Winter’s Coming

Ok, I’ll come clean. I’ve never actually watched much Game of Thrones. It’s all a bit too killy for me – I prefer my TV a little more gentle (unlike my music, as you well know, which I like to be aggressive and thoughtful).

Those of you who have followed my blog for a number of years will know that I don’t hide the fact that I enjoy wearing leather and other shiny materials; and if this shocks you then perhaps you’re in the wrong place?

Well recently I completed my full three piece leather suit – and to top it off I now have a baker boys leather cap – a style of hat I’ve often worn, but never in leather.

I can now say I have finished! I’ve got leather trousers, shirt, waistcoat, tie, blazer, gloves, overcoat and hat. What more can I get, apart from a scarf, but then it gets a bit too much for me (plus I never ever wear scarves!).

I don’t look happy, but I can assure you I am!

I had to grab a few photos today.

Sorry for the watermarks, but I’m a bit fed up of my images being pilfered and shared all over Pinterest without a suitable credit.

Gotta say… This feels amazing, but I suppose you have to have “the thing” to appreciate it, and many of you will just think it’s a bit weird.

It makes me smile anyway, and that’s a rare thing!

What’s with all the hate guys?

I sparked controversy a couple of days ago. I’ve had some pretty opinionated comments on Instagram from people who have since been removed from my circles. Why? I hear you ask?

Well consider this photo. I’m out on my Fiido enjoying a ride. I’ve got the trailer hitched on the back and I’ve just been shopping. You’ll notice I’m wearing leather trousers. Leather chinos to be precise (not jeans, and if you want to stay friends with me you’ll learn to differentiate between chinos, jeans and formal trousers! 😉)

That’s the problem.

Guys think I shouldn’t be riding a bike in “expensive leather trousers”.

Fellas… They were £15 off eBay. Most of my leather trousers/jeans come from eBay and cost under £20.

Now let me put this in perspective; I have a couple of pairs of Levi 501’s. A pair of 501’s is currently around £90. You don’t say a thing when I wear unwipeable non water-resistant £90 jeans when cycling but you moan because I wear a pair of fifteen quid leather trousers?

Seriously guys, stop standing in front of the mirror getting off and sharing bedroom photos on Instagram and get the fucking things worn in your life!

I’ve been wearing leather trousers in my daily life for about thirty years now and I won’t be changing any time soon!

Ooooh shiny!

So ASOS knows me exactly.

They sent me an advert on Facebook and it was for a high shine suit. I had to buy! It’s arriving this week.

The only worry I have is that it says in the reviews “runs small” and “no stretch on the fabric” on the sizing and even though I’m now a 36″ waist it’s a close thing. I’m not a belted 36 (which is my eventual aim).

It might not fit me now, but soon?

As you well know I have a huge penchant for shiny formal wear!

Felt like I needed this.

I’ve not worn my leather suit in ages, possibly more than a month.

I had a load of certificates to find on my servers so I was going to be an hour or more – I’d just been for a really long bike ride so I was sweaty as hell too. So I had a quick shower (yes, we have showers at the new units) and I got dressed up in my leather suit.

Yeah I needed it.

I know I’m a narcissistic sod when I’m in leather, but I just feel so confident in my body at the moment. The cycling is really paying off and my shape is changing so much.

I’m sad to report, though, that my weight has pretty much leveled off but the smart scales are showing how the fat level is dropping and the muscle mass is increasing. I was 31% fat and I’m now down at 23% which is a fantastic result.

The Galaxy Note 20. The first few days.

I didn’t make it totally obvious but I got a new phone on Tuesday. A Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Initial reactions?

The most obvious change from the Note 10 is the total 180 flip of the design. The buttons move from the left hand side of the chassis across to the right hand side. It didn’t take much getting used to and actually feels more natural. They aren’t as easy to catch for a start.

The s-pen moving to the left on the other hand is a really awkward change. As a right handed person I want to grab my pen with my right hand, but I have to twist awkwardly to do this. I’m sure I’ll adapt, but bad Samsung. Lefties will be loving it though.

