After looking around recently for a sound system for a festival we was performing at, I couldn’t quite find one that I thought was really suitable for my needs. After a long time of searching, I eventually found a good one.
My criteria? Well, I didn’t want to break the bank. I recently decided on getting a soundbar, so it had to be of a good price. I read an article on the best soundbar under 100, and it definitely help me decide that this was going to be a good choice for me. There were tons of other options that the writers there recommended too, but I ended up going for the Taotronics for a couple reasons.
But we can’t use a soundbar for some of our larger events so we needed to find a big speaker system that would work well with an audience of 5000 or more people. Here is the criteria that I wanted to meet to ensure that the speaker system would be good enough for all of our events throughout the year.
Price – We had a budget of around £3000 for these speakers. We did not want to spend more than this because we already have an abundance of speakers that we can use. But for these specific occasions, we needed this type of speaker.
Good tweeters – Although the majority of events that we perform at need bass, we also want to ensure that our speakers are able to carry high frequencies well too. For this, we need to make sure that the speakers have high quality tweeters.
Capable of bass – As well as tweeters, we need to make sure that the speakers are capable of carrying low frequencies too. For this, it is a good idea for us to get a speaker that can deal with heavy sounds.
In the end, we went for a a big bluetooth speaker like this one. It is able to deal with heavy sounds just like we wanted from our speaker.
Overall, we are extremely happy with our sound system and I don’t think that it’s worth looking for others in the near future. This one should be suitable for any events that we’re going to within the near future and that makes us very happy.
An interesting thing happened to me last week, which I think highlights how silly things can hold us back – sometimes for long periods of time.
I’ve had a problem with my left shoulder for almost thirty years. It comes and goes, but can get very painful at times, and restricts the movements in my arm quite severely. I’ve been to physiotherapists, massage therapists, mainstream doctors and pretty much anyone I could think of trying to find a cure. I even went to a psychotherapist at one stage, convinced that the whole thing was psychosomatic. But no, the problem never really went away, and had a tendency of coming back.
Through all of this I developed a curious prejudice. Even though I’d been to as many physios and massage people as doctors looking for a cure (to no avail), for some reason I was convinced that if I was to find a cure it would never come through Western medicine.
There was a flimsy rational basis for this – once, when I was being passed through the NHS health system in Britain a surgeon with a WWI-style flying moustache and a mad glint in his eye told me in in gruesome detail about the operation he intended to carry out. It involved cutting up quite a bit of me, breaking a few bones, and leaving me scarred for life. I left the consultancy convinced I should have no more to do with knife-wielding lunatics like him, even if it meant more painful, sleep-deprived nights.
But in reality my prejudice against Western medicine was more about my own self-identity, upbringing and ‘lifestyle choices’ than anything else. I’m from that liberal kind of group that secretly thinks all things modern and Western are actually bad in some way (while at the same time enjoying what the modern world offers to the full). And perhaps nowhere does this mindset reflect itself more than when it comes to medicine. People like me spend huge amounts of money on ‘holistic’ or’ herbal’ or ‘traditional’ medicine, filling the cash tills of ‘natural remedy’ shops with their conscience-saving air of environmentalism, while sneering at what ordinary doctors have on offer.
“A mere pill? To cure me? How reductive. I’m far too important for that kind of simple medicine. I need someone who will look at my whole…“
The fact is, passing through the waiting rooms and consultancies of ordinary Western doctors you can feel that they’re not looking at you as a person, but just at the bit wrong with you, like some broken part on a car.
And so, if this pisses you off, you run into the arms of the ‘therapist’, because he or she gives you what the doctor won’t or can’t, and what you actually want – attention.
But what if the ordinary doctors were the people who could actually cure you?
My shoulder flared up very badly a few weeks ago. I couldn’t sleep at first, then I started taking some pain killers so powerful they left me stoned. Which was all right for a while, but not a long-term solution.
Finally my wife insisted we take the course of action I was resisting above all others – going to see a doctor.
Dizzy and in great pain, I finally acquiesced (and I doubt I would have done had my psychological defences not been down like that).
A few days later I was in the waiting room of a traumatologist. And the usual thoughts about Western doctors started passing through my mind: it was all a waste of time; what was I doing there? I might as well get up and go home.
