‘Feminist Vikings’ show how funny women can really be


This week I was delighted to see the start of the second series of the comedy-drama sitcom that follows the lives of five students; Fresh Meat. As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of comedy I’m usually guilty of overly scrutinising every new show I see and Fresh Meat was no exception. When I first saw the show I loved how in touch with the reality of starting uni it was; the awkward first conversations, the trying really hard to make it look like you’re not trying at all to fit in and the rituals that no one really gets the point of.

My main affiliation with the show is the inclusion of genuinely funny female characters. After a season of female fronted comedy shows that in my opinion, encourage viewers to laugh at women for all the wrong reasons, such as them being stupid, annoying, unsuccessful and clumsy (New Girl, Two Broke Girls) I was feeling a little disheartened about women’s role in comedy.

It has always been widely understood that comedy as a genre is generally sexist with an absence of women in every form of it, from stand-up to sitcoms and an exhaustion of repeated stereotypes and stock characters. I hate the feeling of watching a show and feeling that I can’t relate to a single woman on the screen, not only that but also feel a little bit of resentment towards them for giving us all a bad name.

I know lots of women who are genuinely funny, and not because they’re constantly making mistakes or making the wrong choices of men…they’re funny in the same ways that men are funny. This is why I’m in love with Josie, Vod and Oregon of Fresh Meat, they each have their own interesting personalities that actually have substance. Their sex lives are just as if not more active than their male friends, because they choose for them to be, and they are funny for their satirical take on life. The women in Fresh Meat don’t necessarily act like highly empowered feminist’s (despite Oregon calling them ‘feminist vikings’ in the previous series) but are shown as equal to their male housemates, just a group of friends where gender doesn’t really come in to it…too much.

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Cosmo Jarvis: The Borderline, London, 26/09/12


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With songs that can’t be pinned down by any one genre, on Wednesday night Cosmo Jarvis took fans at The Borderline through an emotional thunder storm fuelled by teenage angst, confusion at society and fear of wasting a single second of life.

When Cosmo first opens his mouth it’s clear that this is a man who has given every last ounce of energy to his passions of creating film and music. Of course hard work comes at a price and tonight he’s suffering, despite a cold and a bit of a knackered voice he powers on through. I don’t know if it was downing a shot of whiskey that did it but he played an incredible set that included a host of crowd pleasers old and new. The crowd appeared to be enjoying themselves so much that they could’ve probably danced all night to the hundreds of songs that Cosmo has already independently written, recorded and produced, but for now they make do with the set that he has prepared which, it’s safe to say, caters to all tastes.

Whether you’ve heard of Cosmo Jarvis or not it would be difficult to attend one of his gigs without finding yourself having a bit of a jig to his solid rhythms, catchy melodies and cleverly self-deprecating lyrics. Look him up anywhere on the internet and you’ll see he’s a man of many talents with an increasingly busy schedule, recently having aired his first feature length film The Naughty Room on BBC 4 (he’s already prepared to shoot his next).

Regardless of everything you thought you knew about music this guy is worth checking out, if not just for his superbly written songs then at least for a night of cracking entertainment!

Cosmo’s next UK tour isn’t far away, due to start on 1st November he is supporting Devon-based folk band Mad Dog Mcrea.

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Spin Vs Record Collector


Www.spin.com and www.recordcollectormag.com are websites within the genre of music journalism. They are each online, virtual formats of printed and published magazines.

The internet evolved from ARPAnet, created in 1969 (Hauben, 2006), and from there went on to change mass communication around the world. ARPAnet was created in order for information to be shared across different geographic locations through a Network Control Protocol (Bellis, 1997).

The most basic need for the internet is being able to share information across different locations effectively, in order for the information to be interpreted accurately and therefore understood.

Www.spin.com represents Spin magazine, a magazine targeted at a wide age demographic of perhaps 20 to 40. The website consist of information about artists of wide, varying musical genres that often differ greatly and includes a mashup of content from articles to videos to mp3s, offering a huge quantity of news and data. Www.recordcollectormag.com on the other hand seems to be targeted at an older demographic of perhaps 30 to 45. Again there is a mashup of data across different media however the focus on music genre is much more localised, with all the artists featured on the home page being from classic rock bands.

Consumer research has shown that users are five time more likely to purchase goods from a website if found through a search engine, rather than a banner, making SEO important to website success (Thurrow, 2003). Thurrow establishes three components that benefit SEO; these are text components, link components and popularity components. This includes effective selection of key words, having quality links to the site, persuading users to click on these links and then spend an optimum amount of time on the site.

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Is the internet killing music?


After researching music journalism for an essay in to web communication and website usability I stumbled upon Chris Weingarten‘s rant about search engine optimastion and the impact the internet has had over music.

The video is available here:

After watching the video I found myself agreeing with a fair amount of the points Weingarten brought up. He talks about websites like www.hypem.com that uses content generated by personal music blogs and works out the most popular and recent music being talked about on the internet, presenting it to users in a convenient format. He compares this system to math and argues that rock writers are doomed due to the formulaic way we consume music today.

This system of reporting on music allows for easy consumption and spreads the word of upcoming bands quickly and conveniently but is this a good thing?

