Not been blogging for a while (sorry readers) but was recently inspired by my friend Kelli’s rather brilliant blog in which she invites us to join her as she travels ‘several flights and seat-classes behind different rock and roll bands, before standing at the side of the stage in everyone’s way’ do check it out it’s hilarious!

I wasn’t always a wag. I used to be on the other side and work as a sound engineer. But Kelli looked like she was having so much fun I thought I would give it a crack, so I went out and found myself a black t-shirt clad boy with a sharpie and a penchant for knob twiddling and here we are!

My first trip as a wag was to the exotic location of Thailand. I was super excited – finally I would get to live the dream!
Then a few days before we left my boy casually mentioned that the gigs he was doing were actually for his ex-girlfriend. There is nothing like having a z-list Bollywood singer, budget Indian shampoo brand ambassador, bendy, better at yoga than me and definitely thinner ex to compare yourself to (note to self, don’t ever google your new boy’s ex girlfriends even under the pretence of ‘research’ for your blog). So I decided I would give watching her prance about on stage at some rich Indian’s 25th wedding anniversary (all the best gigs babe) a miss and swap sitting on a flight case behind a mixing desk for heading straight to the hotel. Except boy told me he was sharing a room with the keyboard player so I couldn’t. Luckily boy isn’t a complete twat and promised to book us a room elsewhere… wait for it Kelli… with a bathtub!

But this is jumping ahead. Let me tell you about the flight, which I took separately and several days later to boy, singer and her hairdresser because, well that would have been awkward and I had to go to work anyway that day.
I cashed in my old Jetairways miles (now Intermiles) and got myself on Thai Lion Air. I didn’t have quite enough miles for a direct flight so I opted for getting up at an ungodly hour and a change at Bangkok.
Except I didn’t get up because I didn’t go to bed. The day before I was a judge at The Indian Consumer Wine Awards (will save the full story for my next blog) and consequently hung around afterwards, picked up some partners in crime and half drunk bottles of wine, went back to mine and it escalated into some kind of weird drunken living room Bollywood party, then a local club and much dancing and some ‘kamikaze’’ shots. By the time I got to the airport I was quite frankly smashed which put a serious spanner in my last minute shopping for a birthday present for boy plans. Still I achieved some kind of gift with the help of a bemused shop assistant and somehow managed to catch my flight.

Sorry to say, on Thai Lion Airways there is no such thing as first class but I did get to sit in seat 1A with all the leg room and the flight was pretty empty, so after forcing down some vegetarian duck whatever the hell that was (not very pleasant I can tell you) I slept across three empty seats. I must have been looking rough because when I got off the flight the air hostess told me ‘get well soon dear.’

Bangkok airport is big and long with large sections that smell of pee and I had to walk really far to find a bar, but find one I did and was very happy to find airport beer doesn’t cost the earth like every other airport ever. Two bottles of Chang (local Thai beer) did a damn good job at staying my hangover, which was just as well as my flight was delayed.

948AFD51-23B2-43B4-AFE4-722BF75D0090 One flight and one much better meal of tom yum shrimps and more unconsciousness which loosely resembled sleep later, I was in Phuket. Where my luggage had been lost.
I found my luggage after yet more epic walking and met a nice man called Toe who sorted me a decently priced taxi which actually turned out to be a minibus. I then had a fairly painless journey to the hotel where I was reunited briefly with boy before he went off to his gig. The good news was no room sharing with keyboard player but sadly no bathtub. Boy did have the foresight to get me cold beer and there was ample small bottles of hotel toiletries (a little fetish of mine and also fellow wag Kelli) and a lovely pool so I was a pretty happy bunny and set about amusing myself while he did his work.

