Between Shades of Grey

This book details the harrowing journey of deportees from the Baltic States during Stalin’s reign of terror in 1941. Beginning with the removal of the family from their home, tracking their journey from Kaunas, Lithuania, to the harsh landscapes of the Arctic-Circle they are left to perish from disease, frostbite and hunger by their merciless NKVD guards. The book centres on this particular family’s effort to survive, when all is lost. However linear and predictable this book could have been,apparently every effort is made to avoid this. Relationships between the oppressed and oppressors form then are shattered. Characters die with relentless regularity; the reader is never spared an inch of the devastating truth. No expense was spared in the research of this book, from the locking up of the author in an abandoned prison, to tirelessly tracking down relatives and friends of those who experienced the protagonist’s ordeal. This encourages a chillingly realistic edge, the writing style leaving the reader with merely a bleak picture of what is happening, leading to a situation that encourages empathy, for both sides of the futile struggle. For all its strengths Between Shades of Grey does have its weaknesses. The development of many of the characters’ backgrounds is left un-touched; writing style or not, this left me with a feeling that the family accounts on which it had been based had not received much thought about the way characters would actually interact with each other.  This makes for some un-convincing decisions by the characters, damaging the immersive feel the novel provides the reader with. These criticisms are relatively minor compared to the overwhelming emotional scale of the novel, it is not a read that will leave anyone unaffected.


Louis Smith Landor

Team Fortress 2: The classes

No PC gamer hasn’t heard of it! Team Fortress 2 is the massively popular cartoony-graphics FPS. To those of you who haven’t heard of the term FPS, FPS stands for First Person Shooter (-Game). Firstly, I am not here to talk about Team Fortress 1 or Classic. I’ve not played them as I am more interested in the sequel.


In Team Fortress 2 there are 9 classes: Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy (-Weapons Guy), Engineer, Medic, Sniper and Spy. The scout is all about speed and can sometimes overestimate himself. He quite often dons a bottle of BONK Atomic Punch! He wields a Scattergun which is somewhat like a shotgun and a plain old pistol! His melee weapon is a baseball bat as he is a Major League batter.


The Soldier is American-Born Eagle of the team. He is a bit different from a soldier you might imagine as he wields a rocket launcher- Yes, a rocket launcher- A shotgun and a spade. The Soldier is often seen as a stereotypical imagining of an American. It is thought that the Soldier might be a bit racist as he seems to think everyone on the team is American.



Pyro: TF2’s most unknown class. Very little is known about him…Or her. This person is always seen in a fireproof suit wielding a, shotgun and fire-axe. Nobody really wondered about the Pyro’s identity until in a map in TF2 a fireproof suit just like a Pyro’s was seen in a coat cabinet. That wasn’t the strange thing. The strange thing was above the Pyro’s fire suit was a pink purse. None of the TF2 team are female which makes this unusual. Perhaps the Pyro is a woman… We may never know. Also the Pyro could be mentally ill as seen in the Meet the Pyro Trailer. We got to see what the Pyro was seeing. It was freaky beyond imagination. The Pyro thinks he lives in a world called Pyroland which is a world of pink skies and green meadows where all the other classes are dressed as babies. During the trailer we see what is really happening in between the bits of Pyroland. In one part he was seen blowing bubbles into a scouts face. In real life he shot him in the face with a flare gun. Quite gory. The Pyro is definitely a deadly and unknown class.


The Demoman is perh a class you might not have seen ever: a black Scottish guy. Luckily a decent amount of information is known about the Demoman. He is definitely Scottish. He was abandoned at birth and raised by people who found him. When in school his bomb making skills got massively better. Just so you know the Demoman wields a grenade launcher, a sticky bomb launcher and a bottle which breaks when you hit an enemy. His parents came back for him saying it was a Demoman tradition to abandon their baby at birth to get better at bomb making. When a Demoman is seen with a sword, he is truly dangerous as all the classes are.


I am Heavy Weapons Guy…. And this…. Is my weapon.” The Heavy is a vicious class. This USSR born beast of a man is perhaps your or scariest nightmare. He may be a big and possibly fat Russian but he is DEADLY. The Heavy wields a Minigun, shotgun and his own fists for melee. Although don’t take the Minigun literally. It’s not mini. Not in the slightest. It’s probably the biggest gun in TF2. And the fastest firing. According to the heavy the Minigun fires 10,000 rounds a minute. That’s FAST. The bad thing about the Heavy is that he’s a bit overpowered. He may be the slowest moving class in TF2 but the Minigun can ruin you if you’re anywhere near it-Even as a scout. Because of this people often say people who only play the Heavy are unskilled. Perhaps they are, perhaps their not. Either way the Heavy is a force to be reckoned with.


The Engineer is a Texan…Well…Engineer! The Engineer possesses a PHD in engineering and he has a favourite equation. That equation is the equation for working out light angles and other light based things in the game. The Engineer wields a shotgun, pistol, a wrench, a construction PDA and a demolition PDA. With the PDA’s and his wrench the Engineer can create buildings such as sentry guns, dispensers, which heal you and give you ammo, and a teleporter. This makes the Engineer a great class for defence as you can defend a point with sentry guns and your own guns.



The Medic….Is nothing like a medic you will see in other FPS’s. This Medic is a mad scientist. He has a dove called Archimedes and h a healing gun (The Medigun) the Medigun is the only gun capable of healing other players. This makes a Medic an absolute essential for any competitive team. When played well Medics are almost always at the top of the leaderboard (for that game). The Medic also has a fast firing Syringe Gun and a saw…You know… the ones for amputating. The Syringe Gun is one of the fastest firing weapons in the game, however the aiming is rubbish. The needles have a very short drop-off range. By that I mean the bullets move down and off course very quickly. This makes it only good for point blank range. But combat isn’t what the medics good at. It’s healing!

If you love sniping from not-so-far distances,picking away from the enemy team you’ll love the sniper! The sniper is an Australian, as all the other classes are too. This Australian is most dangerous when at distance since he can kill almost any class in one headshot. He wields a sniper rifle, SMG(Sub-Machine Gun) and a kukri which is a bit like a machete. In the Sniper trailer we find out that the sniper is thought of as a “Crazed Gunman” and mental by his Dad for choosing to become a mercenary.


Last, but certainly not least: The Spy. We know even less about the Spy than the Pyro. All we know are two things. He’s from France… And he has a French accent. This class can be the most vicious and dangerous class but also the easiest class to kill. The stock (default) weapons are: A pistol, an Invisi-Watch, a Butterfly Knife, a Disguise Kit. The Invisi-Watch is a Spy’s best weapon especially with knives such as “Your Eternal Reward” which doesn’t allow the Disguise Kit to be used. It makes you completely invisible to both enemy and friend. There are different kinds of invisibility such as Feign Death and Motion Sensitive invisibility. The Disguise Kit allows you to perfectly disguise into another enemy. They cannot tell you’re a Spy unless your attacked or walked into- You can walk into friends but not into the other team. Without a Knife a Spy wouldn’t be useful at all. Knives-are -essential. There is only one weapon in the game that can guarantee kills. That is… The Knife! A Spy’s motto is “Backstab”- Ok, not really but every Spy has to. With the combination of pistol, for close range combat, the Disguise Kit, for ease of stealth, the Invisi-Watch, Which allows total stealth and the Butterfly Knife, for a quick kill, the Spy makes for a very sneaky class in the hands of pros.

That was all your TF2 classes. Now get out there, Soldier, and enjoy them!


Sushi restaurants are becoming more and more common from small restaurants such as “Japan Sushi” to large franchises such as Wasabi. If you’ve ever eaten Sushi (This is not what this review is about) I’m sure you may have thought before “There must be more to Japanese food than Sushi.” Well, there is! Yo!Sushi is a Japanese style ( Not actually owned by anyone Japanese but its authentic) Sushi AND noodle bar that also serves hot dishes. This is where Yo!Sushi comes into its own. How many Japanese restaurants have you seen that serve something other than sushi and noodles? For me that’s Yo!Sushi.

Contrary to the name it also serves authentic Japanese dishes such as Miso soup, Yakisoba dishes and even a Japanese curry called Katsu. I usually order a Prawn Yakisoba and sometimes Miso Tempura which are shrimps deep fried in miso. The menu may seem small but actually offers a range of foods for you to try.


My first time trying Yo!Sushi was quite amazing. I was at Westfield Stratford and was looking for somewhere new to eat. I saw a couple of places. An Indian food stand and a Chinese food stand. The Chinese one (Lotus Leaf) was quite tempting since I lo to make and eat oriental foods but then I saw Yo!Sushi. Japanese cuisine, I thought! That’s something I’ve not tried before! A lot of Japanese restaurants have a Kaiten system which is where food is put on a conveyor belt around the store. You take whatever interests you and when you’re finished the plates, which are colour-coded depending on price, are counted up. I had only seen this system in a restaurant in Heathrow though I don’t remember the name (EDIT: It was Yo!Sushi) . I was really keen to properly see this conveyor belt system. But that wasn’t the most interesting thing. The amount of choice I had left me spoilt for choice. I chose a Prawn Yakisoba. It was also a really interesting cultural experience since there were a lot of Japanese people eating there. I learnt how to use chopsticks from a really nice member of staff and spent a good two hours there even though I only ate one plate. This got me hooked- In a good way. From then on I didn’t eat from a fast food chainfor a very long time. It’s that good!

