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Audiophile on a budget

Aug 14 2009 12:29
Thom Hoffman
There really is no good reason to let your ears become the latest victims of the global financial meltdown.
Thom Hoffman

Postgraduate study is a pricey venture, this combined with the current economic climate means that there has never been a better time to look at cost-saving. However, crunching the crunch can be as good as it sounds and there are plenty of ways to keep your brain filled with exciting noise-waves for next to nothing.


There are some awesome podcasts available that can keep your iPod fully satiated and many of these are completely gratis. My first tip would be 'The Bugle' podcast which is published weekly in association with The Times newspaper. If contributing to the Rupert Murdoch global domination fund does not appeal, fear not, you can subscribe for free via iTunes or with RSS feeds so that you never even have to go on the website. The Bugle's use of metaphor is truly second to none, and its satirical take on news and politics has to be heard to be believed. The whole back catalogue is available online; but beware as you may find yourself working your way right back to the start and missing roughly 2 full days worth of life. Radiolab is a fantastic podcast broadcast in association with the WNYC in the US, delivering science you don't expect in a way you would never have imagined. The BBC also has an awesome array of podcasts which, if you respect the terrifying stalinesque license fee threats, you have already paid for. My personal favourites include The Adam and Joe Show, Jon Richardson, Broadcasting House, A Point of View (especially when done by Clive Anderson) and iPM. Go to the BBC website and experiment. If you work the podcast system properly you can easily find yourself with 7 hours worth of quality fresh aural material every week without troubling your coin purse.


There are some cool alternative festivals going on over the summer, and if forking out £180 for Glastonbury seemed like a bit much, or you couldn't get a ticket and have adopted this as your party-line, there is hope. Farmfest ( offers two days of fun in Somerset with camping for just £25. Everyone knows that the best bit of a festival is the random new things you find, not necessarily in small plastic bags on the floor, but rather acts on the stage. Find the bands who will be at Glasto next year and share your toilet with less people ? a winning combination.

My other tip is on how to get into sold out gigs without breaking the bank. Sure you didn't buy tickets to that gig because you never got round to it. A stitch in time may save nine, but if you never make a stitch in the first place you save one, and then possibly ten, it's a real conundrum.

So you find it is the night of the gig and you are faced with forking out £50 for a ticket from a tout. What you need to do is be patient. If you wait until just before the headline act is about to come onstage you will see the ticket tout begin to perspire, he now knows that in a matter of hours that piece of perforated card in his hand will be worthless, either that or the Special Brew sweats are kicking in. Now is your time to strike. Go in low, very low, and only keep the maximum cash you are willing to spend in your wallet. I guarantee they will go for it ? works for me every time. You have to be willing to miss the gig though. Someone with nothing to lose has nothing to fear and the touts thrive on 'the fear'. Get the ticket for cheaper than face value and without booking fee, God bless free market economics.

Finally utilise online radio stations like , and to find new bands or listen to old favourites at no cost. Or check out some of this year's belting shows on Imperial's own There really is no good reason to let your ears become the latest victims of the global financial meltdown.

Post Script: Thom also says, if you do have any money left blow it on a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones. He used the word iPod to mean MP3 Player but personally does not have an iPod due to a debilitating fear of electrical goods that begin with the lowercase letter i. If you want to hear more check out his weekly podcast Papercuts with Sam Wong

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