Thank You For the Music, Dad...

Since today's Father's Day and I don't often praise my Dad (it goes to his head!), I thought I'd swallow my pride and dedicate this blog post to the man who's responsible for my biggest love in life: music.

This piece first appeared in the My Passion slot amongst the business pages of the Yorkshire Post.

Copywriting is nothing if not fast-paced, so how better to tackle deadlines head-on than by firing up Spotify and hitting ‘Play’ on your favourite music?

I won’t go as far as reckoning I was singing almost as soon as I learned to talk, or tapping my toe in the womb, but what I will say is this: music and me go back a long way.

In the late 70s and early 80s my Dad was a DJ and, when I was old enough, I’d be by his side as he selected the week’s chart hits at an independent record shop called Ear ‘Ere. And in the style of John Cusack and Jack Black’s characters in High Fidelity, the blokes behind the counter could tell you the name of pretty much any song going. Sometimes, all they’d need is a poorly recollected hum of a lyric or two – and lo and behold, they’d be able to place the track and pop it in a plastic carrier bag within seconds.


I have my Dad’s love of music to thank for much of my career to date; without intending to, he’d influenced my tastes – and a lot of what I listen to today is his doing. From the hits of the late, great Bowie, to Cat Stevens, Stevie Wonder, Average White Band and the less mainstream Babe Ruth (check out their track ‘Elusive’!); you name it, I knew the words to them.

Music was such a part of my life that at 21, I convinced the then-editor of a weekly newspaper I wrote for to give me a column talking about – and reviewing – some of my favourite bands. It quickly led to a stint freelancing for NME magazine and I was lucky enough to head backstage at some of the country’s biggest festivals, interviewing the likes of Stereophonics, Bloc Party and Ocean Colour Scene.

vinyl records

Before long, I was promoting and organising gigs myself. And guess who’d DJ at those mini concerts in my small (but musically very happening) hometown of Lancaster? My Dad was the obvious choice, his record collection a real talking point amongst the twenty and thirty-something gig-goers who, like me, loved the chance to chew someone’s ear off when it came to their favourite bands.

While today I’ve turned to copywriting over music journalism, the tracks of my younger years still get me through the day. I rarely go a morning without logging onto Spotify – and while I love that it instantly connects you to the music you love via its handy ‘Radio’ function, you really can’t beat the sound – or the nostalgia – linked to vinyl records. Now, that’s definitely something to sing (or toe tap) about!

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Why The Internet Isn't Always That Helpful

When it comes to winning at life, the Internet has your back like a trusty pal or a well-worn but cosy cardigan.

Want directions to a much-raved-about pub? Ask Google. In a hurry and need to ring a local taxi firm? Do a quick search and voila! It even helps us freelance copywriters find those all-important facts and 'fillers' to pop into our articles and features.

When you really think about it, there isn't anything that the Internet hasn't made better. Or more convenient.

Or is there.....?

Yep. Just like that trusty old pal, the Internet may have let you (or anyone else, for that matter) down at least once. That age-old Sunday afternoon pastime - the pub quiz - is a prime example of the Internet, in all its smart Alec brilliantness, putting a dampener on things.

Okay, so the Internet doesn't make life less convenient all that often really. But in the case of the humble pub quiz, the lure of a sneaky Google search can take all the fun out of what should be a jolly good time lording it over your mates because you're more knowledgeable than they are. Chortle, chortle.

So, cue Leeds-born entrepreneur Mark Walsh (pictured far left, below) with his Google-proof interactive digital quiz platform, KwizzBit.

During a special launch night (organised by my good pal and former work colleague, Ellie of MacComms PR) Mark was able to showcase this pretty exciting new technology at Leeds' Editor's Draught pub - and what a launch night it was!

Essentially, it was about getting the word out about KwizzBit, which is a fastest-finger first quiz you play on your smart phone, but it was also a great opportunity to mingle with some pretty clever folks, too.

The fastest finger first element ensures there's no cheating, with a leader board kept (and updated!) on a central big screen in the pub. Making for an exciting quiz (you could actually see which team(s) were pipping you to the post as each answer became apparent) the technology is clearly very clever - and fool proof.

Grabbing a quick chat with Mark before the event, it was clear how passionate he was about this new venture. He's already founded a popular music-based bingo quiz, so it was pretty obvious that KwizzBit was going to be a hit (if you'll pardon the pun), too. And it was!


There was much hilarity as eager quiz players jabbed their smart phones in a bid to be the first to get the answer correct - and I'm certainly now a convert to mobiles being whipped out during socials down the pub.

Well done Mark and the MacComms team for pulling off a fantastic event. And cheers to Ellie for putting together a really gorgeous goodie bag, too. I enjoyed having a rummage through it when I got in after our quiz-based victory (we aced the music round, dontchaknow!); it features all sorts of lovely treats, including a candle from LubyLu and some delicious cold coffee from Artemis Cold Brew. Ta!

You Know You're a Freelancer When...

... despite the short commute from the shower to the study, no less than two cups of coffee are required before computer switch on commences

... you find yourself wondering if it's socially acceptable to invite the postie in for a cuppa and chat. All work and no interaction makes Lauren a very dull copywriter

... you convince yourself that 90-minute lunch break is actually conducive to a more productive afternoon...

...ditto that sugar-laced slice of Vicky sponge cake

... the prospect of slipping on yet another pair of well-worn (but oh so comfy) jogging bottoms is more appealing than it probably should be

... your parents still don't understand what you do day-to-day...

...and sometimes, you're not 100% sure you do either: SEO, ROI, B2B, GA, PPC. Acronyms are the new black, apparently. start the day with great intentions (early morning gym session, anyone?), before deciding you'll go 'after you've smashed that deadline'. Only to abandon the idea in favour of Dinner Date and a second slice of sponge cake.