The Settlers – Major To Minor (1967)

Love this – classic Brit girly pop sike by a band who were big mates of Cliff Richard. Floaty bass, Alpert brass, weird key tunes and glorious harmonies – this has got the lot. They also did The Lightning Tree which was the rather odd theme tune to kid’s TV programme Follyfoot. Lead singer Cindy Kent now presents gospel stuff on Christian radio station Premier and is a vicar of a church in Finchley.

When is Siri (the coolest iPhone app ever?) coming to the UK?

There is nothing that annoys hardcore iPhone users more than really cool apps that aren’t available in the UK. For example I would love to check out the AR browser Layar, but I can’t download it at the moment.

The one that annoys me most is Siri. This sounds like an amazing free app that basically acts as a voice-driven personal assistant. You ask it what’s the weather going to be like? and it delivers forecast for you.

There’s loads more cool things, read the review here… – but it is only available in the US.

I guess they have to work on voice translations for the UK which means it may never come here. Which would be a tragedy! So come on Siri – get it sorted

Bye bye BBC 6 Music and half of the BBC website – it was always going to happen

In case you haven’t seen it the BBC’s plans have been leaked to the Times this morning…

I am gutted about 6 Music. It is the only music station I listen to and will miss it like crazy, especially Maconie’s Freak Zone. It does seem odd that the beeb is keeping stations that have clear commerical rivals like Radio 1 and 2, but is ditching a station that is unique.

Ultimately though the BBC shouldn’t have launched 6 in the first place. It is a symbol of a corporation drunk on its power, finance and influence and run by people who know little about commerical realities of running media companies and who think that the UK media begins and ends in Shepherd’s Bush.

As for the website I think the BBC could have avoided having to make such swingeing cuts by being a little more accomodating of its rivals earlier on. It took an age for the BBC site to start linking to its rivals and even now it seems happy to poach stories from other websites and blogs without giving them any credit.

This country needs a strong independent public broadcaster, but it does need to focus on the things that are important like news radio and quality TV.

I feel very sorry for BBC employees who will lose their jobs, but if they want someone to blame they should look no further than Mark Thompson whose condescending and ill informed remarks about the rest of the media wound Murdoch and co up so much that it was inevitable they would insist on take their pound of flesh. It is probably better that they BBC does this now. After the election, especially if the Tories win, those cuts would have been much deeper. The Times argues that the restructuring needs to go much further and that by using 6 Music as a sacrificial lamb it might avoid further cuts.They still might.

The big pay off in the commnent piece in the paper is this…

The BBC ought to be a creative force for entrepreneurship. In reality it stifles innovation. It has planned to expand local news services when local papers are struggling to survive. It has taken business away from educational and magazine publishers. Its websites, which may seem like a handy and innocuous extension of its news-gathering, have destroyed jobs, livelihoods and creativity by dumping free content on to markets where its rivals have no public subsidy. Paying some staff at a premium to the commercial sector has raised costs across the industry.

The BBC is insulated from commercial concerns by a guaranteed £3.6 billion stipend in the form of the licence fee. It should not be using that to make life hard for commercial rivals.


Louis Eliot – 25th of the 12th

I finaly got my copy of Louis Eliot’s new album Kittow’s Moor today and haven’t stopped playing it all day. There’s a bit too much accordian for my taste, but even if it goes a bit celtic folk in places odd wind instruments still can’t disguise killer tunes.

I especially love this Christmas song – wish we could have Christmas again

Is the iPhone the ultimate ereader?


Yesterday I downloaded Kobo, the hot new ebook app which works on just about every mobile and every PC, to my iPhone. I then sat down on the bus grabbed a freebie copy of Gogol’s 19th century masterpiece Dead Souls and started reading.

To be honest I didn’t actually get past the introduction. My phone rang and when I got back to the book I had lost the will to live. Even after a few pages my eyes felt heavy and I got annoyed by constantly flicking the screen (admittedly you can scroll down website style if you prefer).

So while I love the fact that a huge selection of the greatest novels ever written are one click away (and free to boot), I know I’ll never get through more than a chapter of each one.

In some respects the iPhone should be the perfect ereader (and there are lots of companies who have ebook software for the device) but for me at least it just doesn’t work. The screen is too small, the battery life too short and it just isn’t comfortable enough.

Anyhow good luck to Kobo, there’s nothing wrong with their iPhone app and the library of free books is terrific. But I can’t imagine I’ll be using it very often.

Btw Anna has a longer look at if the iPhone will work as an ereader here

How Maradona can stop the next Falklands war

From Franz Ferdinand to leggings there has been a lot of 80s revivalism going on of late and quite frankly I have had more than enough of it. The first half of the decade did at least have a little colour, but from 1985 through to the arrival of the Stone Roses in 1989 the UK was a grey old place run by cold and uncaring goverment. It was a society ravaged by unemployment, terrible pessimism, AIDS and of worst of all Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

Rant over. However there’s one 80s revival that I absolutely don’t want to see and that’s a Falklands War.

And yet with us drilling for oil ( in the area it seems that the Argies (our great mates and most natural South American ally) are getting very upset and are calling for the ownership of the island to be placed right back on the political agenda.

Of course we are a long way from having to put together a new task force but this is one issue that really needs to be nipped in the bud.

Owning an fairly inhospitable rock or two in the South Atlantic seems faintly ludicrous now just because of what happenned 30 years ago.

However it is pretty clear that there is oil down there and it would be churlish to threw away any rights we have to that liquid gold.

I think then the way forward is clear

1 We cede The Falklands to Argentina on a 30 year land lease deal (bit like Hong Kong)
2 For that concession we get to drill as much oil as we want in the area for the next 30 years and as a gesture of good will we even cut the Argies in on a 50-50 sharel
3 And most importantly as we are giving them something they think is rightfully there’s they give us something that we feel is rightfully ours – the 1986 World Cup

For me number three is the line in the sand. They cheated us, we were the better team and we would have gone on to win the game and the trophy. So they give us the cup and The Malvinas can become Argentina’s very own Tenerife.

I would like to add a few other conditions to this
1 Maradonna admits God had nothing to do with that goal and apologises to all English people and the world of football in general in a worldwide TV broadcast
2 We send a task force of Kenny Sansom, John Barnes and Terry Fenwick to accept the trophy. This could be carried out in some symbolic place (South Georgia?)
3 Lionel Messi has to sign for Arsenal on a free transfer

I am sure this is a deal that Maradonna, with all his connections, can broker. So go for it Diego. Think of what a hero you’ll be to your people and imagine that personal redemption you’ll feel to finally come clean after all these years.

Excellent – new evidence suggests that one of my ancestors shagged Anne Boleyn


Loving this. there’s a new book out – deets here… which suggests that contrary to received wisdom that Anne Boleyn was a bit of a shagger.

The blog says

Most historians these days are sympathetic to Anne’s cause and believe that Anne Boleyn, Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris (that’s my relative), Sir William Brereton, Sir Francis Weston and Anne’s brother George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, were framed in a successful attempt to get rid of Anne and bring down the whole Boleyn faction.

Norris, along with four others joined Anne at the Tower of London, where they were beheaded not log after. Their bones are interned in the chapel there and I have been to say hello a few times.

Anyhow the theory runs that Anne was so desperate to get a male heir (and obv the fat evil old tyrant didn’t have form in that area) that she chose to shag Henry and others to increase her chances.

The best bit is this though

In his report of 1991, Bernard cites the French poem as evidence against Anne, along with Mark Smeaton’s confession, Anne’s flirtatious behaviour with Norris and Weston, and the talk of Norris being Elizabeth’s father.

So my ancestor was rumoured to be Elizabeth 1st dad – kind of makes sense – we have a lot of ginger in our family.

Zen – Hair (1968)

Forget Google Buzz! The most exciting thing to happen this evening is finding this gem on YT. It is a cover of the theme from the musical by a 60s Dutch band Zen complete with a really fast compelling beat and fuzz guitar. Marvellous. Their album isn’t bad either