The ‘cure’ for deafness is something which could damage the deaf community at its core | The Friday Article

What would you do if you were offered the opportunity to redefine your identity? It’s an existential question akin to that of the blue and red pills from The Matrix, but is something which those in the deaf community may have to consider in the future. Continue reading

Musical Discovery: ‘Fools’ by Lauren Aquilina

Lauren Aquilina is a name I’ve often seen mentioned in tweets on Twitter or elsewhere online, but I never thought to listen to her music – until now. With a humble, warm singer-songwriter sound similar to that of Gabrielle Aplin, I was disappointed that I hadn’t listened to one of her earlier tracks, Fools, sooner.

There’s something about Lauren’s vocals that leads to you imagining yourself lying down on a deckchair listening to this track, or standing watching her perform it in a festival environment. It’s that mellow style of music which calms those who listens to it, rather than boring them.

With light piano melodies and bouncy bass riffs to begin with, the instrumentals are there purely for rhythmic purposes. The emphasis is truly placed on Aquilina’s voice, which is equally as soft. Although timid, that is not to say that it lacks power. Atmospheric drums build the tone for the chorus, telling the listener to pay attention. They are rewarded with occasional high notes and pure soul to add to a relaxing song. If pop’s white noise becomes too much, then the calming voice of Lauren Aquilina is the perfect alternative.

After looking more into Lauren’s music, I saw that she released her debut album, Isn’t it Strange? in 2016. Now follows the excitement that comes with discovering a new artist: I can now continue to discover more of their great music. I look forward to listening to the album in the future.

 

Donald Trump’s state visit: why it should go ahead | The Friday Article

It’s an underlying democratic issue which was partly responsible for the polls being wrong and Donald Trump’s election as the 46th US President. Left-wingers and liberals shut down the political debate by labelling Trump supporters as ‘racist’, ‘sexist’ and so forth, to the extent where the only safe place to share their opinion is in the voting booth. Now, as Parliament debates Donald Trump’s state visit on Monday, Stop Trump demonstrators will protest on Parliament Square ‘to stand up and say no to the future of hatred, racism and division that Donald Trump is trying to create – and to say no to the disgraceful complicity of Theresa May and the British government in supporting him’. Whilst the Facebook page doesn’t state explicitly whether this protest is also against the state visit, with regards to the petition, you have to ask: will preventing him from making a state visit to the UK do more harm than simply inviting him here to speak?

Photo: Gage Skidmore on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.
Photo: Gage Skidmore on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.
Of course, it must be said that this article is not condoning Trump’s divisive nature. Instead, it calls for us to return to honest political debate. Already in the UK, we have seen newspapers banned on university campuses and left-wingers continue to ban and cut off the views from the far-right. Isn’t a petition preventing Trump from airing his opinions the same thing, and damages our democracy?

Granted, allowing the far-right president could allow Britain’s right-wing populism to gain strength, but surely protests during his visit will be the biggest sign of defiance against these people, and Trump’s beliefs? Which sends the strongest message to him: a U-turn on his state visit, or the British people allowing him a platform for his views, but them being met with strong opposition? The former shows a sheer ignorance towards opposing views, whilst the latter demonstrates that we are an open society which allows for these views to be challenged. To go back to the point of Trump’s potential visit further dividing the UK, a nationwide protest against the figure presents an opportunity for unity. Although that sense of coming together may still be seen in the number of signatures on the petition preventing him from making a visit, a demonstration is a more visible sign of cohesion.

Should the state visit be called off, would that mean that Trump is prevented from making any sort of visit to the UK during his four-year presidency? Aside from this posing a risk to the ‘special relationship’ buzzword Theresa May likes to use, preventing controversial views from being said in Britain would create a slight feeling of isolationism similar to that which Trump is adopting in America itself. Donald’s cries of ‘fake news’ at press organisations which he disagrees with discredit the journalists who scrutinise his position of authority – surely preventing Trump from stating his opposing views is an alarming parallel to this?

