Posts archive for: August, 2006
  • Is there such a thing as....

    ..too many CD's?


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  • Joe's Garage

    Words by Frank Zappa

    It wasn't very large
    There was just enough room to cram the drums


    In the corner over by the Dodge
    It was a fifty-four
    With a mashed up door
    And à cheesy little amp
    With a sign on the front said
    "Fender Champ"


    And a second-hand guitar
    It was a Stratocaster with a whammy bar

  • Help!

    I've been trapped behind my companies firewall all day >:XX

    This has been posted from my ipaq and mobile - I'm too clever for them ha! :>>

  • Living on an island

    It has been announced today that the population of the UK has broken through the 60m mark.

    Curiously 50m of these live in England meaning that 83% of the people in the UK live in England. There are 383 people per square Km in England compared with just 63 in Scotland. This also means that England is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

    Of the 50m people who live in England almost 8m of them live in London meaning that in the capital there are almost as many people as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined and the population density there is 4700 people per square km - no wonder they all get on each others nerves!!

    The population of the UK has risen by almost 50% since 1911 when there were only 42m of us. The good news is that the population of the UK is expected topeak at nearly 67 million in 2050.

    Thanks to the BBC and Office of National Statistics for that!!

  • One year old

    My Blog is one year old today!!


    I'm amazed I've kept it up so long.

    It hasn't been like I expected but it's been fun

  • Working for the man

    While I was away on holiday my company moved offices but luckily I managed to find them again!! Actually the new place is about 500m from the old one. Despite my original misgivings the office is quite nice and unless you actually go through the door you'd forget there was a warehouse out the back.


    And I've got a window which is more than the old office had!!

  • Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday (Sang in squeeky Clare Grogan voice!)

    It's my youngest daughters birthday today she's 14. Among all of the normal prezzies was a white envelope which we told her she had to open last. When she did this was inside:

    oz birthday

    She now has to wait till December to find out what it is he he!! Apparently we are the most annoying parents ever!!

    Fourteen eh! It doesn't seem like yesterday..... One of the scary things about our recent holiday was that she had an admirer - a boy called Paul from Devon who followed her everywhere. Sarah and I joked about how I needed to buy a shotgun!! I'd kind of got used to the eldest one having a boyfriend but now I've got to get used to the youngest one attracting the attention of the opposite sex. Aaarrrggghhhh 88|

  • Some mistake surely!

    I seem to have made it into the top ten blogs

    The shame of it all!! :oops:

  • As my media is missing

    I'll post a link to this photo of me and my son taken yesterday

    I'm the one in the tie-dye t-shirt!!

  • Where have all the pictures gone?

    All my pictures have disappeared - have yours?

  • I'm back!!!

    did ya miss me? did ya?

    Oh bugger you then

    (More about a week on the Isle of Wight later)

  • Momma's gonna make all of your nightmares come true

    Sarah has pointed me in the direction of a row that has erupted between baby “guru” Gina Ford and on line mothers’ forum Mumsnet. The gist of the argument is that Ms Ford, writer of the best selling but highly controversial book “The Contented Little Baby” has taken umbrage about some of the remarks made about her on that site. So incensed is she that she wants to have the whole site shut down despite it being used by thousands of mothers every week for advice and general discussion. Although Sarah doesn’t use Mumsnet she is a member of Bad Mother’s Club – a similar site, where, like Mumsnet members have been asked not to criticise Ms Ford online.

    According to The Register the comments that were made suggested that she “has unpleasant and unhygienic personal habits", that she was “cruel, uncaring, and justifiably reviled" and another rather jokingly suggested that she “straps babies to rockets and fires them into south Lebanon”. Ms Ford has requested that the website be shut down despite the site displaying a disclaimer regarding not accepting liability for the content of the forums and allowing for offending posts to be removed, which they were as soon as they were brought to the attention of the web site operators. This would appear to comply with the relevant "notice and takedown" rules set out in the judgment in Godfrey v. Demon – a similar case brought a few years ago.

    Curiously Ms Ford who runs a similar forum on her own website apparently has a similar disclaimer displayed. I understand that the forums there are for members who are willing to pay the £40 a year subscription. I of course wasn’t willing to pay this fee and am therefore unable to check it out for myself.

