Adventures of Frangipan

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Strung Out

Photos from their gig in Moho Live, Manchester on 30th March 2010.

My first Strung Out gig and it was awesome! I was right at the front which was fab, but I didn't want to lose my spot so didn't mosh too much. Still got a case of mosher's neck though!

Really hope they're doing some festivals over here this summer.

(Strung Out myspace page)

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Saturday, 27 March 2010

What would make me happier right now?

  • A tidy house
  • Finishing my university application
  • Doing more Welsh work
  • A decent financial situation
  • Feeling better connected to my friends
  • Sorting out my approachability
  • And the situation I'm not talking about resolved
I feel like I'm heading for a meltdown and no-one can help me because I'm too ashamed to admit the main problem to anyone. I'm sure if I felt like the other things on the list were dealt with, then I would feel somewhat better. But it won't deal with the big one. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. Just have to consider how much damage it's causing to my mental health and whether it's worth it.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Chuck Ragan and Frank Turner

Awesome gig! I had so much fun with a great group of friends, and seeing fantastic performances from these gorgeous men!

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Monday, 15 March 2010

Hate to Love Wales

Supportnig Wales has been difficult this Six Nations. Not because we've lost almost all the matches, but because the players don't seem to care.

There are 15 guys on the pitch at any one time and only about 3 of them look like they're trying. This is a fitter and stronger side than there has been for a long time, and yet they amble around the pitch while the oppositions run. So many mistakes creep in - and really careless errors - so are they just not that intelligent?

I say there are 15 guys on the pitch at any one time, but discipline has been so appalling that often this isn't the case. This isn't peculiar to Wales - it's a problem for all teams in the tournament and one that needs to be sorted.

But back to Wales. Andy Powell isn't a legend for getting caught drink driving a golf buggy down the M4. He's a stupid boy. He had it all, and because of that, he lost it all.

Playing for and representing your country is a privilege. It's not a chore. It's not something that should be expected. You have to deserve it. You have to earn it.

I worry for the future of Welsh rugby if this is a sign of things to come. Rising stars who seem to think they're owed something because they have some talent? You still have to work for it. This isn't football, but it feels like it's going that way. Shame. The gentleman's game will be no more.

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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Famous, Rich & Jobless

In the first part of this BBC1 programme, 4 rich and famous volunteers went undercover as jobseekers in unemployment hotspots around the UK. In the second part they went to stay with people who were long term unemployed.

It was enlightening to see how some people have to live, and how they get caught in a vicious cycle and can't find a way out, or anyone to help them out. It's disturbing to see how poor the help is for these people: the hostile environment in job centres, and people generally unwilling to offer a helping hand.

Meg Matthews helped an ex con get into an employment agency and it was touching to see how much he appreciated it. Just the act of spending some time with him, caring for his wellbeing, and trying to help him stand on his own two feet.

I know there are people who work the system and that's what they want to do. But there are also people out there who's self respect and feeling of self worth is so low that they're stuck in a rut, and don't know where to turn for help. And the services to help them are just crap. Which is crazy because if they can be helped into employment there are so many benefits to be reaped: the earn a living; they earn respect and dignity and independence; they can become active members of a community and give back; the strain on state money is reduced; they become tax payers, and on and on.

"We're meant for something more than living just to put food on our plates"
Rise Against - The First Drop

Unfortunately many people aren't even managing that much.

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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Is it just talk? Are they really that deluded about what they can offer? Am I that convincing? Maybe I should just be blunt. It might hurt but it also might solve a few problems.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Save BBC 6 Music

My response to the BBC for the proposed axing of the fastest-growing, digital-only radio station. See their own news article here and blog post here. Excerpts from their articles are in blue, my comments are in pink.

As a result of the changes Mr Thompson said he expected the plans would see an extra £600m ($893m) diverted into programme-making.

Can we expect more tripe like BBC3 seems to specialise in? Or more ‘reality TV shows’, because I’m not sure we’ve quite reached saturation point with that.

BBC broadcaster and journalist Charlie Brooker said: "I was going to buy a digital radio next week. If they get rid of BBC 6 Music I might as well not bother."

6 Music is the only reason I bought a DAB radio. It is the only station I listen to on the DAB or online (except for Rhod Gilbert on Radio Wales).

Music producer and musician Mark Ronson told BBC Radio 5 live that he was "definitely joining the petition" to keep 6 Music on air. He added: "It would be a bad thing if it closed down. It's great old music, its great new bands. People on that station love music."

6 Music is the only station about the music. I’m always disappointed when the news has items about Cheryl Cole or Michael Jackson, because I wonder how many people who listen to the station would actually care.

Mr Thompson has denied that the proposals have anything to do with the forthcoming election. "The proposed changes we are announcing today are not a piece of politics. It is also not a blueprint of a small BBC or a BBC that is in retreat from digital," he said.

He added: "It is exactly because the media is changing so fast that we must articulate our public service mission and our values more clearly and consistently than ever before. There can be no turning back on our digital journey.

The public service mission and values of the BBC appears to be “if you don’t want mainstream drivel, then we won’t cater for you anymore. Find somewhere else. But please still pay your licence fee so we can provide mind-numbing programmes for those people who well on their way to turning into zombies.”

As I understand it 6 Music fills a gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2, mixing old with new across a wide musical spectrum from indie to jazz and most stops in-between.

The only discernible gap between Radio 1 and 2 is the age of the presenters and audience. I have the bad luck of listening to Radio 2 in the office and often feel I’m listening to Radio 1: Lady Gaga? Beyonce? People I would expect to hear on Radio 1, not on a station aimed at a 50+ audience!

6 Music is in a league of its own, not just within the BBC, but in terms of all radio. They play old music not often heard, and have helped me build up a back catalogue. They play new music from bands that wouldn’t get a look in anywhere else. 6 Music is the radio station John Peel would’ve set up!

So why would they chop 6 Music now, when in the ears of many, it has just started to find its mojo? It might be because it serves an affluent audience profile which the corporation feels it already caters for, and by having 6 Music is not leaving room for the commercial sector to play a part.

The corporation does not already cater to 6 Music’s audience: clearly, otherwise why would we have shifted? The audience they should be concerned about is those who have stopped listening to radio altogether because no station catered to them. If anything it is the commercial sector which fills the gap between Radio 1 and 2: they have no interest in playing more alternative music.

I listen to 6 Music when I wake up, a CD in the car, Radio 2 all day in work, and 6 Music when I get home. In the hours in work, I probably hear the same songs 3-4 times each, peppered with a few ‘classics’. I probably hear about 3 songs I like. At home, I’ll hear the same songs maybe twice (because there is some playlist at 6 Music), and a vast amount of other music, some of which I know and some of which I don’t. The diversity of the music and the knowledge, personality and taste of the presenters (who are often musicians themselves) is what makes 6 Music special.

If the BBC has any desire to keep variety and culture on the menu of its strategy, it must keep and get behind 6 Music. I doubt that 6 Music listeners will go back to another station. I imagine they are more likely to do what I will: listen to CDs/MP3s, MySpace, LastFM, Spotify, and other outlets for new music. It won’t be as easy to find new music, and I’ll miss the banter, but at least I’ll have some chance of finding music I like.

Mediocrity is not the spice of life. Don’t sell out to the mass-produced music. Don’t turn us into zombies. Don’t kill culture and independence and creativity.

I will have no reason to listen to or watch the BBC if 6 Music goes. And as I barely watch any TV anyway, I could probably get rid of it and not pay a licence fee either.

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