Tuesday, January 12, 2016

...best avoided...

No point at the moment going on about David Bowie.  And I don't have anything different or half as interesting to say about him as thousands (millions probably) of other people.  But one quick thought...

I hadn't really thought very much about this previously, but you don't really get people who don't like David Bowie.  Not very many people would expect you to like everything he ever did, but surely everyone likes, or more likely loves a swathe of Bowie?

If they don't, I'd suggest that like people who don't like the Beatles, they be looked at suspiciously - and best avoided...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I am the Byrds!

I’ve been reading Jon Ronson’s book “So you’ve been publicly shamed” this weekend – and very good it is too.  The subject of plagiarism comes up in the book and this reminded me of something - I wrote the Byrds’ song Chestnut Mare!  I worry about the subject of plagiarism because I think that as well as it being something an unscrupulous individual might do it’s also possible to do by accident.  Hence my particular ahem, Chestnut…

Thing is that years ago I had this bit of a song I’d written that I really wanted to use but never did.  In hindsight it really wasn’t that great but my young self thought it was pretty good and certainly worth using.  I was particularly pleased that the chords changed quite fast under the melody which is / was not something I do that often.  It was just a chorus but I also had some words that seemed to sit with it really well.  Not great words mind but I thought I could use them and hang a song on it.  The words I had were something like ‘I’m going to get out there if I can’.  I might have played it to a couple of band members or something, I don’t remember.  It never got used. 

Scroll forward around 10 years and I heard the Byrd’s Chestnut Mare on the radio “I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can” – shit!  That’s my tune! Not only is that my tune but that’s pretty much my words too.  Thing is that before then I had never heard that song.  Absolutely not!  But well, it’s so close that I simply must have done – it was around on the radio when I was a kid (a Wikipedia entry tells me) so rather than the very very unlikely chance of it being a coincidence, it’s much more likely I’d heard it (maybe even a few times) and forgotten – and there it was popping out years later as if it was my own tune.  Luckily I never finished it, recorded it or released it.  And maybe if I had taken it further someone would have spotted the problem in advance and stopped me.  Point is that I nicked an important chunk of someone else’s song completely by accident.  In the modern world it seems very unlikely that the Twittersphere (or ‘one Twitter user’ or ‘observers took to Twitter’ as the modern media substitute for journalism has it) would (and we’re back to Jon Ronson’s book now) would have forgiven me.  And if I had any money it would have been presumably been taken off me by record company lawyers. 


I, ladies and gentlemen of the jury was a plagiarist.  And I had no idea…  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Floody Hell!

I happened to catch the Mail on Sunday today (and no, I didn’t buy it…) The front page was about the floods that are happening hereabouts (North of England anyway). “Cities submerged” it said. That didn’t sound quite right to me. So here are the first definitions of the word ‘submerged’ I could find on-line:

"Cause (something) to be under water".

"Descend below the surface of an area of water".

"Completely cover or obscure".

So presumably at least 2 British cities were submerged. Under water. Completely! But when I turned over the page somehow the floods were a little less serious. In fact the Mail on Sunday considered a picture of Barbara Windsor dressed as a nurse in a Carry On film more important than the floods. Turn over again and there was more flood news – apparently there were “towns like Venice”. Hang on the Mail on Sunday - between page 1 and page 4 (with only a brief stop-over for Barbara Windsor) the sunken cities you were reporting have become partially flooded towns? Bad enough, but not quite the same eh?

Later on I’m sure I heard Radio 4 say that Leeds was flooded too. I drove to Leeds today (with no hold-ups on the road since you ask and no floods visible) and it turns out that it's not flooded - parts of Kirkstall Road and other bits near the river are flooded. Bad enough, but there are people out there who might think that there were submerged cities in the North of England and that Leeds was flooded. Some places are flooded. But not 98% of Leeds. And no cities are submerged.

Mind you, there are parts of Birmingham that are no-go areas to non-Muslims - Ha!

Friday, December 18, 2015

You're an eeediot Senor actor in a phone advert...

I just saw an advert on the telly for one of those things where they tell you how clever their phone or software is because you can ask Cortina or whatever 'her' name is about stuff.  Or maybe you just ask the phone?  Maybe it was Google or Android or a phone company...who cares because no-one actually notices what adverts are for anymore, which is why the whole industry is wasting its time so far as I can see.

Anyway...There's a man pretending to be at a railway station in Spain and he asks his phone "Can you tell me what the Spanish is for 'how much is a train ticket home' please".

The translation comes up on his phone and he shows it to the young, attractive, smiley (and no doubt typical) Spanish ticket seller and well, everything seems to work out just fine and dandy.  Good jaaarb!

One thing occurs to me though.  Isn't it likely that the ticket seller would reply with 'it depends where your home actually is you halfwit; funnily enough I don't actually know where everyone in the world lives, even those who wave their phone in my face..."

Perhaps I just spend too much time in the real world to 'get' the alternate universe of adland.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

My self-reported wellbeing status by a validated wellbeing measure conducted at baseline...

