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Stepreo http://stepreo.co.uk Wed, 02 Jan 2013 13:03:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 This blog has moved http://stepreo.co.uk/2013/01/this-blog-has-moved/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2013/01/this-blog-has-moved/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2013 12:36:14 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=839 I have moved my blog over to DuncanStephen.co.uk.

Apologies for the confusion, and for moving my blog just a year after the last time I moved it. I promise this will be the last time I move.

Find out why I have decided to make the change.

I hope to see you there.

Visit Duncan Stephen.

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The very best of Hermann Tilke http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/11/the-very-best-of-hermann-tilke/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/11/the-very-best-of-hermann-tilke/#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2012 12:30:07 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=830 The very best of Hermann Tilke

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We only had about four cock-ups http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/we-only-had-about-four-cock-ups/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/we-only-had-about-four-cock-ups/#comments Fri, 25 May 2012 10:55:51 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=827 Here is the final Eurovision Song Contest clip of the week. This one relates to a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a disastrous One O’clock News, because this also features the talkback from the director.

Stewart Morris seems to be having a bit of a bad day at the office during the live broadcast of the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest.

There is more about the 1977 broadcast, along with a few other Eurovision Song Contests, in this clip below.

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Divine http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/divine/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/divine/#comments Wed, 23 May 2012 10:08:57 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=815 It’s time for another Eurovision Song Contest video. This time, it’s my favourite entry ever. It’s France’s entry from 2008, Divine by Sébastien Tellier.

This was a controversial entry because, in the eyes of some people in France, the song had far too much English in it! So the song had to be partially rewritten to incorporate some French.

Still, it was an interesting and unexpected move for France to enter a song that is mostly in English. It’s a great song too. I liked it so much, I bought the album, Sexuality, which is also fantastic.

But I have to admit to being most struck by the wonderfully bonkers performance. Why are the backing singers all wearing fake beards (is it a nod to Aphex Twin?)? Why does he enter the stage on a golf cart? Why are all the cameras static for the first two and a half minutes? Why does he take a big gulp of helium halfway through?

These are all questions to which, four years on, I still have no answers for. And I don’t want to know the answers. That would spoil the magic.

Sadly, this brilliant song came only 19th out of the 25 finalists in 2008. France has reverted to entering bland songs sung in French ever since.

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8-bit Radiohead http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/8-bit-radiohead/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/8-bit-radiohead/#comments Tue, 22 May 2012 10:40:58 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=810 Have you heard that brilliant 8-bit / chiptune / computer game cover version of Kid A yet? If not, feast your ears:

Radiohead’s Kid A is probably my favourite album. This fresh interpretation breathes new life into the music I have loved so much for over 10 years.

This 8-bit version strips the music right back to the basics. It’s like the audio equivalent of rebuilding an architectural wonder out of Lego.

Among some, Kid A has a reputation — wrongly — for being difficult and noisy. But the 8-bit version shows that, when you boil it down, Kid A is so great because of the brilliant and inventive melodies, not just studio trickery.

Full marks to Quinton Sung, who created this. He has also created an 8-bit version of OK Computer and some other Radiohead tracks. I can’t wait to listen to them too.

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Euro-vision http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/euro-vision/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/euro-vision/#comments Mon, 21 May 2012 19:38:19 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=807 It is the Eurovision Song Contest this week. I have to admit to quite enjoying the Eurovision Song Contest.

It is a good excuse to post this brilliant Belgian effort from 1980 — Euro-vision by Telex.

Telex said they had hoped to finish last. But they were thwarted by Greece, Portugal and the UK, whose juries all awarded the song points. Portugal even gave them 10 points! So Belgium came 17th out of 19 songs.

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Dumbarton FC on TV http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/dumbarton-fc-on-tv/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/dumbarton-fc-on-tv/#comments Wed, 16 May 2012 19:26:16 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=804 I don’t watch a great deal of football. That is partly because I find it a dull game. But I also attribute it to the fact that my father brought me up to support Dumbarton FC. Not only are they pretty dismal to watch, but their football ground is over an hour’s drive away from where we lived in Kirkcaldy. There were plenty of away matches near us, all in shiteholes.

I have long since stopped following Dumbarton in any meaningful sense. But tonight is unusual because I can sit and watch them from the comfort of my home. For the first time, a Dumbarton match is being televised live as the SFL First Division play-off is on BBC Alba.

Watching football on BBC Alba is a bizarre experience. It is quite transparently there only for the ratings. While the majority of the presentation is in Gaelic, there is just enough English to stop you from going crazy.

Anyway, tonight I am supporting Dumbarton, even if it’s just to make the most of the fact that I can do so without freezing my nuts off in a freezing cold stand.

