Friday, 29 January 2010

wet look

Luckily the floor only *looks* wet..

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Ballrooms of Mars

The living room floor has just had it's third coat of Ronseal (does exactly what it says on the tin) Diamond hard floor varnish.

Remember in the 70's there was this thing for 'wet look' gloss, only it never really was as as soon as it dried it was bog standard ordinary gloss? Well looks like Ronseal have finally cracked it, if you want your floor to look like there is a thin film of water over it then this is the product :-)

Actually it's gorgeous, it keeps making me think of 'ballrooms of mars' but no one will ever get whats in my head (like the new Marks and Spencer food hall floors make me think of Virginia Plain)

On reading the label, a good idea every now and then, I can't put the rug down for 8 days (hadn't noticed *that*) One day I'll say this damn room is finished and it's not even like I've done anything revolutionary or complicated..

I had been planning on going on about the iPad, but I lost the will to live so I'll make the prediction now and leave it at that. The big thing with it isn't the iPad at all, but what's inside, the A4 processor. A bit like Cyberdyne Industries Apple is going to take over the world I hope it'll be with a better outcome....

Actually I'd like a Mac to replace my scrapheap, but John thinks they are the work of the devil himself.

Monday, 25 January 2010

My Horoscope

My Horscope for yesterday said that if I planned well and finished a project then I would have a real sense of achievement and satisfaction (I am paraphrasing of course).

I was trying to work out if there was any situation when you finally finished a project where you would *not* feel a sense of satisfaction and achievement?

Anyway keeping this very much in mind (NOT) I did crack on with the shelves for the living room *and* finally finished them.

Recycling bits of Ikea Besta units had seemed like such a good idea when I thought of it, but if I had realised just how involved and time consuming it was all going to be then I would have just taken the whole lot down the dump and started afresh. My guilt would have dissipated and been forgotten over time... :-)

I'll take some pics as soon as they have something on them and so look more interesting, but they are basically dead thick white shelves with pine edging on adjustable brackets. NOT so complicated, and now they are done I can't imagine what took quite so much effort.

The first one to be finished I thought it looked a bit like an 80's kitchen unit, but I think maybe they do look 70's Scandinavian after all... I'd have liked teak edging, but these days it seems a solid gold/platinum mix would be easier to get hold of and a fair bit cheaper.. (would have looked tacky though, so I rejected that idea)

Now I have to decide what to do with all the rest of the Besta parts..

What's next? well I am going to have to empty the floor area again and refinish the floor - again.

I don't know if you have 'No Nonsense' products where you are, (in the UK sold by Screwfix) but if you do under no circumstances use their acrylic floor varnish. It feels tacky and sticky underfoot (it was applied before Christmas) and scuffs and marks like you would not believe. I'd used their previous product many times but this is just rubbish of the first order.

Actually considering the effort I put in and with such a disappointing (to put it mildly) result I very much doubt I would ever again trust a 'no nonsense' product in any situation.

I complained but of course have heard nothing. Surprised? No.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Rock Gods

It's been a few days, the outage last week (thanks Virgin Media) messed up my routine, and once my routine is messed it tends to stay that way. What is it with computers, hate them when they 'work' (well I do mine, but only as it hates me more) but it's like losing an arm when they are not around. OK maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

Was watching a programme on BBC4 the other night about Brian Eno. I hadn't realised it was on so missed the beginning. Tony Visconti very much first, But Brian Eno certainly provided a good part of the soundtrack to my youth.

The vampy one (read my attention magnet) at the electronics with Roxy Music, with Ultravox! (note the exclamation mark, the proper original line up with John Foxx and Chris Cross), with David Bowie, with Iggy Pop, Talking Heads, David Byrne, Coldplay, Grace Jones. If I was into them chances are he had had something to do with them, and that doesn't even begin to cover his influence..

(Please note I left U2 off that list, there has to be a blind spot, and they are his #hehe#, never could stand them)

There was this older guy sitting at a keyboard, smart, balding grey hair shaved to a stubble, a manager, exec maybe when I realised with a thrill of horror that *was* Eno. What the hell happened? OK I know what happened but my heroes are *not* allowed to get old, to turn into someones dad, or worse someone who could easily be an exec a major bank..

