My Online Hiatus Is Over (Part 2)

December

HERE WE GO! WOOO! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

WRONG.

My first 10 days of this festive month was full of report deadlines, presentations, results, stress, tears and too many mental breakdowns to count.

However, I did it! I had (just about) survived 3 and a half months at university, I was indestructible and I felt I could conquer the world! On the 15th, my dad came to my flat in Edinburgh to drive me back home to Glasgow for Christmas and New Year and I went back home and lived happily ever after my dad crashed the car.

We were on the motorway heading towards Glasgow and the lane we were in was coned off and was diverting traffic into the other 2 lanes, my dad thought he could cut in late… He couldn’t. He then preceded to knock down a minimum of 15 cones while there were cars racing up behind us, beside us, everywhere. Cars were swerving all over the M8 to avoid the trail of cone destruction we left behind us. However, plans for a quick getaway were foiled by the 5-10 cones stuck underneath the car stopping the car from moving.

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We then temporarily blocked off the other lane to turn a 3-lane motorway into a 1-lane before being escorted by security into a cordoned off area while we waited for the police.

Usually, people get embarrassed by their parent’s dancing or clothing, I wish my dad kept it on a low-key scale like that.

An hour passed before the police showed up for less than 1 minute before we were on our way again, it actually got to the stage where I was hoping the police would take us to the station, give a fine, lock us up, just something to at least justify us being unable to move for a full hour.

Urgh, frustrating. However, fast forward to my birthday weekend…

Friday, 16th

Boys night! The first night we’ve spent together since Ryan went into the XFactor house, I moved to university in Edinburgh and Daniel, well he’s still there. So the 3 of us got a few beers, snacks and then headed back to Daniel’s for some boy time – no girls, no phones, no drama.

Saturday, 17th

After a chilled day,  I was soon only hours away from my 24th birthday. I was having a quiet night at my friend, Daniel’s flat playing some Fifa and having a few beers, until our dear friend Ryan calls us up and wants to join. Well, I’m not saying he’s a bad influence but our night went from a “quiet one” to this…

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I also had the pleasure of joining Tommy from the Glasgow reality-show, Glow. Reality “stars” often come across as cocky, douchey but again you have a select few who are genuinely nice, down to earth and a good laugh, Tommy definitely fits the latter category. A truly nice lad who invited us to join him and his friends at their table, it was such a nice way to see in my birthday with my closest friends and a group of people who know how to have a good time. I was glad to be home, I LOVE GLASGOW!

Sunday, 18th

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!

I get woken up to the inevitable hangover but also a full English and a cup of tea courtesy of my dear mother. A few days prior to my birthday, Ryan broke the news to me that Emily had got him tickets to see The 1975 on the Monday, a band me and him both love – and we had seen in March that year. INCREDIBLE! However, for my birthday they both got me a ticket to Clyde 1 Live, so I could literally see The 1975 on my birthday along with Tom Odell and Blossoms at the SSE Hydro. FAR. TOO. HYPED.

I met Ryan and Emily at the venue and we went and got seated at the back of the middle tier, I was third-wheelin’ but when The 1975 are on-stage I could be 33rd wheelin’ and I still not care. Blossoms followed The 1975 and then Kaiser Chiefs performed before a 20-minute interval. In that time, Ryan and Emily got noticed, I went to the toilet, came back and there was a full-blown queue so people could get pictures with them. Fair play to them for smiling for each picture while I sat next to them like a right gooseberry. I was lowkey tempted to tell the queue that they were ruining my birthday. However, shout out to Molly and Emily who invited me to go and sit with them while the queue should no signs of slowing down. Unsurprisingly, Ryan and Emily left pretty much soon after, I stayed for Tom Odell with my new friends before going home. It’s been a long one but finally, my birthday was over, but the party wasn’t.

Monday,19th

I am one day older than my very dear and beautiful friend, Carly Starrs so to celebrate her birthday we attended the Atlantic bar and Brasserie in the city centre of Glasgow. The food and customer service was spot on and I recommend it to anyone looking for a place to go in Glasgow.

The highlight of this night was being surrounded by all my friends and especially seeing my best friend have a smile on her face on her big day. The girl is a true friend and I was glad I was able to see in her birthday with her. 7v6v7o5y

That weekend took its toll on me and left me needing a few days of recuperation but if I was feeling fragile, that was just the beginning of my family’s health problems. In the following days, my great Aunt Neta went into hospital after blanking out, her sister, my gran went into hospital due to having problems breathing but she was luckily let out on Christmas eve. Two days after Christmas and my gran then gets taken back into hospital and gets diagnosed with pneumonia, all of this while knowing my mum has to go for an operation on the 30th to get gallstones removed.

