The Parish News – Twenty Fourth Edition

I nearly blew my cool on this edition.

I figured I would try and play new tracks that would appeal to a wider demographic than the one I had fostered previously – it started to get a bit irksome. I downloaded the best tracks of 2016 according to Bleep – they are awesome; really good tracks. Just, not what I want in a radio show.

So I had all of my playlist lined up, ready to go – I even made myself a strong tea and was highly motivated. However, the pounding EDM riddims got to me and I nearly swore on the radio 🙁

There is a time and a place for the music that I was playing – it really is exceptional music; the best of 2016. However, I was not feeling it. I felt like I was a ball-bearing in an aerosol can being shaken about to apply a finishing touch to TINO142’s WildStyle and it wasn’t nice.

This caused me to play a Nils Frahm track and I soon regained my equilibrium. The track following Nils Frahm’s duet with Olafur Arnalds was a six minute field recording from an Arctic Cliff (by Patrick Franke – awesome work) and we were back where I had left off in 2016, before the Winter break. It felt good to be home.

I had hoped for a ‘New Look’ show – with more exciting music and appealing to a wider demographic …. but it was not to be. Out with the new / in with the old. Below is the tracklist:

Artist / Album / Song / Track Time

The Qualities / Singles: The Definitive 45’s Collection 1952-1991 / Happy New Year to You / 1:48
nonkeen (Nils Frahm, Sebastian Singwald and Frederic Gmeiner) / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / Chasing God Through Palmyra / 6:21
Cavern Of Anti-Matter / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / melody in high feedback tones / 3:53
Bullion / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / Loop the Loop / 3:25
Muslimgauze / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / Untitled 1985 (Victor Shan_Gerd Janson Rave mix) / 6:26
Anna Homler and Steve Moshier / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / Ee Chê / 8:03
JT The Goon / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / Oil on Ice (version 2) / 3:56
Jessy Lanza / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / It Means I Love You / 4:41
Kowton / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / Scido / 4:50
Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm / The Top 100 Tracks of 2016 / 20_17 / 5:55
Patrick Franke / Earth (Listening) / Arctic Cliff / 6:43
Truists / Ballroom / you need a get out of hell free card / 4:07
Pinkcourtesphone / Taking In to Account Only A Portion Of Your Emotions / High End Smalls / 10:07
Geir Stundstøl / Langen Ro / Tony’s theme / 3:29
Disrupt / Foundation Bit / Foundation Bit / 4:59
Chris Abrahams / Climb / Shoreline / 7:20
Sendai / Ground and Figure / Perfect Boulevard Exclusive  / 4:41
The Aggrovators / Dubbing at King Tubby’s / Bag o Wire / 3:25
James O’Callaghan / Espaces Tautologiques / Empties Impetus / 20:02

New Look Site

Well, I tried with the new CMS – Koken – but it seemed a bit of a mistake.

The options were very limited and expensive – quick trial, which I regret, and now back to WordPress. It seems a change to the regular WordPress site, but it is a custom build I did for myself. I have got rid of most of the sound posts but will consign them to the blog in the future.

Tonight has been a fun night of Jazz (Sun Ra – Complete Singles), Coffee and web development. I know I will not get to sleep for the rest of the night (it is 04:00) so I will cook a bacon butty and prepare for a days work – maybe a photo walk is in order … Well, I have been experimenting with the summer’s trend of web brutalism and I am quite chuffed with the result. What do you think?

Anyway, the below is what the site looks at the minute:

www.andybackhouse.com

NYE 2016/17

That was that – Kathryn is tucked up in front of the telly & I am about to head to bed.

I thought about writing a homily to 2016 – a turbulent year that, warts and all, shaped me and my life – for the better or worse it is yet to be seen. I lost family members but my music career started to take off …. swings and roundabouts really.

