Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Glastonbury 2011

today i should have been woken by a rather stupidly early alarm after holding down discussions as to when my best friend would be round to pick me up

it wouldn't have really mattered as the build up of excitement would have kept me awake and the momentum of the day would have kept me going until i finally retired to our tent in a field in Sommerset amidst the familiar smells of camp fires and bbqs

but not today

sadly, this is the first year that we have taken the decision not to go to Glastonbury

it wasn't a decision any of us took lightly, but after failing to actually get hold of tickets at the very first hurdle we were distraught, but slowly came to accept that perhaps 2011 just wasn't gonna be our year

it all seemed perhaps for the best, me and my girlfriend had bought a house and, useful as the deposit scheme is, it would all come at the wrong time, and as the ticket price has increased eash year, we would have struggled slightly with it leaving our now-joint account

and my best friend was planning on doing some travelling this year and would be paying out a lot for that

we then took into account that, since they had split up, a couple of friends that we usually camp with would not be going this year, neither would their friend, and another couple that have joined us the past few years didn't manage to get tickets either

last year's Glastonbury, bathed in glorious sunshine for the whole time was a perfect way to leave it, we'd witnessed floods in our times going and we have had one particular wet and miserable weekend that nearly drove us to the edge of sanity (and led me and my girlfriend to give Benicassim a go)

but it felt like those years that we had stuck with the festival had really paid off, as 2010 saw us camped with more friends than we ever have before, we didn't have to suffer a single drop of rain, and the intense sunshine changed the whole dynamic of the usually soggy Sommerset bash

the temperature was up, high spirits were soaring and every single person battled dehydration as we rejoiced, caught up in the giddy throes of a laid back, serotonin enriched festival that England so rarely witnesses

so we bowed out on a high!

i know coverage shall be hard to avoid, and i've cringed everytime there is even so much of a mention of this year's glasto, completelly racked with jealousy and sentimentality for the good ol' days

i've tried to ignore the innevitable stage line-up reveals, and tried telling myself that Beyonce, Coldplay and U2 won't be much of a line-up anyway

but Glastonbury is so much more than just the headliners, and it is so much more than just the music.

my memories of times, good and the bad, at Glasto are innumerable, but i shall have to leave it to all of this years ticket holders to create their own unique take on Glastonbury 2011 as i sit at a desk typing out this blog, considering putting the tent up in our garden, instead of being sat in a car filled to bursting with all our kit, eagerly awaiting the sight of Stone Henge and the requisite stop-off at Countess Services

Coldplay - Trouble ((sin)language remix)

Monday, 13 June 2011


i finally take my seat in the NME offices and relax at the desk.

sadly, this is not the first day of a new job plying my wares for the UK's premier weekly music magazine.

instead, i have been summoned to their HQ in Southwark as part of a focus group.

much less rock n roll than i'd anticipated, it seems obtuse that these sterile offices were home to a music juggernaut that makes and break careers and has been key in hyping and tastemaking bands and scenes.

but it was early evening and perhaps every hint of excitement and joyous musical rebellion had clocked off at half 5 - regardless, the small group i was joining soon settled in the bland surroundings and were further relaxed by the offer of beers and pizza.

i for one had it clear in my mind as son as i'd had the call-up that i was keen to let NME know where they had been going wrong.

i admitted to have given up on NME many years ago, around the time Arctic Monkey's debut album was released and the front cover heralded another feature on them for the third time in a month, the bands assualt on the mainstream was well and truly underway and the over-saturation left me jaded.

they had once been the most exciting and heralded new band around, but as the magazine churned out another article i wondered if there was possibly anything more that i needed to know about Arctic Monkeys, and thus i turned my back on the gospel according to NME

finally given the appropriate platform to make my feeling known i did not shy away from voicing my dissenting opinion on a frustratingly overwhelming reliance on lists

on the occasions that an interesting cover feature has lured me back over the years, i've often found that good quality articles have now made way for a ridiculous array of lists on almost every conceivable nuance and sub-category of music.

i fully expect end of year polls and speculative new year/ new bands runthroughs, yet is seems all too often that so-called journalists have taken an easy option of compiling a handful of brief opinions and assigning each banal blurb a numerological value.

even of the 3 issues sent to each of us for research purposes, we were subjected to 3 lists.

top ten buzz bands of the great escape.

top 25 band logos.

and 16 pages of NME's top 70 cult heroes.

apart from my moan about this brazen lazy journalism,Other topics breached included our feelings towards a number of regular features and a discussion on whether Lady Gaga and other 'pop' acts deserve to be on the cover of NME, or deserve to be featured at all (I believe they do), a general consensus that the 'funny' cartoon is possibly the most hated part of the magazine and a lively debate for and against Popjustice's 'Peter Robinson Vs' interviews (for which i was firmly and vocally for).

