I’ve taken advantage of my EE plan to upgrade to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. I got a bit of a shock, however, in that the EE app and web site said I had to pay £267 and trade my current phone to upgrade. But I decided to give EE a call on 150 and no mention of that fee ever came up. I only had to pay the £7 delivery fee (and also fork out £45 for a new case).

EE’s app and web site confused the hell out of me

While EE now offers unlimited plans, I’m still going to be on a 100Gb/month plan. This is no bad thing because (a) I go nowhere near 100Gb and (b) I transfer data (or “data gift”) to my iPad Pro 11″ tablet which only has a 20Gb allowance. This will increase my monthly cost by about £5 per month, but for this I get an Amazon Prime Video subscription for the duration of my contract which saves me having fork out for that each month.

Does not having 5G bother me? Not at all. It’s all far too early, and I’ve read many reports that devices that support 5G tend to drain the battery faster and generally tend to get hotter rather quickly. Coverage is still patchy too. Plus there is the matter of additional frequencies. Early devices are not likely able to support any additional frequencies as and when they become available – giving your 5G device a big disadvantage in the years to come.

My main reason for upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the battery life. With a claimed extra 5 hours of use, that alone would be worth it for me. But additionally, the phone comes with a better display and of course, improved camera lenses and sensors. The ultra-wide lens/sensor is apparently not as good as the other two lenses/sensors, but would still prove useful.

So we’ll see how good an upgrade this is. I will, of course, be posting updates – including raw footage from any photos and videos that I take.

I’ve recently begun a journey into sound. Stereophonic sound. And that journey has taken me to the edge of sanity and beyond. Disco. Funk. Soul. Disco-funk-soul. Soul-funk-disco. And every other combination thereof. And throw experimental electronic music into the mix.

And I’d like to chronicle that journey, starting with what I would describe as barking mad disco. Disco that’s foot-tapping good, but where the song concept is utter madness. Completely bonkers. Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes is a bananas concept from Sir Monti Rock III – a hugely flamboyant character who has re-invented himself “at least 46 times”. Having watched several interviews and video footage of him performing, he’s madder than a box of frogs, but hugely entertaining and likeable.

Now, you could NEVER get away with calling your all-girl dance/backing group “Sex-O-Lettes” these days. It’s a very 70’s thing. Maybe you could get away with different counties variations under the name Disco Bex and..:

“The Essex-O-Lettes”
“The Sussex-O-Lettes”
“The Wessex-O-Lettes” (Prince Edward’s personal dancing group)

Upon listening to Get Dancin‘ for the first time, I immediately recognised the tune. It’s one of those tunes that you hear and think, “hey – that’s catchy”, but can’t place where you heard it from originally, or the band.

Get Dancin’ is upbeat, stupidly catchy and features Sir Monti Rock uttering some hilarious one-liners such as, “I’m turning myself on here” and being completely bonkers in general. It’s proper feel-good music and an example of what disco should be about: just have fun and just be damned whether any of it makes any sense or not.

Next up for review: Curtis Mayfield’s Get Down.

Doin’ the (coo, coo) pigeon..

Sometime on Tuesday afternoon, working from home, I noticed that soot and pebbles were increasingly falling down the chimney into my empty fireplace. I was wondering if the neighbours were doing something, or if the chimney pot was coming loose, or maybe Santa Claus was making an early appearance. To my surprise, I heard a flop and something caught my eye.

Alas, it wasn’t Santa. There were no presents or any “ho-ho-hos”.

It was a pigeon. And it was sitting in my fireplace looking rather surprised to be there. But it wasn’t as surprised as I was. It wasn’t a big pigeon – maybe a teenager – and was speckled brown with white wings.

I grabbed a towel, opened the front door, slowly moved towards the pigeon and covered it with the towel – gently. There was a bit of flapping at first – but the pigeon was very gracious in letting me wrap it up and take it outside where it waddled off somewhere. I don’t know whether it flew away, was eaten by a cat, or knocked down by a car – but if it was a teenager, I figured that if the family was nearby, they’d come for it.

Thank goodness I was home at the time because that pigeon could have done some serious damage to the house.

And remember: KNOW WHERE YOUR TOWEL IS. Be a hoopy frood.(*)

Meanwhile, I think I’ve earned the right to be in Pigeon Street. I bet they never did a story where a pigeon comes down a chimney. Cue those electro tom-toms (which, whenever I listen to disco music which features them heavily, I always think of pigeons – those talented drum players which nobody has ever given them credit for).

Doo doo, doo doo, etc. repeat 30 million times

(*) Thank you, Douglas Adams.

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is undoubtedly one of the best TV shows released this year. But despite the promise of a physical media release filled with extras and audio commentaries, I will not be buying it.

Over the past few years, 4K UHD televisions have been slowly invading people’s homes. And streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have been upping the ante over traditional broadcasters and releasing shows in 4K. But, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, Amazon makes it unnecessarily bloody difficult to watch 4K content on their service.

And now they’re releasing a DVD and Blu-Ray of Good Omens. Which was shot in 4K UHD. But they’re NOT releasing a 4K UHD Blu-Ray because heaven forbid, it might cost them a lot more money to produce a 4K UHD Blu-Ray master and duplication. No wonder post-production companies such as Deluxe are in trouble. Will Technicolor be next?

The Blu-ray and DVDs may well have lots of extra features such as audio commentaries and featurettes, but you’ll also be paying for a lower resolution version of the content that you already have access to (providing you pay your subscription).

So. Why the bloody hell do streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video not do away with physical distribution of their content completely and offer extras such as audio commentaries and featurettes within their service? Punters would have to keep paying access to it, thus generating near-guaranteed returning subscribers and thus revenue, plus you get it in the highest resolution possible. Additional content can be updated as and when too.

Amazon HAS released audio commentaries online. For season one of Transparent. But nothing else has ever been released. Was it a failed experiment? Difficult to know. Only Amazon has the answer to that.

Netflix has stuffed extra content in the Trailer section their titles. For example, the Star Trek Discovery Shorts were hidden away – no announcements made – in the show’s Trailer section where most people wouldn’t think to look.

If physical media is to retire gracefully, we need the streaming services (and especially Apple who, along with their TV studio partners, STILL have not released any purchasable TV show content in 4K UHD or provided any extras with it) to up the ante. That means original content gets audio commentaries, featurettes, etc. as physical media releases would – and in the highest available quality and resolution possible.

Releasing 4K UHD TV content on DVD (standard definition) or Blu-Ray (high definition) is being cheap, miserly, and uncaring. It serves little benefit to the consumer, and even less so to the TV studio that makes it. Why even bother?