HOW TO KILL A DJ – PART 3

TO BE USEFUL NOT USED

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26TH

Shake it off yeah, just like Taylor Swift. So shower. Then join me on Saturday evening in the Treehouse at the Zoo Project at Gala Night, Benimussa. From the decor to costumes to the dancers to the artisans, the healers and the djs, this is one of my favourite outdoor party locations and despite predictable (insufferable) San An snobbery, I always enjoy the vibe here. It’s like a one day festival, an Skittles-eque rainbow of fruit flavours and a youthful and also very London/Berlin/Tokyo feast for the senses. It makes my weekly bracelet / no bracelet run-in with the door inquisition worthwhile. Being looked after like a sister by Ady, (aka Adrian Brown – possibly the most attractive and stylish man on the island bar none) also means that a Zoo trip is simply made of win. (Happy birthday big man!)

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I’m holding my ground in an unofficially designated two inches of personal space, behind the Treehouse DJ Booth. Maribou State are creating one of those ‘had to be there’ sets that is defying categorisation. I am wedged next to Chandler who has his Pulse Radio head (and ears) on but has made zero effort to comply with the general Zoo Project dress code and no matter how hard I squint doesn’t look animalistic enough underneath a simple felt bowler hat. Enraptured and inspired by the music, my L’Oreal black felt eyeliner becomes a weapon of crass construction. Wielding it like a crazed surrealist painter, I decorate Chandler’s face with an off-kilter cat nose and Dali-esque whiskers. He is game to be big game but only because it’s an eyeliner pen and not a full make up kit and I’ve promised that it will wipe off with a bit of spit and a hanky. It doesn’t. Why would I have bought it if it did. Tick for L’Oreal. Shit for Chandler. I wouldn’t normally push my limited make up artist skills on anybody but since I am wearing head to toe leopard print and a lizard topped head band (thankyou Milou) Chandler gets it. Fairplay to him, the nose and whiskers are a strong look for any ex-Marine.

The Zoo Project is like that and a whole lot of fun. Enjoying the extravagant costumes and body art, marvelling at Kyle’s hyper-diamantéd denim jacket and assorted ties and jackets, loving Milou’s cheeky, wild creations and rocking to the best in cutting-edge music here is a weekly pilgrimage. Even the weekend when Spencer Parker finishes his set with ‘Boys, Boys, Boys’ just being there keeps me happy, it keep, keep, keep, keeps me happy.

Over the chug and boom, chk, Chandler and I are shout-talking about our seasons so far and Ibiza in general. Chandler starts :

« You know … you are so awesome » he says this totally unprompted and unbribed by anyone including me.

« thank you » I say « I’m shocked and deeply touched… How much do I owe you ? »  (I suspect he may be high or tripping or loved up or something, so am covering my arse in a totally sincere but gently humouring ‘off it’ people voice.

« No really ? … » he continues, sensing my disbelief « I mean it. You are one of the reasons why I like to stay living in Ibiza. Regardless of the bullshit, it’s genuine people like you that keep me here.’

‘Me ? A genuine Ibiza person ? Are you sure ?’ I say

‘Yeah’ … he continues … ‘You fit in. Everybody says so’

Paradox. Paronoia. Paradiddle diddle. The cat and the fiddle. Just when I am starting to feel like the only outsider living a tits-up dream, his island ‘everybody’ thinks otherwise and have given me the double thumbs-up by some secret, illuminati vote. There’s nowt as strange as Ibiza residents. For a moment my ego is fiercely buffed, my rose-tinted spectacles polished to a gleaming sheen. The end of the night closes with Maribou State playing Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’ – it gives me goosebumps so merits tweeting and instagramming.

Feeling good but can I get a witness – or a signal up in here? That would be a no. Gala Night is in the middle of some bizarre Bermuda triangulation between your phone, your wishes and your message transmitted on the three-legged donkey of spanish service providers. When the last piece of confetti has fallen and the booth is cleared, I meet Sophie in the car park and we drive in convoy (and down the back roads to avoid the police check points around Gala Night) to Underground. We are way too early and it is way too empty so we stay for two then head to Ibiza Rocks at Pikes Hotel. I’m dj’ing plus it’s close-by so it would be rude for us all not to.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 27TH

On Sunday morning I mostly give my yoga mat the roll out it deserves. I start the day with a nice long hatha session then head to Eroski to shop for barbecue things – tiger prawns, sausages, chicken breasts – all to be marinated before leaving. Sunday is all about celebrating Sophie’s birthday in Calamity Bassa. When I arrive, Brett, John and Mr Doris have already taken charge of all things sizzling on the griddle whilst the rest of us bring our dishes to the table. I chair hop putting the world to rights with Trish, Helen, Miss W, Debra, Sophie, John, Tina and Clare. We eat like rationing is over, and once Colin Peters’ finally arrives with his Traktor set up he blows us away with his legendary balearic blissfulness.

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Like a unicorn in an emerald glade, the subject of my work here reared its head once again, shimmied its mane then bolted for the clearing just underneath the red sun. Tonight I wasn’t the sole focus of the table chatter, there were at least five or six other stories in play at that time so when I locked on and locked in to the conversation that clanged, the words rose and flew like a murder of crows in my head but were quickly gone. I listened and graciously accepted the advice from all, logging and tagging every precious word, computing every possibility with Alan Turing-like precision. The best way to crack the code ?

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Colin leaves to play elsewhere and the entertainment becomes a comical laptop / iphone free for all.

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We are sharing all the love there is, musical, alcoholic, friendship and whatever else is on hand – all for the friendly buzz and not the high. The richest, stickiest cacao fig brownies gave everyone an addictive, spiritual hit. They were the perfect augur for an astrologically magical night where a full moon turned into some woah-trippy sky shit, morphing into an eclipse, then a blood moon and all shared sitting on the roof, reflecting and appreciating with some fellow sky-watching fiends.

When the boys pack up their laptops, I step in with the mix that I had just recorded for Michelle Manetti’s ‘Lipstick Disco’ site.

We dance into the dawn watching clouds take the shape of Mickey Mouse and soaking up a sunrise like a watercolour palette. We’ve been eating, drinking and talking all day. I am one over the eight, happy and exhausted and go to sleep, on the sofa in the landing unable to co-ordinate walking to the empty spare room which is right next door.

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Three hours later I am awoken by Sophie’s dogs, Lucky and Lucy, who are going crazy, jumping all over me, licking me and then sitting on my head. If only I had a boyfriend who was ever this delighted to see me, I think. Then I realise I can’t move out of their way because my neck has been savagely guillotined by the sofa arm rest. It’s time to find Helen, power up Sugar and head home … I have five hours to sleep before I play another 9 hour shift. God give me strength. Or a bullet. Or maybe just a rich husband.

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH

WORD OF THE DAY

WAYWORN

\WEY-wawrn, -wohrn\

adjective

DEFINITIONS 1. worn or wearied by travel.

