Gig Review: The 1975 at Pryzm Kingston

The 1975 took over Pryzm last Thursday and it was fun, special, and incredibly sweaty.

To celebrate the release of their new album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the band played two shows in Kingston’s famous club.

The 1975 walked on the smallest stage they have played in a long time to their song ‘Give Yourself A Try’, which was released earlier in the summer. Such an upbeat song was the perfect way to get the crowd excited, and they performed it perfectly.

“I could not be happier”, said frontman Matty Healy after a few songs. And you could see it: he was incredibly smiley, winked and waved at different fans throughout the show, and danced like he was in a pop music video or at Notting Hill Carnival.

Everyone lived for it. The 1975 are the kind of band that aren’t just supported, they’re worshipped. Fans queued outside Banquet Records for over 24 hours just to get tickets to this show. When Matty threw flowers into the crowd, all hell broke loose – because who wouldn’t want to catch something that Matty Healy touched with his own hands?

To see the guy who used to wear all black and drink an entire bottle of red wine at every single show dance around in a simple red t-shirt felt strange at first – but then he smoked a cigarette while singing Paris and everything felt right again.

The band played a mix of songs from the new album and from previous ones. Safe to say, the room was filled with old school fans who lost their minds when older songs such as ‘You’ or ‘Fallingforyou’ started playing. Hearing all those fans scream “I don’t wanna be your friend, I wanna kiss your neck” at the same time with the same passion was incredibly emotional, but also nostalgic.

The 1975 have been a band for sixteen years now, but have only been the band we know since around 2012, which was when they rose to fame. They have gone through a lot of changes in their careers, but it was nice to see them become an improved version of what they were from the beginning. “It actually feels like the first time we’re actually The fucking 1975 again”, said Matty before the band started playing ‘Girls’, one of their most popular songs.

The atmosphere was insane throughout the whole show. There were people jumping, dancing, crying, hugging each other, or just smiling at the band. And of course, everybody was singing at the top of their lungs. During ‘Sex’, the floor felt like it was literally moving because people were jumping so much. The band looked happier than ever as well, and sounded impeccable. You know a band is good when they can pull off tiny club shows, massive arena shows, and festivals and make each gig special in its own way.

They finished the set with fan-favourite ‘Robbers’, which can only be described as magical, but the entire show felt surreal. If you didn’t get the chance to see them at Pryzm, The 1975 are touring the UK & Ireland in January, and it’s looking like they’re going to put on unmissable shows.

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The 5 Most Problematic Christmas Songs

I love the holidays. Honestly, probably more than the average person—the food, the family, the festivities; it’s all so dreamy and magical.

I’m also a huge fan of Christmas music. Year after year, I listen to the same Christmas soundtrack because it really gets me in the Christmas spirit.

However, this year, I’ve really started to listen to the lyrics of these songs and have realised something:

Some Christmas music is super problematic.

I’ve curated a list of the 5 most problematic Christmas songs and the reasons they make the holidays a little bit less jolly. I will be rating the problematic nature of these songs on a scale of 1-5 Santa heads.

1. Santa Buddy: Michael Bublé, 2011

Alright, Michael. We get it: no homo. Michael Bublé’s male-centric rewrite of the classic Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” changes the words in such a way that we couldn’t possibly think he was looking at Santa in an erotic way.

He does so by making Santa his buddy, his pally, his poppy (?) instead of his baby, by asking for a ‘65 convertible in a very masculine STEEL blue and not the original light blue, by requesting “Canucks tix” (aka, hockey tickets) because he is A Man Who Likes Sports and Don’t You Forget It. However, he still asks for Santa to come and “trim [his] Christmas tree”. Hmm….

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2. Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Dean Martin, 1953

If you were to name one particularly controversial Christmas song, it would be this one. It’s fun, catchy, and it’s been around for decades, but it’s highly problematic. It tells the story of a woman who has spent an evening with a man, but he begs her to stay as she attempts to convince him that she needs to leave.

