Tag Archives: The Courier

Seven deadly housemate sins

Refusing to wash the dishes, blasting dubstep at 4am, never replacing the butter? Sound familiar? We selected the most often committed, and worst, of multiple occupancy crimes. Don’t think they’re a big deal? See if your flatmate agrees…

by Indiana MurphyMatt AspinLuiza StefanovaEmily RaeMaria Loupa,Lauren Windas, andColette Hunter

Playing the sexaphone

There is a massive difference between knowing it happens and hearing it happen through your wall at 2am. For example, I knew of a girl in halls that would have such loud, shall we say, ‘sessions’ with her boyfriend every time that he came to visit, that the poor girls living next to her resorted to pinning a note to her door saying ‘Please keep the sex noises to a minimum during anti-social hours.’ It instantly made her business common knowledge to anyone who walked passed her door. Well, until the girl hastily took it down. Sure it must have been really embarrassing for the girl but if it made her more considerate from then on I would say it was well worth it. Not only is it very disruptive  (a woman was once given an ASBO after a particularly loud lovemaking session!) but also it’s just common courtesy to be considerate of the people you live with, just like you wouldn’t leave the loo without flushing. If the tables were turned I bet you wouldn’t want to hear your neighbours going at it, particularly in the early hours of the morning.

Being a ham-burglar  

There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning only to discover that the family-sized carton of fruit juice you had bought in preparation for the next day’s hangover, or that eight pack of sausages which you were going to devour for breakfast, have been stolen. What’s worse is when you realise that those who have taken it are, in most cases, people who are your friends and who know full well how much it annoys you! Of course, there is almost certainly never any malicious intent behind such an act, but knowing that at the time the culprit was highly intoxicated or that they ‘were going to replace it’ when they next ventured to a supermarket is hardly a comfort at 8am after a night of trebles. What’s more frustrating is that the perpetrator in question is often not subtle or discrete. They don’t take some juice, but rather the whole carton and they don’t have a few biscuits, but instead the whole packet, leaving the empty packet and crumbs scattered across the entire kitchen. If you find yourself reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, the chances are, you are the one committing the sin!

Not such a goody-too-shoes

On your way back home you find cash in your pocket that your mum secretly gave you before coming back to uni. Some retail therapy is in serious need as some nice spring promotions are, like, begging for your attention! Can’t resist, can you? While walking for hours and hunting for the perfect prey in shop windows, those impatiently anticipated heels that you adore now have a precious red ‘SALE’ label. Your mind is already living the dream of the long-awaited celebration, as these beautiful shoes, that had always belonged to you, become yours. The battle is won. You even imagine how you are going to match your make-up for the night with the colour nuances of your newly-bought treasures…

Guilty or not, in the moment that your flatmate decides your heels would work well for a Sinners’ Friday night out they have taken an important decision. It’s a sin, isn’t it? But what can you do? Maybe the shoes didn’t have your name tied on their fancy spirituality after all. You can do it. Move on!

Tasteless tunes

This housemate is easily recognisable by their bleary eyed stare and multiple ear infections due to prolonged headphone usage. Music, like clothes, is a very personal choice. Both are considered forms in which you can express yourself. However, with music, unlike clothes, sometimes you do not get to choose the type you want. Hearing your international housemate belt out their best Adele impression in the shower can be quite endearing, a constant dubstep beat accompanying your breakfast cereal, not so. This is one occasion when the bass dropping is faced with despair that the song is continuing rather than frenzy on the dance floor. The only way this housemate can be deterred is to start a song battle (think School of Rock). Select a song, preferably something genre-clashing and let the battle commence. They get louder, you get louder. You may lose the friendship of other housemates in the process but it’s a small price to pay for your eardrums intact. Whoever loses has to endure solely the other housemate’s choice of ‘chooooons’ for a week. Just be grateful they haven’t formed a classical violin quartet.

Moment murderer

If it is bad enough listening to your roommate going at it like a possessed cheetah shouting “Geronimo”, imagine how much worse catching the live show could be. Trust me when I say that some things cannot be unseen… Unless you have a kinky and perverted side in you, you will not enjoy running into your roommates caressing their loved one, or while they are releasing their tension in the toilet. Once you’ve seen their ‘happy ending’ faces, things will never be the same again! Just try to knock every single time before you enter a room, and you are guaranteed a scarred-free place in flatmate heaven.

