Spontaneous Pop Star Heroics

Liam Payne pulling his friend from a burning balcony; Pink comforting a young girl mid-concert and stopping a fight that had broken out in the audience; and Justin Timberlake administering the Heimlich manoeuvre on his friend choking on a peanut. These are all stories of pop starts who might be some people’s heroes for their musical abilities, but have proven themselves to be heroes in emergency situations too.


The Grenfell Tower – Bridge Over Troubled Water charity single

At least 79 people are now missing, presumed dead, following the fire in west London at the Grenfell Tower. A charity single organised by Simon Cowell was released on Wednesday with all the money raised going to those affected by the fire. The music video is very emotional and gives you a glimpse of the suffering endured.

The original song Bridge Over Troubled Water was performed by Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon wrote the song about providing comfort to a person in need. It started as a modest gospel hymn but became more dramatic as he put it together. Speaking in the documentary The Making of Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon said, “I have no idea where it came from. It came all of the sudden. It was one of the most shocking moments in my songwriting career. I remember thinking, ‘This is considerably better than I usually write.” It is one of the most covered songs in history…


Stormzy : ‘Yeah, I don’t know where to begin so I’ll start by saying I refuse to forget you

I refuse to be silenced

I refuse to neglect you

That’s for every last soul up in Grenfell even though I’ve never even met you

That could have been my mum’s house, or that could have been my nephew

Now that could have been me up there

Waving my white plain T up there

All my friends on the ground trying a see up there

I just hope that you rest and you’re free up there

I can’t feel your pain but it’s still what it is

Went to the block just to chill with the kids

Troubled waters come running past

I’mma be right there just to build you a bridge yo”

When you’re weary (Robbie Williams)

Feeling small (James Blunt)

When tears are (Rita Ora) in your eyes (Craig David) I’ll dry them all (Bastille)

I’m on your side (Liam Payne)

Oh, when times get rough (Emeli Sande)

And friends just can’t be found (Kelly Jones)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Paloma Faith)

I will lay me down (Louis Tomlinson)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Labrinth)

I will lay me down (Jorja Smith)

When you’re down and out (Leona Lewis)

When you’re on the street (Jessie J)

When evening falls so hard (James Arthur)

I will comfort you (ooo) (Roger Daltrey)

I’ll take your part, oh (Ella Eyre)

when darkness comes ( Anne Marie and Ella Henderson)

And pain is all around (Louisa Johnson)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Robbie Williams, all voices)

I will lay me down (James Arthur)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Choir)

I will lay me down (Rita Ora)


ITV2’s Love Island discusses women’s equality

On Thursday’s Love Island broadcast on ITV2 show couple Jonny and Camilla ended up talking about feminism. Jonny claimed that he’s all for “equality” but that “real feminists” don’t want that, they want thing to “slope towards them”. Camilla countered with “I don’t think it’s that, it’s that there’s been several generations that have been preferential towards men, and therefore to redress the balance there has to be in some way an active movement towards equality.” By the end of the conversation Camilla was in tears…

What is a feminist? The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘a feminist’  as ‘An advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women’. The term ‘feminist’ however has always been contentious. This is partly because it implies militancy and an ‘anti-men’ stance.


All of this talk of feminism leads me to a great new song by Ray BLK called Doing Me which  is an anthem for when you’re feeling yourself and not taking any one’s opinion on board. With great lyrics like “My dressing is expression so don’t judge me by my clothes,”  it will encourage you to be yourself and not worry about what others think. Ray Blk explains, “It’s about being yourself no matter what and not caring about judgement. People are going to judge you whether you do bad or good so you have to do you regardless!”

ray blk

Music with a Message

Watching Katy Perry’s Chained to the Rhythm either as the music video or when she sang it live last week at the Brits can give us a lot of food for thought.

Let’s look at the music video first. It is set in a futuristic theme park with people dancing and walking to the same beat, almost marching onwards without questioning why or what they are doing. The BBC have tried to dissect each scene, starting with the entrance to the theme park, then the roller coaster rodeo, the tiny suburban house ride, the treadmill making people run like hamsters, the inferno water and finally when Katy’s character is woken up from this robotic existence and sees the truth. It is really interesting stuff. The BBC makes no mention of every RS teacher’s favourite clip, quite near the end when Bob Marley’s grandson Skip Marley sings with Nuclear Family written on the big screen and that very same Nuclear Family being stereotypical around it. GCSE Religious Studies key word alert!



The New Statesman also analyses the video and applauds its satire, with some discussion over the lyrics.

Meanwhile at the Brits Awards in London last week Katy had two huge skeleton puppets dancing and holding hands. They were dressed in the same clothes as Theresa May (UK Prime Minister) and Donald Trump (US President) were wearing just a few weeks ago when they rather embarrassingly, held hands.



