Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Never work with children or ferrets

Have just got back from London where I recorded some tv stuff for a CBBC programme called Xchange. Was interviewed by a puppet ferret who described me as a nutcase. Managed to hold myself back from pointing out that sticking your hand up a pretend ferret's ass was no less a crazy way to spend your time. I only agreed to do it because my friend and long-time air guitar collaborator The Goat of Mendes was going on and it seemed like it might be a laugh. Which it was. It culminated in an air guitar-off between 3 lovely girls from Edinburgh, the presenters and The Goat.

Back to the books now. I have some serious writing up to do...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Rockin in the free world

I'm now back from my air guitar adventures in Finland. It was incredible. Met so many articulate, interesting air guitarists who have given me much to think about for the PhD. What really struck me was although all the competitors were united in their love of guitar music, they each had their own reasons for taking part, whether that was to promote peace or subverting stereotypes or just for the fun of it.

I arrived in Oulu on the Tuesday and quickly worked my way around this easy going city in the north of Finland, taking some establishing shots with the crew for our documentary. That night I finally got to meet Dan Crane (or Bjorn Turoque as he's known in air circles) and MiRi "Sonyk Rok" Park, last year's winner. Both are brilliant advocates for the art of air guitaring, and I had a wonderful time discussing all things air with them over subsequent days.

Wednesday saw me off to the air guitar training camp. Unsure of what to expect, I was delighted to be whisked off to the countryside to indulge in a day of lectures on the history of the competition and workshops on choreography. The camp was attended mainly by those who were competing, but a special mention must go to the Great Danes who came along just for the heck of it and who threw themselves into the fray. It was impossible not to notice that in the main, the campers were female and that this year's competition had unprecedented numbers of women taking part. The day ended with a sauna, sausages and some very welcome beers.

The 'dark horse' competition took place on Thursday evening, and I was looking forward to seeing some of my new friends compete, as well as observing the jury and their scores to see if they tallied with mine, in preparation for my role as a judge the next night. I have to say that in the main I agreed with their decisions but thought they were quite harsh towards Johnny Angel, a peace-loving purist air-player who I thought should have scored more highly. The night was rounded off with an Aireoke session, organised by Dan and it was great to see all competitors and organisers taking part, without the stresses of being scored. I even had a go myself, despite a whopping headache - I did '50 ft Queenie' by PJ Harvey.

Friday was chaotic - trying to fit in interviews with all those who we hadn't managed to catch so far. Then there were press conferences to go to and at 7.30 I left my film crew to make my way to meet the other jurors. We arrived at the venue - it looked like a massive air craft hanger and could hold about 2,500 people. Seeing that space for the first time was incredible - I had goosebumps and was really excited for all of those taking part. What an opportunity, to rock out on a huge stage in front of a cheering crowd. I wished I could hang out backstage with them to soak it all up, but was ushered to the rear to take my place on the balcony with the other jurors and a selection of VIPs. We were quite a way off from the stage and the atmosphere felt a bit sterile up there but once the contest began I soon started to enjoy myself.

It quickly became apparent that I was one of the more generous judges. Someone told me afterwards that was the mother in me - I'm not so sure about that, but I was the only female judge out of the five of us. Despite our differences though, I definitely think that we came up with the right result, with the top three - The Destroyer, Gizzy Guitar and Pelvis Fenderbender - all being amazing air guitarists in their own unique way.

The aftershow party was riotous and a fitting way to end our trip. Very rock n roll.

This year's winner - The Destroyer

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It's the final countdown!

We've booked our flights to Finland! We're leaving on Monday. Am just tinkering with my lecture which will interrogate whether competitve air guitaring is sport, spectacle, art or a combination of all three or even none of the above. Hmmm.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Even Crazier!

I have just had the weirdest, busiest few days in recent memory. It all started when I sent out an innocent press release regarding my PhD and trip to Finland, in order to try and drum up some investment for the film that Superchat and I are hoping to make when we're out there. Since then, I've been interviewed so much I think my head is gonna drop off. Amongst others, I've spoken to The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mirror, BBC World Service, BBC Radio Wales, Newstalk 106 fm in Ireland, 3 radio stations in Australia and one in the U.S. I also appeared on the GM T.V sofa on Wednesday morning. Surreal is an over used word but I think I'm justified here...

