Friday, September 30, 2005

What I am listening to today?

* Loving “Holdi Your Colour” by Pendulum. This album’s has received some fab reviews and definitely lives up to the hype – they have brought drum and bass back onto my radar. Fantastic. Have to stop dancing when it’s on at work or in the car.
* Enjoying “Takk…” by Sigur Ros – Real progression from “()” – almost radio-friendly. It is so atmospheric and projects a scenic beauty that is partly unique to Sigur Ros and also partly unique to the album itself. Wonderful.
* Nuyorican Soul – I have always wanted to check this album out but only recently got it. What have I been missing for so long? It is vibrant and upbeat and lovely. I was familiar with their cover of the Minnie Ripperton classic “I am the black gold of the sun” but the rest of the album was a mystery. Not any more – what a wonderfully vibrant celebration of life. Makes me happy!
* “Multiply” by Jamie Liddell was a real find – Although he is on Warp, his is the music of Al Green and Marvin Gaye… He has an amazing soulful way of singing that is refreshing and new. Great promise – I would love to hear him live. Think it would be a special experience.
* Another modern soulful experience is “Be Bop A Nui” by Brother J. He is part of Fat Freddy’s Drop from New Zealand who stormed this year’s Big Chill festival. It is soulful and downtempo and very special. It also cost me a £1 in Fopp!!! Yes, one quid… The cost no way represents the quality – a real steal!

My wife in Hospital...

Got up at a ridiculous time this morning – 0545hrs. We needed to check into the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank at 0700hrs. Made it in for 0710hrs… would have been nearer to 0705hrs if I wasn’t such a woos and asked at reception where the Hospital is… You see there is a Best Western Hotel next to the Hospital and the reception is for the Hotel… its almost as if the Hospital is an add on.

Anyway, we got into the Hospital and wow… as Hospital’s go, it’s a belter. Clean, quiet, so much space… My wife has her own room with a big TV. All the staff my wife has spoken to were great. Polite but friendly, informative without being arrogant, warm;

My wife was dreading the backless gowns and paper pants. I have to say this was the first time I have seen my wife in a backless gown and stockings and the blood hasn’t boiled. I don’t even know where to begin about the paper pants… all I can say is “wow”!!!

We then chilled until my wife was given a “jelly” (tamazapan… I know, I’m from Lanarkshire). Apparently it didn’t affect my wife but I have to beg to differ… it was one of the funniest things I have seen in a while – my wife on a downer – duuuude!!!

Jayne then came for my wife and took her on a bed to Theatre. That was about 1030hrs. I was told to come back about 1230hrs-ish.

I made some calls and went out… Needed a coffee – felt a bit dopey myself. Our pal, the Nurse, and another old friend are staying over to help look after the girls while I am in Clydebank. The girls stayed up late playing with their mobiles while I updated our old friend’s iBook (she doesn’t have broadband so I did all the updates for her). It was great to see my wife talking Bluetooth and wi-fi and Apple and “gigs” (Her latest thing is to moan about not having enough hard drive space). I was in geek heaven!!!

Anyway, went to Partick. Thought I’d try and find a Starbucks or a Costa. Instead I found the “Beanscene” across from the Kelvingrove Museum. Wow! This place is great… really is! It’s how I would do a coffeehouse. Minimal furniture in browns and woods, with great tunes playing – they have their own record label called Luna Records (www.lunarecords.com). KT Tunstall & Lisa Loeb have been on so far. It’s got that guitar-orientated vibe. They have wi-fi too but at £3 an hour it’s a bit steep. Their latte is great – reminds me of a Caffe Nero latte – rich and frothy but not too milky. I grabbed a bagel and cheese too. Really like this place. Takes my mind off worrying about my wife.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Convergence...

Interesting post on iLounge (formerly iPodLounge...) about convergence of tech.
http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/ipod-chief-talks-convergence-ipod-sales/
I think the whole convergence thing is hype. It is a way of creating demand that isn't there. However, if done right then it is a good thing. Until recently, I would carry my SE P800 around with me along with my iPod. If I wanted music I'd use the iPod... if I wanted a phone or an organiser I'd use the P800 (Although I sync my iPod I only reference the calender on rare occassions). The P800 even had this funky app from Metro that could give me directions on subways in Tokyo, London and even Glasgow. I would never dream of using the phone for photos - it was just too awful to use.
I now have a K750i and am so impressed with the photos that I regularly upload to flickr images captured by my phone. I used it at the Miffy exhibition when my Kodak's batteries died. My phone has replaced my camera.
I also use the phone to listen to Chris Moyles - I now no longer need to carry around a radio (something I have done since 9/11 when I couldn't get the news online). The K750i will never replace my iPod but it cuts down the amount of stuff I carry. Its the two thing scenario - two hands / two things... I have my phone & my iPod.
I want things to do what they do well... and I believe the K750i does the phone/camera/radio very well and the iPod does the music thing well (6,051 songs to date) so I think convergence can work.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Broadcast @ Glasgow ABC


The Broadcast gig was pretty good... not great but pretty good. The whole evening was fab - met my pal at Queen St station and went for food in Wagamama. Food was, as usual, excellent.

