Internships and Unemployment (I’m getting on the soapbox)

I apologise in advance. This will not be a music post today, more of a ramble.
I’m sure if you use Twitter, you’ve seen the tweets from HMV’s social media team today. I certainly saw them. (For those if you who didn’t, google #hmvxfactorfiring).
I sympathised immediately. I’m a 24 year old. I’m job hunting. I’ve spent the past two years since finishing University in a mixture of short lived, low paid positions and interning , another word for free labour.
As I read the tweets, acknowledging the fact that this social media team were potentially throwing away any future career options, just for the purpose of allowing the world to see just how cruel it really is, something hit me.
The twitter account in question was created by a lowly, unpaid intern. The social media team were, I’m stereotyping, but probably around my age. Social media attracts the young, it’s one of the few things where we have more experience.
I went for a job interview today. The company in question (I won’t name them) were running late. They didn’t give me a real reason, or give me an estimate of how long they might be. I waited an hour, with two other girls in the same position and then walked out.
At what point did my time become valueless to them? That I, as a young person, should be expected to wait as long as they see fit just for the privilege of an interview? That I should just be grateful that someone might consider paying me for the time I spend working as hard as I possibly can for them?
When did this world become an exploitation of the young by the well-established? There’s a recession they say. There are no jobs. You must prove yourself before anyone will take you on.
My parents graduated from university and were taken on based on their academic merits. It’s maybe not the best way, not everyone who can pass exams will be good at a vaguely relatable job.
It’s fair to expect someone to gain experience before you take them on permanently. These aren’t good times to take risks.
The part I disagree with is the places that offer unpaid work, promising that ‘there may be a position available at the end’. There is no position. There is never a position. Not unless someone leaves, and even then, you’re competing with people outside the company with more experience.
The last paid job I was hired for, I found out later the intern had applied for too. She knew the company, and the things they’d taught her. I knew things the company didn’t. No prizes for guessing why I was picked over her.
Is it right, what happens now? I’ve been an unpaid worker, and I’ve had unpaid workers. I’ve tried to teach as much as I can, but what do you say to someone when you see that same naively in their eyes? If I work hard enough, if I’m good enough, I’ll get a job.
It’s not about that. It’s never about that. Get the experience, if you can afford it. But learn to flog that to other people, because you’ll be lucky if you get anything there. Unpaid positions don’t become paid when there’s a hundred more people willing to work for free.
I just hope these employers remember that someday it’ll be their children, or nieces or nephews, or neighbours.. who get thrust into the big, wide world with this dream that gets sold to them of a job that they love. Because how long can you lie to these people before they just stop trying?
Off the soapbox now.
RC xx

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Wednesday Wish List – Pierce The Veil New Merch

It’s not quite t-shirt weather over here yet, but for those if you who live in the US, there’s a new excuse to break out the short sleeves and vests.
San Diego post hardcore-ers Pierce The Veil have released a new set of merch, available from Hot Topic now.
Here’s my favourite piece at a fairly reasonable $20.50 to $24.50 (because you can never have too many black tees).

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UK people, we might not be lucky enough to have Hot Topic over here, but you can catch Pierce The Veil on their UK tour with Woe is Me and Hands Like Houses. Tickets and exclusive merch bundles are here. (London date is sold out!)

RC xx

Album Review – Biffy Clyro ‘Opposites’

I’ve been a fan of Biffy Clyro for many a year now. So many in fact, that I remember the days when they were just that weird Scottish band with the video about soapbox racing (My Recovery Injection).

The band have never been shy of pushing the boundaries, producing nearly flawless rock anthems with a dissonant structure. There’s always been a few tracks on each album that haven’t worked for me though, either not memorable enough or the jarring rhyming scheme makes it too difficult to listen to. (This probably isn’t a good reason to avoid something, I normally like a challenge).

