Sunday, 23 May 2010

Are your dvd's what they seem?

It may seem like a funny question but having been on the NEO forum, it seems a few of my anime titles may in fact be illegal copies something which seems to be rife.
I had my suspicions about a copy of Clannad After Story that was billed as the Japanese Version - well they all are just subtitled - which arrived with a big sticker over from Anime MegaStore which when I peeled it back revealed it was region zero and was issued on two cd's whereas the US version used four so some highish degree of data reduction was being used to squeeze the content into each disc. The discs were made in Malaysia.

I also realized after checking my Haruhi Taiwanese set was bootlegged too as the official set was Region 3 and again spread over four discs. That one had a stop/start problem for several minutes and as the UK distributor has just re-issued their version four discs I've replaced the Taiwanese import with there's although it's in PAL colour.
I have ordered up the first part of After Story as a US import and completed this by ordering part two.

It is my intention that as soon as any other discs of questionable origin are found and authorized replacements have been identified to replace them all.

The funny thing is that some of these titles for all of that compression do look reasonable compared with either Digital TV or 360/480P streamed pictures which suggests the encoders they use are rather good although when you get a lot of activity you may detect the odd artifacts

And there is this: Some titles have yet to make a Western Version R1 or 2 or like Cardcaptor Sakura don't have readily available dvd's as they were only out briefly. I can't help but wonder if these bootleg titles exist at least in part because they fill a void in the market that could be tackled through simple bare bones packaged sets issued here or in the US.
One things for sure it's often easier to find these copies in search than anything kosher.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Reflections post election.

Generally you won't here much from me on Politics as as much as it interested me it's too divisive a topic and some get very personal over it but anyway here are a few non-partisan thoughts.
Well the results were inconclusive so no one Political party had a majority in the House of Commons as Labour had lost, The Liberal Democrats didn't have a surge on votes and the Tories didn't convince enough to run the country outright.
After much discussion unlike say the Harper government in Ottawa, the Tories here agreed a full blown coalition with the Liberal Democrats sharing government posts and even making the Liberal leader the Deputy Prime Minister.
This no doubt is hard for activists of both parties to accept having spent much of their time in politics accusing each of the being the very devil incarnate but it is clear the UK needs a functioning government.
The UK faces some if the highest public sector debt anywhere in the western world although much of this arises from the necessity to rescue the private sector banks (If only they'd of followed Canadian account conventions rather than US, the excessive risks taken leading to this would never had been passed!).
52% of GDP spent is in public sector and to restore confidence the debt needs to be tackled and this will unfortunately mean reductions in government spending to make a decent start on repayments.
It maybe that this coalition government will identify savings that will not impact adversely on the least well off and already it is clear that health care spending will not be reduced while tackling some of the nations quangos that seem to spend a small fortune on not doing very much.
Another area to explore might be where services are bought. For instance one health trust found buying meats for hospital catering in their locality saved them a lot of money AND kept local farmers in work.
Buying in overnight General Practitioners (MD's) services something whose cost has escalated with agency staff being bought in following a change of contracts a few years back, looks set to examined by the Heath Secretary. This may also tackle issues around continuity in patient treatment.

Although these are early days it is good to see two party leaders put their differences aside to help govern the country in a stable and responsible fashion.

Friday, 7 May 2010


In for GBP £60 at Monsoon is this lovely V necked turquoise Mombassa Tunic in polyester with a drawstring tie at the waist.
Length 83 Cm.

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Grand Illusion

Not the edition where I do a vanishing trick but the title of Styx 1977 album release featuring Come Sail Away and Little Miss America recently remastered by Mr Kevin Grey for Audio Fidelity.
Processing a warm tonal complexion I really like it even if it's not anything really special just the job done right.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Catgut Music edition tm

It may surprise some folk but I do really love the sound of bowed catgut.
It many of the schools I attended we did listen to a lot of non electrical instruments both as recordings and also in live performances and by the age of 8 I'd gotten the catgut music bug having fallen in love with the solo violin part of Scheherazade and even bought a record of it with my allowance. I feel there is something very emotionally compelling in the way it is played that really tugs at your heart strings.
I had a home made stereo record player that while being not as good as my current stereo equipment did enable me to hear the notes reasonable well.
I like the Philharmonia Orchestra recording on Classics for Pleasure (EMI) with Hugh Bean on violin from the early 1960's for the playing and how the orchestral sound isn't manipulated which means it's sounds like you're sat about a third of the way of the front stalls.
If there is one contemporary violinist whose work I follow with interest, it is the German Annie-Sophie Mutter who I first encountered in the early 1980's and to whom I own a good many recordings of including her new recording of the Brahms Violin Sonatas.