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/. Licensed under Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode.

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):

How was yours? Comment below!

Liam

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!

Liam

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!

Musical Discovery: January Tunes

At the start of this month, I had all my Musical Discovery posts for January planned out, written and scheduled weeks in advance. However, as the days went by, I realised that I had found a lot of new music this month. Last week, I was desperate to let you all know about Frances, so this week is a round-up of my January tunes!

 

Good Times by Ella Eyre:

First of all, thanks must go to OliviaCheryl – as I stumbled across this song whilst browsing her YouTube channel (definitely go subscribe, by the way).

Anyway, after listening to this track, I was surprised that there was no mention of a drum and bass artist in the title of the YouTube video/song. In my head, I could tell that the drum-and-bass progression had to be typical of one DnB DJ – was it another collaboration with Rudimental? DJ Fresh? Wilkinson?

It took a moment to investigate, but it turns out that Good Times was a collaboration with Sigma – it’s just there was no credit to them in the song title! I was kicking myself when I realised (the song’s style was typical of the duo), but nevertheless it’s another triumph for both Ella and the DnB DJs. The music video was uploaded in July last year and whilst it’s still popular today – it was probably a great summer anthem when it was first released.

Also, I would go as far as to say that this is up there with her collaboration with Rudimental on Waiting All Night. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of Ella Eyre (at least not her original work) and so I would say that she really shines in these DnB singles – where the pressure of a fast-paced tempo is on and she can experiment with her vocal range.

Lastly, as well as the song being a feel-good summer anthem, the music video is full of euphoria, pugs and kittens – what more could you want?

 

Calling Out by Penguin Prison:

 

You may remember a while back that I reviewed Elephante‘s remix of Calling Out by Penguin Prison in a recent Musical Discovery. This time, however, I was keen to listen to the original version.

Whilst I wasn’t keen on Penguin Prison’s other tracks, it was interesting to compare this version with Elephante’s remix. After listening to both of them, it was clear that Elephante was respectful to the original, and that Penguin Prison’s version is just as funky – with a bouncy drum beat and strong guitar rhythm. Usually, I am not keen on remixes, but this is another track where I am keen on both a remix and the original.

 

Miracles by Martin Jensen feat. Bjørnskov:

Earlier this month I reviewed a few tracks from RAC, and that was after stumbling across his music on Facebook. Now, the social networking app’s ‘promoted’ sites has directed me to another artist I might like. This time, I came across DJ Martin Jensen’s, Miracles.

Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed with the beginning of the song. Soulful vocals from Bjørnsjov don’t quite fit in with the light piano melody. Thankfully, as an electronic melody and slow drum beat are introduced, the song finally develops a reliable and consistent tempo. Whilst this relaxing style appears in the opening verse, a simplistic synth melody paves the way into a similarly euphoric and ‘bouncy’ chorus.

In a video on his Facebook page, you can see where Martin Jensen originally got the idea for the chorus from. The wavering synth melody actually comes from an audio sample – taken from the ‘duck army’ video which went viral last year. It may be bizarre, but this audio sampling isn’t apparent when you give the song a listen.

Overall, the backing synth and jumpy drum beat in the chorus – combined with Bjørnskov’s vocal talents – create a chilled house melody that’s definitely worth listening to. Also, with the song only having been released in November last year, it’s fair to say that Martin Jensen may go on to achieve great things in 2016.

 

Which of these tracks is your favourite? Comment below!

Liam

 

Weekly Update: Returning to University

After a nice Christmas and New Year break, I returned to Lincoln this week to start my second term/semester at university.

Whilst I’ve only been back a week, I can definitely say that university life has got even better. Despite having to take a break from shorthand over Christmas because of a law exam, I absolutely love learning the written language and am using it more everyday – it’s so useful!

As well as that, there’s a new part of the course called Public Administration for Journalists (basically, politics), which I am finding really interesting. I think after last year’s General Election – when I could vote for the first time – I was thrown into the deep end when it comes to understanding political parties. Since then, I’ve always dabbled in politics more – I went to the Conservative Party Conference to interview MPs, for example – because it’s certainly an interesting thing. We talk a lot about the monarchy, government and law in this module and I can’t wait to learn more.

Additionally, my radio show – which I co-host with my friend Danyal – is going great! I had a bit of coverage in the local press about it, I’m learning plenty of new things and the opportunities and skills it has provided me with has been incredible. I’m so thankful for it and can’t wait to do more radio work with Siren FM in 2016.

Speaking of music, I also saw Philip George this Friday. Although, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. Save for a few remixes, Philip’s choices of tracks were all too similar. In terms of the support acts, the first DJ had a small crowd, whilst the second act had an annoying frontman (which, if you don’t know, are those people who hype up the crowd). I appreciate the need to get the crowd excited, but I just want to listen to the music!

But nevertheless, this week was awesome and it was a great start to another year education-wise.

How was your week? Comment below!

Liam

Liam returns to radio | The Friday Article

Lifestyle blogger Liam O’Dell will return to radio this Saturday, when his show, Brunchtime with Liam & Danyal, returns after taking a festive break.

The show, which started in December, will have its first episode of 2016 broadcast on Siren 107.3 FM on Saturday, 10am to 12pm.

However, the first show is quite a unique one, as it is was recorded in the past as a pre-record. Also, as Liam’s co-presenter, Danyal, is unwell, Liam will be presenting the show on his own this week.

The show will return to being broadcast live from Siren FM next week, with both Danyal and Liam co-presenting.

On the show, Liam shares the latest sports and entertainment  news, local events as well as the news you might have missed.

If you are from Lincolnshire, you can listen to the show on 107.3 FM, otherwise you can listen online via. sirenonline.co.uk. Previous episodes can also be listened to at mixcloud.com/Brunchtime.

Liam

Blog Awards #21: The Liebster Award

To be honest, I’ve slowly started to lose interest in blog awards. As the title states, this is my 21st blog award and when they all ask for the same thing (to nominate other bloggers and list some more facts about you) it does get repetitive and starts to become blogging chain mail.

liebster-award-large

However, that does not mean that I am not grateful for my latest nomination. Thanks must go to Chris over at HIS Lifestyle Blog for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Although, to make this a bit different to the other awards I have written about, I thought I would only answer the questions Chris has asked me.

  1. What is your name? Do you have any nicknames? My name is Liam O’Dell. For a long time I gave myself terrible, terrible nicknames. Two examples of me trying to be cool include nicknames such as ‘Specs’ and ‘Loddyman’. Yes, I was that child.
  2. How often do you post on your blog? I post every other day (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays).
  3. What made you want to create your blog? A teacher at school told me that having a blog is a good thing for an aspiring journalist to have. I was also keen on writing and sharing ideas so I decided to set one up.
  4. What are your top 3 goals for 2016? I set myself two resolutions in a recent blog post, but for the final goal I hope to boost my following on my Instagram, YouTube and Facebook pages.
  5. Do you remember the first blog you read? I’m not sure – I think it might have been one of my good friend, Chelsea‘s.
  6. What is the biggest challenge for you when blogging? Interesting question. I think it would have to be coming up with ideas, or trying not to get caught up in the numbers. At the moment, I don’t think either are too much of a problem, but they can become a challenge from time to time.
  7. Do you have a favourite TV show? For someone who is a massive TV fan, this is a very tough question indeed! I would say that it is a tie between Gotham, Sherlock and Utopia. In terms of the last two, they are the only two DVD box sets which I have bought (although I do plan on buying Series 1 of Gotham very soon). As an aspiring crime writer, I find all three TV shows fascinating, inspiring and creative.
  8. What are your hobbies? I love reading, writing, listening to music and playing the drums.
  9. How did you come up with your blog name? I don’t really know, to be honest. When I look back, I think it is a rather pretentious name (I don’t mean it to be), but I knew that it would be a lifestyle blog where I mainly write about my life. I decided to call it ‘The Life of…’ and then it just clicked, I guess.
  10. What is your biggest achievement to date? Is this a blogging achievement or in life in general? In terms of blogging, it would have to be reaching 1,000 followers on Twitter. Granted, it isn’t about the numbers, but the level of interaction I now have online is definitely something to be proud of. In terms of everyday life, I’m not sure. I think it would be going to the Conservative Party Conference last year to interview MPs about deaf issues. I learnt so much whilst I was there!
  11. Do you have a favourite blog? I’m never one for favouritism, but Maeve (from Thrift O’Clock) has been a really good blogger friend of mine for a year now. I even met her last week and she is awesome! (But everyone I interact with is great too, of course!)

So those were my answers to his questions! Thanks again to Chris for nominating me – do check out his blog!

Liam