But what is this song really about? While the lyrics play it off as a cutesy and flirty hard-to-get situation, what the song is really doing is perpetuating rape culture. With lyrics like “I simply must go,” “The answer is no,” and “Say, what’s in this drink?”, this song is actually quite problematic in its dismissive qualities of a woman attempting to remove herself from an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation.

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3. Do They Know It’s Christmas? 1984; 2014

It’d be easy to blame this song on simply being a symptom of the time it was releasedin 1984, speaking about starving Africans was actually quite forward thinking and woke.

But in 2014? A resung version starring big names like One Direction, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, and so many more? In 2014, should we still be perpetuating the idea that everyone in “Africa” (where, specifically. Africa is large and is made up of over 50 countries) is starving? The original hasn’t aged well, and the 2014 version really just shouldn’t exist.

Thank you for trying to raise awareness, Band Aid. Thank you for raising money for Ebola prevention. But lyrics like “Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow” isn’t necessarily accurate depiction of the entire continent of Africa.

“Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?” Yes, probably.

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4. Never Do a Tango with an Eskimo: 1955

According to this 1955 Christmas song by Alma Cogan, one must never dance with an Eskimo for several reasons, the main ones being that “once those Eskimoses start to wiggle with their toeses, you can bet your life you’re gonna get a chill,” and also that “once an Eskimosee starts to cuddle up so cozy, you’ll find your passion cooling, yes sirree.”

Good to know. But don’t worry, she does give us plenty of other races that we can dance with, such as “a Latin”, “a gaucho” or “an Apache.”

I have several questions. Why is Cogan picking on Eskimos? Why is this considered a Christmas song? Why does this song exist at all? Can we stop perpetuating negative stereotypes about entire demographics, please?

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5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: Michael Jackson version; 1970

Nothing says Christmas like infidelity! According to the song, a young Michael Jackson sneaks downstairs only to find his mother kissing Santa Claus, but no one believes that Jackson actually saw this happen.

While some people believe the song is about the mother cheating on her husband with Santa, others see it a bit more innocently; perhaps Santa IS dad, and mommy is simply kissing her Santa-suited husband. Either way, it’s caused some controversy among Christmas listeners. What do YOU think the song is about?

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Did we miss your least-favourite Christmas song? Let us know in the comments!

 

California Wildfires Continue to Displace Families Amidst Aftermath

This November, California witnessed their biggest fire season in recent years. Over the course of three weeks, the golden state fought against three major fires that tore through the northern and southern regions.

The horrifying three weeks started on Thursday 8 November, in Northern California with the “Camp Fire”. It is considered the deadliest fire in United States’ history – with the death toll currently at 88 people.

The prolific fire started in Butte County and then made its way to the town of Paradise.

Paradise has suffered the most destruction, with a majority of it being consumed by the blaze. Over 153,336 acres were demolished.

Down in southern California, the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fire also ignited on 8 November. Collectively, the fires burned through 250,285 acres of land and have caused three deaths.

Brandon Rista of Newbury Park, California, discussed the life-threatening experience he endured during the height of the Woolsey and Hill Fire.

“My family was evacuated for a night at an evacuation centre because all of the hotels in town were booked,” Rista said. “All of the freeways were blocked off, so it felt like we were trapped in our town for the night. My neighbourhood ended up being fine in the end, but there were people I knew who weren’t so lucky.”

The fires have destroyed more 20,297 buildings including residences, commercial buildings and structures.

Many citizens of Paradise, Malibu, Thousand Oaks and surrounding areas are homeless, including some of Hollywood’s most beloved household names. Miley Cyrus, Gerald Butler, and Robin Thicke are just a few of the many to have lost their homes to the out-of-control carnage.

Currently, the fires are 100% contained, but the aftermath has left an undeniable mark throughout the golden state.

Hazardous waste clean-up will be starting within these upcoming days, with Paradise, California seeing treatment first.

