Sadly not a beer but Manchester Punk Festival. Run over two days in at least five venues, with myself doing the Saturday helped out by Subul Lodi in the afternoon.

Jolly tiring in my opinion – the final act were a skate punk band from Canada; an odd choice for a punk festival but they were every bit as pleasant as one might expect a Canadian skate punk band to be….


No, not Reigate Grammar School….repetitive gig syndrome; it’s most common sympton is the inability to remember if one has actually worked with a band and where – the sufferer might also might only remember where he or she was on a particular day by looking at the old passes on their Peli. (Oh, if anyone sees my Peli do let me know.) I had a bout of RGS recently – I knew I’d be doing something a week ago but had no idea what. Luckily, my diary said Keywest, Academy 3 .

Academy 3 is actually a well resourced venue even if the kit is a bit old. Lots of lights and plenty of opportunities for creating layers. The band brought with them some entertaining Stairville Blinders which, if one sets them to maximum DMX channels, allows one to write rude messages…..or the band’s name! A nice bunch, as it happens.



Going Mobile….April 21

Posted: April 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

As Sir Pete puts it… I’m here …

Tuesday 4 April

There are some that think that April is the cruellest month and what can be crueller than a visit to Bramall Lane…..especially this season. At least it’s work. I’m doing AV for a property auction, which is oddly quite interesting. There is all kinds of property from car parks to five bedroom houses and a few fields. It’s quite relaxing and no, I don’t bid. What is less relaxing is the gents’ at Bramall Lane…


Wednesday 5 April

To the Sheffield Holiday Inn Royal Victoria for an awards ceremony, another job for the very fine TDC-AV Ltd. I’ve managed to lose the photos I took of teh event, but it was held in this very fine room:


Screen and staging were to the left of the room, with the control position where the centre fireplace is. Mostly lit with LED battens chasing red/white blue – inspired by the event’s winners having a trip to Amsterdam. The event was for Sheffield’s BiG Challenge. For those who care, the load-in is via the left-hand fire exit; a ramp with a nasty little three-step lift at the end.

Thursday 13/Friday 14 April

I know you think I’ve been going all corporate and commercial, but this should sort you out. My friend Robin from Rebellion  calls to ask if I’m free on Good Friday, as it would seem the Fat Out Festival need an LD for one of their beat-combos. The festival is at Islington Mill, one of the last pieces of old Salford left. The beat-combo in question is The Bug vs Dylan Carlson and they play music like this. There was a fairly specific lighting rider, mostly stating that tungsten rather than LED sources would be the thing, but sadly in a building with very limited power and space a large number of traditional PAR 64s are not really the thing. Thus, a couple of Chauvet R2 spots , some Cuepix blinders a some Chauvet LED PARs were the thing – all on the floor. Needless to say, the Avolites desk was deployed….if not fully:

Bug Avo

I managed to get a feel for the band by watching the Youtube clips and once they arrived managed to make a few changes to better fit their needs. It must be said that even under the pressure of tight festival schedules, Kevin and Dylan managed to remain calm and extremely pleasant. The results looked like this:


There’s a very short video here and we must have done something right as they later posted this on Twitter:

Bug 3

Thanks guys…a great gig.

Coming soon, I hope, news from Academy 3, a punk festival and a gig in a cave…..

It’s been a busy few weeks, thankfully. It started with a rather odd job interview on the last day of February when the boss of the company set me the rather practical task of driving an insanely large Transit – ok, a ELWB Volswagen – about Sheffield….I must have done OK, as I seem to be getting more work from them.

So, here’s a few diary extracts:

Friday 17 March

St.Patrick’s day and one of the days I will do anything to avoid a club night on. Actually, I’m not doing “anything”, I’m driving a mercifully small van from Sheffield to Birmingham. I probably can’t say where I am, but the view from the 21st floor looks like this:


I meet the most helpful receptionist I’ve ever met, who shows me the kitchen, gives me free run of the fridges and offers another trolley to bring the kit up from the basement car park……free tea and mineral water cannot be beaten on a gig!

Saturday 18 March

I find myself on a very early train to Hull:


It’s the British Open Squash Championship in Hull – the Hull Arena to be precise.  I have a view that continuing professional development is a good thing; learning new things is good. For a variety of odd reasons I imagined that this:


would somehow be that path to riches and wealth. Little did I know that it was, in fact, the path to getting large static shocks – but more of that later. Hull Arena lies on the outskirts of the city on the same plot as the football ground. It’s small as arenas go and seems to be used as an indoor football pitch most of the time. The keen eyed will notice those splendid edges of plastic grass with the pitch overlaid by even more plastic protection. You’ll also notice the boss – conveniently not IPAF licensed.



Not a huge number of fixtures,

with the trusses being mainly used to black-out the space. However, as hinted earlier, the plastic floor and rubber wheels of the picker led to numerous static shocks as as moved around the space; most of the time I remembered to touch the truss with the picker before I moved a fixture but then one forgets the steel wire hanging from the basketball board – a real Eraserhead  moment.

