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What the fip?

May 23rd, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

I’m not sure what to make of the new ‘listening report’ feature on Last.fm.

Generally I am happy to just listen to music without analysing it all, but it is sometimes fun to look into the statistics and get a few surprises. For example, I was a little surprised to see that last week I listened to 62 different artists on Spotify but the one I listened to the most (16 tracks) was Simian Mobile Disco.

Most surprising was the map of genres listened to. A lot of it was as expected: krautrock, rock, punk, grime, classic rosk, synthpop, indie, new wave, ska, but very surprised to not see reggae, rap and soul in there – unless some of it counted as “70s” because I tend to stick to the old stuff. Amongst all those genres there was one big surprise though: apparently around about April 20th I listened to a fair bit of fip.

Surprising because I have never even heard of it. In fact I went to look it up on Wikipedia and I still don’t understand what it means. FIP is a French radio station, and the genre seems to be defined as the sort of music played on FIP, which plays various genres.

Somehow I feel that I know a little bit less than I did yesterday.

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Busy weekend

May 7th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

We have had a busy and eventful weekend, by our standards. [Read more →]

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Mouldy Old Dough

April 17th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Today’s suggestions for me on Spotify included an album by Lieutenant Pigeon called “Mouldy Old Dough and other hits“. I do hope the title is tongue-in-cheek or it is re-defining the definitions of “hits” and “other” as well as the concept of plurals.

I was interested enough to look them up on Wikipedia and found that they did actually have one other hit after Mouldy Old Dough – Desperate Dan, which reached number 17 in the charts. I wasn’t interested enough to actually listen to either on Spotify though, not when there are Tom Tom Club remixes and a new Manic Street Preachers album to play instead.

Not that I stayed completely in my comfort zone. I also came across a new album collaboration between Sly & Robbie and some Norwegian jazz musicians called Nordub. Who knew that dub reggae and jazz trumpet would work so well together?

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Debut LPs

March 13th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

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I saw a comment in the music press this week by Alex Kapranos about the B-52’s album The B-52’s. He said:

Is there a debut LP that can match this one? I’ve not heard it. From another planet. Called Claire.

He does have a point. It was something that really stood out, and you could listen to it all the way through – nothing that you always skipped. It got me thinking about other debut LPs that really announced a new band in a big way, sometimes to the extent of overshadowing everything else at the time, but also everything that act did subsequently. Incidentally, Alex’s own Franz Ferdinand LP could be a contender for that. Here are a few of my own favourite debut LPs, in no particular order, except the the first one is the absolute best. [Read more →]

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On the road again

March 12th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

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Today I arranged to take my scooter in to get the seat lock sorted out. I went down to the lock-up to get it and tried the key before going out and of course it worked first time. It was inevitable really. I still took it to the shop because they had a top-box to fit. So not only am I mobile again, but I have loads of extra storage space.

Also inevitable was the miserable weather, so while I was there I got myself a pair of waterproof over-trousers, which I probably should have done in the first place, but at least now I have plenty of space to keep them. The weather forecast for tomorrow is a lot better, and I have another day off work so maybe I’ll take a spin out in the country to put some miles on the clock so I can get the first service done.

 

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The Usual Suspects

March 9th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

I spent a large part of today listening to The Usual Suspects by Jah Wobble & The Invaders of the Heart on Spotify. If you like dub basslines with krautrock and world music influences then I can’t recommend this highly enough. Apart from those juicy basslines, there is also some brilliant-sounding drumming on it. The album came out last year and somehow I missed it, but I’m making up for that now.

I am still finding Spotify great for discovering stuff that I would otherwise not have heard, a lot of which becomes a firm favourite – like Public Service Broadcasting, Information Society, Jane Weaver and Sleaford Mods. I have lost count of the times I have come across something that is years old but totally passed me by at the time – like Cymande.

And let’s be honest, if I was relying on buying CDs, listening to the radio, and getting recommendations from the music press I really doubt I would have ever heard Les Ogres de Barback or all those German punk bands.

But for all those obscure delicacies, I see that the top five artists I have listened to in the last month includes Motorhead and Bananarama. MAybe I just like living in the past.

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Scooter dilemma

March 7th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Last week I came home from work to find my scooter on its side in the front garden. With all the bad weather I thought it might have blown over, with the wind getting under the cover and treating it like a giant sail. Jayne thought that someone might have tried to nick it, and I am starting to think she may have been right. Perhaps the cover meant that it was not apparent that there was a sodding great padlocked chain through the front wheel and some scoundrel pushed it forward off the stand then realised it couldn’t be wheeled away and just let it drop?

Whatever the cause, it leaves me with a problem, because the key will not unlock the seat. I could live without the under-seat storage if I really had to, but the petrol tank access is inside the seat. Before this happened I was well into the red and had intended to fill up but now I have to take it back to the shop to get looked at and I can’t absolutely guarantee that there is enough fuel to get me there, although there probably is. It is only 5 miles or so away.

Still, it is going to be a stressful 5 mile ride. I can’t believe I have broken the thing with less than 150km on the clock and I wasn’t even anywhere near it at the time.

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Worth the weight

March 7th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Last week at the hospital, my doctor was very, very upset with me for putting on 8kg since the last time I saw him, and I have been feeling bad about that. I even avoided chocolate all weekend out of guilt.

Tonight I weighed myself at home on our hi-tech scales and they had me at about 8kg less than what the hospital said. I may have to binge on Mars bars tomorrow.  I knew I shouldn’t trust scales built into a chair. At the time it felt like they were tricking me into being weighed.

Of course, it may be that the hospital scales were not so bad, but it was cold so I was wearing lots of heavy clothes and wearing big steel toecap boots and that may have contributed.

It does not change the fact that I am overweight and I know I am, but its good to know that I may not be quite as bad as I thought. To think that only two weeks ago I was celebrating because I got some jeans that were 2 inches smaller than usual and they fitted perfectly.

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The invisible man

February 21st, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

One thing that nobody warned me about when I decided to become a scooterist was that you become a non-person as far as traffic lights are concerned.  A couple of times I have been sitting at a red light that just never changes because the bike does not get detected by the induction loop under the road. You just have to sit there like an idiot until a car comes along behind you and then the lights will change. This is a real issue if you are going through Manor Royal at night when you can sit for 10 minutes or more without a car coming along, and even 5 minutes feels like an hour when you are at a red light on an empty road. [Read more →]

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All you can eat statistics

February 21st, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

One of the good things that the UK government does is to make piles of its datasets available on the internet. I find it quite easy to get lost in piles of data, making odd connections or discovering unexpected things. This evening I have been looking at vehicle statistics, which are here. [Read more →]

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