20-Apr-2014 A Different Picture

Posted April 20th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

After the hustle and bustle of a week ‘on location’ filming, this week has been relatively quiet – a lot of it spent transferring audio and video recordings from three video cameras and three digital recorders to our home systems and making a start with some of the initial editing… quieter maybe, but no less busy. Add to that three care home performances, a trip to the Davy Lamp Folk Club to see Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby, some initial design work on a new website, and finalising one of our own video projects (see below) that’s been developing over the past few months – phew!

The inspiration for the song was our 2013 return trip to America – we started it while in San Diego and finished writing the following month at home. Due to performing and project commission commitments it was difficult to set aside time to make a good recording and then craft a video for it, but we gradually managed to get there. Hope you like it!

jiva - A Different Picture
View count

For those unable to see the embedded video above, here’s the link:


Jimmy & Val (jiva)

13-Apr-2014 On Location

Posted April 13th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

We have a charmed life… we love being together, we love doing what we do, we get to meet and spend time with some wonderful people and we travel to many places we’d otherwise never have been. Last week was a prime example of all of that.

On Monday we played a care home in Washington (fifth visit, we’re like old friends or part of the family). Monday evening and late night was spent going over and over our preparations for the week ahead. On Tuesday morning we finalised a few things from our todo lists, shut down the computers, server, networked drives, wireless printers, router etc… set the central heating to holiday economy mode for a few days, packed the car and – armed with Val’s detailed schedule of locations, events, contact details and timings – headed off on an exciting (but scary) adventure. We were well prepared with a somewhat large checklist of items to take – for this trip we had…

  • 3 Video camcorders complete with spare storage cards, spare batteries, power adapters, connecting cables and chargers
  • 3 Digital recorders complete with spare storage cards, spare batteries, power adapters and connecting cables
  • 3 Tripods (full height) for camcorders
  • 3 Tripods (table/mini size) for digital recorders
  • 3 Mic stands for digital recorders
  • Lapel mic and associated cables
  • 2 Digital Cameras complete with spare storage cards, spare batteries, power adapters, connecting cables
  • 2 DMX LED light panels
  • DMX Light controller
  • 2 Lighting stands
  • DMX data cables and power cables for lighting
  • 2 Workmen’s white lights
  • Chroma green backdrop
  • Stands for chroma green backdrop
  • 2 4-gang extension reels
  • 4-gang trailing extension lead
  • 2 Tablets with chargers
  • Netbook with power adapter and connecting cables
  • 2 Mobile phones with chargers
  • GPS Satnav
  • Small suitcase

Armed with all of this gear we filmed in various locations (Manchester, Liverpool, Widnes, Warrington, Derby, Barnsley and Blyth) using various combinations of camcorders, digital recorders and lighting.

It’s been a great week… exhilarating, fun, mentally and physically exhausting – but, more than anything, enjoyable. There’s more filming and recording to do, but for now we certainly have our work cut out sifting through the hours of material we have to date, editing and tweaking and working out how best to place things in the timeline.

No photo in the blog this week – we were so busy we didn’t actually take any pictures of being on the set at the various locations. And no, no previews of the content… you’ll just have to wait for that!

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

06-Apr-2014 Going Up Down And Out

Posted April 6th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

Steve and Kristi departed from Blyth last Monday morning en route for their final UK gigs – one in Leicester the other in Dunfermline and they are now safely back in the USA. It’s been good to catch up with them again.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday found us performing at three care homes (Alnwick, Cramlington and Houghton-le-Spring) followed by the 6th meeting of SWAP-NE (Song Writers And Performers – North East). As mentioned last week we had a cardboard box amnesty on Saturday, flattening numerous boxes, loading them into the car along with the polystyrene packing inserts and our cache of empty bottles and glass jars before heading off to the local recycling centre (affectionately referred to as “the dump”). Rock ‘n’ Roll, eh!

Having taken some control over the clutter we now need to turn our attention back to our health diet/exercise regime… our plans on that front have suffered somewhat in the first quarter of the year and we find we’re heading in an upward spiral rather than the downward trend we’ve established over the past 18 months. We’re still aiming to lose a few pounds and then stabilise at our respective target weights so we need to take care to not eat the things we know put weight on and get back into our daily walking routine (the evening walk after dinner seems the most beneficial one).

Another hectic, very interesting and fun week is in prospect – we’re off to Manchester, Liverpool, Widnes, Chipping Norton, Derby and Barnsley to do lots of filming for the DVD project. More website work may be coming soon – in the past few days we’ve been approached regarding two potential commissions, and we’ll be arranging meetings to discuss next steps.

Life is good, life is full and – unlike the cardboard boxes – certainly anything but flat!

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

30-Mar-2014 Thinking Outside The Box

Posted March 30th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

Little boxes, big boxes, cardboard boxes, really useful boxes – all kinds of boxes,

We’ve been having a bit of a spending frenzy of late, and the house is starting to look like a packing warehouse with numerous boxes stacked in various places.

So what’s been going on?

Well, it all started when we did some initial proof of concept work on a DVD project. That led us to upgrade some equipment – initially two new tripods for siting cameras. Then we opted to upgrade the actual cameras, so two more boxes arrived from Amazon (more packaging than content – but the fragile items were very well protected and have been thoroughly tested and are working to perfection).

Next there was a birthday bash where we’d been invited to perform and also requested to do the sound – we decided to concentrate on giving everyone else the best sound possible and organising/MC-ing the night to ensure everything went smoothly. So we upgraded some of our ancillary PA gear – we already have a magnificent Bose L1 Model 2 with mic-stand-mounted ToneMatch pre-amp/mixers for our own live concerts but wanted to be certain that Jimmy could easily manage and mix numerous performers on the fly and not have mic & instrument cables trailing across the floor. We bought a new SoundCraft EFX8 mixer and an 8-channel snake from Thomann specially for the job – this meant more boxes being delivered. As neither of these had a custom flight/road case we had to do some quick thinking to keep them safe, so we measured, re-measured, researched and did some online shopping and bought… wait for it… some boxes, really useful boxes, no, seriously… We love the boxes branded Really Useful, and have lots of them at home for computer spare parts, camera accessories, tools, various DIY bits, paperwork, Christmas decorations (we kid you not), guitar machine heads, knitting needles, pencils, satnav cables, mobile device chargers, master CDs, DVDs of photograph backups, mice (the computer variety), USB cables, all manner of things. So it was only natural that we bought Really Useful boxes – and guess how they arrived? Yup… in boxes, cardboard boxes.


As if regular additions to our heaps of boxes wasn’t enough, Jimmy prefers to keep all original boxes and packaging until the warranty period for the contents has expired – but hope is in sight for beleaguered Val… we’ve agreed on a cardboard box amnesty for early April. We’ll be heading off to the local recycling site with a car jam packed with flattened boxes (yes, we do always flatten them as requested before taking them) – boxes that used to hold computer monitors, guitar stands, video camcorders, flat screen TV, Bluetooth speaker, sub-woofer, stage lights, PC, printer, electric piano, stationery, CDs, CD jewel cases, mixer, snake, and Really Useful boxes.

That should make enough room for new boxes – we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Life is full, unlike the boxes!

Jimmy & Val (jiva)