Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why I pay for music

I like music. I like a lot of different types of music. If you could see my record collection your first thought might be that I am a music snob. I was once accused of that by an old girlfriend when she realised I didn't have any Supertramp records. I am not a music snob but I do have limits and that relationship didn't work out for some reason.

Do you remember Napster? I mean when it first came into existence and not what passes for Napster these days. I can remember searching it to find all sorts of obscure tracks that I did not have a hope in hell finding through other means at the time. Stuff like Robert Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End and all manner of obscure Dub, Reggae, Electro etc. There are many articles about how Napster revolutionised the music industry so I wont labour the point. Once Napster was closed down other P2P clients filled the gap: gnutella, kazaa, edonkey and soulseek to name a few (I am deliberately ignoring bit torrent for the time being as it is a different beast) Within a certain generation P2P became a very normal way of consuming music.

Reasons not to download music without paying for it

Strike 1

It was around 2000 / 2001 I think. I was organising a live music / club event in Newcastle and I was trying to book some talent. I went down to London to meet a few people and sort out dates and fees etc. I was really struck by what one person said. They were / are a very talented musician signed to one of the coolest record labels around then and now. The subject of soulseek came up. They had been logging in and watching how many times their tracks were being downloaded and were in a state of shock. I figured that even if they got a few pence for each downloaded track then they could have given up their less than glamourous day job to write even more and better music for us all to listen to. So when hit with this thought which is kind of hard to argue against I decided that downloading an artists track without paying them (unless they have either agreed to this fact or have been dead for long enough not to care (see open music archive)) was difficult moral territory (specially the good ones).

Strike 2

The Digital economy bill. A bill designed to safeguard the wealth of in my opinion 'Large content producers'. It is fine, they can stay rich if they want, that's the free world for you. I am not going to go into the detailed wrongs and rights of this bill. If you are so inclined you can do the research yourself. But you should make yourself aware of the dangerous amount of power it awards the secretary of state to redefine copyright laws and the penalties if you fail to follow these. Also there is a certain delicious irony in having Peter Madleson champion a three strike policy, I mean what strike is he on now?

So how are they going to manage this situation? How are they going to ensure we are not illegally downloading music? By monitoring EVERYTHING we do online silly. Deep packet inspection with supposed anonymisation protocols.... Phorm.... facebook's constantly changing privacy settings. Take your pick. How many of you out there would like to do something about this bill? how many people want their internet use constantly monitored (and slowed down) just in case you are downloading a God awful Lilly Allen track? Well the first thing you can do is stop downloading music you haven't paid for! As good old Bob Dylan put it "But to live outside the law, you must be honest". To fight such an abhorrent law that is in many ways a wolf in sheep's clothing (just in case you didn't realise, I doubt Peter Mandleson could give a damn if you don't pay for Lilly Allen tracks) Then you must first be squeaky clean. You must be on a morally higher ground than them (not hard in the case of our Mandy).

Strike 3

Music downloads are generally over priced. Also I don't care what you say mp3's sound bloody awful. If we the generation of cheeky downloaders got our spending power behind our obscure taste in music them maybe we could apply enough pressure on the moguls to provide higher standards at better prices. OK so strike 3 is a bit short and unnecessary in comparison to strike 2, but I like things to be in 3's (like Mandy)

That's my take on the current state of music, copyright and morality. My choices and opinions only.

Did I ever download a tune I shouldn't have? Of course not Officer....

Would I ever do it now? No.

Image of skull taken from wikimedia :

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Winter Bootstrap version 2

It seems it was almost the same time last year that I had to perform a bootstrapping on myself to get things moving in a positive direction.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Rip Van Winkle poking a 'twitter' with his stick

October was crazy.

There were too many all-nighters. Too much email, too many deadlines. It was all just too much.

The dude is off school today, he did a pretty convincing job of being ill this morning. Im not convinced anymore but it has given me a chance to quickly write something here.

Interesting things I did in October:

- Datarama 06

- Talk for New Directions - Other speakers included people from Channel 4 getting all over excited about social media, not sure what their names were but I'm pretty sure they ended with 'Van Winkle'.

- UK Gameboy Youth Orchestra - a workshop I ran, it was organised By Novak and Central Library. Teaching 8 x 14-18 yr olds how to write music on original nintendo gameboys, they then did a public performance of Terry Rileys 'In C' mp3 HERE.

- Animation Project - finally broke the back of an old project. Its all done and dusted, more on it when its all official (it's been submitted to some swanky awards).

Lots of other stuff to show, hopefully I'll get the chance. I also need to upload a dead umbrella and a WWC.

Image taken from

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I dont know about you but..

I need an 8o's face workout today

Monday, October 12, 2009

datarama 06

Friday was Datarama 06 it was a good one. We had a full house towards the end of the session and a good variety of projects.

Its the sort of event that relies upon the audience. If they give then its good. If they don't then we go home early. I am glad to say we didn't go home early.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New regular stream and podcast

We ( finally got round to doing a live stream. It was a simple one just to get the ball rolling. The archive of it can be found here. You can also subscribe to it as a podcast if you miss the live events. Hopefully it should be quite regular with different poly members taking charge of lots of different shows.

Oh yea, also on a totally different note I did go to the art shop yesterday. I bought some Ink sticks and grinding stones. I didn't buy any Chinese type brushes because they only had small ones and I want a one of those big muthers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Question to readers


This is going to be one of those awkward moments, similar to when an actor shatters your suspension of disbelief by suddenly looking at the camera lens and addresses you, the viewer.

A bit of a bar at the Folies-Bergere moment.

I am popping into town for some meetings tomorrow. I was going to treat myself to some new materials for my new drawing obsession. But I figured I would throw open a question on my little blog before I do. I was looking for something to shake up my drawing methods and put a bit of life back into what I am doing. Currently I am doing lots of pen and ink stuff, adding and subtracting with black and white inks until I am happy. So the question is what should I buy (bearing in mind I am skint) to shake it up a bit?

See, it wasn't that awkward.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Since my last post I have been to Belfast, London (ish) and Paris. Get me.

Belfast was to talk at Isea which I think I mentioned. That seemed to go well, the biscuits were nice (the crumb team had posh Jaffa cakes). Then I flew to Heathrow, met my family and drove to France. We went to Disneyland which is a post in itself, although strangely when ever I try and remember it I just keep hearing this tune (its a small world after all) after a marathon brainwashing session akin to any of the more psychedelic scenes in the prisoner.

One thing I can share from being in France is a few sketches I did from the back door when the kids were in bed. There was a wee bit of woodland behind the place we were staying and I figures it would be a good exercise to try and make something of it.

The larger image was the first I did. But to be honest, while it has areas I like it is a bit over worked and stale. So i kind of tried to loosen myself up with a few quick drawings

Personally, the last one that took 90 seconds is my favorite.

There you go anyway, no doubt they will end up being incorporated into something else. Maybe drawing is a good therapy for a recovering new media artist.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oven Gloves, I heart my new pens, chemical alarm.

How many blog posts start with things like 'life has been hectic but/so'. I am struggling not to begin another post in the same way. Tomorrow I'm off to ISEA which is conveniently located at Belfast this year. I will be running a session based around my current research. My brain has been in a foul mood with me recently and the only way I have been able to get any space / peace is to draw as it certainly doesn't want me to sleep. What started as a couple of doodles on the back of a cd cover with a biro and some tippex has rapidly (5 drawings later) turned into what are becoming more and more elaborate drawings (which I dont really have the time to do, but at 1 a.m. when my current insomnia is just kicking in I'm in no fit state to read about information theory).

I recently bought a set of pen nibs and some inks from dinkybox. They were a bargain and the people behind the site seem nice too. I never plug stuff you can buy on my blog (apart from Joy Division oven gloves), but this is a one off. pay them a visit.

Dance Dance Dance Dance (in me Joy Division Oven Gloves)

I Love

Saturday, August 22, 2009

youtube ninjas

This is my 2nd illustration attempt for a screen play.

May come back to this and add shadows, but wanted to get something up.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can't wait to see this


Tidied up a wee bit last night but will jettison future tidying to start a new one with better layout.

Back to the grindstone.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Sketching out an idea for an image for a screenplay someone sent me.

It is early days. This image needs simplifying and the foreground character of he Chav with the stolen mobility scooter needs to be brought out / become more obvious.

I don't think that I will go with this sketch but it got the ball rolling.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009


Fish comish stuff


Just a quick recap on the latest adventures of The Fishery Commission.

On 17th July we played at an event called Ghost Trace Stellar that I was part of through my dealings with The Polytechnic. You can hear the tune we played here > TUNE

Video here >

Then we played on 31st July at an event called Designing Life at The Shipley Art Gallery

July was a good month for The Fishery Commission.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Mandiberg Interview

Here is a link to an interview with Michael Mandiberg:


This was one of the many I did while in New York last year. It is a good one and we put it up on the CRUMB site.

