Making – The End…?

Despite what the title of this post may say, no this is not the end of Just Jess OR Just Music. It is however the end of BCM114, which means I need to reflect on my process, what I have learnt and where I intend to go from here. So here we go…

I’ve already spoken about some of the setbacks I have experienced throughout the duration of this project in my prototyping blog, so instead I want to use this post to talk about what I have learnt, both about myself and my own limitations and about media and what it takes to create content in a digitally saturated world.

Despite what other people might tell you (including everyone who tells you that a media degree ‘isn’t real’) creating engaging content regularly is HARD. After completing BCM112 in Semester 1 (with a somewhat failed DA), I went into BCM114 knowing that establishing and maintaining a Digital Artefact could be difficult, but I assumed that if I changed my topic and platform to something I enjoyed and understood more, it would be easier. Boy was I wrong.

In creating ‘Just Music’, I expected to be able to easily create content on (semi) regular basis because I was writing about something to close to my heart. While this may have lasted for a few weeks, the reality is that no matter how much you may think you will enjoy something, when it comes to actually doing it, it’s not as easy.

In terms of my own limitations, I think maintaining this DA has taught me that I need to consider other things going on in my life before I make a commitment to a work load. When I started the blog, I said I was going to make weekly posts on a Friday along with other posts when relevant things happened in the music industry. I quickly realised that saying you’ll do something and actually finding the time to do it are two completely different things and sometimes life just gets in the way. While I realise it’s important to maintain somewhat of a regular posting schedule, it’s also important to look after yourself and make sure you don’t commit to more than what you’re physically capable of.

Working in media isn’t something I’ve wanted to since I was a kid, like some people. This ‘dream’ has only developed in the last 2 years or so, and after (almost) completing my first year of the degree, I think I can safely say that I have made the right decision. I think I have learnt that while many people look at what people do in media and call it easy, it’s far from it and only with practice will it start to come easy to me. This year is only the start of the journey and I’m excited for where it’s headed.

So where to from here? I want to keep up Just Music, but for now, I’m not commit myself to a rigorous posting schedule. I’m going to write when I want to write and when inspiration strikes. If that’s once every three weeks, then so be it. Obviously, in the future I will more than likely (try) get back to a regular schedule, but for now I’m comfortable with posting when possible. Having said that, if anyone has any suggestions of any music related topics I should write about, let me know.

I guess that’s it for BCM114.

Catch ya next year?

Jess x

 

Anne-Marie @ Metro Theatre 15/10/18

Anne-Marie made her solo Australian debut in Sydney on Tuesday night to a sold out Metro Theatre. The rising British pop star is straight off the back of an extended stint as Ed Sheeran’s supporting act around Europe and America, but has finally made her way down under to perform two very special sold out shows, promoting her April debut album release ‘Speak Your Mind’

Her support act, Los Angeles based Australian duo NAATIONS, certainly got the crowd jumping early. Playing a mixture of tracks known to the audience and tracks they may not have heard certainly paid off as they built hype for the main act of the night. Their performance of their Duke Dumont collaboration ‘Real Life’ was a highlight of their set, as the crowd shouted back the chorus.

Following NAATIONS’s set came the main event of the night. Entering the stage to a crowd shouting her name, Anne-Marie opened her first Australian headline show with album opener ‘Cry’. Straight off the bat, she was jumping around the stage, interacting with the crowd. This was followed by one of her oldest releases, ‘Do It Right’, which proved that her fanbase has done their research as they shouted the lyrics back.

Her newest single ‘Perfect’ and last single ‘2002’ both had the entire crowd singing at their loudest, encouraged by Anne-Marie’s playful mannerisms. Crowd favourites throughout the night included  ‘Trigger’, as she taught the crowd the chorus and had them sing it back to her and ‘Bad Girlfriend’ which had Anne-Marie showing her skills as a ‘real musician’ (her words) by using a electronic sound machine. She took a moment to sit on the edge of the stage whilst singing ‘Then’, as she delved into what is arguably her most emotional song on her debut album, bringing herself and much of the audience to tears.  Her final song, her collaboration with Marshmello, ‘FRIENDS’ predictably had the crowd jumping and screaming until the very last moment.

