It’s hard to sum up a few hundred days in a few hundred words, so I wrote this instead.

I’ve been meaning to post on here with a link to sign up to my newsletter – Resourceful, a newsletter about spending less, reducing stress and living with your means – for a year now. But today, I come with a different message entirely: don’t subscribe to Resourceful, because as of this Sunday, I’m no longer going to be writing it

Hello! Long time no see. I’ve not written on here in an age. Since my last post, I’ve done all the things you do when you move to a new country that I can’t possibly sum it up here in a few hundred words. I’ve been trying though.

I’ve got three entirely different drafts of what this blog post could have looked like. The first draft was a mish-mash of collected journal entries I’ve written since January, a summary of random bits of stream-of-consciousness thinking that will make sense to no-one (and considering the time it took for me to edit… made no sense to me, either). 

Aside: I’ve had the thought very recently that my journaling habit doesn’t have to be turned into award-winning blog content. I used to think my diaries – which I have kept since I was four years old – could be adapted into a young adult novel series where the protagonist one day discovers she’s a princessNow I’m thinking my journals can simply be a way for me to unwind and avoid costly therapy (all while improving my writing as a by-product). That pressure being lifted means I’m once again writing in my diary regularly, like I used to, like the good old days.

I used to write on this blog whenever I wanted to write about anything, no matter how niche or unreadable the topic. About waitressing and Courtney Love and Electric Warrior. (I can’t believe I just linked back to posts from seven years ago, if – for some reason – you are a commissioning editor reading this, please, dear God, I was fifteen). It was fun. I loved hitting Publish, hoping that I would become as famous as Tavi Gevinson at the same time as wanting absolutely no-one to read it, because, OMG, embarrassing!

Anyway, that was then, this is now. I haven’t posted on this blog in 10 months because I feel much iffier these days about sharing the ins and outs of my private life on the very public internet. Perhaps it’s because some of the things that I’ve been through this year aren’t necessarily my stories to tell. It’s also a bit to do with content fatigue *cue tiny violin*. Every time I’ve felt the urge to post on here in the past year, I kept thinking no-one would want to read my thinkpiece on Saturday jobs, or Hole frontwomen or T.Rex albums (even though I used to be able to post that stuff without a care). That negative voice telling me ‘nobody will want to read this stuff anyway!’, then has a word with my self-esteem, which then tells me not to write *cut tiny violin*.

The second draft of this piece was one where I looked back on my first year of freelancing – a milestone I reached last week – and aimed to give the reader helpful pointers on what I’ve learned from self-employment. That didn’t feel right to me either. 

I was entirely convinced that my freelancing shelf life would only last two or three months, but then, all of a sudden, it had been a year. And this year didn’t just bring change in my working days, but my whole life was turned on its head: I moved away away from everything I’d ever known that felt comfortable and familiar. It’s been maddeningly fun at times but quite isolating at others. I proved to myself that I can survive something I couldn’t have predicted; couldn’t have planned for. That’s what I set out to do, and it feels good to me now – to have gone head first into something unknown – but it’s been hard. I’ve learned that I deal with difficulty in an extremely high-functioning way when I have to, but then after a period of being hard as nails, I need to close the door on people, switch the internet off for 72 hours and not talk to anyone for a week (of course, I can’t always do that). That doesn’t exactly feel like I’m bossing it, but then again, life’s difficulties extend beyond the working week. Like I said, this isn’t all my story to tell, so I won’t go into it too much. If you’re going through a rough patch, talk to yourself as you would your best friend and give yourself space and time to accept how you feel, allowing your emotions to complete their cycle.

Here is one thing I did like from the second draft though (and I recommend you make sure you don’t skip the underrated Artpop era).

“Sometimes [when you’re feeling particularly blue] it is OK to block out entire mornings to watch Lady Gaga music videos in chronological order, if that is what’s going to make you feel spurred on about being on this doomed little planet. Find your non-bullshit way to feel like yourself, and do it often.”

