bookmark_borderRoll on the holidays

For various historical and religious reasons, none of which I pay much heed to, I will be on holiday from this Friday through to Tuesday the 3rd of May. Given that it’s only costing me three days from my holiday allowance, then it’s almost like a free holiday.

Part of that time will involve a trip to Skye, which I’m really looking forward to as I’ve never been that far north on the west coast of Scotland. My camera is primed, the USB stick of moosick is full (8GB of very random tuneage), and Kirsty and I are really looking forward to it.

After that it will be a lazy time for the most part, a well deserved break and a chance to properly recharge after a shitty start to the year and, if I’m really lucky, there may also be alcohol and debauchery in there somewhere as well!

In other news, my Mum is doing well, making good progress day by day. I’m really noticing big differences everytime I visit. Other than that, I’ve finally gotten my car back! I’ve not had it since the 7th February and it will need to go back in for a wee bit more work but that can wait a while.

Oh yeah and, very soon, my little sister will turn 30. I was flicking through some old photos last night, from when she was a bairn and still can’t quite believe she’s SO VERY OLD ALREADY! 😉

bookmark_borderFree is Free

A few weeks back Radiohead, a fairly well-known rock band from England, released their new album via the web and in a fairly radical move, allowed people to pay whatever price they wanted for the privilege. Anything from £0.00 to £100, they said (I wonder what the top amount paid was…).

Since then… apart from a couple of press releases full of ill-thought out stats… nothing.

What happened? Where is all the noise? Where are the “told-you-so” bleatings? What happened to the “revolutionise-the-music-industry”? It’s a disappointing damp squib if you ask me.

On one side, Radiohead remain silent on the matter. Or as good as.

On the other side the press was quick to report that a large number of people grabbed the album for free. They threw stats out like sweeties; one-third of people who downloaded the album paid nothing, average price paid was £3, and so on.

What does this prove? What does this say? Everything and nothing of course, and part of me hopes that was exactly what Radiohead intended.

Offer something for free and people will take it. Offer something with only guilt as a payment mechanism and many people easily push any emotional feeling to one side and plunge onwards. Offer something which can be free, and people will take it for free. This is the society we live in, writ large and then swept under the carpet.

Reaction to all of this freeloading seems out of place, there was SO much hype, in many different quarters, about this that it seems almost out of proportion.

Other artists (most notably Prince) have given away their music for free, realising that they make the bulk of their money outside of CD sales, but part of me hopes (desperately) that the music-loving fan, when given the ability to set a price, would do the right thing and pay up. A glint of humanity and integrity is all I’m looking for…

How laughable.

What I really don’t understand is where is the backlash? There is no screaming rhetoric to be found anywhere, either bemoaning the freeloaders or angry that this experiment failed to show the music industry that it was a viable solution.

But I guess that is a good thing because this experiment could do no such thing. It couldn’t PROVE either, the freeloaders (statistically) grabbed the music in about the same percentage as they do for music released via a record label.

The music industry didn’t take much of a kicking either as Radiohead will also release the album through a record label and hey, guess what, not EVERYONE is comfortable downloading music. The majority of the music listening public like CDs, or at the very least something tangible.

Reading between various lines, I think the only thing this experiment could ever prove was whether an artist would make more money PER SALE if they distributed things themselves, or via a record label. On that front I think Radiohead, on a per sale basis, doubled their money? I’m not sure as getting accurate figures is proved difficult but they certainly didn’t lose any money.

The deafening silence that blankets this entire episode worries me more than any of the financial/industry aspects.

Are we really so quick to put such things aside? Wasn’t this supposed to herald a new wave of thinking in the music industry, or is that where the silence comes from? A million record industry executives trying to figure out how to ‘fix things’.

This kind of thing isn’t a viable business model for a semi-successful band, one who flirts just below the limelight, and whilst it may boost the standings of newcomers (mySpace in particular) at a certain point it will start to hinder them.

I’m bemused and a little disillusioned. I had hoped this would’ve kicked started… ohh I dunno… something, anything… but nothing seems to have come of this. So I’ve gone back to my usual method of purchasing music and will continue to do so with knowledge of a better way gnawing at my wallet.


“I mean, look at him”


“That guy, with the tan jacket”

“What about him?”

“Well I know I’m not the most fashionable guy, but even I wouldn’t wear THAT”

“What? A tan jacket??”

“No, ohh can’t you see from there? Ahhh wait a minute, wait until that woman moves the buggy… wait…”


“See, told you.”

“But why? I mean… why? That’s just SO wrong. Do you think she dressed him and forgot he was a guy?”

“Hey, at least they match his jacket.. and they’re clean, they certainly don’t look like they’ve ever seen a building site that’s for sure.”

“You’re right there, cleanest pair of work boots I’ve ever seen!!”

“Still doesn’t explain why he’s got his trousers tucked into them though…”


Update: Allowing people to add a comment might help, huh. Should be working now. Apologies for being a numpty.

So, it’s not all working yet but, frankly, that jarring Christmas theme was beginning to annoy.

Whaddya think?

