Back in 2006 I bought two CDs at the same time: the Arctic Monkeys’ first album and Arcade Fire’s Funeral, which was a couple of years old by then, but I was a bit late in catching up with it.
At the time I can remember thinking (and writing here) that, although I enjoyed the Arctic Monkeys more I suspected that Arcade Fire had more substance and would grow on me a lot and predicted that after a few years I would have forgotten all about the Arctic Monkeys but would still be listening to Arcade Fire.
How wrong can you get? I’m just streaming AM, the new Arctic Monkeys album and it is brilliant. I also still enjoy listening to tracks from the previous four albums. Meanwhile, the only time I even think about Arcade Fire is when I remember how I foolishly compared their prospects.
Mind you, it isn’t the first time my musical predictions have been spectacularly wrong. In the late 80′s I assumed that Destiny’s Child would sink without a trace after a couple of records, and that was only a few years after expecting Arrested Development to be huge. I also expected the Bravery to be huge.
But I’m not too upset about my lack of predictive powers. Listening to the new Arctic Monkeys, I’m just glad I was wrong about them.
Back to work tomorrow after two days of training. Being on training courses is a strange and pleasant experience, like a verson of work through the looking glass. You are still in a corporate-branded environment but you need not even look at a computer all day.
The food is the same as in the normal work canteen (exactly the same since it is brought from the work canteen in a van) but it is free and you just take the plates to a table without putting everything on a tray. Even the cutlery is better. The coffee is free too, and tastes better than the Costa stuff at work – being in a proper mug instead of a disposable cup probably helps. You even get to stir it with proper spoons instead of bits of wood.
Amongst all the scoffing, you get to talk about the concepts and theories behind work, without any of the interruptions of work.
A shame that few companies have the sort of budgets for training that we used to enjoy at ICL in the 80s and 90s, where it was normal to get at least 10 days of training in a year, but it makes you appreciate the courses you do get all the more.
Back to reality tomorrow, when I will probably find that all the new stuff I have learned has made room in my brain by pushing out my passwords to login to the network.
September 6th, 2013 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Work
Soon after my scribblings about CVs I found that somebody I know has not only had a bright idea about CVs but has actually done something about it. She has done her own CV as an infographic:
An unconventional CV
It is certainly eye-catching, though it would probably be more successful in jobs that are in some sort of creative field, and might need to be supplemented with something more traditional to give specific details of previous jobs and achievements.
The bits I like best are the word cloud, the career timeline and the software bit. If I’m being fussy, I’d say that the word cloud is a bit repetitive with the word ‘communication’ but it does ram that point home! Perhaps a few specific skills like ‘writing’ or ‘public speaking’ should have prominence.
The proof will be in whether this helps her get a job, but I have to say that if I was recruiting in the fields that this covers I would stop to look at it, and want to read any more info that was attached.
Of course, the real reason this works is that it is different. Now would be a good time to try something similar, while it is still a novelty. I would do one for myself if not for a few things:
I am happy with my job and have no intention of moving on
It would take forever for me to do it with MS Paint (I wouldn’t actually use MS Paint, but I don’t have any vector graphics packages or skills in them)
I would spoil it (and probably infringe IP somehow) by doing the timeline in the style of a tube map
I have no artistic talent. Any infographic of mine would end up looking like something attached to a fridge with magnets.
The biggest disadvantage is that you really can’t easily tailor it for specific job applications, though you could tailor any backup material associated with it. I do like the concept and I wish Ruth luck with her job-hunting.
I was doing a bit of channel-surfing tonight and happened upon a programme on Sky Arts which has musicians playing live sessions in a studio. I think it is called something like the Basement Sessions. When I got to it it was halfway through a song by somebody I didn’t know and I might have carried on through the channels but something got me hooked.
It all sounded a bit jazzy, and I have to be in the right mood for jazzy stuff. There were two men playing bass guitar, one on keyboards and a drummer with a pretty minimal kit, but he was doing amazing things with a kit about 10% the size and scope of what, say, Neil Peart has. One of the bass players had a bass that seemed to have at least 6 strings and a neck like a Chapman Stick. They were playing in a sort of noodly jazz fusion style, but it was totally hypnotic. One song seemed to go on for about 8 minutes, with very few lyrics, but I kind of wished it would go on for ever.
It turned out to be somebody called Thundercat. His playing reminded me of Jaco Pastorius, but a lot more intricate at times. Having never heard of him, I looked him up: his Wikipedia entry is minimal and none of his sole albums are on Spotify, though I suspect he is better heard live anyway.
It just so happens that he was also in Suicidal Tendencies for 9 years. OK, so that is a band that has been going for over 30 years with a constantly changing lineup so almost everybody has been in it at some time, but what a difference in mood.
Here are a couple of clips of Thundercat: one a sort of solo effort and the other with Suicidal Tendencies. Compare and contrast.
It only struck me yesterday, but there is something terribly ironic about all those adverts on TV with the Welsh opera singer, the meerkats and the little number plate-checking robot.
All those adverts have one thing in common: they are trying to build up brand awareness and brand loyalty with the public. All the companies’ business models are the same: trying to persuade us to not stick with our current suppliers but to go wherever the best deal is today.
As an example of irony it is right up there with internet magazines which are full of stories telling us how everything we want is on the net so we don’t need magazines any more.
The other day I started to prepare for our impending hoday by stocking up on some reading matter. Our last holiday was a bit of a disaster in that department: Jayne took one book, thinking it would last her but finished it after a couple of days. I thought I was better prepared with my Sony Reader but hadn’t read the manual so when I plugged it into a USB mains adaptor it sucked the remaining power out of it instead of recharging.
This time we both have Kindles, which you can charge without a computer, though with a full charge before setting off we could go the whole time without needing to charge. [Read more →]
I have spent a large part of the last week in the 1980s, largely thanks to Spotify’s new recommendation feature.
I was a bit miffed when the page that used to show new releases was replaced by something called ‘discover’, and then I was amused when it started giving bizarre recommendations, but I’m starting to like it. I may not be discovering so much new contemporary music, but I’m finding a lot of old stuff that is new to me. [Read more →]
I’m just wondering whether I am being a miserable old misanthrope for getting annoyed by the sound of people enjoying themselves or if they are being unreasonable? Or are both true?
Fortunately this is out the back so we can’t hear it from our bedroom. It only disturbs me in my study, when I am awake anyway, and doesn’t stop us sleeping (unless it spills out into the street when people make their loud goodbyes later on). Having said that, the back bedrooms in our road are the smaller ones and therefore usually occupied by kids.
A few bits of extra information:
This isn’t a one-off. Miserable as I am I can understand that everybody has events every now and then which merit a celebration. This is not a party: just a few people sitting out in their back garden with some friends. Always the same friends by the sound of it.
During the summer they have been like this several times in a week, and sometimes several nights in a row, and not always at a weekend.
This is only half-past midnight. From experience it gets louder and is still going at 2am.
I’m sitting here listening to thrash metal on the PC and the noise is still disturbing me!
I think I will be the only person in my department who is not working from home tomorrow. I think I will do my bit for team solidarity and integrating properly with my colleagues by turning up at the office in my pyjamas so I can work the same way as everybody else.
k: The album art comes from a Magic: the Gathering card!
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