Video shoot in southern France

28 September 2012

'Nobody move. I think I heard a hyena.'Last weekend, whilst on tour in the Dordogne, we shot a live video in a vineyard near Bordeaux.

We filmed two songs as the sun went down over Pujols, and the first of them – Speedway 105 – is now online at The Lightyears YouTube channel (or you can watch it by scrolling down to the bottom of this page).

Speedway 105 is a song that came out of our first ever tour to South Africa in 2009. It tells the story of a live music venue just off Hope Street in Cape Town, where we played our first show in SA. Sadly the Speedway has since closed down, but it remains a legendary landmark in the history of the band. Click here to read my tour diary about our time at the 105.

nb. No grapes were harmed in the making of this video.

Meeting the Buzzcocks and saluting the sun

25 September 2012

Those lookalikes we ordered from worked an absolute treat.We spent last weekend on tour in the South of France, and my-oh-my what larks we had. On Saturday night we were playing a private party at a chateau near Bordeaux, and in light of our recently devised al fresco gig tradition we resolved beforehand to shoot an on-the-hoof live video somewhere in the French countryside.

Doing this meant first assembling all Lightyears in the same part of the world, which isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. George and John were the last to arrive, flying in from Gatwick to Bordeaux via the wondrous medium of Easyjet, and had caused a flutter of excitement by revealing via Twitter that world-famous punk band the Buzzcocks were on their flight. Pip and I were due to meet the brothers at the airport, and George suggested flippantly that we come armed with a sign reading ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks, I’m here for The Lightyears’.

He was joking, of course, but I did it anyway.Don't worry, we know - this is hiLARious.

This would have remained a hilarious band in-joke were it not for the fact that the Buzzcocks emerged from baggage reclaim significantly before The Lightyears – and upon spotting their name on our sign, assumed (really quite reasonably) that we were there for them. Moments before, I had joked on Twitter that if this happened and the Buzzcocks didn’t see the funny side, I could end up on the wrong end of a – let’s face it – pretty one-sided inter-band punch-up. This is roughly how the scenario played out:

One Of The Buzzcocks: “Oh, ‘ello mate. We’re just waiting for our bags, out in a sec.”
Chris Lightyear: “Right. Yes… um, actually, we’re not -”
One Of The Buzzcocks: “Any chance you could take us straight to a restaurant? We’re starving.”
Chris Lightyear: “I… well, the thing is…”
[One Of The Buzzcocks disappears back inside baggage reclaim. Chris Lightyear poops his pants for a few minutes. One Of The Buzzcocks returns.]
One Of The Buzzcocks: “Mate, they got any luggage trolleys out here?”
Chris Lightyear: [Has a pretend look around, knowing full well there are no luggage trolleys.] “I don’t think so, but… er… well, you see, funny story but… uh… we’re not actually here to pick you up at all.”
[One Of The Buzzcocks looks understandably confused.]
Chris Lightyear: “We’re here to meet a far less famous band.”
One Of The Buzzcocks: “But… your sign?”
[Chris Lightyear prays to a god he doesn’t believe in that One Of The Buzzcocks isn’t preparing to hurt him in the face. Pip unfolds the sign again.]
Chris Lightyear: “It was a… joke?”
[One Of The Buzzcocks looks confused, then suspicious, then re-reads the sign. Then smiles.]
One Of The Buzzcocks: “Huh. That’s actually pretty f*cking funny. Mind if I take a photo?”
[Chris Lightyear thinks in his head that One Of The Buzzcocks can do absolutely whatever he wants, and nods enthusiastically. One Of The Buzzcocks takes a photo, shrugs, and disappears.]

Buoyed up by the unexpectedly successful conclusion of this little episode, we scooped up George and John and headed back out into the countryside.

Upon arriving back at the hotel, we hastily set up our by now well-practised outdoor set up (car battery, electrical inverter, four-way extension, mini keyboard, acoustic guitar, busking drum, Zoom recorder, Canon 550 camera) on the fringes of a vineyard and hurried to shoot a track before the sun went down. Given the idyllic setting, we decided to go with ‘Speedway 105’, a song we wrote on our first Cape Town tour back in 2009.

As always, it’s tricky to say how the recording will come out (that’s in George’s hands at the moment!) but we’ll keep you posted if and when it goes up online. In the meantime, here’s our most recent live acoustic video, filmed during the Lake Grasmere sessions: