2009 — 18 November: Wednesday

Having invited you to the rickety back door of our rented flat yesterday, come on into its living room (click the text below) courtesy of my first hi-fi article1 published in the July 1975 issue of "Popular Hi-Fi".

David "hard at work" in 1975

This was the first (and only) article that was recast by the editor (my squash partner, as it happens). All subsequent ones were published as submitted, but I hadn't realised that the brief of the "Casebook" series was that it was (supposedly) written from the point of view of an expert visitor assessing a reader's system. But then, I suppose, not too many of the readers were fulltime writers. (One reason I got the gig was that Hugh knew he could ring me up late2 in the day and get his 2,000 words [or whatever] within 48 hours or so just before going to press.)


Tears before...

... breakfast, this morning. I'm probably the last person on the Interweb to have viewed the "piano stairs" but (strange chap that I am) it made me howl with laughter. Find it here. (Thanks, Ian!)

Come on, Mrs Landingham, where's my brekkie? Man cannot live by half a grapefruit alone. What time (11:04) do you call this?

Open reel? Nowadays??

If anyone knows where to lay their hands on an open reel audio tape deck, preferably half-track, 7.5"/s, 7" spools, then I know a chap who's dying to hear from you as he's just discovered (in his Winchester loft) a radio show he made back in his York Uni days. (And I've similarly uncovered a spool demonstrating "dummy head stereo" that was sent to me by an audio engineer in the wake of an article I wrote about that technique. So I, too, would appreciate access to such a device. Though whether I can find again the box with it in is a deeper question.)

Free maps?

Some disagreement still evident here:

Brown's announcement comes after Ordnance Survey said, earlier this year, that moving to a free model would cost between £500m and £1bn over the next five years. But a separate study, by a team at Cambridge University, commissioned by the Treasury, found that making all OS data free would cost the government £12m and bring a net gain of £156m.

Allegra Stratton in The Guardian

Too early to reinstate the maps of our walking, I guess.

This made me smile, too. It's a proposed response to Baroness Buscombe (who she? chair of the PCC) and her wish to have bloggers regulated by (of all toothless tigers) her Press Complaints Commission:

While we are grateful for your interest in our activities we must regretfully decline your kind offer of future PCC regulation...
Should you succeed in raising the ethical standards and practices of the majority of the national press, particularly the tabloids, to our level then we may be inclined to reconsider our position.

Roy Greenslade, quoting from the draft of an Open Letter in The Guardian

This wry comment encapsulates what the (good?) Baroness would be up against.

Fortified by a...

... light lunch, I feel a trip (or two) to the tip looming in my very near future. It's 13:52 and still not raining.

Speaking of the future (or, more accurately, the recent past) don't miss the superb afternoon play — "The Loop" by Nick Perry. I love time travel twisting stories.

I first encountered "Ragnarok" in that wonderful story The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by the chap (Alan Garner) who was (then) my "local" author as we both lived in Alderley Edge. As the gathering clouds about half an hour ago seemed likely heralds of just such a storm, and as I was by then already too late for the local tip, I've just high-tailed it to the recycling collection bins in the Asda carpark. It's funny (in a way). I was last there chucking out bundles of magazines in one of the last trips Christa and I made in the little Toyota that Peter is now using. You'd think I would now have been throwing out stuff accumulated since then — not so; I'm still working through the backlog I was clearing out at the time.

It's 17:07 and the hatches are battened down, just in case. Roll on Ragnarok, and the next cuppa.

Furry fun

Although I admit my memory is usually pretty good, I recall very little of the film "Fur" (that was the DVD that showed up yesterday) featuring in the 1984 biography of Diane Arbus by Patricia Bosworth that I bought in August 1992!

DVD and Book



1  For the record, the Videosonic PD2 Dolby box is at the top right.
2  As time went on, these calls tended to come later and later, so I was quite glad to switch from writing text to writing software for his various magazine data systems. For many years, it was "my" software that produced the copy for the Buying Guide listings in "What Hi-Fi", for example.