Weekly Rewind #84

Welcome to the 84th Weekly Rewind. This update finds me enjoying the nice weather here in Liverpool on a quiet Sunday afternoon. It’s been a couple of weeks since I reported back to you and there’s a lot to catch up on. So let’s get into it.

We last spoke on Monday March 28th where I was preparing for a live Linux Outlaws show that night. We duly broadcast and recorded that and it went on to become episode 199 – “Hail To The King, Baby!”. Now, this is going to mess with the timeline a bit but stick with me. That show wasn’t released until April 4th and in the meantime a pre-recorded April Fool’s episode came out as “ep 198 – GNU/Linux Outlaws”. It was released on April 1st and for this show we used funny voices (funnier than normal yes), messed around, and generally hammed it up. I’ve been really surprised by the lack of negative reaction to it, at least in email. I thought more people would be upset, but the general reaction is that people loved it. They thought it was funny. Hooray!

The following day (Tues 29th) I woke up and noticed a problem with my right ear. I couldn’t hear anything properly. It seemed to be a wax blockage and it wasn’t sore, but for a musician it’s pretty handy to be able to hear. I learned by trial and error that cotton buds actually make the blockage worse. This saga continued through the week as I tried to use warm olive oil to unblock it. I won’t ramble on about that too much now. It comes into the story again later.

A picture of me on stage at the gig with Reflect Harmony Group
The First Rathole Roadshow

I fixed up the audio from the previous night’s LO and sent it back to Fab for editing. I also finally got myself in gear and started posting out the gig tickets. You can’t have failed to notice this if you’ve been reading this blog or following anything else I do, but on Sunday April 24th at 8pm we’ll run a Rathole Radio music event at The Zanzibar in Liverpool. Tickets are £5 from the website for a standard ticket, and £10 for a sponsor ticket which has benefits such as, signed poster, gig mention, personal note and some other cool surprises. Please buy in advance if you want to come. It’s only 2 weeks away as I write this and much time has been taken up trudging around town putting up posters, delivering CDs, sending emails and tickets to potential promo outlets and so on. I’ve been pushing the Creative Commons angle as I believe it makes the event different, and it’s something I really care about. All the artists playing on the night use CC. It also ties in nicely with the Liverpool Music Barcamp my friend Neil Morrin is organising. We’ll have sessions on the best recording techniques, promotion, licensing of your music, making instruments, improving your website, and all the other things the Independent musician needs to know these days. It happens at Parr St, Studio 2, Liverpool the day before the RR gig, Saturday April 23rd and runs all day. I’ll be there and so will many other interesting musicians and producers, so come down.

On Wednesday March 30th I appeared on FLOSS Weekly again with Randal Schwartz. I got the time right this week and even turned up 2 hours early just to be doubly sure. Those damn time zones and this daylight saving time business [shakes fist]. We talked to Gilad Bracha about his new programming language Newspeak. It’s based on Smalltalk and looks very interesting. I must confess when he and Randal got into the low level technical discussion my head was spinning at times, but it was like getting a programming lesson from two great masters and I learnt a lot. You can download that as episode 159 of FLOSS Weekly.

A picture of me, in gray t-shirt, stood in front of the screen at u-cubed giving my talk.
My U-Cubed talk (Photo by Les Pounder)

On Thursday, between practicing with the band and gig promotion, I started writing my speech for the U-Cubed event the following Saturday. Organiser and friend Les Pounder had asked me to do a “keynote”, never done one of those before but I was up for giving it a go. He didn’t really specify a topic or area to cover. So in light of this I chose to talk about working closer together as a community and the importance of upstream projects, as we FOSS geeks call them. More on that in a moment. On Friday I played an “unplugged” gig with 20lb Sounds at the FACT building. It’s a very trendy cinema/cafe/arty place in the middle of Liverpool. We’d been asked by the good folks at the Nerve Centre to play as part of their Insurrection event. I met the lads in town and we had a last run through the acoustic set we’d planned before packing and carting the equipment around. This is all something of a lie as I played an electro acoustic guitar which was plugged in and everything else was fairly normal, shh. I like to say that we take the Pearl Jam approach to the whole unplugged thing, if I can be so bold. We don’t change the songs a lot, we just rock acoustic instruments. I also played a lot more harmonica in the set, using my Bob Dylan neck brace thingy, yes that’s the technical term. The crowd was small at first but grew as we played and that has to be a good sign. People in the bar could hear us and wandered in to check it out.  We had fun and I think the people listening did too, that’s all you can ask.

On Saturday I got an early train to Manchester with Neil and we headed to the U-Cubed event together. It was a Barcamp style affair where people pitch talks and the schedule is decided on the day. I’d just about finishing planning my talk on the train, while a little bleary eyed from the night before. I hung out during the day, talked to people, asked some questions, saw some demos and then delivered my presentation. It provoked a big “Question Time” style discussion and I was pleased about that. I wasn’t trying to be controversial but I do think the topic of good collaboration needs to brought up in FOSS right now. After the event finished some of us went to a nearby bar and hung out some more. After which I finally got myself back on a train to Liverpool and arrived home about 10pm. On Sunday I recorded and broadcast another Rathole Radio in the evening. It was later released as Rathole Radio 49. But I’ll talk more about that next time.

To Be Continued…

I’ll leave it at Sunday April 3rd for now as this getting very long winded. I can update you on the events of this week in another post on Monday or Tuesday. What will happen? Will I get my hearing back? Will there be any more Linux Outlaws?! The answer to all these fascinating questions and more next time 🙂

Take care,


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