Thursday, 31 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #15

Way back in the mists of time, at the start of the 00's, I was the life and soul of Strathclyde University.

In our first photie you can see Simon dressed as a vicar for the 2000 Halloween party taken in the Fusion Radio offices.

The second photie is from a German beer party in the Barony Bar, I think that was the coolest hairstyle I've ever had, check out those sideburns ladies.

The third photie is from the 2000 RAG Christmas dinner, I was just involved with charities enough to get invited. Half them peoples in the picture are on my Facebook friends list, but I don't speak to them half as much as I ought to.

Blog stat pron - 2009

Good afternoon, and welcome to my summary of this blogs web traffic for the year. I know that its still a few hours to 2010 but I'm bored and have other things to do, like homework and cake making, so I'm wasting time on the internet. Without further ado here are the overall traffic figures for 2009:-

10,451 Absolute Unique Visitors
23,212 Pageviews

Thrilling stuff, I'm sure you'll agree, but I don't have the complete 2008 figures to compare it to, and as Climategate has taught us, you really need continuous data to make any comparisons. Luckily I do have complete data for 2008 and 2009 from Statcounter:-

Unique VisitorsPageloads

I've more than doubled my traffic, coolio. Lets look at statcounter's graph showing monthly traffic:-

Crazy stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. We can clearly see that returning visitor traffic has been dying off for months and months since the peak in the middle of 2008 when the kindly folks from a certain indie messageboard used to visit here often. On the other hand, pageloads have been increasing in steady chunks over the two year period, but have pretty much levelled out now. I'm going to have to start doing something different and new if I want to keep growing.

Moving on, the latest metrics for feed readers are as follows:-
23 subscribers - GoogleReader (up two from October)
4 subscribers - Bloglines (same as last month)
7 followers - Blogger (up one from October)
These are my top referers for the year (not including google wanderers)
1. Facebook - 726 visitors
2. Twitter - 657 visitors
3. EUReferendum - 249 visitors
4. UK Bubble - 198 visitors
5. Mark Wadsworth - 180 visitors
6. Iain Dale - 110 visitors
7. Matt Wardman - 85 visitors
8. Counting Cats - 69 visitors
9. Longrider - 66 visitors
10. Devil's Kitchen - 43 visitors
Lets take a brief moment to consider which were the most viewed posts during 2009.
1. Facebook IQ test gubbins - 1,031 views
2. What Have I gotten myself into - the TFTA scam - 855 views
3. Origami flapping bird animation - 579 views
4. Facebook ChainRxn graphs and hints - 516 views
5. Facebook Scramble graphs - 355 views
6. Animation with Windows Movie Maker - 351 views
7. Names of the dead in Gaza - 219 views
8. Sea level rises - 195 views
9. Band Nationalities - 160 views
10. Names of the dead in Iran - 152 views
Its a bit overwhelming, I know, but that's it for this years blog stat pron update. Thanks to all the folk who've linked here in 2009, I hope to return the favour a bit more in 2010.

Gilmour out

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #14

This one time towards the end of 2006, Rachel was back up in Glasgow and a few of us met up in a pub on Great Western Road. I dunno about you but it was a weird night for me.

I think it was StereoDonut who made gingerbread men, one of them looked like Robbie.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #13

I seem to be missing any decent photies of me and people from towards the end of the decade. This is a nice one from 2008 and the final Bowlie meetup weekend, some pub in Kensington that Rups lead us to when torrential rain opened up on us in Hyde Park.


My return to the good graces of that messageboard only occurred in its death throes. But I telegraphed it with a storyline in my old attempt at a webcomic, ill theatre, its still out there on the web. Alas my imagination is failing me to do that sort of thing again.


Brief political interlude

Its been with great interest that I've been reading Devil's Kitchen's and Sunny Hundal's discussion about the nature of class war and race war, how ugly Devil's Kitchen is and whether you need to have read Adam Smith to be the leader of a UK political party, and elsewhere the discussions on the nature of determining what class people are in.