The third draft of what-might-have-been-this-post was one where I tried to justify why I moved here, unpacking everything that’s happened in the past five years. That was the real cathartic one to write and it felt like the most publishable at the time (I sat in a food hall for four hours drafting it), but the content was all so intensely personal that I don’t want to post it anywhere. Sometimes the stuff you need to write doesn’t need to be read.

So this is the fourth draft, a Google Doc with the title ‘actually post this one girl!’ So I will oblige. To revert back to where we started, the reason I think it’s time to put an end to the newsletter, after a year of sending it out (very sporadically), is because… I am starting university in two weeks! I’m going to be doing a BA in History at the University of Groningen… at the ripe old age of 23, I’m ready to start moaning about revising again (just kidding).

After thinking for a long time about whether leaving London would be a bad career move (verdict: probably yes; result: did it anyway), I’ve thought long and hard about whether going to uni at this slightly-later time will throw me off the hustling-in-London-to-get-paid-£19k career path and concluded that… nobody cares! Literally not even anybody. So that’s a relief! Also, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Here’s the thing, I don’t want to worry about fortnightly Sunday newsletters that I have to leave parties early to publish, or anything work-related that will hold me back from enjoying the experience for what it is. Although saying that, I have been thinking that a history-related podcast would be cool… God damn it, when you’re a natural-born content creator who came of age online, you just can’t help but create content! So, watch this space…

From an money point of view – this one’s for the Resourceful fans – I’m stoked that I’ll get to continue my v. flexible, freelance work to bankroll me through my degree (hopefully without needing to take out a loan, thanks the Netherlands’ actually affordable university education). So yeah, in a way, this is an apology (to myself) for not writing much on here this year, and a commitment to continuing the not-writing-on-here if I want to, while I focus on a new chapter of my life.

See you the other side of graduation, suckers!

Life update: October 2018

I’m freshly showered and sockless, sat in a freezing cold hostel in the middle of Bulgaria. We would have missed out on this particular town completely had it not been for a kindred waitress in a restaurant in Sofia, who said we had to come here as part of our trip. “OK, sure,” was the general consensus of my boyfriend and I, “we’re just killing time.” We also figured the name of this penultimate destination on our month-long trip – Veliko Tarnovo – would sound pretty good in a rap verse (him) or a blog post (me).

The view from the co-working office I worked from this week! It was brighter inside than it appears to be.

For those not in the know, the Netherlands move had to be put on hold for a month for contractual reasons, giving us the smug excuse of hastily making travel plans that would sustain us for a month while we waited around. September was spent in a state of near-distress, wondering how on earth we’d find an apartment in an overpopulated town of students when we were previously both freelance and every real estate agent needed to see payslips from a current employer. Turns out sending a bunch of invoices wouldn’t suffice (understandably, I suppose), but after spending three weeks between hostels, caravans on eco-farms and surfing friendly people’s couches, a guardian angel (formerly known as a friend of a friend) came through and let us take over the contract on her beautiful Dutch apartment, complete with high ceilings, narrow stairways and the Euro-standard lack of bath.

Where would you go if you had a month to kill? There was no point going back to London – no tenancy was tying us down and we’d already said goodbye to our friends three times over. I obviously wanted to go to Italy to put the six Italian classes I’d completed earlier this year to good use, but after doing some simple maths we figured it would take a huge chunk out of our savings, which weren’t looking too bad, but not too bounteous either. (I’d spent a year living frugally AF in London, so wasn’t in a position to spend €90 on a gondola).

Bulgaria it was. And what a great decision it’s turned out to be. Dividing our month equally between four cities – the “multi-layered city” Sofia (named so because of its stacked-up archaeology), then Plovdiv, a town so beautifully named and even more beautifully formed.  We then took the train to Varna, because if you’ve got a month to spend somewhere in Europe you may as well spend some of it at the coast, and now Veliko Tarnovo, where everything looks like an Instagram post, you can’t help but walk at a snail’s pace and take it all in (okay, maybe the steepness of the hills also slows me down).

