There's a long weekend coming up (thank you bank holiday) and there's lots to se and do around Belfast.
The Festival of Fools opens on Thursday (29th April) evening and runs until Monday (3rd May) with a host of free/donation events dotted around the streets of the city throughout the day. I'll be making an effort to catch Rob Torres, a very funny man from the USA.
Here are some details: Thursday 29th of April 8.30 pm Lawrence St Workshops noise/music/improv/beats Live Visuals 2 pounds ( EARS members) 3 pounds ( Donations ) email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a flyer:
I imagine a night of noise for the eyes and ears. SHould be fun - see you there?
The Crescent Arts Centre has re-opened in Belfast. Now that it has been refurbished the interior and exterior look goodas new. The opening week has had lots of free workshops and taster sessions so people eager to sample what is on offer can come and try out before signing up. The other day I managed to get out of work a few minutes early so I had time to see some people practicing their dance routine attached to ropes, bouncing off the side of the building with some umbrellas. But something happened between me, taking, editing, and uploading the video: the results sound okay (ish) but the picture has gone pretty strange.
The main reason I wanted to be there was to participate in the Gamelan Workshop. From Tuesday to Thursday between 3 and 5 there were free, open to everyone sessions where people could learn about and play a (2/3s of the whole thing) Gamelan from Java, Indonesia. Our facilitator was Beverley Whyte of Open Arts (and Music Director of Open Arts Choir) who was a tutor of mine years ago when I studied Community Music For Practitioners at MADD, it was fantastic to have her direct us, as she knows how to use pace in delivering instructions on how and when to play, very well. One of the things that makes Gamelan so easy to play for beginners with no experience is that the Western scale and it's code of thin, black, horizontal lines and dots is done away with. Instead we were able to play using numbers or colours, which were clearly marked on the gongs and tines. I worked my way around and had a go on all the instruments. It's a fantastic feeling playing with all those pieces of sweetly-resonating metal. I used my new Canon VIXIA to capture the video in HD. I then edited out a lot of noise and exported to DV PAL using Premiere and Media Encoder. I then converted the format to Theora using Miro, so that the file would be fast to upload to youtube. The result was a glitchy mess. I quite like it, it reminds me of datamoshing - but there's something (I can't put my finger on it) that's different.
The Digital Economy Bill. You might have heard of it, it probably affects you (I'm assuming this as I'm only publishing this online) even if you're not into politics or computers. A handful of UK politicians held a debate on it.
There are moments of hilarity (the extended Star Wars metaphor brought a smile to my face) and some sober discussion and some hyperbole, and some strategic distancing from the complex issues at stake, but I think this link is essential viewing for those who want to use the web as a part of their life and/or business in the UK in the future - what we have had up to now is going to change. That change may upset your ability to continue doing what you have done up to now.
I mentioned distancing. Rightly so.
"I am tempted to leave this until the new government is elected"
No need to rush this bill through. Even the politicians are saying so...
Being a VJ is fun. I enjoy the challenge of getting the pictures in my head to appear on a screen.
Hours spent cutting up magazines and celluloid, dubbing tapes, sifting through films, hoping to chance upon an inspiring few frames, installing plug-ins, trial and error sessions with numerous codecs, making an indecent amount of drinks coasters in the bid to find suitable disc manufacturers, finding what does and doesn't work by torturing anyone with a free few minutes to watch my latest output (the result of many hours producing and rendering files) can leave anyone physically drained, but, occasionally it's very satisfying - the rush of adrenalin I feel when the audio and video work together is rather special - but it's striving to improve that makes me continue, .
It has taken me a long time to become familiar with the file formats, pieces of software and hardware. Add to that the many opportunities to practice my patter with promoters, musicians, DJs, bar and club staff and you've got years worth of happily learned experience that I'm usually happy to share with anyone who's interested / will tolerate me dribbling on about my pet subject.
I can't take credit for the following video (thanks vjforums) but it reminds me of a number of occasions when people don't want to understand the word, "no".
I think I'll continue to enjoy finding new tools and techniques on my own time, even if it means I don't make it with taste-making, trail-blazing, scene-leadingfirebrands that rely on people jumping to (be taken advantage of) their call to arms!
BTW - The chaps at Ecker are great to work with - come hear the contents of their record bags and hard drives at the Menagerie this Friday.
Nicky Keogh's Bin Disco was out on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon for the entertainment and bemusement of Belfast. I made a selection of Balkan and Tropicalia greats for the playlist. It was fun seeing the expressions of people passing by.
On the outside it looks like any other bin, but the interior is as plush as can be, with beautiful, cushioned fabric and a chandelier. If you had a bin disco what music would you play in it?