By amusing myself, I basically mean drinking one beer and then passing out from sleep depravation. I woke up with make-up smeared across my face which was rectified by a shower and my transformation back into a normal person was completed by the time boy got back from his gig. That night we hung around by the pool with the band and crew (minus the singer who was drinking chamomile tea alone or something) who were all really lovely and stayed up until 5am – our new default bedtime for the rest of the holiday.
Next morning 8am and zing! My body clock was truly screwed as was wide awake. Boy was snoring and half on the floor so I rolled him back into bed and went for a really good swim and felt all healthy and pleased with myself. Here’s a picture of the view from our balcony:

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Post-swim boy emerged from his slumber and we went for breakfast, ate a mountain of dragon fruit and popped next door to the spa for a massage and a pedicure which was lush. My friend Dave was very kindly picking us up and running a little late so obviously we went to the bar. A beer and some very oily tempura later we were on our way down to Rawai via picking Dave’s extremely cute kids up from school.

Dave and Trix have a lovely villa five mins from the beach where we headed straight away to catch the sunset and have a swim. I braved wearing a bikini (a rare sight) and was happy to find none of the lecherous stares I’m used to receiving on my usual Goa beach haunts. Rawai beaches are really clean, not too crowded and a much more family chilled out vibe than the more northern Phuket beaches like Patong so I’m told. Equally the nightlife in the south consists more of nice little restaurants and bars as compared to the Patong ping pong shows and street hustle as experienced by boy several nights previous (there is a story here involving a live chicken and some razor blades which is far too disturbing to recount).

57fce382-81ad-4693-b02a-c35f9321ac1bThat evening we went for a delicious meal in Dave and Trix’s local restaurant and I managed to procure some cake from the seven 11, ready to see in boy’s birthday at midnight, which we did, complete with candles, terrible singing and some amount of beer. Boy seemed pretty happy with this – winning!

The next day Dave drove us up along a winding road with incredible views to the big Buddha. The Buddha is still being made and you can give a donation in return for a tile which you can write on to become part of the structure. In the absence of being able to think of anything profound to write we wrote our names and my daughter’s name and the date. Here are some pictures of the Buddha and the awesome view:IMG_0904

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That afternoon we went to see Trix’s studio and gallery in Phuket Art Village. Trix is a fantastic painter and tattoo artist – here is a picture of her with some of her work:

The Art Village is a ramshackle collection of quirky structures built largely out of recycled bits of wood and flip-flops and other random stuff, housing some incredibly talented artists and a soon to open bar. It is tucked out the way but well worth a visit – highly recommend!

A delicious lunch, yet more beer and a massage later (where boy promptly fell asleep snoring, causing much giggling from the Thai masseuse ladies) we went back to the villa to find Trix and Dave had rustled up an amazing BBQ and a small mountain of prawns and fish and ribs and papaya salad (my fave!)
After we had stuffed our faces to the max me and boy went out to go find the reggae bar and Dave fell asleep on a chair.
Time seems to go by extra fast in Thailand so it was super late by the time we had walked to the bar and it was pretty empty and we were pretty drunk so didn’t stay long. Did like the bar (also recommend). Did drink tequila. Did end up on a very empty beach for romantic moonlit walk. Bliss!
Walking was a theme that night and the walk home felt twice as long. We made a doing friend who followed us all the way home and upset Dave and Trix’s cats. When we reached home at 4am we found the kids had got up and were happily eating breakfast like it was the actual morning. Dave woke up from his chair slumber and packed them back off to bed as it was clearly still the middle of the night. Me and boy finally collapsed into bed tired and happy with big beach plans for our last day.

All plans of getting up early went out the window however and we woke up technically in the afternoon (whoops!). We headed straight out to check out one of the smaller beaches, armed with snorkels and random snacks from the seven 11. There are a ridiculous number of seven 11s in Phuket which is just fine by me as I love buying strange things and also beer and both can be found in abundance in these brightly lit, wondrous stores of convenience. I bought a pile of stuff which seemed to be largely seaweed, snail, centipede or squid based.


