HOW TO KILL A DJ CHAPTER 8 – DECEMBER 2015

DECEMBER 2015

…think to yourself, ‘There’s no place like home’

If you were born under a waxing gibbous, the need for escape, to commune with nature, to distance the self from this world, to hide, to communicate in words and music, to be a conduit for emotions and memories that others find difficult to express is apparently part and parcel of who you are. Under this Moon you need to be in relationship with others who respect your sensitivity but for this to happen, you must first respect it for yourself.

That’s me told then.

TUESDAY DECEMBER 1ST

WORD OF THE DAY

WINKLE

Verb

  1. British. Informal. to pry something out of a place, as winkle meat is dug out of its shell with a pin (usually followed by ‘out’)

Noun.

  1. British. Any of various marine gastropods; periwinkle.

This chapter has been brought to you by my having forced myself to sit still for long enough to prize the juiciest memories out of the recesses of a mind that is bubble-wrapped six feet deep and stacked high with cartons, parcel tape, trips to the recycling bins and physically moving out.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 2ND

WORD OF THE DAY

Propinquity

Noun

  1. Nearness in place, proximity.
  2. Affinity of nature; similarity

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Cancion

FEMININE NOUN

  1. (general) a. song

I stepped in the biggest pile of dog shit walking to the bins on the Carrer del Pau today. Yass! Luck incoming. But OCD as I am, this just made me want to throw my shoes out and bathe in my feet in neat bleach all day.

Heidi from I-Safe called to confirm a unit large enough to house my belongings. Finally!!! Thank you feet and thank you dog shit. Big but? The unit does not fall free until the 12th. I am NFA, homeless and happy on the 18th. I have left it too late to find storage elsewhere so spend the next six days double breathing into a paper bag and taking shares out in Voltarol.

I give, sell and donate equipment, furniture, clothes, shoes and white goods like a shopping channel Mother Christmas. The flat briefly turns into a size 8-10/26/34/35/39 sized Generation Game conveyor belt. I drop and clumsily break my enormous chinese piggy bank. I’ve had it for eight years and always thought that it was metal. It wasn’t. Who knew. Anyway, the short change inside makes me the princely sum of 500€ which makes it worth having to wash my hands like Lady Macbeth for about 5 hours after counting and bagging it.

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WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 9TH

WORD OF THE DAY

Lexicographer

Noun

  1. a writer, editor, or compiler of a dictionary.

I have an early morning appointment with the Gestor in San An to transfer  car ownership to Helen. We are prepared for it being an all day affair, but it is over in minutes so we head to Rita’s for an al fresco, celebratory brunch in the sunshine. Rita’s is a beautiful and popular place to people and Marina watch so we lap up the sun and the atmosphere.

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As we order breakfast I tell Helen that I have been thinking about inviting Mo Chaudry (my ex) to my leaving do. As I finish speaking I look up and in perfect synchronicity, Mo walks into Rita’s. We smile, he sits with us and we catch up on family and work stuff. It’s been a while. I thank him sincerely for his part in my journey so far. It’s a peaceful conversation that clears my headspace with a head rush of release. The love affair that brought me to the island ends on a happy note with smiles and kisses and wishes for the best.

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I raved hard that night at Adrian Browne (Zoo Project)’s Unusual Suspects party at Sankeys. It was rammed with bodies bouncing off each other and the walls in kinetic unison. The booth provided a safe haven where I got the opportunity to talk to Nicole Moudaber and Carl Craig about their upcoming plans. As Nicole decompressed from her set, I babbled on, telling her how proud I am of her, that I expect her to take a residency for the next year at Space or DC10. She humbly says she won’t do Space – she will always be loyal to Carl Cox, her mentor. I have a gut feeling that something equally big will land in her Ibiza lap regardless. She’s come a long way since Saturdays at Turnmills: now with a record label, a syndicated global radio show and residencies all over the world she is truly the #1 female dj. She works her ass off, travels the world converting thousands to her brand of techno and thus fully deserves her crown.

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I haven’t bumped heads with Carl Craig since I was his publicist in the Talkin Loud ‘Innerzone Orchestra’ days. I automatically click into flanking him and ejecting people from the booth so that he can work unimpeded. He laughed about my perma protective streak. After Nicole had aced it with a hard, driving tribal techno set, Carl followed, doing Detroit proud with a vocal and funk infused techno tear up. My DJ booth mini breaks are broken up with some long stay parking and manouevres on the dancefloor.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 11

WORD OF THE DAY

FORTNIGHT

Noun

  1. The space of fourteen nights and days; two weeks.

I am mid yoga session, breathing and thinking deeply.

In a fortnight it will be Christmas Day and I will be unwrapping presents instead of packing boxes. This is a bittersweet reflection. It means I will no longer be able to stand on the terrace in my crack fashion joggers and hoodie inhaling and absorbing the stunning 360° vista that I have loved and lived for the last two years. changes asana I am ok with this. changes asana I will not be cleaning the fridge freezer with Dr Beckman’s and finishing off with a spritz of neat Domestos (because I am that OCD). changes asana – plough. I leave here at 9am on Sunday December 20th … *changes asana* then *wobbles out of headstand and ungracefully assumes half lotus* Thinks.

Hold on a second. I pace around my quarter empty apartment and recalculate my T minus. The collective weight of my reinforced, glass studio tables weighs heavily on my knitted eyebrows. frown face Flashback to the two previous Ibiza moves when I alone had dragged said tables from the car across the gravel and shale drive and concrete steps, aided only by brute force, prayer, a lot of swearing, a woollen blanket and an IKEA Aladdin looking rug which I no longer own. I count the friends volunteering to help me on no fingers, then add the square root of suddenly wanting to cry from a place of deep grief – and deep heat. A sizzling sheen evaporates on my forehead like Evian mist. Cue stress incontinence.

FML… I have to break the studio down tonight. No shit. The removal men are booked for tomorrow! Shit shit shit. I thought I had another comfortable week to organise this as there is no way on God’s Earth I will get them out of the flat, into the lift, through the garage and into the car or down three flights of marble stairs into my car on any other day, especially not on my own. The removal men have to take it tomorrow, which means I have to LOOK SHARP TODAY.

At 11pm the studio looked like this …

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AT 9,15 am it looked like this …

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Moving house is a relentless, heartless taskmaster. I mentally book an appointment with my bed for Sunday morning then realise that I won’t actually have one.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 12TH

THE BIG PUSH

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I started alone and early morning, making probably 7 round trips, ferrying boxes by car from my flat then little box, big boxed everything from the small storage unit into the bigger one. I relentlessly hulked the 24 awkward boxes of vinyl already in one unit plus an assortment of archived paperwork, awkward furnishings and more shoes than Imelda Marcos with gritted teeth, straining carotids and without pausing for breath or breakfast.

Then the bad news. My extra pair of hands – my reliable muscleman with gripping hands, moving eyes, a personal training string-pull and a spacious motorhome has suddenly flaked. I was sure he had offered me a helping hand any time I needed it in the past. How could I have made such a rudimentary schoolgirl error? Still, I gave him the luxury of my precious time and listened sympathetically to his whingeing: blah blah blah something about a tight schedule, blah blah blah something about precious doorways … axel of his vehicle blah blah. He offered to help for an hour if I could carry all the boxes down to street level to somewhere two streets away where he could park. I told him to get lost. That’s island men all over. Un-re-fucking-liable.com He was a shit shag too. A ‘let down’ was all I could expect from this averagely endowed, unremarkable lay who looked like a creepy twat when he put on his Superman onesie to say ‘goodbye’. Double jeopardy works both ways.

Fred Everywhere was on holiday somewhere off the island but fortunately Capable Chris (another of the island’s favourite removal men) was available at short notice for the afternoon. When he arrived he was fast, efficient and got the job done in two and a half hours. He also managed to get past my psychotic, screaming neighbours. In your face. Who needs Superman?

On a night when the whole of the island was drinking copious amounts of cheap wine and going Facebook status loopy at the Wine Festival, I was Betty ‘No Mates’ cleaning the flat to deposit return standard, then packing and repacking the equipment and clothing left that needed to be flown or shipped to the UK.

THURSDAY 17TH DECEMBER

LEAVING / BIRTHDAY DO.

I and twenty of my friends descended on Cubar – the Cuban / Spanish tapas place run by Steve Hulme on the Parque De La Paz for a spicy last supper. We ate all we could eat, emptied as much of Steve’s beer barrels and bar, took a ton of pictures, talked a lot, ate some more, settled a very reasonable bill then went for more drinks around Ibiza town and finished with a flourish, dancing with Leena and Anita at the Teatro Peyrera.

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Picture of me, Eleanor and Maya before the carnage …

When I made my way home there were 6 guardia civil standing around my car having a leisurely chat. I body swerved them and pretended I was looking at the time limit on the car parking machine then made myself scarce. I absolutely hadn’t intended staying out that late or drinking that much and now driving was out of the question. I hadn’t intended walking home either but my phone was black screen dead and the roads might as well have had tumbleweed rolling across them so I had no choice. I walked half way home to Jesus in the freezing cold with no coat. By the time I got to Veto I looked like the dog in the back of the pick up truck in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

When he saw how pathetic I looked my security guard friend from Veto took pity and called a taxi for me. I wanted to marry him for that. I’ll miss Veto for that caring community vibe. I fell into bed a little drunk, a lot more sober, exhausted, fully clothed and still shivering.

FRIDAY 18TH DECEMBER

I awoke with a Hierbas-tard hangover, remembered the 9am free plimit and tore out of the flat for a brisk, money-saving walk in the blazing sunshine from Jesus to Dalt Vila. The internet Ib-Red engineers arrived to collect the router and faffed about on the roof from 09.30am till lunch time, keeping me spanish conversational. I felt surprisingly organised and accomplished for a lobotomised zombie.

