Friday, 27 April 2012

Au revoir

Well my friends, I know my posting has been erratic to say the very least. Posting is always in my thoughts, and there is a lot I'd love to talk to you about and the list gets longer daily. Indeed too long, I barely know where to begin (!)

You know of course I'm not in the best of health, and my recent re-start was part of an attempt to maybe normalise or at least arrange my life. That seems to be my goal right now, to bring a feeling of order. However after just a few days I can see that this at least has been a wrong move. While I have so much to talk about, and while more comes up all the time, blogging is just one more thing I don't have the energy to do. Often I feel I barely am able to cover the essentials of life never mind any of the add-ons.

So all that has happened is I don't post and it becomes just one more thing to beat myself up over and feel guilty about, and this of course is not helpful!

So as of now I'm formally saying Au revoir. Not goodbye, you never know what the future will bring. Indeed I have meetings with several doctors and specialists in the near future, there is the hope that life can be improved, maybe even returned to something approaching normality (whatever that may be) but for the foreseeable future, this blog will be put to rest.

I am on Twitter, which is great fun,it's by definition short and immediate and can be picked up and dropped at will depending on how one feels. Banal to important it's all on there, if you are too, I'm @MUSEmunkey, and assuming you're a real person and not a bot or trying to flog me stuff I'll follow you back :-) I am on Facebook too, but frankly don't like it and very rarely say anything.

But in the meantime dear people thats it for Blogger, thank you for reading and for all your messages, my love to you all

South Wales

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Captain Vimes's boots

This is the Captain Vimes's boots theory of economics, paraphrased as I can't remember the exact details and am too lazy to try and find it, but it is ©Terry Pratchett :-)

Captain Vimes doesn't have much spare cash, instead spending most of it on cheap booze (!) so spends $5 on his boots. They are not good boots he knows this, after a very short period they will start to disintegrate, they will leak and be uncomfortable but with some make do and mending and stuffing with the Ankh Morpork Times they can be made to last about a year at which time he will pay another $5 and buy another pair.

Lord So and So on the other hand for one reason or another has more disposable income. So he gets his boots made to measure. They cost $25 but they have been made by a local skilled artisan. They are luxurious, they are beautifully made, they look good, they are comfortable and most of all they will still be as good in 25 years *and* he will have had dry feet *the whole time*.

Much simplified but just a thought...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Happy Record Store Day

Apparently it's Record Store day. So happy record store day. Not.

Record stores were one of the reasons I stopped listening to music for over a decade, not the only one it is true, maybe not even the main one, but it was certainly a major nail in the coffin.

In general I'm glad almost all have gone to the wall. There is all this tosh about all the help and advice they gave, I can put hand on heart and say I have *never* been given any help or advice in one, just sneered at by some spiky haired foetus that has done one to many experiments in facial piercing.

The final straw I remember was the lady in front of me wishing to pay and to ask about albums by Mick Ronson being abused by the pair of 'youffs' behind the counter because a. they had never heard of Mick Ronson anyway (!) and B. they would rather carry on chatting in the most lurid possible terms about their unsavoury doings of the evening before rather then do their jobs or give any form of help or advice other then to leave them alone.

That was the last time, I couldn't get out fast enough, out of the darkness and volumes of 'music' that would be considered dangerous in a disco, or a building site,  so you immediately couldn't remember why you went in there in the first place and the crowds of milling teenagers , not buying or even looking at anything, probably also wondering what the hell they had gone in there for...

I am now a music fan again, I buy and listen to music constantly. I love Muse, and My Chemical Romance, and Marilyn Manson. I also love The National, and Elbow and Doves. I also love Pink Floyd and Roxy Music and The Rolling Stones. And Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington and Nina Simone. God I have even been known to love Frank Sinatra and Doris Day, and Andy Williams.

And where do I go now? Amazon. They are fast and efficient, and most importantly they could not care *less* who I buy or what my taste is. They just want me to carry on doing it so they will all have a business and stay in a job.

Kind of bet all the Our Price Records, and Virgins and Tower Records and all those oh so superior 'independents' had thought of that before...

Good riddance.

There will be more. You have been warned :-)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Hello World

It's been forever since my last post and that may or may not be a good thing :-) For anyone that knows me or us, the past months have not been great health wise and I had got into the 'can't be bothered' frame of mind.

That I could accept all the time I was feeling so low. But I am getting better, very painfully slowly it's true and with many depressing setbacks but I *am* feeling better and I can no longer accept that thinking. It sticks around for too long it becomes permanent and that I can't be doing with.

So I shall be restarting. I plan to say nothing directly about my condition, I mean what is there that's more boring then other people's illnesses? Indeed I have no idea if I have anything to say that's of the slightest interest to anyone at all, but that isn't, or shouldn't be the reason for a blog anyway should it? I also don't know how often or regularly I shall be writing, but my *intention* is to give it a go.

I'm not going to say 'watch this space' and the road to hell is paved with good intentions (or frozen double glazing salesmen if Terry Pratchett is to be believed) but who knows there may be something for someone..

