Hindu students welcome Spring by celebrating Holi.

 Hindu students across London came together during the first week of April in order to welcome Spring; creating one colorful explosion.

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Students celebrating Holi Fesitval. Photo: via Herri Bizia (Creative Commons 3.0 etc License)

The Hindu festival Holi, a celebrated festival all across India was welcomed optimistically by many students at Lincoln Inn Fields, Holborn, welcoming Spring with open arms as they officially said goodbye to that cold winter chill.

A group of six Hindu student came together in order to organise an event with 300 people; deciding it would be a “fun way to celebrate our religion with some colour”, especially considering UK weather hasn’t been the greatest. These students felt as though; it was time to  bring back some colour into students lives just before exam pressure began to work it’s way in and after getting confirmation from the London council to use the park believed celebrating Holi would be “something unique and memorable.”

So before you ask; What is Holi ?

Here’s some context …

Holi, also known as the “festival of colours” has been a celebrated event by Hindus all across the world for. Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun than religious observance. Holi is a colourful festival, with dancing, singing, and throwing of powder paint and coloured water.

Holi is a very old celebration. It’s initial mention can be dated back to fourth century poetry. A 7th century play named Ratnaval describes Holi: ”

“Witness the beauty of the great cupid festival which excites curiosity as the townsfolk are dancing at the touch of brownish water thrown from squirt-guns.They are seized by pretty women while all along the roads the air is filled with singing and drum-beating. Everything is coloured yellowish red and rendered dusty by the heaps of scented powder blown all over.”

The timing of Holi is synchronised with the moon, which means that the dates of each celebration varies year on year.

First and foremost is the burning of the devil Holika,  the sister of the Hindu demon king Hiranyakashipu. The demon king was granted immortality with five powers.When his immortality turned him evil and he began to kill anyone who disobeyed him, his son, Prahlad, decided to kill him. When the king found out, he asked his sister Holika for help; in their plan she would wear a cloak which stopped her from being harmed by fire and take Prahlad into a bonfire with her.However the cloak flew from Holika’s shoulders while she was in the fire and covered Prahlad; he was protected but she burnt to death.

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Krishna adoring Radha. Photo: Infinite Eyes via Creative Commons 3.0 etc Licens

but it also draws on the legend of Radha and Krishna. Krishna loved Radha, but felt self-conscious about how different their skin-colours were. So on the advice of his mother, he went and playfully painted her face so it was the same colour as his. It is said that lovers often celebrate Holi in this tradition, by colouring their faces the same colour during the celebrations.Traditionally the colors used in Holi came from flowers and herbs but today they’re usually synthetic.

Some believe, each colour used during Holi has a distinct meaning behind it.

Yellow: yellow, a medieval painting of hell.

Blue: Represent Krisha and spiritually complex color of the gods.

Green: green is the color of nature and happiness.

Red: the color of weddings and life and festivals.

Discussing what it felt like being at the event; students felt as though it was a great opportunity to interact with a vast majority of Hindus across the city. All uniting to not only celebrate their religion but to also have fun.

“energy levels are off the roof”

The event was definitely a success and the society was able to generate more than £300. They have high hopes to keep this up every year due to the mass success of it.

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Indie band Runaway Hounds have taken on the Capital.

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Owen Stavenuiter stays standing, his look appears to be channeling his favourite Gallagher brother, Liam Gallagher as he’s dressed in double denim with the brunette locks, a fashion crime for some. However, as Owen rocks the look and apologises for all the sweating dripping off him, he says with great eagerness and passion, “Let’s talk Runaway Hounds, that’s why you’re here isn’t it?” and he was right.

Owen Stavenuiter a 19-year-old undergraduate music student studying in Surrey but born and raised in the City of Wolverhampton, tells me about his rock adventure to the initial days of forming the band The Runaway Hounds to the excitement of debuting in Notting Hill, London and every other chord, string and alto in between.

 

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“it was four wacky 16-year-olds joining up their talents to act on a hobby they love, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing but who the hell cared” – Owen Stavenuiter. 

Q: Runaway Hounds, what inspired the name?

A: I think with a lot of bands, you just got to aim for something that’s quite unusual a bit alien and edgy. Something that will just grasp people’s attention. People can interpret us how they want but we just wanted something that was quite you know different really. Like something that if you search into google there isn’t much comes up with it, so it’s easy to stand out. So we were running in our own circles for a few days. We had tons of different stuff. We had stuff like Gondola Highway, what kind of name is that ? We had quite some weird an unusual stuff like that. Like the Lemon Gang was another one we were thinking. All weird names, rubbish names really.

