BBC is getting a lot of stick for its Olympic coverage. Turns out that they lost the rights to stream or broadcast more than two live events at anyone time. Discovery+ channel now has the exclusive rights throughout Europe. The BBC and other channels “ sublet” from Discovery. Just spotted that anyone with a Vodafone account can get free access to Discovery+ for six months. Just signed up for it, it’s quite impressive and you can pick and choose from all the various sports going on at any given time. If you don’t have a Vodafone deal (there may be others) Discovery+ is £6 ish per month.
Goodness me, it must be six months or so since I last came here. Life has changed significantly as lockdown (v1) pretty well coincided with my planned retirement from the day job. All plans had to be abandoned or put on hold including most musical projects. For reasons I can’t fathom, my viewing, listening and internet habits have all changed and I’m fining myself in limbo.
One thing I’ve drawn some pleasure from is the return to form of the Word In Your Ear podcasts. It’s kind of comforting listen to Ellen / Hepworth on a regular basis. They really are knocking them out and I will probably be guilt tripped into joining their Patreon scheme. This brings me on to my main point. The Patreon scheme is cropping up everywhere as artists or creators attempt to fund their lives in the short term at least.
Word in your Ear, rather jokingly seem embarrassed by the whole thing and their expectations seem low but clearly its encouraging content creation that for the most part they offer for free a day or two after its release to supporters. By contrast, Danny Baker seems to have put his entire content behind a » Continue Reading.
Having only realised it was on just a few hours previously, something unusual came over me and I vowed to give the Brit awards broadcast my full attention. Conscious that I’ve given my age away by using the word “broadcast” in my opening sentence, I don’t mean that I planned to sit there and scowl about how much better things were in years gone by, but I intended to hold back on initial reactions and see what happened.
My resolve was tested in the opening number performed by Mabel who I now know to be the daughter of Neneh Cherry. It was an impressive showpiece where the vocals suffered, let us generously assume, due to the physical demands of the routine.
This brings me on to Lewis Capaldi. I’ve only seen him once or twice before on TV, and on each occasion I’ve wondered about his level of inebriation. Undoubtably a good songwriter but I fear for his future. I do genuinely hope someone is looking after him. He made two trips to the podium with lager in one hand but unfortunately also with a microphone in the other. The first speech was entirely audio muted and so we were » Continue Reading.
A couple of people on the “things we don’t drink anymore” thread mentioned total abstinence. This seems to be a growing pastime not just in the young but increasingly with long term drinkers who have become “sober curious” (yes that’s a thing).
For some time, I’ve been winding down my drinking and about two months ago I made a call to cut booze out completely. It’s gone surprisingly well and this is despite me spending more time in bars than I would normally due to my joining a new band that plays and rehearses in a bar (the landlord is the drummer!).
I’ve always thought that the problem with non-alcoholic substitutions was one of texture not strength. Recent advances in alcohol free beer have come on in leaps and bounds. Even supermarkets stock some very reasonable brews and there’s an underworld of craft brewers competing with each other to perfect the trend. It’s certainly made life easy for me. No such progress has been made with alcohol free wine however.
So is it forever for me? I’m making no rash promises, but I rather think that it might well be. I don’t have one single reason for the life » Continue Reading.
Did anybody watch Gotham? I stayed with it till the end, all 100ish episodes. Yes it was a bit cobblers but also really great fun. I’ll miss some of those characters particularly Penguin, Joker, Riddler, Lee. Barbara, Fish Mooney et all (mostly the baddies!)
What did you think?
Blimey its good isn’t it? I’ve been falling out of love with football for the past few years, but this tournament is so refreshing. Games are being played (mostly) in a great spirit, no prima donnas or multi-millionaires, great passages of play and genuinely exciting games.
Excellent coverage and presentation by the BBC too. Sounds like viewing figures are justifying the effort they are putting in. It makes all the difference having sport free to air. People are actually talking about the games at work which is not happening for the cricket just now, as no-one can watch the bloody thing.
Felt really sorry for the Japanese team last night after they played so well only to be robbed by an accidental handball. I actually cared. For the first time in a few years I actually cared about a football match!
Bring on the quarter finals (checks potential travel plans and ticket options should the Lionesses progress further, then realises that the very thought has just tarnished their chances).
Is it just me or do you find yourself in gentlemen’s facilities, frustrated with how long certain functions take compared to yesteryear?
At work just now whilst standing next to someone who sounded like they were firing a water cannon at French protesters, I found myself muttering, “I wish I could piss like that.”
Any other experiences that begin with the phrase?… As one gets older…..
What does it sound like?:
Much anticipated by a very loyal fan base, the increasingly prolific Big Big Train are back with a new album. The scope of “Grand Tour” moves beyond the quintessentially English material they have long been associated with. This time we are taken on a European Grand Tour passing through ancient Rome, admiring Leonardo De Vinci and mourning the loss of a Romantic poet. We also get a trip to the stars on board the Voyager exploratory space craft.
