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Friday, December 31, 2010

The State Of The Economy

The link is a fascinating interview with Paul Fisher, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of The Bank of England.

It shows how they see the state of the economy of the UK.  Very, very interesting.

Top Tunes Of 2010

It is very, very difficult for me to compile a list of just ten tunes that made my year, as it seems there was a fantastic new tune almost every other day, but I have given it a go.

10. The Gathering - In My System (Jef K Remix) - Very deep, very soulful house track that is just quite beautiful.  Introduced to me by Ricardo Villalobos at fabric in March, really enjoyed listening to it, such a good track.
9. James Flavour - Who's In The House - This to me is garage.  Most other people call it house.  But this has such a garage feel to it and I really enjoyed it, and I cannot understand why anyone would not want to dance to this beauty.
8. Benoit & Sergio - Walk & Talk - Alas, no Youtube link for this one, but it is the track that goes "my baby does k all day, doesn't wash her hair, doesn't wash her clothes", very laid back and smooth, will be a huge tune of early 2011 I suspect.
7. Johnny D - Love Me Or Leave Me - I love everything that he does, but this track had so many wiggles and squiggles that really brought out the weird wrist and elbow dancing in me, not such a good tune for the winter, but it was excellent in the summer
6. Tensnake - Coma Cat - Some may be surprised that I would put such a popular record so high up, but it really did connect with me, and I loved how it brought a slower, disco sound to the masses, and deserves such recognition.  It really is quite a magical track - perhaps not one I want to dance to now, but I do love hearing it.  And especially enjoy watching the teasing lesbions video which goes with it.
5. Luna City Express - Mr. Jack (Robags Edna Mompf Remix) - So much jacking house this year, so much good basic house tracks which sound very late 90's with a modern twist, and this was the pick of them for me, quite dark, but really chunky, something to really get my dancing feet stuck into.
4. MMM - Nous sommes MMM - I might be putting this so high because it probably shouldn't feature in my top ten at all, but I really enjoyed the rave synths of this track, one to really annoy the super cool deep house people whose music I admire but sometimes I do want to hit them with a piece of wet fish, and this track does this quite delightfully.

3. Die Vogel - Blaue Moschee - Although it does sound rather tired to my ears now, this really was quite a spectacular track that Sven Vath played at that crazy night at matter back in April that had everyone marching along, absolutely devastating and a hell of a lot of fun.
2. Shimmy Sham Sham 002 - A track that few picked up on, this I discovered early in the year and after such a harsh winter, it filled me with hope and joy - much fluffier than anything else I like, quite beautiful.  Really do not understand why it has not been a bigger tune.
1. Art Department - Without You - This just has to be my number one.  The second that I heard it at a friend's penthouse flat from a Jamie Jones set, I knew I loved it.  This just has everything going for it.  So amazing, so dark, so dirty, so groovy and dare I say it - so sexy.  Also Resident Advisor's number 1 tune of 2010 which surprises me that they agree with me!


There were so many others that I could have picked but I think this best represents what floated my boat this year.
 
Every time I discover a new track I put it on my top tunes blog.
 
Looking forward to lots more new exciting music next year.

Egg Envy

Could I possibly be any more envious of the person who has this egg?


Review Of 2010

I am going to allow myself a little time to reflect on the past 12 months, for I believe that if one does not reflect on what has happened, one cannot achieve the best outcomes in the future.  When I reach a conclusion, I like to review the process, to see what has been achieved, and how it can be done better, next time.

2010 has for me been quite a turbulent year, nothing disastrous but troubles I could have done without.  I took decisisons which I believed were for the best, but didn't give me an easy life.  But I never wanted an easy life!  If I wanted an easy life, I would have stayed in Hull, got a council house, a meaningless job/unemployment benefits, three kids with three different mothers, and spent every day in the pub being angry with everyone else who has achieved something in their life.

But no, I have decided to try to make something of myself, despite society throwing objects in my path - or more specifically, the Labour government of 1997-2010 giving everything to those who sit on their backsides and little to those who work hard.  So the best outcome by far in 2010, the one thing that makes me happiest, is the fact that we now have a government which supports people like me.  One that encourages growth, enterprise and decency. One that tells people to get off their backsides and contribute.  Which I probably need to do a bit more of.  Point taken, Mr Cameron.

I really enjoyed the election, I loved that so many people got interested in what is going on in the country rather than blindly going about their lives.  I didn't get my preferred outcome of a Conservative majority, but instead I got a Coalition government - which with my liberal leanings, is probably actually a better outcome than I originally wanted.  The election also saw my blog get quite popular - a lot of people looked at my blog on election day.  Maybe I helped!  David...Maggie...you owe me ;-)

My blog has been one of the best things of my year.  My sometimes inane witterings have allowed me some sanctuary from insanity, and I truly believe have had a positive effect on my life.  Though I also do have to be careful of what I write, as I have found out as much as it can be quite exciting when for example Sven Vath put a link to my review on his Facebook page...it can also be not so good, for example when a flippant comment which I am pretty good at can come back to haunt me!  I'm perhaps too honest and open for my own good sometimes.  But as I said earlier, I don't like to make life easy for myself.

