Weekly Update: A Week of Inspiration

On Tuesday, Ann Cleeves – known for creating the famous fictional detective, Vera Stanhope – visited the University of Lincoln to give a Great Minds lecture.

Before that, I was able to watch most of Vera on ITV on the Monday. Judging by Brenda Blethlyn’s portrayal of the detective, I was intrigued by how witty and powerful a character she is. With that in mind, I was curious to find out more in the lecture.

In the lecture itself, Ann talked about where her ideas came from, how she came to create the character of Vera, and why libraries are so important.

When it comes to writing, I’ve always found that meeting fellow writers leaves me feeling inspired – it’s like creativity is infectious…

Then, on Wednesday, the university held a Working Alumni Conference, where previous graduates returned to Lincoln to talk about their jobs in the industry.

Very much like the Ann Cleeves guest lecture, I left the conference inspired. Talking to people who are experienced in your interests allows you to share tips, make contacts and consider new opportunities and ideas.

Lastly, the Parliamentary Outreach Team visited the university on Friday to talk about government and parliament. Over the past year, my interest in politics has increased massively. One thing I learnt in particular is how I can get involved. I may just visit Parliament again one day.

Listen to the latest episode of Brunchtime:

Saturday 6th February 2016 - Brunchtime with Liam & Danyal by Brunchtime on Mixcloud

On the whole, it was a very inspiring week. How was your week? Comment below!


Liam teases exciting Brunchtime show | The Friday Article

Lifestyle blogger and radio host Liam O’Dell has teased an exciting episode of Brunchtime on Siren FM tomorrow.

The aspiring journalist – who studies at the University of Lincoln and co-hosts Brunchtime with his friend Danyal – has kept details of this week’s show a secret. However, he has revealed that this week’s programme will contain an exciting interview.

Liam said: “I cannot wait for tomorrow’s show. It’s a programme filled with great music and content.

“I’m not giving too much away just yet but definitely give the show a listen. 

“I’d love to hear your thoughts and it looks like it’s going to be a great show!”

Brunchtime with Liam & Danyal can be listened to live, from 10am to 12pm tomorrow – on 107.3 FM and sirenonline.co.uk.

The programme will also be made available through a catch-up service later.


How to find the perfect pair of jeans | Sponsored Post

Last week, I was contacted by Jacamo who are running a new campaign called Denim Dilemmas. Basically, they have written a series of blog posts exploring the constant struggle men face when it comes to buying a pair of jeans. They then asked me if I had any tips for fellow males who are finding it difficult to find ‘the one’, so naturally I said yes and thought I would deliver a humorous take on how to find the perfect pair of jeans.

Photo: Allen Lee on Flickr.



First of all, I have never understood this fashion ‘trend’ (if it still is a trend). Surely jeans with holes in them give off a bad sense of quality? When you’re looking for the perfect pair, you’d want high-quality jeans which really show off your character. Granted, holes in jeans may imply certain things (that you wrestle bears in your spare time, or something), but it’s ruining a bad pair of jeans!


Perhaps I was being a bit hyperbolic when I say ‘debate’, but the decision as to whether to buy jeans with a fly or button is a tricky decision for most men. Do you wear jeans with a fly, and risk the day where you are spotted with them undone? Or do you spend ages in the toilet trying to button up your jeans like you’re threading string through a needle?

At the end of the day, it’s about convenience. It’s bizarre, but it has to come down to time. If you are desperate to use the lavatory, then you have to ask whether you’ll be able to tolerate unbuttoning countless buttons in order to do so. In comparison to a zip/fly, I think we know the winner here.


Following on from the convenience aspect of choosing zip or buttons on your jeans, a man must also consider jean pockets when on the search for the perfect pair.

With some jeans, there is the rather unnecessary mini-pocket – usually on the right pocket – which is only useful if you want to store an SD card in there. Also, some jeans pockets are so tight that it’s even more difficult than usual to take out your phone – what should be a simple movement turns out to be a 5-minute long shuffle in an attempt to pull out your iPhone without dropping it by accident.

So when searching for the right pair of jeans, having wide pockets is essential in order to keep hold of your phone, wallet and household keys. Otherwise, you’d take your wallet out and may end up dropping something else in the process – don’t make that mistake!