Also during the Brits performance people loved the dancing houses which were again a reference to the sub-prime mortgage scandal in the USA, and the one who fell of the stage near the end. If you want to try and understand the mortgage scandal that lead to the credit crunch 2007-8 then The Big Short is worth a watch. For accuracy the Guardian gave it A- but for entertainment value a B+.


Black Sabbath founder’s song for Birmingham Cathedral

You may have heard of Black Sabbath’s front man Ozzy Osbourne who is married to Sharon Osbourne a TV personality who’s acted as judge on the X-Factor:


That’s Ozzy centre left and Sharon centre right. Their daughter Kelly and son Jack have also been TV personalities for the last ten years since the TV show chronicling the family’s life.

Well Ozzy Osbourne’s bandmate, and founder of the band Tony Iommi has just written some choral music for Birmingham Cathedral based on Psalm 133 called How Good It Is. The music is about how people live together in unity which Tony reckons perfectly summarises what Birmingham, in central England, represents. Tony worked with his friend the Dean of Birmingham the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle on the music. You cna listen to it on YouTube. Just so you understand what a Dean is, they are the chief religious leader (priest or vicar in the Christian church) resident at a Cathedral.

Psalm 133 from the Bible:

   How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

  It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
 It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.


It would be a useful quote in an RS exam when explaining what some Christians might think about prejudice and discrimination, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133).

Adele’s Hello video was a response to police racism in US

The director of Adele’s Hello video says that Adele was just like, ‘I’m concerned with the reality of the tensions between authorities and the black community, and I want to send a message out there.’ It was Adele’s idea to cast a black actor as her love interest in the video in a response to a recent news story from the US about police brutality against young black men. The director said it was a beautiful idea which he wishes had been his.

The video for Hello has been viewed on YouTube more than a billion times since its release in 2015.



Alicia Keys and her new album Here

Some of the new songs on Alicia Keys’ album Here are a wonderful inspiration for our studies in Religious Studies.


First of all the song Halleluja (meaning God be praised when uttered in worship or as an expression of rejoicing) has a religious theme, where it seems as if Alicia’s looking for strength and has to find it in religion. The song is featured in the trailer of Let Me In, a film written and directed by Jonathan Olinger that portrays the refugee crisis as if it were on American soil. Here are the three first verses to give you a feel of the song:

There’s a hole in my heart I’ve been hiding
I’ve been strong for so long that I’m blind
Is there a place I can go where the lonely river flows?
Where fear ends and faith begins

Hallelujah, hallelujah, let me in
I’ve been praying but I’m paying for my sins
Won’t you give me a sign before I lose my mind?
Woah, hallelujah, let me in

Every step makes me think that I’m closer
But somehow I just never arrived
When our hope disappears, please protect me from my tears
I need you right by my side…

A second song to listen to is Blended Family (a family formed when a couple moves in together, bringing children from previous relationships into one home). The song describes the emotional turmoil there can often be in a Blended Family. For a new blended family to be formed, a breakdown of an original family must happen, so it’s normal for children to experience intense and sometimes overwhelming feelings: anger, disappointment, sadness, grief, guilt, worry and insecurity. When parents remarry or move in with a new partner who has children from a pre-existing marriage, a child faces further threats to his sense of stability. The song perfectly illustrates this. Once again here are the first few verses:

Hey I might not really be your mother
But that don’t mean that I don’t really love ya
And even though I married your father
That’s not the only reason I’m here for ya

I think you’re beautiful
I think you’re perfect
I know how hard it gets
But I swear it’s worth it, worth it

Cause what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love
There ain’t nothing, there ain’t nothing, there ain’t nothing I won’t do for us
It may not be easy, this blended family, but baby
Cause what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love, love

I know it started with a little drama
I hate you had to read it in the paper
But everything’s over with me being your mama
Baby everybody here you know adores ya…

Finally, though I am sure other songs on Alicia’s album would be worth listening to, there is the song Holy War (war which has religion as a driving force). On the US TV show the Voice Alicia told a packed audience she’d originally planned to perform the album’s newest single, “Blended Family,” and began with a single verse of the track. Suddenly, though, she stopped, and admitted she’d had a change of heart in light of recent political movements — what many inferred was Donald Trump‘s ascendance to presidency. “That’s my new song ‘Blended Family’ that I was supposed to sing tonight,” she said. “But due to the current climate there’s only one song I can sing and that’s ‘Holy War.’” Then, with the help of fellow Voice judge Adam Levine on guitar, Keys delivered a powerful rendition of the politically charged anthem from her signature piano perch.


Maybe we should love somebody / Maybe we could care a little more / Maybe we should love somebody / Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war,” she belted as Miley Cyrus sang along from her swiveling chair. Here are the first few verses:

If war is holy and sex is obscene
We’ve got it twisted in this lucid dream
Baptized in boundaries, schooled in sin
Divided by difference, sexuality and skin

Oh so we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked in
Yeah we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked

Oh maybe we should love somebody
Oh maybe we could care a little more
So maybe we should love somebody
Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war…