D4D

A drop of blood in a sea of piss

Bat Out Of Hell, Dominion Theatre

Last weekend, I went to see Bat Out Of Hell, the juke-box musical based on the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy by Meatloaf.

It hadn’t been super-high on my priority list, but a friend of mine is running the lighting desk, and it was also in consideration as something to take my mum to later in the year, so I picked up a ticket to see what it was like.

I didn’t really know what to expect – and in many ways, I’m glad of that.  While I did enjoy it, it’s not one I’d go and see again (and also I’m not convinced that mum would like it) so it was definitely worth seeing as research first.  In fairness, a lot of people really like it and have seen it multiple times – and Meatloaf himself saw it a couple of days before I did, and seemed to be pleased with the entire thing.  It just didn’t really do it for me – it’s a subjective thing, and I’m never going to say to anyone “Don’t go”.  It just turned out to not be my thing.

The staging, set, lighting and so on are great, the music performances are pretty good – but the story itself is woeful, and seems to be there just as a kind of bare basic scaffold on which to hang the songs.  (I’m no expert on juke-box musicals, so this could be the case with all of them, I don’t know – and I’m not going to generalise based on a sample of one!)

But still, it was entertaining enough, and kept me amused.  I didn’t come out thinking I’d wasted my money, or disappointed in the production – but I still wouldn’t want to pay to see it again…

 

Summer Cold

Over the last week, I’ve had another beast of a summer cold.  Entirely my own fault, having knackered myself significantly at the Ministry concert (long day in the sun, then an excessively hot gig, leading to a hefty dollop of dehydration and burnout) which weakened all my usual defences. Absolutely standard idiocy in my world, I’m used to it.

So it spent a fair amount of last week gestating, and came into proper being on Friday, and was at its worst on the Sunday.

On the Monday, I woke up at my normal time, and my entire body just went “Nope, sod off, going back to sleep”, and did so for another four hours.  (In fairness, I’d also slept abysmally up ’til that point, so it was understandable)  It made me late for work, but as that’s a moveable feast anyway, it wasn’t anything traumatic.

That sleep definitely helped sort things out – it’s still ongoing, but I’m definitely over the worst of it now.

As always, this is what happens when I slow things down…

Time Flying

Over the weekend, I had a thought about when I was living up in Manchester, and I wondered how long it had now been since I was living there.

The only easy way to be sure was to check on the D4D archives, and it turns out I left for Bracknell in December 2004.

Fourteen years ago, at the end of the year.  That’s pretty scary – how time flies, and all that jazz.

A Break In The Weather

At last, today we’ve had some rain for the first time in ages. It’s been lovely.

The heat’s supposed to be coming back next week, but for now it’s just nice to not be roasting away.

Maybe I’ll even get some sleep tonight…

Current Scams

At the moment, there are a couple of interesting (and fairly well-crafted) scams going around.  I’ve seen/received all of these in the last week or so.

Firstthe ‘we know what you’ve been up to‘ scam email.

It says something along the lines of “I know what you’ve been up to – when you were on that porn site (it’s noticeably non-specific on details) I loaded a screen-grabber to your machine, so we could record your ‘activities’“.  Some of them also have something like “We know your password for the site was [whatever]” – the password is usually an old one that they’ve taken from a record including your email address, and gambles on people using the same password across multiple sites. (In fairness, most people do exactly this)  And then it asks for a ransom “or your shame will be available for all to see” It’s pretty basic, but is apparently enough to scare a certain sub-set of people (AKA gullible idiots) who so far have forked out around $250,000 to the scammers.

Second – and there are two types of this currently bonging around – are the HMRC scams.

These basically draw on the whole paranoia about HMRC losing payments, or trying to take the business owner to court.

I’ve had umpteen emails about “Your payment hasn’t gone through” along with attached links or forms to fill in – always a pretty damn good clue that it’s a scam.  And again, they’re all ridiculously non-specific, don’t mention a company name/details, or what the payment is supposedly for – another warning sign

The second type, which is a bit nastier, is the phone message – I’ve had a couple now, with a message saying “We’re issuing a warrant in order to discuss this matter with you“, and sounding a lot more official.  Still no details though, or anything about what they’re wanting to discuss. (I know, in theory GDPR would also stop them from discussing, but that’s a side point for now)   However, they show the phone number – in my experience, calls from HMRC and the like come through a switchboard, and usually show as “Unknown Number” – and a quick search on that number provides more than enough evidence that it’s a scam.

 

Of course, there are plenty of other scam emails out there – it’s just that these are the ones I’ve noticed specifically this week, and particularly after having received a couple of the “HMRC” calls yesterday and today, so I thought I’d write a bit about them.

Ministry, O2 Forum, Kentish Town

I’ve been a fan of the (very loud) band Ministry for a very long time – I missed their last gig in London due to other stuff occurring, and had made sure I got tickets for the gig on Saturday night at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, London.

As I had nothing else planned, I went down to London early – I know the local area, and there are a few places very close to the venue where parking is free on a weekend, which makes the entire proposition even easier.  In light of my whole “not doing as much” policy, it was still a quiet and easy day – I had lunch, then found a couple of pubs to sit outside and either read, catch up on internet stuff, or do some reading.  With the weather the way it’s been, it was all most civilised.

For the gig itself, I got there in time to see the support act – a singer I’d not heard of before, called Chelsea Wolfe, and her support band.  Personally I wasn’t overly taken with them, but they were better than expected. (I generally expect support bands to be bobbins, but still go to see them if possible. If they’re better than bobbins, it’s a bonus. If they’re bad, then it’s purely as expected, and I don’t feel disappointed by that)

And then onto the main thing.  I don’t know what happened, but the venue suddenly got exceptionally hot, and stayed that way for the whole concert.  It was bad enough that I know a lot of people left early, it really was pretty intolerable.  The gig itself was great, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing – but was definitely sweaty and stinky by the time I’d also driven home.

I’d go again, happily – but ideally in rather cooler temperatures, or a venue where the air-con/ventilation was capable of coping with 2,000-ish gig-goers…

 

Calling 101

Every so often, I decide to play the role of “responsible human being”. Today, it turned out, was one of those days.

When I got in to work, I could see that three cars in the vicinity had been broken into (or at least had their windows smashed) so opted to do the ‘responsible human’ thing, and called 101 – the UK Police’s non-emergency number.  No point in doing an emergency 999, as no-one else was visible, and the damages could’ve happened any time overnight.

So 101 it was.  And while I get that it’s for non-urgent stuff and so on, but man alive, what an absolute faff.

The call goes through, and starts off with “Which police force do you require?”.  (Probably because I called on my mobile – calling from a landline would’ve localised things. I assume)  That’s fine, if you know who you need to speak to.  But if I hadn’t known that Milton Keynes is covered by Thames Valley Police, I’d have been knackered from stage one.

Then we go on to a recorded message from the chief of Thames Valley. Why? No idea.  I assume it’s part of the script of 101 – I’ve heard similar on other calls to different forces – but it seems (to me) to be utterly pointless.

And then we get the voice-response asking what you want to do. If you know the name/number you want to speak to, type it now, or press [whatever] to report a crime.

And then we get some piece of crap recorded message about victim support.

And finally, finally, when all that’s done, I finally spoke to someone – who was helpful, and made sense.  But what a horrific fucking faff in order to do something I didn’t even need to.

All told, it certainly makes it easy to see why people prefer to call 999, even for non-emergency stuff.  At least the response to it is quicker, and gets rid of all that recorded bullshit.

 

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