Monday, October 31, 2011

The Motherland

I have been to the Motherland...yes, back up north to Hull and I can tell you that nothing has changed since I last visited...which was Easter.  It is kind of nice though, everything is pretty reliable.

I had a good time with the family and caught up with the only friend from school that was worth keeping in touch with, which was well overdue...but I don't want to bore you so I have some pictures instead:

This was a sculpture that I made after pub dinner on the Sunday

My mother does not like me messing around with things.  Good job I was not interested in science as a school child.

I was treat well - gravy topped up of course, and my gran's mince pies too - with icing!  You won't get them at Greggs.  They can only do poor imitations.

That was a really boring blog post wasn't it?  I shall conjure up something special soon I promise...

There was a young woman at Goole station in hotpants.  And she wasn't ugly.  She didn't wave to me though.

Maybe I should turn to poetry?

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Want 50,000!

I have been blogging now for 21 months and have achieved a quite respectable 33,565 pageviews, however I want more - I want to reach the magical number of 50,000.

Not quite sure why 50,000 has magical properties but it is a solid round number and just sounds a lot better - I cannot really put 33,565 on my CV to impress future employers can I?

My average weekly readership has gone down over the last month or so - I suspect because Facebook has changed and not as many people will see my blog links on their news ticker any more.

However a carefully placed mention of for example, a review of fabric's birthday, and my visitors shoot up.

However I am a long way away from 50,000 and I doubt I will get there before the Olympics at this rate.

What to do?

I may have to resort back to posting pictures of girls in bikini's.

So, here is a picture of Miss Hull.

I look forward to reaching 40,000 pageviews in total by Monday.

Ooh, guess where I am going in a couple of hours?

Fish & Chips O'Clock :-)

Have a good weekend x

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

fabric's 12th Birthday

Just in case you don't know from previous blog posts - I love fabric and I go here more than every other nightclub put together.

There was no way that I was going to miss their birthday, having missed their birthday last year.

Even if it meant going by myself.

Thankfully that was not the case as my new dancing partner was for the third time in five Saturday's up for the mission.

For some reason I was a little apprehensive on the way there and quiet, I was trying to save energy as I wasn't quite as stocked up on energy as usual and was unusually sober for my standards, normally I get way too excited during the day, or the night before, but not the case this time, probably because I didn't know until 5pm that I definitely had a dancing partner.

There was a massive queue to get in even for us members when I arrived at midnight and it took quite a while to get in, something I am not used to as a member.  By time we walked in and saw that Ricardo was not on until 10am, my heart sank a little, as I kind of realised that neither me or my dancing partner were likely to last that long...I was hoping he would be on by 7am, though I was not expecting that to be the case!

Anyway, we chilled out for an hour, had a couple of drinks before deciding to hit the dancefloor, my favourite one, room one, for the last of Space Dimension Controller's set, I didn't know much about him except for a good RA podcast last year but I was suitably impressed with the party nature of his music and some really old classics that I wouldn't expect any other time from fabric's birthday.

Followed by Maya Jane Coles who I think is the most-over-rated of the new DJs, I just don't connect at all with her music.  I gave her a chance but neither of us could get into it.  Each to their own.

Followed this by some Soul Clap in a very popular room three, the only crowded room of the night, and the only DJ (technically DJs, ok) that I saw this night that I had previously seen - it was by quite some way my favourite set of the night and I even enjoyed the 90's r'n'b kind of stuff which was a complete change of styles - I was expecting it and enjoying it but for my dancing partner she really did not!  I wouldn't force house music onto an unwilling dance partner so certainly wasn't going to force r'n'b onto her!

Cue a bit of chilling out, and a bit of Margaret Dygas who I was quite impressed with but frustratingly I was starting to feel a bit ill...not one to give up easily though so somewhere near an hour of a stomp to Ben Klock was in order, much tougher music than I prefer, really enjoyed the first 30 minutes or so but it became too cold and repetitive for both of us.

We soon realised, as if we hadn't already done that we didn't have the stamina for Ricardo, but again I was unwilling to give up quite so early so a visit to see Rhadoo was in order, with the thought that maybe if he was amazing, it would make up for missing Ricardo or would inspire us to make it to 10am.  He was far from inspiring, but I did get into his repetitive minimal grooves...however it weren't to be tonight.