I guess once upon a time Rock Gods didn't get old, you either lived fast and died young or you quietly retired and stayed that way. Grace Slick of Jeferson Airplane said "all rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire."

My god I can see that today it's a whole different ball game and while it may once have been fun, perhaps these days you DO need to be a suited exec not to be trodden into the dust. Suits or not I'm so glad they haven't gone.

If it wasn't for people like Visconti and Eno, still out there, still doing magic we would be left with the likes of cowell inspired corporate pap like the karaoke bag lady or that pair of morons with the sticking up hair.

OK this post is a mess, I'm trying to juggle way too many threads, but I WILL come back to it, count on it when I have sorted out just what in hell I am trying to say :-)

Monday, 18 January 2010

It's Monday

Last night as I was going to sleep I was thinking of something absolutely life changing, indeed if not world changing I was going to tell you about. Something of such significance and of wild ultra interest to everyone you'd have been shaken to your very core.

UNfortunately whatever it was, I've completely forgotten it. Don't you just hate that? :-)

OK so nothing to say right now, this vid is of the closing of MUSE's headlining set in Auckland. I really wonder if they miss their gorgeous slick round stage and light towers.. Actually I dread those CO2 jets, you know it's all over then...

There are rumours of them playing Glastonbury again this year. I hope not, as I won't be going even if they do. I don't like festivals, I'm way too old and I like proper toilets and don't like tents! If I wouldn't do it for David Bowie in 2000 I'm sure as hell not doing it now :-)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Some days

Some days, They don't go so well..

Spent the morning preparing the shelves for the living room, they are made of recycled IKEA Besta units, but with any luck won't look it by the time I am through. (the units themselves had seemed like a good idea - they weren't)

So later had to start drilling numerous holes in the wall at which point my Makita drill, which is 13 months old strips it's gearbox and is now just so much plastic *and Nickel Cadmium* junk.

I found to my surprise what REALLY p*'d me off was not the fact I'd have to buy another after only 13 months (though god knows that's bad enough) but it was the idea of the materials and energy that had gone into making the thing were now totally wasted. I have no idea when I started turning into some sort of born again greenie but it does seem to have happened.

It seems the gearboxes on the things are *plastic*. Any 5 year old would tell you that's fine for Fisher Price but on a butch power tool that is NOT going to last and so must have been planned that way.

It really is time thinking like this was stopped. I figure if the EU wanted to do something really useful it would require that items which use dangerous materials last for a minimum of 5 years. That would be a good start. And I know it would cost more, fine, in the end it would end up costing a lot less.

I've ordered a DeWalt. The gearboxes are all metal, they don't cost *that* much more, they are beloved of builders the country over and are *yellow* :-)

The Makita batteries I shall advertise for free to anyone that would find them of use - well you didn't think I'd buy another of theirs did you?!

Neon Bible by Arcade Fire arrived. Bigger, showier more bombastic then Funeral, it's very much them. Wildly outrageously defiantly beautiful, You feel you've finally been told the truth and it'll change your life.

There is very little that makes me feel like that, some Killers and of course all of MUSE, that's about it. I am glad I've finally been let into the secret..

If you watch the video above be warned, you'll thrill to the music but the footage is cut from *that* scene from Sergei Eisensteins Battleship Potemkin..

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Monica's Closet

Todays MUSE video isn't from the Big Day Out in Auckland, seems very few were actually filming, but instead having too good a time and what there is are frankly terrible quality.

But this is the official video for The Resistance single. And as I said on youtube, it's a European gig *perfectly* summed up in 5 minutes.

The picture though IS from Auckland. MUSE are having fun, they really like doing these stripped down outdoor gigs and they seemed to knock the Kiwi's for six. Heavy, tight and with an incredible show, they should try a full on Euro set then :-)

Today I thought I'd bite the bullet and show you my room. Now everyone thinks what a nice tidy person I am though if they get to see that they might change their minds. This is my 'Monica's Closet' and no matter what I do or how often I do it it always ends up looking like this. But I guess everyone needs a space to show their other side LOL.

