Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Some time ago I made a very big mistake.
I was out somewhere or other and had a while to kill before meeting with someone who was doubtlessly going to tell me something fascinating about industrial level products (I know, it's very rock n roll isn't it?), so I went to buy a coffee and a sandwich. I ate them and was still too early to turn up at my meeting so I went for a wander round the shops.
They had a Bose shop and, like a sailor being lured onto the rocks by a Siren, I went in.
Now, I love a gadget but the world beloved of audiophiles has long been closed to me. Sure, it's got all the boxes ticked in that it consists mainly of electronics in shiny boxes with eye-watering pricetags and I can appreciate the difference between the really cheap end of audio kit and the next step up, but try as I might I just have never managed to tell the difference between kit costing £50 or £500. I clearly have £49.99 hearing so I have always been sure that I can go into these kind of shops to fondle the gadgetry and pull faces at the pricetags, safe in the knowledge that I won't actually want any of it.
after a couple of minutes of poking about I tried on a pair of their noise canceling headphones, safe in the knowledge that I would not be able to tell the difference between the shiny £280 items in the shop and the ones I'd bought from the interwebz for, ahem, considerably less a couple of years ago.
Under the watchful gaze of the wildly enthusiastic (and technically astute) sales johnny I put them on and sure enough there appeared to be no difference at all. Until I switched them on.
The sound of the crowds milling through the shopping centre disappeared, and I was just left with, well, silence. It was astonishing. The music sounded great too. I was blown away.
Since then I have spent the last few months telling myself that £280 for a set of headphones that I'll mainly use on flights a couple of times a year is ridiculous and trying to ignore the small voice at the back of my head telling me they're worth every penny.
On Sunday I found myself winning an auction on ebay for a pair of the very same headphones. Oops. Even though they were considerably less than new the Beautiful Mrs A almost fell off her chair when I told her how much. She pointed out that I could have bought a pair of headphones for a fiver at Tesco (her expectation of audio quality is even lower than mine). Although she doesn't understand my love of expensive technology, she gets entirely the want of a thing - see here - so all is well.
They're due to arrive today and as long as they're not knockoffs and are functional I think I'll be quietly pleased...
Friday, 4 July 2014
The Boy wonder has a thing or two to learn about tradition.
Around this time of year he has a sports day at school. Every year I offer to run in the dads race. Every year he pulls a face veering between disinterest and horror and says no. Every year I turn up and cheer like a nutcase as he hops over hurdles or throws beanbags into buckets, rounding off the day by watching the other poor unfortunate buggers who's children don't know the tradition have to run in the parent's races.
This time however, when I asked the question 'would you like me to run in the dads race?' he said yes.
So on Wednesday, after spending the afternoon whooping and cheering whilst a bunch of enthusiastic kids threw sponge javelins at each other and did the shortest long jumps in the world, the fateful announcement came over the tannoy:
"Would all those competing in the parent's races, please make their way to the start line of the running track."
Now, under normal circumstances I'm a fairly easy going guy but I have to say that I have a competitive streak if there's a racetrack involved and this occasion was no different. As I stood on the startline I sized up the competition. There were seven of us in all, most of whom had at least a decade's worth of advantage on me. At that point I desperately wanted to win.
So the whistle went, I ran at a pace that my mind was entirely happy with, but which my legs were apparently less pleased about. I had a couple of close calls but managed to stay upright and staggered across the line in one piece.
Did I win? Of course not. I was beaten by an eighteen year old lad that was injured because his mate had shot him in the leg the day before with a BB gun and he'd decided to dig the projectile out with a knife* and a chap who'd actually brought trainers with him. But I managed to squeeze past the guy who told me on the start line he finished last in the previous day's race, a fat chap who fell over and a couple of others, so it wasn't all bad.
TBW was genuinely surprised that I hadn't won, he did his best to make me feel better but I reckon that lessons have been learnt and next year tradition will be restored.
* - He was the uncle of one the lads in TBW's class. I saw the wound and I have to say I believed his tale, I just hope the knife was sharper than he was.