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Sunday 28 March 2010

Death Of A Festival?

Some thoughts on the implications of the cancellation of a local music festival & what it could mean for all of us.
It seems to be a case of "Not coming to a town near you".

Once again, a video that was recorded a couple of weeks ago. I meant to post it before now, but...

Saturday 27 March 2010

Size Matters.

Today, i ordered a new USB memory stick. Partly because of a trip i am taking soon. But, also because in these memory hungry days you just seem to have to upgrade every so often, don't you?
Now, this new memory stick is a 16GB version. Which i suppose this is pretty large? But, it suddenly dawned on me that at 16GB, this actually makes the USB stick bigger than the first computer i ever owned!

Ok, so i did own a Sinclair ZX Spectrum back in the 1980's. But, i'm not sure that that really counts. Maybe it was a sign of things to come though?

What gets me about all of this, is just how quickly this has all happened.
I really can't remember when i bought my first "proper" computer. But, the fact that it had a 13GB hard drive should date it pretty well & that was considered big back then, honest!
I do remember though that my father-in-laws first PC had a 2.5GB hard drive.

Now, my present computer has a 250GB hard drive & i also have three external hard drives. the biggest of which is 1 Terrabyte in size.

Boy, we really have a long way in such a seemingly short time. I didn't really expect to get to the point where i had to start thinking about updating my USB memory sticks. Well, not this soon anyway.

I wonder if we will now start to look back with affection to those "pioneer" days of personal computing when the only external hard drive available was a 1.44MB floppy disk. I used to have boxes of those & only threw the last of them away fairly recently.  I doubt that you can even buy floppy disks today.

Yes, i know that there were personal computers around before even floppy disks arrived. But, i'm thinking more of when PC's became far more widely available & their use more widespread.

All of this suggests to me that maybe Moores Law, where the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit board doubles approximately every two years, works for computer hard drives as well?

Where will this all end? Who knows?
But, if Moores Law does hold true for hard drive space, we have a long way to go yet.
I wonder what the name is for 1,000 Terrabytes?

Some Thoughts On Birthdays & Age.

This video was a part of a proposed vlog a day idea, that never really got off of the ground, for various reasons.
It was recorded nearly two weeks ago now.

Have i talked about this topic before? I really can't remember. It must be my age!

Friday 26 March 2010

Sexploitation Or Self Expression?

Just some thoughts around a recent debate, here in the UK, about the portrayal of women. especially in music videos & whether this is a good thing for younger women.

Pink Floyd vs EMI

The possible implications of a recent UK court case, involving the rock band Pink Floyd & EMI.

Monday 15 March 2010

YouTube Nostalgia.

Just chiming in on the current nostalgia craze sweeping through YouTube at the moment.

Sunday 14 March 2010

The Black Horse Music Festival.

What follows is a blog post i wrote for a MySpace page that i run. Yes, MySpace does still exist!
The page is for Hastings Rock, the radio station that i'm the chairman of.
I thought i'd share it here, as i feel it may well have some significance for all of us.

"Whilst playing around on Facebook last night, i came across a message which then led me to the website of the Black Horse Music Festival. On it, i found this announcement:

"It is with great disappointment and frustration we have to announce that the Black Horse 2010 has had to be cancelled.
We were always a guest at the Black Horse and the latest tenants have made it very difficult to organise an event on their site. Having run at a loss over the last few years the committee felt we needed to look for pastures new to help move the festival on to the 21st century. The Pestalozzi Village seemed the perfect site, helpful staff and the history of the Global Fusion Festival. Unfortunately Rother District Council has not granted us a licence due to neighbour’s complaints, so we have no option at this late stage but to cancel this year’s festival.
We liked thank everyone who have put a lot of hard work in trying to get this to happen all to no avail."

As you can imagine, this came as a bit of a shock to me. It may well be a shock to all of you as well? The Black Horse Festival has, for the past 20+ years, become a staple part of the social calender for a lot of us in the Hastings area. So, to find out that it will not be going ahead this year, is very bad news indeed.

I had heard, from people involved with the festival, that there were issues & potential problems with their licence application. But, i didn't expect it to end up with the application being refused altogether & i doubt that they did either.

So, why did this happen?
As the statement above says. the festival had to be moved this year. Partly because it had outgrown the Telham site & also because of the attitude of the new tenants of the Black Horse pub itself. Altenative sites were looked into. But, the Pestalozzi site, in Sedlescombe, was thought to be the best option. Especially as music festivals had been based there in the past.
Having said that, an application to hold the "One Love Music Festival" at the Pestalozzi site, in 2009, had also been refused & for very similar reasons!

So, should this have been forseen by the BHMF (Black Horse Music festival) organisers?