I closed my Ibiza dj’ing diary with a Friday night slot at the Spanish Underwoman party run by my friends Gael and Alicja. ‘Underwoman’ was the first truly spanish party I played on the island and over the years I have become great friends with Gael, Alicja and Ita. They have been like sisters to me and I will miss my Spanish family.

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I was impressed with the Bubbles overhaul. They’d lowered the dj booth to dance floor level, improved the sound, put some gels in so it was not so stark and everything felt more rave and a lot less clinical. Nearing the end of my set, Sankey’s head honcho, Dave Vincent slipped his business card into my hand saying “you don’t know who I am but I am starting a new night next season. You must give me a ring.“

Sod’s Law – discuss. I catch a break the day before I leave the island for good. I would have loved to play at Sankeys – it would have given me a chance to play a proper club set for an up for it clubbing crowd. In the last week I have had three ‘residents’ parties offers for next summer. The new night turned out to be Sankeys Sabados – a Ladies’ and Ibiza residents’ only concept and one of the successes of the winter and summer seasons.

SUNDAY 20TH DECEMBER

I’M GOING HOME

I arrived at the airport fully checked in, relaxed and with a leisurely seventy-five minutes to wait until the flight. All this changed at the bag-drop when I realised that I had no passport. Where to start? I had spent my last night yoga, restaurant, car and spare room surfing. I had posted the keys to Gavin’s empty flat back in the letterbox and had left Trish to bask in her first early night in ages. Flashback to me sitting on Trish’s sofa under a blanket, blissed out after a Kundalini and gong session whilst filling in the immigration form for Ryanair on her I-pad. Question: Passport number.

Apologetic 7.50am call from me to Trish revealed my passport to be hiding under the duvet on the sofa. #hooraynothooray Cue strong coffee and a pedal to the metal mercy dash from Ca Na Negreta. I paced up and down outside Ibiza Airport like I was doing some military fatigues. If I had smoked I would have looked like a tobacco testing beagle. Trish arrived having driven with the gods clearly behind her. She delivered my passport to me with a radiant smile, a huge hug, lots of love, a namaste and still left me with 40 minutes to chill before departure. Too bad, Tanit, no matter how hard you try to keep me on the island, the force has awakened and my will to leave is stronger.

TUESDAY 22nd DECEMBER

WORD OF THE DAY

IRENIC

Adjective

  1. tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliatory.

It’s my first morning back in the UK and I have contracted a money back guaranteed, allergic reaction to the Elizabeth Arden rich hydrating cream that I bought for a decadent ‘treat’ in Madrid Airport. My skin is bubbling like lava, I am itching like Baloo and Jordan James Park would swap his lips for mine in a heartbeat. It’s a strong birthday look. I don’t feel much like showing my face to the public so me and my twin sister celebrate our birthday indoors with a pyjama party, watching ‘Inside Out’ and snivelling in chorus into our hankies.

SATURDAY 26TH DECEMBER

WORD OF THE DAY

BONHOMIE

noun

  1. frank and simple good heartedness.

I have a graphic techno-colour nightmare. I’m doing an ‘Essential Mix’ in a radio studio that looks like Rinse but also like Radio 1. The producer leaves me alone in the studio with three hours to fill. I find that I have to use DATS which aren’t DATs but look like an archaic fuse switch to back it all up. The DAT is numbered and labelled with white tape and black permanent marker. I find mine, plug it in to a tardis looking console then get my usb sticks.

I have six of these but not one of them can be read by any of the CDJs. One shows a folder of music which is not mine and cannot be opened. When I finally open the folder and scroll though it, it is funky but nothing anyone would recognise or think was particularly good. Then the DAT machine starts spewing what looks like elastoplasts and pill blisterpacks. It won’t stop. I know I am running out of time to record the mix. I shout to Paula (my twin) for help but she is talking to someone. I call for a technician but there is no one around to help me. I step out into the street, walk around a bit in the sunlight – but somehow dislocated from the day – I don’t see anyone I know or anything that might help.

When I return I am alone at the radio station. I keep scrolling through the USB sticks and start to play a mixmash of what I can find. I know that people will know it’s not my music but I make the best of the mix until …

I wake up highly stressed and anxious, then totally relieved. It’s just a dream. My twin puts this down to us watching ‘Zombieland’ before bedtime. I put it down to eating popcorn and doritos at 1 in the morning. But like most bad dreams it has a destabilising effect.

I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day with this. To me it felt like a subconscious representation of my professional life. With all things Christmas and moving, I have not had the tools or the desire to make a radio show or a mix since I arrived – my equipment is still boxed and only arrived on the 27th. I’ve repeated and missed one show already this month. My weekly Virgin radio show takes a lot of preparation: 30% of the content must be playlist tracks with one playlist track played every 10 minutes. This often ruins the creative flow. Moreover the pop / french playlist music required is a cost that whilst minimal, I resent having to pay. I’m always enthusiastic but have started to labour the weekly routine. I don’t speak on air and I’m not playing exactly what I want to play, the work is unpaid and the support, training, feedback and promotion promised are non-existent. The show hasn’t generated the extra dj work I had hoped exposure and association with a national radio station would bring and the contract wasn’t a fair / two-way, sound or lucrative one. My contract is up for renewal in July. Maybe that’s what the dream means?

TUESDAY 29TH DECEMBER

WORD OF THE DAY

STELLIFEROUS

1 having or abounding with stars.

An early morning IM and phone call leads to my first foray into Manchester night life. I have been invited by my Ibiza friends Big L (Andrew Livesey – Pikes/ We Love) and Jamie ‘Fatneck’ Low to enjoy the twisted pleasures of outside winter drinking at ‘Folk’ and ‘Volta’ in West Didsbury. They’re both great bars that lend themselves well to bar hopping being next door to each other and all. So our fun starts with double bubble / doubles trouble then ends with a marathon vinyl session at Hidden (Mcr) and new NTS Radio Manchester presenter Annabel Fraser’s loft apartment somewhere in ‘hip’ Ancoats.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/ancoats-northern-quarter-best-manchester-12465732

Seeing the Pollard Street name plate on the way, catapulted me back to my years as an 18+ Management Trainee for the CWS. I have a deep respect and fondness for all things Co-op and CWS but you know how everyone has that one job that they didn’t like. This was mine. The 2 year scheme was easily as good as Marks & Spencers graduate scheme but the three month placement in the dark, satanic Albion Mill unsurprisingly depressed me enough to want to resign. We were also sent on an Outward Bound team-building course in Scotland where our creepy Team Leader had wandering hands in the tent at lights out. Training in HR / Industrial Relations in a factory in deepest Lowry land where theft, shrinkage, absenteeism and strikes were the norm? Well that was torture for this 19 year old. Each lonely day felt like falling through seven rings of hell and banging my head on every ridge, crag and boulder on the way down. What a relief to find that it has been turned into a block of fun-filled and family flats. I treasure the day I resigned and decided to follow my heart and my dreams instead. Many positives out of multiple negatives.

We left Annabel’s at 6am to catch our respective trains. I had forgotten to phone home and for the first time in thirty years was worried about how my mum was going to react to that. House rules are house rules even if the passage of time indicates that you should be beyond such concerns. Returning to the motherland is slowly becoming a series of vivid flashbacks, random outbursts, cinema trips, a parade of good friends, day time walks, late night metrolink journeys and some unsettling dreams. And the awareness that even in the darkest places, I love my city.

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WEDNESDAY 30TH DECEMBER

WORD OF THE DAY

PROBITY

Noun

  1. integrity and uprightness; honesty

 

I rolled in around 7am, slept through the day, woke up ridiculously hungover and ate breakfast for lunch. I told Blanche (mum) all about my friends and my night out, but she maintained an inscrutable silence. I avoid conflict over this despite KNOWING that Mum has put me in the doghouse like the errant sixteen year old she thinks I still am.

THURSDAY 31ST OF DECEMBER

WORD OF THE DAY

CLINQUANT

Adjective

  1. glittering, especially with tinsel; decked with garish finery

noun

  1. imitation gold leaf; tinsel; false glitter

There’s always a celebrity death at New Year. This year we lost Natalie Cole.

Natalie Cole Guardian Obituary

My family love her music so I post her obituary to my family Whatsapp group and on my sister Audrey’s facebook page – (she’s the biggest Natalie Cole fan out of all of us).

New Year’s Eve takes us to a party at my sister Elicia’s house. Mum and I are the first guests to arrive so I can eat my way around the delicious buffet snacks unimpeded. The TV news is playing in the background. It’s gone 9pm before I remember that I was supposed to submit a radio show today. Mini meltdown incoming. A terse Whatsapp exchange from my french agent reveals that they needed the show by 1pm due to the holiday and are now going to repeat the 19/12 show instead. I am embarrassed.

NYE FIREWORKS LONDON

In Leeds, the appearance of the Aurora Borealis made the headlines.

New Year’s Day Northern Lights Leeds 2015

Major Lazer’s ‘Lean On’ (Spotify’s most streamed track of the year)

My first 10 days back on home soil have been everything I’d hoped for and the support of my family and friends has been rock solid throughout. I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions laced with unconditional love, full family reconnection, festive food and head-splitting hangovers. My living space is shrinking, quickly dwarfed by the clothes and equipment that are slowly migrating upstairs, piling on chairs, hiding under the bed and stuffing the wardrobes until I can feel my cabin fever rising.

I’m happy I’m home though. If my life was a jigsaw, my year end and New Year would be the missing piece of clear sky that you find in your lap when you stand up.

To be continued …

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 7

NOVEMBER 2015

“You are the best. You are the worst. You are average. Your love is a part of you. You try to give it away because you cannot bear its radiance, but you cannot separate it from yourself. To understand your fellow humans, you must understand why you give them your love. You must realize that hate is but a crime-ridden subdivision of love. You must reclaim what you never lost. You must take leave of your sanity, and yet be fully responsible for your actions.”

