rashbre central: August 2016

Wednesday 31 August 2016

another black chain imprint on right leg

Time to mix it up with the bikes.

Mainly so that I can make an early test of the bike I'll probably use during the colder months. It's a lot easier to work out what needs to be fixed whilst the weather is still good.

And there's a list of things to fix. Some oil, pumping up the tyres and the search for the various lighting systems. I know it seems early to be thinking about those things, but I'd better start the process.

Meanwhile, I'm still on track for my annual mileage target, even with a few gaps. Strava says I'm 265 miles ahead of pace, although being away for the next couple of weeks will soon erode that.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

another miaow from the Celtic tiger?

I doubt Apple will be bringing out an operating system codenamed Green Tiger anytime soon?

With the backdrop of that EU ruling it's still hardly a secret that Ireland is a good place for US European headquarters.

The difference in definitions of domicile allow lightly taxed US corporate money to be parked on the edge of the EU. As Father Ted said, "Just resting in our account."

Who wouldn't mind a sub 1% tax bill? But wait, if we believe the EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Apple's Irish tax is only 0.05%, dropping to only 0.005%. That's maybe until they could shift the money back to America. Many American companies plan to repatriate money to the US after favourable taxation changes (which haven't happened).

The quip about US folk popping over to Ireland to look at some horses, have a round of golf, drink a Guinness and run a quick HQ meeting is so old that it could probably be used in a new BBC sitcom.

As well as Apple, there's plenty more companies with this kind of EU HQ arrangement. They are often based around Silicon Docks, which is an area specially built to help these companies get established.

Around the Grand Canal area there's Google, Facebook, Accenture, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, to name a few. The city centre has a few more well-known ones including Amazon.com, Linkedin and Dropbox.

Some companies have been in Ireland since the start of the light taxation business practices. Oracle, Microsoft, Intel and Salesforce spring to mind, with Microsoft outgrowing its original site (which it sold on to Blackstone) before building some
new campuses. Some, like Dell, Intel, Apple and Microsoft have also been notably big employers in the country.

So I'm wondering whether there's any more of these companies enjoying taxation advantages by being based in what was once called the Celtic Tiger?

It seems to be a curious win-win for Ireland anyway. They get everyone over for the cheap taxation and then apparently reluctantly get to take a further lump of it later. Maybe these windfalls will help the kitty have more lives?


Monday 29 August 2016

Giulietta sees the light

We'd just walked back the mile or so across the field to pick up the car. Blip the alarm.

"That's funny? only one light has come on."

It was daylight, so no problem to drive away, but later it was off to a local filling station to pickup an H7 bulb. It's not my car, but I knew I'd better make an attempt to replace the bulb. It was the round one in the middle of the lighting cluster that needed fixing.

The venerable H7 car bulb has been around since the days when cars still had recognisable engines although the way the bulb is designed to be attached is by something resembling an intriguingly bent paperclip.

The red car is Italian, modern and has one of those don't touch me type engines, filled with computers and cleverness.

The bulb is still held in with that mid 20th century pipe smoker paperclip design, although 21st century Italian stylists have created a special black plastic tunnel leading to the area where the bulb lives. With contortions, it's just about big enough to get a hand into.

The cleverness of the design means it is impossible to actually look into the plastic tunnel to see what is in there, so it requires a vivid imagination as well as some muscle memory from changing prior car lightbulbs to (a) detach the wires from the bulb and (b) unclip the spring clip.

I can remember that cars have the notch for the clip such that the spring clip has to be slightly pushed towards the outside of the car and then flipped backwards. Too much exuberance and the little spring clip completely detaches requiring a different skill to reattach it blind to the two small holes before replacing the bulb.

I did manage to do everything, but it took about 45 minutes. It seems like an embarrassingly long time for such a simple fix. It's not something they mention in new car reviews or on those car programmes. Still, I'm told some cars require the whole front section to be removed for the bulb to be replaced. Or a wheel.

"Sia la luce," as they say in Milan.

Sunday 28 August 2016

confetti cannons

Making the most of standing around in fields in good weather this weekend. This time it's Somerset.
Admittedly we did have one absolutely HUGE downpour. The raindrops were the size of 50 pence pieces (Somehow 'half-crowns' sounds better?)
But add some smoke machines, flashing lights, confetti cannons and music and everything is fine.
Even if the pictures are a bit fuzzy. Maybe that should be fizzy?

Friday 26 August 2016

alternative parallel parking techniques

This time we've been off to Jody Scheckter's farm at Laverstoke in Hampshire. The Carfest South event is like an open air festival, with music, tents, food and cars. Lots of them, with some fairly unusual ones zooming around a track.

Just like most modern festivals, there's also a good supply of street food and specialty drinks available from local traders as well as the increasingly sighted bigger players like Marks and Spencers and Waitrose. I'm guessing it won't be long before Amazon start to show up to these events. Order with Amazon Now and pick up at the event?

Actually M&S had a mix your own smoothie on a bicycle component, whilst Waitrose had a deconstructed Ploughman's Lunch on a cheeseboard served with Prosecco.