And finally… Men, we’ve all been there. There’s nothing worse than the moment when our vocal range goes up by an octave because our trousers or jeans are too tight.

But then, you have a problem. Do you mess around with the sizing to get that right, or do you buy a fancy belt to go with the jeans? Either way, you then have the issue of remembering measurements and which notch you use on your belt. It’s all too much hassle for what essentially is just a pair of jeans.

Personally, as much as I’ve talked about finding ‘the one’ in terms of jeans, buying a belt which matches with your jeans is what I usually do – it’s just another thing us guys have to consider.

So, with all that in mind, I have to say that searching for the perfect pair of jeans sounds more confusing than I first thought. Whilst I tried – and probably failed – to give my best advice on finding ‘the one’, Jacamo have written a blog post sharing their tips on ‘the perfect pair’ here.

How do you go about finding your perfect pair of jeans? Comment below!


P.S. Thanks to Jacamo for sponsoring this post. Whilst this post is sponsored, the opinions expressed here are solely mine.

Musical Discovery: ‘Everest’ by Public Service Broadcasting

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know that ever since I saw them at Glastonbury, I’m a big fan of Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting stand out by combining audio from archive footage with backing instrumentals. In this case, the song starts with footage explaining the discovery of Everest. After that, the song develops into relaxing guitar strums and mellow electronica. For me, it was this fluttering melody which drew me to this song – it conveys a sense of discovery and exploration that links strongly to the theme of Everest altogether.

As well as the calming, uplifting song, the other thing about the band is that they combine audio with archive footage in their music videos. In this case, we see stunning videos of the mountain as well as explorers. Both the music video and song have a mesmerising way of telling a historical story.

What do you think of this song? Comment below!


Weekly Update: Unbelievable Opportunities

Admittedly, not much happened this week. However, I thought I would use this post to talk about the ‘unbelievable opportunities’ that I have received since starting university or – more recently – this semester.

What was really exciting this week was that on Thursday, I was able to attend a reading by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

A photo of the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
Photo: Chris Boland – http://www.chrisboland.com/

Like many others, I first stumbled across Duffy’s work whilst studying for my GCSEs. I remember reading Havisham and Anne Hathaway. In particular, I recall the beautiful, visual imagery in both poems. It was imaginative, and that was the same when I saw her read out her works.

I took a lot away from the event. One of the main thoughts I had whilst listening to the poems was how much more can be added to a a poem when it is read aloud. At times I smiled at the thought that a specific word would not be read the same way by anyone else – everyone brings their own ideas and reading to a poem.

On the whole, both the poems themselves and Duffy were inspiring, creative and humorous. I particularly like the idea behind her The Woman’s Wife anthology and have bought that as well as New Selected Poems. I look forward to reading them.

Also, I was interviewed by the Guardian recently for an article on unconditional offers for university students. I’m thrilled to say it’s now online and you can read it here.

If you’ve ever asked where I want to go with journalism, I always reply with court reporting and/or writing for the Guardian. Last year I went to an insight day and I fell in love with how artsy the inside of their building is. In terms of the newspaper itself, I really admire its analytical approach to the news.

So as you can imagine, I was pretty excited to see my name on the Guardian website.

Listen to this week’s episode of Brunchtime (my radio show):

Saturday 30th January 2016 - Brunchtime with Liam & Danyal by Brunchtime on Mixcloud

How was yours? Comment below!


Digital Democracy: The Rise of the E-Petition | The Friday Article

As it stands, 134,235,920 petitions have been set up on Change.org, and 5,551 petitions have been created on the petition.parliament.uk website.
We are seeing a rise in a digital democracy. More than ever, social media has allowed us to provide political commentary and now, petitions are becoming ever more important in politics today.

Now, when the government makes changes we do not like, all we need is a petition with 100,000 signatures for the topic to be debated in parliament.

In the past, petitions were very much a physical piece of paper demanding change, but now it has moved online – to a place where even more people can see it and sign.

I suppose we’ve seen this with crowdfunding sites, too. Kickstarter and Crowdfunding both see people rallying together to make change.

