Busy Blogging Elsewhere

I am now a confirmed fan of WordPress. This blog introduced me to it, but I’ve recently been using it to create a new website for the Willingham Photo Club.

I’m currently one of the “gang of four” leadership team (there’s a rotating membership – all very communist) – having volunteered mainly in order to improve the club’s IT for viewing photographs on-screen at the monthly meetings.

It fell on our watch to organise our first exhibition as part of the Willingham Feast. It seemed obvious as part of the planning to have a website to send visitors to, and afterwards to continue the exhibition in the virtual world.

There are so many themes, plugins and widgets available to make a WordPress site look good, even the free ones, that it’s mostly a filtering task to choose what you need.  The results can look professional, and certainly give the impression that much more skill and hard work has been involved than is the case. (Having said that, the list of minor tweaks and edits to get it to look “just right” is getting longer.) I’m basking in that reflected glory, but it is an easy-to-please audience of non-technical people, so far.

I’ll finish by crediting  the Theme: Modularity Lite 1.2, and Plugins: The Events Calendar, NextGEN Gallery and NextGEN Public Uploader, which have made it so easy to do. Check them out next time you need to make a website for a photography club.

So that’s where my evenings have gone. I’ll just point out that if anybody mentions “display boards” in my vicinity in the near future, they’d better be on guard.

John Peel Anecdote

@Glinner (Graham Linehan, writer of Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd) is a relentless twitterer and related this story as told to him by John Peel:

Listening to morning radio DJs and their deathly playlists (6music excepted) reminds me of a story John Peel told about Dave Lee Travis.
Peel was round at DLT’s house for a party, and he idly wondered where all his records were, because he couldn’t see any about.
“Are you kidding?” said DLT. “I don’t have any records. I get enough of that shit at work.”
(Admittedly he cheated and put that in three 140 character tweets, but it’s still a great story.)

New Blog

Shiny and new, with its own subdomain and WordPress software, free from the tyranny of Blogger, welcome to coded v2.

Two things coincided to make this happen. First, Blogger stopped supporting FTP sites, which my old blog was. I like to fiddle with the files, so I wanted to host it on Ballandia, and this meant I couldn’t any more if I stayed with Blogger.

Second, 34SP, my website hosts, had a tasty upgrade offer which included SMTP (useful for Robyn while she’s in the USA), multiple MySQL databases (which is what was stopping me using WordPress before)  and subdomains.

Thus coded.ballandia.co.uk (update your Blogrolls and feeds) was born. Praise is due and given to Blogger and WordPress, which let me export (via a temporary blogspot domain) and import all the content, including the comments. I was impressed (especially the second time I did it (don’t ask)).

Initially spoilt for choice with themes, I’ve played with a few before stealing the one Paul uses, K2. I had to mess with it a little, of course (to make it wider, to get the Flickr and 365 galleries to be the same width, to make the menu bar visible), but I like it.

I hope you like it, too.

Radio 2 is for OLD people

To be precise, the breakfast show (lately the Mighty Wogan and currently the Ginger Evans), plays such old music that I cannot bear to listen to it. I had thought, when I was younger, that one day I would “grow into” Radio 2. Despite now being in the “50-65” age bracket which is surely the target demographic, I still find Radio 2 is for older people. Even though it does play that annoying hippity-hoppity rubbish where ludicrously overpaid young men recite their abysmal poetry over other people’s tunes, I listen to Radio 1 every day.

Having been told that Chris Evans’ music was “quite racy this morning”, I decided to check the facts. The BBC handily publish the tracklist, and Wikipedia is more than adequate as a Paul Gambaccini stand-in for music facts. Of the 25 songs played today, only 3 were current: Paulo Nutini, Amy Macdonald (who she?) and Leona Lewis (X-Factor). The average age of the tracks played was over 22 years. 60% of the tracks were over 10 years old. 10 were more than 30 years old! I rest my case.

All this and more in this handy-dandy Google spreadsheet.

Radcliffe & Maconie, on the other hand, are brilliant and play decent music. So it can be done, unfortunately when I am watching the telly or eating my tea.


We went to Mike‘s BBQ on Star Wars Bank Holiday Monday and had a very pleasant time. We particularly enjoyed watching all the other guests run around after their small-to-medium sized children, whilst we just reminisced about how that used to be for us.

I was chastised for not updating this blog, but that’s only by and compared to Mike – and he’s obsessive. Or rather, he used to be; it’s gone a bit quiet there lately what with the new job and all…
Afterwards we went into town to see “Låt den rätte komma in”, a Swedish coming-of-age vampire love story. See it now before the ‘merkins remake it. Which I will brand “fail” now.
Not fail according to early reviews, and a film I am very much looking forward to, is “Star Trek”. I’ve been a fan forever – the first two colour TV programmes I saw were episodes of Star Trek (now Star Trek: TOS): a small snatch on the bar telly at my Great Uncle Ron’s pub (before it opened) and a whole episode at my friend Andrew’s house when I was at Sunny Bank Primary School.

Slight Update

The observant may have noticed the new book widget – I was too lazy to update the hand-crafted Javascript version (and nobody used my Amazon Affiliates links to buy a single book), so I have out-sourced my book reading list maintenance to Good Reads.

Also, I did get a reply to my complaint at the BBC – but as it was privately sent to me I don’t feel I can publish it. It was very bland, and as Wossy is back on the TV tonight anyway, inevitably uncontroversial. I have been following Jonathon Ross’s Twitter updates to keep me amused during his enforced absence.

Complaint to the BBC

Finally found out how to complain to the BBC – there’s a section on their website.

I would like to complain about the cancellation of one of the few BBC programmes which I (used to) watch every week, particularly this episode which was to have featured The Killers. I don’t listen to Russell Brand’s Radio 2 show, and I don’t read the Mail on Sunday, so I am completely unconcerned about the manufactured outrage which has led to this curtailment of my enjoyment.

Have you cancelled Film 2008 as well?

TV Star

I got a message on YouTube, entitled “Enquiry from the BBC”:

“Matt here from BBC Look East. Can we use your pictures of the Cottenham field fire for a piece we’re doing tonight on the field fires which hit the region over July? If so, could you call me on 555 953 852?”

So I rang him, he explained that the piece would be on that evening, concentrating on the financial effects on farmers and insurers, and they wanted some background shots of the fires. Could they use my video if they gave me credit?

Of course I gave permission, but I fully expected the item to be dropped if a cat got stuck up a tree or something. But they ran it – and they used my video for the local trail during the 6 o’clock news, at the head of the programme and in the article itself with the voice over announcing “these pictures taken by Derek Law in Cottenham”.

Fame, if not fortune. Still, colour me chuffed.