Peoples Republic of Brightonia & Turkish food courts – The tour continues

The tour continues…

Business in Berkshire

Refreshed after a week off the Monarch of the Puddings tour landed in Brighton.

Now the good Mrs F had just toured here with her play and so I was a little prepared for our trip. The Theatre Royal Brighton is a quirky place made up of a dozen or so different buildings culminating in a ‘house that jack built’ feel with not a single level surface in existence! When I’d visited Brighton a week or so before, Mrs F & I had been to a little Turkish Restaurant for pre show sustenance. Charcoal grilled lamb ribs and some lovely starters was a great set up for a little jaunt to Istanbul some days later to visit the new Zorlu centre.

jazzmouse red light show

This multi million dollar venue has only just opened and we put on two concerts. The first show was a Classical Spectacular featuring a local turkish choir. Lots…

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January 28, 2014 at 12:38 1 comment

From Desk till Dawn

Had the opportunity to ‘drive’ a a variety of digital desks this year with my shows & trips.
The predominant force and still popular choice does still seem to be Yamaha for most venues.
The M7CL. The 48 frame version seems the most popular and differs from most digital desks as you can see all 48 faders in front of you. It’s easy to use and recent software updates seem to have improved the early versions which were sluggish in processing. The addition of expansion cards to allow the use of Waves plug-ins and MADI export.

    48 or 32 mono microphone/line inputs, 4 stereo inputs, and 3 mini-YGDAI card slots (a total of 56 or 40 mixing channels).
    16 mix buses, LCR bus, 8 matrix channels, and 8 DCAs assignable to 16 omni outputs.
    Virtual effect and EQ rack: up to 4 simultaneous multi-effect processors; up to 8 simultaneous 31-band graphic EQs.
    Centralogic™ interface: central, logical, and intuitive.
    Dual power modes: use the built in power supply, or add an external PW800W power supply unit (optional) for failsafe dual-supply operation.
    Compact and lightweight: 48 channels in the space and weight normally required for 24.
With the addition of cat-5 connected stage boxes the M7CL is a good starting point for many events & venues.
Like most Yamaha desks you have to put a fair bit of signal into to get a decent sound from it but I’d still rather see one of these than an Allen & Heath.
Scenes and show construction are easy enough and the ability to set stuff up via Studio Manager (now fully working on mac) works well.
The iPad, although fiddly to set up the wifi connection, works well and the opportunity to do monitor mixes with the artists is both scary & impressive at the same time.
We had a CL5 on loan from Yamaha for the last BBC Big Band concert. Great Improvement on the noise floor front and a few nice features. More musical as well I think but I’d like another couple of gigs with it.
I don’t like the LS9… too fidly! and no touch screen 😦


I have had two tours this year that I’ve been able to spec the Vi1 and got to use the Vi6 a few times as well. A relative of the Studer Vistonics family this is a pretty well thought out board with the usual Soundcraft anomalies though… Legacy buttons to be implemented at some time in the future for example.

The Vi1 is bijou and compact (it fits in the back of your average people carrier) but with the ability to create a custom fader level you can get over the not seeing all 48 channels simultaneously. It’s also pretty easy to use and the ability to gang channels is a boost. The Eq & pre amp stage is better than the Yamaha but I don’t like the ‘ auto make’ up on the dynamics…
I’ve used the Vi1 on tours with Ramin Karimloo & Ruthie Henshall and it worked very well.
The considerably bigger Vi6 we’ve used for many things. I first used it in Ethos Audio‘s broadcast truck recording Simple Minds at Hampton Court. It’s a much nearer cousin to the Studer and performs well. The features are similar from the Vi1 but it’s divided up into 8 channel sections with separate windows for each 8 faders.
It’s great for big channel counts and we’ve used it for Hooked on Classics as well broadcasts for BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Max number of simultaneous mixing channels
    96 mono inputs into 35 Outputs. Pairs of mono inputs can be linked to create stereo channels.
  • Insert points
    24 insert send/return pairs can be configured (using available I/O) and assigned to any of the 96 inputs or 35 output channels.
  • Direct Outputs
    All 96 input channels can have direct outputs in addition to their internal bus routing, assuming sufficient I/O is available (eg optical MADI card).
  • Busses
    32 Grp/Aux/Matrix, plus main LCR Mix and LR Solo busses (maximum of 16 matrix outputs can be configured).

Always happy to see either of these boards!




