Wednesday, 31 December 2008

50 million

So Terry Prachett got knighted and he's sold fifty million books worldwide. And just now one TOTP2 the factoid that came with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers was that they've sold fifty million albums worldwide. So I guess the Chilli Peppers and Sir Terry are just as successful as each other.

Google, what else is just as successful in selling fifty million units

Gran Turismo - the series of racing games
Bryan Adams - the Canadian singer songwriter
Do They Know Its Christmas - the charity song
Nintendo Wii - the games console
Xbox and Xbox 360 - the games consoles
The Da Vinci Code - Book by Dann Brown
First four years of Elvis Presley's career - the rock and roll icon

hmph, bored now. But you get the idea

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

New Years celebrations

I shall not be attending:-

* Today, December 31 at 8:00am
Didn't get tickets in time and with no bands I'll just feel awkward standing at the side supping my cola.

* Today, December 31 at 8:00pm
Crimes Against New Year's Eve
Have never been to Crimes in my life, it now has this dark shadow over it, a long shadow from 2006. Its hard to tell how much is real and how much is just my paranoia. Imagine if you're like one of those Palestinian folks, shit scared that your going to die in an Israeli rocket attack this week, is it paranoia if you get hit even though they weren't aiming at you, if you're just collateral damage in some other story.

* Today, December 31 at 8:00pm
Offline NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY! Punk rock mayhem in Brixton!
Not quite sure what Offline is, but its over on the other side of town and its cold out and I won't know anyone.

* Today, December 31 at 8:30pm
How Does It Feel To Be Loved? on NYE
Haven't felt comfortable at HDIF in months, not since that time I met up with Dave Pope and Holly, and Carl was over from Russia, and we kind of took over, that was the best of times. The last time I went, with Linz and we just made out the whole night and I spoke to no other soul save Moony at the bar, that was pleasant, but it had nothing to do with HDIF.

* Today, December 31 at 9:00pm
Pin Up Nights Hogmaney Ball
Too far away, but would probly have gone if I were in the correct country

* Today, December 31 at 8:30pm
New Year's at Jef's!
Too far away again, but actually would have gone to this instead of Pin Ups, I know more of the crowd, or at least I used to.

* Today, December 31 at 8:00pm
New Year's Eve Big Pink Cake
The scenester scene's option, but its out in Bristol, and'll be a trek to get there, and back and sometimes I just need to sleep, and stuff.

So, just what am I doing for New Year?

Hopefully it will involve making out and getting all warm and stuff under blankets on the sofa, rum, chocolate digestives and the last four episodes of Buffy season three.

Smoothie #2 - Cranbananberry smoo

Am finally watching that Hallam Foe movie that Hugh MacLeod was going on about. I think I've become more like him than I was when I first read about the film in 2006. That kind of awkwardness and relationship jeopardy, ach.

Anyhoo, I made another smoothie...

Cranbananberry smoo
1 banana
1/5 a packet of cranberries
2" of yoghurt

First, arrange your ingredients for photographic purposes.

Unzip the banana and sling it in the smoothie blending jar, empty out half the packet of cranberries and pour in 2" of yoghurt.

Screw on the blendery lid thing and blend for, god knows, two minutes maybe. It was late at night and its so loud, you know, you get that fear that its pissing off someone upstairs.

It tasted great, my natural revulsion to bananas was somewhat suppressed by the berries, but they didn't blend well, there were raisin sized bits still coming through. And I think I need to put more fluid in to make it smoother, and less porridgey.

Musical Interlude #31

Here's my cover of Cast's Finetime, cos I don't think there's anyone reading this who doesn't own at least one Cast album.

I've indexed all my SoundCloud tunes here if you care to peruse the delightful array of half-arsed cover versions and ill-judged original tracks.

Monetarising websites with threshold tax

Twitter's great, I love that microblogging instant messenger type service thing. I'm sceptical that anyone reads my tweets, and other people seem to have more fun lives than me. Who cares anyway, its free. Twitter's free.

For me following thirty people and having forty following me in return, it costs the same as @jakeandamir and @barackobama with 2,500 and 150,000 followers respectively.

If twitter needs funding, can't they just set a subscription threshold? Their venture capital funding is about $15million a year.
For example, folk who are following more than a thousand people need to pay $5 per month. Here, there's over a thousand folk with more than a two thousand friends on twitter. I reckon that there's four thousand more folk with more than one thousand. So, assuming that half of them give up if you try to charge that for what was previously a free service, you can make

2500 x $5 x 12 = $150,000

Well, they need ten times that, but its a start.

With a second subscription tier, for the two hundred or so folk with four thousand friends, priced at $25 per month, these chaps are less likely to stop tweeting, so you can get subs from all of them.

400 x $25 x 12 +
2300 x $5 x 12 = $258,000

Hmph, quarter of a million might cover running costs. But its still no where near the venture capital funding, maybe if the threshold was brought down to five hundred friends and the first subscription tier was $3. That would get $500,000. That about half as much as is needed to cover wages.

Ah well, I thought it was an interesting idea. I'd name my three subscription tiers beer, burger and dinner, so when the punters pay it, its comparable to stuff they pay for already.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Smoothie #1 - Ginger citrus lumpie

So ma dearest bought me a smoothie maker for Christmas, to get my vitamins, which was rather lucky cos I fell ill with the man flu a few hours later. Alas I was too ill to get to the shops to buy fruit to render. Luckily I somehow have a girlfriend who is generous, kind and forgiving, she came round bringing gifts of fruit and yoghurt, and even encouraged me to get over my fear of bananas and include on in my first ever self-made smoothie.

Anyhoo, its late at night and I needed more vitamins so I ventured forth into the world of smoothie making...

Ginger citrus lumpie
1 lemon
1 orange
1 hunk of ginger
1.5" of yoghurt

First, arrange your ingredients for photographic purposes.

Then chop the skin off the ginger and citrus things. My niece, following her progative to reject crust on bread, refers to fruit skin as crust, and assumes it extends to a depth of about 10mm. Me, I'm less precious about crusts and skin, and believe the fiber is character building, so you just roughly chop at the damn things.

Next pour about an inch and a half of yoghurt into the smoothie jar thing, sling the fruit and ginger, screw the spinny lid thing on and lock it on the smoothie maker base thing.