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After a long weekend of irregular eating I have just woken up with my forehead pasted to my keyboard. My brain apparently left the building and my body has been on pause after guzzling a home made breakfast burrito of spicy bacon beans and scrambled eggs with herbs. Anti-Hangry Measures must always be taken. I’ve been gifted with an AZERTY tattoo on my forehead and I am so tired and emotional that I have whatsapped Sophie for missing items that I later find are on the passenger seat of my car where I left them. I also keep crying at Best Vines of cats and babies. I can’t keep my eyes open to watch anything longer than a Snapchat or a looped GIF without experiencing a sense of deep hypnose. I can’t physically attend or even handle one more closing party (but Tuesday is Cocoon in Benimussa). The only closing party I can be bothered to attend is that of my bedroom curtains, and the horizontal lap of honour that will come when I clamp my eyelids tight shut. Bu-bye Ibiza. I have one more day to go and I am dragging my feet like Frankenstein. Besides, isn’t that … rain???? This funky mood is the culmination of weeks spent out on the work, rest and play tiles.

Yes, today is Monday and as Robert Frost once wrote, I have miles (or in my case another 36 hours) to go before I (can get some decent) sleep … So hi-ho, hi-ho it’s off to the Taller Pitiusos to get Sugar (my Volkswagen Golf) fixed (driver side wing mirror was clipped in the car park, b*st*rds never leave a note here!). Then I brave the downpour and drive like all four horsemen of the apocalypse (marvelling at five rainbows on the way), to play to the staff and the handful of weather-beating party people around Pikes Hotel Bar and Pool. It’s my last contracted day here: it seems fitting that ‘the end of the world as we know’ it weather matches this mood.

I feel disconnected like a satellite. Happy sad. It has been a great experience but when I get to the booth area and set up behind the decks there is no fanfare. Everyone is moody, talking about going home, being cold and moaning about the rain. The staff are on a downer because they – and everything – keeps getting wet, the Pikes Hotel pool area is a sodden ghost town and everyone who has braved the bar or restaurant is wearing jackets and jeans. No one is singing in the rain. A few are dancing at least, even if Winter is here before the summer has ended.

I play a great block party set travelling from Drake and Frank Ocean to Jocelyn Brown, Sharon Redd and First Choice and more without breaking sweat. Just as I am winding down to leave I am asked to play beyond closing hours because a rather lovely client (one obviously packing some clout) called Elliot has kept the bar open. Once I’ve finished I am introduced to the famous client, then pass the time by standing, distributing my weight from foot to foot (he is bloody tall) whilst propping up the bar in the Plaza Mayor and talking and drinking beer with Elliot aka Example until the early hours. I tell him I am blown away  by his latest single ‘Whisky Story’ and how much I loved the quirky video (which I can’t post – thanks Vevo!). He is totally nice in the face of my fangirldom.

In return he tells me that has listened to my set from start to finish and we talk about music – Call 911, Pete Rock, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Shaggy, Wyclef – he is full of stories. Then the conversation is thrown wider, we discuss proving oneself, doing things for the community and charity, about growing up in the hood, growing up in Manchester, about education, psychology, films and politics. It is a good day. I don’t remember the drive home but am home for 3ish and I sleep like the dead until 10.30am. When I check my phone Elliot has friended me on Twitter.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH

Start the day with yoga again. It’s the only thing that is giving me the energy and focus to see me through to the end of the season. I am running on one bar but I get my head together and calmly organise my cds and usb sticks then head to Hotel Es Vive which normally looks like this…

Hotel Es Vive by La Skimal

Jamie and the team are on super form despite the incoming deluge of rain that lands early evening right on cue with Apple meteo. I am set up out of wetness’s way  – annoyingly out of good mixing earshot of the monitor – in the doorway of the Experience Bar, looking out towards a busy restaurant area and a deserted pool. It’s like Silent Disco in reverse, everyone else can hear what I’m doing except me. It’s my last day here as well. The season has ended and emotions are mixed – I am happy, play well despite the guerilla dj booth conditions, eat a little bit and chat with my bosses Jason and Nick at the end. I’ve loved playing here. The staff are just lovely, good humoured under the sky confetti and the clients are upbeat and enjoying the sounds. Here I can play what I like without compromise, they are my first work family and they’re all about to leave the island.

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH

I am mad with myself. It has rained so hard all night that I slept like a hobo on a subway train. It is still raining when I wake up so I am not prepared to do anything other than yoga.

I feel caged and pace in that ‘want to go out’ way. I missed Tuesday’s Cocoon after-party because my boogie buddies were not hard partying enough to love partying in torrential rain. I don’t seem to be able to do anything constructive today except write 800 words : 799 words of which I have a sneaking suspicion are shit. I am doubleplussulking. Just keep writing. At least I have achieved somehow by collecting my package from Correos.It’s a column dress that has the distinction of being worn by Rita Ora : my best friend Jo has posted it to me because she forgot to give it to me when she visited me in Ibiza.

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It’s a no underwear required, a bit-too-big, white to acid yellow column that (when ironed) looks stunning on me as she said it would. I consider wearing it to the Amante closing party then remember that last year some twattish, textile terrorist stuck chewing gum on the front of my shocking orange bodycon wrap dress. This cannot be repeated. I decide to a) steam it then press it like the anal beeyatch that I am and b) wear it (accessorised with a thin gold metal belt and gold, strappy sandals – not my gardening boots as shown here) to the closing of Cirque Du Soleil’s new club, Heart where I can guarantee there won’t be any question of wardrobe envy. And yes I know the P on my wall is not straight – OCD readers who try to straighten the wall hanging in my picture are fifty shades of kerazeee indeed.

Back in my office and I am being brain washed by the blank screen again. I haven’t written a word of reviews for DMC World Magazine Online nor started selecting the music for my radio show. On the bright side I have watched a couple of trailers for The Danish Girl, Spectre – the new James Bond and The Revenant (Oscar or taxi for Di Caprio again ?) all Oscar possibles and blockbusters guaranteed IMHO. I’m not sure what the hell else I have done with this day but it has gone with the wind, rain and clouds. What else is there to do in Ibiza, especially when it’s raining ?

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As the season closes for the hotels, bars and clubs my daily routine is imploding. My wish to get involved in pure, wild animal craziness is on the wane.

I am on the guest list for Tini and the Gang at Lipps and Underground but I am dragging my feet like a puppy in a new leash. The season has ended, the contracts are up. We are nearing the time when everyone packs up and leaves, goes home, goes on holiday, goes back to thier families before they start planning their return and the next season. I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. I can’t. My brain is battered, scrambled by this season. All I want to do is to eat, sleep, rave, hibernate, repeat.

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So that’s exactly what I do. Minus the rave.

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HOW TO KILL A DJ – Day 2

11057221_518288024996422_8856540957208814254_nTO MAKE CHANGES NOT EXCUSES

I have lived and breathed music since before I was born. My musical heritage started with my mum, Blanche, who was a jazz and cabaret singer. In the 60s she co-owned ‘The Ebony Club’, the first integrated dance club in Manchester. Legend has it that, when she was pregnant with me and my twin, her waters broke as she was singing onstage with her band at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Consequently music and sirens run through my veins like A Rhesus Positive.

It wasn’t long before I’d graduated from ‘Up Jumps A Rabbit’ to David Bowie, The Beatles, The Jacksons, TSOP, Roxy Music and a wild mixture of funk, soul, new wave, electro and disco. The first 7 » single bought solely for me was ‘Pop Musik’ by M

M – Pop Muzik

I can still remember every lyric now I played it that much. Next I pooled my spends with my twin sister Paula to buy The Crusaders’ ‘Street Life’

The Crusaders – Street Life

and The Police ‘Message In A Bottle’ (import on green vinyl)

The Police – Message In A Bottle

I financed and fed my music addiction with an after-school and weekends paper round that bought me 12s by  Human League, Gary Numan, John Foxx, Spandau and Duran Duran.

