Howdy folks. Apologies for missing an article last week. It was a very busy weekend and I just didn’t get the time, I’ll tell you about that in a minute. I was surprised to learn this week that some friends of mine actually read this blog. It’s odd because although I write this stuff and publish it, I never really expect anyone will bother to read it. It’s nice to find out they do. I’ve got almost 2 weeks worth of stuff to catch up on, so let’s get into it.
I’ll begin on Wednesday 18th of August. The day was mostly taken up with Drupal hacking and various bit’s of CSS. Whisper it quietly, but I finally feel like I’m starting to make some sense of CSS. I’m far from a master but I’m getting somewhere at last. I received a last minute call to appear as a co-host on FLOSS Weekly again just the night before. One of the hosts dropped out and Randal asked if I could fill in. Of course I was happy to. We interviewed Stephen Hemminger about Vyatta, a Linux-based network gateway. My first appearance on FLOSS a couple of months back went ok but was dogged by technical problems. I’m glad to say the delay was sorted this time and the HD camera sent to me by Fab was a big improvement. I used my studio kit and the audio sounded a lot clearer. People seemed to enjoy the show and it was released as a podcast a couple of days later.
I’ll skip forward a little bit to the weekend. On Saturday it was my cousin Anthony’s stag do in Liverpool. He’s getting married next month and we all went on a tour of the Cain’s Brewery in town. Cue the jokes about arranging a piss up in a brewery. The tour was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. We ended up in the Brewery Tap pub at then end, sampling the wares with our beer vouchers. This was pretty early Saturday afternoon and I’m not a big drinker so it was an early start for me. Despite that I kept up alright and we staying in the pub a few hours before heading to a restaurant in the Albert Dock. We then wandered back into town and hit a couple of places like the Slaughterhouse, before my uncle insisted on taking us all to The Cavern. He knows the manager and was desperate to show we could get in free with his connections. It was very nice of him and we did indeed all get in for free. They had a band on called The Cave Dwellers in the main bar. I’ve not heard of them before but they seemed fairly good and apparently they always invite members of the audience up to sing and play with them. I was asked many times if I would be getting up and my uncle put my name down, I asked if they could do Jumping Jack Flash, they couldn’t. What sort of pub band doesn’t know that song. A quick look through their catalogue showed they didn’t know many songs I know. I settled on Ziggy Stardust and didn’t think much more of it. Suddenly the MC called out my name and I was shuffled onto the stage in front of a fairly big crowd. This is all after about 12 hours drinking. I borrowed a guitar (managing not to break any strings) and struck up the opening riff. The song went well, though I’m not sure if I was singing in tune because you couldn’t hear a thing on stage. People clapped and congratulated me afterwards so they must have thought it was alright. After that we had to move quickly to catch our last train back home. I stumbled in sometime after midnight and watched TV for a while before bed.
The following morning I was supposed to be helping with the How Why DIY event in Liverpool. I was pretty late after my long Saturday. I loaded up the car with gear for the Rathole Radio live show and then drove over to town. Finding parking was a bit of a nightmare but I managed eventually. As I walked through the door with all my stuff I was informed I was running a session on streaming video, not a subject I’m really an expert on, and it started “10 minutes ago”. Nevertheless Andy Goodwin and I formed a great double act with no plan or rehearsal. The people attending the workshop certainly seemed to enjoy it and that’s the main thing. The rest of the day was spent helping out in various ways and moving my car around before I got parking fines. I also went up to Kimo’s a couple of times for food. It’s a really great Mediterranean place nearby. The event was all taking place in the old Rapid Paint shop on Renshaw Street, right in the heart of Liverpool. It’s quite an iconic DIY shop which recently moved to a new location, that’s why we wanted it for How Why DIY.
In the evening I set up in the shop and did a live Rathole Radio show in front of about 15 people. A small but appreciative audience. I took my electric guitar and played a few live songs for everyone but managed to break 2 strings in as many songs and that put paid to it really. I’ll have to sort out a heavier gauge of string or look at my playing action I think. It can’t be right that I break so many strings all the time. I became used to playing an acoustic guitar for years and I was able to bash out rhythms on it quite heavily. You can’t get away with that on an electric guitar, this is something I’ll have to work on. I think I’m single handedly adding points to Ernie Ball‘s share price at the moment, hehe. The show was great fun and people seemed to like being there to see it live. Hopefully it’s something I can do more of in the future.
That brings us up to this week, which started with more Drupal hacking as always. That continued as the week went on so I won’t bore you with all that again. We were scheduled to do Linux Outlaws as usual on Monday night but it was aborted at the last minute, Fab managed to douse his laptop in coffee. It seems even a Thinkpad can’t take that kind of abuse. The free time did allow me to watch the Liverpool V Man City game instead, but I wish I hadn’t. We were hammered by City and it didn’t look good. The show was recorded on Tuesday and released yesterday as episode 165 “Hairy Fridays”. It’ll be the last show for a couple of weeks as Fab is off to Italy on holiday. We’ll be back very soon but in the meantime please don’t panic, everything is fine 🙂
On Wednesday night there was more podcast action as I again joined Randal to co-host FLOSS Weekly. This time we were talking to Dan Scott about Evergreen library systems. I was still a little nervous with the large audience on FLOSS but I feel as though I’m finding my feet now. I’m never quite sure if it’s ok to cut in with a joke as I would on Linux Outlaws. The recording went well and hopefully it’ll continue to be a semi-regular gig. I’m enjoying it a lot and the exposure doesn’t do me any harm. The rest of the week was fairly quiet apart from the aforementioned Drupal stuff. We had a band practice on Thursday night and I was pleased to get back into the swing of things. We’ve finally decided on a name, get ready for it….
Twenty Pound Sounds. It’s a bit odd I know but it was the one we could all agreed on, and I think after messing around for a couple of months it’ll do us good to finally have a name. I’m thinking it should be pounds as in weight rather than currency. In keeping with my addiction to domain names I’ve registered 2 for the band already: 20pound.net and 20lb.net, unfortunately twentypound.net is taken. There’s not a lot to see there yet but we’ll have a proper site soon. I want to do it with Drupal and make something we can all contribute to, somewhere people can join up and get involved as well. We need a decent logo/design and I’m thinking the name should be written 20lb Sounds, if anyone has ideas on that let me know. I might have an acoustic gig for us in town soon and we certainly need to book more gigs. I think that’s how you really get good. Practising is great and it definitely helps, but regular gigs are how you really learn to play together. I saw Noddy Holder talking about this recently on a documentary, he said “once you’ve played in pubs on a Saturday night with people right in your face looking for a fight, how can any gig phase you after that? Stadiums or whatever”. He makes a good point, not that I think we’ll playing stadiums any time soon. The weekend has been spent doing various little things I can’t remember right now but I plan to chill out and enjoy a break today and tomorrow. It’s a public holiday here in England tomorrow, woo hoo!
There’ll be a break from Linux Outlaws for a couple of weeks as I said, so don’t turn up on Monday night expecting to see a show. I don’t have any more bookings for FLOSS Weekly yet but hopefully more will come. It’s Liverpool LUG on Wednesday night and I’m keen to get down there after missing the last one. I missed Chester LUG last week so apologies to everyone for that. At the weekend there is talk of another live Rathole Radio from the old Rapid shop, I’m yet to confirm it though. I hope we’ll be able to do an unplugged gig with the band as part of that. I’ll let you all know as soon as I find out for sure. No doubt other exciting things will crop up, so I’ll tell you about those next time. Till then, take care everyone.