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Oh, and a very happy birthday to the lovely [ profile] ratphooey. Have a great day.
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My computer has in the last couple of days started making 'thunk' noises, very mechanical sounding. It's also been BSODing, and the occasional self restart.

Please tell me it's just the hard drive, and that I don't have to spend £s on a whole new machine.

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I didn't feel old when I hit 30
I didn't feel old when I hit 35
I didn't feel old when I became a father of 3
I didn't feel old when Ned started school
I didn't feel old after the snip, knowing that my child making days were over
I didn't feel old when I started going grey, when I lost most of my hair, when the grey hairs started appearing all over my body, not just on my head.
I didn't feel old when I was watching Life On Mars and could remember 1973. Just.

But when Ned showed me his wobbly tooth this morning, that's when I suddenly felt old.

On quite another topic, I've just finished two straight days of painting woodwork, and I have at least another 1 1/2 to do, followed by 3 full days next week. I'm dizzy from the fumes of gloss paint.

Which may explain why I didn't react to the comment here too well. I think I took it far too personally, and re-reading the original comment I think it wasn't intended that way. However, I was, and am still annoyed by the anonymity of the comment. I have no problem entering into what could be an interesting debate, and I'm not so unsure of myself or my arguments that I'd shy away from the conversation, but I don't like jousting shadows.

And it also opens up the question, which do you prefer? Mawkish Sentimentality or Fashionable Cynicism. Why don't you decide?
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Up until 20 minutes ago, I would have said that this was the only song I'd ever bought on the basis of seeing the video. As a 14 year old, the world of Ska was a mystery to me, with only the Fun Boy 3 showing any kind of demonstration.

Then one saturday morning, probably on kids TV, they played this video, and I was mesmerised. So completely stunned that by the afternoon I owned this very single.

I think in a way it scared me - the music was so different to anything I usually listened to, creepy almost. It certainly made me feel very uncomfortable. And the cover of the single also creeped me out in an unpleasant way, and even now I find it hard to look at for too long, which I know is not becoming of a grown man, but still...

Anyway, again, thanks to YouTube, I found the video, and I cannot for the life of me see what would have appealed to my 14 year old self. It's extremely 80s looking, which I suppose is hardly surprising, and old Jerry Dammers is a bit weird, but no, I just can't see it.

However, it was thanks to this song that I grew to love Ska in general, and the Specials / Special AKA in particular.


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Can you beat a novelty TV tie-in song? Yes, and preferably with a big, big stick with pointy nails in the end of it. Every actor thinks he's a singer, every singer thinks he's an actor, and what you end up with is pappy dross, such as exemplified by this offering.

Come with me back to Christmas 1983 - a magical time, your first Christmas as a teenager, where you leave all childish things behind you and begin your mature appreciation of the yuletide spirit.

Well, it would seem not, as I was still gullible and innocent enough to buy this tat with my paper-round money. As I'm sure you all know, this was George Cole and Dennis (write the theme toon, sing the theme toon) Waterman reprising their roles from 'Minder' singing about the difficulty of finding a suitable present for 'er indoors, while managing to bastardise one of the most beautiful Christmas Carols - In The Bleak Midwinter. I'm reliably informed (well, Wikipedia says anyway) that this reached the heady heights of Number 21 in the UK charts. I feel in some small way responsible. Sorry.

Some kind soul has put a copy of this up on this internet of ours, so if you're unfamiliar with this 'song' or feel like torturing yourself, here's the link,

Of course, every single had a 'b' side, and I recall that I preferred this at the time - a fairly basic sketch about 'Terry' writing a song for his girlfriend who turns out to be.... well, don't let me spoil it for you. Why not have a listen for yourself here

Oh dear. I'm glad there's 25 years between me and this song.


Jan. 31st, 2008 11:01 am
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Especially for [ profile] mockduck and [ profile] jerusalem66, though for entirely different reasons...

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Following a conversation with [ profile] mockduck about why we blog, her idea for her birthday present, and a very lovely post by [ profile] lurpak, I've decided what I'd like for Christmas.

For any of you who feel so inclined, if you'd like to write a post extolling the virtues (or otherwise) of [ profile] forgottenalbums and ask people on your friends list to go and have a look, that would be lovely.

There is of course no compunction to do so, but if you're feeling in the giving, Christmas mood, then a shameless pimping would be delightful!

What can I get / do for you?
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The story of how an album that I bought for £1 from a charity shop led me to attend a Country Music night in Shrewsbury to meet the recording artiste can be found here.

Do you ever wonder where your life will take you next?

(and apologies to [ profile] forgottenalbums readers who now have two big pictures of my gurning mug on their friends page. I'll make sure it never happens again!)
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Some of you won't know of the excellent site created by [ profile] mockduck, Draw Anyway.

The purpose of the site is to create a community of people who want to draw / paint / create but don't seem to be able to find the time. [ profile] mockduck suggests a series of short exercises or techniques which provide inspiration so you can actually sit down and draw /paint / create something. The whole point of the site is that it shouldn't be onerous time-wise. It's about finding a few minutes in your day to take time to be creative.

With mutual encouragement and feedback, it's a safe environment in which to post your efforts, share ideas, and find encouragement, and the whole thing is a brilliant idea.

Why am I telling you this? Firstly because it is such a brilliant idea, and for anyone (and I'm guessing it's most of us) who'd like to find time to be more creative, but never seem to get round to it, it's a great way to find that impetus.

