Friday, December 30, 2011

My Top "10" Tunes Of 2011

It was difficult enough in 2010 to pick out my top ten favourite tracks, but this year is even more difficult, though there is a clear number 1 for me.

I tried my best but could only get it down to 20, so here goes:

20. Christian Burkhardt - Stopover Goa - This track has so much energy and was one of the first tracks of 2011 to really get me in the party mood.  Soooo Cocoon.

19. David K – Somewhere In My Head (Deetron Remix) - I've only very recently discovered this, a beautifully haunting piece of minimal.  Yes, there is still space for minimal in my music collection in 2011.

18. Maceo Plex - Falling - This is just such a feel-good house track from my favourite producer of 2011, it put a huge smile on my face in Ibiza with tingles down the spine.

17. Noir & Haze - Around (Solomun Vox Mix) - A much slower paced track, with nice vocals...oh and that bassline and those synth stabs.

16. Laura Jones - Love In Me - The influence of old garage sounds was quite a regularity in 2011, and this is the best of the bunch in my opinion.

15. Matt John - Hello Again - This is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, it has these strange warbling sounds and goes "hello, hello" - one of the first tracks that Sven played at Cocoon In The Park, and it stayed in my head all night, just like the number 1 track of my 2011 did.

14. Lovebirds - Want You In My Soul - This kind of track would never have featured in my favourites any time since circa 2004 until now, such has my music preferences veered back to house, it is again a very feel-good song, it is a love song and I put it in my long-lost funky house folder.

13. Thugfucker - Disco Gnome (Tale Of Us Remix) - This is just typical of the disco-house sound that is almost everywhere in 2011, and is even starting to filter into bars in Reading, and will be played in dancefloors in Hull in 2015 (electro-house has finally caught on there, and minimal).

12. Maetrik - Crush On Me - A long build-up into a twisted kind of tech-house track, with vocals that I found most quite amusing to sing at anyone unsuspecting.

11. Efdemin - There Will Be Singing (DJ Koze Remix) - This is really deep, dark and devastating, with a fantastic break-down into an excellent arty sample, and the bassline coming in is...well...devastating, Sven played this in his warm-up to his 9-hour set at fabric earlier in the year and that was when I realised that he wasn't messing around this year.

10. Maceo Plex - Can't Leave You - Talking about devastating basslines, this is yet another one but it is quite a light feeling house track too, which is where the magic comes from.  The third mention for my producer of 2011.

9. Eleven Eleven - Tourist Trap (Jamie Jones Miss X Remix) - There is no way that my top 20 can go without a mention of Jamie Jones, despite the haters or probably because of them, the night at fabric back in the autumn was crazy, totally out of this world with excitement and a buzz like only fabric can seem to produce, and even more than the Ricardo and Sven nights and despite (or again, because of) the fact that P. Diddy is part behind this track, it is a monster and representative of the dark, twisted disco-twinged music of Jamie Jones that very special night.

8. A. Mochi - C2M (Gary Beck Remix) - The only proper techno track I am featuring this year, this is the track that I nearly left the main room at Cocoon, Ibiza to check out the terrace but couldn't bear to tear myself away from Sven and he rewarded me with the relentless pounding monster of a techno track that seemed to go on forever and totally devastated the main room.  And those ice cannons...

7. Creep - Days (Soul Clap Remix) - A much slower house track, and surprise, surprise, it is the bassline that just makes me wet myself yet again, I just think that it is a brilliantly emotive remix.

6. Luca - Different Morals (Clockwork Remix) - Another very slow-paced vocal house track, totally groovy and one that is really growing on me right now, I love the vocals as I sometimes do wonder where people get their morals from - they are different to mine!  Or perhaps more like where I got mine from...ahem.

5. Dinky - Acid In My Fridge (Visionquest Remix) - When I first saw that they had remixed one of my favourite ever minimal tracks, and a stone-cold minimal classic, I was a little concerned but this is amazing as it is ever better than the original, very dark, amazing bassline and oh, Sven played it at fabric and totally blew the place apart - again as part of his warm-up.  Shocking stuff.

4. Lucky Paul - Thought We Were Alone (Money vs Gold Remix) - One of those tracks that a lot of people won't like, to me though it is a really good feeling epic house track which gave me tingles down the spine the first few times I played it and it therefore just had to be included.

3. Butch - Rawhide - Ricardo played this at Cocoon In The Park, and it sent me absolutely crazy, it is probably the craziest track of the year and a bit of a head-fuck - yes another one that a lot of people won't like but since when does Ricardo play anything that normal?  Took me about 4 months to work out what the heck it was too.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooooooooooowwwwww!

2. Danny Daze - Your Everything - Award for the best video of 2011, and the second best track of 2011, a stone-cold classic house track, an amazing bassline that just goes right through me and a bona-fide amazing moment at fabric when Danny Daze played it, who incidentally also played a very clever and very impressive warm-up at fabric.

1. Azari & III - Hungry For The Power (Jamie Jones Remix) - And yes my number one is the track that everyone seems to love to hate though if it wasn't RA's number 1 DJ behind the remix and only had 1,000 views on Youtube instead of 1.2 million views then there would not likely be so many haters.  I first heard this played out at Cocoon In The Park, Sven played it, and the crowd, already such an up-for-it party crowd just went wild.  It stuck in my head all night and became my favourite tune for weeks, if not months of 2011.  I love the bassline, I love the annoying high-pitched noises, I love the vocals.  I love that a British producer/DJ has produced my favourite track of 2011.  I love that it has so many haters.  I love that 6 months after first hearing it, it still makes me want to dance like crazy.  Sorry, but this is my absolute stand-out track of 2011.

I know the chance of getting anyone to comment is quite limited but I really would love to hear what you think of my attempted top 10, and some of your favourite tracks of 2011.


Previous Post

New Year's Plans

Tonight is my equivalent of going out for New Year.

Yes I know it is the 30th, but there isn't anything I want to do on New Year's Eve in terms of going out, so I am splitting my plans into two.

There is a little night called Groovetech at Iguana bar in Reading tonight, with a few good local DJs playing house, tech-house and techno.  I like this kind of music so I am going to have some fun tonight and a dance.

I hope some of you can join me.

Tomorrow, 31st December, I am going to stay in, have a few drinks, a shot of absinthe and paint.  I have a painting in mind though it isn't an easy one, I think it is more complex than previous.  This is what I did last year, albeit reluctantly as I didn't want to stay in by myself but I wasn't overly keen on any of the other suggestions like celebrating New Year in Sakura/Purple Turtle so I had to do it on my own but I had a great time, mainly because I produced my masterpiece:

If anyone is at a loose end and wants to pop round, they are more than welcome.

I might even do a DJ mix too, we shall see.

Happy New Year :-)


Previous Post

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Moldovan Visitors!

Regular readers may remember that a couple of months ago, I put out a request for someone from Moldova to visit my blog, and last month, I had not one, but two visitors to my blog from Moldova.

That they found my blog by searching for a picture of Miss World Moldova, is not exactly a surprise, this is the internet after all.

So, that concludes my conquest of Europe, I now have an imprint in more European countries than the European Union - stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Rompuy (he is our European president, by the way.  No you didn't vote for him.  Nobody did.  He was appointed - don't you love European democracy?!).

So where to now?  132 countries and counting, maybe I need to conquer the rest of South America?  Only Paraguay, Suriname and French Guiana are remaining, and I reckon those last two countries don't actually really exist.


Previous post

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone (Or Happy Sunday Bacon-haters!)

