November 13th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology
A plethora of remotes
Last week Jayne treated me to some new toys as a 50th birthday present.
She said she wanted to get me something special, but I really couldn’t think of anything I wanted. It isn’t that I have everything, just that I have everything I want. She suggested a new PC that I wouldn’t complain about all the time, but I kind of like complaining. iPads weren’t even mentioned. I think she knows how indifferent I am to them.
Then I remembered that my old surround amp effectively packed up a couple of years ago… [Read more →]
October 18th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Life
I have just started reading David Nobbs’ new novel The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger (thanks Jane!) and came across something very interesting on page 12. The hero, Sir Gordon Coppinger, is wondering whether the press had information about an infidelity of his and whether they would write anything about it:
He was invulnerable as his fellow ‘sir’, Jimmy Savile had been, because the great British public would not allow him to be attacked. They loved him so much, just as much as he in his turn hated them.
The story in the book starts in the autumn of 2011, on the morning of Monday October 31st to be precise, so just a couple of days after Jim’ll died. It is due to be published next month, but I got my copy at the end of September at about the same time as the allegatins started going public though obviously it would have been written some time before. I don’t know how long Nobbs takes to write a novel or how long it takes for the finished article to go through the various stages before printing but can safely assume it is at least several months.
I found it interesting because the impact of that throwaway line is so different now to how it would have been anticipated or intended, but it is such an elliptical comment. I do wonder exactly what the author is alluding to. As a writer with a long and distinguished career in television Nobbs must know all sorts of people and know all sorts of things. Had he heard rumours? Specific rumours? Anything more concrete?
Interesting that even though Savile was presumably dead by the time this was written everything is still kept vague and suggestive an what about the idea that the British public would not allow him to be attacked? It has certainly been proved wrong this month, but is that how it was seen at the time? Were anti-Jim stories spiked because he was so popular?
I just think it is cool that a novel, which necessarily has a quite long lead time, can be so topical.
Now trying to decide if David Nobbs is a visionary who knew what was coming, an evel genius who engineered the whole of Savilegate to get publicity for his book or just plain lucky. Doesn’t matter really, he is still an excellent writer who is perhaps unfairly just seen as a sitcom writer.
October 11th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Politics
Earlier today I came across something that quoted from the Tory plans to relax planning regulations and save the country by building conservatories, and a thought struck me.
Cameron (and Clegg) were talking about legislation to make it harder for residents to hold up development and for building to go ahead on the green belt and there were words (which I can’t find now) about how red tape is preventing families having the homes they want.
They talked about “meeting the aspirations of families that want to buy or improve a home”.
I just wondered how all this applies to Dale Farm and similar places
Tags: Tories·Town Planning
October 9th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Life
As a card-carrying leftie I don’t want to like anything connected to Rupert Murdoch, but sometimesI can’t help it. Obviously there is the Times crossword, but that was around long before he bought it up, and the Bugle podcast which News International kept funding for ages, but somethign has been happening with Sky over the last few years. [Read more →]
October 8th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Life
I made a very rare trip into the town centre last week for a small shopping spree (a few DVDs, some bits of clothing and new bedding) and found it a really depressing experience.I know I am partly to blame for not being a good consumer and only venturing to the shops every couple of months, and that if everybody shopped as rarely as me the whole town centre would go bust, but I don’t see much in town to tempt me there more often.
Just since my last visit the shop that replaced Dixons has gone, the video games shops have gone, the clothes shop in the new pavilion is now a pound shop and I think JJB folded the day before I went down there. It feels like at least half the units are now charity shops, pound shops, vacant units or just shops selling strange tat. The only growth seems to be in coffee shops.
The industrial estate is little better. Every time a factory is pulled down it is replaced with long term parking for the airport.
There are new businesses but very few count as any sort of expansion. Mostly they are taking over the premises of another failed enterprise, and some them will be over-optimistic ventures doomed to fail before long. Has Crawley peaked?
September 16th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Life
I recently watched the first two series of Torchwood on DVD. For the purposes of entertainment I am quite capable of willingly suspending disbelief, just like I was taught to at school, but only up to a point.
I’ll go along with there being a rift in space and time at Cardiff, I’ll accept that everybody in the world (with the exception of Rhys and PC Andy) is bisexual, I can go along with the idea that Torchwood is ultra, ultra, top secret but even grannies in Cardiff know all about them, but I still can’t believe that Torchwood only provides one company vehicle and that they all refer to it as “the SUV”.
