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Sunday, 14 October 2018

Manchester on Film | Neighbourhood Festival and places we visited

Last weekend I and Jay went to Manchester for our first time together. 
We went down mainly for The Neighbourhood festival, which is a day festival set in venues around the city. As we didn’t do any ‘camping’ festivals this year going to Neighbourhood seemed like a perfect way to get our fix of some live music whilst also getting to explore Manchester in the process. 

Manchester has always been a city I’ve craved to visit. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about it has always said- Manchester is definitely a bit of you, you’d love it there. So honestly, I had high hopes about visiting. But do you know what? It actually exceeded my expectations in every way.

Manchester has well and truly captured my heart. 

The Neighbourhood Festival was on Saturday which felt like somewhat of a whirlwind from Friday night with us having been out to see a favourite band of mine in Birmingham called Stereo Honey, who you might have caught on my Instagram. Somehow that evening we- or shall I say I ended up getting quite tipsy and departed the night clutching a 99p cheeseburger. 

I never said this was a classy blog- bloody great night though. 

Come next morning we set off quite early with our coach leaving at 8.30am. As you can imagine I wasn’t feeling quite alive until we arrived at our hotel and had some time to freshen up, grab a change of clothes and then head to the festival.

We stayed in an Ibis hotel in a perfect location within Manchester that also happened to have a fab lobby area with a really old-school, seventies vibe mixed with a modern take on their decor. 

After a naughty not so small subway we got cracking on the first band on the line up called Wild Front. Neither me or Jay had heard of them much before the festival line-up was announced but having listened to them a few times prior to the festival me and Jay both decided we’d quite like to catch their set.

Their gig was set in a place in Manchester called Night People which had a very dark, underground indie sort of feel to it. 
Wild Front coincidentally clashed with Sundara Karma which was a shame but having seen Sundara a few times before we wanted to experience some smaller more intimate bands which 100% paid off.
Wild Front honestly took my breath away. Their set was both sincere and alluring, they drew me in from the get-go. The lead singer, in particular, had a beautiful voice and watching the different ways he played his guitar during each song was something else. 

Next on in the same venue was Kawala a band who I already adored beforehand for their summery and upbeat sound. Their set was so fun and engaging and their presence live was just an extension of their sound with their humour and general loveliness on stage being incredibly infectious.

From there we went to the Albert Hall to see The Night Cafe who both I and Jay have listened to from time to time.
With this being the first time I've been to Manchester this was also the first time I saw inside the Albert Hall which is, by the way, an absolutely stunning venue.

The Night Cafe wasn't hugely our cup of tea which could either be down to this being the point where both getting up early and being plunged into a warm room really hit me and I found myself struggling to stay awake or just that we weren't really feeling it but either way they did put on a good set a band that we could at least tick off our list.

After a quick freshen up we headed to Blaenavon's set which was probably the biggest highlight of the weekend, they absolutely blew us away.
I’ll be honest in admitting I’ve not always been that into Blaenavon but they’ve definitely grown on me through seeing them live and from Jay's love of them too. We had a lot of fun during this set, jumping around and dancing and my, my can those boys play the guitar! 

So for the final band of the night, we faced a dilemma, between catching Temples set or Everything Everything but having seen EE recently and a number of times before we decided it was best to catch Temples who we’d never seen live before. In the lead up to see them, I'd also been listening to them a lot and fell in love their songs so it seemed only the right decision.
It was definitely something seeing them play despite the crowd being somewhat sparse and their set a little flat in places. Sadly they happened to clash with an arguably bigger band which seemed much to their annoyance. But despite all that I really enjoyed having a little dance to their set with each of the songs sounding exactly as I imagined they would be live.

With the festival ending around 10pm, we decided we could either head back and grab an early night or discover a bit of the nightlife in Manchester. With this being the first time here it had to be the latter. We decided to venture out to Jimmy's bar, a place I have been longing to go to for SO long and my god it was even better than I expected it to be. Everyone was so friendly and chatty and the music, atmosphere and decor in the place was SO up our street. 
Also very excitingly so Temples also popped in for a DJ set which was a nice surprise.

So for the Sunday, our plan was to find someplace good for brunch and grab a coffee or two whilst exploring around the city. We didn’t really have any specific idea of places to go or anywhere in particular in mind, only that we’d quite like to visit the Northern Quarter. 

Our first stop was a place called Afflecks, which was suggested to me on Instagram. Unfortunately, the third floor was shut off so meant we could only explore the two floors but for what we did see it was a really cool place to explore and get lost around with lots of independent sellers and shops.