We climbed a mountain on our second day but haven’t exerted ourselves too much since. Here’s a photo of me wearing my Peckham Rye t-shirt in the middle of a mountain range in the Balkans. I look fairly pleased with myself but I did cry a bit when the altitude got a bit much.


Spending a month somewhere is ideal because you don’t feel as guilty for spending whole days doing nothing. In October 2018, I knitted 1.5 scarves, had many 4pm beers and became acquainted with several hostel cats. We’re now heading back to Sofia for a couple of nights and then flying home (!) to Amsterdam, ending two rent-free months of transient life *namaste*.

I’m really excited for whatever the next year brings. London is a great city but I felt no compulsion to stay put. I don’t agree that “if a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” I think “if a man is tired of London, it’s because he grew up in a small town and London was just too expensive. And he went on holiday a few times and realised he could live and work anywhere else in the world so long as there was Wi-Fi.”

Anyway, time for dinner. Until next time!


P.S I am launching a newsletter this Sunday! Resourceful is a weekly email for people interested in living with less and saving some money. It’s going to be about figuring out what you really need and learning how to be happy with it. I promise to steer clear of too much ‘financial mindfulness’ BS and will occasionally drop in some tasty voucher codes. I’ll share more details on my Twitter page this week while I’m waiting to board my plane, most likely. 


The unadulterated joy of having nothing to do

Image from Canyon Walls of Jebel Akhdar in Oman|National Geographic | September 1981

How do you spend a day off? With nothing much to work on, no-one to see and no washing to get done (OK, there’s loads of laundry shoved in your wardrobe, but you’ve run out of washing powder)? Can you even remember the last time you had literally no plans for more than a few hours or so? Allowing myself to have a day off where I embrace boredom in all its nothingness is essential to my wellbeing, so I try and do it at least once a week. Boredom may seem like a less-than-covetable state of being, but it’s a state that we often have to force ourselves to be in. So why do we find it so hard to actually enjoy free time?

We’re lucky enough to live in an age where we can very easily record, publish and post anything and everything we do on the internet: whether it be photos, thoughts, rants, or covers of Elvis Presley songs – allowing us to create our identity through showing off our skills to a large (and hopefully accommodating) audience online. In recent months, I’d forgotten how to truly be on my own, in my room, doing my dreaming and scheming and crying and sighing (I’ll stop linking to stuff that your dad would like soon, I swear) and just exist as a solo thing.

A friend of mine recently told me that instead of switching off through meditation, she likes to take time out from the white noise of the world by listening to an album all the way through, while lying on her bed, without doing anything else whatsoever.

For the past couple of Saturdays I’ve done a pretty similar thing. I’ve planned absolutely nothing to do in the day, while still waking up early(ish – before 9am anyway) to experience most of the day. No guilty trot down to the supermarket at 3pm as to “not waste the day”, no listing all those pairs of shoes on Depop because you’ve been “meaning to do it for months”. Just free time. 

After an uncomfortable hour at the beginning of the day, you could well find yourself pretty excited about all of the hours suddenly at your disposal come lunchtime. It might compel you to complete a sudoku puzzle, moisturise your entire body to within an inch of its life, or sit at your desk and commit the lyrics to Who Am I? (What’s My Name) to memory (which’ll come in handy on your next date – trust me). 

Whatever you end up doing, you’ll be pleased to discover that taking an afternoon off from delegating tasks to yourself for the sake of it actually helps you become more productive in the long run. It creates the space in your mind that’s necessary to remember how you like to fill your time without anyone else’s influence, as you allow yourself to be drawn to activities you naturally feel like doing. Remove obligations, to-do lists and Twitter timelines, and you’re faced with the option to do anything you like.

Here’s how I spent last Saturday: after slathering newly-opened No7 creams all over my face that I got last Christmas, I sat down with a notebook and wrote down the names of 10 Bruce Springsteen songs I’d quite like to learn on the guitar. I then spent the next three hours with 11 tabs open on my laptop and a guitar on my lap (the extra tab was for YouTub-ing each song to revel in how glorious the music video was). I totally wasted the afternoon, but I had so much fun doing it.

