Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287AM - Sunday 28 March 2010

It's our last dip into the "Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970" box set and loads of other goodies:

The Monkees - All The King's Horses (Unreleased 1966)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)
The Freshmen - Look at the Sunshine (Pye 1968)
The Youngbloods - Get Together (RCA 1967)
Jackie Leven - John Paul Getty's Silver Cadillac (Cooking Vinyl 2009)
Santana - Evil Ways (Columbia 1969)
Dino Valenti - Let's Get Together (Unreleased 1964)
The Charlatans - Alabama Bound (Unreleased 1967)
People - I Love You (Capitol 1968) (Connect 3)
Lulu - To Sir, With Love (Epic 1967) (Connect 3)
The Great! Society - Somebody To Love (LP version) (Unreleased 1966) (Connect 3)
Blue Cheer - Fool (single version) (Philips 1967)
Jefferson Airplane - It's No Secret (RCA 1966)
The Turtles - Grim Reaper of Love (White Whale 1966) (Birthday: 28/3/45 Chuck Portz)
Grateful Dead - The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) (Warner Bros 1967)
The Bystanders - Royal Blue Summer Sunshine Day (Piccadilly 1967)
Liz Brady - Palladium (The Hip) (Pathe 1966) (Foreign Language)
Fifty Foot Horse - Red The Sign Post (Limelight 1968)
Dave Clark Five - I Walk The Line (Piccadilly 1962) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Notes from the Underground - Why Did You Put Me On? (Vanguard 1968)
The Ivy League - My World Fell Down (Piccadilly 1966)
The Beach Boys - Wendy (Capitol 1964) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - W)
The Beach Boys - When a Man Needs a Woman (Capitol 1968) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - W)
Country Weather - Fly To New York (Private 1969)
The Mojo Men - She's My Baby (Reprise 1966)
Care - Flaming Sword (Arista 1983) (Under The Influence)
The Otherside - Streetcar (Brent 1966)
Country Joe and the Fish - I Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die Rag (EP version) (Rag Baby 1965)
The Petites - Baby Blue Mustang (Troy 1965) (Connect 3)
Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz (Columbia 1968) (Connect 3)
The Beach Boys - Little Honda (Capitol 1964) (Connect 3)
The Warlocks - Can't Come Down (Unreleased 1965)
Quicksilver Messenger Service - Light Your Windows (Capitol 1968)
The Marvelettes - Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead (Tamla 1965) (Two of a Kind)
The Marvelettes - I'll Keep On Holding On (Tamla 1965) (Two of a Kind)
The Immediate Family - Rubiyat (Unreleased 1967)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)

Next week it'll be my pre-recorded Joe Meek special, as I celebrate Easter Sunday with my family. Congratulations to my VRN colleague John Murray who was awarded The John Witney Award for his outstanding contribution to hospital radio at the National Hospital Radio Awards - well done, John! Although I didn't appreciate him charging a bottle of wine to my room!! Sadly, I left empty-handed in my category, as did all our other nominees. Just call us the Shawshank Redemption of the HBA! Until next week, it's good day and good health.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sky Minus/Stagecoach

On Friday the Good Lady Wife and I noticed that that afternoon's Pointless - our new favourite quiz show - hadn't recorded. Not only had it not recorded but it had been marked as FAILED. Mastermind was set to record too but FAILED too. We didn't notice until later on because we were saving it for later (When none of the specialist subjects are of interest we proceed straight to General Knowledge questions and start the weekly routine of 'shouting at the telly'). Then Big Bang Theory FAILED on Saturday and we sussed that something wasn't quite right.

Using the interweb I found that it was a common problem but decided to let Sky sort it out (isn't that what we pay them a small fortune for?) before I took advice from 'the people'. I emailed them: "For the last two days I've been getting FAILED messages against programmes I've tried to record through the Sky+ Planner. When we press for Information it gives us a Technical Fault 11. What is a Technical Fault 11, why are we getting it and how can it be fixed?"

Meanwhile, we switched everything off - we drew the line at unplugging everything - and waited to see what Sunday morning would bring. Voila, it was fine again but it still rankled me that it had happened in the first place.

A reply awaited me when I switched the computer on:

"I am sorry to hear of the problems you have been experiencing with your services. To rectify these problems, please follow the procedure below:

Please note this process will stop all the recordings currently in progress and reboot your box, therefore you may want to do this after a recording has been completed.