I think my biggest disappointment of the year has to be the lack of holidays.  That I were not able to make my annual pilgrimage to Ibiza, did cause me some internal suffering.  However, previous years I went twice so maybe in 2011 I will go three times to make up for it.  And I did have some quite excellent adventures in this country - especially Cocoon In The Park in Leeds which was fantastic and I thoroughly recommend everyone to buy a ticket when it comes about next year.

Also memorable were weekends in Canary Wharf, Manchester and Stuttgart.  And many, many nights, and days at the Oakford Social Club, which has now almost become my second home.  Not forgetting too, a couple of excellent nights out at fabric.  Which also had a somewhat turbulent year.

Musically, I have struggled to keep up to date with what is coming out as there is so much amazing music being produced at the moment that it is almost impossible.  But I am trying, and I am getting a lot out of it.  My new blog which showcases the tunes that I discover that I think are particularly excellent I think will take over from my original blog, in popularity, at some point in 2011.  I am quite excited about it.  I do love my music.

That is another thing that purterbs me - why do I seem to have only had a handful of really good night's clubbing this year?  Probably because I do have to travel to find such a night.  I desire more good clubbing nights next year.

What else happened?

Oh, there was the World Cup.  I enjoyed watching it, I spent quite a lot of time sitting on a very comfortable sofa, drinking beer, watching football.  Because I could.  And because I am a man, and therefore I should.  I was glad that England didn't win.  Can you imagine John Terry and Wayne Rooney being held as heroes, like Bobby Moore or Jack Charlton?  No.  A lack of dignity.  A lack of decency.  A lack of respect.  So if we send such characters to represent us, we should not expect or want, a good return.

I cannot really think of anything else.  Despite some turbulence and unnecessary trauma at times, this year has been ok.  I started it happy, I end it happy.  It could have been better.  But then again, I could have drifted along and not strived for something better.

I do get the sense that most people have been through the grinder recently, most people have had tough times.  I was expecting this a few years ago, before the credit crunch hit, as historically, recessionary periods are tough in many ways.  I am also expecting things to get better.  I'm not often wrong (though I don't rule out the possibility that I am totally deluded).

I think if I was going to give 2010 a rating - I would rate it 6 out of 10.  2009 was 3 out of 10 at best, as it was a pretty shit year, albeit with some highlights.  2006 to 2008 were probably around 8 out of 10.  Prior to that I don't think any year was higher than a 5.  So I think I have to be satisfied with a 6 out of 10 rating for my year.

It was a pretty good year, not what I hoped, not what it could have been, but pretty good.

I wish anyone still reading a successful and joyful 2011, I'm going to have a good one - you can too.  Much love as always xxx

Christmas Cards

Why did I not get such a beautiful card from the Blair's?  After all I have said against Gordon Brown, I thought that they would have recognised me.  Seems they really are out of touch with reality.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

Do I have anything interesting to say about the weather?  As I am sure you are appreciating that right now it is particularly uninteresting out there.  We were due a period of boring weather.  It all goes in cycles.  A boring, cloudy, dull phase was long overdue.

I look upon it as a chance for the atmosphere above us to have a rest, gather thought, and decide what it is going to do next.  And it will do something significant soon I feel, once it has got over its hangover, as it did get a bit crazily drunk during December.

Friday, you will not be shocked to hear, will be cloudy.  I don't rule out a few breaks in the cloud later in the day though.  6'C.
Saturday will see a band of rain come down from the north, nothing significant, but it will introduce that colder air once again, 5'C.  Cold again overnight, -2'C.
Sunday should be a crisp, sunny day, 1'C at best.  But sunshine.  And the sun is now getting stronger, believe it or not.  Though you won't notice that until the end of February.  Cold overnight, -3'C but not the deep cold we had of previous weeks.
Monday sees high pressure getting squashed as low pressure moves in from the north, an unusual direction, but this is an unusual winter.  Cold, 0'C.
Tuesday, there could be some snow, more likely up north or the midlands, but it could get down south too.  I don't expect huge amounts, but enough, cold in the easterly wind, 2'C.
Wednesday, any wintryness should clear away, fairly bright but cold, 1'C, -4'C overnight.

And this is where it will get interesting.

The Atlantic is going to get going at the same time as cold air from the Arctic is ready to push down.

Any time from Thursday, more likely Friday, will see decent storm systems come in against lots of cold air.  Where they meet, expect a lot of snow.  And I mean, a lot of snow.  Day after day.

Whether this will be as far south as Reading, I am unsure of.  It is borderline.  Previous winters I would say no chance, this winter I say good chance but not definite.  But I expect some central and northern areas at least, to get plasterings of snow, perhaps up to 2 feet.

It won't be as cold as it has been though.  And for those in the far south, it will be too mild for snow, and will be rain.

And I think come the middle of the month, mild weather will spread across again.

Ready to set us up for something even more spectacular in February perhaps???  Though the end of February may see the first daffodill.  Maybe.  Just maybe I see a warmer than average start to spring, I expect to be able to confirm that within a few weeks.

Still going for a cool but nice summer, and 10 cold winters, though this one to be the worst until 2014-15 I think.

I hope that satisfies your weather forecasting demands and desires.

Seth Troxler

For those of you that are not yet aware of Seth Troxler and his magic, this press release photo is for you.  Enjoy.

Message From Sven

The link is an excellent read from the mind of Sven Vath.  Thoroughly recommend a read if you are into the same kind of music I am.

