Archive for the 'Jaunts' Category

DJ Shadow; the “I’m sorry for the Outsider” tour

December 17th, 2006 by Ian

The Outsider…is what it should of been called. I’ve been a big fan of DJ Shadow for a while. It’s through his collaborations with people like Mos Def that I got  listening to a whole range of hip-hop and other electronic music. To me, Endtroducing is one of the most important albums ever. Shadow has released a hell of a lotta stuff (a great deal of which I’ve listened to) and he always kept it fresh and exciting; working with different MCs and experimenting with different styles. A musician can’t dwell on his first album but to much of his fanbase (who managed to close down his forum due to excessive angst) his new album, The Outsider, is disappointing. Sure; he did something different, but imho it was mediocre at best. Embracing the ‘Hyphy’ bay-area hip-hop sound meant that the complex, lush, alt-hip-hop soundscapes that fans loved Shadow for were replaced by… god knows, basically. It just sounded like any other bling-heavy hip-hop trash and I nearly didn’t bother getting tickets when I found he’d be performing near my new home in Sheffield.

I’m glad I did. Very glad. As were my two mates; Ed (who bullied me into buying tickets) and Ste. We got into the venue; the Sheffield Octagon, in time to catch the last couple of songs by the 1st support. Not worth mentioning here. The 2nd support however went by the name of Akala and from the start seemed determined to put us in a good mood…

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Not everyone’s settling in

November 8th, 2006 by Ian

So, it’s been a while. I just spent 3 weeks without a home PC; pretty tough for a geek. Brought my IBM laptop with me, but the undulations on the roads to Sheffield destroyed the HDD. Pah! I’ll get over it, it was 2nd-hand anyway.

So? What’s the haps? Well, I’m well into my new job. I’m learning new skills and actually feel like I’m helping to produce stuff of some importance, which is great. I’ve finally moved into a shared house with a couple of pretty decent folk, which is good; I feel settled now (hence a return to bloggin’!). I’ve already been into town to see a band whose name I can’t remember, but that probably says more about me than it does about them (far too much new stuff to take in right now). The city hasn’t been checked out properly so that’s something for this weekend (along with a rather fine looking record shop I’ve spotted nearby). It’ll be my first weekend since moving here that I don’t have anything major (i.e. moving, packing, visiting folk elsewhere, etc.) going on.

Boohoo Santorum familyIn the world (read: outside of Yorkshire) there have been some mid-term elections in the US. I’ve yet to take in the complexities of it all, but it seems like Bush & Co have received at least a mild bruising. Rumsfeld even resigned! (link to nerd-friendly explanation) Perhaps young Marines in body bags are starting to niggle at many in middle-America. I figure the US being the US, the real effect this’ll have on the planet won’t be as great as many would of liked, but at least we can console ourselves by laughing as ‘Comedy Racist’, Rick Santorum’s family breaks down in tears on CNN. Hell, I’m looking forward to 2008.

Across the Pennines I Go

October 13th, 2006 by Ian

A map of my route to SheffieldWell, it’s finally happened. I’ve got a job. No… more than that, I’ve got a job I actually want. I’ll be working for a small Sheffield company called Rocket Science. They make websites and I’ll now be responsible for helping them do this. What seems exciting about them is that they have the similar passion about creating the sort of standards-compliant, accessible sites that I do (please don’t go and attempt to validate my page now and see it failing, that’ll be terribly embarrassing). Of course, this all means that I have to once more relocate myself to the other side of the Pennines, back in Yorkshire. Last time I did this I ended up in Hull, but Sheffield isn’t quite that far. I’ve been to Sheffield a number of times (the best visit was when I saw Belle & Sebastian supported by an as yet unknown Franz Ferdinand) and it seems to be a pretty decent city. Still, I admit to being a bit intimidated by it all. I’ve moved away from home before, sure. But that was university! Everyone’s in the same boat there and lets face it, for many it is a 3 year drinking binge (myself included? maybe not). This is different. I’m trying to find a house/flat share and this is pretty hard work. I visited on Wednesday and saw a few places (one of which was worse than the worse house I saw whilst a student in Hull) and I’m visiting tomorrow to check some more possibilities out, one of which is temporary. Fingers crossed ‘eh? I want a place sorted soon, because I’d like to get working and make myself part of the company, I don’t like the situation I’m in now; seemingly strung between two towns and without very much to do.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be busy but not too busy to let you know how I’m getting on. Wish me luck!

Manchester hijinks

August 28th, 2006 by Ian

I’ve just returned from a terribly pleasant weekend in Manchester. It’s a city that’s tantalisingly close, yet is just far away enough from me to be inconvenient to visit. A pal of mine, Ste, is a resident and like me is a recent graduate from the University of Hull. He (or perhaps more accurately; his unbelievably accommodating parents) were kind enough to put me up all weekend (or should that be ‘put up with’?). Aside from visiting Ste, the reason for visits to Manchester usually revolve around one thing: seeing bands.

The mighty biro hand of Marmaduke JinksThe band in question this time were biro-artists extraordinaire, ‘Marmaduke Jinks‘. They were friends of Stes, but I’d heard very little of them. Still, they turned out to be one of the most delightful bands I’ve seen for quite a while. I always feel somewhat uncomfortable trying to describe bands by comparison and I know I really shouldn’t do it, but hard cheese. I’m going to; It was all rather Belle & Sebastian meets the Divine Comedy… oh, y’know what? I think I had someone else in mind but I’ve completely forgotten. Sod it. There we go, another clumsy comparison. Regardless, they were pretty damn competent musicians and their songs were genuinely funny. Well, I giggled anyway. I wouldn’t completely rule out some real success, they certainly deserve it (doubly so since we ended up at the bassists house, drinking his beer). Being a fiercely anti-Murdoch sort of chap, I’m not planning of making a habit of this, but here is a link to their MySpace page on which you can listen to some of their songs. Do so. Perhaps whilst sipping some red wine and nibbling on a bit of camembert. That’s a serving suggestion by the way.

The rest of the weekend involved meeting some of the lovely, friendly, but perhaps the slightest bit crazy, folk of Bury. I’ve been a bit nomadic recently (Gloucestershire, Derby, Nottingham), where next? I feel the mighty H calling again….