One UI 2.5 is sweet. I never had much love for Samsung’s old UI (Touchwiz) but I adore how smooth One UI is, and with 2.5 we gain some really nice improvements. Samsung have stopped loading it down with useless clutter and now make meaningful changes to how it works.

Wireless DeX seems interesting. I’ve played with it a couple of times (I do use DeX a hell of a lot) and whilst it’s not great on our TV as the lag is about half a second (a 2014 Samsung model) it works much better on my Microsoft wireless display adaptor and has hardly any delay. I think it’ll come in most useful for my presentations. If I ever do any again with the current situation!

Now let’s get to the camera.

With COVID I’m not traveling and photographing in the same way so I’ve not really had chance to do much with the camera, but it does seem better than the old one. I did take a photo of woods yesterday with the 108mp mode turned on and it was “interesting”. From a distance the level of detail looks really good, but not amazing.

Zoomed in however the software has turned it into something slightly trippy and as if Google Dream has had a bit of influence.

I’m going to have a few more tries with the 108mp mode but I’m not exactly blown away with it.

On the other hand the general photography has yielded good results in both good and poor light.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts.

The final issue that a few people have noticed is battery life. I don’t have many anxieties myself, but I am a very battery anxious person. I keep my life on my phone and if the battery runs low I panic.

That said, the Note 20 even with the Exynos processor isn’t faring too badly. I know you could say we don’t get a good a deal in Europe as the USA gets, but we do get a base storage of 256 gig in place of the 128 base the USA gets.

The phone definitely runs warmer, and on my initial setup the phone wouldn’t charge because the processor was fully throttled up – the charger merely maintained the battery percentage – but other than that I haven’t really noticed much difference between the Note 10 and Note 20 in real world use.

So final thoughts?

Well it’s a nice little upgrade, and certainly with the cameras feels less iterative, but if you don’t care for the cameras and you like your note 10, stay where you are.

I’m weird.

Apparently I’m “weird” because I enjoy wearing shiny clothes and I sometimes go to fetish clubs. This was the opinion of someone who I would describe as “dull and uninteresting”.

I’m not going to make out that what I enjoy is in any way normal to most people, but FFS we are all different and we all have different things we enjoy which someone else will think it’s a bit strange.

Don’t knock the train spotters when you see them stood on the end of Doncaster platform. It’s their little bit of weird. Live and let live!

B-b-b-but I’m scared…

After my recent latex 101 article (which seems to be popular!) I thought I’d now do a “coming out shiny” article off the back of it as there are a lot of people out there who really really want to wear shiny clothing, be it leather, latex, PVC, but they’re absolutely terrified of what their friends and family might think.

Let’s get started with my story…

I was rather young when I first got leather trousers. I’d started working, got my own income, and even though I had wanted some all through my childhood my parents, rather wisely, had told me no. I look back now and agree with them – I was growing very fast and leather is expensive.

It all started at Laser Quest. A guy came in (looking rather cool for the time in full leather, bandana, cowboy boots). He was with a female who I thought might be his girlfriend and he certainly acted straight – being pretty much straight myself I felt a little lift!

My only previous experiences with leather, and trousers in particular, had been associated with gay culture and gay imagery; motorbikes; and rock bands. Yes I’d had a bike, but a 50cc FS1E might look a bit silly being straddled by a fully leathered up dude, and at that point my bass playing was strictly bedroom only.

My first bike was one of these.

This guy, though (I even remember his name was Marc) was a different look for me and I liked it. I felt slightly jealous of his confidence as at that time I was quite meek and quiet.

I plucked up courage, went and spoke to him, said “nice trousers, where from?” and I’m not sure whether he thought I was a bit weird or not, but he told me they were from Meadowhall – Street Leathers to be precise.

It was 6pm… Meadowhall closed at 8… I could get down there and get some and be like Marc in less than two hours!

So it happened. I went down to Meadowhall, paid a ridiculously high price for a pair of very average quality leather jeans; went home; and hid them in the wardrobe. Only to wear them when I was in the house on my own.

Confidence boost gone. Drat!

The first time I wore them was…

In 1996 I started a degree with the Open University. The first course (S101) had a summer school which was a week at Keele University.

