Monday 31 July 2017

Speed and Goundhogs

I used to be able to write a blog post in ten minutes. These days it often takes me an hour or more. The irony being that less and less people seem to be reading, that isn't a problem as I mainly write for myself and to instil a sort of discipline to get something down, which I may wish to remember. I've been doing this for ten years or so and some of my early posts were extremely short.

I like to think that I can write at least 250 words, but I don't think you will get this today as I need to get off to work fairly rapidly , and as it looks sunny I want to walk at least part of the way, but I need to get in , do a few things then zip off to a podiatry appointment (due to a cancellation, they rang me and said they knew I preferred early appointments so did I want to come in this morning? That was Friday, I love the NHS).

I also noticed last night it seemed to get dark earlier, and we are past the Summer Solstice so the daylight hours are getting less.

Anyway it's Monday , it's time for work, and Nemone on  6Music mentioned Groundhog Day so why not go with "Cherry Red" by The Groundhogs, a sound which I always think inspired Franz Ferdinand.

Have a good one friends.

Sunday 30 July 2017

Numbers and Men In Skirts

As a kid I used to wonder why we had to learn our "times tables". Learning things parrot fashion , is not useful, especially when you are talking mathematics. Fast forwrd to "some time later"  and I find I don't have to look up , work out , or use a calculator to work out this simple multiplications, I just know them. And applying thouse concepts I'm pretty quick on working out the product of any pair of two digit numbers, but up to twelve I just know them, so actually learning the "times tables" benefitted me.

I am learning quite a lot about mathematics and number from my latest book feast, "How Not to Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life" by Jordan Ellenberg which is just going through the differences between large and small sampling operations which has thown a lot of interesting concepts.

Tomorrow is the last day of the month so this week has been a rest from walking though I have still hit more that 7K each day so I am not being average, and from Tuesday I will attempt to do 340K steps in August and repeat that each month.

The last two days I have felt incredibly drained, and really not up to actually walking , and today I had the added extras of changing the bedding, mowing the lawn , and refilling the bird feeders. Added to that I think my phone is going through one of it's phases of not recording steps (a couple of normally 1K walks clocked at 200 steps), but I still hit 9K today and am 70K over the million for the last quarter.

Yesterday I was totally drained but I got myself over to The Doll at The Black Bull to catch Woment In Revolt (they are the ones in skirts) and you can see the video evidence here from a great night, but I was done by ten o'clock. I came home went to post the video online and managed to screw my computer by plugging in a USB cable. It then took an hour to do a restore, but all is good now and all seems to be working well. I've just had a look at the demographics of my audience for youtube and only 20% are female, I am not sure why that should be, but you could say  "C'est La Vie" as Chuck Berry once said , and we got the Pulp Fiction Twist scene featuring John Travolta and Uma Thurman for you to enjoy.

So the weekend is over and Monday is upon us, I hope to feel a lot more energised tomorrow, so I am going to get some sleep. 

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Calculus,Nice Biscuits and Sky Saws on This Day on Earth

Shaun Keavney has just mentioned Nice biscuits and taking two buttered digestive biscuits with a sklice of cheese in between and dipping it into your cup of tea. That's definitely not MY cup of tea. My new book has now hit calculus , that was where maths became too complicated for me, but we shall see if I get any further with calculus. Also wasn't Professor Calculus a character in Tin Tin, which confused me because I got it wixed up with Rin Tin Tin which I thingk was a dog.

Anyway this week I am having a rest from walking. Apparently the average number of steps most people do is about 5K a day , so at 8K and 7K over the last two days I am still above average and my steps effectively lift the average, but not as much as the proper , walkers , runners and athletes.

Anyway this is just a very short post as I am quite tired and just wondering what song should we , and I have decided, for absolutely no reason at all to go with Brian Eno's "Sky Saw" featuring Bob Fripps sky saw guitar from "Another Green World". I loved this the first time I heard it and it still sounds brilliant and strange today with it's vicious noise guitar over an almost lounge jazz / ambient backing. Also unusual in the the main / lead instrument plays the same note all the way through.

