David Low

Friend, father, fantasist and fud. Daft about my son, the web, St Johnstone FC and curry.

FIFA 10

Made a budget purchase of FIFA 10 for some weekend hilarity with the wee man.  Despite being out of date, it’s amazingly realistic.

Scotland currently 5-0 down to Spain after 10 minutes, Hartley sent off and Caldwell scored an OG.

Son supporting Spain because “they’re the bestest”.  Sign of the times eh?

The Cuddy

My gran used to recite a lovely poem, called “The Cuddy”.  It’s in old Scots language but it’s not that difficult to understand…

The cuddy runs aboot the braes

Nane snugger

He shits upon the neighbours’ claes

The bugger

The neighbours set about the beast

Wi’ clods and stoor

The mair they shout, the mair he shites

The hoor!

minimalmac: Love it. Available at Engineer Brand (Source: http://engineerbrand.com)

This is how I felt after carrying Andrew shoulder-high round Edinburgh yesterday…

Where’s Wall-E?

With thanks to my good friend Futwick…

Pretty much every robot in television and film history... can you spot the garbage collector from B&L?

Can you find him?

Pretty much every robot in television and film history… can you spot the garbage collector from B&L?

“…fried onion rings”

One of the best TV advertisements ever made – Bird’s Eye Steakhouse Grills.

The ground-beef delicacy (served, inevitably, with chips) was a staple in our house every Tuesday night for many a year, until our tastes got a bit more cosmopolitan; I’ll not plagiarise Peter Kay and say we ‘found’ garlic bread, but French Bread Pizza and Golden Drummers began to set the standard.

Back in those days though, having “steak” – cheaply enough to enjoy it as a standard midweek dinner – was something special.

Later in life, I would recall the taste of the grill, or the ‘chipsteak’ as some other brands called it – which led me to go and find them.  To my astonishment, Lidl still kept them in the freezer section, so dinner was duly served.  Not just with chips, but also with the smile that only nostalgia can bring.

Sadly after 3 attempts at eating the thing, it ended up in the bin – and I woke up the next day with a stomach bug so fierce, my GP required all sorts of horrid samples to rule a few things out.  If nothing else, the chipsteak briefly returned my weight to that of 1982 when I was 8.

So looking back, the product was – let’s face it – pretty dire.  But the advert stole the show in many a 1980s home and caused the playground to unite in song for something other than a dubious football chant.

And without meaning to sound like Bernard Manning, the coloured man’s accent saying “fried onion rings” had me in tears every time I heard it – still does.  Not that fried onion rings were anything special, we’d long mastered the art of that, and the banana fritter.  Scotland isn’t that backward, you know.

The sad but true demise of “Spiced at the Warehouse”

Brave folk dancing in Spiced at the Warehouse, 1997

Spiced at the Warehouse, 1997

So for the benefit of killing some quite funny urban myths, here’s the real story behind the penultimate “Spiced at the Warehouse”, a once-popular club night in Perth which arrived as soon as it departed in 1997.

Frazzle Dazzle (proper DJ and pub quiz legend Fraser Thomson) had started the night a few weeks hence, but had to head south for a while, and left the blossoming club night in the capable hands of his musicologist friends, who would take it in turns to man the fort.

The first go fell to Steve “Lovejoy” Tallach and myself.  Not being much of a dance expert, I packed nearly my whole CD collection into my old yuppie leather briefcase (which I never took to work after being laughed out of the office the first time) – featuring such gems as an Eternal album I got off Britannia Music by accident, Hue and Cry’s greatest hits, a “best of 90s dance” compilation borrowed from my sister (dated 1993) and two genuinely decent bits of dance vinyl borrowed from Stevie Peacock.

Apprehensively we turned up at the club well before opening time, and started messing around with the dry ice and lights – “just run your hands over the buttons, it just kind of works,” said Lovejoy.  You could see the bouncer wince as the first Beatles medley got rattled off.
First punters arrived about 10.30, and for the first hour or so, our decent music was heard by about ten folk.

Sadly we didn’t have any lighting in the booth, hadn’t brought any, and could barely see what we were doing on the CD decks.  Nor did we bring any headphones other than the wee Walkman jobs I had in my pocket – so mixing was more guesswork than art.  “Wait for a few seconds before the end and move the fader” was about as good as it got.

