Friday 30 November 2012

Bakewell - Desert to Dessert

The Haul
I really didn't expect to be writing this post today. I was just expecting to go into Bakewell and have a mooch around before returning back to Cromford, The Vinyl District told me that the nearest record shops were in Sheffield , Derby and  Nottingham. However I knew there was a musical instrument shop there, so thought I might drop in and see what I could see.

Bakewell Music
Talked with the guy in the Bakewell Music Shop and bought a couple of CDs buy what I thought were local bands. Silent Time are a local band , but Hank Sundown and The Roaring Cascades despite having a song about Wolverhampton are, in fact, Scandinavian.

Reminds of an artist in the seventies called Hank C Burnette who loved rock and roll, but didnt know about bass guitars so with a muktitack tape recorder and a detuned normal guitar produced an album called Spinnin' Rock Boogie , the lead track was issued by Charly records and became a hit single several years later. As John Peel said he was probaly called Sven! Anyway Hanks Sundown's  facebook page is here. So 3 CDs and a good crack with the owner definitely worth a visit if you are in the vicinity.

Flamingo Lane Music Sign
Next I wandered in a local indoor market area and found Flamingo Lane Music. Similar experience to Bakewell Music and picked up a couple of reggae CDs and a live Deep Purple DVD. Very impressed and this makes Bakewell not a bad place to pick up some music. It was topped off by picking up a hefty tome about the Clash and a couple of punk and post punk volumes from a local book shop, So that's listening and reading catered for for a few weeks.

These are in addition to Bakewell's food shops , pubs , ice cream parlours. An unexpectedly fruitful day and looking forward to coming back in the future,


Although Alanis Morrisette got it completely wrong, I'm here in Cromford reading a book about reggae called Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradley and I'm unable to actually go to a record shop and browse for reggae because there are no record shops within 20 miles of here.I know this thatnks to an excellent app called The Vinyl District

Scarthin Books Amazing Shop Sign
Well you could say Scarthin Books has a selection , but it's Naxos Classical and there is a clue in the name of the shop that tells you that it specialises in books. Bakewell has a musical instrument shop that has a few CDs and there's a few charity shops which have second hand CD sections.

The thing is economics and the fact that people's habits mean that record shops have to try harder , and the good ones are still very good.And there's always online if you dont have physical access.

I used to go to record fairs but todays digital age means that I can track down most things on line , and at my age I actually have virtually everything I want musically , but still look forward to new bands and new albums.

I stll love going into RPM or Reflex in Newcastle and hearing something new that I immediately buy. That's how all record shops should be. That's Entertainment I find more relevant than HMV.  HMV don't seem to know what they are selling , giving most of their floor space over to iPod docks.

Anyway this post has wandered a bit but I'm going to read more of Bass Culture and enjoy the rest of my holiday!!

Decaf Americano with Soya Milk

Now I might be a bit po faced aout this but I heard this in the work Costa Coffee area and to me it's a bit like buying Kaliber lager. The reason you buy standard lagers is for the alcolic effect , the reason you buy coffee (especially an Americano which is BLACK and STRONG and NOT CONTAMINATED BY MILK)  is for a caffeine injection.

I understand soya milk , you may be vegan or have a dairy or lactose intolerance. There are lots of coffees you drink for the taste and there ar usually caffeine free versions of said coffees . Thry Whittards or Pumphreys and you will find them.

The same with lager, wine and beer , there are lots that actually do tasete good and are alcohol free.

The thing is if you ask for an Americano , it should be black and strong and you dont add milk.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Dreaming of an Orange Christmas?

This year once again Orange are tempting me with their excellent Christmas box promotion. If your spend £49.99 plus a £10 airtime tope up , not only do you get a decent phone you get a pair of WeSC Headphones worth £100 free. These look like the ones you get. Also here's a thought you can use them to listen to music on your phone , if , like me, you are not a fan of in ear headphones.

Last year I was tempted and resisted , and this year will probably resist again , especially as I'm taking delivery of an LTE Samsung Note II so I can use 4G when I'm in London or Newcastle.

But it really is an excellent promotion , tempting you to buy even if you dont need the product, and if you do need a new phone or headphones or both well you're well in. So as well as having a white Christmas you could have an Orange Christmas as well!

50 Years Of Cassette

This Sunday 6Music have a celebration of 50 years of the cassette tape. Check it out here

Casette gave us both convenience and the ability to mess about with songs and sounds. I was a fan of Joe Meek and various experimental artists and spent hours recording to tape , splicing and and making a lot of not very impressive noises , but I enjoyed and learned a lot about the fragility and versatility of the medium.

It's small size meant for the first time you could take your own music with you . Previously the transistor radio was the only portable option.

Cassette was Vinyl's portable , personally recordable counterpart. It's main problem is that , like vinyl, it's a fragile decaying medium. Tape heads got dirty , tapes became unravelled , tangled , twisted . You don't get that with your MP3 player or iPod. However Sony's game changer , the Walkman was a godsend . It meant you could listen to music anywhere , and annoy people anywhere and some Walkmans had radios as well , best of both worlds.

It was briefly superceded by mini disc , another Sony innovation I think , which was eventually overtaken by hard disk players and finally solid state. If 4G becomes ubiquitous we may see the solid state players replaced by stream players , but for that you need a continuous reliable signal, and that is unlikely to happen because there are always places where you are unable to get a signal.

RPM in Newcastle has a stock of vintage music centres , along with cassettes and vinyl to play on them , which is excellent if you have the room and inclination for that.

It's unlikely that I will ever own another cassette player but cassettes certainly provided me with lots of fun , inspiration and convenience in their heyday and ironically the stadard tape length of 90 minutes was almost the same time capacity as a CD.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Seven Days In Cromford

Blue Skies over Cromford Mill Pond
I chose the name of this blog because my original idea was to be about places I'd been to. It quickly deviated from that although there are still some posts about places and this is one of them.

Tor Cafe - Oldest in the Dales
The village of Cromford is quite amazing. The only financial institution is the local Post Office, but it has not been decimaed by out of town supermarkets, Two fish and chip shops , a book shop , three pubs and a social club and lots of small specialist shops.

It's built around a large mill pond which is home to trout , swans ducks and geese.

The village reminds me of Chatteris immortalised in the Half Man Half Biscuit song "For What Is Chatteris".

Amazingly although it's surrounded by hills you still get a decent phone signal.

Ducks Landing on Cromford Mill Pond
It's also home to a part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site featuring lots of inventions and buildings started by Richard Arkwright. Incidentally they have an Arkwright's stores but sadly no Arkwright and Granville!!

The bookshop is Scarthin books and is a veritable cornucopia for anyone interested in reading , in a stunning location and you could spend a whole day in there.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Why Blog?

Although I know this now I didnt when I started blogging. I knew people kept diaries and some famous people actually got them published. I started the blog as a way of recording places I'd been to then started adding music and technology related stuff , until i just started recording anything that interested me or caught my eye.

My memory is not all that great , I'm not great at memorising facts but I am good at remembering where to find those facts. Someone once was shocked that Einstein didn't know the speed of light. "Why do I need to know that? I can look it up in a book" was his replay. Now we have the internet and loads of ways of accessing what has now become the greatest reference work ever. In our smart phones and tabllets we hold in our hands our very own Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy and proposed by the sadly missed Douglas Adams.

Anyway back to my point , this blog gives me a searchable reference to things that have happened to me and caught my eye. If other people are interested then that's great , but it's still here for me. I also would love to write a book and hoped that this blog would spark off something that would result in a book. With Amazon's self publishing package anyone can publish a book now.

Yesterday Graham Norton was interviewing Maureen Lipman and she said that she could trace her life through her newspaper columns , so I'm not the only person doing this.

So basically blogging enables you to jot down things you don't want to forget, and online blogs also enable you to search back through your life both digital and real.

Here's my first post and dip into blogging on Sunday 18th February 2007 almost six years back. This is 401 posts on , here's to the next 401 posts.

Fleeing From The Lava

This is my 400th post on this blog. Surprised but not surprised , anyway here you go.

Yesterday was the first time I have driven a car with SatNav. On the advice of the guy from the excellent Enterprise Car Rental I'd upgraded to a 1.6 litre Vauxhall Astra because the weather was a little wintry to say the least. Anyway it was nice to know where I was when stuck in a totally unneccessary traffic jam near Catterick  caused by 8 miles of coned off road to cater for 50 yards of actual work.

The problem with Satnav for is that too many people take it as Bible rather that an informational guide. It is only as good as it's base data and the satellite signal it receives. It may help if you are ;ost. I found it really useful as it confirmed my bearings in the fog , rain and descending dark.

