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Jen

[ website | My drumming website ]
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clo 3 clo [Nov. 3rd, 2014|10:41 pm]
Jen


here's the actual pic. Doh!

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(no subject) [Sep. 12th, 2014|04:49 pm]
Jen

Last night I was due to leave before bathtime to go out. Drummybaby hates me going out...

 

"Mummy is going to go out after this song"
(watching The Lonely Goatherd for the millionth time)

 

Cue Drummybaby climbing onto my lap and clinging on so I can't get up.  When it ends, Internetsdairy says:

 

"OK, you can watch ONE more song AFTER mummy goes out"

 

Drummybaby scrambles off my lap and pushes on my legs.  "Mummy, you can go out NOW".

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(no subject) [May. 31st, 2013|10:59 am]
Jen
Oh yes, one more thing. On Twitter I saw a link to this:

http://help.elc.co.uk/help/products/toys_gifts/pink_blue?rating=0

Why do you sell products in pink and blue?

They cite 'studies' 'according to child psychologists'.

I wrote to them asking for what peer-reviewed studies they are referring to, and as an ex employee (Kensington High St, '91-'93) it was very dissapointing to read their explanation.

I got an email back thanking me for my feedback, saying it's important for boys to have 'caring' toys and girls to have 'active' toys yadda yadda yadda, but no actual answer to my question. And that they would pass my comments on to the product teams.

So I wrote back saying they hadn't answered my question, and they should take the misleading information down. No response so far.
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Drum lesson [Aug. 22nd, 2012|09:57 am]
Jen
Late drum lesson last night - 9pm is pretty much the only time I can do as I have to put Drummybaby to bed and then get up to camden. At the moment it's OK because internetsdairy is off work, and kindly allows me to sleep in on Wednesday, which is my day at home, but when he goes back to work that won't happen. Hopefully when he can also put her to bed later this year I can move to an earlier time - maybe after work.

Logistics aside, and after an awkward seeming double booking (awkward for the other guy who got the time wrong), we spent most of the lesson on stick control. Funny how no matter how good you get there is always room for improvement. My stick height should be a lot more consistent. I'm sure internetsdairy won't mind me tapping on some pillows during TV time - proably the best/only time I have to work on that.

On the kit, we did some etudes, and then a song with a cheesy 70's hard rock vibe with 16ths on the hi hat. Again, my sticking isn't consistent so I should work on being more even, so I don't ruin the feel with 8th note accents. It wasn't too hard to read through the music, and there were some neat little fills, so that should be fun to practice if I get the time in the next few weeks.

I was telling L that it's nice to just focus on getting better for my technique, as for a long time I had been letting that slip to do band stuff. He said that's the way with everyone. But going 'back to basics' reminds me of how and why I started, and it's nice.
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Tube ride [Aug. 21st, 2012|10:07 pm]
Jen
This evening I had two 'intrusions' on my space on the tube home from work. Now the Olympics is finished (and the Paralympics haven't yet started), things have reverted to normal protocol and people are much more distant.

Anyway, the first was a guy with a beat up guitar. Maybe a hipster. He had a song about how he wasn't a beggar but give him 50p that I didn't think was very good, but his voice wasn't bad. He was very outgoing so I avoided eye contact since I didn't want to engage with him thus become a show for the whole carriage. Anyway, some people liked it, and it cheered them up I guess, so I was conflicted - I wouldn't pay 50p to someone who's music was leaking from their headphones, but fair play to a musician trying to earn a living. Anyway, he did ask a lady what she was into - was it the Spice Girls? And I kind of wished he'd asked me so I could have said The Dead Kennedys or something (I look like a completely normal non-musician in my work garb).

Musicians! Do you like or not like buskers on tube trains?


The second was on the next line, I saw a lady go for my regular seat on the Northern Line, but there was a seat next to her (my only option if I didn't want to sit in the Priority Seat). My coat and bag went everywhere, and I turned to apologise. She said my name and I realised it was one of my good mummy friends who I hadn't seen since June, and who's number I had lost! How nice! So we had a catch-up and potentially became an intrusion for some of the other passengers who didn't want to hear a conversation interrupting their home tube time.
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(no subject) [Aug. 3rd, 2012|11:54 am]
Jen
Part 4 of internetsdairy's analysis of In the night garden.
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(no subject) [Jul. 26th, 2012|10:18 am]
Jen
internetsdairy is watching a lot of CBeebies at the moment.

What are they putting in the coffee at Jitterbugs Café I wonder.
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Local alternative press night out! and girl punk bands [Jun. 18th, 2012|08:45 pm]
Jen
Saturday night I went out to the Tooting Progressive Club, because I got a FB invite to the Tooting Free Press Launch Party, it was FREE, and it was only 10 minutes from my house (shortcut discovered whilst getting to know the local area for the last 8 months pushing a pram around). So much easier to go out when I don't have to spend an hour getting into town and back. Nights out around here ARE pretty rare so I was doubly-interested in going.

I'd walked past the Progressive Club (on Amen Corner) and wondered what it was, so it was great to be able to satisfy my curiosity, too.

The Tooting Free Press is a new alternative newspaper put together by some artists, writers, etc, and it's free. I think they're going to distribute it around London, as they said it's not about Tooting, just based there. I was thinking it's kind of like The Stool Pigeon, but not for music. Anyway, the launch party was really great, there was a reading of one of the pieces in the paper by a lovely grandmother who wrote it, and a performance by Chris T-T, who I know I really like but last got to see him in like 2000 at a tiny Betsey Trottwood gig. He did some A A Milne inspired songs along with a few of his normal ones. And of course lots of free copies of the paper, which I'm slowly reading through between nappy changes.

The other free thing on offer was a fanzine put together by Rachael House about a "legendary" girl punk band called the Hissterics. (jinty, isn't Rachel someone in your circle?) Anyway, it is really interesting, especially in light of this BBC Punk Season, as it talks alot about all the girl punk bands that no one ever talks about any more. The fanzine is a quest to find information about the band, and to be honest after reading it I'm still not sure if they actually existed, but that's really cool in itself. Plus, as an old riot grrrl there's a few mentions of that, and it's pretty interesting to read about the previous generation in the 70's. I *know* I should have read up on all that at the time, but better late than never, right? It also talks a bit about the Hackney squat scene of the 80s which I saw the tail end of as a naiive, intimidated-but-intrigued 16 year old girl. I'm not sure how people could get a copy on the internet, but it's got an ISBN number and probably is in the small press section of some book or record shops... Anyway if you see it and are interested in feminist girl bands that have been "forgotten" then I recommend it!
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Gymboree! [Mar. 21st, 2012|12:48 pm]
Jen
Still nap training. I think I've got another 10 minutes before I have to be on wake-up alert. Thought I'd write down yesterday's Gymboree session. It's a place where you take your babies and kids to play, sing songs, run around, etc. I've signed drummybaby up to the 0-6 months class, where it's more about sensory experiences and 'tummy time'.