If you stumble across this blog Michael, Please accept my humble appologies for how long this took to actually go live!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


On Tuesday I had the pleasure of participating in one of Eyebeams curatorial masterclasses on the question of What open source is and what it means for art. I was originally going to fly out there and participate in the flesh but it clashed with the dudes birthday and several other commitments. I did participate via skype which was fun. I wasn't sure how this would work, I asked should I just kind of carp from the sidelines and they seemed to think this would be fine. So that is what I did. Scott Burnham was the main speaker with Fred Beneson adding some excellent responses. I did record the audio for the full conversation, I just need to check with everyone before I put it out there.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Saturday, July 04, 2009


What sort of moth is this?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Balancing act

In an attempt to balance my chi here is a list of things I like:

1- Sowing seeds
2- Loud Bass heavy Dub
3- Wearing big stripey socks with my shorts, it makes me look like the village idiot
4- Days not looking at a screen
5- Colombian coffee beans (it has that certain bite and grinding the beans makes me feel like Kinky Friedman)
6- Beer
7- Salt
8- Drawing with office stationary
9- Asking for 'unlucky' dip lottery tickets at the newsagent, that way I avoid disappointment
10- Pretending to be a creepy old lady from a kefalonian car hire shop and asking my wife if she wanna 'sma ca?'...long story that one but its still good for fun.

Oh and a last minute addition:

11- The fact that they have found the genetic variations that make some of us more at risk of becoming bi-polar. I'm sure this is based upon very sound science much like all of modern psychiatry........... I also love the way it is being covered with rigorous accuracy by the media

OK so I may have been lying about 11 being something I like.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bile dump

I have to do this. I have to make a list of things that are bugging me so I can get on with my day in a happy go lucky way. Here is a list of random things that I don't like:

1- People who unlock business potential
2- Local Government
3- Corporate sponsorship in education (particularly when it leads to eye sore building modifications)
4- Licorice
5- The current trend for girls having comb over fringes, it makes them look like the village idiot
6- The Boy band Blue
7- Cooking (I have been doing more than my fare share recently)
8- Phone calls
9- Creepy shoes
10- Tim Berners-Lee

And breathe...

Monday, June 29, 2009


In a World Without C.O.B.O.L we will find out that Richard Dadd was right.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jah Tubbys

Jah tubbys came to Whitley Bay! I'm still in shock.

It was an amazing night. They played at the Trojan Rooms, It was organised by The Ital Guidance Soundsystem.

A group of old friends turned up at my house, we had a beer then wandered down to the venue. We walked past all the hen nighters dressed as nurses exposing their flesh to the north sea 'breeze'. A typical weekend in Whitley. However suddenly there we were at the Trojan Rooms. It was a genuine oasis. We had another drink while they were still setting up, some other friends wandered in and then suddenly they turned on the bass. It was like electricity flowing through the soles of my feet into my the tip of my head.

I cant wailt until its on again next month, 31st July Ital Guidance Soundsystem With Full Crew + Guest MC Dan Man Meets Kibir La Amlak Soundsystem (Bristol) With JT, Stamina Li, Rockaway and Reuben Jah Vibes All Night!

I have a gig that night but as soon as we finish playing I am getting in my car and heading home to this.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Fishery Commission

I had a rehearsal with andy last night. I wasn't going to as i had only had 2 hrs sleep the night before (more on that in another post). But I decided to power on.

It went well and there was definitely some magic. I have uploaded 2 of our tracks onto the 8bit collective site. You can grab them here:
and here:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Ink and white fine point.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We did it!

Some of you who I know personally or maybe if you have read this blog from the start will know that my son has had a rough start in life. He was prem and very sick, consequently he has cerebral palsy and is Deaf. That's just the way it is and it is all part of living life.

One of the things that has been going on for the last three and a half years has been a fight. A fight to get him into a school that can best support his needs. I could say more but I am still worried that anything I say may jeopardise our current position.

You see the thing is, we had appealed a tribunal decision that meant he had to go to a school that we felt couldn't meet his needs (again couching my language). Today was the day we were due to go back to tribunal and fight against that decision. However The Local Education Authority wrote last week to say that they were not going to argue that their school could support his needs anymore. So basically the fight is over and he gets to go to the right school. Success. You would not believe the amount of work that has gone on in the background to get to this point..

