Sunday, December 30, 2007

podcast 168. The pant wettingly funny balti challenge

Download the MP3 of the show (podcastpaul) 168 here

Adam and Paul , Sue and Louise explore the best balti houses of South Birmingham.

Ordering as a french bloke, bloke with a lisp, camp bloke and Welsh chap the four balti houses are pitted against each other.

Lager thrown in, this is destined to be another podcast classic... no, really, honestly.

Actually, it is really very, very funny - especially the phone ordering.... go on, you know you want to...

Thursday, December 27, 2007


It's 9am and I really don't want to get out of bed.

How weird is it that your bodyclock adjusts so quickly when you're away from work? I'd have been sat at my desk for nearly two hours by now if it were a workday.

I think I'll get up, shower, eat and then have a lazy day on the sofa. I may even go back to sleep. Great plan!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

making things a bit more interactive....

I'm looking at ways to make the podcast show more interactive. I'm actually thinking about adding some software so that you can join in live, give listener comments, talk in real time as I record and adding a listeners phone in line.

I'm looking around at software and plug-ins at the moment. If you've any suggestions, please let me know, particularly with regard to the phone line. All comments are very welcome - or feel free to email me:

Would anyone be interested in joining a live show as I record? You would all be very welcome...

Thoughts from bed

Don't worry, it's not a rude post. I'm just browsing the web from bed..

First off: I hope you all had a wonderful time yesterday. Christmas is, I think, a time mostly reserved for kids. I'm sure I enjoy Christmas by proxy as I love to see my kids faces light up when they open their presents. Christmas is, sadly also a time when divorce lawyers see a rise in business. Families sadly argue at Christmas - they're flung together for a week or more hurtling up and down the country seeing folks they'd rather not at a time when finances are stretched. Apparently 7th January is the most popular date when the decision to divorce is made, clients deciding to 'get Christmas over and done with first'. I love being here with Sue and the kids and not at all looking forward to going back.

I'm determined to have a great time with the kids and to make the most of this break.

As I'm browsing the web on my Touch, listening to podcasts via my sound asleep' pillow I reflected for a moment as to whether I was becoming a geek. I think the answer has to be no. I'm still a bloke that likes gadgets. I don't get obsessional about operating platforms and still don't understand much of what my contemporaries talk about. In IT terms, I have learning difficuties. Put another way, I enjoy the art of what I see and hear, I just can't get excited about why it works. It's similar to enjoying driving, but not caring less about the inner workings of the combustion engine. I just about get Twitter. I hear about Joost, Joomlah and Seesmic, but I can't seem to muster up any enthusiasm to check them out. I feel I have enough to keep me occupied, and that's the answer I think as to why podcasting has remained static. If I'm not a geek, Joe Public is positively a disinterested Luddite. I'm sure podcasting is simply seen as video taped radio. So what? Those wishing to promote podcasts need to see behind the science fiction and concentrate on the promoting the content of 'indie radio'.

I'm back off to browse now. A geek with IT learning difficulties? Good label...

Monday, December 24, 2007

I love this time of year. The office door closes at 12.30pm and doesn't open again until early January of the New Year.

I aim to spend as much time as possible with my family. They're a great bunch and I'm looking forward to spending time with them all.

Have a lovely peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year.

God bless


Saturday, December 22, 2007

podcast167 - happy christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year to you all

Download the MP3 from this link here
podcastpaul podcast 167
Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year
Porter Block - Happy Ending ; New York
The Evesham Hotel - blimey...
Paul Rose - Modern World
The Ipod touch - I'm hooked..
40th birthday bash in Bromsgrove...
Hollow Horse & Paul Rose - Sometimes things get worse before they can get better
Benjamin - Joy To the World
What was 2007 like for you? Make 2008 even better - New Years resolutions?
Ayla Brown - Know you better

Thursday, December 20, 2007

More updates


I've found how to update this blog on my iPod touch. That means more updates...and probably from bed..... Shudder...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An honest review of the Ipod touch.

In a few words: it's great, even better than I imagined, but with a few more features and tweaks it could be devastatingly good and blow the market apart. So why isn't it as good as it could and should be? Let me rephrase that - it's wonderful, but it's not the counsel of perfection, and I think the decision not to make it so was deliberate.

It's not an Iphone, and I'm glad it's not. The Iphone is a tremendous and without doubt even better piece of kit, but having Apple gouge me for an extra (minimum) £35.00 / $70.00 a month, no thanks. I can't be bothered to google around to see what Apple's share of the O2 contract is, but I can guess it's a right old wedge.

Apple seem to me to have compromised the Touch to such an extent that many will shrug their shoulders and pay the extra monthly contract fees for 18 months and grab the Iphone. Having a work provided phone, that makes absolutely no sense to me, and knowing that the phone is locked to a provider makes me positively not want to purchase the phone. I hate being told what I have to do and if I am, I end to walk away. This is a real shame, as the Iphone features are amazing. That's why you have to shake your head when you look at the limited features of the Touch - even as good as it is without them.

The memory capacity isn't great - I've 16gb, and I need to be conservative with what I'm storing. My old 5th gen Ipod has 60gb. Why 16gb? That's just mean. 16gb these days is ok, but it's not great and it's certainly not big enough.

The exceptional photo viewer on the Touch is something to behold. Being able to tilt the Touch through 90 degrees and watch the picture angle change still makes me smile. Expanding the picture on screen by touch is another very cool feature. Why then hasn't the Touch got a built in camera? That's another daft obvious missing feature. I take my Touch everywhere, so why should I take pictures on my phone / camera and spend tie mucking about transferring them?

The player is great, and the ability to shift through the album art is again a great cool feature. So why no external volume button? It's on screen, sure, but that's just fiddly, especially if you're out an about or at the gym.

The browser is fabulous, but misses a march by not having a widget feature. An inabiity to download on screen to memory (unless I've missed something), or miss such obvious features as flash is also a bit of a pain.

Not being able to email is also a bit of a pain, but I've circled that square by using the webmail service.

The calendar is a real delight to - and a recent 'bug fix' to now allow you to on-screen add an event quite user friendly. Many thought the 'pre-bug fix' was yet another obvious omission to push you to buy the phone

The one sad aspect is still Itunes - yes it's a great money spinner for Apple and yes, it's superficially easy to use, but how unuser friendly can a service be like that in this day and age? The answer is easy - as unfriendly as it wants to be, as you've no real alternative choice. I abhor being tied to one pc and have suffered hugely by having my home pc hard drive crash. Thank goodness I've got my old Ipod and have been able to use Yamipod to transfer my stuff, I'd be stuffed otherwise. I purchased the music in the first place, so why should I have to muck about transferring the stuff out? Conventional cheap Mp3 players drag and drop - and I wish Itunes would follow suit. Yes, I know ou can drag and drop - but it ain't easy.

The Touch is, for all its missing features at such a high cost (£270 / $550) still something to marvel at, I love mine and it's a fantastic asset - add some more memory, sort out the flash / widgets and add a camera and it'll be an even better seller. I'm impulsive I wanted one and got one. If I were you, I'd wait just a little while and wait for the extra... er... bug fixes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Evesham Hotel

I had a wonderful weekend staying over at the Evesham Hotel in Evesham, Worcestershire with Sue. This beautiful old place started life in 1540, playing host to John Wesley, he of the Methodists, a few hundred years later. John Jenkinson and his staff run the place now and I'm sure John Wesley would turn in his grave.