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Omnichord http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/omnichord/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/omnichord/#comments Mon, 07 May 2012 21:39:20 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=798 Omnichord

Last week I finally got my hands on something I’ve wanted for a while — an Omnichord. It is a kitsch electronic music instrument produced by Suzuki in the 1980s. It makes a very charming sound and is addictive to play.

The key feature that makes the Omnichord stand out from other instruments is the sonic strings. This is essentially a plate that you run your fingers over to imitate strumming. You select a chord you would like to play (there are 84 to choose from), and strum away.

It is amazingly easy to play. I haven’t played a musical instrument seriously for a very long time, but just mucking around on the Omnichord has been very satisfying already.

I first heard of the Omnichord when I was a fan of the indie group The High Fidelity back in about 2000. They released an entire album inspired by the Omnichord.

Since then, I have noticed the Omnichord cropping up in the music of many of my favourite artists.

The otherworldly sound of the Omnichord intrigued me, as did the passion that so many people have for the instrument. Ever since, I have toyed with the idea of getting my hands on one of these cult objects. Last week I bit the bullet at last.

It is an eBay job — these Omnichords were discontinued in the 1980s. I think I got lucky. I got my hands on this one for £120. I had already lost an auction a couple of months ago. On that occasion it went for well over £200.

Apart from a couple of sticky buttons, this Omnichord — which is older than I am — is in remarkably good condition. It feels robust, so with a bit of luck this will have quite a long life, despite it being quite old already.

I am super chuffed with this purchase. Here is an audio clip of me mucking about with the Omnichord.


Hopefully I can progress beyond just mucking about with it, and maybe start getting into playing music properly again. I’m even starting to wonder about getting the Qchord, which is the successor to the Omnichord.

Here is a video of Sean Dickson from the High Fidelity performing Teenage Kicks on a Qchord.

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We haven’t got any stories Mike! http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/we-havent-got-any-stories-mike/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/05/we-havent-got-any-stories-mike/#comments Fri, 04 May 2012 16:55:14 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=793 I was reminded of this amazing video of a disastrous edition of the One O’clock News from Christmas 1986. The video contains talkback, so you can hear the director and other activity in the gallery. It’s fascinating and stressful to watch!

It seems to begin well enough, but the first alarm bell is raised during the title sequence when we learn that “the lead story won’t make it”. Then things go from bad to worse.

The director comes close to losing his cool at around minutes 4 and 5, but he soon recovers. Everyone seems to do a good job given the circumstances, apart from Mike seemingly!

It was a baptism of fire for Philip Hayton too. Apparently it was his first time reading the BBC One O’clock News.

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Has Bernie sought Force India revenge? http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/04/has-bernie-sought-force-india-revenge/ http://stepreo.co.uk/2012/04/has-bernie-sought-force-india-revenge/#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2012 14:07:51 +0000 http://stepreo.co.uk/?p=746 Paul di Resta 2012 Malaysia FP2

Twitter was alight with speculation during this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Force India pulled out of yesterday’s second practice session due to safety concerns. Since then, the team’s cars have been conspicuously absent from the television coverage, which is centrally provided by Bernie Ecclestone’s company, Formula One Management.

Despite the fact that at one point the Force Indias had set the two fastest times during Q2, they were nowhere to be found on the coverage. Viewers noticed. Knowing the way Bernie Ecclestone operates, it’s not difficult to imagine that he has decided to retaliate against Force India for their decision not to run in practice 2.

F1 journalist Adam Hay-Nicholls let slip that FOM have been ordered in the past to avoid filming particular teams.

He expanded on this point, saying that the repercussions for Force India could go beyond today’s qualifying session, and even beyond the race weekend.

What disgusts me about this is that Force India withdrew from yesterday’s practice session for legitimate safety concerns. Four of their employees were caught up in a petrol bomb attack while going about their normal business in Bahrain. In these circumstances, it really is not surprising that the team would prefer to pack up early in order to avoid travelling in the dark.

If Bernie Ecclestone really has decided to exact his petty revenge on Force India for this, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. He is putting his narrow business interests ahead of lives.

The only clue Adam Hay-Nicholls has provided as to the identity of the other team that has been ‘censored’ by FOM is that the team no longer exists in the form it did at the time:

This suggests that the team was effectively put out of business, or that the owner of the team had to leave the sport. Clearly, a lack of television coverage does not help on that front.

On the one hand, it’s incredible to think that FOM think that the viewers are mugs not to notice this petty behaviour by not filming Force India. But it’s also worrying that FOM have done this before, and we haven’t noticed.

I am considering buying some Force India merchandise in a show of support. The way they are being pressurised into neglecting their own safety is absolutely disgusting.

There is no way I will buy any merchandise from the official Formula 1 website, but this Force India flag available at Grand Prix Legends looks quite good.

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