2014 – What A Year

2014 is at an end and it was only natural that I would do a review post about the past year including the highs and lows that occurred.

Overall, this year has been a mixed one and for the most part, it has been a great year. However, towards the end of this year, my mum was diagnosed with throat cancer and she died three months later.  My mum passing was one of the hardest things I have had to deal with (the whole process is ongoing), I’m still angry that she was robbed the chances of having grandchildren and watching me graduate from university but I know that she was very proud of me. I never expected to lose a parent at the age of twenty and I never expected it to happen so suddenly. I was very close to my mum so facing 2015 without her will be hard that is for sure.

I was once again got to see my favourite band, All Time Low, live this year for the tenth time. This band mean so much to me and seeing them live is always a highlight for me. I can’t wait to see them play Wembley Arena next year, I am so proud of how much they have achieved.   As well as All Time Low, I got to see the super group McBusted play at the O2 arena in London. The show itself was incredible and as a fan of both McFly and Busted it brought back a lot of memories.
2014 was also the year I got to attend two festivals thanks to my university degree (I’ve done long post about both festivals already on this blog). During my time at Hove and Reading festival, I gained loads of hands on experience as well as seeing some amazing bands live in two very different environments. Hove allowed me to spend just over a week in the beautiful country of Norway, somewhere I would very much like to visit again. Reading allowed me get the full experience of a British festival and put me off public camping for life. Admittedly, for live music 2014 was lacking compared to other years but none the less it was enjoyable year for live music.

I finished my second year of university and entered my third and final year. This is my last year being a student and having an ‘easy’ life, 2015 I will need to look for a full time job and enter the big wide world of work. Uni has been great and continues to be, I have had so much support from my friends and tutors over the past few months, which has been greatly appreciate and it make me glad that I picked the university I am at.
I was given the opportunity to work at the Dance Proms at the Royal Albert Hall this year, which was a dream come true. The Royal Albert Hall is an amazing venue, rich with history and it is visually stunning. It was a long day working at the dance proms but I felt like I thrived in that environment and it made me realise how much I love working at live events.

I spent a lot of time reconnect with friends this year and really cherishing the time I spent with them. I honestly do not know where I would be without my friends. I have four best friends and they bring out the best in me, it would be odd to imagine my life without them. My family have been amazing this year and I would not change them for the world. There was a lot of love in 2014 and I want that to carry onto next year along with the laughter and tears.

So what does the future hold for 2015? I have no clue what 2015 will be like and I will be setting myself so ‘goals’, I can’t stand resolutions. I will be turning twenty one in 2015 and graduating with hopefully a good degree. I will excited to jump into work but also somewhat terrified but I know I will have the support from my family and friends along the way.

So 2015, let’s see what you’ve got!


A Day Trip To Birmingham

I have been to Birmingham countless timeless but almost all of those times were because I was simply changing stations, so it’s safe to say I had not seen that much of Birmingham. The only time I have spent any considerable length in Birmingham was earlier this year when I was visiting my best friend, Lilly for her birthday. Therefore, it would be no surprise that my day trip that I took earlier this week, was to visit said best friend.

The Gingerbread Bull at the Bullring shopping center.

The Gingerbread Bull at the Bullring shopping center.

Birmingham is a considerable train journey away from my university town but it is rather cheap with a railcard. The day started earlier for me as I wanted to spend a decent amount of time in the city with Lilly. I arrived in Birmingham just before midday and Lilly quickly directed me to the Bullring, which I must say is one of my favourite shopping centres in the UK. With Christmas shopping still to buy the Bullring was great for the last gifts I needed. Soon after we finished shopping, we found ourselves at Ed’s Easy Diner. Great food at good prices all with that classic American dinner touch, also the service was brilliant.

Frankfurt Christmas Market.

Frankfurt Christmas Market.

After eating until we were full, we decided to venture outside of the Bullring and eventually to the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Birmingham has the title of the largest Christmas Market in the UK and this is something I can agree on. Lilly also happened to point out the large Waterstones Birmingham has to offer, nearly over five floors and to a bookworm like myself that is a dream come true.  After reaching the third floor of the store and already having a handful of books and little money we thought it was best to quit while we were ahead in the store. I must mention however the amazing graphic novel section. Yes, it is nothing compared your average comic book store but for a place like Waterstones it’s something great.

A small snippet of Birmingham Waterstones Graphic Novel section.

A small snippet of Birmingham Waterstones Graphic Novel section.

Apart from being the largest Christmas Market it is also incredibly pretty, walking through the market did make me feel very festive and lifted our moods considerable. After attending Leeds Christmas Market and trying some food there, I wanted to see what Birmingham had to offer. The first thing I opted for was the Frankfurt sausage in a bread bun with a bit of ketchup and crispy bacon. I enjoyed it; I would have another if I visited again. In addition, the other food I tried at the market was a crepe with white chocolate. I once again enjoy this but my goodness it got very sickly towards the end, Lilly in this case opted for a savoury one of ham and cheese.

Frankfurt sausage.

Frankfurt sausage.

The trip to Birmingham was nice despite the cold and the wind that picked up towards the end of the day. The Christmas Market was enjoyable experience and one I would like to repeat next year. Birmingham can be a pretty city when it wants to be and I think Birmingham is at its prettiest when the Christmas Market is in town.  If you do end up going to the Birmingham Christmas Market, do have a go on carousel near the City Council Building, it makes you feel like a kid again.

The carousel at the Christmas Market.

