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You’ve got to admire their front! Winners revealed for the 2021 magazine cover prize

A stylish magazine which would shine on the nation’s newsstands is the winner of the 2021 cover prize for Journalism students at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Escape is an elegant health and lifestyle mag with a design to grace any coffee table. The one-off publication, which was created by DMU students Izzi Rix, Matthew Childs and Abbie Wilkinson as part of the final year of their Journalism degree, beat off strong challenges by rival titles to claim the annual award.

The prize was judged this year by Joe Brewin, deputy editor of the biggest football magazine in the world, FourFourTwo, who said he was “genuinely really impressed” with the standard of the magazines on the shortlist.

But it was Escape, with its serene cover image created by up-and-coming young illustrator Liv Phillips, that really caught his eye. He said: “I immediately know what I’m getting with it: the ‘health, style, culture, society’ line leaves you with no doubt about the kind of stories you’re going to be reading about, and they’ve managed to cleverly cram some 14 cover lines on there without it looking cramped.

“Chances are, anyone could pick that up off the shelf and be drawn to at least one story they’d be interested in reading. So it’s functional. But then there’s the newsstand appeal: each one of the mags up for judging did a good job of including a striking image on there (particularly MMXX, which I enjoyed), but I liked the cleanliness of Escape as a full package – it’d definitely stand out in a sea of other titles at Smiths, for example, which is so important.”

Escape editor Izzi said: “I’m delighted Escape won the cover prize! We really thought about every aspect of what makes a great cover and essentially designed what we would love to see on a newsstand. Liv created an illustration that perfectly encapsulates the magazine’s essence and we can’t thank her enough. It’s incredibly rewarding to have our time and effort acknowledged. Thank you!” 

The story on the announcement of the shortlist has become the best-read article in the history of Leicestershire Press. A just-for-fun poll asking readers to vote for their own favourite cover attracted more than 20,000 votes. Rivo magazine, created by Isatou Ndure, Rhys Bailey, Victoria Kingsley and Omar Qavi, was the clear victor there, with Horizon in second place.

Students on both the single- and joint-honours Journalism programme at DMU create magazines and websites as part of their final year studies. DMU Journalism graduates have gone on to work on magazine titles including Mixmag and Clash.

The team behind Escape will share the £200 prize.

De Montfort Students’ Union hosts Valentine’s day drag extravaganza

By Adam Rear 

As part of the DMU Pride week, the De Montfort Students’ Union are hosting a drag Valentine’s extravaganza.

This Valentine’s Day (FEB14) students can look forward to live performances from various UK drag queens.

The event starts at 7pm and finish at 11pm, and will take place at the Campus Centre, Function Room 1.

DMU Alumni, Reign, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK superstar, Vinegar Strokes, will fill the night with lip syncing, burlesque and stand-up comedy.

For those interested in attending the event, complete the booking form found here: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/events/booking-forms/2019/dsu-presents-heart-strings.aspx.

A barrel of laughs

By Charlie Bourne

People always need a good laugh. For 25 years, the Leicester Comedy Festival has provided much more than that. To learn more about what goes on away from the stage spotlight, Charlie Bourne spoke to Founder and Director Geoff Rowe.

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Geoff Rowe squaring off with Harry Hill before their Q+A interview

From its humble beginnings starting out as a university project, the festival has evolved into a platform for aspiring comedians to be heard, a multi-million-pound boost to the city’s economy and one of Leicester’s biggest entertainment attractions.

This year’s festival held big names in honour of its 25th birthday, such as recent ‘I’m a Celebrity’ contestant Shappi Khorsandi, Sara Pascoe, Harry Hill and internet sensation Jonathon Pie.

Attracting household performers is essential for the festival, and takes a combined effort by venues, promoters and the festival itself to get right.

Geoff said: “A lot of people think as a central organisation we book all the shows and do all the promotion.

“But I think one of the great things about the festival is we don’t directly promote most of the events.

“We work really collaboratively with all of our venues like The Curve, De Montfort Hall and Loughborough town hall that are more likely to attract big names.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with them to say okay well, Katherine Ryan is touring a show could you try and get her in the festival.

“The other way we do it is through what we call our special events so the Q&A with Harry Hill and Sara Pascoe we did this year, the Gala Preview show we did in January.

“They are our promotions and we produce them directly, so we work to get headline acts to come to the festival every year.”

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Geoff pictured interviewing Sara Pascoe

While the big crowds are often drawn to the headline acts, in the past, the festival has offered more intimate viewings where comics share new material that has often never been heard elsewhere.

“Some acts do us favours almost by trying out new material in smaller venues.

“Sarah Millican has come and tried out new shows in venues that hold just 80 people and that creates and different kind of buzz and excitement.

“These things happen because we’ve run the festival for such a long time and now we have direct relationships with comedians, agencies and managers that help make it what is today.”

However, an immense part of the festival is dedicated to the next generation of comics just waiting for their chance to burst into the competitive comedy industry and with prestigious awards up for grabs, a comedian’s value can quickly rise.

