Dear Diary...

This is my diary. How things are. Or something. Please note that the diary is archived month by month, so feel free to click the links for the archives.


Wednesday 18th October - Less Than

It was off after work via Blackfriars to the District Line tube, and as I'd just missed the Wimbledon one, I hopped on the next one to Richmond, got off at Earls Court and across the platform was the other one from Edgware Road to Wimbledon, so quick swap later and I was off again, getting well past Fulham Broadway before all the Chelsea fans started arriving for tonight's Chelski v Roma game in the Champions League. I must admit I'll be hoping that Edin Džeko of Roma manages to get a goal, he's still respected a lot by us Man City fans for the time he spent here and the numerous goals against Man U as well.

I got to the hairdressers and it was relatively quiet, so it was in and get the hair cut and have a good natter about football with the blokes in there - and they're always a friendly bunch too which is nice. I think things like that such as getting somewhere reliable has helped me settle down here a fair bit more. Yes, I do miss Manchester. A lot. I miss The Love In My Heart. A lot. But there's also the fact that having somewhere else to feel comfortable does help too.

I arrived back home later and the new Nine Inch Nails EP "Add Violence" had arrived. It was actually the CD version which for some reason took a fair while to come out after the digital EP had been released. Of course, I had been looking forward to it so I could play it loud on my separates, and with the Mission M73 floorstanders ready to give it some welly. Naturally of course I loved "Less Than" when it came out due to the Jeff Minter video, he of gaming legend no less.

And it doesn't sound any less meaty when played through a system either, it really does give some power to the drums and especially the guitars that scream through at pace and give the whole thing a sense of urgency as well as a nod to the past (the line "Welcome oblivion" was the title of a track from Reznor's side project How To Destroy Angels no less) - and definitely still there in terms of excellence, tune of the day obviously for that one, and good to boot.

I even got a mention by no less than Jayne Middlemiss tonight (woo, get me). She had asked for things that make you feel old, so I responded that when someone says "Oooh, have you hard this new song by... " and it turns out that it's actually a cover version of something you listened to when younger. For me at least I can remember many occasions this happened. What I didn't expect was her to read that out on her Wednesday night show on Sino Radio. Happy bunny actually. And for the record, anyone who still thinks Atomic Kitten did "The Time Is High" need to be pointed into the direction of the John Holt original, made famous later by a certain Blondie cover no less..

Tuesday 17th October - A Trip To IKEA

After work it was off to IKEA, primarily to stock up on a few bits, and also because I'd had an email a few days ago from them. I've been an IKEA Family Card member for ages, and as such you do get some additional benefits such as free coffee during the week, discount on breakfast if you're there early, and also some products discounted when you're a holder, so well worth it to be honest. Anyway, the email mentioned that it was, unbelievably, thirty years since they launched in the UK - and I do remember early in the 1990s heading off to the Warrington one with Mum and Dad at the time..

So the offers were basically two of them for card holders, the second of which I only realised once I'd actually had my complimentary coffee which I had in the café first and then went to the machine to get the vouchers. It was for a free speciality coffee and cake. I can always nip in one night during the week when I fancy a little treat as it's not that far to go from home (and obviously any getting there is covered by the monthly Oyster travelcard anyway, so win.) The main offer though was for £5 off your purchase, and as there were a few things I fancied, a good idea to get them now I guessed.

It was enjoyable to walk around at leisure and not have to feel the need to rush around, and it was good to spot several different items I fancied over time. The good thing too was that the items I wanted were in stock, the main one being a kitchen knife set, which has a vegetable knife, a meat knife and a bread knife, just what I needed. I also got some new candles as the tealights I did have (also from IKEA) had ran out, and the nice vanilla ice cream smell enticed me no problem. I did also get a dustpan and brush and lint roller, and was tempted by a nice soft bath mat for the bathroom as well, but my existing nice one is from there too, so no definite need to change it yet.

It was good to go through the self-serve till, swipe all the things in (and have the ID verified for the knives, even though they're in really hard to open packaging, with the raft of knife crime in London it's perfectly understandable really) and then use the voucher for the £5 off, so didn't have to pay that much either on top, and even better was that the bus home from there was only around two minutes' wait, so got home in good time to watch the Manchester City v Napoli game on BT Sport.

As for City, definitely a game of two halves, as we were rampant first half with some excellent football leading to the opener from Raheem Sterling, and the pinpoint pass from the wing of Kevin de Bruyne finding Gabriel Jesús for 2-0. And within thirteen minutes. City then went for it more, hit the crossbar and had a shot cleared off the line, and then Napoli came back into it. They missed a penalty and we had Fernandinho to thank for clearing the rebound, then the camera panned to de Bruyne at half time for some reason yelling "Let me talk!" a lot - I guess he was cheesed off with the booking he had, but sensibly David Silva was leading him away from the ref...

The second half proved a tougher watch, City still going forward but Napoli getting more into the game, and it took an impressive John Stones block to keep the score as it was. They did get another penalty later on and scored it, and City held on with a tight grip of the game and ground out the win in the end - in a way that was also impressive, the fact that we were able to dig that one out as needed. In the meantime, tune of the day is the old theme music from the old IKEA advert, "Chuck Out That Chintz" - you'll know the advert and think "Ah yes, that..."

Monday 16th October - Ophelia

It was all about the weather and the "ex-" hurricane Ophelia, which was to hit Ireland throughout the day. I knew that this wasn't a warning taken lightly, they had already decided to close the schools for safety in what turned out to be a wise move, and the darkness even where I was ended up being visible around 3pm where it felt decidedly dark - almost as dark as when I'd set off for work this morning. The Natalie Merchant title track of her "Ophelia" album is tune of the day for obvious reasons really.

I had a very busy day at work, and was glad to get through a fair amount of catching up to say the least. It was good to knuckle down and get on with things, and plenty of things to consider at that as well. One of the things I'm looking into is to how best to manage some of the content on a remote site and getting that content over there, especially as it's a valid SCCM distribution point now. On a positive side I think I've got a good plan ready to go, and it's just a case of getting that into action.

However, at the same time, what I have noticed as of late is how much stuff to do there appears to be, and what is needed to be done, certainly in terms of workload at least there is plenty to be getting on with, as well as the Business As Usual sort of stuff. In a good way that does mean that the day does fly by nicely and that always is a positive of course, but on the negative I sometimes feel that maybe I'd have liked to have done more in the day too - The Love In My Heart feels the same often about that.

