Review of 2010

January 1, 2011

Time to sum up what I’ve been doing (or at least blogging about) this year…

It seems like a fairly busy year and I suppose the main reason for that is that this year D’ and I started dating and on the 23 July we got engaged while in St Andrews.  We have set a date for the wedding and since then it sometimes feels like all we are doing or talking about are wedding plans.  However, there have been a few other things going on and here is the summary:


MOVIES watched at the cinema…

RESTAURANTS, blogged about…

BOOKS read this year….

Holidays (a new and exciting section to my blog as I haven’t done much in the way of ‘breaks’ but hope to in the future)…

Jan: London: part work trip to a conference but three days to myself for sight-seeing, concerts and shows. — Day1Day 2aDay2bDay3Day4Day5Day6 — highlights included: Victoria and Albert Museum, National Theater gig – Marcia Mello, British Film Institute, Tate Modern,  St Bride’s Church,  British Museum,  Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery, St Martin-in-the-Fields (which isn’t), Broadcasting House, recording of Newsjack in the Radio Theater, Hyde Park, Albert Memorial, the Monmouth Coffee Company, Tower Bridge,

May: York: a quick weekend break in the city of York was great.  I didn’t blog as much as in London (when I was on my own and deliberately trying to do everything I could in as short a time as possible).  This trip was much more relaxed and great fun.Happy New Year!

October: Isle of Lewis: another very quick weekend break in Lewis to visit family and to introduce my fiancee to them and to this beautiful island.  We had great weather for the time of year and took lots of photos.

Nov: Campbeltown: again, just a quick one-night stop over in (well just outside) Campbeltown to visit Grant Logan to choose wedding rings.

gig: Snow Patrol Bellahouston Park

June 13, 2010

Some months ago some good friends suggested getting tickets to the Snow Patrol.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, I had heard of Snow Patrol but couldn’t actually have told you any of their songs.  Since agreeing to go I had spent some time on Spotify trying to get to know some Snow Patrol songs only to discover that I really can’t get into any of their stuff.  Honestly, I did try but I just seemed to zone out or even leave the room and find myself trying to figure out what I had been listening to and why.

I’m also not a big fan of outdoor or ‘stadium’ gigs because you rarely get a good view and people tend to be even drunker, more out of control and obnoxious.  So, off to Bellahouston Park on a sunny evening, we found a nice little spot near front-of-house and settled down to wait…  the first band after we arrived was Band of Horses, who were interesting enough at first but then all their songs started to meld into a very similar sound, they struck me as sort of 70s hippies out of time.  After some time, the Editors (or perhaps it is just Editors with no ‘the’) came on, and they were really fairly boring, I have nothing else to say about them – they came, they sang, they went…

Eventually Slow Patrol came on.  Many more lights were now used, more big screens with very good camera work(!) on a few songs I could also say that there were some extremely well thought out visuals to complement the music.  However (In my opinion) this might have been be because the tech’s get so bored with the long slow tedious songs they have to find something to do during a gig.

Basically Slow Patrol aren’t for me.  Their songs are repetitive, melodic, but with few real hooks.  Performance wise they seemed to have a good time with what I think they said was their largest crowd of around 25000 people, but even still there wasn’t much of a vibe coming from the stage (again – in my opinion).  Still had a good time, circling the crowd, watching from different angles, etc.  an OK night – but I really did notice how much better and stronger the first song I heard in the car was.


January 5, 2010

I thought of doing some resolutions but really what is the point?  By the 3rd I had already broken ‘no chocolate’, ‘no fried food’, ‘exercise every day’, and a few other default type resolutions so I’ve been thinking more about things I would like to aim for and work towards this year to be a thought now and something I can look back on at the end of the year and either laugh at myself or tick as achieved!