Anyway, beach was lush and snorkelling was just beautiful – I saw about 20 different varieties of fish – rainbow shimmering massive ones and electric blue tiny ones and striped angel fish and ones that look like sand on the bottom of the ocean until you nearly step on them and they move and freak you out. On the rocks were pink fronds and blue frills and black spikey balls and corals the size of a hula hoop, winding their way up in spirals.
I swam a lot, got sunburnt and sandy and took pictures of boy looking all cool and handsome chilling under a parasol. I wish we could have stayed there for days, just doing nothing, but our flight was the next day so after one more massage (during which boy fell asleep snoring again), we thanked and hugged goodbye our fantastic hosts with the most and took a taxi back north and checked into a hotel near the airport to make the morning less early and painful.
Here are some beach pictures and pictures of our food:


The airport hotel was boutique and amusingly British themed – rather lovely wallpaper and a great picture of Big Ben on the wall but still no bathtub. Actually boy was going to get me a bathtub room, which amassed him a ton of gold stars, but it was expensive and pointless for only a few hours of stay, so I used self-discipline and said ‘don’t worry about it’ because I am not a total princess.

We went out and ate a mountain of food and reached that point where you are so nicely tired and stuffed you can’t even finish your beer and just have to go to bed.
After the best three hours of sleep ever, we said goodbye- see you soon to beautiful Phuket and got on a plane home. Boy took his revenge on the plane for me laughing at him for falling asleep and snoring all over the place, by taking pictures of me looking extremely attractive, asleep with my mouth open while he waved a beer under my nose. I’m not putting a picture of that. I did manage to sleep the entire flight which was great as when we landed I went straight to office and boy went straight to a soundcheck. Work hard, play hard (or something) – bring on the next adventure!


Back home and India is following me – Desi London on big green speakers!


Back in London and back to work! India however, seemed to be following me – my first show was mixing FOH for the BBC Radio Asian Network new music tent at the London Mela festival in Gunnersbury Park.

Stuck behind the PA and the stage I could hear sweet fa but it was largely DJs, MCs and singers and not the most complicated of shows, so it all worked out with a bit of crafty headphones mixing and plenty of running round the front and over the barriers to have a quick listen to the PA, before battling my way back through a sea of dancing bodies to (back)FOH.


It was surreal. The DJs were spinning all the tunes I had heard played to death back in Mumbai – I knew all the words to a few and couldn’t help but sing along in bad Hindi -much to the bemusement of some of the artists hanging around the stage wings. Listening to this music, if I hadn’t felt so cold I could quite easily have imagined that I was back in India and it was a regular day at work. However, if the freezing weather didn’t give it away, the strong London accents of many of the artists did. I was chatting to a couple of hangers around (girlfriends? groupies?) who found my rendition of ‘Aaj blue hai pani pani sunny sunny’ particularly hilarious. While their parents were from India, they had grown up in London and couldn’t speak any Hindi at all. I asked them if they had any plans to visit India and see their family that lived there and the beautiful country their parents had grown up in? One said she didn’t want to as she heard you can get really sick from the food and water there, the other said maybe Goa one day for the parties and beaches – and why was I wearing so many clothes, how could I be cold – was I ill or something? Definitely feeling surreal.


Just when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder a gorgeous blond wearing a stunning white salwar dress comes and asks me for a microphone in a Welsh accent. She was joined by a rather handsome sikh guy also dressed rather smartly. I could tell this act was a bit different from the camouflage clad urban/bollywood/bhangra/hip-hop crew we’d had throughout the day. She stepped onto the stage and began singing in perfect Punjabi – my jaw dropped to the floor (and my eyes maybe turned a deeper shade of green!) Her voice was as incredible as her accent – and she looked so young! I looked her up and she is called Nesdi Jones – you can read her story band hear a radio interview here:

Other highlights of the show were Lost Souljah – a tiny little female rapper with a big voice, who totally kept her cool when halfway through the show the generator packed up and all power was down for what seemed like forever, and the nice guys from the BBC who showed me all their toys in their recording truck and were a pleasure as always to work with. The Noise Control Audio PA system sounded pretty nice as well! There is such an awesome scene for Asian and fusion music in the UK – some artists occasionally make it into the charts and have big hits- Punjabi MC, Asian Dub Foundation and Cornershop are a few that spring to mind that I love (though maybe I’m showing my age here!). I hope next Mela I see a few of the urban Indian artists I discovered back there make it over to the UK – Reggae Rajahs and Low Rhyderz are two names that spring to mind…..