So, instead of writing a bit about 2016 (which you can read about here) I figure I would like to focus more on what I hope to achieve in 2017. As stated, my music career is in it’s infancy but I was played on the BBC this very night – give below an ear look:

With this – one of my resolutions is to make music with more people. I have always held that music is a unifying force – it brings people together. I would like to spend a good portion of my time making music in 2017, but with other people. There is an energy and vibrancy when you are in the creative presence of friends – something I love – and more of that please.

Another positive I would like to take from 2016 is my employment. I have come on leaps and bounds with my web design over the past twelve months – moving in to freelance work and now sniffing around for more work. TreeBark Design has been the excuse to wake up on time and the reason I am a happier person. Another reason I am so happy at this junction in my life is my wife, Kathryn – I will be make a point of spending more time with her in the coming year. 2017 will be busy, but fun.

Yes, we have lost a lot of familiar faces in 2016 – but, if 2016 is to be remembered for the death of people, let it be for the 400,000 who died in Aleppo. I will continue in the early months to campaign for environmental issues and human rights affairs across the world – with renewed vigour I will still be petitioning and making a nuisance of myself to the local MP, Andrew Jones, whilst I can still type.

So, here is me, Andy Backhouse, wishing you – dear reader – the very best of starts to what will hopefully turn out to be a vintage year

End Of Year Wrap 2016

So, what have I been up to? Well:

There is now the opportunity to purchase some of the prints I have on display on my site – obviously, not all of the images I have on my site are for sale. I have not include the examples of the the portrait photography that I offer. However, some of the landscape images are available to buy in a range of formats – all as fine art Glicée prints.

In other news, I have been busy helping out by building the web site for a local arts collective I am part of: Nota Bene Art will be operational in the New Year (February) and things are ticking over nicely.

I have also, obviously, redone my site – the emphasis is more on visual art on this incarnation of the site: I have used the CMS called KOKEN. It is geared towards photographers and illustrators. I try and fall in to the category of the former – wishful thinking I guess, but still – good fun.

The prints I have for sale are marked with a shopping basket in the top right hand corner of the image – this offers the opportunity to downlaod the image or to order the image as a fine art Glicée Print. Hopefully, the software will take your details on the payment page and it will all run smoothly – I have used the latest in web encryption and made it possible for your to use the safest method of payment (Paypal) so it is safe – just, as yet, untested.

I will keep you posted.

 

Betwixtmas 2016

What do people without small families do during the period between Xmas Day & New Year? I have mainly been suffering from a viral infection (man-flu) so had to bow out of drinks today – co-retards Tom & Tom were meting up in York and wondered if they could be taught how to drink. Unfortunately I am at the contagious stage of my man-flu so could not make it.

Instead, I spent a while in town (despite the permanent frost on the ground throughout the day) and bought my first electric toothbrush – I was after something that would give me a data read out but had to settle on one I bought in Boots – an ORAL B one, hmmm hmmm.

On the way home, walking down Beullah Street I stopped by the window of cEx – the Gadget Exchange. I could not believe my eyes – there was a pair of B&O earphones going for a fair price. I went in the shop and was served by Georgia – according to her name badge – and I did not even have to listen to them. At the price they were advertised for it was a bit of a no-brainer.

They are Beoplay H3’s. The Beoplay H3 is designed by Jakob Wagner. Jakob was born in Copenhagen in 1963, and has degrees in Engineering and Product Design. His designs have won numerous Red Dot and iF awards and have been exhibited internationally. And I have a pair!

The rest of the day was spent brushing my teeth and listening to music.

Xmas 2k16 Mk. II

I almost feel nostalgic for writing this; why? Well, I will tell you at the bottom of the page. Today saw an above average early start for me – I was up at 06:30 but fully rested. We set the coordinates for Home Farm and set off on the 36 route to Ripon. It suddenly struck me, as we pulled out of Harrogate and went on to Killinghall, how beautiful the landscape looked dressed in it’s winter sunlight. There was a clear, icy light beating down – illuminating pasture and moorland alike. We trundled through Honey-pot villages and were picked up by Dad in Ripon.

