Open for business

My business cards arrived yesterday. For a long time, I’ve contemplated getting them. Life as a first year journalism student meant a lot of interviews, networking and work experience placements – all of which could have been perfect opportunities to hand over a business card and build upon a relationship with a contact. However, for a long time, I wasn’t sure about whether this was a business a not, or still one of my hobbies. I wasn’t sure about what it was exactly that I could offer people in terms of services, or what would warrant me needing to create a business card.

The Life of a Thinker is open for business. Photo: Glen Scott on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.
The Life of a Thinker is open for business. Photo: Glen Scott on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.

Now, I’ve realised that this blog has essentially become more formal in style. Personal posts about how my week are gone, and have been replaced with music reviews, opinion posts and book reviews. I’ve said before in my post, Wavelengths and Automation, about how this blog will move towards becoming an online portfolio to showcase my journalism. Well, with that in mind, it’s about time I start advertising The Life of a Thinker, whilst also offering my services as a blogger and freelance journalist. The first opportunity to do this is at a networking event next month, and I cannot wait.

With that being said, I still have a fair way to go before this site is how I want it to be. Something I’ve always looked into but never gone ahead with is buying a custom URL, and it’s about time I actually bought one. Unfortunately, http://www.thelifeofathinker.wordpress.com is far from a professional URL, and so a custom domain would be more appropriate.

So I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you got a custom URL for your blog? Where did you buy your domain from? What are your opinions on having a .com or .co.uk website? Comment below!

Liam

Musical Discovery: ‘Ain’t Giving Up’ by Sigala feat. Craig David

Craig David and Sigala are two artists at the forefront of the dance genre. Sigala offered a refreshing take on tropical house, whilst Craig David has returned to the music scene with a new garage vibe. Both of them now dominate the charts with their original styles, but what happens when they join forces to create a new single? Ain’t Giving Up is the end result.

It’s a voice which has seen Craig David move seamlessly between genres, and now tropical house is another category of music which the musician can add to his list. Smooth, fluttering vocals combine with Sigala’s usual upbeat piano chords and plucky synth melodies to form a track which is both unique and continues the Easy Love DJ’s style.

Ain’t Giving Up is the latest release which demonstrates that Sigala (real name Bruce Fielder) is broadening his horizons as a musician. His debut single – which sampled The Jackson 5’s ABC – highlighted his ability to sample and remix music. After that, Sweet Lovin allowed the artist to develop his original brand of tropical house, whilst Say You Do and Don’t Need No Money were his first two collaborations with fellow DJs. Much like how Give Me Your Love was a chance for Sigala to explore the funk genre, Ain’t Giving Up was another opportunity for the DJ to mess around with deep house and garage.

When Fielder joined forces with Blonde, it was the perfect collaboration between the two of them. Unlike Say You Do, where the DJ’s tropical melodies were drowned out by DJ Fresh’s drum-and-bass rhythm, Don’t Need No Money had a clear balance between Sigala and Blonde’s varying styles. This almost 50-50 split is also apparent in this latest release, where we see a nod to Craig David’s distinctive garage.

There have been rumours of an album coming out soon, and with six singles under his belt, fans have seen what this tropical house DJ has to offer. Whilst another release in the future would be welcomed, now we’re all waiting for Sigala’s debut album to be released.

What do you think of Ain’t Giving Up? Do you think the collaboration between Craig David and Sigala worked? Comment below!

Liam

The beauty of looking forward

As I write this, there’s a lengthy to-do list beside me and Kygo’s Cloud Nine is playing in the background. I’ve never been this busy since I was at university in April. Now, as I only have a few weeks left before I’m back to the University of Lincoln for the second year of my journalism course, my task list is building. Whilst this may worry some people, for someone who constantly wants to be busy, yet have some spare time as well, I couldn’t be happier.

On Tuesday, I uploaded a re-introductory video on my YouTube channel. After uploads stalled for a few months, Summer in the City kicked it back to life, and I’ve decided to make videos about deafness, with the odd bit of lifestyle chucked in. Subscribe for new videos every Sunday. In fact, my next video will be up at 7:30pm tonight, where I will be talking about V Festival, amongst other things.

Aside from that, opportunities have come up which I have to prepare for. I won’t go into these just yet, but with every competition I enter and event I decide to attend, I learn something new and expand my network.

Throughout summer, I had a moment to think in the present, when considering my return to university felt like ages away. Now, I’m looking forward to returning to my radio show in Lincoln, getting involved with the university’s student newspaper, having a flat all to myself, Fresher’s Week (where Example, Scouting for Girls and BBC Radio 1’s Greg James are playing) and seeing Jonathan Pie and Russell Howard live. After a few months of taking a step back from looking ahead, I’m glad I’ve returned to looking forward at what’s coming up next.

