Elephant and Castle shopping centre might be living its final days

What started as a rumour almost 20 years ago is now getting closer to become a reality. Will 2019 be the final date for the demolition of the so loved Elephant and Castle shopping centre?

Ahmed, who owns a small stall inside the shopping, doesn’t believe in it. “Every time they’ve delayed it another 3 years. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but they’re probably going to move us somewhere else.” he says with a very unbothered tone.

Ahmed’s stall by the entrance © Francisca larawan

What seems to be “historical” and loved by the locals, is, at the same time, one of the most hated places in London by many others.
Southwark Council produced an Equalities Impact Assessment (pdf) that revealed that 58 out of the 86 businesses inside the shopping agree with the redevelopment even though most of them still wished to be relocated within the area.

Larger companies like Boots or Superdrug worry that they will have to transfer their workers to other branches. “In the worst case scenario, Boots will close its branch in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre to be relocated somewhere else” calmly says Nana, Boots store manager.

The time for the demolishment gets closer every day, but business owners will not get worried until an official date is released.

Are the Oscars genre biased?

Since the Oscars first premiered, they have always been known for their presumable biased choices. However, movies can also help with that matter.

The Oscar bait, a well-known term by the film community, is what we call a movie that appears to have been produced only for the sole purpose of being nominated for an Academy Award (commonly known as an “Oscar”).

When a film wins an Oscar, the profit made is beyond imaginable. According to IBISWorld the best picture for the last 5 years has had an average budget of $17 million, and a profit of $82.5 million at the box-office.
These numbers could easily influence producers on creating something that is believed to have a higher chance of earning a nomination.
Let’s take the example of Damien Chazelle, the young film director from LA. Damien had written La La Land previous to Whiplash, however, he knew that a musical like that would only ever see the light of day with a bigger budget. With that being, he wrote Whiplash that, not surprisingly, ended up being nominated for best picture in 2015, which gave him the exposure and funds to finally start producing his dream musical, La La Land.

It is possible that Damien knew Whiplash would be nominated because of the Oscars’ genre bias. When asked if the best movies win, Thelma Adams, a film critic, laughs and says “God, no, that’s the simple answer. American critics are biased, they are majority white and are looking at movies through a highly educated, professional class, white male lens.” Movies like Whiplash, serious dramas with weighty inspirational themes are the ones that are most likely to win, even though real-life inspired events and blockbusters also have a very high chance of being nominated. On the other hand, the least likely to be nominated for best picture are foreign-language films, only having 3 nominations since 1973 which are Life Is Beautiful (1997, Italian), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Taiwan), and Amour (2012, French.)

It is more than clear that the best films don’t win the Oscars, but how far will the Academy go? In the last 13 years 62% of the nominations were dramas, from which 61 ended up winning. Every best picture winner since 2010 has fallen into one of two camps: they have either been a real-life story about characters who battled some sort of adversity or injustice (Spotlight, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The King’s Speech), or else they’ve been the film industry (Birdman, The Artist, Argo again).

Whoever wins the awards, there is one thing we can be sure of – the Oscar brand is real. Movie directors and producers that know how to get to the 500$ golden statue will profit from it, a lot.

Getting to ‘The Altar’ with Banks | Album Review

With a female empowering message and a touch of femininity, The Altar is the second album released by the American singer and songwriter Banks.

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After Goddess had shown us how painful and hopeless relationships can be, we are now taken to The Altar where ‘mind games‘ and self-love go great together. Released in October 2016, the record is everything everyone was expecting. Powerful, passionate and confident, the album has 13 tracks which all have the same question: Do love and sacrifice go hand in hand?

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As well as the audio, everyone was left speechless when the album art came out. Photographed by Thomas Whiteside, Jillian Banks (known simply as Banks) taught us how simplicity can, at the same time, mean power. In The Altar’s cover she presents herself au naturale, only showing her freckled face in a black and white portrait. Whilst in Goddess she hides behind her dark fringe and the capital letters of the deep red coloured album.

The lyrics are as mindblowing as the whole set. She describes them as “graphic, gritty, honest and raw”. Joining it all together it is clear that Banks created a pure work of art.

I think everyone agrees that The Altar is a very strong and personal record with a great feminist message, and that its deep words definitely make it one of the best albums of 2016.

Listen to The Altar on Spotify now!

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5-stars