It was great to see Mum, Dad, Alison, Paddy (dog, old) & Jess (cat, very old). Alison had the look in her eye of a veteran who has seen too much action – she was drained of Xmas cheer but plucky and resilient to whatever the day will throw at her. Kathryn and me got straight down to business and opened the presents that had eluded us on the 25th.

My brother and his family bought for me a Sun Ra CD Boxset! It was “Sun Ra – The Complete 45’s” and I hope to give it a listen over the next few days. Kathryn received a sausage dog door stop and a book about dog walking – sort of a memoir thing more than an instruction manual – she is more than confident when it comes to handling furry critters.

After a slap-up, traditional meal (Turkey and Ham Pie) we all sat down as a family to watch the Steven Spielberg version of the BFG. Now then, the animated version of this film holds tremendous emotional clout for any of the Backhouse cousins. The  is the first film we collectively (and individually for some) have any recollection of watching (may have been the Jungle Book – but, I will state here the first film I have any memory of watching is the animated version of the BFG). I think I was seven or eight when the original made-for-television version came out.

Whenever we had a meet-up as a family, the grandchildren would be plonked in-front of a Ferguson Cathode Ray Tube and the BFG was inserted as a VHS – complete with commercial breaks. Granny & Grandpa sold the house around six years later (Fieldgate – that was it’s name) but I have a strong connection to that house. As readers of the blog may know, my G’s are otherwise occupied at present so cannot comment. But the film was a heavy hitter and there were times where I was drifting off at the recollection of clouds of pipe smoke bellowing out of Grandpa and of Granny the beaming matriarch.

We quickly had tea and went to the Curzon in Ripon – this was the first time I had been to the cinema in 2016 – a long wait in any cinema goers book. The reason: Star Wars Rogue One. Yes, the CGI was patchy and there could be moral qualms about using deceased actors in new reboots, however: this was a film with a vape score of ZERO. As in, I was so giddy with excitement that I did not even bother vaping whilst the film showed – around three hours without my bong. Longest since …

In the car on the way home, Kathryn was checking her FB and broke it to us that Carrie Fisher had passed after a dip in health due to complications on a flight. It was a somber moment after watching the latest installment of a film that defined my childhood and an actress that defined my adolescent peccadilloes. This news flash made me realise I had probably seen my dog for the last time. Paddy is so old a strong gust of wind will knock him to the ground – he is so unstable on his back legs that dad has repeatedly told himself that he will have to take him to the vet on his last journey. However, he keeps on fighting back. As they say in Rogue One: what is a rebellion without hope. I am glad I got to plant a kiss on my dog’s head as I left.

Christmas 2016

Well, that was that!

A lot of blogs do the whole retrospective sweep around Xmas – I prefer to do that on New Year. So, I will, in this post, just write about what happened today: Christmas Day 2016.

Things got off to an excited start. Like a cotton headed ninnymuggins, I woke up at 03:30 and wanted presents. I tried, valiantly, to raise my wife from slumber. I did the gentlemanly thing and wait until 4am to do this. We exchanged gifts. Kathryn received a print by noted local artist, Robbie Burns. This was the winter scene called ‘Drawn to the Lights’ that compliments the autumnal scene that I purchased for Kathryn to mark our fifth wedding anniversary – also by Robbie Burns. I also got Kathryn the dress below and a couple (three) albums.

 

 

The dress looked stunning on Kathryn – it was as if it was made to specification solely for my wife. Kathryn bought me some amazing presents (a Sun Ra CD among them).

I then had four hours wait whilst Kathryn slept the sleep of the righteous – all I did was look at wrapped presents and feel useless. Thankfully, one of the gifts that Kathryn gave me was an espresso porcelain set and ground coffee – this set me up nicely in time to wake her up at eight thirty and tell her that “Now is the time for presents.”

