Double Dutch

Tom: I was thinking about Domburg.

Me: Yes? What were you thinking about?

Tom: I was thinking about when we saw Kraak en Smaak.

Me: Well, we actually saw them in Middelburg, in the Abdijplein. But it isn’t far from Domburg.

Tom: Yes, that’s right. [pause] Abdijplein is a funny word. It’s double Dutch! Abdijplein! Heeheehee! (pronounced perfectly: ab-dye-pline)

On the Peelification of Tom

This morning, as Tom demolished the last spoonful of his second breakfast…

me: do you want some music on?

Tom: [muffled through egg] yeff pleef

me: try this. It starts quietly and gets louder.

Tom: [hands over ears] will it hurt when it gets loud?

me: no, just listen.

At this point, Tom runs off and fetches his guitar (a toy) and starts plucking the strings (not his normal random strumming) whilst nodding his head and looking at his feet.

There’s hope yet. I think it may be time to move him onto The Fall.

Time to pull the plug?

I’m thinking about pulling the plug on Radio Grayblog. Judging by the records, it is getting less than 50 hours per month of listening time. That’s an average of one person a day for little more than an hour and a half. Or three people a day for only half an hour each. Or 30 people logging in and listening to one song before they switch off in disgust.

With the USD/GBP exchange rate shifting about, it now costs me around £125 per year to run it and times are hard. I can probably think of better ways to spend that money (on a dozen new CDs, for example).

Also, half the reason I set up Radio Grayblog was so that I could listen to my music whilst in the office. That was back in the days when office and home were nearly ten miles apart. Now, office and home are not much more than ten feet apart. Turn the stereo up loud enough and I can sing along. Alternatively, I can just take a CD or three out to the office (no evil MP3s here!).

So, give me some good reasons why I shouldn’t pull the plug.

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?

Flight of fancy?

Sitting on board the Maersk Delft, waiting to depart Dover docks, passengers stare as the huge MSC Armonia glides into dock, flash bulbs glinting as passengers get the obligatory shot of the not-so-white Cliffs of Dover. As the ferry finally moves off from the quay, only a few minutes late, some wag plays Ride of the Valkyries on the entertainment system. Hmm, slightly fanciful thinking, I feel.