Afternoon!

I’m on my lunch break so decided to have a massive rant about an issue that will either drive me mad or give me a  stomach ulcer: People on public transport in London!

I spend an average of 2½ hours commuting in London every day. I can guarantee you that if I actually carried out all the horrible things I imagine doing to other people on the tube/bus I would most likely end up in prison or a mental institution.

I have been thinking about doing a nice PDF for people to be able to download and send to their friends and family when it comes to London public transport etiquette, but I don’t have the time to make one. So instead of that I will now share a list with you that includes things that results in me hating mankind a little bit more every day:

RUSH HOUR:

  • People who cut in front of you in the queueExcuse me!? Have I not been standing here for longer than you? Why on earth would you think that your time is more precious than mine or that your appointment is more important than mine? Twat!
  • People who walk up/down stairs/other spaces that clearly says “NO ENTRY” – What part of “NO ENTRY” do you not comprehend!? Has it ever crossed your selfish mind that you shouldn’t use “NO ENTRY” places because there are people going the opposite way? Twat!
  • People who insist on pushing & shoving from behind – Pushing & shoving me from behind, stepping on my heals and generally make me feel pissed off is NOT going to make you get anywhere any faster. If I could walk any faster I would! Twat!
  • People who cut in front of you/refuse to let passengers off the train first – What the heeee… You better watch out so I don’t trip you over next time you try to cut in front of me. Since when did you get a priority boarding card!? Twat!
  • People who “steal” your seat – I was just polite and moved away a tiny bit so the person on the seat could get off the train. What gives you the right to cut in front and steal the seat I have been waiting for since 7 stops back?? Twat!
  • People who don’t stand up & give their seat to elderly/pregnant/disabled people – I feel like smacking these idiots on the head. YOU CAN SEE THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE IN NEED OF SITTING DOWN YET  YOU DECIDE TO IGNORE THEM / LOOK ELSEWHERE SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE UP YOUR SEAT!? DID YOUR MOTHER NOT TEACH YOU ANYTHING ABOUT RESPECT AND PROPER BEHAVIOUR YOU TWAT!
  • People who don’t move when you are trying to get off the train – How many times do I have to say EXCUSE ME before you let me pass!? Or do you want a tap dance routine with some singing in order to just let me off !? Twat!
  • People who insist on reading their fucking book/paper/kindle/ipad when the train is so packed that you feel like a sardine in a tin.  – Look… I am already having this one persons armpit in my face, that other persons elbow in my back, that third persons foot on MY FOOT, the last thing I really need is you shoving that fucking thing in my face. Yes, because you can’t wait until you get off/home/to work to read about why Rihanna isn’t getting laid. Twat!
  • People who don’t move down the carriage/bus – Just move the fuck down the carriage/bus, it’s not rocket science! For more people to fit on here you got to move down. Stop making everybody late because you don’t want to leave your precious place. Twat!
  • People who obstruct the doors – There is another train in 2 minutes – 2 MINUTES!!!! Why do you need to cram yourself into an already packed carriage and delaying us all because the doors won’t close properly with your fat ass hanging out the train. WHY!?!? Twat!
  • People who walk slower than if they were crawling – It’s called RUSH-hour for a reason! People are in a hurry and it would be fantastic if you could do whatever it is that you are doing on a time where you are free to be as slow and lazy as you wish, maybe on SLOW-hour, what do I know? But on RUSH-hour, we RUSH!
  • People who just… stop. And stay there – What.Are.You.Doing.????!!!! If you don’t know how to read a map you and you are over 13 years old you should probably not be allowed to be in London on your own. And if you don’t know where you are going or you feel confused, it’s fine, just feel confused & lost SOMEWHERE ELSE AND NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STAIRS / PATH WHERE PEOPLE ARE WALKING!

IN GENERAL:

  • People who eat smelly food & leave their left-overs/garbage
  • People who listen to shit music very loudly on headphones/straight out of their phones
  • People who insist on scream-talking on their mobiles
  • People who can’t find their oysters and stand in the way for everybody whilst they look for it
  • People who fart
  • People who leave their bags on the seat so people can’t sit down
  • People who sit on the “outer seat” and refuse to move in next to the window/wall
  • People who don’t stand up to let you out from the “inner seat”

I could go on forever… but I have to get back to work. I feel much better though now that all that is out of my system.

Hello my friends!

I am back from one of the most interesting & shortest trips I’ve had in a very long time.

For those who don’t know, I went to Budapest with my lovely boss Jazzman on a business trip. Luckily, business trips in our industry usually involves music in one way or another, so this business trip meant that we went to Budapest for a bit less than 48 hours to dig for records. And oh boy did we dig…!

