Little Mix ‘Get Weird’ Album Review


Little Mix

After winning the X-Factor four years ago Little Mix have released their third album ‘Get Weird‘. We have been waiting two years for this album and fair to say it was worth the wait.

The girls have been working hard to ensure they fulfil the needs of all their fans. At the 2015 Brit Awards, the group confirmed that their album was completed, describing it as having a “whole new sound”.

While the new tracks are similar to their previous tunes, they still deliver the feel you want from a pop group. And in some ways the girls have grown up in their song choices, as they are not as karaoke as their previous album ‘Salute’.

The album is full of upbeat, jazzy songs to grab the attention of all, along with some slow meaningful numbers.


Album cover

Album cover

The hottest girl-band comeback song ‘Black Magic’ is one of the girls’ most popular songs they have released and gave them their third number one. It’s a catchy tune that sticks in the head and makes you want to boogie along to the fast-paced tune. It marked a real change for the girls and the single also peaked within the top 10 of the charts in Ireland, Israel and Australia. The single managed to stay at number one for three weeks, which became the first single by a girl group to do so since Sugababes’s “About You Now” in October 2007.

‘Take a sip of my secret potion, I’ll make you fall in love’ is my favourite lyric of the song as it pretty much sums up the track as it’s all about a girl wanting a boy that she can’t have.

‘Love Me Like You’ is their most recent release and here the girl group give their very best interpretation of Motown. The song is a bouncy yet romantic number which will always get the crowd dancing and would be a perfect wedding song.

Overall the album provides enough variety to appeal to all ages, with its mix of fast and slow tracks.

Little Mix have never failed to impress with their song and album releases and I don’t think there is one song on the album that won’t be a future hit! It is just fantastic. Great work from these girls.

If you are excited to see what else Little Mix has to offer, then you won’t have long to wait for the girls are preparing for the ‘Get Weird’  tour, which kicks off in March 2016.


Get Weird Tour Dates 2016

Get Weird Tour Dates 2016

Track List

1. Black Magic
2. Love Me Like You
3. Weird People
4. Secret Love Song
5. Hair
6. Grown
7. I Love You
8. OMG
9. Lightning
10. A.D.I.D.A.S
11. Love Me Or Leave Me
12. The End


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Resurgence of Vinyl

Music lovers are getting back into the grove prompting a recent boom in the sale of vinyl.

Long gone are the days of specialist record stores – anyone wanting to pick up some vinyl can simply browse in almost any mainstream music shop.

Whether you’re stocking up for nostalgia or artwork, one thing is for sure, vinyl has risen once again from it’s ashes.

In 2015 the number of vinyl sales increased by 240% compared to the previous year and the official charts company 12231293_10207156948589627_1586593090_nhave now added a record top 40 chart.

So why all of a sudden are we demanding vinyl?

According to Tech Geek there are four possible reasons, the main one being sound quality. Vinyl uses an analogue recording rather than digital, so the music gains a raw sound that is otherwise wiped out in more modern recordings.

Other suggested reasons are marketing, a sense of community and the visual, album art. Vinyl brings with it an intimate listening experience, as setting up the record yourself allows you to feel as though you’re part of the music process.

But it must be noted that we aren’t the only people to notice a craving for nostalgia with Alice Cooper recently saying 12226664_10207187032301701_1480858764_nthat he signs more records than CD’s nowadays.

“Last year vinyl went up by 85% and I think kids are sick of buying air. They don’t get anything with it.” he said.

With most vinyl’s having a free MP3 download, the youth of today are massively starting to appreciate older records. Whether that’s due to the recent rise of ‘hipsters’ or mainstream stores such HMV selling them, we’ll never truly gain a conclusion.

Although we are seeing a surge in vinyl’s popularity, Middlesbrough only has one record store, Sound It Out, located on Stockton High Street.


Sound It Out is located on Stockton High Street

“I can never quite describe my love for vinyl so I always use this metaphor – It’s like taking a bath with vinyl and a shower with a CD, as vinyl has that dirty warmth to it that CD’s drown out,” said Tom Butchart, owner of Sound It Out.

