Subscription TV over the Internet

I recently signed up for Lovefilm again when I saw that I can stream a bunch of stuff via my PS3. They’ll also send me DVD/Blu-ray/PS3 games in the post and I can send them back when I’m done. I pay £14 a month no matter how much I watch, which seems like a good deal to me.

I pay for an Unlimited card at Cineworld so that I can go and see as many films as I like at the cinema for £13.50 a month. Cheryl and I tend to go to 4 or 5 films a month, which makes it considerably cheaper per film than not having the card and seeing the same number of films. We get to see all of the latest films as they come out in awesome quality complete with surround sound (and idiots with their phones on).

I pay £10 a month to Spotify so that I can stream whatever music I like (with very few limitations) to my work and home computers, and also my mobile phone without any advertising, at a high quality.

When I want to watch a TV show I have to watch it as it plays out on TV with advertising, or record it with a DVR when it’s on so I can watch it later. Other than sometimes on Virgin there seems to be no concept of an on demand catalogue of shows. Why? I would quite happily pay £15 a month or so for an archive of TV shows to be available at the press of a button on a variety of my devices in different locations. If LoveFilm had rights to more shows I would definitely go there for them, but sadly they don’t.

An additional problem is that I am a fan of shows on Facebook, so I get all sorts of updates as the latest episodes of How I Met Your Mother or House get shown over there, and then I get to wait 6 months for the episode to air over here on a channel (as part of a package) I have to pay Sky to watch even though I only want 1 or 2 shows.

Why would I do that? Why should I do that? If I want I can download the entire episode within hours of it airing in the US with ads removed and play it on my PS3, my phone, burn it to DVD and play it basically anywhere, etc..

It is obvious that the subscriber model works, I subscribe to almost all of my media these days. If you guys make it available in a sensible way then I will happily give you my money for it. If you continue doing it this way then people will continue to make it freely available. If you want to succeed you have to make your stuff as available as TeH pIrAtEz do, but legally and for a decent price.

Theremin-eqsue HTML5

I’ve spent the last few days thinking about theremins, the musical instrument that you play without touching. When I went to see a band called Spaceships Are Cool the other day it triggered my mind. One night I suddenly decided it would be possible to make a theremin that worked using only one hand using a different design.

I plan to make one at some point in the future, when I get the parts in one place… For now I decided that I would build my concept in the browser. I started out making it with a bunch of div tags, which was frustrating, and then I realised that I could use the <canvas> tag from HTML5 to do it.

I threw together a quick page and then began thinking about the sound. I found a page detailing generating sound in Javascript in Firefox 4 and decided to go with that. I installed Firefox 4 and then started playing around with scripting everything. I started out by picking apart Paul Irish’s harmony.js file (view that site in Google Chrome and scroll to the bottom). Then I added in the sound stuff once I had values for the cursor position.

What I ended up with was a very plain page that generates sound (in Firefox 4) with the pitch determined by the cursor position on the X axis, and the volume on the Y axis. The sample time is 50ms, and at the moment there’s a bit of an annoying click. I think I might be able to get rid of that by keeping the audio element playing at 0 volume or something like that, but that’s debugging for another day.

Anyway, if you’re viewing this on my page in Firefox 4 then you should see the finished product underneath. If you’re viewing this in a feed or on Facebook then you’ll want to go here. If you’re not using Firefox 4, or you’re not sure what browser you’re using then this probably won’t work for you and you’re probably very bored of reading this by now.

Benicassim Festival

On Wednesday the 14th of July I went to the Benicassim festival with Matt, Vlad, and Howard. Here is pretty much everything you could conceivably want to know about what happened there.


I went home from Cheryl’s place in the morning and got picked up by Matt and Vlad. It was kind of strange because Chloe was there and so I think it was a bit confusing for the guys when they arrived. They assumed it wasn’t number 37 because they saw Chloe upstairs through the bedroom window.

We packed our things and I had a spot of trouble with my keys and wallet before we eventually set off to Matt’s house because he’d forgotten something. Then it turned out that he’d lost his house key, but luckily one of his housemates was in. From there we headed to Vlad’s house in Edwinstowe to wait for Howard and his dad to come and pick us up.

