Weekly Rewind #87

Hello again everyone, come in put your feet up. This post finds me doing a bit of birthday blogging. I’m 31 today (time presses on) and I’ve done precisely nothing. I’m having what I like to call a Ferris Bueller day. I haven’t stolen a car or anything that extreme yet but I am taking my relaxation seriously. So here I am parked on a comfy chair in my flat, writing up the events of the last week or so. There’s been some interesting stuff to talk about too, so let’s get into it.

The last update finished on Wednesday May 18th so let’s pick things up there. I appeared on FLOSS Weekly again early that evening, this time co-hosting with Randal. I’d booked Sam Spilsbury who is the maintainer of Compiz as our guest. I had mistakenly thought because he worked for Canonical Sam would be in London, but actually he was in Australia and obviously the network connection there wasn’t quite as good. Despite some weird USB problems on my end we had a great time and a very interesting talk. Compiz is a 3D window manager used a lot on Linux systems. It does funky stuff like desktop transition effects and wobbly windows. I’ve been using it since 2006 and it’s brought a lot of people onto Linux. People just seem to love eye candy. Who can blame them. That was released as episode 166.

After finishing the show I got some dinner and relaxed a bit before our late 20lb Sounds gig at The Cavern Pub on Matthew St. We walked down there for our 23:45 slot really not expecting anyone to be there, but in fact there were about 30 or 40 people in the bar. It wasn’t a big place so this was enough of a crowd to get an atmosphere. Despite a few technical hitches and fairly poor on stage sound, we played well and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. More on that later. On Thursday I spent most of the day editing Linux Outlaws 208 and on Friday I finished it. There was also some good news from a friend at Red Hat. They want me to go to Dublin for their Red Hat Partner Summit on June 5th and interview the CEO of the company, amongst others. They also want me to play some music for them and take my guitar. It should be a cool little trip. I’d heard something about it a couple of weeks back but I was waiting on budget confirmation before saying more. It’s all on now. I’ll tell you more in coming weeks.

A picture of Craig Charles dressed as character Dave Lister in leather deerstalker
Dave Lister (Played by Craig Charles)

On Saturday I awoke and fired up my studio kit for a quick recording. It was midday so I’m not complaining about it being too early don’t worry. It was much earlier for Bradley in New York anyway, 7am I believe. I do sometimes feel a bit like Dave Lister from Red Dwarf though. One of my many heroes. Referring to his failure at art college he remarked “They had lectures scheduled first thing in the afternoon. I mean FIRST THING in the afternoon. Who’s together by then, you can still taste the toothpaste!”. I’ve never been much of a morning person. Bradley asked me to be co-host of Free As In Freedom as Karen was getting married on Saturday and understandably had a plenty of other stuff to do. We talked about GPL enforcement and Matthew Garret’s talk from the Linux Collaboration Summit. I usually produce the show but as Bradley remarked, it was nice to finally appear in public after being the silent partner so long. I edited that audio the following day and put it together with the music, then send it back to Bradley and you can now download the show here.

After my recording on Saturday I waited for some friends to arrive at my flat. We embarked for Halsall (somewhere near Ormskirk) for my friend Sarah’s gig. It was an outdoor event and being at the end of May they’d hoped for nice weather. The British climate didn’t really play ball though. Thankfully it didn’t rain but it was cold and very windswept. Despite all this Sarah and the choir ploughed on performing some great tunes and everyone had a great time. It wouldn’t be a British summer if we didn’t all sit outside in the cold, that’s what made this country great dammit! Haha. If we British people have proved anything over the course of history it’s that we can make and drink tea anywhere. Arctic wasteland, blazing hot desert, we don’t care. If you’ve got a kettle we’ll be there! Biscuits wouldn’t go amiss either.

On Sunday evening I headed for Dale St to meet the band and we got some practice in for another upcoming gig. We were all a bit tired to be honest and while I had fun I think we all agreed we’ve played better. That happens sometimes. Live music is often about the energy and vibe more than technical perfection. The following day I prepared the Linux Outlaws feedback for an early show recording. This was to accommodate my gig in the evening. I also did a review of the new Unity desktop in Ubuntu, which I’ve been testing for a couple of weeks. We broadcast the show at 14:00 UK time and a surprising amount of people joined us. Some in different time zones, some dodging work I suspect. We all had fun and at the moment that audio is being edited for release soon. I did the preliminary editing on Tuesday and sent it back to Fab.

Festival Organiser David Bash holding black IPO Liverpool t-shirt on the Cavern Stage
David Bash with IPO Liverpool t-shirt

In the evening 20lb Sounds assembled again and got a quick warm up in at the rehearsal room before the gig. We then walked round to The Cavern Club and checked what was going on. I have to say it was pretty busy. It was all part of a festival called International Pop Overthrow and it seems to attract at lot of tourists and even foreign bands. The band on before us were from Holland and all sounded like Dirk Kuyt when they spoke, but they were very good. So we got on stage and set about rocking out. The place had emptied and by the time we started there were only about 5 people in total. I was worried this could be disappointing when 2 of those even left, that’s 40% of the audience! Luckily my fears were unfounded as the music drew people in away from the front stage at the club where Mike Badger was playing. I don’t know much about him but he was a founder of the Liverpool band The La’s and has some notoriety around here. By the time we came to our last song there were about 40 or 50 people by our stage and they really seemed to like it. We even did an encore. I enjoyed the gig immensely and I know the others did too. It’s a famous venue alright but drawing an audience in with your sound rather than having one ready made is satisfying. That has to be a good sign. At the end the festival organiser David Bash came on and said some very nice things about us, he even pointed out that our name is first on the official festival t-shirt. Not bad hey.

The following day (Tuesday) I again recorded earlier than normal as we interviewed Ubuntu Studio lead developer Scott Lavendar for Linux Outlaws. Ubuntu Studio is something I’ve used a long time and I’m a big fan. It was great to geek out and also discuss some music with him. I’ll be editing the audio later in the week and you should hear it on an upcoming show. That just about brings us up to date, apart from my lazy birthday today which I’ve mentioned.


On Sunday night (May 29th) I will be joined live on Rathole Radio by Wayne Myers AKA Fit & The Conniptions, a great singer-songwriter from London who’s music I’ve featured before. That should be a lot of fun and you can join us from 21:00 UK at ratholeradio.org/live for fun and music. There’ll be more Linux Outlaws coming up on Monday night and I will probably be co-hosting FLOSS Weekly on Wednesday June 1st but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. I also have some good ideas for articles and I’m hoping to have more time to write in the next month, both here and possibly in other places if I can sell some articles. I’m gonna start with my Ubuntu 11.04 review (including Unity). Stay tuned for that and also some music as I attempt to record new songs at home. It should all be fun so join me back here next week and I’ll let you know how it went. Until then, take care of yourselves.



  1. Great write up, Dan. You lead a very interesting life.

    There are only so many ways I can think of writing “I had Shredded Wheat again for lunch” (probably just the one way, actually) and this is why I don’t inflict my diary on the Internet very often.

    Happy Birthday again. Enjoy your 31st year and I hope I can make it to one of your gigs in the future.


  2. Thanks Matt, I appreciate it. I’m sure you do much more interesting stuff than just eat Shredded Wheat, but you could always say – “Shredded wheat I had”. Might sound a bit West Country though 😉

  3. Happy birthday mate…you’re catching up to me 🙂

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