Had the opportunity to mix the BBC big band for Proms in the Park in London’s Hyde park. Two of the five desks in the front of house tower were SD7s. Mighty beasts indeed with high channel capacity and excellent features. Although this is the board I have used the least it is worthy of a mention as it’s stunning sound and ease of use make it a really lovely board to work with. The unreliability issues that used to surround Digico desks seem to have been resolved and I loved it’s musical sound.
It’s safe to say that digital desks have come of age and are now a very reliable force to be reckoned with.

November 1, 2012 at 10:00 Leave a comment



Featuring Louise Cookman (vocalist)
This concert was the second of a tour which began last night at The Hawth Crawley, and continues next week at Leeds, Southampton Newark and Worthing.
The Cadogan Hall, as always provided a magnificent setting for this great concert, a slightly smaller band than usual with 3 trumpets and two trombones plus four saxes, with of course leader Ken Peplowski, who conducted and compered the show with an interesting stream of anecdotes about playing with Benny Goodman in the band he re-formed on coming out of retirement in the early eighties. He had a pleasing and relaxed personality, which set the right tone for a selection of numbers we associate with Benny. Most aptly the concert kicked off with Benny’s signature tune ‘Let’s Dance’ followed by ‘Don’t Be That Way’ with Ken playing clarinet on both, as he did throughout the show
Ken then introduced Louise Cookman, looking charming in green satin, and with a voice admirably suited to the era Her first number was ‘The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’ then ‘When The Sun Comes Out’ and ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’
Lots of solos in the barnstorming ‘King Porter Stomp’ from Rob Fowler on Tenor Sax. Kieran McLeod on Trombone, Colin Skinner and Sammy Mayne Saxes plus Robin Aspland (Piano) Sam Burgess (Bass) Chris Howard (Guitar) and Tom Gordon driving it all along on Drums Oh! And I mustn’t forget Martin Shaw on Trumpet!
After all that the mood quietened and the guys had a rest while Ken played a brilliant and haunting rendition of ‘Poor Butterfly’ accompanied by the rhythm section. The first half closed with a roaring ‘Stealin’ Apples’ and the audience trouped out for a brief interval, I spotted Julia McKenzie among them, I’m sure she was, like us thoroughly enjoying the proceedings.
More great solos were heard from the band in the second half, plus a couple more songs from Louise, my favourite of the evening was an Ella Fitzgerald number, ‘Goodnight My Love’ Ken continued his repartee, and off the cuff banter with one member of the audience who wanted to hear ‘Stomping At The Savoy’. Instead we were treated to a fantastic ‘Sing Sing Sing’ with Andy Greenwood doing the full version of Harry James’ trumpet solo, amid cheers from the audience. As a consolation to the chap who was asking for ‘Stompin’, we got not one encore but two, as Ken said a ballad and a fast number, so we heard ‘Goodbye’ followed by a storming ‘Bugle Call Rag’ to finish! Another wonderful concert, and I wished I could manage to get to another one next week!

Personnel: Trumpets Brian Rankine Andy Greenwood and Martin Shaw. Trombones Gordon Campbell and Kieran Mc Leod. Saxes Rob Fowler Colin Skinner Sammy Mayne and Jay Craig. Rhythm section Robin Aspland Piano, Sam Burgess Bass ,Chris Howard Guitar and Tom Gordon Drums

Here’s to the next time!
Marion Fry

November 28, 2011 at 15:20 Leave a comment

Simple Minds Live – Hampton Court Palace 16th June – Review

I was lucky enough to be asked to record Simple Minds in June and here are what some of the fans thought of it. Many thanks one & all.
“Rain keeps falling down, down”