This new album ‘Opposites’ is a double album. Supposedly this means the album concept is in two parts? I wasn’t really sure what to expect with that brief, so made a point to avoid any reviews before I gave it a listen. iTunes download completed. Let’s give it a whirl.

biffy clyro

Biffy Clyro’s new album ‘Opposites’ is, thankfully, the work of a band perfecting their trademark sound. There’s ballads – ‘Opposite’, is an ode to Simon Neil’s self depreciating tales of love. There’s flashes of the band’s prog-metal roots ‘A Girl And His Cat’

The double album holds together pretty well. There’s a good structure to the songs and despite the range of influences, fast-paced, angsty tracks ‘Stingin’ Belle’ and ‘Little Hospital’ flow smoothly into the band’s softer side, ‘Victory Over The Sun’ starts as a hushed melody, building into full-on punchy rock.

That said, the Mariachi band on ‘Spanish Radio’ creates a strange, almost calypso feel that jars heavily with the rest of the album.

The core theme seems to be the push-pull of a love, with ‘The Thaw’ begging ‘please believe in me, like I believe in you‘, ‘The Jokes On Us’ calls out ‘I’m in love with someone else‘. There’s hope in the end though, with ‘Picture A Knife Fight’s firm resolution ‘we’ve got to stick together’.

Typically for Biffy Clyro, its a great album. Somewhat stretched in places, but still so uniquely there’s. This is a band who are finally reaching the sound they’ve been building to since their humble beginnings.

‘Opposites’ is out now.

Download: Biblical, Victory Over the Sun, Black Chandelier, Skylight

RC xx

New Music Monday – Attention Thieves

Fact: Bands from South East England are seriously overlooked. I would know. I’m a Home Counties kid myself, growing up with the likes of Hundred Reasons and Reuben. I’ve seen many a good band disappear, never getting the recognition they deserve.

attention thieves

One band that look set to break the trend is Reading natives Attention Thieves. The four piece formed in 2008 and have already had praise from the big rock magazines – Kerrang, Rock Sound and Big Cheese. They’ve even bagged themselves a play on Radio 1 after an impressive set on the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds last year. Oh, and they’ve won a Best Grunge/Hard Rock Group award from a  radio station in Washington, DC.

Their sound is straight up British rock, with a post hardcore streak down the middle and a few punchy, punky choruses thrown in for good measure.

The band are releasing their new single ‘Can’t See The Light’ (think a slightly metal Hell Is For Heroes) on March 11. Track is below for your listening pleasure..

Clearly not ones to take a break, they’ve also got  a much-hyped UK tour coming up this February / March with pop punks Neck Deep. For a full list of dates, check their facebook (London show is free entry!).

 

RC xx

Today My iPhone Reset..

Sorry for the extremely late post today. I’ve got an excuse this time though. I updated my iPhone to the latest software upgrade (the 6.01) and it completely crashed my phone. Having gone to the Apple store for help, waiting around for 20 minutes to get served, met a very rude helper who (between cutting me off to chat  to other staff members) told me I’d lost everything. If I wanted to them to try to fix it, come back in half an hour.

I returned later, meeting a much more helpful staff member. He managed to restore the phone to factory settings, but everything on my phone was lost. (Yes, I stupidly hadn’t backed it up).

It took me a while for this to register. I went through all the stages – denial (searching for a non-existent fix), anger, depression and then acceptance.

Some things are easier to get back than others. I know my family’s numbers off-by-heart. My closest friends sent their numbers through Facebook in less than an hour. My co-workers I retrieved from emails. I can re-install apps.

Its the smaller, personal things that are gone though. The messages I’d kept for sentimental reasons. The photos I’d taken which remained off Facebook, they were just for my memories. The numbers of ex-boyfriends that I’ve lost contact with. I might not need any of these things, but it was a build up of my life. I’ll never use the number of a guy I kissed in a bar once, but it would make me smile when I scrolled past his name in my contact list.

I guess I’m hoping there’s something good in losing it all. Maybe its freeing to leave all these things behind? As irrational as it may seem to be so attached to a small piece of technology, I’m feeling quite a sense of loss now.

Anyway, just to keep with the theme – here’s a song about moving on..

RC xx

3 Of The Best Sweaters

Seeing as the weather is still freezing, I’ve been mostly huddled up indoors baking cupcakes (yes, this is what I like to do with my life). If you’re planning to venture out though, you’ll want to wrap up warm. Here’s a few of the best sweaters out there at the moment, to keep you nice and toasty, even in the snow..

