Of ipods and Boxed sets

Most people know I lost my cat this week, and rather than rehash it right now, and depress myself (just as I’m feeling better), I wanted to talk about a couple of things that helped bring me some respite from the overwhelming loss and grief I’ve felt this week.

The first is a new iPod I received as a gift.  I’d sold my old one on eBay last month, and received a replacement from someone who will remain anonymous. what I got was an iPod Touch  2G.  Now, I’m no Apple fanboy. There are things about ipods I really like, and things I hate. not being able to replace the battery is one thing I hate.  The DMR on my past iTunes purchases is another. And like all Apple products, it’s always a question of price. However, I also love the design and simplicity of the iPod-though iTunes leaves a lot to be desired.

Anyway, I charged it up, loaded my music on it, and realized how much more there is to the Touch than just playing mp3’s.  Near a wifi hotspot? I can jump on the net using a full version of Safari. Need to enlarge a web page to read something? A couple of taps will do that. Have some pictures you want to show someone? Just sync them to your iPod and you’re good to go. You can enlarge the photo with a tap or gesture as well. Want to play games? Not only does it do that, it does it pretty darn well. It will never replace a PSP or DS, but for quick on the go gaming it’s hard to beat.

Oh yeah, it plays music too. Here then, is one of my chief complaints. with my old Nano, pausing was as simple as pressing the single button.  with the touch, I have to press the home button, unlock it (keeping it unlocked poses the risk of pausing, forwarding or going to the last song if you’re not careful), then press pause. not very convenient when you have it in a shirt pocket.  The earbuds that come with it, are the same crappy ones Apple has been foisting on the public since the ipod’s debut. All in all, despite some design flaws, this is an amazing little gadget that I’ve quickly become infatuated with.

So what am I listening to? A boxed set I mentioned back in November, Marillion: The Early Stages, a 6 CD box set containg live performances recorded from 1982-1987.  This is, in my mind a must have for Marillion fans. There are a few songs that get repeated (Garden Party shows up 4 times-which annoys me because it’s not one of my favorite songs), but for many, the arrangements are different enough to keep them from being repetitive. There’s a bit of Fish doing what he does best (aside from singing and songwriting), which is between song banter. Dubbed “The Official Bootlegs”, the sound quality is far better than expected. Is it state of the art? No, but neither was recording back in 1982.

This set shows a band evolving, maturing and ultimately going from small pubs to stadiums. I’m not sure how much non fans, or people not familiar will like it, but for those who know and love Marillion, there’s no excuse for not having this in your collection.

Fish Update

As many who know me, both online and in person, are aware, my favorite singer is ex Marillion frontman Fish.  I became a huge fan when I first heard him sing on Misplaced Childhood, some 20 plus years ago. His departure from the band, and difficulty of getting his CD’s in the states, never deterred my enthusiasm for the man and his music.

This all culminated in my finally seeing him live this past July at the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA. The avatar I have on SL and Odark as well as one on my blog here are of Fish and myself. For me, it was liking meeting Stephen King or CLive Barker. It was a highpoint in my life, and one I will remember until I become worm food.

In an email this morning, Fish had this to say:

She took internal photos of my throat and vocal chords with an endoscope and pronounced that I didn’t have nodules.
I thought everything was going to be diagnosed as down to heavy usage and prescribed a rest from singing for a while.
Just as I thought I had an all clear she pointed out a white area on one of my chords and said “But this is worrying!”
As soon as I heard the phrase “irregular cell growth” my mind went cold and focused.
I knew what it meant.

Needless to say I was shocked. He then went on to write,

I was in hospital yesterday and had an examination under general anaesthetic which involved taking a biopsy from one of my vocal chords.
I now wait on the results.

Either way I have come to grips with this as much as I can under the circumstances.
In all honesty I am 50 year old, I smoke(d), drink, have a “colourful” history, have sung nearly 1700 gigs in 27 years and have conducted probably three times as many interviews. It’s like standing on the M1 and expecting not to be hit by a car  😀

I wish Fish and his fiance Katie nothing but the best. My thoughts go with the Big Man and his family, in hopes that everything comes out okay.

Comfort Music

When the news gets overwhelming, the nitwits out of hand, when work gets too distressing, I listen to my favorite band.

This is probably my favorite song bar none. It made me a fan of Marillion, and a huge, huge fan of Fish’s lyrics. It’s a tad long, but please enjoy… Script for a Jester’s Tear.


Marillion: The Early Stages 1982-1987 The Official Bootlegs

 It’s official! The box set of some of Marillion’s early concerts will now be available on November 17th. All orders made directly from former lead singer Fish’s website will also receive an autographed copy of the cover (Mark Wilkinson is the artist,who also did the banner on my website-which is from Fish’s album 13th Star) by Mark, himself and the members of Marillion. 

For those not familiar with their work, this is a great way to sample some of the best music of the 80’s.

They’ve been compared to early Genesis, King Crimson and every other progressive rock band you can think of; but they were (and still are)their own creature. I heard about them from a roommate, and I was an instant fan. While I don’t care for some of the more recent work, preferring Fish’s solo stuff much more, what’s packed into the 6 CD’s represents the best of the best. Check out Fish’s website for more info including track listings here: http://www.the-company.com/disco/daes.htm