Archive for the ‘101 MC’ Category

Final Letter to Self

Well I must say this year has certainly shot by! I can still remember the first week at uni registering for my student card and being surrounding by really poor restaurants. I guess my experience of uni life has been quite limited as I still live at home and have to take what can sometimes be an hour bus journey from sunny Leamington Spa to the tired looking concrete jungle that is Coventry.

Looking back at my fist letter to self I cant believe how tight and ‘un-relaxed’ I seemed about everything, I guess I thought that the course leaders or whoever that will be marking my blog work would be looking for a far more formal or academic approach to my choice of language and point of view…

I have had mixed opinions, emotions and decisions about almost all aspects of my chosen course Journalism and Media and University in general. A part of me has thoroughly enjoyed much of the tasks I have been given for the course modules etc I have a better understanding to the different fields of Journalism and have found some of the teaching methods effective and relevant to my writing and technique. Other times I feel a little disheartened by University when I look at things out of context e.g. having to pay £3,000+ a year for handouts and power points 2/3’s of the time im attending, but after speaking to older students from Coventry and other Universities it seems this is quite normal for first years…

I guess things will become clearer in my second year when I begin looking for work in the fields of Journalism I actually take an interest in rather than having to engage in topics we have had to study to get a better understanding of proper journalism…

I went into this course hoping I would enjoy Journalism a lot and chose the Media side because I have a previous understanding through A-levels what the Media aspect to the course would consist of.

But I have found myself enjoying the Media lectures and activities much more and almost could imagine myself in years to come giving the lectures I have been receiving to others, rather than my initial dream of working for a magazine focusing on reviewing albums and live events as this aspect of Journalism is beginning to look like a teenage dream or an unlikely realistic financially feasible career.

Who knows…


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Exhibition: BINARY – an installation, by Joseph Neal

Location: Leamington Spa, old Library

Date: May 1st

Boarded up and forlorn, Leamington’s old library has already been empty for nine years – and thanks to the credit crunch its future looks bleak. The imposing Victorian building in Avenue Road fell out of use when the library was relocated to the Pump Room in 1999. But despite this demising end to one of the towns most remembered treasures, the old library still supports and gives time to local and upcoming artists in many different forms of art by the use of the old art gallery that is still in use and present to this day.

This month’s exhibition comes from local man Joseph Neal a student in his final year at Coventry University. He is also a local respected musician and producer. Joe has spent upto approximately eight months creating and programming a simulation that suggests the link between the similarities of the human mind and the necessities in a computer system. The leaflet accompanying this exhibition describes Binary that of ‘The human mind is essentially an organic computer system, one which through the process of evolution, has developed; keeping us alive through natural selection of those of the more intelligent of our forefathers. It is a learning computer, in essence the most powerful computer in existence to our knowledge…’

When entering the exhibition, spectators are greeted by a life size box in which they are told to enter with the door closed behind them. There is to begin with; nothing but complete darkness until the pulsating visionary and sounds transcend through a black and white motion of a series of shapes, numbers and images that respond differently to the three hand receptors that the spectator navigates by channelling their hands back and forth in which ever way they wish.

The contrast of the flashing imagery drowned yet strangely synced by a series of droning noise and soundscapes that is controlled by oneself gives the whole experience an almost hypnotic feel of control in what feels like in an inevitable small world of darkness, shapes and noise.

The basis to this experiment is everyone will respond differently to the sound and images they control with the receptors, but the interesting fact to the way this installation was created is that the computer controlling the images and sound is capable of completely manipulating how everything is shaped by how each individual responds and moves to the sound and image, much like the evolution of human imagination and knowledge.

Other work by Joseph Neal:




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In today’s multi-cultural society religion plays a big role in many people’s lives and has often controlled the beliefs and opinions that have stemmed through various aspects of politics, laws, communities, international representation and war. With the constant rise of freedom of speech, postmodern religion ranging from Christianity to Islam etc have became universally recognised and represented both positively and negatively through the media, and with one religion’s contrast of beliefs, friction has always been the inevitable result which has lead many war’s, debates, terrorism and primitive hatred.

As media mediums such as television has given air time and particular channels to religious groups to give a fair amount of exposure to an ever growing audience, philosophy has never really been given a fair representation or interest as the differences in philosophy and questions ask are challenging to almost all religion and could easily offend religious groups if exposed universally in the same ways.

Philosophy is the often critical study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. As each renowned philosopher has their own aesthetics and structure of opinion on morals and ethics, an audience is often so extracted to such a small amount in terms of worthwhile commercialisation that the media would most probably consider a target audience of a niche’ philosophy unworthy of airtime or mass exposure.

As this may be a valid point from the media (even though it is my opinion) the unrecognised and somewhat in denial of educating others in Philosophy because of the challenging differences that yes in sometimes the same way as religion could offend, should not be ignored if felt relevant to an individual.