 

small victory clothing sweater

Small Victory Clothing

‘Of Moose And  Men’, £20

The looks really warm, and would be great with some leggings! Buy from here.

ohh deer glam rock sweatshirt

Ohh Deer

Glam Rock Sweatshirt, £35

I LOVE clothing with a sense of humour. Definitely check this site out, some really quirky, and arty clothes. Check it out here.

grindstore alternative christmas sweater

Grindstore

Anti-Christmas Black Sweater, £21.99

One for the guys (but that’s not to say girls can’t wear it too..) It may not be Christmas anymore, but that doesn’t stop this looking appealing. An alternative Christmas jumper at its best. Buy it from here.

Keep warm and enjoy the snow!

RC xx

Friday Classic – The Cure

Admittedly, The Cure had their moment in the spotlight while I was a bit too little to take notice of them (I was too busy being born in 1988 to really pay much attention to the workings of the music industry). However, I’m going to feature the West Sussex five piece for several reasons:

a) They inspired many, many of my favourite bands – AFI, Hell is for Heroes and, according to Wikipedia, My Chemical Romance (can’t see the resemblance to be honest)

b) They’re amazing

c) I have a soft spot for any bands from South East England. Its not known for fostering a strong music scene..

d) It’s Friday. Who doesn’t think of ‘Friday I’m In Love’?

Despite the typically Gothic following of the band, they’re actually quite hard to define. The albums are almost conceptual, drifting between upbeat pop melodies, snarling social comments and lovelorn ballads (see ‘Burn’, used in The Crow film). They’ve recorded an impressive thirteen studio albums and in my mind would definitely be one of the greatest British bands.

I was lucky enough to see the band play Bestival two years ago and spent most of their set stood perfectly still, transfixed in the moment of seeing such a legendary band in person.

Rather than go with the obvious choice for today’s name, let’s pick another upbeat one. This one was an obvious choice after I remembered it features kittens.

RC xx

Single Review – Paramore – Now

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They were four, then they were five, now there are three. Paramore members Josh and Zac Farro (guitarist and drummer respectively) left the band in 2010, claiming the band was being manufacture as a solo project for vocalist Hayley Williams (Source).
It’s hard to ignore this, seeing as the lyrics point to the struggle that the band has been through in the past few years.
Luckily, Paramore have retained their original energy and determination against the odds. ‘Now’ is a good track, it’s catchy, upbeat and has slight Be Your Own Pet influence (which is never a bad thing).
Unfortunately, what is lacking is feeling. Gone are the music progressions made in ‘Brand New Eyes’, this new single is much more of the light rock feel of ‘Riot!’. The chorus draws a few comparisons to ‘Crushcrushcrush’. It relies too heavily on Hayley’s vocals, with not enough backing.
I won’t be making assumptions about the new, self titled album just yet, but let’s hope for something with a bit more kick to it?
RC xx

Wednesday Wish List – Download Tickets

Did anyone else see the Download announcements today? I have to confess , I haven’t been in a long time. (And I’ve heard horror stories of bad weather in the last couple of years).
Looking at the line up though, it’s really starting to tempt me. Slipknot, The Gaslight Anthem, Queens of The Stobe Age, Enter Shikari.. and now Papa Roach too. I think those tickets will be going pretty fast.
If you haven’t got them already, they’re still going (for now) with prices from £170 for arena only, to £205 (ouch!) for 5 days camping. Fancy it? Grab your ticket http://www.downloadfestival.co.uk/tickets.
RC xx

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Bring Me The Horizon Release New Video For ‘Shadow Moses’

Anyone else looking forward to Bring Me The Horizon’s new album ‘Sempiternal’? (I definitely am) What’s more exciting than the album coming out, is the fact that the band are releasing it direct to fans. You can pre-order the album from the band’s Pledgemusic page here.

Out today as well is the band’s new video for ‘Shadow Moses’, the first single from the album. Its amazing. (and well suited for the current blizzard weather). But seriously, you must watch this now. Right now.

RC xx