Category Archives: Other Stuff

17 years too late — it's "Bridge to the Stars"!

Regular readers will probably know that I used to be in a band (“The Headmen”) in the early 1990s. Thanks to Facebook, I’m back in touch with Simon, the singer/songwriter, and we’ve been busy converting all of our old cassette tapes to MP3.

I’m so used to “digital” now that’s it strange to think that all of our studio recordings were done on reel-to-reel magnetic tape. The only time the word “digital” was ever mentioned was when the final studio mixes were sent off on a tiny DAT (Digital Audio Tape) to get pressed onto vinyl.


(L-R: Dave, Matthew, and Simon)

Anyway, back in 1991 we recorded what was going to be the follow-up EP single to the “Reach the Sky” EP — “Bridge to the Stars”. “Reach the Sky” had got good airplay during the summer, even sneaking onto Radio One’s playlists…

reachthesky reachthesky2b

Sadly, “Bridge to the Stars” never got released. Not too long after the tracks got their initial mix, Beaumont Street Studios in Huddersfield was destroyed in a fire and all of our master tapes went up in smoke. The following year we parted company from Positive Records and, a couple of years later, played our final gig as part of Bradford Festival 1994.

Only 3 people were present for that initial mix — Steve Whitfield, our drummer Matthew, and myself. At the end of the evening, Matthew and I walked away with a cassette tape each of the mixes. Within a couple of weeks, I’d lent my copy to someone and never saw it again.

Fortunately, Matthew was a little more careful with his copy and, only 17 years too late, I’m proud to give the EP a semi-official release!

1. Bridge to the Stars

2. We All Fall Down

3. Weird

4. Song 52

The tracks are also available on Last.FM.

Listening to the tape, it blew away a serious amount of cobwebbage — I had to listen to “We All Fall Down” 3 times before I could even remember playing bass on it!

When we went into the studio, “Song 52″ was a new song to me and one that I really struggled to get to grips with quickly. In the end, Simon had to stand next to a flipchart and guide me through the song whilst I played the (fairly minimal) bassline — “V C 8″ standing for “verse”, “chorus”, and “middle 8″…

The Headmen - Simon Eskriett - studio_01
(Simon’s telling me to play the chorus!)

“We All Fall Down” features some “more cowbell” ;-) The cowbell, which I think was clamped to a chair in the studio, kept coming loose, so I ended up risking life and limb by holding it steady for Matthew to thwack…


(sadly, the cowbell was just out of shot in this photo)

I remember there was even talk about filming a cheesy video for “Bridge to the Stars”, with cardboard cutout spaceships and tinfoil spacesuits.

At the time, both Simon and I worked at the Tesco supermarket in Brighouse and, one lunchtime in the staff canteen, Simon doodled the artwork for the EP. As you can see, I then managed to spill my coffee over half of it!!!

cover

back

Curiously, the artwork doesn’t mention “We All Fall Down” and I’m guessing “Wish Time” was the official title for “Song 52″?

If you’ve stumbled across this blog post looking for information about “The Headmen”, then here’s some links…

- Flickr photo set
- Last.FM
- Facebook

breaking news: Stephen Abram's brain overloads (again)

It’s nearly two years since Stephen Abram’s brain last overloaded, but it looks like it might have happened again. According to a blog post that just appeared in the Google Blog Search RSS feed for “SirsiDynix”, Mr Abram recently said…

We eat a abandoned blueprint insomuch as this armorial bearings and are comfortable in passage to have tenure of ever so plurality perhaps-appreciated restraint of trade leaders who fob in good part uninfluenced their set and datum against the SirsiDynix Give birth to. Their service up befall toward the business dealings goodwill this humors is monistic in transit to the power to act in point of the SirsiDynix Float – ease off, critic familiarization from each and all buttery professionals.

Before you call for the men in white coats, I should point out that the blog post in question looks to be a randomly generated spam blog and it makes about as much sense as my GormanBot does.

However, if Meredith Farkas is looking for a new job title, I think “Culture Bookworm” sounds kinda cool!

The Headmen

I mentioned that I used to be the bass player in a band (“The Headmen”) a while ago and it was great to hear that one or two people still listened to our stuff!

halifax_07

Partly prompted by the fact I’ve been in touch with Simon (vocals/guitar), I’ve converted some of the old recordings into MP3 format and created a “fan” page on Facebook yesterday:
www.facebook.com/pages/The-Headmen/24224123641.

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It’ll soon be 20 years since the band formed (t’was in Oct 1989), so maybe we’ll reform for the anniversary? ;-)

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Visual virtual shelf browsing

The Zoomii web site seems to be getting a lot of attention at the moment, so I got wondering how easy/difficult it would be do to a virtual bookshelf in the OPAC…

bookshelf

It’s definitely a “crappy prototype” at the moment, and the trickiest thing turned out to be getting the iframe to jump to the middle (where, hopefully, the book you’re currently browsing is shown). Anyway, you can see it in action on our OPAC.

I suspect the whole thing would work much better in Flash and it would look really cool if it used a Mac “dock” style effect. I wonder if I can persuade Iman to conjure up some Flash? ;-)

Google Graphs

We’ve had loan data on the OPAC for a couple of years now, although it’s only previously been visible to staff IP addresses. Anyway, a couple of months ago, I revamped it using Google Graphs and I’ve finally gotten around to adding a stats link that anyone can peruse — you should be able to find it in the “useful links” section at the foot of the full bib page on our OPAC.

As an example, here are the stats for the 2006 edition of Giddens’ “Sociology“…

HighBeam Research, anyone?

Just wondering if anyone out there has a HighBeam Research account? If so, is there any chance you could look up the following article for me (pretty please!)…

- A quartet that was just briefly a trio!

…I’ve absolutely no idea why the Huddersfield Examiner would want to reprint a 14 year old photograph of the band I used to be in …unless it was a very slow news day!!!

I can vaguely remember having to jump on the bus to Huddersfield after work (I used to work at the old Tesco supermarket in Brighouse) to have that photograph taken with Simon and Matthew — it was taken in the original Beaumont Street recording studio.

Douglas Thomson (the pop writer for the Examiner) seemed to like us and wrote several flattering articles:

The Headmen - newspaper_03 The Headmen - newspaper_04 The Headmen - newspaper_01

Before RSS…

Have you ever wanted to monitor up to 20 different things at the same time? Looking for a response time of just 3 milliseconds? Need the flexibility of portable or rack mounts? If so, you need the Gulton Techno-rite TR-9020!

ctft_008

Bryony thoughtfully threw a withdrawn copy of the 1970 publication “Computer Technology for Textiles” my way. It’s a cornucopia of nerds trying to impress ladies by playing with knobs…

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…consultants pointing at things…

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…lady geeks (geekettes?) with fab hairstyles…

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…and loads and loads of tape based storage…

ctft_001

…you can find the rest of the images in this Flickr set.

Giving it all away

Fans of Chris Anderson might want to check out this article which appeared in today’s Guardian newspaper in the UK: “The big giveaway“…

International flights that don’t cost a thing? Books or music you don’t have to pay for? Even companies handing out cars? Traditional business is based on the certainty that everything has a price. But now US writer Chris Anderson believes we are at the dawn of a new consumerist era, governed by what he dubs ‘freeconomics’.