SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS GIFTS WITH OCEAN BOTTLE
BY DEVON HARVEY
As Christmas approaches so does the daunting task of buying gifts for your loved ones, Secret Santa’s, estranged family members and work colleagues. Each year, we spend months thinking of the best gifts, and once the task of sourcing and retrieving the gifts is done, we then hunt for the perfect wrapping paper and assisting decorations. This means that in the UK alone, 83 square km of our wrapping paper ends up in rubbish bins. So, this year, why not have a more sustainable Christmas.
What if the gifts you were giving were sustainable? This December, for our first festive issue, Snippets has teamed up with Ocean Bottle, as they recommend some of their favourite brands which sell the best sustainable products, which you could purchase for your loved ones this Christmas. What says ‘Happy Christmas’ more than sustainability!
Ofcourse, we first present to you Ocean Bottle.
“Ocean Bottle makes reusable bottles that save our oceans. With the sale of every bottle, we fund the collection of 11.4kg of plastic equivalent to 1000 plastic bottles and stop this from ever entering the ocean, whilst developing people-powered recycling infrastructure in coastal communities in Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil and Haiti. With the help of partners Plastic Bank, plastic collectors exchange plastic waste for money or credit via blockchain technology to spend on tuition, tech, goods, health care or access to microfinance.” – Ocean Bottle
Wild Refill is the ‘eco-friendly natural deodorant’ you didn’t know you needed until now. It is not only ‘single-use plastic free and aluminium free’ as it states in their bio on Instagram but is ‘cruelty free and vegan’. Coming in various beautiful colours, it is that little stocking filler you’ve been looking for.
Riley Studio’s Instagram labels their brand as providing you with your ‘gender-neutral wardrobe staples, that are kind to the planet’. If you are based in or around London, they have a pop-up store which is remaining open even with the new Tier 3 announcement. You can find them at 190 Westbourne Grove, and they will be open until the 21st of December- just enough time for you to get your last-minute Christmas gifts!
Ohne provides you with all the products you need whilst suffering with that time of the month. From tampons, to organic pads, to their CBD ‘Holy Cramp Oil’, Ohne have everything you lovely people may need, making period care not only accessible and sustainable.
TEA & TEQUILA
Tea & Tequila is a London and Mexico City based brand, providing you with ‘A Myriad of Mexican Things’ which are ‘Handmade by Indigenous Communities’. On their Instagram you can find Cactus Leather backpacks and trousers, the most beautiful jewellery, as well as some gorgeous dresses. They ship worldwide, and their products make for unique Christmas gifts, you can feel good about buying.
This year Togetherband have created a bracelet which is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but to the planet as well. By purchasing their band this year for your loved ones, the brand state that you would be ‘helping to reduce ocean plastic, helping keep guns off the streets of South America, giving vulnerable women in Nepal secure employment and getting us closer to achieving UN Global Goals by 2030’. What more can be said that could convince you to purchase one of their bands this year?
AN INTERVIEW WITH IZZY CROW
BY HARRIET DIPPER
December 18, 2020
Check out Izzy’s art account: @izzycrowart
Newcastle student artist Izzy Crow talks about the power of Instagram as a platform for young artists and her journey into taking paid commissions.
What initially inspired your portfolio?
Izzy told me about her artistic journey and how her primary fascination “has always been with colour and texture”, her portfolio beginning with her art assignments at school. When chatting about the grading system in these assignments, Izzy told me that she achieved a B grade at GCSE, and yet went on to attain a very competitive A* at A level:
“Often the grading system doesn’t reflect artistic talent. Young artists need freedom to explore and sometimes the assignments can be constraining.”
When did you start taking commissions?
“My first commission was from a friend who had seen my art Instagram page, so I suppose my commission journey started from there. I gained an audience from this platform, as well as from parents of friends who want support young artists.”
Izzy told me of the incredible support she has gained from word of mouth, for she has now now sold all but two of her paintings: “I’ve found it’s all about social media and marketability.”
Did you model you Instagram from anyone in particular? How did you cultivate your own style?
“My Instagram inspiration was actually from my cousin, who paints and takes commissions working in Barcelona. It was from her that I learnt how to do the clean white backgrounds. But I would say I’ve always had an aesthetic eye and love zooming in on the details on each of my pieces”
How much time would you spend on each of your pieces?
