Deaf Havana – O2 abc Glasgow – 18/02/17

 

An extended hiatus followed Deaf Havana’s release of Old Souls back in 2013 and no album has ever made me more desperate for new music in my entire life – I could talk about ‘Old Souls’ for days on end but that’s a different post altogether. Nobody really knew how long the band would be hidden away for. Finally, after almost four years, the band announced they would be touring at the beginning of 2017 and subsequently released ‘Cassiopeia’ a single from what was to be their forthcoming album ‘All These Countless Nights’.

Songs ‘St. Pauls’, ‘Sing’ and ‘Trigger’ followed the initial release of Cassiopeia, giving fans a good taster of what was to come. The full album was released on the 27th of January and it didn’t disappoint.

Despite it being held in my least favourite venue in Glasgow, I was determined to get a ticket for the gig. Deaf Havana are my favourite band and never having seen them live, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity.

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While I don’t necessarily love the O2 abc venue as the curfew is always ridiculously early because it doubles as a night club, I’m still beyond glad that one of my favourite bands are still playing smaller, relatively intimate and accessible shows.

The crowd surprised me – in a good way. There was a severe lack of screaming tweens at the gig which is definitely not a complaint. I don’t mean to sound sanctimonious or ‘above’ anyone but Deaf Havana write songs that relate to people my age or slightly older on subjects that are very real and relevant to our demographic. Songs about alcohol, self deprecation and heartbreak don’t necessarily relate to screaming thirteen year olds. I was happy to be part of an appreciative crowd rather than one that screeches unnecessarily in-between every song.  You know the type.

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The setlist was pretty damn good (personal opinion, of course) with a fair mix of songs from the current album ‘All These Countless Nights’ and a bunch from its predecessors ‘Old Souls’ and ‘Fools and Worthless Liars’. While a select few of my favourites  (Lights, Caro Padre and Fifty Four) were missing off the list,  I was genuinely overjoyed to finally hear ‘Hunstanton Pier’ and “Tuesday People’ live. The new songs sound great live too, ‘Trigger’ and ‘Happiness’ were probably my favourite.

Having been away for a relatively long time, Deaf Havana certainly haven’t forgotten how to put on a brilliant show. They really surpassed any of my prior expectations. The band were seemingly overwhelmed by the positive response from the crowd. I don’t think they ever anticipated the response that they received and I imagine that after such a long break, returning to the stage to showcase a new album is probably somewhat more daunting than a usual performance. I may be biased but there is NO beating a Glasgow crowd. Never.

I had a great night at the gig and it although it felt like a long time coming, I was so happy to have finally seen them live after waiting years.

I just hope they don’t think another hiatus is a good idea any time soon.

Leigh.

Honest Thoughts on Valentines Day.

Call me a cynic but I think Valentines is a pile of shit. I can’t even apologise.

Last night I stopped by Morrisons to run in and pick up some food to take to university today and upon entering the shop, I noticed a man intensely debating whether to buy Milk Tray or a box of Ferrero Rocher (both mildly disappointing but who’d say no?) presumeably for his beloved. Nothing quite says ‘I love you’ like a box of half price chocolates picked up 10 minutes before the shop shuts the night before Valentines Day. But it’s the thought that counts isn’t it?

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It’s funny to see the way people act on Valentines Day. There are the couples who shower each other with gifts and girls all over Instagram boasting that ‘the boy did good’ cause he served up a Pandora ring or a Michael Kors watch. There are the ‘wow look at me tweeting something generic about being single’ people on twitter and the guys who still think its funny to post ‘got a date for tonight’ alongside a picture of their hand.

Myself and my boyfriend choose not to celebrate Valentines but last year he surprised me by getting the loveliest bunch of roses to my house before we went for some food and to the cinema. While we don’t actively celebrate by furnishing each other with unnecessarily expensive gifts, I totally didn’t expect the flowers and definitely didn’t cry a bit when I got the delivery… definitely not. He truly is a good egg, little surprises are always nice.