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Most djs I know start like this. We are the Indiana Jones’s of our chosen fields. But there is much more to dj’ing and being a success that depends on exterior forces. No matter how much you know, the how much you do, the how many people you pull in and the who you know and who they know who can help and push you will take you much further. It takes a team. No man is an island, especially on this island. For three years I have been knocking on doors but getting slow-where. To succeed on this island – and to live here all year round – you have to hustle hard and I am missing those essential genes and chromosomes. True, I can hustle better than some, but not as well as most. So when the work offers come in and the receipts are totalled, they don’t place my earnings anywhere near Calvin Harris or the Swedish House Mafia in the Forbes Rich List. Not this year anyway.

All things considered I am an above average ( sic award winning) dj who, so far, has lived a pretty amazing life. I have happily enjoyed the fruits (and the odd Bounty) of 20 odd years of this character building, life shaping career loosely termed as dj’ing. On any given day it’s the music that drives me, that blows my core reactor sky high. It’s a weird quirk – and I’m not sure who else feels this, but my temperature goes through the roof when I’m in the mix. It doesn’t matter whether I’m playing nu to deep house across Europe or disco, funk and techno in Ibiza – my biological reaction is the same. Or maybe that’s just a Samantha-strength hot flash.

What started out as a cash-in-hand hobby gave me a much needed release and relief from my ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ marriage and intense graduate studies. Since then it has provided the backdrop and antidote to three relatively high pressure (not JLaw or Beyoncé level …) music industry day jobs. Trowel on a few impressive bouts of burn out, some long-term overseas living in two countries and two extra languages and it’s grown into an internationally recognised career that has been my sole source of income since 1999. Like Peter Pan’s shadow, it has become who I am without my having even noticed. Now it’s time to pick it apart, restitch and reinforce the seams so that it fits me better.

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Wherever my heart and soul crash into any genre – there you’ll find my sound and my record collection. I like to pour this over ice into a long and strong-sipping set. Like when push came to a great freezer bag heaving shove for the nine hour luxuries of my Ibiza summer. Two fried hard drives and a flooded storage unit did nothing to deter me from creating nine hour, 75 to 130 bpm odysseys out of a cobbled together collection of Cds from the dry boxes in my I-Safe storage unit.

I always put a lot of love, heart, soul and effort into my sets. So you’ll understand my Paddington hard stare when people congratulate me on my set by saying either (as an innocent compliment) that it was a great set for a girl, or worse, that I am wasted.

Paddington – Hard Stare

‘But I haven’t drunk a drop’ I say. They don’t mean mullered though. Not even spannered. Not spangled either. They mean wasted as in unappreciated, as in I should be playing somewhere better than this. Somewhere bigger. Somewhere fuller. Somewhere cooler. Feel that burn. I’m always polite back. I believe in myself and good manners and argue (most times without swearing) that they have it all wrong. I fan them with the flames of my absolute devotion, searing love and passion for music and dj’ing. Facts, figures, statistics, wherefores, howevers, whatevers, why nots and whys are all my friends. Yet this side of season end, all that has suddenly stopped making sense. I have a fluttery feeling that’s nothing to do with a post Pulpo Gallego Gaviscon shot and everything to do with my pesky gut instincts?

I love my life and my job and I’m truly grateful for all the joy and the lazy (by 9-5’ers accounts) lifestyle that it brings. Yet something about its rhythm has started to frustrate me. It also bothers me that disappointment has tinged the edges of a happily busy season. Doing OK is not an option when you live alone anywhere and especially not on this expensive island. My heart says ‘feel the love, keep on keeping on and remember the good you’ve done here’. My head says ‘no regrets, you’ve enjoyed your time here, now take what you’ve learned and build on this elsewhere. Make sure that the people you keep around you, the way you do your job and the choices you’ve made throughout the years are continually helping not hindering your progress. Make sure that all of this has been worthwhile.’ My heart can’t wedge a word in edge-wise. My head always has a lot to bloody say.

Meanwhile, my instinct is shouting ‘man up’. This is a small island. You can only take so many pictures of sunsets and delicious seafood platters and of the same people in the same places at the same parties in the same clubs before you start to see the groundhogs. Logic says it’s not disloyal to want to do something more with your life and do this somewhere else.

It looks like this is a good time to let the Ibiza me go. So this is when the fun begins. No present like time.

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Sterling void & Paris Brightledge – It’s Alright

Sterling Void sang ‘and the music plays forever’ and like every seasoned raver that knows the rest of those lyrics, I know ‘it’s gonna be alright’. But I love it here. I love living and working in Ibiza. I know that the highs I have experienced are not the sort of rush I will ever match pushing papers at a desk job. 20 years plus spent appearing on stages and in superclubs, playing to hundreds of thousands of people, rushing through the streets of Paris with a police escort and playing to thousands of people in some sublime outdoor venues and being ushered into a club with people screaming your name and security flanking you every night leaves you breathless. It is a proper head trip. So is hearing your jingle and name played daily or weekly on the radio. Receiving awards, being paid to do what you love and not feeling like it’s work at all – these are blessings indeed that are worth more than a ton of Class A’s bought at cost price on Silk Road. Does cashing up before you hang up a barista’s pinny in Costa Coffee come a close second ? Of course not. The memories I have of the last 20 years are nothing short of amazing, and the shared nostalgia runs deep, but no matter what level of player you are, sooner or later you have to make a choice. Something has to give in the bizarre love triangle between you, your life and the music. Or does it?

No matter what the vagaries of the economy and political climate have thrown me, I have evolved, persisted and persevered when others like me (who were far more successful than me) have thrown in the towel. But the recurrent nightmare persists. A legion of flesh-eating, retrained zombies beat a grisly path to a 6 star (hi speed wifi mandatory) DJ Rest Home to prey on the weak. They break every window and door down but the stone-deaf dj’s inside are oblivious to the groaning and battering and sound of breaking glass. I wake up in a cold sweat and reassure myself with some comforting affirmations.

  1. I rise to more challenges than a Great British Bake Off finalist.
  2. I bounce back from more knock-outs than Stuart Hall.
  3. I rebuild myself, my life and everything surrounding me from ground zero in four cities and three countries
  4. I am harder, better, faster.
  5. I always replicate excellence.
  6. I am a Princess. Or a Kardashian. Child swapped at birth.

It’s time for some tough love. I can feel the sand shifting. The tide of emotions, that ebb and flow of ending and beginning, is rising like the kraken inside me.

 

Below the thunders of the upper deep;

Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides; above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;

And far away into the sickly light,

From many a wondrous grot and secret cell

Unnumber’d and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages, and will lie

Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

Then once by man and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

‘The Kraken’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Tracy said ‘9 months and go out laughing’… how to do ? I mean how to do ?

my colonel-mustard

TO BE MOTIVATED NOT MANIPULATED

I am pregnant with an idea. In the next nine months I will plan my own murder. It’s going to be like a giant game of Cluedo (bags-eye the glorious sunflower yellow, of course).We’re playing on a giant board with music and a rave in each corner plus a few good friends and some pictures of sunsets and poetry and planning. Most of all with planning. Much as I’d rather it was DJ Paulette in the main room with a USB stick, my loaded laptop is far mightier than a 64MB pen drive. The goal is to go out laughing… and to do this with crowd support (or crowd funding).

50/50 or ask a friend? I’ve never been fifty and I’ve never retired before, so forgive me for not wanting to call this and not knowing how to be or do either. Apparently I don’t look it, (ie forty eight, whatever that means). I subconsciously don’t ACT it, I certainly don’t feel it and I definitely don’t want the music to stop, which is four quarters of the problem. I don’t know any dj who has so-called retired who has not been exhumed weighing at least ten kilos heavier and with way less hair on top of their heads. Or more if you’re Paul Oakenfold. Admittedly Oakey never went away but either he has Wayne Rooney’s hairdresser’s number or I am Michelle Obama. Every DJ resurrection involves waving one’s legend like Excalibur (or an enormous Nag Champa jostick if you’re Balearic) in one hand and spinning a bag of oldskool house and rave classics with the other. I am never going to give up my music, yet I struggle with this. I’ll just have to wing it.

Aloe Blacc – I Need Dollar

I’m not saying that it will never be attractive to me but the concept of playing a set of big old tunes and back to back house classics does give me the willies. Who wants to play all the old hits ? All night ? Back to Back ? Without a break ? To a public with a school reunion mentality but dressed in modern rave attire instead of novelty school skirts, shorts and ties. I dread that awkward moment when my set can be timed by the placement of Voodoo Ray, Gat Decor, Dream Lover, Good Life, Strings Of Life, Big Love, Higher States of Consciousness, Jaguar and Promised Land. Where to next, once the punters start to remark on their Pavlovian regularity (and believe me they will)? I’d rather have my head slammed repeatedly in a Metrolink door than have to play all the hits just for dollar. I’m sure that science has proved (somewhere) that a roomful of monkeys could cobble together a respectable classics set using the new Pioneer CDJ2000s. Somebody just shoot me now. And don’t get me started on people making a career out of re-editing other people’s music. Should you find me hypocriting somewhere by headlining the next big ‘back to 1994’ wrinkly rave, feel free to show me this paragraph. But hold the door for me when you see me carrying my Bitcoin billions into the bank.

How can I change tack without going too far off course and keep buzzing about music and clubs? How can I make the sort of change that stretches and inspires me ? One that is legal, decent, conscious, honest, unselfish and generous? Which option or opportunity might provide the stepping stone to the next chapter?  And is it possible to see my bit part written into Manchester’s musical herstory? Am I doing the right thing even? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions but I feel ready to go boldly and raucously into the nights, dark and dazzling,  that this pilgrimage is about to bring.

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About those options and opportunities. I have decided to keep a diary. This diary. Maybe it’s not the career booster method that immediately sprung to your mind but don’t knock it. It’s a start. Psychologists recommend writing your feelings out and I have a lot of those.

Inspired by the picture I have in my mind and the cyclone of words flying like butterflies around my head, I sit at my computer poised to write. I am mostly waiting for an Emmaus sized catharsis and revelation. I look like I am trying to squeeze this out like it’s a silent fart in a lift. Then I stop dead like a Basset Hound on the scent of something it can’t quite define or recognise. The screen is still white and I am suffering from divine blindness. A question and answer session ensues. With myself. Out loud (of course). I regularly consult and argue with my inner expert. Should I post it this a blog ? Yes maybe – then my links will make immediate sense to the swipe generation. Do I post it as a vlog ? Erm – can’t be arsed making crap hand held / selfie stick clips on my iphone – they look so home made and unprofessional. Plus there’s always something embarrassing on the bathroom floor and out of frame toilet shots aren’t the way I’d like to go viral. Who in their right mind takes a selfie after doing a number 2 and before flushing the chain? Not me. Home photo sessions and videos are indeed really shite. Add some scruffy randomness on the bed or sofa or kitchen work top that you wish you’d moved before you pressed record and send … No. Something has to be left to the imagination – at the outset at least. But if that fails, then there’s always Youtube, Instagram and live streaming.

Try as I might to drag it behind me, this body is heavier than I thought. If I’m going to murder myself (on paper) I need a good plan and a lot of help (not just psychiatric). I am thinking ‘Sex and The City’ with a bit of ‘Shallow Grave’ but all wrapped up in ‘I’ll Be There For You’. It’s got to be a cross platform affair. It’s a sad state of play but most dj’s, a&r’s and managers I’ve spoken to don’t happen to list reading as one of their preferred past-times. Unless it’s a flyer. Or a contract. I need to make this so called DJ Life resonate with any and every unannounced eavesdropper outside of this room, this house and this industry. Hmmm … * scratches head *. My premise is solid. No matter how amazing the life, we are all mortal. We are not forever young. Not even Madonna and Calvin Harris. OK maybe Madonna.

The words start to flow, then I delete it all. I write some more. Then doubt and insecurity bound up, panting like two daft Collies who keep returning with a stick for me to throw. Now I am freaking out about what people might think. I tell myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect and that there’s room for fine tuning. And I’m thinking – ‘BUt what if I’m not big enough’? Better to be honest and brave, to do and say the right (write) thing and write the book I have in my head than to be an ostrich who never sees or changes anything and doesn’t ever do anything different.

Breathe. You know it’s gonna be alright. Everything will turn out just fine.

Focus. Think positively. I open Youtube for inspiration and watch best animal clips before making a bee-line for the freezer. I find and eat a Magnum that has been maturing for so long that it could easily have ripped a hole in the other side of the Titanic. I sit back at my desk enjoying the ice-cream brain freeze, then demolish the rest of my half-eaten, in-case-of-emergencies bag of Haribo that’s been sitting on my desk since last night. I stare alternately at my fingers and the screen, glaze over, then do practically fuck all* after this, due to the sugar rush and food coma. *Note to self – I can do this doing fuck all thing quite well.

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Don’t think. Just do it.

… To Be Continued …

HOW TO KILL A DJ DAY 1

Some of this is fact, all of this is fiction. But if the truth doesn’t mind, then none of this even matters. All you need to know is that I am verbally incontinent and can no longer hold my peace.

Jhelisa – Hold My Peace

SEPTEMBER

The constitution has been written.

constitution

TO LIVE BY CHOICE NOT BY CHANCE

Space Ibiza, Friday September 25th, 2015 – Glitterbox closing

Funky Green Dogs – Fired Up

Join me upstairs in the Sunset Terrace at Space, Ibiza as Todd Terry plays his ‘one last tune’ for the Glitterbox Closing Fiesta – it’s Funky Green Dogs ‘Fired Up’ and we are doing our damnedest to ramp up the sexy. This is me – a dazzling human discoball in my traffic-stopping sequinned jacket, electric blue Chanel glasses, bright white glitter t-shirt and black asymmetric tassled suede skirt. I’m fierce. I’m fabulous. And working that ‘Nearly Big Five No’ salt and pepper ‘fro like the diva that I am. I’m dancing next to Tracy, the straight talking, Yoda conscience of our gang who is wearing a beige Armani wrapover dress with a hemline that leaves much to the imagination and a neckline that leaves nothing at all. Next in my eyeline is the fabulous Foxy (our débutante draglamourpuss) who is flirting and narrowing her eyes at the straight boys in her incendiary, feline way whilst Anna Cini, grande dame of the VIP is effortlessly commanding everyone’s attention with her imposing personality, outsized jewellery and dramatic decolletage. We all sizzle for shizzle. We are the sex in this city: for tonight at least.

