Week from Monday 4th March 2013

OFF OOP DZAT LOONDIN this afternoon... glorious sunny weather, if a little chilly at times... I got the slow train up to VICTORIA ("because it was there" - that just happened to be the next train to arrive and, besides, I fancied some DIFFERENT scenery for a change)... I captured some 'travelling' footage out of the train window between Barnham and Arundel, with the aim of doing something ARTY with it sometime... The Sussex and Surrey Downs are absolutely teeming with ICKLE BABY BUNNY RABBITS... It's many years since I've been to London (and with a rail fare now topping thirty-seven quid, it'll probably be a while before I go again!), so it should be interesting to just wander around and see what's changed... When in London, DON'T MAKE IT OBVIOUS that you are a visitor. The trick is to strut purposefully around, looking for all the world as if you KNOW EXACTLY where you are going, even when you don't... Arrived at Victoria and proceeded to do just that for a bit, up Buckingham Palace Road (the Royal Standard is flying, so Her Madge must be in watching "Countdown" 'round about now)... across various Royal Parks: the Green one, the Hyde one... The historic Cockpit is almost unrecognisable, as there is some major landscaping afoot... Arriving at Marble Arch and into OXFORD STREET, where there are many shops, but few of QUALITY left... The building near the corner of Bond Street that WAS The World's Biggest Record Shop (according to my 1970s edition of the Guinness Book of Records) is now split between a branch of Boots and what must be The World's Largest FootLocker... The Legendary VIRGIN MEGASTORE on the corner of Tottenham Court Road (ah! my misspent youth!) which had, in turn, been another branch of HMV for a while, is now something else entirely... On the other hand, the purveyors of UGLY TASTELESS TOURIST TAT seem to be doing okay... The one surviving HMV outlet, with its glorious separate 'quiet' rooms for the JAZZ or CLASSICAL specialist, is now mainly full of empty racks, with very little scope for TEMPTATION left (I failed to find anything on my "WANTS" list save one exception, the recording of BARTOK's complete Piano Concertos that I'd been looking for)... I spotted a handful of FAMOUS ACTORS (You know?! Him off the telly!!?) whilst going about the West End... Down to TRAFALGAR SQUARE, via a branch of Tesco Express, to enjoy some sort of EVENING MEAL (and to rest the legs and do some light reading)... One thing that HAS changed noticably is that Trafalgar Squre is no longer 'owned' by the pigeons. The Council's trapping policy has culled their numbers considerably, plus there are signs everywhere telling you NOT to feed them. The upshot of all this is... the SEAGULLS have taken over instead! One fairly young member of the Black-Headed species was eagerly watching me, just waiting for something to 'accidentally' fall on the floor, thus making it fair pickings... Gulls are so much more intelligent than pigeons; they are very adept at 'spotting a gap in the market' and moving in on a territory, plus they are MUCH more daring. They will come right up and steal the food directly (you may have seen the YouTube clip of the shoplifting seagull who wanders into a corner shop and pinches a packet of Doritos off the bottom shelf)... Over the river to the South Bank. It's - what? - six thirty now, but the Festival Hall complex is already full of eager punters for tonight's eight o'clock STEVEN WILSON show. There's lots of this building to wander around, but eventually I settle again with my book for a while...

As we stream into the magnificent auditorium (no one gets a bad seat at the RFH!), there is already an ambient soundtrack of BASS COMMUNION music playing on the surround-sound PA, and the image of a large moon peeping through slowly drifting clouds being projected onto the screen behind the stage. Every so often (just to see if you're paying attention) the moon transforms into a spooky face. Eventually as we get closer to 'showtime', the music builds to a petulant frenzy of VERY creepy voices (they're behind you!) and the moon face comes to resemble the one on the "Raven" album cover. Tonight's theme, if you didn't already know, is GHOST STORIES.

The first number is of course "LUMINOL", kicked off by that scattergun snare'n'twang duet intro from MARCO MINNEMANN and NICK BEGGS. The sound system is awesome, as you'd expect from the music industry's Number One Go-To Guy for DOLBY 5.1 SURROUND SOUND remastering. It's not the "LOUD" of most rock concerts you ever went to, it's cinema-quality HI-FIDELITY! With separation between the instruments and everything! Actually the 'surround' elements can be most disconcerting at times (THEY'RE BEHIND YOU!!!), most fitting for the spooky subject matter... "Luminol" runs through its very busy eleven minutes or so, featuring some fine jazzy Rhodes flourishes from ADAM HOLZMAN - the last time I remember him playing at this particular venue, it was at the 1995 London Jazz Festival with WAYNE SHORTER. Say no more... the set proceeds, in keeping with the album running order, with "DRIVE HOME". What can I say? Beautiful, with lashings of mellotron and e-bow.

