Apparently the internet is altering our minds. Well I hope so, I mean if we are going to evolve Continue reading The Internet is altering our minds
One of the handy things about being a Cyber Gypsy is that I get a chance to watch whatever world cup game I wish. This can be distracting if I’m trying to work at the same time and beer can be very distracting. For days. Caution recommended. Continue reading The World Cup
I didn’t realise quite how much the French were into the founding spirit of rugby until I met Eric. He told joke after bawdy joke, in English,Â as we sat eating Basque food in Biarritz with a couple of mutual friends. He then started relating back bits of monty python movies. It seems that to be a true rugby playing connoisseur in France you have to suck in a little bit of English university lads culture too and It it was very different to my memories of a France where people wouldn’t talk to you if you were from North of the Isle of Wight. Vive la France and Brian…Brian…go to your room…
I actually spent a little more than 2p getting flying to Toulouse (my last two flights cost me 2p and 4p to Newquay and Ireland) but it wasn’t a fortune. I was met at the Airport be a very talented photographer friend of mine called Rodolph who was nice enough to put me up. We teamed up with a girl he knows called Biata and hi tailed it (well, after some fine food and wine at the local restaurant) to Biarritz to watch a surfing competition.
Now I don’t know about you but I have always had trouble watching things like surfing. We have turned into a race of voyeurs who are happy enough to toast like ros bif on the beach to look a little more appealing for the plastic surgeon, but oh not me. I’m a man of action so in I went to the freezing Atlantic to dunk myself. It woke me up, cleared the remains of last nights beer from my system and reminded me why I haven’t done that since I returned from a three year stint in South East Asia ten years ago. It needed doing.
We decamped to the local restaurants that night and ate the fine Basque fare…cheeses you could frighten children with and lots of sea food, but the cider had to be the star turn. The locals swear by it but I did cheekily try to explain the merits of Strongbow…a bit like extolling the joys of a ginsters pasty in Cornwall, you’d expect an escort to the county line by a bunch or purse lipped lynch mobsters but no, I think they are going to come and try it.
I left my laptop in Toulouse as I didn’t plan on doing any work, but at one point, whilst back on the beach, I was sent a text by a customer saying they had no mail server. I had to sort it out so I went to the little surf village (it was the french leg of the world longboard tour so pretty well equipped) and voila, six laptops and wifi for the general public generously supplied by Orange mobile phones. So, from a beach in Northern France I managed to reboot a server in California that powers a website for a company in London, I may be getting nerdy but I love that stuff.
So, from the windy roads that are fit for Commander Bond, to the harbour of Arcachon where we managed to find an Irish pub on the way to stay at our friends place. Nowhere else was open and in this place we managed to catch them at last orders. ‘Non’ they said to our requests for ale. ‘But our guest is Irish and HAS to drink’ said Biata (our lovely sex starved Polish hostess). ‘Well of course we have to give him beer in that case’ was the reply so we feasted on yet more of the black stuff. My family is Irish but as for me I’m from London, but it’s good to pull out the family roots when needs are great.
Well the budget airlines are starting to come under scrutiny as the braying herd start to blame them for the worlds woes. This is one such case where an argument about the erosion of Machu Picchu turns into a discussion about taking long haul flights. We need to change a little more about the way we live than not taking too many flights..and perhaps go back in time to a pre industrial revolution because the third world is taking it’s turn at the sooty helm and they don’t care about middle class braying cos they have had enough of being poor.
One interesting fact is that even if the UK DID go pre industrial revolution the expanding Chinese would pick up the shortfall in merely a few years.
Meanwhile back at the ranch I took another flight costing less than 10p to the west of ireland and a buddies birthday bash. We had a lovely time surrounded by the best of traditional Irish music, where you feel included rather than a voyeur, where the party is everyone. I’ll pop a video up as soon as it uploads to youTube.
We also went to the flying boat museum at Foynes. The Irish coffee was invented here to keep pilots warm after chilly cross Atlantic flights, now what would the braying masses say about that, pilots getting wankered on whiskey to keep the chills off of them.
Ryanair occasionally have deals where they pay all taxes on 1 penny deals around Europe, so whenever they do this I snaffle up a few cheap deals. You have to be quick to get some of the more popular routes, but using this flight checker makes things a little simpler.
