We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

we-should-all-be-feministsI came across this book through Rachel Rambling On‘s instagram page. You can visit her blog by clicking here, she’s much better at this kinda stuff than I am.

We Should All Be Feminists, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a short adapted from the TEDxEuston conference that Adiche spoke at. It’s an interesting read whether or not you entirely follow the feminist movement – and was certainly an eye opener for myself.

The short
it composed of childhood memories, major events in Adichie’s life and most of all, her coming of a feminist. The book-length essay aims to give a definition to 21st century version of feminist, which is practically an impossible task given that the term has blossomed a thousand different ways. It’s like a rose, the concept is nice but sometimes you get a thorn stuck in your hand and you try to stay away from it.

That’s exactly my experience with feminism. In my time researching, mostly on Google (my bad), the term has never given me any hope but rather a need to steer as far as I can from it. Why, you may ask? These are the women fighting for you and your rights. Yes, I understand that, but like I said, after trying to research the movement, all I found was people complaining that Legend Of Zelda protagonist, Link, was a male and that was unfair. BuzzFeed posting a million videos about why men are the worst and, in the shortest way of explaining, how we would all be better off without men. My argument was this, and still is at some stages, why are “we” fighting to be better, rather than fighting for equality?

We Should All Be Feminists is written proof that feminism isn’t about wanting a female role in a video game, or that men are the worst creatures in the world. It’s written proof that in fact, there is a definition of feminism, somewhere, that still stands for equality. Adichie tells us of her experiences alongside a male in Nigeria, where she goes ignored a majority of the time because of the simple fact she’s a woman. Nigeria is still, like, 100 years in the past, where men are the bread-makers that supply the money and women are just for pleasure rather than company. Saying that, there are assumptions in this book that I do not agree with, but there are some major points that really inspired me and made me think “I should be helping to curb this 1920’s way of pushing women to the side.”

This is a book for anyone. It’s a quick and informative read that offers insight into some of the major issues that still reside in the world. It can be for feminist beginners, like myselfchimamanda1-560x476, or for those who have been behind the movement since it gained popularity, or maybe
even before that. It’s not filled with man-hate and woman domination, instead it gives you the facts and at the end of it, it’s your decision whether or not something needs to be done. It’s changed my mind on something I was adamant to stay away from.

If you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Or even if your a feminist, I want to hear why. I want to start putting more effort into this movement than I previously have, just not in the I-want-to-shave-my-armpits and behead men way. You can see why I got scared of it, surely?

Read With Me

Less Than Jake – Sound The Alarm Review

less-than-jake-banner

Less Than Jake, a band that’s mastered the art form of creating catchy ska punk hits that are not only catchy, but emotionally driven long ago.

Earlier in February, Less Than Jake finally hit back from a quiet few years with a new addition to their list of albums. Sound The Alarm released on the 3rd of February and despite the amount of years the guys have been putting on shows, creating music and ultimately having a good time, Less Than Jake has still managed to keep the ska punk theme that we’ve all come to love. It’s a nostalgic taste of something new – titles such as “Things Change” and “Good Sign” are songs that will remind you of the 2003 Anthem days, while songs like “Bomb Drop” gives us a taste of what 2006’s In With The Out Crowd would have sounded like if they sprinkled a bit more ska over that punk rock cake they cooked up.

“Call To Arms” is the opening track. It’s faced paced, it’s catchy and full of bass. It’s best choice of song to kick off the album – it’s a preview of whats to come over the next handful of songs. It’s a classic Less Than Jake sound, and the song to get anyone pumped.

The 7 song album has a run-time of 20 minutes, which is never enough time to listen to Less Than Jake. Even when the release date was still waiting to be announced, and more and more information would leak about the album, I couldn’t figure out whether or not it would be an EP or an album. Either way, despite it’s short length, it’s what everyone’s been waiting for.

“Years of Living Dangerously” is the song that shows the most maturity out of the album. While each song has every bit of dance inducing tunes that get you moving even though you’re hunched over a laptop (hollah!), the songs show a more emotional side than we have seen before. The Less Than Jake vocals have always been unique – you can tell the band from a mile away if you hear the words – but this album really shows off just how well the whole band mixes. Every single instrument is just as much prominent as it is blended to create a well-rounded sound, and the vocals are just a sprinkle on top of strawberry cake. Bellissimo! 

Visit the Less Than Jake website for information on current tour updates by clicking here. They were recently announced for the Slam Dunk UK festival, alongside Zebrahead, Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish.

music

The Albums that Shaped Me.