What Is Shed Music?

I am a little purturbed and confused right now.

I like a genre or two, and I have been known to create a couple of genre names such as 'backdoor trance' or 'semi-detached house' but they actually had music to go along with them.  There was a reason behind such names, there was an understanding of what music it was.

The attached link takes you to a flyer advertising a night with no less of a DJ than my hero Sven Vath playing, with other Cocoon favourites and some local Birmingham DJs too.

If you scroll to the bottom of the flyer, it advises music of; techno, minimal, house, progressive, tribal, future garage (I can just about grasp this concept) and shed.

What is shed music?

Please can someone enlighten me.

It would be much appreciated - I do not want to feel that I am potentially missing out on a new genre of music.

I would be much obliged.

I have e-mailed Cocoon to see if they know the answer but I am suspecting it might be an English thing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello Australia Part 2

This list of 10 reasons why we wouldn't win the Ashes does amuse me somewhat.

I do feel it is part of my duty, as an Englishman, to revel in such delights as retaining the Ashes in Australia.

I hope you concur

Hello Australia

I would just like to say a big hello to all my Australian readers.  Hope life down under is good.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

Finally the mild weather that I have long promised has arrived.  Two weeks later than I originally expected, but hey.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be cloudy, with some light rain or drizzle at times, 6'C to 9'C.
Thursday will be cloudy, probably dry, maybe a little sunshine, 7'C.
Friday sees high pressure trying to build, slightly less cloud expected, 6'C.
Saturday might be a bit cooler with a chance of a wintry shower, 4'C, but -1'C overnight.
Sunday should be quite sunny, but cold, 3'C, -2'C overnight.
Monday cold and dry, 1'C, -2'C overnight.

Then it gets trickier to work out, it does seem as though the big pools of cold are going to stay in their usual places for now, and that towards the end of next week we will see more rain and wind, but mild weather - just like the old winters.

I don't see that pattern, assuming it does establish, sticking for long.  I do see a cold and snowy end of January.  Perhaps in time for my birthday!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

James Winfield's Christmas Message

Well if the Queen feels as though she should send out a Christmas message to her subjects, then also I feel that I should send out such a message.

However I don't have any servants to construct such a message for me, and my mother is about to start nagging me because we are about to be late to Christmas dinner, and yes I can hear my name being called, so you are not going to get anything much more than...

Merry Christmas!

I wish all my blog readers, whether you be family, friend, or just a random person on the internet, a wonderful festive season, I bless you with as much cheer as I can give and wish you all the best for next year too which I suspect will be a much more enjoyable year than the one just gone.

Yuletide!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

You probably won't be surprised that I am going to mention the word 'cold' in this forecast.  I keep having these expectations of mild weather but I am being constantly surprised at how the mild air is getting over-run by the entrenched cold.  I haven't known anything like it so, apologies for being wrong when I said it would be milder during the second half of December.  The cold is just so unprecedented for recent times that I have not been able to appreciate fully.  There is talk that this might end up being the coldest December in the UK since 1910.  We could also end up recording the coldest Christmas Day ever.

Friday will see high pressure building, probably some sunshine, albeit very weak, it might get to -1'C, maybe even 0'C, but -6'C overnight.
Christmas Day will be similar, dry, about -2'C and maybe -8'C overnight.
Sunday the theme continues but the difference being a southerly wind will pick up - this is a warm direction.  Therefore during the day it might reach -1'C and overnight maybe even 0'C!  Woohoo!

This is preceding a band of rain coming from the west, which will turn to snow.  It will make only slow and erratic progress in crossing the country, during Monday and will probably take most of Tuesday to clear away.  Most places will see some snow from this, but some places in the west could get a huge dump of snow - I'm thinking Devon, West Wales, Cumbria, though equally it could melt quite quickly due to rising temperatures.  Further east it probably will just be a small covering of snow and staying cold.

Cornwall may reach 11'C - Reading probably by this point about 1'C.

From then it is quite uncertain what will happen - the favoured outcome at the moment would be high pressure building from the east, bringing lots of dry weather and frost for around the new year.  Not exceptionally cold but certainly below average.

The models leave me confused as to whether we then get a renewed Arctic blast or mild and wet weather from the south west.

Looking at the winters that are well remembered for huge amounts of snow, like 1947 and 1963, before the snow, they seem to have had high pressure building over the UK.

So I do suggest that that this may be a respite before something really snowy gets going during January and into February.  That is what I am inclined to think.  I think that I could conclude that we have had a severe spell of wintriness, but that I ain't seen nothing yet.

We shall see.

Apologies For Blogging Absenteeism

I feel the need to blog as I suspect I may be depriving my dear readers of their usual verbal sustinance of the mind of Winfield.

However, due to this stupid flu bug, I really have not felt like doing much at all for well over a week, although I feel reasonably ok now, I am still somewhat hamstrung by it, that and everything that has to be done at Christmas, oh and the freezing cold which I am getting slightly bored of (only two months or so of it left) so you would have thought I have plenty to moan about but no apparently not.

I do have plans for my blog, to make it more user-friendly and even more useful that it is right now.  I guess anything more than a fraction above zero and I will be able to celebrate having accomplished my plans with a gusto.

