Countryside Noise

I wrote a short while ago about the area in which I live and how I would consider it countryside but there’s also the machines of human activity nearby. In that communication I mentioned motorways, supermarkets, train tunnels and an airport. So, here is a map of Eccles’s surrounding area:

Eccles and environs
Eccles and environs

And here is a map with various things highlighted. The legend is below the picture.

Things Of Humanity
Things Of Humanity
  • Yellow: motorways
  • Green: airport
  • Blue: high speed train tunnel
  • Pink dots: Supermarkets I visit

Below is where I grew up, the village of Hatfield Heath in Essex, and I’ve marked similar things onto that map. Perhaps that is why I like my current village. I spent nineteen years on the Heath and had a very similar environment.

Judgement Night – Various Artists

This perfectly amazing album is what happens when a music label crosses over its artists. I will write about this album as if the second song had never appeared on it as I think it’s a travesty. Here’s what you need to know:

“Just Another Victim” by Helmet and House Of Pain: an excellent opener giving you a taste of what’s coming. The grinding opening riff rips your brain out. The pace change half way through bounces your grey cells once more. Brilliant.

“Me, myself & my microphone” by Run DMC and Living Colour: ringing chords leading to heavy riffs and a hiphop beat. Heavy crashing sounds.

“Judgement Night” by Biohazard and Onyx: Yeah, motherfucker. A bouncy beat with squealy guitar sounds throughout. A bonkers song.

“Disorder” by Slayer and Ice-T: Sorry Ice-T but Tom Araya smashes your scream, he takes it, rolls it up into a small box and disintegrates it to a million pieces. We don’t need your war. A rolling beat with classic Slayer riff and solo until halfway. Hold on to your hats because this song knocks you off your feet. It hits you the way the LA riots hit LA.

“Another Body Murdered” by Faith No More and Boo Ya T.R.I.B.E. A classic Faith No More start to this song with pumping rap lyrics and the gentle piano in the background. The screams part way through are horror-movie standard.

“I Love You Mary Jane” by Cypress Hill and Sonic Youth: this is one chilled out song. A slow rolling beat with the distinct vocal style of Cypress Hill. This works. It’s relaxed. It’s strange and smooth.

“Freak Momma” by Mudhone and Sir Mix-A-Lot: I know little of Mudhone but what I do know is this song is in their distinctive style. The beat catches up with itself at times and tries to overtake in your head. Almost a summer garden song.

“Missing Link” by  Dinosaur Jr. and Del the Funky Homosapien: a groovy bass line with rapping and a singing lead guitar. Another chilled out song. Something to relax to.

“Come and Die” by Therapy? and Fatal: imagine you’ve got zombies chasing you around the neighbourhood. You are jogging away, hoping you don’t turn a corner and get caught by a separate hoard. That’s the pace and feel of this song. It’s also the music that should be playing in the movie where you are running from zombies. It’s a meta song.

“Real Thing” by Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill: want to bounce your head, nodding with the beat while walking or chilling in your sofa in the garden. Well, get the wickerwear out, put the cushions on and lay back and relax. Hold a finger in the air and direct the music from your slouch. Feel the beat take you.

The song I’ve not mentioned is “Fallin'” because it’s shit.

This entire album was the soundtrack to a chunk of my time at university. It was amazing and still is. It has that raw powerful sound of anger and sadness. I feel like we haven’t moved on. Society is still suffering and these songs and artists could easily make all this again.

At its time this was an amazing album, a collaboration of artists of metal and rap who weren’t Aerosmith. This crossover is brilliant. I love it. I really love it.

Duxford Airshow

May 28 2017 was a good day. I travelled to Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire for one of their airshows. Now, I’ve been to Duxford a lot and have taken some lovely photographs. I discuss my favourite birds here and more photographs are here. You can just search in that little box just over to the right.

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is so large that it takes more than a day to see everything and that’s without a flying display to watch. I only zoomed around the hangers and static aircraft, paused at the Bloodhound replica, and then watched the gorgeous displays.

Of the static aircraft on display some were open for a walk through, I visited all of these:

  • Concorde
  • Hermes
  • York
  • Comet
  • Ambassador
  • Viscount
  • Britannia
  • VC10
  • Trident
  • One-Eleven
  • Herald

Of the flying aircraft, I was most impressed with the Typhoon, Rafale, Bronco and the Autogyro. All of these exhibited remarkable agility, they were stunning to watch. It was very good to see a Typhoon display for my first time along with the Rafale too. The Bronco is iconic and looked lovely. Even the World War 1 display wasn’t boring!

If you don’t find the Catalina gorgeous then you aren’t into planes.

The weather was really hot for the day and the storms went either side of Duxford so we didn’t get wet. I had paid for a ticket upgrade so there was a marquee with tables and chairs where we sat. Along with posh portaloos and a seating area outside just by the tower this proved to be a worthwhile investment. Well worth doing as I could dump stuff and walk around with just the camera.

The photos above are a selection from the over 400 that were taken on the day. My challenge next time is to get the colours showing on the aircraft more when they are flying. Photographs of just silhouettes aren’t that interesting.

Trying to be quiet

It seems that I find it impossible to be quiet when needed. Not an ADHD thing but just a clumsy thing.
My house is quite small (compact) and I am normally cooking while my wife is putting my youngest to bed. So I’ll be washing up and trying to stir food quietly. It just doesn’t end up being that quiet! I unintentionally bang saucepans, drop cans and crash into the furniture. The more I try and be quiet the more noise I seem to make!
The kids sleep fine if there’s a constant noise but struggle with sharp bangs and crashes. This is probably an evolutionary thing (evolution is real, get over it you religious morons), constant rain or rustling is not a danger but sudden noises spell the end so run away.
So I think this phenomenon is the “don’t think of your name in lights” syndrome. When you try not to do things you end up doing them because you are thinking about the things you shouldn’t do. Richard Wiseman mentions this in his book Paranormality. For instance, on the last lap of a GT5 race I am mostly thinking of not crashing but I tend to spin off more in the last lap than at other times!
Trying our best not to do something often ends with us doing that exact thing. Oh, I’m trying to not buy a 3D tv at the moment!

Tear Gas and gun shots

Following on from my blog post about bombs in London that I had heard I thought I would write about just 2 more incidents of “slightly scary stuff that has happened to me”.

I am pretty sure it was New Year’s Eve of 1995 going into 1996. We had an Eve Eve party the night before and I may have been feeling the worse for wear. I am sure I was not drinking alcohol and we had left our flat in Ealing and were in, I think, the Harrington Arms. Someone will correct me. I was drinking orange juice, because of the night before. We were in the basement area and I went to the gents. When I came back I was greeted by one of our party who I thought was really upset and crying. It turns out this was just the effects of the tear gas that was working its way through the pub. Someone had let off a canister for fun as far as I knew and it soon affected me. My eyes and nose hurt and I felt even worse than I had from the night before. Needless to say we left and went elsewhere before heading to Parliament Square for the midnight hour.

The next incident happened on FA Cup final day in 1996 or 1997. I was at a flat just off the North End Road in London and was happily not really paying attention to the game when there were three loud bands and shouting from the flat beneath. I called the police. A while later there were plenty of armed police outside the block and they were calling up to the flat below me. I just waited and eventually someone was led away from the flats and the police spoke to me about what happened. I think the guy below just fired blanks in a rage but it didn’t matter to me. I think it could have been worse if I was out in the open and heard gun shots when I knew there shouldn’t be any.

Oh well. Life is much less exciting out here in the countryside.


Following the bomb that went off in Oslo, I decided to write down my experiences of terror.
During my time as a student in London there were 15 bombs or left packages left either by the IRA or by middle east terrorists. I lived there from 1992 to 1996. There were some huge explosions and many people died, but 99.999% of the population were safe. I always checked in at home after an explosion, calling my mum from a phone that was attached to the wall via a cable! I never really understood the worry she would face but now I have my children I get it at last.
The first bomb I heard was during my first year at Imperial College. I was asleep in student halls in South Kensington (actually they were in Westminster but I’m being picky!). I woke to the sound of a blast of thunder and I turned sides. When I became a little more conscious I realised it was sunny outside and so the noise must have been a bomb. I mentally shrugged and then went back to sleep. I don’t know what time I then woke up but I remember not being really bothered by the bomb. Fortunately no one was injured or killed. Those sort of things happened. It was 10th January 1992.
The second bomb I heard was more of a shock. By this time I was working for the students’ union of Imperial College and we had offices in the Beit building. There had been a fire alarm and so we were gathered in the quadrangle waiting for the all clear when there was a very loud boom. I knew it was a big bomb and quite close. I was worried about people and hoped that help would arrive. I also knew there was nothing I could do. There would be many people gathering to help. Some other members of the student union staff were visibly shocked and moved by the bomb. This time it was a big car bomb planted by someone from the middle east as they had just blown up the Israeli embassy. 20 people were injured and there was a lot of damage. It was 26 July 1994.
These days it seems we are more worried about terrorism without having the terrorism. It bothers me that we have lots of hype from the press and the government. The rigmarole we go through to get on a plane or visit a tourist attraction bothers me. The data show that no threats have been beaten through these security measures, the plots that have been stopped were caught by old fashioned police and intelligence work.
Time to get real on terrorism I think. Yes, there is a threat, but there always has been. We are a global power and so will always face having to deal with disgruntled people.

TV volume settings

This post is based on a tweet. Perhaps this’ll happen more often. I find something pithy to mention and then I’ll expand upon it in a blog post.
My wife was changing the TV volume the other day and making sure she could see the number it was set on (the amp is perpendicular to where we sit, so quite hard to read). I asked whether she was being fussy about what volume the amp was on. No, was the reply, you are the fussy one.
This is correct as I would prefer the TV volume (actually the amp volume) on either a multiple of 2 or 5. Given that for normal TV viewing the ideal volume is somewhere between 20 and 30 this gives plenty of choice: 22,24,25,26,28. The other volume settings are incorrect to use and even if they create the best listening conditions I would find it hard to settle on one of those.
I do not consider this to be weird behaviour, I consider it to be remarkably sensible although I would probably end up with many logical fallacies should I attempt to explain how this obsessiveness can be  justified.
A friend will only get out of bed if, when he looks at the alarm clock, it is a multiple of 5 minutes. If not he will stay in bed until the next multiple. Now that’s weird!