Anyway, yesterday was our third time. Previously, when there was a break-out session they'd play soothing music (usually Chinese pop or something). We had a different teacher yesterday, and the first break-out session (while the babies were all on their tummies gathered around a mirror, looking at spinning balls, their reflections and each other), they played Rick Astley. Hadn't heard it for 20 years! Do people still listen to him all the time or what?

Then, one of the songs we did with the babies was "Charlie Chaplin went to France, taught the babies how to dance". The rhumba (while we moved their arms), the kicks (their legs - Can-Can!), the samba (again arms) and the splits.

Second break-out session you go to different parts of the room to try out different stuff - I took Drummybaby over to some drums, of course. It was special Kids Percussion, by Remo, who are a proper drum company. There was zebras and giraffes on the sides. I wouldn't mind my grown-up kit having that kind of design...

After that, we all stood in a circle with our babies and the instructor blowed bubbles. What really cracked me up was that the song on the speakers was "Waiting for a star to fall", a cheesy, uplifting tune, again from the 80's. I guess the babies were meant to go away saying - "oh yeah, great show - and when they released the bubbles, man it was amAZing!"

It finished off with a clown hand-puppet called Gymbo that we had to sing a song with and wave in our babies faces. Hope I'm not giving her a life-long fear of clowns. However, she did seem to enjoy it when Gymbo gave her little kisses. Hm..
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12 pounds and 14 weeks [Jan. 17th, 2012|05:20 pm]
Jen
Sooo, Drummybaby had a weigh-in and has gained enough weight that I can put her down to sleep at 10pm and just see when she wakes up in the night for a feed. It could be 1am. It could be 4am. It could even be 6am! I'm looking forward to potentially more than a 3 hour stretch of sleep tonight. We go back in a few weeks for another weight check. I hope that we're over the worst, time will tell. Still having issues during the day, I have posted on La Leche League website forum for some more tips, and my friend T has given me a lactation consultant's number, and I've been told about another NHS feeding clinic in the area that I'll visit on Friday. Yesterday I discovered if I put a large blanket over Drummybaby AND me that she will do a longer feed if she's awake. Thanks, dawnage for the muslin tip! It gets a bit warm though...

I was a bit worried about the weekend because I was leaving Drummybaby with internetsdairy for two whole afternoons to go off and do some recording. So I stockpiled some milk and hoped she would feed enough when I was gone. She did feed once each afternoon, but something went wrong on the Saturday and she cried for TWO whole hours until I got home. I phoned home from the studio and heard her crying which was heartbreaking, and she was inconsolable when I got home. Well, I say inconsolable but I fed her and she calmed right down, although was quite grumpy and clingy to me the rest of the evening and we had to skip bathtime. I'm supposed to do 4 gigs in a row in April, I wonder how bad that is going to be (although I'll come home half-way through for the afternoon& back home after the gig that night, so only a 36 hour stretch maximum of being away). I think she needs a LOT more Daddy time without me or it'll be unbearable for everyone.

The recording went.... OK I think. Compared to my previous standard, I was terrible, but seeing as I'd rehearsed the songs with the band about 3 times each, and had had maximum 4 hours home practice on e-drums the whole autumn, it was amazing that I could play at all. It was VERY hard to focus because I'm so tired. And I missed Drummybaby! But I was able to keep in time to the click without too much difficulty. And I *think* my ideas were interesting enough. I had to do a lot of it in bits, and I believe they'll be using super-duper software to put lots of takes together as I didn't do a whole good take. And the starts of the songs were quite weak until I got into the groove of it so had to do a lot of starts to get everything right. But I did it. The hardest part (technically) was when they asked me to improvise on one of the songs because what I'd prepared was a bit too busy. I'm rubbish at improvising. But they got enough down to use or at least to modify in whatever way will fit the song.

It is actually really difficult to do anything not related to baby-rearing at the moment, and hard in ways I hadn't imagined. Like, even if the logistics work out, it is emotionally draining. On one hand, I'll tell myself that she needs to get used to me not being around sometimes, and on the other hand, I'll be thinking how little she is, and how feral, (like one of the dachshunds!) that she just won't understand why I'm not around and won't know that I'm coming back at all.

It was weird to be in Brixton, wandering around somewhere I'd lived 10 years before, seeing people out who didn't have babies, and not having my baby with me, like I'd travelled back in time to my late-20's self.
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quiet night in! [Dec. 15th, 2011|09:08 pm]
Jen
internetsdairy has gone out so I am having a quiet night in. Slightly more work in a QNI than before Drummybaby came along! Logistics of bathing, then trying to coax a grumpy baby to sleep, then have my dinner, etc, has filled up a lot of time. We don't have a proper routine yet, only just put the cot up today, so it's all a bit hit and miss. Luckily, whatever crying or grumpyness seems to be over by 8pm-ish and she's going in the baby bouncer for a few hours (to guarantee a sound sleep) before transferring to basket/cot at 10... For the past few nights I've cut short crying by sticking her in the baby sling which always sends her to sleep. Right now, the room lights are very low but I can hear some gentle snoring. Hurrah. I think in the next few days we'll start putting her in the cot straight away and endure the crying..

I had an exciting day! I met up with dawnage and we took our babies to see some art: Jeff Wall at the white cube. Babies slept right through the cultural experience, although they seemed to enjoy the sofa at a cafe beforehand.

Is it Christmas next week? I seem to have missed any Xmas stuff this year - only TV ads are keeping me up to date. I'm not that interested in the festive season, am keeping everything to a bare minimum. Might make some mince pies though. That means it's my birthday next week too. Again, I'm not that interested in it (I'll be 40!). Haven't really had any time to organise any big celebrations, and I got what I really wanted this year anyway! Maybe I'll celebrate 41, or defer until 50...
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(no subject) [Dec. 5th, 2011|06:32 pm]
Jen
I keep on thinking of things I could post here but not getting the time to do it. Things are ticking along here, I'm getting out and about most days, which is helpful. I find that if I don't, it's more stressful since it's difficult to get Drummybaby to nap unless we're going somewhere in the pram or baby sling, or I allow her to nap on me. So a day in means by the end of the day, she's crying, I'm tired, and no one has napped that well.

Today I took her to my work (boss promised to buy me lunch if I brought her in!). I had a very pleasant journey to Canary Wharf - first time ever, probably! Since my route used stations with lifts, the only hard part of the journey was getting the pram off/on the train at Waterloo - those trains are so much higher than the platforms!

In a few days I'm going to drive us up to Norwich, it'll be my first car trip with Drummybaby, so hopefully the carseat works ok. Hopefully I won't be too sleep-deprived for the drive over.

Well, I was going to write more but she's woken up 10 mins after I put her down in the baby bouncer (she was asleep on me before that), so gotta go.
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(no subject) [Nov. 24th, 2011|03:52 pm]
Jen
I seem to have the sleepiest baby in the world at the moment. Drummybaby has just learned to suck her thumb, and she's gone from not wanting to nap anywhere but on us to napping wherever, whenever, in the last day or 2. This could be temporary, or it could mean that she'll be up all night - who can say? * I know I should sleep when she sleeps but I'm enjoying having my hands free for once to do stuff. By the time I finish looking at the computer she'll probably wake up.