Reading the minutes of the Rother District Council licence application meeting, which was held last Monday. It is obvious that there was a lot of opposition to the BHMF, from local residents.
The reasons given for refusing the licence were: "The Panel took the view that the Applicant had failed to demonstrate how it intended to be a ‘good neighbour’ to local residents: in particular the Applicant failed to propose any suitable practical steps to prevent disturbance to local residents."
Also: "Overall, the Panel took the view that on the evidence of the likely impact on the prevention of Public Nuisance and the inadequacy of the operating schedule in the application, specifically, but not limited to, noise matters and health and safety issues, the inadequacies in the Applicant's proposed operating schedule and submissions could not be remedied."

I have no wish whatsoever to criticise the BHMF committee, as i know how much work goes into trying to put on an event like this. I also know how committed the committee are to the BHMF & to local music generally. But, i do wonder if they were really prepared for this level of local opposition & thought that, because of previous festivals having been held on the site, that the BHMF would be allowed to go ahead anyway?

But, that being said. This is very bad news, both for the BHMF & for the wider local music scene. This obviously raises questions about whether the BHMF will go ahead next year.
Being involved with Hastings Rock, i know how hard it is to miss a year, as we did in 2009. It isn't always easy to get that momentum back & there is always that thought in the back of your mind, that, if you miss two years in a row, that's the end.

This also appears to sound the death knell for any future music events at the Pestalozzi site. After all, the strength of the local oppostion has already caused the cancellation of proposed music festivals, two years running. These people are now very well organised & have really done their homework. For that, i suppose, they need to be congratulated? They have made it plain that they do not want any type of music event to be held there.
I'm sure others, from far & wide, will be taking note of this. So, have the NIMBY's won?

I also believe that this decision has far wider implications.
The mere mention of Health & Safety these days, seems to put a stop to most activities & that was one of the reasons given for not allowing the BHMF to go ahead.
Are we going to have to accept that the days of the small, local, music festival, or event are now gone? Even major events like the Glastonbury festival have their own problems with local residents & licence applications. So, what chance do the little guys have?
I know of other proposed events that have not gone ahead because of H & S concerns. Or, just because of the prohibitive cost of insuring any event these days. Which, pretty much, amounts to the same thing.

Obviously, i hope that my doom mongering is unfounded & that the BHMF comes back bigger & stronger in 2011. Hastings Rock have always had a good relationship with the BHMF & i'd love to see that continue in the future.
I also hope that we are not seeing the slow death of the smaller music festival, or event.
That really would be a bad thing for the world of music. Not just for the Hastings area. But, nationally & possibly even worldwide as well.

Keep the faith."
Any comments would be appreciated.

andymooseman - The Brand

Are you now a brand?

A Life Is Forever

Some thoughts on what we leave behind.

Friday 5 March 2010

The Ballad Of John & Citroen.

TV ad's can cause such a fuss these days can't they?

A recent case in point being an advert by the French car maker Citroen, for it's DS3 model.

As you can see, the advert features footage of ex Beatle, John Lennon, being interviewed & talking about not rehashing the past & saying "Do something of your own. Start something new, you know? Live your lives now. Know what I mean?"

Now, The Beatles are one of those bands that nobody is allowed to mess with & that is especially true of John Lennon himself. So, when Yoko Ono allowed these images & words of John Lennon to be used in this way, it was bound to create a bit of controversy.

I have no doubt that part of this controversy is being stirred up by those people who have never forgiven Yoko Ono for "breaking up The Beatles". I am not one of those people, by the way.
But, i'll admit that i'm not at all surprised that people have reacted in the way that they have.

After all, The Beatles have always been very protective of every aspect of their music, image etc.
It wasn't that long ago that they finally reached an agreement with Apple Computers, about the use of the "Apple" name. That dispute went on for nearly twenty years, if i remember correctly.
It took 40 years for their original albums to be remastered & repackaged. And The Beatles music is still not available to be downloaded digitally.
So, they are not ones to give up lightly.

Although the advert in question was first shown in the UK on February 14th. The story has taken on a new twist over the past few days, because John Lennons son, Sean, stated on his Twitter account:
"Look, TV ad was not for money. It's just hard to find new ways to keep dad in the new world. Not many things as effective as TV. Having just seen ad I realize why people are mad. But intention was not financial, was simply wanting to keep him out there in the world"

Obviously Sean Lennon was saying this partly to protect his mother & i don't blame any son for doing that. But, to claim that it was done to "find new ways to keep dad in the new world", is going a bit too far, in my opinion.

