27 September 2010

A “lad’s night out”


Louis wasn’t particularly receptive when I went to pick him before the Margate gig. Strangely subdued in the car on the way down he wasn’t his usual joking, laughing self. Si, in the back seat, was rambling through his usual justifications for having one of his irregularly unjustifiable male only ‘bonding sessions’ or as he calls it a “lad’s night out”. “I have the boy’s”, his sons, “once a fortnight,” he says, “so L can go out on her own then if she wants; I don’t have an opportunity to do that; she always wants to go out with me on my nights off from the boys; she lives opposite me as well so we see each other all the time.” I can understand that a man needs time away from the love of his life, his partner. Or as L puts it; “it’s absolutely reasonable for Si to want to have a night without a girlfriend hanging about”; and later a mysterious warning, after she tired of me texting, asking her to come, “try not to work out the workings of a complicated system”.

“Because you said it was a lads’ night out, Clare, who was coming said she’s not coming now because L’s not coming. Rosie is going to BJ’s ZedHeads gig up at the University now. Louis missus is staying in. She has a wedding tomorrow and is doing food for it”, I said. Always wanting to have everyone of the group together, always wanting us to have fun en masse, I always get disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Perhaps Si should rename it a "Si With No Lin Night" to avoid confusion?

We fall madly in love with someone, we revolve our lives around that person, but somehow it never works out the way we envisage. Men (and some women) often break up with loved ones, while they are still in love because they think there is someone else out there who is perfect for them. They choose whatever excuse feels right to not commit to not love to not show passion, to feel restricted, to feel things are just not right. Women know that Mr. Right doesn't exist and that no man is perfect, yet they can't help but always wonder whether their boyfriends are ‘the one’. The same applies to men, though men tend to be more blasé about it. Does 'divisive' boy’s or girl’s nights out add to this question?

So, I’m sitting there, driving, all quiet because there are no women with us, Louis quiet because he’s feeling ill and Si, unable to justify, to me anyway, imposing the 'lad’s only' night aesthetics on two men who actually like hanging out with our women on a Saturday night. The genuine love of your life is the one that makes your heart beat a little faster, the person you are constantly trying to impress, the person whose voice you need to hear and the person you do the little things for. Or do we just end up with people that meet enough of our criteria, whatever that might be.

Warming to Si’s persistent encouragement we begin to embrace slightly the fact that, hey, maybe we can have fun without the girls. That it is ok to feel bad about it but then good about it after a short time has passed. That feeling or notion that “if your current girlfriend is the love of your life (and a person can tell if they are or not), then never let them go” remains strong in me so the thought of the lads night should have no impact upon the big picture going on there. It takes a while for that to sink in though as I find it really hard to buy into L & Si’s “complicated system” and perhaps view it as threat to my own simple system, serial monogamy, which of course it is not. Besides a lad’s night out does not have to involve predatorily pursuing other women for sex. It can just mean the men enjoy each other’s company and have a laugh, a play and a few beers?


At the club when we arrive DJ Ferdinand is warming up on the CD’s playing some unabashed electro housers, a few oldies and a few favourites. The space is quite full and there a few very drunk but friendly people dancing. One woman looks like she is going to topple over and smash her head on the table any second. She always just recovers at the last moment. One guy stands in front of us doing silly rave dances and catching our eye then raising his eyebrows at us. “I like your jumper”, I say.

There are 'technical problems' throughout most of Ferdinand’s set due to the fact there are no decks set up (so passé darling don’t you know?) so Si and Derrick Patterson fuck about for a bit getting a table, then an extension lead, then the 1210’s from the car, then plug them in, set them up then move the table because the leads are too short. During this Si is followed downstairs, confronted and searched by the club’s owner who asks him to empty all his pockets out and his ‘drugs’ are taken off him. “It’s a Guaraná based energy powder” Si proffers, weakly, which it was. The Big D though, luckily, gets it back for him later.

Ferdinand is off at 10.30 or 11 and we get on and turn the volume down. It may be my age, here we go again, but I like a bar where you can hear the music and talk a bit as well. The music immediately calms down, the club calms down, I calm down and people begin to relax a bit as the soothing balm of deep house fills the air. The amiable drunks leave and new people arrive. Derrick, Si and I play half an hour or so each till chucking out time at 3am. Time passes quick, rapidly slipping ‘into the zone’ and as music, beer and conversation take over the space and we all live in the moment, connect and enjoy.