Photoblog: Sound Engineering In India

So before my story takes me back across the pond here is a little photoblog with some of my favourite pics of shows I worked on in India as a sound engineer:

Sunburn, Mumbai, 2013


First Stop for the RedBull Tourbus! Wilson College Mumbai, 2013




Harley Davidson show, Mehboob Studios, Mumbai, 2013




NH7 Festival Pune, 2013




And in India we do this with our digital multicore!



It has all been too much for Savio and Ram!




Russel Peters, Bandra MMRDA ground, Mumbai, 2013





India Bike Week 2013, Goa




Modi Rally, Mumbai Racecourse – too many delay stacks to count and more than a million very patriotic Indians!



Vandan – probably the most amazing percussion set-up I have ever seen!




Sleeping – a common theme on Indian shows!


Very posh wedding! Mumbai Racecourse, 2013



Sunburn, Mumbai, Racecourse, 2013


Nice to see Josh Wink again – bizarre reminiscing over the last time we met working on together in Cardiff some ten years back- bit of a different experience!


Jain Cultural event


Nicky Romero, Sunburn, Mumbai




Not something you would see on an EDM show in UK – an offering to the gods! Complete with coconuts, incense and flowers – a baba also came and blessed the show. The show was awesome…



Hands firmly in the air!


Cabling up K1, Indian style!


EVC, Ambay Valley, 2013






Yep, they had hot air balloon rides at this festival!


Zambhala Yoga Festival 2013, Goa


Admiring the K1 set-up for Supersonic festival Goa, 2013.





Love the sea of mobile phone lights – the new “lighters in the air!”





Bandra Bandstand, Mumbai – YouTube Awards




Setting up for EDM party in a hotel in Nashik.


The Freedom to be Funny In India (and some lovely Art Deco)

ImageSitting in the manager’s office of the stunning Art Deco Liberty Cinema flicking through the actual original programme from the 1947 opening I could hardly contain my excitement – this was a real treat! The elderly but spritely owner Mr Nazir Hoosein was a delight to talk to – sharing with us the rich historical tapestry of the building – it’s triumphant marathon runs of Bollywood Blockbusters and star studded premieres, followed by a sad decline in business as the multiplexes opened in soulless shopping malls and the clientele shifted downmarket, fouling the once plush red carpet with chewing gum and tobacco spit.  It was this transposition that had led to my purpose for being there today – the cinema had turned it’s back on commercial film screenings, extended it’s stage, treated its walls to improve its acoustics and now has become a top venue for shows and events, such as the comedy show I was working on the techincals of that day.

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Aptly named “Liberty” after the declaration of Indian Independence that coincided with its birth, the building stands proud and opulent, capturing with its architecture the sense of freedom and optimism that marked the era. Little did we know, a maverick energy was to once again to surge through its corridors and fill the auditorium that very next day.

The Royal Turds is a satirical Bollywood award show by premiere comedy collective All India Bakchod. To be honest I knew pretty much nothing about the actors, films, politicians and singers they were joking about, but still found them to be very funny so I guess you can take that to be a credit to Indian comedy. Some of the comedians kindly explained some of the jokes to me in the wings in between acts and were generally a very nice bunch to fit microphones onto. So when I came backstage on the second day to fiddle around with the guys belts and packs and turn them on before the show I was most upset on their behalf to find various worried looking production guys talking with them about whether they should pull the show and even all future performances!

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It turned out that an email with a distinctly terrorist tone had been sent to them protesting at their jokes about political parties and various gods and warning them to “expect the worst at today’s show” as a consequence! I asked one of them who it was they had pissed off – apparently it wasn’t too bad – a nutty right wing religious fringe group (as opposed to I guess, any important or influential politicians).  Once the safety of the audience had been established, a gaggle of police with sticks had installed themselves outside the building and anything too controversial was quickly edited from the script the show went on as planned. It opened with a big projected screenshot of the email and a speech from the comedians about how they were going to perform their art anyway and if anyone didn’t like it they could bloody well leave now! The audience cheered accordingly.

