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'everything is nothing if you've got no one'

Thursday, August 29, 2002

This is your Urbis
Had a nice time at Urbis yesterday (Manchester's swish new tourist attraction, looking at the cities place in the world). I should have allowed for more time there and I had already spent two and a half hours in there. I managed to get in under a student rate at 3.50 (usual price 5.00) which made it worth it. The exploration of the various cities around the world and the people who inhabit them was extremely fascinating. The ride up the impressive lift was nice but no real viewpoints across the city nor the amazing feeling I was expecting. I especially liked the second floor down where they had the viewpoints of the people who live in cities. The blind guy from Singapore had the most interesting story. The exhibition had other nice touches like a surveillance room showing the advanced face recognition software that was being piloted in borough of London, you would print out your own identity card and stick it on the wall along with the many other visitors. Of course some people took the mick and named themselves IP Freely and the like. The arcade style lower floor compacted a lot of information into small bite-sized cubicles. Lots of interactivity and brilliant use of creativity and this was where I didn't have enough time to look at everything. So my tip is to spend more time on this floor. Also lots of mini documentaries of people who live and work in Manchester including tattooist Rambo where I got my BMX Bandits tattoo years back. There were some confusing displays which required some explanation from the staff that didn't work quite well but that's the only minor grumble.

I would definitely say that it's worth visiting once spending a good 3 hours or so there depending on your fondness for cities. The repeat factor I'm not sure about. It all depends on how they will change things around. The entrance fee means that there wasn't a lot of people by museum standards. Hopefully things will change around next year and it will be worth going to again.

Ended up people watching in Tribeca and then for some hot noodles at Tampopo.

Posted by Edward @ 10:33 AM GMT
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Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Maybe we should build a rain man
A few shots from the Commonwealth Games Volunteer Party as promised.

Ali sizing up to mark Look at him get restrained
Rather great looking couple Ali's ready to ram-ble

Posted by Edward @ 10:29 AM GMT
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Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Could you get that toast for me?
Just spent the last hour trying to find my copy of the third Sparklehorse album It's A Wonderful Life. The way my CD's are not organised and the fact I had a promo version in a thin card sleeve meant it was a frustrating task. I cut my knee in the process. The problem is that I am continously doing it. I remember an album/record I would like to listen to and then spent half a day trying to find it, whilst thinking I'd probably lost it. The sense of relief after hunting it down is almost like finding a rare record you had wanted for a long time.

I am almost in state where I feel I am organised enough to move. Only a few kitchen utensils I require and the slapping of all my clothes into my lugganaut and that's that. Starting to feel sad about leaving Manchester but can't help smiling now and again about my new life that's just round the corner.

Pictures from the Commonwealth Games Volunteer Party up shortly. I'm starting to think my camera is playing up again but I think it's more to do with the ASA800 film I use.

Posted by Edward @ 03:25 PM GMT
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Monday, August 26, 2002
Cheeky Muppets
Just been visiting a few other blogs, and I guess you must all know about those quizzes that tell you what type of Muppet you are (Kermit), Star Wars character (Chewbacca) etc. Here's another one, but what type of inner flower you are. Makes you feel good.



what's your inner flower?

[c] s u g a r d e w



Posted by Edward @ 10:12 PM GMT
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Princess Mononoke
Bank Holiday in England, a day used by the Bank of England to count up the money in the old days. By that count it should have meant that because there is more and more money to be counted every year then we should have more Bank Holidays, until they got computers and weighing machines to speed things up I guess.

Still going through my huge tidy up phase. Today I found about ten pairs of shoes and trainers that varied in size from 4 to 7 that I used to wear. I am guessing they are at least 8 or 9 years old. I am finding it difficult to accommodate all my CD's and LP's.

Posted by Edward @ 09:57 PM GMT
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Sunday, August 25, 2002
Give Him A Great Big Kiss
I think yesterday was one of the few days I did not come in contact with a computer in a long time. I managed to get nothing done except volunteer at Oxfam. I must admit I felt a really sad as it was the penultimate day before I finish there. Everyone there has been brilliant and I have met some great people, will hopefully transfer to the Bath Oxfam shop but I know it won't be the same. We were really busy and some guy crapped his pants in the changing rooms, I guess that's what I will look forward to in my old age. Lots of guys from the Mardi Gras picking up cheap stilettos too.