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Open letter to Norton Internet Security.

Dear Norton

I've been using your products for many years, indeed since they were called Norton Tools and came on diskettes. This (happy?) relationship is now at an end.

At the end of last year my copy of Internet Security on my desktop just switched off. No warning or explanation of any sort (the subscription still had 3 months to run). It would not switch back on, my computer was left open vulnerable and unprotected. I am very glad I noticed something was amiss almost at once. It might have been very different.

I contacted your much vaunted 'help desk' for, well help. To this day I have never received the courtesy of a reply. Thinking about it, I have *never* received a reply from your company on any inquiry of any sort.

Needless to say rather then leave my computer unprotected I deleted your software and installed that of a rival which I have to say is in every single way very much superior. I wish I had done it long ago.

I still use Internet Security on my laptop. In my stupidity I subscribed for two years. I shall carry on using it until it runs out, you have already cheated me of 3 months subscription, why should you cheat me of any more?

Just to let you know though I hate your software even more then I did before. The latest ploy is constant nag screens about performance in that in your estimation my Opera browser uses too much system resource. Presumably Opera is preventing Norton from grabbing it all like it normally does.

It is my computer, I shall run what I damn well like and it's none of your business.

I seriously would like to wish you well in future endeavors, but I'd be lying. I hope you get bought by some large foreign investment company, asset stripped and run into the ground.

Love & kisses


Monday, 21 February 2011

New Adventures in HiFi

I did write an entry the other day, as you can imagine, it was brilliant, incisive and of world shattering importance. Then I managed to delete it. I have no idea how.

So today I thought I'd talk about something totally different.

Pictured above (thats not my one, it's a stock photo I grabbed off the net) is one of my all time favorite amplifiers.

Most people would pick something costing mega bucks by one of the worlds prestige manufacturers but my choice has to go to the humble Leak Delta 30. This is the visually updated version (the insides are all but identical) to the earlier Leak Stereo 30+. It was given a face lift when the Rank organization bought Leak and Harold Leak the founder retired. They didn't do the company any good in the long run (along with Wharfedale the speaker manufacturer which they also acquired) but this at least was a good move.

Why this little amp? God knows it's no powerhouse (12-15 watts a channel) the sockets, particularly the speaker connectors are a pain and of course it's old. But it's built like a tank, the modular card system it's built upon make it surprisingly easy to work on and plug in a modern source like a CD player or an iPod (via a small dock and obviously using stuff recorded in lossless) and it just sounds *right*. Never fatiguing, always warm and inviting, you can listen all day. I tired many years ago of the 'my HiFi is so good nothing I have is good enough to listen to on it'

I am currently using it plugged into a pair of equally vintage B&W DM2a's (another favorite) While it is nowhere near powerful enough, the DM's are inefficient and like lots of power, but as long as you are not planning any parties (and I'm not) it's a magical combination.

The story is that Harold Leak, who by all accounts was not the easiest of men, accidentally purloined the design which was left on a desk while visiting the premises of a rival manufacturer. I'd love this to be true and if so I could even make a guess as to which one. Who knows the truth after all this time, whatever the case he produced something special.

I'd like to try it's bigger brother, the Delta 70, basically exactly the same amp, just uprated a bit and managing a good 35+ watts.

Of course there's plenty out there that can do better in so many areas, but to find a combination so lush in such an unassuming little package is more then anyone could hope for.

Obviously offer me a Radford STA15, a Quad22/33/405/606, a Lecson or any amount of others and I'm going to take your hand off, but you'll never get one of those for the same outlay..

I love 70's HiFi particularly British HiFi. The designs and concepts are unique. It's also built out of slabs and casts of aluminium and steel casing and veneers are real. It owes much more to industrial design then it's Japanese and American counterparts and to my eyes is all the better for it. The components used are proper full sized ones and look and behave like they are supposed to. And you can *fix* them. Try doing that with the latest Chinese made techno wonder..

Monday, 14 February 2011

My Chemical Romance at the Wembley Arena. Photograph (c) Julie Bench

The My Chemical Romance World Contamination Tour rolls on and London Wembley was another triumph. I know, my friend Julie was there with her family, I should have been too. I've seen the setlist, I've seen the photographs it looks a stunning night. There is a thought there were more cameras then strictly necessary so maybe this time the Video will be in London rather then Mexico? I can but hope.

Tonight at a musical opposite I should have been at The London O2 seeing the reunion tour of Roxy Music. I really wanted to go, I have loved Roxy since a young teenager. The last time they were all together like tonight I couldn't go either, my mum wouldn't let me as I was too young. Unless Mr Ferry and the guys have such a ball they decide to do it all again and soon, I don't suppose I'll get the chance again. Sometimes life is a b*tch.

By the way if you're into slick utterly professional music handled perfectly and thats just going to give you a good time try Bryan Ferry's new album Olympia. It won't have you bouncing around the room or screaming the lyrics, it's not going to change the world or set it on fire, but even the rockiest of us need to relax sometimes. Gorgeous.