Me, I had a privileged upbringing, my parents worked hard to provide for my education at what was then a good school, and now I'm scraping by just above minimum wage.

Anyhoo, I was attempting to summarise the debate for my attractive young ladyfriend, she gets quite angry when I'm so negative so I tried to spin my own views positive.

Firstly, the phrase 'taxing the rich' fills me with dread, surely they mean taxing high earners, for these are two different things. The former suggests kicking down a rich person's door and informing them that the powers that be have determined they are too rich and need some of their wealth redistributed to life's losers, the latter suggests that those who work hard and are successful owe the state more than the losers do.

Then there's the whole nature of taxing high earners, who my some measure of life's successful people. Should the state be dissuading, nay punishing them for being successful?

Succinctly, my political beliefs are to question why the state tries to take some much its citizens? Shouldn't the government endevour to let the population keep as much of their earnings as possible?

And if by some quirk of democracy the population have voted for a party that's into redistribution of wealth so there's more balance between rich and poor, shouldn't it simply be a case of determining the median wealth or income and then only taxing people on the rich side and not taxing those on the poorer side?

Sure, its far more complicated than that, there's the welfare state to pay for, and law and order, defending borders and taking away the rubbish. But surely such things affect all people to pretty much the same degree regardless of class and race.

Its been a couple of hours since I read the Devil or Sunny, and maybe the debate has moved on, that Sunny's point was merely that class war would be a good electoral strategy for Labour, rather than a good strategy for government.

Wasn't there a byelection in Crewe where Labour tried playing the class card and failed miserably? They could try it again if they like losing.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #12

In the absence of any decent photies of me from 2005, this is from the New Years party that Idles arranged at Mental Sarah's back then.

Mostly Bowlie folk from all over the world, I vaguely recall around the moment this photo was taken either Dave in the Dumps or Radar was playing The Divine Comedy's 'My Lovely Horse'.

We'd all met up at The crnrvn beforehand, and whilst I hadn't specifically been invited to the party, at the time I was under a secret alias known only to a few, anyhoo, I just hung around in the pub until folk were heading off to the party, my old Ford Fiesta parked nearby, and then offered my taxi driving services.

God knows precisely how we got seven fully grown men in a Fiesta, but we did and we got to Mental Sarah's house.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #11

So way back in 2004 at the first Bowlie Alldayer, I'd somehow negotiated my way into playing. So it was that my first ever gig in London was a sell out show at The Pleasure Unit in Bethnal Green.

From memory my setlist was mostly songs about ex-girlfriends and girls who I fancied. It was a little bit nerve racking cos Jax was in the audience. Luckily no one was really listening to me, just clapping and cheering politely between songs. John Waz from the Gresham Flyers recorded it all, it sounded okay later, well, not as bad as I envisaged.

From memory the setlist was:-
  • Naked (about some girl who I'd never seen naked, but wanted to)
  • Lets Get Worse (about some girl I went out with in Glasgow)
  • Bacon Sandwich and Vokda (about teenage love and IRA bombs in Manchester 2006)
  • September (about some girl I used to go canoeing with)
So, that was the start and end of my London live career. Thank god.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #10

Back in the day, back in Glasgow when we were all friends and we used to do stuff, once or twice we all piled into the cars of people who had cars and headed up to Loch Lomond. We'd potter about on the shore, building fires, and prod them with sticks, whilst waiting for other folk to turn up.

Actually, I think it only happened twice when there was loads of us, the other times was just me and a girl. Still, those were the days, were they not?

This photo's from 2004 according to the metadata, seems a bit early in the decade. Robbie in the foreground is poking a fire with a stick, I think King of Partick is crouched on grounded blowing on his fire. I'm wearing my old Utah State Buckeye's t-shirt and the kind of neat jacket that I found outside the Halt Bar at Christmas 2003.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Just Joans for New Years No 1

I started a facebook group to try to get The Just Joans song 'If You Don't Pull' to number 1 in the pop charts for New Year.

There are 30 members already and that's just in a few hours with Facebook status updates and a few Twitter updates.

To be honest I'm impressed with 30, the next milestone is 50, then 100, 200 then 500 and so on.

