29th February

Oh my word – when I started a diary/blog I forgot it was a leap year and there’s be an extra day to keep it up! Still it’s all important to bring the celestial alignment back to it’s correct place and it’s nice for my employer to get an extra days work from me f.o.c. It’s funny how all the employment battles that have been fought over the decades and no one has ever picked up on that one!!

Here is the video from last Friday at the BBC – I can’t help but notice a rather prominent role for the back of my head during Peter Donohoe’s performance – makes mental note to wear hat next time he’s on the radio!! Also a bit of a cheeky cut and paste job of the audience shots, the shot of the audience clapping after Martin Carthy is identical to the audience shot at the end!

I got an e-mail today asking me if I’d write something for a website about mobile phone photography. He said he thought my work was great and asked if I could write about my techniques. I would but I don’t think “take phone out pf pocket, open app, point and shoot” was quite what he had in mind!

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Here we come, walkin’
Down the street.

We get the funniest looks from
Every one we meet.

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around.
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down.

28th February

I’m feeling really pissed off with the HR department of the local authority in regard to employing a new head teacher for the school. We had a meeting to shortlist candidates for interview yesterday and although none of the candidates were acceptable I felt that HR then told us what we should have done. Why they couldn’t have told us this information before we spent £2,500 on adverts I don’t know! The HR person who came to the meeting was a senior consultant and we outlined our complaints to her. She also said she’d draft some letters to the candidates for us.

When the letters arrived today, frankly I could have written them better! They didn’t, in my opinion, give enough details about why we were asking the candidates to apply again. Even worse there were grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in them. Then of course there was the offhand way our concerns were dismissed – suggesting that maybe we were just kicking off about nothing. I’m sooooooo annoyed at the moment – we’re getting a shitty service and it seems to go right through the organisation. But then why do the job you’re paid to do when you can get the mugs on the Governing Body to do it all for you…….for nothing!

27th February

Monday’s come round all too quickly, don’t you think?

Another picture from yesterday – there’s a Deli near the Fish and chip shop that always attracts my eye!

Someday’s I think people are just trying to confuse me! I’ve gone to make myself a cup of coffee and found a different kettle there to the one that was there earlier. However there’s that short moment when I think to myself “That IS a different kettle to the one that was there when i made my last cup of coffee isn’t it, it’s not just that I didn’t notice last time…..” Anyway turns out it is a new kettle and a rapid boil one at that. Obviously it’s been noted by the powers that be how long we spend waiting for the kettle to boil and this is aimed at increasing productivity! 😉

Payment for weekend working              £175
Tax Deducted                                        £ 56
Balance                                                 £119

Percentage deduction 32%

I worked 12 hours that day so I arrived on site at 1pm and it was 5pm before I started earning any money!

26th February

Today is Grandad day – we’re doing something to remember my dad, one year on. He always used to take us for Fish and Chips at the seaside when we went to visit so we’re off to Whitstable to throw stones in the water and have FIsh and Chips for lunch!

25th February

It’s exactly one year ago tonight since my dad died. I’m not one for marking these sort of anniversaries except to note that it’s one year. Getting all maudlin won’t change the fact that he’s dead so why do it? Sadly there are others who won’t feel the same and I suppose I’d better call!

Now here’s a weird thing – a few weeks ago I went to do some editing and found a problem with my Formac studio input/output device. The input bit was working ok but the only output was a purple screen. I tried everything I could think of bit couldn’t get it to work – tried removing other devices, changing settings, wiggling cables……everything. In the end I decided that I’d just have to put up with it. Then today I opened Final cut and it just started working again, as I said weird!

And while I’m on the subject of Final Cut – it’s been a good week as I’ve made a couple of advances in my knowledge. Specifically working with multiple clips which I’ve been using to edit the footage from last weekend. I don’t normally get to use more than two camera shots for the corporate stuff so it’s exciting to use up to 5 so far (and 7 to come as shown above). I’ve also finally sorted out the issues that I’ve had in the past replacing the audio from the camera with that recorded on a pc. I’ve had problems with the audio going in and out of sync but have now worked out that it’s because the audio from the PC was recorded at 44.1Khz whereas the video audio is recorded at 48 Khz (or in some cases 32Khz) I found out that was the issue but the solution wasn’t as straightforward as I might have thought. Still it allowed me to get two more videos from last years festival sorted!

And finally a complaint to Ticketweb…..When I bought my ticket for the Dark Star Orchestra did a little box pop up saying “Warning this is Mother’s Day do you want to continue” – no it didn’t did it!!!!!

24th February

I bought tickets for 2 gigs today – the Dark Star Orchestra at the Garage in Islington next month and Comus at the Borderline in April. I’d gone to buy tickets for DSO on several occasions but always got annoyed about the cost of the fees that were added. They add £2.50 on top of the ticket price and then charge an additional £1.65 to post the things to you! You can’t even avoid the latter charge by collecting the tickets at the venue because they charge you £1.65 for that as well – IN FACT they even charge you £1.65 for e-mailing them for you to print out yourself – how does that work?

In the end I found that if I bought both sets of tickets together I only got charged one lot of £1.65 so I did that and spent the last of my birthday money! I had thought about buying a little behringer mixer from ebay but they kept going for too much so I gave up! So two gigs to look forward to plus the one this afternoon at the BBC!

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So I’ve arrived at Broadcasting House and I’m glad to see I’m not the oldest, youngest or scruffiest member of the audience! I’m also pleased to see that Martin Carthy is scheduled to play Sir Patrick Spens – I’ve always loved the Fairport version from Farewell Farewell. What is really weird is that I was talking about the shipping forecast on the way here and the Seamus Heaney poem is one of the readings! Odd that it got a mention on the radio the other day too!

I don’t think I actually knew Martin was going to be on when I applied for the tickets and it wouldn’t have made any difference as I’d had tickets for the In Tune Christmas Special two years ago but hadn’t been able to get there because of work – it was a nice bonus though. We were ushered into the hall just after 4pm and as luck would have it I ended up in the middle of the fourth row. The studio was lit like a TV set so it felt like watching a big TV screen. I sat while we waited and looked at the microphones on the stage and tried to work out which were going to be used for each act – such an equipment anorak!!

I think my highlight was the Aurora Orchestra performing Metamorphosen by Strauss. This took up a huge chunk of the hour long section of the show between the 5pm news and the news an hour later. Sitting just a few feet away from them it was wonderful to watch the interplay between the musicians and the expressions on their faces as well as the little glances between them. The best bit was a brief silence about half way through where it looked a though they were shaking the last remnants from the previous notes from their instruments and you could almost see the sound falling towards the floor.

One of the surprises to me was Noah Stewart, an up and coming tenor about to make his Covent Garden debut. I’ve never been fond of Opera, in fact when I get asked about what music I like I usually say “anything but Opera”, I certainly never seen an Opera singer in action at such close quarters. I was struck firstly by the power of his voice – his microphone was four to five feet away! I loved the concentration on his face and you could tell he was singing using his whole body. I almost (only almost) had an epiphany about Opera on the spot.

You can see the playlist from the show on the Radio 3 website and the pictures above are from the Radio 3 Facebook page. Parts of the show were videoed and I believe the video will be on the website too at some point. The problem with In Tune is that it clashes with PM on Radio 4 – I might have to try and even them up and make sure I give In Tune a fairer crack of the listening whip!

After all it’s always good to be reminded how a shitty place this world would be without music.

23rd February

Spent today banging my head against the HR department wall of Medway council.

Also editing a video for Cofunds – nice when an old client comes back!

And listening to some editions of the Radio 3 program Late Junction via iplayer

Tonight I’m going to try and give blood again now that I can prove that I don’t have a brain tumour!!

After my last attempt to give blood I vowed I’d never go again but I really knew it wouldn’t last. Anyway Bex was going to give blood for the first time and Sarah wanted me to keep an eye on her due to the family trait of “going a bit wobbly! at things like that. Sarah for example probably wouldn’t get past the pin prick of the finger before hitting the deck. So I was told to keep an eye on her!

It may be only a smear to you but it’s life and death to some poor wretch

I do get annoyed with the Blood people, they rally haven’t moved with the times – the equipment might be updated every now and again (like today when they were struggling with some new rocking device for the blood) but the attitudes are still firmly rooted in the 1950’s. It’s also annoying to see signs outside saying new donors welcome and then to be discouraged from giving because I didn’t have an appointment and would have to wait!

But I did wait – but unfortunately bex did have an appointment so she went first (albeit 45 minutes after the appointment time). It was also unfortunate that they put her on a bed right down the other end of the room where I couldn’t see her, the view also being obscured by a trolley as well. However everything seemed to be going ok and I had just sent a text to her mum to that effect when I looked up and saw the nurse fanning her and noticed that she had her feet up!

Oh dear she’d gone as white a sheet. Apparently she’d told the nurse she felt faint and I think they caught her in time. So she was left to recover on the bed until she felt well enough to get up. At which point I’d finally reached the front of the queue and ended up on the bed she’d just vacated. Afterwards I had my coffee, crisps and bourbons!

I did notice though that they have changed the awards now and instead of getting the tie pin or broach you now seem to get a pen instead. I’ve only got 6 more to go before my gold award so that’s something to look forward to. Hopefully Bex will go again and see how she gets on next time – we’ve got appointments booked for June so watch this space!

I don’t mind giving a reasonable amount, but a pint? That’s very nearly an armful!