So I got my arse out of bed at 4am and drove up to Stanstead. At that time in the morning the trains weren’t running so I took the car and stuck it in medium term parking. To do this make sure that you get back within 24 hours or they’ll sting you for the extra days. Now one of the reasons I take journey’s like this is because I love flying, not because I have any special affinity with plane spotters but because it has to be one of the best things you can do for less than a quid. I mean they take you up to five miles, you get to hang out and drink coffee then you come back again with a landing to rival anything at Thorpe park. There is that whole romantic ‘age of travel’ stuff too, but I’d find it hard to justify a linen suit on the am journey to Newquay so I’ll leave it at that. It’s A LOT of fun.
But this time the plane doesn’t want to land at Newquay. We get to within 50 metres of the runway and the pilot decides he can’t see anything due to the thick dense fog rolling in from the Atlantic. This is true and it’s good that in this age of hi tech gadgetry he finds this out by giving it a go and sticking his foot on the throttle as the plane is about to dump itself on the runway. So we turn back and land on the teeny weeny runway at Bournmouth where we land with a thump because apparently the pilots prefer to do this than overshoot (I was told this by some bloke sitting next to me so don’t take his word for it). We got a bus to Newquay, we were dropped off at the airport where I made my way to the cliffs for some windswept hiking. You can see me being windswept here.
The plane managed to land for the journey back in the evening, making the only disappointment of my day out being the fact that it was virtually impossible to get a good Cornish pasty in Newquay…next stop Ireland.
Well it’s good to be busy, but it doesn’t leave much time for boarding planes to sunny climbs. I even let my dive instructor qualification lapse this year which means I must be well dug in..but on the positive side we here at OpenG Active Media have been producing some lovely websites for people to get busy with.
The latest little number is The Movieum which I must admit is turning into more of a full time job, there is just so much going on in that grand old building by The Thames. I get to hang out with people like Bob Keene, indulge my movie making passions and get my hands on hi def cameras and it seems like a while since I swung a camera on the plymouth to Banjul challenge.
I am making good use of ryanairs cheap flights in April however. I booked two tickets return to Shannon for 4 pence, am flying to Touolouse for ten days and even booked up a day return to Newquay for the grand old price of tuppence. If anyone is thinking about my carbon footprint stop it right there.
For summer I want to get a Winnebago and a laptop data card, it’s time to take this gypsy on the road again.
It seemed, not so long ago, that if you designed a website of more than 3kb one image and a contact form, you would be whipped by spec wearing nerds for being a web disgrace.
More than 6 years ago I was messing about with shockwave 3d sites, but at that time it would have taken a week to download the required bulk onto anybodies machines. I gave up and wheeled out the CSS like the rest of them.
Not so any more. Be brave seems to be the trend as peoples bandwidth expands like a chip fed navvy.
Let’s take a look at weird and wonderful. They are in the business of spectaculars and what better than a spectacular collection of websites to show this off. You can spin your way around their facilities using flash based 360 images, get a feel for the wonderful titbits on offer and all with a helping of 3d to finish off.
Not that they have been foolish with precious kb’s. Flash files are broken down into smaller parts as each is loaded separately as HTML would and all files have been cleverly optimised.
Let’s forget the days where we pulled in our belts and whipped ourselves for having a little fun.
Live it up again ;0)
Btw, we built the site…ahem..nothing wrong with a shameless plug now is there…
I just went to visit that rejuvenated railway station that sounds like some holy monument to the stomach, St Pancras.
I must say that it’s a nice station!
I notice that there are a few London landmarks on facebook. London bridge being one, St Pancreas (with an image of a bowel to go with the added ‘e’ just to prove my poor spelling was on purpose) another.
St Pancras is spelled without the e. Poor thing.
I managed to squeeze myself into the back of a bar where I was the only English supporter, and shouted my fuzzy head off for the entire match. So much so that I am sure it gave the boys in white some much needed support.
There are some places to be on the planet at certain times..the Olympics, the birth of your child etc, This was one of them, and a certain example of the necessity of a gypsy lifestyle.
What a game. What an atmosphere.
I was out last night in St-Germain-Des-Pres where the good cheer and singing was refreshing. Well the singing was anything but refreshing but it was all in the best possible intention and this isn’t a welsh rugby match after all.
We are a confused bunch I must say. The English tending to sing Irish rebel songs in French bars to cry god for Harry, England and St George. Huzzah!