Anyway today was one of the first days I didn't do anything all day except relax. It did seem unnatural at first but I had a really great time with my friend which was probably the last time I will see her for a while. It's great to be able to enjoy good company.

Posted by Edward @ 09:50 PM GMT
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Friday, August 23, 2002
Vinyl for sale
I'm having a big clearout of the records I still have left from my record label emma's house recordings. Take a look at the news. Lots of great records for bargain prices. I just don't want them to be lying around when they should really have good record player homes. indie, alt-country, post-rock, electronica, power pop, take your pick.
Posted by Edward @ 10:44 PM GMT
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Jimmy your hair is on fire
Even though I'm not at work it's still really humid and the dark clouds are moving over the city. It's ready to pour it down any second now. I was clearing out more of my room out and found a robot toy called Dingbot who I remember being rather annoying making a weird screeching sound as it just bumped around everything. Shame it doesn't work, I'm sure I could have flogged it for some money on ebay. Just had a look around and they still sell this damn robot but in a blue colour. Hopefully my brother will have got me a cheap iron at the Commonwealth Games Auction today, just hope he hasn't put bids in for a batch of bin bags.

My record buying obsession must stop, I can't wait to get down to Bath as there aren't any decent record shops as far as I can tell to tempt me. Well anyway I brought another Nancy & Lee album, a Shangri-Las compilation and some great {{link Northern Soul}} compilations. Currently listening to a crackly German Kinks compilation that I haven't heard in three years. What a great band. Just as mentioned before, the rain is now coming down. I'm going to do some ironing.

Posted by Edward @ 03:45 PM GMT
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Thursday, August 22, 2002
Standby for countdown
My final leaving do was very much a low key, low turnout, low antic affair. It was nice that some people did turn up including some old colleagues. My Wagamama fried rice was below par with my very own. I now realise that I am getting far too old for drinking sessions and know that I won't need to up my alcohol tolerance as I won't be able to afford more than two pints soon enough.

Two things I can't wait for - get my final pay and go up to Glasgow (my third favourite city in the world).

Link of today - 50 easy ways to save the planet - pretty sensible suggestions

Posted by Edward @ 01:37 PM GMT
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Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Tape to Tape
I have now gone through four tape decks in the past 5 years or so. There must be something wrong with the way I use them. Unlike most people when it comes to recording music I still find that cassette tapes are the best medium. I do use recordable CD's occasionally; I don't want a MiniDisc recorder yet as I still have 100's of tapes; and do have an MP3 player, but that's just it, nothing beats recording a compilation onto tape even if the quality is sometimes a problem. Anyway the problem I see is that I have only ever owned second hand tape decks that are 10-20 years old. My first deck had wood paneling and was a top-loader but have now graduated to a stylish silver finished one that has a single recording level knob. Hopefully it will last me more than the last few.
Posted by Edward @ 03:54 PM GMT
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Tuesday, August 20, 2002
Just like a plastic bag
What an anti-climax the Commonwealth Games auction/tendering thing turned out to be. The number of lots had been drastically reduced due to the removal of most of the computer items. Anyway spotted a kettle and iron that I wouldn't mind having for when I move as long as it's cheap. All the tendering lots were all in huge quantities so if you wanted eight boxes of kitchen utensils, 60 torches, 20 chairs then that's okay. I pity the person who gets the huge lot of smart looking telephones only to realise that you might as well use a two tin cans and a piece of string.

Read a good interview with comedian Ross Noble who's Ross Noble Goes Global radio series had me in stiches. This guy is genuinely funny.

Just heard that Ireland have a tax on plastic bags and within six months there was a 90% reduction in their use. Now that's one tax I would like in this country. I like most people have plenty of plastic bags stuffed everywhere. I have for a long time tried not to get any plastic bags from shops for most things and keep reusing my bags. Some shops (I won't mention names) frown on you when you don't want a bag and go on about the security procedure and the like. Well I suppose they are only following procedure.

Posted by Edward @ 11:57 PM GMT
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Monday, August 19, 2002
Life at a different pace
My first full day with no work to to bother me. I had a lot of stuff to do and it was really strange catching buses late morning and mid afternoon. I quickly found out that the queues are less (except in the post office) and things are much cheaper as it's classed as off-peak. Swimming was a new experience with hardly anyone in the pool leaving me free to do my lengths in peace.

