Tag: other

Proving youth work is inherently wrong.

I wonder if thinking about proving youth work is inherently wrong as an approach to youth work.

Evaluation, in its original Latin sense, meant to strengthen. In recent years, evaluation has often come to mean something else. It has become a tool of funders wanting to judge what is ‘successful’, what ‘works’ and what should or should not be invested in.

Evaluation is a key issue for youth work. But to often evaluation (as stewart cutler pointed out) has become a code for proving youth work works.

Categories: theology thinking work youthwork


screaming in a sound proof room

One of the most annoying things is when someone builds something new and thinks of everything, covers all bases and ensures the layout is accurate and well thought out.
The only problem is they don’t actually do that job well.

I blame two people for this current issue
the council and the installers of the system.

The situation.
In working and helping the new built primary school at their school show I came accross some of the most baffling issues i have come accross in a while. The school has an dinner hall with room for about 120 people. It has a stage at one end of the hall. It has a sound system built into the room. It consists of 2 yamaha road series speakers (i think 12 inch) so not to bad. There is a small wall mounted cable run with 4 XLR femal inputs for microphones. These run to the sound room which is one floor up in the back wall.

Problem One – control room
The control rooms is long and narrow, along the back wall. It has two tall narrow windows angled into the room which has the event happening in it. They are both double glazed, creating a sound proof control room. Good. unfortunately the windows are also permanently installed into the space. This means that you cannot hear the live sound in the control room naturally.
Unfortunately there is no form of monitoring within the room. It is a SoundCraft mixer amp as pictured below.
The mixer and amp build in has several outputs to facilitate monitoring. (Including a Stereo Phono recording output, stereo headphones output, stereo monitor output, and stereo main output on the front of the unit and two Speakon and jack amp outputs on the rear of the unit.)
The speakon connections go back into the wall to power the speakers in the room.
The jack amp outputs are suitable but probably carrying to large a load for near field control room monitors.
The Headphones output gives you a blast of the monitor mix so we can count that one out.
The monitor output is controlled by a separate knob on each channel, so the mix would not be as the main room so we can discount that one. (the monitor and Headphones mix can also be switched to not include any of the build in effects which the unit has.
The main output mix is already used as the feed for the Loop system so cannot be unplugged.
The record output gives a phono out for linking up to a tape player or minidisk or similar and is of the main output mix. It is the only one available for using to solve this problem.

The solution
We rummaged though all the cable boxes and stuff we could find in the sound booth room and the computer room, and attempted to find a phono lead. Eventually we had to send someone out to a local church to “borrow” one. When we got it we hooked up the recording output to the record input of a small coomber unit. giving us the in room monitoring we needed.

The problem 2
the leads are remarkably short on this installation making it quite hard to move the stack in order to see the stage. Due to the height of the music stack it is virtually impossible to see over it. (The Stack consists of CD player, Loop System, Soundcraft gigrac, and Coomber 6120.) all piled on a desk I was working with two young ladies who couldn’t see over the stack. Having something in a school children cannot use due to bad design seems lazy.

The solution
we moved the stuff about and made room on the desk so we could all see the stage.

Problem 3
The speakers were behind the stage this creates a new problem, as a performer you want to hear yourself but as naturally as possible. Hearing your own voice a quarter of a second late coming form behind you can be unnerving for the best. The Speakers on the back wall mean when you lift the microphone you generally have two issues,
1 – you speak quietly and cannot hear yourself, the inexperienced performer, then raises their voice for effect at the same time as the sound man seeks to increase gain creating a horrible loop which is just right for feedback to raise it’s peircing voice.
2 – you speak loudly and boom out deafing yourself, and the inverse of the above happens.

Now the only difference with moving the speakers to the front of the stage on this situation would be that the feedback is harder to get.
This is due to no stage monitors for performers to hear themselves.

The SOlution.
I don’t think their really is one. without spending money.

For the day to day running of the school and most school assemblies the set up is currently satisfactory. a microphone which at speaking level is audible. A sound booth which is secure and looks in on the room.

The problem just comes when you attempt to use the equipment for more than a normal primary school everyday usage like a school show.

