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blogonblogoff - side b

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

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Some gold things happening there
After reading about the general post holiday syndrome that people suffer from because they just did TOO much whilst off work, I've decided to take it easy doing not too much whilst on my long weekend. So far I have been to the Earth From The Air open air exhibition in the grounds of The Natural History Museum which had me captivated for hours. I stumbled into a talk on Zoomorphic Architechture at the V and A which was also fascinating if a little futuristic. They had a plan for the redevelopment of Morecombe seafront which looked out of this work yet completely feasible. Not sure how people will react to a giant seafront construction when all they want is to sit on the beach. Also caught the Bridget Riley exhibition at Tate Britain. I've found Tate Britain to be a lot more friendly than it's trendy counterpart. The exhibition was brilliant, her work is based on a lot of maths and the use of patterns to create completely crazy optical illusions. I really admire her patience to paint the lines and think up the paintings without a computers. In fact they looked more perfect that computer generated patterns with a feeling of thought and substance behind them. Okay you may think that I've done a lot but not as much as I would have done if I had rushed about around London nipping into exhibitions here and there. I gave myself plenty of time to wander around but London has this constant frustrating busy-ness to it I was worn out just fighting to get off the tube. Only a small dose will do at a time. Not to mention the expense that I can't afford right now...
Posted by Edward @ 10:39 PM GMT
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Tuesday, September 16, 2003
In no mood to work
With an arrangement that gets me back to Manchester every other week it means I am getting nothing done. Well not that I do much at weekends anyway but my old routine of volunteering at Oxfam in the morning and then going home to enjoy the paper and go swimming has gone. Although enjoying spur of the moment things can be great fun I tend to try and organise my time in my own incoherent manner. The fact that I am trying to get a new record label up and running is taking up a bit of my time and it seems it's going to be more haphazardly run than emma's house recordings.

Anyway this weekend was quite a good one in that I didn't get anything done but enjoyed a lot of things. There has been a lot of good reviews for the Japanese animation Spirited Away which has just been released over here in the UK. So I was going to catch it in Manchester because Lancaster cinemas only show the mainstream movies. I get home ask our kid about it and he told me that he borrowed it on DVD with the added bonus of a decent Cantonese dub. It is quite easy to get lost in the film but the plot is actually very simple. Girl finds parents trapped in a greed state (as pigs) and she must rescue them. Lots of things happen in between like suffering hardship, proving yourself to others and of course falling in love. Okay this is an oversimplification but that allows you to concentrate on the superb animation of the characters and environment which is more than the usual manga styling. Influences from a host of Western fantasy stories like Alice In Wonderland could have turned this into a mess. It does however gel together really well with a great feeling in the end.

Talking of which I remember watching Terminator 3 before it came out in the US which I was surprised about. Okay obviously this was a copy but a surprisingly good copy that was almost DVD quality. How do these things get ripped off from the studios? There must be someone leaking them out.

Anyway it was In The City in Manchester. I used to go watch the unsigned bands and various free showcases. This year I missed the lot apart from the not so secret Badly Drawn Boy/Twisted Nerve gig at the swanky Bridgewater Hall. More usually associated with grand orchestral sounds this is a great venue. Anyway it seemed like everyone was waiting for Damon and didn't bother to watch Aidan Smith or Toolshed. Aidan I have gone on about before is a darn fine singer songwriter with a great collection of anecdotal tunes that are often humorous. Although he was only on stage for what seemed like half an hour he rattled though loads of songs. He did seem very nervous and looked like he wanted to go through the set as fast as possible. Even when he messed up his songs it was great to watch. Just like an early Damon without the drunkeness it could have looked like an act but I think he just wasn't confident. The more he plays the more Aidan will become a superstar.

The contrast between Aidan and Toolshed couldn't have been greater. Graham Massey of 808 State's new offering is a huge sprawling sound system mixing in electronica, free jazz, prog rock and a shed load of other things into one. At times a testing assault on your senses (causing many people to retire to the bar in fact) but hugely impressive. I forgot to add that I was sitting on the second row in the stalls making it doubly in your face.

So comes to Damon to thank people for coming and dedicating the entire night to Andy Votel, Damon's girlfriend Claire and David Tyack (sadly still missing). A full acoustic set that spanned his three albums and some tracks from the forthcoming album. Damon is a great entertainer taking time to interact with the audience, he loves it. Dedicating almost every song to someone it's a great set. His favourite song 'Four Leaf Clover' which is on the new album has all the qualities of a typically great BDB song. He got 2 deserved standing ovations (something you can't get at standing gigs), everyone was quite impressed. It wasn't just Damon's performance, it was the entire night, it was a night of Twisted Nerve and what a good independent record label can achieve over time, namely a multi-millionaire with some great songs.