"THE PIN DROP" next (Blimey, they've played nearly half of the new album already and we've only just sat down. Or so it seems...) The band are magnificent. This is the first time I've seen and heard the hirsute 'new' guitarist GUTHRIE GOVAN. He is probably stylistically more versatile than 'last years' Niko Tsonev. Steven Wilson comments that with him in the band, he doesn't get to play so much guitar himself, so when he does crank it up at the climax of the song it's a stirring racket indeed... My only criticism of last year's "GET ALL YOU DESERVE" set was that the flute and sax work of THEO TRAVIS was sometimes lost amongst all the activity (either that or he appeared to spend a lot of time standing there and 'waiting his turn'). I'm glad to say that he's now able to shine out a lot more with the new material.

A dip into the back catalogue with "POSTCARD", with vocal harmonies that literally come from somewhere in the back of your head... "THE HOLY DRINKER" starts off with Steven Wilson playing bass guitar and NICK BEGGS standing to one side and 'waiting HIS turn'. Fashion Notes: Tonight, Mr Beggs has decided to renounce the pigtails and is sporting what looks like a knee-length military frock coat/kilt combination (Honestly! if he wasn't such a valuable bass player, he'd deserve a LOT more ridicule than he does get, having now achieved over thirty years of consistant style-horror! I have two words for you, Kaja and Googoo)... Then the Chapman Stick kicks in and it seemingly comes from somewhere under your seat!

A gorgeous Jarrett-esque 'grand' piano intro leads into the wonderful "DEFORM TO FORM A STAR" (Hooray! My favourite!) Once again, the vocal 'chorale' seems to come at you from all four corners of the room. Oh!? and did I say how good the drum sound is?

The semi-transparent screen is lowered between the stage and the audience (You know? You've seen "Get All You Deserve", right?) and the introductory "Watchmaker" video is projected, complete with quadrophonic (or is it quintophonic?) clock noises. Okay, so Pink Floyd did it first, but it's still rather wonderful. "THE WATCHMAKER" itself naturally ensues, which along with the following "INDEX" are performed 'behind the screen', a very simple but effective piece of stagecraft.

Mr Wilson tells us about a rather stupid (and lazy) Amazon review which refers to his "Tolkeinesque" lyrics. His mother (up there in the Royal Box tonight) didn't raise him to write about Hobbits and wizards, he says, he writes about serial killers as every good boy should.

Back a little further in the catalogue, and "INSURGENTES" itself is given an airing before the great and powerful "HARMONY KORINE" complete with its surreal LASSE HOILE video shot against the desolation of Dungeness and Battersea.

"NO PART OF ME" sound particularly good tonight, an 'old' song that this band is starting to make its own... But now it's THE BIG ONE, the serial killer-themed tour de force that is "Grace For Drowning"'s "RAIDER II", probably the one track most influenced by his experience of dissecting King Crimson's "LIZARD" and "ISLANDS". Ah! the mellotrons! Ooh! the unison riffs played on fuzzy guitars and skronking saxophones! Oh! the megaphone-flavoured vocals! Wah! the unfeasibly timeshifting ensemble work! (and another scary Lasse Hoile video from the vaults, just to hammer home the fright factor)

"Raider" is without its coda, but instead it segues directly into the title track of "THE RAVEN THAT REFUSED TO SING", with the poignant animated video that accompanies it... Thus ending the show on the same emotional climax as the album itself.

Baying for more! Baying for more!! There is the age old problem of what to do as an encore when you don't have any 'hits'. What they have tried on this tour is to include a sort of open-ended 'blow' (let the jazzers in the band have a go!) based on some choice items from Steven's back catalogue. In Manchester, it was "Remainder The Black Dog" merged with "No Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun". In Glasgow, it was an early Porcupine Tree song (i.e. when PT was still a 'solo' project rather than a 'band') "RADIO-ACTIVE TOY". And that's what they played tonight as well, complete with films of atom bombs going off, like the end credits of "Dr Strangelove"... It's not a fantastic SONG by today's standards (although Porcupine oldtimers might disagree), but it has a loose enough structure to allow room for some jazzy interplay, as well as some Floyd-like SPACE MUSIC...