Then turn the switch up to the high setting and leave it doing its thing for about thirty seconds less than it needs.

And what you'll have is a decent amount of ginger and vitamins with the consistency of vomit, and bit of a kick to it. Its slow going to drink it, but its kind of healthy aye, and the missus swears by ginger for sorting out colds and flus.

Should have left the smoothie maker doing its thing for about thirty seconds longer to get rid of the lumps. This one's not a smoothie, its a lumpie.

Palestinian landloss upto 2007

There was a bit of a kerfuffle on the UK politicish blogosphere about this new offensive by Israel against Palestine in response to Hamas's offensive against Israel.

Bastard Old Holborn and Iain Dale and Devil's Kitchen

One of the points made was that Old Holborn's map wasn't so up to date, only going up to 2000, that's easily fixed with a quick trip over to wikipedia (image here) and the old ctrl+c ctrl+v and GIMPing it. Alas in the old days when I had a computer that my graphics tablet worked on, it would only take a few moments to do, but instead it took ages and even then, I got bored of trying to edit out all the roads and borders and matching the colours.

We're somewhat restricted by the resolution of the available data, but it sure looks like the West Bank territory has grow a bit since 2000.

Give 'em broadband, give 'em mobiles, and twitter and webcams and laptops and teach yourself SQL

Backlash against Andy Burnham

On several websites there's coverage and debate over UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnham's thing about having a cinema ratings system. here here and here

People who live and breath on the internet are generally a creative bunch, they shouldn't reject Andy Burnham out of hand as being some kind of crazed fascist technophobe, he is after all an elected politician. Instead the homebrew community should embrace his proposals rather than wait for the government to legislate.

What we need is some special version of Firefox that only shows websites that have been 'approved' as inoffensive, and then some site/plugin like Digg or Stumbleupon when special administrators can approve and age-rate websites. You can apply to be an administrator/approver by sending your passport/biometric ID to a government office and enrolling in a the appropriate training program for your certification.

Parents and politicians who are concerned about viewing offensive and inappropriate material will be free to use the special 'Approved site only' version of Firefox, and set their age / offense tolerance for surfing. Perhaps they will get a special warning page if they try to access unapproved or 'offensive' pages.

When Andy Burnham spouts this sort of thing we can just send him a link to the approveable site and browser and suggest he get approving or disapproving sites in his spare time.

This site has it that there are around 30 billion webpages out there and currently grows at 5 billion a year, so say each one takes 10 seconds to approve or age-rate, you'll need a department of 8,000 full time approvers to do it. The payroll will cost around £200 million. And don't forget, these people will be paid to surf the internet all day.

Hmm, actually that 10 seconds to approve a page, that's like the minimum time. Some pages will be somewhat debateable, is it a certificate 12 page or PG or 15 or something inbetween? It could take a few orders of magnitude of time to rate them. Maybe if the approval office manager restricted each page viewing to 10 seconds and was approved by three different people and go with the majority. So our highly trained approval clerk will have a screen in front of him/her, a slot reader for their ID card and a keyboard with about ten buttons (U, PG, 12, 15, 18, XXX, illegal, pass, flag up, play/pause). If it was my approvals department, every month I'd sack the clerks responsible for the most minority reports and also imprison those with appeals against them.

And what about the appeals process? That'll take about 1,000 people, at a higher wage, with some law training.

And that warning page you get when you try to surf to an unapproved page, that's going to need a button on it to flag it up for priority approval. Oh god, the priority approvals process, its going to require a department of size in rough proportion to the number of people surfing the internet in the UK at any one time.

Hmm, with these considerations that £200 million estimate seems a little low, £1 billion might be more appropriate, if the internet grows at a constant rate.

And after a year, no one uses the system, we can say we tried it and it failed, and it was Andy Burnham's idea, his track record may become a track record of FAIL.

Scenester Scene #1

I'm been wondering about how to map the music scene for a while now, its been lurking at the back of my head for month, only bubbling to the forefront on talking to muso-types. But it finally formed a shape in ma heid last night, driving home in a flu-conceived delerium.

The invocation of Venn

Any band can get their own gig, but its the promoters who make the scene, promoters putting on bands who've already passed the hurdle of convincing another person to put them on. 'Music scene' is very subjective, but for me it means the gigs I go to. For someone else its means the gigs they go to. Back in Glasgow it would be The Winchester Club, Drive Carefully Records and Pin Up Nights, but here in London I habitually go to Twee As Fuck and Lost Music, with occasional ventures to White Heat, Goonite, HDIF and a few others.

These promoters are pretty good a picking bands that I enjoy seeing, and occasionally different promoters have the same bands playing, its like a stamp of quality for the bands.

By my reckoning Twee As Fuck have had 60 different bands playing and Lost Music have had 72, the two overlapping by 12 bands.


Bands who've played both Twee As Fuck and Lost Music (12 of them)
Hong Kong in the 60s
Little My
Mexican Kids At Home
Mono Taxi
St Christopher
Stars of Aviation
Still Corners
The Hermit Crabs
The Just Joans
The Pains of being pure at heart
The School

Bands who've played Twee As Fuck and not Lost Music (48 of them)
A Classic Education
A Smile and A Ribbon
Afternoon Naps
Betty and the Werewolves
Comet Gain
Connan and Moccasins
Hands on Heads
Hatcham Social
Hotpants Romance
Iguana Nights
Ipso Facto
Je Suis Animal
King and the Olive Fields
Little Things
Love is all
My Sad Captains
Peter Parker
Sexy Kids
Strange Idols
The Bobby McGees
The Bridal Shop
The Chiara Ls
The Crisps
The Duloks
The Felt Tips
The Inconsolables
The Mai 68s
The Mare
The Margarets
The Noughts and Crosses Band
The Voluntary Butler Scheme
The Wave Pictures
The Winter Club
Theoretical Girl
Tom Hatred and the Angry Band
Vic Godard and Subway Sect
Wake the President
Zoey Van Goey

