Archive for October, 2007

Guitar Solos

Tim says no-one puts guitar solos on records any more. I hadn’t noticed, but then my listening tends towards the retro. This is terrible news, because, when I come to think about it, I don’t think I ever met a guitar solo I didn’t like. Currently on heavy rotation, for example, and only because I just noticed the wonderful guitar solo, is Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”.

Phew. OK, That’s Enough Going Out

Lord, Do Slow Me Down. Went to GBK for dinner, and what with the lads coming back tomorrow, that’s it for the fancy-free lifestyle for a bit. Just as well, we’re knackered. Richard Herring has no idea what it’s really like.

And Yet, I’m Still The Oldest Person In The Room

To the Frog and Bucket for Richard Herring’s show “Oh Dear, I’m 40” (I paraphrase), and it’s noticeable, to me anyway, that there are approximately three people in the place who are 40+. One of them’s on the stage, one is sitting next to me, and the third is sitting next to her. I suppose that most people in their forties have other commitments, and it’s only thanks to a sly bit of diary-juggling that we’ve got here. Which makes me think that someone could clean up by taking the idea for this show and aiming it at a demographic that would be more likely to turn out in bigger numbers. “Oh Dear, I’m 26,” for example.

Sarah Chang Gives It Some Welly

Richie and Davy are at my parents’ for half-term, so ho! to the Bridgewater Hall, and the expansion of our horizons. This is the first time we’ve been to a classical concert, and we’ve picked the English Chamber Orchestra and international superstar fiddle-fiddler Sarah Chang for a non-challenging introduction to the scene. The band (this may not be the right terminology) took us through Bach’s third Brandenburg Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade For Strings and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, with Chang appearing for just the Vivaldi.

You can’t help but admire the ability of the musicians. I’d only ever heard classical music through a medium – CD, TV, radio – but to hear it live emphasised how precise the playing was, and the depth and richness of the sound that they produced was wonderful. Obviously Chang is the star, but she dominated the Four Seasons – the only one not seated, a vivid turquoise dress and facial expressions which at times reminded me of Nigel Tufnell – and I’m not sure that really helped.

Classical concert tips for newbies: (1) it doesn’t matter much what you wear – jeans are OK, but white tie is probably a bit much – and (2) don’t start clapping until everyone else does.

All Songs – Unheard (2 Days In)

A productive couple of days, if “productive” is the word I’m looking for. We’re down to 356 songs (but a couple of new CDs arrived from Amazon today, so it’s two steps forward and one step back).

The iPod threw up a lot of Kate Bush (including three songs in a row), quite a bit of Elvis Costello, and a bunch of tracks from the Elektra box set. And I’m scratching my head as to why I ripped the Futureheads’ “Le Garage”.


I’ve had my MacBook Pro for a year now, and the AppleCare people cold-called me tonight to ask me if I wanted to extend my support agreement for another three years, for £279. The guy asked me if I was satisfied with the machine, and at the start of the conversation, actually I was, pretty much. But as he kept on asking my questions, things kept coming up and by then end of the call – at which point he bailed out, because I was bending his ear a bit – I realised that it actually hadn’t been that great.

For example:

  • Way back, when I was setting up the MBP, getting the machine onto my encrypted wireless network was a right pain. I put in the WEP key, but it wouldn’t connect. Apple technicians couldn’t help me, and it was only when I spoke to the Linksys people that I found out that OS X needs you to put in a $ at the start of the key – otherwise it doesn’t recognise it as hex.
  • The “Genius” at the Apple Store couldn’t help me with a hard disk upgrade (and by the way, I think I was badly advised on choosing machine spec in the first place – 80GB is way too little). I had to go outside Apple, and, if you didn’t know, upgrading a hard disk in an MBP is really expensive. I wanted a bigger disk so I could run Windows under Boot Camp, but it turned out to be cheaper to buy a separate Windows laptop.
  • When I went in to the Apple Store get a replacement for a battery that wasn’t holding its charge, they told me to come back the day after (mug!) for a replacement – then refused to give me one.

Oh, and the screen’s looking a wee bit warped now, and the catch doesn’t work like it did. So I’m not impressed by the support in the first year – if you’re reasonably savvy, you can (and usually have to) figure it all out yourself.

On the other hand, the MBP hasn’t done this yet.

All Songs – Unheard

All Songs - Unheard

There are 442 songs on my iPod that I’ve never listened to (or at least never listened to all the way through). I’m going to make the effort to get through them all.