I would like to go to more movies! I always aim to go to see more films on the big screen but either I don’t organize to go with anyone or want to go but can’t be bothered with the idiots who you have to put up with, etc.  So now, if possible, I will only go to the Grosvenor or GFT to avoid the prats.  I was surprised to total up last year and see that I’ve only seen 6 movies at the cinema, so it should be easy to improve on. Also, I’ve been given a GFT membership which knocks £1 off admission and is just enough incentive to get me back into the habit.

Similarly, I would like to see more live music.  Live gigs are fantastic (but again you have to suffer the idiots who think that they will somehow get more out of the music if plastered)!  I already have tickets for a concert in May and plan to go to at least two gigs in Celtic Connections… but if anyone has suggestions for concerts they are looking for someone to go to then let me know.

Be able to play Bass with some confidence.  I started to learn electric bass guitar earlier this year and really haven’t put enough effort into it.  I have never been able to play any musical instrument or to read music or know anything about music theory and I don’t intend or aim to be a breath-taking musician.  However, even the little that I have learned has helped my VJing stuff simply by adding more attention to what is happening musically and not just following the words/tune.  So I would like to know more, practice more and be able to at least be a back up player for a church band by the end of the year.

VJing – I do enjoy VJing and Visualist work (which I define more widely as having an overall visual design for an event than VJing which is more about mixing videos during an event).  The main regular event for this is the Deeper services at St Silas, but I have done a couple of under-18 club nights this year, and worship events out with St Silas.  My aim for this year is to get better at the practicalities involved in this – we struggle a lot with the current software so may well change it, and also need to spend a lot more money on equipment so I need to find more paid-for gigs to build up a budget.  Lastly on this topic to post more on the Christian Visualist blog and try to make more contacts with the others I know doing the same sort of thing worldwide.

Use Time better – I need to make more effort to meet up with and keep touch with friends and family, by the end of the year I should really have gone to my sisters and even better if I manage to visit all the MacLeod clan in Lewis.  A proper holiday is always in the back of my mind but I really don’t think I will change enough about myself to make that happen.

Church & Faith – I have nothing to say about that for now, so perhaps the aim should be to have something more to say about it.

War of the Worlds

December 6, 2007

Got a phone call the other day, a friend trying to offload a spare ticket for Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds at the SECC tonight… yes please!

LP cover I got the “Jeff Wayne’s musical version of the War of the World” LP when I was in my teens (yes, back in the days of vinyl) and played it to death, staring at every detail of the artwork that went with it. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true), the album spent 290 weeks in the UK album charts. That was about where it ended for me, I was vaguely interested when I heard that there was a live show a couple of years ago but didn’t think much about it till I got that call and decided to go.


This is the first all seated gig I’ve been to at the SECC. This was also the first gig I’ve been to with full surround sound, one 30m screen that covers the full width of the stage and used 8 projectors to create a seamless multi layered effects. My first gig with both an orchestra and rock band or with singers and actors appearing on stage and on screen. It was this integration between the live action and special effects happening on stage and the film and animation on screen that blew me away. When the Martian heat ray appeared on screen lights scanned the audience, focusing and switching to red, as London burned on screen flames appear across the front of the stage and a full scale Marian tripod appears on stage with explosions on it as the humans try in vain to fight back.

The deep tones of Richard Burton’s naration on the original album was always one of the things that carried it and the CGI disembodied face was a fantastic way of not trying to replace this part with an actor. The ‘holographic projection’ of this I’m not so sure about, looked fairly 2D to me, but it still fitted the part and was an interesting way of doing this character who does occasionally interact with other characters in the story. Difficult to do for a massive face floating somewhere off stage right, but they made it work!

This is a great show! The music in “Jeff Wayne’s musical version of the War of the World” is 70’s, concept album, prog-rock stuff, which I like anyway. But simply from a theatrical experience point of view the way this is staged and performed is incredible and well worth catching.

The Official site has some great pictures and video. I was going to link a youtube video, but most of them are from the last tour and Richard Burton has been much improved!

Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony

January 5, 2007

I put together this five min video of the Fireball Ceremony to remember New Year 2006/7 and as a tribute to Rock God!


