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since 16/12/2002


Everything that starts with C ... 13/03/2004

I'm a cookie.... and you can't touch me!!!

Everything that starts with C ... Hi! How are you? Me, I’m doing great!! Found a lovely place to stay, plenty of room, loads and loads to read, secrets to unwind, and lots of new discoveries to make!!! Sorry? Who am I? Oh you know, just a little tracking cookie. Yes I know, I’m so small and insignificant you’ve probably never noticed me before. I’ve loved being here on your PC for weeks now. That’s right! I know you don’t know where I came from, but don’t worry! I don’t take up much space, you never have to think about me, and, most important, I’m not related to any of those horrible viruses and worms you’re always reading and hearing about. After all, if I had been related your anti-virus program would have found me by now, wouldn’t it! Oh I see, you never bother using it! That’s right, those sorts of things only ever happen to other people don’t they? Yes, I see you’ve got the program on your PC but I also see you haven’t updated it since you first put it on all those years ago! Bet my cousin Vince would love to know about that. That’s right, Vince. Lives with Harry Hacker’s crowd. Actually, excuse me a minute. Just going to drop him a quick line! No. Nothing important, just thought I’d let him know this is such a lovely spot, no security to worry about and plenty of room to roam. Not even a firewall to climb through. Actually, its alright if you’ve got to go. After all I have to pay for my stay somehow. Yes I’ve got a little part time job or two, just to keep my mind active you ...

Top 10 Dance Songs 10/03/2004

Dance on!

Top 10 Dance Songs Hello again! Yes, it’s me, back with yet another op, this time on dance music. Those of you who only know me from reading my “essential” (lol) ops are probably wondering what I am doing deviating from my normal rock orientated stance. Those of you who actually know me will also know that I’ve been, how shall I put it, somewhat “ecstatic” about dance music since the late 80’s! I won’t go so far as to say that “last night a DJ saved my life” but I’ve certainly got a great deal to be grateful about to the early “rave” scene. That, however, is a whole new can of worms (preferably tequila flavoured). Right. Top 10 dance songs. Sorted!! I was going to totally ignore the disco era of the seventies but then realized that at least one Donna Summer track HAD to be in this list, so that idea went out of the window. As usual, the following list is not in any sort of numeric order, mainly because my ranking of music changes from day to day. You will notice from the tracks that none are less than 8 years old. This is nothing to do with me getting older, just a feeling personally that a track has to stand the test of time to appear on one of my lists (conceited so-and-so aren’t I!). Anyway, on with the show. Hopefully just the titles of these tracks will dredge up some happy memories for you. Peace! Donna Summer – I feel love Is this the greatest Moroder track ever? In my opinion, YES. By 1977 Moroder had produced some great tracks with Donna Summer, but now, unfortunately, a ...

Everything that starts with X ... 10/03/2004

Xtremely good rock songs

Everything that starts with X ... Those of you who have read some of my other ops will probably have worked out by now that I do have a bit of a passion for music, to say the least. So, it is with great affection that, after a lot of thinking, contemplation and cogitation, I have finally got round to submitting the “Top 10 Rock songs of all time….ever” What makes a great rock song? Is it the lyrics, the melody, the rhythm, a combination of all three or what? Personally, I tend to think that it is the memories (good or bad) that a song will evoke when you hear it at an unexpected moment. You may well disagree with me, but I bet all of YOUR favourite songs have that effect on you! Anyway, enough of this preamble, its time to start listing. These tracks are NOT in any sort of numeric order, and as I always find it difficult to restrict lists to a Top 10, they may not always be my 10 favourites. However, as I’m writing this op they definitely are (if that makes any kind of sense!) The Waterboys – The Whole of the moon I’ve always had a soft spot for the Waterboys, right back to their earliest outings. This made it particularly difficult to choose between several of their tracks (“The Big Music”, “And a bang on the ear” and “Fisherman’s Blues” were all strong contenders for this list) but in the end “The Whole of the moon” won through. A huge, almost perfectly produced track, the lyrics on this are thought provoking, the music totally overwhelms you, the brass comes in at just the right time, and ... 09/03/2004

