Up Peel Monument

View of Peel Monument
View of Peel Monument

Hello, it’s been a long time since I posted a new missive on this blog! All of you who subscribe via feed readers etc must be shocked to see me posting again. Well, what have I been doing over the last few months? It seems like not a lot! Actually, I’ve been trying to keep fairly fit and healthy, doing a lot of walking – mainly taking Paul up to Peel Monument (see the photo – it’s near Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester). It’s an old folly on top of a hill, 1100 feet above sea level, and a very steep climb. I’ve also been taking the dog for a walk, about 2.5 miles, three or four times a week in the evenings. It feels like I’ve lost some weight around my middle, so it’s doing something!

I’ve also been trying to get some new tunes written, but severely lacking some inspiration. I’ve got some ideas in my head, proper ideas, rather than just fiddling with loops from a cover disc. I’ve been using a vst host called Minihost, which loads a vst plugin and lets you use your computer keyboard to place the vst instrument. It’s got a built in chord maker, arpeggiator, and sequencer, which is great for fiddling around with. My 5 y.o. also likes playing with it – saying he’s playing Kraftwerk’s Man Machine, and the Dr Who theme tune! Expect some new tunes soon…from him, not me! Only kidding….

The Rude Mechanicals remix I did for NZ band Pitch Black is still around on the web and on the band’s remix CD, Rhythm, Sound and Movement. The remix is also going to be used to promote a big music and arts festival in New Zealand, called Splore. More news to follow soon. I’m also going to meet Paddy and Mike from Pitch Black at the end of October when they play their only UK gig in London. I’m also supposed to be getting the stems to remix a track by International Observer.

Other stuff….been doing a lot of Moodle stuff at work – very busy these days. I’ve also made a website for Paul’s dad and his painting and decorating business, D and S Decorators.  Oh, and I’m now on Facebook, and Twitter, so follow me on there if you’re on there….

Deep Space Lament remix news

As well as the Rude Mechanicals remix I did for NZ band Pitch Black, I did one just after Christmas for a friend’s band from Sheffield (UK) called Animat. The remix is of a song of their’s called “Deep Space Lament”, from their latest album, “Earplay”. I’m really proud of this remix – I only had a week to get it done in and somehow it all came together really quickly. It’s one of those tracks that you think to yourself “how did I do that?” Hopefully Animat’s fans and followers will like it, and the people at the Big Chill label like it too. 

A preview of Deep Space Lament (mistrust remix)  is now up exclusively on my myspace music player, so please listen and see what you think (and add it to your profile!). It’s going to be released on Big Chill Records on 11th May 2009 

There are actually two other  remixes up on my myspace music player. There’s Deep Space Lament, and the two versions of the remix I did of Rude Mechanicals. The original version of this track is on “Rhythm Sound and Movement”, Pitch Black‘s new remix CD, which is out on download at the end of April 2009, and in the shops early May!!!! Looks out for the change in title from the recently available EP versi0n. The track on the remix CD is called the “ambiotik” remix.

Deep Space Lament (mistrust remix) by Animat is out 11th May on all good download stores!

Rude Mechanicals (mistrust/ambiotik remix) is out end of April/early May 2009.

Get more music on my Music page….. 

The colour Purple

No post for a few weeks, mainly due to family commitments, work commitments, and stuff like that. However, I’m excited right now. I’m finally going to get some tunes played on an upcoming internet radio show. More details to follow after 10pm (UK time).

In the meantime, you can get hold of all my music for free. See the previous post for details….

Zen and the art of Myspace pimping

Neil Cocker's big chill photo

image: Big chill night view by Neil Cocker (copyright 2005) (link to Neil Cocker’s Flickr page)

I tried it once. That was all it took to put me off it forever. Everyone else was doing it, so why should I miss out? That was what I thought at the time. The whole world except me was joining in and I was the only one not doing it. I finally plucked up the courage to have ago……

I’m talking about “Pimping” my Myspace. The art of changing your profile page to make it look funky, smart, catchy, and anything else you can think of.  Back to my first time…..

…….Well, that was painless, wasn’t it? Let someone else take control and do everything for me. Never again! Not ever! Never will I do that again. What a horrible experience. It looked like something my three year old would do in Photoshop or the like. I copied the code from one of the many thousands of so-called “Myspace editors”, looked at my profile page, and then tried to decipher where my bio had gone, how people could add me, and why all my friends had vanished! Had I done it wrong, I thought. Well, the code hadn’t changed, so it must be like that. Don’t forget that nice floating advert, that pointed everyone in the direction of possible smiley/trojan hell.

I must say, I’ve yet to come across a Myspace profile that has been tastefully decorated or that’s not a navigation nightmare. Instead of “Add to friends”, it’s always “Be my fwend” or something just as wacky. Backgrounds that don’t scroll and are repeated across the page are worse – you end up not being able to see what people have taken ages to write.  I’m sure I know a few things about webpage design – I may not have made the most interesting websites – and most people know when something looks right,  so why are people allowed to to have a free rein over of pimping their space? Myspace should start introducing some guidelines about what you can and can’t do. Don’t forget, too, that Myspacers who have loads of images, videos, banners, and all the other clutter, are just slowing down the page load time. We all know that a lot of users give up afer a few seconds if a page doesn’t load for ages.

I’m quite sure it’s a lot of fun pimping your myspace. It’s not for me, though. I hate it. I’ll never do it again.

If you’re a Myspace pimper and disagree with what I’ve written, leave a comment and show me your myspace page. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but in the meantime, I’ll stick with a plain, boring, profile.

Thanks to Neil Cocker from the Big Chill Forum for use of  photo.