Feeling a bit jazzy today? Not in the Soviet Union.
The USSR and jazz had a love-hate relationship ever since the country’s formation in the early 1920s; the officials hated it, the youth loved it.
To put into perspective, during his fruitful career, Dmitri Shostakovich, Russian composer and pianist, wrote three ballets: The Golden Age, op. 22 (1929-30), The Bolt, op. 27 (1931), and The Bright Stream, op. 39 (1935). The Bolt follows the story of a worker in a Soviet factory, Lazy Lyonka, who, together with an anti-Soviet plotter, plans to sabotage the factory’s machinery by putting a bolt into it. Their plan is quickly foiled by Komsomol, a political youth organization of the USSR. Soon after premiering on April 8, 1931, The Bolt was banned; Lyonka’s “languid waltz”, its tango and jazz-inspired tunes, were all too ‘Western’ and a bit too much for the Soviet cultural elites to handle (1). Read More
Between having ramen as dinner for the third day in a row and spending all-nighters unblinkingly focused on the glowing screen of a laptop, many students tend to overlook the importance of maintaining physical and mental health in their everyday lives. An increasingly popular solution to this issue is the use of mobile apps designed to help them form healthy habits, whether with a friend suggesting a useful healthy recipe app or a Top Universities article inviting you to check out the “Best Health & Safety Apps for Students” (1). In the light of this development, for better or worse concerning personal and public health efforts, could the future bring about a new spin on an old saying with “An app a day keeps the doctor away”? Read More
All right, let’s say you’re an avid reader and love F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925). Or maybe Fitzgerald isn’t really your thing, but you simply can’t get enough of E. A. Poe’s short stories.
Now, how would you react if Jay Gatsby suddenly started walking down the streets of Yokohama and, or wait, let me slightly rephrase this. How would you react if Jay Gatsby suddenly started flying above the streets of Yokohama in Moby Dick with Herman Melville, E. A. Poe and Mark Twain aboard, while H.P. Lovecraft is wading somewhere in the Tsurumi river below them, after having transformed into a giant, humanoid octopus?
Well, these are all pretty mainstream events in Bungo Stray Dogs. Read More
Walking through the library during the exam period, simply searching for your own study spot, makes it quite clear what the opinion of most Groningen students on joining music and studying together is. Headphones and earphones are omnipresent in the study areas just as much as they are present at gyms; allowing everyone to immerse in their music of choice to help them perform the task at hand better. Read More
For many people, the start of a new year symbolizes an opportunity for new commitments, especially regarding self-improvement of not only the body, but also the mind. According to a recent Elliptical Reviews survey (3), the goal to read more books is among the top ten New Year’s resolutions, whether “more” means “more” compared to past reading habits or marking a newfound desire for intellectual growth. However, reflecting on the potential obstacles for reaching this goal, the time that could be spent reading often goes to other recreational activities: watching movies or TV, browsing the Internet or playing video games. While literature is not inherently superior to these types of entertainment in the sense of gaining new experiences and knowledge, it may seem like the newer media are replacing books in the stores, technologies and minds for many of the post-Internet generation. This begs the question: could the fate of digital era books truly be summarized as “out with the old, in with new”? Read More
Anyone who has ever read Sui Ishida’s popular dark fantasy manga series Tokyo Ghoul or watched at least one episode of its anime adaptation probably noticed that the series largely builds its plot around the theme of the so-called ‘(evil) double’ or ‘the Doppelgänger’. Read More
It is that time of the year again. Summer is coming to a close, and orange-tinted leaves are signalling that autumn is knocking at the door. The weather is gradually becoming frisky, and a new academic year has already begun in schools and universities around the globe.
It is also a time of the year when the halls of Hogwarts are once again filled with young witches and wizards eager to commence a new year at the famous British school of witchcraft and wizardry. Read More