The drive to the airport was over pretty quickly and the airport wasn’t particularly busy or anything. We all got checked in with our couple of bags after being directed to the oversize luggage section. Vlad’s bag got stopped because he had his Swiss army knife in the checked-in luggage. Quite how that can be a problem in the belly of a plane at 30000 feet I’m not sure, but oh well. They eventually let it on and we went through the rest of security.

We spent a little while having some drinks in the upstairs Wetherspoons bar this time. Then it was time to board the plane, so we got in the line. Everything went fairly smoothly and so we sat down and got on with the flight.

Matt and I used the time to complete the cryptic crossword in The Sun. Vlad managed to mess up the easy Sudoku, so Matt and I took the paper back and did the more complicated one properly. 😉

When the plane landed we got into the airport and it was easy to feel that it was considerably hotter than the plane right away. We went through and collected out bags and then headed out of the airport to find the rental car. As soon as we got out of the doors it became apparent just how bloody hot it was in Spain at night time.

We walked around looking for the car rental place, but only found 2 closed places. Eventually we realised we needed to catch a bus to the other terminal and then go to the place that closed at midnight.

The bus drove pretty quickly, and it’s a good job because there was a huge distance between the terminals. We queued at the car rental place for a bunch of time before finally being served. I believe it was after midnight, but people were already queued so I believe they were obliged to serve them all. It might just be that the Hertz one closed earlier and my timing was all wrong, but it doesn’t matter. We got the key.

We got directions to the car park and told the number to look for (2B 06 I believe). We set about going all over the place and not finding it. People went up floors and down floors and all over the place on the 2nd floor with no luck. Eventually we found it down on the bottom floor in a place that was marked something fairly different to the number we’d been looking for, but oh well.

We unloaded our bags into the Peugeot 207 and then set about heading for Benicassim from Barcelona airport. It was strange, as it always is, to be on the other side of the car and on the other side of the road, but it’s easy enough to get used to the change.

We had a little issue initially and had to do a little bit of doubling-back, but luckily we had the sat nav to help us out with that. After a while we hit the motorway that goes down the coast and started heading through all sorts of tunnels with fans that looked like plane engines.

It got to the point where we were all hungry and we saw there were some services coming up. We stopped at a place called Ars, which made everyone laugh when Howard pointed it out.

There wasn’t much to eat if you didn’t want some sort of pastry, so we had that, then we got back in the car. We stopped after moving a few feet so Vlad could get the CD from his copy of NME so we didn’t have to listen to the shitty radio stations. They kept going in and out of range because of the mountains anyway.

On the drive we kept hitting toll booth after toll booth. In the end we spent €28 on tolls. The CD from NME was quite boring towards the end and eventually put me to sleep.

When we finally arrived in Benicassim everyone was very tired and so we looked for the camp site. We couldn’t find it at first so Vlad got out and asked some very drunk teenagers. They gave us the rough directions we needed and so we headed to the festival site. This is where we met with the second-least helpful police officer I know of. He told us that we couldn’t park the car or pitch the tent because we didn’t have our wristbands yet, and we couldn’t get our wristbands because it was too late at night. So yay, we decided to go for a drive to find some quiet place to sleep. I decided that I fancied sleeping on the beach, so we went to the beach and I touched the Mediterranean sea for the first time of the holiday before everyone suggested heading back into town to sleep in the car.

We found a car park after much driving around and just tried to sleep as much as possible in there for a few hours. A Peugeot 207 is not a comfortable place for 4 people to sleep.


I got woken up in the morning by some people walking by and pointing at us and talking to Vlad. They were English and they wanted to know if Vlad was from Manchester for some reason or other.

We woke ourselves up properly and headed into the town to get some breakfast at a nice little roadside café thing. We also used the cash machine nearby to get our money for the holiday.

