Monthly Archives: August 2010

Sheeping with the enemy..

There aren’t many subjects on which Derby and Forest fans will find an accord, but there are two highly notable individuals who were pivotal to the history of both provincial clubs.  All but the most football-ignorant of people will probably be able to name them – and today Derby County FC officially unveiled a fantastic statue of them in Unity Plaza, just outside their Pride Park stadium.

Rich and I popped along today for the advertised 1pm unveiling, only to find the statue already uncovered presumably from when it was revealed to a select group of family and organising committee yesterday.  I thought I was cunningly hiding my Forest shirt from the surprisingly sparse crowd only to later realise I had a small Forest badge on my coat!

There wasn’t a ceremony as such but legendary Derby player and later manager (and indeed, former Forest manager) Dave Mackay made an appearance as the clock wound round to one, and quite a crowd had gathered to take in the new addition to Derby’s home.  It’s a lovely statue, and a fitting tribute to two very special football characters.

Obviously the most glaring difference here is the inclusion of Peter Taylor – someone who is routinely ignored by the powers-that-be at Forest due to the nature of his departure (as they see it) then re-emergence as Derby’s manager.  Pretty childish if you ask me, the man had such a huge impact on our history too, it’s terribly sad he’s not remembered appropriately by Forest.

The other difference is the pair are elevated on a 9ft plinth rather than being at ‘interacting’ level as the statues in Middlesbrough and Nottingham are.  I think given the football ground setting that works quite well, and at the base compass points mark out landmarks where the pair made impacts – including the City Ground, and indeed the sites of Forest’s European Cup triumphs.

There seemed to be mixed views on these inclusions from the assembled Derby fans once the statue was opened up for people to fully approach – it took a while before I was able to grab a photo of the City Ground plaque as there was quite a bit of jocular ‘stamping’ going on.

All in all, another fantastic monument to Clough and an overdue one for Taylor – I would hope one day Forest officially see fit to commemorate both men in such a fitting manner – with Nottingham’s statue of course being very much a tribute from the people of the city rather than club-led (not that it wasn’t aided by the club).

Of course, Derby’s statue was also as a result of a fans petition, and it was great to meet Kalwinder, a Derby fan who has been pivotal to the whole thing.  A real statue to be proud of for Derby fans and wider football fans alike.  For fans of my fledgling media career I also gave a short interview for BBC Radio Derby, no idea whether it aired or not though!

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I found a funky app for my iPhone called ‘Percolator’ – it takes pictures either from your photo library or camera, and renders them into interesting patterns that apparently infused the creator with thoughts of coffee…

… you can adjust the courseness of the grains and there’s a few tweaks you can make to how the colours are displayed. It’s ace, and it was either free or only 59p – so eminently affordable!

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I just really enjoyed a Justin Bieber song!

Justin Bieber: Irritating pop-goblin rendered lovely by technology...

I hadn’t heard of who Justin Bieber was until some Twitbook type campaign tried to get him to play some gig somewhere or other.

Even when I found out his identity I wasn’t in a rush to hear one of his songs particularly, so filed him in the back of my mind in the place where other such nonentities are placed to be ignored when they may encroach upon my daily doings.

Until today.

Thanks to my friend Alex’s awesome discovery, there appears to be a way to render this flaccid excuse for music into something beautiful.  By stretching out the song ‘U Smile’ by 800%, suddenly the squeaking histrionics is transformed into a beautiful ambient soundscape lasting over 35 minutes.

If you like a bit of ambient music I think you’ll really enjoy it.  I’ve just downloaded it in mp3 form, I reckon it could make awesome ‘go to sleep’ music – and you can check it out by utilising the handy music player widget thing just below this paragraph.

Tantalisingly on the artists’ SoundCloud page are instructions on how the slowed-down version of the Bieber song was achieved.  Instructions that I have followed, and am eager to share.  Whilst I’m pleased to have heard Justin Bieber 800% more slow than his producers intended, I still have no desire to listen to him at full speed.

So what if I were to slow down a song I actually knew really well and liked?

Well that’s precisely what I’ve done – rather than go for squeaky safe pop music (which admittedly not many examples of which fall into the two above categories!), I decided to go for something that you would never ever consider as anything approximating ambient.

Ladies and gentleman, I invite you to take an ambient journey into the world of Motorhead, and their seminal hit ‘Ace of Spades‘ slowed down by the same 800% as the Bieber experiment linked above*.  I think I’d go as far as to say it’s been an interesting experiment!

