Live music and comedy 2019

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be posting a list of all the films I’ve seen this year, so I thought I’d also do a round-up of all the live music and comedy gigs I’ve been to in 2019.

January

Snow Patrol at Manchester Arena (with support from Roe and Kodaline). Last minute ticket purchase!

June

Mumford and Sons at Manchester Arena (with support from Villagers). In the accessible area with a crutch because I’d only just got out of hospital!

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott at Edgeley Park (with support from Richard Hawley). Really last minute – went with Lee & Katie because they had a spare ticket!

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Holidays 2019

I thought I’d post about my holidays this year – I’ve not done it sooner because I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with health stuff!

First off, over Easter I went camping with my sister’s family in Wales. We stayed at Abererch Sands, which is on the Llyn Peninsula, just between Pwllheli and Criccieth.

We all arrived at the campsite at lunchtime on the Thursday, and went on a part of the site where both caravans and tents could be pitched. It took me quite a while to get my tent up – I’d recently been getting tired really quickly (which I later discovered to be because of heart failure!), so I paced myself with it, and Brandon and Chloe occasionally broke away from playing frisbee to help a little bit when an extra pair of hands were needed. Vikky and Andy set up their caravan on one side of the field so they could plug into a heavy-duty electrical hook-up, whereas I pitched up on the opposite side, and made use of the electrical hook-up for tents. It was the first time I’d had electricity whilst camping, and it really does make a difference! I’d bought a small powered fridge to use for the week, plus a camping kettle which mean I could boil water much quicker than usual!

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Edgeley Park gigs

So this week, I’ve been to 2 different gigs at Edgeley Park stadium – handily just up the road from where I live!

The first one was Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, and it was very last minute that I got a ticket for it. I saw Lee post on Facebook that he had a spare ticket available for the gig that night, so, having been a big Beautiful South fan back in the day, bought the ticket off his friend who couldn’t make it.

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott.

I thought about walking up to the stadium, but with my health situation, took the bus instead! I met Lee outside the ground, and we went in to grab a drink, before his wife Katie and her friend turned up. It was nice to catch up with Lee having not seen him since the beginning of February, and hopefully I didn’t bore him too much talking about my heart stuff!

So back to the music, and they were really good – there are so many songs you just know all the words to! I was worried it might rain, but even though it was quite cloudy, it stayed dry. I had to have a sit down for about 10 minutes half way through because I was starting to tire a bit, but then I was fine for the rest of the gig. I only had one beer – I don’t normally drink that much alcohol anyway, but at the moment I can’t have more that 1½ – 2 litres of liquid a day, which is a lot harder than you’d think!

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Scary heart stuff

Here’s a compilation of some posts from Facebook covering my recent unplanned stay in hospital…  I’ll post something more when I’ve had a bit more time to process it all!

Hospital update – 29th May

So, first of all, a massive thanks to Abhi who did a Tesco shop for me this evening so now I have some clean clothes / toiletries etc – I was sent sent to A&E by my GP so only had the stuff I arrived at hospital with!

I’d been to my GP on Friday because recently I’ve been so breathless that it’s just been stopping me doing anything, and also I’d noticed I was rapidly putting on weight even though I’ve hardly been eating anything.

Anyway, my doctor told me to go to Stepping Hill hospital to get a chest x-ray, and by yesterday she’d got the results and asked my to come in right away to go through it. It was showing that my heart was enlarged, plus my breathlessness has actually got worse, and I’d also started up coughing bits of blood the night before.

I was told to go immediately to A&E by Uber – not detouring via home, and leaving my car parked in the street outside the medical practice!

So once in A&E, I had some blood tests done, another chest X-Ray and then an ECG. I was told it looked like my heart is massively over-working, and a knock on from that is that less blood gets to the kidneys meaning theres lot of liquid retention around the body.

I was moved to the Medical Assessment Unit last night, and I’m still here tonight!

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Gigs plus studio shoots

It’s been an eventful few weeks – and I’m not even including Christmas in that!

Last night I was at Manchester Arena to see Snow Patrol in concert, and it was a really great gig. It was quite a last minute thing… I decided to look on Monday to see whether there were any tickets left, and I managed to get a seat on one of the sides, which meant I had to sit at a bit of an angle to see the stage!

They had two supports – the first was Roe, who I’d not heard of before, but the second was Kodaline, and I’ve got one of their albums so knew some of the songs they did.

Snow Patrol.

Snow Patrol took to the stage around 9pm, and they played all the classics – ‘Take Back The City’, ‘Chocolate’, ‘Run’, ‘Open Your Eyes’, ‘You’re All I Have’, ‘Cars’ – and even the ones I couldn’t name still sounded familiar… with an encore ending with ‘Just Say Yes’.

Also, just before Christmas, I saw Travis play at the O2 Apollo, and because it’s almost 20 years years since it was released, they played the entire ‘The Man Who’ album from start to finish, followed by a selection of other tracks to wrap up the set.

Travis.

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Birthday U2!

So, it was my birthday on Saturday, and at the start of this year I’d tried to buy a ticket to see U2 in Manchester on their eXPERIENCE + INNOCENCE tour, which fell on the same date, but within seconds of the tickets going on sale, they were already sold out which was really annoying since the only ones then available we being sold at massively inflated prices on secondary ticket sites – and I’d pretty much forgotten about it.

Then, first thing in the morning, I was looking on Twitter and saw a post from the Manchester Evening News linking to an article about the U2 gig later that day. I then remembered that someone had recently told me that with gigs like this, production ticket returns are often released for sale on the day of the gig, so I thought I’d quickly check on the Manchester Arena website, and I was able to buy a ticket at the price they originally went on sale!

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Coldplay at the Ethiad

On Sunday, I was at one of the most amazing gigs I’ve been to – Coldplay at the Etihad Stadium! I bought 6 tickets on a bit of a whim last year, so have spent the last few months trying to find people to come with me! I only got rid of the last 2 tickets a couple of weeks ago!

I went with Dave Bateman, John Cieszynski, John Scruby, and met up outside with my brother Steve and one of his mates.

We were in the standing area to the right of the stage, and my legs were quite achy but the time we’d got through the 2 support acts, Rita Ora and Robyn. Not overly impressed with Rita Ora – she’s had a few songs out, but mainly vocals on someone else’s track, so it felt a bit strange, and it’s really not my kind of thing… but Robyn was a lot more to my taste!

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Coldplay gig

Seriously, wow!

Last night I was at the MEN Arena with Joel to see Coldplay, and it was flippin’ awesome! We were really close to the stage (literally just a few metres away!), and it was such a brilliant atmosphere.

When we got into the arena, we were actually led to where the stewards wanted us to be, and because we were near the front of the queue, we ended up really close! They made everyone sit down on the floor until they’d got everyone in (I guess it was to stop people rushing to the stage and pushing their way forward), but it certainly worked in our favour!

Coldplay.

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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!
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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!)