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Showing posts from 2010

Why I hate Apple

You probably found this article based on the title and thought ooooh an Apple basher. Well not quite.
I don't really HATE Apple as such. They are a company with a sole aim in the marketplace - to grab a huge slice of the pie that is the personal computer market. I guess we could say they're doing OK at that. Then they enter the mobile phone market with what is essentially a rather poor phone with a slick interface. They sell it for hundreds of pounds more than other comparable phones and all the sad and irritating people suddenly jump around saying "oh look my iphone does this..."
Just fuck off already. My HTC Tytn 2 did most of that shit 3 years prior to the iphone. That's what narks me. The blind support for Apple when in my opinion they don't deserve it.
They invent a non generic port and we end up with hundreds of speaker docks, plug in kettles, fridges and other useless iPod dock trash. Most of them poor quality it has to be said.
The media blindly follows on…

Massive snowfall!

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This fell overnight. I can't believe how deep it is. Meg seems fairly OK with it all.


The 80's. Remember the 80's.

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80's Litter
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway I love being in buildings that for a number of years have existed in one state, and are being converted to another state.

The place I am working in at the moment is one such example.

Previously a corridor existed, a narrow corridor, with a room set at an angle at each end. When we looked at the plans we found that it was actually a corridor fitted across a room, in fact, closing off another two rooms!

The walls to the corridor were knocked out revealing what turned out to be a 12' by 14' room, with a door off to one side into a room full of files (which already had another entrance in another part of the building). Inside the walls, however, we found a treasure trove. Obviously the old room hadn't been too well cleaned before the walls had been put up in the mid 80's, and as a result we found some rather quaint litter.

The best before dates on most of these were between 1986 and 1988 although one nik naks packet did…

How smartphone users see each other...

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I think this captures our opinions of each other perfectly.

I'm on Android by the way... you bunch of Blackberry owning dinosaurs!

Money Grabbing Solicitors?

I'm the only independent witness to an accident a few years ago. It's dragged on for years and now it's ending up in the law courts.

The solicitors representing the defendant called me today and told me a court date had been set for the 24th November. I replied "sorry, that's no good - I can't make that - I have platelet donors that afternoon".

He questioned if I could move it... I replied "hmm... helping money grabbing solicitors settle a case, or giving my incredibly valuable services as a platelet making machine to the NHS to give valuable platelets to save and prolong the lives of people in need... I think I already answered that one".

The court date is now the 23rd... :-)

...of album releases, and stuff.

Tonight, I sit playing around with the Android dev kit on my Ubuntu laptop. It's very nice... especially considering just 5 or so years ago I'd have paid £££ for a devkit (and indeed, did for a couple of Amiga devkits). Android really is the future - unlike Apple with it's attempt at world domination, Android is free, and the variety of devices is becoming bewildering (although there are a few turkeys out there...).

Now just to educate the world that some of us have MP3 players that aren't made by Apple... I'm sure there are more docks available for ipod and iphone than there are ipods and iphones in the world. A recent look in PC World came up with about 20 different shapes, sizes, types. Most of them rather poor quality, or with very poor sound (and far worse than a set of £20 2.1 speakers can give you).

PDMI is fitted on the Dell Streak as standard. Dell didn't make this obvious at first, but then some smart guy figured out the pin-out is the same, the forums …

A cat's life

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A cat's life
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway Not a blog post, just a very cute picture of my cat asleep. Enjoy.

October, already.

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QR Code
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway This year has flown. It's not been a great one, but it's been better than 2009.

Manning has gone from strength to strength (and drummer to drummer). The last drummer, well, he didn't work out. I won't go into details (that's his job if he wants to badmouth) but it didn't happen.

We're now on drummer 3 for 2010, John Kennard. So far - so good. He better bloody well had be I suppose - bearing in mind it's 3 weeks till the next gig and album release.

Today I've been playing with QR codes. The one adjacent brings you here... I may have to do more.

Finally - book of the year for me - Racing the Beam. Quite geeky, in fact, I'd say very geeky. It's about the old Atari 2600 console. If you have any interest in how we used to program games back in the 80's then get this book. It's also available on Kindle...

Through my fingers

I was rather surprised to be Facebook friended by Paul Menel - he of IQ fame (well two albums anyway). Yes. That Paul Menel. He recorded with them on the studio albums Nomzamo (1986) and Are You Sitting Comfortably (1989) - and I must say, I like both albums.

Recently I've found myself wavering through a land of pop/rock and folk. Why? - well it's taken me a while to figure out, but it dawned on me earlier this week. Accessibility.

