Break and enter

11:43 am : Wednesday, 14 November 2018  |  


Early this morning we suffered an attempted burglary. Attempted, but quickly aborted. Possibly due to my loud voice coming at them from the next room.

Because of her health needs, my partner has the big bed in the main bedroom all to herself, while I have a small bed in the spare room. Given that I sometimes snore, I will sometimes take to the sofa in the living room, and make my Neanderthal noises in there. Last night was one of those nights. On the sofa with a couple of cushions and a v-shaped pillow, tucked up and dreaming of Manchester or something other, whilst making ug noises.

At 3:50AM I hear shuffling which I assume is my partner in the hall about to go to the bathroom. I am then woken proper by a humongous bang/crash from the kitchen, and my immediate response is: "FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!" Assuming the cat has knocked something over and broken it, I go into the kitchen to see the window wide open, having been forced. Call it foolish, but my next instinct is to go outside with my phone blaring its torch light, and a saucepan in my hand should there be any need for combat. No one around. We had a visit from the Police about half an hour later, though this did little to chill my partner's nerves, or calm me down sufficiently for sleep.

Someone I knew once described being burgled as like being raped. Your own home is violated, and your possessions are fingered. The last time I suffered a burglary was in 1992, when £1100 worth of audio equipment was taken. Since then I have lived much of my life with relatively little, knowing full well that I would have little, if anything, to lose. Funny how, having only just finished building a decent audio system, someone makes an attempt on our property. Coincidence? Or just some opportunist scum c*nt from Corby or Peterborough?

These properties are reserved for the elderly or the disabled, so will sadly attract the attention of the lowdown and filthy. Clearly they did not expect a loud voice to immediately serenade them from the next room.

Gone but not forgotten

12:53 am : Sunday, 4 November 2018  |  , ,


In 1992, in the race to replace the humble compact cassette, Sony launched the MiniDisc format. This was in competition with Philips and their Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) format, whose players were back-compatible with the good old analogue cassette. Trouble was, these DCC decks were pretty sizeable, even in comparison with a standard cassette deck. That just put me off. Even in 1996 when DCC was dying out, and its decks and prerecorded media were being offloaded cheap, I was still not interested. In 1997 Sony decided to give their minidisc format another push, and this time it was a very attractive proposition.

In 1998 the cost of a minidisc deck fell to £150, and I was persuaded. I was now convinced that the cassette could be replaced. The discs were smaller, had instant access (ie. no winding or rewinding) and sounded terrific. What could possibly go wrong?

The new millennium then brought us recordable CDs at an affordable price, which could play in almost any CD player. Solid-state technology then brought us the MP3 player, and these advances in music storage technology only served to hurt the minidisc format, which would eventually be declared gefrunk by Sony in 2013.

A couple of days ago I took delivery of a Sony MDS-JE510 minidisc deck. The very model I owned between 1998 and 2000. Well worn and missing its remote, it was still a pleasure to own one again. There were a couple of issues with the deck. The audio contacts on the back needed a good clean, the disc-loading mechanism is a bit tetchy with cheapo disc brands like KAO, and the display is a bit dim after all these years. The record head was also getting stuck, but I managed to free this up. The fact that it records and edits without any trouble is a triumph in itself.

All that is missing from this audio system now is a pair of speakers. Trawling eBay for a suitable pair is thoroughly amusing. You see a pic that shows a yummy-looking speaker at a wonderful price, only to realise the person is selling just the one speaker. WHY SELL JUST ONE SPEAKER?!? Others offer ripped woofer cones, blown tweeters and chipped veneer for unreasonably steep prices. Many people expect you to collect in person. Come guys! We don't mind paying £20-30 for delivery on top of the price - just put them in a fricking box and offer postage! My original choice of Mordaunt-Short MS10i speakers is proving hard to come by, and I was highly tempted by their very radical-looking MS812 models, though they probably would be a slight too radical for Her Ladyship! So I am currently watching some Gale 3030 floorstanders. There is the option of postage, but let us hope the bidding doesn't get too steep.