A fresh start

I’ve become a bit stale recently. Not just because I’m getting old, but because I’ve got no creative outlet. I’ve gone from doing semi-regular weekly shows, to daily and then on to weekly live broadcasts. Life has got in the way, in one way or another. The time has been and gone for Rhubarb Radio. It was an amazing few years and I met some wonderful people and built up skills I never thought I’d need  but now it’s time to move on.

After finding out who secured the domains in 2013, I’ve been developing a platform behind the scenes suitable for the vision I had for Rhubarb Radio. A few months ago I found out the person who purchased the domains had sold them to a community radio station in Yorkshire. At the time I was livid, but in hindsight it’s probably for the best. Part of me has been holding on to the hope that we could create something as special as we had with Rhubarb Radio in the Custard Factory. Being 250 miles away from Birmingham made that a lot harder than it ever should have been.

So now is the time for a fresh start. I don’t have a lot of time each week to devote to recording. In fact, when I’m not at work I’m at a home full of life. That isn’t a bad thing, but it means that spending 2 or 3 hours on recording a show isn’t something I can accomplish easily. I’m going to be using my free time to source new music, get a playlist together and then having a crack at recording all in one go on the odd occasion that I do have some time to myself. I’m hoping to do a mix of new, locally sourced music with some of my old favourites.

It’ll be interesting to see where that goes and whether we end up with a mixture of my old shows or a new one entirely. If there’s anyone still reading, thank you for sticking with me.


A New Beginning

Over the past few months I’ve been thinking about getting back in to Podcasting. Since moving to Cornwall I’ve been able to record two shows which really isn’t enough considering I used to do one nearly every day! I’ve decided to put up an archive of shows to fill that gap with a view to launching something properly in the next few weeks. One thing I noticed when I left Rhubarb Radio was that I was used to interacting with a team and producing a structured show which fit the Saturday morning slot perfectly. Podcasting is different, it’s on demand and can be listened to anyone, anywhere, around the world. I need to produce something that is going to fit that whilst at the same time bringing that independent music I’ve been championing for ten years to the masses. I’m going to be contacting local bands down here to start sourcing some music. Cornwall is a rich, vibrant cultural county and I need to champion that on whatever show I decide to run with.

I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis with the shows recently. I managed to get Midsweep for the Masses! out finally (after about 4 tries) but it didn’t feel quite right. The whole thing with Rhubarb Radio has left me a bit deflated, but maybe it’s time to move on properly. When I decided to bring it back 3 years ago it felt as though that was something for me to use to hold on to Birmingham with but it’s not quite worked like that. Moving made it hard to keep things going and the people that expressed interest at the time moved on to Brum Radio. I don’t blame them, it’s what Birmingham needed after the way Rhubarb left them feeling the first time around. I think it’s time for me to be me. I know that sounds contrived and pretentious, but it’s how I feel at the moment. It’s time for something new, something that reignites my passion for this whilst at the same time celebrates the beautiful place where I live.


It’s been a long time since I did one of these. Nearly three years, actually. I’ve got a good reason though. Honest. After moving to Cornwall from Birmingham I was immediately thrust into a life of surfing, pasties and beaches! Ish. I managed to secure myself some regular development work which has helped me keep doing what I enjoy doing, but I’ve also got a job working at Cornwall Council. It’s not fun but it pays the bills. I keep meaning to record a podcast but life always seems to get in the way. I have a plan to sort that out though, so hopefully it’ll come to fruition soon!

BT Wi-fi: Customer Support on Twitter

There’s been a rise in the number of companies that use Twitter for customer support lately, albeit with varying degrees of success. Generally the companies I’ve interacted with seem to be quite effective at offering simple support solutions for their customers, however, as with anything, there are exceptions.

Around 6 years ago I used BT Wi-fi (nee BT Openzone) on a regular basis. Whether I was in London for a gig, or in a coffee shop in town sometimes I couldn’t do what I needed to do without a stable connection. I opened an account, loaded it with £10 and used it when I needed.