One of the great reasons Si said the lads night out is so super is that it gives us men a chance to sit down and talk to each other properly without the women there. To be honest by the time Louis went round to see Margate Jon, “I’m gagging for a smoke” he says slipping out the door; I didn’t get a chance to talk to him much. He never came back anyway and I got a text off him the next day just as he was boarding the train back to Whitstable saying he wasn't well and crashed at Jon’s place. As for Si, by the time he’d fucked about with decks, hung out with the promoter and played his tunes the night was over and I never got a chance to exchange any words let alone ideas with him. Thank God I did have some people to talk to and have fun with; the delightful Mick and Emma, Subsdance Stoney, DJ Gary, Nick Beats from Unite, Geoff, Kirsty and her daughter, Tort the ever charming ex, Brian, one of Derek’s mates and the lovely Debs. Got a DJ slot off Martin Bird for the Brewery Bar on the 6th November; he was one of the DJ’s in the downstairs room where “How Clean is Your House” were hosting. Nice.


Conversation and laughter continued at the after party round Mick and Emma’s spacious art gallery as we lounged around on sofas smoking, indoors, how strange. Si was off getting a mixer for ages, in my car, which is an automatic, and he’d never driven an automatic before. Gary said he was jerking the car kangaroo style all the way down the road. Mick suggested we just put a CD on and Debs suggested we plug in her iPod but Si was “on one” and wanted to play records. Who were we to argue?

When he did get back he spent time setting the decks up in the main gallery where there was no one as we all were in the front gallery sitting around on the sofas. Mick and Emma ransacked the place and produced from nowhere bottles of vodka, Malibu, mixers (peach and cranberry) and also white and red wine. Si was next door playing to himself and by this time was non compos mentis having partaken of all the wonders and joys he could befall. He was like a bladder on a stick in the car on the way home but delivered safe and sound, even helped to cross the road from the car to his house. I think he had a good night because he didn’t have to look after anyone; neither his girlfriend nor himself. Maybe that’s what he meant by “lads night out”?

I got a text from L later on Sunday afternoon thanking me for getting him home safely.

I don’t do it for praise or approval I do it out of friendship and because I love the big lunk and want him to be himself and if that’s what he wants that’s what I do.

Just try not to work out the workings of our complicated lad’s night out system will you?

tVC next appear on:

Thursday 30th September 2010Emily’s Leaving Do @ The Neptune, Whitstable. 10pm till finish. Oz and Si say goodbye to our favourite bar alcohol delivery person as she heads back off to University.

Saturday 2nd October 2010
Some big thingy or other going on in a field with multiple sound systems including tVC. Bring a brolly?

Saturday 9th October 2010
TV Cabbaged at the Smack, Whitstable. Oz, Si and Mike SU lay down the grooves for the regular sploshers.

Saturday 6th November 2010Blindin’ @ The Brewery Bar. Martin Bird returns with his long established Blindin’ night as it moves from Canterbury to Whitstable. Oz and Si take their warm up duties well serious from 10pm till midnight. Other DJ’s play the other slots as it builds to a frenzy.

25 September 2010

“The Hug Club”

“The Hug Club” - West Coast Bar - Margate

The lure of a seedy, sweaty basement might be hard to explain to the nonbeliever, but the dark, dingy dungeon-esque room is once again the best setting to rediscover your faith in nightlife as well as the place to be seen – or, at the very least, the place to hide away in the corners.

That the promoter, and resident DJ, of tonight’s event, Derrick Patterson, has a generous and pragmatic streak is part of the reason why he is a survivor on a transient scene that sees club nights come and go on a weekly basis. He is deeply loyal to his music and never ceases to inspire. That's not to say his quality control is higher than anyone else’s; he’s just never bored or grief-stricken in his approach, which makes his sang-froid a little more impressive.

Never a conventional promoter he’s not afraid to experiment within the whole range of house music. His last club night had the sanguine Steve Zest, head honcho of the Whitstable Delicious nights guesting. Tonight he has tVC DJ’s Oz and Si. His club approach is roomy enough to allow a few detours and surprises. He is a celebratory champion of the fact that the current UK dance scene has become a pretty broad church.

21st Century promoters such as Derrick Patterson are producing a new kind of club night and that bright light is shining and penetrating the bias against deep house music’s so called hypnotic fug, bringing a new clarity and a fuller appreciation to modern clubbers. The promoter has brought generous helpings of enthusiasm, ebullience, a gargantuan capacity for work, courage, and a steady proselytising on behalf of promoting house music in Thanet. DP’s sonic appeal has always been offset by his idiosyncratically British start-up philosophy, placing humility and hard work over hubris. Few ideas reach unexpected outcomes, but West Coast Bar regulars will probably find that a recommendation.

