Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The iMac's Role In My Determination To Drive Myself Mad. (Updated)

A long, long time ago I bought a shiny new iMac G3 computer.
I remember how Linda and I giggled as we ran through the shopping centre in Croydon with the box swinging wildly between us.
Over the years, before it's replacement, I sat in front of it at every available opportunity.
Eventually I replaced it with a shiny G5 iMac and it went to live in the attic with the rest of the out-of-date forgotten possessions.

About a year ago I dug it out again and tried to restart it.
Unsurprisingly it failed to spark into life even though it's power indicator lit up and things inside it whirred.
I put it back in the attic and forgot about it again.

Fast forward to January this year...
Linda arrives home with an old G3 iMac her employers were throwing out.
I, attempting to be clever, decided to re-install the O/S to clear it's memory of anything left from it's previous life.
The C.D. drive had become sticky and, half-way through the install, refused to eject the installation discs.
I put it in the attic and forgot about it.

This morning I decided it was time to get rid of all the useless dead computers that had accumulated in the attic but thought I'd have one last go at getting the most recent addition to the heap working again.

The first successful operation was getting the trapped install disc out of the drive and the managing to re-install the whole O/S, loosening up the disc-drive in the process.
After 2 hours I have a working 600 mHz G3 iMac loaded with O/S 10.1.2:
 I installed my old version of Reason on it, the one I couldn't use after I'd installed Lion on my laptop, bonus!
Linda tells me it now works faster than it ever did at her work-place, double bonus!
Beyond using it as an electronic music work-station I can't think of anything else to do with it at the moment.

Flushed with success I decided to have one last go at reviving my original G3.
On booting, inserting an O/S 9 installation disc and restarting, I find it's actually installing!
An hour goes by and I have another working G3:

One of the problems it used to have was an unstable video display but now the screen's as steady as a rock.
So, I decide to update it to O/S 10, just like the other one.
Another hour passes and the installation is complete but the unstable display has returned.


On searching the geeky end of the interweb I'm now under the impression I should have done a firmware update before installing O/S 10.

I think I'll turn it into a fish tank instead.


After tippy-tapping this post I connected the blue G3 to the interweb hoping that updating the O/S might cure the screen problem.
Switching the machine on, I find it's cured itself and my joy returns.
After about an hour the screen starts to deteriorate again.
I think something may be dying, inside both the G3 and me.

On a lighter note..
The 'rescued' G3 is fine and I've put a request out on Freegle for a copy of O/S 10.3 'Panther' to install on it.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

That Time of Year Again.

It's the time of year when our little pond in the garden becomes a scene of seething Lovecraftian horror:
There are at least 3 frogs in the pond but, no matter how silently I creep toward them, they always manage to hide themselves away in a writhing tangle of legs, flippers and bulging eyeballs before I can get a clear photo of them.

Crocuses and daffodils are starting to flower and the honeysuckle has started to sprout leaves.
So much for all the doom-mongers who constantly tell me the world is going to rack and ruin in a hand-cart.

(Miserable bastards.)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Leonard Barras.

Late 1980's, night-time, abed and drifting, BBC Radio 4 whispering in the dark, I become aware of a soft spoken Geordie voice reading stories that seemed to weave themselves into, or out of, my dreams.
So much so in fact, I was never entirely sure I hadn't imagined hearing them.

The voice belonged to Leonard Barras and the stories were from his "Up The Tyne In A Flummox" collection.
Over the past few years I've been re-introduced to them, and more of L.B.'s writing, via Phil's Concert Bootlegs blog for which I am eternally grateful.
(It's worth having a good look at his 'Labels" list as it contains many, many obscure wonders.)

I can't say much about Leonard Barras the man as I know little more about him than what's written in his obituary from the Guardian newspaper.
So, here's what the article says:

 "The Guardian once called Leonard Barras, who has died aged 85, "a disgracefully neglected comic writer", while the Stage referred to him as "a Geordie Ionesco". Yet his talents were little appreciated. This was down to his total lack of ego. He had no desire for publicity and resisted being photographed. His work was also impossible to categorise - a homespun Geordie humour mixed with fantastical flights of fancy and surrealism (surrealism not being that strong on Tyneside). His unusual imagination contrasted with the mild-mannered, quiet man who spent his entire working life at Swan Hunter shipyards. He never lived outside the region.

