Charity Shop mysteries – Waterfront – E.P.

Hello, and welcome to a new feature. Since I’ve been hunting through the charity shops, I’ve garnered a liking for “mystery” CDs. these are CDs from bands that I’ve never actually heard of, bands who never made it big, and independently produced CDs. You know those ones, people who got together in their mate’s garage. It all started a few years ago when I unearthed that Jean Bennet Record waaaay back in 2011, and over the years I’ve had comments from many fans of Jean, found out more than I thought I ever would, and learned that she’d had a more interesting life than I’d ever realised.

Since then, my charity shop travels would often unearth little gems like that. CDs without catalogue numbers, barcodes and even record labels. CDs produced in small numbers, that somehow make their way into the charity shops.

Of course, I’m not buying them just for their music, but to also hopefully shed a bit of light on the band itself, do a little bit of research, and hopefully one day this page will turn up in search results and return some happy memories for those concerned and know that someone, somewhere has a copy of their music.

One reason I’m doing it, is because of the Myspace fiasco that occurred a couple of years back. Myspace was a place where this exact type of band could upload their work, share it with family and friends, and of course, fans. Some time a couple of years ago, the Myspace media player fell silent. Thanks to a “server migration”, terabytes of music and countless tracks by these unsigned bands went up in virtual smoke. To this day, I still don’t believe that this archive of hard work and dedication could have just gone, without warning, with a single click of a Myspace emloyee’s mouse, bit it happened. It’s gone..

Some of these bands took it upon themselves to produce CDs, so thankfully, their music lives on. This first one is exactly one of those bands affected by the Myspace server blackout, so at least 4 of their tracks survive into the 2020s.

This is a CD that I just picked up today. It’s a CD that has their Myspace site on the back cover, and it’s the whole reason that spurred me onto start these, as I knew their music would have been affected by the loss. And, indeed they were.

This one comes from a band called Waterfront. Their Myspace link is still active, but as I predicted, the link to the music has stopped working.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the artwork, and CD. I promise my photography will get more professional as this goes on (No it won’t – Ed.)

The inside of the CD sleeve reads as follows:

Waterfront are:
Sam Willoughby – Vocals & Guitar
David Dowling – Guitar
Pip Coates – Bass & Backing Vocals
Tim Carr – Drums & Backing Vocals

with
Mark Broughton – Keyboards

Recorded @ Digital Gardens on October 24-26 2007
Engineered by Johanas Rawlinson
Propduced by Waterfront
Additional Production by Johanas Rawlinson

Thanks to Matthew Brown, Mark Broughton, Johanas Rawlinson and all our friends and family

All songs written by Waterfront
Copyright Sam Willoughby
All Artwork by Matthew Brown

The CD is a professionally printed CD-R, with decent quality inlays and CD label. There’s no catalogue / matrix numbers anywhere on the disc or packaging. There’s a link in the Myspace profile to “Polinta CD manufacturing”. This could be a coincidence, however, as they’re based in Malaysia.

The four tracks on the CD are as follows…

1 For You (04:05)
2. New Life (04:09)
3. Far Away (04:02)
4. Hate To Say it (04:12)

I have, of course, had a play of it. The first two tracks or my favourite. I could probably get away with playing “For You” on loop for a while and not get sick of it, it’s got some nice acoustic guitar bits and decent bassline to it.

But, what became of the band? Apart from the Myspace profile, very little. It’s proved more difficult than I imagined to track down anything about the band at all. Normally the place where it’s recorded is a good start, but nothing for “Digital Gardens” that I can see in the UK Obviously, it’s coming up to 13 years since this CD was recorded, so anything could have happened. A shame, as I’ve really enjoyed listening to this CD. Had it playing the entire time I’ve been typing this.

EDIT: I’m aware there was a late 80s band called Waterfront. These aren’t the same people.

Another server move!

Apparently, my server got thrown into the back of a van the other day, and shoipped off to a shiny new datacentre, so drop a comment if something appears broken. It shouldn’t do, but y’know. these things happen. I say this every time it happens (third or fourth time now?) nd nobody ever does. Either that means that nothing went wrong, and my webhosts are doing their job correctly, or it means that nobody is reading this. I can’t use SFTP but that’ll probably just be the DNS kicking back in, or something.

