Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

RIP Mrs T?

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Well Ms T (or ‘that Bloody Woman’ as described by some politicians, even by her cabinet), has finally, at public expense, been laid to rest.

Whilst I can’t claim to be a fan, it can’t be denied her place in British, if not world (political) history is assured.

Her administration and legacy is complex & contrary; there’s a good analysis from the BBC website (read it here).

I’ve left it for a while partly due to being bloody busy & needed to give a bit of distance between the events. Whatever your view, discussions will run & run……..

Music, Moby & Money

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

I came across an article via Twitter about Moby; nothing unusual about that you might say, until you realise the headline compared his seminal album ‘Go’ to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

Before some of you become apoplectic with rage (I fear for it’s too late already for some of you), both are landmark recordings, changing the face of the music industry, but in very different ways.

 

Much has been written about ‘Thriller’, so I’d not get into it here (I’ll save that for another time).

The phenomenally successful ‘Go’, by the mopey vegan owes its success to the fact that every track on the album bypassed the usual route to success by every recording on the LP being licensed for use for other parties, most notably ad agencies.

The full article can be read here – it’s an interesting read, & it demonstrates the value of thinking differently.

 

Moby & his manager bypassed the traditional route of approaching record company execs & formulated a strategy essentially targeting ad agencies & manufacturers.

The success of this now means that record labels, like film companies now effectively have an eye on ‘merchandising’, in this case the lucrative licensing market; indeed, acts may be dropped from their labels if they disagree over a licensing deal.

 

As much as labels complain about illegal downloads (which is a problem that does need to be addressed), licensing tracks has become very big business & a highly viable revenue stream, both for the label, but the client as well as the artist.

 

We’re aware artists are in a rapidly-changing musical & commercial landscape. Now more than ever, artists wishing to be successful need to have one eye on the marketplace, one eye on the Internet as well as constantly awareness of changes in technology.

Whilst it’s (mostly) given quality work is a must for any artist, those that can exploit a niche stand to secure an advantage in an increasingly competitive & crowded space.

What I did On My Break….

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Well, it’s been over a year since I last entered anything on this blog. I’d have gotten ’round to it sooner, but as usual family, work along with a million and one other things have taken priority.

That & my computer dying rather spectacularly…..

 

In the meantime what’s happened?

 

Finally got a new PC – my first self-build! (Mmmm, shiny!)

Still loading my programs & samples (d’oh!)

Also got a (Native Instruments) Maschine Mk 1 (Mmmm, Shiny!)

My mum turned 70 (YAAAAAY!!)

I still listened to a lot of stuff on Mixcloud; here’s a selection:

 

Peter Gabriel: My World – A Shed Special by Mark Coles on Mixcloud

Peter Gabriel: My World – A Shed Special by Mark Coles on Mixcloud

Should we be designing our children? by Stuffyoushouldknow on Mixcloud

 

….and Jimmy Savile was unmasked as possibly Britain’s most prolific serial sex offender (nice..). That’s something for another piece.

 

In a lighter vein, 2013 marks 20 years since Stump Juice opened in Wolverhampton. I’ve met some people who reminded me & swapped misty-eyed memories. In marking such a unique point in time, I’ve been going through the archives & hopefully in the coming months I’ll unearth & upload any DJ sets we recorded.

I can’t believe it – 20 years some of you weren’t even born when we started! Man, that’s weird.

Anyhow I’ll get on with playing with my new kit (again – thanks in part to my long-suffering & very understanding wife).

 

To Infinity & Beyond………….

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I just got back from a well-earned break last weekend to the news that astronaut Neil Armstrong Commander of Apollo 11 & the first man to walk on The Moon died, after complications from heart surgery.

I’m just a little too young to remember that historic moment, but it’s one of the events that fired an interest in me for space & science.

Much has been said about the man, his life & career as well as his place in history, so I won’t talk about it here apart from that , in terms of his character, he seemed to be a paradox, at least for NASA at the time. He clearly was the consummate professional, focussed, cool-headed & decisive as well as looking like the ‘All-American-Hero’ poster boy looks. At the same time, however, he dislike publicity & was reluctant to talk about his achievements in ’69, looking at it simply as ‘doing his job’.

Contrast that with landing partner, ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, ambitious & eloquent, who would have been a better spokesperson for NASA at the time. While there’s nothing to suggest any personal resentment between them, Aldrin has written a critically acclaimed & painfully honest book ‘Magnificent Desolation’ about his time as an astronaut & his life trajectory, post-Apollo 11.

That said, NASA may have, inadvertently made the right choice, as even during the Height of Cold War propoganda (on both sides), he simply let his work stand up for itself. Which it will; for generations to come.

