Thursday, October 28, 2010

In retrospect

Listening to: 'Me and You' by Nero [-]

I'm on a self-imposed TV ban at the moment...I have enough distractions from the thesis as it is, without feeling compelled to scream "bus wankers!" at no one in particular for a few hours after watching Inbetweeners. That said, I do allow myself exceptions...the MoBO Awards show was one, and the latest instalment of 'World's Strictest Parents' on BBC3 was another. I mean after RD told me that the priest at our meditation centre was in it, how could I not?!

The premise of the show, from what I could gather, is this: two wayward British teenagers are packed off to some far flung place for a week, where they will live with *drumroll please* the WORLD'S STRICTEST PARENTS *dun dun dunnn*. In Monday night's episode, a quintessential Essex girl and a posterchild of David Cameron's 'broken society' were sent to live with a family in Colombo. I enjoyed the show, partly 'cos the two chavs were hilarious and partly 'cos it made me long for home. And of course I got all excited seeing the priest on TV. And the doggy.

It also made me think about my own upbringing: were these parents really that strict? How strict were my parents in comparison? Would I have done anything differently?

I'm not sure if I can remember each and every issue that came up, but I'll list the ones I do recall.
  • No cellphones
    The mother said that their children don't have cellphones. I can relate to that - I only got a phone when I came to university. It's not that I asked and my parents said no - there just wasn't a need for one. At my old school, none of us had phones. When I switched schools for A/Ls, suddenly loads of people had phones. I still didn't see the need for one though. I remember walking along the corridor once and I heard this girl in a lower Form telling her friend how her mother's a bitch 'cos she wouldn't let her have a phone...I was horrified! One, because what do you need a phone for at that age?! and two...well, see the next point.
  • No bad language
    This is something that always disturbs me - children using bad language when talking to or about their parents. The two girls in the show...oh my word I wanted to slap them (or wash their mouths with soap #corporalpunishmentFTW). I dunno how that couple stayed so calm. If I had used that language in front of my parents, I would've been slapped silly. I've been slapped a fair bit, but never because of bad language - I just don't use bad language in front of my parents. Never have, never will. My parents know I use all sorts of words when I'm with my friends...but they know that I respect them enough not to let them hear it.
  • No smoking
    Erm...that goes without saying, no?
  • No birthday presents
    I guess that's unusual but then I didn't get birthday presents either. My parents worked on the principle that if I had been a good girl and they could afford what I was asking for, I'd get it regardless of the time of year. But seeing as I was being punished for most of the year, I didn't get much :P Which brings me to the next point...
  • No TV
    Another supposedly extreme one. True, there was no TV ban in our house...except when I was being punished. When I was about 14/15, I had a nasty habit of talking back to my parents, especially my mother. My mother now assures me that it was normal teenage behaviour, but I'm still ashamed of it. Anyway, if I had been especially rude, my TV rights were the first to go. I was rude so often that I think I got used to not watching any TV at all! Then my radio started getting confiscated...that's when I calmed down and started to behave :P
So yeah, that's it. Were these parents strict? Yeah I guess so. Were they the world's strictest parents? Hell no...I had classmates whose parents were muuuuuch stricter than this. How about my parents? I'd say yes they were strict, but fair. Very fair. And looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guiltless pleasure

Listening to: 'Love You More' by JLS [BBC Children In Need]

In all honesty, if I could call anything a 'guilty pleasure', it'd be this song. I mean seriously, the lyrics are truly atrocious.

"...Day three was the same as day two..."

Really, Oritsé? Was that the best you could do? And I thought Craig David was bad *shakes head in disbelief*

But yeah, cheesy lines aside, JLS' newest offering is perfect. Soaring melody? Check. Beautiful vocals? Check. Marvin Humes a.k.a. Mr Sex-on-Legs? Mmm check.'s the official single for this year's BBC Children In Need, so all proceeds are to charity! Everyone *awwww* in unison, please? Thank you.

Anyway, enough chatter from ol' sarcypants here. Here's the video. Don't you just love the return of the quintessential 90s boy band? The Wanted ain't got nothing on these guys.

