26 December 2009

Wipe the spilt drinks off your face -

DJ Simon:

At the end of another long weekend of mixing it seemed like an appropriate time to pop on a reflective blog, the huge relief of a week off work with my sons around creating a gap in the endless roundabout of work, single parenthood, and spinning records until 1am, 5am, 5pm. Just over a year since I started playing the decks with TVC at the Smack, the small lure of an interesting extension of having a record collection has become a dichotomous obsession- liberating yet addictive, draining yet energizing, sociable yet involving long periods of withdrawal from the jabbering tongues of the outside world.

Mixing house music, as the poets would remind us is characteristic of all activities that put us in touch with what is essential about life, is paradoxical. Two turntables is not all that’s binary in its nature and the lifestyle that comes with it. Choose to do it or choose not to. Take the gig or don’t. Fuck a stranger or don’t fuck them. Bosh the bugle or don’t. Open your front door to everyone or no-one.

I first heard house music at a dreadful seaside club in Ramsgate called Nero’s in 1987. The old school Chicago house of Adonis and Bam Bam. Weirdly, it wasn’t being played in London then, and fuck knows who those DJs were and I don’t remember what Thanet made of it at the time. But there was a radio DJ on Invicta, playing at their old studios near East station called Pete Tong, who’d hooked me on Mantronix and electro from 1986 onwards, and I followed his taste wherever it went. A dance music John Peel at the time-maybe it was him playing at Nero’s as a precursor to his future career playing for those pissed up wankers’ offspring in San Antonio. Nero’s was a terrifying place and so I just used to look at the labels on the records and then buy the compilations, seeking out the better tracks on vinyl.

Well I drop some of them when I play Delicious in East Kent on a Saturday, and many of the punters at the Brewery Bar seem the same as those at Nero’s then…the DJ’s there to provide a soundtrack to drink to til 3am, maybe some of them get it, I suspect most don’t. What’s the it? Well when I fight my way back from the bar across the dancefloor, lagered up members of my old Sunday football team howling in my ear, boys spilling whiskey and coke on me as they try to stick their tongues down someone’s throat, I know very well what the “it” isn’t…there’s little to choose between these libertines and those who spilled their drinks on me while I studied for my A levels 22 years ago. Wipe the spilt drinks off your face, and you can see little pockets of the it, here and there…

The It is what I search for as I stumble, often exhausted from juggling being dad, salaried professional and amateur DJ, fuelled by my loyal friend Mandy, between my house, and wherever my record bag gets asked to go. And it’s there…you can feel it, just playing some old acid house to one refugee in your front room. It’s the absolute love of the music, of the sensation and community that only the shared experience of house music can bring. It’s palpable at the gig at the Labour Club for Louis’s birthday in March. Family in all its glorious chaos and common embrace. Couples who met at TVC parties and have had kids, who’ve grown up- Tyrone is 18! 20 years of people loving, falling out, dancing, laughing, weeping. Pretentious, yeah, but if James Joyce wrote a sound system, it’d be TVC. My neighbours Sarah and Ade met at a TVC party. Every street in Whitstable probably has children that exist because TVC did. My boys exist because of the Heavenly Social at Turnmills, but they’re in TVC now.

Once we’ve gone through our ritual of setting up by trial and error, having forgotten how we wired it all up the previous week, Oz starts off with me, doing our usual 2 or 3 each, then he sees my lads are a bit bored. So he leaves me to play, with them helping me, and my youngest gets really into it. It suits his sense of order and his natural love of rythmn- he starts getting very strict about getting the right record in the right cover, something a few DJs round this town could improve on, and then I set up a few mixes for him. Some nice little party tunes first, D Train and Italian house, I count down from 5 on my fingers and he puts the fader across. Then within a few tracks he’s dropping in some edgy tech house, mixed in by an 8 year old in the Labour Club in Whitstable at a 40th birthday party. There are kids in front of the decks munching Twiglets, kids behind the decks, mums and dads I’ve only seen before at the school gates, grooving away to some tunes that are probably about a week old. Oz n me still seek out and buy new vinyl, you see- not downloads, not mp3s, trying from our end to keep a little industry of aficionados alive.

From Valentines day on, I think 7 out of 8 weekends Oz and me played out- house parties, birthday gig in a country pub, the longest run I’ve done since I started but a typical segment of time in the life cycle of the sound system that’s been rolling on since the first house 12 inches hit these shoes. A constant backdrop to living, loving, generating and evolving, presided over by a benign dictator. My only night out other than that was a trip to London to drink with old MTV mates in our annual commemoration of a dead colleague. Matt’s brother, Matt who will host the TVC party in his woods in June. But you don’t escape TVC- some guy I worked with years ago, Steve Linton, says, “you live in Whitstable now? D’you know Justin and Emily Bagpuss? They sorted out some DJs for me for my 30th at the White Horse in Brixton”. No need to ask who those DJs were….

We were mixing at my house following my spot at Delicious, on and on, til Sunday afternoon, and nearly everyone who cranked out those hours of tunes had first tasted life behind the decks with TVC. Add to that young Caspar, making his debut at the Labour Club…generation of Love, as Jesus Loves You anticipated house music would become in 1990. That might well be the “It”….

25 December 2009

Everyone can dance; Dancing is good for your health; Dancing is good for your well-being; Dancing is fun

Why do people dance?

And what makes some more confident than others?
Dr Dance has the answers

The office party is in full swing, you've knocked back a few glasses of bubbly and edged on to the sticky dancefloor where Fred from accounts is looking strangely attractive as he struts out some wild moves. Nearby, Ian from IT is boogieing like nobody's watching. What makes them so confident while your feet are shyly shifting from side to side? According to Dr Peter Lovatt, principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, it's to do with age, gender and genetic makeup.

Lovatt – who is known around campus as Dr Dance – has just completed a major piece of research into dance, analysing 13,700 people's responses to an online video of him, a former professional dancer, strutting his stuff. Lovatt demonstrated various dance movements, then asked respondents to rate them. He also asked people to imagine they were dancing at a wedding or disco, and say how good they were compared with the average dancer.


Peter Lovatt, aka Dr Dance, struts his stuff to help you discover your dance style Link to this video

The research was part of his investigation into "dance confidence" (DC) – the factor that makes the difference between you sitting glued to the bar seat and actually going for a boogie – and how it changes with age and gender. "First things first if deep down you think you're a better dancer than most, you're not alone," Lovatt laughs. "The average DC level was significantly higher than expected, meaning most people thought they were better dancers than the average person of their own age and gender."

The findings also show a significant difference between how women and men develop DC. The highest level was recorded in girls under 16. "At this stage, dancing is for fun. They do it on their own, with friends or in formal dance classes, and do so to enjoy it," explains Lovatt. But once girls pass their 16th birthday, there is a big drop. "Teenagers are likely to start dancing publicly in front of members of the opposite sex, and as dance starts to play a part in the sexual selection process for the first time, that may contribute to a significant reduction in dance confidence."

From then until 35, however, women's DC levels increase steadily. "They are likely to be moving through the mate-selection and reproduction cycle, so they will be more confident in the behaviours which form part of this process, like recreational dancing," says Lovatt. But that pattern reverses after 55. "From then on, DC drops steadily and significantly. That's not surprising if perceptions of dance ability are related to fertility-based courtship displays, because this is a post-menopausal life stage."

It's a different story for boys, however. They did not show the pre-16 peak seen in the female data, instead increasing DC every year until middle age, then flattening before rising sharply at 65. "The significant increase in rates for older men could be because in partner situations women's DC has gone down, so men might be less intimidated by women's confidence. Also, separate research findings show that optimistic people are less likely to suffer from life-threatening conditions than pessimistic people. So it might be the case that our sample of older men includes those optimists who have outlived their pessimistic contemporaries."

But it's not just genetics that make your legs itch to hit the dancefloor. "People dance for social bonding and mate-selection purposes," Lovatt says. "It's also good for your health and fitness, and people dance to enjoy themselves. Some dance because they are told they have to, and it has been used to show strength and fearlessness, like the traditional Maori haka dance."

Lovatt says his own experience proves dance can provide confidence that spills into other areas of life. Suffering from profound reading difficulties at school, he left with no qualifications, and was unable to read until he was 23. "I taught myself to read while working as a dancer in theatres," he says. "I was surrounded by talent and thought it was ridiculous that I couldn't read, so I just sat down and, very slowly, learned."

Next, Lovatt studied A-levels, then a degree in psychology and English at Roehampton Institute, ultimately gaining a PhD and taking a senior researcher post at Cambridge University. Now, he combines dancing "nearly every day" with dance research at Hertfordshire University, where he teaches the psychology of performing arts.

There, in his onsite dance laboratory, Lovatt flags up more interesting research. "Beautiful women of high genetic quality with symmetrical features have been shown to innately select men with equally high-quality genetic features," he says, "even when they were only shown videos of the men dancing, and couldn't see the men's faces." Women of a lower genetic quality who watched the same videos, by contrast, "thought all the men were great", Lovatt explains.

He says there is good news for everyone from that research: "It means the best way to attract a compatible mate is to relax and just move naturally to the rhythm."

Lovatt also has some specific findings for men to make women fall at – rather than trip over – their feet this Christmas. "My research showed women find men who use medium-sized, complex movements to be the most attractive. If a woman is looking for an attractive and dominant man, she'll go for one doing very large, complex movements, but if she wants an attractive yet submissive man then she'll go for one doing smaller, complex movements." Simple, small movements are considered unattractive, submissive and feminine, apparently. But don't head straight for a dance studio to learn a new routine. "Dance lessons are a bit like plastic surgery," says Lovatt. "They mask the true expression of your genes."