Try the Lite version There are a lot of opinions already here about, so rather than repeat a lot of what has already been written, I thought I'd concentrate on a slightly different aspect. One of the major problems with Kazaa is the amount of "hidden" spyware in the program. Basically, you may be downloading music ostensibly "free", but the hidden cost to you is that various organisations are monitoring your internet use, not just of Kazaa, but of every web site that you visit. There IS an alternative however. Without mentioning a specific website, a dutch site (suffix .nl) offers a free download of "Kazaa-lite". This program offers all the functionality of Kazaa, but with NO spyware included. You can still access Kazaa, as well as Morpheus and Grockster. This gives you access to literally millions of tracks, which is where the problems can come!! It is very easy to become addicted to searching for yet another song you haven't heard for 20 or 30 years, and the delight in finally tracking it down is tremendous!! The program is very easy to install, but I have heard of a couple of people whose computer has "crashed" after installation, so as always, make sure you have a system back up before installation. An elementary piece of advice, but one that sadly too many people ignore/neglect!!! Please read this update:- It might seem like scaremongering but it is something to be aware of. For the record I am not advocating file swapping nor am I saying don't do it, as with all things in ...

Everything that starts with I ... 11/12/2003

If you don't like what your hearing

Everything that starts with I ... MANUFACTURED BANDS HAVE NO RIGHT TO MAKE MUSIC. DISCUSS- Looking at other ops on this subject, this is obviously a very emotive issue, to say the least! This statement has probably been kicking around in one form or another since the first caveman accidentally kicked a pebble into a lake and heard that nice “sploshing” sound. When the bloke from the next cave did the same but on purpose, you can almost hear the outcry! “Phmeew phneeg phwrr!” (roughly translated “You’ve manufactured that sound, you’ve got no right to make music”). Just goes to show what a stupid statement it is. However, if the statement was reworded slightly to: Manufactured bands have no right to inflict their music on us-Discuss , we can open up a whole new can of worms (Yippee!) For sake of simplicity, I am going to restrict myself to going back to the dawn of Rock’n’roll, 1954 to be exact, only ‘cos it’s nearly 50 years old! There has NEVER been a golden age of Rock’n’roll (I use the term loosely, to cover all aspects of so called “pop music”), or at least, there has only been a golden age when people look back fondly at the days when they were growing up. It doesn’t matter what year you look at, there has always been music that evolved “organically” and music which has been carefully manufactured to milk the cash cow (oops, bit of mixing of metaphors there) Even restricting your view to Number 1 UK hits, this becomes apparent. Just for example, “Rock around the clock” in 1954 was ...

Everything that starts with M ... 10/12/2003

Music was my first love...

Everything that starts with M ... Ah good!! A musical challenge!! One with some interesting questions!! I’d better give it a go then HOW MANY CDS DO YOU OWN? At an approximate count about 1200, although this does include a couple of hundred “covermount” (you know, those CDs that are stuck on the front of magazines) CDs !! Then you could add another 100 minidiscs (so probably 150 CDs worth of music) and 70 or 80 tapes. Obsessed with music? Me!! CDS IN YOUR COLLECTION MOST EMBARRASSING Haven’t really got any embarrassing CDs, they just stand there quietly on their shelves behaving themselves!! Seriously though, I’m not embarrassed by any CD I’ve got, I must have liked them when I bought them. If someone else thinks a CD I’ve got is weird, well….. one man’s whisky etc. MOST RECENT Last two additions to the collection were Let it be- naked and The Essential Bruce Springsteen. However that will probably change by the weekend… a music junkies life is always changing! FIRST First CD I bought was “Tago Mago” by Can back in 1989. Up till then I’d stuck faithfully to vinyl, but I bought a CD player with some money I’d been left, and then there was no stopping me!! MOST RELAXING Several, depending on my mood at the time!! If I’m wound up and ready to explode “Rory Gallagher Live In Europe” (it’ll either calm me down or tip me over the edge!), if I’m already chilled out either a cheapo Tangerine Dream compilation on Disky (great value cheap Dutch label, for information purposes) or ...

