Showing posts from 2019

A little arty

I'm no Captain Kirt (see his blog) but occasionally I like to draw things.
Here's me in a leather suit.

Blogger Mobile

At bloody last, Google have pulled their finger out with Blogger and are upgrading it to a mobile platform.

Another Fishy Rehearsal

We rehearsed again today. Preparing for Fortune Retelling next year - yes I know it's early, but when you're recording a gig it helps to be totally spot on.

Today we did the entire thing except 360, Random and This is Me (Part II)

Rainy Day

I have to say that rain outside sounds delightful.

A sad day, but a happy day.

So I did as promised and wore the suit. Everyone at the funeral was dressed brightly and there were quite a lot of people there.
David would have been proud and happy at being the centre of attention.

Funeral Today

So I'm currently sat in McDonalds having a quick coffee, before I go home and shower and suit up for the funeral of someone I went to school with. David Himan died a few weeks ago from metastasic prostate cancer. He had just turned 46 (same age as me).
I'll be in my brightest blue suit and brightest pink shirt for him. I just wish I could have got a rainbow tie at short notice, but alas I didn't think about it until today.

Locked in?

So something of a precedent happened today.
I visited my unit to pack some more stuff for my move, decided I needed a pee, and went to use the toilet.
However, my back door didn't open when I pulled it. Nothing.
This is my fire escape as well (shown as the purple door) but also is the only means of getting to a water supply.

Turns out the gympanzees upstairs have decided that because I'm not happy with their use of the building (in particular the way they keep leaving the stairwell) they would put brackets on my back door thus blocking my fire exit.

By allowing this to happen my landlord has defaulted on his health and safety requirements and I can now give immediate notice to quit with no prior warning, which I have given. It's actually worked in my favour to be honest as I can use it to get out of 4 weeks rent.
What they don't know, however, which I do know, is that in Mid November the fire officer visits the building for an inspection. I've had the letter because I ha…


You know all those years when you thought you had everything right, but something wasn't quite?
Well I've had that for a while with tech - I try and carry a bare minimum with me at all times. Often, I'll omit my wallet if I think Samsung Pay will cut the mustard, but there's always been a small anxiety there, especially when spending a night away from home.
That anxiety is my Galaxy Watch.
Whilst the device is fantastic (especially as a 4G version with it's always on capability meaning you can leave your phone behind for a short while - battery life is quite dismal on 4G!) charging it has always been a pain in the arse because it means carrying an extra cable and a dock.
Samsung, for some incredible reason which is only known to them, decided to make the dock Micro USB and not USB C. Plus the watch can't charge from any ordinary wireless Qi charger, even though it is Qi apparently the coil is too small for a regular charger so it has to have a close proximity one.

Happy Bi Visibility Day

Happy Bi-Visibility day to all my friends who don't consider themselves to be a binary gender.
Me. I'm down at the bottom right. Heteroflexible.

Yet More Giggery Pokery

Yesterday we gigged again. Another wedding.

Have I already mentioned I love playing at weddings?

This one was on a cricket field in Tickhill, in a marquee. That always means good things - a marquee has great sound because there are just no reflections to deal with.

So we arrived at 2pm (as I found later, this was far too early - we could have arrived at 3 and still been set up in time; but it wasn't a problem. The club itself was great and it was lovely sitting outside in the warm September sun as a last little breath of summer came and gave us a reminder it wasn't too far gone.

The marquee itself was about 60ft long, with a decent size stage and a 32A power supply laid to exactly the right place on stage - it looked absolutely lush!

Dennis arrived shortly after me, and we started to load in and set up straight away - and after getting the generator started (the keys were "missing" but it turned out they were in it all along!).

Jake was just post-operative so he didn&…

New Phone Day

The phone I have been truly waiting for has arrived at last. I know a couple of reviewers have said that Samsung haven't tried "hard enough", whatever that means, but I think it's magnificent that they have actually delivered a beautiful and yet stunningly useful Galaxy Note 10+ 5G

It pretty much ticks all my boxes except one (and I am willing to live with that as it sadly is the way things are going).

