25 Nov 2017

Does being an influencer mean anything?

As of late, "influencers" are making a massive impact on the world of social media. (Note: I hate the word influencer but I'll stick with it for the sake of this post.) In the last month or so we've seen Zoella's advent calendar fiasco unravel in front of the world, we've seen certain influencers advocate the use of real fur and we've seen influencers make their way into the mainstream world of TV. But is being an influencer a load of bollocks?

On a personal note, I shudder when I receive a PR email and I get addressed as an influencer (with my minute following) and I guess it kind of devalues the term when you've got people with huge followings falling under the same umbrella as me. But with all of the recent controversy it's made me wonder a few things: Are influencers actually influential? Does being an influencer come with a moral responsibility? And is online influence a real thing?

I think to be an influencer in the social media world the most important thing is to gain your audiences trust. Being transparent with your audience is key to this because as soon as you start to veer away from your true self, your credibility is flattened and people generally start to question your motives. "Do you create content just to get free things?" is a common question asked by people who don't run a blog or have much of a social media presence. Getting freebies is obviously a perk to creating good content and it allows you to work with brands you didn't think was possible, but in my opinion it only works when you collaborate with companies/people who are relevant to your online brand. For example, if I wrote a blog post about a mattress I was gifted, I would fully understand people who questioned me because it's just so left field of what I usually do. I think it's slightly different to people who's source of income is from blogging or social media because bills don't pay themselves, but I'd like to think people in that position have integrity and wouldn't lie to their audience like that.

That links into the question about having a moral responsibility. Again, I wouldn't begrudge people taking sponsored posts if they're short of money because, shit I've done it myself once or twice! But I think the question is deeper than that. Like I mentioned, there's been a few instances in recent weeks where particular influencers have been called out for their bullshit. Zoella's advent calendar is a great example because she is probably the most successful person to come from the world of influencers. If you're not familiar with her, she's a YouTuber with millions of followers and most notably a young, impressionable fan base. She collaborated with Boots to create a 12 day(?) advent calendar which was priced at £50. Nowadays, that's not an extortionate price for an advent calendar with beauty/booze advent calendars floating around. But the contents of her calendar were shit to be quite frank. Cookie cutters, confetti and a pen were meant to please the kids who bought into the facade and ultimately she was met with backlash online. I think as someone who has gained her audiences trust over the years, she should have known better and Boots have since slashed the price.
Another incident was a blogger who wore real fur and again, was met with fierce backlash. It's hypocritical of me to chime in with my two cents because I wear leather and I eat meat but there's something sinister about advocating the use of real fur these days. There are plenty of alternatives these days which I think influencers should be pushing, but it makes me wonder if these people are aware of their responsibility? Sustainable fashion is something I try to involve myself in where possible so it's disheartening to see people with hundreds and thousands of followers undoing the hard work of bloggers who are pushing the narrative to ensure fashion is done right.

With all that said, does an online influence actually mean anything? Personally I believe that having a successful online platform definitely has meaning and helps people in their everyday life. Though my blog and social media is minuscule in the grand scheme of things, it's enabled me to get a job in the world of social media and there are even bigger examples of people who have used their platform to progress onto bigger and better things. There are hundreds of bloggers out there who started off with outfit of the day posts on their blogs and are now self employed and working with some of the biggest brands in the world. Take DJ Akademiks for example. He started making videos in his basement, commenting on what's going on hip hop and now he's co host on one of the most successful YouTube shows; Everyday Struggle (which I love by the way.)
The online world we live in gives everybody a chance to better themselves if it's used correctly and I think that's a beautiful thing.


12 Nov 2017

5 Albums To Get You Through Autumn

Wassuuuuuuuuuup, it feels like I'm getting back into this blogging business (2 posts this week?!) and it feels right to chime in with a new post about music after the last few days I've had! I spent two days in Manchester to see Run The Jewels & Danny Brown and it's a city leathered in musical significance. The show was incredible and I also made the pilgrimage to the Mecca for any fans of The Smiths: Salford Lad's Club. Head to my Instagram to see photos from Manchester.