6 weeks in and I finally feel I'm getting somewhere. At least, I've resigned myself to a lot of things like early wake up times, no naps, etc which has made me much more chilled out. Plus, I have figured out how to get out of the house, go somewhere, and feed/change Drummybaby while we're out so I feel like my life is coming back, with the addition of cute baby. (I think if internetsdairy hadn't had so much time off I'd be quite a few weeks back in the progress I've made so far). Still haven't managed to find any parent/baby stuff to do or mummy friends, but I'll see if I can find something soonish.

I have been reading friends lists while feeding/middle of the night/etc, so feel like I'm up to date with all of you, which is nice. I've managed to see a good amount of friends, and my boss promises me a free lunch if I come in to show off the baby. Might do that in the next few weeks. Upcoming challenges are: getting her to take a bottle of expressed milk, and getting to grips with a carseat to go up to Norwich in a few weeks.

Not been keeping up with much else, aside from Frozen Planet, Nevermind the Buzzcocks, University Challenge, X Factor and the occasional Grand Designs. I have been watching the news, but forget it as soon as it's over (except for maybe the item that says we're on track for the worst case scenario for climate change).

I had another rehearsal with the band and that went fine too, even though it was brief again. Something about having a baby around means I've make a lot of efficiencies in stuff (i.e. around the house) which appears to have translated to the drumming too. So I've been making plans for recording and playing gigs next year. I think it will be a lot of effort but I love drumming *nearly* as much as Drummybaby so I want to try. Still not managed a practice at home, but if she keeps up her sleeping schedule, then I might manage something.

*edit It meant she was up all night. Will have to ignore the rule "never wake a sleeping baby" in future so she doesn't sleep all day..
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(no subject) [Sep. 12th, 2011|09:48 am]
Jen
Had a brief visit to town on Saturday, it's been a while since I've gone to Trafalgar Square in the day/weekend. The Olympic Clock was underwhelming. I'm disappointed that the space in front of the National Gallery seems to be colonised by human statues and buskers. Also that the crowd seemed to prefer a human contortionist to a very good steel drum player (who had no one watching). I suppose whenever a space is created in London for pedestrians something has to fill the vacuum.

We went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP award. Discovered the basement café is really nice, glass roof under the pavement has leaves falling on it now.

I may change a couple of my consumerist habits. X-factor - it wouldn't be disappointing this year except for the fact that it seems to be all ads! There's an audition, then an ad, then another audition, then an ad. Is that actually fine with the viewing public? I felt like I was in the States! If I need a fix I should use 'watch again'. And, the Friday guardian is much better than the Saturday one, in terms of that's where all the music reviews are (seems to be all the old Melody Maker journalists writing for it). Now Spotifying all the stuff mentioned in it, a good way to hear new stuff.

The most exciting thing this weekend is that I was invited to a coffee morning on my street on Sunday. For charity, so it was £1 a cake which I was more than happy to pay. Nice to meet some neighbours but they didn't have many attendees, so it was a bit sad they had masses of cakes with no one to eat them. They had a Victrola in the flat, and tried playing a Frank Sinatra record, but those machines are pretty hard to operate, I guess, because all they could get out was a Chipmunk-Frank. Hee hee. It was a beautiful record player, maybe we all should get one for when they run out of electricity.
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(no subject) [Sep. 6th, 2011|02:19 pm]
Jen
I have a question on converting DVD files to a computer - has anyone done this before?

the files are .vob (although there's .ifo and .bup files on the disc too) and I want to get them into Microsoft Movie Maker (or whatever's on Windows at the moment..)

I can open them in Movie Maker, play and chop them up, but not save them as anything.

Any help would be appreciated!
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(no subject) [Aug. 30th, 2011|10:40 am]
Jen
Let me see, what can I write about. Builders still in, but they'll be done in a few weeks. They even come in on Saturdays, sometimes! At least there's always Sunday for a lie-in, and this weekend, Monday.

We went out to see Project Nim on Sunday night. It's by the same guy who did Man on Wire, which is an incredible film. Project Nim is about an experiment to teach a chimp sign language in the 70's. It was a good film, although slightly upsetting in places because back in the 70's people were more unaware of animal rights. Some really wacky stuff in it!

The other think I was thinking is that I've been trying to listen to albums on my ipod rather than just play on Shuffle all the time, because you don't really hear everything if it's shuffling. I listened to Warpaint the other day - I had got the album 'cause I'd heard them do 'Undertow' acoustically and really liked it. But I was disappointed in the album - all the songs have the same production, the same effect, the same backing vocals, and almost sound the same! (good drumming, though). It sounds really dated - like mid-80's american or something. The problem with digital downloads is that you can't sell on the LP/CD for some pennies if you don't like something!
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(no subject) [Aug. 22nd, 2011|12:41 pm]
Jen
I'm doing the weekend update thing these days.. It was a pretty good one! I went out to see the Hungarian photography exhibition at the Royal Academy with an old friend. That was really good, and I recommend it a lot. There's a lot more than just Brassai to look at, all very interesting. Disappointed with the RA's food options at the moment, though! It's either an expensive sit-down meal at the Restaurant, or the outside café that doesn't have much in it beyond Pimms. We went over to the Waterstones café which was reasonable and yummy, with added amusement of a man at a table next to us trying to cut something on his plate oblivious to how that was causing his wine to splash all over the place. Also, apparently Jeremy Clarkson was in there but my friend only told me after. I always miss the celeb-spot!

After the photography, my friend took me to Dover Street Market for a coffee, as they do very nice cakes in the top-floor café. It's basically like the old Kensington Market for High Fashion - I looked idly at a faux fur stole and saw the pricetag was £5000! No thank you! But the coffee and cake was indeed very good, kind of a health-food café which I guess would work for people who shopped there, needing to be super-thin to wear all those expensive clothes.

I tried to go to the sewing shop at Tooting Bec after that, but they were closed at 4.50! What an odd closing time. Looking at the rest of the week, they seem to have weird closing hours for the whole week. If i ever make it in there when they're open again, I may have to be nosey and ask why! I DID make it home in time for X factor - I'll probably end up watching it again this year, even though it wasn't as good - one act, ad break, another act, another ad break.. X-tra factor was almost better value.

Yesterday was spent baking muffins and then afternoon in a park with lots of nice people and sunshine. I got a lot of sun - it made me so sleepy I fell asleep during 'Ocean's Giants' later that evening, and missed some crucial whale-facts. I may have to watch again. Amazing how cute massive whales can look though - I did see a bit where people were whale watching and going crazy over a grey whale encounter, kissing it and stuff. Barnacles! Ow!
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(no subject) [Aug. 2nd, 2011|12:27 pm]
Jen
Not posted in a while! Or seems like that. Anyway, here has mostly been building works, which means a trip up to see sweetpizza last weekend was good timing to get to a normal house without dust sheets up everywhere. It was very relaxing, and when we were out we got to see Norwich Gay Pride, which was a surprisingly big parade for a small town. My nephew enjoyed it, although I think his favourite bit was the large Unison balloon. We got to sit in their garden on Sunday, and played a lot of silly hide and seek games - at his age you don't really need to hide at all.