I’m not a massive digger myself, not because I don’t want to be, but whenever I get around to do it, I either feel very stupid in the shop or I never seem to find what Im after. I don’t really know the little tricks when it comes to what to look for when digging for records beyond artist/musician names & labels. So I feel very blessed to have gotten this great opportunity to go on a real digging trip with Jazzman because he shared some of his own tips & tricks.

We started the trip not knowing where this place would be. We had an address and Jazzman had sent an email to the guy notifying him we were coming, but that was about it. So we didn’t know what to expect AT ALL.

We ended up taking a tram to the very outskirts of Budapest to a place that looked like a small village out in nowhere. Since I am too tight to use my 3G network abroad, I had saved google maps description for how to walk to the place from the tram stop. So we literally climbed a small mountain, I had to improvise with the directions because they were leading us in a circle, but I managed to get on the right path and after 20 minutes we reached our destination that looked like this:

Where on earth are we?

Jazzman got slightly worried when he realised that this might not be a shop or a warehouse at all and that we probably were heading to somebody’s house. And he was right. All we knew was that the man was called Attila, so we when we reached the closed gate to the house, we picked a random doorbell and pressed it. An old Hungarian man walked out and I politely said that we were visitors from London who were looking for Attila. The old man said we had pressed the wrong bell but that he would get him, so he started shouting his name and knocking on all the windows on the house. After a few minutes Attila appeared, so I did the same polite explanation and he let us in.

What could be hidden behind these doors?

We walked through the doors and in the front room he had prepared boxes of Jazz records for us to go through. All Jazzman was saying was
“Oh my god – I can’t believe we’re in this blokes house!!”.

His wife and his wife’s mother were there too and they all greeted us and offered to make us some tea and coffee. Of course, Jazzman didn’t really care about any of that, all he wanted was to get started with the digging, so Attila went through the boxes he had prepared and Jazzman took out his portable vinyl player so we could listen to the records. As soon as Attila saw the player, his face went pale and he started to swear in Hungarian. I asked what was up and he explained to me that he had had a French DJ visiting a few weeks ago who also had a similar device, and he had scratched/destroyed 4 very expensive records, so he didn’t want us to do the same. I tried to explain to him in a very diplomatic fashion that Jazzman was a professional – that he had been doing this for longer than I had been alive and that Attila was more than welcome to stand next to Jazzman to ensure he wasn’t doing anything that Attila didn’t approve of. I also assured him that we would pay for any records we might damage in the process. First he wasn’t sure, but I smiled and insisted and in the end he said it was fine. So the real adventure began!

The front room

We came up with a system where Jazzman selected & took out the records, and I very carefully put them pack in their sleeves. I was plugged in with my headphones to the player as well, so once we had selected the stuff that looked interesting, we sat down to decide what was good and what was shit.

A little pile of records we liked

I ended up talking a lot to Attila’s wife Kata and her mother. Kata makes hand-made jewellery and she had recently started making hand-made clutches out of very fine Japanese silk. They were very busy because she was meant to go to Milan for a big Christmas fair, so they were busy making the final touches to all the clutches in the other room. They asked me if Jazzman was my husband and if it was me who decided what records to buy, I laughed and said no to both. They asked me a lot of questions about how it was living in London & “the west” – I told them that it was hard and that I had been very lucky but they didn’t seem too convinced. As the day went on they brought out snacks for us to much on whilst we were continuing our quest to find some decent records.

Snacking & Digging

It took us about 6½ hours to go through all the records in the front room plus a big box of 45s when Attila said that he had some more in the back but that they were in a specific order so Jazzman would have to go in there and listen if he was interested. Safe to say he was, so he headed in whilst I decided to stay with Kata & her mother because it was a bit too narrow in the other room for us both to try to dig & listen.

The back room

As darkness fell outside they made us some pogácsa to munch on & offered us some Hungarian beer. Jazzman declined because he didn’t want the alcohol to affect his judgement of the music. I, of course, decided to go for it. As a Hungarian myself I know that the worst thing you can do is to decline food & drink in a Hungarian home, especially alcoholic drinks. So whilst Jazzman continued to dig, we talked about my life in London, how much I earn, what I do, Jazzman’s history, what he does etc.

Pogácsa!

Hungarian Wheat Beer!

Jazzman digging in the back room

After about 8 hours of digging, our stomachs were very hungry (despite the snacks & beer!). It was cold & dark outside, so we decided to head back into town to have some food and a pint. I ended up buying 4 records and Jazzman walked away with about 20 (he said he’d be happy if he found 3, so I think it was a rather successful digging session!). Lots of Polish, Russian, Czechoslovakian, Bulgarian and not so many Hungarian records, or at least not as many as we thought we would find. But still – lots of fun and overall an amazing trip.

