Thursday, 18 October 2018

fishing in the rivers of life

My last post includes a picture ostensibly of Banksy's maid, although I'm pretty sure the picture was taken in Shoreditch rather than Chalk Farm. Here's the Chalk Farm version, which does look different.

Now it could be that I did see one in Shoreditch, perhaps a copy, like the nearby cheeky Mona Lisa that lurked in the arches by the old Canvas club?

Perhaps the picture didn't last long, like Banksy's girl with balloon picture auctioned and shredded at Sotheby's for somewhere around £1m.

Was the triggered destruction a case of art in the making? Or maybe a KLF bonfire of the vanities moment? Time and valuations will tell. Art as a streamlined way to store unexplained money becomes an interesting element for a novel, perhaps?

But I suppose I could have used a different Banksy illustration for my prior post. The house with stars on it, that will soon have one less.

Although I can't help notice a cartoony skull shape emerging in the chipped away star?

And here's the director's cut (geddit) of that Sotheby's auction.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

May caught in an EU finger trap

No, it's not Mr Barnier and Mrs May caught in a Chinese finger trap. Or is it?

Brussels may all look glorious in supersaturated Technicolor.

Myriad microphones waiting to hear the imminent crash as the Prime Minister accelerates ever faster towards the cliffs.

"But it's the will of the people!" I hear some say.

The Daily Express bugles "Just get on with it" and exhorts that 17.4 million electorate can't be wrong.

The smug clowns continue to bicker and prior leaders of both parties are shouted down for daring to speak out.

Forget House of Cards. Substitute pack of lies.

No-one really cares about the detail although when they can't go on holiday in Europe through the fast lanes and need a different driving licence (1948 or 1969 variety?) for trips abroad, it will seem less convenient. I suppose it will put up insurance premiums too.

The first part of the current negotiations process only legalises the actual exit - just like the finger trap. There's still all the work to setup the new Terms and Conditions for Everything.

I'm one of the several hundred that have flipped through the Brexit collections which illustrate the effects of crashing out.

These particular papers don't deal with the costs, which are an altogether different story.

Rest assured it will accrue to a higher run rate than the nominal £8.4bn per annum (after rebates etc) that the UK pays to be inside the EU. I expect it will be higher than the £14bn per annum that the UK pays before any rebates.

Not to worry though, by ending austerity at the end of October (by borrowing and/or printing a load more money), the government can create more future debt. Right on cue, I see that the loud American has offered some kind of deal after the UK exits. I'm sure that'll be a really really sweet one. The sweetest.

It's a bit like the Osborne carpet bulge all over again.

Only bigger.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

theatre that should be enjoyed at maximum volume

Click anywhere on the picture above to check out thesixtwenty web site. It's been around for a long time, but is undergoing an overhaul for the current road tour.

Probably time to brush up on html.

Friday, 12 October 2018

mojave and iOS12 both just work

I completed the updates for the newest Apple operating systems a few days ago. I even started a blog placeholder heading about it until I could get around to typing something.

So now it's macOS Mojave for the Macs and iOS 12 for the iPhone. In the case of the iPhone it was actually a slight downgrade, because I'd been running the beta software for several months.

Instead of continuing with the latest beta 12.1, I decided to reset to the official version. Only subtle differences, but a couple of useful features didn't work in the beta, like SONOS Trueplay which tunes a speaker to its environment.

It's all working fine now though, as indeed is my now quite old iPhone SE. That't the one that is basically the iPhone 6 innards in an iPhone 5 case. I've preferred the smaller form factor, although I'm now the one with a phone that looks positively petite next anyone else.

The phone changes are subtle, as always, and so far everything continues to perform well. I had a short experience of sudden battery drain, but worked out it was the Waze google app that seemed drink heavily from the battery on long car journeys. Otherwise, all seems to be fine.

The macOS Mojave update has been slightly more fiddly. Mainly because it has further tightened security settings. It meant that my old Safari-based ad-blocker stopped working properly for a while and I've had to reset it and start again. Normal advert-free service has resumed with just a handful of sites giving me a hard time about advert blockers.

There's also been a slew of other security revisions, which has meant a number of cross application dependencies need to be re-established. That's actually quite a good thing because it gives me a chance to re-inspect what I'd previously set up. Although I could 'tick all the boxes' when in the settings menu, I've decided to let each application ask me individually. That way I can see when various facilities get activated and also notice a few settings that I no longer use.

The biggest thing for me is that here's another pair of updates that have gone through without any issues, and where everything still works at least as speedily as it did before the changes.

And I can say that with some confidence, having been quite intensively using Final Cut Pro, FxFactory, Lightroom, Photoshop CC, Logic Pro, plus the Microsoft Office 360 Suite as well as a wide range of plug-ins without any incidents.