5 Stars

by J Patten | 23-06-2011

Hampton Court Music Festival, June 16, 2011 It had been raining off and on all day in East Molesy, threatening to ruin a planned Simple Minds concert and pre-concert picnic at Hampton Court, the castle and home of Henry VIII. In the hours before the show, the sky cleared enough to allow picnickers to dine on the lawn. At 7:30, just as Jim Kerr and Simple Minds took the stage, the skies let loose and the rain poured heavily down for a good twenty minutes, thoroughly soaking the audience in what Kerr announced was a typical Scottish summer day: “Get used to it. We are.” Surrounded by the historic brick walls of Henry’s home, Kerr led the audience through the comparitively shorter history of Simple Minds, plucking songs from older albums like Sons and Fascination and New Gold Dream and, of course, drawing heavily from the Once Upon A Time album. While the bulk of the concert was made up of both obscure and famous oldies (Moscow Underground and Stagefright being the only modern songs performed), I never got the feeling that this was an oldies package tour of aging rockers. Kerr’s amazingly energetic performance, plus some heavily reworked and rearranged older songs, made it clear that we were seeing a major arena rock band still in control and still at the height of their creative powers (this in sharp contrast to a rather tired sounding and lame performance of Don McLean, who had played at the Hampton Court Music Festival on the prior evening). And Henry’s home, the majestic Hampton Court Palace, whose walls surrounded the band and the crowd that had come to see them? Even Kerr was noticably awed, acknowledging that the Scots had come a long way since Henry’s time: “I can’t believe they let a bunch of Scotsmen in here” were the first words out of Kerr’s mouth as he took the stage and looked up and around, marveling at the historic structure. Henry’s house returned the favor in a strange way. Kerr’s voice, both at the show and in the recording, is gently echoed by the surrounding brick walls, adding a richness and depth to the sound that would be missing in a more open venue, while, strangely, the band’s sound is echoed much less, ever so slightly in fact, thus avoiding a potentially cacophenous sound while adding a richness and depth to the recording in a subtle way that is only noticable when you listen for it. As a result, this is a gorgeous sounding recording, one of the best live recordings the band has made, of a memorable and historic performance. Whoever the engineer on the evening this recording was made (uncredited in the sadly non-existent liner notes), kudos to you on an utterly brilliant job. As for Simple Minds, if this performance is any indication, they still have a successful and long rock n roll ride ahead of them. Now if only they would wander over to the U.S. once every decade or so, I wouldn’t have to travel all the way from America to the U.K. just to see them again.


Hampton Court Concert

5 Stars

by Gary Charman Review | 17-06-2011

One of the best concerts I have seen from them, the rest period from touring has done them the world of good as concert was full of energy. Jim Kerr vocals was superb and is one the few lead vocalists who interacts with the crowd throughout. The song’s rolled off one after another and were as clear and crisp as ever, would quite happily stand in the poring rain again to see them. Ive got a copy of this cd already and it’s superb quality.

Big thanks to Pete Austin and his mighty Ethos Audio truck.

July 26, 2011 at 07:33 Leave a comment

Ethos Audio mobile

The Ethos Audio sound mobile is one of the smallest, yet most powerful mobiles in the UK. Capable of multi track recording and mixing 96 mic inputs. Acoustically designed with comfortable seating and ducted air conditioning.

This sound mobile can get almost anywhere towed by a Land Rover Discovery – very economical, it also has a remote controlled mover allowing the trailer to turn 360o on the spot!

Video Monitoring

Three LG LED backlit monitors provide plenty of screen to see your pictures. This makes the mobile the perfect place to monitor multi camera feeds. Ideal for de-rig shoots.

Dimensions & Power Length Width Height Weight Power

6.0 m 2.4 m 2.5 m 3000 kg Minimum 13A single phase

Technical Specifcation Audio Console:

Soundcraft Vi6. 32 Faders + master section 96 recordable inputs, 35 outputs over optical fbre allows cable runs up to 1.5km. Multiple stage crates allows a digital patch bay to be created allowing up to 5 Locations to be recorded at once. 8 channels of Lexicon FX and EQ and dynamics available on all inputs and outputs.


PMC AML1 active speakers, PPM meters & spectrum analyser


2x Merging Pyramix MADI audio & timecode recorders. Capable of multi-track 96inputs 1x Mac Powered Boom Recorder


1x TC Electronics M5000 dual engine stereo FX 1x TC Electronics M3000 dual Stereo Engine 1x TC Electronics Finalizer 96K 4x Tascam CD recorders

Timecode & Sync

Time code display Mutec Iclock – We can provide source clock, or lock to sync from any source.


4x wire analogue talkback as standard, more can be added 4x Motorola GP340 duplex talkback

APC U.P.S allows for a fully functioning mobile up to 30mins in the event of power loss.

Optional Extras Include

AVID Pro Tools MADI recorder Klark Teknik active splits Valve compressors Telex ZEUS digital talkback system. Motorola GP340 with your choice of headsets.


We have a large selection of microphones for all applications – manufacturers include Neumann, Sennheiser, AKG and DPA not to mention a large range of radio mics.

Audio mobile with guarantee engineer from only £1050 per day.

