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Preview: little bits of everything

little bits of everything

Yeah, er.... stuff.

Updated: 2018-02-24T13:22:06.864Z


All the right notes - my gigs of 2017


I don't often go to see gigs, but in 2017 I somehow went to several. I've put photos in to break up the text, but my phone's camera doesn't exactly excel in concert conditions. They started in... February - Under Construction, the Bailey Sisters Under Construction is a covers band based in High Wycombe. One of my friends is the bassist and for his 50th birthday he got them to play for the

A Wizard of Earthsea and CB radio


As I've created accounts on various websites and social media I've avoided using nicknames. (The one exception is eBay, where I feared that a bad sale would mean that someone would track me down, so I hid behind a username based on a work nickname.) However when I was in my early teenage years we were given a CB radio and when I (briefly) took to the airwaves I chose Sparrowhawk as my handle.

Technology needs lights


This is part of an IBM mainframe that I saw at the Science Museum in London. It's hard to imagine that anyone ever understood what they all meant. I think the reason there are so many lights is because there is so much to go wrong. The lights show when something's working, so no light means failure, or when something fails. These days the FLP BFR (flip buffer?) always does what it's supposed

Reading comics - part 1


A phrase from the latest blog entry by The Reinvigorated Programmer, What I've been reading, lately part 23, has prompted me to get this post out of the mental draft folder. Speaking of The Complete Harlem Heroes, a reprint of the strips from 2000AD he says They are full of panels that, forty years on from my first reading, still reach right back into my hindbrain and yank on my neurons. I have

My reactions as I read fan fiction


This isn't half bad This is actually pretty good This is actually very good They know much more about this than I do This is too short Why isn't there much longer stuff? How would I know if it's any good though before I commit to reading it?

My desert island disks


Someone asked on Facebook what our 8 desert island disks would be. I said these, in no particular order: 1. ELO - Wild West Hero 2. Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells side 1 3. elbow - Mirrorball 4. Travis - Sing 5. David Bowie - Heroes 6. Kate Bush - Cloudbusting 7. Genesis - Carpet Crawlers 8. Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman Pink Floyd is a favourite band, but tracks are better listened to as part

Quotes from Bedsit Disco Queen


I've recently finished the autobiographical Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn, the female singer from Everything But The Girl. I find it hard to review an autobiography without reviewing someone's life. I'd recommend it as a good telling though of someone who you could have been at school with, who went to University with a record contract, became famous a couple of times, and then wrote it all

My best books of 2016


Other people give regular reviews of what they are reading, or pick their best books of the year, which I enjoy reading, so I am doing the same in the hope that you will too. Hild, by Nicola Griffith I thought this was a book from last year, but I'm glad to say I was reading it at the beginning of this year as it's my favourite book of recent years and I wanted to mention it. It's set in

It's a good time to like SF, TV and cinema


In his (mostly) spoiler free review of Rogue One (I just typed Rouge One - that's a very different film!) John Scalzi says: In fact, for two films running the folks at Disney have produced two really top-notch Star Wars films, a feat that has not been managed in thirty-five years — or possibly ever, depending on whether you believe the original Star Wars, as epochal as it undeniably was, is

How to write an article


If you search "How to write an article" on Google there are 293,000,000 results. defines an article as "a written composition in prose, usually nonfiction, on a specific topic, forming an independent part of a book or other publication, as a newspaper or magazine". Dave Barry said: "In the past decade or so, the women's magazines have taken to running home-handyperson articles

Like a metaphor


I remember learning about metaphors and simile in English at school. It didn't take long to learn the difference (similes use the words "like" or "as" in them), yet it felt like we kept on having tests where we would have to work out which one a particular phrase was. I checked whether the phrase had "like" or "as", ticked the appropriate box, and moved on. "I've got this already", I thought. At

Dara O'Briain's Go 8 bit - more fun that I thought it would be


Lately I've hugely enjoyed watching Go 8 Bit, an original programme on the Dave channel. It's like sitting on the sofa watching your friends play a console game or sitting next to them as they play on a PC, but on TV. I thought it was worth checking out, but it turns out that watching people on TV play games is more fun that you might think. It's billed as Dara O'Briain's show, but it was

Embed Getty images for free


You can now embed some Getty images for free, providing its for non-commercial use. Embed from Getty Images That is all.