After a little time wasting we went to the festival site and parked the car. We still had ages to wait so we inflated a globe and then sat in the car playing the “capitals game” where someone would name a country and someone else would have to name the capital city of that country. In the end we were just quizzing Vlad. That killed a whole bunch of time, and we covered pretty much every country in the world. After that we went up to the actual festival site and waited around in the shade until the wristband place opened up. We were some of the very first people through on that day, and we had the tent with us already, so as soon as we got our wristbands we tried to find a place to camp. The first place we looked at was on top of a wasp nest. The second place was on top of an ant nest. We then got told that the area was only for staff to camp in, so we were directed miles and miles away to the top of the camp site.

We found a massive empty plot and began putting the tent up in the boiling hot sun. It wasn’t actually that difficult, but it was extremely hot inside it.

After we’d put the tent up we headed to the centre of Benicassim again and went to a restaurant to get some food. It turned out that the place was owned by Romanians, and that made Vlad quite happy. We ordered pizzas (they didn’t have any Pizza Dracula) and then sat around on the pavement under the gazebo thing.

A man was behind us for a while sorting out some wires and things like that. It turned out that he was actually the DJ. We discovered this when really loud techno/dance music came on right behind us. It was quite strange, to be honest. Sitting down in the heat in the middle of the day, eating pizza while listening to this really up tempo loud dance music. Oh well, it was fun enough.

At some point we went back to the festival site and went through to the main section when it opened. We sat down in the shade of one of the stages and watched some of the very first bands begin to play. The one I remember sounded a bit like the singer from the B-52s, which was quite interesting, but I wasn’t overly impressed with their work if I’m honest. Still, it was the first band we saw while we were there. I do remember seeing a girl there who was wearing a top that was mostly transparent and she had crosses of black tape covering her nipples. Fairly interesting fashion/lifestyle statement if you ask me. 🙂

We watched some more bands while we were there and had a few more drinks. We watched a few bands and then the main acts I was interested in came on. We watched Charlotte Gainsbourg perform her eclectic mix of songs, followed by Ray Davies powering out some impressive tunes, and finished the night off with Kasabian. Well, I say we… I feel asleep on the grass during Kasabian. I woke up a few times and heard some of the songs I wanted to hear, but I was pretty much dead to the world for most of it. I was glad to get back to the tent and go back to sleep again.


We spent some time at the beach, which included the first proper venture into the sea. It was really quite nice, once you got over the initial rocks and stones. There was a tendency to walk like someone with special needs on the way back to shore though.

After the beach we went to a Romanian bar that we’d noticed. We sat inside and watched the ridiculous amounts of female flesh that Romanian music television has to offer, and then had some paella and Ursus! 😀

We went back to the site after a while and these are the band we saw:

Julian Casablancas
Mumford & Sons
Vampire Weekend


We decided to go to Valencia for part of the day. Vlad bought some chequered glasses ready for The Specials and I decided to buy a silly festival hat. It was really nice in Valencia. We saw part of the F1 track and a really cool-looking building on the way back to Benicassim.

When we got back we went to the festival site and began the drinking. At one point my hat got stolen, but I’m not at liberty to discuss what happened to it. A short while later I lost everyone. I waited in the arranged place for everyone, but they weren’t there when I was, so I decided to head to the front of the crowd while The Prodigy were playing. I was wearing sandals and so this turned out to be a fairly bad idea. Someone landed on my foot and my toe started to bleed. I headed out of the crowd and wandered around for a little while. I decided to sit down next to a pylon where I could see people moving around in the tiny hope of seeing someone I knew.

After a minute the girl who was sitting there turned around and we started talking. Her name is Christina and she’s a psychology of language student in Copenhagen. She gave me a tissue to wrap around my toe to help stop the bleeding and we sat there and chatted for a while. She told me that I should get rid of my hat because it made me look like an English tourist, which is quite an insult. 😉 I told her I’d give it to the next English person I saw. I spotted someone who looked English, and he was, so I offered him my hat. He didn’t want it, so I threw it after him as he walked off. When I turned around a few seconds later the was picking it up. 🙂

After a while Christina’s friends met up with her and then they wanted to go see a band, so they invited me along. I figured I might as well see some bands, rather than wait around and see none, so I tagged along. I ended up seeing some of The Japanese Popstars, and then they all wanted to go to see some of The Klaxons. I got there in time to see some of Golden Skans, which made me happy. The girls all headed off, so I waited around for a few minutes scanning the crowd and then gave up and went back to the tent. I got woken up a short while later by Vlad throwing a glow-stick at me. I wasn’t very impressed at the time. 😛


I think we spent the vast majority of Sunday on the beach. I’m also pretty sure that Sunday was the day I found a praying mantis in the tent, and brushed my teeth with toothpaste and some horrible warm beer that we had instead of fetching some water.