Into this mix come the hoary East Kent free party stalwarts themselves. tVC always liked to think they sat at the more cerebral end of the house spectrum sometimes being accused of being elitist and stroking their chins. More like knowledgeable and appreciateive.

It is unsalubriously rumoured that tVC gigs attract an audience of a certain age. They will so soon, if they are not already, be fat and disappointed and 50; or is that just Oz? You can't fault their enthusiasm though, but the aging house DJ is an easy figure to mock. In the early and mid 90s, the tVC people were boggle-eyed ravers in their teens and 20s, and one would think that tonight would clearly a red-letter day for Thanet’s babysitters; but it so isn’t. It would be easier still if all tVC had to offer was memories. But nothing could be further from the truth.

tVC deep house and techno ethics eschews tired cliché because they deal fundamentally in gently technorific affecting reveries. Their dazed funk sodden grooves and jazz-derived wooze provides uncluttered and pristine meditations. The throb of exquisite, synthesised kick drums, melting melodies supplemented with percussion and synths and just enough melancholy to suggest hidden depths, cannot fail to propel you gently towards the dance floor. They are still ploughing their resolutely individual, indefatigable and unpredictable furrow. It's a reason not so much about walking away from the world as about all the most contemporary reasons you may have for trying to.

DJ Si is never less than fully unintegrated with his surroundings. The results of all this are mixed, as ever: funny, irritatingly clever, sometimes teetering along the edge of listenability, often all three at once. No dark, dour observations on the futility of it all from Si. The effect is discombobulating, like being on a strobe-lit ferry in rough seas. He plays a set of soulful deep house and minimal tech with lots of dancefloor bite. He dovetails this nicely with his pigeonhole-defying blend of mind-melding techno dubby grooves. He propels mixes that output chains of reference and ironic reversal extended beyond all bearing. He plays a convergence that really works though; a pleasure indeed. It feels like that point between liquid and frozen, always on the margin, slightly skewed. Some people might call it slush. It’s like difficult easy listening, with globules of sound resisting each other like chip fat and washing up liquid. Not that it lacks more straightforward ways of hitting the dancefloor sweet spot because it doesn’t. The parts may be disparate but they are made to submit to an abiding mood of vivacity and sunniness. A plethora of pulsating field explorations no less. Deep house will always eschew tired clichés don’t cha know? His best set to date.

But, thankfully, tVC have also lost none of their shambling, DIY philosophy or charm. The lugubrious undertow of their slinky flow is really becoming universally comprehensible to a new, more aware and sussed generation brought up on electronic music. Indeed the tVC sound mixes familiarity and misery in an oddly appealing way.

On a prosaic level, that is perhaps because deep house made music less utilitarian: its subtle minimalism and playful ennui previously lost in the ludicrously lucrative funsucking, cheesy-anthem-fest of much of mainstream club culture. In the future we'll see less cheesy-anthem-festing and lots more smaller independent acts and DJ’s doing their own thing, but on a regional and city level; just like Derek Patterson is doing in Margate. Basically we're going back down into the underground, baby, and there's nothing wrong with that. It’s where electronic music, and perhaps all art, truly thrives.

With exemplary and often excruciating honesty, of his crippling self-doubts, his needinesses, the greed of his addictions, his drive for acceptance, shallow though he knows it is, Oz still purifies his soul through his DJing. Education is about much more than learning things. As Stephen Fry maybe would say "in the rooms of friends, with earnest frolic and happy disputation. Wine can be a wiser teacher than (vinyl)." (The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry). Any excuse for a piss up, ey?

tVC are apologetically unapologetic. What that means is that on the one hand nothing has changed – people inspired by the past always want to make and hear new music – and on the other hand everything has changed – because people inspired by the past always want to make and hear new music.

Ridiculously over the top, but also ridiculous amounts of fun. It is dancing as a way of taking your mind off the fact that, as Woody Allen once put it, life is divided into the horrible and the miserable – i.e. genuine physical suffering v mere existential angst – and if you're really lucky, you end up miserable.

22 September 2010

Long live the Smack.

Ah, don’t we just love it when we go down to the smack? The spiritual bosom of deep house in Whitstable. tVC have been on/offing, mainly onning it must be said, at pubs in Whitstable since the dawn of prime. Faffing and fucking about in exchange for measly amounts of quaffage of the lowest, most despicable and nasty drug ever to pass the lips of man and woman on the planet; beer.

From my point of view it has cost me dear; both tVC and alcohol. Those in the know and who have followed the infamous and unfortuitous ups and downs and sideways meanderings of the tVC near do wells through the years will be yawningly familiar with the many trips, spills and falls that have befallen all who have ever attended even one of the Cabbaged at the Smack gigs. DJ’s mysteriously get better at mixing, suddenly have new found fame thrust upon them and get massive amounts of really high priced booking both home and abroad. All for just playing down the Smack. Once.

People who have come to dance and be merry or drown their sorrows or celebrate some good thing in their life with their fellow sloshers and sploshers invariably end up the wrong side of midnight with their hands down someone’s trousers fiddling with some play dough, whispering sweet nothing into some ear, well I think it’s an ear, invariably end up fielding questions from their partners or parents the next day wondering about whether their sanity is still in the room and suspecting all sorts of crimes against babies, small animals and humanity when all they did was ‘go down the pub for a “few” beers and listen to, or play, a few tunes’.

Ah, the joys indeed of the Whitstable underworld of kitchens in houses drinking crème de menthe from stilettos, rolling cigarettes from tea bag droppings, telling anyone who will listen how you can’t remember getting that latest tattoo of Chinese characters that you thought meant ‘peace and harmony’ but actually translates as ‘I’m a smelly arse’. Listening to the drunken meanderings of some crackhead caught on a continuous mobeus loop of self flagrentary and fragmentary introspection that even their Freudian analyst would find indecipherable but basically translates as ‘I think I’m a fuck up and don’t know what to do about it. Can I sleep with you or if not will you put the kettle on?’ when in actual fact they are perfectly sane and normal in their behaviour.

The rallying cry of’ all back to yours’ can often be heard, but not in my ear, just before 10 cars full of wazzocked lunatics follows you home then proceeds to trash your house before leaving it knee deep in empty beer cans, empty bottles of cheap Tesco’s fizz and cigarette dumps extinguished in your favourite plant pots. Was that, insert latest boy/girl on a bender / lost my job / relationship / house name here, who shat in the cat litter tray, cracked a couple of lines of plain flour or frutose out that they bought in the pub from some twat who tries to pass his wares off as 'drugs', on the record that was playing. after that?  Time to swap clothes with the myriad of beer stained dresses in the ‘lost property box’? And why do they always have two or three rice crispies stuck to their arse once their trousers invariably end up round their proverbial ankles? I’ll never know. Whatever, it always makes a great photograph.

It’s just the pressure of that high powered highly paid job with shed loads of responsibility that justifies my excessive and extreme weekend of ‘letting my hair down’ or ‘relaxing’ or ‘did I really do/say that?’ that enables us all to actually turn up on a Monday morning to our lovely career jobs and sit in front of that desk / classroom / computer monitor and churn out another week’s worth of self congratulatory, self justifiable guff and stuff for the man; or maybe that’s just me. It probably is. Either way you can’t have one without the other.

Partying may be social, funny and a blessed release of pent up tension and frustration but we all know how necessary it is. Don't we? Go on, let it all out. The massive carbuncle caused by restricting our lives needs release and this very act is somehow tolerated by society because as the man knows no one is coming back to work on Monday if all they allow is space for us to sit in our rocking chairs, knitting cable knit sweaters and going to bed at 10am after a nice cup of Horlicks.

Long live the party. Long live the Smack. Long live the weekend.

Next gig 9th October 2010 at the Smack, Middle Wall, Whitstable with Mike SU, Rosie, Si and Oz. Afterwards we’re all back to YOUR house. Bring your own Rice Crispies.

15 September 2010

"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."

"We've given up far too many freedoms in order to be free".
John le Carre

Free party ethics? What are they and do they exist in 2016? If they do who lives by them? Where did they come from and have they changed since they were first thought of?

Ethics is another word for moral philosophy.

The free party scene is alive and kicking all over Britain and no more so than in Kent. This scene is disciplined and ethical and we believe that by adhering to this ethos we have the moral and legal high ground over any other party interested in disrupting or stopping any of our events. Well, maybe not the legal high ground. A clarion calls no less.

The sound systems of East Kent form a loose community alliance that is mutually supportive but flexible enough to allow each posse its own individual identity and set of priorities. The result is an eclectic, organic scene where community and co-operation are highly valued as fundamental to the free party ethic. The ethic is of communication and co-operation to facilitate free parties and mutual support.

mmm loudspeaker... I love you
There is a need and therefore there is a supply for an alternative to the machinations of mainstream club culture. Mainstream club culture is run on a capitalist model of maximizing profit. According to Wikipedia, and, indeed, Karl Marx, Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately owned and operated for a private profit.