Posted by Edward @ 12:13 AM GMT
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Thursday, September 11, 2003
Summat up there causing a blockage
Okay I have fixed the best part of it. One entry is giving a lot of grief and I;m not sure why it prevents me from rebuilding the monthly archive lists. It's a little weird. I should seriously consider a proper DB approach to this but for the most Greymatter has been simple to setup and maintain so will stick with it.
Posted by Edward @ 10:56 PM GMT
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Grey mutters
Just found out that all the monthly archive lists have disappeared. I don't know how long it's been going on for but everything pre-September doesn't have a monthly archive which is annoying. Luckily the inidividual entry pages are okay. Not sure what is going on and I haven't got time to figure it out. Use the main archive entry list if you want to look at archives.
Posted by Edward @ 10:41 PM GMT
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You got to have something to defend
It's finally happening, I'm getting my own office space after being at my new job for a month. Well I say 'my own' office space, I'm sharing with someone else. That's great as I get to communicate with someone in person rather than by email which seems to be the norm. At last a space I can plonk my books and papers without fear of messing up someone elses work space. The views not as nice (2 massive air conditioning units) but at least it won't have the workmen doing construction work there.

Some more gubbins I've seen and like. The French animation Belleville Rendez-Vous looks excellent. The Flash site has this page turning effect that one of the guys who won a Mando Group award used. It's getting quite common to use that bit of Actionscript. It's nicely implemented and workd well though.

There does seem to be a lot of Americans who voice bad things of their own culture and lifestyle. You would think that the Americans might pay attention to people like Michael Moore and reflect on their own society and do something about it for their own good. Big and Blue in the USA is another article about the overweight, lonely, depressed, car driving American. It's a good read and James Howard Kunstler makes some good observations and thoughts.

So Apple release new versions of the iPod this week although just bigger size hard drives with a whopping 40Gb. I am hoping they will bring out a recording version sometime soon but I'm not sure how this will affect the battery life. I heard that the iPod Sony lithium-polymer battery has a normal lifespan of 2 years which lets be honest is a bit pants. If you record using the device I guess your lifespan will be half that because the battery will drain quicker and you need to charge it more often. Maybe increasing the built in memory will help. My first generation iPod is still working great and taking less of a beating now that I don't use it as much as an external hard drive.

One final thing since the WTO are meeting in Cancun. The Guardian launched a new campaign a while ago with the snappy name of Kick-AAS. The aim is to get the developing nations to drop the huge agricultural subsidies that are dished out. A worthy campaign to support although it is not looking too good at the moment.

Posted by Edward @ 09:53 PM GMT
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Sunday, September 7, 2003
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
How to enjoy a weekend part 2, firstly get soaked going grocery shopping, then spend the next four hours trying to create the right design for a record sleeve. Next spend a further two hours messing making very tiny adjustments until satiisfied. During all this listen to the entire New Order Retro box set CD's, one documentary on Elvis impersonators narrated by the great Ian Macmillan and the England V's Macedonia match. Later on in the evening listen to Teenage Fanclub and Flaming Lips whilst designing stuff for a website. The following day help to organise and throw a kids party that has really can't be called a kids party because there are nine times more adults. All goes well with few minor accidents. I guess it's not everyone's idea of a weekend but certainly different for me, kids are tiring and messy, very messy. I was going to nip to the seaside during the day but that will have to happen in a few weeks time. The rain held off as well.
Posted by Edward @ 10:15 PM GMT
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Thursday, September 4, 2003
I work virtually
Right four weeks into my new job as a web developer, I still don't have a computer. Technically I do have a computer but no one is available to set up the network settings for me, hence not usable. It's starting to be really frustrating that I am on the verge of moving offices yet have no fixed date. I loathe using someone else's computer because I hate it when people install all sorts of rubbish I don't need when they used to use my office PC. I have so far installed 5 web browsers on the machine which I will have to remember to uninstall.

So how rich are you in comparison to the rest of the world. According to Global Rich List I am in the top 2.7 percent of earners on my current salary. I've never felt rich and have been realistic with what I can and can't do with money, I am still as happy with my position now as when I had no income. It's all relative, I just reduce my expectations and work harder to get what I want to do. Go check out your richness at the site. It's one to email friends. Speaking of which this is a {{link semi-funny Flash thing on forwarded spam emails}} (Sorry link removed). Now start forwarding your life.

Posted by Edward @ 09:06 PM GMT
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