. As a thank you for hosting an event for
the Geekettes, an organisation of female innovators
in Berlin, Ashleigh was invited to a VIP event hosted by Mark Zuckerberg just another perk of the
job! // SS

Ashley joining in at one of the after-work jam sessions

Ashleigh Bell hosting her weekly Meet & Pitch event at Factory Berlin




A meal for two at Nandos or a return trip to

Milan? Two tech entrepreneurs are hoping to
make a stylish weekend as affordable as a chicken
dinner with their new travel app


Words by ADAM STURROCK|Pictures by YONDER


They can not only travel, but work from anywhere

if they have a laptop and an internet connection.
[This new way of working] is very real and I think
that is definitely a reality for a lot more millennials.
Id be really excited if that continued.
The pair won a 3,500 grant to develop the app
from the London School of Economics Generates Entrepreneurship Funding Competition after
pitching their website through a gruelling process.
Fifi and I had both done a significant amount
of pitching [prior to the event] but it was the first
time we had pitched for money and we were both
incredibly nervous, Snedden said. The new funds
will help push the app towards the finish line, and
go towards marketing their website. A few of the
ideas in the pipeline suggest exciting things.
We are going to have a lucky draw and give
one user return flights and accommodation for a
long weekend destination of their choice just to
show how accessible cheap travel can be, he said.
For now, the Yonder team are focusing on their
soon to be announced launch date, and their university work. // AS


amie Snedden would have rather been sip- allowed you to see, Snedden explained.
Yonder decided to remove the destination field.
ping espresso in Milan, cycling around Amsterdam or drinking in a Dublin bar. But Just enter your starting location and the dates you
instead he faced being stuck in Scotland for his uni- are travelling and the app will help find a cheap desversity break. For the lucky ones with a few days off, tination for you. This may not be to a place that
the last thing you want to do is sit around your flat. you will necessarily know, and purposefully, you
That is why Snedden and his friend Fifi Kara are dont have to enter the destination. It leaves you
developing Yonder, an app that lets you find flights completely open to whatever happens to be the
to anywhere in the world always within your cheapest place.
By not taking location into account, in theobudget.
The two are passionate about travelling and have ry, you only spend what youve budgeted for, and
a lot of experience hunting for deals. After look- travel on the days you are available. It also greatly
reduces the amount of time it
ing for cheap flights, searchtakes to plan your trip. The app
ing destination after destina- They searched every travel
tion, changing travel dates and website known to man before clearly works for students who
often have very limited budgets
searching every website known
they finally realised what was and little time to plan a holiday.
to Man they finally realised
holding them back
Prices fluctuate wildly on a daywhat was holding them back.
to-day basis which means that
You can go onto any travel search engine and the first thing that they will being able to pounce on the cheapest flights is key
ask you to do is fill in your destination. We real- for those who want to be spontaneous.
Snedden says that for this generation of nomads,
ised quite quickly that in doing so, you as a user are
instantly blind to all but the results that they have the end destination is the least of the concerns.

To learn more about Yonder,

visit their website
@ or follow them


on Twitter @theyonderapp





A colourful section of the Berlin Wall

The Fernsehturm tower pierces into the skyline

Rush hour at the U-Bahn

rom beneath the patchwork quilt, all I could

hear was the hollow tip-tap of raindrops
and the unmistakable sound of continental
Europes emergency sirens. Eight in the morning:
the city was still in night mode. The stars had made
way for mist, and the jagged cityscape that usually
sparkled and soared for miles in darkness barely
peeked through the opaque clouds.
Stepping out into the biting wind and rain, I
swiftly discovered how easy it was to get lost in this
city. The invisible boundaries of Berlin stretched
for miles unlike London that could, in theory,
be conquered in a mere matter of hours. If warmer
weather had greeted me, I would have taken to the

renovation. In a way, these murals are as beautiful

as the architecture that sits above the ground.
Venturing further away from the citys slightly
clinical entertainment district that sat on my
doorstep, I found myself in Rosenthaler Vorstadt,
or the Mitte district. Literally translating as the
centre, Berlins equivalent of Leicester Square bears
no resemblance to its English sister. A peer inside
St Oberholz coffee house unveiled a new kind of
caffeine-fuelled pastime, as creative souls who
work across the city gathered to discuss visions and
ideas over a cup of java; a far cry from the hostile
faade of my local coffee chain.
After a wander around the nearby markets and

I open the doors of AKA to a clean, untouched

floor of white; walls adorned with the kind of
art even the Tate would struggle to swallow

In February, stars flock from

around the globe to the
Berlinale: Europes second
biggest film festival that
hosts world premieres of
arthouse cinema.