These days I find too many albums are prog for the sake of prog. They're clever. They're TOO clever... and they are INACCESSIBLE. It takes 4-5 listens to actually get any idea what's going on, and I find myself unwilling to donate my time to these inaccessible albums. They may be musically superb, but why should I have to actually think through music? can't I just put it on and slip away into another state of being whilst listening to it, without worrying about what hidden messages I might have missed? or how clever that 5/4 7/8 13/8 a…

Charlestown Release Gig 23rd October 2010... the only place to get a copy before the 25th October release date.

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The Papal Visit

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The Pope is in England at the moment and I like many of my fellow countrymen do not give a flying fuck about his visit. Many of us find it insulting that the treasure laden, paedophile hiding, poverty causing Catholic church is not paying the costs of this visit. Nay, it is costing each tax payer in excess of 40p for this visit - at a time when the country is on it's knees with a sign on it's arse saying "Free Ride - Enter Here".

Who are we going to invite next? My money (all 40p) of it is on Osaka Bin-Liner.

BIG BALES

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Massive bales of hay in a field sorta make me realise Autumn is here.

Found on my phone

Recorded using my phone when I was running Android 1.6. This is Hannah going down a steep banking down from a motte in Herefordshire.

Steve D being a loon!

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Julie's Birthday party.

Hall Place Rehearsal

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We rehearsed at Hall Place today.

I caught a bit of video. Note that no Manning songs were harmed during this performance.


Charlestown

My life over the last few weeks has taken some strange twists and turns... mostly becoming so busy that blogging has been a low priority.

I've been to Cumbria, I've been to Herefordshire, and I've had some time away. We're now in the middle of decorating the hall, stairs and landing including some lovely new balustrading and a full new banister (nice wood one, not painted) and a new door knocked through where we used to have a wall. Our house will soon be a three bedroomed house again (like it always should have been) and the old dressing room door will be closed up shortly.

Meanwhile, I've also really been busy with Manning - not just rehearsing, but doing the centre page artwork for Charlestown - a photo montage from RoSfest and other stuff. Sadly the photo of me is not from RoSfest as I don't like any of the close ups of me from the event...

Now, on to the future.

Well in a fortnight we play Bilston supporting Crimson Sky. It was originally to be our gig, but th…

Ashley House?

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Who fucking dressed him?


Myspace is shit

I've not liked Myspace for while now. It's just a massive forum for people to add fake friends, and gather numbers of "followers". I could name names, but won't (the sly amongst you will know).

When I go to their Myspace (I do occasionally check...) I find they're through 30,000 "followers" whereas my own band... well... a few, but a modest number, however - when you go to last.fm where REAL people go the situation is somewhat reversed... in fact I'd go so far as to say it's almost logarithmic!

last.fm gathers (with your permission) stats on who is listening to what, and how many times, and when. I subscribe to it, as do quite a few people I know, and as such you can see some of the embarrassing contents of my music collection (and I get to see theirs). It stands to reason something gathering such information is going to tell slightly more truthful figures than something just showing you web pages and grubbing "adds", after all, how …

Modifying a Freeloader Pro

Firstly... Happy Yorkshire Day peeps!

The Freeloader Pro doesn't work with the Dell Streak... it won't charge it - unless you're willing to pass on your warranty and modify the device.

Here's a step by step guide... note that this does NOT apply to the Freeloader standard which at present will NOT charge the Streak.

Open up the main part of the Freeloader Pro using a PH1 screwdriver. There are four screws around the charge indicator ring - keep these safe.Click off the cover to the charger - taking care around the solar panel. You should be able to get it off without any tools.Inside is the solar panel, battery underneath, and the PCB with the four plastic lenses for the charging ring. On the PCB are three screws. Remove these and keep them safe.Unplug the battery connector from the PCB (it's a little white connector with a red and black wire on it). Gently lift the PCB out being careful to avoid damaging the battery and solar panel wires. You need to twist it over, w…

When England comes first.

I was surprised to find today that the USA still don't have the Dell Streak and that the yanks are running up quite a buzz for the device. Understandable, really, as it is a fantastic piece of kit.

Whilst it amuses me to think that for a change the Americans come second when a new release comes around (they had the Wii, DS, DSi, and many other things first) but it also does make me realise just how big a market the USA is.

I would like a dock for it (I had one for my Ameo and it was wonderful), but sadly at the present the only option is the official Dell product. I'd also like a second charger... again... only the standard Dell product. As you can imagine these are rather expensive and non standard. Also, Dell aren't rushing with a Froyo update so we're stuck on Android 1.6

After a few weeks living with the device what are my thoughts?

