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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reading vs Bracknell vs London

During March’s monthly no computer night, and I actually ended up laying down and allowing myself time to do nothing but think, which is quite unusual for me.

The two important items on my thought-agenda recently have been what next step to take in my career, and where to live next.

Firstly I would like to progress my career.  At some point I want to be doing web development, but I would have to start way down the pecking order on a lower wage.  I am not yet developed enough to be doing this.  I am happy in my current job, but it doesn’t challenge me.  I really like the people I work with and for, and enjoy my days.  And can listen to my music – massive bonus.  But as I said, it doesn’t even vaguely stretch my capabilities, and I am just floating along.  And the lack of air conditioning really fucks me off.

Secondly, our house contract ends in August and we are not renewing it.  So I need somewhere to live.

Slightly less importantly, I need to find a way to spend more time studying than I do at the moment, so I can bring about my career change and get closer to the goal of being able to work from Ibiza/Hull or wherever I fancied.

One possibility is moving to Bracknell.  I could walk to work, saving myself over 10 hours a week that I could invest in studying.  But then I would be trapped in Bracknell on a weekend – only able to visit Reading within the confines of the South West Trains train timetable.

The easiest option would be a find a room in Reading town centre.  That would not be too difficult.

Actually, the easiest option, were it on offer would have been to stay in my house.  And knowing me, I would have taken that option by default.

But if I am going to have to move house, then why not move to London?

These are the reasons why not:

Bloody expensive
My friends
My DJ residency
Weather Forecasting page
Roast Dinners Around Reading
Erm…

These are the reasons why I should:

I am bored of Reading
London is exciting
I can earn more money
I can go to all kinds of exciting events
Fun is endless
More free things to do
More culture
Wider range of restaurants
Expanded career options
New interesting people to meet
Slightly easier, and also cheaper to get to Hull
Not having to get an 8am train back to Reading after a night’s clubbing
I have friends in London too
My sister is moving to London
I can get to airports slightly easier.

The list of potential reasons is not quite infinite but I could go on.  Why haven’t I already moved there?

I can still visit my friends in Reading.  Until I get barred from the Purple Turtle, or have burnt the place down, I intend to carry on with my DJ residency even if it means a trip back to Reading.  I have a couple of kind offers of places to stay and it would be an excellent excuse for a weekend in Reading to see those of my friends that still live there, of course including my best friend but I have numerous close friends in Reading.

Also I can just do Roast Dinners in London instead.  And I could even start my Tapas Or Crapas blog (there are not enough tapas places in Reading to make it interesting!).  Plus there is no reason I would have to stop doing my weather forecasting page – maybe I would change it to Reading & London, or maybe I would keep it unique.

So there it is.  My decision is made.  I am moving to Bracknell.

Only joking.  I am moving to London.


But wait a minute, I hear you say.  Haven’t I said on several occasions over the last 10 years that I was moving to London?

Indeed I have.  But it has been 5 weeks since I made my decision and I have only become more convinced that it is the right path for me.  The simplest of things – a 6 hour Wolf & Lamb DJ set the other Sunday at a pub in Angel.  I cannot get that in Reading.  Plus all the hotties.

The first job is to find a job.  I don’t mind how long it takes.  It has to be the right job.  Apart from the lack of air conditioning, there is nothing pushing me out of Easynet.

Then I will work out where to live.  Ideally I will find somewhere within 40 minutes travel to work.  Even better if it was within walking distance (walking distance for me is less than an hour).

And if I don’t find a job by time my house contract runs out then I will just find a short-term let in Reading somewhere.  No point in moving to say, Peckham, and then getting a job in north London.

I have a plan and it is in motion.  The only thing that bothers me is the cost – I’ll need a new suit, plus interview shirts, plus the money for train tickets for interviews – it is going to be costly and there is no money in my budget for it.  I shall have to look at it as investment.

Bring on the leaving party/leaving roast.  Fuck it, leaving pie, leaving party, leaving after-party and leaving Sunday roast all in one session.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What I Discovered In Hull Recently



You can get crab in Hull.


I do not like crab.

Trip Advisor has very limited suggestions for Hull.  And for East Yorkshire.  Which leads me to conclude that there either isn’t much to do, or nobody uses the internet there.

I often got a 2G network.  And very occasionally, 3G.

Footgolf is a thing.  Not only did I beat my sister, which is fairly imperative to manly pride, but also I got a hole in one.  I am the man.


There are no beards in Hull.

However there are plenty of cool bars in Hull now, especially in some of the more previous run-down shopping areas.  Dare I say it – a little East London ish.

My mother was hugely appreciated at the job she retired from.

My father cooks small portions of food.

Allotments are peaceful.

Hull has craft lager pubs too.  Very nice ones.

Leffe is apparently served with a glass of ice.  WTF?

Chip spice isn’t as good nowadays.

Neither is my local fish and chip shop.  But it is still miles better than anything in Reading.

More of my friends should visit Hull.

Monday, April 06, 2015

My Books Of 2014

Yes I know we are a quarter of the way through the year but it takes me a while to get around to doing things sometimes.

