Relocating - please follow the link for new content

This archive will stay here - but you can find new posts (as well as this archive) at my new website which is at It's the new home for Stuart Eglin Online - including the blog, musings, and details of the publications and services which I have available. Take a look - it's worth a visit!

Monday, 28 February 2005

Podcasting - first ideas

OK, so I want to make a podcast. I have spent far too much time over the last week looking into the whole issue of podcasting. I have looked at Adam Curry's site (founder of this whole podcasting idea). I have downloaded the ipodder software, and subscribed to a number of feeds so that I can receive shows when they appear. I am now signed up to 22 feeds (look on podcast net and for lists of podcasts) - but something is wrong with the way ipodder is set up, as feeds aren't coming through as they should be. Technologically challenged! I've figured out that I can make a podcast using Audacity and have downloaded that too - I'm in the middle of trying to figure out how to set up an rss feed so that people can subcribe to the podcast and download it. And that's as far as I have got with it. Time is what is needed - oodles of it! I'm carving out what I can. In the meantime, watch this space. Or if you are a few steps ahead of me, post a comment and tell me how to get there...

Yes, there are plenty of sites with guidance but they tend to very quickly drop into geek-speak, which leaves me completely baffled. A little determination and trial and error, and we will get there.

Friday, 25 February 2005

More new music than you can eat in one sitting

One way and another I have a heap of music to listen to at the moment. Try this for size:

o Brian Eno & Jah Wobble – Spinner
o Brian Eno & Laraaji – Ambient 3: Days of Radiance
o Brian Eno – Future Light Lounge Proposal @ Bonn 1998
o Can – Tago Mago
o Magazine – Real Life
o Magazine – The Correct Use of Soap
o Matching Mole – Matching Mole
o Porcupine Tree – Futile EP
o Roy Harper – Live 1978
o Soft Machine – 1 & 2
o Soft Machine – Third
o The Residents – The Warner Brothers Album
o Fripp & Eno Live London 1975
o Keith Jarrett w European Quartet - Live Frankfurt 1976
o King Crimson – Live Stockholm 2003
o Magazine – Secondhand Daylight
o Robert Fripp String Quintet – Kan-non Power
o Tabla Beat Science – Tala Matrix
o The Residents – Duck Stab + Buster & Glen + Goosebump
o This Heat – This Heat
o Bjork – Medulla
o The Blue Nile – High
o Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
o Elbow – Cast of Thousands
o Echo & The Bunnymen – What are you going to do with your life?
o David Sylvian – The Good Son vs The Only Daughter
o Sylvian / Sakamoto – World Citizen

I love being overwhelmed with the amount of music I have to listen to. Much fun will be had over the coming days wading through it all, and absorbing all the ideas and styles.

On top of all this, I also have been listening to podcasts by a few people. Two which have grabbed my attention so far are PodCastPaul and Richard Vobes. Both are based in the UK and produce new shows of 30 to 40 minutes in length every few days (Vobes is most days!) They combine chat with music and provide something which you can’t get on the airwaves at the moment. The commercial radio channels in the UK are all the same and generate a bland mix of music and inane nonsense. I like that fact that podcasts allow anyone to put together their own thoughts, tastes and idiosyncrasies without being restricted by commercial considerations. I’ll be posting more on this as I work out whether I can put together my own podcasts.

Thursday, 24 February 2005

Magazine - 2 albums

I have managed to get hold of two of the albums by Magazine, an English band of the late 70s and early 80s. I still have these albums on vinyl, but never take the trouble to listen to any of my vinyl collection.

The two albums - Real Life and The Correct Use of Soap - are every bit as wonderful as I remember them being. I love the dry drawl of Howard Devoto's voice. And the mix of guitar, bass, drums and synthesiser (Dave Formula - yes, very 80s synth, I know) make for a fantastic sound. The lyrics are incredibly sharp and bitter too. Devoto spent a short time in the Buzzcocks with Pete Shelley (he wrote their hit "Boredom") before leaving to form Magazine. I saw them live in Liverpool and thought they were brilliant.