• Peter Lovatt is carrying out more research into dance – take part in his latest survey at bit.ly/WhyDance. Find out more on his website DanceDrDance.com

Article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/dec/15/research-why-people-dance

Four Facts of Dance

1. Everyone can dance

2. Dancing is good for your health

3. Dancing is good for your well-being

4. Dancing is fun

Dance & Testosterone

Dancing ability is thought to be influenced by biological and evolutionary factors. Fink, Seydel, Manning and Kappeler (2007) asked women to rate the freestyle dance movements of men for dominance, masculinity and attractiveness. They found that ratings varied as a function of the amount of prenatal testosterone to which the men had been exposed at an early stage of prenatal development, such that the freestyle dances of men exposed to high levels of prenatal testosterone were rated as more dominant, masculine and attractive than the freestyle dances of men exposed to lower levels of prenatal testosterone. Fink et al. suggest that prenatal testosterone may have an organising effect on male body movement, which is perceptible to women. Levels of prenatal testosterone can be estimated by measuring the ratio of the length of the index finger (the second digit) and the ring finger (the fourth digit). This is known as the 2D:4D ratio (see Manning, Scutt, Wilson & Lewis-Jones, 1998). A low 2D:4D ratio suggests high levels of prenatal testosterone and a high 2D:4D ratio suggests a low level of prenatal testosterone.

Brown, Cronk, Grochow, Jacobson, Liu, Popovic and Trivers (2005) observed a relationship between physical symmetry and perceived dance quality in men and women, such that people who are more physically symmetrical, in terms of the relative size of each of their wrists, knees, ankles, feet, fingers, and ears, were rated as better dancers. Brown et al. found that women rated symmetrical men as better freestyle dancers than asymmetrical men. Brown et al. draw conclusions based on a bio-evolutionary perspective and suggest that physical symmetry is an indicator of quality within a species, such that symmetrical individuals are higher quality specimens, and that high quality individuals are important and in high demand for reproductive success, particularly from other high quality individuals. As perceived dancing ability is related to physical symmetry these authors suggest that dance movement is an innate transmitter of an individual’s quality.

In both of these studies people were asked to dance individually in a laboratory setting and their dances were filmed and then manipulated so that individual differences in physical attributes, such as gender, height, frame size, attractiveness, symmetry and fine motor movements, were not visible. Fink et al. (2007) manipulated the dance video clips by applying a Gaussian smoothing technique, which blurred the images, and Brown et al. (2005) converted video recordings into 3-D animations.

It is clear from both of these studies that there is a relationship between people’s perception of dance, in terms of its quality, and perceived masculinity, dominance and attractiveness and the dancer’s genetic make up, in terms of their indicators of testosterone and physical symmetry. However, it is not clear whether the same factors would predict perceptions of attractiveness etc. when people are dancing in a natural environment. It seemed logical to us that if we dance as part of a mate-selection process then we will dance differently depending, for example, on who is watching us dance, where we are dancing, what our motives are for dancing, and who we are dancing with. We therefore set out to extend the studies of Fink et al. and Brown et al. to examine these factors.

What we did

In January 2009 we took over a nightclub at the University of Hertfordshire and we filmed people dancing in a naturalistic setting. However, before we filmed people dancing we asked them to fill in a series of psychological questionnaires. We asked them about their relationship status and whether they were looking for a new partner. We asked them questions about their personality and their mood, we measured their fingers and ears to work out their prenatal testosterone levels and we asked the women to tell us about their menstrual cycle status, so that we could work out their “fertility risk”, that is, the risk of them getting pregnant if they were to have unprotected sex. When people had provided all of this information they were “released” into the nightclub, which was full of people enjoying themselves.

We let things get hot and sweaty and at about 11.30pm started to film people dancing. We did this in two ways. First, we filmed people dancing in the club as part of a big group of dancers on the dance floor. Second, when people were dancing on the main dance floor we asked them to move onto a separate dance floor, which was right next to the main dance floor, and carry on dancing on their own for 30 seconds while we filmed them again. The second dance floor was just as lively and noisy as the main dance floor. We finished filming in the early hours of the morning.

The next stage of the research was to blur all of the videos of each dancer, and then ask people to rate them for attractiveness, dominance, masculinity and quality. We found two things.

Finding 1

When women rated the men’s dancing they rated the highest testosterone men as the most attractive and the lowest testosterone men as the least attractive.

Finding 2

When men rated the women’s dancing they rated the lowest testosterone women as the most attractive and the highest testosterone women as the least attractive.

Finding 3

High testosterone men dance differently to low testosterone men. High testosterone men make larger movements and their movements are more complexly coordinated than low testosterone men. High testosterone men express more energy in their movements and they take up more space on the dance floor.

Finding 4

Low testosterone women dance differently to high testosterone women. Low testosterone women make more subtle and isolated movements with their hips than high testosterone women. High testosterone women move more body parts while they are dancing and their movements are less controlled.


We interpret these findings to suggest that one function of social freestyle dance is to communicate genetic fitness as part of the sexual selection process.

From Psychologist and Dancer

Dr Peter Lovatt is an academic Psychologist and a Dancer

16 December 2009

Do I want to stay in with a mug of tea and the latest Romanian social realism abortion movie?

Another trip to Margate Lido- Ribbed (aka a polysexual night out) 7 November 2009

The TVC mission to the far outlying badlands of Kent took in another stage with a return visit to the toothless pagan hard house worshippers of Thanet. It was the least I’ve ever felt like playing anywhere in my, ‘swhat, 18 months of DJing, and I was wistfully yearning for my early puppy dog days when I first started to play, when I’d salivate at the chance to play a 10 minute set at 4am to 3 alcoholics in someone’s front room. Oh, how easily we become jaded and curmudgeonly…

Actually I love a trip to Margate - the main reason I lacked enthusiasm was that my legs could barely hold me up after 2 nights out, and I’d looked on the net the night before and seen there was a Smokescreen free party in Nottingham, with all our Drop favourites playing, and was wishing I was there. But a commitment is a commitment, and I love the Unite crowd who promote this night. Their taste is at the other end of the banging spectrum to ours, but they love their house, and are utterly lacking in pretension… which is all that matters really when our local house scene is so polluted by Cream wannabes who download every genre that Mixmag tells them is trendy with the alacrity of Thierry Henry bouncing the ball from hand to foot.

Oz and I have been taking trips about East Kent together with our record bags for a while now, and the trips increasingly start in the same vein, as we’re both on the grumpy side of engaged/enthusiastic of an early evening. That is to say, thinking, do I want to go out into the cold/rain/fog to play obscure house records for an unenlightened rabble in a venue I‘d never set foot in a as punter, or do I want to stay in with a mug of tea and the latest Romanian social realism abortion movie? (Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival mind). Going out generally shades it. I was particularly fragile as I’d had a mad night on Thursday, as Oz and I won our debut quiz appearance at the Neppy (prize- bottle of Valpolicella, £4 from Budgens), and my beer intake increased with every ogle at the new barmaid. For some reason everyone was out that night as they weren’t working the next day-the pints are disappearing much more quickly than normal, but I manage to tear myself away at half ten. However, The Eraser shows up at my house, brandishing absinthe, and I only need a couple of sips to make me spin out and hurl myself into a comatose sleep. At about 2am, my door seems to be being assaulted, as the girl I left my girlfriend (known as DLL) for briefly is hammering away, in tears. I let her in, and for some reason we start drinking the booty that TVC’s general knowledge has obtained from the Neptune .At some point my girlfriend comes down, and the 3 of us are surreally all sat in my front room chatting and making jokes, and the tears and frowns have become laughter. But Christ am I wasted the next day.

As Friday night comes round, all I want to do is sleep, but we’ve got tickets to see the lovely Tim Green play at a “secret location” in Maidstone. I shouldn’t go, but I reckon if I drive and stay away from alcohol, I’ll be OK. These are the kinds of situations where I envy DLL- she only needs the tiniest lift to get her to a pitch of excitement where she’ll dance for hours and chat to anyone who can speak English, or any language for that matter. As soon as we get there, at about 11, I know my goose is cooked. Pleasure and excitement will not be mine tonight. Maidstone is hideous- the venue (Corn Exchange in the centre) is already surrounded by incredibly rude, badly dressed drunks, girls shrieking and topping up their lip gloss while the guys try to stay standing. When I first used to go out in 1987 to house nights, these fuckers used to go to Cinderella Rockafellas and stick their tongues down each other’s throats. What are they doing here? Well I shouldn’t be here, I’m too old. I’ve only really come out as it’s a chance to catch up with the Sideways boys, a lovely bunch from Folkestone who are making and playing some lovely melodic tech house tracks and ploughing their lonely furrow to the heathen. They’re TVC’s younger brothers.

The night’s awful. Room half full makes it even more dispiriting. As the endless drone of tech house continues I crave just the odd snatch of vocal, the odd uplifting key board melody. It makes me mourn for the early days, when there wasn’t enough house to make tiny ghettoized genres, and Mark Moore could mix from hip hop to hip house to acid without anyone asking for their money back because the flyer promised minimal tech. Tim changes it, peps it up as he always does, and I can only hope that in a year, however much he loves his home town, his sense of aesthetics won’t allow him to be part of this mundane dross any more. I’m so bored, and so pleased when the GF looks tired too, and is begging to leave. I want to support others doing house music in Kent, but my life’s running out, and my battery’s low. I got to be more selective. Thank God she’s got an Audi- we’re home in 20 minutes. It devours the Thanet Way.

