My Workbench Archive, May - June 2008
Monday 16th June 2008
DEMU Showcase Update - better late than never!
Last week I had intended to post a review of the excellent DEMU Showcase exhibition on this website, the show having taken place over the weekend of 7/8 June, at Burton Town Hall. However, some unavoidable end-of-university commitments involving friends and alcohol took priority, delaying posting details of the day out!
No doubt many people have since been reading the various internet forums about DEMU Showcase - suffice to say it was an excellent show with every single layout being a pleasure to watch! The DEMU East Midlands Area Group organised another wonderful show, and I look forward to next year's at the new venue in Bretby!
Obviously when doing any form of show-review it is good to have a set of slightly-dodgy photographs of the layouts present, either obtained by lugging a cumbersome tripod around a hot exhibition hall for long exposure photos with natural light, or some clinically-grey looking Flash photos of layouts, having blinded all the operators! Sadly (and unusually) I forgot to take any photographs of layouts at DEMU Showcase, but instead took a large number of random outdoor snaps when out looking for lunch in Burton!
These two images will be particularly useful when doing the detailing on Worthing MRC's new Loftus Road layout, with the upper photograph showing some of the strange rubbish and clutter that can be found out the back of industrial premises, and a lovely battered skip!
Meanwhile, this view of the back of Sainsbury's in Burton will be useful reference for when modelling a scene depicting the back of a Tesco superstore on the club layout!
For me, the best part of the day was probably the journey itself, as I love driving my car I'd volunteered to take Pete Hollman, Martin Browning and Chris Sweeney up to Burton for the Sunday - it was the longest distance I'd driven for a while, but luckily I had many CDs packed with cheesy pop music for the trip, which seemed to go down better with the audience than I'd expected!
There were a few slight instances of wrong road turnings being made, and since I had several navigators we all decided blaming each other was the best policy! On the journey home we experienced a lot of traffic jams, particularly on the M40, and at one point the guys egged me on to activate my windscreen washer jets whilst we were coincidently (of course) waiting next to a lady in an Audi cabriolet. I feel very guilty now!
Overall it was a brilliant day, apologies for the unconventional show report, I can't think how I managed to forget to take any indoor photos but hopefully these photographs will provide greater modelling inspiration than a few blurry layout photos!
On My Mp3:Ladytron - Burning Up
Wednesday 4th June 2008
The Best Damn Tour!
Last night I saw Avril Lavigne performing live at Bournemouth BIC on her 2008 "Best Damn Tour", which was so good that I felt compelled to share some of the photos here!
Several of my mates and I are really into Avril's music and consequently had our tickets booked ever since the announcement of the tour dates last year and had been eagerly awaiting the concert, even more so as the US leg of the tour had received some pretty good reviews too!
A lot of people have expressed their dislike at the way she's gone more mainstream and 'poppy' in style with her 2007 album 'The Best Damn Thing' but having liked her from the beginning, I think she's still amazing! There's some truly stunning tour photographs to be found on Avril Lavigne's website, but here are a few of my dodgy attempts at recording the evening!
The event was a good two-hour drive from my house and so therefore constituted a "road trip" according to my mates, requiring all sorts of strange things being brought along and tons of CDs to keep us going throughout the five hours we were in the car that night!
Traffic was busy along the route but we made it luckily! As is customary at one of these events I ensured I was properly fleeced by the organisers and bought an excessive amount of merchandise, this time including three more different Avril Lavigne tour shirts, a baseball cap and a mug!
I'm too embarrassed to disclose precisely how much I spent but it is safe to say that my budget for planned spending on train stuff at the forthcoming DEMU Showcase exhibition has been severely slashed!
Having tucked in to the merchandise stand (and been given a thorough ribbing by mates over my buying habits!), we then meandered into the front standing area, passing the bar along the way. The Jonas Brothers were supporting Avril Lavigne on the European leg of the tour and were reasonably good at getting the crowd ready for the main act!
Avril appeared on stage singing her recent high-energy hit 'Girlfriend' to a very appreciative audience, and then went onto perform a number of older tracks such as her debut single 'Complicated', 'My Happy Ending' and the very aggressive 'I Always Get What I Want' which was superb, and all caught on my video!
Avril performing 'I'm With You' from her debut album 'Let Go'
Avril's well known for her ability to tackle many instruments and this tour included performances on the piano playing the ballad 'When You're Gone', an acoustic guitar version of 'Hot'...
...and even a short spell on the drums!
Later on she then performed her excellent forthcoming single 'The Best Damn Thing' in full cheerleader style and things went very pink!
At the end of the evening Avril and the dancers then donned 'hoodies' for the final performance of what is possibly Avril Lavigne's best known single, the classic 'Sk8er Boi'.
Overall it was a brilliant show and well worth waiting for! Going by past history it'll probably be a long time before her next album comes out, so that gives me plenty of time just to listen to my live recordings and relive the memories of an amazing night!
Normal website service may resume shortly!
On My Mp3:Avril Lavigne - Everything Back But You (Live!)
Saturday 24th May 2008
A few more pictures!
Currently Wells Green TMD's packed up and stored safely away following the previous Ally Pally show back in March, so I've added a few more of my favourite 'library photos' as can be seen here! Both of the railway images have been on the website before, but I've decided to increase the image sizes so that viewers get to have a closer look at what's actually going on in the picture!
The website started in 2005 and originally used 500-pixel-sized images but I figured that three years on, most people will now be using larger PC screens, and my old small photos were looking 'lost' on more modern screens!
I absolutely love Class 90s so make no apologies for featuring three of them here!
Finally, here's a picture of my beloved scratchbuilt Ford Focus Zetec Climate - incredibly it's almost a year since I finished the model, and with the new shape Focus available, it's already out of date!
That's pretty much all for now but soon it will be time for the annual pilgrimage to DEMU Showcase, I'll no doubt post some photos of the day on here too!
On My Mp3:Ladytron - Ghosts
Wednesday 14th May 2008
*Warning* - Dangerously off-topic web update!
Yes, its Girls Aloud!
Well, there's not much going on in terms of modelling lately so I felt the need to plaster the website with pictures of Girls Aloud, taken last night when they performed at the Brighton Centre. The tour sold out rather rapidly so I was left to trawl eBay for tickets for this show!
This was an all-seating event, and with the front flat stall tickets going for crazy money on eBay, my friend and I ended up sitting in a tiered seating block opposite the stage, having paid £62 for the tickets, luckily not far off their face value!
The view was pretty good it has to be said, although there were no chances for 'up close and personal' photos like at the previous Sugababes concert featured here, but my cheapy camera coped reasonably well considering our distance from the stage.
Having arrived at the venue, my friend and I tucked into the merchandise stand, buying a ton of stuff including matching tour shirts, posters, mugs, signed photos, programmes and keyrings!
I just love the fact that the merchandise is completely overpriced and would never dream of buying it in the cold light of day, yet when at a concert I will happily pay over the odds for some bit of tat branded 'Girls Aloud'!
Support acts for the tour included Billiam (a boring boyband) Luigi Masi (an OK-ish electropop male solo act) and five-piece girlband The Saturdays, who were pretty superb it has to be said!
They are almost identical to Girls Aloud in terms of visual appearance and musical style so it will be interesting to see how things develop and whether they will become as successful as the main act is!
The Saturdays, who put on a very good show - I am a real sucker for manufactured girly pop bands I have to admit!
After the three support acts had finished, and with much anticipation, at 8.50pm the lights dimmed once again and Girls Aloud entered the stage from above - each member being lowered from the ceiling wearing angel costumes and singing 'Sexy! No No No...'
I've got this all safely on video but annoyingly one over-keen guy next to me kept shouting 'Nicola' at the top of his voice, somewhat spoiling the recording but adding to the busy crowd ambience I suppose!
