A Maverick.

Maverick Sabre is putting me to shame. 

He is just 21. Literally.

He has worked with Professer Green and Chase&Status. 

And he has some great music releases and performances behind him – including an appearance on Later…with Jools Holland.

I can’t wait to buy his album when it’s out later this year. In the meantime, I will be enjoying these videos on repeat.

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Correct?

Decisions.  I have never been good at making them.  And blaming it on my starsign (‘I’m a Pisces, we swim both ways!’) just doesn’t seem to cut it when the decisions that I am now making are potentially life changing.

But the thing with decisions is that there will always be a gut instinct that tells you what your body thinks is the right answer.  I have had a lot of these pit-of-your-stomach feelings over the past few days.  My impatience and desperation to find graduate employment has led to me signing up to a hundred and one things, thinking that it is the right thing to do and then realising that it just doesn’t feel right – usually when I have successfully got the place.

But should we be able to make these decisions?  Or with newspapers falling around us, jobs generally far-and-few and redundancy figures higher than Murdoch’s weekly wage, should we take whatever we can and hold on to it?  Should we agree to working for a company that we don’t want to, or a job that has never appealed to us, thinking that ‘we can hack it for a year and make some money for the next thing’?  Or should we be picky with what we want to do with the rest of our lives, optimistic that we will be one of the lucky ones who finds a dream job and certainly not one of those graduates who has been searching for over a year, like your mum’s colleague Eileen’s son’s girlfriend.

What I have come to realise is, that making decisions is hard.  And unfortunately our parents can’t (and won’t) be there to tell us what to do anymore.  When I asked my mother to ‘guide meeeeee’ in an overtly whiney, ridiculous and annoying voice she said that I need to do what I want to do.  Not what she does, or my father does, or what her colleague Eileen does.  Decisions are about a day or two of long, hard thinking.  The sort of long, hard thinking that pondering Pooh bear does with Piglet, or Carrie does with her Apple Mac.

Patience truly is a virtue and when our decisions now may change the paths of our lives for the next few years, we really do need to make the right ones.  So when I received a call that I had been waiting for today, on the day before I was about to accept a different offer that I don’t think I truly wanted, then I realised.  You realise what the right decision is and when you’ve reached it – believe me, it feels good.  Good luck to those making decisions over the next few weeks.  Do what is right for you.

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Second Shakespeare.

Ever since studying a module in Literature and Politics in the 1930s for my degree last year, I have been fascinated by the decade.  Its dismal energy, situated between two World Wars and amongst the fallout of the Great Depression allowed for significant and notable art and literature, with Graham Greene, George Orwell, Walter Greenwood and Terence Rattigan as particular favourite authors.

In an exhibition I visited at the Barber Institute of Fine Art, I came across the artist Percy Shakespeare.  Hailed as ‘one of Dudley’s most famous artistic sons’ the Birmingham-born painter carved a successful career out of a disadvantaged, working-class background in the slums of the West Midlands.  Much of his work – including figure drawings and oil portraits – show the ‘Thirties at Leisure’, with people, colours and composition catching the spirit of the Thirties.  He was killed in 1943 after a stint in the Royal Navy, leaving behind work which is now on show at the Dudley Museum and Art Gallery.

 

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Send me on my way.

There are lots of things to consider when writing one’s final editorial.  So, when finally confronted with this inevitability, I looked back to Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement speech at Stanford University; the co-founder and CEO of Apple manages to perfect emotion and inspiration and led me to consider how with hindsight, we can connect the dots of our lives to see how the things we originally thought of as setbacks have propelled us to where we are meant to be today.

In first year, my father presented me with an unmissable opportunity. He had fixed a Guardian reporter’s car and as a result, was able to offer me an indispensable email address. I was immediately unsure what to do with it but after days of questioning myself – and severely undermining my confidence – I emailed that reporter and as a result, landed myself a week’s work experience. If I hadn’t conjured up the guts to email the reporter that day, I would not be writing this now and my adoration for journalism would not have been confirmed.

Another setback in confidence in second year saw me cross my name off of the Editorial Assistant interview list for Redbrick, before re-writing, re-crossing and eventually re-writing it again. This hindrance could have led to me not even interviewing for that position, let alone interviewing successfully. My lack of involvement would have disallowed me to progress onto the Deputy Editor role and as a result, it is deniable that I would be so certain of what I want to do with my life after graduation.

Redbrick is a magnificent society and most importantly, student publication. Determined to continually improve and innovate, all of those involved with the paper work daily to provide a platform and opportunity for student voices. I would like to say thank you to all of those who have made my time at Redbrick an incredible and inspiring experience. Exceptional thanks go to the Proof-Readers whose final editorials I have every faith in reading in a few years’ time…

But doing something you love has to be done with people you love and it is now that I should like to especially thank some of the great friends who Redbrick has allowed me to make. Micaela Winter, my co-female ally in the committee, your outstanding generosity has saved my sanity on many a Thursday morning. Likewise, Rosa McMahon, thank you for sharing this experience with me. We were in it together from the start and I’m proud to see how far both of us have come from that first Features meeting back in 2009. And finally, to my Editor Sam, to whom I should thank for tolerating my mood swings, encouraging my creativity and remedying my passion (also known as stress…). You have been so hard working and enlivening this past year, and your enthusiasm and ambition for the paper is true sentiment to its visible excellence. Never afraid to push the boundaries, you have propelled Redbrick to be more professional and sophisticated than it has been before and your abilities in inspiring those around you will allow for the paper to flourish in all of our absences next year. In the words of the Matilda Soundtrack (eh Sam!) I shall say ‘send me on my way…’.

