Jo Brand’s Big Splash recording

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Me and James have just spent the last couple of days down in London, partly for a meeting about some more graphics we’re doing for a Channel 5 documentary later this year, but also we were down there to go to the Hackney Empire, where we were in the audience for the recording of Jo Brand doing stand-up for a show that’s going to be on Dave later this year.

doodledoMOTION are doing titles and graphics for the 5-part series called ‘Jo Brand’s Big Splash’, which will mix the stand-up gig with a documentary about water, which sees Jo trying out loads of different activities including swimming, diving and rafting.

Because we were guests, we got front row circle seats, so there’s a good chance we could end up in some audience shots in the final edit.  And knowing the way editing works, I can almost guarantee that they’ll cut us laughing at some innocent joke as the reaction to something really inappropriate!!

It was actually a really good gig – I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d find it that funny, but I think Jo’s comedy has become a lot more inclusive, whereas in the past it had quite a reputation of being feminist and man-hating. I don’t really know whether it ever really was, but that’s kind of what gets associated with her!

Straight after the show, we went up to the green room for a few beers and to hang out with the crew and people from the production company and UKTV, and Jo also came up for a bit after she’d finished signing autographs at the stage door.

Then, once stuff had been packed up at the theatre, we went to a nearby pub with the production guys, and then a few of us went on to get some food in some part of London I didn’t really know!  To be totally honest, we had a few beers, and I was definitely aware that I was a bit tipsy as the night went on… I was certainly talking a bit more than I usually do!!

Not exactly sure when the show airs but will post about it when I know!
Just another quick mention for work stuff – a couple of weeks ago we did the opening title for a programme that went out on BBC1 called ‘The Street That Cut Everything’.

It was shown on Monday 16th May, with the first part showing at 9pm and then concluded after the 10 o’clock news. And in the morning they did a feature on BBC Breakfast with the documentary’s presenter Nick Robinson in the studio, with our main graphic appearing on video wall throughout.

Summer 2010

Thought I’d better do a bit of a recap about what’s been going on over the summer, and I supposed the first thing I need to blog about is that we had a bit of a setback at work last month when we had a break-in at the office.

Basically, the whole top floor of our building was targeted, and the burglars broke into about 50 separate units in all! Most businesses had stuff stolen, but it seems like we were the worst hit, with us losing 3 iMacs and a Macbook Pro, plus all our filming kit comprising of a Sony EX3 and Z1, as well as a load of audio stuff as well.  It’s been a pretty horrible experience – luckily we’ve only lost a bit of work since they didn’t take our server or external hard drives, which would have destroyed us really since we hadn’t really got a decent back-up of all our work. But it’s just so gutting that you put so much time and effort into building the business to have some scum just take it away from you.

Anyway, we’re currently looking at options for what to do next – hopefully we’ve got a new office lined up because I really don’t want us to go back to our old one, because I think it might just happen again if they don’t sort out the security issues.  Should have a clearer idea of the future soon.

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On to happier stuff… at the beginning of August, Rob and Clare got married in a field in Mellor (a small village not too far from Stockport), and I was one of the 12 ushers who were all dressed fully in white!

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Delirious – Fabula Est Vestri

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I was down in London yesterday so I could be at Delirious’ last ever gig at the Hammersmith Apollo. I saw them in Liverpool just over a year ago, and I thought then that that would be the last time I’d see them, but obviously they announced this final goodbye tour, and so I decided I wanted to be at the very last one.

Anyway, I made it into the venue at about 6.30pm and got my position about 10 rows from the front. First up, they all appeared on stage as ‘The Cutting Edge Band’ – which is how they started back in 1993. Everything about it was amazing.

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I first saw them back at the start of 1995 at Spring Harvest, and then many times in the next few years in school halls and often other smallish venues, and the whole of this ‘support act’ set brought all those great memories back.

And at the end of this, they did the whole ‘There is a light’ section that they used to do to end their gigs, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.

It was all just so beautiful – I really can’t think of another word to describe it, it really did feel special.

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Loads of great music…

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Well, after seeing U2 last month (which was amazing by the way… have I mentioned that?!) I’ve experienced some more great bands in the last few weeks.