Selfish squatters

Whether it be outstaying their welcome or disappearing loo roll, an extra body in an already busy house can cause tension. Weekend stays are perfectly acceptable, but when it’s every weekend or a long haul visit, an ‘adopted’ housemate may not be appreciated.

With danger of all the other sins being committed by your loved one combined, this sin could be considered the worst of all. Perhaps one of the easier sins to commit – if your relationship is good then it’s sometimes hard to notice when you’re spending too much time together.In a student house, the line between guest and household member can easily become blurred. So at what point do you hint for him or her to start contributing to the weekly Tesco run? It may be a difficult topic to discuss and there is potential for friction and awkward confrontations but just remember: love is blind, but your housemates aren’t!

Chunder blunder

This is probably the messiest (and most disgusting) sin to commit as a housemate at university. With Newcastle’s renowned nightlife, many of us are bound to stroll in at early hours of the morning pissed off our faces. Those unfortunate students may have already experienced the unpleasantness of waking up to a flat covered in vomit, and those offenders are likely to have lied in a bed full of the mess too. Getting drunk and throwing up everywhere will definitely not make you popular with your flatmates and it is more than likely that you have to clean up the mess. This sin is clearly not one to repeat, so you may want to rethink that last shot of tequila next time before you end up in this unfortunate and unhygienic circumstance.

All illustrations: Daisy Billowes

*As published in http://thecourieronline.co.uk/2012/04/seven-deadly-housemate-sins/

Guess which one is mine..!


Live Review: Snow Patrol

Metro Arena – 5th February

The Scottish/Irish five piece kicked off 2012 announcing a third single is to be released from Fallen Empires.

‘In the End’ is to be released on February 13th, and they are celebrating it with a grandiose tour. Long before the release of their sixth album last November, the band suggested an open mind to the fans. Snow Patrol explored foreign territory and experimented with techno and electronic pop sounds. Melodies enriched with strings and brass, percussion and different keyboard sounds from the ever known melodica to dulcitone. The change in musical direction was evident even in the choice of support band, Everything Everything, a peculiar yet intriguing indie band.

Everything Everything’s witty lyrics, powerful off beat sounds, combined with front man Higgs’s signature falsettos, contributed to their own stigma. They started off strong, with beautifully arranged electronic elements, mesmerizing synths, and a Jack Black-esque performance from Newcastle native Higgs. Just when the crowd started warming up however, they were thrown off by Higgs high pitch vocals and mumbling lyrics which were impossible to follow. Everything Everything just did their own thing onstage; an unorthodox and eccentric band that can’t possibly cater for everyone’s taste. Unfortunately, after the nothing nothing reception from the crowd the awkwardness in the air was more than tangible.

Nonetheless, they set the mood for Snow Patrol to follow and they opened the concert with I’ll Never Let Go. A well organised set, with fantastic Muse-inspired lighting and elements that led back to their new album’s emblem were prominent: huge eagle’s feet-shaped screens, which moved and altered according to the needs of each song. Grand orchestral arrangements, and the singer’s engaging performance with intense body language; functioning almost as a maestro who brings this majestic symphony together.

“Let’s have some fuckin’ fun”, yelled an ecstatic Lightbody with his curls bouncing. And so it began. The band has clearly grown in confidence and stage presence over the years, Lightbody especially has evolved from the romantic shy guy of old into a true showman; his charming and comical persona finally shining through.

With a constant call for audience participation in ‘Shut Your Eyes’ and ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ the sold out arena complied with a massive chant-along. The band’s experiment with electronica was not always effective but when used conservatively to fit their signature style it felt more natural and effortless.

Some tracks when performed live brought more of a dance floor spirit with them, which came through unexpectedly better than on the album; like ‘Fallen Empires’. The rest of the night consisted of a brilliant mix of old and new tracks, sprinkled with hilarious intervals by the Lightbody, his attention to the audience was overwhelming.

Highlights like ‘Called Out In The Dark’, ‘Run’, and ‘Take Back The City’ followed with unmistakable vocals, crisp and clear sounds, managing to create a highly electrified atmosphere. Overall, the band engaged with the crowd to unprecedented levels, giving a very personal feel in such a large venue.

The much anticipated ‘Chasing Cars’ came as a catharsis for the fans, which burst into screams of joy and relief. Following an encore that featured all time favourite ‘Open Your Eyes’, the crowd went into a frenzy. Putting an end to an unforgettable night, the show reached its climax with the band asking us to ‘Just Say Yes’. Is there anything else left to say?

Yes Snow Patrol, a thousand times yes!

To read a review of Fallen Empires Click here


*As published in http://thecourieronline.co.uk/2012/02/live-review-snow-patrol/


Interview: Morning Parade

Not heard of Morning Parade yet? You soon will. This hotly tipped Essex band took some time out during their headline UK tour to chat to Maria Loupa as they ventured to the Toon for the very first time.

Frontman Steve Sparrow was friendly, approachable and modest when asked about the band’s work – at first glance, he didn’t give the same impression as his passionate on-stage persona.

So… why “Morning Parade”?

A lot of reasons! We wanted something to symbolize a fresh start – we all came from different bands and this was kind of a clean slate for everyone, and “morning” has this fresh meaning that we were going for. It also stands for all the early mornings we have to get up and travel to go to work, like we were joining the labour queue or something.

Would you say that you are a rock band?

Well, we are definitely a rock band but we don’t play classic rock. We use elements of electronic, dance and cinematic music. We experiment with different sounds and rhythms, anything from Daft Punk to Radiohead.  We base our songs on lyrics and melody, but we also use layering techniques to achieve the result we want.

How long have you been together?

About four years. I’ve known Phil since I was 11; he was the one who taught me how to play the guitar and I turned out to be better, so he switched to playing the bass!

With Chad we were together in college, Ben and Andrew came later. We decided to get together and started jamming on Saturdays and stuff. Our music at the time was rubbish, our songs were 20 minutes long!

What inspires you?

Our inspirations are always changing.. We are inspired by what we see around us, you are always introduced to a different eye. I think our music is quite reflecting, our first single is a proof of that.

In what way is the new single, ‘Us and Ourselves’ reflecting?

We all try to get somewhere in life; no matter what we are doing, we are in a single journey, all in this together. It’s about looking to yourself and the world around us, like a universal kind of thing. Unfortunately some people don’t get our message, but that’s a risk you have to take; if you don’t get your feet in the challenge, you might as well say nothing.

How was the experience of performing in all these high profile support slots?

I don’t know how it came to be, we’ve been offered gigs from The Wombats, and it kind of spiraled from there. We’ve played with The Kooks, The Wombats, 30 Seconds to Mars. It was a great experience because we had the chance to play for a huge crowd. With 30 seconds to Mars in Switzerland there was 20,000 people , and with The Kooks about 10,000 a night in the UK.

We’ ve been touring a lot this year in the UK and mainland Europe ; Holland, Germany, Belgium, Russia.

What are your future plans?

Our main focus is on the album coming out on the first week of March and we’re really excited about it. These days, the way the world – and television – works, bands are not necessarily in the singles market; the album is what counts.

Having our own headline tour is amazing, and we’re looking forward to hitting the rest of the UK venues on our list. After the album is released, there’s going to be a lot of touring in the UK and the US next year.

I can’t do one, but can you give us your best Geordie accent?

I can’t even do it, and I’m from the South East!

*As published inhttp://thecourieronline.co.uk/2011/12/interview-morning-parade/


Live Review: Morning Parade

O2 Academy2 – 22nd November

The upcoming Indie/Alt Rockers from Essex filled out Academy2 last week after the release of their first single.

The gig opened with support band Echohead, a bunch of fresh, enthusiastic lads with an unexpected amount of stage presence for their age. The mostly played songs from their demo; with the exception of some enjoyable jamming moments, which was interesting but not memorable. The lyrics struggled to get through and were often suffocated by the powerful music.