Special Features

On Monday, I published my first feature on my blog. It was about the Italian singer Ginny Vee, and it flexed a different writing muscle I haven’t used on this site before: feature writing.

In the past, the only journalistic pieces I have published on The Life of a Thinker are music reviews and opinion posts. For a long time now, this blog has enabled me to improve my writing when it comes to these two particular types of articles. There’s no denying that running a platform to convey your opinions to the world helps you both personally and professionally.

My blog’s progression into an online journalism portfolio is going slowly, but there’s clear signs of it moving in the right direction. Incredible PR opportunities have come my way, I’ve written for a variety of other blogs and my daily stats have grown since when I first started (20-30 views a day are now 40+ views a day). Abandoning the typical lifestyle topics have clearly done my blog some favours, but this is at the expense of Wednesday and Sunday posts still lacking a particular theme.

This brings me back to features, and an idea I’ve been considering for a while. For me, the best features are ones which shine a light on an individual – one aspect of their personality shining through and being the centrepiece for the article. I’d love to do more of them, but finding the time to arrange interviews and write the feature would probably mean that they won’t be a regular theme on my blog.

Cue an idea I’ve had, which I’d love your thoughts on. The blogging community is large, and there’s no doubt that there’s a long list of potential bloggers to interview for a feature. Therefore, I thought it might be interesting to attempt to write an article on a different blogger every week. The piece will enable us to find out a little bit more about a blogger, they get to introduce their blog to my audience and I get to practice my feature writing.

At the moment, this idea remains unconfirmed, but is something which I am putting out there. If you are interested in possibly doing this, or if you’d like to see these features on my blog, then let me know by leaving a comment below.

Ginny Vee talks about her euphoric new single, ‘Give Me Dynamite’

From modelling to acting and TV presenting, Italian singer Ginny Vee has tried her hand at a variety of professions before pursuing her passion for music. Now, she tells Liam O’Dell more about her journey so far – up to the release of her latest single, Give Me Dynamite.

A career in the music industry is something Ginny Vee wanted since she was little – helped by the fact that her grandmother was an opera singer and piano teacher. However, Ginny’s path to her dream job saw her follow a tough road.

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One problem emerged after Ginny talked about her passion to her parents, who wanted her to have a secure life. “The thing was, I didn’t want to disappoint them, of course,” she explains. “So that’s why I went to law school and I went for different jobs at the beginning.

“The thing is, it was so strong inside me – the feeling that it was the right thing to do – that when I really sat down, talked to them and talked through all of my feelings, I explained to them why it was so important that I needed to follow this career. They understood.”

Did they understand immediately? “It took quite a bit,” she admits. “The real change happened when they came to see me singing in a live concert. They saw how happy I was to be on stage – how free I was performing and enjoying the feeling, the connection between me and the people. They saw that it was the right thing for me.”

Ginny’s music career so far has seen her spend seven years working with three other singers in the cover band, Belle Ma Belle, before going solo later. In 2014, she released her EP, Heaven n Back.

“I was experimenting a bit,” Ginny explains. “I was studying my style, trying to figure out which one was the best style for me. So recently, I signed with Subside Records’ Mind the Floor, and they are more into EDM and tropical house.

“I gave it a shot. We looked at several songs together and when I heard this one – Give Me Dynamite – I thought it was a really good song. I thought it was just the right one to go for this year. It felt very actual, very modern, and I really liked the feeling of it, so I wanted to try something different.”

Give Me Dynamite has the sound of a traditional Europop single: punchy chords, tropical synths and a catchy chorus all make up a bubbly single to prepare you for summer. With euphoric instrumentals placed under lyrics such as ‘love to hate you’ and ‘want another black eye’ – it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

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‘Give Me Dynamite’ is out now.

“That’s the first impression you could have – ‘love to hate you’ is something very strong to say,” Ginny says. “Basically, what is underneath is a story. It’s a love story that ended not very well, but actually, the meaning of it is this girl… She still really believes in the fact that the story shouldn’t end, because the great thing in that story with the guy was the fact that they were fighting.

“So actually, it’s a positive thing about that,” Ginny explains.

