“…so what sorta music you into?”


I love Spotify, it’s just fantastic, especially as a student given it’s half price. It allows me to browse a music collection that is pretty much infinite, as far as I’m concerned, share and discover playlists for every possible mood and save these offline, a great legal way to rapidly accrue a huge collection. However, and I don’t think this has quite hit me, at the end of the day, you still don’t own any of the music on there, and there’s a subtle difference in how I regard, say, Susie Suh’s album on a playlist and Underøath’s Define The Great Line album on my iTunes.

In a way, having all this music essentially at my fingertips has really opened up my tastes. I’m now more into dance and house than I’m willing to admit, I do enjoy the odd bit of hip hop and rap depending on what I’m doing, and as for the music I enjoyed hitherto, I’ve discovered a whole bunch of new bands that sound similar, which means I don’t have to keep deepening the grooves on my virtual records. However, I do find that it makes me really fickle with what I listen to.

Sit down.

Revise.

Wap on a pre made playlist.

ooh, this is great – !”  

add to playlist.

repeat.

It’s rare these days that I’ll take time to enjoy an album fully, for the sake of the album, to the detriment of my ability to appreciate it. It’s like nowadays it’s hard to be satisfied doing just one thing at a time, which is just weird! (he says, writing this one screen whilst reading endocrine systems and regulation on another..)

So when people ask me what my favourite bands are, it’s rare that they’ll be ones I’ve discovered in the last 8 years. Sure, I can tell you loads of artists whose stuff I’ve really enjoyed listening to recently, Rachel Yamagata, Ludovico Einaudi, Chelsea Moon & Uncle Daddy, City & Colour.. but for me, it comes down to two bands who I found, completely by accident on a dodgy website back in 2007 as I was searching up music to fill my 512mb Sony PSP (first generation, thank you) for the trip up to the Keswick Convention: Thrice and MeWithoutYou  (maybe, The Devil Wears Prada and Underøath too!).

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For a good while, I was really into scream (seriously!) and these guys are probably the best I’ve heard, in my opinion. Musically, they were great, lyrically, some of their songs are outstanding, and they showed really good dynamic, of which there is a dearth amongst commonplace heavy metal. I loved underøath because their music told stories and what they said meant something. As I said before, my music taste has changed somewhat since, but these guys will always have a place on my shelf. 
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As I was looking to download the discographies for the other two bands, I saw that they did tours with this small little band called MeWithoutYou, naturally, their discography was also acquired. For a while I didn’t really listen to them – the A–>B album had harsh lyrics, really disjointed and lacking flow; an odd mixture between shouting and singing (think La Dispute). In the car to Keswick, I was talking to my friend Sam and he mentioned them too, randomly, as telling stories through their songs, similar to a  guy called The Dear Hunter, who we were both really into at the time. 

It took a good while before I got these guys, they were just so weird! But I can say, today, I’m still finding new stuff out about them when I listen. Each song is a tale, and with each album they progressed and became more tuneful but still kept what was really at the core of the heavy narrative aspect. 

That, and their album art is absolutely fantastic! 

oh, what am I to think! Of what the writings of a thousand lifetimes could not explain, if all the forest trees were pens and all the oceans, ink.” 

albumtThrice, I’d say these are my favourite band. They are awesome, musically, lyrically, artistically. With lyrics that are easy to dismiss behind the overdrive and effects pedals but striking and provocative upon closer scrutiny; true beauty that really comes out when Dustin does acoustic stuff. Cheesy, I know, but I feel that I’ve grown up with this band – from their really, almost punk rock album Identity Crisis, to the melancholy choruses of The Alchemy Index Vols, we’ve been places! 

“Some talk of destiny, others of fate, but soon they’ll be saying goodbye.
But I won’t leave you high and dry. Because a ring don’t mean nothing
If you can’t haul the weight”

“All you big shots that swagger and stride with conceit, Did you devise how your frame would be formed?
If you’d be raised in a palace, or live out in the streets, Did you choose the place or the hour you’d be born?
Tell me what can you claim? Not a thing – not your name! Tell me if you can recall just one thing,
That’s not a gift in this life?”

If you’re out there looking for some cool new music, definitely check these guys out, above all, Thrice, if the other two are too heavy! YouTube them, iTunes them, one place you won’t find them is on any of my Spotify playlists!