A club determines the price and output level that returns the greatest profit. Simple. Rent or buy building, furbish it out, hire staff, sell drugs (alcohol), charge people to get in to experience provided music and pay DJ’s or bands and staff. Money left over? Profit. Profit equals maximized revenue minus fixed or variable cost. With this model the venue becomes a capitalistic device used to provide profit. A club owner may or should I say will use the skills and cultural zeitgeisty awareness of a music promoter to attract various sub cultural groups to the venue. This is not to support the music or the promoter or the DJ’s or indeed anything; it is a means of capitalist business venturing. Don’t be fooled. They want as much of your money as they can get out of your pocket. From entrance fee, to cloakroom, to water to beer to approved taxi’s to take you home; extract extract extract. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. It is what it is.

Oppositional forces are inevitable as balance is sought in the universe and the free party scene with its free party ethics provides just such an opposition. The free party preference is for an outdoor location preferable, for tVC anyway, is a beach, a wood or a field. In this area we set up a ‘temporary autonomous zone’ (in our minds). In this space people are free to do what they want as long as there is no harm done to other people and other people’s rights are respected.

The party becomes an amalgam of whatever everyone contributes to the party. Within this TAZ people may be selling things for profit, e.g. water, but this is tolerated, as is all behaviour. The price of a bottle of water in a field will always be far cheaper than in a club. When was the last time you got a cup of tea at Fabric?

People may contribute lights, work on the marquee, provide equipment and tidy up. No one is in charge, no one organises the party or, crucially, takes profits from it. If the guy with the generator wants to have a whip round then funds are donated out of choice not coercion. Free from the restrictions of capitalism people are free to arrive or leave whenever they feel as the party continues until it ends.

Licensing restrictions, heavily regulated by police on nightclubs, are ignored thus freeing up the need to party between set hours. People can bring food and drink as they please and consume it anywhere at the party. They can set up tents, fires, spaces that they can designate for whatever purpose they envisage. They can park on the dance floor if they want but, obviously, some health and safety guidelines must be observed. Which ones? We decide as a collective.

They can behave as they wish and are not forced to behave as a club dictates; falling asleep on the dance floor is OK, the right to wear whatever clothes they like, light fires, beep their car horns, dance, sit or scream.

There are no police, no bouncers, no bar staff, no cloakrooms. People are free to leave and return at will. They are free to smoke openly without restriction and so on. No wonder people love a free party. It costs nothing and goes on all night.

But is the overriding ethic of the free party people hedonism? Hedonism posits that the principle ethic is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. Whereas Freud’s pleasure principle states that people seek pleasure and avoid pain. There are several schools of Hedonist thought ranging from those advocating the indulgence of even momentary desires to those teaching a pursuit of spiritual bliss. In their consideration of consequences, they range from those advocating self-gratification regardless of the pain and expense to others, to those stating that the most ethical pursuit maximises pleasure and happiness for the most people. (3)

Even Cyrenaic hedonism may be indulged or practiced at a free party (definitely forbidden in a mainstream club) Founded by Aristippus of Cyrene, Cyrenaics supported immediate gratification or pleasure. "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die." Even fleeting desires should be indulged, for fear the opportunity should be forever lost. There was little to no concern with the future, the present dominating in the pursuit for immediate pleasure. Cyrenaic hedonism encouraged the pursuit of enjoyment and indulgence without hesitation, believing pleasure to be the only good. (3)

What are the reasons and motivations for such altruism on the behalf of free party people? Well, Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) posited an ethical system that may be termed "self-realizationism." In Aristotle's view, when a person acts in accordance with his nature and realizes his full potential, he will do good and be content.

Alan Lodge or Tash, a free party photographer and chronicler who documented a lot of the Hippy and New Age Traveler scene back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s has said on free parties; “we didn’t want to worry about money, dress-sense and security; it’s free party ethics...free party components have respect. Respect not only for each other but for the wider community; local towns and villages. Party venues are carefully selected for noise minimisation and care is taken to ensure adequate and safe vehicle access; no excuse is given to the police to close them down. (We are) not interested in direct confrontation, (we are) interested in the spirit and community that are increasingly generating; a free-festival style celebration through dance. (We) want: to continue to put on free parties and get away with it... offering a much needed alternative to the machinations of mainstream club culture.” (1)

I’ll leave the last word to Jez Tucker from Squall Magazine (2) “Perhaps the future of festivals and parties lies in the persistence, determination and vision of the small free party posse. For sound systems to effectively continue in the face of the CJA small, well thought-out parties, with locals in mind, would seem to be essential; but imagine a future: hundreds of small systems up and down the country doing free gigs regularly. Each has a loyal following of 500 people and they’re getting away with it. Then, one day, they all come together.

Maybe that day will be the Summer Solstice and maybe the venue will be Stonehenge."

