April 28, 2013

What are the chances?!

Oh, quite high actually…3x3x3x3x3=243 (‘3’ because the range of numbers is only 1,2 and 3)

So that’s a 1 in 243 chance. And if you include the odds of getting 22222 or 33333, then it drops to 1 in 81.

Still, it looks pretty.


An ode to my defunct Casio A220 Digital Illuminator Watch

April 28, 2012

An ode to the Casio A220


A birthday gift from
The Lady Wife
Who said I could have
ANY watch I fancied in the whole

Ooh, exciting!

And even though I could have
Had a fancy Diesel
For  £180.99

They were all horrible.

But the shop assistant man in Diesel
Had the best
Watch on
Of                                      all…

A £19.50 Argos
Casio A220M

So I went to Elizabth Duke
And got that

(you’re fired, ed)

Not false advertising: Toxic Waste sweets ARE toxic!

January 19, 2011

I was delighted to discover that the ‘Toxic Waste’ sweets I bought from my local newsagents are indeed toxic!


Toxic Waste sweets

Luckily they are literally impossible to hold in your mouth for more than15 seconds.

My local newsagents are great – last time I advertised blogged about them they were selling illegal ‘cigarette’ sweets: Naughty Newsagents

Roland’s missing Bassline synth…

January 4, 2011

Roland is well known for it’s TB-303, TR-808 & TR 909 synths and drum machines, but it also made others in this numeric series: the SH-101, MC-202, and so on. However, it never made a ‘404’ of any sort, which leads me to create this HILARIOUS info-graphic:

Pat is partly to blame for this joke – though he’s sensible enough not to actually make a picture of it and upload it to his blog.

Neu! Live – 21st Oct 2010

October 26, 2010

Grabbed a few seconds of Neu! encore at their gig last Thursday at the Barbican..

Neu! – Negativland (the slow bit)

Neu! – Negativland (the fast bit)

Let me know if you want a long and rambling description of the gig.

Fun fact: the drummer playing with Neu!’s original member here is Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley.

Good Hygiene Ensures Good Health

July 4, 2010

Hello cafe in Farringdon, round the corner from where I work, what’s that you say?

‘Good Hygiene Ensures Good Health’? Ah, well that’s good to know. Perhaps you could show me what healthful and gluten-free meals you serve?

Hmm, I see.  Cheap, greasy fat-laden foods are not a contributing factor to good health then – only the hygiene? That’s lucky, otherwise you’d something of a weird and contradictory branding proposition.

Musical Museum, Kew

May 12, 2010

Visited this excellent museum last weekend.

The 1850’s equivalent of an iPod: musical box

This is a 185o’s Swiss-made barrel driven music box. Along with the usual ‘comb teeth’ tines, it also has an organ, bells (hammered by little brass wasps) and a little snare drum. The museum’s director freely admitted that the organ drowned out the other instruments and could only play four (non-changeable) tunes.

It would have cost £50,000 in today’s money.

Four tunes!!!

It’s violin stretching time!

It’s a bit difficult to see from this picture, but it’s a coin operated music machine that automatically plays a violin accompanied by a piano. The violin reminded me of nothing so much as the Dalek being tortured in the last series of Dr Who. It’s strings have been lifted away from the body and a complicated system of levers press the strings at the right points to get the desired note, whilst rotating celluloid disks are held against the string to sound it. The little disks have two speeds and the strings are further made unhappy by being stretched back and forth to give two speeds of vibrato.

The overall effect was surprisingly good and has the advantage of being able to play all four strings at once.

Not a Record Player

At the same time as gramophone records were being developed, music boxes with disks instead of barrels were also immensely popular. Their advantage over the £50k  Swiss models was that they had interchangeable disks and could thus play more than 4 songs. Owners of the Swiss box claimed theirs ‘had better sound quality’ and ‘why would anyone need more than four light classical songs played by bells hammered by brass wasps?’. Those people went onto to buy Zunes for similar reasons.

Gramophonic Excitations

Before electricity gramophones were clockwork and the sound had to be reproduced by careful use of a big horn.

They were also recorded by shouting down a big horn to cut the disks. This is roughly as convenient as syncing a Zune to a PC and slightly less absurd than ‘squirting’ an expirable mp3 to another Zune user.

(I don’t know why I’ve suddenly got it in for Zunes. I guess this all reminds me of pointless format wars which are almost obselete the moment they’re won.)

The Wurlitzer

They even have a Wurlitzer rising through the auditorium floor. It’s the 40’s equivalent of a sampler. Every sound under the sun required to accompany silent films – it’s based around a full size pipe organ with meaty 16″ sub-bass pipes and tiny 2″ pipes that I couldn’t flippin’ hear they were that high!!. Not only that, it has xlyophones, marimbas, drums, waterphone, and sound effects like waves on a seashore, sirens, woodblock and a hilariously unconvincing horse trot created with a coconut.

Typically, the idea for the Wurlitzer was invented by an Englishman, but the unimaginative English at the time weren’t interested and he had to go to America to realise his vision.

I highly recommend a trip to the museum – the above is a tiny tiny selection of their player pianos, theremins, music boxes, orchestions, and much more.