The 30th December is the day where people get prepared for New Year’s Eve, they’re buying alcohol, they’re laying out their outfit for the following evening and looking forward to welcoming in a new year. I, however, had my great aunt in a hospital in Glasgow and I had my mum AND my gran in another hospital on the same day. I remember coming back to my house after leaving my mum in hospital to an empty house and it’s a weird feeling sitting in an empty house and having neither your mum there or being able to go to you visit your gran.It was probably the only time where I had ever felt truly alone.

I completed my errands for my mum and Gran and managed to visit my gran and also my mum post-op who was clearly still a bit dazed from the anaesthetic. My mum, got out the following day but sadly my Gran had to stay in for at least another week.

P.s

You may be wondering what happened between the 19th and the 30th, I’m not going to lie, it was purely family and friend time but here’s a breakdown:

  • I consumed my weight in turkey and pigs & blankets.
  • The world also lost musical icon, George Michael on Christmas Day and we paid tribute to him with this beautiful video
  • I managed to spend Christmas day with my family – and Boxing day with my second family – The Lawrie’s lfwcrqb3

 

but the highlight of December was definitely taking this beautiful woman to the Glasgow Christmas Market. All the partying, all the studying and everything in between means nothing without this woman. The light of my life and my inspiration to become a better person and how she handles any sort of problem that encounters her path with such grace and dignity. The best mother I could ask for.

lhmxdrkm

Jay Carrington

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My XFactor Weekend

XFactor isn’t usually a TV show that I watch, but when your friends are on it, you tend to make a special exception. So when I got a call last week from my buddy Ryan asking me if I wanted a ticket to watch him perform in the first week of the live shows so obviously, I had to sort out my travel that night.

On Friday night, I packed a bag and travelled from Edinburgh to London with my friend Hollie and arrived at London Victoria at 9am – She was incredibly excited, I don’t know if you can tell.

After a solid nap, a meaty Domino’s pizza and a bottle of wine, I still felt something was missing to make me feel my usual 100% self. In Scotland, we use a certain orange-coloured liquid called Irn-Bru. A beverage that has it’s own unique flavour packed full of sugar that gives you that kick that cures hangovers and gives you energy for the rest of the day.

Sadly, I have never spotted any of the ginger stuff on my travels to England. However, while I was waiting to get picked up I decided to pop into a little shop at Golder’s Green for some chewing gum. I glanced at the fridge and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A can of Barr’s products. Cherryade, Limeade, Coca-Cola, and even the classic Irn-Bru!

After I consumed my can of diabetes and Ryan’s brother and uncle picked us up in the car we headed to venue armed with these sexy T-shirts

 

and wristbands!

The boys (Hollie included) found our seats and the audience was told from this point on we weren’t allowed to have our phones or any other sort of recording device during the show so basically, they’re no images. However, you did miss a hilarious viewing of a bunch of Glasgow lads, trying to speak to an English upper-class family aka Honey G’s family. They did not understand a single word any of us said. It took about 10 times of rephrasing “We’re fae Glesga in Scoatland” to “We are from Glasgow in Scotland” at half the speed it originally got said. You genuinely had to be there. Just like you had to be there for Ryan’s amazing performance…

and Emily’s amazing performance…

 

Two incredible performances by my favourite couple, it made me so proud to be sitting there watching them perform on one of the biggest platforms being judged by Simon Cowell & co. Apart from Ryan and Emily, the one person who blew me away with their performance was Matt Terry. His falsetto in Grace’s You Don’t Own Me was incredible!

After The X factor, the stage turned into the setting for Xtra Factor and Matt & Rylan weirdly impressed me as a double act. Wasn’t really a fan of Matt Edmondson and not really a fan of Rylan but the 2 of them together was actually quite enjoyable. If The X Factor gets another season , I should expect to see those 2 back again on Xtra Factor duties.

Family & friends got escorted through into a big hall so they could meet with everyone. We only got about 1 hour to hang out. Imagine the situation of 6 people meeting 1 close friend/family who they haven’t seen for a few weeks, in a room with Honey G, a bar and only one hour to spare and ask all the questions they want to ask. There is genuinely not enough hours in the day.

