Friday, 21 July 2017


On Wednesday I ditched the iPad and got a Kindle Fire. Basically the iPad was an excellent device but tried to tie you into Apple and some non Apple apps didn't behave the way I wanted including YouTube and TED. I originally bought it because someone showed me GarageBand, but while that was great to play with, and I managed to record a couple of things, it forced into such things as defining the length of your song before you recorded it, and it took me six months to export my first MP3 after having recording the song. I think it was a space issue and on someone's advice I deleted a load of apps and it finally exported.

I recorded a couple more but, for me it was awkward. So eventually Garageband became something I dabbled with every now and then, and all I was really doing was keeping it charged and updating IOS.

So I got the Kindle Fire and it doesn't like Google apps so can't really use the Google Play Store or Google Docs or NOW TV (which uses some Google Framework). There are ways of circumventing this but I like life easy. I've not yet connected it to Social Media, but have installed TED and managed to print via Bluetooth to my Canon Pixma Printer. It was the first photograph I took with the device , which only has a 2 MP camera, but it was late at night and I wasn't sure what I was doing when taking the picture, but I took it and printed. That's one thing I never did with the iPad (although I never tried).

I've downloaded a Music Studio, which gets good reviews, but will check that out in the coming weeks.

I then played some YouTube stuff using my Bluetooth soundbar for sound and that was good.

Then the biggest plus' which in my opinion has mad the purchase worthwhile already , was the installation of BubbleUPnP which connected to my DNLA Server meaning that my whole digital music collection is available to me. I am now seriously thinking of giving away big chunks of my CD collection.

So far, so happy.

It's Friday, so we need a "fire" related song and the ones that spring to mind are Arthur Brown, Bruce Springsteen and The Pointer Sisters but as usual I'm going a little further afield with Nick Cave's take on "Fire Down Below" from Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinsky's pirate song project "Rogues Gallery".

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The iPad is Gone

It's grey and rainy and I am have hust been watching Ripper Street and Taboo, lots of grim , 19th Century violence and machinations.

Yesterday morning I had a dream , I think I was in Edinburgh, in some Polish shop but I had to go back to get a codec for a video but the only way out was via a hardboard catflap blocked by a China man on a trolley but I had to go out via side door into somewhere I had never been before , lots of high dark streets, then the alarm went off. I know this makes no sense but it was a dream and I can still remember some of it, so that's why I've written it down here. Some psychiatrist will probable get some insight into my psyche from that, or maybe not .. who knows.

Anyway for the last year I have probably used my iPad to charge up and update IOS and that's about it. I'd originally got it to play with Garageband and basically I just doodled with Garageband. I find my TASCAM portastudio and Audacity far easier to produce music with so I ditched the iPad and bought a Kindle Fire 8. All I've done with it so far is charge it up, but I  hope I will get more use out of it than I did the iPad. I just tried to install the Google Play Store but that wasn't successful and Alexa has talked to me.

I only have sixty thousand steeps to no to hit my million steps in three months in the Million Step Challenge, and after that I pledge to do 340K each month. It's a good way of keeping fit without the boring drudgery (as I see it) of gym membership,

Anyway I thought I would tell you about my dream and how I am no longer infected by Apple but we shall see how the Kindle performs. So a suitable record would be on of the Osmonds goodies, where they try to take on the Jackson 5 leaving you with "One Bad Apple".

Sleep well my friends.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Monday Sun

Despite the fact it's Monday it looks an absolutely gorgeous day. This is a definite walk to work day. The benefits of walking are evident in my general improvement in health, although it means I have less time for TED talks and other stuff. I tend to spend maybe two hours a day walking which should result in around 12K steps but vary between 8K and 15K, so sometimes I must walk more slowly and some days more quickly. I'm writing this as I'm getting dressed (which you really wouldn't want to see).

I am toying with disposing of my CD collection. A big chunk is in boxes , and while I love playing albums on CD and vinyl, if something is boxed up , it's not available to play. I have it all digitally stored (I think), so it would be a good idea to get some more space by getting rid of some boxes. But in those boxes there are CDs I wouldn't want to lose so it's not a simple task, but I am formulating a plan.

I'm in a similar mode with books and DVDs , I seldom watch DVDs though recently got around to watching the excellent "Looking for Eric" by the brilliant Ken Loach and featuring Eric Cantona, and yesterday I listened to a "Best of R Dean Taylor" , if I remember rightly the first white artist on Tamla Motown, though I may be wrong there, but was surprised at how many songs I knew on there outside of the big hits such as "Two of Us" and "Ain't It A Sad Thing" (which are possibly covers).

So I've chosen "There's A Ghost In My House" for you to enjoy, and I will soon be on my way to work. Enjoy your day my friends.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Please Smile

Today walking into town I saw a guy with a very fierce expression on his face . I smiled and said "Nice Day" but got no reaction. He then started cleaning his car. I then got on a bus and there was a guy looking miserable holding a scratch card. It may have been a winner but probably not, but he didn't look happy. I hope it was a winner and I hope he ended the day smiling.

Smiling releases endorphins and makes you feel better, and makes you better able to do whatever you want to do.

I've passed 900K on my Million Step Challenge but today has been an absolute trial. Firstly my phone seems to be losing and not recording steps. One example is first thing this morning that I took Fiona's phone upstairs for her and that registered 92 steps, mine registered 5 steps , and that's what it was on before I picked Fiona's phone up. Yesterday it registered 25 steps from bus stop to home , when it should have been 200 steps. I went for fish and chips on Friday , that's well over 2K steps , my phone decided I'd done 1K. So this is a little demoralising.

