Bye-bye MySpace

Just a note for anyone wondering where my ‘myspace’ pages have gone (oooh, I bet there are loads.): Well, I have just cancelled my accounts (namcom and minimism). It’s not like I spent any real time on there, and it was just another thing for me to feel guilty about.

There was nothing there couldn’t already be found via google/youtube anyway.

What is it with ‘Other People’?

Sometimes I wonder what goes on in the heads of people, and wonder whether there should be some credo like Google’s “Don’t be Evil” for the general public.

Something like “Don’t be a C***” would probably do.

A case in point: Me and the family went off cycling into town on Saturday using the cycle path which runs along the river. On several occasions, there were groups of people walking along the path. No problem you may think, well they were spread four-abreast and blocking the entire path. Ringing of bells had no effect, and so we were forced to bump up onto the grass (managing to collect some dogsh** in the process, but that’s another RANT) to move around these mobile roadblocks.

A little while later, there’s a group of about 8-10 people just standing around yacking, similarly spread all over the cycle/footpath. Ringing of bells at least gets some response (i.e. they look up), but they don’t actually move. They just stand there, presumably wondering what we’re going to do. Well, my daughter and me manage to pick a path through them (muttering), whilst my wife and son have to get off (my son is only 5 and is not as good at manoeuvring his bike as the rest of us).

Also, cycling through town – parts of it are fully pedestrianised between 10AM and 4PM, but outside of these hours, STUPID BLOODY PEOPLE still insist on walking in the road. DESPITE there being cars and lorries on the road, I (as a cyclist) still get verbal abuse for riding my bike in the road.

Like I said at the start: People: Don’t be C***s

Music journalism. Or at least a choice of what to read…

For years now (must be at least 10?) I’ve been a subscriber to The Wire. This follows up a youth of religiously buying the NME, Melody Maker and Sounds (mid ’80s to the mid ’90s if that kind of thing matters) along with the odd issue of Record Mirror, Jamming, and a whole heap more. During this period first Sounds, and then MM shut up shop, and the NME started to become less relevant, so eventually I became an ex-reader.

Then I got more interested in some of the more outsider music, and hence The Wire became something of a staple. I also picked up other magazines of course – a few years back it was Careless Talk Costs Lives – a harkening back to my MM days through the presence of Everett True, then Loose Lips Sink ShipsSteve Gullick‘s vehicle – and also many, many issues of robots and electronic brains (to which I contributed a fifth of the cover CD through my fledgling minimism record label – including two tracks by namke communications).

Anyway, all of this rambling is kind of a send off to my Wire subscription which I am planning to let lapse when it finishes in November. Basically, I’m just not reading it any more – lack of time mainly, but also none of the music is new and/or fresh any more (I’m so old and jaded that I feel like I’ve heard it all before).

Am I so old and jaded that I have heard it all before? No, of course not – I picked up Plan B last month, and the writing and enthusiasm got me interested in music again. The cover CD was very good as well – in fact I keep listening to it. Every track. This month’s issue is also great, as is the CD.

Having said that, the photos of Robert Wyatt in the October issue of The Wire are absolutely stunning – need to hunt out Jake Walters work, that’s for sure…

So, there you go. Goodbye Wire, Hello Plan B. Just thought I’d share…

(This all coincides with me picking up Smog‘s A River Ain’t too much to Love last weekend – and that really blew me away… Ok, so it’s three years old, I’ve got some catching up to do obviously.)

Cameras pt.1

image from ozcamera
My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 177X which I was given for a present (Christmas I think) when I was something like 9 years old. This was a fixed-focus camera with ‘cloudy’ and ‘sunny’ settings, and using 126 cartridge film. If it was too dark, extra light could be supplied by ‘magicubes’ – little plastic items containing four flash bulbs. The pictures (when they’d been developed and you’d got them back from Boots) were square which, looking back at them, seems a bit odd.

This was my main camera until some time in the mid-80s when I upgraded to a Canon AF35J – motor wind, (and auto focus if I remember correctly). Unfortunately, the camera died some time toward the end of the decade, whilst the Instamatic still carried on being used.

Now, the next camera I remember getting was a Canon Ixus in 1998 (a graduation memento), so I either kept on with the Instamatic, or there’s a camera in there that I’ve forgotten about.

I absolutely loved the Ixus. Ok, so the APS film format is not going to give me the best prints, but the sheer size (or lack of it) meant that I carried it around all the time: “The best camera is the one you have with you”…

Unfortunately, the camera was stolen in a burglary on our house in 1999. I obviously should have been carrying it around more…

about

If I was just a musician, this would be called a discography. I’m not, so it isn’t. Here’s a list of stuff I’ve done in the past:(not yet complete!)

Music:

  • 3phase : dktr t. self released CDr, 1998
  • available from : namke communications. fencing flatworm CD, 2001
  • ice-9/salo : namke communications. iwari.com 7″, 2003
  • our friends electric : V/A features ‘electroform‘ by namke communications. iwari.com 12″, 2005

Music Video:

Web sites:
I have taken to using drupal to build all of my sites as it allows the customers to edit and create content without any huge complications…

Vector Lovers in York

Still life with speak and spellJuly 7th sees the return of Vector Lovers (aka Martin Wheeler) to York for his first gig in his old home town for a long while (details at the freakin’ website here).

Martin’s asked me to do some visuals for his performance – which’ll be my first new club visuals since the iwari.com showcase at 2006’s Latitude Festival. Previously (due to lack of mobile computing equipment), I’ve taken a very offline approach to visuals, preferring to render anything from 30 minutes to around 2 hours of video, film, graphics and text onto a DVD, and then simply having that run for the duration of the night.

This time it’s going to be different.

Having had my MacBook for just over a year now, I reckon it’s about time that I do something a bit more live – and hence I’ll be heading out on Saturday night with a Quartz Composer (QC) application which will allow me to freely mix, match, and process video clips, motion graphics and still images in response to the night’s entertainment. Using a proper live setup means that I can also have images which react to the music being played (i.e. I knocked up a quick spectrum analyser patch). QC has the nice feature of allowing MIDI input to be used as a control source, so I can use my Kenton Control Freak to mix up the images as well…

So anyway – it’s going to be interesting, if you read this and make it down on Saturday, come over and say ‘hi’.

Old-fashioned photography

As you may have noticed, all of the photographs on this site were taken on film (discounting screenshots of OS X screensavers, CGI, and video of course).

Why should anyone living in the 21st century still cling on to such an archaic form of image capture? Personally:

  • I like the quality of a real photograph; sure, having taken the picture, developed and printed myself adds something to the artefact itself, and yes, it’s a long process (a quick turnaround would be a couple of days between taking the shot and hanging it on a wall), but there’s something about the visual quality that just pushes my buttons..!
  • I’ve never been happy with the quality of images printed from a computer – they seem kind of flat somehow. Maybe I need to shell out on a better printer. Or a better digital camera. Or both.
  • Knowing that I’m dealing with a finite resource (I may have packed an extra roll or two of film, but that’s still limited compared with a 2GB memory card) – and getting to medium format? Only 12 shots per roll!

Using film also means that I’m take more consideration about shooting; shots are framed and focussed, depth-of-field and shutter speed are taken into account with more deliberation.

Sure, maybe I’d be the same with a nice DSLR (one day, one day!) but with that LCD, there’s the temptation to chimp 🙂

I also found this when I started using Super 8… DV tape is a reusable commodity (and a tape will last an hour!); Super 8 forces shots to be considered (and rehearsed) – 3 minutes 20 seconds at 18fps – or 2 minutes 30 seconds at 24fps is not a long time – better get that shooting ratio up!