It has not sunk in. It is hard to wind down and accept that possibly the fight is over.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us through this. Cue the music

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I'm in Maastricht

And here is a quick vid to prove it!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I am flying over to Maastricht tomorrow (flight 6am , ouch). I am Deejaying in a club called cafe ipanema under my alternate guise 'CaptainBuck Rodgers'. Its being organised by a chap called Rod aka Omnipotus weatherwax who runs this thing called toothless HIFI.

Hopefully it will be fun!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

de-clutter, dub-reggae and de-socialising

My de-clutter effort is much harder than I originally thought it would be. No surprises there. Although something I have noticed is a possible mistake in my de-clutter method. I had figured that by getting rid of a lot of my 'stuff' I could free up space in my head. But it seems I have to make a bit of space in my head before I can start to figure out how to get rid of my stuff. So yesterday I took drastic action. I deleted my facebook account!!!! Although I shamelessly twittered that I had done it.

Other things coming up. I am deejaying at a club in Maastricht for Queensday. That should be a bit of fun and an excuse to travel.

Anyhow let me think what else is going on. Oh we have a rough date for my sons tribunal. week beginning 18 may. Also ptechnic has a datarama coming up on 22nd may with some surprises for people.

I took my kids to se the tiger who came to tea last week, it was adapted for stage and we loved it.

Hey ho there is probably stacks more but at least I stuck my foot in the blog door again.


New Zealand was a blast. I have some video I need to edit and I will post it here when I do but for the time being here is a slide show.

catching up

Sorry I have not been blogging. It just got so that the backlog of information was so dense that it became unwieldy. But I figure this is on my own terms so Im just going to throw a bunch of things in a few posts to try and get me up to the present moment (which is a bit like driving with only my rear view mirror for navigation)

Monday, February 02, 2009

different energy

When I was in NYC there was a mad energy to grasp every moment and make it count for something. There were so many people surviving on such a small patch of land I doubt it could be any other way.

Here in New Plymouth which can best be described to Brits as a sunny Aberdeen The energy is different. Its more laid back and as a result I have not been furiously blogging my every waking moment.

I have been taking picks which you can see here

The project I am working on with the poly is The Random information Exchange. The site is up but will not be steady until Friday. So far in real terms this has people learning how to breakdance (an amazing story I will share later) running an engine on tap water, learning to lay the piano and tight rope walkers. Sounds fun doesn't it. BUT I now have to find and transport an engine and a piano to th gallery ready for it opening on Friday. Oh I also have to ask the beastie boys if I can use one of their tracks in the gallery and make yorkshire puddings at 10am today. Actually the list of crazy activities stretches on and on.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Newcastle to New Zealand New Plymouth

Hong Kong Airport

The picture above is my only experience of Hong Kong. 4 Hours in the airport waiting for a connecting flight, trying not to fall asleep incase my bags got stolen but waking up every five minutes and realizing I had been dreaming about staying awake in case my bags got stolen.

I am currently in New Plymouth - New Zealand. Im working as a member of the Polytechnic on the 3rd iteration of the R.I.E. It is for a event called SCANZ. The flight was a killer. I left the house at 10 am uk time only to arrive here Sunday 16:30 NZ time (13 hrs ahead here).

The weather is amazing and the sunlight is so good that words fail me (see image below).

Yesterday we started the residency by taking part in a powhiri, its was amazing it added gravity and form to the work we will all be doing here over the coming weeks.

You can see me sitting on the fence (as usual) here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Radical plans for 2009 expanded

"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify."

Henry David Thoreau

I have half an hour to drink some tea and elaborate on my earlier post.

I have made a determination that by the end of this year I will be on a simplified path in life.

Don't get me wrong, I am hardly living a life of wild excess. But I do feel that the it is time to make some strong changes. This year I will be taking my first steps towards simplicity

I will be blogging here as I set out on this path so watch this space. I welcome tips, advice and links.

Next week I am flying out to New Zealand for 2 weeks (will explain more about that in another post) and then I will be in London for a week. I am hoping that Living out of a suitcase will help me focus on simplicity.

For the time being here are some links that reflect my current thinking on this subject

Monday, January 12, 2009

Radical Plans for 2009

I am really pressed for time right now. Which gives me the excuse to gloss over what I have / have not been doing over the festive period.

But when I get a moment I intend to write a bit about my plans for the forthcoming year. These plans include massively reducing my possessions. Follow the 5 precepts as closely as possible (yup I'm one of those Buddhist types). Limit my computer use to the bare minimum (ironic to be writing this in a blog huh). Plan for a much more organised future that requires the minimum of technology.

So watch this space