Reach out and touch faith

It is incredibly easy for a student at University to forget their motivation for being there in the first place. What with all the addictive  student club nights, harrowing hangovers, and the confusing rush of new opportunities taunting your interest and inviting your attention elsewhere, in to all kinds of directions. The student life is a hard habit to shake off, and it is hard to see an end to the constant parties, and late nights with the dissilusion that you will be able to flunk life when it finally calls with a little pro plus and an enthusiastic gulp of energy drink.

This is where I was a few weeks previously, missing the bigger picture, and forgetting just how much I want to succeed in music journalism, and preferring to indulge my passion in the many delights of Urban Outfitters. Then I looked at my phone as it flashed in the shadow of my distraction, and the light bulb immediately switched back on. As I opened the email on my Blackberry, I bubbled inside with excitement. I was invited to an open lecture with the guest speaker being that of a widely popular writer who provides articles for The Guardian and has contributed to Q magazine, having written her first novel, and in the process of writing her second. I practically jumped off my chair after reading how the lecture would consist of this talented journalist explaining her passion towards music, and the path in which she walked down to get to the position she was in now, and immediately set an alarm for it.

On the day of the lecture I arose bright and early with apprehensive nerves, and carefully considered what I could wear that would impress the speaker enough to realise that I was a great choice of protege, to follow in her footsteps (mindless daydreaming, but worth a try anyway). I spent all my break reading this woman’s work, and revelling in our combined passion for music, and when I witnessed the incessant passion for music magnificently rolling off her tongue I was reminded that I am on the right path to my dream job, I was half tempted to jump up and hug this new hero of mine, after the lecture, in gratitude for the fresh inspiration to remain in the same path.

where dreams are realised (or remembered)

This lecture is not just a one off either, another relevant email has found its way to my phone ensuring me that I was aware of a lecture with the guest speaker being a widely known DJ who will be discussing the relevance of music in today’s culture, yet another burst of  academic excitement followed, and the eagerness to meet someone who employs a wide section of  my Itunes is almost too much to bare. And it is not just us aspiring music journalists blessed with all these inspiring pep talks, students are always kept up to date with the latest guest speaker to bless willing students with their lectures covering a wide variety of occupations, genres, and subjects, so make sure you read all those boring University emails, you might see something that sparks the electric current to your own dreams and goals.

The motive for this article is to remind you that although the student lifestyle may exhume an incredible fog into your vision of the future, University itself is always at hand to feed in to your passion, and to inspire you into the depths of your dreams full capacity. You CAN make your dreams come true. Never forget that.

Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.

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Beach Break Live 2012

So it’s nearly that time of year again, festival season. Well… maybe not quite but line-ups are being released and in this cold weather what better way to look forward to the summer than by looking at festivals. Beach Break Live is the UK’s Student Festival held in Pembrey Country Park, South Wales between 14th and 18th June 2012. More details can be found on the website www.beachbreaklive.com  but here is an overview of Beach Break Live 2012…

Music

First off, the main reason people go to a festival, the music. 2012’s headline acts are Chase and Status, Dizzee Rascal and Friendly Fires. Other artists include Nero, Maverick Sabre, Labrinth, Ben Howard, Wretch32, Delilah and Ghost Poet to name but a few. Having seen Dizzee Rascal at a festival in the past, I can safely say that he will not disappoint and is brilliant live. With their growing success in 2011 and 2012 the other artists will provide a varied and entertaining line-up.

Setting

Beach Break Live is, as indicated in the name, set on an 8 mile stretch of beautiful sandy beaches ready to party on and situated just in front of 500 acres of woodland behind the dunes. In 2012 Lonely Planet has voted the region where Pembrey Country Park is set as ‘Best Region in the World’. In terms of getting there Beach Break have made it very easy, they provide national express coaches from many universities which you can book when you book your ticket. Alternatively there is also a shuttle bus which operates from the nearest train station to the festival so if you prefer you can just get the train there.

Activities

Like most other festivals Beach Break offers lots of alternative activities other than just music. There is a Roller Disco, Zumba classes, learn to beatbox, Burlesque dancing and workshops, extreme games and even inter-mural university extreme sports. From March you can sign up teams to play football, beach volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, touch rugby and beach cricket if you can muster the energy!