I haven’t got a ticket for tonight’s match. To start with a tried with little success…but after I saw that it will be more fun in the Paris streets or in a local bar I decided not to bother and spend the Â£500 on something more useful than a ticket. The Eiffel Tower has been decorated for the event with some huge video screens erected for the match to be watched on. That’s where we will go.
For the French this is a big match. The president has pinned his colours to the mast of rugby and he wants a mandate for change in a country that is experiencing economic changes on the scale of the UK in the eighties. There are also a lot of people who point out to the right wingers here that it is black and white people playing nicely together that wins for the good of France. A sporting win on this scale makes a difference, it is like ancient Rome in a modern setting.
A good game will make everyone winners, no matter who loses.
First, my fellow gypsies, we have to learn how to get some tools on the fly.
Now I am not going to espouse the theft of software in any way, but each to his own. I tend to think that if you try something out and you like it buy it, so it’s up to you if the trying comes before the buying, or you opt to put your hand in your pocket up front.
A great tool for searching for any kind of resource is called a bit torrent. I won’t go into it here, but let’s say if you get a tool called Azureus, you can open tiny little files that you find by going here www.torrents.to, and then you can download whatever saucy bit of software you care to mention. Just do it, you’ll get the idea.
Be careful what you download, so try a free anti virus like AVG from here and check what you get.
If you want to get a website up these days you will need some hosting to start.
Now If you are serious about getting going on the web I’d opt for some serious server space. When you get a little up the ladder you might need to do all sorts of things that require you to have control of the nuts and bolts of your server. It is also good that you you can add domains as and when you please because you will get some whacky ideas. I find that I get more than 10 ideas out there before one of them starts working, and hundreds before I get one that actually pays the bills.
It is too costly to get your own server in the beginning, so try a dedicated virtual server...it is the budget way to get a professional start, and you can trade up when you need to.
Get yourself your first domain and learn how to point it towards your web space name servers. You only need to change a few bits of info to do this. It’s simple. READ THE MANUAL if you don’t know how.
It is getting too easy to do so many things on the web so that people are expecting it all to just happen, you need to learn how to get info from either the help files or from Google. If you can’t do that then backtrack and get the hang of LEARNING.
You will also have to set up a new space on your server. Again it is a simply a process. On my web space I go first to my account and tell it I want it to add another domain, then I have to go to my actual hosting and set up some space. First time it took me half an hour, now it takes a minute.
So. You have web space and a domain name pointing to it.
What you need now is a website to suit your purposes.
More important than any idea you have is learning how to make sure that your website is above all other websites in Googles search pages for the search terms applicable to you.
A great e book to read about optimising websites so that Google takes notices is by Aaron wall, but you can find out yourselves by hanging out on forums and by asking questions. In this field you will be up against people who have been doing it for a long while, so to get to the top of the search engines you will need to immerse yourselves in the language of the web.
I am experimenting with getting to the top with the search term ‘Ethical SEO‘, so if anyone likes this article and wants show appreciation by linking to me using THAT EXACT PHRASE, I’d be most grateful. And that’s how you do it.
What you will learn is that it is best to have a well built website that has certain parameters fulfilled, some easy (construction) some difficult (getting other people to link to you with relevant anchor text).
Luckily these days you can get great website templates that fulfil the criteria for next to nothing.
You will need something like Adobe Dreamweaver to edit these. You will learn the basics of using this program by editing your template. Learn to so this because asking other people for help every time you have a great idea will get to be more of a pain the arse as you get more ideas.
If you need to do anything more complex than simply present information, then you will most probably need something like a Joomla store. They are simple to set up on your hosting, so do not get put off by scary things like creating a database, that’s just a matter of pressing a button.
At this point there are a lot of different solutions around, so take a look. If you pride yourself on your fly nature then get the hang of hpw to use a couple of them, it’ll pay off. A free Joomla CMS can act as anything from a blog to an e-commerce store all for nothing but your time.
If it is a blog you want then WordPress has to be yer man. They are gorgeous bits of kit that can act as websites if you so need. It is best to get the version you host yourself by downloading the software from www.wordpress.org – you can get a hosted version but Google likes it when you make an effort and again, it gives you options.
WordPress has PlugIns that can make page titles Search engine friendly, and last thing I heard there was even an e-commerce plug-in. But I digress..
To monitor your website and how it is doing try the miriad of free SEO tools out there. Digitalpoint.com has a few, and there are some good SEO plugins for firefox. Search for ‘SEO’ when you go to the firefox add ons page.