So as I’m driving Oz and the rest of us out to Margate the next day, and he asks her how the night was, I’m again amazed at her incredible ability to reframe the negative into the positive. She’s Kent’s best social worker, so that is her key skill I guess. She says she had a great time- were we at different nights? As so many times before I envy her ability to filter out the shit music and ugly, Neanderthal punters and make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. A sow with swine flu at that…

As we drive into Margate we pass the huge 3 storey club complex called “Sugar”, with hordes of shivering teenagers in their best gear queuing up for R & B and Chlamydia. This always makes you realize that the place you’re about to play it will be empty- and if anyone is there it’ll be their parents and social workers. When we get there of course, the spirit lifts, because we’re playing with other mad fools, who believe that music is more important than money, or fashion, or even sex. We love our sort of house, they love theirs, and we hate compromise. This is the moment I love to watch Oz, as the grumpy, curmudgeonly bastard on the trip down melts into the house music troubadour, embracing his fellow sufferers Danita, Lou and Nik in his broad shoulders, twenty years of determination peddling house music round the country in his hug. To these guys, he’s like John The Baptist, a life of anointing people and turning them on to the principles of going it alone in the house music biz, and playing what you love.

The mood proves short lived as when we walk into the place it’s empty. The bar’s shut; there’s no door staff; no punters; and we’re on in an hour. I’m so tired I can barely stand, and we’ve missed a Smoke Screen party to come and play to an empty bar. I mean, the grille ain’t even up on the bar! And currently Kent is a mum and dad free zone. A miserable, long dank night beckons, playing deep house to a few drunken shadows.

Nik Beat’s warm up is utterly heroic. Ignoring the emptiness, this K filled troubadour starts his set of hard house at about 134 bpm, gyrating like a Catweazle with fleas behind the CD-Js. What a man, a one man party inside his head. I love his attitude- he’s as easily enthused as I am deflated. Thank fuck for people like him, with all the pretentious cunts that play their funky house wank to hairdressers and Kwikfitters the county over. DLL is already jumping up and down on the deserted dance floor, and I can’t help but join her. Others shuffle in and gyrate loosely- I invent a new dance as a pretty, but drunk and overweight girl keeps hitching her jeans up while she tries to do the generic “pole dance without a pole” next to us.

Shoots start to blossom as the night accelerates- I bump into a clutch of guys who I think used to live in my street, and whom I always used to see pale faced on Sunday mornings…I’m glad that my suspicions of their debauchery is entirely well founded. Oz scores some of whatever makes Nik’s heart accelerate, which has the taste and texture of Mastic, but seems to perk me up. It’s our set now, and thankfully the decks aren’t 10 metres apart as they were last time we played here- I can shuffle between them and mix in almost less time than it takes to play the whole record out. I can’t lose tonight- the last time this lot heard me play I’d only been playing for 3 months, and was at party where they gave me a line of white powder. Mistakenly I’d said I was in TVC- “fuckin legend mate”, says Hank “- them and DIY are the best parties I’ve been to. You must be mustard to play with Oz”.

Now normally, I could have explained that in fact, mustard I was not, pants I was. However, the white powder I’d thought was Charlie was in fact Ketamine, and as a result it all seemed too complicated, as I wasn’t able to speak. I remember little of the next hour, except that to my left I had a pile of someone else’s vinyl, neatly stacked; to my right, some very well stacked sleeves. I think the chaps threw me a forgiving smile, and I’ve loved 'em ever since. Said Hank comes over after I’ve bludgeoned 3 tunes into each other and shouts “since when did you get good??” I shrug my shoulders and think, “never, but give me another 3 years and 2,000 hours flying time”

The one and a half hours Oz and I have on the decks flies by-I’ve had great pleasure seeing some of these hard housers really enjoying some more deep and subtle flavours. This leaves me with a lovely half hour dancing to the end of Oz’s set. I dance flirtily with a young girl, and briefly feel very horny towards a stranger, which I haven’t for a long time- it’s like having an old friend pop in for tea to remind you they’re still around. No matter how many degrees I might acquire, or how serious my job might be, I will always be disproportionately excited by a young, dim, buxom chav girl dancing and smiling in front of me.

That’s all very well, but it’s a night to be with friends. Having informed said chavette that I’ve got a girlfriend- response “are you one of them fucking swingers?!”- I set off on a wee tour of the block with Oz. This is when I love to see him in action most, rolling back the years as the curmudgeonly old fucker in the car remembers how much he loves house music and the people who play it, in all his forms. He folds Danita and Lou in his broad chest, and greets Jasper like an old general greets a former sergeant, easing nicely into shared tales of campaigns waged in the fields of Kent for the benefit of Jasper’s recently obtained girlfriend.

The rest of the music? Good, though crying out for the odd gentle lilting house keyboard riff, or gospel vocal. A rolling programme of tech house and fidget house, well mixed but of fairly constant tempo, with few breaks or changes of direction. It’s good though- and played with love, enthusiasm and without pretention. We melt away at about half four as the repetitiveness starts to grate, and the joy of being part of the Whitstable house scene is reinforced as we go straight to Nick Dent’s place. As the front door opens the unmistakable shards of Warren’s gentle yet hard deep progressive house rest on our ears. We enter a dark room of bobbing heads-The over 40s crowd are dancing, their kids are all asleep, and the night’s just begun. Whitstable, so much to answer for….

- Simon

4 December 2009


The Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment, or more simply Arise, represents about 100 scientists who believe we are unnecessarily depriving ourselves of lives pleasures. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, sugar and chocolate are not poisons, so why not let ourselves enjoy them in moderation?

"Alcohol, caffeine, sugar and nicotine all act on the pleasure pathways, the nerve fibres, of the brain and increase the strength of the immune system against disease," explains Professor David Warburton. "If you're not having pleasure or are depressed, your immune system is weakened, and you are more susceptible to infection, even cancer."

Warburton goes so far as to claim that the health benefits of enjoying a cigarette may outweigh the damage. "It's interesting how few people die from smoking. Don't forget, the death rate for smokers and non-smokers is the same in the end -100%"
James McCormick, also Arise member and a retired professor of community health at Trinity College, Dublin, advocates "modified hedonism to enjoy the only life we have. Smoking is bad for you, but if you don't smoke, you'll die of something else. Should longevity be the only goal in life?""The nanny state giving out health education is one way of exerting political power by controlling people's pleasure," Warburton says. "Remember in 1984 how thaw Orwellian state specified the amount of chocolate you could eat?"Medicine has become a pseudo religion. "If we avoid bad habits, we believe we escape punishment. If we smoke or drink, we are sinning - and the wages of sin are death. But you're going to die anyway. The major predictor of our longevity is in our genes, not in our habits."

McCormicks beliefs even cover drugs. "The addictive properties of cocaine and heroin are overstated. Not everyone becomes dependent. A lot of people are stable addicts. It is the by-products of drug use which kill. Our mistake is to criminalise and isolate the drug culture as deviant".

Arise is however sponsored by tobacco, distilling, brewing and catering companies, so of course there exists a vested interest, but perhaps there is a case for modified hedonism?

30 November 2009

tVC and Subsdance - New Years Eve Party

An end of year celebratory night of the very best of deep house and deep techno provided by free party crews tVC and Subsdance are predicted to get arms a flapping and feet a shuffling on 31st December 2009.

So, come with us into 2010 and dance and love with the Kent fluffcore.

The party will take place from 8pm to 8am at The Lido Cliff Bar Function Room, Ethelbert Terrace, Cliftonville, Margate, Kent, CT9 1RX. This is a legal venue with an approved late drink and dance license.

Full crew of tVC DJ's on the night will be, guest Thom is a DJ  (Sideways) plus Oz, Warren, Rosie, Si. From Subsdance Stoney, Jay, Loop de Loop and Gary

Guaranteed no rip off door or bar prices. It's going to cost £10 to get in and tickets are strictly limited to 400 only. When they are gone they are gone.

Clarity Sound is provided by tVC and Subsdance. Pub prices on all drinks.

Tickets obtainable from any of the DJ's or by ringing:

Whitstable & Canterbury Area
Oz on 07795313843
Si on 07740184456

Thanet Area
Stoney on 07751358035
Gary on 07546573040

Ring us up and we'll arrange to drop the tickets off to you...


We just can’t keep track of ‘em... new police/crime/public order laws that is. Time was when there would be a new shake up of criminal law once a decade, now it’s more like once a week.

Anyway the latest round of repression on the beat in your neighbourhood is set to be the Crime and Policing Act 2009. The Act (which came into force last week) is the usual New Labour ragbag of miscellaneous new police powers to bug, search, seize and detain without trial, with the odd bit thrown in to keep liberal naysayers happy.

Most worrying for campaigning groups is Part 4 - the power for civil courts to grant injunctions to ‘prevent gang-based violence’, the so-called GANGBO. Now this revisits the territory of the injunctions taken out under the Protection from Harassment Act and ASBOs in that a civil burden of proof (balance of probabilities in place of beyond reasonable doubt) is used to create criminal offences tailor- made for the individual, punishable by arrest and imprisonment.

