High Fidelity

In 1994, after moving to Brighton, I had the fortune to meet someone who introduced me to the concept of hi-fi separates and the difference they made to music quality.  After years of struggling with a sony cassette player, often with a single jack plug in one ear on an evening, it was amazing to hear the real quality of the music I already liked.  By happy coincidence this was the time of my first full-time job, so I could actually afford to invest myself.  If indeed it can be called investing.  Perhaps it is, thinking about it, given the positive or calming energy music can induce.

I actually still remember the components purchased – A Rotel amplifier from an independent Hi-fi shop near work – Rotel, was advised as the best quality amps for the budget, thanks John!  Then off to Richer sounds, where an Aiwa double cassette deck, Eclipse CD player and Mission speakers were procured and lugged back from London Bridge on the train.  I am now wondering how I managed it and furthermore how many of those brands are still going?   They became a core part of the Brighton house and shelves and speaker stands were built for them.  An early DIY attempt at continuing the carpentry tradition of several of my ancestors.  Happy times, the music was constant.  Alas and alack, they all disappeared in the burglary that took place in 2002.  I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a feeling they went to a car boot sale somewhere close, but not too close.  Like Burgess Hill.  Are they still out there somewhere?

It’s a common fact of the progression of life, it seems, that tastes change and/or people are encouraged into things they normally wouldn’t do by themselves.  It’s called compromising, apparently, but not always easy to see the compromises being made on the other side of the couple equation.  The separates were, therefore, never properly replaced.  Armed with a Dixons voucher from the insurance company after the burglary, commensurate to the loss suffered, I eventually compromised on a Technics midi separates set and even that took some persuading.  Not quite the same but the music still sounded good.

Step forward another 3-4 years and I compromised still further, much to my shame.  I was repeatedly told that hifi was out, digital was in, we don’t have space and eventually it sinks in so much that the whole thing got relegated to cupboards in the basement.  My hifi, my sizeable collection of CDs and cassettes, built up over many years discarded completely to all intents and purposes.  Sigh.  I often wonder why the burglars didn’t take them, are my musical tastes so bad?  And do you remember when Cassettes cost £9.99 in the late 80s and CDs, usually £12.99 or so?  Imagine how much all this must’ve cost.  Despite many subtle hints for it just to be chucked, I never gave in and probably 90% of it successfully stayed down there for about 10 years, until last weekend.

What changed last weekend?  I’m actually wondering.  In reality, I should’ve got it back out a long time before, but never did.   We could’ve enjoyed it together.  There were hints – visits to the loppe yielded CD finds for as little as 1-2kr each.  Yes, CDs that were once a tenner or more can be bought at 98% off.  Hard to beat.   For some reason though, they only got played in the car.  Perhaps the planned house sale made me loathe to change things around?  Clearly now it won’t sell.  I certainly felt some need to increase the noise and energy levels, to enjoy the space I own and remake it my own.  I may be spending a lot of time here in the near future.

Of course, there was the initial excitement of whether it would even work or not.  It certainly had the none-too-pleasant aroma of something that had been in the basement for over 10 years.  The CD player pleasingly responded back to life instantly, but the cassette did not and while I am convinced the tuner works, it’s clear that the aerial is either insufficient or radio is dead outside of the digital world mankind has created.  It was with great woe that I found the cassette player unresponsive – the lights were on, but no-one was home when it came to actually opening and allowing loading.  Rattling told me there could well be cassette-based contents hidden within.  I contented myself with the CD player for several days, before yesterday deciding to investigate the cassette further.  My Dad would be proud, I used yesterday to dismantle the recently-broken actify, diagnosing a dead motor, before ordering a new online and secondly, dismantling the cassette player.  There was no clear reason as to why it didn’t work.  Sad.  The buttons lit, a small whirr occurred when Open was pressed but it just didn’t.  The cassette contents causing the rattling were varied – Les Miserables soundtrack (me) and Bob the Builder (my son?).  Bob has become Bob the binned man.