The hotel was like nothing else I'd ever experienced. In my job, I get to travel a little and stay at some pretty nice hotels once in a while. But they're so.... corporate. You usually get a trouserpress, a TV a large bed and a bath / shower with an over priced mini bar.

At the Evesham Hotel, voted for having the best loos in Britain (!) You get a huge shovel full of eccentricity. Basil Fawlty has nothing on this place, though the owner bears some incredible similarities. The whole place is British eccentricity at its best.

I felt I was on the set of an Ealing cinema film circa 1958. If you have kids, they will absolutely love this place. Themed Alice in Wonderland bedrooms and excellent free wifi fit in alongside the telephone box (?!) that sits by the side of a lovely pool. Board games, sofas and ...stuff.... just seems be crammed into every conceivable place. The whole place seemed to have been designed by Enid Blyton, Billy Bunter and a host of public schoolboys after lashings of ginger beer and marmalade sandwiches.

The rooms are beautifully set with the most comfortable beds and well maintained two acred gardens. The whole hotel is crammed with memorabilia, mostly teddy bear themed, though you can see a magnificent array of whisky locked away in a cupboard next to a lifesized dennis the menace figure and a skeleton propped on an armchair. Your key ring is fastened to a conventionally sized teddy bear and the owner; John Jenkinson is a wonderful, eccentric lunatic.

Sue and I didn't realise that we were in for a Christmas Party for the hotel residents. In the dining room, lots of older folks were about and we sat down to enjoy a quiet evening.

At the table, we had a load of small coloured balls, party hats, long balloons with an inflater and funny glasses. Everyone started to let off the balloons around the place, and the elderly guests started throwing the coloured balls. Eh?! The frivoloty went on into the evening. It was a perfect way to spend a 40th birthday. If you're not British, and you want to see England at its most beautiful and eccentric, you absolutely must put this place ono your list as something to do before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

After pudding, cheese and biscuits and coffee we were later treated to John walking in to the dining room dressed as a fairy with a megaphone for some Christmas carols that everyone had to join in with. The food was fabulous, the wine and cider I ordered absolutely beautiful and the whole weekend just a brilliant, wonderful experience. Lunch every Sunday is a fabulous buffet at just £10 a head - Sue and I will definitely be returning.

If ever you're looking to go somewhere really special - even just to visit the nationally famed toilets then visit the Evesham Hotel - you will not be disappointed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A short post

Hello folks - just a quick note to say hello, I'm at a hotel in the cotswolds with Sue, celebrating my 40th birthday today.

Sue bought me an Itouch - what an incredible piece of kit! I just can't work out how (or if) to download Flash so that I can make the unit more functionable. If anyone knows, please let me know!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kicking the class system.

I have just seen this article on the BBC TV News, what a wonderful, inspiring tale.

Sammy Gitau, living on a rubbish tip in Nairobi, found a Manchester University prospectus. Today, Sammy graduated with an MSc, a long far cry from his drug dealing days in Kenya following the murder of his father.

By chance, I heard a Radio 4 article this morning that suggested bright children from working class families generally fail to increase their standing, yet less intelligent public schooled children advance. The article can be read here

I grew up in a rough council estate area of South Birmingham. The school I attended was little more than a toilet bowl for the passing of kids to borstal. Teachers were disinterested and largely contemptuous of the kids they taught. One of my teachers didn't even turn up for 9 months of lessons just prior to taking my O levels. I recall distinctly having to speak to the Headteacher about the fact that we were sitting, week after week, without a teacher whiling away the two hour period. He was clueless.

I remember too, with less than fond memories the following discussion with our careers teacher

Teacher: So what do you want to do when you leave school?
me: I'm really interested in law
Teacher: (mock laughter) Well, pupils from this school don't go into law, but I can give you a leaflet about the car factory; Rover. (shoves a pamphlet about the factory my way)
me: (shoving the leaflet back) Really? Well I'm not, I want to go into law
Teacher: (shoving leaflet back) Well, call the number on the back of the form. You could work your way into management.....

It's odd to recall the low expectation that the teachers had. I distinctly remember my old maths teacher; Mrs Bradburn telling me I would only ever "scrape by". She was a vile woman with breath that smelt of cheap coffee and plaque with a tangle of frizzy unkempt hair. She would often get angry when the bristles on her legs would pierce her 40 denier american tan tights.

I couldn't complete my A levels, mum and dad said I would need to fund myself - great news after a years study. My dream of university faded and I fell into law, quite by chance right at the bottom, making tea and running errands. 12 long years of part time study followed. 8 years at the start, and the next 4 to finish in June of the new year.

I still shake my head in disbelief at some of the posh public school boy twits that populate law, though, I'm pleased to say that demographic is changing, and the firm I work with have some great characters.

I'm glad there are Sammy Gitau's out there as role models to inspire 'normal' kids. It's atrocious in this day and age to see the class system still alive and kicking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sound Asleep Pillow

I don't generally follow that many blogs, but I do float around and tend to see what's about. Something on Twitter from podcastjunky_uk caught my eye.

Ever heard of the sound asleep pillow?

Have a quick look at the review on pjuk's blog by clicking here - and drop him a note to tell him I sent you!

This actually looks to be a really good idea, and if the review is anything to follow, it seems a fantastic idea for a Christmas or Birthday present.... cough... er Sue.

thoughts at 5.30am.

I sometimes have difficulty sleeping. I have a condition that causes me to wake every few minutes and never get restful sleep, the condition is severe. I stop breathing and my body spasms to get me breathing again, this happens every few minutes.

At hospital a few years back, I had a sleep conduction study and was disturbed to be told I'd clinically 'died' three times in the night. I now have to sleep with a mask to force air pressure into my lungs to keep my airways open. It's cumbersome, but when it works, it's great, when it doesn't - I just don't sleep.

They say you should live your life to the full - I think I'm doing more than that.... I was at uni until 9.30pm yesterday, straight from work. I got to bed at 10.30pm and woke after a terrible night's 'sleep' at around 2am. I started work at 2.50am. I've done a stack of dictation and will go until I drop around lunch, grab some sleep, some lunch, watch Harry in his nativity play and then start again. Sometimes don't you wish the merry-go-round would stop for just a short time?

On a cheerier note, it's probably a normal person's lunchtime now, so I gave myself 10 minutes to write this blog. I've seen a cracking little gadget I'd love to get my hands on - have a butchers at this. Neat eh? It had a very good write up by Steven Fry. I may well see if I can get one of these.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Life nearly begins...

apparently... as I'm 40 on Saturday.

It's been a busy time over the last few weeks and at the time of typing, I've just returned from church where we're in the middle of rehearsals for Christmas. We're singing just two songs that are chalk and cheese - one's a soulful gospel song with a great soul back beat and beautiful jazz piano, the other a medieval carol.

Those who have listened to the show know how wide my listening tastes are. I'll listen to jazz, ska, rock and choral music in the space of quarter of an hour. I love the sound of choral voices though - you can't beat a full black gospel choir, male voice tenors or even madrigals sung in traditional fashion.

Tonight we nailed the four part soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections of the 'Coventry Carol' - a cheery piece sung by the mothers at the time of the birth of Christ just before their children were slaughtered by Herod.....

If you've never heard decent, proper choral music, just look out for anything by the Cambridge singers or anything arranged by John Rutter or John Tavener.

