18 December 2012

The Party at the End of the Universe

News in from Folkestone - Sterling musical performances from the two bands KING PORTER STOMP and TWO MAN TING guaranteed the beautiful, friendly crowd an exceptional night’s entertainment at THE PARTY AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE. Yay!

KPS played their “own unique union of ska-funk-dub and afrobeat and top it all off with cleverly crafted conscious rhymes. With massive horn lines, heavy bass and intricate guitar work”, I would add, got the dance floor rocking to the groovy beat. Personally I thought it was funny when they started coming out of their tiny dressing room and filing on stage, they just kept a coming out, the small stage filling up with musicians. It was the first notes and the synchronised bobbing that immediately filled the floor.

Whitstable does the same, and it reminds me of the days of when they used to have really long films or double film bills at cinemas and there’d always be a break to go relief yourself, top up your sweets or alcohol; a proper old school ’milking’ of the venue in the most polite way business like way possible, of course. In Whitstable they’ll have a break if their pint was empty. The vibe just gets going and they go ’well, that’s the end of our first set. We’re just going to take a little break and be back in a bit’. Trigger point. Everyone with that terrible affliction of nicotine addiction promptly runs out of the venue and those alcohol fans suddenly creating a bar that’s 10 deep, leaving the place empty with bewildered non-smokers going ‘where did everyone go?’

This doesn’t happen in cinemas' anymore though as the break is deemed no longer relevant. At this very moment in time there a lot of very long films doing the rounds in cinemas’;  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey lasts for 170 minutes; Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a mere 154 minutes; The Matrix Reloaded punished at 138 minutes; some found The Tree of Life's 139 minutes harder to take. That same article warns that “on the way are the multiple-narrative Cloud Atlas, which overtakes The Hobbit at 173 minutes, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, which manages 165 minutes; the Bin Laden assassination story Zero Dark Thirty and Tom Hooper's Les Miserables, which both come in at 157 minutes; and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which lasts 150 minutes.” How big are our bladders? That is the question? So, all hail the bands that have breaks and perform two sets; long live respect for bladder. How would Alfred Hitchcock have coped following his famous maxim The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder?”

After the bands I play a few tunes. Everyone is chugging away and we all know it finishes at 2am so we trying to enjoy what is left and to cram in our enjoyment but before that a woman approaches me slowly from the side moving her upturned palm in an exaggerated upward movement gesture. When she reaches the top of the movement her eyes boggle slightly, her head tips forward and to one side. I smile and nod;


“Can you ‘up it’ a bit?” she asks, leaning into my ear.

“Up it? What does that mean?” both of us know full well what it means. I think she means volume but that is controlled by Chester the sound guy. I think she may mean BPM’s; “I can up the BPM to 125 if you want?”

She shakes her head; “You know?” Does the hand gesture again. “A bit more...” – clench fist back and forwards in piston motion – “…oomph.”

“What kind of oomph?” and then she says it.


I could recount much more of this conversation word for word, as it does go on for some time, so the dear reader could grasp the interminable monotony and repetition of its deliverer and all the time consuming explanations furnished from my behalf that include ‘it’s a small gig with two bands and a bit of music in-between not exactly a psy conducive experience in the least’ but by that moment I had lost the will to live and could feel my spirit departing this earth.

“Just tell me to fuck off if I’m annoying you,” she posits.

“No, you’re fine,” I say. “Carry on.”

This took twenty minutes and it was twenty minutes I could have took enjoying the house music and selecting a few tracks or whatever. Instead I get another text book lesson in why DJ’s love their public. Tonight, a rather less than average count, I had the following conversations, please see link for explanation; a 3, a 5, an 11, a 12, a 13 and a 16. The reasons why people, ‘psy Nazi’s’ in particular, have no tolerance for other people’s music provokes the question that inevitably generates a long discussion that will take place at another time on these pages.

It was mine and Clare’s anniversary weekend, 6 years of toil and trouble, fun and frolics. The first night of our festivities didn’t start well. She came home Friday after work. We had to go out an hour later to ‘The Party at The End of the Universe’.

“Hi,” I say as she walks through the door.

 I'm exhausted,” she replies and that was the end of that. I went on my own.
She’s fine. I'm OK with her. When horrible things happen we stick together. We've grown together like two gnarled trees twining around each other trying to survive. Survive what? This is life. Bad things happen. It’s hard. You find your people; you find your person. You lean on them. It’s my life whatever happens and she is here for it too.

I could articulate epiphanies or epithets or tell you what really matters in life but I’ll just say; have you looked at her hands?  They’re beautiful. The things she creates with them; her art, her food, her touch. She really doesn’t know how good she is. This modesty thing getting in the way. I love that. Sometimes you just wish people would see themselves the way you do. She’s that good. She’s outstanding.