Now all you need is an idea.
Then figure out what combination of tools best serves your idea.
For most ideas there is nothing better than a well built website using HTML and CSS where every page is optimised (great tool for checking text at www.ranks.nl).
I can almost guarantee you that you will mess up for a while, have your nose stuck to your computer screen waiting for Google to massage your ego and wonder why nobody is taking notice.
Whatever idea you have will be successful in a direct correlation to the effort you put in. Sadly for some this will put them off, the others take stock here and get stronger.
If you plug at it, don’t get disheartened when one idea doesn’t come to fruition and just get another started up, you will succeed, usually in a way that you wouldn’t expect.
The important thing is that you keep moving, that you carry on learning.
If you have an idea to get rich quick then try selling your arse. The internet is as competitive as any other field, and requires you full attention to get you above the billion other people who want to make a fast buck.
But when you succeed you can sit wherever you want on this big blue shiny beach ball of a world of ours and make yourselves a living.
This bloke has a mobile office.
It’s not really the kind of thing I’m looking for.
This is more like my idea of a mobile office
(well, other then just a Sony Vaio and a beach bar with WiFi that is).
In 2004 I set up my first on-line store whilst on the 17th floor of a hotel in Chiang Mai, overlooking the night market, and the hills in the distance where nestles the monastery of Doi Suthep.
My internet connection was made by stripping a dial up connection lead, popping on a connector and plugging into the telephone socket. I then used a local prepaid card that gave me lots of low bandwidth connection time, enough to get my site up on-line.
Since then you can just use a 3G data card which costs 1,767 a month from here, that’s around 27 quid a month..although it seems you have to pay around Â£230 up front for that.
I was recently researching into European data cards and came upon a Spanish data card that you use through a 3G mobile, then just activate and pop up as you go. It works out to be very cheap in Spain, but as usual the price goes up to 5 Euro a MB outside of Spain.
All I want is a Data card that will allow me to cross borders and still do my work. And I want to pay around Â£20 to Â£30 a month for it, that’s not too much to ask is it ;0)
I can feel the winter rolling on to the London streets because it wakes up something that should be left sleeping. I feel too awake in fact, which doesn’t scare me half so much as it used to.
This is the time of year to be heading south with the beautiful birds, perhaps as a bit of a loping companion to them but all with the same goal in mind.
I however have to stay in London to babysit some important work that will sustain me through winter, so I am hoping to be a fluid gypsy by Christmas, or it’ll be a fluid Christmas for me in the cold clutch of blighty.
The good news is that I am doing ninety nine percent of my work on a laptop meaning that when I do pull in the anchor I will take my ability to pay the ferryman with me. And isn’t that what this is all about my fellow travellers?
On that note I have been looking at SIM cards that will work across Europe.
Apparently the way forward is to use a Spanish SIM card for internet access because it proves to be very cheap in Spain, plus not stupidly expensive like our UK versions whilst in other countries. I’ll tell you where to get hold od these SIMS when I get more information.
What a great idea, to build solar panels into a bag and power your goodies.
With a mobile data card and a sunload bag you can be a right proper cyber-vagrant. It is a pity as they seem to look a bit naff..I would have gone for the total industrial rubber look and not have tried hard to pretty a solar panel up. It’s the deck of a bloody yacht for gods sakes.
Wonder of they’ll send me a free one for saying these lovely things about them…
I posted this in the guardian in one of the blogs….
I remember a time when people KNEW it was immoral to make money off of the backs of other people, when we knew that making money off of the back of other peoples necessity was not good.
This seemed to change in the eighties. I lived in Reading at the time and remember landlords could charge ludicrous rents because the housing benefit would pay. I knew people who did deals with landlords splitting some of the profit. I talked to one chap who owned 100 houses whilst also working as a taxi driver. It was raining gold for him and he was going to milk the system for all it was worth. He didn’t have any empathy or sympathy for his tenants, why should he care about young white kids who seemed completely immoral. His houses were barely habitable, some of his tenants were barely ever sober. This was before the days of buy to let but he just bought houses in the names of every person he knew or had ever met. He didn’t come across as a bad man, he just prioritised those close to him.
Soon my friends were doing the same on a smaller scale, filling houses with friends to pay the mortgage, then another to pay for the pension. In the Thatcher years we all stopped being embarrassed to make money and when you don’t know who your neighbours are why not fleece the buggers.
Then came buy to let. I could not believe it when it happened. Already property prices were spiralling out of control.
This is wrong. The French know it and legislate to make it harder to gamble in property so what is it about us that means we lose our sense of right and wrong so easily. A free market can of course handle some legislation to guide morality, but those here who get a hard on thinking about bank balances might not agree.
Without sounding like too airy fairy, Karma happens right now. If you think you can be better off or safer by climbing onto the backs of the people around you then that’s your problem, sadly that can’t be sorted out in this blog, or probably ever.
I have a belief, probably born out of a friends hurried explanation of animism related to archaeology, that early humans took on attributes from things in their environments that were important to them. It seemed so obvious that a vulnerable human would want to be the strong Lion, the lofty eagle.
They valued these things so much that they worshipped them, giving rise to early religions and here we are, living in a harmonious world where we have evolved religion to reflect the glorious wealth of knowledge that the human race holds. Yeah right. I digress.
We did not only worship these things but took on the attributes they displayed. People became as courageous as Lions and as slippery as fishes, in fact a good part of our success has been to gather a tool kit of character traits and use them to our advantage.
The other day I was surfing the web, or was I. Actually I was sitting tapping away on a vaio in South London, but having the human ability to shape shift gives me the ability to make this a noble pursuit – if indeed that is what surfing conjured up to the Californian early adopters of the internet.
So, after ‘surfing’ my way on to facebook I was asked to give a present to someone. It was only after clicking on the aforesaid gift that I found that I was to be charged to give a tiny graphic of a monkey to the person of my choice. It wasn’t a monkey and I didn’t surf here to get the damned thing. I tapped on my vaio to have the chance to send someone a bunch of binary that looks like a graphic that looks like a representation of a monkey.
Which would make them happy apparently.
Having thought about it I guess I might be happy to get a binary monkey. I mean if facebook is (amongst other things) about reminding us that we have friends, then a binary monkey is a reminder that one of them thinks I am important enough to spend a few dollars on. I’d prefer an Aston Martin but heck, nobody got me one of those recently so I’ll stick with the binary monkey.
And what about the fish tanks! Someone offered me a fish tank yesterday. I spent three years teaching scuba diving in South Easy Asia so this seemed like a poor reminder of my underwater realm. I also baulked at ticking the box that said I must let the powers that be ‘Know who I am and access my information‘. I said no and was presented with a ‘Granting access to information is required to add applications. If you are not willing to grant access to your information, do not add this application.’.
No choice about that one then.
I had some conspiracy buff tell me the other day that facebook is financed by the CIA. Well I don’t mind particularly because I wasn’t thinking of buying it myself, but I won’t have anyone snooping into my fish tank useage.
I did however add the ‘places I have been’ application because of vanity. They can’t snoop on my fish tank but tracing my movements is OK. I do understand that I have paradoxes in my life.
It’s the birthday of an ex girlfriend on Sunday. She lives in Paris and I have no time to send her a present.
Now where is that monkey…
Summer has meant too much roving and not enough writing so I’ll get busy over the next few weeks. I know the power of scribbling be it on a web journal or on a scrap of paper. So be it.
I actually attempted a post from the Big Green Gathering, but it was soon evident that my database had become corrupted by my moving my hosting account so it was not to be. Shame, I was in a tent in the middle of a field tapping away whilst drinking a cappuccino, which to my mind is pretty much the pinnacle of human achievement.
I had an opportunity to talk to people at the Big Green about what they considered to be the role of roaming technology in the gypsy lifestyle. To be honest I don’t think many people have really thought about it, or if they had they weren’t really aware of the possibilities.
I can understand this when people were living lifestyles where horses are more important than technology, but if you are going to live an expansive life in the modern world perhaps taking a hold of new technology is one way of planting a flag for that lifestyle.
I had a great week anyhow. The Big Green lasts from Tuesday until Sunday to give people more of a feeling of living an alternative lifestyle and it was a blast. I met old friends and relaxed with my daughter until I thought I would hardly be able to move I had chilled out so much. The fact that I had volunteered to steward the event kicked me into action every now and then which was good.
My last post was almost four months ago when summer was just gearing up. I love this time of year and would challenge anyone to find a better place in the world to spend the summer. I have spent years in tropical countries and would happily decamp to them in winter, but summer here is the best on earth and I’ll come back every year for the gypsy life in old blighty.
The whole idea of hosted programs that you access through a web browser is not a new one, but with google spearheading the offering such large on-line storage, combined with the kind of bandwidth we can use to move large files around we have the tools for the job.
The interesting thing to our extraordinary Cyber Gypsy would be that it would eventually lead to any kind of mobile tool to be used merely as an access point, not as a storage facility for large amounts of info. If we can connect from anywhere, we can access our stored files from anywhere.
Adobe just announced that a cut down version of Photoshop will be created as an on-line tool. Soon will follow other Adobe tools, perhaps Dreamweaver next. These will be free, supposedly creating income from advertising. Netiquette changes quickly, so soon it may be that what we see now as expensive pieces of software will be free tools to get bums on seats. Maybe the operating system that Google is supposed to be secretively working on is actually just a complicated browser come windows vista combination, tools plugged in to work on-line and off-line at will. But that’s me just getting silly. All I know is that there is getting to be less and less reason to cart a laptop around.
Having recently been welcomed into the bosom of my long lost Irish relatives, both north and south of that most curious invisible fence, I feel I can comment on anything I want when it comes to things Irish. I’d also like to add that upon meeting the folks in the homeland, I have found out where that part of me that requires vocal freedom, comes from. Also that part of me that could quite happily swim in alcohol for the rest of my born days, oblivion warming me in milk soaked dreams of silk and velvet.
But I digress. I am just about to go out and watch the England Ireland game that is, due to the scrubbing up of Landsdowne road rugby football stadium, being hosted at Croke park, the home of Gaelic football.
Croke park is hosting a rugby match iagainst England, the old foe, for the first time in it’s history. There has been the most vocal disapproval that not only are the English going to walk on hallowed turf, but that god save the queen will be played in a place where Irish people were murdered by the black and tans in an act of pure spite.
Now not only is this the second time that god save the queen has been played (the first time was at the para Olympics where nobody seemed to mind), but Ireland is a country that has now outstripped the UK in it’s per capita earnings, and has in all other walks of life learned to forget the past. Isn’t it time therefore to go that extra mile, and teach those in the North who still harbour resentment that peace is for our time, and that we have other more pressing things to unite us, not divide us.
Right, I’m off down the pub ;0)
T Mobile seem to be green lighting the use of SKYPE on mobile data cards (since October actually, but I am just catching up), but I am still a little unclear about why they were against it in the first place, although the fact that people might be bypassing those expensive daytime mobile calls in favour of cheap skype calls might be a clue. All we need now is for the quality of those Skype calls to improve and away we go, just pop a computer in your pocket and roam.
There does seem to be a big difference in the amount of data these data cards call unlimited though. Vodafone seem to think 1 gig is unlimited data transfer (a few youtube video download sessions will gobble that up)Â for Â£45 per month, but t-mobile thinks 3 gigs per month on a Â£29 plan is excessive, and 10 gigs per month on the Â£44 plan (which allows the use of VOIP). Am I missing something here or is this a no brainer.
The whole idea of super portability allowing us all to be cyber gypsies is maturing at a rapid rate. Completely by chance today I stumbled upon the OQO portable computer today and was amazed (I was originally chasing around rumours I had heard of Skype using bizarre amounts of bandwidth on mobile data cards, a rumour that I suspect is encouraged by mobile suppliers, but more of that later).
The tough little cookie comes with the kind of performance of, well, the Vaio laptop I am using right now. The latest model even sports vista, and you can plug it into a docking station and twin monitors (not sure if one of the twins is it’s own monitor) upon returning to base.
The great thing about these is that when you go out you can simply pop your computer in your pocket, data, programs, skype, and utilise the built on mobile broadband connection wherever you happen to be to connect to the internet.
I suspect that they are making their money out of embedding the mobile connection to a few preferred suppliers, so it will be interesting to see what the costs are.
I’ll leave you with the promo video.
I spent last week in Ireland trotting about like a wild haired leprechaun amongst the flame haired dunes of Portstewart and the old walled city of Derry, witnessing the stark contrasts that make this place a puzzle for a while yet.
A few old friends of mine, Conor and Emma, live in a lovely house overlooking Portstewart harbour. I flew easy jet for the price of a sandwich, caught the charming little train up from Antrim to the coast and was warmly received. They have a broadband internet connection, so I could keep up with bits and pieces of work if I felt so inclined.