We chatted, we laughed, we drank and we took some pictures…

 

I mean those pictures are fine and dandy. However, I had met Ryan & Emily before. I had spent many a time in their presence… I had never met Honey G before. I couldn’t ask for a picture, could I? Nah, I mean what am I? A super fan? I mean it would take someone with literally no shame to walk right up to Honey G, give her a high 5 and ask if they could grab a picture together…

… Woops…

Sunday arrived and the nerves were kicking in, firstly there was an issue with leaving our luggage at Victoria also I found out my ticket from London to Edinburgh was at 10.30pm. I would have to run right after XFactor at 9pm from Wembley to Victoria and also pick up my bags as well. The worst thing was knowing I couldn’t wait about and say hi to Ryan and Emily again after the show.

After a cheeky Chiquitos and a beer at Leicester Square we headed to Wembley, we got seated right behind Saara Aalto’s family and girlfriend and again us Glaswegians try and make friends wherever we go but trying to speak to Finnish people in a broad Glaswegian accent is incredibly difficult but that did not deter us from creating new friendships and by the end of the show we were BBFL’s.

The show started all fun and games with the contestants cover of Fleur East’s “Sax” and James Arthur performing his new single “Say You Won’t Let Go” and all was well until Dermot announce that the votes were in.

To make it this stage is incredible, each contestant has battled their way to the stage seeing out tens of thousands of people along the way BUT that all apparently becomes irrelevant if you’re the first person out in the live shows. In these shows, no one knows how things are going to turn out, who’s voted, how many have voted etc and my worst fear was either Ryan or Emily going out in the first week which is on a par with career suicide. When you reach the live shows of XFactor you become a reality TV star, rather than an actual artist

When you reach the live shows of XFactor your label becomes “Reality TV star”  rather than “musician” and to go out in week 1 you’ve not become popular enough to carve a career out of being a TV personality and any sort of hope for a music career is pretty much lessened with the title of “XFactor flop”. That is a title that is near enough impossible to shake.

The amount of fear you feel while waiting on the votes coming through watching it on your tv is unreal;y. However, actually being there live in the studio the fear is intensified by 100. Hearing the names being read out and seeing the list shorten down while your friends still stand there waiting is unreal. The tension is in the air around the family & friends section. Then when you hear Dermot say “RYAN!” all the boys stood up and cheered as if it  was a football match. Emily got announced and again we’re all up cheering and by then we could all finally relax.  Bratavio and Saara Aalto ended up in the bottom 2 and at that point, all us Scots teamed up with our new Finnish buddies and cheered for Saara. It was a beautiful moment.

9pm came, Xfactor had finished and Bratavio had been kicked out but I had to run to the tube. However, security wouldn’t let me leave until the judges had left. On Xtra Factor, Rylan & Matt take live calls from the public for the judges and I couldn’t leave till that had happened and the judges had left. Stress levels were through the roof. However, security realised I was in a rush and managed to get someone to escort me out and I ran and got 2 tubes, an Uber – and a stitch.

However, I made it to Victoria with 5 minutes remaining and made it home several hours later and that was my XFactor journey! If you are a fan of Ryan and Emily, make sure you vote using these details! 

Jay Carrington

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My Summer Story

Well… I’m back!!!

I have noticed a few of you on social media have been aware of my absence on here over the past few months and it was, well needed. Studying and blogging is all fine and dandy until assessments are required to be handed in and grades are needed to be met. To cut a long story short, I took a break to focus on my studies as I needed a B to go to university – Your boy got an A!

Image result for celebration gif

Also, for one of my units we had to work in groups to create a PR & Advertising campaign for a charity called Rainbow Valley and well, this happened…

 

Our college project has now snowballed into so much more than we ever thought and we are currently in the process of working with the Rainbow Valley and Wire Media to take our campaign idea and turn them into a reality which our group is excited about.

Winning this meant that I got an internship at McFrank PR Agency which was without a doubt one of the most incredible and educational few weeks of my life. Seeing campaigns come to fruition, being involved with projects in the morning and seeing it in the newspapers that same evening was magical. It has only further confirmed that this is exactly the path that I want to go down for my career.

In April, I got invited by Renfrewshire Council to attend the Paisley Food Festival and you don’t need to ask me twice whether I want to attend a food festival. I swear I went home that night easily 2 stone heavier than I left the house that morning! A day where, the legendary chef, Nick Nairn cooks you beef stew and you’re sipping a rum & coke on beach chairs while listening to live music, is definitely a good day!

In June, my best friend Ryan Lawrie taken part in a competition to be Vodafone’s Summer Breaker with Capital FM and he won! His prize was performing at Capital’s Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 and I honestly couldn’t have been prouder. So obviously I had to go and show my support and I travelled down with his girlfriend…

and his girlfriend’s mum…

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and we all conducted ourselves in a mature and professional manner…

but we’re super proud of him and his performance and now they’re both doing XFactor, while I eat 15p Asda-priced noodles – who’s the real winner here, eh?