We then took the car (it was wet!!!) to Sauchiehall St. The concert was in the ABC which is a converted cinema. I was suprised as to how great the venue was. Wooden floors, comfy leather sofas and stools. A raised area with booths, cream leather sofas and long wooden tables. It felt more like a club than a gig... almost felt like you were in the Bronze in Buffy and were waiting for Willow and Zander to appear.

The support band were called Things in Herd - they are on Fence Records - their sound is very new folk - delicate and downbeat. The guitarist chap and the keyboard girl sat and played... the 2nd guitarist stood but it was an electric guitar so he is excused. The music was lovely and we didn't feel awkward about sitting down to watch them. I will check them out.

Broadcast then came on. Its now Trish, the singer, and the bass player (with 2 hired hands - drummer and keyboard player/guitarist). They had great visuals and played the new songs well. The new material is very rhythmic, groove orientated... and sounded good. But I missed the Broadcast I know and love...

Broadcast was/is the whole group... not just Trish. It was also the retro future graphics and the look of the band. The hired help didn't quite look the part...but played their socks off and kudos to them for that. We missed the magic of being transported away with the otherworldly projections and space music. The spark just wasn't there.

Not to say they weren't good... they were. They also weren't as muso and arty...which meant the music wasn't as dissonant as before - the noisefests were still noisey but not as long or drawn out. Come on, let's go wasn't as good as I have heard it performed - best was when I heard them at the Garage.

It was a great night. It was fantastic to see my mate and catch up... and thanks to his generousity, I have some new tunes to mull over.

There may not be a 6th Broadcast gig for a while but I definately will be going back to the ABC, its a great venue and the star of the evening.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Broadcast & Wagamama

Going to see Broadcast tonight at the Glasgow ABC on Sauchiehall Street. Going with my mate from Rockstar North.

Been big fans of the band for a while - try to catch them whenever they tour. Seen them 4 times already. I love their sound... the Ha Ha Sound if you like... its unique. They are on Warp but not the typical Warp product. Electronic. Female vocals. BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Lovely.

As a result, I am presently listening to Broadcast's first 2 albums on the iPod: the noise made by people and Ha Ha Sound. I haven't purchased Tender Buttons yet but have the single "America's Boy" which I downloaded from iTunes.

Hoping to go to my fav food place tonight too - Wagamama. I love their food and have had some special meals with special people there. They spoilt my girls when I went there with my wife - they gave them T shirts and really looked after us. I love it there.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What I am listening to today?

Tunage on the iPod today...
1) Sweetback by Sweetback - One of my all time fav albums by Sade's backing band. Lovely, lush ambient soulful beats with Amel Larrieux and Maxwell signing at various points. It is such a sensual album, full of texture and meaning.
2) The light at the end of the tunnel is a train by Whitey - I am really enjoying Whitey's vibe - big beats, fat electro baselines... real rocking stuff.
3) The Impossible Thrill by Alpha - tried to have a nap and this album is so delicate that it works when you want to relax. This Alpha album is on Melankolik with Massive Attack and the first Craig Armstrong album. Truly beautiful.

Sunday's my havin' some fun day...

Took the day off from church today... Need a rest... Its the "September Weekend" in the Glasgow area and, as a result, people take the weekend off. We don't normally but we were late back from Cowdenbiza and we were all pretty tired... I'm glad God doesn't take a day off... but hey, that's for another time. Listened to the New Christian Manifesto podcast on the iPod so wasn't too pagan today :-)

Been taking it easy. Had a lie in... which is a rare occurence. My girls were reasonably quiet... this allowed us to chill and doze and enjoy the warmeth of being with the person you love. Sweetback was playing on the iPod which made it a magical hour or two.

We got up and went to the Miffy / Dick Bruna exhibition at the Motherwell Heritage Centre. I was disappointed not to see the Miles Davis art show but this more than made up for it. I love Dick Bruna's art. Miffy is universally recognisable - iconic... and the exhibition really takes the time to show his work, predominately with Miffy, but also shows some of his work with the Black Bear Books. His covers were really special. The colours he uses and the deliberateness of his work is amazing - nothing is there that shouldn't be when he draws Miffy. Every line has a purpose. His success is in the simplicity of his work and that makes it unique. I'm going to go again... definately. I've posted some pics in Flickr so take the link on the left to my photostream.

After the exhibition, we had lunch then watched one of my fav films... You've got mail. I love the bit where Kathleen is telling Birdie that she has to close the shop and Birdie exclaims that "its the brave thing to do"... I really relate to that - to the world out with my present employer... Scarey but brave... Nora Ephron is a genius.

Friday, September 23, 2005

What am I listening to today?

I'm using various tools to feed my need for tunage today...