But, with petitions making more of an impact online, are we seeing the rise of a digital democracy?

What do you think? Have you signed a petition? What was it for? Comment below!


Breaking into the US music scene | A Guest Post by Meghan from GotMeghan

Liam and I were discussing about what we were going to talk about to collaborate on our blogs, we’re both obviously into music. That’s how I found him in the first place because he wrote posts about different musical acts that he found interesting and whatnot. He made the suggestion about talking about how difficult it is for musicians to cross over the border and make it on US soil too. So we decided that I should write mine about that. I know we agreed on only talking about artists and bands from the UK, but I kept thinking about it, I remembered a few bands and a total genre that would kind of fit into this post, so I hope he doesn’t mind the slight change there.

I’m an American who loves a lot of different music. So you may not recognize a few of these bands at first, but I’m hoping after reading you’ll a little bit more open to add them to your playlists.

Why is it so difficult for foreign bands to get their music played here?

Honestly, it’s not necessarily the radio stations fault that they don’t play the music, it’s the audience. We’re the ones that request the songs. The DJs might premiere the tracks and they might play their favorites, but it’s mostly us choosing what we want to hear in the car, at home, etc. It also has a lot to do with other bands and how they’re creating music in the same genre too. You’ve got Bring Me The Horizon that have turned their “normal’ on its head a bit, made it with less screaming and more electronica and lyrical. A lot of people like it, but some people don’t like change, especially hardcore metalheads.

The band Amaranthe is a melodic deathcore band from Denmark-Sweden. The group consists of six members, they have three vocalists. Elize Ryd and Jake E both provide the clean vocals while Henrik does the screams in the songs. I feel like Amaranthe bring a very interesting sound to what you normally think of modern rock music; every song has a different vibe and kind of motivates you to get through the hour. The band released their first album in 2011 and they’re just now getting some hype! When their most recent album “Massive Addictive” came out early last year, two of their singles made it to the US on Sirius XM channel Octane and their Big Uns Top 10 countdown. It was a nice change and so good for a fans like myself, who’s been seeing their power for the last three years (I was a late bloomer!). I couldn’t hold my excitement for them when they were finally getting the chance for their music to be heard on a big radio station all over North America.

Something that this station does that not a lot do, even local stations don’t do, is they have special times where they play different international music. I hear music from Japan and Brazil. Countries that I’m not familiar with at all. I didn’t know that Japan has a big metal scene there! I’ve found quite a few bands recently from there that I’m adding to my posts in the summer. We just assume great rock and roll is from the US, Canada, and Britian, when it can be from anywhere and people need to stop being so close minded because they are missing out on some crazy, but awesome stuff from these lesser known countries.

I’ve seen quite a few bands make the switch, they want to experiment. Since more and more bands are fine with this, the fans are hearing the different sound and if they like it or not. Who says heavy metal should be the traditional: heavy, thrash and punk? Have you ever heard of symphonic metal before? It’s a mix of heavy metal elements mixed in with choirs, symphonies, and the operatic vocals. In the US, it is not a popular subgenre. It’s more popular in Eastern Europe, mostly The Netherlands. At least that’s mostly where I’ve found the most bands to be from, like Within Temptation and Epica. They both have a very specific sound, they’re fun and unique! Which is makes music in general worthwhile.

However, I feel bad for all of the symphonic metal bands in the US trying to make themselves known, since this subgenre is still not popular here. What is interesting though, there is one band from Florida that is very popular overseas than it is here. Not saying, they (or any of the foreign bands) don’t have any loyal fans in the US at all, but it’s not the amount of their crowds in say Russia. Different genres work better in certain areas than they do here and that’s so sad because that means nobody’s open for new stuff as they think. If you are looking for new music, I dare you to listen to some of the bands I’ve shared inside this post. Just close your eyes and see what happens. 

Tell me your thoughts of Amaranthe or symphonic metal as a whole down below!

P.S. Thanks to Meghan for writing this guest post for my blog. If you would like to write something for me, feel free to get in touch via. the Contact page. In the meantime, please do stop by Meghan’s blog, and do say hello to her on Facebook and Twitter, too!