I was saddened though today to hear of the death of Sean Hughes. He was in the 1990s in particular one of my favourite comedians, and I can remember him doing an epic two and a half hour show at the former Free Trade Hall in Manchester, where he went on about the religious cult in Brookside, and also plenty of excellent nods to Morrissey et al too. In fact, his posing in Morrissey t-shirt complete with gladioli in the NME was one of the things I remember well from way back when.

I also admired Sean's Show for being so idiosycrantic but in a really funny way, and indeed the fact he was team captain on Never Mind The Buzzcocks for several years, with the infamous "Detchable Penis" episode with Graham Norton and Shovell from M People, and indeed often teaming up with Tony Wright from Terrorvision ("I don't know it, it's not metal!") which was always fun. I do miss that and will miss Sean as well, a sad, sad loss.

Sunday 15th October - Midland Mooching

It was a case of altering plans today, but worked out actually really well once that was done. So, The Love In My Heart and I headed up, and with Brian the cat by the window wanting lots of fussing and cuddling, and tummy tickling. What we've noticed a lot more since Jô has passed away was that we tend to hear Brian and his little squeal a lot more when he wants something, miaowing high pitched and looking longingly outside when he wants to go and have a play. And once outside, he loves just staring out and watching the people go by. He came in then and miaowed at me to take his little harness off, and was so happy when I did.

The original plan after breakfast was to head out to Lyme Park with the weather being very nice, and take a walk around the house and gardens. We'd worked out a diversion to avoid Stockport due to the main road having roadworks in the town centre, and once done that, we headed via Marple and via High Lane towards Lyme Park. As we approached the turn off, we noted a number of cars queueing up - not unusual, but they all were attempting to turn round, which in the middle of the busy A6, not good. Then I spotted the "car park full" sign, and that explained a lot, as no one could get in - the alternative being parking in Disley and heading via one of the trails that way.

We both reckoned that it was all down to the popularity of the new Warburtons advert with Peter Kay and Emma Connell, but also due to some recent heavy rain which had left some of the car parking spaces on grass into a quagmire, and so didn't want anyone getting stuck. For those of you who haven't seen the advert, part of it is filmed at Lyme Park in the gardens, similar to how the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was with Colin Firth, so obviously those who did recognise it wanted to see it for themselves and end up doing all manner of Peter Kay impersonations!

Anyway, with that denied, we headed back via Marple to Marple Bridge, and after a little walk around the village and admiring the lovely stone cottages, we walked another path which followed the River Goyt. We could see over the river the nice apartments and cottages in the narrow streets and the river flowing well. It was a reasonably well trodden path but with a bank down to the river below, so caution needed - in the wet, this would not be a sensible idea to be honest!

We did head back to the Midland at Marple Bridge, where we've had many a nice meal together. We didn't get into the main seating area, but they were flexible enough to allow you to get a table in the bar area and eat there. And Tribute ale on cask, oh yes, so we got a nice table with comfy chairs, and we ordered the Sunday roast each - I had the pork, The Love had the beef. It was good, and the veg plentiful enough, but I think The Love's beef was a little fatty in places. However, the sticky toffee pudding I had for dessert was rather gorgeous to say the least! The Love texted me later to say how nice she felt being there having a meal with me, which was a really lovely thing.

We headed back later to Piccadilly station and we gave each other a massive hug before I headed back homewards on the 1735 to Euston. I had the headphones on and gave the Gary Numan new album a blast again, and this was rather good, especially playing the likes of "Mercy" (make that tune of the day) as the darkness descended in the early evening. I had to divert to London Bridge to get the train to East Croydon due to the closures near Victoria, but got home reasonably okay. And once home, I noted that the replacement soft close hinge had arrived. Didn't take me long to fit it, and that's all working again - a nice end to a lovely weekend all round. More of those please!

Saturday 14th October - Seventh Heaven

The Love In My Heart and I had some nice breakfast whilst watching the breakfast thing with James Martin on ITV1. The Love prefers James Martin doing the cookery shows on the telly, and Saturday Kitchen has been frankly bobbins since he left, and all the hosts bar Michel Roux Jr are bobbins on it. At least with the one he does now he can film it at leisure, and him and Jun Tanaka battling tennis balls from a serving machine whilst answering tricky questions from Judy Murray was a total hoot to be honest. Brian the cat loved playing outside on the decking, and all was good there.

Later on my friend headed to the Etihad Stadium as did I and once we met up, it was in the ground and get the custromary brew before kick off. We had hoped for the continued good form after an excellent win at Chelski prior to the International break, and with us free scoring at home, hopes were for a win first and foremost, especially as we learned about half an hour before kick off that the hyped up Liverpool v Man U game had ended a goalless bore draw. Yawn. So any draw would see us top, and of course a win would get us two points clear as well, a good incentive I reckon.

So the game kicked off, and City were just mesmerising. Honestly. I even forgave the glaring miss in the first few minutes by Leroy Sané as I suspected we'd score a goal soon. And soon we did. The ball was played down the right hand side for Kyle Walker to run on at pace, and he passed it directly to Gabriel Jesús for 1-0. Almost straight from the kick off, a flowing move from the back with a lot of passes found Kevin de Bruyne who put a delightful ball through, and this was passed across the box for Raheem Sterling to score a tap in for 2-0. Easy! Easy!

And the half wasn't done with goals either. Next up to score was David Silva, following some neat passing on the right, the ball got to him near the edge of the penalty box. He had to stretch after a first touch, but guided the ball smoothly home for 3-0. And it was under half an hour gone. Excellent. Even a late burst from Stoke with a deflected shot from their main striker Mame Diouf meant 3-1 at half time, and a sense that we could if we wanted to score more whenever we felt like.

The second half though started with Stoke heading forward and a cross that meat Diouf's head was deflected in off the post by Kyle Walker. 3-2 and all of a sudden, game very much on. I said to my friend that if we scored next, we should win it, but the next goal was going to be huge. We didn't have long to wait. de Bruyne got the ball on the half way line, and then curved in a sublime pass for Jesús to smash home for 4-2. Excellent stuff. And indeed from a corner five minutes later, the ball came out to Fernandinho. We know he can hit them from outside the box, and hit it he did, right in the top corner! Superb strike. 5-2.

