Mental Health

Glitter as therapy: the women using burlesque to fight mental illness

Leanne Rice’s boyfriend attacked her in a West Country lane one night six years ago. They had been together for six months, and were already talking about marriage. He was going to join the army, and she would live on base with him once he’d finished his basic training.

However, she was unaware of his drinking problem.

“It was terrifying. I thought I was going to die,” she says.

The incident that night tipped her into a mental breakdown. She stopped eating and stopped going to work. She lost all confidence and her weight fell to seven stone. She became suicidal.

But two years later she was appearing in burlesque shows – first as Ruby Woo, later as Miss Ruby Skies – performing a comedy striptease to The Combine Harvester by The Wurzels.

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UK Politics

Video: Pro-Corbyn protestors demand Theresa May’s resignation

Hundreds of protestors gathered outside Downing Street to demand the resignation of Theresa May and oppose the deal between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party.

The event, organised by left-wing activist Owen Jones, followed the shock election result, which saw May lose her majority and cemented Jeremy Corbyn’s position at the head of the Labour Party.

Mr Jones said: “Theresa May is trying to cling on to power with an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party, the most extreme party in Parliament.

“We are not having the political wing of the 17th century running the country.”

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Sport

Bodybuilding’s two tribes: how social media changed fitness

Arnold Schwarzenegger won his first Mr Universe title 50 years ago at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre. Bodybuilding then was a niche affair – two years later, when Schwarzenegger won his third consecutive Mr Universe title, the Pathé newsreel covering the event called him simply ‘an Austrian’.

Half a century on, thousands attend bodybuilding and fitness events like Fitcon, which took place last weekend at London’s Olympia Exhibition Centre.

Bodybuilding has gone mainstream in the age of social media, and the stars of the sport can make thousands from just one Instagram post. But the new fitness devotees are not all like the supermen of 1967.

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UK News

London taxi drivers march against Uber

Black cab drivers staged a demonstration on Thursday to demand greater regulation for Uber, the popular car hire app.

They claimed that the Government was allowing the car hire app to drive the licensed taxi trade out of business. Some wanted legislation to make Uber subject to the same standards as taxis, while others demanded a public inquiry into the Government’s alleged support for Uber.

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UK Politics

A Tale Of Two Conferences – The Labour Party in Liverpool

Barely twenty-four hours after Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour’s leader, party general-secretary Iain McNicol – suspected by some Corbynites of attempting to rig the leadership election – took the stage to deliver his annual report to the party conference. Someone at the back of the hall shouted ‘Resign’.

It was an inauspicious start to a conference that was supposed to showcase a reunited Labour Party. On the platform in the main hall, speaker after speaker stressed the need for a united party. Veteran MP Paul Flynn said the past twelve months should be buried in a concrete tomb, never to be unearthed. Moderate MPs queued up to announce that they had no intention of leaving the party. Many used the words of the late Jo Cox – so tragically, brutally murdered in June – to sum up their theme: ‘We have more in common than that which divides us.’

Sitting in the conference hall, you could almost believe it.

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UK Politics

Comrades No More: The Labour Party split has already happened

The Labour Party is a deeply unpleasant place to be right now. Hostility between supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith is rampant and routinely turns into personal abuse. Take, for example, the Labour Party Forum, a long-standing unofficial Facebook discussion group of around 30,000 Labour members. In late July, the group’s administrators felt compelled to announce a clampdown on ‘abusive behaviour/language and personal insults’ in response to a spate of ‘smearing and personal attacks.’

And yet, the same behaviour continues largely unchecked.

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UK Politics

Owen Smith: The Anti-Corbyn

‘It’s a binary choice isn’t it – Owen or bust.’ These were the words of one Labour member when I asked him if he’d been persuaded by Owen Smith’s performance in Hammersmith on Tuesday night. It seems to be the view of many party members and supporters, although the binary is usually framed the other way – Jeremy Corbyn against ‘Not Jeremy Corbyn’, with Smith having no real identity of his own.

This characterisation is common to both the Anyone But Corbyn crowd and Corbyn’s own diehard supporters. The former think Corbyn is so hopeless that their priority is getting him out, not getting Smith in, while the latter claim Smith is an unprincipled Blairite sellout and everything Corbyn is not.

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