Barras was born in Wallsend, the youngest of four brothers. He went to work at Swan's in 1942 as a clerk. Bad eyesight saved him from national service. He received a long-service watch from Swan's in 1967 but continued to work there for nearly 20 more years, by which time he was a chief clerk.
In January 1949, Barras began his weekly Through My Hat column for the Newcastle-based Sunday Sun. It was Beachcomber meets Flann O'Brien, with wild, absurd, hugely comic scenarios. He also wrote at this time for the BBC radio programme Wot Cheor, Geordie and began writing for the stage. Two of his plays, A Little Stiff Built Chap (1969) and The Shy Gasman (1970), were premiered by Alan Ayckbourn at Scarborough.
Along with Alex Glasgow and Henry Livings, Barras wrote for the award-winning Northern Drift programmes for BBC radio, and in the late 1970s he penned the BBC2 comedy series Mother Nature's Bloomers, starring Roy Kinnear. Iron Press published poems from this series in Hailstones on Your Father (1979). The TV series was as far from formulaic TV humour as could be. Barras was self-deprecating, saying of his humour, "the majority of people pass it by - like an accident in the street."
Bluebottles on My Marmalade (1982) and Up the Tyne in a Flummox (1987) both highlighted the exploits of his fantastical Wallsend characters, such as poet Herbert Mangle and butcher Arbuthnot Wotherfoot. Several of these episodes were also broadcast on BBC Radio 4. As he wrote of himself in the foreword: "All of his characters are ineffectual, maladjusted, repressed, unsociable and unloved. They are all himself."
Despite writing plays for Tyne Wear Theatre Company - Tight at the Back (1987), which focused on Wallsend Amnesia FC, and for Live Theatre, Come Snow, Come Blow (1988) - hilarious if unfathomable, Barras fell into obscurity. As his publisher, I challenged him to write a novel. The result was The Chocolate Cream Society (1997), a sustained piece of comic surrealism set in a fading shipyard, where one of the main characters is a talking ghost horse.
He carried on writing, regardless of recognition. Cloud Nine Theatre Company commissioned his last work, a half-hour absurdist play called The Purple Pullover, starring the same Herbert Mangle waxing lyrical on a bicycle. This toured north Tyneside last autumn.
No one wrote like Barras. Certainly, no creative writing course could produce his like. Many less original, less talented writers have captured much more publicity, something Barras would probably have seen as comically inevitable.
He was predeceased by his wife Edith, whom he had married in the late 1950s.
· Leonard Barras, writer, born February 13 1922; died January 20 2008"
I note, with some sadness, that my birthday is the anniversary of his death. :-(
On a lighter note, one of his stories led to the family cat being named "Rover".

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Songbird of Selsey Bill sings "Beware Take Care".

An experiment in distorting reality till it breaks.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Lions In the Sandbox

Want to inject a bit of dread, fear, garment-ripping, frustration and regret into your life?
Try installing a new operating system on your computer.
I've been hanging back from up-grading my computer to Apple's Lion variant of the OS till I was sure all the bugs had been picked out of it and, to be fair, Apple have made up-grading quite easy to do.
No wandering into (un)P.C. World to buy a box of discs, just a few mouse clicks and it's on it's way down the interwebtubes.
Well, it would've been if...

I set the process in motion (4.05G download) and took Linda for a walk, I estimated about 2 hours should do it.
On returning home I find the broadband connection had dropped out after 40 minutes and I had to re-start the process all over again.
Why does that happen?
Why, at that specific time, on this particular day, did that happen?
In the words of Toyah Wilcox "ippssh a mythtareeee".

So, having sat patiently for another hour and a half, I have Lion installing.
Which takes around 40 minutes.
When the computer restarts I find that two of my important applications don't work anymore.
Reason will need an (expensive) upgrade and WireTap, one of the single most useful apps I have, has been "Sandboxed".
On the other hand, there's lots of little nips and tucks that will make life in cyberspace a little easier.
I can't instantly bring them to mind but, time will tell.