And to all the haters, I shall give you a Cowell-esque reply:

Now excuse me while I return to my spot in front of the mirror. Clenched fists, outstretched arms and pointy fingers, here I come!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sexy Rock/Pop/Punk

Listening to: Radio 1

OK so I may be a little late to the party, but I am LOVING this track by Sleigh Bells! As a group they're like a rougher Ting Tings, which isn't a bad thing by any means. As a song, I can hear elements of Cage the Elephant...also not a bad thing. I think what does it for me is the heavy beat. The beat is similar to the dubstep bass in that slow, pulsating way that makes your head bob up and down of its own accord.

Anyway here it is - 'Infinity Guitars' by Sleigh Bells. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tightening the belt

Listening to: 'Leaving Blues' by Bombay Bicycle Club [Flaws]

So today, I sat down at my PC in the office and watched the Chancellor George Osborne outline the proposed budget cuts in the government's Spending Review...while eating my home-made ham, cheese and mustard sandwiches. Yup, gone are the days of popping over to Boots for a lunchtime Meal Deal (sandwiches, drink and chocolate for £2.99, for the uninitiated)...Cambridge City Council has decided that since I've passed the four-year mark of my current degree, it's time for me to start paying Council Tax. As a result, my expenses have increased overnight by £96 per month. Now the easy thing to do would be to ask my parents to increase my allowance...but I decided that wouldn't be fair. They didn't budget for me to be in my fifth (?!) year of a PhD...I was supposed to be fully employed by now. So I'm cutting down. The first thing to go was internet on my's not like I used it much anyway. And I started using the Dialog website to send free SMS to SL. Next up was's actually quite nice to have fresh sandwiches, although I've decided I hate Hovis with a passion. I could make better bread, and I don't even know how to make bread! I'm yet to see exactly how much I'll save, but it should be a substantial amount. I'm also cutting down on socialising in a big way. No meeting up for coffee (unless it's with someone who's working and therefore likely to buy my coffee out of sympathy ;-) ) and no going out to dinner. To be fair, I don't have time anyway. Finally, and possibly most obviously, no shopping. So the £50 black boots (well, £40 with student discount) that I've been eyeing at Dorothy Perkins will have to wait, as will the amazing debut album by the XX and the Season 1 DVD of Glee (which I had planned as a post-PhD treat). Things will change after submission, when I find myself a part-time job somewhere, but for now, this is it.

But like I said at the beginning, I'm not the only one cutting down. The Coalition is aiming to save £84bn with these budget cuts/freezes, and a lot of people are unhappy. I am, perhaps surprisingly, less unhappy than I thought I'd be. The pre-Review rumour mill speculated that funding for science would be cut by 25%. That's over a billion pounds less than what we're getting at the moment, and what we're getting right now is definitely not enough. Scientists and engineers around the UK decided to fight for the future of research in this country, and around 36,000 signed the Science is Vital petition. There was also a protest. Now I generally don't agree with protests 'cos I think they're a lot of fart and no shit, but I think in this case, the protest was complemented by enough constructive action to make it worthwhile. I dunno if it was the petition, the protest, or the support from Britain's eminent scientists...but Whitehall listened. Instead of a 25% cut, the science funding budget has been frozen. Of course this means there'll be about a 10% reduction in spending because of inflation, efficiency savings etc., but compared to what we were faced with, this is good news. I'm not opposed to all cuts, 'cos I think something has to be done about the deficit, but this seems like a fair decision. And we all know how much the Coalition likes the word 'fair'.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Marry me Strickland...again!

Listening to: 'This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)' by Ellie Goulding [Lights]

You may recall that I've proposed to Mr Banks before. You may also recall that I got myself a ticket to his gig at the Cambridge Corn Exchange a while back. When I booked the ticket, I thought that by now I'd be living in London with some new letters at the end of my name, searching for jobs. I'm still here, though, rocking the 'PseudoRandom is an epic fail' all I had to do was walk around the back of my department to the concert venue.