Weingarten describes this as catering to the lowest common denominator, whereby music tastes become increasingly homogeneous through targeting demographics and offering users music that they ‘should’ be into.  Users are being offered what is described as ‘alternative’ music when in fact such music may merely be what is most popular.

He criticises Twitter, describing it as a “virus” for its promotion of ‘firsties‘. The more immediate and urgent a post or comment is the more important it is seen to be and therefore, the more it is circulated. The quality of writing or perhaps the actual content of the news itself are are no longer the attributes that give a post credibility.

The comment I really related to was about engaging with music through the unknown, stumbling upon a new band just by chance after reading magazines or watching TV shows. Being ‘into’ music was more about taking an active role and seeking it out than just sitting at your computer and being fed demographically tailored generic sounds. So many times Facebook has tried to tell me that I’d be in to this new indie band because of my consumer behaviour with other music and I’ll admit I have found myself thinking “well if they’re like them then I must like them”. Finding new music is incredibly easy but finding quality recommendations is becoming increasingly difficult.

I have read many comments of the video and they are extremely mixed, many believe that advances in technology only allow for more diversity in music and that having such large quantities of music so easily accessible can only be a good thing if more bands get listened to.

Weingarten argues however, that with bands having to work harder to promote themselves virtually and with more emphasis being placed on immediacy and number of hits, the quality of music is being compromised.

The talk isn’t really long enough to delve deeper in to all the issues surrounding this, but the points he raises have provoked a lot of responses.

It seems that only in the past few years there has been a change in the way we discover new music, just by comparing the types of artists magazines like the NME cover today and those of five years ago there is clearly more of a focus on popularity.

What do you think? How do you find out about new music and has this changed over the past few years? Do you think the change is a good thing?

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50 Bands I’ve Seen Live


Whenever I get asked the question…”what kind of music are you in to?” I never really know how to respond without sounding like I’m not really in to music at all. I love music! I love it so much that there isn’t really any kind of music that I particularly dislike…so I figured I’d list out some of the bands I’ve seen play live to kind of answer this question… Many of these were at festivals (such as BenicassimReading,Isle of WightGlastonburyBestival).

  1. The White stripes
  2. The Libertines
  3. The Strokes
  4. Mystery Jets
  5. Stereophonics
  6. Razorlight
  7. Tom Vek
  8. Larrikin Love
  9. CSS
  10. David Bowie
  11. The Who
  12. Blondie
  13. Streetlight Manifesto
  14. Kings of Leon
  15. MGMT
  16. Kimya Dawson
  17. Faithless
  18. Babyshambles
  19. Dirty Pretty Things
  20. Supergrass
  21. Cosmo Jarvis
  22. Mad Dog Mcrea
  23. HELLYEAH
  24. The Wytches
  25. Badly Drawn Boy
  26. Groove Armada
  27. The Streets
  28. Arcade Fire
  29. The Sugar Hill Gang
  30. Basement Jaxx
  31. Friendly Fires
  32. Jamie T
  33. Fleet Foxes
  34. Bombay Bicycle Club
  35. Bright Eyes
  36. Cold War Kids
  37. The Go! Team
  38. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis
  39. Passion Pit
  40. Dr Meaker
  41. Mr Scruff
  42. Kasabian
  43. Dizzee Rascal
  44. The Cribs
  45. The Maccabees
  46. Guillemots
  47. The Magic Numbers
  48. Maximo Park
  49. Editors
  50. Arctic Monkeys

 

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British Red Cross: The Rules of War


I attended a seminar at university on the 3rd November, given by Gaynor Smith, the youth services manager with the British Red Cross.

I have always dismissed actually learning about war, due to my belief of being completely powerless over it, making the horrifying facts all the more upsetting, however the seminar opened my eyes. The British Red Cross work as politically neutral protectors of human rights. Their work ensures that an injured soldier is given protection for example. I learnt about the “rules of war”, the definition of a war crime, who decides what is legal and who/what is a legal target. These are concepts I had never before considered as they represent “humanity amidst inhumanity”. I learnt that, shockingly,  90% of fatalities during war are of civilians.

The talk inspired be to take action and volunteer to be a part of the British Red Cross. Their website is really easy to use and you can search volunteer opportunities in you area making it really easy to get involved.

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FAQ: Is alcohol more dangerous than drugs?


This week the Lancet published a report stating that, when scientifically rated, alcohol is more harmful than cocaine, ecstasy and LSD. The ex-government advisor, professor David Nutt, who was dismissed in 2009 after publicly opposing government policy, co-authored the paper.

What is the report?

The report, titled “Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis” uses a set of 16 criteria to assess the harmfulness of drug use on individuals and to others around them. The criteria included damage, dependency, mental functioning, injury, crime and the effect on the economy and the community.

What were the findings?

The drugs were given points out of 100, 100 being the most harmful, zero being the least. It was found that the overall combined highest scoring drug was alcohol which scored 72, followed by heroin at 55 and crack cocaine at 54. The lowest scoring drugs were mushrooms at 6 and LSD at 7.

Who is David Nutt?

David Nutt is a psychiatrist and scientist, specifically studying how drugs effect the mind. He advised the Ministry of defence, Department of Health and the Home Office however was dismissed after publicly opposing government policy.

Where was the paper published?

The paper was published in the Lancet medical journal on 29th October 2010.

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