On The Beach [Remastered] - Neil Young 10/12/2003

Back at last!!

On The Beach [Remastered] - Neil Young For Neil Young aficionados this CD has been a long time coming!! Originally released on vinyl in 1974, the album “disappeared” later in the 70’s, supposedly never to appear again. Why, you may well ask! Is it rubbish? Is it an absolute turkey? Was Neil Young ashamed of it? The answer to the first two is, absolutely not!! This album probably rates as one of the five best albums Neil Young has ever released. The answer to the third poser is, possibly. Confused? Read on and hopefully all will become clearer!(or not!) “On the Beach” is a bleak, bitter, almost despairing record. Overall there is a hard edged sound to the album. If the only Neil Young album you have heard is ”Harvest”, welcome to the other side of Mr. Young. This album concerns itself with political questions and comments, not the MOR style that the majority of people at the time expected of a man who had released “Heart of Gold”. The album opens with “Walk On”, which is a fairly bitter observation of growing up. Kick starting with a hard (but not heavy) guitar sound, the track documents the way people and situations change as times pass (“Sooner or later it all gets real”, “I remember the good old days”). “See the sky about to rain” is a warning about what may be about to come, subtly sweetened by some very effective steel guitar (courtesy of Ben Keith). “For the turnstiles” (the fourth track) follows this theme of potential prophesy, although musically it is totally stripped down to the bare bones ...

Essential Bruce Springsteen - Bruce Springsteen 06/12/2003

Essentially Broose!!!

Essential Bruce Springsteen - Bruce Springsteen It's Xmas so it's compilation season again!! This time "The Boss" has released a comilation of some of his best tracks, plus on the bonus CD (which I believe is of limited availability) various rare and live tracks. As a "beginners" guide to Springsteen, it is hard to fault this collection. Tracks from all periods of his career over the last 30 years or so are included. There's the anthems ( "Sandy", "Born to Run", "Hungry Heart", "Born in the USA", "Streets of Philadelphia") for you to sing along with (Or is that just me?). There are lesser known (to non devotees) album tracks, and on the bonus disc, tracks that make you ask "Why have I never heard this before? As a body of work, you can trace the changes in direction over the years (even without knowing the Springsteen story). I can honestly say that there is not a bad track on this compilation, but if you intend to buy it, please get the 3CD version. It is about £2 more than the standard release and even at £16 is outstanding value. Mr Springsteen himself writes "The idea was to present a little bit of what each album has to offer". Mr Springsteen, sir, Job Done!! The booklet has words to all tracks, plus detailed personnel information and several photos I've not seen before. The music on this compilation covers all aspects of Springsteen’s work – from all out rockers to acoustic ballads. As there are 42 tracks (30 on the 2CD version) it would take forever to describe them all in great detail, so ...

Let It Be (Original Soundtrack) - Beatles (The) 06/12/2003

Naked? No. Good? Yes!