Interestingly, I still have some of those cassettes I used to play on the original Sony back in the 1980s.  I guess that’s why I was so keen to get the cassette player working – the earliest days of my musical journey were sitting waiting to be played.    By some miracle, today I pressed “Open”, and it did.  I have no idea why, but it did.  I took a chance inserting one of my first ever albums, if not the first – Pet Shop Boys.  Incredibly so, despite their travels and abuse of being left in the damp basement for years, they still work – or at least this one did.  Ah the quality!  Pet Shop Boys sounding even better than 21yo me remembers after getting my first walkman while working in Staines, in 1992 and falling asleep listening to them on a trip back to Consett.  Music creates memories for us all.

That Hifi tells a history – how it came into my posession and how it was used or not used since are mirrors of my own personal story.  I almost want to give it a hug.  It works again!

Tonight I can really celebrate the miracle of the cassette player somehow managing to kick back into life.  I browsed my cassettes and struck upon U2, The Joshua Tree, which I believe I bought in about 1991-92.  With some trepidation, I pressed open and loaded the cassette into the player.  The music came through as clearly as ever it did, in so many ways.  I checked the track list, pressed the necessary buttons to manouevre the cassette to the necessary point and settled upon this classic here.  Back then I loved the song and lyrics, little realising it was a prediction of my future.  Now I can listen to it and understand what it really means, loaded with the experiences of life.

Footnote : I tried more of the cassette – ah, remember the miracle of cassette players that allowed you to play the whole cassette without removal.  Well, the Where the Streets Have no Name is garbled.  Perhaps there’s a message for me in that…?

Signs of Inflation

Since the plandemic came along, I’ve being making regular stop-offs at a variety of supermarkets to ensure my fridge is stocked up.  While Denmark seems to wander around in a state of blissful unawareness, there have been many first-hand reports from personal UK sources as to supermarket fights and empty shelves of certain items.  Be prepared.  Not anything ridiculous, but food prices are unlikely to fall and conversely, quite likely to rise, or suffer supply disruptions.  May as well keep stocks high, eh?  There’s also enough history that inflation and shortages are a very realistic concept that can affect supposed first world countries as much as somewhere like Zimbabwe.  Look at this classic picture from 1923 Germany, when the real value of banknotes was as firewood.

I actually vaguely remember 1970s inflation in the UK.  As an adult, the stats tell me inflation rose 30% in 1978 alone.  I have memories of going to the supermarket around then and finding things like Tudor crisps had gone from 5p to 6p a packet, then a few weeks later, 7p.  Warlord, the fantastic World War 2 comic of my childhood, saw similar rises until, shock horror, it entered double figures and hit 10p around 1980.  Many seem to have suffered collective memory loss as to how bad the 1970s really were – while too young to remember the 90% FTSE fall of 1974, I most certainly remember only being able to have warm food at certain times of the day – households were allocated only a few hours of electricity time to cook meals, and I definitely remember one time all garages were closed, no petrol to be found anywhere.  Is it too much of a stretch to link at least some of this economic hardship with EU membership starting in 1973?  Project fear was not a new 2016 referendum concept, the excellent Peter Shore identified the same phenomenon back in 1975.