After some initial hassle with seetickets (seriously, Ticketmaster is so much better), I made my way into the hall. I'll admit it was a bit weird...not because I was alone or 'cos I had literally just walked out of my lab...but 'cos I'd only been to the Corn Exchange twice before, and one of those visits was for the university-wide Health and Safety briefing *groan*. Can someone say 'major buzz kill'?

But back to the gig. The support act was Clare Maguire. I'd heard her single Ain't Nobody (check out the amazing Breakage remix too), so I was looking forward to her set. I have to say her other songs weren't as memorable (maybe I need a few more listens) but OH MY GOD her voice. So powerful, so rich, so...oh I dunno. It just grabbed my insides and didn't let go until the end of each song. And I could definitely sense that she was channelling Florence with the flowing dress and the wavy hands, which is definitely not a bad thing (although I'm not sure what the writhing on the floor bit was about).
Clare Maguire and her cape-y dress
Anyhoo, her set finished at around 8.30 and then by about 10 past 9, the lights went back down. Everyone thought it would be Plan B himself, but it wasn't. Instead, it was the absolutely fabulous FaithSFX. WOW. Anyone who can beatbox tracks by Chris Brown, Lil' Wayne and Tinie Tempah, and then freestyle with helicopter and explosion noises and Arnie impersonations gets my vote. He kept the crowd entertained for a good few minutes, and then introduced Plan B and the band.
FaithSFX beatboxing his way to my heart
The brilliant band
Now the problem with this 'review' is that I've only just got to the main act, and I've already run out of superlatives. I shall have to resort to OMGWTFBBQ...'cos there really isn't any other way to express how 'out of this world' Plan B's set was. 10 out of the 13 album tracks, including a reggae version of Prayin'; an unreleased track; a revamped version one of the more popular tracks from his first album, Charmaine; a complete reworking of Paolo Nutini's Coming Up Easy...and a phenomenal soul medley with stuff like Tracks of My Tears, My Girl and Stand By Me. It doesn't stop there though, 'cos half way through Stand By Me, FaithSFX came back on stage and the set went into dubstep mode. I had never heard Stand By Me or Ain't No Sunshine done in a dubstep style, but now I wanna hear them again. The soul medley was followed by a dubstep remix of Seal's Kiss From a Rose, and then Eminem's Forgot About Dre. As predicted, he finished with Stay Too Long...and while the crowd was moshing away in the pit, Plan B and FaithSFX were having their own moshing session on stage...while still performing, mind you! The atmosphere was incredible.
*hubba hubba*
So yes, I have now fallen even more in love with Plan B, if that was at all possible. As I announced on twitter soon afterwards, that was officially the best gig I have ever been to. And to top it all off, Plan B retweeted me! Oh don't look at me like many famous people have retweeted your tweets, eh? :P

Monday, October 11, 2010


Listening to: Radio 1

I LOVE this. Spread the love, not the hate, yo.

Taken from the youtube channel of The work-safe version is here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I found a love electric

Listening to: 'Stylo (Labrinth SNES Remix)' by Gorillaz ft. Bobby Womack, Mos Def and Tinie Tempah [On Melancholy Hill]

I happened to visit today, and I noticed my 'top artists' list for the past twelve months. I figured I'd share it here.
Cool huh? What caught me by surprise is that despite only getting the album yesterday, Tinie Tempah's already #10...shows you how much I've been listening to Pass Out since it came out in March! The album is amazing, BTW. Heavy beats, catchy melodic choruses and oh so quotable rhymes...what more could you want?

Somewhat related, you should totally check out the SNES remix of Gorillaz' Stylo, done by Labrinth (and featuring Tinie Tempah). It is HEAVY.

In other news, I still haven't got my Plan B tix. The gig's next week! WTF Seetickets...sort it out.

Aaanyway, back to work.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Put your hands up in the air!

Listening to: Radio 1

Continuing with my Tinie Tempah obsession, and adding that to my love for repetitive beats...I give you Miami 2 Ibiza - I dare you to resist hitting the 'Replay' button (unless of course you don't like Electro House, in which case...*meh*)

Warning: NSFW
And I thought they couldn't beat One.