Air Guitar Film Needs Backers!

Amanda Griffiths is researching a PhD at the University of Salford in Air Guitar, and has been invited by the organisers of the World Championships held in Oulu, Finland to give a lecture on the finer points at an air guitar training camp on 24th August 2005.

Whilst there, and with filmmaker colleague Scott Abraham in tow, Amanda hopes to make the definitive air rock documentary. She says, “It’s an honour to be asked to lecture at what is the biggest event in any air guitarist’s calendar. People travel from all over the world to compete and I can’t wait to meet them and find out what it is that drives them to play!”

Amanda got the air guitaring bug after entering a competition in 2002 under the pseudonym Kiki Troupe and, to her amazement, winning. Following that, she was invited to talk on Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour and met fellow interviewee Professor Sheila Whiteley from Salford University who encouraged her to do a PhD on the subject.

The film will follow Amanda’s journey as she endeavours to delve into the psyche of the air guitar competitors. It is largely being funded by Scott and Amanda, but won’t happen unless they raise another £2,000 worth of investment before the trip. Professor Whiteley says, “This event is enormously important in terms of Amanda’s research and it would be a terrible disappointment if this film didn’t get made for lack of £2,000”.

Therefore, Scott and Amanda are seeking investment or sponsorship from anyone who would like to support this exciting venture. “Any level of investment would be most welcome at this stage. I’m very excited about this project and would love to see the film feature at several festivals worldwide,” says Scott, an experienced filmmaker who has worked on Coronation St, Phoenix Nights, Cold Feet, Clocking off, The Second Coming, Cutting It and has made pop promo videos for Alfie and Badly Drawn Boy.

If you feel you can help in someway, or would like more information, then please get in touch.

To hear Amanda and Professor Whiteley talking about air guitar on Radio Four's Woman's Hour then click here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Still Crazy

A friend pointed me to an article in this month's Good Housekeeping and an interview contained therein with Mr Bill Nighy star of stage and screen and Still Crazy. When asked what is his party piece he modestly replies,"I quietly think that I play air guitar better than anyone else in the world." I wonder if he's ever seen Satan Whoppercock, who was UK Champion for like a zillion years?

Monday, May 16, 2005


I've just been asked to deliver a 'lecture' at the Air Guitar Training camp in Finland:
The party starts already on Wednesday 24 August at the High Altitude Camp, which takes place on an island situated near the Oulu City Centre. The camp leads its participants to the basics of Air Guitar, for example through choreography studies and private lessons from previous Champions. Also music videos will be made for each of the Air Guitarists for promotional use. The camp ends on Thursday 25 August. The participation fee for the camp is 75 euros, including lectures and exercises, accommodation, sauna and meals as well as a final exam."

isn't that fantastically exciting?!!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

we are the champions, my friends

I've been in touch with Marika, the lovely organiser of the World Chamionships in Oulu, Finland and am most determined to get out there this August to see what, if any, are the differences between competing in the UK and on the world stage (though from an observational point of view - I don't think I've got the guts or the stamina to get up there myself). The variety of countries involved is surprising: the United Arab Emirates and Canada have signed up this year.

Having decided to make the trip, all I need to do now if find the dosh to pay for it as those Scandinavian countries are notoriously tough going on the purse.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

action shot

here's me practising what I preach

air buddies

Have made contact with Dan in New York who is writing a book on air guitar. Am thrilled that I'm not alone in my obsession and that there's someone else out there who thinks it's worthy of examination. I'm guessing his will be a totally different perspective to mine - I'm in the UK, he's in the US; I'm female, he's not! etc etc...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

all new to me

Have decided to set up this blog, in the hope that it will spur me on to write about my phd as and when ideas come to me.

Did I mention I'm doing research into air guitar?