Atmosphere-wise, birthdays are just amazing nights and this was no different, everyone seemed to make a real effort and there were many less idiots than usual, and a lot of beautiful people...myself included, of course ;-)  And lots of space on the dancefloor, well except for room three at times.

I got less enjoyment out of it then my previous two nights here but that isn't to take anything away from an absolutely fantastic event that fabric put on...just down to me not quite being as up for it as usual.

That is very likely to be my last visit to fabric in 2011, mostly due to my lack of income, also perhaps I have over-killed it with 3 visits in 5 weekends, but I have been about 8-10 times which I am most satisfied with given that it isn't always easy to persuade someone to join me!  Though it has been very easy the last few times...a big thank you...I know you will be reading ;-)

Next up are two exciting trips for very different reasons, one to the least exciting place in the world, and one to arguably one of the most exciting places.  Hull, and Berlin.  I will let you judge which is the most exciting.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Advice To Richie Hawtin

Following on from my blog post about the top 100 DJs, I have come across an example of someone perhaps being a little up his own backside.

Yes, Mr Richie Hawtin.

I quote, "Is this "DJ" pulling records behind him?  Is this Berlin 2011 or NYC/Detroit/Chicago 1988?  How far we've come and how little we've progressed!".

Firstly I will say that I have a lot of respect for much of what Richie Hawtin has done, including some of his music, his early DJ sets and setting up a well-established label m-nus.

I admire his love of technology.

Why can he not admire a man's love of music?

He has apologised on his Facebook page, and we all make comments we shouldn't, myself included so I am not holding it against him, and I have seen interviews with him and I think he is generally quite well grounded, but if he is thinking this way then maybe he needs to realise that there are different types of performers.  I personally prefer those performers with records that they put on and press play, as opposed to the Richie Hawtin type of performer who plays music with computers and technology stuff and distorts the original sounds to what they themselves want it to be sounding like.

Each to their own, no reason to be quite so disrespectful.

I imagine it to be a similar argument to artists using acrylics rather than watercolours?  I could probably think of a better acronym but you know what I mean ;-)

DJ Mag Top 100 Results

So, it is official, house music is better than trance.

I am so pleased that DJ Mag readers are feeling the David Guetta vibes over the trancey Armin Van Buuren blurb.  After all, we have just gone to war with France in Libya, so the French deserve a reward - where are the Dutch in international politics?

So, yes David Guetta is number one, but who else stands out?

Sadly, one of the DJs I voted for, Paris Hilton, has not made the top 100 yet, but she has been to DC10 so I am sure she will be in the top 100 next year.

Dash Berlin moves up to 8th place.  You may wonder why you haven't heard of him?  I respond that you clearly need to pay more attention to the dance music scene, because he was in the top 100 last year.

ATB is still hanging around at number 15, remember "do do do do do do do do do", or 9PM Till I Come - did it really reach number 1 in the UK 12 years ago or was that my imagination?  Anyway, I really want to see Ricardo remix this track in his avant-garde way.

Number 17 is Headhunterz.  If you can listen to that for the whole 57 minutes then you win a prize.  I am not sure what the prize is yet though.

At number 22 is Aly & Fela, I thought I should give them a mention because there has been a revolution in Egypt and they are from Egypt and play trance in Egypt.  Maybe they got everyone into such a trance that they got rid of Hosni Mubarak?

Number 32 - Chuckie...
Number 35 - Noisecontrollers...

Number 39 - Angerfist...

Where do these DJs get their names from?  What is wrong with using your own name?

And it gets even better, one of the DJs I voted for, Boy George (he sent me an e-mail asking him to vote for him so I thought, ok I will) came in at number 90.

And then squeezing in at number 97 is a DJ that I have actually been to see this year, this German guy called Sven Vath (yes I know I should put umloughts or whatever they are but I have an English keyboard) who I actually quite like.

Sadly I have to wait until 27th October to see if I made it to number 101 or something like that.  I hope they produce medals this time, I want to feel like an Olympic athlete, as I bet that fast guy from Jamaica cannot go to Cocoon at Amnesia after an all-day drinking session and then host an after-party at a villa and get on the decks to play some funky minimal.

