Monthly Archives: February 2013

Supply & Demand

As expected, additional dates were added for the Mrs Carter Show World Tour starring Beyoncé. Therefore it was a case of deja vu for myself and colleague Priyam on Friday morning. I was keen to make sure I secured tickets on this second priority sale, even if that meant skipping breakfast all together. I knew the process now, so made sure I logged in early and waiting impatiently in the Virtual Waiting Room. All my details were already in-putted (although surprised they could not save my information from the previous day) At 9:30am sharp, I was through and booked tickets almost immediately for six people. Priyam had logged into the site, a minute after me, but was left waiting in the waiting room. The opportunity to purchase tickets never materialised. I, on the other hand, spent almost six hundred pounds in a world record twenty seconds. My colleagues were shocked at how quickly I navigated the site and took the best tickets available in my price category. Seating may not be perfect, but I would rather be there at the O2 Arena, than be watching on television.

My dilemma now is that I find myself some four hundred miles on Tyneside on the day of the concert and will need to make my way back down South, rather sharp-ish. I cannot rely on my friends, so may have to book a flight back. This may sound drastic but the reality is that a weekend with the lads, will never go according to plan. It would be unfair of me to force the rest of the group to leave the city early around 1pm sharp to ensure I make it to London in time for Beyoncé. I thought I was getting too old for these ultimate adventure weekends. Perhaps not, perhaps this is one last through of the dice. I do enjoy the thrill of trying to fit too much into a weekend. Thankfully, there is a Bank Holiday Monday to cushion the bump back to reality that would have been Monday morning.


Racking my brain and my blog archives, I have discovered that there is a precedent for such an event. Way back in July 2007, I was in Wrexham, visiting my dear friend David Jones and had to rush back on Sunday morning to ensure I got home to Wycombe, so I could take my sisters to Wembley Stadium for Concert for Diana. Six years ago, I believe I had the energy for a two hundred mile drive and then train trip to Wembley. Unsure of how I will cope with a flight, after a heavy weekend with the boys and travelling into Greenwich. Oh well, time will tell people!

Bow Down

I would never consider myself a big Beyoncé Knowles Carter fan, but generally I enjoy her output. I have seen her perform live, almost seven years ago at Earls Court, for the World Music Awards (she even performed my favourite song at the time, Irreplaceable from her second studio album, B Day). It was perhaps her performance at Glastonbury a few years ago, which made me think, I need to see this woman perform live at her own concert (not just an awards show) where she is fully in control of the entire experience. Soon after I made this statement, she fell pregnant and it would be at least two years before I would be able to see her perform, if she ever embarked on a world tour again. It is not like she really needs the money, married to a multimillionaire hip-hop artist in his own right.

Only recently did I discover that my colleague and friend Harps Virk is probably the biggest Beyoncé Knowles fan this side of the pond. In fact, we were both at the World Music Awards almost seven years ago! Harps was towards the end of the catwalk part of the stage, whereas I had been standing quite close to the front of the stage at the start of the catwalk. Such a small world we live in, that I would not only be working with this guy, but he also happens to live in the same town as me (Slough for the uninitiated).

How do you prove your worthiness as a fan? People do this in many different ways, some set up fan sites, as shrines to their beloved movie star or musician. Others convert their bedrooms or even living rooms to a living museum to their idol. Having been a fan of MJ for many years, I know fans whom have gone to such extremes and beyond. Harps is no exception, having a high quality mug made of the former Destiny’s Child singer (can I still say former when they are making a comeback, unsure of the group’s current status).


He says, he also has a life size card board cut out in his bedroom. I have yet to see photographic evidence of this, but surely that would put in him a league of his own in Beyoncé fandom. I mean, he even goes to the extreme of only pausing a Destiny’s Child music video (playing via YouTube application on my Nexus 7) when B is on the screen! (I do not want to have Kelly on my screen, was the remark made). So here we are on Thursday morning at 8:46am, waiting impatiently to get our hands on my some tickets for the Miss Carter World Tour. Breakfast can wait for a change but I do look forward to my victory cup of tea shortly! Talk amongst yourselves, I could be a while!

Beyonce at the O2

After almost two hours of waiting, I end up with nothing. Watching as other fans across the UK bag their tickets and proclaim their joy on the social network that is Twitter. I used the hashtag mrscarterworldtour and many of the tweets I have retweeted into my time line, if you are so inclined. My colleague Priyam got into the site but was only able to purchase a single ticket. Nobody wants to see Beyoncé on their own. She closed her Internet Explorer window and I did pretty much the same a few minutes later after received this error message, multiple times.

Computer Says No

A Blessing In Disguise

Being a creature of habit, any change to my routine can have catastrophic consequences for the rest of my day. On Friday morning at 6:10am, I am usually in a good mood, having that Friday feeling spring in my step. The weekend is so close, you can almost taste it in the cold air of the Bath Road as I make my way down to the station. I am used to the odd train delay on our Victorian railway system but on this occasion, I was at the station much earlier than usual, so I was able to catch a different service, when I discovered my usual train had been cancelled. The only minor inconvenience is having to walk across (or in my case run) the walkway to platform four.