B

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Open mic night

Our events week came to a spectacular close as we hosted an open mic night with a fantastic turnout from the whole student body. We had acts classical, modern, spoken and downright hilarious! I think the best part for me was the unexpected, for example, my friend Tom went up to play the harmonica, completely out of the blue, and had the whole crowd singing along. Then there was this student who no one knew – she just turned up, plugged in and absolutely blew the roof off with her incredible voice. What made the night is the fact that initially, we were all a little worried that we went a little too big, maybe stepped beyond our means in terms of the size of our society, given that other events were running on the same night, but by the end, I literally couldn’t have imagined any way that could have gone better! Here’s to the rest of the year UCLUCU!

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Mission week day 2

I was asked by the committee of our CU to head our lunch bar and talks today, which has been a whole new experience for me!

I’ve never really led anything totally on my own back, so it was pretty difficult having to think of everything, the execution of the day, catering, help, all that sort of stuff, but in the end it really paid off. We had loads of people there I’d never seen before, and the lecture on The God Delusion was very well executed! And I just loved how God worked through my stubbornness to invite certain flat mates to not only get them to come but have them wanting to come to more, amazing!

Really looking forward to getting more people thinking about bigger questions in life!

In other news, running on zero sleep, having to cycle down to the supermarket to get fresh bread for the sandwiches that we had to make at 8am in the morning sends one a little crazy, I achieved my life long dream to become the Cyndaquil of French bread; I wonder how many times I’ll have ended up on the internet following my commute with all these on my back…

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“hey, have you heard of this new app…”

Now I don’t know about you, but this situation is one I find myself in quite frequently. Innocent though it seems, it’s actually quite a jarring question, you see, this innocent asking is challenging a very strongly rooted paradigm that is my phone ecosystem.

So far, I’ve lived in contentment with my current provision of apps, I have apps for travel, ones for music, others for my down time or when I’m commuting, fitness apps, photography apps, and even the odd red herring such as the Sleep Cycle app.

We then go through the initial phase of brushing it off as superfluous, despite their pleas that it will “literally change your life”, after long and hard considerations as to the price of the app, the design of the app, whether you then have to buy more upgrades once downloaded and if it fits in to a category or whether you’ll have to make a whole new one (another can of worms involving re-jigging your entire home screen), you reluctantly concede and download the app. Now comes the phase of intense euphoria as you realise, yes, this is actually a fantastic app, proceeding to thank your friend for their recommendation, followed by the harrowing realisation that you may never perform a single productive task for the foreseeable future. 

..so yeah guys, have you heard of QuizUp?

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Progress

I started my cycling journey a few months ago and I can say wholeheartedly I am never looking back! It’s much faster than the bus, way more fun than the tube and saves a heck of a lot of money.

My main journey outside uni and back is to The City where I go to church, this involves one major hill and them is mostly flat, at first this was near impossible without two stops, but now is pretty manageable. Today I clocked my PB of 15 mins to; take that Northern line!

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Chocolate is like the glue of life

Sleep has been a luxury over the last weeks, with 5 hours being a slightly generous average per night. It pretty much seems like once you sort one thing out, seven more grow in its place! But yesterday offered at least temporal respite from the madness! Me-14 Me-13 Me-12

However many times I come here, I never tire of this view, especially with the beautiful moon out! Me-11Me-9

Me-8This is one of my favourite coffee shops in London. Drink Shop & Do is a fantastic little place hidden away on Caledonean road where all the furniture, fixings and fittings are for sale. This means that every time you enter the store it’s like its totally new! Plus, their cakes are to die for. 
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This is a really late Secret Santa present. I got the recipe a few years ago from one of Jamie’s Christmas specials (you know the ones) and it totally changed my hot chocolate game! This one was cinnamon flavour, to keep the christmassy theme alive just a little bit longer. It also has the advantage of being really cheap to make. Plus, grating the chocolate is more therapeutic than you’d imagine. Me-4 Me-3

I’m always tempted to buy these jars, and just fill them, fill them with stuff. Me-2Me-5

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Caffe Nero, Bedford street, this is where I had the most casual interview I’ve ever had, I wasn’t even wearing trousers (don’t worry, jeans definitely made an appearance!).

The interview was for Camp Leaders, a “Camp America” style organisation that runs another whole set of camps all over the country, and it was great! I’m genuinely so excited to go, I absolutely love camp, as you can tell if you read my earlier posts, and so the thought of a/going to america, b/it being almost consistently summer, c/slightly living out dreams I’ve had ever since watching The Parent Trap and d/it lasting eight weeks, is almost too good to believe!

The last step before possible acceptance is a job fair on Saturday, where you go and sample all the different camps under CL, chat to the guys in charge and some of the volunteers who’ve done it before and hopefully, get assigned for the summer, aaaah!

Here’s to the summer

B

Rehashing old truths

This always happens in church, time and again we’re subjected to the nativity story, some ubiquitous parables such as that of the Lost Son and the Easter story. Don’t get me wrong, these are big big truths in the bible, but often out of routine we assume we know it and possibly this is something for the newcomers, I know I sometimes do, or just let it wash over you because you get the general gist. It’s good at times to have people that give you a right kicking (in the theological sense!) and force you to really think about what they mean for us. For me, this came over a Crunchie bar at the BMA.

We were just chatting about stuff to so with the upcoming mission/events week on campus, and we’re discussing how we’d approach the gospel to someone who didn’t know it before, and then Pete said, so let’s go a bit further, for us.

If you were going to be trapped on a desert island and you were only allowed one person with you, who’d it be? For me, it was Dad (no hard feelings mum, I just don’t think you could take the heat!) Now think back to your school days to someone who really used to pick on you, for me this was a guy called Josh L, always used to call me chubs, I took a bit too much pleasure in the fact that he was expelled a year later.. Anyway, so imagine that guy or girl, now imagine letting your loved one die for this person who did nothing but scorn and abuse you, could you do it? Could you do it for a classroom of people like him? Say you did and, oh, two of them realised what you did and were really thankful, but a few days later on the yard, people were talking about this person ‘[insert your name here]’ and he just stood there and didn’t even acknowledge you not what you did. How would you feel? Having willingly sentenced your mum/dad/daughter/son/whoever, to an untimely fate for their sake?

Pete told me him and his wife are expecting a little girl, so it became even more real for him and I guess if I ever become a parent I’ll feel God’s sacrifice even more but this was an insanely huge challenge because God did this for a whole world of people who to this day mock him yet he still loves us.

This is a huge challenge for me, when it comes to discussing God with friends and people, definitely something to think about!

B

A spoonful of sugar

After spending the vast majority of the week in lounge pants and joggers, it was good to break the self imposed hermit life and leave the house, despite the chore of wearing clothes suitable for people other than your immediate family, and on occasion, the mailman.

I’ve lived in manchester for the better part of 10 years and only now am I starting to appreciate the nicer parts outside the local mall. My current favourite hang out whenever I’m at home is the Northern Quarter – our very own little bit of East London. One shop in particular, Teacup on Thomas St., makes the nicest flourless chocolate cake, I would definitely recommend a visit simply for that! Today I went to catch up with a new old friend form camp who now goes to uni, giving me a good excuse to try out their new shop near Manchester Cathedral – Proper Tea. Even though we joked that it looked like a date, I’m pretty sure everyone genuinely thought it, the single table by the window side overlooking the fairy lit street probably didn’t help. It was worth it though, as the drinks and cake were beautiful, and free! Not only that but we got even more because we were the last ones in there and they were going to throw them away otherwise, winner!

Following this, a family Nando’s – as you can tell, I keep a very balanced diet of carbs and chicken..Tea Tea-2 Tea-3 Tea-4 Tea-5 Tea-6 Tea-7 Tea-8 Tea-9 Tea-10 Tea-11

 

And now to sit and pore over some 1920s font for an art deco poster, Oh how I miss graphic design..

B

Happy new year!

Like a total rookie, I deleted the master copies of my new year pictures, there are no words to describe the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you arrive at the woeful realisation that they are no more..

If I’m totally honest, I have no idea where 2013 went, it seems to have been and gone in a complete blur. Lots of big things happened, such as moving out and going to university, which was like a whole life altering experience of its own, blogging, taking up photography, but I have the odd feeling that theres a lot of time I could have spent last year doing other things. That’s why my new year resolution, if you can call this vague target one, is to make more use of the time that I have. How I’ll do that? No idea, but one thing is for sure, as much as it’s good to plan for stuff in the future, if you keep your eyes constantly on what’s next, often, you miss what’s happening right here in the now and before you know it, poof, it’s the future, what’ve you got to show for it?

B