Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 25/06/05


It's been a week for being generally pissed off, chums.

First off, I bought (through a friend of friends, who happens to work in a record shop somewhere) a copy of the new Kraftwerk live double-CD Minimum-Maximum. I got it last Friday week but, what with one thing and another, it was Sunday before I could take the time to listen to it. So into my hi-fi (am I being unintentionally retro in calling it that?) it went.

Listened to Disc 1. Sublime stuff. Autobahn sounds just as I guess Ralf & Florian always hoped it would sound live. Neon Lights was just breathtaking - always one of my favourites, but this was something special.

In went Disc 2. About three minutes into Trans Europe Express (the second track), it started looping back about five seconds, and kept doing it.

Thinking that I'd got marks on the disc's playing surface (it was a humid day, and I was sweating a bit), I cleaned the disc using a cloth and liquid for the purpose. Put the disc back in. Nope, same problem. I even resorted to the tried-and-trusted method favoured by the late, great John Peel; that is, I wiped it on my trouser leg. Still no joy.

I went to see if would play on my PC. And found that it wouldn't play. Or, at least, it would not play in Winamp, WMP, Real or any of the media player programs I have. Reason? EMI had decided to 'copy-protect' the release. The only way it would play in my PC would be for me to install some crappy media player from the disc itself, and then listen to it in greatly reduced sound quality (128kbps).

Your Judge's wig hit the window at this point. I mean, by what frigging right does a record company have to sell me a product, and then completely dictate the way I can use it? If I buy an album, I want to listen to it in the player of my choice, using the hardware of my choice, and via the software of my choice. If someone tries to deny me that, then they are interfering with my rights: to charge me the same amount as for a proper, legitimate copy for the privilege is just...how can I put it...taking the piss. Especially when the record company (and the cartel of which it is a prominent member) keeps trying to claim the moral high ground over file-sharing, disc-copying, and so on, thus implying that it views us all merely as potential criminals who must be protected from their depravity by having ludicrous restrictions placed on their freedom to do what they will with what they have paid good money for!

And it's not as if these measures actually work in any case: the file-sharing networks are full of this album already, and it's only been out less than three weeks.

A snotty e-mail is on its way to someone at EMI, even though I've now got hold of a proper copy (catalogue number 560 6112, if you need to know).


I spent a large part of last weekend composing a letter to my MP. You see, the Second Reading of the Identity Cards Bill is coming up in the House of Commons on Tuesday (28th), and I wanted to try to dissuade him from voting in favour of it again, like he did at least twice in the last parliament (the Bill fell due to lack of time).

The letter ended up being 8½ pages of quite detailed argument, which I won't go into right here, but you can see the broad thrust of my argument here (*).

Having polished it as much as I could, I posted it on Monday.

I'll say this for him, his response was quick. I received his reply on Wednesday. In one (poorly-typed - I think his secretary must have been in the bog, and he did it himself) paragraph, he managed to score in the high nineties on the Missing-The-Point-Ometer. The gist of it was that he's still going to vote for it.

Well, the gist of me is that I am still not going to vote for him. If I'm still permitted to vote by then, of course...


I mentioned elsewhere that I'd bought a digital camera at long last. And very nice it is, too.

I'm still getting to grips with it, but one thing which is annoying is the way that the bloody thing devours batteries. I have to remember not to use the TFT screen unless I have to, but sometimes I have no choice.

Yes, I do have a set of rechargeable batteries (NiMH), but they're of the lowest power rating (1300 mAh), so need removing and recharging after only a few pictures. I went to buy a set of 2600mAh ones on Thursday, but they were out of stock.


This week, we serfs were told that the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-von Battenburg clan (a group calling itself 'The Royal Family') cost us about £35million a year to keep. Yes, and the rest of it, because the costs of 'security' weren't included, nor the parts of their luxurious lifestyle whose expense are buried in the vaults of various government departments.

And yet there are still people who practically orgasm when these inbred parasites pop up to grace them with their presence. You can find a lot of these people in the media: how else can you explain the fact that ITN's main early-evening news bulletin the other night not only gave a whole nine freaking minutes to William Windsor's graduation ceremony, but made it the lead item?! OK, in one sense, good luck to the boy; at least he seems to be more intelligent than his father, grandfather and his screwed-up changeling kid brother combined, but even boys from impoverished backgrounds get degrees, without having had the advantages of the 'best' schools that privilege can buy.

And supporters of all this cack are exactly the sort of people who rail against European institutions for being 'undemocratic', 'elitist' and 'out of touch'.


Hating hot, humid weather as I do, I was really looking forward to the thunderstorms we had been promised by virtually every forecast for Friday. There's nothing better than that clean, fresh feeling in the air after a good storm. If you haven't been struck by lightning in the meantime of course, in which case I'm told that the combined odours of ozone and scorched flesh can detract from one's pleasure somewhat.

So, before leaving for work on Friday morning, I made sure that everything was unplugged and disconnected: the modem and microfilters for the PC, all aerials, and everything electrical. All that was left switched on and connected was the fridge, for obvious reasons.

The result? Nada, nitchevo, zilch, nowt, sod all. Not a flash, not a rumble; just a couple of heavy showers, which didn't do much to ease things.

You can't even rely on the weather to be bad, now...

* Historical note: I can't remember what this linked to, but it isn't there anymore anyway.