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Working as a copywriter is really fun (for me), working as a copywriter within a higher education institution has enabled me to work on some pretty cool, and ‘out-of-the-box’ projects. Most recently (today in fact) I’ve been writing up a document concerning one of our postgraduate courses: Professional Voice Practice. 

I’ve been gathering information concerning this course (and many others) for a few weeks now, and last week I interviewed the course director (who was ace) and now I’m making the final touches to the copy. I’ve really enjoyed writing copy for this course as voice practice is something which I’ve always been interested in. I trained as a vocalist when I was younger, and have always been fascinated by certain aspects of the vocal anatomy. (I think it’s ace that some people can sing/can’t sing, etc.) And I am absolutely in love with so many different singing voices – it’s always the voice that I go for when it comes to music genres.

When I’m writing copy for subjects I’m not too familiar with I always do my research and gather an understanding of the topic – to ensure that I don’t make any inaccurate statements. Yesterday I learnt a great deal about the English Renaissance, and the British Tradition of theatre. (As you can probably tell I’ve been working with the Birmingham School of Acting). Today I’ve been vamping up my knowledge of voice practice – learning all about the anatomy and physiological principles that govern healthy vocal practice and much much more…

I’ve also learnt about ethics, phonetics, philosophical issues and so forth. And I absolutely love it!

I’m not going to start preaching about professional voice practice (my knowledge isn’t really that vast… but if you do want to learn then you should take up the course ;] ).

I just think it’s really cool that I’m learning such an oddly diverse bunch of subjects through my role as a copywriter, and it’s pretty fun!

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I don’t do book reviews, I’m not cool enough (plus when it comes to reading I get very drawn into the books I read, so I’d just be praising everything.) But, after reading Matt Haig’s recent publication Reasons to Stay Alive I decided to read some more of his stuff, and quite honestly I did judge a book by it’s cover – the word CAT was in the title, so I was sold.

To Be A Cat is an ace little book; it opens your imagination into strange new depths – and I must admit it made me question my own cat (hahaha, honestly!) It is – in my opinion – such a strange read, yet it’s gloriously good and if you like cats, and you like escaping into your own imagination then I’d recommend it to you!

There are actual, real (and better) reviews about Matt’s book here. (They may give you a better insight!)

Things have been pretty stressful lately, and when all else fails you turn to Dave Grohl. (Just me haha). But seriously, I was so stressed last week and watching the Foo Fighters at Radio 1’s Big Weekend made me pretty much the happiest human alive… I love the band, and I love Dave Grohl. I’m not ‘fangirling’ or anything… I just think I’m part of the rest of the world who thinks that Dave Grohl is pretty ace. And this time last year my housemates and I had a blast discovering some of the coolest photos ever, and let me tell you… rediscovering them has literally had me laughing really loudly all evening! (Especially the otter one.) To be honest I think what makes Dave so cool is that he seems to just be having a blast, like all the time… everyone wants to be his friend…

This is ace, Carrie Hope Fletcher is pretty much the only Vlogger I watch (I’m crap at keeping up to date with YouTube, Pinterest is my current obsession, and there’s far too much music on YouTube so I get very distracted!)

Carrie is pretty ace – she is currently running as Eponine in Les Miserables in the West End – and to be honest playing Eponine is like the ULTIMATE dream and she loves Harry Potter… I really enjoy her videos, as I think she thinks pretty much in the same way as me, so… I think this video is pretty cool and wanted to share it.

When I’m looking for inspiration I often trawl the internet but end up loving life over on Pinterest (though I know for me I get more inspiration just talking to people and looking at trees and stuff…) But I do sometimes find myself aimlessly looking for inspiration, or something to get me out of a creative rut, in the above video Carrie mentions an ace website which is cool: (The Quiet Place Project). And I think if you’re in need of some inspiration you should check it out, or you should just spend some time chilling, drinking coffee and scrolling through Harry Potter pictures on Pinterest…

So, I love Harry Potter, and I absolutely adore the following pieces of art – which I found on Pinterest during one of my many ‘Search for cool Harry Potter stuff’ moments… I’m unsure of some of the original artists – but I’m 100% sure that I’m not talented enough to create any of these – so no credit claimed here!

