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Blog: Interesting Conference

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If there is ever a competition for the title Hardest Working Man In Indie (Amateur Division) i would like to put this week in as my entry, for LO! it CONTINUES to be busy. Last night I met with Mr S Hewitt and J Kell to go and see Half Man Half Biscuit. They were GRATE, as ever, but even their majesty could not distract me entirely from how much i dislike venues like the Shepherds Bush Empire. As soon as I go into one of those places I feel like someone is LARFING at me, and everyone there. "HAHAAHAHA! Look! We charged them a huge amount of money AND a booking fee too! SEE! They willingly queue for ages at the understaffed bar to buy beer at TWICE the usual price! AHAHAHA! And better yet, we've crammed FAR too many of them in so nobody can see comfortably and they have to JOSTLE each other to get to the TOO FEW Toilets!"

Things could not have been more different at the NEXT gig I was to attend, this very morning. I was booked to play at the Interesting Conference as part of Ms L Johnston's Hack Circus section. I arrived at about 9.30am (A!M!) to find the Conway Hall full of excited people, many of whom were fiddling about with computers and various chunks of machinery. The whole point of this DO is, as I understand it, to do INTERESTING things and there did seem to be rather a lot of that in the offing. They also like to try out different ways of DOING things, so although things were set out in a school hall-type arrangement to start with this would change later. It was a lovely atmosphere full of people KEEN to DO stuff!

Things kicked off with a mass singalong to "The Final Countdown" (honest!) before some words from the organiser, then a couple of people got up and showed everyone how to do BOOK BINDING. They'd given out 200 Book Binding Resource Packs so the whole room was busily threading needles through paper - it was a brilliant idea, not just because it was an ACE thing to do, but also because it then gave everyone a notebook to use throughout the rest of the day. CUNNING!

Then it was the Hack Circus section, which kicked off with a brief introduction and then ME,doing THIS:
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Do The Indie Kid

  • We were supposed to do a mini-CHAT before but... er... I think I sort of took over a bit and started LECTURING. My BRIEF was that it was meant to be a bit participatory, and so I tried to do the songs as a gradual gradation of Audience Participation, from a simple singalong (the words to Hey Hey 16K were up on a screen behind me, which was VERY handy!) to "Aah Ooh Aah Ooh" and free-style EVICERATION in Theme From Dinosaur Planet to a FINALE of chorus singing, the AVANT GARDE section, and mass DANCING. I have to say that the sight of a room full of 200 people ALL Doing The Indie Kid is something I shall take with me in my heart forever. It looked FANTASTIC, like a little bit of Indietracks dropped into Holborn!

    After me a group of people made a big song on a MASSIVE synthesiser before Sarah Angliss came on and did a talk and performances with a theremin, laptop and robot. It was... well, EXTREMELY INTERESTING. She spoke about how she'd realised that performing music using a laptop was losing part of what music IS - the COUPLING between human action/movement and the sound it produces. I thought this was FASCINATING - I've just said "It's BORING" in the past but will be using her version from now on - and she demonstrated how she interacted with computer music with the theremin and... well, lots of other stuff which she explained and demonstrated a lot better than I could. It was basically fantastic, I would HIGHLY recommend seeing her live - apparently there are MANY ROBOTS normally! COR!

    Then there was a BREAK, where the idea was for people to wander round the room. I'd intended to LURK for a bit at the side of the room,in case anyone wanted to CHAT (so good of me!), but then it was announced that all the chairs needed to be cleared away and stacked - stacked where I was standing! I thus had to SHIFT pretty SHARPISH and ended up doing mostly SOLO LURKING nearby for a bit. There were SO MANY interesting things to go and look at I think that I was pretty much at the bottom of the list!

    Ordinarily I'd've stuck around and seen some more of the day, but all this ROCK ACTION is wearing me out a bit, so I said my goodbyes and headed home. It felt very strange to be arriving back from a gig just after noon, but a RELIEF to be here! Tomorrow we have the second live outing for Moon Horse (3pm ISH at The Lexington in London, do come along if you can) and then this KRAZY WEEK of CONSTANT ROCK will come to a close. It's been a dizzying array of very different activities, but I'm quite looking forward to just watching a bit of telly next week!

    posted 18/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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    Favourite comment about the Empire toilets. I was trying to get in and said "these are the worst designed toilets i've ever seen" bloke leaving the toilets says "you've not been to Lincoln City then?" perfectly HMHB I thought ;)
    posted 18/6/2011 by Steve

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