Monthly Archives: February 2012

Study Music, take five


Essay season is upon us, so in desperate times I look to spotify/youtube to ease my troubles. The song I actually wanted to post isn’t on youtube, it’s a James Vincent McMorrow acoustic track called ‘Like The River’, so if you have spotify get on that. Alas youtube let me down, so I’m going to post a track from my all time favourite band/collective Bon Iver. ‘Towers’ from the recent eponymous album is Justin Vernon at his very best. Having recently saw Bon Iver I can say without any doubt they are the best live band, Bon Iver are the Noah of the instrument world (there were two of EVERY instrument on the stage known to mankind) and Vernon’s haunting vocals were beautifully backed with some amazing instrumental performances. The most recent album takes a couple of listens but eventually you’ll agree it has the potential to surpass For Emma, Forever Ago. So check out the track, and then check out the entirety of the album…Enjoy!

P.S Dear Grammys- Justin Vernon founded Bon Iver in 2007, ‘Best New Artist’ is an absolute farce…

Insomnia Music- Take One.

Having experienced bouts of sleeplessness in my past, I often turn to spotify/youtube to fill the hours of insomniatic boredom. My go-to album is hands down Fink’s 2007 album ‘Distance and Time’, in particular the track ‘If Only’. It’s the perfect calming soundtrack to catching some z’s and fits nicely into my usual obsession with acoustic singer-songwriters, Enjoy!

Innovator of the year.

So this past week at Edinburgh Uni has been titled ‘ Innovative Learning Week’. After much thought and painstaking deliberation I upped sticks and jetted ( 9 hour megabussed) my way down south to my home town of Birmingham. After all, at the forefront of the industrial revolution many moons ago, Birms is pretty well known for it’s innovation. I, on the other hand, decided to not partake in any such innovation despite the hundreds of years of inspiration that surrounded me.  I spent my week at home ‘innovatively learning’ new methods of consuming wine, which as I discovered following this research, has only one foolproof method- pour wine into glass, consume, repeat if necessary.  I never really bought into the ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ ethos, I’m more of a ‘out of sight out of mind’ kind of person, however, after three years of Uni I definitely hold true the fact that the longer you are away from home, the more you will miss it. And lets face it, free food and heating will always sweeten the deal.

Not an entirely accurate account of my Megabus journey, but it was so hot it might as well have been on fire.

After my 9 long hours on the Megabus I arrived home finally about midnight. If it weren’t for the fact I’m a poor student I would never travel by coach. There’s something self-important and impressive about plane travel, something romantic about rolling through the British countryside on a train and of course boat travel is the epitome of sophistication. Yet being on a Megabus holds none of these perks, being stuck to a sweaty obese man for the best part of a day with no Wi-Fi establishes that Megabus travel is definitely the Katie Price of the travel world- cheap, embarrassing and a complete eyesore.

Selwyn College- Yes thats where my sister lives,makes my flat look like a cave.

Thus began a week of dinner parties, excellent company, good food and a mammoth game of Articulate. The week was nicely rounded off by a trip further down south to Cambridge to see the twin. I’ve visited Cambridge many a time but it never ceases to impress me. The student life in Cambridge is undeserving of the common student stereotype. Replace crappy takeaways and bottles of Lambrini with three course meals and sparkling cava and you’ve got just an average Tuesday night at ‘Formal’. But now it’s back to reality, and back to Edinburgh, which is always a good thing. So I will return to a life of occasional study, copious amounts of bad ukulele playing and generally spend my time mooching around the Scottish capital. Oh and updating my blog with Music posts to avoid writing anything substantial…


Guest Blog- Twin Takeover

So I’ve been busy at home and lacking in inspiration for a real blog post (as much as I enjoy my study music posts, I need to provide you guys with some proper posts!) so I’ve handed my blog over to my sister for her first post… Enjoy!

