My article about Robots on Stage in WIRED UK

I’m really pleased with how the piece has come out. Here’s a scan of the article from the September 2011 magazine issue of WIRED UK, and some screenshots of how it appears on their iPad version of the magazine.


Mayfest 2010 Reviews

I wrote a few reviews for theatrebristol.net about shows in this year’s Mayfest. It was a two week feast of theatre.

Here are the links:




Vitamin Water

This guy rules.  If I ever go to Japan, I want to meet him.  We found some videos he’d made a while ago, reviewing electro music equipment, like vocoders.  But he also stretches to reviewing yogurt and now… vitamin water.

Edinburgh Festival Busy Bees

After a nasty start to the weekend, when we discovered that some drunk gits had let down our front bike tyres whilst they were stowed in the luggage area on the train, things have been looking up. We made it to my favourite restaurant David Bann last night, and ate nice soup, and in between these we squeezed in 9 shows, and very good they were too.

Here’s our dessert at David Bann…

Snow Leopard

snow leopard

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this OS upgrade for my mac.  One of the main benefits is that it takes up 7GB less space – always good.  Also Snow Leopard just sounds cool.

Ed tells me that an improved operating system is like a good manager – better at breaking up tasks and delegating them appropriately, not micro-managing with the check-backs, better utilising the resources available and so on.

New personal aim: Be more like Snow Leopard.


Welcome to Guinnesstown™, Ireland.  Oops, I really mean Dublin, but its easy to get confused.

mmm Guinness

Here’s a few pics from our long weekend in Dublin.

25 Eustace Street, our spectacular house for the weekend. The floors were so wonky I felt like I was still on the ferry.

25 Eustace Street

Just your average holiday rental – here’s Will playing the boudoir piano.


The view from the Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar – pretty impressive stuff.  Couldn’t help but think they could have found a million better uses for all the cash they poured into that ‘museum’, which was really a massive advertisement with about 1,000 video screens showing videos of barley fields.

View from the Storehouse Gravity Bar

Here’s Kilmainham Gaol.  This is one of the wings. Its a Panopticon.  All the prisoners were meant to feel they were being watched by an all-seeing eye.  Strangely some of the theory and discourse around the Panopticon actually inspired one of the characters in Black Tonic (Jo – the 300 year old all-seeing blind card-playing criminal) – which might help to explain why audiences found him and that whole scene a bit left-field!


And finally, here’s the Porteous siblings, rarely seen all in the same place at the same time, and even less frequently all holding the same type of drink.  We had a grand time.

Porteous Siblings

On our last night, Ed & I met up with my friend Gary from my MA course at Central all those years ago.  I hadn’t seen him for years, and it was great to find out all his news, including about his theatre company Broken Talkers.

I just about survived the ferry home, through force 8 gales in the Irish Sea.  No photo of that – I was too busy lying down trying to remain zen.  Don’t think I quite achieved that, but at least I didn’t need to make use of the ‘Convenience Bags’ that had been thoughtfully left on every available surface.


I’ve been barely concealing (ok not managing to conceal at all) my jealousy of people nipping off for nice sensible week or two week long summer holidays over the last month.

But I’ve been biding my time, and now, just as ‘back to school’ time approaches, my holiday season begins.  Hooray!

It starts with a long weekend in Dublin, which I’m excited about as I’ve never been to Ireland.  We’re taking the train and ferry (as you’d expect) which turns out to be a total bargain, and for once in my life cheaper than taking the plane! Here’s the details of how to do it on Seat61.

I’ve managed to find us a genuine georgian pad to stay in, complete with ‘boudoir’ piano, courtesy of the Irish Landmark Trust.  We’re going with Ed’s brother and sister, and I’m told that his bro is a pro on the old piano, so I’m hoping for a concert.


Then we’re up to Edinburgh for another long weekend, to check out the festival.  I’ve got a rigorous schedule lined up, but I’m going to make darned sure I squeeze in a visit to David Bann, my favourite veggie restaurant.

Well, that’s it for August.  September and October hold more holiday treats, but more of them later.

Origami flowers


I saw this in the paper ages ago, and finally got round to making one of these flowers myself last week.  I followed this video tutorial.  The presenter guy is pretty low-key, but you know its paper folding, not a high impact sport you’re learning here.

Hopefully I’ll get round to making 10 or more, and put them onto a trail of fairy lights like in the picture above.

Homeless Heroes

Saturday, and off to that London for 2 plays in one day.

By coincidence, they both featured a homeless person in the central role.

1. Vagabond’s Voyage by Little Wonder (see my earlier post).

I enjoyed the show a lot – the highlight being a trip through the 800m long Islington Tunnel on a canal boat. Great music and singing, and a gentle introduction to the canal and its community both past and present.  Made me think about how important these wild, quiet, uncommercialised spaces in the middle of cities are.  It’s now finished its run.

2. Mincemeat by Cardboard Citizens

A fantastic show.  I was excited about seeing it, after being so impressed by the last major site-specific show of theirs that I saw – ‘Pericles’.  ‘Pericles’ had been a visual feast – amazing scenography on a big scale – around 6 enormous halls of an industrial warehouse complex.

Mincemeat has a similar feel – the audience member journeys through a handful of different spaces, each scenographically different.  The cast play with performance styles, and the meta-theatrical stuff near the start (which seems a bit naff at first) makes progressively more sense as the production unfolds – the story is all about a man trying to construct his identity.

Some of the performers are really stunning, with an outstanding performance by the protagonist, who really takes you on his journey with him, painfully unfolding his true identity.

It’s on till 12 July.  Go see it.

A Brum Weekend

The weekend started well with a Flying Start 2 unofficial reunion dinner at ours.  Lex made a fantastic apple pie which finished our meal off nicely.  Lovely to catch up with everyone.

Lex cutting her apple pie

Saturday, Ed and I cycled over to Hockley for the Flyover Show headed up by the inspiring Soweto Kinch.  It really was under a flyover, as you can see.  Good vibe and an eclectic mix of music – from hip-hop to verging-on-classical type jazz glockenspiel!

flyover show

cycling through Hockleyflyover show

Today we headed over to catch the last hour of Stan’s Cafe’s 24 Hour Scalextric.  Impressive commentary from James and Craig, who kept it up for the full 24 hours, and were still keeping the crowd entertained with their sometimes hilarious free-associating right up to the final minute.

24 Hour Scalextric

24 Hour Scalextric

24 Hour Scalextric - the commentators

24 Hour Scalextric - the drivers celebrate