Shakey Wakey

Slumville sunrise
Nobody cares or looks twice
Shine away in the morning
Across this place where I was born in
Every bruise, every flower
Illuminated by the dawning

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I decided to photograph Wakefield – at least the centre to try and capture its vibe accurately. Although it is not my favourite city in the world, it was where I grew up so will always be a part of me.

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The bus station

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The street Westgate is well known for its bar crawl “The Westgate Run”, and for being where all the clubs are. When I was 18 all the “safe/non dodgy” clubs were just on one side of the street, nowadays its more mixed up and the clubs I used to go to have closed down. I feel old.

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The infamous pie shop opens late on weekends, so most drunken locals end up there.

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Fernandes is possibly the most well-known bar in town. Popular with the middle aged functioning alcoholics.

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Our theatre – when I was a child a Christmas treat would be to see the pantomime with school, and my mum would take my sister and I to McDonald’s after (usually McDonald’s was a strict no)

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British people across the country were outraged when BHS went into administration.

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Grind cafes are found all over the city – it’s a chain, but why only found in Wakey I don’t know.

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The Polish population has increased over the years, which has resulted in great cafes and shops, as well as a more multicultural community, but also an increase in xenophobia *eye roll*.

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The cathedral, which is always easy to spot.

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When I was an awkward teenage punk, all the “alternative kids” would hang out outside the cathedral. Not as much these days.

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Trinity Walk shopping centre opened a few years ago – very clean looking, but still surrounded by less clean looking shops.

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Barbara Hepworth is a renowned artist from the city.

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Trinity Walk came at the expense of The Ridings shopping centre – although still functioning, its shops are constantly going out of business.

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Still have a Blockbusters…

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Despite some places being very run down, we also have plenty of trendy bars, cafes, and restaurants constantly opening.

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The yellow block of flats at the back is almost as recognisable in the area as the cathedral (the skyline is basically the cathedral and two of these block of flats).

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Although I criticise Wakefield a lot – most people do – it does have its charms. The people are friendly enough (most of the time), and it has its nice places, and all are very down to earth – no pretentious people welcome here. I just know I don’t want to settle here myself. But it’ll always be a home to me, even though every time I visit it has changed slightly, and will continue to do so.

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Carrers de Barcelona

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After my trip to London, I was a little frustrating that many of my photos had come out blurred. I decided I needed to practice, and so as a reward for being so close to finishing my university deadlines, I went on a stroll with my Nikon.

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I explored the neighbourhoods of the Barrio Gotico, Raval and El Born. I love these neighbourhoods, not just because they’re closest to my flat, but because each one has character and life.

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Everywhere you look seems to be inspired by both art and a sense of community – it is why I loved living in the East End of London, and why I love it here.

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The heat is sweltering though! If you’re going on a photo session don’t be afraid of cafe breaks or keeping hydrated.

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Although once again I felt frustrated with my end results – I felt like my camera didn’t capture the charm of Barcelona streets that I saw. However these are a few photos I liked.

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The great thing about living in such a charming city though, is that once you become used to the well known sights, you can really appreciate the quirks and lesser known sights to capture on your camera.

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Nomad Songs

Every life, every moment deserves an awesome and fitting soundtrack.

Although I think calling myself a nomad is a little pretentious, and not true, I haven’t really lived at “home” in a long time. Nowhere I can think of as permanent, and when half of my belongings are in boxes somewhere in Yorkshire, and I am in Spain, and in a few months time I’ll be somewhere else, at times I can feel a little lacking in roots. But I don’t complain, I love the feeling of freedom and being able to decide my life on my terms.

Although I am expecting to be living at my Dad’s for a while after graduating whilst I job hunt (he seems thrilled), I like the idea of getting work experience in different places before I find a city to truly call my home. We can dream..

Or alternatively, I will just save every penny and save my free time for travels.

A while back I wrote a post Wanderlust Playlist for a soundtrack to accompany the love of travelling. But nomad is different, for a nomad is more of a permanent wanderer who never stays in one place for too long. These are songs which I feel encapsulate the moments anyone feels like a nomad, for any reason. I like songs that suggest home can be found anywhere, in the people we meet. To me thats love (friendship, romantic, familial etc), and thats what makes any nomad or wanderer feel safe and happy.