(if it doesn’t appear above, view directly on YouTube)

Rock God !

January 3, 2007

As mentioned yesterday I just spend a few days in the home of the Rock God!

Shrine to Rock
Maggs organised for a group of us to stay in her friends house in Aberdeen as they were away over New Year. Bruce, Rob and I were the first to arrive and shortly after unloading the car we had a quick look around. The first place we looked was the front living room and noticed there were a few CDs, so took a closer look.Checking out someone’s CD collection can reveal a lot about them. You can often tell certain changes in tastes over the years, connected influences, etc. However this collection was different. There was no clear separation of genre, type, style, etc.
A little closer look showed that this was because all 1200 plus CDs could be classified as Hard Rock (or perhaps metal, etc. but lets not get pedantic). Arranged in strict alphabetical order (with that many CDs if they weren’t you could never find anything) by group/artist, and it was the most complete collection I’ve ever seen. Every group I could think of were well represented and many I have never heard of.
Shrine to Rock

This is how we came to realise that we were staying in the home of “Rock God”!!

Due to the mixed tastes of those present and as most of the time we were also trying to chat and socialise we did stick to the slightly softer end of the Rock spectrum. But there was space for ACDC, Kiss, Marillion, Bon Jovi, Extreeme, and we even checked out Lordi. However Rock God’s stereo was a little scary, we only ever managed to have enough nerve to turn the volume control around 10degrees from the available rotation due to fear of blowing the windows out!

Im the lord of the wastelands
A modern day man of steel
I gather darkness to please me
And I command you to kneel
Before the

God of thunder and rock and roll
The spell youre under
Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul
   – KISS

Hogmanay 2006-2007 Aberdeen and Stonehaven

January 2, 2007

I don’t think I’ve ever ‘been away’ for Hogmanay before, but this year a group from church organised by the wonderful Maggs did something different. Maggs had a friend who’s house in Aberdeen was going to be empty over New Year and who would let us borrow it. This turned out to be the home of ‘Rock God’ but more of that in a future blog (Rock God is too big to share a single blog posting).

So 10ish of us spent the weekend of 30 Dec 2006- 2 Jan 2007 in a lovely big house in Aberdeen, a City I’ve not spent much time in and which I now know a little better. I should know it a lot better now thanks to Simon who endeavoured to show us around in weather bad enough to later cancel Hogmanay celebrations in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. It was wet, really wet, very wet indeed – it was Wet Wet Wet!!! (BTW, I haven’t actually checked to see if the heavy rain we were wandering around Aberdeen in on the afternoon of 31st was actually moving south, but it makes a better story that way.) very wet in Aberdeen
image from FLICKR

more fireball pics here

Maggs aim was to spend Hogmanay in Aberdeen City Centre where Wet Wet Wet were headlining, however, I managed to convince some people to go to The Ancient Fireball Ceremony in Stonehaven. Four of us went to that and had a great time.We arrived around 10:30-10:45ish and got a great parking space by chance, wandered around trying to figure out what was going to happen and where would be the best place to watch it… We talked to some very friendly Police, then some stewards and were told what was going to happen and found a great spot.

The Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony itself was good fun and a nice way of seeing in the new year. Very friendly atmosphere not full of drunks like most big city centre Hogmanay gigs (although those who went The photo above and most of the others photos on my FLICKR pages were taken by Isabel as I was taking some video footage – hopefully to be edited and posted soon.

So, Hogmanay came and went – New Years day was cooking, a walk on the beach then eating (lots of each). When we went to the beach my visual drive surfaced and I couldn’t simply walk up and down the beach when there were waves breaking on the beach. I’m deliberately saying it that way because I’m sure others couldn’t figure out the attraction of standing by a tripod looking through a lens while you could walk up and down and chat, etc. Oh well, it’s good to be different.

people Pipe People beach

And now, back to Glasgow after a nice weekend. Fun Hogmanay. Rock God. Fireballs. Beach. Aberdeen was fun. Thanks to all involved!