Pointless post is pointless.

Synology DS218+ RAM upgrade

Recently I had the chance to aquire a Synology DS218+ NAS drive. I’ve had a DS216j for quite a few years – this beast has not missed a beat in over three years, constantly spinning its 3Tb drives for 24 hours a day.It’s been a web server, SFTP server,email server… download / torrent box. It’s been a very good servant. but recently, it’s been showing its age, especially when trying to use some of the built-in apps on it, such as the gallery, so I decided to get an updated model.

I could have went with another make, but when this beast has been so good to me, it felt wrong to stray away, so I went for a DS218+ with a 12tb Seagate Ironwolf drive.

It arrived a couple of weeks ago, and it’s currently spinning away next to the old DS216j.

One thing that drove me towards that model is that it was upgradeable – or at least the RAM is. It comes with 2Gb built in, but the blurb on the website said you could get a memory expansion for it. It could go up to 6Gb. Cor! I had a feeling this would be a custom memory module, and probably more expensive than normal RAM, so I thought I’d just update it if and when I needed it.

After it arrived, and while fitting the drive, I noticed the RAM expansion looked particularly “normal”, just like a standard laptop DIMM socket. I did a bit of digging around and yep, it takes normal DIMMs. Hurrah! In fact the article I was reading suggested you could get a larger memory module such as an 8Gb one, and it’ll work fine. So, I got it.

It arrived at Mercuryvapour Towers just a few moments ago. So, how easy is it to fit? Oh, very. For some reason, I thought this would be a little more involved but it really isn’t.

The memory I opted for is… “Crucial CT102464BF160B 8 GB (DDR3L, 1600 MT/s, PC3L-12800, SODIMM, 204-Pin) Memory”. It set me back just under £30, but looking at the prices on amazon today, it’s gone up to £34.

Anyway, shut down the device. Slip off the front cover, and remove the right drive bay. Under this, you will see a white DIMM socket. Slide in the memory module (with the notch on the left hand side), and youll hear the levers click. Just the same as any other RAM module really.

I booted it back up, and confirmed it did indeed read 10Gb. It was all a lot easier than it sounded in my head.

Finally, the last step is to perform a memory test on the device This isn’t something you can do from inside the NAS operating system – instead, you have to download the Synology Assistant software. Download, install and run it. Select your NAS drive, click the cog button in the top right, and click “Perform Memory Test”. Go back out to the device list, and you’ll now see a “Memory Test” button. Press this, and it’ll warn you that this will take time to perform the memory test, and that’s going to reboot the machine…

The software will report that the device is “Performing Memory Test”, and the power light on the NAS drive will constantly flash orange. Unfortunately, there’s no progress monitor, so I have no idea how long will be left. At the time of typing, it’s up to about 90 minutes. If you’re going to do this, I’d recommend doing it when you’re not planning to use the device. (EDIT: It took just under 4 hours to complete the memory test)

No doubt some of you are wondering if you can update the 2Gb that’s already built into the device? Apparently, yes, you can. It’s just another memory module. Unfortunately, it’s inaccessible without fully dismantling the device, so you have to question whether it’s even worth doing at all. 10gb should be enough for a NAS drive under any circumstance… it’s more than what’s in most perfectly serviceable PCs.

EDIT: I was doing some thinking about what the whole point of 10Gb would be, and I think I’ve found it. Virtual machines. I’m actually typing this right now on a virtual machine that’s running of the NAS drive. I’m currently running a bare, yet serviceable Linux Mint installation from it. Something which I don’t think would be possible with my previous NAS drive. This could be fun!

Let’s Go To Misterland

I’ve been buying music again. Seeing as this blog’s been going on for 20 years, I’m bound to have touched on this subject before, but seeing as I can’t remember, I’m sure you, my dear reader won’t recall either. Today, I’ve had good reason to revisit this subject… so how did my love for music begin, and how did it flourish into what could be classed an a compulsive collecting disorder, or something?