The screen is amazing - pretty much the entire front of the phone is screen. The bezels down the sides are virtually not there, and along the top is a little bigger. The bottom chin is slightly larger than the top one.

The central hole punch camera doesn't actually bother me at all. I thought it would irritate me, but when you compare it to my previous phone, that bit of screen is hardly used. I think I've found things behind it just twice so far, and on neither occasion was it an issue.

As for the rest of the device, well the air gestures work well enough to u…

Beautiful venue last night!

It has to be said that whilst the load was quite awful (helped very much by a lot of our equipment being on wheels, and the loan of a roll cage by the venue) and the acoustics in the room were somewhat "cavey", the gig was flipping awesome!

We played two very well crafted sets, very few oopsies (all live, remember, we're not robots!). (Well I have my doubts about Craig as he never sweats).

The lights looked great, and the laser now combined in with it added a little - although I have my concerns that it's not quite perfect as occasionally it glitches. I spent a little more time on positioning and using the small DJ strip as footlights worked great. We even flipped them around for the DJ set at the end and lit the dance floor a treat!

The only glitch I've noticed is that the cameraman had wireless flashes and they would sometimes cause the back lights to freeze for a fraction of a second.

The Wireless DMX sender kit seems good. The quality is somewhat iffy, but it…

Gig Day!

It's Gig Day! Tonight is Hull. The Guildhall.
It's a wedding - I always love wedding gigs. Everyone is there just to have a great time.

PVE Night

Last night's talk was good. Phil showing off his meteorite collection. I need a meteorite for my collection!

Tonight is a PVE. I'm on telescope driving duties - my favourite of all the jobs on PVE's. It's a good showing tonight too - a slightly past dichotomy Moon, Saturn and Jupiter all nicely placed in the south.

Work Fell Through

Normally I will always try and find alternative work (usually very successfully) when my work falls through. However, when today's work fell through I really did feel like having a "sod them all" day.

I went home, changed, and my lady and I went to Rufford, near Ollerton. I've always loved Rufford. The birds there are amazing.

Plus the squirrels can be quite cute too.

That afternoon I met a guy to look at a new unit. I need something more suitable for my line of work, and then I popped down to my old one and packed a few items. I've sorted my stage wardrobe rail out (I keep spare stagewear down there) and charity bagged some old suits.
I'm really pleased this outfit fits me though. I always loved wearing PVC jeans and might just have to drag them out again. These are 36" waist ones - the ones I used to wear onstage with FTM were 40's.

Tonight is Astronomy Club. I've got a busy few nights ahead to be honest - tomorrow is a public viewing evening a…

Tories on the Run

Last night was a great night for someone who has been a fairly staunch Remainer all the way through this awful Brexit process.
Boris caused mass protests last week (including the one on Saturday which I was at) when he announced the has asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament - in his words, "because it always happened".
Yes, indeed, proroguing Parliament does happen most years, but never for more than a few days; and never in history for more than a week and a half.
Boris truly jumped the shark when he decided to do that, and the protests began. And continued.
Last night, however, he had control of the Parliamentary agenda thrust out of his grubby lying fingers and given back to the people. The cost of this?
1 MP crossed the floor, thus removing his majority of 1 and making it a true hung Parliament, and then 20 MP's rebelled against him and have now lost the Conservative Whip.
So, essentially they are now a minority party with over 40 seats down. In essence, they're screw…


Well that was a very unusual one! An invite from Hollis to play at a festival in Sheffield.

We had a bit of a problem from the get go because of absences - No Jackie, still, and on this particular night no Jake either.

However, Martin, Hannah and I agreed to do the gig as a three piece.

It was a very nice event. We played for about half an hour in total and won over some new fans too!

Our Democratic Representation.

The UK is supposedly a Democracy. Allegedly we all have an equal voice, and we are all represented in Parliament by our elected MP's who are put there by a system called "First Past the Post". Now that bit is grossly unfair as it gives huge weight to large parties and yet a smaller party could conceivably get 25% of the overall vote and yet get no representation at all in Parliament.