We started watching 'Show me the Funny' which is like X-Factor for comedy. Without the emotional life stories and tension building pauses. It's actually quite good. Sorts out Monday nights quite nicely.

In reading news, I read a review of "In Defence of the Dog" which is a science-y book on dog breeding and training, and attempts to trace how dogs were domesticated. The author has quite strong views on the whole 'dominance' thing, apparently that is not really how dogs operated. He is NOT impressed with the Dog Whisperer, let's just say that. I'm finding the book really interesting.

We also went to 'Hyper Japan' at Olympia the other weekend - it was quite crowded and internetsdairy said that most of the stuff you can get in the Japan Centre in London, but it was still interesting. I got to eat some yummy food (after eating some not very nice food because it was drenched in mayo and barbecue sauce), look longingly at the heated toilet seats (probably too expensive and energy in-efficient to get for home), and try out a robotic hand. It's funny how I was not really interested in going to Japan until I went to play some gigs in April. (I'd been when I was 13 with my parents and stayed on a U.S. military compound, and it didn't seem that interesting to me) Now I'd really like to go there on a proper holiday. Maybe sometimes you just have to see something to appreciate it.
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(no subject) [Jul. 11th, 2011|01:22 pm]
Jen
Recently read a book and saw a TV program about songwriting. I play drums so I don't have to do any songwriting, but I'm still really interested in the process. (This isn't to say I couldn't do songwriting as a drummer, but I'm not interested, even though I tried in my 20's because I thought I should, as a musician. All my songs were terrible).

So I read a book about Joe Meek, and his initial obsession was with electronics equipment, and then he went on to music, and music production. The music industry in the 50's was geared towards manufacturing hits, and Joe Meek seemed to have a few but a lot more misses. He's still regarded as ahead of his time and extremely influential - I wouldn't have wanted to work with him, though, sounds like he had a lot of personality problems..

Then on Saturday night I watched a TV programme about songwriting now. It was interesting to see a lot of parallels with Joe Meek's world, but also odd to see Mark Ronson and others sitting in studios trying to come up with a hit song, collaboratively. It seems to work a lot, but the example they showed was of a song that I didn't think was really good. Unfortunately, it stuck in my head for a few days! It must be a hit then, right? Interesting to see ex-Razorlight drummer in on that session, so they can hear the demo with drums. I noticed he wasn't in the live band when they tested the song out, but I guess that's how they do it for pop music.

In other news I had a really quiet weekend. I failed to make it out to the Deptford Beach Babes gig which is a shame, but I was not motivated to go more than a mile or so away from home, and that was all the way in East London! So my weekend involved cooking Sunday Lunch (a lemon and garlic chicken!), moseying around Tooting (and visiting that big Sewing/Haberdashery shop!), and working out how to use double-pointed needles for knitting. You have to use 4 needles!
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(no subject) [Jul. 1st, 2011|03:03 pm]
Jen
My goodness it's been an exciting day!

I'm working from home, and I had a visit from British Gas to service the boiler! Everything's fine, and I got a Carbon Monoxide detector from them. The man used to be a drummer so we had a nice chat about my e-drums, and how he wanted to get some so he could teach his daughter how to play.

A man delivered our repaired TV - we've been without one for 3 weeks!

Aaaand, we got our planning permission through to convert our loft! We can go full steam ahead, expect to see many dull posts about this until September.

Somehow I don't think I'm going to get very far with the rest of my work for today...
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(no subject) [Jun. 30th, 2011|10:24 pm]
Jen
[Tags|]

Hm, so what else has been happening for the past few weeks? I went out in Wimbledon Village on a Friday night, didn't know it would be so lively. But the tennis is on, and young rich people have to let their hair down somewhere, right? We ended up in Giraffe on the terrace watching revellers pass by while it poured down with rain.

Had a nice time celebrating my_name_is_anna's birthday, a nice opportunity to see some people I hadn't seen in quite a while.

Then last Sunday we met some friends in Euston, and for the first time ever I made it into the Wellcome Centre. I have been meaning to go in for years. Only made it to the café, but I can work my way up to the exhibitions in a few years. It was lovely. Sat around in a nearby park, visited the British Library, and got to make an obligatory trip to St Pancras which I like to do whenever I'm nearby. I'm easy to please, OK?

At work I seem to have been on a lot of training courses - this is all career-coaching 'soft skills'. So I've learned to manage my time better (never wait for people to come to meetings), how to problem solve (don't automatically use your first idea), and this week, how two coach the people I manage better. The last one over the past few days was really good, right up until the end. We were going to look at a career-coaching exercise, and I thought I might find it useful, because I was with a lot of non-IT, fairly experienced managers. However, we paired up, and we paired up like you do at school - pick someone you want to work with. I didn't get anyone to play with, wah! The one guy left was the same as me - we were supposed to think of our ideal job and work from there, but to be honest, if I knew what my ideal job was, I would be doing it! So I left with a downcast feeling.

I had a few drum lessons, have forgotten what was in the one in the middle of June, so I"d better write down today"s for future referenceCollapse )
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Bristol gig [Jun. 21st, 2011|09:23 pm]
Jen
Last weekend was the Monochrome Set in Bristol, at the dramatically-named The Thunderbolt. In reality it was a cute little Victorian retro-Tudor pub with a lovely beer garden. The venue was out of the centre of town, but extremely easy to get to from the station. In fact, after all the airport-faffing and 4am starts, and van-hiring for London it was logistically one of the most pleasant trips of the year. Just hopped on a train for a few hours with some cymbals.

We stayed in a guest-house that was near the venue, which was basic but comfortable. There was tea and coffee making facilities, and the TV had channels 1-4 plus a Chinese channel, which made for interesting viewing post-gig.

Back at the venue at 6 for soundcheck, the sound desk was on a ridiculously high stack of equipment, and we wondered whether we were going to get a 10 foot tall soundman or whether he was going to wear stilts. (In the end, I think there was a little platform for him to stand on). The room was tiny - it was sold out at 150 people - but there was still a nice elevated stage with a drum riser.

After soundcheck was the requisite meal, I had to get back to the venue fairly early to make sure that I could get backstage between support bands to fetch my makeup - the only way backstage was over the stage, and I thought it might be a *bit* rude to go when the other bands played. I saw The Westfield Mining Disaster's set, it was very lovely, nice harmonies going on there. Plus, the drummer was excellent and a really lovely man who allowed me to use his drumkit, including snare and pedal.

The teeny venue was packed, to the extent that there were some people waiting outside for non-guaranteed 'returns' (they got in in the end, as I saw them inside after), and it was very warm! The set went really well and the audience were very enthusiastic. In the first encore, the venue owner helpfully told us we could turn on a couple of fans perched on the speakers.

Drumming-wise, it's the best I've played, finally sorted out quite a lot of little technical hitches. I like the feeling of being 'at work', and prepared so that I had my mic stand ready at the right points, knew what song was coming next, etc, while still enjoying the drumming. (As an aside, when I was in Linus, we had a drummer that told an interviewer that he loved being 'lost in the moment' so that he could feel amazing while he was playing. Personally, I think this is the wrong way to be because you'll miss important stuff - which was borne out by the fact that he never listened to us and couldn't keep time!)