To love me unconditionally is hard work. Clare and my friends do that for me. I lean on them hard. I have a lot of memories of people; people I’ve lost forever from different lives in different places.  This is the place I fell in love; the place where I found my family. This is where I learnt to be a person. Where I learnt how to take responsibility. And it’s the place I met Clare.

I make mistakes. She’s forgiving. I learn. I make more mistakes. I wreck, we wreck things but we always pick it up again. No matter how bad we think things are and in the middle of my fuck ups and insecurities knowing that she is going to be there and do that for me makes me feel that there is hope for me. That there is someone who won’t give up on me. She is strong; so am I and we believe in this thing we have together and we’ll make it work which is partly why I am writing this to say Happy anniversary, happy 6th

Saturday around 8.30pm we got back home from visiting Carole for her birthday. Clare and I met one of Carol's birthday parties 6 years ago and as well as our anniversary it was also Richards’ Records impresario’s anniversary too as he had met his partner at the same fucking party six years ago. I said to him “Richard, I have 10,000 records at home; do you want to buy them back?” Oh, how we laughed. MDM was having trouble with Traktor but a quick latency expansion solved that.

Also at Carole’s we, I say we, I mean ‘the guys’, proceeded to discuss ‘The Rolling Stones’ at some not inconsiderable length and with the documentaries on TV recently fresh in my head and having just read both Keith and Mick’s biographies we traded 'the stone's built the road' yarns like we had been there ourselves. 

Not that I’m a Stones fan. Or a heroin fan but I regaled what I remembered about Keef’s tale of all this pure heroin he acquired at his French tax exile retreat and how the specific instructions were 3 parts heroin and 97 parts filler. He told of mixing his first batch up and he had 100 grams of it. “Still the best, the purest”, he said. He still had 25 grams of the pure stuff left. They recorded Exile on Main Street in the basement of his house on the stuff. And he still beat fitness fanatic Mick at tennis. And Mick has a small cock.

At this party, where we met, she sat on my knee. We chatted. She was wearing a 1 metre diameter target and couldn't sit down properly. She joked. I liked that. I always thought that she was too serious a person for me. It’d been a while since I’d met anyone who cared about me enough to give me grief.

Anyway, when I got back Saturday night I texted the promoter thanking his for a great night out and asked if he had had a late one on Friday? Après party at Pete Blue’s house I had left them, after a lovely cup of tea, listening to Tony’s acoustic guitar skills. He replied; “Haven’t slept yet, look about 55…” Later he posts on fb “Thank you to all who gave for the winter homeless shelter appeal. We raised £105. Well done x”

3 December 2012

Beat n Sol Go West

He began by being an observer of life, and only later set himself the task of acquiring the means of expressing it.
(Charles Baudelaire, 1964)

Embracing the future and supporting the bands and DJ’s combination works for everyone.

Such is the wont of the modern party /gig  goer.  Recent figures from a  YouGov SixthSense survey says  around 25 per cent of those surveyed said that they go to fewer gigs as a result of economic struggles, with around the same number spending less money on tickets by choosing to attend cheaper live events. The same in happening in the club and festival scene. With the rapid decline in attendances at big clubs the trend is away from these soulless behemoths to smaller, more intimate dance clubs and lounges which provide a mix of entertainment and facilities. 

Competition has increased, as pubs take advantage of extended licensing hours so what can the clubs do? Beat n Sol Go West at the Westcoast Bar in Margate is the way to look at it. Bands early on and for half the night; then DJ’s till the finish.
In clubland the era of multi-floor, high door prices, surly door staff conducting body searches, long cloakroom and bar queues, high price drinks, plastic wristband tagged, earsplitting, bump and grind dance clubs playing cheesy house and electro music is over. Thank fuck for that, they were truly a magnificently shit experiences for all concerned. Shit toilets, muddy fields, overcrowded and expensive. We don’t want it any more.

The Westcoast Bar may well be the paradigm shift away from this corporate concept of stack ‘em high and sell ‘em high. No more milk the fuckers for every last penny then kick ‘em out into the night at some hour deemed appropriate by the irrelevant authorities. There was no respect for the paying customer at these corporate sheds. Short of the great experience of partying for free outdoors in summer comes the partying for something in an intimate venue. With a nice sound system in it! With bands and DJ’s.

