Archive for February, 2007

El Secreto Del Amor

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

If you’d told me at the start of this month that I was going to end it trying to be Ricky Martin, I would have thought you were mad. Turns out it’s me that’s the mad one then.

I started out by stumbling across this pairing of chords (Am7 and Em79 for those of you taking notes), and seeing as the second of the FAWM weekly challenges was “write a song using only two chords”, I figured I had a plan here. Given the Latin riff, it clearly had to either be in Spanish (which I don’t speak at all) or somehow be as lyrically exotic and sexy as something in Spanish (which of course is impossible). I went for the former option, hanging all my hopes on Babelfish.

Any native Spanish speakers listening to this (and I can think of at least one who might be reading here…) will probably fall about laughing at my pronunciation and the Babelfish translation. But that’s OK… bluffing your way in the language is kind of the whole theme of the song, after all.

After a while I got so immersed in the production that I forgot how silly the chorus was. Hopefully you can overlook the rather heavy reliance on the built-in keyboard accompaniment…

Download matt_westcott_-_el_secreto_del_amor.mp3



Sunday, February 25th, 2007

- this song intentionally left vague -

The music came first. The nature of the tune meant that I had to stick closely to a particular meter, with very little room for poetic licence, and I’m not sure I succeeded at that – even after distilling the lyrics down to the point where they have very little narrative structure left and become more of a stream of consciousness (but believe me, the writing process was anything but stream-of-consciousness. This was a slog). There might still be some meaning in there somewhere. Perhaps.

Download matt_westcott_-_nonexistence.mp3


I Never Lost My Heart In San Francisco

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

After a short break to catch up on regular geek duties, it’s back to FAWM, and it appears that I now need to average somewhat more than one song a day if I’m to reach the target. Hmm.

First of all, the standard apology – sorry for the chronically bad recording. I splashed out on a decent mike and USB mixer widget this weekend and everything, only to find that I’m missing a crucial cable. (Big jacks, little jacks, phono plugs, fine – I’ve got drawers overflowing with them. XLR? Where the hell did that come from?) So for now it’s back to the iBook built-in microphone, with its amazing propensity to pick up the clack of my horribly clacky sustain pedal. But I’m keeping it (for now) for authenticity’s sake, because it’s the first time I’ve succeeded in capturing a single live take of, well, anything really.

Update (2007-03-04) – Better recording (with a proper microphone) up now…

This was great fun to put together, and hopefully it shows. I do wonder if I’m ever going to pull off such a tight bit of rhyming as the second verse ever again.

Download matt_westcott_-_i_never_lost_my_heart_in_san_francisco.mp3


Geeks on a train

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

My talk for this weekend’s BarCamp London was Geeks on a Train (and other adventures in network theory). It covered an assortment of neat things to do with networks – both real and virtual – illustrated by Kevin Bacon, Slengpung and the London Underground.

You know the routine by now. I make the slides available, along with the warning that they’ll probably be completely unintelligible to anyone who didn’t see the talk, and then express the vague intention of putting them in more accessible form in future (possibly a screencast or something) which inevitably never happens. Tch, eh? Here’s the link.

Geeks On A Train slides – SXI (OpenOffice) format, 2.8Mb

(Technorati tag that’s presumably useful to someone somewhere: )

BarCamp London

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

BarCamp London, ad-hoc tech unconference

Clangers on the dancefloor

Monday, February 12th, 2007

[Screenshot: Clangers on the dancefloor]
This was my 256-byte intro for raww.orgy 2007, and it’s a slightly lazy production, this one. Back in October I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my core effects for Koopaville boiled down to a 64-byte routine plus 4K of tables, so I did the obvious thing and filed it under “things to crunch down to 256 bytes and recycle as an intro”.

The title. What can I say about the title? Well, it’s Snakes on a Plane but several billion times better, isn’t it.

Through Yeovil

Monday, February 12th, 2007

Is it really almost a year since I last entered a Speccy music competition? Coo. This one got third place at raww.orgy 2007, and there’s not much more to say about it – I knocked it off in a total of about 3 hours I guess. The title is a shameless attempt to ride on the success of previous years’ entries Through Poland and Through Russia, but unlike Factor6′s entry Through England I made no attempt to continue the theme musically. Like I said, shameless.

Download gasman_-_through_yeovil.mp3

raww.orgy 2007

Friday, February 9th, 2007

raww.orgy 2007, third outing of the front-room Spectrum demo party

Oxford Geek Night

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Oxford Geek Night – it’s a night! It’s in Oxford! It has geeks!

You See Colours

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Every week the FAWM website posts a weekly challenge; a theme or other constraint that participants can work into their songs, or ignore as they please. This week, it’s “Colour” (or “color” for strange foreign people who insist).

Arthur C Clarke once told of how a voice popped into his head one day, speaking the words “These are the songs of distant earth”, and the only way he could exorcise it was to write a 30,000 word novella with that as the title. This week I’ve had a similar experience, except the voice was saying “Write a song about blue tack! Go on! Blue tack!”

This is not that song. I’m still working on that one, and it’s mutated into something else now, such that it’s only very tangentially about blue tack. Hopefully you’ll get to hear it soon. However, that left me with a void in my colour-related-song repertoire, so I wrote this instead.

This song is actually a riddle of sorts. First person to spot the hidden subtext wins a cookie.

Update: Well, nobody got it – I guess no-one saw colours after all… Read on for the answer (paying special attention to the bold text…)

Download matt_westcott_-_you_see_colours.mp3