I went to Greenbelt over the August Bank Holiday weekend with Ali and her mates from Bristol. Because she was working on the set-up team, it meant we were able to camp a lot closer to the main area, which was much better than the last time I went, when we were camped so far away!

There was a great variety of music over the weekend: Athlete, Röyksopp, Sixpence None The Richer, Cornershop, yFriday, plus lots of smaller artists as well.

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Also, I got to hear a bit of Rob Bell too, which was really interesting. I’ve got a few of his books, but I’ve yet to read them – that’s something I need to do when I get a bit more time! He was doing a Q&A session, so covered quite a few subjects. He did a couple of specific talks as well, but unfortunately I didn’t manage to get into those because the queues were so long that people got turned away. I need to get an MP3 of them!

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Wow!

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U2 yesterday… amazing. Definitely the best gig I’ve ever been to!

I picked Phil up at 11am and we drove over to Sheffield and grabbed some lunch at Meadowhall, before taking the tram to the Don Valley stadium in good time.

We joined the back of a queue, which one of the stewards said had nearly 2,000 people in already! Before long, we heard other people in the queue talking about how the first couple of thousand people through were guaranteed a space in the inner circle – basically the small section between the stage and the outer walkways. And when we finally got in at 5pm, that turned out to be the case!

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First off, the stage was amazing – it was a massive ‘claw’, with a circular stage in the centre, then had a walkway forming an outer ring, and a bridge either side linking the two together.

I’d really never expected us to be able to get so close to the front, but we were literally a few metres away from the stage! I’d always assumed that the people in those areas at gigs had paid loads more money to be there, so it was a really good surprise to discover that’s not the case!

We had a bit of rain as we were waiting for it to start, but it cleared up leaving a nice summer’s night. The first support act was The Hours, who I wasn’t that fussed with to be honest, but then the second one was Elbow, who I do really like. The music’s quite chilled at times, and I really like the quirkiness of their stuff.

Then the main event – and wow – U2 certainly know how to put on a show!

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They played a good mix of new and old, and they sounded great. And they were so close to us! A few songs in, one of the bridges that had been over to the side started moving and stopped just above us, and the next thing we knew, Bono walked onto it and starting singing just above our heads! The crowd went crazy and hundred of camera phones were all pointed upwards towards the bridge!

Another really cool thing was the circular video panel they had around the top of the stage. About a third of the way through their set, the panels all started separating and moved downwards, creating a really cool looking structure.

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They played for 2 hours in total, and the fact that we were so close really made it special. There were apparently over 53,000 people in the stadium but it felt so intimate – as though they were playing just to us!

The only negative was that it took us quite a while to get out of Sheffield – we got back home just after 1am, although I know some other Manchester people who didn’t get home until a lot later!

So for my first ever experience of U2 live – it was pretty special, and was so glad that we queued up early! And it was nice spending the day with Phil as well, so a good result all round!

There are some photos of the night taken on my phone here.

Bank Holiday and Fawlty Towers

Well it’s been quite a busy weekend – on Friday I was over in Liverpool shooting a live music video for thebandwithnoname and LZ7. They’ve done a joint track and need some kind of promo video to go with it, so I organised a 9 camera set-up at the monthly ‘Space’ event. I dragged Dave Bateman and Bruce from The Message along to operate cameras, and then used a few guys from the event itself, so I’m going to have a lot of footage to go through! The only downside of it really was that the stage was tiny, and it was really cramped with effectively 2 bands on there at the same time, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Then on Sunday, I went over to Rob’s in Ramsbottom (because he’d lent me some cameras for Friday’s shoot and I had to return them) and we ended up having a bit of an impromptu barbeque which was pretty cool.

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We tried to get Rob’s reclaimed gas barbeque working, but even though we could hear gas coming out from somewhere, it just wouldn’t light. Eventually we gave up, thus averting an explosive disaster(!), and used some disposable ones instead! Clare made burgers from fresh minced beef and onions, which I’ve never done before, and they tasted really good. Next time I have a barbeque, I think I’ll give the frozen ones a miss and make my own!