Gnarls Barkley, in a letter to the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs

I never thought of Cee Lo Green as a prophet but here he’s somehow reached into my feelings, winkled out the deceptive ones and nailed the most confusing bits to the wall. With Thor’s Hammer. Today I feel like I’m rewriting the bible. Each chapter I was once happy with now seems to have been written by a complete stranger. A someone who, though present at the event, has had a completely different experience of it to the me who is reading it light years later. It all has to be rewritten.

Emotional journeys always take the longest. By December 2016 my world and the world itself has changed so much that you’d be forgiven (and subsequently so can I – be forgiven) for not recognising it from this year’s perspective. By comparison, the physical journey (practically unaided) from Ibiza to Manchester is nothing more than a simple stroll in Thatch Leach Park.

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In my world according to Mysticmamma:

“insightful Lena Stevens from The Power Path.com: says …

“This month we enter the labor that will birth our own transformation and change. And just as in actual childbirth, once the process begins, there is no going back.

“The pressure we feel is that of being in a container that has grown too small. It is time to face the unknown, our own fears and resistance, and move ourselves to the next level.

“Everything this month will be pressurized. You will feel pressure from the outside as well as pressure from the inside.

“The image is that of a large balloon being inflated until the pressure of the hot air forces it to rise. We have been filling ourselves up with new dreams, new intentions and a commitment to balance, personal growth and change and now we are at that point where the pressure of our own needs and desires is pushing our container to a higher level of vibration.

Onwards and upwards like an over inflated balloon, huh. Better duck then – we all know what happens next, right?

“Wisdom is precisely what is missing when – like rats in the famous experiment conducted by B.F. Skinner more than fifty years ago – we press the same levers again and again even though there is no longer any real reward. By bringing deeper awareness into our everyday lives, wisdom frees us from the narrow reality we’re trapped in – a reality consumed by the first two metrics of success, money and power, long after they have ceased to fulfil us. Indeed we continue to pull the levers not only after their diminshed returns have been exhausted, but even after it’s clear they’re actually causing us harm in terms of our health, our peace of mind, our relationships. Wisdom is about recognizing what we’re really seeking: connection and love. But in order to find them we need to drop our relentless pursuit of success as society defines it for something more genuine, more meaningful, and more fulfilling.[1]

I broke out from packing like a prison breaker, running hard into the Ibiza sunshine. Helen and I took Sugar for a spin over to Lips in Playa D’En Bossa, where we dined with our french friends Angelique, Antonella, Charles and Hjordis. Ibiza is truly lovely in winter when you can have a lazy afternoon eating al fresco and in the sunshine. True to form, the world was here celebrating the end of season wind-down, preparing to cocoon and binge-watch on Netflix. You could hear the anticipation of the winter adventures to come bristling underneath the napkins at every full table. The question of future plans dropped into our conversation and pinged around the group like a Powerball. My mum, the landlady, the move, the work crisis flooded sentences that rolled out in front of me like a traitorous tsunami. I cried in front of them all. Hashtag awkward. URL www.surprisedfaces.com/embarrassedfriends. We ate, my friends were as consoling as they could be for people who were positively happy with their lives, we hugged and left.

Moving house is hardcore, it rides roughshod over you no matter what the reason. They say it’s the third most stressful thing you can experience in life next to death and divorce. They (those pesky statisticians) are not wrong either as I have all three under my Ninja Belt of Life and have the grey hair to prove their theory. Leaving friends and a way of life you love and have grown happily accustomed to sucks ass too and is probably nestling at number four or five on that list.

[1] Ariana Huffington – ‘Thrive’ – WISDOM – Life as a classroom p117

AFFIRMATIONS – NOVEMBER 2015

I spread my wings.

I put myself back on the UK radar

I do more teaching and public speaking.

I find an interesting job.

I set myself my usual time limit. One year. Twelve months. 365 days. No biggie.

 

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7TH

WORD OF THE DAY

MAUKA

Adverb

(Hawaii) Toward the mountains

 

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Libre

Free

At liberty, free time, unscheduled, not occupied, without cost

My land lady has forgotten her ‘vacate premises’ ultimatum and asks why I am packing boxes. I show her the FB IM message she sent asking me to leave first at the end of October, then the 1st November, then the 15th. She says she has wondered why she hasn’t seen me out and about. I tell her that I haven’t been out or seen anyone nocturnally since Halloween and due to her ‘last offer’ of a November 27thvacation date, boxing and packing has become my beat-the-clock occupation. She asks if we are still friends. I pointedly say ‘yes … the sort of friend that I no longer trust.’ She says that I can take as long as I like to move. I only plan to stay put until my deposit payment will pay the final month’s rent, no need to wait for everything to become clearer in 2016 A.DC10 (that is, after DC10)

My best friend Gavin is back from his travels / pilgrimage. He has spent the year in full Number One Prince fan mode and has just returned from Minneapolis for the secret Prince gig. His stories are spectacular – Prince took everyone to see Spectre after the concert??? Whataman! WTF! I don’t think I have ever been taken to the cinema by one of my musical heroes after the gig. I am jealous of the intensity of memory that that gives.

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We gossip for an hour about the Trade The final : 25th anniversary party – ravers on walking sticks, great music, great event. He says he was the youngest one there and he is nearly 40. I say he that’s because he always was the youngest one there and he laughs. But after entering at 8pm they left at 3am – 8 hours partying is enough. They’ve all grown up. They are all ‘too old for this’. Still, for one night, Trade was resurrected and The Egg was transformed. We talk more about his Prince exploits, his and my crazy neighbours and then settle down to my home cooked spaghetti with a fennel, bacon, chilli pepper sauce. He too is at a crisis point and like me finds the island lacking in stimulation. It is isolated. He says it is cut off from the real world. I say it is a bubble. There is a world outside Ibiza Airport, we are part of a bigger thing – beyond the petty everything that is going on around us. Island news is ‘cat stuck up a tree’ uneventful. His company is doing very well – Radio show Production, syndication and event management for AAA list heavy hitters. Where to next? Things in his apartment have started to break. He has been here 9 years. I left Paris after 9 years. There are strange and spooky parrallels. He says It’s time to move on and move up but I know he won’t leave yet. Even if he moans about everything, I know deep down that he loves living here and is way too settled to change. Unlike me.

I’m not Carl Cox – my leaving won’t make seismic waves in Ibiza club culture. Still I find it serendipitous that even he has chosen to hang up his Space headphones in search of that fine filament, the red bracelet that connects us one to another then leads us on to our spiritual home. What I’m trying to say is that at some point in your life YOU will start YOUR fantastic journey AND no matter how radical the change might seem, everything will be alright. The world won’t end. Just A world.

And breathe.

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There was a time when there were hardly any female djs. We were a small group and we practially all knew each other personally. The circuit was international but smaller. I found myself regularly playing alongside a brace of mavericks including Rachel Auburn, Princess Julia and Mrs Woods at Heaven or Queer Nation, with Dulcie Danger at The Zap Club, with Angel at Venus in Nottingham, with Kath Mc Dermott at Flesh and Home in Manchester. We all started dj’ing on the gay scene and became the first female djs to play on the international circuit. 20 years later there is a whole new generation at the helm, women like Annie Mac, Nina Kraviz, Nicole Moudaber, Cocoa Cole, Heidi, Cassy – women with a mastery of their art, their look, their everything. They are demons at marketing, business, branding, radio, broadcasting, production, events, technology, networking and social media. They have the full package and a team behind them to help. It’s not a lone pursuit or a lucrative hobby any more. They are fierce business women who will scale still higher heights; undisputed leaders of the new school who have grabbed the dj baton and run like fuck around the world and back whilst waving it like a blazing Olympic torch in the face of patriarchy. This is great progress and I am proud to have been one of the first to have exhibited such a pioneering spirit.

 

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 12TH

WORD OF THE DAY

Saporific

Adjective

  1. Producing or imparting flavour, taste.

 

I’m in the middle of a dream and asking someone I know well to bring me some english biscuits when they return from their travels. I am asking for Custard Creams, Bourbons, traditional fayre. Then I am at Pikes eating said biscuits in the swimming pool. It all makes perfect sense to me when my eyes are closed and twitching but it perplexes me all day once I am awake.

 

Breakfast time and Missy Elliott and Pharrell break the internet with “WTF (Where They From)”. From the lyrics, arrangement and stripped back roll to the hair, make up and styling, it’s a next level video that I can’t stop watching. It’s a hints and tips masterclass that makes me consider wearing Lichtenstein make up every day and investing in a good wig. Hip-hop has been missing Missy. I have missed Missy.

The Youtube / Twitter vortex sucks me in as far as the bulldog who has broken the world dog skateboarding record for skating through a 30 person arch.

Thug life for real.

Then there’s Barbie’s #ImagineThePossibilities

Inspiration can sometimes come from the strangest of places.

FRIDAY 13TH NOVEMBER

WORD OF THE DAY

INCONNU

  1. a person who is unknown; a stranger
  2. Also called sheefish a game fish, Stenodus leucichthys, of fresh or brackish northern waters.

I am more excited than anything about my London trip and wake up at the first alarm. Friday the 13th has never been a significantly negative number for me. Obvs.

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I am on the BA flight from Ibiza to London City. When I board I wonder why I have flown Vueling, Ryanair, Monarch and Easyjet non stop for the last three years and not paid for more civilised cabin treatment before? It’s amazing what a delicious / free roast chicken, couscous and keeeeeeeenwaaaaaah salad does for the red-eye morale. Even if it is bite-sized and served with bendy cutlery, it beats the customary 6€ plastic Vueling meal deal hands down.

Landing at London City, passport and Oyster card in hand, I suddenly feel like the Queen Of All Things. As I walk to passport control I show a passenger that their passport is just about to fall out of their back pocket (don’t leave a sister hanging, high five required here). Everything is right with the world until I have to do that embarrassing handbag vomit in front of the Biometric passport machine assistants due to my passport having disappeared into the lining of my handbag. I’m sweating profusely – holding the queue up, blocking a man in a wheelchair whose Fasttrack rights I am clearly impeding. Not to mention a queue of impatient and harumphing Londoners. Could I possibly be turned away from the country I love? Not this time. Psych.

On the DLR I am taking it all in like Rain Man. Its been a year since I last visited the UK and yearsssszsahh since I was last in London and I had forgotten how much I have missed and love this place. Even the sight of the Tate and Lyle factory’s ‘Save Our Sugar’ sugar tax protest sign fills me with patriotic slash political pride. The East India Company sign makes me bristle with a dark sense of history and the Millenium Dome’s industrial alien communication spikes give me a flashback to watching it being built day by day on The Big Breakfast fifteen years ago. I almost want to stand and give a rousing rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ibiza. I love the countryside and the beaches but home is where the heart is. Nothing beats the continually evolving history of London at any time of the year, even if the first thing I see in the Tube Station is Chris Evans’ slightly smug face grinning down in the poster advert for his book ‘Call The Midlife’. It’s his 50th this year. I am reminded that the clock will soon start ticking on mine.

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I spend the evening with Cocoa Cole at Capital Xtra. It’s LIVE national radio (not pre-recorded or pre-produced like a lot of shows) and she’s working without a producer tonight. She has to get it right – and she does. Cocoa works like a multi-tasking octopus, twirling around in her chair to flit from the mixing desk, to fire the music through Myriad, tweeting links from her laptop, doing shout outs and playing exclusives whilst remembering to include all the advertising reads, keeping her cheery, bubbly, knowledgeable and fresh demeanour throughout. ‘It’s a beast’ ‘It’s a banger’ she says regularly in catchphrase heaven. Three hours pass in a flash. I leave her at Leicester Square tube station to start a very London (ok Shoreditch slash Hoxton) girls’ night out with my best girlfriends Sam Tee, Reetu and our honorary girlfriend, Joe Theophilus (Flying Lotus – Really Happening) at Ernesto Leal’s wintry outdoor event at Tokyo Nights. Friends, street food, djs, music, lots of chat and a little bit of alcohol. So far, it’s a good mix.

We go on to a techno party at the buzzing, humid and very sweaty Basing House. We’re here for an adult rave feauring Fox Low, Logan Fisher and Jonas Constantine; there are a lot of frenchies in the house and I’m in bilingual heaven. I’m up for the rave in principle even though I’m not really dressed for it. Having gone out for this Friday night social straight from the radio station I feel ashamed and unglamorous for daring to rave in my slouchy travelling clothes. Everyone is asking me to take my coat off, saying it is making them feel uncomfortable, then telling me to put it down somewhere but for a ton of reasons and no reason at all I don’t comply. I am anxious and feel at twattish odds with myself and everyone around me. I start acting like we are not going to stay that long, do lots of sitting upstairs on the smoking terrace, talk seven shades of nonsense, rave for a bit then do some more talking. Suddenly I don’t feel like dancing and am being annoyingly stubborn about joining in. Half way through the main set Sam asks me if I’ve seen anything about Paris yet? I say no – I haven’t been checking my phone. Then she shows me a Facebook post on her page. She asks me if I know where this is and that maybe I should check in with my friends? When I do, news is slowly then quickly filtering through, then internationally trending of a red-alert hostage situation at the Bataclan in Paris. I run upstairs in Basing House to get a better signal, then I start talking to the french people we are with and we start the frantic pinging of all of our Parisian friends. There is much confusion. Like the night that John Lennon was shot, or when Princess Diana and Michael Jackson died, or 9/11 we will remember this night forever. Despite my efforts to explain, and geo-localise the problem in simple terms for the English friends who I’m partying with, no one seems to realise how serious this is. Yet.

My phone starts to sound with incoming texts asking if I’m OK. “Yes I’m fine” I say, “I left Paris three years ago and am in London tonight” It’s like no one has noticed I moved to Ibiza. Still, they are all glad that I am in London tonight and so am I. I feel strange because people are contacting me because they think I might have been hurt in the attack. I feel a fraud in saying that I am alright. I flag myself as safe. The developing news and horrific nature of the attacks renders me silent. Our group had now stopped taking anything in musically so we agreed that the party was over. On our way home it seemed like a good idea to stop for a dirty kebab on the Holloway Road. By the time we were in front of the TV watching the news unfold from the safety of a living room sofabed in Tufnell Park, our warm kebabs sweating on the cold plates, I had lost my appetite.

During my nine years resident in Paris, Le Petit Cambodge was one of my favourite eateries in the 10tharrondissement. I ate there regularly with my best friend Christophe, first after my weekly lessons and then as a kind of tradition until I left. The tables were always full, and it was always a hive of activity. They didn’t take reservations and rain or shine, the food was always worth the lengthy wait outside in the queue. Now my heart and head hurt thinking about how many wonderful Friday nights and weekends out had started in that area and how much such callous cowardice would have ripped a hole in Parisian morale. My friend Charlotte’s partner owns and runs a beautiful brasserie close by where this night they found themselves sheltering 40 people from the raining bullets and unable to let people leave due the area being designated a crime scene.

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It takes less than a second to change lives forever: the time to miss a bus, choose another restaurant, buy the last concert ticket, drink at another bar, choose another weekend break destination. This convinces me more than ever that it’s the people that should matter in my life choices. None of us know how long we have. One random suicide bomber walks into a bar, a concert hall or a tube station and it could all be over tomorrow. What then? How would I want to have lived my life? What would I want written on my tombstone? What song would I want to be played at my funeral?

 

Fuck Friday the 13th – I’m going to bed. Paris is covered with the Angel of Death’s sprawling cloak and we sleep unsoundly and angrily in our beds wondering who or which city will be next?

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 14th

A wet week to come

… There has been a big change as we’ve moved into November with an unusually powerful jet stream drifting southwards and putting us in the firing line for some wild and wet autumn weather. Named by the UK Met Office as Storm Abigail, severe winds were not the only feature to affect the UK on Thursday and Friday. In the 24 hours to 1800 GMT on Friday 13th, an estimated 107mm of rainfall fell across the hills of western Scotland (see figure 2).

There will be little let-up in the soaking conditions as we head into the second half of November with plenty more rain on the way. Overnight and into Sunday 15th, the main focus of the rain will be on the northern half of the UK with some high totals expected across the hills and mountains of western Scotland, north-west England and north Wales. In fact, some forecast models suggest that these areas could see in excess of 100mm of rainfall during the 48 hours to Sunday night, with up to 200mm possible in a few spots.

Weather Forecast November 14th

Paulette Constable updated her status.

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14 November 2015 09:36

Je n’ai pas des mots. La tristesse est profonde.

My eyes open on a nondescript, cloudy London morning. How could anyone so savagely rip the heart out of a city (its people and its culture) that I – and the world – loves so much? I am one of the lucky ones – my friends are all marked safe. I feel selfishly relieved. Last night’s news severely underestimated the fall out and now the death toll keeps rising. Two friends, Sophie Callis and Janie Valentine phone and drop in. Like us, neither has slept well and both are depressed at the turn of events. We drink tea, coffee, become sofa philosophers / politicians and talk through this together whilst watching the news on an infinity loop. It is a day of mourning, grieving at a distance, of not moving from the sofa and TV whilst eating everything that is not nailed down. It’s a day of simultaneously contacting everyone we know in the proximity of the attacks plus anyone we know with whom we can process this with via IM and phone. None of us can quite believe it. Facebook turns red, white and blue within hours in support.

Paris attacks kill more than 120 people – as it happened.

The Guardian

14 Nov 2015

Paris attacks as it happened – The Guardian

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Carnage. Massacre. L’horreur. Bloodbath. La Guerra. Terror. The international news headlines are all in agreement.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s Front National seize the political opportunity and a slow wave of Nationalism floats its precarious lifeboat atop the wave and ensuing deluge of negative, hateful rhetoric. Yet in the hours and days that follow, there is also poetry, solidarity, community, beauty and forgiveness in the media. One response floated above it all and went viral: french radio journalist, Antoine Leiris’ heart-rending open letter written in response to his wife’s murder in the Bataclan.

Antoine Leiris’ open letter – The Guardian

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So eight terrorists are dead. Hashtag #SorryNotSorry. Fuck terrorists, suicide bombers and their terrorist attacks. #JeSuisParis #RIPTerrorAttacks #RIPBataclan … no matter how much I feel the need to hibernate, to throw my hands up in surrender, to curl up in bed and turn my back on the world, the world keeps turning.

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The Soho Radio show and Housewife techno session go ahead as scheduled but whilst we try our best to make them celebrations, both become unwitting victims / bystanders of the attacks. It pours with rain all day and the state of emergency established in France has predictably altered the mood in London and Europe-wide so much that despite efforts to stay positive, the lock-down atmosphere of fear and mistrust has won. The night is sombre, not sparkly sequinned ‘mad-for-it’ or party at all. People stay home, keeping their doors locked and hugging their families and loved ones that little bit closer.

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Still, whilst the world seems to be going slowly bonkers, not one of my nine lives has been lost by the end of November 2015 and for that I feel truly blessed.

HOW TO KILL A DJ CHAPTER 6 – HALLOWEEN 2015

HOW TO KILL A DJ CHAPTER 6

HALLOWEEN

SATURDAY OCTOBER 31ST

 

WORD OF THE DAY

IGNIS FATUUS

  1. Something deluding or misleading.
  2. Also called a friar’s lantern, will-o-the-wisp. A flitting phosphorescent light seen at night, chiefly over marshy ground, and believed to be due to spontaneous combustion of decomposed organic matter.

