I was a semi-vegetable by the time I got home (what sort of semi-vegetable? A carrot-esque, if you must know). If you were there, you probably saw that it was quite a physical show. That was on top of loading in, setting up, rehearsing the day before etc. etc. We all, I think, put everything into the performance on stage. Certainly, Gannon was a sweaty, broken, mess by the end too. I've never seen him look so wrecked.
Then there was the chaotic load-out - which tons of you helped with, so thank you - but because we'd overrun so much, there was sort of no downtime. We'd planned to have half hour backstage just to decompress a bit before heading out to meet you all, but we didn't get that. There was also something of a dressing room invasion, which I regret, as we'd have benefited from some headspace.
Basically, if you thought the show was chaos - what happened afterwards was twice that.
I tried to grab five minutes in the carpark once the stage was cleared, but I was gasping for a drink. I'd lost sight of Larry, Sarah, and Paul I only managed to speak to Paul, briefly, through the bar window. I headed inside, with the aim of having a beer, and never made it. I wanted to see them and tell them how brilliant they'd been, but never managed to. I only saw Larry right at the end of the night,
I dunno how long I was chatting in the corridor, and doing the selfies thing, but long enough that the bar closed. And then they started turning off the lights. And there was more chatting outside.
So, it ended up being hugely mentally and emotionally draining, as well as physically. But at least I was sober, and could drive home.
It was properly lovely meeting so many of you, but I was seriously running on empty by the time that happened. I apologise for my thousand yard stare, my rambling, and how briefly I got to chat with everyone.
I think we're all quite aware that there was perhaps a boundary issue from one or two people, and an attempt to monopolise, so I'm also sorry if that happened while you were waiting for me. If I hadn't been so exhausted and drained I might've done a better job at policing it.
I loved meeting people. I loved hearing that people enjoyed the show, and I loved finding out how far people had travelled. But man... it was seriously draining. And it was partly so draining due to the aforementioned boundary-pushing.
Obviously, I missed out on Chunky Fringe, and all your socialising earlier in the day, but I hear that it was all a big part of what made the day special. Told you that the Digi community is lovely, and you had nothing to worry about!
I admit, on Sunday morning, I was a big bag of emotions. I couldn't see much past the meet-and-greet stuff, and couldn't get a perspective on the show itself. It was similar to how I felt after doing the Video Game Game Show Show last month. Slightly fighting that feeling that I'd somehow ballsed it all up, that I was chaotic and shouty without being funny, and that was mixed in with the tiredness.
However... once the fog started to lift, once I could see your tweets, your videos, your photos, and read how much you all seemed to have loved Saturday night, I soon started to piece together my own experience of it. We had a weird perspective on the show - you lot got to watch it, but we only saw it from being on the stage, or from the side of the stage while getting ready for the next bit.
With hindsight, having decompressed and debriefed, I don't think I've ever been so proud of something I've done.
Driving into the venue carpark on Saturday was surreal. Just seeing so many of you sat in the carpark, drinking and chatting. I felt like the Queen as I waved at you. It was also a relief; I always have the fear that nobody is going to turn up.
Remembering back to when I've put on live events in the past - first Digifest and then the Found Footage premiere - I was nervous and stressed beforehand, flooded with adrenaline, which I had sort of needed.
Before Saturday night there was no stress, no nerves, and - most worryingly - no adrenaline. I've no idea why, but it was unfortunate, because when I drove onto the stage, I didn't have that fire under me that I really could've needed. The intro was the only bit of the show that I felt didn't really work - the only part which had moments I'd wanted to happen, which didn't happen. And that was partly down to not really feeling present. I failed to take command, I guess. I was sauntering through, when I should've been running.
My adrenaline slowly started to creep up on me as the show began to overrun. I say this as a good thing. We lost all track of the time - being on stage felt like it had lasted about 10 minutes, so it was a shock to realise we did nearly three hours in the end. No wonder we were knackered.
There was a bit of a discussion during the intermission about whether we should drop something. I suggested cutting the Even More Beautiful Boy, but my wife insisted that'd be cut over her dead body (not least because Retro Princess had made the head for us, and was in the audiencece). In the end, nothing was removed, and we still - thanks to all the help - managed to get out more or less on time.
Since I've been able to process, there are loads of highlights for me. Being able to watch the Antique's Roadshow bit from the audience, and seeing Larry and Octav1us commanding the stage, took huge pressure off. Despite losing my clipboard containing my "funny comments", Mockety Moc went okay ("Liver!"), and Sniff Mario's Pipes was every bit as chaotic as we'd hoped for.
The guests were, as always, fully engaged with the nonsense, Although I'm gutted I didn't get to speak to Ashens and Mr Hairs beforehand, and that Mr Hairs had to leave at halftime. By all accounts, their appearance at Chunky Fringe was a triumph.
We approached the show in a way that sort of had failure built in. We had structure, but it was deliberately ill-planned. That, we've realised, is what Digitiser is.
Digi functions best when it goes wrong, so there was space built in for that to happen. Gannon described it to me best in words along these lines: "So long as we set up the expectation of what it's meant to be... then it's funnier when it goes wrong."
You all seem to get this now, which is lovely. The chaos is where we thrive. Pack the show with poorly-thought-through, over-complicated, under-rehearsed, segment ideas... and then see what happens. Given this approach, I've no idea why my adrenaline was absent on the day.
