Top 10 Worst Things About Music Festivals

*originally posted on*

Feature can be viewed at link above

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Could Leather From Pineapples Mark The End Of The Leather Industry?

Piñatex, the brand-name of a sustainable fabric made from pineapple leaves, is slowly finding it’s way onto the market – with shoe companies such as Puma and Carpenter now creating prototypes using the ecologically-friendly textile.

The creator of Pinatex, Dr Carmen Hijosa, got the idea of using pineapple leaves as a fabric after working in the leather industry for years. Hijosa saw that leather was not sustainable as a product and was unimpressed with the standards of leather goods being produced. She looked for inspiration in the Philippines where she discovered the traditional Filipino formal shirt, the Barong Tagalog, made from pineapples, could easily work as a sustainable and strong alternative to leather. After five years of research, and a seven-year developing process, Piñatex officially went on the market in March 2016.

The material is made from the pineapples leaf fibres, a by-product of the harvest of pineapples, and allows the waste of the harvest to be minimised. The fibres are extracted from the pineapple leaves and cut up, layered and made into a mesh. They are then put through an industrial process which creates the finished textile. A byproduct of the process is a biomass which can be converted into fertiliser and put back onto the pineapple crops.

Leather arguably isn’t a sustainable or biodegradable product like Piñatex. The industry uses dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, and coal-tar derivatives to preserve the skin and stop it from rotting, these chemicals often leak into water systems and contribute to global warming. As well as this, leather can take up to 50 years to break down, and the prices are at an all time high because the demand for leather and hide in cars, shoes and furniture are increasing, with China selling an average of 2 million cars a month, most of which are kitted with leather interiors. It’s getting more difficult to get hold of leather and, as prices continue to increase, it is becoming more and more viewed as a luxury product.

With the leather industry in possible imminent collapse, could Piñatex be the future of “leather”? Hijosa has previously said ,“We can make shoes, we can make bags. We can make chairs, sofas. It can be panelling. Eventually, it can be made into the interiors of cars, even linings.” So why do we still need leather?

More than a billion animals (cows, sheep, dogs, cats, goats and more) are killed for their skin each year; China skins an estimated 2 million cats and dogs and this leather is rarely labelled. This is then exported across the world meaning that a lot of leather shoes and clothing bought in the UK or the USA is unknowingly made from the skins of cats and dogs. Most of the world’s Cow leather comes from India where some animals are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious and others are beaten and tortured. Swapping leather products for Piñatex could also save an unbelievable amount of lives.

Piñatex, is also significantly cheaper than leather, the fabric sells for approximately £18 per square metre, whereas animal leather sells for approximately £67.

Piñatex only became commercially available last month, but hopefully as people realise the product is more sustainable, cheaper, ecologically friendly and cruelty-free than leather, we are hoping it will soon catch on.

Here’s hoping that this magical wonder-fabric will one day mark the end of the leather industry.

Can You Be a Feminist and Consume Dairy?

*this article was originally featured on*

The official definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”; a feminist is someone who supports this. In simple terms, if you’re a feminist then you believe that women should be treated equally to men and in equality in general.

So you may be wondering, what’s wrong or “un-feminist” about eating dairy? Many amazing feminists who have made incredible changes for women have eaten dairy and meat; take the suffragettes, Maya Angelou, Betty Friedan or Malala Yousafzai for example. Emily Davison and most of the suffragettes were not exactly vegans, yet they massively helped get the vote for women and it’s possible that without them myself and other women would not be able to vote today. Infact, there aren’t actually many well-known vegan/non-dairy eating feminists out there and I’m struggling to see why…

Throughout history, women have constantly been raped, beaten and murdered because we have been objectified by men. Since biblical times there have been indescribable inequalities between men and women. Today, women are still objectified. Because I am a woman, I have a lesser chance than a male of getting into university and it is likely that in work, I will be paid less than my male co-workers, I have a 1 in 4 chance of being physically abused by a partner and a 1 in 5 chance of being sexually assaulted, with 11 rapes happening every hour in the UK alone. Child marriage, FGM, sex trafficking, domestic abuse and sexual assault are horrific things that happen every day all over the world, I feel strongly about these issues and will always fight for women’s rights. But where are the feminists standing up for the rights of animals too? In the meat and dairy industry, female animals are also constantly raped, beaten and murdered so why aren’t we standing up for these lives? We all share this earth, we are all living beings and I believe we should all live equally among each other. As a female, I feel that it is important to stand with other females, human or not.

In the meat and dairy industry, animals are completely objectified, animals are females and males too not just “its” and as feminists, should we really be consuming the bodies of other females and their milk, which is meant for their children? The theory of feminism bases itself around equality, surely animals should be included in this, we are all living beings who feel pain, feel love and have family and friends. Most, if not all, animals are affectionate and gentle beings. All you have to do is watch this video of a rescued cow with his caregivers to see how loving animals are.

