So, HMV is the latest to call in the administrators. This is sad because people will probably lose their jobs, and another well known face is going from the high street, just weeks after Comet, and days after Jessops.
Of course, there’ll be fingers pointed. Piracy killed HMV! Mis-management! Tax dodging offshore websites!
But also out come those revealing in the demise. “More business for indies!” “They shouldn’t have stopped staff showing their tattoos!”
The tattoos thing, I believe, was over stated, and despite all their faults (just today I was derisively saying how HMV was now a t-shirt shop that sold a couple of CDs) it’s sad they’re shutting up shop.
I don’t think this means suddenly indies like the amazing Crash or Jumbo in Leeds will be rammed with more customers, as the people who shopped in HMV are more likely to just go to Amazon, Tesco or iTunes for their musical purchases.
Gone will be the Saturday afternoons of huge shops filled with all the music you could imagine, and groups of teenagers sorting through, discovering, slagging off each others tastes. To be replaced with individual tracks downloaded off iTunes.
I’ve been quiet on here, but it’s time to get blogging again! Over the next few days and weeks I’ve lots to tell you my thoughts on – music (including, finally, my favourite album of 2011, and I’ll do 2012 while I’m at it. Oh! And HMV closing…) TV shows, food, and maybe the odd indulgent daddy blogging post. But I’ll try not to let them get too… You know.
Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year, here’s to 2013!
I was recently asked to write an article for the never-not-delightful bunch of people at Culture Vultures about social media and some local businesses who’d been having a bit of a rough ride on Twitter and Facebook. It is admittedly a bit pithy, and any company looking to sort out its social media won’t learn everything it needs to know from one post, but there are some lessons in there that I reckon everyone can benefit from
I’m personally not a fan of these competitions – I think people making their music should get paid for it when they can, however the level of criticism these events gets borders on the hysterical at times. Hence my wanting to write something a little less knee-jerk, and hopefully balanced – whilst making it clear what is so wrong about these competitions!
There is no way to find out who’s viewing your profile.
Amazon, Tesco and Asda are not giving out gift cards.
These are all scams. Each time you click on one, you are giving access to all of your personal data to these companies.Take a look at your “About” page. How much are you telling your friends about where you were born, went to school, your birthday…
But also, it’s clogging my timeline.
Be careful out there. It’s like a jungle, but instead of monkeys, there are bad people wanting to know your birthday/mothers maiden name/place of birth so they can try and hack your emails/credit cards.
So next time you see something, and think “Is this too good to be true?” I’m sorry to break this to you but it probably is. Sorry about that. Now stop clicking them!
So, I popped down to the Adelphi the other week, and bumped into the lovely @Wandapops. She told me about this new thing she’s been doing called #LeedsPlaylist. A startlingly good simple idea – like the mix tapes of old (well, not that long ago. I keep telling myself) people put together 10 tracks of songs that mean something to them.
I’ve done a silly thing called Foxes and Convicts for a few years now, and the result of that is a whole raft of ace live sessions of various Leeds* acts – so I popped them into a soundcloud playlist and wanda’s popped them on the site!
Amazon Kindles are nifty bits of kit. Reasonably well priced, extroardinary technology in the e-ink, and the sort of size and weight that would normally be a no-brainer for picking one up ahead of my summer holiday.
Apart from one thing. I’m a Chris Brookmyre fan, but haven’t gotten round to reading his latest, which sits a bit dusty on the shelf, quietly judging me for not picking it up and reading it. Holidays will probably be my first opportunity to read it, but in hardback (along with a couple of others languishing on my to-read list) it’ll be somewhat bulky to put in my luggage, especially when I now need to hand over every scrap of spare space to nappies and dummies and the like.
The Problem with Kindles
See the problem here? Now, I assume there’s a certain level of subsidy involved, and the more expensive e-books are keeping the price of the Kindle down. Also, it turns out VAT is payable on e-books, but not on paper books. The various tax implications of an e-book on cold pasties is mind-boggling.
So, what to do? It’d be cheaper to post all my books directly to the flat I’ll be staying in on holiday… but that sort of defeats the point. And then I’ll have to somehow get them home again, unless I just leave them to be enjoyed by anyone else visiting the flat who as so far has also held out against buying a kindle.
When music and movie companies tried this trick, there was consternation and people held out – but for some reason that doesn’t apply to e-books. To be fair to the publishers – they seem to be getting away with it and who can blame them for making their cash where they can…
Are they charging more for e-books simply because they can?
Kaiser Chiefs – the future is medieval: smart distribution system aside, this is 20 album tracks. I’d have loved quite a lot of it 15 years ago. If you want the big singalongs, go have another listen to an earlier album.
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die: Apparently you have to either love or hate her, there is no room for inbetween… Which is difficult cos it’s a pretty inconsistent album – opening with the title track made me realise how I’d quite liked it at first these radio, but now was BORED to die a death (see what I did there?) by it, it’s a bit up and down. Shades of the pretentious warbly indulgence of the latest Florence and the Machine album give way to some pregood decent electro tracks. A good 9 track album squeezed into a 15 track album. This years Jem. Remember her? Welsh girl. Was everywhere. For a while.
Django django – django django: NOW you’re talking. Excellent album, should be listened to in a dark crowded sweaty room filled with smoke before a set by Mothers of God.
Metronomy – the English Riviera: achingly cool electronic surf that bears relistening. Let it get under your skin. This will probably be everywhere this summer, and I’m Ok with that.
The latest reviews of my two-album-a-week new years resolution!
The Maccabees – Given to the Wild: excellent album, much darker than the brilliantly catchy lead single Pelican, which itself takes on a darker feel in the context of the songs. One that will be listened to again!
Florence + the machine – Ceremonials: warble warble, getting a bit interesting BIG NOTE, warbles, bit more of an interesting bit, going on a bit isn’t it? Oh we’re only half way through (repeat). Perhaps slightly over estimated the appetite for such a high number of tracks.
Howling bells – Radio wars: after stumbling on Golden Web on shuffle, I was looking forward to this, and it almost delivers eventually. Despite a pretty slow start, it does pick up towards the end. I reckon if I give it a couple more listens I’ll enjoy it more.
Mi mye – the time and the loneliness: as unassuming as he is talented, Jaime Mi Mye has crafted another wonderfully musical, witty, gorgeous album that you just want to give a big old hug to. There seems to be a pretty good rule of thumb at the moment – Scotsman in Yorkshire releases album = that’s an album you really should get.