Andrew Laming has fired up after Anthony Albanese held a press conference outside his bayside office.
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HYPED: London’s Dry Cleaning are, from left, Nick Buxton (drums), Florence Shaw (vocals), Tom Dowse (guitar) and Lewis Maynard (bass).
TASMANIAN tiger sightings feel more common these days than the likes of esteemed US music website Pitchfork gushing praise for an English rock band.
Yet that happened earlier this month when Pitchfork published an 8.6/10 review for New Long Leg, the debut album from London post-punk band Dry Cleaning. It came complete with a “best new music” tag, no less.
However, Pitchfork aren’t alone. The music press on either side of the Atlantic have been captivated by Dry Cleaning’s fresh take on tense and angular post-punk – in the vein of Joy Division and Public Image Ltd – mixed with frontwoman Florence Shaw’s spoken word delivery about the banalities of life.
NME gave the album four stars, while The Guardian stamped its unwavering approval with a five-star review. A debut entry at No.4 on the UK album chart was further proof Dry Cleaning’s appeal extends beyond the fourth estate.
“It’s a really crazy thing the way it’s gone down,” Dry Cleaning drummer Nick Buxton says from London over Zoom.
“It’s really easy to brush it off and not let it go to your head, which is important, but it’s good to savour these moments at the same time as it may not happen again.”
Dry Cleaning’s four members are circumspect about New Long Leg’s success due to the winding road they’ve travelled to this moment.
Each are in their 30s and long-term friends. Buxton, guitarist Tom Dowse and bassist Lewis Maynard have worked together and apart in a variety of musical projects, with minimal success, while Shaw is a visual artist and was a university lecturer until recently.
In 2018 Buxton, Dowse and Maynard were searching for a vocalist and eventually convinced a hesitant Shaw to audition. Unable to sing and without any musical experience, Shaw began to read snippets of poetry over the music that she’d compiled from random thoughts, overheard conversations and YouTube comments.
Something clicked. The dynamic and constantly shifting music meshed beautifully with Shaw’s steady delivery, which oozes equal amounts of humour and melancholy.
Soon after they released their first single Magic Of Meghan written about Shaw’s admiration for Meghan Markle at the time of her marriage to Prince Harry.
It was followed by the EPs Sweet Princess and Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks, both in 2019. Since then the hype has only continued to build for Dry Cleaning, in spite of the pandemic.
“It also helps you to contextualise it a bit,” Dowse says of Dry Cleaning’s late success.
“I don’t think we’ll be the kind of people who hang on every word of the press. It’s favourable now, it may not always be. But I think we’ll keep ourselves centred on what really matters and that’s the four of us and our relationship and keep it nice and enjoy making the music.
“We’re already writing again and that’s the main thing. We’re not sitting around soaking in the reflective glow of our glory, it’s just back to work.”
New Long Leg was recorded over two weeks by PJ Harvey producer John Parish during the UK’s summer of COVID at the famed Welsh studio Rockfield, where Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory was made.
It marks a dramatic upgrade in quality and execution from their EPs. The guitar and basslines are more melodic and Shaw has added greater rhythmic phrasing into her vocals like a modern John Cooper Clarke.
Dry Cleaning – Scratchcard Lanyard
Dowse says creating space is essential to Dry Cleaning’s sound.
“There’s always that emphasis on push and pull,” he says. “When to build something up, when to break it down again and when to hold off and when to go for it. That’s the real challenge.
“You see the same thing in hip hop. Really good hip hop production doesn’t overdo it. It doesn’t crowd the MC, but at the same time the MC knows when to hold off and let the beat do the talking.”
Despite the lack of live gigs, it’s been an exciting past year for British rock music. Idles, Shame and Ireland’s Fontaines D.C have released quality albums and suddenly guitar music is back in vogue in the Old Dart.
I think it’s taken guitar music time to respond to grime.
Tom Dowse – Dry Cleaning guitarist
“There’s always been bands coming up and doing stuff, it’s just not been the same amount of exposure and emphasis in the last 20-odd years,” Dowse says.
“We had a big explosion in the post-punk revival in the early 2000s and unfortunately not a lot of good bands came from that and lasted very long.
“As a reaction to that, people moved away from it or the attention moved away from it. Probably deservedly so. Particularly in the UK over the past 10 years, grime has been given much more attention which it totally deserved.
“It’s much more relevant. I think it’s taken guitar music time to respond to grime. To take the different influences and become relevant again.”
Dry Cleaning’s album New Long Leg is out now.
This story Dry Cleaning standing tall after debut’s hyped leg up
first appeared on Newcastle Herald.
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UK post-punk band Dry Cleaning aren’t letting media acclaim muddy their attention
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For many, the media is a thing of mystery. Why are some brands and businesses always in the news? Why are some people constantly quoted? Where do news outlets get their stories?