It was overcast for the first part of the day, and the waves were pretty big and loud, but I slept for quite a while. We spent some time in the sea and after some other events that I have completely forgotten we went back to the festival site and saw the following bands:

Two Door Cinema Club
Ellie Goulding
Dizzee Rascal

I wish I had managed to finish writing this blog entry less than a month after going, but I am apparently useless at finishing off massive posts like this, and so I’m just going to post the stupid thing now and say that I’ll come back and fill bits out in the future, even though I’m fairly sure that I won’t actually do that.

Bands I remember seeing


Chin Yi
The Paris Riots
Southern Arts Society
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Ray Davies


Julian Casablancas
Mumford & Sons
Vampire Weekend


The Cribs
The Specials
Ian Brown
The Prodigy
The Japanese Popstars
The Klaxons


Two Door Cinema Club
Ellie Goulding
Dizzee Rascal


Today is my last day at work for about a week. I am going to the Benicassim festival in Spain tomorrow afternoon. I can’t wait to get there! 😀

Benicassim Line-up

Benicassim Line-up

I’ve been looking at the line-up for a while and wondering which stage to stay at so I see the most bands that I want to see. Most of the time the main stage is where I want to be, but there are some bands I’d like to see on other stages. On the first day I would like to see The Temper Trap and Kasabian, which I imagine will not be possible.

I’ve been trying to work out which stage offers the most so I can stay in one place. I’m really not that bothered by Ray Davies on the main stage, but Charlotte Gainsbourg is pretty awesome. She’s a good actress too. Check out Science of Sleep for proof of that. She’s the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg, so there’s a lot of music in her family.

My favourite part of Science of Sleep

I guess I will just end up going with whatever someone else suggests on the first day. I would be happy to see either of the main two headline acts that day.

The second day is all about the main stage, although I would kind of like to see Calvin Harris, Mumford and Sons, and even Goldfrapp. They don’t come close to Hot Chip and Vampire Weekend though. 🙂

The third day is going to be spent at the main stage. Sadly I will miss The Cribs on the third stage, but I imagine The Prodigy will be pretty awesome. I’ve seen both of them live before at some point, but not Ash, Klaxons, Ian Brown, or The Specials. Sarah would kill me when I returned if I didn’t see The Specials. 😉

On the fourth day I really want to see Two Door Cinema Club and Foals on the second stage, but I also want to see Gorillaz. Maybe I can manage all of those. I’m not particularly interested in Lily Allen or Dizzee Rascal, but The Courteeners are pretty cool.

I guess I’ll really have to wait until I’m there to see who I can see. I know that I’ll see a bunch of good bands anyway, so I’m not particularly worried. I suppose I should probably be a bit more worried by the fact that I don’t have a tent to sleep in as far as I know at the moment. I also have no Euros, and nothing to sleep on when I’m there.

I do love a good adventure! 😀

Gogol Bordello trip to Manchester

I spent a large part of this weekend in Manchester with Gordon, Matt, Vlad, Sarah, Jo, and Claire because (most of us) were attending the Gogol Bordello gig. 😀

The journey there and back was pretty nice because of the views from the roads we took and the random banter about things like the trip to Latvia, etc.

When we arrived in Manchester I used Google Maps to navigate us to the hotel by searching for it by name. Unfortunately it completely ignored the postcode part of the address and just took us to Trafford Road, of which there are several. When I specified only the postcode we went straight to the right place.

