Vote for a GCSE in British Sign Language! | The Wednesday Article

Deaf lifestyle blogger Liam O’Dell, who blogs at The Life of a Thinker, is backing Signature’s campaign to create a GCSE qualification for British Sign Language (BSL).

The campaign is a pitch to Richard Branson, as part of his latest promotion: Pitch to Rich – which allows businesses to pitch new and exciting ideas to the Virgin boss.

Signature is one of the main course providers for BSL qualifications from Level 1 to 6. Now, Signature hope to introduce a GCSE qualification in BSL.

As a deaf young person, Liam strongly supports the idea of a GCSE in BSL.

“I’ve always wanted to learn BSL to communicate with friends,” said Liam. “But it’s just as important for hearing people that they learn BSL, too.”

Members of the public have until the 5th May to vote. The top 150 campaigns will then form a shortlist.

To vote for this campaign, you can click here.



Musical Discovery: ‘Treasured Soul’ by Michael Calfan

For this week’s Musical Discovery, I discovered a song I think I’ve heard of before.

Towards the end of March, I went to see Madeon live in London (read the post here). Before he came on, his support act, One Bit, performed. If I’m not mistaken, this track, Treasured Soul by Michael Calfan, was on their set list. I was the reminded of it when I overheard it last week.

As the song begins, it’s clear that the track has a strong soul theme. With a light, mellow piano riff alongside an offbeat drum beat, the song starts with the typical 90s dance-soul.

Then, the fitting soul vocals add to this style, and it isn’t long before the track delves into it’s anthem-like chorus. Unlike the recent dance anthems of today, the track’s chorus incorporates the marimba style of African music. This new style creates an exciting new melody that means this song is contender for this year’s summer anthem.

What do you think of the song? Could it be this year’s summer anthem? Comment below!


Weekly Update: Thoughts on Sherlocked

I heard the news earlier this year, and with a worldwide fanbase, it was to be expected. There is going to be a Sherlock convention.

I have never been to a convention before, but I’ve always been a fan of Sherlock, so I knew it would be a good experience. So I got tickets to attend the convention yesterday, at the ExCel Convention Centre in London.

First off, we had to go on numerous tube lines to get to the venue. This included my first ever visit on the DLR, which was interesting. After a large amount of travelling, we finally arrived at the ExCel to begin our day.

On the inside were lines of restaurants and takeaways, before signs pointed us in the direction of “S5”, the area of the ExCel was to be for the whole weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). As soon as I entered the ‘arena’, I noticed the room was filled with fellow fans (some in impressive cosplay), as well as a large amount of merchandise and elements from the show. We arrived in plenty of time (since the first item on our agenda was to see the Visual Effects Show with Danny Hargreaves), so we went straight to the queue for the autographs to get our free ‘virtual tickets’ for Sue Vertue (Producer) and Steven Moffatt (Co-Writer) autographs.

Although the idea of the ‘virtual ticket’ sounded a bit confusing at the time to a novice convention attendee, it was soon made clear that we can go and do other things with our time and check back regularly for our number to be called. Thankfully, our number for Sue Vertue was in the 30s, so it wasn’t long before we could get her autograph. As for Steven Moffat, we had tickets in the 300s, so that gave us a bit more time to explore.

After looking at other tweets from attendees, a select few did have a few negative things to say – mostly the organisation and price. Personally, I found that there was enough to do in one day (I was not too sure about whether an attendee could be completely entertained for the whole three days), and there were memorable things to do for free (such as see props and get a few autographs). That being said, the rather hefty prices for some autographs, photoshoots and ticket packets were a tad extortionate. Also, I will admit that the organisation wasn’t so good either, as we found with our first talk for the day…

The procedure to get into the main talk stage area, was to go out of S5, and queue inside the large ‘hangar’ of S7. This would then feed out of S7 all the way down to S6, where we can enter. But, when the talk comes to an end, and you have another talk after that, you have to exit through the door on the opposite side and quickly queue up again. It was a bit tiresome.

Anyway, we were fortunate enough to get tickets to talks by both Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott. But before that, we decided to go to the free visual effects show with Danny Hargreaves (a special effects designer who has worked on the likes of Doctor WhoCoronation Street and of course Sherlock). In this very interesting and entertaining talk, we were given demonstrations on how effective gunshot wounds are created in the show, as well as explosions. In particular, *SERIES THREE SPOILER ALERT* there is a scene in His Last Vow where after Sherlock is shot, he falls down and the camera tilts. In an exciting demonstration, we found out that it was actually a rig that Benedict sat on which lowered him to the floor as the camera tilted – fascinating!

It was great as well as Danny himself went back to his stall to demonstrate props to visitors. Later on in the day, I was able to ask him a couple of questions. These included what his most expensive stunt was (to which he said he couldn’t say since it will be coming up soon), what happens if an actor messes up the stunt (they get a strict telling-off!), and how the infamous fire scene from The Empty Hearse was done without harming Martin Freeman (short answer – controlling the fire with coolants and other cool stuff!). Danny was a really nice guy and it was great to find out more about the effects!