Copious amounts of studies have shown that we do not need dairy to survive. We’re not cows, why would we biologically need cow’s milk to live? You’re not going to die of calcium deficiency if you don’t drink milk. Ironically, scientific studies have shown that milk could infact deplete the calcium from your bones and heavy dairy consumption could lead to diseases such as osteoporosis. World health statistics have shown that osteoporosis is most common in countries where dairy products are consumed in the largest quantities, the United States, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

“Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in old age. (“Case-Control Study of Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly”. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 139, No. 5, 1994).

As well as this, the growth hormone, IGF-1, found in milk and milk products are linked to cancer, it also causes acne. At least two-thirds of cows’ milk in the UK is taken from pregnant cows at a time when the hormone content is substantial and milk, containing up to 400 million pus cells per litre, is legally allowed to be sold for human consumption.

Like all mammals, cows must give birth in order to make milk. In order to get milk from a female cow, she is forcefully artificially inseminated inside what the industry calls a “rape-rack”, a piece of equipment used to restrain and artificially inseminate dairy cows. While it may be difficult to comprehend that animals can be sexually abused and raped, it’s not likely that millions of female dairy cows every year exactly consent to being forcefully impregnated over and over again until they are so worn out that they are no longer of use to the dairy industry and are killed for meat. When she gives birth her calf is taken away from her sometimes within hours – 97% of newborn dairy calves are forcibly removed from their mothers within the first 12 hours.  Dairy cows areforced to produce 10 times more milk than they would produce in nature, because of this, they experience numerous health problems including, mastitis, a bacterial infection of the udders. This arduous cycle is repeated for 4 or 5 years until she is so exhausted and ill that she is killed and made into cheap meat, usually fast-food hamburgers. Also, keep in mind that healthy cows normally live up to twenty-five years, not five. As a friend to survivors of sexual abuse, I find it ludicrous to consume dairy which has come directly from a female who has gone through horrific prolonged sexual abuse. To consume dairy is to support this process.

As feminists why are we consuming products that have come from a female who has gone through so much unbelievable pain and torture just so we can enjoy the taste of cheese or chocolate?  We can easily substitute dairy for non-dairy plant-based equivalents such as almond milk, dairy-free butter, dark chocolate/dairy-free chocolate and dairy-free cheese as well as many other dairy-free“dairy” foods that are readily available in most supermarkets. You can even get dairy-free easter eggs and dairy-free wagon wheels.

Ultimately, I think it’s possible to technically be a feminist and eat dairy because there are thousands of feminists across the world who have made incredible changes for women and still eat dairy. If you’re a feminist by the official definition and believe that feminism is just about raising our status so that we are equal to men, as the official definition suggests, then I can understand why you would be confused as to how dairy consumption comes into it.

But to me, feminism is not only about elevating the status of women, but it is also about fighting for the rights of oppressed groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and people of ethnic and racial minorities. Intersectional feminism should include all oppressed groups, including animals, who we share this earth with.

We now have the knowledge and the power to find out for ourselves what goes on in the meat and dairy industry and a few searches on the internet will give you real footage of where the food on your plate truly comes from and what the animals go through. Ignorance is becoming a poorer excuse with the internet and an increase in vegan/animal rights documentaries and books, we all have the ability to find out and educate ourselves about what is really going on.

As feminists we should not be supporting any oppression or violence be it to a human or animal, we are all living, sentient beings.

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Review: Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression


*this post was originally featured on*

Iggy Pop is undoubtedly an icon, he raised to fame in the late 1960s as the lead singer of The Stooges who were inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 2010 and were arguably a band who defined the 1960s/70s as an era and raised the profile of proto-punk and garage rock, the legendary American rock star is the epitome of the sex, drugs and rock & roll lifestyle.  Often when an artist so connected to a period of time releases a new album it can be a bit of a flop as they’re still stuck in that time and haven’t moved on which makes the music seem old fashioned or out of place. However, Iggy Pop completely goes against this in Post Pop Depression; the album sounds current yet it also hasn’t completely left ’70s era Iggy in the past, it’s a perfect balance.

The album was produced by Joshua Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Homme wrote some of the songs and plays the guitar, bass, piano and also sings on the record. Is it the modern influence of Joshua Homme that stops Iggy Pop making the same mistake as other musicians by not moving with the times? Dean Fertita who is also part of Queens of the Stone Age and Matt Helders, the founding member and drummer of Artic Monkeys, also join Iggy and Joshua on the record. The influences of Queens of the Stone Age and Artic Monkeys are unmistakably heard in the album, the hard rock, guitar-heavy sound of Queens of the Stone Age can be recognised in some tracks, as well as the indie-rock post-punk-inspired sound of the Arctic Monkeys. It could be assumed that all of these influences on the album would make it easy to lose Iggy Pop’s iconic sound and style, but this doesn’t happen, Iggy’s classic garage-rock sound shines through strongly and the appearances of Homme, Fertita, and Helders help emphasise the legendary musicianship of Iggy Pop.