Anne-Marie’s Australian debut was a high energy, interactive show, giving us just a taste of what the rising British pop star has to offer, as well as showing that the Australian support for her is only growing.

Anne-Marie will be back in the country next March and April, playing shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Tickets go on sale Tuesday 23 October, all details can be found here

 

 

 Enjoy some kind crappy photos from the night, taken on my phone

“Alexa, Play Smart House”

As a kid, I remember watching the Disney movie ‘Smart House’ and thinking how ridiculously crazy all the things the house could do were. 19 years later, and while not every feature of the house has become a reality, the rise of ‘smart house systems’ such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home systems mean literally every aspect of our everyday lives are more connected to the internet than ever before.

Let’s use the example of Alexa. Alexa can tell you the weather, place orders for you, connect to Bluetooth devices, set and stop your alarm, look up who’s the actor in that movie, when the movie you want to see is showing next, order you an Uber and the list goes on and on.

While not quite up to the standard of ‘Smart House’s’ self absorbing floors and full holographic screen walls, the advancements made in recent years in terms of the internet of things is remarkable and indicates that maybe one day in the not too distant future, ‘Smart House’ will become a reality.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Like an Elephant, the Internet never forgets

As the internet becomes more and more integrated with our everyday life, it is important that we realise that the things we put on the internet are permanent. 

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Every single tweet, Facebook update, Snapchat sent, Instagram liked, Tumblr reblogged, YouTube video made is able to served by servers or by screenshotting. This means that even if you delete something at a later date, it will still be out there somewhere, floating around in cyberspace. And with the growing presence of the mobile internet meaning we are always connected, their is the potential for our each and every action to be captured.

This means that it is more important than ever to not make what is considered a mistake in the eyes of the internet (so defintely nothing racist, sexist, homophobic) because you can guarantee that it will come back to bite eventually.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

The Roots of Hacktivism

When we think of hacking today, most people would probably think of a nerdy, mid-20s guy, sitting in a dark room with a hoodie on, fingers moving across the keyboard at the speed of light (just like in the movies you know). In reality, this couldn’t really be further from the truth of the roots of hacktivism.

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Alan Turing was the creator of the first automated decryption device which was used to hack into and translate German messages sent using the Enigma. He doesn’t really look like hackers do in the movies does he?

The reason I think this is important is because it should be acknowledged that ‘hacking’ is not a dirty word. Hacking can be used in favour of activism, or hacktivism. And the sooner this stereotype is destroyed, the better.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Prototyping – Singles and Albums and Artists, Oh My!

For me, two of the hardest things for me to maintain whenever I start a new project, have always been time management and maintaining motivation. Looking into the future, it’s easy to say you can do something, but actually doing it is a whole other story. Unfortunately, this has kind of been the case with my Just Music blog.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m still writing and posting music related blogs, just not as regularly as I would like to be. And this entirely comes back to my time management skills and personal motivation. But I have thought about this a lot, and I have come up with some ways that I can rectify these (and some other minute) issues that I have encountered. I am also 100% open to suggestions, so if after reading this you think “Hey, I know how Jess can motivate herself”, PLEASE let me know.

The pile just keeps piling up

The problem with university is that, generally, subjects don’t really interact with each other. This means that more often than not, you end up with 3 assignments, 2 presentations and an exam all in the one week. Add writing weekly blog posts to the mix, and the pile of work seems to be never ending. Time management has never really been my strong suit, but it becomes increasingly obvious just how much I suck at it when weeks like this happen. In terms of Just Music, this has mainly affected my intention of posting weekly ‘New Music Friday’ posts. Restricting myself to  posting on a Friday was my first issue; assignments are always due at the end of the week, so if I’m not rushing to finish an assignment, I’m probably driving home, meaning I lose basically all of my Friday. This makes it really difficult to write a blog post about the new music that has come out that day, considering music is not released until at least midnight, sometimes even later. I’ve decided that in order to rectify this problem, I need to not restrict myself to posting on a Friday, and potentially open it up to posting anytime over the weekend. While not ideal in terms of getting content out as soon after a release as possible, it’s the only real way I can commit to weekly content with my current schedule. I think it’s easy to say that my plan for ‘New Music Friday’s’ was definitely a case of Fail Early, Fail Often, but now that I have identified this, I can work on figuring out a way that works best for me. This part of my process definitely involves a fair amount of breaking; I need to essentially break what I have already created, take out the aspects that worked, and put them back together in a way that works better than the original.

