Devastating few months in British Music History

 

It obviously can’t have escaped many people’s notice of the close proximity of several deaths from the archives of British Rock history.
I don’t know where to go with this other than to add my little bit:
Music for me started in 1976, it was the early days of punk and when I got to boarding school, we had an amazing teacher called Adrian Schoeberl who, once a week would introduce us to a couple of different bands until we gained a vast spectrum of knowledge in the area and even took in a Buzzcocks gig once.
It was while at home on school break I watched a show called “The Old Grey Whistle Test” (star kicker) on the BBC when, before my eyes a live concert with a school boy running around grabbed my attention Old-Grey-Whistle-Test– and there born was my love of AC/DC.
I left the school and attended another in Sheffield and this was the first time I ever saw people wearing merchandise. A kid and later a friend came up to me and asked what bands I was into and he was wearing a Led Zeppelin and a Genesis badge, I said both names and he accused me outright of just reading his badges – well yes and no, I had every album by Zeppelin and nothing by Genesis.
As we flew into the 80’s we were so lucky, Sheffield City Hall was a major venue on the UK touring circuit back then and every major act played there. We also had the Top Rank Suite, The Wapentake (a rock pub), local bands like Def Leppard, Saxon and got to see everyone. Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Oz was a show that got me interested in Audio Engineering which I was fascinated with. Girlschool made me slightly more deaf in the right ear than the left – for life!! We saw everyone. And then I worked in a Merch shop right opposite the City Hall (gone now) called Impulse Records… the only place I ever knew of back then that sold the leather, studs and bullet belts – so much so that when touring bands finished sound check at the City Hall they’d come in to buy gear on their way to the Wapentake bar just down the street. It was a great time in my life.

Then it all changed, City Halls were taken over by Arenas, the record shop became a parking lot, the Wapentake changed hands and then changed names.Wap reopening ded.The only other bar with the a Rock reputation as close or even better than the Wapentake was a long way away, in another country in fact and I knew it would be highly unlikely to ever visit…

 

And then, 3 years ago I did, with Gabby aka Gabsatrucker. In fact I mentioned it briefly in the post LA to Sin City : Las Vegas
A life time later from 1982, and we had been shooting  about picking up a few things in West Hollywood and were starving hungry… a few blocks away Rainbow Logowas this little place : The Rainbow Bar & Grill… not the kind of name or  look from the outside you would associate with a bar like the Wapentake, but I’m told the name was from the Band “Rainbow”.
So we went, we parked and we entered… got a booth and ate a hearty burger… as it got later the faces of 80’s, 90’s and early 2k’s rock scene were everywhere, I was surprised I guess, but not star struck, it was like a reassurance that such great places still exist, where people can be themselves and no pretension entered into.
Age has had a strange effect on me, whether I’m becoming an old romantic or just that little softer – but as we left and a famous individual said “sup – brother” as an informal greeting  – I knew then I would probably return.

I miss music…
And as the deaths of Phil Taylor, Lemmy, the final demise of Motorhead and David Bowie sink home having left a true mark in history, I feel that in these rare places – they will always be as alive today and in the future as they ever were.

 

Motorhead-Raw-cut-out12345

I tweaked the album artwork for the purpose of this blog

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Christmas 2015

christmas-tree-inside-the-house

Hi everyone.
As we draw to the end of 2015 we’re very much looking forward to 2016 with open arms, open hearts and a healthy dose of determination.
2015 has been a fight for us from start to finish .
It’s been a tough one alright – that’s for sure.

So while we’re not physically taking part in Christmas this year, there is no excuse not to wish absolutely everyone a great time, much fun and a fine helping of festivities.
We wish and hope everyone has a great Christmas and a truly awesome New Year.

