I Moved to Paris and Everything is Different. // Year Abroad Diaries #001

As they say at gigs, here we, here we, here we fucking go.

Your favourite unavailable and chaotic blogger is back. Nobody asked, I highly doubt anyone wanted, but when has that ever stopped me? As is concurrent with my life I’ve run out of other things to do and so I’ve come back to writing as a form of entertainment. I wish I could say it’s going to last this time, but we all know the reality is far from that. I’m opting for a much less “professional” “lifestyle blog” approach this time though, which should make it more sustainable. I love writing, I don’t do it enough, and I have far too many opinions to express, so here we are. 

Since I last wrote in February, a lot has changed. The big thing being that I now live in Paris, France; aka I’ve added another country and another house to the chaotic mess of half-nested places I inhabit in the North of England. That’s right, I have finally made it to my third year of university, and thus the ever-looming and slightly terrifying year abroad. And because I’ve moved to a completely new place, and because I’m interning rather than studying, I have absolutely zero friends to hang out with, so instead of telling them my thoughts I’ve ended up putting them here.

I’ve only lived in France for about 3 weeks, but already I don’t think I’d be able to sum up all the strange differences and bizarre learning experiences. Instead of being greeted by a napping housemate on the sofa with whatever shitty daytime TV is on at the time in the background when I get home, I’m now greeted by a 3 year old, whose incessant babbling I rarely understand. Instead of waking up 10 minutes before a lecture and arriving in a caffeine-infused haze, I wake up over an hour before work to catch rammed commuter trains across central Paris, and grumble when they’re inevitably delayed every other day. Instead of being able to get a pint for less than 2 quid in the SU every day of the week I treat myself to one €7.50 beer a month, because who the fuck can afford to get drunk in this hellscape of a capital? I only moved one country across but literally everything feels different. 

I am, largely, enjoying myself though. I’ve gone into it with an open mind when it comes to all of this chaos, and I’m treating it as a kind of sabbatical year, even though here in France I’m working a 9-5 internship everyday. However, that “grind” doesn’t feel like as much as it sounds. I spend most of it in an office, doing fairly simple tasks and learning something new everyday. It’s mentally demanding sometimes, sure, and I feel awkward from time to time interacting with my colleagues in my second language, but at least so far I’m finding it really refreshing. When I left England I left my third summer in my current job, and I think what must be my fifth or sixth year working in customer service. I was so exhausted and jaded by dealing with the general public day in day out, being on my feet for 8 hours a day and never having a routine. I grew too accustomed to that life, and it didn’t me anything in terms of personal or professional development anymore. Paris is.

Literally every day I have to deal with some form of bullshit that is forcing me to develop as an individual, and whilst at times it feels frustrating, it’s ultimately extremely rewarding. I haven’t really had to do anything that pushed me too far out of my comfort zone since going to university, beyond what I’ve done in student politics. In comparison, even the most basic of things are a learning curve here. I’ve had to battle with 4 different banks, figure out how to buy and cook a meal that isn’t canned beans and bread (vegetarians in France have been done dirty), navigate my way around the biggest place I’ve ever lived by far and adapt to everything closing at 13h on a Sunday. Oh and all that’s happening in a second language that it turns out I distinctly lack confidence in. So, basically, I feel like superwoman when I do a basic human task without fucking up somehow. It’s like being a really stupid baby again, only your parents aren’t around to conjure up your rent in cash when your bank won’t let you make any more withdrawals. 

In some ways it really should be getting easier from here. I’ve done all of the base set-up tasks and I’m starting to figure out what my routine is. I’m even getting back into running after my injury, and that in turn is helping me get to know my neighbourhood. However, I still don’t have any friends, which for now is fine because my girlfriend is here and I’m still enjoying the newness of it all, but when she and all my other pals go back to Durham in October I’m going to have to find someone to talk to, or risk living vicariously through Instagram and Snapchat until I can visit. So, that’s the task for this week: find friends that aren’t the 3 year old I now live with.

Hopefully by the next time I write I’ll be able to tell of all the new friendships I have blossoming. What’s more likely is that I embarrass myself in front of the first person I attempt to befriend and decide that maybe hanging out with 3 year olds isn’t so bad after all.