This  idea was repeated on the song "This" from the album "Another Day On Earth" where the main rhythm is provided by the word "This" repeated 35 times. That's included at the end of the post.

Sleep well my friends.

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Am I Right?

I've probably written about this before, but what the hell , I'll write about it again. It's only a very short point and short story but because I am writing it I can use as many words as I want, and I thing generally my posts are definitely a bit longer these days than they used to be. I like to think that I hit 250 - 500 words with each one but sometimes it will be less and sometiimes more.

I'm very tired so I think this will be lucky to hit 200 words but whatever. I 've just finished "Electric Eden" by Rob Young discovering quite a lot about music that I didn't know along the way, and now I have picked up "How Not to Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life" by Jordan Ellenberg whichis very interesting and got me reminsicing.

Many years ago I had a pschometric test and was told that the test showed I had a problem. The problem, apparently was that:


not that I thought I was right, I WANTED to be right. The guy said this could be dealt with. I said wait a minute , doesn't every person want to be right? Is't that a positive trait in someone? I would certainly see it as positive , striving to be right all the time.I have always been willing to acceot that I'm wrong when shown the reason for me being wrong and then sown how to make it right, but I will not stand for someone telling me I'm wrong on their say so. Many times I clashed with people in that situation and one or two said to me in private "You may be right, but I am in charge". This could explain a lot, so people don't like you being right.

Anyway it's time for bed, I need to be up at five, so what's a perfect song , maybe "Right" by David Bowie? Goodnight my friends.

One Down .. Millions To Go

Well I did the Million Step Challenge, though you have to take my word for it that I did it, because I did it solo, and as most of the time I was listening to music that's probably a good thing. Going forward I had set my target of 340K a month so I will always be on a rolling three month million. The thing is as it's still a week til August starts I thought maybe I could have a "day off" yesterday , so what did I do , walked into work, walked around town and walked most of the way back.

I don't usually walk back home because part of it is up hill and I am basically a very lazy person and it's a lot easier to get a bus that walk up the hill, but I did get a bus for the last half mile. I checked Google Fit on leaving the bus, because last time it recorded 25 steps from the bus stop to home. It read 10888 steps , 1 hour 54 minutes walking. I counted 140 steps, got in the house and checked again. 10886 Steps , 1 hour 52 minutes walking. I put the phone down checked it twenty minutes later, and the readings were the same. So either I have discovered time travel or Google Fit is a bit rubbish at times. This has happened several times during my Million Step Challenge so I have probably overshot it by some way.

The thing is, this is really helping control my diabetes , so really this has never got to stop. It's like diets, there is no short term solution it has to be a life style change. That sounds far too deep doesn't it, but I like where it has taken me.

It is a grey day, and after this I will maybe catch the bus , or walk to work. Yesterday one of the songs that came on the player was the excellent "Krafty" by New Order, so that's what you get today. Have a great Tuesday everybody.

Sunday 23 July 2017

One Million

This weekend I thought that I might complete my Million Step Challenge a week early, I had 35K steps to do that's about 15 miles over two days. Yesterday I hit over 17K, so today was just about redoing the steps, although I don't like doing the same thing over, but by mid day I had done 7K so thought I would just finish it tomorrow. Then I thought maybe I could walk a bit further this afternoon, and it started raining. So I picked up an umbrella , and although the rain was coming down there was little wind so I generally kept dry.

 I thought I'd include Doctor Evil's "One Million Dollar" ranson demand as I still find it funny and the numbers are related.

While walking I did listen to stuff I had loaded on the phone and still love After The Fire an eighties Christian Rock band who didn't include religion in their songs that was followed by Age of Chance then back to some XTC and Tom Waits.

Although I have another week to complete the millions steps the fact that I could possibly do it today was a major temptation, and of course I gave in. The million steps translates to between 400 and 500 miles but I won't include the Procaimers song but I'll set my sights lower with Big Country's "Fields of Fire (400 Miles)".