It all made me feel very lucky to be British – as I got scolded for rather smugly pointing out – we can take the piss out of whomever we want to in the UK and not have to worry about crazies with guns and  bandanas! I asked one of the comedians if he had experienced such threats or political/religious censorship before – apparently most Indian comedians choose to stay away from politics and religion for just these reasons (i.e. wanting to keep all their arms and legs intact!) and yes there had been an incident of being forced by the powers that be to apologize for a political joke on stage before. While incidents like this weren’t common, he expected this not to be the last – if you want a ‘safe’ career in Indian comedy you had better just stick to good old-fashioned racism and sexism jokes!

Once again I had a joke made about me onstage by Tanmay Bhat (highly embarrassing but definitely an honour!) – “This is Caroline – she’s British – nice to see she is now working for us!” rather appropriate for the Liberty Cinema!


You can find out more about the very funny All India Bakchod here:

Air conditioning, Indian Celebs and Massive Roaches!


So this week I have mainly been doing shows in the NCPA. It has been pretty nice to be in an auditorium actually built for theatre with some kind of half decent acoustics. The salubrious surroundings were much more akin to the venues I’m used to in Europe- clean, carpeted, modern, proper rigging as opposed to scaff towers ‘leveled’ using piles of sand (!) In typical Indian style though the air conditioning was turned up to arctic. All the Indians swanning around in short sleeves were casting bemused looks in the direction of the one foreigner in the building huddled in the corner wearing three jumpers and a wooly hat!

I just can’t take the cold- it is one of the main reasons I don’t live in England in the winter, but here freezing your arse off is a desirable state of being. I wonder how long the novelty would last though if any of them actually experienced the reality of the UK climate. Cold in short bursts can be refreshing and snow with it’s childhood snowman building associations enchanting, but the endless daily trudge of being blown into work by an icy wind interlaced with freezing sleet or being able to see your breath inside your house is basically traumatising and there is nothing romantic or cozy about that version of cold. Sitting for hours on end shivering under the glacial blast of the NCPA AC conjured up such images for me and I was pleased when the venue filled with people raising the temperature a few vital degrees enough to remove my rather attractive wooly hat which I’m told along with my stagehand black clothing made me look a burglar!

And so entered the stage Shaan – probably India’s most famous Bollywood singer – before tonight I shamefully had absolutely no idea who he was – a fact that like my aversion to the cold shocked my Indian colleagues. Surprisingly vertically challenged (!) with a winning smile permanently superglued to his face he entertained the predominantly middle aged and exclusively damn rich audience for around two and a half hours – still not quite sure about the fact he was reading some of his lyrics off an iPad on a music stand (get a subtle auto-cue surely?) Still, the show was glittering, the band was tight, there was a troupe of cute kids doing some awesome dancing, a minor stage invasion (not what i had expected from the middle-aged, middle class clientele) and although some of the numbers had a karaoke-esque feel to them (none of the songs were his own – they are all from movie soundtracks so maybe not that surprising) I was sold on Hindi love songs and a new Shaan fan!

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The following day and another exceptionally short celebrity took the stage – Indian comic Vir Das presented four shows for a comedy festival. What a crash-course education in Indian pop-culture the weekend was turning out to be for me! I’ve come to the conclusion that Indian comedy is well funny even though I didn’t understand the political gags or have a clue who any of the sports personalities or famous actors being joked about were. There are certain similarities to British humor – especially the gleeful use of sarcasm (a concept that completely goes over many other nationalities heads), a shining example of which was presented in the finale of the day – a celebrity roast of two Bollywood actors I’d once again, never heard of. I got into the spirit of it all anyway and even made a joke myself as well as finding myself the butt of one:

When a young stagehand stepped on my toes and then couldn’t stop apologising profusely. I told him not to worry – it was nothing – try standing in the ladies carriage on the Western railway in the morning rush hour! (See my previous blog on Mumbai public transport.)