The Philosophy of religion tends to question the obvious fundamentals and structures of a religion such as the existence of God, religious language, miracles, prayer, the problem of evil, and how religion and other belief systems such as ethics interrelate. An example in its extremity would be the work of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche whose influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in the continental tradition. His key ideas include the death of God, Perspectivism, the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, and the will to power.

For the media to allow anyone preaching a philosophy like Nietzsche’s would obviously result in controversial uproar from many religious groups world wide, but the denial of freedom of speech or the existence of outsider belief’s not taught in religion isn’t a reason to ignore it. Preaching to others is something that these religions are doing everyday in the media by being allowed to have this type of airtime even if that is not the main intention or ideology of the channel, program or representation. As a result I feel I have learnt that there is only such thing as freedom of speech if you watch what you say, a complete contradiction on its own unless you are just a popular religion.

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PAROLE is my heavy metal band based in both Leamington Spa and Coventry. We have been together for approximately a year and a half and have played gigs across the whole of the UK including Birmingham, Plymouth, Huddersfield, and Bradford to name a few. Being involved in a band means listening to each other and working together with the right balance of profession, musicianship and interest in order for our band to work successfully and for it to be fun and enjoyable.


Over the last year we have recorded an EP demo and played a string of successful shows that has given us much media attention within the music magazine industry. In order to receive this positive media attention we recorded our demo at a decent studio with a producer who knew how to record the particular sound we wanted to captivate that coincides with the heavy metal sub-genre of Sludgecore/Doom, which is always evident in our musical influences. Once we were happy with the result we sent the demo to a series of high street magazines such as Terrorizer, Zero Tolerance and Power Play.

After the positive reviews we received by these magazines we were approached by many UK promoters for gigs supporting larger bands both national and international for local support slots in the West Midlands and even as far as Yorkshire.

So besides the promoter and local media aiding certain tours it was also part of our duty to promote these gigs by designing flyers and informing our fan base and the local metal scenes about the shows. Since then our demo that was limited to a mere 500 copies has long sold out and is in the process or getting a second press with a different mastering on the sound to make the next edition a bit different. We are also recording a new EP and have been approached by various distributions for an agreement on our future releases to be sold on various websites and on different formats such as vinyl aswell as CD.

PAROLE Demo tracklist:

1. Guttural Vaccination 05:31
2. Subhuman Crawl 06:29
3. Innocent Untill Proven Guilty 05:57
4. One Death 08:29
5. Black Slabs 07:17
Total playing time 33:43

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Shadows in the Palace is a crime/mystery drama, with elements of horror that adds to the emphasis of the dark mis-en-scene and brutal torture and murder scenes throughout. The story begins with a maid who is found hanging in the palace which is presumed as suicide to begin with, but after an autopsy it is discovered that the maid was infact pregnant so it is then suspected this was a pre-meditated murder. The royal doctor and main character suspects that murder may of came from the other women within the court of the palace and with the sneaky appearance and tip toeing behaviour of the other characters, the audience is automatically is assumption that something is being covered up by the superiors of the palace much like films that have focused on government conspiracy.

The film highlights the repressed representation of women in an order of silent and cruel treatment to each other which blends well within the subplot of sexual disturbances within the court. All accusations are attempted to be pinned on one individual woman but this is becomes clear to be a cover up plan for a higher male superior.

The choice of costumes give the characters a more period drama theme with the use of traditional Asian robes and face scarves, this uniform-like appearance adds to the emphasis that this is based within 19th Century Korea aswell as the opening credits cinematography with the use of seepier photography shots off all the court maids standing together in an orderly fashion.

In terms of the gore and violence in the film I found it hard to be shocked and disturbed by the somewhat intense torture sequences and suggestive dark ambient music that is clearly being used to try and engage me. Instead I found the mental unstableness and stressful imbalance in the court scenes with its fast moving pace much harder to handle and intense. At some points I found the story slightly hard to follow as the supernatural subplots that coincide with the main story seemed too much to take on board as well as the already complicated story line.

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Journalism in the media was the initial reason and influence to why I decided to choose this course at Coventry University. I have been inspired by many documentaries on television that tend to involve alot of travelling and meeting new and extraordinary people and places. As travelling is something I’ am fond of anyway, over the years I incorporated my own experiences into my own personal diary which unfortunately I lost in London last year. One of my dream jobs after graduating from University would to be indeed work on my own documentary based on the same aspects of travelling the world and also perhaps writing a book on my own experiences.