 

-Megan, listening to the new Taylor Swift album (you could say I’ve changed for the better yes)

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My Top 10 Albums Of All Time

Hello lovely people!

Now that I’ve discussed how broad my music taste is I thought I’d go a little deeper. As much as I love the personal approach to creating my own playlists I also love getting in artists’ heads. As a result I’m big on albums; I love seeing thematic progression, concept albums and development over the years. So I thought I’d choose my top 10 albums of all time, which may have been some of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.

top 10 albums

1. Courteeners – St. Jude (2008)
What a debut. From the moment I heard it this album was on repeat, as it’s filled with quick and catchy songs that I can’t help but adore. The references to places in Manchester and Liam Fray’s unashamedly Northern vocals also mean the album feels homely for me, as it always brings me back to my North Western roots. More than anything I love this album because it reminds me of my friends, feels somewhat coming of age, and has big Truck Festival memories.

Top lyric – “Can you play the guitar my boy? Can you fuck” 

2. All Time Low – So Wrong, It’s Right (2008)
I am still bitter that I didn’t see this live when they played it in full last year, because this album truly means everything to me. It’s been in the background of every heartbreak, party, breakdown and celebration for the last 8 years, and for that I had to include it. Every song is the epitome of classic pop punk and I love that. Also, I have lyrics from Dear Maria, Count Me In inked on my arm forever (a song about a stripper, aka my favourite way to introduce my tattoo), so I guess it makes sense that I love it.

Top lyric – “Take a breath and let the rest come easy”

3. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour (2012)
This had to be included for its lyrical content alone. From my own understanding the underlying theme of this album is that our society is being destroyed by the systems which govern it and it’s up to us to stand up to that. The mix of metal vocals and drum & bass is the perfect way to convey this – Shikari are angry and it’s very obvious. This album always fires me up and reminds me what I believe in.

Top lyric – “Fuck all borders and fuck all boundaries, fuck all flags and fuck nationalities” & “Money is made when bombs are dropping in Afghanistan, when white phosphorus falls in Palestine” (I just had to pick two)

4. Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You in Mind From Time to Time (2014)
Oh boy, here we go. I’ve touched on this before, but I’m going to be honest here. This album was what kept me alive in 2015, which sounds very dramatic, but it’s true. I went through a very dark time with my mental health and this album was on repeat throughout the whole thing, to the point where I really struggled to listen to it until this year. It has a very different meaning to me now, as I’ve recently bonded with a lot of people over the band and their music, but my initial connection still stands.

Top lyric – “Let me hold your hand, we can talk about our favourite bands and how nevermind still blows me away”

5. Twin Atlantic – The Great Divide (2015)
In the words of my friend Callum “every song is a banger”. This album has been a constant favourite for the last year especially, culminating in seeing the band live the day after I finished my exams. It’s a good old fashioned perfect rock album, with Twin’s personal Scottish twist.

Top lyric – “Music is my therapy, I could listen to it all night long”

6. We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor (2005)
This is an album I first listened to in order to impress my ex-boyfriend, no shame. I’m so glad I did listen though, because I love every single track on this album. I think the songs perfectly represent the band’s fun (drunk) approach to life, and I love the heavier undertones that has been a little lost in their more recent albums. There’s some real crowd pleasers in there too, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of these songs live. I also associate a lot of them with the happier memories of that past relationship, which is always nice.

Top lyric – “I would really love to kiss you, but I guess I’m in no condition to”

7. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
3 words: Ultimate Breakup Album. It conveys perfectly every different side of falling in and out of love, along with some top quality musical style at the same time. Obviously you’ve got some really iconic songs on there too, that have been and will continue to be covered for many years to come. Also it reminds me of my college wife Oana so there’s the soppy meaning (ain’t never gonna stop loving you… biiiiiitch).

Top lyric – “Open your eyes and look at the day, you’ll see things in a different way”

8. Rent Original Broadway Cast Recording (1996)
I’ll admit that this doesn’t really count as a stand alone album, being that it’s essentially just the musical in CD form, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. For the last year I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Rent, because I love everything from the characters to the way it portrays AIDS and it’s diversity. At the time of it’s release it was one of the first rock musicals, so the fact that Jonathan Larson took my favourite genre and incorporated it into broadway is probably the main reason I’m so into it.