Spent a lot of time tidying and sorting out my room for the umpteenth time in the last few months in ready for my move down South. Each time I try to be ruthless but I am ultimately a hoarder of a lot of useless junk and collector of million clippings, snippets and various imagery. A tip for you to try, if you have loads of old magazines then go through them tearing things out to make collages just like you did at school except now with a little bit more coordination and organised chaos. Now I have to take all the papers and magazines down to the recycle bin.

I got my pictures back from Boots who try to charge me double. Anyway nice picture of the couple in the Arndale Centre from the other day.

buskers at Arndale Center

Currently listening to Skinny Ties and All, a compilation by Hova from WFMU. It was part of the Tchotchkes that I got for pledging a nice sum of money to this great freeform radio station, now if only they had a transmitter in the UK.

Posted by Edward @ 10:34 PM GMT
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Sunday, August 18, 2002
Watching paint dry.
Spent much of the day helping my dad paint ceilings, not much fun. Good job that it wasn't gloss paint as otherwise I would have come out in a nasty rash. I felt a bit ill anyway. A lot of stuff to do tomorrow now that I don't have to go to work, lots of traditional English queuing up I reckon.
Posted by Edward @ 10:48 PM GMT
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Saturday, August 17, 2002
Burning Man-chester
It was a fun evening out at the Platt Fields Volunteer Party yesterday. I saw an old university friend that I haven't met for three years - Mark. Quickly got up to speed with what was happening in each others lives and competed in a Human Table Football competition (managed to get beat by a bunch of eight year olds). I was particularly bad as a striker fluffing numerous chances. Mark also flatten my friend Ali in a sumo wrestling competition, highly amusing. The only bad thing about the whole event was queueing for the food and then finding out you could either have chips, sausages and burgers, with everything else being sold out hours earlier. Didn't actually stay till the end for the fireworks and sort of regret it now, my brother said they had a burning effergy of Crew 2002 which I would have liked to have seen.

Anyway I think I have managed to find somewhere that is hotter than my old office, it's in Oxfam Supersavers where I volunteer on Saturdays. It's no wonder that we fell short of our target. People were frightened away by the humidity of the shop. There is also a bit of a volunteer crisis at the shop too, there doesn't seem to be many new volunteers to replace a the New Deal staff we have. So if any of you are based around Manchester and would like to volunteer at the Oldham Street Oxfam Supersaver, then please pop into the shop and see Hannah the shop manager.

Posted by Edward @ 11:41 PM GMT
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Friday, August 16, 2002
Get on your way boy
So thank you to all my ex-colleagues and friends for a nice sending off and the presents. It is now very hot and humid in the office. Won't miss that I'm in Singapore clamminess.
Posted by Edward @ 04:40 PM GMT
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Love it or leave it
So yesterday evening I had a quick leaving drink, even though I'm actually leaving today. Anyway more people turned up than first thought (double figures!) and it was nice sitting on the top terrace of Pure Space having a few drinks. Some funny conversations were had but I deem them to be going far too low to be repeated here.

It's an absolutely beautiful day in Manchester today (I'm even wearing my sunglasses) which makes the prospect of going to the volunteer party in Platt Fields all the more better, Lomo camera at the ready. Office isn't so hot or humid and dare I say it quite 'pleasant'. Off to Pizza Hut for an all you can eat leaving lunch. I'm not too keen on 'all you can eat'/Pizza Hut in general but it gets the people out for a fun lunch. Read this interesting article on 'all you can eat'. I decided that even if I am going back to university and will have little money I am not going to compromise on my health by eating junk. I will get back to cooking decent basic healthy meals, however I will allow myself to make my speciality cheesecake now and again though (cooked is best, not too sweet).



Had a bit of response to the guy who was ranting on about the 'all you can eat' buffet. Just to let you know it was weird and funny, but I don't share the same perspective, although there wasn't enough pizza getting made at the one we went to.

Anyway leaving speeches... should have thought of something a bit better than the usual thank you's. Got some nice presents and lots of spare change. Will come in handy when I'm looking for a spare one pence.