But then – I don’t know why – I became aware of these thoughts in my mind. And decided to do an experiment. Rather than go in with negative expectations, I told myself that this time I was going to find the solution, that after three decades with this problem I was finally going to knock it on the head. And the doctor in the consultancy was going to give me the cure – whatever it may be. I was going to change my thoughts – from negative to positive.
A moment later I was with the doctor. He barely let me explain what was wrong with me. Almost immediately he began speaking very fast, telling me this and that, while I tried to butt in, in an attempt to give him the full story of my suffering. What’s more, he barely even touched me. “Look at this!” I wanted to say. “Put your hand here and feel the size of that lump! Give me some goddam sympathy, will you.”
Which is what I’d got all those years with the therapists – lots of “oohs” and “aahs” about my problem, but never in the end any cure.
This doctor wasn’t having any of it, though. And I felt pretty certain that he was trying to deal with me as quickly as he could so he could get the next patient in. All-in-all, it was the worst kind of experience that you expect to have with a ‘Western’ doctor.
It was only when I got out of there that I registered what he’d told me. “Go home,” he’d said, “and start doing some weight training. Right now. This very afternoon. Because you’ve got so little strength in your left arm that it’s causing at least 50 per cent of your problem.”
Surely I should wait till the swelling had died down a bit first.
“No. Do it now. Right now.”
So I went home, and dug out an old dumbell that I’d bought years before and never used. I might have a prejudice against Western medicine, but paradoxically I aso came from a culture which respects ‘doctor’s orders’. And now I had a piece of paper – a prescription, no less – telling me to turn myself into a beefcake.
That first afternoon I could barely lift the weight. By the second day it was getting better, and the third saw the beginning of real improvement.
But the most amazing thing? The swelling in my shoulder went down almost immediately. Not only that, within days I had regained a kind of mobility in my left arm that I haven’t had in many years. All because I’d taken the advice of this ‘Western’ doctor.
Almost ten days later my biceps continue to swell and my shoulder feels increasingly better. Such a simple solution. And such a long time trying to find it.
Except that I wasn’t trying to find it. Not really. What I was looking for was attention. And I got it in bucketloads from the therapists who lay me on their couches.
Sometimes, it may be that what we need to hear doesn’t come wrapped in pink fluffy tissue paper. It can be hard, and unpleasant, and may come from someone we don’t respect and delivered in a way that we do not appreciate.
But if it’s what we need, it’s what we need.
The problem is removing the prejudices that prevent us from seeing that.
An example of how things can change quite unexpectedly:
Spain is not an easy country to drive in. In fact the British newspaper The Telegraph has simple advice for any British ex-pats contemplating taking their car down to Spain: Don’t.
Why? Because Spanish drivers are, er, creative. Personally I prefer it, but that’s because I’m a creative kind of guy. The Spanish in general are very good at improvising (they have to be in a country where nothing is at is seems), and this applies to driving as well. So forget double-parking. How about quadruple or even quintuple parking?
One thing about driving on Spanish motorways, however, was that they tended to be like race tracks. You didn’t dither, you burned rubber. The speed limit was officially 120 kph, but driving at anything less than 130 was considered rude, frankly.
And I thought this would never change. I thought they way the Spanish drive was embedded in their DNA.
Until the other week the government reduced the speed limit to 110. The idea was to save on fuel, in case the Middle East went completely tits-up.
People were annoyed – it was just another way to make money for the authorities by giving us speeding fines, they said.
The rule came in over the weekend. I jumped in the car and drove as fast as I could as the clock struck midnight: I was damned if I was going to take another attack on the healthy craziness of this country lying down. I didn’t get stopped; I just got bored eventually and went home to bed.
Another few days passed before I drove on the motorway again. And I was immediately struck by how slowly everyone was going. They weren’t even doing 110. Many were sticking at 100, or even slower.
It won’t last, I thought. Give another week and they’ll be flooring it again.
But no. Several weeks have passed, and if anything people are driving even more slowly.
And it’s actually quite pleasant: you get into a more laid-back frame of mind, sweeping along the road like some hippy in a 60s road movie.
And everyone’s doing it. I never thought I would see something like this. In fact I would have bet money on it. But overnight Spain has changed from being a country of speed-obsessed lunatics to a place of karmic motorway harmony.
This is only only on the motorways, mind. This afternoon someone smashed into my car because they weren’t looking where they were going. But we were in the middle of a town, so it doesn’t really count.