 

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Golpe

Hit

MASCULINE NOUN

  1. (impact) a. hit b. blow 2. (indentation) a dent 3 (strike) a shot 4 (clash) conflict.

Low blows and conflicts aside, I can still burn it up.

Vamp-Flyer

Today is the day of the Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes Hotel VAMP Halloween party. Much like Atzaro Opening, Space and Amante Closings it is one of the most attended and anticipated parties of the year and a keystone in the winter residents’ social diary. It is also line-up catnip to every island dj worth their schmooze skills. I secured my place on the line up in June when I signed for my contract as a resident at Pikes Hotel, so am as excited as a dog locked in a butcher’s shop to play. This year’s line up is island star heavy so to see my name on the flyer feels like an Ibiza resident rubber stamp.

In another way it’s a chance to exorcise a ghost that has been hanging around from the last time I played there. Rewind to the last IBIZA ROCKS HOUSE PARTY when I played alongside Junior Sanchez in the main room. The party was rammed and Junior finished his set with a 14 minute re-edit of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Love Light In Flight’ flourish.

Everything was going smoothly until a random, toxic exchange burst my boogie bubble.

I hadn’t been playing for long when a kooky, androgynous chica breezed then blundered into the booth, retinas blazing, to tell me a joke. Her boyfriend had been playing regularly at the daytime pool parties over the summer and since she is cute, impish and normally quite sweet (and is also a good friend to the Pikes management), I left her to make herself comfortable in the booth behind me whilst I dug in. Ignoring my DJ at work, ‘headphones on, head down’ stance, she lifted my cans…

Me: (brusquely) “is something wrong? do you need me for something?”

Her: (in heavily broken spanglish) “No.” she said… “I have a joke to tell to you” She was full of it, just like a naughty kid at the back of the schoolbus.

‘OK, right’ I say but think ‘Are you kidding me?’ Breaches of dj booth etiquette irritate me at the best of times and are never welcomed when it’s for no good reason, no matter who does it.

Her: sooooooo …

Me: “alright, shoot, I say” … whilst putting my headphones back on to block her out and cue in the next track. She tugs my headphones off again to shout in my ear over the sound from the monitor …

Her: “Why don’t n*ggers like the sound of chainsaws? …” she asked laughing.

I’m sorry. This is vintage bullshit. Who the hell is she, really?

I stared at her in disbelief as my tune played on but only I felt the solar plexus punch and the rage inside. She couldn’t have been serious, someone had to have taken advantage of her piss-poor understanding of english and dared her to tell me this just to get a reaction. But is she that eager to please she’d risk getting a public bitchslap? Maybe it was a ghetto n*gga joke reclaiming the word and told out of context and badly by a wannabe white homie. For whatever reason this has stomped all over my happy buzz like a chainsmoker with a fag end. I turned to block her and her shit sense of humour out of my space but she stayed, oblivious, waiting for me to respond.

She pulled at my sleeve again, (pupils now occupying the whole iris).

“It’s a joke. I ask then you’ve got to answer me” she said exasperated “you know what is a joke, right?’

In case I hadn’t heard it fully the first time, she shouted louder over the music

“… why don’t n*ggers like the sound of chainsaws?” she hopped from foot to foot like Rumpelstiltskin then unable to contain herself any longer snorted triumphantly “because it sounds, run run run n*gger run, run run run n*gger run”

WTF?

My mind ran riot. What would Idris Elba do? What would Craig David do? What would De La Soul do? What would Bobbi and Steve do? What would Carl Cox do? What would Seth Troxler do? What would Smokin Jo or Skin do? What would Carl Craig do? What would Kenny Larkin, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, MK, Honey Dijon, 4Hero, Roni Size, Goldie, Norman Jay MBE, Trevor Nelson, Josey Rebelle or what would any DJ of colour do if told an off-colour, off-key, blatantly racist and downright unfunny joke in the dj booth, whilst they are working? Would they do something? Or nothing? The room was heaving. In front of the decks people were enjoying the party. What would THEY think if they knew what I’d just been told whilst I made like Rylan Clarke and just kept smiling?

My first instinct was to give her a Dick Emery wallop, blind-siding her with my handbag – but it wasn’t a good time and why make more of this than needs be? Instead I firmly and impolitely nudged her behind me, saying ‘you know what, that’s a really shit joke, do you mind leaving the booth now? I’m trying to work here”. Her mission (or dare) was accomplished and she skipped out of the booth unscathed and triumphant.

I checked the date on my watch. We hadn’t time-travelled, hurtling with a screech back to the 1950s in a clapped out DeLorean. This is still Ibiza Rocks Hotel at Pikes – possibly the coolest hang out for ex-pats and people of colour on the island and one of the more overtly diverse employers on the island. Still, #thisjusthappened.

The music played on. We play into extra time, so Sunny brought his vinyl collection out of the boudoir and I played some crackly, scratched 70s disco hits to the stragglers. Sunny lip synched like a boss from his perch on the speaker stack. And when the last punters left, I joined the select group in a vacant room just off the Plaza Mayor to have one for the road with the direction and the remaining djs.

Of course stupidumb was there. Spirits were high so I decided not to mention The Joke to the crew who she was fooling around with. I felt like I had betrayed myself and my race. My contract wasn’t quite over and I still had work to do so I kept my mouth shut. I had sold out a guiding principle for the dollar somehow. People might say I was over-reacting – no kittens or fairies had died – even if that’s how it felt. The struggle was and is real. DJ’ing and club culture / life still has the capacity to hit me like a bullet to the temple when I least expect it.

I mentioned it to a few friends the next day over a Pikes Sunday roast. A couple were outraged and said I should have stopped the music, let the spurs clink and tumbleweed roll on the dance floor before handing her the microphone then turning the volume up to 11 just so that everyone could hear her tell the fabulous n*gger joke. Others said I should have stopped the music and dj diva stropped off. No one suggested fronting her with it and to be honest no one really cared that much. They say ‘To err is human and to forgive is divine’ so call me Jesus and let’s move on. Forgetting is a bit hard though. Ask any elephant worth his poached ivory tusks.

As for stupidumb – she and her boyfriend were given a Pikes residency for the Winter 2015 and Summer 2016. As for me – I was courteous but found it hard to be friendly with her after that night. IMHO Friends like her should always feel the door hit them where the dog should have bit them. When is a racist joke not a joke eh? I suppose you could ask Cary Sharp, the husband of Teresa Sharp, Lahoma, Oklahoma’s Mayor.

Oklahoma’s Mayor apologises for husband’s KKK meeting joke

Back to today and my happy, positive place – it’s Halloween and I am closing the Chez Fez room at the party of the year and that is a great result. Hashtag #blessings. Hashtag #GRATITUDE. Hashtag #LIFEISSWEET.

After googling costume ideas around age and halloween my search revealed this picture of Donatella Versace.

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It scared me more than the childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Fashion and the media have everything to do with the reasons why our society profits from our own (men, women and childrens’) self doubt, making us strive always for a unreachable, ridiculous concept of beauty and being just to SPEND MORE MONEY and BUY MORE THINGS that we don’t even need. That she has fallen prey to the monster that she in some way has helped create makes me feel very sad. I will never understand why people go under the knife for vanity’s sake just to end up with faces like candles melting in the sun. And how anyone can do that to their ear lobes to hold their drooping features in place is beyond me. No. Girl power, positivity, strength, natural beauty inside and out and fierceness are all that get my vote. The X-Men’s Storm shall be my muse.

halle berry storm

And if it’s good enough for Beyoncé (this year) then it’s good enough for me.

beyonce_as_storm.png.CROP.rtstoryvar-medium

My costume consisted of LED striplights, a black rubber catsuit and a homemade X-Men belt. I spent the best part of the day faffing and fine tuning, mani-pedi-ing, rubber shining my catsuit and tinting my wig. The result? More Halle Berry than Marvel Original. And Madonna would have approved of my choice to go cape-less.

It’s daft but even at Halloween caring about how I look becomes a feminist issue. It piques that you can’t just dj when you are female in this industry. How you look very much determines how (and whether) you work, play or rest (much like an actor). This concept never applies to men. Male dj’s can be XXL, rough, a stress-free over fifty, balding, unkempt and badly dressed and still get the high paying gigs. Men can walk into a club wearing crap jeans and a dirty, travel worn t shirt and no one says a word.Yet everyone will say something about how the women looked even if they’re technically the best person on the line up. It’s an inextricable part of the deal that women (in practically any discipline you care to mention) spend a disproportionate amount of their professional lives worrying about their look and presentation. We often find ourselves jumping through sartorial hoops that men don’t even have to consider.

I eased myself into my rubber catsuit with the help of lots of baby powder and my long arms. Then opened the zips slightly at the neck and crotch to let the heat out, ventilate and enable unimpeded movement. The appliance of wardrobe science. Rekordbox playlists exported to a spanking new USB stick? Check! I was ready to whip up a storm – and a few tornadoes – looking like this:

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Given that I have put on a few pounds since I last wore it, I’m amazed that I can move in it at all, let alone drive. I have no idea how Heidi Klum survived the night in her Jessica Rabbit head to toe latex reinvention. Now that’s what I call serious Halloween skills and total dedication to the party at hand.

heidi-klum

Rules of Halloween.

  1. Always ask your friends for full costume updates and snapchats before you leave. Or resign yourself to walking round in circles looking for friends that you are standing next to but don’t recognise. Especially at Pikes. Here the costumes are spectactular: everyone has made a real effort and everyone Is asking ‘have you seen? I can’t find?’