..and last, but not least, my old mate Ken Little from Glasgow band; Hollow Horse sent me a fantastic couple of tracks, they just get better and better. Listen up for the podcast within the next few days.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'm sitting in the main room of my house surrounded by Christmas decorations. I can't stand Christmas decorations and all the clutter.

There's a palpable excitement when the decorations are taken out of the loft from Sue who seems to spend an age positioning plastic angels, santas and lanterns.

Our Christmas tree, with its tinsel arms, always leans to one side. I'll be spending every day of the next month moving and propping it back into position and at least two days picking it up from the floor.

I'm just looking forward to the break, spending time with old mates and family and putting my feet up. Ironically, in a time of rest, the busiest section of life is church. I usually get involved in helping with the programme. This year there will be traditional carols sung, something that always makes me feel warm and seasonal.

But, for now, I'll sit and stare at the plastic decorations..

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The terrible story of Gillian Gibbons has been headline news for days now.

The Liverpudlian teacher, 54 had the idea of having her class of 7 year old children name a class Teddy Bear at the fee paying Unity school in Khartoum, Sudan. The children would be allowed to take the Teddy home and be encouraged to write stories during their time with him. This practice is fairly widely used in Primary school teaching. The children decided on the name "Muhammed"

The offending Teddy, actually named by the class of 7 year olds because of one of their classmates 'Muhammed' will see Ms Gibbons suffer 40 lashes at a public flogging, a fine, or up to six months incarcaration.

In a statement, the Sudanese Assembly of Ulamas said: "What has happened was not haphazard or carried out of ignorance, but rather a calculated action and another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam,"

How moronic. You could well reword that: "She's obviously a witch, throw her in the water, and if she floats, she's a witch - if she drowns then...... er..... she's a witch"

A Sudanese spokesman said that the same punishment would be applicable if Jesus or any other prophet were insulted. Really? Pardon my sneer. I read this and this and this. There are countless more.

I've heard byte size media report the story as "worrying" and not wanting to cause a "diplomatic row"

My byte size media in relation to those in authority in Sudan would include the words "savage" "backwards", "medieval", "lunatic" and "vermin". It's a good job I don't work for the BBC, and better still I don't work for Fair Trials Abroad as I'm sure I'd be beheaded.

It must be my simple, frank and ADD driven thought process, but I cannot understand why people are sometimes so diplomatically generous to the likes of tyrants in Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Sudan. What sort of vile, xenophobic society would consider such a punishment for a woman?

Do the people of Sudan live in constant fear of their bullying, spiteful Government? I honestly don't know, as I'm not cogniscent of Sudanese society, but I can hazard a guess.

All sane sections of society appear to be shaking their head in astonishment at this dreadful story.

It seems that others share my outrage and disgust. Of course, I'm sure elements of diplomacy need to be involved, but why don't people generally just say it as it is?

Hats off to the Muslim Council of Great Britain for demanding Ms Gibbons immediate release and to Secretary-General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari for issuing the following statement so quickly :

"This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense. There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith,"

Sudan is obviously not on my list of holiday destinations and I hope that the plight of Ms Gibbons ends both well for her and shines a spotlight on the savagery of Sudan.

I can gripe about the rising cost of petrol and tax, but I thank God, quite literally that I'm living in a free society - no matter the monetary cost.

News Flash....

Apparently you really can't believe everything a Politician tells you..

As if you haven't heard, Gordon Brown and the Labour party are having rather a hard time of things at the moment.
Revelations with regard to party funding seem to be dragging all and sundry into the net - including Harriet Harman (bless her) and others at senior level.
Brown was likened in Parliament today to 'Mr Bean' "not making chaos out of order, but rather making chaos out of order..."
I had a letter from the Inland Revenue today apologising for the fact that my, Sues and the childrens data have been lost (or stolen).
My apology is one of 25,000 000 that must have been issued in the last few days.
25, 000 000 letters and postage don't come cheap. Never mind, that's what we pay our taxes for...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Download the MP3 of the show completely free here

podcastpaul podcast 166
Show notes:

Love = Action. Frozen. Awesome. Californian new wave act that remind me of the hugely underrated Climie Fisher.
In Manchester on Friday at the beautiful Midland Hotel in central manchester - great fun. Table moving - and almost been thrown out for singing!
Twitter - really into this, hello to all my mates on there, follow me as paulnicholls at
John Hoskinson - She's changing my mind Californian artist I really like. Cracking response from around around a dozen folks, some mail, some comments - even some folks telephoning me! Saw my brother and an old mate last weekend - first thing Anthony said was 'I liked that ELO track..." Paul P sent me a mail from a train between Luxembourg and Brussels "..Loved the Squeeze ELO song" Lovely mail from John too. I still think you sound like ELO mate! Reminds me of Hollow Horse. Cannot wait to hear the new HH album - especially the collaberated track with Paul Rose.
Can anyone give me an honest review of the Ipod touch? I'm really interested in looking at buying one in the new year. My Ipod is redundant at the moment because of a crashed hard disk. Apple's ridiculous policy of tying tracks to one pc. Ludicrous. Is there a way to reload Itunes and save my albums etc? PLEASE let me know if you know a way.
The old Birmingham connection - Dave Morgan, ELO. Mentioned him briefly on the last show. Recorded a show with Dave last year. Played at Dave's wedding - Richard Tandy was the best man. Tandy Morgan Smith - Martin Smith, Bass in the latter ELO tours and band, Richard Tandy key core member. Paradise Garden from Tandy Morgan Smith - recorded late 80's. Wonderful
Bernie from Oz, can you fill us in on the politics we're getting snippets on here in the UK? Howard is out after 11 years, Rudd is in - is that good or bad news? He'll be sworn in as PM next week apparently.
You cannot escape the brilliance of 3 blind mice. 'The Word'
Fantastic, this track is entitled Audience numbers - nearly half a million different people have listened in the last 18 months - 2 years. Some shows topping 10,500 folks -not massive, but lovely to know folks are listening.
Folio - Floating Away. Another new wave Calfornian act. Reminds me a lot of Ultravox. Great sound.
All music apart from Tandy Morgan Smith courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network found at
cheers for listening!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back from Manchester

I'm just back from a conference in Manchester. 300 lawyers packed in a room, how boring is that?

As it happens, it wasn't at all boring - it was great fun. At dinner in the evening, our table of 12 was stashed away in the corner of a massive room. It was then that I had the great idea of getting everyone to move the table, an inch at a time every few minutes or so without anyone really noticing. We got to around 50 - 60 foot. We were moving the table two or three feet at a time in the end. We made it across the dance floor and to the opposite end of the room.

I then had the great idea of moving everyone, one at a time to the one single table a few feet away, over 5 minutes or so. We did it... it was only when the waiters decided to clear the now empty table stashed at the side of the dance floor, that the whole thing collapsed. One of the legs had folded under itself.... down came all the glasses, empty bottles of wine.... you get the general idea. I looked across, tutted and shook my head and supressed a snigger.

Later, my mate (and managing partner) Pete and I were asked to keep the singing down or be chucked out of the bar area. Eh?! We'd even taken song sheets....

