Skip to content

James Rutherford

Web, design, Newcastle, games and fun!


Category: life

I’ve got a big soft-spot for the KLF- BRING THE BEAT BACK!

Tyne Twestival took place at The Tyne Bar last night.

Tickets were available for £4 (or £20 for generous donors), and included two free £3 drink vouchers. Even my rusty mental arithmetic can tell you that’s a good value night- especially when the ticket cost is a charity donation… thanks, sponsors!

So, a night of drink, chat, cupcakes, raffle prizes and live music- and a good opportunity to put faces to Twitter names, and meet some new people to boot.

There was a good mix of people I knew, knew of, and didn’t know at all- and it was certainly well attended. The outside area was a bustling mass, especially for the raffle call (which was compèred by the rather smooth Paul Smith).

Personally, I shied from the music- I prefer something a bit less attention-grabbing when there’s good chat to be had – though I appreciate it adds to the atmosphere of a space like the Tyne Bar pen.

Altogether, Tyne Twestival 2010 looks to have raised more than £1450 from ticket sales, and another £590 on the night for charity Concern, neatly smashing the £1500 target. [Update: £2,803.05!]

See: Thomas Jackson Photography, Shepy’s photos, Specular’s photo set, , Audio clip (warning, it’s a bit ‘Eurovision’!), blog entry, Brittany Coxon (photo set, video1, video2, video3).

YourFilm video:

(more photos linked as and when I find ‘em!)

Follow: @TyneTwestival for future events.

Newcastle / Tyne Twestival will take place tonight from 7pm at The Tyne Bar.

It’s a social meet-up event for folk who use Twitter, featuring local bands and competitions, organised to fundraise for a charity – Concern.

I know a slice of the attendee list, follow a larger chunk, and know of most of the rest, so it should be a nice mix of familiar and partly familiar for me.

We seem to be well on the way to making the fundraising target, but I believe there are still tickets available. Grab one and come join in the fun!

Twitter: follow @TyneTwestival / search for #TyneTwestival

Tickets and more information: Newcastle Twestival Website

BarCamp North East 3 took place over the weekend, with around 45 attendees and pleasing geographical pull (a fair few ‘campers’ caught early trains from around the country).

It had a different feel to BCNE2. The environment was a bit more formal and there didn’t seem to be as much in the sessions that I connected with- though a good tip of the hat should go to Tim Nash’s talks (“PayPal Hacks” / “Get off Your Arse”), Richard Hyett’s “Dashboards” and Harry Palmer’s introduction to his eccentric work.

Sadly I couldn’t stay for the breakout sessions (since I’d booked in for 3D Disco)- and, as such, missed some of the livelier action and a bunch of night-owl attendees.

Nevertheless, It was an entertaining weekend, with engaging people – and left me energised and buzzing with thoughts.


I hosted a couple of sessions, and was pleased that both were well attended:

“Finding Creativity”

An attempt to pull ideas to find out how people best foster their creativity / problem-solving. Particularly interesting to me were people’s attempts to catalyse the subconscious- thinking very hard about a problem before going to bed; listening to a single looped tune; and distracting the conscious mind deliberately. I’d like to have explored much deeper, and in a few different directions, but time ran away.

“80s Videogamers Anonymous”

A fun session – a little early for the ‘late-session’ style, but I pressed on regardless. We started with a bit of nostalgic confessional, before moving on to an ‘A-Z’ of 80′s videogames knock-out and a “What am I?” game styled on daytime TV favourite, ‘Going for Gold’. Bubble Bobble stickers were won, mostly by Ian Pouncey and Chris Neale. Ian took the grand prize too – a Space Invader keyring (yes, yes, that’s 1978, I know!!)


Huge thanks to Alistair for his masterful organisation of the event; Newcastle’s Centre of Life for hosting; Yahoo and Microsoft for sponsorship.

Looking forward to BarCampNE4… :)

(Partial) Attendance List

[Contact me if I've missed you off!]

  • Alex Kavanagh (@ajkavanagh)
  • Alistair MacDonald (@alistair, Alistair’s blog)
  • Brian Degger (@sctv)
  • Caroline Mockett (@cazm)
  • Chris Neale (@onion2k)
  • Christiano Betta (@cbetta)
  • Danni Matzk (@Dannilion)
  • David Batty (@DavidBatty)
  • Dom Hodgson (@TheHodge, The Hodge)
  • Eric Nelson (@ericnel)
  • Harry Palmer (Harry Palmer)
  • Ian Pouncey (@IanPouncey)
  • James Rutherford (me!, @jtruk, @designnewcastle)
  • Lee Cann (@leeky)
  • Martin Cunningham (@martin88)
  • Melinda Seckington (@mseckington, Miss Geeky)
  • Mr Duck (@duck365)
  • Neil Crosby (@NeilCrosby)
  • Peter Bull (@RoguePlanetoid)
  • Rebecca Parker (@Rebecca_Parker)
  • Rich Quick (@richquick)
  • Richard Hyett
  • Tim Nash (@tnash, Tim Nash)

From the starting blocks this seems promising, with a talented cast and reasonable premise pushing a mildly amusing film.

