Sunday, 30 September 2007

Less than Fragrant

Go to David Hepworth's site for an excellent demolition of the cult of celebrity, in this case the dreadful "Putney Travelodge" raises her medusa like pampered head....

Friday, 28 September 2007

Taking the Pith

Getting the Juice flowing
Picture the scene:
It’s late Thursday evening 6:50 ish in a plush but soulless corporate meeting room, around a table 7 people are bathed in the bluish light of a power point presentation. Their expensive suits are starting to feel gritty, they are all regretting that last cup of burnt coffee, but they can’t leave until they have “that” idea, they’ve seen the market research and it tells them everything and nothing. The head of section is desperate to head off to a golfing city break. Just then the second most junior drone in desperation pipes up “well, why don’t we add a hint of "Orange”. Eureka!

In the world of consumer products food in particular the “Orangification” of things, is the last gasp re-vamp of any company. Once you’ve made it “king-size”, and then “mini”, when you’ve made it “lite”, “reduced the salt by 55%”and given the world the “planet” version or if it can’t turned into a breakfast cereal, a chocolate biscuit or one of those frozen milkshake doo dahs MacDonald’s sell, the fateful day will come when it get’s a squeeze of orange.

The latest product to “pipped up” is Coke, but Kit kat, Twix, wispa, aero etc have all been “Citrused up”. It’s not just comestibles one of the first things the towering genii behind changing “Jif liquid” to “CIF “was to add a hint of Orange “to brighten and refresh your room”. The Mighty Mr Muscle shipped in Jaffa juice to clean your windows and of course in order to sell French phones to British people a whole telecom company got zesty. One can’t but help but think this all stems from when we shipped in a bunch of ruddy yellow German Dutch chinless wonders to run the country 300 years ago!

Honourable exceptions: Kurious Orange.
Terry’s chocolate orange (plain):
a design classic and still a fancy treat in my house.sunday update Thanks to K for pointing out my foolish mistake.

Orange matchmakers: the curiously old fashioned chocolates from a time when a bunch of flowers and box of chocs was seemingly every woman’s ideal gift. In the “olden days” young girls after choosing their crockery pattern also had to settle on their taste in chocolate (for life!) hard or soft, plain or milk, every mum had one. Match makers I fear were never in the same league as Terry’s All Gold or Black Magic (Satan’s favourite after dinner treat?), although they had their charms especially the sliding box with it’s 3-4 compartments and the pleasing nubbly texture. I fear they weren’t the best seduction tool being the sweetmeat equivalent of twiglets. They didn’t even provide a “you start that end I’ll start this end meet you in the middle lady and tramp moment” being too small unlike liquorice boot laces, chocolate fingers or say curly wurlys!

So on the whole in most things in life from sun dresses to suntans, chocolate to oven cleaner if they get the citrus press out just say no.

Make you own Orange man!!!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Lessons from History

Finally got round to watching Downfall (Der Untergang) Oliver Hirschbiegel 2004
Last night. It's really good as most people already know.

Only a couple of things to add:

The idea that this is all ancient history is belied by how long many of the senior Nazis lived, many of them are still around or died only in the last decade. The contrast with their millions of victims' short and terrible lives is stark. From the late 50's onwards these senior Nazi lived seemingly comfortable middle class lives in (from the background of their interviews ) chintzy cosy homes, did they get army pensions? The excellent health care in Germany keeping them alive for many years. In some ways it's hard to see how they "lost" as their post war lives on the surface were little different than if the Nazi's had prevailed.

The other thing that has always troubled me was whether these Fascists get paid for their interviews and therefore profit from their terrible crimes. Traudl Junge is well known to anyone who's seen the "World at War", her younger self even more striking and as carefully made up and groomed as she is in the scenes at the start and finish of Downfall. She has also popped up in many of the other "Nazi" docs that fill the tv schedules. I suppose it's similar case to the general debate about criminals profiting from their crimes except like in many other areas the Nazis are just maybe an extreme exception.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Let's go for the burn...

Leaner, fitter, faster movies

I was trying to sign up for a preview screening for the new Joy Division film, and had to fill in a questionnaire, as it was for cinema events there was a list of film genres to tick: sc-fi, thrillers, comedy, Bollywood etc all fairly predictable except the one at the bottom which was “Fitness”.
Putting aside the fact that most cineastes can be rather sedentary, what on earth is a “fitness” film? Racking my brains I can only think of Jaime Lee Curtis in “Perfect” (1985) which was a graphic expose of her fantastic legs… sorry “the torrid world of the early 80’s LA gym/dating scene” oh and the more recent “Run Fat Boy Run”. Hardly enough to make a genre, that’s unless anyone can think of anymore (shall we exclude obvious sporting movies)?

Ps. I think Perfect’s appeal had less to do with “fitness” and more to with being an extended opportunity to “marvel” at JLC’s “physique”.

Slightly chilling P.P.S I’ve just thought there aren’t people going to preview screenings of Kerry Katona’s new Pizza and line dancing workout video are there!?

Oh and another thing: Just seen the Plot Keywords on IMDB for Perfect.
They are “Male Nudity / Tape Recording / Female Nudity / Laptop Computer / Stripper more “

It’s a while since I’ve seen the film and my attention (if I’m honest) wasn’t on the plot but did a film made in 1984 really feature a lap top computer? You’d think “leotard”, “aerobics” and possibly “back lit lingering shower scene” might feature higher than “tape recording”.

Nu Tunes

Scratchy Sevens!
Having talked alot about ripping vinyl recently
Here’s some choice catches from my latest trawl of Deptford flea market .

My first offering is a single by Frank Sinatra I will drink the wine 1971 Reprise which comes from the end of his peak period. (I don’t know much about it the wikipedia entry isn’t very informative I know this because I had to add the details from the label of my copy to their discography!)

I have cleaned it up using audacity to remove some of the crackle see what you think.
I won’t say too much about t’old Frank except to say all the nonsense about the Rat pack, Mafia etc seems to have obscured the fact that no one would’ve heard of him, if he couldn’t sing the stars out of the sky.