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm off to Manchester tomorrow for a conference. I just don't get excited about these bashes anymore. In fact, I really miss being away from home, that's so different from just a few years ago.
It's less than five weeks from Christmas and I can't wait for the break - studies finish in May / June and I'm 40 in just over three weeks, I think I'm turning into an old bloke....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

podcast 165 Great American Artists, Finland, Bullying and the Apple iphone

Download the MP3 of podcast 165 right here..
podcastpaul podcast 165
John Hoskinson - I hope I die before you do; Californian genius with a Squeeze / ELO sound...
Hello to all the new listeners!
Hi to Ed Ross from Portsmouth - and I'll check out the kids choir! Watoto children's choir from Uganda. Nothing in the world like African voices - awesome. Memories of Swaziland. How I wish I was there.
Laurence Elder - surrounded by you -one of he best ever tunes on the network from Florida. Very apt for the next discussion.
Awful scenes of yet another massacre, this time in Finland. Pekka Eric Auvinon apparently felt cast out and bullied by fellow pupils at Jokela High school, this of course os no excuse for the appalling act of violence. The bullied became the bully. Bullying is a cancer - you can still feel the scars many years on, I was bullied at school and hate anything that constitutes bullying. Bullying in the work place - a staggering one in four people feel bullied at work, costing the industry billions of pounds. Take action immediately if you feel bullied either at work, school or in whatever situation. It's easier looking out than in. A podcast I did some time ago on bullying saw one of the biggest influx of emails.
Joan as Policewoman - eternal flame. New York artist. Kicking myself I missed her at the Glee club. doh!
Pakistan in the news - The lunatic antics of Musharraf, imposing a state of emergency as his power slips, the sacking of nine judges refusing to endorse Musharaff's state of emergency as 'unconstitutional. Benazir Bhutto becoming the living martyr as she fell under house arrest. Many are saying that she's out of touch and not that great a hope for the people of Pakistan. We've much to moan about in the West, but, thank God, literally we're not in the same state.
Patrick Hall - California one for the ages.
One for the ages indeed... all ages. The apple iphone. Lucrative tie in with O2. Many now attempting to hack the phone to unlock it from the network - 1/4 million Americans have cracked this. Apple have changed the software! It's already been done according to ITN. Apparebtly software will be available within the week to unlock it. Why tie in the network?
Evangelical clapping and whooping as the store opened. Weird.... I want a new phone.... help!!
Anduze from Calfornia - Falling.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I think I want a Nokia N800...

At least, I think I do... I really would like to replace the PDA I had with a Wifi PDA that has Word, Outlook, internet access and a decent MP3 player - preferably with an SD slot. If there's a good smartphone that could handle the applications, I'd even go for that.

Has anyone got any recommendations?

It seems to me that there's a trade off between a good PDA with Outlook / Word capability and that of a decent unit to give wifi internet access.

Then again - look at this baby! This looks the absolute biz....

What do you reckon?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

podcastpaul podcast 164 Living in a modern world..

Download the MP3 direct from the site here
podcastpaul podcast no164
Bridgefield - Get there
Sounds like Blondie from North West London / Bucks
How's your week? Delerious at the NEC!
What on earth is Halloween about? Trick or treat, eh?! We'll be doing thanksgiving next...
If you like Jools Holland, you'll love......Johnny Ferreira - Swing That Thing. from British Columbia, Canada.
I wish there was more Johnny Ferreira's around. I've seen Jools Holland half a dozen times - the absolute king of swing. Smooth music like Jamie Cullum, Diana Krall, Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. Listen to any Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles. Music that's a cut above the rest.
My day at the Birmingham Law Library...The Beautiful Girls - She's Evil. From California - lovely blend of rock and reggae - from California, influenced by Pearl Jam - they remind me of the Police.
Carrie Catherine biggest mistake- a cross between Amy Winehouse and Tammy Wynette..beautiful vocal from another British Columbian
I love Birmingham - my recently received books...I've a hankering to want to know more about the history of Birmingham.
I'm moderned out... the laptop annoys me, mobiles aggravate me and email irritates the pants out of me. I love fountain pens, books on old Birminbgham and hanker after wanting to know more about Britain's history. I must be finally growing up!
and finally... I love the groove on this! Sounds like the proclaimers meeting Blue Oyster Cult.. Orange Snow - Stay - from the Netherlands - Leo Sienot.
send a mail -


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

simple pleasures.

How funny. It always makes me smile at what makes me smile.

I was in the very Dickensian Birmingham Law Library this morning (Temple Street, city Centre, Birmingham) carrying out some legal research. The place was as quiet as could be, with vast tomes surrounding me, some editions going back to the sixteenth century. It was one of those times I actually felt like I was a lawyer - eight or nine books were open in front of me with piles of notes to the side. An elderly West Indian cleaner moved ever so slowly around the library, cleaning and mopping.... and humming a very old tune I knew very well. It was an old hymn and it made me smile. I was willing the lady not to go, but she mopped her way towards the exit and out of the door before too long.

A little later, I was searching for a Law Report when something caught my eye. I'd never noticed the door in the corner of the library before - in fact I hadn't been to the library in years, and, when I did visit it was generally always in a hurry. Today was different, I had some time. The door led to a winding staircase and in turn to the gents loo which I never knew existed. I opened the door to the gents loo to see that it was all still in it's Victorian, or, at latest Edwardian state. The old lime tiles and grand loo marked "The Dudley" really made me smile. A marble urinal was perched near a window that looked like something from the set of Flash Gordon. Lectern like, I could imagine Emperor Ming standing at it - not taking a whizz, but bellowing something in a cracked 30's screenplay dialogue to his archrival; Flash.

An old yellowed typed manuscript sat on a makeshift desk giving instructions to 'modern saniatation convenience' or some such wording.

From a corner of the room that seemed locked in time, you could look out through a window partially obscured by card with the lettering 'Birmingham Law Society' and watch modern busy Birmingham pass by: office workers on wp's, pedestrians on mobiles. The whole thing just seemed so odd - and peaceful - and nice.

I got home a few hours later to discover a parcel. A notable midland historian I gave some help to had posted me some books on old Birmingham. Fantastic! I opened the first book to see a picture of a place not 5 minutes from where I'd been just a couple of hours earlier circa 1905.

As I'm typing this, I'm between work - and smiling a broad smile.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Half of new jobs go to migrants....

That's the headline from today's BBC news site.

From the site:

"Ministers do not know where foreign national workers are from

More than half of new jobs created under Labour since 1997 have gone to foreign workers, it has emerged.
The government had previously claimed the majority of new jobs had been filled by British workers.

This appeared to be supported by figures released on Monday, despite the government admitting it had underestimated the number of migrants.

But it later put out a clarification suggesting 52% - or 1.1 million - of new jobs created had gone to migrants.

........But the government's figures were "chaotic" and they proved it was "difficult to keep track of everyone

..........Shadow Pensions Secretary Chris Grayling said: "This situation just gets worse; it's clear we simply can't trust the figures or statements put out by the government on migrant workers in the UK. "

There's loads of discussion about this - migrants will generally work harder and fill the menial posts that some Brits apparently won't take. It was thought that workers would come and go - they don't. They stay and more come - and more, and more, and more. Ludicrous immigration laws and policies see a staggering amount of refugees. Some are undoubtedly genuine. Some undoubtedly are not. Some who are sent home are, incredibly 'lost' in the system.

I'm not overtly political, I do follow current affairs closely, but things here have got to change fast.

What I do know is that taxation is ridiculously high (and by that I mean direct and indirect taxation). The National Health Service is creaking under the strain of the new influx of migrants (a report on the BBC Today programme this morning). Insurance is rocketing, mortgage payments are increasing and the streets are an unwelcoming place for all, particularly children. Ironically, the immigrants of the 50's and 60's suffer the most - they were wrongly unwelcomed when they came, and now, after a long, hard work life, suffer again.

We open our doors to members of the EU who become entitled to state welfare, housing and other benefits. A tiny island with a once unrivaled economy is dying on its feet. If I were from a poorer EU country why wouldn't I travel to the UK? I certainly would, and I would be attracted by the benefits. The problem is that we just cannot cope and this has to stop.

Benefits are handed out at an all time high to many, including the native population while many of those retired and pensioned who have worked here throughout their working life are living in desperate means. Yet the government coffers are emptying at an alarming rate.

Our pension system has been raped and plummeted. Money I've paid into a pension for 22 years is now virtually worthless, despite being lured into that with false promises by the Government.

There aren't enough houses being built, benefits mean that some people are actually worse off by taking work (what's all that about?!!) and gas is over £4 ($8) a gallon.

Knife and gun crime are up - apparently there's a knife crime every 24 minutes.

Despite that, Britain is still a beautiful place with a fantastic rich heritage and history. Why the Government is intent on handing over sovereignty without taking a census from it's people baffles me. The Government has sold the fabric of Britain from under the feet of its people.

Great Britain? Shafted Britons more like....

Cultural diversity is one thing. Allowing the country to fall apart, and having the population pay for it without any say is the worst crime of all the sorry tales above.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

As the days fly by in what seems like a photo flash, I'm ever more aware that another year will slip by and I'll be another year older. I can't believe we're at the end of October and we'll be into 2008 shortly. How frightening.

I've often broached this subject, but I am ever more aware of the fact that some things make much more sense to me, and others leave me baffled and just.....cold.

I am starting to realise that the time I have with my kids is finite. My eldest lad will be 19 and has virtually flown the nest - and I really miss him. My 13 and 15 year old lads are mini adults and are both grappling with the grown up issues of what they're going to do after school, girls, and other stuff that I apparently 'wouldn't understand' because I'm 'too old'.

Harry, my 6 year old stayed at Sue's brother and his wife's house and I really missed kissing him goodnight and tucking him into bed last night. That will stop eventually as he gets older and I'll really miss that.

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to care more about things now than I used to. I'll often wonder if things I say or do will impact on people, whereas before I actually enjoyed being provocative. I look at kids and the younger generation and see how selfish and shallow they can be sometimes. Was I like that? Probably. No one seems to have time for anybody either these days, do they? Do they? I'm pretty sure it was Socrates who despaired about the youth in his days - funny how history repeats itself.

So, as time marches on and I get more of a grumpy old man worrying about the 'kids of today' I can take stock in the fact that I'm appreciating life more, I'm understanding people more and I love my kids and family more.

I hate working as hard as I do, and I appreciate the time I have left. Just a few more camera flashes?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Hi there,

I'm ever so sorry I've not been around for a bit. Work is as busy as ever and the laptop has been out of action for a week or so. I'm sitting typing on the old lap-top with a new keyboard and a brand new screen, bizarre really as I thought they'd just replace the whole unit.

Anyway, time marches on, I'm heading ever closer to that big birthday in mid December and I'm absolutely desperate for every weekend that comes along. My new friend is a tension headache that I can't shake that worsens every time I wake in the early hours around 1 - 2 am.

Why is life so stressful?

I paid £1.05 for a litre of deisel, or to our American counterparts, over $8 for a gallon of gas at the weekend.

It just doesn't seem to get any easier does it?

Saturday, October 13, 2007


need I say more?

podcastpaul podcast 163 - grown up music

Download the show MP3 here - podcastpaul 163 12th October 2007

Podcastpaul podcast no163 12th October 2007
Nathan Wiley - Bride on Fire from Nova Scotia
Not 'butt on fire'
It's all go tomorrow with the Rugby - Come on England!
Hard, hard week Does life get tougher as you get older?!
Estelle Kokot - see you on Sunday - very Norah Jones- gorgeous, gorgeous voice
Is scat making a come back? Christian and I love how corny it is...
Sinister Dexter - Chasing the Clouds away. This grew on me - love the instrumenation, didn't like the vocal, I think I do now.....
What do you get if you cross Karen Carpenter, the Beatles and Dusty Springfield? Lovely run down, great spangly telecaster ... Bobby Blue - If Weird, weird influences!
Time for some blues - Blues for Stevie G; Paul Rose from his album; Promises.
The Last goodbye - Aaron Well, not quite!
Heather Sullivan - Stronger from California, I think she's a country and Western Annie Lennox, is there such a thing? -
What's with the show today? All the music is very grown up! All music today is from the podsafe music network, save for Paul Rose.
Thanks to all the great artists for their permission to play their wonderful tracks today.
send an email:

Monday, October 08, 2007

then and now.

The song lyrics read "What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours......"

Well, on that note, what a difference 35 years makes....

Sunday, October 07, 2007

podcast162 Rugby, London, chat and music from the Brummy bloke

Get the Mp3 Direct from this link here

podcastpaul podcast no162
7th October 2007
MUSIC: UrbanSpaceLab - Picture Perfect
Rugby green light for England, in their fantastic win over the Aussies. Next week we face France
Come on England!
Wayne Barnes is not a happy name in the average NZ household, sorry Clinton Gaille (listener from NZ)!
Interesting to see the NZ headlines - - lead story.
MUSIC: Stephanie Seskin - Chill now
New Jersey artist with a penchant for Yes and Genesis - lovely!
Played this morning at a 550 seater - brilliant! Love drums, but I'm now stone deaf
Christian's band are recording shortly - listen out on the show for some of their tracks.
Do you play? Send in your stuff!
MUSIC: Hurting - Paul Rose from forthcoming album; Promises.
Paul playing with Hollow Horse in a collaboration! wow!
You Tube, a great tutor
Who do you look up?
Some great bands - Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder, classic 80's stuff.... Mark King, Victor Wooton, Mick Karn for bass - Tony Royster Jr, Dave Weckl for drums
MUSIC - 3 blind mice. Baby all
3BM - the band that never, ever let you down. Every tune an absolute classic. Always there to pull some genius out of the bag.
Getting close to Christmas and the big 4-0.
Time just goes so quick!
Work 0 looking at mediation.
London - what a beautiful place..
great place to listen to This week in London with Paul Parkinson on the tube!
Sign off
MUSIC: East of West - Ride the Fade.

Why are the Welsh so wrong about Rugby?

Look at the comments on Ryan Jones' blog here If you're wondering why he got it so wrong, I'll enlighten the unenlightened; he plays for Wales.

Let's look again at the comments eh?

"The creaks in the Australian scrum are not as prevalent as they have been in the recent past, but the set piece remains the area England must pinpoint to exert pressure on their opponents. Vickery will need to be the heart of that effort.

More crucial than that, though, will be his leadership skills. He stood behind his captain, Martin Johnston, in the final four years ago as the Leicester man led from the front and set an example for his troops. Vickery will have to be as talismanic in Marseille on Saturday as Johnson was in 2003 if England are going to keep the defence of their trophy alive.Australia have a devastating backline and, with an ample supply of possession, could cut England to ribbons.

But to do so they will be reliant on the continued form of rookie fly-half Berrick Barnes."

Sorry, mate, yet another stupid, load of old tosh that frankly irritates the whatsits out of me and some might call xenophobic. You were wrong mate and the comments that follow endorse that. The creaks in the Australian scrum were so loud, I looked for the megaphones that were amplifying them. In fact, there weren't creaks, there were collapses, loads of them. They were desperately, desperately embarassing.

And Berrick Barnes? Berrick who? Berwick - on Tweed?

My Welsh colleague at work once said he'd rather support Argentina than England. Many of my Welsh friends will regaile with me with tales of the England weaknesses. Thanks for that, but I sat at Twickenham a few months ago and watched England beat, sorry, crucify, no, demolish Wales 62 -5. So, when I looked a littlemore than bored and disinterested, I do have reason.

But why is WRU so .... idiotic? I remember once hearing Jonothan Davies commentate that the Welsh were playing a clever game by allowing the English to take a lead in the game I watched, I couldn't believe my ears. I seem to remember the Welsh were getting another stuffing on that outing........again.

I'm English first, British second, I'd always plumb for a British team in any contest and shake my head in amazement at the childish way that other Brits sometimes behave.

Just watch the Welsh (I'm sorry - and some Irish and Scots too) start to buy French shirts and do everything but back the English. How sad. There are, of course, the sensible element that do back England, but there's a significant minority, or even majority that won't.

France played so well against a strong All Blacks side today. Let's see how things pan out next week.

Come on England!!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

England 12 - Australia 10.

Australia are re-acquainting themselves with Qantas. England have just ordered another plate of snails.

What a superb game - the picture says it all really.

The Australians jeered and sneered before the game, particularly Australian Coach; John Connolly who wasn't too kind about poor old Regan suggesting he had nasty side and broke the rules. How many times did the Ozzies collapse the scrum, and how many punches were thrown by the Wallabies?

Connolly's stupid outburst reminds me of that old saying; 'better to keep your mouth shut and make a person think you're a fool, than to open your mouth and remove any doubt.'

I hope Connolly's words stick in his throat every time he looks at his miniature Eiffel Tower on his mantelpiece. Regan played a great game.

The English tabloid press largely wrote off the English pack. Johnny wilkinson on the other hand simply commiserated with the Australian team in his very English way.

What a fantastic world cup this had been.

Roll on France - or New Zealand.......

Saturday, September 22, 2007

just back from London

Just back from a three day course in London, right opposite the Royal Courts of Justice at 218 Strand, WC2.

Two things that made me smile - the first was the beautiful structure of the RCJ - the second was the ridiculously positioned loo in the ensuite of the hotel room I rented. Talk abour cowboy builders......

Sunday, September 16, 2007

podcast 161, how smooth is this music?

Download MP3 here podcastpaul podcast161

podcastpaul podcast no 161
16th September 2007
How smooth is this music? wow!
Once I get up - The Fonkmasters
Monlight - Christopher Burke
The Heys
Shangrila - The Rebel Soul band
Odd Bird - Lascivious Biddies
East of West - Coast to Coast

Saturday, September 15, 2007

podcast 160 - Live from the caravan on 14th September 2007

Download the MP3 file here

podcastpaul podcast no 160
14th September 2007
Last Night - Stingray
Hello to Taytana, helsinki and Andrew; Wellington
Camping with Phil & Gaz
Just feel good - Anduze
bob cartwright - great refelction in the caravan!
Mark Crook - podcastnation
Paul Parkinson / Linda Mills
Mangomad - Search for Zen

send an email! (paul squiggly 'a' podcastpaul dot com) !

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why I love England.

I took this picture from the turret of Ludlow castle on Saturday. I think the picture says it all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Studies, footie v rugby, London and Madeleine.

I started back at Uni for my final year studies at postgrad. At the end of this stint, I'll have studied law for 12 years in total, 8 when I first qualified and 4 at the end of June '08. I'm studying 6 -9 twice a week, and there three days full time this week.

I've blogged about this before, but it's so much easier - and more difficult at the same time - studying when you're a bit older. I'm creeping towards my 40th in mid- December.

I find that I'm so much more conscientious this time around. I'll do the prep, do the reading, take part and listen hard during lectures. It's more difficult by virtue of the fact that I've such a demanding job, have four kids I want to make sure I have the time for, and the other stuff I do, Church, Governors, blogging, podcasting, etc etc....

I'm in London next week for three nights staying in central London and studying to become an accredited mediator at the Strand - something I'm hoping will add to the CV and hopefully become another income stream both for work and additionally for me personally, particularly out of hours. I'll take the Edirol and lap top as I've tons of mixing to do - and some shows to produce.

Yet, I'd still swap the lot to live in Swaziland and help in some way at the project. It's so difficult with the kids studies. Maybe I could look at transferring to become a Swazi lawyer later in my career?

I'm typing the blog as Owen has scored his second goal against Russia. As much as I feel I ought to watch the football, it just isn't rugby.... I think I'm enjoying it, but I'm flitting between the TV and the laptop. I'm riveted when I watch England play rugger. There's just no contest between the sports for me. I know so little about football, but I do know that Heskey shouldn't be on the pitch, he's useless!

The McCann coverage continues. I cannot help but feel so desperately sorry for the McCann's. I just canot believe they had anything to do with Maddies disappearance. I imagine they forever rue the day they were so lax in leaving their children unattended. I fear that the investigation will take a sinister turn for the worst eventually. I can't help but feel that Madeleine was watched and handpicked. Knowing the cost of legals, I cannot but imagine the financial hardship they might face. I wish there was a fund to donate legal costs to, rather than the missing fund. The McCanns must be living through a hellish nightmare at present.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

just back from ludlow food festival

I 'm just back from Ludlow food festival - a beautiful medieval market town in rural England, just 45 miles from home.

What a beautiful place. Foods of all descriptions within the castle walls visited by thousands.

I'm booking my ticket for next year.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

photo's from podcampuk

I'm at home today and really pleased with the amount of stuff I've done.

The supply of tea has been virtually intravenous, and I haven't been distracted by the trappings of home in any way - the TV has stayed off, the computer, just like work has been on, but has been an aid rather than a hindrance.

I really enjoy working from home. The tranquil peace and fact I've not had to endure the turgid 60 mile round trip has been something of a blessing too.

I'm off in a short while to see an old pal and client of mine in a couple of hours. I'll catch up with him, do the work I need to there, have another cuppa and then set back to wind down for the day.

I need a haircut - I'm beginning to look like a cross between David Haselhoff and an onion. hmmph.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

wireless issues

Boo... the wireless network and my pc aren't talking, so I am using one of the fixed banks of pc's.

All is going great here - lots of good chat and great company.

I'm finding that the best thing about this bash is the conversation that I'm having with folks. It's great to be here and not being involved in any of the organisation of it.

Right, back to the coffee, cakes and chat!

At PodcampUK

Well, we're here. I'm sitting next to Paul Parkinson's arms jostling for space next to a couple from Denmark. There are a good 50 or so folks of the anticipated 120.

I've had my bacon and egg sandwich and a coffee and we're deciding the conference agenda, podcamp style.

Lots of old faces, some new...... looks to be a good day!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Proud to be British?

....absolutely, but what an odd day.

From the seriously moving tributes of Prince Harry to the utter trite puerile nonsense of the Big Brother Final.

One remarkable woman whose memory will live on for an age to come, to a dozen or so nobodies who'll we'll struggle to remember in a fortnight.

