Saturday, 18 December 2010

A Fabulous Gift

While Marion was at the shops yesterday I spent time playing with this wonderful new toy. It's an iPod dock with a difference. Known as a Carbon Trinity amplifier, it uses a hybrid valve system to create the most pure sounds imaginable and we have it plus speakers as a retirement gift courtesy of very generous friends. The sound quality is unbelievable and I foresee a pretty musical retirement.

My reading binge continues unabated and yesterday I read Nick Hornby's Juliet Naked. I really like Nick Hornby. He has that nice guy aura about him that makes you believe that he would be a good bloke to share a pint with and we share an apocryphal moment. At the time that his character in Fever Pitch, watching things unfold in a TV shop window, is sent into ecstasy as Michael Thomas slots home Arsenal's last gasp goal in the 1988/1989 season to win 2-0 and take the title from Liverpool on the lowest margin ever, I am in the ground, tears welling up and shaking my head.

This is another good book. You may think by now that with all the positive comments this week I like everything I read but Marion is very good at researching and makes long lists and reads loads of reviews before buying. The story is about relationships and is built on geeky super fan Duncan's obsession with an obscure 80's rocker Tucker Crowe. He takes his long suffering girlfriend Annie on a pilgrimage to the USA to witness first hand the locations of Tucker's pivotal career moments. Although this might sound far fetched, these people do exist - I know somebody who spent his summer holidays in Sweden at the end of Agnetha Falskog's drive. Crowe has been a silent recluse for twenty years so when a new album arrives out of the blue Duncan seizes the opportunity to review it on his Tucker Crowe Internet fan site. The album is a pared down version of Crowe's epic album Juliet and the deluded Duncan in a king's new clothes moment treats it as some sort of newly discovered holy grail. The album becomes known as Juliet Naked. Annie sees it for what it really is - a heap of shit - and posts her own review on the site. Her review is spotted by the great man himself. I won't give any more of the plot away but I couldn't stop turning the pages to see how the characters moved on. My initial feeling on finishing the novel was that, although a great read, I couldn't see some of the events happening. However, on reflection, Hornby is actually very much up to date in his thinking. The long tail economics that I have just been reading about ensures that there is a market for the tiniest niche product when you have the whole world to aim at and with the advent of Twitter never has it been easier for fans to interact directly with their idols. Well worth a read.

Woke up today to the heaviest snowfall we've seen here in Southport for over twenty years and the dreaded message "No Satellite Signal Is Being Received" on the TV which is hardly surprising considering the dish was carrying almost a foot a snow. I knew that these crutches would come in useful and Marion held open the window for me to knock the snow off the dish using them.

I'll close today with a super Christmas greeting received from those lovely people at Workhouse Marketing in Ribchester. Check it out Workhouse Marketing Christmas Card