All that is required is that violence is threatened. In item 34, section 5 of the Act, ‘“gangrelated violence” means violence or a threat of violence which occurs in the course of, or is otherwise related to, the activities of a group that (a) consists of at least 3 people, (b) uses a name, emblem or colour or has any other characteristic that enables its members to be identifi ed by others as a group, and (c) is associated with a particular area.’ Sound like any protest groups you know?

Of course when the act was first drafted it only applied to adults - but before the first GANGBO has even been issued, along rolls another piece of legislation, this time the Crime and Security Bill which is going to extend the powers to thirteen to seventeen-year-olds.


28 November 2009

village life

I was all over the place on Saturday. Didn’t go anywhere. Didn’t leave the house till 9pm. I mean all over in my mind.

I don’t agree that Woody Allen is neurotic. I just think he’s sussed out. Ah, well, maybe he is neurotic but the funny neurotic. Proper neurosis is debilitating not a great joke or witty chat up line.

So, I was sat there worrying about the sound that night as for the first time ever in the 23 year history of doing free parties to the masses tVC had handed over the reins and responsibility of sorting out the  reverberation to another sound crew. Not just another sound crew but a sound crew that had never actually done a gig ever before. Well, apart from Genie Burners birthday bash round at Nick Dents the other week.

I was worrying about the DJ’s and whether they would turn up, fuck up and fuck off as some of the more salubrious members of the DJ fraternity tend to do a little these days. Nah, not ours. Would they bring any people along? Would anyone turn up at all? Would the night be a big steaming pile of embarrassing poop? Will we remember to bring drinks? Will people be able to find it easily? Will I even get to play any records? Will the £88 I have spent this week on new tunes ever get a decent airing to a properly appreciative crowd? Will it sound shit? Will everyone leave early? Or arrive late? Will there be trouble or arguments? Will the really bad, windy, very wet weather put people off? Will the other house night in town on tonight at the Brewery Bar take people away from us? Will we take people away from them? Is splitting the house crowd, albeit from different ends of the scale, a good idea? Will we cover all the expenses? This and the question of how the hell do I cross this bridge I was stuck on in Half Life2 perplexed me somewhat most of the day.

Half Life was easy. I just had to go online and find a walkthrough that helped me out greatly. Now I could carry on and finish my 6 hour Xbox 360 session in peace before I had a lovely little bath then a nap then a bite to eat before facing the ravages of yet another night of party based performance and social delinquency .
“What time you getting the keys for the hall mate?” says el maestro of “Leave Me Out Of It”.

“Four PM”, I reply.

“We’ll be there at 4.30. We need to set up and check everything and do all our adjustments and all that. Ey.”

I arrive at the venue at 9pm; knackered yet refreshed. I don’t know if that state of mind is possible but it existed for me that evening. The room is decorated with Wendy and Stuart’s backdrops and BJ’s white netting and looks very good. They have transformed a drab, and I must say, very clean, village hall into an exotic world where dreams and imaginings are made real. Well, I say dreams. What I mean is it doesn’t look like a box with windows anymore, which is, in a way, a different, if not exotic place and I’m hoping my dreams can be made there tonight. Although my main dream is actually a hope and it is that everything goes smoothly and the place is not left in a dreadful state that will cause us to lose our deposit. By saying ‘everything’ of course I put into my neurotic loop a build in destabiliser and upsetter thus giving myself permission to be upset and thus punish myself in any way I can imagine.
It all seems great! Hang on; something missing. Oh yeah, the rig. Five hours after they said they would be there the sound boys arrive. If I used the words ‘in a fluster’ I think I would be exaggerating just a tad. We all employed the tactic of remaining calm and centred as people started to arrive and the rig was unloaded and set up. Everyone took it in good spirits so I relaxed a bit. By the time Simon and BJ had, ahem, ahem, ahem, cough, turned the ‘screw’ on the back of the mixer which actually allowed the sound to come out, and we’d heard all the “tVC, ey, trying to sabotage our sound” comments we were, huzzah, off and up and running.

The old bill, her maj’s boys in blue, the old billage, the bacon battalion, the po-po, flatfoot, the fuzz, the pork patrol, the rozzers, the bizzies, 5-Oh, the blue meanies, the big blue machine or plain old office Dibble decided to arrive just as things started. It was raining hard and very windy. They motioned me outside. No coat!

“It has come to our attention that a ‘rave’ will be taking place at this venue tonight”, they begin.

“This is a double birthday party, officer; two friends sharing a space to celebrate their middle age”.

“It’s all over the internet son”

“Where? What sites? What did it say?”

“Couldn’t tell you that; Police intell’”. He taps his nose.

“You can have a look inside if you want”.

“No. Don’t want to see anything we don’t want to see. We’ll be back later”. They didn’t come back.

As Brummie Jon said on his FacaesBook page the police "were happy that it was a private party, they gave us their mobile number in case we had trouble with gatecrashers. Classic police quote "but don't phone us at 3am to tell us that you love us, we know what you lot are like"

As with Ribbed at the Lido the other week the decks were set up on a wooden stage with all the inherent feedback issues associated with such a decision. Do humans ever learn from the past experiences they have?

DJ wise Shaun Muddy Shovel warmed up followed by our Rosie. Lovely deep house just how we love it. Warren and Croucher bumped the arse off the new speakers, which performed admirablely. People seemed to like it. Dan and Louise from Unite in Margate played a great set of deep tech and techno. I thoroughly enjoyed their take on things and would heartily recommend you catch them sometime soon. Oz and Si played for 10 seconds then Steve Zest got on after his delicious gig in town that night and the night was finished off by Warren.

more pics from wendy and mikal's birthday party

27 November 2009

TV Cabbage Pt 1

Watched too much TV. Damn that generic satellite TV record and playback box with a + at the end of it. Only means one inevitable, relentless possibility; I can go out more and watch more TV. Whenever I want to. If only work didn’t get in the way and the bills didn’t need paying? Today; ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Lost’, ‘House’, ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Last Man Standing’, that CGI thing on the sperm whales, ‘IQ’, ‘Coach Trip’. 3 episodes of ‘Desperate…’ still stacked up. Oh, dear! Where will I find the time? BB 7 hours a week minimum plus the LB, BM and Big Brain versions when I can. Not include the ‘3 film’ deal I have with one particular satellite film channels online DVD rental arm. Don’t do it. It’ll kill you! Recent top films; ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’, ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘A Bittersweet Life’, ‘The Ordeal (aka Calvaire)’, ‘King's Game (Kongekabale)’ and ‘Ivan’s XTC’, to name drop but a few. Besides, its proof, to me, that intelligent and bloody great film can still be made. Must hunt for more…

I’m finding myself coming home after work and just watch TV instead of catching up on my paperwork. “Hi, my names TVcabbage and I’m an addict”. Maybe this is turning into a TV addict’s blog?
1997 part 21 - Nick had a hangover

All is calm and Nick’s pissed and I said let’s go upstairs (where they were having another sesh) only Rosie left her cartridge on the bar and someone stole it and they only have one cartridge between two decks and don’t want to come and ask for one of ours because I kicked off in the pub again. Phew!

Nick got out that one about Charlie giving me that CD at ‘Technology Night’ that he’d took ages to get it back off R, but it wasn’t one of the pirate software CD’s but a Dutch porn CD. She called him Throbbin’ but he denied the existence of it and I said I knew he had a sex life. Somewhere. But R seemed OK about that little slap and handled it quite well which me makes me look a little stupider than I already feel at the moment.

The next morning Nick had a hangover – the first in ages – and I sorted some liver salts and 2 paracetamol and we made sweet, short love. She said that I’d had an erection for hours in my sleep.

26 November 2009

"You don't know life until you've fucked death in the gall bladder."*

I was well looking forward to Channel 4’s 3D week of programmes, particularly the 3D version of Flesh for Frankenstein, Morriseys 70’s sludge kitsch camp epics of awfulness and cheese from Warhol’s Factory days. All the nudity cut out no doubt. But they’ll probably leave the bit in where Ze Baron "makes love" to the entrails of his female zombie.

Flesh for Frankenstein is also notable for having the longest 3D midget-horse carriage ride in motion picture history.

Even the Queen in 3D presented an opportunity to wallow in the 3D pool of lovely warm bubbliness, as did smugfest Derren Brown’s programme “Derren Brown's 3D Magic Spectacular” presenting a plethora of magic tricks.

So my attitude was don’t believe all those 3D party poopers like Ronald Bergen in The Guardian who say “Why the second coming of 3D is overrated”. “3D will go the same way as Smell-O-Vision and Odorama, as well as extinct gimmicks dreamed up by William Castle such as Emergo, Percepto and Illusion-O.” O ye of little faith. It’s actually like an old friend coming back into your life and giving you a great big hugathon. You remember the good times; the fun; the excitement; the warm glow only true love can give you. Surely 3D on TV would not dissappoint?

Alas, it was not to be. First thing Monday morning after I got up the TV was on; Sky+ menu up and the Queen in 3D slapped on. I’d been DJing down Ribbed the week before and James had been going round with a pocket full of Sainsburys’ cardboard 3D glasses handing them out to everyone; free from any of their shops apparently. Of course we’d all been walking around with them on taking photo’s of each other on the dance floor. Multi-use 3D specs; that’s what we like to see.