The Beatles are the most famous rock/pop group that there has ever been. Right across the world. 
They still sell as many records & CD's now, as they have ever done. 
Their recently remastered & repackaged CDs have sold millions of copies in the past year.
The Beatles Rock Band video game has opened up a whole new audience for the band & has also sold countless copies. 
And all of this recent activity has been wonderful publicity for the band, their music & their legacy.
John Lennon, himself, is still one of the most famous people who has ever lived. Well certainly in the past 50 years anyway. 
So, to claim that new ways are needed to keep him in the public eye, is for me at least, complete rubbish.

Maybe i'm old fashioned? 
But, i don't like to see the memory of great people, like John Lennon, being exploited by their family in this kind of way.
If it's to do with the actual music & the art that they produced, that's one thing. But, to exploit the person in an advert in this way, is wrong.

Ultimately, the decision is with those he left behind & i suppose we must respect that. Even if we don't approve of that decision.

I can only wonder what John Lennon, himself, would have made of all of this?


Monday 1 March 2010

Radio, Radio.

There has been much speculation over here in the UK about the BBC trying to reduce it's costs & how it might go about doing that.
One of the most predicted ways for this to be achieved, is for the BBC to pull the plug on two of it's digital radio stations, 6Music & Asian Network.
Both of these radio stations are considered to be "niche" stations & therefore not for the masses. But, does this mean that they should be culled?

Personally, i think the fact that they are "niche" radio stations, is a very good reason for them to stay broadcasting. Far too often these days, there appears to be very little choice when it comes to listening to music on the radio. Well, here in the UK anyway.
Most radio stations all sound the same & that problem has only got worse over the past few years.

What makes stations like "6Music" & "Asian Network" stand apart from the competition, is that the DJs are often knowledgeable music fans & not "personalities" trying to sell themselves. They love their music & it shows. They are also often allowed a lot of free choice in the music that they play. This is something that rarely happens elsewhere. This helps to give these particular radio stations more variety & originality than others.
Specialist does not have to mean boring. It won't appeal to everybody. But, it's not really meant to.

Most UK radio stations are now owned by a few big media companies. This means that their "output" is often shared by many stations. The same song, being played at the same time, across many different regional stations. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of this.
This is the reason that radio in the UK can often be so bland & boring.

One of the main criticisms about the BBC, is often the fact that it is publically funded & therefore has an unfair advantage over its commercial rivals. Some people see the licence fee as a tax & a tax for something they might not use, or even want to use. This is a very valid point & one that does need to be looked into.
But, the BBC is also supposed to be a public service broadcaster & in my opinion that is exactly what the BBC is doing by having radio stations such as "6Music" & "Asian Network".
Without this public funding, we could lose these "niche" stations forever.

It wasn't long ago that the UK very nearly lost it's only national classic rock radio station Planet Rock.
Thankfully, due to public pressure, some new Rock Music loving investors came along & saved the station. This is what can easily happen in the cut throat world of commercial radio.
Is that what we want to happen to all of the original music stations out there? I certainly hope not.

There has already been a public outcry about the possible loss of these BBC stations, especially, "6Music". A Save 6Music Facebook page has already been set up & now has over 75,000 fans.

One of the criticisms of "6Music" is the fact that it has "only" 700,000 regular listeners. Ironically though. i suspect that all of this extra publicity about the potential loss of the station has helped to increase those listening figures by quite a lot. That can only be a good thing. I must admit that i've started to listen to "6Music" again, after a fairly long gap & i've enjoyed what i've heard too.

Whilst some people are crying out for "6Music" to be axed, i haven't heard any of those same people saying that we should shut down newspapers that have a circulation of under 700,000. There are even other BBC radio stations with less listeners. But, possibly because they are Classical Music stations, they are never threatened. Strange that....

One other aspect of this whole situation is the fact that both of these threatened BBC radio stations are Digital Radio Stations. Apparently, only 20% of the UK population was even aware that "6Music" existed & thereby hangs a tale!

Digital radio has been promoted & sold as a great new future for radio listening. But, the truth is that it has just not taken off in the way that was expected.
Part of the problem for that is that parts of the UK still cannot actually receive digital radio, due to the patchy signal coverage. If people can't even hear these new radio stations, it's hardly surprising that they either haven't heard of them, or don't listen to them.
Also, potential listeners have to buy a new & often more expensive, radio to listen to these new stations. Many people just can't afford to do that & many others simply refuse to do so. And who can really blame them?

Digital radio & even digital TV for that matter, really needs a radical rethink, before it's too late.
Let's hope that this whole situation provokes a debate about the general state of radio in the UK & also a, much needed, discussion about digital radio.

There are already dates for the switch off of the analogue TV signals in the UK & no doubt, dates for the switch off of the analogue radio signals will not be too far behind.
Once those analogue signals are turned off, there is no turning back.
If & when the analogue radio signals are turned off, many excellent radio stations will cease to exist, forever.
Are we really prepared to let that happen?