A music magazine intern gives his verdict on work experience

Music Journalism course

David Weir

A few weeks into his LJC Music Journalism course, David Weir started a three month internship at Clash magazine. Here’s what he thought of the experience.

I found it incredibly beneficial and eye-opening just being exposed to that sort of working environment. I got to see from the inside what it took to successfully run a music magazine/site/business and with my own desk and independent tasks, I really felt part of the process.

I found the team really easy to get on with, everyone was obviously focused on the work at hand, but they were always helpful, understanding and discussing and playing brilliant new music throughout the day. Honestly, I’d heard the clichés about interns just doing tea and coffee runs, however I found everyone else was constantly offering! Also working with Matt Bennett (the Assistant Editor) was enjoyable – he gave me a lot of constructive feedback. We had a couple of good talks about my progress and plans and he’s a really chilled and understanding guy to work for. So a really friendly, fun and accommodating team.

Work wise, I was given some really interesting tasks and quite enjoyed even the simple, everyday jobs, like promo log admin, hounding people via email etc. I found that way I learnt a lot about the communicative side of the job, through my lengthy convo’s with festival organisers and freelance journalists.

Furthermore, I was given great opportunities to get my writing out there, like I said, within the first week I’d had a review published in the magazine and I’d transcribed interviews which eventually made it into issues. Since then I’ve written for the site (music news and band interviews), had another review in the magazine and as a result have built up a fairly diverse portfolio of work.

Matt has discussed keeping me on the records and possibly sending me to further festivals or offering more writing spots in the future. Currently I’m working on my creative portfolio and I’m just looking for further journalism opportunities, be it a internship or a job. I’m looking at moving somewhere new, so I’m seeing what is out there.

On my internship application I rather frankly admitted not having a big background of journalism/writing experience, but both the Introduction to Music Journalism course and the internship have given me that. The bedrock to actually build upon and work my way up and for that I’m very grateful.

Intern wanted to help support journalists in Sierra Leone, Kenya and India

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A charity that trains and mentors citizen journalists in Sierra Leone, Kenya and India is looking for an Editorial Assistant intern to help place stories in the UK and international press.

Hackney based charity Radar needs an enthusiastic and accurate writer who can help with editing and promoting stories written by citizen journalists in developing countries.

The charity supports more than 300 reporters and needs help getting their stories covered by the mainstream media.

The intern will work up to three days per week and will receive travel and lunch expenses. Radar is looking for a commitment of at least two months.

To apply please email Radar Operations Manager Olivia Stewart with your CV and an example of your writing: olivia@onourradar.org

Caustic Love (2014) album review

By Jessamyn Witthaus

Caustic Love is the third studio album from Nutini, landing just over five years since his last effort, Sunny Side Up. On first listening, it seems the Scottish acoustic crooner has undergone some kind of partial musical lobotomy. Suddenly, he has discovered samples, swagger and sassy trumpets. Gone are the Ska vibes present in his previous material, now blended into a more sophisticated soul sound. The opening track, Scream (Funk My Life Up), is a case in point, his signature vocals on form with just the right amount of grime and tongue-in-cheek humour.

Paolo_Nutini_Portrait_kl

Paolo Nutini

No longer is he spurned by Jenny, asking reproachfully “don’t treat me like a baby”, and he is sketching out for the listener his new stage in life in typical blunt fashion with his lyrics. In Numpty, an almost cabaret-esque piano melody threads its way through a conversational and confiding song about “building a house so we can fall at the first brick”. However, not all of the albums new ideas and new directions seem to hit the stylised, urbane highs of tracks such as Let Me Down Easy and One Day. Fashion leaves me utterly perplexed; the heavy-handed objectification present in the lyrics is at odds with an artist normally so good at blending honesty and humour.

On the surface, the album’s generally fuller, richer, more sweeping sound compared to his previous work gives the impression of a cohesive final product. However, I come away feeling equal parts elated by some tracks and left cold by others. Better Man is turned into a swelling heartfelt ballad, with a full choir no less, despite its rather pedestrian nature. Nutini may have now proved himself to be an adept musical chameleon, but after careful reflection, I find myself harking after the genuine stripped-back vulnerability present in his earlier work that seems to be lost in Caustic Love.

Anti-homeless studs on Hackney Council benches condemned

By Jamie Elliott

Residents and business owners have hit out at Hackney Council for installing studs on benches to deter homeless people from sleeping on them.