Happy(ish) with the new OS I decide to do one more piece of upgrading.
My recording studio weapon of choice is GarageBand.
Not the best nor the most flexible studio package but the one I'm familiar with and like using because it's simple, which counts for a lot.
I suppose I should consider going for something like Logic Pro but I'd end up getting distracted by all the extra bells and whistles and run the risk of "over-producing" tracks which is a very, very bad habit to fall into.

After a cursory glance the programme seems to be everything it was.
There's a new tweak that allows individual recorded tracks to be beat-matched to the overall tempo of the recording which will save an enormous amount of editing time trying to do the same trick manually.

I treated myself to one little (free) 'toy' for GarageBand, an AudioUnit called 'Vinyl' which can make all the lovely clean recordings I've made sound like dusty scratched records from any decade between 1930 to 2000.
I'm going to have fun with that, right now.

Friday, 24 February 2012

It's Friday Afternoon, It Must Be A BeHeld Rehearsal.

BeHeld's Friday afternoon rehearsals are quite civilised affairs.
Much tea & coffee are consumed, the great works of art are discussed, the role of computer technology in music is discussed, the roots of european musical tradition are discussed, and so on and so on.
When Mr. Wills and I talk about computers, Mystic Rog glazes over.
When Mystic Rog and I talk about art, Mr. Wills glazes over.
When Mystic Rog and Mr. Wills talk about guitars, I glaze over.
Girl On Wire tends to spend the time staring through the window at the customers sat outside the Lobster Pot cafe trying to work out if any of them are eating chips.
Every now and then we get round to playing a few tunes.

There's a lot of work to do today.
We've got 3 gigs coming up to promote the Ep.
The 3 songs on the Ep were recorded sometime ago, we're already halfway though recording the next Ep, which means we haven't played them for a while now and we're sort of 'rusty'.

For our first outing, an informal 'open-mic' type venue, we'll be performing to what will be a broadly sympathetic audience familiar with the songs on the Ep so we can role a few of our new songs out.
The second gig stands a chance of being a bit of a challenge.
It's a long way from our base, in front of people who've never seen us before and we have to be amplified.
The amplification will be out of our hands which always fills me with lumps of fear.
We're going to open with Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me To the End of Love" then play the songs from the Ep.
The third gig is a venue we've played before, they've already heard the songs from the Ep so we'll probably only use one of the Ep songs and the rest will be chosen from the new recordings.

That's that sort out then.

During rehearsal we often take time to try one another's instruments.
Today Mystic Rog had a go with Mr. Wills' violin:
I think we'll give that one a miss.

There is one little problem-ette.
We've sold most of the Ep's already.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Cape of Space.

One of the unexpected bonuses of the cape saradywn3 made me:
It makes a great back-drop for some kind of sci-fi drama.
(which I'm working on.)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Julian Date. Poet

Whilst doing the rounds of my favourite blogs I was introduced to the poetry of Julian Date by Mr. Webster at The Pavilion of Innocent Pastimes.
(A blog any right-thinking person should visit on a regular basis if only to encourage Mr. Webster to post more often.)

Here are Mr. Date's musings on the Skylark:


As I wandered through our park,
I chanced upon a lone skylark.
It flew straight up into the sky
(Though I have no notion why),
And burst into a sombre song,
Which seemed to go on far too long.

Boy, that hits the nail on the head and no mistake.

Recording Session Fun.

Mystic Rog and I have spent a good proportion of today huddled in my make-shift recording facility doing the over-dubs for 'Heart' & 'It Must Be True'.
Recording sessions like this can get quite fraught at times with risk of murder an ever present danger.

Actually, that's probably over-egging it, a bit.
Me & Rog get on like a house on fire and the recording went well, very well in fact.

As a bit of light relief at the end of the session, with the mic still open, I asked Rog to "just play something, anything".
"Like what?" asked Rog.
"I dunno, what y'got?"
I pressed the record button, Rog noodled about a bit, I press some more buttons and hey presto, Rog's battered old acoustic guitar becomes a Les Paul through a Marshall stack in the O2 Arena:

We both fall about laughing.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Windsor Whirle Ukulele Banjo No.4: Restoration Finished.

The last hurdle of the Whirle restoration has been cleared.
The reason it's taken so long is I didn't know what the guides for the machine-heads were called.
Guides, sleves?
No, they're ferrules.
I bought a pack of 6 from CD Guitars in Penge.