No sooner were we celebrating that goal but we then had another excellent de Bruyne pass laid on a plate for Leroy Sané to smash home low from the left side, and with an hour gone, it was 6-2. Four goals in the space of a quarter of an hour, breathless stuff. And even with bringing on all the subs, and noticeable that de Bruyne even got a round of applause from the Stoke City fans which was nice to see, City weren't done and a pass into the box found Bernardo Silva who slotted home low with ten minutes left for 7-2. Even then Yaya Touré had a shot, David Silva shot a curler just wide of the post, and it was just awesome.

Needless to say we were both buzzing after that, and had to smile as the likes of Ian Wright reluctantly had to give us praise on Match of the Day later on. The evening was spent snuggled up with The Love In My Heart and Brian the cat, first of all watching Strictly Come Dancing with some rather good efforts all round, especially I thought the excellent Alexandra Burke smashed it with her jive to "Proud Mary" - the Tina Turner cover version (you know the one that goes "rollin' on a river..") - tune of the day for sure - and with her mum passing away recently, she got understandably emotional - and her Mum would have been proud of her.

Surprisingly the other dance I liked was Susan Calman with Kevin Clifton (aka Kevin from Grimsby) doing the Morecambe and Wise theme tune, "Bring Me Sunshine." Their quickstep was a total joy to behold and I really thought how nice it would be that it makes people smile so much. Good on her too for sticking to her guns and going for it. Under duress I did have to endure the Six Chair Challenge X Factor, the less said about that pile of bobbins the better, and they've let some crap through this year haven't they?

Friday 13th October - Nuuuuuuuuuman!

I had the day off work today, and for good reason. I was heading up earlier to Manchester to meet with my friend and head off to Manchester Academy 1 later to see Gary Numan live. We've seen him live a number of times there including his 50th birthday gig, and also in Cardiff too, but it's always good in Academy 1 because we get a decent view, the sound engineer knows their stuff, and he always has a good crowd going for it and chanting his name almost football chant style, hence the title of today's entry.

So after negotiating the umpteen delays on Southern Rail to get to London Victoria, it was then on the tube to Euston and there in good time for the 1200 departure from there to Manchester Piccadilly. The journey at lunch time was nice and quiet, which was good, and also spent some time listening to the new Gary Numan album "Savage: Songs From a Broken World" as well, so definitely got myself prepped up for later. And it was good to just look out of the window and watch the countryside go by in the daylight for a change!

I had the spare key for The Love In My Heart's place, and so took the tram to her place and was greeted by Brian the cat being all cute and lovely. I did give him some Dreamies Deli-Cats, which he wolfed down and was very happy to have. I also gave him a love and a fuss for a while and it was good to relax in the afternoon with him by my side, all snuggled up in the shoe box and all ready to have a sleep too. Of course that was much nicer to give him a love than watch daytime telly for fairly obvious reasons!

My friend came over around 4pm to collect me, and we headed off to the Snipe Retail Park near Ashton-under-Lyne for tea at Pizza Hut. My friend and I both like it there, and in fact it just meant we could have a good natter and catch up whilst also having some excellent food - for me it was the meat feast with barbecue sauce base, and my friend the margherita. We also of course used the drinks machine for refills as needed, which works well because you aren't limited, and some of the pasta and little bites at the salad bar were also there for a good starter too, so all good there.

Later on it was off towards the centre of Manchester, and remembering that Oxford Road is closed to traffic, headed down the back of Upper Lloyd Street to Denmark Road, and was then able to turn left and head towards the car park next to the Academy. Unfortunately, the machine doesn't take the old or new £1 coin, it was either a £2 coin or four 50p coins instead - clearly not good, and so had to make a quick dash to the local takeaway and get the coins changed, and then in the car park all in good time for the doors to open and for us to get in and head towards the balcony section. The DJ was playing some excellent songs in between bands, including Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and even Front 242, both the A- and the B- side of the Headhunter 12" single. Ooh yes.

The support act was Jayce Lewis, and he and band were very good, the bass player especially going for it with majestic sweeps of the long hair and belting out another tune in the process. "Shields" was particularly good with its driving rhythm and a real sense of building throughout the track, and he really did give his all when on vocals and occasional guitar. Definitely was pumped up to be supporting too, with plenty of his own "Nuuuuuuman" chants throughout too. Might have to check out "Million Part 1" out in the next few weeks I reckon.

The tension built up and just after 9pm on came Gary Numan. What followed was a storming set with plenty of the new album and some old and new classics mixed in nicely. So off we started with the powerful opener from Savage, "Ghost Nation" which could then lead itself nicely into the classic "Metal" up next. Nice. What made me happy next was the storming version of "The Fall" from the Dead Son Rising Album, really tight guitars on this especially. "Bed of Thorns" came up and I don't think my friend was too impressed with that one, as it is quite a slow burner.

The title track from "Splinter" came up next, and that was fairly epic, but then a nice surprise, a more stripped back and yet powerful version of "Down In The Park" which had everyone pretty happy! Some more off the new album and then the single "My Name Is Ruin" which sounded totally epic with that filtered main lead line emnating throughout the Academy, definitely tune of the day. Granted we didn't get his daughter Persia on stage singing with him (as will be the case at Brixton tomorrow) but still, lots of fans were singing the chorus so a good sign to see that it's a new classic already - and I love it, it has to be said.

What I didn't expect was "Love Hurt Bleed" straight after and sounding so tight, so that was rather good, and then of course came the onslaught of some of the classics, so much in the style of the Fear Factory version, "Cars" was belted out, and another one of my new album favourites, "When The World Comes Apart" also getting a good airing too. We even had "A Prayer For The Unborn" from the Pure album to end the main set, so nice to delve into that. I'd have wanted the title track from Pure too, but that's because it's up there with my favourite Numan tracks ever.

Oh, and the encore. As my friend said afterwards, that was how you do an encore. And he wasn't wrong either. First off, "I Die You Die" which naturally had everyone belting the chorus out at pace, which was rather good, and then, removing most of the piano intro from previous live shows, straight headlong into "Are 'Friends' Electric" with the customary "whoa... whoa" bits from the crowd and Numan in excellent form throughout. And yes, it was an encore well worthy of the man and ended the night on a massive high.

As we left the Academy, the traffic to get out at the lights on Denmark Road took some time but didn't take us long to navigate our way outwards and back to The Love's place, and my friend and I would see each other tomorrow for the football, so all good there. The Love and Brian the cat were there to greet me and Brian snuggled up on the end of the bed, and it was such a good night seeing the man live again. And the crowd's chant of "Nuuuuuuman! Nuuuuuuuman" would be the one to take with me to sleep - an epic, ace gig.

