Friday, September 26, 2014

Busk Off

I don’t think I frequent the high street as much as I used to. Many high streets are struggling. Those opinions are not really related. Nevertheless:

• You don’t allow traders to set up stalls in the middle of a prime location (like a pedestrianized high street) without significant rent, so why buskers who are far more intrusive

• You don’t allow the music from top shop or record shop to spill so far out of the store that it can be heard at the other end of the street, so again why can street musicians do it

• You choose to select the music that you play on your device, you individually choose the song or album or even if you use it for radio then you choose the radio station – you do not have a radio station imposed upon you

• You choose the times when you want to listen to music and the times when you want to go to the shops and the two do not necessarily have to align

• Just because some people like a particular band does not mean that they have a right to make everyone else listen to that particular band

The local council may do nothing about this, and I may avoid the high street because of this, we'll see.


Moved onto a new mobile phone contract. It is with one of the big 4 network providers but it is ridiculously cheap. How? Although the contract remains directly with one of the big four network providers, the sale was effectively through a broker and customers are expected to claim cashback Yet there are only two ways the broker can make money from this.

1. They expect people to misplace or forget the payback periods, to not bother with the deliberately archaic methods they insist upon for reclaiming.

2. The more cunning method. They sell policies, collect full subsidy up front from the network provider, then conveniently go insolvent before the cashbacks are due.

I can handle the first. This post is basically a reminder. But I vaguely expect the second.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Getting High

Being high up. Mad. Paying good money to go up to the top of the Shard or any other tall building is mad. You can get basically the same view from thousands of office windows. And that view is usually rubbish. You are so high up that you see very little.

Personally I think I get a much better view from my own kitchen window. You can see the details of the trees and features. You can sometimes see little animals.

The only reason that so many people think the view from the tall towers is great is because they have allowed so many other tall towers. Basically they block off light forcing new ones to be even higher.

Yes it is all about us vs them. If all other buildings around you were two storeys high, you would get a much better view and a much better life from a four storey block than you would from a twenty storey block in the midst of other twenty storey blocks.

The density argument is rubbish too. Central Kensington is one of the most densely populated areas in Britain and central Amsterdam is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe – both have strict planning laws restricting height, yet they have some of the most desirable housing in the world.

Most families want a house with a garden. Surveys prove that. But developers make more money from massive apartment blocks and try to convince you that the view is great.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

And five from fiction

1. 1984 - George Orwell
2. The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts - Louis de Berniere
3. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
4. The collected short stories of Isaac Asimov
5. obviously, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Five Books

1. The Language Instinct - Steven Pinker
2. The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins
3. A Mouthful of Air - Anthony Burgess
4. Spell It Out - David Crystal
5. Common Sense - Tom Paine
As for fiction, five to follow later