I decided against sending individual Christmas messages to friends as I just have way too many people in my phone book now - and I certainly am not sending a generic message out, not quite my style.

So I thought I would wish all the truly important people in my life a Merry Christmas - my blog readers!

All 40,698 of you across 126 countries - I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

And to help get you into the spirit, I thought you would appreciate a picture of your favourite saint:

Oops, wrong one...

With a selection of my favourite presents - as Tony might say on TV - didn't he do well?

But Christmas is a time for giving as well as receiving, so I thought I would offer a gift to all of my readers, which is a picture of my Christmas cracker gift, just after Christmas dinner.

I really hope you appreciate this:

And finally, proof that even I can get a Christmas kiss:

Ho ho ho.

Friday, December 23, 2011

8 Factors To Consider When Buying A DJ Laptop

Resident Advisor advised me of an article regarding how to choose a laptop for DJing with 8 questions one should ask oneself - I thought I could do better:

1. Does the logo light up?
2. Is it thinner than a piece of paper?
3. How many pointless things can I sync it to?
4. Would I get more sex if I invested that money in a penis extension instead?
5. Will it finally make those pesky vinyl DJs extinct due to its futureness?
6. Is it really that difficult to burn cds?
7. What will I do when it crashes?
8. Should I also invest in some kind of helmet like Deadmau5? on their way

How To Embarrass Oneself - By James Winfield

Most people would keep something like this secret, but given my near-perfection, at least in music tastes, if not also in beauty and intelligence, I thought I should admit something a tiny little bit embarrassing - it is always good to make the odd mistake in your life, so here goes.

I once bought the below album:

Oh yeah...Strictly Ayia Napa.


Did you know I went there once too?  Only a couple of years ago too.  Ouchy ouchy.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This Racism Thing

Forgive me for being a white male in a country which is predominantly white so perhaps not having the experience of the injustice of racism I might not be able to comprehend as well as others, but isn't this picking out certain footballers who have used the n-word a bit pedantic?

I am sure that it is offensive to many, and should ideally not be used.  I would certainly not use it.  Neither should a certain previously bald striker for Man Utd go around saying f****** c*** all the time every game, or so it seems - surely that is offensive to some people too?

I am not defending it for a second, but I feel that some people are really going over the top - perhaps in some strange misguided logic to correct heinous wrongs done by generations in the past, I don't know.

How come it is ok for me to take the piss out of someone for being French, but not for being black?  I don't quite understand.  Perhaps it is because I view everyone as equals that it is nonsensical to me.

How come Suarez gets an 8 game ban for using the n-word, which is apparently common in South America, but ex-baldy who has lived here all his life pretty much gets away with what he says?

To me - racism is when you get excluded from society in one way or another - be that not getting a job because of your skin colour, or not having the same educational opportunities, or being looked upon as a lower form of face.

Aggressive verbal racism, like the tram woman, is also abhorrent.

I am not convinced that some racist comments on a football pitch, or apparently now I hear Alan Hansen had to apologise for using the word 'coloured' - it just all seems to much to me, and will probably do more harm than good in the long run to stop those intolerant folk of whom there sadly still are some in society behaving in a racist manner.

Rant over.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No Adverts On My Blog - Ever

During innebriation last weekend, apparently I applied for a Google Adsense account - I guess with 200 visits some days to certain pages with nice pictures on, it might have generated me a few quid, who knows.

However, I have been declined - due to

Of all things...

Wait for it...

This is me we are talking about...

We've found adult content on
your site. This includes text or images that contain sexual, lewd or
provocative content, and sites that require users to be at least 18, or
that may not be safe for work.

A little warning here, do not open the links if you are at work.  For home educational use only.

Would you Adam and Eve it?

Well, fuck me sideways.

As if.

Google can go fuck themselves.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Things I Am Looking Forward To

In chronological order:

1. The sausage roll I just bought.  With a big pile of ketchup.
2. Scratching the 3 scratchcards that I just bought.  I allow myself one a week - gambling seems the right thing to do when unemployed, and I won £6 last weekend which is my highest win all year.  So I have re-invested.
3. Gravy.  I need gravy.  It is my most reliable and available cure, though it does mean a walk to Morrison's and I am not in the mood to get off the sofa.  Bugger.
4. A day of politics and news.  As I said, I cannot be bothered to get off the sofa so I will lose myself in the joy of politics.
5. Going home for Christmas.  Nothing like a bit of time with the family, they know how to make me feel appreciated, unconditional love, a rare thing.  And I much appreciate it, especially in uncertain times, which no matter how much I put a positive spin on things, I am in uncertain times in my life.  Though I won't appreciate the first thing my mam says which will be "oh you've put on weight"...yes I know...say something nice please when I walk through the inability to not put on weight is the quickest and easier way to make me depressed...and it is getting to me at the moment, I don't need it pointing out, ta.  Once I get past that bit, then I know I will have a lovely Christmas with those most important to me, who I don't see enough of...I do wish there was a way to get up and back without having to fork out £80-£90 on a train ticket.  Greedy bastards.  Thankfully, I have a lift this time so only a petrol contribution is required...though I am on pre-warning of how diabolical he is going to make the music, I think especially for me.
6. Going to Hull.  Yes, the place I love to hate.  Or hate to love.  But it is where I am from and is a big part of why I am who I am, love me or loathe me.  And it is always an exceptional reminder that I am lucky.  Despite the frustrations and imperfections of life, I do have it pretty damn good.
7. Groovetech on 30th December.  The one regular saving grace of the underground house/techno scene in Reading at the moment, for me.  And you might know just how important music is to me.  It is long overdue me getting completely smashed and having a good night...ok two weeks as we stand now, but that is a long time and come 30th December it will have been four weeks.
8. New Years Eve.  I don't like this occasion particularly, but last year I stumbled across the perfect way to do it, quite literally, by staying in by myself, having a couple of bottles of wine, a shot of absinthe and getting my paintbrushes out.  I have two paintings in my heart that I want to get out, neither are especially easy.  I didn't want to do new year on my own last year - but it turned out to be one of the best new year's eve's ever so why change a formula that works.
9. A trip to fabric, hopefully, in January.  A couple of very interesting line-ups in January, noticeably on 14th and 28th, I would very much like to do one of those.  As I said earlier, I cannot be bothered today - the sooner I return to my sofa and have that sausage roll, the better, so if you want to know what they are, go look on their website for yourself!
10. And finally, my birthday.  Me and my sister are going to watch Hull City vs Reading at the Majeski Stadium on 21st January, it was so much fun last year, so I am delighted that the football league have once again arranged this fixture for my birthday weekend.  Knowing me and my sister, we will go out for drinks afterwards...knowing me...and my sister too, we will go to the Oakford...I'm not sending Facebook event invites out or anything, I am not overly fussed about celebrating it, I am just going to do something that I really want to do, which is go watch the football with my delightful sister, and whatever else happens, happens, and whoever joins will join.  I did consider dragging her to fabric in retaliation for her dragging me to some god-awful dingy drunken rock/indie club for her birthday (I did make it nearly until the club closed...somehow!) but I am not sure I would appreciate a night of Efdemin and Skudge...let alone my sister.  And no Craig Richards?!  Huh?!  Why does Craig Richards never play fabric on my birthday weekend?

Right, quick e-mail to fabric and then that sausage roll...last week's unwatched Newsnights and the political review of European politics here I come.


I kind of feel that I am at a crossroads in my life at the moment.

I do not have a defined career goal, and now the shackles of employment have long been released, the world is kind of my oyster if I want to go somewhere new to find a job.

But I am not the travelling sort, I like my life as it is, and have become quite appreciative of myself, but my life is missing something.