The clues are there already, if you look.  Gold ,the historically-proven protection against any economic crisis continues to rise.  Other weird things happened, like the price of oil turned negative for the first time ever in history, as demand collapsed and producers are forced to pay to have their product taken away, with storage running out.  That the Rockefellers and the Saudis put in place their plans to exit the oil market in recent years can be no coincidence.  Many people probably hold shares in their offloaded duffers in their pension portfolios without even realising how much they lost on this.  One other major thing occurred that didn’t even get much coverage – the US dropped the fractional reserve lending requirement to ZERO.  Never seen before, but now if the bank grants you a loan, they can just press a button and create it out of thin air, with no requirement on them to actually have any money in their account to back it up, not even 1% of the loan amount.  The banks are going to do well out of this crisis.  It’s a 2009-style bailout, played in a different way.  So subtle no-one has even noticed, but they are lending out created money to businesses at good rates, knowing the government has underwritten most, if not all, of the risk.  To hammer this home the obnoxious Ed Milliband is shouting for the government, ie taxpayers, to take on 100% of the risk.  You couldn’t make it up, talk about socialising the losses!  This free money to lend is then secured against real assets, some of which the banks know they will help themselves to when businesses and individuals fail.  I said in a prior post, a bank might fail – and it might, but the key banking players will do well out of all this.

Then finally, I went to Netto on Monday lunchtime.  Just a regular walking trip, but it was immediately striking how prices had gone up.  Bananas – were 2kr, now 2.5kr, Milk – was 8,95, now 9,45, Cucumbers – was 6kr, now 7kr.  I sense they were busy at the weekend upping the price tags.  It may sound minor but that equates to up to a 25% inflationary increase in a single weekend.  Hmm, thought I, must check Fakta back home later.  It was identical – Milk – was 8,95, now 9,45, Cucumbers – was 6kr, now 7kr, except Fakta also had a sign up saying something like “Due to to supply issues from Spain, certain fruit and vegetable stocks may run out”.  The cracks are starting to appear.  I looked around the store, everyone else seemed to be carrying on as normal.  Then took another bag of new potatoes – was 10kr, now 12kr, then strolled up to the frozen section and took several bags of frozen veg to fill up the freezer.  Can’t be too careful!

As a footnote to those supermarket trips, I visited Fakta again the following day.  There were massive gaps in the bread section, no chicken at all and hardly any milk – a shocking thing for Denmark where people live on the stuff.  I may even visit tonight – after all one of my favourite ales is on offer for 6kr a can and if it comes to it, good beer has plenty of vitamin content to keep you going for a while.

Despite all this though, I still wonder if massive deflation comes first, as people stop spending and are forced to sell assets like excess cars and houses to stay afloat and repay debt.  It may seem good to be on 75% pay for 0% work, but such a situation can’t last forever and one day, when the music stops, people may find their old job doesn’t exist any more.  Food prices may rise, but possible deflation in other commodities, such as houses, cars and computers would offset the official figures, at least for a while.  Deflation would be a great thing if it was allowed to happen – cheaper prices are the best thing for most common people.  The inflation part comes later, just like it did in Germany 1921-23.  The same thing happened in 1929-32, massive deflation until they decreed a new USD/Gold ratio after forcibly confiscating as much as possible of it from the public, so history again tells us how things might go.  Nowadays we are even further removed from those two periods of history – gold and silver don’t even figure in peoples heads as money any more and in this digital currency world we now live in, what are we going to do when we can’t even use it as an emergency firewood backup?

Kissing the Machine

After the events of recent weeks, both public and personal, I am reminded of one of my favourite electronic era songs from the late 80s-early 90s, Kissing the Machine.  At the time you could sense you were part of a new era of something, that things were changing and now 30 years later, I see the change happening, I helped cause it and I am beginning to doubt it’s direction.

The old saying about never waste a good crisis has never been truer than ever with this fake Corona crisis, where a ton of freedoms have been removed and society is being re-engineered down a technology-based, AI direction and few seem to care or notice.  I’ve already alluded to this, but it’s worth examining in greater detail because longer-term, we are all destroyed if it continues.   A great wave of change is taking place where technological advances are huge (and that’s just the technology we are allowed to know about yet), yet at the same time human ethics are hitting an all time low in terms of individual rights and personal freedom.