So, what better way to begin the summer than chilling out on a beach, listening to some big acts, whilst having fun with thousands of other students. Beach Break only costs £109 plus booking fee for the whole weekend and camping, great value for a festival. Most universities also have reps who can offer ‘mates rates’. At the University of Exeter RAG are selling tickets for a lower price directly. Even if festivals aren’t really your thing Beach Break has lots of other things to offer, including a hot tub which overlooks the incredible coastal views. What more of an incentive could you really want…

Valentines day in Leeds

Valentines day. A dreaded enemy of mine. A day dedicated to celebrate the love you have for someone you should be treating well every other day of the year. With shop fronts glittered with red stars and love hearts, the taste of love sizzles on my tongue like sweet venom. As you have probably guessed, Valentines day is not my favourite holiday, but hey, I’m not one to shoot cupid down so quickly! Ignore my cynicism, on the actual day I will be melting like honey with the other millions of women hypnotised or brainwashed by unrealistic fairytales of happy endings, and I become weak to the addictive haze of those rose tinted glasses.

However, I am for now unsure how I will be celebrating this over-hyped ‘holiday’; With last years highlight being hugging a pole for most of the night after a night out with as many of my single friends I could find, and the year previous to that walking to the supermarket with my then ‘sweetheart’ (eurgh, Valentines day lexis) so that I could purchase as much chocolate as I could possibly consume to Dirty Dancing (a girls best friend) whilst the guy in question went to play rugby instead. So, while I wonder if  this years Valentines day makes history and is actually happily celabrated, I thought I would check out some events in Leeds that people of all relationship types could get up to on this magically romantic day (I’m trying). Whether you are a single pringle, or in a happy relationship, there are so many events prepared and waiting for you to enjoy in conjunction with the big old V day.

Tiger Tiger 

For all you partiers:

If an eclectic mix of playful games, affordable prices, and one hell of a fun night is what you are looking for this valentines day, get yourself over to Tiger Tiger on Tuesday the 14th of Feb for the perfect celebration/distraction. With playful games such as a lock and key party, Traffic light stickers; Red for couples, Amber for maybe’s, and Green for you singletons wanting to have some fun, an excitingly competitive slave auction for you to choose the next hot victim to adorn you with attention, and not forgetting some classic speed dating. Tiger Tiger blends the perfect valentines day for everyone, not only do you have a chance to enjoy a three course meal, and entry to the club at £20 per person, but you get to experience a night that only happens once every year. When do you ever get a chance to buy that hottie you have had your eye on for months’ attention for the night? You can also get a free taxi to the event before 11pm! Get yourself down here and experience valentines nights at Tiger, it will have you growling with enjoyment!

Kendells Bistro

For the food enthusiasts:

So you are planning a romantic night out to treat your other half, or just yourself and a bunch of friends. You are wanting somewhere different with a relaxed environment, and exotic menu’s to cause your taste buds to bubble and burst with excitement. Take a journey to Kendells Bistro. This place has a massive focus on good quality of food, and not only does it have friendly and helpful staff (instead of all the awkward upper lip business in most posh restaurants) but it provides you with a beautiful french bistro atmosphere. The glimmer of the candles stretch over the chalked menus on the side of the restaurant, and beautiful paintings, tiles and decor adorn the venue to help you feel as if you have strolled into a restaurant in le paris! The bearer of many prestigious awards such as best European restaurant, and Best Leeds restaurant, it is a wonder that anyone would want to leave! This place is the ideal destination for those who want to experience good food, and a cosy Valentines, with a taste of something different in your mouth.

With the demand for this hugely popular destination extremely high, the Valentines menu is £55 per person, however, Valentines day is only once a year, and if you are looking to impress, as the menu says, Kendells Bistro is ‘the most romantic restaurant in Leeds’.

Take a dip in these rosy waters on their website: http://kendellsbistro.co.uk/index.html

mouth-wateringly romantic

Ice Cube

For all you thrill seekers:

Why not cool all this valentines day hotness with a little bit of ice? Ice cube has returned to the strikingly stunning Millennium square in Leeds, and it is even better this year! This time, not only is it a chance to bust out some moves you have taught yourself in the front room whilst watching Dancing on Ice (and lets face it, probably failing), you can now catch some wind sliding down the new 30 metre dry slope snow slide, AND experience what it would be like to be flying down an incredibly high mountain of snow in Ski’s, or a bobsleigh in the simulator. What better day to do all of these cool (excuse the pun) activities than Valentines day. It is a perfect excuse to hold your valentines hand under the pretense that you can not keep stable in your skates, and a great chance to snuggle up to them in order to keep warm. For more information check the website, don’t miss out on the chance to impress your date with your originality, and skating skills! Snow joke! (sorry, again).

