Tagged: technology

nuits sonores lyon mirrorballs

Nuits Sonores 2015: Making the Most of 12 Hours in Lyon

Combining my two interests of running from uni work and trying to explore a city in an inordinately short amount of time, last Friday I spent the night in Lyon for Day Three of the annual Nuits Sonores Festival. Nuits Sonores is an urban festival, taking place all over the City of Lyon during the Ascension weekend.

Coffee en route, featuring an anthropomorphised octopus which I consider to be more menacing than is necessary

Coffee en route, featuring an anthropomorphised octopus which I consider to be more menacing than is necessary

Knowing I’d be staying up all night (the event was running from 9pm-5am, so I decided to save on hotels and just get a commuter train back to Basel in the morning), coffee was in order.

nuits sonores lyon poster

Weather less than ideal

When I arrived in Lyon it was drizzling, but luckily the nighttime events were taking place in the Ancien Marché du gros, a collection of disused industrial buildings which were lit up for the occasion. Despite being fairly central, they weren’t that easy to find, so the lava lamp visuals projected onto the side of the main hall were not only snazzy but practical too.

Lights at the entrance to the site - thankfully visible from quite far away

Lights at the entrance to the site – thankfully visible from quite far away

Blue Daisy Nuits Sonores

Blue Daisy in the second hall

Having arrived at a time that most would consider devastatingly uncool (before 11pm!) I was there to catch Blue Daisy, who’s electro-rap stylings were going down very well with the crowd. (Though it doesn’t look very full in the photo above, the halls were huge!)

I was also there early enough to get some drinks tokens before the queues built up (and over the course of the night, they really did build up.) and to grab something to eat:

Bao Kitchen Nuits Sonores

The shining lights of Bão Kitchen

Veggie Bao Nuits Sonores

Veggie Bão! Definitely in my top three acts of the night.

This being France, there wasn’t an abundance of vegetarian options among the impressive line of food trucks. Among them I managed to track down the fantastic Bão Kitchen who were serving up some tasty veggie bão – savoury buns filled with diced vegetables and smothered in sweet chilli sauce. I may or may not have gone back for seconds before the night was out…

Jessica93 Nuits Sonores

Jessica93 in the third hall

Next I headed over to the third and smallest hall for the brilliantly named Jessica93, a post-punk one man band from Paris who was looping and layering some shoegazey noises and getting some interesting results. Hall 3 seemed to be home to the more eclectic acts of the night, as demonstrated by the next band, Future of the Left.

Future of the Left Nuits Sonores

Future of the Left in the third hall

I had barely heard of Future of the Left before Nuits Sonores, and I demand to know why nobody told me about them. This shouty alt-rock band from Cardiff were the unexpected highlight of the night for me, although they weren’t exactly at home among the electro-house pumping out from the other two halls. They might not have drawn the biggest crowd at the festival, but it was certainly the most rowdy. The guitarist brought a number of bananas onto the stage, and one by one fed them to enthusiastic crowd members during the set. In this cut throat music industry it’s great to see a band that takes the time to worry about their fans’ potassium intake.

Future of the Left Nuits Sonores

Bananagate

Public Service Broadcasting Nuits Sonores

Willgoose of Public Service Broadcasting

Next up was the act I had come all this way for – Public Service Broadcasting. Credit to Rosie for taking me and Bill to see them last year and getting me hooked. This was before their new album The Race For Space was released, and I was excited to hear some of the new tracks live. They didn’t disappoint. Along with some favourites from their debut album, they played Gargarin and Go! from the new album, both of which got a great reaction from the crowd and rightly so.

public service broadcasting nuits sonores

Public Service Broadcasting in the third hall

Nuits Sonores Ancien marche de gros

The festival site in the early hours

By this time the larger halls were starting to get really full, so I went over to check out Brodinski in hall 2. I loved his solo release, Dance Like Machines, so I had high hopes for his set. I was a little disappointed. This is probably an unpopular opinion but as one of the more sober members of the crowd I felt slightly unimpressed with the repetitive beats and lacklustre mixing, which fell short of being redeemed by the impressive lights, and the visuals dredged up from the depths of the uncanny valley. Some of his set is of course on youtube, so you can listen to it here and draw your own conclusions.

nuits sonores lyon mirrorballs

Nuits Sonores Hall 1

All in all, Nuits Sonores Night 3 was fantastic, and I’ll definitely try and head back for next year!

