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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
It’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.
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.
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.
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!
Yesterday 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.
A rollercoaster of a year and, frankly, a bloody awful one. Major things happened this year in my life and although I’m not going into them publicly, it’s left me a shattered wreck of the person I was. 2014 doesn’t hold much promise either. I left my New Year’s Day entry for 2013 hoping friendships wouldn’t change and in actual fact nothing could have been further from reality.
So instead of going into it, here’s 12 music videos and a brief note why each one.
January’s choice happened at about 3am on 1st January 2013 in the aftermath of our (then annual) New Year’s Eve party, with a friend in a Freddie Mercury outfit dancing with a hoover.
I photographed Spizz Energi at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Wasn’t too bad, but the reviewer was a bit confused as to why I’d shown up there.
Space singing Burn Down The School. They were being supported by a friend’s band and this one turned out to be a fantastic gig to photograph as well. Bern did a review with pics by moi.
I discovered Adam Buxton’s BUG and went to the National Media Museum for a lecture on the evolution of music video. This is one of the more brilliant ones.
One of the highlights of Live At Leeds 2013 for me was Darwin Deez. This video was actually also part of the BUG lecture but deserves to be here in its own right.
All hell breaks loose and I make some serious life decisions. This was playing on the dancefloor on my first night ‘out’.
Dutch Uncles performing Bellio. A highlight of Tramlines 2013. I spent a lot of time this Summer talking to Joe Sheerin of Leeds-List who tolerated me talking a lot of stuff at him. We sat sidestage and watched Dutch Uncles groove as it got colder on The Green.
By August, I was photographing festivals almost every weekend and gradually coming out of my shell. This one reminds me of Beacons 2013 – my first camping festival in years – not because John Grant was there but because it was playing in the car both to the festival and back from it.
The final festival of the year was Bingley Music Live. I ended up talking with Nile Rodgers backstage for a short while; I was in a bad place psychologically, and he helped. So it can be claimed that 1st September 2013 was the day Nile Rodgers saved my life.
The last time I went to a gig and ‘maled-up’ for it. I was a wreck. I tried though, I did honestly try and get through it, but it was very difficult.
A song from a friend’s band who don’t perform any more, and this was one of the last songs they wrote a few years ago. For some reason I latched onto it again in December, and danced to it in the kitchen on Christmas Eve. You should always dance in the kitchen – it’s law. If you watch the video carefully, you can see my head bobbing up and down in front of the stage – I was photographing it.