I'm pretty sure the song is on the iTunes Store, but I dunno if its possible to link to it, all the 'puters I have at my disposal don't have iTunes on them. There's no proper video on YouTube, just the track playing in the background to Rowan's robo-spider-dog. So its almost like shooting ourselves in the foot for stickiness, its just a wee esoteric thing. If anyone who hasn't heard of the Just Joans and 'If You Don't Pull' wants a listen, they're gonna have to do some investigating.

I reckon there's still more pimping I can do. Once the membership gets over a hundred I could start prodding DJs, and there's a couple of budding journo's and bloggers who could cover it.

According to wikipedia, before the download revolution, the lowest selling number one was Orson with around 10,000 copies sold. There's little data on how the lowest selling hits compare now that downloads are included. So whilst every member of the Facebook group may not purchase it, if the group membership gets into the ten of thousands, then its just about possible.

Nah, maybe not, realistically that Joe X Factor chap is unbeatable for a second week, and RATM had a few weeks to build up momentum, wassit 300,000 copies apiece or there abouts? This wee venture has no chance, but its a nice song anyhoo.

Tied to the 00's #9

Way back in 2008, Glasgow indiepop legends The Just Joans played train-based indie music Festival Indietracks.

You don't want to know about how I used to know them up in Glasgow, its nothing like The Strawberry Switchblade story, but here's a shot of us chilling out in Derbyshire.

From left to right there's Dave Pope, Holly, some gentleman writing in my notebook, Kaite Pope, Fraser from The Just Joans, Anastacia So Tough So Cute and Chris Elkin from My Legendary Girlfriend, Dot to Dot, Bricolage, The Just Joans and many many more.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #8

This one time there was like a Bowlie Alldayer gig in London in 2005, and then the day after there was the Belle and Sebastian 'If You're Feeling Sinister' show at the Barbican. So we had this great flock of internet people trekking across Regent's Park.
Some random names of some people in the photie from left to right:-
  • Lambkin
  • Robbie
  • Middle Fidelity
  • Maybe Justin
  • Hupsalit
  • Poth Some chap
  • Lauren
  • Yael's friend
  • Some other girl
  • Definitely Justin
  • Dave in the Dumps
  • Kevin
  • Johnny
Where are they now? (Facebook, or possibly Blueveins)

I had no ticket for the Barbican gig so I just tagged along until we got there, then with a stroke of inspiration I grabbed Nal's cute friend Jo and walked straight into the auditorium, purposefully past the tickety people. Aw man, I used to rule.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Letter to my Sixteen year old self

There's a bit of a meme going round, writing to your 16 year old self. I haven't been tagged, but I was bored in the factory during my break.

Dear Boris 1994,

Try not to freak out, but this is a letter from 15 years in the future.

Sorry we couldn't meet in person, but it doesn't work like that. Here, use these lottery numbers every week 1, 7, 22, 25, 31 and 47, it should turn out just fine.

In terms of advice, it all turn out okay, the girl on the bus is actually quite nice to talk to if you don't freak her out, and at Nosni's New Year party, hold onto the blond girl tightly.

Don't let any inhibitions stop you from doing stuff, cos frankly at your age you rule. You don't realise it but even the trendy girls think you're pretty cool too. Its not all about being cool, but until you get a degree and the internet really gets going, its all you've got.

Also, in 1998 when you bleach your hair, keep more photos, and in 2002, hold onto that blonde girl tightly too. I don't mean in the sexy sense, I mean in that knight in shining armour way you always imagine. You can't save everyone but hold onto people makes you feel better.

Oh, and while we're toying with the directions of time, put more of your nan's inheritance into gold.

Finally, if you ever see Big Tom outside a Sainsburys, give him a big manly hug. And try to stay in touch with more of you schoolfriends.

That's about all I can say right now, times will be good and times will be bad, try to remember the good times more.

See you in the mirror in fifteen years right.