Let It Be (Original Soundtrack) - Beatles (The) So the rewriting of Beatles history continues, although I'm pleased to say that the songwriting credits still say "Lennon-McCartney! Let it Be-Naked (LIBN for short!) is allegedly the sound The Beatles made when recording their last album(bar one) before Phil Spector got his itchy fingers on it. As such, the album sounds somewhat different to the classic album released all those years ago. The differences between the two releases are more readily apparent when listening on a decent sound system, a walkman doesn't do the "new" version justice! LIBN kicks off with "Get Back"- no major differences in sound although the drums are more to the front and lead guitar is slightly more prominent. "For You Blue" definetely sounds more like a George Harrison track than on the Spector version, complete with asides from George through the track. "The Long and Winding Road" is the track that has undergone the most complete "revision". Gone are the syruppy strings that (to me at least) marred Spector's version. The song now sounds and stands as one of McCartney's best Beatles tracks and is a real pleasure to listen to. "I've got a feeling" also benefits from the stripped down approach, while "Across The Universe" is essentially the version released on a charity album in 1968. Slightly faster than the Spector version it is still, now, a beautiful heartfelt song. "Let it Be" itself is more or less the same track that most of us know and love/loathe (delete as ...

X-Cleaner 05/08/2003

Should this be on my PC? Yes!

X-Cleaner X-Cleaner. Sounds a little dodgy , do you use it to get rid of any porno sites you might have “inadvertently” visited? Surprisingly, the answer is both yes and no!!! Bear with me (excuse the pun) and I shall attempt to explain. X-Cleaner is a very useful “free to try” security tool. The free version(free for ever as far as I can see,the paid for version has some extra features!) has a long list of utilities, scanning for adware systems, spyware programs and dangerous components in your computer registry. Hang on, I hear you say, doesn’t AdAware do exactly the same thing? Yes, AdAware in its simplest form certainly scans your PC for adware, but unfortunately doesn’t pick up on all dangerous components or all “Trojan” programs. (For those of you hopelessly lost, adware is normally a “cookie” left on your PC after visiting any internet site which reports back your internet surfing habits to its originator. A Trojan program, on the other hand, is a far more sinister unwanted addition to your PC, often enabling its originator(s) to access information stored anywhere on your hard drive, not just in your Temporary Internet directory. Dangerous components can include programs which maliciously change your internet access details from your “friendly” ISP to a premium rated dialup access, which you will probably not notice until your next phone bill tells you that you have been paying £2.50 per minute for accessing the internet. Unfortunately, I have not made this up as ...

Opistat Research 02/07/2003

Is it worth it?

Opistat Research Opistat is essentially a spyware program that you knowingly download to your PC. It's sole acknowledged purpose is to monitor your internet usage and "reward" participants with short surveys!! Allegedly anonymously, every site you visit is logged by the program and collated in what I assume is a central database. Opistat then send you surveys based on your internet usage with the possibility of some prizes! Initial reward is "Free" Antivirus software worth £40+. Unfortunately you can download similarly effective software free from various sites without subjecting your PC to spyware, so I fail to see the attraction of this reward. Considering a lot of people use Adaware (or similar antispyware programs) to avoid having spyware on their PC's, I totally failed to see the attraction of this software. I initially downloaded Opistat solely to check out the antivirus software, and found the download took a long time, ending in a "corrupted" download. Not to be deterred, I tried again, this time succesfully. The antivirus software was No improvement on AVG, so I subsequently uninstalled it!! If you wish to be rewarded for surfing I would suggest you join sites such as MyPoints, MyOffers or Madstock, or just stick with Ciao!!! Sorry if this is coming across as totally derogatory but I do feel there are better things to do with your time than download Opistat!!!

Mick Ronson 09/04/2003

Britain's underrated guitar genius

Mick Ronson A blonde-haired rock god who could make a guitar sing like an angel or imitate the sound of the devil’s debauchery. Over exaggeration? I don’t think so! Mick Ronson was born in Hull in 1946. At 18 he formed his first band “The Rats”. They released three singles, the second two featuring Woody Woodmansey (remember the name) on drums. None of the singles did much saleswise and Mick disbanded The Rats. He went into session work, appearing on “ Fully Qualified Survivor” by Michael Chapman amongst others. Around 1970 he teamed up with David Bowie for the first time in the short lived band “ Hype”. At about the same time he released a solo single, which again bombed badly! Hype continued with a new drummer, yes that man Woodmansey again (told you to remember the name). They released two singles (released under David Bowie as solo artist) neither of which charted, followed by the album “ Man who sold the world”. This was followed by “Hunky Dory”, by which time the band had changed its name to “ The Spiders from Mars”. Again, no chart success followed, but in the short time between December 1971 and April 1972 the band were obviously busy! April 1972 saw the release of the single “Starman” which shot to Number 10 (in the charts, not Downing Street!). Two months later “Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars” was release. This reached No 5 in the charts and ...