The theory being we can get the best of all words under one roof; local DJ’s working together – in this case from DJ’s from Subsdance, Unite and tVC – local bands getting support local promoters  - in this case the Zed Heads, Bubble Band and Turncoat and the Hellfire Orchestra! – and best of all decent crowds who appreciate one, the other or, heaven forbid, both.
At the Westcoast Bar we loved the ‘chill out’ room. This developed from the bands and DJ’s ‘Green Room’ where anyone in the club that night could eventually find this little space with comfortable couches and quiet cozy areas for friendly chats. Personally, I get bored with dancing after five minutes, so I usually lose interest in the dance floor action and do prefer alternative space provision that some of the great intimate clubs provide. Yeah I love music but I also love sitting down late at night listening to some great DJ’s or bands, getting drunk and talking to some real people about real things. I’m not a ‘gamer’ or a ‘player’ so tire rather quickly of clubs that specifically focus on this mainstream predatory accommodation of basic human drives. 

Not that there is anything wrong with that. 

I loved sitting with promoter Jenny chatting away about everything. I loved seeing all my free party chums grooving to the music. I loved the beer on draft in a cold glass. I loved looking at Emma’s sketches which she showed me on her phone. I loved meeting my girlfriend’s friends who were down in a bunch via taxi from Whitstable celebrating Nini’s birthday. I love the behind the decks action. I loved hearing the bands.

It’s not just the big clubs that are suffering. The number of festival-goers next year will fall due to cost, weather and overcrowding amongst other things. The number of people attending festivals in 2012 was down and it is not expected to improve in any way in the next twelve months. Small is going to be beautiful. People are going to attend fewer multi-day festivals and club nights and be stringent about which ones they will attend. Even free party attendance will decline. Giving up 3 to 5 days of your life plus recovery time is a big ask these days; and that is not including the cost, weather and overcrowding factors. A single gig is much less of a commitment, both in terms of time and money, than going to a festival. 

Subsdance Sound System through their Beat n Sol initiative aim to conquer this by putting on intimate parties through the winter months to increase their profile in readiness for the summer green festival season. During the summer they provide solar powered stages, soundsystems, lighting and marquees for festivals and events. All powered by the sun and the support of the local people who like what they do.

The highlight of my night, around 5.30 as the club started thinning out, was a long and very loud version of Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, which always sounds sensational on a large PA. Thanks Mike SU

To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world—such are a few of the pleasures of those independent, passionate, impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define.
(Baudelaire, 1964)

Beats n Sol Go West

Friday, 30 November 2012

OK folks, festival season is over.... :-(

But never mind... we've got a night for you that will knock your proverbial socks off...

Come and enjoy an amazing night of top bands and DJ's that will see you dancing till sunrise...


8pm - The amazing... Zed Heads
9.15pm - The truly awesome ... Bubble Band
10.30pm - The incredible... Turncoat and the Hellfire Orchestra! 
11.30pm - Deejay Buttaphingaz & Jay
12.30am - Loop E Lu - http://soundcloud.com/dj-loop-e-lu
01.30am - Oz tVC - http://soundcloud.com/tvcabbage12 
03.00am - Mike SU - http://soundcloud.com/djmikesu

Please visit the bands and DJ's on the internet and like follow listen...

3 September 2012

The Smugglers Festival 2012

esme sunset
After some consumption of such mellifluously intoxicating  fluid, and also the pleasant discovery of a fully stocked bar selling cocktails,  it appeared that the afternoon unfolded in a somewhat speedy, alcoholic haze.

photo by   Kirsty Bauckham
First time for me at The Smugglers Festival. The old sat-nav, once we’d managed to get the post code, took us over one lane fields through the back woods on a magical mystery tour of far East Kent to an exquisite little spot of woodland catering to around 1000 people mainly consisting of various locally sourced muso, folk, rock, alternative, acoustic psychedelic types and lots of bands I had never heard of before so maybe some interesting discoveries were to be made?  Please do forgive my lazy stereotyping and randomising of what are in all probability is just your average day to day festival goers.

photo by   Kirsty Bauckham
No setting up tents for me. I intended to stay up all night so it was straight into proceedings once I'd picked up my florescent green arm band slash pass from the gate. There seemed like lots of weird, small label beers and ciders on sale and in the absence of, heaven forbid, some fizzy, strong, ice cold lager in a frosted glass, I plumped for some locally brewed Ripple Steam Brewery bitter at 4.1% proof in a thin plastic glass and as warm and as flat as you like but at the same time strangely compelling in a “when in Rome” way and not at all as horrible as I had imagined it to be. According to their website "Ripple Steam Best Bitter consists of a mixture of traditional floor malts and styrian goldings. This gives an infusion of malt and apricot flavours… So , if you are ‘cruising for a brewing’ try this Best Bitter…" I was, so I did. Magic. At least the price of £3.50 per pint reminded me of the lager I love to hate and the posh, comfortable pubs and clubs I like to drink it in.
photo by   Kirsty Bauckham
After some consumption of such mellifluously intoxicating fluid, and also the pleasant discovery of a full cocktail bar selling absinthe, a wonderful cake shop selling the most crunchy felo pastry delights, a tent selling proper coffee, strong and sweet and a lovely little chill out cafe it appeared that the afternoon unfolded in a somewhat speedy, alcoholic, sweet filled haze which merely continued the wash of wonderment and astonishment my brain felt that such a nice, welcoming rustic festival could actually be happening right here on my very own door step.