Benedict’s talk. Excuse the poor quality photos – the only way I could take photos was by taking a picture of the large screen, which doesn’t work well with iPhones!
Then came the talks. Understandably, Benedict’s was packed. At the start, there was a light show of eager fans wanting to take a photo of Sherlock himself. But then, the host began to ask questions about Benedict’s portrayal of the sleuth before turning the questions to the ecstatic audience. Overall, the talk was entertaining, with a Chewbacca and Smaug impression along the way.

After leaving to queue up again, we were let into Andrew Scott’s talk. Unfortunately, due to the audio set-up, I was unable to hear much of the talk apart from a few sections. In particular, I question I wanted to ask (which another fan managed to ask for me) was how Andrew would differ his performance of Moriarty to his performance of the next Bond villain. There was silence before he said his answer, but I was unable to hear what he said (thanks to the bad audio).

With the main talks done, we had some time to explore the props. There were opportunities to queue up and take a photo of yourself outside the 221B door, which we did and was great fun. As well as that, there were props such as The Lost Vermeer Painting, and the taxi from the first episode, A Study in Pink. You could also see the sets for Mycroft’s Office as well as the actual 221B set. There was even more props in a special Props Museum, which I will talk about later on in this post…

Another exclusive of the event was a special display called John Watson: History of a Hero. This detailed the life of John before his meeting with Sherlock. We find out about his childhood, as well as what caused the shooting in Afghanistan.

Then we had lunch before having another look at merchandise. At the end of the day, I bought the official programme, a pen (of course) and a printed picture which I could use for my autographs. There was also a BBC Shop on site that sold even more goodies, but the book I wanted to buy, The Sherlock Chronicles, was sadly sold out when I arrived.

So we decided to go to the Props Museum. Inside, were numerous props from the series. These ranged from costumes, to newspaper articles, to some of the most famous props from the show. Set in the form of a walk around museum, it was great to see the items up-close.

It wasn’t long before the day was starting to draw to a close, and we had seen it all – apart from the autographs. We went back and quickly joined the queue for Sue Vertue, who was really friendly asking how my day went. Then later on we met Steven Moffat, who gave me some interesting writing advice.

It was also exciting as whilst we were in the queue for Steven, we noticed that his son, Louis Moffatt, was also doing free signings. For those who don’t know, Louis is the actor that played Young Sherlock in Series Three. It was great to meet them, get their autographs for free and add it to my collection.

Overall, I had a great day. It was so great to see actors and props in real-life and feel involved and part of a fandom (as weird as that sounds). Sherlock has always been a favourite show of mine and so it was great to see how it comes together. I’m curious to see if the convention will happen again next year…

Did you go to the Sherlocked Convention? If not, who out of the cast would you most like to meet? Comment below!


Musical Discovery Posts return to Normal! | The Friday Article

In breaking news, lifestyle blogger Liam O’Dell has announced that his Musical Discovery posts will return to normal, after a WordPress update was released recently.

Liam recently made WordPress aware of an issue regarding embedding YouTube links – after the videos he uses in his reviews failed to embed.

After liaising with WordPress support, the blogger helped WordPress to identify the issue, which was resolved in their latest mobile update, version 5.0.

In the update details, WordPress confirmed that the update included a “new multifactor auth support”, “new stats sections”, “a new post details screen” and “improvements to the notification screen”.

After realising the fix, Liam said, “I am thrilled that the YouTube embed issue has finally been resolved. Musical Discovery posts are one of my favourite posts to write on the blog.”

“I’d like to thank the happiness engineers at WordPress for their help and support.” Liam added.

Liam is expected to release his next Musical Discovery post on Monday.


Review: All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher

The teenage years have always been known for their unpredictability. We are expected to know what we want to do for a career as well as pass the exams that ‘will determine the rest of your life’. Then you’ve got the rush of hormones, peer pressure and possible romance.

Thankfully, YouTuber and West-End performer Carrie Hope Fletcher is here to offer a helping hand through the bumpy ride of teenage life with her debut book, All I Know Now.

With anecdotes from Carrie along the way, as well as occasional moments of hindsight, All I Know Now’s semi-autobiographical tone gives the book a more personal feel – something many advice books today struggle to achieve.

Additionally, Carrie is quick to predict the trends of teenage life and organise it into simple categories or ‘acts’ such as: dreams, relationships and making friends. As well as this, other sections of the book keep to the theatrical theme. For instance, the ‘props’ section contains a list of useful contacts for young people, whilst the introductory prologue begins with the book’s personal tone. Let’s not forget, of course, the book’s vibrant yellow and purple colour scheme, which makes the book even more welcoming and vibrant.

Another great part of this book is that it has the ability to be a great book for future reference. Also, when reading it in full, I wanted to keep reading more! It wasn’t long before I had finished the book and felt like I had learned a lot of useful information and tips along the way.