With the store opening in 1996, Tom says it’s been a “rollercoaster” with vinyl fading in and out of mainstream society. Presently they’re on a massive revival climb.

Tom added: “People told me to sell CD’s once vinyl waned in 2007 but I stuck with it and now I’m beginning to get praise for not giving in.

“I’ve got customers who sold their vinyl collections years ago coming back in to rebuy them for their own children. It’s a massive community right now.”


All records are sourced and sold second hand, making them more affordable for customers

During the 1990’s and the rise of digital music, vinyl seemed to disappear from people’s homes. With the population buying new, portable CD’s and now MP3’s, there never seemed to be a place for vinyl in the current market.

But Tom added: “I have customers coming in from as far afield as America and my customer age range spans from eight to 80.

“The youngest customer I have is an eight-year-old boy called William, who has been coming into the store since he was six, with his dad.

“When he turned eight, his dad allowed him to buy his first vinyl and he chose The Who. We get a lot of people imitating their dad’s or grandad’s music taste, which I think is fantastic.”

However one thing is for sure, with vinyl’s unpredictable market history, no one will truly know how long it will stick around for this time.

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How does society see beauty pageants?

Beauty Pageants have always been something which have cause a bit of a stir.

In a lot of ways, they are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or hate them.

They first burst on to the scene back in the 1920s, with the launch of  Miss America in 1921. Many beauty pageants followed over the years, with Miss World hitting the scene in 1951.

Over the years they have caused a lot of controversy, with critics claiming they were degrading to women and reinforced the idea that girls should be judged on their appearances.

Miss Iraq beauty contest has returned after more than 40 years and is paralleled with as much hatred as it previously was.

Organisers of the Miss Iraq contest are facing a backlash from religious hardliners and conservative tribal leaders who are claiming that beauty pageants are un-Islamic and threaten public morality. Contestants are now facing death threats for wanting to be apart of the competition.

Organisers are now more keen than ever to press on with the contest, as they see it as a step towards normality in a society still deeply divided. The pageants spokesman Senan Kamel, said: “Such contests give hope that life in Iraq goes on.”

Roseanne Jefferson, 20, from Cumbria, has a totally conflicting view to the critics in Iraq. Roseanne who has been taking part in beauty pageants since the age of 16, both on a local and nation level, and sees no problem with them.

She said: “I don’t see the problem with beauty pageants – it’s a girls choice to participate in them therefore we are deciding that we want to be judged in this way.

“For me it does not reinforce the idea of girls are being judged just on their appearance as it incorporates more elements than just appearance. It takes a lot of confidence to stand up on a stage and be judged, but there is something about it which gives you a thrill.”

roseanne jefferson

Roseanne Jefferson

Child beauty pageants are another area that get the public all hot and bothered.

Seven year old Amber often participated in beauty pageants and said she would carry on taking part in these year in and year out, “If Mummy told me to.”

But is it a child’s choice to take part in these contests or is it what the parents wanted portrayed through their child?

In 2005 there were no child beauty pageants but by 2010 more than 20 were held each year, including contestants as young as five. Some pageants even go as far as to exclude anyone over the age of 12.

Shelby Colene Pannell, a sociologist, questions why parents would subject their children to gender socialisation, claiming pageants are the perfect setting for the ”traditional” type of femininity. These young girls are being exposed to things such as makeup and spray tans at a very young age, making many families a target for criticism.

New mum Roseanne claims she would love for her daughter to follow in her footsteps.

She said: “I would love for Faith to love beauty pageants as much as I do. I would love for her to be a part of them, not only to be judged but because I feel that is it a good way to meet new people and can help to teach children a lot of things due to their involvement with charities.

“But I would like to wait until Faith is old enough to make the decision for herself as I do not want to force her to do anything she is not comfortable with like so many mothers do.

“I can see where people are coming from when they criticise mothers for letting children enter beauty pageants at such a young age. For me it’s shows like Toddles and Tiaras that fuel this dislike as they only show the extreme lengths of child beauty pageants.