President Obama & the Crew of Apollo 11 (Courtesy of BBC News website)

Higher, Faster, Stronger……Fail (Part 2)

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Wow, I realise there was someone more curmudgeonly than myself.

I watched part of the Opening Ceremony, the Big Question for me was – just HOW much is this costing us?

However, a Tory MP was even more extreme in his disapproval.

A certain Mr A. Burley called it ‘leftist, multicultural crap’

Hmmmmm.

Okay, the bit with people jumping on beds wqas a bit odd, I agree, but lets’s review the evidence shall we?

I saw Kenneth Brannagh (Oscar-winning actor & director, award winning Shakesperean actor) portraying Isambard Kingdom Brunel (one of the greatest engineers this country ever produced), quoting Shakespear, the greatest, most influential writer in the English Language

Also the Industrial Revolution section (maybe they should change the title of that – Bloody Tortskyists!), called Pandemonium, as a reference to Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ one of the great epic poems of the English Language, some consider it the last great work of its type if you discount James Joyces work, ‘Ulysses’.

There was James Bond & The Queen. Mr Bond, one of the most iconic fictional characters in popular culture as part of the most successful & longest-running film franchises in history. That said, Ian Flemming’s most endurting creation is in fact half-Irish, half-Swiss, not to mention deswpite being the second longest British monarch after Victoria and the oldest, hardest-working head of state in Europe, the Queen’s bloodline is in fact German (Saxe-Coburg Gothe?)

This section also featured Evelyn Glennie; one of the few classically-trained solo percussionists in the world. Then again, she is a woman & ginger; not sure how Mr Burley would cope with that.

We also had J.K. Rowling, possibly the most successful (children’s) author of modern times, who’s Harry Potter not only transformed the fortunes of her publisher, but inspireda gewneration of children & adults to read, transforming the landscape of popular literature. She read from J.M Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’, whose original stage adaption formed the basis of the modern panto, as well as helping to found the modern Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Then again, Mr Burley may have objected to the fact that Ms Rowling wasn’t at home, manacled to the sink washing up, getting ideas above her station.

Mr Bean, comedy creation of Rowan Atkinson appeared alongside world-renowned conductor Sir Simon Rattle (then again, Mr Atkinson was a member of the ‘Not The Nine O’clock News’ team – therby proving his credentials as a damn Leftie).

Music from the Beatles & the Rolling Stones – two of the most successful & influential bands in music and modern culture. Then agan, they came up as part of the ‘Permissive ’60’s ‘ – Blimmin’ Reds!

Also Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Internet, essentially giving his creation away – just the sort of subversive, Leftie nonsense undermining the country.

I will agree, the jumping on beds was a bit odd. Then again it would be difficult to find some representation  of the NHS, the biggest healthcare reform in post-war Britain & Mr Boyle still managed to link it with Great Ormond Street, J.M Barrie & Peter Pan.

Mr Burley seemed to backtrack on his comment, saying it was based on ‘all those rappers’. Still not sure about that as the only rapper/MC in the ceremony was Dizzee Rascal, with excerpts from ‘Bonkers’. Mr Burley may have been confused by the Young Olympians nominated to light the cauldron – after all, the were in sportswaer and everything.

After facing a firestorm of critisism, he then said he welcomed the debate?

Err… exactly what debate? Unless we’re discussing the possibility of ill-informed comments of manifest ignorance being misconstrued as borderline bigotry, I’m not sure what he’s on about.

There are other issues more worthy of debate, such as:

  • The ‘controversy surrounding Ye Shiwen’s performance in the swimming ( The BBC has a considered piece on the matter, here)
  • The G4S ‘security’ farce
  • The empty corporate seats
  • One of the sponsors of the Paralympics, Atos,which also is responsible for administering Disability Allowance payments, appears to have some issues regarding assessments
  • other aspects of the sporting ideals vs commercial/economic realities ( another good piece on the BBC website – view it here).

In fairness, the IOC have tried to deal with unsporting behaviour – they’ve sent several athletes packing for cheating or racist behaviour (unlike UEFA in Euro 2012, whose actions were lamentable, patronising & quite frankly insulting – Sepp Blatter please take note – THAT’S how you get things done)

Maybe he should actually check himself before opening his mouth, especially giving the problems he got himself into with respect to ‘that’ party.

He may have been happier with something more ‘British’ – 10,000 volunteers in the stadium queueing & tutting loudly.

Someone should keep him amused at home with the telly off during the Closing Ceremony – I don’t think his health could take it

As a parting shot, maybe this sentiment is worthy of proper debate: