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Speed Interview: Jon Jacob

Tue 14 Oct 2014

We’re pretty happy about the fact that writer and blogger Jon Jacob will be hosting The Night Shift in Brighton on Friday. So happy, in fact, that in an effort to get to know him better, we subjected him to the rigors of our speed interview.

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January 2012 Night Shift podcast

Thu 26 Jan 2012

Night Shift Pub Tour image

Here’s our latest freshly minted and lovingly crafted podcast, previewing our upcoming pub tour.

In it we get audience reaction from the last pub gig, talk to violinist Matt Truscott about how it is performing in a pub and what to expect from the tour, and lastly talk to The George Tavern landlady Pauline Forster about the pub and its amazing history.

The Night Shift January 2012 Podcast by The Night Shift

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Speed Interview: Jon Jacob

Wed 25 Jan 2012

The ‘pilot’ Pub Night Shift back in September was Jon’s first-ever live presenting job, having been used to doing stuff on camera before. He was apparently a *little* nervous before the gig. And again nervous afterwards that we wouldn’t ask him back. But as anyone who was there will know, he did an amazing job – so we of course DID ask him back to present the whole pub tour. Here’s a speed interview with him:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
When I received my cheque from the OAE for the first presenting gig I did for them. That’s when I knew I’d made it.

What do you fear the most?
Extreme heights, surgery whilst under a local anaesthetic and the moment when medical staff tell me, “There’s nothing we can do for you now.”

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My partner Simon’s, usually from the office phone so he doesn’t know who’s calling him. I love hearing the irritation in his voice when he momentarily thinks he’s speaking to an operator from a call-centre in India. That’s real love, that is.

What – or where – is perfection?
At the end of my nose where I used to be blighted by a massive (benign) mole. Two sessions of laser surgery and the mole was removed. I can now walk down the street and not cause small children to point and burst into tears.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Can I include TV? Peter Davison’s Doctor from Doctor Who. Charming, brave, insistent and painfully vulnerable. Qualities I like to think I possess myself. Oh … and I really wanted to go to school in his TARDIS (especially the second revamped TARDIS console room interior – very snazzy, I thought as a kid).

What’s your favourite ritual?
Friday evening trips home for a long night in with my partner and a bottle of red wine must be pre-ceded with a special pre-weekend trip to WHSmith to purchase various magazines. I’m a Private Eye, Gramaphone Magazine and History Today kinda guy.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
My former boss with over thirty year’s experience in journalism. An inspirer and supporter who didn’t feel the need to constantly remind us of what he’d done in the past (we all knew – we’d all Googled him before the interview). All of us need at least one person like that who has a significantly positive impact on our lives.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
I would love to play the violin. I’ve spent hours picturing myself playing the violin but only one learning how to do a fluid down-bow. I learnt the clarinet, piano and percussion as a teenager but always felt I’d have had more opportunities if I’d been a string player. I’d love to experience being a player in a large string section.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That I’m not the root cause of other people’s problems.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No.1. Quite the most breathtakingly orchestrated piece of extreme-romanticism.

What’s the best […]

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Announcing the Night Shift pub tour

Thu 8 Dec 2011

Night Shift Pub Tour image

Yes! After exhaustive research of London’s finest drinking establishments (and thank you for all your brilliant suggestions), we now have five fabulous venues lined up and are ready to announce our Night Shift pub tour. We’ve managed to touch all points of the compass, with the bonus of a dead-central venue too (It’s more of a bar than pub but we hope you’ll forgive us that).

The list of venues and dates is below and you’ll find all the events listed in our ‘Whats on’ section, but the format of each event is the same. We’ll have two live sets, at 8.30pm and 9.30pm, with DJ sets between and afterwards. Each event is introduced by Jon Jacob, and the musicians at each will be very familiar to you if you were at our event back in September; Maggie Faultless and Matthew Truscott on violins and Robin Michael on cello. For every event advance tickets are £6, or on the door they’re £10. If you’re a student they’re just £4 – but remember to bring ID!

