Archive of: polytechnic

  • The Cellar

    If you are in any way linked to Oxford, you may have heard that The Cellar, one of our most beloved music venues, is under threat of closure.

    It’s been gratifying to see everyone mobilise so quickly, and after heartfelt posts by Richard Brabin and Sarah Tipper, I wanted to tell the story about my relationship with The Cellar.

    My first exposure to The Cellar was before I moved to Oxford, or even thought of doing so, back in 1995.

    I was living in Coventry, and helping out my friend’s bands where I could. One of the bands I crewed for booked a gig in at The Cellar, so we loaded the gear in the back of the van, and after a trip down the motorway, the doors opened.

    “Oh, McDonalds”

    It wasn’t quite the Oxford I’d heard of, the home of Radiohead and Supergrass, the Dreaming Spires. There we were, on Cornmarket, hungry, tired, trying to work out where the gig was. We found the alley

    “Fuck, that’s a lot of stairs” 1

    The Immaculate Assassins played to a couple of people, but it was a fun gig, and I remember the bar staff being lovely.

    Cut to 2003, I’d been in Oxford six years now (that’s another story), and The Cellar had become part of my life. At least once a week I’d find myself there, discovering a new band, meeting new people, a lot of whom are friends to this day.

    I wasn’t from here, but this had become my home. This was my Oxford.

    I was playing guitar in a band 2 with some friends (I say “playing”… I was trying to find interesting ways to get effects pedals to cover up for my lack of talent) and we’d been having fun rehearsing at Glasshouse. We’d started to get a set together, and we’d invite friends to rehearsals to hear what we were doing. They’d bring beer, we’d swap instruments, play some covers, arse around, but we kept coming back to the set. And we got tighter.

    I can’t exactly remember how it came about, but talk turned to actually playing the set in front of people. An actual gig.

    Then we got a gig, and it was at The Cellar. Playing support… but it was an actual fucking gig.

    I remember panicking slightly.

    (…it’s the Cellar…)

    Then I panicked a lot.

    The Cellar!

    (…we can’t play there, that’s where… proper bands play…)

    The day of the gig I was a wreck, I was so nervous I could barely speak. My partner was an absolute rock, we sat in my flat watching films, and she held my hand the whole time and told me it would be okay.

    We set up, we sound checked, I had a confusing conversation with the sound engineer about the amount of feedback I was producing (“…I’m going for Jesus & Mary Chain, I’ve got this… I think”), we got a round of applause from the bar staff (I told you they were lovely), and then we waited.

    Next thing I remember is seeing my band mates on the stage, and my partner saying “shouldn’t you be up there?”, I panicked, ran round the back of the artist area, up on to the stage smacking my head on the lintel on the way (if you’ve played The Cellar, you’ll know the bit of architecture I mean), plugging my guitar in, and thinking “this is it, I’m on stage at The Cellar, and I’ve given myself concussion, I’m about to pass out. Good work Garrett”.

    Polytechnic - Garrett

    I didn’t pass out, and by all accounts we played a good gig. I don’t remember much of it. At the bar after the gig a friend said that I had an “unconventional” style of guitar playing. I took that as a compliment.

    The Cellar is an important part of my life, and it’s an important part of countless other lives.

    The Cellar is one of those place where memories are formed.


    1. The plaintive cry of roadies everywhere. 

    2. We were called Polytechnic, for some reason I’ve forgotten, hence the domain. 

  • Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

    (I’m amazed I haven’t used that title before)

    Apologies if anyone following had a huge amount of updates appear in their RSS readers, but I recently flipped the switch on moving this site to Perch and a new responsive design, something that’s been in the works for quite a while now.

    This is the start of some long overdue improvements around here, including more frequent posting and moving to more of a POSSE type publishing method.

  • Polytechnic update

    Finally got round to updating to Drupal 5.1. I’ve done some pretty thorough testing and it all looks good, but if you notice anything strange please leave me a comment (which are no longer moderated, thanks to the new captcha, we’ll see how long that lasts).

    Now that I’m up to date expect to see some changes in the near future. There’s a new theme in the works and some toys that I’ve been wanting to roll out, but could only do on 5.x

    Caveat: The appearance of said theme and toys depends wholly on how much free time I have in the next few months.

  • Comment spammers

    Polytechnic has been coming under a sustained comment spam attack for the past few days and unfortunately, as well as the spam module is doing, it isn’t catching all of them. So for the time being, until my workload eases up and I can work out a better plan of defense, I’ve switched comments to be moderated instead of going live immediately.

    This will mean that if you leave a comment there will be a delay before it appears on the site (the delay will be dependant on my free time).

  • Back

    Well, this looks like it all worked ok.

  • Hiatus

    I’ve decided to take a break from posting for a while. There are some personal things happening that I need to focus my attention on, and this place is a too much of a distraction to handle right now, so I’m putting it in stasis.

    Hopefully I’ll be back at some point.

  • Testing Testing part two

    So here we go again, this time trying out ecto. I’ve had this installed for a long time but never got round to firing it up and seeing what it could do. First impressions are that the UI exposes a lot more functionality than Marsedit (not something that I really mind as i like to tinker) but I have that new-software “where the hell is everything?” feeling.

    Still, If it manages to post without anything too untoward happening then we’re off to a good start.

    Update: Well that went swimmingly. Just a few things to tweak in the generated markup, but that’s nothing. Ecto has it.

  • Testing Testing

    Testing out the new version of Marsedit and it’s inclusion of Technorati tags.

    Another in a long line of incredibly boring posts from Garrett Corp, I really must try harder.

    Update: Well that was a bit of a non event. Marsedit didn’t have an entry for the title, which turned out to be what the first paragraph became, html and all. Think I need to do some tweaking.

  • Apologies for the unread posts

    Sorry about the sudden flagging of posts as unread, I’m tweaking the feedburner settings. It’s an unfortunate side effect.

    By way of an apology, here’s a picture of a bunny

  • Playing With Feedburner

    I’m giving feedburner another whirl. I tried it a while back, specifically to make use of the feed splicing feature, but I quickly gave up as I was finding it a little clunky. For no other reason than I like to tinker I’ve switched it back on again.

    So if there is anyone out there reading this in an RSS reader I’d appreciate it you could update your feed to this one.

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