January 28, 2005

Harts Hill Turbo In The 8:22

My mate Ian is getting married in a couple of weeks. Last weekend was his stag do. I can neither confirm, nor deny, rumours that the event was held in and around Brighton as obviously I am bound by the Official Stag Secrets Act of 1868.

I am placing my life in considerable danger just by divulging this much. These photos are classified and according to the authorities "do not exist." The one to the right shows the sort of people I am talking about: a battle-hardened, spoiling-for-action group of tough, disciplined men at the peak of physical and mental fitness. Not long after this was taken, the squad were out on an "exercise" from which the stag was lucky to escape with his life.

It is safer to show the second picture, as what it records is a matter of public record. There was a race meeting at the Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium on Saturday 22nd January 2005. The 8:22pm race was the Ian Kelly Stakes. The winner was Harts Hill Turbo. Mr Ian Kelly, Esq. was seen presenting the owner of the winning dog with a commemorative silver plate.

From here on the facts start to get sketchy. He did seem to be shadowed by a number of men. Not always all of them; not always the same ones; and those not nearby would be checking out other parts of the venue - down trackside, or up in the bar and restaurant area. They were also careful to stagger both their arrival and their departure. Their exact role remains unclear, as do details of the amount of money taken from the bookmakers.

The people of Brighton are no doubt wary of the gangs return.

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January 27, 2005

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January 20, 2005

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January 17, 2005

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January 16, 2005

Musical Meme

(via Uborka)

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

39 GB - ~10,500 tracks as 128kbps MP3s.

2. The cd you last bought is:

Take your pick from these ones acquired as a job lot for 24 in a Fopp attack

  • We Got The Funk - Various Artists. Three CDs of funky disco
  • Lo Fidelity Allstars present Abstract Funk Theory - Various Artists. A little more up-to-date compilation than We Got The Funk
  • A Break From The Norm - Various Artists. Original tracks that were sampled by Fatboy Slim.
  • Greatest Hits - Wings. Surprisingly decent.
  • More Than This: The Best Of - Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. Filling a hole that's been in my music collection for too long.
  • Version Excursion - Various Artists. Funky and unexpected cover versions
  • Beneath The Surface, Vol. 1 - Various Artists. A Bella Union sampler CD, bought mainly for the track by The Dears, but some of the other tracks are pretty good too.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

"Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime" by Beck. A fantastic cover version, one of many excellent tracks on the recently delivered triple-CD mix from Mike.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:

I tried narrowing this down to 31 songs a while back and that was hard enough! So instead, I'll offer the top five songs I don't yet own a copy of:

  • I Will Survive - Cake
  • Mahgeetah - My Morning Jacket
  • We Can Have It - The Dears
  • Teenage Kicks - The Undertones
  • A Message To My Audience - Maxi Geil! & Playcolt

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

Jon, 'cause he's a meme-whore; Andy, if he reads about it; and <this space available for hire>

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January 13, 2005

Problems With Email


Always remember, when testing whether email is working, to send the test email through a machine other than your own server.

At the start of December, my internet connection was down for a day or so. Since then, I seemed to be receiving less email, although hadn't worked out the problem (because I didn't follow the above rule).

Today, more by luck than design, I've found out exactly what the problem was, and solved it. I'll spare everyone the overly geeky explanation, but the upshot is that email sent to amcewen AT bcs.org.uk hasn't been reaching me since 9th December 2004.

It is now fixed, and some of it is starting to be delivered, but I don't know how much of it will arrive. So, if you've sent me email recently, particularly if it bounced, can you send it again please?. Thanks.

Email to mcqn.net addresses has been unaffected (which is part of the reason I hadn't noticed the extent of the problem earlier).

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January 12, 2005

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January 11, 2005

Photography Sale In Aid Of The Tsunami

As Jo noted over here:
"Cambridge photographer Jean Luc Benazet is selling his collection of prints to raise money for the appeal. He will donate 100% of the profits and his company will match his funds raised. There are some nice Cambridge pics."

I've held off blogging about it until today because for the first couple of days the sale was only open to his colleagues at Citrix.

But now the sale is open to all of us! I'm getting one of the Anfield prints, and a few of the others have caught my eye - not sure if I'm going to succumb to temptation though.

So head over to his website to have a look, and get yourself a cool picture whilst helping the victims of the tsunami.

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January 10, 2005

The Paradox Of Progress

The Paradox of Progress by James Willis.

This book should be a set text for the induction course of new civil servants. It's also a rather good read for the rest of us. It drew me in and I had it finished in a few hours of non-stop reading, but if were widely read by those implementing our public services then maybe James Willis' Ministry of Leaving Well Alone would come to pass, and the UK would be a better place.

Starting with an analysis of some of the problems facing the powers that be, and the trouble with media-scale hype and an excess of specialism, the author moves on to present the case for generalism and to suggest some solutions; all presented in a very readable style, peppered with anecdotes from his life and his time as a GP.

You can read it all online for free, or buy it in book form for a tenner, signed by the author himself. Maybe we could set-up some sort of adopt-a-public-servant scheme, where we read it online and then our ten pounds is spent sending a copy to a chosen official...

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January 09, 2005

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January 05, 2005

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January 04, 2005

Get Ahead Of The Crowd

Okay, I should be doing my tax return, but I'll need some tunes to listen to whilst getting the company accounts in order won't I?

And what better way to build up my playlist for the next week or so than to spend an hour or so reading Troubled Diva's Singles of the year list and searching on Soulseek? Lots of new artists to investigate, and reminders of music I've flirted with getting over the past year.

Last year's big discovery were the Scissor Sisters, back before the album was out and all that was available was their demo CD. I'm still disappointed that Electrobix and Backwoods Part II didn't make the album.

And then to further delay me, more music list goodness courtesy of the Troubled Diva linkrack.

So that's some Annie, The Walkmen, Kaiser Chiefs, The Concretes, The Knife, Alcazar and the Real Tuesday Weld queued up, along with the odd other track and the My Morning Jacket and The Dears stuff left over from what I was listening to just before Christmas. I must start making a note of the stuff I like somewhere so I can remember to buy it.

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Not Just A Song By The Manics

There's not much left to say is there? Especially with the terrible disaster happening when I was away from broadband internet access and so am blogging about it late.

It's my personal connections that've brought it home to me, rather than the blanket news coverage.

The sister of a friend is out travelling in the area, and for a while they didn't know if she was okay - luckily she decided to move on and missed the tsunami by hours.

Evelyn Rodriguez, one of my regular reads, wasn't quite as fortunate but survived (largely) unscathed and has been providing lots of useful information and stories since. Start reading from her post in the immediate aftermath.

There's another personal report here, and the Guardian has a roundup of reports from blogs.

And finally, in case you haven't yet helped out, here's the link to DONATE TO THE EARTHQUAKE APPEAL.

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January 01, 2005

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