Adverts

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Money


Ahh pay-day.

I treated (is that a word?) myself to a sausage and bacon sandwich this morning for the grand price of £3.65.

That is my pay-day treat.  Once my rent is paid, electricity, gas, water, train fare to work and food shopping is all taken into account, there isn’t too much left.

I cannot complain too much, I do have money to go out, I am not forced to buy frozen burgers – I do eat good quality food.  I can afford one clubbing trip to London a month and go out most other weekends – though I do have to stay in at least one weekend a month, depending on how many weekends there are in a month.  I can afford to buy a couple of CDs, maybe a t-shirt, keep my subscription to the Economist and the £2.99 a month for a more detailed rain radar.

I am definitely not poor (although technically the socialists probably think I am probably in poverty because I don't own a sports car).

However there are things I want that I just cannot afford, nothing huge – such as a new mp3 player to replace my disco-damaged Zen (what a shit name), I want a bike to help me get fit, and there is absolutely no way I will be able to afford a holiday, probably not even a weekend away at this rate.

I have cut my expenditure as much as I can.  Or perhaps as much as I am willing.  Housing costs massively down, nothing I can do about train fares, the house is cold enough as it is without turning the heating down more, I don't go out and party anywhere near as much as I used to.

For now I guess I just have to accept my austerity circumstances and keep plugging away.

I guess one cannot totally rule out a pay-rise or a bonus but I never factor such things into expectations so they are always taken as bonuses as opposed to expectations - though with inflation at 2.8% and continuing to eat away slowly at wages, the pressure may become too much to continue on the same salary eventually.

However I am happy, I enjoy my job, I have a mission to achieve and complete.  And I can listen to music all day whilst working - that is worth a huge amount to me.

None of my little projects look like paying off at any time soon either...still not in the DJ Premier League.  My artwork is not yet featuring in any galleries.

My conclusion is that I need to keep resisting the pressure to increase my earnings and hopefully something will turn up through my hard work and endeavours, whether that be work-related at my current employer, or some external bonus like winning the lottery.  Or just winning one of those competitions I enter would be nice.

I shall keep on dreaming.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cubed With Duke Dumont & Shadowchild

I last went to a Cubed night around a year ago, Eats Everything was playing and he smashed it. However I wasn’t keen on Disclosure and the other resident DJs played music far too heavy for my brain to cope with.


However I have noticed with interest over recent months the bookings in terms of headliners and also resident DJs has veered more towards my liking – or maybe my tastes are broadening a touch – probably both.

The booking of Duke Dumont was enough for me – as I love some of his latest releases such as the immense Thunder Clap.

Sadly I was not organized enough to make it in time for the wonderful Ryan of From Disco To Disco fame to open proceedings, and I missed the next DJ (who I am told was not my personal cup of musical tea). Must remember to bring my passport to save extra taxi journeys in future. Being 33 doesn’t save me from ID checks. I should know that by now.

I had never heard of Shadow Child, one for the younger folk I assumed, however I enjoyed his mixture of house, garage, post-dubstep and various other underground genres – I spent plenty of time dancing (when not queuing, more on that later), a particular highlight was an excellent remix of Renegade Master.

Duke Dumont then came on around 2am, if I recall correctly, played some excellent tracks including some of his own, a track by Makam that Nina Kraviz has been hammering, and some electro stuff I wasn’t so keen on but overall was a really enjoyable set. I should have wrote this on Sunday/Morning when I still vaguely had a memory of some of the tracks played!

The curse of the foot-shufflers is well-known to those who go out in London, as I and others have been forced to in recent years, and I am increasingly becoming disdained with the arrogant rudeness of a certain section of the London clubland, along with the thieves, criminals and general scumbags infiltrating nights with even the most minimal of minimal DJs (well maybe Villalobos excepting as that is thankfully too minimal for the idiots...so far).

The Cubed crowd are a mixed bunch, but a musically well-educated crowd, they responded to the big underground tracks like one would hope – it is a noticeably young crowd with plenty of students (hence the queues at the bar!), but a friendly crowd, I spoke to far more randoms than I do in London, helped by a good bunch of friends and recognizable faces and lots of people were dancing all night – hell, I am pretty sure I even saw a decent attempt at a DC10 sit-down by a fair proportion though I may have been imagining things by then!

I did have to queue to get in, queue for the cloakroom, queue for the toilet and queue for the bar – but house music is very popular right now, nobody wants an empty club and I have had to queue to get into fabric for 2-3 hours before – this was nothing. Those I heard moaning about a little queue here and there need to get out in the world.