Some of my earliest memories are in my dad’s car. I’m sure he had a particular tape that had “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys taped onto it. I’d go so far as to say this was my first musical memory. I’m sure at this point, I must have shown some interest in music, as for Xmas 1984, I got my first ever record player. It was a Fisher Price jobby. Beige in colour, with an orange turntable, and a massive orange tone arm. I have a photo somewhere, but unfortunately, you’ll have to make do with a photo of me opening my presents on what may have been the same day, or it may have been the year after.

Gosh darn it, I’m close to reminiscing about that brown sofa now. Anyhoo. Xmas came, and I got a small selection of records, all perfectly suited for a child of this age…

“Do They Know It’s Xmas” – It’ll have been the most popular record at the time.
“We All Stand Together” – Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus
“Child’s Play” – a BBC record containing tracks interesting for kids, including the Dr. Who theme, some stories, and a couple of tracks containing Floella Benjamin.
“The Mr. Men Songs”. Featured Arthur Lowe. Another BBC record. Originally released on Pye records
“Stories from Playschool”. A spoken-word record, containing, as it suggests, stories from Playschool.

One main problem with this setup, is that this was a real record player. It played real records, from a real stylus. Sadly, after years of playing everything from Band Aid to biscuits, the turntable finally gave up the ghost. The player “went into storage”, also known as the black bin bag at the side of the road, and most of the records suffered a similar fate. As my childhood grew, I’d moved onto tapes, or rather, taping stuff off the radio, outgrowing these kid’s records.

Fast forward to 1991. My dad brought home a music centre from work. Not sure how he got hold of it. Maybe one of the customers wanted shot of it? Don’t know. Either way, it ended up in our possession, and I was thrilled to finally have a proper music system. It then came to see what records I had to play on it…

I had a choice of either “The Mr. Men Songs” or “Child’s Play”. The rest had went to the great jukebox in the sky. I still have tapes of me doing pretendy radio stations from back in the day featuring selected tracks from these two records. Eventually, these scratched kiddy records went out of circulation, for the final time, eventually becoming part of experiments involving light bulbs and sharp things. Years and years passed, and about 5 years ago, I founf the Mr. Men record smashed under a ppile of old boxes in the cupboard. It was then that I started regretting my actions. A small part of my brain gnawed away at me, wanting to hear some of those songs again. I thought it’d be interesting to hear them with a proper setup, not like the mono little record player, and not like the jumping, scratched mess I forced the music system into playing.

Turns out it’s been particularly hard to find in the second-hand market. Most copies probably just got scratched or thrown away, when the child grew up. After all, it’s not going to win an Ivor Novello award any time soon, but thankfully, I never grew up, and there’s been a little part of my brain dedicated to its memory.

Over the years, I learned it was arranged by Keith Mansfield… the very same guy who composed so many BBC themes, and who gives his name to the KPM music library (I believe). The lyrics were written by Roger Hargreaves himself.

Well, after years of searching I finally found a copy… on tape! Yesterday, I was in Northallerton, which Chris, and after spending more time and money than I really should have in a certain brilliant record shop, I headed round the charity shops. the last one I went into was the Blue Cross shop, near the end of the high street. The CDs weren’t up to much, so I had a look through the tapes. There it was, in all of its plastic glory. The sticker said £1.49. Oof. I’ve paid much more for much worse so I waddled off to the counter, with tape in hand. Turns out it was only 20p, and I only had a tenner, after I’d fed the parking machine gods all of my loose change earlier on in the day. Chris had disappeared outside by this point so I sheepishly handed over The Queen, and while the lady showed the trainee cashier how to use the till, I explained pretty much everything I typed above.

SO, yeah. It’s a bit of an embarrassing purchase, but there’s just something about those 1970s graphics and that BBC logo that will always hold a place in my heart. I’ve yet to play it… it came out in 1979, so no idea what 40 years have done to it.

And yes, I’m well aware that it was originally released on Epic Records back in 1976. It says so on the cover. Oh, here, have some photos of it. (This is your worst closing line ever – Ed). Oh, shut up.

As of December 2019, I’ve played and converted this. It really is as catchy as I remember. In parts, anyway.

N-n-nineteen… Not out

Just a quick post. Nothing amazing, just to say today is the nineteenth anniversary of me starting this crap. Eeee. 19 years. Just think, pretty much every cat and dog that was alive when I started this, will now be dead. Google was barely a thing. YouTube was a mere glint, Facebook and twitter weren’t even dirty stains on the duvet. I also had all of my toes, and an unwaving sense of positivity.

