Pink Floyd – Quadraphonics.

Also while I was the Production Manager at the Roundhouse Theatre in London we had a press “showing” of the quadraphonic version of The Dark Side Of The Moon.   For some reason Wikipedia states that this happened at the Rainbow Theatre.   Not true.  I worked both at the Roundhouse and was very much […]

Also while I was the Production Manager at the Roundhouse Theatre in London we had a press “showing” of the quadraphonic version of The Dark Side Of The Moon.   For some reason Wikipedia states that this happened at the Rainbow Theatre.   Not true.  I worked both at the Roundhouse and was very much involved in the creation of The Rainbow as a Rock venue as well.  And whilst all manner of amazing concerts took place in the Rainbow, this one didn’t.

What happened is that the Pink Floyd decided to have a sort of private press show of the quadraphonic version of that amazing album, and they chose to do it in the Roundhouse because of the physical structure of the building.  As it was originally an engine roundhouse, it had a circular gallery running all the way around the central circle, so they could place speakers all around the full 360 degrees of the centre, and place the press corps in the middle, where they would get the full (literally surround sound) of the quadraphonics.

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At that period of my life I worked on a number of Pink Floyd concerts, and one thing that really stood out with this band was the totally professional way they went about preparing and performing their concerts, and this presentation of The Dark Side of the Moon was no exception to this rule.

Most bands tended to turn up as near to performance time as possible, leaving the sound checks, instrument tuning and so on to their various roadies – for the great majority of rock bands it was really only a matter of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, as the saying had it in those days – and being professional about how it all took place was not really a major issue for most bands.   But not with Pink Floyd. Continue reading “Pink Floyd – Quadraphonics.”

Fred Einaudi – A Very Odd And Morbid Artist

Fred Einaudi is one of the oddest and most disturbing painters working today – or at least that is my feeling, and once you have had a look at some of the paintings below, I think you will probably agree with me on this. So before discussing this artist, I thought i would give you […]

Fred Einaudi is one of the oddest and most disturbing painters working today – or at least that is my feeling, and once you have had a look at some of the paintings below, I think you will probably agree with me on this.

So before discussing this artist, I thought i would give you an example of his work, so you know what it is we are looking at here.

fred-01

This is reasonably typical of his work.   Most of his paintings are extremely realistic, in the sense that they could be photos, but in fact all his work is oil on canvas, and all of them without exception are morbid and worrying in what they depict.

So, who is this guy?  Well he was born  in 1971 in a small town in Nevada, but moved to San Francisco as soon as he was able, which is where he now lives and works.

And this is what he looks like…..

fred_einaudi

Sort of tells you a lot I feel.

The next question I wanted an answer to was why he paints such depressing images?  Does he have a death fixation?  Is he simply sick, or is there a much deeper reason for his choice of subject? Continue reading “Fred Einaudi – A Very Odd And Morbid Artist”

Roundhouse Time. – I discover the joys of the 130 hour working week

Working at the Roundhouse Theatre was both exciting and exhausting

About 1998, an old friend of mine, Robbie Simpson, asked me if I would care to be the next Production-manager at the Roundhouse Theatre where he was working at the time in some technical capacity or other. I thought this might be fun, so I applied for the job and to my considerable surprise got it, in spite of having really no real experience in that particular work. But then, the man who gave me that job – the Director of the Roundhouse Trust – had been in charge of the Egg Marketing Board before taking up his post at the Roundhouse….

Thus began what was probably the most amazing three years of my life.

Being Production Manager there meant being in charge of everything apart from Front of House and office type administration, so I was in charge of a staff of about 30 or so totally weird hippy-like stage hands, electricians, carpenters, cleaners and others, and was totally responsible to ensure that everything technical worked for incoming companies and the public.

It also meant working for anything up to 130 hours every few weeks as a new show came in (The Roundhouse was a sort of short run pre-west end theatre), as most shows came for about a month and then headed to the west end theatres if they were successful with us.

Being literally an old engine roundhouse – the first in the world built by Stevenson in 1836, it wasn’t actually a good structure for theatre, so we more or less completely rebuilt the auditorium and stage for each production…..

We had the most amazing variety of shows there, ranging from classical music concerts, musicals, film shows, huge rock shows every Sunday, drama and so on.. Anything you can think of could and probably did happen there at one time or another.

People who we worked with included, and this list is far from complete:-

Doctor John

Pink Floyd,

Yes,

Stone Ground,

And outside the Roundhouse I had the pleasure of working with Frank Zappa as well… A man whose work I admired enormously…. And I am happy to say that he was every bit as pleasant and sharp in person as he seemed to be when one saw him being interviewed. An intriguing man and an incredible guitarist too.

Well to make the list shorter, we had almost every rock musician and band apart from The Beatles, the Doors, Hendrix and Joplin. For the rest more or less everyone who was busy with Rock in the years between 1969 and 1974 appeared there in one way or another…. One highlight was the first of the Stone’s Last concerts… That was circus to say the least, which I shall write about more fully later.