I remember these two albums really well. I played them to death at the time. The two other studio albums - "Secondhand Daylight" and "Magic, Murder and the Weather" - I haven't heard as far as I can remember, so I'm going to search for those too. There is also a live album called "Play" which is supposed to be excellent too.

The main guitarist John McGeogh (who left the band to work with Souxie and the Banshees) died last spring. His guitar was a distinctive sound in their music. They were a band that worked through a fair few members though, so there were other guitarists.

There's a fan website which is worth a visit to find out more about them. It sounds like Howard left the music scene for a while, working as a photo librarian. He has been back in the music industry recently working with Pete Shelley in Buzzkunst and ShelleyDevoto.

With songs like 'The Light Pours out of me', 'Shot by both sides', and 'A Song from under the floorboards' Magazine are definitely a band in need of a revival.

"Maybe it's right to be nervous now..."

"Now that I'm out of touch with anger / Now I have nothing to live up to"

Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Been away

Well, I am back after a break of a week. I went to Austria skiing. This was the second time I had been skiing and it is now all starting to make some sense. I can now go at fair speed without falling over (too much!)

The service is now back in action. There will be posts over the next few days, on music, poetry etc.

I received an email from Norm Geras this morning. He wrote to let me know that my blogroll of links had disappeared off the site. After an exhange of emails, it seems that this is a problem in certain browsers, and not in others. How strange! If you are unable to see my "Weblogs I watch" list then please let me know, so that I can see if I can do something about it.

Whilst I was away, there was also a reference on Anny Ballardini's site to the posting I made recently about the Creative Commons initiative. Thanks for that, Anny. This was the second time I had had feedback to the idea of inserting a Creative Commons license to the site. Greg Perry also emailed me about it. It's interesting which posts attract attention.

Anyway, over the next few days I'll post reactions to some of the music I have been listening to recently including David Sylvian's "The Only Daughter".

I'll also be commenting on Podcasting and offering some links to podcasters. Watch this space!

Thursday, 10 February 2005

Creative Commons

After the last post, I looked through the Creative Commons website and within five minutes I had figured out how to set up a Creative Commons license on the weblog. Over in the sidebar there is a Creative Commons license with a link to show what the terms are. So easy!

Wired News: Putting Eyeballs on Copyright Law

The latest issue of Wired News has an article about a civil rights fight over copyright. It builds on something I commented on a few days ago. The article is well worth a read as it brings into sharp focus the issue of copyright and control of history, creativity and the arts by large corporations.

It feels to me like we are on the verge of real change around this whole issue - the challenges of digital media, the democracy of file sharing (see post from a while ago) - it's a question of who will win out on this.

I'm becoming increasingly aware of the whole "Creative Commons" movement. Time to investigate further...

Classic Deviation

and here is the remix of the 20th poem...

21 – classic deviation

Thursday 3rd February 2005

What it became

Before the slipping

Never meant to be
Pushing all back to

A reflection of
What it once was

Now devout
World with a

With a speckled mirror
Of being

And ever shall be
Or do without

In an
Anguished shout.

Good ending.

Wednesday, 9 February 2005

Classic Devotion

The 30 poems in 30 days sequence continues to develop. Here is the 20th poem, written last week:

20 – classic devotion

Wednesday 2nd February 2005

Never meant to be
What it became

Before the slipping
Of being

With a speckled mirror
Pushing all back to
A reflection of

What it once was
And ever shall be

World with a
Good ending

In an
Anguished shout.

Now devout
Or do without!

Make it last forever, it just might

I'm in the middle of a creative splurge at the moment. A flood of poems appearing, generated by the 30 poems in 30 days exercise. It's a fantastic way to clear away writer's block. Here's another - they'll all go through drafts, but here are the first rough sketches...