 

Motivation, where you at?

When it comes to projects, I am always either SUPER motivated or completely disinterested, there is no in between. Writing for Just Music, I have at times found myself with zero motivation to write a post, mainly when it comes to my ‘New Music Friday’ posts. Personally, I think this is because I am not always interested by the content that is released in a particular week. Some weeks, there is more new release music than others, this is just a fact. The issue arises when the new music isn’t by an artist that I usually listen to or of a genre that I like. This actually arises a few issues; it is a LOT easier to write a review of an artist if you have somewhat of a knowledge of their background, their audience and their older music and the same goes for genres. This isn’t really an issue that I can fix through feedback loops, it entirely comes back to me having inspiration and finding the motivation to actually write the posts. Another issue with this is the fact that the music industry is not regular; events such as festivals, concerts and interviews are not something that happen weekly or on a regular schedule. This makes it difficult to formulate a regular posting schedule, as I can’t always predict what content I am going to be able to write about in a particular week. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way I can overcome this, I just have to try and stay on top of new content and write and publish posts as quickly as possible.

 

Engaging Engagement

You may not have realised, but I have also created an Instagram account to promote and direct traffic towards this blog. While the aesthetic of an Instagram account is incredibly pleasing, there a few issues when it comes to actually directing the traffic. It’s not possible to include links in an Instagram caption, which means that I have to then direct readers from the original post in the news feed to my actual profile, where the link is then in my bio. The problem with this is, people like to mindlessly double tap on Instagram posts, but very rarely do they actually go any further. To rectify this, I want to start posting more regularly so that my account becomes a regular presence in both my followers feeds and in the hashtags. Another issue I have encountered is that while I am getting a decent amount of likes, people aren’t actually following me. This also makes it difficult to use the Instagram Story feature, as I don’t actually have that big of a dedicated following who have access to what I post. Going forward with this in mind, I would like to focus more on the blog aspect of my DA, building that up and regularly creating content, before focusing too much on the social media presence. When I do eventually start to focus on the social media aspect, I will need to experiment with

It’s not all bad…

Despite the setbacks I have encountered, it’s not all bad news. Following my original pitch, I was approached by ‘Volume Media‘ and asked to review concerts and events. While I haven’t written any reviews yet, we have a few in the works and they will hopefully be coming soon!

So while there has been a little bit of a lull in content, I am working on breaking and remaking the way I produce content to better interact with my audience. Just Music isn’t going anywhere and the only way is up!

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

#SocialRevolution

Social media is no longer just a place for holiday pics and #relatable posts. Many people, both celebrities and ordinary members of the public are using their social media accounts (primarily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to throw their support behind ‘hashtag revolutions’.

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The above gif shows some examples of popular social justice hashtags which have generated significant support in the last few years. The thing with using these hashtags as a way of (and I use the term very loosely) revolution, is that you’re not really doing anything of great help.

Many critics of the phenomenon have referred to it as ‘slacktivism’, and honestly, they’re not far from the truth. Sure, tweeting about the #BlackLivesMatter movement shows other people that you support it and may encourage them to also support it, but really, in the long run, a few thousand tweets aren’t going to suddenly change the way black people are treated. People just like to feel like they’re doing something to help to boost their social conscience, when in reality they’re not really helping at all.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

The (Unnecessary) War on Defqon. 1

Following the deaths of two people from drug overdoses at the Defqon. 1 music festival at the Sydney International Regatta Centre over the weekend, the NSW Government, headed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, has vowed to do everything in their power to ban the festival. This is all well and good, except this war that they have decided to wage is going to do nothing to eradicate the actual problem, and that is the drugs.