Listened to Chris Moyles on Radio 1 on my K750i this morning. I then switched to my iPod when we went underground and I lost the reception (must have looked a right geek swapping one set of headphones for another)

On the iPod, I've been listening to Banned in DC - Bad Brain's Greatest Riffs (powerful stuff) and Tatako Minekawa's Fun9 album (I love the track Spin Spider Spin).

On my WMP (shooosh... don't tell the Cult of Mac but I do use WMP at work) I have been listening to the following:
* Space Jungle Luv by Oneness of JuJu - lush mid 70's soul/jazz/funk with an African vibe - beautiful and funky!
* The Music According to Lafayette Gilchrist by Lafayette Gilchrist - one of my random purchases in Fopp a while back - great jazz in a "new be bop" style that was produced by Vernon Reid from Living Colour.

I love music... its my thing...

The art of Miles Davis... and I can't go!!!

I love Miles Davis' music - I especially love his work with Gil Evans especially Sketches of Spain. I also dig the fusion stuff - I've mentioned my fondness for Bitches Brew in a previous entry.

His art is in Edinburgh this week for a stop-over before it goes to Russia. I would have loved to have checked it out but I can't get to Edinburgh before it shuts at 1900hrs tonight. It is open tomorrow but I am committed to seeing my friends in Cowdenbiza.

Ah well...

http://entertainment.pipex.com/Pipex/News/Story_Page/0,13319,5301_702524,00.html

The Ring (continued)...

I am worried... I actually chose to listen to the Die Walk├╝re (The Valkyrie) section of Wagner's The Ring.

I think I am getting it... although what it is, I have no idea!!! I still think of Elmer Fudd though.

"Kill da wah-bit, kill da wah-bit"

Gardening... and Acoustic guitars...

My wife loves her garden. She has put a great deal of effort, thought and money into it. Its her thing and I respect it... especially on a hot summers evening in a deck chair with my iBook (WLAN reaches that far!!!)

My wife was invited to attend an awards ceremony run by our local Councillor - Bill Martin. I like him. He's grass roots. He talks the way I do... Anyway, my wife was one of the runners up, which is disappointing considering the pictures taken of our garden were pretty crap (they could have used better angles...) However, I am proud that see has got into the top whatever percentage of recognised "good" gardens.

Anyway, as part of the entertainment, a lassie called Emma played guitar and sang four songs in an acoustic, coffee-house kind of vibe. She finished her set with the odd choice of "Lady in Red". Odd in that Chris de Burgh is pretty vivid about the lady in red he is so proud to call his own... and here was a young late teens/early 20's girl singing the song... but it was lovely! and her voice was special and suited to the choice of songs she had made... including the Del Shannon "Runaway" song (the one that goes "Wah wah wawah"...) Anyway, I am glad I went - she made a dull evening a lot less dull! I wish I had a venue to let her sing in... She'll go far!

What I am listening to today?

In no particular order...

* Dev4Gamers podcast - Short spiritual devotions for gamers - I'm not really a gamer but I can relate.
* The Best of Chris Moyles podcast - One of my wife's favourite DJs - he is really funny... I miss him in the mornings and it is great to catch up - I dig his banter, not really fussed about the pop he plays.
* Jeff Wayne's "The War of the Worlds" - I gift from my salsa pal. There are a few folk who hold this album in awe the way I hold "Pet Sounds" or "Tanto Tempo" with reverance. I do enjoy listening to it but like to spend enough time to listen to it in a oner.
* The XLR8R podcast and this weeks free downloads - broadening my mind. Really like the Whitey remix of the Bloc Party track.
* Original Soundtracks by Passengers - mentioned this already. This album is seminal for me and really opened my mind to new tunes and U2.
* In Between Dreams by Jack Johnson - he is so upbeat... he's like a shot of caffeine or a ray of sunshine.
* My "Rocking iMix" with Living Colour/Helmet & House of Pain/Bad Brains/Cornelius/Takako Minekawa/Whitey... to name a few.

Pretty varied...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Why I bought a K750i...

I bought the Sony Ericsson K750i for 2 main reasons:
1) It has a 2mp camera.
2) SE phones work with Salling Clicker - A wonderful piece of software that allows me to control my iBook when I do presentations or pauses iTunes when I receive a call.

I have used Salling Clicker on my previous T610 and P800 and think it is wonderful. For £17 you get a lot. It won't do this on my K750i but with my P800, it shows the album art work when it is linked to iTunes. I know this is sad but its a nice to have when you are controlling iTunes in the bath.

I have also used it when presenting at Erskine Salvation Army - worked a treat. Didn't need to worry about my PP slides or have to swap with my wife when it was her turn to talk. It just works...

Although, it won't work with the ROKR (hence the reason why I have a K750i - I actually waited for the ROKR) btw, check this article out

Only problem is that Salling Clicker haven't released the upgrade that will work with the K750i. I have spoken to Jonas on it and he promised it for late Summer. I can't wait... no really, kid on Christmas Eve here... I CANNAE WAIT!!!