Nonetheless, they prepared the crowd for what was coming. At this point I have to admit that I hadn’t heard any of Morning Parade’s music until that night, but I was pleasantly surprised. After the first few moments of their performance, the comparison was inevitably in my head: these two bands are like a before and after shot. The young newcomers and the professionals, with Morning Parade being the latter of course. It wasn’t a matter of age, but a matter of musical ‘maturity’; Echohead were like an unripened fruit, not quite ready to harvest yet.

With their passionate, energetic performance, and the frontman’s standout vocals, it was hard not to parade with them; the connection with the audience was immediate. A combination of their 90s dance anthem influenced tunes combined with euphoric beats was enough to find myself dancing along. Swapping from electric/indie Muse-like sounds to more melodic and acoustic ones, like ‘Half Litre Bottle’, they owned the stage.

The gig only lasted for about an hour, which included singles  such as the popular ‘Under The Stars’ and the recently released ‘Us And Ourselves’. In songs like ‘Headlights’ and ‘A&E’ the synth parts with the distinct rhythms and layered grooves portrayed a togethered, in total control band.

‘Speechless’, ‘Carousel’, and ‘Running Down The Aisle’ were just some more of the songs performed that complete the impression of a polished, well rehearsed band. An honest and straight forward band whose music comes from the heart with clear influences from Elbow and Delphic. It’s real and down to Earth like they are; of which their fan time after the show is proof. A band with a plan, firm believers in ‘the more you do the more you get offered’, they delivered a captivating show, with the crowd’s dedicating hands waving almost all the way through.

Are they are doing something original? No. I don’t believe there can be a virgin birth in the music industry anymore.
Have I heard people saying that they are yet another teenage rock band? Yes. But so what?
Their lyrics might be predictable at times but that also makes them memorable, and that’s what makes their music contagious. I don’t know if they will stand the test of time, all I know is that I came here ignorant and left humming their songs.

* As published inhttp://thecourieronline.co.uk/2011/11/live-review-morning-parade/ M.L.

Fixing your face furniture

With Movember upon us, Maria Loupa dishes out advice on styling that ’tache

Upper lip feeling lonely and a perhaps a bit chilly? Well, now you can warm it up while serving a good cause. For those who don’t know, Movember is a global movement that raises awareness and funds for men’s health issues like prostate and testicular cancer. Before you go Movember-style, you should consider two very important factors: your face shape and features, and the image you want to portray. Moustaches come with dos and don’ts so choose them wisely.

After you’ve decided on the desired style, you should learn how to keep it up. There are some basic and simple grooming rules you should follow. Buy a moustache grooming kit (comb and scissors). Following the line of your upper lip, use the comb to align the moustache and clip the ends with the scissors. Start from the centre and proceed outwards; symmetry is everything.

For the rest of your face, you will need a standard razor. If you want to live the full moustache experience, you can go old-school and buy a shaving brush too. Always use shaving cream to avoid cuts; a lanolin-based one or even plain pomade will work best. Style it with a little wax, applying it on dry hair and then combing through. To avoid itchiness and dandruff wash with a mild shampoo, not soap. Using conditioner and moisturizing it with a little wine once or twice a day works well. Be patient; it takes time and experimentation with various products until you find the one that works best for you.

Dear hipsters, hammer pants of the world or just moustache-lovers, this is your time to shine… Happy Movember!

The ‘Hulk Hogan’

Are you more than six feet tall and so bulky that no one messes with you? If the answer is no, stick to a regular moustache; there’s a reason why Yosemite Sam is not real.

The ‘Hitler’ 

Don’t expect to avoid the direct link; trust me, no one will think ‘Charlie Chaplin’. This is not funny, not cool and definitely doesn’t look good. Do the world a favour and either get that thing off of your face or grow a proper one.

The ‘Tom Selleck’

Do you want to be a ‘big deal’? If you want to serve and protect 70s style, this rich moustache, which oozes with power, confidence and mahogany, is the right one for you. And you know a cigar would go great with that.

The ‘James Franco’

This one seems to be a very popular choice, as it is the most common outcome of not shaving your moustache for a month. The slimmer the more sophisticated.  Who cares if you look like the Pringles guy in his prime?

The ‘Aunt Muriel’

If you look like you’ve just had a glass of milk, you’re doing it wrong. In order for you to ever feel a woman’s touch before the end of the month, wipe this thing off.

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