On the one hand, poise, dignity and everything I love about the true meaning of what I believe is to be English first, British second, to the pathetic scrambling of wannabe z class 'celebrities, literally fighting for space on a very poor 'reality' show. I am so glad this trash finishes today as Sue has watched this nightly for what seems like decades.

How immensely proud I was to see the Queen, the Princes, the Union flags and pictures of the late, beautiful Diana.

How sickened I was to catch a glimpse of a dozen embarrassing idiots all believing they're Hollywood stars.

Talk about a game of two halves.......

Thursday, August 30, 2007

looking forward to the weekend

I've had a pretty stressful week, and have a couple of matters in court next week I've just finished prepping. There's something to be said for getting your files spread out at home, without any distractions on a big dining room table.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick to death of being in the office, trying to concentrate with the 'phone continually ringing, email pinging, mobile buzzing, text messages bleeping and faxes flying in.

I can remember twenty odd years ago wondering how on earth a fax worked - sending it down a phone line. I can still remember being blown away by electronic typewriters (you needed Tipp-Ex or a white correction ribbon).

As great as all the gadgets we have, they are pretty demanding - you're on call at the drop of a hat anywhere anytime.

Well, gadgets and other stuff will no doubt abound at the weekend - I'm at Podcamp UK in Birmingham, just 6 miles north of home. It'll be great to meet up with new and old faces. If you're coming along, nudge me and say hello - if not, watch this space!

Oh - and a podcast in the bag in the next day or so.

Roll on Saturday.......

Sunday, August 26, 2007

bitbox and fish

this is brilliant!

Wise words mate.......

er........ what?

For true enlightenment, watch this

Clearer now?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Acapella fast food style

how about this for an impromptu bit of singing? What a cracking band - Straight No Chaser from Indiana University. Beautiful.

Click this link to see the video

I love the Eighties!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Eighties.

Facebook is a brilliant social network and I'm really into it at the moment.

Check out the group at this link here and join in - loads of pictures, videos and chat about the eighties.

Sigh. kids these days just don't know what they're missing. He he....

Friday, August 17, 2007

Back from hols

I'm just back from holiday - another jaunt down south in the caravan.

The weather was vile, but the company was great - my mates, their kids and my brother and his wife; Phil, with Phil's mate, Gary.

I'm bored of going abroad, and I never thought I'd have so much fun in Weston Super Mare on a rainy Tuesday.

Harry had a brilliant time, as did all the kids.

Hmmph. Back to work next week. No more 2p slot machines for me.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I'm going on holiday on Friday. These days I can't bear taking two weeks from work as so much can go on in a fortnight, so I stagger a couple of weeks over a month usually.

I'm not travelling too far, but I will be away with friends and my brother: Phil. Listen out for some podcasts on my return.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I am sitting watching 'Equator' - a BBC documentary about travel across the equator.

I can't help but feeling the pull on my heartstrings every time I see anything about the plight of folks in Africa. For all the poverty, corruption and sadness, there's an astonishing wealth of culture. I'm saddened I won't be back in Swaziland this November, but I'm anxious to get there next year. Before I went to Swaziland, I was hardened to the images of stereotypical Africa - kids surrounded by flies, staring miserably at a handful of rice. That image is based on ignorance and the bigger picture of Africa is much more complex and more difficult to solve than shipping out bags of food. I don't even pretend to know the surface of the problems, but I'm not daft enough to ignore the difficulties in the small part of the world I saw.

I've such a respect an admiration for the everyday folks of the folks in places like Swaziland, Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique and the Congo. We talk about postcode lotteries with hospital provision here in the UK. What about the worldwide lottery? Every 15 seconds someone dies from AIDS yet we worry about how in fashion our mobile phone is. It really does put things in perspective, particularly when you see and meet Africans who put up with abject poverty yet retain an air of dignity, enjoy a rich culture and know family respect.

I cannot help but think that the forty years I've had here in the UK should really be balanced by trying to help......but how? I wish more than anything I could leave to help in some practical way, particularly in Swaziland, but I'm not that practical. I keep saying to Sue that she needs to get ready for when we move there, and I'm half serious, no, I'm actually three quarters serious. It would be incredible to think that I could re qualify as a Swazi lawyer and help with the corruption that is rife in the court system. Maybe that is something I should consider long term? I would love to live on the farm amongst the kids and see Sue help with the teaching in the nursery. In reality that's a pipe dream, but it's not something I'm giving up on. Then again, tempering that view, why do I and many others feel we have the ability to don a cloak and rush to the rescue? Perhaps many who do that do so naively and cause more problems in the long run?

I can honestly say that I would rather my children learn the respect and culture of many Africans than the selfish material West that we live in. That sounds really harsh, but it's only when you see how little others have you understand that we actually have too much. Coming back from Swaziland, I remember the vivid image of kids without parents, living in huts without basic essentials and switching the tv on to see some bimbo mouthing "because I'm worth it" on a Loreal advert. It's a salutary lesson to know the stark differences when we think we have problems, they usually are so shallow and skin deep.

So how can we help, really? This is where the aid agencies come in. Projects like Swaziland TC are wonderful - but they rely on financial support. That's the best support any of us can give.

It's a good thing to always remember the fact that however little we think we have, we have so much material more than many others.

The fitting end to this post is the tv programme Mike has just switched on - 'American Idol' with David Hasselhoff. That just about sums it up.....

Saturday, August 04, 2007

podcast159 podcastpaul come on England.....

Download podcast 159 direct from here (MP3) podcast 159
Hello / intro
Laurence Elder - mind has a mind.
Christians band - seem to be playing every other week - great to get kids involved in music. Supported The Orange Lights - one of the best bands I've seen in ages.
My ears!
Passed exams - amazing...... looking forward to final year - planning on a couple of recreational degrees......! Some do recreational drugs, I do recreational exams.... they're both hazardous to health
Dankelsco - utopian. I'm looking forward to the weekend - England v Wales ....... songsheets
What are you up to this weekend?
Horrible emails.......
Horrible weather
Terrible disaster in the US, Terrible flooding in the UK, disaster in Asia with the flooding
Howard Jones, Revolution of the heart - be there or be square, Sat and Sun 1/2 September
Ebay - I love it! bet there's good money to be made.
Search for Zen, Mangomad
send an email :

Monday, July 30, 2007

What's your favourite film?

I think mine's either the fantastic, original Ladykillers with Alec Guiness and Herbert Lom. I can't be bothered to watch the remake, it can't touch the original.

I'm a sucker for the 80's bratpack films too - Pretty in Pink is great as is The Breakfast Club and Some Kind of Wonderful. The John Hughes films are excellent and capture a wonderful era, particularly the music of the time.

Then again, I love the Pianist too - a gritty and incredibly profound movie with a staggering soundtrack.

There are loads of others; Soylent Green, Moulin Rouge, Spinal Tap, Strange Fruit........

I can guarantee that you'll enjoy any of the films I mention above, but if you had to see any of the films above it would probably be the Pianist.

So, if I fancy a night in what film would you recommend?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rocky, Rain and results

I have absolutely no idea why, but my kids seem hooked on the old Rocky films. Rocky II is on Sky plus again as I'm typing, and it's so corny... I'm not sure if there's a nostalgia for Rocky films generally, or it's just my kids. It's good wholesome fun I suppose, but there's more cheese than cheddar in it.