However I need to research how to do so, so this may be some months off still, alas.  We shall see.  Knowledge is improving but no point in making such a radical change until I have a full understanding and I reckon I am at about 10% of the way.

I am not quite ready to offer Christmas cheer and love quite yet - 3pm on Saturday, I believe is the time for such a tradition.

So I shall finish by singing a song:

If I could write you a song

And make you fall in love,
I would already have you up under my arm.
I used up all of my tricks,
I hope that you like this.
But you probably won't,
You think you're cooler than me.
Oops I vomited on your feet.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

James Winfield's Artistic Abilities Part 4



A quick moment of inspiration one afternoon allowed me to conjure up "Whore Loves Money, Not Art".

Comments appreciated as always, I hope you enjoy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

Well, I did say that it was going to get pretty bad.  I am happy with my previous forecasts, considering the difficulty, in fact I am very happy.  Don't worry, karma will strike, I am certain to fall over in the snow that I predicted.

Monday night into Tuesday will be mainly cloudy with some light snow at times, potentially a fair few centimetres later on Tuesday afternoon, not as cold though, around -1'C.
Tuesday night may well be colder at around -5'C.
Wednesday again I see a chance of some snow, nothing too significant though, -1'C and perhaps down to -5'C overnight.
Thursday and Friday should be dry and probably sunny, but no more than -2'C during the day and -8'C overnight.

And for Christmas Day?  Well I did originally suggest mild and wet by Christmas Day but I am wrong with that.  Though I am right in that it won't snow.  It should be sunny, perhaps cloudy later on, -2'C during the day and maybe -10'C overnight.

Boxing Day and the day after I see milder weather trying to get in, but with the cold so entrenched it will probably not make too much progress and there could be further snowfall.  Maybe as warm as 1'C.

Signs of increasingly mild weather as we get to new year but I think the pattern is set for the next month, perhaps two months, of a battle between milder weather from the south-west, Arctic blasts, and Siberian blasts, so sometimes it might turn milder and wet, but at other times cold and dry, and other times, cold and very snowy.

Plenty more fun to come this winter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

First, I have to say that I cannot tell you for definite, where or when, and how much, it will snow over the next few days.  But you will get some.  Probably quite a bit.  Perhaps quite a lot.


This plunge of cold Arctic air was fairly easy to forecast, and I think I got it pretty spot on, those of you who follow my forecasts may remember me mentioning it a week ago.

However, the next few days are very difficult, perhaps impossible, to give an exact output on where and when snow will fall perhaps until even 6 hours beforehand, as the low pressure system is complex, and has only just started to develop, and the situation is very mobile.

So this is more of a general overview, and my best guess.

Tonight will be cold, eventually down to -5'C.  I do not rule out some snow in the early hours, as I think that the snow showers which are hitting the coastal regions may go far enough inland if they get organised.  This will probably not be clear until about midnight/1am as to whether it will happen.

Friday will be cold, perhaps a wintry shower in the wind but nothing much, probably no more than -1'C.   -4'C overnight.

Saturday is where it gets interesting.  As I suggested on Monday, it looks like the low pressure will split into two as it develops, one will push itself westwards (ready for Sunday), the other will push itself eastwards, and as it does, there will be an area of snow for much of the south and some central areas of England.  As I advised above, it is very difficult to work out where will be hit.  But I am expecting perhaps around 5cm of snow in Reading.  Potential is there for 15cm, equally, it might just be 2cm.  Temperature of -1'C.

Saturday night probably will be dry and very cold, -7'C though I would not be surprised to see -12'C if there has been a lot of snow and it is a cloudless night.

Sunday is where I get into a state of disbelief.  It seems to be too much snow to be true.  The second area of low pressure that I mentioned is supposed to then move across the south of the country, bringing blizzard conditions.  Anything up to a foot of snow.  My brain tells me that this cannot be right as I have not seen this happen before.  I have bought a few tins of food just in case.  I am confused as it would be something very extreme and I have seen these things projected in models before, although up to a week away, and they never deliver.  This time it is in a much more reliable time-frame so maybe we will have a huge blizzard.

And after that?  Well I originally said no to a white Christmas, as I was expecting temperatures of 10'C by then.

Monday will see further falls of snow at times, temperatures still around 0'C and it could be very cold overnight, -7'C perhaps.

Tuesday sees the mild Atlantic weather systems really try to organise themselves, as our cold air moves away slightly, it will still be a cold day, maybe -2'C at best, chance of some snow showers but nothing organised looks likely at the moment.

Wednesday also looks similar - wet and mild air to the south wants to move north.

I think that there will be a lot of potential for disruption next week - these areas of low pressure will eventually win out and bring wet and milder weather.  But there will be snow to come first.

I am still saying - Christmas day in the south will be mild at 10'C.  But I think in the north, it could be blizzard heaven.

Milder air to reach all before the end of the year...but the winter will be back.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sky TV Are Shit

Following a letter from a debt collection agency regarding a debt allegedly due by myself to Sky TV, I thought I would write about how I despise Sky TV:

1. When signing up in August 2009, we were advised 2 weeks for broadband installation.  It was approximately a month.
2. The Sky box regularly decommissioned itself to the point where I gave up trying to fix it.
3. When I gave 4 weeks notice, they advised that the broadband would have to be cancelled 2 weeks into this notice period - seriously fucking unacceptable if I am paying for it.
4. When I cancelled, they carried on billing me.
5. When I advised that they were still billing me, they promised to cancel the account, and then continued to bill me and then handed my account to a debt collection agency (who only required a 2 minute phone call from me to explain the debt is not due so this is clearly a recurring issue they have).
6. Sky TV fund the extortionate wages paid to cocks like John Terry, and also control the majority of sports broadcasting in the UK through very high subscription fees.
7. 95% of the channels are shit.