A little light drilling, some precision hammering, and they're in:
Machine-heads refitted:
One day, in a perfect world, I'll replace them with some nice 'tulip' types in a mint green colour.

Quick trip to the Sue Ryder charity shop for a set of steel strings (£1.99, bargain) and the job's done:
I've used string gauges: .012, .016, .017 & .013.
My plan at this stage was to record a short sound file to give an idea of how this instrument sounds but it's going to take a day or so of vigorous flailing to get the strings bedded in.
A truth worth remembering is this instrument will NEVER sound pretty because, let's face it, it's basically a banjo.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Prepare The Resonator!

No, not a command from the captain of an inter-stella battle cruiser, it's what I've spent a good part of the day doing.

I actually like my Ozark Resonator Guitar but, yet again, I haven't played it for well over a year now:
Shiny, Shiny!
It occurred to me that I couldn't remember replacing the strings in all the time I've owned it.
When I took the old ones off this was clearly evident from the 'crust' that'd built up underneath them.
The resonator cover was covered in blood, sweat and tears and really needed a good polish.
New strings, quick tune up and I discover my ability to play a six stringed instrument has completely deserted me since I changed over to the uke.

The last time I could nearly play I sounded like this:

Complete with it's hard-case, it's now in the queue for eBay listing.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Lull.

I'm definitely in a lull.
The C.D.'s a reality.
Having no job is a reality.

There's only one thing for it, a ride on the potato:
The first run out along the prom of the season.
I've just down-loaded a new lens and film for the Hipstarmatic camera app and snap a few pictures of Bognor Regis and Felpham.
The town and sea-front are really busy on this cold bright day.

I'm trying to remain positive whilst contemplating the smoking ruin of my 'career' but also allowing myself a couple of hours to feel sorry for myself.

I managed to get home in time to watch Sir Chris Hoy sprint his way to another cycling gold medal.
Cheered me up no end.
I'd love to take the potato on a spin round a velodrome.

Tomorrow's a day for a new strategy.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

BeHeld: 'Lo' CD Ep Available Now!

If you want to order a copy of the BeHeld Ep here's what you should do:

01) Hit the donate button to the right.
02) Send £5 to cover U.K. postage costs, packaging and PayPal claw-back.
     (Overseas buyers should contact me first with regard to postage costs using the email address in the next instruction.)
03) Send an email to detailing your postal address headed "I want a copy of your cd NOW!"
04) Go wait by your letter box.

Trade in the Ep is already 'brisk' so hurry, hurry to avoid disappointment.

Friday, 17 February 2012

My 'Track of the Week" Standing On The Moon performed by The Grateful Dead

I no "Deadhead" by any stretch of the imagination but, a good song's a good song:
For someone I miss.

A Product Appears.

Since receiving an e-mail from the couriers, I've been sat glued to the window.
I've been passing the time building another HO/OO shed and, given my natural clumsiness, 'glued to the window' in the literal sense.
(I'll write instructions on removing polystyrene cement from glass/hair in a future post.)

I live at flat 1B. This usually translates in the eyes of delivery people into 18.
I chased the white van down the street, waving frantically.
The delivery driver really was looking for No. 18.
He flung open the side door of his van and began hurling packets and parcels around, finally digging out my package.

I noticed, on 'signing' the electronic device he handed me, my hand-writing seems to have reverted to the scrawl of a 3 year old.
So, what's in the package?
The most CD's I've ever owned
It's the BeHeld CD Ep.

Now, a word of praise for the CD duplicators DiscZone.
Rob at DiscZone made this part of the production process the easiest bit of the whole enterprise.
He helped me out when I got in a bit of a tizzy about the insert layout and turned the job round in less than a week.
I endorse their product and/or service.

It's BeHeld rehearsal day today.
I might have to buy some biscuits in to celebrate.

Instructions on how you can lay hands on one of these CD's to follow soon.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Squires Craft Shop (R.I.P.)

For me the closing down of Squires Craft shop is a disaster, a tragedy beyond measure.
I'm told it's passing is not down to the current economic climate but a marriage break-up.
Don't take my word on that, I could be horribly wrong.