You may wonder about the title , it's from the Half Man Half Biscuit song "Evening Of Swing Has Been Cancelled" from the album CSI Ambleside, Here's the passage stolen from Chris Rands HMHB Lyric Project:

And the christening party arsehole
Who hitherto had blurred
My conception of man as nature’s final word
Was fleeing from the lava
His SatNav pleading thus:
“I’m not from round here mate, you should have got the bus”
And the christening party arsehole
Who hitherto had blurred
My conception of man as nature’s final word
Was fleeing from the lava
His SatNav pleading thus:
“I’m not from round here mate, you should have got the bus”

From: Half Man Half Biscuit: Evening Of Swing (Has Been Cancelled) - lyrics
My conception of man as nature’s final word
Was fleeing from the lava
His SatNav pleading thus:
“I’m not from round here mate, you should have got the bus”

From: Half Man Half Biscuit: Evening Of Swing (Has Been Cancelled) - lyrics

Monday 19 November 2012

Psychic Hotel Service

Staying at the London Hilton Metropole, I availed myself of their complimentary biscuits only to start coughing as a crumb hit my throat. At that moment there was an insistent knock on the door. A nice Asian guy in hotel livery with two bottles of Strathmore water. Synchronicity or what?

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Connectivity, Eclipse and a First Time For Everything

Last night I watched via the internet , facebook , and Panasonic solar technology , on the recomendation of a very good friend a solar eclipse in Queensland Australia. Apart for the images and the event being spectacular it was amazing to see how connected we can all be in this digital age . Instant video feeds from 9000 miles and 10 hours away while being exactly in the same moment. How many thousands of us shared that . An event that even ten years ago could not have happened. People watch on their TVs , computers and phones , took and shared pictures . Absolutely amazing.

It reminded of seeing Bill Bryson a couple of years ago relating a story of a guy who organised a scientific expedition to India to watch a similar event a few hundred years back. The guy spent years preparing and was thwarted by thick cloud cover. Last night was good because of the twin feeds from Port Douglas and Fitzroy Island , making sure we had at least one clear view.

This brings me on to the excellent new advert for EE featuring Kevin Bacon selling the concept of total connectivity in todays digital world . Kevin Bacon is still a top guy and is excellent in the advert, telling us about the connectivity which the Eclipse event was made for. By the way Tremors is one of my favourite all time films:

And then this morning I relented in my Starbucks boycott to pay for my first coffee with my phone using their rather efficient app. That was fine only slightly marred by me being confronted by three beardy beggars demanding 40p as a walked out of the shop . I was bigger and scarier than they were so I made my way to the train to enjoy my coffee frappacino!

Sunday 4 November 2012

Are We Just Renting ? Applespeak Strikes Again

A couple of issues with digital content here . Apple reckon that when you "buy" a download from them you are just renting it from them. Now 1 , unless they have bought the  said item from it's maker , composer , they are only licensees of the said item , taking their cut as a middleman . To illustrate a point you can either rent or download fims, so in Applespeak "buying" actually means just renting for a long time (see previous post here) . You can see the Bruce Willis situation here.

Amazon have done a similar thing , wiping a woman's Kindle for Kafkaesque unspecified account infringements (see Guardian article here) , and then mysterious restoring the said content , saying firsat that they are only renting the ebook out to you , despite saying you are actually buying the said item.

So for for all of thos infected buy Applespeak , here is what it means:

Buy  (b)
v. bought (bôt), buy·ing, buys
1. To acquire in exchange for money or its equivalent; purchase. See Regional Note at boughten.
2. To be capable of purchasing: "Certainly there are lots of things in life that money won't buy" (Ogden Nash).
3. To acquire by sacrifice, exchange, or trade: wanted to buy love with gifts.
4. To bribe: tried to buy a judge.
5. Informal To accept the truth or feasibility of: The officer didn't buy my lame excuse for speeding.
To purchase something; act as a purchaser.
1. Something bought or for sale; a purchase.
2. An act of purchasing: a drug buy.
3. Something that is underpriced; a bargain.
Phrasal Verbs:
buy into
1. To acquire a stake or interest in: bought into a risky real estate venture.
2. Informal To believe in, especially wholeheartedly or uncritically: couldn't buy into that brand of conservatism.
buy off
To bribe (an official, for example) in order to secure improper cooperation or gain exemption from a regulation or legal consequence.
buy out
To purchase the entire stock, business rights, or interests of.
buy up
To purchase all that is available of.

Right rant over , here's a song dedicated to Amazon and Apple: