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Can’t sleep? Proof Read.

I have had this blog for quite some time now and I am fully aware of what it contains;

Spelling errors,
Grammatical errors,
Typing errors,
And general neglect.

This evening I have been struggling to get to sleep and one way to aid myself to a cringe worthy sleep is to read one of my own typed digital-verbal-diarrhoea.. And deary me.

So many people have tried to pull me up about proof reading and I am such a lazy being; after I’ve written something and done a basic spell check I lose all interest.
Bigger fool me, however I’ve noticed the greater amount of mistakes found in my typed blogs and usually because my hands aren’t warmed up – causing clumsy mistakes. Blog posts I have composed on my phone seem to be less drivel.

Graded Fury 2000+ words composed on my phone, did I wanna proof read a rant? Nope, I wanted to put the coffee down and move on with my day.

So! A couple of people recently mentioned my Christmas blog post and I was curious to see what it said… Oh dear. Clearly written in the moment as a vent, and apparently I revealed more than I should have. So to make a point, I want to write about last Christmas 2011/12.

And here it is:

It. Was. Awesome. ūüôā

I spent my christmas with my sister Gemma, she read my Christmas post and gave me the best Christmas I’ve ever had.

Gem and I had a ham which was too big for it’s pot. BOOM!

New year? Meh. There’s always next year.

As for the rest of my posts and mistakes.. It’s not like anyone wants to re-read them. Anyone who was going to read my blog already has.

But thanks for reading anyway ūüėÄ x

P.s. I have a secret to tell.. I’m not gonna proof read this one either.

Border Crossings – Stop Judging Others

After a spiffing start to the year I am trying to hit my stride as far as burying myself in work goes. A welcome distraction if only I could find a glimmer of the motivation I had when given the Border Crossings brief. My enthusiasm was prematurely stunted with bad feeling so perhaps the best way to deal with this is to create the project around it?
For this project we were told we were to define our own identities and how our culture has influenced us; if you are from Scotland or where you consider home. The idea of ‘home’ is an idea I would struggle with.. I have moved A LOT throughout my life making it difficult to connect with one place. Some would say this would benefit me in this project however it has become evident from last semesters project that I research too many different ideas which would make it difficult to chose and develop one idea.

What to chose?
What defines me?

This brief is to be split into three projects, I have come to understand it as; Project 1 : Who am I? Project 2 : Who am I within my culture? Project 3 : Looking at students research of Ljubljana culture and creating an outcome.

I began by, as suggested, mind mapping all the things that make me, me. I came up with all the obvious nonsense you learn to bore people in a foundation french class..

I like skiing, going to the cinema and la bibliothèque.. Blah.

It seems to me.. It doesn’t matter who I am, what appear to matter is what people think about me. Doesn’t matter if I am not aggressive or being defensive is just the way I am, I will forever be labelled as a bully rather than forth rite. I could say anything about myself but people have already made up their minds as to who I am. So. My aim for this project is to look into all these small aspects of my personality which lead people to these conclusions.

Body language,
Accent/Language,
Fashion,
Music,
..Are these aspects manufactured to ‘build a wall’?

Or am I all these things due to my ‘culture’, upbringing or simply a response to peoples behaviour which I perceive as unfair?

I intend to research all these different aspects and find appropriate ways of depicting how this ‘wall’ or this ‘vibe’ is projected.

It would be arrogant to assume this project will make a fraction of a difference as to how people perceive and behave around others. Maybe it will at least remind people that not everyone thinks life is peachy, if someone is not bright and shiny -not to take it as a personal attack.

Can anyone think of an interesting way of depicting bad feeling? I think the key word I’m looking at is Emanating.

Cheers.

DamageScape 15/1/12 @The Swan with Two Necks

Every once in a while I travel to Manchester where I am always being introduced and confronted with charming new unsigned bands of various styles. I find myself engorged with the creative ethos which buzzes throughout the city and areas around. I find nothing but enthusiastic, talented, ambitious and delightfully gorgeous artists waiting for their opportunity to leave their mark on the world; a utopia for any to blossom in their specific skill discipline.

During my time in the beloved Manc-land I have been confronted with  a fair few alternative hotspot venues such as the mighty Grand Central in the city centre to the Hark to Towler in Tottington and the Swan with Two Necks in Macclesfield.

The main reason I visit is to experience and take part in my sisters world. My sister Gemma is an aspiring artist; branching over several genres from Classic Rock, Metal to the odd folk tune. It has been a privilege to witness the progress Gemma has made throughout her career. After being a well known house name across Scotland for her very popular folk gigs Gemma ventured to England in search for pastures new and her true passion -Metal.