Top lyric – “To faggots, lezzies, dykes, crossdressers too”

9. Alter Bridge – Fortress (2013)
Alter Bridge are arguably one of the most underrated bands in rock at the moment, and Fortress has to be my favourite of their pretty extensive back catalogue. It’s one of their heavier albums, and contains some of my favourite riffs of all time from the guitar God that is Mark Tremonti (Cry of Achilles, what an opener). I also love that we got vocals from Tremonti for the first time on Waters Rising, as he’s definitely shown through his solo stuff that he’s got a real talent there too.

Top lyric – “There’ll come a time you’ll look back and regret when it’s gone,
you’ll look back and regret when it’s gone”

10. My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade (2006)
Absolute guilty pleasure and I’m not even afraid to admit it. Once you get past it being a complete emo classic, this is genuinely a very good concept album. That whole era of the band was really well designed and sustained, and of course you’ve got some classic songs to go along with it. And of course, it reminds me beautifully of being 14 and it “not being a phase” (I mean, it clearly wasn’t considering I’m still sat here 5 years later).

Top lyric – “And though you’re dead and gone, believe me your memory will carry on”

Now, I’m going to have to do an “honourable mentions” list too, because narrowing it down to just 10 was far too difficult. Most of these albums are oldies but goodies, stuff that doesn’t mean as much to me now but for a lot of my life really did.
AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge
Metallica – Ride The Lightning

Whitesnake – 1987
The Wombats – Proudly Present… A Guide to Love, Loss and Deperation
Stromae – Racine Caree
Guns n Roses – Appetite for Destruction
Halestorm – Halestorm
Panic! At The Disco – Death of a Bachelor 

This may have been the hardest post to write so far, but has sparked quite the debate in my house, so that’s made us not die of boredom today. I’m tempted to get the housemates in on a post soon, so let me know if you’ve got any ideas for that!

Obviously my comment question of the day is what’s your favourite album?

-Megan, listening to Larkin Poe (who aren’t even on this list, but they’re a sick Southern rock duo)

 

 

 

 

Milano, Italy; The Ultimate Travel Guide

Hello lovely people,

Milano is considered the fashion capital of Europe to many, but I think it’s Italy’s best kept secret when it comes to backpacking. Situated in the Northern Lombardy region it is a vibrant and thriving city, with everything from urban neighbourhoods to Italy’s largest church. Whether it’s relaxing with an aperativo or taking a ride to the nearby Lake Como, Milano has something for everyone.

Quick Facts
Currency: Euro
Language: Italian (very few people speak English, which is great to see!)
Airports: 3 – Bergamo, Linate & Malpensa
Public Transport: Metro, buses & tram (€4.50/day)
Safety: 4/5, I travelled here alone and never felt at risk, except a few catcalls

Visit Duomo Cathedral
Duomo is far from underrated. The building is quite the feat to behold, with some beautiful white architecture. You can enter the cathedral and attached museum for €3.50, but I chose not to because whenever I looked the queues were always pretty long. I still loved sitting in the square and just taking in the architecture instead (because we all know I love a nice building).

Walk around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Now, you can probably tell by the way I dress myself that I know virtually nothing about fashion, so it might seem unusual for me to reccomend the main high fashion shopping mall. However, to bang on about architecture again, it’s a stunning building. I adored the glass roof and intricate wall design, so just walking around was definitely worthwhile. I’d also reccomend going to the nearby streets for cheaper shopping, you’ll find the awesome European brands Bershka, Pimkie and Pull & Bear.

Explore Santa Maria Delle Grazie
I love me a good church, always necessary to pray the gay away (too spicy?). This one is much smaller than Duomo (obviously), so I was able to visit the quieter interior and grounds easily. Inside there were lots of different Catholic shrines and art, which I actually found really interesting.

 

Eat & walk in Semipone Park
This is a fantastic place to eat a picnic lunch and watch as people cycle through the park (why do Europeans cycle so much?). After eating my lunch I wandered a little and it was really lovely to be back in a green space after the bustle of Duomo.