The Beatles 08/04/2003

What can I say

The Beatles The Beatles. What can I say about The Beatles that hasn’t already been said over the years. Four guys from Liverpool who not only changed the face of pop music, but also acted as a catalyst for change in all aspects of western society. It is impossible for anyone under the age of 35 to appreciate just what an impact The Beatles had on the lives of everyone in the sixties. The eager anticipation of each new release. The realisation that each single was even better than the last. The sheer ecstasy of going into your local record emporium and acquiring the magical 7 inches of vinyl. Amazingly, their first single release failed to chart first time around. Then again, they were “only” the backing group for Tony Sheridan, listed as “The Beat Brothers” on first issues. Then, in August 1962, Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best on drums, and the Fab Four were intact. “Love me do” was released In October 1962 and reached the dizzy heights of 17 in the chart. 4 months later “Please please me” reached Number 2 (Number 1 in some charts, yes there was more than one chart in the UK in those days!) and the rest as they say is history. 24 UK single release, 12 UK studio albums. These are the stark numbers of an 8 year recording career. There have been numerous compilations issued since 1970, including 3 anthologies of previously unreleased material in the mid nineties. Good starter CD’s for those yet to discover the magic are ...

Raw (Live Recording) - Sex Pistols 08/04/2003

Definetely not polished

Raw (Live Recording) - Sex Pistols Raw is a mid priced CD from Music Collection International. Basically it is an alternative to "Never mind the bollocks" with a very similar track listing. No "God save the Queen" but a couple of reasonable live tracks instead. Unfortunately there are no sleeve notes to confirm this, but the studio tracks could have come from the Dave Goodman sessions(?). If you know the Sex Pistols work this is a good companion piece to "Bollocks", if you're looking for an introduction I would suggest you buy "Bollocks" instead!! As the title states, these recordings are a little bit raw, however they are definetely not "demoes" and the inclusion of EMI suggests that they were recorded after the band left the label,possibly at the start of their Virgin contract, although again this is guesswork!! All in all, I enjoyed listening to alternative versions of the tracks, and the live tracks took me back to 1976/77,which was a pleasant experience!!! At about £6, it is worth buying, but I would not rate it as "Essential".

10 Best Rock Songs 05/04/2003

Steve's List

10 Best Rock Songs When I first saw this, I thought “dead easy, I can do this standing on my head”!! Then I remembered I can never pick 10 best tracks because my list changes all the time. Anyway, for your delight and delectation, below is a list of 10 classic tracks, some of which you might have heard, some you might not, but all of which you should listen to at least once in this life. 1. Roxy Music – If there is something Track 2 on the first album and perhaps the first of the classic romantic Roxy tracks. The lyrics seem to suggest a more innocent world that never really existed coupled with a yearning to reach there (again)... “I would put roses round our door Sit in the garden Growing potatoes by the score” Eno’s influence on the track really comes to the fore after about three minutes, and the music continues to stir you all the way to the end, in an almost trance-like way. Personally, this track always reminds me of the period 1973 to 1976. Heather, where are you now? 2. ABC – When Smokey sings Glorious blue eyed white soul classic from the early/mid eighties. Martin Fry’s vocals dominate the track extolling the virtues of life “ when Smokey sings”, Smokey being Smokey Robinson. A real “feel good” track which unfortunately seems to have become one of the 80’s forgotten classics, but one which a lot of people will have heard over the last 20 years. Four minutes of heaven!!! 3. Altered ...
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