1. Blink-182 “Enema of the State” is not my favourite album of Blink-182. In fact, my favourite enema-of-the-statewould be “Take Off your Pants and Jacket,” and has been since I discovered it.
This album features songs such as “Going Away to College”, “Rock Show” and “Adam’s Song” which are some of the major hits Blink 182 have to this day. Whilst I’m a hardcore Blink fan now, 1999’s “Enema of the State” was what introduced me to the band that would follow me through life. A band that wouldn’t leave my side and who will forever have my support. I would have been about four or five years old for the release of this album, but when I actually started to explore my own music tastes, this was the band that showed me the pop-punk genre. I know it seems a little clichéd but this album felt like the start of my own individuality – and Blink-182 would become the band that I relied heavily on when I was unsure of myself. They would become the pick me up I would rely on when school got too annoying, when I wanted to drown out the sounds of people around me and whenever I wanted to be just plain silly. Blink-182 is also the reason I’ve become so close to some of the most important people in my life, and the reason why I have so many memories of running back into clubs with my friends to shout the words of “Always” on my knees as if I’m proposing to them. It’s hard not to love Blink-182.

2. Pink Floyd “The Wall” is what my mother would probably say her favourite band is. Or at least one of them. Literally from the moment I started creating any memories I can the-wallremember this band, just as much as I can remember The Beatles “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” Nowadays, I don’t listen to them all that much. I think the last time I actually listened to a full album was when my boyfriend and I properly set up the vinyl player in
our room and I decided to see what an old Pink Floyd album would sound like. But the band has now turned into a comfort blanket. They’re a band that will be featured in playlists that I listen to when I’m feeling down, because it’s like remembering my family together playing “name the song games” and certain songs just reminds me of the stories my mam would tell me, even when I’ve heard them a thousand times before. It reminds me of the times my mother would quote the words “if you don’t eat your meat you cant have any pudding, how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?!” Most of all, it’s special to me because it’s special to her. It’s hard to explain, but this album will be featured in every music collection I own, just for the sheer comfort and memories of it all.

3. My Chemical Romance “I brought you my bullets, you brought me your love” is the first album I purchased with my own money. Granted, I only knew the name when I found this in store because all I had heard before this was a seli_brought_you_my_bullets_you_brought_me_your_love_coverect few songs from the “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” album. Which, is of course, an album that should be in the hearts of every pop-punk fan. In all honesty, I hated this album when I first listened to it on the stereo I had gotten for Christmas. I didn’t know it, I couldn’t get into it and, at the time, it just sounded gross on full blast. I think after a couple of weeks I actually traded it with my brothers Fightstar’s “Grand Unification,” album because at least I could sing along to it. It took me a few years to actually listen to Bullets again, but this time, it was amazing. Years upon years was now spent listening to sometimes overproduced tracks that would sound entirely different live. But the pure rawness, the brilliance and the emotion of this album stuck out to me on the second listen. Before this, I was only into the pop-punk scene of sing alongs and catchy guitar riffs, but after this, I started listening to everything. I started listening to music instead of just catchy chorus’s. (Sorry Blink, you’re still my favourite band, but you don’t take much brains!) Only ever really hearing the sounds of metal emitting from my brothers cave, Bullets made me want to explore into heavier music. It brought me to bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, From First To Last and (with help from my brother) The Used. “The Black Parade” album did give MCR a bad reputation for awhile, with the movement and the cult attire, but there’s been many of people I have borrowed Bullets to that’s decided they’re not such a bad band after all.

4.Pink “Mizzunderstood.” In an industry dominated mostly by male vocalists, Pink has never failed to show off her talents and her personality. She’s an influence to many, many female artists in the industry today. Most of all, an influence of mine. This album was a fairly early Christmas present, and whilst I say Blink’s “Enema of the State” started out my music expinkploration, Pink’s album was the reason I would sing at the top of my lungs. “Mizzunderstood” became the first album, along with my first stereo, that I was blast whenever I needed to vent. Whenever I needed five minutes of loud music to destress eight or nine year old me. Plus, the song “Just Like a Pill” gave me reason to say “bitch” as much as I wanted to without getting my butt smacked. My mam’s the one who bought it, so she couldn’t be angry at me. Of course, that would be the only time I was allowed to swear, so I’d make sure this album would come with me on car rides. In 2006, I went to see Pink live on her “I’m Not Dead” tour with my cousins girlfriend – now wife – and it was probably the most character shaping experience I’ve had. Pink’s fans ranged from a lot more than just angsty teenagers with issues at home and school. It was 2006’s version of the LGBT community. If I speak honestly, the love, the acceptance and the care I have from people comes from what Pink has spoken and sung about. Pink has forever made me want to be a better person, if not her…

music

Taking Back Sunday with special guests Frank Iero and the Patience and Milestones @ Manchester o2 Ritz