She soon found a band which met all of her musical need; Collibus. After teaming up with extremely gifted guitarist Stephen Platt and charismatic drummer Matther Mills, Out-Foxed was born; an outlet for a bit of cheesie classic rock covers and a way of making money while composing music for Collibus.

This brief history of my Manchester experience leads me to my most recent of English musical adventures. Saturday 14th January was the debut performance of DamageScape comprised of;

Gemma Fox,

Matthew Mills,

Stephen Platt

And Sarit Black.

Supporting the powerful Gone Til Winter at The Swan with Two Necks,¬†Macclesfield. The first thing that struck me about this line-up was an almost ‘girl power’ theme. Female musicians seem far and few between but were represented in force on this occasion.

DamageScape is an outlet for Gemma’s own original music; revisted, revamped yet raw and tension building. A more personal side of the Collibus metal singer. With the added mastery of Stephen Platt’s ¬†incontrovertible discipline, accomplished rock drummer ¬†and teacher Matthew Mills with Sarit Black a successful female bassist; DamageScape are a powerhouse of sound and surely something to be heard.

The opening song of any gig,¬†especially¬†a¬†d√©but, is aimed to make and impression and grab / demand the attention of the audience however, due to a technical issue the majority of the crowd ¬†were left in bewilderment at the lack of vocals…

Drums? Check

Bass? Check

Guitar 1? Check

Guitar 2? Check

Vocals? Lost in the abyss of a sound desk.

DamageScape opened their set with ‘Falling Behind’, the crisp and technical sound¬†rang¬†through the venue invoking and¬†irresistible foot tap or nod of approval. Many members of the audience were frustrated for the band at the sound error, yet applauded¬†enthusiastically.

After the issue had been¬†amended¬†the set continued with the very thoughtful ‘My Crime’. This song highlighted the different between DamageScape and the other projects members are involved in. Soft and flowing, you felt¬†reliant¬†on every word of the¬†heartbroken¬†story, all emotion conveyed by a delicate melody. Not everyone’s cup of tea but good if you’re a sweet sentimental who can’t resist a ballad.

Next on the setlist; ‘Fictional Fantasy’, followed by a Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) influenced ‘Refrain’, finally¬†concluding¬†on a highly polished high note; ‘Damage’.

Damage is certainly the strongest song the band has in their arsenal; confidently performed and it was good to see the members loosen up and find their stride. This was reflected in the audience by simple signs of appreciation; tapping fingers, nodding heads and donated drinks, as the infectious rhythm consumed everyone in the venue.

More of the same please.

Despite the obvious¬†d√©but¬†gig jitters DamageScape’s overall performance was well executed however.. a little shy. A little bit more eye contact and energy next time guys.

I am looking forward to the next time I see DamageScape, it’ll be interesting to see how they have bonded/evolved as a band and how comfortable they are playing together. All in all 7/10

Feel free to check them out and other relevant music pages;

http://www.facebook.com/DamageScape

http://www.facebook.com/Collibus

http://www.facebook.com/StephenPlatt

http://www.facebook.com/GemmaFoxMusic

http://www.facebook.com/OutFoxedBand

http://www.facebook.com/GemmaFoxMusic

Working towards a deadline.

I am one of the sad and people who enjoy the fast and furious rush towards a deadline. As it looms ever closer I find myself more inspired, increasingly wired and less healthy looking through lack of sleep and food. I don’t work this way because of the need to catch up, I work this way because if I don’t I’d kick my ass for not giving it everything and always going that little bit further. None of my work, do I consider, is finished! Always a work in progress, as soon as you think something is finished you have reached a new point of arrogance which will only limit your development as a student or a professional designer. In my eyes someone who is profession is just a student under a new title, throughout my career I hope to never get bored with feel as though I have nothing new to explore or experience in my specialist area.
Reminds me of what Mike Press said about the curve which most of us live our lives, his idea is to constantly reinvent yourself otherwise it’s just a slow and agonizingly painful decline towards the grave.

This particular deadline I have been quite hyped about however, not entirely confident. Confident I will pass, YES, I have done all the work required and more, my problem is; it look so different from other work I have seen. My main concern is that my work doesn’t fit in because I am not as abstract or ‘pattern orientated’ I would rather have a ‘pattern accent’. People have tried to reassure me that because I am different it’s a good thing, in the big bad world yes, in an institution where people adhere to trends and follow a structured way of developing… Not so much. Perhaps I’m just being paranoid, the work is there, it is coherent and visually readable as a thought process with extensive research over a broad area with plenty of variables considered.