The rain here in the midlands has been shocking, I'm sure that most other folks across the UK who are reading this have had similar problems. 16 severe flood warnings have been issued across the UK with gridlock and chaos everywhere. Seems like I picked a great week to go camping.........

Happier news is the fact I got my results for this last year's post grad: two commendations in the two main graded papers with five passes on the ungraded modules. One final year, thank goodness......

By the way, thanks to all the folks for their comments / emails and calls following the last post, it's lovely to have some really good mates about.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Walter Mitty, here we go.

Have you ever been copied into an email that wasn't meant for you? I did, today.

I work in a small office - there's just ten of us and we all get on exceptionally well. We have an office up in the North of England where there's a good fifty or so folks - again all nice folks.

I was copied into a mail quite by mistake from some of the folks up North who had been looking at this blog.

I've always viewed the blog as a way to get stuff off my chest - express what I'm thinking, and just be a place where I suppose I can just vent. It's something I've always enjoyed and quite honestly never really worried about, that is, until I received this email:

This was the mail as I opened it - the blue characters are the mail to me, the content beneath is from a mail that had done the rounds between a few folks. It does worry me that a solicitor can't spell the word 'insight' but nevertheless:

An illuminating insite into the mind of a fantasist.

From: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 18 July 2007 11:01
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Wise words

I have seen the light. Be inspired by this utter bollocks!:-

I laughed at it initially, but, thinking about it now I actually feel a bit hurt by it. The chap who'd sent me the mail meant, I think, to send the mail to someone with a similar work mail. Then again, he could have sent it to me quite purposely. Who knows?

The linked mail had sent my site's link around a few folks in the office, and it suddenly struck me - am I really just talking drivel? Some of the entries I've made on the blog are things that I've really worn on my sleeve - especially the entries that relate to my kids, stuff I feel very deeply about. The again, a bloke who writes poetry and talks about feeling pressured because of his kids? Sounds like something from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest doesn't it? Does it?

There's a generalisation that folks from the North of England are more gritty and hard than those in the south - I think that's a generalisation too far to be honest, but there may be some small truth to it. I remember when I first started at the practice, some colleagues who are no longer with us made snide remarks about the fact I'd taken the trouble to introduce myself to everyone and "........been too friendly - what's his agenda?" As it happens, I get on great with the folks up there on the whole and they're a good bunch.

So, have I just been setting myself up for a fall? Probably. In all honesty, a blog is, thinking about it, pretty geeky. Why should I write the way I feel up in a space for all and sundry to see? Is a diary not meant to be private?

I'm having mixed emotions about continuing this at the moment, yet feel compelled to write this as I'm thinking aloud. I just think it's a way to get stuff off my chest probably, and it's a lot easier than sitting on a couch talking to a quack. Then there's the ADD.... I immediately took down my cv and photo, I felt like such an idiot putting myself on show. Why on earth had I done that anyway? Have I been parading myself about like some sort of egotist? If I have, I honestly didn't mean to, and with hindsight I feel like such an idiot.

I do hate to think that others perceive me as some sort of Walter Mitty character though. I hate feeling patronised or the centre of some joke too.

It could be that blogs are generally pretty anonymous and they jar in context with 'real' life. A bit like a wedding I suppose, where your rough and ready rugger mates meet your granny and the gentle church minister - a collision of worlds.

I think I'm probably just a bit embarrassed if the truth is known. I know I'm looking forward to my holiday more than ever though.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I'm doing my level best to spend equal time with my three youngest lads (15, 13 and 6). My eldest is now 18 and an adult (well, as adult as 18 year olds can be) and doing his own thing.

I attended a rehearsal at the Rich Bitch studios in Selly Oak just last week with Christian - his band are gigging everywhere and it was fascinating to see the level of professionalism in these lads, and their seriously hard work in getting songs right.

I sat in the studio thinking back to the times I'd been there in the early 80's, time repeating itself. What did strike me was the willingness of the kids to listen. They'd asked me to be a critical friend and help them with some structuring. Kids don't listen to you at the best of times - but these kids really, really did. I explained the way you look for space in music - I've been playing every week now for 30 years so you do get to pick up a few things. I suggested:

1. Get the bottom line right. The groove needs to be there between the drummers kick and the bass player

2. Minimal rhythm guitar when the lead guitar breaks in

3. Use of power chords / tabs on a busy riff

4. Space - rather than presenting a wall of sound, look to build up and drop down - crucial for verse / chorus differentiation

5. The build on a bridge

6. Light and shade between chorus and verse

7. Keeping it tight

It was amazing - the kids listened and the result was astonishing. I'm kicking myself I didn't take anything to record.

Rather than being the old bloke in the corner, it was awesome to see these kids want to listen and put stuff into action. The lads were just brilliant and I'm proud of them all.

I later went to a gig and saw the lads support The Orange Lights at the Barfly in Birmingham. I hadn't heard them but just knew from the looks of their stage equipment they would be good. I was wrong...... they were absolutely awesome. One of the best indie bands I've seen in ages, seriously good lyrics, all great musicians and wonderfully tight. Incredibly they displayed all the
signs and talents of 1 - 7 above. Chris is at an age where it's easy for him and his mates to disregard their parents and music has been the glue of late to cement the relationship together.

Harry, my six year old is Doctor Who mad - I love talking to him about Dr Who, playing I spy / Hangman Dr Who games with him, helping him with his spelling and suchlike. He's a great kid at a wonderful age, I wish they could all stay like that.

Last night, I grudgingly went with Jack to the golf range. I hate golf, I've had loads of lessons and just don't get it. I always end up with a bad back. Jack on the other hand is excellent at any sport and is a natural at golf. We bought a bucket of balls and I was able to tell him how to hold a driver, and impart the knowledge of the few dozen lessons I've had. Again, incredibly it worked - Jack was belting 200 yards and more as straight as a dye and I loved spending time with him.

Someone asked me earlier where I'd been as I've not been about much on the net or on the forums where I used to hang out. The answer is simple: I've been with my kids, and I'm loving it.

Without any element of corn or wish to patronise, simply look for the one thing your kids love to do. You can buy them expensive gifts and chuck money at them, but they want the most precious thing that's completely free: you.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

waxing lyrical

I love poetry, real poetry. Like art, I love the old masters. I appreciate modern art, modern verse, but I prefer the classics.

Rumpole of the Bailey would often wax lyrical, drifting into a Shakespearian aside whilst muttering Wordsworth. I wish I had the capacity to remember huge portions of verse.

Today I read Tennyson's Ulysses, a beautifully constructed piece that is just stunning and moving:

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I attempted to write some short verse, inspired by how I felt. It made me think how would folks interpret it? Would they understand the subject I was trying to convey? I wonder. I think the subject matter is pretty obvious here - do you get my drift? What do you think the subject matter is about? Do you understand the imagery? Answers below please. ;-)


When time and sorrows cease to be
The mortal flight is done
And anguish rests its weary head
The quiet ne’er yet to come

The embers of the dying flame
Give way to lurid skies
Carved hollows in the sinking foam
Perch ever moving eyes

As shadows form and deeper falls
The blanket of spilt ink
A pen of thought in soup of haze
Scrawls scenes that never link

A magnitude of errors play
Upon the stage inside
The evil actors tread the boards
Speak forth as amplified

Dark fingers wander deep inside
To pull aside the calm
Despite entreaties to my God
To keep me safe from harm

Still as the morning dew sets in
Relief does come to bear
Terrors melt and fade away
As though were never there