After being indulged in musical perfection for a few days, it's back to Cardiff where it's dark at 5pm and nights are cold. So what better to pick me up than some good bloody music? Here's 5 of my favourite picks to get us through this treacherous time we call Autumn/Winter:

Nostalgia, Ultra - Frank Ocean

Man, the first time I ever heard this mixtape it fully blew my mind. It was Frank's introduction to the world and it still gets played regularly in the gaff in 2017. The lead single Novocane blew up all over the internet and pushed Frank into stardom which ultimately led him to working on Watch The Throne as well as releasing two classic albums; Channel Orange and Blonde. It's believed that the music you listen to from 18-24 is the formative years for your musical palette and I can fully see this mixtape being on my iTunes for the rest of time. My standout track is: Nature Feels.

The Ooz - King Krule

I have to throw some new music into this before I just reminisce about all the good shit in my iTunes library. King Krule is someone I started listening to when his 6 Feet Beneath The Moon album came out in 2013 and I was instantly drawn to how weird his music was. The style of music is not something I was particularly fond of previously but the first time I heard Out Getting Ribs felt like being shot in the mouth with a marshmallow gun. It was amazing. As I delved further into the album, I fell for the weird crossover of punk jazz/dark wave/hip hop and have been a fan ever since. Fast forward to The Ooz and he's knocked it out of the park again. It's a bit dreary but it works. Perfect for Autumn time! My standout track is: Slush Puppy.

Malibu - Anderson. Paak

Oh great....another music post, another mention of Anderson. Paak. If you've read any of my previous music posts then I'm sure you'll already know how I talk about Paak as if he's the best thing since those videos of people showing magic to monkeys, and I fully believe it. I was late onto this album but it's stood the test of time with me. The blend of soul and hip hop, the art of storytelling and my god the features! The Game, T.I & Schoolboy Q all appear but more impressively the roster of producers include 9th Wonder, Kaytranada and Madlib. I can't remember off the top of my head which top albums came out in 2016 but this is top 3 standard. If you need that pick up with Autumn looming over you, give this a spin. My standout track is: Put Me Thru (that's changed so many times)

xx - The xx

It's an easy album to lump in to this list because it's a certified classic. Remember that two year period when every fucking documentary on BBC3 would use Intro? After hearing it on every bastard programme, I still didn't get bored of it. It also turns out pretty much every rap song over Intro bangs (proof). Aside from Intro the album is laced with amazing tracks that can be played pretty much anytime, anywhere. Infinity gives you them moody feels whereas VCR makes you feel like you're 6 years old again without a care in the world. My standout track is: Heart Skipped A Beat.

To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

I had to include Kendrick, didn't I? This isn't my favourite Kendrick album but if you want to really get stuck into an hour or so of music, this album is for you. Following on from Good Kid M.A.A.D City, nobody expected this from Kendrick. A fearless album with jazz influence, aggressively unapologetic songs about American Apartheid and a civil rights anthem, Kendrick touched all bases on this one. Going from The Blacker The Berry into You Ain't Gotta Lie shows how much of a breeze it is for Kendrick to switch up his flows and style. My standout track is: Hood Politics.

There it is folks! Let me know if there's any albums I should be listening to! 


8 Nov 2017

The Band T Shirt*

There's no debating that band t shirts are a staple in pretty much everyone's wardrobe these days, right? The concept of a band t shirt has such a rich heritage and stretches back to Elvis Presley's record company producing a t shirt as a promotional tool for four of his singles which then led to a flurry of artists creating their own merch including The Beatles and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who had arguably one of the most iconic tees even to this day.

Fast forward 50+ years and it's still a huge part of the music/fashion crossover. In recent years we've seen Metal tees become increasingly popular with merch from the likes of Slipknot, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Metallica being readily available from outlets such as EMP. Kanye even used the Metallica font for his Yeezus merch! The band tee has also filtered into high end fashion in recent years when Raf Simons used Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover and Vetements released a Snoop Dogg tour tee for $920 (the world is crazy).

The trend is something I've been invested in for a long time, with a tee from The Specials being my first band tee. Since then I've gone on to pick up tees of The Streets, Lil Wayne, The Smiths, ASAP Rocky & Tyler and Jamiroquai.

There seems to be a lot of animosity with people wearing tees of bands that they don't listen to which I kind of understand to an extent, but on the other hand it's just a t shirt, isn't it? With that being said I don't think I could personally wear a tee of a band that I don't know purely because I'd live in fear of being called out and I know my stupid nervous self would collapse under the pressure!