As well as Vee providing vocals, DJ Steve Manovski also lent a helping hand on the single. The musician co-produced Sigala’s top 10 hit, Give Me Your Love, so it’s no surprise that we hear similar piano stabs on this track.

Despite the two working together on Give Me Dynamite, Ginny is still yet to bump into Manovski in person. “I actually never met the guy, which is a shame,” she laughs. “This is how it goes in the industry right now; most of the time, you don’t meet the people.

“In one day, I recorded the vocals and everything and my producer told me there was some great news – that Manovski agreed to work on the song.

“That was great news because I really like his job and I really like his work. When they told me, I was really enthusiastic about it, but unfortunately I haven’t met the guy yet. I’d love to meet him in the near future.”

Although that is yet to happen, Ginny believes the relationship between them was very good, calling Manovski a ‘very nice’ person.

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“I’m really lucky,” she says. “I’ve been working with a very professional and great team – all of them are really nice people, so I can’t complain. I’m really happy about that.”

So what’s next after Give Me Dynamite? “It’s very early,” says Ginny. “The song has been out for a small amount of time and obviously now I really want to focus on the promotion. I’m doing lots of interviews and for this one, I’m doing a lot of radio interviews and performing to promote the song. Of course, in the meantime, I’m working on my future material – more songs, more material – because I’m working on a tour for 2017.”

“In life, I’m a really, extremely shy person. So I don’t really interact well with people – I’m private with everything, but when I’m on stage, I’m really free to be what I want to be. I’m really happy,” Ginny explains.

“I feel like I’m expressing myself completely and I feel free. I’m not afraid, I’m not concerned about being in control or anything, I just feel like I really want to be on the stage forever and never leave.”

Give Me Dynamite is out now and is available on iTunes and Spotify. The single can also be found on Soundcloud and YouTube.

Silence isn’t always golden | Tinnitus Awareness Week 2017

My life is never silent. You may believe that my mild deafness would provide me with some tranquillity in a loud world, but when those opportunities arise, thinking occurs. Moments when you can observe the environment around you always leads to your mind quickly searching for something else to focus on – be it someone in the distance, the wildlife, whatever. Unfortunately for me, my attention always shifts to the same place.

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Photo: British Tinnitus Association

Everything is silent. Where is the noise in the room? Things are too quiet. At that point, the ringing starts.

My tinnitus reaches boiling point as two whistling kettles scream into my ears – at least, that’s what it sounds like. It’s the common description I use, yet to every sufferer, the sound is different. A specific tone we can only hear in our heads is hard to convey, but for me, by far the most annoying thing is that a simple thought about tinnitus can lead to it being at the forefront of my mind.

Even as I type this article now, the whistling is going on in the corner of my head (or in my ears, wherever). I can pay attention to it, in the hope that that will make it go away (it doesn’t), or I try to ignore it. Both have the same problem, though: I’ll look over there and try to distract myself from tinnitus and I’ll pay attention to my tinnitus to make it go temporarily mention the word tinnitus, and that is all you need.

It’s this weird thought process that continues ad infinitum until an important activity or task distracts you. However, when in bed and trying to get to sleep, I don’t have anything to use to divert my attention. For me, silence isn’t always golden.

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This week was Tinnitus Awareness Week, and ran from February 6 to February 12. Unfortunately, a busy seven days full of university assignments, lectures and other commitments meant I couldn’t create a YouTube video sharing my thoughts. It would have been perfect (since my channel is somewhat orientated around sign language, deaf awareness and so forth) but I just couldn’t find the time. Then again, this blog post allowed me to flex my writing muscles and hopefully it gave you somewhat of an insight into what life with tinnitus is like.

I’ve never really known what caused my tinnitus or indeed my mild inner-ear deafness, but what I do know is that the former is a pain in the backside, and something you wouldn’t want others to suffer from.

The British Tinnitus Association has lots of useful information on their website, including this page on how to prevent tinnitus from developing.

Action on Hearing Loss also have some helpful resources available on the topic. These can be found here.