Monday 20 March 2023

Ghetto AA

 At the weekend I was exceptionally helpful, but also somewhat cruel to a stranded motorcyclist. I have decades and hundreds of thousands of miles of experience on motorbikes. The youngster that I bumped in to had been on bikes for less than a year and still had L plates. He knew nothing of chain maintenance, so his chain was rusty and stretched to the point that it had come off the rear sprocket. I had all the tools and knowledge to get him moving again and he was less than a quarter of a mile from my house. "I can fix that for you, we just need to push it back to my place" I told him. When I started pointing out where we were going I saw just how much of a hill we had to push his bike up. "actually" I said "I'll take my bike home and then I'll walk back and meet you". When I did meet him he'd done all the hard work and was out of breath, I was as fresh as a daisy and easily pushed the bike the rest of the way (level and downhill).

 I showed him how to adjust the chain tension. I refitted his chain, cleaned, lubricated and adjusted it and sent him on his way. The bargain that I struck with him was that he'd lubricate and adjust his chain each month, and that he'd stop and offer to help the next stranded motorist that he saw. I bet he'll also be much more wary of even slight inclines when he's moving a motorbike around by hand.

 Richard "Let this be a lesson to you" B

Sunday 12 March 2023

Public Address for Sale

This is a complete public address system that has been used to great effect for a number of years. It was the PA for "The Kicks" function band, "Supersonic" Oasis tribute band, "The Backbeat Beatles" tribute band, many weddings, pub bands, and it was the PA for the Holbeton festival for a couple of years. It would suit a working band, a co-operative of working bands, or a venue. It has a power rating of 1kW front-of-house and 0.5kw foldback.

Mixing console, amplifiers and EQ:

Soundcraft MFXi analogue mixing console with Lexicon effects unit. 12 mic channels, 2 stereo channels. 2 aux busses, 1 FX/aux bus. 1 stereo subgroup. LPF and 3 band EQ with swept mid on every channel. Very high quality mic preamps.

2 single channel 15 band graphic equalisers.

1 Yamaha P5000S 1kW stereo amplifier (front of house)

1 Yamaha P2500S 0.5kW stereo amplifier (foldback)

All fitted into custom made cases.


4 Shure SM58 vocal mics (one with rhinestones for some reason) (dynamic)

1 Shure Beta 58 supercardioid vocal mic (dynamic)

2 Shure SM57 instrument mics (dynamic)

2 AKG C1000S overhead mics (small diaphragm condenser)

1 AKG D112 bass drum mic (dynamic)

All mics are in soft cases in a flight case, except the overheads which are in their own hard cases.

DI boxes:

4 IMG Stageline passive DI boxes. These are packed in the same flight case as the mics. They are very sturdy units in heavy steel cases and they do not require batteries or phantom power from the desk.

Mic stands:

3 K&M tripod stands with boom.

3 K&M tripod stands with telescopic boom

3 generic low level mic stands.

The K&M stands are absolutely superb "touring" quality stands with heavy bases. The 3 low level stands are of moderate quality. All the mic stands pack into 2 bags.

Speakers and monitors:

2 Mackie passive speakers. 2 way reflex with 12" bass driver and piezo horn. Superb quality high power crossover. These speakers just require 1 speaker cable, no power supply or external crossover wiring.

2 Wedge shaped floor monitors. 2 way reflex with 12" bass driver and piezo horn. These were manufactured by NJD (now defunct) using Celestion drivers and a high quality English built crossover. The cases are MDF with a steel grille. These speakers just require 1 speaker cable, no power supply or external crossover wiring.


Mic leads
Speaker cables
Input cables
Patch leads
Snake - stage box, 20m multicore and tails with 8 inputs and 4 returns 
 All the main cables are very high quality using Neutrik plugs, oxygen free copper, and high quality jacket materials.

Spares and emergency replacements:

Behringer 8 channel powered mixer with 500W amplifier built in.
Warrior 800W stereo amplifier.
I have never needed to use either of these.

Tuesday 7 March 2023


 There was a wonderful line in a Victoria Wood comedy series where, among one of his other complaints, a character complained that he was half way though a tube of toothpaste that I don't like.

I've got similar low grade annoyances.

  1. The washer bottle on my Fiat Panda is nearly empty. It doesn't matter how often or how far you fill it up. There's a leak somewhere, but not at the very bottom of the bottle, within a day there will be about half a pint left. It's not quite bad enough for me to spend the time to fix it, but if you go on a long journey you're guaranteed to run out.
  2. I've got a bunch of grapes where every other one will brake at the stalk rather than the stalk pull out of the fruit. You get a little gritty bit of stalk in your mouth, or you have to try to carefully extract it from the grape with your fingernails.

 Richard “I need the big light and my reading glasses – I’m going to eat a few grapes” B

Sunday 5 March 2023


 My favorite breakfast is poached eggs on toast, very simple but when done well delicious. The problem I have is I'm terrible at making it and it's disappointing so I rarely do it. When I was in a boujie coffee house in London, as a treat and knowing it would be done expertly, I ordered poached eggs on toast and it arrived looking almost perfect. I rhetorically asked "how do they do that?" making a mental comparison with my crappy efforts and my dining companions raised an eyebrow like I was an idiot and said, together, "cling film". As it turns out I am apparently the last person in the developed world to not know that everyone makes poached eggs using cling film (saran wrap). Obviously I don't need to explain it because everyone (except me) knows how to do it. And yes it works brilliantly well and you don't need to wash the pan up either. Which leads us to a very important breakfast question: Why don't the French have two eggs for breakfast? Because, in France one egg is an oeuf.

Doug "Google it" B

Wednesday 1 March 2023


 This weekend I bodged round a problem on my sports car. The control for the cabin heater had got very stiff. Lubrication and cleaning fixed this quite easily, but the forces I'd used to turn the heat on and off had bent and dislodged part of the heater. Frankly I'm amazed that it doesn't leak.

 I leave this piece of information here just so that humanity doesn't forget it. I got this tip from a Haynes manual for a Kawasaki Z series motorbike (not the Z1000, I think that was in a different manual) and I haven't seen it anywhere else. The manual was probably from the late 80s or early 90s:

You can make a funnel out of Plasticine and use it to run oil through a Bowden cable if you hang it upright. After and hour or two the whole cable will be lubricated. If you use light oil and leave it overnight you can get a surprising amount of dirt and rust out of the cable. Don't do this is the cable has one of those plastic sleeves between the inner and the outer. I don't think Plasticine exists any more. Blutack doesn't work because it dissolves in the oil. I used automotive detailing clay.

Richard "Or buy a new cable" B