Cancelling a music festival is in no way, shape or form going to stop people from making, supplying and using drugs. It only eliminates one piece of the chain. And where a piece is eliminated, another will quickly take its place. In 2016, there were 1808 drug related deaths in Australia. Guess how many of them were at Defqon. 1 or any other music festival for that matter? None! Since 2013, 9 people have died at music festivals in Australia as a direct result of drug use. Really, 9 deaths out of a potential 10 000 over 5 years is not a lot. So why aren’t they focusing on the root of the problem instead of banning what is a regular event on a lot of people’s calendars?

It’s an unfortunate reality, but drug culture has become a big part of all music festivals in Australia. Despite the best efforts of police, there is always a large drug presence at these festivals.  If the NSW government believes that banning  Defqon. 1 is going to reduce drug related deaths, does that mean that they’re also going to ban other music festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival? Not likely. There are so many other solutions that the government could initiate or support that would help reduce the use of drugs at music festivals rather than simply banning the festival. Drug education initiatives are nowhere near supported enough; if the government spent as much time putting money into educating the population about drugs and their effects as they did into changing their leader, we would have a lot less people dying from drugs. In an Australian first back in May, the Groovin the Moo festival held in Canberra offered free pill-testing. The trial returned positive results, with 128 people taking advantage of the service and up to 20% saying they were seriously considering disposing of their drugs. Young Australians (and those older, open-minded Australians) have been supporting the introduction of this service at other festivals such as Defqon. 1, with hundreds of comments on the governments social media in the last few days suggesting as such. If they can see it’s potential, why can’t those who are supposed to represent us see it and support it? Simple. Because we are still being ‘represented’ by a government that does not stand for the same issues as us and refuses to see our point of view. We are a (largely) millennial population, being led by a baby boomer government who are still stuck in the 60’s, and it’s just not cutting it anymore.

Transferring the blame to the organisers of these events is useless. There’s only so many times they can write “DRUGS ARE PROHIBITED” on their websites and social media. If a person chooses to take drugs into a festival with the intention of using without being fully aware of the potential effects, that’s on them, just the same as someone choosing to take drugs outside of a festival without knowing the effects is their own fault. Yes, they can hire all the security in the world, but if they don’t do their job properly and drugs get in, it does not become the responsibility of the organisers if drug users have an adverse reaction. It is an assumption going into an event like this that you need to have a certain degree of self care and responsibility, especially if you intend to use drugs; yes, there are first aid and security officers, but they can’t be expected to hold your hand the entire time.

Deaths at music festivals are as a result of drugs, not the festival itself. The sooner our government realises this and starts to attack the issue at its roots (the makers and suppliers), the better. This isn’t a war for inside a music festival, it’s a war for the streets, so do us all a favour and leave the festivals alone.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

The Novelty of News

 

With a serious change in the way we get our news comes a change in the sounds that alert us. This may sound trivial (and it kind of is), but as society moves towards a world where we get more and more of our news from social media platforms, the sounds that alert us of what is happening have gotten shorter and shorter.

The remix above shows the progression from lengthy, 30 second plus television news introduction to a 1 second tweet noise. What used to be recognisable and associated with the spreading of news (the tracks at the beginning of the audio) has been replaced by trivial sounds like a bird tweeting and a pop noise (the tracks at the end of the audio).

As the spreading of news has gotten quicker thanks to social media, so to has the notification sounds. Coincidence? I think not.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

A How To Guide to Choosing a NYE Festival Experience

It’s once again that time of year where festival punters are forced to make the difficult decision of where to spend their New Year’s. With line ups dropping left right and centre, and tickets on sale to all festivals, it can be difficult to make a (quick) decision about where you and your crew will celebrate the New Year.