Local people have branded the council heartless for adding the metal studs to benches in Dalston Square, an increasingly popular meeting place in one of Hackney’s most affluent areas.

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Benches on Dalston Square are covered with anti-homeless studs

“I think it’s quite wrong that the council are trying to push the problem of homelessness away by making it impossible for people to lie on these benches,” said a local restaurant owner who preferred not to be named. “The council should be dealing with the problem of homelessness, not putting in these cruel studs to get rid of people who have nowhere to sleep.”

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The benches in Dalston Square, Hackney

The issue of anti-homeless features in architecture was highlighted earlier this year when studs appeared in a doorway in an apartment block in Southwark Bridge road, previously used by rough sleepers.

Speaking at the time, Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy and campaigns at Crisis, said people “deserve better than to be moved on to the next doorway along the street. We will never tackle rough sleeping with studs in the pavement. Instead we must deal with the causes.”

Following the furore and condemnation by the mayor, Boris Johnson, the studs were removed.

 

 

Inside Corinna Girnyte’s Wardrobe

Naomi Isted

Naomi Isted

Style and showbiz presenter Naomi Isted talks to stylist to the stars Corinna Girnyte about her style inspiration and the statement pieces she just can’t live without.

 

 

 

How would you summarise your style in four words? 

Edgy, bohemian, comfortable and classic.

Which piece of clothing couldn’t you live without?

My skater style dresses because they are so comfy and when I’m running around all day I need to be comfortable. I love how you can dress them up or down which makes them great for both day and night.

Do you think you follow trends? 

I try to because that’s what I do for a living and I love fashion. I look to the high street, fashion blogs, and internet as a whole for inspiration. I love style blogs because they’re global and you get to filter through trends that you won’t necessarily see on the high street.

Where do you like to shop?

The key high street stores for me personally are Topshop, River Island and Miss Selfridges but I’m addicted to Asos.

How do you tend to shop online or in the stores?

I love shopping in store but shopping online is so much easier especially when I’m working with a mood board and styling a job. I do both but probably spend more time online.

Which outfit in your wardrobe makes you feel confident?

Because I’m running around styling shoots and my clients wardrobes, I tend to dress low key by day. So for me wearing a glamorous evening gown and getting fully glammed up with heels makes me feel amazing.

Which season do you feel more comfortable? 

I’m an autumn winter kind of girl. My favourite outfit is a skater dress, tights, ankle boots and leather jacket.

Who’s your favourite celebrity client and why? 

Oh god, I love all my clients so that’s a hard question but I am just a little obsessed in my gorgeous lady Vanessa Hudgens. I think she manages to get it right every time, she looks on trend when she’s casual but stylish and sophisticated when on the Red Carpet.

ALBUM REVIEW: Pillar Point ‘Pillar Point’ (this article first appeared on www.gigslutz.co.uk)

Rosie James picBy Rosie James

Anyone familiar with Scott Reitherman’s previous band, indie outfit Throw Me The Statue, will be aware of his knack for crafting songs that stick in the mind. While the Seattle-based, Bay Area native explores a new sonic terrain with the debut album from his new project, Pillar Point, his uncanny way with a pop tune remains intact.

Nothing says “Stop pigeonholing me as an indie fop, idiots!” like a good, hard synth stab, and the first few seconds of album opener “Diamond Mine” are some statement of intent. This derring-do is backed up by a choppily structured yet insistently engaging song that seems designed to let us know we are in for an interesting ride. “Eyeballs” follows, buoyant and driving, like a jet-ski ploughing the surface of the ocean; the track bursts with joyful abandon, while Reitherman’s vocals immediately call to mind the gentle yet insistent sincerity of Hot Chip. In fact, there are many moments where one could be mistaken for thinking they were listening to the aforementioned London act; they just keep popping into the picture, and they are not alone – “Cherry” comes over like a tag-team of Hot Chip and Neon Neon, but it is difficult to look down on it for that, partly because of those two acts’ own overt homage to their heroes, but mainly because it is such a downright enjoyable song, inventive in its own ways.

Pillar Point 1

Scott Reitherman

There is something about these songs that makes them grow more addictive with each listen – on first hearing, the crystal immediacy of the melodic hooks is offset by frequent curveballs in the song structures. Rather than being off-putting, by not quite making sense on first listen, it becomes imperative to give it another spin; and when everything does slot into place, it is worth it.