Next up: Eddie Floyd. I’ve been feeling bad 1967 Stax:
Popular history tells us Stax had 2 main stars the Sainted Otis Redding and the shouty Rufus Thomas. This track is from a backroom boy who moved to the front office. Eddie Floyd is most famous for writing “knock on wood”, but also penned other songs including this one, it’s a wonderful example of southern soul. With some excellent organ and great singing .
UPDATE WED 26TH Late afternoon
Dear all, the links above are working now. sorry for any problems

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Things we learned from tonights telly.
I was wrong about mushy pea canapés as Nigella knocked up what she insisted on calling avocado houmous, but was really mushy pies on rye bread.
The other things we learned was she seems to have a girls night in with what looked like 3 19 year old students ! Also she can’t cook a steak.

It's great when you are straight:

Saw Shaun Ryder on the Factory Records documentary and when he's not smacked out of his gourd he's a funny coherent raconteur , may be the drugs didn't work.

Later across town in a tv studio

The excellent comics Britannia hit a few bum notes. I know time is short in these programmes but 2000AD, a comic which has been going for 30 years deserved more than 15 mins coverage, just showing Judge Dredd really narrowed the view of it’s influence.
I think Alan Moore deserved his own programme. That way we could have had more space for other artists. Lastly an overview of British comics that doesn’t even mention Neil Gaiman in passing is like a Uk film round up not mentioning Hitchcock, very odd indeed.
Oh and did the Beeb get Charles Shaar Murray as a block booking?

On the whole a really good series and a good introduction for those less in the know (unlike spods like me). The best thing was seeing the artists themselves talk about their work and the work that inspired way in simple enthusiastic ways .

Ps: Alan Moore should get a gig reading on the revamped jackanory.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Writing on the wall

More tolerance for Graffiti "artists" and Taggers in the paper.
Germain Greer is suggesting that we don't remove the tags etc but should go around giving them marks out 10! Top stuff Germaine another arty type promoting a way of life for everyone else that they don't want for themselves (much like her recent promotion of hi-rise living). I know it is partly a philosophical idea she's promoting and in her defence she does say most tag are rubbish. But frankly if you life in a walled off timber clad Essex's farmhouse and have a rural Australian property (and possibly a place in Tuscany), you shouldn't advocate that the rest of us have to life in graffiti daubed warrens.

Case in point my usually reasonably pleasant stairwell was defaced recently , some numbnuts left the door open and the local nere do wells sat smoking (and burning the carpet) on the stairwell, before leaving they wrote "newcross are fuck" on the wall. I'm assuming Germaine would suggest that we didn't get it cleaned off but in red pen I should give it a mark, in this case for grammar and poetic content. She compares taggers to prehistoric wall art, the difference being (as far as I can see) that our ancestors painted the walls of their caves with common consent. Would it be right for taggers to add their marks to aboriginal wall art?

Park Life

An afternoon in the park
The best view in London

Stale News
Nigel Slater’s got a new book out on English food that looks good, the usual mix of comfort food and personal memories etc. He raised the definition of cake when it comes to "Jaffa cakes "etc and rightly dismisses it for EU nonsense it is. However the easiest solutions if one is needed is:

A biscuit goes soft when it goes stale
A cake goes hard when it goes stale.

Park style
I’m sure you’ve seen the strange phenomenon of people (young ones) wearing their Glastonbury or Reading entry writs bands long after the event. I’m told by a young friend that if you present the band at next year’s festival you get a free pint! The sort for rumour that would’ve been true when still Mr Eavis gave away free milk to “revellers”. It looks particularly affect when sported with a business suit.

Coach Class
Saw 3 separate old blokes today in the park wearing baseball caps, nothing strange there but with a shirt and tie. They weren’t together, it just didn’t look right like an outing of American football coaches or something.

“ya, we found a great place to skate in Machu Pichu”
Greenwich Park had it usual posse of roller bladers. Of all the people in the London these must rank amongst the most irritating (see also skateboarders over age 18, free paper dispensers, the bald bloke who walked to front of the ticket barrier queue at Charing cross ..)
Like most sporty types it’s no good them doing anything if others don’t see/hear about so the peace of the park was broken by a screeching creature and her boyfriend. They then proceeded to act in away only ever seen in adverts, flouncing and shrieking some more, then there was pouting and posing for pictures and the sort of moves last scene in the video for “wired for sound”.
Now I’m all for joie de vivre, but the "look at me aspect" of bladers is annoying. I’ve been doing recruiting recently and inline skaters are the sort of vacuous types who put it on the CV’s, along with travelling and socialising with their “peers”. What they should really put is once every 3 months we whiz up and down the flattest, smoothest bit of London with no mind for others whooping and being falsely thrilled, we later meet up with people we half know from facebook and lie about where we’ve been in the world. God they are tiresome.

Smoke Chestnuts
A group of oldsters in a beer garden making a mockery of the smoking ban. By sucking on the biggest stogies you’ve even seen the whole garden was filled with acrid smoke, you had to laugh, well they did.

Inspired by this year bumper crop

Chestnut of the week
One of the smokers told this old but good joke, made better by his arcane reference point.

A young guy goes into a barber, he shows the barber a photo of Perry Como and say’s “I want my hair like him”.
The barber starts work and after a few minutes is done, he shows his client his work. The young lad isn’t happy “this isn’t how Perry Como hair looks.”
“It is if he came here” says the barber.

Not the best joke in the world but the laughter and joy it produced amongst the Cuban vapours was refreshing in strange sort way.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Alisher Usmanov is censoring blogs

Censorship is wrong
I usual try to be postive on this blog. I have a political blog, but this one has more hits so on this occasion I am going to use it to pass on some information. Free speech in Britain is very important, largely people are free to say what they want as long as they aren't racial abusive (our libel laws however do need some reform).
Many places elsewhere in the world don't really get this idea (free speech) particularly the wealthy, they fail to see that the same press etc crtitising them when they are in power will also have a go at their rivals when it's their turn. Rich men don't like hearing no and so use their money and power to quell disscent.
It has happened again th Russian Billionaire Alisher Usmanov who wishes to buy out Arsenal is using UK lawyers to close down blogs and websites which discuss his less them honest business dealings.

