Saturday, 26 February 2011

Plan B - Darkest Place

I can't stop listening to this song even though I'm not a huge fan of this album. On the whole it's good and there are some decent tracks but at times the concept is scraped a little thin. Regardless, I think this song really stands out. I love me a miserable song in a minor key with some strings and a cheeky chromatic chord progression.

Diary of a Fresher - Week 2

The second article from the Diary of a Fresher column.

Freshers week is over, lectures have started and it’s time to figure out whether you really are as passionate about the subject you’re taking as your personal statement, screeching with enthusiasm, made you out to be.
However, this is not the case for all students. For some, Freshers has just begun, and the more settled you become in London, the more you feel like the mother hen of all of them. 
Moving in are you? Ah, yes, I remember the days of moving in. Of course, it was different in my day. You feel nervous?  Yes, I felt nervous too but you will be fine, trust me, I’ve been there. You have an odd flat mate that doesn’t want to talk to you yet finds it acceptable to eat the rotisserie chicken you bought? Well, that didn’t happen but you should sort that out.  You ruffle their hair and your wisdom continues.
Be warned though, young student. With the week comes a monumental amount of pressure to party. Hard. All the time. One guy I met made it his single purpose to be as enthusiastic as possible for the entire duration of Freshers week, to the grave detriment of his liver, just so everyone felt involved all the time. He devoted himself to this because you only get one chance to be a Fresher.
Alongside this thought comes more stress. Neurosis sets in. I’m partying, but I’m almost definitely partying less than everyone else. I’m heading home at 4am, isn’t that too early? I’ve not been struck down with illness yet, is there something wrong with me?  Will I look back upon a younger version of myself in years to come with resent, wishing I hadn’t wasted my youth?
Being the Freshers mother hen gives you time to reflect upon this. Yes, of course I went out enough. I have some nice blurry photos with unidentifiable figures in to prove it. I’m not ill, but not being a disgusting spluttering mess can only be a good thing. 
That’s until you see photos of your friend’s events from around the country.
We went to Ministry of Sound, but that other uni got comedy t-shirts! There was a night at Fabric, but Tim Westwood was there and my friend’s uni got Facebook night. No one is certain what that is, but I’m sure it’s infinitely better than what we had.
Even in one university, Freshers seems to have a different timescale for students with different subjects. Picture this: your course starts on the Monday and you are suddenly suffocated under that pile of books you put off reading; but for everyone else the party continues.
Who would have thought the joys of student life would include chain smoking and reading (an undisclosed text incase my lecturer reads this) at 4am. They didn’t mention that in the prospectus.
This is while literally the whole entire world seems to be having an incredible, extraordinarily mind blowing and unforgettable knees up. While you fleetingly attempt to absorb something and anything as your eyes close and re-open of their own accord, there is a balcony of people screaming with laughter in the next flat. Upstairs shrieks and jumps along to Lady Gaga above you, topped off with the sound of two people rolling on the floor directly outside your window, the boy dribbling and desperately pleading for the girl to go back to his flat.
But Freshers isn’t just about partying. It’s about milestones in your life. You may be able to write a fantastic essay on the complexities of modern literature, but that doesn’t mean you know how to cook anything more complicated than a boiled egg. It also doesn’t mean you won’t make an arse of yourself and fall over onto your seminar leader in your first lesson. These things come with time, young fresher.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Radiohead - Lotus Flower

This song needs no introduction, it's Radiohead, they haven't need an introduction in years.

All I'll say is watch this and imagine Thom York doing normal day-to-day things like the shopping or visiting his grandma.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Great Gatsby Game


Don't worry though, it's the sort of addiction your year 9 English teacher will be proud of you for having! We're talking about The Great Gatsby game where the classic American novel has been transformed into a 8-bit 1908s style video game. What's not to love here? For the Fitzergald fan there are cute details like the drunks and flappers of Gatsby's infamous parties. For everyone else, i.e. the chronically bored, it's a highly addictive platform game that beats a spreadsheet at work any day. 

Despite the website declaring a San Fransisco developer bought the game at a yard sale for 50 cents and discovered it was unreleased, Charlie Hoey actually spent a year creating the game with his friend Pete Smith. 

They dabbled with the thought of creating a full literary classics arcade.  Instead, they put the source code online for any other developer wanting to have a go at creating another classic NES game.

So, either play this game (and tell me what happens after the garden level that I can't get past) or make another game yourself if you're handy with that sort of thing.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Diary of a Fresher - Week 1

This article comes from a fortnightly column I write for the London Student. I wrote this way back in September.