If you want to find out about the official 1 Million Step Challenge , check here

Saturday 22 July 2017

An End Is In Sight

It seems a very long time since I woke up and thought "Bloody hell, It's Twelve O' Clock (Noon)". I am not sure why this is , but it probably stems from when I started back doing 10K steps a day. Weekends are usually days when you can do more, although more steps take more time. I am now 35K steps away from hitting the target of my Million Step Challenge. I was wondering how I would continue exercising after the target had been hit, and was worried I would maybe fall back into becoming more sedentary and therefore lose the benefits that I have gained from doing the walking. We all need goals, if we don't have them then we vegetate and ossify. So I have simply decided to aim for 34K steps a month which should ensure that in any three month meriod I should walk a million steps.

Life is affected by continual change and the need to deal with those changes , which is why so many people railed against Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor Who. This is the thirteenth regeneration of the Doctor, and every one has caused people to complain that the new Doctor is not The Old Doctor (here's a list and as long ago as 1989 Dawn French , Joanna Lumley and Frances De La Tour were in the running) , though the worst complaints are sexist and misogynistic. The term Doctor is not gender specific, and in the last series Peter Capaldi was guarding a rogue female timelord , they swapped bodies and several times talked about their past and whether they were male or female. Further back there ws the River Song / Amy Pond thread , so you can't say that you were'nt prepared for this by plot developments.

Continuing through "Electric Eden" (40 pages to go so another ending nearing) I also came across more things I was unaware of. Until Kate Bush hit Number One with "Wuthering Heights" in 1978 no woman had topped the singles chart in the UK with a self penned song, so thirty years that took. Then, talking about the video to one of the songs from my favourite album of hers "Hounds of Love" , it was conceived in connivance with Terry Gilliam (my favourite director, incidentally Kate performed the theme song to my favourite Gilliam film "Brazil" which I've included at the end of this post) and featured Donald Sutherland who had been angling to work with Kate, that was "Cloudbusting" often mis spelt as "Cloudbursting". The story behind the song is absorbing to and can be read here.

This is the thing, reading can tell you new things and remingd you of things you have forgotten.

I know it's grey but today I am looking forward to seeing my friend Julie with Fiona and possibly doing an unfeasible amount of steps, or maybe I will just get the bus.

Have a great Saturday my friends.

Friday 21 July 2017


On Wednesday I ditched the iPad and got a Kindle Fire. Basically the iPad was an excellent device but tried to tie you into Apple and some non Apple apps didn't behave the way I wanted including YouTube and TED. I originally bought it because someone showed me GarageBand, but while that was great to play with, and I managed to record a couple of things, it forced into such things as defining the length of your song before you recorded it, and it took me six months to export my first MP3 after having recording the song. I think it was a space issue and on someone's advice I deleted a load of apps and it finally exported.

I recorded a couple more but, for me it was awkward. So eventually Garageband became something I dabbled with every now and then, and all I was really doing was keeping it charged and updating IOS.

So I got the Kindle Fire and it doesn't like Google apps so can't really use the Google Play Store or Google Docs or NOW TV (which uses some Google Framework). There are ways of circumventing this but I like life easy. I've not yet connected it to Social Media, but have installed TED and managed to print via Bluetooth to my Canon Pixma Printer. It was the first photograph I took with the device , which only has a 2 MP camera, but it was late at night and I wasn't sure what I was doing when taking the picture, but I took it and printed. That's one thing I never did with the iPad (although I never tried).

I've downloaded a Music Studio, which gets good reviews, but will check that out in the coming weeks.

I then played some YouTube stuff using my Bluetooth soundbar for sound and that was good.

Then the biggest plus' which in my opinion has mad the purchase worthwhile already , was the installation of BubbleUPnP which connected to my DNLA Server meaning that my whole digital music collection is available to me. I am now seriously thinking of giving away big chunks of my CD collection.

So far, so happy.