If I’m being totally honest, my favourite thing about Valentine’s Day is seeing grown men quiver as they clutch awkwardly on to Ann Summers carrier bags. It automatically propels them into some kind of uncontrollable hysteria where they become extremely uncomfortable and proceed to walk everywhere at least ten times faster. I think they think that if they walk faster nobody will see where they’ve been shopping. Everyone can see your pink and black carrier bag with a bunny on it, mate.

I don’t think I will ever celebrate Valentines Day at any great length.  I don’t want to sound like complete fun sponge but if you really need a designated day of the year to buy your significant other a box of chocolates as a ‘romantic gesture’ to show them you love them, then you’re doing it wrong. So unbelievably wrong.

Leigh.

 

 

The rise of the ‘day festival’ : TRNSMT.

Novice to the festival market ‘TRNSMT’  was close to breaking the (Scottish) internet this past Tuesday night.

Preparing to take on Glasgow Green this coming July, TRNSMT organisers (also the brains??? behind T in The Park..) milked every last second before announcing the highly anticipated line up via live stream on Facebook. While the long wait tested just about everyone’s patience and with more angry Facebook reactions than likes at one point, it really didn’t disappoint.

In the past few years, Glasgow has hosted a variety of festival-esque outdoor gigs including Stone Roses at Glasgow Green in 2013, Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2014 and more recently Noel Gallagher and Biffy Clyro (not together, that would be horrific) at Bellahouston Park as part of Glasgow Summer Sessions in August of 2016. With the temporary demise of T in The Park – an annual teen and twenty something favourite in Scotland –  is TRNSMT set to become the new favourite?

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I’m unsurprised at the rise of the ‘day festival’ and the decline of the ‘stay festival’. In all honesty, T in The Park had fairly gone downhill. Take what you want from that opinion – I am merely an observer, a ‘yeah, I seen their set on tv’ kinda gal. I have never been to the festival, it doesn’t really appeal to me – it never really has. It’s hard to pinpoint the reason why it’s lost its appeal to so many but I’ll take wild stab in the dark and say it’s a combination of a few things.

Moving location from popular site in Balado and overall poor organisation for camping guests and transport left a lot of loyalists underwhelmed and unwilling to pay to return in years to come. I can’t not mention the decline in quality of the line ups over the past few years – personal opinion of course, but I believe I’m speaking for the majority. A festival that for years prided itself on hosting actual physical instrument playing bands and artists has floated towards showcasing the less appealing electronic/DJ artists. The kind of people who rely far too heavily on lasers to put on a ‘good show’.

Naturally, festival organisers can’t please everyone and with the sudden rise of ‘exclusivity’ of bands and artists featuring at one festival and one festival only, it’s becoming increasingly harder to obtain the acts that people truly want to see. Consequently, people can’t justify the extortionate pricing of weekend tickets and travel to festivals to only see a handful of acts that they like.

Enter TRNSMT, the 3 day festival with somewhat reasonably priced tickets in an arguably alright location. I thought I’d never see the day.

I don’t know whether I’m just biased because Glasgow is my home city and I can get home in half an hour and I don’t have to spend the night in a B&M pop up tent in a shit-filled field. And you can’t really beat a Glasgow crowd either. And the Sunday is playing host to 3 of my favourite bands.

On the Friday, headliners Radiohead will play alongside Belle and Sebastian, London Grammar and Rag’n’Bone Man. On the Saturday the headliners are Kasabian with Catfish and The Bottlemen, George Erza, The Kooks and Circa Waves. And finally, Sunday – Biffy Clyro are headlining with The 1975, Twin Atlantic, Two Door Cinema Club and Blossoms. Across the board there are more bands and artists yet to be announced.

TRNSMT festival is undeniably geared towards fans of rock, alternative and indie music. It has a semi-niche to it, something that larger festivals including TITP lack and as a result, fail to entice an audience. Twitter couldn’t have been happier with the lineups (my twitter feed anyway) and in many cases, a lot of people’s favourite bands are performing on the same day, likely a carefully planned tactic from organisers. I hate to assume but I believe this may be in an attempt to test the waters for future T in The Park line ups, should it make a return in 2018.