Since then, I have spent some much-needed downtime with my nearest and dearest. My mum has been sorting herself out, seeing the physio, lost nearly 3 stone in a few months and she is looking so much more like her old self. The confidence is back, her pain is getting treated, exercising more and the weight is falling off her! As her baby boy, I could not be more proud of her.

As for my brother, Adam. He only decided to pack in his job and use his journalistic nous to write a novel. Write a novel in Scotland? No chance. Write a novel in the UK? Nah mate. Write a novel in Holland? Hmm yeah sure. How would a regular person travel from Glasgow to Holland? Fly? Train? Boat? Nah, not my brother. He cycled! 2 weeks on his bike, pitching a tent and camping out at each location. But hey, he survived the journey only to get glandular fever in his second week.

I have packed up my life into a couple of suitcases and started preparing for life at university. Who knew moving out for the first time would be so stressful?! So check back in a bit and I shall leave a survival guide for moving out. It might be a few weeks or if I don’t post it then clearly my findings are incorrect and I haven’t survived. In that case, DO THE OPPOSITE!!!

Anyway, for now, I have left Glasgow behind to make a new life for myself in Edinburgh as a student/blogger/party animal/Pokemon master. It’s the first ever time I’m living away from home without any supervision and I don’t know who should be more worried, me, my mum or everyone I’m living with.

Oh well, here’s to this new chapter of my life and I could not be more excited to see what life has in store for me.

It feels good to be back!

Special Mention: Jen McEwan – I worked so closely with this girl over the past year and a bit and it has been an absolute pleasure. Together we got an A for our HND and we also won our Advertising & PR campaign for Rainbow Valley together. Her animation and graphic designs are incredible and were probably the reason we did so well. Her Harvey Milk animation also won 2 awards at the Equality & Diversity Awards in Glasgow in May.

 

Jay Carrington

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Week 13 2016: The Week of Confusing Humans and Talented Friends

Attraction can be confusing. Have yYou ever been attracted to someone that you shouldn’t be? I have and it sucks.

You know how it is, you meet someone nice, exchange a few words and crack a few jokes, then you see that person more and more often until you the highlight of your week is seeing them, she adds you on Facebook, she messages you on a one-off asking a trivial question, conversation progresses, flirtation is in full swing, she follows your Instagram and Twitter, you follow back, you snoop on her Instagram and BOOM! Like a Roberto Carlos free kick to the John Stones, her last picture is captioned “me and the boyfriend” lol u wot m8?

Obviously, you can’t tell her you know she has a boyfriend due to being a social media creep ’cause that’s… Creepy. Turns out she has a boyfriend but going through a “rough patch” and she’s invited me out for a night out next week and me being a normal human being make horrendous decisions whilst consuming alcohol. You’ll find out next week how bad my decision-making really is.

On another note, regarding love interests, I think I have another admirer. They are funny, they like Katy Perry, they like to sing… Only thing is they’re a guy!!! Obviously, I’m not attracted to him, nothing against him, I just don’t find dudes attractive – except Zac Efron (He was Troy Bolton!!!) except I’d kinda want to sit and have a pint with Zac and sing Breaking Free than have him hanging out the back of me to be fair. Anyway, back to my original point, this guy, met him once, he’s a friend’s friend but he does make some questionable comments such as being “stripped and ready for bed” and then offering me to come and join him which makes me slightly uncomfortable. I do kinda want to say something but I don’t wanna be THAT guy and he would be all like “Dude, it’a just banter, can’t you take a joke?!” I can take a joke, honest. It just doesn’t come across that he is actually joking. I told one of my friend’s and he says I should tell him as it is more “sleazy than funny”. I’m just not a guy for confrontation though.

Besides all of that relationship nonsense, on Saturday, my good friend Emily Middlemas supported ’80’s band Hue and Cry at Paisley Town Hall and I could not be prouder of her. Even though her audience was older she totally rocked with a band behind her, watching her owning the stage was such a proud moment. At only 17, she has such am amazing talent at not just singing  but also songwriting. It is so difficult to succeed in the music industry but if anyone deserves it, it’s young Emily, she just has the full package. That day I was out with one of my good friends Ryan Lawrie who recently won Capital’s Top 40 Future Breaker competition and I could not be prouder of the pair of them.

Next week the Easter Holidays begin and I want to hopefully escape out of Scotland for a day or 2 and do some stuff. If anyone has any ideas of things I can do or places to visit mainly in England over Easter then get in touch at enquiries@pookiepopblog.com or my social media channels posted below.