Standing ovation... the names and caricatures of the band members are projected onto the back screen as they take their bows... Hooray! Times Six!... and that's ya lot!
One more change I've noticed is that you no longer have to go up and down various steps and walkways, following the overpass through the old Shell Building, to get from the South Bank Centre to Waterloo Station. Now that they've built newer footbridges across the Thames, there is also a direct, ground-level footpath to take you straight to the station. The mass exodus of folks all going to Waterloo apres-gig reminds me of the aftermath of a football match! In fact, it's such an efficient improvement that I was able to catch an earlier train to Eastleigh. Of course, it didn't help me one little bit in the long run, because the connection from Eastleigh to Fareham was exactly the same one I would have got anyway, I just had to wait longer in the cold'n'frosty for it! Ah well...

Back to reality and catch-up time... I'm starting to organise the stuff for this year's BIKE-RIDE-A-THON-O-COLLATE-A-THINGY... as well as making the trip to Gosport so that hairdressers can practice their skills on me... and to collect instructions for a couple of jobs for next week.

Week from Monday 11th March 2013

Whaaaat??!!? Hard to believe that only a week ago, I was seeing ICKLE BABY BUNNY RABBITS a-frolicking in the sun on the Downs, TIMMY THE TORTOISE had emerged from hibernation and I spent much of the day wandering around the metrollopes in short sleeves... I peeped out this morning to see... SNOW!?!

It's f-f-f-f-freezing 'round the f-f-f-f-fingers... I rolled the portable heater out again and I played a few games of TETRIS to keep the digits limber (accompanied by a soundtrack of GRATEFUL DEAD RADIO, which I just bookmarked on my iTunes).

One minute the sun comes out, the next it's the portable radiator...

A few hours of COUNTING THINGS OUT so that I can stuff them into envelopes. Sigh! Why did I choose an envelope size that the printers and cash'n'carries don't keep in stock? I mean, it's only C5, for pete's sake! I eventually went on a long haul into Southampton to visit one of the posher branches of Ryman's...

Playing around with some ideas for a PowerPoint presentation... although the client has access to more recent versions of PowerPoint, offering features that I can't possibly 'do' from here... well, I CAN, but I don't know if they would be cross-platform compatible, without considerable amounts of experimentation. Hey! Wait a minute! I LIKE "considerable amounts of experimentation..."

DREAM DIARY... Some sort of 'invasion' scenario (well, I HAVE watched both "Mars Attacks!" and "Monsters" again recently)... I'm in a large city, which mostly looks like London, although bits of it are definitely Brighton... Much of it is submerged underwater, although people are mainly going about their daily business as if this is perfectly normal... In these kinds of dreams, there are always situations where everyone suddenly panics uncontrollably, but I remain calm, not really comprehending what all the fuss is about... A 'young couple' (played by Mila Kunis and Luke Perry) are trapped in an adjacent basement, which for some reason is NOT flooded...

Week from Monday 18th March 2013

A moment's cyber-panic this (grotty drizzly) Monday morning, as I discovered that this here CoffeeCup site was offline... I'd just added and removed some plug-ins from my Firefox and, for a horrible minute, I thought I'D messed up! The first thing that I'd noticed was that the nice blue'n'pink background was missing from my Stylish-ized mon espace homepage, kept as it is on the very same storage server as this DiaryBloggyThingyWotsit. Then, on visiting the CoffeeCup log-in page, I found the light-hearted "WHOOOPS!" screen and I knew that all was well. Obviously, we're back online again now...

I got an email from SHELFY this morning, asking me which FRANK ZAPPA track featured the POETRY RECITAL 'routine' (where the guy from the audience does all that "I Want A Garden" stuff, and Zappa himself recites a bit of "Under Milk Wood" from memory)... I knew exactly the bit he was talking about, but I had to do a bit of digging before I could locate it on disc! For the record, it's during the version of "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1979 ("Enforced recreation! Live on stage in London!"), and it's on "YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE Volume 1". When the Zappa gang revisited the same venue in 1982, there was a funny section during "King Kong" which referenced the previous incident (that's to be found on YCDTOSA Vol.3, although I fondly recall hearing a bootleg tape of that very same show, sometime in the eighties 'round at "CLASHING TWO").