No city takes nightlife as

seriously as these guys.
Stattbad Wedding is a former
swimming pool turned clubbing
venue - and do not even ask us
about the infamous Berghain.


cycle lanes that were often crammed with locals on

their way to work. Even in the middle of the day,
the familiar sounds of ringing bells and Deutsch
cries of get out of the way! were impossible to
On this particular occasion, it seemed wiser to
take the U-Bahn: Berlins underground transport
system that took me from strae to strae with
comparatively less stress than battling the outdoor
elements. At almost every stop, colourful, kitsch
tiles adorned the walls, blessed too with the
designs of local artists from the circuits post-war

street-wear stores that line the Rosenthaler streets,

it was time to jump back on to the U-Bahn and head
south. Situated in the side of Berlin that remains
almost untouched by its glorious urban takeover, I
open the doors of AKA to a clean, untouched floor
of white, walls adorned with the kind of art even
Tate Modern would struggle to swallow. Through
the back, resident tattoo artist Bobby Anders
scribed the last words my mother wrote me on to
my sort-of see-through skin. And with that, I head
off into the night that eventually, turns into my
second Berlin sun. // DG



horrific, freezing cells threw me deep in to the life

of a Soviet prisoner. I looked into the concrete cell:
a metal disk in the middle awoke my curiosity. A
small sign stated that the room used to be filled
with water. A prisoner would be forced to stand
on the disk until he fell asleep, falling into ice-cold
water to wake him up again. This was more than a
prison cell, it was a Russian torture chamber. Much
more would go on than brawls and fistfights; they
would slowly break your spirit. Hauntingly, these
cold, abandoned rooms took me through the pages
of the citys history.
A short stroll past the river Moskva took me to
Bunker-42: an old Cold War era nuclear bunker
that lies 65 metres under Moscows city centre.
The realisation that Russia is probably the only
country in the world that teaches tourists how to
assemble and disassemble a Kalashnikov hit me
as I held the freezing cold, metal components of a
gun in my hands. Dim light crept behind me as I
explored the quiet catacombs; intrigue pulling me
further and further through the dark underground
tunnels. It felt like a video game, except this was all
uncomfortably real. // VS

t was nothing like romantic Rome or Paris this

was the chilly and austere Moscow. I stepped into
Red Square, a place you must visit at least once in
your lifetime, to find it was nothing like what I had
seen on the silver screen. The gracious buildings
were circled by the busy people of Moscow, passing
tiny stands selling souvenirs, pastries and Kvass: a
soft drink with rye bread and some alcohol as its
main ingredient. I bought a bottle, cautious about
the taste of brown liquid bread, but instead was left
surprised by its sweet and boozy flavour.
Looking up, the sun gently stroked the domes of
St. Basils Cathedral, Russias most iconic attribute.
The six, brightly coloured towers overhead
resembled ice cream cones, a golden one above
them all. By now, I had learned that everything that
looks like gold in Russia was actually gold. The
mix of colourful architecture danced in my eyes,
the kind of cathedral you simply have to stop and
The short walk to Lubyanka Square led me to a
towering nine-storey building steeped in the classic
grandeur of Moscow architecture. It was the former
Soviet intelligence headquarters and a prison
rolled into one. Creaking wooden floorboards and


By now, I had learned that everything that looks like

gold in Russia was actually gold

The breathtaking view of Moskva river at night

revolutionary &
leader, Vladimir
Lenins body is
kept in a mausoleum
in the centre of
the Kremlin.

Moscow is home
to a total of 84
leaving New York
in second place
with with
only 62.