Grand theft
Let's be honest the many Russian billionaires who have sprung up in the last few years have largely gained their wealth by stealing it from the Russian people. They are not like Bill Gates or Richard Branson who sold things to people, these men used underhand tactics, bribery, theft, voting rigging , violence , suppression of the press to gain power and influence and then to gain control of natural assets etc which they then use to gain further power and influence. They are now using their money to buy prestige outside Russian so as to improve their standing and protect themselves from prosecution.
We shouldn't allow censorship of material of this nature. We should be free to challenge and question those in power, and to have the facts judged in court not suppressed by legal writ. Foreign nationals shouldn't be able to stop free speech in Britain and in my view shouldn't be able to buy our football teams! The people of Russian have suffered too long from poor government they should have the money stolen from them returned and used to pay for better healthcare , education etc. Western governments should be campaigning for this rather than being chummy with the peoples oppresssors.
what follows is from craig murray website which has been shut down.
Murray's web site host has pulled an article on Alisher Usmanov with this reason: September 6, 2007 Usmanov Redux You may have noticed that the post regarding the less-than-salubrious nature of Alisher Usmanov has disappeared. This is at the instigation of Schillings, lawyers retained by Usmanov to brow-beat anyone who dares to show Alisher's true colours. Pending legal advice which - as web host - I am unable to obtain prior to tomorrow, given Schilling's deadline and in light of Godfrey v Demon Internet, the post may or may not reappear. In the meantime, it is always now somewhere on the web. If you know where to look, you'll probably find it. Cheers Clive - webhost
The article is still available in the Google cache: The text follows: September 2, 2007 Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal chairman, is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist I thought I should make my views on Alisher Usmanov quite plain to you. You are unlikely to see much plain talking on Usmanov elsewhere in the media becuase he has already used his billions and his lawyers in a pre-emptive strike. They have written to all major UK newspapers, including the latter: “Mr Usmanov was imprisoned for various offences under the old Soviet regime. We wish to make it clear our client did not commit any of the offences with which he was charged. He was fully pardoned after President Mikhail Gorbachev took office. All references to these matters have now been expunged from police records . . . Mr Usmanov does not have any criminal record.” Let me make it quite clear that Alisher Usmanov is a criminal. He was in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who rightly did six years in jail. The lawyers cunningly evoke "Gorbachev", a name respected in the West, to make us think that justice prevailed. That is completely untrue. Usmanov's pardon was nothing to do with Gorbachev. It was achieved through the growing autonomy of another thug, President Karimov, at first President of the Uzbek Soviet Socilist Republic and from 1991 President of Uzbekistan. Karimov ordered the "Pardon" because of his alliance with Usmanov's mentor, Uzbek mafia boss and major international heroin overlord Gafur Rakimov. Far from being on Gorbachev's side, Karimov was one of the Politburo hardliners who had Gorbachev arrested in the attempted coup that was thwarted by Yeltsin standing on the tanks outside the White House. Usmanov is just a criminal whose gangster connections with one of the World's most corrupt regimes got him out of jail. He then plunged into the "privatisation" process at a time when gangster muscle was used to secure physical control of assets, and the alliance between the Russian Mafia and Russian security services was being formed. Usmanov has two key alliances. he is very close indeed to President Karimov, and especially to his daughter Gulnara. It was Usmanov who engineered the 2005 diplomatic reversal in which the United States was kicked out of its airbase in Uzbekistan and Gazprom took over the country's natural gas assets. Usmanov, as chairman of Gazprom Investholdings paid a bribe of $88 million to Gulnara Karimova to secure this. This is set out on page 366 of Murder in Samarkand. Alisher Usmanov had risen to chair of Gazprom Investholdings because of his close personal friendship with Putin, He had accessed Putin through Putin's long time secretary and now chef de cabinet, Piotr Jastrzebski. Usmanov and Jastrzebski were roommates at college. Gazprominvestholdings is the group that handles Gazproms interests outside Russia, Usmanov's role is, in effect, to handle Gazprom's bribery and sleaze on the international arena, and the use of gas supply cuts as a threat to uncooperative satellite states. Gazprom has also been the tool which Putin has used to attack internal democracy and close down the independent media in Russia. Gazprom has bought out - with the owners having no choice - the only independent national TV station and numerous rgional TV stations, several radio stations and two formerly independent national newspapers. These have been changed into slavish adulation of Putin. Usmanov helped accomplish this through Gazprom. The major financial newspaper, Kommersant, he bought personally. He immediately replaced the editor-in-chief with a pro-Putin hack, and three months later the long-serving campaigning defence correspondent, Ivan Safronov, mysteriously fell to his death from a window. All this, both on Gazprom and the journalist's death, is set out in great detail here: Usmanov is also dogged by the widespread belief in Uzbekistan that he was guilty of a particularly atrocious rape, which was covered up and the victim and others in the know disappeared. The sad thing is that this is not particularly remarkable. Rape by the powerful is an everyday hazard in Uzbekistan, again as outlined in Murder in Samarkand page 120. If anyone has more detail on the specific case involving Usmanov please add a comment. I reported back in 2002 or 2003 in an Ambassadorial top secret telegram to the Foreign Office that Usmanov was the most likely favoured successor of President Karimov as totalitarian leader of Uzbekistan. I also outlined the Gazprom deal (before it happened) and the present by Usmanov to Putin (though in Jastrzebski's name) of half of Mapobank, a Russian commercial bank owned by Usmanov. I will never forget the priceless reply from our Embassy in Moscow. They said that they had never even heard of Alisher Usmanov, and that Jastrzebski was a jolly nice friend of the Ambassador who would never do anything crooked. Sadly, I expect the football authorities will be as purblind. Football now is about nothing but money, and even Arsenal supporters - as tight-knit and homespun a football community as any - can be heard saying they don't care where the money comes from as long as they can compete with Chelsea. I fear that is very wrong. Letting as diseased a figure as Alisher Usmanov into your club can only do harm in the long term.
Censored Homepage:

Friday, 21 September 2007

Burnin' Love

How to rip/burn vinyl on to your laptop.

One of the key messages of Alan Bennett play “the History Boys” was that knowledge/education should be “passed on” so having learnt how to transfer vinyl recently I thought someone else might like to know.

Most people with a modern pc/Mac can transfer music from cd to Mp3 to play on their computer or Ipod. Most machines do it unbidden when you insert an audio disc.

However there are people with loads of music on Vinyl or even compact audio cassette tape (to give its full name) who putting aside the poorer sound quality would like to listen to it on the train or share it with friends etc. Until recently I did this via my hi-fi by burning an audio cd on my Sony audio cd burner. This deck produces cd quality discs (nb not mp3 files or similar but audio files the same as shop bought cd’s). It’s fine and is great for producing audio cd’s for friends, copying discs etc. The one downside (apart from the blank audio cds being harder to find) is that if you want burn one side of vinyl 7 inch you have to burn an entire cd, which is a waste and a faff.