Mum and Dad kindly gave me a voucher for a music store I frequent (Bleep) and my sister bought me a telescope – it looks ace as it has the added tech benefit of being able to sync with the SkyView app on my phone and point towards the stars labeling them as you go along; so that I am not wildly pointing my new telescope at airplanes.

We spent the morning of Christmas Day in our flat as the world busied itself for a day of gluttony. The chosen destination for our feasting was Kathryn’s parent’s in Harrogate. Kathryn’s mum is an accomplished cook and treated us royally. The feasting led to lethargy and I had to tag out after the third round of seconds was called up.

They even had Xmas pudding in for me and Kathryn – so the story told to me today goes, the humble Christmas pudding fell out of favour in Kathryn HQ to be replaced by a boozy trifle. Kathryn had not eaten Xmas pudding until she spent her first Xmas with me at Home Farm – she is now hooked on the stuff. We were treated great by Kathryn’s parents and it was great to spend time with them. They had got a lot of beer in for the day, but, after the feasting, I was a little bit full to start a one-man session.

The afternoon led to an intense game of scrabble – Kat’s dad cheated/won* and I came third – still it is the taking part that counts … until I win a game and then it is the winning that matters.

I managed to phone Home Farm and have a chat with siblings and parents – they seemed to have weathered the Xmas storm. Storm Mum was battering around the kitchen of Home Farm annoying the low pressure of Dad and generally clucking – but she was pleased that her Grand daughter was spending the majority of her first Christmas at the family HQ.

Back at Kathryn’s parent we slipped into a diabetic coma after over indulgence and woke up to see that Len Goodman was retiring from Strictly Come Dancing. Power snooze accomplished, we hot footed it back to our flat and slobbed in our Pyjamas. Yes, I have a beer in hand and, yes, I am wearing my pyjamas – well, it’s Christmas!

So, I would like to wish you the very best of days and I hope that all of your Christmas wishes have been fulfilled. So, from Kathryn & Andy Backhouse (plus Ted the Goldfish) – have a very merry Christmas!

*delete as appropriate

Snoopers’ Charter :: Effectively Unlawful

The Government IS breaking the law by indiscriminately collecting the nation’s internet activity and phone records – meaning significant parts of its new Snoopers’ Charter are effectively unlawful.

I am a member of Liberty – the Human Rights Watch, based in the UK. When Liberty, representing Tom Watson MP, launched a legal challenge two years ago, it was because they believed the Government’s surveillance practices were breaching our human rights.

Today, the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) agreed with us: the Government is breaking the law.

How is the Government breaking the law?

Under a temporary surveillance law known as the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), the Government forced communications companies to store details of every person’s internet activity, emails, texts and phone calls.

Hundreds of organisations and government agencies – from police forces to HMRC – were allowed to grant themselves access to this data without independent sign-off and without any suspicion of serious crime.

The CJEU has now ruled that this extremely lax access regime breached British people’s rights. In fact, by allowing for the general and indiscriminate retention of every person’s data in the first place, the Government was acting unlawfully.

What does this mean for the future?

DRIPA expires on 31 December, but the Government has been busy this year with a new surveillance law – the Investigatory Powers Act (also called the Snoopers’ Charter) – passing in November.

Today’s ruling means major parts of that new Act are in effect unlawful – and the Government will need to urgently and fundamentally amend it in order to protect the rights of the British population.

What’s more, the Snoopers’ Charter replicates and vastly expands the powers set out in DRIPA including ‘internet connection records’ (ICRs). The new regime, estimated to cost £170 million, gives the Government the power to force internet service providers to retain and generate records of all customers’ internet activity. It legislates for unprecedented bulk spying powers and the creation of huge databases containing sensitive information on millions of people.

Liberty is now preparing to challenge these powers in court and our small team of expert staff will have their work cut out. If you have a moment – and are as pasionate about the fair treatment of our fellow subjects as I am, then I really recommend that you at least subscribe to Liberty’s newsletter – their site can be found here.