Granted it was in 2009 but I still feel I should be able to reap the rewards of that most successful set which is becoming increasingly legendary across the internet.  Or legendary across this blog post perhaps.  Or maybe not.  You had to be there to experience the magic.

Feel free to pay for my flights to Ibiza in 2012, and I will happily DJ for you at your villa, for free.

Being Unemployed

Being unemployed isn't as easy as I thought it was going to be.  Finding a new job is also not as easy as I thought it was going to be.

There is a distinct lack of structure.  For example, right now I should be super-excited as it is approaching 5pm on a Friday, but I am just merely contentedly amused.

This morning, I should have woken up after 2 hours sleep feeling dog-rough, but no, I got to have a nice long lay-in which has set me up for a fairly productive Friday so far and I don't have a hangover, I feel pretty damn good.

Me being me, I still have lots of tasks to complete, I am trying to stick to a structure but I am enjoying the fluidity of life at the moment, but I would prefer a structure.

I do have my moments of frustration, where I am looking at job after job thinking there is no point in applying to be a nail technician because I haven't got the necessary qualifications.

But this still compares very favourably to the miserable 40 hours a week I used to have in my last job which was just quite horrendous.  I am so thankful to have escaped.  I appreciate that I may not be able to party every weekend now but I don't have to put up with the crap that I had there.

I will find a job which I enjoy, with a company that I want to help grow, but it seemingly will take a little longer than I originally expected.

Until then I plan to keep on learning things, and try to find someone willing to invest a couple of million into opening a nightclub in Reading and having me as manager/music curator.

Being unemployed can be a little frustrating at times but one just has to remain focused and positive...the reward after all, is Ibiza 2012.

And time for one more party I think...fabric's birthday could I say no?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Westlife Are No More

As they would perhaps sing, "Tragedy!"?

What a disaster this is to the world of modern music for all they have given to us.

You may laugh but they have been important to the dance music scene.

For they used to get all the girls excited with their standing there, all dressed the same, kind of like the 4 guys next to the ticket barriers on London Underground, except that they sing together.  Or used to.

Anyway, you may not realise their importance to the underground music scene so I shall explain it.

Whilst all the girls were waiting on tenderhooks for the next release by Westlife, the boys amongst us were enjoying/making 15 minute long minimal tracks, devoid of any emotion, just excellent cold dark heartless music that we could all dance to together.

Now look at what has happened.

Go onto any dancefloor, and not only do you see girls again, you also hear vocals (I am referring to dancefloors that I am likely to attend, like fabric's, not the dancefloors where a Westlife track may be dropped for whatever bizarre reason).

So now Westlife have split up, am I never again going to be able to enjoy a 15 minute long repetition of bleeps and clicks?  I feel this may be the case.  At least for the next few years.  Have girls now taken part of the dancefloor for themselves?

I might come around to the idea.  After all, girls are pretty and tend to smell nicer.  Music isn't everything.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Free Ketchup For James!

You may recall a while ago that I announced that Sainsbury's now make my favourite blend of ketchup.

I felt a bit sad for my previous tomato ketchup supplier, Heinz, as it had served me well for about 27 years of my life, so I wrote to them to say thank you for their service, but to advise them that I have a new preference now.

They have written back to me, to thank me for getting in touch with them about their tomato ketchup, and advised that they have shared their thoughts with their Research and Design team.

And they have kindly sent me a £2 voucher for some Heinz ketchup which will come in most useful now I have to start to count the pennies thanks to being unemployed.

I am indeed satisfied with their response.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Calm Down World, Calm Down

I apologise for the general lack of blogging recently, you may have noticed that I haven't been posting as much, but I have also noticed that my blog readership stats are markedly down so I have felt less reason to write, it is especially rubbish when one spends an hour thinking and writing and then only gets 3 readers.

So maybe I should stop blogging and get on with other things in my life.  But then again, maybe the statistics are lying to me.  I do not know.

I know what I feel though, and what I feel is that I have to get my thoughts into words, and onto page and displayed for anyone who may come across them, or just for my own memory when I read back about what was going on in my head in October 2011.