Secondly because there are occasionally guest posts, and today's post is a video by some bloke called Bingo McDingo dealing with the fine art issue of potato printing. If you need any more enticement, there is a moment where I come very close to causing myself physical harm. Do I really lose a finger? There's only one way to find out...
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You may (or more likely may not) be interested to know that my side project, [ profile] forgottenalbums is back after something of a hiatus for hopefully understandable reasons. Charity Shop records have never seemed so exciting...
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Today is Ned's 5th Birthday. I'm celebrating that I've managed to raise a child for five years without losing, selling or permanently damaging him. Actually, scrub that last one, as time will tell regarding the psychological damage.

Anyway, the Lovely Mrs. McDingo had seen how much fun Ned had had playing with his cousin's toy pirate ship, and thought it would be a good idea to get him something similar. A quick check on e-bay later, and we'd found the perfect item - a 'Pirate Island' playset, with real firing cannon. Well, obviously not real, otherwise we'd be subject to weapons inspections and stuff, but real toy firing cannons, and harpoons and all sorts.

She found this just as the bid was ending - literally with about 3 minutes to go, so we put in a speculative bid, pretty low.

And we won.

See.... here

So, it cost us the grand price of £2.20, plus £4 postage and packing. £6.20 to have a fantastic playset delivered to our door.

The seller was really good, kept us informed, and the parcel arrived this morning, Ned's birthday, at 7:30 - a proper foot square parcel for him to open.

However, I couldn't help but notice that the cost of postage alone had been £8. Seeing as how we won at £2.20 and paid £4 postage, it means the poor guy was £1.80 down on the deal before taking the packing into account.

As soon as she realised this, the lovely Mrs. McDingo suggested that we contact the bloke and pay him the difference, so that he's not out of pocket. My initial reaction was, well, it was his mistake so we're not liable, but that's why Mrs McDingo is the lovely Mrs. McDingo, and why I'm just a scumball. I mean, it's only a couple of quid, and it's a nice gesture, but would it be patronising? Or are we rewarding a mistake, and if we pay him extra, he won't learn from it?

What would you do?
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This sat in my brain for 5 years from when I first heard it until I dug out the name from the recesses of my memory, bought the album, and fell in love all over again...

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I'm naturally very proud of the fact that my boys request at least one of these videos once a day. My parenting is complete, as I know they now have impeccable taste. Enjoy.

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We don't do things by half, oh no. In our family in the two and a half weeks up to this Wednesday, we'll have had 1 birth, 2 further birthdays, 1 operation, 1 homecoming, a first day at school and a first day at nursery.

Blimey. I think I need a rest.

Anyway, today was Ned's first day at school, so please find obligatory photo of my child in his school uniform, plus brother who had to get in on the act.

Apart from a bruised chin caused by a freak "The Wheels on the Bus" accident, the day has been declared a success. Huzzah.
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For those of you who have more than a passing interest in 80's King of Austrian Rock, Falco (sorry, that's just me then, is it?) you'll know immediately what I'm about to say.

For everybody else.

The hospital just called. As long as the haematology department are happy, Nell can come home later on today.


Sep. 3rd, 2007 10:34 pm
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Here we are, 10 days after the birth, 6 days after the surgery, and Nell is doing very well indeed. Incredibly well.

After the surgery, she kept healthy and stable all week. Asleep mostly, and puffy because of the morphine, but she kept getting stronger and stronger. On Saturday Sue's parents came over to visit, and just as they were leaving, we got a phone call to say Nell was being moved off intensive care, onto the neo-natal ward at 7 p.m. that evening.

Sue was going home to be with the boys, so I went up and stayed with Nell during the transfer. There was some concern about her cannula which was changed twice, and eventually inserted in her head - not the nicest place, but at least they had good clean veins they could find there, and it means she's now wearing a plastic cup like a party hat.

Since her move, she's come off the respirator and also her oxygen feed, her tube feed has been reduced to nil, and she's on a bottle, each feed having increased by 5 ml on the previous, so she's now at 60 ml three-hourly, which is considered normal.

All the tubes and wires are gone except her nasal tube and the monitor on her toe, and the cannulas are still in her head, just in case, but we can now pick her up for a cuddle and she's getting better and better.

Having said that, she has had a temperature today, so she's being closely monitored for signs of an infection, but she's well in herself, and the nursing staff don't seem too worried, so I'm not going to be either.

And finally, for now, a bit of video showing my daughter, and for the easily squeamish, I should warn that it also shows her scar...


Aug. 25th, 2007 08:55 am
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Just heard from Sue that Nell didn't have such a good night, is now on two drips and a feeding tube, and is requiring oxygen. Waiting to hear from the Children's Hospital, but the current thought is that she may need surgery sooner rather than later.

Obviously, I won't be updating for a while, but as soon as I know anything...
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still no sign... contractions at about 8 minutes apart, so getting closer all the time...
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Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, I am posting this from some funky (and hideously expensive to use) machine over the lovely Mrs McDingo's hospital bed.

Waters broke last night at 10:30, and we,re now just waiting for nature to do its stuff. Anyone want to start a book on exactly what time you think the blighter will be born? After spending the night sleeping on a cold and very hard ward floor (oh yes), I don't really want to spend a second night doing the same.

Wish us luck!