rashbre central: February 2023

Saturday 25 February 2023

Big Green Egg testing for 2023 season

This is the third test of the big green egg for the 2023 season. They even sent me a reminder to fire it up and a few helpful recommissioning tips. 

 I prefer the real fire approach and the industrial heat gauge to tell the temperature inside the ceramics. 

NASA technology, but still Elemental. 

Today I've moved onto sourdough pizza, cooked over stone and drizzled with honey. I can safely say its delicious.

Friday 24 February 2023

The Obald

I've just seen that The Obald is to be made into a podcast and remarketed. I'll have to experience the latest version. 

I can remember reading an earlier version, which was what gave me some of the inspiration to write Coin, blending in some of my workaday experiences. The Obald's hint of Clockwork Orange cover art evokes the 1980s when far more was cogs and analogue. It's got an 'early job with plenty of characters' feel which reminds me of my early days in Scientific Computing, riding the new digital wave. When I started we even had a valve-based computer in the 'machine room'. Elliott 803. Everyone smoked and the main technician for the big computers used to field a pipe. Lunch was at Machine Room 3 - The Pub. 'Down the hall' (at Heathrow) we were installing the biggest IBM mainframe in the UK. One of my early projects was about satellite orbit coverage - albeit we had Official Secrets Act conditions around us.

The Obald, by way of a slight comparison, is based in a newly forming information society (CCTV, government files and so on) and drops NATO, submarine collisions and early warning systems into the first few pages, so you know it will be good with its strange parallels with my early days with a 'proper job'.

And Theobald (sewing machines), from which the title is taken, reminds me that I used to do work for a sewing machine company. It was an opportunistic 'bit on the side' when I returned from Germany and was, by then, freelance. I created a sewing machine rental program for a sewing machine rental company in Morning Lane in the East End. 

It was based loosely on an existing BASIC program and ran on a TRS-80 computer, using dual diskette drives. 

Come to think of it, I later supplied another copy to my friend Colin, who used it for television rentals.

In my case, Coin opens with a bomb situation based upon my early and real experiences working in London. I was alone, working in a strange room with a special kind of computer terminal. In walks the security man from the front booth and tells me to search the room in case there was a bomb. They were simpler times. History reveals that the actual bomb was at The Old Bailey along the road from my office.


The Obald oddly catches me again later (or should it be sooner?) when it talks about the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. I also worked in Geneva, and feature the Large Hadron Collider in An Unstable System and Jump. I'm thinking I'll need to bring an enigmatic character called Melody into my current WIP novel (Artificial) at this rate. The rough-cut cover picture is of Luka the augnmented reality AI which I created using a toolkit and which hasn't even turned up in the story so far.

or maybe?

Thursday 23 February 2023

The Gold - A rich TV seam

I used to work near to the Heathrow Trading Estate where the Brinks Mat robbery took place, and although I was there a few years before it all happened, I'd say that the clothing and general appearance was just about right. I worked with someone who had the very line in Emun Eliott's clothing, right down to the early '80s moustache.

The Gold take the era and plays with smoke-filled rooms and cars, swirly sticky carpet pubs and those kind of offices which set up thin partitions and groups of desks, well before computer terminals became the thing.

The robbers accidentally stole £26 million of Gold Bars, weighing 3.5 tons and proceeded to smelt it down, repackage it and then re-insert it into the market, using offshore accounts, then spending the money on apartments to break up the trail. 

Come to think about it, it reminds me of The London Laundromat, which is purportedly still running.

Excellent casting and a lightheartedness which suggests everyone enjoyed their part in the proceedings. Checkout Hugh Bonneville doing his best to look like a heavily promoted Dixon of Dock Green. We had our share or writerly interludes within the piece too, where a particular soap box was stood upon by means of a discussion between the characters. I found this interesting at the beginning, but it slightly dipped later in the series.

But how that gold shone, at least before the mangled comedy melted bars were introduced. And the device of a diagram which comprised 'move A to B', explained dutifully by the seconded HMRC expert.

I still found it a fun piece of television and it looks as if they left it open for a second series to see what happened to the rest of the loot, or at least a spinoff.

Saturday 18 February 2023

Suzanne Vega - Sage

We paused outside the spaceship of the Sage Gatehead. Across the River Tyne, we could hear the crowd in the stadium for the Liverpool vs Newcastle game. So much so that I took a brief recording of the singing. Those that know the HWKR market, with its street food and shipping containers, will know how much this area appears like Manhattan around Front Street albeit with a different bridge in the background.

Then into the vast capsule, where Suzanne Vega would play a set. I guessed that she would open with Marlene on the Wall and as she walked on with a top hat, I felt my bet was safe.

Then, ninety minutes of bliss as she sang many from er extensive back catalogue, with the merest hint of new tracks which I'd not heard before. I decided I must be a full-on fan because I knew more or less every word of every song and find, even days later, that they are still following me around as my inner head soundtrack.

