Tag Archives: music

Air SupMRI – The search for brainzzz

Since August last year I have had a bit of a problem with headaches.

Scroll down the page if you just want the MRI Simulator video I made…… otherwise, read on….

For 12 weeks I had a constant headache around the back of my head. It didn’t really stop me doing anything, but it was bloody annoying. A series of medication knocked this headache out, so that was all well and good.

Trouble is, on top of this headache, ever couple of weeks I would get a short lived slamming headache hit me in the back of my head to the right…. and it felt like a 12″ nail being hammered in. The pain felt like it is in one very specific area, like a knife point.

These wonderful ‘extras‘ have been enough for me to get on my knees or lay down and physically scream out in pain as they’ve gone on. I’ve broken bones and had various injuries, but I had never experienced pain like it. Over the 20 to 40 minutes it lasted, it started off as unbearable, and then ramped up.

Tests were done to make sure my brain was okay, and all functions were firing… and they were. Increasingly strong migraine medication was given to me, but none of it made the slightest difference.

As one came on over Christmas I took a painkiller/muscle relaxant left over from when I put my back out. These pills knocked me out cold when I had the bad back, so I reasoned that it would be better to be unconscious whilst this bastard headache ran its course if I couldn’t actually get rid of it. Yes…. probably not the greatest thing to do, but it was back medication that was prescribed to me, and I took a normal dose.

The headache stopped.

I saw a specialist and he said it is most likely tension related. That is to say a muscle under tension might be trapping a nerve and causing the pain. This is why the back medication worked. It is not work stress or mental tension… it is a physical tension within muscles etc.

So… I can now easily control the headache with meds and stop it before it even gets started…. but we still need find what’s causing it….

I was sent for an MRI scan to see if there was anything brain with my wrong.

People will tell you that the machine “will make a little noise“… Ha…. yeah, and then some…

The MRI operators will often play music through headphones to you, to help mask the noise…. ah ha ha…. no… really.

To help you understand what it is actually like, you might like to try my simulator…

The sound is an MRI scan, with an Air Supply song being played to help take your mind away from the noise of the machine….

This video and music track will help you simulate an MRI scan in your own home!

Yes, all you need is a good bass speaker and a bucket (white would be best).

Now just follow the on-screen instructions…..

If you have an MRI scan, you might be lucky and they won’t play music…..

Due to the nature of an MRI scan, you can’t have normal headphones. To get the music to you, they use a modern version of the speaking tubes used in days of old.

The music is played from a speaker away from the MRI machine and into a rubber tube. The tube splits off to your left and right ears.

Music is literally piped to you.

Unfortunately the MRI scan is so noisy, and the effectiveness of the sound tubes is so poor, the end result is, well…. crap.

Rusty Gob Iron Blues

Once upon a time I used to be pretty nimble playing the blues harmonica (blues harp / gob iron). I’ve played a few impromptu gigs, jammed backstage with bands at concerts, and randomly joined in with street blues performers who noticed I had a harp in my pocket (shut up….you KNOW what I mean).

I haven’t played/practised for quite some time, but hey, It’s a bit like riding a bike…. At first it is a struggle to get going, but after a while – and a fair bit of frustration – you get the hang of it… and then you get good…. You start to pull a few tricks and the more you do it, the better you get.

You never forget how to do it, but after a break from doing it, you do lose the subtleties and wobble a bit… You need to keep practising.

So yeah…. Several years down the line I’m talking to a friend who is starting to play and foolishly say I’d post a clip of me playing.

First the excuses….

Rusty from lack of playing, cheap microphone and a cold… Yet I promised a twitter friend @AliQuant, that I’d lay down some bits and pieces of me on my old blues harps… I had no idea what I was going to play, so this was all off of the cuff.

Hence…. “Rusty Gob Iron Blues“….. Not exactly fast and furious… but then again, I like my blues dirty.

I like the Delta Blues scene. Simple call back blues – Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson… A bit dirty, a bit gritty, but full of life.

This recording showed me that I have the right ideas still…. but Jeeeeeez, I need to practice and get it back together!

Planning a mid-life crisis

So I’ve just had my birthday and I realise that I don’t have a mid-life crisis planned.

After tweeting with friends about mid-life crisis’ I figure that a proper mid-life crisis must fulfil several criteria.