Update on the STEVEN WILSON gig that's still playing in my head: The official website now has some really nice PROFESSIONAL pictures taken during the show and soundcheck (so why people waste so much of the show waving their pathetic mobile phones around in the name of 'photography' is totally lost on me!). Steven also identifies the ambient 'incidental' music played before and after the set, all of it recorded especially for the tour:- The music that accompanied the 'moonface' video is an unreleased BASS COMMUNION track (although it incorporates elements of an older tune called "Haze"). The quadrophonic 'clocks' soundscape (which I said sounded like 'the Floyd'), was also a new BASS COMMUNION piece, inspired by a HARRISON BIRTWISTLE work called "Chronometer". At the end of the show, we trouped out of the auditorium to a remix of STORM CORROSION's "Ljudet Innan"... By the way, the superb drummer MARCO MINNEMANN is unable to play the American leg of the tour, so he will be replaced by former Zappa-man CHAD WACKERMAN. Much as I love Marco's work, I also look forward to hearing (one way or another) how the band will sound with Wackerman in the drum seat. It should add a whole different feel to some of the songs...

Apparently, they still consider mon espace nouveau to be in the BETA stage, even though they threw the gates open to the general public a couple of months ago. The problems with the broken music catalog[ue] continue, as my daily email notifications from the Forums will attest...
JGB - "Nearly all of the songs in my 'albums' are duplicated. I originally reported this problem two months ago. It happened almost the minute NMS came out of 'beta'. Nothing seems to get fixed. Meet the "New" MS, Same as the "Old"..."
UPP - "New Myspace is still in beta, all that changed is that everyone can now sign up, whether they have an invitation or not. Either way I hope your problems will be fixed soon enough."
JGB - "I stand corrected. I think we have different definitions of "beta testing". I understand 'beta' to mean that a product is tested by an INVITED panel of people (interested parties outside of the company that created it), to iron out any bugs BEFORE it is considered fit to be released to the general public. You are clearly using the term in the long-established MySpace sense, which is to release a product before it is ready and then test it on the public. Sorry, so by your definition then, I should have said that the problems started the minute they opened it up to the public..."
PB - "Finally, someone who has a gist of what's going on here..."
Not surprisingly, there is also an entire Forum 'thread' dedicated to the question 'HOW DO I CHANGE BACK TO OLD MYSPACE?', mainly populated by the unhappy victims of MS's 'SWITCH TO THE "NEW" MYSPACE!' subterfuge, all of them still wondering where their photos and blogs have gone... The catchy slogan on the log-in page now makes it clearer that this IS strictly a 'MUSIC' site, rather than anything else you might EXPECT mon espace to be ("Discover, share and connect to music from the world's largest streaming library..."), but it's TOO LITTLE TOO LATE for some of the OldSpacers who jumped in with both feet...

'PROPER CULTURE COMES TO GOSPORT' SHOCK!! I've just been down to Gozzy to pay some printing bills and I discovered that the Gallery currently has an free exhibit of HENRI MATTISSE's later works, called "Drawing With Scissors". Lovely stuff... call it déjà vu or call it the CYCLICAL NATURE O'TINGS, but I'm pretty sure I saw EXACTLY this same collection at a Hayward Gallery show, back in the mid-to-late seventies when I was at art college. Talking of 'proper culture'... I just got a brand new paperback copy of Gordon Bowker's highly acclaimed biography of JAMES JOYCE for a mere two of your Earth Pounds (that's less than a third of a penny per page!), from a market stall selling 'overstock' items.

The morning's 'office ambience' was the newly-released (via Bandcamp download) "Official Bootleg - Live 2012" by THE CRIMSON PROJEkcT, a 'double trio' made up of the combined forces of the Adrian Belew Power Trio (ADRIAN BELEW with JULIE SLICK and TOBIAS RALPH) and the Stick Men (TONY LEVIN, MARKUS REUTER and PAT MASTELOTTO)... Pretty much a 'King Crimson' in all but name, with a repertoire to match.