Chris Gilmour 2009

Now, as is kind of standard practice with these things I tag the following bloggers to write a similar post:-
Other bloggish folk who've done this letter to their 16 year old self include:-

Job Opportunity

Whilst I love my job, the hours are killing me, the night shifts especially. My whole life for the past fifteen years has been about live music, and I just can't go to gigs if I have to get up for 6am or start/finish work at 10pm, so I've been looking for job vacancies.

Unlike my previous desperate measure of using agencies, I've been checking websites of manufacturing companies I actually want to work for and wandered back to the vacancies page at Linn Products, who I previously worked for from 2002 to 2007 as a manufacturing engineer.

Linn have are advertising the position of Digital Marketing Communications Executive. This is something I'd love to do, but sadly they ask for some appropriate qualifications of which I have none apart from the fact that you are reading this right now.

So I thought I'd demonstrate my complete unsuitability for the job by blogging about it here.

I loved working for Linn, they're a great manufacturing company, they know how to do IT right and they truly believe in what they're doing in high end audio. It still amazes me that the stuff I was doing listening tests with was the best audio quality in the world, me.

Their website has improved vastly since I last checked it, with some rather busy user forums and the MD Gilad having a blog there. He says some interesting stuff to, like declaring that the CD is dead, and streaming is where its at, and how for Linn vinyl is outliving CD.

Whilst the last time I saw Gilad was probably the day they sent us all home, May 2007, the last time I remember seeing him is in the street, down the way from the Alldays in Kelvinbridge. I spied him in the distance, and kind of didn't want to bump into my boss outside work Mr Burns style, I nipped into Alldays to hide. To conceal my true reasons for hiding in the shop I had to buy something and all I could great was on of those huge 1Kg Dairy Milk bars. And so I was nibbling on the corner of it when I wandered back outside again, bumping into Gilad. I ran away muttering something about really needing chocolate.

I could however be confusing Gilad with Colin from The Smittens.

I reckon they're lookalikes. Here, check out this video, same body language and everything.

Crazy stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

So, they were always trying new management things at Linn, Six Sigma and the five S's. They had this neat problem solving scheme where any problem could be classed at N, P or T. Where the solution to the problem was Not within your control, Partially within your control and Totally within your control. I that that was it.

We had weekly appraisal things, where you had to set yourself goals and report on your progress, like learning Python or writing a test plan. One of my goals was to do a company blog, and after months of reporting to my team leader that no progress had bee made, that the marketing team had been blanking me or just gazing blankly when I mentioned the internet, I figured it was actually a T-type problem. Setting up a blog was entirely under my control.

For a week or so, my appraisal progress was going great, traffic to the hi-fi engineer blog was slow, but slowly growing. Until one day I put up some photos a designer had sent me of a new product, the Keel, being manufactured. Its a solid lump of aluminium, machined so that it's the record player armboard and bearing housing thing. When those pics went online the blog started to get traffic from the hi-fi messageboards.

In the first hours first it was a few hundred hits, I could see the locations spreading as daylight hit the continents. When the traffic got into the thousands, I got scared. The marketing folk didn't know about this, they weren't going to be pleased. I tried telling my team leader, but he didn't really get the urgency of the situation, so I emailed higher and higher up the company structure until a message came back for me to shut down the website, make it go away.

I tried, but then the hi-fi forums started to go on about its sudden disappearance.

Oh, the whole episode was a mess.

I got in trouble, it wasn't quite a disciplinary thing cos I'd been quite open about it all, giving regular reports, and asking permission before posting stuff. Its just that I was a lowly test design engineer, trying to do marketing stuff.

And a few months later I was one of the 30% of employees who were made redundant.

And that's why I'm here today, working the night shift at a sandwich factory in Wembley on a Saturday night.

I should be wandering home from How Does It Feel or Little League.

Also, it won't really help that I slung this video up on YouTube of me practising levitation in a demonstration room at Linn. It was a Saturday morning, I had to test a load of 3K-arrays for the Artikulat speakers and I was bored. Then again, the folks at Linn's IP address already know about that one.