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I believe this one is courtesy of the original book artist – however I’m unsure!

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This one is one of my favourites – I found this on Pinterest – I wish I could find the original artist, I love this!

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Artwork by Lena (Pinterest)

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Hogwarts Castle print by Tim Loughner.

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(via. Abi Powell on Pinterest) I’m unsure of the original artist!

I wouldn’t normally post stuff like this but I stumbled across these photos earlier… the poor car!

My mother and I were caught up in Boscastle Flood (ten years ago now) and we lost our car – but fortunately we escaped pretty much in one piece! I was doing some research earlier as I remembered seeing an image/video and I was trying to track it down, instead I discovered the following images:

The first four images are external photos (our car is in three of them) and the final two images are of our car once it was recovered.

I interviewed the Lieutenant Commander of the Navy helicopter pictured here for a radio project a few months back… I remember him mentioning the cars hitting the visitor centre, but I didn’t realise it was our car ha.. Crazy and weird!

I’m one for using Twitter as the public sphere that it is, but it is now that I’m questioning it usage in politics.

I’ve been hesitant to discuss ‘trending topics’ and comments made via Twitter in the past, as I take a rather naive stance in believing that Twitter, for the most part, acts as a way to simply express our thoughts. Whether these thoughts are positive, negative or even insulting to others there is no denying that there is a large proportion of Twitter users that are simply expressing themselves – the same way they would in normal, offline, conversation. This is a broad perspective of Twitter users – I also back the notions of authenticity, ‘trolling’ and many of the other concepts that have been theorised to describe Twitter activity. 

Politics and Twitter

I’ve recently become involved in UK Youth’s #DigitalDebate:

‘Parliament 2.0: In a digital society, is politics for politicians or is everyone a decision maker?’

As a result of my engagement with this discussion I have began exploring and observing Twitter and other social networks, leading to a greater personal awareness of social media, and its impact within politics. Recent Twitter activity has included a variety of ‘hashtags’ concerning UK Politics, such as:

#WhyImNotVotingUKIP

#CameronMustGo

#WeBackEd

All notably highly personal, opinion-based hashtags. 

Other politically-themed hashtags include:

#VoterEngagement

#NVRD

Both hashtags relate to voting. 

The commons selector committee utilised Twitter in the discussion of the Voter Engagement inquiry, with the use of the simplistic, straightforward #VoterEngagement hashtag. But is the use of hashtags such as #NVRD marginalising those potential voters on Twitter – using the ‘lingo’ and abbreviations which appear, to the non-informed, as an exclusive hashtag that formulates a discussion only for the politically-aware.

It is clear, and undeniable that social media is having an impact, whether negative or positive, in influencing peoples decisions concerning voting. A key example of this is the #WhyImNotVotingUKIP hashtag, one of the most popular trending topics on Twitter November 21st. Hashtags, such as this, allow room for conversation amongst UK Citizens, yes not all UK Citizens, but there is high engagement with discussions on social media, the internet is breaking boundaries, and politics needs to engage with this.

Interestingly Fuchs (2014: 190) noted that ‘in 2009, only 7% of the top Twitter trend topics were political topics and 38% were entertainment-oriented topics.’ This statement wasn’t particularly shocking for me, Fuchs also provides statistics for 2010, 2011 and 2012, concluding that ‘Twitter topics are dominated by entertainment,’ also suggesting that:

‘politics is much less represented and mainly in the form of influential political actors, such as Barack Obama (…) that dominate the political fields in terms of influence, resources and reputation.’

It appears this is the case, however the lack of political representation on Twitter doesn’t prevent users from contributing to discussions, (such as the aforementioned hashtags.) Maybe if more political bodies were to engage, or acknowledge this online activity then there would be less to complain about? As a political party simply Tweeting about TV coverage, or upcoming events isn’t enough. If the Twitter discussions that circulate around hashtags were to be viewed the same as offline interpersonal debating, or public discussion; then the leading political parties wouldn’t simply ignore the questions.

It’s hard to deny the influence of social media in current political debates, so I think the value of these online discussions, and the usage of digital pathways by voters certainly needs to be reconsidered.

Fuchs, C. (2014) Social Media a critical introduction. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.