REVIEW: DRY THE RIVER – SHALLOW BED

Armed with a watered down, lukewarm beer in a plastic cup trying to find my friends, I stumbled upon an absolute gem of a band at Reading Festival 2013- Dry the River. I’ve had the fortune of seeing this band twice more after that- once again at Reading, a year later, and then finally a gig at Tooting tram in December. The interesting use of vocal harmonies across the band paired with finger-picked guitar, violins and intense crescendos showed me music in a way I’d never heard it before. This wasn’t just music, this was an experience.

Dry the River’s album ‘Shallow Bed’ can only be described as a treasure chest, full of exquisite, beautiful songs all incredibly special and unique. Lead singer/ songwriter Peter Liddle has a Godlike talent for creating an old-soul sound, contrasted with an experimentative youthfulness. Each song, while mysterious and enigmatic, has the blessing of not being terribly cryptic, and so I find a multitude of people can extract different meanings from the songs. With the same soulful melodies of bands like Sigur Ros and the lyrical genius of -dare I say- Bob Dylan, Dry The River provides it’s audience with something archaic yet fresh. One could say it’s…. riveting.The five piece British indie folk band all came from different origins, experimenting with more hard-core branches of music, but ultimately decided to take a more folksy, alternative approach.

 “The Dry the River sound is what you’d hear if you were in the bath after being dumped”
– Scott Miller (Bass & Percussion).
While not an incredibly glamorous statement, the melancholic sounds can generally be enjoyed whenever, but personally I would add it to an autumn/winter playlist due to the gentle melodies that match the simplistic beauty of winter weather vibes. The aesthetics of the lyrics create a deep, philosophical stance; a nice break from the bombarding of the repetitive, common pop music dominating the radio.
The use of biblical references combined with allusions to mythology and animal imagery sets Dry The River apart from other alternative bands singing of teenage heartbreak and smoking cigarettes *cough*.
Additionally, the lyrics break down the cliché stereotypes of discussing love via the medium of music in a poetic style, akin to Bon Iver. Pete’s angelic voice certainly adds to the heavenly aesthetics of the songs on ‘Shallow Bed’.
The luxurious innocence combined with dark themes form a truly imaginative album, and whilst Dry the River may not be the ideal band to listen to for a drinking session with your mates, it certainly adds something new to the up and coming alternative/folk genre of modern music. 

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Late Night Memories

Sitting on my windowsill, smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of Earl Gray, I feel a sense of peace. Ever since I was a child, there was something mystical, something indescribably magical about night time. The glow of the moon, the black pavement glittering and shining, the deathless quietness of it all. Later, night time became even more special as I associated it with sneaking out and going to parties, drinking the forbidden fruits of alcohol and bitter drugs, feeling out of control. I’d go outside, loosing sense with reality as I stared into the night sky and thought about the universe. Tonight, however, was quiet. As I stared out into the streets, I thought about the fragility of mortality. I once read a quote that apparently the gods envy us. “They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” I think about how the boys brag about their drunken conquests, armed with their liquid courage and their lynx scented ralph lauren shirts. I see the girls, light in their naïve eyes describing their hopelessly romantic summers and how they felt love on their lips in the form of a blonde-haired boy with a crooked nose and a tattooed name across his chest. And now I know. Now I understand- we are obsessed with the past. Even as I’m writing this, the moment I put down that first word, it’s all a memory. There is no reality, as each second passes and fades into our recollection, it’s gone. We can never feel it again, never grasp it again. Maybe that’s why humans are so self-absorbed, using a magical tongue to tell exaggerated stories, because we want to explain how we felt, how we loved, how we cried and lost and laughed. We want to go back there, but we can’t. It’s gone. Forever. There’s something impeccably beautiful in that, though. Even trying to recreate a memory creates something else differently entirely. I will never be as young as I am now. I will never sit in Louie’s flat, have the same conversations I had with Chris, and Jodie. I will never be on the top of that Ferris wheel with Jack, looking down at the world. I will never sit between my mother and father and feel so blessed to have these two wonderful people always look out for me. And if I do, then it will be different. A new memory, a new experience. People are sometimes terrified of the future. Of the unknown. But I am not afraid. The future will arrive, and soon, it will be gone.

A Witches Remedy For Love

Moon bright, star light.
strong wrist, small twist,
ignore the darkness, ignore the mist


Stir, tap. Stir, tap.
Silver engraved spoon.
In the black, pale face loom.
Snip, snap, Belladonna root.
No Wolfsbane, wolves are cute.
I see a silver arrow shoot.

Stir, tap. Stir, tap.
He loves me, he loves me not
if he doesn’t, let him rot
if he does, if it’s true,
I shall not, just run him through.

Whisper whisper, she’s a witch
throw them all in a ditch
put a curse on the snitch
enough of that, back to black
I commence my tap, tap, tap

silver spoon, I hold tight.                           
 in the black of the night

Will he love me, can it be?
or will his heart remain so free?
I do not know, I do not ask
I just go back, commence my tap

Call me Duffy, call me Plath
All I know, I have no wrath
I am not scorned,
I am not mad
all I know is I am glad

Mine he is, mine he’ll be
After a sip, then we’ll see
if my special brew has worked
in the darkness,
I will lurk. –
then his eyes will fall on I
my hunger will be satisfy- ed
Oh, my witches remedy
Soon you all, you all will see.