I got home late Sunday night and watched the season finale of ‘Fringe’ on Sky+, and wow… it was excellent! A pretty major plot twist, and quite an unexpected ending! Won’t say much more if people haven’t seen it yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next series!

On to Monday, and with it being yet another Bank Holiday, a group of us headed over to Formby beach again.

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The weather wasn’t too bad – we had a few spits of rain later on, but the rest of the time was okay, and I even caught the sun a little bit! We did the usual beach volleyball, which again was really very funny! And there were also a couple of excellent sand sculptures produced by Tom and Chris which had to be seen to be believed!

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There are some photos of all our beach shenanigans here.

Then in the evening, we went back to Phil’s because Ralph was house-sitting there, and after a false start with a slightly inappropriate film starring Russell Brand(!), we ended up watching a quirky little film called ‘Son of Rambow‘ which I thought was really good, and was something I probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise.

fawlty-towersOther news – I mentioned last month about doing the graphics for 2 documentaries about Fawlty Towers, and they’ve both now gone out on G.O.L.D. The pre-publicity for the programmes generated a lot of interest in the press, There’s a video on the BBC News website which shows the amount of press at the launch!

For the first of the shows – ‘Fawlty Towers Re-Opened’ – we produced the opening titles, but for the second 2-hour show on the 17th – ‘Fawlty Exclusive: Basil’s Best Bits’ we provided opening titles, episode guides, interview backgrounds, as well as other in-programme graphics.

I thought they were really well put together shows, and had some great behind-the-scenes stuff as well as obviously a load of hilarious clips. And on top of that, they were voiced by none other than Stephen Fry!

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Looking forward to some great gigs

I’m pretty excited because I’ve bought a pair of tickets for U2’s 360° Tour in Sheffield this August. They went on sale at 9am yesterday morning, and I’d bought them by 9:01am! I’ve always wanted to seen them live – I was disappointed that I didn’t see them play in Manchester a few years ago – so thought I’d try and buy tickets to see them this time round, then find someone else to take the other ticket!

Phil’s buying the other ticket off me (hopefully he’ll be up for trying to get as close to the stage as we can!) so it should be a great day… and Elbow are supporting which is cool because I really like them as well!

And then in September, I’m going to see Coldplay at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground with James and Helen, which should be amazing as well, though I’m not that fussed by Jay-Z playing beforehand. I’ve still got an extra ticket for that one I need to sell before the gig!

Other news… work’s busy at the moment – which is good considering we’re supposed to be in a recession! We’ve got quite a few projects on the go, and in a few weeks we’re delivering graphics for a show on G.O.L.D. which will be on this summer I think (I’ll post more about it when it’s been scheduled!)

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36 years old – rubbish!

Yep, it’s my birthday, and it’s not something I really want to celebrate! There’s nothing great about getting older – you’re basically running out of time to accomplish the things you always hoped you’d do, and the likelihood of them happening just gets less and less.

Anyway, in true tradition I’m spending my birthday working late in the office… we’ve got a job that needs to be finished for the morning, so I’ve got to stay until it’s done, and might be a few more hours yet.

To be fair, as a kind of birthday treat to myself, I’m off to see Delirious play in Liverpool on Wednesday night – it’s their last UK tour, so I’m hoping it’s a really good gig. I first saw them live back in 1995, and have seen them many times since then, so will be weird knowing it’ll probably be the last time.

Well, that’s the summer done!

Wow – I can’t believe so much time has passed since I last blogged on here!

It’s been quite a busy summer – I’ve just got back home after being away working for a couple of weeks down at Soul Survivor. I spent 10 days in the Underground venue doing visuals for the venue, so spent most of the time either down the side of the stage or in our make-shift edit suite! This year I had Tom Steward helping me – it was pretty last minute because both Andy and Kate weren’t able to come this year – but I was really impressed at how quickly he picked it all up, and the stuff he was shooting on stage every night was brilliant.

Some of the video features we did can now be viewed on Youtube so check them out!

So we finished there on Thursday morning, and then I headed up to Bristol to meet up with Ali, and on Friday went with her and some of her friends to Greenbelt.

It’s the first time I’ve ever been to the festival, though obviously I’ve heard lots about it over the years! It’s very different to Soul Survivor – much more of an arts festival – and in some ways I found a lot of stuff really watered down, although there was a lot of passion for environmental issues and the like, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s quite a political event really, and the bands that appear are from a really wide spectrum – from Delirious and Matt Redman to Chas & Dave!! Not sure whether I’d go again, but I’m glad I checked it out.

Work news – me and James are now officially joint directors of doodledo MOTION Ltd which is pretty exciting! We got all the stuff finished for the BBC2 series ‘British Film Forever‘ though it went on a bit longer than we expected – we thought the edit would be finished at the end of July, but James was still having to render graphics whilst I was at Soul Survivor! It was a good job for us to do because it was quite high profile – they even advertised the programme on a big board with some of our graphics on the front of the BBC building on Oxford Road! I think all the stuff we did looked really good when seen in the context of the whole show, and it’s a good job to stick in our portfolio!

We’re now working on some titles and programme graphics for a ‘Vicar of Dibley’ special going out in October on UKTV Gold. It’s basically a showcase of the 40 funniest clips from the series with interviews from the cast and celebrity fans.

We went down to Tiger Aspect in London back in July to meet with the production team, and the meeting went really well, and hopefully we should be able to deliver some really good work. The plan is that we’re going to do background images for each of the interviews, plus animated stings to introduce each of the clips. There’s been talk of us doing some titles as well, but I’m not sure what’s happening with that yet… we’ll probably find out last minute!!

We’ve got some other work lined up as well, so hopefully we can make a real success of the new business. It’s going to be hard work, but I think me and James work really well together, and it’ll be good to focus our efforts in building the brand and expanding what we do. Watch this space!

Oh, and after a lot of phone calls and form filling, I managed to get my money back after the betting incidents… going to be checking my bank statements a lot more regularly from now on!

Radio 1’s Big Weekend

Moor Park, PrestonWell yesterday I went to Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Preston, and I have to say it was excellent!

I nearly didn’t go because it seemed like everyone already had plans for the day, but at the last minute Ajay said he’d be able to take a break from his work and come along.

The weather forecast for this weekend was pretty bleak so I was expecting to get wet and muddy, but it didn’t rain once, and though it was a bit muddy in places, we did really well weather-wise! We got in at about 12 o’clock and had a look around before heading over to the outdoor arena where Westwood was DJing. Now I’ve never been a fan of his – either him on the radio or on MTV’s ‘Pimp My Ride’, but the first thing I noticed about him was his inability to open his mouth with a string of obscenities coming out! He obviously thought it was cool, but to be honest I just thought it was pretty boring, and made him seem even more fake.

Anyway, we headed over to the Main Stage and saw the beginning of Jamie T’s set, but it wasn’t really my thing so we went to the ‘In New Music We Trust’ stage to watch The Pigeon Detectives. I wasn’t really aware of them before, but I knew Ralph likes their stuff, and I did actually recognise one of their songs. They were really good though, and the lead singer was really energetic, and I reckon I’ll take a listen to their future stuff.

Natasha BedingfieldWe sat outside the tent whilst The Twang were on, and then made our way into the crowd of the Main Stage to watch the rest of the line up. Natasha Bedingfield was on next – I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction she’d get. Personally I really like her stuff, but I think a lot of people are quite hostile to her. But quite cleverly, Chris Moyles who was introducing her got the crowd to build up to a big cheer in sections as she came on, which meant that her set got off to a really good start. She started off with her ‘Babies’ song which I wasn’t keen on when I first heard it, but now I do like it! She also did ‘Unwritten’ as part of her half-hour, and when the gospel-singing bit kicked in at the end, it sounded brilliant!

Next up were The Fray – complete with a baby grand piano! I’m quite into their stuff – I bought their album recently, but haven’t listened to it enough to know that many of their songs other than ‘Over My Head’ and ‘How To Save A Life’. Then after yet another half hour of waiting (as the stage was re-set and various music videos were played on the screens) we were treated to The Fratellis. I’m not a massive fan of theirs, but I did think they were really good, and the crowd were singing along to all their songs, and I joined in on the couple I knew!