Understandably, a few people out there will roll their eyes at the fact that a large amount of YouTubers are now publishing books of their own. However, with Carrie having such a strong desire to write a book of her own and to help other people, this book is definitely an exception.

Written in a style that is friendly with bursts of wit and humour, Carrie Hope Fletcher’s All I Know Now is the perfect companion to the roller-coaster of emotions that is teenage life.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Many thanks to the kind people at Little Brown for sending me a copy of this book! All I Know Now is available to buy now on Amazon, Waterstones and iBooks.

Musical Discovery: ‘Closer’ by Rae Morris

I had first heard of this track, and Rae Morris herself, when it was played last year on BBC Radio 1. Since then, I’ve realised that Morris also provided vocals for Clean Bandit’s Up Again, and after a few more listens, Closer is this week’s Musical Discovery.

Starting with a mellow piano riff, Rae’s soft vocals are given a more relaxing feel in the verses. As well as this, the unusual rhythm of the lyrics creates something unexpected but intriguing for the song.

Then, during the bridge, both the piano riff and Rae’s vocals develop. The deep piano notes change to a repetitive but emotive melody, and Rae demonstrates her ability to perform high notes in lines such as: “Going, going, gone.

This is the same when the track finally reaches the chorus. At this point, strings are also introduced and the drums are more pronounced – giving the chorus an emotive and soulful feel. In particular, Rae’s high notes continue with this rather catchy chorus.

At first, I was unsure of the track. But now, the track has become a catchy and soulful introduction to Rae Morris.

What do you think? Comment below!


Blog Awards #18: The Liebster Award

Earlier this week I received a nomination for the Libester Award from Jonelle over at Tyranny of Pink. Thanks so much for the nomination, Jonelle! Please do stop by her blog, everyone – it’s such a colourful blog with some great pictures!

The Rules:

  1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the nominator’s 11 questions.
  3. Nominate 11 small blogs who have less than 200 followers. You should believe that they deserve this award and include their link in your post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for your nominees to answer. Notify these nominees via social media/blog.

Looking at these rules, I technically have more than 200 followers. But the questions looked fun so why not? Speaking of questions, here are the ones Jonelle asked me…

1. What is the best thing about your city?

I don’t really live in a city so I’m going to cheat and talk about the city of London which I explore quite often. The best thing about London is its apparent mystery. Everyone fears getting lost in London (understandably, too – getting lost can be scary), but the opportunity to explore is a great thing about London.

2. Complete the sentence; I am happiest when….

I’m listening or playing to music.

3. Why did you start blogging?

I’ve always loved writing and when I heard that it’s a useful thing for an aspiring journalist to have, I thought I would give it a try.

4. What is your all time favourite song?

Wow, for someone that loves music so much, this changed regularly and is almost impossible for me to decide. However, I think it has to be Pay No Mind by Madeon featuring Passion Pit, as it’s going to take a lot to knock that song off the top-spot.

5. If you could play any character in a series, who would that be?

I have absolutely no idea for this one, sorry! My taste in TV dramas is quite limited so I wouldn’t know…

6. What achievement in your life are you most proud of?

I’d say it’s being a Grade 7 Drummer.

7. If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would that be?

If it’s somewhere I’ve never been to before then I’d wake up in Paris – I’ve always wanted to go there. Otherwise, it would be Padstow in Cornwall. 

8. What is one of the things on your 2015 wish list?

Not really on my wish-list for this year (more on my wish list for life), I want to finish writing a book. In fact, it is one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

9. What do you love most about yourself?

My creativity and curiosity.

10. What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Dressing up as a snail for a primary school play. Yes, that’s right, a snail.

11. What is your go-to drink order (can be alcoholic or not)?

I don’t drink anyway, so I always like a Sprite or 7UP.

Now I get to nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 (Bloglovin) followers who I think are worthy of the award:

  1. Voyageur Kalee
  2. Paperback Planes
  3. Life as Amazzable
  4. The Salty Sea Blog
  5. Charlie, Cake and Coffee
  6. Lilliputian Rose
  7. Hattie Hards
  8. Meganbug
  9. Loving Life in Wellies
  10. Just Write About It
  11. Jasminwbu

Now here are my questions for you!

  1. What is your favourite quote?
  2. Where is your favourite beach/coastal location?
  3. If you could only listen to one song forever, what song would it be?
  4. What is your favourite meal?
  5. Do you prefer a cold night by the fire reading, or a summer’s day sunbathing?
  6. When do you get your ideas? Just as you wake up, or just as you’re about to go to sleep?
  7. What is your most treasured book on your bookshelf?
  8. Where is the one place you wish you could visit?
  9. If you could suddenly become fluent at another language, which language would it be?
  10. What does your notebook look like?
  11. What would you love to blog more about this year?

So those are my questions! Congratulations to those nominated and thanks again to Jonelle for nominating me!