Unfortunately I prefer Sky News to the Labour-supporting BBC, but thankfully that is available on Freeview or the internet.

Glad to have got that off my chest.

Feel free to add to the list if you also think Sky TV are shit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

I advise all to keep a very close eye on weather forecasts over the next few days.

For those who like a fact, the first week of December in the UK, I believe was the second coldest since 1772.  For those that like to flirt with the idea of history repeating itself (I do) - the elder relatives of my family living in Hull cannot remember snow as bad as they have had it so far, since 1947, when the country came to a halt.

And for those who think it is unusually cold here, it is even snowing in parts of the Middle East.  Where they have also had unusually strong storms.  And with flooding in Australia too - it's a funny old world.  And I am rather astonished that Siberian air has travelled so far west that it is about to hit Canada - I have never seen that happen.

Personally I think the earth is correcting itself.  It happens.  The climate fluctuates and always will do.  It is unusual but I have seen this coming for years as patterns have changed gradually, and I expect them to change back.

Fancy a couple of days off for free before Christmas?  You might be in luck.

The supposed reload of the cold blast from the east which I was always dubious of due to my long-standing expectation of milder weather for the middle part of December from the south-west, seems to be a damp squib.  More of a gentle breeze than a blast.

However, what is in the Arctic seems quite disturbing.

Until Thursday, the weather is going to be much of a muchness, mainly dry (perhaps a few spots of rain or sleet), around 0'C at night, 3-4'C by day.


Thursday is when it gets interesting with a band of heavy rain sweeping south - I say rain as I suspect that the upper atmosphere will be too warm for snow at first but the air behind it is very, very cold, so quite exactly what it will be I am not sure.


It may start as rain and end as snow - it could be a band of hail, perhaps, and I wouldn't rule out some thunder and lightning.  Following it will be snow showers, more likely around coastal regions...at first.


The low pressure looks set to sink south and split into two but also there is a low pressure coming up from the south - it really could get very messy next weekend.  It really is hard to put any detail onto it but the potential for major snow and disruption is high for all parts of the UK from Thursday onwards - anywhere could see a good 30-50cm of snow, especially during the weekend, and especially likely in the south, and the west.  Some places will probably only get 5cm.  Others, a lifetime's worth.


When the band of weather comes down on Thursday, I would not be surprised to see a sudden temperature drop of something like 5 to 10'C  in a couple of hours - it could be -5'C at midday on Friday, it could be -12'C on Saturday night.  I wouldn't even rule out a -15'C overnight next weekend.


Expect a difficult and freezing weekend to come.


There is less cold, but more unsettled weather heading our way for around Christmas.  Usually this would mean rain, but with the cold being so entrenched...it might, at least at first, mean a load more snow.


I advise a little preparation!

Raves in Saudi Arabia

Interesting little story in the link from the Guardian which is featuring the Wikilinks cables, which states "WikiLeaks cables: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs and sex"

Saudi Arabia is clearly not quite as clean cut as they want us to think, he he he!

December Blog Stats Update

I did intend on doing this every month but it is probably only me that is that interested, but it is my blog so I am going to do whatever the hell I like with it, so meh to you.  I do intend on developing it a bit more, and perhaps redesigning it next year once I have learnt enough about web design to be able to do it.

My previous update in September is on the title link.

Last time I had had 2093 visits to the blog since I started in January - to date I have now had 4000 so had the same amount of visits in the last three months as I had in the first six.  This is 1490 unique visitors - last time was 706.  Approximately 0.000025% of the world's population.

Gay Footballers is the most read post, followed by Cocoon In The Park.

I get about 20 visitors on the average weekday - much less on a weekend.  I recently matched my daily high of 58 visitors.

84% come from the UK, as opposed to 89% last time.  My international appeal is clearly growing!  I have now had visitors from 67 countries/territories.  One curious fact is that according to Google (which I am quoting here as they are more detailed), I have never had a visitor from China, but according to the stats provided from Blogger.com, I regularly get visitors from China.  How spooky.

My top tunes blog is finally also coming of age.

It didn't get above 4 visitors in a day for the first two months, regularly getting 0 visitors.  Averaging at 2.

But since I wrote about "Walk & Talk" by Benoit and Sergio (my baby does something rhyming with hay all day) just over two weeks ago, I have been averaging 15-20 a day - with 28% of all pageviews for this one track.  Probably because it is near impossible to find out anything about it, and I am pretty much at the top of the Google rankings for this track.  I have quickly risen to 40 diferent countries - I would not be surprised if early next year, this gets more hits than my normal blog.  And only 55% are from the UK.

Visitors also spend about 33% more time on the top tunes blog than my normal blog.