The loping pace of “Strangers In Paradise”, intermittently pitching down and dipping into a murky dubstep track, brings another twist; but in case anyone was beginning to get caught up in the UK electronic influences, the laid-back cruise of “Dreamin’” is West Coast to the most. On “Curious Of You”, an obviously intentional nod to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” emerges after a verse that recalls – to my mind, anyway – the melody from Neil Young’s “After The Goldrush”, before the whole lot is carried away on a deliciously spangly synth outro which appears to recreate for our times the opening of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”. Again, it is hard to know if these are conscious references, but it it is a damn likeable song regardless. The new romanticism of “Echoes” follows alluringly, and ends suddenly, leaving the album hanging, in the best possible way.

This disco-flecked, hedonistic dance backdrop seems to embrace Reitherman’s lightness of vocal timbre as a perfectly symbiotic part of the musical landscape, within which he then explores darker, more personal themes. Following a slight decline in adulation over the course of his two Throw Me The Statue longplayers, it does seem that he has recaptured the ‘first album’ feel here; that playful, unfettered creativity which comes from casting off the shackles of success – or, at least, distancing oneself from them.

Straddling the worlds of indie/rock and dance is nothing new, but some people genre-hop naturally, as a matter of artistic development, reflecting the many musical strands in their DNA, whereas some tediously attempt to pilfer some credibility by adding a few samples and hi-hats to a chirpy indie pop number. Thankfully, the immersive sound coined here by Reitherman on this fun and multi-layered LP, drops him firmly in the first category.

- See more at: http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/album-review-pillar-point-pillar-point/#sthash.3gEK7ait.dpuf

Terry O’Neill – one of the 20th century’s most illustrious image makers

Saskia Rowlands

Saskia Rowlands

By Saskia Rowlands

If there is anybody who has met everybody, it’s Terry O’Neill. For fifty years, O’Neill has shot the famous. From Raquel Walsh to Kate Moss, from Richard Burton to Mick Jagger.

O’Neill’s ethos is a strong one. For such an acclaimed figure it is a very surprising one. Since the 60′s, he has dismissed writing an autobiography- he has seen an awful lot of people at their best and worst- but the idea of making money by trading other’s secrets disgusts him. O’Neill is definitely not in the business of shattering egos and, unlike most portrait photographers, never sets out to demean his subjects. “What’s the point?” he has always said, “who wouldn’t want to take a great picture of Frank Sinatra?” A lot of photographers have an ulterior motive, but Terry O’Neill certainly does not.

Terry-ONeill

O’Neill has a strong, cockney accent. Combined with his dazzling blue eyes, throngs of women have always been in his following. When he first visited the playboy mansion in Chicago to photograph Hugh Hefner, the live-in bunnies thought he was nothing but the living embodiment of Caine’s blue-collar rouge. It was the accent that did it. A voice the girls would knock on his door at night just to hear, proceed to giggle, and then run away.

Unlikely as it may sound, O’Neill’s glamorous career began in Heathrow airport. At this time, he so happened to photograph Rab Butler, then, Britain’s Home Secretary, by mistake, in the waiting area. This ‘fluke’ capture led O’Neill to get a job in Fleet Street, at the Daily Sketch. His first proper job was photographing Lawrence Olivier.

Among O’Neill’s most applauded shots are those taken of Sir Elton John; like Frank Sinatra, Elton John showed a level of trust towards O’Neill that few photographers, even of O’Neill’s standard, experience. Through Elton John, Terry O’Neill’s lens was allowed an access-all-areas pass to the life and times of some of rock ‘n’ rolls most prestigious names.

An O’Neill photograph, to many, may seem casual. Instead of capturing what might be there, he captures what is. What you see is definitely what you get. Although he could be seen as a lover of colour, O’Neill’s heart still lies with black and white photography; he has always said that “Black and White is more journalistic”. O’Neill’s style is archetypal to himself- very real- he is rarely, if ever, drawn to dark interpretations of his subjects’ motives. His forte is not one of discontent but is one of satisfaction, making the fortunes of the famous look deserving.