I had to cross check Mojave on a map though. I've been to quite a few of the US west coast desert areas, but somehow missed this one.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

no seal, no deal?

A weird thing about running this blog for so many years is when some topics either repeat or develop.

I can remember blogging about the large financial black hole that was being generated after the last financial crisis and the way that derivatives were plugging gaps.

The sums involved were into trillions, and used to hedge financial risks, interest rates and similar complex financial instruments across the whole of the EU.

Risk insurers have been moving the business from London-based companies into new mainland European subsidiaries. But that isn't enough because most of the investment-bank backing for the hedges is still provided and cleared through London.

I originally mentioned that the sum held in outstanding contracts was into trillions, and nowadays the latest Bank of England estimate is around £40 trillion. That's more than double the market capitalisation of the entire New York Stock Exchange.

Nobody apart from Mark Carney appears to be talking about this particular cliff edge, where central counter party clearing could cease to function next March. The question becomes about whether the institutions involved have enough safety margin to withstand the jolts through a period of uncertainty.

I know it sounds esoteric, but rest assured that any bad impact will affect more than just the traders.

Yet not a peep on this one from any of the Brexiteers.

Image: representation of a sun-eating supermassive quasar

Sunday, 7 October 2018

creatures of the night

The last few days I've been involved with the show, which always involves becoming a creature of the night. The whole day shifts along by several hours with a later start and a much later finish.

Nowadays with intelligent phones and watches, it can be slightly alarming to get those Autosleep messages that say I'd only had around 4h15 sleep time.

After the Saturday show there was a party too, and then I'd already planned to head back home through the night.

Empty motorways are preferable, although my car has a driver alert beeper which will inevitably trip more than once in the wee small hours - showing a picture of a cup of coffee in the dashboard.

This time the Tracker security system didn't try to ring me to say that my car was being driven at an unusual time, so I think it has once again got used to my late night motorway routes.

And as for other creatures of the night, I'm drawn to remember the Science Fiction of Rocky Horror.

It was probably my first encounter with properly immersive theatre, back on the Kings Road, in the days when Tim Curry was Frank-n-furter.

Before the Rocky Horror show started, members of the cast used to slink around the theatre, climbing stealthily over the backs of the chairs. You knew it would be good, in a run-down and dilapidated theatre that nowadays would need to be specially designed to look that decadent.

The influence from shows like Rocky Horror and shows like Cruel Garden by Rambert at the Roundhouse set an inspirational agenda for theatre. We can celebrate the lineage from those days to the modern gig theatre that's just started its tour.

I mused on this on the drive back, to a soundtrack inspired by the last few days. As well as a stop-off in Sheffield, I started to think of Birmingham as 'past the middle' and Bristol as 'on the last leg', with just a further 80 or so miles to go.

There were a few other creatures out, and I decided they were mainly entertainers heading home. No tell-tale baggage of holidaymakers or pressed shirts of repsters.

As I reached home we'd still an ink dark sky sprinkled with stars. I looked up and can't be entirely certain, but I thought I saw a shooting star too, just for a brief moment.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

FANS: Fanclub: "This one's for the Fans" @livetheatre @thesixtwenty #FansTour

FANS : Rawk
FANS : 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 drink
FANS : 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 drink
FANS: Rockin' out
FANS : Rockin' out
FANS: stylish band shot & on brand
FANS : stylish band shot & on brand
FANS: Yeah!
FANS : Yeah!
All the way from Colorado
FANS : Strike the pose
FANS: We've been to this show before!
FANS : We've been to this show before!
FANS : Take it to the bridge
FANS : A show for anyone who's ever loved music
FANS: We will rock you
FANS : We will rock you
FANS: This time play it in Green Day colours
FANS : This time play it in Green Day colours
FANS : We're already a band
FANS: Another album cover shot
FANS : Another album cover shot
FANS: Rock star family
FANS : Rock star family
FANS: Rock n roll
FANS : Rock n roll
FANS: This is how it's done
FANS : We brought our own instruments
FANS: Some fast fretwork
FANS : In search of the lost chord

Come see us on tour!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

FANS: not a review, exactly @thesixtwenty

It sounded as if the audience had a great evening judging by the noise they made.

The same for the FANS on stage, Chris Foley, Charlie Raine, Andrew Bleakley and Alex Tahnee. Playing Chris, Charlie, Andrew and Meghan.

The show was written by Nina Berry and directed by Melanie Rashbrooke who together co-created the original idea. Chris Foley is the show's musical director. Stage lighting and soundscaping is by Craig Spence.

It was a brilliant way to spend an evening (or in my case four evenings and most of four afternoons).

The concept of gig theatre is to make a theatre experience like going to a gig. Attract a different audience to the theatre. A great idea of creative producer Graeme Thompson and others at Live Theatre to experiment by letting their attractive front of house be -er- adapted to provide a more gig venue like experience.