Which goes to reason as there is probably more of interest to the average person in the world on my top tunes blog than my slightly inane ramblings that probably only appeal to a few uniquely special or strange people.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

Well I hope you are feeling the increase in temperature the last day or two.  It is 3.5'C currently in Reading, as I type.  Not sure if this is more Mediterranean or more tropical.  We might soon even get above 5'C for the first time since I think, the 24th November.

But not for long.  Once a cold weather pattern/structure becomes entrenched, it is not easy to shift.  So the cold will come back.

For those that are a little more scientifically interested, there is an explanation of the jet stream's effect on our current weather on the BBC.  I note that people in Australian weather circles are also commenting upon unusual patterns of their winds.

Anyway, for a change, my forecast hasn't changed from the last one really.

Tonight, dry, 0'C.
Friday, probably cloudy but 4'C, and maybe above zero overnight!!!

And then on Saturday, as the warmer air from the south tries to push up, it might even reach 5'C.  Still dry.  By the way, I hear it is unseasonably warm in Ibiza right now, around 20'C.
Sunday, same kind of thing but with an easterly breeze, back down to 3'C.
Monday though, back down to 1'C and maybe some snow showers overnight, and colder nights again, -3'C.
Tuesday, maybe 2'C and again, a chance of a bit of snow.
Wednesday, the wind swings to the north, it will still be 3'C but will feel much colder.  Perhaps a wintry shower or two but not too likely.
And Thursday back to 0'C, with the potential for some snow.

I'm still thinking wet and mild Christmas.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Vuvuzela Tree

I always knew that the £5 I invested in a Vuvuzela one hazy June morning was an excellent idea.

A couple of simple editions and I can clearly compete for tree of the year.

Sadly I cannot claim it as my own ingenuity, though I do feel I should get some kudos given that I was in a similar state of inebriation upon discovering the idea, as I was that hazy June morning a long time ago.  My surprise at remembering what I had seen was only beaten by my surprise last June when I discovered I had apparently purchased a Vuvuzela.

I bet you wish you had bought one now, don't you?

Merry Christmas.

Disturbing Snowmen

A big thanks to fabric for disturbing my mind.

Top 100 DJ Polls

I thought I might do a little comparison of DJ Mag and Resident Advisor's top ten DJs, as voted for by their respective public.

Of course, my opinion is subjective.

DJ Mag

10. Axwell.  I recall liking one of his tracks back in 2003/04.  He has no relevance to me now, not quite a cheese grater to the ears, but quite possible vomit-inducing.
9. Ferry Corsten.  I used to love the trance stuff that he produced around 1997-98.  I also used to wear white socks.
8. Markus Shultz.  I am led to believe that he is a trance DJ.  See point 9.
7. Gareth Emery.  I am led to believe that he is a trance DJ.  See point 8 and 9.
6. Paul Van Dyk.  I used to idolise him in 2003.  Then I heard him play almost exactly the same set in 2004 and the penny suddenly dropped.
5. Above & Beyond.  Yet another trance act.  I did like one of their tracks once.
4. Deadmau5.  The guy is a cock.  You have to admire his ability but I am unable to connect with his music.  I do not especially want my DJs to have a fucking mouse on their head.
3. Tiesto.  Again, I used to be really into him around 2003.  I moved on - he moved backwards.  And somehow commands ridiculous fees for playing anti-music.
2. David Guetta.  You may not be surprised to know that I enjoyed what he was doing in 2004, but this was not the same come 2006.  However you may be surprised that I do respect him as he doesn't pretend to be someone that he isn't.
1. Armin Van Buuren.  I feel that I am being rather repetitive, but I used to like him around 2003.

Resident Advisor

10. Marcel Dettmann.  I find his breed of techno very dark and uninspiring.  I do not connect with it.  Perhaps too underground for me.
9.  Luciano.  I used to love him in 2005/06, and like him a lot probably up until I saw him play too many a cappellas at fabric late last year.  I would still definitely go see him if only for the atmosphere that he manages to create for which I know few DJs who can surpass.
8. John Digweed.  I used to like progressive house around 2002.  I haven't liked it since.  Though I don't dislike it.
7. Dixon.  Not seen him, but what I have heard of him has impressed me.
6. Jamie Jones.  Right at the top of my must-see DJs that I have not seen list.  I absolutely love his productions and everything he does.
5. Ben Klock.  Again a bit too harsh and serious for my liking.
4. Loco Dice.  Been loving his work since about 2005 and he has actually stepped up further in my estimations this year.
3. Seth Troxler.  I love his energy and his spirit.  I first heard of him last year but didn't like half of the tracks that he played, but now he spends far more of his time in Europe than the USA from what I gather, and I definitely connect to his music now and he is near the top of my must-see DJs that I have not seen list.
2. Richie Hawtin.  I prefer music from vinyl than laptop by a long way, and also much prefer to hear tracks in their original beauty - however Richie is one DJ I hugely admire and I do enjoy what he does despite him doing it in a way that is anathema to my preferences.
1. Ricardo Villalobos.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love his productions and DJing - I'm not quite sure why he isn't my favourite DJ in the world.  Perhaps if I had seen him as much as Sven then he would be.  I just hope he doesn't follow up on last year's comments to give up house music!  The world is a far far better place with him.  My world is anyway.

I feel I may have adequetly outlined the difference between them without the need for a concluding paragraph.  One features shit DJs, the other features excellent DJs.  I hope I have been excellently condescening.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

So here we go again - I have a feeling this forecast is going to be a bit boring.

