It Was A Good Read

While I will miss the disappearances, they are – of course, just blips in the workings of the web. What I find sad is that, in time, it is likely that all this content will disappear from servers as the owners stop paying for the space that houses the sites. It would be like burning every copy of a book you had read – vanished. It’s part of a shared history that disappears.

I always feel it’s a little sad when a blog dies – particularly when all trace of it is removed. If it’s a blog I have been reading for some time then it feels as if a part of my history disappears. It is one of the strange things about the online experience – it’s very easy for things to disappear; things that were once inspirational, useful or entertaining.

One of my earliest online inspirations was Jase Wells. Although I’d been trying out building web pages for the company I worked for, Jase was the inspiration for my first home page (sadly long gone from the servers on which it resided and a great example of what I am talking about). Jase is still alive and well but the focus of his site has changed and, while it’s updated much more often now, the coming out story that was such a useful resource has gone (although it’s still available via archive.org).

Another Jase, now Snoboardr of OutEverywhere, had some personal pages once that were also fairly important in my use of the web.

Then there are the blogs that disappear. Mike of Troubled Diva fame (who I was introduced to via the excellent 40in40) put the blog on indefinite hold at the beginning of December. 8Legs went the same way a few weeks later. And now Chris has packed up. I don’t know Chris nor have I ever mailed or commented his site but I read it almost religiously. Why? Well, he has a talent for writing to the extent that almost everything he wrote was compelling. It was his writing style which was an inspiration because, by the time I discovered his site, I had been writing this blog for a while.

At least Daniel’s said it’s unlikely that he will give up completely.

While I will miss the disappearances, they are – of course, just blips in the workings of the web. What I find sad is that, in time, it is likely that all this content will disappear from servers as the owners stop paying for the space that houses the sites. It would be like burning every copy of a book you had read – vanished. It’s part of a shared history that disappears.

Diary writers perform an unintentional function as social historians. If you go all the way back to Pepys or think more recently of somebody like Kenneth Williams, their diaries are read today and give us an insight into what the world was like. If Mike or Chris has written their blogs as paper-based diaries there may very well have been something for historians to use in the future. If they don’t keep some kind of record of what they wrote in an accessible form then it will be lost to the future and people trying to understand life in the 21st Century will be poorer.

So, to those who wrote content I enjoyed reading, a plea. Archive your content for future generations. Regardless of how you do it, keep it.

Oh, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed them all.

Happy Thanksgiving

In some parts of the world, today is a holiday.

I’ve worked for American companies for a few years and never really grasped what the thanksgiving holiday was all about (apart from some very obvious things). This year I actually started to look it up:

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated between the Pilgrims and the Indians in 1621. That first feast was a three day affair. Life for the early settlers was difficult. The fall harvest was time for celebration. It was also a time of prayer, thanking God for a good crop. The Pilgrims and the Indians created a huge feast including a wide variety of animals and fowl, as well as fruits and vegetables from the fall harvest. This early celebration was the start of today’s holiday celebration. Like then, we celebrate with a huge feast. [Source: holidayinsights.com]

I would like to wish anybody passing by a very happy holiday.

Of course there is always an alternative view.

Movable Type Pro, Soon?

Luckily, I don’t get any spam on the pages that I have allowed comments on this site.

Luckily, I don’t get any spam on the pages that I have allowed comments on this site although Six Log has a nice piece on them. However, buried in that piece is the line, “Movable Type Pro (which we’ll be talking about in more detail very soon)”. Now I am excited indeed. A little sad, huh?

The Quiet American

Michael Caine is excellent in The Quiet American.

The Quiet AmericanThanks to the joy of dvdsontap, I have just watched Michael Caine in The Quiet American, the adaption of Graham Greene’s novel about an American spy, Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser).

Pyle is a US agent who is backing an anti-communist force in Vietnam and befriends British journalist Thomas Fowler (Caine) before ending up part of a love triange with local Vietnamese girl, Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen).

Caine was superb as the Siagon-based reporter – an understated performance that steals the show. The movie is well produced and the atmosphere of the Far-East brilliantly portrayed. I would never have gone to the movies to see this but I am so glad that I added it to the DVD list.

CD or not to CD?

Just bought another CD.

I’ve just been out and bought Erasure’s Hits collection. Now, I own all the original albums so I am not entirely sure why I went and bought it. Still, I now own the CD so it can sit on the shelf alongside all the others and I will pride myself that my Erasure album collection is complete.

Phil Gyford posted an interesting question about CDs and what would happen if they were all stolen. I have ripped a good number of my CDs but I would miss the originals if I didn’t have them. There appears more value in holding an original CD case with the lyrics, photographs and the notes. I would have to try and replace a good number of them because I would miss them. A little like software, it’s good to have all the originals just in case something happens.

Writer’s Block?

I just can’t seem to get it together to write the things I want to write. Is it writer’s block?