I'm thinking of designing a University course...


I'm thinking of designing a University course covering the following modules: The growth of home computers in the pre-PC era. The rise of punk and indie rock in the 80s and the rise of the New Romantics. Lincolnshire rural life between recessions. The Grammar School system and exam-based qualifications before the introduction of GCSEs. The role of the eldest child in the nuclear

Yes in concert at The Royal Albert Hall


I put this on Facebook before I went: In the year of my 40th birthday I went to see Genesis, my favourite band. Since then I've been to see Kate Bush, one of my favourite artists. Tonight (in the year of my 50th birthday) I'm going to see Yes with Ben, another of my favourite (old) artists. ELO is another favourite, but I'm not so fussed to see Jeff Lynne. In the year of my 60th birthday I

Top twelve albums


In the spirit of owning your own words here's something I put on Facebook (but then this is living on Google's servers, but at least it's away from a walled garden). List 12 albums that have stuck with you. 1 album per artist only (yes, I know, difficult). No compilations (also difficult). Don't take too long; don't think too hard. Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield Time - ELO Close to the Edge -

Would you like For the Win by Cory Doctorow?


"Would I like For the Win by Cory Doctorow?", said no-one to me, ever. Book reviews are useful as such, but the most useful thing is for someone to give me enough information about the sort of book that a book is that I'd know if I'd like it. It may be lacking in depth of character, but if it's got spaceships in it, or mind-expanding travelogue (I'm looking at you Iain M Banks) then that's

How to get books you really want from the library every time you visit


Get old. While you're getting old develop a like for a variety of fiction styles: SF, historic detective stories, fiction that wins literary prizes but isn't too wierd, magical realism. Read about a book a month. Go to the library every three months. (And this is the important one.) Keep a list on your phone of authors you've liked previously, or that you've heard about on TV, radio, newspapers

Christmas Quiz


Answer as you see fit. No search-engining allowed. What were the skies like when you were younger? Why does it always rain on me? Tell me why. Do you know the way to San Jose? Why do birds suddenly appear? Is she really going out with him? What are words worth? Who let the dogs out? Why does my heart feel so bad? Do you really want to hurt me? What is love? Where did you

Brian Eno goes on the internet


Insert discussion of the original meaning of the word meme and what it now means here. Memes are supposed to be understood by lots of people without explanation. This one fails. I've been visiting Universities with one of my sons, looking at their Music Tech courses. (Insert link to blog post about thoughts on that when it's written.) At Portsmouth they had an analogue mixing desk that used

Music and critics


Is there a song that you could listen to over and over again for the rest of your life without getting fed up of it? Is there a song where you think, "I want to live in this song. I want the intro to be my porch. I want to walk on the bass, to sit on the synth line and watch the melody. I want to sleep on the repeat to fade until it all starts again." This quote from Laura Potter has captured

PR for pirates


  I admire the PR firm that took on pirates. I imagine it went something like this: "Ahoy!, we're pirates, we'd like t' improve our image." "Just so I can understand how best to help you, can you tell me what your core business is?" "Piracy." "I see. How would you define piracy?" "Stealin' from other people." "Any other related activities?" "Kidnappin' sometimes, sinkin' ships, fightin'.

Font pocket fluff


(Or pocket lint for my US readers, I don't know what the Canadians say). Here are some font related things front the depths of the pockets of my mind. Is the hashtag for Kerning Conf really #keming? If so, *that* is genius! — Tom Lloyd (@TomALloyd) May 3, 2013 Just my Type - a book about fonts by Simon Garfield. It's full of useful information, but light-hearted enough to say that there

Review of "Secondhand memories" by Takatsu


My review as a Librarything early reviewer: The first thing to talk about with this book is the form. Normally it doesn't make much difference, but this is a cellphone novel turned into a book turned into an ebook (I read it in PDF). So small chapters are turned into nicely laid out pages which are then put onto a screen. I think it would be nice to own the paper book. As the chapters are so

Personal thoughts on Terry Pratchett


I thought about writing some thoughts on Leonard Nimoy after he died, but I wouldn't have said that much. I was genuinely sad when I heard the news about Terry Pratchett, so I feel I have to write some stuff down. I met him once. He was patron of the Friends of High Wycombe Library and he gave a talk at their inaugural meeting, at our church as it happened. From the circumstantial evidence I