dM in the local press

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Got a nice little article about doodledoMOTION in this week’s Greater Manchester Business Week in their new feature – ‘Brief Introduction’.  Pretty pleased with it, but we really could do with a better publicity photo – this was one the paper took back in 2011 at The Sharp Project official opening!

The article is also on the Manchester Evening News website here.

Sharp Project launch and some publicity!

It’s been 10 months now since doodledoMOTION moved into the Sharp Project, and last week saw the official opening of the building with the handover from the developers to Manchester Council.
When we moved in last September, there were a lot less people in there, but now most of our section is full, the original part is quite full, and the 2 main production stages have standing sets in them for ‘Mount Pleasant‘ and ‘Fresh Meat‘.

With the official opening, the final Gold section is now taking tenants – I don’t think we’re in a massive rush to move down there because I actually like the quirkiness of our converted shipping containers, and the amount of space we’ve got works well for us.

Anyway, it was a busy night, with a load of BMX riders and skateboarders racing past our unit for most of it, although I don’t really know who any of the invited guests were.  I’m guessing a lot of them were council-related people as opposed to any from the media industry, but hopefully there’ll be more events in the future that attracts a more relevant crowd.

And then yesterday, following on from an interview me and James gave to a reporter at the launch night, there’s been an article published about the company in Greater Manchester Business Week (also published on the Manchester Evening News website).

To be honest, I’d have rather it’d focused on some of our other bits of work, but it’s still all good publicity. In fact the only annoying thing is they’ve got me and James the wrong way on the photo!

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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.

Tom’s wedding

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Last weekend I trekked down to Bideford for a pretty special day – Tom Green’s wedding to Vicky!

Tom’s probably my oldest friend – we spend pretty much all our time together when we were kids… whilst at school we tried to start TV and radio stations, produced the school magazine and a yearbook, made a short film, wrote a ‘commercial’ computer game that earned us about £100(!), plus loads of other crazy ventures!

And then after school, we’ve kept in touch, firstly helping start up a community radio station together, and we’ve both then taken career paths in media – Tom in radio and me in tv and video.  We even shared a house together in Birmingham in the summer of 1997!

Anyway, Tom’s been living in the UAE for the last few years, and was in Cairo before that, so we don’t see other loads, but do keep in touch online, and have caught up when he’s been back in the UK visiting family.

So when I was invited to his wedding down in Devon, there was no way I was going to miss it!  It was a heck of a long journey down there from Manchester, but I stayed at a Travelodge on the M5 the night before to break it up a little bit, and then stayed in Bideford on the Saturday night after the reception.

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The wedding service itself was in a really picturesque village church, and then everyone drove into the town for the reception in a hotel at the side of the river.

It was great to see them getting married – I’d not met Vicky before, but we had spoken once on a Skype call about a month ago! And I also got to catch up with Tom’s sister Ellen, who I hadn’t spoken to for about 20 years!  It was a bit mad, because when I was younger, she was just Tom’s kid sister who we didn’t really have anything to do with, because that’s how it is when you’re kids!  But it was really nice to see her now with her partner and young daughter, and just seemed really happy with life and stuff.

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I also got to meet a few of Tom’s radio mates, which was cool – they were people I’ve heard him mention in the past, but never seen before.  And it was good to say hello to his mum and dad, who again I’ve not seen for a very long time!

I’ve uploaded photos from the wedding here.

One extra thing – after the robbery at our old office, we’ve now moved the business into a new place.  It’s in east Manchester, in a brand-new complex called The Sharp Project, and it’s designed to house digital and media businesses, as well as offering studio space to production companies.  It’s pretty exciting, and we’ve only been in there a month, but hopefully it’ll prove to be a really good move for us!

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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I’m a geek!

Last night I was at a Geek Party at Rob & Jenny Kay’s, where you had to go dressed as something inspired by geek chic! Now it may come as real surprise (since I am a bit of a self-confessed geek) that I was really struggling with a costume for the night, but with a couple of days to go, I suddenly hit on gold!

I decided to go as the ultimate geek – Mr Dave Bateman!