If you make a change at mid-life that works for you, then it’s just a change of life, an improvement that could have happened at any time you decided to try it – but for a mid-life crisis, it must be futile, ill thought out, a desperate grab at a lost youth and go some way to alienating you from others…. and generally be a short lived project before you return to what’s salvageable of youR life after the crisis is over…

With this in mind, the list was narrowed down into viable (even classic) mid-life crisis’.

Buying a motorbike.

The whole deal, along with all of the tight leathers (extra points for tassels). It would have to be the biggest, most bejewelled and outrageous Harley custom (or similar) or a razors edge race bike with lots of Z’s and X’s in the name – and possibly ending with the initials ‘TT’.

This would only be ridden during sunny days and garaged the rest of the time – under a custom-made cover. All the extras would be purchased for it, the chrome bits, the carbon bits, the sporty loud exhausts.

It would probably last a couple of years and then the iron horse would become a shelf for jars of nails, coat rack, old paint tins etc…

The kit car.

This is similar to the motorbike – although you never get to take it out of the garage. You get half way into the build… or maybe even just far enough to lean some wheels against the body shell to see what it will look like… and then your lose interest.

The engine will sit in the corner of the garage, the expensive tool box will sit full of unused tools, the carbs will sit on the work bench you made especially for the project.

The main body will sit for a few years in the garage before it moves into the back garden and rests under a fading tarpaulin. The larger spare parts will become one with the garden plants.



Nuff said. If you already had one, fair enough… but growing one does not make you Peter Pan.


Form a band.

Remember at school when you and your mates said “let’s form a band!” and then spent the next few weeks figuring out a name, have a rehearsal or two… maybe play an assembly… and then realise how it wasn’t such a cool idea after all…?

Well 30 years later it suddenly comes back to you! Sure, this is a great idea! You’ve always had a guitar knocking around the place, and sure you play it competently (whilst sporting the ponytail, of course), so why wouldn’t you get together with a few other delusional mid-lifers to form a bad. Somehow you just know that the world needs more mediocre middle-aged cover bands to play at dodgy pubs and village fetes and carnivals (if you can reach those heady heights).

That being said, there are some bloody good bands out there that started this way. ‘Some’ being the key word. If it lasts longer than 12 months, then it is no longer just a mid-life crisis!

Xtreme sport.

Nothing helps recapture your youth like an injury from an extreme sport (this can mean ‘jogging’ in some people’s cases). Usually it involves tripping over your ski’s whilst trying them on in your bedroom, but you can tell everyone at the pub that you did it on a black run trying to save this kid who was showing off…. ah yeah, these kids!

Fair play to you if you take something up for the right reasons – after all, you reach an age and you need to take up some extra exercise to keep yourself in shape – but Super-X moto racing, skydiving, surfing, street luge…. these are not sports that you just go into halfway through your life…. Try tennis or badminton… or the typical ones of golf or squash.


Dress young, go clubbing.

Remember as a kid how you used to laugh at the guy who was as old as your dad and was well embarrassing coz’ he tried to speak cool like the kids and he dressed like he thought the kids dressed… which inevitably meant he looked like The Fonz… with a beer belly…. or a Ibiza DJ in Day-Glo shirt… with a beer belly… Well, that’s you now…. Don’t do it.

Whatever you do, if you do go down this route…. don’t then try to ice the cake by then going clubbing. It makes the whole sad package a whole lot sadder….


Buy a Porsche.

Yup…. nothing says ‘recaptured youth‘ like a ponytail flapping in the wind behind a balding head in a soft top Porsche…


Have an affair.

Getting a much younger girl on your arm (and more) is a fail-safe, 100% fool-proof way to recapture that feeling of youth that is slipping through your insecure fingers.

Hang on, what I meant was ‘having an affair is the fastest way to lose all the things you have managed to get up to this point in time, and piss the lot away, ending up with nothing more than even more regrets and the disrespect from your friends. You prick.


Have a break down.

If you don’t have the cash to spend on ill-fated hobbies, sports, tarts, dodgy haircuts etc, then you could just go for despair. Yes, life is slipping through your fingers, so let your stress build up and then strip naked in the middle of a shopping centre in rush hour and run around laughing. For added effect, cover yourself with your own filth.

It’ll get it out of your system quickly, probably won’t lose you as many friends as some of the things already listed above – and it may even get you some paid sick leave off of work so you can have even more time to reflect on how it’s all slipping away and you haven’t done anything with your life and …and… where’s that kit car magazine?

Don’t go too far though. Running around killing people isn’t going to help matters. Much like the running around covered in your own filth will only earn you more time to think about a wasted life, a prison sentence is going to give you WAY more of that time to regret your lost youth.