Were you there? Can you recommend any other festivals in the area? Let me know in the comments!

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On the Practicalities of Film Photography

So, after a month of fighting with Dell and Windows 8 (more on that here) I’ve gone over to the other side; I am now a proud Mac user! Good bye, maintenance loan.

Spending so much time uninstalling/reinstalling drivers and generally trying to get the machine working got me thinking about my relationship with technology. Generally I’d say I’m pretty up to date, and as a chemistry student, I love a good gadget. Most of the stuff in my uni’s labs is pretty up to date (you should see our MRI machine!) but I did come across this gem the other month:

Super retro graphic printer in labs today #oldschool #retro

A post shared by Emily Doyle (@oldbort) on

It’s a pretty neat old graphic printer. Thing was though, the other students doing the experiment had a computer and a modern printer – despite it’s charm, my lab partner and I felt a little bit short changed having to manually wind the paper through.

So, I’m not saying that “nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake” is a good excuse for obsolete technology. However, I’m blogging today in defence of film photography; more specifically, disposable cameras.

I love my DSLR. It takes brilliant shots. But there are some places – gigs, house parties, etc – where I just don’t want to take it. Anyone who’s seen my instagram feed lately will probably have noticed the big smudge on my phone camera, so that’s no good if you want a half decent photo.That’s where disposables come in. I can leave on in the bottom of my handbag, drop it on the floor, spill stuff on it or whatever, and at the end of the day the worst I’ll lose is a few undeveloped photos. The only downside is they are a bit of a pain to get developed now. My local Boots does do it, but the staff behind the counter never seem to know what to do with the things when I take them in – plus it’s not cheap. For glossy prints from events when I otherwise wouldn’t be able to take photos though, I don’t mind paying. And, the ones that develop really nicely make it all worth it.

 

Stone Roses playing Finsbury Park in 2013 - not a great environment for my DSLR!

Stone Roses playing Finsbury Park in 2013 – not a great environment for my DSLR!

Good for shooting bears.

Good for shooting bears.

Valefest 2013 - Alcohol and expensive cameras aren't a good mix, either.

Valefest 2013 – Alcohol and expensive cameras aren’t a good mix, either.

ro drum

My long-suffering friend Rosie (@ro_drum on twitter) tolerating a film portrait.

More gig shots - this time Anamanaguchi in London

More gig shots – this time Anamanaguchi in London

Incidentally, the most flattering flash photography you've ever seen - as demonstrated by my charming Clockwork Orange costume.

Incidentally, the most flattering flash photography you’ve ever seen – as demonstrated by my charming Clockwork Orange costume.

More fancy dress from the same party - here's Bill (@RootFifthOctave) as Hunter S Thompson

More fancy dress from the same party – here’s Bill (@RootFifthOctave) as Hunter S Thompson

What do you think? Are disposable cameras still useful, or are they a waste of time? Let me know in the comments!

Me, communicating science (and why I think it matters)

Primarily in the interest of making this page a bit more ~multimedia~ , I thought I’d share this video which features my charming face. Look out for some great stop motion, and the comedy rewind at about a minute in (neither of which I can take credit for!)

It was part of a module on my course called Science Communication, where all second years had to produce a short film, along with some pieces of scientific writing. Needless to say, some people approached it with some reluctance! Personally I was glad of the variety; I love my course, but once we got on to the fourth physical chemistry module of the year getting some credits for nervously grinning into a video camera seemed pretty appealing.

Which brings me onto science communication. This is something close to my heart – every week I work at a nearby school teaching science. “Grown ups” often get overlooked, however!

Once school science lessons are done with, so many people just lose interest. For most adults who aren’t actively involved in the scientific community, the only source of information on new scientific developments is the mainstream media. Although this is great when journalists get the science right, it’s often not the case. As something that effects all of us every day, it bothers me a bit that so few people show an interest in new science. But, I suppose I’m biased – not everyone wants to know about the latest in nanotechnology or space exploration. I just feel that, as new technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of our lives, the average person needs a greater scientific awareness in order to make informed decisions.

Up to date, accessible information is more available than ever before thanks to blogs like io9 and even the New Scientist website. There are also more and more mainstream science tv shows (I have a lot of love for Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club!) so maybe I’m over-reacting. Either way, I’m going to keep fighting the corner, and continue telling anyone who will listen to me why “Heisenberg” was such a funny codename for Walter White to use and why you don’t need to worry about the risks of “dihydrogen monoxide”.