TRNSMT festival is shaping up to be a guaranteed good time for anyone attending. I think it will be a nice alternative to its seemingly over-hyped and underwhelming predecessor. Just less of the horrendously long live stream announcements, yeah?

Leigh.

 

 

January in photos.

I was happy to see January. I spent the majority of the festive period in bed while everyone was out partying. I was lucky enough to bag myself, tonsillitis, a chest infection and an ear infection all in the one go. I was starting to feel better just a few days into January and headed back to my internship after a much needed break – fuelled by a pret latte of course. On the first day back, I was helping out at my first ever photoshoot for the company’s new A/W 2018 collection. We spent most of the day trying to hold the attention of babies and toddlers in an attempt to get them to smile for the camera. A much more difficult task than I initially anticipated.

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The next few days were a bit dull. I had a marketing strategy exam to study for and I don’t think I’ve been less motivated to study for an exam in my life. Lecturers who structure exam timetables so that they fall in January are the work of the devil . I spent most of my days with my nose in trashy magazines eating the chocolate I had no appetite for over Christmas and doing just about anything else I could to avoid studying. I’m yet to get my results for the exam – In all honesty, I’m probably happier not knowing how I did.

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The 12th of January was myself and my boyfriend’s one year anniversary. He got these beautiful bunch of roses and freesias sent to my door as a surprise. 8932489237 million boyfriend points to him. We planned to celebrate on the weekend so spent it out in Glasgow’s West End. We stayed in the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor and spent most of our night out in Ashton Lane before moving on to Oran Mor. I had the loveliest weekend with my favourite person.

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Tuesday came around again and back to my internship. It was a super busy day setting up for an open studio sample sale. I wish I organised my own clothes this much. I spent Wednesday at the studio working the sample sale and afterwards, headed out to dinner with a few of my closest friends. We made our way to our go-to restaurant – Bill’s.

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Friday rolled around and I wasn’t feeling up to much. I spent the majority of the day relishing in the freedom to do absolutely nothing before going back to university the following week. I finally got around to reading ‘Spark Joy’ by Marie Kondo – none of which I’ve actually implemented yet. I should get on that… I planned on having a lazy evening but ended up at the pub drinking G&T’s – not a complaint.

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Saturday was a busy day but enjoyable nonetheless. Myself and Kieran braved the freezing temperatures and headed up to Whitlee Windfarm to go for a walk. We walked 6.6km around the site in just over an hour. My mum bought last minute tickets off someone in her work for us to go and see The Woman In Black and The King’s Theatre in Glasgow. Before the show we headed to Bill’s (my second time that week, oops) for some dinner. I was really excited to see the play as I hadn’t seen the movie but I presumed it couldn’t be as scary as everyone made out. Was I wrong? Completely. It was terrifying but definitely one of the best productions I have seen in a long time – I recommend it to anyone.

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January blues definitely hit towards the end of the month and the freezing left me longing for the tiniest bit of sunshine. I found myself looking back through photos of my adventures in Barcelona from last summer and spent just about every evening of the week looking for holidays for this coming summer. I just need to actually pick somewhere and book it. Unfortunately, fake tan will have to do for now.

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On Thursday I had to be out the house all day as my mum was getting a new kitchen fitted – oh the joy. I spent most of my day in university moping around looking for things to do but ended up watching Netflix with a Sainsbury’s meal deal. Thrilling, I know. After I got fed up I took a walk around Glasgow and ended up at the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art. As you can see, I wasn’t greeted with the usual exhibit…

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On Thursday night myself and Kieran went along to the cinema to see ‘Split’. I had been desperate to see this film since I first watched a trailer for it on Facebook months ago. While I jumped in my seat a fair few times, I was honestly amazed by James McAvoy’s acting – not bad for a local boy. If you haven’t seen this movie, I urge you to.

