Category Archives: General

State of modern ‘Arcade’ games and perhaps society?

Had a play on some modern arcade machines at the weekend.. what a sham! ยฃ2 to play and I suspect player involvement is fairly optional to the gameplay on the most part. I completed the 1st section/level was told well done and then insert another credit (ยฃ1) to continue.. WTF!

Utter conning robbing garbage! They had 2 similar designed ‘pods’ one a Star Wars x-wing fighter ‘sim’ the other a Jet fighter ‘sim’ both pretty much identical games with essentially different gfx and sound.

Was highly disappointing. That coupled with the ‘ticket’ based rewards ‘games’ where it’s not possible to NOT get tickets, and what you do get are pretty much worth less than the paper they are made of. Is everything these days so dumbed down so as to appease low attention, unskilled, drooling muppets looking for constant gratification? For me its a depressing glimpse into society as a whole ๐Ÿ™

Hectic!

Wow, life suddenly got VERY hectic for me!

Crazy busy at work with all mannor of projects, all far too secret for me to divulge here ๐Ÿ™‚ย  But those have to come second to what is really taking up my neural ticks in thought process..ย  My oh so lovely girlfriend… yeah yeah, I know, soppy blergh etc.. but this is a tad different!

How so? well (as I am sure anyone who has suffered being in my presence for the last few months can attest), she is representing Great Britain at the Paralympics!ย  So proud of my good lady am I! Hope you will join me in cheering her on, I’ll be there myself in person cheering away, for those who are not, I believe all the coverage is going to be on Channel 4.ย  Her events are Track cycling, Tandem B/Vi 1KM TT on 31st of August at 9:30 and the 3KM Pursuit on the 2nd of September at 9:30 with the final on the same day at 14:00.

Her athlete profile on Channel 4 is here

So proud, I am a very lucky boy!

52 miles….

Today was the day of the Great Manchester Cycle.ย  13 miles of closed roads forming a loop that starts at the Eithad stadium along the Mancunian way (A57M), through Media City and past Old Trafford before heading back along the same route.

The event has 3 flavours, 13 miles, 26 miles or 52 miles… of course, I went for the 52 mile option ๐Ÿ™‚ this also brought an additional caveat in that I was required to maintain a speed of 18MPH or faster on average to complete the course in time!ย  I thought what the hell and signed up anyway.

The 52 mile ride started this morning, setting off at 8:00AM with rider assembly at 7:30AM, of course I got a whole 5 and a bit hours sleep before hand :/ and probably didn’t eat the best of foods, but meh don’t want to make things easy for myself now do I!ย  I was hoping to wear just the event Jersey and my shorts, but despite the sun it was a little cold so I ended up needing my cycling jacket too.. so glad I did that!ย  My toes were frozen and I never really got too sweaty, not too bad a temp for the ride really (BBC Weather stated around 8 degrees C to about 12 degrees, my Garmin was saying about 13 degrees).

Once we set off the ride out was really rather enjoyable, this being my 1st ride of this type and my 1st real experience of bunches and chains.ย  WOW! how much fun are they!ย  Riding along the A57M itself is fun, but when you are doing 30MPH easily, slipstreaming off another rider or two.. awesome!ย  Which reminds me of another cool thing, the noise.. near silence (other than some chatting).. just the faint hum of wheels on tarmac.ย  I was quite pleased that I managed to get right up to the lead bunch at the start quickly and without having to push myself!ย  It didn’t last ๐Ÿ™ after the pinch point at Media City which almost has the riders single file onto a foot bridge I just lost the bunch and ended up riding solo.. and into that bloody wind, and up hill.. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ย  So this really sucked the life and speed out of me.

Thankfully after each lap I learnt a bit more and started looking for wheels to hang off of, actively chasing after a chain to sit in its slip stream.. I was quite pleased to realise I had someone slipstreaming behind me for a fair turn of the route, spurred me on a little to maintain the 25MPH I was doing!

Towards the end of the ride I was pretty tired, this was the fastest, non-stop, constant peddling ride I have ever done, my Manchester to Blackpool rides of previous years have been slower, and involved stops at lights and feed stations.ย  Today I stopped after the 1st lap for a loo break and that was it!ย  I didn’t free wheel too much just kept spinning away.ย  Another boost to my speed and drive was switching the screen on my Garmin to show the current time and my ride time.. until that point I had been concentrating on my average speed more than anything, so had no idea of the time.ย  Switching to see the time revealed it was a lot earlier than I thought and indicated that I was doing better than I had thought! this really helped spur me on!