One eye was orange the other blue. Pressing play I eased back into my sofa. I had a good half hour till 7.45am before I had to shower ready to go to work. Oh, what a disappointment it was. It just all looked blue! Mind you I had had an operation for a detached retina on my left eye and could hardly see out of it. Suddenly a heavy emotional silence fell over me. Would I never again be able to enjoy a 3D TV show or film? Would I never again be able to visit the wonderful IMAX in London to watch a shit James Cameron film where the pure joy of watching a 3D camera pan around the watery grave of the Titanic cannot be quantified or equated to the pleasure the brain feels in relation to what is actually on the screen; or seeing insects kill each other really close up? Wow, it’s in 3D.

I went to work that morning feeling like a blind man denied access to one of the fundamental joys of cinematic life.

So what was the best 3D moment of the week? The cozy image of cognac in a balloon glass being exploded in Courvoisier cognac’s advert. Glass splinters and cognac shoot out at viewers and then spin into a vortex that forms a cocktail sitting next to a bottle of Courvoisier Exclusif. One of the first 3D ads to air on UK terrestrial TV. Now that’s what I call groundbreaking.

Gordon! Gordon Brown! Going blind is one eye is well shit...

24 November 2009

did he just tell us to drink water?

Please look after yourself and your fellow clubbers. Watch for dehydration and heatstroke. The main symptoms are excessive sweating, staggering, thirst and exhaustion. Over heating is unlikely to occur if enough water is drunk.

Dr. John Henry from the National Poisons Unit at Guy's Hospital, London explains the mechanism of heat stroke. Dissolute Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) - blood clotting in the arteries - occurs at 42 - 43 degrees centigrade (c.108 degrees Fahrenheit) and tiny blood clots stick to the artery wall. This is harmless in itself, as the blood clots are too small to cause a blockage, but the process can use up all the clotting agent, with the result that the blood will pour out of any of the tiny haemorrages which occur throughout the cardovascular system as part of the normal process of breakdown and repair. Such internal bleeding can be fatal. Internal bleeding in the brain, combined with high, pulsating blood pressures can cause shakes.

To combat this, SIP SOME WATER

Dr Henry believes MDMA stimulates opioids, a neuro-transmitter that acts as an internal anaesthetic. Neuro-transmitters such as 5HT and opioids can be stimulated by chemicals such as MDMA. Opioids go into action when the body is injured, so if your body is exhausted or overheating you can't feel that it is.

Kidney failure (or "acute renal failure") is the result of muscular breakdown overloading the kidneys with myglobin. Muscular breakdown can be caused by intense bouts of physical exercise.


There may also be a link between liver damage and ecstasy use. Liver damage cases in the UK "might be the result of parallel use of alcohol and other drugs".


Finally, MDMA can undergo "redox cycling" - a process that liberates copious quantities of oxygen free radicals. Excessive amounts overwhelm the system and damage ensues. Phenethylamines are stored in highest concetrations in the brain and nervous system. Not surprisingly these tissues are at the greatest risk for being harmed by free radicals (and associated oxidants) formed during the redox cycling of phenethylamines.

Excessive quantities may cause oxidative damage. It would therefore be prudent for those taking large quantities of MDMA to take antioxidant supplements as well. These incude Vitamin C (2-4 grams) which is water soluble and Vitamin E (1000 iu) which is fat soluble.Also recommended; B-Carotene (5mg); Bioflavonoids (2gm); L-Carnitine (1gm); N-Acetylcysteine (2gm); Selenium (250mcg)


22 November 2009


1. Scooby and Shaggy were always being freaked out by ghosts and ghouls, but no one else saw them before Scoob and Shaggy.
2. Scooby and Shaggy always had the munchies.
3. Shaggy always thought Scooby was talking and was the only one who could hear him and understand him.
4. Scooby and Shaggy always fell into the trap that was intended for the monster because they were tripping over themselves and couldn't see where they were going.
5. They were always deluded and warped by thinking they were dressed up in some costumes and entertained the monster.
6. Shaggy always said "like" to the extreme, i.e. "like ZOIKS, Scoob, let's get outta here!!" What's a zoik?
7. Scooby and Shaggy were always the ones in the back of the van (doing who knows what).
8. They drove around in the MYSTERY MACHINE, which had that weird trippy design on it's side.
9. Shaggy and Scooby were always giddy and laughing.
10. Look at Shaggy; the way he dressed, his goatee, etc., 'nuff said.

20 November 2009

Renovating Max

Cabbaged at the EK

Remember the pub with that dull smell, stained walls, carpet and curtains etc. The mobile phone freaks (real and fake) lurching, taking their time with that never ending game of pool (they must be crap, because we can clear the table in less than 5 minutes). Well, some things are no more! Max has had a re-fit. It was not quite finished as we descended on our seasonal winter come down soiree on a Sunday.

Dancing or sophisticated stumbling around has been catered for by the area being opened out a bit more, the beam being raised to hopefully cater for Pen, who we haven't seen for a while. The floor has been stripped bare, to reveal waxed floorboards and wooden paneling around the walls, with a shelf on which to put records, so no more stumbling over record boxes/bags.

And, thank fuck, no more fake, red leather seating! Unfortunately some things which have not changed are sleeping figures that still manage to adopt a slumbering position on a chair somewhere, and the dominant voice of Max. The DJs: Oz, Shaun and Wesley or (Weso). Rosie (steadily improving her lager consumption, all of two-and-a-half pints now) Rebecca who is doing far too well for herself (good on yer girl!) Simon S, and not forgetting Mike SU, who has returned down South because he couldn't handle the cold weather, all playing to the dutiful posse.

tVC is the only deep house system in the South-east to maintain the level of delightfulness with never a dull moment/sound, with a lot of bloody hard work and effort that goes into the set-up. You can always turn up at a party and rely on a good sound, and the fact that the team members do work together with a mutual understanding, despite what you may see on the outside. We may argue and squabble over trivial misunderstandings, but these inevitably only last the duration of how much strong lager you have drunk, which could be somewhat countless.

tVC may have had their 'euphoria years 86-93', and then their 'come down years 93-95', followed by their 'post come down reassessment 96-97', but hey, who's complaining. We don't have to put up with arrogant, rude bouncers, bright lights and expensive over the top priced lager. We party hard, in the summer thanks to our friendly, bewildered farmers/landowners, and carry on in the winter. We welcome new friends, we have breaks from old peeps (but not that long). If you have been dancing to tVC since 86, then you're likely to still be stumbling with your mates in 98 and onwards.

Music is always being produced, with dedicated DJs playing it, and really the movement of the Deep House sector has never been better. It moves on, refusing to stagnate.

Remember the last 10 odd years, but don't stagnate on them, look forward to what is happening in front of you and ahead of you. If you're not shown appreciation at the time, it doesn't mean you're not appreciated, because we all are by the fact that we are still going strong, as part of tVC, one of the UK's longest running sound systems, who continually produce a fucking excellent place to be, with the sound to compliment. Even in the EK.

18 November 2009

Time's Circular.

The Earth is a garden. But if God cannot tend it, then we must. There's a Larch at the bottom of my garden. Except that I don't have a garden. But anyway, it's out there. It looks like a lyre, or some kind of a cock-eyed angel with its wings raised. I put food out for the birds, who gather in its branches, twittering and scattering about, all chaotic activity, squabbling amongst themselves. There's a number of Magpies who visit it regularly, and a Blackbird or two who fix you with malevolent glances. And a Robin. Jolly Robin.

Do you know that you can train Robins? They're the least fearful of all the wild birds. Leave food regularly in a trail to your window. Eventually it will wait on the sill. And then you can open the window and lead the trail indoors. Be patient. In the end it will eat from your hand and shit on your carpet.

"Jolly Robin in the wood. Waiting for the gift of food..."

I spend alot of time looking out at that tree. I do a lot of thinking. Sometimes I think about Time. I think of all the time that is gone. All those countless hours, what were they for? And all those days and months and years. All those centuries. All those Eons. An immensity of time. An ocean. We think we can count time. But how do you count an ocean?Do you know that there are dinosaurs still on the Earth? They were not reptiles, they were something else. When the cataclysm came and ripped out the belly of the Earth and with it all those lumbering monsters, the little dinosaurs grew wings and became birds. Little twittering things, living time on another lifescale. Echoes of the past. Ripples in Time's ocean.I think about reincarnation too. Not that I remember any of my past lives. Somehow I can't imagine that I was ever a Pharoah or a Buccaneer, or any of those other things. I expect I've always been as I am now, the son of a Birmingham carworker with a strange, speculative imagination. I imagine that all through the immensity of Time I've always come from Birmingham, and have always been sitting here like this, looking out my back window.What are we? Our bodies grow rigid and cold, and we all die. But we are electromagnetic beings. We live on the interface between the synapses of our brains. In the arc of energy. And energy does not die. Our brains are Quantum computors and we leap in Time and Space.Time is a product of the Universe, like matter. As the Universe unfolds, so Time unravels. Onward and outward. But come the time the Universe collapses, drawn by the inexorable weight of matter, the pulsing heartbeat of Gravity, then Time will reel back again. And we will live these moments over again. Backwards. And who can say if at this moment Time is running backwards or forwards? Whichever way you are living, Time will always be running the right way.But when I think about reincarnation, the nature of the Universe changes for me. It means I've been here forever. That we've all been here forever, since the beginning of Time. That we are part of the process. That we are It.And it also means that Mozart is still amongst us. That he was always amongst us. And Einstein, and Marx. And I expect that Mozart is sat in a bedroom right now, a weird genius with a DAT and a computor, making house music. Altering our perceptions as he did the first time. Messing about with our melody-lines.Moments are like atoms. Parcels of energy. When we split the atom we unleash the Universe. When we look into the immensity of the moment, all time is there for us to see. In the infinitesimal, infinity is unfurled. The outer reaches of the Universe warp in the smallest particles of matter. Boundless moments expand. An ever widening circle. Ever circling Time. Revolution of the Spirit. Reincarnation.