« … Can I say one thing …’ Tracey’s voice cuts through the music like a hot knife through butter – I stop dancing and offer her my best ear. She lowers her voice and continues ‘if I have one message for you it’s this…9 months and go out laughing.» Her comment pierced the wall of sound like William Tell’s arrow through that apple. Dazed, I felt her words hit me with the boom of the confetti and CO2 cannons. I floated with the force above the strobe-lit heads, and landed to the ‘ooh aah’ sound of an easily impressed crowd. Cue unprecedented activity in the remaining active neural pathways. Our dance-off resumed seconds later and like nothing had been said but her words had walked in and shook shit up. Just like that.

Tracy is an in-demand consultant in the Banking world. She is paid to see where change is imminent and essential and find solutions when others can’t.   She is a specialist in her field and she does not candy coat anything. Ever. Especially not to her friends. To her I shouldn’t accept or settle for climbing the Ibiza ladder by playing nine hour sets in some cool hotels, bars, restaurants and occasionally in prestigious clubs. To her I am not being listened to properly (annoying when that is what dj’ing is all about) and should seriously reassess my position here. She says that I can and should be doing better than this and that this is maybe not the right place for me. Wow. I thought I was doing so well. It sucks hard that there are some truths that only your best friends will tell you.

Other people’s perspective is such a beautiful thing. Now I am close to tears yet laughing like I’ve od’d on nitrous oxide. Or maybe that’s just the effect of a bump of coke, three shots of tequila, a hierbas con hielo and the ecstasy all kicking in at once? Whatever it is, it’s given me an ‘Inception’ kick to the ground floor of reality’s future.

‘Get your bearings again, centre yourself … don’t run and don’t cry … I repeat this like a mantra until I disappear into the anonymity of the dancefloor. After trudging a personal furrow to Tee’s Freeze beats, I open my eyes and look around. Everything is still the same. Nothing has changed. Everything is as it always was and will be. There we were, four party-starters, showing out and showing off in the VIP of Space, Ibiza. But here I stand on the snake that takes you back to the beginning of the game to start all over again. I feel free.I feel excited. I feel afraid. I feel cheated. I feel sick. I feel lost. I feel inspired. I feel all of the above all at the same time and I also feel strangely relieved.

In the overfull but volume-lite El Salon / smoking area, Horsemeat Disco and DJ Pippi were smashing the classics. James Hillard finished with a disco re-edit of Norman Connors’ ‘Take It to The Limit’ and Pippi amped it up with a jacking vocal / soulful house set including Masters At Work’s ‘Backfired’ (both of which felt more relevant to me than ever before). Up until this point, my dj life, much like this Glitterbox party has passed in an ecstatic haze. I have bounced like a kid between the backstage area, the dj booth and the dancefloor like the party would never end. Still, I am a happy, clappy clubber, congratulating Pippi on his choices, dancing and distracting and being mega sociable talking to BHS / Lo Cura’s Dave Phillips and some new found shot-guzzling friends about my jacket and my glittery silver shoes – in a whirlwind of profound superficiality.

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Then way ahead of the usual curfew, someone from the Direction – or a technician (not sure which) – came to turn the sound down again, and did so so drastically that the crowd who were in full rave, instinctively start the penguin migration to repopulate the main room for the headline dj. Every club on the island does this, especially if there are not enough people to fill all the rooms that are open. It is a method that we djs all adhere to without complaint but one that I don’t always agree with. Like now.

In life as in art as in clubbing. Flow is a beautiful thing. When a room is rocking and full why limit people’s dance floor choices ? If people are having a good time in the second room then leave the second room open. Why does the party ever have to stop ? Why should it  even? When I started dj’ing that was how fresh, new talent used to rise to the top. It was all about that moment when push comes to shove and someone noticeably and unexpectedly cuts it way better on performance, musical content and crowd appreciation than the other djs on the bill. Let the games begin and let the people decide. But things have changed drastically in those 23 years. It was so much simpler back in the day when and where I started…

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I officially (ie name on a flyer) began dj’ing 23 years ago in the Pussy Parlour at the Flesh Night at the Hacienda in Manchester. It was promoted by flyers and posters. There was no internet, no email and the only social network was our friends, our home phones, a few working phone boxes and the doorbell / door knocker. We arranged to meet in pubs or at bus stops. And when we got to the Hacienda it was a rave from the changing of clothes in the car park, to the party in the queue and onwards from the cloakroom and the café on into that mecca of hedonism. The Hacienda had two rooms, and at the Flesh Night only four djs (mostly residents) covered those rooms and played all night. The second room finished half an hour before the main room and you could set your watch by it.

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Displaced like an ant from a work top, I find myself walking around in circles unable to settle.This ‘smiley mouse in a wheel’ routine is actually part of my drug and club enjoyment.

I find the others, we repeat and rave our way to the end of the night, falling out of the club laughing and blinking. Sunglasses on and we admire the sunrise taking shape over Ushuaia from the dingy, tarmac outside the entrance door of Space. We discuss the idea of going on to an after hours at Underground or going on to their sumptuous villa in Santa Eularia (where, incidentally, they respectably keep going until just after midday). Remembering that I have to work in five hours bursts my boogie bubble, so I leave them with hugs and double european kisses and walk alone to my car. I bump into friends Guy and Dean and we have one of our fucked up but funny, thought association conversations about the Glitterbox dj line up for the night (I never knew you could get so much lexical mileage out of Greg Wilson, Dimitri from Paris and Todd Terry ?) and then we talk about everything and nothing at all. It passes the time until we get to the Playa D’En Bossa roundabout where we part company. By the time I get to my car, (which might as well be in Africa I have parked it so far away) the brisk walk has brought on an unexpected but welcomed rush. I sit and gather my thoughts.

From 5pm till midnight I have been a wedding dj, playing the whole seven hours of the pre to blessing to dinner and dancing event on one drink, 2 mini shots of gazpacho and with no toilet break. My failure to find any leftover food in the kitchen and an insulin slump meant tear arsing it to Playa D’En Bossa. My life was saved by guzzling the quickest Vitello Tonnato in town and a chat with my friend, the chef Tim at Clandestino. My friends were ready to leave and the restaurant was waiting to close as I arrived but everyone waited until I had eaten so we could car pool to Space and fly together in a chemically assisted, high altitude (and attitude) balloon. That’s what friends are for, right ?

Should I drive or should I call a taxi ? Is it real or Memorex ? I know this shouldn’t even be a consideration – The Guardia here are severe with black people at the best of times and the 500€ and immediate confiscation of licence penalties is a total stinger for everyone at any time. But there are no taxis on the road and the taxi number is ringing out. It is clearly off the hook. It’s 7am, there’s no such thing here as an Uber and Ibiza is suddenly a ghost town. There is literally no one on the road except me. No pedestrians, no cars and no guardia nacional or civil to be seen (which is bizarre for a stretch of road that notoriously lights up the Road Cool WhatsApp group like July 4th every night). There’s nada. Niente. Nothing stirring, not even this smiley mouse behind the wheel.

I have glitter confetti instead of diamonds stuck to the soles of my shoes and my head is a whirlpool of nostalgia and memories. For no good reason and for all of the above, I start to sob gently with my head resting on the steering wheel. Let it go.