  1. Using the Sky Remote Control press the services button.
  2. Using the up / down arrow buttons highlight System Setup and press select.
  3. Press 0, 1 and select to access the Installer Menu.
  4. Highlight Sky+ Planner Rebuild and press select.

When the warning on screen message, 'this will take a few minutes to completed' the rebuild will stop all recordings and reboot your Sky+. Press select to confirm or backup to cancel appears press select to continue.

The on screen message, 'Housekeeping please wait' will appear and take up to 2 minutes to clear. Once complete the set top box will switch itself off and then back on automatically and wait in standby mode. Wait for 60 seconds after the red light has appeared before attempting to switch back on your box.

If after following this procedure you are still experiencing problems, you may need to contact our technical team on 08442 41 14 11,direct for further assistance. If you require a service call and your box warranty has expired, the service call will carry a charge of 65.00 (GBP).

I hope this information has helped with your enquiry. If you require any further assistance, you can respond to my email. You can also contact our Customer Services team on 08442 41 41 41, where one of our advisors will be happy to help."

You would've thought I'd have been pleased to hear from them but I wasn't. Why? Well, firstly they want me to use "0" from a system setup screen that only offers a choice form 1 to 8! Secondly, they want ME to phone THEM on an 0844 number (you know our details, call us) and, thirdly, if the equipment isn't working I have to pay THEM £65 for an engineer (or whatever pretentious job title Sky give them) to tell me what I already know! It's all money, money, money*. I'm turning into Jim Royle, only without the bowel/toilet problems and bad clothes.

I replied to the email from "Cynthia" with a simple one-liner: "You say "highlight System setup and press select" Then "press 0" but there is no 0 on our System setup menu! It only goes from 1 to 8".

Cynthia turned into Bruce and responded thus:

You're quite right there is no 0 on the system setup menu, but that is because you are accessing a hidden menu at that point. If you are on system setup menu, ignore the screen and just press 0,1 and select the installer menu will appear.

It can be easier for us to take you through the procedures on the phone but I do not have any details to be able to access your account. If you email back to us with your viewing card number and password if you have one, we will be happy to contact you back.

Kind regards


Of course. Stupid me, a "hidden menu". Why didn't I think of that? I am such an idiot. I have brought shame upon myself and my family and I must throw myself off the roof immediately.

I find "It can be easier for us" to be rather patronising and somewhat insulting. If I can't work the instructions given to me in writing, some sad sod with no career prospects, halitosis and white socks in the modern electronic equivalent of the sweatshop isn't going to be any more useful.

Thankfully for the Good Lady Wife, but not me, her "Dancing on Ice" has recorded.

* On Saturday morning I had to take the car for a service in Dalgety Bay, a 10-minute drive from home. I dropped the car off and waited for a bus back.

"Tesco, Dunfermline, please" "£2.75"

"What?" "£2.75"

I handed it over but was so positive that that was wrong I tucked my ticket safely away. I'd never been on this bus before or in the area, except in a car, but it seemed rather steep. I checked the time and wondered if this particular bus took a different route home, maybe via Oslo. After all this was the 80C. Not the original 80, the all-new 80A or the new AND improved 80B with Boswelox, this was the all-singing, all-dancing, let's-do-the-show-right-here 80C.

I alighted at Tesco (who the hell says "alighted" anymore?), a mere eight minutes after I got on. Surviving the pedestrian jungle that is the Tesco car park - does nobody stop at pedestrian crossings anymore? - I walked, still in disbelief. After a couple of hours serious "pottering" the garage called and I headed back out for the bus.

"Dalgety Bay, please" "£1.40"

"£1.40? I was charged £2.75 not two hours ago for the same trip in reverse"

After a discussion with the driver,who was as much use as a cat flap on a submarine, I took a seat. I used the nine minutes constructively (the 80B goes a different route and I had to walk some of the way hence the extra minute) and fired off an e-mail to the Operations Manager, who is also a near neighbour.

Just to rub salt into the wound I had to stump up £270 at the garage (service and something to do with the brakes) and they couldn't fix the radio display without a code, which was on a card, which we didn't have.

It never rains but it pours.