I didn't manage to take many pictures, just one of a sold-out sign, so I've got a link to someone's video of Straights of Malacca here. We only played it once before - in Tokyo, which might explain I'm less smiley than usual in this video because I had to concentrate a bit more.



After the gig, did some t-shirt selling, chatting, and back to the hotel for some relaxing in front of Chinese TV. All in all, a fun little trip.
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(no subject) [Jun. 17th, 2011|04:07 pm]
Jen
I get to do the 5 question meme! Questions courtesy of shewho

1. What is your favourite style of music to play on the drums? Why?

Ooh, this is a hard question! Playing drums in general makes me happy, and I'm not too fussy as long as I like the song. I know I don't like it when I have to play percussion (because I'm rubbish at it) or just a snare drum/orchestral drumming, although perhaps if I played in a marching band it might be fun.

I think I'll say my favourite style is latin drumkit, even though I hardly do any of it at all. It usually takes ages to work out the co-ordination for it (generally all 4 limbs end up playing a different thing), and it can sound not terrible & quite groovy even if you're rubbish at that style, as opposed to jazz where the co-ordination is difficult and it really does sound bad if you're not good at it. Having learned a few latin patterns has been really helpful in making my normal 'indie' drumming more interesting.

2. What do you do for a living? is it where you thought you'd be when you were younger?

I manage a team that fixes desktop computers in an Investment Bank. It's actually intellectually interesting, and these days I am not so frustrated by the fact that it can be stressful and not as fun as being a musician for a living.
I had no idea what I wanted to do, ever. I didn't think I'd be doing what I am doing, but could never decide on what to try for and also didn't have a clue how to go about any particular career even if I had decided. When I was very young I thought I'd end up being a diplomat, like my dad.

3. If you were a vegetable which one would you be?

This is really different to the standard "What's your favourite vegetable" question! I guess I'd be a tomato or something on a vine, so I could be out in the fresh air, rather than a root vegetable where I'd never see sunlight.

4. What is your 'signature dish' to cook?

It used to be a Chinese 5 spice stir fry but now seems to be a savoury pie. I learned how to make it a few years ago and am getting repeat requests for people to come over just for the pie. I even made pies some for a work 'Taste of Technology' event, where we all had to bring in something we'd cooked ourselves. I didn't win any of the prizes but I did get lots of compliments.

5. Cat or dog person? Explain!

I'm surprised this question even needs to be asked! Dog, specifically dachshund (or greyhound at a push). My wedding cake topping was a papier-maché dachshund. Our family has always had one. They have to have German names. My grandparents had Fritz (before I was born), and Schnapps who I did know. Then we got (Baron) Heinz (von Butterball) when I was about 6. Sadly he had to stay in the States when we moved overseas a few years later, then after a few more dogs of different breeds that we always ended up having to leave behind when we moved country, my parents got Ferdinand and Reuben (I know, not German names! Shocking!) in the UK, and kept them when they moved back to the UK. Now they have Mookie and Nico, which I am assured are German names.

I always have to meet one when I see it on the street, and was particularly pleased when I noticed a high number of Dachshunds out on the street in Japan this year.
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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2011|11:23 am]
Jen
I am doing very little Working From Home today. It's the only way I would have survived yesterday's gig and 1am return back home, but I'm also really NOT in the mood to work. I've got Paul Simon's latest album downloaded which is really great so far, I may just listen to that on repeat today.

Because I can't concentrate I'm going to do a blog post first, and see if that frees my mind a bit to get down to the fairly boring tasks I have to do today.

I played a gig yesterday! On a Sunday night, rainy day, not the best circumstances for people to go out to gigs. But lots of people were there, and they seemed very happy by the show. We had to do 3 encores, which meant I think that we ended up playing a really long time, and I hope no one missed their tubes.

sound, logistics, technicalitiesCollapse )

David Devant supported, billed as "The Fakirs" because they were playing stuff pre-their first LP. I'd seen Mr Solo play a few times and really enjoyed it, but never had seen the whole David Devant thing - I don't know how I'd managed to miss it but I did. They were great! They had a fun thing of holding up signs during the song, as direction to the audience I guess, saying things like "Go Ape". Excellent drummer too.

Oh yes, also at the weekend, we went to see Dream Themes who were SO good. I loved the way they played the cheesy theme tunes with absolute dedication and conviction. I don't know a lot of old british shows, but luckily internetsdairy knows everything in this area so I wasn't left out. There was a darts-playing competition in the middle of the show, which was a lot of fun, after they played the "Bullseye" theme. I both want to start paying more attention to TV Theme tunes as well as watch an episode or two of Bullseye.

And that's it. Aside from the fact that we have a great new kettle after I burnt the power cord on our old one, that was my weekend. Next weekend I'm doing one more show in Bristol for the Monochrome Set.
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Primavera Sound festival [May. 31st, 2011|01:55 pm]
Jen
I got to play drums on an open-air stage on Friday! That had happened only once before and I remembered how nice it was to be in the sunshine and see the audience really well. It was also the 4th time ever I'd played a festival. Phoenix in '94 (in a tent), Felipop in Spain in '05 (in a tent), Lemonpop in Spain '06 (outside stage!) and now Primavera Sound!

We got the RayBan stage, which meant we had to pose with sunglasses on after playing the set. The stage was one of the best at the festival, I thought - it was an arena that looked like a Greek amphitheatre. Our slot was 7pm - there were plenty of people, but it wasn't rammed. Still several thousand were there, and the numbers increased (rather than decreased!) over the set. Probably the largest audience I've ever played to.

I took some photos, and obviously I was mostly impressed with the big stage and the soundmen/crew, since it's so rare that I get to experience that.

Had to get up at 4am to catch the flight, though. We checked into a very nice hotel, and then got taken to the stage for soundcheck about 2. The only soundcheck snag was that the soundman didn't believe me that I had no bass in my monitor, I insisted and it magically appeared.

After the soundcheck, I went to the beach and waded in the sea, sat on the sand for a few hours until we had to wander back to get ready to play. The actual gig was really, really fun. The only problems were that I had a sinking drum stool that I didn't have time to adjust too much so ended up drumming too low a lot, and also I'd forgotten my earplugs at home and so my monitoring not being consistent, I wasn't so confident on my BVs.

Afterwards, I wanted to stick around to see Pere Ubu (or "Peru Ubu" as their dressing-room sign said) who were on on our stage an hour and a half after us, but I also wanted to eat, and so I decided to prioritise food which meant being driven back to another hotel for a meal. It was a another business hotel, so at dinner it was like a convention, or high-school reunion, except everyone in the room was a rock and roller. The waiting staff looked very bemused.