I’m used to arriving somewhere, well, clubs, at 10pm and nothing happening except some wannabe warm up DJ playing 140BPM psy-trance inappropriately and too loudly with the lights still on. Even though I don’t like that particular scenario or find it comfortable I’m familiar with it so it’s cool. Arriving at Smug-Fest late afternoon on Saturday the place was, to say the least, somewhat lively and being the fragile flower that I am nursing a hangover and too little sleep I was somewhat intimidated by the bountiful activity being performed before my eyes.

I say too little sleep like I was a rockin' and a rollin' all night long. No. I was wearing a 24 hour blood pressure monitor to check on my BP to see if I was going to keel over with a heart attack/stroke (heart attack stroke stroke anyone?) any minute now. Apparently my BP has been 188/120 for about a year and according to the peoples encyclopaedia I should be dead. It says “lifestyle interventions are a crucial element of successful treatment, including a diet low in sodium and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, such as a vegetarian or vegan diet. Clinical trials have also documented the beneficial effects of weight loss, increased physical activity, and limiting alcohol consumption.” So that means I’m back on my vegetarian diet that I did for 17 years but gave up 10 years ago. Soon.

In the main area there were two live stages in nice marquees looking like they were taking turns to host their bands, chalked on boards outside the tents, so that when one band finished you did not have to sit through that interminable, yet necessary, ritual of listening to the musos’ plug their shit in and spend what seems like minutes tuning in their guitars and checking microphone levels by repeating “10 number 6” over and over and bashing out one drum continuously for minutes on end until ones mind turns to jelly and custard and vows never ever to watch a band do a sound check ever again. “Can I just hear the bass again?” asks the sound engineer. No, I’m leaving. Now.

photo by Milly Bishop
Instead, the band finished, we all left the tent and walked over to the other one where the band were all ready to perform. Magic. So clever. Indeed it was in the smaller of the two marquees – a lovely , stripy, round circus like area with a bar in the corner that I caught the band of the weekend;  Beautifully jarring like a cross between Fagin from Oliver, a punky Jethro Tull and the Cardiacs. Crackin’.

photo by Milly Bishop
Of course I didn’t come to the Smugglers’ Festival exclusively to listen to all this new underground folk rebel stirrings, although it was genuinely a really nice bonus, I came to DJ some real deep house to the wide open ears of the smug-fest fraternity; to have them discover, like I discovered at the festival, new music, new ways to look at things and new ways to appreciate the things we love and to share them with others in our life. Surely the smugglers’ would open their collective arms and hearts and embrace the message of love,  peace, tolerance and harmony that our deep house free party scene in Kent has to offer and that we would all become united by our differences and our approaches. I came to rediscover my free festival roots and the time when, although I do hate this term, hippies and ravers joined as one and loved music for the inspiring ability it has to unite hearts. Magic.

photo by Milly Bishop
Walking through the woods lit by candles in jars but so dark, for me with my poor eyesight, I had to go back to my car and get a torch, you stumble upon a lovely stage that looks like a caravan has had the side sawn off. Covered with tarps and surrounded by dressed up mannequins that, later on when people were drunk, kept getting knocked over and hastily repaired. Someone on the dance floor appeared to have to really long extended arms at one point.

I was told I was on from 12 till 1. At 11pm I sat behind the decks on a chair I’d borrowed from around the nearby fire, enjoying conversations with friends I had not seen for a while and the music the DJ’s were playing and patiently waited my turn.