“I have attended a number of child pageants in Britain and they are nothing like what you see on TV. It is much more civilised and there are not half as many tantrums like you would imagine.”

Critics of child beauty pageants say the pageants promote children as products used for the benefit of commercial gain. Some describe it as a deal, with parents spending  money on clothing, hair, makeup, and accessories in return for a cash prize.

child beauty pageant

What is your opinion of both adult and child beauty pageants are you a lover or hater?

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The fight for healthy eating: What are we doing to our children?

yummy-burgerAs the obsession of looking good continues to circulate in and around the media, children are being put under an immense amount of pressure from their parents to watch what they eat.

Since 1995 the Health Survey for England (HSE) has gathered information about children aged two-15 continuously to study the children’s attitudes to physical activity and obesity.

BMI (Body Mass Index) is not an accurate measurement of weight, but it is an approximation that is adjusted for age and gender.

Recent findings by the HSE state that since 1995, there has been an increase of obesity amongst children – 11% for boys and 12% for girls both aged two-15.

There was a specific weight gain between 2004-2005 when obesity spiked to an all-time high of 18% to 19% amongst both boys and girls.

There is a positive side to this knowledge for the country, the levels of obesity have dropped over the years since the dramatic increase 10 years ago.

Coming from the perspective of someone who has been overweight the majority of their life, I can definitely say that watching what your children eat is a very important aspect in today’s world.

BMIChartAfter a recent article about a young 23-year-old who was told she was “too big” to be a model at a size six and a BMI of 17.5, the ideal BMI being 18.5-24.9, it begs the question are we setting a good example for future generations?

With all the skinny shaming and fat shaming, people seem to have forgotten the most important part of all – being healthy.

Jess Dixon, 23, a Teesside University student said: “Skinny shaming against someone who is naturally thin is just as bad as fat shaming someone who is barely overweight. However, I feel like we shouldn’t be afraid to tell someone that they are dangerously under or overweight if it affects their health. I don’t see it as ‘shaming’ – it’s helping them if anything.”

Being healthy is defined as someone being in a good physical or mental condition, so it can vary between every person as no single person is the same.

As studies have proven in the past, being healthy in the body does affect how heathy the mind can be. A person who is classed as obese has a higher chance of being depressed, having social and anxiety issues as well as other mental health conditions.

So, does that mean to say that we as role models for younger generations may be mentally damaging our children and the way future generations think and eat?

Sarah Naisbitt, 38, Kitchen Assistant

Sarah Naisbitt, 38, Kitchen Assistant

Sarah Naisbett, kitchen assistant, said: “I think that younger parents these days are getting lazy when it comes to feeding their kids. Instead of preparing a meal from scratch, they give their kids convenience and fast food so they can sit in front of the TV or computer or console, rather than sit at the table and eat as a family.

“The kids at school mostly take the convenience options, rather than the home made option. They very rarely take vegetables and nine times out of ten they’ll take bread rather than potatoes. I think it’s a direct result of what parents are feeding kids at home.”

If that is the case, our laziness is not just damaging to children and risking their health, it may be affecting our own physical imagery.

As we are now in the age of digital and social media, we have become lax in our day to day lives, that’s a given.

But if we have become that lazy that we don’t consider what we are feeding our children and how we are influencing them, doesn’t that mean we are self-destructing as a race?

We all know that unhealthy people are a higher risk of diseases and death than the average healthy person.

If we continue pushing our younger generations into unhealthy habits, whether it’s eating or something else, the average life expectancy will drop once again.


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Foals break all the rules as they outgrow the academy

Foals front-man Yannis Philippakis playing Newcastle O2 Academy. Photo by Ellie Cartlidge.

Foals front-man Yannis Philippakis playing Newcastle O2 Academy. Photo by Ellie Cartlidge.

Since Oxford-based Foals released debut album Antidotes in 2008 they’ve broken boundaries and rules aplenty. Wednesday night was no different as they played Newcastle’s O2 Academy.