Tears dried, I take a deep breath and centre myself. Eye balls are focussed, the optic nerve is happily at rest. I’ve never been one for gurning nor eyes Warner Brothers whirling in their sockets so thank goodness for small mercies there. And there is still nothing on the road. That I instinctively sat in the driver’s seat facing direction of the traffic and looking straight ahead out of the crystal clear windscreen is a box well ticked (you would be surprised how many fail THAT test and still drive!). Yes! I can feel my feet and co-ordinate the pedals perfectly. Yes! I can put the key in the ignition without needing instructions, prayer or a co-pilot. The Guardia are sleeping with their wives and lovers and home is just a kiss away. All road risk has been carefully assessed. Mirror. Signal. Manouevre. And away we go (even Ibicencs don’t use their mirror when they are sober so I know I am doing well.) I am home in 15 minutes. I thank Sugar out loud and kiss her on the dash as I take the key out of the ignition. Even though I am not proud of the motoring risks I have taken, my trusty VW always gets me home in one beautiful, smiling piece. I shower, promising myself that I will never do that again and snatch four hours sleep as the day – and the island – wakes up.

KEEP TALKING

This is the basis of the talk I gave at the Wake Up Festival in Ibiza on Tuesday June 16th.

KEEP TALKING

We’ve got so much information in our hands and at our disposal and yet we are removed from each other. Dis-connected. The luminescent mobile phone and iPad / tablet glow illuminates the faces of couples kissing in the street to those of people eating in restaurants and partying in clubs. It colours our chill time with the family, our concerts, football matches and hospital visits. Even our relationships start and end with a text, whatsapp IM, Skype or email. Anyone who has ever dumped someone or been dumped by someone by text or email (like me) will confirm that it was not the best way or day of their life. Further statistics reveal that we spend 11 of our lifetime years in front of the TV, yet no statistics show how much of that time is spent talking over it? As for Gogglebox? This is not communication.

The mathematical genius Stephen Hawking has a computer synthesized voice box and for many who can’t communicate in the expected way, systems are in place – sign language – to replace and match the power of speech. It is clearly good to talk.

Still, we spend 23 days per year on our phones, 20 weeks of our life on hold to customer services (60 hours per year listening to the muzak – Zero 7 Simple Things with Barclays, and the in flight boarding selection with Vueling are my personal favourites). We spend four years of our lives on the phone at work (not including freelance workers / home based work calls) and even when communication is prohibited or impeded (work, governmental black outs / societal blocks) people tweet, post statuses, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitvid, Vimeo and Vine like crazy just to get some sort of message across.

Look around you. We, humans, are superheroes. Why? Because speech is a super power. It is one of the key development stages next to movement. We only have to observe a parents’ joy in hearing a baby’s first words to know how important this is. Speech, as such, has an important function in defining who we are and our perception of the world. It expresses our needs and desires. It is easy to make our voices heard and presence felt, even in an unfamiliar space, when we only have to open our mouths and let the feelings flood out. Having this right to do so is a gift and a blessing that many fight daily to gain or to preserve.

How many of you remember your school reports? What did they say? If you are anything like me it went something like this:

PAULETTE IS AN EXCELLENT STUDENT AND AN ASSET TO THE CLASS BUT SHE TALKS TOO MUCH AND CAN BE DISRUPTIVE TO OTHERS.

In my experience such a blatant appropriation and prohibition of my power of speech had far reaching effects. I internalised all the ‘talks too much’ criticism given at school and at home and suffered constant throat problems through school on into my work life. As soon as I got stressed or felt an injustice that could not be articulated I lost my voice. I saw specialists but none could get to or heal the physical root of the problem. Instinctively I kept a ton of diaries just to provide an outlet for all the words that had built and stacked up inside me like a bubbling volcano of frustration and anger. It manifested itself in other ways too, for a time I was given a bad rep for having a short fuse at work. This was counter productive, caused countless flash points and took a lot of internal work and soul-searching to remove the energetic blocks and correct.

In my opinion this control further manifests itself today in society’s preference for a soundbite over a long chat and the perversion of socio-political ideologies like ‘freedom of speech’ ‘democracy’. It’s ‘speak how we tell you to speak’ and ‘speak when you’re spoken to’ all rolled into one. At its best it’s about containing a rowdy class, at its worst it’s about control and enticing us to live in self-enforced, isolated bubbles and we should be aware and more than a little wary of this. Like Elvis ‘all I want is a little more conversation’ and a lot more balance. The fine tuning of our listening ears and the teaching of the value of silence is also welcomed.

I recommend that you learn to USE YOUR VOICE – ask for help, express your opinions but remember to do this with HONESTY, AUTHENTICITY (be yourself), INTEGRITY (do what you say – you’ve got to walk the walk AND talk the talk) AND most importantly do it with LOVE. As an example, recently Izzy Cornthwaite – an eight year old Star Wars fan – took Disney to task over advertising that their Darth Vader costume was for boys. She wrote in arguing that the costume is for girls too. Disney have now changed the classification of ALL their toys to become gender non specific. Respect to Izzy! All Disney costumes and toys are now ‘for kids’.

This is a lesson to all – use your voice, don’t hold back. Don’t be shy. Change really can start with one person. As adults, communication is the key to all our relationships – work, professional, personal, social. If you are conversing or involved with someone who won’t let you speak or won’t listen to you – if you realise that you can’t fully have your say with them, you must reclaim your power and your happiness for yourself. Be pro-active, be genuine, be honest. No matter how important that connection might be, make sure that you put your message across first and foremost because you love yourself and everything around you, no matter if that means that you must eventually let go of the thing that is preventing you from doing this.

Be curious, be serious and ask endless questions, even if this means only finding answers to a few. I encourage you to have opinions and to make all of that felt without falling into the trap of the 7 deadly sins against healthy communication.

  • GOSSIPING – encouraged by newspapers, social networks, garden fence standers – this behaviour says more about the person doing the gossiping than the subject itself.
  • JUDGING – unless you’re officially employed to wear a whitish-grey horsehair wig, always consider ‘what makes me so right?’ before judging anyone.
  • NEGATIVITY – limit your contact with the kind of people who reduce nice days or a nice party to gloomy, stressful, ‘hard work’ situations whilst littering their sentences with the drastic ‘always’ ‘never’ ‘doesn’t’ ‘couldn’t’
  • COMPLAINING –– apparently 5 months of our lives are spent doing this. Why not claw those 5 months back from the jaws of disaster and do something more constructive with that time.
  • EXCUSES – if it’s always someone else’s fault, it’s time to start taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • EMBROIDERY / EXAGGERATION – aside from the light poetic license required by story-telling try to avoid over-egging your speech with fabricated, exaggerated details that don’t exist, didn’t happen and are only there for dramatic effect.
  • LYING – passing one’s personal opinions off as facts is a definite no-no.

The good news is that these sins are easily counteracted by THINK-ing before we speak.

  • Is it THOUGHTFUL – would I like to hear it said about me?
  • Is it HELPFUL – reach out, assist & empower people
  • Is it INSPIRING – how do I make people feel when they are near me and when they hear me?
  • Is it NECESSARY – avoid gossip, exaggeration, lies, trivia.
  • Is it KIND – remember we are all the same, living parrallel lives, standing our corners, fighting our own battles. Be as gentle and empathetic as possible. This does not mean being generally obsequious or ‘sucking up’ – everyone can see through a creep but someone giving a genuine compliment is gold. So say it sincerely or not at all and like Bambi’s mother said ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t (especially if its wise not to) say anything at all’

We are taught to speak more than to listen yet conversation must be a two-way street (although some would prefer it otherwise). In order to make and get the best out of conversation, I advocate conscious listening on both sides.

