Daily Archives: Saturday, 27th Aug 2005

A minor adjustment

Well, I sort of forgot to weigh myself this morning, but a late afternoon figure was 200.8 pounds (14 stone 4.8 pounds, 91.1kg). I took another night off the exercise thingy, which means I’ll have to force myself to start again tomorrow.

I’ve gone digital

After years of avoiding downloading, I’ve finally joined up with Napster. I signed up for a free trial, decided I liked what I saw (and heard :cool: :smile: , so decided to jump in with both feet. I’ve ordered a new MP3 player[1] that will work with the Napster to Go service, and I’ve already downloaded some albums.

The Napster deal is an interesting one for someone like me who likes to listen to a lot of new music. For a monthly fee, I can download and listen to as much music as I like. I can play that on up to three PCs, and as I’ve gone for the “to go” option, on the new MP3 player when it arrives. I can only continue to play the tracks while I maintain my subscription, and I can’t share them or burn them to CD. If I do want to keep tracks, I can buy them at usual download rates. In practice, I’d be more likely to buy the CDs from play.com or another such supplier, as the difference in price between a download album and an actual CD is minimal.

But what this means is that I can now listen to whole albums without actually buying them. This is really nice – I can read a review in the NME or Q, then give the music a listen, before spending money on a CD that I might only listen to a couple of times. Woo and indeed hoo. The other side of that is that if I sample more music, I’ll probably end up buying more of it!

And another Good Thing is that some tracks are available weeks before the CD singles are in the shops. I’ve got the new Franz Ferdinand[2] single on my PC, which is great. :grin:

[1] Review to follow when I get it
[2] Did I mention I’m going to see them in November? :bouncy:

Kirsty MacColl – From Croydon to Cuba…An Anthology

I was reminded to seek out this collection when a friend mentioned buying the recent “Best of” CD. Now as I already have one Kirsty compilation and most of the original CDs, I don’t really need another compilation, but this is different. Three CDs, 65 tracks. This includes all the singles, lots of B-sides, previously unreleased tracks, demos, and all the usual things you’d expect on a good set of this kind.

For anyone not familiar, with her work, Kirsty MacColl‘s musical career started with They Don’t Know back in 1979 and proceeded through a dazzling variety of styles until her untimely death in December 2000.

If you don’t know any other songs, you may be aware of Fairytale of New York, a collaboration with the Pogues, which features Kirsty and Shane MacGowan trading insults in what is still the best Christmas record ever. But there’s more, much more. From the rockabilly styled There’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis through later collaborations with Johnny Marr of the Smiths[1], to the latin rhythms of her last work, Kirsty was always worth listening to.

She never really achieved the levels of commercial success that I always thought she deserved. But she was the kind of artist who made the music she wanted to, and that’s what matters[2].

As with any collection of this kind, not all the tracks are ones you’ll want to listen to repeatedly, but there is a lot to listen to, and some otherwise unavailable songs, including tracks from an abandoned early album. It’s also much better value than the “Best of” set – I paid £14.99 in a local shop, J G Windows[3]. If you have any interest in Kirsty’s work, it’s worth shopping around for From Croydon to Cuba

[1] Including a superior cover of You just haven’t earned it yet, baby
[2] To me, anyway
[3] Who have a definitively bad website