Glass Animals – J2, Cambridge – Monday, April 28


Glass Animals have managed to make my dancing style sexy. Really sexy.

Their first gig in Cambridge has been a while coming after being rescheduled last month as frontman Dave found himself hospitalised just before their UK tour kicked off. But, after “being force fed enough soup to drown a yak” he’s back on his feet and the boys have found time to visit the ‘bridge before running off to the States once more.

Bounding onto the stage with toddler-on-sugar ferocity, opener ‘Black Mambo’ is a sure crowd pleaser, before they settle into a more mellow tone with original singles ‘Psylla’ and ‘Exxus’. Despite the chilled vibe, and strange intimacy of the set, Dave’s dancing doesn’t let up. It’s sexy. Very sexy. In the only way that white-boy dancing can be. And I feel an odd affinity with it which can only be taken as a sign that I should let go and join the swaying mass as stand-out single ‘Gooey’ begins to play.

Their sound is beefed up for the live show: added guitars and bass seem to fill in the gaps that give the album a more relaxed feel. The similarities with Alt-J really smack you in the face hearing the record live – even the most music-iliterate would be far pushed to not make the connections. It adds to the intricate mad world that Dave creates with his stories of moles, snakes and a ‘pooh-bear’ who just wants those ‘peanut butter vibes’. Flitting between soft falsetto and chants which you cannot fail to follow, he puts in a solid vocal performance which is equally matched by bandmates Drew, Ed and Joe.

Bringing the fast-paced hour set to a close with a cover of Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’ and another favourite from their debut, ‘Pools’, Glass Animals slink off stage almost as quickly as they arrived. Admittedly they could work on their crowd interaction: aside from the traditional thank-yous and queries as to whether we’re having a good time – at one point I swear we lock eyes when he asks this, sending me into a catcall frenzy – there wasn’t much chat to be had. Something which would certainly have been adored, judging by the number of hazy-eyed twenty-somethings in the crowd.

I almost buy a t-shirt on the way out, but my lack of cash prevents me; a safety feature I implemented after impulse spending too much on tour stash has left me with a chest-of-drawers full of band memorabilia… but I can’t help but feel the collection would have been a whole lot better with a new addition. Thankfully enough gigs have taught me to hang around and nab a setlist from the stage, so, list in hand, it was time for the walk back to town for a night of dreams of Dave’s swaying and the summer to come.

Well hello there, London

Although I’m facing a computer screen I am well aware of the fact that behind me sits The Shard and the rest of the London skyline. I am such a massive fan of the capital that I’m not sure I can put into words just quite how excited this makes me. London has been my dream for as long as I can remember, so whenever I have the opportunity to go there I accept before those little typing dots you get on Facebook have disappeared. If you don’t know what I mean by that, then basically, I’m very very quick to say yes.

This week I’m working at The Times which has the most amazing office on the 11th floor of The News Building which is next door to The Shard. You really don’t get much better than that. I was lucky enough to work there a few summers ago when they were based near Tower Bridge so it’s a strange mixture of familiarity and the unknown.

Journalism has quickly become my chosen field, or at least it seems that this is the direction that my future seems to be headed. I honestly feel like I’ve been incredibly fortunate to meet some lovely people in the field who have been happy to help and show me the ropes. Coming back this summer feels like a strange coming-of-age: for the first time I’m working in the Capital on my own two feet without someone alongside me who I’ve met previously. It feels pretty great actually, I’m not worrying about whether people think I’m there because of who I know rather than my own ‘talents’; lets be honest, whilst it’s great having someone to support you, all anyone really wants is to receive their own recognition.

So here I am, typing away at a keyboard that seems strangely clunky in comparison to the rest of the surroundings, in an office block full of journalists whom I admire and aspire to be. I’ve had my take-out noodle soup for lunch and I feel suitably in-tune with the smart-casual vibe they have going on here. I don’t think I look too much like I’ve just stepped out of school – for a change – and it’s fair to say I’m keeping up to speed. Looks like I’ve got a busy, but nonetheless enjoyable, week ahead. I really can’t wait.

United? Maybe. Democratic? Certainly.

This morning the results of the Scottish referendum were announced: the Better Together campaign, or no camp, won with 55% share of the vote. Whilst the roughly 1.6 million voters who chose to opt for independence will be disappointed with the outcome, what cannot be disputed is that it has been a success for the democratic process.

Overall turnout sits at 85% – the highest we have ever experience in a western referendum, or really any election ever to be perfectly honest. You cannot deny the strength of the Scottish people’s voice in this election no matter what side of the vote you sit on.

However, whilst I am very happy that the Scottish people have in the majority decided to stay in the United Kingdom, I cannot help but feel left with a sense of longing for these dizzying participation heights to continue. Next May the General Election will be held across the UK and I hope that we witness similarly high levels of turnout in order to best achieve a truly representative parliament – as far as the FPTP system allows, of course.

Yet, my hopes will surely never be realised. Sadly, I highly doubt that we will have such high participation rates – although the presence of UKIP at the general election this year will be likely to drive more new voters out in force I am sure. Further still, even if the unprecedented were to happen and we did reach upwards of 80% turnout I don’t believe that the election system would cope with the numbers. The count would be delayed; people would be turned away at the polling booths; there would be outrage and the number of spoilt ballot papers from those who have not received a proper education on how the voting process works would probably also be high.

So my positivity this morning is slightly tainted. I am happy knowing the United Kingdom remains whole yet slightly bruised from the whole affair, I am optimistic about the potential for the future of voting; but I am sceptical about whether this will ever be truly realised.