The summer is really busy for all of us, with birthday parties, weddings, barbecues and the World Cup all making us into obliging attendees of gatherings and get-togethers (often with a six-pack of Kronenburg in hand). However, during those inevitable rainy evenings or lonesome Sundays you stumble upon, try to avoid the temptation to waste away the hours continuously dragging your finger from the top to the bottom of your phone screen in search of that yearning FOMO feeling that makes you thirsty for an Aperol Spritz.

Instead, embrace those precious few hours and enjoy the space that boredom brings – you might even find yourself with a 10-track cover album comprising Bruce Springsteen’s best hits (release date TBC).

bruce bored gif.jpg

One final thing: if you’d like to listen to the latest episode of Girl Chat, all about periods (tee hee hee), you can do so here.

Feeling 22: a year in review

When I was 17, it was a very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights. When I was 21, it was a very good year for city girls who lived up the stair with all that perfumed hair.

Perhaps in the same way that you read a horoscope and bend its meaning so dramatically so it fits your situation, I can do the same with this Sinatra song. I was a small towner aged 17 (soft summer nights hardly applicable, though) and a city girl aged 21. And my bedroom’s at the top of a three-storey house, meaning I technically live up the stair with all that perfumed hair (or more accurate, the smell of Febreze coming from the top-floor bathroom).

21 has been good to me, though. My best friend painted me something as a gift last year, full of good luck charms such as a rabbit’s foot, a four-leaf clover, and a fortune cookie.

fortune cookie 21.jpg

‘It will be the most wonderful year, 21.’ The symbols have served me well. Here are some things I’m really, really proud of doing this year.

1. I Spent My Last Birthday Living My Best Life


I was in Rome on 9 May 2017, and had the most perfect pizza and limoncello (on the house! Buon compleanno!) with a picture postcard view of the Colosseum (look! It looks like a green screen!) This year, I’ll be in Zadar, Croatia, so it’s safe to say I’m feeling very lucky and grateful that I get to hop on a plane to celebrate the blessed day my mother went through hours of excruciating pain so I could come into the world and write unmissable online content.

2. I Turned It Around…Screenshot 2018-05-08 at 10.10.57 - Edited

I’m proud that I was able to turn a negative experience into something positive. I hope I contributed to the ongoing discussion around the decriminalisation of abortion and the use of the abortion pill at home through my Debrief investigation into abortion waiting times in England. I didn’t want to write about work stuff on this post, but taking up a good chunk of my year (four months all in all) this was a big project. Appearing on BBC radio to present my findings was also quite special.

3. …And Ran A Half Marathon!


It’s funny to reflect on this now, as I’ve been drinking for four days (Bank Holiday heatwave, holla) and tried to drag myself out for a run this morning but haven’t managed to yet. In November, six months ago, I ran 13 miles for the Royal College of Obs and Gyns and raised £300!

4. I Saw A Tribe Called Quest Perform Their Last Show

dando diddly

OK, perhaps they’ll be back, but the poignancy of an absent Phife Dawg and the greatness of their final album made this Bestival performance all the more legendary. In other hip-hop news, I made a major discovery for myself this year in the form of MF Doom. The above picture is an unrelated photo of us watching Soul II Soul last summer, because all the other points have pictures.

5. I Became Less Scared of Cats

white catr

I have always been near-terrified of cats and all the things they’re plotting against me, but my lovely flatmate welcomed two gorgeous feline things into our house earlier this year. Here is one of them: Really White Cat. Yes, that is her name. White Cat for short.

6. I Kept Up With This Blog! 

I started this blog more than five years ago when I was off sick from school, insanely bored, with no idea about what to write about or who I was writing for. I still have that problem. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading through it and dance along to some of the playlists I share on here.

Speaking of playlists, I made a 10-track playlist about turning 22! Send it to everyone you know who’s 22 already or who’s looking forward to the age of double trouble.


Click here to hear it.

Escapism: through books, #spon content and meditation apps

I read an article about anxiety among pop stars in the social media generation last week. You can read it here. I liked it cause I think it accurately captures the zeitgeist (wow, I sound like my old drama teacher) in that yes, we’re all conscious of having a political and #woke conscience, just as those generations did before us with punk and whatnot. But social media – for teenagers coming of age now – has formed part of their identity, and we’re now starting to see that in the pop landscape.

In the piece, the writer identifies two types of Gen-Z’ers on social media, the ‘fame-hungry narcissists’ and the ‘hyper-aware over-thinkers’. If like me, you strongly identify with both, how do you find your place on the internet? If you’re aware that having a presence on social media will do wonders for your ‘brand’, but also know that spending too much time trying to expand this network isn’t something that comes too naturally (preferring to spend your free time reading or mastering the art of a paper aeroplane), do you decide to take steps away from this dopamine-fuelled activity and ditch the smartphone altogether? (This is clearly the the hyper-aware over-thinker stepping up the mic.) I’ve had a dream twice within the past week or so where I snap my phone in half and it crumbles into ash. I then wake up and reach for my phone to see if anybody’s texted me.

Something that intrigues me is the increasing number of people monetising their lives by just, like, travelling around the world. I’m fascinated with travel bloggers and how they use social media (yes, that thing you just tweeted a pic of your Wetherspoons round on) to fund their ‘adventures’. I wish it was as blissful as it looks but I don’t buy into it. Even more so after I watched this Vice News clip about these total #vanlife phoneys (please watch it if you have 10 mins and marvel in how messed up reality can be faked online). Millennials are more into travelling and ‘experiences’ than buying a tonne of nice stuff, apparently, so travelling the world as an influencer and getting paid for it seems like a pretty obvious way to do life, and with the inclusivity of the internet (so long as you have a Wi-Fi connection and, surely, a senior figure in your life who can bail you out of bad situations) it seems more possible than ever.

But is the content the top travel bloggers are making really that interesting? I’m always trying to find interesting things to read about travel, as everyone’s travel daddy Bill Bryson once said  in an interview: “A basic error with travel writing is assuming everybody’s interested. You have to work from exactly the opposite assumption: nobody is interested. Even your wife is not interested. You have to somehow make it so that they become interested.”

When I read that, I laughed out loud. I felt like I’d just been given the best advice about writing about holidays or trips, in that no-one cares about the ‘Today I visited this church. Wow, it was so pretty!’ kind of vibe. I’m not slating enjoying a holiday and writing about it (obviously!) but my favourite pieces about travelling are always the ones that show travelling for what it can be: rare moments of wonder and feelings of unbelievable freedom – interspersed between long bus journeys, waiting in stuffy airport lounges, finding your companion unbelievably tiresome (even if you’re travelling solo) and maybe – just maybe – small pangs of homesickness (…you can take the girl out of Peterborough). That’s why I could read Bill Bryson’s books over and over, his petty moans about the irks of travelling make the experience so much more enjoyable to read (and sure as hell beat the #spon posts from the #vanlife elite).

I am so close to finishing reading John Waters’ travelogue about hitchhiking from his native Baltimore to San Francisco, and it’s one of the most original book structures I’ve ever come across. Before he ventured off on his trip, he spent a few months imagining the best possible thing that could happen – and the worst case scenario – which form the first two-thirds of the book. So, the first 200 pages give the weird and wonderful Pope of Trash – director of cult films Hairspray and Pink Flamingos – the ability to show off his endless, no-holds-barred imagination (the ‘Best Trip’ is so heartwarming because you’re so happy everything’s worked out so well for him, and the ‘Worst Trip’ actually made me retch while eating a mushroom omelette as we meet a gruesome character who picks up near-dead roadkill and collects the creatures in her car). It makes for such a hoot of book! Here’s the link to buy it. Or watch this video. (Or ask your local library to order it in!) Also, while I’m talking about holidays and trips, our next Girl Chat episode (landing next Wednesday, April 18) is about holiday romances. Check out the all the ones preceding it here.

