HOUSEKEEPING

As I was able to meet my deadline with all of my coursework backed up to some hard drives, I did a massive clear-out on my laptop. I needed to get that much-needed storage space back as my laptop was being cluttered with all of the coursework I’ve done over the course of the entire year.

I was so glad to have taken all of my work off my laptop, as it’s completely spacious once again, and after defragmenting and optimising the drives built into my laptop, I have managed to get some extra space back, and I have noticed my laptop is running much faster now and it’s also working much more efficiently than before.

I won’t lie, I didn’t realise how much coursework I did this year until I got all of my coursework together in one folder. I am pleased that I have done all of my work, as this gives me a sense of relief knowing that I can use the research and photography skills I have by putting them to good use.

It’s hard to believe that after Monday 3rd July, my time at Croydon College comes to an end. Croydon College has given me so much and has helped me to realise my potential in becoming the photographer I am now, and never did I think I would be saying this three years later that I have managed to achieve so much in such a short space of time. Photography has always been a passion and a hobby for me as it is a hobby I want to take up as a full-time career, and I have noticed lately with this website’s Instagram account that some of the photography work I have published on this website’s Instagram account has been receiving a lot of positive feedback, which has helped me to come up with all new ideas for this website.

But again, doing a much-needed clear-out has done me a favour as I can now come up with better ideas that are free-flowing, which is essential for me in that respect considering I love photography and now that I have had the opportunity to photograph some friends of mine for my Final Major Project, including the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, I actually want to photograph people as well as producing photography work that is nature-based, landscape-based and portrait-based, as photographing people fascinates me, given that facial expressions are something that interest me. A facial expression, in my eyes, can describe more than just a thousand words. A facial expression can describe unlimited amounts of words, as well as speak volumes.

I will miss Croydon College, but life has to go on and I can honestly say that despite all the ups and downs I have had, that all of us have had in that respect, this college got me and everyone else through and allowed us to realise our potential, and this college have been so supportive and given me and everyone so much to be thankful for. Croydon College is a good college but I will miss it, but still, life goes on and I will work my socks off from here on out even after I finish my last ever day at Croydon College as a college student, as I want to become a full-time photographer and even get the opportunity to do photography-based projects that I actually want to get paid for.

It feels so good to do a lot of housekeeping but now I can come up with better ideas from this point forward. I haven’t published in goodness knows how many weeks due to the coursework, as I met the deadline and did my last Maths exam, and I have had a lot of free time to use lately. I have been gearing up and preparing myself for the hype of this Friday, as this Friday sees the remarkable gaming legend make a comeback after 21 years, and that legend is Crash Bandicoot. The Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, produced by Activision (original Crash Bandicoot series by Naughty Dog) will be released on Friday 30th June! Keep your eyes peeled for the article I’ll be publishing that will be celebrating the release of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy on Friday.

Does it feel good for you when you have done a lot of housekeeping? Please tell me, I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran is Back!

After a three-year break from music, and after his hotly anticipated second studio album became the most streamed album on Spotify and other music services, Ed Sheeran is back with his third studio album, ÷. Shape of You really sets the tone of his latest album, because it has a unique vibe that really sets the mood you want to experience when listening to this album.

As it is the first ever vinyl record I have owned, I feel so honoured to go retro for the first time, because the original vinyl discs initially ceased production many, many years ago, but it’s only been in the last few years that vinyl has made a comeback and I am pleased to say that ÷ is my first ever vinyl record I have purchased.

How many tracks are on ÷?

There are 16 tracks on the Deluxe version of ÷ and here is the official tracklist:

  1. Eraser
  2. Castle on the Hill
  3. Dive
  4. Shape of You
  5. Perfect
  6. Galway Girl
  7. Happier
  8. New Man
  9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
  10. What Do I Know?
  11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
  12. Supermarket Flowers
  13. Barcelona
  14. Bibia Be Ye Ye
  15. Nancy Mulligan
  16. Save Myself

What comes with the Deluxe Boxset?