Nowadays whenever I go to Westfield and I want to eat, I choose Yo!Sushi because it’s that good! I’m always keen to try new dishes there when I can and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. If you do want to try Yo!Sushi there are two branches I recommend.




Steam can be hard to definitely define. It means different things to different people. For the social person it can be a program to talk with and meet fellow gamers. For the mobile person it can be the perfect to sync all your games in one place (Cloud Sync). For the cheap person it can be the perfect place to find Free To Play (FTP) games. You could say that Steam is a technological multi-tool for the average gamer.

Steam is home to some of the most popular games on the internet such as Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and Garry’s Mod. Funnily enough most of the most popular games are by Valve which made Steam. Steam’s functionality, luckily, extends to more than just running these games. Should you need to be elsewhere on a different computer Steam can sync the progress of the game you are playing (If it’s single player) or your stats and other things (If it’s multiplayer). So let’s use an example: Let’s say I’m playing Team Fortress 2 and I’m getting a new computer. That new computer won’t have Steam preinstalled on it but at least your synced so you don’t have to start again or lose your items.

Speaking of items another feature on Steam really encourages player trading. It’s called the Community Market. It’s somewhat like a market you might find in Dalston: Cheap prices except it doesn’t smell like a fishmongers or butchers-And no bad quality or fake products. Instead of buying items from the company that made the game you can buy from other players (With real money online). Again, let’s put this into context: “I really need a Soda Popper to complete my set! If only it wasn’t so expensive in the Mann Co.”(Team Fortress 2’s virtual weapons store) Well, with the Community store instead of paying 59p-£5.60 in the Mann co. you can instead pay 1p- 30p (Some of the items are extremely cheap).

Another fundamental feature to Steam is the social aspect of it. On steam you can add people as friends. You also have a profile page which is similar to Facebook but it’s not this part of Steam that is very useful, it’s the voice calls. Those are the most essential things to any Steam gamer. There’s a very common gaming proverb (Maybe not so common- I thought it up) and that is: A “Help me!” by voice is better than a “Help me” by typing it. That really is true especially since others will almost never get the message on time.

This isn’t really a feature but definitely the best thing about steam are the steam sales. There are different kinds of sales mainly depending on the time of year such as the summer sale and the winter sale. There are also sales usually on certain events that might be happening. In any of the steam sales games are usually discounted by at least 50%, 75% and even 90%. Newer games might be discounted by 20%. Personally I’ve bought a lot of games during a steam sale. The game Garry’s Mod on a normal day would be around £5.99 but during a steam sale the price was reduced by 75% which made the game £2.99. I also bought the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. On a normal day it would be £15.99 however I bought it during the Christmas sale! It was reduced by 50% and made the game £7.99. Ah lovely savings! Luckily if you miss a sale, Steam does sales very often! So, even if you’re not really a serious gamer it’s still worth getting steam as its social aspect makes this a gaming multitool for all gamers, whether you’re a hardcore or a mobile type of person- Any type of gamer actually!

Divergent: the film.

On Sharp, we’ve already reviewed the book Divergent…twice.  And maybe that’s a fitting to tribute to how amazing the book was.  And so it was no surprise when the motion picture came out.  But, despite the massive hype and thousands of fans eagerly awaiting the release date, the film was a flop.

One of the reasons that I really disliked the film was the way the director portrayed the book in which was completely different to the way that I (and, from raging reviews on other sites, I assume many others) imagined the book. The most striking example of this was the genre of this was the genre of the film. The book is a mix of adventure, action and romance but to me the film appeared to be a poorly made sci-fi film. At the beginning of the film, the view is informed that the events are taking place in Chicago, some way off into the future. However, in the books, this information is a key plot twist which is only revealed midway to the final book in the best selling trilogy. The film focuses far more attention on the laser guns, and high tech violence than on (which I think is more important) ever changing relationships of the main characters. I felt that Roth very cleverly showed how friendship groups evolve and change in reaction to events happening on a larger, political scale. The film was very crude in this respect, and even entirely omitted a character that was a catalyst for a big argument between the initiates.