At least I can whole heartedly say nothing I have produced was created to make my tutors happy, something they particularly like.. Blow smoke up there arse for lack of a better term.

Well that’s enough procrastination for one coffee break. Time to get back at it.

Wish me luck my darlings! ūüôā x

Never underestimate your nostalgic nose..

Driving home from class tonight I experienced waves of memories triggered by different smells. I consider myself to be useless at most things but have always credited myself with a keen sense of smell.

I love how a small sent can take you back in time, cut grass or frost being to most common reminders.

As we march bravely into the cradling mercy of winter, it is apparent more layers are needed. A great time of year to sport your finest scarves and hats, today I was wearing a purple scarf my dad bought me.. It smells, quite subtle, of someone I miss quite dearly. I love how a small sent of something can plunge you into thoughtful daydream memories. I began to think of all the different things I keep simply for smell; old perfume bottles, unused soap bars from over a decade ago, my brothers aftershave from 2000, t-shirts of people I miss and even a cling filmed shirt simply to retain its unique odour (I do not boil bunnies).

I have always been known for smelling nice and I’m beginning to wonder whether I subconsciously plan what I’ll smell like for particular company or to even go with what I’m wearing.. And the answer is yes?

Lush – Karma for my girlie days or for a particularly long day because it’s quite distinctive and hippy-ish.

Cartier – It’s a more adult fragrance, good for classy occasions and too strong for a casual all day sent.

Gucci Envy – Old favourite and Classic. Reminds me of year ago and good for any occasion.

Gucci Envy Me – Rare and floral, specifically reserved for special occasions and when I’m dressed to impress.

This idea can even be applied to my shower gels, I use them because they remind my of my first year in uni or my first flat.

So in conclusion, pay attention to how you smell, you’re making new memories.

Looking in greater detail..

For the Change by Design module we have continued researching and developing our ideas in response to the RSA brief¬† ‚ÄėIn the Round‚Äô, from which we discussed ways of connecting young people with 3D objects. We thought of several ways we could accomplish this and decided we would spread an idea, a viral meme, with a ‚Äėmake your own‚Äô instrument plan. This was a way of reconnecting children with the world and objects around them and removing them from their digital screens but exploiting the online world to spread the idea.¬† For assignment three we were asked to further research certain elements of our chosen product; I decided to focus my research on the potential benefits of this type of product; Improved spatial awareness, team building, ways to help understanding/following instructions and also ways of helping behavior problems in younger people and also the positive impact on a young teens social standing or mood. Using the Cross search method I came across a variety of books I found helpful but in particular; Emotional & Behavioural difficulties, Theory in Practice; Paul Cooper, Colin J. Smith and Graham Upton.

The book is fundamentally about alternative ways of education to motivate and communication with young troubled people; each chapter touches upon a different issue ranging from how teachers can affect performance, the stigma attached to troubled teens, seeing problems in context, the nature and developement of behavioural problems into the importance of relationships. All of these topics are vital and key to our ideas of spreading a viral meme.

The book discusses, which I think to be the most important issue, children with behavioural problems do not bring it on themselves they are usually in fact an outcome from a poor environment or lack the so easily overlooked acceptance and nurture teaching and home environments are meant to provide. When referring to troubled children they are exposed to the stigma of being ‘maladjusted children’, as they were categorised until 1981 Education Act, which reflects a perceptual model, a stereotype. The education system is full of these ‘maladjusted’ individuals and are singled out and segregated by their teachers either due to this stigma or the teacher is just not equipped or capable of controlling their students. Due to the changing perceptions of student versus teacher, student versus home life; the nature of the school system, and how its management may create rather than ameliorate difficulties in the learning and behaviour.¬† In 1945 being a maladjusted teen¬† was a category of handicap, maladjusted teens were those who ‘show emotional instability or psychological disturbance and require special educational treatment in order to effect their personal, social or educational readjustment’ (Laslett, 1983). This is something I strongly disagree with, the idea of sending a child to a special school will not heal any emotional damage or aid in any confidence building, if anything will add to their self-esteem issues and effect a future career or further education.

Another key chapter I found incredibly interesting as well as useful was the look into the importance of relationships in young developing minds. The author discusses the main corner stones of any healthy individual needing a strong and stable support network; family, friends and self-worth. Without any  of these features a child will struggle and could go on to develop coping mechanisms or even mental health issues such as Borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD in particular has no known original other than the similar family history relating to; physical/sexual abuse, neglect and mental abuse however, there is no medical proof this is the case there is also a possibility of being a female based hereditary mental health condition.