    The general gist of the controversy is the parenting advice given by Ms Ford who while she has looked after lots of babies for celebrities and the wealthy has never had a child of her own. This would appear to be quite a regimented regime which divides the day up into 5 minute intervals and gives an hour-by-hour, week-by-week guide on how to get a new baby into a routine designed to get it to sleep through the night as soon as possible. Apparently this involves only feeding at certain times, leaving the child to cry for hours if necessary, waking the baby if it’s not up by a certain time and putting it in a darkened room if it’s meant to be asleep. The book is also seen to have an anti-breastfeeding bias which has upset many as well.

    A spokesman for Mumsnet has said that asking mums not to discuss the book is akin to asking a football discussion not to mention Manchester United. They have also said that her attempt to shut down an entire website because of a few comments is like taking the BBC off air because someone complains about one program. It certainly seems to be against the idea of free speech and is even more confusing when you consider that there are some quite defamatory statements on another site – These are a few I saw earlier (printed here as quotes and not my views at all)

    “After the first few weeks he'll settle into a routine anyway, and it won't be one imposed on him by some nazi who's never had a child of her own”

    “Ve hav vays of making you parent”

    “I tourtured myself and my baby on that regimented, nazi routine!”

    Now Ms Ford has said that being described as a terrorist upset her when she read it on Mumsnet so why hasn’t she tried to shut down Amazon for allowing someone to call her a Nazi? Similarly she complained about Mumsnet claiming she was “cruel, uncaring, and justifiably reviled" but again from Amazon

    “Anyone who condones leaving your baby cry and scream for 3-4 hours is in my opinion as a parent of three children a sadist”

    So why the double standards – hmm lets see what do Amazon sell?

    You can read statements from both sides here

  • What's that all about then?

    There's an advert on the radio for Pimms and it uses a Motorhead track in the background.

    Lemmy would be turning in his grave (if he were dead)!

  • Sure 'Nuff 'N Yes I Do

    Not the most exciting of weekends but busy non the less - what have I been up to?

    Well mostly getting ready for holidays. We bought some suitcases for the Oz trip - Ok I know it's months away but as Isadora pointed out to me as far as the supermarkets are concerned Summer is over and Christmas is a coming. We spotted some huge cases in Sainsburys for £15 each and bought 4 of them. And then today in Tesco we spied a slightly smaller one for just £9. So with 5 suitcases and 2 big holdalls surely that'll be enough for the 7 of us!

    I somehow managed to get the tent back into the bag after it spent Saturday stretched out in the garden drying after last weekend. Why they can't make the bags slightly bigger - obviously the manufacturers haven't actually tried to put a tent that has been used back into the bag. We also returned the picnic table we bought last weekend and swapped it for one that isn't (hopefully anyway) broken.

    We talked to Sarah's sister in OZ in Saturday morning. She's been to the wedding venue and says it's nice. Looks like it will be the place providing we can sort out a few minor details - like why the deposit has suddenly increased by 150%. We looked at wedding rings too - that was scary! I offered to not have one but Sarah said if I wasn't careful I'd be wearing mine through my nose!!

    I lost them all for a while in the shopping centre and I had no signal on my mobile so I couldn't ring to find where they were. I sat myself down on a bench and waited to be claimed! Suddenly Sarah and her yougest daughter came out of Adams' and who should be walking between them but Benny with a pair of sandals on his feet looking like such a big boy!! Size 5 - takes after me I think!

    Nigel the budgie has moved downstairs! We thought we better move him out of my eldest daughters room before she comes back from Spain. Since he's moved downstairs he seems happier and has been cheeping away all day. We let him out for a bit of a fly round while we cleaned his cage out as well. Also I had to clean out Garcia the Rat as his cage was really smelly. I took him to see Benny who was a bit nervous and would shrink away only to suddenly run up touch the rat and run away again!!

    Other than that I've been playing the piano a lot - haven't played it for a while so it took me a while to get back to where I was a few weeks ago but eventually I got there and even moved on a bit. Sometimes it's good to take a break for a while and go back to it.

  • Forever Changes


    Arthur Lee - 1945-2006

    The death was announced today of former Love frontman Arthur Lee. He had been ill for some time with acute myeloid leukemia. He died with his wife by his bedside yesterday in a hospital in Memphis. Lee was probably best known for the Forever Changes album and for the songs "Alone again or" and "Seven and Seven is"

    Never been a big fan myself but I did see him with Love in 2003 at the Canterbury Fayre.