Dominated by my retro hi fi, this is the one I use most of all, not the smart (not quite as retro - but definitely more up market) one in the living room.

What I most want now is a Revox A77 reel to reel recorder, I'd never use it but I have always wanted one and it would increase my pile of junk most impressively :-)

Though the bag of what looks like rubbish between the speakers are actually the tiles for the upper hall - they have to be kept warm & dry so maybe it's not *that* bad.

No, I was right first time - it's a tip.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

What are the chances

How many times have you bought an album by an unfamiliar artist only to find the only track worth listening to is the one heard on the radio? Then you wish you had just bought the track from iTunes and saved the cash. Hindsight and all that.

So what's the chances of buying three albums (my latest Amazon haul) and every single one is an absolute killer? It almost never happens.

First, Funeral by Arcade Fire. Released in 2005 I have no idea how this one slipped below my radar, I'm actually embarrassed to admit that it did but I guess better 'late adopter' then never.

Kind of like the secret that everyone knows but no one told you, I have no idea how to classify them, sort of indie alternative folk rock I suppose. Whatever it is, it's a work of stunning accomplishment, searing and utterly triumphantly beautiful. You can't pick anything out of it, or pigeon-hole it, Funeral shows just what can be done, it's exquisite.

While I know it's a different beast I immediately ordered Neon Bible their follow up (and only) other album.

The second was Sounds of the Universe by Depeche Mode. Of course they have been around utterly forever, one of the backgrounds to my late teens/twenties. To be honest they always left me rather cold, never having acquired the taste for (what seemed to me) their rather sterile electro synth-pop... Anyway I was a fan of the original - Gary Numan.

But having got into Editors, and they seem to be determined to turn into Depeche Mode anyway it's time to retry the born again originals.

Still stunningly slick but warmer, more human, and, well, older, this is a brilliant album. Try Wrong (with a terrific video) or Fragile Tension and you might find like me that after 30 years they finally get through.

The third, was a real scary gamble (OK I know no one is going to die if I buy an album I don't like, but I hate wasting music budget) Anyway this was A brief History of Love from The Big Pink.

They had won NME (or somebodies) best newcomer award and were supporting MUSE here in the UK.

And were (sorry guys) utterly hideous.

Just a dreadful noise, every song sounding the same and with staging ideas limited to a stage filled with CO2 and 'lit' by banks of white strobes, by the second song even I was feeling nauseous. Night one I went to the loo then decided the rest of their set was much better spent out on the concourse drinking beer, night two I didn't even bother to go in till they had finished, preferring a veggie burger, more beer and chatting to a couple of friendly MUSE girls.

But like many things they kind of stuck in your head, and surely someone must have seen some worth if they were supporting MUSE?

You listen to Brief history of love and suddenly all makes sense. It's good, VERY good. Way more melodic and 'hook-y' then such bands usually are they have this way of taking noise, feedback and distortion, feeding it all through a Phil Spektor wall of sound and twisting and binding it all together into this smooth rope flowing through their music.

And of course without it all going onto a backing track you can't do it live, you just end up with noise, feedback* and distortion (and there is NO excuse for the strobes!)

Try the video above, I hope you get what I mean.

Oh and today's MUSE Resistance tour video? They are having the day off playing cricket on the beach with Lilly Allen in New Zealand (these showbiz types!) But they are at Big Day out on the 15th.

*And I *like* feedback, Diamond Dogs is in my top 5 :-)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Yesterday, in spite of all the dire warnings it held off showing *just* long enough for me to get to Swansea, see my oldest friend, totally OD on caffeine in Starbucks *and* get back home. It was incredibly cold but something was smiling on me. Frozen I can deal with, but snowed in in Starbucks may not be as good as it sounds at ..

What to say about meeting your oldest best friend for the first time in years? We're both older, though possibly no wiser and I still have a little difficulty in reconciling this 'grown up' sitting opposite me with the guy I've known since 11.