But d’you know what’s depressing, and I never thought I’d say this, I think I prefer Justin Bieber to Motorhead!  It was also quite impressive that Cat identified the artist upon first listen despite not knowing what I was up to… definitely more foreboding and malignant sounding that lil’ Justin though.

Having gotten over the technical wibblery (ie. me being a bit of a fucktard) I continued the theme, and this result I’m really pleased with – so below is the Levellers (a fairly obscure album track) ‘Maid of the River’ – one of my favourite ever songs, rendered much slower, and it’s nearly as beautiful as the original, and pisses on Bieber.  Oh yes.  Fuck you, Justin!

Have a listen to the following wonderful epic, and then go and get yourself some Levellers albums, because they’re awesome at full speed too!

*Footnote – it would have taken considerably less time if I’d paid attention to the instructions rather than leap in and create a 36 hour rendering of Ace of Spades by using the wrong ratio measure, the file clocking in at over 1GB!

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The C word..

Not that c word.  The other one, the worse one.  Cancer.

I’ve been very lucky that – touch wood – it’s not impacted my nearest and dearest to a great extent.  It was with a massive degree of inspiration I read the blog of one of my friends’ fathers though who hasn’t been so lucky. 

Whilst I can’t empathise quite with this illness specifically, with recent heart-related scares in our family of late I’m reasonably well versed in coming to terms with the fact that we are all very much mortal beings.  It’s a scary realisation, none of us are here forever – we know that – but it’s not nice to have unexpected reminders of that.

I would urge you to have a read – I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting David, my mate’s dad – but am amazingly inspired by his reaction to the shitty hand that fate seems to have dealt him.  Just as we can be prone to over-reacting to relatively trivial events, I am full of admiration for how he is the exact opposite – remaining positive and upbeat in the face of perhaps the least trivial news you’re ever likely to get.

As well as this, he has taken positive action to raise thousands of pounds to promote both awareness and early diagnosis of cancer, as well as cancer research.  It’s truly staggering and incredibly humbling – and really helps to bring things into perspective when you get a little bogged down in day-to-day mundanities that shouldn’t really worry you as much as they do.

If you feel as moved as I have been then there’s a link to donate to ‘Windsurfing for Cancer Research’.  I was tempted to say a legacy to be proud of, but in his own words:  ‘Sod my life expectancy progress – I will be there.’  I really hope so.

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Little pig, little pig, let me in!

I often wonder how my brain works, I think many people who encounter me do as well.  Yesterday a song called ‘Three Little Pigs’ by a fairly obscure band called Green Jelly popped into my head.  Why? I have no idea – this kind of thing happens to me often, indeed, a colleague said to me today “whenever random songs start running through my head it’s generally your fault.”

Combined with a labyrinthine ability to remember lyrics from things I’ve not heard in ages I can’t help but think I’ve somehow missed a trick with some part of my brain that hoovers up everyday trivialities instead of filing useful information in an easily retrievable fashion.  That said, a number of times in my daily doings I’ve stumbled upon techniques to harness this nature of the brain, but never mastered them.

This, for your delectation, is ‘Three Little Pigs’ by the formidible Green Jelly:

So yeah, whilst I can merrily recall artists, song names and lyrics from more than decade ago – that I suspect I’ve not heard since then – I quite merrily struggle to recall pieces of work I’ve been striving toward within a few weeks.  I suppose that’s some kind of insight into motivations, isn’t it?  Maybe.

In other news, meat-drying production has continued to be successful – although I’ve since discovered the bag sealer I was using perhaps wasn’t quite as airtight as I’d hoped so just had to consign an older batch to the bin disappointingly.  I have another load currently drying so it shan’t be long ’til I have meaty goodness available again.  Pissed off at the waste though, back to using takeaway boxes and refrigerating, methinks.

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Jailbreakage for iPhone 4

I was quite excited by the jailbreak when it was announced, then it didn’t work.  Of course, I love my iPhone 4 just as it is, but the temptation to unleash whatever things Apple might not want unleashing is always tempting to me for some reason.

Sadly the demand for the website ‘’ meant that my initial attempts weren’t a success – however, thank to Pip I followed the steps below with first time success, so if you’re struggling – give the following steps a try:

  1. Close the tab in Safari of the jailbreak page
  2. Exit Safari
  3. Go to Settings -> Safari -> Accept Cookies
  4. change Accept Cookies to ALWAYS
  5. Go back one menu step and click on “Clear Cookies” and “Clear Cache”
  6. Go back into Safari and go to

Ah, Cydia, how I’ve missed thee.  Rather sadly, my number one reason for jailbreaking is to have the five icon dock again!

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