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An alright month all round! Here’s to seeing what February Brings.

Leigh.

 

Self-care or self-destructive?

Self-care is a downright touchy subject.

Currently, the term ‘self-care’ is kind of floating around on Twitter and in hashtags on Instagram and in turn everyone is sort of dancing around the issue. Nobody is really addressing it at any length, others have no idea about it.

If you’ve not yet searched ‘self-care ideas’ or ‘tips for self-care’ on google, don’t. If you do, you’ll be wasting your time and be wishing you hadn’t (trust me). You’ll be met with list upon list written by bloggers and columnists of ‘AMAZING self-care activities’ such as ‘do a face mask and read some magazines’ or ‘buy yourself the shoes you’ve been eyeing up’ or ‘go and treat yourself to lunch in your favourite restaurant or ‘book yourself a holiday’.  You can imagine how the list continues.

We now live in a society where people believe that self-indulgence truly equates to self-care. And yes, while it is nice to ‘treat yoself’ occasionally, frittering away money and buying yourself ‘stuff’ does not and will not cure any amount of woes.

Sorry.

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The sooner everyone stops replacing genuine self-care methods with unnecessary and sporadic bouts of indulgence the better. Buying a new pair of shoes, convincing yourself you deserve them and pretending they will cheer you up and enhance your life somewhat is nothing more than a fickle coping mechanism: it is not a valid method of self-care.

There is a very fine line between self-care and coping. An overpriced latte in a fancy takeaway cup might make you feel somewhat contented for fifteen minutes but it’s not going to cure anything. It’s a temporary fix for a bigger problem and ultimately does more harm than good. Attempting to cure a problem simply by coping is destructive. It quickly becomes a never ending cycle of trying to fix a bigger problem with small, ineffective and occasional remedies.

Other ‘recommended’ methods of self-care I’ve had the displeasure of coming across include ‘eat your favourite food’ or ‘watch some episodes of your favourite TV show’ or ‘have a glass of wine’. I enjoy curling up in bed having a Netflix binge and a bottle  glass of wine as much as the next person but I know it isn’t good for me. No amount of re-runs of Ru Paul’s Drag Race are going to improve my well-being or my health. Another recommendation I’ve seen plastered around the internet is to ‘read the bible’ which would be a fair recommendation if everyone was religious. A lot of people are not and nor do they desire to be. That’s the thing about self-care. No one method works for everyone. Just like no one method of studying for an exam works for everyone.

Self-care is concerned with taking responsibility for your health and well-being -both mental and physical. It is concerned with making choices that are beneficial to your health and maintaining this lifestyle. For some this could be integrating exercise into their daily routine or maintaining a rigid sleep schedule to ensure that 8 hours of sleep a night is consistently achievable. It could be something as simple as getting 20 minutes of fresh air every day. To put it simply, it’s about making conscious choices from which your body and mind will benefit.

Learning and accepting self-care isn’t a walk in the park. Even the most insignificant methods of self-care can be difficult. Particularly for those who are out of practice and for those who are more self-destructive and self-deprecating than others. Self-care isn’t something that is easy to get into a habit of. Everyone is too worried about everyone and everything but themselves. Furthermore, nobody truly has enough time in their day to dedicate a large chunk of it solely to self-care. It is easier for people to reject self-care and as a result end up mentally and/or physically unwell.

Ultimately, self-care is not a one time thing. You can’t practice it once and expect to be eternally fine, that is unrealistic. It should be an ongoing practice for people of all ages when and wherever possible. Taking time to truly care for yourself is not selfish as so many people are inclined to think. It is healthy and it should be encouraged, supported and prioritised by everyone.

Leigh.

 

6 Things you should know before getting an Internship.

Back in September I quit my retail job I had endured for over 2 years. I knew I wanted to intern for a while and so began my search in hope of finding some that I’d enjoy. Luckily enough, I’ve found a marketing and social media internship that I really like. I had never interned previously so naturally was unsure of what to expect. If you are considering interning, here are 6 things you should definitely know.