But he IS the same guy I've always known I'm glad to say, a hug, another hug and another for luck and we were away like we had never lost touch.

I'd like to say just as if we'd seen each other yesterday and from ease and understanding it was, but there was WAY too much to catch up on. Probably much to the annoyance and certainly fascination of the other customers on surrounding tables.. EEK!

We talked for two solid hours and since then I have been thinking of all the stuff we never got around to, all that I didn't ask or tell. However he's back again in a couple of weeks and in the meantime there's Facebook, but it's really not the same..

But maybe now I can see a point to these 'social networking' sites.

I'm on twitter now too (yeah I know, but if you've given in too I'm MUSEmunkey, say hello)

I've been keeping up with the Japanese leg of the Resistance tour as it happens and have just found that for the encore at Budokan Dom (drummer) was wearing a costume of Gachapin (I thought it was a baby Godzilla, but what do I know?) that everyone has been talking about. Turns out given to him by my friend Snow and her friend on a 'meet and greet'. Now you have to admit that is pretty cool..

Though it does *slightly* detract from the solemnity of the overture of the Exogenesis symphony... :-)

Monday, 11 January 2010

another of those days

Today I've made a whole pile of new friends in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo. realised what happens when MUSE obsessives main forum server dies (not a lot aside from ridicule by peers and alienation - I may have made that up) and talked to my oldest friend on the phone.

And if they are wrong about the snow and blizzards expected overnight (and no one would faint with surprise over that) We'll meet tomorrow for coffee and catch up on the last decade.

All the things I should have done remain undone.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


Yesterday, I was going to do all sorts of stuff, mostly in the garage. But it was freezing cold. So I didn't. Which was just as well. As I spent most of the day on the net trying to find out how the MUSE gig in Osaka was going.

Supposed to start at 18:00 local time, MUSE actually came on at 19:00. (those Japanese guys really like their gigs early, and I thought we had it bad here with our 23:00 curfew!) They don't have any support band, frankly I wish they'd ditch the support here too, well Lady Gaga (allegedly) excepted..

Now as I've said this was Japan, home of the most switched on technologically advanced gizmo obsessed people on the planet. If it it doesn't have a lithium ion battery and WiFi they are not interested.

Or so we have always been told.

My friends I think we have yet again been fed a line. To what end I am not sure, except maybe to make us gobble as much technojunk as possible in order to try and 'keep up'.

Before the gig I found one picture of roadies (sorry technical/physical support crew) and a couple of tweets saying MUSE were on their way)

Then that was it. Myself and the other MUSE obsessives on the forum were, just like watching big brother in the early hours, sitting there waiting *in case* something, anything should happen. 50 minutes in, not a word. An hour, 90 mins, nothing.

There is always someone giving constant tweet updates from their iPhone/Nokia/Samsung and uploading grainy pictures as they happen. But this is *Japan* I was expecting perfect live action video streamed direct to youtube in real time at the *very* least!


Please don't think I am criticizing the people in any way, I sure as hell wouldn't be messing about with gizmo's while MUSE were on, I want to give them my whole and full attention, but there are always people who will (judge by all the little LED screens you can constantly see in any audience) and the techno expectations were therefore dialled up to the max.

But I am criticizing whatever agencies have been responsible for feeding us this load of tosh over the years. That is the one thing about 't'interweb, sooner or later your sins do find you out :-)

My new friend Ichu has since given a very full and detailed account, but even today there are no more then 5 videos on youtube and frankly not of the best technical quality. Quite like the output of cameras we have been persuaded to throw away years ago..

I was really surprised that again it is the stripped down basic staging, again I was expecting it to be dialled *up*. And the Japanese seem to prefer MUSE's mellow quiet songs.

Looks like someone at least knows the reality, Hmmmm

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Old friends

I know this is a few days old bit figure you were fed up with MUSE, but what the hell it's my blog :-)

This is at Seoul on the 6th, an ultra stripped down set, with no towers or lifts, circular stage or truckloads of awesome Showgun lights. Not even Matt's beloved custom Kawai 'grand' piano. But like at Teignmouth, and almost uniquely these days they don't need it, they can do it anyway.