Q: How was it starting out?

A: We were about 17. We went to school together and for about two or three years actually we used to practise together in the music rooms every break and lunch time and even perform after school to anybody who would listen really. We did one performance to the school, our little own concert and it was just cringe. So like those first performances they are always going to sound questionable. Urm but that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Q: What was your first ever gig like and how did you feel ?

A: The first gig we did was at a local venue called the Slade Rooms, which was quite a popular venue and was big for our city. We were then apart of this collective event called Wolftown. It’s 5 bands all playing one night, and the crowd was approximately 400 people. That’s a crazy first gig to have really. And we were on first really, which made it even more scary really because we didn’t know. We will never ever forget a gig like that.

Q: Tell me about your sound ?

A: Our sound  is sort of that driving indie rock, you know we like to make a really loud urm how to describe, it’s funky and you can dance along. We like to make catchy music. Like it’s weird, randomly back at uni, I would come in to the kitchen and my flatmates would be playing our song Rattlesnake and I’d be really confused. I’ve even woken up to my own song actually –

Q: Is it your alarm ?

A: No no, when I over slept, they blasted my song through the speakers until I got out of bed for the flat meeting, which was funny but a little unpleasant. So yeah, people seem to be enjoying it and still seem to be listening to it and sharing it about which is great?

Q: Why was Rattlesnake your debut song?

A: So we had practised quite a few songs to figure about our own sound and what works and what doesn’t and urm eventually when we put Rattlesnake together, we thought it was a proper single really. We really liked the sound it had, the energy it created so yeah, why not ? and the crowd really liked it as well. So we though to take thi track to the next level.

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Runaway Hounds in the record studio rehearsing.

Q: So the story and messages behind your song, what  inspires you when creating them ?

A:What we have done a couple of times is like story telling with our songs. Like I really like to do that. For example Rattlesnake, tells a story about a person coming to the end of a relationship and rather then projecting all of his fear and anger onto another person he just uses this metaphor into this big scary monster, rather than being angry and scared at her. Which is quite a nice story. But we basically create the music first and then see where the sounds take us. Yeah the lyrics are kind of the last stage really and we like to capture that first and see what kind of sound that is and what sort of mood fits with it really. Like what sort of situations apply more to that sound.

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Image by Sam Mines Photography.

Q: So you performed in London, how was it ? 

A: Yes! We can officially say London can now be ticked off the bucket list. It was magical I cannot lie. We performed in Notting Hill…Notting Hill ! That’s like one of my favourite spots in the country. We performed at Notting Hill Arts club. To think a small band like us have already performed in one of the greatest cities in the country and even in the world, it’s mad. But it was so much fun, the atmosphere was electric. It was just different, nerve wrecking because the crowd was completely different because in the Midlands we had our friends and family around us. Where as this time, we sort of didn’t know anyone, so they really could have disliked us if they wanted. We so are hoping an opportunity like that will come again.

Q: So now what for Runaway hounds ?

A: You know, who knows ! We’re just gonna do what we do best and carry on. We’ve got some great things lined up for us this year. Any surprises that come our way, well i’m going to embrace them with open arms. I want to carry on enjoying University too and learn more about music and be able to make use of that in the band. But just watch out because Summer is on its way and it’s coming with some exciting news.

Q: Any advice to younger bands starting out. 

A: Don’t just dive straight into an album, write quite a lot of songs first before you settle for anything. Listening back to some of the stuff I used to write is horrendous. Practise as much as you can, practise weekly will really help with the sound. Get to know each other’s approach to performing. Get used to working in a unit.

The Runaway hounds have had many big surprises this year, from London to releasing a second EP called “Sophie” and the opportunity to reach out to larger audiences. However, the greatest suprise was when local Football club Wolverhampton Wanderers FC featured their song “Rattlensnake” in a video.

The Runaway Hounds remain optimistic for what the rest of 2018 holds already discussing up and coming gigs in cities around the country and releasing more EP’s.

Facebook: Runaway Hounds

Twitter: Runaway Hounds

Instagram: Runaway Hounds

Youtube: Runaway Hounds

MOSHIng monsters !

Yesterday, I lost my ‘Moshing Virginity’.