It's Friday, so we need a "fire" related song and the ones that spring to mind are Arthur Brown, Bruce Springsteen and The Pointer Sisters but as usual I'm going a little further afield with Nick Cave's take on "Fire Down Below" from Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinsky's pirate song project "Rogues Gallery".

Wednesday 19 July 2017

The iPad is Gone

It's grey and rainy and I am have hust been watching Ripper Street and Taboo, lots of grim , 19th Century violence and machinations.

Yesterday morning I had a dream , I think I was in Edinburgh, in some Polish shop but I had to go back to get a codec for a video but the only way out was via a hardboard catflap blocked by a China man on a trolley but I had to go out via side door into somewhere I had never been before , lots of high dark streets, then the alarm went off. I know this makes no sense but it was a dream and I can still remember some of it, so that's why I've written it down here. Some psychiatrist will probable get some insight into my psyche from that, or maybe not .. who knows.

Anyway for the last year I have probably used my iPad to charge up and update IOS and that's about it. I'd originally got it to play with Garageband and basically I just doodled with Garageband. I find my TASCAM portastudio and Audacity far easier to produce music with so I ditched the iPad and bought a Kindle Fire 8. All I've done with it so far is charge it up, but I  hope I will get more use out of it than I did the iPad. I just tried to install the Google Play Store but that wasn't successful and Alexa has talked to me.

I only have sixty thousand steeps to no to hit my million steps in three months in the Million Step Challenge, and after that I pledge to do 340K each month. It's a good way of keeping fit without the boring drudgery (as I see it) of gym membership,

Anyway I thought I would tell you about my dream and how I am no longer infected by Apple but we shall see how the Kindle performs. So a suitable record would be on of the Osmonds goodies, where they try to take on the Jackson 5 leaving you with "One Bad Apple".

Sleep well my friends.

Monday 17 July 2017

Monday Sun

Despite the fact it's Monday it looks an absolutely gorgeous day. This is a definite walk to work day. The benefits of walking are evident in my general improvement in health, although it means I have less time for TED talks and other stuff. I tend to spend maybe two hours a day walking which should result in around 12K steps but vary between 8K and 15K, so sometimes I must walk more slowly and some days more quickly. I'm writing this as I'm getting dressed (which you really wouldn't want to see).

I am toying with disposing of my CD collection. A big chunk is in boxes , and while I love playing albums on CD and vinyl, if something is boxed up , it's not available to play. I have it all digitally stored (I think), so it would be a good idea to get some more space by getting rid of some boxes. But in those boxes there are CDs I wouldn't want to lose so it's not a simple task, but I am formulating a plan.

I'm in a similar mode with books and DVDs , I seldom watch DVDs though recently got around to watching the excellent "Looking for Eric" by the brilliant Ken Loach and featuring Eric Cantona, and yesterday I listened to a "Best of R Dean Taylor" , if I remember rightly the first white artist on Tamla Motown, though I may be wrong there, but was surprised at how many songs I knew on there outside of the big hits such as "Two of Us" and "Ain't It A Sad Thing" (which are possibly covers).

So I've chosen "There's A Ghost In My House" for you to enjoy, and I will soon be on my way to work. Enjoy your day my friends.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Please Smile

Today walking into town I saw a guy with a very fierce expression on his face . I smiled and said "Nice Day" but got no reaction. He then started cleaning his car. I then got on a bus and there was a guy looking miserable holding a scratch card. It may have been a winner but probably not, but he didn't look happy. I hope it was a winner and I hope he ended the day smiling.

Smiling releases endorphins and makes you feel better, and makes you better able to do whatever you want to do.

I've passed 900K on my Million Step Challenge but today has been an absolute trial. Firstly my phone seems to be losing and not recording steps. One example is first thing this morning that I took Fiona's phone upstairs for her and that registered 92 steps, mine registered 5 steps , and that's what it was on before I picked Fiona's phone up. Yesterday it registered 25 steps from bus stop to home , when it should have been 200 steps. I went for fish and chips on Friday , that's well over 2K steps , my phone decided I'd done 1K. So this is a little demoralising.