A lot of mid-life crisis moves are simply either redoing what you already did at school to be cool, but gave up on when you realised it wasn’t really cool…. or being financially able to do the things that you thought were cool at school, but didn’t have the cash to do them back then.

In these latter cases the idea never actually died…. it sat in your head for the next 30 years… and because it has always been in your head, waiting, it suddenly seems like a good idea as it fights for freedom in your middle-aged head…. It’s not…

What’s playing in your ears right now?

First rule – be honest!

Don’t keep shuffling forward for cooler songs. This is a ‘getting to know you’ exercise.

  1. Turn on your MP3 player or generic brand music player on your computer.
  2. Go to SHUFFLE mode.
  3. Write down the first 20 songs that come up – title and artist.
  4. Add it to the comments section below and share with friends.

NO editing/cheating please

I have so much music – built up over the years… this could be bad….

  1. In My Car – Beach Boys
  2. Did it again – Shakira
  3. Walk on the Wild Side – Jimmy Smith
  4. Monkey House – T’Pau
  5. It’s Only Life – Wilson Phillips
  6. You Make Me Feel so Young – Frank Sinatra
  7. Umbrella – Biffy Clyro
  8. Bug Powder Dust – Bomb the Bass
  9. Secrets – Sunscreem
  10. Eleven Long Years – Us3
  11. One of my Turns – Pink Floyd
  12. Karmadrome – Pop Will Eat Itself
  13. Bank of Boston Beauty Queen – The Dresden Dolls
  14. Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti
  15. Everyday I Love You Less and Less – The Kaiser Chiefs
  16. Warning – Levellers
  17. Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones
  18. Your Racist Friend – They Might be Giants
  19. Wild America – Iggy Pop
  20. Wish (Komm zu mir) – Thomas D & Franka Potente

Oh dear…..

Twitter is a DJ

A few Twitter users will have noticed some users are posting tweets from something called Blip.fm.

Quite simply, it’s a free web page that allows users to post songs and videos to various social media sites – such as Facebook and Twitter.

It’s really pretty good – I didn’t really get into at first – but after giving it a fair try I’m getting into it now!

You can just tune in to favourite DJ’s (or rather people who also use Blip.fm). Other users select songs and their playlist builds up, and you can just select to listen to it.

To be more involved you can start to create your own playlists. This allows other people to then go to your list to listen to your chosen and growing selection of songs.

It’s quite simple – and a top way of finding long time forgotten songs, and discovering new ones you wouldn’t have otherwise thought about.

I particularly like searching through the “Mash Up” selections – song mixes such as Lady Gaga vs. Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.

For iPhone users there is currently an app called “Boombox Pro” which allows use of Blip.fm via the iPhone. It is a bit temperamental, but there are fixes for it. I have found that it failed totally after my first tries, but by resetting my application key in my Blip.fm settings/password section, Boombox started working again. It’s not faultless yet, as some of the playlist doesn’t update – but the search and Blip function works fine.

Hopefully, Blip.fm will bring out their own app soon… or Boombox will pull their finger out and sort out their bugs.

UPDATE: Received an email from Boombox designers today – They are working on fixes along with Blip.Fm. As that is the case I would recommend Boombox to anyone, simply because the app is a great idea, it almost works and the people working on it offer quick customer support. Good customer support is a must for me.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share a little bit more of what is out there on the web for those who hadn’t heard of it yet!

Big difference, but nothing changes…

One tired lad after a day of playing with his beloved cars!!!! He just runs his batteries down and sleeps where he stops…

Some things never change: 2 Years ago today….

One chubby little lad on some last minute shopping on the 22nd December 2006….

Too much, originally uploaded by L.B.

“The clatter of trolleys and the symphony of checkouts, screaming kids, screaming adults, breaking jars, the whole general rumble and “music” of a very busy, last minute shopper filled Hypermarket.

Little Al takes it all in his stride…then falls asleep with all that going on!

I have to hand it to him – When it comes to his sleep, he is very dedicated to the cause.”

Make your own ringtone

I’ve put my guide together on Flickr – so now ANYONE can see it without having to sign up or be a member etc…

Just click HERE. It should be simple to follow – but if you have any questions, just contact me.

For another useful tool that you might like: A FREE program that can convert audio and video files for use on iPhone, games consoles, other mobile phones, iPods etc, click HERE. I use it to convert videos for use on my iPhone. It’s called QMC – Quick Media Converter – and it is an easy thing to use.

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