Still, Telegraph readers may still have to be aware.
Sometimes I find it helpful to think of books in terms of boats – sailing boats, that is.
What makes a book successful? Why do some good books seem to sink or not get very far, while others that are awful appear to sail off into the sunset? Why is it that, despite all the intelligent people working in the book trade, no one has yet come up with a fail-proof formula for producing a best-seller. (Many people will tell you’ve they’ve got the secret, but they haven’t. It’s easy to say why a successful book has been successful after the event, but less so to explain why a similar book with the same traits hasn’t sold so well…) Why do commentators and critics hark on about ‘genre’ writing vs. non-genre writing, or high-brow vs. low-brow, when the true value of a book rarely has anything to do with these categorisations?
You can shed some light on these questions, I think, by thinking of books as boats.
First of all a book has to be water-tight. For a plot-driven book that’s fairly self-explanatory, but for others it simply means that the book has to work – it has to function as a book, whatever it may be: poetry, ‘non-fiction’, history, biography, etc. I.e. you have to be able to put the thing in the water without it immediately sinking to the deep. This is the main job agents and editors have. Thanks to their efforts, almost all published books are water-tight, to use this analogy, as they’ve stopped badly built ships from getting anywhere near the sea in the first place, and have patched up the ones about to be launched where there were any design faults. Whether they’ll actually sail anywhere, however, is another matter.
Now books, like boats, can come in many shapes and sizes. Some may be fast and flashy, others may be slow and solid, etc. Some may be grand warships, destroying their adversaries wherever they sail, others are more like cargo ships, carrying ideas and concepts as they travel. (Some of these can be over-laden, however, and end up sinking…). While others are racers – exciting and sleek, but with very little of interest on board. Most books are probably a mixture of elements from these different kinds.
Two factors, essentially, cause a boat to move: sea currents and tides; and the wind. In this analogy, tides can be predicted with relative accuracy, and can actually be seen. Winds, however, are unpredictable, and seemingly come out of nowhere.
Tides and sea currents are like the trends and fashions of a prevailing time and culture. “What’s in this year? Stories of Eskimo child abuse? Great, we’ve got a book that covers it.” And so off the book goes, floating over the water, apparently sailing. But unless the book has some true worth, what’s making it move is not anything ‘real’ – it’s not actually sailing anywhere: it’s simply floating where the tides are taking it, riding the waves.
Now this book may be very successful and make its author a lot of money, but again, if all it’s doing is moving along the tide, with no ‘wind in its sail’, the chances are it will be forgotten and lost in a few years time, and stuck in ‘the doldrums’. Celebrity autobiographies can often fall into this trap.
What a writer really hopes for, however, to make their book a success, to make the boat reach its destination, is ‘the wind’. The wind is what really moves boats.
An example of a book that blew in out of nowhere? The Harry Potter series. The first book had a print-run of 300. The last ones were probably selling more than 300 per second.
There was no tide or sea current to make that first Harry Potter work. As a book it was well-built, water-tight, and had plenty of cargo on board, but no one could see where eventually it would go.
Because while you can see tides, you can’t see the wind, and no one has any idea where it’s coming from or in which direction it’s going to blow next.
So why do some bad books do so well? Because they’re riding on tides, but no wind is pushing them; they may not even have sails.
Why do some goods books fail to get anywhere? Because even with a good breeze, if the currents or tides are against you you’ve got a problem on your hands.
Good books that do well have all these factors in their favour.
Real readers can tell the difference between a book that has the wind in its sails, and one that is simply riding on the tide of current fashion. The interesting thing is, I think, that no one could really say what ‘the wind’ represents in this metaphor. Perhaps we sense it in some way – a force that comes from some other realm or dimension, which can take us by surprise, which can bring about sudden change – cool breezes, stormy weather or warm sunny days.
It is the reason why, thank God, no one can accurately predict how well a book will do. And why some books can come out of nowhere and become sudden best-sellers.
It is something to do with the real worth of a book – that and some outside element pushing it along. It’s what makes categories such as ‘literary’ or ‘genre’ meaningless.
It’s unpredictable, powerful and hints at something beyond our ordinary ken.
And it’s what still places books at the cutting edge of our culture, despite the persistent rumours of their imminent demise.