Let’s start by looking at social distancing.  Ostensibly, it’s claimed to be to protect the public from spreading the virus to each other, but I see it as fulfilling at least two agendas.  One is facial recognition software.  People standing 2m apart are definitely going to be a lot easier to pick up and identify using this software.  The police have been gathering their database, especially in the UK, where two recent stories stood out for me as examples of the police state – in one, the Metropolitan police were just doing their everyday innocent gathering of facial recognition data, as you do, you know, when you live in a police state – how anyone thinks this is OK is beyond me, but one innocent citizen had the temerity to pull up his hoodie, then got arrested and fined.  For what exactly?  Secondly, someone in Cardiff actually took up the fight in court against having his facial data harvested.  He lost of course, both incidents should also get you thinking about what the law courts really do and who they are really representing – it’s certainly not the common human law, but something much more sinister.  My own forced experiences in the Danish family courts attest to that too.

Little did I realise when I watched Person of Interest some years ago, how close we were to reality.   Yet again though, Hollywood plays it’s part in softening us up, opening our minds to what is about to come or what is even already happening, just that we haven’t been told about it yet.  Many films are worth watching just for trying to identify the agenda and the underlying message, but sometimes it’s only years later that you realise what it was really about.

The second part of it is both dehumanising and soulless, two human words that mean exactly what they say, when you think about it.  All humans have an aura, that is indisputable, an invisible energy field around their visible being.  Science has proven it with the right cameras, but of course we all knew it really, it’s there in the language we’ve used for millennia.  It’s also why handshakes and physical contact are so important in binding families, assessing someone as a friend or someone you can trust in business.  There is of course no doubt why they’d want to remove that and re-engineer society on more distant, technocratic lines.  Hollywood has played it’s part for years, with various clues.  2 films immediately spring to mind – Westworld and Ex Machina.  Westworld scared me a lot when I watched one Monday evening, aged about 10, with my Dad.  I was expecting a typical cowboy film, not fully functioning humanised robots that turn nasty.  Ex Machina is probably the best example of something deeper being implied on film, but not explicitly mentioned.  The basic story is that someone has created a female robot and invites a tech expert of his choice out to assess whether the robot can pass the tests for being a human.  Of course, she does and he falls in love with her.  It eventually costs him everything.  The clue that is there in this film by not actually being there is the one thing that probably would’ve instantly identified her as being not human – he is allowed to ask questions, listen to her responses, see her actions, but all of these interviews take place at a distance and with a glass screen between them.   Had he been allowed within 2m, or to shake her hand, he would’ve known without a word being said that she was not human.  That the female role was played by a Scandinavian woman is no real surprise, many of the women here are a bit like that, perhaps they already added something to the vaccines years ago to make it so?

The entire thing fits with my own feeling – that us humans, even those working in IT, are now reduced to being a voice on skype and a jpg image of ourselves.  That’s what the customers are currently seeing and it does nothing to build a meaningful relationship between people.  I think I get the real meaning of the corporate phrase #itsinourDNA, because soon it will be – our voices and imagery are just data that can used in AI versions of ourselves.   The hidden hand must be laughing at the ease with which society is being reprogrammed.  Danish schools returned yesterday, with all the new rules of society being firmly instilled into traumatised young minds.  2m distances, no contact between pupils, no cuddly toys, wash your hands constantly.   Forget Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic – The new 3 R’s that children are sent to school to learn now are Rules, Regulations and Robotism.  All this for a virus – something which many mainstream medical people believe is an internal cell response to external factors in the environment and cannot even be transmitted between people.  Mainstream medical people who aren’t in tow to big pharma and who the mainstream media will never bring on TV for an interview, that is.

Paralysed

Paralysed…another variation on the Coldplay song.   While never stopping thinking, a state of paralysis seems to have descended over the world with this corona crisis.  Myself included.  To some, I may seem to be one of the lucky ones, still coming to work but honestly, I would much prefer being furloughed – what a nice medieval-sounding term that is, but it’s fake – and be at home, sit in the limited sunlight and maybe do some DIY, than try to work while thinking hard about what the future may hold and what plans are the best ones.  If anything, being on 100% pay for 100% work feels more like slavery than 75% pay for 0% work and does little to assuage the feeling that I now carry even more unproductive Danes on my shoulders than ever before and that the burden is only going to increase in the coming months and years.  Atlas will definitely shrug someday.