So I looked into burning directly onto my pc. Now if you have desktop computer this should be straightforward as the big box machines usually have a built in sound card.
Your soundcard allows you to output sound (to head phones, speakers or hifi systems) but also crucially input or record (via software) sound from microphones and hifi outputs such as tape decks and turntables. This post however is for people with Laptops.
To save space in laptop functions found on desktop machines are discarded, one common item not present in a lot of laptops is a sound card. Your laptop will have an ear phone socket and possibly a socket for a microphone but not much else. The microphone socket isn’t any use here as it’s normally mono and not designed to take input from hifi systems so don’t use it.

Now many of you will have seen USB turntables that will burn vinyl for you. I am sure these are great but I already have turntable, a rather fabulous Rega Planer 2. it’s lovely and black with a smoked glass lid, I bought it with my first proper pay check and it’s the only “thing “ in my flat I value outside family photos etc. so I don’t want another particularly a plastically looking one made by Amstrad! My rather sad hi-fi snobbery aside these USB turntable will be fine and if you have around £80-100 spare (and the space) may be worth a punt even if you have an existing deck.

You spin me round

A note on turntables: the music on vinyl is recorded in minute ridges on the vinyl which move the needle a tiny amount, this tiny movement produces an equally tiny amount of electricity in the stylus head, in order for you to hear anything this tiny amount of electricity needs to be made bigger (amplified many times). Even so most turntables don’t output sound at the same level as CD player or tape desk etc. So they have always needed an extra amplifier (pre amp) to get them up to the standard level.

To get music onto your laptop from an existing record player you will probably need an external (USB) sound card.
I looked into these, most are very expensive starting at £40 plus quid with most around £80 these devices are fine but are aimed at musicians or djs and are for imputing guitars, keyboards into your laptop. The device I plumped for was the Griffin I-mic around £20-30 online. This device styled to match ipods is a slim white lolly pop device with two inputs, one switch and number of cables. It will allow you to plug external speakers into your laptop via the USB and get good quality sound but also going the other way allow you to record music from vinyl etc.
Because I-mic works well and has good support info, I’m not doing a step by step guide more an encouragement to have a go.

The Imic runs with the Audacity software (on pc) on the cd provided (or you can get it online) it is freeware. So install the software. You will need another small programme to allow you to export mp3s which for legal reasons you must download separately (it sounds technical but is really straightforward just follow the option on the site you will only need to do it once.) So once installed you may need to set your sound preferences in "control panel" to recognise the I-mic, again all covered in the software help section.

Connecting up
I attached the 2 jack leads out of the back of my turntable into the white cable which came with the I-mic and plugged it all into the input socket and put the switch to the right position (input).

Next choose a record. Give it clean. Click record on audacity, start the track (drop the needle) on the record and record the song you want. Don’t worry about having a big gap at the front you can edit it out later. When the track stops pressthe pause button. You can let an entire side of an LP play and cut it down into individual tracks later if you prefer.

To export your track as an mp3, have a play of it first, find the start and the end and then much like when you highlight a section text in Word highlight the section of “sound waves/graph” you don’t want and delete it until only the track you want is left. Have a play around with the controls you won’t break anything.

Low volume
If the track is to low in volume at the top of the audacity screen is a recording level control, play the loudest part of the track and adjust the recording volume slider so the indicator just touches the highest level, too high and it will distort.

All you need to do now is export you file to mp3 and put it on your player or send it to friends or even post it to a file sharing site and let people listen.

Other things you can do
You can using audacity clean up the pops and squeaks on old records

You can also mix 2 tracks together to make a seamless playlist if you wish etc

So have play around it seems really straight forward software, the help online is relatively helpful and not too techy

A note on the ethics of posting Vinyl
The people who write and perform the music we love generally don’t get the biggest share of the money it generates; they deserve to be paid for their songs. None of us would work for free, musicians shouldn’t have to either. So how does this sit with posting songs on line? Well, I generally never post current popular songs, not that I have any keane records but what would be the point of talking about a record everyone has heard. If a record is by a smaller artist my argument is that as a fan I am promoting their work by sharing a track. I always encourage people to buy music, point of fact the majority of tracks I have found on line I have later gone out and bought, generally on cd.

My main reason for posting mp3s is to share the joy of forgotten or hard to find music. In some cases I see this as archiving songs that would lost and deserve better than only been heard late at night in my flat, other times it’s to encourage people to track down an artist themselves.
If anyone associated with track wants it taking down they can just ask and it will be done ASAP.

In conclusion if you burn a vinyl track as mp3 file you are changing it’s format and in the eyes of record industry are breaking the law, that being said if you have the only copy of 1980’s synth pop classic sat in a shoe box and only you and your mates can hear it maybe, just maybe this would be a bigger crime.

So what are you waiting for get burnin' (or rippin' and burnin' predantic Ed)
sat update Al_uk added

"Tubebite is a useful piece of software free download of the trial version and cheap up grade especially as the $ is so weak. Use it to turn your vinylinto CD's if you are still using that technology. It will also convert between most of the popular audio formats and will get round the digital rights issue of i-tunes aac files. "

Stephen Fry Non- PC

The Mac Daddy
Found my way to a blog piece by Stephen Fry on smartphones. It’s a long post which highlights that “Britain National treasure no 12” has gone through geekery and is well into being a spod/boff when it comes to technology.

One thing does raise its head is that Mr Fry is a militant Apple user (he claims to have bought the second one in Britain, which is a fun thing to do, I’m going to claim to have bought the 1st swatch watch in Britain, there that was easy).
Amongst his usual rhetorical style all that gushing, gilded, "seize the day stuff "he does are quite a few digs at Microsoft and Pc users.

"it's stadtler or nothing sir or I will black your eye"

Now the on going PC V Mac debate is strange and seemingly unique, where else do people argue about tools so much? Does it kick off between Peter Blake and David Hockney over which HB pencil to use? I know golfers can be kit heads but do you really want to align ones self with checked trousered buffoons?

I know that Mac owners think of themselves as cooler than the rest of us, but this is in its self contradictory, if you are an enlightened, creative, expressive being why do you need to feel cooler than your fellow man surely this is the height of shallowness.

The sad thing is, this is mainly just marketing the difference between most computers is small; most people use barely a 10% of their models potential. Most of my work colleagues could get by of 1997 models easily.

