Thursday, 27 September 2012

The great flooding of Northwich

We've had heavy rainfall this week causing considerable difficulties although where I am we've not flooded being just removed from the paths of the Rivers Dane and Weaver here in Cheshire.
Unfortunately in one of towns the organization I work for has offices, we suffered extensive problems with flooding, road closures and so on.
Northwich town centre.
As you can see not much moving there!
Hopefully it'll be over in a few days time although that'll be when the insurance claims and visits by loss adjusters will be set up.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Don't Go

Frankly I'm dogtired, unwell and you might be feeling like say, get your %^* in bed young lady and take a rest but I'm not cos I'm a bit stubborn at times even though I'm not related to a donkey!
But anyway I'll be good and not spend so long on this!!!
The early 80's for those of us around at the time were a pretty amazing period to live through musically and one of the big things was the synthesizer what could make pretty much any sound you cared to program it and it was possible to for the frist time to remove the traditional structure of the rock band or backing group completely.
This freed up the options and one very popular synthesizer group option was the Duo examples of which are Soft Cell, the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure but that latter group had someone who came from a group that was famous for 15 minutes - well okay two years - before splitting up and getting together again a few years back.
That group was called Yaz or Yazoo if you're a Brit who came from Basildon, Essex with Vince Clarke being a previous member of the highly successful Depeche Mode with Alison Moyet who came from the same school.
They had two hit albums Upstairs at Eric's named after a nightclub they went to and You and Me Both and a number of hit 45's Don't Go, Only You, Nobody's Diary, The Inside of Love and Situation (at least in North America).
Recently Music Club Deluxe issued this double album with those hit 45's most of the bands two albums and some hard to find 12" mixes which I got as a pre-order for a fiver as I don't have any Yaz on cd.
Alison had a successful jazz/blues solo career with Columbia records issuing a compilation in 1995 while Vince had a quite a time of chartoppers Erasure with hits like Sometimes, Stop! and the Abbesque EP all featured on their 1992 compilation Pop! which isn't available to download so you'll need to get the cd and rip it for your music player! (Groans)

Friday, 14 September 2012

Wall Street shuffle

"The online Miss with masters degree in punnery" is the tag line at my account at a certain social network which as those unfortunate enough to encounter me know is true enough so why would it surprise anyone that among many music acts I liked 10cc, a Manchester based on would be one?
Simply apart from their excellent musicianship each being multi-talented coming on as a budgie on supercharge Trill, the bands lyricists shared the same love of punnery as I do as well as sending whole genres of music with style.
Recently I got this Dutch 3 cd compilation:
This is a distillation over three cds and 51 tracks of the total output of the group from 1970 as Hotlegs through the peaks of tracks like 1975's Life's a Minestrone with epic punnery and great use of nonsense chanting of minestrone in syllables to their last album from 1983 plus for good measure some 80's gems by Godley and Creme such as Cry and Under Your Thumb that are in the same style.Tracks like I'm Mandy, Fly Me, Good Morning Judge, One Night in Paris (a mini opera of Parisienne fun set in Stockport of all places) are all desert island stuff for me. Did UK pop in the 70's get anymore intelligent without getting all po-faced?
Including tracks by Wax, the band formed by Graham Gouldman and Andrew Gold, might of appealed to completists but I feel regardless of merit, they would just jar next to the 10cc material and in any event are included on the Music Club Deluxe Andrew Gold double compilation issued a few years back that I'd recommended to Andrew Gold fans.
The mastering for those are concerned as much as I am about the trend in the last 15 years toward louder more bloated sounding cds is pretty good if not quite up to the dynamic contrasts of the original  mid 80's Mercury era 10cc albums issued in Europe or the original Greatest Hits cd issued in the 80's.
For the modest price this set cost's it's worth owning either on it's own or in conjuction with a collection of original studio albums.
1997's remasters done by Roger Wake which remain the only in print regular editions are frankly crap -a word I'd seldom use on this blog ever - lacking detail, distorted complete with obvious tape drag. People, don't waste your money on them as even the original artwork included in say the 80's cd of  How Dare You has gone AWL for the remastered edition replaced by an essay of sorts.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

An end of an era

This isn't a a post I personally felt like making earlier on but actually with some some redacts I shall.
As many of you are aware I enjoy anime and manga reading much about it, buying magazines and spending money on it.
Here in the UK there is a very good 4 weekly magazine, NEO, published by Uncooked Media that has played a big role in popularizing anime and it's subcultures such as cosplaying as well as Asian culture.
Well from the moment I first saw it, I bought every issue and one of the things it had was  a website that offered more up to the minute news and a lively forum where people talked about things, contributed to threads that influenced the magazine covering  suggestions for content, reviews.
Coming from a close involvement with a forum with more drama than Shakespeare could come up, with it was a forum where I felt everyone gelled well together sharing their mutual interests even if complaints about a prominent magazine advertiser stocking counterfeit goods tended to be ignored time after time and anything critical regarding this disappearing.
Then at the beginning of this year, there was a bombshell as the Magazine and by extension its owner ditched the forum for a Facebook page as its sole means of communicating with it's readership with not even an announcement to forum members, dropping of any mention of it in side the magazine.
Because it relied as some forums do on manual authorizing of accounts for a period new members couldn't use it and because no one with administrator privileges was dealing with this, it was ripe for spamming.
Somewhat belatedly a person was given responsibility for looking after it but without making any personal comments the impression one forms is it isn't really their priority and attempts to allow involvement by long standing responsible members stalled for reasons I'm not going into.
The problem as anyone who knows about these things are, your core members drift off  - and many have - and with the problem around authorizing, moderating and banning spammers not really solved and looking very much that it won't be  is simple: Over time the forum dies off.
Now I have no issue with using differing media to interact with readers but a forum is a very different beast than a Facebook page with 'likes' and entries to just reply to and treating a community you created like that comes over as very shabby.
I shall be at Anime UK news under a new username. If you're at CR too you can message me there for it.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Music reset!

I've spend a few days remaking a number of MiniDiscs of Diana Ross following acquiring newly remastered cds and writing edited versions of the Mp3's from the laptop.
To recap for those who weren't around in the 90's they looked like this and run up to 80minutes and 59 Seconds.
One reason and I'm not alone in saying this is although it uses a data reduction format, it actually sounds better than many contemporary digital music players such as iPods even when playing lossless files because the electronics are geared more around high quality sound than running lots of features and making the most of a weak current low voltage power source. The people at the MiniDisc forum on Sonys website feel the same.
MiniDisc Forum @ Sony
The output stages in particular are limited in how well they can drive headphones well so even when you take a Mp3 intended for one and copy it over to MiniDisc, it sounds better via the MiniDisc than being played on a solid state player. Ironically the best headphone output I have from a solid state device is this laptop but that's hardly portable!
You just have to remember to pack a few discs in your coat or short pockets which is where these 2 albums per disc compilations come in missing off less essential bonus tracks come in. Diana Ross's music is enjoyable on long bus or train rides so having her studio albums from 1970 thru 1980 on just five MiniDiscs will keep me entertained!
My Sharp runs off a single AA cell for over 20 hours too.