Along with a state-wide clean up, over 1,000 breweries across the U.S., including Sierra Nevada Brewing, have come together to brew and sell a special beer named “Resilience Butte County Proud IPA” in efforts to raise funds to assist in helping the “Camp Fire” victims and cities.

5 Ways to Stay Warm in Student Halls

Winter is coming, and while it’s not as cold as North of the Wall in Game of Thrones, it’s still chilly enough to make you shiver all day, especially when studying all day in a cold bedroom.

We know student halls can be a bit of an igloo-like place during winter time, so we’ve got some great tips on how to stay warm in your student dorm room!

1. Buy a hot water bottle

A hot water bottle is a great way to stay nice and toasty while you’re studying at your desk or just bundled up in your bed watching Netflix. You can carry it with you and will act as a mini heater to keep the cold at bay!

Amazon has a whole bunch of hot water bottles you can choose from (prices start from £4 with Amazon Prime delivery), varying from simple, yet cosy 2 litre ones to novelty hot water bottles with animal covers. One of these cuties will not only keep you warm, but it will also be a nice decoration for your room!

2. Invest in a good duvet

We all know that nights are especially cold during this time of year, so it is crucial to have a good, thick duvet to protect you from the chilly drafts coming from your window; the higher the rating, the better! That way, you’re sure to get a good night’s sleep without waking up a shivering mess all the time!

We recommend the Wilko Super Soft 13.5 Tog Duvet (£10); it’s silky and fluffy, just perfect to cuddle up in bed and relax, all while keeping the cold at bay.

3. Pile on the throw blankets

Sure, for bedtime, duvets are the best option out there. But what about when you’re studying during the day? That’s what blankets are for! Just have one or two (or pile them on if you’re perpetually cold or just love them to bits) throw blankets in your room all the time to wrap yourself and stay warm during your study sessions.

Not to mention, they can bring a lovely pop of colour and style to your student hall room. Bonus tip: if you want some extra warmth, pop your blankets into the dryer for a few minutes; it will feel like a hug from a teddy bear!

4. Get your fluffy socks out

Do you have some funky looking fluffy socks lying around in your wardrobe? Well, get them out, because it’s their time to shine! There’s nothing better than putting a pair of your favourite soft socks on during winter time, especially if your feet are perpetually cold.

If you don’t have a carpet in your room, floors can get quite chilly, so walking around barefoot is the prime occasion for a cold to sneak up on you and make things worse. So if you don’t have a few pairs already, what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to a store and buy some fluffy socks and say bye-bye to frosty toes.

5. Splurge on a mini heater

If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has a busted heater in your room and your uni safe haven is starting to feel like penguins could live in it, it’s time to get out the big guns.

Spending money on a mini heater might seem like a splurge, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run, especially as the temperatures will continue to drop in December and January.

You can find good deals on Amazon, or you can buy one from well-known stores, like Clas Ohlson or Argos. Before you buy a mini heater though, check with your student halls administrators to check which types are allowed in your room.

Have you got any secrets to keep the cold at bay or does the cold never bother you anyway? Leave a comment down below telling us what you think the best way to stay warm this winter is!

How to Successfully Celebrate Chrismukkah

Are you a big fan of The O.C.? Do you come from a half Jewish, half Christian background? Or are you just a fan of unusual holidays?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, this guide to celebrating Chrismukkah (Christmas + Hanukkah) is perfect for you.

Chrismukkah was introduced to the world in December 2003 by popular TV series The O.C., in which Seth Cohen created the holiday to celebrate his father’s Jewish faith and his mother’s Christian faith. Or because he was spoiled and wanted more presents, feel free to interpret it as you wish to.

It’s not a real holiday, but it somehow became quite big in America. It’s time to bring it to Kingston.

So here’s how it works: eight days of presents, followed by one day of many presents. Unfortunately, this year’s Hanukkah dates don’t coincide with Christmas, as it’s actually already happening, so you’re gonna have to improvise. It’s not a real holiday after all, no harm done.

