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.

picture-2

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.

picture-3

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.

picture-4

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.

picture-5

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.

picture-6

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.

picture-7

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.

picture-8

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

picture-9-paris-attacks-support

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

picture-10

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.

picture-11

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.

picture-12

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.

Advertisements

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.

Human+League+The+Sound+Of+The+Crowd+EP+52635

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.

51737_464621650479_2680125_o

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.

905581_1059428574068733_5829511355295356340_o

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.

11828745_962925203728420_7077153568749054276_n

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.

11222135_995452647142342_3681949897996126008_n

Don’t think. Just do it.

… To Be Continued …