“I would say on average about 15/20 hours of work per piece. My recent Frieda Carlo commission took me much longer than my usual landscape pieces, which just goes to show how different and time-consuming portraiture work can be.”
Is there a certain time of day / space that you prefer working in?
“I tend to like to work in the morning as I love to catch the light, as obviously the day light hours are so limited at the moment (especially being in the north!). The evening artificial light I find much harder to work with, especially as I tend to paint in my room at uni which can become quite shadowy”
What is your favourite piece to date?
“The one I’m proudest of is my final piece for A level, as I had never practised it before on the acetate sheets that I used in the exam. This was something I had never done before, especially on the 3-metre scale that I painted on. Recently I really love the Frieda Carlo piece, as well as the Italian pool scene, as the picture I used was quite ordinary and I loved making the image more fun and vibrant.”
What advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to start an art Instagram page?
Izzy again reiterated to me the power of social media, commenting that “Social media is free, so why not use it!”
“Definitely get your friends, not matter how many followers they have, to shout you out on their pages. It may seem simple, but this is such a great way to get started. All publicity is good publicity, as they say!”
What is your plan next, are you taking more commissions?
“I have a few commissions lined up already, but I would love to explore some more. My plan is to paint some more locational pieces, for instance of places around Newcastle, as they are easily marketable and people love seeing places that they know and love. I want to start being clever about where I paint and expand more as my work progresses.”
A huge thank you to Izzy for chatting to us, and go and check out her beautiful page @izzycrowart
The Grammy Awards, formally known as the Gramophone Awards Ceremony is the biggest award ceremony that takes place within the music industry. Presented by the Recording Academy (a panel of recording artists, producers, engineers and other musical professionals), it takes place to recognise the achievements made by some of the top recordings in the last year. Categories such as the Album and Record of the year carry so much prestige, that can help define people’s careers/legacies.
The 63rd annual awards ceremony will be taking place on the 31st of January 2021, to an empty arena as a result of social distancing in the United States due to the global outbreak of COVID-19.
The year has been a rough one for us all and in my opinion, music has been one of the essential components from the entertainment industry in which has helped a lot of us through these times. Instead of plugging your earphones in during a commute, we sat at home working, studying or relaxing while music played through either our headphones or on speakers. Digital streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and others really came to the forefront during the lockdown in April and have ever since.
Due to the ‘stay at home’ directive placed by Governments all over the world, the growth of social media app ‘TikTok’ began to take place, with people using music as their outlet to perform videos for laughter, education and comfort. Songs like ‘Say So’ by Doja Cat exploded on the platform, opening another avenue for musicians to market their music. As a result, Doja has been able to call herself a Grammy nominee in one of the categories mentioned below.
I will be looking at some of the categories in which artists have been nominated and predict who may win or come close.
Record of the Year
Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s), if other than the artist.
1. BLACK PARADE: Beyoncé
Beyoncé & Derek Dixie, producers; Stuart White, engineer/mixer; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer
2. COLORS: Black Pumas
Adrian Quesada, producer; Adrian Quesada, engineer/mixer; JJ Golden, mastering engineer
3. ROCKSTAR: DaBaby Featuring Roddy Ricch
SethinTheKitchen, producer; Derek "MixedByAli" Ali, Chris Dennis & Liz Robson, engineers/mixers; Susan Tabor, mastering engineer
4. SAY SO: Doja Cat
Tyson Trax, producer; Clint Gibbs, engineer/mixer; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer
5. EVERYTHING I WANTED: Billie Eilish
Finneas O'Connell, producer; Rob Kinelski & Finneas O'Connell, engineers/mixers; John Greenham, mastering engineer
6. DON'T START NOW: Dua Lipa
Caroline Ailin & Ian Kirkpatrick, producers; Josh Gudwin, Drew Jurecka & Ian Kirkpatrick, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer
7. CIRCLES: Post Malone
Louis Bell, Frank Dukes & Post Malone, producers; Louis Bell & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer.
