Tuesday 31 January 2012

Isn't Hindsight A Great Thing?

Just currently reading "The Olivetti Chronicles" a compilation of John Peel's articles over the years and came across on from 1975 . In it Paul Simon just makes up the numbers in a very bland American Top Ten , Bruce Springteen , is reponsible for some jolly type rock , but nothing to get excited ablout , Patti Smith is a pretentious poseuse (well she still is , but that has resulted in some cracking albums and music).

He also hopes that Queen , Thin Lizzy and Be Bop Deluxe will make stratospheric breakthoughs , and he couldnt have foreseen how successful Queen would go on to be , Thin Lizzy rock legends , and Be Bop Deluxe have left a respectable legacy with Bill Nelson still plying his trade.

I recommend the book to anyone who can read and has even the most cursory interest in music!!

The Vinyl Solution on The Move

Market Place
App in Action
I was reading Mojo this morning and came across an article detailing an app for iPhone or Android that will give you the address of your local vinyl retailers (records not wallpapers) in the UK , Europe and the USA , apparently in has about 600 outlets listed. You can track down the app on your phone market place and there's more information on their website here.

Now an app for vinyl is to me about as innaproppriate as a chciken omelette (which I wouldn't turn down) , because your average person who listens to music on their phone doesnt even know what they are listening to , because it's on shuffle or it's a Spotify or Last.fm mix channel , but it will be useful to people who DO use their phones and are trying to track down that rare Erasure 12" or Rosebud's 1970s album of Pink Floyd covered for the disco!!

My total vinyl collection

Monday 30 January 2012

Weekend In Harrogate

Never been to Harrogate before and the first thing you realise (if you go by car) is that there is too much traffic for the roads . The white line down the middle is merely a guideline to centre your car on . You cannot hesitate or you will cause a traffic jam (calls to mind the great Bill Hicks sketch). Once you get there park up , then walk or taxi everywhere. The photo gallery from the weekend is here.

Bay Tree Guest Housr
Based at the Baytree guest house means that you are  within walking distance of the town centre, although if it's raining taxis are always an option. But the walk is well worth it to take in the magnificent houses

Harrogate is expensive , but theres obvious big money about, and it is chock full of great restaurants, most of which you need to book at . We passed the Imperial Chinese and it looked basic to say the l;east but it was rammed with people .

Visited Jinnah Indian Restaurant  on the first night and the Chicken Chaat starter was a meal in itself. We booked , went for a drink to Bed (see below) , and when we came back Jinnah was rammed . they were catering a 16th birthday party as well as numerous other gatherings. It's also loacated in an old church making it a very impressive place to eat.

Then had an excellent meal at Graveleys fish and chip eaterie during Saturday , followed up with vegetarian "Magic Mushrooms" at Bed (Burnsey Eat & Drink) on the night. The staff at Bed are really friendly and the food is excellent . While waiting for food we were treated to Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions album which shows they also have excellent taste in music.

Sunday was the last day and we ate our mid day meal at William and Victorias , which provided huge amounts of excellent food and very reasonable prices , then finishing up at Betty's which is very expensive , but it has to be done and the staff and surroundings were perfect.

The Montpelier Quarter of Harrogate is worth exploring from a point of seeing the buildings and being home to the excellent Montpelier pub.

On the saturday sayw this guy busking outside Hoopers , he is awesome:

I've forgotten loads but will be back there again, later this year.

London / Darlington

This is a very short rant as I have just priced a train journey to Epsom from Newcastle , Epsom being effectively London . The cheapest price is £124 though a normal return is £250 . The trip is a 500 mile round trip.

Waiting for a train at Newcastle
A 100 mile round trip to Darlington costs me £12 return . If I apply this rate to Epsom I should pay about £60 return , instead I have to 100% to 200% premium. Is it any wonder that people think they have to travel by car?

Tuesday 24 January 2012

A Musical Dilemma

I was shocked to discover I have NO Black Sabbath Studio CDs in my collection . I have two compilations , the live "Reunion" and that's it, admittedly six CDs of Sabbath . But I was surprised . As a teenager I remember having "Master of Reality" , "Volume 4" , "Sabbath, Bloody, Sabbath" and "Sabotage" on vinyl and was sure I had "Never Say Die" on CD whoich I bought for the excellent "Hard Road" track.

Here's the dilemma , I can buy the CDs and rip them and listen to them on my MP3 player or my network , but I can also listen via the excellent Grooveshark , which costs me nothing. I have though about it and decided I will buy the CDs as that gives me lots more options what to do , but below is a Grooveshark Black Sabbath Playlist , enjoy !!
Blackest Sabbath by Mike Singleton on Grooveshark

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Apple Corps

I was quite surprised to see that the most tagged thing on my blog is the word Apple. A lot of people are under the impression that I am anti Apple , because I don't own any Apple products . Never had or wanted an iPod or and iPhone but was tempted by an iPad. My own website integrates with iTunes so thats the nearest I get to endorsing Apple.

Apple are great at appropriating other people's ideas , and produce some of the most desirable products on the market . so desireable that people oftemn don't even know why they want an Apple product , they just do , which is great for Apple.

The other thing to remember is that Apple was the label set up by the Beatles to distribute their records and anyone else they signed, resulting in some minor litigation between the two.  So another case of Apple nicking someone elses idea , they couldn't even come up with an original name (Steve Job's Apple as opposed to the Beatles' Apple).