Bands who've played Lost Music and not Twee As Fuck (60 of them)
Air Formation
Champion Kickboxer
Charlie Don't Surf
Daniel Benjamin
Falling out of cars
Havana Guns
Jesus Licks
Model Morning
Mr Solo
Nat Johnson
Pete Green
Phil Wilson
Plans and Apologies
Radio Luxembourg
Santa Dog
Secret Shine
Silver Springs
Slow Down Tallahassee
Smokers Die Younger
Sparkys Magic Piano
Strawberry Story
Swimsuit Issue
Tall Poppies
The All New Adventures of Us
The Argonauts
The Arndales
The Candy Twins
The Cut Outs
The Darlings
The Delanies
The Electric Pop Group
The Fischers
The Gresham Flyers
The Hillfields
The J-Pegs
The Keith John Adams
The Kick Inside
The Lieutenants Mistress
The Lodger
The Loves
The Manhattan Love Suicides
The Night Jars
The Postcards
The Puncture Repair Kit
The Sailplanes
The Scaremongers
The Social Services
The Trudy
The Understudies
Their Hearts were full of Spring
Time. Space. Repeat

You can view all the raw(ish) data here on Googledocs
Well, this wee data analysis has been fun and informative, I'm sure you'll agree. Hasn't really helped me on the job front, and now this flu has my eyes streaming as well as my nose. There's no hope for me.

Other promotions I need to parse in the future
Fortuna Pop (done)
Spiral Scratch (done)
Guided Missile
White Heat

If there's any bands I've missed or promoters I've forgotten, let me know. I see this one rolling and rolling

Saturday, 27 December 2008

3D Post-It Maze

This one was buzzing through my head for a while I guess, its like the embodiment of the limitless possibilities of post-it notes, how you can get lost drawing on them, lose yourself, lose yourself.

Peppa Pig in action

Aye, so yesterday I was moaning about not being able to animate these pics I'd taken of the wean's Peppa Pig classroom playset, and today I figured out how to do it, by shifting them onto my knackered old desktop, and using the various video and animation software there, then cos it doesnae have the internet, I shift the video back onto my wee netbook in order to sling online.

Your ears do not deceive you, there is no audio, cos well, its still a work in progress I guess, proof of concept rather than making a finished piece.

Was it worth all the hassle?

Probably not, but its done now, and can cease playing on my mind.

Hmm, is it just a half-arsed job to be self-defeating, to shoot myself in the foot, so I can limp back and claim failure, I should never have bothered?

Summary of cables

Trying to find the USB wifi adaptor in the heap of cables on the floor next to my computer. Unable to find it, but have listed everything as below.

Mains USB TV Antenna RCA Phono
Bluetooth earpiece charger 1

MDA phone connector 1

Canon Ixus battery charger 1

Nokia phone connector 1

Sony Erikson phone connector 2 1

Numeric keypad


Floppy disk

iPod connector

2 1






Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
The missus made her own bread.

We put in pumpkin seeds cos we had some lying around, they didn't stick in the dough very well, but when it was all baked, it was okay.

I did the kneading myself, took ages, I think I got the knack.

I reckon I'll try making my own bread at home, and add all the usual random stuff. Maybe branch out into experimenting with different flours, rice, buckwheat, potato and pasta flours. Could be exciting.

Friday, 26 December 2008


So, is 2009 going to be the year that my musical career takes off, when the gig promoters come a calling? Who knows? It was supposed to be 2008 after my victorious set on the platform at IndieTracks, alas, that wasn't to be.

Top five of my tunes on SoundCloud

1. Cover of Female Thief by Mexican Kids At Home (33 plays)

2. Cover of Lesson of The Smiths by MJ Hibbett (17 plays)

3. Cover of Wake Up by The Boo Radleys (12 plays)

4. Cover of Waterfall by The Stone Roses (10 plays)

5. Naked Chicks on Post-It Notes written by me (9 plays)

Bottom five of my tunes on SoundCloud
1= Cover of Reaching Out From Here by the Boo Radleys (0 plays)

1= Cover of Girl From Mars by Ash (0 plays)

1= Cover of Angel Interceptor by Ash (0 plays)

4. Cover of Find the Answer Within by The Boo Radleys (1 play)

5. Cover of Wilder by The Boo Radleys (2 plays)

Thursday, 25 December 2008


Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
My niece has taken to saying 'bah' to things she doesn't like. Its refreshing to know she has a firm future in Human Resources.

Anyhoo, one of the many many presents she got for Christmas was the Peppa Pig classroom set, and in an idle five minutes whilst she was away having a tantrum upstairs, I had a wee play and made a wee stop motion animation thing.

Well, it works okay on my camera, you just have to press the advance button and its like the reincarnation of the Clangers. But alas, when I shifted them onto my pooter, I have no animation software. Windows Movie Maker could do it in a second, but here, I have nothing.

So instead I punted everything onto Flickr, losing the sequence of frames, but one day maybe I'll be able to sort it out.

As a slideshow, it doesn't quite work, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas Venn

Based on twitter messages, all those containing the words 'Merry' and 'Christmas', this rather neat Venn diagram shows that Merry is rarely used except with Christmas

LIBOR after the Federal Reserve cuts

Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Doesn't look like the federal reserve interest rate cut made much of a difference to America's LIBOR rates.

The pound on the other hand, well, that's still drifting downwards with the help of the Bank of England's interest rate cuts.

I for one am a little worried about the ongoing downward drift of the EURO LIBOR rates, its like no one is driving.


I am round at my niece's for Christmas, she's tucked away in bed, dreaming of father Christmas, and I'm watching TV with her ma and pa. Not sure where I read it, but one of my pop facts for parties about Ghostbusters is that Walter Peck doesn't blink. Look, I read it here on Empire.
Peck by name, peck by nature (although not quite so well-endowed in the peck department), William Atherton has just three scenes to leave his skid-mark as the Environmental Protection busybody sceptic. He does this in a record-breaking 0.87 seconds. It's hate at first cringe. While small-minded bureaucrats are instant Movie Jerk material, Atherton makes Peck so greasy that the dialogue appears to slide out of his mouth. After repeated viewings, it's also emerged that he doesn't blink. Not once.

Just watched it on UK Gold and counted him blinking three times.

Empire magazine = WRONG

Monday, 22 December 2008


Incredibly frustrated by this netbook now, I thought that I could just install loads of neat and useful software to my Acer Aspire One wot I bought the other week as a replacement for my regular laptop when it died.