We had a gorgeous long weekend. Boozing on Thursday turned into an elegant recovery on Friday, eating lovely meals by a bay window overlooking the glorious bay with Donegal hazy in the distance. Conor, and I had some work to do, but quickly got that out of the way and went walking, with Emma, in the dunes of the local surfing beach. The grass topped dunes are lovely, and contrast nicely with the dunes of the Sahara, where I recently spent new year.
I took a trip into Derry on Monday. I had a toss up between the giants causeway and the city, I chose to take the train journey along the rocky coast to Derry. The train journey is amazing as it skirts the sea after Castle Rock and clings to the cliffs like a heroine shuffling across a ledge.
Derry is a city of incredible contrasts, but I’ll not dwell on the troubles because it’s about time people talked about something else. It is one of the oldest walled cities still intact in Europe, and the wall is in incredible condition. You can walk the entirety of it around the old city, with walls over The bogside, fountainside over to the rolling hills bordering the republic. It is so different for me to see a city where you can view rolling hills from almost anywhere within it, which melts the soul when it is hardened by concrete.
The last thing I did in the North was to track down some long lost relatives, who proceeded to try to kill me by getting me to ingest large amounts of potato derived products like the famed Ulster fry. I survived the test, and now have a lot more family than I had the week before. I managed to find them even though the only bit of info I had to go on was the fact that my great grandfather owned a pub, was an Oâ€™Hara and got an MBE cos obviously he was well cool. I got a tour of the town, even the cemetery and the dead relatives, who didnâ€™t offer any potato derived products at all, but will probably send signs pointing toward where potatoâ€™s hang out at some point.
It all went too quickly, so I’ll be going back soon to drink a Guinness with my new found family, and when it’s warmer surf in those Irish seas.
I have been a bad boy by shacking up on another continent for a few months. I travelled from England to Banjul in Africa, filming a bunch of lunatics drive ramshackle cars (including a hearse, ex GDR trabant, a cadillac and a stretch limo).
I pointed a camera out of the front windscreen and took a picture every 7 minutes (on auto in case you were wondering). Here are the pictures all stuck together, giving you the Plymouth to Banjul challenge in three minutes.
I made this with my old mate Toby.
I Just downloaded a plugin for firefox that allows me to post blogs directly from the browser window. Now, you may be thinking that that’s exactly what you do, but it’s handy to be able to login with one click and post when you are inspired, or drag stuff from the window you were browsing in to the blogging window.
As for WiFi in my glorious city of London I am still amazed at how backward we are. I am hoping that by next summer I’ll be able to work from wherever I want, whether it be the grass outside St Pauls, a cafe or my back garden.
Ok, He’s a genius.
I loved this song he made with Cocker man the pop singer (said in a Vic Reeves style of course) cunts are still ruling the world.
I have been slack on the gypsy front for the last few weeks and I apologise. In fact I have been busy with all sorts of other malarkey, including the preparation for the Plymouth the Dakar rally with the boys at Rally ACE.
What brought me back to this cathartic little device (after all, no matter how many viewers one has it is a conversation with oneself), is my falling upon the wonderful musings of Tim Ireland.
Tim has made a few politically oriented blogs that have really caught the imagination of the public, but as soon as I came across them ‘SEO’ cried out. For one there is the quite blatant link to ‘Search Engine Optimisation‘ at the top of the front page of Bloggerheads as well as well placed references to ‘Boobs’, and anything that might capture the attention of masses of search engine traffic.
It is a self publicising anti government rant that rattles its saber, but seems to be about the promotion of Mr. Tim above any high ideal.
OR is Tim just living in the real world. Do we have to combine a savvy street wise knowledge of the markets maintaining our innocent desire to do good.
Is he using his marketing powers like one of the X men? ‘Marketing Man uses eloquence to destroy evil’.
It makes me wonder about the power of Blogging when to get noticed now you have to ride on the back of the spectacularly stupid, ridiculous or any old bandwagon to get noticed. If Tim is managing a balancing act between the absurd and his integrity then perhaps I have learned something today.
Right! Iâ€™m in the market for a bandwagon.
In fact I am going to get hold of Tim Ireland and ask him for one. He seems to be good at them, so I am starting a get me on the bandwagon campaign.
Tits. And arse.
I have just installed a great plugin that translates this blog into a multitude of languages.
I don’t know what I’ll do if people start chatting away on the blog in Chinese, but all are welcome. It’s not too busy right now so I won’t be worrying yet ;0)