Illustration by Ben Beechener

This term at the Blue, we’re so lucky to be able to present an exciting, diverse range of columns. We hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as us. Without further ado, here are our columnists…

~ Sophie and Gloria

Elyse Airey:

Have you ever suffered from a broken heart? Do you find your movement restricted by fear of bumping into your ex? Have you ever felt pain as a result of being ghosted by another emotionally unavailable Christ Church boy? Your resident agony aunt, Shrink-in-Violet, can help.

Whether it be advice on your cursed college crush, your best friend’s cheating boyfriend (hopefully not) or managing your mother’s expectations, I am here to offer you a (digital) shoulder to cry on. Use the submission form to have a whine or confess to your crimes (the social kind, please do not own up to armed robbery via Google Forms, or carry it out for that matter). I’ll respond with my highly coveted (un)expert advice; certified to be better than one of those Oxfess influencers who comment with such alacrity that one can only assume they do E&M.

Whether you’re snooping to see if your ex could have written in, or attempting to make yourself feel better by comparing other people’s problems to your own, I invite you to grab a glass of red (or Tesco’s finest vodka + squash; keep it classy), settle in on your questionably-stained college-provided single mattress, and have a read. 

Bea Munro:

Food writing can be quite an elitist pursuit, but inspired by pioneers such as Grace Dent, I hope to show that it isn’t all fancy restaurants and tiny portions. Food writing has inspired and liberated me to see the joy in every meal. I hope my column can attempt to do the same for you.

Iris Campbell-Lange:

I would like to notice Oxford – the alleys, strange street names, tall buildings with roofs you never see; and I would like to give these hidden places conversations, to see these places when you are passing, walking, caught in a thought, and only just notice. But what in Oxford is worth noticing? and what will you walk past? and what will you hear? I will have hidden conversations, imaginary conversations, strange conversations; because what else should happen on the streets of Oxford?

Jacob Reid:

At one point during the 2018 American Grand Prix, something rather strange happened. On top of the regular TV feed, drowning out the commentators, you could hear a guy going “neeeooooooow, neeoow neoooow”. Delivering his car impression with such gusto and panache, Neow Man instantly captured the hearts and minds of Formula One fans around the world. But he also encapsulated a certain criticism of Formula One – that it involves a bunch of cars driving around in circles for a little while, enjoyed by people who are not quite grown up enough, or maybe not quite cool enough, to have better hobbies.

Over the next eight weeks, I’ll do my best to convince you otherwise. I’ll discuss some of the storylines that perhaps slip under the radar: Why were McLaren so bad for so long? How can Lewis Hamilton be the greatest of all time when Nico Rosberg beat him to the championship in 2016? And do F1’s plans on the environment and human rights stand up to scrutiny?

MK Hubbard:

Hiya! I’ll be one of the new columnists for this term, releasing a new piece every fortnight! My column is entitled ‘Who Protects Us’, and will focus on the treatment of sexual assault survivors in the weeks, months, and years following their experiences. Through a series of extended essays based on anecdotal and policy evidence, each week I will focus on a different body of people which each have the power to impact the aftermath of assault. 

My column will look at: our Oxford collegiate system; peer groups; external supportive and counselling based options; and the criminal justice system. One survivor’s negative experience with any of these bodies should be enough to spark uproar, but the chorus of voices I will lift up in my column simply demand more: we demand change. The main question I will pose is this: when the support offered by these bodies is so disparate, non-regulated, and rife with unaccountability, Who Protects Us?

Hannah Davis:

Somehow I have been given a space to wildly overshare on a fortnightly basis. Named after a now-passé TikTok sound, a (might I say genius) choice designed to suggest the idea of capturing a specific, fleeting zeitgeist in the same way that I will be trying to capture my own specific, fleeting feelings, this charming little column is essentially a means by which I am able to give public service announcements to everyone around me. 

Tune in if a) you know me and are nosy and want to feel like you’re reading my diary b) you know me and I already offload onto you but you’d prefer to digest this information in the form of (mostly) cohesive sentences as opposed to a more typically unfiltered and unstructured ramble or c) you actually don’t know me but quite enjoy the idea of peering into a stranger’s brain. And hope you enjoy!

Cat Tickell:

In an attempt to widen my music horizons over the years, I have jumped at any chance to explore new genres. Having grown up listening to artists such as Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz in the kitchen, I had a pretty blank slate from which to begin my endeavours. While it is an exciting process, it is not without its problems. How are genres even created or categorised, and who gets to decide? Oftentimes this categorisation results in the exclusion of marginalised artists so an important part of appreciating a genre should therefore be recognising its social impact. Although I do not claim to have the answers to these questions by any means, (and I’m definitely not musically qualified, just an eager listener!) I invite you to take a deep dive with me into the fascinating political landscape of music genre. Most of all, however, I want to focus on the music that epitomises each genre or adds something new, and (fingers crossed) there should be at least one album or artist that you can take away from it at the end! 

Claire Torina Coulthard:

In 2018, we watched as 15-year-old Greta Thunberg called upon the youths of the world to unite, demanding their politicians take immediate action and enact policies to protect and rehabilitate the planet. The youth of 21st century Earth wake each morning to a starkly different environment to that of their predecessors. Yes, after years of public awareness campaigns, climate activists have successfully stirred the public and impressed upon the urgency of the situation. But if the feelings of dread and anxiety felt by us and our peers are palpable, what might that say about those who will undeniably be hit the hardest by climate change? What of the teenagers of indigenous tribes or developing nations? 

In this series of columns I want to take a look at the policies that let megacorporations get away with “it”, what “it” is and what “it” means to climate activists like Jasilyn Charger or Mitzi Jonelle Tan; in essence, examining some of the biggest threats to our environment through the lens of indigenous people and those of poorer nations. I hope to convince you through these highly inspirational young people that there is hope and that our futures are worth the fight. That every strike, protest and vote we deliver puts us that much closer to a future we can all feel safe in.

Yii-Jen Deng:

Why did the teacup die? This column will consider the ‘micro-dramas’ of daily life through the cloudy lens of East Asian philosophy, as viewed by a semi-sceptic. Inspired by Zen parables, snippets of Buddhist sutras, and epigrams from Confucius and co., imbibed in childhood, the articles shall delve into the comforting (and discomfiting) implications of their teachings, unspooling, in doing so, the joy of seeing a wild rabbit, or the quiet horror of treading on a snail.

Rather wonderfully, the likes of Zhuangzi have also inspired some of my favourite writers, such as Oscar Wilde and Ursula Le Guin. Tracing such connections between East and West, and what they can bring to our moments of being, can suggest a richness to the everyday, if only by proffering a tale or two.

Aili Channer:

The age of unprecedented biodiversity loss and climate change that we are currently living through urgently requires us to rethink our place as human beings in the ‘mesh’ of interrelationships that make up the ecosystem. But how can we fully recognise the effects our actions have on the environment without succumbing to a sense of guilt or powerlessness? This column will explore what empowering ecological awareness would look like, and to contend with some of the challenges that lie along the way. 

I’ve been a nature-lover for as long as I can remember – my friends know me for swimming in Port Meadow all year round! The urgency of repairing our relationship with the natural world first hit home for me when, while living in Kenya as I was growing up, I had the opportunity to observe the devastating effects of environmental degradation first-hand and realised how our wasteful consumerist economies in the Global North are impacting the rest of the world.