Published in: on 17 December, 2015 at 18:52  Leave a Comment  
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Yorkshire Didn’t Just Lose Something – We All Did

I’m digging through old posts at the moment; I’m looking for one out 1090 in particular.
In it I wrote about the qualities of a man I could only aspire in my most distant dreams to be like. I even stated that if I only had 5% of the humanity, care and tempered wisdom of – I would be a 110% better person.
I’m serious! And what I am about to say here are not misguided words driven by emotion.

He had been a soldier, in fact he had been in the exact same regiment as myself, he was a God-fearing man and in his younger years when the world was in far harder times than we could even conceive of today, he and his wife would walk miles to get to church on time in all weathers and in winter that meant Rain, Ice, Snow and the forever steep unforgiving hills that Sheffield offered. Yet his faith was his business and equally respected the views of those who may not share as much.

I simply have known no better man and human being in my entire life. He set a standard to which all men whom met him aspired to be like – yet I know of no one who is or comes close.

I don’t really care about the politics of the world, who is using what excuse to have a war, how one person measures success in life from another because today we all lost something more precious than you’d ever know, because this man was different, this man was decent, funny, fair and respectful and yet as hard as nails.

Yesterday Joshua Goodlad (a name as I type brings a tear to my eye) passed away peacefully with his daughter Sandra, my ex-wife, holding him and with the rest of an amazing family around him.

Even after a life away from his family for many years he and is awesome wife “Lil” greeted me just like the family we once were. I was humbled.

Strangely I cannot say whether I will miss Joe or not, because his charisma surpasses this. I have a handful of heroes I’d like to emulate in some small way as many do – but I could only wish to with Joe.
What I will miss is the opportunities I’ve not taken and yet I feel truly honoured to have met him, known him, to drink with him and for the rest of my life I will respect and know – no one is was or to my knowledge ever be a greater man as him.

His family will miss him deeply, and they should know that beyond all the normal closeness of a deep family loss – he was and is just so much more than a Grandfather, Great grandfather or a Dad… He was the rule to which we truly measure ourselves by and I think they’ll know what I mean.

JOSHUA GOODLAD

Joe1 (587 of 2)

In life, no man was closer to God
In my life – he was my f**king hero

Virtutis Fortuna Comes

 

Published in: on 9 December, 2015 at 23:33  Leave a Comment  
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Something for Christmas that we’re kinda proud of…

Due for release any time now:  Saving Bletchley Park by Dr Sue Black. 51gLwiNPbvL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_
And we promote this for two very good reasons!!

Firstly it’s a damn good and very down to earth read of a fascinating story of Sue Black’s efforts to successfully save the place that saved our entire nation and millions of lives worldwide told by the person who did it with the power of social media.

Secondly: As our RWiR site (link on the right) we didn’t design the book cover, but we did spend a long time preparing the images for it, many were phone taken photos we had to get to print quality.

Our input was minor compared the time and efforts put into this by Sue Black, but we’re very proud to have been a part of it.

The Book will be available on Unbound website first and on Amazon later in the New Year and once it’s available the Unbound website page will move from the crowd funded page to a sale page….
Here is Unbound’s present page and the Amazon link.
https://unbound.co.uk/books/saving-bletchley-park
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saving-Bletchley-Park-…/…/1908717920 

Rare photo footage found of 1940 Tour de France‏

Published in: on 13 September, 2015 at 20:13  Leave a Comment  

These days life is just bizarre…

I work hard and watch what I eat and get fat, this is because I’m simply not doing enough to burn off anywhere near the calories I shold be doing .
But the, does it matter – well yes it does, I don’t want to be a lard ass

Published in: on 13 September, 2015 at 20:12  Leave a Comment  

The Responce to the BCS disscussion on Women in IT

Tomorrow’s Women – Tomorrow’s World.

This is a response to the BCS open discussion on
The Decline of Women in the Information Technology Environment.