Having shed the angel wings, the band then went on to perform several tracks from their new album and their old hit 'Sound of the Underground' with big pictures of industrial machinery forming the backdrop.
As you'd expect from Girls Aloud, the dance routines were very energetic and while performing 'Close to Love' the band were swung round by their backing dancers, which could have been scary if it went wrong!
While the band's main rivals Sugababes favoured big bouffant dresses for their stage show, Girls Aloud have gone for a 'less is more' approach to their tour costumes, though I suppose you can't argue with that!
After another costume change, the band went on to belt out classic hits such as 'Love Machine', 'Biology' and the latest single 'Can't Speak French'. Here you can see band member Nicola Roberts taking centre stage whilst performing 'Black Jacks'.
Above, from left to right: band members Nadine Coyle, Cheryl Cole, Nicola Roberts, Sarah Harding and Kimberly Walsh.
Girls Aloud are well-known for covering other people's songs and this tour they performed Salt N Pepa's 'Push It' and Kelis' 'Trick Me' amongst others. The girls can be seen introducing their cover of Robyn's song 'With Every Heartbeat'.
Often bands like to change their song introductions to sound a bit different and therefore surprise the audience when they come to sing the track - however this discrete message on the stage thoughtfully provided a tip off as to their intention to perform 'Fling', allowing me ample opportunity to get the video camera started before the song began!
Things went all gold and spangly for the remaining part of the concert as the band performed songs such as 'Call the Shots' and 'Jump' while parading around the stage and posing together for photo opportunities!
According to information posted elsewhere on the internet, the tour is said to have cost £3 million to stage, which includes over £250,000 spent on pyrotechnics. A fair amount of that budget can be seen exploding in the photo above!
It was an absolutely awesome show to watch, and as you can see from the photographs the audience is completely captivated by the special effects too!
Here's my accomplice Beth, who was too engrossed in the show to actually notice being photographed! She's the only person I know able to tolerate Girls Aloud for any extended duration, and was willing to join me in singing and dancing along to all the songs!
Having finished performing the penultimate song 'Jump' and showing off their fireworks, Girls Aloud came back onto the stage one last time to perform their hit single 'Something Kinda Ooooh' to a very pleased crowd! A large amount of shiny tape was dropped onto the audience, and naturally I pinched a fair amount of this to keep as memorabilia!
All in all, it was an excellent night and I hope my website visitors don't mind too much about yet another off-topic web update but I just couldn't resist sharing the photographs!
On My Mp3:Girls Aloud - Hoxton Heroes
Saturday 3rd May 2008
A bit of filler!
As a form of compensation for the lack of recent updates, I have delved into the Wells Green archives for some photographs which I do not believe have ever been shown before!
Obviously with an 'On My Workbench' part of a website it is desirable to keep constantly updating it with lots of new pictures of spankingly good models every week but its been getting more and more difficult just to find the time or inclination to sit down and do the modelling in the first place!
Alternative activities including University, seeing people and socialising are all currently higher priorities and I can't foresee a period when I have some decent free time to relax and do modelling until at least July!
In the past I always kept a 'reserve supply' of modelling update website material to use at busy times when I just don't feel up to the usual kit building, painting, weathering and so on... but even this supply is starting to run out now. So the updates are really starting to scrape the barrel!
It's all very weird though because I have no intention of giving up the hobby - I still remain just as interested in modelling, I buy most of the magazines and post on the internet forums but I just cannot face doing the physical modelling! Here's to being an 'armchair modeller' for the next few months at least!
There will of course be more updates (and a few surprises!) when I can devote the odd few minutes to working on the website so do keep checking back every now and then!
The hit counter has recently passed the 100,000 visitors mark and I am very chuffed that so many people have bothered clicking on the website (or is it just one person repeatedly pressing the 'Refresh' button!) to read my drivel and see my bodged models, so I am hoping this rather gloomy update doesn't kill the ratings too much!
On My Mp3:Victoria Beckham - Let Your Head Go
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