I really wanted to write something about motivation but I am not able to motivate myself to think about what’s buzzing around in my head. To be honest, I am beginning to think that my ability to compose sentences and string together words is leaving me. It’s not that I have any difficulty thinking about the things I would like to write here but I have difficulty actually writing it. My head is full of random thoughts but I am not managing to get them into anything coherent. Failing in this way is actually proving to be quite depressing to be honest.

I wanted to write about a post over at Strange Little Boy which talks about using a wireless connection in a public place – but I can’t get to the point of that one.

I also wanted to write about the development of online technologies and my personal frustrations seeing a lot of the technologies I am interested in being developed outside of the UK. Again, I am suffering some kind of block.

So, I am off to meet a friend for pizza this evening. This will allow me to clear my mind with friend-pizza-eating-trivia and, also, to avoid the television which, after last night’s Dawson’s marathon, will be no bad thing for my brain. Perhaps I shall welcome tomorrow with a clearer mind.

Today On The Creek

Four episodes of Dawson’s Creek. I may need a doctor.

Kerr Smith in Dawson's CreekI just watched four Dawson’s Creek episodes in a row. Have I, somehow, wasted an evening? Well, anyway, it included episode 611 where Jack and David eventually kiss (review). The annual gay kiss was somewhat lacking in any emotion. Still you do get to look at Kerr Smith!

Another Year, Another Autumn

It’s my favourite of seasons again. Autumn!

As the British tend to do, we will look back on this past summer with joy. We’ll talk about it like we did that of 1976 – a long, hot, lazy, crazy summer. I was more likely to be playing in a paddling pool than worrying about shortages of the plastic pools back then but I do remember the heat and picking the fruit from my father’s fruit bushes while sitting in the back garden. Sadly, the topless lads playing football on the green behind my house has given way to to the Sunday morning rugby matches. This is a sign of the on-coming winter as the fields turn from their burnt golden grass to a dark-brown mud bath. Still, autumn comes first and it’s my favourite of seasons. I think it’s time I got the camera out to start recording some of it.

Disappointing Frustrating

Why is it that it’s always the small stuff in life that is the most infuriating?

Why is it that it’s always the small stuff in life that is the most infuriating?

This morning I thought I would give the MSN Music Club the once over. You’re supposed to be able to download music legally and all that kind of thing. Well, today they did manage to take my credit card details (I signed up for the minimum service) but that’s about all they’ve done. I haven’t actually managed to get a track out of it. It seems to be a permanent error (but perhaps not as big an error as me handing them my credit card details). Obviously, I was also silly to try to access it later in the day with the Mozilla browser.

How disappointing.

This afternoon I rushed home from work to meet the plumber who was coming to fix a new kitchen tap to replace the one that’s been dripping for a year (I know it’s a water-crime but I do have a life to lead). Anyway, he arrived (after I had hauled my ass and walked up the escalators on the tube to make sure I got the right train home) only to leave ten minutes later saying he couldn’t fit the new tap and somebody else would have to come out next week and show him how to fix it.

How frustrating.

On the up-side my Oyster card that allows me to travel on the tube hasn’t yet been erased by my mobile ‘phone despite the fact I keep sticking them in the same pocket.

Beep Beep To Profit

There’s a market of over 70 million pounds for ringtones – a figure I find astonishing.

Sometimes, I live in a world of hope and today is no exception.

BBC News reports that sales of mobile ‘phone ringtones are set to overtake sales of CD singles. Ringtones are worth an astonishing £70million, if the article is to be believed, and are highly profitable for the record industry. I wonder if they will now start to realise that there is money in the digital delivery of music and it’s about time that they embraced it fully? I do hope so. Sadly, I can’t contribute their new revenue source as I find those high-pitched beeps trying to sound like a song all too irritating. I accept that’s an age thing. I wonder when – for I’m sure it will happen – we’ll see the first ringtone only hit?

Seven Inches of Joy

Four Minute Warning is in the shops today. But what was the first single you bought?

And lo it came to pass that after years and years of waiting, Mark Owen’s new single Four Minute Warning was released this morning. And, I like it. In fact, I like it so much I went and bought the single – which at £1.99 seems to me to be the right price for a single. While I was stood in Tower Records handing over my two pound coins, it struck me that it has been a very, very long time since I bought a single at all and I can’t even remember what it was.

I can, however, remember the first single I bought. I was around eight years old (back in 1978 which just shows what an old duffer I am) and I desperately wanted a copy of the theme tune to Southern Television’s Famous Five TV series. I had saved all my money (I don’t remember how much it was) and raced around the shops of Wigan for it. Eventually, I found it and must have played it 1000 times that night. I can still remember the magic and joy of that moment.

I wonder if an mp3 of that exists? I still have the vinyl but nothing to play it on!

Another Russian Birthday

Another year has passed and it’s my Dad’s birthday again. Last year he was somewhere in Russia – actually he’s in Astana which I know isn’t Russia – and I was asking if anybody knew Happy Birthday in Russian.

Well, this, apparently, is it (although clearly it could say anything):

Apparently this text says Happy Birthday in Russian

So, for next year I just need the sound file. How do you actually say that?