12 midnight came and went. I had been bumped and wouldn’t be on till 1am. Then it was 2am. Then 3am. Then 4am. I sat in my chair. Wonky’s Disco guy Warren, Mr Wonky, appeared in a wedding dress, had a word with the sound guy and proceeded to plug in his laptop and play tunes from his iTunes collection for an hour. I had been bumped till 5am now. “Oh good”, I thought, “I might get to play through the sunrise which is the slot I wanted in the first place”. I was eventually allowed to set up my equipment. Then the smug-crew came over and pulled the plug. It went on super low. They pulled the plug again. I went into the crew tent, as one last, final, desperate measure to salvage something from the night, to play some music. Began to play my set through my laptop speakers. They returned and pulled the plug. I went back into the now dark woods “to get my water bottle” that I had left behind the now silent decks.

backstage VIP area
 So, I was sitting there, in the woods, on my chair, alone, just thinking and reflecting about stuff that had transpired and not living in the moment at all, as usual, wondering about the nature of respect, loyalty and selfishness and why some people don’t see anything at all while others endeavour to see all points of view and not mutually exclusively their own. I thought about all those ‘woe is me’ scenarios but, you know, in the end, so fucking what? I didn’t happen. It didn’t happen. Maybe next time?

Instead I went with my beautiful girlfriend into the cropped field adjacent to the festival and watched the sunrise over the horizon laughing and joking with my fellow sunrise lovers. Magical.

The word magic and magical has cropped up a lot in this review and that’s exactly what this special, young and beautiful festival is; a real treat, a discovery, a surprise, a warm celebration of the local talent; a knowledgeable, crazy and lovely crowd of approachable, friendly people constantly smiling; a veritable frenzy of positive interaction - not ‘up their arse’ like the green gathering at small world – as someone cruelly said. The only credentials you needed here to be accepted as one of their own was an open mind, an open demeanour, an ear for the undiscovered muso in all of us and a torch; because it did get very dark in them thar woods of an evening...

16 August 2012

PridStock 2012 - "The poetry of the earth is never dead."

PridStock 2012

Are you part of the epidemic of inactivityDo you have "Nature Deficit Disorder" or "zoo human syndrome"?  You do? Then you need to get yourself outside and go to a festival.

*John Keats once wrote, "The poetry of earth is never dead."

My old mate Brummy Jon (BJ) is a musician, a sound engineer a very good friend and is an all round top fella and all his chums will agree. He’s from the Birmingham area and his real name is Jon Priddy and he turned 50 at the weekend and when tvc sound system were doing their 2011 NYE Party at the Share and Coulter pub near where we live, in the morning the guy in charge, Trevor, was showing me his new diary for 2012. “Ah, all pristine and not one entry; yet”.

“Turn to NYE 2012”, I suggested, and he did. “Now put in tvc” I said, and surprisingly, he did. 

He looked at me straight in the eye, in an “are you taking the piss?” kind of way before saying “OK”.

“Oh, while you’re there,” says BJ, who just happened to be in the vicinity and was witnessing the aforementioned scenario; “Can I book a date for my 50th birthday party for August?”

“I don’t see why not”, says Trevor.

“For the whole weekend?” suggests BJ.

Trevor ‘ummed’ but didn’t ‘aah’ for too long; “I don’t see why not”, he says.

And so “PridStock 2012” was born. An enterprising young(ish) man, an open minded landlord and a crisp new diary conspire to produce the weekend we all just finished enjoying.

“Already planning next years” said BJ with a laugh as the last gasp of the mini-festival burnt its last embers.

The tvc rig, of course always the loudest element, was confined to the pub but what a confinement it was; electricity on demand, an excellent VJ set up from EyeSaw, DJ’s coming out of our ears playing all styles of music to a full dance floor day and night and day and night and day. The bar always open (within licensed permitted limits of course) for ice cold refreshments; the restaurant even open for Sunday lunch – “The best Sunday lunch service ever”, said Trevor.

The worse thing about being inside? Not being outside.

All outdoor locations are associated with positive feelings of enjoyment, calmness and refreshment. It must be something natural, built up over millions of years, but you can't beat the feeling of wind against your skin, the sun on your face, and the body travelling across the landscape.

Outside, of course, always outside, the beautiful outdoors, where we belong, where we came from, the sun over our heads warming our skin, the joy of perfect friendships old and new unrolling and unfurling on the green grass of our temporary, surrogate home of tented heaven; sipping cocktails and sharing laughter and experiences.

Researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 per cent after people spent an hour interacting with nature.

“Attention restoration theory (ART) provides
an analysis of the kinds of environments that lead to
improvements in directed-attention abilities. Nature,
which is filled with intriguing stimuli, modestly grabs
attention in a bottom-up fashion, allowing top-down
directed-attention abilities a chance to replenish.

Just being out in nature does your body, mind and soul some good. Eye contact improves and smiles swim with cotton wool layers of alcoholic spin. Being outdoors and having awareness of the world's beauty before you makes you feel energized and alive. We want to connect, to be with people, we’re social and we need to love each other. Going outdoors has unseen therapeutic effects that actually increase your energy levels, and no one can argue with that! You make new connections with people that would have never been possible. You learn more about someone from one hour of playing outside with them than you will in a year of working with them.