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Summer Songs.

It’s not like me to do a music post like this but as exams seem like a distant memory and post-exam celebrations entail a lot of nights out (and music) I thought I’d do a post of the music that I’m listening to this week.  I’m not acknowledged for my ‘good’ taste in music – my ipod almost made my friend cry the other day – but I listen to what I enjoy and although hugely commercial, these are the songs that have been getting me going this week:

Kanye West: All The Lights feat Rihanna and Kid Cudi

I love Rihanna and her voice sounds great on this track, adding something to sing along to when you can’t quite keep up with Kanye’s rapping and Kid Cudi’s… er… grunting?  Great video, reminiscent of Kanye’s Good Life featuring T Pain from back in ’09, and a big summer tune I reckon.

Example: Changed the Way you Kiss Me

Although I originally thought Example were a band (and not just one guy), I have been a fan since his album Won’t Go Quietly, released back in 2009; Watch the Sun Come Up and Kickstarts were two of my favourite tracks off the album.  Example is playing at our Gradball on Thursday and his new song Changed the Way You Kiss Me is set to be a big summer tune after its peak at Number One in the Official Charts today.

Chris Brown and Benny Benassi: Beautiful People

It’s a bit old now I suppose, but I really like Chris Brown’s Beautiful People.  In the same way that I like Michael Jackson – ie. I know he did something bad but can’t deny that he makes great music – I think this is a catchy track that will be playing on my iTunes all summer.  It would seem that Chris Brown is back after his avoidance of the spotlight in recent years but following all of his controversies, he has returned with an impressive new album F.A.M.E that should gain more recognition than his last effort, Graffiti which remained under the radar and was negatively received by critics.  Ironically, CB’s F.A.M.E features a tribute to his idol, Michael Jackson, in She Ain’t You.

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Student solidarity.

Although last year saw a small eruption in student activism as a result of Cameron’s cuts to Higher Education, withdrawal of the Education Maintenance Allowance and a stark increase in tuition fees, students of today are typically thought of as apathetic to the student cause. Where our predecessors of the 1960s sparked student activism off with protests surrounding issues from the Vietnam war to Racism and Student Representation to canteen prices, the sit-ins and national student rallies which would attract hundreds of thousands of students then rarely interfere with our student days today.

But are we all just disinterested with a useless cause? Or are we showing activism in another way, a way which keeps up-to-date with our time?

In the past few days alone, it would seem that Birmingham students are coming together in matters close to home. Rumours of a suicide at Selly Oak rail station saw students tweeting condolences and passing the awful news onto peers via twitter on Friday. Although not on par with protests against the Vietnam War, this solidarity at a time of sadness is enlightening for our modern yet lethargic student body. The Selly Oak fire at a local tyre yard yesterday saw hundreds of students take to the streets. Again, no protests here but a clear coming together of hundreds of students with high regard for what was going on in their local community.

These matters are not proving the students of today to be excited about student affairs. A minimal amount of us turned up to the flash mob against raising Tuition Fees and protest against the Browne Review held on campus last year; a minimal amount when accounting for the 28,000 of us registered at this University. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t a clear sense of comradeship here at Birmingham.

Although small in the grand scheme of things, our ability to collect together at events that affect us close to home – like those of the alleged suicide and tyre fire – surely prove that a sense of student solidarity still exists today, away from the visible rallies and sit-ins of the sixties. Even the unspoken recognition of stressed and hard-working students in the library at exam time proves the unique ability for students to share compassion for each other and understand the most important things in our life at the moment, these exams. Although laughable, even the appreciation of the ‘Drinks to Go’ man who has become a Facebook favourite, show mutual understanding between thousands of very different people. When graduating from this University in July, I certainly won’t walk away feeling like I’ve graduated from a dismantled and broken University. Although few, the students who do participate in keeping-up-to-date with affairs that affect students allow for our student community to exist, grow and flourish. You just need to tweet to see it.

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Filed under Birmingham, Life, Social Media, University

All’s Wells that Ends Well…

 

I had to share my excitement at being tweeted by Stanley Wells, the Shakespeare scholar and co-Editor of The Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare.  Responding to a tweet by Stephen Fry this morning talking about it being Wells’ 81st birthday today, I said ‘@stephenfry happy birthday to @Stanley_Wells indeed – I’m currently reading his complete works for Shakespeare final exam on Friday’ to which the man himself replied ‘good luck’.

I am way too excited about this but a tweet from a man who’s book has helped you through your University degree is pretty exciting.

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