"0h snap, I'm not making a film either"

If computers, Macs in particularly are full of creative packages to unleash our hidden talents, why is Youtube full of stuff off the telly? Where are the homemade films, musicals, operas, dramas, paintings, animations? Stephen Fry (writer, director, comedian, and actor) has a house full of kit why isn’t his next film made at home with a few of his actor mates?

The sad things is Mein Kampf could have just as easily written on a Mac or a Pc, buying any bit of kit doesn’t make you anymore creative than you were before. Most Macs like most pcs are used to update face book pages and buy crud of eBay.

Oh and even though if you read only stuff off the net you’d think Bill Gates is the next Pol Pot, he may yet just eradicate malaria.


All the recent nonsense about the BBC , the names of cats, Liz Kershaw being in the news etc. Does bring up the value of the licence fee, it's £110 a year which seems a lot.. Contrast the cost however with certain podcasts, I use listen to Danny Bakers podcast but he wants to earn a shilling and has decided to charge. I haven't checked it out but it was going to be around £2 a week which for 5 x 50 min shows sounds good value (even with the toe curling David Kuo).
But it comes to a total of £104 a year (if Danny doesn't go on hoilday) that's without Match of the Day, the Today programme, the shipping forecast, gardeners world, comics Britannia, I'm sorry I haven't a clue, the freakzone, Nigella express, rick stein, newsnight, the occasional diverting foreign film , oh and Dr Who, Michael Palin, Claire Balding.......

Ps. Mr Baker always goes on about being free agent but it's interesting that only the BBC have ever found a format to truly display his undoubted talents, which he can now try to exploit via the web.

PPS. Bad luck for the Kershaws lately Liz in the doldrums, whilst Brother Andy seems to have gone off the rails in the Isle of Man.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Lost and Found

Last orders
Our mini odyssey to Burton on Trent
The purpose for which was to carry a small barrel of specially brewed India Pale Ale on the start of its journey. On arrival at Burton we had the happy job of meeting with various brewers/beer types from Coors, Marston’s, Burton Bridge and sampling a sister barrel to the one on it’s way to India with BLBW. We also drank some of their own IPAs. The guy in the photo is Steve Wellington the brewer of Worthing White Shield with his hoard.

IPAs are strongish 4.5-8% beers high in hop content. Hops not only add flavour to beer but are also believed to help in its preservation. To someone expecting the usual bitter/ale taste they are often a surprise being lighter and citrusy but with a dry hop flavour making them refreshing and pleasant to drink.

Here are some British IPAs you might like to try:
Worthing White shield: many believe this to be the king of British IPAs and to my shame I only had my first pint in Burton (which is good in a way). Safe to say it’s really good.
Marston Old Imperial: is also really good a balanced delicious beer.
Burton Bridge Old Empire IPA: Was really good too slightly darker than the other but just as good.

Unlike the likes of London Pride IPA aren’t “session” ales being too strong to drink a lot of and also too flavoursome to knock back too quickly but are great with food the sharpness of the hops cuts through oily/fatty foods well. So try them with medium strength cheeses, but also pates and pork products. I’m not sure the curry we had (for obvious reasons) was best accompaniment as the strong spicing wiped out some of the IPA characters.

At Last the oldest drinkable beer in the world!

We heard many stories in Burton about all the different breweries and firms, it reminded me of Bordeaux or Oporto with all the different vineyards and wine sellers, the whole town is dotted with old offices, stores etc. One such story was of the cases of beer found in the cellars of old brewery that was being closed. Follow the links below for the full story. Suffice to say some the beer found had been brewed in Burton on Trent in 1860’s often to celebrate significant events in the brewers life.

Ian from Coors who now own Worthington’s had brought a bottle of 1869 (?) beer for us to taste. Lets’ get this right this beer is of the same vintage as Billy the Kid, is older than motor cars, Winston Churchill, it’s older than football it’s almost 140 years old.
I’m sorry my flash wasn’t working so I’ve no pics.

The bottle looks like a classic beer bottle but double size so was 2pints (?) or maybe wine bottle size. It had a cork and wax lid which were carefully removed. The beer inside was dark in colour like a darker ale. It didn’t smell of anything greatly but when you tasted it was quite strange. It didn’t taste like any beer we drink today as Ian pointed out most of the flavour was on the tip of tongue. Most of the alcohol had evaporated so it was around the 1% mark. It reminded me more of sherry or Madeira, a rich complex taste not unpleasant but not necessarily something to drink everyday. Remember that most wines don’t last this long, but the hops and alcohol in beer (and possibly the sulphur in Burton water) helped preserve and develop this beer flavour.
So a remarkable drink and something not available to many alas.

Where to drink in Burton on Trent.

Burton Bridge:
Excellent Pub attached to a small brewery, definitely keeping the heart of Burton’s brewing tradition going . Don't let the tankards put you off.

The Cooper Tavern a strange pub on the cusp of Real spoddery the back room bar is a trestle table with barrels behind, bottles on shelves, fairy lights and Greek chorus of regulars. A little quiet on Monday evening but a great pub the sort of place that if it were in France or Italy we’d get eulogies singing it's praises in the foodie pages but it is overlooked because it’s a side street in Staffordshire : worth a visit.

More on old Burton ale Here, and here

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Festival of Light

I changed buses in Trafalgar square tonight in the Autumn evening gloom and saw this design week expo by Tom Dixon and Lomo.

Ps. I am typing this listening to The Crossing By Big Country which is Ace , wait here comes "fields of Fire" * dances round room in a checked shirt*

PPS. I always have problems laying out pictures in Blogger does anyone have any tips?

Where NOT to eat in the midlands!

Peninsular Cantonese Restaurant
1, Coleshill St, Fazeley, Tamworth, Staffordshire B78 3RB

(I normally try to say positive stuff but on this occasion I just thought to show how strange food was in small towns would be interesting)

Much as I said about garden design last time Britain’s culinary revolution is patchy, if you got to borough market , eat sushi, have a good local Vietnamese and Turkish restaurants you can be lulled into thinking these sort of things are common everywhere but you’d be wrong.

On our 3 men in boat odyssey to Burton on Trent last week we stopped on Sunday evening at Fazeley Junction near Tamworth. We moor up and struck out for some food, hoping to get blokey “things with chips” you know “a high scampi count”, a roast or who knows maybe even some gammon!