On the plus side demonstrating any suitability for the role of Digital Marketing Communications Executive, my blog has more subscribers that their managing director's. (23 subscribers to 7 subscribers). Although I don't for a second imagine that mine gets more traffic, just that mine has more people who want to read it regularly. Yeah, how do you like dem apples.

Tied to the 00's #7

In the late noughties I was forced to vacate Glasgow and only returned sporadically.

This photo from 2007 shows me and Robbie at The Flying Duck acting just a little bit gangster whilst Colin doesn't (also on seeing the photo Nina says he looks a bit secret agenty). It was one of Gave King Of Partick's club nights where he used to play music, ah crazy days.

This next photo proves incontrovertibly that I can and do dance.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The fruit of my labours

Seeing this stuck to a fridge door the other night gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Almost like getting on the front cover of Hi Fi World.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Tied to the 00's #6

Here's a scene from a New Years party in Glasgow, the first few hours of 2007.

How many of these guys am I still in touch with?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Viscount Monckton assaulted in Copenhagen

Viscount Monckton reports being assulted by Dutch police:-
Inside the conference center, “world leader” after “world leader” got up and postured about the need to Save The Planet, the imperative to do a deal, the necessity to save the small island nations from drowning, etc., etc., etc.

Outside, in the real world, it was snowing, and a foretaste of the Brave New World being cooked up by “world leaders” in their fantasy-land was already evident. Some 20,000 observers from non-governmental organizations – nearly all of them true-believing Green groups funded by taxpayers – had been accredited to the conference.

However, without warning the UN had capriciously decided that all but 300 of them were to be excluded from the conference today, and all but 90 would be excluded on the final day.

Of course, this being the inept UN, no one had bothered to notify those of the NGOs that were not true-believers in the UN’s camp. So Senator Steve Fielding of Australia and I turned up with a few dozen other delegates, to be left standing in the cold for a couple of hours while the UN laboriously worked out what to do with us.

In the end, they decided to turn us away, which they did with an ill grace and in a bad-tempered manner. As soon as the decision was final, the Danish police moved in. One of them began the now familiar technique of manhandling me, in the same fashion as one of his colleagues had done the previous day.

Once again, conscious that a police helicopter with a high-resolution camera was hovering overhead, I thrust my hands into my pockets in accordance with the St. John Ambulance crowd-control training, looked my assailant in the eye and told him, quietly but firmly, to take his hands off me.

He complied, but then decided to have another go. I told him a second time, and he let go a second time. I turned to go and, after I had turned my back, he gave me a mighty shove that flung me to the ground and knocked me out.

I came to some time later (not sure exactly how long), to find my head being cradled by my friends, some of whom were doing their best to keep the police thugs at bay while the volunteer ambulance-men attended to me.

I was picked up and dusted me off. I could not remember where I had left my telephone, which had been in my hand at the time when I was assaulted. I rather fuzzily asked where it was, and one of the police goons shouted, “He alleges he had a mobile phone.”

In fact, the phone was in my coat pocket, where my hand had been at the time of the assault. The ambulance crew led me away and laid me down under a blanket for 20 minutes to get warm, plying me with water and keeping me amused with some colorfully colloquial English that they had learned.

I thanked them for their kindness, left them a donation for their splendid service, and rejoined my friends. A very senior police officer then came up and asked if I was all right. Yes, I said, but no thanks to one of his officers, who had pushed me hard from behind when my back was turned and had sent me flying.

The police chief said that none of his officers would have done such a thing. I said that several witnesses had seen the incident, which I intended to report. I said I had hoped to receive an apology but had not received one, and would include that in my report. The policeman went off looking glum, and with good reason.

To assault an accredited representative of a conference your nation is hosting, and to do it while your own police cameramen are filming from above, and to do it without any provocation except my polite, non-threatening request that I should not be manhandled, is not a career-enhancing move, as that police chief is about to discover to his cost.

So much for Global Warming and Climate Change.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

How much should people be taxed?