The good
It does everything! - A good browser, good camera, good phone to use, Android OS.The Bad
Dell accessories are too expensiveNo third…

Sliding along...

When I first signed up for MySpace I decided I'd only add friends at first, but then relaxed the rules somewhat and allowed anyone who added me. D'oh. I'm still on MySpace, but don't really use it any more.

Then a new fangled thing came along called Facebook... and the same happened again. All good intentions, and I ended up just adding anyone... then every couple of months I have a massive prune and get rid of loads of people I have lots in common with but don't really know.

Now I'm tweeting... but this time with the combination of Twitter and Facebook I think I've got it right. Facebook is for people who sort of know me. Twitter is for people who I know personally or am good friends with because of something we share a close common interest in... it seems to work for me anyway. I have 400+ facebook friends and about 30 or so Twitter friends and I don't lose track of who is who.

Now onto quote of the day - from David Boreanaz of Bones, Buffy & Angel f…

Lego Buzz Lightyear

I am regularly unimpressed by service in various shops, particularly the larger branches, however today's display in WHSmith was stunningly bad but they did rectify it fairly sharpish when I complained.

I went down for WHSmith opening to get a card and magazine, got there 15 minutes early so sat reading on my Kindle Reader (Treasure Island... arrrrr)... only to watch a massive queue materialise on the other side of the doors.

When the doors opened I walked in, ignoring the massive queue (and dirty looks by said massive queuers who obviously hadn't noticed I'd been sat there for the best part of 15 minutes - long before any of them appeared) and went to the cards. The queue filed in, went straight to the checkout, and proceeded to collect Lego items. I'm not sure which paper is giving them away free, but they were Lego Buzz Lightyear figures.

"I'm not queueing with them bloody freeloaders" I thought - spending 40p on a paper they don't really want to get …

Oooooh a new phone!

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I got a new phone this week... OK... well... a huge slab of a device, but what a device.

It's a Dell Streak, which is a mother of a 5" screen yielding slab of technology - packed to the brim with goodies including a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, HDMI output, and to top it all nicely it's running Android.

Yes, I know it's only Android 1.6 at present, but Dell promise an update sometime in August to 2.2 Froyo which backed up with the snapdragon 1 gig processor should make for some silky smooth apps.

Of course, I could have followed the lemmings down the iphone path, but then I'd be looking for phoneboxes all the time to make calls... although I did read a good selection of jokes via Twitter t'uther day...

Apple: 0.55% of users have called about reception problems, the other 99.45% dropped the call.Two iPhones got married. It was a lovely ceremony, but the reception was awful. Apparently they held it in the wrong place.
and that, as they say, is your lot.

Now I…

Musicians playing Band Hero

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Something rather unusual happened recently...

I tried Band Hero for the first time ever at a friends house. As you know, I'm a bass guitarist and so I chose bass as my instrument, naturally, of course.

How did I fare though?

I was shite... but why?

Well as a bassist I can tell you that the guitar firstly is too short thus meaning you're playing everything at around the 12th fret if it was a real bass. At which point the rocking "string" switch is dreadful... you can't play it finger style properly as it centres too slowly thus forcing you to rock it with your thumb. Awful.

Finally... FIVE BLOODY NOTES?!! - Sorry but that does not accurately represent a real bass. Mine has that many strings, and each string has 26 frets. Do the sums - that's over 125 individual frettable positions (although B and E above fret 15ish are a bit pointless)... counting it as notes that's almost three octaves of range from low B to high A - or almost 36 individual notes.

Yes, 5…

5 reasons to buy a Nintendo DSi

At first the DSi didn't excite me in any way. I had a DS and I was happy with it, but I then saw something that made me realise the DSi was for me...

1: The Cameras - 0.3 megapixel (read VGA). They're OK, I suppose, but the included photography and gallery software is really good and some of the effects are worth it alone.

2: MP3 playing - a load of old bollocks... the DSi cannot play MP3's BUT... it can play M4A files which are readily downloaded from itunes, and you can convert your MP3's into M4A's rather quickly using Sound Convertor (available from the Ubuntu Software Centre).

3: DSiWare - there's a lot of crap, but I must say STARSHIP PATROL is the most awesome game ever!

4: A Browser - don't expect too much and it will deliver. It's better to browse the mobile version of sites, although it can cope with bigger sites. No flash though, but then again neither has the ipad!