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You won’t find internships easily.

They’re a whole different ball park than normal jobs. You won’t necessarily find them on job websites and they are few and far between. A simple Google search of ‘Internship + (your location)’ will narrow down your options but don’t stray away from searching on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram either. Companies know that a lot of young people are active on social media and will occasionally advertise internship opportunities on their pages. If that doesn’t work, contacting a company directly is another option. Some companies won’t advertise opportunities such as placements and internships but there is no harm in asking. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

You will be ignored more than you will be turned down.

Having the patience and determination to keep applying when companies won’t respond to you is difficult. It’s even more of a kick in the teeth a few weeks later when the company posts an Instagram with ‘meet our new intern (insert name here)’ with lots of emojis explaining how thrilled they are to have them on board. If a company doesn’t want you, it’s likely they won’t even email you to tell you no. Accept it and keep searching.

You will more than likely have to work for free.

I’d say that the vast majority of internships I’ve seen advertised have been unpaid. Some may offer to cover the cost of your lunch and travel expenses. Don’t be surprised when nobody asks for your bank details to pay you. Not the ideal situation, particularly if you’re not working or a student but that leads me perfectly on to my next point.

The company are sort of doing you a favour.

We’ve all applied for jobs and been told ‘sorry, you just don’t have enough experience’. This is why internships are so unbelievably important. They provide you with experience that companies want.  Okay, so you might not be getting paid for whatever it is you are doing but working as an intern will teach you new skills, let you show off yours and it looks more impressive on a CV than a part time retail job. Work hard and try to impress, you’ll thank yourself later that you did.

You won’t be running round after people making cups of tea and coffee. 

I don’t know why this seems to be everyone’s preconception. The only person I’ve made tea for during my internship is me. You’re there to integrate as part of a team or work on individual projects and be responsible for different areas of the business, not to act as a Starbucks barista.

No two days will be the same.

Regardless of what kind of internship you signed up for, you won’t just be doing tasks related to that. Chances are, people will need to borrow you as an extra pair of hands depending on the tasks for that day. Be happy to help, always – even if that means starting earlier and staying later or doing 4 tasks at once. You’ll learn new skills and you may just find something you enjoy doing.

Leigh.

Goals for 2017.

I never wrote a resolutions post. I don’t like them, I don’t keep them. I do however like making goals – the term goals seems much less daunting and a lot more positive than ‘resolution’ that I know I won’t stick to. I feel more determined to achieve them if I write them down, so I’m writing them here.

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Read more: I love reading. I truly love it but I never make time for it. I’d excuse my lack of reading with ‘I’ve been bogged down with academic university reading’ but I don’t even do that. I’m aiming to read at least one book per month. I’ve a bunch lined up that I’m excited to get cracking with.

Spend less time on Social Media: I spend my life scrolling endlessly on Instagram and Twitter. As much as it is a guilty pleasure, I spend too much time on there and it’s not productive. There is so much bullshit on social media sites – a break from the internet is always good for the soul.

Try new places to eat all the time: I’m a creature of habit. If I like a restaurant, I go back time and time again. This year I want to try new places with a whole variety of cuisines, finding new foods that I love. I have a few in mind that I am desperate to try and can’t wait to work my way through them all – food is everything.

Get back into hiking: I love hiking – any rainy or weekend in my childhood, we donned the waterproofs and my dad dragged us out on family hikes. I hiked a lot in 2015 and I really miss doing it, it’s such an easy way to work out as it targets the full body. I’m going to research some routes and get back into it.

Stop spending money on ‘stuff’: I’m the world’s worst hoarder, I buy ‘stuff’ that I don’t always necessarily need. I buy clothes that hang unworn in my wardrobe, I find it months later with the tags still attached. I plan to save some money this year and if I do spend it, I’d rather spend it on making memories than buying ‘things’ that I probably won’t use.

