In which I co-write a musical…

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

TICKETS AVAILABLE!

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!

TERRIFYING REALITY:

  • 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)
    and;
  • people are actually buying tickets so it has to be good because we have a paying audience.

ONE NIGHT ONLY

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

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE!

OK, I’m intrigued, tell me more:

hackcircus.com/underworlds/ 

(link for mobile users: http://www.hackcircus.com/underworlds )

DID I MENTION TICKETS ARE ON SALE?

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

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!

(link for mobile users: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hack-circus-underworlds-tickets-15756232315?aff=es2&rank=1 )

^^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…

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The Sound of Stars

Music inspired by colour/art

An artist I know called Debbie Davies made a giant light-up interactive star for the Burning Man festival this year. I never got to see it in real life, but the pictures were enough to trigger the most amazing melody in me. I was so utterly happy to hear that she loved the composition. I can’t really explain why I wasn’t surprised.

Debbie, this is your star. I told you it was beautiful!

Photo credit  duncan.co

Look at me on my lego piano!!

Presenting Ideas Persuasively

I gave a presentation for the London Girl Geek Dinners 6th Anniversary event. For  a brilliant blog post all about the event – along with an unfortunate picture of me and an angry bird, click here.

Meanwhile, my aim for the presentation was to use some of what I’ve learned from my experiences as a TV presenter and producer to help other people get their voices heard, whatever their walks of life.

During my talk, I repurposed some of the techniques in telling a story for television for use in real-world situations.

I used an example of one of my most recent features for BBC News as a way to illustrate the core elements of presenting ideas in an easily accessible manner.

Presenting Ideas Persuasively – LJ Rich

I was incredibly flattered that the original Girl Geek asked for my last slide to remain up so she could communicate her ideas to our audience using this technique!

After the speaking was done, something amazing happened – quite a few people came up to me after the speech to tell me that they were inspired!  Inspired to pitch something at work that they knew they could do, or to try again to present an idea they had faith in but didn’t quite manage to convey it the first time.

Before I gave the speech, I remember thinking that if I could encourage just one person to have more confidence in their abilities, and act positively, I would feel like the presentation was a success – so this result was even more gratifying.

I had a few requests to stick the slides up online, so here they are – and GirlGeekDinners, thanks very much for having me!

Look at me on my lego piano!!

The video I used for talking about presenting

 

 

First to See The New Archos!

Lovely New Archos Internet Media Tablet

Lovely New Archos Internet Media Tablet

Happy Tuesday…

OK, you are now looking at something that is under embargo until 0000 on the 20th August, although my contacts have allowed me to post a mini-sneak preview of the BRAND NEW ARCHOS!

All hail the Archos Internet Media Tablet, finally with High resolution playback with HDMI output on TV, and up to 320GB capacity, internal file search engine. email application, & a 3.5G connection, yes, eventually, even your archos will have permanent connection to the Web and access to emails via a 3.5G/HSDPA network connection.

IMAP or POP email service allows you to send, reply to and transfer emails with compatible attachments, these can be stored on the ARCHOS device’s hard drive and shared. There’s an optional in-car holder which turns the ARCHOS 5 into a fully fledged GPS.

ARCHOS 5 is available from September. ARCHOS 7 from October, and ARCHOS 5G from Q4 2008 – prices range from around £300 to around £440 depending on capacity, screen size and capability.

Geek Chic Advance Alert!

In a few months or so, there’s talk of a “TV Snap-on” which turns the ARCHOS 5 or 7 into a digital TV to receive free digital TV channels and record programs in DVD quality, as if I don’t watch enough telly.

If you want to see these pics in high res, they’re on my flickr here.

Update: Archos Website currently has this on the front page.

Dell Latitude on the Orient Express

Very Civilised way to travel

Very Civilised way to travel

Here’s a picture of what a bunch of tech journalists look like on one of the most luxurious trains in the world. Come to think of it, old bean, it’s not every day that geeks like me get invited on the Orient Express to find out about the Dell Latitude ‘E’ series… I also filmed a special Geek Chic one-to-one session with a Dell Jedi which should be out on youtube as soon as humanly possible, and yes, dear reader, I shall indeed stick a link here just for you.

