Tour de France 2014 - Slow Motion in Ilkley

Well, the excitement of seeing the Tour de France roll through Ilkley on Saturday is still with me.  It was an amazing spectacle, and it left me feeling very proud of my adopted county of Yorkshire.

I wanted to make some kind of record, but thought that I'd try and get a different perspective on things, so rather than taking photographs from head height I decided to try for a video from waist height, using the 120fps slo-mo mode of the iPhone 5s.  The entire peloton goes past in about 18 seconds, and capture at 120 frames per second means that the experience can be slowed down to around 20% of it's usual speed, so that you can see what happened in slightly less of a blur.

When I was tinkering with the video in Final Cut Pro, and realising that it was going to be a bit more produced than I thought, I decided to make some music for it.  I wanted something rhythmic that evoked bicycles.  A quick round trip to Logic and Breaktweaker, and all done.

Here's the video - hope you like it!


As some will know, I've been publishing various bits and pieces of my music on Soundcloud for some years now. These have varied in their quality, as well as the time and care that they took to make, and what inspired them.  They are fairly disparate in nature, but they do have two things in common - firstly, I haven't worried unduly about publishing any of them, and secondly they contain no singing.

For some reason, the idea of people hearing me singing makes me feel much more uncomfortable than the thought of them listening to my music.  This is odd, as I probably sing more than I do any other musical activity.  I sing quietly while on my own at home, and in empty roads while I'm out for a walk.  I even sing out loud to my family - I'm sure that the boys will eventually realise how embarrassing I am, but at the moment they don't seem to mind all that much.  Anyway, I love to sing.  As long as nobody hears.

That being said, the reason for this post is that I have published a song.  In which I sing.  Out loud.  Not just any song, either, but a song that I love so much that it almost felt like sacrilege to record it.  Yet I went off to Thinking Digital, came back feeling very much like making something, and here we are. 

I know some people who are great singers, just as I know some great musicians.  I don't consider myself to be among them.  However it turns out that, as with some other things, it's important to me that I do this - I hope that you enjoy it!

Thinking Digital

I've just come back from a few days on Tyneside, where I have been making my fifth annual pilgrimage to attend the Thinking Digital conference in the extraordinary environment of the Sage in Gateshead.

In years past, in order to make sure that I would remember all the interesting things that I learned, I have made pages and pages of colourful notes and taken hundreds of photographs. As Thinking Digital is always very interesting indeed, this has usually resulted in copious notes, and huge tracts of green tinted photographs in my Flickr feed.

Then, when I get home, there's the inevitable attempt to blog - I even published 2012's effort.

What I really want to say about this year's TDC is not what I saw, heard, or learned there, nor is it who I learned it from.  Although these things were awesome, that has stopped being the main point for me because the main point is the emotional and intellectual nourishment that comes from being with and part of such an amazing group of people.  As always, I have come away feeling happy, and remembering afresh why I love technology and people.

I'll go back to work on Tuesday feeling inspired and engaged.  No doubt it will be at least a week or two before the illegitemi me carborundum.  In the mean time, my thanks to everyone who produced, attended, spoke, or otherwise was involved in Thinking Digital 2014 - it was amazing.  See you next year.