This post was sponsored by EMP


27 Aug 2017

Make Sure Your Garden Is Watered And Stunt

"Make sure your garden is watered and stunt" - Tyler, The Creator

So the quote above is a message that Tyler has been spreading a lot recently it's really struck a chord with me for some reason. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but the way I see it is the garden is your body and it needs to be watered to thrive. We take our physical and mental health for granted in the hope that everything will be ok and I recently had a weird epiphany in which I told myself that I finally need to rid myself of everything that is bad for me i.e anything that has an adverse effect on my mental health, alcohol and shitty food. 

It kind of feels like a New Years resolution but I think I'm genuinely looking to change my attitude towards my health. This week I've signed up to the gym as a starting point. I'm not trying to get buff or anything like that but I just really need to incorporate exercise into my life. On numerous occasions I've slagged off going to the gym because it's so boring but until I can find a fun form of exercise then I'm going to stick to the exercise bike while watching episodes of QI on my phone or listening to podcasts. 

The thing I'm most looking forward to giving the boot is alcohol. My attitude towards booze has shifted a lot over the last few years as I just don't think it's for me anymore. The feeling of being drunk, the taste, the hangover, the 3 day depressive episode that follows just doesn't appeal to me anymore. I'm not going to go full Super Hans and hang out at juice bars instead but I will need to fill the social void of "going for a pint" so if you can give me a better alternative I'm all ears! 


20 Aug 2017

Not Fitting The Male Blogger Mould

When you mention you're a blogger, most people automatically paint a picture of you and your interests. Photos outside of Notting Hill mansions, a love of rose gold and pumpkin spice lattes to name but a few. However, what I've noticed recently is that a lot of blogger clich├ęs don't apply to me and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I think the most frustrating thing about not ticking the majority of these boxes is how frustrating I find it to engage with others in the blogging community. Don't get me wrong, I've met a lot of amazing people from my blog (Charlie, Ste, Arran, Dave, Carl) but I still struggle to find people who have similar interests. Hip hop for example. Aside from Arran I honestly know nobody in the blogging world who'd want to talk about Tyler's latest album or the most recent episode of Everyday Struggle.

The same applies to streetwear and high end fashion. Ste is good for this and Zoel too but I'm surprised there isn't more of an interest in high end fashion considering there is a huge number of fashion bloggers kicking around.

The main aspect of 'not fitting in' definitely comes from my dress sense. The male fashion blogger community is generally into tailoring, suits, ties, brogues etc and this is something that just does not appeal to me. I'd rather go out and shoot my outfits of dungarees and Vans, oversized shirts and Kickers or Vivienne Westwood trousers & Pharrell x Stan Smith's. Although I blog as a hobby, I do think that my dress sense hinders my progression to a degree because most of my favourite brands don't work with bloggers (although working with A.P.C was lit)

On a side note, I think a lot of fashion bloggers should take an active interest in sustainable fashion. I know it's expensive and by no means am I rich but I truly believe that spending more and buying less on clothing is the best thing for the fashion industry as well as the environment!

With that being said, I do take pride in my individuality and I wouldn't pretend to be interested in something I'm not just so people on Twitter would like me. The general blogging community (aside from a few chumps) are very welcoming and supportive, and like I said I've met some really great people from it. I honestly don't know what I aimed to get out of this post but here we are, thanks for reading a piece of my brain!


6 Aug 2017

2017 Goals: An Update

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a blog post about 5 Things I Want To Do In 2017 and I thought I'd go back and see how I'm getting on with the targets I set myself (gulp).

My first aim was to go to Benicassim - FAIL. I totally missed the boat on that one but I did actually find out that the acts play throughout the night and you just rot in your tent throughout the day. Now, if you know me personally you'll know that sleep is imperative to me. In fact it really wound me up when I found that out because what's the fucking point?! Call me old fashioned but I like my headliners to finish at midnight and I like to finish my evenings in front of a camp fire not watching Biffy Clyro at 3am. With that being said, I am annoyed at myself for not getting to any festivals this year but fingers crossed I can right my wrongs in 2018!