5: Flipnotes - Animated flipbooks... a great time killer - and with Flipnote Haten…

World bloody Cup

I've had enough of the World bloody Cup already. That's World bloody Cup as in the same way Simon Git Cowell and Jeremy Tosser Clarkson are what they are.
It's not funny, and the sodding vuvuzelas are irritating beyond belief. It sounds like a swarm of demented wasps are about to attack... but... we're out of it, so at least the bloody thing has sort of slipped into the background and brought Wimbledon to the foreground... and Andy Pissing Murray, the sour faced Scot is now grimacing his way through the tournament.
Yes can't you tell... I hate sport, and I'm turning into a whinging old fart.
On a happier note, after doing some seriously bad shit to my neck (damage to nerve C5) I now have news to report that the pain is diminishing somewhat and mobility is returning. All thanks to some good physio and a daily dose of amitryptaline.
Finally, Charlestown - the epic - is all recorded now and is virtually there mix wise and sounding stonkingly good. I can't wait to …

Midsummer

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Don't drink & drive.
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway Happy Midsummer people of the internet!

Now a little update on what has happened to me since my last blog, after all, it has been a major chaotic week!

Well you heard about the court case (guy faking certificates gets caught and imprisoned) but now for my other stuff...

On Friday I was electrocuted due to someone else's idiocy, I mean, who wires a ring main to 2 circuit breakers? Seriously?

but the big event was Saturday - as the photo shows. Whilst driving along Wash Lane, the Dalton end, I was tailgated very closely by an idiot in a Corsa. Even though my car (MX5) was more powerful, I thought I would rather not have this prick behind me and so slowed down to give him easy chance of overtaking as soon as the central barrier ended. He did overtake me - dangerously - making a driver coming the other way swerve.

At that point I noticed the police cars bearing down on me with great speed. I pulled over... obviously, Cor…

Remember the CRS Acoustic Sessions?

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I was looking back at a little project I attempted, and somewhat succeeded at a few years ago.
Technology wasn't as good as it is today, and my equipment at the time certainly wasn't the best hi-tech equipment you could use. My few good microphones were filled out with a hell of a lot of cheap poor quality microphones (including some MAPLIN ones!), but listening back - I did well. Is it right to pat myself on the back?
It all started when a gig fell through just a couple of weeks before... I said to Martin Hudson "why don't we do an acoustic gig?"... and we could record it?
Yes. I set myself a task with that one - and to this day, I can't rightly remember how I did it - but I did and I managed to make it sound good, putting a PA and recording system into a venue, having no soundchecks except the live ones, and getting through 5 artistes whilst monitoring levels, recording levels, etc.... and then MIXING IT!
Anyway, Lambsie (now from the CRS but back then just a m…

The lights of Antares?

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The lights of Antares?
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway ... Manning song reference found in Maplin.
Meanwhile... whilst at the customers' I was doing the work for I experienced something absolutely disgusting...
A pikey dole waller from the Job Centre nearby deemed it as decent human behaviour to do a SHIT at the top of their steps just outside the fire exit, and then wipe his arse with a paper bag.
... straight in front of a CCTV camera ... at one point he is virtually facing the camera and the image is lovely and clear.
Obviously this piece of scum doesn't know that not all cameras actually look like cameras and those dome shaped things are also cameras.
The police have, nonetheless, been called about it and passed CCTV footage and Streetforce have been and cleaned and sterilised the area.

Mobile Phones... a lesson to learn

Today I had to pop into the Orange shop. My HTC Diamond has a little charging problem (the USB port is working loose and it's going erratic). Apparently, I may end up with a different phone as they no longer have Diamonds in stock.Anyway, whilst I was in there I overheard a conversation I've heard on numerous occasions... Woman: "I was just using it and the screen cracked... then it went all the way down and went multi coloured"Orange Staff Member: "Is it insured?" Woman: "No, but I didn't drop it. It's never been dropped" Me (under my breath - coughed): "Bollocks" It seems every time I have to go into a mobile phone shop, be it Carphone Warehouse (DO NOT USE - ABYSMAL), T-Mobile (not bad) or Orange (rather good actually) I hear someone in there explaining that their phone just "broke whilst I was using it". C'mon, idiots - it's a thing you carry with you at all times. It gets thrown in bags, pockets, sat on, squashe…

Building Demolition Epic Fail

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Building Demolition Epic Fail
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway I went past this building on Penistone Road this weekend and noticed the contractors had started chipping away at the lower levels taking out the exterior walls ready to collapse it.

Today... well I think the building made up it's own mind to collapse and fell hitting the unit next door.

Oops.

Contractor epic fail!