Got back to the festival in time to see Belle & Sebastian, and also spent the rest of the night trying to meet up with a friend who I'd discovered was there. Text messaging at big festivals - useless! I stuck it out until Field Music at quarter-past midnight, but because I was so tired I couldn't stay to see Pulp who were on at 3am!
The next morning I was still exhausted, so while the others went back to the festival site to check out other bands soundchecks (Einstretseunde Neubaten and John Cale!) I had to rest at the hotel.

That was my last international trip for a while. I have to say, I think touring with the Monochrome Set has cured my fear of flying! On the way back, there was a lady who was really scared and nervous, and I felt sorry for her. Until she sneakily turned on her iPad after we'd been told to turn off electric equipment for the landing. The stewardess took it away from her, hah!

So, I have one more London show (June 12th, Dingwalls), and then one final UK show (Bristol, 18th June) before I hand over sticks to the very talented Steve Brummell for live work/touring for a while. Maybe see you from behind the drumkit next year!
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(no subject) [May. 26th, 2011|12:34 pm]
Jen
internetsdairy has written a book that I strongly encourage people to buy!

http://www.thomascauldron.com
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(no subject) [May. 24th, 2011|09:40 pm]
Jen
Two entries in one day!

I have to share this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQo79yS15EI&feature=youtu.be

which is from last year's Ant convention, I'm drumming 3 minutes in!

Drum lesson this evening technical stuff, possibly not for everyone but I know what this all means hereCollapse )
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(no subject) [May. 24th, 2011|01:17 pm]
Jen
Well THAT was a busy weekend! I had to go out to our DR site on Friday, so I had a really early start and problems on the Victoria line meant I got to take an early morning stroll through Seven Sisters to get a bus to Tottenham Hale. Grr. So I had to have a snooze when I got home before going out again to see Brontosaurus Chorus's last ever gig at the Bull & Gate! It was really good, and the audience was really friendly, they all seemed to know each other. There was a hardcore punk band on before that who were all in schoolboy outfits except for the drummer who looked like Dave Grohl. And for me the stand out thing of course is that the 'Chorus drummer is SO excellent. I think he's playing in other bands which is good.

On Saturday after some light pottery and walking (and snoozing!) went out to charleston's excellent Charlapalooza. Probably the best birthday party I'd ever been to. The birthday girl was in fine form, on and off stage. Plus I got to watch one of my favourite lady drummers play twice, for Keith Top of the Pops AND Abba Stripes. And the Deptford Beach Babes were really great. I'm not sad not to drum for them anymore because their drummer is just SO good and SO entertaining to watch (and a lot better than I am!). Really enjoyed their set, even though it was a bit shorter than they normally play.

Sunday I did a bit of drumming practice, then I went out to see The High Llamas, with my friend who'd just returned from Stockholm as my fill-in drummer for the Monochrome Set's gig there. So, I got to see a great band AND hear all the gossip from the weekend. (Apparently Stockholm was excellent - yay!) I'd never properly listened to the High Llamas before - my ex really liked them and I didn't really get into them when we were going out, then I resisted listening to them for years! But - finally I get it, and again they have a really really excellent drummer, very subtle with intracate but not too fussy rhythms, and a xylophone player who interacts really well with the drummer. PLUS, it was a sit-down gig with probably the comfy-est seats at a venue ever.

I'm supposed to be off to drum at Primavera in Barcelona this Friday. Ash cloud permitting, I guess. A 4AM pickup to go to the airport. Whew! and we're on at 7pm, with a soundcheck at 1pm, so I hope there is a window somewhere in there for a snooze. I suppose I have a long bank holiday weekend to catch up on sleep if I don't.
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(no subject) [May. 13th, 2011|01:59 pm]
Jen
We watched The Aristocrats last night. It was VERY funny. I am terrible at telling jokes, but I want to have a go at telling my version!

Also, I've got Tina Fey's book on my phone to read! It's also very funny. Have just read a bit where she writes about Rules of Improvisation. They are actually, seriously, very good and would make for better conversation all round.

Have a good weekend!
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Drum lesson, etc. [May. 11th, 2011|12:58 pm]
Jen
Last night had my first drum lesson in over a month! Lately, L's had me doing stuff with the metronome on the off-beat, which helps to develop timing, and yesterday he expanded that to having it on the off-off beat of a 16th note, both the second and 4th one in the beat... it's hard to get the count at first because you're not with the click when saying 'one, two three four' but it's actually quite pleasant to hear the click in a different place. This is mainly for practicing sixteenth notes on the hi-hat. Once you do it on the 2nd 16th note, then on the 4th, then on both, and with hand-to hand and one-hand sticking on the hi-hat.

Then he had me doing 16th note fills around the kit with that metronome setup, including using the bass drum in there, something I really do need to develop, I'm still not natrually using the bass drum integrated linear-ly in fills, and it would be pretty useful/effective. Hopefully I'll have some time to practice before the next lesson.

After the lesson and some food, went to see Keith Top of the Pops down the road. The Moon Under Water is now a venue called the Monarch, and the Monarch is now the Barfly! How confusing. The new monarch is actually really lovely. One of the support bands had a lady who played bass but one song on drums (which was nice to see), and the other had loads of acoustic instruments including a concertina and non-toy xylophone. I'm enjoying Keith's band more each time I see them - last night with 6 guitars and 2 brass the sound hit the spot. A particularly amusing point when one of the guitarists swapped guitars with someone else that came up from in the audience, then left the stage, and it wasn't noticed for about half a song.
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(no subject) [May. 8th, 2011|06:47 pm]
Jen
Last but one show on the Continent for me this weekend, in Athens! I'm going to blog this now as I have a QNI tonight and a fairly busy week coming up. The flight seemed much shorter than the last time, although it being a late one we landed at 2am, Greek time. Whew! Things seem very relaxed over there, in terms of scheduling, so we had a leisurely drive to the hotel, a leisurely morning the next day, a leisurely stroll round a harbour that had massive yachts in them, and a leisurely and extremely delicious late lunch by another beautiful harbour before a leisurely soundcheck.

The venue was very organised, and the soundmen were very attentive in getting the drumkit together. They seemed to prefer adjusting the kit themselves, rather than me barging in and doing it, which I was more than happy to direct! A few electricity issues (shocks on microphones! not me though) were sorted out, and we were all set to go.

A very late show - midnight start! There were some concerns about attendance as the Buzzcocks were ALSO on in Athens that night (along with 6 other big gigs) but in the end we had a good turnout with a very nice audience. Sadly, I couldn't dash across town to see them - will have to try another time...

The route onto stage was down some steep stairs visible to the audience, so it was a looong entrance and exit,and back again before encores. We got encored out - had to repeat 'Jet Set Junta' because we hadn't rehearsed any more, or couldn't remember, but the audience enjoyed dancing to it anyway. They were a bit like London audiences in that they danced right at the end and during encores, but reserved (in movement, at least) during the rest of the set. We also had strobe lights which I found hilarious to drum in. I suppose it's a new skill, to be able to drum in odd lighting conditions! Afterwards, they were playing really good music on the PA like the Chills, recent Sparks and the Cars ("Just what I needed" is such a great song! And there's a bit in it where the drummer goes into the bridge too early, the beat changes but it works anyway - I find that charming they left it in).

