Weekly Rewind #95

Hello and welcome to another Weekly Rewind. The whole of August has been so crazy that I’m not sure what I’ve missed, where I should be up to, or even 100% what day it is most of the time. I did write a massive account of my OggCamp experience which some people seemed to enjoy. A 5000 word Hunter S Thompson-esque whopper. Anyway, I’d like to pick things up from the weekend of August 20th & 21st. I’ll skip through to the present and just pick out highlights as I go. It seems the best way.

A picture of the 20lb temporary studio. Me with black cowboy hat on.

20lb Sessions

My band 20lb Sounds had been planning to use the weekend to record new songs for quite some time. We all met at Gary’s on Saturday lunchtime and I’d packed up my studio PC and a load of other audio kit. The plan was to set it up in the back room so we’d have all weekend to play and record 5 songs properly. In hindsight getting 5 songs down perfectly in 2 days was a bit too ambitious. I’d also developed the infamous “OggCamp cold” and couldn’t really sing. Not in tune anyway. I’d rather not subject people to that, this isn’t X Factor. As it turned out we spent most of Saturday from 1pm till 9pm getting the PC fixed, re-installed and working with my FireWire sound interface. Eventually we got to play a song but were so tired by that point it was difficult. On Sunday we were slightly more refreshed but I think still a little drained. We did get the 5 songs recorded, at least the backing tracks. I even wore my big cowboy hat for luck (see pic). They’ll need a lot of work though and since then I’ve changed some guitar parts. I think we’ll get 2 top tracks out of it. More on that later. The following Monday (Aug 22nd) I had arranged a live Linux Outlaws interview with my friend and FLOSS Weekly co-host Randal Schwartz. He was keen to come back on after a long gap since his previous appearance. Fab was there too as well of course, it wouldn’t be LO otherwise. We’d wanted to record video but in my dubious wisdom I’d left the studio PC at Gary’s and was having real trouble making my old Dell M1330n XPS work. I tried a Google Hangout on the Lenovo netbook but it just couldn’t handle it. The poor thing spluttered and tried, but ultimately failed. I wrestled with it but decided to just do audio only on my end. If you watch the video Fab made you’ll see that I’m just a black square on the screen, or a disembodied voice. Some might say it’s an improvement. We also recorded an OggCamp retrospective show with just Fab and I. At the time of writing that’s just been released.

On Tuesday I headed over to see my mum and dad which was nice. They’d been away with my niece and two nephews the previous weekend. We had some dinner and then I stayed on the Wirral that evening as I visited Gary again and we had a band meeting (roll call!!) and mixing session. I think the tracks we’ve gotten down will come out really well in the end. We need more recorded material to promote ourselves with and who knows maybe we can even sell some. That would be nice.

On Wednesday night we did a regular live Linux Outlaws where we caught up with all the news. I edited that this weekend and it’ll be out fairly soon. There was a lot of news to catch up on after almost 3 weeks away. On Thursday I met up with the band and we had another practice down at Dale St. It was a fun evening but my cold was still lingering and I was pretty tired afterwards. Friday was a much easier day I’m pleased to say. Andy from LivLUG came over in the late afternoon. We watched a film and then headed down to the View Two Gallery in Mathew St. I’d been contacted by Graham Holland of the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight podcast about his monthly gig there. A Swedish band called The Orchestra had flown over to play but needed to borrow a guitar. Being the affable chap I am I agreed to let them use my telecaster and took it along. I was glad I did as it was a really good gig. All the acts were great. I met Jim, the guitarist from the band and he was a really nice guy. We also discovered during our conversation that he runs Linux. What are the chances of that. He did tell me he was a Finn living in Sweden though, so he shares a connection with Linus Torvalds in nationality at least.

A crowd of people pressed into a Liverpool street for the music festival

One example Liverpool street, many were like this.

On Saturday afternoon Gary came over and we set up all the studio kit back at my flat. He’d done some great work on the drum tracks for one of tunes and we recorded new guitar and bass parts over them. I also recorded another guide vocal but I was still shaking off this cold and couldn’t hit the notes as I wanted. The cold seems to be pretty much gone now I’m pleased to say. We’ll get the vocals nailed soon and hopefully get a decent mix of this for you all to hear. Later on I met up with Jim and the Orchestra again at the Bluecoat. They played another great gig. I’ll share some of their awesome country blues with you on Rathole Radio in future. On Sunday I met up with 20lb Sounds again as we’d planned to practise in Dale St, not bargaining for the Mathew St Festival. I hadn’t been to the festival in many years and I didn’t realise how massive it’s gotten. The whole of Liverpool City Centre was closed to cars pretty much and there were multitudes of people everywhere. Big stages built in the middle of the street. People partying and dancing to the music. I walked down towards St George’s Hall and there was a sea of people where the Birkenhead tunnel entrance is. It was all a bit surreal. From the window of my flat I could hear music and a big stadium-like crowd chanting, there were 320,000 people apparently. Probably the best moment of the weekend was watching a lad walk along carrying a big crate of beer on his shoulder. He was stopped by two Policemen and I thought “Hello, he’s in for it now”. As I walked past them I could hear one of the Policemen saying to him “You’re dropping beer down your back there mate, you wanna carry it like this”. How could you not love a city where things like that happen? We had a bit of party in our rehearsal room, nothing too crazy, then I fought my way back up the hill through the crowd and caught my mate Tony’s band at The Head Of Steam near Lime St. They were really good. Full brass section. Can’t be bad.

Yesterday I edited the next episode of Free As In Freedom which took longer than expected. It features an OSCON talk by Richard Fontana but the audio recording was very distorted. I did my best on it but you can’t really remove distortion like that after the fact. It still sounds pretty good and you should be able to download that from their website very soon. I walked back down to the Head Of Steam later to see Tony’s band again. Just kept it to a quick visit, I didn’t hang around long after their set. It’s very handy having a venue like that 2mins walk from your flat though. When I got back home I edited the last regular Linux Outlaws from Wednesday and shipped it back to Fab.

Phew! There’s probably loads missing but that just about brings us up to date.

Upcoming:
We postponed our usual live Monday night Linux Outlaws as we have a backlog of content to release. Perhaps the next live show will be next Monday now. I will be back on the airwaves, or netwaves, tomorrow for live FLOSS Weekly at 17:30 UK. Our guest project this time is Observium and that should be fun. It’s a network monitoring tool with web front end by the looks of it. You can join Randal and I at http://live.twit.tv for that.

On Thursday night I’m off to see Jimmy Cliff at The Phil. I can’t wait for that. One of my all time heroes and one of the greatest singers the world will ever know. Hearing “Many Rivers To Cross” live will be a highlight for me. Other than that we have Jelly Liverpool on Thursday at LEAF and also another live Rathole Radio on Sunday night at 9pm. Stay tuned and I’ll update you on all that as soon as I can.

Take care,

Dan

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