Squires was a palace of wonders as far as I was concerned.
Even if I didn't need anything in the craft supply line I'd wander about in the shop just getting inspiration.
Several times I even tried to get a job there packing mail-order sales.
Didn't get a job but I never stopped trying.

I went there today to buy an male XLR plug for one of my microphones and, although I knew it's closing down was imminent, wasn't quite prepared for the reality of the situation.

There's going to be a final everything must go sale in March so I'll have to get my shopping list together.

Truly, I can't communicate how upset I am about the loss of this wonderful shop.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Lesson Learned.

I've spent a good proportion of the day packing my eBay sales.
I did make enough money to buy that really good quality tenor ukulele, and a hard-case for it as well.
That plan's out of the window though.

I realised, after furiously packing the items, that transporting them to the post office may prove difficult unless I managed to stretch my arms by about another two feet.
Light bulb over head incident!
I dug out the shopping trolly I was going to use the wheels from for something, dusted it off and loaded it up.
The post office is about 1/4 of a mile away and, having drawn the venn diagram, worked out that the utility to embarrassment was worth it.
Taking as round-about-but-direct route as I could make, I arrive outside the Felpham Post Office.

Is anyone familiar with the concept of "half-day closing"?
Monumental bollocks on stilts more like!

I don't care what the little-England-traditional-pre-decimalised-to-many-eastern- europeans-Daily-Mail/Express-reading-muslims-ate-our-dog-or-was-it-an-urban-fox-because-they-eat-babies-y'know-bring-back-weekly-rubbish-collection-and -flogging brigade think.
Half-day closing in the Twenty-First century, especially of a POST-OFFICE is ridiculous!
And typing of ridiculous...

I now have to trundle the shopping trolly to the main post office in Bognor Regis.
The nice lady (Rosie) behind the counter, smiled and complimented me on my lovely trolly.

I'm still a long, long way off my target for the steam-cleaner I want but I grow more determined by the day to own one.
In the meantime, here's a picture to remind me of what the target actually is:
                     If I'm going to spend £900 on you, you'd better learn to smile mate.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


I've been working on BeHeld's version of my song "Heart".
I didn't feel it was BeHeld material but the band seem to differ with my point of view (which doesn't cause me any problem at all because they're right of course).
The underlying form is "Motorik" which works surprisingly well on acoustic instruments.
We drafted in ace percussionist Microbe to kick the track along using a Cajon,  aka Spanish Box, it's an astonishingly versatile instrument.

I posted the original demo last year:
It really sounds weak in comparison to the new version and I've still got to record Mystic Rog's guitar part and Mr. Wills' violin.

The 'inspiration' for the lyric came from a line scratched in the run out groove of a Buzzcocks single that stuck in my head down the years.

The sundry mortification being I got so immersed in mixing the track and my on-going eBay sales I hadn't realised today is St. Valentine's day.


Monday, 13 February 2012

The Past Comes Back To Haunt Me.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A Brief Interlude with Victor Silvester's Strings for Dancing

Columbia Disc FB.3388
Cuban Moon - Rumba (Silvester & Wilson)
Performed by: Victor Silvester's Strings for Dancing.
Played on a HMV 102 Portable Gramophone.

Felpham beach. 12/02/2012.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A Problem of Mis-Attribution.

The eBay sales are going well (ish).
22 items, 9 bids and many watchers.
I've had two enquiries from Japan about the Smiths Pocket Watch:
Big in Japan
I've been asked if I'd consider shipping it over to Japan but, to be honest, I find the arrangements for postage mind-numbingly complex and had to refuse.

The German Day/Date/Month permanent desk calendar has caused a bit of confusion:

I received this communication from 35karina:
Dear outaspaceman.
Love it but it's not German. The German for january is 'Januar'. Must be some Scandinavian language. I will still bid on it.
I replied:
Dear 35karina,
Oh no!
For three years I'd assumed I knew what the date was in Germany, now I find out it's some un-identified Scandinavian county.

I'm bereft!

