Thursday, August 26, 2004
I don't update my journal very often.
Part of that is because I think that 'nothing happens to me' (other than appearing at Europe's largest regular lan party, building a mame cab, taking the kitten to the vet... but that's not interesting), or stuff that happens that's nothing to do with anyone. I was sitting on the train now, quietly thinking to myself 'I never have anything to post on my journal', and happily farming runes in Lord of the Rings on my GBA.
But sometimes, something interesting does happen. And as the Chinese probably once used as a curse - 'May you live in intersting times'
So there I am, minding my own business, waiting for the train to leave, and a girl got on. I didn't take much notice, as I'd just gotten the Doom rune, and was considering the effects of corruption on my Frodo. She was, hmm, 17-19, dyed blonde hair, thin, tired looking, sandals. She sat down in the seat behind me, facing away from me.
So off we go on our train journey... the ticket collector comes round to check our tickets. Now, ticket collecters fall into many categories. There's the anal jobsworth, the cheerful one who doesn't care, the weary 'I've seen it all' guy... this one is a nice collector, I like him. Perhaps 45, tattoos, quite a large bloke, usually quite cheerful and chatty, taking no nonsense.
So I get out my ticket, wave it at him, and go back to defeating Shelob. Now, being the ninja that I am, I usually have my headphones on really quietly when in public places, or places where I don't feel 100% secure and safe; today was no exception, and I could hear every word from the seat behind me.
*ticket is presumably waved*
"Did you buy this ticket today?"
"Oh, but it has yesterday's date on it."
"i dunno nuffin about that, i just put, uh, three fifty in the machine"
"I see. And what time did you do this?"
"duno, like ten minutes ago. twenty"
"More like an hour ago. Now, let's tear these up (rip rip), and start again, shall we?"
"I BOUGHT THOSE I HAVE A DAUGHTER TO PICK UP" (shouting)
"Now madam, there's no need to raise your voice"
"IM NOT SHOUTIN!"
"Yes, you are, now..."
"IM NOT RAISIN MY VOICE I HAVE A DAUGHTER TO PICK UP"
"Ok, Madam, we're not going to..."
"YOU STOP TREATING ME LIKE A LITTLE GIRL IM NOT A GIRL YOU ASK THAT WOMAN THERE YOU GO ON ABOUT YOUR MACHINE YOU FAT GREEDY BASTARD"
"Now, look, I have treated you civilly, and now you're abusing me"
"NO YOURE THE ONE WHOS ABUSING ME AN TREATING ME LIKE A LICKLE GERL YOU FUCKING ASK HER"
Now, it should be noted that I'm in a half length carriage here, with 4 seats, a bike rack and a toilet (which, incidentally, had a bloke in them the ENTIRE journey, desperately trying to flush /something/), and there's only me, her, and the ticket collector there.
So he turns to me, obviously amused, and goes:
"Excuse me, Sir? Would you say I have been abusing this lady?"
Me:"Uhm, no, I'd say you'd been perfectly polite"
"HE WOULD SAY THAT, HES A (gargoyle?) LIKE YOU!"
"See Sir, now she's abusing you'
"I AINT SHOUTING I AINT DONE NOTHING I PUT THREE FIFTY IN THE MACHINE I GOTTA GO PICK UP MY DAUGHTER FROM SCHOOL I HAVE HER BIRF CERTIFICATE HERE (rustle) HER NAMES LOOEY-ANN I GOTTA PICK HER UP YOU GONNA GET HER OR IS GOD"
"Do you have any money on you?"
"no i paid for my fucking ticket three fifty"
"So you can't pay for a new ticket?"
"NO I FUCKING BOUGHT ONE I HAVE A DAUGHTER TO PICK UP"
"Madam, you can get off the station at Ash, and that's the end of it"
"OH YEAH YOU GONNA MAKE ME YOU'LL HAVE TO THROW ME OFF"
"You know I can't do that"
"YOU'LL HAVE TO CALL THE FUCKING POLICE THEN WONTCHA AND MAKE EVERYONE LATE I HAVE A DAUGHTER TO PICK UP"
"I'll do that."
He then walks off.
She turns to me then, and starts going:
"who the fuck does he think he is, greedy fat prick, i have a daughter to pick up"
"Did you buy a ticket?"
