Life On Mars? #DavidBowie

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Life on Mars?  ( don’t forget the question-mark!  )  by the inimitable Mr David Bowie has always been one of my favourite songs.    Although recorded in the early 70s its timeless,  ageless and some would say meaningless.

I’d say enigmatic, as what most people don’t get is that Bowie is painting a picture of a world gone mad, the girl with the mousy hair escaping her dull existence to see the same dull movie 10 times, people fighting for no reason, police beating up the wrong guy.

It really is the freakish show and he asks the question .. Is there life on Mars?

Is there any chance of escaping for this dull and chaotic existence?

Personally,  I like it because it just sounds and feels good.

Although Bowie wrote the song,  the piano was played by the classically trained Rick Wakeman,  two musical geniuses in my opinion who I could only ever dream to emulate.

On paper the song is written in the Key of F,   but thats only notional as it promptly forgets that and goes in and out of key at multiple locations.

Its probably the most complex song that I’ve learned and the below tab I’ve based it on doesn’t do the complexity of the song justice.   So I used this for guidance and filled the rest in from the Bowie songbook that I received for my birthday last week.

https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/david_bowie/life_on_mars_chords_570195

I’m off work for a week and catching up with bits and bobs,  including getting a chance to mess around with the recording features of the Roland FP-90 Digital Piano that I bought last year.

Finally had the change to record this and convert it to mp3,  a fairly painless process.

In my version,  its a quick round of an 8 bar intro in a more classical style and then the song in more accompaniment style so that my mate can sing along with it without guessing where the lyrics sync with the music.

Hope I’ve did it justice. 🙂

 

 

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Be careful when buying from SLRHut

Loathe as I am to criticise anyone, I hate feeling conned.

Yep conned.

I’ve been looking at drones for a few years and waiting on one becoming available which had the functionality I was looking for including 4K video at 30fps or more, GPS home function, automatic tracking etc and at the right price.

A thousand pounds was my expected price point and I was looking for a good bang for my hard-earned buck with extras such as multiple batteries etc.

I picked the DJI Mavis Pro Fly More Bundle from SLRHut.co.uk and purchased through PayPal.

Having placed the order, I received an immediate email saying to call them on the above 0293 number, which I did but after being auto answered by their machine, the next agent was unavailable 20 minutes later.

I tried again on the way home from work and wasted another 20 minutes on the phone to no avail.

When I got home, I received an email from them saying that my drone had been shipped and the provided a link to a tracking service. Unfortunately the link doesn’t work which further raised my suspicions, so I emailed them.

A few days later, I received an email from them saying that the shipping company hadn’t updated their system. Which is nonsense as the link is faulty.

Yesterday I received another email saying my product had been deliver and to confirm my satisfaction with the purchase.

So I called them again. Another 20 minutes on the phone and no agent available.

Today I received my mobile bill in, not something I usually look at as all calls and texts are free on my tariff. However this was different as it had £40 pounds worth of additional calls to guess who?

Yep SLRHut customer service, the one that never answers. A complete scam in my opinion.

I’ve contacted them again, via email, and also raised a dispute via PayPal to have my money refunded.

Now I can’t really tell you not to buy from SLRHut, But I wouldn’t.


Update 5th April 6am

I’ve had a response from SLRHut via PayPal, apologising for the delay and providing better tracking information.

For reference if it’s helpful, they send via USPS, which was not mentioned in their original emails and their links to the pit tracking facility didn’t work.

Having checked the tracking, it was indeed picked up from SLRHut on 20th March, Bounced around the US Postal Service for over a week, departing the US on 30th March and arriving in the UK on 1st April.

That’s 4 days ago and still no sign if it, But I’m pleased to know it’s on its way.

I’m still disappointed with the overall experience as SLRHut. They have a .co.uk website and UK telephone number, so would appear to be UK based.

However, they are clearly US based with significant delays in delivery and nonexistent customer service with a telephone number which is auto-answered, expensive and an agent is never available.

Advice – Don’t use their customer service number but contact them via PayPal or your credit card company as they respond to disputes and cancellation requests.

Or perhaps don’t use them at all.

If there’s any doubt, there is no doubt.

On a separate note, never buy anything online with a debit card. You have very little comeback and it’s more difficult to negotiate when the seller already has your cash.

Much better to use a credit card or PayPal who will deal with any disputes.

Light My Fire? @TheDoorsAlive

I’ve always been a big fan of The Doors,   I’m also a fan of tribute bands who often work harder than the real deal playing the songs you’d love to hear rather than punting the new album.

It’s true that nothing is better than the real thing and a tribute will always be a tribute.

But in the case of The Doors Alive,  who I try and see every time they play Glasgow,  I don’t think you can get a better tribute in terms of authenticity and accuracy with the music and style of the original band.

The song Light My Fire in particular,  its hypnotic,  trippy,  trance music,  with the keyboard playing both organ melody and bass beat over the rolling guitar solo.

It takes me somewhere else.   A couple of beers and I’m floating.

The time to hesitate is through ..   Can’t wait!


Previous and more detailed review

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/the-doors-alive/

 

 

Wolf – Remains?

The flimsy wood of the door frame shattered with ease,    these cheap council flats weren’t built to last and the builders had obviously been cutting costs to keep their profits high.

It was obvious that no-one was home. Who could stand that stench of rotting flesh or the multitude of insects that were already buzzing around my face.

I told Stevie to keep his hands in his pockets so that no evidence was disturbed.     Better than putting gloves on, touching things like door handles and taking away any valuable prints,  besides the SOCO guys moaned if anything was disturbed.   Although I didn’t think that would be a problem in this case.

At first glance,  the apartment was a shambles,   pizza boxes, dirty clothing and drug paraphernalia lying all over the place,  a typical junkie hovel,  nothing particularly memorable apart from the obvious.