What do I mean by conscious listening? I mean giving the person the time, the eye contact, the interest, the space and the attention required and giving ourselves the breathing / understanding space to receive and appreciate everything they are saying. For sure this can be difficult in noisy offices, public spaces, outdoor, sports, club or festival situations (we all know existential conversations and dance floors don’t mix and full belt arguments in shopping centres are like taking a wrecking ball to a stud wall) so if you need to talk, when you need that talk, simply pick your time and place carefully. Steer clear of the kind of fortune telling that anticipates someone’s response before they have had time to think it and please call a serious ‘time out’ on over-talking. Shouting louder to drown out an opinion you don’t want to hear or to prove your point over all others makes you more wrong than right. And try not to mute someone’s involvement in the conversation and render them deaf to yours by finishing their sentences with your ideas – when you’ve had your say let them have theirs.

If we can change the way we talk, we can change the way we think and I am optimistic that it is this simple shift in perspective that can change things, one word at a time. Positive words give positive results. And a listening ear hears the valuable information that is all so often missed by the overbearing ego of others.

When our thoughts are silent, our body talks, so we need to manage that language carefully too. Try not to give mixed messages: leave insincere smiles, half way greetings, darting-eyed air kisses, the rude ‘I have no time to chit chat’ chat, the ‘I’m too busy to speak’ phone call and the ‘I’m leaving in a second’ all night club stay, out of your interactions with others. All of these negatively affect the quality of our communication, diminish trust and lower morale at the speed of light.

Make best efforts to keep your subject matter in check. All too often our conversation focuses on what’s wrong in the world. I suggest that we change our viewpoint and try more to acknowledge what’s right in the world, what’s right around us, what’s right with us and with everyone we meet. If it’s a grim day look for rainbows. Let your first thought of every day be thank you, express gratitude, try to compliment yourself in the mirror. Treat yourself with the same amount of verbal respect as you treat your best friend. Silence your inner critic. Tell people what they mean to you, speak to people in the street not just people you have on speed dial – keep your options and connections open. Encourage openness, encourage people to communicate, call your mother, father, sister, brother. Write to your MP if you feel so moved. Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Stephen Hawking (theoretical physicist, cosmologist, CBE) is quoted as saying: “Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

Engage brain before you speak ...

Engage brain before you speak …

ABOUT POETRY: the joy of haikus

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I have always had a deep love and respect for poetry: TS Eliot’s ‘Macavity – The Mystery Cat’ http://tiny.cc/9it0ex thrilled me as a child and later Shakespeare’s sonnets http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/17.html and plays ‘Othello’, ‘Hamlet’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘The Tempest’, ‘Richard III’, ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’, ‘The Taming of The Shrew’ and ‘The Twelfth Night’ introduced me to history, fantasy, reality, love, loss, passage of time, beauty, mortality, politics written in such a way that real emotions were wrought from the words on the page. Studying Shakespeare also gave me an insight into the phenomenal craft of a poem written to book length aka a ‘play’. Six years later, TS Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’ blew my academically mushrooming and hormone ravaged mind. I clearly remember the day that my English Literature A-Level teacher, Mr Birch, said loftily (whilst rubbing his profuse beard) that ‘prose was an open hand and poetry was a closed fist’ – from this moment the inspiration ran high to punch well above my literary weight with such a fist and the resonance rang deeper than an Atlantean bell. I have always preferred writing poetry (although up to now it’s been mainly personal stuff that nobody sees or reads) to prose: it presents much more of a challenge to me.

Now if poetry is a closed fist then my preferred, and the very succinct, Japanese Haiku form is an iron fist welded fast inside a titanium lined velvet glove.

Wikipedia states:

Haiku

This article is about the Japanese poetic form. For haiku poetry written in English, see Haiku in English. For other uses, see Haiku (disambiguation).
Haiku (俳句 haikai verse?)About this sound listen (help·info) (no separate plural form) is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:

The essence of haiku is “cutting” (kiru).[1] This is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji(“cutting word”) between them,[2] a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colors the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.
Traditional haiku consist of 17 on (also known as morae), in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 on respectively.[3]
A kigo (seasonal reference), usually drawn from a saijiki, an extensive but defined list of such words.
Modern Japanese haiku (現代俳句 gendai-haiku?) are increasingly unlikely to follow the tradition of 17 on or to take nature as their subject, but the use of juxtaposition continues to be honored in both traditional and modern haiku.[4] There is a common, although relatively recent, perception that the images juxtaposed must be directly observed everyday objects or occurrences.[5]

In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku.[6]

Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku

 

They say you should do one thing every day that scares you. I am now going to publish some of my poetry.

The beginning…

 

LOVE LETTER TO IBIZA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQvs9tmzWtE

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They say if you can survive the winter then you are meant to be here. It’s not so much that it’s an expedition worthy of polar or arctic preparations but Ibiza is financially a summer seasonal island ergo winters here are, economically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually testing. Everything here that you once considered important – the post office, the bank, the supermarket, the shops, the church, the doctor, the dentist, the hairdresser, the vet, all close at 2pm (though some re-open for post siesta business from 5.30pm till 9 or 10) on any ordinary day. These services are also reduced to a jangly boned skeleton (if they are open at all) from October until May. If you’re not splitting your location year 50/50 with another european city – London, Paris, Manchester (we occasionally like to feel the home turf beneath our feet and benefit from the city dweller’s social and cultural benefits so lacking here), you have to think hard about how you can live, work and in extreme cases, survive (without an up-to-date cinema multiplex showing films that aren’t overdubbed) on Ibiza when the summer is over.

 

However, it’s Easter week end, the almond and fig trees are in bloom, cats and dogs hunt and feast on nature’s ‘all you can eat’ buffet. Geckos, voles, cicadas – and whatever else fails to avoid the claws whetted to surgical sharpness on palm tree barks outside the house – make cats fat, happy and prone to sleeping their campo safari off in the afternoon sunshine. Chocolate eggs have been imported in from the UK, but I take it as a sign that they melt in the sunshine and heat before they even get a chance to melt in my mouth. That’s Ibiza – for worse at times, yet more often than not for the better, nothing happens as you would expect it to.

 

I wasn’t sure I would get to this point but here I am, a year and a bit on, bracing myself for my second summer season here on this island of dreams and dreamers. Now I am committed to living here, I know that somewhere, somehow, someway – I will find my proper place. But I must be patient. You can’t rush the fog here. No matter who you are, what you were or how you did before you got here, you have to forget everything, tear up your rule book and reset your life to zero. This is a good thing. You now have a blank sheet on which you can create the life you want. If you are inspired by meeting new and like minded people, if you can build good relationships and know how to recreate a life from scratch, if you can bring your unique self to the table and find out what it is that you can do for the island, if you know how to work well with the tools you have when the tools you need don’t exist or can’t be bought here, if you can do all this without letting your past or your ego get in the way, then a good and prosperous island life is probably closer to you than you think.

