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Geek Pop ’10 Extra – London highlights

Dr Stu & the Neutron Stars


In a surprise extra podcast (surprising because we didn’t know we were doing it), we bring you an unplugged session with Spirit of Play and snippets from our interviews with Spirit of Play and Dr Stuart Clark of Dr Stu & the Neutron Stars. For full length versions of those interviews, head to the Green Room. There are also video highlights for all our London acts here.

We’ll be featuring more unplugged sessions recorded at our live gigs in our regular Geek Pop podcast, so make sure you subscribe to catch that (it’s free!). And if you want to submit sciencey song suggestions for the podcast, tweet at us or email crew@geekpop.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you and in the mean time… enjoy the music.

HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE?

PRSJust subscribe to our podcast feed through iTunes or Google. It’s like, totally free. That’s not all though. You’ll also receive a bunch of free music downloads from our previous festivals.


Geek Pop: keepin’ it geeky all year round

Hayley takes down her tent :(Hey everyone. Woah, I’m pretty tired. The launch week celebrations for our Geek Pop ’10 festival have been exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. And now it’s time for the crew to pack up their virtual tents for another year.

Geek Pop being a virtual festival though, you’re welcome to stay on as long as you like. And you can replay all your favourite earworms from the Tetrahedron and Reproductive Stages, and Tesla Tent, and geek jokes from the Comical Flask, again and again. You can even download tracks to keep for ever – just right-click and save them to your machine.

I also want to point out a couple of things that have been added to the site since we launched on 12 March. Firstly, you’ll notice the Green Room is looking pretty packed now. That’s because we’ve been sitting down with some of our artists during launch week to fire questions at them. So make sure you check out those interviews. I’d also like to thank Rishi Nag of Karmadillo for featuring me in his forthcoming song about Linux… you’ll have to listen to that interview to hear how. And secondly, we’ve already uploaded footage from Thursday’s gig at the Miller in London. You can find highlights on the blog or on artists’ individual pages.

But listen up! That’s not all from Geek Pop in 2010! Oh no, no, no. We’ve been recording secret live sessions with some of our artists, which will feature in the coming months in a new ‘Geek Pop Unplugged’ section of the Geek Pop podcast – make sure you subscribe (for FREE!) in iTunes to catch those, including acoustic versions of songs by The Sound of the Ladies and Aidy. AND, there’s still footage to come from the live launch event in Bristol. Molehill Media are working on some very special highlights even as we speak…

So thanks to everyone who took part in this year’s festival. The list is too long to post here, so we’ve made a proper one on this page. Special thanks of course to all our artists, and our sponsors – Computer Geeks and the British Science Association – as well as The Naked Scientists for technical support.

Keep on geekin’,

Hayley. xx

(@gingerbreadlady)


Off That: video exclusive from Baba Brinkman

What with the London gig on Thursday night (audio/video coming soon) we didn’t quite get round to posting a festival diary entry yesterday. But as consolation, here’s something far more exciting… Baba Brinkman‘s new video for his Geek Pop exclusive track “Off That”.

For more from Baba, including his evolutionary rap, head to his set on the Tetrahedron Stage, where you can download ‘Off That’ as a free MP3 (just right click and choose save as) or his website at Baba’s Word. The awesome video is the work of Tommy Nagle and the images are courtesy of New Humanist magazine.


Geek Pop London – video highlights

In case you happen to live on the other side of the world (or your house set on fire so you couldn’t make it – other passable excuses include death and being attacked by giant badgers) here are some video highlights from our London gig on 18 March. For interviews with Spirit of Play and Helen Arney, check out the Geek Pop Green Room.

YOUR HOST, CHRIS DUNSFORD:This video contains naughty words!

You can also find Chris at the Geek Pop ’10 virtual festival.

SPIRIT OF PLAY

This track was part of the Geek Pop ’09 virtual festival is available to download for free at the band’s page.

SPIRIT OF PLAY

This track was part of the Geek Pop ’10 virtual festival and is available to download for free at the band’s page.

HELEN ARNEY

The second track in this video was part of the Geek Pop ’10 virtual festival and is available to download for free at Helen’s page.