High pressure is building from the west, settling our weather down.

Tonight will be cold, perhaps down to -4'C and foggy.
Tuesday will likely be foggy, if it stays that way then it will probably be no higher than -2'C but if it clears then maybe up to 1'C.  Probably about -4'C overnight.
Wednesday I think the fog may clear as there could be quite a cold breeze, a small chance of a light dusting of snow in the morning, and about -1'C during the day, again -4'C overnight.

Thursday we start to see less cold air with a source of north Africa being sucked up around the high pressure - but don't get too excited.  It may reach 2'C during the day and 0'C overnight.
Friday might get up to 4'C!  And 0'C overnight.  Still dry and settled.

Next weekend should be similar.

However at present, this looks like a temporary blip in wintry proceedings, as this week's high pressure is expected to pass to the east of us, over Scandinavia - allowing another cold easterly to set in.

Doesn't really match with my original prediction of much milder weather before Christmas.  We shall see.

My Trip To Stuttgart

So finally I have had a holiday this year - unless you count trips to Manchester, Leeds, Hull or Canary Wharf - all of which were very good but not exactly counted as a holiday.

And it was to a country that I have taken an increasing liking to over the years - which considering the amount of hatred I had for the Germans during my formative years growing up in Hull, I feel is a good achievement.  If only the rest of the country would forgive them for the war - after all we beat them 5-1 a few years back.  And they gave us Sven Vath.

Stuttgart isn't somewhere that I ever imagined I would visit - unlike Berlin and Frankfurt (Love Parade and Cocoon, of course!).  It has a unique kind of charm, in the same way that you could say Birmingham has a unique kind of charm.  And in many ways it reminded me of Birmingham - a mix of some old buildings, some new arty style ones and quite a hefty proportion of ugly buildings.


That and a ton of shops and about 500 Christmas market stalls - allegedly Europe's largest.  But given that the holiday was free having won a competition on the internet - I felt obliged to go.

Of a little more interest to me was the nightlife, alas I had given up on persuading my sister to come and see two of minimal techno's finest, Raresh and Troy Pierce, given her propensity for liking a form of music totally alien to mine (yes, indie...where did all those years of attempted musical education from me go, Kathryn?!  Actually I am sure you used to have a soft spot for Spice Girls so maybe I did achieve something!!!) I had to accept the randomness of the town nightlife - which the receptionist in the hotel assured us was just like Ocean Drive, in Miami.

Now I haven't been to Miami, so I cannot comment on the accuracy of this claim.  However it did remind me of any strip of bars in most towns and cities in England, though with a greater propensity of house music and thankfully little in the way of chavs and pop music.  And when I say house music, I found a particularly dull version - though this is a big step up from the Annie-Mac style gash played in many English bars nowadays.

One highlight was, however, buying two drinks with €10 and getting €36 change.  Now it definitely was not a €50 note I handed over.  I did contemplate querying my change, but given my lack of German language skills, and the fact that Germany embarrassed us somewhat in the Corruption Cup in South Africa in the summer, I chose I accept it as a gift.  In exchange, so it seems, I gave them my shovel.  My most treasured of items.

We did find quite a cool bar which gave out the most amazing cake (more on the food in a minute) - though had possibly the most disgusting toilets known to man outside of India - and a smell to match.


The food in Germany is uncompromisingly excellent.  I think I managed 11 sausages over the weekend.  Some of which were half a metre long.


One thing which was a touch disturbing though, was a Bifi roll on the plane.  "A sausage-based snack".  This was quite terrifyingly disturbing, and if I hadn't been to Germany before this weekend, I would have assumed that I was about to enter a MacDonalds diet.


We did of course find an Irish pub, a C&A's, froze in temperatures of about -6'C during the Friday - I also managed to fall on my arse in the ice when drunk.  I only saw one other person fall over which was this rather drunk and stoned guy in a bar we were attempting to talk to.

All in all, an excellent weekend and I thoroughly recommend a trip to Germany to anyone who hasn't been, though perhaps not especially to Stuttgart - there are more interesting places in Germany to visit.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Updated Weather Forecast

I take the plaudits for predicting last night's snow a week ago.  Thank you.

It is going to get colder.  Then less cold.  Then colder.

It might get down to -9'C tonight.  -7'C more likely.  Then not above -3'C tomorrow.  But sunny.  Ouch.

Friday night and more likely the early hours of Saturday will see a band of something come across.  More likely rain but as it could be -5'C when it starts, then this will freeze immediately.  It might turn to snow, it might even be snow all along but that is the least likely option.  Saturday should then be fine and mild at a whole 1'C.  There may be some more rain, or sleet or possibly snow overnight.

Sunday then sees a battle of two air masses start - a mild air mass over France trying to push up, and a cold pool from the Arctic trying to come down.  Sunday itself should be fine, 0'C, maybe -3'C overnight.

In fact the whole week should be fine.  Neither previously mentioned air mass will actually win.  Instead, high pressure will become dominant - the one from the Atlantic which has been blocking the usual weather systems.  Only slight chance is a band of snow to the south on Tuesday but it remains a very small chance.

Temperatures next week will generally be about 0'C during the day, a few degrees under overnight.  It may be foggy at times, and certainly frosty.