The carousel at the Christmas Market.

My Top 10 Punk Goes…

Due to a family death, I have spent a long time away from blogging. But I am now back and kicking off with a list because everyone loves a good list.

For those who may not dabble in music of the rock variety, the wonderful people over at Fearless Records have been realising complications called Punk Goes… (with the main one being Punk Goes Pop) for roughly fourteen years. Punk Goes… have done some amazing covers over the years and in honour of  Punk Goes Pop 6 recently being released I am going to give you a rundown of my favourite covers from ten all the way down to my number one.

But just before we start a few honorary mentions to the majority of Punk Goes Pop 3, as much I as loved the covers by Woe, Is Me, Sparks The Rescue, We Came As Romans and Mayday Parade they just missed out on the top ten. Along with Escape The Fate’s cover of Smooth on Punk Goes Pop 2 (one of the first songs I listened to from the Punk goes… collection) it just missed out. All great songs but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

10. Billie Jean – Breathe Carolina (Michael Jackson)
Maybe a controversial one to start? Michael Jackson will always be the King of Pop but Breathe Carolina cover of Billie Jean just makes me want to get up and move. The whole Punk Goes Pop 5 is one of the strongest Punk Goes Pop albums that have been released and this song deserves to be my top ten because it shows how creative this covers can be.

9. Happy – Palisades (Pharrell)
From the newest Punk Goes Pop 6 is the cover of Happy by Palisades. Like many others, I got sick of hearing Happy everywhere and hearing this new spin on an overplayed record made me enjoy the song once again. Admittedly, I prefer the cover to the original but to be fair the original has been overplay to hell and back.

8. Enjoy The Silence – Anberlin (Depeche Mode)
Moving onto Punk Goes 90’S and this amazing cover of Depeche Mode’s gloomy Enjoy The Silence. My dad’s music taste has always been on point (well mostly) so this song naturally entered my life and occupied me on many car journeys. Anberlin cover is similar to the original but Stephen Christian vocals provides a whole different emotion to this song. Great song, great cover.

7. Umbrella – All Time Low (Rihanna)
At seven we have an entry from one of my favourite bands, All Time Low on the Punk Goes Crunk album. This would be higher in any other list but Punk Goes…  in general have some better covers. All Time Low covered their pop rock/pop punk (whatever you want to call it) style all over this record but you can still tell it’s is that famous  Rihanna song we love to hate. If I am honest, I often forget that All Time Low covered this song but it’s nice when it pops up on shuffle and it is a good cover to sing along to-do.

6. Glad You Came –We Came As Romans (The Wanted)
Another entry from Punk Goes Pop 5 (it won’t be the last) and this is cover I prefer a 100% over the original. I hated the original so much but We Came As Romans have made this song great, the vocals and guitar really push this cover to be a song full emotion and energy (which the original lacked). I really can’t fault the song. A very good job done here.

5. Fuck You – Sleeping With Sirens (Cee Lo Green)
Kellin’s vocals were made for this song, no one can fight me on this. As we enter the top five songs, two albums are going to be a common appearance and this is a first from Punk Goes Pop 4, which to me is the ultimate album of the Punk Goes… collection.  Regarding Cee Lo Green’s original, I thought it was catchy and that was about it. But Sleeping With Sirens spin for me really hammers the lyrics home, fuck you girl. The original seems quiet bubbly and sweet whereas Sleeping With Sirens you can tell they are pissed off with the girl. I love a good angry cover and this is one of them.

4. Little Lion Man – Tonight Alive (Mumford and Sons)
I was very late to the party with this cover. I skipped over this cover a lot of times but I think I heard it on a youtube video and I had to listen to the song again. I was not disappointed. I can’t get over how passionate Jenna sounds and it makes me just want to sing along to the song. I love Mumford’s original but I think this cover is on par with it. Both songs have the kick in the middle that sends shivers down my spine and that is why it is in the top five.

3. Just The Way You Are – Pierce The Veil (Bruno Mars)
Bruno Mars song Just The Way You Are was asking for a punk cover and it finally got one thanks to Pierce The Veil. The songs still keeps it sweetness and charming (maybe slightly lovely dovey lyrics) but with PTV’s twist there is some grittiness to the song, it basically becomes a roadtrip song.  This is once again another entry from the powerhouse that is Punk Goes Pop 4, just like entry 4 and 5.

2. Grenade – Memphis May Fire (Bruno Mars)/ Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) – Woe, Is Me (Katy Perry)
There is a tie for second place because I find it impossible to set these two songs apart. Both songs are complete change from the original and I prefer them both over the originals, like a lot. Both songs could easily go on a party mix because both make me pumped. Memphis May Fire provided Grenade with a lot more aggression then the original had and I totally dig that. Woe, Is Me gives Last Friday Night the punk cover it deserves making it perfect for a house party. These two earn the tie for the number 2 spot.

1. Rolling In The Deep – Go Radio (Adele).
And number one is Go Radio’s amazing cover of Rolling In The Deep. As someone who is not an avid fan of Adele, this cover is a great alternative from a band that ended far too early for my opinion. The cover is not as extreme or as out there as some of the other covers on Punk Goes Pop 4 but because it seems somewhat reserved does not make it any less of a song. The song slips right in to Go Radio’s style that I love, for me it is one of the best covers from the Punk Goes… collection.

So that’s it for my top ten, do you have a difference in opinion? Let me know in the comments. And congrats for Fearless Records and the Punk Goes… series for reaching sixteen album compilations, nice job.