"i fucking bought it"
"i put three fifty in the machine and"
"Look, I've been on these trains every day for the last 2 years and"
"so you saw me every day right!"
"No, I've never seen you before"
"yeah you have and"
"I've never seen you, and the machines have never fucked up like that"
"IS THAT MY RESPONSIBILITY?"
"Er, yes actually"
"LOOK, if you fucking start at me, i'll fucing punch you in the face"
Now, if you know me at all, you'll know that I don't bluff. If I threaten to punch you in the face, I suggest you step backwards a foot or 3. But most people are all talk. As I said earlier, if I'm not 100% secure, I don't have my sound up loud - and I also check where the cameras are, and I have a practised line to use in this circumstances
"You'll punch me in the face?"
"yeah dont you fucking start i will"
"With a camera there *point* and there *point* ?"
"I DONT FUCKING CARE ABOUT NO CAMERAS"
One other thing - you swing at me, I don't care if you're a man OR a woman, old or young, you're going to end up with all the damage that 25 years of games playing reflexes will muster on you, and I'm not going to stop until I'm assured that you're not going to cause me any more damage.
She shut up. She sat down and started muttering to herself.
Oh... so you DO care? Bluff called. I win.
The ticket guy comes back, and asks us to leave the carriage (two kids had come in to watch the show)... just before we arrive at Guildford, he came through to open the doors, and said 'I hate being a social worker. After she laid the guilt trip on me, and the tears, she calmed down'
"I wouldn't like your job. She threatened to punch you in the face"
He said that it was ok, for every one like her, there was 500 like me.
Note that you can't actually leave Guildford station without a valid ticket, and especially not when two big 'TRAIN SECURITY' blokes are... I had no idea what she was thinking.
So, to wrap up. I'm glad I don't have interesting things to write about too often. Also, I think you should have to get a license to become a parent.
posted by A 9:50 AM
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
This is long. Skip it, I'm ranting. But if you're interested in a technical breakdown of a live mixset done on 3 hours sleep, read on!
Well, I came 3rd, and got through to the next heat.
Let's talk about the competition a little here; there were 4 DJs, each of which had to play a set on 2 record decks, between 10 and 20 minutes in length. Being a veteran of these competitions, I brought along an alarm with big red LCD numbers, to ensure I didn't get only 17 of my allotted 20 minutes.
So, we turn up early, before the people running the event, and get comfy. When the promoters finally turned up, I negotiated recording the event ("We can't let you due to legal reasons mate"). If I got permission from the DJs to record, that was fine, and, unsuprisingly, all of the DJs were perfectly happy to let me; why wouldn't they be?
I went over to the judges, and decided to see what I could find out - they stressed that the most important thing was being different, being original, being imaginative. "Oh yeah", I thought, "I'm sorted." They made it clear that music style wasn't at all important, just what I did, how I did it, and how well.
The setup was quite good... there was a video camera pointing at the decks, hooked up to some plasma screens on the wall, so every trick and move I did could be seen.
So, suprise suprise, I'm up first. I hate being first, in some ways. Everyone isn't nearly drunk enough, it's not dark, the bar isn't full. On the other hand, I've thoroughly enjoyed going first, then seeing other Dj's faces as they come up to me and go 'How the bloody hell am I supposed to follow THAT?'
So I nip off and get changed. Usual DJ compo get-up for me, bright white trousers, obscenely memorable top (BRIGHT red, with pills all over it, and 'E' ('X' to you Americans) on the sleeves), and glowsticks wrapped around my wrists, hidden under my coat.
Plug the alarm clock in, and get ready.
Lemme break down my set for you, with a quick description:
1.In Effect (old skool hardcore)
2.Champion Sound (oldskool DNB)
3.Bits and Pieces (hard house)
4.Harder, Faster, Stronger (dj tool!)
5.John Peel is Not Enough (freeform)
6.Forever Together (happycore)
7.Air Head (bouncy techno)
8.Fugees or Not? (jump up dnb)
9.Shooting Star (happy hardcore)
So, I start off with In Effect. This is a great, crunchy old skool hardcore tune, in glorious 8bit 11khz stereo. I brought my first slice across from Champion Sound 35 seconds THIRTY FIVE SECOND. The mix was in full swing in 50 seconds, and was gone in just over a minute. That's fast, REALLY fast, it was clean, it was a good mix. 23 seconds later, I brought in the beats from Bits and Pieces. This is a very different style of tune to Champion Sound, it's proper hoover-style hardhouse. Hands up here, when the actual mix came in, it wasn't as tight as it should have been, and I really struggled to keep it together; I was FAR too heavy handed with trying to keep it there. Quick spinback, and I'm into the break of Bits and Pieces.