Push Button Publishing

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I love blogger.I used to blog on Livejournal, but that went crap... you couldn't customise your layout enough, and they reduced what free users could do. I tried tumblr, but all the blogs looked the same, and you couldn't edit the raw HTML of the post in the same way. I've been on blogger now for a few years - and I also like it's policies... you can say what you like and you're not moderated (much). You're not answerable to some administrator who threatens to delete your blog if you say something they don't like... and you self moderate. The problem is - when you get a twat on your blog it's very difficult to delete them - as I recently had on the Manning blog (also run through my Blogger account)... why they seem to think we need links to Thai Prostitutes is beyond me... ? - and why they think it's relevant to an article about Volcanic Ash is even more beyond me (unless of course the ash forced our plane to divert via Thailand and we felt like gettin…

Hello! Don't come in. Just go away and disappear.

Have you ever had that feeling that you're really not welcome somewhere?I somewhere very recently where I previously had a lot of involvement, and I was given the cold shoulder... in fact I'd go as far as to say I was shunned. Is it a case of I know too much, or just they really don't like me, or just pure jealousy? I don't know... and I actually don't care, but just a simple "please don't darken our hall again" would be nice because then I'd know where I stand.

Dr. Who goes old skool.

Am I the only person who thinks the last episodes of Doctor Who were a little hark to the old Dr Who series?

Please, admit your waist size.

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It's a known fact that a whole three quarters of British men buy the wrong size trousers.It's also a fact that British clothing retailers also stock the sizes people buy - after all, it's poor sense not to. As an observant person, I observe, and sometimes I shudder at what people do because they don't want to stick their hand up and say "yes I've put on weight" like our rather stock photo type guy at right. I'm not small, I admit I have a belly, but I'm also rather well built and have trouble getting "my size" of jeans over my thighs. Yeah, I should have been a rugby player - and indeed at School was rather better than you'd imagine at the game. I am usually in the loose category of 38"-40" waist (occasionally 42" but that's if the sizes are teeny - Burtons... take note) and in leather jeans - I just try them on as most sizing is "yeah, we think it's a 38" so we'll put a 34" tag on there. Today,…

You never visit what's near you.

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It's always the truth that you never visit or appreciate what's nearby. Take Bolsover Castle for example - just off Junction 29A of the M1 and less than half an hour's drive away - and I've never been.

Well I have now - as we met up with Hannah's parents and enjoyed a day at the castle. Not quite a Mediaeval castle - more mock Mediaeval rich man's playhouse, but still impressive.
I'm rather impressed with my cupola picture...

The other visitors were rather bemused by a bloke in a black shirt and leather trousers laying on the floor, sticking a camera up in the air, and taking photos of the ceiling, or the same bloke setting up a camera on "The Pod" and taking a self portrait of himself sitting on some old steps... which gets me onto...
TOURISTS. Why do they insist on spoiling your shot by walking straight across, dreaming, in a world of their own... and in the case of the annoying kid (deleted from the top shot thanks to The Gimp and a second shot…

RoSfest... a month on.

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It's hard to believe it's almost a month since we played RoSfest. The time since has flown, and the number of new fans we've picked up is rather good.

In all it was a superb experience, with it's high and low points throughout the long and arduous journey to the festival.

It was about 16th June 2009 when the email came into me. We had to keep it quiet as contracts hadn't been exchanged, but we'd been offered the festival slot on Saturday - a 2pm slot so not too shabby!

Have you ever tried keeping massively important news quiet for 6 weeks when other bands around you are announcing their festival plans? - it's not easy, but we did it.

On August 1st it was announced - Manning were playing RoSfest... and the bitterness and backbiting started. A certain member of a certain band told a very good friend of mine (who the certain band member wasn't aware was a good friend of mine) "they're only getting RoSfest because Kris is in the CRS". Well, actual…

The Twelfth Night of Eurovision

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How the hell do you combine two titles?
Anyway... first onto Twelfth Night at the Montgomery Hall (a CRS gig). Yeah, it was OK - what I saw - but the sound was dreadful. The mix was all middley, and vocals were poorly defined. I didn't linger for too long as my poor ears are still suffering slightly from RoSfest (planes... damn pressure changes) and the tail end of the infection from last year which is still rearing it's ugly head from time to time.

Meanwhile... just HOW did that guitarist get into his leather trousers, and more to the point... did we REALLY need to see the outline of his winkie?

No, really. No. Please - go for something looser fitting next time. It's embarrassing.