Winning this category is always regarded as an honour to whoever receives it. This year has been very strong, with everyone deserving a shot at winning the award. Circles by Post Malone did well off his ‘Hollywood is Bleeding’ album, while Say So by Doja Cat exploded and became an internet sensation alongside the growth of TikTok and other short media outlets (Instagram Reels etc).
The influence of disco has been creeping into the pop world in the last year with many artists deciding to base their records off that feel, whether it’s the funky basslines, guitar riffs or the way the vocals sound on records through the use of old analogue gear in recording studios. Songs like ‘Say So’ and ‘Don’t Start Now’ are evidence of this. For this reason, I feel like the award will go to someone in this lane to reflect the rising trend in pop music. Dua Lipa I think will win left, right and centre this year and this is just the first award she will be picking up.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
PREDICTED WINNER: ‘DON’T START NOW’ BY DUA LIPA
Best Alternative Music Album
Vocal or Instrumental.
FETCH THE BOLT CUTTERS: Fiona Apple
PUNISHER: Phoebe Bridgers
JAIME: Brittany Howard
THE SLOW RUSH: Tame Impala
This is an interesting category. Alternative music seems to be that consistent genre that never seems to underwhelm despite the heavy commercialisation of pop and the rise or resurgence of several genres such as UK/US Drill, Reggaeton and Disco into popular music.
Among the nominees, Phoebe Bridges and Tame Impala probably had the better albums. ‘The Slow Rush’ by Tame Impala was as beautifully crafted as his previous album ‘Currents’ which did some serious number worldwide. The old school feel through the way instruments and vocals were recorded felt like you were going back in time. Songs such as ‘Breathe Deeper’ really captivated the mood of the whole album which deserves its plaudits. Equally, Phoebe Bridges brought out a stunning record in the form of ‘Punisher’ this year, with back to basic rock/alternative songwriting.
Best Alternative Music Album
PREDICTION: THE SLOW RUSH BY TAME IMPALA
Best Rap Performance
For a Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.
DEEP REVERENCE: Big Sean Featuring Nipsey Hussle
WHAT'S POPPIN: Jack Harlow
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lil Baby
SAVAGE: Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé
DIOR: Pop Smoke
Performance comes as part of rap music, whether it’s in the actual recording of the song or at a live show in front of thousands. Out of the bunch, BOP, Savage and Dior probably have a shot. My personal favourite would have to be ‘Dior’ by Pop Smoke.
Pop Smoke sadly left us in February this year right as he was gaining traction as an artist in the burgeoning US Drill scene. ‘Dior’ followed up ‘Welcome to the Party’, a song that increased his visibility globally as an up and comer. His distinct voice and flow on a drill beat made ‘Dior’ a cultural hit not only in the US but also here in the UK, with the song being played on the radio, in clubs (before they’d shut abruptly) and on streaming platforms.
Megan Thee Stallion had a hit in the form of the song ‘Savage’, another song which reaped the benefits of TikTok as mentioned earlier. The remix with Beyoncé joining the fray only increased the replay value of the catchy song. Basing it off how the Recording Academy votes for the winner, my money is on Savage to win although it would be nice for Pop Smoke to get a post-houmous Grammy.
Best Rap Performance
PREDICTION: SAVAGE(REMIX) BY MEGAN THEE STALLION FT BEYONCÉ
PLAYLIST OF ALL NOMINEES ABOVE
ENTERTAINMENT SNIPPET: WHAT TO ANTICIPATE IN 2021
BY HARRY MEMBREY
December 18, 2020
2020, one of the most influential years for entertainment in recent memory, is finally coming to an end having provided bigger plot twists than any episode of Breaking Bad I can remember.
Imagine you’re sitting in a history lesson in the year 2120. Here and now, we’re undeniably sitting at the precipice of drastic fundamental cultural changes. But how will our roaring twenties be remembered in terms of the way we now enjoy entertainment? Instead of dwelling on the shocking events that no one on New Years’ Eve 2019 could ever have pre-empted, it’s time to look towards a year that may well define the legacy of 2020 as the industry begins to implement radical changes.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to outline 5 things to watch out for within 2021’s entertainment industry. These events or ideas may well dictate how the new year can redefine our conceptions of 2020’s entertainment and clarify this year’s effects on what may be one of the greatest years for cinema and streaming that this generation has ever seen.