The People

At the above open discussion various issues were brought to light to the general audience/participants. Presiding over the meeting was Dr.Sue Black of Westminster University and the four panellists were:
Prof. Rob Macredie, Maggie Philbin, Mohan Koo and Rebecca George OBE

Throughout the BCS meeting there was much talk of ‘initiatives’ and statistics. Well forgive my bluntness but the statistics do not and can not hold true as British IT and Comms workers are employed globally and a high percentage are contractors, not permanent staff.
Initiatives are like the word ‘motion’, they go a given, or set distance and stop – that isn’t the right terminology if you’re trying to create the right mindset and ethos, its actually going against what you’re trying to achieve.

The Problem

In recent years it has become apparent that there are less women working in Information Technology, I don’t know if this is the same for all technology fields.
Without statistics to hand, I would like to take time here to have a look back over recent years and bring some of what I believe are basic points to air about the why’s and how’s this may have happened and also to offer a realistic method over time to restore the places of women into the general IT environment.
For years after the conclusion of WW2, with the lack of physical manpower women were generally guided to more intellectual and technical careers. Men for the most part were required for the more laborious tasks of helping to physically rebuild the nation and her infrastructure.
The War made huge and vast changes to women’s roles, not only in the UK but right across the world.
Throughout the 70’s until the present, the decline of women in technology has been evident. This isn’t just because there are generally more men in the technology fields; the actual numbers of women in this work place has dropped.

Social

Since the late 90’s the UK and much of Europe has been drawn into a culture of consumerism. Indeed, where once just keeping a home clean, tidy and having fresh clothes was a full time job for a housewife/husband, modern technology has slashed this time to a bare minimum.
We now have in our arsenal just about every conceivable modern appliance to make personal domestic living simple; the hardest work is actually taking things in and out of machines and changing the bed.

With new found free time, internet shopping at our finger tips, not only have we become highly accustomed to our new world, but in many cases we have lost the ability to run and operate an ‘analogue’ life style at all.
We expect things to simply work and only change it when there is an upgraded version available. We rarely fix anything anymore.

Yet, all this new living comes from the IT world. We can’t have any of it without the telecommunication infrastructure, the computers, the networking protocols, security, the software, the banking, the lawyers and ultimately the end user!

So then, why are people so reluctant to become involved?
Well for the most part when people look at their computers they read things like ‘Taiwan’ and other names – an industry and technology from a far off land that has no bearing on our lives…
People don’t realise that until more recent times, things as simple as the humble LED was made only in the UK, then exported globally.
Software: straight away most people think of the big American players, not the smaller bespoke software companies that make everything work on a day to day level. Even if you mention databases, while people might rightly think about Microsoft’s Access – few know that it was designed, written and sold via licensing from a small group of people here in the UK in Cambridge.

So here is the basic, yet greatest issue – we have no real idea of the sheer number of different jobs and roles within the greater industry. As such we can not actually gauge how many people work in our field.
Recently I heard someone state that UK has a real lack of IT engineers…
So as an example, let’s have a look here;
Engineers:

Telecommunication and IT Engineering
 
Heavy Underground Cable Engineer
 Satellite Communications Engineer
 Pole Erection Engineer
 Fibre Optic Engineering
 Installation Engineering
 Planning Engineer
 System Design Engineer
 Data Cabling Engineer
 DWDM Engineer
 EPOS Engineer
 Security Engineer
 
Ok, I have to stop because I have jotted down over 50 types of engineer and simply don’t have the will to type them.
The UK has more trained engineers in these fields per capita than any other country on Earth! So good are we at our physical engineering fields that there are few major Telecom or IT projects in the world where you will not find Brits planning, designing, project managing and installing some of the most cutting edge systems. Yet ironically most of the equipment comes from the US and Canada.
And in this we see our problem – we simply don’t know what is and isn’t IT any more – personally I would say Telecoms and IT are now the same and many of the above roles allow cross technology working. However I would then suggest Software is a field slightly set aside insomuch as the interactive environment rather than the physical.

I haven’t even started with power supply, industrial scale cooling and data centre design.