It was steaming like a Moroccan souk in Chez Fez. The aircon was struggling to keep up with the heat of a slightly damp crowd and the collective, core reactor intensity body temperature. The rain and blocked toilets didn’t help either as people instinctively crammed into Chez Fez, the first attractive and available dry space that was closest to Plaza Mayor. As Jaime Fiorito and Alfredo were finishing off in Chez Fez, I watched the blood drain from Alfredo’s face as he fainted briefly behind the decks. I grabbed one arm, Jaime grabbed the other, I grabbed a chair and some water and he sat and got his head together. Alfredo came around pretty quickly: but overcome with the heat he headed straight home. It had been a long evening already and 4.30 is a good enough time to call it a night for anyone. I, however, was just getting started.

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My idea of the LEDS without a power pack was maybe not so smart. It only worked when I was standing near enough to plug myself in to a power point which is ok when I am dj”ing of course but not when I am just walking around. Nobody really GOT that bit when it wasn’t lit up. And who wants magnesium burning brightness on a dark, disco dancefloor. Oof. That’s a wardrobe malfunction right there. I open my set wearing them but once I see the cockroach effect they create on the dance floor, my lovely LEDs are hidden in my handbag for the rest of the party. Go Storm! And well done me.

There are characters in abundance. Leena IS Edward Scissorhands – wig, stripey suit, scissors and hedge clippers included. I would recognise Leena in the dark though – one Leena Sharma, there’s only one Leena Sharma. We all loved Mark Broadbent and Big L’s fully tattooed Latino gangsters and I totally didn’t clock that the clown standing next to me was Sarah Broadbent. Exemplary work all round.

I dimmed the white lights, leaving only the sexy, womb-like reds then opened with Rhythim is Rhythim ‘Strings Of Life’

I dug my spurs in their sides with Martijn Ten Velden’s galloping remix of Guitarra G

By the time it hit the guitar solo there were cheers and smiles and whatever the party favours were were suddenly and simultaneously kicking in, in time to the music. Mark and Sarah Broadbent both passed by again to see what the commotion in Chez Fez was. Then there was a guy who had had one too many and kept sliding down the wall and leaning on the light switches throwing inopportune spotlights on the vampires and zombies around the room.. It’s an undesired flash effect, that didn’t go down too well and the blessing and the curse of partying in what was once an old finca. I had to keep reaching over to switch them off. Dickhead. In the end I showed him where the light switch was so he could switch it off himself. I knew he was going to be a tiresome repeat offender.

I shoehorned as much dark, lovely tech house and techno from the likes of Alan Fitzpatrick, Copy Paste Soul, Hot Since 82 as I could into Mika’s 45 minute warning. When the big lights came on (for the last time) people were braying for one more tune. I played the room with Hot Since 82 and gave it up a little more with Michel Cleis & Klement Bonelli’s ‘Marvinello’.

In true dj fashion, I tried to squeeze in another but Steve and Piero had started to clean up around my bravers and the closed, covered bar at the back of the room was a glaring symbol of festive finality. Final check of the CDJs to make sure that I have ejected and put both USBs in my handbag then home, right? Wrong.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 1ST

Even though I have no stamina for the Halloween Afterhours at Boutique Hostal Salinas, I finish my morning in a low key affair in Room 18. Music was supplied by someone’s ipod and there were no big public displays of sex, orgies, drugs or rock and roll. Or at least not that I could see. Jerome Ferriere took a ton of pictures of me with Dawn Hindle (MD of Ibiza Rocks) and Jillian Canney (organiser of the VAMP party) He says, in passing, that I am not a looker at all (thanks) but gets excited about taking lots of pictures of my arse. He is not the first to do this. He won’t be the last. I know I have a great arse. Even my mum says so and we all know that our mums know best.

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It wound down quickly, so I staggered off into the car park in the hazy heat and daylight. Over an hour long wait with the ghoulish casualties at the front of an ever growing queue meant eventually sharing a people carrier home. I celebrated my homecoming by switching off everything electronic in my flat apart from my phone and dreaming the day away in a darkened, quiet bedroom.

One of my favourite ways to relax is to create in the kitchen. I’m not a fancy cook – I don’t do sixteen courses, silver service meals or Master Chef standard gourmet finishes but I do make delicious meals, lush salads and a mean dessert or two. I can cook up a storm in anyone’s kitchen and enough people can prove it. So today’s post-Halloween / pre-Thanksgiving mission is a Pumpkin and Chickpea curry that my friend Charlie recently posted on her Facebook page.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7732/pumpkin-curry-with-chickpeas

I ready, steady, cooked, armed with a soggy recipe page and accompanied by the tech house mix I’d posted on my Mixcloud page to promote the Housewife party that I was booked to play in London in two weeks’ time.

With a few ‘season to taste’ alterations, the BBC GoodFood recipe was a licked plate success. Happy and with a full belly, I swanned into the office with all the intention of writing another Booker Prize winning chapter. The pull of the pillows was stronger and I slipped under the duvet for a cheeky nap which turned into a flatline until 4am. I only woke up to switch all the lights and computers off and then go to bed for a proper sleep.

At the end of an exhausting and emotionally draining week there’s a super happy ending and I’m glad about that. So cheerio to Sunday 1st of November 2015, your weekend has restored my trust and faith in people and made me excited for more of the island’s winter parties. Hurrah and hello November 1st: the Ibiza saints, souls and sinners have lived to party another day.

HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 5

Friday October 9th

WAKE UP

opened eyes #1

All you fear is fear itself,

Check out your own backyard before you check out someone else.

Janet Damita Jo Jackson’s ‘Unbreakable’ has been soundtracking my days recently. I love everything about it – from design and styling to the lyrics and feel that we are practically twins under the skin, being fierce black women, earth signs AND firehorse babies (just like Halle Berry and Mike Tyson both of whom I am also obsessed with). Her lyrics resonate and echo my exact feelings about love, loss, fighting against the establishment, loving yourself and dancing like no one is watching.

She’d be an A1 neighbour: someone I’d invite out on a Coffee Patron bender with and enjoy making fun and sense of this world. I know we’d laugh long and hard at life and its ridiculous wardrobe malfunctions. Bumping back down to earth musically inspired, I write a glowing review for DMC World online.

Janet Jackson – Unbreakable – (Rhythm Nation / BMG Records)

 

The themes of ‘Unbreakable’ have set me thinking about my little universe. I’d recently worked at the WAKE UP festival : it’s like Atzaro’s Healing Ibiza but and it all takes place at Gala Night in Benimussa outside San An. If you embrace the alternative lifestyle, then this is as profound an ‘experience’ as you can get, mingling with and enjoying the talents and skills of some of the best (and the kookiest) spiritualists of every persuasion and discipline. It’s a full-on festival of music, rhythmic dancing, meditation, talks, chakra balancing, drumming circles, laughter therapy, smudging, yoga of every kind, tarot, crystal healing, reiki, hypnotherapy, gonging, doing whatever it takes to realign, balance and focus – to wake up the spirit and put us back on the spiritual path, rejuvenated and refreshed. I gave a talk on ‘Keep Talking’ which aimed to encourage better communications. It was truly beautiful maaan. But now the results feel as shortlived as the after effects of a lungful of poppers.

Why? Well, I am being haunted by The Myth. You know the one that says the island bounces you back to where you came from if it doesn’t like you. I keep telling myself that it’s just a myth, an urban legend, that it’s not true. I know that that sort of legend can only make relatively sound and reasonable people tough it out for the all the wrong reasons. But pride can be such a dangerous thing. Love too. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been swayed by all of the above during my time here.  Then I chance upon this …

David Whyte

 

11 August · Edited ·

Honesty

HONESTY

is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.

The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.

Honesty is grounded in … admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.

‘HONESTY’ Excerpted From CONSOLATIONS:

The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning

of Everyday Words

© 2015 David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

So what if it’s not the island that bounces you back. What if real life out-trumps the legend?

My sister Elicia’s Whatsapp shatters the post-deadline calm. My Mum, Blanche, has been rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Her condition has been stabilised without surgery but the surgeons are concerned and keeping her in for tests and observation for the next week or so. Elicia has a 5am flight, the rest of my family are unavailable so can I take over the vigil. ‘Of course, no problem’ I say. No matter that Google Maps confirms that I am currently 2,360km away and unable to do anything more constructive than Whatsapp, Skype and phonecall my family, my friends and the hospital non stop and bounce like a ping test between them all.

https://goo.gl/maps/1175BB47oXr

I call the ward at 04.00 UTC then write an update to the FAMILY Whatsapp group. Mum is stable and settling into the ward. Tests will be done over the next few days and they are keeping her in for observation until the results are clear. Any phone calls for her are to be directed to the following ward number. I ask the family if we can organise a visiting rota – that sort of thing.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH

I don’t sleep and am exhausted when day breaks. I have horrible flashbacks of me going to see my Dad, seven years before. In the flashback I am about to board my flight to Manchester at Charles De Gaulle having worked Friday night somewhere in deepest Southern France. I have flown back to Paris to fly back out at silly o’clock to see and comfort him, when my sister Audrey calls to tell me that I’m too late. My dad has just died. I hadn’t even boarded the flight. That sense of uselessness swung hard at me like a prize fighter then. And I can still feel the full force of the KO even now. Today my mum is seriously ill and somehow her situation has triggered a ‘red button’ scenario. Reality check. I have been happily living in Europe for thirteen years, have had the best time ever too but in all that time, the one thing I have consistently missed – and missed out on – is my family. Maybe it’s a good time to reconnect, to get to know my Mum and my family better? Is work and dj’ing and living a gloriously sun-drenched Ibiza life really so important to me that I would sacrifice my – and our – personal needs for it? Hold on. Who am I? And why am I still here when my family need me over there?

