Why records are the best

 

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I love anything retro, so it’s fair to say that a Crosley Cruiser is my best Christmas present yet. Record players have made a big comeback and having one feels like I’ve been transported back to the 60s.

The sound quality is way better than anything you can get on your iPod or laptop – it’s a more raw and unprocessed form of music. Record players have a vintage aspect to them and add more interest to a room than a docking station. PLUS I’ve had so much fun already collecting vinyls because the excitement beats buying a CD or just downloading track from iTunes. You are actually forced to leave your room and scour vintage music shops to find a bargain (although if you’re really not feeling it you can obviously order online…).

My best buys so far have definitely been Jake Bugg, Shangri La and Blur at £10 each. I’m also obsessed with Amy Winehouse, so was ecstatic when I found Back to Black for £15. I always put my Eva Cassidy record on when I’m *trying* to do uni work because it’s the best chill out album ever.

January Finds

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HAT: Oasis // WHITE TEE: Topshop // COAT: Primark // TROUSERS: Zara // BOOTS: Office

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January sales are the first good shopping opportunity of the year and a chance for me to update my wardrobe ready for 2016 for a little bit less. My favourite finds this January were these comfy checked trousers from Zara down from £39.99 to £17.99 and my Oasis hat. I was lusting after it while it was full price but bagged it in the sale for a tenner!

Not that I want to follow the ‘new year new me’ cliche, but I have had a bit of a change to my hair this January and decided to go (almost) fully blonde! I’m also back to uni for second term after having a wonderful Christmas with close family and spending some time in Watford. More importantly I’ve been working my ass off in the pub back home to save money up, so it’s actually nice to be back to get a bit of a break from that. Even though this is where the hard work begins…

The Vaccines in Nottingham

Renowned for hits like ‘If you wanna’ and ‘Post break-up sex,’ the indie rock band play the Capital FM Arena after releasing their new album, English Graffiti.

With a distinct sound that has attracted fans across the world and two previous successful albums – What did you expect from the Vaccines? (2011) and Come of Age (2012) the Vaccines have done it again with their 2015 album and UK tour. The album features 14 new tracks including ‘Dream Lover’ and ‘Handsome’ and is way more chilled out and grungy than their previous upbeat releases.

Palma Violets were the second support act, providing an intense transition between the first band prior to them and the rocky vibes of the vaccines. Their set was slightly underrated as they played while the venue was still filling up, meaning they were not appreciated at their full potential and their trance-like, croaky voiced genius was lost in the echoing arena.

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Palma Violets support

The huge white sheet behind the Palma Violets’ small banner featuring a painted PV was dropped to reveal a Chinese themed set of luminous red lanterns. This matches the oriental theme The Vaccines have ingrained into their new album, with high, floaty vocals and twangy beats. The red lighting was a staple colour throughout the band’s set, but for most choruses’ a moving disco ball projected flashes of silver across the entire room in a space-like nod to the band’s intergalactic music videos (including ‘Dream Lover’ and ‘Minimal Affection.’) Multi-coloured confetti was also strewn across the floor of the arena towards the end of the gig.

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The Vaccines

 

Despite English Graffiti being the focus of the tour, the band weren’t afraid to play their most famous oldest hits to please the hyped-up crowd. Classics like ‘Wetsuit’ were ultimately popular while the newest hits also sparked up excitement from the crowd. English Graffiti hit number one on the Official UK Vinyl Chart in June, so it’s no wonder their performance was so ecstatic, with the four members constantly rotating and spinning around the stage.

They saved arguably the best until last, with lead vocalist Justin Young saying, “I think you know what’s coming…” before they ended the set with Norgaard, sending the audience into a frenzy of screams and moshpits.

 

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The Vaccines

Set List

  1. Handsome
  2. Teenage Icon
  3. Ghost Town
  4. Dream Lover
  5. Wetsuit
  6.  Minimal Affection
  7.  Tiger Blood
  8. Wolf Pack
  9. Bad Mood
  10.  Post Break-Up Sex
  11.  Melody Calling
  12.  Want you so bad
  13.  Give me a sign
  14.  Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
  15.  20/20
  16. I Always Knew
  17.  If you Wanna
  18.  All in White

Encore

  1. No Hope
  2. Blow Your Mind
  3. Norgaard

 

The Vaccines formed in West London in 2010 when Justin Young (lead vocals and guitar), Freddie Cowan (lead guitar), Arni Arnason (bass) and Pete Robertson (drums) came together.