If you’ve enjoyed their pervious offerings you’ll love this one. If you haven’t then you’re unlikely to be convinced as it contains all the hallmarks that the “passengers” have come to expect. Brass bands, storytelling, intricate drumming, complex interplay between keyboard and guitar and strong, clear vocals.
The album packaging is a thing of beauty containing plenty of explanatory articles and some truly stunning artwork.
I like Big Big Train, I like them a lot. I’ve seen them live (twice) and will be seeing them again at the Hackney empire in November. That said, I’ve never been quite able to put my finger on it, but there is something missing. Mrs S probably nailed it » Continue Reading.
Not a dry eye in the house last night during this show. I’m not normally one for this type of emotionally driven programming, but the subject matter drew me in. All of us must have experienced dementia related illness amoung our friends and family but seeing it in people so young is tragic. The use of music to investigate dementia is something I’m very interested in pursuing. The ability of people to recall song lyrics from their youth whilst not being able to remember how to carry out basic domestic tasks is clearly something the experts are working with. It’ll be fascinating to see how this pans out over the years. Worth catching on iPlayer.
I’d forgotten how good Mark Ellen and David Hepworth are together when they don’t have the distraction of a guest or visitor. The latest podcast taken from the Foyles event to publicise DH’s new book is a welcome reminder of how good some of the old word podcasts were back in the day. (Enjoying the audible version of the book on my commute too by the way.)
Colchester Arts Centre
The term “Nice blokes” doesn’t do this duo justice at all. Pre show, Damian walked around the hall personally shaking hands and chatting to the gathering audience. A giant of a man with a voice to match that normally competes with heavy metal exponents “Headspace”, is on the road with Adam Wakeman (son of Rick) an acoustic guitar and a grand piano.
The pair work together in a number of guises with other bands and line ups, but this time it is just the two of them. Hot on the heels of their album “The Sun Will Dance In It’s Twilight Hour”, this tour steps through their catalogue with the addition of some acoustic covers, most notably Iron Maiden’s “The Evil That Men Do”. Less expected were a couple of show tunes from Les Mis which represent a Damian’s stint in the show. For his part Adam Wakeman commands a few solo spots including a Jazz rendition of Black Sabbath material.
The show is very informal with plenty of banter and chat between themselves and to the audience. Lovely chaps certainly, but they really overdid this, particularly with a not terribly funny routine about » Continue Reading.
With Simon Mayo leading a new classical music station and Chris Evans taking breakfast in new surroundings, what is the future for mainstream radio? Both of the afore mentioned big hitters are not available on FM / AM and consequently are absent from most cars. Personally I might grab an hour of Danny Baker on a Saturday morning whilst I’m on kitchen fatigues, and I enjoy TMS and the odd football commentary, but as far as live radio is concerned that’s about it. For evening background I might occasionally run Radio Paradise or might even dip into what Spotify describes as “radio”( although it clearly isn’t).
Podcasts and listen again facilities have long enabled us to access many favourite shows at a time of our own choosing. I always catch the News Quiz but couldn’t tell you what time of day it is broadcast (assuming things are still broadcast these days). I’m finding that it’s perfectly possible to follow several great shows from radios 3 and 4 without ever having to find them on a dial at a given time of day.
For me, when listening to radio, advertising is to be avoided at all costs but I accept » Continue Reading.
Really enjoyed catching up with Doctor Who last night. A nicely paced episode that gave Jodie Whittaker something to bounce off of. The manic energy of her character has occasionally been at odds with some of the slower paced episodes from this series but this showed the way. I do like Bradley Walsh but I think he’s superfluous in a show with at least one too many companions. I’m wondering if the show would benefit from four quality specials per year rather than a series. The extra ten minutes gives the story more room to breath.
SPOILER ALERT BELOW IF YOU’VE YET TO SEE IT
One question from me. Given that the Daleks have dropped onto earth several times since the 1960’s, how is it that no one other than the Doctor knows who they are? If there was a Dalek invasion at any time, I think people would remember wouldn’t they?
What does it sound like?:
Iamthemorning are a young Russian duo consisting of vocalist Mariana Semkina and keyboard virtuoso Glen Kolyadin plus their chamber backing band. Recorded and filmed in a remote costal studio in Norway, Ocean Sounds is the perfect introduction to the band. It consists of live versions of material from their first three albums and is presented on CD and Blue Ray. If there’s a better way to pass an hour or so in front of the tele with a glass of wine then I’d love to see it. Mariana who sings and writes in English seems to have fallen out of a Pre Raphaelite painting, but don’t let her wistful performance fool you, this lady is a force of nature. Trying to run a band is hard enough but imagine trying to do it from St Petersburg and targeting a European wide audience. Logistics and visa problems are one thing, but a day job in IT is something different altogether! All that said, for me, an equal driving force of the material is the Piano led performance of Kolyadin. Check out his solo album released earlier this year too. Together they are absolutely unique. It » Continue Reading.
No secret that he wasn’t happy, but I think he’ll be loss to national radio. The Mark Kermode film slot on five will remain, but it looks like he’s off to radio Horlicks for the day job. I’d like to see (hear) more of him on five, but I suspect that won’t be happening. A bigger loss to the BBC than Chris Evans I’d say.
My first post here for some time folks but nice to be back.
I was interested in the national ding dong over spoilers that has been raging since episode four of the Bodyguard was transmitted (assuming programmes are still transmitted).
I’ve always thought that this site was particularly well behaved over the use of spoilers and aside from the forthcoming biopic about Gerry Rafferty, I can’t recall ever having a box set or series spoiled due to the folks on this site.
So what constitutes good or bad form when people are desperate to discuss a particular happening in a film or show. Years ago this was never a problem as we all had to watch something at the same time and so if you missed it you were never going to catch up anyway. Those dammed video machines put paid to all that. It used to be part of the fun being able to talk about who shot JR or Dirty Den, but you just can’t do that anymore.
On second thoughts it may be that there were Victorians with advanced copies of “The Old Curiosity Shop” who couldn’t wait to run down the street shouting, Nell’s dead! » Continue Reading.
Strange question from an occasional spinner of Vinyl. On working from home days, I occasionally use that time to have records playing in the background. I noticed the other day whilst listening to my original copy of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road from 1973, that Reg was singing and playing a little faster than I remember back in the day. I tried a few more records from my 70’s collection and noticed similar. Strangely enough when playing records recently purchased ( i do occasionally you know) things seem remarkably better. Is this possible? Is there something about modern record decks (mine is a Marantz from richer sounds) and a change in mastering / physical manufacture of records that has changed in the last 40 years that might explain this curiosity? There are no adjustments on my record deck to fiddle with. I seem to be stuck with it. Thoughts?
General advice required. Am hoping to move house from my current location with high speed Unlimited Virgin Broadband, to a place out in the sticks where Broadband doesn’t exist. There is 4G to the house and so my question is how best to manage it. At home we use Spotify, Sonos, Netflix, IPlayer, Amazon, Apple TV etc. 4G works well enough on most of those applications but the problem is the amount of 4G you can actually lay your hands on. Audio streaming is unlikely to be an issue but video streaming certainly is. (Although I wont rest until I’ve proved that my Sonos arrangement can cope) My plan is to get a router that can cope with a data sim card which should fool the house into thinking that we have proper connectivity. Out of the UK domestic providers, Vodaphone advertise 50GB per month for £25 which looks reasonable. The problem is, with four to five adults in the house, that isn’t going to be nearly enough. Does anyone have any similar experience that can turn into hints and tips?
Big Big Train gigs are not so much concerts, but pilgrimages in which their fanbase travels from across the globe to descend upon London every two years to witness their heroes reproduce the intricacies of an extensive recorded catalogue. The line up of eight core musicians supplemented on stage by a five piece brass section must be one of the most challenging tasks in live sound mixing history. Sure, there are bigger ensembles, but none that bring such a variety of textures that require a place in the mix. Duke Ellington or Simon Rattle might dispute that claim but neither have had to weave their subtleties around a thumping rock drum. This is evident on record but especially more so in a live setting.
Friday night was the first of three concerts spread over the weekend for which tickets had sold out over a year ago. To say that the level of expectation was immense does no justice at all to the dedication of the fanbase, who organised themselves into pre gig meet, greets and curries. All however were sat ready when the evening began with a rather lovely introduction as Rachel Hall (Violin) » Continue Reading.
A male dominated Mumsnet? That’s this place isn’t it?
At £82 a go its going to get expensive deep in the heart of Texas.
…… are by Ed Sheeran. How is this possible? Surely the system has croaked. Are all these songs released as singles or are they from an album(s) that people are streaming/ downloading on mass? Haven’t looked at the top 20 for some years. (Adopts suitable Geoff Boycott voice) This would never have happened in my day when Simon Bates presented it. Apparently he’s all over comic relief tonight too which might mean he gets the full top ten before the weekend is out.
I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but it seems that Donald Trump has sacked Dr Who. I’m organising a street demonstration as we speak.
On a rather touching note, the Just Giving page set up yesterday to support the 70+ staff who were laid off without pay has gone past the 50K mark. The target was 20K.
It says much about English expectations that the appointment of a new national team football manager barely raises an eyebrow here (or anywhere come to that). Has it really come to this?
They think it’s all over……..