Southport Flower Show 2011 Review

I’ve posted this quick review of Southport Flower Show 2011 over at ticketmaster.co.uk

Southport Flower Show was a good day out for myself and my gardening keen relative. The flower displays were excellent and well presented. As I am not really into flowers or gardening it was still interesting to see the displays and to watch the entertainment events. The dog display team and Bird of Pray events in the arena were excellent and provided a welcome break from walking around the displays.

Even though I did not attend them, there were various gardening and cooking lectures taking place throughout the day and a near constant supply of live music performed at the bandstand.

The number of commercial units unrelated to the event was annoying – with everything on sale from utility supplies to beds and solar panels. However it was nice to see the local council promoting its cycle scheme and had details of many countryside routes.

Looking forward to going again in 2012.

Favourite moment: Bird of Pray show in the main arena was fascinating.

Spotify – I Understand Why You Don’t Want Me Anymore

Spotify Logo

Today saw Spotify announce that as well as reducing Spotify Open users to 10 hours of free advert supported streaming music per month versus the previous 20 hours, it will also more importantly for me only allow the same track to be played 5 times. As someone who listens often to my favourite discoveries over and over this is a killer of a restriction.

My Previous Experiences

Years ago I came across the original Napster music sharing service and found myself discovering new music I would not otherwise would have heard and something strange happened – I actually started to buy more music on CD. Perhaps this was guilt on my part for using the service as I have never been a supporter of illegal file sharing. However since Napster days things have changed and I rarely find myself buying music on CD unless it is cheaper than a legal download.

When the original Napster closed down I found myself no longer buying CDs. I used iTunes briefly which let me listen to clips before buying each track, but I was not impressed with the DRM and the bloated software. I also briefly used the now defunct Sky Songs, a web based music streaming service which I found impressive but too costly for my ‘now and again’ dip into the service.

The Discovery

Then I came across Spotify after seeing articles about the launch of the Spotify Open 20 hours per month advert supported service.  During my first sessions I was impressed with the library of music and that the service was free. I immediately looked for a Spotify Free invite invitation that would remove the 20 hours per month time restriction. However my despair at the time restrictions were premature as after the initial gorge of music I found myself not actually listening to 20 hours per month.

You Have Me Hooked

In one way Spotify has me hooked in that I want access to those tracks I listen to again and again. And this is where the new issue arrives. The new restriction only allowing the same track to be played 5 times. Now I can understand business decisions behind this move – there is little to be gained from users like me repeatedly listening to the same tracks and not subscribing. As I’ve said I’ve never been a fan of downloading illegally and this is not going to make me do this.

The Paid For Serice

In the past I have tried both the Spotify Premium and Unlimited services. I loved the ability to stream music through my HTC Wildfire but actually did not use it enough to justify the cost. I used the cheaper Premium service when I got sick of a particular advert for the moment, but for what I use it for £5 is too much.

Spotify is a music service I enjoy using and have had few complaints. The changes it is making are unfortunately not going to make me a regular paying subscribing member. I understand that I’m not a target customer for Spotify, not spending anything and often listening to my favourite discoveries over and over again. I will still keep visiting and searching the music available as it’s still a good way of finding new music and finding long forgotten gems. For now I think I’m going to have to go and buy some of my ‘Starred’ favourites in never expiring old style file format – unless the CD is cheaper!

The Terminal (2004)

Today I paid a visit to the cinema to catch a viewing of The Terminal. The film was great for what it set out to do, and I think Tom Hanks did a great job in playing his character, Viktor Navorski. Basically, the film is about a foreign traveller to the United States being forced to stay in the JFK airport international arrivals area because of his country ceasing to be recognised by the U.S.A. during his flight, and becoming stuck in legal limbo when all this papers are cancelled as a result. Note: This film is way too long for what it is and I noticed most people in the cinema becoming restless about two thirds of the way through.

I’d probably buy this one on DVD for Tom Hanks great performance, and I’d like to see the alternative ending.

Anthony 🙂