Without a suitable emotional (and sometimes moral) sat nav you can get terribly lost in the Land of Loss. But no more Ms Denial for me.

road less travelld #2

Shit gets more real by the day. I’m as guilty as the next smartphone addict for not memorising names or numbers and for relying on my phone for everything. It’s a sign of the milennial times that even my BFFs can’t recall my phone number without checking their phone or my Facebook. I need an anchor. I am a responsibility-free adult, cut adrift on this island where I have no significant other, I don’t have kids and I don’t even have a cat or a goldfish. Finding someone close and reliable enough to mind my spare house and car keys was a mission. And as for that time when I found myself choking on a Schtroumpf with no-one close by to Heimlich it out of my gullet, that took the fun out of Haribo for a while, I can tell you.

 

 

In ‘choking alone-single serving-no next of kin’ terms, there is absolutely nothing to keep me here. This house (ok penthouse apartment) hasn’t stopped whirling for long enough for me to make a soft landing in Oz. Still, my ruby slippers will always have magic.

 

The people in A1 block aren’t A1 neighbours at all. Their Neighbourhood Watch has consisted of them watching me and spying on my landlady through the twitching Judas. They never say hello and prefer heatedly shouting and complaining when I’m a) parking b) (un)loading luggage or shopping into / out of the lift c) opening my front door d) closing my front door e) breathing f) not even there to be guilty of any of the above. They make no secret of saying (in Spanish) that they think English people are ‘tonto’ and show my Loco Landlady little or no respect. Loco Landlady has flashes of lucidity (good day / sober / not ill) but most days she can’t find the keys to her own house let alone to this apartment. When I moved in she handed me forty identical looking keys on a fob then tootled off with a shrug. As for the possibility of her next of kinship, she has a horrendous track record with cars and insurance and as such is as useless to me or my family in a crisis as a little toe is in a very pointy shoe.

 

My friends Sophie and Lee have become the closest thing I have to family here: yet even they don’t know the names of or have the contact details for my immediate family. In fact, the closest to kin is my 90’s ex, Simon Bushell who knows my family by name and close friends well enough to find them should anything happen to me here. My squad? The people who have that information on lock live in London, Manchester, Paris and New York. This pulls focus. I’m done with this free falling and falling away of things. Where will you go when the party’s over? Ask me tomorrow – when I wake up.

sleep on it #3

 

 

HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 4 PT. 2

Saturday October 3rd

TO EXCEL, NOT COMPETE

Small Victories #1

WORD OF THE DAY (Collins 2008)

PASADO

ADJECTIVE

Past, Bad, Overdone, Out of date

NOUN MASCULINE

Past, Atelier

Noun

A Workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan or designer

 

The opening notes of Otis Redding’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ are playing in my head. Since I was small I have had music playing in my head 24/7 and it always carries a predictive message. At times it feels like I have a  prophetic Wurlitzer – all ‘Simon’ flashing lights and chrome – perched on my shoulders where my head should be.

First phone call of the day involves some ‘misunderstanding’ with work. The Voice is shouting at me because I have got the wrong end of the broomstick. I have NEVER been booked for the party that I have had blocked in my diary for three months since it was first discussed.  I say that I have turned down other offers to do this party. ‘That’s stupid. The Voice says ‘Why would you turn down two paying gigs to do this?’ I reply ‘ Call me loyal but I’m a first come, first served person and I always keep my word. ’ I go into detail about the original booking. The Voice stops shouting. Then there’s silence as the penny drops. Voice rushes off to make some calls and when Voice calls back the tone is upbeat, enthusiastic and apologetic. There’s no money in it though. Alfredo has taken the budget.

For the record, I have a minor cob on. It’s true that none of this matters in real life but that doesn’t stop me wanting to crawl into a hole or eat chocolate and ice cream until my jeans don’t fit. I dream of kicking back in LA. dressed casually for a date at The Ivy. I’m wearing huge Jackie O shades, sitting in the sunshine and dining with my literary agent.  In the dream we are celebrating signing the rights to this blog on to HBO studios for a pilot series. It’s going to be like Two Broke Girls but with one dj and based in Ibiza. A dream is a wish your heart makes.

Energy #2

I snap out of the reverie by jousting with the two washing machines outside on the upstairs terrace. There’s CL’s machine that has never worked but is in the way of mine which normally works but is throwing a post electrical storm strop. I hiss ‘if you don’t work I’ll break you down for Robot Wars’. It moves. Then it works. I have no doubt that it fully understood. I reckon you will never find David Guetta on his hands and knees covered in suds and dirt and terrace guana, brandishing a spanner, a stanley knife and an iphone in full ‘Ask Jeeves’ mode. No I bet you never will but welcome to my single Ibiza life.

I have waited in all day to go to Space Closing with my friend who – at 2pm – is still on the missing list. He has bleached and rinsed it at Amnesia and Bora Bora and only hits his bed for a quick siesta at 3pm.  So much for the ‘let’s go early to Space Closing and side-step that difficult guest list’ plan. I’m well pissed. Then, out of the side of my eye, I catch a news bulletin about Roseburg, Oregon where people have died in the 45th campus shooting this year. I feel ashamed and petty for being childish and shallow so fill my (now) party-free time by doing something positive and planning my upcoming trip to London instead. It is booked and confirmed for the beginning of November and I have set up a radio interview and mix with Sophie Callis at Soho Radio, three radio interviews for a DMC World Magazine feature with Cocoa Cole, Horsemeat Disco and Josey Rebelle, one gig at Housewife and one lecture at the University of Westminster. No matter what else happens today I have some interesting work to do this winter.

When I go to meet my friends for the Heart Closing Party everyone – except me  – is late.  Waiting alone outside Downtown Cipriani’s AT THE AGREED MEET TIME, I see that it is already closed for the winter.  Whatsapp group alerted, we agree to meet at Prince but your woman on the ground checks and finds that this is also closed for holidays. More waiting. I walk half the length of the Avinguda d’Ocho Agosto in Rita Ora’s evening dress and gold strappy sandals only to stand out like Wilhelmina No Mates at ‘dressed-down-every-day’  I-Pizza until they arrive. Four pizzas, a few beers, some w(h)ines and loads of chat later and  we’ve frittered away our valuable free entry / no queueing time.

HeartIbiza #3

In the approach to Heart, the empty doorway that sported a clutch of golden egg, queue-jump ticket holders when I first passed by at 10pm now looks like the Stock Exchange trading floor. My heart sinks like a stone. Everyone is waving something, trying to catch the eye of someone important who knows someone who works there who knows someone they might know who runs or owns it but that someone is doing their damnedest to avoid all eye contact. It takes a good half an hour to get to the front of this queue only to find that only one of us is on the list and that’s the late-comer who was responsible for sorting out the guest list for all of us. Awkward. She goes in to find someone to help us get to the front of the paying queue. No pressure for her then. And more waiting for us. Damian Lazarus arrives – I try ‘the friendly chat’ ruse but he is rolling with a sizeable entourage. His ‘plus-sized’ guest list forcefield is fully engaged. Happily, our friend succeeds. We smile as we are each charged 25 euros entry. It is a nicer club, with a stylish older crowd and great music. We stay, we pay, we play.  At least we get in. Many don’t.

It’s kicking inside as Damian Lazarus is in back-to-back flow with Acid Pauli.  Theirs is a strong sound full of dark techno shadows and the dancefloor is heaving and kinetic. Heart clubbing is a world away from the k-hole walking, shuffling zombies or cake throwing and stage diving (into the crowd in an inflatable raft) antics of Ibiza. It’s a great closing party.

 

Wednesday October 7th

Facebook inbox

Mehdi Dressy

Scroll down to see new messages.

 

Chat conversation start

You’re friends on Facebook

Boss at Mehdi Dressy

Lives in Balham, London, England

8 minutes ago

https://www.facebook.com/mehdi.elhabchi

Hi Paulette, hope you’re doing well today !

 

I take the liberty of sending you this email as I really want you to know this.

My name is Mehdi Dressy, DJ/Producer/Composer signed on Avant Garde & Space Invader Music (Joachim Garraud’s imprint label) & Warner U.S (for my producer part) to name a few, and I’m really glad you’ve accepted my friend request.

The reason why I’m sending you this email, is to thank you. Simply, and here’s the reason why.

I discovered a genre of music that moved me some years ago, which is house music, throughout many sources on internet, including during a special radioshow on Radio FG, which was yours. I was downloading a copy of your set every week on some forums and was blasting it in my student’s room back in time. With the time it became such an obsession for me, that I started by playing others music, then creating mine and come play it as well.

I am thankful to be able to live from my passion, to get recognition for my work from the simple listener to world class dj’s playing my music during festivals, and for that I want to thank you for your contribution to my musical education and self development.

With much respect,

Mehdi Dressy

life is amazing #4

My soul has been lifted.

 

Wednesday October 7th

SELF ESTEEM, NOT SELF PITY

WORD OF THE DAY

Alexithimia

Psychiatry.

Difficulty in experiencing, expressing and describing emotional responses.

Started the day with yoga but cried throughout the session. Asanas can sometimes release energy in unusual ways. I roll with it and roll the mat up.

I’d feel much better if I could swim in the sea but I recently weaned myself off Talamanca beaches when I missed a red flag, swam for an hour then read about the ruptured sewage pipe in Diario d’Ibiza that afternoon over brunch. I thought I was going to die from toxocariasis and felt like I should be chanting ‘unclean, unclean’ and ringing a bell for weeks after. They say it could take years to clean that part of the coastline…

Another amazing email arrived encouraging me to value my past much more than I currently do.

From : ANDY H

TO :  Paulette

Subject : How’s It Going DJ Paulette ?

Hey Paulette,

 

In my seemingly old age, I have been going through all my old musical tastes and stumbled across loads of tracks that reminded me of when you used to DJ at the Zap in Brighton.

You may remember me, I used to carry your records now and again from the car to the club and vice versa, however, I was rarely in a fit state to do so!!!! ( I think you even left me a nice birthday message on the answerphone at me and my mates flat, which I was well happy about!).