Ohh. You might wanna refresh the page, by the way, for there is a new coat of paint on the site.

What’s new?

Well for a start the comments are now WordPress comments. No more pop-ups. Gosh I’m SO up-to-date, aren’t I. And no, I haven’t imported all the old comments, as important as they are it’s just TOO manual labour. I might do them slowly, in small batches. But I doubt it.

Same goes for the miniblog, the old posts will remain on Blogger, and the comments on HaloScan. Frankly I’ve got better things to do with my time!

The miniblog is now controlled by WordPress too (and will take a wee while to fully populate). I see the posts are listed in the “previous posts” list above, need to sort that one out..

What else? Well a few bits and bobs, but nothing too major.

What’s still broken?

Several things. The search works but not quite how I want it. The archives might NOT work. The comments aren’t finished yet either… ohh and the links don’t seem to have come through in the blogroll.

I’ll continue to tinker with this tomorrow but for now, say hello to “Informationally Overloaded 2007” (at bloody last!).

bookmark_borderQuestions Answered – Wrapup

Early in October of this year, I stole an idea and asked my readers to ask me a question. 14 questions and almost 12 weeks later I’m finished. In case you missed any of them, here are those answers in full:

  1. 4.56 AM or other similar times that should not exist, what to do when you find yourself there
  2. Mackerel: an intimate portrait
  3. Redesigns I have hated, and why
  4. The 15th Guinness, table top dancing, questionable headwear and other fun things to do at a blogmeet
  5. Time travel for bloggers
  6. Five Things The Scottish Could Learn From The English, and Five Things The English Could Learn From The Scottish
  7. If one life is all you get, then
  8. The ideal jogging route
  9. Why I will never be cool enough to own a Mac
  10. Why are bin bags so flimsy?
  11. Why I’m glad I’m not single
  12. Why beard?
  13. Daddy or Chips?
  14. “Chips” or “The Dukes of Hazzard”?

It’s been fun coming up with answers, some of which were more challenging than others, some of which were complete nonsense, most of which took me longer than I thought they would.

Mind you, I could just have done something like this:

  1. 4.56 AM or other similar times that should not exist, what to do when you find yourself there – go back to sleep
  2. Mackerel: an intimate portrait – [insert painting of mackerel]
  3. Redesigns I have hated, and why – Renault Megane, hit with ugly stick
  4. The 15th Guinness, table top dancing, questionable headwear and other fun things to do at a blogmeet – yes, yes, sometimes, and “strip blog name guessing”.
  5. Time travel for bloggers – also known as ‘scheduled posting’.
  6. Five Things The Scottish Could Learn From The English, and Five Things The English Could Learn From The Scottish – nothing and lots, in that order.
  7. If one life is all you get, then – why the hell are you reading this rubbish?
  8. The ideal jogging route – is flat.
  9. Why I will never be cool enough to own a Mac – I’m SO cool that I’m above such issues
  10. Why are bin bags so flimsy? – Because they are made that way
  11. Why I’m glad I’m not single – I hate ironing
  12. Why beard? – Because I can.
  13. Daddy or Chips? – CHIPS! (joking… ish)
  14. “Chips” or “The Dukes of Hazzard”? – Daisy and the General Lee, natch

But where’s the fun in that?

A big THANK YOU to everyone who asked a question — Keith, Alex, Lyle, Neil, Peter, mike, Hans, Jane, Lesley, Andy, Adrian, my Mum, and Ally (yes, someone asked more than one question!) — I hope the answers were sufficient, and if not… well… tough!


This time tomorrow I’ll be in sunny Edinburgh. Well technically speaking I’ll be in a pub in the basement of a building so the chances of getting any sun are remote. Too late to change the venue now though.

I’m quite looking forward to this blogmeet. The first one was exciting for different reasons, not least if anyone would turn up (thankfully someone did), but there is also the rather odd experiencing of meeting, what is essentially a group of strangers. This time round I think we’ll number between 5 and 10 depending on who arrives when, couple of people are coming along later, and if everyone makes it, and I’m hoping to get to meet three bloggers in particular who I’ve been reading for a long time, autographs will be sought!

Those of you have attended other blogmeets will realise that, of COURSE we don’t sit around and talk about HTML, WordPress, CSS, RSS or anything else along those lines. Believe it or not we are there because we are interested in meeting the PEOPLE behind the blogs, and believe it or not, nearly ALL of us are normal. Nearly…

I’m also going to head through a little earlier and have a wee wander round Edinburgh. It’s a city I’m only passingly familiar with, much to my shame. I’ve only ever been there for events (concerts, interviews and the like) and know the main parts reasonably well but much of it is lost on me – I have promised myself that I’ll take the Rebus Tour someday but not sure what Louise would get from that.

Anyway, to anyone in the Edinburgh area on Saturday it’s not too late to come along, even if you can only pop in for a wee while and to say hello, and meet some of the foremost members of Scottish Blogs*. I think this blogmeet will be the best attended so far, and can only lead to … er… more blogmeets? Next one will be in Glasgow though, there’s only SO much Edinburgh this west-coaster can handle in a year.

* or anyone who happens to turn up…