Pride 2003

For the first time in many, many year, the Pride festival took place in Hyde Park and I was there.

Well despite the weather and the somewhat officious woman searching my bag on entry, this year’s Pride in the Park in Hyde Park was fabulous – the best I have been to (probably ever – although my first Pride on Clapham Common was pretty cool too).

After breakfast at a friend’s house, PY and I headed down to Embankment for the parade. This is the first time I’ve ever marched with the crowd and it was brilliant – the only downside of actually taking part is that you do not get to see it all. In a bid to overcome this, we ran ahead and watched part of the parade (including the fabulous OutEverywhere bus) and then joined in at some point (for a great deal of the time we marched near a float that Josh from a previous Big Brother was prancing about on). The atmosphere was superb and the crowds watching were huge. Coming up to Piccadilly Circus was just a mass of people – it was quite exciting really.

Then we made the park. We made our way to the main stage and seeing Liberty X (who were surprisingly good), Ulta Nate (who sang a whole stack of songs that I was familiar with) and Blue (who were also very good). Later in the day we caught Tom Robinson and Jimmy Sommerville (this after standing on the sidelines singing along to Bananarama – but as nobody has a picture of that I will deny it at a later date).

At some point in the afternoon – just after it started to rain – we had a wander around the market stalls (which seemed more varied than other times) and had a poke in some of the dance tents (although it’s not really my thing). By late afternoon, the rain was pouring but spirits were not dampened (and. luckily, for most of the afternoon the ground in Hyde Park held up).

It was an exhausting day but it was worth it and it was great to be with a bunch of other homos just having a good time. There will be some pictures in the gallery, eventually.

UPDATE: Other sites:

Elsewhere: Blitzed! The Autobiography of Steve Strange

In some respects it’s a fascinating tale of fame and hedonism. If, however, you’ve read biographies of other Eighties pop stars then you’ve heard a lot of it before. The story seems to have been repeated: humble beginnings drive creativity which lead to fame and then there is a some-kind of fa

I’ve just finished Blitzed! The autobiography of Steve Strange and posted my review to Amazon:

Steve Strange was an icon of the Eighties music scene, a visionary and a leader. I suspect he’s often over-looked but his contribution was vital. His clubs kick-started a movement and the band he fronted, Visage, were pioneers of – what became – the New Romantics: make-up, big hair, big hats and even bigger shirt lapels and cuffs. From the beginning of the decade, and out of the punk movement, came the classic Fade To Gray. Visage and Steve Strange were combining fashion and music in a radical new way.

Blitzed has an informal style which makes it quite readable. Strange name-drops his way through a decade and apologises quite a lot for his behaviour. It’s a cautionary tale of a rise to fame, money mis-management and drug addiction. It’s the story of London squats and club-land rivalry and of a community who knew they were changing nightclubs, the fashion scene and music – and doing it all in a few short years. It is a struggle to stop a man falling over the edge and trying to make sense of a life where once his name was in lights but the money is long gone.

In some respects it’s a fascinating tale of fame and hedonism. If, however, you’ve read biographies of other Eighties pop stars then you’ve heard a lot of it before. The story seems to have been repeated: humble beginnings drive creativity which lead to fame and then there is a some-kind of fall (usually, drink or drug induced). Blitzed is an enjoyable read but Boy George will give you more and Marc Almond will take you further. If you knew the club scene of the time there’s a insight into the door policies of the new breed of Eighties clubs and how they worked. If you are looking for the story of Visage then, obviously, it’s covered here and this will be a valuable reference – but it’s more about the man than the band.

If you remember the decade then you’ll read this book regardless but, sadly, I felt there could have been a little more. Nonetheless, Blitzed reinforces Steve Strange’s rightful place as a leader of a movement who’s certainly not about to fade away.

Piccadilly Circus, March 2003

I acquired a new mobile ‘phone earlier in the week and it has a tiny camera in it which I used to take a picture of Piccadilly Circus at night

Piccadilly Circus At Night
From A Mobile Phone

I acquired a new mobile ‘phone earlier in the week. I didn’t actually choose the model because I was sent it. It’s bigger and heavier than my previous mobile and it doesn’t have a radio – which I really liked when I was walking to work. It does, however, have a calendar function which I am finding quite useful and it does have one of those built-in cameras that people rave about.

It’s not the greatest camera in the world but it is quite cool having a camera that you carry with you all the time. For no real reason, on Tuesday night I decided that I wanted to take a shot of Piccadilly Circus (I work just round the corner). I have just pulled the image off the ‘phone. It’s not a great photo (in fact it’s a pretty poor one) but I am really quite happy with it. There is something about the colour and the light that suggest the real buzz you get from walking across Piccadilly Circus at night. Now, let’s see how many more photos I post.

Obviously, I am not the only person in the world to have a camera in a ‘phone, I am not the only person to get excited about it and I am not the only one to blog it. Guess there’s very little unique about me!