Formal Hall at St.John’s College, Cambridge

For a ‘normal’ student I eat an extraordinary number of three course meals.  I think I probably average a good 1.75 a week over the course of a term. Last night, however, was slightly different affair as I dined at St. John’s College. Don’t get me wrong, Selwyn is lovely, and Formal Hall at Selwyn is no shabby affair. But Formal Hall at St. John’s has a slight edge. The Hall itself was built in the early 1500s and like most Cambridge buildings is at its finest when candlelit.  The real star of the show, apart from my glittering company obviously, was the food. Three courses in Cambridge can be fairly cheap, and so the standard sometimes drops, but the menu at John’s was one of the finest I’ve eaten and the best formal in Cambridge I’ve experienced.

The starter was by far my favourite course, it was the kind of salad your mum would order at a restaurant and then tell her friends about for days after. Not to sound too “masterchef” but the fig-pink grapefruit combination was a brilliant balancing of flavours with its sharpness really standing out against the chicory/fennel base. The main was similarly good. I went with white wine to go with the pork, breaking the rule of ‘red wine with red meat’, which, with pork, is a grey area anyway. Plus red wine makes me sleepy.  The meat was tender and the portion sizes perfect, which, being in a group of girls is always a concern calorie wise. The dessert was a baked chocolate fondant that was so good a fellow diner exclaimed that she would “be sad when it was over.”

We followed the meal with Cocktails at The Vaults, as no “Girls Night Out’ would be complete with fruity drinks, and who can resist a Happy Hour.  In Cambridge we have a saying – “I’d rather be at Oxford than St. John’s.” Well I’ve been to Oxford, granted I’ve only been to Wagamamma’s there, but still St. John’s definitely has better food on offer, so for now I think I’ll stay on the light blue side.

Baked Chocolate Fondant served with Cotes Du Rhone Blanc Guigal 2010 (the “less sleepy” wine option.)

Rachel. x

Study Music, take four.

Currently sat in my house in Birmingham putting the finishing touches to an essay I wrote on the megabus (there’s a lot of things wrong with that sentence, I know) and avoiding writing a legitimate blog post as per usual. Procrastination is most often my friend, and today I would argue that we’re best friends, as procrastination has gifted me with THE greatest cover. So you know how everyone loves Bruce Springsteen, he is quite literally “The Boss”, and you know how everyone loves up and coming folk artist Ben Howard, yes? So combine them and add in Yael Naim ( she sings that ‘New Soul’ song from the macbook air adverts) and you get one hell of a cover of ‘Dancing in the Dark’. Who says spending hours on youtube doesn’t pay off…

Study Music, take three.

I normally don’t buy into hype, but sometimes, one has to realise that many things are hyped for good reasons. As a staunch Zooey Deschanel fan since Elf and the beautiful 500 Days of Summer I am totally riding the Deschanel hype wave right now. Anyone who’s recently fallen in love with her after watching New Girl (and quite rightly) should check out her musical effort with folk/country singer M.Ward, known collectively as She and Him. Like a modern day Carpenters, She & Him’s take on country infused folk is transporting, evocative of 1920’s swing jazz coupled with almost Formby-esque ukulele rifts, it is truly enchanting.

My late-night-studying go to album is ‘She & Him: Volume one’ , with my favourite tracks being, ‘Black Hole’,

And Why do you let me stay here?


“I be catchin’ bitches while bitches be catchin’ feelings”.

I want to avoid, like the plague, writing a blog piece about yesterday’s festivities ( aka Valentines Day) I thinks its near impossible to write about ‘V day’ without sounding preachy, desperate or bitter.  I don’t want to go down the anti-consumerism route, or the engage in a 1000 word rage about how sickening it is too see Facebook posts about people’s partners taking out a small loan to purchase 12 ‘perfect’ red roses, no, I don’t want to do that. Instead I want to say that Valentines day is most perfectly spent with good company and copious amounts of red wine, and, as I’ve learnt from a rather precocious piece of graffiti, maybe relationships are too much effort, after all “I be catchin’ bitches while bitches be catchin’ feelings”.