Thursday 12th October - Now Forum

A different day today as I was heading off not to work but to the ExCeL centre in the Docklands part of London to be at the Service Now Forum, a get together to get involved with seminars and sessions all to do with ServiceNow, which we currently use as our incident management system for IT, and may be looking to expand in more detail in the future. It was good that the event was a free event so it made sense for work to allow myself and my Service Delivery Manager to attend and see what we could get out of it.

So it was off to West Croydon station and on the Overground (or the orange line as some of us call it) to Shadwell and there changing for the DLR towards Beckton, which means that I got a seat and didn't have to battle with the masses at Canning Town so epic win all round. It was soon off at Prince Regent and then along the corridors to the registration area - the same place Microsoft used for the Cloud Roadshow which I attended there last year. It was all very familiar territory and soon my colleague joined us for coffee, and we had a mooch around the stalls offering various enhancements and upgrades (a lack of free stuff though), before all of us headed in for the main presentation around 0930.

The main presentation involved several key personnel but also some customers who've been able to transform what they do, and it was good hearing their first hand experiences as to what would happen with them. In fact it made it less of a sales pitch overall, and when one of the folks started talking about the new machine learning and AI features, you could tell that was exciting people somewhat - you could enter part of a call symptom and there'd be suggestions as to what to do next and how to be able to apply that knowledge, which made a lot of sense, provided of course you had the setup right.

After a mid morning coffee we joined one of the IT breakout sessions which went more into the further detail as to what was coming, including benchmarks so you could more accurately measure your SLAs, how challenges with applications and that estate are often because things are included outside of your control in the classic "it was a good idea at the time" mould, and how new features such as portfolio management should help track major developments and changes to what you have running more easily, and a touch on cloud services and how you often have many of them running. (and of course with GDPR looming, even more compliance needed on that front of course).

Lunch was a lengthy one but it did allow us to get some nice beef bourbignon with either rice or mash and some vegetables, and once done we headed out for some fresh air and a chatter and seeing all the planes land at the not too far away London City Airport, which made me think of a possible getaway in future! Anyway, back in the afternoon first session, and we were able to take a look at how some of the challenges ahead make you feel like you're facing the wind but the wrong way, and how you can help turn them into a tailwind instead to make things work for you.

No doubt that there's several big drivers in this in terms of the challenges faced particularly by IT: the cost of services, the end user experience, the service availability and indeed the hyper growth of both devices and data. Back in the day you'd maybe have one PC desktop to use. Nowadays it could be desktop, tablet, laptop, phone etc, and growing in a much bigger way. Data of course if the other big thing as part of that: especially where it's stored, how that's impacted legally etc. I've seen too many data leakages that were high profile to know it's something to very carefully take into consideration. That said, I'm not sure being an evangelist for bringing something new in would stand well with me!

We had a good chat with two of the ServiceNow staff about some features we'd like to get brought in and how we could best adjust the workflows to suit, which proved to be a debate about how we'd actually like to educate users to approve requests when they should and not four months down the line! We finished the day off with one final session with a deep dive into some new functionality and features and how they all sit within the whole software as a service thing, which worked out pretty well. All in all, it was a very useful day and has given us both some ideas how to move forward with things.

I also spent some time tonight listening to a classic album from 1992: Rage Against The Machine's eponymous debut. It's twenty five years old next month and is a real testament to its impact that it's still regarded as one of the all time classic albums: and I can't disagree. In fact the production on the album was so good that hi-fi stores would often use it as a reference disc to show off the latest high end CD player (yes, Marantz CD-63 KI Signature, I'm looking at you!) - which said a lot. And because I spent many a time moshing to it and later belting out the words on Guitar Hero, "Killing In The Name" is tune of the day.

Wednesday 11th October - I Have The Power (Bi)

So, yesterday, my Citrix colleague was testing out the new version of Power BI Desktop. It all appeared to work and indeed then was made available via Citrix to those that needed it, and so today I was spending some time looking at getting the desktop installer rolled out via SCCM so that everyone could have the new version - it's on our Windows 10 standard build currently. As ever, I always like to test things out fully first before then deciding to roll them out and that includes running the software as a standard user to make sure it all works as it's intended to do so.

Except, it doesn't quite do so. Instead of the normal screen where you get to choose to open your dataset etc, you now are presented with a splash screen to enter details (assumedly for some newsletter signup, for contet and so on) from Microsoft. You can skip this and go to the sign in page if a registered user, but kind of not the point - the splash screen is there from the start which is rather annoying, and unless you click the tiny link at the bottom or fill the form out, you can't skip it. When we urge people to be cautious of malware, this isn't exactly the behaviour I had in mind.

Anyway, I decided to test this out and fill out some dummy data in the form. It transpires it then adds a hidden preference in the file, stored in the user's local application data folder under Power BI. This preference is called "ShowLeadGenDialog" - so I looked further into it. If you install the MSI installer as an admin user, there's a registry key created under the user which has the same preference setting, but set to 1 - so active. Unfortunately if the user hasn't run the software and the preference doesn't exist, the key is populated automatically with 1. Rather lame that, especially as when looking at the installer in Orca, it sets the user setting to be a registry key in current user. Not really good if going out to all users, right?

So I did another controlled test. If the software is installed and the user hasn't run it before, what if I pre-populate the registry key and value in advance? I tried that as a standard user, and guess what? It worked! No annoying pop up screen to start. It looks like the October update ( is the one that's caused this, so a word of note if you're planning to roll this out yourselves, you may have to make sure you've got a setting in your Group Policy to ensure that setting is applied to the user, and that way won't have an issue. There's also a new MSI switch ENABLECXP=0 if you don't want to take part in the Customer Experience Program thing.

It really irks me when features are brought in without fanfare that doesn't make the experience user friendly. It's almost as if it doesn't want you to try and use the software (or instead pay for the Pro version and sign in and stay signed in) - which is a bit much to be honest. Sometimes, I think, less is more. In fact talking of less, I think nothing less than brilliant is the rather classic Pop Will Eat Itself single "Everything's Cool?" from 1994 - and tune of the day. I used to pogo to this a lot at indie nights and will be doing so again when I see the band live next month. Massively looking forward to that!