A brill day out, lots of fun, I will doing another of this I think.ย  Which only leaves my stats really…

I completed the full ride in 2:42:36 with splits of 42:08, 40:08, 40:39 and last lap of 39:41ย  (found a good chain that got me most of the way back ๐Ÿ˜€ )

and the stats from my Garmin via Endomondo are:

And my best distances were:

Now, I think I’ll go have a bit of a rest ๐Ÿ™‚

WHEEE!

I added another vehicle to the list of those I have managed to get ‘the backend out’ on/in ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Especially as this will be the second one within a week!

Thought it might be fun to blog all the ones I have had go sideways (a little bit) when they were supposed to go straight.ย  So in no real order they are:

  • Front wheel drive car with use of handbrake..
  • Front wheel drive car (no use of handbrake!)
  • Rear wheel drive car
  • Mountain bike (YAY FUNS!)
  • Road bike
  • Road Tandem bike ( ๐Ÿ˜€ )

I think the most scary was the tandem, there was a brief moment of ‘oh crap, this is going over’ which was audibly the thoughts of the stoker from her reactions at the time too ๐Ÿ˜€ย  It didn’t we were awesome, no it wasn’t intended ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Time flies!

Apparently! well it must, they have clocks on aeroplanes after all…

anyway, I really should try to scribble here more, so much has happened of late in so many different ways in my life and I didn’t blog any of it!! (although some of that would be a conscious decision to not blog it ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Coding wise, my work on the Sound Engine has progressed beyond my hopes! it isn’t complete and I have so many exciting ideas to add to it still, but there is a beta release out there!ย  Most exciting of all is that people are using it!ย  It’s an awesome buzz to see the logo for a project you have worked on stuck in someone elses project, reading reviews where people are complimenting the music of that project and thinking “My code is playing that!” brilliant.

Life wise has also been amazing, I have met an amazing woman (literally!)ย  and things are going better than I could have hoped in that regard also!ย  One of the many positives she has had on my life is rekindling my interest in cycling, so much so I am now cycling to work (not enough, but getting there), twice this week, would have been three times, except I was feeling pretty lazy this morning ๐Ÿ™‚ (and have a lot to do tonight). As well as cycling, I have started to take Skiing lessons, hoping to make use of my new skills with my new lady later in this year or early next year ๐Ÿ™‚

So, in super summary, interesting stuff on the Jag, amazing woman in my life, lost a load of weight (20+Kg!), getting fitter, learning to ski, oh and embedded electronics and system development fun!ย  See a lot has happened..

Now I just need to try and manage all this and get some sleep in too!

SoundEngine.. complete.. mostly!

It’s been quite a while since my last post and so much has been learnt and changed since then.ย  So much so that I have now completed the first release of my sound engine.ย  100% RISC assembly too! it has even recieved some very very nice compliments from my peers in the community, so I am pretty pleased with myself ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyone interested in having a look (fully documentated too! with example code!) it can be downloaded here

100% on test Mod!

At last! 100% of the way through my chosen starting module (Theme tune to Alf by Trash).ย  Although I am a little sick of hearing it now oddly enough it mostly sounds (to me) as it should do.ย  Other ears have heard some tuning issues, but only in some places and I suspect this may be due to the rather speedy coding of some of the effects.

As the code to read the actual pattern data was so bodged and crufty and incomplete (anything that used more than 15 samples was never going to work), I decided to completely rip it out and rewrite, but adding in hooks for various bits along the way and knowning now what I didn’t know when I 1st wrote it.

Took me longer than I planned originally, but the final result was certainly worth it!ย  Adding effects to this new build is super simple.ย  There are 15 primary effects, with a further 15 sub effects.ย  For now I am concentrating on the primaries.ย  I therefor have a list of Addresses of the code to produce the desired effect.ย  To select the correct effect code the effect number is added as an offset to the address of this list, the program counter is then jumped to the address stored there (not before pushing the desired return address on the stack for the RTS at the end of the effect) and thats it.ย  When I come to write a new chunk of effect code I simply write it and then update the list of pointers.ย  Jobs done.

