rashbre central: February 2006

Tuesday 28 February 2006


Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, is Pancake Day. In the olden days, during Lent the eating of all dairy products was prohibited, so pancakes were made to use up eggs, milk and butter. The pancakes could be easily made and cooked in a pan or on a griddle. They were fried in butter or fat and served flat or rolled and sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with preserves or sometimes doused with alcohol.

I prefer thin, flat pancakes, served individually, with lemon juice and sugar. And don't forget to flip them in the pan!

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Yesterday's New York post was supposed to have a musical attachment, but it didn't work. I wanted to include a music track that had been going through my mind for a few days. Its Radiohead meets PJ Harvey - "the mess we're in" and I've edited on an introduction by PJ. So here is a second attempt, with another random photo from my wanderings in New York and the opening lines of the song..."Can you hear them, the helicopters? - I'm in New York - No need for words now."

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Happy Birthday Elizabeth!


Monday 27 February 2006

just a new york conversation

I think I spent the whole afternoon and evening on the phone to New York. Here's a random picture from my last visit to the great city. As the Lou Reed song goes...
I was sleeping, gently napping, when I heard the phone
Who is on the other end talking, am I even home
Did you see what she did to him, did you hear what they said
Just a new york conversation, rattling in my head

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Sunday 26 February 2006

Christina sings

We've put up the first semi-complete version of 'long way down' across on Christina Nott's site (I admit I had/have a hand in making it). There is more of an account of producing the track over there - although its a long way from the detail of GuitarGAS.

John wants us to re-make a version with electric fuzzed guitar, but I suspect we will actually add some other instrumentation to the current version, such as keyboard and maybe some synthesiser strings.
I guess I shall need to crank up my X-station for that.

greatest hits?

What do Mara Carlyle, a Ford Ka and Mrs Henderson have in common...?

...They all seem to be amongst my daily hits to rashbre central. So as a special treat to whoever you are, here are all three together! And I will set up a shadow tag for all three as well.

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Saturday 25 February 2006


Well it looks as if the Bongo Club will come through as a venue for Bubble and Squeek's production at the Edinburgh Fringe. The Bongo Club runs as a cafe, exhibition and rehearsal space during the day, and then transforms into a multi media venue for live music, theatre and clubs at night. It recently moved from its disintegrating site in New Street to a funky new location in Holyrood Road.
bongo facilitiesThe Bongo Club specializes in the art and music of the underground, so is ideal for a mixed music, art and theatre piece about underground artists! The Bongo Club mixes live music, film, theatre and DJ's breaking the traditional mould for a nightclub.

What better place to stage a production?

In the words of the Scotsman, "The Bongo Club seems to have lost none of its inspired chaos."
This weekend the various papers are being examined and then the pre-production work will start in earnest in May. Expect updates here until the proper web site kicks in soon.

Friday 24 February 2006


lorry during robbery on security camera
The biggest ever cash robbery in UK history took place a couple of days ago near Tonbridge, in Kent, which is south east of London. The ruthless armed robbers stole circa £50m ($80m) and had held family members hostage at gunpoint and tied up members of the Tonbridge depot.

Now we hear that two days later a woman has been detained by police at a building society in south east London, when trying to pay in rather large sums of used banknotes, some of which allegedly had bands around them bearing the word 'Tonbridge'.

These hardened criminals have not watched enough movies and certainly not any Ealing Comedies to fall for that ol' trick. Another interesting element is the alleged recent lifestyle change of one of the members of the depot who has apparently recently placed a deposit on a rather expensive Spanish villa.

And £50m is a pile of banknotes 38 stories high, weighing between one and two tons.

I shall watch this unfold (unravel?) with interest.

Update 1
Photofit of one of the robbers pretending to be a policeman and image of Michael Caine as underworld crook Carter, from Get Carter

Update 2
white transit
Now the police have found a white transit van with some reasonable quantities of money in it parked at Ashford International Hotel, which is adjacent to the fast Eurostar rail link to France and Belgium.
ashford international
The hotel is a good, oh, 20 miles from the robbery scene and is the big well-appointed hotel by the side of the rail link which has one station in the whole of England apart from London.

Here is my simplified map (distances in miles and all major twists and turns shown):

London-50->Tonbridge Robbery-20->Ashford-20->Dover->France

See the news video report

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Thursday 23 February 2006


фотографии seems to be the Russian word for photograph. Debra says she doesn't speak Russian; I thought a quick expedition to Russia would be interesting, so I took a Russian word from an old post and dropped it into Technorati.