The beat kicks back in, I start matching, I bring across a slice FIVE SECONDS later! A nice 25 second mix, and I'm into Harder, Faster, Stronger. This tune is very unusual, it changestempo from 140bpm to 175bpm!
So, the tempo's changed, there's a HUGE difference in the feel of the set suddenly. The first beat at the new tempo kicks in, I start matching, and 11 seconds later (!) I bring in the first slice, themix settling into constant at about 24 seconds.
Just to give you an idea, most DJs you hear will bring that in 4-6 minutes later.
Couple of mismatched beats on the mix, but it was fairly tight. Just to recap - we're just over 5 minutes into the set, and I'm on my FIFTH tune - most of the other DJs only played 5 tunes in the entire allowed 20 minutes.
John Peel is not Enough is a great tune, it's to support hard dance on the radio, how NO-ONE plays anything above 145 bpm, despite the huge following these 40-50 styles of music have!
A few scratched kickdrums, and John Peel kicks off into the main break, then the beats. 45 seconds of mixing later, and we're into the first cheesy tune, 'Forever Together'
You can hear me scratch in the intro once the record's on the deck, and the speeds are matched 14 seconds later. FOURTEEN BLOODY SECONDS LATER!!!
Now, this is one of my trademark mixes... we've had 5 tunes in 5 minutes, now let's go to the other extreme. This mix is 1 minute 48 seconds long - just shy of 10% of my entire set. There were 48 crossfader cuts during that time, too. Count 'em!
5 Seconds after the beats kick back in, I bring across from snares from Fugees or Not? This tune is a classic drum'n'bass tune, no kick drums, written in an afternoon by Dj Zinc. A huge anthem, well loved. A slightly flat mix (AirHead has an incredible amount more energy than FoN?, making it tricky!), but nothing untoward. The judges are clearly loving this tune, I can see them out the corner of my eye!
As FoN? builds towards its first break, I match and brings some beats in, and spinback. So, nearly there now! The kickass rolling break in Fon? starts, and it's a dnb tune, backed by 4/4 hardcore beats! Again, this mix was slightly woolly, but it was reasonably tight. Lots of x-fader chopping, and we're into Shooting Star.
This tune is huge, it's loved by so many people, and it's been an anthem for years. I do my best attempt at scratching over it, let it play through, the turn the deck off, as I have a couple of minutes left. I grab Scott Brown's 'Boomstick'... this is a fast (190bpm+ at +0%) gabber tune, it's LOUD, it's EVIL, it's so far removed from the first tunes I played that it's unreal.
I do my best to scratch at gabber speeds, let it play through, and stand back. I'm done. I've built from 130bpm to nearly 200bpm over 20 minutes, I've played, on average one tune every 2 minutes, I scratched, I did spinbacks, cutting, I used the x-fader and levels, I adjusted EQs to emphasis the punch in the mix. I made 2 fuckups, but overall, it's one of the better mixes I've done. I'm happy, I shake the hand, grab my stuff, wish the next Dj luck, and sit back down, all knackered.
He played DNB. Mixing was overall tight. No scratching, no tricks, no anthems. Little set building over the 20 minutes, but some there. Stopped when the promoter pointed out that he was out of time.
Uhm. Not entirely sure about this. No set building. No tricks, scratching or anthems. End of set the same as the first. Again, not a planned set, just grabbed what he wanted, and stopped when he ran out of time. Mixing was fair. He got maybe 6 tunes in?
A friend of Dj Tom (Tom borrowing Olly's records!), he played exactly the same style as Tom. Some early tricks, mixing over breaks, a spinback or two. No scratching. No anthems. No building. Ran out of time and had to be stopped, and stood there looking lost.
None of the DJs did a single bit of scratching, played any anthems, worked the 'crowd' OR changed styles during their mix.
So, the promoter stands up to give the awards out.