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To make this dream a reality, I wondered about the best way to go about it, even Googling to find out how to make an actual 3d head(!), but finally settled on printing his face onto some card to make an oversized mask, with a couple of eyeholes punched through his actual eyes!

It wasn’t the most comfortable thing to wear for the whole evening if I’m honest, but I really enjoyed how it slightly freaked people out as they talked to me!

When Dave himself finally arrived around 10 o’clock, I think he found it pretty strange to have a bobbing-head version of him staring right back!

And the mask proved so popular that everyone wanted to wear it!

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Check out the full set of photos from the party in my Facebook photo album.

So what else? Well, going back a couple of weekends, I was down in Tamworth for Brandon and Chloe’s 2nd birthday party!

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There was a bit less alcohol at this party(!), although it was more of a family thing compared to their first birthday, when they had loads of little kids there as well.

Every time I see them, they’ve grown up so much!  I’m not sure if they totally realised what was going on, but they seemed to be happy enough with all their presents, party food and cake!

Just to round off this blog entry, last week we took on our first employee at doodledoMOTION!  It’s Rob Lee, who’s done various freelance bits and pieces for us over the last year, so we’ve taken him on part-time to work across all areas of the various projects we take on.  So, it’s a bit of an unknown for us, but pretty exciting at the same time!

New Year, and dM work on Five

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Tonight sees two programmes with titles and graphics done by doodledoMOTION on Five in prime time!  First off, ‘Paul Merton In Europe‘ started last Monday night at 9pm, and we did the title sequence for the show (which has had so much work and detail put into it!), as well as the maps which show Paul’s journey across Europe.  It’s the 3rd travel series of ‘Paul Merton In…’ that Tiger Aspect have done following on from his documentaries about China and India, and so far the reaction to this new series seems really positive.

And then the second show for Five we’ve been involved in is also a Tiger programme – ‘Celebrity Quitters‘.  It’s a ten-part reality series that’s going to be on every week-night for the next 2 weeks, and features Linda Robson, John Burton Race, Chloe Madeley, Paul Danan and Derek Acorah as they all try to give up smoking.  We’ve done the titles and graphics for the main show, as well as their online content.

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The programme starts at 7.30pm tonight, and to promote the show, Linda Robson, one of the Celebrity Quitters, appeared on BBC’s Breakfast this morning for an interview, where they showed some clips from the series.

It was a good promo for the show, but the best bit was that the main title graphic that we’ve produced appeared on the big screen behind them throughout the whole interview which is really cool!

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Back to the beginning of the month, and on New Year’s Day, I went for a walk over at Alderley Edge with a group of Reach guys.

I went there a few years ago with James and Helen for a birthday walk, so I recognised quite a few places we went to.  It was pretty chilly, and we were wandering a bit aimlessly at times, but it was a really nice walk.

Then afterwards we stopped off at a really nice pub in the village called The Merlin for a meal.  It wasn’t that cheap, but the food was great, which kind of made up for it!  There are some photos of the day here.

The only other thing I’ll quickly blog about is the crazy snow we had at the start of the month.  We had a little bit of snow the day after our walk, but then on the Tuesday morning, I woke up to a crazy amount of snow outside!

It was a bit of a nightmare getting into work – luckily I’d parked on the main road rather than in my actual street, otherwise I wouldn’t have been going anywhere!  All the buses had been cancelled, so the only way I could get in was by car, and the drive in took nearly an hour compared to my usual 10 minutes!

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And when I got to the office, I made the mistake of driving into the car park, where I discovered James had already done that and had been stuck there for nearly an hour trying to get back out up the slope!  Then someone had the genius idea of using some carpet tiles to build a track for the car to drive on, so we were eventually able to get out, and so we then parked on a nice flat bit of road on the front!

Luckily it’s pretty much gone now, so life is back to normal!

Pre-Christmas catch-up

Just thought I’d do a quick catch up before Christmas. I’m currently at James and Helen’s house babysitting Jess, and there’s nothing decent on TV so I thought I’d do this!