Some people wrongly assume huge sums of money are exchanged every time something appears in the press. Certainly, some content could be paid placement (it should be marked in small print as “Advertisement” or “Sponsored Content”) but otherwise, editorial is independent of advertising.
So how does it work? News outlets and publishers get their stories from a multitude of places. Investigative reporters dig up stories. Editors brief their staff to follow breaking news. And individuals and businesses, directly and via their PR agents, pitch their ideas to the press. In fact, 2020 research by US creative agency Fractl found 57 per cent of top-tier publishers receive between 50 and 500 pitches per week.
I asked PR practitioners and working journalists to join with me in sharing one tip each on how to successfully pitch a story to the media.
Help freelancers help you
Nina Hendy, Freelance Business and Finance
journalists are a completely different beast to in-house journalists, which can
very much be to your advantage. Freelancers are self-employed, and the time
they spend wading through their inbox is time they could be spending earning
money, so you’ve got to make it worthwhile.
want to be offering unique, exclusive content to their editors. Take a look at
some of a freelancer’s previous work and understand who they write for and what
they like to cover.
A pitch isn’t “look at me, write about me” but rather “have you noticed this new trend, it doesn’t seem to have been covered, here’s my thoughts as one of the people you’d interview for it, you should write a story on it”. That sort of pitch takes time but will definitely fly.
Beverley Head, Freelance Writer and
Write the headline and first paragraph of the story you are hoping might appear, then ask yourself – is that realistic? Would this journalist write that? Would this publication/website/program really be keen to publish or broadcast that? If you honestly believe that “yes, they would” – then go ahead and pitch. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
Make your media pitch publish-ready
Andrew Birmingham, Editor-in-Chief
and Associate Publisher, Which-50
The more publish-ready a media pitch is, the more likely it is to get run. Pitches that are full of jargon, adjectives, adverbs (or worse trademark symbols!), and full of the kind of technical details beloved by your staff but by no one else, are just too much hard work.
For any pitch, apply the old news rule of thumb: make the first sentence the first most important point, the second sentence the second most important point, and the third sentence the third most important point, and you have done half their work for them. Bullet points with key issues are also good.
Know the audience
Nicole Schulz, Group Practice Lead,
Sefiani Communications Group
Your focus must be on the audience first and what they would want to know. The goal is to find that perfect intersection between what you want to say as a business and what the audience may want to hear from you, to create an interesting media angle. The journalist or producer you are pitching to will need to quickly understand how the story is providing value to their audience and delivering something new.
Do your research on the media outlet and
the specific journalist you are speaking to. Develop a strong understanding of
the types of stories they cover and tailor your pitch specifically for them and
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It is alleged on Thursday night, a fight broke out between Yannis Leulusoo, 16, and another 16-year-old boy who was known to him, before he was allegedly stabbed in the stomach.
Police said a passer-by found Mr Leulusoo lying on the ground at Suncorp Plaza.
Emergency crews were called to the city and he was taken to hospital, but he died a short time later.
On Sunday, detectives raided two homes in northern Brisbane before arresting the 16-year-old boy and charging him with murder.
A 17-year-old boy was also found at another home and charged with accessory after the fact to murder.
On Tuesday, the pair faced closed hearings in the Childrens Court in Brisbane.
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Daniel Ricciardo’s bad blood with Formula 1 executives is raging again after a social media post that left the Aussie driver shaking his head.
The McLaren driver this week hit out at senior figures in Formula 1 over the inhumane glorification of crashes in ongoing promotion of the sport.
The 31-year-old led the contempt directed at Formula 1 following a series of replays being shown of former Haas driver Romain Grosjean during his frightening fireball crash at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
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The former Renault and Red Bull racer was scathing in the aftermath of Grosjean’s crash, saying it was “disgusting” that the live TV broadcast continued to show a loop of replays of the scary incident during the hour-long break before the re-start of the race.
Ricciardo’s outburst resulted in him in December agreeing to meet with Formula 1 director of marketing and communications Ellie Norman to reach a peaceful resolution.
That had appeared to be the end of it, but an interview has now revealed Ricciardo is far from finished in his push to clean up the sport from its own employees.
Ricciardo has told UK lifestyle magazine Square Mile Formula 1 is still habitually crossing the line with its internal coverage of crashes and on-track drama.
He highlights a social media post from last year where the official F1 account promoted crashes as some of the biggest moments of the 2020 season, which was famously derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think last year, F1 put on their social channels, like, ‘top 10 moments of the year’ or something, and eight of the ten were crashes,” he said.
“I was just like, you guys are f***ing idiots. Maybe 12-year-old kids want to see that kind of content, and that’s cool because they don’t know any better, but we’re not kids. Just do better, guys. Do better than that.”
He says in the interview the trending focus on drama has also been propelled in the highly-acclaimed Netflix documentary series Drive To Survive.