The thought of uni switches from total elation to insistent fear in seconds depending on what you read. On the one hand there are thoughts of round the clock parties and making friends for life. After 18 or more years of living under someone else’s roof, you’ve finally gained your independence.
On the other is living a life fuelled by spiraling debt and 22p Tesco Value Vegetable Rice.
There are reams of pages online that make student life seem fool proof. You’re advised on everything from how to go about your first day, to washing your clothes and escaping a diet consisting exclusively of baked beans. Surely nothing can go wrong! And once again all hope is restored.
Alternatively, reading national newspapers, especially around the time of exam results being released, tinges excitement with dread. Thousands of college students haven’t got places, so feel lucky you’re heading to uni at all. Then any sense of smugness is snatched away as you are pleasantly reminded your degree could ultimately be a terrific way to waste 20 grand.
Talking to current students can also be a mixed blessing. While you try and retain every precious piece of guidance on offer, all that seems to stick in your mind is the seemingly useless and obvious. Don’t buy too much stationery because you won’t need it. Don’t take your laptop to the first lecture because you’ll look ‘well keen’. Get rid of your parents ASAP, don’t unpack and head to the nearest pub with your new friends.
Advice never seems to stretch to how you can turn on the exact cooker you will be infinitely confused by in your kitchen, and who it was that stole your milk when you desperately needed a coffee before you first lecture.
 Even the likes of Facebook groups that give you the sinister power of knowing almost every detail about the lives of your fellow flat-mates before you even arrive won’t help.
As the day of moving gets closer, you find yourself wanting to succumb to talking to other students in waiting. At first there seemed something odd about knowing everyone before arrival. Getting to know each other at first sight seemed to be all part of the fun, but curiosity gets the better of you.
Having to apply so long before you go means you spend a year counting and waiting. Months eventually become weeks, and weeks become days.
Then you find that the one shopping spree you went on with your mum to get your uni stuff sorted was less than fruitful because somehow all you bought was a frying pan and a wooden spoon.  You now wonder what you will cook with. 
You’ve read nothing from your reading list and you’ve reluctantly bought some texts books, thinking with every book you buy ‘that’s another vodka and orange I won’t be having at Freshers.’
All that’s left to do is to ignore anything that is too terrifying to think about (hazing and the freshman 15), pack, go and enjoy it. 

Valentines Treats

These babies went down a treat! It's not too late to give them a go!

Raspberry and White Chocolate Butter Cream Cupcakes

Makes 6. (Let's be honest, making any more would be creepy for one person...)

  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp milk
  • 75g fresh raspberries, lightly crushed with a fork. 

55g softened butter

115g icing sugar

25g melted white chocolate

Raspberries and sprinkles to decorate

  1. Pre-heat the over to 180*.
  2. Mix all the ingredients listed together and stir until smooth.
  3. Add the fresh raspberries. 
  4. Separate into cupcake cases. Silicone cases were used in this recipe and a cupcake tin wasn't needed.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. 
  6. Slide a knife in a cupcake, if it is clean the cupcakes are ready!
  7. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting them.
  8. In a bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.
  9. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth, then beat in the melted chocolate.
  10. Spread the icing on top of the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles and raspberries. 
Enjoy! ♥ 

Friday, 4 February 2011

Nails of the week

Today we're not going for anything all that fancy. Grey with matte top coat and a heart. My bookmark I used to jooj the photo up is more interesting really!

No. 7 topcoat -  £6.75
H&M Grey - £1.99
Mercia Nail Art Pen and Brush - £5 

(Bookmark from Paperchase!)

Blog of the Week: When Parents Text

It's so easy to feel smug about being better at technology than your parents. After literally solely relying on them for a sizeable chunk of you life, there is perhaps a cruel feeling of satisfaction when you're only 11 and yet still get to haughtily instruct your dad how to attach a photo to an email. 

When Parents Text is a glorious example of when 'small keypads' and 'old hands' come together to hilarious effect.

My mum is convinced that making up her own type of text speak is totally acceptable, however much it doesn't make sense. 'W r u' doesn't mean 'where are you?' to anyone else except her; but mother knows best, right?

Times have changed, but parents never fail to amaze. 

Some of my favourites include:

MOM:You hurted my feelings {:>(.
ME:Why do you have such a large nose? and a unibrow?
MOM:The sadness has distorted my facial features.

ME:How was your cruise?
MOM:Crappy cruise…old people really old. I was at teh 21 table and one woman died at the roulette. Guess her number was up.

DAD:The good news is that I am just two days away from regaining my title as Mayor of Panera Bread…as long as that little bitch Matt keeps his skanky ass out of here.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Dum Dum Girls

The Dum Dum Girls, without condoning drug taking, kids, are asking fans to send in snaps of whatever or whoever gets them high. Unfortunately, all I can think of at the moment is some God awful food I got with my friend once. That's another story. Submit your probably more exciting ideas via email and it could be in a tour booklet they're putting together.

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues by subpop

Fleet Foxes, our favourite folk outfit or 'baroque harmonic pop jams' writers, as they like to call themselves, apparently, are back this year, and what a welcome return it is. Following their amazingly and deservedly well received self-titled debut record, their new album will be released on May 3 2011.

As if their record company had the smug inclination that four whole months is too long to wait, they are kindly giving away the first single free on the band's website. Or you can just come back here and listen to it over and over again.

This song is gorgeous, as expected, but sounds a lot freer compared to their other efforts. It sounds like the band have actually emerged from the barn they seemed to dwell in in the video for He Doesn't Know Why. The sound is fresher and less melancholic, but is still recognisably the Fleet Foxes we grew to love in 2008.  

Rabbit Hole

My immediate reaction to this was 'oh no, it has Nicole Kidman in it'. There is just something about that wooden face that I find unappealing. However, this film looks intriguing.