Well, that happened…

Postman Pat, Newcastle, Sky and Brexit. 

Well, that happened…

Welcome to our second issue of ‘Well, that happened...’, our fortnightly publication of some of the biggest happenings in art, culture, politics and technology. 

I was quite surprised this week by the balance of beginning and end in this edition of the news. On one hand, we see the end of two talented individuals, a studio that changed the way storytelling video games were made, and a Brexit plan that everyone hated. However, The Stage Debut Awards highlight the some of the best new talent at the start of their careers, a new collective is seeking to reinvigorate art engagement in Newcastle, the Turner Prize could be about to change an artist’s life and Labour finally appear to be producing some sort of coherent political strategy. 

As ever, we are always looking for feedback and suggestions on how to improve - either the format or the website more broadly. Voice is a platform for young people, by young people, and we want to provide the best possible experience for you to make your own voices heard. 

See you in October. 88 days until Christmas...

Theresa May’s Brexit plan savaged by EU leaders

After months of arguments triggered by a referendum started to settle years of party in-fighting, Prime Minister Theresa May went to Salzburg to sell the EU on her post-Brexit vision and was abruptly told the plan was unacceptable. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, given that for months now the leaders had said that the Chequers plan was not compatible with competences of the EU, and that cherry-picking elements of the union wasn’t going to happen. Nonetheless, politicians and the British media - who have also been critical of the plan - were outraged that the EU would dare to reiterate the stance held since before the election. She then made a strongly worded speech demanding respect from the EU - a tacit confession that she has none at the minute - and bringing back the line, ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’.

Both Leave and Remain campaigners took this sound rejection as a potential for making ground in their respective campaigns, with Leave thinking this inches us closer to a no deal and Remain believing this will force the Government to reevaluate leaving. 

Video: Financial Times

Labour start to fudge their way towards a Brexit position during party conference

Just as the Conservatives are struggling from an ideological dichotomy to Brexit, so to is the Labour party. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has until now been decidedly cool on committing to anything on Brexit, beyond saying that he would do a better job of it that May. However, slowly but surely we start to see evolution in the party policy. During the party conference in Liverpool, delegates overwhelmingly backed a policy set out by shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, who said “nobody is ruling out remain as an option”. Labour’s official position is that they will vote down any deal Theresa May brings to Parliament that doesn’t meet the six tests Labour laid out, which includes access to the Single Market and Customs Union and the protection of workers rights. They will try to force a general election in this instance, and if that’s not possible, a second referendum. 

Although party delegates may be happy with this, Labour MP’s from Brexit heartlands are nervous about any signs that Labour are looking to reverse the 2016 referendum decision. They might not have to worry as shadow Chancellor John McDonnell released a contradictory statement saying that ‘Remain’ wouldn’t be on any referendum ballot.

The Conservative party conference is this weekend (30 Sep - 3 Oct). 

Source: The Guardian

The Stage Debut Award winners announced3cf2992a84ea579a33a13ae8a5953f8f6c17ae88.jpg

It was the second annual The Stage Debut Awards this week, where some of the best best fresh talent in the theatre industry get recognised for their achievements, whether it’s on or off the stage. A full list of winners is available on the source below, but it was encouraging to see so many young practitioners recognised.

Akshay Sharan is a member of the National Youth Theatre, Louis Gaunt graduated from the Performers College in 2018, Gemma Dobson is a recent graduate from the Bristol Old Vic, Khadija Raza - who we interviewed recently - graduated from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (BA Hons Theatre Practice: Design for Stage, with First Class Honours); and Amara Okereke yet another graduate - this time from ArtsEd.

Source: Voice | Image: Alex Brenner  

Sky to be purchased by Comcast 

8bd8393da4223f5c34411fb022ba77c164d2cb0f.jpgComcast has beaten Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in an auction to buy the broadcaster Sky with a £30bn bid. Already owning a 39% controlling stake in Sky, Murdoch originally wanted to purchase the remaining 61% in 2011, but his attempt was blocked with the breaking of the phone hacking scandal. He then tried again in 2016, subject to regulatory approval. Then, in December 2017, Disney announced they were going to buy 21st Century Fox, and would also assume control of Sky if Murdoch’s pending deal was approved. US broadcaster Comcast then counter-offered, triggering a bidding war for 21st Century Fox. Disney eventually won that battle when Comcast pulled out of the bidding process and decided to focus on buying Sky - which they’ve now achieved, acquiring the broadcasters 23m european subscribers.