In the Deluxe Boxset for ÷, these are the items that come with the album:

  • 12” x 12” premium hardcover book with photos, lyrics and artwork
  • 2 x heavyweight blue vinyl, exclusive to this edition of the album
  • Deluxe CD album
  • Silver plated Divide charm and necklace, packaged separately
  • Deluxe digital album sent to you at release
÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran / Official Album Artwork © Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran
÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran / Official Album Artwork
© Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran

My Review of ÷ (Deluxe)

This album brings out Ed Sheeran’s unique and interesting side to his music, You can’t quite help but think just how much ÷ gives you life. When he released Shape of You, straightaway, it brought along with it its own vibe where you would remember it, not just for Ed himself singing, but because of the fact it has that eccentric and realistic appeal that you want. With Ed Sheeran’s previous album, X (Multiply), that album brought about love and respect and courage, which is why we love Ed Sheeran, I too love Ed Sheeran, not just because he has tugged at our heart-strings, but because he’s made us realise that there is life and love even in the darkest places, and for me, ÷ carries that message too, but also goes on to add that with love, respect, courage, compassion and support, the world can be a better place.

This album gives me life!

Ed Sheeran is a living legend in my eyes because his music is timeless and will never date, but you begin to appreciate life a whole lot more after you’ve listened to ÷ because you can relate and share the same feelings that he has as a musician. Not only that, but his music is eccentric and brings positivity to the table, which is what this world needs and I take my hat off to Ed Sheeran. ÷ is a masterpiece, in fact, +, X & ÷ are all masterpieces and Ed Sheeran is a legend!

If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend you purchase ÷, you will not be disappointed. ÷ is such a perfectly crafted album and Ed Sheeran has produced another exquisite masterpiece that is worth purchasing.

If you enjoyed my review of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Deluxe) album, please feel free to comment below. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran, 2017

© The Divide Album Artwork & Complete Tracklist are all copyright of Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

÷ Album Rating: 10/10

Artistic Interpretation #6 / Prince Rogers Nelson (1993)

As it has been almost a year since we lost the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who passed away on the 21st April 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic music legend by drawing for this sixth artistic interpretation.

This is the first Artistic Interpretation for 2017 and I wanted to make sure that Prince Rogers Nelson would be the first musician I would draw this year.

This drawing I’ve produced is inspired on the Greatest Hits album: “The Hits / The B-Sides” that Prince Rogers Nelson released back in 1993, as this Greatest Hits collection spans much of the music he released over the course of his career, given that he was the powerhouse and driving force that defined many generations and helped to inspire so many musicians, also because he was known for releasing so many albums that his back catalogue would be filled to maximum capacity.

Prince’s music defined himself as the iconic music legend he is, and even in death, his music will never grow old, will never become dated but will always remain timeless, as his music is eccentric and changes every time but changes so quickly that you cannot help but appreciate the iconic music legend himself for always being different and not making music that sounds the same.

Below is the completed artistic interpretation I have produced of Prince Rogers Nelson.

prince-rogers-nelson-drawing-tribute-alex-smithson
Prince Rogers Nelson

I’m really pleased with the end result of this artistic interpretation, because I wanted to make sure that this drawing would keep true to the iconic music legend himself. Prince left his mark not just on the music world, but on the entire world, as his music is the reason why so many of the musicians we hear of today are still not just releasing music, but are making the best difference and being the positive changes in this world.

His music has also given so many people around the world, including myself so much to be thankful for and his music, from my perspective, is a message of hope, and that hope can mean you can be yourself and be the positive change you want to see in this world and I feel that by drawing him, he has not only been a positive influence on me, but on all of us.

I want to say this as a way of paying tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson:

“Prince. Your music has been the Sign ‘O’ the Times, Purple Rain came down on us and delighted us and When Doves Cry, you were there to give us all hope and to make sure we were the positive changes this world needs. Your Little Red Corvette sits briskly in heaven and heaven gained an angel. Sometimes it Snows in April, then there is Purple Rain, but you gave us all hope and made us all feel okay to be ourselves, so thank you for everything, Prince Rogers Nelson.”

If you want to pay your respects to Prince Rogers Nelson almost a year after the iconic music legend departed from Planet Earth, then please leave a comment below in his memory.