But this isn't a rant about PR and FPTP. This is about a cunt who has been placed into the seat of ultimate power in this country by the nature of the whim of just 100,000 people. The Conservative Party Membership. A group of mostly males, mostly over 55, mostly fairly right wing. So of course, they put Boris Johnson into the hot seat beause he's very right wing.

Now Boris has come along after just a few weeks in the job and decided to Prorogue parliament; essentially shutting it down.

For the first time in my life this morning therefore, I protested. Along with a few thousand other…

Songwriting with the Fishes

Again, last night we had a songwriting session with Strangefish. The four instument players gathered at Paul's and we spent a good few hours working on The Power of Good - a rather old idea which has been hanging around for years (before Fortune Telling I'm told).

Of course, first, we had to get Food; so Paul and I hunted around for a chippy (not a Kebab shop, there is a difference) so we could have a chip butty each (or a Barm as he kept insisting it was called - but I think that sounds like something that might bite you).

Eventually we located a chippy after the first one had a queue outside, the second looked well dodgy. The third was a charm. I suspect a 2* health rating door sign might have been hidden away somewhere in the depths of a dirty drawer, but actually, the food was rather good and the peas had the colour of a 1979 Vauxhall Chevette, which surprisingly, is actually a very good thing for mushy peas.

Whilst we had dinner I educated Paul into the fineries of Henders…

Foul creature!

Today we were over on the east coast fitting a switch under a distribution board. The switch needs to be both clean, accessible and easy to operate and it needs to turn off the kitchen fuse board in one action.
Not too difficult a job; a couple of hours at most you'd think.
Well not with the "chef" at this place.
We arrived at about half past ten as originally booked. Started loading stuff into the kitchen, and were promptly told by the most foul woman I've ever dealt with in the stroppiest attitude ever that "we can't start till she's finished cooking dinner".
Even though I'd planned to sheet over the area, and even though we planned on drilling just FIVE holes to carry out this task she was absolutely adamant.
Luckily, we could use the whole day for this job but because I'd originally booked for the morning only and other work was planned for the afternoon I decided to charge them for the full day and tell them exactly why I was doing this. No …

Today I did this...

I'm currently on a project to create a VIP area in a nightclub.
These downlighters look great and make it feel really clean and modern.

Also fitted across the bar area.

Tomorrow we're going to be wiring up some pendant lights and fitting a grid switch to power them all.

Judge as you wish to be judged.

You have one life to live. Live it as yourself.

DMX Trials & Tribulations

Ok so I'm tinkering with DMX on stage lighting for the first time ever.
Amusingly, I have a lot of understanding of the protocol already as I used to tinker with BBC Econet and essentially it's the same idea.
All devices sit on a line and see every byte of data sent along it. They receive it, and send it on down the chain verbatim.
The fixture looks for it's address being announced and then reads the command following the address - the command being any number of 8 bit bytes telling it what to do, be it change a colour, or a focus, or move a head.
Having addressed all our fittings and connected them to an American DJ MyDMX Go Paired to my Tab S4 I was instantly able to create amazing programmes, albeit within a limited number of styles.
The next part of the experiment involves these though.

They were very cheap for what they are - they are DMX receivers which simply read a signal blasted out by the sender. No clever two way comms, just brute force.
The sender connects to the end …


I love these. Henderson's Relish is lovely.

That Suit!

It doesn't fit me anymore. Really. It's huge on me; but this was the first latex suit I bought after seeing the rather awesome Ray Cokes in this beautiful latex suit...

He struts better than I do though.

Any offers, please comment below.

Merlin Pass!

I upgraded my Alton Towers season pass.

I now get early entry, plus other goodies.

My "PC"

So, all you guys have a proper computer. Well, this is my daily driver.

The monitor is a 13" 'Thinlerain' branded one from Amazon. It does HDMI over USB C and is also powered from the same USB C.

The keyboard is branded Jelly Comb. It has a trackpad which is actually not bad to use (although I prefer a mouse for long term use).

The monitor is driven by my Galaxy Note 9 running Samsung DeX. A platform I must say I rather like (if you learn to live with a couple of limitations).

The desktop wallpaper is from Amiga Workbench 1.3 - Amiga was a great platform in it's day and I had Amigas for quite a few years.
All of the above packs into a neoprene case which means I can have a desktop experience wherever I am with minimal equipment.

