Archive for category Music

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”.

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.

I Need To Get Some Cards Printed, Or Something

The Guardian claimed that a post what I wrote was “a work of immense genius”.

Bunnymen Come On Down To My Rescue

So, to Oxfordshire this weekend for the Cornbury Festival. We spent the previous three weeks anxiously checking the weather forecast, as the wettest June ever drenched the UK… then a day before the festival, the rains stopped and the sun came out. That’s the point at which I should have realised that things were going our way.

Still had a huge trek to get there, driving round in circles trying to find the entrance, lugging the tent across the fields (whilst separating the boys from each other all the while, natch), no space left in the VIP camping (bless) and all the rest of it. Kids couldn’t see the acts (being short – we really should have thought of that), so come Saturday evening I was feeling really hassled.

Then Echo & the Bunnymen came on, and with the opening bars of “Rescue”, everything was suddenly OK.

And we had a great time.

Looking back, my favourite moments would have been…

  • The Bunnymen, as above
  • Davy just howling with laughter on the waltzers
  • The Proclaimers doing “Sunshine on Leith”, which was just transcendent
  • The healing power of a good shower on Sunday morning
  • Spending most of Sunday morning sitting outside the tent, drinking loads of tea
  • My back holding up
  • The festival finishing at 22:40 on Sunday, and the rain starting up again at 22:45. We were charmed.

Now Playing (Part 2)…

After putting the “Now Playing” stuff in the sidebar, I’ve now added the clever stuff that links to Amazon. The code uses Amazon Web Services to pull back the album art (where it can find it from my iTunes artist and album tags) and a hyperlink to Amazon’s site. The URLS for the link and the art are cached in a local table at this end, so that I don’t overstep the limit of the number of requests that I’m allowed. Whatever that is.

Now Playing…

Finished stage one of the “now playing” item on the right-hand column. This takes my iTunes Library, loads the track names into mySQL, and shuffles them to simulate a never-ending playlist reflecting, for better or worse, a snapshot of my tastes.

The next step will be to add a link to Amazon using the Amazon API.

New Guitar

I now own this guitar – it’s an Epiphone Les Paul Custom. Pretty, ain’t she? All I have to do now is learn to play it…

Lessons start on Monday!

Johnny Eastwood (Gorillaz vs. David Thewlis Mash-Up)

DOWNLOAD JOHNNY EASTWOOD HERE (2.99Mb). Not really safe for work, especially if you’re a station announcer on Virgin trains.

Just realised, I should have called it “Naked Apes”.

So originally, I was trying to mash-up Gorillaz’ Clint Eastwood and a version of The Smiths’ Jeane by Sandie Shaw and Johnny Marr. Which kind of worked, but the vocals weren’t very clean, and the instrumental bit at the end of the original backing track went on a bit, so I ended up looking for something to perk the thing up.

I was watching Mike Leigh’s Naked (also known as Mike Leigh’s Naked), and thought I could pull some dialogue out of that and maybe drop it on top of the instrumental bit at the end. I decided to start with Johnny (played by David Thewlis) winding up Brian the Nightwatchman with stories about the impending apocalypse. It turned out to be pure serendipity – until I heard it back, I never even made the connection between Damon ending on a repeated “My future is comin’ on” and David starting with “Has no-one not told you you’ve got this kind of gleeful pre-occupation with the future?”

By sheer fluke, the timing worked beautifully too. I had to edit the speech a little bit – on the actual soundtrack, Brian gets a word in edgeways early on, and that had to be excised. The first “six six six” is underpinned by a rising orchestral score, so I had to cut and paste from elsewhere in the monologue. Johnny refers to Brian by name at one point, and also names the year in which the alleged planetary alignment was due, so I edited those out. After those necessary changes, I found that I just had to insert one brief pause to get it to end at the right point, and apart from that it fitted together perfectly.

Much later, I found out that the Orb had sampled the same speech for their track S.A.L.T. on the Orblivion album. Bastards.

Weapon of choice: Cool Edit by Syntrillium (since bought out and rebranded by Adobe). These days, I would probably use Audacity.

Good consumer: Mike Leigh’s Naked isn’t currently available on DVD, but you can buy the screenplay from Amazon, and you can find the movie secondhand on Amazon or eBay if you look for it. Obviously, you can get the Gorillaz album from

Further reading: Dialogue from Naked, Chernobyl doesn’t mean “wormwood” and is 666 encoded into every barcode?