Tall tales

Online adventures and life in Bexley, Kent

Zappi deals – I advise you not to give them any money October 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrhornsby @ 9:30 pm

On a tip-off from people that I trust (and whom I still trust) I attempted to buy a Kindle Touch from a new company called Zappi deals for what seemed like a bargain price. As you may have guessed from the title of my post, this Zappi deal didn’t work out well for me. It didn’t work out well for lots of people.

Many people have been trying to get the message out to warn other people about this company. It seems that, although Zappi deals aren’t good at keeping their end of a bargain, they are very good at taking legal action against people that write bad stuff about them and getting blogs and Twitter accounts taken down.

Which means that I feel the need to make sure that the truth about this company, and their sister company Wow Buys, is out there.

So, what follows is the contents of a blog post published on 01.10.12 by Rob Manuel which is taken, without his consent, from a cached version of his blog. His blog has been locked so that most people can’t access it. I am pretty sure that this is because of legal action taken by Zappi deals.

It’s not my intention to cause Rob Manuel any grief, so Rob, if you are reading this and want me to take this down, then please get in touch. It is my intention to warn other people not to give money to companies called Zappi deals and Wow Buys.


Sorry about the Zappideals sponsored link
First an apology: We’re sorry that we ever took a sponsored link in the B3ta newsletter that mentioned Zappideals. We’re sorry that the good(ish?) name of B3ta is being dragged through the mud and we’re sorry if you have given these people your money.

The background? We occasionally run ads via a company called Bragitup – they got in touch suggesting we run one for Zappideals offering a cheap Kindle. We were a little suspicious about it as it was cheaper than Amazon so we asked Bragitup to check them up. They assured us that the Kindle was a loss leader to generate new customers. This seemed reasonable so we ran the ad.

Then the complaints started trickling in. We sent these to Bragitup who worked tirelessly behind the scenes talking to Zappideals getting messages that the Kindles would be sent, will be sent, are being sent etc.

Bragitup wrote a blog detailing these problems but it got taken down. Why? Well Zappideals threatened legal action against Bragitup. They might possibly threaten legal action against this so we’re writing it carefully – there’s several things we’d like to say about them which we’ll refrain from. So imagine the kind of stuff we’d like to say. We bet you can do it.

And still the complaints come. Daily. Opening the B3ta mail is depressing. Going on Twitter is horrible. We’re sorry we ever heard of these people. You’re sorry. Our dead cat Rocky is sorry.

One thing – we haven’t profited from this – on the unlikely chance we ever get paid for the advertising (and the chance would seem slim) the money will go to charity.

Comments are closed on this because we know it’ll take minutes before legally actionable stuff will appear from angry people and it’ll then be used to close this post down removing our chance to apologise and get a clear message out.


To close with, my favourite songs April 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrhornsby @ 4:23 pm

I admitted to myself a long time ago that I just don’t have time for blogging in my life at the moment. I give a lot of what I have to my full time job, and what is left over is for my wife and me. Maybe one day, I’ll have a bit more time and energy to write regularly.

But for now, I’m going to close this blog with two things. The first, an admission to anyone who may have read what I said about the marketing team at Lush, is that I do actually like some marketeers – those who do what they do with politeness, humour, imagination and some honesty. Sorry to those people.

And then secondly, some stuff about music. Some of my friends posed the question a little while ago about your top ten favourite songs. I’m posting an edited response to this question here.


This little music challenge has troubled me a little bit.

The thing that I’ve been mulling over is that there is so little music that I liked when I was 18 that I still like now. Genuinely.

There’s a couple of major exceptions, which I’ll get out of the way now, who are Neil Young and the Pixies.

Even with NY, it aint simple. The songs of his that I liked then aren’t the ones that really do it for me now. I liked the mopey songs back then (that’s the kind of teenager I was), whereas now I prefer the “screw you, i’m doing this” stuff that he does (no comment on that).

Other than that, i virtually never listen to Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Mike Oldfield or any of my other teenage favourites anymore. I don’t even own them. (I have one LZ album, but i generally listen to them and feel disappointed that it doesn’t mean anything any more. I’d be prepared to make an exception for Led Zep II, which i haven’t listened to for a long time).

These days I have an insatiable thirst for new stuff. Possible causes of this are listening to Peel a fair bit from 95 onwards, and subsequently Dandelion Radio; the internet; And ATP.

Also, I find stuff that was around back in the nineties that I either didn’t know about back then, or wasn’t interested in. Bonnie Prince Billy, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and Neutral Milk Hotel are prime examples.

So, difficult to name the top songs due to rapid turnover.

Good news is that i agreed with myself only this weekend that the Yeah Yeah Yeah song by Flaming Lips is my favourite song.

Others that might feature would include Wicked Game by Chris Isaak (guilty pleasure, but it still retains the magic for me). I’ve always loved the kind of dark David Lynch undertones that it has. And it features in Wild at Heart which is one of my top 3 favourite films.

Albuquerque might have to be my Neil Young choice, because I loved it back then and I still love it now.

Where is my mind for the Pixies, though there are several that challenge for my favourite Pixies. I think it has to be one from Surfer Rosa or Doolittle. I think I still have the tape that I got with those two albums on, and I just never get tired of hearing them.

Isobel by Bjork. Bjork’s voice really, really does it for me.

Drunk Trumpet by Kid Koala, because it reminds me of the best partying times that I had up in Newcastle.

Dry the Rain by the Beta Band. Another one from the late nineties Newcastle days.

That might have to do I think. I wrote most of this when I was on my way to a gig on Thursday night – a band that I’d only just discovered last week, with two support acts that I’d never heard of. It was a brilliant gig.