Onto Eurovision. I love watching the voting on Eurovision. I don't watch the songs because they're detritus - but it's amusing to see how the politics and tactical voting is going, and to see Greece and Cyprus give each other 12 points - oh what would we do without that annual event?

Germ…

Broccoli Float Soup

I made this today. It's a summery soup, with the thickness and texture of a winter soup... so the best of both worlds in one then!

2 medium sized carrots
2 medium sized potatoes
A nice sized head of broccoli
1 white onion
1 bunch spring onions (about 10)
4 cloves garlic
Ground Ginger
Caraway Seeds
Ground chilli seeds
White Pepper
Salt
A veggie OXO cube

Chop the carrots and potatoes finely, cut the broccoli into little trees about the size of a thumbnail.

Fry the onions and garlic in a saucepan with a little vegetable oil until they go brown and transparent. Meanwhile, crush about a teaspoon of chilli seeds as much as you possibly can (pestle and mortar if you have one).

Once the onions are browned pull the pan off the heat and leave a minute - then add a good heaped teaspoon of caraway seeds, the potato, carrot and about 2 pints of water (add the water last to prevent spitting). Return to the heat and add the oxo cube and chilli sees (I suppose you could use chicken stock if you're not a veg…

The studio moles...

Yesterday Guy and I spent an inconceivable percentage (see Kris Hudson-Lee's Long Words Dictionary) of yesterday cooped up in the studio recording the basslines for Charlestown (the title track) and Clocks, thus wrapping up my part of the Charlestown epic. Yes it was hard work - after all Charlestown is 35 minutes long and Clocks is played on the upright, but boy do they sound nice and the hard work has paid off.

After tea (lovingly prepared by Julie) I decided to pop down to the Wesley Centre and catch the tail end of the Jump gig down there. I must say Jump have always amazed me... how such a unique band with such a charismatic vocalist don't play in front of many more people and do some decent festival supports I don't know... there are some bands (who I won't name) who seem to get all the festival slots and actually... don't deserve them.

Finally, Manning has a new drummer as you probably know - the incredibly young Conor - who looks like you want to ID him to se…

The state of the music industry

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The music "industry" is fucked. Plain & Simple.
Music, however... isn't.
In this time of MP3 self important twats like Simon Cowell must be shitting kidneys at the thought that his already massive pot of shekels could soon be shrinking somewhat.
Once upon a time people like him used to make or break a band. You had to have a label because you couldn't get a record out otherwise, and if you weren't quite to their liking you didn't get the deal. If you did get the deal it was in the order of 5% of 5% of 5% and people like this man <- made loads of money off your back for very little work.
Now the problem is... they still behave like this. To quote a rather stunning artist played on Radio 2 rather a lot recently "I went to xxxxxxxx record label and they said they weren't signing anyone unless they came in through a talent show such as X-Factor". xxxxxxxx was a bloody big label!
She decided to go it alone and now charts regularly. You can probably…

Party Politics...

So the Labour party didn't win the election - and I can hardly say I'm surprised. Dithering Gordon Brown has pushed them off course and they're heading rapidly back into left wing unelectable territory in my opinion, however, they are the lesser of two evils.
Cameron's tories are just despicable beyond all belief... Etonian toffs ensuring jobs for the boys and making sure their mates all do well and the rest of us can manage with what we're given and enjoy it - frankly, I can't believe people believed their twaddle.
The Lib Dems under Nick Clegg seemed like a breath of fresh air. I liked their policies, although the immigration amnesty did scare me somewhat... so for the first time in my life my vote went yellow (although I still voted Labour in the local elections).
Now the problem is, I'm regretting it. Clegg is cosying up with Cameron and I don't like that one bit. If a Tory-Lib Dem coalition government happens then my next vote will be swinging back to…

Coming home

Well after the festival, as you can imagine, we were pretty much a centre of attention. Invites to room parties followed, many autographs were signed, and we felt rather good about it.
Yes, I would love to do it again - and I'm sure we will sometime soon...
The journey home went fairly hitch-less, apart from having to kill time in the airport at Dulles due to us being dropped there at 11am (our flight wasn't until 6:30pm). Thankfully - Dulles isn't actually too bad as airports go and I managed to find laptop power and play a little Open Transport Tycoon.
A slight scary moment occurred as we found, whilst sat at the bar in the airport, that airspace over Ireland was closed... but apart from a slight diversion south of the Republic it didn't affect us too much.
Anyhow, I walked into the house at about 1pm on Tuesday... jet lagged, tired, and rather groggy feeling... and I slept.
Looking back on it all it was worth it - 18 hours of flying for an hour and a half of gig... yes. …

The Gig... oh yes, the gig.