I always expected December to be surprisingly mild - ie after a cold end to November and start to the month.

I expect temperatures of 10'C before Christmas and I think the odds of a white Christmas are tiny.  I think Christmas will be mild and wet.

Maybe a brief cold incursion over the New Year then some wind and rain for the first part of January.  People will wonder if winter is over.

From the second half of January and especially into February, I think the winter will return with a vengeance, though perhaps not the record-breaking cold, I can see lots of snow for the whole country.  I will be very surprised if this is not the case.

Stranger things have happened - but there you have it, my winter forecast.

And while we are on the subject, I am still expecting a dry and cool spring - at least until May.

I'm hoping for a dry summer too, but not expecting a particularly hot one.  But that is way too far off for me to have any degree of certainty with, it is just a current guess.

Russia 2018 - Reasons To Be Cheerful

Firstly, may I just say that if I were looking to be awarded something from a corrupt body that I would not tell everyone listening how corrupt I believe them to be.

So, congratulations to Russia, one of my favourite countries, on knowing how to win a World Cup bid.  In Russia, journalists get shot when they report something the state doesn't agree with.  Ask Anna Politkovskaya.  See link in title if you want to know more.

Though, as I know the Russians read my blog, I would like to point out that I do greatly admire Russia and I hope to be able to visit it in 2018.

So reasons to be cheerful about Russia getting the World Cup awarded to them:

1. You can go to Liverpool any day.  Have you been to Yekaterinburg?  Or Volgograd?
2. Huge amounts of cheap vodka.
3. And because alcohol kills about 50,000 Russians a year (2000 figure), mostly men, there are lots of beautiful women in Russia.  And according to www.russainbrides.com or whatever it was I have just paid a £1,000.00 subscription to, they love English men, and most are willing to pay about £5,000.00 for one so I am confident in my new investment.
4. I'm led to believe that you can hire AK47's at the airport and are actively encouraged to shoot wild bears in the forests.  Sorry, but I cannot locate my source for this.
5. We have a royal wedding next year.  Who needs to host a World Cup?
6. We are hosting international level archery and beach volleyball events, in London, in 2012.  Again, seriously who needs a World Cup with just one sport when the Olympics has about 40 (I'm guessing here).
7. Even more important, we are hosting the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.  A real sport.  No girls from Spain with long hair - real men from proper countries like Tonga.
8. Perhaps if we had Hull as a city to host a game we would have got the football World Cup.  It is likely Hull will host a Rugby League World Cup game though.  The last time it did, in 2000, saw Russia lose 110-4 to Australia.  I sense a tiny bit of ironic cheer, at the very least.

Football is crap anyway, unless you are a glory hunter it provides so much disappointment.

Get yourself to a nightclub instead.

Who Should Host The 2018 World Cup?

I am trying to decide who should get to host the world cup. I am glad that I am not one of the Fifa delegates, who have to give up their time, assumedly for minimal amounts of pay, and have to go to these awful delegations and spend nights in boring hotels, with people like Beckham, begging them to do it for the "good of football".  I am trying to put myself in their shoes anyway.

I guess being English, I should want it to come to England. But as the bid team failed to include Hull in it, I should, as a Hullensian, show some apathy towards it. Of course, all those tourist dollars will come in very handy. However, do we want the world's media touring the shanty-towns of Liverpool and London, etc, like we did in South Africa? On the plus side, the players wouldn't have to worry about it being too hot. And maybe we could play with an egg-shaped ball, and use it in the Premiership the year before. Or even better - a triangle-shaped ball?

At least if it is in Spain and Portugal, where beer is cheaper, and prosititution legal, then we could go over, have a great time, and smash up a few cities - which wouldn't be our own. Perhaps they could have a game in Ibiza - straight from watching England into Amnesia...yes I am sure the five guardia civil officers in Ibiza during the summer would love that.

The Russians would know what to do with our hooligans. There would be no messing about over there. Or maybe there would be some, as long as we paid the police. I see a Russian world cup making their police force very rich indeed - they will be rubbing their hands with glee. Russia is a country I am much warming to, and perhaps they deserve it as they haven't begged so much and they have hot women. Lots of them. And the country is in almost terminal decline - so much so that they are going to offer cash payments to couple's who have three or more children. And think of all that ridiculously cheap and strong vodka.

Spain have won a world cup recently. England haven't. And won't. Neither of course will Russia. So count Spain out. And Russian visitors to my blog spend very minimal time there compared to my English compatriots. So I finally conclude that I want England to get it. But just so you don't get disappointed with the almost inevitable outcome that Fifa tell us to stick up bid up our arrogant back-sides, I shall remind you of the beauty of Spanish and Russian women. It ain't so bad over there.






Erm...

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Apologies, I forgot about my female readers.  But I need to get on with my work so I will leave you with a hot (and single) English man for now.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Resident Advisor DJ Chart

If you are a member of Resident Advisor (the best resource for underground house, techno and other dance music), then you really should be voting for your favourite DJs.

The last day for voting is today.

Last year, if I recall correctly, Richie Hawtin won.

Note - Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, Dash Berlin (who?!) do not feature!

So if you like underground music, it is actually representative of you.

My votes are as follows:

Sven Vath
Ricardo Villalobos
Dinky
Jamie Jones
Craig Richards