Wednesday, 28 September 2011

More amazing music - Hildur Gudnadottir

Once in a while it is important to inject some randomness into the way I select new music. I have forgotten to download my last three month's entitlement from and only went on today because I had received an email from Amazon suggesting I buy the new Snakefarm cd (and which I downloaded instead).

My random search today settled on the category of "modern classical". A few cds of Arvo Part and Phillip Glass of course, but also some from Touch records with rather nice minimalist covers. Among these were two downloads by Hildur Gudnadottir, the full cd "Without Sinking" and the one track ep, "Iridescence". I was vaguely aware of her name via Mum and Pan Sonic, but was totally unprepared for the wonders of these two recording. Droning cello, weird electronic noises, the occasional other instrument in the background. As far as I am concerned, this is just about perfect. The louder you play these tracks, the more detail you can here. Extraordinary

I have listened to the 11 mins and 20s of "Iridescence" maybe a dozen times today.

As near to musical perfection as it can be - Hildur Gudnadottir

Monday, 26 September 2011

Some facts about language

My current "dipping in" reading is An Encyclopedic Dictionary of language and Languages from which comes the following:

Amorite - A Semitic language spoken in the area of modern Northern Syria from c.2000 to c.1500 BC. Little is known about it because the evidence for its existence comes only from lists of proper names.

Boustrophedon - Writing in which the lines runs in alternate directions; the name derives from Greek and means "ox-turning"

Cocktail party effect - The process of selective listening

Ding-dong theory - One of the speculative theories about the origin of language; it argues that speech arose because people reacted to the stimuli of the world around them and spontaneously produced sounds which in some way reflected the environment.

Epicene - A noun which can refer to either sex without changing its form, e.g. teacher, doctor

Franglais - A language variety which is a non-standard mixture of French and English, and recognised by both the French and the English.

And so on - the best toilet reading since I read a book consisting of diary entries from famous diarists which covered exactly a year.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Hawkwind - Christmas shows and a clip from Oxford

An advert in a music magazine has appeared for the annual Christmas shows of Hawkwind. They are not playing Oxford this year, but there is a Saturday night show at the O2 in Shepherd's Bush (the old Empire) which still has tickets available. I have marked this in Wife's diary without specifying what the eventy is, so hopefully that will be a nice surprise. And no doubt we could do something with Daughter earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, a clip has appeared on youtube from the show we saw last year in Oxford - my favourite track - Prometheus - with the two sexy dancers in their "Hindu goddess" outfits.

The mystery of the chronic toothache

On Friday there is an small sense of pain in one of my back teeth. On Saturday morning it is clearly there. On Saturday evening, a bite down on a piece of steak produces an involuntary yelp. The pain increases for the next few days.

None the less, I am slightly suspicious of it all. For one thing, I think it seems to move about slightly. When I mentioned it to Jerome, he thought it could just be a virus and have nothing to do with the tooth at all. So I set off to Tescos pre-dawn for a bottle of some sort of hi-intensity mouthwash and a supply of various headache tablets which I plan to mix and match. I will go to the dentist at the end of two days of this.

True I do then have a couple of poor night's sleep where I end up reading lots of Antony Beevor's Berlin in the middle of the night. But on the third morning, the pain has entirely gone. So perhap Jerome's theory was correct.

It has been a long time since I have felt pain as bad as this

Friday, 9 September 2011

Blonde Redhead at Route de Rock, St Malo

A flurry of live recordings of Blonde Redhead have appeared on one of the music download sites I frequent, one of which is a superb video of their show at the Route de Rock festival in St Malo in Brittany. But as has happened before recently with recordings of Boris and Current 93, I am disappointed to discover that they have just played a UK show that I didn't know about.

But putting that aside, the video is superb. Kazo Machino has definitely adopting a far sexier look in the last couple of years!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Inbetweeners

The surprise hit of the summer has been the film version the The Inbetweeners. I had watched a couple of episodes of this when it was on tv but in the light of the media coverage about the movie, we have been working our way through the 3 series. Both Linda and I went to mixed schools and, as with just about everyone who watches this show, we both remember many very similar events to those in the show.

But a slight disagreement between us as to the best episode - Linda likes the geography field trip to the coast, I most like the charity fashion shoot.

And, like many people, I am a big fan of Will's mum. When I was about 18, there was one of my friend's mothers who was definitely viewed in the same light as Will's mum. Late one afternoon, I once went round to his house to drop off some fishing tackle I had borrowed, only to find that he was out and that his mother was there alone and seemed to have been drinking for some while. She offered me a beer, which I rather foolishly accepted and then she proceeded to discuss how, since she split up from her husband a year or two earlier, she had not had a decent f***. I made my excuses and got out of their pretty quick. But I have occasionally wondered if that was the right decision!

Will's mum in The Inbetweeners

And two rather more risque pictures of "everyone's favourite MILF"

Monday, 5 September 2011

The vast data-bash continues

Eventually the data bash will cover about four month's worth of data, but so far we have finished about half of it. A day for one market takes about 20 minutes to do and involves about 15 detailed calculations. I reckon I can manage about 5 hours a day of this, so process 20 market days per day, so for the three markets, I cover about 7 days per day. At this rate, the completed data-bash will take another week or two. It must be said that this is a very intense way to spend one's working day.

In addition, I need to keep Jerome up to date with my progress and also teach him the new stuff. Today he tried to process his first two days on his own and it took him most of the day. But he does think that he might be getting the correct numbers out. It is a holiday in the US next Monday and our goal is to be perfect at these calculations for the re-start of trading on Tuesday.

I am just about worn out from this process, but the results are so good. I have said to Jerome that this might be the last system upgrade and that our focus whould switch to the processing of trades only - in other worlds, no more of Jerome's "data-mined" queries for me to address.