"Jolly Robin in the woodWaiting for the gift of food.Be he humble or be he boldHe'll turn a tumble, and then grow old."


16 November 2009

"arse plasma from the hideous mirrorworld of fuck"

Cabbaged At The Smack - November 14th 2009

Ol’ Stevie, the partner of the landlady of The Smack, was in a well funny mood with us this night. Moving beyond his usual feet first wind ups he emanated a positively gruff attitude most of the evening even when at the end I asked how the bar take had gone he said “all right”. All right? All right? The place was heaving from start, er, well, middle, to the end of the night and everyone was pissed on Steve’s beer. “Two pints of Hurimann Steve,” I ask. “That’s it” he says. “That’s your tab run out. Spent. You lot are really pissing it up the wall tonight.”

Brummy Jon well sorted out the kit and she sounded beautiful. Si juggled his kids and when the baby sitter arrived he joined us in the bosom of grumpy old Steve and his tiny pub that smells of sprouts and castrated, wet pitt bull terrier. Sometimes. Once we’d managed to turn the World Darts tournament off the 50” plasma TV that dominates the bar we were off. “I’ll turn the sound down” says Steve. “Sorry mate”, I reply, “We come out to avoid the TV not to listen to house music with the darts playing out”.

Out celebrating his 40th birthday was Simon Stonehouse and his entourage of, what we call, The Whitstable Dad’s. These guys used to be the fucking boys! The Dogs’! Out every weekend, pockets filled with cash, partying like there’s no tomorrow, staying up till all hours, travelling and DJing everywhere, from Brighton to London and back again, farking having it big time. Know what I mean? Then marriage, then kids, then middle aged spread appeared. Music took a background step. Family and work began to matter more and more. They, in effect, grew up and became adults with adult responsibilities. But, hey, once in a while they all get together and get hammered. Ish.

Like at Genies birthday party last week round at Nick Dent’s. I’d been off DJing at “Ribbed” in Margate but managed to get back to the Bubble by 3am-ish and popped in to Genies party as a night cap kind of thing. Warren was busy DJing, as he had been most of the night, and everyone else was still up and running at full alcohol and whatever level. Man, they were smashed. Big time. Big shout out to Nicki Billington and Wendy for an excellent couple of really nice conversations. Wobbly but good. Nick D had gone to bed so I missed him. Everyone else was on good form and feeling rather jolly and interacting in really positive ways. Indeed the hub bub of conversation was drowning out the music somewhat.

Si Bounds was already blagging away like billio and managed to extract Warren off the decks and give me the nod. I was a bit fucked by this time and just wanted to head off home for some rest. I wasn’t listening to him anyway. I was thinking of toast. Two slices I think. One I would butter while it was hot, straight from the grill so that everything was a bit melty; and one I would let cool a little so the butter would stay a bit firmer for longer. That would have to wait; as will the acknowledgement of that toast joke to Daniel Kitson.

Eventually, after nearly getting away (I was already in the street heading for the car), Si came out to get his tunes from the car. “We’re on!” he says. I reluctantly get mine as I am loath to piss on his DJ chips and his puppy dog enthusiasm never fails to motivate me. I head back indoors, get on the decks and promptly stand on a stretched wire behind the decks that just happens to be the mains lead for the amp and the decks. The whole room is silent. Warren shouts “Haa, haa. You stepped on the power cable.” I plug it back in. Ten minutes later I do it again. In the dark I hear “haa, haa”. This is the first time I’ve heard the “leave me out of it” sound system in action. Only half of the two stacks are working. I take the rest of Chris Ribbed’s “stuff”. It fails to keep me awake. I go home.

Anyway, the Whitstable dad’s are out in force for Si Stonehouse’s set at the Smack. Si and I ended up back at an after party some months ago and he ended up spinning a few of my tunes and having a real nice time. He’s given up DJing out or buying tunes a long time ago when the wife and family came along. “Tell you what” he says. “I still have my old tunes in the loft gathering dust. I might just get a few out.” I encouraged him to do just that and next time I bumped into him he told me he’d managed to get an old deck working and was sorting a set out. He played this set down the Cabbaged night at the Smack some months ago and was now, tonight, playing yet another set. Next? Buy some new tunes and he’s back in the fold.

Because the Brewery bar is still shut the town is full of people looking for a night out. tVC benefited from this tonight as the bar was rammed with lost souls in search of a good time. The Brewery Bar invokes strong feelings in the town. It fills, or at least used to, every weekend with what Malcolm Tucker from TV show “The Thick Of It” might call "arse plasma" from "the hideous mirrorworld of fuck”. They then proceed to drink, bitch and fight each other well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Outside, after the gig, on the pavement, we're stacking the rig up ready to load up in the vehicles. Alex Bird is loudly ranting in a pissed up into his latest victims ear; this time, Kate Dixon's. He's standing too close to her, gesticulating with his hands. We need all hands on deck to move the stuff and I'm standing like a lemon making sure no one nicks the decks from the pavement; "Alex," I ask, "Can you keep an eye on this kit whilst I go back in the pub and get some more out?" Quick as a flash he shouts; "No."

Alex seemed to me, briefly, in that moment, to personally personify in that attitude, he displayed there, to me, on the pavement, that he was indeed arse plasma from the hideous mirrorworld of fuck. Then the feeling passed.

14 November 2009

a stumbling, mumbling, coherent, intricate, infinitely complicated human bonding process unique to 20th Century Kent


Downstairs, IN HELL, a motley crew of renegades, rouges, medieval brigands, immaculately dressed clubbers, immaculately undressed travellers, wide eyed babes in arms and, er, the more mature, experienced clubbers flailed and intertwined love and limbs, tattoos and dreads, slap heads and smiles in a stumbling, mumbling, coherent, intricate, infinitely complicated human bonding process unique to 20th Century Kent.

Unspoken rituals, rules and codes of behaviour were strictly observed. For example, in their dances the tVC crew vie with one another in the performance of spectacular bumbles and gurns. Flinging themselves on the floor they often land on their knees and then throw themselves on the floor again with scarcely a pause. Extreme physical strength and stamina, bred of drinking too much Herliman, is a characteristic of the male, and indeed the female, dancer. The deck gurus, elevated from their lowly status of "daft trainspotting tosspots" are now regarded as the joyous bringers of much recreational happiness. And, despite their unattractive features and low intelligence, they do hold a special place in the hearts of us all.

Grabbing us by the spherical objects, tickling our fancy, providing a nice soundtrack to our inner explorations and vibrating our diaphragm in a most pleasurable manner were the following disc jockeys: Nick (sticking to the game, improving daily and for starting it off). Clive FX (playing a particularly fine blend of groovilicious housiness. "Really fucking good"). Rob Phelps (as ever, solid, dependable, reliable and, erm, unpredictable). Liam (deep, repetitive, almost transcendental). Ed (what can we say? Original, left field and out on his own). Kier (with us from the good old days at the Millers Arms in Canterbury. Sarah White at the helm. Dare we say, through rose tinted specs, halcyon days? Oh yeah, wondering off there. Kier's DJing? What some would call "spotless"). Tom (gives the mercurial duo a spacious edge). Tejen (what's that tune called that goes Bom Bom....Do It Man...Bom Bom? Classic or what? DJing was, as usual excellent. But you need more time). Oz (continues his unrelenting search for the nearest and newest bandwagon to jump on in order to imply his false social and political morals on anyone who will listen. Which is no-one. DJing? Played too late). Simon Stonehouse (for your humble reviewer, the best set of the night. Fresh from eight hours kip, he revived the morning sesh for the die-hards with two and a bit hours discy jockular jollity 'till 10.30am. Not forgetting Guest Jasper who was as one PP put it "well all right". Now officially on the subs bench).

UPSTAIRS Mark Dettmar surprising with a well thought out, mellow, set superbly mixed (once he'd settled in). Mark Shimmon, acidy and trancey, played early (don't ask) and left early with only half his fee. His partner, Micheala, due to give birth any second. (Now the proud parents of a bouncing baby girl, Chloe).

It was of course, Golden Boy, or Sherlock to us, who we were waiting for and he certainly didn't dissappoint.When his first tune went on everybody upstairs sprang up, ran to the balcony , and the downstairs atmosphere erupted. Pumpcious. Cheeky.

Paul Hayes, after a, er, brief negotiation, relegated the pound-meister Warren and Third Lung to the 8 'till 10 spot. By the time they had set up and played the party was virtually over. Real sorry lads. A better spot guaranteed next time we work with each other.

And finally...a mention must go out to Martin and Maurice for the sounds. Chirpy and Chipper. M looking after the baby whilst M had a kip in the van. Burning the candle at both ends after doing a fashion show that same afternoon).Rob "Siricom" Lights, due down from Nottingham with his strange images and video jockeying skills failed to show due to transportation entanglements (don't ask). Next time, "I'll be there!".And, this is the last, promise, Roy, the venues owner. Cheers mate.

