What Jessie Did Next...

...being the inane ramblings of a mundane Yorkshire bird.

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Last weekend Simon and I revisited our Eurovision Song Contest 2015 submission “Mirrorball” (which didn’t get picked, obviously – that laudation going to Electro Velvet). We did however decide it needed to be released properly, and when better to do it than Eurovision season itself?

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I finally got sick of my Apple Airport Express network not quite behaving, and having to jump through hoops to play from the big fileserver holding my MP3 collection, and having to deal with sodding iTunes. My current workplace has a pair of Sonos units which are used in the office as a jukebox for the staff to play whatever music they want, and that seemed to tick most of my boxes.

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Similar to last year, I contributed an article for Leeds independent Jumbo Records‘ fanzine to commemorate Record Store Day 2015, carefully put together by my lovely pals Reb and Antonia – given lots of people won’t have managed to get a copy, I’ve reproduced the article here…

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Two bits of music for you!

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A few weeks on the heels of my post about Unity, we got a response from relevant bit of the BBC…

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unity_logo_800pxHey everyone, I’m in a girl band.

Yeah, I know, it definitely wasn’t on the plan, but here we are… I’m part of an all-female act called Unity from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK, who are hoping to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with our song Mirrorball.

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Ben's Head-ShavingAs announced a couple of weeks ago, my young son Ben had decided to raise some dosh for Cancer Research UK by having all his lovely locks shorn off.

Given he’d be walking around completely hairless for a bit, it seemed sensible to do it at the start of the half-term break so he had a chance to get a little bit of head-fuzz back. Thus, last Saturday we headed to Charlies Hair Salon in Wakefield (note: no apostrophe) to get the deed done.

The lad was remarkably chipper and quite excited when we arrived, and a small crowd had gathered to make sure he went through with it! Sitting in the chair, full of smiles, the hairdresser asked nervously, “Are you sure? All off?”

“All off.” I confirmed. “Bald as a coot.” And so it began…


…and it was done in less than ten minutes, all ready for the cold snap we’re due next week!

In total, the boy raised £862.50 for Cancer Research UK, and we’re very very proud of him of course – well done kid, this is one very proud Dad!

Thank you to everyone who contributed and who gave a few quid (and lots more sometimes!) when I asked, and thanks to Charlies who did the head-shave for free and ran a collection in the salon during the shave – you are really stellar people!

Hairy Ben“Sponsor my son, please!”

My son Ben has taken it upon himself to raise a bit of dosh for Cancer Research UK by shaving all his hair off and going bald, and he is seeking sponsor donations for it. He’s always been the lad with the longest hair in his school, and is well known for his mop – it’ll be a bit odd seeing him bald (and I don’t envy him given it’s approaching winter). All power to the lad though!

The hair, once snipped, will hopefully be going to another cancer charity to weave wigs for kids who’ve lost their hair through chemo, etc. so it’s all good!

If you can find it in your hearts to chuck a couple of quid his way please, that’d be lovely and he would be epically grateful (and so will I!). I’ll post some photos once he’s all bald, and maybe even Ellie will do a video of the ritual head-shaving on Youtube.

His fundraising page is at https://www.justgiving.com/ben-rowbottom/ – even a couple of quid would be welcome, please!

nltj_podcast_logoI’m podcasting again, under the monicker of No Less Than Jess. It’s got its own (rudimentary) place to listen which is over at www.nolessthanjess.co.uk but you can subscribe via iTunes Podcast Directory.

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07473_freedomtoIt’s Pride season in the UK – all sorts of carrying-on-alarming from the LGBT scene and its supporters, rainbow flags and walking groups, free hugs, camp-as-anything acts, and a lot of very very drunk people. The first Pride for me is usually the big one in London at the end of June which – after a hell of a car-crash of a parade in 2012 – has bounced back with aplomb.

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I’ve just got in from putting a sticker in the back of my car. Those who know me personally will realise how monumental this is: I don’t stick stuff inside my car windows – I sorta begrudge even sticking a tax disc holder there. However, this is even more striking as I tell you it’s a yellow souvenir car sticker for the Tour de France 2014 Grand Départ which has been the buzz of Yorkshire since it was announced in late 2012. Yep, seriously.

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10306728_1486127544950489_8532018272090923079_n (1)Ah, that time of year again – the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. I’ll freely admit that there’s been a lot of personal stuff go down in the past month or so (plus ça change) which has meant I haven’t really had much time to keep an eye on what’s been going on. That plus ESCtoday being a shadow of its former self combined to leave me woefully underprepared for this year’s competition. I’d kept track of what Molly was doing as the UK entry, that was about it.

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I’m clearing a lot of my Acorn kit I’ve accumulated over the years and paring down my collection. Thankfully there is a handy Acorn Show this weekend in Wakefield, and I’ve got a stall there.