I remember reading it on Charlotte Gore the first time, and Mark Wadsworth covered it too (or maybe Mark Reckons, someone called Mark), and now JuliaM is quoting it:-
From Charlotte Gore:
In other words, instead of these bonuses being taxed at 40% as they already are, they’ll be taxed at 50%… assuming, of course, that someone getting a more than £10k bonus isn’t already going to end up in the Government’s new ultra-f**k-you band of income tax. Instead of getting£4k from a £10k bonus the state will now get £5k.
As I see it there's two sides of taxing:-
  • We pay tax because the government spends money
  • We pay tax because we owe the government for what they provide for us
On the first issue, you can do a task quickly and efficiently or you can do it slowly and wastefully. The end result is pretty much the same, but the costs can vary. If we had a choice we'd rationally pick to do it quickly and efficiently.

Do you think that the government never wastes any money at all? Not even a little bit? Do you think that they are as efficient as possible or have lots and lots of very slow burocracy?

Every time I get a letter from the council/government/inland revenue, saying my housing benefit/job seeker's allowance/working tax credit has been declined, or instated, or back dated, or cancelled again, I think to myself, this letter cost about £1 in typing, printing, posting and delivering (maybe it costs more, maybe it costs less) couldn't they not just streamline things a bit, and then cut whatever tax I pay by £1.

No, no chance of a great bureaucracy making itself more efficient, it never happens. Instead, occasionally, I choose not to bother, I choose not apply or to give up applying, in the hope that I reduce the bureaucracy, the tax burden, the number of tasks that they charge us all for, by exactly one unit.

And on the second issue, paying tax to the government, the authorities, because we owe them. That's slightly more justified. Its nice that they keep an army to protect our borders from foreign invaders, and that they empty the bins, and to some degree enforce law and order and all the many varieties of support workers. But how much of my earnings, or anyone's, what percentage, should be owed to the government? And how should this change depending on how much you earn.

Back in Charlotte Gore's quote
Instead of getting £4k from a £10k bonus the state will now get £5k.
I don't get it, cos someone has put in the extra effort, or has had remarkable luck, or just used their brains to work smarter, they owe the government more money. They have to pay a bigger share for the army, the binmen and the judiciary, without necessarily using them more.

Now, I'm not advocating a poll tax, just some clearer rationale behind why we pay tax.

And then how, in the great scheme of things, as a society we can lower taxes. What personal moral decisions can we make that will ultimately result in lower taxes.

  • Should I work in one sector or another?
  • Should I take the bus or car or walk?
  • Should I go to the cinema or go to a gig?
  • Should I spend time with friends or alone?
  • Should I vote for one party or another?
  • Should I be productive or unproductive?
  • Should I be successful or fail?
Which choices will result in the government taking a smaller proportion of my hard-earned money.

Its occurred to me that there are other sides to the reason for taxing too, to make us change our behaviour, use less petrol, smoke less, drink less, spend less. Maybe that's it, the reason we are taxed is because the government want us to exist less.

Aping Picasso on graph paper

So the other day I was pottering about the Pablo Picasso Museum in Malaga, with my sweetness and my notebook. Here are some sketched I made of his pieces.

This piece is titled 'mujer sentada' from 1906. Here I think we can see strong parallels between Picasso's work and that of another artist a century later.

This piece, a Minotaur from 1938, is reminiscent of Tim Curry's character in the 1985 Tom Cruise fantasy Legend.

This final sketch of Bater 1971, one of Picasso's last pieces, has crossed the line into indie homebrew comic land.

Tied to the 00's #4

I don't think the 00's really got going in Glasgow's Indiepop scene until Nal arrived, she was like this flag round which scenesters rallied and rising bands would seek out. Her parties were also pretty ace too.

In this photo from one of her southside soirée's in 2003, we have Camera Obscura's John Henderson from Camera Obscura joining a sofa with Gav King of Partick from Stabilizer and Camera Obscura, Adam J Smith from The Hector Collectors and Alan 'Wolfknuckle' Patterson, later of The Deep Fried Wolfknuckles.

It was these indiepop conferences that help define each band's unique sound as ideas were bounced around and cross pollinated. You can definitely hear the Hector's influence in some of the Mighty Ob's later work.