All over the venue signs stated not to crowd surf as it would get you thrown out. Front-man Yannis Philippakis defied these rules and spent more time in the crowd than on stage during the three song encore. At one point he was at the back bar downing a shot through their closing song Two Steps Twice.

Throughout the gig Philippakis came up to the front barrier as the rest of the band ripped through a 14 hit set list playing tracks from all four of their studio albums.

Foals certainly lived up to their reputation as being on of the UK’s most exciting live bands. They opened with Snake Oil and from the moment that the first note was struck, the band were greeted with adoration from a sell-out crowd.

The party really started though when one of the better known tracks, Holy Fire’s indie classic My Number, was played. There were fans on shoulders and stray arms cutting shapes in the tightly packed crowd.

It is no surprise that Foals instantly sold out Newcastle’s O2 Academy. Foals have ‘outgrown’ their academy status with the latest album What Went Down.

Mountain At My Gates was atmospheric enough to fill arenas and this was demonstrated earlier in the year when they played a surprise set at Reading and Leeds Festival.

The highlight of the evening came when Total Life Forever mellow masterpiece Spanish Sahara gave fans a brief moment of relaxation before breaking into an alt-rock second half. Newcastle’s audience clapped along beautifully to the beat of Jack Bevan’s drums.

Foals left the stage after playing my personal favourite Inhaler. This is another track that I can’t wait to hear tear arenas apart. The band are playing a string of arena dates in February of 2016.

When Foals returned to play Hummer, What Went Down and Two Steps, Twice fans were treated to a face full of Yannis Philippakis. After seeing videos of him crowd-surfing to Two Steps, Twice at recent gigs it was a surprise when he entered briefly during What Went Down.

There was worry that this would be the end for Foals’ set before the distinctive, alt-rock, Antidotes belter Two Steps, Twice left the Academy rocking.

Support came from Real Lies. A band that the crowd didn’t really get in to and left the stage to the relief of many who had endured their set.

Foals embark on a 2016 arena tour. Get tickets here: Foals Arena Tour Tickets.

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Franchise-crossing return for Super Smash Bros

With November in full swing and an abundance of new titles on the horizon, it is easy to forget that some big past titles ago are still receiving updates to this day.

Nintendo is one of the better companies for this, offering regular public presentations on what they’re doing to tweak their games and fix certain issues they’ve addressed. This in itself is a demonstration of how far we’ve come in gaming

Then they have updates for Super Smash Bros on Wii U, one of their most popular fighting games.

And then the internet explodes.

Cloud Strife, the main protagonist of the overwhelmingly popular Final Fantasy 7 developed and published by Square Enix, is the latest entrant into the franchise-cluster fighting game series Super Smash Bros. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who reacted with amorous excitement at this surprising reveal as Super Smash Bros and Final Fantasy fans alike were stunned, curious and finally hyped.

The very idea of franchises crossing over with one another, especially from that of an entirely different company is nearly unheard of in this day and age. Imagine if you will, the idea of the new Star Wars movie suddenly crossing over and featuring the cast from Star Trek or even The Avengers. If that’s the kind of direction that gaming is going in, sign me up.

What are your thoughts on crossing franchises in media? What do you think is detrimental to this kind of practice? Leave a comment with your opinions below.

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The rise of vintage


Baker Street independant shops

By Natasha Ashby and Emily Conyard

With the global fashion weeks drawing to a close and style spotting dying down, one thing can be certain: vintage fashion is on the rise again.

The term vintage is used to describe clothing between 20 and 100 years old, which is clearly representative of the era in which it was produced.

Vintage clothing can be used, new (from dead stock), manufactured, and handmade.

It is important to understand that the definition of vintage is fluid, so every decade brings forth new items as vintage. It is also important to understand that all vintages will eventually become antique.

Whether it’s a simple one off piece or a head to toe outfit, many are beginning to favour clothes that have a history behind them over mass produced High Street brands.

One area that has embraced this change is Middlesbrough’s own Baker Street, which houses a variety of vintage stores.