Then I've started feeling drained like all the strength is leaking from my arms and legs. If I can keep going for 20 minutes then I can overcome it, but it's like walking through treacle for 20 minutes. I won't let this combination of negativity stop me from completing the Million Steps by the end of July but it does feel like I'm pushing against something, but it won't stop me.

So an appropriate song would be Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" , I know it's Sunday and tomorrow  is Monday, but it's another week, another challenge. Push on my friends , push on.

Saturday 15 July 2017

How Glastonbury Happened

Just continuing through "Electric Eden" and I came across a couple of snippets about how the Glastonbury Festival actually got started. Michael Eavis apparently snuck into the Bath Blues festival and caught Led Zeppelin's set. A couple of months later he put together The Pilton Festival on his farm with The Kinks headlining. Stackridge and Amazing Blondel were on the set and The Kinks dropped out and were replaced by Tyrannosaurus Rex. The festival was virtually free and lasted the weekend and for a pound you got entry and a weekend's ration of milk.

The following year it was rebranded as "Glastonbury Fayre" and was again virtually free, there was no alcohol allowed and only vegan food. Michael Eavis is a Methodist and local pastors were in the crowd dancing and socialising. The acts this time were big hitters such as The Grateful Dead, Hawkwind, Bowie and Bolan. The Pyramid Stage was constructed according to various mystical calculations and the festival was financed by a film made about it and the triple LP "Revelation"  (more here) that I bought at the time with a brilliant fold out cover. I just have a digital copy now but if you follow the links you can get your own.

The closeness of mystical sites like Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor added magic to the festival , but after that it did nit reappear until 1978, when it began the transition to the advertising corp fest with cash machines and phone masts that it is today.

Michael Eavis makes lots of money but donates lots to many worthy causes. He doesn't drink or do drugs and still maintains his Methodist faith, and long may he continue and prosper.

So basically I will finish this with my favourite song which includes the Festival's name it it's title, "Glastonbury Revisited" by The Cosmic Rough Riders

I know it's a bit wet but have a great Saturday.

Friday 14 July 2017


We hear a lot of certain things "going viral" , but I was wondering what makes something popular these days. Most of the posts on this blog get around 50 hits. The highest ones are between 1-2K and some have none. I don't know how many are robots and know that two or three friends read regularly. Though I seldom get any comments on here which makes me think maybe 90 % are robots. I think I've had maybe for or five comments since the blog started.

Recently I heard of some work experience person going viral on Southern Rail. I read his tweets and to be quite honest they were nothing special, but the public seemed to love it. Remember this is someone on work experience at a company that treats it's customers like cattle and yet those customers like X-Factor viewers just take whatever they are fed my their media choice.

So I haven't a clue what makes something popular. A huge media presence helps, talent and ability and fitness for purpose less so. Remember VHS smashed Betamax despite the latter being the better format.

The Internet and modern communications mean that any idea can become viral and therefore popular. I believe the Daily Mail has the most visited media website going, showing the amount of small minded people who are spoonfed the hate and drivel.

I'm sorry this has rambled in no particular direction, but one thing technology has given us is a chance to deal with the media dominated order. Any can become a star , they just need to be in the right place at the right time and have things drop for them. This may sound cynical but it really is just the way things are.

Anyway I hope I have made you think a bit.

I should include a song but what else should I choose but David Bowie's "Fame" . There was a man who worked hard through many failures to achieve his niche in the modern psyche. He went through name changes , images changes , a perpetual cultural and visual chameleon.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Not Getting Art and Music

I can't believe it's a week since my last post, it's amazing how time can just fly away. I had my annual diabetic review on Monday thinking I had done OK having lost 6Kg , reduced my insulin intake by 30% and improved my three month blood sugar reading (H1C ? ) , the consultant was unusual in that they seemed to want to find something to berate me so told me I was still overweight and if I hadn't reduced my nsulin the my H1C might have been better. How motiovational is that?