So we need an industry Bible of ALL related jobs! You see, how can we expect a teenager in school to show an interest beyond that of basic home computing unless they know of what type of jobs and fields are out there?
Many don’t require degree educations, simply trade based learning, yet without a guide, how will they know the positions even exist.
One question here is this – who would write and fund the writing of such a document?
However, what I can say is that there are more than enough roles for people within these industries irrespective of their skill levels.

Ok, we are now aware that here are thousands of different roles, we can also add the fact there are different industrial fields also, like Defence and Health that change all existing roles in to more bespoke market requirements.

Yet this alone has caused trouble:
In 2008 I went for a walk around a major hospital as part of them wishing to recruit Design Engineers and IT Project Managers.
I knew the hospital, I had actually cabled it for British Telecom many years previously.
The remit was very simple; they needed a decent network built from scratch and a Wifi/Wimax solution on the back of it. I asked about their Disaster Recovery requirement and this is when I realised that there was little mandate for anything beyond the network at all.
The one thing that was a requirement was that the person recruited must have extensive NHS experience…
I openly laughed, and said, what you need is the private sector know-how, and then put a health based software solution over the top of it.

So what is going on?
Statistics showing a down turn in females within the industry!
A complete lack of available information regarding actual roles!
Organisations/Industries that believe they can re-write commercial IT know-how themselves?

The entertainment media has much to answer for with the lowering numbers of women in IT and the clichéd depictions of Nerds and Geeks are too old to use, but they still do it. But when Grand and Great Grand Parents are fully computer literate – it’s fair to say we have moved on a great deal from just 10 years ago.

I have a huge and varied employment history, Soldier, Electrician, IT/Telecommunication contractor and project manager since 1987. I also have a Class 1 HGV and was a Land Rover Instructor.
I can apply myself to various environments and cultures with ease and this (as it turned out) has been vital when working as a contractor in the Comms/IT field around the world, including the deserts of Saudi Arabia.
While there is no training for the environments I’ve had to work, the people I talk to on my blog, twitter and other places are (irrespective of their trades) formidably experienced End Users. These people rarely understand the level of their own skills, they have no idea that their knowledge is more than enough to move into the IT world and this is a dire shame.

Education

We need to look at the long term and this immediately takes us to the format of Secondary Education in the UK.

There are some things even when I was at school I never understood.
Why did I have to learn French for 3 years?
I did Woodwork; I made tables, lamps and even a flintlock pistol.
So why could I not hang a door when I spent years doing this subject? A stud wall maybe, or put up some shelves? Or what about wire a plug?
No, years were wasted when I, like the rest of us could have been taught something effective and useful on the back of core subjects. These could have been used the moment I left school – but more over, they would have given us insights into different trades.

I was lead to believe that you’re secondary education was a two edged sword,
1. To prepare you for the basics of a working life and/or vocational college.
2. To guide you towards Universities and higher education for more formal professional trades.
Yet it is my generation and the generations either side of my own that have dragged the technology to where we are today. Just think what could have been achieved if we had been given industry training, sadly though the science and technology didn’t actually exist back then.
Of course the emphasis of all this has changed in present times with the general push towards greater levels of academia.

But what about that 3 years of French?
What if that had been swapped out for a MCSE, CCNA or CCNP qualification? What if, we had compulsory subjects like the A+ (the most underrated IT qualification of all – yet most vital and one of harder ones).
So when students get to the point of choosing their final subjects – they would already be qualified IT networking people. They would already know how much of it they enjoyed and they’ll know that there could be a real future in learning more.

The present system is not only wrong, but ill thought out and actually shameful. It tells a possible future employer nothing, a GCSE is not a tangible thing, and it does not show that the person truly had to understand anything in a real world sense. But an industry rated qualification does. It tells them that the pupil must have attained a good understanding of the subject matter and had real hands on skill if they covered the A+ or data cabling subjects.