Further,

Pierre Boulez,

London Philharmonic Orchestra,

BBC Symphony Orchestra,

Le Grande Magique Circus,

Arian Menushkin’s Théâtre du Soleil,

Jean-Louis Barrault,

Godspell,

Peter Brooke,

Sir Lawrence Olivier,

Johnathan Miller

Jeremy Irons,

David Essex,

Bernard Breslaw (he was such a gentle person in spite of his impressive size)

Continue reading “Roundhouse Time. – I discover the joys of the 130 hour working week”

Wavy Gravy, Stoneground, Hog Farmers and dope galore

Stoneground – Amazing band who lived outside the Roundhouse

During my time at the Roundhouse in the early 1970’s, we held large rock concerts every Sunday, which over the years featured just about all the bands, musicians and others who were busy with Rock and Roll in that period.   Generally these guys turned up in time to perform their sets, and then went away again, and that was that.   However, one group actually moved in and set up home in the car park at the back of the Roundhouse and became our House Band for some months.

This was a large group of musicians and their hangers-on (wives, children and lovers) called Stoneground, who were part of what was known as the Hog Farmers.   This was a sort of ad hoc commune based in California on a real hog farm owned and run by a most unlikely clown called Wavy Gravy, who deserves an entire book all about who he was and what he did and still does.

In passing I should mention that it was Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farmers who set up and ran the Woodstock Festivals, so if you happen to see the film of the first Woodstock festival, you will have seen Wavy Gravy in action, as he introduced most of the groups there.

Anyhow, for some reason Warner Brothers had taken up Stoneground and decided in their wisdom to fly them all to London and then set up a tour around the UK and Europe.    They may have looked like Hippies, and lived together in a sort of commune, but most of them were rather older than the average Hippy, and not at all given to standing around with flowers in their hair damply saying “Peace..Peace and love”   They were much more likely to hit you over the head and stomp you, as many of them were Vietnam veterans and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress in a big way.

Stoneground en masse

Though in one way they were very much of the Hippy persuasion, and that was in their use of dope.   They chain smoked the stuff.

Continue reading “Wavy Gravy, Stoneground, Hog Farmers and dope galore”

A very unlikely Hells Angels Chapter

As I said ages ago, this blog consists of random memories as they occur to me, so here is another such relatively pointless memory from my Roundhouse days – All about the most unlikely chapter of Hells Angels you could possibly imagine.

As I said ages ago, this blog consists of random memories as they occur to me, so here is another such relatively pointless memory from my Roundhouse Production Manager days – All about the most unlikely chapter of Hell’s Angels you could possibly imagine.

There was a small group of rather weedy young men who hung around the Roundhouse in those days, trying to get work from us as security for our Rock concerts (which we never gave them by the way) who felt that they were the epitome of what the Hell’s Angels stood for.
They wished to set up a proper London Chapter of the Angels for themselves.   But as they possessed only a small moped and a Mini Moke ( a sort of jeep version of the famous Mini car) we all felt that this was an unlikely dream.
They used to film themselves on that moped pobling along the road with a small video camera on the back of the Moke and obviously were living in a total fantasy world.
However, one day they astounded us all by coming into the Roundhouse full of excitement, as apparently the head Chapter of the Angels were sending someone over from California to make them into members of the club.
This bloke duly turned up one day, with an enormous heavily chopped bike (it only had half a petrol tank, so he could see the engine as he rode along on it).  And he was enormous as well.  A most impressive and rather intimidating creature to say the least.
He on his huge bike, and they on their moped and the Moke rode all over the place together for a couple of weeks, filming themselves of course and then he returned to the States, but had to our amazement actually enrolled them into the Hells Angels….
After which they wore their Angels jackets with great pride.  I wonder what became of them when the more normal Angels London Chapter was started.

Ereaders Offer Dyslexics A Way Of Reading More Easily

A 2013 study has shown that ereaders can offer help to those suffering from certain forms of dyslexia to read faster and to understand better what it is they have read.

A 2013 study has shown that ereaders can offer help to those suffering from certain forms of dyslexia to read faster and to understand better what it is they have read.

As you may not realise, there are in fact a whole range of reading disabilities that are covered by the somewhat blanket term, Dyslexia, and each form obviously presents its own problems and potential solutions.

dyslexia
Image with thanks to www.interhomeopathy.org

In the case of this experiment, they were concentrating on the form that finds difficulty in separating and comprehending words on a normally laid out book. i.e lots of words in each line of text.

Continue reading “Ereaders Offer Dyslexics A Way Of Reading More Easily”

Ebook Review. Morlac, The Ultimate Fantasy Story

With Morlac – The Quest of the Green Magician, Alan Ruse has written what has to be the ultimate epic Fantasy saga. He manages to incorporate every form of fantasy with the possible exception of Vampires into the three stories that make up this ebook.

With Morlac – The Quest of the Green Magician, Alan Ruse has written what has to be the ultimate epic Fantasy saga.  He manages to incorporate every form of fantasy with the possible exception of Vampires into the three stories that make up this ebook.

In fact he first published this book in 1986 as a paper book, but it has now been published as an ebook.

From This…………

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

To This……….. Read on, All will be Explained……

MORLAC-cover-NEW

In passing I have to say I really like this cover, it splendidly sets the tone of the book, shows that Conan is lurking somewhere in the back of Ruse’s mind, and reminds me of the Sci-Fi mags I used to buy many, many years ago.

Continue reading “Ebook Review. Morlac, The Ultimate Fantasy Story”