I still have around another 21 effects to code, I am quite pleased with the pitch slide effects I have coded tonight despite me being suspicious that these may be the cause of the out of tune behaviour and also being incredibly simple ๐Ÿ˜€

To further the work on the player I have a more complex effect rich module to work through now, one of my old favourites back in the day.ย  It has already identified and helped me resolve a few bugs I wasn’t aware of.ย  Really enjoying this project ๐Ÿ™‚

Success!

I had a day off following the Computer Club at The Lass on Wednesday, my sole plan for the day, to sort out my tracker distortion issues and make some progress.ย  It was a very successful day!

I attempted a few different approaches to resolve the distortion, having the playback routine count how many samples it had played, and the render code then generating that number of samples.ย  Which worked to a point, but just simply delayed the occurrence of the distortion by a chunk of time, and also increasing its duration.ย  It was clearly a slow drift between the two functions.ย  I tried having the render code monitor the playback position and pause or halt if it caught it up, this generated some weird audio effects or maxed out the 68K to 100% as it effectively spent all its time sat behind the playback trying to generate sufficient samples for the next VBI.

Thankfully Cyrano Jones popped up on IRC and whilst discussing stuff he suggested trying a double buffering technique.ย  I wasn’t convinced, but it was something I hadn’t tried.ย  After some battling and issues due to make not assembling all the files when it should of (I now use make clean a lot more ๐Ÿ™‚ ) This proved a perfect solution!ย  As long as the output buffers are suitably sized for the maximum number of samples per VBI at the given refresh rate and playback rate all is good!ย  I must have spent 10 minutes listening to the same pattern play listening for the distortion, it didn’t come!

With the distortion issue fixed I now needed to get the other 2 channels in the mix.ย  Due to the way I am heavily using CPU registers for render variables, this was a little more complex and hacky than I would have liked, but this is a prototype so meh, I am looking forward to having the full 64 32bit registers of the DSP to abuse ๐Ÿ™‚

The way I am writing the sample data to the DSP buffer is as a single 32bit long, (4x 8bit channels, handy).ย  This allows the DSP code to pick up all 4 channels from a single load, which also gets around the limitation that the DSP can only make 32bit loads and stores when addressing it’s own cache RAM.

As each pass through the render code generated 2 8bit channels at a time, it seemed logical to simply write these 16bit words to the DSP RAM, (improving efficiency as the DSP and 68K only have 16bit data bus width) skipping over the 16bits for the next 2 channels free for when those channels were computed later.ย  Or so I thought…. All hail the wacky hardware bug and all it’s glory :/ย  I soon discovered that DSP RAM should only be written to as 32bit longs from the 68K! otherwise it has a habit of corrupting the other half of the long!ย  This means the first two channels are written in the high end of a long write, then the last two channels are or’d into the low half of the long :/ย  so many wasted ticks!

With all 4 channels going, as well as all this 32bit long memory accessing wastage CPU usage is back up to around 40-45%.ย  At least its less than 50% and I am sure with a lot of optimization I would be able to claw some of that back.

However I now need to start working on the code that reads the actual song data and adding the effects, which is proving another challenge due to the way I have written some of the render code.ย  A fresh start may be needed based on what I have discovered.ย  I am completely psyched with the fact this thing actually plays a mod from start to finish and sounds like what it is supposed to! ๐Ÿ˜€

Of course I have found a few issues in there too which will be fun to fix, but its all progress ๐Ÿ˜€

Getting there

Whilst the new approach was mostly working it had had a negative affect also, the introduction of some hideous distortion. ย I have tried a few different things to isolate the causes of this and a solution but was rapidly losing hope at finding the problem.

Thankfully I decided to take a break from it and my latest attempts at solving it, and not more than about 20 minutes into the film (V for Vendetta if you are interested), it struck me!

The production of the sample data during the VBI was fine, however I realised that whilst it was generating this sample data it was also blocking all other CPU based interrupts, which would of course block the 8kHz feeder interupt that is feeding the sample data to the DSP! ย I managed to resist the urge to stop the film and try it there and then.. which meant I got to enjoy the rest of the film, but try my idea out at well past coding o’clock.

The result? near perfect success! Instead of running the whole sample rendering routine within the VBI, I simply triggered it from the VBI and bingo! ย This is lest than ideal of course, but as this is prototyping at this point it’s not really a concern.

I did also try clearing the interrupt latches earlier in the VBI handler to allow other interrupts whilst the sample render ran, but this didn’t seem to work too well, I shall investigate further, I suspect it may be due to the processor having not yet returned from the exception, possibly making it less tolerant of other interrupts. ย Quite pleased with myself ๐Ÿ™‚

AC2011

It’s been a week and thought I should scribble some stuff down here to cover what happened, and what I can remember (there wasn’t much sleep to be had).