My second aim was to move into my own flat which I'm happy to say has happened! I'm now living in a one bedroom flat in Cardiff Bay which is a pretty nice place if you've never been there before. One thing that I will say though is I'm cursing myself for not putting my own stamp on the place. I've got the regular posters on the wall, plants etc but my endless trawling of Instagram has instilled a hunger for furniture in me. Who'd have thought I'd want a pink velvet armchair and a bright yellow side table? Putting this in writing has made me realise I need to get my ass to IKEA and spruce up my gaff!

I also said my most important aim for this year was to be healthy and I think I've managed to keep to that. My diet has definitely improved which is a mammoth feat considering I live literally across the road from Dominos. One thing that hasn't improved however is my coffee intake. I bought myself a coffee machine recently and I will admit it was a genius move on my part. Is this what adulthood is? Gloating about a fucking coffee machine? One thing that hasn't improved though is my fitness, good grief. I'm honestly so unfit it's disgusting but I absolutely despise the gym. If you can think of some fun ways to improve my fitness and not die, holla at me please.

My promise to read more has also gone down the drain I'm ashamed to admit. I got stuck into The Bell Jar but after a while I threw that off and it's still sitting there in my flat staring at me. Is it normal to get half way through a book and just stop? With that being said I did manage to glide through This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M Homes which I was pretty proud of. I thought I was on a roll with reading so I bought The End Of Alice by the same author and haven't even opened it up yet. What a ball ache.

Finally, the aim which I was hoping to keep to the most was to take my blog & social media further. I like to think this is the one I've managed to really stick to. In recent months I've had some awesome collaborations which I'm proud of, my post on Sustainable Fashion with Farfetch is the one I hold in highest regard. My social media has also improved after I've genuinely put some work in. I'm thankful to my friends Mike & India who are shit hot with a camera and have helped me create some good content, especially on Instagram. My Twitter has also somehow grown considering I talk so much shit on there so I'm grateful to everyone that follows me and puts up with my rants, moaning about the weather and my weird love affair with Tyler, The Creator.

Here's to the rest of 2017 and hopefully when I write my end of year post I'll be a social media superstar with a bulging 6 pack and a lovely pink sofa!


27 Jul 2017

Playlist: July 2017

Okay, so it has definitely been a long time since I last posted a music post. I’ve been going hamburger with the ol fashion posts in recent months but I do feel bad neglecting my passion for sharing music. Especially considering the fact I have a whole section dedicated to it on my blog! 

My reason for this post was to show off some of the latest releases I’m listening to as well as incorporating some old summer classics. The vibe has kind of been killed due to the fact that it is absolutely pissing down with rain right now, but that’s no excuse. 

There’s only one place to start and that is with Flower Boy. Anybody who knows me, knows that I am a certified Tyler, The Creator fan boy and have been since I first listened to Bastard on Tumblr a long time ago. Since then he has graced us with Wolf (the best album ever) along with Goblin, Cherry Bomb and now Flower Boy. The progression over the years is evident in the album, not just musically but also when it comes to subject matter. Tyler caught a lot of flack in the beginning because he would rap about quite frankly disgusting things (through an alter ego admittedly) but these days he’s talking about ‘coming out of the closet’, being yourself and generally beautiful shit like flowers. If you get the chance, watch this performance of 911 on The Stephen Colbert Show. It’s amaaaaaaaazing. 

Moving away from Tyler (I could go on all day), there has been a ton of other good music released in the last few weeks. I’ve really taken to Lana Del Rey’s album which definitely surprised me. I was a massive fan of Born To Die but I didn’t really get into any of her other projects until she released Summer Bummer with A$AP Rocky. I love it when Rocky swerves out of his usual lane and collabs with people like Lana or Florence, and I feel Summer Bummer really fits into the narrative of the Lust For Life album. An honourable mention also goes to In My Feelings which is my second favourite track from the album. 

Also, after putting this playlist together I realised just how much of my music taste goes back to Pharrell. Just in these 25 songs there are 4 songs which he produced/features on let alone the songs that he influenced. I attribute a lot to P, not just my musical ear but the confidence to be myself also. This post took a turn didn’t it? Anyway, I hope you enjoy the playlist I put together and most importantly I hope it gets you in a really summery mood!