I’m looking to sell the whole lot:

  • A variety of Model B’s, some workers, some not (keyboard cable or PSU faults sometimes), some with boards, 1770/8271 DFS, etc.
  • A couple of Master 128s
  • Archimedes A420/1 base
  • RiscPC 7000 base
  • At least one Master Compact
  • A load of Econet stuff including clock boxes, junction boxes, Master Econet modules
  • Copros including 6502 cheese wedges, and a 512 in external case
  • A couple of other cheese wedges: teletext adaptor, Prestel adaptor
  • Acorn Atom (no PSU, condition unknown)
  • An Electron and some Elk peripherals including Plus1 and Plus3
  • A pile of 5.25” and 3.5” floppy drives, some cased, some not
  • A couple of DLT drives and a load of tapes
  • A pile of MDFS wedges (system units, floppy units, some SCSI drive units, tape streamer)
  • A lot of EPROMs/ROMs, which will all be priced at $buggerall
  • Some Master 128 cartridges

Additionally, there’s a load of other bits including MIDI interfaces, Music 4000 keyboard, EMR stuff, EPROM programmers, other bits and bobs. There’s also some non-Acorn stuff I chucked in a box for sale.

Although I’ll have basic guide prices with me for some of it, I’m willing to entertain any sensible offers (including “job lots”) as this is all part of my house clearance. I will not sell privately in advance of the day. However, I’m expecting a bit of interest so you will need to get in early if you want a chance of “the good stuff”, I suspect.

EVERYTHING is sold-as-seen. Where there are *known* faults, they are noted on the item. There are no guarantees, what you see is what you get, but I’ve connected all the Beebs up to my CUB monitor here and noted down when things aren’t right. I won’t have a monitor with me but I understand other folks will have faultfinding/repair places there. It’s a jumble sale, treat it as such 😉

And please wish me luck that it’ll all fit in my little Fiat Punto 1.4, and doesn’t knacker the suspension. See you Saturday 😉

Edit: As of 12th May, everything has been sold. Please don’t waste my time or yours by asking me if stuff’s still available 😉 Ta!

IMG_1690Yesterday was Record Store Day 2014. Here’s an article I wrote for the Jumbo Records fanzine which was given out in Leeds – wonderfully put together by the gorgeous and talented Antonia Lines. It’s loosely based on an article I wrote in January last year entitled Changing The Record, in case you think you’ve got déja-vu….

I love physical media. There just isn’t enough of it nowadays, what with downloads and The Cloud and playlists an’ ting.

I’m an old bird really: my first single was a 7” copy of Heart Of Glass by Blondie which I persuaded my grandmother to buy for me. It came from our local WHSmith, back when they stocked music and weren’t taken over by cheap chocolate at the checkout. The sheer joy of the record, the artwork on the front and the notes on the back, the enigmatic shine of the grooves in the black platter which (if you were really clever) you could use to work out what song was what.

Then came the sheer talent of being able to get a needle in a track-break on the first go. You could totally skip tracks with that.

In the 1980s I’d listen to music on the radio and then go and find the record – I’ve got a fond memory of attempting to sing ‘The King Of Rock’n’Roll’ by Prefab Sprout in Woolworths while they tried to work out what it was (they did guess, but it took a few minutes of caterwauling by the pic’n’mix). I saved and saved so I could by a 12” copy of New Order’s classic Blue Monday – and if my schoolfriends had any records to sell, I was there with whatever readies I’d scraped together.

I loved physical records in the early 90s when I’d dig around on Thursday in Leeds Market, just after I’d got my pay-packet from my little weekend bar job. I’d buy albums purely because of the artwork on the cover and discovered some fantastic artists that way – both mainstream and people you’ve never heard of. Musicians like Duncan Mackay, bands like Can and Kraftwerk, early Genesis, Joan Armatrading – all remnants of someone’s old record collection being replaced by CDs.

Then there were the mid-90s: I’d make a pilgrimage to Jumbo to see ‘interesting stuff the staff found’ complete with a small sticker telling you what it was like – comments like ‘big farty bass and a synth line your mum will hate‘. That was brilliant – it’s how I discovered artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and labels such as FFRR. The local independents made a fortune out of me in my Uni days.

By the turn of the millennium I was living in London, but I’d still go up to the vast record stores of the West End such as Tower which was open until midnight every night. I’d come out of the pub absolutely plastered, go to the shop and buy a pile of CDs from the sale pile. The following morning was always a voyage of discovery, not least when the bank statement arrived. My partner at the time would roll her eyes at the carrier bags, and the one single obscure classical music CD bought to placate her.

Then came Record Store Day. Hooray! My favourite RSD acquisition from last year was the Dutch Uncles cover of Slave To The Rhythm, a great reinvention. Interesting remixes, fantastic covers, strange collaborations – it’s all there. But the thing is – it’s all there even when it’s not Record Store Day. Go find your independent store, dig around. Buy stuff! Listen! What’s the worst that could happen?

I now live back in Wakefield and we’ve got some great shops. I still accumulate CDs and vinyl, much to the amusement of my children. I sit in the conservatory, hold the gatefold, read the sleeve notes, look at the artwork and listen to the music – you just can’t do all that with a download.

I was interviewed a few weeks ago by a couple of journalism students from the University of Huddersfield, who were doing an assignment to make a short film on the subject of music photography.

Caution: contains jazz, and much arm-waving.

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