Three years

“What would you like to do for your birthday?”
“Go to Buwwa Market and buy pie!”
Some requests I’m very happy to meet. Happy birthday, Tom.

links for 2009-01-20

Music without spectacles

I’m probably years behind all you cool kids that read this blog (yes, both of you) – I’ve just ordered a cable to connect my laptop to the hi-fi so that I can listen to music (particularly radio streams) without either the tinniness of the built-in speakers or the inconvenience of headphones.

One of the problems I’ve found with listening to music on my laptop is that I want to know what I’m listening to. Both WinAmp (which is suffering terrible bloat these days) and iTunes (which always was bloated) display what you are listening to – but in teeny tiny text that can only be read by wandering from wherever you happen to be (in my case, by the filing cabinet with headphones on, doing the filing on a loooong cable) over to the laptop and then squinting at the screen (and, quite possibly, fetching the player out of the system tray).

What I’d really like is a plugin for iTunes or WinAmp (or, perhaps, another player if it offers this function and doesn’t suffer from bloat) that displays the artist and title information (perhaps also song duration/time played) in fullscreen lovelybigtext™ that can be read from across the room. This is going to be particularly useful for dinner/party/dinner party occasions when I don’t want to keep leaping up from my chair/the hob to answer the “that’s good music – what is it?” question.

Any suggestions?

Crouchers Bottom

Lewes District Council is making a big fuss about street names. They want to sanitise them by using a pre-approval process for new names to rule out anything that might have a double entendre (even if unintended) or that might be "aesthetically displeasing".

What a load of nonsense. Lewes DC is LibDem controlled and this is a poor advert for them. It smacks of pettiness and small-mindedness.

There are many names which have heritage value that could certainly be considered rude now. I used to havea girlfriend who lived at Crouchers. Just down the road was a country hotel that used the name Crouchers Bottom, which had been the name of the property for hundreds of years. In Sussex, there are plenty of Bottoms (valleys and dips). There is also a Gay Street (homophobic?), Black Down (racist?), the river Uck (yes, the signs get defaced all the time – boring, kids, not funny any more). Lewes itself sits on the River Ouse – it doesn’t really ooze anything and it isn’t a particularly attractive word (it’s just an old word for river), but nobody would want to change it.

It’s a dangerous policy. There is an area of Southsea which features the unbelievably tedious names of Harold Road and Trevor Road – so called because, before it was developed, the land was owned by a family with these names. The area adjoins Fawcett Road which has a pub at one end – you guessed: The Fawcett Inn. More entendres than you could shake a stick at. But I suspect that these aesthetically displeasing names were just fine when they were new – language and attitudes change with time.

And do we really want to have a bunch of wholly anodyne names for roads? Downs View is incredibly over-used in this area. Around Chichester, anything to do with the local heritage (Roman history, the Cathedral, motor racing at Goodwood and local flying aces/aircraft of World War Two) gets used time and time again. Or you end up with a situation like that at Kings Hill (what used to be West Malling airfield) where all the roads are named for varieties of apples – braeburn, russet, worcester and bramley – or old aircraft – typhoon, tempest, anson and stirling. They soon merge one into the next in the warren of identikit houses.

Perhaps there should be pressure on developers to be original. Maybe they should be made not to repeat a road name that has already been used in the same district. That would certainly get rid of the Downs View/Street/Road/Close problem. But it might lead to things like the road near my parents’ house called Syke Cluan Close (apparently, it is named for a place in Scotland, although Google draws a blank) – not relevant to the local area, hard to spell for the locals, but certainly original.

Any funny names up your way?