Alex Smithson

Remembering David Bowie: One Year On / The Thin White Duke. Our Starman. A Music Legend. (1947 – 2016)

As today marks exactly one year since the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, I wanted to pay my full respects to the Starman by drawing David Bowie, also because the 8th January 2017 would have marked his 70th Birthday. I also drew David Bowie sporting the famous Aladdin Sane Lightning Bolt as he released his 25th and last ever studio album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday.

It feels unreal, to think it was a year ago today is surreal yet hard to believe, because never did I think the time would fly so fast. On this day last year, I was told the news early in the morning that he had actually died and I was shocked and devastated, but fast forward to today and you still can’t quite believe that our Starman, the Thin White Duke, had passed away.

He is a music legend who was taken from us too soon, as he had so much more to offer, but his 25th and final studio album, Blackstar, was classed as “…a parting gift,” to his fans, which just goes to show that he not only wanted to go out with a bang, but that he would really prove that his music is timeless, that it will never date and will always be listened to, which is what made David Bowie not just a music legend, but a cultural icon given that he always had the eccentric change of image that would define and inspire many generations.

I drew the lightning bolt below his right eye (appears on the left by how you see it), as the blue and red lightning bolt was featured on the iconic album, Aladdin Sane. Although I haven’t been around long enough to truly appreciate his music, I saw him as an inspiration to me and to us all, because he made it okay for us to be ourselves, and to not care what societies and generations think of us and I will never forget that. Let’s Dance, Life on Mars & Ashes to Ashes always give me goosebumps because it’s not just the Aladdin Sane Lightning Bolt that caught my attention, but his right eye’s pupil was blue, which is what made him the iconic music legend he truly is. Even in death, he will always be remembered as the iconic music legend that made it okay for everyone to accept themselves and to be themselves regardless of who they are.

David Bowie as Aladdin Sane.
David Bowie as Aladdin Sane.

I wanted to say this as a way of paying tribute to David Bowie:

David Bowie. Our Thin White Duke. Our Starman. Thank you for everything. Thank you for giving everyone in this world, including myself, the chance to be ourselves, but most of all, thanks for making this world a better place. You are truly an iconic music legend and you are always missed, but you’ll never be forgotten and you shall always remain in mine and everyone’s hearts forever. David Bowie. Thank you for everything!

Alex Smithson

Remembering Satoru Iwata, One Year On (1959 – 2015)

Exactly one year ago today, the gaming world lost an iconic gaming legend. Satoru Iwata, who was best known for being the man behind the iconic gaming consoles, such as the Game Boy Series, the Nintendo DS Series, the Nintendo Wii Series, the Nintendo 3DS Series and the Nintendo Wii U Series, sadly passed away a year ago today following a bile duct growth, which Nintendo officially announced in a statement they published on the 11th July 2015.

I still find it hard to believe, even now, that he has gone, it just doesn’t feel real. To think he passed away on this day last year shocks me.

On this day last year, when Satoru Iwata’s death was announced to the world, everyone paid tribute to the iconic gaming legend, with one company even creating an image showing the flag pole from the end of a Super Mario Bros. level at half-mast, which would pay respect to Satoru Iwata.

It’s hard to think and believe it was actually a year ago today that he passed away. He is an iconic gaming legend who was also famously behind the Mario series, as well as other games that he was behind on.

Thanks to Satoru Iwata, he helped to re-shape and redefine Nintendo’s love and passion for games including his own, and he also helped to shape our lives for the better. I want to thank Satoru Iwata entirely for helping this world become a better place. I also want to thank Satoru Iwata for changing mine and everyone else’s lives for the better.

Even to this day, and even in the future, we will always miss you Satoru Iwata. Thank you for being the iconic gaming legend that you are and always will be, and thanks so much for changing everyone’s lives, including mine for the better. We will and always will miss you Satoru Iwata, but you will be forever remembered in our hearts.