Discover Isola’s street art & the Bosque Verticale
Isola was one of my favourite districts. It’s a working class area with a huge community feel that has progressively been gentrified with the introduction of industry. The Bosque Verticale is a pair of residential towers that appear to have trees growing out of them, and it’s so cool to see nature in the middle of an area dominated by skyscrapers. However, the real gem of Isola is the street art. There’s some truly stunning pieces that are best discovered by wandering, but if you’re short on time head to Porta Garibaldi station and see the way artists have made it their own.

Eat gelato at Artico Gelateria Tradizionale
Could you really go to Italy and not try out the ice-cream? Located in the heart of the Isola district, this gelateria is family-run and classically Italian. There’s lots of choice and the gelato is so tasty!

 

Visit Lake Como
Como is around an hour away by train, and definitely worth a day out. I want to write a full post on this truly stunning location, but for now I’ll just say DO IT.

Drink aperativo (tbh I’d go just for this)
The Italians have got this one right. At around 6pm bars and pubs begin to fill with people going for a post-work cocktail, but there’s an amazing catch. Buying a drink means that you’re entitled to a pre-dinner buffet! I don’t understand how this only happens in Northern Italy, because it’s fabulous. I paid anywhere from €2.50 – €6 for my aperativo depending on what drink I ordered and where I was. You cannot miss this one.

 

Head to the Navigli district to see the canals
Fair warning, this area has become a little overrun with tourist traps, but the canals were so worth it. I visited at sunset and loved seeing the sunlight reflect on the river, truly stunning. There are also a lot of small artists’ studios alongside the river to watch out for. This is considered a “good” location for aperativo, but I found that the prices were ridiculously inflated in comparison to less touristy areas, so I’d say it’s one to avoid when you’re drinking.

Learn something new at the Museo Nazionale de Ciencia e Tecnologia
This was a really interesting museum, and absolutely huge. I specifically loved their exhibits on nutrition, the history of CERN and television. As a pansy humanities student science is usually quite foreign to me, but this place was very accessible for those of us who aren’t scientifically minded. Furthermore it was housed in a great building, and I loved the way the exhibits were laid out. Definitely one to remember your student card for, as the entrance fee goes from €10 to €7.50 when you present one.

 

So it’s safe to say that I absolutely loved my trip to Milano. It was the perfect balance of relaxing and adventure before university begins again, and I would really reccomend it. Aperativo has absolutely ruined me though, when is the UK going to wake up to that one?

Have you ever visited Milano or Italy? Where should I go next?

-Megan, listening to Radio X and writing with my housemate BECAUSE I HAVE HOUSEMATES NOW AND IT’S EXCITING

University 101; My Freshers Week Story

Hello lovely people!

I’m back in Durham, I’ve rebuilt my pasta stocks and town is beginning to fill up with returning students –  it must be the start of a new term. Those of you heading to university for the first time will be eagerly anticipating Freshers Week, probably feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The internet is filled with tips and tricks about how to get the most out of the week, so I thought instead of repeating that advice I’d talk about my experience in hopes that I can give you some peace of mind that it’s all going to be okay.

freshers

Every good story starts with an introduction, so here’s some context to my time as a fresher. I study Modern Languages at Durham University, and my freshers week was in October 2017. Freshers Week at Durham is a little different, as it’s a collegiate university, so most of the events are organised by the college JCR (think student body committee). I’m a student at St Cuthbert’s Society and lived in self-catered halls in first year.

Move-In Day

I arrived in Durham with my parents and then boyfriend who had come to help me move in, and I was terrified. After getting my keys and unpacking I completely broke down on my poor boyfriend, as even though I could not be more excited to start my degree I was very worried about making friends and settling in. But, after everyone left, I picked myself up and told myself it was going to be okay, and it really was!

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My room on day 1 looks so bare compared to how it was at the end!

My favourite story from that day is how I met my lovely Welsh idiot Ffion. She totally catfished me. I was in my flat corridor, when a random girl just turned to me and said “Hey, I know you”. I was extremely confused because I didn’t recognise this person at all. Until she said “yeah I know, I really don’t look like my Facebook profile picture”. Turns out we’d been talking for weeks beforehand after meeting on our college Facebook group chat! We continued bonding instantly, and Ffi became the extrovert I attatched myself to for the whole of first year.