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287AM - Sunday 21 March 2010

We continue to tuck into the psychedelic feast that is the "Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970" box set and we commemorate the passings of Lesley Duncan and Alex Chilton, as well as the regular features:

Big Star - September Gurls (Stax 1973)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)
Marc Bolan - Third Degree (Decca 1966)
Mad River - Amphetamine Gazelle (Capitol 1968)
The Mystery Trend - Carl Street (Unreleased 1967)
Ministry of Sound (Lesley Duncan/Val McKenna) - Something's Coming Along (Unreleased 1967)
Blackburn and Snow - Stranger In a Strange Land (Verve 1967)
Billie Davis - Billy Sunshine (Decca 1969)
Chocolate Watchband - No Way Out (Tower 1967) (Connect 3)
The Vejtables - Anything (Autumn 1965) (Connect 3)
Teddy and the Patches - Suzy Creamcheese (Chance 1967) (Connect 3)
Clyde McPhatter - You Got It (Deram 1969)
Sly & The Family Stone - Underdog (Epic 1967)
Solomon Burke - Home In Your Heart (Atlantic 1963) (Birthday: 21/3/40)
Steve Miller Band - Roll With It(Capitol 1968)
The Shangri-la's - Sophisticated Boom Boom (Red Bird 1966)
Louise Cordet - Que m'a-t-il fait? (What's He/It Done to Me?) (Decca 1963) (Foreign Language)
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away? (Epic 1969)
The Outlaws - Valley of the Sioux (HMV 1961) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Seatrain - Portrait of the Artist as a Young Lady (A&M 1969)
The Savage Resurrection - Things in "E" (Mercury 1968)
The Beach Boys - Vegetables (Unreleased 1967) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - V)
The Beach Boys - Heroes and Villains (45 version) (Capitol 1967) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - V)
Jon Gunn - I Just Made Up My Mind (Deram 1967)
Syndicate of Sound - Rumors (Bell 1966)
The La's - Son of a Gun (BBC session) (Go! Discs 1988) (Under The Influence)
The La's - There She Goes (Go! Discs 1988) (Under The Influence)
The Frantics - Human Monkey (Action 1966)
October Country - Good To Be Around (Epic 1968)
The Grass Roots - Mr Jones (A Ballad of a Thin Man) (Dunhill 1965) (Connect 3)
The Cryan' Shames - Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith & Jones (Columbia 1968) (Connect 3)
Tom Jones - Stop Breaking My Heart (Decca 1966) (Connect 3)
The Harbinger Complex - Sometimes I Wonder (Amber 1966)
Fearns Brass Foundry - Don't Chance It (Decca 1968)
The Beau Brummels - Don't Talk To Strangers (Autumn 1965) (Two of a Kind)
The Beau Brummels - Two Days 'Til Tomorrow (Warner Bros 1967) (Two of a Kind)
Earl Cosby - Ooh Honey Baby (Mirwood 1966)
The Majority - One Third (Decca 1966)
Big Star - I'm In Love With a Girl (Stax 1973)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)

Next week it'll be business as usual after I return from the National Hospital Radio Awards in Erskine. The Cat has his paws well and truly crossed for his nomination in the Best Specialist Music category. Until next week, and the last of our San Francisco sounds, it's good day and good health.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287AM - Sunday 14 March 2010

More from the "Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970" box set and the usual grab-bag of goodies:

The Hollies - Look Through Any Window (Parlophone 1965)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)
The Honeys - The One You Can't Have (Capitol 1963)
The Ivy League - In The Not Too Distant Future (Pye 1967)
The Wildflower - Coffee Cup (Mainstream 1967)
The Soul Agents - Let's Make It Pretty Baby (Pye 1964)
Fontella Bass/Bobby McClure - Don't Mess Up A Good Thing (Checker 1965)
Sharon Marie - Story of My Life (Capitol 1964)
The Majorettes - White Levis (Troy 1963) (Connect 3)
Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit (RCA 1967) (Connect 3)
It's A Beautiful Day - White Bird (Columbia 1969) (Connect 3)
American Spring - Shyin' Away (Capitol 1973)
The Sons of Champlin - Fat City (Verve 1967)
The Turtles - You Don' Have To Walk In The Rain (White Whale 1969) (Birthday: 14/3/46 Jim Pons)
Steve Miller Band - Quicksilver Girl (Capitol 1968)
The Mystery Trend - Johnny Was A Good Boy (Verve 1968)
Brigitte Bardot - Je Me Donne a Qui Me Plait (I Give Myself To Whom I Please) (Philips 1962) (Foreign Language)
Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues (Philips 1968)
Earl Van Dyke - 6x6 (Motown 1967) (Half-Time Instrumental)
The Loading Zone - The Bells (RCA Victor 1968)
The Sheffields - Hey, Hey Lover Boy (Pye 1964)
The Beach Boys - 409 (Capitol 1962) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - U)
Gary Usher - That's The Way I Feel (Capitol 1964) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - U)
The Tikis - Bye Bye Bye (Warner Bros single version) (Warner Bros 1966)
The New Breed - Want Ad Reader (World United 1966)
The Magic Numbers - Love Me Like You (Heavenly 2005) (Under The Influence)
Mother Earth - Revolution (Unted Artists 1968)
Public Nuisance - America (Unreleased 1968)
The Oxford Circle - Foolish Woman (World United 1966) (Connect 3)
Moby Grape - Omaha (Columbia 1967) (Connect 3)
Country Weather - Fly To New York (Unreleased 1969) (Connect 3)
Quicksilver Messenger - Who Do You Love (demo) (Unreleased 1966) (Two of a Kind)
Quicksilver Messenger - Codine (United Artists 1968) (Two of a Kind)
The Stained Glass - My Buddy Sin (RCA 1966)
Earl Cosby - Ooh Honey Baby (Mirwood 1966)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)

Until next week, and some more San Francisco sounds, it's good day and good health.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Cat on "Where The Action Is" Kirkcaldy VRN 1287AM - Sunday 7 March 2010

January's shows were dominated by the LA Nuggets box set and this month it's the turn of its San Francisco counterpart, "Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970":

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Big News (Columbia 1963)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)
Dee Dee Young - You Haven't Seen Nothing (Challenge 1964)
The Front Line Assembly - Got Love (York 1965)
The Knickerbockers - I Can Do It Better (Challenge 1966)
Ace of Cups - Glue (Unreleased 1968)
Count Five - Psychotic Reaction (Double Shot 1966)
Sister Rachel - Don't Mess Around With Me (Challenge 1967)
The Charlatans - Number One (Unreleased 1965) (Connect 3)
The Sons of Champlin - 1982-A (Capitol 1969) (Connect 3)
We Five - You Were On My Mind (A&M 1965) (Connect 3)
Helen Shapiro - Let's Talk About Love (Columbia 1962)
The Generation - I'm A Good Woman (Unreleased 1967)
Donna Loren - Muscle Bustle (Challenge 1964) (Birthday: 7/3/47)
Big Brother & The Holding Company - Down On Love (live) (Unreleased 1968)
The Mourning Reign - Satisfaction Guaranteed (Link 1966)
Jacques Brel - Le Chanson de Jacky (Barclay 1965) (Foreign Language)
The Serpent Power - Up and Down (Vanguard 1967)
The Tornados - Telstar (Decca 1962) (Half-Time Instrumental)
Butch Engle & The Styx - Hey I'm Lost (Onyx 1967)
The Beach Boys - Tears in the Morning (Brother/Reprise 1970) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - T)
The Beach Boys - Things We Did Last Summer (Unreleased 1963?) (A to Z of The Beach Boys - T)
Fanny - Charity Ball (second version) (Reprise 1971)
Grateful Dead - Dark Star (single version) (Warner Bros 1968)
Mari Wilson & The Wilsations - Beat the Beat (Compact 1982) (Under The Influence)
The Feminine Complex - I Don't Want Another Man (Athena 1968)
The Great! Society - Free Advice (Northbeach 1966)
Dusty Springfield - Little by Little (Mercury 1966)
Country Joe and the Fish - Superbird (Vanguard 1967) (Connect 3)
The Sopwith "Camel" - Hello Hello (Kama Sutra 1966) (Connect 3)
Jefferson Airplane - Mexico (RCA 1970) (Connect 3)
Santana - Soul Sacrifice (Columbia 1969)
The Family Tree - Live Your Own Life (Mira 1966)
The Flamin' Groovies - I'm Drowning (Snazz 1968) (Two of a Kind)
The Flamin' Groovies - Shake Some Action (Sire 1976) (Two of a Kind)
The Box Tops - Neon Rainbow (Mala 1967)
Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound (RCA 1961) (show theme)

Until next week, and some more San Francisco sounds, it's good day and good health.