We spotted Vlad at the hotel when we were on our way to the pub to watch the Notts (just to annoy Matt) Forest match on TV. Just as we reached the top of the stairs in front of the big screen Forest scored the first (and their only) goal of the match. 😀 During the course of the match everyone else turned up and we got the drinking underway.

After checking in at the hotel and calling in at a 24 hour Subway we headed to the St James tram stop, where we were delayed by the most useless of ticket machines in the whole world. It refused pretty much every 20p coin the first 3 or 4 times, but then suddenly decided to take it. We got off the tram at Piccadilly Gardens and wandered over to Afflecks Palace for a spot of shopping. I took a beautiful picture of Matt (below) From there we went for more drinks until it was time to head to the gig venue.

Matt in a Hat

Matt in a Hat

Once we had all settled in at the gig venue I got Matt to look after my wallet and Gordon to look after my phone, then I spent the rest of the night trying to get to, and stay at, the front of the crowd. I have the bruises and aches to prove it! Gogol Bordello were absolutely fantastic, just as last time. They know how to put on a hell of a show. 😀 Just before the end of the gig a guy standing beside asked if he could get on my shoulders to watch it, so I thought about it and decided that I would be nice. It’s harder than you think to hold a human adult on your shoulders when drunk at the front of a crowd at a Gogol Bordello gig! 😀

We met back up with Jo and Claire in a nearby pub and had a couple more drinks before heading back to Salford Quays for the hotel. We stopped at Subway (yes, again) on the way back. Unfortunately after a certain time it becomes a drive-through only, so we walked through the drive-through. 🙂

Somehow in the hotel room I managed to miss that there was a toilet. I tried the door, but I thought it was locked. It turned out just to be stiff, but oh well, I wandered around the hotel a bit looking for another one before I discovered this. 😐 I spent the night in the bunk bed above Gordon, which was quite amusing.

In the morning we all met up and Gordon had a bit of a game of Quidditch in the car park with a broom he found in Matt’s boot:

We decided to go to the Imperial War Museum North. The building itself is absolutely stunning. I put together the image below from 9 smaller shots because I couldn’t fit it all in from where I was standing.

Imperial War Museum North

The Imperial War Museum North shard building.

The exhibitions were really cool, too. The whole thing was done very well. I even bought something from the shop! It’s a Keep Calm and Carry On poster that I will have to frame and put up somewhere in the house soon.

After that we all headed back home to recover from a rather awesome weekend. 😀

I’m going back to Manchester this Tuesday to see Flight of the Conchords, and I can’t wait!

Maximo Park, Romania

On Wednesday Lizz and I went to see Maximo Park with the tickets I got for my birthday.

We were joined there by Dave, Hayley, Gordon, Vlad, Matt Ridgill, Jess, Jeanette, Ben (Jeanette’s son), and last and least Peter.

Support was provided by some band I don’t remember, then Bombay Bicycle Club standing in for The Noisettes. A definite improvement in my mind.

Maximo Park were absolutely fantastic. I knew all of the songs, obviously, and they played a really good selection. There was also a new song that’s not on even the newest album, so that was kinda cool, although nobody knew it.

It’s currently rated in my top 5 gigs ever. Possibly as high as third.

Yesterday I began packing my case (a large carry-on bag). I’ve got pretty much everything I need in it now. Just need to put my washbag in the big case and I should be sorted. Lizz is taking up the rest of the big case with some insane amount of clothes she won’t wear and doesn’t need. No doubt there are at least 3 pairs of shoes going on this journey with her.

We’re being picked up from the house at 3:45am to get to Luton airport in time to catch our flight to Cluj. When we get there we’ve got a minibus to Targu Jiu where we’ll be staying.

I’m really looking forward to going away with a bunch of people. Especially since I haven’t seen most of them properly for quite a while.

It’sa going to be a good week! 😀

Prodigy in Sheffield, Dave’s celebration in Nottingham

Friday night was the night of the Prodigy gig at the Plug in Sheffield. It was a really good night. Must thank Gordon for the tickets again. The doors opened at 9pm and The Prodigy didn’t come on until 12:30. There was no support band. We got home at some time between 3 and 4 in the morning.