Annie Mole, esteemed underground blogger and I both arrived at Victoria Station earlier than everyone else.  I was incredibly excited by the thought of going on the Orient Express, although it was probably uncool to blurt loudly “ooooh!! I’m going to go on the Orient Express!!!!! Woop! Woop!”, where “Woop” is an approximation of a train whistle.  I’m pretty sure I overheard someone say “Yeah, I’ve been on the Orient Express before” in an unexcited monotone.  What????  Well, I’m pretty certain that if I was ever lucky enough to catch this train again, I would probably have infinite “Woop”s remaining for the second time, I can tell you.

Right, back to the tech.  These are the E series Latitude notebooks, which boast a longer battery life, not just because of battery quality, but also because of new power management software tools and components which drain less juice inside.  The motherboard is inverted (i.e. upside down!) to improve accessibility and heat conduction.   The E series also have Zinc hinges and Magnesium Alloy casing (Yeah!! Metal!!), and a backlit keyboard function, useful for late night surfing (whatever you do on a computer in the dark).

Spooks-watchers and Bond-fans will appreciate the Remote Delete Service, which (if selected) will totally wipe your computer the next time it connects up to the internet after it’s been reported stolen.  Oh, and while the gun-sighting credits and dancing girls are still on your mind’s screen, it’s also worth mentioning that once this process starts, it cannot be stopped  even if you format the disk, as it’s burned into the bios.  And if that’s not enough spy-tastic talk, there’s GPS tracking within 10 metres (1 in 4 Dell laptops with GPS are recovered, apparently).  Finally, there’s the on-screen flag saying “This machine has been stolen”, even if you didn’t get the hint when you bought it from that dodgy-looking bloke.  In Cash.

Video to come: Markus from Dell tells us all about his Torture Chamber…

…and here’s a little gallery of the day. 

Virgin Gadget Spy Webcast Out!!

Hello Michael...Wow! Remember I did some filming about 3 weeks ago for a pilot called “Gadget Spy” at Virgin Media?  I went off to visit Firebox a while ago to scope out some quirky electronic gizmos for this, pulled in some cool stuff from my industry mates at Archos and the like, then (and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing), we managed to get a filming date in the diary.  I just got an email this morning saying that they’ve completed the edit!

So this is the Inaugural Gadget Spy mini-cast! It’s the first time the VirginMedia web chaps and I have ever done anything like this – the idea certainly comes across, and if the powers that be like it, then who knows, they might put a budget behind it, and we can do it again in a month or so, As far as I know, the more clicks they get, the more likely that is – so do please add yours 🙂

Gadget Spy Pilot show: www.virginmedia.com/digital/gadgetspy

24 Hours on TV

I have no time at the moment! So I’ve decided to “do less”, which is a new one on me, brought about by a schedule that was crazy last week even by my standards.  Just to give you an idea of how busy I’ve been, there are still 3 unwatched episodes of Battlestar Galactica on my box.  I’ve reproduced Friday/ Saturday here:

Friday 1400 – get ready for TV marathon- that includes the incredibly dull and non-glamorous stuff like washing hair, doing nails, choosing outfits, making sure I have all my kit, checking specifications, and confirming the hotel is booked and the staff won’t be freaked out that you’ll be turning up at 2am looking half-mad and slathered in heavy make up. (NB: It turns out that if you call in advance and let reception know that you’ll be turning up at 2am looking half-mad etc, you are 78% more likely to be admitted.)

Friday / Saturday midnight to 0200 – go on telly.  There is an odd thought that sometimes hits me when I do the late shift, which is this: I know for a fact that the vast majority of people are going out on the town, dancing, eating, messing up their hair, or definitely not working – I can’t remember the last Saturday night I’ve not worked! Prior to doing the TV stuff, I used to gig in a band from Thursdays to Sundays – weekends were work even then… but I love having Mondays off.