DREAM DIARY... Back in that strange 'holiday resort'... We were 'camped out' in the store cupboard in the back of the beach shop, lots of shelves full of boxes of sweets... I must have had some sort of 'tardis' rucksack, because it was definitely 'bigger inside than out'. There was a ridiculous amount of stuff coming out of a normal-sized backpack... I arranged to meet some friends (a young lady and her brother) at the bar that night, to say goodbye as I was moving on (where to I couldn't decide - I just knew I'd spent enough time in one place)... Then I 'got a call'(?) that they couldn't make it over, so I ran barefoot for quite a distance - over a rocky path and up some ricketty steps in one of those 'derelict industrial buildings' I always seem to dream about - so that I could catch up with them...

Week from Monday 25th March 2013

...of course, more often than not my DREAMS are full of 'work'-related ponderings. Like this morning, I was working out in my head the best way to animate some yellow balloons for a POWERPOINT presentation... Sometimes things come to you in the subconscious world which wouldn't even occur to you in the waking one. Of course, when you wake up and try them 'for real', they STILL don't work as you'd expect!

BOOK OF SATURDAY... Saturday 23rd March marked FORTY WHOLE YEARS to the day since "LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC" was originally unleashed on the world.

Much fun to be had on the mon espace nouveau forums. I thought I'd kick a hornets' nest around a bit, putting forward the suggestion that "New" "MySpace" is an entirely misleading name for the site:-

I think that half the problem with "New" Myspace is its name.
I wouldn't for a minute suggest there was any sort of deliberate deceit or subterfuge on the part of MySpace LLC, but long time users of the pre-existing MySpace were misled into believing that this was somehow a "New" replacement for the old MySpace, when it is nothing of the kind.
As a standalone music streaming site or considered as an ADDITION to the MySpace experience, it does a very good job of providing an alternative to the bolted-on afterthought of a music player that we have on "Classic" MySpace.
But it is NOT a self-contained social network site which offers a new way of enjoying MySpace. It is a music streaming site, pure and simple. I appreciate that your blurb on the log-in page now makes this a little clearer, but it's a case of TOO LITTLE TOO LATE for a lot of folks.
Calling it MySpace Music, or Radio MySpace, or even MuSpace would have been a more honest approach, rather than coercing existing users into switching to something that isn't a "New" "MySpace" at all.
If experience has taught us anything at all, it's that what MySpace IS to its users (an artistic community built by its users from the grass roots up) is often at odds with what the owners WOULD LIKE IT TO BE (a potential marketing opportunity).
I honestly believe this site has a lot of potential as a music streaming platform. But a "New" "MySpace" it ain't!!
UJ - When you buy a new computer, it won't necessarily have the same functions as your old computer, but that doesn't mean you can't call it a 'new computer'.
Point taken. I certainly wouldn't. But then I wouldn't personally buy a new computer in the expectation that it WILL have the same functions as the old one. Sadly, other potential 'buyers' are not so savvy.
I think the analogy of a NEW APARTMENT would be more appropriate when you consider people's expectations here. I believe that what a lot of people understood "New Myspace" to mean, rightly or wrongly, was that this was a new UPGRADE to the MySpace social networking experience (in the tradition of previous transitions from Profile 1.0 to 2.0 and so on), one that would comfortably accommodate all their existing stuff.
The early promotional blurb aimed at existing users obviously gave a lot of folks that impression. Only now, with the latest version of the log-in pages, is it being made clearer that New MySpace is first and foremost a MUSIC site.
When I was "invited" to try New MySpace, I realised, fairly early on, that this was an entirely new thing. I took the precaution of leaving my old MySpace intact and creating a "New" one from scratch. I also urged my friends on OldSpace that that would be the wisest thing to do, should they want to try it out.
I'm rather glad I did, because, from what I've read here on these forums, that "SIGN IN WITH CLASSIC MYSPACE" option has caused nothing but misery for existing users.
As a 'musician' (albeit one who nowadays only does it for 'fun') I can see the new site having potential.
However, I am also someone who still sees MySpace as A PLACE FOR FRIENDS. It is a place where I have been able to share ALL of my interests - music, blogging and all - with like-minded individuals around the globe.
New Myspace doesn't cater for amateur all-rounders like me. The owners of MySpace wish to promote this as a branch of the entertainment industry.
LG - Thank you for that post. Up until now I had no idea what the hell I'm supposed to do with this "New" Myspace. In short I think it's a lot a crap. The Myspace guys need to sober up and get their heads out of their butts and integrate and explain these things in a little smarter way. New Myspace is useless to me. I'm cancelling both accounts altogether.
I think cancelling BOTH accounts is rather cutting off your nose to spite your face... but that's your business.
...but I agree that that they didn't fully "explain these things" (especially to long-time users of the 'old' MySpace). Folks, rightly or wrongly, were given a completely misleading impression of what this site is actually FOR and what it could and couldn't DO.
On the bright side, at least we actually HAVE forums on "New" MySpace, on which we can thrash these things out with representatives of Timberlake Towers. The previous administration REMOVED the forums and 'threads' from the old MySpace years ago (citing "security" issues), leaving no means at all for members to interface with The Management. I hope this opportunity will continue when NMS emerges from its "beta" cocoon (spammers permitting).
GI - Misleading? I know change can be scary, but this is the place to be for creativity.
MySpace AS A WHOLE is still "the place to be for creativity", I wholeheartedly agree. I've tried 'the rest' and nothing offers anything like the same all-round experience. But I believe that if you want to get the most from MySpace, you need to have BOTH a "New" site AND a "Classic" one. "New" MySpace is NOT a replacement for the old one, in my opinion.
The scope for diverse creativity (music + creative writing + all the other things you've got used to doing on your old MySpace) are currently a bit limited via this portal.
But if promoting and sharing your music is your ONLY thing, then fair enough, it does that job admirably.
Moderator - Having to learn something new can sometimes be intimidating... New Myspace is not just a music site. It's a creative community for filmmakers, artists, designers, photographers, etc. We are currently in beta but features are being developed for each account type. Our objective is to offer a platform that allows users to create and maintain their brand while presenting themselves and their work in the best possible light. Rest assured, there is more to come. We realize change can be hard and the new Myspace may not be for everyone but we hope you will give it a try. Thank you for being so patient with us as we continue to develop the site and improve your Myspace experience. Our users are important to us and we want to hear your suggestions. Keep the feedback coming! :)
Personally, I'm not in the least bit intimidated by New MySpace. I have an inquisitive mind, a reasonable grasp of "HOW THINGS WORK" and I welcome the opportunity to explore. But a lot of OTHER people are pulling their hair out in frustration. I was merely trying to voice those frustrations and provide a little context. Devil's advocate, if you will.
I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

