Greetings one and all, and welcome to another very late Weekly Rewind. I’m so busy right now it seems impossible to keep up with the blog. Hopefully that will calm down after OggCamp. The last 10 days or so since my previous update have been exciting and I can’t wait to tell you about them. So let’s get cracking..
Going all the way back to Monday the 29th of March to begin I think. I recorded another Linux Outlaws episode with Fab as usual. That later became episode 143 “Lime Neeson”. We also released a special interview episode with Phil and Beccy Newborough of Crunchbang fame as number 144 at the weekend. We’ve already had some nice comments about that and I’m glad people seemed to enjoy it. It also took a lot of editing by Fab but he did a great job.
I’ve been chasing up a couple of tardy OggCamp sponsors and also doing much more work on the Rathole Radio gig. At the moment only about half of the tickets are sold and it could prove to be an expensive lesson in how not to promote a gig, but I hope plenty of people will turn up on the night and I’d like to see where all these Socialist Folkies in Liverpool have gotten to. I’m still £600 in the red but I’ve been pounding the streets putting posters up and I’ve also arranged a bit of local media coverage. It’s gonna be nerve wracking but hopefully it’ll all be alright on the night, as they say. I’ve also been arranging the production of canvas banners for OggCamp, hiring a large projection screen for the main stage, exchanging countless emails and phone calls with various people and generally trying to pull it all together. As I write these words there are only actually 3 weeks to the event, a sobering thought indeed. There’s a lot to be done but the exhibition has really taken shape now thanks to the stirling work of Laura Czajkowski who’s helping us out. The crew is looking good and combined with the podcasters it makes about 30 people working on the event. A mightly team of helpers who make a lot of what we do possible. I can’t wait to see how things go on the day. I’m not particularly looking forward to working till 2am on the Friday and then starting again at 8am for OggCamp but it’s only one weekend. It’ll all be worth it.
Back to last week then. On Thursday April 1st I went to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to see Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra. For those who don’t know Jerry was founder of one of my favourite bands The Specials. He also founded 2 Tone records and led the Ska revivial in the UK, he wrote the anti-apartheid anthem “Free Nelson Mandela” and has also campaigned in a lot of other areas. He’s something of a hero to me and I couldn’t wait to see what he had in store. To be honest I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for, it was all really mental Jazz music. A 20 piece band all wearing strange masks and costumes as a tribute to Jazz pioneer Sun Ra. I’m not a huge Sun Ra fan though I respect his influence on music, had I known it was all going to be stuff like that I may have thought twice about it. I like Jazz as much as the next man but this was proper in your face Jazz, a Jazz sandwich made on Jazz bread with Jazz filling and Jazz flavoured crisps. About 75% of the gig was really good, the musicians were clearly excellent and I particularly thought the drummer was great. But the sound wasn’t good through the PA and it was hard to make out what each instrument was playing. Especially when 5 of the horn section are doing solos at once, seemingly not all in the same key either. I did enjoy it though and I’m glad I went. Quite a lot of people left half way through the gig and they obviously expected something more like The Specials. They did a Jazz version of “Ghost Town” but this wasn’t anything close to the original. A mixture of Jazz, funk and bits of world music. At one point a female singer came on and did a solo just by making animal noises, I kid you not. Madness… no wait not Madness that would have been Ska. I felt for the band because as a musician I can tell you there’s nothing worse than seeing people walk out as you’re playing, it’s totally soul destroying. I’ve experienced it and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. At the end of the gig we’d been sat there 2 and a half hours with no interval and we were ready to get out. The musicians paraded out through the middle of the audience and into the foyer of the building, playing their saxophones like a marching band and chanting. Most amusing I thought until my friend and I realised we couldn’t actually get out because they were in the way of the doors. After sitting through the very long concert we were in no mood to be held as jazz hostages when we could see the exits were so close. We ducked down the back stairs and found a way out unhindered. I have no idea how long the band marched around the foyer shouting “space is the place” but I wasn’t hanging around to find out. It was a bizarre evening but fun too and certainly gave me a lot of stories to tell, which is what life’s about when you come down to it really.
On Friday I headed back over to Liverpool to catch up with some friends and we went to play pool at a snooker hall in town. I ended up becoming a member of the club, the snooker club that is, it’s not a euphemism. Seemed rude not to since they made all 6 of us members so cheap, only a couple of quid each. You can hire a table for £3 an hour and it’s actually a really good way to kill a few hours and enjoy some sanctuary. I’m not very good a pool but I won a few matches during the afternoon. I did ok I think. At the weekend I prepared Rathole Radio and broadcast the show on Easter Sunday. Many people came along and joined in which I was pleased about. You can download the finished show now from the website. I also sold a couple more gig tickets. I’m slowly chipping away at that debt penny by penny. I decided recently it would be nice to play the gig with a band rather than just doing it on my own, so to that end I’ve enlisted the help of some friends Gary and Ross on bass and drums respectively. We had our first attempt at playing together on Monday. It actually worked out a lot better than I’d expected and I think we might be able to pull this gig off, even if it is in just 3 weeks. I’ll let you know how rehearsals are progressing but first I need to sort out my telecaster and clean it up in time. It’ll be fun to play a bit louder and I haven’t played just guitar in a band for years. I’ve mostly played bass so it’s nice to do something different and it’s quite liberating. I may be exploiting my new found freedom to do some mind bending solos but we’ll have to see about that. Needless to say my amp goes all the way up to 11 😉
I’ll leave the other events of this week and write about them at the weekend. You’re pretty much up to date there.
In the next few days I shall hopefully be having another practice with the band and sorting out more of the arrangements for upcoming events. I’m going to the Interface Amnesty event in Blackburn on Saturday with my good friend Adrian McEwen, where we will be attempting to construct our robot audience member for the gig. It may not be as grand as it sounds but it needs to be able to make noise and take part in some way. I’m also editing the next Linux Outlaws (ep 145) recorded on Monday in the next day or so. I had a pretty major fail with my recording but thanks to the audio from Ustream I think I’ve been able to salvage the show. There’s another Software Freedom Law Show to edit over the weekend too. No rest for the wicked hey. I’ll write another update of events this week on Sunday. Till then, take care of yourselves,