    Picture by my mate CJ at Canterbury who said of Arthur today

    Oh dear, Arthur Lee. What a contradiction that man was. The name of the band was Love, he and his band wrote some of the most amazing music - often love songs, and yet he had one of the most disagreeable personalities I've ever had the misfortune to come across. He really was a sad case.

    But boy did he know how to entertain a crowd.

    I'll treasure the memory of his gigs - some of the best I've been lucky enough to have been present at.

  • My Guilty Secret has been discovered

    These arrived in the post today


  • Born under a bad sign?

    I've just been down to the Post Office to post off the forms for our wedding in Australia. As it cost us £70 to get the forms signed I figured I send it "signed for" in case it got lost - at least it would be insured.

    £6.66 please - Agh 666

    Is that a bad omen?

  • I don't know why, I call him Gerald


    Syd Barrett – Tortured Genius?

    Since his death a few weeks ago I’ve read quite a bit about him on the net and it would appear that to suggest otherwise is tantamount to heresy. There seems to be two camps – those who think Pink Floyd came to an end the day the rest of the band decided not to pick up Syd on the way to a gig in Southampton. The other camp ask the question that I confess has been troubling me – what exactly did Syd do that conferred this cult status upon him? After all Pink Floyd weren’t that commercially successful until years after he left.

    The story if you need a recap is that Syd formed a band with some friends in Cambridge who quickly became the darlings of the Psychedelic scene in London in the mid Sixties playing at the (in)famous UFO club and releasing two hit singles Arnold Layne and See Emily play. Over the course of a couple of years Syd’s behaviour became more erratic. Sometimes he wouldn’t play, standing almost catatonic on stage or on one occasion he just de-tuned his guitar. The rest of the band became frustrated with him – he once tried to teach them a new song called “Have you got it yet?” which changed every time he played it to them.

    Eventually they drafted in another friend called Dave Gilmour and one day on the way to a gig they simply didn’t pick Syd up. The band continued and eventually became spectacularly successful. Syd tried to have a solo career but two albums failed to make any impact and his only solo gig ended after only 4 songs when he put his guitar down and walked off. He eventually returned to Cambridge where he spent the next 30 years living in his mother’s house.

    The general consensus was that he went mad or at least suffered from some sort of mental illness. Even here though there are a number of stories. The general consensus (mainly propagated by the newspapers) was that he took too many drugs and fried his brain – LSD is usually mentioned as the drug in question but he also took a lot of Mandrax which could easily have been the cause as well. The second version is that he was already suffering from a mental illness and the drugs merely exasperated this; the final version is that the drugs had nothing to do with it and it would have happened anyway.


    The nature of his mental illness is a matter for debate as well - Severe Depressive Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Autism or Aspergers syndrome. Alternatively his sister Rosemary insists that Syd did not suffer from any mental illness at all. The truth may never be known – maybe he just didn’t like the fame and wanted it all to stop. Even the cause of his death has been cited variously as Cancer and complications from Diabetes – an enigma to the end!?!

    But why was he such an enigma? His career only lasted for about 5 years; he only produced 3 full albums – one with Pink Floyd and two solo albums – none of which are exactly masterpieces. He seems to be held in high regard by other artists; David Bowie covered See Emily Play on Pin Ups. When I saw ex Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir in London he covered Matilda Mother and the American jamband Phish covered Terrapin at their first London show (complete with vacuum cleaner solo). What is it that has made people hope beyond hope for over 30 years that he would make a come back or has drawn the obsessive to Cambridge to sit outside his house in the hope of a sighting. Syd, who reverted to his original name of Roger, merely answered enquiries with something like “Syd’s not here”.


    So is it the live performances on which Pink Floyd built their reputation that has made Syd a legend? I’ve been told by those who saw the band with Syd that they were amazing but is this result of hindsight? After all this was the sixties, was their memory coloured or was the performance enhanced by the ingesting of hallucinogenic substances? Also how many people actually did see Syd perform with the band? By the beginning of 1968 when he left the band they were still playing quite small venues and at some performances Syd either didn’t turn up or didn’t actually perform.

    So I went in search of the evidence and downloaded a few collections of Pink Floyd material from the Syd era. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of material available. The two shows I found were from the Star Club in Copenhagen and the Happy Hippy Fayre in Rotterdam – both from late 67. As you would expect the quality isn’t great (the vocals barely audible on the Copenhagen show) and it’s difficult to get any idea of what the band were like live.

