Top Banana London

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It's on, it's sorted and it's all going ahead.

The venue is The Camden Centre, Euston Road, opposite KIngs Cross St. Pancras.
Despite all the emails and stuff, entry is on a first-come-first-served basis, entry is £10 (subsidising Union-like bar prices) and doors open at 8pm.
Get there early to avoid disappointment, as the Organiser guy says he's recieved about twice as many emails as people that the venue can take.

Good luck.
Wave at me if you get in...I'll be DJing my touche off.

Woo!

I spent the weekend in Bristol with Ben, which was pretty wicked by all accounts. What with bedtimes of 4am and 5am for the Friday and Saturday nights and fun right up to actually closing my eyes, it was a packed weekend.

This weekend I'm off back home to the Island (the Isle of Wight...not just any old Island) for my Mum's birthday...the girlfriend is coming along for the ride, and there will be what can only be defined in terms of how tempting it will be for Fate - A Bank Holiday Weekend Barbecue.

On the evening of the 31st of May, Ben and I are DJing ( I could say headlining, but the other DJs who merely wanted an earlier slot might get a bit pissed off...) the latest instalment of the West Midlands' favourite tropical-fruit dubbed cheesefest - Top Banana London.

I could go on about how excited I am about it, how many of the stops we are pulling out for the performance (all of them), the fact that I'm shopping for a new inflatable guitar...but I won't.

I want to sum things up in one succinct quotation, which, it just so happens, is my own. It became something of a catchphrase in the early days of my radio show on RaW, when a catchphrase was a handy thing to have, as it cut down the number of things I had to think of to say.
It was my first ever broadcast, and my first on-air speaking-between-the-songs-bit (or 'link' as they're known), and while I was talking I noticed that my volume levels were high. So high in fact, that all the dial needles were stuck firmly in the little red areas reserved for fires, national emergencies and first-time-DJs, and if they stayed there much longer the studio desk components would start smoking. I improvised, and after I'd calmed down, thought it sounded cool.

This is going to be a bit loud.

Peeptubbing

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(It's a real word. Honest. It's what smugglers used to do to find dumped contraband on the bottom of the sea - get a tub or section of barrel and hold it in the water, and you get rid of all the little ripples and waves that normally make trying to see the bottom such an irritating problem.)

Anyway.

I have to write 'anyway' a lot, don't I? I write something, which sends me off on a different train of thought, which obviously then has to be explained and written about, and then it happens again, and before you know it I've written too much for lightweight Autoblography readers to be bothered to read, and I have to forcibly rein myself in and attempt to get at the original point, which may now have changed beyond recongition.

This is what it's like inside my head folks...

Anyway

Why did I choose this title?

Oh yeah, sorry.

I was trying to make an intellectually disguised point about clarity and vision.

Erm...what was it again?

Something like how it is very difficult to look at anything as large and complex as your whole life with any kind of perspective or realistic approach because there is normally so very, very much to consider, and to get it all into your head at once you have to break it down into components or else have bits squeezed out. Moments of unusual clarity in the past have been given the name 'Epiphany', which for some reason has also been applied to the Three Wise Men popping in to see Mary and dropping off her Avon order in the process...(...reining in taking place...)

I had a minor epiphany at the weekend. I'm still new enough to my job to not see it as a blinding routine, and can still kind of remember the feeling of having a blank life in front of me waiting to be filled with all sorts of things, most of which now appears to be surfing the internet for CCTV washer wipers that conform to British Standard EN 60529 Level IP65. (...more reining in...)

I kinda got the impression of a balanced life...a 5:2 - work:weekend ratio is okay really...admittedly I wouldn't defend it if it was going to be changed to 3:4, but it's all right.

Life is pretty damn good, really.

(NB: Alice stayed the weekend)

It is not often that the poster hanging over the computer in any given internet café has a lot in common with what I intend to blog about, but today is one of those days.

I was wandering around in the early minutes of my lunch hour, having endured a second (or is it the third now? I've lost count) Health and Safety Induction all morning and I was feeling a little mentally hyper (as you do when you arrive at a different office and find that they have an ACTUAL coffee machine) but also reflective, as let's face it, Health and Safety Inductions and the like are really only there for companies to say 'Don't Die On Company Time', and when you do, they can turn to your grieving loved ones and say 'We Warned Him!'...so not too involving.

Two old men in the first charity bookshop I went into were discussing All Quiet On The Western Front, and swiftly moved on to the subject of how today's leaders have learned nothing from History...the world was in terrible shape, money, power, corruption, oil deals...I was caught up in the stream of pure cynicism flowing liberally around the tiny shop.