This is Butterflies and Hurricanes, a lot of the fans really have their knickers in a twist as this is the first time it has aired on this tour.

Next, Jo Hall Osaka, *tonight* or if I am right about midday GMT. Time zones are a b****

Facebook, who says it doesn't work? Well I always thought it was rather pointless but, wrong! Yesterday out of the blue I had a friend request. I had to mentally add a few years, but it was my oldest and best friend, we have known each other since we were kids but as things happen lost touch a few years ago.

He's living in London right now but still has his house in Swansea. We're going to meet up next week for coffee. I can't wait.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Disaster in the kitchen!!

Probably the double exclamation marks are over egging the pudding, for that matter so is the word disaster, (it's not like International Rescue was needed) but definitely a case of be careful what you wish for..

This morning I thought next I'll wash the kitchen floor but first I want to give the oven a going over.

It's one of those glass front jobbies by Electrolux ( well actually made in a giga manufactory somewhere in eastern Europe with the word Electrolux transferred onto it when it was about to leave, indeed it could have had any of a dozen names on it and no one would be any the wiser)

The point is it has doors made of two sheets of glass with a space between, but constructed in such a way that any crap can get and run between the panes, you can see it, but you can't get to it.

Now this thing had given us trouble before, it's kept cool with a fan on the top, which costs a fortune to replace and the bearings of which wear before you have time to turn around and then makes the most *horrible* noise you can imagine.

Why they couldn't just have bunged even a modicum of insulation in it thus doing away with the need for the fan *and* reducing it's power consumption is quite beyond me - guess that's why I'm not a designer being paid the big bucks. Assuming this stuff these days actually *has* designers..

back off my tangent..

I open the door, start fiddling with it. Then I *swear* there was nothing intervening, one microsecond there was a door, the next the kitchen floor was literally covered with the tiny exploded remains and with a brown handle sitting forlornly in the middle of it.

And I am convinced there was no intervening time period between the two states.

And when I say exploded I mean it, there was glass in the hall, and under the fridge 15 feet away, and in Johns study, and Dolly's breakfast. All lying there tinkling sadly to itself.

A quick search and it seems this sort of thing happens all the time. And they want 140 quid for a new sheet of glass. Ha! I should coco!

So now it's that quandary, what the hell do you do? I had planned on renewing the kitchen next year (2011) and having a sensible well made gas cooker (yes they even still exist) but we can't do without an oven until then...

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

scrabbling about.

Pushing to the very limit the fact that I am obviously being smiled upon just at the moment I did the scariest thing, the thing that I have been leading up to bit by bit on my latest iPod round.

Deleting my whole MUSE catalogue and re ripping it in lossless.

Just to save you the stress that I went through it did work, and perfectly. And of course I still had the discs and the backup files etc etc but to delete anything by MUSE is going against God and nature.. I actually had to close my eyes before clicking on delete..

And to prove Christmas really is over this is the guys on an airport conveyor on their way to Korea for the next leg of the Resistance tour. Work, work..

More MUSE news in that they have just won best album cover for the Resistance, well DUH! It's gorgeous..

And pushing your MUSE tolerance to the max, do watch this clip intended to persuade kids to take science and maths, Boy did I take a wrong turning. These guys have to have the best job in the world & I'd happily cut short Christmas..

Oh and in other news we are being very British and ground to a halt and snowed in with at least.. an inch.. of snow.

Some things don't change.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Pattern Recognition

Tempting fate and just *asking* for trouble but...

Yesterday I installed a simple Ethernet network. Went smooth as smooth and a piece of p*** to do. So my computer no longer uses wireless, got rid of that Dlink dongle thing (I thought they were supposed to make good stuff) and now I have a 30MB connection. A bit of a relief after 16K..

I also installed a socket in the living room next to the TV. So far it's doing nothing but the way non-dad technology is going it's bound to be needed sooner or later.

Then with trepidation in my heart I plugged my iPod into my computer. No warnings, no tales of corruption, without hesitation it synced the stuff that the day before it had repeatedly refused.