Geoff said: “We’ve had numerous examples over the years of new comedians that have come and won some of our competitions like the Leicester Mercury comedian of the year for example

“They’ve gone on to become hugely successful and famous because people pay attention to those kind of things.”

Jason Manford, Romesh Ranganathan, Johnny Vegas and Josh Widdicombe are just a few of the past winners to the Leicester Mercury’s star-rising award, and this year’s winner Jack Gleadow was also a hit.

“Jack, I think is absolutely fabulous, I really enjoyed seeing him, he was absolutely brilliant.” Geoff said.

With that said, it’s the festival’s task to create a supportive atmosphere for them to thrive in.

“This year we did a new project called circuit breakers. Where we bought six new comedians to the festival and looked after them. We gave them hotels, covered their transport, gave them meals and introduced them to new people.

“That was a very supportive thing we did and I think the Leicester Comedy festival is a very supportive place for emerging comedians to come. When you go somewhere like Edinburgh, you’re often performing to industry people or others also waiting to perform in the same venue as you.

“I think with Leicester, generally speaking, your performing to members of the public who have decided to take a chance in some instances to see new and emerging comedians. In some respects, they get more genuine feedback from the audience as they want to be there.”

“So I think for comedians starting out it’s a good entry point too the comedy industry.”

If you thought the comedy festival was just all about stand up, you couldn’t be more wrong.

With outdoor comedy events like Dead Leicester, the quirky tours and the secret tours. As well as other events like the Ultimate Comedy Championships, there is a wide range of events running over the three-week period that everyone will enjoy.

“There is a big diversity of acts that help spread the festival further than it might do.

“This year we did an event in Leicester cathedral which attracted around 300 people who probably wouldn’t go to a stand up gig in a bar in town so it’s all about getting different sorts of people to come and enjoy the festival.” Geoff said.

Not long after the annual festival finished, dates for next year have already been set but before that commences on 6th February, there is still a lot to be done to ensure the festival returns for another year.

Geoff said: “The main priority is to keep it going, I want to keep the momentum we’ve gathered going, there are comedians that I would love to come to the festival and I wont give up on that.

“It’s important to get a good mix of events, to get big names in and find new talent, but the important thing right now is to keep it going.”

 

LIVE BLOG: #onedayinprague

16.57: SIGHTS FROM ALONG THE VLTAVA RIVER

 

15.30: THE CULTURAL PRAGUE – BIO OKO CINEMA

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Beach loungers instead of seats, aperol spritz instead of Coke and a film programme you will not find elsewhere – Zofia Filipowicz reviews one of the Prague’s quirkiest independent cinemas, Bio Oko. Read more here.

15.07 OLD TOWN SQUARE

It’s easy to see why people are drawn to Old Town Square. Famously known as the hottest tourist spot of Prague, it’s filled with beautiful architecture, unique buskers and bountiful stalls of food and drink.

15.04: REVIEW: CHARLES UNIVERSITY EXHIBITION

Take a look inside the exhibition of Charles University – the University DMU partnered with on their trip to Prague.

Review: Charles University Exhibition

14.53: THE BEER MUSEUM

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14.46: GETTING AROUND PRAGUE

14.15: A TASTE OF CZECH CUBISM

Just discovered a beautiful exhibition of Czech cubism at the House of the Black Madonna. In case you feel a strong, sudden desire to admire intricate, geometrical china cups, some triangular armchairs and other various applied art pieces, you know where to go !

13:43: PREPARE TO BE MEZMORISED mesmerized

It is so fascinating to watch embroidery here in Prague. You can find numerous shops around Old Town and they are definitely worth a visit! Personalised products from the shops are not too pricey either and are a lovely gift idea to take home with you.

 

 

13.52: TRDELNIK

You’ll see it everywhere- Czech’s most popular dessert can be found on Prague’s every corner. The ‘chimney cake’ will make your mouth water the moment you smell it. It’s definitely worth the hype though.

 

13.45: SOMETIMES YOU SHOULD JUST STAY AWAY…

Even on a rainy day like this, Prague is constantly buzzing with buskers, comedians and street performers. I wouldn’t get any closer to that one though. Not even if he offered me an umbrella.

 

WELSH, IRISH AND ITALIAN BATTALION INVADE

 

 

13.41  PRAGUE AFTER DARK

From the jovial sound of excited tourists to the smell of sweet Czech delicacies there is no denying the calming influence Prague’s nightlife has to offer. Buildings begin to exude a charming effect, street performers fill the streets with lively performances and the hustle and bustle of a busy city life is traded for a serene and enchanting atmosphere.

13.20 MY TOP SIX: PRAGUE’S UNDISCOVERED STREET ART

Mural of Bohumil Hrabal which can be found on the right hand exit of Palmovka metro station (yellow line B).

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“Choose to be happy” by Pasta Oner can be located a stones away from Dejvicka metro station (green line A).

These colourful eccentric pieces can be found on the door of the Cross Club.