Falls Festival 

When: December 28 2018 – January 6 2019 (in different locations across the country)

Where: Lorne, Victoria, Marion Bay, Tasmania, Byron Bay, New South Wales and Fremantle, Western Australia

The Line up: Falls has brought together some of the biggest artists from the present day and decades past to create a line up that should have something to please everyone. Headliners come in the form of Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, British rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen (playing their only Australian show) and Australia’s own Vance Joy. One of the biggest surprises of this years line up is easily American Rockers Toto, who have become popular again in recent years off the back of their hit ‘Africa’ which has become somewhat of a meme song online. There are a lot of acts on the bill who also performed at Splendour in the Grass this year, including Scotland’s Chvrches , Mallrat, Amy Shark (who are all also playing Field Day), Hilltop Hoods, Cub Sport, Ocean Alley, Jack River and Soccer Mommy. Other Australian festival favourites filling the bill include rapper Tkay Maizda and Britain’s Bishop Briggs. There are also a number of up and coming acts who will be playing their first major Australian festival, including 15-year-old Ruel and Odette, who released her debut album earlier in the year.

The Crowd: Falls is the longest running, and arguably, most popular NYE music festival in Australia. It’s widespread locations makes it accessible for basically everyone, whether you’re on the east or west coast or central Australia. Many people have criticised this years line up, making comments along the lines of “Where are the headliners?”, but these comments aren’t likely to have much of an impact on the crowds, with Lorne already sold out. Falls attracts a very similar audience to Splendour in the Grass, which isn’t surprising considering their both in partnership with Triple J and share a lot of smaller Australian and International acts across line ups. If you listen to Triple J and like the glitz and glamour and music festivals, Falls is for you.

Cost: Ticket prices vary dependent on your location, with the cheapest ticket being a one day pass for Fremantle, which is $149 + BF and the most expensive being a ‘Gimme Shelter’ ticket for Marion Bay at $409 + BF, which gives the holder a 3 day event ticket and access to a 2 man tent to share with another ticket holder. 3 day tickets for all locations (except Fremantle) are $349 + BF (does not include camping). Camping tickets can be bought from $109 + BF.

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 6 September 9am (Local times based on festival location) (NOW)

Beyond the Valley

When: December 28 2018 – January 1 2019

Where: Lardner Park, Victoria (approximately 2 hours east of Melbourne)

The Line up: This years line up is stacked with Australian heavyweights, including Tash Sultana and PNAU billed as headliners, as well as British favourites The Kooks, Bonobo and Duke Dumont also joining as headliners. Other acts on the bill include Ball Park Music, The Jungle Giants, DZ Deathrays, Alex Lahey and Safia, all of whom have just performed massive sets at Splendour in the Grass. Other Australian favourites who are sure to bring their own personal flair to the stage include Nicole Millar, who is still riding the high of the release of her debut album in June, Client Liason, who have just come off the back of their own festival, Expo Liaison and Vera Blue who is currently touring around Europe.

The Crowd: There is literally something for everyone when it comes to music at this festival. Whether you’re into indie rock, electronic dance or pop music, you can be sure to find your ‘people’ amongst the crowd. However this line up definitely has more of a ‘rock’ centric line up than the other festivals, so the crowd is likely to boast a heavier rock following, so if your a rock music fan, this is the place to be. BTV presents itself as a ’boutique’ music festival, bringing together world class acts from here and overseas. Being only a relatively new festival, only beginning in 2014, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t yet accumulated the cult following of other NYE festivals, however stacked line ups in the last few years have begun to change that and 2018’s line up is sure to draw a sold out crowd. 

Cost: A four day ticket will set you back $490 + BF, a three day $390 + BF, two day  $330 +BF and a one day NYE pass $180 + BF (all tickets include a general camping pass from the 28/12, 29/12, 30/12 and 31/12)

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 30 August 12pm AEST (NOW)

Field Day

When: January 1 2019

Where: The Domain, Sydney (NSW)

The Line up: Field Day has pulled together a huge line up for its one day bill, bringing together the best of rap, pop and EDM that is sure to sell out The Domain. Big names in the rap industry, Cardi B and trio Migos, have both listed as ‘east coast exclusives’, and they are joined by other big names including Duke Dumont, Bonobo (who are both also playing BTV and Origin Fields), Chvrches, Rufus Du Sol and Amy Shark, who all bring a variety of genres to the stage. Closer to home, Brisbane’s own rapper Mallrat will make her Field Day debut, which will be following appearances at Splendour in the Grass, Yours & Owls and Groovin’ the Moo, as well as Sydney duo Flight Facilities who are currently touring the country off the back of their latest single ‘All Your Love’. Other highlights of the line up include Britain’s Bishop Briggs and Australian producer Alive Ivy.