Alas the trip there was a bit of an epic jaunt.ย  Gaz popped up to mine with plans to head off early to collect Kev and Mike en route.ย  To kill off time Thursday evening we decided to go for a curry and a pint in Manchester, meeting up with Rich we had a rather nice curry and a few more beers than we first planned, then sat nattering over a bottle of Cider until 2AM.. so early start, not meaning a lot of sleep.

The drive there was a bit horrific, the roads knew I was tired, traffic and delays the whole way ๐Ÿ™ so despite booking a later ferry we only JUST made it in time.ย  We did get the chance to get mine and Kev’s laptops setup and ready to code and develop on the ferry.ย  The drive in France was a lot easier and we even found the hotel with minimal trouble! huzzah

The event was awesome from the moment we arrived, largest I have ever seen, tables everywhere, quite a lot empty, but over half the room already full.ย  We located the other guys entering the coding competition and setup there.ย  Where most systems had one monitor/tv each (some more systems than monitors) this wasn’t the case where we were, each system had at least 2 screens ๐Ÿ™‚ as well as laptops etc.

Once the competition had begun, I was now fully facing the prospect of writing a Tetris like game, from scratch, with power-ups (these were the competition requirements) on the Atari Jaguar (my retro system of choice ๐Ÿ™‚ ).ย  I had been thinking about this for a while, the Tetris aspect had already been made known, but it was still pretty daunting to sit there looking at a directory with nothing in it but a make file and system setup routines.ย  Of course once the ball was set rolling the code did fly, Kev quickly crafted some graphics to get me started and it began.ย  My biggest regret, not enough sleep ๐Ÿ™‚ย  We stayed there hacking away until around 2AM before deciding to get SOME sleep.

Sunday we were back at the event a little later than I hoped, with the coding to finish before 15:00 I set about crafting in the code I had written in my sleep ๐Ÿ™‚ and Kev crafting more of the pixels.ย  It was a great motivation to overcome one of the bugs in the system within a few minutes of starting for the day (all hail coding in your sleep).ย  Kev’s graphics really made it shine also.ย  15:00 came around damn quick, game not finished, but resembling Tetris, and looking good, so I was pleased anyway.

So 21-24 hours later and about 1700 lines of assembly code, 1.1MB of graphics we produced the startings of a game called Reactris.ย  Thankfully some kind souls in internet land and part of the Atari Jaguar scene have crafted a lovely youtube video of it:

Youtube Reactris video

(thanks to ZeroSquare for the capture, and Sauron for the upload)

Post event, I slept, having had about 15 hours in the last 3 days and driven for 10 hours ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Of course my travelling companions likened my appearance to that of a Zombie :).. Thankfully the drive home was a lot less troublesome, well except for the muppet that flipped a trailer in front of us blocking the main route out of Meaux.

Look forward to going next year ๐Ÿ™‚ now I just need to finish off this game… ๐Ÿ™‚

Ps3 jailbreaking

Looks like Sony have crushed the ps3 hack to allow you to run ‘homebrew’ and illegal software on your ps3.

Oh dear, what a pity, nevermind.

I don’t see what the fuss is about, those who want to write home brew games.. Write them for an open system, like say your pc, or the mac or something. Just because you bought the hardware doesn’t entitle you to hack it and breach the licensing agreement you agreed to when you opened the box. You did read it didn’t you? No? Shame.

I imagine every backdoor found will be closed as quick, the joys of online patching eh?

for my sister..

Needed something to distract my mind whilst on the way to the hospital, so grabbed a CD I haven’t listened to in a while.ย  It’s odd how you find things sometimes, I don’t think this could be more fitting:

You Always Believed – In This Moment

I think back on the years we shared
All the times you stood by me
All the pain you wiped away
All the things you ever said
I think back how you carried me
And you never once have doubted me
And you were my
My hero through it all

I thank you for the moments of your life
And never giving up on me

And you held me through it all
And you never let me fall
And you let me fly away
And you always believed

I think back how you overcame
All the times you could have slipped
The way you fought the winds of change
All the times your wings were clipped
You taught me how to reach the stars
You taught me how to heal my scars
And you were my
My hero through it all

I thank you for the moments of your life
And never giving up on me

And you held me through it all
And you never let me fall
And you let me fly away
And you always believed in me

I love you sis…

Epic smoking fail and Lazyness

I get back to my flat with my Ikea gubbins and the extortionate Maplin stuff (they wanted ยฃ20 for a 1m digital phono – phono cable.. no I didn’t buy one, I giggled lots).ย  Had to make two trips from the car to my flat.ย  So big heavy shelving 1st then back for the gifflar and maplin bits.

