August 13, 2010
When my computer crashed last year I lost all my “favourite” sites and have never missed a single one. Places like Friends Re-united. It must be 10 years since I visited there. Didn’t ITV buy the site for £millions and fail miserably ? Then there was Bebo, MySpace and numerous others. I wonder why Facebook has succeeded where so many have failed ? Facebook has 40 million accounts in the UK alone. And this is a company/idea that didn’t exist even five years ago. Although, 40 million accounts doesn’t mean 40 million individual people. Every shop and business right up to the BBC1 TV Breakfast show has adopted a can’t beat em so lets join em attitude and signed up to Facebook. Not me. I’ll just persevere with this blog. The alternative is to visit Poundland to buy a scrapbook and go back to sticking newspaper cuttings into it. …..
I’ve only just discovered “Planet Blue”, Dory Previn’s fascinating eco album from 2002. It’s a very early example of music available not on CD or DVD but just as a free (and legitimate) download from http://dory.willcurtiss.com/. If by some chance you have missed this curiosity/work of genius (delete as appropriate) it gets a highly recommended from me. So perhaps there still is something to be found on the Internet if you search hard enough….
June 28, 2010
Soon (well, actually most likely circa 2015) there will be nothing on my 19 radios (I’ve just counted them) and nothing on your radios either. Ok, perhaps other countries might not be as quick to embrace digital as the UK. I’m sure Radio Tirana will still be there on MW/SW and the French will be plain awkward and continue using LW.
Actually I’m not that bothered. I haven’t listened to any radio for a few years now. Those 19 sets are either ornaments or novelties and range from 1950s Bakelite to a Sinclair Micromatic “World’s smallest radio” which it probably was in 1971 but certainly isn’t now.
But there are plenty of people who are bothered about the switching off of MW/FM by the BBC and others and the approaching big brother world of DAB digital radio and its fixed bouquet of channels. You don’t come across an unexpected landbased pirate Reggae station on digital. DAB radio uses the already obsolete mp2 compression format which audio experts consider far inferior to FM. It is actually getting worse as they reduce the bit rate to squeeze more channels in. Heck, some DAB radio stations actually broadcast in mono !!
“Portable” DAB radios aren’t even portable because as soon as you swing them round the signal disappears. Patchy coverage makes DAB of little use in the car. The only reason I can think of to listen to DAB radio is BBC 6 Music…oh wait…they’re closing them down !!
Even on environmental grounds alone it seems ludicrous to throw away millions of radios that can pick up literally thousands of stations around the world to “upgrade” to digital radios with a choice of only 50 stations. When I first put up a TV Satellite dish I felt part of Europe with numerous foreign TV stations available from Scandinavia, France, Holland and especially Germany. Once digital TV was in place most channels were encrypted and I was once again reduced to only viewing UK channels unless I spent £££s. It looks like radio will go the same way.
PS: I’m sure there will be many people who say 50 digital radio stations is plenty and who listens to Radio Tirana anyway. One positive aspect to the little DAB radio I own is that it has a slot for an SD card which makes recording a doddle. If I could fathom how to work the fiddly little buttons. Perhaps I should record some BBC 6 Music whilst it’s still there. I can throw the SD card in the box along with my old Radio Caroline cassettes.
June 21, 2010
Do you remember the Science Fiction(ish) TV show from 1997 called “Crime Traveller” ?? Me neither. It rang no bells at all. Evidentally back then I was still going places and doing stuff. Anyway I was given this DVD….it was about time travel and it wasn’t American so it immediately got me intrigued. Unfortunately I can see why it only lasted for the one season. None of the characters came across as likeable. The cop who uses the time machine sees it as an easy way to solve crimes by going back to before the crime takes place and just listening in to the crook’s plans.
The time machine operated by Holly (as played by Chloe Annett) the police scientist is a ridiculous heath-robinson affair that takes up most of her apartment and is forever blowing a fuse. It also has umpteen flashing lights and the obligatory (and pointless) reel to reel tape recorder on the console just like Dr Who’s tardis circa 1965.
If I had a time machine the first thing I would do is go back a few days and buy a lottery ticket with the winning numbers on it. In one episode our hero sets out to do just that. However being unsure if the ticket would still be in his pocket when he returned to the present he decided to tell Holly the winning numbers. Despite having 12 hours to do this he proved unable to track her down or reach her on the office phone/car phone/fax. This is the sort of plot device that wouldn’t work today. In 1997 even the police didn’t seem to possess mobile phones !! With minutes to spare he gets a collegue to buy a lottery ticket but the guy looks at the scrap of paper upside down and consequently gets two of the numbers wrong. End of story. I would have just tried again the next day !!
Actually one of the few interesting concepts about this series were the rules/dos and don’ts of their time travelling to avoid a “paradox”. They mustn’t meet their other selves. They only seem to be able to go back in time a few hours or days and must be back at the time machine at the same moment they left it to avoid being stuck in a time loop. So to get back to the present they have to re-live the past. I think the Tardis is much cooler !!
So after the mind-boggling concepts of time travel I enjoyed putting my brain into neutral for a dose of “The Cuckoo Waltz”.
March 7, 2009
ITEM: For creative writing you can’t beat the customer’s comments for Bic Biros at Amazon. In fact you can have hours of fun at this site without ever having to spend a penny. I was amused to discover that you can buy a box of nothing here!!
ITEM: I tell everyone who will listen (and even some of those who won’t) that The Fugs (I think the “g” was supposed to be pronounced “ck”) are one of the most under-rated Pop Groups of the 1960s. The VU, Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Grateful Dead etc are rightly famous. The Fugs languish in relative obscurity. Their music is a fascinating mix of underground poetry and humour and obscenities and noise and beauty.
Here is a short extract from Tuli Kupferberg’s unique take on life entitled “Nothing”.
ITEM: Comics are nothing like they used to be. Thats what the article entitled “The End of an Era” as featured in The Rockets Blast Special Volume 2 No 7 was saying back in 1967. Then they were lamenting those far off days of 12 years earlier when EC Comics, Fiction House etc etc had faded away. Fandom then didn’t seem overly interested in the current comics yet in hindsight 1967 was a Golden Age of fascinating stuff on the spinner racks.
ITEM: I have to admit that like the writer in The Rockets Blast I am happier looking at older comics. Lets face it the new comics are never going to be produced with me in mind as a reader. Well almost never. J. Michael Straczynski has been writing a comic (for Marvel Comics surprisingly) entitled “The Twelve”. This has definitely been my favourite comic over the last year. Twelve heroes from the 1940s have reappeared in the modern day (without having aged ) and we see them trying to adapt to and understand the modern world. There are twelve secrets to be slowly revealed about their past.
Originally envisaged to be a 12 issue mini-series something has gone awry. So far I have 10 issues, the most recent of which is Number 8 (???). This is because there was an issue zero and also an issue 1/2 (half). But issue 8 was cover dated December 2008 and to the best of my knowledge the final four issues have disappeared off the face of the earth or been devoured by Galactus or something. Hey, come on Marvel and Mr J.M.S, I want to know how it ends. I’ve bought the Hardback book containing the First 6 issues as well !!
This seems to be the proposed cover for the so far unissued Issue 9.
ITEM: And you thought there was no thought going into this. I kept going into the comic shop and asking for The Twelve Issue 9 with Tuli’s song running through my head “January…nothing. February …..nothing, March…lots more nothing…………..”