Bingo, it found some links. I selected the first one, found rusprimavera and browsed a few interesting photographs. Then I found a word that looks like photograph (фотографии) and selected it also on technorati. I now have an interesting selection of 'life in russia' pictures and accompanying blogs. Quirky, but fun.

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seven detags

I got tagged today by debra, who couldn't think of anything to write home about. And on a Thursday - which is really a Thursday Thirteen day. So I'll answer debra's Seven today and pass the tag along.


And as seven is such a powerful number, here are the seven chakras: Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishudda, Ajna, Sahasrara.

Seven things to do:
1 Make a difference
2 Perform a live gig at a music festival
3 Visit Tokyo
4 Get a book published
5 Cross Canada on a road trip
6 Help make Christina Nott famous
7 Make magic a constant part of my life

Seven things I can’t do:
1 sing convincingly
2 eat shellfish
3 watch television soaps
4 drink creme de menthe
5 make a U shape with my tongue
6 most blog tags
7 construction involving wood
8 count accurately (I'm fibbing)

Seven things that attract me to my mate:
1 love
2 caring
3 humour
4 sensuality
5 sharing
6 drive
7 opinions

Seven books I love:
1 Through the looking glass - Lewis Carroll
2 Gravity's rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
3 Girlfriend in a coma - Douglas Coupland
4 Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
5 Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami
6 The Prophet - Khalil Gibran
7 Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco

Seven things I say:
1 fabullariffic
2 ta
3 there is some fun going forward
4 eek
5 hmm
6 strangely strange but oddly normal
7 yay

Seven movies I’ve loved:
1 Casablanca
2 Moulin Rouge
3 Pulp Fiction
4 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
5 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
6 Mulholland Drive
7 Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

Seven people to tag:
1 aetheria
2 unmade bed person
3 bookgirl
4 cq
5 nikki-ann
6 laquet
7 you

Wednesday 22 February 2006


Julie's car is back shiny and clean, with new tyres and through it's MoT. Now we must look forward to weather which will be good enough to lower the roof!


We met in the foyer of an Indian restaurant this evening for a glass of Cobra beer and then sat down with some poppadoms and raitha, followed by samosa and lal maans, with naan peshwari and rice.

Tuesday 21 February 2006

zoned out

Victor arrived this morning. He'd been in Milan yesterday with Annalisa, and flew out on a late flight. There had been a baggage handler dispute so he didn't get into London until around midnight, although today's start was deliberately late to give him some time to recover because he is really still on Boston time,

My day was rammed and by the evening we were in need of some cameraderie so Victor and a few of us headed to a small nearby pub to drink some English beer, some New Zealand wine, some pleasant potato and garlic soup and to spend a couple of hours chatting before breaking fairly early to go our separate ways.

Monday 20 February 2006


Quarentine Bird Flu
This morning I was listening to a radio report from the Netherlands of the bird flu preventative measures now in operation. The chickens have to be kept in doors so that they can't catch anything from wild fowl. And tonight there were two birds in Hampshire,UK being examined by relevant authorities.

Most of us continue to go about our business unaffected by these often scare-mongering stories. However, it is interesting to observe the slow march of this avian flu and the related story across Europe, from July 2005 in Russia as reported in the Moscow Times. And the original diagnostics seem to go back as far as 1997. If you want the full background check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Sunday 19 February 2006

bafta mountain

BAFTAs this evening and Jake Gyllenhall, here with Charlize Theron behind the scenes after picking up the award for Brokeback Mountain.

Ang Lee also collected one for this film in a ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry at his most oleaginous.

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Saturday 18 February 2006


Well, its official. I'm occasionally adorable, according to the TTLB (The Truth Laid Bear) ecosystem. As a matter of fact, for the last two weeks, I've fluctuated between flappy bird and adorable little rodent, but today I thought I'd mark the event with a picture of Dangermouse.

As we all know, DangerMouse is the World's Greatest secret agent, a mouse of many talents. Apparently born halfway up Mount Everest, he displayed his exceptional nature early in life, completing the climb to the summit of the world's highest mountain when he was only a few hours old. In spite of his foreign birthplace, DM is a true English gent, and was educated at Eton, Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, the Sorbonne and Würtembery, picking up his B.A., B.Sc., M.A., M.Sc., and Ph.D along the way. Naturally, he used these varied skills to become a government agent, defending Queen and country. He set up residence in a red pillar box located outside 221B Baker Street, London, home of another famous British hero. When danger threatened the world, he was contacted by his superior Colonel K, who would issue him with his mission.