Those who have played a vital role on my influences as a student journalist have included:

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry in America – Stephen Fry journeys across America, hoping to visit all 50 states of the country which has always fascinated him. (BBC Website)

When I first saw this I loved every moment of it and just wished I was in his position. The contrast of different sociological habits and ways of live spread out over the 50 states was so vast and different that each place you see Fry travel through gives each episode a totally different flavour. And with his involvement with the locals and activities it still gave Fry that comedic value he is also established for. A true influence to my possible career choice

Michael Palin


For the same reasons as Stephen Fry, Michael Palin and his many travels across the whole world is something I have watched since I was a child and to this day still love the sense of adventure I get from watching him journey across the far corners of the world and meeting lots of different cultures and ways of life. What used to fascinate me as a child was the reality the representation gave of other countries and their people. Seeing him journeying on multiple forms of transport accustomed to the epic scenery that the camera perceives on his travels always thrilled me and still does to this day. He was the initial reason why I now enjoy travelling alone and meeting people along the way.

My trip to Norway

Earlier this month I ventured to Bergen, Norway initially as I take a great interest in Scandinavian music and the history of the controversial events that lead to a series of suicides, murders and church arsons that spread across Norway all underneath the heavy metal sub-genre banner, Black Metal. That aside, I must mention I travelled alone and met many people along my way that gave me a more in depth insight to Norwegian culture and places worth a visit. This is exactly the kind of thing I want to write about in Journalism in my own style and it proved to be everything I hoped it would be. Here is an article on my blog about my journey to Norway:


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The underground scene takes many shapes and forms nowadays in pushing the musical boundaries of dark art and experimentation and England’s Hateful Abandon are no exception. Their blends of Dark Pop, Post Punk with light compliments of Black Metal take a dark figure or regressive art in a new progressive light.

Originally known as Abandon formed by Vintyr (Martin Edward) from UKBM Basilisk, Somerset BM Swine was later added to the picture with a common interest and love for 80’s pop, punk and industrial such as The Cure and Killing Joke. This vision mixed with their musical backgrounds of Black Metal could and still does spell danger to some of the more elitist fans in the scene, but H.A. delivered something more than memorable for fans of experimental music with their 2008 debut Famine (Into The Bellies Of Worms) and with a new album scheduled for this year H.A. are not short of ideas in setting their bar in experimentation higher and higher…

Interview 22nd February 2010

So how are things in the H.A. Camp? Please spill the dark beans! After your upload of the Summer studio report with the inclusion of a Demo from the upcoming album I must say that things sound like they are coming along. How has the writing process been and any ideas on a release date?

Yeah..we’re probably going to scrap all that demo material from last summer and start again. Haha. Things are OK. A little quiet. Being a two piece with a member that’s already in a successful (and sublime band; Salute) you find that time is problematic…also we both have full time jobs/partners etc. So, yeah…quiet.

Writing process for the new record is exciting, frustrating and liberating. We are stripping everything back. We put layers of guitars on there and then just decide it was better without. It’s great…cleaning out. Spring clean.

The lyrics in H.A. to me are just as important and stand for H.A. as the music does. How will the next album differ or is there a continuation process from the last record?

Lyrically this a totally different animal. Still bleak and pretty dark stuff…but it’s more of a social comment.

How has the reaction been over the last year or so since the release of Famine (Into The Bellies Of Worms)

There has been little to no reaction. We remain on the fringe of acceptable genre cliches. Nobody is interested in what I’m trying to do.

What have been the main influences to the upcoming record both musically and personally, I remember watching your first studio report and learnt illness and depression played a big role on the first record. Is the new album taking anything a step into another direction?

Musically, Public Image Ltd, Swans, David Bowie and always Killing Joke.

In so far as personally, illness and depression, not so much. Really the first album was based on the strange dreams I was having due to the medication I was on at the time…that and a couple of very personal issues that needed ‘ironing out’ so to speak.

For the new stuff I’ve been writing about the end of the World. I mean, really, we are living at the end of times..death of culture, death of media and last but not least, we’ve really fucked up the Earth. The weather is totally shot. Either that or nature is saying “Enough. Get off.” So yeah, a step in a different direction. Society death. Real living threat. Ignorance.

Have you considered playing live any time soon?

We’d really like to in theory. Getting the right people for the job is going to prove really difficult. I’m not sure who the audience will be. We’re seriously thinking of stripping the whole sound down and  playing Dub gigs or back-end pubs as a two piece. I’m just fed up with cliches, genres and fans of such things. Take music back to a beat, the throb of bass and pure emotion.

What’s next for H.A. can we expect a lot more to come in the future?

New album ‘Next Question” will be released at some point this year, don’t know when. Every time I think we’re nearly finished there’s something else I want to add, change in the mix or new songs I want to stick on there. It’s certainly going to be a lot longer an album than ‘Famine’ and a lot more orginal. We’ve got some really horrible shit on there, can’t wait until it’s heard.

Any last comments?

Nope. May the road rise with you.



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