The squash court under construction can be seen on the right of this picture and if you want an idea of the finished

article, then here’s a link to some squash action. Not a bad weekend’s work.

Monday 20/Tuesday 21 March

So, to Telford – the mighty international exhibition centre…..

Actually, that’s the rather unfair view from my hotel window – a rather charming service station on the M54 made all the more charming by the eight mile detour need to get to it. Such is the glamour of life on the road.


No, I have no idea what ESN is either but it IS fast approaching. I’m at the BAPCO conference and I must admit I’m pretty sketchy about what is is despite doing the same gig last year.  I think it’s about secure and emergency communications systems as there seems to be a lot of police orientated and product; if you ever need a stab-proof cover for your mobile phone I know just the company. As well as the usual hanging big tellies off of very thin exhibition walls, there were the seminar rooms:

both of which got a blue LED wash to brighten up the white walls.  There was a ballroom for the evening dinner

The rather good house starcloth augmented by some battery up-lighters around the room, the moving BAPCO logo – courtesy of the usual Robe 600e spots and some LED PARs doing the set wash. Next year, hopefully, Coventry.


Wednesday 22 March

My diary gives me the postcode S9 1XH, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


This was actually quite interesting for a bit; no lights though. Oh and some mechanical engineers who kept wandering from their lectern mics and refusing to wear a radio…..oh well…

Thursday 23 March

At last, back at the ancestral home:

Well, Sound Control at least….no idea what the gig was, but we’ve done a few decent bands of late.


Saturday 25 /Thursday 30 March

Child protection legislation probably prevents me saying or posting to much, however, here’s the view from my control position, yes my faithful Avo again:

Managing to put aside my newly found fear of basketball nets, (see above), I manage to find myself the board op and sort-of lighting designer on a school production of “High School Musical”. I could just about see under the board to my two parallel trusses with six LED washes per side. This is the ORIGINAL High School Musical, but I am assured there are at least HSM 2 through HSM 4 in existence. It was perfectly fine, with one of the leads managing to injure himself playing basketball….no, really playing basketball. It being a school production, there was a lot of shouting; hence the “Shouty Mic” lighting macro:






An Album Cover

Posted: March 16, 2017 in Lighting, Music


Deke Leonard, the guitarist, died recently – you can read his obituary in  The Guardian . Deke, at various times, fronted the band Man. Man were one of those bands that seemed to be always gigging; they’d always be in the gig section of the NME playing somewhere and they always seemed to be support on the rare times I got up to town for a gig at the Roundhouse. I’m not sure that Man were ever going to be famous and I’m not sure I even liked them; they and their music, however, seemed to hint at a seedy career that seemed far beyond writing about Disraeli’s public health reforms and the major social themes of “Mill on the Floss”. I wish I could say the picture on the sleeve inspired me to do what I do for a living – it didn’t. It’s a poor picture taken in terrible lighting conditions one could say; one could also say that it’s a great picture that somehow represents the very murkiness of rock and roll and the half-light in which it once lived – it once lived until everyone decided they needed seventeen trucks of production. Mind you, those seventeen trucks keep a lot of people employed.

Still, as Deke said: “Be good to yourself at least once a day.”

In the City…..

Posted: February 5, 2017 in Lighting

There’s a thousand things I want to say to you…..the most important one being “Where do I send the invoice?”

So, to the big city…actually in the City, the very fine Merchant Taylors’ Hall. It’s one of the old guild halls that are quite funky to work in; it’s been rebuilt twice since since it was built, but there are bits of the original building – from 1400 ish – in the kitchen.

The day, obviously, starts at 0530 – a shower and strong coffee before the charms of the M1. Even the notion of trying to park in EC2 gives one a hole in the wallet, so let me commend parking at Cockfosters and getting the tube. At the venue by 1100, so time for a coffee and a sandwich.

Essentially, the gig is to make four spaces look good and party-like. Here’s the main room,(sorry about the quality of the pics, my camera phone used between rigging things):


It’s all pretty straightforward, but the building wasn’t really built for lugging bits of lighting kit around – having said that, there was a plentiful supply of electricity. As ever, it’s the cabling that takes the time along with trying not to knock the building about…oh, and the walking…A few hours later it starts to look ok:


Nothing better than a bit of organ lighting….ooh, matron…And while we’re at it I might as well get the Cock and Woolpack joke out of the way. It’s actually a reasonable pub, although usual City prices apply – thank goodness for the PM’s petty cash. Before we had mid evening refreshments, I should point out we did do a reasonable job:

It’s amazing what lasers and a bit of haze can do. Sadly, my little disco club room could have no haze and no strobing – although the client that was allergic to strobes took one look it the room and disappeared for the evening…oh well…..rather than subject you to another dull photograph of Rogue R2 Spot  gobos, here’s a nice artistic shot of the room featuring those very odd looking loudspeakers that sound rather good:



All this and back at Cockfosters by 0415…..although I have yet to recover from my first Uber experience……