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Month: August 2009

All too often nowadays, I put down a newspaper having concluded that its writers know little and care even less about the subjects of their articles. I want authoritative voices, not some ‘will this do?’ chancer who’s cribbed the lot off Wikipedia. I’m not entirely sure if it’s them or me: was it always this way, and I only notice it now because I’m better informed? One of my pitifully few must-reads is James May’s column in the Daily Telegraph…

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Cemeteries are an endless source of fascination to me. In my local necropolis, there are two plots of note. One is over 100 years old, and is the family vault for James Maconochie, a pioneer of food canning and co-proprietor of Maconochie Brothers, whose first factory was located in my street. If you have relatives who served in World War 2, ask them about Maconochie stew. Another dates from a mere 20 years ago, and commemorates a man whose nickname,…

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The news that the Government is considering various measures against file-sharers, including cutting off their Internet connections is more amusing than worrying, from where I’m sitting. After receiving David Geffen’s hospitality, of course Mandy’s got to make harrumphing ‘something must be done’ noises. Is it even remotely enforceable, though? Save for a few well-publicised legal actions brought by the RIAA in 2002 or thereabouts, the threatened wave of mass prosecutions has failed to materialise. A few people have received legal…

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Keeping with the theme of digital radio instant nostalgia, was the Digital 1 multiplex so named because it had only one station worth listening to? The demise of Oneword was a sad day for UK radio. On a budget that wouldn’t cover Mark Damazer’s annual expenditure on coffee and Danish pastries, it provided a good, intelligent, broad-based speech radio service, with nary a phone-in to be heard. Maybe I’m biased, having had several mates who worked there, and having nearly…

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Regular visitors to this corner of the WWW will know already that schloss Cheeseford is home to all manner of strange, wonderful technology. My family of open-reel tape recorders rule the roost, but there’s room for more recent obsolescence such as the object on the left. That’s what affordable digital radios looked like in 2000. Well, I say affordable. When launched, the Psion Wavefinder was £299, and you needed a PC with USB ports for it to be any use…

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To my great surprise, I’ve just had a phone call from Bob McDowall. To my even greater surprise, it was a long, constructive conversation about the show, the issues and Radio 2 in general. He said a lot of things that I suspect would be heard sympathetically by a lot of his harshest critics, and he said that he’d love to say them in public, but that he was unable to make any definitive statements until he’s talked to Bob…

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Two reviews for the papperbok edition of Turned Out Nice Again this weekend. In the Sindie, Brandon Robshaw says ” I thought I was going to love it at first – there are fascinating accounts of the early variety acts…The evolution…is entertainingly told…But there is too much emphasis on the behind-the-scenes stuff, the hierarchies, management structures, procedures, and budgets.” Agree to disagree. I’ve always found what goes on backstage as fascinating as what happens out front, and have also always…

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Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on a bench near Lowestoft station, sharing my cod and chips with the youngest member of the Swiss Family Cheeseford. The sun was out, the nosh was lovely, my ankle is on the mend, and I thought that things couldn’t get much better. And then, I looked towards Lowestoft station and noticed a set of carriages unlike those that haul the normal services in and out of town. A mixture of mark 2 and mark…

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I’ve just heard about the death of Les Paul. I really, honestly, thought he was good for the ton and then a few more. His mother achieved a great age, and, when I saw him live at Iridium in New York in 2002, he looked indestructible – even if a stroke had robbed him of some of his dexterity. However, I don’t think anyone can call 94 a bad innings, and he packed a hell of a lot in to…

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Maybe Bob McDowall has voodoo powers. Or maybe I was pissed. We shall never know. Both are possible explanations for how I passed out on Sunday morning, sending my full 14 stone 13 pounds crashing down on my right ankle and resulting in the accompanying picture, taken at Stroud railway station. It happened while spending a weekend visiting relatives in Gloucestershire, and such a lovely time was being had that not even the injury and the fact that Mrs Cheeseford’s…

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