For more information and full quotation

please contact Peter Austin on 07825679473

May 10, 2011 at 09:49 Leave a comment

Forthcoming big band dates








The Syd Lawrence orchestra

17th April – 7:30PM

Theatre Royal Windsor

21st April
Theaterhaus (am Pragsattel)
Siemenstr. 11
Multi-award winning Syd Lawrence Orchestra & the SWR Big Band.
Two televised concerts featuring these two great bands celebrating the 60th anniversary of the SWR band.

Mon 25 Porthcawl Grand Pavilion (Festival) 01656 815995 TBC
Sun 01 7.30 Weston-Super-Mare The Playhouse 01934 645544
Tues 10 7.30 Eastbourne Sussex Congress Theatre 01323 412000

BBC Big Band
Birmingham Town Hall
Friday 13 May 7:30pm at Town Hall

Legendary jazz and soul singer Patti Austin joins the BBC Big Band for an exclusive UK concert appearance. Together they perform the music from her Grammy winning album ‘Avant Gershwin’, including ‘I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise’, ‘Love Walked In’, ‘Funny Face’, ‘Swanee’ and ‘Lady be Good’.

Tickets available: Call the box office on 0121 780 3333 or visit the Birmingham Town Hall website.

Great Swing Battles: The BBC Big Band meet the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra
Friday 17 Jun 7:30pm at Town Hall

The BBC Big Band joins forces with the acclaimed Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra. Together they will recreate all the excitement of the great musical battles of the swing era.
Join them as they feature classic scores from the great bands of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chick Webb, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and Woody Herman.
Tickets available: Call the box office on 0121 780 3333 or visit the Birmingham Town Hall website

April 5, 2011 at 11:24 Leave a comment

Vanessa Turner – Hypnotherapist

In January we started a series of recordings with Hypnotherapist Vanessa Turner. Here’s some information about her.

Vanessa Turner


Vanessa’s passion for helping others is evident in her work, her ability to connect with people and her bespoke approach in therapy has had a life changing impact on the many clients that have worked with her therapeutically over the years.   Her gentle nature and calming voice puts you at ease immediately and opens your mind to the possibility of change.   Her practice is full time and is based in Reading, Berkshire and she specialises in working with Anxiety, Panic and Phobias, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Raising Confidence and Self Esteem, and the use of hypnosis for labour and childbirth.   She also has a range of hypnotic CD’s/downloads available.

Vanessa’s zest for life began at an early age when she became seriously ill.  Her determination to be healthy blazed through even at such a young age and following final treatment at age 11 she was given the all clear and she continues to embrace life fully.

Her belief in a healthy body and mind is the inspiration for her commitment to helping others embrace life and at 21 years old Vanessa began using NLP techniques to improve her communication skills professionally and work on increasing health.   Her career began in Human Resources and her natural ability to inspire people quickly moved her into a more active role as a training consultant.

Starting a family encouraged Vanessa to begin looking around for a career which enabled her to spend time with her children and still make a contribution to others.  In 2001 Vanessa qualified in Hypnotherapy and as a Master Practitioner of NLP with The Quest Institute and quickly established a successful full time Hypnotherapy and NLP practice which continues to help hundreds of people from all walks of life every day of every year in addition to running HypnoBirthing antenatal education classes.  Now a mother of three, her knowledge of body and mind allows her to keep a good work-life balance as she enjoys keeping healthy with Latin American Ballroom Dancing, a keen interest in motorcycling and also enjoys the martial arts discipline of Karate with her children.

Becoming a mother inspired Vanessa to begin helping other women have a good outlook and experience of childbirth, and complements the areas of specialism (Anxiety, Panic and Phobias).  She learnt and applied self hypnosis for the birth of her own children, believing that we are able to learn from our own life experiences and understanding the profound impact a positive birthing experience can have not just on our children as they grow up but also on our ability to confidently parent.

Vanessa is professionally qualified in the following therapeutic disciplines including Cognitive Hypnotherapy, NLP, EFT(Emotional Freedom Therapy), Reiki and is currently a trainee Doula assisting the births of women in the Berkshire area.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy (DipCH)

Master NLP Practitioner (MPNLP)

Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma (HPD)


Reiki II

HypnoBirthing Instructor

Trainee Doula with Doula UK/Nurturing Birth

We will be featuring Vanessa’s work as it progresses this year and please check out her web site or call 0118 3765548

February 11, 2011 at 17:28 Leave a comment

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