So, here’s to another 19 years. Wonder if I’ll be doing this in another 19 years? Yeah, erm. Probably not.

Cheers!

My left foot, part 3!

Well, that last post was a slight detour from the current subject matter. It’s been a week since the whole steak incident, so we now return to your scheduled programming – the ongoing saga with my bloody foot! Anyway, I’ll continue where I left off. You’ll have to read below if you want a recap

July 30th came. It was a dreary Tuesday. Once again, the trip was made to North Tees.. The specialist was a jolly man. who spoke with a news-reader type voice. I entered the office, took my shoes and socks off, and he had a play around with my toes. After lots of umming and ahhing, (the type you get when a builder is inspecting your boiler (oo-er), and thinks the job is going to be rather costly), and it was decided that the best decision was to cut part of my toe off.

Well, the beWHAT? THEY’RE GOING TO WHAT? Admittedly, the next few minutes are a blur, as I had to come to terms with actually losing a body part. Thankfully, he dictated what he was going to do, and sent me a letter with it all on. Basically, there were lots of technical terms referring to lobbing off a bit of toe. It did start, however, with him calling me “This chap”. But, in a nutshell, my toes appeared to be “clawing”, as in, they’re permanently clenched in, and the tip of the toe had been rubbing so much that it probably wasn’t going to be able to be saved. There’s probably a technical name in that letter, but I can’t be arsed to look it up.

He also berated my choice of footwear. Apparently, walking boots were crap for this type of foot problem, which was entirely contradictory of what I was told by another foot specialist, who measured me up for my insoles just a few months before. For fuck’s sake.

A lady from orthotics came in and measured my feet, while the specialist went through his extensive checklist of what could happen during the operation. Strangely, a lot of bladder related stuff and not much else. It was arranged for me to have my pre-op assessment now. This was basically because it’s a 30-mile round-trip to get from the leafy grounds of Mercuryvapour Towers, to North Tees hospital.

All this entailed was a lot of box ticking, and a quick examination. “Your blood pressure’s a little high…” said the nurse. I felt like saying “Well, so would yours be if you’ve just been told you’re getting part of your toe cut off…”. A second reading was lower, so it was probably just my white coat syndrome kicking in.

On the way home, I began to concoct some jokes, after all, laughter is the best medicine. This lasted all of about half an hour, before I began to think of someone I know who started off losing a toe, then all of his toes, then his foot, then his leg below his knee, and eventually died. Sure, he had other health problems, but I began to think “Is this how it starts…” Depression certainly kicked in for a few days I certainly wasn’t in a good place for this time. It was a case of waiting for the letter to plop through the door with the date of when I was getting the chop.

The date of my operation came through, and it was exactly a week from when the letter was dated. I genuinely can’t work out if this made me feel better or worse. I had the date. It could all be over, or it could just be the beginning.

I filled the time with a few trips out. The Sunday consisted of a rather disappointing Redcar car boot sale. I’m guessing this may have just been because of the time of year, but thankfully, the walk around Redcar more than made up for it. There was one store called “Goodwins” that had an metric shit-ton of random CDs, listed for a quid.

Despite being a quid a pop, I didn’t bother getting any. There were far too many to look through, and there was far too much crap to contend with. “Top Musicians Play Sting And The Police”…. Maybe my heart just wasn’t in it.

I returned from the car boot with literally a handful of CDS and a few records. There just weasn’t very much at all. I needed something to pass the time while I was off, and cataloguing an absolute pile of CDs would have been ideal. Oh well.

This day was the penultimate day before the operation. The next day just involved work, and telling everyone that I’ll “see them when I see them”. The rest of that day was then spent going around the town, grabbing the finer essentials, namely a pair of slippers and a dressing gown for the hospital. This was also the day that I received some devastating news about the death of Rab, an old work colleague. This put things into perspective a bit. I was losing a bit of a toe. Some people have much worse problems.

All there was left to do now was to attempt to get some sleep and hope that tomorrow, and the stay in hospital would come and go quickly….And so will part 4!