I like to read books on the train journey to and from work.  That is pretty much the only time I will read a book.


And this is briefly what I thought of the books I read last year:

Everything You Need To Know About DJing And Success, by Danny Rampling

I think this is quite a good book for anyone just starting out DJing.  I wish I had had this book when I first got my DJ decks.

Having been immersed in DJ culture for decades, a lot of what is written was hardly new to me.

The technical side would have been very useful for when I first got CDJs but I managed to work it out myself, and by watching others.  I will keep it handy for when I first get some technics as it will again come handy.

The second part of the book was all about self-belief bullshit and the psychology of success.  Yeah.

5.5 out of 10.

Weatherman by John Kettley

John Kettley is easily of of my favourite weathermen out there, and I am sure many others feel the same.

Sadly the book is written as though by a scientist and is rather dull at times.

There were some amusing anecdotes, and it is interesting to read into the background of one of the more revered weather forecasters from the BBC, including his passions for cricket and football.

The controversial way that he was removed from the BBC was touched on, but one feels that there is so much kept out of the book that it was hardly worth mentioning.  Book sales could have been much higher if more was revealed.

And again, sadly, the book finishes on the "fact" of climate change, which is a disappointing way to end.

5 out of 10.

Storm Force, by Michael Fish MBE, Ian McCaskill & Paul Hudson

Another weather book written by another three hero weather forecasters, including the only one I have met - which will be the only one you haven't heard of.

This tracks a history of storms in the UK, from 55BC to the 2007.

It gets across a point that storms have always happened in the UK, and there are countless mentions of damaging tornadoes in particular.

Again it suffers from being written by scientists, and often becomes a list "On 21 September 1982 a rash of tornadoes broke out across England".  Wow.  Put me down.  It really is written matter of factly, including when talking about injuries and deaths.

Worse still it then attempts to predict future weather events thanks to fucking global warming - making up stories about record numbers of tourists from Spain, hurricanes and floods.

2 out of 10.

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life by Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton

Before I read a book, nobody had ever told me that I had saved their life from DJing.

Now I have read this book, still nobody has told me that.  Though someone did tell me fairly recently that my music is boring.

The book tracks the history of the DJ all the way from 1906 through to the superstar era of the late 1990's.  The book was updated around 2006 but I haven't quite worked out what with.

Chapters that were of particular interest to me included the Northern Soul scene - something I had heard of but had very little knowledge of.  I do wonder if I would have been into it had I been around back then.

Certainly I would have been into disco - there is no question about that.

Some of the book was of scant interest such as the reggae and hip-hop sections but other parts were a good summary of how scenes became of themselves.

6.5 out of 10.

The Blair Years - Extracts From The Alastair Campbell Diaries

I put off reading this book for quite some time.  757 pages of small writing.  This was no small feat of reading.

And not only that I really didn't want to read 757 pages of bullshit about how New Labour saved the world, why the Iraq war was necessary and how they had eradicated boom and bust.

Why had I bought the fucking thing in the first place?!

Eventually I said to myself, read 50 pages, and if you don't like it, give it to Oxfam.

And I was soon intrigued.

At times it was deathly dull - page after page after page of frustration on for example the Northern Ireland peace process, oh how boring that was to read about.  I actually felt for Tony Blair and those having to negotiate with the respective dinosaurs.

What was most of interest was how he had managed to spin the media around his fingers, it was indeed quite fascinating how he had managed to control and hoodwink the media and much of the country.

A very clever and cunning man.

Though one has to always remember how he manipulated the media on a constant basis - and the story within these diaries should always be remembered as his version of events, and also the parts that he wanted to release.  Alastair Campbell's version of the history of New Labour.

7 out of 10.

Narcomania - A Journey Through Britain's Drug World

This was much lighter reading.

Basically an argument for legalising, or at least decriminalising drugs, that everyone including Daily Mail readers could understand.

Starting off by showing how endemic the use of drugs is throughout society, and also how the sale of drugs has changed - rare are drugs sold by your big chief, instead a phalanx of small-timers paying for their own stash.

Then it talks about how legitimate businesses launder the money generated from the drug world - nail bars seem to be a significant source of money laundering according to the book, but it goes right to the top with lawyers and bankers involved too.

There isn't much new knowledge for someone who has been around the clubbing scene for a couple of decades and has seen much of what goes on, but for many it would be revelatory.

It does have some amusing and interesting stories and I enjoyed reading it, although wasn't at any point captivated.

6 out of 10.

John Major - The Autobiography

I thought that it was my duty as a Tory to find out more about John Major, whom a friend of mine believes was the best Prime Minister of recent times.

Was I overlooking the best PM with my adulation of Thatcher?

What better way to find out then his autobiography.

The beginning was probably the best part of the book, where he described a joyous but difficult and poverty-stricken upbringing.  This is what I think of when I think of Conservatism - someone from an average background being able to do really well for themselves.

It continues with his progress into government, and his relationship with Thatcher (good when he worked for her, not so much afterwards though he does seem to hold back on his thoughts).  He made remarkably swift progress up the party and was clearly well thought of.