5 favourite things...

Raindrops and kittens... yadda yadda

These are today's 5 favourite things (in no particular order)
* My wife... for being wonderful and driving up to give me my train pass. A pass only a numptie like me could forget!!!
* The Guardian... got a book of money off vouchers so bought the Guardian today for 20p AND it has an exclusive interview with his Steveness, Steve Jobs!!!
http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,16376,1575194,00.html
* The iPod Nano... it is a beautiful piece of industrial design created by my favourite brand and its teeny - except when it is on a billboard on the side of the Debenhams building on Argyle St (see my Flickr a/c for pics). My wife is right I don't need one - I have nearly 6,000 songs on my 40gb so far - but they are nice. In the words of my Wife "Cheers Apple!!!"
* My new phone... I received my Sony Ericsson K750i on Tuesday and I love it. It works with my iBook, sounds great and the camera is fab. This is the phone the ROKR should have been...
* "Miss Sarajevo" by Passengers (Brian Eno, U2, Craig Armstrong & Pavarotti)... - I feel like I have found something of value that I had lost. What a beautiful song.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Ring...

From an email conversation about Wagner's The Ring:

My text starts with ">" / My friend's response is in italics.

> Not sure if you saw my blog yesterday but I picked up "the best of Wagner's the Ring"
That'll be quite short then :-)
> I got it for 50p in a charity shop
You were done .... :-)
> I am determined to give it a listen.
> First impressions are that I do not have a clue whats going on and figure that German being sung is the closest I can get to the language of Mordor. I will give it a go for you, bro, as I know it is something you dig but... its hard!

I once heard Wagners music described as having some lovely moments but awful quarters of an hour. I must admint that I only got as far as Das Rinegold before giving up.

Interestingly, Wagner's Ring is based on the same source materal as The Lord Of The Rings but Wagner takes it in the direction of Norse gods and it is closer to what we'd recognise as mythology than story telling. There is stuff like a mortal falling in love with an imortal, though unlike Aragon and Arwyn, it doesn't end well. There are also arguments as to whether Wagner lets his racism and anti-semitism show.

I recommned listening in small doses. :-) Then get some Gilbert and Sullivan (the pirates of penzance is best).

-----

I have to say that I can't get over the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Elmer Fudd sings "Kill da waa-bit... Kill da waa-bit". Wagner killed by Elmer Fudd!!!

In the news today...

Two things caught my eye in today's news...

Firstly, a version of the Bible has been released that can be read in under 2 hours. The 100 minute bible is designed for people who haven't read the Bible before and focuses on the key events, especially the life of Jesus. Although I would gladly encourage creating a Bible that is easily read, I am concerned that crucial passages have been removed to make it more palatable or to appeal to readers of the Sun, Nuts or OK. I will, however, reserve judgement until I read it...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4266564.stm

Secondly, poor Cliff - he's getting a hard time again. He is quoted as saying he would not waste time on "a record that no one will play". What a shame. I love to take the micky out of Cliff - he is, in fact, an easy target with the cheese he has put his name to over the last 20 years or so. His moonwalk is too silly for words. However, I respect him and think he needs a level playing field like everyone else. I respect him for having the guts to be a Christian and do things his way... and I love "Wired for Sound" - what a song!!! Makes me want to get my iPod out and go rollerskating.
Anyway, if the Rolling Stones can get airplay then why not Cliff? Although, if he puts out another song like "Millenium Prayer" then I personally will hunt him down and slap him with a big fish - That song offends me as a Christian and as a Scot...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4267496.stm

Harvest celebrations... Bellshill style...

Don't know why I never mentioned this... but we had a fab time on Saturday night at the Bellshill Salvation Army. It was our Harvest celebration and we had a social evening on the Saturday night.

We had a barbeque and runners who went to local fast food places for food... I provided the music and games.

Do you know how hard it is to build a setlist to appeal to youngsters, teenagers, hipster 30-somethings, all the way up to folk in their eighties? Tricky... but I think I did it... Here's some of the folk I had in my set:

Thomas Newman / Ulrich Schnauss / Altan / Bellshill SA Band / Sammy Davis Jr. / Maria & The Children / Federico Aubelle / Stevie Wonder / Hillsong + delirious? / Muki / Keith Green / athlete / Bob Marley & The Wailers / Eumir Deodato / 4hero
Lisa McClendon / Jazzanova / Electric Light Orchestra / Blockhead / Bebel Gilberto / Wookie / Kylie Minogue / The Source Featuring Candi Stanton / Mary Mary
Curtis Mayfield

Pretty ecelectic mix...

I then played for a ceilidh - usual stuff: Gay Gordons / Dashing White Sargents / Military Two Step / Swedish Masquerade / Strip the Willow etc. Everyone got up and got involved...

I interspersed the dances with games for the kids... I also showed a couple of Doug Horley's action songs - I think he is great and very talented - the kids loved him (although the teenies were too cool to get involved)...

I was a great night but I think the chicken I had from the barbie didn't agree with me... it was that or the chow mein I had... Anyway, something never agreed with me - hence my sore tum...

More music...

Took my daughters to the Dentist - figured I could do with some fresh air...

Went into the charity shop next to the Dentist in Hamilton and picked up Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 by Brian Eno and U2; and a CD of the best of Wagners "The Ring" for £1. Both in good condition.

I love the track "Miss Sarajevo" on Passengers - Bono is on form but the highlights are Craig Armstrong's string arrangement and Pavarotti's vocals. Had it on vinyl and am now glad to be able to listen to it on my iPod.

The Ring is a challenge for me... Don't listen to opera... well I do - I consider "Viaggio Italiano" by Andrea Bocelli or Michael Bolton's effort singing his fav arias as being opera but I don't listen to opera all the way through - just the snippets - the highlights.

I'll let you know how I get on...

Anyway... I went to my local library and borrowed "in between dreams" by Jack Johnson. I've heard a lot about him and am glad I can check him out for 55p. If I like him, I'll probably buy the CD. I love libraries and have encouraged my girls to get the most they can out of them... Glad to know my taxes are getting spent on libraries as well as bombs - maybe through the books/CDs/DVDs in the libraries, we'll learn that we should make bread not bombs...

Off work ill...

Been ill today - I've got a dodgy tum and felt really run down. Guess I just needed a break...

Been thinking about my future - I am earmarked for potential redundancy where I work and, to be honest, I'm not sure I want to work there anymore. I love the friends I have made at work but I want to do something new - something creative or community based. My severance quote is nice... not fantastic... but enough to keep me going for a wee while.

However, I worry for my wife and my two kids - I am the provider... sounds so cro-mag but I am. My wages keep the roof above our heads and put food on the table. My wife's job pays for all the goodies and helps us save. If I drop my wages without the severance or my wife making up the shortfall then we'll be in trouble.

I need to chill. I know my Lord will see me through this - He will provide! He is the provider, not me! Everything we have, He has given us.

I'm looking into setting Olwyn up in business - doing VHS to DVD transfers then adding value through menus, overdubbing and stills galleries. I see it as an excuse to get even more Apple kit :-) but it is also an investment in our future.

Anyway, we'll see what the future holds...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Feelin' Worldwide...

I'm listening to last night's Worldwide show on my iPod (recorded using irecordmusic)and its way high on quality. GP is the DON! Check out the tracklisting.

Lovin' "Soil and Pimp" and "Alice Russell". Also diggin' the Freeness project - good to see Govnt money getting spent on art that means something to me... Hope I get the CD - seems a bit like rollin' dice to get one, tho'.

Check out the article in the Observer Music Monthly: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0,13887,1569730,00.html

There will be a light...

Forgot to mention that I am SO loving "there will be a light" by Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama - it is gorgeous...

BUT... it has some form of copy protection which causes an annoying tick in playback. The CD sounds wonderful on my hi-fi and on the Windows Media Player on my work laptop... but sounds bad on my iPod and iMac!

This is terrible - I have the right to copy music to my iPod. All this will do is discourage me from buying music protected in this way. I listen to more music on my iPod than I do on my hi-fi.

What's on my iPod today???

Trying to get through the day with a dodgy tum, rain outside (a colleague has pinched my brollie!!!) and loud co-workers, one of which sounds like Ubu from the Simpsons... I keep waiting for her to welcome me to the "Kwikee Mart"...

Anyway, my trusty iPod is keeping me well fed with good tunes.

Listened/Listening to:

* Amazon by Thiago De Mello - lovely but kind of cheesy mid 70s Brazilian sunshine.
* Beautifully Human by Jill Scott - I love this! Its soulful and funky... and I love Jill's voice... she is something else!
* Bitches Brew by Miles Davis - wow! I finally get this album. It is from another world and is great when I want to focus on creating graphics and presentations and generally want time in my head.
* Kicking the national habit by Grand National - this is not the kind of music I really would listen to but my mate at Rockstar suggested I give it a go. Its great! Reminds me of the Police for some reason. Catchy.
* Quiet Riot by Muki - this is a special album that doesn't really fit in any one genre. It has elements of jazz and drum 'n' bass and soul. I love the track "I don't want to know" and used it in my set on Saturday (more on that later)

With tunes like this... who cares that its wet and I'm at work? (On my lunch break!)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Where I live...

Apparently I live in a country where 2,000 of my fellow country men and women are attacked every week. In fact, I am 3 times more likely to be assaulted in Bonnie Scotland than an American (even with their guns!).

NO WAY!!! I am 31... Last time I got into a fight was when I was in High School... 15 years ago. Sure I've had some arguments with folk but they never came to anything. I work in Glasgow and live in a pretty rough part of Motherwell... and I have never felt concerned. I walk about with my iPod and never feel vulnerable. Sure my ex-next door neighbour's kid got a doing recently but he was in the wrong part of town very late at night...

The UN must have better things to do that come out with statements like that - In fact, it appears that Scotland is more violent than England and especially London!!! And on a par with Rio! This cannot be?!? Think of the investment we'll lose because of this statement - it is so easy to quote this whenever Scotland is mentioned. In fact, I doubt it will be long before some Quizshow uses it as a question.

What I would say however that alcohol must play its part in this statistic. The Scots love their bevvy... I don't: I'm tee-total... but I'm not the norm... by no means am I the norm... Buckfast is a favoured tipple in my area - its a "tonic" wine that seemingly tastes good and gets you smashed pretty quickly. Its the Ned's drink of choice. There is a direct correlation with alcohol, or should I say, irresponsible binge drinking - I don't have any stats or anything but have a gut feel on this.

I therefore support the removal of Happy Hours by Jack and his posse. We do need to go for more responsible drinking as in Europe.

Anyway, check out this link from the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4257966.stm

My wife is right...

In my previous post I slammed Christian music is second rate and lacking in originality... Well... she has convinced me of the error of my ways in her usual uber-rational manner... Therefore, I would like to acknowledge the following artists as being first rate and great (in no particular order):

* Keith Green - "There is a redeemer" is one of my all time favourite songs... He was a wonderful singer and pianist who not only "walked and talked" his faith... but rocked and talked it too.

* Christafari - I love reggae and dub... and their vision is to replace the Rasta message with the Christian message without losing any of the rhythm.

* Tim Hughes - The guitarist from England who adds a unique, original, contemporary rock slant to lovely choruses. "Here I am to worship" is fantastic.

* Iona - How could I forget one of my fav bands??? Iona do the whole "Clannad" Celtic thing very well. Their album "Journey into the morn" contains a track called "divine presence" which is haunting and beautiful and forms an important part of my devotional time.

* The Gaither Vocal Band rock!!! Yes, I am under 50 and I like their music... what's there not to like? The male harmonies are first class and the songs they sing are so well written... sure the music can be a wee bit Country but Johnny Cash was Country and he was cool. There is only two types of music - good and bad - and these boys are good! Bill Gaither, along with his wife Gloria, wrote "Because He lives" which is another one of my favourite worship songs.

There are others... I will mention them some other time... Hopefully the list shows that there is originality and substance in the Christian music scene and I promise not tar everyone with the same brush next time I have a rant. It just goes to show, though, that Christian music does not always have to be guitar led rock or folk styled worship songs... there are alternatives.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Today's visit to Fopp

I love FOPP - its my favourite record store... ever!!!

I should list all the CDs I have bought there recently in the sale... Some stormers... maybe some other time. I think their stock is so varied and their prices are so good.

Picked up "There will be a light" by Ben Harper & The Blind Boys of Alabama. It's amazing - Ben Harper is a guitar player of note and his band are skilled blues players... but include the Blind Boys and oh my goodness what a synergy!!! The harmonies and the blues and the soul and the gospel... a potent combination to make anyone... and I mean anyone say "hallelujah". Absolutely uplifting and lovely.

I need more music like this. I am sick of Christian music being so second-rate. Its fair to say this CD is original and I believe we need more originality. Worship CDs have their place but we need entertainment and inspiration too...

This CD is inspirational and I thank Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama for it.

...oh, and it was a fiver in FOPP!!!

Walking down Buchanan Street...

Went for a walk... Didn't mean to end up in Fopp... honest!

The sun was shining and all the beautiful people in Glasgow are out and about. So too were the chuggers and the Big Issue sales people and even a preacher.

Felt sorry for the preacher... His message is valid... extremely valid, in fact... but his approach and his communication medium is so wrong. No one was listening - everyone was walking passed go here or there... myself included. Its hard enough to present to a "captive" audience without slides or multimedia but to do it to a see of complete indifference seems completely bonkers. And that is what, unfortunately, the chap looked... bonkers. Shouting to nobody... bible in hand... spitting his words in his excitement.

The days of John the Baptiser shouting in the desert are over. We no longer have the ability nor the right to capture attention in this way. We need to build relationships and live our faith. Words without actions are only words... ether - people need to see you living and being your faith, not just talking about it.

Anyway, sun is shining and I am enjoying the walk... Feel I am becoming rude - I ignore Big Issue sales people... I ignored the charity collector at the enterance to FOPP and I loathe Subway's JW-like sales folk... I feel rude and I need to work on it...

"We're the kids in America..."

My previous post mentioned my mate who works in Rockstar North... We'll it got me thinking about GTA and Rockstar North, and I have to say their attention to detail is so good. I'm listening to the New Wave CD from the Vice City boxset. They complied music from various genres from the 80s for the "in game" radio shows and then released them as actual CDs. I love the New Wave one - with "Kids in America", "Atomic" and "Gold" as stand out tracks. I really dig the DJ "banter" about men wearing make up as well... or CDs and LAZERS... really funny.