I guess the problem is the reason you need the equipment in the first palce is for school shows or the like. outwith that in a primary school that level of equipment isn’t really needed.

me. I blame the council for specifiying the equipment and the installers for not pointing out the roblems and attempting to solve it with the clients!

Categories: work


How my year compares to those that know! (music)

The magazines are rushing to tell everyone who will listen how what has been good and what has been bad this year.

me I don’t read many music magazines anymore. I prefer to listen to music and decide if it is something good, entertaining worthy of buying or not. I am also guided by radio and perhaps largely by friends who get good music and share it.

anyway I have compared my music with the music of the lists and fund out that for one of the magazines I have 21 out of their top 50 albums including nine from the top ten albums. not too bad. Funnily enough it is the list i had most trouble agreeing with on it’s placements. My own list of what I have really enjoyed will be up soon but in the mean time here are the Lists of what albums I have from the lists and a list of albums I don’t have but would like to have perhaps at some point?

anyway on with the listings….

Paste Magazine (the ones I own)
50 TV On The Radio – Dear Science (Interscope)
48 REM – Accelerate (Warner Bros.)
46 Lykke Li – Youth Novels (LL)
43 Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer (Roadrunner)
40 Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords (Sub Pop)
32 Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City)
30 I’m From Barcelona – Who Killed Harry Houdini? (Mute)
28 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)
18 Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)
16 My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges (ATO)
15 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (Mute)
12 of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
11 The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (Vagrant)
08 Sun Kil Moon – April (Caldo Verde)
06 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
05 Okkervil River – The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar)
03 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL)
02 Sigur Rós – Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust (XL)
01 She & Him – Volume One (Merge)

19 out of 50
6 out of top ten

Q top 50 albums of the year (the ones I own)
48 Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
45 Jack Johnson Sleep Through Static
44 Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
40 My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
37 Lykke Li – Youth Novels
36 R.E.M. – Accelerate
35 The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
24 The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement
23 Beck – Modern Guilt
18 British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
13 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
11 Sigur Rós – Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust
10 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
09 The Raconteurs – Consolers Of The Lonely
08 Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
07 TV On The Radio – Dear Science
05 Glasvegas – Glasvegas
04 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
03 Coldplay – Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
02 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
01 Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night
21 albums out of 50
including 9 of the top ten

Blender Magazine (the ones I own)
31 Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
22 Coldplay – Viva La Vida
14 Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
12 My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
11 Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
09 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
07 of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping
03 TV On The Radio – Dear Science
8 of 31
only three from the top ten

wanted albums that got away
47 Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim (Astralwerks)
49 Emmylou Harris – All I Intended To Be
34 Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
33 Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair
31 Black Mountain – In The Future
20 The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
28 Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks – Real Emotional Trash
21 Erykah Badu – New Amerykah: Pt. One (4th World War)
16 Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward
13 Al Green – Lay It Down
08 Randy Newman – Harps and Angels
05 Hot Chip – Made In The Dark

Categories: music


The singer and the voice from…

Glasvegas. So whats with the voice then

I like an accent as much as the next man. I mean one of favourite singers of all time, Karin Bergquist (from Over the Rhine) has an accent which has become more pronounced and obvious as she has changed from the formally trained sound of the bands early style to a more laid back natural sound.

I like foreign bands – The guys from Alphabeat sing with a definate scandinavian accent, The Scorpions, I’m From Barcelona, (who’s new album is very good!), Lykke Li, Hello Saferide and Emile Simon. I don’t mind singers with an accent. I think it can add to a tune and add innately to the musical content of the song.

So perhaps it is just the Scottish thing i don’t like then. But I like singers/bands from scotland, Roddy Woomble from Idlewild, Eddie Reader, Ricky Ross in Deacon Blue, Justin Currie in Del Amitri, Fish in Marillion, and on the broader side of things, (accent wise) I really like Aidan Moffat in Arab Strap, and the Proclaimers in the Proclaimers. (I even like Alistair MacDonald and Hamish Imlach)

But singing accent of the guy from Glasvegas. I can’t get behind that. In particular in the fantastic song ‘It’s my Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’. I get the sentiment of the song, the feel of the song, the lyrics of the song, but when he sings the immortal line,

“Liar, Liar, Liar, Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.”

in the broadest Glasgow accent you have event heard since  well Alistair MacDonald or Hamish Imlach, I have two main reactions.