 

 

12.59 BEATLEMANIA IN PRAGUE

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Whether it’s the John Lennon Wall, or the in-promptu performance outside the Staromestska shopping centre, it’s clear that Prague are Beatles-mad. Hearing a variety of tracks throughout the two weeks, covered by a variety of acts, on a variety of instruments (including glasses), Prague seem to be taking the fabulous-foresome as their own, and with such good performances, that’s alright with us. (Mollie Mansfield)

 13.01: NAMESTI REPUBLIKY: MARKET SELLING FOOD AND GOODS

It may be dull here in Prague but the market is lively today – selling fresh produce, snacks, hot food and homemade materials.

12.44: VARIABLE WEATHER IN PRAGUE

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12.06 REVIEW: THE BEST CZECH BEER AVAILABLE IN PRAGUE

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Here is a review of some of the best Czech Beer I have been fortunate enough to taste during my ventures around Prague, they include my visit to be Prague Beer Museum as well as other stops along the way.

Review: The Best Czech beer available in Prague

12.02: POTATO ON A STICK; A LOCAL FAVOURITE

12.00: THE BEST VIEWS IN PRAGUE

There are hidden gems around every corner in Prague. Vrtbovská gardens offer some of the best panoramic views of the city (especially if the weather is THIS glorious), minus the crowds of tourists.

11.46 A DAY AT PRAGUE ZOO

Despite zoos being a main attraction across the globe, Prague zoo is the fourth best zoo in the world – and that’s not just me saying that. Filled with animals from across the globe, and many an experience to be part of (including a very worryingly small vertical chair lift), it’s something that shouldn’t be missed in a visit to Prague. (Mollie Mansfield)

11.41: PRAGUE… ONE YEAR LATER

Prague… One Year Later

A personal view of how exploring out of the main tourist centre can change your opinion on a city.

11.30: CHARLES BRIDGE STILL PACKED EVEN ON RAINY DAYS


11.27: MUSICAL BUSKING SCENE IN PRAGUE

Here’s the proof that the only talent in Prague doesn’t derive from the stars but, in fact, can be found pretty much around every corner you turn.

Musical Busking Scene in Prague

11.25: BUBBLES FILL OLD TOWN SQUARE

The crowds of Prague aren’t the only thing bubbling this morning! Street entertainment seems to be a key part of Prague’s tourism, and with as many acts and performers as this, it’s something not to miss!

11.22: BUSKERS ENTERTAINING THE MORNING CROWDS

Mornings aren’t so bad when they consist of wandering through Old Town Square and listening to the street entertainment.

11.01: REVIEWING THE BEST PLACES FOR CAKE IN PRAGUE

Top five Prague cafes to satisfy your sweet tooth

Looking for something sweet? Check out what I think are the best places in Prague to indulge.

11.07: TAKING THE LOCAL TRAM INTO PRAGUE OLD TOWN


10.46: STARTING THE DAY OFF WITH A MILKSHAKE FROM MAMA’S BAKERY

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What better way to start a busy day of blogging off with than a vanilla milkshake from Mama’s bakery, which is short walk away from the Old Town Square!

 

10.43 Petřín Railway

Petřín Railway will take you all the way up to the Petřín hill which is overlooking breathtaking Prague. For only 24 CZK it is definitely worth waiting in the rather long queue and feast your mind over the outstanding views.

 

10.16: AWESOME RESTAURANTS OF PRAGUE #1

There are many awesome restaurants and bars in Prague but this one squeezed into a narrow garden next to a Franciscan Monastery with walls they go on for ever has got to be in the top five!

10:00 VIEW FROM THE TROJA ACCOMMODATION WHERE STUDENTS ARE STAYING

9.55: DOBRÝ DEN, PRAGUE!

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Hearing your alarm go off at 5 am may be a petrifying experience, but when in Prague, venturing out in the early morning hours means you can have the city to yourself for once; Charles bridge in all its glory, sleepy brides and grooms having their wedding pictures taken, the sound of only your footsteps all the way up to the Prague castle. The overwhelming beauty of these historic streets never sleeps, but tourists do – make the sacrifice and you shall not regret it!

9.50 JOHN LENNON WALL

One of Prague’s most popular tourists’ attraction is the John Lennon Wall. People from all over the world come to Velkopřevorské Náměstí at Malá Strana in Prague to admire the 36 years old memorial that not only is the tribute to John Lennon but also represents peace, love, freedom and is a powerful anti-communism symbol.

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 9.19: SUMMER INTERNSHIP WITH DMU GLOBAL

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Twenty six of DMU’s Single Honours and Joint Honours Journalism students are spending a fortnight in Prague with Charles University, one of the oldest in Europe. They are working on a number of stories for CU’s iForum website under the guidance of Ivana Herglova. Some of the students are pictured outside the modern reception area of one of CU’s many city centre buildings with Ivana and DMU trip leaders David Penman (far left) and John Dilley (far right). The trip is supported under the umbrella of DMU Global.

9.01: FIRST IMPRESSIONS MAKE A LASTING MARK

Prague is a city of stunning architecture and vibrant people and this picture of the Old Square sums it up in one shot. Check out Amanda Hemmings’ first impressions of the Czech Republic’s capital in her blog .

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