Tuesday 10th October - Busy Bunny

It's been a pretty busy day of sorts at work today. It turned out that some of the batch of laptops being deployed with Windows 10 had failed - and all at the same step too. Not good. Until I realised that infact the content for the package concerned had been updated whilst someone was running the task sequence, and so as such the hash value failed because it was different. So a re-run of those and they all worked first go, so pretty pleased that everything fell into place nicely.

What was also noticeable was when I had a chat with one of our digital people was that looking to get a form to a record an incident in the helpdesk system we use, ServiceNow, should in theory work, but actually may need some additional work to capture the fields that we want. Any form used in the service catalog needs a record producer (no, not Stock Aitken and Waterman!) in order to correctly map to fields and values in the incident table. So if you're creating a revised form, it needs to ensure that all the fields tie in - and if there isn't one, it's then a case of seeing if the incident table can be expanded (or not).

It was definitely busy all round, and glad to be able to leave on time feeling like I had done a lot, but with plenty still to do. I'd also done some additional research about how Office 365 updates trash the Visio Viewer association, and look like I've got a possible solution to that so that it doesn't break every single time. More testing needed, but hopefully got something to this anyway. It's always good to actually think on the feet and get things nicely sorted.

I was looking forward to Celebrity Hunted on Channel 4 tonight, and wasn't disappointed either, it has to be said. I've loved the original series of that and was so pleased when the bloke who was just an ordinary bloke and no one thought would evade capture proved everyone wrong and was one of two who managed to win the share of the money at the end. Of course the celebrity one has added difficulty - everyone will recognise you, especially if speaking to strangers and asking for help (yes that is you, Anneka Rice!) was part of the job in television programmes from the past.

So off they went, with the excellent Nick Harvey theme tune (make that tune of the day) setting the scene rather well too. The Made in Chelsea pair of course escaped by helicopter to the Isle of Wight, and in a twist of irony, Anneka ended up being shipped there by her friend from Dire Straits along the way. I do think though Steph and Dom formerly from Gogglebox will be caught - especially as he was daft enough to use a phone that would obviously be traced. See what happens next week!

Monday 9th October - Hinged

I had noticed on Friday night that for some reason one of the soft close hinge covers that are on the doors to all the kitchen cupboards had given up the ghost and wasn't working. On further examination it looked like one of the two teeth which hold the soft close cover in place had broken and so had fallen off. The hinge thankfully was all intact still and so it was a case of me being able to source a replacement, and managed to see on online for a mere £3, so got that ordered, all sorted when it arrives. So much easier when it's actually easy to source parts I think!

I also arrived home and noted what had arrived in the post - a t-shirt I had ordered. And no ordinary t-shirt either. As I've been following All The Stations on the epic journey I noted that they'd made t-shirts for both Welsh and Gaelic, but thought it was a bit amiss that there was no Cornish. An email to the Cornish Language Office or two later, and I'd got the translations to the bloke who makes the t-shirts, and they agreed to get it done. And so they now exist on the merchandise site - if you're Cornish, go buy one!

Naturally of course I went for black and white in Cornish flag colours, but I guess bottle green for GWR might have been next of course. It looked the part, and it's one of two different translations, so I've suggested to The Love that getting the other one in another colour might work rather nicely. I guess too I can save them for a possible future trip to Cornwall of course, and that'd be good. I might even have to get another different design yet, but I'll see.

I also spent some time tonight listening to the new EP from Donna Marie, called Acoustica, which is available via her Twitter account if you message her nicely and ask for it. Naturally as a fan for some time (I still have plenty of the other EPs on CD from back when) I was excited as ever to hear it. And yes, it's lovely. For me, "Heal Your Mind" has her on breathless vocal form with some gorgeous acoustic guitar, so tune of the day it most definitely is. I even don't mind the cover of "Still The One" by Shania Twain, which you'll recognise within around ten seconds, and a good cover too at that.

Over on the football front, Wales and the Republic of Ireland battled it out in Cardiff for the potential runners' up spot in the group to possibly earn a play off place. With results elsewhere potentially being a bit hazardous, it did mean either side would have to win, and so with the pressure being soaked up by the Irish, they hit forward in the second half and James McLean scored to break Welsh hearts. In fact a draw wouldn't have been good for either side, so it really was winner takes all for the play-offs.

Sunday 8th October - Sauntering

I was up early but I left The Love In My Heart having a well deserved lie in, as I wanted to see the Bathurst 1000 touring car race from Australia. I had recorded it from Freesports on Freeview, but for some reason the signal must have cut off overnight and stopped the recording to the Freeview HD recorder. Noooo! Thankfully, it was still on due to rather wet conditions on Mount Panorama, so was able to see the last fifteen laps or so when I did get up. It was an epic race and in the end, David Reynolds along with his co-driver Luke Youlden won their first Bathurst 1000, and that was pretty good to see. They kept their heads when a lot of other drivers went off (including Mark Winterbottom into Forrest's Elbow with a lap and a half left) so it was pretty ace all round.

I made The Love and I breakfast later on, and once that was all sorted we had a nice relaxing chilled out rest of the morning, getting ourselves ready and then heading off into the centre of Croydon and doing some bits of window shopping. It was good to mooch around Debenhams and indeed House of Fraser and see what was in the sale, but also what potentially I could get The Love for Christmas as well - and had some nice ideas that I saw as well, which I know she would like. One thing we did see in Boots later might be purchased by one of her relations, but good to know that you could still try out a number of samples of perfume for example and see which one you like without having to commit shedloads of money first.

Later on we headed back to mine and it was time for a game of Scrabble, with the Haçienda Classical album being played too. The version of "Voodoo Ray" is pretty good on there, so tune of the day no question. In fact it was good to have that on in the background as we both made some excellent moves all round - I played QUILT on triple word for 42, and The Love played SEX (and making MAILS too) for a good score of 34, and followed that up with FIVE in the bottom left corner or 30 too, so good effort there all round methinks.

It was then on the train and tube back to Warren Street station and off to the Crown and Anchor for our usual Sunday lunch. In fact they had the Triple Chocoholic ale on, so that was to be had, especially as it's a very dark chocolate coloured stout, so me sorted, and of course with the beef and amber ale pie too which is always lovely - with The Love having the roast pork which looked ace. She always gets a lot of vegetables and so passes over a couple of the stunning heritage carrots to me, as you do!

