Monday, 19 August 2013

Etsy Shop

Discounts and summer sale available on my Etsy shop!

I sell handmade earrings, necklaces, rings, tote bags, cards, paintings and other things.

- Emz

Monday, 12 August 2013

Are Social Networking Sites Crumbling our Communication?

Everyone has Facebook. Even our mums. But does it make it hard for us to speak to people face to face? Have we forgotten how to address people properly and are we being rude when we sit with our faces glued to our iPhones at every given opportunity?

Facebook is great for talking to friends when they're perhaps at other universities and we can't see them as often as we'd like. However, do you really need to write to your flatmate in the next room via the internet something ridiculous, for instance, 'Dude, we've got lecture in 20, you awake mate??'. Just knock on the door and be civilised.

Admittedly we all do the 'look at our phone when we're on our own so we don't feel quite so awkward' scenario. Just to feel a bit less alone while we're waiting for someone or a bus when making eye contact with the gent opposite is too cringey. Yet when we're out having a drink with our friends and they're constantly on their phones, it can make you contemplate why you bothered venturing out of your comfort zone to spend a fortune on a beer, to then be ignored for the duration of the night. Or to be informed several times about someone's relationship status that you've never even met, yet you still feel inclined to say that you can't believe they've got a girlfriend either.

Many people check Facebook in the cinema more often nowadays, which forms all kind of nightmare situations. Imagine you're sat with a massive bucket of popcorn, slurping on a slush and watching the latest horror film with eyes as wide as an owl, (which for the record you've taken out a loan just to be able to be there). Then sat next to you is someone, whether a friend or a stranger, with a phone screen about as bright as the sun, checking to see who likes their profile picture that they uploaded a whole two minutes ago. They then proceed to look gormless and start flailing around screeching 'Oh buzzing! Daz 'The Man' Drayton has liked my profile pic!'. It sort of ruins the moment.

Only being able to communicate with people on the web can make us anti-social in person, not only because we're hooked to the latest gadgets and gizmos but because we can't talk to people correctly. We've forgotten how to converse with our lecturers differently than our friends. Which is fine if your lecturer is hip and down with the kids but not really sufficient vocabulary for approaching a Professor of Medicine.

Eventually people will start to think, 'do I need to go out?', I can just chat online all night and stay in my pyjamas forever. In the end we will become agoraphobics, finding it unnecessary to leave our rooms because we know what everyone else is doing every minute of the day. Would that type of contact with other human beings be enough for us?

Maybe I'm just talking to a wall.


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Graffiti and Street Art - Master or Disasterpiece?

Graffiti is seen as either a mess, simply unsightly scribbles on the walls of the city or to others, an amazing concept, a pièce de résistance. But is it really vandalism? Should we blame a generation for expressing their feelings or should we embrace it; whether it conveys an angry or a positive message?

Agreed, some artwork is morbid and sometimes even disturbing, for instance when on the wall or your local shop the haphazard words 'death is near' scream at you, it may seem farfetched and often a little pointless. Except not all of it is this juvenile, a lot of it has taken time and thought. In urban environments, street art can often give the public something to contemplate, and potentially something they can relate to.

To produce a lot of the graffiti found in city centres, a stencil has to be drawn and cut out first. This is usually if an image is being rendered rather than just the words 'Fresh' or 'Cool'. Spray paint is also the most tempremental material to use on the planet. The street artists only get one chance to paint their canvas (since it's the walls of a city it doesn't rub off so well), yet there are rarely mistakes make in this type of art. It's a fearless way of expressing yourself, put out there for everyone to see.

Graffiti is accessible for all classes and ages, a rebellion against art being made only for big shots who can afford it in their homes. As a student you aren't likely to be able to afford the latest auction of the last painting Van Gogh ever created, so graffiti will have to do. There's no back breaking admission prices either. It's also most likely to have been done by someone the same age as you. Maybe they're crazy, maybe they love dogs, or perhaps they hate their mum and needed to write it on that streetlamp. Either way, its going to be there every time you walk past it, so you might as well get used to it.

Another thing to consider is how they manage to get onto the bridges on the motorway. Graffiti often covers all corners of underground walkways, surely the artists must be half spider monkey to reach the places they do? They must be determined in order to dangle over a busy street just to be bothered to write their name or possibly 'School's Out' upside down.

Whether you are a fan of street art or aren't really fazed by it, it's someone elses personal thoughts and feelings which they wanted to express, which they're probably proud of. If it looks cool then that's half the battle and it might make a good cover photo for your Facebook page. Search 'Street Art Anarchy' on Facebook and Instagram for updates about new contemporary street art all over the world. Street art could help you design your tattoo you've wanted for so long. Oh, and if you're not familiar with Banksy's work, you need to look at it. Now.


The Catcher in the Rye - Article.

The majority of us have read it or at least heard of it. Perfect for someone who loves to read but finds themselves with little time on their hands, due to spending all hours of the day (and night) committed to that assignment you despised from the word go.

The novel has sentiments that, despite being ancient and written in 1951, echo the problems that follow coming of age for us today. For instance; we all frequently hate the world as the transformation of teenager to adult is such a torturous experience, particularly because of the numerous responsibilities to cope with when we'd rather just be playing Pokémon.

The Catcher is a good book to read for essay-writing masochists as it's around 200 pages long, with small chapters that make it easy to put down and pick up again, especially if the flat upstairs decides to turn it up to 11, disturbing mentality to the point of no recovery.

The book is set over 2 days in New York, in which a lot of cash gets blown, mainly on alcohol and cigarettes, hotel rooms, ice-skating, the cinema and a hell of a lot of taxis. It also deals with themes such as depression. If anyone knows about depression, it's students. Deadlines and the pressures of whether to go out or not are enough to make anyone contemplate their own existence. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, suffers with the disorder. He narrates the story, looking back on his time before he becomes 'ill'. The trigger could be the fact that he's failing at his fourth college. He contradicts himself a lot, just like the rest of us, changing our minds like British weather. His behaviour is inconsistent and he refers to several people as a 'phoney', finding faults in everyone he meets, which is too easy when people are complete morons, right?

Holden Caulfield recalls things from his childhood, like the ducks in the park, always wondering where they go in the winter when the lake freezes over. When he visits the museum, he's pleased that it never changes, the exhibits remain the same. He doesn't, however, like the fact he's changed so much every time he visits. He just wants to be a kid again, which don't we all? A time when you don't have to worry about when your rent money is due, you didn't have to make sure you're eating habits are relatively normal and that you don't look too much like a zombie from next to no sleep night after night.

Does any of this ring true? If you wish you were a kid again and you'd rather not have to face the challenges of adulthood just yet, or you're an insomniac, maybe this is the book for you. It's also a good read because it's very American and there's a bit of swearing every now and then. It might give you some inspiration and get you motivated for that 50 million word dissertation that's right on your doorstep.

- Emz