DR STU & THE NEUTRON STARS

This track was part of the Geek Pop ’09 virtual festival is available to download for free at Dr Stu’s page.


Festival diary: Stu

Dr StuI am half excited, half terrified. Geek Pop: The Science Sessions is looming (it’s tonight!) and never have 40 minutes of music seemed so daunting. It’s not that we’re not rehearsed or anything – we’ve been trying out songs and getting the set together since before Christmas – but now suddenly it’s here.

To add to the pressure we’ve got the superb Spirit of Play and Helen Arney, our fellow acts, to live up to, too (that’s surely not good English but you get the idea that they’re fab). If only I had a whizzo-relativity-time-drive-thingy to squeeze in another rehearsal. But then, I’m the kind of musician who always wants “just one more” rehearsal.

But, enough of the “terrified” and on to the “excited”. As well as bringing last year’s Geek Pop track, Neutron Stars, to full-blooded (full-bloodied?) life, we’ve delved into our iTunes playlists like never before to find songs that have an astronomical, or at least a scientific, theme.

We’ve got obvious numbers such as Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine and Rush’s Cygnus X-1 (if you’ve never fallen down a black hole, you’ll feel like you have by the end of that song). And some newer ones such as Muse’s Supermassive Black Hole and Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun (spotting a black hole theme here?). There are a couple of others tracks too, including another Rush number that we are very excited/terrified about. We’ve had a total blast learning them, arranging them, occasionally train-wrecking them and finally enjoying them. Now, it’s time for you to help us RAWK with them!

We’ve also got a new song for you – but you’ll have to hang on for that a little bit longer. By placing the emphasis on the gig, and having not yet invented the aforementioned whizzo-relativity-time-drive-thingy (although Nik’s drumkit looks like he could travel through time and space), unfortunately we’ve not finished recording it yet. But let me tease you with title: “Once a planet”. Bet you can’t guess what celestial object it’s about! ;-)

See you tonight – and remember that neutron stars are “heavier than metaaaaal”!

Dr Stu (@DrStuClark)

Dr Stu & the Neutron Stars are:

Vocals: Dan Breeze

Guitars: Stuart Clark

Bass and vocals: Mark Bloxsidge

King of bling: Nik Szymanek


Festival diary: Grant

Grant BalfourWhile hanging around backstage at the festival, I was really surprised at just how crowded Geek Pop ’10 really was. I’m not used to playing in front of packed stadiums like this back home.

I was also startled to recognize a few celebrities, especially once someone over in the Tesla Tent hooked up a Chronosynclastic Infundibulum and began passing around whippets. Suddenly, the place was packed. I found myself sitting in a quiet corner next to none other than Johannes Kepler, the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, and was momentarily starstruck.

I did have a little tape recorder (I’m old fashioned that way), and managed to ask Kepler a few questions before the next act took the stage.

{tape begins}

GB: Nice collar.

JK: Thank you. It’s a little uncomfortable.

GB: Well, it looks great. Enjoying the festival?

JK: Why, yes, yes.

GB: Any favorites so far? The music must be a little different than you’re used to.

JK: Actually, it is all quite good. Some of it is a little noisy for my tastes. I am not accustomed to electronic amplification. But I did enjoy the Roadside Poppies. Oh, and Johnny & the Chemists singing “Neutron Star.” That was rather nice and calming, for the most part. I think Tycho would like them too… I’ll have to recommend them once I’m back. Perhaps he can load them on his iPod.

GB: Tycho Brahe has an iPod?

JK: Well, we’re not supposed to, really, but it does no harm and helps while the hours away under the telescope. Aidy is similarly pleasant to hear, and quite prolific – my, to write one song a week! One could learn much from that dedication to production of data for analysis.

GB: Well, I do write a song a month, myself.

JK: Yes.

(pause)

JK: You do. As I was saying, I find that Dr Clandestino also has some fascinating experiments. I admire his use of geometry, which of course is the organizing principle of a well-ordered cosmos. And Helen Arney loves pi, which is an admirable sentiment in a young woman of breeding. In addition to this beneficent trait, she plays that small lute in a modest yet becoming manner. I hope she overcomes her back troubles.