From "BAR" in masking tape on the floor, to posters of past gigs on the wall, listening booths and a chance to strike the pose with a guitar and microphone. But more of that in another post.

Let's hope a few fledging bands started here.

Here's a few pictures from the show.

Charlie's early emo phase (and Andrew with a Fan)

Chris plays the blues instead of Green Day for a moment

Andrew waits massively for the teardrop to explode

Meghan/Alex hits a new and rather funky bass-line

Here's my shortened extract from what The Stage has written:

"An energetic mash up of theatre and live gig, Fans is an insightful and often very funny exploration of the love of music: the bands and singers who move us, and why.

A fledgling band’s rehearsal is derailed by a debate as to their name. Madonna-mad Charlie wants to pay tribute to her icon, which doesn’t go down well with Green Day-obsessed Chris. Meghan has such expansive, eclectic tastes she finds it impossible to narrow down, while peacemaker Andrew is caught in the middle.

Each of them gives us their musical biography, punctuated by snatches of songs, a mix of classics and original pieces, cleverly used (all played and sung live by the cast).

Inspired by real-life recorded ‘confessions’ there is no earth-shattering drama here: more common experiences, pleasingly played out, from embarrassing emo phases to the bittersweet anxiety and anticipation of making someone a mix tape.

Fluidly directed .. with enormous charm (and) performed with verve by an immensely likeable cast."

Come see it on tour!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

FANS: Staging it

Here's one of the stage, mostly set up but with the EB-L25000U light projection only in experimental use. Projection on to two textured walls in the right font was one challenge, then adding another 50 cues to the show for back projection.

Then, to save complications when moving it around, swapping the original vinyl record player for another one that's battery operated.

Almost time for the wristbands.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

FANS - the preparation

Time to be getting ready for the next tour of FANS. There's the boxes of flyers, on suitably high quality stock. The kind that is almost difficult to fold.

And there's different versions for Live Theatre and for the touring theatres. The boxes have already been dispatched, with a unit cost of about £15 per box per venue in shipping. Different from Fringe when it was possible to have the entire shipment sent straight to the venue.

The little badges arrived with Just-In-Time delivery. We designed them on Tuesday morning ready for the show on Wednesday. They're being made in Scotland and then shipped to the venue. Same for the paper cannons.

The stage gets some new technology including a guitar pack radio sender and a new radio mike as well as a stage-based practical vinyl record player. Not forgetting the new smoke machine. No warm up time on this one - instant haze.

Then there's the blinders. Admittedly hired, they could do a decent substitute for the sun. But instead of 'set to stun' they'll be used on just 10% setting.

Expect a few days of marketing from the various twitter accounts. Here's blinders on 10%.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

let them eat cake (but #nobribes)

How wrong can one be? I predicted a few days ago that the bribes would be starting around now related to Brexit.

My paltry doughnuts were clearly not visionary enough.

Admittedly I'd already spotted the cheap tax regime to be offered to foreign investors by the Tories. I'd even commented about the equivalent of 'beads for the natives', but I'd missed the grand thinking to create a new Festival of Britain (including Scotland still, and Northern Ireland and Wales obvs.)

Why would one need to have a People's Vote when there is the offer of a Festival? Whilst it could be partly financed by the public purse (allow £2 per UK person = £120 million). If street parties were added then the rest would be sort of free, especially if it was held over a long weekend.

The money involved is a drop in the ocean compared with the new outgoing associated with the DExEU and all the new controlling departments. Latest figures are pushing towards a new on-cost of about £27bn per annum which is about £1k per household (excluding the very rich etc). I expect it will all change again though, what with another budget coming up after the conference season.

The Maybot is self-rebooting and runs on a self-laying track. It's harder to defuse than that bomb in the Bodyguard.

But I'm wondering if the whole scheme is as deranged derailed as BoJo the Clown (seen in picture with Top Hat Toff clown) thinks, then what happens? The Clowns don't really have a better class of bribe. Some of them are clutching at vanity projects in the absence of anything sensible.

I keep seeing the one-liner suggestions from 2016 swirling around with some light repackaging. It's as if no-one involved has done any real work over the last two years. All too busy keeping heads down in disillusioned jobs in disrupted departments following disingenuous policy.

It's a well known myth that Marie Antoinette didn't really say the cake/brioche line about the peasants having no bread so they'd jolly well have to eat cake.

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

Our modern equivalent of the cake story needs one of those tag lines too. Something snappy about being continuously lied to around decisions were are supposed to have made ourselves, then converting dubious action into a misappropriated will of the people in order to gather political power.

"Qu'ils mangent les mensonge alors que nous saisissons le pouvoir."

Let them eat lies while we seize power.

Not as snappy in my pidgin French, but wait.