If you have read my blog before then you will know that I tend to go off-topic at times and I feel this blog post has absolutely no thought about structure so it really could be a messy one, so apologies in advance.

I keep reading things about people 'occupying Wall Street', etc.  I really think a lot of people have lost their minds.

I understand the anger, resentment, jealousy, envy and frustration which is out there, and the stress, but at the end of the day, money is not everything.

I do worry about the future of humanity, we need to learn how to look after each other, stop the fighting before it gets much worse and start to find positive ways to move forwards.

I may also be personally having negative consequences in my life having been made redundant, but I still believe in myself and I will find the right job for me - this blog post isn't about me, it is about the people around me and the world, I can look after myself.

Anyway, rant over.  A bit more love, positivity, self-confidence, self-respect and caring, and the world will become a better place again.

I will do some weather forecasting and some new tunes, and post something more amusing in the next couple of days, whether you like it or not, weather you read it or not (sorry), I am going to post it anyway.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beetles & Beer Bottles

Yes.  These beetles are having sex with a beer bottle.

Beer bottles are big, brown and shiny and that is how this male beetle likes his females to be, and these are bigger and shinier than any female beetle could be.

And probably don't have 20 different pairs of shoes, talk in circles/riddles and are also probably not an hour or so late because they were taking too much time looking after their appearance.

They are just there.  And they might get them drunk too.

Berlin Booked :-)

I am finally booked to go to Berlin in November.

Berlin is one of my favourite places in the world and I have been craving a return for ages.

There is an excellent video on Resident Adviser which explains the beauty of Berlin, and why it is somewhere that everyone who loves underground house/techno should make a pilgrimage, as much as anyone who has made a pilgrimage to Ibiza.

I went in 2006 to one of the biggest ever Love Parade's, a total of 1.2million people was estimated to have visited, all dancing away in the same road where Hitler used to parade his military might back many many decades ago, and it was one of the most special days of my life.

It is quite impossible to find a single photograph to show the vastness of the event.  There was a central square with DJs performing and then 40 different large trucks each with a different soundsystem, from techno, to house, to Tiesto, to drum and bass, to Eastern European gabba techno - everything imaginable though it being Berlin there was probably more minimal and techno than anything else.

Definitely worth 30 or so minutes of your time is the Luciano and Ricardo back to back set - from when Luciano played really good music instead of all the commercial sounding stuff that he plays now, and this was probably when I first discovered Ricardo properly, and the height of my love of minimal too.

It comes in 4 parts - a fantastic memory for me :-)  I was so delighted to discover this!

Part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

This trip to Berlin will be totally different but I am sure it will be equally enjoyable.  No plans as such, I just want to explore the city as much as possible and find some hidden places with a lot less than 1.2million people this time.

Flight details are London Gatwick to Berlin Schoenefeld, with Easyjet, flying out Saturday November 12th, coming back Tuesday November 15th, 06:45am and 07:10am departures respectively.

More than welcome to join if you fancy it, flights were only £100 return.  And Berlin is a really cheap city to spend compared to London!

And if you don't come, then you will just have to read my blog.

Art Department & Others @ fabric, 8th October 2011

Another weekend and another trip was required to fabric.

It really is becoming like a second home now, I have lost count of the amount of times that I have been this year, and I think that is quite good going for someone who doesn't live in London.

There are so many good things about a trip to fabric, the music, crowd and sound-system are quite obvious (I hate that word as whenever anyone says something is obvious, it is rarely actually obvious, but cannot think of a better one right now, sorry), but it is when I get to introduce someone special to the club and see their smile on their face that really does it for me - I lose count of how many people I have introduced to the magic of fabric - my work is still not complete.

There are other clubs that I love both in London and elsewhere, but I am in love with fabric - and if I am going to see a DJ/producer for the first time then I try to make sure it is in fabric.

This Saturday was no different, probably my favourite producer of 2010, Art Department, were DJing, and Maceo Plex was performing live, one of my favourite producers of 2011, perhaps my favourite.

I did get a little over-excited on Saturday afternoon and by time I met my lovely new dancing partner at Reading station later in the evening, I was totally lacking sobriety and awareness...clearly proof of my supposed intelligence?!  Thankfully I normalised by time we got to fabric.  In fact by time I had a pint of Fruli poured at the pre-fabric haunt, The Castle.

