Derby Festé 2013

28/09/2013 19:06

Whoop! I do love Festé, when it rolls around, it’s always the sign that autumn is here, next up is Halloween!

This year, I didn’t get to see as much of the festé frolics as normal as I’ve been snowed-under with video editing work (the results of which will appear on here shortly).

28/09/2013 19:07

I got into town just in time to see FlameOz at Cathedral Green and they were very impressive. All manner of fiery, very dangerous-looking dancing and twirling and whirling.

28/09/2013 19:15

Thankfully, no-one ended up as a flaming kebab.

28/09/2013 19:23

Then was DJ Yoda. I was a bit wary about this because I thought it sounded a bit passive. After all, essentially we’re just watching a massive screen while a bloke twiddles some decks off to the side, Wizard of Oz-stylee. But I was wrong, Yoda created a performance of live video/audio scratching that got the hundreds of people there singing and dancing and whooping. The best bit for audience involvement was when he played the chiptune version of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ and the crowd filled in the singing.

Nat And Alex

Alex and Nat turned up and had a boogie along with me.

28/09/2013 18:53

Then we headed to the Market Place where I got some of the tasty grub above and we caught a tiny bit of the Indian drummers:

28/09/2013 21:04

After that, we were a bit too cold and went for a coffee before heading off home. Wish I’d got to see more but it was still a great night and another reason to love Derby. 😀

London With Nat

This weekend, I was lucky enough to guest DJ at HDIF. I went down with my bff Nat and we had a great weekend. First off, we went to see this bugger:


Yes! The Shard! But before ascending, we took a stroll through Borough Market where we consumed fine chocolates and enormous bratwurst hotdogs.


Burping, we finally got to the top of the Shard and I was wowed by the views.

#theview from the #shard #london #england #skyscraper

#theview from the #shard #london #england #skyscraper

#theview from the #shard #london #england #skyscraper

#theview from the #shard #london #england #skyscraper

I’m not great with heights so when I was looking down, I was freaking a bit and holding on to the handrails. Nat, of course, was fine and just giggling at me. But it is very, very high.

Post-Shard, we did Harrods, marvelling at very expensive strawberries before visiting this principality:

Atten-SHUN! #petkingdom #harrods

Then, after a slap-up dinner at the hotel (you get the idea that we were basically eating continuously, yes?), it was off to How Does It Feel To Be Loved? After a quiet start, we soon got it rocking.

22/09/2013 00:52

After my set was done and we’d danced a bit, we walked back to the hotel along Oxford Street which is quite bustling at 2am on a Saturday night.

Work it, gurrl!

There were some rather… interesting characters along the way. 🙂

The next day, we hit Oxford Street in earnest and shopped and shopped and shopped. It was aces!

Back home last night after a great weekend full of music and food and great peeps and food and more food, I felt a touch emo. And hungry.


HDIF DJing Playlist 21/9/13

22/09/2013 00:52


On Saturday, I DJed How Does It Feel? again and had a silly fun time. It was a bit empty at the start but I got the floor full by the time I handed over to HDIF supremo Ian which is always VICTORY for a DJ.

I managed to fit in a good few tunes fresh from 2013 as well as indiepop classics. After my set, Nat and I bopped around to Ian’s tunes next to some wildly inebriated patrons. Ahhh, lovely night!

Here’s what I played:

Dick Diver – Alice
Au Revoir Simone – Hurricanes
The Siddeleys – Sunshine Thuggery
Deerhoof – Fete D’Adieu
The Slits – I Heard It Through The Grapevi
Allo Darlin’ – Kiss Your Lips
Marching Band – For Your Love
The Bird and the Bee – Again & Again
Crystal Stilts – Future Folklore
Magnetic Fields – Epitaph for My Heart
The Sea Urchins – Pristine Christine
Go-Betweens – Streets of your town
Death Cab for Cutie – The Sound of Settling
Martha – Sycamore
Rogue Wave – College
Echo And The Bunnymen – Rescue
The Fall – Mr. Pharmacist
Ducktails – Ivy Covered House
mylittlepony – Hard To Be Good
Jens Lekman – I Saw Her In The Anti War Demonstration
Best Coast – Crazy For You
Black Flag – Wasted
The Field Mice – If You Need Someone
Felt – Bitter End
Deerhunter – Leather Jacket I
My Bloody Valentine – Sueisfine
Belle and Sebastian – Funny Little Frog
The Darling Buds – Shame on You
The Buzzcocks – Orgasm Addict
The Hidden Cameras – I Believe In The Good Of Life
Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!
Orange Juice – Rip It Up

Infected By London Grammar / High Contrast

I was never a raver in the proper late ’80s / ’90s sense. That scene was so bound-up with drug culture and since I’m straight edge, a lot of it left me cold. But I have been clubbing since 1982 and in those three+ decades, there have been moments of sublime, hyperreal dance floor epiphany.

Sometimes, on a certain night at a certain time, the DJ puts a certain song on and everything comes together. The strangers on the floor aren’t strangers any more, we all look at each other and we know that we are all in this moment together. A shiver passes through us. We may be old/young, male/female, gay/straight, black/white but in that few minutes, there is not an erasure of those identities but a transcendence of them.