As well as the big stages and music, there was a notable array of fancy cars on show too. A chance to try out the latest Maserati or even one of those Jaguar SUVs, which can go up an almost vertical incline. In Scalextric fashion, I reckon they are really Range Rovers with a different shell.

Unlike my brochure illustration above, a notable trend among the new cars on display was to have the entire chrome work painted black, as well as blackened wheels. Whatever the reason, there were lines of people waiting to try out the new F-PACE and take it up and down the slopes.
They seemed to be doing better than some of the cars going along the straight bits, like this little blue number which managed to ride up the grass just in front of me. Difficult keeping some of these cars going in a straight line, although, come to think of it, other cars more or less defined straight lines and it was difficult imagining them turning in less than a field width.
Also a chance to catch a few new cars whizzing around, like this one, with its understated exhaust system and special smoking tyres.
And entertaining moments watching the antics of three bright yellow cars which seemed to be able to complete the equivalent of a parallel parking manoeuvre at about 50 mph.

Don't try this at home, as the announcer mentioned.

I'll remember that as I head over to the buffalo ice cream tent. Come to think of it, I'm not driving today, so maybe even a Pimms before listening to some music in a field.

whatsup? just a few more messages from randomised sponsors

My Facebook deliberations continue. Every day, it handles something like 10 billion messages, 4.5 billion hits on the ‘like’ button and 350 million new picture uploads.

I see they are now about to blend their sub-company WhatsApp's data with Facebook, so that they have ready access to phone numbers which can be used in marketing and *ahem* 'offer' messages from corporations.

Yep, it's all about the money.

I can't help thinking that the Facebook client looks like a badly engineered legacy environment. Things you'd want to do to arrange information as an end-user just aren't available or obvious. Most of the control is behind the scenes.

Some of that design will be deliberate, like obscuring the buttons to opt out of certain things, but the rest looks messy. I'm sure the millennial view is that it doesn't matter and a blast of Hadoop or Spark can make it all make sense.

Just splatter a few number crunchers over the top and sell the results to marketeers.

I'm not sure. Even with the post rationalist architectural drawings, I sense snake oil lubricants in the machine.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Thursday Thirteen 100: a movie list

I see the BBC has recently polled a bunch of critics about the top films of the 21st Century.

It's an interesting list because it largely avoids mass market movies that may sell well at the box office but are largely derivatives of a franchise. There's also a few in the list that somehow 'feel' as if they have been around longer than the list implies - Lost in Translation is 2003, for example.

I estimate to have seen around only half of the ones listed, so there's an interesting project to look up a few more that have somehow slipped past.

The top spot goes to a movie which I have watched two or three times. David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. A displaced Hollywood dream. No wonder the critics enjoy it. I'm not sure if I'd put it top, although I'd have it in my upper quartile at least.

A low budget one that's made the list is David Glazer's haunting Under the Skin, which I've also seen several times and its good that the original Tomas Alfredson version of Let The Right One In is included instead of the re-make.

Much to consider, if you like movies. Feel free to scroll...

21st Century 100 Greatest Films - BBC Poll

Wednesday 24 August 2016

poking around inside Facebook

My use of Facebook has always been limited.

I didn't much care for the face mash premise of the original site, found the whole 'throwing sheep' era bizarre and except for a period where I auto-copied blog posts across, my use has been mainly as a backup for occasional marketing.

Recently I took a look at Facebook's own automated marketing aimed back at me.

They are far from the mark, deriving preferences for Daily Mail, Hong Kong English pop, Michael Flatley and Indian sanskrit voluntary organisations.

Maybe that's my price of erratic usage, or possibly it's as share-price-destroyingly bad with everyone else?

Sunday 21 August 2016

#FANS magic marker @thesixtwenty

A couple of extra cuts of the video. Tilted and Oh Well.

ça ne tient pas debout
Le ciel coule sur mes mains
ça ne tiens pas debout
Sous mes pieds le ciel revient

Under my feet the sky comes back

Friday 19 August 2016

#FANS @thesixtwenty promo video - 180g vinyl edition


Theatre meets gig.

A show for anyone who’s ever loved music.

Should be enjoyed at Maximum Volume

Based on people’s love affair with music, FANS is an eclectic mix of stories told through raucous live music, scripted drama and verbatim theatre.

Full of emotion, humour and musical pulse, featuring real fan confessions from North East England music fans.

Part gig. Part Musical. FANS includes well known hits, original music and a cast of top local musicians and performers. It’s a loud, fun and heart-warming tribute to music lovers.

@thesixtwenty #FANS

Book online : thesixtwenty.com 6 September to 1 October North East

CAST : Meghan Doyle, Andrew Bleakley, Chris Foley and Charlotte Raine

Conceived and Directed by Melanie Rashbrooke.
Written by Nina Berry. Designed by Luke W. Robson
Technical Manager Craig Spence, Musical Director Chris Foley

Created through Bridging the Gap, an ARC initiative with Arts Centre Washington, Alnwick Playhouse & Northern Stage.

