Blog April 2005 - AndyPryke.com
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Sat 30th April 2005

Subject: Withypool Stone Circle

Nice peaceful circle on Withypool hill. Again, there are rumours it was built by the little people, the biggest one clocking in at 18 inches or so. I also found some sunglasses (pictured) so if they're yours...

Posted on the move at 17:59:36





Subject: Withypool

The village seems to be the petrol pump capital of the southwest with no fewer than four(!) Ancient dispensing machines on display. The local tory candidate is called flook, like the cartoon character from the daily mail.

Posted on the move





Subject: Porlock Stone Circle

Visited this today with Phil of six months off blog. The largest stone (pictured) is about 2 feet high!

Posted on the move at 15:10:32



Thurs 27th Apr 2005

More Avit festival at the CustardFactory:

  • Avit Crashed Exhibit:
    Avid7_msoft_crash.jpg

  • Avid Bed Projection:
    Avid1.jpg

  • Avit Bed Projection 2:
    Avid14.jpg

  • Avit Self Projection:
    Avid13.jpg

  • Avit live laptop set:
    Avid12.jpg

  • Avit live laptop set:
    Avid_11.jpg

Tues 26th Apr 2005

Added loads of Street Furniture Stickers to my Street Furniture Stickers page, and a couple of new subervtised Tory Posters to "Are you thinking what we're thinking?".

Seven Inch Cinema at the Custard Factory as part of the Avit festival ( http://www.avit.org.uk ). Modulate ( http://www.a-v-a.co.uk ) did a two part live laptop spot - the second part with very closely synched visuals, flashes of blue light bursting across the screen. I wasn't sure if the sound was generating the video or vice-versa or what.

  • Modulate :
    seven_inch_modulate1.jpg
    seven_inch_modulate2.jpg
    seven_inch_modulate4.jpg

Flat-E's work ( http://www.flat-e.com ) was sinister, with semi-silhouttes of insect-like mechanism clacking away to the beats. Next we had "Equation: X+X = 0" (1936) with a score by the ZX-Spectrum Orchestra, a fascinating piece I'd seen before, with a rhythmical, mathematical edge.

"I Woz Ere" by Richard Coldicott was sticker and grafitti influenced, with a pair of stickers attempting to escape from a smoothly stop-frame animated graffiti explosion. (Trying to find a copy online, I ran across http://www.ektopia.co.uk/ektopia/archives/category/animation/ which has links to lots of animations.)

PirareHairWaves' two films remixed Sammy Davis Junior and various Jazz clips, making me want to see more of both.

An outstanding film for Turn Off TV week ( http://www.adbusters.org/metas/psycho/tvturnoff/ ) was Electronic Behaviour Control System by Emergency Broadcast Network, cutting up TV presenters and politicians on the theme of lies, manipulation and the new opium of the masses.

Filmficciones presented his own mix of videos and wierdness, including the Plone remix of Pram's Bewitched, a song I've been playing a lot recently. You can hear a sample here - http://www.karmadownload.com/album/?Somniloquy - to be honest, I did rig it up as my mobile phone ringtone for a bit! But currently I've got Plone's "Be Rude To Your School".

  • GPO Film:
    seven_inch_gpo_film.jpg

Looks like Avit is going to be great, and of course Seven Inch Cinema retains it's title as one of the best events in Brum!

  • Beat13 Video Installation at Avid(detail):
    avit_beat13_installation.jpg
http://www.beat13.co.uk

Sun 24 Apr 2005

Subject: Notorious Choir

Finally saw the Notorious choir at the JamesBrindley, where they did a fun and interesting mix of Abba and Queen songs to a very high standard.

Posted on the move at 17:57:11





Subject: Cafe Rouge

Ate at Cafe Rouge in the Bullring. Had a penne pasta dish in a rather bland and sparse cream sauce. As a whole, the place had rather a fast food atmosphere, and i was "up sold" bread (£2) and olives (£1.65) by my waiter, as were most other people. A glass of house red brought the total to £14. Not the best choice for city centre eating, especially given CafeSoya and Wagamama's in close proximity.

Posted on the move at 17:57:03



Sat 23 Apr 2005

Ate at Wagamama's in the Bullring. Good value for money, nice food - liked the Edamame of which there was plenty.