2020 won’t end in 2021
This may seem either really contradictory or really obvious but hear me out. All those films 2020 couldn’t deliver and all those productions that were put on hold are about to resume with the rest of 2021’s sleight. Of course, there’s potentially a lot of delays to the films that were supposedly releasing in 2021, but there will definitely be plenty of entertainment to enjoy.
That built up anticipation alongside Warner Bros’ commitment to distribute films both to cinemas and streaming is a good indicator that there will be lots of entertainment in 2021 with far fewer viewing delays.
Here’s 5 of 2020’s biggest films finally coming in the new year:
The King’s Man - 26/02/2021
No Time To Die - 02/04/2021
Last Night In Soho - 23/04/2021
A Quiet Place Part 2 - 23/04/2021
Dune - 21/10/2021
As the easing of lockdowns commences thanks to mass testing and the Pfizer vaccine, an increased confidence in the public may bring about a resurgence to the cinema experience. In China, cinemagoers have learnt to follow new norms of two-seat distancing and mask-wearing at all times and it’s likely that the UK will implement similarly strict regulations indefinitely.
A new-found stability within the industry thanks to an increase in distribution will likely save not only smaller boutique cinemas but the bigger chains and theatres too. With all of the new films scheduled for release in the new year, perhaps 2021 can deliver the lifeline that they need.
While the convergence of media has been apparent for a long time, the pandemic has sent this trend into overdrive. Perhaps most apparent in studios’ decisions to release movies directly to VOD services, other areas have seen changes too. A growth in online watch parties for instance, where groups of people watch movies and video content together through their favourite social media platforms.
This kind of cross-media convergence has presented tremendous difficulties for the industry this year but presents major opportunities for growth in the next. With the vast sleight of Disney+’s cross-media franchising and the build-up to HBO Max, it has become clear that Netflix’s competition is going to seriously up their game as the market continues upon 2020’s 37% growth. If one thing is for certain, 2021 will deliver an entirely flexible and more convergent approach to the distribution of major studios’ films and series as streaming becomes the quintessential way to enjoy entertainment.
With a much bigger film sleight in 2021, imagine the number of films up for contention during the 2022 Oscars ceremony. Now think of 2021’s contenders and compare them with the buzz surrounding Parasite’s triumph. It feels a little lacklustre doesn’t it?
In 2021, Netflix will dominate like never before as a production company in its own right. Never before has Netflix (or any streaming service for that matter) had so many films in contention. Films like The Trial of the Chicago 7, Mank and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom have all been linked to numerous nominations. But because of the April delay to ensure that some of 2020’s late-releases fit regulations and the potential for considerable social distancing measures, it may all be a little overdue.
With the integrity of the Oscars already in constant contention, perhaps 2021 will only lead to more questions? The occasion is still far off, and it may be a little too soon to judge, but it’ll definitely be one of the more insightful ceremonies to say the least.
Finally, it’s safe to say that TV is not what it used to be thanks to the continuing demand for the flexibility that online streaming has provided. Interestingly, Ofcom has come out and said that public service broadcasting (PSB) is unlikely to survive without a radical change. According to Ofcom, two in five viewers of streaming services imagine watching no broadcast TV at all in five years' time. That means that a serious shake up will be required to keep PBS relevant as we progress into the age of increased digital connectivity.
If you looked at Disney+’s extensive plans for 2021 you’d be forgiven for suggesting that there was no pandemic. Perhaps it will be substantially funded services like Disney+, Netflix and Sky that lead the way in digitalising PBS in the new year. In moving digital, we can maintain the exceptional UK content that audiences value and reform the rules to build stronger public broadcasting service.