It was a rather sad farewell at Euston later, even though she was getting a later train than normal (the 1837 at that) and we both felt like we'd had a nice relaxed weekend, and had plenty of hugs along the way which was always nice. It makes me realise just how much I love her to bits and how much that being apart during the week just makes the heart grow a lot fonder to be honest. I just hope that we can carry on working out the way we have done for the last two years, and make our relationship last wonderfully well.

I did record the F1 from the Japanese Grand Prix earlier so watched that when I got home, and that was pretty good stuff, even though Lewis Hamilton won well, he did have a tough challenge from Max Verstappen most of the way and had to be on it for most of the time too. Of course with Sebastian Vettel's car conking out early on it did mean that the title could have been well on its way to be decided here, but no complaints here. Also, kudos too to the Force India team for another consistent double points finish.

Saturday 7th October - Is Brixton A City Very Clear To Us?

It was a cloudy morning over Croydon, and it had rained a little bit which wasn't good. I did nip out and was able to get some little bits I needed for the flat, including some hob cleaner, and had a little mooch around some of the other shops before heading home and getting everywhere even more cleaner and sorted out. The Love In My Heart was on the train heading down from Manchester Piccadilly to Euston, so I made sure all was well and once she had got to Victoria, I headed to East Croydon station to meet up with The Love, and that was a rather nice hug all round to be honest.

Once we'd arrived back at mine and she had unpacked, we had a drink and a chat before heading out into the centre of Croydon and had a light lunch in The Milan Bar first, before heading off to the station to get the train. The Roaring Four Brewery were celebrating their second birthday and having a bit of a little celebration at the London Beer Lab in Brixton. I thought it'd be good to go and see what it was like, and also have a mooch around the markets and that there too (plus the Morley's department store which The Love would also like.) So off to Victoria, and seeing as the train was every 15 minutes and we'd missed one, it was on the tube to head off to Brixton.

Once we got out of the tube station, I showed The Love the David Bowie mural that's on the road opposite. Most of it is covered in plexiglass so it doesn't get scrawled on or wrecked now, a very sensible move that. We headed down the side of Marks and Spencer to Nursery Road and soon found the London Beer Lab. It was pretty busy actually and so we managed to get inside, and I admired all the beer on sale there - lots of local ales from the likes of the Gipsy Hill Brewery for example, and indeed lots of nice ales on, especially some limited runs made specially for the birthday.

I indulged myself with the Roaring Four Smoked Porter - my, it was gorgeous! It was black and dark with a smokey aftertaste, and a proper porter too, which is nice. And nicely priced too - £4 for the pint, and £3 for the glass of wine that The Love had. Pretty good really. It was good to catch up and chatter there and be all cosied up together, and once we'd had the lovely beer, we headed back to the centre, and down Electric Avenue with all the market stalls, and then passed more stalls under the railway bridge before then arriving at Pop Brixton.

Those of you who watched The Apprentice the other night should recognise it - it's a load of shipping containers converted into a retail space, similar to Boxpark in Shoreditch and Croydon. In fact it had plenty of food outlets and also a space used for different purposes, so the kilo vintage clothes sale was on. In effect pick your vintage clothes, get it weighed, and pay a fixed amount per kilo. Nice and packed too. In fact we liked it here, definitely very urban and bohemian but keeping lots of local styles of food there too - and some ales. It was tempting to stay there for a bit longer!

We did venture into the Morley's department store and The Love quite liked it - it was definitely independent and even had their Christmas decorations display up with the likes of Gisela Graham little things everywhere. Well, if it's good enough for Liberty's! We had a good mooch and then headed back to the train station, the whole time having the brilliant single "Brixton" by Renegade Soundwave in my head, so that's tune of the day (it's also where the title of today's entry comes from, one of the lyrics in case you wondered..)

Later on we settled in, I made us the M&S Dine in for Two (some chicken in a crumb with cheese and leeks, and potato wedges along with some mixed vegetables, and that went down nicely whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing. I have to say that I was mightily pleased that Jonnie Peacock did well, as did Mollie King from the Saturdays too. I had a feeling that Simon Rimmer and the Reverend Richard Coles would be near the bottom though, and The Love commented on how bad they both were!

Friday 6th October - Friday Night Fest

Another Friday night not taking the train anywhere apart from home, second week on the bounce. Of course this is because The Love In My Heart is coming to stay with me tomorrow, and that's always lovely. We've got a chilled weekend planned together, and for me at least it's going to be nice to be here with her - and she gets a lie in this way without Brian the cat purring early in the morning wanting his tummy tickled and a general love and fuss that he so craves, in the nicest way possible.

Work was busy but with that all sorted and some suggestions made to move forward with a couple of things, it was onwards to Tesco in Purley for the shopping. I time it well so that going down there is before the rush hour and the traffic being bad, and by the time I leave to head back home, the traffic going back to Croydon is much less, so works nicely. In fact I managed to get the 405 bus there and back which goes the back way past the bowling club and then over the top by a couple of schools and downhill, which works nicely when going to get a more scenic view rather than straight down the Brighton Road (the A235.)

So shopping was easily sorted really, just getting some bits for me for the week and for The Love and I to have a nice breakfast together on the Sunday, and I also got The Love some shower gel as she had run out here too - plus as the Azera coffee she loves at home is half price, got her a jar too so she can take that home on the Sunday. I did treat myself to the four beers for £6 deal and went all out St Austell ales and Cornish beer, so it was two of the Proper Black and one each of Proper Job and Tribute. Well, it'd be rude not to, to be honest!

It was home in good time for telly and of course Friday night is pretty much all Channel 4 now. The Crystal Maze had an all female team and they were quite good fun, getting a number of crystals along the way and being pretty good at most of the games too, and they got over 50 plus gold tokens at the end for a minor prize. Then it was on with Gogglebox, and they simply had to feature the classic moment from Antiques Road Trip when a £60 little mahogany box was found to contain a miniature camera that went for a mere £20,000 at auction! I bet the seller from the antiques shop was completely gutted. In case you wondered, it's a Chambre Automatique from Auguste Bertsch.

Then of course, The Last Leg, and with Victoria Coren Mitchell and Robert Webb joining in some insights into the week. As usual of course, dealt with in some hilarious fashion but with a serious message within there too. I for one was pleased to see that they had had a little mickey take about the dropping letters from the Conservative Party Conference earlier in the week, and had both Ls from Last Leg missing deliberately. Classic stuff, it really is.

