Bread Blog #1

January 10, 2009

Question: what is better than getting a bread machine for Christmas?

Answer: getting a bread machine for Christmas and having a lovely girlfriend who will make you bagels while you spend your Saturday morning in a band practise (thanks Louisa)

So, just so we can see what Ali K missed… hit more for some fresh bagel action.

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I am an idiot (and don’t back up my data properly)

January 7, 2009

Doh. While carrying around the draft for my latest paper on a USB stick was great (as I was working on it at uni and at home), why on earth did I not back it up properly? The stick now wants me to format it, and all the data has vanished.


Take home message:

(1) Ali, please say you’ve backed up your phd. At least twice. As you’ve had enough set backs!

(2) I will back up the AlKandAlC recordings today. It will be a pain as my cd burner doesn’t work properly. Maybe it’s time to buy an extranal HD for such stuff.

On the plus side, going back to an old version has made it easier to get started, as I kind of know what needs changed, I haven’t lost much, and it’s far easier to read when I’m writing at the same time. Otherwise, I probably would of just skim read the whole thing a few times and not noticed any of the parts that need changed. And none of the graphs and matlab scipts have gone. So, I was lucky and it’s probably made me more productive.


The Pussycats get a gig at the Cabaret Voltaire

January 7, 2009

Here’s a turn up for the books, it’s only the first week (working) week of Januray, and the band are off to a flying start. This is due mainly to Niki for deciding to try and make a go of things, something Ali K and I have failed to do for, what, 3, 4 years now (for some reason we seem content on playing 4,5 gigs at the Ark a year, an annual gig at the Jazz Bar, along with half recording a few songs every couple of months!).

So thanks for setting up the Myspace Niki, and thanks to Ralph for allowing (and mixing) the live shows to be recorded on my mp3 player – the live recordings have a lot more, well, earthly quality to them? If that’s not getting a bit pretensious. Lets just say they are better and leave it like that.

Anyway, as the post title suggested, the Pussycats will be playing at the Cabaret Voltaire (and here) at the end of the month.

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Yesterday I went to the Zoo and took loads of Photos!

January 4, 2009

We were planning on going on New Year’s Day, but didn’t make it for one reason or another, but we ended spending the 3rd day of 2009 at Edinburgh Zoo! And it worked out really well, the weather was fantastic (for early January in Edinburgh!). And Hogmanay was great too. Quiet, but really nice. And we got a great view of the fireworks from our living room window. Anyway, I hope everybody else had a good new year.

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Here’s what I listened to last year

January 1, 2009

Well, that’s 2008 done with. Bring on 2009, the year I (might) finish my PhD, the year Louisa does her finals and an exciting new chapter in our lives starts. So, as last year becomes a distant memory, here’s some pointless lists. 🙂

Best Gig – (probably) Pentangle, through in Glasgow. Had a  great trip through with Ali, a nice pizza, and I got to watch Danny Thompson play bass again.

Honourable Mentionthe Big Chill 2008

Best Gig that I played – that’s an easy one, the last Jazz Bar gig with Ali. Probably the best that I’ve played, and the best we’ve played together as a duo. Plus playing in the jazz bar is always a pleasure, and we’ve got a really good set just now (well, we *did* have a good set. Unfortunately, in classic AlKandAlC style, we seem to have forgotten how to play our songs!)

Best Album – err, I can’t really pick one. So here’s a short list of some that I liked:

  • James McMurtry – Just Us Kids: a collection of really good songs played really well
  • Portishead – Third: perfect, although not an easy listen.
  • Matthew Herbert Big Band – There’s Me and There’s You: only got this on Christmas, and only had time to listen to it once. But, I saw the band performing the album at the big chill, and I know it will easily make my list 🙂
  • E.S.T. – Leucocyte: I’ve blogged about how much I love this album elsewhere 🙂
  • Lizzy Parks – Raise the Roof: brilliant female jazz vocalist, produced by Nostalgia 77.

Honourable Mention – The Als and the Pussycats – Demo EP: ok, well, not really. But it was a good learning experience. For example, I now know that having a good producer is not enough. You really want somebody who’ll give is some senses of, well, for want of a better word, a sense of “sound.” The EP recording in Banana Row just kind of sounds like a demo EP. I guess it’s our fault for (a) trying to record too many tracks and (b) not making clear/discussing what sort of sound we wanted before hand. But, I have to say, the live tracks from the Ark the other night are way better.

Best Non-musical things of the year

  1. Moving into a lovely new flat with Louisa just in time for Christmas
  2. Getting good feedback from the reviewers for my 2nd journal paper. Hopefully I’ll get the revised version submitted by the end of the month. As this paper represents the core of my PhD, it’s a lot more important than …
  3. … my first publication (Clarke et al. 2008).
  4. Getting a bread machine for Chrismas.

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