In the team of six I work with four people have iPhones , one has a Blackberry and I have an Android device , I wonder how long before I just go with the flow and get one , but then again the new Samsung Galazy looks very nice!!

Monday 16 January 2012

IT Support, Larry Niven's Inferno and Brazil

It amazes me how in modern life , things like service provision take a back seat . There's a saying that the customer is always right , but not apparently when dealing with government or IT Support. The pretext is that these organisations are her to serve us ,  but so often just try to stop us from actually doing anything constructive by laying down impossible to follow conditions , just so they can get away with not actually do anything.

I recently received a letter from the DVLA saying that I wont get a refund from the tax disc I sent them when I scrapped the car because I hadnt told them why I wanted a refund , despite sending me a separate letter saying that they had received confirmation of the transfer of ownership for scrapping the car.

When you work somewhere you build up a history of rights and privileges required to do your job . These should be cetrally recorded to be checked and cross checked when required , but it seems that they can disappear in an instant when departments decide not to bother with keeping records.

I've come up against many IT support departments who's attitude is that their life would be ideal if it were'nt for those pesky users . And amazingly a lot of them get away with it!!

The only way round this is to take your own copies of any document that gives you rights , and just hope you can get backing when you need to go up against the bully boys.

Ithe book Inferno by Larry Niven  (his take on Dante's Inferno) , one of the levels of hel requires the hero to fill in forms in triplicate on tissue paper with a blunt pencil. This is how I feel sometimes going against the faceless foe.

Terry Gilliam's Brazil is another example where Jonathan Pryce has to continually form fill to get the slightest thing done . Maybe one day things will click into place and the world will run smoothly , but I think there a lot of people who will do anything to make sure that doesnt happen!

Old Typewriters and Football Shirts

It's funny how our magpie like society convinces us that we need to have things . I can't remember why but while perusing Amazon I became aware of a book called "The Olivetti Chronicles" which I thought was about John Peel , for some reason I assumed someone had written another book about him , which is notunexpected given the importance of the guy to modern music.

Today , three months after receiving it as a birthday present I finally started to read the said book , and discovered thatit is actually a collection of John Peel's writings for many publications , unearthed by his family when they finished "Margrave of the Marshes" , the man's autobigraphy.

The title alloudes to the Olivetti typewriter that John produced his articles on , despite the difficulties in procuring ink to allow him to type , , but still his wife Sheila and son William have brought together over four hunderd pages of delightful and insightful prose , including stuff on his beloved Liverpool Football Club , and of course lot's of music .

His son Tom Ravenscroft presents a show on Radio 6 and sounds incredibly like his dad in his manner and taste in music , and sense of humour.

So that's my reading sorted for the next week or two!!

Friday 13 January 2012

Hacked By Islamic Propagandists (Possibly)

This week was the first time that my main web site has been hacked , possibly by Islamic Propagandists or just jokers who replaced the home page with a fetching Islamic Jihad flag animation on a black background. No hardm was done as the bulk of site visits go drect to information pages , although anyone then visiting the home pages may have got a surprise to say the least.

I dont go security mad , but it is amazing the legths people will go to , just to prove they can beak something.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Queen Elizabeth The First and The National Lottery

Just a very short post . Yesterday we were and a works sales conference. Tables were named after iconic figures such as Mother Theresa and , our table, Queen Elizabeth The first. Somehow Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had slipped in there , although they feature heavily in the film "The Iron Lady" just on national release.

All tables were given a pound as an illustration of a point one of the speakers was making . What can you do with a pound . As the team leader for the table of ten I appropriated the coin with everyones agreement and put the following numbers on the lottery for tonight , 11th of January 2012. Below is the ticket , and above is an illustration of a good use of web slide controls when trying to sell products. Anyway the numbers are 32 , 33 , 34 , 36 , 38 , 39.

If you want to play yourself follow the link below!!

Sunday 8 January 2012

And The Dust Has Settled

A week into the New Year , and finally had a good night's sleep . I've visited the Valley Junction in Corbridge for the first , time an absolutely stunning restaurant with food to match and it's own curry train that runs for Newcastle or Carlisle!!

The Christmas decorations are packed away , and work has restarted , looking forward to lots of events and festivals this year , hopin Evolution get their act together , and glad for dicovering the wonderful Lord Rochester over the Christmas break. at The wonderful Central Bar in Gateshead  , and having the good fortune to watch Newcastle beat Manchester United starting with Demba Ba's wonder goal.

Am planning my first ever visit to the Star and Shadow Cinema , oh and Sherlock series 2 started on BBC after Benedict Cumberbatch , Martin Freeman were given time off from the Hobbit by Peter Jackson!

One thing that 2012 promises not to be and that's boring

Sunday 1 January 2012

New Year's Day

This is probably the earliest blog post I've done in a year . We're 75 minutes into 2012 , I've made the same resolution I always do and I'm going to stick to it , which is:

"to make myself as happy as possible and try and spread that to my friends and family"

I hope your year improves beyond belief , and 2012 is filled with happiness for you.

Just realised this takes the blog into it's sixth year now , six years writing about not much and still havent come up with an idea for my book , and no excuse now as you can easily self publis on Amazon

Just gonna keep this one short