After that I settled in and watched both episodes from this week's Top of the Pops on BBC Four, focussing on 1984 no less. It was good to see some long forgotten classics played on there, including the rather brilliant "Hot Water" by Level 42, the bassline of which provided inspiration for the Martin Galway soundtrack from the game "Comic Bakery" no less, so definitely tune of the day for that reason. And the classic "Big In Japan" from Alphaville, I still absolutely adore that song!

Thursday 5th October - Debating and Dine In

So it was another strike day on Southern today and as such the Thameslink train I often get to work was a little busier than usual, but not massively so (albeit both are effectively part of Govia Thameslink Railway) - and for the fourth day on the bounce, the same train I get in the morning was late. It's been anything from five to twelve minutes late this week without any explanation as to why this is - which really isn't good enough. Passengers should be kept informed, although with this being GTR, their lack of customer service isn't exactly surprising to be perfectly honest.

I have over the last year or so in particular considered whether a move would be an option to try and avoid all the issues that GTR present on a daily basis - not just on a strike day. Random cancellations. Not enough staff employed. Random skipping of stations just to match the PPM targets (which are time based at destinations incidentally.) And of course, the way that an increasing number of trains run where there's no allowance for disabled passengers, particularly mobility impaired, to board. No guard on train, unmanned station, what chace does that passenger have of boarding? None. It's an Equality Act breach every single time and really does need a test court case to show how unfit GTR are to run their services right now.

And on the other side of the coin, there is the fact that I do like where I live, the flat is lovely, and really warm and cosy, I've got shops close by for day to day shopping, I have a brilliant concierge in the block that sorts out all the parcels and post as well as keeping residents informed of things like window cleaning, ongoing maintenance work and so on. I also am well connected for other modes of transport to get to places, so buses and trams as well as two rail stations within walking distance to get me to a number of places should I wish to. So there is that as a flip side of course.

On the way home I headed off to Marks and Spencer in the centre of Croydon as the Dine In For Two offer was back on, and as The Love In My Heart was coming down this weekend, it was a case of it being an offer well worth taking up. I have to say that it was pretty busy in there and it was a case of being able to find the stuff I wanted, including a nice bottle of white wine, and then being able to get it all home and ready for the weekend - one less thing to buy at least and it'll be something we'll enjoy on Saturday night together.

I then settled in to watch England v Slovenia, with the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" being the choice of tune as ever (tune of the day) - but dear me, can ITV still not employ anyone else to be co-commentator other than Glenn Hoddle? His boring monologues make you want to fall asleep, and really always seems somewhat negative towards certain players for some reason as well. Granted, he is not as bad as Andy Townsend, but to be brutall honest he's the next worst one by some degree. And dear me, was the first half dull? Absolutely. So boring!

And the second half didn't get any better at all - the only thing that did make the positives was in stoppage time as a Kyle Walker run down the right and excellent cross found Harry Kane who stabbed the ball home past the keeper for 1-0 to England. And with Scotland also beating Slovakia 1-0, England had qualified with a game to spare, and Scotland now need to go to Slovenia on Sunday where a win would see them in the playoffs and second in the group.

Wednesday 4th October - Drama and Burgers

It was definitely dramatic having watched Doctor Foster last night, and not necessarily the ending that many would have thought would have happened. I won't spoil it for you in case you're yet to watch it on catch up, but definitely it was one that not only felt emotional, but also in a way a natural conclusion to the whole series. Although it may have been an open end for another series, I for one hope that they don't make it and end it as is - the best telly has often ended with two series and the focus being quality rather than quantity. In this case it definitely appears to be it.

I did avoid some dramas at work today but on the whole it was pretty busy. In a good way, it also was a positive because I was able to help out and get things sorted - such as one laptop that wasn't playing ball. We found that the onboard network adapter was borked, and so for these purposes we have a USB to Ethernet adapter. Of course there was no option to PXE boot from it, but using a USB stick with the boot image on for SCCM worked really well, and so we were able to get things done that way instead - there's always a way around these things when you think about it enough.

It was a time last night to settle in and watch the first of the new series of The Apprentice, and I have to say, not particularly impressed with the new crop of contestants. It's a case of them being too brash, too loud and in some cases not being able to even work together with major strops happening. The task was to sell burgers on the market or to trade - fair enough to do. One was going to Canary Wharf and sensibly had enough product to cook and sell in the lunch break, and then could at least sell the remainder to traders and the public during the rest of the day.

The other team though spent far too much time faffing around making the burgers, and by the time they had left and arrived in their chosen spot in Brixton, it was 3pm - way too late for any sales really. You've got to be there at the right time and indeed during lunch - the market stalls and where the team was (looked like Pop Brixton to me) was a decent enough location but you had to be there at the right time to get passing trade, especially people who work there and want a different spot of lunch.

It did annoy me somewhat that the boardroom ended up being the usual shouty match with not much shown in the way of maturity or business acumen, instead just wanting to out-shout each other. I personally would have got rid of more than one, first week or not, to send out a statement that such behaviour wouldn't be tolerated. And yet in all this, these are supposed to be some of the best minds in business competing for a £250k investment that you just don't get unless you're prepared to work at it. The theme tune is tune of the day though - even if it technically is just a bit of Profokiev with stuff bookended either side...

Tuesday 3rd October - Working Well and Nocturnal Cats

So it was another busy day at work today, but on the whole a pretty good one. I was due to have three meetings today but this went down to two after one was cancelled, as one of the rooms we proposed to use for the meeting is out of action for the next few weeks whilst we start en masse the rollout of laptops with the Windows 10 upgrade. It made sense therefore to make the use of the time to be able to test out the new Windows PE boot image that I made from the test SCCM system yesterday to see how it would perform and whether it would detect all the network adapters in hardware.

And actually, so far, it did, for everything. I was able to create the ISO image, and burn it to CD as well as also being able to create a bootable USB image for those laptops without a CD drive. I booted to all of them and had a few different models as a test, and they all saw the network adapter and therefore saw the task sequence wizard, which has to be something rather nice actually. It does mean that at least I'll be able to progress things nicely on the Friday when I make the change.

I had a nice chat with The Love In My Heart earlier on and we were talking about Brian the cat, and his seemingly nocturnal ability to spot other animals. It was in the dark outside and apparently one local tabby cat came towards the decking on the outside of the flat - good job there was a fence there otherwise Brian might have fancied scaring the cat off or chasing after it. I do think the tabby cat is being inquisitive and possibly wants some company, but I know what Brian gets like - he goes into a little growler mode and starts growling pretty loud to warn someone off. It may have been another animal he was suitably scaring off this morning apparently.