I'm sitting at the laptop in the hotel room, it's about 10 to nine and I'm feeling like, well, the beer monkeys have shit in my mouth and stolen all my money... but I feel so good.
The gig yesterday was absolutely amazing - I will go as far as to say, well, the best gig I've ever played in my life. Bar none. I just wish my family could have been here... and I'm really missing them now. I've been able to Skype with Hannah but the volume level is awful and the picture keeps breaking up or dropping connection - but it's nice to have this facility. Just 3 or 4 years ago none of this VOIP calling would have happened this way.
I'm not far away from breakfast, although Steve and Chris are both still in bed so I apologise if the clicking of the keyboard wakes them.
The gig we played was: A Strange Place (from The Cure)The Dream (from A Matter of Life and Death)Antares (from Bilston)Ships (from Number Ten)Silent Man (from AMOLAD)TIC (from Charlestown - unreleased as…

The post you've been waiting for!

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It's not often I use exclamation marks. I hate them - after all, if you can't structure an exciting enough sentence without the use of this assault on the English language then you shouldn't be using any punctuation at all. Today's post does warrant just a single mark, so a single mark you're getting.
RoSfest.
Yes. For the first time in my life I am in the USofA typing whilst I sit at a rather nice desk in the hotel room
Skype has failed me as Hannah can't seem to contact me - she briefly appeared, and then disappeared - so I assume it's just a load of cack, however, here is the first couple of days' adventures in the USA told in a style as approved and created by ME.
Day 1... 4:00am rise - and I certainly wasn't built to get up at that time. I awoke, bleary eyed in Guy's lounge after having spent the night on a futon listening to the gas fire pilot light hissing and Dave Albone snoring (not too loudly - I will save him that embarrassment). I did wat…

Clear skies ahead... oh and Group 4...

So the latest ash cloud worries turn out to have been what essentially amounts to a massive over-reaction. Well... I hate to say I told you so...
It turns out the weather computer predictions showing massive swathes of ash all over Europe might have had the concentrations set a bit strong... you're telling me!
Well, all is settling down, the skies are open, and planes are moving across them leaving those contrails that as an astronomer I usually hate, but as a would be transatlantic traveller I'm quite liking them. It's strange how your perception changes...
On 1st May the big event happens... months of planning... rehearsing... and building up to it. Nearly dashed at the last hurdle by a bloody Icelandic volcano, but luckily, saved by a change in wind and a change of policy.
I'm recording tomorrow night - I think I'm going to do the bass lines for TIC. I've had a listen to it with real drums and I think I have a general idea of what's got to happen for a lot o…
I've had a strange weekend. Checking the state of the skies occasionally, and worrying slightly about the forthcoming and impending trip to the USA to play RoSfest - more as a worry to poor George Roldan and the team over at RoSfest who must be cacking kidneys right now - the flight ban would affect around 50% of bands playing the festival, as well as a number of punters who I know are travelling from Europe to be there.
I'm sure it will clear or flights will be allowed with conditions (possibly lower flying and slower speeds) as the possibility of 10 or more days of no flights is frightening.
We have our flight booked - and as far as I know nothing can affect that. They can't just "oversell" planes like they can trains because after all, you have to have a seat on a plane - it's just... well.. the law. Could you imagine Virgin Atlantic planes with people standing in the aisles? I shudder to think how bad that could be.
I've checked out my seat details - and…

Earth shows her teeth

The spectacle of a continent being born is magnificent, however, as someone who is intending to cross the Atlantic in less that a fortnight I'm hoping the volcanic activity in Iceland settles down and the ash stops being blown high into the stratosphere.
No flight have passed through European airspace now for a couple of days, and it doesn't look set to improve any time soon, especially with the calm weather we're having right now, and the winds coming from Iceland's general direction.

Perhaps someone could go and plop a big Alka Seltzer in the volcanic crater?

Group 4 park like dicks.

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A blanket statement, you may think, but actually - judging by the three examples below captured within a very short period they need to prove otherwise. I am currently drawing a blank G4S over these. I emailed requesting they notify their drivers that this sort of parking and just abandoning their vehicles is not acceptable - the first of which is an offence liable to land the driver with a £60 fine and 3 points on their licence - and I have had a response, but the follow up email hasn't happened.

I don't know if they are like this all over the country, but it seems our South Yorkshire drivers are just dicks.


Hillsborough, Sheffield - Zig Zags adjacent crossing

Bolton-on-Dearne - G4S van parked across entrance
Fenton Road, Rotherham - Disabled Space

Who keeps breaking the kitchen?