12 November 2009


The first of an occasional series documenting the adventures of S and P "out on the town".


Havin escaped Faversham pubs and male crap chat, we cruised through the rain mist and mud of Romney Marsh. Our mission; to enter previously uncharted party territory. with orders to ignore John should we by chance see him there. He did have a ticket.

Friendlier to some than others the security tried to deter us with a cry of "are you ravers?" Well.....with lots of blag, luck and downright cheek we avoided the mega £12 entrance fee. The first bonus point of the evening. We entered yet another pre-fab shack filled with a large crowd and the atmosphere of a high school prom.

A different generation of party peeps from us oldies, but with a perfect mixture of consumerables, including Sue's special honey bread, optimism reigned. Pam was prodded poked and elbowed by a gaggle of Just Seventeen readers, whilst a Gollum-a-like tried to salivate on my neck all night. John was wearing his helpless face, surrounded by short women. Oops! John who? All those shirtless, strutting steroidal men. You know there is one piece of your anatomy that steroids don't enlarge guys. The intense heat was broken by the lovely fans that reminded us of "Perfect World" and the drumming in the indescribable garage room that definitely didn't. The cold taps gushed forth with blue dyed water. Unnecessary, unhealthy and uncool.

Sounds, on an adequate sound system, were too hard for me, but Pam, grinning and gurning, stomped the night away. Two DJ's I recognised from the party I'm not allowed to mention the previous week. Just as my eternal optimism was being replaced with despair (and gaining an hour seemed unbearable) I heard a new tune. For the next two hours, LUCCI, in his red and black hat, played a brilliant set and had everyone blissed out in the dancefloor. New tunes we heard the following day at Paul and Nick's. The second bonus point. Poor John was dragged home early and missed the best bit.

A deceptive drive home for Pam, who asked why the party mobile was going so slowly, and the clock said 90mph. Driving through Dingley Dell heading for the Sunday Soakers in Whitstable we saw a mad dancing figure on the horizon. It was Aaron, walking home from DJ Nameless after a second party (that I must not mention. So much censorship in a free paper.) A fun night out with two bonus points. More backdrops, clear running water and some positive vibes needed. In my opinion, for £12, your customers deserve a bit more.

More "Girls Nights Out" reports soon!

11 November 2009

Yoghurt weaving.

So, it was with a heart and being of unbearable lightness that the tVC bandwagon croaked out of Whitstable in Lin’s superfast Audi something at 9.30 something, or “9 on the dot” as we call it, with Simon still pulling up his underpants from his various sleazy doings hours before, Oz still grumbling grumpily about anything to anyone that would listen, which was no-one. Lin, pleased she wasn’t driving for a change, so smiling even more than she normally does and Clare, fresh from a mad bout of stalk manufacturing cackling hysterically at the prospect of downing house doubles ahoy of dark rum and black current till her piss turned purple. Don’t ask.

It was a night of many contrasts, to tedious to list here, but suffice to say they were all going to be boring literary ones like wind and rain contrasting with, er, dry and warm. Luckily the drive took all of 10 seconds as we strained to hear Tiiiiiiiiiimmeeeeeeeeee Westwood on the radio bang out the new hip hop selection. The volume was so low I thought I was in a orange scented mini cab coming back from a crap nightclub, stemming back the puke, listening to a local radio station specifically designed to pacify drunken thugs.

At the club it was Ribbed night. Ooh I was coming over all polysexual as I chatted up and had my photo taken with all 3 of the gay men there; otherwise it was the usual selection of Margate nightlife shaking their booties on the floor. Luckily the booze was cheaper than the watered down warm piss the Neptune pub in Whitstable usually serves (bangs table with flat of hand in poor impression of Sach; “SWOT!”) Although, saying that the booze is pretty much cheaper everywhere than the Neppy. After Nick Unite did a sterling fall on his sword warm up it was time for Soz, or Oz and Si, for the next couple of hours. Oh how we laughed at the decks being 10 metres apart and the notion of sub bass speakers under the stage – it was no notion – monitors right next to the decks and deck on flight cases all conspiring wickedly to provide massive amounts of extremely annoying feedback every time a record was played. “At home”, say Dantix, lining up to come on next, “I have my CD decks on top of my speakers”. Yeah, right Dan. Feedback loops are the bane of every left thinking, dinosaur, sorry old school vinyl DJ and just because you CD DJ’s can down 50 billion tracks for 10p each doesn’t cast gloom or even piss on the chips of the vinyl DJ’s ability to carefully scrutinise every vinyl release for at least 2 half decent tracks before parting with £7.99 for a record that is fucked the first time you play it on some clubs decks with knackered needles on them that are 5 years old and just totally devastate the grooves with one play never to be heard properly again. Of course we always ensure we have spanking new set of cartridges and needles with us at all times at an average cost of £80 to £120 per pair.

The next hardest bit of the night after trying desperately to get two tunes to actually mix into one another was me desperately trying to find some fucking drugs that half worked on my rave ravaged middle aged carcass for more than half an hour and may indeed lift my mood up just one tiny fraction from the perpetual bad temper I tend to have as my default mode because I work with fucking Herbert teenagers with bad attitudes and even worse maths and English grades and who smoke too much dope and can’t even write or spell properly and who are destined to have large families then end up in prison coz they are all really fucking shit criminals. Alas this was not to be; I did manage to procure some “MDMA” that, when I tested it with my ecstasy testing kit when I got home came up as “fuck all; you’ve be ripped off again you cunt; when you gonna learn your lesson”. So I tried some class A’s. These immediately emptied my wallet of, hey listen to this, REAL MONEY, in exchange for some powdery substance that proceeded to make me feel slightly more anxious than the anxiety I felt when I had the MDMA. I know! Beer! Sometime you just got to stick to the classic old school hit. Know what I mean? Has anyone else noticed how club accoutrements just seem to be getting worse and worse? Because I have, just don’t get me started ranting and raving about it.

I’m staying in next weekend. Yoghurt weaving.

10 November 2009

a blunted, laid back and very knowledgeable crowd


Big pull DiY fill 7th Heaven to the gills with a blunted, laid back and very knowledgeable crowd of deep house devotees who heaped offerings on the bi-umverate fluff gods. All hail o' bringers of much joy.

Arriving bang on time within 15 minutes they were watered and bundled onto the decks. We couldn't wait. From first to last note the floor heaved heavenly. Two and a half hours of perfectly formed art.

What a fucking shame it all had to end at two. Redundant licensing laws get right up our collective nostrils. A generous smattering of old school travellers mingled with the house whores, techno terrorists, hand-bag fascists (one of whom moaned, very loudly, ALL night. No prizes for guessing who). Plus a good sprinkling from around Kent (Ashford, welcome to the party, Maidstone, Dover, Folkstone, Margate, Whitstable, Lamberhurst - all over. Including several braces of Canterbury studentdom.

It was truly a gathering of the souls. Austin and Nad. Chris and Sharon. Russell's birthday bash. Dom. Martins monitor giving a little feedback for the first time ever. Soon sorted out. A great tape (feedback included) coming out of the night. Copies of which are floating around. One on its way to Nottingham.

A beautiful night of beautiful music. Kier and Tom in fine support. Holdin' their own. But then again WE know all about the talents of K+T don't we? Flying the house flag. Unfortunately for Digs and Woosh their return home proved somewhat spectacular. Ploughing into the back of another car they wrought considerable damage to theirs. If fact it's a write off. They, however were unscathed if a little pissed off. Life at the top ey?

8 November 2009

They're house fascists.


Loui's housewarming saw the Whitstable rodents soak it up in grand style. They were all there. Dawn ("who's that on the decks? Hmnn? Well he's fucking crap"), Anna ("don't forget! Sherlock tape from Ramsgate"), Lou himself and the new love of his life ("I don't think I'll make it to Digs and Woosh of Thursday. Haw! Haw! haw!"), Pam ("Can I just have a little lie down?"), John ("Where's Pam?"), Kate and Mr E ("I farking lurrve this tune"),Steve Burns Out, Gary, Sue, Toby adding glamour and glitz. Running out of DJ's at 6-ish (shame on you) meant the party fizzled out early. Cheers to Nick Renny for a nice house set. Nick, a slap (on the back) for her warm housey warmings on the deep, uplifting tip (duplifting anyone?). And Oz for exactly the same set he played at the D+W post 7th... gathering. Plus Tom Wells (and his glasses). And Mat (fresh from his three month DJ sourjorn abroad. Playing a hip-hop set here to a distinctly lack lustre response). Don't worry mate. They're house fascists. It wasn't anything personal.

6 November 2009

All the tVC big guns clocked on for deck spinning duties


Bigger house for this one. With a back garden just the right size for the love marquee Samhein never looked so good and we celebrated the Celtic new year with massive love doodles. All the tVC big guns clocked on for deck spinning duties (what happened to Friday night lads?) and jostled, in a polite way of course, for their usual two hour spots.The heavens opened, the camouflage in the kitchen fell down ("that", says one particularly disgruntled party peep, "is annoying"), the fire went out (thank fuck, the heat must have been about 200 degrees 5 metres away), everyone crammed into the house. The DJ thought it was the tune he was playing (daft bastard). The amp "over-heated" "Someone" had put their coat over it (duh!). Spare amp brought out. Plugged in. Two fuses blew. Shite. The H+H had cooled down and was working perfectly again. Luckily. To loud crys of "sorrrt tit owwwt!" we powered up and were off again. Thank you God. Everything going perfectly. Everyone settling down nicely and getting stuck in to the dancefloor. Brilliant.