It was a completely new and intriguing experience for me. I ventured out of my typical musical comfort zone and into a new indie rock like atmosphere. The event had taken place in my home city (Wolves) and it was only right for the event to have some pun to the city, hence why the event was called ‘Wolftown’.

I really didn’t know what to expect, it’s fair to say in that one day I had been faced with more denim than the whole of 2016 … there was definitely many Britney’s and Justin’s around. I believe clothing wise the aesthetic was that you’re outfit either featured excessive denim, velvet or a chequered, or a mixture of them all ( if you were like INDIE royalty) …I undertook the velvet.

I won’t lie to you, I didn’t have a clue as to what the fuck I was doing. There was 5 bands including a pal’s band ayyyy shoutout to RUNAWAY HOUNDS, whom killed it >>> shout out to Stavs and CO. Who I say in the most unbiased way, legit rocked it … not only were they the first ones on but their songs was definitely able to create some atmosphere. A favorite original song of there’s being ‘Pixels’. The bands were v.cool though, 1/2 of them I fail to pronounce but hey ho; I just smiled and jumped.

Can I just say; for a kid who isn’t typically into this genre of music and jumped and screamed to anything … I most definitely probably looked like a monkey than again; I would choose monkey’s over anyone so… let me prepare myself…

Moshing … ? I legit thought it was called Mushing … I believe the name suits a little bit better because I felt like a pea getting mushed to it’s death. Can I just say, this whole ‘Moshing thing’ I would never even get at a Lana Del Rey or pop concert and hence why I appreciate this event; opening my eyes to the craziness which is moshing.

How can we get such a thrill of being thrown into a circle and legit fighting for air in order to breathe ? Why are we made like this ? where the hair of girls finds its way in our face and the sweat of strangers flicked onto us, whilst you recognize a friend and in those few seconds you just look at each other and both are thinking ‘What the fuck are we doing ?’ … and yet we return for more. I was so close to fainting … I can’t.

Yes. That was my experience at a rock concert. Scary, thrilling and very Indie. It was cool, different and a super cute night.

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Slow MØ !

You know how it is, when you’ve been listening to an artist/album for sooooo long and you just accept that you won’t see them because there’s no chance in hell, they’ll ever come to a city close to you. Yep, that’s exactly what it was like for with ‘No Mythologies to follow’.

 

Two Years ago, my ears were introduced to the voice which was MØ and instantly I loved it, I was bored with the typical song produced by Little Mix  or the one hit wonder which was Carly Rae Jepson and this was in my deep Lana Del Rey phase, where everything was like emotion, grunge and paradise. Therefore, I ventured out wanting to find an artist where the album was able to simply say ‘no fucks given’. Then there she was my Danish artist (the only danish artist I know) MØ popping out of no where, giving me an album full of pure energy, colour and crazyness … 3 adjectives which represent moi. Therefore, this time 3 years ago I gradually became obsessed with the songs ‘waste of time’,’slow love’, ‘don’t wanna dance’ and ‘Glass’ and legit were played on loop, especially because there were so convenient as they had the upbeat tempo that I could go on a jog too … awks how running and any other form of exercise is at the bottom of my list. Basically back to the point, once MØ whose name I still fail to pronounce became recognized with hit songs like ‘Lean On’ ‘Final Song’ and Cold water’ and then released her tour dates, one being Birmingham, I screamed … legit.

This was all like 6 months ago and I just forced my friends (who’m particular would press skip on this genre of music to come with me, as although I would have gone by myself, sometimes you just need to drag people along and switch their normal routine up a bit. So yeah, it ended up being a very different night out, 1. we lost a debit card. 2.We took boomerangs next to a graffiti(ed) tiger (I know graffitied isn’t a word but I’ll make it one). 3. Debated for about 2 minutes whether the supporting band (Nimmo) were male or female but either way they fckin killed it. Whilst at the gig/concert, let’s just say I spent half  of the time having a drink in my hand, half of the time grinding on the ghosts (dancing)  and half of the time trying to engage in eye contact with MØ. We even managed to make friends with 2 people from Gloucester whom we made friends with through complaining about the rain with in the queue, 2 girls who adored Lana Del Rey and were singing Lana’s song in the interval with me and 2 Canadian men, one of whom had a cool beard and a Canadian accent. Then yeah, it was great because I was able to be on the second row to one of my favorite artists and it was even better because the warehouse wasn’t crazy busy and enough for a buzzing, ethereal atmosphere, where you could just close your eyes and truly get into the mojo of things.