Then DangerMouse and his trusty, if improbably incompetent assistant Penfold, would set forth in their distinctive flying car and save the day. His recurring nemesis was the toad Baron Silas Greenback and his crow lackey Stiletto; however he also faced the vampire Count Duckula, the mad composer Wufgang, the extra-terrestrial JJ Quark, Mexican El Loco, mad scientists Professor Crumhorn and Dr.Frankenstoat, and DM's own evil doppelganger, among others.

With DM, Mickey and Jerry, I am in august company.

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Friday 17 February 2006

house wine

A few glasses of Bordeaux with John as we put the world right.

The bar was rammed with people, but we had a reserved table and watched as one group moved out and the evening replacements moved in.

Back at John's house I could see the effect of his major house project which has come to fruition, with a mix of Polish and Brazilian help. The descriptions reminded me of that film with Jeremy Irons as the Polish builder- Moonlighting, I think it was called. Georgina has been project managing the changes worthy of a television documentary. Georgina and Jessica arrived back shortly before I was to jump into a taxi and head for home.

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Thursday 16 February 2006

thursday Thirteen (V12.0)

1. Didn't realise it was Thursday;
2. Meeting John tomorrow - I suspect a drop of wine may pass my lips;
3. Had the car back in the garage yesterday. They have fixed the thing I didnt know was broken but still need to work on the door lock, which still goes flippy of its own accord;
4. Havn't had a light in the room where the bulb blew a week ago because it uses a special transformer gizmo and the fuse holder has sort of melted; Illumination is via laptop screen;
5. I am carrying around some big sheets of paper with 'important words' which somehow need to transfer into my computer; usually I'd just take a photo, but somehow I forgot;
6. Last weekend I round tripped to Lancaster again; this week I shall stay local;
7. Getting prepped for Victor's visit next week; but I hear he is now visiting Milan first;
8. Attended a lunchtime meeting a couple of days ago (Malaysian curry) but I only ate a couple of mouthfuls because we were talking so much; I find that often happens to me;
9. There is something very weird happening to my Windows PC; something new was installed and now it has long thinking pauses;
10. At least my car is very clean now; each time it goes back to the garage, it gets a full valet service, inside and out;
11. Promised to send a Christina Nott demo to someone in Germany; will prepare it at the weekend;
12. Left home late (in daylight!) for the first time in ages;
13. I wonder why it is always difficult to think of item thirteen!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Leanne's Thirteen!
2. Ivory Frog's Thirteen!
3. Running 2k's Thirteen!
4. Uisce's Thirteen
5. Chickadee's Thirteen!
6. Judy's Thirteen!
7. Raehan's Thirteen!
8. Lunchtruck's Thirteen!
9. Janne's Thirteen!
10. Andrea's Thirteen!
X. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!
Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave your link as a comment and I will link to you and you can continue the chain!


purple reign

Prince blasted a hole in the Brits with a rocking and bluesy guitar set including Purple Rain. Surprising that the television coverage didn't actually comment on the set. Here's another moment from the Brit set and from a similar moment in the days of big hair.
I never meant 2 cause u any sorrow
I never meant 2 cause u any pain
I only wanted 2 one time see u laughing
I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain
Purple rain purple rain
Purple rain purple rain
Purple rain purple rain
I only wanted 2 see u bathing in the purple rain

Want more?

Oh, yes, and pleasing that KT won something.

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little russians

Another coffee related post today, this one showing a few little people going about their business in Russia. The full set of these pictures from Очень живой журнал или Блог в стиле дзуйхицу are entertaining and I spent amused minutes browsing through them. My original source for this involved...
chocolate and...
Selling Russian Vodka

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Wednesday 15 February 2006



How sweet to be a cloud, floating in the blue.

Lying awake, late the other night
Heard above me a trembling,
I looked up, it was a little cloud,
From which a gold string was dangling;
You know, I gave the string a little pull,
Just to see what was on the other end.

Just then a voice came down to me, says,
"Hey, now, don't you want to be my friend,
And float with me to distant lands,
wondrous and fair;
Float with me to distant lands wondrous and fair?
You see I'm just a happy little cloud,
I laugh and float and sing my song,
But the other clouds don't like me none.
They say I am behaving very wrong.
You see a cloud's supposed to be sad,
To cry and weep and tear its hair and all,
And don't matter how hard I try,
I can't get the first little tear to fall."

