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Of filming and funding: meeting Alex Darby and Ksenia Harwood

Director and writer Alex Darby and producer Ksenia Harwood form the heart of the team behind Waterbird and Catkins, two short films about love, loss, guilt and seeking solace in nature. The Kickstarter for the distribution of their films went live today and was made a ‘Staff Pick’, a rare recognition for a student project. In light of this, I caught up with them to find out more about the project and what they hope to achieve through their Kickstarter campaign.

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Squash
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Squash: what’s all the fuss about?

Squash is usually thought of as a bit of a niche sport. It’s played in a large cube with a little rubber ball which both players alternately hit against the wall until one of them wins the point. Put like that, it probably sounds a little pointless. But there are so many different levels to squash, and at every level of play there’s something to enjoy. At the higher levels it’s often described as physical chess. It’s fast, fluid, intense, and tough. International squash players run approximately 1118 metres in the 16 and a half minutes the average squash game takes them to complete, with well over 500 changes of direction, whilst hitting the ball at speeds of up to 175 mph. During this they’re trying to outplay, outmanoeuvre, and outthink their opponents, so the description seems apt. But even as you filter down through to the beginner levels or are just playing for fitness, squash is challenging, enjoyable, interesting, and a little different to the standard fare.

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Quidditch
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Oxford University Quidditch Club: live the magic

As a sport for non-wizards, quidditch came into existence in 2005 in Vermont, USA. Three years ago, the sport made its way to Oxford, leading to the founding of Oxford University Quidditch Club (OUQC) and its two teams, the Radcliffe Chimeras, who are currently both British and European champions, and the Oxford Quidlings. Rather than cosplaying, quidditch players have replaced wands and capes with tactical insight, speed, and in some cases, brutal force.

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Do we need to talk about Rugby League?

What happened this year in the world of Rugby League? Well, I guess Sam Burgess did some big hits and hurt his cheek. Ben Flower punched that guy while he was on the floor. Oh yes, and there was that funny commentary on Youtube.

These are all noteworthy, but, as an actual fan of the game, forgive me if I am a little bit frustrated when an outstanding year in the sport is forced into a pigeonhole consisting of the Next Big Thing for rugby union, a thug that represents a violence problem in the game, and a funny Northerner. It’s not like there’s been a shortage of other talking points. I’ll give you a few:

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Taylor Swift - Elie Saab
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From country to couture: a Swift style evolution

Taylor Swift. The name may ring a few bells. She is the best-selling artist since Eminem, the proud owner of five solo albums before the age of twenty five and currently the most renowned female singer/songwriter in the world. It would be fair to say that Taylor is at the top of her musical game. Yet moving swiftly on (Ahem. This will the last ‘Swift’ pun. Promise.) from her music, the release of her latest music video, ‘Blank Space’, which hit YouTube just last week and has already garnered over forty million hits, was almost as much about her newly-evolved style as it was about the witty parodying of her critics.

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wedding dresses
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And the bride wore…

If there is one important lesson to be learned from Don’t Tell The Bride (OK, who are we kidding, there are many), it is this: it is all about the dress. On countless occasions, brides have screamed, cried and even questioned the marriage itself at the first sight of satin or glimpse of gossamer. Sure, there have been some truly horrific offerings, boldly chosen by sheepish-looking fiancées desperate to please. There have been fishtails, cutouts, high-low hemlines and all manner of sartorial sins committed on the way to the altar. But the fact of the matter is, you just don’t come between a bride and her dress.

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