the first is to laugh out loud and stop listening to song.
the second is to stop the music and move on.

sorry glasvegas.
But I can’t get behind that

London (re) Calling – 1

We have returned

My son Jacob and myself have taken advantage of some of my holiday time to take a short break in london. we had a great time and did it reasonably cheaply as well. Anyway big thanks to my wife (Jacob’s mum), Rich for tech support, Matt for the food and chat, and zara for the hot chocolate

The things we did were
– fly BA Glasgow to London Heathrow
– London Heathrow terminal 5 (I think it qualifies as a destination in and of itself.)
– London Underground
– Houses of Parliament
– Old County Hall
– London Eye
– Waterloo Train Station
– The Tower Of London
– gourmet burger kitchen
– London Aquarium
– Buchingham Palace
– St James Park
– St Marks church, Mayfair
– Selfridges, Oxford Street
– The Apple Store, Regent Street
– Hamleys
– Carnaby Street
– Covent Garden
– Wahaca – mexican restaurant
– Trafalgar Square
– Whitehall
– Downing Street
– South bank
– Tate Modern
– International Headquarters of The Salvation Army
– St Pauls Cathedral
– Shoe Lane Library
– British Museum

I think we did enough for a couple of days to be honest
more follow up posts to follow.

Categories: Family wonderin

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I am the King of the Internet (Beta version) 2

Last night ended up watching the end of “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”. Mediocre as films go but watchable. As i watched it one song came into my head. Kind sums a lot of stuff up.

This is the best time of the day—the dawn
The final cleansing breath unsullied yet
By acrid fume or death’s cacophony
The rank refuse of unchained ambition
And pray, deny me not but know me now,
Your faithful retainer stands resolute
To serve his liege lord without recompense
Perchance to fall and perish namelessly
No flag-draped bier or muffled drum to set
The cadence for a final dress parade
But it was not always thus—remember?
Once you worshipped me and named me a god
In many tongues and made offering lest
I exact too terrible a tribute

Take heed for I am weary, ancient
And decrepit now and my time grows short
There are no honorable frays to join

Only mean death dealt out in dibs and dabs
Or horror unleashed from across oceans
Assail me not with noble policy
For I care not at all for platitude
And surrender such tedious detail
To greater minds than mine and nimbler tongues
Singular in their purpose and resolve
And presuming to speak for everyman

Oh, for another time, a distant field
And there a mortal warrior’s lonely grave
But duty charges me remain until
The end the last battle of the last war
Until that ‘morrow render unto me
That which is mine my stipend well deserved
The fairest flower of your progeny
Your sons, your daughters your hopes and your dreams
The cruel consequence of your conceit

“Warrior”, from the album “The Revolution Starts Now” by Steve Earle

Categories: music TV

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Which Apprentice finalist are you?

Your results: Mostly Cs: Commiserations! You are HELENE! You’re quite nice, and people don’t find you offensive, but you’ve had a terrible life, poor love. Still, you’ve managed to get this far, and it’s a testament to your professionalism and Global Pricing Leadership that you have, so well done you. You prove to the world that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible (except possibly knowing what ‘Global Pricing Leader’ actually means)

take the test [[which Apprentice Finalist Are You Quiz on the Guardian unlimited website]]

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Categories: TV webstuff


Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

(warning. The link contained in the next sentence takes you directly to a topless picture of Britney Spears.(on her own website front page) As per usual we take no responsibility for the content of external links) (that should see the web figures jump up!)
Britney Spears is she famous of infamous now?

I dunno
I heard on the radio this morning that she crashed her car today and has ended up causing a 2 car pile up (excluding her own)

My wife wisely pointed out that the difference is if you hear the name “Britney spears” your initial thought reveals if she is famous or infamous. If you think of her music or acting career then she is famous. If you think of her life incidents then she is infamous.

While changing my son this morning we had the channel 4 show “Freshly Squeezed” on the TV. and they showed some of Britney’s new video. It’s all animated and looks superhero ish. so when I heard Britney Spears my immediate thought was her new video is actually good. So to me Britney is still famous.

so the question for you all is, Britney Spears, famous or infamous? when you hear the words Britney Spears, what do you think of?

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Categories: music thinking wonderin