"Dj's olly, tom and XXX YYYY go through!"
He said my name. my NAME? my FULLNAME? I'm on STAGE ffs, I'm projecting a persona up there! I dont want my fucking NAME there, how the hell are people supposed to know and remember me?
So, ok, I'm through, I go up to collect the recording I made, and chat with the judges. I asked to see my score sheet, and was told that I couldn't, with the judge having this amazingly smug, self-satisfied grin on his face. Alarm bells are ringing here. I explained that I wanted to know where I had gone wrong, where my weaknesses were, how I could improve my performance for the next heat. All he would say is that I got 48 out of a possible 90, and that I came third, and the #1 dj got 51.
So I'm like, er, hold on a sec here...
3 of the categories (which I can assume were worth 5-15 points each) were techniques (scratching, etc) - they all HAD to get zero for that, Crowd response (there were maybe 15 people there, and there was no crowd response for anyone, really... listen carefully and you can hear people cheering after my name, but no-one elses, and 'imagination'
What... imagination? They didn't show any. None. None of them. Not at all. NONE. I made 2 screwups on the mixing, but overall I did fucking fantastically.
The sets are available if you ask nicely, and I would love some totally unbiased criticism on this.
Oh yes.. just one more thing.
Dj Tom is obviously a good friend of Dj Olly. They shared records and set.
Dj Olly is a good friend of the promoters, the judges, and the record shop sponsoring the event.
I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
posted by A 3:36 PM
Thursday, July 15, 2004
posted by A 2:55 PM
Friday, January 16, 2004
Well, here it is... feel free to book me :-)
posted by A 12:29 PM
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Give it up Cepheus. You do not fit in there any more!
posted by A 9:31 PM
Ajax can still look cute and kitten-like, when he wants to..
posted by A 4:10 PM
Monday, October 20, 2003
I couldn't put this better myself...
Naughty Dog had the guts to take this sequel in a very different direction. The game starts off with the main character Jak being thrown in jail where he is tortured and experimented on for two years. Obviously this isn't going to be the same goofy, lighthearted platform game the first one was. That doesn't mean the game isn't funny. In fact I'd say Jak II sports even better writing than the first one and delivers even more laughs.
Every character is just that, a character. Through the use of brilliant animation, gorgeous character designs, stunning levels and talented voice acting Naughty Dog has created an unbelievably rich world, and brought it to life in a way that few other games ever have. The fact that you will never see a loading screen only adds to the immersion. How they managed to do what they have done with Jak II on the Playstation is a Goddamned mystery.
Beyond the graphical improvements the game play has also received some major tweaking. You take missions in a hub city the same way you might in a game like GTA3. Hell you will even find yourself jacking hover cars and outrunning the local authorities. the missions you take though, will send you outside the city walls or into it's factories and sewers on more traditional platform style quests. You will find yourself collecting thing-a-majigs or wang-a-mabobs in an effort to satisfy the mission requirements. However the missions and the characters you receive them from make sense in way that most platform games simply don't. Destroying sentry guns in the sewer for a smuggler or blowing up ammunition for the resistance. The sorts of things you find yourself doing have a real purpose in the game world as opposed to collecting music notes or space nuts so that you can open some fucking gate somewhere.
Jak II also builds on the combat by giving you some new weapons. You can still swing daxter around and punch stuff but Jak now has an assortment of rifles and such that he can use to dish out damage as well. Jack can also transform into a evil version of himself in order to tear shit up with his claws and special dark powers you learn as the game progresses. There are weapon combos that will allow you to smack one target with your gun and then immediately fire on the next. Overall the combat in JAk II is significantly more entertaining than in the first game.
What it all boils down to is that Jak II is a perfect sequel.
posted by A 9:19 AM
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Two for you and me, Mr DaveSpice!
"Wow that is a tune and a half, I have a feeling this was the mix I've been searching for, ever since I heard it playing on a (non company aproved) tape piped into an EB store I tried to ask about it at the time but the guy there didnt know a thing about it except the guy who made it was away that day lol."
"Oh man, this is one of my two favorite songs on the entire site. I have it on a CD and whenever I'm in the car all my friends ask to listen to it. You did a great freakin job. Keep up the good work!"
That's my day made!
posted by A 1:26 PM