MS are obviously convinced that they are doing the right thing but, from where I'm sitting, they are giving the public what they think they NEED, rather than what they actually WANT. I remain unconvinced that this new platform (see? I STILL can't bring myself to call it "the" "New" "MySpace"!) is fit for purpose for anything OTHER than as a 'music player deluxe' (and even THAT aspect of it is broken at the moment!). You say it's "a creative community" that will appeal to all those people you listed? That's not what I'm hearing. FILMMAKERS lament the format restrictions, the high demands that the MS video player makes on the average operating system or internet connection (it's far more 'buffery' than YouTube) and the fact that there is nowhere to embed YouTube clips or, indeed, ANYTHING from any OTHER hosting platform. PHOTOGRAPHERS or ARTISTS will not make this their first choice to show off their work, because there are no picture management tools on board with which to organize and present their work. Then there's that automatic cropping tool... DESIGNERS will find themselves restricted by the inherent design of the site itself. WRITERS, as we have found, are practically discouraged! Anyone who wants to dabble in MORE than one of these disciplines are asked 'PLEASE CHOOSE ONE' as part of the sign-up process.

So I stand by my original conviction that this is a MUSIC site, but one that fits within MySpace's own narrow definition of 'music' as 'A BRANCH OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY'. MySpace are playing the "But we're still in BETA" card, but their track record shows that when something is broken, it stays that way for a L-O-N-G time. So sleep soundly, users of "Classic" MySpace, because you're safe for a while yet...

As for the semantics of THAT name... Yes, if you buy "a new computer" (lower-case 'n' and an indefinite article), you DON'T necessarily expect it to be the same as the old one. However if the product in question has the word 'New' in its TITLE (capital 'N' and the use of the definite article 'the', as in "the New Myspace"), then public expectation, rightly or wrongly, is that the product will bear some resemblance to the older version and that it will do the same job...

(Ah, wait! I'm forgetting something - this is from the country that brought us "New" Coke. THAT was a roaring success, eh kids?)

You may have noticed(!?!) that this here DiaryBloggyThingyWotsit has been offline for a few hours today, along with everything else on this hosting site. The good folks of the CoffeeCup concern have been upgrading their server capacity, or something exciting like that... Anyway, we appear to be working again now. Is it just me or are the pages quicker to load?