The tones of voice and mannerisms set me in mind of a couple of my lecturers...having started a degree in Green Engineering and aiming to save the planet from ecological disaster by halfway through the second year...and finishing my course after three years with the most prominent men in the Green Engineering (ie reduced emission, wind power, generally being sensible) telling me that, you know, really, to be honest, there's not much hope, I was a little older, I thought I had lost my idealism, and now I was a realist.

But the men in the charity shop made me think 'Well, then, what the hell are we actually going to do about it all?'

We're in what will probably turn out to be the early days of the War On Terror, information on how to make all kinds of bomb and generally nasty devices is freely available, small groups of motivated people with only limited resources can really Do Bad Things.

Then I had about three ideas at once.

At the moment there are strict rules about the flow of information. Some people have it, some don't, most are trying to get more, and it's not always easy.

Information, for instance, about...say...how much money you earn, what your savings are and which shares you own, is something you might sincerely hope that your employer, your bank, and the yellow folder on top of the wardrobe will keep fairly secure.

But information is King now. Our society has been turned on it's head and a lot of the old rules don't apply. If you're an MP, for instance, you have to declare shares in companies to avoid allegations of surreptitious favouritism. Credit agencies can check to see how much you earn...how much money you have saved.

...and they can do all of this pretty much instantly.

So...maybe freedom...or a kind of it, certainly freedom from terror, or activities like September the Eleventh ever coming to fruition, is if all information, every kind of it, is completely and unrestrictedly available. Any person can see how much money anyone else has, where that money is, what companies they have Direct Debits set up to...that whole lot.

Big Brother, welcome home, you might think.

This was idea Number One. I didn't like it.

But then I thought about webcams. How many are there? A fair few.
Blogs. Bloody millions of the things. No one can have or ever could read them all.
Imagine...all information is freely available...what do you do? Spend your weekend browsing your neighbour's finances? No. You check your email, write some blog, maybe order a new shed to put the lawnmower in.

To a certain extent Big Brother wouldn't be arsed.
Still not too hot.

The big fears that came out of Orwell's 1984 was the action of a draconian government with huge arrays of surveillance equipment everywhere, listening, watching, spying and generally succeeding at controlling the population. From there came the Big Brother concept and the paranoia coming from surveillance, or at least the threat and intrusion into our personal space by technology. I've felt the same way myself about my mobile. Sometimes you just don't want to be hassled by the bloody thing.

But the benefits of a financially transparent society don't have to mean Big Brother. You could tell when a suspected international terrorist had just spent a large amount of money at Nukes-r-us.com, and then which of the multitudinous Russian mafia groups had just ordered in a suspiciously large shipment of Athlete's Foot Powder. To a large exten the intelligence agencies of the world can already do this, but...freedom of information...all information, anywhere, anyhow.

Think about it...not only do you have a tool for crime and terrorism reduction, but anyone can learn about anything. Information could go both ways between companies and clients...prospective clients...clients they almost got but went somewhere else for some reason...companies can find out what the public wants...(this bit is a Douglas Adams point) we have one-to-one communication, and one-to-many and many-to-many (hey there, blog reader/writers)...many-to-one communication is a little rusty.

Information needs to flow freely, as a denial of access to information is and always has been a way of maintaining power over someone...even Lao Tzu stated so in The Art of War.

Once we have free flow of information, to prevent undesirable use of that information will require a rehashing of a lot of legal bumpf - harassment laws, who can use what information for what...

I'm now getting the impression that I haven't fully thought this out, even though this is probably going for the world's longest blog entry ever...

Ah well.

I'll shut up now.

The Salmon of Doubt

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Well, yes.

Exactly.

Life has gotten between myself and my blog, and I have the feeling that it is still a bit narked for the long break as I add to it from a different location to the cosy, comfortable study on the top floor of the house in Ventnor, Isle of Wight, where the pair of us spent so much time together when I had a lot less Life to deal with than I do now.

The aforementioned Life is pretty full really. I have been living a 'Graduate Engineer Experience' that someone must have thoughtfully bought from Boots.
Everything seems to have arrived ready-established and set up, from the Internationally diverse four-way houseshare where English is a language in a distinct minority, to my Mr. MacGregor-like status with next door's kids ("What are you doing in my pond?") to the job itself, which is pretty good, if, at times, I'm not a hundred percent sure what I'm meant to be doing, or, what's more, what I'm actually doing even if I am doing it at the time.

Ah.

The end of the lunch hour.

Been reading the posthumous Douglas Adams book, 'The Salmon of Doubt', hence the title. Bittersweet emotions, as the book (I'm reading it for the second time since buying it at the weekend) is hilarious in places, but it is a posthumous book, and there are a fair few heart-rending tributes.

All time is an illusion - lunchtime doubly so.

I have to go back to the office now.

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