The ultimate test I deleted all my Killers albums, re - ripped them in Apple Lossless and reloaded them. Done, perfectly, without demur.

And this morning I hear that Lady Gaga will be supporting MUSE at Wembley in September.

Is it me or is there a *definite* pattern emerging here?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Where's a supermodel?

I realise I should have said something about the video yesterday, apparently Lady Gaga is getting kidnapped by supermodels (they are *such* scamps these supermodels these days..) and sold to the Russian Mafia.. (happens all the time). Not completely sure about the isolation pods & vinyl outfits at the start or the bed bursting into flames at the end (I guess due to sub standard Russian wiring practises) but it was *stylish* and the last scene made me laugh.

I did actually buy Lady G's album Fame Monster in the summer but found that even I could not stand unrelenting disco for long, or indeed a single playing.

I gave it to the guys in the kitchen where they turned it up and left it on repeat to see if they could make young Jason's head explode...

In the meantime, in spite of endless reloading, restarting etc my wireless connection on my computer keeps working at around 16KB (you try doing *anything* at that).

Since the advent of the Sugden amplifier in combination with a pair of B&W monitor speakers I have realised how dreadful 'standard' compression on iTunes is but I can't seem to delete albums and rerecord them in Apple lossless without it baulking at around track 4.

And iTunes seems at random to claim my iPod is corrupted and needs to be reset... and then it freezes.

Oh and Brown Cameron et all have gone into dreary overdrive, well there is an election in, like six months..

There's never a supermodel about when you need one.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Reasons for cheer

Guy on the radio trying to think what was good about January..

Well soon it'll be February then it'll be Christmas again, then it'll be 2058 and we'll all be dead..

It's always good to look on the bright side :-)

In the meantime here we may all drown in rubbish. They didn't collect yesterday (thought they were being a bit optimistic) So in the meantime you don't dare bring the bins in, because the second you do they will come..

And while my big wheelie bin still has room in it because I'm a (fairly) good little eco-drone others are hidden behind big piles of extra rubbish bags..

It does make you wonder how countries like Canada or Sweden manage when they have more then two millimetres of snow - even on January the 1st night.

Oh another good thing about January - The Christmas tree gets taken down and put away. I know that sounds a bit harsh (me? surely not?) but I always think it's lovely to have it, it's even nicer when it's gone. It's amazing how clean and spacious everywhere suddenly looks

Thought you might like my new guilty pleasure.. (though not that guilty If I'm being strictly honest)

Reasons to be cheerful

Guy on the radio trying to think what was good about January..

Well soon it'll be February then it'll be Christmas again, then it'll be 2058 and we'll all be dead..

It's always good to look on the bright side :-)

In the meantime here we may all drown in rubbish. They didn't collect yesterday (thought they were being a bit optimistic) So in the meantime you don't dare bring the bins in, because the second you do they will come..

And while my big wheelie bin still has room in it because I'm a (fairly) good little eco-drone others are hidden behind big piles of extra rubbish bags..

It does make you wonder how countries like Canada or Sweden manage when they have more then two millimetres of snow - even on January the 1st night.

Oh another good thing about January - The Christmas tree gets taken down and put away. I know that sounds a bit harsh (me? surely not?) but I always think it's lovely to have it, it's even nicer when it's gone. It's amazing how clean and spacious everywhere suddenly looks.

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Decade

New Decade, New Doctor.

Yup this evening David Tennant metamorphoses into - well I don't know someone with floppy hair who looks like he should be still be doing his homework and in bed by 10.

At first I was horrified (sounds like something by Gloria Gaynor) but as the doctor has descended into permanent shouting, running about and pulling faces new and young might for once = good or anyway better.

To tell the truth I haven't actually watched Dr Who in a while I got so bored not just with the faces, but the fact that no one *ever* stays dead, or locked in a timewarp, or a parallel universe or mindwiped or whatever it may be.

I believe it's also bye bye Russell T Davies.

I'll get lynched :-)

New decade and this is all I have to say. Ho Hum...