RADIOHEAD NEW YEAR FUN, LISTEN AGAINST CLIPS, BUG 05 & RHINO GIG
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Every year it takes me longer and longer to sort myself out after Christmas. I get so over-excited by Santa, the Holy Spirit and the accompanying jollity that everything else is swept to one side ensuring that every January is just 31 days of filing, bill paying, and various forms of creeping anxiety. Wouldn’t it be a hoot to start a New Year trim, wealthy and with solid employment prospects? Or maybe it would be boring, because then the only way for the year to go would be down. Yes, that’s what I’m telling myself.
Anyway, I’ve finally got round to updating this blog although I’ve just noticed that all the apostrophes in my previous posts now appear as little collections of obscure symbols, which is profoundly undesirable. Here’s an illustration:
You’ll notice however that the problem is not currently affecting this post. Perhaps the Christmas vomit bug infected my blog application too, in which case all it needs is some bed rest and a few days off. Otherwise I’m going to have to go back and retype every single fucking apostrophe for the last two years worth of posts, and I’ll do it too because I’m fairly obsessive compulsive in that way. It’s one of the reasons I’m not considerably more successful than I am. Hang on, I’ve just spoken to my brother and he says he might be able to fix it. This is exciting isn’t it?
RADIOHEAD SCOTCH MIST FUN!
Work wise, 2007 concluded with me returning to Radiohead’s sonic castle outside Oxford to help with a couple more bits for their New Year’s Eve webcast (named Scotch Mist for reasons I don’t quite recall). It was recorded between 17 & 20th December and features specially recorded versions of every song on In Rainbows (including the version of Faust Arp that went out in the previous webcast). Here it is in its entirety.
My role in all of this was vision mixing a couple of tracks (the ones where it cuts to nothing are generally mine) and helping Garth with the webcast video for Nude filmed on a special camera Garth hired that shoots 1000 frames a second enabling you to slow the footage right down without losing quality. As with the video for Jigsaw Falling Into Place this was very straightforward and fun to put together. We got each member of the band to thrash madly about as fast as they could for 7 second bursts (which, because of the 1000 fps shooting rate, was all the camera could store at any one time) then loaded the results onto my laptop and that was more or less it. The stuff flying around in the final section is fake snow, which we chucked at the band to make it look festive. When I look at it now it looks more like there’s a chicken being brutally dispatched off camera but that’s still Christmassy in a way isn’t it? There’s not much to it but it’s kind of moving I think. Having said that, when you’ve got a song as lovely as Nude, you could pretty much film a hairy arse in slow motion and it would be moving. Maybe we’ll do that for the next webcast if I’m invited…
In between the songs are little bits of the band running towards the slo-mo camera away from a sign that says ‘Good Night’ with fireworks on it. This was actually what Garth hired the camera for in the first place. He had set up loads of fireworks around the sign so that the band would be running from a wall of fire and sparks as the sign lit up but unfortunately we got our timing wrong and the fireworks only went off after everyone had left the frame and the 7 second filming window was closed. Garth was gutted but it still looks good I reckon. His idea of the woolly hats being pulled off as they ran worked a treat. Here’s a montage of a few photos I took just before the fuses were lit. That’s producer/technical genius Nigel Godrich skulking in the back. Below that is a picture of Garth looking terroristical in the centre, moments before the camera rolled.
This time round I had more opportunities to just watch the band play, whether it was while I was vision mixing or just standing about while they were rehearsing and it was quite a thing. At one point I was in the kitchen when I heard the intro for House Of Cards. I assumed Nigel was playing it back from the CD but it was live. I swear the version they play for the webcast sounds even better than the one on the album. Even when you’re watching them singing and playing it’s hard to believe they’re actually making the noise you’re hearing. Can’t wait to see them back on stage in the summer. At some point I imagine they’ll put out a DVD of a lot of the webcast stuff, which I hope would also feature some of the unseen behind the scenes footage we shot as we went along. That’s pure conjecture but if anything more solid materialises I’ll let you know.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND – A PUNK
Speaking of Garth, here’s the video he did recently for the excellent Vampire Weekend. In many ways it’s the exact opposite of the Nude vid, being one eight minute shot that was speeded up to fit the length of the song, it’s also a lot more ambitious with lighting, choreography and costume changes all happening in one take. Like Nude though, I think it was designed to be quick, cheap and a relatively simple accompaniment to a great song.
LISTEN AGAINST MILIBAND CLIPS
Here are my four contributions to Jon Holmes’s Radio 4 show, Listen Against, which went out towards the end of 2007. That’s me pretending to be David Miliband in case you hadn’t guessed. I did the first one of these when he was still the environment secretary and I must confess I’d never actually heard him speak (I just chopped his bits out of various interviews without listening to him) so my impression bears little relation to his actual voice. I didn’t need to tell you any of that did I? I just like the sound of my own keyboard.
BUG 05, 8:45PM, BFI SOUTHBANK, THURSDAY 31st JANUARY, 2008
The fifth BUG, a show featuring a selection of some of the best and most interesting pop videos around (as chosen by David Knight of Promo News) with me talking crap in between, will take place on Thursday 31st January. You can book tickets here. The last few shows have all sold out and I think the Independent are also doing a little piece to plug it either this weekend or the next so unless you want those Independent types stealing your seat I’d book now!
SAVE THE RHINO GIG @ COMEDY STORE, 21st JANUARY 2008
I love rhinoceroses but other people hate them and seek to destroy them. I’m determined to save all of them so I will be doing about 10 minutes of live comedy (as Famous Guy probably) at the Comedy Store on Monday 21st and then I’m pretty sure the rhinos will be fine. As far as I know Noel Fielding is going to be performing too so that’s got to be worth it right? Book tickets and see more details here but bear in mind that if you don’t attend you may as well buy a shotgun and shoot a baby rhinoceros in the head, it comes to the same thing.