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Blog: Dinosaur Planet: The Dialogue Day

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I was a bit NERVOUS on Saturday morning, for it was the day of The Dinosaur Planet Dialogue Recording Session. This had been arranged for quite a while as an opportunity to get most of those ACTING on the Concept Album together in one place to record their dialogue and singing, and I was a bit worried about it. Would people turn up? Would we get it all done? Would it be any good?

SPOILERS: I need not have worried. It was an AMAAAZING day.

The first AMAZING thing was the studio itself. AGES ago Mr Keith TOTP had offered the use of his studio and I'd GLEEFULLY accepted. However, I expected it to be The Usual Sort Of Thing - a bit damp and ramshackle, in somebody's basement, with a rough collection of mismatched and sticky taped together equipment.

It WAS in a basement, but other than that... well, go and have a look at their website! It was INCREDIBLE, like something off the TELLY! PLUSH? "Plush" is a word I would use to denigrste it entirely, it was GORGEOUS. Huge rooms, fantastic GEAR (A Harpsichord! A Hammond! A LESLIE SPEAKER!), HUGE decks of modern equipment, a large PROPER KITCHEN and a whole shop's worth of MASSIVE SOFAS for people to recline upon. It was, to be honest, a bit OVERWHELMING.

Everything was so well organised that I found out I'd actually left TOO LONG to get sorted out, and I ended up chatting to Keith and Rory The Engineer while we waited for people to turn up at their Alloted Times.

Soon people started filtering in - Mr Tim Eveleigh (T-REX) and Ms Jenny Lockyer (WPC JENNY) got there first, but we needed other people around to make their bits work, so when The Internationally Renowned Singer Songwriter Mr Chris T-T arrived shortly afterwards he was frogmarched into the recording room to begin RECORDING.

Chris is playing the part of GRANDAD and, when he asked for DIRECTION I said "Like a narrowly rejected Doctor Who, between Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker". That's EXACTLY what he did - so much so that NUMEROUS people later said "It's like Doctor Who!" despite the fact he sounded nothing like any ACTUAL actor who played him. He had TWO songs to sing and did so BRILLIANTLY - it's always weird hearing someone else sing your songs (and, in my case, RARE) and it's difficult NOT to leap forward shouting "NO! That's not how I sing it at ALL!" when what they're doing is BETTER. I felt immensely proud and MOVED to hear the way he, basically, IMPROVED it all, especially when he provided HARMONIES on "Literature Search." It was FAB.

Nearly everyone else had arrived around now - Mr Johnny Yeah (THE NARRATOR), Mr S Hewitt (PC DARREN), Mrs M Hewitt (DINOSAUR), Mr J Kell (DINOSAUR), Mr C Flowers (DINOSAUR) and The Preserved Bones Of My Dinosaur Skeleten (REPORTER) - with only Mrs Claire Gibb (THE GENERAL) missing. It turned out she'd got her days mixed up and, once informed, handed over her INFANT CHILD to Mr Stuart Gibb and RAN to the studio. In the meantime, however, I got Steve and Jenny in to do the first scene, and SINGING, and then Johnny and Steve sorted out The Main Title Theme.

Tim was dragged in next to do some HORN SWAGGLING with his vocals - which was a LOT of fun and involved MUCH gesticulation. I did a bit of CONDUCTING for this, and then ended up doing it A LOT MORE when we got The Dinosaur Chorus in. Apparently I hadn't actually TOLD them that they were going to be SINGING, which meant that we had to do quite a bit of PRACTICING. This, for me, was HUGE fun, and by the time we'd got a final take everyone was LEAPING AROUND the room, DANCING and generally acting like PIRATICAL DINOSAURS. This also saw one of my favourite parts of the day - watching Mr C Flowers POGOING around - and the BEST line on the whole album, which I didn't even write. The line is "my apologies", which isn't particularly funny on its own, but where it's said and HOW it's said... it is HILARIOUS.

Keith and Rory had, perhaps foolishly, given me FULL REIN on the recording desk i.e. they told me which was the INTERCOM BUTTON so I was having HUGE fun sitting at The Desk pressing The Button after every take and say "Marvellous darling, but perhaps once more with a smidgen of regret?" and I gave it FULL REIN when Claire arrived and did HER singing. She'd been a bit nervous about it, not having sung much in this way before, but did it GRATE.

It was during this part of the day that I realised what a LOVELY group of people I'd got together - not only was everyone being HUGELY supportive of each other, giving encouragement and applause to each other, but they were also just sitting around CHATTING. There was obviously a LOT of waiting around, and everyone time i STOMPED into The Waiting Room to collect someone I'd find this hugely varied and LOVELY bunch of people from different sections of My Life In ROCK sat around LARFING together. It was lovely.

Also ODD: One time I came back and someone said "Gaz Top was just in!" "Of course he was", I said. "You lot and your Studio Japes!" Ten minutes later I came back and nearly walked straight into Gaz Top! FROM THE TELLY! "He seemed quite keen to be part of it" everyone kept saying. I wish I'd asked him now!

With the singing sorted out The Liquid In My Beer and I headed to the Supermarket to buy a PILE OF BOOZE and then we launched into recording the dialoge. MAN ALIVE but this was FUN - we were now ROCKING and did nearly everything in a couple of takes, usually with a run through to get us going, but not always. Special mention MUST be made here of the input of Mr Johnny Yeah who, as The Narrator, was in pretty much every scene. He sounds FANTASTIC, making EVERYTHING sound PROPER. I did feel a bit bad because he was the main person I kept asking for re-takes, but this was because he was doing SO MUCH and every time he DID something it got better and better. When the record is finally finished I expect him to become the voice of EVERYTHING.

The day's work finished with recording "For The Fate Of The Earth", the BIG FINISH. It took a little while to get right, but when it WAS made right... COR! It sounded AMAAAAAAZING! I know I keep saying "AMAZING" but that's because it WAS. I've read, re-read and acted out that song MANY MANY MANY times but even _I_ felt my pulse RACE with the excitement of it all. And "oh how's she's riding" has, I feel, NEVER sounded so RACY.

With the job done we said our farewells to those who had to leave (including Mr Chris T-T who, unbenownst to me, had suffered Rail Replacement Buses to be there), had a group photograph taken outside, and then headed to the pub, their to HALLOO our achievement and have a couple of VERY well deserved BEERS.

It was, as I hope I have explained, an AMAAAAAAZING day. I couldn't believe how well it's gone, how much fun it had been, how ACE everyone involved was, and how INCREDIBLE it's going to sound. Even without Gaz Top!

posted 12/4/2010 by MJ Hibbett

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