RazorlightKasabian were next to hit the stage, and the lead singer seemed to be quite hyped up and excited to be there! They produced an amazing sound actually, and probably got the best reaction from the crowd all day I reckon. Then the last band we saw on the Main Stage was Razorlight who reeled off all their big hits. To be honest, I was quite surprised at how many songs I knew well, and I thought they were excellent, although my legs were aching quite badly by this point having been standing in the crowd for about 5 hours!

We didn’t bother staying for Scissor Sisters, but instead headed over to the other stage to catch some of Groove Armada’s set. They were okay, but I didn’t really know any of their stuff, so we left about 10 minutes before the end to make sure we didn’t get caught up in the madness of 20,000 people all leaving the park at the same time!

Anyway, to sum up, these are the 5 things I’m taking away from yesterday…

  1. I’ll definitely be buying The Pigeon Detectives album when it comes on on May 28th – they were good.
  2. I must watch more music videos – there are some really good ones out there at the moment that might well inspire me in my work!
  3. I need to get along to more gigs – live music is great.
  4. I can’t wait for the smoking ban to come in – I was getting so peed off with people blowing smoke in my face yesterday whilst in the crowd!
  5. Westwood is an arse.

Manic fortnight… and the future…

We’re into the final stages of our manic Preview-filming-fortnight! Did three shoots for the next DVD last week (with two in London), yesterday we shot an interview here in Manchester, and then me and James set off for Liverpool this morning at 7am to film some stuff for Liverpool Council’s Sportslinx. It was an incredibly packed schedule with 11 interviews plus shooting various activities!! We didn’t get a chance to break for lunch until about 5 o’clock(!) and we got back home tonight at about eight!

So I’ve just watched this week’s Apprentice (there really are some horrible people in that!!), and now I’m packing some clothes because we’re off to London tonight to do some more Preview filming tomorrow and Friday. We were going to originally leave really early tomorrow morning, but James suggested we drive down halfway tonight, so we’re staying in a Travel Inn at Watford Gap, so we’ll only have about 80 miles to drive in the morning, and hopefully it means we’ll be a bit more awake and less arsey by the end of the day!!

Have chatted more with James about future ideas with regard to the work we both do together, and it looks like there might be some good developments ahead. Not going to go into much detail yet, but I’m quite excited about and I’m really hoping it all works out.

Other news – I found out this evening that I’ve got a pair of tickets to Radio 1’s Big Weekend next Saturday! I applied online and didn’t really expect to get any, but out of the 500,000 who applied, I was one of the 8,875 who got tickets for the Saturday!! The bands there that day include Razorlight, Kasabian, Scissor Sisters, The Fratellis, The Fray, Natasha Bedingfield and Groove Armada! I definitely want to go, but I just need to find someone to come with me because I don’t fancy going on my own really.

Work stuff and tbwnn album launch

Been pretty busy the last few weeks – last week I had a meeting with some guys from Liverpool council about some work that me and James should hopefully be doing for them soon, and also had a lot to do on trying to get the latest Preview DVD finished (am pretty close now, and managed to get the bits they needed for New York in time!)

Also, on Saturday I was asked to film thebandwithnoname’s launch for their new album and it was a really good gig. I listened properly to their new stuff on my iPod during the Reach weekend, and it really is an excellent album. Anyway, for the gig I was down at the front of the stage, and we also had a fixed camera at the back of the venue so hopefully I should be able to produce a decent edit of it… I just need to try and find some time to do it now!

Obviously one of the reasons that it’s been a bit busier these last two weeks is that James & Helen are on holiday in Australia at the moment so it’s been a bit more intense… and I’m not at all jealous that they’re on such an amazing holiday at the moment! Though I heard from James by email yesterday and they had their campervan broken into this week, and had a few bits and pieces stolen, including his iPod and his phone, so that’s not great. Hopefully the rest of their time out there will be amazing and will wipe out the crap stuff!

Sleep’s for wimps!

Just thought I’d do a quick catch up blog because I’ve not posted since my birthday last month. It’s been really busy this last few weeks… in the last 14 days I’ve worked 128 hours, and I’m about to go out and do some filming for Channel M tonight which means I’ll probably be working until about midnight! I’m actually the busiest I’ve been so far… due to deadlines and stuff I managed to do a 36 hour day this week! I got up at 8am on Sunday to start work for 9, then worked straight through until 7pm on Monday night – finally getting to sleep about 8pm… I reckon Monday was probably the worst day of editing I’ve ever done!

I went to see Delirious at the Apollo on the Friday after my birthday, and it was excellent! I went with Sa, and we met Caroline and Colin beforehand, and I also bumped into a few people I hadn’t seen in quite a while. Tim Hughes opened the gig, and although he was potentially an odd choice for a support act, he went down really well with the crowd. Then Delirious came on, and they played mostly stuff off Mission Bell, but did throw some older stuff into the mix as well. It was a great gig – and they made extensive use of visuals as well, although at times I did find them a bit distracting, but that could have been because I was thinking how I’d have done a couple of them better! I just can’t switch off!

Then last night I met up with Craig who I used to work with at MUTV, and who left to work at the CITV channel around the same time I went freelance. He’s just found out he’s being made redundant so wanted to meet up to ask about going freelance and stuff. Not sure if I was any help really, but it was cool to catch up!

Happy Birthday to me

Friday saw another year added to my age – woo! But more about that in a minute.

It’s been a full-on week with work, and there’s no sign of it slowing for the next couple of weeks at least… I’ll really appreciate some time off when it happens!

On the Thursday night after my last blog, I got back from a day’s filming in Bradford, and drove down to London with Rob so we could get to Docklands for our shoot at 9.30 on the Friday morning. Because Rob had been working late, we didn’t get to leave Manchester until about nine, and eventually got to our Travelodge at 1.30am! And then when we went to check in, we were told that they’d given away one of our rooms, so we’d have to share – so Rob had the double bed and I had the sofa! The trouble was, by now we were past our tiredness and couldn’t get to sleep so ended up talking until about four, which gave us less than four hours sleep before we had to get up!

The shoot went okay I think – it was a presenter in front of a greenscreen for a web tutorial I’m working on (although looking back at the rushes there are a few things I would probably have done a bit differently, but it’s a bit late now!) We got wrapped up by about three, but it took us about 2 hours just to get out of London and onto the motorway (although we did get to see most of the sights at the same time!) and then we didn’t get back home until about nine… so a very long couple of days! I managed to get a bit of a lie-in on the Saturday morning before heading over to James’ to finish off the cake animation we needed for Preview.

Sunday night I took a bit of a break and went out to see Rachael Kichenside perform at Oxjam which was being held at Joshua Brookes in town. I went on my own, but it was really good to hear her performing live with a full band. Was a pretty short set, but like I said, well worth hearing, and I stuck around to hear a couple of other artists as well.

Then this week, I had a final day at Leeds Bradford Airport on Monday (with a 6.30am start!), and the next couple of days saw us working again on Preview, firstly looking at the animation, and on Wednesday, after an early morning swim with James (aren’t we good!) we filmed a webcam interview which took a few attempts to get working smoothly, and then both headed over to Nottingham with Louise to interview one of the guys who’s created ‘Second Life’ – an online virtual world. We were filming in an internet / LAN-gaming cafe, and there were some real geeks in there! I’m sure most of them were fine, but there were a couple who looked like they could do with getting out a bit more! There was one guy who managed to sit right in the back of the shot for half the interview, and we had to ask him to turn around because he was just staring at the camera, and then whenever he got up or sat down, it became obvious that he really could do with a belt, because you got to see more than you really wanted to!

Then Friday was my 34th birthday. To be honest, I usually wake up with the expectation of it being another crap one, so I wasn’t really planning on celebrating it… but unknown to me at this point, that wasn’t to be the case.

I did have one slight mishap – I went into town in the afternoon for a meeting with Dave at Channel M and to pick up some tapes which was fine… however as I was coming out of the multistorey car-park’s mad helter-skelter type ramp, I was distracted for a second whilst sorting out my ticket to get out, and suddenly I heard a really bad scraping noise as I was clipping the concrete kerb on the inside of the spiral! I managed to manouvre away from the centre, but since I was coming down from the 9th floor, I still had a lot of it to get down. I didn’t check my car until I got home, fearing the worst, but luckily it looks like my wheel hub has taken all of the damage, and the paintwork seems fine! I’ll probably look at getting it replaced at some point but I guess there’s no rush to change it.

Whilst I was at Channel M in the afternoon, I got a text from James wishing me a happy birthday, and asking me if I wanted to go out for a drink in the evening. I hadn’t planned to do anything at all (as usual!) but I said yes, and he texted back to say he’d see if Jamie or Sarah were free that night as well.

Jamie and SaSo it was arranged that I’d pick up Jamie from Sarah’s, and then would go round to collect James and Helen, and then we’d decide where to go. I got to Sa’s at about quarter to nine, and she’d got a choc-chip muffin with a candle in it waiting for me – so I actually had a birthday cake! She’d also bought me a present which was a little bottle of red wine! We’d been talking recently about wine, and I was saying that the few sips that I’ve tasted in the past have always tasted like vinegar to me! So she’s decided that I need to be educated in the appreciation of wine, and this is the starting point! I will try it at some point, because it obviously must taste better than I think, otherwise no-one would drink it at all!
Helen and James
We had to wait about half an hour before Jamie was able to get over, and after picking up the Torry’s, we drove to Chorlton to a bar that was supposed to be pretty good (and smoke-free) but it was a bit busy in there, so we just had one drink before heading down to the Woodstock in Didsbury.

It was really nice hanging out with these guys – I’ve not really done that much socially with them for ages, and it made me realise a bit how much I’ve missed it. We managed to waste a few quid on a quiz machine playing ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’, ‘Pub Quiz’ and ‘Spot The Difference’…suffice to say, we didn’t win anything from it!! And the rest of the time we just chilled and had a really good time. Made a real change from my normal birthdays! There are a few photos of the night here.

Got back around 1am and managed to grab a few hours’ sleep before having to get up pretty early to be picked up for a filming job I was doing at a big meeting down at the NEC. It was a pretty long day – 12 hours including travelling, but at least I wasn’t driving! I even fell asleep on the back seat on the way back!

Paint The Town

Just got back from Bradford where I went to see the first night of Delirious’ Paint The Town tour at the Abundant Life Centre, and it was a really excellent night. The only weird thing really was I think it’s the first gig I’ve been to on my own, which means in some ways it wasn’t as good as when saw them in Bradford last year because it was much nicer being there with really good company.

But anyway – my observations – a great show… Martin Smith’s voice sounded really good… in a much better shape than when I saw them at Soul Survivor in the summer. Having heard ‘Now Is The Time’ and ‘Miracle Maker’ live earlier this year, I knew they kicked serious butt live, and the other Mission Bell tracks sounded better live too… as is often the case with Delirious.

I’d never been to Abundant Life before, and it’s a slightly weird place as a venue… certainly felt more like a church gig than normal. Also they made use of their screens, and a 2 camera mix was used throughout (pretty well done actually), and what reminded me of the old days a lot was the fact that all the words were projected on the screens, which did seem a bit out of place at a gig… but was actually quite handy ‘cos I didn’t know all the words to the new songs! Saw Joe Wardman who was working on the merch stall there (an old friend from working at Spring Harvert who goes to Abundant Life) – I’ve not seen her for about four years, though we do chat occasionally on messenger… We weren’t able to talk too much because the stall was a bit manic, but will try to catch up properly sometime in the future.

Setlist: Intro – pre-recorded strings version of ‘What A Friend’, Here I Am Send Me, Rain Down, God In Heaven, Solid Rock, Miracle Maker, Lead Me, Fires Burn, History Maker, Paint The Town Red, Heaven, Take Of Your Shoes, Majesty, Now Is The Time
Encore: Love Falls Down, Every Little Thing
(Pretty sure the set list’s right… it’s done from memory – I used a bizarre song association memory technique to remember it!!)