During the first show without warning they invited several of the audience onto stage. I handed one guy a microphone who promptly switched it off then proceeded to look confused as to why it didn’t work when he tried to speak into it. I had to run on stage and swop it for another (still wearing my rather sexy Christmas style wooly jumper!) while the comic joked, “there goes your pay check!” Thanks! Let’s hope they edit that bit out!


last but not least and this photo really doesn’t do it justice I just wanted to share with you the moment where I looked down and thought “has someone put something in my drink? The train floor is moving under my seat!” and realised it was about 50 massive as you like cockroaches – minging!


The First Red Tent in India


This December I’ve had the delight of my job taking me to Goa for two very different festivals.

The first of which was a yoga and mind body spirit kind of affair. As the only female sound engineer in my company (and possibly in the whole of India! -I would love to meet another!) I had the unexpected pleasure of being assigned to the women only red tent. The men who had sent me there were somewhat fearful and at the same time intrigued by this womblike red cavern and the fierce band of women ruling the space. One guy joked that if would love to record the sound so he could find out what on earth they were doing in here! I was wondering the same thing myself as the women carefully created am altar in the center of the tent, fussing over candles and flowers and the authenticity of their firewood- I pitied the production manager responsible for ensuring their every need was satisfied- while immediately liked each of the red tent team they definitely struck me as women I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of!

As it turned out there were no sound requirements for the morning session other than music playback at the end so I joined in the first activity, rather harmlessly titled ‘Breath Work.’ little did I realise I was to be brought back to the moment of my birth via a trance like state induced by a breathing technique that many people (mistakenly) think is hyperventilating. We were all assured that no one has died of breathing and it was perfectly safe so I laid back and gave it my best. My first thought was that it brought me back to the experience of giving birth rather than my own birth. The feeling produced by the breathing was very similar to the gas given to you when you are in labour. My head started spinning and all my limbs and extremities were tingling. This developed into painful cramps and I passed out a couple of times, my consciousness spiraling off down a dark tunnel with a eerie green light at the end.

Previous to the session we were briefed on the fact that all these things might happen and were perfectly normal as it was our bodies physical manifestation of our resistance to let go of our ‘personal lie’- our deepest innermost fear or insecurity. We also talked about our own births i.e. were they natural or did we have a chord around the neck, forceps etc. This worried me a little as I was a cesarean and as far as I knew adopted from birth, so I wasn’t entirely sure it was an experience I wanted to relive. With all this in mind, after the seed of thought had been planted I naturally began to consider what my personal lie might be whilst flat on my back in my trance. I found myself wanting to cry and overwhelmed with emotion but there was a voice in my head telling me not to let go as technically I was at work- imagine if one of the boys came to ask me for a microphone or cable or something and found me half passed out in floods of tears on the floor proclaiming that I am terrified of being rejected! Not a good look!

Imagebra on mixing desk (not mine!)

Anyway the session got over and the day went on with a goddess galaxy ceremony run by fashion designer Malini Ramani and a talk on what it means to be feminine by a sex psychotherapist Shanta Gyanchand topped off in the evening by a film on the history of the red tent movement. Red tents have been around for a long, long time. Originally they were places where women went to at their time of the month to bleed together and I expect have a bloody good moan as we all like to when we are brimful of hormones and menstrual cramps. Over time some hippies and a few feminists decided this was a good idea and it would be great to have a space where women could meet and share stories and love and generally be empowered as well as have a good moan about their periods. I fully agree with them after watching the film and seeing first hand the effect the red tent had on the women that visited over the weekend. My personal highlight had to be the wisdom imparted by Shanta in her talk on interpreting women’s sexual fantasies using dream analysis theory- fascinating stuff! Apparently the reason why lots of women have submissive fantasies, sometimes to the extremes of rape or sexual slavery, is because women often find themselves having a lot of heavy responsibility in their lives and in these submissive situations all responsibility is relinquished- makes a whole load of sense!

