Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Attending a Jools Holland taping

Jools Holland's perennial late-night music show recorded its 200th episode tonight, and I was lucky enough to be there. It was my first time watching the show being committed to tape (a computer), and it's quite an interesting process.

Here's what I learned:

  • The bands only get to rehearse the opening jam once before the taping begins.
  • It really is recorded in one seamless take.
  • Except they pick up any mistakes at the end . There was only one tonight, because Feist messed up. Naughty Feist.
  • The artists genuinely sit and watch each other play. Thom Yorke did a dance to Mary J Blige. Mary J Blige tapped her foot to Radiohead. It was literally a fascinating insight into their fragile psyches.
  • The cameras have wide-angle lenses to make the studio seem really large when it's no bigger than an average garage forecourt.
  • A woman is paid to run around behind the camera with a whiteboard with information like "Cat Power is from Georgia" so that Jools Holland can say "Here is Cat Power from Georgia". This is quite a good idea, when you think about it very hard.
  • Dionne Warwick has trouble walking on by these days.
  • The audience are told to wear dark colours, and anyone who does not is made to stand at the back for being too individual. In that respect, Later With Jools Holland is a bit like communist Russia.
  • Erm...
  • That's it.

    Watch the 200th episode on BBC Two this Friday, and use this information at dinner parties to make yourself popular.

    PS Someone is bound to ask what Radiohead played. They did Bodysnatchers, Weird Fishes and 15 Step for the main programme, and House Of Cards for the website.

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