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The Snow Patrol Chronicles [Part One]

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By Ruchika Joshi:

This week I discovered, or rather re-discovered, one of my now all time favorite bands, Snow Patrol. For the uninitiated, Snow Patrol is a Northern Irish alternative rock band. Formed at the Scottish University of Dundee in 1994, the band now works from Glasgow. Its current members include Gary Lightbody (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jonny Quinn (drums, percussion), Tom Simpson (keyboards, samples), Nathan Connolly (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Paul Wilson (bass guitar, backing vocals).

You must have heard their hit single ‘Chasing Cars’ from the second studio album ‘Eyes open’ playing and replaying on the radio. Do you remember the morbid sounding Heroes soundtrack? Yes, that would be ‘Somewhere a Clock is ticking’ from their major label debut ‘Final Straw’.

The band’s first three records were commercially unsuccessful and released by independent labels. Struggling on the UK music scene, which at that point of time had shifted its attention to American bands, Snow Patrol had to overcome some serious obstacles to be the successful band that they are today. By July 2001, the band was cash strapped with record deal. It was during this time the band wrote,“Run” (which had been around since 2000) in a room on an acoustic guitar, which later became the band’s breakthrough single.

The band’s “low point” came when they played a concert to 18 people at a popular strip club in High Wycombe. The show took place in a shoddy VIP area, and the management had to unscrew poles used by pole dancers in order to make space for the band to play.

Quinn calls the show “horrendous”. By 2002—2003, the band had started to lose faith, and was considering getting jobs to raise money to finance the album themselves. However, just about then, almost as if by a stroke of good luck and a mighty one at that, Snow Patrol was signed on by the major record company Polydor Records and hence unfurled some beautiful music spanning across the genres of Alternative Rock, Britpop and Indy Rock.

‘Final Straw’ finally came on the floors on 4 August 2003, under Black Lion, a subsidiary of Polydor Records. Its music was along the same lines as the band’s first two albums, and there were no attempts to change the sound to something more radio-friendly. The album, along with “Run” (which debuted at #5 in the UK Singles Chart), gave the band their first taste of mainstream success. The record peaked at #3 in the UK Albums Chart.

“It was called ‘Final Straw’ because in some ways it was the final throw of the dice. The title was also taking the piss out of people who thought we were really over. A lot of them did not give us much of a chance. When we wanted to release the third album, we came up against many obstacles. Most record companies thought we were failures”, said Gary Lightbody, on the naming of the band’s third album.

‘Run’ is an amazingly brilliant song, in that it reflects where the band comes from and gives a glimpse of what to expect from them. It brings out the anguish and the hardships faced, and the final attempt to run away from it all. Delivering a sense of comfort in an uncanny and difficult circumstance, it even manages to instill some consolation with its brutal honesty.

Another one of my favorite singles from this album is ‘Chocolate’. The song has an engaging pace that seems to build up to something. However, as you wait for that something to be unraveled, the song is surprisingly over, almost as if the build up was their main intention, and what a build up at that! Put together with a hint of reminiscence and a tinge of love, regrets and the promises of making it work, the lyrics fit perfectly.

Even the music video lives up to the song. Filmed in New York, it shows scenes of panic at what is apparently ‘the end of the world’. At the center of the scene is an hourglass that is quickly running out. With the two linked, the song’s last line “I promise I’ll do anything you ask… this time” can be seen to be ironic. However, after the song ends lead singer, Gary Lightbody enters the shot, inverting the hourglass, effectively throwing everyone into a second panic. The video fades out to the song’s signature guitar riff repeating.

Another gripping song is ‘Somewhere a Clock is ticking’. This song blew me away! Dark and twisted in every sense, it dwells on the gripping music with barely-there lyrics. The part where the drums break the silence truly catches you by surprise. ‘A clock is ticking, but it’s hidden far away, safe and sound’, I really did not expect them to drop that beat at that interval and when they did, it was just so right. ‘How to be dead’ did not make quite as much of an impact as one would expect from a follow-up single. However, it makes for a happy listening experience, with a forgiving tone.

The other album tracks include, ‘Wow’, ‘Gleaming Auction’, ‘Whatever’s

Left’, ‘Spitting Games’, ‘Grazed Knees’, ‘Ways & Means’, ‘Tiny Little Fractures’ and ‘Same’.

The album deserves every bit of critical acclaim and commercial success that it has gained over the years. It gave Snow Patrol their place on the world music scene and with the consecutive albums, the band made sure to cement that place. These people know whom they are and will leave you with a distinct after-taste of their music, craving for more, craving for better.

So check out this album and do tell me what you think of it. Maybe, we can devour their following albums together, and believe me when I say; there is a lot to savor.

Happy Snow Patrol-ing!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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