Of course a little preparation would help here. My friends are sick of my tent erection antics at festivals whereby I bring a tent and don't set it up and end up going home enjoying the comforts of a dark, cool bedroom, shower facilities and clean clothes. The term "biophilia" literally means "love of life or living systems" and I am really in touch with the biophilia hypothesis and am well aware that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. But one can have the best of both worlds. Even I advocate the positive aspects of taking some time away from TV and computers, kicking the old socks off and walking barefoot through the grass.

According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you're likely to be. The study took an objective look at 345,143 Dutch people's medical records, assessing health status for 24 conditions, including cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological diseases. The records were then correlated with how much green space was located within 1 kilometre and 3 kilometres of a person's postal code. And what did researchers find? People who lived within 1 kilometre of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space.

Most people I meet, including myself, have Nature Deficit Disorder. Frank Forencich refers to this as likened unto being aliens on our own planet. Erwan Le Corre calls it the zoo human syndrome. Various governing bodies call it the “epidemic of inactivity.” That’s just a fancy way of saying we don’t get outdoors much, and are not in-tune with the natural world we live in. What better way to get in touch with the natural you than spending a weekend rolling around on the grass with your chums?

Because sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, it only seems logical that spending more time in outside would increase your vitamin D intake. We just keep learning more and more about how important vitamin D is for health, including preventing cancer, hormonal problems, obesity, and inflammation, and having a strong immune system. Because sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, it only seems logical that spending more time in outside would increase your vitamin D intake.

Being in a natural setting can also help increase your quality of sleep, as studies show that natural sunlight helps set the body's internal clock that tells us when to eat and sleep, and normalizes hormonal functions that occur at specific times of the day. And we all know how important sleep is not just for our health, but even for our weight loss!

Enjoying the outdoors also gives us a break from technology and the on-the-run lifestyle to which we're all so accustomed. When we're outside, we have a clearer, more focused mind-set to hang out with friends, or spend some quiet time alone.

And perhaps most important of all, we get a chance to clear our heads and break from the stress we all have each and every day.

Psychologists often talk about ecological validity - the need to make sure that we assess thinking in the light of man's normal, natural surroundings. Well, what more ecologically valid than to re-experience the pleasure of stumbling between tents, across fields looking for music, friends, love or a festival toilet.

Outside at PridStock we had 2 marquees one for live bands and the other, Geoff’s Mess tent, for a nice chilled out cup of tea. DJ’s, of course played wherever they could, the musicians played together, separately, in hastily convened and spontaneous huddles, even on the stage. Local bands and DJ’s under one banner one and all and all playing for free and loving it. A lovely big fire ensured the chilled and chilly early morning hours were warmed and Tanya’s bacon butty’s in the morning ensured the ‘early risers’ we well fed.

Jon with his brother and mum
So, happy birthday dear soul brother; we all love you dearly and hope you realise that and we really, really look forward to gathering once again next year to celebrate you 51st birthday.

The world is always in movement. – V. S. Naipaul

*John Keats: On The Grasshopper And Cricket

The poetry of earth is never dead: 
      When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, 
      And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run 
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; 
That is the Grasshopper's-he takes the lead 
      In summer luxury,-he has never done 
      With his delights; for when tired out with fun 
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. 
The poetry of earth is ceasing never: 
      On a lone winter evening, when the frost 
      Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills 
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever, 
      And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, 
      The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
Justin Sparry DJ set  
Frarnie Grant DJ set 
Oz Mess Tent Mix 
Oz PridMix
Mike and Si

22 July 2012

Whitstable Oyster Festival burns bright.

Great start to the fabulous Whitstable Oyster Week. Once I got into town that is. It was cracking right back up Borstal Hill to the Long Reach roundabout; rumoured  haunt of local celeb Gregg Wallace. “What’s he doing here?” says little girl to her mum. “Shh! He’s having his lunch just like everyone else”.

The GF - girl friend - had a Gregg Wallace encounter as she was coming out of that road on top of Borstal Hill – the one the locals use during WOW to avoid aforementioned snarl ups into town – Grimthorpe Avenue.  By the way, if you want to miss that queue drive past the Long Reach roundabout turn off and carry on down the A2999; take the next left. No problem; no traffic right in to the centre.

Around 10 cars didn’t let the GF out of the junction but one very courteous gentleman, in a sports car in a beautiful shade of red, slowed down and waved her out. That man was the "cooking woman's crumpet" Gregg Wallace now henceforth known as Courteous Gregg. 

Let me know if you spot him around town. Being courteous.

