Thursday, December 24, 2009

Live from the London Eurostar terminal

Arrived at something past 6, I gotta say, I wasn't the only one.
These english people really know how to queue..

Got out of the tube, and was directed to the waiting-line, which started outside of the station, went down from the escalators, back into the tube-tubes, back up the escalators, filled up the whole arrival and departure-hall, went on to the eurostar departure-hall and filled it up. That was about it. I'm now facing another 3-hour wait. But it could have been much worse.

Although I had to start waiting outside, the line grew at a steady pace behind me. Don't think I'm of too bad.

As I managed to get a spot at the laptop-desk I can even do some useful things such as translating talks for TED (official TED-translator, it might even get me live-streaming from the real San Fransisco TED conference !!). Yes, I know, most of my former Dutch/English-teachers would start feeling sick if they knew I was doing those things, but that doesn't really matter, does it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas etc

Travelling back to Belgium for Christmas and new year,

by eurostar offcourse, they are now trying to clear there backlog, providing service on a first-come first-serve basis. Yesterday thousands of people waited inside and outside of St. Pancras station to get on.

Promises to be a challenging day..

I'm going in. Early
See you all back in Belgium.

It snowed (again), so now traffic is suffering again in London, but at least it's a pretty view.

Monday, December 21, 2009


So I was expecting some people to come and enjoy the atmosphere of London in Christmas mode.

But ofcourse:

Eurostar staff was going to go on a strike, luckily they postponed this 'till after Christmas.

You are probably aware of further developments:
- snow/ice-water condensed from the eurostar train onto the electronics when it entered the eurotunnel (where the temperature is at a constant 25 degrees)
- 5 trains broke down inside the tunnel
- hundreds of people where stuck inside the tunnel, some for 16 hours
- water ran out, all electricity was shut down, the train crew didn't do it's job, temperatures raised inside the cabins
- random people in the trains who happened to be police officers set up the evacuation
- the executive manager had a lot of explaining to do, but didn't do a very good job.
- no eurostar service has been available since Friday

Nobody is going to be able to make it to London. Talk about things going wrong on precise timing.

Fingers crossed on getting home for Christmas.

Update on where things went wrong:
- eurostar had absolutely no contact with the trains in the tunnel
- no or little communication with passengers during breakdown
- manager of eurostar tells of passenger witnesses as telling 'anecdotal stories'
- manager of eurostar up untill now still hasn't debriefed with the crew on what really happened in the trains, thus as a result almost knowing less than the passengers
- stranded passengers, still no service

Sure, it is easy to criticize eurostar by just summing up all things that went wrong. But than again, I'm in a bad mood, and this is my blog.

Empty studios no more

One of my current practical assignments is to record and mix a multi-track recording with drums in them. This can be your own music with someone playing drums over it, but I tought the experience would be much more realistic if I brought in a band.

So I posted ads, went to some shows and got me some contacts.
After a lot of mailing I got "the david vegas project" into my practical night-session, they are a two-piece band, so that seemed a nice way to get into it.

We recorded 4 songs in 2 8-hour sessions, this may not seem a lot, but believe me, it is.
(consider having to solve all the technical problems, trying to get them to play in time, dealing with the band in general, doing guitar and vocal overdubs, setting up all mics and channels, setting up headphone mixes, patching everything in, setting up pro tools, etc etc)

There where some minor problems with the headphones due to interference inside the amplifier (not really our fault, the headphone amp is just rubbish), and some channels broke down on the mixing desk itself, but we managed pretty easily (it's all a matter of running down all 10 possible faulty elements in the signal path :) ).

(action picture, a lot on my head)

(miced-up drums)

(guitarplayer/singer's area and inevitable spaghetti of cabling near connection point)

(guitar cabinet in separate booth to avoid spill)

(sontronics helios valve condensor for vocal overdubbing)

(patchbay to send all signals to the desk and headphones)

On another note,
It's very cold in London at the moment.
(personal ice-walk of death at my doorstep)