Go to the gym at least 3 times a week: heading back to uni and interning is going to take up most of my time but my gym membership card is gathering dust and I want to put it to good use. I want to make a conscious effort to go to the gym at least 3 times every week and maintain some kind of fitness routine. Much like reading, I don’t ever make time for exercise but I want to change than this year.

What are your goals for this year?

Leigh.

 

 

 

 

Blogging and Materialism.

Gone are the days of blogs containing honest raw opinions, genuine think pieces and life ramblings. Blogging is now a booming industry centred around materialism and narcissism. And I can’t stand it.

Part of me feels like a hypocrite, having had a beauty blog for about 2 years from the age of 16 reviewing a whole variety of things, some I bought myself, some were sent to me for review purposes from brands. Since then, I’ve grown up, seen the blogging industry from a different perspective and I know that I don’t want to write about that anymore. As cheesy as that sounds it’s true. The blog market is so oversaturated and has officially become boring. Granted, my readership was higher on that blog than on this one. Why? because nowadays, people are embarrassingly materialistic.

I don’t tend to read product-led blog posts regardless of whether they’re PR based or not. Frankly, I don’t find them particularly interesting and all a bit stale but marketers can’t get enough of bloggers and social media opinion leaders these days, so these types of posts are everywhere. To be fair, if I was marketing a product, I’d be more inclined to hit up bloggers rather than using traditional promotional methods. The audience is captive and sales are more or less guaranteed. It’s easy to see why brands are so keen to work with bloggers more so than using methods such as celebrity endorsement, for example.

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I’d be lying if I said a blog post hasn’t led me to buy something before. I have fallen victim to this online phenomenon many a time – it’s likely that you have too, regardless if you realise it or not. Somebody raves about something until we believe we need it too. Blogging creates want and we’re not satisfied til we’ve bought exactly what we’ve seen in 4 identical blog posts.

We’ve developed this insatiable appetite for ‘stuff’. Stuff we don’t actually need but stuff that we’ve been forced to want. We associate the product with the person that’s pushing it to us. We associate it to their lifestyle, personality and appearance. We buy it in search for that ‘something’ that we want but don’t really need to fill some kind of void. We buy it because we’ve had it waved in our faces and told we do truly need it – the reality is that we don’t. Blogging is contributing to this wealth of hyper-materialism and it’s horrible to watch. Particularly amongst younger readers of blogs. Those mesmerised by popular online bloggers – I’m sure you know of the sort. Launching their pocket money at things their online heroes are dangling in front of them unaware that the money is going straight into the pockets of the people that they follow obsessively.

Blogging isn’t authentic anymore. It’s become more about having things than having thoughts. I’d rather read someone’s opinion on a current issue or that they taught me something. That they were being true to them and sharing their views or perspectives. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle with a post like this. I don’t know if bloggers have maybe just lost their direction and been tempted by the financial gain. I don’t know if I’m the one who is in the wrong by not participating in it. What I do know is this. I don’t want to participate in this popular style of blogging. I don’t want someone to pay me to write something somewhere that is for me to share whatever I want to write about. I don’t want to be so void of blog post ideas that I rely solely on PR/paid content to keep my blog going. I want people to read my blog because they enjoy what I write, not what I’m being told to write.

The popularity of blogging isn’t going to subside any time soon. However, I hope that this surge of sponsored and PR sample based content does subside. Blogging is something that is meant to be authentic and a means of expression. Not a space online to manufacture materialism.

Leigh.

A weekend in Belfast.

So, FINALLY, my boyfriend knows I’ve booked to take him to Prague in summer. In all honesty, I am very proud of myself for managing to keep this trip a secret. One trip I didn’t managed to keep so secret was our trip to Belfast last summer for his birthday. I booked it and managed to keep it a secret for a whole SEVEN HOURS – I was just too excited that I had to tell him.

As always, I like to share photos from all the trips I go on or time I spend travelling so here are a few photos from our trip from last summer.

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Leigh.