I met the rest of my flat pretty quickly. We were 6 girls of 6 different nationalities, which has always been our little claim to fame. I bonded with my now college wife (more on that someday) Oana because she was wearing a My Chemical Romance t-shirt, and my American buddy Anna because I was belting out Hamilton far too loudly with the door open. You really do make friends in the most random of ways in freshers!

College Events

Each night throughout freshers my college organised a night out and a more chilled night. I went out I think 3 times; to a white t-shirt party (think signing shirts), a subject social and a space party. They were okay, but not really my thing, as I’m pretty uncomfortable going clubbing when it’s with people I don’t know.

 

 

Our white t-shirt party was the first event I went to, and took place in our lovely (and ridiculously cheap) college bar. That was the night when I met my now housemate Callum (you got your shoutout, do I get a pint in return now?). At that point I obviously didn’t know the bar has a card limit, so I ended up buying drinks for myself, Ffion and Callum when we’d only known each other for all of 5 minutes. I’m pretty sure we bonded over music, which makes a lot of sense considering at every party we have now it’s us two who dictate the music.

Durham being Durham, we also had a formal and matriculation that week. It was the first and last formal I left sober, and I’m pretty sure I was hungover throughout the entire matriculation ceremony (that’s the fancy one in the cathedral that makes us officially Durham students). It was also absolutely pouring down on matriculation day, meaning I had my first experience navigating wet cobbles in heels. There’s a reason why you never see me in my formal pictures with heels on anymore!

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Can’t get over how different I look just one year ago! (I’m on the far left)

 

 

That time I cut my finger…

This is the main story I have from freshers week, and the one which still gets told at almost every house party. I cut my finger on a potato peeler whilst washing up, and then didn’t stop bleeding for 2 hours. 2 HOURS! The flat had me bandaged up with my arm above my head for most of that 2 hours, as the porters were largely unhelpful and basically left us to deal with it. Obviously I did eventually stop bleeding, but it was a pretty embarrassing bonding experience with my flat. Pretty sure I didn’t go out that night…

Screenshot_20171006-101702

Final feelings

Freshers week was weird. You’re thrown into a new city with a bunch of people you don’t know, away from everything that’s familiar to you. You spend a week introducing yourself time and time again and having to be up for social events 24/7, something that doesn’t quite work for my introversion. I have some good memories from the week, but I also spent a lot of time sleeping and hiding from the world.

My main piece of advice is not to put too much pressure on freshers week. Yes, if you spend the whole week hiding in your room you probably won’t get much out of it. But, by the same token, if you’re not into going out and partying all the time you shouldn’t have to. Seek out chilled events and chat with people in the canteen instead. Freshers isn’t a universal experience and should fit whatever you’re into, so have a good time!

 

-Megan, listening to Badflower (tiny band, would reccomend!)

 

 

 

 

University 101; Money Tips for the Broke Student

Hello lovely people!

It’s a running joke within my friendship group that I am the “Spreadsheet Queen”. Seriously, I have an Excel doc for everything, whether that be my annual finances or our house dream to buy a full Guitar Hero set up (definitely not procrastination during summative season or anything…). Armed with my spreadsheets, excessive budgeting and savvy spending I’m about to give you some awesome tips for how to save money as a student.

uni 1010

1. Budget as if your life depends on it

For most of us, university is the first time we have to budget just to live. Whenever I budgeted pre-university it was because I was saving up for things like my first car, but at uni all I’m saving for is the really fancy brand of toilet paper. I like to set aside a couple of hours at the start of the year to lay out all the money I have coming in and all the money that automatically goes out on things like rent, bills and food. That way you can work out what you have left each month for pints and pitchers. It’s important to log everything you spend so that you can keep on track, and review the budget every month and term.

2. Shop smart

If you go to the nearest supermarket to do your weekly shop chances are you’re going to be paying through the roof for it, especially if you’re in a city-centre (I’m looking at you Tesco Metro…). Take time to find the cheaper places. For me, that’s doing the bulk of my shopping in Aldi and heading to a local fruit & veg shop for the extras (shoutout to the one on North Road in Durham, would highly reccomend!). By doing this I rarely spend more than £20 a week on food, meaning more beer money.

3. Meal prep for days

A staple of every student house is the Tupperware cupboard. Your freezer should be rammed with boxes at all times, because what’s the point in cooking only one portion of a meal? It works out so much cheaper, not to mention quicker, if you bulk-cook in advance. This also means ordering a Chinese is much less appealing, at least most of the time.

4. Pre-drink hard

If you’re alcoholically inclined like most of us, predrinks is your friend. Unless your local is as cheap as mine (£2.30 a pint!! I stan The Swan) it’s almost always cheaper to pick up a bottle of spirit and make it last for the week’s nights out than drinking in bars or pubs. An added bonus is that you get to pick the playlist and can start the night in pyjamas; it’s a no brainer.

5. Packed lunches are for the cool kids

If you have a long day of lectures or heavy study day planned make sure you’ve brought your sandwiches with you. This avoids paying the often hefty prices charged in uni cafes, and is often the healthier approach too. During exam season this year me and my friends set off to the library with a coffee in hand too to avoid the lure of Starbucks on the way (then ruined it by going to the pub on the way home; we tried).

6. Don’t forget to save

Eventually, your phone is going to break, your car insurance will need to be renewed or your trainers will fall apart. Just because you’re at university it doesn’t mean that you don’t need emergency money, in fact you probably need it more than ever. Even if this means a little bit of your loan put aside each month or saving a portion of any Christmas/birthday money, it has to be done.

7. If you need it, get a part-time job

I’ve been working pretty much since it was legal for me to do so, meaning not having a term-time job in first year was a really odd feeling. I topped up my loan over holidays however, returning to 30-40 hours of full-time work each time I got a break from university. This approach works for some, others might prefer to work one day a week alongside studying. It’s important to decide early if you need to work, and how you’re going to fit it around university if you do need the money.

8. You do not need brand new stuff, however much capitalism is trying to make you think so

This goes for clothes, uni books, plates and so much more. University reading lists can be long, and if you pick them all up from a bookshop you could end up spending hundreds (which could be spent on more pints). My favourite formal dress was £3.50 from a charity shop, my favourite skirt was £2. You’re also living more ethically this way too, and saving the planet is the coolest thing you can do.

 

Follow these tips and you too can just about avoid being in your overdraft. People often ask me how I afford to go travelling and to gigs so much as a student, and this is part of the reason why. I’ve always been a saver, so uni is no exception.

-Megan, listening to the Daily Mix Spotify has somehow generated entirely in French for me (do I admit now or later that I adore trashy Europop)

My Experience At Truck Festival 2018

Hello lovely people!

Around a month ago I made a 350 mile journey down to Poole (yes, I drove 700 miles on my own, yes I am mad) to visit some of my travelling team, aka the legends who visited Berlin, Prague and Budapest with me. After a few days of beaches, pub grub and a Spoons night, we made the trip to Hill Farm in Oxfordshire for a little festival called Truck. Here’s the lowdown on a weekend of bands, beer and brilliant times.

Pixieskies _

Thursday

After arriving at the campsite, complaining a lot about how difficult it is to carry 22 cans across a field in 25 degree heat and fighting over putting the tent up, we were set for the weekend. Our first band was Jaws. I was surprised at how little I actually knew of their music, but they were awesome nonetheless. They have the perfect balance between chilled songs and more upbeat stuff, meaning they were an ideal setup for Peace, who were the main reason I pushed for Thursday entry. As you’ll know if you’ve read my post on 2018 releases, their new album is a favourite for me, so I was excited to see them play a lot of tracks from that. The set was made for dancing, and weirdly, even moshing! I was surprised that some of the best pits of the weekend came from an indie band, yet the feel-good energy carried those of us used to heavier stuff.

 

Friday

Friday was a chilled start. I wandered around the festival site a little, and caught a couple of awesome smaller bands called Mint and Magique, because everyone needs a break from drinking every now and again. The music really started with Little Comets who I really need to listen to a bit more, considering they hail from Newcastle. After a nice little set we waited around for what I really wanted to see on Friday – Circa Waves.