Here's a small sample of the kind of thing that I see in one of my temporary / part-time jobs - bureaucratic nonsense-speak - from the NHS in this case.  I've 'anonymised' it - good for me!

..."The evaluation plans to measure the experience of residents in a quantitative way focusing on their experiences of integration and their self- reported wellbeing status.  XX have a tried and tested way of gathering this data through their current patient involvement work delivered via XX, which utilises trained volunteers to carry out one–to-one interviews.  This good practice will be built on to carry out the care homes evaluation. It is proposed that interviews are conducted using a resident survey comprised of a validated wellbeing measure and a small selection of the National Voices “I” statements. These will be conducted at baseline and at appropriate intervals throughout the programme. Ideally we would have a control group to strengthen methodological quality and would again welcome being a national site for this work. We are working across all care home sites to encourage consistency of measurement by all opting to use the same wellbeing tool".

...'Carries on for hundreds of pages' as they might say in Private Eye.

I'd like to say here that even 'professionals' in this field generally speak English and why they should have to wade through this sludge is a mystery.  As is why anyone would want to write like this.  I imagine it's an attempt to be specific and professional and the jargon is justified in those terms. But why dos no-one shout ''this is fcukign bullshit'! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!

So my self-reported well-being status is 'pissed off'!  - By a validated wellbeing measure conducted at baseline...


This may smart a little

Had a ‘smart meter’ fitted recently.  2 in fact.  I’m not sure how smart they are, I rather imagine their squat little metal selves squeezed into foamy dinner jackets in their cobwebby cupboards quietly frustrated at the lack of public approbation of their appearance - but I wasn’t in when they were fitted so I haven’t actually seen either of them.  And they weren’t actually smart enough to keep the central heating working after the fitters left, having checked, apparently, that the heating did actually still work.  Fixing that involved a call to the central heating boiler people who were actually quite helpful. 

So yes, little Eon came round, fitted new meters and gave us a fancy computer display thing with 2 fat instruction books – I found the display plugged in next to the kettle when I came home.  It’s covered in buttons and options and whatnot.  Apparently it saves energy by telling you how much you’re using – at least it does for those of you who stop doing something when you realise we’re paying for it.  All via a gizmo that ironically one has to plug in to make work.  

It seems that our energy use increases when we turn stuff on, and decreases when we turn stuff off.  So now we live in the dark, don’t use the shower and drink off-milk.  Either that or we slung the horrid, awkwardly shaped, nasty little over technologised thing in the drawer with the 35 unlabelled power supply transformers for stuff we don’t know if we still have or not.  So well done little EON.  We have another piece of computer clevery-pokery that we don’t use and no doubt cost us consumers what I would guess was a pretty penny.  I wonder how much would have been saved if they’d spent the same amount of money on insulating little old lady’s lofts?  And you can fit that without breaking the central heating…

For those of you who like technology but haven't yet worked out that using electric powered devices uses electricity this may be useful.  I reckon it's a pointless damned thing...

How big Mister T?!

The Travelodge people have been in touch flogging their new “delicious new unlimited breakfast”.  This they say is “now bigger and better than ever”.

I have one question – how can an unlimited breakfast now be bigger?  10% bigger than ‘unlimited’?  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Johnny Johnny!

I just caught a bit of a telly advert - seems Johnny Depp is advertising a new perfume called “Sauvage” 

I have a question.  Is that pronounced a bit like “sausage” Or is it as I so very much hope “so-vadge”? 

Once again I have to ask how that one got signed off by the marketing department?  Maybe it was just 'Savage' and I mis-read it?  Or maybe marketing really is a much a nonsense as it seems to be...

It's 40 quid for 60ml too.  For those desperate to know, I buy underarm stuff from Tesco’s at 30p a go (when they have it in).

Good Evening Duran Ballet!

I’m reliably informed by an audience member that when Duran Duran came on stage last night at Leeds (name of the bank it’s associated with deliberately removed) Arena one of the band said ‘Goodnight Newcastle’ - and had to apologise.  Blimey!

This is of course something of a cliché, but one usually associated with wasted rock bands doing massive tours and out of their minds on whatever.  But a veteran pop band doing a tour of UK enormodomes?

How difficult must it be to actually not know what city you’re in? There aren’t that many dates on the tour, presumably you get information from the tour manager, you get fans contacting you and old mates who want in on the guest-list mail and tweets and whatnot – and surely you can’t help seeing the odd sign out of the window of the tour bus?  So how do you actually prevent any of the information you’re being bathed in actually sinking in?  I'm beginning to think someone's not that bright...      

Saturday, October 10, 2015

For those not in favour of grinding the faces of the poor...

Gigs on the front page again...

Shipley Kirkgate Centre Friday 13th November 2015 

This is a benefit for the er, benefit of the People's Assembly - Bradford area - opposing grinding the faces of the poor...Round Window are also on - and others, and talking and stuff...and a disco!  

The address is 39A Kirkgate, Shipley, Yorkshire BD18 3EH - and addresses don't come very much more Yorkshire than that...

7.30 until 11pm...