…our two new editors. We are excited to introduce Francesca from Italy, who is joining Sixth Sense and Legs, and Sam from the UK, who is going to support Heart and Legs. Both have contributed to various issues as authors and we are happy to welcome them to our editorial board. The team is now complete and already eagerly working on the upcoming issue for April. But first, we want you to get to know the new faces at E&M.
E&M: Why did you want to become an editor for E&M?
Sam: Over the last two years, this publication has provided me with a great platform to write about topics close to my heart. Under the careful guidance of its fantastic team of editors, E&M has allowed me to develop my style and journalistic voice. Both of these things have been invaluable. For this reason, I am very keen to give something back and to work for the magazine editorially. In doing so, I hope to offer other, budding writers the same opportunities I had.
Fran: I’ve been writing for E&M for just over two years. Through this, I’ve had the chance to explore topics that are close to me. I believe the publication’s ethos is one of a kind and becoming an Editor is a chance for me to spread said ethos and shape its future in a time where Europe is having to re-shape itself.
E&M: What have you been doing before joining the editorial board?
Sam: Before joining the E&M team, I studied Spanish and Italian at UCL. Visiting new places and experiencing different ways of life is a huge part of being a languages student. I was lucky to spend half of my compulsory year abroad in Milan, Italy and half in Valencia, Spain. This period not only enriched my language skills, but also deepened my sense of Spanish and Italian culture.
After graduating, I spent a brief stint as a copywriter at Best Response Media, a digital marketing agency. Since then, I have enrolled on a National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) course, with News Associates in Wimbledon. On the course, I will acquire the necessary skills to embark on a career in journalism.
Fran: Prior to joining the editorial team I’ve been working in PR. I have being doing so since I graduated from UCL with a degree in Biomed back in 2015 (feels like a century!). I’ve been living in London for the last five years and naturally, I’m keen to develop my writing skills as communication is key in every industry I will ever be in.
E&M: Playing favourites! What is your favourite city, your favourite person and favourite food in Europe and why?
Sam: This is a tough one. But, if I must choose, my favourite European city is probably Valencia. I love Valencia because it boasts 320 sunny days a year. For a sun-worshipper like me, this is this is a big deal. Valencia, like much of Spain, hosts countless fiestas every year. Undoubtedly the most memorable and impressive is the Falles (or Fallas) of Valencia, where fire and pyrotechnics coalesce with striking effigies seen nowhere else on Earth. The festival is even listed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It’s tricky to single-out one individual as my favourite European. If pushed, I’d go for Manu Chao. Chao is a French-born musician/singer-songwriter with Spanish roots. He therefore represents a hybrid of European cultures. The result is a high-octane performer, masterful lyricist and true artist with unparalleled stage presence. I was fortunate to see Chao perform in Zadar, Croatia, a couple of years ago. I was blown away by his energy and ability to work the crowd. What’s more, the way he seamlessly combines both French and Spanish vocals in his songs is uncanny. For me, Manu Chao is an example of how two European identities can produce something brilliant.
Again, this isn’t easy. But I’d say my favourite European food is an Italian dish I tried in Milan. Pizzoccheri, a type of short tagliettelli, a flat ribbon pasta, are unique to a valley in the Lombardy region of Italy. This hearty comfort-food, ideal for winter months, is served with cabbage and potato, lightly dressed with a garlic and cheese sauce and fried in butter. Yum! The reason I enjoy this hearty fare so much is because it speaks to the Italian culinary mantra of l’eleganza è la semplicità (less is more); the best Italian is food is so simple, yet so tantalizingly delicious.
Fran: Oh, the best European city, without a shadow of a doubt, is Rome. Ah Roma, amore mio. My home until I was 18. Other favourites, include Berlin, but that’s a story for another time.
My favourite person while we speak can’t be anyone but Hadley Freeman, a Guardian columnist, who I genuinely think has shaped my thinking and developed the image I have of feminism more than anyone else. Her articles are clever, funny and empowering. Nothing beats her Weekend column. I look forward to it and share an immense love for her writing, with my mother, and have done so for the last five years or so.
Favourite food? Too hard to pick! But my death row meal would be parmigiana. So, I think that’s close enough. The layers of fried aubergine and mozzarella. I’m not religious but I reckon parmigiana tastes like heaven.
E&M: What does Europe mean to you?
Sam: For me, Europe is the gateway to new and exciting experiences. We are so privileged to have such an abundance and variation of cultures and identities right on our doorstep. For people living in other continents, even traveling within a single country is a huge task. We, on the other hand, can hop on a train and be in an utterly different place with a different language and outlook within a few hours. This concept excites and invigorates me. As Europeans, we should cherish the chance to exchange ideas and experience each other’s viewpoints. As Europeans, we are stronger together. (Perhaps you can infer my view on Brexit.)
Fran: Europe is hope. Much like the American dream I think there is a sort of European dream. At least one, that I dream of. And while Brexit is a much too discussed subject when it we’re talking about European matters. Despite its faults and complications, we should still be able to celebrate what Europe stands for; unification and freedom of movement.
E&M: The year 2017 was hard for Europe. What do you expect and wish for in 2018?
Sam: Yes, the last couple of years have been somewhat disatarious, especially from the standpoint of a pro-European Brit. However, I try to remain positive, and projects like E&M give me hope for a more collaborative and inclusive Europe going forward. I expect in 2018 we won’t see any significant movement on Brexit until the very last minute. The brinkmanship will continue until one side is eventually forced to give way. In terms of the migrant crisis, Merkel may face further backlash from her citizens, leading to a rise in the far-right rhetoric of the AFD. The reality is, as long as wars rage in distant lands, Europe, as a free and peaceful place, will bear the brunt in some way. Spain’s woes with Catalonia are ongoing, troubling and uncertain; all level-headed Europeans can do is hope for a democratic and pacific resolution.
With that in mind, I think (and hope), Europe will maintain a cool-head in 2018 and things will not, despite the doomsayers’ utterances, head for utter catastrophe.
Fran: To say 2017 was hard for Europe is an understatement. We’re having to deal with the awful bureaucratic consequences of Brexit, which, from what I read, sound pretty dire. It makes me sad to think 2018 will be dominated once again by Brexit talks and Europe will be on a standstill until terms are laid out for the vote that happened on that fateful 23rd June 2016.
Unfortunately, while I am hopeful for the year ahead I don’t think it’ll be might be much different for European progression. But we are getting there. What I do wish for is continued freedom of movement. That’s it, really.