Depatures Cancelled

I got to a seat opposite a Sikh gentleman wearing a bright orange hi-vis jacket. Possibly a Network Rail worker, completing the upgrade to Reading Station. He was tired and fell asleep a few times with his head down onto the table infront of him. He woke up to ask me to wake him at Reading, when we stopped at Maidenhead. I forget to mention that this train was the local stopping service to Oxford, but even though it left a few minutes earlier than my usual train, it arrived a few minutes later, as my usual train service is direct! I followed his request and promptly awoke him just as we were going past the TVP buildings into Reading station. However, just prior to this, I realised I had left my train pass at home. It had fallen out of my jacket into my gym bag last night. Great! I would now need to buy a return to Slough. However, not the end of the world but not a great start to my Friday after already having my usual train cancelled. I went up to the barrier, seeing a familiar face whom always lets me through the barrier. Another long story which perhaps does not even need to be blogged but since taking up my company discounted train pass, my train ticket does not work in the electronic barriers. The price you pay for getting a discount on your season ticket, is the inconvenience of having to queue up and show your pass to the station master (how Victorian!). My Friday instantly got better, as I explained I had forgotten my pass, the old chap, just let me through, no questions asked. Could my day get any better? Unbelievably it would!

I text Michelle once I was in the office to get confirmation that my train pass was indeed in my gym bag and once we she had responded via e-mail, I felt much better. I tried to blag a lift from Slough based colleagues but they were not leaving until 5:30pm, over an hour later than I intended to leave. Sure enough, I would have to bite the bullet and buy a single to Slough for the handsome sum of eight pounds Sterling. The main thing was I had just misplaced and found my pass, I did not really want to have to request a new pass from the travel team and effectively pay again for three weeks of commuting.

Good news can arrive at any point in the day, for me it arrived at 4pm when my manager asked, “How long until you leave for the week, Andrew?” “About twenty five minutes…” was my reply!

Thanking My Past

Knowing my history with computers and data, I made the decision in 2007 to invest in an external drive. This was not an off the shelf consumer device of course, I purchased a 320gb drive from eBuyer and IDE to USB caddy from eBay. Now perhaps I should have had hindsight to future proof this purchase by obtaining an SATA drive instead of the old school IDE but that was not to be a major part of my decision-making process. It was the cost, this was the biggest capacity I could afford at the time. I knew it was a decision only my future self would appreciate. I was talking to Teg from 2013 but unbeknown to me (of 2007), I would be married, living in Slough and working for the biggest software manufacturer services and devices company in the world.

Now having a server, with mirrored drive configuration, did negate the need for a backup drive but I preferred to be safe rather than sorry. I copied all my music and videos and pretty much everything else onto this drive up to the end of 2008. Dagobah arrived in July 2009, so the backup drive was forgotten at my parents place in High Wycombe. My Dad had wanted to place the drive and caddy in the garage, but I had confirmed, that it needed to remain at an ambient room temperature although I’m sure modern drives can last at low temperatures of an English winter. I just did not want to take the risk, because I knew that one day I would need that drive again.

With all the problems I have had with my server of late (it failed again in early January and it took me almost a month to get it back online, with help courtesy of Myles G and a new two terabyte hard drive courtesy of I am still glad many things have been burnt to DVD. My backup regime has been somewhat fragmented but at least I have a backup regime, which is perhaps good in itself. I am able to ‘jump back’ to music videos and TV shows from 2007-8 but the limitations of 4.7GB of data and of course, lack of precious time mean that I only have so much data archived away. This was were the large backup drive came into it’s element. However, in December when I tried to see if I could access the data off it, the caddy failed to work. I needed to buy a replacement but looked for an IDE/SATA hybrid model from eBay. This arrived a few weeks ago but it was not until my server was fully functioning at the beginning of the month, was I able to grab my old drive from High Wycombe and set it all up. I was back baby!

If I could speak to my old self from 2007, I would thank him for having the courage to use not one but two backup mediums. Remember this was a time in my life, when I recorded a great deal of television (albeit standard definition) onto my hard drive. I recall one time in November 2007, catching Beyoncé perform my favourite song from B-Day on Strictly Come Dancing and rushing to from the lounge to my computer to record the segment. Any material over 4.7GB or things I could not categorise into a selection for a DVD burn, remained on the drive. I am so happy I made this decision to copy all my music and video content to an external drive. I now only have a small gap of data missing (the time between 2009 and 2012). The great beauty with digital content though, is apart from some unique and rare features I recorded from the television, most are available to download again or ready to stream from YouTube, if your heart so desires. However, with my bandwidth cap every month, I always prefer the 1080p (full high-definition) downloaded file, which I can stream to multiple devices around the home.

We are perhaps the first generation (of many) whom will have our memories stored electronically in digital ones and zeros and not physical photo albums. We just need to make sure we think about duplicating the effort. One backup will never be enough!

Party Over Here

I like to dance around to music, particularly when driving in the car. Of course, listening to my music quite loud draws attention to me in any case, but to add to the mix, I can usually be spotted dancing around like crazy. I have done this for years on and off. Most recently when my commutes were a daily one hundred and twenty miles (Slough to Swindon and a decade earlier, High Wycombe to Bedford). Of course, people, both pedestrians and other road users, stare, wondering what drugs this driver has been taking. Do I care? I just ignore the outside world and continue to enjoy my music!

My favourite character from The Hangover franchise is Leslie Chow, played to perfection by Ken Jeong. I am sure I mentioned that the sequel was released the same weekend, my best friend Pav had his stag do to Berlin. In any case, I follow the real Ken on Twitter but noticed a parody account which I started following recently and low and behold, this tweet came up and I just had to not just favourite it, retweet it but also blog about it here.

Leslie Chow