The message came back:
Dear Outaspaceman,
After sending this message I did a search on the net and it seems 'Jaenner' is an old version of January in Austrian or Swiss german! I never knew that! I am from Berlin and as far as am concerned Austrians don't speak German :) they really don't.
Apologies, this is probably more than you ever wanted to know about this.
Best wishes and I will shut up now

Now then, this raises a question regarding another item I'm selling (no bids, no watchers BTW):
I think these may be 'smutty'.
The glasses read:
Left: "Gut' Nacht ibr lieben Sorgen, I. m. a A. bis morgen.
Right: "Feh hang' ja so an Sir!"

I have no idea what any of that means but I sort of get the drift, if you know what I mean ;-)

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Other Thing That Happened Today.

Friday afternoon is BeHeld rehearsal time.
We've started working on my song "This Small Stone"
There was some debate about if Mystic Rog should play mandolin or guitar on the song.
We decided on guitar:

The 'crackling' noise at the start of the track was played on plastic bags by Linda.

A Quick Walk Into Bognor Regis.

Having built & painted yet another small shed:
I decided to leave the flat to stop me from fiddling about with it until it was dry.
The two model sheds I've built this week came from a charity shop (can't remember which one) and they've worried me somewhat.
They are, of course, model railway buildings.
I'm not in anyway interested in building my own model railway layout but it would be a shame for these little buildings not to fulfil there appointed destiny.

On my quick stroll in to Bognor I spotted a feral shoe:
Notice how it's sole has become detached.
(I know how that feels by the way.)

On a lighter note...
Adie's Tuc-tuc is back up and running:
This is a good sign!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

BeHeld: 'Lo' Ep (mp3 pre-release versions)

As I seem to have quite a bit of spare time on my hands, I've finally been able to finish off BeHeld's Ep 'Lo'.
I've uploaded some (crappy quality) mp3 files which can be heard here:
The tracks have been despatched to the C.D. duplicators and the finished product should be available before the end of the month (baring accidents or suicides).

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A Thought Occurs.

There I am willfully adding sale items to the world-wide car-boot sale that is eBay, when it suddenly dawned on me that I may have caused myself a bit of a problem.
When all the auctions end there's potentially 22 items to pack and post all at once.
That'll keep me busy.

Today was going to be another selling day but I've stepped back just to give myself a bit of breathing space.
Whilst sorting more sale items out I found my Mamod steam engine.
I thought I'd steam it up one last time:
With the exception of my baritone uke and my bicycles, I'm unsentimental about material possessions. 
There's a passage in Thus Spoke Zarathustra that sums the situation for me:

"They played by the sea - then came there a wave and swept their playthings into the deep: and now do they cry.  But the same wave shall bring them new playthings, and spread before them new speckled shells!  Thus will they be comforted; and like them shall you also, my friends, have your comforting - and new speckled shells!     Thus spoke Zarathustra."

With tears in my eyes I'm going down to the beach to look for a new steam engine. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Everything Must Go (I've got yet another plan).

I posted recently how I planned to sell off a few bits and pieces with the intention of buying a really good tenor ukulele.
Well, the plan's changed.
I now have a new plan.

My new plan:
I'm going to get myself a few bits of cleaning machinery and start my own cleaning business.
Hmmm, this plan will be expensive.

I've spent most of today selecting and loading items on to eBay.
the list is as follows (with links.)

Well, that's a start.
More tomorrow.

Solar Toys 02

This is the second variant of the solar powered toy I received as a birthday gift:
Round & round & round & round & round & round & round & round & round & round & round & round etc. etc.

Hey! Wait a moment, the sun's out!
I gotta go walkies.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Swings and Roundabouts.

Today was one of 'those' days.
I watched the ambulance take away an elderly neighbour who'd had a stroke.
I completely failed, despite lots of useful and accurate advice from Mr. Glyn Webster, to install Debian on the EeePC.
I constructed a little hut:
The silver lizard used to be one of Linda's ear rings
and I walked out of my job.

S'funny, I checked Saradywn's blog Mad Ramblings first thing this morning and it was spookily predictive with lots of consolatory words and a bare lady (bonus!)

Sunday, 5 February 2012

HMV 102 Portable Gramophone.

I uploaded a brief film of my HMV 102 sometime ago.
It has a No. 5 sound box and still has it's record tray (a valuable item in itself).
It worked very well at the time but has progressively "stiffened up" to the point where it, all but, ceased working.