From there we really just had a wander around to discover some street art and have a chance shoot on my film camera before heading to get some brunch.

Granted not all the pictures in this post are shot on film the majority are. It was both mine and Jays first time in giving it a go. I've been wanting to get into film photography for a while and thought this weekend would be the perfect opportunity to get a nice set of photos shot on film. There's just something so charming and full of character about film. For our first time I don't think we did too badly.

We did have a bit of a mare finding somewhere to eat as like I said we didn't really have anywhere in mind so we spent a good while on Google Maps to find somewhere that took our my fancy- I'm harder to please when it comes to food. 
So after a few false starts, one of the restaurants being closed for refurbishment, another closed as it was a Sunday and the others just not really hitting the mark. Hangry me was closed to giving up and finding the nearest Mcdonalds until we stumbled upon Ezra and Gil, which somehow ended up being absolutely nailed on the head for what we fancied. I remembered hearing about this from Megan Ellaby's blog so obviously knew it was worth the hype. 
Jay had a full English with me opting for the vegetarian version as I'm very partial to some smashed avocado and it was so delicious. Definitely worth a visit, I already saw things I'd order if I was to return again. 

From there we again wandered through the streets finding a few nice independent shops and vintage places like Cow Manchester, Pop Boutique, Oi Polloi and a couple of vinyl shops. 

After we then headed to find somewhere that did coffee, now one thing in Manchester that won't go amiss is the selection of coffee shops or cafes but one thing I love is how the majority are independent with they own little quirky twist on beverages. We did plan to go to one except it was quite a small place and very busy so we opted for one we'd passed a few times that day called Night and Day cafe which I absolutely loved. I've always been fond of the places you can choose to drink either hot drinks amongst having the selection of alcoholic drinks as well. Jay did admit he felt a little strange ordering tea at a bar though. 

In the evening we decided to head back to the hotel and get ready to go out for a meal. Earlier in the day, we'd spotted a row of eateries each taking our fancy so we said we would return in the evening to see which one we'd like to eat at. We opted for Yard and Coop that I've heard is a firm favourite in Manchester. The restaurant was playfully decorated with a farmyard feel, wooden style chicken coop booths, a huge fox mural on the wall, wooden tables and details like having your check handed to you in an egg box. I and Jay loved this place. 
On the menu, there's a selection from burgers to salads but an option to select the type of chicken you'd like, along with a sauce and fries which was the option that took our fancy.

I went for the Chicken Drumsticks (the chicken is insanely good) and upgraded my fries to sweet potato with a side of slaw and Jay opted for chicken breast, Tomato & Basil sauce and Dirty Fries. Funnily enough, I wasn't massively hungry before we ate so I opted for something I thought would be small but once it arrived it was like a mountain, actually bigger than Jays. However, I ate it all despite a few fries, I still think Jay is in shock I finished it all now. 

For our last evening in Manchester we decided to explore a few bars before returning to our hotel but with it being a Sunday most places were fairly quiet. We opted to grab a drink in a place called The Patron which had a really lovely inviting atmosphere with few people having quiet drinks inside.
Come midnight we decided best to call it a night and head back to our hotel before returning home the following morning.
I have to say it was quite sad to leave manchester. A place I know we will definitely be returning to in the near future.


Thursday, 4 October 2018

Can we please stop apologising for being who we want to be online?

Funnily enough when the internet began a long time ago now, (as if I was around to see the beginning of the online world) there was never a written rule about who we should be when it comes to the 'online world' no oath or vow we should make before waiting 30 minutes for the internet to dial up to connect only to be told by your mum she's going on the phone to your nan for an hour so you'll have to wait.

No, but really there's never been a time we've been told who we're supposed to tell other people who we are through a screen. I know that sounds bad but hear me out.
 Before we go any further when it comes to 'the online world' and being whoever we want to be I don't mean the keyboard warriors here, the online bullies, those hiding behind a screen saying or doing things to people they wouldn't have the nerve to say to other peoples faces, catfishing that hurts or is dangerous to another one or honestly just behaving like a total dick online. Just cut that out. 

Capiche, okay let's move on.

There are various reasons I wanted to write this post. Each I'll get into as we go along but the first one being because of two things I watched or am watching recently.
Ready Player One is the first. Aside from the fact, this film is honestly brilliant if you haven't seen it I 100% recommend, it is so visually epic and sort of drags you into it from the get-go. Also the fact it was filmed partly in Birmingham (I and Jay took a lot of pleasure in shouting 'oh my god that's Digbeth!' at the TV)
It got me thinking a lot about this 'digital world' world we live in.