“I think the first season of Drive To Survive was awesome,” he said.
“I spend some time in the States, and I noticed it literally from one trip to the next.
“It was the first time I started being recognised and people referencing that TV series. So it certainly did us wonders, even – not to talk social media – but numbers on social media went nuts. It did a lot for us and the sport.
F1 world baffled over new Lewis vision
“I mean the second season, there were some episodes or parts where I feel they forced it a little bit.
“They tried to create a bit of a rivalry between me and [Carlos] Sainz and it wasn’t really there. Like, he’s no more a rival than anyone else. There wasn’t any personal grudge with him, but I think [Netflix] wanted something, so a lot of questions led with asking about Carlos.
“Maybe no one noticed, but for me, I was like, he’s fine. I’ve probably got other guys that I dislike, you know, as opposed to Carlos… I mean, he dresses like a 60 year old, but otherwise he’s alright.”
Ricciardo’s comments strike a very different tune to the one that followed his initial meeting with the sport’s marketing boss.
“I think she was very understanding and appreciative, and I think also accepted my concerns as well,” he said at the time.
“She didn’t push back, I think she was trying to listen and learn as well, how they could maybe do things differently. But she also talked me through the reasons why they broadcast what they did.”
It came after he gave the administration a public slap in Bahrain last year.
“The way the incident of Grosjean was broadcast over and over, the replays over and over, it was completely disrespectful and inconsiderate for his family, for all of our families watching,” he said.
“We’re going to go race again in an hour and every time we look on the TV it’s a ball of fire and his car’s cut in half.
“I mean we can see that tomorrow, we don’t need to see it today.
“For me, it was entertainment and they’re playing with all of our emotions and I thought it was pretty disgusting.”
Grosjean famously escaped the crash and suffered only burns to his hands.
Formula 1 at the time defended the decision to replay the incident, saying the footage only rolled again when officials were certain Grosjean and the marshals who came to his aid were all safe.
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NAIROBI (Reuters) – Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Tuesday she would lift a ban on all media in the country, a radical shift from a press crackdown implemented by her late predecessor John Magufuli.
Under Magufuli, who Hassan said died of heart disease at 61, rights groups said press freedom had nosedived. He had shut down newspapers and websites, jailed journalists and warned them that there were limits to their press freedom.
“I have heard there are media that were banned. Reopen them, we should not give them room to say we are shrinking press freedom,” the president told officials at the State House in the capital Dar es Salaam.
“We should not ban the media by force. Reopen them, and we should ensure they follow the rules,” she added.
Last June, the government revoked the license of the opposition-leaning newspaper Tanzania Daima, accused of spreading false information and violating journalism ethics.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said last year that since March 2019, Tanzanian authorities suspended at least three other media outlets.
Some activists welcomed Hassan’s decision to lift the media ban but urged her to amend laws stifling press freedom.
“Well put, however, repressive laws have to be repealed…,” tweeted Maria Sarungi, a renowned activist and director of Kwanza TV, one of the media organizations banned under Magufuli.
(Reporting by Nairobi newsroom; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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Donald Trump will be back on social media in the next few months with his own platform which his senior adviser describes as “redefining the social media game”.
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Former President Donald Trump’s senior advisor Jason Miller said Sunday on Fox News Channels “MediaBuzz” that Trump will be launching a social media platform in the next few months.
Host Howard Kurtz asked, “Donald Trump obviously has been booted off Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, which were a great megaphone for him. Does he plan to get back on social media perhaps with some new outfit?”
Miller said, “I do think we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media and probably about two or three months here with his own platform. This is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media. It’s going to completely redefine the game. Everyone will be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does. But it will be his own platform.”
Kurtz asked, “Just to follow up, will this be a platform that the former president will create himself, working with another company? Obviously, he’ll be starting from scratch. He won’t start out with 88 million Twitter followers.”
Miller said, “I can’t go much further than what I was able to just share. I can say it will be big once he starts. There have been a lot of high-powered meetings he has been having at Mar-a-Lago with teams of folks that have been coming in. I got to tell you it’s not just one company that’s approached the president. There have been numerous companies. I think the president knows what direction he wants to head here. This new platform is going to be big, and everyone wants him. He’s going to bring millions and millions, tens of millions of people to this new platform.”
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England head coach Eddie Jones has launched an extraordinary attack on critics in the media, who he claimed were infecting his players with “rat poison”.
England, who face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) in their final Six Nations match, came in for heavy criticism after their opening-round defeat by Scotland and the 40-24 reverse against Wales which ended their title defence. But Jones’s team have since bounced back, beating France 23-20 in a display lauded as their best since the 2019 World Cup.
Jones makes just one change from that starting XV, with Elliot Daly replacing the injured Henry Slade at outside centre. That represents Daly’s first international start in what Jones calls his “preferred position” in more than four years.