All the venues are special in some way – we’ll be telling you more about each of them in the coming weeks, with a little feature on each. We have two programmes of music. Best of British features the music of Henry Purcell, whose stuff was such a hit last time around. The programme will include drinking songs, for which we’ll expect full audience participation (i.e. both drinking and singing). The second programme is Best of the rest – music of all the famous continentals that either made London their home or whose music was massively popular here. One of the composers featured is Martini, which is rather appropriate…

Here are the events and dates:

31 Jan: The George Tavern, Stepney. Best of British
1 Feb: Amersham Arms, New Cross. Best of the rest
7 Feb: The Paradise, Kensal Rise. Best of British
21 Feb: Green Carnation, Soho. Best of the rest
22 Feb: Old Queens Head, Angel. Best of British

And of course don’t forget that this all builds up to our massive event at the Roundhouse on 24 Feb! This is closely followed by our all-Bach Night Shift at our usual (but lovely) Southbank Centre home on 4 March, which, excitingly, is part of the London 2012 Festival.

Last word goes to all our amazing Night Shift pub tour crowdfunders whose generosity made the whole thing happen – thank you!

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On being a fledgling presenter

Mon 19 Sep 2011

Jon Jacobs at the mini pub Night Shift

OAE photographer Joe Plommer appears to be able to capture a moment with his camera and present it in entirely different way from the way my memory recalls it now (above). He’s made me appear relaxed. I was far from it. And there were moments when I looked at Maggie (right) and was certain she probably wondered what the hell I was saying.

That’ll be the internal dialogue. I bet you.

Maybe it was the drink. Between you and me, I’d had a glass of red wine before arriving at the Star of Kings pub to ‘compere’ the OAE’s inaugural Mini Night Shift concert. I had a strong black coffee while I waited for the rehearsal to finish, and then a beer before my first moment on stage delivering the very important message: “Ladies and Gentlemen, the gig will start in ten minutes time.”

The truth is that I’ve always rather fancied doing this line of work. As I’ve said before, Alistair Appleton makes it look really easy. Surely, if I try and cultivate a similar image that should do the trick, shouldn’t it?

That was my thinking selecting the checked shirt I received the day before on my birthday. But by the time approximately 200 people had packed into the pub and the band had marked out their territory on stage, I quickly began to realise this was going to be a good deal more difficult than standing in front of a camera and waxing lyrical about the best way to listen to Beethoven 9.

What represented the massive learning curve for me in what amounted to my first stint behind the microphone was to what extent the presenter is incidental to events on stage. And in an intimate space like the Star of Kings that was a point which became even more important, not least because Matthew Truscott, Maggie Faultless and Robin Michael are all such dab hands at introducing the music anyway. Matthew especially seems more than happy to whip up the crowd into a mild frenzy (the line about ‘wives always end up killing their husbands’ certainly resulted in a discernible collective intake of breath).

But while I look on another shot from last night and think that maybe Bachtrack’s review of me appearing a little uncomfortable may have been partially correct, I’m struck with the cheeky nerve I appear to have had tweeting while the players were doing their thing.

I suspect they must have been playing Handel. I still don’t get what everyone gets so excited about where Handel is concerned. That said, serve me up some Purcell – like the 10 Sonatas in 4 Parts (but only available on 3 – don’t ask me to explain the story behind it, I don’t recall) – and you’ve got me hooked. And, as memory serves me everyone else in the room got it too. The cheer at the end of both sonatas played was overwhelming. And when a whole room full of people express that kind of appreciation at the same time you know you’re right.

And that perhaps points to the underlying joy in the Mini Night Shift and the thrill I experienced. Everyone got to stand close to the players (some even had their pictures taken with them). But I got to stand even closer. And […]

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Corelli + Bach + Purcell + Pub = The ‘mini’ Night Shift

Thu 25 Aug 2011

There are two weeks to go until our first ever Night-Shift-in-a-pub on 8 September. Here’s a little video preview. If you watch it and are subsequently desperate to buy tickets you can do that here. By the way, does anyone know what the background music is? It’s insanely catchy…

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