I’ve loved Circa Waves since I saw them at Leeds in 2015; they are the ultimate feel-good summer band. Perhaps what I loved more though was their heavier stuff from the second album; they’re starting to find a new identity and you can tell it fits so well with their stage presence. I found myself in another moshpit (what can you do?) and loved every second of how high-energy it was. We stuck around at the main stage for Coasts, another band whose music is made for dancing.

By the time Moose Blood’s set rolled around it was absolutely pouring down. I was drenched, but I couldn’t have cared less. MB are a very important band for me, as they’re the music I’ve turned to when life has gone sour for the last few years. There was no better feeling than being truly and genuinely happy listening to them with some of my favourite people in the world; I’m pretty sure I was beaming the whole set. I even converted another friend to the lovely world of pop punk moshpits, which were as always filled with energy.

We finished the night with Friendly Fires, Friday’s headliner. I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of their music, so I left early in favour of avoiding the rain. We ventured back out to a disco tent after a lot of few beers later on, which was surprisingly enjoyable!

 

Saturday

I woke up feeling a little worse for wear on the Saturday, which caused the start of many morning naps for the rest of the weekend, oops! After sleeping off the hangover we ventured out to The Nest to watch Lady Bird; a Slaves-esque up-and-coming Kent punk duo. These guys get the award for most energy of the weekend, as considering it was only 2pm in the afternoon they were fully riled up and powering through a big set. Afterwards I popped into The Barn to see The RPMs, a tiny band I saw supporting We Are Scientists last year. This might sound a bit patronising, but it’s so nice to see them finding their feet within music. Last time I saw them they seemed very young and played mostly acoustic stuff, whereas now they have a definite confident stage presence.

Most of Saturday however was spent at the main stage. My smaller artist highlight of the day was definitely Tom Walker. Armed with a guitar and small backing band he really captivated the crowd, with one of my favourite new voices of 2018. I’d even argue he performed better than the much bigger Jake Bugg, who I’m decidedly not a huge fan of. I find Jake Bugg very overrated, as his performance had no real charisma or power to it for me.

Everything Everything were the most confusing set of the weekend. I didn’t really know them at the time, and upon listening to their very odd lyrics I was nothing but baffled. I also had to stand through an hour of watching 15 year olds try and pit to music that just isn’t designed for pits, and after 5 minutes of circles collapsing in on themselves being amusing it just got plain annoying. I will admit however that now I love this band; I just didn’t give them a chance at Truck.

George Ezra closed the night, and I was pleasantly surprised. I shouldn’t like him at all, as he’s textbook pandering pop artist trying to look like the boy-next-door. The difference is that with George Ezra it feels completely genuine. He has an amazing voice and has written some total bangers. I also enjoyed how he interspersed the songs with stories about how and why and where he’d wrote them, which was a lovely personal touch. The crowd was very family-oriented too, which is always lovely to see.

 

Sunday

Sunday began by popping out at midday to watch the Oxford Symphony Orchestra, who played everything from your usual classical to Meatloaf and Abba. Classical music is my guilty pleasure, and so despite the absurdness of an orchestra on the same stage as the Courteeners, this was a great start to the day.

It was a quiet day, which meant by the time The Amazons rolled around I was actually quite drunk as a result of the combination of being able to finish off my weekend alcohol and having nothing else to do. From my slightly hazy memory The Amazons really proved themselves with this set, as even though they haven’t been around too long songs like “Junk Food Forever” had a great reception.

I was supposed to go and see The Magic Gang next, but decided instead to drink more eat dinner. I then headed out to see We Are Scientists, who did not disappoint. I think my favourite thing about this band live is how they interact with the crowd; there’s always time for a bit of banter in between songs. They played a good mix of old hits and a few from the new album, and due to my slight drunkenness I was properly belting out every word on the second row. Sadly I had to leave the set early, but not without good reason. I ran back to the main stage to meet my friends for Courteeners, who were quite frankly, fucking awesome. I spent the entire set dancing and doing a lot of shouting in a very Northern accent, aka my two favourite things in life. GOD BLESS THE BAND.

As Courteeners played “What Took You So Long?” (tune), fireworks were lit behind the main stage, and here lies my one of my favourite realisations of the weekend. I had driven hundreds of miles to stay with people I’ve only known for a year, and had been genuinely and completely happy the whole time. I never thought I’d be here this time last year. My phone was off, social media was far away, the music was insane and the company even better. Some of the stories are definitely not blog-friendly, but it’s safe to say Truck this year was a life highlight.