I thought I’d let the crowds and the heat die down a bit and head into The Bub around 5pm. The town centre was a tad rammed from 10am but by 5pm the snarl up was on the out of town road. Locals used the back streets as is our wont.

Keam’s Yard is a fluffy, loveable, wooden gallery right on the sea front and is getting some great artists in there. Head right to the back to look at some of Sadie Hennessey’s work. She does controversial art that is political and challenging; clever, almost offensive, close to the mark. Her small show at Keam’s is about dead icons such as Jimmy Hendrix and she does, now I’m no art critic OK, limited lino prints on water colour paper in blue ink; limited in the fact that if Kurt Cobain died when he was 27 there are only 27 prints. Anyway, they’re cool.

Clare Tindall is an extraordinary artist of exceptional talent - can I have that £10 you promised me now, please? – and I do have to confess, here and now, that I live with her and she is my GF and she would absolutely kill me if she read this sentence and thought I was taking the mickey out of her. But I’m not and she is. 

Bruce Williams, the magnanimous owner of the gallery, kindly invited me down to play a few tunes for the sunset. It’s always a privilege to play on Whitstable beach and what a great excuse to get a few more people down to the opening of her show.

We bathed in the sunshine, looked at art, ate crab sandwiches, shucked oysters from Wheelers and washed it all down with a few bottles of fizz whilst watching a great sunset.

After the sun sank it was up to Deco 5 to catch the ZedHeads who were satisfactorily funking it right up to up a grooving full house of fans; all on the dance floor. Social moth that I am it was only a quick jaunt up to the Labour Club for a quick listen to band called Centurion Sect play some "garage punk" fun whilst waiting for our takeaway curry to cook. 

According to their own publicity The Centurion Sect was created by Jimmy Saville shortly before his death. Sir Jimmy spent many years helping at Broadmoor, but some of the inmates were even beyond his reach. Lead singer, Centurion Brendan, AKA Lurcio, fondly recalls the famous meeting.

“Yeah, well Jimmy came to see me in solitary. I had been on a bit of a flesh frenzy 
bender with my chainsaw. He tried reasoning with me, then let me have it in both eyes with his cigar. As my retinas fizzed Jimmy said "Man, that's one mean scream you got there, almost soulful in a dangerously psychotic way". After that it was pretty much a numbers game, checking through criminal records and mug shots to find the rest of the band.

Next arty outing in the calendar for now will be Sam Cox, a brilliant young artist, who, nepotism alert again, went to the school where Clare works at and you simply must support his talent by going to the show. It is from the 1st August to the 7th August at The Show Off Gallery, on Harbour Street, CT5 1AQ.

music from A Drop in the Ocean gallary view;

18 July 2012

Lounge on The Farm 2012

It is a festival after all and if you can’t get drunk and roll around giggling on the grass at a festival then where can you do that apart from your own living room carpet?

