Rock band Spear of Destiny set to play Nuneaton gig with release of new album

By Courtney Stevens

Spear of Destiny set to play Queens Hall during UK tour (Image: Publicity picture)

By Courtney Stevens

Spear of Destiny are set to play at Queens Hall in Nuneaton on Sunday, December 4, as part of their UK tour.

The tour is to mark the release of their new album Ghost Population which was released on November 18.

The 23-date live tour kicks off in Leeds today (NOV22), includes Nottingham Rescue Rooms on December 13 and finishes in Manchester on December 17.

Ghost Population will be the band’s 15th studio album and it covers a range of themes from personal to political plus it covers the evolution of the band from past to present.

The tour will give audiences a chance to hear songs from the new album live for the first time.

Since reforming in the late 1990s, ringleader Kirk Brandon has supervised a major reissue campaign of the band’s back catalogue, playing sell out shows at venues such as London’s 100 club and Manchester’s Ritz, joining festival line ups and relentlessly writing new music.

Next year will mark 40 years since the formation of the band in 1983 and since then their punk-influenced power rock has gained a following in the UK.

Spear of Destiny have had a changing line up through the years, but this tour will feature their longest serving line up to date, including Adrian Portas (New Model Army/Sex Gang Children), Craig Adams (Sisters of Mercy/The Cult/The Mission) and Phil Martini (Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind), as well as Clive Osborne on saxophone and Steve Allen-Jones on keys.

Tickets are available here: https://kirkbrandon.com/shows

UK tour dates for Spear of Destiny 2022

TV Priest live at Firebug, Leicester: a raw, orchestral post-punk trip

Review by Shaikha Rahimi

Gone are the days where rock gigs are only about hair whipping and top-of-the-lungs screaming. From chest patting to the lyrics to swinging the microphone stand across the stage, Charlie Drinkwater draws a line between the audience and the band through emotion. And, above all, by being quintessentially TV Priest.

TV Priest’s debut album showcased who they are as a band as well as their versatility, and their second album hammered down their sound. Uppers was an unapologetic political statement and the predeceasing album seems to have traces of that, too. The earsplitting guitars and drums combined with Drinkwater’s vulnerable and honest lyricism created juxtaposition like no other.

Drinkwater, whose artistry is not limited to music, was profoundly immersed in the lyricism throughout the show. He did not stop at satisfying the audience’s ears; he brought the visuals into it. His stage presence is theatrical in a sense, and he almost innately feels the urge to act out his lyrics. “Life only comes in flashes of greatness,” he exclaimed, with his hands over his head. 

TV Priest on stage at Firebug. Image by Shaikha Rahimi.

One Easy Thing, one of TV Priest’s most known tracks, had to make it to the setlist, and the band’s ability to immerse the audience into the lyricism shone through once again as Drinkwater said: “And when you used to laugh, rooms used to open for you .. like a mother weeping.” 

He does it once again as he repeatedly patted his chest while building up the crescendo: “I need to sleep, so very, very deeply. But I am on the call, and I am waiting.” This moment was the highlight of the night. TV Priest put on a show that is well-rounded and strikes a balance between theatrical elements and rock music. I would not have been surprised to see curtains closing the show. 

With the size of Firebug’s venue in mind, it already felt like an intimate gig. But Drinkwater took the artist-fan interaction up a notch by sitting at the edge of the stage during Limehouse Cut, one of the many profound moments during the show. Contrary to the studio version of the track where Drinkwater’s vocals are low-pitched and sonorous, he howled and quavered: “Won’t you follow, follow me?” into the crowd without a microphone. Drinkwater is certainly au fait with sustaining fan interactions. “You can find us around our merch stall after the show selling T-shirts to pay for petrol,” he said mid-show. It seems transparency is not limited to his lyricism.

For the audience, this is a rollercoaster with consistent highs and no lows. It encapsulates meaningful lyricism, with zestful stage presence, and timeless sound. Drinkwater’s commitment to the vulnerability of his lyricism carried the audience through a plethora of emotions. He was clearly submerged in the guitar, bass, and drums. You could just see it in his face, and you cannot help but surrender to the intensity of their marvellous crescendos. Nothing held TV Priest back. This show was incised with energy, sensational vocals, and unparalleled stage presence.

The support act were London-based alternative-rock band Modern Woman. Their music is hard to label and is mysterious in its intent: post-folk-meets-art-rock. The layered instrumental excellence of the violin – yes, a violin – and the electric guitar with the rhythmic cymbals created a goosebump-inducing sound.

But it was TV Priest’s night: a show that felt like a raw, orchestral post-punk trip that gave the audience a thrilling adventure that was all about screeching guitars, pounding drums, and authenticity.