Just off shot to the left is Nal herself, looking stunning and relaxed, and to the right of the shot, I think it's someone's ass-cheek in jeans, judging by the toned curves I'm guessing its Colin or Robbie.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #3

I think perhaps one of the greatest club nights of the 00's would be National Pop League. It was a monthly night at the Woodside Social Club in Kelvinbridge, hosted by John Blain Hunt, now of Butcher Boy

From about 2002 to 2009, every month Glasgow's finest indie fans would trek along and spend a few hours boogying. It was a scene, it brought us close together, we'd gather in crowds to watch 'The Dancey Guy' dance.

He set the floor on fire with his moves and his shapes. Without him, the music would be almost dreary.

Soundtrack - The Smiths - You Just Haven't Earned it Yet Baby

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #2

In the summer of 2003 there was to be some sort of All Tomorrows Parties festival thing in Los Angeles, I'd never been to America before and flatmate Alan 'Wolfknuckle' Patterson suggested we went along.

I've always assumed it was because of organisational reasons, but the festival never happened. Sure, a couple of the bands that were due to play, like Trail of the Dead, and Mogwai, played gigs in the city around the time that the festival was due, but without the ATP moniker.

This is a sandcastle I built on Santa Monica beach the day after seeing the Kings of Leon play at The Viper Rooms to an audience of about ten people, including at least four members of the cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

I feel all Englishmen have a duty to build sandcastles when on holiday in foreign climes.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Tied to the 00's #1

There's only a few days of this decade left, over on Facebook my old Glasgow mucker Adam J Smith is dredging his way through his analog photo collection, and sling up images of the last ten years. Whilst he has a great well of experience in the Glasgow/Motherwell music scene to dwell on, my own is a little more modest, more of a niche of my own carving.

Adam Smith and Wee Patrick of Johnny Utah and the Buckeye System
This is a photo from a rehearsal of a band I was in called Johnny Utah and The Buckeye System. We had about a dozen rehearsals, recorded no songs, and played no gigs. At the time of the photo, 2003, the lineup consisted of me, Alan Wolfknuckle Patterson, Lyndsey Smythe, Adam J Smith (here on lead guitar) and Wee Patrick (here on bass guitar). This line up lasted all of three hours as we scared off Patrick.

He went on to play in many of Glasgow's other bands, Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Clockwork Teddy Bear, Sexy Kids and The Royal We before moving to London and became the drummer in Veronica Falls that we know and love today.

Adam currently plays guitar for The Hector Collectors and does backing vocals for The Plimptons.

Actually, on checking out the old 00's internet, it turns out that Johnny Utah and The Buckeye System did actually record a demo. This is My Love For You Is Like a Running Battle, with Alan Wolfknuckle on vocals.
Johnny Utah and The Buckeye System - Running Battle by manc_ill_kid

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Excel adding decimal places

The oddest thing, a bug with Excel that I've never seen before.

In an existing workbook, when I type '90' into a cell and press return it shows up as '0.0009'.

Its nowt to do with the cell formating, when I copy the formating from a kosher cell it does the same. Tried setting the cell formating to number General and Number (with no decimal places) but it makes no difference. I've never had this problem before with this workbook.

So, I'm having to resort to copying and pasting the value I need from elsewhere.

MJ Hibbett - I got you what you want for Christmas

I don't think there's anyone on the blogosphere who doesn't like MJ Hibbett

Here's his latest video I Got You What You Want For Christmas

Lots of odd looking people in that there clip

Quote of the Day

Gotta love Devil's Kitchen
and the more that I talk about it, the more I realise just how right I am.
he's a great read, but he is a just a little bit up himself, bless 'im.

Venue in your town

This will be a slowly growing table of live music venues across the UK, based on size and vibe. I'll be adding to it as and when I can, but its based on the theory that the 13th Note in Glasgow has the same bands and the same vibe as The Buffalo Bar in London or the Night and Day in Manchester.