Suzanne explained that the first part of the show contained older tracks because she knew that is what the people would want and this would make everyone less anxious than if she had started with new material. 

She was accompanied by a guitar maestro Gerry Leonard - he of Bowie bands in the past and he played a single guitar with effects pedals and loops which was easily enough accompaniment for Suzanne and her six-string acoustic guitar.

This was a set from a performer still at the top of her game. Her first tunes were written at 18 years old and from the 1980s, but to these ears they still sounded fresh and with great vocals.

Maybe we were not in Greenwich Village, but we could have been.

I seldom say a gig is perfect, but I will for this one. 

Setlist (approximately):
Marlene on the Wall
Small Blue Thing
In Liverpool
The Queen and the Soldier
When Heroes Go Down
Last Train from Mariupol
Rock in This Pocket (Song of David)
Solitude Standing
Left of Center
I Never Wear White
Some Journey
Tom’s Diner
Walk on the Wild Side

Thursday 16 February 2023

Blow Down - so much for the Northern Powerhouse

I usually stop around Ferrybridge if I'm heading north and the nearest services gave a view of the Ferrybridge power station. My picture above is from the services car park in 2016.  Idly chomping a Kit-Kat in the car park, I noticed some of the towers had been demolished and then the last time I drove straight past and don't think I could see them any more.  This used to be a proper milestone on trips to the North, as was even expressed during the performance.

I discovered they were demolished in March 2022 and Blow Down is a verbatim play about them but importantly about the surrounding community, written from interviews by Garry Lyons and directed by Tess Sneddon. 

Knottingley and Ferrybridge become a representation of the not-Northern Powerhouse. Instead of getting new facilities, like the politicians have said, we see them lose their sports centre, their library, their social clubs, their livelihoods. Everything is disappearing.
It's an interesting piece with a voice from (I'd say) the 1970s. There's less health and safety, perhaps more drinking at work and certainly a time of cameraderie of the family of workers. 

 I could see the storytelling unfold as the lively actors told their tales, although I felt sometimes that there was a discontinuity. A story of a bipolar drummer seemed grafted into the production and his blazing red drum solo seemed to detract from the main story diverting into something else entirely. I get it about mental health, but it didn't seem to need the signposting in this piece, which had more than enough to say about neglected workers, smashed communities and so on, without the drum breaks.

However, it is still a piece which resonates exposing a savage critique of the government's empty words about these places. 

 Northern Powerhouse.  Ignored.

Sunday 12 February 2023

shake-it shake-it baby


The cloning of the old hard drive onto a 1 Terabyte SSD worked. It took about 4 hours to copy the drive, but it booted into Windows straight away. 

The result on the 11 year-old-computer is spectacular and it now functions properly again as a Windows 10 device. It's one step down from Windows 11, but sometimes it is good to quit whilst ahead.

Pina-colada o'clock.

Saturday 11 February 2023

Where is my mind

Researching for my next novel. 


Strange time in my life quote.

Thursday 9 February 2023


Sometimes you have to be in the game to feel it.

 I took some shares in Tesla when they were quite low. Like I did with Apple, when I decided to invest to see if I could raise the money to buy a new Mac computer (I did). 

 This time, with Tesla, I'm not sure if I can raise the money to buy a new car, but it is still interesting to see how the shares have climbed back up. 45% in a month beats current interest rates. 

 By comparison with my sparkling bet on a positive future, there are also the dubious hedge funds and shorting practises. These dark people bet that a share will do worse in the short term and that they can profit from the misfortune. They bet on failure. I think of it as immoral wealth destruction. 

I sense another novel with this as a sub-plot - maybe after Artificial. 

 Intriguing to see how many, say, MP business and MP Pension funds include an element of hedging.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Breathing life into a 2012 Windows PC


I donated a 2012 laptop PC to a local charity some time ago, so that it could be used for presentations and other light duties.

No great surprise that it now suffers from the student fridge problem of no TLC.

Tender, Loving, Care.

Consequently, it was deemed broken so I retrieved it. I does still work but has been adapted by the addition of some spurious bloatware. I decided to fix it and  am putting a new SSD into it. I'll let you know how well it works!

Monday 6 February 2023

Cozy : A giveaway promotion.

Click the cover above to be linked to the give-away promotion in which this latest Ed Adams book features, along with about 20+ other mixed author books. The book is also available FREE here.

Sunday 5 February 2023

Historical negationism

They say the victors write the history books, but now we can see a last gasp attempt from a couple of con artists to fingernail their way back into public life. 

The clown is a serial liar, which has been frequently proven with the likes of cakegate, and the other one appears to be unhinged. 

Now they are both attempting to put on record a counter-commentary to negate what history has them pegged to. 

Historical negationism. It's too much of a mouthful to become a thing. 

 I'm sure they would both be good fun at a child's party, but running the country? I don't think so. Instead we see their attempts to re-portray themselves in a more positive light - misunderstood - picked upon - blah blah blah. Its all just wiffle waffle.