A McFlurry. Sweet Jesus of Nazareth, just look at that glistening cup of full-fatted goodness. A mole-hill of freshly squeezed ice-cream brandished in an assortment of confectionary. How could life get any better? Introduce a handful of chips. Are you terrified? Don’t be. Take those thinly-sliced potato peelings and thrust them into that soft-served dairy flesh. Swallow that salty-sugary monstrosity. Taste the unexpected heaven. Two creatures from completely different realms married together in holy-flavour matrimony. Who would’ve thought it? A sensory Superman: a maverick of after dinner treats. An individual equipped with the unique ability to create experiences thought never-before possible for modern man; a visionary. Standing on top of the hill of tradition and ‘normality’, an Ubermensch is breaking all convention. They’re snapping us out of our dogmatic trance of right and wrong, whilst paving the way to a brighter future. Now, what if I told you a similar situation was unfolding in the music industry? I imagine the skies above you have opened and a chorus of angels are singing softly in your ear; your life has changed forever. What is this new music, pray tell? Two words: Mash Up.

Leeds is certainly no stranger to ‘alternative’ music. In fact, Leeds is positively teeming with club nights that cater to an ‘alternative’ audience (I hate that label, don’t you?) at a variety of different venues across the city. From the extremely popular ‘Fuel’ at Leeds Met to the DIY approach at ‘Hello Bastards’, there’s something to satisfy alternative music lovers ears, whatever their particular genre preference.

One of the club nights that run at The Cockpit is ‘Slam Dunk.’ Slam Dunk has been a successful Tuesday night staple for 11 years and through its immense popularity has spawned its own music label that has launched the careers of such acts as ‘You Me At Six’ and ‘Decade’. Additionally, it is safe to say that without Slam Dunks popular playlist of Pop Punk, Metal, Ska, Emo, Hardcore and Pop ,various similar clubnights would not have cropped up nationwide. Such is the success of the club night that in 2006, Slam Dunk set up their own music festival. In 2010, the festival expanded and established a site at London’s Hatfield University. Slam Dunk Festival is a shining star amongst the various festivals held in Leeds.

My imagination tends to go a bit overboard when I imagine a die-hard music fan. In fact, it practically boils splutters and overflows with scenes of said die-hard music fan lying prostrate on a bed, barely visible through thick clouds of smoke nodding his head in time to the crackling vinyl rotating away in the corner. The vinyl of course would have been searched for, hunted down and finally discovered in the deep, dark aisles of a back-street record shop; making that the best purchase of die-hard music fan’s life and completing a much-loved and cherished collection. A bit idealised I hear you say? Well, you’re possibly right. A person’s music collection, whether you are a die-hard music fan (and I do know one or two) or just a dabbler and appreciator of good music, has developed and progressed from a physical stack of records, cassettes and C.D’s, to just a long list of text on your nearest digital screen. But is this a ‘STEP’ in the right ‘DIRECTION’? Sorry, terrible pop references there...

 

Some say that the summer festival, including those similar to Reading festival, Download and V-Festival lack the personal touch you experience when seeing your favourite band or act at their own, headline gig, particularity in small, intimate venues. Are festivals’ focus still on the actual music being played? Or are they more geared around people going away with their mates, getting drunk and creating a weekend of mayhem?

 

So, it’s around noon on a Saturday and you can barely open your eyes. Flashbacks of last night’s drink-fuelled antics flutter through your mind as you try to switch back off; just a few more hours sleep and you can maybe contemplate sitting up. Getting out of bed is probably one ambition too far for today. Then suddenly it washes over you like a warm, sticky vodka and coke: the dreaded realisation that you have to do it all again tonight. For some first years doing several nights on the trot may be a doddle, but as you make your way through your second and third years of University this is no easy feat. As the years pass by, one becomes more susceptible to the pounding headaches, the nausea and the general ‘cringe factor’. So why do all rules of the infamous hangover cease to apply when at a festival?

Style to the music industry is like oxygen to the body – essential. Without adopting a certain image, many pop artists would simply not exist. This is not to say that there is no substance to their music, just that more so now than ever, through the media, we probably see more pictures of musicians on the television and in magazines than we hear them on the radio. It is not always a bad thing for artists to dress in a way that reflects their music, because this allows their niche market in society to easily recognise them as someone they would want to listen to. If a guy wearing baggy black trousers covered in chains, a full length black leather coat looking as though it had been stolen from the Matrix costume cupboards and a bright green Mohawk walked past you in the street, would you believe that the music buzzing from his earphones is most likely to be Iron Maiden or Katy Perry? Of course we all associate certain music genres with a certain image as well. Perhaps it is because the two parts of culture, music and fashion, carry the same connotations of each other and therefore must exist in perfect harmony.

The concept of time is a funny thing. It directly affects us all and is inescapable. How is it that time can both fly and stand still? It’s something that we can have and lose, something that is both extremely valuable and yet fun to waste. Time has come to be the mark of all human experience and defines us all whether we know it or not. But what exactly does our time say about us?

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