 

There are many, like myself, who immediately fall in love with this magical, spiritual, beautiful island. Then there are those who, after visiting once and holidaying badly, detest this place with a vengeance and without further discussion. If you arrive thinking that Ibiza is just about the superstar djs, the VIP lifestyle, the five crazy kerching kerching business months a year (not for everybody mind), million dollar dj fees and a million parties that you can’t even afford to fully attend, then that’s the superficial level of experience you will have. The island has a strange way of holding the mirror up to your expectations. And yes, you will have bags of fun but the island will probably bounce you back to where you came from like shot out of the Dalt Villa cannon. It has a strange way of doing that too. If you don’t like or respect the island for what it truly is, then it will return the compliment in kind. But life and persuasion being what it is, if and when those same people return (because eventually they do return to try again), and look beyond the glamour and the superficial, they begin to love the island from a real islander’s perspective. That’s when you know there is no turning back.

 

It’s worth it for the mornings. At 6am when there is no-one about you’re at one with the dogs, cats, iridescent plumed cockerels, glossy, sinewy horses and the stunning peacocks who are all waking, tuning up and tuning in. You’ll greet a few farmers starting their day in the red-earthed fields and the postman filling his van with campo bound post but mostly you get to enjoy being alone with your thoughts, your breath and the silence. It’s a profound and special silence that jumpstarts the connection between your own and the island’s soul. Suddenly, you are tuned in and listening to the crunchy, satisfying sound of your footsteps on large gravel and fine sandy roads. Suddenly you are enjoying the firework explosion of pure, white almond blossom so delicate it could almost be embroidered on a piece of fine, handmade lace. Silence. Then a cock crowing. Silence. Then a chime bristling on the breeze. Silence. A rising, symphony of birdsong. Silence. Then there’s me and my long, deep breaths, breathing it all in, breathing it all out, breathing it all in again.

 

You will remember the smell of Ibiza long after you leave. There’s nothing more alluring than the rich perfume of cedars, wild flowers and citrus trees in fruit and flower – lemons, grapefruits and orange blossom scent the air with a smell as heady and seductive as jasmine. You will remember the natural sounds of Ibiza – nature’s music – the lapping of the sea, the rushing of the wind, cicadas singing, chickens and birds all vying for your attention. The trees and campo lanes shiver and shift as geckos and tiny animals skitter through the dry leaves. Then there are the butterflies, owls and eagles who occupy the airspace and thrill you with their appearance. You will delight in Nature’s free blockbusters shown on its uninterrupted 360° screen : the staggering rock formations at Punta Galera, the fathomless caves at Cala Comte and the sunrises and sunsets of so many dazzling hues and colours seen from so many equally beautiful beaches. The moon and stars, eclipses, sunrises and sunsets thrill us daily with their high intensity drama. You will be tempted to roll in fields full of poppies, margeritas, wild asparagus, clover, dill, fennel, wild garlic, rocket, rosemary, thyme, lavender, almonds, tamarinds and olives, as blankets of wild vibrant purples, pinks, yellows and orange campo flowers billow and ripple on a breeze and invite you to come closer. Then there’s a graffitti’d wall that says in capital letters ‘Leer Mas’ (read more) it is punctuated graphically with an enormous sun. Walking on a bit further I see another wall with a message in script that says ‘brillo magico que alumbra mi camino’ (magic light that lights my road / way). Moments like these are so precious and they happen every day.

 

Ibiza is an island of contradictions. Peak summer is intense – blending that heady, holiday brochure combination of ridiculous heat, azure sea, dip-dyed blue skies, white sands, blazing sunshine and dramatic vistas with an influx of holiday makers and musical tourists so greedy for what the island has to offer that they teem and swarm over it all like a colony of rampant ants. Many residents choose to leave the island in August to avoid them (and make some decent money by renting their houses out). This is the season of forest fire warnings and an island on guard for careless smokers and barbecuing revellers. This is the beginning of weeks of painful driving, traffic jams, unnecessary accidents and constant Guardia Civil and Guardia Nacional check points. This is the season of dirty cars, speeding scooters and ice free super markets and petrol stations. August is the most challenging month on this island for the island residents and as an outside observer with a resident’s heart, I can fully understand why.

 

The autumn / winter is beautiful with a twist of bizarre : on the plus side you can get from anywhere to anywhere on the island in less than 20 minutes by car. The temperature can change wildly from 20 degrees in the day time, (shirt sleeves, no jacket, al fresco dining) to a brisk 5 degrees at night, (Puffa jacket essential, scarf and boots optional). Add an osmotic, nocturnal damp (which rises from the sea to permeate practically every living cell of your body) that makes your hair frizz and your bed and clothes feel cold and wringing wet and you get the picture. Even for a Mancunian used to 365 days of rain a year, the all pervading humidity, the occasional flowering, mouldy wall and the musty wardrobe experience has been an unexpected revelation. Half the shops and boutiques are closed. The clubs and bars are winding down to a fall / Winter schedule. The tourists have left – and I’m still here.

 

Why ?

 

I adore Ibiza for its unique rhythm and unique characters. I appreciate it for its old skool social, internet-free network and community spirit. I love Ibiza for its proliferation of music and media professionals with whom you can connect directly and discuss career / productions / problem solving / mooting collaborations in a smaller yet more vibrant environment. I love Ibiza for its curious tree-living, cave living people; for the drummers on Benirras, for the Robert De Niro look alike in Talamanca. The runners, joggers, fast walkers, personal trainers, gym enthusiasts and worker-outers on Marina Botafoch all have their charm. Then there’s the curious man riding a ribbon, flyer and sticker festooned bicycle, the early morning fishermen, the stretching and flexing yogis on the beach, the eco agroturismo farmers in San Augustine and Santa Eularia, the healers, the masseuses, the meditators, the teachers, the bar owners, the dog walkers and trainers, the beautiful spirits in the beautiful people and the guardian angels with invisible gossamer wings. These are the people who give the island its true colour. These are the lives around which the island itself revolves, lives and breathes. And I love this place.

 

This is an island run by families and locals for families and locals and I love Ibiza for holding on to that island mentality. I love Ibiza for its family restaurants like Ciao Pescao, Laurelito, Sa Soca, Sa Caleta, Fish Shack and Bon Lloc. I love Ibiza for its fresh fish and farmers’ market life style. I love Ibiza for Its small delicatessens like Casa Alfonso, Can Pascual, Can Espanyol and its big supermarkets like Viper Centro, Mercadona and Eroski. I love Ibiza for its chic shops and shabby markets. Clothes do not make the man or woman here and I love Ibiza for making that city-slick obligation seem so superficial and trivial. If I want to climb a tree I can climb a tree. If I want to swim in the sea, well, I can do that too. I love Ibiza for walking in the hills and mountains of San Josep and San Vicent, for walking around the old town and enjoying the view of the port from the imposing Dalt Villa or for looking out to sea from the ruins at Sa Caleta. I love Ibiza for the Formentera ferry. I love Ibiza for summer sea swimming and winter open fire warming. I love Ibiza for moving forward and building new roads, motorways and hotels like the Ushuaia Tower, Hard Rock Hotel, Destino. I love Ibiza for its knowing no fear, for trying new things, for occasionally making mistakes and for correcting them and trying again until it gets it right.

 

Most of all I love Ibiza for the smell of the cedars and the forests of tree barks glistening with amber resin. I love Ibiza because it’s an island that most of the time feels like a village community, that sometimes has a crazy city buzz and all of the time feels like home sweet home.