Damn, I really am a very lucky girl!

Biggest yawn ever!

Hello my friends!

How’s it going? No intention to moan this time (something different I know) and I didn’t mean to yawn when taking the picture but thought it looked very funny so I decided to share the giggles.

Went up to Birmingham on Monday to attend class for the first time in “real life” and it was awesome! I mean, this MA is wicked in general, but I have to say that I was once again blown away by the fact that I have such amazing lecturers/professors. And no – this is not me sucking up, if I didn’t think that they are genuinely “all that” and a little bit more I probably wouldn’t waste my time writing about them.

Truth is that they are, and even though I’m almost 100% certain that our opinions will clash somewhere down the line on certain issues, I do feel very lucky to have them guiding me and teaching me and sometimes just reassuring me that what I’m thinking isn’t all that bad.

I guess that’s what I love most about this MA so far  – it’s making me think. The only “problem” about thinking is that it’s exhausting. I mean, I’ve only been at it for 7 weeks and it’s literally mind-blowing. Not all the concepts/topics are new, but the way they are presented and the way I am required to look at and analyse them are very different from what I’m used to.

It’s difficult. Especially the idea that we have left the “electronic age” of music and entered the “digital age”, and how this shift is as significant as it was when we went from sheet music and publishers being the dominant/biggest part of music industry to records and labels.

I’ve been brought up with my foot in both worlds. I remember being addicted to my sony walkman and the endless cassette tapes I made with radio rips, of queueing outside a record shop to be one of the first people to buy a new CD album, of owning CD singles, of my dad having lots of vinyl at home, of using mini-discs because I didn’t like portable CD players because they skipped.

But I also remember the first version of Napster and how amazing I thought it was and how the the dial-up connection was slowing me down, how my friend Neil convinced me to get one of the early chunky versions of the iPod, how I used to spend endless nights ripping my CDs and downloading music and making playlists and burning them and so on.

It’s weird. I mean, I work for a company that (barely) makes money from vinyl, a physical format that sells less than CDs, in an era that supposedly has shifted to something completely different.

I’m not trying to desperately hold on to the past, because I actually like all the things that digital brings to the table. But having that said, I still don’t believe in the death of the vinyl, or the CD for that matter.

One thing I do worry about, and this is just something that I have noticed in my own behaviour, is the attention span of people when it comes to stuff online. There is so much music out there. I get bombarded with emails and tweets every day from people trying to promote a release or a band or an event or whatever, and most of the time I ignore it because I just can’t be bothered – it’s just too much.

And I know, there are plenty of recommendation and “discovery” sites out there (or “filters”) and millions ways of sharing music so I can tune in to stuff my friends or people I look up to share or are listening to. I might check that stuff out sometimes, but truth be told, I get much greater satisfaction from simply discovering something on my own. I might be the only person who feels this way, but sadly for me, that is fact.

I don’t want a million emails and tweets telling me to listen to this because of xyz, I don’t want to constantly be force fed all this music from a million directions because not only do I start ignoring it, it makes me fed up with it all. Which obviously sucks, especially when you love music as much as I do.

There is no way of escaping this online unless I change email, shut down my twitter, stop using mixcloud and similar services, stop reading blogs/music websites and so on.

And yes, you could argue that back in good ol’ days, the same thing happened but in a different way. You were fed music by radio and you’d buy the records your favourite DJ/presenter was playing, if you had a regular shop you visited, the people behind the counter would put records away for you and recommend them for you to buy, you’d read specific magazines to see what bands were hot, what records to buy to be cool etc.

I’m not sure where I am going with all this… but I do kind of feel like I have to somehow be able to separate myself from all these personal feelings/thoughts in order to be able to do something useful on this MA course.

Why? Because everything has changed. Like it was pointed out the other week, and like Dubber mentioned in this week’s lecture – Google could buy the entire record industry with it’s “pocket money”. Now if that doesn’t mean anything to you, you are probably still in the frame of mind that things can “go back to the way they used to be”. They can’t and they won’t.

Many people have said this before and I completely agree – at the moment everything is up for grabs because the old rules don’t apply or work in the same way they used to. They belong to the past and we are in the present.

As for the future, I hope I can contribute to the way it will be shaped in one way or another, even if it’s just 0.00001% (or less). And if that means throwing out the old rules completely and starting from scratch then so be it, I am personally all for it because I think it’s needed.

I just need to figure out a way of being able to do that without my brain melting in the process…