Then I've started feeling drained like all the strength is leaking from my arms and legs. If I can keep going for 20 minutes then I can overcome it, but it's like walking through treacle for 20 minutes. I won't let this combination of negativity stop me from completing the Million Steps by the end of July but it does feel like I'm pushing against something, but it won't stop me.

So an appropriate song would be Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" , I know it's Sunday and tomorrow  is Monday, but it's another week, another challenge. Push on my friends , push on.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

How Glastonbury Happened

Just continuing through "Electric Eden" and I came across a couple of snippets about how the Glastonbury Festival actually got started. Michael Eavis apparently snuck into the Bath Blues festival and caught Led Zeppelin's set. A couple of months later he put together The Pilton Festival on his farm with The Kinks headlining. Stackridge and Amazing Blondel were on the set and The Kinks dropped out and were replaced by Tyrannosaurus Rex. The festival was virtually free and lasted the weekend and for a pound you got entry and a weekend's ration of milk.

The following year it was rebranded as "Glastonbury Fayre" and was again virtually free, there was no alcohol allowed and only vegan food. Michael Eavis is a Methodist and local pastors were in the crowd dancing and socialising. The acts this time were big hitters such as The Grateful Dead, Hawkwind, Bowie and Bolan. The Pyramid Stage was constructed according to various mystical calculations and the festival was financed by a film made about it and the triple LP "Revelation"  (more here) that I bought at the time with a brilliant fold out cover. I just have a digital copy now but if you follow the links you can get your own.

The closeness of mystical sites like Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor added magic to the festival , but after that it did nit reappear until 1978, when it began the transition to the advertising corp fest with cash machines and phone masts that it is today.

Michael Eavis makes lots of money but donates lots to many worthy causes. He doesn't drink or do drugs and still maintains his Methodist faith, and long may he continue and prosper.

So basically I will finish this with my favourite song which includes the Festival's name it it's title, "Glastonbury Revisited" by The Cosmic Rough Riders

I know it's a bit wet but have a great Saturday.

Friday, 14 July 2017


We hear a lot of certain things "going viral" , but I was wondering what makes something popular these days. Most of the posts on this blog get around 50 hits. The highest ones are between 1-2K and some have none. I don't know how many are robots and know that two or three friends read regularly. Though I seldom get any comments on here which makes me think maybe 90 % are robots. I think I've had maybe for or five comments since the blog started.

Recently I heard of some work experience person going viral on Southern Rail. I read his tweets and to be quite honest they were nothing special, but the public seemed to love it. Remember this is someone on work experience at a company that treats it's customers like cattle and yet those customers like X-Factor viewers just take whatever they are fed my their media choice.

So I haven't a clue what makes something popular. A huge media presence helps, talent and ability and fitness for purpose less so. Remember VHS smashed Betamax despite the latter being the better format.

The Internet and modern communications mean that any idea can become viral and therefore popular. I believe the Daily Mail has the most visited media website going, showing the amount of small minded people who are spoonfed the hate and drivel.

I'm sorry this has rambled in no particular direction, but one thing technology has given us is a chance to deal with the media dominated order. Any can become a star , they just need to be in the right place at the right time and have things drop for them. This may sound cynical but it really is just the way things are.

Anyway I hope I have made you think a bit.

I should include a song but what else should I choose but David Bowie's "Fame" . There was a man who worked hard through many failures to achieve his niche in the modern psyche. He went through name changes , images changes , a perpetual cultural and visual chameleon.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Not Getting Art and Music

I can't believe it's a week since my last post, it's amazing how time can just fly away. I had my annual diabetic review on Monday thinking I had done OK having lost 6Kg , reduced my insulin intake by 30% and improved my three month blood sugar reading (H1C ? ) , the consultant was unusual in that they seemed to want to find something to berate me so told me I was still overweight and if I hadn't reduced my nsulin the my H1C might have been better. How motiovational is that?

Part of the reason for the improvement is my Million Step Challenge , and general walking . I'm at 850K so am going to hit my target, and when I've completed it I will set a target of 350K a month for the future.

I've also got problems with drains so that may be an insurance claims as it may be a rogue tree root that's the cause of the problem. Again that takes time out of your day to sort out.

Yesterday morning on my walk to work the music that came on was Van Der Graaf Generator "Mr Sands" and "Splinter" , plus Peter Hamill's "Gaia" and Genesis' "Harlequin" not exactly inspirational listening but better that Radio One and it wasn't exactly lifting my mood, then walking down Barrack Road Half Man Half Biscuit's "Eno Collaboration" from "Voyage To The Bottom of the Road"came on. That did lift my mood and really set me up for the day.

Fur lunch I sampled some Thai Potato at Wildflower and I am really tempted to to have it again today. The day went well.

After work I visited "You’re Reading Into It: Queering Contemporary Minimalism"at Art Event at VANE which I didn't even know existed, curated by Oliver Doe , a really nice guy wearing a totally amazing suit. I was speaking to a girl who came in because she'd finished work and was also a fan of Wildflower, but said she didn't get  Art. I said my opinion was that if it had an effect the Art worked, that was the point of it. I took a couple of instagram videos which you can see here, but I suggest you get along and visit. It's a brilliant Art space and this is an excellent exhibitions.

So the song that set up my day is the one you get.

Have a good Thursday everyone.