Last night was Dave’s birthday celebration. I was supposed to meet Gordon earlier on to watch the FA Cup Final. It was raining though, so I didn’t fancy a 20 minute walk to a bus stop, then a 30-45 minute bus ride afterwards. I’m glad I didn’t go now. Gordon tells me it was a crap match.

Lizz, Marc, and I got a lift into Nottingham, got some food at Subway and then met up with Dave. We started off the niht in Speak Easy where Gordon joined us. Shortly before we left Dave and I both noticed our ex-girlfriends together. Nothing went wrong though, everyone kept their distance and things were good. Gordon was wearing a shirt, tie, and trousers so they wouldn’t let him into Rock City. We all decided to go to Rescue Rooms instead, except Dave who was supposed to be meeting a bunch of people inside.

Rescue Rooms was really good. A much better selection of music than I’ve come to expect in Rock City, anyway. When Gordon and Lizz were getting tired we decided it was a good time to get going home. Marc, Lizz, and I picked a taxi and after I’d finished bargaining with the driver we got home for £30 without the metre on. It’s ridiculously expensive when you think about it, but it’s about as cheap as you can get it at that time.

Intake, Barbecue, Monsters

Lizz and I went to see her brother perform with his band at Intake Leisure. They were the support for Green Date (a Green Day tribute band). It was a pretty cool night. Especially when the lead singer gave Lizz’s brother £50 for the gig. More than he and Lizz were expecting.

I decided I wanted a barbecue on Saturday morning, but we had some painting to do. We’ve finished 3 of 4 walls now. Although we may have to do one extra as a feature wall at a later date. We also may require another coat on each wall. That can wait for a bit though, I hope. Once the painting was done I sent a message to JonP and he came over for the barbecue. I only managed to buy 3 disposable ones from the Co-op. I also bought some absolutely massive burgers. They needed to be chopped in half to fit in the cobs that I bought. They were gorgeous though. 😀 The barbecue ended with everyone throwing random things onto it to set them alight.

When we went back inside JonP and I played on one of the coolest little games I’ve played in ages. It’s called “Monsters, by Pixel Junk”: The idea is basically that you have to build towers to protect these little creatures from being eaten by bad guys. There are different types of towers and they all target different things in different ways. you only have so much money and so many places where you can build the towers. It’s very addictive.

After we’d played that game a bit we decided to go outside and toast some marshmallows that JonP had brought over. It was really nice! Just as with the previous barbecue it ended with things being thrown on it to burn. 🙂

Jimmy Eat World, party, smashing furniture

Lizz and I went to see Jimmy Eat World in Leeds on Friday. We left straight from work at 16:30. The doors were set to open at 19:30, and Lizz had already decided we were going to wait in the queue. Unfortunately this meant that we were standing in the queue for an entire hour in the dark, in Leeds, in February. It was cold and horrible. We were very close to the front of the queue though.

When they opened the doors we went in and Lizz got told off for running. We got our places at the very front of the room and didn’t move again until the bands had finished playing.

After an hour of standing at the front of the room the band Sparkadia finally came on. They were really good. I enjoyed them a lot and shall be giving them a proper listen to over the next few weeks. After the show the lead singer and the female guitarist came around to hand out some fliers. Lizz had a bit of a chat with the female guitarist, who’d noticed her in the crowd earlier on during the gig. It was pretty cool.

Jimmy Eat World came on after a 20-30 minute break. They were great. I know I didn’t enjoy them as much as Lizz did, because nobody in the world could claim that, but it was good. I’m really glad I went, even though I did have to stand around for a very long time.

When Saturday came we had Dave, JonP, and Emma come over for a few drinks and stuff. It was a really good night. It went much better than the previously planned housewarming party would have gone.

Sunday mostly consisted of me and Dave smashing up furniture, or going random places, or playing around with computers turning them into MAME arcade cabinets. I hurt my leg when we were smashing furniture because I climbed onto the big pile of broken bits, then went I went to jump off I kinda slipped because it was raining. I twisted my knee a bit when I landed. :\ Lovely stuff.