I'm exhausted!

I've just done 22 hours of very tiring work in a 48 hour period. Yesterday I started at 9:30 and finished at 9:45 that night.
I know a lot of people do 12 hour shifts, but 12 hours physical labour on tools cutting, drilling, chipping, grinding. That's something else.
All this was for 14 rather amazing floor lights. Full DMX. Multi colour. They're going to look amazing when they're finished.

Songwriting with the Fishes

Friday night was a great night for me.
After a somewhat awful run to Manchester, I joined the rest of Strangefish for a songwriting session.
I'll not give too much detail, but two ideas bore fruit and might lead to songs.
I stayed overnight at Paul's and then came home the next morning.

Felt pretty

I attempted to catch a pure white background, and for the most part succeeded, however, I edited it up a little more in Snapseed and removed some artefacts.

From a heatwave to flash flooding.

The song four seasons in one day was very apt yesterday. From waking up to a little drizzle; then spending a couple of hours walking in warm sun, to the day ending with torrential rain and flash floods.
I played around with my new DJ software yesterday. It's called "djay 2" and although it's not as comprehensive or pretty as the 3D one I've been trying, it does allow you to load stuff from Spotify and use it in your sets.

A bit of It Bites on one deck with some Genesis on the other (not their best album, but Domino is for me one of the last breaths of a dying prog band before they became full pop).
I connected my bigger PA up and ran it through the 12 channel Behringer. It's much nicer sounding than the tiny practice PA I have, but much less portable.
This will come in useful for Spirit of Prog gigs!
Speaking of Spirit of Prog - we now have posters!

Two of these gigs are doing very well. The third is concerning me. We can't afford any failures whilst we still h…

And at last it cools down.

After yesterday's ridiculous 38 degrees (highest temperature I saw on the gauge in the van), today was a markedly cooler 25 degrees. Still very hot, but the occasional spots of rain helped it feel better. Even at half past five it was still 36 degrees out.

After a few days of the jag off the road we've found the source of it's problems too. The radiator expansion tank is made of shit and has split right where a top hose goes in. I suppose it's good we've found it before it emptied the engine and killed it.
I've ordered a new water bottle and it'll be here Wednesday.

I don't like this weather.

Anyone who does can go and give their head a wobble.
It doesn't agree with my work, my chosen favourite clothing (shiny clothes are pretty much always hot and sweaty) and it certainly doesn't agree with my sleeping patterns.
Tomorrow... Well that's set to be the hottest day on record. Ever. 35 degrees plus.
I am not looking forward to that.

31 flipping degrees!

I don't really do heat very well at all. I'm not used to much above 30 degrees.
Out there right now though, it's 31°C and forecast to get even hotter on Thursday.

The screens on both the van and the Jag confirm it.
Luckily tonight I've got plans to spend a couple of hours in an air conditioned pub.

New lights... It had to happen!

I was playing around with the new stage lights and I thought I'd see how they worked with my PVC suit.
I think we can all agree the results are awesome.

I bought some lights.

I've been keeping an eye out for new lights for a while now. I loved the idea of the ADJ hexapar but did wonder whether the UV part of the light would get used much.
These on the other hand just have four elements on the chip - Red, Green, Blue and Amber. Amber is a great addition because it just lifts the other colours and stops them looking over saturated thus giving a more retro "Par Can" feel rather than the very intense LED colours you normally from these setups.

They look really good in all colours, and the beam focus is really tight and bright.

Unlike the cheap four head unit I bought which focuses the colours in different places and gives some strange shadowing effects on the wall behind.
I think these will be great mounted on the front trusses in place of the aging Cabaret Colour 3's we have on there now.
I've set the DMX to 1-8, 9-16, 17-24 and 25-31 which means that the trusses are mirrored so modifying fixture 1 and 2 puts all four lights into a single rak…

This thing...

Yes, This.
This little blown component caused me to lose sleep and a customer to miss the deadline for Rammstein tickets.

Felt pretty.

I have to say I was feeling a bit pretty so I took a selfie.