Tchai Ovna
13th Note
King Tuts
Glasgow Academy

The Adelphi
Town Hall

The Lamb on Conduit Street
The Buffalo Bar
The Luminaire
Bush Hall
Wembley Arena
Students Union
Manchester Academy
MEN Arena

The theory is that you can declare that you quite like going to the Night and Day in Manchester, so if you happen to be in Glasgow, you could pop into the 13th Note and you're likely to have a good time. Aye?

Any more suggestions of venues and towns would be appreciated, leave them in the comments, cheers

Gilmour's Log - Malaga 2009

At Gatwick airport, all excited about going away on holiday even if just for a few days. I was all full of beans. I'm not exactly a seasoned traveller compared to some folk, but I like to travel light and efficiently.

Nina got her bag and coat searched. She wasn't very happy, especially when the security chap identified that the problem was my can of deodorant that I'd snuck into her bag.

I'm just imagining the bag searching gentleman in the staff canteen later, high-fiving his colleagues, "Yeah, saved the world from terrorists again! No one gets cans of deodorant past me! Crikey, how many lives have I saved this week? Hundred probably! High Five!!"
There was this really fat chap sat next to Nina on the plane, mucho thrills and japes just after take off when he needed to go to the loo. Ooh, ooh, I took a cool photo as we were flying over the Isle of Wright, but Nina disagreed and said that it wasn't.

Ahh, Malaga. The airport was much like I remembered it from my last visit, a long trek through car parks to the train station.

We got on the train going the wrong way, should have remembered from last time. The landscape is all dusty, sandy even, red soil, with alien-looking trees. When we realised would transit mistake we alighted at a place called Plaza Mayor, which looked a bit wild-westy, but turned out to be Brent Cross. Same shops and stuff, just spelt differently, for example The Carphone Warehouse was The Phone House, but H&M was still H&M. Whilst we got our barings we had coffee and doughnuts from "Dunkin' Coffee" and took photies of the local wildlife.

They had orange trees, still with fruit. Like c'mon, it winter, what's that about? It's December out there.

All the shop servingy people we met for the first few hours seemed quite angry. I'm pretty sure it wasn't cos of my crap Spanish, cos I speak it almost fluently, mostly by limiting my vocabulary to 'Si!'

The top five nicest shop servingy people are as follows:-
1. The puppy dog eyes girl at the train station ticket office
2. The woman at the first tapas bar.
3. The "Dunkin' Coffee" woman.
4. The woman at the Subway kind of place
5. The woman at the Relay newsagenty place

Time passed at Plaza Mayor and Nina was getting tired, so we got back on the train, this time going the correct way and emerged blinking into the harsh artificial lighting of Malaga's main train station.

It wasn't my fault, the maps at the various stations all said the main Malaga station was closed, so we were at Malaga Marie Zambrano Station. There was a Relay shop selling cards, magazines and tourist guides. We got a map of Malaga and retreated to a table between two escalators to read it.

The map had no Marie Zambrano station so I assumed we were off the edge of the map. It took about eight minutes of pissing around before we discovered that our hotel was right outside where we were.

The hotel was well posh, the room bigger than Glasgow's TravelLodge, and a lot warmer too. Lots of sweeties spread around the room, on desks and bedside tables.

We swiftly got changed for the city awaited us.

So we set off walkingm I chose the way, right, down the street all the way to the river. Not the most exciting neighbourhood, most of the shops were closed and there were roadworks and dog poo.

The river was a wide one with a big grassy bit in the middle for people to walk their dogs on. Across the way was the Centre for Contemporary Art, and then Nina lead me through a small maze of streets to the Coronade Cafe for dos cerveza por favor, paella, mixed salad, fishballs, fried calamari and olives and bread. Nothing complicated, but well nice.

Hmm, warm fuzzy Spanish vibes, cheap too.

After lunch, we wandered though sex shop land, lots and lots of sex shops, Zodiac Mindwarp would be proud. Soon we emerged into the gardeny park place. Nina thought it would be nice if it wasn't for all the traffic.

I was still concerned by all the alien trees, impressive palm trees and these fat trees with big thorns and carpets of ants. Hundreds of orange trees. Wondering that the fat thorny tree was.