Instant pleasure would be gained through being able to enjoy the music I love so much, in my local area.  But Reading has no regular house music scene.

London does.  I could move there.  I am applying for jobs there.  However, I am not sure I want to move to such a big city though, as much as I love it.

Leeds does.  I love the north.  I love northerners.  I am one.  I would fit in much easier than I do in Reading, for sure!  But I do kind of enjoy being a northerner down south...despite the different morals.  And it is a much tougher life up north.  It is a bit more exciting down here...the slow pace of life can wait another couple of decades.

I could try to be the creator of something that I am looking for in Reading but I am not sure my efforts would be appreciated...or whether it would work.

My heart lies with the music I love. I need to satisfy my desires.  I need to give my heart a bit of love and attention.  I am quite frustrated at the moment, for one reason or another.  Being out of work doesn't exactly help, neither does not having a career path/plan/goals.

I do have dreams, but I am not confident enough to pursue them just yet, as I know I am a rather over-optimistic person at times.

I clearly am missing a little satisfaction in life and I am not convinced I am going to find it if I stay in this town that I really do like, but which I may have slightly fallen out of love with.

Do I take a risk and make a big change?  Would it be worth it?  Or do I stick it out and keep hoping?

Past evidence is inconclusive - moving to Reading was a big change of life, but an excellent decision.

Going for a promotion from a job I liked into the unknown, at Verizon, in 2010 was not an excellent decision.

Not taking the risk and going for a promotion just because I didn't have the "required" language skills at Verizon in 2008 was a bad decision.

I could give many examples either way...

I don't really have a way to decide rationally...I am kind of hoping that the decision is kind of made for me.

I do have these moving elsewhere thoughts at least once a year and can normally quite easily dismiss them but the opportunity is much more there for the taking than it ever was due to my redundancy...but my head says please don't heart also says please don't ask...

The world is my Oyster card.  It might be time to start using it a bit more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

James Tells The Tories To Chill Out Over Europe (And Other Bits)

Dear Sir

This kind of thing really doesn't look good. It reminds me of Tony Blair.

Seriously - I am a conservative voter and I never ever want to see Labour back in power but that kind of stunt is just like giving them an open goal.

ps Apologies for not sending this to Number 10, but I did not get a reply from my previous attempt.

And can you chill out on the Europe thing please now especially in regards to making our leader's job more difficult - we inherited a mess, no need to make it more of a mess.

Oh and finally, I think you will find a lot of young people are quite affectionate about Europe, so please don't give us a bad name.

James Winfield


Dear Mr Winfield

I am replying on behalf of the Party Co-Chairman, Baroness Warsi, to thank you for your e-mail.

It is very good of you to get in touch and make us aware of your thoughts. Your feedback is noted and I will pass your comments on through our research department.

Thank you again for writing.

Yours sincerely,
Office of the Party Co-Chairmen


Good to see they are listening to me.

I might espouse Conservatism quite regularly but I am not afraid to say where they have gone wrong, and hiding something dodgy on a big news day smacks me of New Labour - and we all know where they got us.


Previous blog post.

Monday, December 12, 2011

3 Month Anniversary Of Unemployment And I Am Back In An Office!

I think it was 3 months today that I was officially unemployed, and now I am employed once more.  Albeit only for a week.  Which is better than nothing.  And one never knows, it may lead onto more hours in the future if I make a good impression.  And I always make a good impression on the dancefloor with girls so there is no reason why I wouldn't make a good impression in a new job.  That logic works, doesn't it?

Still waiting to hear back from that job that I really wanted that I had an interview for.

Anyway, unusually for me I don't really have much else to say.

If there is a moral to the story - it is never give up.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Time To Celebrate - No More Shit Trance Music!

But one more fucking lawyer.

Happy days for Radio 1 and it's listeners. Judge Jules is leaving to become a lawyer.

I know Judge Jules is actually supposed to be a nice guy but with a hoodie and face like that, I am unable to be nice to him.

Oh yes, the judge does budge.  Like a 15 year old pint of milk, he long ago went off.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Adios Euro. Au Revoir European Union?

The world changed yesterday quite significantly but I doubt that all of my readers would have realised this so I thought I should say my piece.

There is a lot to say, and I am not sure one blog post can do it justice, but I will try.  Before I start, I would like to remind you that I am a Conservative, with liberal leanings and I do believe that in an ideal world there would be no individual countries, we would all be governed together, with one single currency, however we are still centuries away from becoming that enlightened.  Unless of course we have a big fuck-off global war and then start again.

So yesterday was the final meeting to save the Euro.  I argued back in June that there were two options open, assuming they wanted to save the Euro - either the defaulting countries like Greece, default on their debts, the banks take the hits, etc, and yes there would have been a lot of shit to deal with.  Or a more controversial one, which is to create a new country, called Europe (I did mockingly call it Germany) and have the same policies on tax, and more importantly the European Central Bank would issue Euro bonds to buy the debt. (which Germany is very much against) - ie a fiscal union.  Like what we have in the UK where London's bankers pay for the wages of the north's public sector (who then teach the children that their way to make it in life is to win X-Factor and then deal with their resulting drug addictions from their delusions...only joking my beloved public sector workers, love you really!), and the Bank of England prints money from time to time to give us more inflation to pay for those stupid mortgages much of the country could never realistically afford to have but do.

And yes, I know our economy is too heavily reliant on financial services, but we just have to accept that we are the world centre for this - the government is trying to rebalance the economy, and also to focus our exports away from the European Union.  By the way, it is generally thought that it is the French owned banks that are most in danger of collapsing due to Euro-zone government indebtedness.  I also hear a lot of French people work in the City of London.  Just saying.

Oh and a tax on financial transaction is not a bad idea in itself, and the UK government is not against it - but to work fairly, it would have to be implemented equally across every single country in the world, including the tax havens.  Like that is ever going to happen.

Back to the story, and if we were going to save the Euro, one of two things needed to happen, as I explained above.  However, the idea proposed, was, in effect, to get the UK to pay for the Eurozone's debts, or otherwise to lay the blame at the hands of the UK.  Mr Sarkozy in particular (that is France's President for those less knowledgeable) wanted a tax on financial transactions, ie on the City of London, which is where the majority of the European finance trading is done, to pay for a fund to rescue profligate countries like Greece where they do not pay their taxes.  And to which French banks are badly exposed.

Let me remind you, this is a Euro-zone problem they are trying to resolve.  Not one of banks lending too much to people/governments who borrowed too much.  And thanks, yes, believe it or not, to Gordon Brown (and regular readers will know how much I despise him for the damage he did to the UK, and the world), it is him we owe a debt of gratitude for us not being in the Euro.  Just a small bit because he made so much of a mess of everything else, do not even think this is justification to forgive him.

So the deal that David Cameron was offered, the new treaty, was completely against the UK's interests.  He was most vindicated in not signing it, like a limp Labour socialist politician would have.  I also conclude that it is most likely the last stand of the Euro, and fully believe that the bond markets and credit ratings agencies will signify so in due course.

I think the Germans might even agree with me, as they are printing Deutschmarks.  I wonder why.

Most likely, when the Euro collapses, the UK's economy will take a significant hit.  But the money and investment has to go somewhere - why not the country with a growth plan, and a plan to repay its debt?  And the one that stood up for itself.  Do not rule out the possibility that an implosion in the Euro-zone may actually massively benefit the UK economy.

