Cassandra Lau | Editor
Apologies for the suspense as The Founder, The Orbital and our judges have had to make some tough decisions. All pieces submitted were a pleasure to read, and watch. We have had submissions ranging from the Physics Department to the Psychology Department which is incredible! It just goes to show that creativity exists and stretches across every corner of Royal Holloway, and I hope that this competition can continue in the following year with greater structure, and efficiency.
A huge thank you to Dr. Prue Bussey-Chamberlain, and Dr. Doug Cowie from the English Department, and Professor Dan Rebellato from the Drama, Theatre & Dance Department for their time, expertise and feedback.
The District Line, Anon. | Third Year English Literature
This is an effective mystery-thriller that builds from the banality of the morning commute and snapshots of apparently random commuters to an intricate murder story, the story told through the cascade and juxtaposition of personal subjective experiences.
Delay No More, Anon. | Third Year English & American Literature
‘Delay no more’ is a phonetic translation of a commonly used Cantonese profanity — De (fuck) lay (your) no more (mother) — yet in English, it is a call for action. In vernacular, ‘no more’ (mother) is referred to China, Hong Kong’s motherland, and ‘no do’ (father) as the Chinese government. Both terms are only used amongst Hong Kong locals, and seen as disrespectful ways of addressing parents. The phrase is evidence of post-colonial growth as the local expression of frustration metamorphoses into a paradoxical symbol of Hong Kong’s wit and anger. As obscene as the phrase translates to, it is something that truly belongs to the Hong Kong people. The city knows no literature of its own, but through facetious remarks, there is something unique documented: the city’s post-colonial transformation, the people’s frustration and plead for change and action.
I came up with this poem on a taxi ride. In Hong Kong taxi drivers are infamous for three things: their terrible driving, obscene language, and tendency to complain about everything. Obviously, ‘delay no more’ was slipped into his monologue a couple of times. He complained about living at a bad time, sandwiched between his Chinese born parents, and British born children, the many “ungrateful” students that commit suicide “not knowing that some have to drive taxis” like himself, the protests that don’t amount to anything but increased traffic, and laughed at the thought of driving someone across the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge being the norm some day.
This poem is inventive, precise, playful, and angry, all of which does real justice to the political subject matter. The ostinato of ‘Delay no more’ works well, and the footnotes interact nicely with the main body of the text.
Fairies Never Die, Anon. | First Year Drama & Theatre Studies
“There’s a good moment of self-consciousness when the poem breaks the tone of the rhyme with ‘who doesn’t love a knife?’ and the line breaks aroundthe appearance of the fairy, especially with light, work nicely. The fairy’s name emerges through nice use of allegory.”
i think stars taste like tinfoil, Hannah Bean | Second Year English & Creative Writing
‘i think stars taste like tinfoil‘ could be a poem about infertility, or it could be a poem about body dysmorphia, or it could be a poem about really wanting to eat stars.
This is a strong lyric poem that takes us from an intense, speculative description of stars’ taste into something more personal and regretful through its original use of imagery and good use of line breaks. The judges particularly liked the use of “werewolf” as a verb.
Service Station, Leila Dickinson | Second Year English & Creative Writing
“This is an intriguing and excellent piece. The conditional tense jars interestingly and then we realise this is about an ordinary relationship that is over and the final image suggests some brutal loss. It works through understatement and sharp, specific imagery.”
Doctor’s Note, Graciela Mae Chico | Second Year Film, Television, and Production
The mundanity of the opening of the film contrasts well with the surprising violence that comes later. There’s a good evenness of tone that does not overdo the drama and the piece is bleakly funny.
Chromatic Crisis, Sophie Hinteregger | Second Year Film, Television, and Production
“This film creates a strong sense of subjective experience, with some genuinely unsettling images, bold use of colour and good use of sound to contribute to the atomosphere. There is a strong sense of storytelling and the ‘stay up all night’ radio challenge is a good driver for the nightmare. All the shots seemed well composed and there are also some subtle things happening with focus.”