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We’ve had quite a bit of snow these last few days, and yesterday a few of us went for a walk in Macclesfield Forest. It was freezing cold, and we walked quite a way – and seemed to be going uphill a lot more than downhill – but it was a really great afternoon.

We were kind of busking it a little bit, since we didn’t have a map or anything, and the cloud came down quite quickly as we made it to the top of one of the hills – but Penny had been to the forest before, so had a rough idea of where we needed to go! Though there were times when I wasn’t convinced we were ever going to make it back to the cars, especially when we’d been walking so long that it got dark!!

There are some photos I took of our walk here.

Work’s been quite busy recently, and we’re trying to wrap some jobs up before we finish for Christmas. We’re working on graphics for two shows on that will be on Channel 5 early next year, so really need to try and get them pretty much sorted by Wednesday at the latest.

On Thursday night, me and James went out with a couple of the other businesses from Houldsworth Mill for Christmas drinks down at the festive markets, and then onto some bars. We did the same last year, and it’s a pretty good way of doing it, because it would be quite a small event if it was just us!

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Anyway, we ended up in probably one of the most pretentious places I’ve been to! I’d heard of the Circle Bar, but had never actually been in there, and to be honest, I don’t think I’d be that bothered if I never went there again! The beer was nasty, the music was rubbish, and the other people there were just really strange! It was like they were all people who thought they were something special, but weren’t at all!

The only positive think was that there was a sofa that we’d managed to grab, so at least I was able to get a comfy seat!

August catch-up

Thought I’d better do a bit of a catch-up…

It’s been a busy few weeks – we’ve had a lot on at work, which is obviously a good thing, but it would be nice to take a decent break at some point!

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A few weeks ago, I went down to Soul Survivor North in Stafford as a day visitor. James and Helen had taken the Vinelife youth there for the week, so I met up with them as they were dishing up tea to a crowd of teenagers in very wet conditions! They’d taken Jess with them, which must have been interesting for them, but she seemed to be really enjoying herself, and I got to feed her a bowl of pasta which she wolfed down! It was just a shame the weather was so poor, because camping’s much better when the sun’s out!

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to Soul Survivor, when I was working down in Shepton Mallet venue doing visuals in the Underground venue. It actually felt a bit weird being there as a punter – you kind of can’t switch off from being aware of all the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s happening!

Then that weekend it was John and Carolyn’s wedding up in South Shields.

I won the prize of being the driver for the trip, so it was a full car that set off from Manchester at 7am on the Friday morning up to the North East. Me, Dave, John, Jimmy and Mike were all crammed into my Focus, but luckily we actually had a really clear run up there, and it was a good laugh!

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Brandon & Chloe walking!

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Yesterday I was down in Tamworth and got to spend some time with Brandon and Chloe. I think it’s been about 3 months since I was last down there, so I could really see how much they’ve developed.

They’re now walking (and running!) and it really does make a difference. It’s kind of strange to see!

They seem so much more independent now, and they’re pretty chatty, even though you can’t make sense of anything they say other than the odd word! They’ve got such character, and are really cute! Obviously I’m biased because they’re my nephew and niece, but they really are the best kids in the world!

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We played in the garden for a bit, then they spent some time in their sandpit, where basically they poured sand over each other! It’s a pity I don’t get down to see them more often, but at least I get to chat to them on Skype every so often – although I’m not sure they totally understand what’s going on when we do that!

Work-wise, me and James have been busy. I’m trying to get the 29th Chapter music video sorted, but it’s taking a lot longer to do than I’d hoped. I think it will look good, but the work on it is more intense than we’d first thought.

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Also, we’ve been working on the graphical look for Channel M’s new daily magazine show. We shot the titles for it with Tim a couple of weeks ago, and we delivered the majority of it on Monday for their pilot week ahead of the show launch next week. It’s not exactly what we’d originally planned to do with it all, but I think it still looks good – especially with the amount of time we’ve had to do it in!

Music and pain

A couple of weeks ago, me and James went down to London for two days to do a shoot with the 29th Chapter for their new music video.