I must admit as the Autumn comes and the nights come quicker in terms of time, I also know it's going to be even more so when the clocks go back at the end of this month. For me of course this is when Winter kicks in, when the only daylight that you may see is when you're at work, and it's a real sense of making the most of the time you do have in daylight. I'll be doing that on Saturday when The Love In My Heart comes down for the weekned, which I'm really looking forward to.

And something else I'm looking forward to - the finale of Doctor Foster tonight. I know it's going to be pretty dramatic on the whole and it'll also be a case of working out what will happen and how it got to that point. The theme tune is tune of the day and I must admit that it's been the best thing on telly this year - full of tension, deceit, betrayal and yet more tension. Suranne Jones has been superb in this, she really has, and I'm sure it'll be a talking point amongst some of us at work tomorrow...

Monday 2nd October - Intuition and Evacuation

It was a positive morning and day all told at work today, not least as the now calm head I have these days means that I was able to look at a situation we had at the start of the laptop rollout and be able to offer a sensible suggestion and resolution moving ahead. This worked really well and it was nice that the colleague who was also in one of our meetings gave me some nice praise for being able to get things sorted so quickly. That admittedly did make my day nicely as it meant that I was able to park that and get on with plenty of other stuff.

One thing I've been checking over is the revised Windows PE image that comes with Windows ADK 1607. The good news is that it looks like the majority of drivers present should serve all the network and storage adapters we have across the desktop and laptop estate, and if need be, I can always add them back in at a later date if need be if something fails. On the whole though what this does mean is that I can plan ahead with the planned change for Friday and set to work on what I want to do, so definitely a good thing.

I was at home later and I'd heard locally that East Croydon station had been evacuated due to a suspicious package being left on one of the platforms. With the recent incident at Parsons Green tube station and the Las Vegas attack overnight, the British Transport Police were taking no chances, closing off the station and getting everyone out. Trains weren't moving, and the flats which are close by to the stations were all evacuated too, so definitely not taking no chances either.

Thankfully later on it looked like the package wasn't as bad as first feared, but understandable to be cautious rather than assume and it all go wrong. It did make me wonder who would be so careless as to leave stuff behind, especially as in this day and age we all have to be vigilant and make sure we report what we don't think looks right. It was a double irony for those who may have been coming back from Gatwick after the bad news this morning about Monarch going bump and that all future flights were cancelled, with alternative flights provided to get people homewards.

I had another mooch through the Rare Record Price Guide 2018 as well, checking over some of my vinyl albums tonight. One thing's for certain: a number of progressive rock labels have had albums on said labels sky rocket, especially the likes of spiral Vertigo label, Harvest label (notably for some albums if the green centres don't have the EMI label as part of it) and so on. So if you have some of those in decent condition, hang on to them and get the corresponding CD / MP3 version of the album to keep your vinyl in lovely condition. One track from one of those albums, the ace "Shoot Her If She Runs" by Climax Chicago, is tune of the day.

Sunday 1st October - Vinyl Valuation

I got up early primarily as I wanted to watch the live F1 race from Malaysia, the final time that this place would host it. I had some coffee and breakfast ready and watched a rather enjoyable race on the whole, with Max Verstappen doing the business - getting past Lewis Hamilton and staying there comfortably. Sebastian Vettel charged through the field from the back, and got all the way to 4th and challenged Daniel Ricciardo, but his super soft tyres went away and the Aussie stayed in third, and he loved that. Props too to Stoffel Vandoorne for the second 7th place on the trot in the vastly crap McLaren Honda - he really drove the wheels off that pile of junk. I'm so glad McLaren have seen sense and are getting a different engine supplier next year.

Yesterday my Rare Record Price Guide 2018 arrived whilst I was out, and so today I decided to spend some time checking over the rare items in my music collection. Before that though I decided to head into Camden and check a couple of the record shops there, not least because they're always good to browse in. The train from East Croydon was packed as plenty of people were off to Wembley to see the American football, which of course meant that the Victoria line was also busy too. I changed for the Northern Line at Euston and headed off to Camden Town station, where the exit system was in place to stop crowding.

I had a walk to a couple of record shops, and in one of them I saw a really nice copy of John Keating's "The Space Experience" on quadrophonic strereo no less. It wasn't cheap, but for a Commodore 64 fan, also a must at some point - as two tracks on there were effectively covered by Rob Hubbard for the game Warhawk. I had a check of my price guide later, and the record was priced bang on the guide price - interestingly, it's worth a bit more because it's on quad stereo rather than standard, so well worth noting if you happen to spot a copy yourself of course.

I also noted that the Camden markets were as busy as ever, and they really seemed to be offering all sorts. It was very busy though so I decided just to concentrate omn the record stalls and have a mooch there - nothing jumped out at me per se, but all good stuff to get hold of nonetheless, and certainly if you're starting a vinyl collection, I can highly recommend Out on the Floor on Inverness Street. Shame that Music and Video Exchange isn't here anymore though - made a note so would need to go to Notting Hill Gate or Greenwich instead mind you.

The rain had started to come down a touch so walked up to Chalk Farm tube, and from there changed at Euston to get the Victoria Line and train back homeward, where I spent the afternoon relaxed and watching the American football game on BBC Two, which admittedly was pretty dull to say the least till the second half. I did keep an eye on the football scores though and it was noticeable that Burnley had won at Everton and were doing a really good job away from home, they're up to sixth now.

So I spent some time checking through my Rare Record Price Guide, and interesting to note that vinyl particularly is on the up, and the line between mint and other conditions appears to be a greater gap. It's worth noting too that the prices in the guide are for mint, so gives you a starting point to work from. I have both New Order CD Video singles, and both of those have at least retained the previous guide price (one of which has gone up) - and some other early 12" singles I have are generally holding value nicely.

Surprisingly one of the singles I have by The Fall, the 10" single of "15 Ways" on clear vinyl is in the guide and at a decent value too. I must admit part of me getting that though was for one of the B-sides, "Hey Student" which is classic Mark E Smith vocals at its finest, so tune of the day - and definitely one which is pretty apt considering the students are all back at their Universities now. Of course nothing ever beats surreal as Mark E Smith reading out the football scores as he did once...