(1) http://tash_photo.blogspot.com/2002_06_30_archive.html

(2) Thanks to Jez Tucker at www.squall.co.uk/

(3) Sahakian, William S. & Sahakian, Mabel Lewis. Ideas of the Great Philosophers. pg 37. Barnes & Noble Books (1993). ISBN 9781566192712.


StAy UnDeRgRoUnD

tAz Is a fReE pLaCe, wHeRe tHe VeRtIcALLy PoWeR Is SpoNtAnEoUsLy SuBstItuDeD By oRiZoNtAL SyStEm 0f ReLatIoNsHiPs... Is aN eXpErIeNcE wHiCh CaN dIsApPeAr wHeN tHe RePrEssIvE pReSSuRe BeCoMeS t00 StRoNg, 2 ReFORm iN 0tHeR pLaCeS aNd dIffErEnt aGeS, cHaNgInG NaMe aNd IdEntItY; It’S a MeNtaL SpAcE, WhErE y0u CaN Go, RuNNiNg AwAy fRoM tHe InDuCeD NeCeSsItIeS aNd fRoM tHe CoNdItIoNiNgS, 2 SuRpRiSe tHe eNeMy dIsAppEaRiNg fRoM hIs sIgHt.... tAz Is LiKe a pLaCe, pHysIc aNd MeNtaL, wHeRe pEoPLe CaN fReELy aSSoSiAtE, wItH

No wRittEn RuLeS 2 SuBmIt, bUt FoLLoWiNg CoMMoN IdEaLs, In wHiCh eVeRyoNe CaN fReELy eXpReSs hIs IdEaS aNd hIs wAy 0f tHiNkInG, CoNfRoNtInG EaCh 0tHeR... SuCh aS a fReE SoCiEtY BaSeD oN SoLiDaRitY, fReE aSSoCiAtIoN 0f IdEaS aNd Pe0pLe... tHiS Is oUr tAz



13 September 2010

Waiting For Scouso

 Ah, the joys of hanging around at Sniffer's birthday party all night waiting to play a few tunes.

As a DJ when you get asked to play a party that becomes the central focus of the night. No excessive drinking or other such indulgences cross the brain. Ones needs ones faculties sharp and intact to facilitate smoothness of mix. After the set has been played then, yes, have a few beers or whatever. Work is over. Time to relax. Till that point one must remain in work mode; ready for deployment. Meanwhile the watchword is 'wait'. of course I could enjoy the party a bit more but not knowing what time I'm on puts paid to all that.

Primary experience for me that night was the sheer eyeball staring into space boredom of leaning on a van in the car park outside the venue under the nascent glare of a security light popping on and off every time someone walks under it. Waiting.

The heavy breathing, the sighing, the long unblinking stares into the gloom watching moths dive bomb approaching car headlights. All designed to pass time but actually making it last longer. Much longer. The only recompense being the sharing of joyous chatter with the revellers, the flitting conversations and sweaty hugs, the smoking and the waiting of girlfriends to arrive because the booze you have brought is in her car and she is around friends houses picking people up to transport them to the unforgiving, on the feet that is, relenting complxity of finding venues in the countryside, the sticks, the interminable miles of dark country lanes that people inevitably get lost around.

The waiting on the unplanned DJ slots that almost always, well, never actually, work out because if a DJ is not given a start or a finish time they inevitably, once they get on the decks are almost impossible to remove unless you have a crowbar handy. The list of DJ’s playing is ‘planned’, given out verbally but not solidly and the next DJ on has to hassle, negotiate, blag or beg their way behind the sacred space. Inevitably time passes and, DJ’s like myself who never like to blag and always like to have a designated slot, miss out because, why, well we can't be arsed with all that arsing around, begging and pleading and negotioating with the 'man who runs the sound system' the 'stage manager'. It never ends in smiles only tears. My tears.

DJ running orders sorted out over the planning and preparation stage; ‘oh, yeah, we’ll have him and him and her’. We’re asked if we want to play we say yes, we’re told we’re playing but not when. Always a bad sign. Always tears. Always my tears.

All that money spent on new tunes, all that preparation, all that travelling, all that negotiation all that passion for what? To stand in a car park in the cold; waiting. For Godot. And like Godot he, of course, never arrives, it’s the waiting and how one occupies the waiting that becomes the central tenant of the philosophical justification for the art of waiting. The absurdity and pathos of the psychoanalytical musings comes forth. Right there under the buzzing yellow light in the car park. I, like Beckett himself, quickly tired of “the endless misunderstanding". Symbiosis. Banal everyday conversations thus take on new meaning and have vastly different reinterpretations; even if the same interpretations are of the same conversation at different time with the same person.