Part of the reason for the improvement is my Million Step Challenge , and general walking . I'm at 850K so am going to hit my target, and when I've completed it I will set a target of 350K a month for the future.

I've also got problems with drains so that may be an insurance claims as it may be a rogue tree root that's the cause of the problem. Again that takes time out of your day to sort out.

Yesterday morning on my walk to work the music that came on was Van Der Graaf Generator "Mr Sands" and "Splinter" , plus Peter Hamill's "Gaia" and Genesis' "Harlequin" not exactly inspirational listening but better that Radio One and it wasn't exactly lifting my mood, then walking down Barrack Road Half Man Half Biscuit's "Eno Collaboration" from "Voyage To The Bottom of the Road"came on. That did lift my mood and really set me up for the day.

Fur lunch I sampled some Thai Potato at Wildflower and I am really tempted to to have it again today. The day went well.

After work I visited "You’re Reading Into It: Queering Contemporary Minimalism"at Art Event at VANE which I didn't even know existed, curated by Oliver Doe , a really nice guy wearing a totally amazing suit. I was speaking to a girl who came in because she'd finished work and was also a fan of Wildflower, but said she didn't get  Art. I said my opinion was that if it had an effect the Art worked, that was the point of it. I took a couple of instagram videos which you can see here, but I suggest you get along and visit. It's a brilliant Art space and this is an excellent exhibitions.

So the song that set up my day is the one you get.

Have a good Thursday everyone.

Friday 7 July 2017

Losing It

It's weird, you lose something, you go through all the scenarios of where and how you could have lost it, eventually give up and know that it's just lost, think about replacing it, but it isn't a life or death thing, so it slowly slips from your mind and thoughts. Then your friend Lynn texts you to ask if you are going to see The Coyotemen tomorrow night at The Doll at The Black Bull (They're supporting CBGBs royalty The FleshTones , you pull on your "Lawyers, Guns and Money" T-Shirt , grab the black denim jacket for a change, there's something heavy in the pocket, well heavier that normal , you fumble in your pocket and there is your lost camera complete with Pirate Ship video from Whitby.

The night got better, I met my mate Tom and we talked proper computing with testing, and nailing down specifications while dissing "Agile" "RAD" and "OO" before spilling my coke by placing it on a cunningly sloped table and finding out I'd missed a Garage Band festival in Leith by about fifty yards.

Anyway I hadn't written for a bit but thought it's never a good idea to give up hope, even when you've forgotten about what you had given up hope on. On Monday I hit my annual diabetic review having reduced my daily insulin intake by more than 50% basically thanks to walking, hopefully they will send me away with a gold star. I am 80% complete on the Million Step Challenge and when that is complete I intend to keep up at least 10K steps a day.

I was wondering if I could write 100 words tonight. I think I have, though not been too active in July, but we are only seven days in.

Monday 3 July 2017

Tees With Stripes

I'm feeling like I'm about to drop and, it's funny how a post from your neighbour can remind you of something. Basically just a post about striped T-Shirts that reminded me of my favourite striped t-shirt wearer, Alex Harvey , Glaswegian Master Showman and rocker, who I saw maybe five times before he died (he was a lot younger than I am now, and the band still tour with a stand in for Alex and Zal Cleminson gets scarier as he ages disgracefully , as one should). So you get their excellent "Boston Tea Party".

I'm just back from Edinburgh and despite it being a joint capital, it is a remarkably pleasant place for just walking round, although it is veritably infested with suitcase pullers, at all times of day and night.

I wanted to visit some of the many record shops, and while I found at least five, And did nip into FOPP , the only one I got into was "Unknown Pleasures" on Canongate (which goes into the Royal Mile). It's chock full of vinyl and T-Shirts and I got myself a bit of vinyl. The guys who work there are great, really helpful and knowledgeable and here's my Instagram visit.

I don't know if I am suffering from the distances I walked in Edinburgh , or I am just decrepit and completely unfit for any kind of physical exertion, but we shall see.

OK Time for bed methinks.