Monday, April 25, 2005

Time for a new DVD Player

So after a frustratingly short time (about 3 years) it is time to replace my DVD player. It's a Pioneer DV939a and it is a great machine, but it has started becoming very unpredictable. Sometimes it plays a film fine, and other times it just refuses to load a disk. And despite the quality when it is working fine - it has stopped playing my favorite film, Apollo 13, and that is quite unacceptable (and before you impune my trouble shooting abilities, of course I have tried the disk on other DVD players and it works).

Now you can pick up a DVD player from reputable makes like Sony for under £50 but they are no good for me since I need an optical output to link it to my surround sound amplifier. So if the budget market is out, what to choose. Also, should I go for a straight DVD player or a DVD with a hard disk to replace my video as well. Or even a hard disk recorder with a subscription like SKY. My frolleague Cali Clarke is a massive fan of the TiVo, which offers a great user interface and a devoted fan base, but it ain't gonna play my DVDs. Another frolleague Darren Adams is an advocate of the SKY+ box (despite some teething troubles). Once more this cannot play my DVDs, but more importantly, Ali has said she will divorce me if we get satellite TV. Something about the likelihood of me spending 22 hours a day watching the Men and Motors channel apparently :-(

So my current thinking is to go for a combined DVD/Hard Disk recorder. It would get me back in the 21 Century which appeals to my Geeky side, but the ability to stop having to program the video is another big draw. I have been looking lustfully at the Pioneer DVR 420HS romping in at about £300. Has anyone advice, experience or recommendations for these combo devices? Any help appreciated.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Harbron Wow Chrysalis Records!

So as you will know from previous Log entries, my friends Marcus and Mike have a band called Harbron. Mike works for The Chrysalis Group. Chrysalis is a real force in music. It was Chrysalis that signed Blondie, Jethro Tull and Skinhead O'Conner. They also have artists like Outkast, Moloko and Feeder on their books. So they are one of the world most successful and significant "Indie" Labels around. Clearly when they were arranging their annual Charity bash they wanted a representative from seminal bands like "Sideburner" to be in attendance - so I had an invitation.

The event was hosted by Iain Lee who you might know from the Channel 4's The 11 o'clock show and various game shows. Here is a photo of him being irreverent. He was very funny but had a potty mouth. Tsk.

There were loads of acts. It was kinda like Buttlins for the cool, many Chysalis employees having a turn. Chris Wright is the Chairman of the group and he was the guy who signed Blondie. So clearly he is a GOD. But what a good sport, he took part in a spoof of what receptionists get up to. He is the guy in the bad brunette wig.

This is what Chris really looks like. You might think - hang on - he looked better in the wig. Maybe so - but did you sign Blondie? 'Nuff Said.

This is Mike and Marcus wooing the crowd. I was in that crowd so I know they went down really well. Cheering for more is always a good clue :0)

The Judges decided that Harbron deserved an award. So they went up to meet Iain Lee to get their prize. Good work fellas.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

T-Mobile in great service shock!

I lost my phone last weekend and imagined a world of pain would result. I rang the T-Mobile service line and was astounded by how helpful they were. They immediately canceled the SIM and Phone so anyone finding it couldn't abuse it as you would expect. But they also said that I was entitled to an upgrade, so I could pick a new phone up to a value of £80 and they would pay. However, I had already decided to go for the excellent Samsung E330. It turns out that this only cost £50 if you have a contact. So they gave me the phone, didn't charge me the standard £10 for a replacement SIM, didn't charge me £5 for delivery and knocked £15 of my next months bill! To my delight the next phone and SIM card showed up at 10am the following morning.

It is said that on average people tell 3 people when they have had a good experience with a company and 20 when they have had a bad experience. And when I read other folks web logs this seems to be true, because everyone seems to be complaining about something, be it erratic Sky Plus boxes or lettuce in Sandwiches. Well I want the whole world to know that T-Mobile is really great and sorted me out good and proper. Well done.

Monday, April 11, 2005


You may remember a month or so ago that I was enthusing about the new Doctor Who. Well the first two episodes have been great fun. But not particularly scary. And every now and again Doctor Who should be a bit scary for kids. I remember being a kid and watching Tom Baker battle the Daleks and being mighty scared.

Due to being at Lightning Tom's 30th birthday celebration on Saturday I missed the 3rd episode, "The Unquiet Dead" so Ali and I have just watched in on Video. Bearing in mind that Doctor Who is a children's program it was really quite frightening at points, with Dead folk rising up and murdering people! The new Doctor Who should get the kids back behind the sofa again.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Marcus plays his first proper gig ...

My top mate Marcus is playing guitar with singer Mike in a band called Harbron. Here they are at the 12 Bar Club in Denmark street in London.

Good to know that the Sideburner bass player is keeping his hand in. They started and finished brilliantly with a slight dip in the middle. Both Marcus and Mike were really good - clearly the best band on the night. Whilst Harbron were the best act, the guy doing a Metallica cover on his own was seriously entertaining and must be either mad or an undiscovered genius. (Clue: It was the first one).

Incidentally, if you have been waiting for you opportunity to see Al and Neil in the Beautiful Losers they are playing the Half Moon in Putney on Saturday.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Big Issue!

It looks like Ali and I are going to be homeless :-( Just heard this weekend that due to unfortunate illness in her family, our landlady is being forced to sell our house. So we are out on our ear. We have 2 months to sort something. Having spent 6 years in my first flat and 9 years in the next one I'm not really one for moving all the time. So leaving our current place after just 2 years will be weird.