Alex Smithson

Artistic Interpretation #4: Amy Winehouse (27)

Five years on since her untimely death on the 23rd July 2011, Amy Winehouse, the iconic music legend that made her mark with her unique musical sound, released two of her most iconic albums, which were Frank, and also Back to Black. Her posthumous third studio album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, consisted of some new songs which were previously unreleased, including different versions of certain tracks that we listened to and grew to love, given that the iconic look for Back to Black and Lioness: Hidden Treasures saw Amy Winehouse with the iconic beehive hairstyle, which has since become the biggest trendsetter for all independent women in fashion.

I took the opportunity to draw Amy Winehouse, as I wanted to pay my full respects and pay homage to the iconic music legend as it has been five years since her passing. She was a talented young musician who was gone too soon. I’ve put her age, 27, in brackets, in the article title, as that number is the age she was when she passed away on the 23rd July 2011.

Amy
Amy Winehouse Tribute Drawing

I also wanted to make Amy Winehouse’s memory and music as colourful as possible by using the same drawing to create a tribute montage, showing her life in music from my perspective, but also yours and everyone else’s perspective.

Amy Tribute Montage
Amy Winehouse Drawing Tribute Montage

Amy Winehouse was and always will be the iconic music legend of our time. She will never be forgotten for the everlasting impact she left on the world and will always remain forever in our hearts, our minds, our bodies and our souls. We will always love and miss you Amy Winehouse xxxxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson

Remembering Prince Rogers Nelson: An Iconic Music Legend (1958 – 2016)

It is with such sadness to report that the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at the age of 57.

The news of his death came just before 6:00 PM this afternoon, and with such shock, the news knocked me for six. I literally can’t get my head around this news, even now, and it’s just absolutely sad that an iconic musical legend like him has passed away less than a week after being taken ill following a recent flight.

Although I haven’t followed his entire career, I did love some of the iconic songs he produced, such as 1999, Raspberry Beret, Sign O’ The Times and even When Doves Cry.

Those songs to me are the most memorable records of my time, as they were the songs that were frequently played on the radio almost every week, and even now I can listen to them and feel nostalgic all over again.

Prince Rogers Nelson to me and to every single person on this Earth was and always will be remembered, not just for being the iconic music legend that he is, but he will be remembered for changing this world and making it into a better place.

We will miss you dearly Prince Rogers Nelson, but you will never be forgotten. You will always live on forever in our hearts, in our minds, but also in our lives. We’ll miss you, but we will always see you as the iconic music legend that you truly are.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to April!

Welcome to April! As this month is set to get a little warmer now that the wintry spells have finally passed, it’s great to say that the weather is finally getting better. Despite the odd occasional showers of rain that we’ve had in the last few days, it’s fair to say that the calm has finally arrived after the storm.

As last month was full of energy considering that I had managed to get a large amount of articles in, I want to be able to continue with that energy by publishing a lot more articles over the course of this month. As last month ended on a positive, but sad note, given that the comedy legend, Ronnie Corbett, passed away yesterday at the age of 85, I had made sure to pay tribute to him after learning the news of his passing yesterday morning by publishing a tribute article that would look back on the best moments of his life when he used to star alongside his companion, also his best friend, Ronnie Barker, who passed away 11 years ago in 2005 shortly after The Two Ronnies Sketchbook show ended.

In light of the news earlier today that ITV’s This Morning Agony Aunt, Denise Robertson, passed away yesterday at the age of 83, I will be publishing very soon a tribute article where I will pay my full respects and tributes to her in light of the sad news earlier today.

Also, I wanted to let you all know that it may be difficult over the next few weeks to get more articles in, as I will be starting my Final Major Project when I’m back at college, which will be starting from the moment I go back to college. I will try, however, to get a large amount of articles in as best as I can, but please forgive me if I have trouble in doing so over the next few weeks.

There will be some cases where I will have to put my studies before anything else article-related, as this year, however energetic it has been, has also been a lot busier than the last, and I will be making sure that I can balance the time effectively between both my studies and writing articles for Mother Nature.

The tribute articles I haven’t been able to publish yet are still being worked on, and will take a lot of time, so please be patient for me as I am trying to work extra hard to get them worked on and finished. I will make sure they are published at some point, so please don’t worry too much, as I will be making sure they are done and dusted by the time they eventually get published.

Until then, Welcome to April on Mother Nature!

Alex Smithson