Note: This was written 11th Aug, but didn’t get a chance to post.
Will you still need me? …Will you still feed me? …When I’m 64. Yes that’s right folks it’s Weekly Rewind number 64 already, feels like it’s come around quickly but I suppose really it hasn’t. I started blogging in earnest somewhere round the beginning of last year so it’s taken 18 months. I’m pretty late this week with the update (even later posting it) and I’m going to try and recap what’s been an exciting and busy time recently. Strap yourself in and let’s get this show on the road…
Last Monday night we recorded Linux Outlaws 161 and broadcast it live as usual. I had great fun chatting and worked on syncing up the audio later, before shipping it back to Fab for editing. He released that show later in the week with the title “The Operating System Is Called Windows”. I kept busy during the day with Drupal work and other things most of last week, so I’ll gloss over that as we have a lot to cover. Sadly I didn’t make it to Liverpool LUG as my friend’s brother was rushed into hospital at the last minute and obviously he had to be there. In truth although I found out late I wouldn’t be getting a lift I could have made it if I’d driven myself. I felt pretty wiped out though and needed some rest. I hope everyone at the LUG will understand. I got an email off Nokia on the Monday saying “can we have our phone back please?”, or words to that effect. It was a bit of a surprise after 8 months with the N900 but I could hardly say no. It was collected by courier on the Thursday and they didn’t waste any time. I’m sorry to see it go as I liked the N900 a lot and as a pure hacker device I still think it’s unrivalled. As an everyday phone though it’s probably lost the battle already, a lack of clear direction and support from the company hasn’t helped. I think Meego has an uphill battle against the strongly embedded Android and iPhone options (that’s almost a pun). You never know though, I hope they’ll surprise me. I sincerely thank Nokia for the chance to play with this device and I find it really odd that some people seem to think I should be pissed off they want it back. There was never any indication this was anything more than a loan and besides, that would seem pretty ungrateful to me. So long N900, but I did get to keep the funky box they sent it in. I just need to find a purpose for the Arduino inside now.
On Thursday I shot over to the Static gallery in Liverpool to help out with Liverpool Ignite 3, and it’s a good job I did. They had a large PA in the main room and nobody who knew how to make it work. I wasn’t familiar with the particular kit, but I’ve never met a sound system I didn’t like so I got it all fired up. There was a weird mains hum at times but I managed to EQ it out for the most part. I think someone had put a stack of power cables and live connectors in the roof truss alongside the signal cable. A cardinal sin in the theatre tech world! I manned the mixer through the show and had great fun doing it. I was reminded of my former life as a full time “noise boy” and I felt a bit nostalgic. Hopefully some day I’ll get back to that, who knows. Everyone had a fun evening and by the end I was certainly ready for bed. A good sleep sorted me out though.
On Friday I did some more hacking during the day and then packed up my stuff and hit the road at tea time. I was due to camp in North Wales at the Hoofer Doofer festival. It’s a dance festival set on a remote farm and some friends of mine run it. Despite this being the 3rd event I’d not made it to one and decided I should change that. I picked up Gary from the band and we set off in the car. We then promptly got lost as I took the wrong turn off the main road, but found our way back after 15mins of driving around small country lanes looking at sheep. In hindsight this was an omen of things to come later that night. We drove through towards Bangor and actually passed the camp site where we could see everyone else, this past at least was deliberate. We were planning to go to the large Tesco to stock up for the weekend and I was assured it was “just at the next big turn off”. We took that turn off and got even more lost but not for an 15mins this time, more like an hour. We drove around one place to the next searching in vain for this mythical Tesco until eventually we gave in and asked a local, terrifying him and his family as we followed them up their driveway to the front door. After getting directions from the very helpful man we finally made it to the supermarket and stocked up. I’ve seen some big supermarkets in my time but this was like a Tesco department store, they sold everything and even had different floors. We spoke to some friends on the phone to check whether we needed to buy extra tents or not, remember this as it’s important later. They’d taken tents and set them up for us so we were told there was no need and headed back to the festival. We were so late that is was almost dark by the time we hit the site and to top it off it was beginning to rain. A quick inspection of the two tents we were supposed to sleep in left us both unimpressed. They were knackered and I couldn’t even fit in mine, I know I’m big but I’m not that big. With a snap decision it was back off to Tesco to buy new tents, luckily a 24hr store. We managed not to get lost this time and returned within 30mins in the now pitch black and driving rain to erect our new canvas homes. With the help of a head torch and some perseverance I got the tent up and was very pleased with my effort. I’m not a hardened camper by any means so it wasn’t easy putting that thing up in the dark. Thankfully it looked ok the next day in the light and crucially it was dry inside. Ray Mears eat your heart out.
After that we sat around, chatted and chilled out for the evening. The next day I was awoken by my mate H shaking the tent quite enthusiastically. He was due to play at midday and needed a laptop from my car to do the show. He and Gary did a drum n bass set as The Lone Gunmen and I became the self appointed roadie. I had to make tea in the cafe at one point because all the staff were “too wrecked” from the previous night. I just made brews for the 3 of us and left some change on he counter, then settled in to watch the guys play live. It was really good and the music was excellent I thought. Sadly there were only about 10 people there because everyone was still asleep. Midday is a stupid time to put that sort of thing on at a festival anyway. I’m convinced if the lads had played later there’d have been a massive crowd. I hadn’t had anything to eat and neither had anyone else, so once again it was back off to the loving bosom of Tesco for a warm meal. I joked we’d spent more time in the Tesco and should have pitched the tents there, it must have been close to the truth. I’d originally planned to come back home on the Saturday night but ended up staying as the weather improved and I didn’t feel like I’d really seen anything on the first night. It was a Sci-Fi fancy dress theme which I didn’t know, but thankfully I wasn’t the only one without a costume. It was humbling to see the effort some people had gone to though. Ghostbusters, Star Wars characters and also Futurama seemed the most popular themes. We went around the rooms checking out the music, chatted to friends, drank, chatted some more and generally had a good time. I awoke on the Sunday sweating like crazt as the sun had finally come out. It was still muddy in the fields but nice to get a bit of warmth. I discovered later this brief bit of sun was enough to burn head, but at the time I was in ignorant bliss. We packed up and headed home about tea time and stopped at the Little Chef on the way for food. Little Chef is a chain of road side restaurants in the UK and my dad always calls them “Little Thief” because they’re really expensive. When you’re on the road you don’t have a lot of choice and I really enjoyed my £10 rasher of bacon and piece of toast (mild exaggeration). I made it home at about 6pm and realised I’d done no preparation whatsoever for Rathole Radio that evening. Despite sun burn and tiredness I managed to pull off a show, even if it was a little late starting. People were very patient with me and we had good fun in the end. I’ve released that now as Rathole Radio 32 if you want to hear it. I’ll leave the rest of the information till next weeks report as I’ve gone on long enough.
So, what else is coming up this week. It’s Wednesday as I write this so there’s not a lot of time left. I’m getting a HTC Desire (paid for) to replace the N900 and I can’t wait to try that out. I’ll let you all know the juicy details as soon as I can. I’ve got much more Drupal hacking to do and hopefully there’ll be a chance to make some noise with the band again. I’m supposed to be presenting the next episode of AMPed, the round up show from the Association of Music Podcasting. I’ll record that at the weekend and I hope it goes well. I’ll let you know. For now take care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon. Remember, clouds can give you sun burn too apparently so wear a hat or something 😉
Enjoy the music to play us out.