Moscows metro is
the only one in
the world where
art, statues and
chandeliers are
found at each


Red Square is a symbol of Russias beauty and history



The iconic Table Mountain and Lions Head hikes are

obvious must-dos, but before sleepy residents have
awoken, climbing Red Hill feels like a well-kept secret

Words and Pictures by EVA COUTTS

Everything has been considered for the people it

attracts. A rack for cycling shoes awaits adventurers,
arriving in packs to re-energise with steaming cups
of coffee and honey-infused almond cake. Water
bowls for furry friends are frequently replenished,
while their owners hydrate on freshly squeezed
juices and minted water.
February is the end of summer in Cape Town.
Fruits, sweet and sticky, beg to be eaten. We
grabbed figs, passion fruit, bread, local honey and
that prized packet of coffee. Giddy from the air,
delighted with our foraging, we returned home and
spread everything on the sun-drenched table. The
others awoke and we ate like kings.
We spent the afternoon paddling, sand duning
and galavanting along the beach until our rumbling
tummies lead us to Hout Bay Market. Cape Town
has a plethora of markets but we trusted the locals
to take us to only the best. Everything about the
warehouse-set market is immediately, utterly
delicious: the smells, the sounds, the people. But it
has got nothing on the food. We do family style,
sharing, grabbing, dipping and slurping fresh
raspberry mojitos that cooled the lavish amount of
chilli in every dish.
Our designated driver, valiant in her duties, took
to the wheel again, returning us to our little hut in
paradise. We grabbed our cameras and raced out to
catch the last of the rays, the dappled fading light
skimmed the beach. The tingling of salty skin and
rum-induced laughs linger in my memory. // EC

salty breeze lapped through the window

and licked the sheet I had wrapped my
jetlagged body in. Early mornings usually
required some cajoling, certainly quiet time before
being ready to face the world, but the sun on my
face eventually tore me from my bed.
I turned and caught my sisters eye, her face said
everything. I havent felt this rested in months, she
told me. As I clambered from the loft into the beach
house (an Airbnb gem), I glanced at my Burkies discarded on the floor after a stolen, midnight walk.
With my sights set on South Africas peaks, I wore
my runners instead. After all, this was not a climb
built for sandals.
We scrambled our way up Red Hill, going off
piste; all part of the fun. The iconic Table Mountain
and Lions Head hikes are obvious must dos, but
before sleepy residents have awoken, climbing Red
Hill feels like a well-kept secret.
Scratchy bushes and sunburned long grass
tugged at our bare legs, but we giggled our way to
the ridge and turned to face the view. Waves played
with the shoreline, crashing onto miles of white
sand. The eager surfers were already bobbing about;
simple specks from our dizzy height.
After making our way downhill, the quest
for breakfast supplies brought us to The Hub.
As expected, it is perfect for grabbing coffee or
groceries, listening to music and just generally
hanging out. Community run, it also has the perfect
surfer vibe for the towns inhabitants.

A shop corner on Long Street, Cape Town

Woodstock is home
to an eclectic
mix of people,
despite the recent
gentrification of
other areas.

Forget biltong
a picky eaters
paradise. A
phenomenal choice
of interesting
places to eat.


If the bustle of
the city gets too
much, get yourself
along the coast,
the beaches are


The ragged shoreline at Scarborough



Escaping the stifling hot sun, I took shelter at

the Haus der Kunst, where they were exhibiting
Louise Bourgeois work. In the cooler hours of
the afternoon, I set off along the river back to
Marienplatz, climbing the 299 steps of the St.
Peters Church to see Munich from a height. It was
a beautiful sunset.
On the look out for more food, I spotted a
market in front of the church. I was devouring
a measly and odd combination of grapes and
Turkish olives when I miraculously stumbled
across a little bakery serving the best carrot cake
in the city. As I sauntered through the old town,
through the bustling, busy streets and out past the
crazy crowds to the Isar, I realised that although
the city centre was mobbed with people, somehow
it was also homely and calming.
I sat by the river with a bottle of Pilsner before
heading out to Wombats, the bar closest to
my hostel. The clientele? Sweaty men drinking
expensive cocktails around a pool table. It may
not sound like the place to be, and yes, it might be
located at the dodgiest end of town, but the drinks
were cheap and the streets were filled with vibrant,
drunken, interesting people. I became more
Bavarian with every pint I drank. // RH