Technically, I didn't do too bad but I think I want to spend a bit more time practicing rudiments, I think it would help stickings when I have to play a complicated song, which would in turn preserve energy and allow me to play better.

On the way back to the airport the road went past the sea, which was very blue. Lovely. And the flight back seemed to go quickly - helped in part by watching a crappy Rom Com that was on without headphones, and trying to guess what was going to happen next. We were 100% accurate.

My next outing will be Primavera, Barcelona, at the end of May. But the band are off to Stockholm in a few weeks, with the extremely talented Steve Brummel doing the honours on drums. Anyhow my pics here. I'm off to put my feet up and read the Sunday paper.
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(no subject) [May. 3rd, 2011|01:28 pm]
Jen
What a lovely long weekend! Must have been nice for everyone - pretty much all people at work are in a good mood. We should do that every weekend - I'd settle for once per month, as one of my team suggested.

I slept late on Friday, although some tree cutters decided to start nearby at 11am. They weren't watching the royal wedding either. Then, I spent the whole day pottering, cleaning and organising. I had a huge backlog of laundry from my travels, and it was a nice enough day not to mind getting the dusters and hoovers out.

Then, in the evening, I hooked up with some friends and we tootled along to see thedavidx play at this anti-royal wedding party. The band was great! Different singers, all delivering great performances. I was exTREMEly happy to hear the Dead Kennedys song "Too drunk to f-".
On Satuday I went for a little swim, then stayed in baking, reading, watching TV and doing more pottering. I have to admit I DID read coverage of the wedding, and was interested in the clothes&gossip. But I read the Guardian so I've still got my street cred.

Sunday, internetsdairy and I went up to see icecoldinalex and family, the little bébé is so cute. Aw. Then, we went out to watch Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3-d! It was really interesting to see it all up close - we'll never be allowed in those caves unless we become emminent scientists. I studied Lascaux in my Art History degree but there weren't many pictures and you can't tell how good they are from a few images in text books. But BE WARNED! If you suffer from motion sickness, DON'T sit up close! The 3-D, front row seat and handheld camera served to make me and my other friend with us start to feel very queasy.
I also was able to face Japanese food again and had a really delicious authentic snack on Romilly street at a little Japanse café. Will definitely go there again, probably soon!

Yesterday was a trip to the near-countryside, to see friends, sit in a huge, lovely sunny garden, and go on a really nice long walk. The only down-side is that it was so sunny and windy I now have panda-eyes from my sunglasses. I hope it tones down a bit soon, it is quite extreme.

Did you all have a nice weekend?
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Monochrome Set German tour [Apr. 27th, 2011|04:31 pm]
Jen
So,the tour was like this:Collapse )

The support was the The Torben Denver Band, who had members of Monsieur Mo Rio in them. They were lovely and folk-y, with a 60’s vibe and a jazzy flute player. Their drummer had a beautiful vintage drumkit that he let me play on for our gig, too.

StuttgartCollapse )

BerlinCollapse )

HamburgCollapse )

The Hamburg support band was XR Farflight, who were incredible! A two-piece; one drums, sings & does a bit of keyboarding, the other guitars and plays bass with an organ-pedal contraption. A bit Beta Band-ish.

Hamburg to HannoverCollapse )

There's a law in Germany where you aren't allowed to dance on Good Friday! Really! So the promoter was worried about attendance, since he couldn't put up posters - it had to be word of mouth.

HannoverCollapse )

Hannover to Dusseldorf and CologneCollapse )

Every time I go to Germany I want to move there. Maybe one day! For now, I can say I had a great time being there, and playing some really fun shows. Oh yeah, my pictures.
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(no subject) [Apr. 26th, 2011|03:18 pm]
Jen
The result of being away for the better part of two weeks is that I have hardly any clean clothes to wear for work. So I'm really frumpy today (not allowed to wear jeans or trainers), with a mismatching green skirt, purple t-shirt and grey cardigan. I can kind of justify that the skirt has a bit of purple and grey in it, but the look is totally ruined by the light grey tights that don't really go with the cardigan....

Looks like hardly anyone is at work this week - I got a seat on the Jubilee line at peak hours which is unheard of. There's nothing to do and no other managers in so I've taken the liberty of unofficially lifting the internet ban here at work.

Once I upload pictures I'll do a blog post about Germany, it was really good, everytime I go I want to move over there. Now thinking Cologne would be pretty good, before that it was Stuttgart.

That's the bulk of my travelling done for the spring - there's still Athens and Barcelona to go, and Bristol in the UK in June. My last London gig that I have booked for a while - prob till next year - will be at Dingwalls on June 12th. Based on all the other shows this year, it should be an extremely good gig - although London audiences can be tricky, so who knows. I've had the bright idea of asking my drum school if there's any enthusiastic students who want to help me set up drums/take them down, since it's quite tiring doing it all and driving everything to the gig.

I didn't get a chance to post about this before but internetsdairy and I went to see The London Snorkelling Team at the Roundhouse the other weekend. If you get a chance at all, you MUST go see them. OHP animation, very good jazzy type of music, with a lot of comedy thrown in. Excellent drumming. Probably the best thing I've seen/heard since Misty's Big Adventure or The Squirrel Nut Zippers.
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(no subject) [Apr. 16th, 2011|10:27 pm]
Jen
I'm finally over my jet-lag from Japan. I'm not going to say much in general except that everyone should go at least once. Tokyo and Osaka are both extremely cosmopolitan cities. Tokyo reminded me of New York, except all the writing was in Japanese. The people were lovely, the food was completely different to stuff I'm used to but really delicious, the streets were clean and the trains ran on time. (It's true about really complicated toilet seats, but I have to say having a heated seat is a REALLY good idea, especially on a chilly day!)

I didn't do any touristy things, although I did manage to get out to a park to see the cherry blossoms. People were queueing up to get into the park like it was a rock festival - there were so many people! It was lovely. The thing to do apparently is to take a picnic and have it under the cherry blossom trees and there was hardly a patch of grass that wasn't taken up by a picnic blanket.

AftershocksCollapse )

We played some excellent support bands - the stand-out ones were Sloppy Joe, who had a trumpet player, nice singing/guitars (Smiths and Aztec Camera are some references) and a very, very good drummer. And another band to note are Les Stereo Phonic Theatre who had a lounge-pop feel and two charming ladies singing with dance routines. They also had a conga/vibes player, and an excellent drummer (you can tell what I had my eye on).

It was a bit strange hanging around for a couple of days before playing the first gig (necessary to get over jet-lag I suppose), so by the time we turned up for the first gig I didn't feel like we were going to play a show at all. I wondered why they put barriers up in front of the stage. Did some more mooching around the local area after soundcheck, and watching the support bands, then we were on. I had to start things off by drumming an intro, and as I walked on people cheered and applauded. They were hanging off the barriers. The whole gig was basically a packed audience singing along, dancing, cheering, calling out for songs.. Personally, I've never experienced that before (and probably won't much again!) so it was really fun. However, afterwards, I thought it would probably be a good idea to make sure no matter how great the audience is, to prioritise the actual drumming, as I'm sure I made a few slip-ups by concentrating on the crowd and not my drums! That's a good lesson to learn.

