A Thousand Words: Summer in the City 2017

At long last, I’ve finally attended a SitC (or Summer in the City) in full. 2015 saw me volunteer for a charity on the Creator Day, and I was only able to attend the Sunday last year. Now, I’ve been there for all three days and it’s been a blast from start to finish.

The first photo in this series which wasn’t taken by me. Thanks Teddy Ebbesen for the snap!

I should start by saying just how wonderful the YouTube community is when it’s squeezed into the ExCel in London, or indeed, when you spot a fellow viewer on a train. There’s no ice to break at this conference, and I’ve made so many friends because of that. Thank you to you all.

The other great thing is the amount of creators I was able to meet and panels I was able to attend. This was also my first year entering the Meet and Greet ballot, and because of that I was able to meet PetesJams, Emma Blackery and JaackMaate.

I met other creators outside of these M&Gs too, of course, who were just as nice. As for the panels, discussions on issues such  as disability and producing a sketch made me want to pick up the camera and film another video as soon as I got home.

I’m reluctant to talk about the convention too much, purely because I’ll be uploading a detailed, bumper vlog about the weekend to my YouTube channel soon. Look forward to that!

Musical Discovery: ‘Nothing Without You’ by Emma Blackery

Even before YouTuber and singer-songwriter Emma Blackery released her first track from her upcoming EP, Magnetised, fans were offered cryptic hints about the record’s story. ‘Mending’ was the one word the 25-year-old used to describe the collection of songs, and is an accurate term upon hearing the first single, Nothing Without You – which came out at midnight on Tuesday.

Aside from the line ‘I would be nothing without you‘ obviously alluding to Blackery’s gratitude at an ex-boyfriend for everything he has helped her achieve, lyrics such as ‘you shape me into who I wanted to be/and you made me take a look at myself and see‘ also touch upon this theme. In a comment on the music video on YouTube, Emma explained that this was a happy song – which provided some clarity after hearing negative lines like ‘I got shackles round my feet/They’re tying me to this place‘ in the track. Yet as a whole, the positive message becomes apparent after multiple listens (it’s that catchy) but it’s not just the lyrics which give off this vibe.

From the lively piano chords to the expressive drum rhythm throughout, the track’s instrumentals certainly continue this upbeat tone, but it’s Blackery’s refreshed vocals which really heighten these emotions. Throughout the nearly four-minute long song, listeners can be surprised with the occasional, powerful high notes (particularly in the chorus) from Emma, displaying increased passion and confidence both in terms of the subject matter and her singing in general.

With Nothing Without You being the first song on the six-track EP, it’s a release which has not only teased Blackery’s direction as an artist, but offered a first glimpse into the narrative of the record. It’s enough to justify the word ‘mending’ whilst keeping us intrigued in finding out how ‘the era of Magnetised unfolds.

Nothing Without You is available now on iTunes and Spotify. The EP, Magnetised, is out on May 26.

Whatever happened to my YouTube channel?

There was this one time when I had a YouTube channel. It started with a few travel vlogs before my experiences with video journalism during my degree inspired me to do topical videos. However, it’s been around two months since I last uploaded something to my YouTube channel, and I should probably explain why.

I can’t remember who said it, but I heard someone say a while back that YouTube is now split into ‘let’s players’ and vloggers. For the short amount of time that I uploaded videos, I guess I was the latter, and vlogging has a lot of problems if that’s the route you wish to go down.

First of all, you see countless ‘established’ YouTubers telling you the quality of your videos does not matter, and that it’s about the content. However, when I cannot afford the technology, do not own a proper camera and so have to use my phone or laptop, then it can still know my confidence.

Then there’s the fact that vlogging requires interesting content and a regular schedule – two things I was unable to keep up with whilst studying for a journalism degree. I struggled for the first few months, ideas felt forced and eventually the enthusiasm went.

I’ll admit it, and say that my view of YouTube wasn’t healthy whe I first started. I was more keen on monetising my videos rather than doing it for fun and producing the content I wanted – and I hated that.

The content I loved producing was my ‘ThinkerVlogs’, as travelling has always been something which I’ve enjoyed. But, since I don’t have time to travel around much, even that idea doesn’t quite work. I was running out of ideas and practical solutions, and so I gave up.

Maybe one day I’ll travel some more and will be able to return to vlogging. For now, I’ll be ok a break and I felt like it warranted an explanation.

Should I return to vlogging? Do you have any tips? Are you a vlogger yourself? Comment below!

Liam

Weekly Update: Results and Thoughts on SitC

This week was an eventful, but exciting one. First of all, on Thursday, I received my A-Level results. They were better than I expected and I’m thrilled to say that I will be studying Journalism at the University of Lincoln in September. Then, later that week, I went to this year’s Summer in the City.

 

For those who don’t know, Summer in the City is a UK convention for YouTubers or vloggers. Whilst, obviously, I am a blogger not a vlogger, that is not to say that I am not a fan of some of the creators that were there on Friday.

So on Friday, I was fortunate enough to volunteer for an organisation called Do Something. Throughout the day I was on their stall getting creators and visitors registered for a new campaign which Do Something are doing. The campaign is called ‘1 in 4 of us’, and is all about promoting positive and healthy relationships. You can find out more about the campaign here.

But as well as helping out Do Something, I also had some time to explore the convention itself. Even before I had entered the Excel, I bumped into my good friend Ollie. He is an amazingly talented photographer (take a look at his Twitter, Instagram and website) and was taking some photos at the event.

Additionally, TomSka (creator of asdfmovie) had his stall situated opposite ours, so after a quick lunch break I popped over to say hello. There was no queue at the time so I was able to have a nice, friendly chat about writing, comedy and the University of Lincoln (since he also studied there, which is where I’ll be going) as well as getting an autograph and a picture. Whilst looking around at the other stalls I was also fortunate to bump into Luke Cutforth/Lukeisnotsexy and Gary C – both were really friendly as well and Gary even stopped by our Do Something stall for a moment, which was really cool.

On a separate note, Do Something were kind enough to let me use their Twitter to live-tweet a panel! As a budding journalist/PR manager I was thrilled and live-tweeted a talk by Simeon Quarrie called ‘How to make your videos rock’. It was such a fun experience and Simeon even retweeted one of my tweets later on in the day, which was good to see!

Also, whilst on the Do Something stall, some of the visitors to Summer in the City who came up to me whilst I was on the stand were all so kind, chatty and friendly. In particular, I met Teddy (you can follow her on Twitter here) and Cathe (you can follow her on Twitter here and read her blog here), and it was really nice to meet them both!


Admittedly, I was so surprised by how nice everyone was at the event. It was my first Summer in the City and it was definitely a great experience. I really hope, if the opportunity arises once again, that I could volunteer at next year’s event. Thanks again to the brilliant team at Do Something for letting me come along for the day as I had an absolute blast!

Did you go to Summer in the City this year? Have you been in the past? Who are your favourite YouTubers? Comment below!

Liam

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

Liam

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.