A little tip for people – go to toilet before you get to the club as the beginning of a popular night everyone wants to use the toilet then.

That said, Sub 89 do need to up their game in terms of bar staffing levels – there was not enough people serving and never have been when I have been there. The bar queues do not need to be so long. The venue do get a lot of important things right especially the excellent sound-system (Oakford Social Club if you are reading sort out the dreadful quality of some of those abused speakers please!), and are way ahead of many venues in Reading. All staff including security were friendly and non-intrusive – helped of course by a total lack of trouble by the excellent crowd.

A refreshing night out - refreshing to go out on a Friday, a refreshing lack of tubes, trains, buses, etc, refreshing lack of smartphone thieves.  So will I go again?

Hell yes.  I have already purchased my ticket for 22nd March and hope to see you there.

The guys behind Cubed are setting the pace in terms of clubbing in Reading, they will be celebrating a desevered 2nd birthday and there is no way I am missing out.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who Do I Love?

I was in this dingy flat in Hull once and this very wise crack-whore gave me the gift of what she had spent her life learning, which was that you have to love yourself.

So, who do I love?



I love me of course!


I also love you too, all my dear readers, my weather forecast subscribers, my DJ mix listeners and especially Mrs G.

This is how much I love you that I have created a new photo especially for you to download.

xxx

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent Is Lent

Those that know me will know that I am not exactly the most religious person in the world.

I'm not one of those people that think religion is the cause of all evil in the world - yes sure it has caused a few wars in its time.  Religion has a place in the world, but not in my life.

I don't feel I need to follow somebody else's guidance, I can follow my own morals and cohabit peacefully with anyone around me.

I do however have a reasonable comprehension why others may feel the desire to have a faith in their life and I think it is up to the individual to decide.  I believe in freedom of choice.

In recent years I have decided that I should find something suitable to give up for lent.

Last year, I cannot remember what I gave up.  It is probably on my blog but I cannot be arsed to look.

The year before, I tried to give up words ending in 'ent' - like bent or magnificent.  This was difficult especially when talking.  Not so bad when writing because I could quickly hit delete.

In 2010, I gave up paper clips.  Fairly easy once I got out of the habit and used staples though I definitely annoyed a few people at work by not using paper clips.

So this year I have been pondering.  It isn't easy to think of something suitable to give up for weeks on end.  Someone suggested to me to give up gravy - but I love gravy.  Why would I give up something I love for something that has no meaning to me?

I have decided therefore that a reasonable sacrifice would be to give up zebra crossings.

Wish me luck.

Monday, February 11, 2013

tINI & Guti at Factory7, Shoreditch

tINI was one of my heroes of 2012, with her weekly radio show in Ibiza and amazing, fresh underground house music and her free parties, she was my number 1 recent discovery. Twice I was supposed to see her for the first time last year, both in Ibiza and fabric, but both times for stupid reasons I didn’t make it.


I was massively excited all last week, especially given how it was 9 weeks since I had been on a dancefloor and the cravings were overwhelming.

I just about managed to not get wasted on Friday night and even had a few hours sleep. However it all started to go wrong from Saturday morning, pre-party plans were cancelled, my dancing partner advised she was unlikely to make it so I didn’t know whether to try to find someone else, go by myself or just not bother, I couldn’t find anywhere to watch the football (Hull City is not exactly a massive crowd-puller in the pubs of Reading especially when competing with that shite egg-chasing), we lost, I received £200 of bills which I cannot afford and I just managed to work myself into a foul mood.

We’ve both come close to cancelling on each other at the last minute, I've lost count of the amount of times I have done all-nighters the night before a big night, but thankfully this wasn’t going to be the first time, though by time we met up neither of us were in the mood but the show must go on and all those kind of sayings.

We didn’t have to queue too long to get in, the venue I mostly liked (Factory7 in Shoreditch), a fairly basic warehouse space which gave it an certain edginess, however the toilets would have been insufficient for an art gallery – certainly not suitable for a 1,000 ish person rave – space for 4 guys – my friend had to queue 30 minutes for the ladies, and there were not enough people behind the bar though in the end I chose to drink the absolute minimum so I didn’t have to use the disgusting toilets any more than absolutely necessary.

The crowd were ok, 50% cool, 50% twats – you know the sort, 18-year old chavs who think they have more right than anyone else to exist. To be expected nowadays given the popularity of house music, especially when even the likes of tINI are interviewed for The Sun. It is far from a niche thing nowadays. I even saw people with boxing gloves in there. Boxing gloves – house music? What is happening?

