Thursday, 17 December 2009

Sophie Lancaster Article for Student Direct

Animated film shows last minutes of girl attacked in Manchester

A film depicting the murder of Sophie Lancaster, 20, was shown to a crowd of hundreds in Manchester last fortnight, in the hope of raising awareness of prejudice towards subcultures.

The two-minute-long animation, which shows Sophie and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, being kicked to death in a Lancashire park, was screened for the first time outside Manchester’s Urbis on what would have been Lancaster’s 23rd Birthday. The film was commissioned by make-up brand Illamasqua, and directed by the award winning French director Fursy Teyssier.

Lancaster and Maltby were attacked in August 2007, simply because of the way they looked. Both were ‘Goths’ and were approached by a gang of youths in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, before being kicked in the head, Lancaster suffering fatal injuries.

Maltby, a student in Manchester, went into a coma but came out of it two weeks later. During the trial, in which two teenage boys were found guilty of murder, the Judge said: “This was a terrible case which has shocked and outraged all who have heard about it. At least wild animals, when they hunt in packs, have a legitimate reason for so doing, to obtain food. You have none and your behaviour on that night degrades humanity itself.”

Sophie: Dark Angel brought in huge crowds, most of whom were Goths themselves. Despite it being freezing cold, the atmosphere was positive, with many of Lancaster’s friends and family present. After a speech from her mother, Sylvia Lancaster, the film was shown to a silent crowd. Most were moved to tears, as the animation shows Lancaster’s spirit breathing life into her boyfriend, an act of sacrifice for someone she loved.

James Reed, who had come to watch the film in support of its message said: “I think it’s something that kids definitely should watch, so that they understand that they should tolerate people that choose to be different.” He also describes his own experience of bullying; “Well, I’ve been called ‘mosher’ before and things like that. I do have some kids around where I live, and they don’t understand… some accept me, some don’t, but I choose not to give in to intimidation because this is who I am.”

Sophie: Dark Angel is now available to watch on youtube and will also be played during ad breaks on popular global music channel MTV. For more information about the work that Sylvia Lancaster is doing visit The S.o.p.h.i.e (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere) Foundation Website at

Featured in Student Direct: Mancunion 14/12/09

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Film Showing Goth Murder Screened in Manchester

A film showing the murder of Sophie Lancaster, 20, was screened in Manchester on Thursday, with the hope that it will increase awareness of prejudice towards subcultures.

Sophie and her boyfriend were attacked in a Lancashire Park in August 2007, simply because of they way they dressed. Rob, a student at Manchester, survived the attack, however the repeated kicks to the head proved fatal for Sophie.

To raise awareness of the intolerance and hatred that is suffered by subcultures, make-up brand Illamasqua commissioned a two minute long animation portraying the horrific attack, in collaboration with acclaimed film director Fursy Teyssier.

Sophie: Dark Angel was launched in Manchester on a big screen outside the Urbis on Thursday, what would have been Sophie's 23rd Birthday. I went down to the screening to get some reactions from the crowd.

To listen to some of the Vox Pops, which were used on KEY 103 FM click the below link.

Joy Division Drummer on Manchester's Music Scene

Stephen Morris led a debate last week on Manchester's Music Scene: Past, Present and Future.

The Joy Division and New Order drummer was amongst other key figures of the city's clubbing fame, including owner of Sankeys Ross MacKenzie and ex Hacienda DJ Graeme Park.

Fuse reporter Sehrah Hussain and I caught up with one of the guests, as well as Stephen himself, after the debate, which happened at the prestigious Museum of Science and Industry.

To hear the interviews for Fuse FM click the link below

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

National Rape Awareness Week Launched in Manchester

Greater Manchester Police launched Rape Awareness Week on Monday, with the aim to prevent sexual assault crimes over the Christmas period.

Students can often be at risk of sexual attacks, especially when making their way home after a night of heavy drinking. Police will be patrolling bars and clubs in popular student areas, including Fallowfield, in the coming weeks, as part of Operation Glaven.They want it to be made clear that they are not there to spoil student's fun, but to ensure their safety during this busy festive time of year.

I spoke exclusively to Detective Sergeant Sarah-Jane Speakman of the Metropolitan Division, and PC Mike Seddon, on the issue of rape awareness, ahead of the campaign launch on Monday. I also went out onto Oxford Road to speak to some students about their own safety on the streets at night. For more information click here.

To listen to the interviews and vox pops click the link below.

Student Masterchef Competition

A 'Student Masterchef' competition took place last week, as part of Manchester City Councils' 'Love Food Hate Waste' campaign.

The contestants were all students from across Manchester with no previous culinary experience. They were given typical leftovers which they then had to turn into delicious dishes.

The competition aimed to highlight the importance of food wastage, particularly that in student households, and the effects it has on the economy, and on the environment.

Fuse FM reporter Hattie Pearson and myself went down to Manchester Metropolitan's Culinary Arts building to oversee the competiton taking place (and to sample some of the creations...if we were lucky) but Hattie ended up taking on a much bigger task as one of the contestants failed to turn up....

To listen the report, including interviews with the contestants, judges and acclaimed Professor of Culinary Arts Ian Ainscough, click the link below.