The smell was so overwhelming that at first it wasn’t clear where the body was tucked away. No-one had seen the occupant in 6-8 weeks and like the best steaks,  he’d had time to tenderise and mature on the bone.

On second glance into the bedroom,  the full-height cupboard door was slightly ajar and the odd blue-bottle was taking its turn to escape for a breath of fresher air.

Should I open the cupboard or give Stevie the honours?

It was his first time at a death scene,  so the pleasure was all his.

I told him to put on his gloves and open the door with his pencil from the bottom so as to minimise interfering with any evidence.

Stevie slowly opened the door and there hanging from the rail of the wardrobe was the very late Kevin McLeod.

I’d seen him looking better. Continue reading “Wolf – Remains?”

Torn – Is Glasgow a Binary City?

 

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He’s not a happy man, John that I work with.

I wonder why?

On Friday he seemed to be buoyant, looking forward to the weekend. A quiet night on Friday as he had a flying lesson on Saturday and was saving himself for a big day out at the football and celebrating on Sunday.

John’s a Rangers fan, or a Sevco fan if you like to wind him up about the fact that his original team have went into liquidation and the team in blue that play out of Ibrox are not the same team that he has supported man and boy.

On Friday, he had a spring in his step, lunch time was full of phrases like “We’re back” and “This is the most I’ve looked forward to an Old Firm game in years”.

John’s attitude, probably like most who see the world through blue-tinted glasses is that Celtic haven’t been performing at their best ( true) and that Rangers have had better recent performances ( possibly) and that over the 8 games since Christmas Rangers were the form team and had beaten St Johnstone 3-0 where Celtic could only draw 0-0 against them.

He was in full-on mode .. upbeat, confident and on a roll.

Truth be told, I was more nervous about this game than I have been for any game against Rangers since they were reformed from the assets that Charles Green bought from the insolvency administrators.

Would they be able to beat us at their ground with 45,000 home supporters baying for “Fenian blood”?

My heart said no, but my head wasn’t as confident with a 60/40 likelihood that Celtic would win. Much less than previous games were I had no doubt that we would win, or at least not get beat.

Is that the same thing?

I can handle a draw. But getting beat by your biggest rivals stings.

Glasgow isn’t exactly a binary city,  it’s more 1’s, 0s and Nulls.

For many people,   you’re a Tim or a Hun or nothing and if you’re nothing then you’re viewed suspiciously by either side and assumptions are made from your upbringing and attitude to put you in one box or the other.

So you might as well be something.

But in reality its not as simple as that.  there are many people who really could not give a toss about football or religion and wish that the lot of them would pack up and go elsewhere.

Add to that,  the growing number of immigrants to the city who do not have the historic loyalties which cause this unholy rivalry to be the car-crash spectacle that it has become.

Some people are too involved,  too close to it,  that they lose all sense of perspective.  That they think that its all about “us” and “them”.   Completely unaware that there is so much more to life out there and lots of people who don’t give a fuck.

Did you see the game? Continue reading “Torn – Is Glasgow a Binary City?”

It’s tighter but the moneys still safe! #CelticFC

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Oh the weather outside is frightful …

Well it certainly is in the Central Scotland area,  where the “Beast From The East”  is laying siege to most of the country including my wee street,   which being half-way up the hill to East Kilbride is a certainty to be snowed in when the weather turns nasty.

The best thing about being snowed in is no travelling to work,   I’m self employed but I get to Work From Home .. a loose term for logging in and being available and doing enough to look as if you’re busy but in reality I’m sitting around playing piano,  watching  tv,  making curries and otherwise keeping my hands and mind occupied.

Idle hands .. Its the devils work!     🙂

Anyway,  since I’m not spending 3 hours a day on my commute to that Global Communications Company in Livingston that currently employs my services ,   I’ve been able to drop a few thoughts on the blog.

What about the Rangers eh?

Now second in the SPFL and a mere 6 points behind Celtic,  who have a game in hand and there are 10/9 games to play for Celtic/Rangers respectively.

It’s closer than I expected,   but not close enough.

Lets be fair,    they have been playing better football since the got shot of Pedro.   The caretaker manager Graham Murdy is a straight-talking honest professional and has made a few decent loan deals. Continue reading “It’s tighter but the moneys still safe! #CelticFC”

Brothers From Different Mothers? .. #RobertBurns

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A mans a man for aw that?

Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that,
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

Or ..

You see that fancy dressed poser called a lord
Who struts and stares and all that
Although hundreds worship at his word
He is but a fool for all that
For all that and all that
His fancy style and all that
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at all that

A Mans A Man – Robert Burns

 

What do you think of the poetry of Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s national Bard?

At times in the past, I hated it. Sitting at school being forced to learn it by wrote and how to pronounce these old Scots words and to understand their meaning.

It was pretty dull and dry and certainly not a labour of love, when you’re 12.

Back then I resented being forced to learn this crap, it meant nothing to me.

The only entertainment was listening to Mr Linus in P7 at Saint Constantine’s Primary School Govan, getting excited as he enacted every line from Tam O’Shanter.

My old dad would often and still does quote the wisdom of Bums.

E.g. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet.

My brothers and I would look at each other as if to say .. What the F**k is he talking about?

In our house, you dare not curse in my father’s presence, even today, he’s old and frail but a stern look quickly lets you know what he thinks of any industrial language.

But the years change us, experience gives us wisdom and a perspective to look at life differently from our younger selves.

“What a gift the lord to gie us, tae see ourselves as others see us.”

Do you ever look back at yourself and think, look at the state of my clothes or my hair, which were the height of fashion at the time and think what a plonker.

Continue reading “Brothers From Different Mothers? .. #RobertBurns”