About a month ago I started receiving emails from BT Openzone advertising their latest services. I’ve been trying to keep the amount of useless email in my personal account, so I tried to unsubscribe from the newsletter only to be greeted with a page asking me to log in and update my preferences.

I tried a password reset, and was then told that I’d need to contact them via telephone as I hadn’t set a mobile number on my account when I signed up. This left me a bit puzzled, as I wasn’t using the account any more and simply wanted to stop their emails from showing up in my inbox.

Rather than pay to phone an non-geographic number I opted to contact their customer support on Twitter;

Suddenly something that should have been as simple as clicking an unsubscribe link had turned in to a task that had taken around 30 minutes of my time.  From what I understand it also goes against the CAN-SPAM act;

Include a “clear and conspicuous” unsubscribe mechanism in every email (section 5(a)(5)(A)(ii)).

BT are a huge company, they may not support many customers outside of the UK, but they should at least be following guidelines like anyone else on the Internet. When I told them about the act, they had this to say;

Not only do they opt for txtspk when supporting their customers, but they also have no knowledge of an act that any company who sends out marketing emails should be following, including little old me.

I may be overreacting, but my inbox is a temple. How am I ever meant to reach inbox zero?

Ten Years on the Internet

Ten years ago, I’d just (give or take) signed up for a Hotmail account and made the jump into the wonderful world of the Internet. I’d been badgering my Dad about it for at least 6 months, having been let loose round my best mates house a few times.

Once we finally got it, I didn’t actually know what to do with it. There was nowhere to go, no one to “talk” to, it was all actually a bit shit. Until I discovered that you could actually make your own websites.

Freeserve (nee Wanadoo/Orange) released 10Mb of web space with their accounts, so I used my copy of Frontpage – probably the only useful thing it could do – to start recreating the websites I’d been trying to make using Word and linking to local files.

Quite frankly, they were pretty rubbish, as you can see for yourself at http://nowfmuk.8k.com/index.html.

Although it taught me a lot about what I now do as a full-time job, so not a complete waste of time.

Have a look around if you like. I’m sure there are plenty more of those sites out there somewhere, although most were on Geocities, so have probably been lost in the ether forevermore.

We’re still here

So, despite the last-minute panic buying, Iceland’s volcano joining the party, thousands of jokes and a showing of Terminator 2, we’re all still here. A conversation on Friday night got me thinking; what if Harold Camping had been correct. What would’ve actually happened if at 6pm EST yesterday Jesus appeared in the sky and proclaimed that Judgement day had begun? What would that have meant for the rest of us?

I’m not an atheist by any stretch of the imagination. I believe there is something on a higher plane than us, whether that’s God or Vishnu or the Spaghetti monster is what I’m not sure about. We all choose to have faith in something, whether that’s a higher being or even those close to us.

We’re only here for a short amount of time. There is no room for regrets or missed opportunities. Live for the moment. Love those that are with you and be there for them when they need you.

Six Months On

Since I stopped my show on Rhubarb Radio, the weeks have tumbled along without me noticing. Prepping for a show each week took about 12 hours, which included sourcing the music, writing the show notes, organising any musicians we’d have in and then actually doing the show. Time went a lot slowly because I was planning week to week, instead of completely knowing what was going to happen – if that makes sense.

When I decided to leave Rhubarb, I thought I’d get that time back to devote to something else. Stamp collecting, photography, ballet – something to replace that 12 hours I now had free by not doing a weekly radio show.

Starting a business has been an amazing ride and in the blink of an eye, we’re six months in to trading as wild ilk. In a way, that time I used to spend on the show has now become time where I’ll spend collating our 12 month projections or thinking about the best way to launch refreshed versions of our portfolio site. It’s not a hobby when you run a business, everything sort of melds in to one. I’ve definitely learnt a lot more than I ever did working in an office for a “big” company. However much those companies say you’ll better yourself by spending 12 hours a day on the phone listening to customers moan at you, don’t believe them.

This week I received an invitation to join the Institute of Directors. I know it’s not a big deal, but it’s kind of cool to think that I’m not a grunt who works at the front line of customer service any more, I’m now a full-time Web Designer/Director/Chief Financial Officer of a company. I’m not trying to sound better than those people, I’ve just come to realise that doing what I did for eight years wasn’t really what I wanted to do.

Six months in; we’re thinking about moving in to studio space, our work is being displayed at the new Spiceal Street development in Birmingham and we’re about to start a project that will hopefully bring together Creatives from the many corners of the globe together online.

When I blog it always seems to be reminiscing about something, or setting goals for the future. As things change at work, I’m going to be getting back in to regularly talking about stuff that I enjoy as well. I’ve been meaning to write a book for five years, want to play the guitar and see a lot more of the world. Oh and I think I need a haircut.

New Year Resolutions

This year has been one of extremes. From the pure joy of seeing Sophie born to the pain of losing my Dad in the space of a few weeks and before that the amazing time I spent in France with Michelle and her parents. It’s taught me how quickly emotions can dramatically change in the space of a few weeks.

As we get near to the end of another year, I think now is the time to set some goals for the year ahead. I don’t want to follow the herd and go on a diet or join the gym or pledge to detox for the first few weeks after Christmas. These resolutions will be important on a personal level.

1. Get out of the country at least once, visiting somewhere I haven’t been before.

2. Get serious with my book ideas. I’ve had so many in the past few years, but have never committed to anything.

3. Resume my love for live music and get a gig organised locally, either under the PodFest umbrella or something else.

4. Take more photos. I talked about this one in my last blog post, but I do feel that I’ve got some catching up to do with how many my Dad managed to take over the past few years.

5. Blog more! I used to at least 3 or 4 times a week. Now I’ve got my iPhone I don’t have an excuse.

That’ll do for now. I’m sure I’ll find some more before we get to the end of the year.

Sorting through the Memories

107_0715 My Dad was always a very quiet and reserved man. He had a good job in a company he’d started at when he was young, working his way up and relocating to Birmingham from London along the way.

It’s now just over three months since he passed away, and in those three months I’ve been amazed at just how many photos he’d taken off the many holidays we went on throughout the years.

Last night I uploaded over 300 photos to flickr taken between 2005 and there’s still over 1000 digital images and around 5 or 6 huge sack fulls of “old school” ones to sort through.

One thing I’ve noticed whilst look through them is that he had a very keen eye for detail in a shot. Although there aren’t that many of myself or Mum, there are so many of the scenery from wherever we were.

I always knew he’d been interested in photography since he was 16 or 17, but I hadn’t realised exactly how beautiful a lot of the pictures he took actually were.

I’m contemplating whether to go down to London next week, just to get away from it all for a few days. I’ll definitely be taking my camera; I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

Getting there

Things have been up and down for me lately, but over the past few days I’ve realised that there’s no point in feeling too sorry for myself all the time.

I’ve got a great job, not in terms of what I do, but because of the people that I work with. At times they’re like an extended family, supporting me and letting me moan at them when I need to.

I’ve been spurred on to restart podcasting full-time. I think I might have a go, even if I don’t get to the regularity that I did “back in the day” it’ll be quite good to be able to build up an audience again.

I’ve not decided what subject I’m going to concentrate on, if any, but I do know I want to get away from just doing a “music” show.

I’ve been involved with GamesAreEvil since day one, although since my Xbox died I’ve not been too active with my writing on there. Now I have my iPhone, expect a lot more from me over there. If you’ve not checked us out, go over to www.gamesareevil.com; there’s a team of great writers and passionate gamers over there that are really out to improve on the myriad of gaming sites around at the moment.

I’m in yet another period of transition, hoping this will be my last for a while, otherwise I’m gonna go grey very quickly!