Ditto’s Monthly Campfire In Canonbury – An Evening With Thomas Dolby

In advance of his gig at Kings Place this evening, Thomas Dolby warmed up last night with a visit to creative agency Ditto’s Lighthouse HQ in Canonbury as the guest for their monthly Campfire event. Ditto uses these evenings to invite in the creative geniuses that they most admire to chat to groups of staff and friends – both Mark Ball (Creative Director of the LIFT Festival) and Chris Cowey (TV music supremo) have featured recently. These events are open to anyone to attend (and yes, there’s even free beer!).

Thomas started us off with a preview of a new short film/tone poem that’s currently in development called ‘ The Invisible Lighthouse ‘. Set in the area surrounding his home out on the Suffolk Coast and edited in his home studio cum lifeboat, the Nutmeg Of Consolation (!), we were taken on a visual journey that circled around the lifelong object of his affection. Not an expensive car, not a palatial mansion, but the soon-to-be-decommissioned Orfordness Lighthouse, which sits halfway along a shingle spit that juts out into the English Channel, and whose powerful light played across his bedroom walls when he was a child. What was most captivating about this unique work was the fact that, while some of the dialogue and music was recorded, Thomas performed most of the soundtrack live – a 21st century analogue to the days of the old silent movie. I wish I could say more about this jewel of visual and audio magic, but given that it’s a work in progress I probably shouldn’t – keep an eye on Thomas’s website for news about the project…

After an in-depth Q&A about his past and current projects we also got to hear two songs from Thomas’s self-released album, 2011’s ‘A Map Of The Floating City‘, including the catchy dance track Spice Train, which features samples of both a mariachi band and an Indian Bollywood singer!

Now I should state for the record that I’ve been a great fan of Thomas Dolby since my mid-teens – I’ve drawn great emotional support from his music over the years. Listening intently throughout last night, one thing that he said really struck a chord with me which was ‘ It’s difficult to explain, but there’s something about beginning a new song that’s like saving your own life ‘. I wonder if he appreciates that lonely teenagers sitting in their bedrooms can sometimes experience the same beneficial effects from just listening to his music…

thomas dolby ditto campfire london

Check out Thomas’s official site for the latest news, and also take a look at Ditto’s special Campfire page – you never know, one of your all-time heroes might be appearing soon.