But alas, its not so simple.

I wanna do a really neat post-it note animation, I've been having 3D Monster Chase dreams it was this Doom-like game for the Amstrad CPC 464 twenty-five years ago, and my boredom tolerance has reached the point where I could draw the maze and animate running around it, but alas, my scanner doesnae work with this operating system, and besides I have no animation software or out that can stitch jpgs into mpgs.

I've got half a dozen songs in ma heid which I need to record and sling up, but there's no pre-loaded software to do it and I can't find owt that works with this variety of Linux. There's mic socket on the side, but thats no use, and the built in mic only seems to work for the webcam. Christ, it lets you record video from the webcam, but its impossible to do anything with the video.

I was talking to some musicy chap last night about the various music scenes and promoters around London, and after my mind boggled for a while I figured it would be neat to do some kind of hookup network diagram, linking bands to promoters, but its not to be with this OS.

Its been ages since I did any ill theatre drawings, my graphics tablet doesn't have drivers for this machine, and I can't just draw stuff on paper and scan it. I guess I could draw with biro, then take a photie then dick around with the gimp, but thats just too convoluted.

Playing MP3s is a bitch, the pre-loaded MP3 player is an ass, it takes forever to look at my removeable hard disc cos there's a few thousand more files than it can handle. I installed VLC which is some kind of free media player, but from the Acer website it appears to not have any codecs loaded, so its no good to anyone. What was the name of that open source media player, Songbird?

There's not IRC client easily available. I fear I may never enter the Bowlie chatroom again, my friends there long gone, lost into the ether. Truly this is the time Bowlie finally died.

Oh, and fucking hell, I have no CD burning facilities no more.

What happened? When did computers suddenly stop working? Its like we're back to 1993 technology where you never know if whatever you've bought, or downloaded is going to work, and you have to scrabble around for days trying to plug everything together and set ever thing up.

I have less than no money, can some PC company send me a computer that works, I promise I'll sing its praises from all of my websites and everything I can use it to create.

Oh and fucking hellski, I can't even watch The IT Crowd on Channel 4's catch up service cos it only supports Windows PCs. It's kind of like both of my legs and one of my arms have been tied behind my back and three of the fingers on my remaining hand are taped together, and my eyes, like I'm wearing some steampunk Cyberdog glasses with horns coming out.

The Plimptons - Could I be loved (2009 video)

The Plimptons - Could I Be Loved
Director - Jason Sweeney

Aye so the Plimptons are this comedy rock band from Glasgow who've been going since last century, they're mostly Adam J Smith and Martin Smith and a who host of other people usually called Smith. I kind of managed them between 2004 and 2007 releasing their albums 'Songs of Ignorance and of Inexperience' and 'Pomp' and making countless (six) music videos.

I've barely seen those guys since I moved to London, and don't recognise many folk in the video, expect the bass player who looks terrifyingly like I used to look like.

Ahh, I remember when we thrashed Glasvegas in the demo competition. Every so often I realise that the reason The Plimptons aren't topping the album charts right now is cos I must have done something wrong as their manager, mistakes I must have made, and this is why I must never manage a band again.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


I went for a job interview thing the other day, sailed straight through to the one day trial thing, but then walked out half-way through, it wasn't for me.

The guy explained it clearly, when your charity books a TV advert, its indirect marketing, it costs half a million, you can't be sure what the return on investment is, and they reckon for every pound they put in, they get 80p out. But with direct marketing, be it event or mailshots or door to door, you get about £1.50 out for every £1 in, you can see more clearly if its working or not.

So with this credit crunch / recession thing, you're going too see more direct marketing.

I myself used to have a direct debit thing with Oxfam, I thought they were a valid choice for my charitable tendencies, but after reading blogs and newspapers I changed my mind and cancelled my subscription.

There was a post on uncle Dev's site the other day
The extraordinary support for the Department of Health (DOH)'s recommendations can only be explained by looking at the "stakeholders" who got involved. Of the 96,000 responses, only a handful came from private individuals. The rest came from block-voting by state-funded pressure groups and charities. And, as my gracious host has recently pointed out:

...whenever a so-called charity supports a government initiative, you can almost always find that they rely on substantial state funding.

Sure enough, SmokeFree NorthWest - with 49,507 votes - is entirely funded by the DoH. Direct Movement by the Youth Smokefree Team - with 10,757 votes - is entirely funded by SmokeFree Liverpool who are entirely funded by the DoH). SmokeFree NorthEast - with 8,128 votes - is entirely funded by...yes, the DoH.
mokeFree Action is headed up by the biggest fake charity of all: Action of Smoking and Health (ASH). ASH, like all the rest of the "stakeholders", were created by the government but try their best to pretend to be a grass-roots organisation. Since they are registered with the charities commission it makes it that bit easier to inspect their accounts:

Year ended 31st March 2007

Department of Health: £210,400

Wales Assembly Government: £110,000

Supporting charities: £185,228

Donations & legacies received: £11,143

Incidentally, take another look at that last figure. That is the full amount that was voluntarily given to this 'charity' in a whole year. To give you a frame of reference, the Cat's Protection League received over £30 million in private donations in the same year. The fucking Donkey Sanctuary was given over £20 million.

So, some of these organisations aren't so much charities in the usual sense of the word, but some auto-fellating organisation, funded by the government to lobby the government.

I'm not quite sure what I'm getting at, but I'll muddle through. I'm a big fan of voluntary charitable donations. You see a homeless guy in the street and you give them money, or sick donkeys make you sad so you send money their way, disaster in far off lands on the telly, time to get out the chequebook. All voluntary. If I don't give a crap about donkeys, I don't send them my money.

But when charities rely heavily on the UK government or the EU or by some bloke coming to the door and talking me into signing up a direct debit, I get very uncomfortable. Its not quite charity, its business or government.

Say anti-smokers murdered my family, how can I stop my taxes going to fund their lobbying? Why don't I get a choice?

Actually, back on the economics and politics front, if the UK government and EU government, cut all charity funding and passed these on as tax cuts to the population, on condition that individuals gave the same amount of money to charity, wouldn't that be more democratic, more representative, and better for the economy?