Equally, do not rule out that we will be hated across Europe.  Perhaps in the same kind of way that in 1931 the UK left the Gold Standard, which was a boon to our economy.  And we all know what subsequently happened in Europe during the 1930's and what that led to.  Sadly Gordon Brown sold all our gold for a tenth of the price it is now so I don't think we have the money to fight another World War and be victorious.

Thankfully, I believe that one of the massive benefits of the European Union, that of free immigration between members states, will lead to Europe avoiding a repeat of the Second World War.  I think most people in Europe feel some kind of affection and understanding to their brothers and sisters in other countries of Europe.  Yes the European Union is a good thing, mostly, and I dearly hope it remains intact, and we remain a part of it.

Anyway, the world has changed.  The Euro might not collapse, though I do not think anyone would bet otherwise.  And we might actually be thanked in the long run for doing the right thing.

And it leaves me with one conclusion, which I already knew anyway - never generate debts that you cannot be absolutely sure you can repay.  Used wisely, money is a good thing.  Used badly, and it causes fights, arguments, divorces and wars.

It might make the London 2012 Olympics a very interesting political event (just like the Berlin Olympics in 1936 was quite interesting?!  Though note I am not saying we are the new Nazis...though there are a few thick individuals in this country who are.  Thankfully they do not go abroad to places like Amsterdam or Magaluf, drinking heavily, fighting, etc, so nobody in Europe will know we have those sorts).

And for the first time in years, I can actually envisage England winning a football competition - yes, Euro 2012, with of course, our first game against France - lets hope we get Germany in the final.  Penalties.  To England.  Oh yeah...

I leave you with a quote from a leading French newspaper, Le Monde:

"Brits are not part of this euro crisis.  And they have no responsibility for the failure of its institutions to resolve this sovereign debt crisis."

Cheers Dave!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Weather Ramblings (Or are they just ramblings?)

Those of you that know me, know I have a passion for weather forecasting, I see it as a service that I offer for free to friends and family, because I do not want the weather to get in the way of them getting the most out of life.

I am quite glad that I am writing this in the early hours, as I do not want everyone to read it in case I am wrong.

Last year, in November, I kept seeing projections of severe cold for the UK, like I had not seen before - to me it was something so exceptional that it couldn't happen, because nothing like it had happened in my lifetime.  A week before it started to get cold, I was actually worrying about the consequences of the weather pattern - I actually went out and bought 4 cans of Heinz Beanz and Sausages.  I don't like beans and I certainly don't like that beans sauce on my sausages, how disgusting do not contaminate my sausages please.

Anyway, I was actually a little concerned, and I am too "cool" to be panic-buying, so that is why I panic-bought before the general population would think of it did end up being the coldest December since 1910.

Shockingly cold.

Anyone who has been following my forecasts will know that I am not expecting such deep cold this winter, and maybe not next winter either, but I do have concerns, with regards to approaching storm systems next week, in particular one for next Friday which after a very windy and very wet week looks like being a strong storm, and tracking along the English Channel.  It may even turn to snow on its northern edge.  Northern in relation to the English Channel could easily include Reading/London.  It could be quite a news-worthy item, and the weather pattern following could also be disruptive if it does bring in the cold.

I am expecting plenty of snow in January, just not expecting severe cold like last winter.

But it is one of those events, like November 2010, that is so unlikely to happen that I cannot actually believe it will, but because so many models are suggesting it, several days in a row, I am now getting concerned.

It won't change my life, but it means that I will be doing all my remaining Christmas shopping this weekend, as there is no guarantee as far as I am concerned that what I want will be delivered if I leave it any later.

Ooooh...exciting weather...who would have thought it?!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Testing, Testing...

I am trying to keep myself busy during this period of unemployment and I am doing quite well at finding things to do.

One thing I did last week is help with a psychology study at Reading University, to help one of the post-graduate students with the study which goes towards her thesis, and is also an important and interesting piece of research which should be of benefit to human life in the near future.

As someone who has spent many years studying both full-time and part-time, I have quite a lot of empathy for those putting huge amounts of effort in to achieve life-long dreams of studying and all the sacrifices involved - when I studied part-time, I even had to sacrifice a new nights out!  Crazy.

I quite enjoy these things, I do enjoy helping with research as it introduces me to new ways of thinking - I am not going to say any more about it, at least for now, as she still requires another 15 or so volunteers to be able to get top marks and I promised I would post on my blog on the off-chance someone might have a spare 25 minutes to help her with the study - it means going to Reading University for a short test - it amused me anyway!

Anyway, here is the link if anyone is interested and has a bit of spare time to offer.

And I got a free pack of Softmints.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Resident Advisor DJ Poll 2011 Results/Bitchyness

Everyone knows that the DJ Mag top 100 is wank.

Resident Advisor is the one that represents those that like their dance music underground.  But you don't have to be a total boring snob to appreciate underground music, it can be fun music too.  I slated the DJ Mag top 100 poll, due to my relative music snobbishness, so I shouldn't moan when the RA poll is released and people are banging on "oh how the hell can he be number 1", etc.

But I will say one thing - Jamie Jones being number one is a mile better than Tiesto/David Guetta.

Why is it suddenly cool to hate Jamie Jones?

Because he is successful.  Because he plays all the big clubs, because he plays a slightly less boring style of house music - because 21 year old girls like him - because his remix of Hungry For The Power is easily the most popular tune and was completely ubiquitous in Ibiza, from the West End to Cocoon, to was everywhere.  And he DJ'ed everywhere - 142 gigs according to RA.  And they won't be counting the secret ones.  And I have met people who know him - they all say he is genuinely a lovely guy - and we all have met DJs who are pricks.

Get over it people.  He is successful.  He deserves it.  He might not be my favourite but it was always going to be him.  His style is the hottest style right now, love it or loathe it.  It won't last forever, such is the ever-changing roundabout of dance music.

Anyway, so number 1 was Jamie Jones.
Number 2 - Seth Troxler.  Again, a very affable guy, very funny, a little crazy and sometimes his music is spot on - his set at Cocoon In The Park was truly excellent.  Though his set at fabric wasn't.
Number 3 - Richie Hawtin.  This is one I don't understand as I don't like DJs who split tracks trying to be clever.  But everyone I know who has seen him this year has been well impressed so who am I to argue?  Just like what I wrote for JJ.  Only one of the top 10 I haven't seen this year.  Wow I have done well!
Number 4 - Ricardo.  I've talked about him enough in the past - my number 1 this year for CITP.
Number 5 - Maceo Plex.  His debut in the top 100.  I only saw him live, and it must be his productions that have got him so highly placed.
Number 6 - Art Department.  My number 3 if I recall correctly.  Awesome at fabric.  Fantastic producers.
Number 7 - Loco Dice - saw him at SW4 but didn't hear him, again saw him briefly at Cocoon in Ibiza but had to get back to Sven.  Very good DJ though.
Number 8 - Dixon - He was at the Dr Cagliari thing I went to at The Roundhouse, didn't see the DJs for long but I can understand why he is so highly rated.
Number 9 - Maya Jane Coles - her productions grow on me, slowly, and she was quite good at fabric's birthday.  Deserves another chance from me.
Number 10 - Ben Klock - saw him too at fabric's birthday, too tough for me but I can see why the techno-heads would love him.

