Ed Warren is the 2016 TPI Lighting Designer Of The Year, and has spent the last decade touring the world lighting acts including Mumford & Sons, The Strokes, MGMT, The Maccabees, Neneh Cherry, Shakira, The XX and Solange. He’s recently retired from touring (but not designing) and has opened a coffee shop in Margate in Kent.
Ed is special, but we had another special guest on our day out to Margate this week: Sadie’s pet doggy Cooper. Because I wanted to make Cooper feel at home, I turned the boot of my Vauxhall Vectra estate into a doggy paradise, complete with toy, bone, drinking bowl, and pictures of attractive dogs for him to look at – one girl and one boy, just in case he’s gay. I then collected my passengers and headed down to the coast.
We were a bit early so on the way down we popped over to The Isle of Sheppey where I grew up so Sadie could see Southend from the other side of the water. Coop was so excited that he did a little sick in my car and we bought some baby wipes from Tesco and cleaned it up as best we could. We had a little walk by the sea, then got back in the car and went down to Margate.
Ed’s coffee shop, Cliffs, is a huge, beautifully designed, incredibly relaxing place. It’s full of people typing away on laptops, mothers chatting with children, and friends hanging out. We bought ourselves some hot beverages, headed upstairs to the expansive top floor and sat down to podcast.
I’ve known Ed for many years now, and I’ve always looked up to him as someone who loves to learn, and doesn’t mind admitting he doesn’t know what he’s doing at times. He got involved in lighting without any experience or knowledge, and picked up the trade by being honest and open with people about his ignorance. He’s done the same with his shop, approaching the challenge of opening a business by asking questions and being keen to learn. He’s a wonderfully open, optimistic and loving person, and I find him inspirational.
Our chat covered how Ed got into lighting, how he picked up the trade and how he moved from doing lights for his friends’ band, to making it his profession. He explained how he works with bands to design a lighting show, and what it’s like being on a tour bus for nine months a year.
We spoke about opening a coffee shop, his advice to people looking to start a business, and the second hand record trade.
Once we were finished, we said our goodbyes, took Cooper for a wee, and left sunny Margate.
I’ll see Ed again next week. He began his career selling t-shirts for Delays, and has organised a benefit gig for our first ever podcast guest, Greg Gilbert, who was diagnosed with cancer last year. It’s called Cavalry and is happening in Southampton on Friday 17th February. Acts include Mystery Jets, Band Of Skulls, Sam Duckworth and Delays. Tickets are £30. I’m going to pop down for the evening.
Thanks for listening.