 

Let me say, I left that concert with one sore throat, broke and with the @’s of a few cuties but one thing I love about slightly unknown artists, is that you are able to connect with the audience on a personal level. Like when you’re in 02 Stadium watching Rihanna and you have to squint your eyes to see her, I just don’t see no point. Another thing I love about artists like MØ is that she simply doesn’t give a fuck, she will direct her lyrics to controversial topics and if she wants to jump on the audience, she really will not hesitate to do so ( I was blessed with being able to touch her ankle). I was also happy because I was able to take a selfie with her and she signed both my phone case and my ticket. Legit BAE down to the T.

So yeah, A very good night indeed and lets just say with every song she sang I didn’t want it to be the ‘final song’ (See what I did there).

 

“Earnest”

Last week, I went on a “free” trip to the Birmingham Rep to see ‘The Importance of being Earnest’, the fact I stress its free is because I do love a good freebie and that was one great freebie, I must admit. Although, for someone who loves to act and does quite a fair bit of drama, I don’t go to as many drama shows as most avid theater goers, as I remain broke for 3/4 of my life and that 1/4 time I am not broke, the money is spent on chicken … Kentucky Fried Chicken, Peri Peri Chicken, McChicken you name it but yes Earnest.

For those who are reading this (basically my mum and sister …   hello) The importance of being Earnest is a British classic written by the fabulous Oscar Wilde. The play follows a guy named John who lives a double life, pretending to be Earnest in the City and John in the country and his friend Algernon who too leads a double life as Algernon in the city and Earnest in the country. Basically it’s hard to explain the play, so like yeah it’s about people pretending to be someone they’re not, in order to fit in with people socially opposite to them. Yep, it’s basically old school Catfish … someone call Nev and Max (if you don’t get that … leave) A very relevant issue in today’s society … I’m not going to make this post one of those ones, so don’t worry. It’s actually quite an interesting play as Oscar Wilde during the release of the play all the way back in 1895 was found leading a double life himself, having a homosexual affair with Lord Alfred Douglas and later on was arrested when his father in law accused him of being homosexual. After details of his private life were revealed during the trial, was arrested and tried for gross indecency and was sentenced to two years. The play was quickly removed from being played in theatre’s until after his death.

This was my second time watching the importance of being Earnest, watching it for the first time 3 years ago where legit it was the worst interpretation ever, as it was interpreted to be like a play within a play, where there was dress rehearsals and all types of nonsense ( 1/4 of the audience fell asleep it was that bad) so going to watch it again was quite nerve wrecking. However, in the morning we had a Theater day, where we were the only group to ask the cast and crew some questions in regards to the play, for me having that one to one chat with such talented actors and actresses like Cathy Tyson (the one in the Mona Lisa) and Fela Lufadeju. It was quite an iconic performance due to the cast being a multicultural cast, which for the importance of being earnest was never done before. Cathy was great she quickly was able to reveal her difficulties in playing such a savage character like Lady Bracknell, she was telling us how she had visited the National Gallery, watched Downton Abbey and looked at personal stories of black women during the 1900 in order to mimic their mannerisms to match that of Lady Bracknell. Cathy was also great in evoking how truly ‘vulnerable and insecure’ she felt getting the part at first. Fela also opened up to us telling us how he was laughing at his agent when he heard about the role, as Jack had never played by a black actor before and also how Earnest was such a great play to be apart as “today we are so lost in social media, it’s so  easy to galvanize in wanting to be something that you are not”.

Through the play, the true feeling that the director was trying to portray was the fact “that people say and do things in order for situations to remain comfortable, they don’t truly say and do what they want in order to maintain peace” and this was done very cleverly. The set was made purely of mirrors in order to unite both art and theater together and the reflect the disoriented world we are living in, where every action can be watched so microscopically from so many different angles. Other parts of the set was very distinctive, it was like it had a Alice in Wonderland twist where every scene was a party with such vivid blues and yellows. We also had a tour in  the backstage areas of the theater, looking at everything from how the theater transforms into’s plays from being pieces of wood and plastic into grande designs, we also managed to sneak into an art warehouse size room, where there was a group of artists sculpturing a ship for the theater’s next show Treasure Island, it was truly epic to see how many hours and how much talent is needed to create such shows. A truly unforgettable tour as we literally witnessed everything from the music to the wig room to the chill room (so many cakes and donuts) to even the rehearsal rooms.