I also loved Deepti Datt’s reinterpretation of Sleeping beauty as related to the coming of age of a young girl (getting your period) and the rest of the details I won’t reveal here as they are a treat best heard first-hand.

This was the first time there has been a red tent here in India- a fact which really surprised me considering India’s large hippy populace who are especially concentrated here in Goa. The tent was run by two women of Indian origin, which also surprised me and I felt uncomfortable about the fact that it did. This was until I thought about it somewhat and realised that the reason it surprised me was exactly the reason why India needs the red tent movement- women have been oppressed here and many still are. Often this happens in their own homes and there is a definite need for a space they can go where they can talk openly without being judged in terms of religious rules or the expectations of Indian society. Of course there is a feminist movement here but red tents are not simply about feminism or hippies- they are about support, healing and education which is something every woman has a need for regardless of social background. I was very privileged to witness and be a part of one and really excited to see several women announcing at the end their intent to take the idea away and start up red tent women’s circles in their own Indian cities and wish them the best of luck!

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“it’s a little different here….”

I did an interesting show the other day – a 100th birthday party and community celebration in a sports stadium, complete with dancers, live band, giant video screens and about a tonne of gold glitter. I was for the Jain community – a rather gentle religion who have a somewhat remorseless discipline – they get up at 4am and are in bed by 10pm and never eat after sunset. They are teetotal, vegetarian and don’t even eat root vegetables, not only because they come from the ground which is considered dirty, but because if you pull up a plant by it’s root it dies and they don’t believe in hurting anyone or anything which is most lovely. All seems to work for them if they are living till 100 years old!
The following week I was back at the same venue for a rather different show, also a birthday, with a considerably larger sound system – a DJ gig where the star act complimented his performance by selecting over-excited girls from the audience, pulling them up onto the stage and then splatting them in their faces with giant cakes before throwing them back into the crowd atop an inflatable rubber dinghy, well whatever floats your boat…. I’m not sure what the Jain community would have made of it all but the crowd loved it!
A question i get asked a lot, both by people back home and also my Indian friends is “what is it like working here? How is it different to Europe?” The first thing I would reply is that everything most definitely happens at it’s own pace. There is no such thing as a four hour load in for a show – you can spend days watching scaffold towers being built for you to hang your speakers off with NO shade at all, huddled behind your bass bins squeezing into the tiny patch of cool dark behind. Yes everything appears to be disorganised and chaotic and yes health and safety is pretty much non existent with guys rigging in flip-flops or barefoot atop 50ft trussing with no harness in sight. Stages can be held together by bamboo and string. You get fed up of the answer to everything being “done in five minutes madam” when you know full well that it won’t be. Everyone expects you to be some kind of audio genius because you are a foreigner when actually you are just human and clearly don’t know everything, especially after taking best part of two years off to have a baby and don’t even get me started on the six day week and comparatively low wages (which everyone resents you for earning because they are undeservedly so much more compared to them). At times I am finding it all soul destroying and I never anticipated it would be this challenging, but something is keeping me here and it’s not just the weather.
When you go to a show in India and you see the reaction of the audience – they are that much MORE excited than the European crowds, there are that many more hands firmly in the air – the raw energy and enthusiasm and sheer joy on people’s faces gives you the best job satisfaction that you can imagine. The crowds are that much more crazy here and it is all NEW; new bands, new music, new venues, new people – a change from the daily UK grind. The people you end up working with give so much to their work you can’t help but find it inspiring. Yes the work pressure is intense but that is pushing me to learn new stuff (and remember the stuff I’ve forgotten over time or which has been lost in the fog of pregnancy hormones). The festival industry here is young comparatively and I can’t wait to see it blossom and grow – in a country with so much colour and vibrancy the potential for creativity at these events is boundless. It feels like live music here can only get more exciting – I hope I get to stay a while longer….