The problem that afflicts these type of gramophones is usually the grease turning in to glue over the years.
Bear in mind that my 102 was manufactured sometime in the early 1930's it's understandable that it probably needs a bit of a going over.
I decided to have serviced and took it along to DecoGraphic in Arundel.
So, £40 for a service and £25 for a new spring and my 102 is better than ever:
The tune spinning on the deck is Columbia disc DB 1756 "Liberty Bell" (Sousa- arr. J. Ord Hume) Played by the Regimental Band of H.M. Grenadier Guards conducted by Lt. Col. George Miller.
(Oh, alright Philistine, it's the Monty Python theme.)
You wouldn't believe the volume this machine produces!
I'm using Columbia Chromium Long Playing Needles which, the package informs me, can be used to play up to 60 sides before needing replacement.
(I'm sure there are plenty of experts out there who'll tell me different.)

Over the next few days I'm going to wade through my collection of 78's whist pointing my big condenser microphone at the 102.
Something to do with posterity.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Two Picture Books.

I like picture books.
Girl-on-Wire bought me a picture book for my birthday.
Andrei Tarkovsky's collection of Polaroid pictures Instant Light:
For some reason reading it or, to be more accurate, looking at the pictures, reminded me of another favourite:
Boring Postcards a selection of postcards from the collection of Martin Parr.

I'm considering producing a picture book of my own.
The provisional title is "Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011".

Friday, 3 February 2012

I Couldn't Resist.

I'm a fan of Saradwyn3's painting over at Mad Ramblings.
She's been working on an illuminated alphabet.
I've chosen 3 of my favourites:

Dulcetto Gramophone.

A neighbour gave me her old (broken) wind up gramophone:
It's in poor condition and I'm unsure about lashing out cash to have it repaired.
I've a feeling the main-spring has gone on the Thorens motor, which would probably cost in the region of £30 to replace, and the cost of the other bits of restoration is anybody's guess.

The turntable needs a new felt:
Most of the metal work and the external leather work need attention.
The only reason I'm even nearly, possibly considering having the work done is the label under the lid:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Camping Out.

We have no central heating in the flat, our only heating is supplied by a multi-fuel burner in the main room.
The temperature outside is -5 C.
The temperature in our bedroom is 2 C.
We've decided to "camp out" in front of the burner tonight:
I had to rootle about in the eves of the attic to find our inflatable mattress and, under a fair division of labour agreement, Linda did the inflating whilst watching Coronation Street (demonstrating that innate ability to multi-task women keep banging on about).
I, armed with the T.V. remote control and BBC iPlayer, am doomed not to get a wink of sleep tonight.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Frustrating. (An Idiot Writes)

A long, long time ago (at 15:03 on the 26/03/08) I bought an ASUS Eee PC 2G Surf Net-Book (remember that concept?).
I mistakenly thought that the Net-Book idea would be the way forward for mobile internet access.
To be fair my thinking was correct, for about two months.
When it became obvious to me that Net-Books weren't the way forward I started 'fiddling' about with the Eee.
I installed several Ubuntu variant operating systems and finally settled on Eeebuntu Base.
I stripped the O/S of everything it didn't seem to need and ended up with a calculator, text editor, VLC media player, Opera browser and nothing much else.
I quickly became bored with it and packed it away.

Last year I re-discoved the computer in a draw in the attic and began to fiddle about with it a bit more.
Now, I'm not exactly sure what I did but the web-browser stopped working.
I think I may have deleted something important to it's operation from the system.
I put it away again.

Fast forward to today.
Mystic Rog, who be afeared o'new technology, casually mentioned he might have to consider getting a computer.
I remembered the Eee PC in the draw in the attic and decided to try and get it working again as it would be perfect for Rog's requirements.

I've been sat in front of it for the last 5 hours and have totally failed to install a new browser thus rendering it more or less useless.
I could list all the options I've considered for making it work but the only one that truly appeals to me at the moment is opening the door of our multi-fuel burner and throwing it into the flames.

I may leave the door of the burner open and throw my iPod Touch in after it.
Having said I'm not a 'gamer' I decided I'd better have a coherent reason to back up my assertion.
I down-loaded the game Angry Birds.
It's driven me to the edge of a break-down yet I can't stop playing it.