Jay Carrington

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Ryan Lawrie: ‘If Only’ Single Review

I often find when someone leaves a boyband their debut single is quite different to the music they had been churning out whilst in a group. Could you imagine NSYNC singing “Cry Me A River”? or One Direction performing “PillowTalk”? When artists break away and go solo, 90% of the time it is to be an artist in their own right and have more creative control over their music and just like Timberlake and Malik,  Lawrie looks to be doing the same. 

At 19 years of age, Ryan is now releasing this single, not as a former viral sensation, nor a former boy band member but as a true musician. In this song, he has taken several steps away from the clean-cut image that has been so carefully carved for him over the years of performing to a young audience. With his image and sound edgier and darker than before he has evolved from just another pretty boy singer into a credible artist in his own right.

If Only is the lead single from Ryan Lawrie’s currently untitled EP which is due to be released around late SpringThe song that makes this song so great is its originality. Usually within songs, you can hear a major influence from one genre and people will say that sounds like an *insert artist* song, this song doesn’t do that from one in particular. Although it is a solid pop song it edges on the more experimental, edgier side of pop rather than the watered-down bubblegum we have come to expect from people who tend to be just under the surface in order to achieve chart success. A bold move but one that pays off as his creativity and talent shines through on this delightful funky pop track

His fans that have followed him since the beginning will be able to identify his vocals in amongst the unique and exciting mix of plucky guitar riffs, funky bassline and the use of bongos. The only thing that remains his from his boyband past is his crisp, boyband vocals that blend incredibly well with the instruments and will surely appease his original fans. What shines through the most on the track, isn’t the solid vocal performance, or the killer musical production, it’s the songwriting. This song proves Ryan Lawrie can not only pen a catchy pop song but he has an eye for a killer hook as the chorus proves.

“If Only” gets released on the 26th February and you can pre-order it here. The song is Ryan Lawrie’s lead single from his as yet untitled EP which is set for a Summer release.

Verdict

9.5/10

Original, catchy and has an infectious chorus that will lead to an instant singalong. Put it this way, if Justin Bieber released this song then he would have a certain number 1 on his hands. I hope this song gets the support, airplay and success it certainly deserves.

 

 

Week 3 2016: Student, Slimming & Specky Struggles

Drowning is arguably one of the worst ways to die and coursework is arguably one of the worst things to do, like ever. If you combine the two and you end up drowning in coursework then it is quite possibly the worst experience of all time. The past week can be described as exhausting, tiring and emotionally draining are just some of the words I can use to describe this past week. As much as I love my course (Public Relations & Advertising) it can require a lot of time and dedication. Between balancing writing reports, doing presentations and looking for an internship it feels like these days I have no time for myself. Due to my student commitments, I have had to cancel events I planned to attend and the more events that I cancel the more it affects my blog in a negative way. It’s now got to the stage where I’m debating taking a year out from education to focus on my blog. Ahhhhhh! What to do?!?! I wonder if any other bloggers feel the same or is it just me? I’ve not even got any blogger friends I can ask, I’m such a loner blogger, any bloggers in need of a friend? I’m a nice guy, honest.

Anyway, I went for an eye test and got told I have astigmatism in my eye and my left eye is “shaped like a rugby ball” as the optician kindly put it. I then went and ordered myself a sexy little pair of thick-rimmed, blue matte Calvin Klein spectacles. I wish I could wear contacts, everyone wears contacts these days but the thought of touching my eyeball genuinely gives me the fear. Every time I try and put it in I end up blinking and shutting my eye. How do people do it?! If anyone has any tips, please help a brother out.

My mum wanted to get fit this year like myself so she was looking at how to shift that  Christmas holiday pouch we all inevitably get, so we joined Slimming World! We went for our first session on Thursday and it was full of the bantz! Everyone was super friendly and I met a lot of great people. I’m looking forward to going back over the next while, great chat with people, mother and son bonding session and I’ll even lose the few pounds I put on over Christmas. Goodbye, Christmas pouch!

On Thursday, one of my close friends Ryan Lawrie was kicking off the first date of the UK tour supporting Michael Sutthakorn along with Tarkan Basara at Audio in Glasgow. Although I was late getting I managed to catch Michael’s set and he put on a solid show. We all headed off to ABC’s Jellybaby night to celebrate a good show and party before saying au revoir the morning after before they headed to Newcastle for the next show.

 

Next Week: Studying, studying and more studying – It’s going to be an action-packed blog. I’m going to talk in-depth about me going writing reports and coursework deadlines. WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO READ THAT?!

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