aking up on a lusciously bright and

sunny morning, I knew where I was:
Munich. It seemed however, that my
soggy bottom was firmly plastered to the grass
and not to the hostel bed I had paid for. The damp
ground helped me confirm my whereabouts:
Eisbach, a place where the drunk find peace at
night (not to be recommended.)
The flickering shadows between the branches
above me cast memories of people dancing,
drinking and singing from the previous evening.
I looked around and remembered the state of
the Englischer Garten. A truly beautiful paradise
where teenagers mulled around in emerald water,
drinking beer and listening to a concoction of
reggae and Chris Brown. The afternoon had started
off well but had ended in a blur of lager, skinnydipping and a half-eaten Bratwurst.
I had cycled through the old town, past
Odeonsplatz and the LMU University, seeking out
a slice of vegan paradise by the name of Ignaz.
There I indulged in a very un-Bavarian meal of
cream, tofu and vegetables, followed by a slab of
chocolate fudge cake. The meal cost me the same
as last nights mattress, but gave me infinitely more


A truly beautiful paradise where teenagers mulled

around in emerald water drinking beer and listening
to a concoction of reggae and Chris Brown


Eisbach river at Englischer Garten the perfect place for a summer swim


Royal Kebabhaus at
Hauptbahnhof serve
the best vegan

Sausalitos serves
two litre cocktails
for 10 during
happy hour.

Steinsee is the
best lake for
cooling off with a
summer swim.

Night-time in Munich



La Grand Place in the heart of Central Lille


The outdoor neon signs had warmed up, hinting at

the imminent start of happy hours. Perfect timing

exhibitions, bars, the place likes to remind outsiders that there is more to Lille than just its obsolete
coal mines.
The hipster headquarters were glowing before
my eyes, dazzled by the sunset. The outdoor neon
signs had warmed up, hinting at the imminent start
of happy hours. Perfect timing.
I entered a refurbished bar. While some kids
were loudly enjoying a board game, parents drinking their pints at the nearest table, a double act had
seized the local stage much to the dismay of the
bartender. Amid all the noise, I ordered one of the
local brews and headed straight outdoors. The cold
breeze ruffled my hair as I took off my earphones
for the first time that afternoon. Listening to the
mumble of distant conversations, I attempted to
lift the glass to my lips, only to realise my hands
were otherwise occupied. My fingers were clasped
around the cardboard box. I had almost forgotten
about the pastry.
I deserted the glass and pulled the box on to my
lap. Within seconds, I had grabbed the dessert and
crammed it into my mouth, chocolate flakes flying
everywhere. Sweeping sprinkles away, I hummed
in approval of the long-awaited sweetness that
filled my mouth. As I rinsed down the remains of
meringue stuck in my teeth with a fresh sip of lager,
I remembered why I adore this city.
While the warmth of Lille seldom comes from
its cloud-ridden skies, it certainly travels through
its food. // TDS

ille had finally awoken. Overjoyed by the

sight of the faintest sunlight, tourists and
locals slowly filled the maze of pedestrian streets; stopping now and then to take a peek
through shop windows. I wandered between the
old brick houses, some red, some white and some
adorned with golden frames making the neighbourhood look like an upscale Amsterdam. The
luxury boutiques seldom suit a tourists budget but
the picturesque buildings have always been a delight for architecture aficionados.
Through cobbled street after cobbled street, my
stomach groaned in despair for a snack. My morning stroll at the market after grazing on food samples failed to satisfy my cravings. I made my way to
Lilles most famous patisserie Aux Merveilleux, the
only shop I could afford in the neighbourhood. Selling almost exclusively local pastries, Aux Merveilleux, the tiny patisserie, often turns the narrow
pavement into a human traffic jam. A single glance
at the window filled with unique desserts made my
mouth water. The rounded meringue covered in
chocolate sprinkles pleased my eyes as much as it
was about to please my stomach. But such a delicacy needed the perfect setting. Take-away box in
hand, I abandoned the quietness of the old Lille for
the rumble of cars that packed the city centre.
After a short walk I had reached my destination. Away from touristic attractions, Gare SaintSauveur, a decommissioned train station is now a
shooting up gallery for cultural overdose. Cinema,




French city is
than two hours
London and an
from Paris by

The biggest flea

market in Europe
takes place on the
first weekend of


La Piscine de
Roubaix is a 1920s
art-deco swimming
pool converted to
an art museum.