Others of note:

11 - Marco Carola - I don't get him.
12 - Luciano - Cheese fest - don't even try getting me to go to Ushuaia - it is not who I am.
13 - John Digweed.  Probably the most boring DJ I have ever seen in my life, both musically and as a person behind the decks - it is ok to move or perhaps even smile, you know.
14 - Soul Clap - Saw them play a Madonna track at fabric.
15 - Tale Of Us - must be there for their productions.
16 - Sven - What are you doing this far down?  He was really on form whenever I saw him this year, all 3 times absolutely superb - though Ricardo's set at CITP was even better.
17 - Sasha - seriously?  Saw some of his set at Ushuaia on some live Ibiza clubbing stream and it was so dull.  Not as dull as Digweed though.
18 - Lee Foss.  Biggest disappointment at fabric's birthday.  Worth another try though, if only because he attracts lots of girls to the dancefloor.  Oh and I like some of his productions.

26 - Dubfire?  Really - lamest excuse for a DJ set that I put on my ipod-type thing in 2011.
55 - Danny Daze - Very impressive at fabric, and I love the Your Everything track, one of my favourites this year.
56 - Levon Vincent - I would like to see him, some of his tracks are fantastic.
60 - Nina Kraviz - As per RA, "What to expect from a Nina Kraviz DJ set?  House and techno with a nod to the past.  And more than likely some mistakes".  I saw her at Cocoon in Ibiza, and yes I can vouch for the amount of mistakes!  Even Sven made less.  She is hot, and hates Traktor.  My perfect woman.  Except she is Russian so probably secretly just wants access to the UK government.
76 - Craig Richards - I would never want him to be in the top 10, as he is our little secret (those of us who go to fabric).  The day he plays Cocoon in Ibiza will be the day the world changes.  (ps, I am more likely to play Cocoon).
90 - Heidi - why so low down?  Really want to see her.  She needs to start producing to get higher up though.

And for all you Guardian-reading feminists out there - there are actually 8 birds in the top 100.  It was only 3 years ago that there hadn't even been 3 birds behind a pair of decks.

I am being facetious before I get shot.  I even voted for a woman DJ this year.  Check me out and my modernism.

That'll do.  I wasn't too snobbish or bitchy was I?!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

November 2011's Top 5 Tunes

According to the stats on my top tunes blog, the most popular tunes in November 2011 were as follows:

1. Maceo Plex - Ain't That Love (57 pageviews)
2. Duke - So In Love With You (GummiHZ Remix) (21 pageviews)
3. Art Department - Without You (Jamie Jones Remix) (16 pageviews)
4. Benoit & Sergio - Walk & Talk (10 pageviews)
5. Electric Jones - Nasty's Party (Jamie Jones Remix) (8 pageviews)

The top 5 is the same top 5 as during October!  Slightly different order though.  And Walk & Talk has been there for a year now.

I was a bit lazy in November - I only added 9 tracks.  I already have 8 to add this month...I will try harder.  Promise.

Reading Station Platform Changes

I thought I would write something useful for a change for my friends in Reading, as the train station platform numbers are changing soon, I think over Christmas, as follows:

  • Platform 1, 2, 3 - (currently platforms 1, 2 & 3) West facing bay platforms. Platforms 1 and 2 for local services to Basingstoke, Newbury and Bedwyn, and platform 3 for Cross Country reversing trains.
  • Platform 4, 5, 6 — (new platform adjacent to Apex Plaza & current platforms 4a & 4b) East facing bay platforms. Used for services on the North Downs line and to London Waterloo, and for the proposed Airtrack Scheme. Airtrack now cancelled as of 2011.
  • Platform 7 - (currently platform 4) Down trains for the Newbury route and for reversing Cross Country services.
  • Platform 8, 9 - (currently platforms 5 & 8) Two Down Main platforms for SWML Paddington - Bristol - S Wales
  • (current platforms 6 & 7 will not be used following the redevelopment. Platform 7 will be taken out of use in Dec 2011. Platform 6 will be renumbered as 16 from Dec 27th 2011, and will remain in use temporarily.)
  • Platform 10, 11 - (currently platforms 9 & 10) Two Up Main platforms for SWML Paddington - Bristol - S Wales
  • Platform 12, 13, 14 & 15 - (New platforms on site of former goods sidings)Up and Down Relief line platforms for stopping services.

Aren't I good to you?!

Monday, December 05, 2011

fabric - 3rd December 2011

After going to fabric 3 times in 5 weekends not long ago, I did promise not to go again in 2011.  I like to think that I am a man of my word but somehow my arm got twisted quite easily into conveniently ignoring said promise.

The crowd wasn't quite up to it's usual recent standards at fabric, probably due to the lack of a Jamie Jones type figure and generally a lack of anyone well known for house music - it is also office Christmas party season and clubland does generally suffer from the usual clubbers having to sacrifice nightlife decency to spend time with people that they despised for 40 hours the previous week, and also those with a slight sense of daring managing to persuade people after said office party to come to a nightclub for the first time in 10 years since they were last dragged into perhaps a Time & Envy type establishment against their will.

There is one word to best describe the crowd on Saturday and I will use picture form:

Unless you are gay, I think for everyone concerned, a dancefloor is much better with a men to women ratio around 50:50 - not 95:5.

The music is of much more relevance, of course, as is the company of my excellent dancing partner who somehow managed to get me to break my promise of no more fabric in 2011 - such a bad influence on me ;-)

The first people we saw were Brandt Brauer Frick - just the 3 of them, and only one on playing with a classical form of instrument which was a slight disappointment but I guess there is only so much potential on the stage at fabric for live set-ups.  They would be much more impressive in a proper concert hall - I would definitely love to see them do something like that - with their full ensemble.  A very impressive video here of their full ensemble.  But they were still good.

We spent a few minutes in room 2 with proper full-on banging techno, it was way too much for us, and we left after about 5 minutes.  I didn't even bother to find out who it was.  Found solace in room 3 with Clockwork and Thugfucker playing some nice chilled-out house but room 1 is my favourite dancefloor in the world when I am there...well favourite in the UK for definite...favourite dancefloor in the world without ice cannons!

Shaun Reeves was good, he played house to start but much more tech-house and even some techno towards the end, which I wasn't expecting but he was definitely good.

And then Craig Richards came on and played an absolute masterclass of a set.  Starting off with getting rid of all the idiots in the most superbly amusing and effective way by boring them to death with some very hypnotic Ricardo-esque grooves which worked a treat - those with more patience and more understanding of fabric resident DJ stayed long enough to hear one of the best DJ sets I have heard all year, moving into more tech-house and techno territory before calming it down from time to time, teasing the crowd with recognisable snippets of tracks from way back, some house, some acid-house, a track with this crazy clapping going on which sent the crowd crazy followed by some full-on beautiful disco moments - with the lighting guy on absolute top form too.

Sometimes Craig Richards can be a little frustrating especially when he spends 3 hours in the middle of the night calming down when you want to step it up a notch, but he is definitively one of the most accomplished DJs in the world and knows how to work that fabric dancefloor like very few others, probably more than anyone - and plays some of the best music in the world, hardly any of which I have ever heard and hardly any of which I will ever hear again!

See you in 2012, fabric.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Wearing Hot Pizza

Would you?

Would you?

I don't know if I love that t-shirt or hate it.  Amazing.

I Am Amazing - Or Deluded?

I woke up early this morning for what is my 5th interview in this job-hunting process that I am involved in.  I didn't have as much sleep as would have been ideal...and I had a slightly daunting 3-hour interview process to go for for a job that I wasn't 100% convinced on and that I thought the recruiter had probably over-sold - a lesser person may have feigned illness and chose to sleep in but I want a job and I had to go check it out.  I can sleep on Sunday.

Having a 3-hour interview process is actually excellent.  It gives me enough time to explain enough about my abilities, competencies, how I could do an excellent job for them - but also for me to decide whether I like the company and the job, and to find out much more about the role and the culture of the company - and wow, holy shit, I am most impressed - and you know I am not an easy one to impress!

