Saturday, 21 March 2015
This article is taken from a story I wrote ages ago called "Remembering the Eighties". The 80's story was originally commissioned by a website called "Metal Godz". The site is long gone and my eighties article remains unfinished and unpublished. [caption id="attachment_792" align="alignright" width="300"]Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge.[/caption] During all the recording sessions for Neat Records we had the assistance of Conrad Lant. Conrad was a good tape op and got on well with everyone. He was always going on about his own band. It seemed that they saved up for about 3 months until they could afford enough pyrotechnics to blow up half a city and then they  had a major blow out and had to save up to do another show. Conrad said very little about the music, it was mostly about the explosions. One day he informed me that the bass player had quit and he was being called upon to play bass. A gig was imminent so I loaned him my Gibson EB3 I still had from my own early career. Conrad could barely contain himself seeing all these bands make recordings. He wanted his band committed to tape too. We had a slack day coming up so I relented and said he could bring his band in during down-time. Again I loaned him the bass. I produced three tracks with them but the only title I remember was "In League With Satan". I taught t he guys a musical trick sometimes called "The Devil". Theoretically known as the "tri tone" it is a very discordant combination of two notes and I thought it would be most effective in their music. Say you were playing a G, the tri tone from that would be C#. At high volume it sounded horrible and they loved it. I had no idea these tracks would come out as a single, I just produced it as a favour. Now Conrad was convinced he was on the way to mega stardom and in need of a bass so I let him talk me into selling him my EB3. I explained the history of the instrument and made him promise it was going to a good home. The next time I saw my old bass it had holes drilled in it and an upside down crucifix nailed crudely to it. My bass was now a mess and Conrad had become Chronos!  

Tuesday, 24 February 2015
The "Do Button" from IFTTT looks like having amazing possibilities


I wrote Lonely at The Top for the Tygers of Pan Tang for their 3rd album "The Cage" back in 1982. They were already planning to record my song "Paris By Air" but their chief songwriter, John Sykes had just quit the band and strong songs were in short supply. I went round to their management office which was above a Carpet shop in Whitley Bay and played this song to their manager (My brother Graham actually). Tom Noble may also have been present. All I had was an acoustic guitar so I demonstrated the song with much arm twirling, foot stomping and shouted "kabooms". They loved it and said "go ahead and make a demo" - which I did, and the song made the album. What I didn't realise until just now (see pic) was that the song also came out as a single. To be honest in 1982 things went ballistic with my songwriting and I would have had a hard time keeping track of where any of my songs were.

Picture of 7 inch single, Lonely at The Top by teh Tygers of Pan Tang

Monday, 23 February 2015
stcSorry to bother you with tests but it seems my Wordpress postings do get triggered to Google + via the Jeptack sharing plugin. However the title is not included and it seems a somewhat random image from my blog gets posted. What happens if I purposely add an image to this post?

Also go to Googe+ Sorry, as you've probably guessed, this is yet another test.

Sunday, 15 February 2015
I’ve been developing some new digital workshops lately My process work is all in Dropbox but I share the guide docs with participants in Google Drive as they all get a login and password in the Workshops. I had a mild panic when my entire process folder representing several years of work disappeared from Dropbox. I say “mild” because this often happens in Dropbox and you find your errant folder lurking somewhere you never intended it to be.

So, I figured it was time for some backup failsafes. I looked around for ways that I might auto backup my Dropbox to Google Drive. I found a few solutions but none were quite right and then I hit on the simplest solution of all. I installed my Google Drive inside my dropbox. I then moved the folder containing all this work inside the Google Drive meaning it was both in in G Drive and also in Dropbox. Each file is a unique instance but exists within BOTH drives at the same time and is therefore synched.

Some people have commented that this takes a little getting your head around. I’ve posted a diagrammatic image  below which I shall annotate. I hope you find this interesting, at best it’s just a note to myself about the experiment. Now I have a better working method for workshops I mentioned earlier and what I’ve learned here could well end up in this specific workshop


Insync:  for Running More Than One Google Drive Account.I’ve not tried this yet but it looks interesting.
Cloud HQ this is really good and I may come back to it. It synchronises your various cloud accounts but I struggled with clarity about what the “free” account provided and the leap to premium was too steep and too soon.
MultCloud: / - I like this and it’s free. It will read your various cloud stores and then you can move files between them. You have to physically initiate this though there is no automated synchronisation going on.

Above are my Dropbox and Google Drive respectively. As you can see my G Drive sits inside my dropbox. My working directory is [2] where I develop the workshops. This sits both withing Dropbox AND G Drive. I work on the files in D Box but they're backed up in G Drive. I copy files for participants to [1] which they can access from shared folders online in Google Docs (Drive)
Monday, 5 January 2015
Here we go 2015. The start of the working New Year is always a bit of an adventure. Started me thinking, Like many people in January 2000 I was starting the new millennium with great hopes for the future. I was working on a new musical Steel Town that would be staged that year. Also I was joining Teesside University to manage a project working with 7 steel communities in Tees Valley. I was to do this for 18 months but little was I to know that this would lead to me moving to Teesside the day of the final show of Steel Town and that I would spend the next 15 years (so far) in academia.
I recently rediscovered a VHS of the launch of the TVCO project and digitised it.
Here it is.
Sunday, 4 January 2015
I  shared a letter on Zero Hours contracts a few days ago on Facebook  thinking my little circle of bolshy friends may have something to say about it. Now I'm astounded to see it's been shared over 14,000 times and the likes may go over 13,000 anytime soon. This and the 100's of PM's I've received from some pretty desperate people tell me that this is not just one mans rant. These are big numbers that endorse my belief that there's a lot if injustice going on. It's not just abusive "employment" conditions either. There is housing rental injustice as pointed out by my friend Kev Howard who also brought to my attention recently the injustice being perpetrated on people with disabilities by ATOS et all. I'm sure there's more e.g. the financial injustices: corporate greed, bankers bonuses and tax avoidance that everyone is talking about. The exorbitant cost of life's necessities such as water, gas and electricity. The mis-labeling of our food products. I was just remarking to my wife yesterday, if we put together the money we've clawed back in illegal banking charges and mis-sold PPI over the past few years it amounts to a huge chunk stolen from our income. What the hell is happening? What can we do about it all?