Supported by public funding by Arts Council England and The Sunday for Sammy Trust.

#FANS @thesixtwenty @arcstockton @AlnPlayhouse @ArtsCtrWton @northernstage @altweet_pet @welovencl @whatsonne

Thursday 18 August 2016

#FANS with stomp and arena @thesixtwenty

Okay, the colour version, with added stomp and arena.

#FANS @thesixtwenty @arcstockton @AlnPlayhouse @ArtsCtrWton @northernstage @altweet_pet @welovencl @whatsonne

Time to meet a few FANS.


Theatre meets gig.

A show for anyone who’s ever loved music.
Should be enjoyed at Maximum Volume

Based on people’s love affair with music, FANS is an eclectic mix of stories told through raucous live music, scripted drama and verbatim theatre.
Full of emotion , humour and musical pulse. featuring real fan confessions from North East England music fans.
Part gig. Part Musical. FANS includes well known hits, original music and a cast of top local musicians and performers.
It’s a loud, fun and heart-warming tribute to music lovers.

@thesixtwenty #FANS

Book online : http://thesixtwenty.com

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Lightroom to eleven for #FANS

We are starting to assemble a press pack and some promo pictures for FANS now.

There's the requirement for headshots, group shots, exteriors and promo shots with the logo included. I'm sure some will appear on twitter too, so there's a need for some with that very wide format.

Time to turn Lightroom up to 11.
P8100404-shiny scratch
*no walls damaged during the making of this picture

And, of course, that 'eleven' moment.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

a day on the island

Maybe time for a little boat trip.
Across to the island.
Be there in time for breakfast at the train station that doesn't run any trains.
Although it does have a passing trade in cyclists and walkers.
Then find a spot of beach that nobody else uses to spend some hours counting the waves.
Okay, a few people might use it.
And perhaps visit somewhere with more of a seaside postcard look.
Before thinking about something else to eat, perhaps brought in across the jetty.
Then evening in the busy town.
Aware that the sun is going down.
Then to head back for the harbour.
Wait for the crossing back.
And check out the moon.

Monday 15 August 2016

bikes designed to be cycled anti-clockwise

I noticed that some of the USA Olympic cycling team have been riding around on a left-sided bike. By that, I mean that the bike chain is on the other side.

To start with I wondered if I was mistaken, but it's a definite thing this time around as part of the engineering. The design has been optimised for the direction that bikes go around the track in a velodrome.

I'm all for finding marginal gains, improving aerodynamics and so on, but I can't help wondering if this apparently yaw reducing optimisation is a little unbalanced compared with everyone else?

I assume there's no rules about this type of thing, although I seem to recollect that lightweight carbon frames and the use of disk brakes have previously caused issues when the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has taken a look.

Maybe it's all different for the Olympics?

Sunday 14 August 2016

#FANS start guitar practice @thesixtwenty

Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

Above video's soundtrack is Dire Straits vs Sex Pistols vs Basement Jaxx vs Simian vs Fatboy Slim [DJ Moule]

Saturday 13 August 2016

#FANS at the @AlnPlayhouse stage door with the tour bus @thesixtwenty

Music fans need to know how to locate the tour bus.

It's often around by the Stage Door. Maybe need to bust out the G-Slide to get into the space.

Friday 12 August 2016

#FANS @thesixtwenty video 1 : just a test test test. Play loud.

A short video sting for #FANS.

30 seconds and 100 album covers. And the Beastie Boys saying

microphone check
One two one two, this is just a test

#FANS, @thesixtwenty, @arcstockton, @AlnPlayhouse, ArtsCtrWton, northern stage, altweet_pet, welovencl, whatsonne


Theatre meets gig.

A show for anyone who’s ever loved music.

Should be enjoyed at Maximum Volume

Based on people’s love affair with music, FANS is an eclectic mix of stories told through raucous live music, scripted drama and verbatim theatre.

Full of emotion , humour and musical pulse. featuring real fan confessions from North East England music fans.

Part gig. Part Musical. FANS includes well known hits, original music and a cast of top local musicians and performers. It’s a loud, fun and heart-warming tribute to music lovers.

@thesixtwenty #FANS

Book online : http://thesixtwenty.com

#FANS @thesixtwenty preparations @AlnPlayhouse

Yes, the new band is forming. A part of #FANS.

Currently in secret sessions in Alnwick Playhouse.

That'd be the next @thesixtwenty production, which will be touring the North East. Expect more photographs of the preparations.

Thursday 11 August 2016

#FANS @thesixtwenty @AlnPlayhouse : Day 4 : Rescuing the Alnwick Playhouse spider

Among the early fans was an unexpected stage invader.

The famous Alnwick Playhouse five-legged spider decided to have a close look at the action and crowd-surfed onto the stage.

Proceedings were temporarily halted to rescue the spider from the varieties of Doc Martens and similar heavy footwear. He's back in the equipment stacks now.
All this in preparation for Fans.

If you like music, go check out the special history pin site where you can record your own favourite gig experiences. It's here.