The ‘Tube Chat’ badges will work, but not in the way you expect | The Friday Article

It was the latest light-hearted debate to dominate Twitter. Small ‘Tube Chat’ badges were appearing on the London Underground, encouraging people to talk to strangers on their morning commute. Nevertheless, it was something which posed a threat to the silence travellers have gotten used to for years, but will the scheme actually work?

Photo: tseyin on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons -
Photo: tseyin on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons –

Britons have their own sense of awkwardness when it comes to communication. It’s a sociological enigma which we’ve all grown up to accept, and one which journalist Rob Temple explores in his book and Twitter account, Very British Problems.

Being so heavily manifested in ‘Britishness’ and British culture, it’s unlikely that the taboo surrounding talking on public transport will ever go away. Most of us still prefer online conversation through perfectly edited emails, tweets or Facebook messages. Yet weirdly, the larger debates which take place on sites such as Twitter may provide a solution for problems with communication in real-life. In particular, memes could help prompt discussion on public transport – whether you like it or not.

Small talk is awkward for most of us and that’s what stops us from complimenting someone, saying something helpful or otherwise. Conversations without substance die out quickly, and we’re left wondering whether to return to the uncomfortable silence, or to try and revive the dying discussion. Topical chats last forever – we all know how easy it is to talk about the weather.

The discussion on Twitter has turned the badge into a meme, a symbol for a wider debate. For those who choose to wear the fashion accessory on the underground, they will get the ‘tube chat’ they want, but expect the conversation to be about the badge itself.

If anything, ‘dabbing’, Boaty McBoatface and Harambe have all proven how memes and online conversations can move away from the keyboard. Commuters on the London Underground may not be keen, or realise it yet, but the Twitter debate around these new badges will be making its way offline to a tube carriage near you very soon.



Musical Discovery: ‘yea, babe, no way’ by LANY

The drive home from work always offers some amazing music to listen to. Radio 1 is often the station of choice, and one day I came across this track by LANY. yeah, babe, no way is this week’s Musical Discovery.

With opening vocals reminiscent of Jack Garratt’s Worry, there’s something smooth and comforting about this song. The simplistic but fluid drum beat, alongside the plucky guitar riffs capture the seaside vibe which bands such as Circa Waves (with T-Shirt Weather) and The 1975 (with Chocolate) have succeeded in doing previously.

There’s also an interesting contrast in the track which brings it to life. Whilst the verses are soft, almost like a whisper, we hear louder, emotional vocals in the chorus. There’s even an atmospheric guitar solo towards the end of the song, which certainly adds to the summery feel of the track.

LANY (which stands for Los Angeles New York) tap into a heavily concentrated genre for this alternative feel-good track for the summer just gone, but as with most bands, the vocalist – in this case, Paul Klein – is what makes the band stand out. Whilst we may be in September now, yea, babe, no way is still worth listening to today.

What do you think of yea, babe, no way? Have you heard of LANY before? Comment below!


Musical Discovery: ‘Toothbrush’ by DNCE

There’s something impressive about DNCE being able to create successful hits with unusual titles. First it was Cake by the Ocean, now Joe Jonas and co. are talking about toothbrushes in another catchy, funky track from their SWAAY EP.

Once again, Joe Jonas’ traditional high-pitched vocals make an appearance, with a falsetto chorus similar to Cake by the Ocean. However, the real difference comes with the verses, where we hear a more sassy, groaning vocal style from Joe similar to that of Flo Rida in I Don’t Like It, I Love It, and a plucky bass groove.

Whilst Cake by the Ocean is loud and vibrant, Toothbrush adopts a more chilled, smooth tone for their follow-up. It’s a move which will please fans of the band’s debut single, whilst offering something slightly different.

What do you think of Toothbrush? Is it better than Cake by the Ocean? Comment below!


A Stance on Self-Promotion

I’ve taken a step back and let my blog do its own thing. I would write the posts and wait for people to discover them, rather than using scheduled tweets and Twitter chats to boost views out of desperation. When I said earlier this month that I was to take a step back from the blogging community, I was worried at first. I knew the community around my blog would remain, but I was didn’t know whether the interaction and comments – most often as a result from conversations during a Twitter chat – would come to a halt. Today, as I realised that I’ve surpassed my milestone of reaching 12,000 views by the end of 2016 and I’m one away from 1,000 combined WordPress followers, I decided that I quite like how things are going.

Granted, I still feel bad about not keeping up with scheduled tweets, but with most of my posts being shared by musicians or those with an interest in the current affairs I talk about, I tend to get more views than desperate and repetitive social media posts would get.

As I announced that my blog would be moving more towards professional writing as opposed to more personal pieces, I reflected on where I was four years ago in 2012. It was a time when I wrote posts on pretty much anything just to get something up on the website. I’ve already talked about how the content on this site has changed since then, but I genuinely believe that this blog has helped to improve my writing (alongside my path through education, of course). I have had a change in attitude and I like to think that I’ve had more people contact me through my blog because of that.

It’s likely that this is the same rhetoric I’ve mentioned countless times before in previous posts, but I also have something important to mention when it comes to how active my blog will be in the future.

I have returned to the University of Lincoln to begin my second year of studying journalism. Lectures, seminars and other commitments will mean that social media will remain low. For a long time, I have always had time to schedule blog posts, so that won’t be a problem. Yet, scheduling tweets via. Buffer has often come down to remembering to do it and finding the time to do it.