This is the first time that I have been for a job since the Debt Recovery one at Verizon back in 2007 that I can honestly say I really, really want, and not only the job but the company - and I also think I can do an excellent job.  Actually only the second job in my life that I have really, really wanted.

I will actually be proper pissed off (damn, I have sworn twice in this blog...actually make that three times...bugger...I'll stop at four then) if I don't get this job, and again, it takes a lot to upset me.

Thankfully I am confident that I did a really good job, had two really good interviews and came across well in the group assessment - interactive but not dominant and fluked the correct answer which we were unable to come up with in 30 minutes as a team - I just gave some bizarre reasoning which was nothing to do with how to come up with the answer and it was a 1 in 25 chance of getting it right, so clearly I am amazing.  The Japanese are quirky so they probably own a zebra, and the Norwegians have long life expectancy so probably prefer the case you wanted to know.

I am still waiting to hear back from two other possible jobs that I have interviewed for, both for more money - but you know those rare occasions when something just feels totally right?  Money is a nice lubricant

I dearly hope they feel the same...I should find out on Monday.

Either way I am in a super mood now and feel like celebrating...but I have an hour and a half online assessment to do for them too by Monday, so I am going to get straight on with it...practising my DJing can come later, as can a celebratory drink (actually I might leave that until fabric tomorrow...he, he, he!).  I'll just have a celebratory plate of gravy instead.

Anyway, cheers to everyone and I hope you have a lovely weekend too.

Fingers crossed :-)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

New Youtube

Wow, Youtube is actually suggesting to me to connect with Facebook, in writing - I thought Google and Facebook were not friends?

Imagine Apple doing something like that with one of their major competitors?!  Ha!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

James & JP Against The Strikers - Get Back To Work You Lazy Bastardoz

Anyone who knows me, knows I am ardently against strikes and especially the disgusting trade unions.

And a lot of people seem to be very upset about the strikes, the majority of the people I know are.  So I enlisted my good friend JP and we headed down to the strikes in Forbury Gardens, in Reading, to get our point across.

There were about 1,000 people in total as expected, which took me a little by surprise.  I won't be surprised if the trade unions estimate 5,000.

At first we just got a few smiles and laughs from people in attendance - shouting "Love your banks" and "Get back to work you lazy ****ards" seemed to get a bit of attention.

Most people took us in good humour - after all if they can protest against something we vehemently disagree with, then why can we not protest?  Someone has to get across the views of the majority of hard-working people - many of whom are suffering due to the selfishness of the strikers - we spoke to one gentleman who has had to take a day off work to look after his kid due to the strikes - he wasn't especially against them having their say but questioned why the strike couldn't have taken place on a school holiday?  I wonder...

But there were a few who were noticeably aggressive, mainly women I have to add, who were in our face rather aggressively and clearly trying to provoke us - shocked that anyone could possibly have an opinion differing to theirs.  A few quite horrid people.  Maybe they were just angry.  I am sure they don't have a high opinion of us either.

Most people however took it in good humour, and we had some good discussions and met some very nice people, who just happened to have a difference of opinion.

Apologies that there are no photos, but we were photographed and interviewed by the Reading Chronicle, Newbury Post and Reading Live - maybe another one too, so my moment of fame has finally arrived and JP's domination of the local press continues.

Anyway, my work for the day is done, I shall get back to being a lazy ass, just like the 1,000 people in Forbury Gardens.

I look forward to the hate mail following the newspaper articles...and the obsessive argument from a certain someone when I post this link on Facebook ;-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Never, Ever, Ever

Keep them well away from my plate unless you want them in your face.

That is all.

Have a nice day, love James.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Very Enjoyable Night At Mango!

As much as I love going to see my heroes like Sven and Ricardo, and going to amazing nightclubs like fabric - there is something almost equally satisfying as going to see very good friends DJ, especially when they pull off an absolutely superb set.

Three good friends of mine were playing on Saturday, Matt and Dan first for a very pleasing three hours, and a superb warm-up of really good quality house music - exactly up my street and I absolutely loved it!  Honourable mention also for Rick who played some really good tunes in amongst possibly a few too many deeper tunes which kind of lost me from time to time as I was looking for something a bit more up-tempo but not to take anything away from an accomplished DJ - I was just a bit too lively by 1/2am ;-)

Not too lively to enjoy the electro-house which frustratingly finished the night both outside and inside.  Other people's music.  But it is Mango and I think you still have to mix it up a bit.  It is not fabric where the crowd will accept and love pretty much anything, especially if they have never heard it before.

Anyway, in a month I have seen several friends play good sets, very good sets or truly excellent sets.  You know who you are.  I like this.  It is much appreciated.

Also very pleasing is that my local club, Mango, seems to have got it's groove back for the first time since 2008.  So many people fell out of love with it 2009 onwards, myself especially, and finally it seems like it might be a place to go for good house music again in Reading (and similar genres) and a good dance and this has been sorely missed the last couple of years.  If I can be suitably impressed, and I am a hell of a tough one to please, then it must be getting something right.

Until 4 weekends ago, I hadn't had 3 good nights there in 3 years - now I have had 3 in a month.

Why has it changed?  Well, the soundsystem is improved.  Still far from perfect as it sounds awful in some locations especially near the bar, especially when some DJs play too loud so it sounds crap (that'll be the red parts on the mixer in case any crap DJs are reading), but on the dancefloor it is clear and not too loud - but loud enough.  The crowd are much improved, less twats and almost back to what it was in it's hey-day, and the security have chilled out and are not in your face, which may be to do with the crowd being much improved perhaps.

And most importantly there is much better music being played.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Resident Advisor DJ Poll

Yes, we all know the DJ Mag poll is wank.

However, the Resident Advisor one is excellent.

I encourage you to vote.  But you can only vote if you are already a member.  And polling closes on 30th November.

Do not worry.  Tiesto will not win.  He is the favourite of just 1,000 members.  Maya Jane Coles gets 3,000, Sven 5,000 and Ricardo 10,000.  That is the way it should be.

Anyway, based on how much enjoyment I have gained from their DJ sets that I have seen them perform this year, this is my fairly predictable top 5:

1. Ricardo Villalobos (Cocoon In the Park, July)
2. Sven Vath (fabric, May)
3. Art Department (fabric, October)
4. Nina Kraviz (Cocoon, Amnesia, September)
5. Danny Daze (fabric, September)

And I can only recall being impressed with two live acts so they are:

1. Maceo Plex (fabric, October)
2. Nicolas Jaar (fabric, July)

Sadly you cannot vote for me, because I do not have a DJ page, despite that infamous Ibiza after-party.  I cannot create a page until I have played at an event listed on Resident Advisor.  And yes, I did previously think about inventing an event but you then need to create a venue.

Next year folks ;-)


Three blog posts in one day?  No, I don't have a job, honest!

Did James Sort Out Mixmag's CDs?

Those of you that know me, will likely know that I am normally not one to complain.

But a series of shite Mixmag CDs led me to have a rant one drunken evening back in 2010, and the world has changed significantly since then.

I give the history leading up to the monumental event of my complaint, and the proof of my influence:

August 2009 - Tiesto.  Shit CD.
September 2009 - Bestival.  Shit CD.
October 2009 - Armand Van Helden & A-Trak.  Very shit CD.
November 2009 - Cassius.  Shit CD.
December 2009 - Kissy Sell-Out.  Very shit CD.
January 2010 - Diplo.  Very shit CD.
February 2010 - Mylo - Very shit CD.
March 2010 - DJ Zinc - Very shit CD.
April 2010 - Sub Focus - Shit CD.
May 2010 - Crookers - Very shit CD.