I’ve digressed hugely: back to the phoney #vanlife-rs. Perhaps it’s the cynicism of the person typing, but I’m sceptical of influencers and wonder how satisfying their ‘jobs’ really are. This, by the maker of parody Instagram account Deliciously Stella is interesting – as it was her idea to satirise the whole movement, but she still got sucked into the allure of free stuff anyway. I would love to think that I could travel the world on an all-expenses-paid trip as a travel blogger with #hashtag revenue streaming in, but not at the expense of missing all of the opportunities immersing yourself in another culture brings by having my head glued to my phone. Bryson again, in Neither Her Nor There: “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”

Something not totally evil about technology though: I’ve used the Headspace mediation app every day for the past three weeks (21-day streak, holla!) and it’s already made a huge difference to how I deal with my often extremely busy mind. There have only been benefits so far, which have weasled their way into all aspects of my everyday mundanity: dealing with 3,000 unread emails at 9am, coping with the petty but way valid stresses of sharing a house (and kitchen) with several people and, well, getting back into the habit of writing again.

At the time of writing this, it’s 8:30am and I’ve managed to write almost 1,000 words already – before my ‘working day’ has even begun. I woke up in a rotten-as-hell mood this morning (disclaimer: there’s a 90% chance I have glandular fever, sigh) but I took 10 minutes to listen to the Headspace dudes’s familiar tones, grabbed my laptop, and wrote the post you’ve just read.

For those who deal with anxiety as frequently as you brush your teeth, clarity of mind is not to be scoffed at. There are 10 free days before you have to subscribe: something I got way too pissed off about (capitalising on meditation seemed as icky to me as, like, the standard £15-a-session yoga classes everywhere in central London) but after four or five days of not subscribing in protest after my trial, I felt myself spiralling back into a pattern of negative thoughts. I was curious to see if the next 10 days would feel as good as the first did. In fact, they got even better, so now I’m telling you about it.

If you’re a student, you can get Spotify Premium and Headspace for £5 a month, (sign me up to a degree course already, purely for the discount). Btw, although it might seem it, this is definitely not #spon content.

Anyway, I’m all out. Until next time!

Follow me on Twitter @taralepore

‘Do you wanna be in the business?’ – 10 songs about the music industry

I read Mike Love’s autobiography last week, the lead singer from the Beach Boys who isn’t Brian Wilson. It’s actually a wonderful read, and a fascinating one at that for anyone supremely interested in 1960s America. In it, Love documents the sudden rise of the Beach Boys as ‘America’s Band’ after Life magazine ran a cover feature about California’s surf craze. So, writing to a brief almost, the Beach Boys signed a deal to produce seven records in something like two years, on the theme of surfing, girls and cars (Surfin’ USA, California Girls, Little Deuce Coupe respectively). While I was reading it I could help but listen to the band on repeat, which got me yearning for summer during a time in mid-March where we’ve been seeing blizzard-like snow. The interesting thing about the Beach Boys is that Pet Sounds and the re-imagined Smile Sessions aside, they have only around 15 hits that have kept resurging every 10 years or so, as another generation discovers their music and makes out with their boyfriends in the car to it. The memoir also recounts the band’s infamous lawsuits throughout the years which got me thinking about the workings of the music industry since the ’60s. So I made a PLAYLIST of songs about the curious, sneaky inner goings-on in the biz (scroll down for related lyrics*). You can listen to it here.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 12.30.34 PM.png

Here are a list of other books that I have hugely enjoyed since the turn of the new year: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney; Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, Rookie on Love by Rookie writers and contributors; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’ve tried to get into Goodreads as a way to easily share and get recommendations on what I’ve been reading, but I JUST CAN’T RATE A BOOK OUT OF FIVE! I just rate ALL the books I’ve read out of five, mostly as a pat-on-the-back to myself: Well done you! Five stars for reading a book!

