In and out of work
September - December 2014
This entry is dedicated to the memory of Mrs McGlumphy of Arbroath, who sadly passed away after a month of headaches and health scares.
PITF has come and gone. I couldn’t think of anything else in the weeks preceding it, my gear is cleaned and organised (there’s a cubic foot of dust in the vacuum filter) and now I’m anticipating the next one like a cat waiting for supper.
September kicked off with a charity night organised by John Justice & Ross McGillivray of The Pillars Bar & Salty Dog Dundee. With Ross DJing, I was asked to supply some lights for the evening. Everything went according to plan, weirdly.
XSLF, Ganked & The Cundeez at The Ploo Inn
In true style, I had no gigs for ages and then was asked to work several on the same night. Having already agreed to a gig at The Plough Inn, I kept my promise. Now I know what a Cajon is. And I got trolled by a demanding performer; he cupped the mic and asked me to fix the feedback it was causing, he asked me to fix his monitor, but after I did so, he unplugged it the second my back was turned. How odd.
Some friendly advice: specify monitor mixes - sound engineers cannot read minds, also don’t berate the engineer 2 beats into a song after you told him you don’t want anything in your monitor, turn up for sound-check - and finally, don’t call the sound tech “OI! MR SOUND PERSON”
Some other (unrelated) advice I can give: agree on pay rates before starting a project, even if it’s for a mate. Take a down payment. Also, clear communication from the money man helps, no “decision by committee”. Make sure the client actually understands what you’ve told them. Also, itemise your invoice - this demonstrates the requirements of outside services and products. For media industry stuff, be clear on who owns what rights to what material. Lastly, if someone tries to tell you that your services aren’t worth the going rate, run away.
Check out this Glenn Fricker video on how to avoid being screwed in Pro Audio. And why you’ll probably make more money by selling hand-jobs than live recordings.
Salty Dog Festival of House
I’ve been involved with a different kind of FOH, adding lights to an already-festive Salty Dog.
In The Salty Dog (Pillars Lounge) I’d I’d used Vite pods, a mirror ball, lasers, moonflowers, clubs scans, powered speakers and Pioneer DJ decks - which were also fed into the Salty’s PA system. This was nothing compared to the Fat Sams main event - where I was able to catch up with a lighting designer friend before he left the country for bigger things.
DD8 Music Bonfire Night & Korova Conspiracy
I supplied lights for DD8 Music up the hill at Camera Obscura. I was trying to do 2 gigs at once: DD8 Bonfire night, and the Korova Conspiracy at The Salty Dog. I can confirm the existence of The McEwan’s Cavalier Man, and that he drinks Tennent’s.
Panto: The “M” Word
Panto season once again, and I feel content. The month of regular work that played to my skills & experience was very much appreciated, along with the familiar faces & collectively engaging production cast/crew alike.
My follow spot burnt out, mid-cue. I remember thinking “this smells a bit hotter than usual…” After noticing “heat haze lines” above the spot and the strobing/flickering effect that the cooling fan was causing - I feared the worst; the fan had failed and the lamp was overheating.
I waited for the unit to cool, swapped out the ballast and re-struck the lamp. Everything was fine, for 5 minutes. The fan would happily run on its own, but with the lamp struck, would stutter and eventually die after about 5 minutes. Awaiting the arrival of the replacement spotlight, I tried adopting a system of anticipating a stand-by, and using this to strike the ballast/lamp, completing the cue and powering down before the fan had a chance to die again. Who uttered The “M” Word?
“The Giant’s Power Is Waning”
A favourite quote from Matt McGinn (Coldplay’s Roadie): “Don’t start to think you’re cool - because that’s when things blow up”. It happened to me. It’s probably superstition like informing bees when someone dies, but at the risk of all my bees sodding off, I wouldn’t chance it. Does one tell each and every single bee, or just the hive in general?
“The Giant’s Power Is Waning” was my cue to run down from the spot bridge and join the crew backstage to help with a scene change. I once let a cloud slip out of my hands, causing the Dame to leap-frog over me.
Around this time, I was asked by DD8 Music to help with lights for a Santa’s Grotto for a local primary school. As I make a point of not taking pictures around kids for obvious reasons, I’ll show you our Green Room instead - which I decorated in much the same fashion.
My Secret Santa at The Webster Theatre gave me an LED torch. How did they know?
Perty In Alyth
Doing lighting for people means I’m invited to parties, and this time we were off to Alyth and The Burnside Inn. Hangovers all round.
I’m still waiting for Triage to provide that “Rapid Workplace Re-entry Support” they promised me after finishing my stint at the Panto LAST YEAR. Maybe Santa brought them some computers that actually work.
Listening to Morrissey, Big Country, GRiZ, GutterGodz, The Chris Slade Timeline, Pink Floyd, J Majik & Wickaman, Around 7 and New Atlantic.
It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll.