South London Weekend World

15th November 2010

Brixton – It takes more than a big balloon to make a party go with a bang. Midnight 30, Saturday night, a party to celebrate Nicky Siano’s new old movie, shot at The Gallery, New York in 1977. The archive footage is gold, beautiful, evocative, exciting, the after party is a little less burning and glorious.

Borough – Contemplating other people’s microphones in the pissoir. The Gladstone, the biggest little venue in London, has been given a make-over, even the toilets look smart and have a music theme.

Clapham – Savouring moments of sun and beauty on a short winter day. The sun shining on the Sun in Clapham old town. Something to smile about as Chelsea go down three nil at home just across the river.

It’s a beautiful day because…

10th November 2010

It’s a beautiful day because, at last, there is some reaction from real people to the coalitions plans to cut pretty much everything by 20%. The streets around Westminster were filled today by students, bussed in from all over the country to protest at the cuts in help and hike in fees for students. I arrived on my bike and got swept along in the banner-waving mass down Whitehall, past Parliament and Millbank.

It was all very well mannered and friendly and orderly and very middle class, as you would expect from a bunch of students, but the message was clear, don’t fuck with our future.

It was wonderful to see a new generation discovering their power, finding something to kick against, something to believe in, even if they are doing it in a slightly self-conscious, ironic C21 way. I am sure this is just the beginning of a winter of discontent, fighting the so called inevitability of the savage slashing of public services. Beautiful.

Big Chill Label party, Big Chill House, London

8th November 2010 Big Chill label party

[setlist]The Big Chill label take over the Big Chill House in Kings Cross, London for a bit of a festive event.[/setlist]

Disappearing Dining Club

8th November 2010

There were scenes of unparalleled savagery at this week’s DJ gig, the extremely hip, very now Disappearing Dining Club. The revellers and gormands assembled at City Arts and Music in City Road, London for a pop-up dinner dance. The menu included a suckling pig complete with apple in mouth. Tony got the tongue, an ear and half a cheek but stopped at the snout. Toni was shocked by the crackly life-like appearance of the creature and even refused to bite into the apple. I DJed through desert and coffee and took it off into the night.

Hug A DJ

1st November 2010

This weekend’s excursion is to Gillingham in Dorset for Puravida, a weekend festival of workshops and meditation and music, at Osho Leela, a big house in the countryside. My mum would be proud of me, speeding out of London city, speeding out of my comfort zone, in the deepening dark, not knowing if I will face a bunch of smiling party people or the zombies from hell. It turns out to be a bunch of smiling party people dressed as the zombies from hell, so well into their weekend away, and their dressing up and face painting that despite my best efforts I feel like the police man from the Wicker Man, fascinated and confused, led on like a lamb to the slaughter. There’s a pre-party meeting. I am introduced and asked to announce what I will play. I say, truthfully, that I don’t know, it depends on the feeling. The first tune is Thriller and the collected zombies and witches throw shapes.

This looks like a tricky one so I retreat to the fire outside, glad there is no wicker, and decide the only thing to do is go with it, get involved. Eyes panda, blood dripping from my lips, I wait for my turn to spin. Emboldened by my new face I chat to community (permanent residents) and weekenders and watch as the night’s revels unravel. Now it’s less like Wicker Man and more like a grown up nursery; a highly charged bunch of kidults letting themselves go, dressing up, acting up, jumping, shouting, flipping and flopping, taking all escape routes from society’s shackles. There are social workers and care workers, IT consultants and full time fathers, feeling some kind of free, away from the numbers, out from behind the screens, far away from the everyday, having some serious fun in the countryside. For this lot Puravida is an alternative family, another home away from home. And they don’t seem too hung up on following the guru; and they don’t seem to mind if you do or don’t take part in the activities, as long as you’re fine and you have a good time. And in the end, after the set, sitting on the sofas with two witches and a zombie called Gary, it makes as much sense as the real world – the financial crisis, facebook, two for one deals on car insurance and all the rest of the nonsense noise that is a constant in modern urban living. And although I wish they had a better soundsystem; though I wish I could wear the green hair wig for longer without sweating; though I wish I could spend time in the yurt sauna without my make-up running; I feel lucky to yoyo out of London to places like this, see some bloody friendly faces and share my music with them. Because here is a place where the link between providing the service and getting the money is less obvious than it is in the city; where the question is more likely to be how are you than what do you do; a place less brutal and frantic and angry and uncaring than places I am used to. This is some kind of precious, a revellers’ return. Now come here and give me a hug.