It brought me to the conclusion the next day that the thing that my favourite songs and gigs and all of that have in common is that they all represent the start of something new. I heard them, and remember feeling a real feeling of excitement about all the new possibilities. I think that’s what I’m still after now.

So, I’m going to put one more in, which is my latest favourite song. It’s got tits in the video, but you probably won’t like it.

See ya.


Message to the Marketing Team at Lush March 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrhornsby @ 6:08 pm

A message that I attached to the latest copy of “Lush Times”, as I posted it back to them. I had to use three labels.

Return to sender

And when it gets to the sender I would really appreciate it they take me off their mailing list because I haven’t asked them to send this stuff incessantly, in fact all I ever did was bought some soap for my girlfriend off their website without even a mention of entering into some kind of life long buddy-buddy marketing relationship when I actually really hate nearly all forms of marketing, especially those kinds that still don’t stop even when you email and ask for it to stop.

I’m really going off Lush.


Mogwai, Brixton Academy, 25 Feb 2011. February 26, 2011

Filed under: Music — mrhornsby @ 2:11 pm

My first Mogwai gig, and Mrs H’s too.

I’ve been a fan since I first heard Young Team four years or so ago (it’s my loss that it took me that long to discover them). Mrs H had never heard of them.

It was our second trip to Brixton Academy this month, following a Band of Horses gig that was very well received by the majority of the crowd, but got only a luke-warm review from us. I was sincerely hoping that Mogwai were going to impress Mrs H, and help us to kick start our 2011 gigging season.

The support act were The Twilight Sad from Glasgow. They looked like lads playing a gig in a pub, and looked more than a little overwhelmed by the occasion. This endeared them to us a lot. They got into gear pretty swiftly,  channelling any nerves that they had into a very tasty wall of  sound that surely met the challenge set down by this glorious venue.

Mogwai are kindred spirits of theirs. They mooched on stage in a pretty unassuming and humble way, saying “Hello, we are Mogwai from Glasgow”. As I said before, we like that kind of thing.

The set was bigger, there were more twinkly lights and a bit of smoke, and they were obviously much more comfortable with the large crowd than their fellow weegies. I’d warned Mrs H that there would be very few words during the gig, and probably no singing. Despite that, Mogwai kept up the pace with constantly changing tempos and complex tunes. Only once did I become aware of the old loud-quiet-loud-quiet trick, such was their level of mastery these days . (That was when they played ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ as an encore. Mrs H dropped off during a quiet bit, and nearly wet herself when they finally unleashed hell at the end of the song).

Extremely good in parts, though there were a few lulls where my attention wandered a little. We left with a proper gig feeling, which is what should happen.



I’ve had a little break from blogging

Filed under: About me — mrhornsby @ 1:04 pm

I very rudely just stopped blogging back in February 2008, with no farewell or explanation to the people that read this blog.  Sorry to both of you.

Things got a little busy on the work front around that time. And then came a year or so of wedding planning. It was all worth it.

Anyway, I feel the need to write and be social again.  This is what is on my mind these days:

  • music (always)
  • beer – I’ve started making my own again
  • the web

See you in a bit.


New CDs February 13, 2008

Filed under: Music — mrhornsby @ 9:10 pm

A few new CDs were added to the Hornsby collection over Christmas.

Sol Seppy ‘The Bells of 1 2’: Mrs H-to-be and I saw this band supporting Sparklehorse last year (or was it the year before?) and they upstaged him. I’ve been listening to them on Last FM and have been hooked by a couple of their songs, and thought it would be a good thing to play when friends with more middle-of-the-road tastes come to dinner. It probably is, but I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t say for sure. It hasn’t stood up to much serious solo listening though – it’s a bit too lightweight, and the lyrics are sometimes saccharine-drenched. Some decent pop tunes though, and a singer with a very emotive voice.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy ‘Ask Forgiveness’: My mate Jim gets annoyed with Mr Oldham for messing around too much in between proper studio albums and doing too many cover versions. He’d probably hate this then. It’s an almost solo, acoustic EP. It’s ok I guess, but I’ve tired of it quite quickly. Danzig’s “Am I Demon” and a cover of R Kelly’s “World’s Greatest” are the stand out tracks for me. As always, there is a diverse range of songs on here from many genres. I was interested to see that he’s covered a Bjork song from the film ‘Dancer in the Dark’, but it’s a wee bit dour.

Neil Young ‘Chrome Dreams II’: I had a go at a Guardian critic a little while ago on this blog for his review of this album. He really liked the 18-minute epic ‘Ordinary People’. I think it sucks. It sounds like it was written in his 1980s Reagan-supporting days, and is a tedious, way overlong, stadium rock song. It’s got saxophones and a brass section in it, and not in a good way.  Thankfully, Mr Young redeems himself with many other songs on this album, his best since Greendale.  (I don’t go with the general media view that Living with War and Prairie Wind were good albums).  My particular favourite is his song to his late producer and mentor, David Briggs ‘No Hidden Path’.  Now that has a proper Crazy Horse sound to it, and when you hear it, you know he’s moving closer to the source.

It’s still a couple of weeks until payday, so I’m back onto Last FM and Pandora to get some new tunes.


Ken vs tractors February 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrhornsby @ 10:01 pm

It’s rare that I think that a politician has done something brilliant, but London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone is one of those people whom I frequently find myself saying “Well done son” about.  I did it again today when Mayor Ken announced that he would be increasing the London congestion charge from £8 to £25 for high-polluting vehicles.

Listening to the predictable uproar from owners and sellers of such vehicles, I could not help but notice that not one of them was able to justify their stance in anything other than selfish terms.