Al Pacino ate here?
But as usual in the first pub we went into they look at us funny “you want to eat on Sunday evening?”
So we strolled further into town. Of course the chippy was shut, so we where left to a selection of ethnic restaurants. Sadly the most promising was a Bangladeshi canteen place but they only did take away, the other “India” restaurant had swapped flock wall paper and chintz for “nowtro” modern which just made it look like a motorway service station. The other 2 places where “interesting”, one was a brightly lit place called “squiggle KUDOS”. On closer inspection the squiggle was “signature”. This was a very strange place looking like a cross between an 80’s wine bar and Middlesborough barbers.
Inside along the walls were mirrors and large Athena prints (mainly famous Italian Americans, the god father, Sinatra , Rocky etc), a mirrored bar had bored looking patrons sat along it on zebra skin covered poufs!
It turned out it was a French/Italian/Indian fusion restaurant, RUN FOR your LIVES! I imagine it’s for couples who can’t decide where to eat so can have a margarita pizza and a tandoori at the same place, please god don’t let them serve coq au tikka, vongole y dhal or Bombay duck Lasagne!

Deep fried Salt
The last option which at the time looked the least terrible was a large Chinese place, complete with the usual fountain, sculptures, pictures of willow trees and temples you know a Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately we didn’t look at the menu well enough.
As a crummy slightly down at heel “town” not far from Tamworth had restaurant that had prices to out stripping Central London. The usual Chinese dishes where averaging around £9 each. To add to this they did the slimy trick of charging almost £2 for rice. So at £11-12 quid for a main course we could eat at the Ivy. Of course if the food was good it wouldn’t matter but the food is rubbish.

The starters
Deep fried something in an iceberg lettuce “bowl”
3 boiled frozen prawns in salty gravy with random side salad
Oh and my spare ribs which came 20 minutes late.
Out of the three the ribs were ok

The main courses
Mr G made the beginners mistake of having any Chinese dish named after a place. This usually means a random collection of meat and veg covered in a salty over sweet jam like sauce. And so it was Duck “Shanghai” came with “MSG laden apricot” jam with acrid hot bits of chilli in it.

BLBW had a “sea food hot pot” which could have been good if we where in a Japanese or Korean restaurant. But came from that form of cooking where the container is more important than the food (see also most Baltis, happy meals and of course cuppa soups!). So instead of delicate sea food in a light broth it was rubbery seafood in salty thick sauce in a mini brass spittoon!

I thought I’d been canny and ordered beef with garlic and ginger, simple not much could go wrong. Sad deluded fool am I, it came on one of those “sizzling skillets” so I got stewing steak in salty over thick snotty gravy boiling at the edge, lukewarm in the middle.

So, on the whole pretty grim, we ate really badly for the thick end of £50 quid.

Also the owner didn’t help as he stood near by complaining to a regular loudly about how excessive environmental health standards stopped him doing business!

So if you break down, get lost etc don’t whatever do not eat at the Peninsular it sells overpriced rubbish.

We did find a good pub the “3 tuns” round the corner selling excellent Bass on draught so the night was entirely spoiled.

You will see as usual we never got eat any local food in Staffordshire/Warwickshire no faggots or oat cakes, any cheese we had we bought ourselves. I’m all for food from anywhere but local stuff as well please.

37 reviews of Cuppa soup anybody?

Am I being harse what's the worst place you've eaten out at recently?

Monday, 17 September 2007

The horror the horror

Never get off the boat!

Well, where was I, oh, yes, NEVER GO TO BRITAIN’S HEART OF DARKNESS (the MIDcockingLANDS). I went there for 5 days came home and have been sick ever since :( !

It was all Britain’s leading beer writers fault, he’s writing a new book about Indian pale ale (sorry for sending you to a beer blog they are really strange people aren’t they and so very intense but at least you now know what’s happing underneath all that hair!) and to avoid spending too long in the British library BLBW had the idea to take a barrel (don’t you mean actually a PIN say the hoards of hairy leather flagon wielding beerspods….)of the stuff from Burton on Trent to India by surface (sea) travel to recreate the original 18cth trip. Which is a very long winded reason for why I spent 4 days in a barge going slowly northwards from rugby.
(Sorry for the lack of original pics a pile up between a camera phone and a dodgy lap top etc.)

Messing about in Boats…
On the whole barge trips are good, once you are use to the slow pace. It’s all quiet calming. The countryside from Rugby to Burton is a pleasant mix of fields, woods and edgeland (the limits of suburbia, Brownfield sites. slag heaps etc).
The country was turning to autumn, literally one morning the leaves started to fall. Every bush was covered in blackberries, apples or sloes all very mellow and fruitful.
So we had a jolly time.
I do have few gripes/observations: you don’t really want to hear long boring lists of the cheese and beer we consumed or long evocations of the “in jokes” I re-heated over and over with some of my oldest and best friends, do you really.

Observations & Gripes
Narrow boaters are the provisional wing of the camping and caravanning club.
On the face of it full time Bargees are a friendly and jolly bunch. Except they never give an inch, I don’t know if its their old shoulders that doesn’t let stir out of the way but they will happily mow you into a hedge rather than give an inch of water.
Also they all seem to exist in a strangely Daily Mailesque mini world; Victoria Wood once said that caravanning is for “people who can’t bear to more than 10ft from their own dish cloth” but living in narrow boat is this to the very max, plus everything is painted with flowers or is on a doily.
One other strange thing was that almost every other boat we passed had a half life sized knitted Rosie and Jim dolls in the window. Now having watch r& J with my nephews I can’t see what the fuss is about yes it set on narrow boat but it’s a rubbish kid’s show, certainly not anything adults should celebrate. Except and perhaps here’s a thought, that much like pampas grass in 70’s use to signify the homes of “swingers” maybe, just maybe these dolls are code for something…..