The importance of relationships I’m sure anyone can see is key in all ages of life, to a young developing brain even more so. Relationships as a child influence your future romantic, professional and social relationships; simple people skills. The author continues to comment on how this can be combatted in the early stages through dynamic psychotherapy, addressing the issue, assessing the issue and following relevent steps and phases to change the childs state of mind. These are unconscious processes to aid anxiety and psychic pain, defence mechanisms (which is the main reason children with behavioural issues act out), motivational drives; developement phases.

‘One of the reasons why emotional experiences are not assimilated into our conscious view of ourselves is the anxiety (psychic pain) which such material may cause. Feeling unloved or unwanted by one’s parents, for example, is not easy to accept. While it is possible for considerable amounts of anxiety to be tolerated, even for relativity long periods, and while a certain level of anxiety is helpful in fostering optimal performance especially in competitive situations, high levels of anxiety can produce serious emotion distress.’ This passage I thought was the most powerful to convey the importance of stability and how fragile and delicate young minds are without the correct type of nurture and guidance.

Drawing on all I had read and learned from the book thus far the most relevant information to my brief was educational responses and curriculum developement. This surprisingly short chapter discussing simple ways of helping children improving many aspects of their life and mood as well as thinking. As the author lists many alternative medicines and ‘special’ schools, he then makes an interesting point that subjects which are already party of every school curriculum were found to make the best impact and induce dramatic changes within pupils. These areas were; drama, physical education, MUSIC, ART and CRAFT. The author goes on to discuss why these specific areas help and what they help,

‘Physical education helps increase awareness of self through its concentration on bodily strength, fitness and co-ordination. Drama, like imaginative play, is an occasion for releasing feelings and discussing and interpreting them. MUSIC offers help in understanding changed of mood and the pleasure of creativity in making one’s own music. Art and craft activities help provide alternative means of communication, distraction and relaxation from all other tensions and the success which comes from overcoming frustration in surmounting difficulties and producing a finished product.’ This passage embodies all that our design ideas are based. Creating¬† an outlet for young people to vent and be part of something bigger, for this to be so simple is inspiring and yet heartbreaking. For all those people who have faced hardship and struggle with their adult lives because these symptoms were not recognised when they were a child and their requirements to be a happy individual were not met.

For my second research piece I found Cultures and Processes of Adult Learning, a book of articles which brings together a number of major contributions to the analysis and conceptions of learning during adult-hood. It highlights continuing debates and issues about educational policy and practice and also the relationship between teacher and pupil touching on topics like self empowerment. Each chapter looks at the topic is an analytical view of the subject drawing on sociology and psychology.

This article employs the same ideologies of  Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties -Theory in Practice however applies them in a different manner; Kolb also discusses alternative structure and teaching practice but has a much more simplified and less specialist method which could easily become part of a teachers arsenal or a completely new way of training teachers for young children.

After reflecting on what I have read I feel that I have a better idea of what our idea should do and how it can help those in need of release. Each of these writen works have inspired me and pushed my motivation to think of how to spread the word/meme . Our product is about a trend, people getting together and creating musical insturments that may not even make sound but it will be drawing young people together, giving a support network to those who may already have a happy and life but also give those who don’t a chance to have a happy future. It is imperative for this trend to be an outide school activity or it will not seem as ‘sticky’ or cool to participate in, if young teens are paranoid and anxious about being judged for joining in with a school activity we must take our product somewhere that all children can compelled to join in. By using our simple instrument making techniques and perhaps recording online tutorials, we will provide possible troubled young people with creativity which I have found can help work though issues and frustration. A type of art therapy.. The musical aspects of this idea also contribute to other aspects of perhaps the more technical than creatuve audience and could help promote competition and well as a ‘band bond’. I thuroughly enjoyed reading each of these peices and I feel it has benefitted and broadened my feild of research yet at the same time made me more focussed on my specific goal.

Paul Cooper, Colin J. Smith and Graham Upton, 1994, Emotional & Behavioural difficulties – Theory to Practice, London.

Mary Thorpe, Richard Edwards, Ann Hanson, 1993, Cultures and Processes of Adult Learning, Oxford, Chapter 9, The Process of Experimental Learning, David A. Kolb.

As a group we met up with another CBD group to discuss our findings and give feedback on eachothers new ways of thinking as a result from our further research.

The original critizm of our idea was¬† how to get it known without introducing it in school, and new ideas of posters without words have emerged, online tutorials or ‘catch-phrase’ songs which can be recognised from a far as a ‘The Battle of the Pop-Up Flash Orchestras’… for example, catchy theme songs, the Dr Who theme tune, Alton Towers -Hall of the Mountain King. Imigary: – Live long and posper, devil horns to a thumbs up. (Shown by Alice)