The Crowd: Being only a one day festival in amongst the sea of festivals over the New Year’s period, Field Day is the perfect festival for a first-time festival goer or for those who actually want to remember their NYE. Because of this, it is likely to draw a much younger crowd that have less money to spend and so are forced to settle for a one day festival experience. Having said that, the heavy rap influenced line up is sure to draw a particular kind of crowd, so if you’re more into pop or indie music, it might be best to have a look at other festivals like BTV or Falls

Cost: First release tickets (which all sold out in the presale) $162 + BF, second release $172 + BF and third release $182 + BF, while a VIP ticket (which comes with some pretty cool benefits) will set you back $257 + BF

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 30 August 12pm AEST (NOW)

Lost Paradise

When: December 28 2018 – January 1 2019

Where: Glenworth Valley, New South Wales (about an hour north of Sydney)

The Line up: This years headliners come in the form of The Kooks, Tash Sultana (who are both also making appearances at BTV and Origin Fields), American rapper Joey Bada$$ and British rapper M.I.A. Australian favourites PNAU, Dune Rats, Ball Park Music, who all performed smashing sets at Splendour in the Grass earlier this year, have a high place on the bill, along with other favourites, Vera Blue and Winston Surfshirt. With 3 stages of music but only one really showcasing live music, the line up of artists performing DJ sets is extensive. Top billed DJs include Bicep, Kink, Flava D and Loods. Lost Paradise is also more than just a music festival, with ‘experiences’ including yoga, informative talks and workshops in everything from magic to belly dancing.

The Crowd: Lost Paradise is definitely a festival for the EDM lovers, with 2 stages primarily dedicated to dance and electronic music. If you prefer live bands, solo singers and stage diving rockers, Lost Paradise isn’t the festival for you (have a look at BTV or Falls instead!). Having said that, the wide range of experiences available over the weekend, including yoga (of literally every variety – even laughter), dance workshops and psychics provide even the most introverted of festival attendees with something to fill their days.

Cost: 4-Day second release tickets, including camping (first release have sold out) will set you back $399 + BF. If you miss out on second release, a third release is $419 + BF.

Tickets on Sale: NOW

Origin Fields

When: December 30 – 31 2018

Where: Langley Park, Perth (WA)

The Line up: Given its somewhat remote location, this line up is packed. Being the first NYE festival to drop its line up, it set the bar, and it set it high. After 11 years as one-day ‘Origin NYE’, the change of location and the extension over two days has allowed the festival to grow and to bring in more big name international artists. The bill is headed by rap superstars Cardi B, who has been hurled into stardom over the last 12 months and Migos (who are both also playing Field Day as their only other Australian appearance), Canadian crooner Khalid, who made his Splendour in the Grass debut earlier in the year, Duke Dumont and Bonobo, who both have their New Years calendars booked with appearances at BTV and Field Day and Australian favourite Tash Sultana, who has been celebrating immense international success and will no doubt be riding the high of the release of her debut album in August. Other acts who will be spending their New Years in Perth include Australian veterans PNAU, British rockers The Kooks, producer Hayden James, Canberra’s Safia and Australian rockers Pendulum.

The Crowd: Origin Fields obviously has the disadvantage of its location, however the strength of its line up is sure to attract a sold out crowd. Sharing a lot of its line up with Sydney’s Field Day means that it is likely to attract a similar crowd demographic, albeit a bit older who have a bit more ‘life’ experience and are willing to make the trek to Perth (and the money to do so), and the festival is sure to be a hit with locals. It is likely that attending Origin Fields may come down to accessibility, with much of the crowd likely to come from the west of Australia.

Cost: A two day pass is $319 + BF, a VIP two day pass jumps to $399 + BF and a Platinum Experience two day pass will set you back a whopping $799 +BF (which includes catering, inclusive alcohol, a merchandise gift and complimentary WiFi)

Tickets on Sale: NOW

Now go! It’s time to choose your place of residence for this NYE. But be quick, tickets to all festivals are selling fast and will sell out.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x