GB: Back troubles?

JK: For which she consulted with an osteopath, yes.

GB: Oh. And how do you know this?

JK: In my short time in your century, I have listened intently to every song she has ever recorded. I wonder if our 16th century physicians would be able to offer relief unavailable in our century.

GB: I… I beg your pardon?

JK: Do you think she would come home with me?

GB: I’m not sure this is entirely appropriate.

JK: It would be entirely Platonic, I assure you. Governed entirely by the sphere inscribed by the Platonic solid of an isocahedron, in fact.

GB: That would be… let’s see, according to your Mysterium Cosmographicum, the sphere of Venus, the planet of love?

JK: Why, I have yet to publish that! Confound you future-dwellers! You have seen through my romantic ruse. Still, do you think she would like me? Perhaps if I brought her roses.

GB: I think I hear someone calling me. I’ll see you later, Dr. Kepler.

JK: Good morrow, good morrow. {tape ends}

So that was all most enlightening/disturbing. I do hope poor Helen managed to avoid him in the VIP room.

Bye for now, and don’t forget to visit the Reproductive Stage where I’ll be playing, well, most of the time really.

Grant (Balfour).

(@grantimatter)


Festival diary: Dean

Dean BurnettBeing a comedy act at one of the newly established festivals is never easy. You have to accept the fact that people aren’t there for you – the comedy tent is usually just somewhere to go when they get a headache from too much time at the music tents. It’s never a great success, performing science-themed humorous skits to a smattering of drunken people suffering from temporary tinnitus.

Not a big music fan myself, but have managed to sneak into a few of the tents. As a musical ‘spectator’, I’ve learned not to express my likes as people will invariably tell me I’m wrong. Have been particularly drawn to the Reproductive Stage (fnarr!) and enjoying Sci-Fried‘s Video Game Homage ‘Level Up’. A fun drinking game is to take a shot whenever you hear/recognise a mention from a game you have played (down it if you’ve completed it). A dangerous game though, as the more hardcore gaming nerds (in my experience) will probably have finished all of them, but are the least capable of handling alcohol.

Keep meandering back to the Comical Flask, though. Everyone performing there is great, but the comics code prevents me from being specific as I may well be slagging them off in a display of envy-driven bitterness after the fest is over.

Nice that I’ve had at least six people watching my contribution to the festivities. And thanks for the email heckles. Nice to get geeky scientific heckles for once, indirectly calling me fat and accusing me of having a small manhood by offering to sell me pills to treat those failings. You guys are hilarious! You should work on your spelling though.

Strolled into the bar a few times, nice relaxed ambience. Did make a few off-colour jokes though, and got a strong vibe that I should leave. I didn’t mind, seen those prices? Glad I brought my own drink, which was back at my tent. But I got back to it to find it had been torn apart by what could only have been a large cat. What are the odds?

Woke up on Saturday morning to find that someone had allocated my pitch as the toilet area. Was nice of them not to wake me, but less pleasant in the long run. I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with me complaining about the lack of facilities.

Tried to get close to the Tetrahedron, if nothing else but to see exactly what that shape actually looks like.

Too many people though, I’m not good with crowds. Luckily, I never seem to attract them.

Nice festival so far. Wish I’d brought a friend though, I get lost on my own so easily.

Dean.

(@garwboy)


Music, science, but most importantly… CAKE!

A few shots from before the Bristol Live launch, courtesy of Liz at Molehill Media. Look out for video coming soon…

Bristol_6.jpg

Jim chats with Bert Miller

Bristol_8.jpg

Jonny Berliner sound checks

Geek cakes!!

Geek cakes!!

Mmmm

Artists enjoy tea and cakes pre-gig. Mmmm.


Festival diary: Jim

Jim nerding it up on the campsite

*YAWN!* Good morning, and how was everyone’s weekend?