Further to this – we will have raised the overall standard of IT engineers by simply and drastically lowering the age of when they qualify, because this isn’t rocket science, it’s knowledge of our present technology. It also gives a working knowledge and starting point to the basics of how technologies will operate in our lives in the future. But mainly – it offers a conceivable choice when it comes around to selecting subjects towards exams.

Without the previously mentioned Industry Bible – what chance has any school student got of even conceiving what is available to them or the base skills they require?

But here’s the kicker…
Women are generally better at IT than their male counterparts!
That’s right, and for the most part it’s true, why? Well it is historically known that women are far better at multi-tasking than men!

Also it’s known that when women are educated separately from men, they learn faster, better and more effectively and that while controversial this could be worth looking at within the realms of this kind of course.

Future & Commercial

In today’s hard nosed business and commercial IT world, companies strive to get the best they can for their money.
While I believe there should be a guide to how much any job is worth in remuneration (irrespective of location), at the end of the day – the best people get the better jobs…
So really, does it matter what sex they are as long as you have the right person?
Well, yes and no. If we want a better and more level playing field then it does matter, if it’s for getting a person to do a short term contract – then little care.
 
We are in the midst of a technology revolution the like of which we haven’t seen since the birth of the internet, yet people seem to be totally oblivious and most certainly misinformed about who did what and when.
Certainly five years ago while I was working on the initial development of 4G, our main concerns were the end-user products, or lack of them.
At a meeting with the major electronic goods manufacturers regarding future end user technology, no one was ready for the technology we put before them.
That meeting was the herald for the requirement of new so called ‘Smart Phone’ products and technologies.
The meeting was the start of future and planning of this revolution.
But right there and then – they didn’t know where to start, they had no idea of what trades within their fields they would need to nurture etc.

This industry never gets old and neither do the people who work in it. It IS a field you can walk away from and return to years later and while many will argue this (wrongly), they forget what it is that drives the engineers, the software crunchers and everyone else…. The Passion of innovation, the new ground and the ability that the one stupid careless thought you had in the shower this morning could be the difference of millions of pounds or simply changing the entire course of our industry  – or simply to solve the most challenging of puzzles.

Requirement of a New Path

We MUST change certain aspects of our education system to coerce the younger generations towards a serious and rewarding career and as a nation, a more effective future.

We also need to ‘Sell’ these skills and roles to them… kids are not stupid, they can take responsibility and make decisions.

We must get to grips with the social aspects and portrayal of the industry and people via our entertainment industries and media.

We have to produce effective and informed guides to EVERY aspect of IT and the thousands of different roles within.

Women should be encouraged from a young age in their technical abilities and we must discard previous stereo-types that are so common today.

Encourage of an environment of mavericks and renegades. These are the people who will change the world with the right know-how.

Today’s IT companies and the industry as a whole must understand that each sector, no matter how financially effective, is only a very small part in a far, far greater picture.

In conclusion:

Can we change the ratio of male to female IT workers? I believe we can, and we can do so effectively. But it is about encouraging and involving both sexes equally.

Personally I’m prepared to work on this, I believe whole heartedly in what I have written here.

There is no overnight fix, but we can go a very long way to fix a whole host of issues very simply.

We must evangelise the industry and keep raising both the bar and the packages that entice.
I say this because while I will never knock personal wealth and success, there comes a time when you see the billionaire industry leaders and ask, why not earn  just a little less and pay your people a whole lot more, make them just want to get up in a morning and run to work.

My conclusion is that the social and media based stereotype is for the most part the cause of the decline in women choosing IT as a career path. But I believe that we have serious issues affecting every aspect of the road to working in IT that must be addressed irrespective of the sex of the individual. However, one issue I have not mentioned here is ‘Human Factors’. But I do believe that this is an industry you can leave to bring up a family, but moreover – return to later.

Published in: on 13 September, 2015 at 20:09  Leave a Comment  
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