Sunday, October 28, 2007

Martyn Jospeh at the Union Chapel

I've been a fan of Martyn Joseph since the late eighties and have enjoyed both his recorded and live output. He's a bit Billy Bragg meets Bruce Springsteen - a thinking man's protest singer if you will. Last night I saw him at the Union Chapel in Islington. It's the first time I'd been there and it is one of the best venues I've ever had the pleasure of spending an evening at. I was also joined by my gigging pals Andy and Keith (who used to be the ops manager at Oasis TV) and a splendid evening was had. If you're looking for something a bit thought-provoking and firmly in the Woody Guthrie tradition then let me know and I'll recommend some starter material.
It's been half-term week and I managed to take some time off from what has been the most hectic four months of my life! That is why I've not been blogging so much recently - not because I don't have the odd ten minutes here or there but because I don't have the time to think or investigate interesting technologies/websites/music etc. etc. I've had Radiohead's new album ready to listen to since it came out but as yet I've not had the chance - I suspect the same will be true of Martyn's new CD as well. Ho hum - it has to get quieter eventually!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I love having two monitors!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sitting in the barber's

I've had some funny moment whilst having my hair cut - here are three;
  1. It's his Mama's face!
    The town my wife Sarah comes from is Street in Somerset. During the second world war a prisoner of war camp for Italian soldiers was located nearby and after the war a lot of men who'd previously been POWs emigrated back to Somerset to live. You've got to love a country who treats it's enemy prisoners so well that they want to bring their families back afterwards! Anyway - there is a sizable Italian community in Somerset to this day and one friend of Sarah's family was the local barber. When we were first married I'd make a point of saving haircuts for those occasions we visited Sarah's folks so that I could go with Bob (Sarah's dad) to visit the barber.
    On one occasion the barber was telling us about an unfortunate situation between his son and daughter-in-law. Apparently things weren't going well between the two of them and to cheer her son up the barber's wife had baked a cake and taken it over to cheer up the son. The son had left the cake on the kitchen table and when his wife returned that evening she saw the cake, realised her mother-in-law had been around and so took the cake and threw it on floor and then stamped on it. As the barber was telling this tale of domestic woe he paused and declared;
    ...when my boy saw what she did it wasn't the cake he saw her stamping on but his Mama's face!

    At this point in the tale he regained his composure and starting cutting my hair with renewed vigour, so much so he took a little chunk out of my left ear!

  2. Are you a homosexual?
    Back in London I was sitting in the chair in a clip-joint on Holloway Road and three 'gangsta' characters (I believe they're called) pulled up in soft-top Mercedes and came into the shop. The leader of this group of meat-heads sat down and said he wanted a no.2 with the number '21' shaved into the stubble on the back of his head. The barber immediately asked him;
    Are you a homosexual?
    No, who says I am?
    Well twenty-one is a bit of a gay number, don't you think?

    After this they discussed (for maybe ten minutes) the relative machismo of various numbers and eventually settled on two-hundred and seventeen(!) as a suitably un-gay number.
    At no point did this idiot realise that the barber was mercilessly teasing him. I had trouble not laughing out loud as the other two barbers joined in the debate!

  3. Oh Mr Jeremy - that Mr Blunket he make a lot of trouble for you
    Although a bit of an old-labour chap (like me!) Jeremy Corbyn is an excellent constituency MP - on the couple of occasions that Sarah and I have had dealing with him we've found him to be a real gent and concerned about his ward.
    Anyhow - a couple of years ago at Christmas I was having my hair cut and Mr Corbyn walks into the shop - clearly he and the barber were on terms and after exchanging pleasantries the MP took a seat and waited his turn. As my trim was nearly finished the barber turns to Jeremy and says;
    Oh Mr Jeremy, that Mr Blunket is making a lot of trouble for you - what will you do?

    At this the half-dozen other patrons let their newspapers lower and all eyes were on the representative of Islington North - he squirmed and replied;
    ...oh yes, but I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with the family

    This didn't satisfy the barber who kept up the questions and although I'd have loved to hang around I'd just paid and it would have seemed strange to just stand there and watch a member of her majesty's parliament get the third-degree from a barber with delusions of Paxman-grandeur!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It it waddles and quacks like a duck......

Call it a duck.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Burnt Chillis!

Imagine my suprise when I got back to the office on Monday night when I found half of Soho had been blocked off by the fire-brigade. It turns out that the splendid Thai Cottage restaurant had been dry-frying chillis and the smell made folks think that there was a chemical attack or some such! It even made it into The Times, BBC Online and Radio 4!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Radiohead ditches iTunes to keep album complete

I can only applaud Thom Yorke and the boys for taking this stance - I've often thought that one of the worst aspects of the iTunes music store is the commoditisation of music and the severing of the link between listener and artist - I like engaging with bands and getting into the songs that didn't make it onto the radio. The songs you know when you buy an album are (for me) rarely the ones you wind up loving in the long term. If you only ever cherry-pick the radio friendly cuts from an album you miss out so much.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Is your iPhone knackered?

Here is is picture of young Mr Will Harris (of Channel Flip) showing me his iPhone last month - I'm just waiting for an email from him to see if Apple latest update to iTunes has killed his hacked handset. Cheeky! Just imagine if you moved cable providers and they insisted you had to use their PC or their TV set - selling the handset as a loss-leader on the service has ultimately got to be bad for consumers.