I will add at this point, that I totally disapprove of government interventions on anything, especially paying people to do nothing.  Best said before someone reads this in 20-30 years time and believes I became Danicised eventually, but the rubicon wasn’t crossed by paying people to do nothing.  In this case, it was first crossed by a number of guidelines, vaguely written and different to the actual laws that were passed, that the police now interpret and apply.  There are some horrible videos of police state actions out there, where’s Amnesty International when you need them?  Oh, you mean they were just a fake NGO all along?  What a surprise.  No, those guidelines are the real breaking point of the UK I remembered and hoped to some day return to – those guidelines stopped the basic principles of freedom, where individuals could transact and interact as they see fit.

What’s struck me most is that people are proving themselves to be strange, dangerous and untrustworthy.  The UK and Denmark have both turned into East Germany, with neighbours happily spying on and reporting each other for minor infractions of draconian rules.  Even some politician in California said that “snitches means riches”, without anyone seemingly protesting, although I was heartened to see last night a major protest in Lansing, Michigan where people took to the streets, blocking them in protest at the new police state.  Did BBC report that?  I have a feeling not.  Meanwhile people on Facebook scream in support of the police dragging citizens to the floor in headlocks for the heinous crime of trying to keep a shop open and earn a living.  Time to remind myself of Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote :-

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

He was right, they really don’t.

I also see a major change in UK law has occurred and no-one anywhere seems to have spotted it.  Coming to Denmark, one of the first things that struck me was that it’s more of a society where you assume something is illegal unless the state says it’s legal.  One of the most striking examples is in city centres, where the places you can park are marked and the assumption is – if there’s no markings you can’t.  Contrast that to the UK, where people normally assume that no markings means it’s fine to park there.  Yes, the UK was always a society where something is assumed to be legal unless the state explicitly forbids it.  The forbids part being established in a court of law, with 1,000 years of case law to refer to when assessing any possible infractions.  That has changed, the UK has now come out with some guidelines and the police are applying them in the most awful ways as if they are laws.  it’s possibly the clearest example of the old UK law book being thrown away and European law coming in, after 50+ years of gradually sneaking it in through the back door.  To me, it proves yet again that the UK hasn’t left the EU and never will.  Plus isn’t a time when protests are disallowed and can be dealt with in the most violent manner a great time to water down the Brexit deal to the point of remaining?

One of the other most worrisome laws sneaked in in the UK was an amendment to the Mental Health act, allowing an individual to be detained indefinitely without trial, on the say so of one doctor and one other medical professional.  The second part of what defines a medical professional is vague – but you can assume it’s most likely to be a nurse going along with whatever a doctor says.  They usually do.  I remember being shocked about this when I first heard about it, when I worked on Mental health software in 2002-03.  As were the people explaining it to me, as it was already so open to abuse with 2 doctors needed to detain someone indefinitely in a cell, with forced medication of whatever they saw fit.  I wonder how many lives have already been ruined by that and how many will be in future.  Plus, let’s guess what constitutes being “bad mental health” in future.  Someone who won’t take the vaccine willingly?  Someone who doesn’t believe the official story on 9/11 or 7/7?  Definitely.  With that 7/7 link, I am glad the website still exists, but it was harder to find on Google – always found it funny how the official story provided a video of the alleged terrorists taking a specific Thameslink train to London from Luton, then being exposed by commuters pointing out that on that day that particular train was cancelled.  Seems you can’t even rely on the railways to run to time when you’re planning a major false flag event.

In summary, the world looks a bit of a grim place and may be heading to somewhere even grimmer.  I find myself with so many thoughts on this that I’ll leave them for another post.