Thursday, 31 December 2009

Decade? what decade?

Well we have done it, in spite of everything we've got to the end of anther decade. I'll leave all that it will be remembered for to all the D list celebs who will be filling a plasma screen near you for the next month..

I'm not even going to try and sum up a decade. Of course there are wars slimy greedy lying politicians and rat f**k bankers but like death and taxes they are always with us and that's just depressing. Anyway my memory 'ain't that good..

Nope, for me, the noughties (at least we'll be leaving that nauseating sugaryness behind) decade of the revelation of the iPod, bars (working in), David Bowie's fall from my affection and MUSE!

Yes I can work MUSE into any conversation at any time, they are my obsession and I am enjoying it (to paraphrase Dr Frank'n'Furter)

All the nasty things I have said about iPod's in the past I am truly sorry. Since getting mine I have *never* listened to so much music, having you're entire music collection with you at any time is nothing short of a revelation. I've never bought so many CD's. I've never listened to so much, never enjoyed so much. *SO* they are not the ultimate in fidelity. I'm no longer bothered.

I've done more jobs in more industries then you can shake a stick at. This was the decade I found that I could work in bars, could run them and finally something I could feel I was good at.

David, if you should ever read this just do *something* (and that doesn't include just re-releasing old tatt and calling it something new)

MUSE. This has been their decade. Yes they have won more awards then you can count (see here for the latest) they have never released a bad or even vaguely indifferent song, but most of all they have given me the most sublime evenings of my life all culminating in this year. This year I have lost it, I have screamed I have cried, I have danced shouted and stamped, I have been for a short while 30 years younger.

THAT has been this decade. Happy New Year all.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Not what Dad had.

Well I was going to mention the arrival of the TV, but I think that's covered :-)

I will mention though the Phillips DVD player I bought about 18 months ago simply because we wanted to play discs from any region.

I'd found that for instance, Peter Mayle's a year in Provence, despite the fact it was panned by the critics in the UK (what do they know) we loved it and wanted a copy. However in region 2 there was only this rancid cut down edited together version basically just bunged across from the unsatisfactory VHS release. *BUT* you could get the full untouched unedited version in region 1 (which really doesn't seem fair been as we paid for it in the first place!)

A long winded explanation of how we came to have the Phillips payer, which with a little clever jiggery pokery and pressing of buttons in combinations you would never normally hit could be set to region 0 (in other words play any disc from anywhere)

So not only could it play year in Provence but all sorts of weird TV bargain priced series I discovered while poking about in the dark nether reaches of Amazon..

This model had 'upscaling' which although I had no real idea what it was, was that years DVD 'must have'. Of course our TV didn't accept the phantom 'upscaling' so it just worked in bogstandardscaling.

Fast forward to today, I just happened to pop a copy of MUSE's Absolution tour DVD into the machine, just to have a quick test you understand...

*WOW!* Obviously upscaling(C) was working with resolution+(R) and Autoview(R) and all being processed through it's Metabrain(R) and it might be gibberish, but as has been pointed out, WHAT gibberish, it looked nothing short of incredible. A real genuine leap forward.

In years to come it'll be left in the dust of course, but right now I'll just enjoy it.

Maybe there might be something to this 'it's not what dad had' technology after all....

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Last Christmas Present

'What a bit of tatt' I hear you cry!

Yeah OK frankly right now it does look dead ropey and helped even less by someone sticking a thin coat of matt black paint (applied with a brush!) over the lovely (though impractical) chocolate Nextel paint on the rest of the chassis. Just count yourself lucky you can't see the full ghastliness. This is no way to treat an icon!

The photograph on eBay certainly didn't show it in it's glory (! how many times has that been said I wonder?) Still I'm not complaining it was dirt cheap, I am enjoying Roxy Music's second album 'for your pleasure' through it right now. And it will look *killer* when I have restored it to it's full 1976 semi industrial built like a brick glory..

I mean anyone could go into a shop and buy the latest piece of plastic technocr**p, where's the fun in that?

Sunday, 27 December 2009


Somewhere along the line I have taken my eye off the technology ball. One upon a time I actually understood consumer technology (more or less) but then again once upon a time technology had some chance of being around for a fair old while. It wasn't a case of you turn your back and it's all changed, I mean what you used wasn't that different from what your dad had..

What of course has brought all this on is the infamous TV. The chunky monster we have has to go, though would I think that if there was no such thing as 3" deep TV's? I have a horrible feeling the answer is no.

Still they do exist and the one we have is ruining the lines of the Tapley unit it's sitting on a bit like someone has parked a silver grey Ford Transit on your living room cabinetry :-) Once all you did was looked at what size of screen you wanted, did you like the colour of the case and if feeling very sophisticated and new fangled did it have a SCART socket or two?

Now there are more numbers, letters standards and stickers then you can shake a stick at. I spent most of last night on Wickipedia trying to work out what the hell difference there was between 720 (p or i) and 1080 in it's various standards and guises. (there were a bunch of lower numbers too, but I ignored them figuring they were probably older) and dark hints of even higher (?) standards to come in the future. Then there is the mysteries of HDMI SCART (which these days feels almost cosy and comforting) component video and even USB for some reason as well as hints at other computer connectors and even unidentified 'slots' which seem to have no name or purpose other then mysterious 'future use'. It's nice to think the makers think there IS a future...

And don't even start on digital disc player standards..

In the end it's a Toshiba, it's a name I know, it's quite small and pretty and is about the right price. Everyone says it's good for the cash. I'm ignoring the 1080P, 4XHDMI, Metabrain (?) Active vision II, resolution+ and all the rest of the gibberish..

Saturday, 26 December 2009


Every year I think the same, THAT was over fast!

At least here Christmas carries on for a while yet, I can never understand these people out buying sofa's (and really horrible one's at that if the adverts are anything to go by) at '9 o clock boxing day'.. I've always wondered if people actually do that, but have never really felt inclined to go and look..

And while it did rain here (it always does, other places get snow) it did at least wait until the evening. I always think how nice it would be to spend Christmas somewhere where it *looked* like a card, all glittery and snow covered, say Austria in a Skiing chalet, or the Black Forest in Germany, or New England in a traditional frame house.. But the just the thought of that travelling and it always seems to be utter mayhem at this time of year makes one think that maybe Welsh rain isn't so bad.

So Presents :-) : Nice big Amazon book voucher, always wish they lasted longer... some decent earphones for my iPod, The Roxy Music back catalogue on CD, (naturally I have it on vinyl, but that's not a lot of use for the said iPod)and the boxed set of THUNDERBIRDS. I always loved it, been nagging for it for long enough, and if you're interested it's where I learned all I needed to know about interior design (not really a joke, if only Sylvia Anderson would do an interior design book I could die happy)

Oh and my Mum doesn't know it but she's bought me a Sugden A48mk2 amplifier on ebay..

Now we have more food then you can shake a stick at and I feel like I never want to eat again..

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A slippy slidey Christmas eve.

HeHeHe (or HoHoHo) it's CHRISTMAS!

My tree, thrown up at the last minute, even when I take more time I always seem to have a black hole on it somewhere (should that be a Supermassive black hole?) I guess it adds character.

I always wonder how they manage to get them to look so good on TV..

I'm afraid that except the neighbours (who I can deliver by hand) I never quite got around to sending any cards, so if I should have sent you one, Sorry and count this as it :-)

And the living room is mostly done - at least it's warm and comfortable. I shall tell you all about that again, but in the meantime, don't use No Nonsense floor varnish...

Merry Christmas Eve :-)