But - May 2010 featured a letter, from me:

OK, it took a couple of months to sort out, but one assumes these things are arranged in advance.

June 2010 - Joris Voorn - So-so CD.
July 2010 - Fatboy Slim - Shit CD.
August 2010 - Calvin Harris - Very shit CD.
September 2010 - Alex Kidd & Kutski - Shit CD.
October 2010 - Sebastian Ingrosso - Poor CD.
November 2010 - Jamie Jones & Seth Troxler - Very good CD.  Finally!
December 2010 - James Zabiela - OK CD.
January 2011 - Jaymo & Andy George - Shit CD.
February 2011 - Jack Beats - Shit CD.
March 2011 - Mark Knight - Poor CD.
April 2011 - Felix Da Housecat - Very shit CD.
May 2011 - Radio Slave - Very good CD.
June 2011 - Shy FX - Not my cup of tea.
July 2011 - Cassy - Good CD.
August 2011 - Above & Beyond - Not my cup of tea
September 2011 - Sven!  Excellent CD!
October 2011 - Riva Starr - OK CD.
November 2011 - Maya Jane Coles - Good CD.
December 2011 - Sasha - Good CD.

And of course, my thank you letter:

Rotate it yourself lazy asshole - I fixed Mixmag, what have you done?

So, you can see that every month was the same old shitty Annie Mac electro-gash every single month until I wrote my letter, then there was increasingly more variety and during 2011 there have been some rather excellent CDs.

Plus the magazine actually started covering underground house/techno too, and not just electro-gash.

So, feel free to buy me a drink or ten to celebrate me fixing Mixmag.

Being King Of Morocco

Last night I became King Of Morocco.

It was truly amazing.

I had all the women I wanted - not even the hottest would turn me down, I had so many servants, I had my own amazing nightclubs and all the hottest DJs played there on demand, it was party party party, and anyone who upset me ended up in prison.

And the food was amazing, amazing joints of meat, amazingly tasty fish - though I don't recall there being any gravy.

I was in complete control of the whole world around me and I could do anything I liked - it was so much fun.

And then I woke up.

I guess though that it wasn't really much different to my real life.  Perhaps with a lack of servants but I just need to import a few from Tajikistan and all would be good.

Oh, and I have to go to the Job Centre today.  So perhaps life isn't quite all in my control.  Well I guess I don't have to, but I kind of want that free money that many of you pay tax for so I can go on the piss this weekend.

Speaking of which, I feel a beer or two could be required at Cape this evening, and then a little trip to Mango tomorrow night where three friends of mine are DJing so there should be some good house music.  Proceeded by a drink or two in Sahara - they play nice space disco there on a Saturday evening too.

Thankfully, the bank still know who is king.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Berlin Architecture

Those of you who know me well, will know that my upbringing in Hull has led me to appreciate beautiful architecture.

There were many interesting examples in Berlin so I thought I would capture a few of them for you:

In case you missed my review of my trip, it is here.

I hope you appreciate the beauty as much as I did.

James Did Time

No don't worry, I haven't been to prison.  But I did watch Question Time.

However, this time I am talking about a little night called Time, run by good friends, JP and Martin, at Mango in Reading.

I missed the launch night due to sunburn post-Ibiza so I felt more than compelled to make sure I was in attendance this time, and avoided all possible sunburn/natural disasters last week.

I was a little wary given my musical snobbishness however I am pleased to report that I gained a healthy amount of enjoyment out of the night, and there was some good music.

Firstly, that I saw anyway, was my good friend Sam Red, clearly inspired from our Berlin adventure, though she had to cope with the DJ before playing horrid electro-house to finish which was anything but a warm-up, however she did well to calm it back down to a normal level, giving enough for a pre-midnight dancefloor, as I would expect.

Next was Tim Sharpe, who runs the Groovetech nights in and around Reading, and he definitely took it up a notch with some nice techno grooves - I only caught half of his set as I was busy socialising but I enjoyed what I saw.

Then JP and Martin, as Dark Matter - I was really hoping I would enjoy some of their set, I know they have a propensity to play more crowd-pleasing electro-house which is pretty much the antithesis of what I enjoy but I was pleasantly surprised, at least for the first half of their set by some good underground driving techno beats, though the second half was more what I was expecting and I struggled somewhat, but that isn't to take anything away from them - I was at Mango - not fabric, and they had a fair amount of people dancing.

Fingers crossed they get their album sorted out in time for next summer, as they are starting to fulfil their potential, and have come quite a way since I first saw them play together over a year ago now.

And finally, erm, Janette Slack the headliner - the less said the better!  She probably was enjoyed by others but I hated it, just horrid ra ra ra electro-house - other people's music, not mine.  But I expected no less.

Outside had a nice contrast of hip-hop for the first half of the night, again not my cup of tea but thankfully not something to scare me - unlike the dubstep which finished off outside.  Aaarrrgggh!  Again - other people's music, not mine.

The were enough friendly faces in the crowd to keep me amused when I struggled with the music, though not quite as busy as one would have hoped for two of my favourite promoters - but considering November is never the busiest month in clubland, I think they should be satisfied.

In summary, it is a good little night, with something for most people and I look forward to my next time.

This coming Saturday is another night at Mango (3 in a month - who would have thought it?!), with 3 more good friends DJing, Matt, Dan & Rick.  I look forward to it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Post About Hull City And Our New Manager

I don't post often about Hull City so forgive me if I mention them now our manager has left us.

Ever since Adam Pearson has been involved with Hull City, as chairman/owner/whatever he is now (rugby league club owner I think), he has had a record of appointing one really bad manager followed by one really good manager.

Firstly, Jan Molby, when we were in division 3 (now known as division 2).  Say no more.
Second, Peter Taylor, who guided us through two promotions into the Championship.  Then he left for Crystal Palace and subsequent obscurity.
Third, Phil Parkinson who lasted about 34 hours, guided us towards relegation and was swiftly sacked.
Fourth, Phil Brown, our ultimate hero who rescued us from relegation, then the next year got us promoted to the Premiership for the first time ever against all the odds, and even more miraculously kept us up there.  Second season in the Premiership he was sacked by the returning Adam Pearson (well put on gardening leave to be more accurate).
Fifth, Iain Dowie.  The ugliest football manager ever.  And one of the worst.  Relegation.
Sixth, Nigel Pearson.  Very boring but got rid of all our shit players, even Bullard eventually, and shaped a really good young squad which could have got promoted this year.

Now, Nicky Barmby.  Hull legend, but has never managed anything or anyone.  However, his sister used to be my babysitter when I was very young sometimes, and she was quite a looker.

If his sister could manage me as a child, I therefore conclude that Nicky Barmby may be able to do a good job.

His dad was also a very good electrician for Hull City when we were at Boothferry Park.

I can think of one or two footballers who an electrician may be quite suitable for.

Don't worry, I won't mention football again for a while.


Youth Unemployment

I watched Newsnight a couple of nights ago and they had a piece on youth unemployment which has just gone over the 1,000,000 mark.

Noticeably, they pointed out that it didn't start rising significantly with the Coalition government in 2010, nor did it start rising when the shit hit the economic fan back in 2008.

It started rising significantly in 2004.

What struck me even more is just how deluded some of the young people on there were.

I have to admit that I think I was probably just as equally deluded when I was a youngster, and I blame it partly on the education establishments for not setting realistic expectations.  And on the inexperience of youth.

