Monday, October 17, 2011

Revolutions in Sound, 13th October

Ok, so this wasn't actually on my list, but it was so unassailably cool that I feel I have to write about it. It's definitely the sort of thing that would be on my list, if it wasn't a one-off thing, which you could only go to by winning tickets, and even then I still might have added it except that it all happened so fast.

I'm not sure where I heard about the event, but it was one of those where tickets go on 'sale' at a certain time and it turned out to be first come first served. I happened to be in a training thing all day that day and so I knew that by the time I got on the website, there was no way I would get a ticket. I'd asked my boyfriend to try to get us some, but I think he got on the website even later than me so there was no hope for us. 

So what was it? Red Bull had taken over control of the London Eye and were giving you the chance to win tickets to one of the pods, inside which would be a well known act - a DJ or performer. The pods only hold about 30 people so you would be in for a pretty exclusive treat. Runner up prizes were tickets to the silent disco at the base of the Eye and runner runner up prizes were to be able to listen to it live. Big whoop. 

Luckily for me, one of my good friends had also entered the competition, early enough to be in with a chance, had won a pair and invited me along! She, like me, had thought she would just have to submit interest and then the act you saw would be allocated at random. This was not so. When you applied for tickets you also had to say which act you wanted, and aware of the time pressure, she picked the first one she recognised (and liked) - Beardyman. 

I had heard of Beardyman but never seen him before. He's a beatboxer who now uses looping to create songs live and he also has a bit of a comedy act too. We turned up as early as we could to make sure we got in our pod. We were in pod #3 which meant that being early in this case was not at all nerdy (lest you were judging) but in fact the sensible thing to do. Once the pod had gone by, there was no getting in if you missed it. It looked like several people didn't have our sense of timing though, as there were only 12 of us who made it into the pod out of the 22 on the gurstlist. It was incredibly surreal. You hopped in and there was Beardyman making announcements as if to welcome you to outer space. He clearly found the whole thing strange as well, and it inspired his first 'song' about how 'odd it was to be in this pod'. Him alluding to the slight awkwardness made it much more relaxing and along with the free drinks on offer, by the time we were halfway through our first revolution, people had got over the novelty of it all. Some were barely paying attention to the act they'd come to see, treating it like anything else and chatting among themselves. Beardyman was definitely worth paying attention to, though, as he's a great performer. Twice he asked his audience for inspiration, leading to such instant classics as Ginger Biscuits and Fuzzy Box. One of the good things about seeing him, instead of say, Ms Dynamite is that because as a beatboxer, he was inclined to show us the range of his talents, which meant not being limited to a particular genre. He went through house, hip hop, dubstep, drum n bass and even some seventies style funk I dare say. The time passed much too quickly and before we knew it we were disembarking from the wheel. 

I would describe the whole experience as amazing. And I wasn't the only one. Everyone that entered the main concourse straight from their pod was breathlessly gushing about how amazing it was. Everyone, that is, except those who had drunk too much and were sprinting to the toilets because they'd had to hold it for the last hour. It was truly a unique experience, so thank you Sophie for taking me along! Definitely the coolest thing I've ever done on a Thursday.

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.