Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New online blog

As you may know, I've been blogging for quite some time. Things on this blog may have wound down however its far from the end.

You may follow me on twitter. www.twitter.com/frompaul

Or visit my associated blog: http://morefrompaul.wordpress.com/

I do hope you will continue to nip in for a nosey from time to time and thanks, as always for visiting.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Maple Leaf Rag for Beginners

Just how hard can it be? Scott Joplin's iconic ditty is etched into the minds of classical music buffs the world over but what exactly does it take to be able to play it?

It's this basic question that prompted me (who cannot play the piano) to embark on a musical experiment extraviganza. Just how much time and effort would it take for a 'non-pianist' to polish this merry little tune. And so begins a journey which will end, hopefully in me being a whole £100 pounds richer as my wife seems fairly adamant that I can hardly scale the back door step let alone this musical masterpiece. Little does she know I have a very precise plan of attack: As follows.

1. Obtain the music. (already done thanks to pianopublicdomain.com)

2. Obtain some kind of suitable instrument (I'm working on this: Serious offers greatly appreciated on pthurst@gmail.com)

3. Find out what 'key' its in (its got four little 'b's on the music... pthurst@gmail.com once again for answers from all you 'muso's') Once I know the key, I will begin practicing the 'scale' unless I don't have a piano, in which case I'll practice in the apple store on their's...

4. Locate a patient, kind-hearted piano teacher who voluntarily will surrender their time teaching a complete beginner a piece of music that's on the 'Trinity Syllabus' at grade 8... Whatever that means.

5. Ply said individual with alcohol and anything else within reason until they agree to oversee this wonderful feat of human achievement.

6. Practice every day.

7. Weekly reassess my progress.

8. After I can play half, take a month out to ponder my achievement thus far (and prepare myself for the really difficult bit).

9. Attain note perfect recital abilities.

10. Perform in public. Become world famous and possibly audition for a TV talent competition where my unique abilities can be appropriately demonstrated.

And so, I begin the task. I've given myself six months to do all this which by my reckoning will allow me to learn 180 notes if I learn one a day. That means that even where you press more than one button at once, I should still be able to learn it... Eventually...

Updates to follow!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

B of the Bin?

It looks like the beleaguered B of the Bang sculpture which is the largest piece of artwork in the UK is set to be taken down.

Originally constructed to mark Manchester's holding of the Commonwealth Games in 2002, the artwork began to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when the integrity of some of the 180 spikes began to fail.

Currently cordoned off, the local council have settled out of court for around £1.7m which covers the original sculpture cost of £1.4m plus the extra costs incurred keeping the surrounding area safe.

Some local residents wont be sad to see it go although I think that when any work of public art is removed from built up cities, there is always a tinge of sadness. I'd love to see the council recommission something in its place.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Free GPS on Android...

The 'amaze' GPS platform has been offering free (ad based) GPS solutions for mobiles since they began to incorporate the GPS chips in the handsets.

The software has proved to be very useful on more than one occasion, and as its free, new users aren't limited to a trial period or the usual 'crippleware' which removes key features until money changes hands.

This kind of free software should be the 'norm' for google's new opensource handset but time alone will tell. In fact on this occasion, lots of other users from handsets like Nokia's N96 can also share the love and download for free as well (no joy for iphone users though!).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 1992: BBC Ghostwatch

Some of the older readers to this blog from the UK will have very vivid memories of a particular BBC television programme broadcast at 9.25pm on October 31st 1992.

Ghostwatch was billed as a live investigation into poltergeist activity in a suburban street in Southern England. In reality it was a prerecorded drama featuring TV presenters previously associated with factual programming. The plot was simple, the programme would start normal enough but would build to a terrifying conclusion. Of course by that time, everyone knew it was indeed drama but not before some people in true Orson Welles style, had run for the hills.

So many people complained to the BBC that the recording was banned, never to be repeated and the producers guidelines now advise against newsreaders, factual presenters taking direct, long roles in TV drama's. The content which started tame enough became edgy with mystery ghost sightings and some clever editing for its day. Personally speaking, it was the best evenings entertainment that I remember from childhood, it scared the whits out of me until the plot obviously gave itself away.

As Halloween 2008 draws to a close, I thought I'd trawl the internet for a bit more info about Ghostwatch and struck gold. You can now watch the show again via youtube and in fact, contribute your own GW memories for a new documentary that is being made. Simply head over to the special GWbtc Youtube page or visit the official blog to find out more information.

As I mentioned, never could such a show be made again on the BBC, they even advertised a call centre number on screen as part of the drama. At one point, over 20,000 callers were trying to get through to speak with the programmes presenter Michael Parkinson.

For anyone out there who remembers the poltergeist/ghost called 'pipes', heres a clip with all the 8 sightings from the show, enjoy!