Category Archives: BA Journalism

Work submitted for my BA Hons Journalism degree

Massive Attack: Heligoland

Massive Attack have never been known for working under pressure, but after a seven year interlude they have returned. Their debut Blue Lines (1991) was a new sound, not before heard. Almost twenty years on, their fifth studio album Heligoland, is still as fresh, dirty, yet warm and enveloping as ever.

Heligoland, described as ‘the best collaboration of the generation’ by some still pushes the boundaries. Throughout the album you hear sounds not far removed from the likes of Portishead or Radiohead with real ‘world music’ undertones, but still unmistakeably Massive Attack. The opening track Pray For Rain is almost certainly one of the best, with a powerful yet breaking beat throughout, and a solid, yet strangely involving melancholic chord sequence. Follow this with Babel, the cold, close and almost clammy sound of the track and the album is off to a grimy, personal and hugely addictive start. Two tracks in, and you are already irrevocably involved in this masterpiece.

The dingy, offbeat baseline of Splitting The Atom is what we have come to know and love from Massive Attack, although the sound is neither old nor boring, but more like meeting an acquaintance from years ago – friendly, familiar, but still different and new. The excellent faster paced Girl I Love You follows, and you are instantly knocked back by a solid baseline, only complimented by the accompanying horns, which help make the track another instant classic.

Flat Of The Blade, featuring vocals from Elbow’s Guy Garvey is instantly haunting, with a delicious electro twist. The beat, though twitchy is not irregular and provides a haven of consistency while Garvey mystifies and almost finds a type of soul-jazz.  Followed by the sombre Paradise Circus, the silky smooth piano is worked well, with the classic ‘hand clap’ used to maximum effect.  Vocals by Hope Sandoval  compliment the off-kilter piano meaning you really do feel her despair.

A smooth delivery makes Rush Minute all that more enjoyable, although not much more can be said except it’s about the right length, and does just sound as Massive Attack should. Saturday Comes Slow, the penultimate track featuring Damon Albarn however is almost too short. The less imposing, more simple beat and melody fully compliments Albarn’s voice, leaving you wishing it went on and on. A genuine soulfulness is found here, with Albarn almost crying ‘do you love me’ again and again, and you really do want to say yes.

Atlas Air leaves you wanting more, with an addictive sound and even more addictive beat. A well worked techno interlude adds to the intensity of the track that builds to a crescendo then closes with another delicious techno indulgence.

Heligoland sees Massive Attack go back to their roots, but still be completely new after the lacklustre anti climax that was 100th Window. Only comparable in quality and sheer audible pleasure to Blue Lines and Mezzanine, it is simply a must have for anyone new to Massive Attack, existing fans or anyone looking for a dirty beat and addictive, soul-thumping genius.

February 8, 2010

01. Pray For Rain (vocals – Tunde Adebimpe)
02. Babel (vocals – Martina Topley-Bird)
03. Splitting The Atom (vocals – D, G and Horace Andy)
04. Girl I Love You± (vocals – Horace Andy)
05. Psyche (vocals – Martina Topley-Bird)
06. Flat Of The Blade (vocals – Guy Garvey)
07. Paradise Circus (vocals – Hope Sandoval)
08. Rush Minute (vocals – D)
09. Saturday Comes Slow (vocals – Damon Albarn)
10. Atlas Air (vocals – D)

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Falmouth University Journalism course in the Press!!

“J0urnalism college to focus on specialist reporting

A journalism training college is planning to specialise in arts and environmental reporting in a bid to give its students an edge in the media jobs market.

University College Falmouth says it wants to focus on arts, culture and environment issues because they generate the biggest stories on its Cornwall patch.”

Full article here:

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The end of the Poly?

Falmouth’s Polytechnic Society (The Poly) announced on Monday that it’s doors would close for the final time. The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society however will continue to exist.

The final screening was ‘Glorious 39’ at 17:30 on Monday 11 January 2010.

The building on Church Street in the centre of Falmouth was a popular venue for art exhibitions and encompassed a cinema and often showed theatre productions.

Already there has been great support, with even a Facebook group titled ‘Save Our Poly’ now containing well over 3,000 members.

Comments left in the Facebook group included:

‘The best small theatre I’ve been in. Must not close’

‘Save the poly, save our past! Keep it for our joy, fun! Falmouth needs the Poly!’

There has already been much talk about reopening The Poly, but run mainly by volunteers. At this point in time, however, it seems this is just wishful thinking.

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Digital Research in Media Ethics

“In and beyond the 21st century classroom, the cerebral act of conducting research is changing. Students consult voluminous indices to periodical literature with a point and click. Restricted access to rare books and manuscripts, corporate archives and government publications has opened up. In the electronic arena, global resources have become remotely accessible, and remote resources have become globally accessible. Learning is becoming an ‘on-demand’ digital enterprise.”

An extract from: Digital Research in Media Ethics – Emily Walshe.

While I completely agree with the point made, I still feel, even in today’s ‘get it fast, have it now’ culture there is still a place for the humble book (in spite of the ever more available digital book readers –

Perhaps callously I still believe people will always desire ‘a good book’ – although possibly only for entertainment. I do believe that print itself is seductive.


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‘Difficult balance of reporting the truth and staying safe during war ‘

‘There are few rules for reporters in any war governing the pursuit of their “survive and report” ethos, and even fewer in Afghanistan. Risk can never be fully removed and its laws are variable. The same group of insurgents who welcome a journalist one day may abduct the reporter during their next meeting.’

Full article – Times online

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‘Pictures of war can carry more moral meaning than thousands of words’

‘The US Defence Department may disagree, but the images speak for themselves.’

Full article – Times online

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Contact with Juice

The team at Juice radio are relatively small, with most staff using time to host, produce and script their own shows, as well as promote air time sales (for advertisments). I have contacted the team at Juice via email and will be following these emails up with phone calls in the near future.

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