Generally the set-up and organization was good, to be expected from the reliable LWE outfit that run many events, lighting system was good though the sound-system was struggling at the beginning, far too quiet – however as soon as tINI came on the volume and sound quality stepped up several levels (I assume she was playing vinyl) and it went up several levels from flat to off the hook.

tINI was even better than I was expecting, I think she started later than expected, we struggled to get near enough to the front to be sure – well we did briefly but soon retreated with all the I’m-too-important idiots pushing to the front and dickheads smoking. Combining a few favourites from her radio shows with some more beefy sounding house music and on a punchy, clear sound-system, it was an exceptional DJ performance.

Around 2am, Guti came on for his live performance – I’m not a massive fans of live performances, sound quality was not as good, musically took a step into more relaxed territory. 1 hour is more than enough for me on a live performance – 2 hours was way too much. But even at 4am when tINI was due to start again, the music didn’t change, it was sounding increasingly flat and it didn’t sound as if tINI came back on. I read on her Facebook page that she was suffering from fever, perhaps that was the reason.

Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. Either way our hearts were not in it any more and we left at 5am to seek solace elsewhere.

A short walk to Hoxton ensued and we ended up at the brilliantly named, Dented Melons. More of a tech0house to techno vibe though nothing too full-on, with Guido Schneider headlining. Took a little bit of time to get into it but it was good – the venue, the Victorian Vaults, if I recall correctly, was more like what you would expect of Berlin – arty and purposely falling apart with a choice of about 3 different drinks behind the bar. Curiously with a Funktion One sound-system.  And enough toilets! My kind of place.

It was a nice and friendly crowd there and we hitched a lift with our new-found temporary friends to an after-party in Dalston, kind of deludedly hoping for it to be some mansion-house that was going off but instead was a small dingy smoky basement and we weren’t really feeling it so wandered around in the cold rain looking for a taxi, and ended up having to get a second taxi as we managed to get dropped off at the wrong place.

The main failing was expectations being too high and not being in the best frame of mind.

If I were to rate the night out right now I would give it a 4 out of 10. Ask me tomorrow when my comedown is in full effect, it might struggle to get a 1 out of 10. Ask me on Thursday, my most despised day of the year and I will punch you.

Ask me when the dust has settled next Saturday and I will likely appreciate it for the good fun it was and give it a 7 out of 10.

Next up is Nina Kraviz and several others at Secretsundaze on Easter Thursday. Though before then I have a couple of planned nights out in little old Reading which I am really looking forward to as they should both be well-attended by lots of my closest most-wonderful friends, a hell of a lot of fun, and a long-overdue catch up piss-up with my closest friend from my university days – nearly 15 years of friendship - typical northerners!

Would love to squeeze in a trip to fabric before however reality is that bills need to be paid first. Stupid austerity. Unless Ricardo is playing.

Not every night is perfect, not every night can meet my very high expectations and not every night I am on top form – but as the saying goes, it could have been worse.

tINI was sensational and I cannot wait to see her again.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

2015 General Election

The keen-eyed and eared amongst you will have noticed that the campaign for the 2015 general election has recently begun in earnest.

You know where I stand - I am a Tory.  A modern and liberal one.  Yes - there are different types!

I have been musing over possible results.

The preferred option for me, is of course a Conservative majority.  So we can finish off fixing the country's problems and the economy and all enjoy the benefits of a lot of hard work and painful, necessary decisions (inequality down in this government so far).

It doesn't look likely though.

Preference number two is a Conservative and Liberal coalition   I think this is even less likely as the Liberals will probably dump old Cleggy at their 2014 autumn conference and have a leftie as leader.

There are other parties that a minority Conservative government could in theory govern with - the greens?  If anyone voted for them.  Or UKIP.  Though they would actually have to have some MPs.  The Winfield Party is about as likely to get MPs than them two though.

A minority government of any persuasion would not likely last too long before another election is called.

It seemed bizarre 5 years ago to think of any coalition government - so how about a Tory-Labour coalition (which I did suggest in 2010)?  It would never happen with the Eds in charge but again what if Labour dump Red Ed and go for his more sensible brother, David Millipede   With someone else vaguely sensible like Alan Johnson as shadow chancellor they could be able to work together.

Stranger things have happened.

