When IUDs go terribly wrong, Vice

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There comes a time in many a woman’s life when she waves goodbye to slimy condoms and welcomes the easy intimacy that comes with other forms of birth control. Since its arrival in the 60s this has by and large been the pill, which is used by nearly a quarter of women of childbearing age. But the IUD (intrauterine device, also known as the contraceptive coil) has also seen a dramatic rise in use in the last ten years…

Click here to read the rest of the article on Vice’s Broadly channel

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IS IT HARD FOR FESTIVALS TO BOOK GENDER-BALANCED LINEUPS? INTO THE VALLEY HUMBLY SUGGESTS NOT

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It is so boring. It’s talked about every year. And every year, despite all the criticism, it happens again.

This year, Creamfields has just 11 all-female DJ acts in a weekend of 230. This year, as usual, Forbes’ list of highest earning DJs was 100% male. This year, the RA Top 100 DJs was 9% female. Compare that to the British Parliament, which is now 32% female. But whatever you do, don’t ask why electronic music is still so far behind on gender imbalance, because…

Click here to read the rest of the article on Stamp the Wax

Meeting Cassandro: Mexico’s most iconic gay wrestler

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Lucha Libre is not just a sport. It’s also theatre. And it’s a kind of ritual violence, acting for its audience like a communal catharsis. Wrestling characters destroy each other in the name of good and evil, often echoing issues of politics or identity in the Mexican psyche…

Click here to read the rest of the article on Dazed

Samuel Beckett’s The End review

Conor Lovett gives a deeply masterful performance of Samuel Beckett’s oft-forgotten short story, The End, as part of his one-man Beckett in London festival

Hats, boots, excrement, a hobo and death’s beckoning: many of Beckett’s familiar tropes are here in this prototype of his notoriously absurd plays, as part of a one-man Beckett in London festival at the theatrically derelict fringe theatre The Print Room.

Cast out of a mental institution, the solitary deadbeat protagonist hints at having had a lobotomy, which he hides behind one of Beckett’s signature hats. We bear witness to the putrid descent of the final months or years of his life, right down to the eczema in his behind. As with all of Beckett’s signature down-and-outs, he is struggling to survive and yet waiting to die.

Husband and wife duo Judy Hegarty (director) and Conor Lovett (actor) of Gare St Lazare theatre company have chosen to dramatise this wrongfully neglected short story as a monologue, as part of a new one-man Beckett festival.

Conor Lovett’s mild-mannered performance gives Beckettian futility its perfect theatrical expression: his tone of levity remains steady and unresponsive to his character’s great misfortunes, levelling out the events of his life into a litany of nothings.

The production, which has already toured Europe and the US, was roundly dismissed in The New York Times by Laura Collins-Hughes, who could see no reason why the prose should be dramatised. But this is missing the extraordinarily new and entirely befitting aspect that Judy has brought to the piece:

Rather than describing a human situation for the reader to reflect upon, Lovett and Hegarty have created one in front of an audience so we may experience it. Specifically, the experience of living – or being trapped – in time.

Observing the narrator, disintegrating repulsively as he approaches his End, makes us acutely aware that everything he does is to pass the time, or, as he puts it, ‘play the part’ of someone living. Are we the same? Perhaps his situation only differs to ours in degree rather than kind.

There is total disparity between his description of his own mental and physical putrefaction, and his appearance on stage as articulate and charming, with perfect comic timing. Just a couple of benches form the sparse set and Lovett’s appearance as a bald nondescript middle-aged white man similarly does little to furnish his words.

This paradox is a powerful tool: as an archetype rather than a specific man, his words become a comment on the essential nature of our shared human condition.

Inescapably and meaninglessly alive, one can only wait for The End, though the pain of boredom can be momentarily relieved (as we learn: “Scratching is superior to masturbation”). But of course, as with all Beckett, it’s brutally funny. Lovett deserves significant acclaim for his deeply understood rendition, which holds a mirror to the audience and shows us what it means to be human.

Click here to read the article published on culturewhisper.com (paywall)

Chloe Rosser’s Nudes Evoke Revolt and Fascination, Like Decapitated Chickens

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Ordinarily when you look at a photo your mind fills in an approximation of what is not seen from the photographer’s viewpoint. In Chloe Rosser’s images, heads and limbs are missing at such impossible angles that the mind is tricked into the feeling that there is nothing else beyond what is visible. Each body’s connection with humanity is severed. They become abject lumps of flesh, like plucked and decapitated chickens, evoking both revulsion and fascination.

Click here to read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post.

Video: Junior doctor contract protest draws 20,000-strong crowd – Pulse

Some 20,000 doctors and members of the public marched through London on Saturday afternoon to protest against the Government’s proposed junior doctor contract changes.

Doctors, lawyers and political leaders gave speeches in support of junior doctors, including shadow health Secretary Heidi Alexander, 92-year-old NHS activist Harry Leslie Smith and BMA Junior Doctors Committee chair Dr Johann Malawana.

The proposed changes, which would come into effect next August, would extend junior doctors’ plain time hours, so that instead of normal pay being given for hours worked Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm with hours outside of that paid 20-50% extra, plain time would last until 10pm and include Saturdays.

 It would also scrap the GP trainee supplement and replace it with a ‘pay premium’ recognising it as a shortage specialty.

Marching along Pall Mall and Whitehall, the protesters finally gathered outside Parliament to express their views.

Addressing the health secretary, Dr Malawana said: ’Jeremy Hunt, I have said to you again and again, stop attacking us. What kind of society devalues NHS staff? What kind of society devalues the very staff that deliver frontline services at 2 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday night, and do it because they care about the patients in front of them.’

Ms Alexander said in her speech: ’I’ve come here today, be under no illusion, to send a clear and strong message to David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt, that junior doctors should be paid fairly for the work that they do. I hear you when you say, it might be junior doctor contracts today, but what is it tomorrow?’

Junior doctors also rallied in Belfast over the weekend amid fears that the devolved administration will implement the changes proposed for England.

According to the BMA, propositions do away with contractual safeguards, including a 30-minute break for every four hours worked. Instead, the new contract entitles doctors to one 20-minute break in a shift of up to 11-hours.

The BMA has refused to re-enter negotiations on the contract after a plea from health secretary Jeremy Hunt last week, in which he gave a ‘cast-iron’ guarantee that pay would not fall and suggested he may be open to concessions on Saturday plain time hours.

Mr Hunt had met with Dr Malawana after learning that the BMA isplanning to ballot junior doctors on industrial action.

Junior doctors have until 23 October to update their details with the BMA to ensure they can take part in the ballot.

Speaking to Pulse at Saturday’s protest, BMA GP trainee subcommittee chair Dr Donna Tooth said: ’There are people saying that with the removal of the training supplement, they will no longer be able to afford to train to be a GP.

’There have been some assurances from the government that GP trainees’ pay won’t be affected, however until I see those assurances written down, rock-solid assurances, I can’t reassure my committee and the membership that I represent, that the future of general practice and training is secure and that our salary will be safe.’

Mr Hunt has said he will impose the contract if the BMA does not agree to changes but the Scottish and Welsh Governments have no plans to introduce it. Amid political instability, which included most ministers resigning their posts, the Northern Irish Government has not announced a decision yet.

The marches followed an earlier protest on 28 September, when about 5,000 junior doctors gathered outside Westminster. Doctors also protested on the streets of Manchester during the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month.

Originally published by Pulse.