I had a houseguest from Friday - Tuesday, which is always nice. I tend to go out more when I have somebody staying over. Also, it's an excuse to go do slightly more touristy things, or just go to a museum. (Indeed, if I know you in real life and you're looking to stay on a sofa bed in central London, drop me a line.)
However, I used him as an excuse to procrastinate on writing my lecture. Fortunately, I was able to write the whole thing on Tuesday afternoon, in about half the time it normally takes me! I must finally be getting the hang of this. I went out on Tuesday night, feeling very pleased with myself.
On Wednesday, I presented the lecture and found out that it also seemed to take about half of the appointed time. My efficiency knows no bounds! I spent the second half of the class showing them MCLD's dubstep patch and how to do some bitcrushing stuff, which seemed to go over well, so it was ok. I try to have emergency backup material in case this happens, but now I'm fresh out.
I also got a bit of feedback where apparently they want to learn more about how to do stuff, which is fair enough. Unfortunately, all of the really good how-to topics are in the past, so I may end up going back over them. I should probably ask if there's any particular topic they wish they'd gotten more detail on. They seem to really be into break beat cutting and this might be because they already liked it or because I talked about BBCut. I gave them some how to program drone stuff, though, and nobody seems to be writing drone pieces.
Then I went to Brum, where we had a guest speaker who was talking about how to master electroacoustic music for CD. He said we could all get a very decent home studio for only £5000. It was like he forgot that he was talking to students. I don't have a room that I could convert into a proper studio like that, and if I had £5k extra lying around, well, actually, music gear is probably my second priority at the moment, so that's not entirely unreasonable. Until I get regular full time employment, though, it's not on my budget. I guess I could mortgage my dog or something, but that's risky.
I haven't been getting much done lately, so I haven't been going out much, on the idea that if I sequester myself at home, I'll quit procrastinating. This doesn't actually work. So Saturday, I decided to go out and ended up having a kind of a surreal evening. I came home at 4 am with 3 different hand stamps.
I skipped dinner so I could go to the FTM London meeting, which is once a month. It's a support group kind of thing and only the third time I've ever been to a such a meeting in my life. I had some useful conversations and the people there are good guys, and I should keep going, but I'm not a huge fan of the support group format. I don't actually understand what the parameters are about what I'm allowed or not allowed to talk about, so I'll just say that it was good to be reminded that I have more surgical options than the ones presented to me last week.
After the meeting, several of us went to the Black Cap in Camden and had something to drink. This was the source of my first hand stamp, as they start charging a cover at some point after I arrived, so a security guy came by and stamped everybody already in the pub.
I ran into a friend there and she said she was going to something called Duckie at the RVT and asked me if I wanted to come along. It was packed to the gills. I've only ever been to Wotever-related events there, so I've never seen it so stuffed or so gay. It was 95% gay men, I think. I saw somebody else I knew there who was in to noise music and talked (shouted, really) to her and her partner for several minutes and then retreated outside with the smokers. We went back in for the stage show. There were two women dressed as tea ladies, stacking tea cups and pouring tea into them, on a table. It was already kind of surreal, as the music could have been part of the Leave it to Beaver soundtrack, and they had done some choreography that was supposed to invoke the idea of sexiness without actually embodying it.
Then, just in time for the last cup to be filled, the tea pot was empty! So, one of the women stood up on a chair, hiked up her shirt and pissed into the tea pot. Then, they dropped a tea bag into the pot, swirled it around for a moment, poured the contents of the pot into tea cups and both performers sipped at them. Thus ended their act.
I tried to suavely hide my look of open-mouthed-shock. I'm from a more prudish country and obviously gay men in London must want to go out and watch women do things with piss, and that's perfectly fine. And anyway, it had to be faked, as she weed for quite a long time, so it was obviously some sort of water bottle or something hidden under her skirt.
The pissing performer turned out to be friends with my friend. Which is how I learned that she had been complaining a bit about the vast quantities of water she'd had to drink before her act in order to be able to produce enough fluid at the end. Um, wow. So I saw the liquid version of two girls, two cups. Awesome.
At midnight, I left to go hear Danse Macabre play a gig very near my house. The drummer had texted me the address and then said I was on the guest list. So I showed up kind of drunk and then noticed that she had gotten me on the guest list by saying I was doing sound for them.
They were playing in a straight, mtf-crossdresser fetish bar. So there were a lot of leering straight men around, being lustful. And a lot of middle aged drag queens in extremely fabulous cocktail dresses. The entire club was structured around the male gaze. I retreated backstage with the band and drank more.
Then they were on and I was in the sound booth. I've only done live sound once before in my life and it was a total disaster of feedback and mics crapping out. But the band said they'd already sound checked and I shouldn't have to adjust anything, it would be fine. So they got on stage and immediately the feedback started. The person who sound checked them had no idea where it was coming from. I finally worked out it was form the mics for the backing vocals, but then somebody who actually knew what he was doing came charging back and asked me if I was actually a sound engineer. I said no, so he started twisting all the knobs on top of the board and not only did the feedback go away, but the band sounded way better. He then said things would be fine and wandered off.
The band had a new line up. They have a sax player now, who I could barely hear, so I kept pushing her mic hotter and hotter and she kept playing farther and farther from the mic. Arg. Later, I found out that the sound checker put her way too hot in the monitors, so she could hear herself blasting. Rather than turn that down, the woman told her to play quieter! So the saxophonist was on stage, trying to play sax quietly into a microphone!
I really should learn how to work a PA for public events. It would be a really useful skill.
Also, the male gaze is reaaaaly troubling.