Then we get to the bad options - a Lib-Lab coalition.  5 years of making difficult decisions and actually governing may help the Liberals to make sense in such an awful-sounding coalition.

And finally, Labour could get a majority.  Which sadly is probably the most likely outcome.  The really bad thing is that they will likely get to reap the rewards of an improving economy from all the hard work of the Conservatives - a la 1997 to 2001.  Though when Labour did get back in in 1997, they did actually run the economy well for the first 4 years, continuing the previous Conservative government's plans.

At some point they would of course fuck up the economy because that is what socialists do - spend other people's money.  It was 2002 when Gordon Brown started destroying the economy in style - and don't we know it right now.

One could argue though that they have so messed up the economy, and despite their bullshit of "oh it was a global recession"...so exactly how much did GDP reduce in Australia, China, Russia, Vietnam, South America, Canada, Africa, Iraq? - erm, it didn't...just in profligate near-bankrupt Western countries...erm back to the point James, they may actually realise how much they messed it up that they are so scarred they could actually run it well.

Except the markets would not likely think like that.  The markets would freak out and probably significantly increase borrowing costs, thereby increasing the deficit and debt even further to the point of actual bankruptcy.  The opposite of what they have done since 2010 by reducing interest rates on 10 year government bonds to that comparable to Germany, currently around 1.8%.

Meanwhile after 2015, Cameron is kicked out as Tory leader (assuming he even makes it to 2015!) and Boris becomes the new leader ready to take over and bring us into the glorious 2020's.

So whatever happens in 2015 is in one way or another, a good option for us Tories.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

January's James Cuisine

One of the things on my 2013 list of goals to achieve that I still haven't written because I actually have work to do at work, is to greatly increase the amount of new dishes I learn to cook.

Last year I did maybe one new dish a month at a push, the aim now is one a week.

Here are the results:


This is fried fruit (fruit in a frying pan - who knew you could do that?!) with some kind of spice on top of crumpets.  I liked the fruit but the crumpets were pretty crap.  Very strange to have this kind of dish for breakfast on a Saturday.  4/10 - should have just had fruit.



This is a bit more realistic for breakfast, bacon with poached egg (only previously done fried eggs, I think I overdid the poaching a touch but do like them poached a lot), and cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinegar.  I liked this dish a lot though was a touch on the small side 6.5/10.



Chicken with parma ham (a new thing) and something else that I cannot remember.  Perhaps parmesan cheese?  Parmasan cheese is a total rip-off, I liked this though 6.5/10.



Salmon with green beans and pesto.  Never tried pesto before, always thought it looked odd but it is tasty and I will do it with salmon again.  Yes I know I have resorted to chips and egg with it but my brain can only cope with so much new cooking stuff at once and I had nothing else suitable to hand.  8/10 for the salmon and green bean combination.



Not very easy to see but lamb chops with a tomato and pepper salsa which was ok, bit too much tomato I think.  Never had a salsa before.  I did put some naan bread with it as the dish originally looked way too small for a man my size.  7/10.  Could have been better.



Just in case you thought I had gone weird.  Gravy.  Better than sex.  Better than drugs.  111/10.  Couldn't be better.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Samsung No Fun

I'm not really getting any inspiring responses from my complaints at the moment, this is about the best I have had recently:


Dear Sir

I bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 last year. It is a fantastic piece of technology.

However - two major problems.

1. I dropped my phone and the screen cracked. Its ok, its only a phone, I can deal with it. However - my previous phones from other manufacturers have not had the same issue with far more stress to them.

2. Typing. You recently released a new firmware update and now the way I text has to change because of it - patterns I was using are no longer recognised.

Not the end of the world as I have downloaded a better keyboard as an app - but it just makes Samsung look a bit....unrefined (or crap).

I wanted to give you feedback to help you in the future - the phone was very very good but for these two problems annoy me too much.

Therefore my next phone upgrade will not be a Samsung (though it certainly will not be the American dictator fruit company either).

I wish you all the best from the Royal county of Berkshire, United Kingdom.

Kind regards
James Winfield

**********************


Dear James,

Thank you for contacting Samsung.

We always look forward to hearing customer feedback and comments.

We're grateful for the feedback you have provided.

We hope you continue to enjoy the products you have now and that you get the chance to experience some of the amazing products and services we have coming in the future.

I've passed your comments on to various departments who will use them to improve the experience of using our products and services. Thank you for your input.

Kind regards,

Online Support Team
SAMSUNG Customer Support Centre

**********************

Boring.  At least they replied though.