Anyways, can you remember the sets you used to play?!?! I remember them and still make me smile. Been catching up with them all over again! Here’s a few classics that I can remember (it was over 20 years ago after all!)

Bobby Brown – 2 can play that game – k-klass mix THE BEST SONG DROPPED 🙂

Nutropic – I see only you

Solitaire Gee – Slumberland

Ina Kamoze – Here comes the hotstepper

Skee-lo – I wish I was a little bit taller

I can remember you used to rock the Zap!!!

There was another track you used to play and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, may have been something like the penguin orchestra or something but it had the massive drum and bass break in the middle?!?! Any memory of it? I’d love to find this one….

Glad to see your DJing is going so well too….

Might try and catch one of your sets if I go to Ibiza again.

Best,

Andy

Sent from Gmail Mobile

Hi Andy,

Thank you so much for this mail!  It really touched me.

Send me a picture please?  I can vaguely remember someone sweeping me into the club like a star, but I can’t put a face to you 😦  I should be thanking you for the star treatment actually.

Records – funnily enough I have been playing a few of those out again this summer as I have been doing pool parties for Ibiza Rocks and Hotel Es Vive – Skee Lo – I Wish

 

and Ini Kamoze’s Here Comes The Hotstepper have pride of place in my sets in the sunshine.

I still love them – they are timeless party jams.  I remember I always dropped Skee-Lo into the Size 9 I Am Ready breakdown about 6 minutes in.

Solitaire Gee – also amazing. I hammered that record everywhere. I must fish that one out again.

 

I wish I could find my Bobby Brown vinyl as that is a timeless classic.

 

 

 

WORD OF THE DAY (Dictionary.com)

PARVENU

Noun

A person who has recently or suddenly acquired wealth, but has not yet developed the conventionally appropriate manners.

I receive an email from I-Safe advising that the insurance claim against the Municipale is unresolved and ongoing following the flood at the storage unit. I’m not totally au fait with road names so when the freak storm hit last August it didn’t register that my storage unit was located on the flood ravaged Avenida de St Joan de Labritja. Nor did I connect that it was the self-same FITA / Eroski road connecting Talamanca to Jesus that I couldn’t drive down because it was closed due to water running like a fast moving two feet deep ravine. It’s only a bit of rain the residents said. The storage unit stayed closed and did not answer calls for two weeks. When eventually they allowed people entry we were told that the sewage pipe under the street had ruptured and that some of the units had been affected. One of the worst affected units was mine. Oh yes. That insurance claim.

wet records sleeves #5

My unit was waterlogged. Around 2,500 units of vinyl had been ruined and all the sleeves water damaged. Everything in the unit was covered in mud and silt, disgusting and slimy to handle and heartbreaking to hold. The management of I-Safe were unsympathetic. ‘Can’t you just stack them in boxes’ said Kathy. She has no concept of what water, silt, glue and sand actually does to vinyl when it dries or with friction when stacked sleeveless, loose and dirty in a box. No concept of what it means to leave them in this state until the loss adjusters can be bothered to come and view the damage. And no concept of the emotional attachment to and the financial value of the original sleeves to a collector. To I-Safe they are just records that have got a bit wet that can be dried out with a heater. Yes really.

7s out of sleeves #5

In other better news, Barclaycard have credited my card with what is now a handsome sum after the ongoing non delivery and general jiggery pokery of my Visa card. It’s hard getting a simple letter delivered to my address because CL (my crazy landlady) has lost the key to the vandalised letter box, the entryphone doorbell doesn’t work and lots of businesses (especially banks) will not deliver to a PO Box. To sidestep this, Barclaycard are going to deliver my new card to my UK address on Friday October 9th. Yes. My mum will be at home to take the delivery.

… TO BE CONTINUED

HOW TO KILL A DJ – CHAPTER 4

OCTOBER

IMG_9060

When I say I haven’t decided what I want to do yet this does not mean that I don’t know where I want to live or be in 2016. I said I was tired not stupid. Of course I want to live here, in Ibiza. What’s not to love about living in Jesus? . Like every savvy Ibiza resident knows, at certain times of the year, island rentals are a feeding frenzy so the A1 golden rule is to secure your accomodation in advance preferably long before the summer silly season kicks in (before the end of March). Get your luvverly accomodation for the next year confirmed, signed and sealed before the end of the preceding season and you’re laughing. The lucky few who bag a beautiful bargain (without paying a six month deposit upfront) in the Holy Grail transfer window between the middle and the end of October are viewed with emerald eyed envy. The struggle is real here. Most long lets get snapped up like a gushing, mutilated leg in a shark pool and generally before the ink is dry on the ‘Anuncio’ page in Diario D’Ibiza. Those who are on a tight(er) budget find a ton of roomies (generally up the West End) and split the cost handsomely. 256 different ways to do the washing up or to go Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Italian or all of the above. All of them present and correct.

Me? I have this on lock. I met my English eccentric ever-so-slightly alcoholic landlady for a tapas lunch at a deserted La Vineria, on the Carrer Cap Martinet at the end of June when we agreed the terms for my contract and keys to Castle Grayskull.

 

 

My landlady greeted me looking angelic in a white, gypsy dress, heavy boots and her blonde hair worn up in that tousled, elder stateswoman way. She was demolishing her second large glass of wine as I sat down. As she ordered her third, she said ‘let’s get this out of the way, then we can eat’. I had been dreading this chat so was surprised when she offered me a contract to keep the apartment for another year. Golden ticket? Tick it! She said that she really likes me and wanted to help. Tick that too. Could I accept different terms? Rental seasons being what they are and her being a lady of leisure with no regular source of income, I knew I was looking at a serious price hoik. Brace yourself…

She was nervous about giving me another contract. There is a loophole in Tenants’ Rights legislation here that keeps a tenant in place for up to five years if a contract is renewed long term to the same tenant beyond the first year. Since she is trying to sell the apartment, this loophole is a worry for her. In order to combat this, the rent was being raised to a constant winter fee of  1200pcm, rising 200€ to 1400pcm  from May to October. Vertically steep for one person. In fact it was 400 euros pm more expensive than the rent I had been paying on my flat in Paris when I left in 2013. That’s Paris. A metropole. With a strong transport infrastructure, museums, shops and everything.  If I overstayed the contract end date she threatened me with murdering me in my bed. Normal. I laughed like I was the only person in the audience at a bad Comedy Store gig.

I have a good – and relatively long memory. Logic and reason tell me not to fuck with mad alcoholics. I remembered the house call last year. She had popped round to see ‘how I was settling in’ but really came to calm down in her own apartment after having made an unwarranted house call to ‘that Jonathan’. He wasn’t home but she threatened his girlfriend with a kitchen knife with a four inch blade just to make sure (she took this out of her pocket demonstrate). I’d only been in the flat two weeks. She told me that Jonathan was the previous tenant who had left her apartment in tatters with denuncios flowing like ticker tape (the neighbours say he was running Girls from his private parties. I had wondered what the chains in the wardrobe were for). Anyway, he had left owing three months’ rent which she was determined to recoup. That she would go to such lengths just to get the rent arrears did not sit well with me. We Capricorns can take life and living just a bit too seriously I suppose.

The apartment is not Ibiza Town prime real estate but it is in a respectable, developing location. Turn a blind eye to its basic, ok cheap furnishings and you know it is worth a bit. It has plenty of space for my dj equipment slash studio, has a guest bedroom for family or friends, is bright, airy and modern and rent-wise was not breaking the bank for a three bed in Talamanca. Even though the heating falls short when Ibiza drops the ‘pissed-wet-through to the clothes in your wardrobe and sheets on your bed’ humid fog and the boiler needs resetting every time the wind blows (which is a lot in Talamanca), it is big, airy, bright, modern, warm and dry and has a lift, a roof terrace with a 360° view and garage space. I could get comfortable here.

IMG_3560

Like christmas toy batteries, bills were no longer to be included. The disappointment was Christmas present same.There was to be no sub-letting. Not that this was something I had ever done, but it would  have been nice to have the option. This is the key income source that all of my friends exploit to pay their rent through the fallow winter months. Odds stacked up, condition by condition, what was once a decent deal was starting to stack higher against. Still, I loved the apartment; looked after it like a boss and was a model tenant. I assured her that the next year would be equally trouble free. I always pay my rent on time – how could it not be?

Freak of the week. CL massaged my feet to clinch the deal. WTF? Boundaries???! This foot massage is over-familiar territory even for family. Understand that it’s not easy to run when someone has your feet clamped in a vice-like grip before you’ve touched your tiramisu. Best to relax. Let it happen. The ‘Welcome to your new home again’ speech that followed this random activity was thus music to my ears. CL promised me that once her family visits and daughter’s university choice were out of the way we would visit her Gestor to sign the contract. The date was set for the end of September. Reassured, I chose to ignore her sniffing her hands when she’d finished.

IMG_2486

Call me crazy for trusting CL and her fancy foot massage. I fully accept and assume responsibility for the incoming fuck up. So confident was I that we had made a solid verbal agreement that I took my eye off the ball. I forgot that something about this island – maybe the Es Vedra ley lines, maybe the population of gypsies, tramps, brigands, pirates and thieves – makes a mockery of written agreemements. And, schoolgirl error #2, I forgot that spoken arrangements count for nothing, especially where money is concerned. Everyone prefers to be paid in the tax and question-free black so there are no guarantees here. Nothing is ever as sorted as you expect. Not even your drugs. What I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to make a legitimate tenant disappear overnight. Without a contract you have no rights, your landlord (or landlush) can ask you to leave or throw you out as and when they want and with no notice served.

One week into October and I am all out of excuses. No phone calls or IMs are being made or answered and we haven’t signed any official papers.

IMG_3483

… to be continued