More drumming technicalitiesCollapse )

What else is there to say... Not a lot - I saw 3 very cute dachshunds in Tokyo - two of which were being pushed in a pram (they were very yappy). Here are photos from the trip. I didn't do a lot of after-partying so I don't have many hilarious stories involving me, and somehow doesn't seem fair to blog about when others in the band had trouble getting up in the morning, or whatever.

Hopefully, I'll go back to Japan as a tourist as there's lots and lots to see. I will probably go back to the Rock Inn which I went to once but various members of our party went to all 4 nights we were in Tokyo. They played Kansas "Carry on my wayward son", how much more of a recommendation is required?

Next stop is Germany on Tuesday. Early flight! I'd better get to bed so I can fill up on all the sleep I'm likely to lose in a few days!
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(no subject) [Mar. 28th, 2011|12:30 pm]
Jen
What an exciting day Saturday 26th March was! I went up to gig in Glasgow, and I'm sorry I missed all the protests. Euston station was heaving with people coming off trains heading down to the march. Some had drums with them! I saw one or two policement helpfully handing out leaflets (don't know whether they were 'how to protest peacefully' or 'save the police from job cuts' leaflets). Sounds like there were all sorts of things going on, including this. I hope I'm around for the next one.

So for the gig..Collapse )

Next up is Japan in a week and a half. I have borrowed "Japanese for Busy People" from internetsdairy , so hopefully I'll be able to pick up a word or two before landing. I've learned the word for 'Dog' already, I'm sure it will be useful.
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(no subject) [Mar. 21st, 2011|12:07 pm]
Jen
It was nearly spring this weekend! Since it was sunny, after doing some pottery, I wandered down to the Morden Hall Park garden centre which has a building at the back devoted entirely to aquariums and fish. There were so many different types of fish for sale! One type cost over £100! My goodness. I didn't buy any fish, but did get some potted herbs, to start this year's in-kitchen herb garden.

In the evening I went all the way over to Bethnal Green to the Resistance Gallery to see Spinster. The venue seemed more like a squat than an art gallery to me, but it was very nicely done up. Everyone was dressed in Punk so I felt like I was back in 1987 again. The band were on much later than I'd expected (after a support act of one lady playing bass along to a backing track - she did some good headbanging while shouting and playing, so good on her! But not really my cuppa..) Spinster has an artist-lady as a singer playing an electric uke, and their keyboard player moved over to Keetar which rocked. Bass player was great, and Lea was fantastic on drums. They had a very good stage presence but sadly I had to go before the end of the set since it was getting late for tubes.

Yesterday I dragged internetsdairy over to Homebase to pick up some compost so I could re-pot abovementioned herbs and and also a distressed, over-crowded aloe vera plant. Does anyone want a tiny, baby aloe vera plant off-cut by the way?

We then went out to see Submarine, which was really, really good! Going to the cinema in Clapham is quite nice, it's really buzzy round there on a Sunday evening, so almost more fun to visit than when I lived there. And we went to Bodeans after where I got to eat Spare Ribs! and Root Beer! and Corn Bread! This is my childhood food and they do it very authentically so it does taste very American.

Back at work again, fairly bored after such a nice weekend. Found out that apparently the MSet Japan trip is probably still on, seems to be on-again, off-again, but frankly I'm more worried about a 14 hour flight than radiation or aftershocks. And the fact I've messed up my leave from work a bit and will have to grovel to my boss to get an extra day off.

Anyway, have a good Monday, everyone!
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(no subject) [Mar. 14th, 2011|12:20 pm]
Jen
Another gig this weekend, this time, in Lille. Playing a gig there seemed a little bit out of the ordinary. I'd never been to Lille, although I went past it on the way to Brussels on Eurostar. And possibly it was a stop on a marathon 20 hour coach ride to Bordeaux a long time ago.

Le gigCollapse )
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(no subject) [Feb. 28th, 2011|10:33 am]
Jen
Saturday was the first actual Monochrome Set gig at the 100 club. We'd not had many rehearsals (about 3 in the two weeks before), but the two radio sessions the weekend before at least put my mind at ease that it would sound somewhat together.

super early soundcheckCollapse )

I returned to the venue about 8.30pm (with my gear!) in time to catch Help stamp out lonliness who I'd been tipped off about by a man I met at the Manchester session. I got the chance to catch up with some Scarlet's Well people, which was really nice. Then Bearsuit were on, then us! It was really busy in the venue, so getting to and from the stage was a bit of a challenge.

We were joined onstage by Nick, who'd been in The Monochrome Set in the early 80's. He drummed on a tom-tom in the first song (The Monochrome Set), so that's the second time in several weeks I got to be joined onstage by another drummer. Lucky me! It was really great.

Then we did the rest of the set, which was:Collapse )

For me, it was really fun, there was a lot of people who knew the songs, and cheering and clapping. Lots of smiling people is nice to look at when drumming. I had a bit of a wobble mid-set when I started a song too slowly, but it went through OK. And I sang backing vocals quite a lot! Finally found just the right microphone position for singing and drumming. I think it helps not having a drink at all, too, because when I really needed to concentrate, I could, and it's so much fun to play that I don't need to calm my nerves with alcohol.

Looking forward to the series of gigs now, especially as I'll know the songs a lot better having played them live once now.
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Lost [Feb. 22nd, 2011|10:22 am]
Jen
Been a bit scatterbrained lately, and got lost/lost things in the last few days.

On Saturday I lost directions to ResonanceFM so spent 20 minutes at the wrong gate waiting to be let in, then the gate I was at magically opened and I realised I was at the wrong place. Luckily the gate didn't shut on me or I would have missed the session. It's been released here as a podcast. It was surprising to be in the same room as the presenters, but it worked OK. Hadn't played any of the songs in front of people, and only had 2 rehearsals the weekend before, one of which where the sound was terrible, so I wasn't sure it would all go OK. But it was fine.

Yesterday got the train to Manchester and in the rush nearly lost the bass player - they wouldn't let him in the gate and 4 mins before our train left the singer had to get off and vouch for him. The train started moving & they hadn't returned, but 10 minutes later they walked up the aisle of the train. Then, I lost my hat on the squishy Virgin Trains. (sweetpizza, the Norwich trains are so much better!)

We got to the BBC and soundchecked, then recorded a song for Gideon Coe, then had a drink in the bar while watching lots of protesters outside (about news reporting of the Libyan situation). Once again we were in the same room as the presenter, but Marc Riley was a very nice man, chatty so it was fine. Did 3 more songs, live (which felt OK because we had played them a few times with knowing what the headphone mix was) had a photo taken, a quick chat with some people there, then back on the London train. The sessions would both be on BBC iPlayer but I can't make a link here from work if you want to have a listen.

When I got home I realised I have left my trusty bass drum pedal at the studio in Manchester. I'm not sure how easy it will be to get it back (plus I'm a bit embarrassed about forgetting something that big!) and since I've not had a new one for years might just get one.
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