TV Priest’s current European tour takes in France, Belgium and Switzerland and concludes in Köln, Germany on Friday, November 25. Buy tickets at https://www.tvpriest.com.

DSU helps students in Leicester celebrate world mental health day

By Courtney Stevens

Monday 10th October was world mental health day and DSU planned a Walk to Talk event for students to talk about mental health and wellbeing.

The event involved a walk around Leicester with games and free pizza also involved to allow students to get outside in nature and meet new people.

Aliya Khan and Sarah Underhill getting ready for the event.

Speaking about the event, Sarah Underhill, the DSU advice and well-being coordinator said: “With it being the start of the academic year we wanted to do something that would introduce students to Leicester and provide a platform for people to get to know others.

“We want to support students who may be having a mental health difficulty or concern and signpost who those students can talk to whilst at university.”

After the impact of covid, the DSU is looking forward to holding more events to allow people to come together in person.

Aliya Khan, the DSU welfare executive added: “It’s important for students to have these social events to meet up with new people because over the last three years students haven’t had that aspect of university life, so it’s important to get back in.”

Speaking about what made them take on the role, Sarah said: “Once I graduated, I knew I wanted to do something within the education sector and this role comprised of everything I was interested in.

“We can provide academic advice for students whilst also doing outreach in regards to the psychology side of things, so it just seemed like the perfect role.”

Aliya added: “I really liked the idea of helping students and providing that support whilst they’re at university because I feel like it’s important to have that.

“We are kind of the bridge between the university and the students, making sure that information between the university and students is communicated back.”

Walk to Talk is one of many events the DSU has planned for this year, and it has teased about upcoming ideas in the pipeline for students to get involved with that they are in the process of finalising.

Ottawa to go: De Montfort University journalism student swaps Leicester for a taste of life as an undergraduate in Canada

As her DMU classmates roll up for the first journalism classes of their final year at university this week, Grace Cushnie will still be fast asleep in bed.

She has a pretty good excuse for skipping the next few workshops though, and all the ones that follow. Grace is spending the next year studying overseas – at Carleton University in Ottawa, more than 3,250 miles away from Leicester.

She’ll be writing about her experiences as a British student in the Canadian capital in a regular column for Leicestershire Press. And her first Letter from Canada starts with stormy beginnings.

Grace Cushnie at Carleton University
Cushnie number: Grace at Carleton University

I left home on August 21 to trial my new life in Canada as an exchange student, on a short holiday with my mum.

Leaving was as horrible as I’d imagined. I put my life at De Montfort University on pause. I left behind my best friends, my family and my dog, and I don’t think the tears stopped for the majority of our seven-hour flight. But, we landed anyhow, and my new life began.

Walking out of the airport, we were met with the biggest storm I had ever seen. The sunset held a dusky pink over the road, and rain lashed so hard you could hardly hear the taxis driving by. The thunder and lightning were something I’d never experienced, not in that way. The air was so fresh. It was throwing ‘new’ and ‘different’ right in my face, but in such an exciting way that I couldn’t do anything but embrace it. We sat and watched that thunderstorm for a while, the craziness of the airport rushing around us.

Eventually, we made our way to the taxi rank, where we were taken to our hotel on Rue Saint-Dennis, Montreal.

Montreal was our first stop on our little travel around Canada. It was beautiful. It showed us the calmness of Canada. Not one person ever seemed to be rushing, and everyone was friendly. The only way it would compare to England is if the whole population was on Xanax. It is such a happier place.

Smells like poutine spirit: “Diabetes on a plate, but actually pretty tasty,” says Grace.

It is also where we first tried poutine, Canada’s national dish. Chips with cheese curds and gravy, with a vegan version for me. A definite diabetes on a plate, but actually pretty tasty.

We tried our first Canadian Tim Hortons, or ‘Timmies’ as it’s known locally, and I must say it would beat Leicester’s any day of the week.

We also accidentally wondered into an indigenous market which, while interesting to see the culture, scarred me with the number of dead, stuffed bears. Including cubs.

We spent those first few days in Montreal learning a bit about the culture, figuring out what coins what (it took a while to understand that 10 cents are a smaller coin than 5), and buying too many souvenirs, including a few moose dog toys.

On the 24th, we set off extremely early to go on our coach trip to Toronto. We met Luke, our lovely but strange tour leader who told us all off several times over the two-day trip. Believe me – you do not want to be late on his time! I’ve never been scolded harder than when I turned up three minutes late with a coffee in my hand. He was great entertainment for me and my mum. 

However, he did take us to some amazing spots.