I think that the result of this was that the film was ultimately…boring. It is not often I go to the cinema and find myself checking my watch, or wondering how Arsenal are doing. Yet because the director had mangled the genre and plot of the story, the film became unbelievable and fantastical. It was predictable and I felt no sympathy for the characters that had had me biting my nails for in the books.
Overall, I really, really did not enjoy the film Divergent due to its complete deviance from the book. Possibly the title: “Tris Prior: Inspired by Divergent.”, would be a more accurate title.
Matteo Fernandes

An Interview With Sinner’s Avenue

So, here at Sharp Magazine we love people who are fresh and new; we also love getting interviews with them before they become big so we can say, “We got there first!”

Having written the very first (and currently only other) interview on the blog and being editor in chief this year, I feel the need to write the next one about a band that is making their way on the rock scene, Sinner’s Avenue (although you may have guessed that from the title).

If you have never heard of Sinner’s Avenue, I don’t blame you, I honestly only heard about them because I happened to meet the drummer and the bassist at a concert, so I thought it’d be worth while checking out the band. I must admit, I never fell in love with a band so quickly. Their music is brilliantly written and I’ve heard they perform amazing live shows (although I’ve never been able to attend one).

Sinner’s Avenue is made up of: Stacey Wright, vocals; Liam Wright, guitar; Dan Trower, bass; Jamie Compton, drums. They are a female fronted hard rock band based in Northamptonshire and they are absolutely awesome (slightly biased, but still fact).

Without further ado, here is the interview:

Sharp: Why did you decide to start the band?

Stacey: We missed playing live and we all weren’t in bands so we decided to try and start this one.

Liam: …We just hadn’t played live in a long time and we missed it.


Sharp:  Was there any specific reason that you all formed?

Dan: [Stacey, Liam and I] were originally in a band before and split up due to unforeseen circumstances… A year or so passed and we decided to get back together with the addition to Jamie on drums as we missed playing live and getting sweaty!

Jamie: [We love] playing live and writing music, it’s a great experience especially playing with all the other awesome bands.


Sharp: What do you see for the future of the band?

Stacey: Fame and fortune!

Jamie: Later this year we hope to write the rest of our album and go into the studio to record.


Sharp: What previous bands have you been with and how have they helped you transform as a musician?

Stacey: A few cover bands. Made me realise I want to write my own music.

Dan: I have been in four bands before Sinner’s Avenue, the most recent was Beaudica [with Stacey and Liam], and I’d say that helped me a lot more than the other bands as I’ve learned more from the mistakes that were made and gave me more confidence and the stage presence I have today.


Sharp: Who are your individual inspirations as well as people you look up to as a band?

Liam: Personally, Slash, Metallica and most guitarists of that era.

Dan: My inspirations are probably Green Day as they’re the first band I listened to, from there my music got heavier and heavier!


Sharp: What is your favourite thing about making music?

Liam: Seeing the song fully finished and then seeing the reaction from the crowd

Dan: The best thing about making music is playing it live; going from a riff idea in a sweaty room to bringing it all together in a live environment.



Sharp: What are the troubles you face as up and coming artists?

Jamie: The music industry these days is pretty crap. It is very hard to make it as there is such a saturation of bands in the music scene.

Liam:  Finding venues that will take a chance on local bands by putting them on a better day/time.


Sharp: Do you prefer performing or recording in the studio and why?

Stacey: Performing as it’s more raw

Jamie: I really enjoyed recording, it was great fun sitting around doing nothing after I had completed all my parts the first day.


Sharp: What advice would you give to people wanting to start a band?

Stacey: Make sure you really want to do it. It’s a lot of work.

Liam: Have fun and make music you like.

Dan: If I could give any advice it’ll be go see as many bands as you can so you can learn from them…their stage presence, interaction with the crowd etc…and also practice practice practice! And practice like you’re playing a show!

Jamie: Keep practicing. Find people who have similar music tastes and people you know you can get on with.


Sharp: Is there anything else you would like to say?

Stacey: Music is awesome. If you want to do it then definitely pursue it.

Liam: I’m too cool.

Dan: I think that’s all

Jamie: We rival the spice girls in talent


And that is all for the interview. If you want to check out Sinner’s Avenue check out their media pages:




Louise Barco-Morgan

The Stables Market, Camden (The Photos)

The Stables Market, Camden

When most people think of home, they think of their blood relations (otherwise called their family), they think of the house that they grew up in, or the house they live in now. When I think of home I think of The Stables Market in Camden. Call me crazy, but to me, that’s where I feel most at home and where I feel my true family are. This is one of the many reasons I have decided to review it today. So, before I start, I must warn you that my opinions are far more than biased, but wouldn’t you be if you were talking about something so near and dear to you?

