Tag Archives: live

Misty's Big Adventure

Erotic Volvo

Right, that cements it. After my fourth Misty’s Big Adventure gig I am now happy to say that they are my favourite band in the world ever. I’ve not danced so much at a gig in ages. My favourite song of the evening was I Can’t Take The Time Back or as I originally called it on here:

the amazing song they played when I saw them at the 100 Club (Something about taking the time back)

That blippy keyboard bit at 2:15 or so gets me every time. Their new album Television’s People is out now and is rather marvellous. I’d show you the cover but the lyrics sheet produced in the style of Radio Times is rather more exciting to me.

Misty's Big Adventure - Television's People Lyrics Sheet

Some of you have dared ask for a guess at my favourite music of 2008 already. With only Of Montreal and Tim Ten Yen yet to play their hands Misty’s do look like they are in a good position for the coveted number one slot in my year end round up. Although thanks in no small part to my colleague Alister I’ll be waxing lyrical about oddball oldies as well such as the Joe Meek produced Dumb Head by Sharades.

What Difference Does It Make?

Seeing as I posted the first comment on Tom Harris’s blog post that made the front page of the Daily Mail and have had a streaming torrent of (ooh) eight visitors here’s some comment on his points on my own blog.

I agree with Tom that it is sad that optimism is rare. In my own comment I pointed to three issues I myself find (slow rail links home, the poor quality of rental property and the long term effects of student debt), and others have pointed to some more interesting ones, my favourite of which notes that in an economic environment where the government is demanding below inflation pay rises those with student debts face interest rates rising high above the same inflation cap. So we have a government policy to squeeze the take home pay of graduates (and drop outs like myself). Not good.

I’ve come to the understanding that the optimism of the immediate post war period was there because society believed that utopia might still be possible and with hope of electricity too cheap to meter, an end to disease and poverty and education for all for example it was thought that the issues of society were possible to solve completely. Sadly now, we know all too well that we live in a world of scarcity not abundance, and that our choices have led and are leading us down a road to a world which we don’t like the look of. Knowing you need to turn back and think again isn’t nice.

Much is hysteria, we’re hardly drowning from global warming if the jet stream deflects a little and Glastonbury turns into a mud bath, and children are safer now than ever despite however many knives or paedos you see in the media. However, naturally, some fear is justified. We only get the one planet, and if we waste resources needlessly we don’t get them back. There’s a resources crunch behind the credit crunch at some level and talk of peak oil has gone from far fetched future to near term planning. Rail Minister Tom Harris (for it is also he) openly talks of a programme of electrification. That tells you all you need to know about the future direction of the oil price. He also dismisses a High Speed Line on spurious environmental and economic grounds, ironic considering he’d probably find a good north/south link rather handy in getting from his Glasgow constituency to Westminster and back.

We’ve had eleven years of Labour government, something I dreamed of in my teenage years. However, I have only voted Labour on a single occasion, as a second preference for Ken at the mayoral election this year. I have to remember sometimes that we have seen a Scottish Parliament, human rights legislation and a minimum wage introduced (which is itself going up by more than inflation anyway) because 14/28/42 days, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, Identity Cards, DNA Databases and other similar daftness weigh heavier on the mind. Lots of law has been created, and money spent (even without the wars) and it is hard to see what improvements have been achieved. Little in the way of great projects have been accomplished so it’s hard to feel much love. There’s no Open University or NHS that this government leaves behind. Nothing huge. More of a series of pet projects, some of which, like devolution are now overdue for renewal and improvement due to the half hearted implementation they were initially given.

What many have also noted, and rightly so, is that what you could read as the symptoms of a happy society – lots of large televisions, bigger and better cars, more books, people eating out more often – may well just be the activities of a society which deep down is depressed and having to occupy itself to cope.

I’m reminded of one of my favourite books, David Boyle’s The Tyranny Of Numbers (subtitled Why Counting Can’t Make Us Happy) which works well at explaining why it can be so hard to achieve happiness by focussing on the numbers. I like to look on it as an earlier and more insightful Freakonomics and it’s well worth a read.

Please Hold, Trying To Connect You…

I have a new phone, hurrah. Yes, a shiny nice new black and modern N95 8GB is mine and now I can finally send off my elderly N80 to see if I can get the speaker fixed whilst moving into the future.

Except, that, wait we’re in Britain so it’s not that simple! Being a conservative soul I’ve opted to port my number and thus not litter the planet with endless messages saying new number 077221… whatever. But this takes some time, a week thus far. It’s a good thing the N95 comes with wi-fi, as it is already seeing some use for me in letting me listen to podcasts with ease by downloading them while I sleep. However, it would be nice to use it as a phone.

Thanks to some googling, I’m now more than a little horrified at the messy reality behind number portability in the UK. Being somewhat naive and hopeful I thought all that happened was that my phone number changed in some large central directory from phone company A to phone company B. Alas, no. No, what happens is phone company A takes the call, says wait a minute and gets phone company B to pick up the line. So, by porting my number I’m increasing the chance of one of the networks failing and causing me not to get the call/text/whatever because i rely on both my original provider and my new provider functioning correctly and staying in business. Also, it wastes resources and means that my calls cost more to route, which I as a consumer ultimately pay for.

This is not ideal.

Thankfully, OfCom have identified this as a problem (chiefly fearing getting shouted at when a phone network goes bust and all the numbers die), and by Summer 2009 it might even be possible to change telephone company in as little as a two hours. The phone companies aren’t keen as it means spending money on some big servers and working our which number has which network. Meanwhile I’ll be carrying around two phones, waiting for one to die so that the other might live.

If you fancy reading up on this here’s a technical explanation of how ported numbers are routed and here’s OfCom’s take on the situation.