Happy Valentines day guys, I am starting to feel like my ideal Valentines day would be all three of these.
Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Nights Out for the Laid Back: A weekly Newcastle guide

This article will be of interest to you if you find that, although you are in one of the biggest party cities in the country, and you are still trying to find out why people can go out without wearing coats in the middle of winter, bright lights give you a headache and you think ‘mushroom’ is a stupid name for a club. Do you find yourself not knowing where to go every day of the week?

But fear not! Newcastle has plenty to offer you, there are clubs with a more laid back atmosphere. The two universities in a small-ish town guarantee that there is a vibrant musician atmosphere, with plenty putting on open-mic nights and random gigs.

Monday: Ice Skating!

The Centre for Life in the middle of town opens an outdoor ice skating ring in the winter. For a nominal fee, you can make a fool out of yourself in front of the people you want to impress the most.

Tuesday: Open Mic Night at the Trent

Exactly what it says on the tin: the open mic night at the trent runs every Tuesday and is usually packed with professional and amateur musicians. It’s a lovely atmosphere, and if you had gone there before and been scared by all the creepy doll pictures, you don’t have to worry anymore: they have replaced it with art you can (and would like to!) buy. The Trent is right next to Newcastle uni, so you won’t even have to walk that far. Awesome.

Wednesday: Eat at Eye on the Tyne

What? You need to eat, right? Although Eye on the Tyne isn’t super cheap, if you have a taste for good food you can probably enjoy the rustic platters which have amazing ham and bread. You haven’t lived until you have tried their stuff olives. Don’t like olives? You will. 

Thursday: Jazz Cafe

Yeah, go to the jazz cafe. Jazz is still cool, right? Smack in the middle of town, the Jazz cafe is an affordable pub with different entry fees. Call ahead and ask if you remember. It’s a cozy, intimidate atmosphere, with loads of beautiful calligraphy everywhere and a man with a great big white beard. Don’t worry, I hear he is good at jazz.

Weekend: Before you go to your normal clubs or whatever it is you people do on the weekends, consider going ghost hunting. Newcastle is a really, really old city, full of tortuous history which, if there are ghosts, is very conductive to them. There are a couple of companies around the area that do ghost hunting tours, but the best thing to do is sleep over at a haunted place. One of them even lets you stay over at the Castle Keep, and that place is dark as anything. Enjoy getting your soul taken in your sleep for under £20 per person!

Manchester’s infamous Warehouse Project

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Warehouse Project (or WHP as it is affectionately known), is an renowned Manchester hotspot, hosting gigs from some of the biggest dubstep, grime and electro artists, like Skrillex, Jamie XX and Aphex twin. Ever since my first year of uni, it was the place to go. So by the time it got to my third (and final) year, I had to give it a go.

The first (and very important) rule of WHP is to get your tickets early. Most of the big nights will sell out fast, so you need to get on it. After this point, there’s always going to be tickets floating about – as long as you’re willing to pay extortionate prices buying from cash-strapped students. Most WHP tickets are around twenty quid, and let me tell you, it is more than worth it.

At the time of my arrival, WHP was located, quite literally, in a Warehouse on Store Street. Who’d have thought? Raving below the streets of Manchester is rather different to any other clubbing experience. The venue is pretty massive, and very raw. If you’re all about the leather upholstery and swanky VIP booths, this is definitely not the place for you.

The same goes for the people inside. This is no 5-inch heel wearing, booty-shaking crowd. It’s more along the lines of sweaty, shirtless guys and girls, quite literally letting their hair down.  Unlike many of Manchester’s clubs, WHP has no time for pouting and posing. It is, quite simply, a place to let go. An atmosphere of euphoria buzzes through the air, with a bassline that is deafening in the best possible way.

This is a BIG night, and as awesome as it is, chances are it’s going to knock you out for a couple of days. Not a good choice for the night before a lecture/any event requiring any level of brain function.

After my first visit to WHP, I was hooked, and have now raved to the like the likes of Knife Party, Subfocus, True Tiger and Benga. However, last year, organizers announced that WHP would be changing locations, causing a flurry of panic that our beloved Warehouse would shuffle of to London. But despite our fears, WHP is staying in Manchester, in a currently undisclosed location. It is set to return in September of this year, although a special one-off Easter night will unveil the new location.

If you’re prepared to let down those civilized, sane-person barriers, get a bit sweaty, dance like a crazy and maybe snog a randomer, then Warehouse Project is the definitely the one for you.

Easter Sunday tickets here – http://www.thewarehouseproject.com/

Written by Sarah Davis, Manchester Uni