Now for those of you haven't seen the film let me just sum it up in a little nutshell-without spoiling it. RPO is a futuristic and hyper-exaggerated take on the world in 2045 whereby everything has quite literally gone to shit lets be honest here, everything in 'real life' has become a harsh reality and people begin taking solace in a virtual-reality video game that takes part in a place called 'The Oasis' created by a man called James Halliday. The aim of the game in the film is to discover his easter eggs hidden (within the game) that in turn brings you his fortune and ownership of the game.

For me what really drew me in was this idea that people were escaping their own realities and choosing to be whoever or whatever they want to be in a limitless world as well as choosing to go wherever they want to go, which for me really illustrates why besides gaining Halliday's fortune the game in the film is so appealing to play. 
Isn't that why 'in real life' we play video games, or go on social media when we're on public transport or waking up in the morning because we want to go that little bit longer escaping reality before we have to go back to it. It allows us a brief moment of escapism and we are entitled to that. 

Whether we know it or not we are all each creating our own online characters, either our true what-you-see-is-what-you-get a personality or a person we want the online world to see us as. 

Honestly on a daily basis (this could just be me, or me being paranoid) you question: how am I coming across online? If I wasn't me would I want to follow this person, or interact with this person?

The other reason regarding something I'm watching at the moment much as you can probably guess where I'm going with this if you watch it. Is 'The Circle' on Channel 4 the ultimate trash TV, in fact, I wouldn't even call it trash because from day one I was super invested in this program. Now if you already watch it you can probably skip the next sentence or two. 
The name of the game is to gain popularity amongst the players in order to win a cash prize, by doing so they can either choose to be themselves or somebody else. They never meet face to face and only communicate via the circle, the players have to rate one another and the highest rated players become influencers and can choose to block a player or player(s). Basically the shows like watching one big group chat among friends that all want to outdo each other. And who doesn't want to be a fly on the wall when it comes to group chats?

Or is that because I've not been in many...

It's interesting not only because it's entertaining but mainly for the fact we can see the catfish, the ones lying to other players about who they are yet we get to make a decision about whether we like them as themselves and not the actual person they are pretending to be. We see a side the other players can't and they have to judge them solely on the person they know through the screen and yet isn't that exactly what we do too?

The past few months now as you may know I've been having quite a big identity crisis that in turn has made me question everything. Who am I? What am I doing? What's my goals in life etc etc. And one of those questions was who is this person I am online?

About a month or two ago now I stopped doing monthly vlogs, or any vlogs of any kind really because I knew deep in my heart it wasn't me, who I was being a person I didn't want to be. 
The same when it came to posting on Instagram I was posting 'ootd's' because I thought that's what people wanted to see, perhaps they still do but I'd look at other peoples posts (and still do) and see 1,094 likes on a 'street style ootd shot' and think that's what I should be doing, its what people like when that is truly the wrong way of going about it. 

In the world of social media it's there for us for different reasons, escapism, to connect us to others but especially in terms of being either a blogger, an artist, a writer, musician or creator it opens this space for us to really allow us to explore who the person is we are putting out there online and honestly I think it's okay for it to not be entirely close to who you are as a person in the real world. I know that sounds bizarre to say but if it's for our own creative personality or a type of aesthetic you want to show I don't see the problem.

I guess what I'm really trying to say here is the online world should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not everything you see is real, a true light of a person. It could be, but it isn't always. 

It's about knowing the difference between the two. 

Really I wanted to write this post to put across the point of no longer wanting to feel a pressure of maintaining a certain type of persona online. The number of times I see people continuously apologising for not posting or taking some time for themselves and I think you shouldn't HAVE to apologise for that ever because a) it's your life and b) there is no rule that states you must display yourself online every day or in a true light of exactly how you spent your day or perhaps how you didn't.

I think for a while I've been stepping away from showing everything about my everyday life not because I don't want people to know but more because I don't feel the need to show it. When it comes to online we as people have a choice to share as little or as less as we like. And sometimes we all know what we do show isn't entirely true, I think I spoke about this in the past but I think by now we all know you didn't 'wake up like that' 

For me being a creator, I like to create, I like to play and explore with imagery and so honestly that's what I'm doing. I'm choosing to show the type of aesthetic I want to be. To an extent it is my personality, it's me, I made it.

Everything I create, wear and show is what I love but it isn't a glimpse into my everyday life because as a person online that isn't who I've chosen to be. And that is okay. If you don't want to share your age or your life or real personality online you don't have to. You can be whoever you want to be, as long as it is within reason. 

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