Obligate symbiotic relationships or relationships where both symbionts entirely depend on each other for survival, are what the dance music promotion scene is all about; without the sound system or the DJ or the venue or the dancers there is no party; a mutual interdependence that can catastrophically fail on many levels did so this evening. For me anyway. The waiting, oh the waiting. I become defined by what I lack; access to equipment to play my tunes. I become an incomplete ego.

The pleasure principle, that is people seek pleasure and avoid pain, is missing, becomes inverted even, and sets up a device, a dichotomy by which political frustration can be vented, fears articulated and the lack of love revealed. No hugs in the car park. The irrational, the instinctual kicks in. We all end up waiting for Scouso to shut the door. Again and again. Again and again. As one matures, one learns the need to endure pain and defer gratification, because of the exigencies and obstacles of reality. It all clicks into place.

It all becomes and is reduced to one basic philosophical notion - “The futility of man's existence when salvation is expected from an external entity, and the self is denied introspection” (1).

So, finally I attempt to confront but only partially resolve , as all 50 years olds must at that specific juncture in their lives, the eternal questions such as death, the meaning of human existence and the place of (or lack of) God in that existence.

It all flows quick like hot, silver liquid and comes into focus, all sharp , readable and oh so obvious; it’s a revelation, a religious and spiritually insightful awakening that I failed to see earlier; it is, to me, the whole meaning and purpose of my life. Finally, I smile, and act.

“I’m going home”, I suddenly announce. I’m going home with the woman I love and we’re going to bed.

I buzz afresh with the new notion that I will never put myself through that humiliation again and thus vow, as I walk to my car hand in hand with the lovely Clare, to never, ever 'wait' for that promoter to say to me 'you're on next mate'. Such a relief.

Now that’s a revelation worth waiting for is it not?

(1) Sion, I., "The Zero Soul: Godot's Waiting Selves In Dante's Waiting Rooms" in Transverse No 2, November 2004, p. 70.

nostalgia, it’s like remembering stuff from ages ago

From afar they came. I say that because most of the Whitstable tribe don’t even like going to the top end of town never mind travel all the way to Margate for a party. Even traveling around town for a party is hard work as most of them like to be in bed by 11pm so they can get their beauty sleep and have higher energy levels for their Saturday or Sunday morning activities. Or is that just the way these days of the Whitstablerarti when the improved appreciation of weekend mornings obliterates any evening activity? Either way people making an effort and showing support always makes my tear ducts fill and my heart flutter.

Great effort made for the things to move smoothly and it was like a hot knife through butter with not an itch or an ache all night long from the decor to the door, from the DJ’s to the chill out area. It would be great to regale tales, like of yore, of the old trousers round ankles variety, of too much excess of drink where people flagrantly abused themselves and sat around in dribbling messes all night talking shit and not remembering what they had said from one minute to the next, but I can’t as that didn’t happen. Maybe that happened at another tVC party in the past but not the tVC party now.

What did happen was all very civilised and nice – nothing wrong with that per se – but as age edges ever more gently in middle age public displays of self humiliation are best left to people half or indeed a quarter of our age. People chatted, got on, reinforced friendships, smiled a lot and danced their bloody feet red raw. Not a dribbler in sight. How refreshing.

Although I say that; in the morning Jim Ohm brought a few of his friends into the party – he of Ohm Sound System fame from back in the day, the real early days, the late 80’s and early 90’s when tVC first played in the back room of the Duke of Cucumberland, or the Earl of Sausage or The Sticky Carpet, to give it one of its many nicknames, on a Thursday night till 1am. Ol’ Jim and Clive and Mr Ed used to come up from Thanet and meticulously put up their backdrops and set up their projectors and give the room a little taste of night club ambiance while me, Ed Millard and Tejen Majumder used to try and learn to mix properly all the new house records we could find. Ah, nostalgia ey, it’s like remembering stuff from ages ago .

I say morning because it was already well light, and these guys, who I think were very, very pissed, or something, proceeded to shout and swear and harass the women and drape themselves over the sofas we had in the front of the gallery, generally being harmless but on the other hand being pains in the arse as the party folk tried to chill and wind down through the art of gossiping and slouching from the evenings activities. Everyone put up with their antics and all I could hear as we were moving the kit out to the van was the occasional ‘will you shut up’ shouted at them by an ever increasingly embarrassed Jim. Anyway, talking to Ema through FaecesBook later in the week she said one of ‘the smelly old geezers’ had died a few days later; which is such a shame. He will always be remembered by us with a lascivious smile on his face enjoying himself.

