Month: July 2006

Bye bye TOTP

We hadn’t planned to watch it but we happened to flick past just as the show started and sat there, engrossed, for the entire hour. I occasionally put up with Steve wossisname if I stumble across TOTP2 as I like the mix of music, and the last ever Top of the Pops felt a bit like that. I wonder if it would’ve been better served by mixing in more older or alternative music?

Ultimately, whilst the charts are largely dominated by the singles that have been well marketed, there is still room for a Top of the Pops that covers the ‘buzz’ music. After all most people in the industry tipped the Arctic Monkeys to be big around summer last year before many people had heard of them, so why not have a program dedicated to that?

Ohh yes, that’ll be Later with Jools Holland then, or is it? I enjoy Later… but some of the acts can be a bit hit or miss, even the ‘legends’ that he gets on. Each to their own I know.

I’m glad I caught the last ever TOTP. Like most people of my generation it was a huge part of growing up, and I think it’s purely a victim of the changing cultures and wider accessibility to new music. Kids today. Don’t know they’re born!

They won’t have to sit, finger poised over the pause button, to tape the charts. They won’t hear a song for the first time AFTER it has entered the charts, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

For starters, where are the superstars of tomorrow? The entertainers? Have the times when a handful of bands and solo artists rise to the top left us? Or are we resigned to a future where the ‘long lasting’ music stars are those that manage to release three albums?

Anyway, I’d like to say thanks to TOTP. You influenced me more than I possibly realise and, as Sir Jimmy Saville turned the lights off, a little bit of history died.

P.S. Somehow I missed that version of Gnarls Barkeley’s Crazy, how ace was that!

A question

We’ve got a busy weekend planned so this’ll likely remain here until Sunday night.

If you have a day off work and wake up at, say, 5.45 a.m. what’s the first thing that you think of?

Flock this

The name of this site —Informationally Overloaded— isn’t just a witty title. Firstly, it’s not that witty, and secondly it’s becoming increasingly true for many people. There are two things you can do to counteract the growing feeling of “I must be missing something” that I’m sure some of you can identify with:

  1. Turn off the computer (obviously not right NOW)
  2. Streamline your online habits

The first cure is the most obvious, and something I’m trying to do as much as possible these days. If the computer doesn’t NEED to be on, it’s not. Not only am I saving electricity/energy, I’m also reducing the temptation to “just check my email” which inevitably leads to “just checking some sites” and from there it’s a short click to “yes I KNOW it’s 3am, I’ll come to bed in a minute!!”.

The second cure is, arguably, the harder of the two. Why? Well I’d say guilt has a part to play, especially if you’ve been blogging for any length of time and have built up a long list of sites/blogs run by people you “know” and which you valiantly try and visit every day or two, primarily to save face. Terrible habit and one I’ve been slowly curing myself of for a while now. It’s similar to the “must post everyday” nonsense of which many of us bloggers fall foul. Life is too short people, so don’t waste it doing things that are of no consequence (and yes, I do believe that blogging CAN be of consequence, as can commenting on blogs… maybe not the highest value item in the chain of life but it’s still of some value).

I’ve posted before about getting organised, and I consider this post a successor, a natural step beyond previous efforts.
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Gardening

I’m working at home today and as I was up early I took my first coffee of the morning out into the garden. I sat there in quite contemplation, watching the baby birds flit from tree to tree, enjoying the morning breeze as it gently buffeted the willow and teased the bamboo.

Our back garden isn’t huge (I’d estimate it at about 25m long?) and most of the work we’ve done has largely been concentrated round the side and front of the house (we live on a corner in case you are wondering) but we did a little more work on it at the weekend and, coupled with the weather and the fact that we can actually sit out in it of an evening, I think I’m finally coming to appreciate this gardening lark.

Before we bought it, the house had been rented out for a few years and it was very obvious that the garden had had no attention paid to it at all. Not a problem, we thought, we’ve both got gardening parents. However we still suffer from that neglect, and have yet to rid ourselves of the damn buttercups, but overall we’ve got the place coaxed into some sort of order.

Bigger jobs outstanding —we have a section of monoblock that desperately needs replacing as it’s all been pushed up by the roots of a tree, but that’s beyond our budget by some way at the moment— the garden is currently looking quite good. And yes I DO say so myself.

It’s taken me a while to come round to the whole gardening thing, and whilst parts of it are still a bore, we are now beginning to see some reward for our efforts and it’s this slow burn that I think I appreciate more. On TV you see gardens created in an instant with plant after plant after plant chucked in to make sure it all looks finished, and whilst that’s all well and good if you’ve got £1000 to spend, we don’t and have developed a much more considered approach.