The first track of the album, Break Into Your Heart, has “post pop depression” written all over it, the song is moody and dark but has that pop song element of being extremely catchy. Iggy Pop then embodies David Bowie in Gardenia, the track shares the same unique sound Pop and Bowie created together during the ’70s whilst living in Berlin. Bowie’s influence is strong in the album, after all, he did produce Iggy Pop’s most acclaimed albums, The Idiot and Lust For Life. The entire album screams “post pop depression” the aptly named title is a running theme throughout. Iggy eerily sings the lyrics “Death is the pill that’s hard to swallow. Is anybody in there? And can I bring a friend? I’m not the man with everything. I’ve nothing, but my name” before melancholically chanting “I have nothing but my name” over-and-over in American Valhalla. Is he trying to tell his audience that his “pop days” are over and he has nothing to offer anymore other than his infamous stage name, Iggy Pop, which isn’t even his real name. Could this be Iggy Pop’s Blackstar?

It would be a lie to say Post Pop Depression isn’t a depressing album, it’s dark, gloomy and melancholy, however, it’s also extremely catchy and easy-listening. The six-minute track, Sunday, boasts a funky bowie-esque guitar riff along with catchy pop backing vocals, making it comparable to Bowie’s hit single Fashion. The track ends with ghostly female backing vocals and a minute long dramatic orchestral piece; this isn’t the first time Iggy Pop has experimented with different genres of music, in 2009 he released Préliminaires, a “french jazz” album heavily inspired by Michel Houellebecq‘s novel La Possibilité d’une île.

The album finishes with Paraguay, a track that has a very ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ sound. The song carries a deep feeling of sadness, Iggy sings, “I’m tired of it and I dream about getting away.” Could he be expressing his tiredness towards fame, does he want to finally get away from his Iggy Pop persona? Lastly, he sings the lyrics, “Im gonna go heal myself now,” the final lyrics on the final track of the album seem to hold strong significance, it could have positive connotations as it may be suggesting a fresh start for Iggy Pop, however the song still seems to convey a lingering feeling of sadness that you just can’t quite put your finger on.

Post Pop-Depression could easily become one of Iggy Pop’s most successful albums since the late ’70s; with the recent loss of great music icons such as Lemmy and David Bowie, Post Pop Depression feels extremely poignant and relevant at this point in time. From the gloomy and honest lyrics to the album title, it’s clear that the sixty-nine year old is expressing a different side of himself as more mature, emotional and even fragile rather than the previous chest-slashing show off famed for his crazy onstage antics. But one can’t help wonder, will this be Iggy Pop’s last album?

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Review: Jack Garratt – Phase


(this review was originally featured on

Jack Garratt rose to fame in 2014 when he headlined the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds. Since then, the multi-talented musician has taken the UK by storm; if you haven’t heard ‘Worry’ or ‘Breathe Life’ played on the radio, where have you been?

His debut album, Phase, is a mass exploration of sound and genre. Soul, R&B, blues, acoustic pop, electronica, dubstep and gospel influences crop up throughout the album. Garratt expertly combines a contemporary R&B style with his signature electronic sound. Most tracks on the album seem to follow a similar arrangement and sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate songs from each other, yet there’s also a wide contrast between some songs, piano-heavy ballad ‘My House Is Your Home’ could easily be featured in a Spotify “chill out/study” playlist while others songs like ‘Chemical’ couldn’t be more different.

Older tracks such as ‘Worry’, which was featured on his 2014 EP Remnants, and, ‘The Love You’re Given’, featured on 2015 EP Synesthesiac, are included on the album and these songs are arguably the strongest. New tracks such as ‘Breathe Life’ seem to be more commercialised and mainstream – to be frank, they could easily be mistaken for a Disclosure song. Through his quick rise to fame has he lost some of the originality and meaning in his songs? Tracks like ‘Breathe Life’, ‘Far Cry’ and ‘I Know All What I Do’ don’t represent the best of his abilities and feel like they are simply included to“pad out the album.”

‘The Love You’re Given’ is a special track that really stands out against any other songs on the album. It’s experimental and exciting as well as movingly minimalistic, the haunting vocal loop, simple piano notes and soft vocals are unique and engaging; it could only be compared to the work of ingenious electronic music producer/singer-songwriter and Mercury Music Prize winner, James Blake

In Phase, Garratt displays his talent as a songwriter; the contentious, stand-out lyrics, “my love is chemical, shallow and chauvinistic. It’s an arrogant display” in ‘Chemical’ are unforgettable. In addition to this, Jack Garratt’s roots in acoustic blues shine through more than on previous EP’s. The song ‘Weathered’ shows this – it is raw, personal and emotional. However, it does sound oddly similar toEd Sheeran, even the lyrics “When I grow old, I’ll drink and smoke” could easily be Ed’s. The song is also comparable to the work of introverted indie-folk musician Keaton Henson in a peculiar way.

