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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Delirious – Fabula Est Vestri


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.


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…


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.



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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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!


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!


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.


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.

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.


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!)


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!


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!


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.

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!)

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.

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!

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!!)


Woo! Was just having a quick nip around some webpages before I go to bed, and I went to have a look at the new issue of Soul Survivor’s iMag, and I’ve just discovered that I’ve won their August competition for a CD!

The prize is a compilation CD of Soul Survivor festivals from the last four years called ‘Dancing Generation’ – and I wouldn’t have bought it normally because I have all the live CDs it’s made up from… except that it includes a collaboration track between Tim Hughes and the 29th Chapter that didn’t make it onto last year’s album because of copyright issues. I really wanted to get hold of that track, but didn’t want to have to pay out for the CD just for it! So it’s a really cool prize to win!

Delirious gig in Bradford

Well it’s my birthday today, and I’m at work! Woohoo!

But last night was a little better anyway… went to see Delirious on their World Service tour in Bradford with Sa – and the gig rocked!!

We got there quite early so grabbed some food, then met up in the theatre’s bar with Caroline and a couple of her friends who were also there – but they had tickets for up on the balcony, so we all grabbed a quick drink before we headed down to the main floor for the gig. They were really good – it was quite a different atmosphere from when we saw them back in January… it was certainly a spectacular show! The support act – RRWC – were also pretty good, and impressed me enough for me to buy their CD (which I even got signed by the band, even though I didn’t know who any of them were!!)

There was quite a funny moment when a couple that I know from working at Spring Harvest – Emma and Iain – were called up onto the stage to do a slow dance whilst the band played ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’!

So all things considered, it was a totally brilliant night!

Anyway, back to my birthday… I’m so happy to be officially a year older! Prezzie wise, got a bit of cash from family, and a really cool T-shirt from Miss Wallace, so not too shabby really!

Land of Hope & Glory…

Went to BBC Proms In The Park in Cathedral Square last night, which was the Manchester part of last night of the Proms. I was with Sarah, Emma, their friend from work Katheline, and Becky – and I’d been really looking forward to it, although the weather forecast for the evening wasn’t too good…

Got there about quarter to six and were confronted by a big ‘Wimbledonesqe’ queue! So we joined the back, and eventually managed to get into the Square.

We found a bit of ground to sit on, and the concert got under way – but after a few minutes, it started raining a little bit… then that light shower turned torrential and we got absolutely soaked! I was wearing a waterproof so I wasn’t too bad, but my trousers were drenched. We eventually had to stand up because where we were sitting was quickly becoming quite a river!

A trip to a nearby pub halfway through was called for so that we could try and dry out a bit, then we ventured back for the last section which saw a link up with the Albert Hall for all the ‘classics’… Rule Britannia, God Save The Queen and Auld Lang Syne. I must admit though that I didn’t really like singing them because I don’t think I agree with the a lot of the sentiment behind them! It’s kind of very “We are British and we are the best” which is a bit rubbish really, and I’m not overly fussed about the Queen ‘ruling over us’! So it was more of a micky-take sing-a-long rather than a meaningful moment!

Took some photos on my phone and you can see them here.

Live music, plus first long distance run…

It’s been quite a busy – there’s been quite a bit of running going on, and I’ve seen six different bands playing since last Wednesday!

Music first then… last Wednesday night I went to the Roadhouse in town with Sarah, Emma and Caroline to see Stoney Lacuna do a gig, and they were really good, and we had to listen to two other bands playing before they came on. So that’s three down, three more to go…

Then on Saturday, a few of us went to Alton Towers for the day, followed by a gig in the evening with a gospel group called Sinai, singer Rebecca St James, and headlined by Delirious. The theme park was cool – but massive queues though. Didn’t get onto the biggest rides because the wait was over 2 hours, but still got onto some good ones. The concert was great, although it was quite an experience being in a 12,000-strong mosh pit!!

I’ve been doing quite a lot of running at the gym, but I went running outside for the first time yesterday afternoon. Jamie drove us out to a village in Derbyshire called Mellor to do about an 8km circuit that he normally does on his mountain bike… so as you can imagine, it was quite hilly! We managed to do it in about an hour and 10 minutes with a mixture of running and fast walking. It’s so much harder running outside than in the gym, you really feel it on your feet running on the road. One thing that is quite a worry to me is that after a while my toes went really numb, then just became very sore on every step. Don’t know why they’re hurting like this, and could really do with that not happening this Sunday! Have decided to take a break from running for today, but will be going to the gym tomorrow. I’m getting my dining room replastered on Wednesday and Thursday, so my plan is to try an get out and do a run somewhere near to home at some point during those days.