All was fine-ish until a young guy came up and said “you know any Dave Clarke?”  I did know a DJ from Perth called Dave Clarke who did some of the pubs – my pal’s flatmate – but sadly that’s not really what the guy meant.  Over time, this particular bit of the tale (possibly borne of a joke I made about it once) has turned into me playing “Glad All Over” by the Dave Clark Five, but that’s not actually true :)

The guy wandered back to his seat and grew ever more agitated as his request for a Dave Clarke mix didn’t come up.  Eventually he approached the booth with a rather damaged beer bottle, venting foul language at us, only to be removed.  Again this bit of the story has turned into “raining bottles on the DJs while we hid under the desk” but that’s only partly true too :)

At this point we were into the “best of 90s Dance” CD which was going down well enough.  Until I was a total plank and pressed the wrong button, beginning playback on “Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble” by PJ and Duncan.  This is the point I hid under the desk – couldn’t have told you if bottles were raining or not :)

Just to complete the picture, a bus pulled up from Fife with a collection of people claiming to be a Prodigy fan club.  We’d already played Firestarter (possibly twice by accident) but they demanded it again, so on it went – causing a notable groan from elsewhere.  We went on to play most of Prodigy’s “Fat of the Land” album to keep them quiet – but you could feel a bit of an atmosphere.  A brief respite via Beatles medley kept the local punters quiet, given it was meant to be a 60s/70s/80s night!

So one of the Prodigy folk – who notably had one eye – approached the booth, saying “you’ll do all right if you’ve got some Reggae!”  Did we?  In a collection spanning everything from Hue and Cry to Half Man Half Biscuit?  Did we fuck.

So we let the one-eyed Reggae fan loose on the briefcase of woe – and he managed to plunder enough gems from two Trainspotting original soundtrack albums to see us through to a bit of Oasis at the end, and 2.30am didn’t come quick enough.  Shouts of “CRAP” didn’t bother me, the 25 quid each was well earned though.

Then it turned out the drunk guy with the damaged bottle was waiting at the front door til 3am, so a taxi via the fire door down the side got us home in safety.  The best bit of the story that nobody really knows is, I dived to Edinburgh the next day to see Saints at Hibernian; when I got back to the bus station at home, a guy shouted “you’re that fuckin guy from the Warehouse last night eh?” – thankfully my sister was waiting to pick me up so that’s the last I ever heard of it…
And so ended a unique DJ career, and of course when our two friends took their turn at “Spiced” the following week, they were duly told it would be our last go at it!

So apologies for ruining your blossoming club night Fraz, but it didn’t hurt your career that much :)

“Wikileaks is not Wikipedia”

Been slightly amused at “Wikileaks is not Wikipedia” being banded around for the past week.  As a slight geek on these matters, I’m tempted to remind Wikipedia that they are not the only wiki in the world and should shut the hell up.

Had plenty rants about Wikipedia on here in the past and maybe it’s time to start again.

Just realised it’s about 18 months since this blog got updated – since Stevie got his backside in gear and started his own one, there’s obviously room in the market for my stuff and nonsense  again :)

Perth Pub Experience Removed

Just so you know, I’ve removed all the old pub reviews from this site, since a few of them were well out of date – and likely to cause offence…

In particular, apologies to the drinkers at the Rabbie Burns.

If you’re interested in Perth boozers, I suggest you fire over to STV Local – and in particular the Perth section, where you’ll find, indeed, the Robert Burns Lounge.

STV Player – powered by Railo

This week saw the launch of the new STV Player site, the latest in a series of launches this past year by the online team at STV, the commercial TV broadcaster in Scotland, where I work.

A new team was formed over the course of last year to deliver a whole host of online services for STV, with the Player being the latest and greatest.  It’s basically an online catch-up TV service along the lines of the BBC iPlayer, Hulu and others, but brings what we believe is a simplicity and ease of use to the field, as well as being the best way to watch ITV content such as Coronation Street.

STV Player was developed in-house in around six weeks, with a host of back-end systems supporting the site, providing a data workflow integrating with our video partners, Brightcove.  The back-end workflow aims to get shows up to the site within an hour of broadcast, and is capable of running straight from TV transmission to online catch-up if necessary.

This new site is powered by Railo 3, with Coldbox providing a stable and rapid-development framework, and of course the Brightcove API providing seamless video delivery and organisation behind the scenes.

The design, again produced in house, was put together with the purpose of finding content quickly – often with one click to the latest episodes of popular shows.  It’s also easy to find shows and episodes by various means – A-Z lists, the TV schedule, popularity listings and more.  Many more enhancements will come to the site in due course but this iteration was a very good base to work from.

We’d be interested in your feedback, drop me a line with any opinions or suggestions!  Oh and the videos are UK only by the way…