    Luckily I found two decent recordings – one was of Interstellar Overdrive from the Roundhouse on 31st October 1966 and the other was a CD called Live in London 66/67 and has two tracks: Interstellar Overdrive and the little known Nick’s Boogie, recorded at Sound Techniques, London, on the 11th and 12th of January 1967. These recordings show the band at their improvisational best at a time when special effects were difficult to create. They could certainly do it live but surely this was a group thing not just down to Barrett.

    There are so many questions of course: Would the Floyd have become as big if Syd had stayed with them is the big one. I don’t think they would, I suspect they would have continued but probably be a cult band in the Can or Tangerine Dream mode. I don’t think Syd’s whimsical songs such as Bike or See Emily play would have taken them very far. I think the band lost its way for a while after Syd left but they eventually created some great music – that cannot be denied.

    Syd of course became Roger and spent the rest of his life in quiet seclusion in Cambridge. He enjoyed gardening and painting. There are people out there who are hoping that there will be a stash of unheard recordings in his basement. I personally doubt it and even if there were I suspect his family wouldn’t allow them to be released. He did apparently own a guitar but seldom played it preferring instead to forget about his time as a rock star. Even his paintings were often destroyed by their creator so few of them survive.

    He seems to have lived quite anonymously for the best part of his life, popping down the shops on his bike to do his shopping and keeping himself to himself. He doesn’t even seem to have been an eccentric just a rather unremarkable middle aged man who lived with his mother until she died and was then looked after by his sister – hardly the stuff of legends.


    I've got a bike. You can ride it if you like.
    It's got a basket, a bell that rings and
    Things to make it look good.
    I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it

    Further Info

    The Syd Barrett site
    Wikipedia entry for Syd
    Wikipedia entry for Pink Floyd

    All pictures from Syd Barrett Picture Gallery

  • Tents, Needles, Offices and Talent shows

    We're finally home after our camping trip - Sarah decided that she fancied staying on for a couple of days so we booked two more nights. I however had to go to work so I shot home on Sunday evening to get work clothes.

    It was weird waking up in a tent and getting dressed for work on a campsite! I didn’t however have to get up any earlier and the journey to work was about the same as from home. Sarah had planned to go to the beach with the kids but the weather had changed and it was quite windy. In the end she spent the day on the campsite and took them to the Loopy club (the rabbit that entertains the kids) and the swimming pool. 

    It turned out that there was a talent competition in the evening and her youngest daughter decided to enter it. She started Majorettes a few weeks ago and is already quite good at it so she decided to do that. I was dispatched to pick up her costume and baton on the way home. In the end she came in third behind three sisters who danced to S Club 7 and a cute little lad who sang the Ugly Bug Ball.

    During the afternoon Sarah had been watching a woman with three kids trying to put up a tent. The wind wasn’t helping but the fact that she didn’t have the faintest idea what she was doing was hindering her more. When I got back it was up – after a fashion – but didn’t look very safe. When we went to bed there was still no sign of the occupants and we wondered if they had said sod it and gone home.  

    We had to be up early to get the tent down as we had to take Ben for his MMR at 9:10 and we had already cancelled it once and didn’t want to again. The alarm was set for 6 but when I woke up at 5 I realised it was pissing down. Then Benny woke up! So for the next 45 minutes we tried to convince him to go back to sleep but without any look. I kept closing my eyes to pretend I was asleep but when I opened them there was a little boy grinning like a crazy person!!

    We had everything packed up and were on the road by 8:20 and arrived at the doctors a few minutes early. We then had to wait nearly half an hour before going in. I can never understand how they can be running so late in half an hour. Anyway I took Ben in due to Sarah’s dislike of needles. As I sat with him on my knee and watched the needle go in all those worries about the MMR vaccination shot through my head. I know all the evidence suggests that it is safe but you can’t help the “what if’s” spinning around your head as you watch the fluid go into his arm. Anyway so far he hasn’t had any side effects and was his usual smiley self as I left for work this morning.

    Our new office is almost complete and we will be moving in there in a few weeks. I had a wander over there yesterday afternoon to see how it was coming along. The desks are already in place and ready for us to move in. It’s quite tight in the office space but I did read somewhere this week that it’s becoming a common trend these days to reduce the amount of space per employee. We do have a mezzanine that we can expand onto but the company doesn’t want to take it just yet as they would have to pay additional rent. Luckily I’m on holiday when we move so I’ll come back to the first day in the new office – lucky me!

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