A few of my other favourite people in the world were also at fabric, some expected, some unexpected, more reasons for an excellent night.

It seemed really misty and gloomy inside fabric, and it went well with Art Department's moody gothic house music, it was really dark most of the time in atmosphere, and I loved it.  I was so impressed with them - I knew I would be.  And they really got the best out of the fabric sound-system like few people know how to do.  Some of the music played seemed so well-mastered, I cannot over-state how impressed I was.

I far prefer DJ sets to live performances, it is just my preference.  That is not taking away anything from really good live performances, and Maceo Plex did an excellent job.  Quite interesting to see someone do vocals too live, as well as performing the usual elements of house.

Finally in room 1 came the over-excitable Damian Lazarus, and I didn't especially connect to his music.  It was ok, but I just preferred Art Department.  A lot.

A trip to fabric is not the same without at least a few minutes homage to Craig Richards, so we spent a good 30 minutes in room 2, and he was playing techno - not Sven style techno, or Berghain style techno, but a unique Craig Richards style techno.  And unlike the packed room 1, there was lots of dancing space which is quite refreshing.

Left earlier than usual at around 7am, as I wasn't feeling the music by then but was up for a little sesh after which was possibly more enjoyable than fabric - and fabric was amazing, as always :-)

Musically, I preferred the previous night I went to with Danny Daze and Jamie Jones, but only by a little bit.

Next I really want to go to the birthday on 22nd October.  If anyone hasn't been to a fabric birthday, then all I can say is that it is even more special than a normal night!  Ricardo is playing and I have a craving to see him, also Lee Foss and Soul Clap are playing, oh and Droog and Richy Ahmed, and many, many others.

I don't have a committed dancing partner yet, and given my increasingly decreasing funds and lack of job, if I don't get a committed dancing partner then I may decide to live without, as sad as that sounds, sob!  I don't mind going by myself, but it isn't quite the same as sharing the experience.

Roll on a "quiet weekend" this weekend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

No Free Chicken For James

Recently I sent an e-mail to Nando's to advise them how much I love their chicken, and enquired if they would be willing to let me eat two WHOLE chickens for free, in exchange for me blogging about them, and how much I like their chicken.

The response was:

Hi James,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your suggestion.

Unfortunately the only discounts we offer in our restaurants are for NHS, Fire and Police.  We also offer a loyalty card, which you are pick up at any of our UK Nando's restaurants.

Kind Regards,

Nando's do have very nice chicken but it is rather over-priced for what it is.

I decided against correcting her grammar, as that would involve a free chicken which I am clearly not going to receive unless I go through the required training to become a nurse or a police officer, which to me does not sound like a fair deal.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Never Play David Guetta In Germany

Roughly translated to “Whoever plays David Guetta tonight, gets badly smacked in the face and buried behind the house.”

Thanks to No Breasts, No Requests.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Moldova, Where Are You?

As you can see on the below map, Moldova appears to be the only country/territory in Europe which has not given me a visitor to my blog.

This is despite 36% of the population using the internet in 2009 in Moldova.

Why could this be the case?  Why do Moldovan's not want to read the wise words of James Winfield?

Apparently 30% of the population speak some English, which is more than I speak Moldovan.

Moldova, including the semi-autonomous (or more accurately, lawless Russian-gangland) area of Transnistria has a population of 2.7million.  Norfolk Island with it's 2,000 population has given me 4 visitors.

There are lots of stray cats and dogs.

80% of the population is below the poverty line.

It became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Finally, and most importantly, I present Miss World Moldova - Veronica Popovici.


Tube Drivers

Tube drivers, and especially their trade union representatives really get me pissed off.

They have now managed to get an above-average inflation pay-rise to take their pay to £50k a year.

There are 3,200 of them, so a total annual salary of £160million.

And yet they keep going on strike and bringing much transport misery to the capital.  This deal has no ban on strikes.

Not to mention 9 weeks holiday, free staff taxi's and free transport on the network for them and one family member.

OK, they have to work in the dark all day, but I used to work in an office with no windows and was only paid £16k then.

Surely a driver-less system could be implemented for the amount that would be saved annually on train-drivers?  It works in other metro systems.