The GTA games get so much bad press but I think its the gamers who should get the bad press - you can actually do good within the games like driving an Ambulance and stuff... but that isn't as much fun as stealing and killing... They are a reflection of our society and we blame GTA for being evil - the game (and it is only a game) is a mirror to our own souls. If you don't like it, don't play it! If you are a parent, give them your time rather than a game your kids are too young to play. Don't blame Rockstar - they are only supplying a demand from an older age group.

Anyway... rant over... I was saying they have a fantastic attention to detail: My mate gets some fab freebies. T shirts, jackets, even dominos... He is generous and I always do well. Their internal branding is so good - they have a corporate uniform (although its not termed that...) that is really well sourced and designed. Imagine wanting to wear your work clothes or show off the company you work for... previously this was the domanin of fat golfers proudly wearing their company polos on the course.

I am certainly envious... I want out of my work duds the second I can...

Thanks to my Friends...

I have some great friends... really great friends!

To my pal who works for Rockstar North (the company that do the GTA series). I know you are pretty busy and that you work mental hours. I appreciate we haven't had a blether in a while... but I know you are there for me (I have your back too, bro). Your support and generousity is wonderful. Thanks for being there and for the MA1 jacket - it kept me toasty today!

I am proud of one of my other pals who has transformed himself from an introspective, shy, kind of ackward guy to a pretty confident, Salsa-dancing, cosmopolitan denizen of Edinburgh. I am proud of you - You've really come along way and inspired me in the process. Thanks for all your Mac support and for "Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds" - I love it although I would have never bought it on my own.

To my pal who works as a Nurse - you are a great mate and its our pleasure to provide you with digs at your favourite boutique hotel "Green Gables" whenever you are in town. Thanks for being there - my wife and I have your back re: the wicked stepmother!

To my pal "shopgirl" who I work with - You are a solace in my working world and I appreciate the blethers. I am delighted to see you settled with your new man and really happy to see you happy! You deserve it. Also glad you've moved nearer so we can chew the fat over skinny coffees in Starbucks.

To my mate who works for the Salvation Army (His remit is the youth of the West of Scotland.) I have real respect for you and welcome your counsel. You always tell it like it is and give me a different perspective from the selfish one I battle with. Thanks for listening and giving me good advice.

To my friends from Cowdenbiza. I appreciate your love and friendship. We don't get enough time together but looking forward to the 24th Sept.

Lastly, to my wife... I love you and thank you for the ALL the friendship/support/encouragement you give me.

Hopefully I can give back all the love and support and friendship that you all give me! I love you guys - thank you!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Robert Wise RIP

I've just found out that Robert Wise has passed on. For those who don't recognise the name, Robert Wise was the director of "The Sound of Music". Both my wife and I love the film... so much so, we've managed to brainwash the girls into liking it too. In fact, one of the first songs my eldest daughter sang was "Do-Re-Mi".

Sure, he directed "The Sand Pebbles", "the day the earth stood still" and the first Star Trek film...but he'll always be remembered for his connection to one of the best musicals ever.

So in honour of Robert and his contribution to my life, I'm going to switch the iPod from Rosie Thomas's fab album "If songs could be held" to "The Sound of Music" ost.

More info here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/4247784.stm

My wife on FaithFM...

My wife's solo from the Bellshill SA Band's CD "Call of the Righteous" was played on Tom Quick's show "Music for the Soul" on FaithFM yesterday (0030hrs this morning GMT)

Once again "irecordmusic" never let me down.

It was amazing to her my wife on the Radio and it is our hope that it has touched someone in Canada.

The Band also had 3 songs featured - "Swedish Folk Song", "Emblem of the Army", and "All in the April evening". Great to here the Band being played and held, by the DJ Tom Quick, in such high regard.

Billy the Budgie is dead...

We have 4 budgies... or should I say... we had 4 budgies. Billy our 4 year old bluey green budgie died in my wife's hands. He was cold and puffed up and wasn't able to hold his weight - his feet weren't working. He got progressively more passive (normally you couldn't really hold Billy - he was too active) and then shuddered and died in my wife's hands.

The sight of Billy shuddering will stay with me for a long time - I don't like to witness suffering of any sort and that was pretty raw. He had a good life - I got him from a colleague who's child had developed asthma and couldn't have him in the house. We took him in as company for Cinamon, our 8 year old, and they got on like a house on fire. This year we introduced 2 more budgies - itchy and scratchy...

Cheerio Billy... You were great company! Have fun in the great aviary in the sky!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I love my wife...

I love my wife... I really do! I think she is fantastic. Somedays, like today, I think she is even more fantastic than normal...

Why? Two reasons:
1) She installed new RAM into our sick iMac and has brought it back to health.
2) Our (or should I say my wife's) garden has been nominated for consideration in the annual North Motherwell Best Garden comp.

Why are these reasons to love my wife more?