Bah, I'm rambling.

So, this door to door charity signing up thing I was on, they have a success rate of between 3% and 5%, for every hundred houses you get an answer at, if you're lucky you get 5 people to sign up. For the morning I spent following the more experienced chap, after fifty houses we got on success, one person signing up their direct debit, a pensioner who couldn't remember her own post code or phone number.

That's charity in the 21st century.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

The Advent Calendar Of FACT

Aw man, how could I have missed MJ Hibbett's latest video?

Its a Christmas special
The Advent Calendar Of FACT

Its more of a way of life than just songs from a bloke with a guitar


Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
I have a job interview.

Does this look alright?

Acer Aspire One - review after a few hours

It was the cheapest one in the shop. I tried PC World (spit) first but despite doing the eye thing on about a dozen of the milling around serving folk, none of them asked if they could help me, so I wandered into Currys next door, and got about three folk flocking to my side when I'd identified my required aisle.

So I just wanted a cheap laptop, something I could check email, surf the net, run open office and write the great British novel. They had Advent netbooks, Acer netbooks and Asus netbooks, all below £350. The Advent one had a bad looking keyboard, all flat with indistinct buttons. I'd been fantasising about owning an EEEPC for a long time, but when it came to it, the 12Gb hard disc seemed a little weedy compared to the Acer's 120Gb, hmm maybe that was a typo.

My budget didn't quite stretch into getting a Windows machine, or at a pinch the machine would be too low specced to run it as well as I'd like, and no way, no way was I going to get a Vista machine, that way lies madness.

So here I have an Acer Aspire One, half a gig of ram, 120Gb disc space, some version of linux, its not Ubuntu, some mysterious file structure.

Its pretty neat, its surf the web okay, but there's lots of wee things that need tightening up.

Like if I was some secret agent like Jason Bourne and needed to buy a wee netbook to slip into a passer-by's pocket for some convoluted reason, this wouldn't do the job.
  • Unable to do MSN messenger on the wee built in messenger thing.
  • The pre-installed MP3 player is crap and takes forever to clock my external hard-drive's MP3 archive
  • The pre-installed OpenOffice suite doesn't have open office base
  • Its an old version of OpenOffice version 2.3 when they're up to version 3.0 even 2.4 would be nice, but its not intuitive to update
  • No built in audio software to use the mic
  • The built in photo software is a bit crap and its not intuitive how to install gimp
  • It doesn't want to update Firefox to the latest version
  • Didn't recognise my usb graphics table thing when I plugged it in.
  • When the battery runs low it just switches off rather than tells you you're running low
  • Wait, my ipod isn't going to work with this, is it?
  • The SD memory card slots don't lock the cards in, there's some kind of spring mechanism, but you can just pull them out.
  • Does the fan really need to be on all the time?



and After

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I will pay £100 to the first person who can enable me to access my hotmail account.

Here's the problem:-

I forgot my password.

When I click the forgot password link it takes me to a page where it asks for my windows live id, this is my email address, it is, its the email account that I cannot access. On this page there is also a captcha box.

When I fill it in it takes me to another page where it only says it will send the reset password information to my email account.

The help link says that there should be options to send the password reset information another email address, but when I do it, this isn't the case.

Also the help link says that there should be an option to answer a secret question to access the password reset information, this option isn't there when I do it.

Its like I've locked myself out, they've changed the locks and put the new keys through the letterbox.

I was in Currys buying a new laptop to replace the broken one, when my phone rang, some job I applied to yesterday, offering me an interview tomorrow. They said they were emailing me the details of where and when, and the email would go to my hotmail account. That's why I so urgently need to access my email. and that's why I'm up for paying a vast sum of money to gain access.

Starbucks Gingerbread latte

New gingerbread latte from Starbucks...

Well, mostly cream from the outset, with a sprinkling of cinnamon. When you get down to the coffee goodness, it's quite flavoursom, but the cream heat is still kind of off-putting.

Aref-Adib is here, his has no cream head... 'Erm, its too sweet for me,' but if it was less sweet he'd like it.

This one time, new year, 2005, Glasgow, some Camera Ob and Fanclub party, the legendary Tara Teecue made me and Robbie a gingerbread cocktail, this latte tastes much like that. I think its mostly the use of cinnamon that does it, rather than actual gingery goodness.

PokeMax is here too... 'Urgh, what is this? Is this coffee? Urgh'

Its an acquired taste I guess, which ain't so useful for a seasonal beverage.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Dead again

In response to a Bruce Schneier post about how buying counterfeit games consoles could fund terrorism, I was looking up which UK charities have links to known terrorist organisations and which are funded by the UK government.

I went to make up some breakfast and took my laptop with me and when I put it down, it had died.

The on/off button doesn't switch it on.


Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Another early nineties cover

A cutdown version of Waterfall by The Stone Roses has been bouncing round my head for weeks now. I think this pretty much nails it.

Its just pastoral and no-fi as I'd imagined, and kind of droney too. I like that.

Quantifying government waste

After reading this rant, via Coffeehouse, about the hundreds of millions of pounds wasted recently by the government.
It's the casual, off-hand, 'whoops was that another hundred million?' attitude from government which makes it most offensive and increasingly hard to take.

Whoops, there goes more of your money in pension over payments to public sector workers. Estimates suggest that, indeed, another £100m was misplaced which the government will write off.

Whoops, there goes another £81m on a department of transport computer which was supposed to save money but malfunctioned, spewing out instructions in German and cancelling staff holidays.

It would be neat if these figures could be quantified as 'taxpayer hours', the number of hours the guy on the street would have to work pay tax to pay for these cockup. So when the incompetnt civil servant sees the figure, they can easily visualise people having to work to pay for nothing.

Hmm, median wage is £470ish per week or £12ish per hour, excuse the vagueness, I'm just going for the correct order of magnitude rather than the accuracy.
Government takes about 41% in tax*, so that's £4.80 per hour.

So, with the two wastey things up above, the pensions cockup cost 21,000,000 taxpayer hours and the transport computer cost 17,000,000 taxpayer hours.

Hmph, that's still a little mind boggling. How about 10,000 taxpayer years and 8,000 taxpayer years respectively.


