Jura Duty

Who Loves Orange Cream Soda?

5th - 12th July 2013…

Stevie loves Cream Soda.

Is it true? mmmm hmmmmm. I do. I do I doo-oo.

It’s quite weird how the starting block for this entry came about. For one week only, I am on Jura - a small island not to be confused with Dura…

Anyway, I was in bed with my laptop (no change there) half-watching Lethal Weapon 4 and half-concentrating on wiring a plug onto an LED string when, suddenly, the power went out. My hard drive slowed and stopped with an *EEEEEORRRP*. She turned a little tap. The lights went out. VLC crashed and Mac berated me for removing the hard drive without ejecting it first.

There is nothing scary about a power cut in itself (unless you are nervous wreck wherein you wet yourself every time Windows throws an error) - except, I’m in a House. A house in which I have never been before. Nevermore quoth the raven. On an island with a very small population. An island that doesn’t have an ATM or police station. It’s just like the house from Friday The 14th (OFAH). Ergo every squeak of the floorboards grabs my utmost attention.

I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t just a fuse, so I went on the hunt for the breaker box. I was on edge constantly as I walked along the corridor, the dim light from my iPod casting an eery shadow on picture frames and causing weird reflections in mirrors. Upon locating the breaker box, I realised that it was indeed a power outage. The power outages always came in the middle of whatever I was watching on VLC. The island itself seems to have off-peak times as well.

45 minutes later and the power is back on. I’d better head off - I’ve got to go wipe off the “RED RUM” someone’s painted on the wall.

What to say about Jura?

The fog is more scarier than in the movie The Fog - except it doesn’t glow or contain murderous dead sailors, there is no DSL and only one spar shop: which doesn’t sell either the Scotsman or Daily Mail. :)
I wish I’d spent more time in Jura’s only pub though.


Yes, this again.

I’m going on about it because it needs to be gone on about. While most people are really accepting of my quirks (why wouldn’t you want someone who was insanely passionate about lights, sound, AV and such?), it seems that in the majority of situations I’m alerting people to my “condition” (I hate that word), they say “Oh, OK, cool…” - and go on as if I’d just told them I had hay-fever/etc that it doesn’t affect me interacting with them and/or that environment. Obviously, It actually does affect how I interact with that person and/or environment. I’m having to think about and go about dealing with so much stuff like you wouldn’t believe just about 24/7 365. So you’ll have to forgive me for staring at you 0.0003 degrees off-axis for 3 fifteenths of a nanosecond too long - I’m off to go count all those cocktail sticks that someone just dropped and make a detail-perfect scale model of the Brooklyn Bridge…


Does anyone want a handy tip for ‘listening’ to sound effects for their sound design class? Watch a movie in VLC player and use the audio menu to reverse the left and right channels (or physically move your Dell multimedia speakers, or swap the connections on your ProFire 2626 etc). This is kinda cool because the sound effects being in the wrong spatial location draw attention to themselves.

Bon Scott Memorial Statue

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If you have, then ROCK ON!
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On-location recording

Departing from on-location jazz recording a wee bit, I had more ideas I want to try. Namely, in the style of “One Giant Leap (What About Me?)”, I wanted to take a special trip to Stornoway (Isle of Lewis). I say special as I will be there for the annual Hebridean Celtic Festival for the fifth year in a row - I shall be blogging all next week about it so don’t forget to check back!
So, yeah… I want to take a special trip to THE ISLAND with my recording gear and go round archiving the local music. However, most of the Celtic music seems to take place around Heb Celt Fest time - for obvious reasons… More thought required…

It should be better than my ill-fated “Sounds of Dundee” aka “The Sound of Dundee” - which is still available on 8-track, C90, MiniDisc, or probably some torrent server somewhere. It basically involved covertly recording street performers via a pair of binaural (what else?) in-ear microphones hooked up to a Handy(tm) H2 portable recorder. Of course, such sounds can then be sampled in Cubase in order to be mixed to taste. Students with guitars, old drunks/poets, raucous pub sing-alongs, guys with a harmonica and dog, pigeons, a girl with one of those keyboards you have a hose to blow into, tribal/ethnic drummers, random Indian dudes playing sitars, pipers, buskers, guys selling the Big Issue - It’s all good.

Go try it yourself, It’s kinda fun. :)

Ix-nay on the Orrent-tay.

I cannot believe how Alexei Sayle got away with “Pop Up Toaster”. Mind you, I suppose it was the 80s.
These are the random things I have not been able to Google due to having no internet. If you’re worried about all that NSA stuff, you could always DuckDuckGo it instead. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that pledges not to collect or share your personal data. You’ll have to Google it to find it. :)

The NSA can see everything I write on Facebook, but I don’t have regular work coming in? I’m not worried.


Check your hearing regularly everyone.

The fact that I’m not deaf either means that I’m taking good care of my ears or not throwing enough noise at them. In all honesty, I’m not getting nearly enough work at the moment, but to everyone else out there who is - just wear protection and get checked up regularly. :)

I don’t want to choose between which of my senses I could live without, but if I had to, it wouldn’t be my ears. There are several free iOS apps, one that I regularly use is called “uHear”. Even if hearing tester apps weren’t free, you can’t put a price on your ability to hear.


I was watching this programme on BBC4 about the top 10 selling songs in history, and Phil Spector et al were making the point about how musicians, producers, engineers et al need to be able to make a living off their work, so that they wouldn’t have to go flip burgers just to make music. He made this point by stating: “You Wouldn’t want Ozzy Osbourne as your plumber.”. That got me thinking…

I for one would love Ozzy as my plumber, if only for the 10 minutes of comical confusion and swearing at various pipes and such before the need for water overtook wanting to hear Ozzy shouting “SHARON! WHAT THE F*** DOES THIS BIT DO?!?”. Seriously though, the material produced by musicians/producers/composers/engineers is their contribution to society - just as someone working in an office contributes to society thusly. I wouldn’t expect a plumber to just do his work just for joy of doing it/the greater good/etc - and people need to stop expecting likewise of musicians/producers/composers/engineers. In the interest of balance: one interesting fact that the programme pointed out was that a song from a recent pop artist in the charts had sold several million copies (and so was included in the list) - just tell me again how torrents are killing the music biz?



Edgar Allan Poe

One More Thing…

Stevie’s Top 20

  1. “Supersonic” by Oasis
  2. “Bring It On Down” by Oasis
  3. “My Big Mouth” by Oasis
  4. “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths
  5. “Flat Beat (Nathan C Re-Edit)” by Mr Oizo
  6. “Hells Bells” by AC/DC
  7. “Love’s a Loaded Gun” by Alice Cooper
  8. “Elegiac” by Jon Hopkins
  9. “God is Dead?” by Black Sabbath
  10. “Ganja (Dub) [feat. Rodney P]” by Dub Pistols
  11. “Song for Summer” by Dub Pistols
  12. “Keep The Fire Burning (with Justin Robertson)” by Dub Pistols
  13. “Out The Blue (with Alice Gold)” by Sub Focus
  14. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by Scorpions
  15. “Sly Fox (Opiuo Remix)” by KOAN Sound
  16. “A Final Hit” by Leftfield
  17. “Half Man Half Machine” by Goldie Lookin Chain
  18. “Untitled” by The Sellars Brothers Quintet
  19. “School Days” by Ricky Cocozza
  20. “Call On Me” by Eric Prydz

Time to find another WiFi HotSpot.