2013 — 18 January: Friday

On mornings such as this1 there's not much point in doing anything but lurching downstairs, making a cuppa, nibbling a couple of biscuits, then re-installing the latest level of Audacity because — obviously! — it's vital to get hold of that live John Fahey track before it evaporates back into the unplumbed depths of the BBC archive.

It's 05:30, and there's a light dusting of the horrid white solid phase of water stuff on the ground outside.

(Usual) exasperated sigh...

... as, for by no means the first time, I am driven to despair by the combination of my Creative PCI-e X-Fi sound card, the Win8 sound device drivers, their apparent defaults, and (doubtless due to my innate stupidity) the necessary settings within Audacity to persuade the BBC's perfectly fine, and perfectly audible, digital soundstream from their "Listen Again" presentation of last night's Gideon Coe programme to 'play nice' and end up as an MP3 on my hard drive. Is that really so much to ask for?

So, for by no means the first time, I am forced to use my ancient (but reliable, and highly intuitive) Sony minidisc technology to do that which my modern heap of PC junk seemingly finds impossible (at least with me at the steering wheel).

The lovely track is safely archived. It was from a 1987 session, and is vastly different from either the one on the Zabriskie Point soundtrack or the one I found on this John Fahey album that I downloaded a few hours ago.

John Fahey album

Annoyingly, the snow (which is currently [08:09] falling quite steadily) means it is quite likely that I shall have to postpone my lunch trip.

In fact, if I re-examine the photo I took a while ago and then compare it with today's...


... is it any wonder I get a curious sense of deja-vu all over again? Eastleigh airport has cancelled flights and, in the East Midlands (after an earth tremor of "2.9"), somebody reported it "lasted nearly 20 seconds and several DVDs fell off the shelf". It's the end of life as we know it, clearly.

Since there's usually...

... more than one way to remove the furry layer from a feline, and since I already have a licence for "Total Recorder", I updated and then re-installed that software, to see if I can sneak up on the same BBC audio stream2 (which looks to be some form of embedded Flash file) that way. So I ploughed through Total Recorder's setup wizard, set the stream playing once again, skipped through it to about the right point, and started the recording, or so I thought / hoped. Come playback time... nothing but total digital silence.

My chum tells me the BBC have quite sneakily taken steps to disable all the more obvious ways of capturing their stuff, despite my licence fee payment. This is now starting to piss me off.

Part of my...

... afternoon's entertainment (in addition, of course, to the Kermode and Mayo film review programme) has been watching a neighbour in a car much like mine (front-wheel drive, dinky family saloon, lightweight) make less than 20 metres total forward progress up past my house in 20 minutes or so, before wisely giving up and sliding gently back down to park outside the next house along. The snowfall is much less heavy now (14:58) but there's a couple of inches of the nasty stuff that has to disperse. I'm staying indoors.

Keeping track(s)

Mind you, staying indoors can be quite costly. As I mentioned, I lost my MP3 download virginity3 on 1st June 2010. I began regularly downloading MP3s (almost invariably from Amazon) rather more recently; not quite one full year ago, in fact. I figured it was friendlier on the environment than shipping lumps of polycarbonate (or whatever) around the planet in oil-based plastic cases. Besides, buying my music ready-ripped into MP3 format makes quite a lot of sense. But I admit I was a bit taken aback to realise I had clocked up a total of 138 separate items (an "item" generally being a complete album) since early February last year.

Not half as taken aback, however, as I was when on fossicking a little more deeply in Amazon's online history of my purchases I realised another 15 items had somehow slipped unaccounted-for into my collection under the radar. Yikes! The downloaded collection (2,224 tracks) runs from Abe Meyer's "Reefer madness" to ZZ Top's "Sharp dressed man" and would keep me going for a little over seven days and two hours.

But now, I think, it's time to watch some moving pixels.



1  Sleep having fled wherever the hell it is sleep annoyingly decides to flee when — for its own ineffable, inscrutable, whatever, reasons — the ghost that lives in the meat machine between the ears decides to reboot regardless of your own feelings on the matter.
2  I already now have the track I wanted on minidisc, and a chum has snaffled a raw bitstream copy of it for me too [using "Get_iPlayer"], but this is all grist to my autodidactic mill.
3  I assume everyone remembers their first, right? :-)