I think, in retrospect, the two biggest things that happened to me in 2016, were almost identical.
I was hurtling down the M4 on my motorbike, when what looked like the handlebars of a bicycle fell off the back of the skip lorry 100 yards in front of me.. They bounced chaotically towards me at 80mph, their irregular shape making it impossible to tell where they would go next.
With only seconds before impact, all I could do was keep my cool, knowing that one wrong move would mean disaster.
A few months later -
I was in the pit at the end of the Chic performance putting up the cameras and Nile Rodgers gestured to me how to get down from the stage - I indicated over by the side. Instead, he launched himself off the downstage edge into my arms… Again I had to keep my cool, knowing that if I dropped him, I would for evermore be known as the guy responsible for the death of disco…
Two days in a photo studio on an aftershave shoot featuring a very, very famous ex-footballer and me and two 30k Barcos... Of course the insurmountable problems from the screen bowing in the middle were all sorted in due course by your's truly
My first major gig doing onstage visuals was at the Town & Country club in Kentish Town for the promoter.
Headlining were a band I’d never heard of - Gaye Bykers On Acid
Post show I was quickly asked if I wanted to join them on tour and before I knew it I was on Stewed To The Gills - my first Rock tour. Since then I’ve worked in 56 countries on countless shows - Johnny Cash, Sting, Bowie, Elton John, Duran Duran, The Orb, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Pet Shop Boys, Radiohead, Aphex Twin.
25 years later and I find myself back at the same venue with the same band and still loving it like it was the first time.
In case you were wondering, I used resolume for playback. The old byker vids had their audio replaced with a metronome click which resolume picked up with it's automated beat looper, so I can get it to play video samples that loop to the beat. I then midi mapped the playhead for each clip to a rotator, so i could scroll to any point in the movie then set it all to randomise, which is how I got some of the guitar solos up on screen at the right time.. next time, I'll put in some goto points so I can hit solos and chorus bang on.. it was worth all the effort as I had the time of my life and best of all, I was home by nine… lol
25 years later and it seems like no time at all.
I turned up at the first show of the tour and had a fantastic evening.. Loved every minute of it.
Hope I don't have to wait another 25 years to see them again.
I can almost feel it now, like the first chill of Autumn.
The ache when you say goodbye to people whose lives you have touched, knowing it will be at least years and maybe never until next time.
The moment when you are totally alone in the dark under the stage with the band playing above you and you know that any day now, you’ll be back in the UK and it will all seem like it was a dream. But what a dream! UK, Italy, USA/ Canada 3 times!!! - and they pay me to do it! I get paid to make people happy!!
Well of course, it all made such perfect sense, having dreamed as a 14 year old of riding a Harley Davidson Electroglide through the vast American Mid-West back in that council house in Nottingham.
So without hesitation I booked a Harley on my day off in Vegas and headed out into the desert.
Now then, what is it that we know about the desert? Ah yes, it never rains.
But it seems that Hail Stones aren't included as you can see from the leopard skin pattern bruises I have as a souvenir of riding into a desert hailstorm at 60mph. Confident it would only last a few seconds I pressed on, only to be pelted with ice cubes the size of grapes for a further very long 3 minutes.
If that wasn't enough, the Electroglide proved to be a dreadful machine to ride. Fine on the highway, a total nightmare around town.
I left my hotel room, got in the minibus, checked into the airport, changed planes twice, took another bus to the next hotel and checked into exactly the same room. 1100 miles apart and even the tea bags were the same. Roadie Fridays can be very disorientating. You finally go out and almost everywhere is closed, or empty. Never mind, show tomorrow..