You’ll be seeing less promotional tweets from me, but that may just be a good thing.


Hunted: Rural areas are connected, but in an entirely different way | The Friday Article

In a post-Leveson society and with the Investigatory Powers Bill making its way through Parliament, ethics and surveillance remains a hot topic in the western world. The mystery and eeriness concealing the spying powers of the state has been exposed in Channel 4’s brilliant reality/gameshow/drama, Hunted – which returned for a second series last night.

Underneath its tense and suspenseful tone, the show asks: if you had to hide from expert hunters for 28 days, where would you run?

Avoiding London is an obvious point to make, and a new infographic by We Sell Electrical shows just how flawed a decision to stay in the capital could be, with more than 13,000 CCTV cameras watching our every move in the city.

Photo: We Sell Electrical (
Photo: We Sell Electrical (

Newcastle is the major city with the fewest cameras – with only 79 of them present in the area. However, with cities being complete with video sightings, ATM and more, it’s unsurprising that most fugitives from the last series and this series are staying clear of London and other big cities. Instead, the quieter rural areas – where technology is lacking – seems to be the obvious choice for those on the run.

With MPs continuing to work on plans regarding getting more rural areas online, the question of whether the current lack of connection in villages is something fugitives can exploit is an interesting one. Yet, this delay has prompted villagers and those living in the countryside to come up with traditional but effective ways of sharing information.

Photo: Rafael Parr on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons -
Photo: Rafael Parr on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons –

It’s something we see a lot on television dramas, documentaries and more. People know when someone new arrives in their area because word of mouth is so strong in the countryside. Something we saw in the first series of Hunted was the hunters handing out leaflets in these communities because when such a large group of people are on the lookout for a person – often incentivised with a possible cash reward – it’s almost as though the hunters have extra recruits on the team.

At the end of the day, it comes down to which is more valuable to these investigative teams: a close-knit community with word-of-mouth at its heart, or a rural area which has only just joined the grid? Of course, places with internet connections are obviously great for surveillance, but if Parliament does indeed make the push to get more villages and northern places online, then which is the best asset for these communities and the hunters? Old or new? Word of mouth, or online?


Musical Discovery: ‘Smoke Filled Room’ by Mako (Elephante Remix)

As I waited eagerly for Elephante’s debut EP, I am the Elephante, to be released, I searched the DJ’s long list of remixes and singles to see if there was anything I missed or might enjoy. I first discovered the artist through his remixes, after all, and after looking for a while, I found this. Smoke Filled Room by Mako (Elephante Remix) is this week’s Musical Discovery.

I had already heard of Mako before I discovered this remix. Dannic’s radio mix of Beam is a track I stumbled upon a while back, and little did I know that the duo appeared on Children of the Wild with Steve Angello. However, I had not heard of Smoke Filled Room before Elephante’s remix and it’s great that I can now check out the original. Thanks to Elephante (real name Tim Wu), I have discovered new artists such as Penguin Prison and new tracks from people such as Galantis.

What happens next is another reason why I respect Wu’s style of remixing. As I track down and listen to the original, I notice that they are rather similar. However, that’s not a bad thing. Elephante’s remixes accentuate the best aspects of a song whilst making small improvements here and there to create a reinvented feel to the track. This is something which is very clear in this version of Smoke Filled Room.

The fluttering and trickling melody at the centre remains the same, but with a more fuzzy style. The real difference comes with the DJ injecting a bit more life into the verses, with mellow synth melodies underneath the vocals. Whilst the original is atmospheric in the sense that the soft vocals create a more laid-back dance track, Elephante’s remix remains delicate, but manages to capture new emotion and passion in the vocals and melody which may not have come to light fully in the original. Smoke Filled Room is another impressive remix from Elephante, which demonstrates his talents as a DJ to really showcase a song’s full potential.

What do you think of Smoke Filled Room? Do you think it’s better than the original? Comment below!


Musical Discovery: ‘Make This One’ by Moro

It was inside the O2 that I heard Moro’s music for the first time. In a small lounge area, a few minutes before a networking event, the duo took to the stage to perform songs from their debut release, 2. As I watched on, I was intrigued by their laid-back, mellow style. One track which stuck out in particular, was Make This One.

It begins with light piano chords, which create this wonderful ambience for listeners to focus on the lyrics. Rose’s vocals are soft and calm, with hints of Aluna George, Laura Mvula and Izzy Bizu. That’s not to mention the melody in the line ‘stare into space there’s nothing to see‘ which may remind some listeners of a tune from Disclosure’s Latch. It’s this whole stripped-back style which is proving popular in the music industry at the moment, and Moro offer a refreshing take on it.

Then there’s the backing instrumentals provided by Rose’s brother, Tom, which complement each other perfectly. As the track progresses, the piano blends with a bouncy, almost calypso-like rhythm and plucky guitar. We hear a stylish guitar solo before the song is brought to a satisfying conclusion. It’s a track full of smooth, relaxing vibes, and makes for perfect listening at a time when dance anthems are making their way out, and calmer songs take their place.

Make This One is taken from their debut release, 2, which can be downloaded for free via. Moro’s Soundcloud, here.

What do you think of Make This One? Comment below!