27 September 2011


The girls and I jump in my car. We’re off to a lovely birthday party in the countryside. It’s my long known chum Susanna’s 40th birthday and she’s pushed the boat out by providing a marquee with DJ’s, roasting log fire and some lovely food.
“You’ve gotta try some of the chowder”, says Rosie. “It’s delicious!”
“Thanks, but I’ve already eaten” I say.
“No. Go on. It’s really lovely.”
“I had some lentil dhal before I came out...”
She grabs a spoon and puts it in the massive pot and I see it heading towards my mouth. “Try it!” she says.
“No thanks. I’m full.”
“Mmmm. Delicious.”
“Told you.”
I sip on a draft pint of bitter provided by one of the kegs. Ooh it’s bitter. I normally drink the fizzy brown shit, or lager, as we call it. This is strange, flat, but kinda nice. I decide I like it.
I hear there’s a ‘ban’ on dance music at this party although the music I am listening to coming out of the speakers, a mix a old soul, funk and hip hop, sure sounds like dance music to me. People are dancing. I recognise one of the backdrops hanging in front of the decks. It’s an old tVC one that Eldad designed for us for the Woodpecker parties. It’s a grotesque cartoony woodpecker with a gold tooth. I also see two orange sub bass speakers in the corner of the marquee and recognise it all as the subsdance rig. The DJ they ‘have over from Germany’ turns out to be John Ayres, an old chum I used to DJ reggae with back in the day at University in the late 80’s.
I sit round the fire, sipping, chatting and enjoying the music and my sobrietous abstinence. It’s a state of mind I never fully explored when I was younger and take great pleasure in having a full weekend of parties and Djing duties and participating fully in that and waking up on a Monday morning for work virtually hangover free. I love my job and cannot afford to be anything less than on the ball.
 It was good to see a few old faces from the past and it was hard to believe that the young woman I saw open Tea and Times Cafe in Whitstable all those years ago was now 40. By the kids dun ‘arf grow up quick don’t they? I’m very proud of her achievements.
I was out that night with a digital only setup; my laptop with Traktor Pro 2 on it and all the fresh tunes I had just bought from Beatport (sorry Juno) with my $10 free tunes card and 25% discount code. You can get a fuck of a lot of tune for £50. Remember, support those artists and producers kids by buying their tracks whenever you can. I was no heavier than a small bag of records. I had an Audio 6 and a Crane stand to complete the set up.
What with the dance music ‘ban’ and not being invited to play I was readying myself to head off to Joanna’s birthday party in Whitstable. At least I might get a play there. On the way out Susanna asks me to stay and hints there might be a chance of me getting a slot later but it was too late; I was already decided and had gathered the crew ready for the drive back to the Bubble.
It was 2am-ish. The revellers were well on the way. Whitstable is so boozy or maybe it was my straightness? I still enjoyed a few nice chats and got a few etchings from Eldad. Sound wise it was CD’s through the home stereo. Get in. Just what I’d prepared for. It would only be a matter of plugging the lappy via the Audio 6 into the small jack line socket at the back. I fuck about in the dark with the help of Dave Burner, JD and Coke blinding his brain to the fine manual dexterity required. The sound keeps going on and off. We give up. After a few chats around the fire with some more drunk friends I decide, at around 4am, to call it a night.
A mid week break from the onslaught of work came in the form of Stephen Merchant performing at the Margate Winter Gardens. Fish and chips on the seafront by the Turner Gallery was followed by a wait on the steps leading into the theatre. What the fuck this was about I don’t know. Open the effing venue and let us get to the bar. Simple.
The decaying splendour of the theatre was a perfect backdrop to Merchants hilarious self depreciating frippery. I’m not one to drop spoilers so I won’t. Just catch him if you can. 8th of October in Canterbury. You won’t be disappointed.
Finally, we open up a new tVC night at the Jekyll and Hyde in Ramsgate. It’s called RamsBubble or tvcabbaged just like in Whitstable. Now, getting any one to go anywhere and do anything is a tough ask if they can’t stagger back home on foot so any vehicles going are suddenly full of people. And, despite the flyers, the Facebook push, the personal texts, the emails and the face to face pleads; we get a reasonably able crowd of beautiful and gifted people propping up the bar and the dance floor of the Jekyll. DJ’s, against my better wishes, are plonked high up on a mezzanine out of touch and out of reach of the dancers eye level gazes. I could finally get a digital set at a gig out of the way and look forward to wrestling with the philosophical DJ dilemmas of the day at future gigs such as ‘how to mix from vinyl back to digital’, ‘how can I get the decks back on the ground?’ and ‘how can I stop Si from drinking gin and tonics all night and using up the paltry bar bill?’ We were going to put the £50 fee for the evening towards one of several re-coning kits at £90 a pop, we need to mend the bass bins. The bar bill was £39. The landlord, Steve, must have felt sorry for us as he gave us £25. Bless.
As we finished at 12 and, I personally, was gagging for a beer, I headed back to the Bub for a late night drink at the Green Machine to see old Alex and Tam celebrate Dad’s Old Dance’s birthday. Not a bad little night was in progress; a full dance floor, our Leanne on the decks, EyeSaw on visuals. Before I knew it it was 3am and time for home and Big Brother and X-factor double bill.
Now that’s what I call a night out.