Terry O’Neill set out in life at the humble age of 25 as a jazz drummer doing the London club circuit. Through aspiration O’Neill has become one of the most highly acclaimed photographers of our time, capturing the iconic, candid and unguarded. He is a real person, shooting unreal lives, which is why he stands firmly apart from other portrait photographers. Sir Michael Caine once said that “Terry O’Neill captures something special”- Sir Michael Caine is so incredibly true.

Attack on council newspapers ‘smacks of Putinism’

Waithera JunghaeBy Waithera Junghae

New powers which would allow the government to gag council newspapers are
unnecessary and reminiscent of Soviet style government according to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The union claims the proposed measures could give Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government power to prevent councils using their newspapers to report controversial issues like local hospital closures or the HS2 rail link.

“The gagging of local council publications seems to fly in the face of the coalition’s purported support of localism,” said NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet. “There are adequate sanctions if these publications step out of line.”

Earlier this year Pickles criticised local council newspapers, saying they were a waste of money and dubbed them “Pravda-style” publications.

The NUJ’s Stanistreet said: “ Eric Pickles is pleased to sound off about what he calls town hall Pravdas, but it seems his plans to determine what these newspapers can print, if at all, smacks of Putinism.”

The Local Government Association (LGA) is also worried about the proposed new measures.

“Councils have a legitimate, local, democratic mandate,” said Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA. “To simply make it easier for government to ignore the views of communities is unacceptable, sets a dangerous precedent and will mean local areas and residents will suffer as a result.”

The LGA claims that discussion of issues including HS2, large housing developments and cuts to police and fire services could be banned under the proposals.

Jake Bugg: ‘Shangri La’ album review

Rosie James picBy Rosie James

Even by modern standards, Jake Bugg has really rocketed to fame. From being a plucky ‘one to watch’ (albeit one signed to a major label), when his single “Lightning Bolt” coincided with the 2012 Olympics and soundtracked Usain Bolt’s every appearance on our screens, he is now a household name. His self-titled debut album, when he was just 18, introduced an authentic and refreshing new voice; a dry wit and broad Nottingham accent combining with an attention-grabbing, cut-glass vocal delivery and bona fide skills and intuition as a guitarist. He cited influences including Don McLean, Johnny Cash and Neil Young, and on the basis of the raw materials displayed in his confidently stripped back sound, he seemed the first young solo star in a while to hold any real hope of one day emulating their success and artistic status. There was a feeling that he hadn’t quite arrived fully formed, but that that was fine, good even: time and life experience would fill in the depth and nuance sometimes lacking in his lyrics.

Jake Bug

Jake Bugg – this boy could smoulder for England

And so, the emergence of his second album, ‘Shangri La’, just 13 months on from his debut, feels disconcertingly soon. Sure, he has come a long way, as evidenced by the fact the album is produced by Rick Rubin and named after the luminary’s Malibu studio. And if, during a year of relentless touring, festivals and publicity, Bugg has found the time to do all that aforementioned developing and maturing and acquiring of nuance, then fair play; but it seems unlikely.

‘There’s A Beast And We All Feed It’ opens the album, clocking in at under two minutes and kicking off proceedings in an energetic style that we’ll call ‘mockabilly’; it doesn’t sound like there is anything new happening here, but it is happening very fast, as if to compensate. ‘Slumville Sunrise’ motors along, the pleasingly thumping rhythm section alongside Bugg’s wry commentary calling to mind the Arctic Monkeys, and with a soaring, unshakable chorus it is certainly a standout – still enjoyable despite having been hammered on the radio as the current single. However, ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’, which was the lead single back in September, takes that lovely catchiness and uses it for ill. The chorus embeds itself into the cranium, but it makes a very unwelcome guest thanks to an infuriatingly unoriginal lyrical concept hanging on a hash of well worn clichés, sadly doing a disservice to the more appealing and inventive lines that are there in the verses if you can bear to listen out for them. Gripes aside though, Bugg rattles through the first three songs at such a frenetic pace that it is a pretty fun ride.

