isolation

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LOCKDOWN ISOLATION INSPIRES MUSICIAN TO MARK THE SAILING OF THE LAST BOAT TO ST HELENA


https://www.prfire.com/

Singer-songwriter Martin Aelred Colgan album draws oceanic inspiration to complete his “lockdown” album.

Last Boat to St. Helena is a “lockdown” album created by singer-songwriter Martin Aelred Colgan, to memorialise the last sailing of the RMS St Helena from next nearest landmass, South Africa – some 1200 miles away from the island.

The album highlights the last sailing, which is an eclectic mix of styles from the sea shanty version of Last Boat to St. Helena to the Dance track City People with a nod to the Gypsy Kings, and a more mainstream organic folk track entitled Flame. (All three have had lyric videos produced.) There are 14 songs, performed and produced to a high standard plus 3 bonus acoustic versions of the singles, showcasing both the versatility and talent of the artist.

The remoteness of the island of St Helena coupled with the last sailing to the island in 2018, has provided a rich seam of oceanic inspiration for Martin and lyricist Ronny Anderson. The idea of “lockdown” viewed against the backdrop of a very remote island in the Atlantic for centuries and opening of the St Helena airport offered a unique opportunity to complete the album. It highlights a sense of being cut-off from the world and now being linked to the world and echoes the world opening after lockdown today. The album draws on the musical influences from the diverse island culture of the island – their sunny, positive nature, Napoleonic links and heritage and a tough island life over the centuries with swashbuckling tales of the high seas.

The RMS St Helena was a unique cargo-passenger ship that sailed to the stunning island of St Helena, one of the most remote, inhabited islands in the world. She was also one of the last working Royal Mail ships in the world. Her last journey from Cape Town was in January 2018, after the newly built airport in St. Helena became operational which marked the opening of the island to new tourism opportunities and closer links to the outside world.

The idea for the song came about when the lyricist’s brother told him that he was going to travel on the Last Boat to St. Helena together with his wife. Martin Aelred Colgan loved both the lyrics and the story of St. Helena and adapted the title track into a sea shanty. The album emerged from the title track and showcases the unique talents and vocal prowess of Martin Aelred Colgan, who also performs as an opera tenor.

Martin noted: “This very serious pandemic lockdown came in the middle of a number of my musical projects and tour schedule, which had to be put on hold and I decided to return home to Glasgow for the foreseeable future. This, in turn, afforded me a chance to reassess and complete the Last Boat to St Helena album.
“When you think about how isolated it is and how the islanders cope so beautifully, there was a real synergy that gave me the inspiration to finalise my album and have it ready to go as soon business started to open up again.

“I have drawn on the importance of the sea, island sailing heritage and given it a real summer type feel with touches of an old ‘ sea shanty ‘ coming through and that feeling of people have when they look out to sea, passing time until the next boat comes in and experiencing the calm of ocean waves.

“It was definitely lockdown and a sense of being a bit cut-off that gave me the impetus to highlight the island and their great courage in moving from being one of the remotest islands in the world to their future as a new tourism destination. I am delighted to say that Enterprise St Helena has already publicised the Last Boat to St Helena clip on their Facebook page and recognise the links to the island and my new music.”

Martin added: “The history of St. Helena is fascinating and the 200th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death in exile in 2021 will be marked, not only by France but by anyone interested in history. The future of the island is set to transform due to the airport, and the onset of tourism, so the timing of this album release could not be more apt.”

Now interest in the album is catching attention from local organisation, Enterprise St Helena in the run-up to the launch.

Commenting on the title track, Last Boat to St Helena, Helena Bennett, Director of Tourism, Enterprise St Helena said: “It is nice that the producers decided to make a song featuring St Helena. We encourage these types of initiatives as they all contribute towards the promotion of St Helena. We wish you all well with these endeavours.”

The stunning island and rich heritage of Napoleon’s resting place; Zulu warrior, Dinuluzulu kaCetshwayo having been imprisoned there and 5000 prisoners during the Boer War has attracted many travel writers and TV celebrities to film and document the island as it stands today including Eamonn Holmes, Good Morning Britain and ABC’s Peter Greenberg.