Although for me, the best part about the whole show was witnessing the actor Edward Franklin playing the character of Algernon Moncrieff, a perfect character match. Edward was  hysterical, with his awkward mannerisms on stage and his Benedict Cumberbatch like look truly stood out for me. He was also great because he had yellow shoes … yellow shoes so yesssss he had to be my favourite because anyone who has yellow shows is cool.

Definitely a play I will encourage people to watch as it truly does fit in with the way society is today ! so yes it is very relevant and if you watch the right interpretation of it, will remain a British classic !

The Great British “break” off.

As a nation we have been faced with a dilemma troubling the majority of bake-off lovers … (disclosure) … bake off has now been confirmed and is moving to Channel 4. Yes Channel 4, what does this even mean ? although we still get our annual episode of a gingerbread makeover and the dilemma of an under proved bread, we will now be faced with the monstrous 900 seconds worth adverts, that’s correct 15 minutes of adverts meaning less time to internally cry for our favorite contestant when their cherry red piping ends up mahogany.

I am currently writing this post whilst watching Bake Off and to the small percentage who aren’t bake-off fans ( like seriously how can you not be ?) will not understand how truly upsetting the move will be. Although it is confirmed that Sue and Mel will no longer be moving with Bake Off to channel 4, already means the C4 bake off is set to crumble and no, not in a nice rhubarb and custard way. As the humorous duo will probably replaced with the likes of Davina McCoy who in every episode will be like “Bake off tent, this is Davina” and probably Chris Evans because he’s just everywhere(not confirmed)… so yes they will be no corny sexual innuendos. . . – long cry –  It was the power of Sue and Mel who had engaged me in the history of cakes, biscuits and some foreign delicacy in the history section of the show and the only other person who could do as good a job would be David Attenborough. So yes good luck Channel 4 because without Sue and Mel all you have bought is a tent.

On a more serious note, it’s a shame the whole thing was over money really as it really shows the true color of Love Productions as Bake Off’s home will always be CHANNEL 1! So don’t be surprised when bake-off will be filled with Stawberry Jam sob stories and no longer be the light and fluffy show it has always been. Although I am writing off the show before it even begins, I just see no hope with the new show as I feel like it wouldn’t rise to high expectations many of us have.

Well one thing we know for a fact, is this is a very bad year for David Cameron because although BREXIT ruined him, his resignation was less cared about than the baking show switching networks,  proving how much the British people adore Bake off and CAKE.So lets ‘hopefully’ remain merry with our Mary and Paul and hope they don’t go too, as what will we do without her comments on having a ‘SOGGY BOTTOM’? . Can you picture 8 out of 10 cats doing some kind of version off Bake Off because I can… I’m just going to stop before I get sad because all I want to do now is eat a slice of Victoria sponge, a little slice of a carrot cake and maybe a macaroon because why the f*** not.

 

Hills, open days and decisions.

As a “wannabe” Journalist I feel like it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t make a post on the big question the majority of young adults go on, “Which University ?”. After visiting both Sheffield and Leeds yesterday I remain perplexed as to where i see myself settled for 3 – 4 years, I always believed a big crazy city like London would be the place for me (already accepting I would be broke). Although, trekking up the many hills both Sheffields and Leeds provided for me, the balance between a  city and being able to see some green settled comfortably with me.

Sheffield seemed great, the Journalism course quickly felt like a degree I could see myself doing, fast paced (literally the lecturer was like she expects young journalists to be able to master 100 words a minute), creative and a degree where i don’t spend 3/4 of my life in the Library, which for someone who doesn’t like the sound of silence is happy about. Therefore I could see no fault and definitely am still considering it as a number 1 place for UCAS. Although the Leeds degree was for Broadcast Journalism (No print, Magazine etc) which slightly puts me off, the vitality of the Lecturer truly grabbed my attention 100%. The multiculturalism I witnessed in the city and the up to date modern facilities were amazing in contrast to Sheffield, although in Sheffield the Student Union beats anything I’ve seen (then again it is number one in the UK).

Who am I kidding ? I make it sound like I’ve automatically got in. So i guess it’s back to reality and although Leeds is asking for AAB and Sheffield ABB, who knows maybe this time next year I’ll be hopefully settled in one. Now it’s just the waiting game and a year of hard work with a few tears and a lot of chocolate.   (more…)