However, both analysts and the stock market are saying that Comcast overpaid for Sky which is first and foremost a satellite distribution company in a time when more people are cutting the cord. And, let’s not forget that Disney still owns a 39% of Sky after their purchase of Fox.

Source: Deadline | CNN

Chas Hodges dies,
aged 74

Singer/songwriter Charles ‘Chas’ Hodges died on 22 September after a fight with oesophageal cancer. Best known for his involvement in ‘rockney’ duo Chas and Dave, Hodges learned to play the guitar at 13, and was a semi-professional musician by 15 when he was dismissed from his apprenticeship as a clockmaker for being late. He played with many traditional rock’n’roll bands before switching to the piano and deciding to sing in his own – cockney – accent. He met Dave in 1960, and the duo went on to have numerous hits including Ain’t No Pleasing You, Rabbit, and Gertcha. 

Source: The GuardianImage: Chris Boland

John Cunliffe dies,
aged 85a4487d7dccb3a56013985eb12a68cc92592ab253.jpg

The creator of children’s TV show Postman Pat has died, aged 85. John Cunliffe was the creator of the much loved Postman Pat, who along with his black and white cat Jess served the fictional town of Greendale. The first episode aired in 1981, and has been broadcast to over 50 countries. Born in Lancashire and living in Cumbria, Cunliffe used the Lake District for inspiration for Greendale. Cunliffe is also the author and star of Rosie and Jim, a children’s TV show that featured two rag dolls who live on a narrowboat. Cunliffe also wrote a number of poetry and picture story book collections. 

Source: BBC | Image: BBC

Telltale Games prepares for studio closure 


News broke last week that episodic adventure game studio Telltale Games was preparing for a “majority studio closure”, laying off roughly 250 staff to retain just 25 employees who are staying on to “fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners.” The studio, perhaps best known for the Walking Dead series, Batman or Game of Thrones games was reportedly a difficult place to work for, mired in toxic management and burnout. The company rapidly expanded to take on new IP after the success of the Walking Dead, but struggled to innovate on the initial winning concept. In November 2017 the company laid off 90 employees, roughly 25% of its workforce. 

Unnamed sources claim that Telltale’s current season of The Walking Dead will go unfinished, and the Wolf Among Us 2 is also cancelled. Netflix have however announced that the skeleton crew will be completing the Minecraft game the two companies partnered up to create in June. However, the Stranger Things game has also been canned.

Source: Polygon | Photo: Telltale Games

A collective of creative venues are working to make Newcastle ‘best place to be young’ 

a3b57a98498fa224324fc3df8d565b6cfe4ab474.jpg40 arts organisations in Newcastle and Gateshead have come together to engage 165,000 under-25s every year for the next 10 years. The collective, called the City of Dreams, hopes to address poverty and mental health challenges and position Newcastle as “the best place to be young”. 

14 new programmes of activity have been announced, which will use funds already allocated to individual organisations. These programmes include ‘Make Something Brilliant’, which is a city-wide programme of creative activities for all ages. Venues in the collective will also offer free tickets to ‘Twilight Shows’ for 12-17 year-olds, and there are plans to engage 100% of schools in Newcastle and Gateshead by July 2019.

Source: Arts Professional | Image: barnyz

Turner prize exhibition opens at Tate Britain


The Turner Prize has returned to Tate Britain for its 34th edition, after being hosted in Hull in 2017 as part of its City of Culture status. The exhibition comprises of the four shortlisted artists: Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson.

Although the Turner Prize used to only consider artists under 50, the age restriction was lifted for the 2017 award. That said, all of the shortlisted artists for 2018 are under 50. 

The exhibition is on display until 6 January 2019, and the winner will be announced 4 December live on the BBC. Tickets are £13, or free for members. They are also free for 25s and under for the first 25 days.

Source: Tate

Voice are hosting a panel for MozFest House 

da59eaf4bd9f859501fd215c4c6b6817e4566732.jpgShameless self-promotion I know, but we’re excited to be returning to MozFest House, an extension of the popular MozFest, which allows for more in-depth exploration of ideas, code swaps and problem solving.  Our panel, ‘Is technology holding journalism hostage?’, brings experts in the field together to discuss the changing media landscape, the impact that social media has on the newscycle, and whether those companies should be held accountable for the content on their platform. Our full line-up will be announced closer to the time, so keep checking the event page for updates!

  • Starts: Wednesday 24 October 2018 2:00 PM
  • Ends: Wednesday 24 October 2018 4:00 PM
  • At: RSA, 8 John Adam St., London, Greater London, WC2N 6EZ, United Kingdom
  • Price: Free

Source: Voice

Book tickets

Header Image Credit: Number 10


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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