I went to Newcastle for St. Patrick’s Day to see my dear friend and Girl Chat co-host Chloe Trayford. It were a right belter. Here’s some art I saw at the Baltic Gallery that I give you full permission to use as your phone wallpaper.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 12.43.04 PM

On the train home, I watched Beats Rhymes and Life, a documentary about A Tribe Called Quest available on Netflix! Watch it! It’s great! It’s so great I had no idea my train arrived 40 minutes late and I got the full price of my ticket back. All good news.

Other things that I’ve been up to: Saw the motherfucking GOAT Milo at Birthdays in Stoke Newington at both his sold-out shows in London a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have any photos. He did completely different sets both nights and it was probably the most life-affirming duo of shows I’ve ever seen (no hyperboles, trust). It was quite otherworldly to be stood at the front of the crowd and see someone be so creative so spontaneously and with such conviction. If you’ve not heard him yet, I suggest you do so wherever you listen to your music. If you want to support independent radio, here’s an appearance he did on NTS Radio. He steps up around 14m 30s, but listen from the start to hear an insanely good Busdriver track.

OK, I have a terrible cold and I’m out. I’ll be back soon having done some REAL writing.

(P.S. Here’s all the lyrics related to the music business in the linked up playlist, in case you didn’t believe me).
*1. Check the Rhime – A Tribe Called Quest
“Industry rule number four thousand and eighty
Record company people are shady
So kids watch your back ’cause I think they smoke crack
I don’t doubt it, look at how they act”

2. Paint a Vulgar Picture – The Smiths
“Best of! Most of!
Satiate the need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both, and feel deceived
Climber – new entry, re-entry”

3. Free Man in Paris – Joni Mitchell
“I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favours
And no one’s future to decide
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song”

4. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
“You shut me down, you like the control
You speak to me like I’m a child
Try to hold it down, I know the answer
I can shake it off and you feel threatened by me”

5. Re: Animist – Milo
“Showboat rappers get stood up in their studio
I heard Wal-Mart signed Jason Derulo
Then dropped him cause he couldn’t sell crew socks
And refused to adopt the umlaut”

6. W.O.E is Entertainment – Jurassic 5
“Welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment
Where life imitate art and people get famous
Welcome to the world of showbiz arrangement
Where lights, camera, action is the language”

7. We Walk – The Ting Tings
We can’t be honest
We call it off
We got the choice if it all goes wrong
We walk, we walk

8. Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
“You’re gonna make it if you try,
They’re gonna love you.
I’ve always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincere;
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think,
Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?”

9. Country House – Blur
“City dweller, successful fella thought to himself
Oops I’ve got a lot of money
Caught in a rat race terminally
I’m a professional cynic but my heart’s not in it
I’m payin’ the price of livin’ life at the limit”

10. Show Business – A Tribe Called Quest
“Let me tell you ’bout the snakes, the fakes, the lies
The highs at all of these industry shing-dings
Where you see the pretty girls
In the high animated world
Checkin’ for a rapper with all the dough
If you take a shit they want to know
And if you’re gonna fall, they won’t be around, y’all
So you still wanna do the show business?”

Valentine’s Playlist – 10 songs about love

You can choose to not celebrate this divisive holiday or write a 5,000-word essay to each of your friends explaining how great they are, à la Leslie Knope in the Galentine’s Day episode of Parks and Recreation.

Personally, I love Valentine’s Day, mostly because there’s loads of pinks and reds in shop displays everywhere and it’s unbearably sentimental and tacky. I wrote something for The Debrief last year about why it’s legit OK to like V-Day (even if you’re single).

Here are 10 love songs to swoon over this week. Obviously, there was an unreal amount of choice – to whittle it down to just 10 songs about love was difficult – but these are some solid contenders.

Enjoy it! Love each other!

Listen to it on Spotify here.