Well... my wife is a very "static" person. Sparks fly out of her like she is some sort of Marvel comic heroine. She managed to install the RAM even though she was deeply uncomfortable with do so. She just sucked in her fear and did it... and I think that is pretty cool.

With regards to the garden... it is her pride and joy - she puts a lot of effort into the garden and I am so proud that this effort has been recognised. She hasn't won, yet, but at least she has been recognised as being a player.

Well done honey!

YourFM from Monday Morning...

I managed to record Tom Quick's Salvation Army show on www.YourFM.ca on Sunday night (0130hrs Monday GMT). I thought my wife's song was going to be played but misunderstood - its on www.FaithFM.org on Wednesday (Thursday 0025hrs GMT).

Tom played "Emblem of the Army" from the Bellshill SA Band's CD and gave the band a real push. Thanks Tom!

I am looking forward to hearing my wife on the radio.

My iMac is sick...

My G4 iMac (800 mhz) is sick - My wife experienced at big kernel panic yesterday and it hasn't really recovered. I have ordered 512mb of RAM from www.Crucial.com/uk (very good service) and I should receive it shortly.

Will keep you posted...

Please don't send flowers or anything... She'll be back to full strength soon!!!

Lanark Loch

I love it when my wife calls or texts me at work to ask if I want to go to Lanark Loch for a picnic...

I got off the train about 1800hrs in Motherwell - I was listening to "Collideoscope" by my fav rock/metal band Living Colour - and got picked up in the car by my wife. I love the smiles I get when my wife collects me - the kids are all "Dad, Dad" desparate to tell me about their day.

Anyway... we drove to Lanark and picked up our usual picnic goodies - vegetable pakora from the Tandoori at the bottom of the main street (best pakora in Lanarkshire if you ask me...) and fish/chips for the we'ans from the chippie at the top of the main street.

We then headed to Lanark Loch and reversed the car into the spot so that we could open the boot and listen to some cool tunes (4hero's albums and remixes were playing on shuffle on my iPod)

It was lovely and mild. The midgies were out but you get used to them. The light was good and the water was pretty still. We let the girls play on the swings then walked round. The light started to fade and by the time we were back at the car it was pretty dark.

If you haven't been - go! its a lovely park and very peaceful... even when the swans are chasing the dogs!!!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Why "Nanolog"???

Why call my blog "Nanolog"?

Well... I am a big Apple fan! I share with my wife an iBook G4 and an iMac G4. My eldest daughter uses an iMac DV G3 and I also have an original Bondi Blue iMac that my 4 year old plays games on. We also have a 2nd gen 10gb iPod (that my wife uses) and a 1st gen 40 gb iPod Photo.

However, the name has nothing to do with the new extremely cool iPod Nano (nice one, Steve!)

I just like small tech things - hence the "Nano" in the name. I also like old tech and do enjoy collecting records (preferably 70's soul and funk) - hence the "analog" reference. Nothing sounds a great as analogue audio. It is warm and unique with all its glitches.

Lastly, it is a blog.

Oh and it has NOTHING to do with Nanotechnology... I've seen Terminator - Nanotech scares me!!! :-)



So, if that's clear as mud then cool... Nanolog sounds good to me. What do you think?

My first post...

Well this is it... I finally got round to Blogging.

I am going to use this space on Blogger (thanks, Blogger) to keep a record of all the things that make me feel alive - New stuff that interests me:
* inspiration from God,
* funny things my wife or the kids have said or done,
* cool CDs from Fopp or
* new products from Apple
...that kind of thing.

What's on the radar for this evening? My wife is at church - we worship at the Salvation Army in Bellshill, Scotland - and I am looking after my two girls (6 & 4). My eldest is surfing the net on an old but reliable iMac DV G3 and my youngest is hustling for sweeties. I'm going to tidy up the house, get the girls off to bed and then I am going to chill (hopefully with my wife home at a reasonable time...)

What I will be doing tonight is recording a radio show off the web - My wife plays in the Bellshill Salvation Army Band and sings a wonderful solo on their first CD "The Call of the Righteous" called "Written in Red". This song is being played on the SA's 30 minute slot on the community radio station www.yourfm.ca at 2030hrs their time (approx Monday, 0130hrs GMT).

I am using a wonderful piece of software called "irecordmusic" - it records radio shows broadcast over the internet. I bought it specifically to record "the Blue Room" and "Worldwide with Gilles Peterson" on Radio 1 - they are on at silly times (0500hrs Sat and Sun, and 2300hrs Sun respectively) and its easier for me to record them and play them back on my iPod at my convenience. I don't share them or anything and tend to delete them after listening (just in case the Radio 1 lawyers find my lowly blog).

Anyway, back to "Written in Red" - my wife sings beautifully and I don't say that because I am biased - I have always loved her voice. She chose the song after hearing Janet Pascal sing it on a Gaither Homecoming video. It is a lovely song! Sometimes I think that my wife and I are the youngest fans of Gaither Music but it is suprising who likes their stuff.

More on that some other time...

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