And float with me to distant lands, wondrous and fair;
Float with me to distant lands, wondrous and fair;

Incredible String Band


Sitting down for a few minutes today with a grande skinny latte, I flicked into rashbre central and noticed the ego measure had plummeted to 3000 (!)

What could I do, but quickly re-run the counter, just to prove to myself that the original count was not a mistake.

And how pointless is that!

However, what was more interesting was spotting some of the references that google found to old comments which I have left sprinkled around the internet. I'm sure we all forget the varied trips into other peoples' worlds and lives and the smiling exchanges that take place. I found a rather strange debate about Maya Gold chocolate, which I'd entered and then had others debating the merits of different chocolates.

I shall stay away from the ego dial now. What is it the police say, "Stand Away!"?

Monday 13 February 2006


Today's amusing entry is the googlometer ego dial. Just type in your name and blog and let it calculate your poptastic ego rating. Or click here to see it in action!

Sunday 12 February 2006


Dinner by Melanie tonight, inspired by Wagamama's. The 'behind the scenes' secret Wagamama sauce recipe was on the delicious salad and then a very enjoyable chili beef ramen. We didn't really start eating until around 10pm, and the party broke up at around 2am on Sunday, when a taxi came to pick us up.

Saturday 11 February 2006


Spent part of the afternoon mopping water from the floor caused by a broken washing machine. Looks like the machine is dead and will need to be replaced. Groan.

Friday 10 February 2006


07:30 drove to the hotel to meet for breakfast. Then into the day, although I spent quite a lot of time sitting in varied locations as diverse as a ballroom, lounge, bar and stairwell whilst on my mobile phone.

Into my car, during which I was supposed to have another call with someone from India, but they didn;t show up. By the time I got home it was getting dark, I had three or four minutes to plug in my failing phone and restart my laptop. Then as I sat down there was a ping and the light bulb in the room broke. I took the call sitting in the dark, illuminated by the PC screen.


As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I'm going to get going on the NaNo novel I started a few months ago. It needs a big edit and will then be ready for me to figure out how to get it bookified.

I've just spotted blurb, which is a way to get a blog turned into a book. Not sure that I want to do this, but the idea is quite interesting. As they say,"Join the blurberati".

Thursday 9 February 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V11.0)

1. Didn't get home this evening until around 10pm;
2. Probably spent at least 5 hours on the phone today; last few calls were New York, Stockholm, Paris and Sydney.
3. Considered today to be one of the sunniest days I've experienced in the UK so far this year;
4. Talked to a Swedish (not Danish) friend today who said she'dwalked past the Danish embassy a couple of days ago but been very self conscious that she is quite tall and blonde;
5. Discovered this afternoon that I have a breakfast meeting tomorrow in a hotel, which I didn't know about;
6. Need to start the major edit of my Nanowrimo book; Enough time has passed now to give me a perspective on what I wrote;
7. Starting to wonder what happens to my itunes downloads if I change another couple of computers, iTunes sets a limit on the number of computers its tunes can be played upon;
8. Using the new Windows IE7 on my thinkpad; it looks a bit schizophrenic;
9. Windows announced my email archive was full today; I had to spend half an hour archiving from the full archive to another one; another time sink;
10. Julie just told me she is getting lots of fan mail from her writing;
11. Started Christina Notts web site; it needs a lot of work; abandoned the first one in iWeb and now using Blogger;
12. Tuesday was another day to don a radio mic; probably the fifth time within the last month;
13. I'm hungry.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Leanne's Thirteen!
2. Ivory Frog's Thirteen!
3. Running 2k's Thirteen!
4. Uisce's Thirteen
5. Chickadee's Thirteen!
6. Judy's Thirteen!
7. Raehan's Thirteen!
8. Lunchtruck's Thirteen!
9. Janne's Thirteen!
X. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!
Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave your link as a comment and I will link to you and you can continue the chain!


Wednesday 8 February 2006


The last few days, I've been getting up early and driving around in the dark. This morning, I was on the last part of the journey when I suddenly realised it was getting light. One snap later through the window of the car and I got this. My phone has distorted the colours somewhat, but the end result is a good reminder of the early signs of the changing season.