It is about quality not quantity and while it’s possible that Garratt may have been under pressure to create his first full-length album, it may have been a wiser choice to make another EP with a selection of excellent tracks instead of an album with songs that weigh it down in terms of quality, making it in some places, unfulfilling and slightly disappointing. However, this is his first album and it is clear that he is still finding himself as a musician, but overall, it’s a hugely promising debut.

Review: The 1975 – I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it


*this review was originally featured on*

The 1975’s newest album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, is a messy jumble of summer synth-pop songs, upbeat ‘80s-style funk, dreamy instrumental tracks and slow ballads; while a mixture of different style tracks can often work, it seems to lack the depth and charisma of their 2013 self-titled debut album, The 1975.

The album boasts super-funky, synth-heavy singles ‘Love Me’ and ‘UGH!’ which are both equally as groovy; the video for ‘Love Me‘ shows energetic frontman Matty Healy sporting heavy blue eyeshadow, shirtless and in leather trousers wobbling around with a bottle of fizz – I  guess they’re kind of like a slightly edgy One Direction

Themes of love, loss and heartbreak, reoccur throughout the album, but the band do well in concealing what could have been a cliché cheesy pop album with more experimental Brian Eno style sounds and a strong ‘80s influence that runs throughout it; this, in my opinion, is what makes The 1975 different to any other boy band at the moment. Prominent musical influences are evident in the album and there’s a funky feel-good 70s/80s vibe to much of it. Snippets of New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and Bowie‘s infamous ‘Fame’ (ironically released in 1975) can be heard on some tracks including ‘Love Me‘ and ‘She’s An American’ . However, it really does feel like it’s in a bit of a jumble, some songs feel out-of-place; take the instrumental interlude “Please Be Naked” or the experimental six and a half minute long title track for example.

Sometimes the lyrics seem naïve and clumsy; last year in response to Justin Bieber’s ‘What Do You Mean?’ Healy exclaimed “Can we stop talking about nothingness? No one’s asking you to inspire a revolution, but inspire something.” Yet if you ask me, the lyrics, “If she says I’ve got to fix my teeth, then she’s so American (she’s American)” in ‘She’s an American’ aren’t entirely inspiring; nor are the lyrics,“Your eyes were full of regret, and then you took a picture of your salad and put it on the Internet” in the song, A Change of Heart, which is rumoured to be about Taylor Swift. But with seemingly ridiculous lyrics like this, a bizarre sense of irony is established in the album which is appealing, as it suggests that the band, while taking their music seriously, don’t exactly take themselves too seriously.

In an album that feels unpolished in places, ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful, yet so unaware of it’, has an engaging yet strange pretentious humour to it (all in the title really) and after five or ten minutes of perseverance, it’s not difficult to get right into it. All in all, they’ve achieved a lengthy 75-minute album that will be interpreted in many different ways – by some as a feel-good synth-pop album with tracks such as ‘This Must Be My Dream’ and ‘The Sound’ that I can imagine will be the soundtrack to many people’s summer this year, and to others as a more meaningful, experimental piece of work by the Manchester four-piece with songs such as ‘Lostmyhead’, title-track, ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it‘ and Nanna, a song about Matty Healy’s late grandmother.

It’s a good album but it’s just not anything more than just good. While it may be cool and controversial to create a 75-minute album as it’s not often done by popular bands today, it may not exactly be pragmatic. It’s hard to keep focus on the album for more than ten minutes at a time, and in all honesty, it seemed to drag on a bit. The album title may be a bit of a mouthful, but it’s not as difficult to swallow as the album itself. 

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Patrick Wolf announces Wildsound Tour

Patrick is back! After a long winter silence, it feels as though spring may be pulling the multi-talented singer-songwriter out of hibernation.

The Wildsound Tour will take place across Europe and the UK during spring this year.

Oh my god!!

The following dates are:

  • April 8th, Mascotte, Zürich, Switzerland
  • April 10th, Kaserne, Basel, Switzerland
  • April 11th, Ampere/Muffatwerk, München, Germany
  • April 12th, Roxy, Prague, Czech Republic
  • April 13th, UT Connewitz, Leipzig, Germany
  • April 14th, Hotel Shanghai, Essen, Germany
  • May 9th, The Lantern, Bristol, UK
  • May 10th, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
  • May 11th, The Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK
  • May 12th, Stereo, Glasgow, UK
  • May 15th, Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK

Tickets go on sale today and can be found here or on the websites of each individual venue.

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