Certain young people on there made me burst out laughing - one demanded that graduates be given good jobs just because they had a degree, as if doing a degree entitles you to a good, well-paid job instantly.  So arrogant.

Another complained that only 1 person out of 100 on her Media Studies course got a job doing what they wanted to do, ie work in the media.  Erm...

And another was complaining that her college had withdrew the course on song-writing that she wanted to do, because she wants to be a singer.

It is a massive problem, and I do feel a lot of sympathy towards them because when I left university in 2000, you didn't need a degree to get a jobs - companies were struggling to find people to employ, at least here in the boom town of Reading.

I didn't get to do what I wanted to do when I grew up, ie become a Meteorologist - but I am more than satisfied with running my weather blog.

It would be nice if there was something I could do to help other than blog about it - I wish I owned a company!

Anyway, I'm busy, I need to get back to applying for those Chief Executive Jobs that I deserve.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

James Went To Berlin

Anyone who knows me, knows I love Germany, and especially Berlin as I had the most amazing time there back in 2006 for the now-defunct Love Parade.

So when two of my closest friends, Matt and Sam, booked flights to Berlin and asked if I wanted to join them - there was no way I could refuse.  3 days and nights in Berlin, with lots of amazing clubs and bars to visit - I got proper excited...on the day before anyway.

I seem to have developed this inability to hold my excitement back for my adventures recently, especially this year - ideally one would go away fully stocked on sleep without a hangover.

So, me being me, I went out for a drink on the Friday before.  Which turned into more than one.  And went to bed an hour before I had to get up to pack my suitcase and get ready.

Not the brightest of ideas but I knew I could sleep on the plane and my excitement carried me through anyway no problem - no problem until we collectively decided to be rebels - after all we are going to Berlin, the coolest city in the world allegedly and the most anti-rules place I have ever been to, so ignoring the words "Go To Gate" until there were just 12 minutes until the flight was due to leave - when we arrived there with 5 minutes to go, we were advised with quite some scorn that our bags had been taken off the plane.

Oops.  For some reason, whenever me and Matt go on an adventure, there is always some sort of mishap!  But I like a story, we all took it in good humour, waited an hour and a half for our bags to return, paid £50 for a flight the next morning (there was one on Saturday afternoon but only two spare seats).

So, I grabbed a few hours sleep, went out for a quick drink, again came home many drinks later and then was too excited to sleep again.


This time we got the plane in plenty of time, and arrived in our apartment which was, as one would expect in Berlin, rather minimal in style.  In a good way though, just simple colours, simple decorations - Richie Hawtin would approve.  And at €60 for 3 nights each - a total bargain.  It was in Kreuzberg which was a little like a Ghetto with the amount of graffiti on every single building, but it is Berlin and that is part of it's charm.

Sunday afternoon, we went for a wander, I bought a Bratwurst.  Then I bought another Bratwurst.  Not eating sausages is like not eating a bacon sandwich in Dubai.  It has to be done otherwise you are disrespecting the country and their religion.  We found a nice bar with lots of deckchairs outside to sunbathe on, and yes there were people sunbathing despite it being a nippy 5'C at best.  This is Berlin, ja?

Oh and I must mention the highlight of my trip - I got a free hug from two German hotties.  Happy days.  Love is in the air.

Cue a few hours sleep to take my total to around 4 hours for 50 or so hours (I had slept loads the week before so clearly lots of stored energy), and a good chunk of Jagermeister to warm us up, and some good tunes to get us prepared for the night ahead, we found a little random bar nearby, and ordered a meat platter to share which had one piece of meat and 500 pieces of cheese.  Ish.

It was kind of like a tiny, intimate version of the Oakford, cool tunes too.  The toilet was a little more interesting - opposite the toilet in the cubicle was an office chair facing.  These Germans certainly have a strange sense of humour - at least I hope it is that.

Anyway, ready to hit the night-life, albeit on a Sunday evening but as the coolest clubbing city in the world there would surely be plenty of choice.

We spent a good hour or perhaps more walking around trying to find a target and decided to go for the most difficult one - Berghain.  For anyone who does not know, this club has the reputation of being the most difficult nightclub to gain entrance to in the world.  Even Richie Hawtin has been thrown out...though not sure if that is too much of a surprise as I heard he isn't welcome in one or two London clubs too though I won't repeat them here in case they aren't true (ask me and I will tell you).

Anyway, we walked up around 1am, hearing some really angry shouting and there was some very scary looking guy stomping up and down the walkway to the club and kicking the fence, shouting mostly in German but he did now and again shout a bit of English, something along the lines of "You fucking English skinheads are French" - anyway we approached the entrance, can hear the music, can see the lights, get excited but get to the door and there is no way in.  Not even the world's scariest bouncer to tell us where to go.

At least we tried to get into the most difficult club in the world - surely we get brownie points?

So we give up, pop to this totally empty and quiet bar with no music - though she kindly puts on some electro-house for us, realising we are English and probably didn't get into Berghain, sit down to have a beer and work out a plan.

We opt to go to this derelict area next to the river which had some lights on, and looked like a cool place.  We got to the door and the bouncer asked if we had a stamp, to which we replied "no".  Not a good sign.  He kindly explained that most people in there had been partying for 2-3 days and that we were too sober.

Me...too sober?  Seriously?  That is a new one.

Back to the drawing board, and the map and it was around 3am.  One place we knew was open was a club called Weekend, which we knew was in an office block and we knew the direction, so continued walking in the frosty air looking at various tall building until I spotted flashing lights - this was our last chance of Berlin night-life (unless we risked going to Tresor on Monday night and going straight from there to the airport).

Walking through the entrance, we are stopped by someone at a desk who clearly sees we are English (I don't think anyone spoke to me in German the whole trip) and asked us for €250.  Each.  We laughed at him and thankfully he was joking and waved us through.

Yes, we are in a club in Berlin!  But then he says "hey, wait a minute guys, do you realise this is a gay night?".

With a line-up of Gloria Viagra, Barbie Balls and Richard 'Dick In A Dress' (ok I made the last one up and cannot remember Barbie's last name), we had already come to this conclusion - so we said "of course, gays have the most fun" and he was like "ok".

Phew.  Maybe?

Inside, on the 12th floor, give or take, was a fairly simple nightclub, quite dark and painted black, with nice minimal lighting, a reasonable sized dancefloor, reasonably priced drinks and a sizeable seating area with many people making out.  Noticeably a girl in a black dress with rather muscley legs and a not-so-feminine jawline imitating sex with everyone she could get eye contact from.

Oh yes, we so looked the part.

And musically, wow, it was quite something.  Many tracks I didn't recognise but I did recognise this classic (go on have a listen - I dare you), which seemed to go down well.

Somehow we managed until the end around 6am, but we stuck out like a sore thumb on the sidelines - and I didn't dare go near the dancefloor - it is difficult enough at fabric having to fight off the attention of so many women, no way was I risking it ;-)

So we went back to the apartment and had a few drinks in the fridge to finish off and lots of good music to listen to so carried on as long as possible...which was quite a long time, and then later on the hangover started to kick in so the planned sightseeing went the same way as the underground clubbing idea...oh and the Saturday morning plane.

So it didn't go to plan.  Nowhere near to plan.  But I had a super time, and so much fun.

I thoroughly recommend Berlin to anyone - the city is wonderful, it is charming, it is strange, it is quirky and it is very cheap for western European standards - I spent just €120 in Berlin, with €60 for 3 nights in an apartment.  I probably spent more in Reading on the Friday and Saturday night!

You have to go to Berlin.  Simple.

But plan your weekend and stick to your plans!