‘Me And You’ brings the first hint of a softer side, with a shuffling, folksy lilt, and it is a perfectly lovely ditty; the mid-tempo indie of ‘Messed Up Kids’ returns to Bugg’s trademark theme of gritty hometown observations, strengthening suspicions that maybe he has been too rushed to reflect and put pen to paper about his new experiences, or that perhaps this album is constructed of old songs he had left in the bank from his last one, duly beefed up and Rick Rubin-ised for public consumption. ‘A Song About Love’ is pleasant of melody and certainly a showcase for Bugg’s voice, but slightly self-conscious; the loose and bluesy ‘All Your Reasons’ starts promisingly but morphs into some sort of homage to every middle-of-the-road Britpop album track from the ’90s, eventually drowning in extended guitar breaks that never quite build up the head of steam they need to justify themselves. Perhaps the girl who wrote a feature on Vice recently about living as if it was 1996 for a week, as though nobody had ever managed to do it, let alone a mere 17 years ago, would find this sound fresh and relevant. But if Bugg’s sights are set on the credibility and longevity of his heroes then he’s strayed off course. ‘Kingpin’, an exercise in rock ‘n’ roll-by-numbers, feels so lame and derivative, and frankly beneath his talents, as to be wholly inexplicable. Which brings to mind the main frustration with this record: it is clearly well made and features some high grade musicians, but it sounds as if very few of the actual songs here really needed an audience, and rather that the label needed an album.

‘Kitchen Table’ comes to the rescue with fresh new array of delicate guitar and keyboard sounds, Bugg’s simple vocal style placing the song centre stage where it shines. ‘Pine trees’ finds him with just his guitar for company; a welcome development in theory, but some of the hoped-for raw charm is lost in a smooth and schmaltzy melody (the opening line of which is unfortunately reminiscent of Oleta Adams’, ahem, classic “Get Here (If You Can)”).

‘Simple Pleasures’ dives back into Britpop territory, which threatens to pay off this time as it grows into a pulsating, chugging beast of a tune; however, it is tethered by a slightly wimpy predictability, a feeling that it’s just obvious how it is going to end. Thankfully, the same cannot be said of the album as a whole, as the closing track, ‘Storm Passes Away’, finally shows Bugg’s true charms, a bluegrass-tinged country folk number in which his playful vocal turn sounds free and unforced, and as such is a breath of fresh air.

Here is the Jake Bugg that we were promised, and it is a relief, because for much of ‘Shangri La’ Bugg’s appeal, his natural talent and charisma, is hidden in plain sight; distinctive vocals and impressive guitar work sit high up in the mix, but somehow failing to cut through and expose the essence of the artist.

Score out of 5 – 2.5

This piece was first published on Gigslutz: http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/jake-bugg-shangri-la-album-review/

Wannabe hacks ‘bullied at work’

Waithera JunghaeBy Waithera Junghae

Interns starting out on their career in journalism face harassment and bullying the industry’s biggest union has told London Journalism Centre.

A spokesperson for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) claimed that bullying interns is common in newsrooms. “I think that internships are a large scourge of the creative industries,” she said. “Young people put an awful lot of pressure on themselves, and because it is seen as a glamorous and competitive industry, people think they can treat people badly.”

The problem is not confined to national media.

“I think in local papers one thing that came out is there is an awful lot of bullying because the union is not allowed to be there,” the NUJ spokesperson added.

Journalism intern

Young women are especially vulnerable to bullying

The NUJ had told the Leveson Inquiry about “shocking behaviour” in the industry,including a female reporter-who had already been taunted about her weight in the newsroom-being made to wear a meat outfit for a Lady Gaga story. Last year, the NUJ slammed the Sun for asking a 21 year old doing work experience to strip off and pose with a member of staff for mocked-up pictures of Prince Harry.

Chris Hares, Campaigns Manager for Intern Aware, told London Journalism Centre: “It is very disappointing that interns are still not always treated as well as other employees, including not being paid, in some sections of the creative industries.

According to Hares, 82 per cent of new entrants to journalism have done an internship, of which 92 per cent are unpaid.

“This is really unfair on those that cannot afford to work for free,” he said.

Hares commended organisations like Creative Society and RIBA for setting a great example by ensuring that their members are paying and supporting interns.

A recent study commissioned by the Federation of Entertainment Unions, which revealed that bullying was widespread in the creative industries, found that younger staff were especially vulnerable. Over half of those aged between 16 and 30 had experienced harassment in the workplace.

More than fifty per cent of the 4,000 who took part in the study said they had been bullied at work. All respondents in local newspapers reported being harassed or discriminated at work. The survey also found that women were more vulnerable than men, with 64 per cent of women experiencing ill-treatment compared to 49 per cent of men.