DO WE CHOOSE LAZINESS?

The simple answer to my question is yes. We have hours and hours in a day to fill with what we choose. Obviously, we can deduct chores, work and other necessary activities in our life but for most people, we have hours of free time in which we can choose to do whatever we want.

I have a routine. I walk home from my lectures, put something to eat in the oven and eat dinner whilst watching Family Guy/ whatever TV show I’m obsessed with at the time. I’m very good at advice, and motivating people. However, when it comes to myself I just don’t have the energy. I procrastinate. I barely have the motivation to do the duties for university work for my degree. I leave my work to last minute, my essays are rushed and my preparation work is the result  of a 2:00 am crazed panic the night before the deadline.

The truth is, we could be so much better. So much more. I see those over-achieving people and I half hate them, half envy them. Bright eyed, they have their healthy snack and detox water in hand before having a 6:00am light exercise before finishing all their work, managing their kids and about 50 other activities without breaking a sweat. I’m not saying I want that.

I just want to make the most of my mind, and my body. Be it for myself, for my friends and family or in the hopes of creating a better future for the other humans on this earth, I am trying to break this laziness, this lethargic nature that is within me. break free from the chains of routine and negative habits.  Can you imagine the world if everyone was the best version of themselves? I feel although this is an incredibly unrealistic utopic idea , we’d have a better environment, more inventions, better health cares and education systems and a genuinely kinder community.

A few weeks ago I did a review of ‘Limitless’ on here, and was thinking about what I would do if I had access to a higher percentage of my brain. but the truth is, we could all be so much more than we are. There is NOTHING stopping me from using my hours to learn a new language, learn three instruments, start boxing / judo / yoga etc. I could use my hours to perfect my cooking skills or writing skills. I could do almost anything I wanted, provided I stopped procrastinating and actually did it. I could be a much better version of myself than I am now. Do you believe you could be a better you? Do you want to be? Well, only laziness is stopping you. And unfortunately, laziness is a choice, a HABIT.

For me, it’s time to break the habit. The first days are actually easy, when you’re passionate. It’s keeping it up and turning it into a routine that’s hard. A little tip- don’t make things too hard for yourself. If on your to-do or to improve list you’ve got countless things ranging from easy to medium to hard, then it’s SO MUCH easier to give up.

HOW?
– So start off with a couple of tasks. Practice every day, keeping up the routine and gradually making the activities harder/ more challenging, or getting more. You learnt a new dance move? Perfect it, learn another/ Done a lot of dancing? great, now you can try that thing you’ve always wanted to do.

– set a time limit- before a wedding, before you move, etc. Mine is going to be 6 weeks from now, when I leave my horrible flat and university and I can go home and see my parents. Because, during my time at this flat I’ve had a lot of emotional trauma. but I’ve decided that something good CAN come out of it. I am going to use this bad experience as a learning curve, and gain something beautiful and wonderful from it. As Silver Linings says, “I’m going to take all this negativity and use it as fuel

– And that’s point number 3. Have a motivation. Because you want to impress someone? you want to be better? You want to do something different, something exciting? Everyone has their own reasons for it, you just have to pick a damn good one that motivate you. Get off your sofa, get working, get drawing, get running. You have an incredible body, and a beautiful mind.

It’s time to use it.

Quote of the day- “The best revenge is to live well”

REVIEW: LUSH

With Instagram snaps of fizzing bath bombs and presents of smelly soaps, I decided to explore the fascination with the new body products sop, Lush.

Firstly, the shop is distinctive because of the potent smell wafting from it’s shop doors halfway down the shopping centre- though many are put off by the strong smell of the shop! The layout is cosy and a bit jam-packed, giving off a busy vibe.

One can compare the feeling of Lush as the same as a child in a candy store- there’s so much to look at and choose from! Rows and lines of fizzy bath bombs with ingenious names such as ‘Granny takes a dip’ and ‘Immaculate Eggception’ which bring the fun, light-hearted soap to cleaning your body. You can see the care in which every person that works at Lush puts in to creating and selling the product, and the customer care is fabulous from my experience.

Lush even work around the major holidays to incorporate creative ideas such as carrot bombs for Easter and can be the perfect sack present for both teens and adults at Christmas. I must admit, I received a massive basket filled with gorgeous lush products that have lasted me and made me feel and smell like an angel. These gifts included Space Girl, Tisty Tosty, Fizzbanger, with a glittery hard massage bar that made my skin feel  smells like coconut, look sparky and feel softer than a baby’s bottom! I add a dusting of vanilla powder for a soft, delicate look for a night out.