This Monday night, just three nights ago, that happened with the High Contrast remix of London Grammar’s ‘Strong.’

I’d heard the original version of the song a few times and liked it but it hadn’t stuck. Kind of reminded me of Florence or the XX. It was ok but there wasn’t a way in for me beyond that. It didn’t connect with me.

But this Monday, DJ Tom Hughes dropped the remix of ‘Strong’ at exactly the perfect time. DJing is primarily about two things: knowing your music and knowing how to read a crowd. It’s no good knowing how to read a crowd if you only have three tunes to play them. That’s going to be a short set/career. Similarly, there are plenty of DJs who are amazing in their bedrooms but given a break in an actual club, they stiff the floor because they have no understanding of the dialectic between DJ and audience. It is always a negotiation. The greatest DJs know how to give us enough of what we know and are comfortable with to keep us on the floor and then slide in the new stuff, the difficult stuff that they know we might initially baulk at but will love a month for now. That’s how Tom DJs.

When the first beats of ‘Strong’ came on and then Hannah Reid’s plaintive, complaintive, rich, dark sigh came in, everything came together. High Contrast’s new framework brings out aspects of the song that had been previously shaded. As the beat built and then kicked in, I looked around the dancefloor and everyone was doing the same face. Fashion, pulling, cliques, cool dance moves were all rendered irrelevant before the beat and the bass and Reid’s soaring, cartwheeling vocals. We just smiled at each other and danced, happy to be alive and there and in that perfect moment.

The sugary frosting on the cupcake is the countermelodies that High Contrast has added to ‘Strong.’ Much like Skrillex’ additions to Benni Benassi’s ‘Cinema,’ these unlock the song for us, they let us in. Now, if I listen to the original, I can’t help but hear the remix melodies.

As I’ve written this, I’ve had the remix on loop. Occasionally, I’ll listen to the original and I do love that too ~ now. I have been infected by ‘Strong’ because of a perfect storm of factors: the original song received a thoughtful, musical remix from High Contrast and then a great DJ knew just when to drop it in his set.

How could I resist that? Who would be immune to such a convergence of talented, brilliant vectors.

London Grammar, High Contrast, DJ Tom Hughes ~ I salute you!

Nyad / Naiad Triumphant!

On her fifth attempt spanning 35 years and involving many agonising interactions with jellyfish, the long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad finally achieved her lifetime ambition to enter the record books as the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

via Diana Nyad becomes first to swim from Cuba to Florida without shark cage | World news | The Guardian.

Anyone else not surprised that a naiad finally made it? 😛


Thank you, Twitter:

Hands Off Syria Protest

#syria #antiwar #stopthewar

Yesterday, I travelled down to London to take part in the Hands Off Syria protest.

We assembled at 12 at Temple Place and then set off around 1, marching past Parliament and eventually ending up at Trafalgar Square.

There were thousands of us marching but the reason it wasn’t hundreds of thousands was simple: we stopped the war.

More specifically, we stopped the UK allying with the US in an invasion of Syria. Cameron lost the vote in Parliament and the major reason he did so was because of the UK antiwar movement.

As Jeremy Corbyn said in his speech at Trafalgar Square, when people ask what the Stop The War Coalition and antiway movement has done, what war has it stopped, we can point at the lives we’ve saved in Syria.

When we marched ten years ago, Blair ignored us and invaded Iraq. The ensuing carnage lead to the death of 1.2 million Iraqis.

In the intervening decade, we have marched and shouted and emailed our MPs and whipped up trouble ~ we have promoted and fostered the career politician’s greatest fear: democracy. The MPs who voted against the invasion know very well that the British public incorporates a strong and determined antiwar movement.

At the rally, many speakers spoke out against the atrocities in Syria, the deaths of civilians as the result of both normal and chemical weapons. What Syria needs is international humanitarian aid on a huge scale. Not more bombs, more deaths. Look at what we’ve created in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bloody toll. No sane person would wish that on Syria. Remember this quote from Roland Huguenin, one of six International Red Cross workers in the Iraqi capital:

“There has been an incredible number of casualties with very, very serious wounds in the region of Hilla. We saw that a truck was delivering dozens of totally dismembered dead bodies of women and children. It was an awful sight. It was really very difficult to believe this was happening.”

That is what the West achieves when it seeks to “liberate” a country from a dictator.

The no vote split the UK from the US. Now, only the US and France are seeking war on Syria. And, since the UK’s vote, Obama has had to back-pedal on his sabre-rattling. Yesterday, he said he’ll be seeking congressional approval before any move to war.

So, the immediate crisis, Western mass-slaughter of Syrian civilians through a joint US/UK attack is derailed (for now). However, the crisis in Syria of Syrians killing Syrians still exists. The numbers of refugees, the dead and the dying must not be forgotten. We have to lobby our government to provide any humanitarian aid it can at the same time as examining its own links in terms of supplying the Syrian government with weapons. Weapons it is quite happy to use against its own population.