Archive | January 2012

We’re off the The Lakes!!

Borrowdale from the top of Honister Pass

Borrowdale from the top of Honister Pass

Emma and I always go away in January. It’s cheaper than going away during the summer, there are no kids about and Emma works all over Christmas so it’s a good time for her to recharge her batteries. Once again, we’re off to the Lake District for the 4th time in 5 years, Hawkshead for the third time in three.

The Newfield Inn, Seathwaite, Duddon Valley, Cumbria

The Newfield Inn, Seathwaite, Duddon Valley, Cumbria

If you’ve never been to The Lakes, you must go. There’s no more stunning a place I have ever seen. Every corner you go round on their fantastic roads, you’ll see a different thing. It may be a deep valley, large lake, small tarn, high waterfall, one of England’s highest mountains or that pub you knew was around there somewhere, you just weren’t sure where. Once you get out of your car, of course, there is some fantastic walking to be found. More on that later.

Wordsworth Street, Hawkshead

Wordsworth Street, Hawkshead

Hawkshead itself is a fantastic place for a holiday, especially at this time of year. There are 4 pubs all within a 2 minute stroll of each other, ideal for when the nights come early and the weather’s cold! Log fires and real ale abound. The place is packed full of little stone streets and wonky cottages, there’s a lovely church, a co-op, a few outdoorwear shops and a couple of eating places. It’s a bit of a honeypot town in the summer but you really get to enjoy the place in the winter when there’s less people around. The pubs can get fairly busy even at this time of year so I wouldn’t like to think what they’re like in the summer.

Just down the road is Grizedale Forest, a place with walks for people of all abilities. Emma and I usually do one or two of the walks during our stay (I’m trying to persuade her to do the longer one this time round… she’s not having it!).

Wainwright's Scafell Guide

Wainwright's Scafell Guide

The walking is the main thing we go away for. This Christmas, I bought Emma a collection of Wainwright’s Walks. We had a go at Catbells last year but the weather was pretty poor, it was quite misty and Emma really didn’t fancy the full walk. We got most of the way there, though. So, Emma’s task is to look through the books to find walks she likes the look of.

If you’ve never heard of Wainwright’s guides, they’re handwritten, hand-illustrated guides to walks on each of Lakeland’s fells. They’re very detailed and although they were originally written some time ago, the version’s Emma’s got are up-to-date with current paths and sights.

Wainwright Illustrations

Wainwright Illustrations

Also, he explains what you can see from the summit of each fell, which is great. Despite the fact we’ve been going for years, I still can’t tell which fell’s what and I often cannot tell which lake is which, from a distance.

I’m sure I’ll be putting a few photos of the holiday on Twitter, as we go along. Follow me at @scottbrown_14 if you like, I’ll try to make you jealous! Looks like we’ll have to get any serious stuff done early in the week, though.

Hawkshead Weather 14th Jan - 21st Jan 2011

Hawkshead Weather 14th Jan - 21st Jan 2011

I can’t wait to go, now. Just half a day at work then that’s it!

Things I Love: Part II

Knowing that everything at work is sorted out before going away on holiday.

No need to contact me now, boss!

Adele, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay?

In case you didn’t already think that music in Britain had turned incredibly boring, Adele (shite), Ed Sheeran (dull) and Coldplay (Coldplay) are all favourites to win Brit Awards this year. Last year it was Mumford & Sons (good, at least, but still boring) and Laura Marling (dull). Then again, Dido beat Amy Winehouse if 2004 so maybe it’s always been like this.

It’s no wonder I listen to BBC 5 Live all the time.

Radios need screens? Bollocks do they.

I’ve just read this article from Tim Davie from the BBC’s head of audio and music. Apparently in order to engage listeners, radio will soon need visual content.

I’m a big fan of pure audio and I have always felt that audio will hold up for a long time but in terms of the devices, it will have a screen on it. We have been at it for a while, but what information we give on that screen, that is now a real issue.

I’d hope he was a fan of pure audio, as he calls it. He is the BBC’s head of audio and music!

A sidenote: Tim Davie is the man who decided that closing BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network was a good idea. He backed down after being told he was wrong by thousands of petitioners.

We don’t need a screen to enjoy radio. I’m not sure about you but when I’m listening to the radio I’m usually doing something else be it on my PC, doing the washing up, driving the car and whatnot. A screen to tell me something about what I’m listening to is not important to me.

That’s another issue. what on earth do they want to put on these screens? Tim doesn’t know:

Radio needs to be careful that you don’t just visualise everything and chuck up video everywhere. Our power has always been about the curating and the editing, rather than just showing stuff on a webcam.

I have a digital radio which has a little dot-matrix display on it. I’ve known it to show song titles and artists or the name of the show I’m listening to but apart from those things I can’t think of anything useful that’s cropped up on it. Talksport put sports news headlines on it but they read those out every half an hour anyway.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has trouble reading something while trying to listen to someone speak, which kind of cuts out the possibility of putting meaningful written content on the screen. To show video would just make it T.V., which radio isn’t.

A wise man once said “T.V. doesn’t go around corners”, or something like that. I can’t remember who it was but it’s true. If the radio started using screens, at what stage would that screen become necessary to the enjoyment of radio? It would have to enhance the experience otherwise it isn’t worth doing. However, as soon as it becomes useful, radio starts to directly compete with T.V. – there is only one winner there.

We need to be on more smartphone devices. If I have one challenge for the industry it is to get on devices, we need to be distributed on iPhones and all the various platforms. That is the real priority.

What he means by this, I’m not sure, as there is a wonderful mobile app called TuneIn Radio. If you need more content than what they can provide you’re either very obscure or being deliberately obtuse! Also, the BBC have their own iPlayer app, so they’re on there already themselves.

If this is the direction which radio feels it needs to go, it had better try bloody hard not to lose its USP, namely being able to enjoy without looking, or we could end up with even more TV people aren’t interested in watching.