The wacky colours and glitter and flowers are very exciting for someone who loves a good bath, and I have to admit there is a childish pleasure in watching the chemical reactions of the bomb fizzing and adapting the water you relax in. For those who have enough excitement in their life, there are calmer products available. Lush have a surprisingly wide range of different products- from hair products to soaps and lotions. I have recently bought the ‘Mask of Magninity’. I have loved facemasks all my life, and this did not disappoint. The soothing mint smells absolutely gorgeous and the honey soothes the face after the anti-inflammatory ingredients works to revitalise and clean your skin.

So what sets Lush aside from other shops? firstly, they don’t test on animals. In fact, they staged a campaign against animal testing in 2012, on Regent street in London as they showed graphic scenes of a performance artist being tested and essentially tortured, with a petition to sign. They raised awareness and of course, all of their products haven’t been tested on animals, are vegetarian and handmade. Paired with the ‘Naked packaging’ and ethical buying, Lush has to be my favourite cosmetics shop and I recommend trying out  couple of their products.

Rating: 9/10. If only I had enough money to fill my bath shelves with all of the products from this fabulous shop.

   
 

REVIEW : LIMITLESS

Limitless is a film showing a struggling writer (the dynamic Bradley Cooper) who is the epitome of procrastination. His laziness and lethargic nature combined with a shabby, messy apartment and the looks of a crackhead in rehab remind me of University students on a Monday morning. I found Eddie’s character therefore extremely easy to connect to and empathise with- majority of us are, after all, inactive creatures with a tendency to shirk our duties. Eddie is on the verge of despair, his life spiralling out of control with his girlfriend dumping him and near to losing his job. The introduction of a new drug- NZT (the name itself sounds chemically snappy) from a vague old friend gives Eddie a chance to be someone else- the better version of himself. What I find particularly interesting is that the drug doesn’t change or alter much in your mind, rather organising it in a way so the information you receive your whole life, is accessible to you when you need it. An example is when in a fight, Eddie remembers clips from self defence and karate movies he had watched, using them to fight a couple of guys that had attacked him.

Things are now going great for Eddie. We see everything more vivid an colourful as the director enhances the audiences own vision so we experience this drug alongside the protagonist. Eddie gets a dashing haircut, a new suit, cleans his apartment, visibly getting his life together. He cleverly starts doubling his money and investing in stocks, using this drive to do something productive. The only problem is that for me, his original dreams of becoming a writer are not mentioned again- so does the drug change his personality? Or somewhere along the way did his aspirations change? Bradley Cooper interestingly enough plays another struggling author in a film called ‘The Words’ (On Netflix if anyone wan to check it out).

All good things must come to an end, however, as it was too good to be true- somehow I don’t think the directors intention was to suggest that drugs were brilliant and there were no negative effects whatsoever- and Eddie begins o gain enemies- one strange looking man who later turns out to be an absolutely terrifying, knife-wielding maniac. Another Eastern European drug dealer also has it out for Eddie and with the new events of the drug actually causing the addicted to get ill or dead, Eddie must manage to wean off the drugs and fight off the competition all at the same time. The film ends happily, obviously, with a few questions as to whether Eddie has managed to kick the drugs or the drugs hold over him, but overall I think the film is well worth a watch. It shows money, productivity and success as key motivators for all different types of humans and the highs and lows of how to get there. For drugs users, there are many scenes in which you can empathise and understand, all cleverly shown through the directors use of camerawork- manipulating the screen to make it move trippily, the vivid colours and the soundtrack that make an incredibly enjoyable film.

Which leaves me with the question- if you take the drug NTZ, you have the world at your fingertips. You could run for president. You could create a business. You could be an artist, write a book. What would you do?

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING GREEN

As part of Green Week 2015, staff and students from across Brighton University took on one of 5 ‘c-change challenges’ and posted about their experience on Twitter and Facebook. The five challenges included:

1. The ‘Radical Re-Use’ Challenge.

2. The ‘Veg out’ Challenge.

3. The ‘Travel Light Challenge’

4. The ‘Plastic Detox’ Challege

5. The ‘Love Local’ Challenge. 

I decided to tackle all challenges put forward for this week. I started off with the veg-out challenge, and was amazed by the variety of delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals I tried. It was fun to experiment with different food and to know I was being more beneficial to the environment! I swapped bacon for cereal in the mornings, steaks for pasta bakes and included much more fruit, and I can see the effects of a healthier diet, too! I combined this with the ‘travel light’ challenge, walking and taking the bus, discovering the ‘Seven Sisters’ in Seaford- climbing them and seeing a beautiful view of nature from the top of the cliff- inspiration for the rest of my week! I also car-pooled with friends with was sociable as well as efficient.

I decided to try my own challenges as well for the week, encouraging friends to not litter- after all, it’s not the bin mans job to pick it up, it’s HUMANITY’s job to look after the environment! I also started to putt my cigarette butts in the designated bins, rather than chucking them on the floor- bad, and unsightly!

Now, I know not everyone will take on all challenges, but perhaps you’d try one or two for a week to see if you can do it! If not, there are still a million things that you can do to help the environment! From swapping baths to showers to conserve water, donating unwanted clothes for re-use, even switching off lights when you leave a room can help. After all, it only takes a small group to change the world. And we will.