Do you love holiday decorations? It’s time to go wild! You get to decorate your house with a Menorah, as well as Christmas lights, stockings, bells and whatnot. The more decorations, the stronger the Chrismukkah feeling.

Don’t forget to make yourself (and all your guests) a yamaclaus… Yes, it’s a thing. If you’re confused, just imagine what a Jewish Santa Claus would wear on his head. Still confused? There is a genuine website that sells them, so you can see what they look like. It also lets you create a paper one if you’re lazy or running out of time!

Remember to get as many people as possible involved. Sure, baby Seth only had his family to celebrate with, but more people joined the Chrismukkah celebrations over time. And more people just means more food and more presents, so you better text all your group chats right now.

On Christmas Day (the day of many presents) you eat Chinese food at home and watch a movie on TV.

If you want the full Seth Cohen experience you can also invite both your girlfriends, listen to Death Cab For Cutie, or play some video games. Real fans can also get Captain Oats involved.

Alternatively, you can just watch The O.C. and call it a day.

The Chrismukkah episodes for each seasons are: ‘The Best Chrismukkah Ever’ (season 1, episode 13), ‘The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t’ (season 2, episode 6), ‘The Chrismukkah Bar-Mitzvahkkah’ (season 3, episode 10) and ‘The Chrismukk-huh?’ (season 4, episode 7). Enjoy!

How to Combat Holiday Homesickness

Ah, the holiday season. A wonderful time to indulge in mulled wine, eat a bit too many sweets and pies, and spend time with family.

But what do you do if you’re away from your family for the holidays?

Not all of us have the money to travel home for the winter holiday break—international students like me know this feeling all too well—or even have a good family to go home to. So what do you do when the holiday homesickness strikes?

  1. Reach out to friends and loved ones

Your family doesn’t have an embargo on holiday celebrations. London is a vibrant city, full of diverse people celebrating all the winter holidays. Talk to  your friends, co-workers or anyone else that you enjoy spending time with and ask them to attend a holiday celebration happening in the city with you.

Saving money this holiday? Even just inviting them over for some homemade mulled wine (this recipe looks pretty simple) and board games can help beat away the blues.

  1. Take a solo trip

It seems counter-productive, but taking a trip on your own can be helpful to battle homesickness. Since you can’t be home, travel to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go! You’ll create new memories and will be so focused on travelling, you won’t have time to mope. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to meet others in similar situations—and there’s never a wrong time to make new friends.

  1. Make a new holiday tradition

Sure, nothing can beat those Christmas morning cinnamon pecan rolls that only your mom can make—wait, is that just me?—but you have the freedom make your own traditions. Check out one of the Christmas markets around London and enjoy some hot chocolate with friends, or have a Christmas Eve sleepover.

Maybe your parents make the perfect latkes, but making them with friends can become a fun new tradition for Hanukkah. It won’t be what you’ve always had, but you’ll make heartwarming memories that can bloom into new—maybe even better—traditions.

  1. Remember that you’re not alone

It can be disheartening to see Instagram stories full of families laughing and Christmas presents being opened, but remember that you’re far from being the only person in your situation. There are lots of reasons why people can’t go home for the holidays, and there’s nothing shameful about it. Take this time to relax, indulge in some tasty food, and be renewed for 2019.

Are you staying in Kingston for the holiday break? Share your plans in the comments!

The Christmas Spirit Comes to Southbank

If you’re looking to really get your Christmas spirit on this holiday season, then make your way to the Underbelly’s Christmas Market in Southbank, London.

The Underbelly is known for throwing exciting and fun events that bring in thousands of people each year, such as their Summer Holiday festival that takes place in the same Southbank venue over the summer.

Those of you who are properly Christmas obsessed will truly love everything this market has to offer: mulled wine, handmade items, delicious warm food, and even a Christmas themed ferris wheel. The Underbelly’s Christmas Market is one of the funnest–and certainly one of the cosiest– within London.

The market runs until 6 January, so there’s still plenty of time to make your way over and indulge in the Christmas spirit.

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