As a part of the local regeneration scheme, Baker Street features kitsch bunting, colourful stores and street art to bring some much needed vibrancy into our industrial town.


Inside the popular Vintageous Rags store

“Middlesbrough is quite fashionable, especially in street style.” says Gracie Stringer, owner of Vintageous Rags,

“I think it’s became so popular due to how affordable it is. People like to have pieces that tell a story as they feel like they’re a part of the clothes    history” she says

Vintageous Rags are certainly part of the demand for vintage, with a massive 23.2 million followers on Instagram and 3,000 on Facebook, they’ve now became a tourist destination for those visiting the area.

“Our surge in popularity has been amazing. From a hobby I once had in university to managing my own store and selling unique clothing, it’s really nice to know that people appreciate the hard work.” exclaims the 26 year old.

Due to the rise of vintage, many have began to follow pursuit and create their own business, whether that be selling garments at home or in their own store.

One that’s begun to follow the trend is Baker Streets newest resident, Cece Vintage.

“I love wearing vintage clothes so I find my passion drives me to source it and sell it. I love the fact that there are loads of alternative stores in Middlesbrough as it feels like we’ve become a community.” says Serena Brown, owner of the store.

“I hope that the popularity continues to grow as it allows me to live my dream. The support I have received so far has been overwhelming but I hope the trend thrives.”

However, with this demand for such niche clothing you’ve got to wonder, what does the future hold for this market?

“I think that the more this trend continues the harder it’s going to be to get your hands on true vintage.” says Gracie.

“So many people are trading in it nowadays and if that continues to grow the market will soon become oversaturated. I believe it will never go out of fashion but gone will be the days of cheap vintage.” she adds.IMG_0635

With the majority of people looking for their next vintage fix, what do you think the future holds for this niche market?


Shop Vintageous Rags HERE and CeCe Vintage HERE.

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Sex On Trial: It’s Rape.

BBC are continuing to 'Break the Mould' and inform about the realities of Rape

BBC3 are continuing to ‘Break the Mould’ and inform about the realities of Rape

Rape. It is a heavy word that comes with heavy implications and can destroy lives.

A recent programme broadcast on the BBC revealed there is still uncertainty as to what constitutes as rape and what does not.

The show, entitled ‘Sex on Trial: Is this rape?’ saw 24 British teenagers being shown a specially constructed drama about a sexual encounter and they were asked to decide whether they felt that it was consensual and whether the perpetrator in question had actually done anything wrong.

Watching the footage presented, it was clear to see that the young man in question had forced himself upon a sleeping girl without her consent.

He begins by climbing into bed with her and kissing her face as she is sleeping.

He then moves himself on top of her and continues to touch her body and kiss her face with more force.

Immediately at this point alarm bells should have started ringing. It then becomes more uncomfortable to watch as he performs a sex act.

At that point the drama stopped and the audience was  asked whether the girl in the drama consented or not.

The views were totally divided, with some saying it appeared the girl had flirted with the boy, leading him on and that she didn’t actually verbalise the words “no” or “stop”, which would have clearly indicated she was not consenting.

The other side was that there was no way she could have stopped this as he was very forceful and began the acts as she was sleeping.

There were also those that sat on the fence and did not want to comment on whether or not the girl had consented.

The remainder of the drama focused on the court case after viewing the girl and the boy giving evidence in front of a judge.

The worrying findings at the end of the show were that still not every teenager could call the crime committed rape – they felt it too harsh a term for what had actually happened from the defendant’s point of view.

However, is it fair to say he isn’t a rapist because he did not have full sex with the girl? Of course not. What was missed here was how the crime affected the girl’s life later on. It is not something a victim can just easily get over.

Amanda (name changed for anonymity) has spoken out about a sexual assault that happened to her as a child. She was just three- years- old when she was assaulted by a friend, who at the time was only five.

The 21-year-old described how throughout childhood she didn’t even know what a sexual assault was and so was unable to deal with it until a few years ago.