25 – make it last forever, it just might

Monday 7th February 2005

I know I know
Don’t tell me any more
The scene, the seam, the scream
Everything untidy now, a gentle beat,
A scratching then a scraping sound
A turning and a sense of people
Everyone I find these days, all the strings
A tuneless plucking of a dobro
Just to remember that the artifice of my inner energies
Is as hollow as the rain on the plastic roof
It’s not about spinning, it’s about sitting still
Putting the cough back in the throat
Holding back, not making a point –
When the silence is easier, you see,
Than the vibrant colours that recline on the sofa
And the heart I wear on my sleeve, cliché-like,
Wondering why the music boxes all sound the same –
The point of counter-point
The silent way,
The directions, the sense of self
Make it last forever, it just might.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

This is not a war

The record industry still wants to wage war with its customers. In the USA lawyers battle for the centre-ground on copyright. Companies see copyright as an issue of intellectual property, as though the creation of artists is a commodity, something that can be owned and controlled by corporations.

Well, I was struck by the following quote from Jeff Tweedy, member of the band Wilco. The act of creativity involves a partnership with the audience, not a battle for ownership. The approach to file sharing being taken by the recording industry, is a battle that will not achieve results - it runs contrary to the process of creativity.

The quote is taken from Wired magazine - Wired 13.02: VIEW:

"'Music,' Tweedy explained, 'is different' from other intellectual property. Not Karl Marx different - this isn't latent communism. But neither is it just 'a piece of plastic or a loaf of bread.' The artist controls just part of the music-making process; the audience adds the rest. Fans' imagination makes it real. Their participation makes it live. 'We are just troubadours,' Tweedy told me. 'The audience is our collaborator. We should be encouraging their collaboration, not treating them like thieves.'"

Monday, 7 February 2005

Little notebooks

I'm a fanatical seeker of little notebooks. The sort that you can put in a pocket and take anywhere with you. I particularly like the ones that have an elastic strap that holds them together. I discovered Moleskine notebooks a few years ago when I bought one at the gift shop near Bunratty Castle in County Clare, Ireland. They are wonderful notebooks, with the strap and a pocket on the inside back cover so that you can store slips of paper without them falling out.

Since then, this sort of notebook has become easier to get hold of. They are great as a journal, list maker or general note taker. There are other makes too.

I work on the principle that if I don't make a note of it when I think of it, the idea will just disappear and never be put to the use which it could have been.

Wednesday, 2 February 2005

To escape the fire

30 poems in 30 days continues. Sunday's poem was number 17, and it looks like this (at the moment):

17 – to escape the fire

Sunday 30th January 2005

take one match, and a small bundle of sticks
place the sticks on dry grass
strike the match and set the grass alight

stand back, and wait
if needed, blow gently to increase the flames

when the flames are gathering height, and spreading
watch calmly as they engulf the plants that surround you

to escape the fire
run like the demons in the night, don’t stop until you reach
the corner of beyond, the first steps of the house outside town

now pause, and think to yourself,
if you had waited, if you had allowed yourself
to be consumed by the flames

the cleansing of the fire, the burning
would have left you clearer, removed from the flaws of today

now think, would you run,
would you stand and feel the burn,
take the process as the cleansing of soul.

Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Blogger and Categories

Well, my reply from Blogger came through quite quickly (mentioned in an earlier post). There is no category facility in Blogger. That was it!

Today, I have been hunting online for more information about this. It has become more of an issue since I set up another weblog called "Evaluation in Healthcare". This is a site I am using to post tips, ideas and resources for healthcare evaluation which is the day job (no, the posts here are not endorsed or supported by my day job, let's make that clear). I need to be able to define categories so that visitors can find their way around the posts in a useful way.

I wanted to use a similar facility for this site so that I can have categories of reviews, music, poems, views etc etc

Well, after an extensive search using google, it looks like Blogger have no immediate plans for categories. Rumours are that this went on the back-burner when Blogger became part of Google. Is it just me, or does Blogger seem to have wound down since becoming part of Google. Posts to the news section are drying up.

I had an idea earlier this afternoon involving posting a page for each category which would comprise links to posts as they are made. The links page has to be updated each time a new post is made for that category. Each link page can be connected to through a permanent link on the sidebar. It's a clumsy work-around but it would work.

Several people have come up with solutions involving setting up sub-blogs for each category and using email forwarding to link them together which seems incredibly complicated. I'm going to experiment with the links page approach and see how that works. I've also set up a Google alert to let me know if Blogger comes up with a category solution. Looking at the amount of traffic about this subject, it looks long overdue. Blogger must be losing customers to competitors who do provide this facility.