WOMAD memories 2: Nouvelle Vague

Another great memory from WOMAD days was of Nouvelle Vague. I went to see them in the Big Red Tent and thought they were amazingly good fun. I subsequently bought quite a lot of their tracks. I say their tracks, of course for the most part they are covers, but what excellent covers they are. Truly inspired.

I’d like to see them again, I think they had a good stage presence, but I need seem to see them on anywhere. I think I’d go if I had the chance.

Problems with the Pebble …

Pebble Time - Blemishes on the casing
Pebble Time – Blemishes on the casing

I’ve been noticing that my new Pebble Time has been getting scratches and blemishes on the casing. It’s not encouraging as the thing is only a few weeks old, or rather, I’ve only had it a few weeks, so I’m a little disappointed that it isn’t holding up so well. Of course, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s not great is it.

So I’m considering getting a covering for it to protect it a little better. If I do, I’ll let you know about that.

Pebble Time - More blemishes on the casing
Pebble Time – More blemishes on the casing

How I listen, how I want to listen, how I should listen

Back in May I had a rare opportunity to spend some time just listening. Not doing anything else, just listening to an album. It was wonderful. It made me think a lot about how I listen to music on a regular basis, which in turn made me realise just how poor my listening experience is on a regular basis.

So I started thinking about how I listen now, how I want to listen and the gap between those two. It’s a big gap actually, sadly.

For the most part I listen to both music and to audiobooks on the go. Walking, on trains, tubes, buses etc. That makes up the vast majority of my listening experience. It isn’t a great experience at all. Mostly there’s lots of background noise, lots of distraction and it isn’t easy to concentrate particularly, but that’s the way it is. I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of people. What’s missing of course is that deep and focused listening experience. It requires time, it requires space and concentration. The time and space elements are things that I can’t find easily, not these days anyway.

So I need to find a way to bridge that gap, and to have the space to listen creatively. Not easy really. But it will be really worth it if I can. Having that experience, even every now and then is like a little oasis.

WOMAD memories 1: Mitsoura

As I was thinking about WOMAD I started remembering some of the high points over the years and I thought I’d share them. One such high point was when WOMAD was back in Reading, before it moved to Charlton Park in Wiltshire. I remember seeing Mitsoura for the very first time there. They were amazing. Something truly new and completely different from anything I’d heard before.

I went to see them again after that and bought their only two albums. I was disappointed that they didn’t do more. It was a shame that they only made those two albums, but that’s how it is. Even so, I’m glad I know their music. Glad I had the chance to see them live a couple of times. That was all down to WOMAD.

Back at the Liberty Festival with SoundLab

SoundLab at the 2015 Liberty Festival
SoundLab at the 2015 Liberty Festival

So this is the second year I’ve been at the Liberty Festival with SoundLab. This year was a bit damp and wet, but fun nevertheless. We still had a lot of people come along and play and enjoy themselves, so it was a good day all in all. I’m glad that I was able to be a part of it.

iPads at SoundLab Liberty Festival 2015
iPads at SoundLab Liberty Festival 2015

Even though it was wet we had a steady stream of people wanting to try out new ways to make music, and experiment.

A bit of Theremini and AlphaSphere
A bit of Theremini and AlphaSphere

A day at WOMAD

Obligatory WOMAD flag picture
Obligatory WOMAD flag picture

I wasn’t able to spend the whole weekend at WOMAD this year, I was only able to go for the day this year. Which was ok. The weather was pretty awful on the Friday, so the Saturday was a good option in the end.

So as always here’s the obligatory photo of the flags. I think you have to take one as part of the terms and conditions of the ticket. I heard a few interesting things on Saturday. Possibly the most interesting was Hannah Peel, who I’ll be listening to some more of soon enough.

It was also good to see Hossam Ramsay doing a workshop at WOMAD this year. Quite a while ago I did a workshop where Hossam taught for a day, and that was excellent. I really enjoyed it.

Hossam Ramsay at WOMAD
Hossam Ramsay at WOMAD

So I’m glad I went. It was good to meet up with some old friends and see how the festival has come on in a year. I’ve been going for a long time now, not as long as some of my friends though, and it’s sort of become an annual tradition.

I like WOMAD, but this year it felt a little crowded. I’m not sure why. It was good to go for the day, this year that was enough for me.

My favourite calculator app (Tydlig) needs to do more

I really like Tydlig, it’s a little calculator app for iOS and it has a great design, but it needs to do a few more things to be truly great. Here’s my current wishlist:

  1. Be able to store calcs as files or applets or something like that
  2. Be able to reference external numbers like dates and times and be able to update stored calcs / applets in the background
  3. Have a URL schema of some kind so it can be automated
  4. And lastly, and least probably, integrate with IFTTT.

If it could do the first three things that would be amazing. A real step forward.