Julian Cope tribute gardens
One of the enjoyable and fascinating things about railways and canals is that they are the backdoors of the UK. When they were built we turned our backs on them and in doing so revealed our most private quarters. We all enjoy staring out train windows at the backside of Britain but on the canals you get a longer look due to the slow speed. One of the most interesting things is that contrary to what the colour supplements etc say Britain isn’t garden design mad. If fact out of the several 100 back gardens we glided past, very few looked like they had any over all thought to them at all. Middle England seems to like random borders, scratty grass, plastic patio furniture, broken shoddy concrete steps, horrible blue slate mulch and concrete cocking garden ornaments. The latter I’ve seen in garden centres but wasn’t aware how many people like them. There are more comedy herons, owls and frogs than people in Britain. Also did I turn over two pages at once again and miss the memo about mooning or worse flashing gnomes being funny?
The other thing that was strange was that most of the gardens didn’t seem to refer to the canal at all a few had seats etc next to the water but not many seemed to want to show the canal boaters their best side unlike one imagines their front gardens.
One last thing in about 1-3 to about 1-8 gardens all along our 60 mile journey were afflicted by a strange blue plague; we noticed it first in Tamworth. This contagion comes in the form of garden trampolines; virtually every house with kids had one. This may be old news but it was astonishing how prevalent they are. On slight thing that occurred to me as we passed through Tamworth was that the only thing I know about the place other than something about pigs is that it’s the birth place of Julian Cope who had a hit with a song called …………”trampoline!” May be to celebrate the Arch Drood these are a modern form of earthwork which observed from a projected astral eyed spells “fried” in giant bright blue plastic letters.

Next time: were not to eat in the Midlands and what a 140 year pint tastes like…!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Finest work song?

Heard a new cover version of Abba’s “the day before your came “By the Real Tuesday Weld on a Word magazine cd.Go here to have a listen. It’s very good if very similar to Blancmanges 1983 version. It puts further pay (if you can do that) to the idea that the mighty Swedes where only a jolly party group. The idea of carefully laying out how ordinary a day at work can be and how it passes unnoticed would if it came from Thom Yorke or Mozza be heralded as bold and humanistic, coming from Benny and Bjorn it went unnoticed. Even though “The day before you came” follows in an age old introspective Nordic tradition.

The other reason the song stands out is that unlike most pop and especially rock it shows compassion for and knowledge of the travails of everyday office life. Pop /folk music has loads of songs about farmers, cattle wranglers, fisher men, soldiers, coal miners (and their daughters), factory workers and shop girls. Pop music has always given hope to blue collar workers. But in general the attitude of (usually white collar) rock stars is to sneer at their “trapped” former school mates.

If you looked to British rock hierarchy to see reflections on the life most of their audience lead you will look in vain, with everyone from Blur to Ray Davis, Paul Weller and the Clash being less than complimentary about 40% of the population. This would be more acceptable if most of the writers had ever done a day’s work in their life, with most of them wafting from school (then Art College) to the Wembley Arena without a p45 at any point in between. I know that rock has as one of its basic tenets “sticking it to the man” but it rarely shows compassion to any of the cogs in the machine it’s raging against. The Clash didn’t want to “open and letter bombs for you” but t’old Joe and the boys were quite happy take a few quid out of the rest of the mail room’s pay packet for a load of toss like Sandinista. I also know that 99 pence in the d tax levels in the 60’s might have pissed off newly rich rock stars (George Harrison) but ST Bono has lead the way to tax havens, so maybe they could write a song about the skills of the accountants and even god forbid lawyers.

It might however be along time before Van Morrison in particular sings the praises of anyone back in the office but maybe if he’d been nicer to the “suits” they’d have gone the extra mile for him?

The only good examples of office work songs I can think of are from the Blessed Dolly (9 to 5) and surprisingly Cat Stevens with “Mathew and sons”. Here’s the Delgado’s peel session cover of it from their excellent compilation.

Does anyone else have any suggestions?
Thanks to everyone for your comments, hello to Bright Ambassdor.Sorry I haven't got back early I went on holiday by mistake and now have flu. As for your suggestion I think they prove rather than disprove my point, are we sure the girl in manic monday works in office? Also it's a poor state affairs if you rely on Sheena Easton for social comment I'll check out the others except tosay I don't think Mr Mc Cartney's views on sexual politics at work would pass muster today.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

More Bona VT

Another good programme on the BBC4’s “Hidden lives” strand, “Andrew and Jeremy Get Married... “ about (obviously) an ageing gay couple in the run up to their civil union. It followed two older men with quite different life experiences and backgrounds, whose relationship on the outside looked quite unbalanced but seemed to work for them. One of them Jeremy came from a boho academic background (all Latin graces and Hanif Kureshi popping round on Christmas Day) the other Andrew (aren’t names revealing) a former drug addict and bus driver who came from a world of out of town council semis and cider drinking.
An altogether fascinating film. It showed the ordinariness of other peoples lives and that whether we are gay or straight we still all have to endure overcast stilted barbeques, tedious tube journeys and making small talk with our other half’s friends.
The only minor issue I have was that to tie in with wedding theme the filmmakers used a curlicue “nuptial” font for the captions, that made particularly the post credit “what happened next” card impossible to read in the time allowed, but like I say a minor quibble,

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Shoe horned random cultural collision pt12

Never stop looking.....
Thought I saw Pat Kane from Hue & Cry outside a pub in Cambridge Circus the other day. Not sure what he’s doing at present this doesn’t look like a real job maybe he had an appointment with George Smiley! Anyway as I recall he and his brother were looking for Linda on "slow train to Paisley”

Well I’m not sure they looked very hard because here she is in the chiller cabinet of my local shop. It’s pleasingly retro pop (not unlike Hue and Cry!) with that old skool essential for litter bugs a detachable ring pull and a pound and half of tartrazine as well hurrah! It's from the middle east ,the pomegranate flavours interesting too!

It Goes well with gin double Hurrah!

How plain can they make it Pat!

For younger readers: this is a ring pull .

Ps This might be Linda in Arabic!

Last nights tv

Bona VT
Watched BBC4 Hidden Lives stand last night and saw the Michael Sheen Kenneth Williams bio/film play “Fantabulosa” which was excellent and quite moving. Putting aside any arguments on how you portray a solitary private man the film was engaging and thought provoking. When I lived in Holborn I lived a few houses way from where Williams was born, and the mood of that part of North London around St Pancras where he spent most of his life was captured really well. It had a nice look of 70’s and 80’s too.