Home – Gabrielle Aplin

House by the Sea – Moddi

People Help the People – Birdy

Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons

Wanderlust – Frank Turner

I am Disappeared – Frank Turner

Home – Phillip Phillips

My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit

Parc Guell Revisited

I did a post on Parc Guell a while back when I visited Barcelona for the first time. This time around a friend and I went to take pictures, because he had just bought himself a new camera, and I’m glad to have friends who are also into photography. We missed out the section you have to pay to enter, but it was fun taking landscape shots in the morning before the large crowds arrived. Barcelona is beautiful in winter – not too cold but still sunny!

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The amount of anti-tourism graffiti was uncomfortable, after all without the tourist industry Barcelona would not do well…

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Novels to make you think

Being tied up with university and far too many deadlines has meant my reading for pleasure is on hold for the moment. I miss it. I got so many books for Christmas, and had to leave them all behind *sob*.

But I was reflecting on novels I have already read. Novels that stay with you long after you have read the last page, because their message or story is so powerful you are left slightly lost for a while, not really sure where to go from finishing. I love those novels. Even if they are a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Possibly one of the most famous novels in existence, and sometimes scarily close to the truth. Orwell’s dystopia is not only achievable in the modern age, but shows how easy it can be to slip into something similar to this novel’s world. Humans can be too easily manipulated, and as a great lover of language, Orwell’s invention of doublespeak is an amazing reference to understand how language really does influence our own thought patterns without us realising.

Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence

“A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.”

This novel is famous for being rude, although in the modern age in which the 50 shades series is a standard read this can be surprising. However it is more than just a few giggles, it really is an amazing read about the complexity of human connection. We grow up believing thought is more important than the physical, but Lawrence turns this around and argues that we need a physical connection above all else. Agree or disagree, he makes some good points.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxely

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

Another dystopian novel that shows what the human race can turn into if we lose all sense of humanity in favour of a simple, carefree life. Which is so often what we ask for, yet Huxely gives us this in an extreme example to prove that life without it’s messy bits is not really a life lived.

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

“After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”

One of my favourite contemporary British writers, Ishiguro’s novels capture perfectly the themes of nostalgia and looking back with perspective. The Remains of the Day does this alongside looking back at the events of WWII, and analysing the aftermath based on the actions of different people. Ishiguro is the master of showing how people learn from the past, albeit too late to make a difference, but that is human nature.

Polaroid Workshop

Happy Polaroid Week! To kick off this week that is celebrated by polaroid enthusiasts and companies all around the world, Impossible Project Barcelona hosted a workshop for people to listen to tips given by an expert, and to have fun taking photos and receiving feedback. All for 20 euros, which was the price of the pack of film used in the workshop.

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The workshop was in Spanish, and my Spanish is still poor (embarrassing that I hardy use it in Barcelona. The downside of such a cosmopolitan city is that English is widely spoken, so even if you try to speak Spanish they often switch to English because it’s easier for both involved). But I still went, for a bit of language practice (although I had been out the night before, so my delicate head maybe wasn’t the best prepared…)

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What I could grasp, was the usual tips on taking good photos. Always think about light, distance from subject, and I got to see the new Impossible Project I-1 camera in action. This camera combines analogue with smart phone technology, so it was pretty interesting.

When the guy looked at my photos and realised my camera is one that always uses flash (no option to switch flash off), he told me mine is best for portraits and shooting bright colour photos. Then he modelled for me. This is very useful to know, but now of course I want another camera, one with flash as an option. But that might be a long time coming…

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I’ve neglected my photography whilst I’ve been settling in (also I left my memory card for my DSLR in the UK which I want my dad to mail so I don’t have to buy a new one – it’s brand new and 32GB!), but this workshop was great to reignite the passion and interest, and seeing other people in action and their photos was inspiring!

Ribblehead Viaduct

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Found in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales is this Victorian viaduct that is a popular local landmark for visitors to admire. It is close to the Three Yorkshire Peaks, which is a challenging hike of three mountains to complete in one day (or in your own time), so finding muddy and weary hikers is common, and it has a nearby pub for the thirsty!

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