Biography Martin Colgan Aelred – Singer-songwriter
Martin started his career as a session musician and engineer for Colin Thurston in the ’80s and worked as a backing musician with Duran Duran, Gary Numan and David Bowie. He later used his musical talent to formally train as an opera singer trained by an English National Opera tutor and made his career success with some 500 performances in 6 years – singing for the UN, HH the Dalai Lama, HRH Prince Charles, Pope Benedict. XV1 and has appeared on BBC TV, The Riverside Show, Radio, STV and press coverage in International Arts Manager magazine, The Times, The Sun, Daily Record, Evening Telegraph, Time Out, The List and The Edinburgh Reporter.

Martin tours the UK and continues to perform internationally and was once described by the Dalai Lama – for whom he performed in Dundee – as “the man with the beautiful voice”. As well as his contemporary career Martin is a highly acclaimed opera singer who can sing in at least five different languages. Martin is also an inspirational speaker and has an impressive charitable background supporting street children and violence reduction.

Enterprise St Helena
https://www.investinsthelena.com/project-details/st-helena-tourism/
St Helena is a new flight and cruise ship destination. The number of visitors to St Helena continues to grow and The Island is establishing itself as a destination of choice for those seeking adventure and unique experience. Marine life is equally outstanding, from a variety of dolphins, whales and the whale sharks. This biodiversity has fascinated and influenced scientists and explorers and walking, rambling and hiking are amongst the most popular activities. St Helena is home to over 1,000 species, of which over 400 are endemic to the Island.

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Startup solving social isolation – PR Fire


Like many others, I’ve been working from home and I miss real-world interactions. Inspired by these events, I’ve built something to make the current social isolation a bit more bearable  – a video chat roulette for distributed teams as a way to stay in touch with each other when working from home.

Snack is a Slack bot that enables teams to have virtual coffees: spontaneous, time-restricted video conversations with icebreakers. Distributed teams use Snack to build authentic relationships with one another.

https://www.prfire.com/
Snack meeting experience

I have built Snack for the COVID-19 Global Hackathon. It was one of the most upvoted projects among 18,000+ participants.
https://devpost.com/software/snack

I did not win, but it helped to be seen: we are now onboarding 20 Slack organizations a day, mostly through word of mouth and through Slack directory (people are actively searching for “water cooler” chats).

We’ve gotten some big wins already: Giphy, On Deck, Pioneer, and Founder Collective are already using Snack. Since Snack is free for public Slack communities, most of our users are founders, hackathons, indie makers, artists, and COVID-19 related Slack groups.

I am in the current On Deck cohort (On Deck is an invite-only fellowship similar to Y Combinator – but more hip and, now that all the daily workshops have to take place remotely over Slack, we’ve been using Snack as a way to get to know each other. Every week we have a couple of hours dedicated for “snacking”. People love it and attribute Snack as the reason for getting to know something personal about others in the On Deck cohort – which they would have otherwise not been able to with the absence of serendipitous, in-person interactions.

What attracts people to using Snack is the lottery mechanics with variable reward and icebreakers that mimic quirky real-world conversations.

The lottery mechanism adds a fun and organic element to the conversations because you never know who you will be talking to until after you see each other in the video room – just like how you would never know who you’ll bump into at the water cooler! People are matched based on their interests and availability. This way you cannot bail on people (or at least that would be really awkward for both of you!) After you see each other in the video room, we reveal your names and the icebreakers.

Our icebreakers are thoughtfully designed to reveal something about the other person beyond business and surface value, e.g.

• Who is your craziest/most interesting relative?
• What advice from a close family member has stuck with you the most?
• If you were to teach a class, workshop, or training on any topic, what topic would you choose?

Ultimately, we want people to have fun. May it be the lottery mechanics, countdown to the end of the chat, or getting “snacks” (???) as rewards – the entire experience is designed to feel like a game, as opposed to a forced social interaction. It seems to work  –  feedback is overwhelmingly positive and we are growing fast.

Snack’s mission is to make remote work feel just as natural and socially rewarding as what we are used to experiencing in the office.

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