It was a pretty manic couple of days – we headed down late on the Tuesday night and stayed in a Travelodge on the M1, and then arrived in Ealing for about 10 o’clock. The shooting was split into 2 blocks – the first day was a chromakey day, and the second was a live performance.

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The greenscreen that had been hired for the shoot was massive! We spent the morning rigging it up, then tried to light it evenly which was easier said than done! Then the guys got into their costumes (which I won’t reveal at this stage – I’ll wait until they’ve announced what single they’re releasing!) and we spent the rest of the day filming various set pieces and individual verses. It was a pretty long day… we wrapped around 10.30pm and then had a bit of a drive to a really nice hotel in some other part of London (I have no idea where!)

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Then the next day we shot a load of live performance footage using Rob’s EX1 with a Letus 35mm adapter, and the shots looked really great. It’s amazing how much difference using 35mm lenses makes – the depth of field you get makes it look so filmic. I really want to get one, but need to make sure we’d get enough use from it to justify the expense!

We finished at around 11pm on the Thursday night, and then had to drive back to Manchester, and it took forever! We were both really tired so shared the driving, and I finally managed to get to bed about 4am… but had to be up at 8am to take back the equipment we’d hired – brilliant!

Then yesterday was John Cieszynski’s stag day, which saw me try paintballing for the first time.

I didn’t realise how expensive it can be – I basically rationed the paintballs that I got as part of the basic price, but some of the others spent a fortune buying extra ammo!

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It was a good laugh, although it would probably have helped if I was a bit fitter! And during the first game, I got shot in my leg by a member of my own team! And it really hurt – I’ve had quite a big bruise come up today! I also got hit on my ear and the back of my hand, so it was a day of pain!

Then in the evening we met up in town for some food, and as we were arriving the heavens opened. I’d not seen heavy rain like that for a long time – the streets of Manchester turned into rivers! It was a good day all in all, and looking forward to the wedding in a month’s time!

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One not-so-good thing at the moment is that on Thursday I discovered that I may be going to the Coldplay gig on my own in September. I’m supposed to be going with James and Helen, but they’ve now found out they have a family wedding on the same day which they can’t get out of. It’s quite gutting for them, because we bought the tickets last October, and James bought Helen’s ticket as a Christmas present. For me, I was looking forward to going with both of them – obviously the gig itself will be great, but the fact I’d get to spend some time with them outside of work was definitely a bonus. I think they’re going to see if they can get there later on, but obviously with so many people there, the chances of us meeting up there would be impossible.

I’ve still got a spare ticket to sell, which might mean I find someone else to go with, but I don’t really know anyone else who wants to go, so might have to just sell it to a random person. Just a real shame, because I was really looking forward to it.

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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Life’s a beach

Well it’s been a pretty busy few days… I was in the office for most of the Easter Weekend trying to get some graphics work finished for this show we’re doing for Tiger Aspect. It’s basically a couple of documentaries about Fawlty Towers for G.O.L.D. (very similar to ‘The Vicar of Dibley‘ and ‘Blackadder‘ ones we’ve worked on previously), and we’ve been working on titles, stings, episode guides and interview backgrounds.

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But I did manage to get a few hours off on Monday to go to the beach! I was in the office preparing another time-consuming render, when I got a text from Dave saying that a group was heading off to the beach for the afternoon, so I decided to go to that instead and carry on with the graphics later!

We set off to Formby in a few cars, and it was all fine until we actually got near our destination – it appeared that everyone else in the North West were heading there as well! Rather than spending the whole afternoon waiting to get into the car park, we eventually managed to park up on a housing estate and then took a short walk back towards the beach.

We eventually found a bit of the beach that wasn’t full of people, and also didn’t have bits of brick sticking out of the sand – not ideal for playing sports! I didn’t bother with the game of American Football, since I have no idea at all how the game works!!

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But later on, we played beach volleyball with a proper net that Dan had just bought from Decathlon (he was taking it seriously!) I was pretty crap at it, but it was good fun!

There are some more photos from the afternoon here. All in all, it was a good Bank Holiday Monday, even if I had to be in work for part of it!

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!)

36

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.