You can visit The Vaccines website here for more information and tour dates.

 

 

Dungarees and stripes

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DUNGAREES: Topshop // STRIPED TOP: Zara // TRAINERS: New Balance

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WATCH: Urban Outfitters

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It’s this time of year I start getting bored of rotating jumpers, jeans and boots but lack other outfit ideas. Especially since moving to Nottingham and having to commute a 20 minute walk to uni every day, outfits have to be practical and warm. Dungarees are so easy to throw on with anything and they’re comfy for a day in the city. I’m obsessed with stripes, so if I’m wearing plain bottoms I’ll usually pair them with a stripy top.

I’m studying broadcast journalism at Nottingham Trent University, and coming from living in a small town in Wales to experiencing city life has been amazing. I’ve almost finished my first term, and aside from the education and enjoying the challenges that my course has thrown at me already, I’m in love with the social life. Exploring the city and meeting new people has definitely been one of the best aspects of the last few months, and the nightlife in Notts definitely lives up to its reputation! People are more adventurous with their style in cities too, so it’s been fun experimenting with my style a bit more and wearing clothes that you couldn’t get away with in Brecon. It’s also been weird leaving 14 years of wearing school uniform behind and having to decide what to wear every day but it’s been a good excuse to try out the shops and to mix up outfits a bit more.

As much as I’ve loved being in Nottingham and adjusting to university life I’m excited to go home for a breather over Christmas and prepare for another crazy term.

The 1975 in Nottingham

 

After the success of their self-titled debut album and the announcement that their second album is due to be released in February, it’s no surprise that the queue outside Rock City on Friday night trailed all the way up Talbot Street.

The electric atmosphere spread before fans had even entered the venue. You only had to walk past the girls sporting The 1975 t-shirts to feel their contagious excitement in anticipation of seeing the Manchester quartet who have been subtly making a name for themselves in the indie/alternative music scene.

I first saw The 1975 at Reading Festival in 2014 without knowing much about them or their music, but surrounded by screaming teenage girls I soon realised what the fuss was about. To the point where I got jealous when Matty Healy invited a little girl onto the stage and started singing to her. I instantly bought their album and would listen to it constantly.

I felt I didn’t really appreciate seeing them properly that first time, as I wasn’t really a fan, so I wanted to buy tickets to see them in Notts where I knew I would be studying at uni.

Rat Boy support
Rat Boy support

Enthusiasm grew during Rat Boy, (you can get to their twitter page here) the support act, who put on a surprisingly upbeat and energetic performance in contrast with their unusual name. With a sound similar to that of fellow indie/alternative singer Jamie T, the band’s random techno effects and jumpy beats provoked the lively audience buzz to crescendo.

By the time The 1975 finally appeared on stage, accompanied by floaty background music which was gradually building momentum, the crowd were screaming, hit with the realisation that Matty Healy was actually on the stage in front of them. The lead vocalist, known for his mysterious allure which perfectly matches his entrancing, wiry voice, was dressed in his trademark suit jacket with no shirt underneath, revealing his tattoos.

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The 1975

The 1975 kicked off their hypnotic set with their newest single ‘Love Me’ which will be featured on their second album due to be released in February of next year. It’s alleged the album will be titled, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. 

The band first appeared on the music scene in 2012, when they were featured on BBC Radio 1 introducing show with Huw Stephens, although they had been friends since a young age and started playing music in 2002, when they were around 15. Their first album, ‘The 1975’ was released on September 2nd 2013, debuting at number one in the UK Albums Chart just 6 days later.

My all time favourite song by The 1975 is Robbers. The lyrics are so intense and relatable, and the music video is so cool (watch it here). Below is a snippet from their set in Nottingham in November 2015 singing Robbers.

my all time favourite song 💙

A post shared by Lily Rose King (@lilyrosekingx) on

One of the conditions of The 1975 returning on tour was that they got to play Rock City Nottingham again, as it is one of the band’s favourite venues. Matty Healy, lead vocalist, mentioned this as he addressed the ecstatic crowd on Saturday 14th November, informing us that he was happy to be back in Nottingham.