Nobody actually refers to SUVs as SUVs do they? Surely they would just call it a car. At a push they might refer to it as a jeep (even though it is actually a Land Rover or Range Rover. I’m not Jeremy Clarkson so I’m not sure which it is) perhaps. We used to have a little Suzuki 4×4 and just used to call it a car or sometimes jeep just to differentiate between it and the Fiesta we had at the same time. Maybe Americans would and Cap’n Jack is somehow American even though he is from another planet, but even Gwen refers to it as “the SUV”.
Even the deus ex machina ending of Miracle Day is more believable than that!
September 12th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music
A couple of weeks ago Channel 4 had a programme called House Party, which was quite remarkable for several reasons, not least because hardly anybody I know has remarked on it at all.
What they did was, they had a DJ booth in a studio and 6 DJs played one-hour sets, one after the other starting at midnight. I’ll admit two things:
- I did watch it all
- I didn’t stay up to watch it
[Read more →]
September 9th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Music
The Chemical Brothers’ concert film Don’t Think has been on my Amazon wish list for a while because all the reviews of it in magazines and newspapers said that it was awesome and the closest you will get to actually being at a show without actually being at a show. Tonight it was shown on the TV, on Sky Arts. Not sure if it was the whole thing or not, but it was nearly two hours long and not the one-hour edit that a lot of concert films get when shown on the box.
It was everything the critics said, but also it was disappointing because while it may be as close as you can get to the experience of seeing the Chemical Brothers live it really doesn’t have anywhere near the impact. Maybe it would have been better if I had whacked the TV up to neighbour-shredding levels and had a much larger screen.
What I remember of the show at the Alexandra Palace is a relentless wall of sound coupled with a relentless wall of light. I have seen Metallica, Thin Lizzy and assorted punk bands but the Chemical Brothers is the loudest act I have ever heard and possibly the best light show I have seen – and I have seen Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd.
The film probably does as well as any film could but maybe it is one of those films you really do need to see in a cinema.
September 7th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Politics
I’m still half-expecting to find that the government’s new big plan (to allow bigger extensions for a year) is a wind-up.
Miliband is right, and a bit amusing, when he points out that it doesn’t amount to an economic plan, but it also has the potential to be quite disruptive in other ways too. These proposals would take some plans out of the planning system and remove the need to get planning permission which could be great for somebody wanting a large, ugly extension. They won’t have to worry about it going to a planning committee meeting and having their neighbours stand up to voice their objections.
Not so good for the neighbours though. I have seen people object quite strenuously to applications that looked pretty unobjectionable to me. I reckon there are a lot of people out there who would be more than a little put out if the house next door grew by 26 feet and they couldn’t even say anything about it. I wonder if there is a backlog of plans that would never get approved by any sensible council that would suddenly be permissible.
There is also the prospect of years worth of hassle in council planning meetings. Once the amnesty ends it will still be hard to refuse any future applications for 8-metre extensions, even if it is fugly and overbearing.
Tags: Town Planning
September 4th, 2012 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology
At the moment I am re-reading a humorous book about computers from 1996 called Dave Barry in Cyberspace. I have quite a few of his books and like to dip into the ones that are basically collections of his newspaper columns every now and then because they are light reading and more or less timeless. This isn’t timeless. It was probably a bit quaint by 1997 and now it feels like a historical document.
It has been a real trip down memory lane to read topical jokes about Windows 95, 6xCD-ROM drives, AOL floppies, and computers with 4MB of RAM, with lots of “oh yes, I remember that” moments. The book was written at a time when the web was just a part of the internet and not the whole thing like some people might think now. Connecting to the internet involved modems, engaged tones at peak times, call charges, and long, long waits for any web page to appear. ‘Information Superhighway’ was still a relatively new term and not yet totally cliched. Ironic really because, looking back, it was just an overgrown path compared to what we have now.
Some of the things mentioned in there have survived. Smiley faces, LOL, LMAO and IMHO were in pre-internet bulletin boards and lasted through IRC, instant messaging, forums and through to SMS, BBM and other current media. The amusing thing is that, as with sex, the current crop of teenagers think they invented it and expect us oldies to be confused by textspeak like LOL when it has been around for longer than any of the teenagers.
There was one thing that stood out though. It was in very common usage in 1996 and had been for quite some time by then but I can’t remember seeing it used for ages now. Whatever happened to <g>?
1996. Only 16 years ago, but while you might hear a hit song from then (Don’t Look Back in Anger for example) and be surprised it is that old, all the computer stuff seems pre-historic.