The Stables is a place which is great for any age group. Whenever I’m there I always see a range of ages from the developing fetus to the elderly. Although the majority of people are between the ages of 16-26 every age group can find something they love. I was introduced to The Stables by my dad when I was 13 and it’s been three years and I haven’t stopped going. He himself has been a long time market goer, having known this market since he was a young adult in the seventies to the present day (the market has changed quite a bit since then). This shows that not only is the market great for different age groups, it is also a great place to bring your family.

Speaking of family, The Stable presents a very friendly atmosphere, almost like a (slightly dysfunctional) family. Although not all the people who go to the market are nice, and you’d be better off not knowing some of the traders, the majority of the people there are incredibly lovely and welcoming (not to mention, some of them let me take photos for this article when a lot of the stores have a no photo policy). Having worked in two different stores in the market, I know that most of the market goers you will meet are more than happy to talk and are very friendly, even if you don’t talk to them when you are a fellow shopper. As both a trader and a buyer I have made a good connection with a lot of the other traders in the market and I’d have to say that a lot of them are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Now, a lot of them have become like my family, but even before then, I thought that they were absolutely amazing people. Yes they aren’t always as friendly as they can be but they work so hard for so long for so many consecutive days and it just fascinates me that they can still put a smile on their beautiful faces just to try and make their customers happy. I never had a full time job in the market (because of school) and some days I found it difficult to stay smiling for even a quarter of my working day. The majority of them truly are amazing, crazy, fun-loving people and they create a great market atmosphere.

There is also a huge range of people for you to meet, from  punks, to goths, to preps, to people who care a bit to much about their “swag” and everyone else. There is possibly a shop for everyone to go to and even places where you can buy things that you arguably have no use for.

I honestly don’t know what else to say other than over the three years that I have been going to this market it has taken a special place in my heart. I have made so many friends here and I feel as if through this I have potentially invited you to go and visit a little piece of my soul. If you do go I hope you have a similarly happy experience to what I have had.


Louise Barco-Morgan

(For photos, please check out our photography section)

Cannibal Kids

Recently, my English class have been learning about poetry. During the lesson we were studying different poets and their work, including Kate Tempest; a young poet and spoken word artist.  The example we studied was Cannibal Kids.

The poem really had an affect on me as it implied that kids are following gangs and behaving poorly, which she thinks is wrong. She used poetic techniques such as alliteration (i.e. when she writes “BANG BANG”) and personification to grip the reader.

Another thing that gripped me was the enthusiasm and effort Tempest put into her performance.  This clearly was an important topic for her and therefore made me feel that it should be an important topic for me.  Her facial expression and hand gestures were big which added to the overall effect her performance had on me.

I thought that this was an inspirational poem and I would recommend it to all.


Sam Parker

Serie A; a dying league?

With Juventus set to win a third successive scudeto, it looks like the Serie A will become a boring league with only 1 team contesting for the top spot.

The main problem for the Serie A is the low attendance. The lowest ever attendance ever recorded in the premier league in the last 10 years is 16,500. That was at Loftus road, the home of Queens Park Rangers, considering that the top capacity is 18,000 it’s not that bad. Now compare this to Parma’s shocking 450. Yes, 450. I have not forgotten to add in the zeroes. And guess what there capacity is 25,250. There are only four teams that get a capacity that can match those in the La Liga and the Premier League. These teams are, not surprisingly, the top four. Juventus, Roma, Napoli and Fiorentina. Since Juventus have got their new stadium they have been drawing in crowds of nearly 50,000. I have the pleasure of going to the Juventus Stadium and the atmosphere is absolutely scintillating. Roma have got the biggest stadium in the Serie A. Holding 63,000 it was the Olympic Stadia of 1960. Since rebranding Napoli are bringing in much bigger crowds. Personally I don’t like this stadium. The crowd is too far away from the pitch so the atmosphere is muted. However Fiorentina’s stadium has one of the best atmospheres in Europe considering that is has a maximum capacity of 42,000. The stadio Artemio Franchi has seen better days but you have to love the vintage look it emits.

However, I think that the Serie A is a great league that may see some billionaires investing in clubs over the next few years. The rise of this league could see Italy’s national team coming a major force in international football.


Luca Webster