we shall be who we want
with your hand in mine,
in our ballgowns
muddied and torn,
and the wind ran with us,
a chorus of symphonies
cheering us on
as we left our shoes
in the grass’ bed
and in the morning,
clung to our dresses,
wildflowers kissed our hair
and we tasted the sweet air
if i am wine
won’t you put me to your
sweet chariot lips,
and take a sip
bathe in my red berry juices,
let us become nothing
but each other’s
and when the sun stops falling
and the grapes and berries of this land
have decayed into their muddied coffins
let us become drunk from the fumes
of our love
we will be enough
HIP HO(P) HO(P) HO(P): WHY RAP SONGS AT CHRISTMASTIME ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN
BY ELIOT K. RAMAN JONES
December 18, 2020
My favourite Christmas song of all the “Christmas Songs” is Last Christmas by Wham!. It doesn’t saturate every radio around like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”, it doesn’t numb your brain like Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime”, and because it’s about a Christmas in the past, as well as a Christmas in the future, you can technically play it out of season. I think over the years repeating the same 20 to 25 holiday anthems every year can make someone go insane, and when the calendar ticks over to December 1st, or just after November 20th if you’re a student, Spotify’s home screen becomes full of the “Top Festive Tracks” and you sigh as you contemplate another festive period listening to this exact same musical canon as you’ve heard the other 10+ years in a row. Admittedly I’ve not felt like this all the time, and the nostalgia can be nice sometimes, but it always seems strange how every genre of music you can listen to throughout the year is constantly shifting and changing, evolving new sounds and incorporating new ideas, and then that musical ingenuity grinds to a halt for a whole 25 days as we unpack Michael Bublé from his festive wrappings and listen to him sing a Christmas carol in his languid drawl. It can be so hard to break into this elite “Festive Faves” setlist, that I’d almost given up all hope and resigned myself to countless more years of this unchanging festivity. But then I discovered that hip-hop and R&B had, once again, come to my rescue.
In my favourite Christmas film, Die Hard, one of the few real songs played during the movie is Run-D.M.C.’s 1987 festive hit, “Christmas in Hollis” which main character John McClain’s limo driver, Argyle, plays over the stereo on the drive to the main location of the film, Nakatomi Plaza. Because of its use in the film, which became a perennial favourite, the song notably became one of the earliest hip-hop and R&B songs to break into the predominantly white and traditional Christmas canon. My favourite rap crossover Christmas song is Kanye West’s 2010 attempt at broaching the castle walls of festive carols, “Christmas in Harlem”. While Kanye himself appears to be phoning it in a bit on his verse, the beat is sufficiently “Christmassy” as well as keeping an even and very classically mid-2000’s hip-hop tempo, and it also features a strong guest performance from fellow Chicago native CyHi the Prynce. It did fairly well at the charts, but it’s unfortunate lack of circulation over the following years’ festive radio clearly proved that despite my affection toward it, it failed to crack through the veneer of the Christmas traditional canon. However, later on in the decade, both Justin Bieber’s 2011 hit “Mistletoe” and Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me”, released in 2014, have both managed to enter myriad “Classic Christmas Hits” playlists on Spotify. So, it’s possible to draw a conclusion that Kanye and 2000’s rap may have walked so that 2010’s R&B could run.
Another reason rap’s crossover appeal doesn’t seem to break into the mainstream playlists is the air of nostalgia surrounding the holiday season. It’s a fact that despite the need for annual new music, people don’t necessarily want to add new songs to a festive repertoire that otherwise only contains songs that they already know, especially if there’s some reason, however small, that it could not be completely congruent with the other parts of the playlist. Kanye’s mid-level success in 2010 was possibly due to his association, or lack thereof, with both mainstream pop and the holiday season in general. He had neither covered a multitude of festive hits, a la Bublé, nor crafted, produced and delivered an incredibly catchy and high-grade Christmas song, like Mariah Carey or George Michael. While it could have very well achieved a lasting success, Kanye’s attempt at cashing in by entertaining the Christmas market was unfortunately seen as exactly that.
There have been no more forays into Christmas by other mainstream rapper’s worth noting, possibly again due to how the default tempo of the holiday season is much lower than the fast flows of mainstream rap that dominate the rest of the calendar year. There’s a dry, bizarre and altogether awful collection of rap-themed Christmas albums, the highlight of which is, against all known reason, Snoop Dogg’s 2008 album “Christmas in the Dogghouse”. A digital-only compilation album was not successful and came from a rapper who was around ten years already past his best, which shows just how bad the rest of the genre is. We can only hope, with this smattering of rap hits from the last twenty years that the quality of holiday rap can improve to the point where the classical, elitist and predominantly white Spotify festive playlists can become much more exciting, more diverse, and including a great deal less Michael Bublé.