 

And afterwards I got even drunker and went to watch Kurupt FM, a parody grime act. I do not remember most of this set, but do remember being sat down in a camping chair by my friends afterwards to sober up. I’m a classy gal, what can I say?

 

If you take anything from this post, take that Truck Festival is a genuinely lovely little festival. Their lineups are shockingly good for a fairly cheap price, the vibe is amazing and you always feel safe onsite. I would definitely return, and may even do so next summer.

 

-Megan, definitely not listening to the Truck playlist and definitely not being extremely nostalgic

Shuffle Songs Tag

Hello lovely people!

I was tagged in the “Shuffle Songs Tag” by Katie & Harry over at Nerds, Numbers, Natterings. I’ve seen this doing the rounds for a few weeks, and I won’t lie I’ve been waiting for someone to tag me ever since (attention seeking? me? never…), because it is right up my street. Essentially, you have to put your playlist on shuffle and write about the first ten songs to come up.

Now, I have a lot of playlists. I’m talking like a good 30. Thankfully I have one entitled “ensemble”, which consists of pretty much everything I’ve ever listened to. Let’s dive in!

Pixieskies (1)

1. Brianstorm – Arctic Monkeys

Back in the good old days of Arctic Monkeys, before Alex Turner turned into a beardy vegan wanker (yes I still love that joke). I remember this being absolutely mental when I saw them live, and I still love it 5 years later.

2. Fear of The Dark (Live at Donnington 1982) – Iron Maiden

I was raised on bands like Maiden, Sabbath and Whitesnake, so this is no surprise. I rarely listen to Iron Maiden’s studio albums; it’s just something about the nostalgic energy of their live albums that I love. This comes from Download Festival way before it was ever called Download, and there’s every chance that my Dad was there in the crowd that year. Fear of the Dark will always be a classic.

3. Suzanne – Creeper

Why don’t Creeper have more albums? This is the song I actually discovered them through, and it’s such a great single. Fast, catchy, and a big built-up chorus; Creeper are bringing goth punk back and I’m here for it.

4. Sockets – Slaves

This takes me right back to a sweaty Cumbrian venue in late 2016. From memory Slaves opened with this song, starting 45 minutes of total adrenaline and insane moshpits. I don’t listen to much pure punk, but this is an exception.

5. Any Port – Dead!

I’m still completely gutted that these guys split up a few months back, because their debut album is one of my favourites of the year. I managed to see them live back in March, and almost didn’t go as I was so sick with a flu that felt more like the plague than anything else, but I’m so glad I did now. Any Port is a tune, even though they’re gone you should still give the music a listen.

6. Kathleen – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Kathleen reminds me of summer 2016, mostly spent with an old group of friends going on our first adventures with our own cars. It’s feel-good, summery, and just outright lovely.

7. House on a Hill – The Pretty Reckless

I love this song almost entirely for it’s spoken introduction – “They have created a repressed society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness”. It’s all about how powerless we are as people against those who control us, and I think it’s crazy that this song was written in a pre-Trump world.

8. Something From Nothing – Foo Fighters

This is actually one of my least favourite Foos tracks, but I think that’s because I don’t have the same emotional connection with their newer music than with the songs that have been around my whole life. I do really love the groovy pre-chorus riff though.

9. Poison in Your Veins (Live) – Alter Bridge

I’m glad these guys came up, because it gives me an opportunity to shout out an extremely underrated band. This song is live from the O2 Arena, and shows off the beautiful combination of Mark Tremonti’s lead guitar skills and Myles Kennedy’s extremely unique voice. Seriously, if you love rock even a little bit, give them a listen.

10. No Roots – Alice Merton

Honestly I just like this because it’s catchy af and Radio X played it so many times when it came out that I learned all the words in about two days. No shame.

ensemble

So, that’s it! I could keep blabbering on about my favourite songs for days on end, but that’s for another post. Let me know what’s top of your playlist in the comments.

-Megan, shuffling through my main playlist (wow no shit Megs)