In which I co-write a musical…

Date: Mon 23 March 2015:   Event: My first ever full-length musical !


I’m super-excited to call myself a London Theatre Impresario! A date, a venue, a show, tickets on sale!

Scary as I’m currently only about 70% of the way through writing every single note of the upcoming musical adventure that will be held in conjunction with the inimitable Hack Circus in exactly one month’s time.

We’ve written a story to go with some expert talks and some rather spiffing tunes as well even if I say so myself. Leila happens to be a genius librettist in my opinion and I’m hoping my tunes and orchestration will do those fantastic lyrics justice. She and I have hatched a musical monster of a night out… What a nerve-wracking but satisfying experience this is!


  • I need to finish building the scores and orchestration
  • we need to finalise the order of songs and talks and audience interactive bits
  • I’ll have to learn and sing pretty much all the songs on the night
  • Leila and I have to pre-record some short bits of audio to give on-stage a break
  • I’m trying to build a home-made instrument that may or may not work on the night
  • Eek I need to do all the audio show control while performing (Ableton I’m looking at you)
  • people are actually buying tickets so it has to be good because we have a paying audience.


Talking of which, if you’re in London that evening AND want to be the first to see this quite peculiar and creative take on the musical genre. From the HC site:

We will be travelling in a unique sound-powered tunnelling vessel, currently under development. Please bear in mind: we really don’t know what we will find. We need a strong healthy team. It might be worth getting down to the gym now if you can.

Bring a torch. This is very important. We are expecting it to be dark.

We will be guided on our journey by three experts: monster afictionado sci-fi author Chris Farnell, historian and volcano enthusiast Ralph Harrington and shark-mad comics legend Steve White – but who knows who (or what) else we might encounter?

From: Hack Circus


OK, I’m intrigued, tell me more: 

(link for mobile users: )


Yes!! I’m ready and can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday night!


(link for mobile users: )

^^This link goes to the EventBrite Ticket Page if you’d like to buy a ticket or two.

**For some reason, none of my links work. Head over to hackcircus dot com forward slash underworlds. Oh the humanity…

7 Must-Have attributes to make your video watchable

What Works on Youtube?


to make your video watchable

(using viewing figures as a measure of success)


– feel free to add to my Completely Unscientific Taxonomy of YouTube Popularity. I started this a while back, and never got around to publishing it until now…

NOTE: Vids with More than one attribute are even more watchable.

NOTE: Yes, I’ve probably missed some good ones…

  1. Unusual content – people, machines or animals doing something unexpected:
    Wedding parties dancing down the aisle, cat standing up on 2 feet, finch perfectly imitating construction workers
    are all great examples of this.
  2. Shocking or surprising or slapstick – mainly people falling over, or reacting to predictably shocking stimuli, such as scaring someone with a fake head. Extra points for pride before a fall. In fact, a lot of failblog videos have a slapstick element like Dance Fail.
    Corollary: Also pointworthy is the “Nelson Munce Haa-Haar”  factor i.e. joy at the misfortune of others.  Although in the case of Drunk Kitty there is a caveat: You can’t feel too bad about laughing, otherwise it cancels out the funny.
  3. Feelgood / cute factor – baby animals / kids being adorable – most people respond positively to cute in real life, it’s no surprise that enough people looking at the same things online.
    Corollary: In the case of David After Dentist, and Charlie Bit My Finger, these have elements of point 1 and point 2 about them too. For cats, there is also appeal in them displaying human attributes such as Cat Fixes Printer or yet again Standing Cat (original version)

  4. Mass  Participation – getting a bunch of  people to do something at the same time –  prisoners dancing to thriller, and improv everywhere’s frozen in grand central are both good  examples of the genre.  I think the appreciation of the effort involved is part of why this works.

  5. Incredible Talent or Effort in makingchat roulette piano guy and Lego Matrix fairly represent this section, although there are so many others who can go into this category.
  6. Bright lights –  extreme sheep LED Art – at the time of writing, Leamington Spa nightclub has only been up for a couple of weeks and is at 100,000 mark already. UPDATE it’s now at over 500,000 views.

  7. Watchability – We are impatient beings – and watching something 6 minutes long on the internet is like watching a 30 minute programme on the telly.  Evolution of dance  works because it’s instructive, nostalgic, well-structured and funny – even if the video quality ain’t that great, we’re happy to watch it because it gives us so many other reasons to do so. The recent phenomenon of Fenton the Dog chasing deer in London’s Richmond Park now has over 3,000,000 views at the time of writing.**

A word on Repeat Viewing Potential – most of these videos are easy to watch more than once. In the case of Nyan Cat, Fenton the Dog and countless others, they stand up to more than just repeat viewing, for whatever reason.  What’s particularly interesting is that some of these videos generate re-mixes and inspire interactive participation.

For more on these, pop over to the BBC’s website here to watch “The Stuff that Memes Are Made Of“, where Joel Veitch and I attempt to make a meme out of a squirrel.