Thousand Islands addressing: celebrity home-spotting on a boat trip along the St Lawrence River

We first went on a boat tour around the Thousand Islands which was absolutely beautiful. The mansions along the coast home to several celebrities. Next was Canada’s biggest aquarium, and then the CN Tower. Trust me, nothing makes you feel as small in a big country than the view from that tower. It was built to look over the railway, but the view scales the whole of Toronto. Being up there makes you feel like you are on top of the world.

Selfie-employed: the view from the CN Tower
Tick the bucket (list): Grace and her mum at Niagara Falls

The next day oriented around Niagara Falls, something that has been on my mum’s bucket list for years.

We started off having a sky view of the waterfalls, and later got absolutely soaked on a boat trip which went right up to them.

It isn’t often you see such a beautiful sight so close. Well, through what felt like lashing rain, that you could hardly see through. I won’t lie, it was actually easier to see from further away, but I wouldn’t have missed it. It really was an experience.

We eventually made it to Ottawa, the home of Carleton University, where I will be staying for the best part of the year.

The journey from Montreal to Ottawa was two hours long, and the views were amazing. One thing I’d never seen before, however, was a groundhog. They’re everywhere here. The first time I saw one was on that coach, and, while driving onto a motorway, I saw one on a tiny patch of grass in the middle of the roads. I slapped my sleeping mother on the shoulder and told her there was a beaver, which she obviously didn’t believe. We saw more after, and we both genuinely believed there was beavers just relaxing in the middle of the roads, no where near water. We later learned about groundhogs.

They also have black squirrels here which, like the groundhogs, are everywhere. They’re the equivalent to rabbits in England, just a lot more interesting.

Beanz meanz … wait, what?

We visited our first Walmart’s, which is full of very different things than Tesco’s. We found maple syrup beans, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything more Canadian while I’ve been here.

We looked around the parliament buildings, and went up and down a stair case which must’ve had at least 500 steps that, while beautiful, were a killer for the legs. 

We had a look around my university. I think it must span about 10 miles. It is massive.

We found my accommodation and, of course, broke in to have a look around. The most we made it to was up and down the elevators because all the doors were locked, but my mum found enough comfort in knowing which floor I was on.

We spent our last night together in the hotel room then, inevitably, the time came that my mum had to leave me.

I ordered her the uber, and we spent our last few minutes outside the hotel in tears. We waved as she was driven away to the airport.

I spent my last few days in the hotel, waiting for my move-in date to come around. I binged my comfort series, The Gilmore Girls, and waited for my biggest adventure to come around.


Eyes front! See the shortlist for the 2022 magazine cover prize showdown for Journalism students at De Montfort University

The front-runners in the DMU Journalism magazine cover prize 2022

It’s the clash of the covers, the grapple of the glossies, the melee of the mags – and now the shortlist has been revealed for the annual magazine prize contested by Journalism students at De Montfort University in Leicester.

Students on both the single- and joint-honours Journalism programmes at DMU create magazines and websites in a final-year project which tests the writing and design skills they have gained during their studies. Each year, the best covers go head to head for a cash prize.

And these are the front runners in the 2022 competition, which is being judged by Joe Brewin, the deputy editor of FourFourTwo, the world’s biggest football magazine.

The five glossies in this year’s clash of the covers are:

Adore, a monthly women’s lifestyle magazine with “stories from underrepresented and misrepresented groups”, created and written by Beth Bailey, Abbie Beresford, Fiora Flinton, Kira Gibson and Shantelle Gondo.

GenFem, a women’s lifestyle magazine aimed at an audience of 18-25-year-olds, created and written by Maryam Goncalves, Morgana Ribeiro and Maykel Valladares.

Ocio, a sports magazine that takes readers away from the mainstream, created and written by Thomas Carter, Rashaad Mangera, Joshua Solomon, Holly Taylor and Luke Williamson.

Taboob, a convention-busting lifestyle, health, fashion and entertainment magazine aimed mainly at women, created and written by Jaz Cartwright, Yannick Doualehi, Victoria Gavin, Megan McCluskey, Kiran Munder, Deborah Paul-Enahoro and Hannah Smith.

Twenty One, a Gen-Z style, culture and entertainment magazine, created and written by Arabelle Akinfe, Samantha Johnston, Seema Mian and Lauren Sadler.

Journalism programme leader, Brian Dodds, said: “Once again, I’m struck by the high standard of the magazines produced by our talented Journalism students at DMU. I’m looking forward to seeing who wins – but well done to them all.”

The winners will be announced next month and the members of the successful group will share a £200 prize. You can see the winner of last year’s prize here.