*If there's a more correct figure for how much on average the government/powers that be take in income tax, VAT, council tax, etc, I can't find it.

Losing on the job front

The more I read of PR for Dummies the ess I think that it is the career for me. Stnding in a room full of PR folk does not make one a PR person. I just don't get it, it makes me feel dirty.

Sure I appreciate its place and use in the world, but I'm just mentally on the wrong side of the equation. I can't quantify being able to do it.

Its like when Linn ran us all through the Briggs-Myer personality test, and for each type I couldn't decide which I was cos I could only think of examples of both.

On the PR front, I had a spectacularly successful website feted all over the world with thousands of unique hits a day, but have only been able to sell one copy of the tie-in book. I am in capable of selling stuff.

And with the mighty Joneses, I'm incapable of making the stuff I've actually sold. Its like some kind of mental block. You know that Vom Vorton song about leaving things until the last minute, apart from I leave things until about three months late.

I can't fulfill the PR role of getting other people to talk about things, I can only talk about stuff unto myself, usually in darkened rooms to a circle of three people. I'm just not that sticky when it comes to being a communicator. Its a personality trait, a flaw even, that's lost me so many people I was once so close to.

This is me, and its not good enough.

No response from Yellow Cat Recruitment
Not enough experience or language for We Are Social
No useful qualifications for JobCentrePlus

Monday, 15 December 2008

Global Warming, aye?

Broadly amusing how last week 'EU leaders' (lead by French President Sarkozy) reached a deal to tackle global warming. And just a few days later France is grinding to a halt cos of snow.

I guess whatever measures they agreed worked a little too quickly.

Meanwhile, over in the US, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have declared states of emergency cos of the cold weather.

Bailing out the UK auto industry

Aye, following on from yesterday's rant about uncle Peter thinking about bailing out the UK auto industry, can we just make cars like this. They would be so cool.

It can't be that hard to build in real life rather than just photoshop.

More at The Big Picture

Taser stuff on the BBC

After watching the second disc of Buffy Season 3 today, I flicked over onto the Beeb and caught The One Show, a piece about the Police being issued with Tasers. 10,000 stun guns to be issued, 30,000 polis to be trained in their use.

As you know I have a bit of an interest in this sort of thing, I think its a bad idea.

They did have an interview with that diabetic chap who was tasered when he was unconscious.

They spoke to a high up police offical chap who thought the stun guns were a good idea, it would have been neat if the interviewy women asked him whether he thought tasering unconscious people was acceptable. I'm thinking, if that was carried out by specially trained armed polis, then rolling it out to an order of magnitude more cops, then how many tasering innocents incidents are going to be acceptable.

What number of incidents is acceptable?

I switched off when The One Show asked former Python Michael Palin, and singer/actress Bette Midler what they thought of the police being issued with tasers. That's taking the piss just a wee bit in what's quite a serious debate.

Hood Thong

Its like a hood and a thong at the same time Hoodthong


Your Daily LIBOR spread update

I know you guys are a psyched as me about LIBOR rates, and also frustrated by the rolling one week delay on these graphs via BBA, but considering their own blog hasn't been updated for months and months then hey ho.


Not sure what it means with the dollar almost scraping the bottom on the overnight rate, does that mean they can't get anyone to touch it? or that their banking system really doesn't want to lend or borrow anything.

The LIBOR rate for Sterling all looks quite predictable, we are the master of our own destiny.

I think I might stop doing these things for a while.

See, I'm not obsessed.

In the Buff

Internet was down for most of the day so rather than venturing out to an intenret cafe or the job centre or something useful, I took the opportunity to work through season three of Buffy.

As you'll know, this season starts off with Buffy having run away from Sunnydale and the rest of the Scoobie Gang having to take over slaying duties. She soon returns and its business as usual, but with all the characters firmly established, they can get into their roles as teenagers doing teenage things, relationship turmoil and exams and stuff.
  • Buffy is having issues with Angel, they're not just friends, sometimes they almost make out and she's incapable of having relationships with normal people like Scott.
  • Joyce got drunk and pulled Rupert so now they just act awkwardly when Buffy's around.
  • Cordelia is going out with Xander, although they bicker often.
  • Willow is going out with Oz are they're all lovey dovey.
  • Spike got dumped by Drucella

Alas, one night Xander and Willow got all dressed up for the school prom and ended up snogging. So for an episode or two they kept it kind of secret, until Spike kidnapped them and locked them in the basement of the factory where he usually locks people up.
Oz and Cordelia go to recue them and stumble in just as they're making out. How embarrassing would that be?

A few moments later Cordelia falls down a hole and gets skewered on a steel pole.

Its kind of weird the way Faith flits in and out of the series. The spreadsheet says that 20% of the girls I've dated in the last ten years broadly look like her.

ill theatre returns

Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Have done a special trilogy of Ill Theatre drawings over on my personal blog as webcomic site. here here and here

Read through them all starting here

Sunday, 14 December 2008

UK Auto bailout?

What do they want us to do?

Like I remember back in the day the Tories introduced the fuel duty escalator, which pumped up the price of petrol, and Labour continued it, so we ended up paying stupid money for petrol. It was "to stem the increase in pollution from road transport and cut the need for new road building" to cut Joe Public's car usage.

And now the British public can't afford to own cars for other economic reasons, the government are considering bailing out the British motor industry.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has been tipped to make loan guarantees available to the finance arms of car companies and is understood to be mulling whether to grant low-cost loans to the industry – funded by the £400bn set aside to support the banking industry.

Lord Mandelson held fresh talks with Ratan Tata, head of Jaguar Land Rover's owners Tata last week and also met executives from Vauxhall.

A spokesman for the Department for Business would not comment on any specific details but said: "The Government is monitoring the situation at the moment. Ministers have said they want to do all they sensibly can to help viable businesses. The automotive industry is facing serious challenges at the moment and we need to support it."

Please, can we just let the existing failing businesses go bankrupt, and then put the bail-out money into new start-up companies who may or may not be able to do a better job?

None of the UK companies invented the Toyota Prius or the Smart Car, but given a bit of helpful encouragement new start-ups could make the next generation.

In fact, fuck it. Here in the middle of my post I'll change my mind. Let the bailout go ahead as long as the money goes to folk like Tesla in Norfolk, who if given a bit of helpful encouragement, will make uncle Boris's electric car.

Interest rate change affecting LIBOR rate

LIBOR is the daily reference rate based on the interest rates at which banks borrow unsecured funds from banks in the London wholesale money market (or interbank market). It is roughly comparable to the U.S. Federal funds rate, this you already knew. Its released daily by BBA with a one week rolling delay.
Graph shows how Bank of England Interest Rate changes have affected the spread of LIBOR in November and December.

So at the start of November we were more expensive than the Euro, until the interest rte change took all the UK LIBOR rates down to about the same level as the Euro, and the for the rest of the month the two currencies were pretty much on exactly the same course.

Now with December's rate cut, the more short term LIBOR rates for sterling have dropped a huge chunk below the Euro, and even encroach on the dollar.

Its kind of neat that the UK has the ability to control it's interest rates when necessary, innit.

Not sure why the dollar's short term rate have dropped compared to the Yen. The Yen is creeping up a bit though.

Is it possible to like short currencies? like if you borrow a load of yens and then lend them out as Euro at a higher interest rate? or does the currency exchange ratey commission piss all over any profits you'd make?

Hmph, I got bored late at night and had a look at the data for October.
It paints a slightly different picture. Looks like America was all over the place, uncontrolled, which might be a little terrifying if you're a banker. But the rest of the currencies seems quite level.

Well, sterling falls in great chunks when our Bank of England reduces interest rates, but the Euro LIBOR rate seems to be falling gently without central interest rate cuts and it seems to be falling at a slightly higher rate than sterling.

I don't know what it means.

Does it fall by a natural market supply and demand sort of thing, where supply of money for lending is out-stripping demand, so its getting cheaper? Cos if there was greater demand for interbank loans, but no one was willing to lend, then the LIBOR rate would drift upwards?

Wht would be an ideal picture here in the current economic climate.


New clothes
New clothes via my brother, for my birthday. Look, I'm one of these cool clothes wearing people

Friday, 12 December 2008

Its almost like we don't want people coming to the UK

Here's a story via uncle Timmy about a Chinese gentleman who was held in an immigration reception centre in the UK for two years.
Prison inspectors found the Chinese man had been in the centre for more than 20 months, but staff and managers had not even realised how long he had been there.


Prison inspectors found the Chinese man had been in the centre for more than 20 months, but staff and managers had not even realised how long he had been there.

And here's a wee press release from American band Cars Can Be Blue about when they got in a little bit of bother coming to the UK.
At this point, I was near breaking point. Tired, fatigued, disorientated, seperated from my bandmate, I became a bithysterical. Where was I being taken? "Oakington"and that is basically all the information I was provided. I had been told I was going to Oxford, but now I was being taken someplace else? What the fuck was going on?

I was difficult to guage how long the next van ride was, probably another hour and a half or two hours. It all seemed incredible, absolutely incredible. I was being treated like a prisoner, a dangerous terrorist or something equivalent, all because my stupid band had booked some shows in the UK without a work permit?

If they had managed to get on tour here okay I would have seen them three times by now, and a fourth time this evening at Twee As Fuck. Alas, it was not to be.

But think of all the waste of money, the cost-benefit analysis. That chinese chap, if he'd been allowed to stay from the outset, and got a craply paid job, he would have contributed thousands to the UK economy, rather than costing £80,000. And the chap from Cars Can Be Blue, think of the kids, think of the kids.

How much of this recession we're in is caused by hassle like this? We do it to ourselves.

And getting a Wii half-price from Woolworths hardly makes up for it.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Lights out

I thought it was going to be not building new powerstations and over reliance on windpower that's going to lead to the lights going out over the next decade, but according to this, its going to be people flicking switches.
The £12m defences of the most heavily guarded power station in Britain have been breached by a single person who, under the eyes of CCTV cameras, climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading "no new coal". He walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence.

All power from the coal and oil-powered Kingsnorth station in Kent was halted for four hours, in which time it is thought the mystery saboteur's actions reduced UK climate change emissions by 2%. Enough electricity to power a city the size of Bristol was lost.

I'm all for using less electricity and treading more lightly on this world, and I've gone for battery powered devices for all my comms, but central heating is still from mains power and if there's a power cut, its going to get really cold really quickly.


Oh god, its happening.

I am walking to Camden, I was going to get the bus, but there's no direct ones, just ones that go half way. So by wandering to the next stop and then the next one, I have reached half way and its no worth getting the bus at all.

There's this bit in 17 where uncle Bill decides to make a hiphop record in the arse end of 1986 and phones up young Jimi. Jimi's wife tells him Jimi's very pissed off cos its his 30th birthday.

Its mine tomorrow and I'm mostly thinking grim thoughts. However, my ideal and possible birthday would be as follows...

I awake slightly hungover and have breakfast with the girl before heading home. I check my domestic email to find one from Linn offering a job as technical monkey at Harrods and another from Yellow Cat offering an interview.

Out on Facebook there's around twenty birthday greetings, four new friend requsts from people I've heard of and by the time my usual surfing routine has made it round to statcounter the naked chicks site has reached 10k after a write up in some major newspaper and elsewhere some political has taken an interest in some graph I've posted on my blog...

I have arrived in Camden back in real life, and as I keep my eyes peeled for record shops my mind wanders into a hypothetical ideal turnout for the pub tomorrow night. I get embarrassed. My social scene, my friend scene has dissolved, vague acquaintances, people I used to know. The only way some folk would be there is if my life had gone very differently years ago.

I reach a record shop, it reminds me of the old Vinyl Exchange in Manchester, but bigger. I'm looking for Josephine Baker, but other than 1930s I dunno what genre she is.

After searching blues, jazz, soul, and fusion, I give up, buy some ironic soul 12" and escape defeated. Yet another flatmate will have to go without a present from me.

I think I've missed the voscars thing. I'd promised I'd go, but discovered the piece of paper I was holding was a flyer, not a ticket, there was only disappointment ahead.

So now, typing this, I'm in the Oh Bar in Camden. It is jazz night, Jazz Blow. On stage some quartet are setting up.

What does tomorrow hold? Already it grips a bag of presents and something mysterious from Amazon.