Daly was among a number of Saracens players who started the championship slowly after coming with no game time and was replaced at fullback by Max Malins against France. Asked how Daly’s confidence has been affected over the past few weeks, Jones lashed out.
“I’ve never seen confidence walk through the door, so I don’t know what confidence is,” Jones said. “I don’t think there is any such thing as confidence, you either think rightly or you think wrongly, and the wrong time you start to listen to the poison that’s written in the media, that rat poison gets into players’ heads. We try to keep it out of their head. We try to spray all that rat poison that you try to put in and get it out of their head, so we are always working hard to keep it out of their heads. It keeps me busy, mate.”
Many of the faults highlighted by the media, such as England’s attacking game and discipline, have subsequently been mentioned by the players themselves. As wing Jonny May said this week of the Scotland defeat, “it shined a light on the fact that our attack wasn’t good enough”. Jones, meanwhile, invited two referees to training after his side conceded 14 penalties against Wales.
Earlier in the press conference, Jones admitted Daly was off-colour earlier in the tournament, along with other leading lights.
“His form wasn’t very good at the start of the tournament, was it?” Jones said. “We had a number of players like that, he wasn’t the only one. All those players have had to dig deep and find themselves, as the team has.”
On the bench, Jones has brought in Harlequins centre Joe Marchant, who was only called up as cover for Slade at the start of the week, ahead of Wasps’ Paolo Odogwu. That means the uncapped Odogwu will have spent the entire championship in England’s training camp without playing a minute of Test rugby.
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Fears that social media and texting are destroying children’s ability to spell are unfounded, according to Sunrise host David Koch who says screens can boost their skills.
And while the Koch clan has inherited their patriarch’s passion for spelling, reading and writing, the family’s multimedia habits can help rather than harm a child’s language development.
“I don’t think it’s a degradation,” Koch says. “It’s a newer generation putting their spin on words, just the same as the words we use now are different to 300 years ago. Different words describe different (times). Shortening of words, that abbreviation of words in text – I don’t think it’s anything to fear.”
It’s a reassuring perspective for parents and educators still digesting the results of our exclusive survey by personal finance app Humaniti, which shows just how concerned Australians are about the impact of technology on our children’s spelling.
While 97 per cent rate spelling as important, 86 per cent of those surveyed feel social media is negatively impacting how well kids spell, while text and chat messaging is seen as having a negative impact by an overwhelming 88 per cent.
SMARTdaily can also exclusively reveal 77 per cent fear poor spelling will hamper a child’s job prospects.
But educational psychologist Professor John Munro says most children switch and adjust spelling and language to suit the context.
“It happens that the language that is used in SMS messages is typical of the language that three to five-year-olds use to communicate,” Prof Munro says. “If you look at the sort of things that are said, most of what approximates sentences in SMS comprise one event. We’re not unpacking ideas of history or maths or science or the best way of growing vegetables or being economically sensible. You couldn’t use SMS language in those situations – it just wouldn’t work.”
Koch says the launch of the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee aligns with his proudest gift to his family: passing on his love of language.
He says social apps and multimedia technology have actually enriched his family’s communication – better yet, it’s happened specifically around spelling, reading and books.
Granddaughter Lila, 9, is reading Deborah Abela’s novel The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee when SMARTdaily visits and admits a keen interest in spelling, but it’s a family-wide obsession that owes a debt to a fictional orphan.
“The reason I got into Harry Potter was my youngest daughter started reading (it) and her three elder siblings took the mickey out of her for reading something about wizards, so I read the first Harry Potter with her,” Koch says.
“We then read every Harry Potter together when it came out – she’s now 32 – and we went to every Harry Potter movie together. It was a bond we had.”
“One of the loveliest memories of (my granddaughter) Matilda (and her family was when) they were all living in Vietnam for many years, and Hong Kong, so she started reading Harry Potter,” Koch says. “My youngest daughter who now lives in London, me in Sydney, Matilda in Hong Kong, we would have our own Harry Potter WhatsApp chat discussing the books as Matilda read them. So that was three generations and it was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.”
Use it, don’t lose it
Social media is here to stay. The internet is a vast portal of information and social media platforms can help support a child’s growing spelling skills.
1. YouTube offers free phonics videos and reams of footage from televised spelling bee shows, including Ten’s popular 2015-2016 show The Great Australian
2. Instagram has abundant accounts of interest, including America’s flagship spelling bee, the Scripps National Spelling Bee. @scrippsnationalspellingbee
3. Twitter boasts many children’s authors who have an active presence – including Koch’s
fellow celebrity speller Matt Stanton – sharing news, articles and funny observations. @m_stanton
The Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee is a free online competition open to students from Year 3 to Year 8. Teachers and schools can register at kidsnews.com.au
Originally published as Kochie: Texting is good for kids
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