Then a hand reaches over and rips the record, first off one deck, then the other. Even Tejen wouldn't do anything so outrageous (especially as he was in "Holland"). "Turn the lights on! It's the police!", a voice in the dark shouted in a somewhat aggressive manner. "You're not the fucking police", says a 'coatless' Stevey Sea, "where's your warrant card?" It turns out to be a disgruntled neighbour who didn't realise that if only he'd asked we'd have turned it down. Which of course we did. Oz carried on with his set. First vocal to be heard after this incident? "This is serious music...".

Liam, surprising everyone, including himself, by playing an uplifting, vocal laden set to a great reaction took our psylicibin addled cortex on his spacious soundtrack to machine elf land where we swirled around, playing with some pixies, grew extremely tall and flew around the sky for a bit. Ed and Kier, two separate sets of course, holding their own. Doing a good jobby. A five hour set at the end going to the only DJ that stayed. You who were there at the end know. And now you're on his crimbo card list.

4 November 2009


I can now only think that a demon had gotten into me for now that I feel wrecked and wasted and can only groan at the thought of the weekends activities. It started on Thursday with an afternoons dip into the oceans of psychedelia with the help of our "pointed headed friends", then continued at the Works with the soothing rhythms of Tom and Kier, followed by the extraordinarily mellow and deeply sensual tunes of Digs and Woosh. There follows a car trip to Whitstable and the home of two of our favourite DJ's and there the entertainment continued 'till dawn with Oz and Tim manning the decks.

Staggered home, slept, got up,ate, washed. Well, it's Friday night. Time to party. Return flight to Whitstable and up more stairs. Rang the door bell. "Who do you know here?", was the question we were asked on the door step. Lots of mumbling, someone vouched for us I suppose 'cause we were eventually let in. The night got better and better, wilder and wilder. Who was it who tried to squash me in the hall? And why?

Thanks to all the DJ's who played, whoever they were. Even the poor, hapless guy who tried to entertain us with a "hip-hop" set. A very brave, brave thing to do. He still probably doesn't know how lucky he was to escape with his life. Thanks also to Loui for everything else and at last everyone had departed. I've woken up again. After three hours sleep. It's Saturday. The children playing in the street tell me that. Time drags but soon it is evening again. Off to Whitstable, another house party, still more people, some fresh, some bearing the scars of the previous nights, some looking remarkably healthy considering.

The party is at full tilt when it is invaded by an enemy spirit or enraged neighbour tearing the discs from the decks. The live crowd begin to growl and hiss or so I'm told as I'm now on my way, to or from; on a mission to rescue a missing friend from the bed that had claimed her. The mission turns out to be highly successful and we return in triumph. The music no longer playing in the garden is still pumping inside. One or two people are sitting in the marquee but it is too dark and spooky in there for me, so I return to the house to dance and dance as if enslaved by the music or possessed by some "Ju-Ju" spirit.

The "pointed headed" ones reappear and are greeted warmly by the revellers. We drink their health with an amber liquid tasting of honey and lemons. The night whirls on and on like a spinning top let loose in the minds of all those gathered together to celebrate the Celtic New Year. Whose house is it? What went on in the front room? People went in, I saw no one emerge. These things remain a mystery and all I'm left with is the lyrics from Digs and Woosh's tune "you are my friend" and a knackered body. Thank you everyone.

1 November 2009


Well, what can I say, apart from what a weekend! Beginning on Thursday, and ending, for some of us, on the early hours of Monday morning. LF 10 topp of the popps goes to Now Ey, How Ya Diddlin, for diddlin very well thank you, all weekend. He was even spotted smiling a couple of times.

A big thanks to our Nottingham chums, 'Digs and Woosh' who came and titillated our senses so beautifully, warming us up for the weekend to follow. The tape that is circulating of their set, has had grateful recipients phoning up HQ in tears (literally, although the tears were probably stimulated by other things as well). Unfortunately the timeless aural splendour of the tape has been marred by feedback problems (to the extent of nearly blowing the speakers if listened to in transit) which were noticeable on the night. When Mag Mart, sound man extra-ordinaire, blah, blah and so on, was asked by Digs, Woosh, Paul and Nick in unison on bended knee, pleadingly, near tears, to "do something about the feedback" responded in useless, smiley, how does my equipment work mode "nahhhh, sounds all right to me." Maurice I hope you're reading this, coz you're worth every penny mate!

Good to see the place rammed to the rafters with so many lovely, glowing party peeps, although the Whitstable posse was noticeable by it's absence. Lightweights.

Spotted - Austin "I'm hal.." falling off his stool, in his new designer togs and leather wellingtons, bought by his mum, Chris and Sharon fresh with the joys of parent hood looking very well and happy, Russ celebrating his 21st, Dickie and Gail, limbering up in preparation for their Skin 2 appointment the next week, a certain chap from Ramsgate being forcibly ejected, Computer Gary, Pam, John, Sue and Aaron all on day one of the mammoth bender to follow, Wide eyed Toby, Nick and Sara fresh from the vigours of intellectual, political debate, Trudi who had all the clothes apart from those she was still wearing stolen, which understandably totally ruined her night, and ours when we heard about it, sorry Trudi. And loads of lovely chums from far flung corners of deepest Kent, not spotted for a few months, as well as lots of soon to be chums.

After it was back to HQ for a hoe-down, whilst D and W sped off back to Nottingham, with an extremely well dressed young chap in close attendance. (We later learnt that they suffered an extremely hairy accident from which they luckily all escaped from unhurt).

Saving ourselves for the weekend, nahhh, not us as the wheels of steel were switched on and Oz began another mammoth DJing set, and upstairs' children woken up mid sleep, again. Nick ducked off early, because she used the old work in the morning routine, but everyone it must be said was in full flow, especially Burns Out, in pride of place in front of the speaker with that look, closely followed by Toby 'the safest parker in town', who likes parking his car in the middle of the road as long as it's opposite a junction. Award for widest eyes of the night still going to Toby, and he was ahead by a few hours.

Friday evening - the easiest party to set up ever. Up a few steps and along a corridor, with Oochie Oochie slipping one in before the festivities to follow on Saturday. Quite literally it appears as we were regaled with details of his lunch box antics. 'I didn't stop till 8'.

Louis turned all arty on us and started hanging the drapes up very artistically, it's just as well the meatheads that turned up later didn't see him, or he might have seen the end of his drape fondling days. Unfortunately his lovely white walls were never to be the same again, as whilst clearing up the next day, they were found to have transformed themselves into a particularly fetching shade of black. It's that cheap paint Nick uses from the Early Learning Centre.... Louis took it like a man, 'it needed a paint anyway,' he lied.

Everything set up, and surprise, surprise, one of the decks was fucked, so a quick phonecall to soundman of the year, and over to Chavland to pick up some decks, where we were treated to a few handy child-caring hints by laughing boy. Lets just say it involved a bowl of sugar.

By 11.30 Nick was already well into her usual effortlessly, and superbly mixed seamless blend of housey profferings. The Whitstable crowd much in evidence tonight, which isn't really surprising as they didn't have to drag their drink ravished bodies more than a few yards. An early attempt by the Jungle posse to seize control of the decks failed miserably, as it was ably fended off by the house music fascists, who in truth had been forewarned of this dastardly attempt and were expecting much more shit than they actually got, and who've had so much practice at fending off unwanted advances of the aural kind that they've got it down to a fine art, of using the maximum of rudeness with the minimum of effect. You're gonna have to be a bit more persistent boys.

Unfortunately, their were a few 'types' that luckily we never come into contact with anymore, but occasionally gate-crash these events and hassle and abuse all the women all night. One had a cigarette stubbed out on her arm (I kid you not) whilst being told to perform a certain action with her legs. Whilst not actually physically abusing all and sundry, they proceeded to spout a torrent of homophobic, sexist shit. Please note, if any of you are spotted lurking at any future events, you're not welcome.

Apart from these idiots, everyone else behaved in their usual impeccable manner. Those spotted for second helpings, Pam, Sue, Now Ey, Gary, John, Toby, Russ, Andy.

Party of the weekend goes to Saturday night however, which went to new lengths in self indulgence. Highlights? Putting the marquee up in between breaks in the rain (no not really), finding that all the noise problems early on where the amp kept cutting out was only due to Steve hanging his coat up on it, (I kid you not), and heard moaning about the stupid farquar who put his coat on top of the amp, trying to change over amps mid set only to find the fuses had blown, finding a knife shitfaced, and some silver foil to wrap round the fuses but forgetting to plug the output into the amp (the next day, the two knives used as a screwdriver which disappeared, were found actually inside the amp, no doubt shorting the whole circuit. Whoops.), Pam and Sue for their mammoth fungus eating escapades, Eds set, the old boy who burst into the room, ripping the records off the decks complaining about the noise, only to have an indignant throng shout at him and tell him Loz=esque, that he was a very rude man, steaming in like that, and taking the records of the decks, and that hadn't he made a noise sometimes, at least once in his youth. He held his hands aloft in weary resignation and fucked off, but we did turn the volume down as well, being afloat in a sea of lovely, friendly people, seeing the love tent in all its glory, dragging ourselves to the pub at 12 for our religious Sunday sesh, for more abuse of the liquid variety. God was I glad to slip into bed...

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