Gig: Post Modern Jukebox

Reading time: 2 mins
Everytime I listen to the current hits of the day I come away with a catchy tune in my head. Sure it’s auto-tuned, heavily produced, and reliant on a hook rather than things like a melody or a smart lyric but they are catchy nonetheless. And yes, I am big a huge snob about this and no I don’t care. For me the sign of a good song is one that can embrace change, that can be rendered new by a change in tone, or pace, or instrumentation. Some bands do it to themselves (think Creep by Radiohead, from thrashy distorted guitars to heartfelt acoustic ballad) and some artists grab a handful of such tunes and make a career from …

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Weekend Reading

Reading time: 4 mins
Apple Music’s Archaic Album Categorization→ Benjamin Mayo sums up one of the most annoying features of Apple Music: the way the service thinks everything is an “album”, making it extremely inconvenient to find what you’re looking for. These artefacts of compact discs show up again when looking at an artist page. And this, amongst other reasons, is why I use Spotify. Last blog standing, “last guy dancing”: How Jason Kottke is thinking about kottke.org at 20 In 2013, Jason Kottke wrote a prediction for Nieman Lab’s year-end roundup: “The blog is dead, long live the blog.” Kottke was then (and still is) owner of one of the longest continuously running blogs on the web: kottke.org, founded in 1998. “Sometime in …

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Writing sparks

Reading time: 3 mins
Struggling with the duvet cover I paused and reminded myself just how good it is to slide between fresh bed linen. A few more wafts of the duvet and several curses later my bed was made. It took a lot of willpower not to just climb in right there and then. What an odd phrase, how many people have a bed so tall they need to climb into it? Isn’t the English language wonderfully obscure at times. It strikes me, without recourse to research, that this is one of those phrases that comes from ye olde times, when beds were an entirely different proposition. Ohhh how I adore such things, these quirks of conundrums, paragraphs of prose that puzzle and …

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Podcast: The West Wing Weekly

Reading time: 2 mins
Geek alert: I frickin LOVE The West Wing. If you’ve never seen the show then this episode by episode ‘following along’ podcast will make each moment richer. Scrap that, if you’ve never seen the show, drop everything and watching the Pilot episode. If you enjoy that, then subscribe and listen to the first episode of The West Wing Weekly (TWWW) and if you aren’t hooked by then, well, I’m not sure I want to know you. THE WEST WING WEEKLY is an episode-by-episode discussion of one of television’s most beloved shows, co-hosted by one of its stars, Joshua Malina, along with Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder. Where TWWW stands apart from other podcasts is in the range of guest stars …

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I met a spaceman

Reading time: 3 mins
Ground control to Major Tom… Ground control to Major Tom: Lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on! I can still remember the first time I heard Space Oddity. I can recall just how otherworldly it sounded to me and while that was largely down to Mr. Bowie (an entirely other being for sure) it sits squarely alongside a similarly titled book that I’d just finished reading which was, in turn, the very reason I had listened to that track in the first place. I was maybe 12 years old at the time and the idea of space was more Star Wars than 2001 but I was slowly learning about the Apollo program and pages of my encyclopedia were …

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Weekend Reading

Reading time: 5 mins
In Conversation: Quincy Jones In both music and manner, Quincy Jones has always registered — from afar, anyway — as smooth, sophisticated, and impeccably well-connected. (That’s what earning 28 Grammy awards and co-producing Michael Jackson’s biggest-selling albums will do. Quite the interview this, to say he’s not shy about revealing secrets is… well just go read it. String Theory Says We Have At Least 10 Dimensions, But That’s Not The Weirdest Thing About It Okay, well, maybe string theory isn’t all that simple. For one thing, it requires the universe to have at least 10 dimensions to work (and some versions require as many as 26). You know, some of us struggling in just one of these dimension things. Calm down, science, …

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Gig: The Lovely Eggs

Reading time: 2 mins
I’d not long finished my dinner and was doing the dishes. Standing at the sink I pondered what to do next and tried to think of reasons not to do any more chores, after all hoovering can always wait until tomorrow, right? We will ignore the fact that my hoovering was probably about a week past needing done, because hoovering is ALWAYS a job for tomorrow; just as dusting is a job for whenever someone is coming to visit, a lesson well learned from my dearest Mumsy. So you can imagine my excitement when, moments after I’d set the last dish on the rack to dry, my watch vibrated on my wrist to notify me that a new message had …

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Podcast: 99% Invisible

Reading time: 1 min
One for all you beautiful nerds, 99% invisible covers an endlessly fascinating series of topics loosely arranged around design and architecture. 99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. From graphic design and prop making for movies, to La Sagrada Familia, to sports bras, to emoji design, to city and street layouts, and a myriad of fascinating interviews and insights. If learning how everyday things work and exist in common usage interests you, it’s well worth a listen. Even if you don’t think you are interested in design, if you are naturally curious about the world around you then give it a …

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Weekend Reading

Reading time: 5 mins
I Quit Twitter and It Feels Great It has been one year and 28 days since my last tweet. I deactivated my account shortly after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!” on Jan. 2, 2017. Not sure I’d go as far as quitting but more and more I think on having less social media time. It just ain’t good for ya! How ‘Baby Driver’ Orchestrated a Car Chase Timed to a Musical Beat The kinetic opening of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, with The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms” playing on its soundtrack, had to accomplish a …

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New Bands and Small Venues

Reading time: 2 mins
For a while now I’ve been on a mission to discover new music. That might just be music that is new to me, or it might be actually new up and coming bands that I’ve not heard of, but I’ll happily admit that the recap of my musical year that Spotify provided was a bit of a shocker. We all have our own self-image but, musically at least, I didn’t think I was quite as mainstream as all that… stats never lie though, right? For the last few years I’ve tended to rely on the same few sources; a mixture of random recommendations from friends and colleagues, the occasional blog post or album review here and there, but I always …

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