Month: <span>June 2005</span>

Being a good writer, a good communicator, is a skill. Being able to form sentences and paragraphs, structure a topic so it flows well and makes sense are not the only skills required to being a good writer. Neither are good grammar or spelling, although they are generally the first things people notice and so, whether you like it or not, they can reflect on what you are trying to say.

No, being a good writer is finding a voice, a resonance with your audience. It’s something few blogs manage well, with even the most popular blogs being popular largely for their content than they way it’s written. Of course you can’t separate the content from the writing, but each has an effect and a pull on each other, and we humans have a tendency to level out the stuff we don’t like and balance it against the stuff we do. If the content is great and is what we are looking for we’ll stumble past the badly formed prose, likewise if the content is eloquent we’ll suffer the subject even if it’s not completely to our tastes.

The reason I mention this is that, as I’m still working back through my archives – on which there is a second question, to delete or not to delete – I find that my writing style has changed quite dramatically, and is far more an indication of who I am than I previously realised. Similarly, having been looking at old versions of this site, the sites I visited back then all stand out as having the same mixture of both a distinct voice and superior content.

And so, as I continue to ponder the whys, wherefores, and whatnots of this site, I wonder what my voice is, what it is about the way I write that makes people visit, or is it more about the content than the voice? A quick skim through the past couple of months and it’s easy to see the posts that have attracted the most comments, but harder to see if that collates with the posts that attracted the most views (for I have no way to tell that, yet…).

I always find looking back both educational and entertaining and, in keeping with my current “site mood”, I’m also thinking back to when I joined my current company. Almost six years ago it was, and there are only four people left from those days (technically there are a few more as, since then, we’ve merged with a sister company) soon to be three. Today is her last day and it’ll be odd for her not to be there on nights out, or at the end of a silly flirting IM trail, no longer will I have a late night accomplice for post party heart-to-hearts and foot massages. Time stands still and all that.

On that melancholic note I’ll stop, grab a coffee and wander over to see what’s been happening in the Big Blogger house (my awful poem withstanding).

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Anyone know of a free UK based service that will allow the receiving of a fax on the web or via email? One time only need, not urgent.

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Sun dances. You’ve all heard of rain dances and can picture native american indians (or red indians as we used to call them) dancing round in circles, knees lifted high, arms raised, chanting “heyy ya hooo ya heyy ya hoo yaa” (so THAT’S where Outkast got that song from…), but is there an equivalent dance to bring out the sun? And if I can convince 40,000 people to do it on Saturday, will it work?

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Currently listening to Foo Fighters, 22-20s, Brian Eno, James Blunt, Ambulance Ltd, Jamie Lidell with a mix of Feeder, Zutons and R.E.M. thrown in. Reviews to follow.

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Louise’s parents land back in Scotland on Sunday, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them!

* CBATG

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I’m beginning to get a little excited about this Saturday’s gig in Balloch. It’s always a bit special going to an outdoor gig, and the setting for this one, with Loch Lomond in the background (about 100 metres from the stage) makes it fairly unique. There have only been three concerts held there, and a couple of Radio 1 roadshows. The first concert was Runrig almost 14 years ago – the concert itself was on the day of Louise’s 18th birthday… oops, shouldn’t have said that!! – and was just a fabulous day. Hard to describe but a combination of good friends (largely the same bunch I’ll be with on Saturday) booze, sunshine and fireworks brought a lump to the throat. Ahh yes, those were the days.

No doubt we’ll be reminiscing on Saturday and various snippets of the day come flooding back easily – the hauntingly reverberating didgeridoo used by the Hothouse Flowers in their opening song sent shivers up the spine, the man painted bright orange, standing next to Lorraine Kelly when Runrig were on stage, our mate Niall sneaking in juice cartoons filled with spirits (injected using a syringe) – and I’m sure Saturday will be the same. However R.E.M. will play a large part in that, and I’m hoping they break with tradition slightly to play a more “greatest hits” orientated set than they normally would.

I missed Oasis playing in Balloch, sort of, as I spent the day floating on the loch on a friends boat, watching the bands of the day being shuttled back and forth across the loch to Cameron House. The Manic Street Preachers the only ones to acknowledge our presence that day, although admittedly the consumption of cheap red wine was the order of the day. Highlight was the sunsetting over the hills, the sky burning crimson as Champagne Supernova blasted out across the water. Awesome stuff.

Thinking about it, I think only the U2 gig at Parkhead on the Zooropa tour and the Stereo MCs in the Barrowlands can top the Runrig gig. Sure the music, venue, people and the entire atmosphere were different for each, but that’s what gigs are all about, what you take from them, what you keep locked away is rarely the music alone.

So, over to you lot, what’s your favourite gig? And why?

Media

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What a lovely train ride this morning. No, I’m serious. Sat down next to two guys who were off to Edinburgh for the day, at first I thought they were a couple but as he talked more I realised the guy (Rob) sitting next to me was possibly a “little simple” (or whatever the PC phrase is.. “no right in the heid” where I come from). He was very excited at going to Edinburgh as it was his favourite city in the whole world, he said. Better than Glasgow? I said. Well perhaps not.

Turned out that Rob and Mark, his friend, both worked together at the Mecca Bingo in Hamilton. Mark was a caller (he was the camp one of the two… I’m sure that rings a bell….) and Rob … well, Rob did a bit of everything it seems and certainly seemed to enjoy his work. As she wandered past, he corraled Julia, our ticket inspector for the morning, into the conversation by telling her that he hadn’t gotten the train for a long time and was glad that she was still working.

Rob was especially keen to see the new Parliament building as he wanted to compare it to Edinburgh Castle. When I suggested that it might be hard to compare them, seeing as they were built in different millenia, he rightly pointed out that both housed the “people with power” so why should they be different. Can’t really argue with that.

And the thing that made this journey that little bit extra special? As I stood at the station reading the Metro, I came across an article that, based on some survey or another, suggested that Scots were “dour and unfriendly”. I’m not entirely sure if it was that article that prompted my conversation with Rob and Mark, but I have a feeling it had something to do with it.

So, Rob and Mark, if you do read this, I hope you had a great day.

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Having recorded the TV Series of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy recently, and burned it onto DVD, I’d now like to make a copy of that DVD to give to a friend.

How do I do this easily? DVD Shrink?

Work

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… remember that Hallmark and other leading card manufacturers have deemed that it’s Father’s Day.

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The following was posted as a comment but I think it’s deserving of it’s own space – thanks to Hans for pulling together his thoughts, some of which I’d heard in isolation before, into a fascinating little article. Note that Hans wrote this, not me – I’ll pass on any comments about this to him, if you don’t want to post them here.

News

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So much to talk about, so little inclination.

Live 8 – the vitriol surrounding these concerts astounds me. Is it ideal? No. Is it part of a greater scheme that actually seems to be working? Yes. Sir Bob was on Jonathon Ross at the weekend, Jonathon asked him “why have the G8 countries done nothing?”, Bob responded “I have no idea”. Ultimately, and I don’t believe it will be a miracle cure, the steps taken recently WILL make a difference. This is a GOOD thing.

Peter at Naked Blog has dropped out of Big Blogger, I’m sad to see him go, I’m also wondering where Big Blogger is heading. I’m still treating it as a silly bit of fun though because that’s all it is (this is NOT a dig at Peter!!).

Michael Jackson – not guilty, so let him get on with his life now.

News

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