The first album I ever got excited about

“Oasis — Dig Out Your Soul 2LP” by mtarvainen is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The first band to really ignite my passion for music as a child was Oasis.

It wasn’t just the music but also the swaggering attitude of the Gallagher brothers that appealed to me. They didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about them and indulged freely (if rather excessively) in the rock and roll lifestyle. It was cool to like Oasis. Saying they were my favourite group was like giving the correct password to enter popular social circles. People would respond with a nod that seemed to say, ‘He’s cool, let him pass.’

Of course, the music was also good…

A great way to improve your vocabulary and connect with other cultures

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

One of the great joys of studying a foreign language comes from developing your reading ability.

There is something magical about being able to understand a language you haven’t grown up with. It is like cracking a code and entering an enchanting new universe where everything is more vibrant.

Studying Hispanic Studies at university and spending an Erasmus+ year in Spain improved my level of Spanish enormously. The area I developed the most in was undoubtedly speaking, being surrounded by natives on a daily basis.

Another way in which I improved was through reading, an aspect of language learning I…

During the first lockdown back in March I searched for hope and solace in books. However, the daily uncertainty that engulfed our lives affected me greatly and my love for reading was tested to the limit. I often became restless. The old pleasure I used to always get from sinking into a comfortable chair and allowing myself to float into the wonderful world of fiction suddenly deserted me. The real world just wouldn’t let me escape its clutches. With all that was going on, like so many others I felt idle and helpless.

Thankfully, that familiar pleasure eventually returned as…

It’s not every day that one of the best blues musicians in the world drops by a prison to play a couple of songs. That’s exactly what happened at the Travis Co. Jail in Austin, Texas in 1976, as depicted in a remarkable video shot by Rick Sternberg with the help of William McLellan and Linda Evans. Freddie King, AKA the ‘Texas Cannonball’, amazingly finished a gig that same day at 2am. That didn’t stop him from making the local prisoners’ day.

Such was King’s passion and commitment to his craft that he toured for 300 days a year…

Photo by Seema Miah on Unsplash

Unbelievably, Carson McCullers was only twenty-three when her debut novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, was published. …

Photo by AltEsc Protography on Unsplash

Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, a novel about a man in conflict as much with society as himself, was embraced by the counter culture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Harry Haller’s drug use and contempt for the bourgeoisie and popular culture of the early twentieth century struck a chord with hippies in America.

The title of the book was even adopted as the name of the Canadian-American rock band famous for their hit song, ‘Born to be Wild’. However, as Hesse himself would later point out, alienation is not an irremediable part of his protagonist’s condition. …

With a little help from Duane Allman

Ed Berman, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The idea of an R&B singer teaming up with a relatively unknown session musician to cover The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” sounds as crazy now as it probably did back in 1968. The song may have been less than a year old at that point, but it was an instant hit and has since become ubiquitous in ‘Greatest Songs of All Time’ lists.

I am usually reluctant when great songs are covered. They are great for a reason, and should be left untouched. However, when supremely talented individuals are involved, sometimes the original can be transformed into something truly special. …

A Quirky Comedy from New Zealand

“Eagle vs. Shark #eaglevsshark #vs #taikawaititi #movie #illustration #illustrator #vector #vectorgram” by David Numeritos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Eagle vs Shark is an offbeat romantic comedy by New Zealand director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Jojo Rabbit). Loren Taylor plays Lily, a shy and lonely woman who lives with her brother and works at a fast food restaurant in Wellington. She develops a crush on Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), a dorky guy who works at a video game shop. Although he is not interested in her at first, Lily’s gaming prowess, as displayed at a costume party he hosts, draws him to her. …

Sunset over Stonehaven as seen from Newtonhill

When people used to ask me about where I live, I would always fumble about for an adequate response. ‘Erm… It’s called Newtonhill and there’s a church, a small corner shop, a Tesco, a primary school, a few cows, and eh… There is a beach, although it’s not so much a beach as a cove…’ Seeing the interest quickly fading from the other person’s eyes, I would quickly add, ‘It’s near Stonehaven, the town with the castle and the home of the deep-fried Mars bar.’ I had recaptured their attention but in doing so had dismissed my hometown as insignificant…

The breakthrough performance that helped Al Pacino get the role of a lifetime

Al Pacino in 1971

The 1970s was a glorious decade for American cinema. In only ten years, classics such as The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Dog Day Afternoon, Mean Streets, The Conversation, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Deer Hunter, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, The French Connection and Jaws were released. These movies, along with many others (there are just too many to name) would change the landscape of cinema forever. However, it is inevitable that from such a fruitful period in film history some slipped under the radar and didn’t get the recognition they deserved. Such is…

Callum McGee

Scottish Creative Writing student with a love for literature, film and music.

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