As well as existing features, we were given a sneak peak at possible contributions, of which the most offensive was a sloppily thrown together piece on how to achieve Alex Turner's 'look', shouted down and derided by everyone in the room for turning what should be a respected music magazine into the indie Heat.

as a newspaper columnist perhaps i should not draw attention to the plight of print media, but it is obvious to all that the sheer quantity and variety of information, opinions and recomendations available online has seen publishers suffering, and those conducting the session were equally interested in how we recieve and percieve new music and recommendations in this modern world where the internet is usurping a former great's all-powerful hold.

Even though I hadn't been called upon to shape the future of NME with my own journalistic talents, it was still a unique opportunity to witness the market research and pitches that everyone involved hopes will keep NME vital and interesting in the 21st century.

Having read the magazine religiously for around 5 or so years from the age of 17, and having NME itself shape me in some of my formative years, it felt right that I could try to return the favour.
Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (Dj Fuego Vs. Skrillex Remix)

Friday, 3 June 2011

meeting Eddy TM

perhaps it is slightly old fashioned to pass on a demo CD to someone.

i like to think of it as nostalgic instead.

and this is the story of how, with clammy palms, i handed over my CD to Eddy Temple Morris yesterday:

so perhaps my own self-promotion has been a little bit lax of late, perhaps my own musical work ethic has been a little lax of late, i have become accustomed to the truth of the mater that these things will happen when moving into a home, my own home, with the other half (well, half hers too actually)

the spare bedroom has one blue wall and one white wall that i have taken it upon myself to paint, the remaining wall is still that nasty possible-magnolia-really? colour that it has been since we moved in, i would have painted it except she has talked about stripping the textured wall paper from the walls and i don't want to have painted it all for nothing

and yes, the room does actually have four walls, but one is entirely taken up by fitted wardrobes, although i did once consider painting them

but this isn't a case of decoration, this is more a matter that i fully intend to move all my kit into that room and it become my little haven to hide in and create whilst she watches television downstairs, but for now the computer still sits around downstairs, leaving my creativity rather stunted when she turns the tv on

plus, once you consider all the time i actually end up watering the garden, cleaning this, washing that, cooking something, and a whole bunch of other household chores that i hadn't really anticipated yet feel duty bound to complete so i don't end up living in a complete shit hole, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to fire up the machine and start manipulating sounds

and with all this repeatedly happening since last september, why should i waste an opportunity to burn a number of tracks i am proudest of and pass them along to one of my all-time musical heroes?!

Eddy TM would be DJing as part of Akira The Don's album launch party, and Eddy TM is a DJ that i have huge love and huge respect for, and i am extremely proud that he has played one of my remixes on his long running Xfm show, aptly named The Remix

so i pondered the structure of the CD, settling on an equal mix of original material and remixes, including The Enemy remix that he had already aired, and a rejigged Akira The Don track, since it only seemed appropriate

now, i have been training myself to not act like a complete fanboy when meeting famous people, but those that i hold in the highest esteem still cause an outbreak of hysterics in me, and it was no different when Eddy walked past me, i wasn't even facing him, and yet i felt his prescence (or perhaps caught him in the corner of my eye) and my heart skipped a beat

the plan was to grab a little chat with him and try and retain a sense of composure, but the gig moved swiftly and i would have felt that i was disrespecting the performer and Eddy himself if i tried to catch his attention and hold a conversation during a gig

and so there was nothing left to do but approach him whilst he DJed, seriously, the guy is a consummate professional, graciously accepting the CD from me and even holding a slightly disjointed rhetoric as he cued up and mixed tracks whilst observing that i wasn't going anywhere just yet

i introduced myself, told him how much i thought of him, allowed him to do what he had to do, and then continued to tell him that he had played a track of mine before, at which point Eddy took a little more notice, looking over the almost unreadable tracklisting in the poor lighting and acknowledging that, yeah, he remembered it

he then remarked that he thought we had met before, blimey! either he is an extremely gracious person making a lucky guess, but i believe that i saw recognition in his eyes, i didn't expect for him to remember at all,  it must have been a good couple of years ago at least, but i'll quite happily live with the belief that Eddy TM not only is a great DJ, but also a great human being with superhuman skills of recollection

we briefly discussed the artwork of the promo, that he loved, and that i admitted to half-inching and not really being able to claim as my own, and then i said i would leave him to it, he had a job to do after all, and i left beaming...

i hope that he will give it a listen and i hope that he will enjoy it, i would be bloody ecstatic if he saw fit to air anything from it but that is regardless, the most important thing is that he is something of a hero of mine and that in the two brief moments that i have been able to converse with him, Eddy has been nothing less than a complete gentleman and an all-round nice guy

and i couldn't ask for anything more than that when meeting a personal hero

Akira The Don - Music of the Spheres ft. Mary Turner (Hunchbakk's dirty elbows mix)