It was the second half I was really looking forward to, though. I knew I'd have found my legs by then, and it was designed in a way that we'd escalate the Digi-ness of it all. The Braben song appears to be the ear worm to end all ear worms. That was always going to open the second half. The song and the Bronk introduction videos were the first two ideas for the show, and have been in there since I first began the planning.
Hearing you all carrying on the David Braben singalong during a brief pause, was - for all its puerile humour - one of the best moments of my life. There had been concerns that nobody would join in, that people would freak out at being asked to sing... So to then have you all start your own impromptu singalong was completely unexpected. Amazing.
Everything else in the second half was added relatively late, or changed massively. Sonic For Real went through a bunch of different iterations. The vore game only came together last week (thank my wife for the balloons idea). Likewise the fan fiction section. Originally, I wanted the final round to have Sooz and Slope firing the stuffed hedgehog at Larry, but there was a genuine risk of it injuring him.
Turns out that hedgehogs are spiky!
Room 404 was Paul's section, and free for him to do what he wanted with it, much as Antique's Roadshow and Tell had been Larry's. Seemed only right to pair him with "Chris" O'Neil again. That was obviously followed by Octav1us's lovely and oddly touching Digitiser song - which none of us had heard beforehand. And then it was into probably my favourite five minutes - the Even More Beautiful Boy and The Man's Daddy.
The video which accompanied the EMBB was only put together on Saturday morning, along with the idea to have him emerge into the audience. It was the most Found Footage-y part of the show, and therefore the most purely me. I could see nothing in the mask, apart from the terrified face of one particular audience member. I'm assured that it had the desired effect.
That went straight into The Man's Daddy.
He was always going to be in the show, but it took me ages to figure out how to make it work. I wanted him to be there in person, but the truth is... the mask is a health hazard. You can't breathe in it, you can't see in it... and he doesn't speak English, so he'd have had to be subtitled - which meant that you either looked at him or looked at the screen, rather than focus on one thing or the other. It just wasn't going to work live.
Then I had the brainwave to get the audience to BE The Man's Daddy. I was nervous though. I didn't know if anybody would read along, but I took a degree of inspiration from Blue Man Group; the intro to their shows gets the audience to read something out, so I was hopeful.
That said, I changed all of the jokes on Saturday morning. The dodo one always goes down well...
Then it was into the finale - the Clive Sinclair game.
Plan A had been to do Destruction Derby For Real live on stage, but there were again a few concerns about health and safety (See? We do consider these things).
Then I spent two months trying to write a Clive Sinclair play - I might share the script of it at some point - but I just couldn't make it work in a way that felt like a suitable finale.
Then I just combined the two ideas, following a family picnic where I saw some kids riding around on those swegway go-kart things. I didn't feel comfortable putting Paul, Larry and Octav1us through more torture, which is where the idea for them to get their "revenge" came from.
I mean, it's a bit weird when you consider that I knew what was going to happen, because I came up with the ideas... but I had to conceive of them as if I was going to put Paul through it all. To be honest, I was hoping the audience response would be such that I'd legitimately still be able to make Paul do it if I wanted... but no. You bastards.
Still, we all got to see Larry half-naked again, which always goes down well. I had no idea he was going to step onto the stage like that. The man has no shame.
Lastly, we went into the Molyneux song - one of Chris Jerden-Cooke's finest pieces. We had to have a big, rousing, end to the show. I had the climax of Live Aid in my head - so asking Chris and Gaming Muso to be part of it, and asking Sooz to sing it for us... and getting people out on stage... I mean, it was a shambles, but it was a sort of euphoric, very Digi, shambles.
I keep thanking people, and I wasn't going to do that again here, but my gratitude is out of control.
Everyone involved with the show you saw on Saturday - Steve Horsley, MrPSB, Kirsty, Bex, Gaia, Izzie - plus Nick who provided the backstage food, David and Chris who put on Chunky Fringe, Chris and Muso for the music, Steve who took pics... all the guests - Tim, Stuart, Steve, Kim, Dan, Peter, Eli, and especially Sooz Kempner - did the show for nothing. It was only possible to do it like we did it because everyone worked for free.
However, a few people went above and beyond. Quang, as he was on Digitiser The Show, absolutely saved the day on numerous occasions. The man is an absolute legend. Then of course there's Paul, Larry and Sarah. They all love being a part of Digitiser (I hope). We're a gang. We fit together so well, somehow, despite all being very different people, yet we've got a sort of weird, compatible, shambolic energy that just works.
And then there's my wife, Sanya. She works so hard on helping me put together the things we do. She doesn't accept it, but everything from Digitiser2000, Digifest, Found Footage, Trojan Arse, the FF premiere, Digitiser The Show, the Minis, and now Digi Live were possible because of her. She basically does all the stressful stuff, which includes having to live in a house full of weird props.
Plus, not only does she encourage me to embrace being me, but on an organisational level she makes it all happen. Couple to that the creative input she's had, particular on the live show - she had tons of creative solutions this time around - and she's the real unsung hero of everything Digitiser.
Digitiser Live existed in my head for so long - over a year now - that it has been this sort of abstract thing. Being in it was a sort of out-of-body experience. I had no real sense of it from the stage.
Watching your videos, and seeing the pictures, makes it real. Some of you travelled so far to be there, overcame anxiety, and so fully engaged... And because of that we actually did it! Together we all made a thing that looked like a sort of show, it lived up to the hype, and it will never, ever, exist in that form again.
It was a genuine one-off; a moment that we all experienced together, in our own, unique way - us on stage, everyone backstage, and all of you in the audience.
We made magic. Be proud.
I know I am.
Thanks to Gaming Muso for the photos.