The Judge RANTS!
It's been a week for being generally pissed off, chums.
First off, I bought (through a friend of friends, who happens to
work in a record shop somewhere) a copy of the new Kraftwerk live
double-CD Minimum-Maximum. I got it last Friday week but,
what with one thing and another, it was Sunday before I could take the
time to listen to it. So into my hi-fi (am I being unintentionally retro
in calling it that?) it went.
Listened to Disc 1. Sublime stuff. Autobahn sounds just
as I guess Ralf & Florian always hoped it would sound live. Neon
Lights was just breathtaking - always one of my favourites, but
this was something special.
In went Disc 2. About three minutes into Trans Europe Express
(the second track), it started looping back about five seconds, and
kept doing it.
Thinking that I'd got marks on the disc's playing surface (it was a
humid day, and I was sweating a bit), I cleaned the disc using a cloth
and liquid for the purpose. Put the disc back in. Nope, same problem. I
even resorted to the tried-and-trusted method favoured by the late,
great John Peel; that is, I wiped it on my trouser leg. Still no joy.
I went to see if would play on my PC. And found that it wouldn't
play. Or, at least, it would not play in Winamp, WMP, Real or any of
the media player programs I have. Reason? EMI had decided to
'copy-protect' the release. The only way it would play in my PC would
be for me to install some crappy media player from the disc itself, and
then listen to it in greatly reduced sound quality (128kbps).
Your Judge's wig hit the window at this point. I mean, by what
frigging right does a record company have to sell me a product, and
then completely dictate the way I can use it? If I buy an album, I want
to listen to it in the player of my choice, using the hardware
of my choice, and via the software of my choice. If
someone tries to deny me that, then they are interfering with my
rights: to charge me the same amount as for a proper, legitimate
copy for the privilege is just...how can I put it...taking the piss.
Especially when the record company (and the cartel of which it is a
prominent member) keeps trying to claim the moral high ground over
file-sharing, disc-copying, and so on, thus implying that it views us
all merely as potential criminals who must be protected from their
depravity by having ludicrous restrictions placed on their freedom to
do what they will with what they have paid good money for!
And it's not as if these measures actually work in any
case: the file-sharing networks are full of this album already, and
it's only been out less than three weeks.
A snotty e-mail is on its way to someone at EMI, even though I've
now got hold of a proper copy (catalogue number 560 6112, if
you need to know).
I spent a large part of last weekend composing a letter to my MP.
You see, the Second Reading of the Identity Cards Bill is coming up in
the House of Commons on Tuesday (28th), and I wanted to try to dissuade
him from voting in favour of it again, like he did at least twice in
the last parliament (the Bill fell due to lack of time).
The letter ended up being 8½ pages of quite detailed
argument, which I won't go into right here, but you can see the broad
thrust of my argument
Having polished it as much as I could, I posted it on Monday.
I'll say this for him, his response was quick. I received his reply
on Wednesday. In one (poorly-typed - I think his secretary must have
been in the bog, and he did it himself) paragraph, he managed to score
in the high nineties on the Missing-The-Point-Ometer. The gist of it
was that he's still going to vote for it.
Well, the gist of me is that I am still not going to vote
for him. If I'm still permitted to vote by then, of course...
I mentioned elsewhere
bought a digital camera at long last. And very nice it is, too.
I'm still getting to grips with it, but one thing which is annoying
is the way that the bloody thing devours batteries. I have to
remember not to use the TFT screen unless I have to, but
sometimes I have no choice.
Yes, I do have a set of rechargeable batteries (NiMH), but
they're of the lowest power rating (1300 mAh), so need removing and
recharging after only a few pictures. I went to buy a set of 2600mAh
ones on Thursday, but they were out of stock.
This week, we serfs were told that the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-von
Battenburg clan (a group calling itself 'The Royal Family')
cost us about £35million a year to keep. Yes, and the
rest of it, because the costs of 'security' weren't included, nor the
parts of their luxurious lifestyle whose expense are buried in the
vaults of various government departments.
And yet there are still people who practically orgasm when
these inbred parasites pop up to grace them with their presence. You
can find a lot of these people in the media: how else can you explain
the fact that ITN's main early-evening news bulletin the other night
not only gave a whole nine freaking minutes to William
Windsor's graduation ceremony, but made it the lead item?! OK,
in one sense, good luck to the boy; at least he seems to be more
intelligent than his father, grandfather and his screwed-up changeling
kid brother combined, but even boys from impoverished backgrounds get
degrees, without having had the advantages of the 'best' schools that
privilege can buy.
And supporters of all this cack are exactly the sort of
people who rail against European institutions for being 'undemocratic',
'elitist' and 'out of touch'.
Hating hot, humid weather as I do, I was really looking forward to
the thunderstorms we had been promised by virtually every forecast for
Friday. There's nothing better than that clean, fresh feeling in the
air after a good storm. If you haven't been struck by lightning in the
meantime of course, in which case I'm told that the combined odours of
ozone and scorched flesh can detract from one's pleasure somewhat.
So, before leaving for work on Friday morning, I made sure that
everything was unplugged and disconnected: the modem and microfilters
for the PC, all aerials, and everything electrical. All that was left
switched on and connected was the fridge, for obvious reasons.
The result? Nada, nitchevo, zilch, nowt, sod all. Not a
flash, not a rumble; just a couple of heavy showers, which didn't do
much to ease things.
You can't even rely on the weather to be bad, now...
* Historical note: I can't remember what this linked to, but it isn't there anymore anyway.