On September 16th 2016, Taking Back Sunday released their latest album ‘Tidal Wave.’ It marked a new era for Taking Back Sunday – less emo, and well, more of an expression of their lives. Since the ages of everyone’s MSN names being “the truth is that you could slit my throat and with my one last gasping breath I’d apologise for bleeding on your shirt,” (cue OH OOOOOH) the men behind Taking Back Sunday have grown in to families and are fathers. This isn’t to say ‘Tidal Wave’ isn’t the TBS we have all come to love over the years, it’s a mature kind of nostalgic. An album that will more than likely guarantee you to listen ‘Cute without the ‘E” before you you finish your TBS music binge.

“The Smiths made a whole bunch of sad boys like us.”

-Adam Lazzara

The release of ‘Tidal Wave’ also meant a tour to promote that new album. It’s pretty certain that if every 2000’s emo kid didn’t squeal aloud, then they definitely squealed internally. Unfortunately for us Welshies, TBS didn’t announce any shows on our side of the UK. This was not going to stop us, so we traveled to Manchester – if there’s anything I’ve always dreamed of, it’s screaming ‘You’re so last summer’ at the top of my lungs while staring at Adam Lazzara. (p.s he’s still as beautiful as ever.) After what seemed like an eternity of waiting and traveling and rushing to the merch stand, we were finally waiting on the balcony of Manchester’s o2 Ritz.

Milestones was the first band to take the stage and attempt to liven up the crowd. As a band new to myself and no doubt many others, it really didn’t take them long to get us moving at all. They’re stage presence was outstanding – they were interactive, they were fun and by god, were they good. Sure, there were a few minor blips like the odd screech of the amps but that didn’t deter the crowd from enjoying their entire set. There was an insane vocal range on the singer, amazing talents from the guitars and the bass and drums combined were moving the crowd involuntary. Their music is available on Spotify, you can find them here. If you’re fans of Frank Iero and Taking Back Sunday, they’re definitely worth the listen.  Frank Iero andthe Patience garnered their own fan crowd at the show. Even waiting in line to get in there were people in Frank Iero shirts and notebooks in hand covered in My Chemical Romance and Frank Iero stickers clearly hoping for a meet and greet. I think the majority wore more merch supporting Frank Iero than there were for Taking Back Sunday, until of course the merch stand got raided.

Luckily, the majority of the Frank Iero set list was covered on camera that you can find here if the video above doesn’t work. It’s easy to see the excitement he generated from bouncing fans, circle pits opening up and the amount of crowd surfing that was happening. If it’s one thing I’ve got to say for Frank Iero andthe Patience is that he’s much, much better live. The atmosphere that surrounded his set list was nothing short of epic. Whoever was on lights done an amazing job all night, but as you can see from the video above, the lights were perfect and on point for Iero’s set. It’s surprising the fans had enough energy left to hear all their favourite Taking Back Sunday anthems blasted from loud speakers with overwhelming bass.

Taking Back Sunday, for me, was the best damn show I’ve been to in a very long time. It was a rocky start, to be totally honest. It was like the fans wasn’t sure how to react to this band who gave us our teenage anthems being in front of them. But, when it was time to bust out tunes from the ‘Tell All Your Friends’ album, the crowd went insane. It was surreal seeing them – to see Adam Lazzara just as lively on stage as he is in the videos. To see the guy that was my desktop background for many of years actually swing around the microphone with my own eyes AND never fail to grab it was spectacular as it was. To even hear the songs exactly like they are on your home speakers. There were times when the crowd was so pumped that our voices combined completely drowned out the speakers. It even made the guys on stage smile multiple times. It’s fair to say it was just an awesome time for everyone involved. Even admitting his failed jokes on stage and at times just wanting to talk, when a fan shouted to “play some music,” Lazzara thanked him for getting him back on track.

Usually, when a band tours to promote their new album, many of fans in the crowd will be unresponsive to the songs from that album. Personally, I spend so much time listening to music that I listened to ‘Tidal Wave’ extensively and without reading any reviews thought that fans would have been turned off the maturity of the album. This show put those thoughts in their grave, in fact, every one there was all for ‘Tidal Wave‘ and every song from the album they played. Of course, the older hits generated a whole more bunch of energy, but the latest album got an amazing reaction.

tbs

(Taking Back Sunday set list taken from setlist.fm) 

Tonight, Taking Back Sunday play in Nottingham’s Rock City and then end the UK tour in Norwich’s UEA on the 18th. Frank Iero andthe Patience follows them on their tour until the 25th of February in Utrecht, Netherlands. These two acts are definitely a must see for all pop punk/ rock fans around the globe, and I advise any gig-goers to try their shows out and see just how much of a good time they’ll end up having.