I was learning bass and getting much better at it, I was wanting to join bands, but my image really didn’t say “Musician”. I looked a bit geeky!

I went away to summer school with a bit of stubble and blue jeans on, arrived at summer school, and the first evening after lectures I changed my image. I shaved my first goatee beard, put on the leather trousers that had been hiding in the wardrobe, gelled up my flat hair into some cool spikes, and gave myself an image makeover!

That night I went to the Union bar with my new image and it felt great. Nobody really knew me. Nobody really knew what I was about, and I could play at being whoever I wanted.

Do you know what happened?

Nothing. Nobody commented. Nobody said a thing. Nobody pointed and laughed.

And that, my friends, is the biggest step to going out in leather for the first time.

They’re not out there, they aren’t weird, and when you are seen for the first time in your new leather jeans nobody will actually care!

I thought I’d have people making village people jokes but nope. I didn’t end up running back to the room crying. I just sat in the union bar, talked with my fellow science group, and nobody said a thing about them.

Breaking them in to friends

Family and friends are the next big hurdle.

My next step was more distant friends (my prog rock music community).

I went to see a band in Bury. Traveled in blue jeans, changed in the car into leather jeans, went to see the band. Again… Nobody noticed. Nobody cared. My apprehension was going very rapidly.

So… On to closer friends. One of my biggest worries.

It was Christmas. We used to go down Swinton for a drink just before Christmas. I’ve never really done the alcohol thing though! I did it again. Headed out, changed trousers in the car, and looked rather nice in my fluffy sweater, leather jeans, black leather boots. When my friends saw me nobody mentioned the trousers… Until later 😲

We went to one of their houses after. One of the group, Mark, commented on my leather jeans – saying if he’d have known I was going to wear mine he’d have worn his! (Ironically, the year after he did wear his but I didn’t wear mine!).

All in all, positive responses all round and every single anxiety I had defused.

I also wore them to meet friends in Cornwall in the 90’s. It’s the first photo I have of me in them. I look very very different!

Family

This was the most difficult of the lot for me, and it did involve a white lie… But it did coincide with me joining bands.

Rather than saying I’d bought them from Meadowhall a couple of years previous I said I’d only bought them there and then. They were to be stage wear, but actually, they ended up being regular wardrobe clothing.

First time my mum saw me in them she said “cool” and then bought some herself. She even wore them to one of my gigs!

Me with Deadline (2000).

My mum rocking her leather trousers (2000)

Since then leather has become more and more a part of my wardrobe.

I’m now doing the same process with latex. I’m at the stage of close friends with that… Let’s see how that goes eh? After all latex is a bit more “out there”

Latex jeans to a wedding

Musicians playing Band Hero

Something rather unusual happened recently…

I tried Band Hero for the first time ever at a friends house. As you know, I’m a bass guitarist and so I chose bass as my instrument, naturally, of course.

How did I fare though?

I was shite… but why?

Well as a bassist I can tell you that the guitar firstly is too short thus meaning you’re playing everything at around the 12th fret if it was a real bass. At which point the rocking “string” switch is dreadful… you can’t play it finger style properly as it centres too slowly thus forcing you to rock it with your thumb. Awful.

Finally… FIVE BLOODY NOTES?!! – Sorry but that does not accurately represent a real bass. Mine has that many strings, and each string has 26 frets. Do the sums – that’s over 125 individual frettable positions (although B and E above fret 15ish are a bit pointless)… counting it as notes that’s almost three octaves of range from low B to high A – or almost 36 individual notes.

Yes, 5 frets does not accurately represent a bass guitar.

Finally… why do people who are really “good” at Guitar hero then think they are good musicians? It’s a bit like air guitarists saying they are good at real guitar. It’s not right. I’ll stick to my real Warwick Thumb thanks…

Now how do I play House on the Hill? Orange Blue Blue Blue Green Blue Red…

Finally, as I write this – Raeioul Moat is currently holed up in Rothbury and is perched on the river bank… what will his end be? – Shot? Suicide? Taser? I don’t know, but I bet it’ll be on Liveleak before too long.