As I was opening my front door I heard the lift close behind me and decend, this it will only do if someone calls it from a lower floor, I look round to see it stop at the first floor… I had to stand and watch just to see, but yep, someone on the 1st floor is sufficiently bone idle to use the lift to get down 1 floor to the groundfloor! YE GADS!

When I was on my way back with my second lot of stuff from teh car I accidentally clipped the 2nd floor button (me being on the 3rd), so the lift naturally stopped at 2 first.ย  As I lent forward to press the closedoors button (got bored of waiting), the lift filled with the stench of smoking!! the lift opens into the hallway shared between all the flats on that floor! and the hallway smelt bad enough that the lift filled with the smell in seconds!ย  I wonder if someone is smoking in the hallways rather than their own flat or someone is really going for it and the smell is escaping!

GRIM anyway.ย  Thankfully the same is not true on my floor.

A new home

On Friday I collected my keys. I am now the proud owner of a shiny new flat not too far from the centre of Manchester.

It is somewhat daunting however, bills and mortgage ontop of debt and living :/ if I have done my maths right, then the savings should offset the increased costs….. I hope ๐Ÿ™‚

First order of the day however is getting flooring installed. I wasn’t early enough to buy to be able to specify any options, so I have what is called “builders finish” as a floor at the moment. Tomorrow sees my dad and I taking on the job of laying lamminate and vynal flooring. Hopefully all be done, and I can start the moving in process proper.

Going to be a long, stressful day, and costly :/ being a Sunday also limited time wise for raiding diy stores. I have taken Monday off work too so I can spenc that whole day moving and fitting things.

Exciting and daunting at the same time.

To Italia (and back)

I have just returned from my 1st ever trip to Italy!ย  Very interesting it was too.ย  First thing we noticed is that the lovely Northern weather I am used too has hardened us Brits to a more cool climb, so we got a few strange looks as we swanned around in just T-shirts whilst the locals shivered under layers and with thick scarves ๐Ÿ˜€ย  (the word ‘Nesh’ was also used a lot ๐Ÿ˜€ )ย  As always cultural ambassadorial duties were not overlooked ๐Ÿ˜€

First course of duty was to goto the Italian JagFest organised by Marco.ย  Much Atari goodness was beheld and his rather impressive shop and collection of all things computer game related! impressive.

Food was consumed, it has to be said Italian food, is very good, although their Pizzas only seem to come in one size.. HUGE, and made of NOM ๐Ÿ˜€ย  Pizza hut is NOTHING like real Italian pizza, no where near.ย  The 3-4 foot long Pizza’s we had for Lunch were impressive (I didn’t get a pic ๐Ÿ™ ) those were shared ๐Ÿ˜›

As we all know Italian beer is like flavoured tap water to the cultivated British taste buds, so Gaz and myself undertook a mission to deplete the stock of Guinness in the local Irish bar whilst Mike tackled the Erdinger.

Second and best (for me) was meeting my long time On-line chums from WoW.ย  Franco, Piero and Nic are quite simply the nicest blokes you could hope to meet, and completely bonkers ๐Ÿ™‚ was more like meeting old friends than meeting friends for the 1st time, much more delicious food was consumed (the three Italians worked their way through a local Zoo I think ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and much Vino was drunk.ย  After goodbyes more Guinness in the Irish bar and bad… followed by the WORST Hangover I have had in years, and most of the next day going missing ๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately due to various issues (like the hangovers and illness) we didn’t get to see them again the next day, although promises were made to come over to the UK for our next guild meet ๐Ÿ˜€ I didn’t forget lads ๐Ÿ˜€ย  Look forward to seeing you again.

