Music Magpie

Sorting CDsI’ve started a big clear-out of my flat. In particular I want to get rid of the stuff that moved in with me 6+ years ago and has barely been touched since. That, sadly, includes my CD collection and a lot of DVDs. It’s a process that started last year when I made a tidy sum selling anything of value through Amazon Marketplace but I was still left with a few hundred discs.

So on New Year’s Day I started scanning my stuff into Music Magpie which, if you don’t know, is a company that buys used CDs, DVDs and games. They’ve been going a few years and it looks like they’ve got a well developed system. When I first used it a year ago you had to type each barcode in by hand. Now they have an app to scan them.

Most of my (popular) CDs and DVDs were only worth 30p but some were a few quid. I learnt last year that the ones they offer more than a pound for can be worth selling through Amazon (or PlayTrade) but if there’s a lot of other sellers or the disc is obscure they can take a long time to sell.

Discs and cases have to be in reasonable nick. This means they cannot have plugger promotional stickers on them. So I did have to do a fair bit of recasing (something my fingernails aren’t forgiving me for).

All was looking good with Music Magpie until the courier didn’t turn up to collect my CDs on Saturday.  A phone call to them got me an apology and a time specific collection with another courier on Wednesday. After that I’ll wait for them to be processed to see how much of the promised £120 I’ll get. Not bad for things that have been in the cupboard for years. It was still sad to see them go though.

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Radio 1 Specialist Takeover

Radio 1's New Music MonsterWith the exception of Chris Moyles when I wake up, the Scott Mills Daily podcast, and the occasional Huw Stephens weekend show I’ve stopped listening to Radio 1. However last week’s specialist takeover pulled me back. For five weekdays the daytime line-up was replaced by Zane Lowe, Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Nick Grimshaw.

I’ve always believed the main reason to listen to daytime Radio 1 was for the entertaining presenters and creative ideas but not the music. That changed this week as the music programming was a spot-on mix of ‘new’ tracks, ‘specialist’ tracks that ‘crossed over’ last year and ‘classic’ tracks. (I put all those terms in quotes as their definition is up for debate.) If Radio 1 played music like this every day I’d be pulled back from the office choice of 6 Music.

Radio 1 have started trails and TV adverts saying “New Music – It’s Our Big Thing – All Day Every Day”. I really hope it is.

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Bitching about the railways

Railway companies aren’t lucky when it comes to PR. Every year they put their fares up and get a blasting in the press. The story gets at least two cycles: the announcement in the autumn and then in January when the rise happens. The second is made worse by the lack of other news for the press to cover. Two sets of public outrage so close together means people don’t stop raging between them.

I’m actually annoyed by this raging. I’m lucky enough not to suffer peak time travel anymore but I do know what it is like. I’m not saying our transport system is perfect but it is a lot better than it was. And that’s my first pet hate: people who complain they haven’t seen anything for their increased fares. London Underground has better trains and is more reliable than it was (admittedly this took the new Victoria Line trains a while to achieve). London Overground is finally fit for purpose. Trains in South London don’t fail me. I have no complaints about Virgin, First Great Western or East Coast.

I cannot say the same for National Express East Anglia though. Its trains are old and knackered. This led to a call to arms from Walthamstow blogger radiokate. The problem is NXEA are only a small part of the issue as this comment explains. In short NXEA have to use the trains they are given and run them on tracks they don’t control.

This is my second pet hate: people’s misplaced anger. It is the whole system that is screwed. Sadly that makes us all rather powerless.

What I want to see is the press use the fare increase news cycles to highlight the deep causes and campaign to change them. Don’t just report people being angry. We know that. It doesn’t change.