It’s quite simple, we are prepared to wait and allow a plant to grow and the garden to develop rather than buy larger more mature plants. Not only is this cheaper but you really get a sense of things maturing. Sure we’ve made some mistakes, but we’ve learned from them, and we’re already planning what we’ll do next year. In fact we probably get as much enjoyment from planning the next stages as we do from the actual gardening.

So, as I sat there this morning, quietly reflecting, a small smile crept onto my face. As the bumble bee busied itself in its endless search for honey, I realised that our garden isn’t the only thing that has grown in these past few years.

— ~ —

Addendum
1. Yes I know bees collect pollen, it’s called poetic license.
2. I need to fix some trellis to the roughcast on the side of the house – anyone got any solutions? Do I just need the right kinda nail?

Snippets

Attempting to read Naked Lunch. Struggling. Whilst there is some gorgeously grotesque imagery and I don’t mind the clipped language, it’s all a bit.. well.. rambling. I can’t get a fix (!) on anything as it veers all over the bloody place, and that’s after 100 pages or so. Will persevere but not for much longer.

~

I’ve got a day off on Friday as Louise’s Dad will be back in Scotland for… well we don’t know how long for sure. It’s his first time back in Scotland since Grace passed away (why is it so hard to write “died”.. is it just because the word itself is so short, so brutal?), so I’m guessing it’ll be an emotional couple of weeks. It’ll be good to see him though, and I know he’ll be glad to return to our cooler shores.

~

My Gran is doing OK. She giving power of attorney to my Mum, and Social Services have started looking to get her into a home so things are moving along. She’s still seems… well not happy, but realistically resigned to her fate – she managed to walk to the end of her hospital bed a few days ago and when told, my Mum reacted enthusiastically “Well that’s good”. My Gran replied “Well no, it’s not really, is it?”.

There’s still life in the old dear yet, we just don’t know how much.

~

I’ve put the re-design of this place on hold for a wee while, got some different ideas that I need to work through… but expect a few tweaks here and there over the coming weeks.

I’m favouring a return to a more minimal style, and again I’ll be looking to cut out more clutter, ditching the stuff that no-one really uses. Your feedback in the past will be used for, whilst I write the content for me, the site needs to be usable for YOU. Err.. by you.. no.. OF you? Bugger… you know what I mean.

One of the reasons I started tinkering with this site was to try and kick-start my ‘design head’ as I’ve currently got another blog to re-design but can’t seem to break past the initial layout. Thankfully it seems to have worked, so I’ll switch my energy to that site for the meantime.

~

Glorious day today and I spent 30 minutes just sitting in the sun at lunchtime, watching people stroll past. There is a nice area of grass right on the riverside outside our office, and by 12.30 it was dotted with groups of people, picnicing (picnicking?) with their lunches. Tres continental. I just hope they all picked up their rubbish.

~

Lily Allen’s album is quite good. Infectious reggae-tinged pop. With swearing. Ace.

Power Track Chosen

First up, thanks to everyone for the great response, it’s very much appreciated. As I said, the best suggested “Power Track” will win a CD of the following playlist (plus a few other tracks that I’ve already picked myself).

Picking tracks for someone else to run to is tricky as everyone runs at a different pace, something I’m still discovering for myself. However with so many good suggestions I couldn’t really fail to come up with a pretty decent playlist. Some of the choices below are mine. Ohh and if you can’t be bothered skimming down the list just skip to the end and find out which “Power Track” worked best for me!
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Mind the paint

A few changes going on, nothing major but I’ve been itching to redesign recently but don’t really have the time. Ohh and if you are reading this via my RSS feed… don’t worry, you ain’t missing much.

Hmmm… not sure I like that font for the “www.gordonmclean.co.uk” bit up top… ho hum..

Note to self

Do not blog when grumpy.

Mind you, it’s always refreshing to just say what is on your mind. Even if what is on your mind is transitory and not exactly what you’d call a considered opinion. I don’t normally do that, either here or in real life. That is my failing of course, and nowt to do with you ohhh dearest reader.

Ohh and for the record, I was not drunk. And no it wasn’t Peter or Gert, honest, it wasn’t even PB Curtis, it was the six or seven “new” blogs I discovered last night as I indulged in a spot of old fashioned surfing. Such was my boredom I started on MySpace (what a pile of crap that produces), and soon found myself in the land of the highly opinionated, shouty people. I hate them.

Oddly I’m still not entirely sure why I was in such a bad mood, especially as Saturday had been a good day, hell I spent an hour playing with two black labrador puppies!

Anyhoo, today was more jogging (more on that later) and some light gardening before watching some golf and deciding to head to Inverness for a couple of nights at the end of August. Not that much different from yesterday but I’m definitely NOT grumpy today.