Soon enough it was time to head home and here I am writing this as I upload the pics.ย  Its been must be nearly 12 hours of travel time and I haven’t shaved in days (bloody silly airplane carry on laws).. So now the pics are up I think I will go and get a nice long shower and trim my face off ๐Ÿ˜€

Pics here http://www.linkovitch.me.uk/gallery/italy201003

Been a while, been some changes

Its been quite a while since I wrote on this blog, partly that was due to the FaceBook abomination (hate it but, well, its becoming an annoyingly common part of life).ย  Still its not as permanent as a blog, and well I like owning my own thoughts thank-you-very-much so I am not getting rid of this just yet ๐Ÿ˜€

As well as those changes, life itself has been somewhat complicated, the most complex portion of this being my home life.ย  I am not going to go into any detail, not everything needs to be on the net for the world to read, but suffice to say I have seperated from my wife and am now lodging with an old friend who very generously has allowed me into is home (cheers mate, massively appreciated and huge help).ย  Things are different but thankfully amicable between myself and my ex, she is being very good about the whole thing and we are both getting on with our lives.ย  The kids are naturally the biggest concern and both myself and my ex are taking every measure to ensure they are not ill-affected by all this.ย  Little man was concerned that the internet would go away and the PS3 taken.. *wipes tear* that’s ma’ boy ๐Ÿ˜€ย  he has his priorities sorted.. good lad.

Work is going immensely well, and I am finding my place in life again.ย  Hopefully I will get back into all the things that interest me over the next few months and find time to comment on them here.ย  There are so many groups of individuals who have helped me come though this difficult period with their support, kind words and thoughts.ย  Big thanks to my WoW Guild Fallen-Shadow and to my Jaguar related friends whom have been a big help (special shout to GazTee for getting me to Watchmen with Dave Gibbons and JFUK’09ย  cheers m8)

Now, ONWARDS!

IPv6

Decided to take the plunge and get this setup on my own little slice of interwebs. Have been chatting to a colleague about the joys and the problems that lie ahead. So rather than wait until they bite me in the arse at work, I am making use of my colo ๐Ÿ˜€ (sorry for those who suffer hosting outages because of it.. but it really is for the best ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

Alas however it would seem that one major problem I need to address is my secondary DNS server which resides off my work network, a paid for VM. As it uses virtuozzo for its virtualisation I am told by the nice chaps at 1&1 that its not possible to have IPv6. The kernel that it presents to its VMs is a 2.6.9 and has no IPv6 module ๐Ÿ™ They of course did not use this as an opportunity to try and up-sell me a root server package.. oh no.. of course not…

Well until I get my finger out and move that VM somewhere else at least I can get the rest of it happily co-existing in IPv6 and IPv4 space.. I hope. Today was fun, got myself a /48 from SixXS.net and once I figured out that deleting the multicast link addresses from the interfaces was bad (NUBTARD!) I was soon happily pinging google from my server. Huzzah!

Hopefully tonight I can improve the config to ensure the servers keep their addresses on reboot and can start seeing about getting me some traffic over those there links. None of this crazy auto address stuff for me thanks, I want to be able to remember my v6 addresses ๐Ÿ˜€

Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds

Managed to grab some tickets to see this show which I have heard several people raving about. Looks like I just managed to get the tickets in time, as they were pretty good seats, same level as the stage pretty much and to the side. Looking at the floor-plan of the Liverpool Echo I honestly thought we would be sat right at the side of it, thankfully we were not, and had a great view of the whole stage.

Never having been to this kind of show before, I was expecting something more along the lines of a play, rather than a band and singers. So was a little unsure at 1st. However that soon changed once it kicked in. It was very impressive and awe inspiring, didn’t find myself bored at all. Pretty much whistled by!

Really impressed with the stamina of the musicians, and the quality. Superbe! Told the story really well, and although the CGI was cheesy as hell, I can let it pass, not sure if its intentionally bad or not, but it worked. (PS3 or X-box 360 could have produced better in real time tbh).

Very enjoyable night out it was. Added to the awe of the show was also the pure hilarity of idiots and completely un-courteous fools in a full carpark. One women who we spotted on arrival taking 6+ attempts to reverse into a parking space (no car in either space to her sides), subsequently stalled the lift not once, not twice but 3 times! Later on leaving she was cursing every car that didn’t give HER sole right of way and nearly crashed into 2 or 3 others. I just sat and actually laughed (as Diane can attest) at the ballet/dodgems of people battling to get out NOWNOWNOWNOW!!!!!

But that aside (I expected parking drama tbh.. in their credit Liverpool Echo parking staff I think did a top notch job of keeping it going as smoothly as they could) top night out, go and see it if you can.