The band released a statement in June along with the news of their full UK tour, which also referenced their love for the venue and explained that the album they are currently working on is, “The beginning of a new chapter for The 1975.” The letter said, “The best way to start is the way we did before – in venues we have loved and places that feel intimate enough to do a proper new show. With people who really want to be there.” This seems to be a part of the band’s mission to properly ‘connect’ with their audience at each gig.

“THE BEST WAY TO START IS THE WAY WE DID BEFORE – IN VENUES WE HAVE LOVED AND PLACES THAT FEEL INTIMATE ENOUGH TO DO A PROPER NEW SHOW”

MATTY HEALY, THE 1975

Approximately four hours before their show Matty tweeted from his personal account that an undisclosed visual element was not able to be used in Rock City due to the ‘intimacy’ of the venue, so he said this performance would be specifically about connecting with us instead.

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Matty Healy’s Tweet

This aim to genuinely relate with his audience was proven when Matty asked a request when introducing the song ‘me.’ He questioned who had not been to see the band live before and on realising that over half of the crowd had not, he replied with, “this means the only way you possibly could have seen us is on a screen.” So on looking out at the audience all clutching iPhones with record buttons at the ready, he said “so I ask that you don’t watch this song through a screen.”

Matty Healy said during the gig that a lot of bad things are going on in this world, “so we should all be thankful that we’re here,” in reference to the attacks on Paris on Friday 13th November. Their 1975’s new album is set to be out in February, although the band stated they will be releasing singles before then to keep fans satisfied. You can visit their website via this link http://the1975.com/

 

Uni Room Decor

When moving to uni, admittedly one of the main things I was most excited about was decorating my new room. Since bedrooms in Halls are so small it’s easy to make them feel cosy and homely, and decorating can be really cheap if you know where to look (most of my stuff came from Ebay or Ikea). This means your room can look nice even on a student budget!

Your room is the only really space you’ve got all to yourself when you’re so far away from home and it’s also a direct reflection of your personality, so you want it to be special.

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POSTER: wrapping paper from Paperchase

I love lights and the ambience they can bring to a room, so I tried to vary lighting as much as possible with fairy lights and lamps to make it warmer and prettier.

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DUVET SET: Ikea // FLUFFY PILLOW: Primark // GREY THROW: Primark

 

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TAPESTRY THROW: Ebay // PHOTO HOLDING LIGHTS: Urban Outfitters

Possibly my favourite thing about my room is my tapestry throw from Ebay. It was about £15 with postage and adds so much colour to my walls. I try to have as many pictures up as I possibly can as well because I love looking around and seeing all my best memories. I use the app Free Prints, available on the App Store on most smart phones, so I can order 45 prints for free each month to add to my collection.

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STRING & PEGS: both Tiger

I ran out of space on my notice boards for all my photos so I made a DIY photo hanger to display more.

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TAPESTRY THROW: Amazon // PAPER BASKET: Matalan // LONDON MEMO BLOCK: Paperchase

Having a tidy workspace is essential if I’m likely to do any work, because otherwise I’ll make it into an excuse to procrastinate. So I keep a paper basket to organise any loose work or letters hanging around – it was actually a fruit bowl from Matalan but it looks cute and does the same job! My desk is ugly and red underneath so I decided to cover it with another tapestry to give it a bit of life.

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PLANTS: Homebase // ALEXA CHUNG IT: Urban Outfitters

I love having plants because they bring life and colour to any room even though I keep forgetting to water them. I keep a collection of my favourite items on my shelves, like Alexa Chung’s book, IT, and a framed photograph of my trip to the Grand Canyon.

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PLANT: Ikea // MAP OF THE WORLD: wrapping paper from Paperchase // PERSIAN RUG: Ikea // MIRROR: Homebase

One of my best friends bought me this rug for my 18th birthday and it distracts attention really well from the ugly blue carpet.

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STORAGE BOXES: Matalan // CACTUSES: Homebase// SCRAPBOOK: Paperchase

I’m always on the lookout for things that will fit well in my room, which is pretty easy because it’s really just an eclectic mix of stuff that I like. Vintage stores and charity shops are some of the best places to pick up new ornaments or decorations and Urban Outfitters have lots of quirky furnishings but its always a good idea to wait for their sales! Living in Nottingham is perfect for this because as well as being such an inspiring city aesthetically it’s full of charity and vintage shops.