DJ wise there was no fat on the line up; plenty of fat around my waist, but not on the running order. Some of the best, or should I say all of the best, deep house and tech DJ’s from East Kent turned up and provided a glorious soundtrack for the party people. Si kicked off proceedings and warmed the early arrivals up by the use of slow builds, pitched down relaxers and allowing some of those wonderful breakdowns to run their full course.

Warren continued to exhibit his penchant for playing newly discovered gems seamlessly despite his predilection for very strong rum drank straight out of the bottle. All those in proximity experienced his generosity with the old rummage. As it were.

It was also really great to have Mike SU back in the bosom of the tVC love machine. He had hot footed it down from his club gig to be with us and will be our guest at the tVCabbaged at The Smack gig the second week of October.

Rosie, once she had been talked down off the ledge of nervousness and apprehension proceeded to enjoy herself somewhat as she did indeed play an excellent set, as usual, of her own brand of deep house gems. And her 6 new tunes. As for myself I had been indulging in the Juno summer bonanza and had spashed out on about 20 new vinyl 12" records. Ah, sheer indulgence. luckinly for me the guys and gals let me play away to my hearts content for a couple of hours which was well appreciated.

Thanks guys you were great. And thanks to everyone who supported and organised the event and to everyone who couldn’t make due to holidays, children, other things on, work; thanks for your messages, text, phone calls and other media forms of communication wishing me a happy birthday and good wishes. I love you all. For now ;-)

2 September 2010

another incisive, cutting, insulting, upsetting yet hilariously observed, blog entry

The ever so wonderful Mick from Beeping Bush, Margate’s very own digital media organisation, kindly donated all night use of the local Community Pharmacy Gallery for what was actually to be old Oz’s 50th birthday party last weekend. 24 years of doing tvc related events had obviously took their toll on the poor chap as his wide eyed look and slightly slurred speech throughout the night indicated most convincingly.
Many friends old and new made the effort to support the party despite the fact that the bank holiday weekend provided many nefarious and reprehensible distractions and activities for those that couldn’t attend.

Oz does indeed thank all those who sent messages of support, emails, texts, tweets, notes tied to bricks and thrown through his window, cards etc; all with wishes of congratulations, prosperity, amazement or disbelief that our favourite Southern Geordie is actually still standing after all those years of drinking Stella, swaying around to house music, stumbling in DJ booths and shouting that rather loud mouth of his off around town. The fact that he was still standing and was indeed still alive let alone celebrating 50 years of breathing was an achievement in itself. And he’s only had his nose broken 4 times? That’s what he says; I do not believe that.
Praise must go out to Clare, his long suffering partner, for disappearing inappropriately throughout the preceding weeks whilst she and her cohort of others designed and manufactured miles of bunting all containing messages of wishes from various friends and selected pages from old issues of Tangentopoli, the tvc newsletter that used to, amusingly Oz thought, insult everyone and their dog who ever came to a tvc party and divulge their substance predilections and sexual preferences as well as their preferred after hours activities that perhaps their parents, partners or bosses would prefer not to know about. “But you told me you were going visit your granny! Why is there a picture here of you crawling around on your hands and knees in a field with your trousers round your ankles?”

drill your own hole - gaye bikers on acid
tv cabbage got their name from this album....

Clare, Rosie and Lin also made a gargantuan effort to bake 50 cakes and put 50 candles (on another cake that was whipped out at the wonderful JoJo’s Restaurant meal we all had indulged in the night before), and to stock and run a bar where profits from the “donations” went wholly to the Community Pharmacy Gallery to thank them for the putting up with 200 middle-aged reprobates who frequented the establishment well until the clock struck midday on Sunday.

Thanks also to the wonderful tvc DJ’s who, as usual, donated their time and effort for free and provided the venue and the people with such wonderful and beautiful house music all night long; Warren, Rosie, Simon, Mike SU.
Nick Eyesaw couldn’t go without being mentioned and thanked profusely for his wonderful VJ skills; he really gave the party an edge we couldn’t have possibly have achieved with the two candles and a maglight we managed to cobble together.

Last but not least on the thanks a lot you are wonderful list is Brummy Jon who needs thanking for his sound tech skills in keeping the whole shebang running as smooth as you like from beginning to end. You are a star.

I’m sure Oz, as we speak, is working hard on composing on an incisive, cutting, insulting, upsetting yet hilariously observed, article or review of the party to disenfranchise, anger or infuriate his few remaining friends who haven’t hit him, disowned him, give him the silent treatment, spat on him or called him a "cunt" in the past few weeks.

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