Well, no more so than usual.

TOMORROW I’ll post the playlist and announce the winner of the wee competition thing. Promise.

A brief interlude

What I WANT to write:

Because I’m hot, tired and fucking grumpy.

I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure, but what is with the ‘bash brigade’? Some things are popular for a reason. You aren’t expected to like it but it doesn’t make you smart, or clever, or even much fun if all you seem to do (seem) is take cheap potshots at “popular culture”. Popular culture IS cheap, it’s the lowest common denominator, THAT’S WHY IT WORKS.

So, please, enough with the repeated “why is [blah] like [blah] these days?” or “why is everyone [blah]ing this? It’s rubbish”. I get it. Move on.

I’ve had it, and I mean “closing the blog and fucking off” had it, with all this negative fucking energy. You wanna moan and grump and constantly CONSTANTLY judge and criticise, fine. Go for it. But don’t expect me to keep reading, or to listen. I have neither the energy or inclination.

Bunch of moany faced motherfucking weans. Grow the fuck up. And yes, I’m fully aware that writing all of this lowers me to your level, boo hoo. I feel so bad about that. Not.

Ohh and if I COULD turn comments off for this post I would but I can’t be arsed. So please, to anyone who reads this, enough with the “ohh that was me he meant” bullshit, remember, you are only the centre of YOUR universe, the rest of us think beyond the end of our own nose.

Fuck me, I’m fed up.

What I will write:

Blogging is supposed to be fun. I’m not finding this much fun at the moment, so I think things will be light around here. I’m in the midst of improving my fitness and the way I live my life and I’m re-assessing everything. Admittedly I’m hyper-HYPER-sensitive at the moment, and a lot of daft wee things are irking me more than I care to admit.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions for music. I’ll post details of the final playlist, and the winner for best “Power Track” soon.

Be good, and if you can’t be good, be nice.

This post comes to you from both sides of my character.

(WIN) Music to run by

UPDATE: Great stuff so far, I’ve started pulling the playlist together so thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Keep them coming though, there is still time to win!

With everything that’s going on at the moment I have to admit that the jogging thing is keeping me focussed and reasonably sane, but then that’s part of the point of doing it. Alongside the whole “get fit/lose weight” thang there is another factor which I’m looking forward to gaining, the “mental release” that regular exercise brings. Those who do it will know what I mean, those who don’t, or haven’t, won’t. And for those who are confused, don’t worry. I am too.

Thankfully, despite the heat, I still have the motivation to go along to the class tonight and I’m hoping to get to Achilles Heel soon to get my gait assessed so I can buy a proper pair of shoes. The classes run for the next 9 weeks, and I’ll see how I’m doing after that. If things are going well I might even shell out for the new Nike+ system (it’s only £19 as you don’t NEED to buy the trainers and I already have an iPod Nano). I mean I can’t start a new hobby and NOT buy a gadget to go with it… er… aside from my new watch of course (which I got for around £20 on eBay, yay!).

So, with my current determination to ‘be a runner’ still intact —hell, I’m *this* close to subscribing to Runner’s World magazine (and that’s their choice of apostrophe… with good reason!)— I thought I may as well take it as read that I’ll be getting the Nike+ system in which case, obviously, I’ll need a good “running” playlist!

And, as ever (hey, this is the internet!) I can’t be bothered thinking it ALL up myself so it’s over to you guys. What? You want some pointers? Sheesh, do I have to do EVERYTHING around here?? Ohhh, alright then…

Pace wise the tracks can’t be too slow or laidback. I’d much rather have music than any spoken word stuff (podcasts, audio books, radio etc). The first few bands/tracks that have popped into my head are either dance music (Chemical Brothers) or rock (AC/DC, Muse). Basically it needs to be loud, not too subtle and provide some ‘energy’ when used. Music type and era isn’t an issue, availability is. If I can’t get it from iTunes or some other method then don’t suggest it.

AND, to spice things up a little, how about a little competition.

The Nike+ system includes the ability to set a “Power Song” which you can play at the push of a button, so whoever offers the best suggestion* for a “Power Song” will win a copy of the final “Running Wild” playlist (on MP3 CD probably).

So, I’ll need the track title, the artist and whether it’s a general “running” track or a “Power Song“.

Entries close on this coming Saturday (22nd July). Multiple entries allowed. The decision of the judge (me) is final. All other rules, that I’ve not yet considered, apply.

It’s the first ever competition on this site, so make the most of it!

* I’d love to give criteria for how this will be judged – it’ll mainly be down to which track I get the best ‘buzz’ from so be as wild and wacky as you like.