Who keeps breaking the kitchen?
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway We were wondering why parts of the plinth in the kitchen kept coming away.

We now found the answer... it's a cat thing.
In the news this week...
First it appears I have something called "Post Nasal Dripping". It sounds gross, that's because it is. Apparently flu, colds, hayfever etc. can set it off and it's only controllable and curable with long term decongestant treatments. Basically - I'm off the coffees for a few weeks :-(
The weekend was good too - I was in retro heaven! - Hannah booked a surprise day out for me at a retro gaming fair for a very early Birthday present - a fair where I could spend hours playing classic 80's 8 bit games. I did... I finished Manic Miner (including my least favourite level The Solar Power Generator) - and found a fair crowd had assembled behind me whilst I did it!

22 days to RoSfest... ooooohhh getting close now!

In three weeks from now I will be on my way to Leeds on the very first leg of my journey to RoSfest. It will, of course, be blogged and documented here (WIFI availability permitting) and the run-up will also be blogged.
Last night I laid down some bass for Charlestown (the epic 36 minuter from the new album). Amazingly, in 4 hours I managed just 5 minutes of bass - there really is that much to it, but I did manage to get through the entire introduction and the first section of the song and into the second section (where Taurus takes over from me for a while).
Tomorrow I will be buying an extra catch for my flightcase and fitting it - the flightcase is good, but I think three catches (one near the handle) will be better as the problem with flightcases without the centre catch is that if you yank the handle very hard you can pull the top of the case apart. I've had experience of this happening once before... I'm not sure where to get the catch from - perhaps B&Q?
Between us we&…

Bank Holidays... days unlike any other

I have noticed a few things you only see on bank holidays, particularly on our Motorway network:
1. Middle lane owners - yeah, I know - you get these all the time... but they're WORSE on bank holidays.
2. Breakdowns - on our way to Kenilworth and back we counted in excess of 15 broken down vehicles each way. I guess this is the old "holiday" syndrome - a car usually used for the school run and Tescos is expected to go 300-400 miles, usually with no servicing at all.
3. Speeders - not your normal run of the mill 90mph speeders, no these are a special breed. The people who don't understand how SPECS cameras work and drive at 70mph through the 50mph limit in the roadworks between M1 junctions 28 and 25... braking hard and slowing down to pass through each camera... I assume, so the cameras can get a clearer picture of you at lower speed so the ticket you've just received has more chance of success if passed on to courts. Do these people not understand what an average i…

The human race is shit.

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Inconsiderate Parking... OWND!
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway I have very little faith in many human beings after a visit to Sheffield today.

Firstly my parking at Meadowhall - an inconsiderate driver decided that it was acceptable to park overlapping an adjacent space. There is no excuse for this. If you can't fit your vehicle within the lines you shouldn't be driving it. Period.

I used to drive a 3.5 tonne luton box van. I could get it into any parking space without problems. Why the owner of this tiny Honda Jazz needs to overlap the adjacent space is beyond me, but you could say thanks to my small van they are well and truly OWND.

A guy driving past who saw me park even wound down his window and congratulated me on this little act.

Secondly, the peace gardens... why did the arrogant students insist on getting up off their blanket, folding it away, and walk off leaving a pile of rubbish behind?. Thankfully the city ambassadors (bless 'em) saw it happen, and confro…

I'm going to be a published photographer!

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It seems the people at icanhascheezburger.com have taken notice of a couple of my photos:


I've just signed the form to have them published in their forthcoming book... and will be getting a complimentary copy for my photos. Wonderful!

... old friends ... and the BST argument

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3/086:365 - Joe Lazarus 11 years on.
Originally uploaded by Last Human Gateway I was rather surprised a few weeks ago to find that some old music friends, Keith and Dave Angel were playing a gig at the Doncaster Civic Theatre with their current band The Angel Brothers.

What was more surprising however, was to find out that the entirety of Joe Lazarus, my old 1990's band of approx 2 and a half years were going to be there too.

Anyway, off I went to the Civic, and sure enough I was greeted by Dan Evans and Chris Perkins. Neither Wayne nor Paul showed...

However - what you see here is the three of us - 11 years after the original band split up, and actually - not looking too different, if a little older...

Today, I lost an hour. I searched everywhere, under the fridge - down the gaps in the sofa - even behind the toilet where I normally daren't go, but no... it's gone. Forever.

This, of course, brings up that old plum of "Oh we should go onto BST for good, or bring our time in…