Monday 6 February 2006

iWeb Comments

Trying to use the new Apple iWeb software to create the already mentioned Christina Nott site, I ran into a few basic problems. One - no ability to add comments ; Two- no obvious sidebar capability.

So the rather clean lines of the current prototype site are nice enough but not really very functional. I ran into a facility to add comments called (not surprisingly) iComment.

iComment is an application written by Chad Brantly. It works with the commenting service I already use, Haloscan.

Basically, When you set up your blog in iWeb, you insert some control text into the page. Then, run the iWeb blog through iComment, and it converts the special text into links and trackbacks compatible with Haloscan.

No simple solution for the sidebar, though. I have a feeling that Christina will be moving to Blogger.

Sunday 5 February 2006

Christina Nott

Christina Nott's music site is making its debut - see my blogroll. I suspect this will be a slow project in the background, with the need to provide reasonable versions of Christina's music as well.

I shall look into the best way to place mp3s of the work in progress somewhere easy to find.

Saturday 4 February 2006

mystique clarity

Several months ago I wrote a post with an aside about Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls, who also writes a blog which I dip into from time to time. Here is an artist from a well-known, if cultish, band providing some streamed views of their band's life experiences.

There is also a rather lucid and thoughtful back-channel in the comments, which can individually be the same length as the original posts. Dresden Dolls get described by Wikipedia as Brechtian Punk Cabaret and have a mix of performance art and good songs. So this evening, we've been playing a festival's worth of their music, accompanied with a pleasant glass of wine. Here's a rare version of Amsterdam. If you look around where it came from you may also find Kaledrina.

ice cream

OK. Its not really the ice cream season, but after the 99, I thought I'd peek in the freezer, and there, near the back, was a lonely tub of Phish food.

It can wait until later.

make mine a 99

Cadburys flake
I seemed to get quite a few hits on the television commercials I posted a couple of days ago, particularly the Cadbury's Flake advert - which I actually pointed to an old Harmony hair spray ad.

We must not forget Flake's little brother or sister known as the 99. This smaller version was introduced to enhance the humble ice cream cornet.

Legend has it that it was called the 99 because the majority of Whippy ice cream merchants at the time were Italian, and as the King of Italy had an elite bodyguard of 99 soldiers, the number 99 meant high quality to the Italians.

Here's a few other top commercials - flake is at number 26.

Friday 3 February 2006


Friday, and I've caught up with most of the things I needed to do, so time to celebrate with a bit of a party.

For anyone with random and sometimes questionable musical taste and for people who are weird or maybe bored, here are a few musical suggestions.


Thursday 2 February 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V10.0)

1. I'm watching the debate about how the UK government don't know how many people they need to win a parliamentary vote;
2. I've added the new version of iLife to my Powerbook, but it will take me weeks to try out all of the facilities;
3. Tomorrow I'm working from home;
4. It was minus three degrees tonight when I returned home;
5. Need to make time for six nations at the weekend;
6. John G stopped by today, prior to starting his new adventure, partly in France;
7. My thinkpad ran out of disk space today and lost about 150 emails;
8. I spent about half an hour today sifting through my blackberry, to resend the missing emails back to my laptop;
9. I can't work out how I have played certain songs so many times, according to last.fm;
10. Like the last time I did T13, its only minutes from Friday!
11. i still like number 11;
12. Two unrelated people called me today to ask me for contact details about the same friend;
13. Although my car heater is fixed, the driver door lock is now going crazy and so the car needs to be booked in again for more work;

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Leanne's Thirteen!
2. Ivory Frog's Thirteen!
3. Running 2k's Thirteen!
4. Uisce's Thirteen
5. Chickadee's Thirteen!
6. Judy's Thirteen!
7. Raehan's Thirteen!
8. Lunchtruck's Thirteen!
9. Janne's Thirteen!

X. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!
Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave me your Thirteener link as a comment and I will link to you, and then you can continue the chain!



So yesterday was about dense time. Today its wide time. We all know what a long time is, well wide time is when a lot of different things are all happening simultaneously bringing about changes in ways initially imperceptible, but obvious upon reflection.

We all live in wide time; witness a few years of change. Flat screen televisions, laptop computers, wireless access, the demise of the broadsheet, free DVDs, steamed ready-meals, reality television, wider cars with fatter tyres...you get the picture - now click to see some British adverts from not so long ago.

Austin Ambassador
British Rail
Cadbury's Flake

Want more?

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