Hey, how’s it going? It’s been a while hasn’t it? Almost a month since I wrote anything proper. I think it was John Lennon who said “life is what happens while we’re making other plans”. It’s fair to say in the last month my life has happened. All is well, don’t worry. I’m just doing lots of stuff and this is why updates have slipped. I’m not going to try and cover everything that happened in the last month here in detail. The Internet doesn’t have enough bytes for that I don’t think. Instead, I’ll pick out some highlights and memories.
Podcasting has continued a pace and my studio is now fully set up in the flat. It took a while to get everything over here. I live near quite a busy train line and I was worried about the noise. I’ve considered all kinds of crazy sound proofing ideas that would make MacGyver proud, but actually it’s alright. The worst thing is probably the ice cream van that comes around 4 times a day with the chimes blaring out. Luckily it hasn’t happened during a live show yet, fingers crossed. We’ve produced loads of episodes of Linux Outlaws and I’m not even going to try and list them all now. We’ve conducted great interviews with Allison Randal about Project Harmony, and Carl Manneh about Minecraft and what they’re doing at Mojang. Carl’s interview isn’t released yet but you can download the interview we did with Allison here. I haven’t been on FLOSS Weekly much lately but this is not deliberate, and it should be rectified in coming weeks. I’m booking guests for some empty slots at the moment and I can’t wait to get back into that.
Rathole Radio has also been busy. I was joined by fellow podcaster and musician Nick Tann on April 17th for a chat about what he’s up to and also the wider music industry. People seemed to enjoy it a lot, and we had fun. Following that it was straight into the live extravaganza that was the Rathole Roadshow 2011. If you follow anything I do you couldn’t have failed to see this really, I pushed it like crazy. I originally booked Sunday April 24th late last year, without even knowing it was Easter Sunday. Once I discovered this I knew it would be an uphill battle to get people to come. That’s why I shouted about it so much.
The night actually went brilliantly though, and while I can’t lie that some more people through the door would have made the club happier, we had a great atmosphere and all the technology worked. Folks really did get to join in around the world and take part in the gig online. We had live messages coming in all the time and my jokes about a “low budget Live Aid” came to fruition. This was largely due to the support of some wonderful friends and family. A few people traveled from the other end of the country just to be here and better yet, told me it was definitely a worthwhile trip. That’s very satisfying. The artists all played really well and I had a great time with my band. It’s a mad feeling when you’ve written a song and other people actually like it, it’s very addictive. At one point during our set I said “We’re gonna do a song now some of you might know, it’s called Jimmy Carter”, and then a cheer went up from people who did. It’s hard to describe how that makes you feel, but rest assured it’s good. Thanks to the help of good people like Adrian McEwen (creator of Bubblino) who worked tirelessly on the technical side, Pat the wonderous sound engineer at the Zanzibar and Tony the manager, everything went well. Something very different happened that night and I’m proud that I could set it up. I think the ripples will continue to expand as people hear the audio and see the video.
You can hear a round up of the 3 artists sets and some other bits of waffle in the latest episode of Rathole Radio. So if you couldn’t make the gig, you can still experience it. Thanks to I Am Not Lefthanded, Rob Warren and his band for joining us. You can see our team photo above and it really felt like we were all in it together.
Speaking of live events this brings us neatly onto OggCamp11. It’ll be happening on the weekend of 13th & 14th of August down South in Farnham, UK. We initially released 200 tickets which were taken in just 4 days. Then another batch of 100 we released and have also gone. We’re looking at ways to release more tickets and find more capacity. It’s going to be an amazing weekend of technology, art, culture and community. Have a look at the website to find out more and stay tuned to our updates for more possible tickets. For my part I’m in charge of sponsorship this year and I’ve been contacting various people trying to get them involved. We have a headline sponsor in the frame and once payments are made we’ll announce them with a fanfare. We also have another sponsor in the bag. More on that soon. Once sponsors are sorted and we can fund the event I’ll be moving into another role as head of crew. I love doing that. I was head of crew at the first OggCamp in 2009 and I love leading an army of people around. Who wouldn’t?! We have so many great volunteers.
As far as music goes, my band 20lb Sounds continue to go from strength to strength. I’ve probably said this before but I keep thinking we must have hit our peak. You know, become as good as we can. Then we find another level from somewhere. That might sound arrogant but the songs we have now and our playing of them is probably the best I’ve done with any band. I don’t wish to make any of my previous bands seem bad. They weren’t, they were great. But I’ve become a lot better at singing and certainly writing as I’ve gotten older. Life teaches you some things. We recently recorded a few new songs but it’ll take a long time to mix and finish them. I hope we have some available for you all soon. That’s the strange thing, people really seem to want our music. I got asked a few times at the gig where people could buy CDs. That’s an odd feeling. If people want to buy what you produce though it seems stupid not to give it to them. We also have another couple of gigs this month in The Cavern. Certainly a venue with a history.
That rambling tale doesn’t really bring us completely up to date, but it’s the best I’m going to manage for now. So let’s look to the future.
My technical work and writing have suffered lately but I hope to have more time for those from now on. I’ve installed the shiny new Ubuntu 11.04 release on my netbook and I’m planning to review it both here and on Linux Outlaws. I should be appearing on FLOSS Weekly again in the coming weeks and there’ll be more Rathole Radio too of course. I’ve also been playing with Django and doing some programming again, mostly for fun. I keep toying with the notion of being a proper developer again, but it’s hard to fit in with trying to be a musician, producer, broadcaster and all the other things I attempt. Let’s see what happens. I sincerely hope I will speak to you all again much sooner next time. Maybe I’ll even get back into my weekly rhythm. I can but try.
Take care out there people and mind how you go.