More Dissertation?


w/c 2nd April 2012…

Do you know/remember that 80’s song “Imagination” by Belouis Some?
I’ve got it stuck in my head, albeit the lyrics in my head are “Procrastination”…

The title of this blog is a wee bit misleading - as I haven’t actually covered any more dissertation work. All I have managed to do is convince myself that either my idea has already been done, or no-one has already done it because it CANNOT be done, or SHOULD NOT be done.

Due to some obscure way my brain works, if I can’t see the point of something, I won’t understand it, or deduce how to do it. This research project is a very good example of that. It also doesn’t help to also be distracted by other things…

The Problem (aka the joys of being a student):

I can’t write or do a decent mix in my DAW because
I have no creativity because
I’m always sleepy/snoozy because
I always feel depressed because
Every morning I wake up to 5 threatening voice mails on my cell because
Nationwide charge £25 for every penny into an overdraft because
They offer all manner of useless bunk, except for a STUDENT ACCOUNT.
No money goes into the account because
SAAS refuses to pay me because
SAAS deny me the support I’m legally entitled to because
SAAS lost my DSA application (again) because
SAAS mixed up my records because
SAAS keep fobbing me off because
SAAS thought I was a dyslexic Ugandan female who was dead at the time because
SAAS lost my records again…

I think I might know where the problem lies…

Please don’t leave this page with an unfavourable image of me - I didn’t get into sound engineering or college for the fame or the money (I "like my anonymity" as Kevin Murray accurately asserts) - however I just think it’s unfair that a government-backed organisation can actively discriminate against me without any repercussions.
Speaking of which, if the DWP say I need £53 a week to live on, how do SAAS expect me to live on £40 PER MONTH?
Show your working please, use extra space if required.

As I’m repeatedly told: “The jobs market is especially hard to get into right now” - no surprises there. I’m talking about a shelf packing job, never mind occasional Roadie stuff. The jobs market is much harder to break into (and stay in) if, like me, you have a disability and/or learning difficulties.

When I consider that most professionals in the industry (the ones I know of - and I’ll get back to you with the sources) don’t hold a degree very high up the list of priorities in a job candidate (not counting specialist areas such as teaching) - opting instead for applicants with practical experience - I have to wonder: why not just walk out of college and into a normal job?

I’m not normal?
Being a Roadie is the only thing I can do? (However, I do it well!)

Why get most of the way through a course, only to jack it in? I’ll ask the guys in my class that have already done so.

Oh, and I’m still having computer problems.
With a Mac, you don’t get any of the headaches that you get with a PC - you just get a different set of much bigger and more expensive headaches.

One more thing…

I left my inspiration somewhere…

Last year it would seem that I was able to just sit down with my laptop and just be able to bash out a few thousand words. Guess where this is going…
I have tried reclaiming the magic by writing in all manner of locations - including my bed, the library and my local boozer - none of which worked.
I have come to the conclusion that since I am writing on yet another borrowed laptop, it’s a personal space-related thing.
I NEED my purple laptop back.

Somebody call the Whambulance!

On a more positive note (assuming you haven’t slit your wrists already), I have been able to keep myself busy with some practical audio related stuff at least.
Employment here I come!

There were some gigs happening at Fat Sams Nightclub (Dundee) that I managed to get involved with in a minor way (coiling cables and such), and no-one seemed to mind. You may laugh at the fact that I’m happy to just coil cables, but in all honesty, coiling cables is very relaxing. Plus, I get to stay involved on the gig scene.

Roadies in interviews (Matt McGinn for example) have stated that the crucial break for their career came from “being in the right place at the right time” - surely I’m improving my chances of this happening for me?


Closer to college, I was asked to run the sound for one of the Honours Degree musicians - which I was obviously thrilled to do. Come the gig day, I turned up with my magic M-Audio box (as the "client" had requested that his gig be recorded live and mixed down later).
By using a Soundcraft MH2 to run FOH, I was able to group the different instruments (drums, basses, guitar/keys and vox/percussion) and record the stems into Logic. I’m delighted to report that this method works extremely well as it removes the hassle of recording and mixing dozens of mono files.
However, when I showed up to the auditorium, I was told that there would be no-one to help set up, rig the stage or do monitors. EEK!
How the gig started on time, I shall never know…

I have also been getting quite a lot of gigs in the Student’s Union.
What I love about these gigs is that one week I’m using a stellar Mackie TT24 and crappy little powered Wharfedales for FOH, then the next week I’m using a crappy little Wharfedale desk and two pairs of "bites-your-ears-off" Citronic CLA-300’s - for an acoustic set!


As you will have noticed, I have also performed some updates on the site - including some minor tweaks to the navigation and some major changes to my CV. As ever, I’m looking for work experience to complete my PES (Personal Employability Strategy) module.
I’m looking for work experience anyway - not just because I have to for college!

Fix it in the mix

In keeping with the process of developing my hearing with time & experience, I have revisited a location recording session from a year ago of a local jazz quintet I recorded. I was shocked at what I was listening to - how there was so much midrange "garbage" - in other words, I was keeping so many unnecessary frequencies in the mix.

So, I put into practice a technique called "scooping" - wherein I hack most of the "clacky" and "minging" sounding frequencies out of the mix - the result of which is a much more professionally mixed song.
There’s still room for improvement, however (on my part).


Stanley A. Schultz; Marguerite J. Schultz (2009). The Tarantula Keeper’s Guide: Comprehensive Information on Care, Housing, and Feeding. Barron’s Educational Series. pp. 181-183. ISBN 9780764138850.

Binaural time…