Posted by: TomA | 31 October 2010

Bristol (yet again)

Posted by: TomA | 30 October 2010

Holkham

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Posted by: TomA | 29 October 2010

Ethiopia

Posted by: TomA | 28 October 2010

Budapest

Posted by: TomA | 27 October 2010

Liverpool

Posted by: TomA | 26 October 2010

London

Posted by: TomA | 25 October 2010

RIP Walkman

Sony announced today that they were stopping production of the cassette Walkman. Sad times. I fondly remember getting my first one and revelling in being able to listen to (the same 90 minutes of) music while on the bus to school every day, without being subjected to the dross on local radio. When that one got dropped and started chewing up mixtapes I’d made, a shiny new one was purchased and looked after with the utmost care. It’s been interesting to see the reaction – there’s an overwhelming number of people who seem to have a soft spot for the cassette format and the walkman.

The timing is interesting, as I’ve noticed a few new cassette labels popping up recently (not least my own, Fika Recordings, which’ll be on your walkman in February). The ease of hand producing small runs of cassettes and being a step away from the sometimes soulless experience of digital media is what’s sent me down this route, and are probably the driving factors of many others too. Of course, tapes had flaws. I remember the distress having spent evenings making mixtapes recorded direct from the radio, where timing was crucial, and then weeks later having the tape chewed up and destroyed by a rogue cassette player. But at the same time, this is what I feel makes them precious. The deterioration and hiss from a well listened-to cassette is still a comforting sound, akin to the warm crackle of favourite record. And its this connection with music that is important (to me, at least). I can download vast amounts of music and fail to connect with the majority of it. It’s the records and tapes I often bought on a whim that I come back to, scouring sleeve notes and artwork.

I still love the tangibility of physical media – whether it was an early 90s chart cassette that I saved my pocket money up for weeks in order to buy from Woolworths, or a 3″ indiepop cassette that I know someone has spent considerable time hand producing with love and care. It draws you in, connects you to the back story, the process, the people. This is why I’m sad to see the cassette walkman disappear, and this is why I’m excited to start a cassette label.

Posted by: TomA | 25 October 2010

Bristol

Posted by: TomA | 24 October 2010

A Week (or so) of Photos

I’ve finally had numerous rolls of film from the last 18 months developed. I still get very excited receiving the prints/developed negatives back… will the photos be any good?… and more recently, what the f*** is on that film I found in a bag at the bottom of the wardrobe? Aim is to get a post a day over the next week or so of photos – there are some pictures I adore in there, but I also want to include some of the duds (this for me is what I enjoy about analogue photography, the shit photos as well as the good). I’ll probably stick a few digital pics from Berlin, Paris and elsewhere from over the last month, but there should be plenty of oldies from Bristol, Sweden and Ethiopia to keep me going until next weekend….

Posted by: TomA | 24 October 2010

Hotels

From time to time, I get to travel and stay in hotels far nicer and far more expensive than I could ever afford to pay for personally. The bathrooms are frequently larger than flats I’ve lived in in London and the views are normally far superior to the council-flats-over-the-road I have now (though, admittedly, I do have a soft spot for their architecture, mimicking a more oppressive and far cheaper version of the MI5 HQ on Embankment).

The reality of this is that I spend about 3 hours in the room trying to sleep while being very aware that I’m a) rather drunk and b) have to get up and doing something serious in a couple of hours, having spent the rest of the night trying to be sociable and “network”, whatever that may be.

As this particular event was up in Scotland, there was also the requirement to dress correctly. Strangely liberating…

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