No Jo(e)king
Fantabulosa was followed by an interesting repeat of an Arena film on William’s friend the playwright Joe Orton. Now here’s the thing is it just me or is Joe Orton work not funny? The film had long (5 mins plus clips of his 3-4 plays) and I didn’t laugh once not even a smile. Now I know sometimes lines that get a big laugh in the collective experience of the theatre fall flat on screen (see all of “the History Boys” film) but this seemed very thin gruel. I am prepared to take into account that the content and form were ground breaking at the time but a good joke surely should last 40 years. It seemed like the sort writing you might get in the first draft of ITV sitcom or worse 2 pints of cocking lager. On the whole I think Joe Orton life is far more interesting than his plays. (My only caveat here is I should see one of his works live before fully making up my mind)

Kimono my Plaice
Also on last night was Nigella Express. There is always a lot of talk about Nigella but you can’t doubt that she is very good at making food programmes with the minimal twaddle and gimmicks. Her basic skill (rarer than it should be) is to present tasty and attractive food you can imagine cooking yourself. She might over play the busy lifestyle angle abit (one imagines she has a cleaner) but I fear she’s on a hiding to nothing with the press being firstly a women, secondly an attractive one at that, lastly coming from a seemingly privileged background. The fact that she writes really well and is enthusiastic about what she writes about seems to count for nothing. I do however think the programmes tend to veer into the “cheesecake” side of things too much for an intelligent woman but if all food programmes were as straightforward as this we’d have a lot less to complain about.

Ps. Although opinions vary

Monday, 3 September 2007

..and the sex pistols on a&m....

Vinyl collecting: The search continues.
In his book "Achtung Schweinhund!" on war gamming Harry Pearson talks about the dream all collectors have of finding a little shop full of your dream finds and it's going for pennies (he then turns it into a nightmare as he can't find the shop after going to ATM for some cash!)
I found this excellent deleted scene from High Fidelity which is the vinyl collectors versions. enjoy!

Sunday, 2 September 2007

My name is BLTP and I'm vinyl addict

I walk through Soho most evenings and often walk down Berwick St. and amongst the detritus of the veg market is the remains of the once thriving record shop hamlet. I think at least half the shops have gone. The reasons for the sad loss of the shops I’ll talk about latter, one of the last is however is "Vinyl Junkie". The name of this shop and a rather sensible article about drug addiction by Dave Rowntree from Blur* led me to wonder can you be a vinyl addict? If vinyl/or its sister affliction music addiction are serious conditions surely they would need a check list for health professionals, so they can asses the depth of sufferers problems.
So I thought I’d save the NHS a few quid and put together some questions you can use to decide if as Depeche Mode once said “you just can’t get enough…

Do you HAVE to listen to music every day?
Do you worry about how many records you buy?
Do those around you ever comment on how many record you have?
Do you know the way to San José?
Have you ever lied to your kith and kin about how much you’ve spent on a single record?
Have you lied to yourself when you’ve spent too much on a “special 7” and then find it’s not as good as you’d thought it was?
Do you ever buy records for their covers?
Did you use to know the way to Amarillo but don’t fancy it so much now it’s so popular?
Do you have any soundtrack LPs?
Do you have any sound effect LPs?
Do you go out of your way to go to record shops?
Do you go out of your way to go to record shops abroad?
Have you ever had a strange conversation with a girl in a Valencian shop who was dressed like a member of Belle and Sebastian about the group “Might Mighty”? (This may be just me)?
Is there no future in England’s Dreaming?
Can you recognise 100’s of LPs by the top 2-3 inches of the covers as you flick through a crate?
Do you ever rescue certain records if you see them in shops because you don’t want to leave them there to be thrown out or to linger on lonely and unloved in that musty corner next to the broken teasmade and the wicker donkey?
Have you bought the same record by accident more than once?
Have you the bought the same single/track in various formats?
Have you ever willingly thrown a record away EVER?
Can you walk past a charity shop without the merest flicker of regret?
Do you buy the same artist over and over in the hope that you’ll eventually get them?
Did you think the end of “High Fidelity” was a bit lame?
When you meet people and they go on about your Vinyl collection being in order and claiming that this is some how weird, and are you totally sure that they only have 12 cds, two of which are from the Daily Mail and that they are soulless spineless fools?
Would you rather spend money on music or on clothes?
Do the word “emitex” excite you?
Do you like the picture adverts for other artists on old dust sleeves almost as much as you like the picture sleeve?
Have you long ago stopped wondering who bought all the copies of that greatest war film album with the Spitfire and Peter O'Toole on the cover?
Have you got a record you’ve never played and it’s “become a bit of thing now”?

Do you keeping buying foreign records in the hope they are going to be forgotten pop gems but they usually turn out to the Belgian version of T’pau?
Do you buy 60’s children’s records pretending they are kitsch but you “kinda of like them” anyway?
Do you own an instructional record?
Is it getting mighty crowded in here?
Do you like one artist your friends/partner can’t stand but you love them so much and you hope one day to meet someone who loves them as much you do too?
Have you tried to get into jazz/folk/prog/classical/goth and failed?
Have you ever kept a record shop carrier bag because you think it’s cool?
How worried are you by how much you like look of the record labels?

Do you have one of those sprockets that let you play old singles?
Can you recognize LPs by their spines?
Can you recognise records by the pattern of grooves?
Do you find deep joy in finding things left by former owners inside sleeves?
Have you bought a new record on vinyl in preference to a cd?

If you answered yes to 30-40 of these questions you need not worry you are a balanced normal person whose love of truth and beauty makes you a better more vivid human, you’ve been and done things lesser types can only dream of, you can turn a cancer research jumble sale into a hot night in Harlem or a chilly practice room in Salford. You can sleep soundly you aren’t an addict just special.

Between15 -20: You are either 13 years old and will learn the ways of the world or just a “weekender” and need to dip more than a toe in the water. One day there isn’t’ any room for “all those old records you never play” next day the locks have been changed and you don’t have to spend Christmas in Norwich this year, so think on and get down the car boot.

Less than 15 (mainly nos): You are a hollow blank eyed drone who put your 12 cds on your Ipod and gave the originals to the bin man. You have never lived an day in your life, you cut the fat off bacon, think chocolate is “sinful”, have never read a book that didn’t confuse you, you’ve never sat on the grass at dawn because it looked “damp”, you actually think the Stones are “best band in the world”, in short you are sad addict to all that is unholy and dull in life and worse a Red hot chilly peppers fan seek some help now.

excellent dutch turntable site

*(Dave Rowntree is rapidly becoming the one from Blur you bear to hear talk about stuff other than music, yes that means you Mr Damon “ war is stupid” Albarn, and you Alex “ shut up talking about cheese and make some of the bloody stuff” James and as for Graham “whiny Essex voiced” Coxon…)