Posted by Edward @ 11:54 AM GMT
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Thursday, August 15, 2002
Radio playing
Well worth listening to is Concrete Cow on BBC Radio 4 11pm to 11.30pm on Wednesdays. Through the power of the BBC archives you can listen to it via the web if you click on the previous link. Quite funny and nonsensical. Kept thinking it was called Concrete Sky which is the new EP by the angelic Beth Orton, and rather good it is too.
Posted by Edward @ 03:11 PM GMT
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The Greatest Feeling
It's not what you think, although leaving your job in 48 hours to do something else is quite a good feeling in itself. What I mean is apart from the usual pleasures you get in life (sex, music, flapjacks, friendships not in order) there is one other thing that gives me a equally great feeling.

When I walk down the street I tend to drift off into a state of dreaminess, humming a tune (I know very dangerous, I have nearly been ran over). Sometimes I remember something that is mildy amusing or had a silly idea and smile to myself. When do smile I tend to have had a strange reaction from people walking towards me probably thinking I'm some weirdo (they usually cross to the other side of the road). Anyway surprisingly I have had people smile back at me (probably also people who are thinking I'm a weirdo, but then they'd be laughing at me). I usually don't pay much attention but some of those people had beautiful smiles (and faces) and I get an instant rush of inner happiness. It just feels good to be able to make someone smile, especially someone you don't know. Have you had the same experience?
ehr014 BMX Bandits - my farewell record on emma's house recordings

Another surprise, for only the fourth time ever in the history of my record label - emma's house recordings - I have not pressed enough records for a release. Anyway I only have 3 copies of the BMX Bandits record left. Now if only the distributors and record shops will pay up the money they own me.

Just had my exit interview which went quite well, hopefully it will change a few things for people still working here, but somehow I doubt it will make a blind bit of difference.

Posted by Edward @ 11:21 AM GMT
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Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Your funny like that aren't you
it's been really humid in the office and so have the noise of the air conditioning unit behind me today. Not that it feels any better with it on. I hate air conditioning units as it dries my eyes out (not very good when wearing contact lenses), and they contribute to the already noisy office environment. I would like for more companies to adopt a more environmentally friendly attitude to office design/space. We have reams of paper churning out off the printer each day and I guess half of that is thrown away, not even into the recycle bin. So now if you think about the money wasted and then see we have a stationary ration in place at this moment in time, you'll soon see why we should have been careful in the first place. However we do have people reusing the their scrap paper which is good.

Sorted out a quick drink for my leaving do this week, bit last minute but I'm off to the Commonwealth games volunteer party on Friday which should be a laugh. Hopefully see some of my fellow GMEX Technology Support Assistants.

Haven't had the chance to go up to the Arndale today and see if the Flamenco/mime act couple have change their performance again. I'm think that they might have been on their way to the Edinburgh Festival but ran out money and stopped in Manchester instead.

Posted by Edward @ 03:43 PM GMT
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Tuesday, August 13, 2002
Don't Think - Just Shoot
Some of you may know that apart from listening to copious amounts of music I also like to take photographs with my Lomographic Camera. A batch of my photos have made it into a new book Don't Think*Just Shoot celebrating the Lomographic Camera. It's a hefty coffee table style book, but don't let that put you off, the style, colours and design using the contributed photos is just stunning.

That's enough of blowing my own trumpet. I'm currently listening to Madder Rose, still waiting in anticipation for the Mary Lorson album I've ordered.

Also a funny thing, when I registered with 'Is My Blog Hot Or Not?' my initial rating was 1.5, now after jut one vote of 7 by a colleague it popped up to 9.9! Now how on earth do they calculate the average score, their weightings must be mighty strange.

Posted by Edward @ 03:27 PM GMT
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Working Holiday
So only three and a half days to go till the end of working life for me, doesn't feel as if it's a drag as I'm building this blog up. A very clever Java applet in for form of The Alphabet Synthesis Machine as featured in last weeks Guardian. Just draw a squiggle and let it generate a permutation of an imaginary alphabet. It's actually quite addictive.

They've still not managed to paint over Portland Tower in Manchester. The yellow sided building with the Commonwealth Games logo might be a lasting reminder of what was one of the best sporting events ever. Although it's quite warm and the sun is out occasionally, I don't think that the Flamenco is something you see that often in Manchester, so it was a pleasant surprise to see a Spanish couple doing exactly that over on Market Street.

Well off to see if my bank appointment is delayed and stand in a long queue for half an hour.



I'm back and the bank changing account only took 5 minutes and a sticker change. The Falmenco couple have turned into a Marcel Marceau mime act, still nice though and makes a change from the Noel Gallagher wannabies.
Posted by Edward @ 12:09 PM GMT
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