SOS in Bel Air Review

Sometimes life becomes a stiff routine of mundanity, and sometimes we need to escape. Phoenix are the answer. SOS in Bel Air is like a one-way ticket to eternal sunshine and elation. Vocalist, Thomas Mars, reincarnates the complex simplicities of youth when he utters, “can’t cross the line but you can’t stop trying.” Again and again. It’s a lust-ridden mantra on a loop. The synths and fast tempo snare, as ever by Phoenix, enchant a foot tapping frenzy while creating the feeling of being swaddled in bubble wrap and being infinite. Phoenix are pioneers. And ruddy fab ones, at that.

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NME Q For Mag: Will You Be Watching the BRIT Awards This Year?

No. The BRITs have become just a little too predictable. I get that different people have different tastes. But the majority of the nominees are just synthetic garbage. The list is hardly eclectic and it butters us up perfectly for a future of mediocrity within the music industry. And sure, there are some okay acts up there on the bill, but to say they’re the best in the country? No chance. I just find it a bit depressing.

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I write for NME!

I write for NME!

… or at least I am this week, and for this week only. Here’s my first official article. The tone of voice for this section of the mag is very straight forward, and informative so I do feel like almost anybody could have written it – but hey! They’ve asked my to write for them and they’ve published it. That’s beyond flattering.

So, it’s been a while

For the past week or so, I’ve been rushed off my busy little feet. So here’s just a down low/low down of what you’ll be expecting of me in the next few weeks to come.

I have FINALLY decided what I’m going to write my essay on. It’s something that I will really be able to yack on about, much like a skittish old man, telling war stories. Just because, basically, I’m very passionate about it. My chosen object is NME magazine… Whether or not this will have to be a specific issue or not, I am not quite sure. But either way, expect to be ranted at. I chose this because it’s something that really opened my mind at a very young age, and taught me not to just follow the general modus operandi of being a teenage kid. Plus, I have work experience there next week – something I am freaking ecstatic about. This should give me a little extra insight. Plus, I can pass the week off as essay research. I’m a dedicated student, you see.

So here’s what I’ve got so far… No essay title or question as of yet, but a few combined notes that will be used for my into:

Music is powerful. Few things in the world define us better than the music we listen to. Music has the ability to drag us down like a cat in a sack and to soar us up to the skies. And as probing as this may sound, I must ask. Do you really think you would be you without music? I, personally, would be a completely different person. God knows what sort of rugged ruffian I would be, if it were not for my endless, spongy appetite to discover pioneering, alternative sounds. Washed upon the shores with the rest of this shipwreck of a spoon-fed nation, probably… Ahem! Aright, so that’s a slight flippant exaggeration, but one thing’s for sure. If it were not for the likes of The Beatles, Blur and The Specials, I would not be me – Cecilia Dinwoodie. And I have NME to thank for this.

I guess it all started when I was about 12. I was in the garden playing around on my bike, creating ramps out of grits of mud that had been slowly seduced by the sun. I was dreaming up the day that I would get to be the best BMX rider in the world. An ambition that came to me that day, and probably left me that day, too. But none the less, this was a poignant moment. I was listening to my elder sister’s iPod, and a certain song came on. A song that I was hearing for the very first time. It was Music When The Lights Go Out by The Libertines. It became the sound track to my extremely short-lived BMXing career and, after that, the sound track to my teenage years. It stood out from all the rest of the so-called “music” that was so accessible back then. Over night, I discovered a deep, pulsating yearning for more songs alike. And from there on, NME became my source. The music NME wrote about enhanced reality and took me away from reality at the same time. And although I really didn’t need saving, it was my saviour.

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Graphic Design Exhibition of Tom Eckersley

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In the past, I have completely dismissed the exhibitions and on goings that take place at LCC. I will pass them by almost every day, in my meanderings in and around uni, without a single reflection of thought. It is somehow an act of aggressive nonchalance and disregard. But this exercise has taught me a lesson.

 Eckersley is the school prefect that managed to keep it real. Who taught his peers you can abide to rules and still have fun. Perhaps an illusion? But presented in such a way that you’re lured into a state of trust and liberation. Never have I thought an advert of guidance – an order – could be so tendering to the eye.

 He uses poppy colours, and block shapes. His work is simple, classic and a pleasure to read. Timeless. Without the date specs, it would be a stab in the dark to guess when his pieces were created. 1960? 2014, even! And that, to me, is what certifies a great graphic designer.

 A piece of his that really stands out to me is Keep Britain Tidy (1963.) Eckersley plays with humor and flirts with innocence in this ad, using a silhouette of a googley eyed Englishman with a crescent smile and a top hat, bending over to pick up litter. It’s cheeky and warming. It doesn’t tell you to tidy up Britain. Instead, it unleashes all shackles of authority and creates a friendship between the onlooker and his country. It creates patriotism. And as a result, he’s enticed to tidy up Britain by his own free will.

 I now have a new found respect for the artists and students that publish their work in the Upper Street Gallery of LCC and will be sure to check it out more often. I guess I’m growing up.

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Damn Good Quotes

“I’m sorry I could not have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”  – Henry David Thoreau.

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