  • In first major post-Brexit judgment involving the UK, Court of Justice of the EU backs Tom Watson MP, represented by Liberty, in landmark challenge to Government surveillance
  • Ruling effectively means significant parts of the new Investigatory Powers Act are unlawful and must be urgently changed

The Government is breaking the law by indiscriminately collecting the nation’s internet activity and phone records and letting hundreds of public bodies grant themselves access to these personal details with no suspicion of serious crime and no independent sign-off – meaning significant parts of its new Snoopers’ Charter are effectively unlawful.

Judges at the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) have today backed a challenge by MP Tom Watson, represented by Liberty, to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) – the temporary emergency law that covers state surveillance.

DRIPA will expire on 31 December – but the Government has since replicated and vastly expanded the same powers in its new flagship surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, which passed in November.

Today’s ruling means major parts of that new Act are in effect unlawful – and the Government will need to urgently and fundamentally amend it.

Martha Spurrier, Liberty’s Director, said: “Today’s judgment upholds the rights of ordinary British people not to have their personal lives spied on without good reason or an independent warrant. The Government must now make urgent changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to comply with this.

“This is the first serious post-referendum test for our Government’s commitment to protecting human rights and the rule of law. The UK may have voted to leave the EU – but we didn’t vote to abandon our rights and freedoms.”

Tom Watson MP said:

“This ruling shows it’s counter-productive to rush new laws through Parliament without a proper scrutiny.

“At a time when we face a real and ever-present terrorist threat, the security forces may require access to personal information none of us would normally hand over. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that proper safeguards are put in place to ensure this power is not abused, as it has been in the recent past.

“Most of us can accept that our privacy may occasionally be compromised in the interests of keeping us safe, but no one would consent to giving the police or the government the power to arbitrarily seize our phone records or emails to use as they see fit. It’s for judges, not Ministers, to oversee these powers. I’m pleased the court has upheld the earlier decision of the UK courts.”

Today’s ruling

DRIPA forces communications companies to store every person’s “communications data” – the who, what, when, where and how of every email, text, phone call, and internet communication, including those of lawyers, doctors, MPs and journalists.

This data is subject to an extremely lax access regime, which lets hundreds of organisations and government agencies – from police forces to HMRC – grant themselves access for a wide range of reasons that have nothing to do with investigating serious crime.

CJEU judges have ruled this regime breaches British people’s rights because it:

  • allows general and indiscriminate retention of all communications data
  • does not restrict access to this data to the purpose of preventing and detecting precisely defined serious crime.
  • lets police and public bodies authorise their own access, instead of subjecting access requests to prior authorisation by a court or independent body.
  • does not provide for notification after the event to people whose data has been accessed.
  • does not require that the data be kept within the European Union.

What this means for the Investigatory Powers Act

Since this legal challenge was launched in 2014, the Investigatory Powers Act has not only re-legislated for the powers found unlawful today, but gone much further.

The Act has dramatically expanded powers to gather data on the entire population, while maintaining the controversial lack of safeguards that resulted in this legal challenge.

Under it, the state now also has access to every person’s internet use – every website visited or app used – which service providers must generate and store for 12 months.

This creates vast databases of deeply sensitive and revealing personal information which – at a time when companies and governments are under increasingly frequent attack from hackers – creates a goldmine for criminals and foreign spies.

This data can be accessed by dozens of public authorities with no need for suspicion of criminality or prior sign-off from a judge or other independent official. These include the NHS, Department for Work and Pensions and Gambling Commission.

The Investigatory Powers Act has also legalised other unprecedented bulk spying powers – including bulk hacking, interception of phone calls and emails on an industrial scale and collection of huge databases containing sensitive information on millions of people – which could integrate records such as Oyster card logs and Facebook back-ups.

Liberty believes these indiscriminate powers are also unlawful and is preparing to challenge them in court.