Saw Neville's Island, staring Les Dennis at the Rep. Yes, I know the presence of the star of Family Fortunes and his eponymous "Laughter Show" should have been a clue. Actually, the acting was fine, the set and lighting were atmospheric and accurate, the play was only let down by the script and the audience. The first half is a laugh a minute, although sometimes the audience's laughter went on so long that the actual punchline to the jokes had to be delivered way past time. In the second half, the writer had obviously decided that it was time to prove their credential as a serious playwright, and brought in themes of depression, madness, suicide and euthanasia (delt with in around 30 seconds and promptly forgotten). Although the "Lord of the Files" (their, good, line) like descent into madness and savagery was hinted at in a knowing way, this occasional metatextual commentary wasn't enough to rescue the piece. Sadly, I think some of the Les Dennis fans will have gone home disappointed, after experiencing what was for many a corking first half. I'm glad I stayed, if only to get a chance to use the words "Les Dennis" and "metatextual commentary" in the same paragraph!

Les Dennis's obituary can be found here: http://www.therockalltimes.co.uk/2003/01/13/obituary-les-dennis.html If I was cruel, I'd make some joke about him only dying on stage, but in fact he died neither there or in real life.

Fri 22 Apr 2005

Ate at Cafe Soya in the Arcadian once again. I still rate it as one of the best places to eat in Birmingham, and I believe that http://www.birminghamplus.com/ agrees.

Garage grafiti in Moseley:
moseley_garages_hoakser.jpg
http://www.hoakser.com

Subject: sing-along-a-BNP

Last night I heard the BNP political broadcast on the radio. It was bizare. Very bizare. It consisted of about one minute of Nick Griffin (or whoever) saying "white people can be victims of racism too", then the rest of the broadcast was someone (please god, let it be Nick Griffin) singing a song with an acoustic guitar. I thought they were going to have maybe 30 seconds of song and then get back to policy, but no. Presumably, they think that their policies would lose them votes, but now, people at the ballot box will think "well, I don't know what they stand for, but at least they can sing"! Surely somebody (mentioning no names, Tony) has nobled the ad agencies responsible for the BNP and tory campaigns.

Posted on the move at 10:17:36

Thu 21 Apr 2005

Ancient texts rediscovered (maybe)

Read an interesting article from the Independent on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (Copy at - http://snarkyspot.blogspot.com/... )

One of the possibilities mentioned is finding more of the Oxyrhynchus Gospels (http://en.wikipedia.org/...), which might throw a spannner in the new pope's works' (not that non approved Christian texts have bothered them too much before).

...Jesus Mysteries...

I read "The Jesus Mysteries" a few years ago (yes, before Dan Brown and his DaVinci Code!) and was quite convinced by their analysis of the historical evidence that there wasn't a real, historical JesusChrist. There's http://www.courses.drew.edu/... for part of book giving a brief overview. Basically, ancient document found recently contradict the literalist ("there is a physical man called Jesus") approach taken in modern Christianity, and many of the properties of the figure: born of a virgin, in humble circumstances, attended by shepherds, turns water into wine,dies and is re-born, celebrated through bread and wine symbolising body and blood etc. are found in earlier myths of Osiris-Dionysus.

There's basically no historical evidence for this Jesus, and even basic events in the gospels indicate that literalist interpretations are flawed. For example, he's meant to be born after the Quirinius census, and persecuted by Herod, but Herod died before the census!

Sticker Photos

Took some pictures of Street Furniture Stickers, which I've put on a seperate page as this one's getting too big!

... and Birmingham landmarks old and new

Live pics... Low res

Posted on the move at 17:51:05





Weds 20th April 2005

I'm tempted to add mobile upload of sound and video files. The files from the K700i phone are in .AMR (sound) and .3GP (video) format. Here's how to convert the sound files - http://www.aquarionics.com/article/name/How_to_convert_AMR_files_to_MP3

On a PC, you can use 2 pieces of software from Miksoft to convert AMR and 3GP files to MP3 and AVI respectively.

What you will notice if you try this is that AVI files are massive compared to 3GP. For example, one of my 10 second files is 95kb in 3GP but 7Mb is AVI! A 1.5 min clip goes from 600kb to 33Mb! I've no idea if there's a loss of quality as well. You'd hope not, given the increase in space needed.

For viewing 3GP, you can use Quicktime (instructions here - http://www.movieeditor.com/funlittlemovies/3gp/3gp.player.howto.html ), or apparently Nokia has a player you can download. Haven't found a codec I can plug into (the excellent) Irfanview though.

Tue 19 Apr 2005

Subject: Advertising as pollution

So, here I am, waiting for a bus, casting my eyes around. What do I see? Adverts. That's what I see. Adverts on bus shelters, adverts on hoardings, adverts in shop windows. Even adverts busses and phone boxes. Right now, I can see 5 hoardings, not to count the rest. It reminds me of a proposal I heard to tax advertising as a form of pollution of thei memeosphere. http://www.adbusters.org have the right idea.

Posted on the move at 21:12:37

Tue 19 Apr 2005

Gmail Loader

Gmail is great for somethings - searching mail, reading it via the web and keeping an archive. Of course you're at the great G's mercy on the subjects of privacy, permanence and uptime. Still, it's a very useful tool. I've been experimenting with things to do with Gmail. One of them was to use it as a kind of "to do" list - emails which I send to myself, with a subject prefix of "doit" are automatically labelled, so I can call up a running "to do list". Haven't decided whether this works well yet.

Another tool I'm experimenting with is Mark Lyon's GMail Loader ( http://www.marklyon.org/gmail/ ) This does what it says on the tin, it uploads email archives to GMail (with all the attendent risks noted above), therefore giving you searchable mail archives online. Previously I've experimented with Zoe but due to a yet undiagnosed problem in its interaction with my mail server or POPFile, I've currently got this on hold. Somehow messages disappeared in the chain between Popfile, Zoe and my mail client (Pegasus mail).

Anyway, this is getting very techie, rather then my normal arts-scene fodder!

P.S. In case you're worried about the state of my thumbs, txting this in via my mobile phone, I'm actually sending it from a real keyboard!

Posted on the move at 19:08:43

Tue 19 Apr 2005

Pete Ashton's PodCasting

Did I mention this already? http://peteashton.com/radio/ Pete seems to share quite a lot of what I naÔvely thought were my slightly obscure musical tastes. On his "Pete Radio" you can hear Brute Force, Misty's Big Adventure, Add N to X, King Missile (though not my fave "Cheesecake Truck"), The Magnetic Fields and various other pieces of Music I Like. No muppets yet... though it's only a matter of time I guess smile

Posted on the move at 18:48:17

Tue 19 Apr 2005

Subject: Test Pictures from Birmingham Uni

Just 2 pics to do a field test.

Posted on the move at 14:24:30





Sun 17th April 2005

So, I spent a lot of time recently getting messing about with technology. On Sat, I finally managed to get the email working on my phone. Last week I managed to radically reduce my spam (it was about 600 emails per day, 98% spam) to around 50 a day by setting up the wonderful Procmail on my server. Today I set up Procmail and some scripts to allow me to email in content to my blog smile It makes me happy, in a sad, techie way!

The postx you see below have been send via the phone, so I guess I'm going to be doing more picture posts for a while (until I get bored I guess). I'll also be able to blog on the bus... now isn't that sad!

I guess the next thing is to use some of these tools (external link) to reduce the "weight" of the images.

Today I've also been listening to some of the Lee and Herring stuff which I downloaded from the site at http://www.fistoffun.net/downloads.htm - Lionel Nimrod is wonderful! Listening to it, and some of the live stuff I realised that RH is still using some of the material from this time in his shows now. That's not a criticism, if it's good then it's good, but again it makes me think about the techniques of comedy, how it is actually work, even though sitting in the audience is fun.

It's a bit like people who think "Let's move out into the countryside and run a guest house. That would be fun". Which is a sensible deduction, in one way, as whenever they've been in a guest house, they've been on holiday and having fun. They have of course, made the mistake of confusing "being a guest in a guest house" and "running a guest house" (to paraphrase L&H). Easy to do. I guess that people who work on CognitiveFallacies have some sort of special term for this, aside from foolish!

I thought I might as well mention my WeirdInternetAnimations page - it's consistantly one of the most popular pages on the site, and many of those hits come from people searching for the classic "Miss Muffy and the Muff Mob", a bizare flash cartoon about the trials and tribulations of a gang of rapping muffins. Well worth a look if you haven't seen it before.

I've also had a lot of hits for my collection of subvertised Tory Posters (below or on their own page. So my hits for this page are about what I'd normally get in a month.

Sun 17 Apr 2005

Subject: Another test image from the phone

Jeff Lewis and Dufus are playing at the JugOfAle on the 8th of May.

Posted on the move at 23:15:12



Sun 17 Apr 2005

Picture of a vase sent from my phone

Posted on the move at 22:57:43



Sun 17 Apr 2005

Sign of the Times

I spotted this sign in the back room of a pub I visited recently.

You'd have though that there wouldn't be that many kids under 12 in there...

Posted on the move at 22:35:11



Friday 16th April 2005

Met up with Ben (Silent Words Speak Loudest - http://silentwordsspeakloudest.blogspot.com/ ), Kenny (Parallax View - http://www.parallaxview.nu/ ) and Vicky ( http://www.thehighrise.org/weblog/ ) for a drink - first in the TheOldJointStock, then TheWellington and finally to Nightingales. A fun night was had by all (I hope), but I consumed rather too much beer, but did manage to escape without "leather chaps" (c.f. Kenny's great write up at http://www.parallaxview.nu/ )....what can I add except to say that we were called queers by the bloke who took that taxi we arrive in, we went to the wrong bit of Nightingales to meet the people we were meeting, who I never met anyway, so we left after one drink (and minus £10 entrance), to go round the corner to the bit we really wanted to be in, we talked but didn't dance, and as nobody tried to chat any of us up. Shucks!

Thursday 15th April 2005

Saw RichardHerring at the ComedyKav. He was full of snappy one-liners - not! He did an excellent set, with what seemed like 45 minutes on his yogurt / supermarket incident, something a normal comediam would have struggled to stretch to 5 mins. Anyone who wants to do standup should study him - just to understand how his humour works on a technical level. His letter of application to become pope was also very interesting - right in his style, which you'd recognise from LionelNimrod's Inexplicable World (episodes of which you can download from the Fist of Fun website - http://www.fistoffun.net/downloads.htm ).

Weds 13th April 2005

Attended "Draw Lots" put on by Periscope, an "artist led space" in the Lee Bank Business Centre - I guess intimately connected with Birmingham Artists who are based there. The walls were covered in paper, and you were invited to "draw lots". By the time I got there, lots had been drawn, in lots of styles and often on-top of each other. Nice idea and seemed to go very well.

Tuesday 12th April 2005

Ran across Flickr, a website to which you can upload your photos. Handy. The interesting thing is that you can see everyone's photo's.

Looking at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ shows you the most recent additions.

Searching for Sushi gives nearly 1000 pictures of, well... Sushi - http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/sushi/

and of course, searching for me gives... http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/me/

I quite liked this Modified Tory Poster, I actually found it through a search for "lies"!
tory_poster.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/billyniblick/6654694/in/photostream/


Tory Poster: You Tory Scum
http://www.flickr.com/photos/twindx/8519876/


Tory Poster: Big No
http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_z_boy/9150045/


Tory Poster: No again...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dipics/9213774/


Tory Posters: Yes it is U Racists
http://flickr.com/photos/nic/5944571/

I also found this gem:
tory_BNP_poster.jpg
(Image stolen from http://www.martinstabe.com/blog/archives/2005/03/bnp_tory_poster.php )


Poster:The law should protect people not property
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/02/305629.html

Look carefully...
Poster: Are you thinking that we're stinking?
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/manchester/2005/03/307633.html


Protect me, not the rich
http://bristol.indymedia.org/newswire/display/22108/index.php


Tory Poster: Thinking we're trustworthy?
" 450pt Tahoma (in bold capitals) matches the typeface used on the bottom of these billboards almost perfectly" - https://www1.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/04/308264.html


 Tory Poster: It's not clever to fight elections on imigration
http://talkpolitics.users20.donhost.co.uk/index.php?title=if_you_re_thinking_what_we_re_all_thinki&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1


Tory Poster: Are you thinking? We're not
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/04/308059.html


Tory Poster: Impose limits on Tory bigots
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sumit/7337234/in/pool-ukelection05/


tory_poster_five_tory_years_of_sh_t.jpg</br /> Spotted by Nick Kreel in Brighton


tory_poster_we_are_one_nation.jpg
Taken by me, Andy Pryke, in Birmingham

...and finally, my own creation...

Tory Poster: Labour are doing what we're thinking
Create your own poster at: http://kryogenix.org/code/conposter/index.php

You can also see the pictures above on their own page - Are you thinking what we're thinking?

Friday 8th April 2005

Went to the opening of the new exhibition at the Ikon Gallery. In the 2nd floor gallery, coloured plastic "washing line" is stretched across the ceiling of the three rooms, providing a pleasant but strange colour shift. TVs scattered around the galleries and public spaces show stray cats lapping at milk while occasionally looking around nervously. The first floor gallery features canvases large and small plus photographs of the artists works in the homes of collectors. It's kind of a two artworks for the price of one thing... sell your painting to someone, come round and take a photo of it in their house, sell the picture... smile As always, I think I'll be going back to take a second look when the gallery is less busy.

Ate at the Del Villagio Cafe on Broad St, cheap and cheerful. Pasta at £3.50 a bowl, large pizza slices at £2.50. My microwaved gnocci wasn't warmed through all the way, but the sauce was tasty and it was cheap!

Sunday 3rd April 2005

Visited Winchcombe, a charming village in the Cotswolds. It really looked like something from a BBC drama, and I expected to meet Miss Marple around every corner. What is it that makes these places so attractive? I know I'd hate living 20 miles from a cinema or theatre, but still they have a romance... However, having seen places on TV I know that they (1) everyone knows your business (2) church going is obligatory and (3) they are beset by murders (Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie etc). I'd rather take my chance in the inner city!

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