The Smoke On The Water riff vs my vintage synthesiser collection

Instruments I have played the ‘Smoke On The Water’ riff on: 1. Various pianos, except a Bosendorfer 91-note grand, on which I played ‘Louie Louie’. 2. Moog Modular Model 15 (lead only, I don’t own this one, it’s the modular they produced in a suitcase for carrying around gigs, but I DID once tyre-kick my … More The Smoke On The Water riff vs my vintage synthesiser collection

What I’ve learned about human imagination from PokemonGo

The other week the streets around Wellington began filling up with people wandering about staring at their phones. It turned out they were playing PokemonGo, which hadn’t existed the week before but by about Wednesday was being played by at least 29.6 billion people worldwide (I know what I said). I haven’t leaped on the band-wagon … More What I’ve learned about human imagination from PokemonGo

Neanderthal cave talk on any day in the Dordogne, 46,000 years ago

La Ferassie cave, 46,000 years before the present. About lunch time. Krogg: [using foot to push bellows fanning the camp-fire] Krogg see funny thin people with big foreheads yesterday. Thog: Thog see them too. Krogg: Krogg think they not human. Face too small. Weak. We better. Thog: Hargh hargh hargh. Stupid funny people. Grorg: Grorg … More Neanderthal cave talk on any day in the Dordogne, 46,000 years ago

Historical headlines in the style of internet click-bait…

I hate internet click-bait – you know, those annoying two-phrase teaser tags that tell you how you’ll respond to some open-ended assertion. What if headlines had always been written that way? Like these: You won’t believe what Neil Armstrong said on the Moon! This common domestic product will destroy movies – find out what studio execs … More Historical headlines in the style of internet click-bait…

Cool! New Zealand joins the orbital rocket club – for real

Private-enterprise orbital ventures aren’t just an American dream. Last week, New Zealand’s own Rocket Lab unveiled their commercial booster. It’s called Electron. Very cool. It’s not a big rocket – 10 tonnes of carbon composite and 18 metres long. But it’ll put 110kg into a 500 km orbit, with the help of locally developed Rutherford LOX/ kerosine engines. And … More Cool! New Zealand joins the orbital rocket club – for real

Essential writing skills: cheap and cheerful adverb annihilation

“I hate adverbs,” I said brightly, one day. “So do I,” my wife said cheerfully. “Especially the ones that are made by adding an –ly ending to an adjective,” I added slowly. “They tell, not show.” “How do you show, then?” my wife asked quizzically. “Why,” I said thoughtfully, “by the context of the speech, … More Essential writing skills: cheap and cheerful adverb annihilation