Geek Pop is in full swing now (and by swing, clearly we mean pendulums and moments, not the form of jazz), we’ve had a great weekend, and certain songs are going round and round and round in my head. Bert Miller & the Animal Folk have much to answer for. Doop de doopa de doop de doop…

Sorry, lost myself a bit there. Unfortunately, unless you attended the live Bristol gig, you won’t have had the pleasure of Bert & co. yet, but once our backstage editing nerds have worked their magic on the footage it will be up for all to see. Just goes to show that Geek Pop ’10 has so much more left to offer – we’re gonna keep on adding to the line-up as the days and weeks go on.

Don’t worry either if you’re eager to get your teeth into some live Geek Pop, as our London gig is coming up this Thursday on 18 March. If you’re travelling a long way to see us then I’d book a ticket in advance. We’ll also be bringing some of our lovely Geek Pop T-shirts and pin badges, so if you’ve always wanted one, now’s your chance to avoid the small postage fee. Hurrah!

Now, if you haven’t already, go and have a peek at the bar. People are really (well, virtually) chatting about Geek Pop. I was even showing my dad how it worked and he thought it was great. He does keep referring to the festival as “Pop Geek” so I’m not sure exactly how much he understands, but it sort of proves how easy the bar is to use.

Finally, the toilet facilities controversy still rages, and to that end I’ve established a #geekpoo hash tag for twitter so we can properly find the location and state of the “virtualoos”. Apparently the Glastonbury festival portaloos have nothing on these… Sounds rather ominous.

Toodaloo!

Jim.

(@sos_jim)

P.S. From tomorrow there will be posts from some of our artists, including Dean Burnett and Grant Balfour.


festival diary: hayley

Hayley singing round the campfireHeya! So, it’s Sunday morning at Geek Pop and all is peaceful and serene on the campsite… until the crew wakes up and starts, unsuccessfully, trying to play a bit of 10,000 Maniacs round the embers of last night’s (well, this morning’s, actually) campfire. Man, it’s been a heck of a weekend.

I’m Hayley, by the way. You probably met my conspirator in all this, Jim, on Friday – he’s the nerdy one with the side parting and the star-spotting obsession… And when I say stars, I’m not talking about the lead singer of Robot Disaster or this year’s headliner Baba Brinkman. I’m talking about the twinkle, twinkle variety – constellations and all that jazz. Anyway, enough of Jim. This is my post.

So, how has everyone been enjoying the festival so far? Actually, seeing as we are on the subject of stars, I want to put a plug in for my new favourite band, Johnny and the Chemists, playing this year at the Reproductive Stage. Honestly, ever since I heard the demo for their song ‘Neutron Star’, I’ve been in love with it. And now, not only have they recorded the final version especially for us, they’ve made a bee-yoo-tiful video for it – or rather Johnny’s friend Natalie has. You’ve just got to take a look.

What else have I been up to? Hmmm. Well, I hung around the bar for quite a while yesterday. It seems busy in there – clearly the virtual cider’s going down well. Then, late afternoon-ish, I went to check out the new Comical Flask and there was this guy, Mike something I think it was… trying to catapult a cabbage. Apparently he’s famous for it. Anyway, it was hilarious, but quite baffling.

After Baba (awesome!), we stopped by the VIP room to meet up with the guys from Intercontinental Music Lab and have a glass of virtual bubbly. They really are a good bunch, those lot. But it turned out they’d lost their synthesiser and they were supposed to be playing at Late Night Geek Out later on. So we all went on a sort of synthesiser-scrounging mission and finally bumped into Weird Gear, who said it would be alright to borrow theirs for a bit. So by the time we made it to the Tesla Tent it must have been, what, 3am? I don’t know, I was still thinking about the cabbage.

Right, well, I suppose I’d better stop virtual partying and get on with doing some actual organising. There’s been a few complaints about the absence of toilets around the festival, so I was going to see if I could get a long drop fixed up behind the Tetrahedron. Having said that, the virtual mud does collect something terrible round there…

Oh, and if anyone sees that pigeon, chuck it a few crumbs would you? It’s all very well having a nice clean and sparkly festival site but it’s getting a bit straggly without any discarded kebabs etc to peck at.

Bye for now!

Hayley. xx

(@gingerbreadlady)


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