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My Favourite Books

My favourite authors and poets: Orwell. Lawrence Durrell. Gerald Durrell. Douglas Adams. Edward Thomas. Charles Bukowski. John Hegley. Neal Stephenson.

My number 1 book is Coming Up for Air by George Orwell. I read it once in 1994 in Goa, but have owned a copy all my life since, several copies, as they keep getting lost somehow. The protagonist is 45 and has just had his new false teeth. I read it when I was 24. The basis is a story of a man trapped in his average life with a bossy wife. She is only seen at the beginning and end. Once I burnt all my books at a time of extreme pressure. As I turned over the dead bomb-fire the charred cover of this book looked up at me and the connections with the book increased. Then in 2015 I picked up the book and for the first time since 1994 I read the first paragraph and discovered that he is 45. After all those years I pick it up and read that paragraph when I myself am 45.

The next most important book is The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. I had always read of him in the books by his brother Gerald Durrell. To actually read his work was a great experience. The novel provoked me to travel to Alexandria. I just had to go after reading it. You can find more about this on this blog:

The third book is Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams. This is about him travelling to places to see animals on the verge of extinction. This book meant a lot to me pre my going to save the planet. See:
I had always admired Douglas Adams' work, but for him, who knew little of the issues before, to write so well of this global threat said a lot to me.


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My stereos - a history

My Stereo(s) (Hi-fi) The rise and fall and rise again. A History of my stereo endeavours.

Part 1 - from a radio to the Pioneer

Part 1 | Part 2 | My stereo in June 2015

This is no boast but I love my stereo. Having a good stereo is the centre of my life and my only essential possession for someone who is not really into possessions.

Early days

I started my stereo life with a radio my Grandad gave me. Then I got my Dad's old setup (record deck and Sinclair System 2000 compact amp) which I added another one of my Grandads radio's to.

My Dad's amp was like this only black:

The Pioneer compact hi-fi

When I got a proper job I was able to start saving for something better and I bought a Pioneer compact Hi-fi which after a time I really started to hate. The Pioneer quality was lacking from this unit and really a lot of it was for show, like the twin display spectrum analyser. I hated the way the cassette and cd decks clunked about. Many things frustrated me with it, like th…