Drum, Bass and the art of speed golf

Okay, so tonight I am off to see Logistics, a drum’n’bass act on Hospital Records. Couple of very good friends are in town tonight, T and B. I lived with T when I moved to Oxford for good, and B is his partner, and the very person who designed the logo above this post. T got me listening to various artists on Hospital, including the wonderous London Elektricity.

I am a little nervous about tonight, because I’m not used to seeing such acts in a proper venue. The normal place I listen to them is when I play golf.

I have Links 2004 for the Xbox, which is a cracking golf game. And it ended up a while ago that I figured the perfect soundtrack for playing golf was Hospital Records material. Far more fun than other choices, and the sheer pace of the music meant you were hurriedly pressing buttons, and could get through 18 holes in about 15-20 minutes. It turned golf into almost a twitch-reflex pastime for me.

So it seems vaguely strange to my brain to go and listen to such stuff in a club. I know this belies all logic, but that is what I am used to. I make take a putter to make me feel more at ease though.

BBC Archive

A wonderful thing happened today. The BBC launched its open archive, the BBC Programme Catalogue . This is a fantastic resource, basically an online version of their own database of programmes. I believe some of the info goes back to the 30s. It isn’t complete by any stretch, but what is there is great. What is also wonderful is that it is essentially open source for non-commercial usage.

What this means for me, is that I fancy a go at writing a few things here. Some searches, possibly a widget or something. We shall see.

This announcement was part of a larger press release today on the BBC’s Find, play and share initiative. They are also playing up their soon to be launched media player, and a desire to create a form of myspace bringing user-content to the BBC. If they keep this up, they will be second on my list of companies I want to work for. After my present employers, that is.


trainspotting – the north-east remix

A couple of days ago I was minded of trainspotting, and suddenly thought about S for the first time in ages. S was an old friend from when I lived in the North-East of England. I got to know him when I started at secondary school, at what it is fair to say was a rough comprehensive, even for the North-East. He was a bit of a misfit, and got picked on a lot. So was I. Think Milhouse and Bart. Well, more Milhouse and Milhouse.

S was bullied a lot more than I was, and I think after a while he built up a thicker skin than most. He decided to unreservedly like what he liked, no matter what anyone thought. He was quite inspirational about that, and in doing so he also did it with a good sense of humour, which I think was one of the reasons we got on so well.

His biggest passion in life was trainspotting. Every weekend was spent at the station. He took long trips around the country just to be on, and look at trains. And as a good friend he tried to get me into it. It just didn’t sit with me, for some reason I never got it. I think he had it as a passion from an early age, and that was the element I was missing. I think football had its place in my heart at that stage, and wasn’t about to be shifted. It certainly wasn’t a stigma thing (*points at wrestling blog*), it was just that it wasn’t for me.

S had a major accident when we were in second year. He was hit by a car when he ran out from behind a bus. This threw him in the air some distance. He landed on the windscreen of a second car, which his hands and head went through. He was then flung over the top of this car, onto the road, and did a short distance on the ground, picking up loads of gravel in his back. He broke loads of things. He also slashed both of his wrists going through the windscreen, and only lived due to a nurse coming off duty being on the bus he ran out from behind.

I went to visit him at the hospital a few days later with a mate. And we laughed at him. Not in a mocking way, in sheer shock. We barely said a word as he explained it all to us, unveiled each injury as he told the story of what had happened. We just couldn’t take it in that he was alive after it all, and the only emotion we had to offer was that. Very strange experience.

He took a long time to get over it, nearly a year out of school I think, not far off certainly. I visited when I could to his house, and we talked about the usual rubbish we normally did. I think I should have gone more, but when you’re young, you don’t think as much about such things.

One thing I do remember from this time was that S got into computers, and famously claimed at one point to have hacked the British Rail network computer and scheduled special train journeys of his own design. Impressive stuff, however I wasn’t convinced as he didn’t have a modem, and only had a ZX81. He would always make fantastical bizarre claims, some of which were made up, some of which weren’t, and it was hard to tell. Not in a bullshitter sort of way, more you were never quite sure when he was taking the piss, when he believed it, and when it was real. The running over was totally real, luckily that is the only time I have anyone ever injured that badly.

We stayed good mates until I moved away. Not long before I did, a new lad started at the school. He fell in with S and I, and we all got on well. After I had gone, they became best mates, and it was odd, it was almost as if he had been sent as a replacement. Anyway, he got much more into the trainspotting than I ever did, and they spent most weekends at the local station together. Until about six months later, when the new lad committed suicide by jumping in front of a train.

Didn’t know much about it, just heard it through the grapevine, but was all a bit of a shock. I stayed in touch with S for a year or so, and then we just gradually faded away, didn’t see each other, and stopped writing. Nothing happened to end it bar distance and general moving on.

Was just strange having all these memories triggered from the one word

Returning mush of stuff

Well hello, back to blogging proper after that little interlude. Have returned from Devon, and have been back at work a couple of days. Should try and remember to write properly about a few things, but as a summary for now, in my flickr photos down there on the right are loads of pics from Paignton Zoo. We had a cracking meal at Abode in Exeter, and I now have to think about how you bake gnocchi, because that is what they appeared to do, and it was gorgeous. Had a very good trip, basically.

I am presently loving both Animal Crossing and We Love Katamari, the latter of which caused me to have some very strange dreams about rolling up everything around me. It is a must have game for the PS2, really have to write about that some more.

And I have a set of new stuff to find and listen to in terms of podcasting, as well as thinking about if I want to do more videoblogging (I may well). Finally, I have a couple of longer things about days gone past I have to write about, one of which is the mysterious post I mentioned a little while back. Will try and get caught up over the next week. I have lots to do at the moment, so little time in comparison. Well once I factor in being a lazy bastard that is.