Saturday 0830 – wake up ravenous and driven slightly bonkers by lack of sleep mixed with adrenalin from being on TV – yes, even after 8 years on the telly,  I still get quite excited.  Must. Eat. Now.  I suffer from “angry hungry” if I’m not fed, especially in the morning.

Saturday 0930 – back into QVC to get ready for the next show, including making sure the tech is working and no-one has unplugged/blown up anything whilst I was asleep, which is possible, although unlikely.  I normally also go for breakfast no. 2 at this point.  Must. Eat. Again.  I meet with the producer and the director and we talk about how last night went, what was good, and what could be done better (i.e. what was utterly pointless and needs to be dropped)  – I normally cave in to my first caffeine craving and drink a cup of tea just before going to air.

Saturday 1300 – I’ve presented 2 shows by now, we’re into the swing of things and the afternoon beckons- I’ll be looking at the 1600 and 1800 show, then it’s on to the evening shows at 2000 and 2300.  All the preparation of the weeks before has paid off – I know what I’m talking about, and I know how to talk about it, and of course, I’m used to the voices in my head (producer/director) giving advice and asking questions at the same time as my co-presenter is talking to me on air.  After the 1800 show, I start looking forward to yummy chinese food for dinner, which I normally indulge in between the last two shows of the shift.  

Saturday 1700 – this is where I’m hoping for my second (or third) wind, the frenzied preparation of the days before has finally demanded payback by now – I’ve sold my soul to caffeine, which comes to my rescue, a double latte with an extra shot, no foam.  Although it has to be skimmed milk now, I’m currently on a health kick and saving my “recommended guideline daily amount for Fat” for CHOCOLATE.

Saturday 2015 – just finished my penultimate show – normally the 8pm slot is quite fun.  Everyone knows what they’re doing and we sail through (assuming there’s no technical mayhem).  I bolt from the double doors off to dinner, and stuff my face with the same thing every time* before waddling back to the studio feeling contented and a little too full up.

Saturday 2259 – one more show to go, I’ll get to leave after this, but live TV is broadcast until 2am every night, so I can’t get publicly excited about going off home to bed after 24 hours, because others can’t turn in until much later.  It’s difficult being “De-mob happy” if you’re the only one allowed out.

Saturday 2315 -just finished the last show, all that’s left now is to De-rig.  This includes striking the set (i.e. clearing down the stuff in the studio), sorting out what’s mine and needs to go home, and what belongs to QVC and needs to stay at the studio, before completing the last “once-over” check and leaving at around midnight.

Saturday/Sunday 0125 – I’m finally making my way back home where I’ll attempt some form of make-up removal and hit the pillow square on in a triumph of unconsciousness.  I won’t even unpack until I wake up in the morning.

Normally, this is where I take a break, however, last weekend, I enjoyed the honour of taking part in Food 2.0, a fantastic charity event in which we raise money for Action Against Hunger whilst cooking a 3-course meal at the Cookery School for some incredibly sophisticated judges.  It was just like Masterchef, except with geek. You should have seen the kit people brought with – there were laptops, mobiles and camcorders everywhere.  We could have probably hacked into the Pentagon and/or broadcast to the outer reaches of the universe with the computing power in that kitchen.

Re: Food 2.0 Gulp!! I’ve managed to record 10GB of data!! 10GB!!!  Am not looking forward to wading through that much footage, when I’m pretty certain that the vast majority of it is not very interesting at all… mainly waffling about mushrooms and pastry it seems.  The usual saying in the industry is “Don’t worry, we’ll fix it in post (post production i.e. editing etc)” but I shall soldier on valiantly and post a link once it’s a) done, b) interesting, and c) not 14 hours long.

Well, next posts are imminent, they will be on the Food 2.0 experience, and I’ll be doing a special Archos post as I’ve been getting some techy queries from some viewers, it’s only polite to respond accordingly. 

*Vegetable Ho Fun noodles, no beansprout, no baby corn, no water chestnut, no bamboo shoots, extra tofu and extra chinese mushroom.  Followed by banana fritters.