How was your week? What did you get up to? What are you working on at the moment? Comment below!

Liam

#Traingate: Corbyn may finally have a winning media strategy | The Friday Article

Jeremy Corbyn was on a train talking about how ‘ram-packed’ it was. What happened next is up for debate, but ‘#traingate’ was soon a trending topic on social media. However, in amongst the fact-checking were talks about the re-nationalisation of our railways. Even if this one train Corbyn was on isn’t the best example of overcrowded carriages, then we all have our own experiences of it. The controversy worked, as talks about the public ownership of rail services manifest themselves in society.

After the controversy with Virgin Trains and #traingate, Labour may have a new media strategy. Photo: JamesZ_Flickr on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.
After the controversy with Virgin Trains and #traingate, Labour may have a new media strategy. Photo: JamesZ_Flickr on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.

After all, Brexit, the fall of BHS and the crisis with Southern Rail have all exposed the elite and challenged the case for privatisation. The topic of conversation has turned to anti-establishment sentiment and the desire for public ownership. We have Jeremy Corbyn – the politician who represents these views on a political level – being challenged by Virgin Trains over ‘traingate’ and being attacked by the right-wing media at every opportunity. It’s understandable that some people believe Branson’s rail company argued against Corbyn’s statements because they have an interest in private ownership of rail services. Meanwhile, the right-wing press create this narrative of an unelectable left-wing Labour leader because his election would mean their voices being silenced. Corbyn poses an existential threat to both the right-wing media and Virgin Trains, so of course they will argue back when they can.

The left-wing Guardian columnist Owen Jones writes in a post on Medium about the ‘questions all Jeremy Corbyn supporters need to answer’, with one of the main questions revolving around a “clear media strategy”. As a new Labour supporter, I’ve always steered clear from writing a response to this. However, whilst the true events of ‘traingate’ remain unknown, underneath the controversy lies the truth that we’ve all been on an overcrowded train. That’s the winning strategy for Labour.

As the Corbyn vs. Virgin Trains debate dies down, Jeremy’s team have said that ‘traingate’ has helped the Labour leadership candidate with his calls for public ownership of the railway network. It’s because there was a relatable truth about rail services at the heart of the video Corbyn made on that train. After that, Virgin Trains and the media quickly jumped at the opportunity to dispute his tale of events. In the end, it was unnecessary and pointless. Even if Virgin Trains’ account is correct, it does nothing to justify the many train journeys other people have had to take where not enough seats are available. The panicked response to Corbyn’s call for public ownership only publicised Jeremy’s policies further. It’s a risky tactic, but could these pedantic scandals and controversies be the way for Corbyn to thrust his politics into the media spotlight?

Jones also talks about Sadiq Khan conquering the media after his election as London mayor, and how “he was remorselessly portrayed as the puppet of extremists by his opponent and his ally — the capital’s only mass newspaper, as well as several national newspapers. He managed to counteract it, and won.” Yet, the original media attacks on Sadiq Khan and the current media attention surrounding Corbyn aren’t completely identical – of course – and so it would be hard to use this as a case study or template for Jeremy’s new media strategy.

That being said, Londoners were sick of the personal attacks made at Sadiq Khan, so could this hatred of ad hominem remarks also benefit Jeremy Corbyn? If anything, his media strategy should be continuing to promote relatable policies, and then watching the right-wing media squirm. It will be repetitive, but the retaliation from right-wing bodies will only prove that what Corbyn is saying is true, and that will be their big mistake.

Liam

Thoughts on V Festival 2016

The great thing about a festival is the choice of who you get to see. Justin Bieber and Rihanna were two acts set to grace the main stage, but I’m not the biggest fan of either. Whilst Bieber does make good music, I can’t stand him as a person and Rihanna’s music doesn’t really appeal to me. However, with multiple stages and a comedy tent to explore, there was always someone I wanted to see.

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With Glastonbury, the artist on the line-up poster which had me jumping up and down with excitement was Two Door Cinema Club. A few months before the Worthy Farm festival I had rediscovered the band and fell in love with their music all over again, so to see them live was amazing. This time round, it was Sigala, Sia, and Eliza and the Bear.

Before I comment on those, it was also great to finally see Jess Glynne after she has released her debut album, I Cry When I Laugh. I missed out in 2015 when she pulled out of doing Glastonbury, and I went to see Pendulum instead at last year’s V Festival.  As expected, she delivered a phenomenal performance.

I was hoping that Imani Williams would appear during Sigala's set. It was brilliant to see her perform 'Say You Do' and 'Don't Need No Money'.
I was hoping that Imani Williams would appear during Sigala’s set. It was brilliant to see her perform ‘Say You Do’ and ‘Don’t Need No Money’.

As for Sigala, I’ve loved his music since Easy Love. His unique style of tropical house caught my attention and I’ve been obsessed with every new single he has released after that. He was fantastic, with his set – complete with a shack, bongos and other tropical props – mimicking his style of music. Whilst there was a hype man (the person who gets the crowd ‘hyped up’ before the beat drops), he did a great job of keeping the crowd entertained without talking too much – which I respect. Half way through his set, Sigala also did a mini DJ set, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was surprised to see Imani Williams and Bryn Christopher make an appearance too.

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Sia is someone who is surrounded with mystery and is an artist you can’t help but be stunned by. Her voice is astounding and powerful – up there with Adele, I believe – and with her deciding to cover her face when performing in front of the cameras, she really does stand out in the music industry.

Before seeing her perform, I did wonder what her live shows would involve. I had heard a lot about her using dancers in her performances and presumed this would be the same at V Festival. After all, seeing a blindfolded singer attempt to interact with her fans for an hour wouldn’t be very entertaining. Instead, a small group of dancers took to the stage to move along to Sia’s impressive collection of songs. If anything, it was as if the Chandelier singer’s music was a soundtrack to a play. It was emotive and beautiful.

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Last, but not least, I have to talk about Eliza and the Bear. On the cusp of entering the mainstream music scene, their audience was of a reasonable size, but it was enough to get me right up to the front, which was brilliant. The banter between the band members was hilarious, their songs were wonderfully upbeat and hearty, and their stage presence was great. I’m so glad I finally got round to seeing them.

On the whole, just when I thought I’d seen everyone I wanted to see, I realised that I could never stop wanting to see more people live. V Festival was great as always, and I had a blast with friends and family.

Acts I saw: David Guetta, Justin Bieber (partly), Faithless (partly), Sia, Zara Larsson, Kaiser Chiefs, Fleur East, Sigala, Lukas Graham, Example (partly), Eliza and the Bear, DNCE (partly), Mike Posner, James Morrison (partly), Jess Glynne, Bastille, MK,  Josh Widdecombe (partly) and other comedy acts.

Did you go to V Festival this year, or perhaps you saw the coverage on MTV and Channel 5? Who were your favourite performances? Comment below!

Liam

Musical Discovery: ‘Summer on You’ by Sam Feldt x Lucas & Steve feat. Wulf (Club Edit)

A lot of songs have taken their time to grow on me lately. Whether that’s because the song isn’t something I’d usually listen to, or because I’m not in the mood for new music, it’s only after the third listen (or more) that a track starts to finally grow on me. Summer On You feat. Wulf, is one of these songs, and is this week’s Musical Discovery.

On the first few listens, I fell in love with the fuzzy synth melody, but the forgettable lyrics were enough to stop me from having this track on repeat for weeks and weeks. It was only after a few more listens that I realised that Wulf’s soft vocals create a nice juxtaposition between these verses and the loud, pulsing chorus. However, that being said, the chorus still dominates the song, with Wulf’s voice being an unimportant interlude between drops.

Most of us will remember Sam Feldt as being the DJ behind a chilled remix of Robin S’ dance classic, Show Me Love. In Summer on You, we still see this chilled style apparent in the vocals and the opening guitar strum, but for most of the song we see a different track from Feldt. In the dance/club genre at the moment, we’ve seen many tropical synth melodies, but this fuzzy tune really does stand out.

What do you think of Summer on You? Have you heard of Sam Feldt and his remix of the Robin S classic, Show Me Love? Comment below!

Liam

Definition

Wanting to create something but not knowing what is the worst. Some call this writer’s block but in terms of this blog and the feeling I’ve felt, I’m not too sure if you can call it then. It’s almost an existential crisis, as two whole days in my blogging schedule are undefined, without any specific topic. I’m someone who likes having a structure and regular themes on this blog, yet I can’t think of what, exactly.

I’ve mentioned some ideas, but I didn’t feel as though they could stretch far. However, surrounding yourself with creativity has always been the answer for me. When progress on my book stalled, going to the local pub with fellow writers led to my inspiration coming back and me writing the first few paragraphs of the novel a few days later. When my YouTube channel has died a slow death due to lacking ideas, Summer in the City is what has led to me filming two new videos this week.

I’ve talked about it a lot this week, but SitC really helped me to find my creative spark again and find new passions which I could talk about on my YouTube channel and on Wednesdays and Sundays on this blog. That one day has defined my blog once more and has ended a long blogging identity crisis. My blog is growing from strength to strength, and I couldn’t be anymore happier.

How was your week? What did you get up to? Comment below!

Liam