Can I just eat lots of chocolate, drink vodka and melt into oblivion on the sofa in front of season three of Buffy? Or fulfill this strange urge to record a Stone Roses cover.

Ohh, just remembered from the record shop, there was this Faith No More 12" single, 'the real thing', I think Stu or Murray had the same in 1998, I just notice that St Tony Wilson of Madchester produced it.

Ooh my ladyfriend just called. My heart fills with sunshine.

There will be wee bits of ok tomorrow.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Petition against Form 696

This graph shows the accumulation of signatures against the Form 696 thing on the number 10 website. It seems to be an incredibly stable accumulation even after a week.

Usually with these things there's just a bit rush to sign up over a day or two then interest dies off, or if there's newspaper coverage, there'll be another spike in sign ups.

Even so, this one with five thousand or so sigs, is barely in the top twenty-five live petitions on the website. Still a long way to go.


There's an awkwardness thing, I'm an awkward kind of guy. Sometimes insecure, but I think awkward is a better description.

Here, I'm not sure if this picture is visible or if you have to sign up to something to see it. Its me looking scared / awkward at the internety meetup a few months back.

Its kind of crippling sometimes. I need to email people, but I don't know what to say. I need to talk to people in real life, even friends, but I don't know what to say, or more specifically, I don't know how to say "Yeah, we've met before, we've corresponded online, a few weeks back, about that thing and stuff". The awkwardness, oh the crushing awkwardness.

At some point real soon I have to head down the road to the JobCentre and sign up for signing on. Something's holding me back. I need to think it through. I have washing in the machine downstairs which I need to take out before flatmates get home. I need to figure out what documents I need to take with me to the JobCentre, national insurance card? Utility bills or bank statements, passport or other ID, copy of my contract for the flat to prove I live in this area.

Hmph, I feel pretty pathetic.

Slightly more so in that after thirty years on this earth, according to Facebook I can just about muster six people to come for a drink, including relatives and chums from uni whom I haven't spoken to for the best part of six months.

What went wrong?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Reading Shag Times

Here's a wee ten minute video of me reading the first few pages of my novel, Shag Times.

Me Reading Shag Times Part 1 - The most popular videos are a click away

The book's available from here, £8 for the paperback version or £40 for the sper deluxe hardback version, aye.

I know her

Kind of weird when you're idly flicking through the arty magazines in Borders and you see someone you know.

This is Anastacia in Nude magazine, I see her at gigs quite often and have spoken to her three times. According to the spreadsheet, I've also made eye contact with her eight times.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Day eight

I'm not sure when counting starts when I'm counting how long I've been unemployed for. Maybe eight days, could be nine.

Anyhoo we're back in Borders, Aref-Adib and I with coffee, plotting world domination. My latest plan is to read out my novel in a series of videos on metacafe and podcasts. For the cringe inducing horror it should be entertaining.

The serving folk in the Staples Corner Borders Starbucks seem very happy and are very chatty with each other behind the counter. Can I work here?

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Some short chap stood on a stool at the front trying to convince a room of PR people to feel passionate about wine.

Interesting point about wine being an agricultural product, rather than an industrial product where the production can be turned up if nessessary.

Slightly sozzled on the way home. It was a fun meetup, definitely in the top five London Bloggers Meetups, shame Chris qwagmir and FlashTom weren't there.

Lots of free wine, about 80% pleasant.



Aref-Adib was up to his usual fine form as my PR man pimping my old site and book.

I found myself talking to lots of interesting people. There's a cute girl on the platform outside the window, she looks like Heather Graham. Hmph, its been days since I spoke to my ladtyfriend, is it too late to phone?

I took lots of photies of wine with thumbs up, thumbs down reviews. And had decided I need to acquire Port for the flat.

Of course I'll populate this post with links when I'n next near my computer, but folk I recall chatting to include...
Made eye contact with

Probably a couple more people too, I'm crap with names me.

Ooh, train stopping

Photies here


Being a feminist myself, I'm all for empowering women to make their own decisions about their bodies and brains.

Here's a news story from last week about the first public beauty pageant in Baghdad since the fall of Saddam (all other beauty pageants since 2002 have been held in private for fear of getting killed).

Here's a news story about the Miss University beauty pageant in London which some "women students" have branded misogynistic.

This is a wee graph I did to summarise what I can gather from the two stories, the y-axis is clearly the acceptability of beauty pageants, but I can't figure out what the x-axis ought to be.


After a bit more thought, here's a revised version of the graph.



Hi, this is my page collecting together all the animations I've done over the past few years.

Plimptons videos
Semi-naked chicks
Ones with nakedness

I've always been kind of interested in drawing, and my high tolerance for boredom is great for drawing animations. For the past few years I've been using the medium of post-it notes, but before that it was a matter of drawing on A4 and cropping.

Sometimes I'm not very good at drawing so some animations are based on someone else's sketches and storyboard and some animation are rotoscoped.

Its not really professional standard, but hey, I enjoy doing it.

Plimptons Videos

Jolly Top Hat - FEB-2006

Hog - MAR-2006

System Error - APR-2007

Rock n Roll Part 3 - OCT-2007

Semi-Naked Chicks

Its Vicky - OCT-2007

Jiggling boobs - NOV-2007

All I wanna do - OCT-2007

Betty Page - NOV-2007


Duncan from Dananananaykroyd - OCT-2007

Like Aha - JUL-2008

Day 1 - NOV-2008

Ones with nakedness

15 seconds - AUG-2008

First 15 secs post-it music video from Chris Gilmour on Vimeo.

Final Five - NOV-2008

The Final Five - The funniest videos are a click away


You may have noticed that the nakedness ones aren't on YouTube, you're not allowed nipples there. But its kind of strange, despite the ubiquity of YouTube, my videos get most viewers when they're on other video hosting sites. The last one there, on Metacafe, got ten thousand hits in about two weeks, compared to the most popular Plimptons video, Jolly Top Hat, on YouTube which has taken two years to get a third of that. Yeah, yeah, I know its the great crowd of porn surfers who'll watch anything, but I still got their eyeballs for a few moments. This one time I had an animation on mainstream porn video site, I don't remember if it was YouPorn or RedTube or something else, but the video clocked half a million hits in two days. Two days.