 

music

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”

unnamed

Everything has changed. I’m an entirely different person to what I was a year ago; to what I was when I first entered 2016. The story’s the same, the face is the same but everything feels different. I’ve always strived for some sort of happiness, to feel something more than numb. But what this year has shown me is no matter what, happiness is not a destination, but a journey. And perhaps a neverending journey, but with every piece of progress, with every ounce of confidence that I gain, I know I’m closer to what once felt impossible. I’m getting there and it sure feels good.

There’s a thousand things I want to do and I want to change, but for everything I’ve ever gone through, for ever decision I’ve ever made, I’m so glad that I’m here right now. There are days when all I want is to not exist, and those days of feeling nothing are still going to be a part of my life. But recently, those days have lessened and I’m reminded that there’s more to life than what it is right now. I got the chance to travel to Germany, to experience something amazing with the best people I could. I’ve got to write and write and write to my hearts content. At first, I thought that what I was doing in the present would be what I would end up doing forever, and I lost so much motivation because I could never see myself any different than a deadbeat. And whilst I still may not make it in a world where there are so many other talented people; where I can easily be brushed under the carpet and forgotten about, I might just have fun trying. I might be working a minimum-wage bar job with long hours with headaches that hurt the back of my eyes, but these eyes have so much more to see. So much more to appreciate.

Positivity doesn’t come to me that often. Especially not the type where I want to write it and show it because I know soon enough I’ll want to write how I want the earth to swallow me up. Some things won’t change, but the way you handle each situation and each downfall will get better. Everyone is fighting their own battle, but we fight it side by side.

Peace, xoalaskaar.

Archives

“I take back every word that I said,”

Months have gone by and this platform of tangled and contradictory text posts has gone completely untouched. While my hiatus was unannounced, the break was needed. The endless hours I placed into what I thought was therapeutic writing was only my further decline. Instead of overcoming my Depression, I came to terms with it. I accepted it as part of my day-to-day life instead of trying to recover from it. I gave it a name; I gave it a home rent-free. I fed it until it swelled up like a tumour and took over my body like a puppet.

Here’s to a new mindset. Here’s to a new life.

Archives

Adventures.

Jess Blog

This is the view of Swansea from the top of a random mountain a friend dragged me up. I knew I would be climbing a mountain, but I didn’t expect to be walking up a hill that felt like a 90 degree vertical angle. It was painful on the calves, rough on the lungs but definitely worth it for the experience. Through chattering lips as the bitter cold stung us (even through blankets and coats), we sat on top of this mountain, overlooking the city and watched life go by while our time stood completely still. While the picture doesn’t do it much justice, I encourage everyone to go out and experience something similar to what I did yesterday. It’s only something small, but it makes you appreciate things a whole lot more.

You look down and you can see the cars driving up and down the roads, stopping and starting at traffic lights or at their destination. It’s like imagining how many people are listening to what, how many people are in complete silence. How many people are having the best time of their lives at that precise moment, laughing until their faces ache and stomach stings? Or how many people are having the worst time of their life, arguing with their better halves as I was sat there on top of this mountain experiencing something entirely new to me? It’s strange to think of all these different lives going on in one area, and that’s just a city. There’s a whole world out there. Filled with people and their lives, filled with lights just like this, filled with love and compassion, hate and regret. There’s  millions of different emotions being felt in just one second, and while you’re watching this tiny city go about it’s business, you truly realise that this world is huge and right now you could be anywhere, but you’re here. You’re feeling, breathing, living, just like every one else is. You’re not alone and even when things aren’t going your way, just remember that there’s a million different people feeling somewhat similar. Life isn’t going to stop for you just like it doesn’t stop for anyone else, but you can shape your life into what you want it to be.

That’s not the only spectacular thing that I came to realise while shivering and cupping numb hands. Not only is there a whole world going on below you but if you take a look up, you’re staring out into the unknown. Into a galaxy; a universe unexplored and unidentified. There’s planets spinning, volcanos blowing, stars dying and in turn a life of a new star. Not only is the inhabitents of this world doing completely different things and living in all these different ways, but there’s a whole unexplored universe out there and who knows what goes on out there.

Archives