It starts to falter half-way through as the plot remains basic, direction becomes laboured and dialogue turns super schmaltzy.

It scrapes over the finish line clutching the ending you can see coming 26 miles off.

Verdict: If you like Richard Curtis Brit romcoms (I don’t!) and can tolerate having a plotline slowly and surely drilled through your skull, then you might like this.

Back in the swirling comedy mists of time there was a sketch group called Soup. We proudly presented a new show monthly- usually flying on only a couple of weeks-worth of script time.

I’d like to think we were quite experimental- it was a little bit ‘cabaret’, but also included filmed video sections- all presented with raw amateur flair. The show settled on a circus theme initially (a world apart from tragic BBC sitcom, Big Top), later moving direction to a rather odd school. I think it ran for around three years in total.

Soup dissolved for a couple of reasons: Machinations of the Newcastle comedy circuit – the main comedy club, The Hyena, changed ownership and focus, leaving us without a regular venue. I think the main players in the group also decided there were better places to grow their comedy talents and moved en-masse to Manchester – where Jason Cook, Lee Fenwick (a.k.a Mick Sergeant), John Cooper, Dan Nightingale and Seymour Mace are all going strong.

Lee headlined last night at The Laughing Penguin comedy night. He’s always been a fan of challenging character comedy- and I have to say, he’s really nailed it now. While Mick has always been enjoyable, there’s been something about him that’s seemed inconsistent; pulling him back from being stellar. Not last night. After a very mixed line-up (amongst whom Adnan Ahmed‘s relaxed delivery shone), Mick came out and stormed our hearts and minds.

It was great to see a couple of old Soupers there: John Bullock, Ben Traynor and Suj Pannu (whose brother, Raj, presided over Soup’s music) were all in attendance and in good form.

I certainly miss that time of life. Soup gave me a quirky outlet for my energies, and I met some very talented people there. In some ways I regret that I didn’t take a more active part in pushing the show further, because it certainly had potential to travel. I was too wrapped up in an (over-)full-time job to give it more attention, I suppose.

Special mentions also to Mick Laffey (our long-suffering ring-master) and Tim Hodgson (the funniest man to ever grace a stage with carpet taped to his head).

Heinz, Pugsley, the Ringmaster, and yes- even you, the twisted Sweetie Man; this is in loving memory of the fun times!

The Novak Collective are rolling out 3D Disco for a rare showing in their home town of Newcastle- a night of audio/visual/dance fun wearing those retro red and blue 3D specs!

I learnt of their events at the SuperTelly tech-meet (a SuperMondays / joint event), and finally get to experience it; their promo video blew me away- the 3D effect was brilliantly strong and they certainly know what they’re doing with the tunes.

Here’s what it’s all about:

See also: Novak Collective’s YouTube channel and their MySpace page. Check out the past event photos too!… how much fun?!

The night marks the closing of Newcastle Science Fest. Tickets are £10. More details here.

I’ll also give me great op to wear my 3D T-Shirt!

This totally cracks me up. Some amazing talent!

I had just over half-an-hour to whizz round the Maker Faire before I needed to be someplace else.

It seemed much larger than last year (twice as big?) and was split between hands-on crafts (mostly for kids), left-field creative projects and product stalls, with a couple of performance events thrown in.

I was left a bit cold by the Discovery Museum- they had a magnificent steam engine outside, but seemingly not much else. The heavily advertised light installation in the Great Hall didn’t get interesting in the short time I allowed it.

The Centre for Life, however, was buzzing with maker-life; the loud and prominent centre-piece being a ‘Tesla organ’, greeting visitors on arrival (best explained with a video, from @evilwallpaper).

Other highlights included @coldclimate’s LED reactive table, a ball-bearing ‘roller-coaster’ and a Rubik Cube solving robot.

I also caught up with @alistair, amongst the cacophony of his bottle percussion band, but sadly missed @AB_Thomas‘ fluorescent light performance. I didn’t ask whether his trembling afterwards was due to nerves, exercise, or the electric shock he pulled from one of the tubes. @G_Rak seemed to think it had been a brilliant (ha!) show, anyhow.

There were a fair few favourites returning from last year, including the mechanical horse, electronic graffiti wall and LED psychedelic spectacles.

The Maker Faire is on again today, costing £3.95 for an adult ticket, with discounts for families.

UPDATE: Jonathan Street has a nice write-up of the event.

Just had an SMS from pops in New Zealand. Wellington had some shock weather- temperature apparently dropped from 20 degrees to 8 in six minutes, accompanied by 130kph winds. Yowser!

NZ Herald

Last time they had strong winds, he lost his garden furniture from the deck over the four-foot high fence; spotted a couple of months later in the bushy embankment! Hear