He also touches on his love of cricket at many a point, with several analogies.

There are exceptionally dull parts - especially the chapter on Maastricht negotiations, that was particularly tough going.  Then the sections on the bastards, and further European chapters are fairly dull too.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the Gulf War, and also finding out more about Black Wednesday, and the circumstances around it, the difficulties with taming inflation and the exchange rate mechanism.

It is a competent book from a competent leader.  But he was no Thatcher.

6 out of 10.

Man, Machine And Music - Pascal Bussy

This is a book about the notoriously media-shy Kraftwerk.  One of the more inspirational bands around - a band that helped to shape the modern face of electronic dance music.

I didn't actually start reading this until 2015 but it will probably be 15 months until I write the next book review so it's in here.  My blog, my rules.

The book is aptly robotic in it's story-telling, split into chapters roughly based around each album launch.

However robotic writing is not as charming as robotic music and it was another quite dull book.

Also it is over 20 years old, having been published in 1993, so it seems like it is only half the story - though the most important part.

The author had no access to the group themselves, and relied on limited press quotes, making many assumptions about the thought processes of the band members along the way.

Nethertheless some information was gleaned - the importance of studying this band if you are into house, techno and especially minimal should not be undervalued.

Though the main conclusion has to be if you want to find out about Kraftwerk, you need to listen to their music.

4 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

And That Was 5 Days Off

I’ve just had an extended 5 day weekend.  I had 3 days of holiday left to use by the end of March, so I was waiting in the hope that there would be some nice weather at some point.  Hence I ended up having to book the last 3 days off.

It was timed quite well as I was a miserable sod last week.  I had a rubbish night of sleep on Sunday night then I was kept awake until the early hours on Monday night then Tuesday I was just in a foul mood, propping myself up with Red Bull, cakes, chocolate, sausage rolls, then before you know it I had put most of the weight on that I had lost on my detox.

And there is one way to guarantee a foul mood and that is for me to have put weight on.  Especially when it is of my own doing – ok nobody force feeds me sausage rolls, but this was just blatant eat-as-much-as-I-can because I was pissed off.

So I needed a break to press the reset button and return to a positive psychology.  Which I have done.  Well, except when Morrisons had no sausage rolls this morning.  And neither did Sainsburys.  And then I had to queue at the Cornish Pasty shop.  And then the ticket machine.  Then the only seat on the train was next to the toilet.  So I could smell toilet cleaner when eating my bacon and sausage sandwich that was absolutely unnecessary.  Which made me feel tired so I bought a Red Bull.  Then came to work to find out that my fridge yoghurts with another week left in date had been disposed of.

And then I opened my inbox.

I am happy.  Honest.

April 1st is the birthday of two of my absolute favourite people in the world.  I know I have a lot of people that I am dearly affectionate of but these two are particularly close to the heart.

And speaking of people close to the heart, I get to see my family tomorrow night which I am starting to become rather excited about.  And I get to eat real fish and chips.  Proper chip shop fish and chips.  Unless you are from a fishing town, you simply won’t understand.

I didn’t do much with my time off.  I had no money so there wasn’t a lot to do.  I spent a lot of time studying.  Sometimes when I am studying, I wonder how much I am actually achieving.  I read a lot, and some of what I study has tests – such as the excellent Khan Academy.  For those of you considering voting Labour then they have a course on Economics which I can recommend to you.  For those considering voting Green Party, then there is a course on basic maths.  And for those considering a vote for UKIP, there is a course on how the history of the World Wars.

And I was at a little house party on Saturday night and spoke to someone I have known for years who works in the industry and he gave me some very pertinent advice – stop studying and start doing.  I immediately took him up on his advice, how proactive of me!

You may remember my old DJ website.  Or perhaps not.  Well it looks dated and, well, cheap.  It was the best that I could do at the time with the knowledge that I had, however I should be able to do much better one year on.

And this is version 2.  It is only 40% complete.  Much of Monday and Tuesday were spent designing the menu systems – now I have to work out how I am going to display the information from the menu options.  And make some kind of main display of my name and latest news.

So still quite a lot of work to do but I am really happy with my progress in terms of what I can actually design now.

I think it is a vast improvement in a year – I hope you agree.

The other main achievement was a new DJ mix.  I would have uploaded it last night were it not for Virgin Media’s incompetence.  So it will be uploaded tonight.  It is dub techno.  A different sound – that kind of 11pm fabric sound.  Please do consider following me, if only to take pity on me.

It is my can I play at fabric now mix.  Actually I’m not deluded enough yet.  Some of the mixes could have been tighter – one of the mixes the levels were way off.  But overall I think it is a good mix, very underground with no tunes whatsoever.

I don’t recall doing much else.  It wasn’t really a holiday.  Nor a weekend.  It was a continuation of working, just from home.

I am happy to be back around people, that is for sure.

Please also find enclosed a picture of an old bridge.


Because it looks nice and more people read my blog when there is a photo.

I bought a bike pump too so I can ride my bike.

April Fools!!!!  Or is it?