Well, for a start we couldn’t hide in amongst the gangs of marauding, drunken teenagers, loudly hollering swear words at the ineffectual security like we could last year. Really, we’d unfortunately camped in the wrong spot in 2011 and never went to sleep. This provoked a reaction similar to some apotheosis of teenage-hood-ness-ism’s basic premise of “I say good fellow I have sat my examinations as dictated by society and one is now letting down ones hair in the deified fashion of all youth the world over and getting ab-so-fucking-lutely bladdered. So fuck you!”
Now, amidst all the current cultural hatred of all things teen LOTF’s rather warm attitude of welcoming our younger brethren and indeed supplying them suitable artists that they consider cool enough to support was yet again another great plus in the exuberantly feathered cap of the LOTF team; whoever they may be.
I quietly supported the fact that instead of getting some more bloody headliners, yawn, or indeed paying local bands and DJ’s cash money they spent it all on security. At one point early on Thursday evening when I arrived there was more security than punters on site. They all had the determined look of a well oiled machine determined to stop the teens rioting. And they did. They were still mashed, drunk, wasted and staggering around the site like they owned the place but then again all security do that at festivals (ba-dunsch). I of course meant the young people but so were us, ahem, more mature responsible adults. It is a festival after all and if you can’t get drunk and roll around giggling on the grass at a festival then where can you do that apart from your own living room carpet?
Great that the meadows bar of last year was now the Lounge Originals Bar and mainly devoted to local DJ’s who had graced the dance floor of the Farmhouse and various guest DJ’s that had tickled ComfyPorns fancy or had played in that area in previous years; just a big old family meeting up at Christmas. All very nice of course and right next to a big bar and loads of outside seating too.
At approximately 1pm on Friday the rain stopped for 12 hours and the sun came out then went back in again but it stayed dry. Around 1am Friday night it started raining and rained all night. In the morning the sun came out for 12 hours. It was almost like we being blessed by the rain gods and given decent weather through the day. Sunday was a different story but 2 out 3 isn’t bad in anyone’s book.
We loved Friday daytime because we were DJing.  They do say that it is not always about you but when you are DJing you are the centre of the world. Warren provided the great warm up set. It was still raining outside and the tent was packed at midday. Me and Si went on and sun came out and the tent emptied but rather than blame our mediocre DJ skills and poor choice of tunage it was the weathers fault. <Shakes fist at sun> “Damn you sunshine”. Deep as yer like-ness-isms continued with our favourite deep outfit from Folkestone -  Sideways. How all 27 of them fitted on that stage with only one cowboy hat between them I will never know? Standout is Thom Norton whose look, to me, summed up the whole of that afternoons deepnesses; a quiet contentment as his head nodded in appreciation to the beats.
What else? Ooh yes, loving the new compactness of the site with even LOTF’s ‘Babylon crossroads’ area remaining relative mud lake free for much of the weekend due to the high ground and chalk composition of the festy site. Nice.
Grub wise I sought out Rob’s Farmhouse Kitchen and a dose of that old Steak and Ale vibe before dumping the GF (well, not really dumping more choosing not to go and catch the Wombats) and heading over to join the queues of middle aged drunk rockers at Al’s Hog Roast for a taste of pork. “I see you are no longer a vegetarian” says Nick ‘I’m not a violent revolutionary’ Dent to me as he spots my bulging sandwich and I spot his big fat green spliff. If fact it’s exactly the same thing he has said to me for the past 10 years whenever we meet at a wedding/BBQ/funeral etc and he sees me eating meat. It’s like we are stuck in this loop and because we used to be mates but don’t see each other anymore we go through this rigmarole of having exactly the same conversation every time we meet at a wedding/BBQ/funeral etc. OK, here it is; I used to be a vegetarian for 17 years but have not been one for 10 FUCKING YEARS since my ex-girl friend of 17 years, Nicky Wilson, decided to fuck off the Isle of Wight with some fucking twat without telling me!!!! Oh, she did tell, but in a little note left on our coffee table. Phew, got that off my chest.
For me, yeah, Emeli Sandé was a mildly interesting pop cultural phenomenon to observe in the flesh and it was a bit of a coup de grace for the LOTF team to bag but for me she was no headliner and her though provoking testaments to freedom, female individuality and emancipation left me somewhat emotional and philosophically  bereft gasping for a bit of stand up comedy and some real analysis of what makes life tick. Which I didn’t get with Howard Marks. He’s a raconteur not a stand up. I love this geez; shambling on stage stoned off his tits, drawing you in slowly with his posh reminiscences of getting away with it - apart from that 10 year jail sentence in the States that gave him time to write his book - which he endlessly plugged. Fuck you coppers! Good on him. His Welsh lilt soporifically drawing you into his world of brushes with the law, his time in prison, hanging out with Mick Jagger and bringing gentle smiles to the old iffy boatrace of a packed tent indulging him somewhat. He’s a gem and a true folk hero in the evolution of a world that does not accept the solid evidence of a world that needs to embrace the positive points of a natural plant we could all benefit from. Ooh, whilst I’m here in this tent I want to talk about the next night and Terry Alderton who did a rare gem of a set too. A triumph of ad lib audience interaction and craziness. Loved him. He hated us. He was heckled to fuck and just rode with it.
Outside the theatre tent we bump in to Macca and his oven shelf on two bits of string. He made the GF hook the string round her two index fingers and put them in her ears. He got a stick and as the shelf swings in the air he played that old oven shelf like a harp. It’s a classic. “Ooh, lovely”, she says.
Get a text from Sideways saying they’ve blagged the decks in the VIP area tent behind the main stage so went over there for a bit to listen to some nice music which I found the atmosphere totally suitable not only to me or the general vibe of the area but also to the artists and crew chilling out having a beer before or after their gig and to sample a free bag of crisps from a stack of open boxes at the back of the tent. Now that’s what I call rock and roll.
Both Friday and Saturday night I went home as soon as everything was over. Nice. A shower, clean clothes, a shave, a fry up the next morning after a lovely sleep on my firm orthopaedic mattress and back to the festy refreshed around midday. I really truly love festivals that one can just go home from every time it rains.
Andy Murray lost on Sunday; what a waste of 3 hours of my life. Oh look, it’s started to rain; I’m off home because I’m scared of the mud; sorry Niles Rogers looks like I’m going to miss your set which I heard was great. Respect to the great man. From my sofa at home.

Total Pageviews