She said: “Before I processed what had happened, I just thought rape was bad. It shouldn’t happen. I’m glad that rape is being brought up as more of a massive issue, but personally, they [the media] make it seem like only females are the victim.”

She later went on to discuss the controversial way that she began to deal with the knowledge that she was in fact a victim herself.

“Well personally, I made a mockery of what happened to me,” She said.

“There are just some people who love to laugh at the darkest of things and that’s not going to change. It’s up to whoever hears it whether they get offended or not.”

No matter how much of a mockery she tried to make of the situation, it was still apparent that it had affected her much more than she was letting on.

Her demeanour changed slightly as she explored the emotions she felt when she first understood that as a child, she was raped.

She began by talking about how hearing or reading about sexual assaults and rapes does not necessarily trigger any memories or emotions.

She said: “Some [people] are stronger than others, and others are still affected by the mention of it. Personally it does not bother me one bit. But whilst I was dealing with the realisation that I was raped, it was difficult to hear the word rape.”

Amanda believes she has now come to terms with what happened to her.

In embracing what happened to her as a child and speaking out about it, she has been able to take the control back that was stripped away from her as she was assaulted at such a young age.

No matter how much Amanda was able to laugh at herself it is still key to remember that she is a victim of a very serious crime. As are many other men and women out there.

Rape can be life-ruining and is not something to be taken lightly. Although the majority of young people do seem to understand the serious implications of rape, it would appear that there is still room for a shift in attitudes if the BBC3 study is anything to go by.

If you, or someone you know has been affected by the issues raised in this article you can visit  for help and support.

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Hundreds gather for video game launch

Over 500 people gathered outside Game in Middlesbrough for the launch of the highly anticipated Fall Out 4 waiting for the clock to strike Midnight so they could buy their game.

Hundreds of eager gamers  had pre-ordered their games and were desperate to play it and some even came dressed as their favourite characters from the game.

Fall Out 4 is a role playing game set after a  nuclear apocalypse and encourages players to create their  own character in their likeness and make decisions as they go through the levels.

Fall Out 4 fan Jack Dodsworth, 17, from Yarm, explained the game’s appeal.













See link to hear the interview:



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Top sportswriter shares tips for the top with Teesside students


Students watch on as Ian answers some of their questions

Students watch on as Ian answers some of their questions



Aspiring sports journalists were given a treat this week as Ian Herbert, chief sportswriter at The Independent, held a Skype call with students and offered some valuable knowledge and experience.

Starting out as a graduate trainee at the Liverpool Post and Echo, Ian has carved out an illustrious career which has seen him cover major sporting events including the London 2012 Olympics and various FIFA World Cups.

After a stint as deputy editor at the Liverpool Post, Ian joined The Independent in 1999 as northern correspondent and has remained with the title ever since. His work was centred on general news stories until he made the switch to sport in 2007.

First year journalism students joined the second year sports journalism cohort in a 45 minute session, during which they were encouraged to take the floor and pick the brains of someone who could offer them crucial information and answers.

He shared his tips on breaking into the journalism field, and how to get noticed in what is currently a highly competitive sector.

“The be all and end all for recruiters and editors now is people who can break stories and find new original pieces of information. I think it is possible for students to find out original stuff.

“Particularly in sport, there is a vast amount of information out there, but I think what’s being taken for granted is the core skill of finding things out,” Mr Herbert said.

Stressing the importance of building contacts, he added: “It is well worth thinking about who could be good contact, who you can build relationships with and who you can build a rapport with over time. Those are the first stepping stones towards getting original stories and information.

“I always encourage people to think about jobs in news journalism first rather than going straight into sport. Sports editors really like the idea of sports writers who have worked in news as well, as they perceive news to be the real world and they have more respect for news journalists than sports journalists.”

First year journalism student Joe Rowney, who attended the session, said: “I found it very useful to speak to someone who’s come from where we, as students, are now and who has become one of the top professionals in his field.

“It was great to get an insight into how he got to where he is today as it’s something we have to do in the future.”

For anyone wanting to listen to the full session, here it is:

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