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The festival season and a visit to the Albert hall.

Did Beathearder the other week, that was more like it. In the woods 2am, christ I’m getting too old for that! I’m a morning person, put me on between 4 and 6am and I’m yours!

Proper fun though , loads of really loved up people plenty of opportunity to mess with their heads. In a good way , of course.

Such a good organisation and crew. These people really care about their festival and it shows.

Met up with Merv from eat static and the plump dj’s . So good to see some of the other foot soldiers of techno that I’ve grow up with over the years still doing well. Eat static were always one of my favourite uk electronic bands , probable the originators of trance, with their mix of psychedelic music and acid house. Merv is doing well , he’s the last man standing in eat static, although he was always the core of the band. New album imminent, sounds like its going to be a good one.

Plumps doing well too , looking fit and no older at all.

Then on the psychedelic Smithsonian tent and the SGP festival. Another great one , set up by Eddie Temple-Morris and Simone Marie. Rained all the way there , shit drive. But got there in the end , just in time for Mistabishi, what he does with one machine and one hand is brilliant, check him out. Then on to my set at 1am ( bit better ; ) and another crowd loved up and ready to have their melons twisted. Got even more dubby on this lot and it went down a storm , as another storm went down outside the tent. Couldn’t have been a better gig, everything came together , of corse I didn’t record that one, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Two more winners , with Standon calling coming up fast tomorrow.

Had a funny one last night, went to the Ibieza Proms , because I knew they were going to play Belfast with the heritage orchestra amongst a load of Ibeza classics. ( Is Belfast an Ibiza classic? Don’t know , I try not to go to the place, we’ve never really got on ) can’t even spell it.

Chris wheeler from the Heritage orchestra is my studio Neighbour so I’ve been watching him work on it for the last while ( he’s been arranging the orchestra for Pete Tong )

It was a fantastic show , good choices of songs , lovely rendition of Belfast, really reflective night for me .

I sat on the edge of my box balcony , there wasn’t a big fall on the other side but I had to as every one was up and dancing. And reflected on the last 25 years , there were people my age in the audience loving it , but the majority were all way too young to have remembered it first time round. That included most of the orchestra too. A whole bunch of young people playing and enjoying music , mostly, from before their time.

It struck me how big the whole dance thing had been and how far it had come. Being given a night at the proms for crying out loud!  Totally ingrained into the culture and history of music. So interesting , as it was born from rebellion and counter-culture and so shunned be the establishment at the time, criminal justice bill anyone? But this is the cycle , it happens to any youth movement worth it’s salt, its born kicking and screaming to disapproving parents , then becomes them with it’s own troublesome youths who ‘know better’ .

It’s just funny being on the inside for so many years still doing it, still enjoying it , then to see such a tribute to the youth movement I contributed to , was a part of , not that we really knew it at the time.

I was really interesting to watch and, I was a watcher last night, rather that participant. Having played there twice before it was really interesting to see it from the other side with the whole place happy and dancing and whooping ,I felt a strange mixture of pride, melancholy, and awe at how far we had come. How much time had passed.

There was also an element of satisfaction , for a job well done , for all of us that took part over the years and for my small part in it. Not even sure what we achieved but it ended up there in the Albert hall entertaining a whole new generation. nice.

Can’t find a you tube of the prom yet so here’s one i prepared earlier…

‘the gig where everything went so wrong, then went so right’

not sure what to write about today , but i have some time so i want to write something. that’s what we do with blogs , right? Already this has become one of those things where I’ve started to think , ‘am I writing this blog often enough? How often do other people write their blog? Whats the expected input into a blog?’  I’m thinking this has to conform to some sort of unwritten rule of ‘blog’ rather than a spouting outlet. Even this paragraph is a sort of apology for not writing this as often as I thought I ought , aargh! Where does it all end…


could be after the I.O.W. entry i talk about the ‘the gig where everything went so wrong, then went so right’ to redress the balance.

so it was the Alternative escape , the great escape wouldn’t have me . not young or up and coming enough. can’t argue there. But managed to get a gig with the alt escape which is rising in popularity as the great escape grows and become harder to get on to . just to fill you in, the great / alt escape is a town festival in Brighton that runs for three days in various venues all over town, and is mostly about showcasing new bands for people and more importantly, A and R folks from record companies, to discover .

the alt escape built up around it as an alternative for the people who couldn’t get in to the great one. the advantage is , all the alt escape gigs are free.

so anyway , where was I? oh yes , standing on the street clearing beer can off of a borrowed kitchen table so Alex ( back line tech ) could set up my gear. but I’m getting ahead.

The particular venue I was booked to play at was a street party being held on a narrow rd outside the fiddlers elbow pub in Brighton. it was basically a couple of big , robust open sided awnings,the sort of thing people take camping with them to cook under,and a shut off street,with a nice P.A. All shoved up one end.


9pm , stage time -1 hour

We were booked to play at 10pm. We got to the gig, met Chris , the guy running it, great person , totally on it and full of enthusiasm . Ran the stage with ruthless efficiency . I had though that the whole thing might have been a bit of a drunken affair with little regard for timings, but no it was a well oiled machine manned by people who knew what they were doing . So a great start. It was of course quite rowdy and drunken,but happy as you’d expect at an all day street party . We were shown to our kitchen table that had been supplied for my gear and proceeded to clear it off  of beer cans and other stuff. Alex got straight down to setting up the gear.

9:30 ,  stage time – 30mins

We had a little problem with the computer ‘seeing’ the sound card, that is the digital equivalent of a mixing desk, it’s the conduit that takes in all the synths and spits out all the sound to the sound man. Without it you have silence. So we played around a bit tried different cables , nothing, it was dead. I have no back ups at this point in my new career path as I don’t have the luxury of the double set up that we had with orbital , it’s all or nothing with this set up. I thought the gig was finished. Utter disappointment all round .

So there we were a fantastic, full street of happy lightly sozzled people patiently waiting for a gig that we couldn’t deliver.

Alex , conceding that the thing was truly bust ,but, pointed out he had an identical sound card at home, getting it and swapping it would be bound to make us late though. should we get it?

9:45 stage time -15

This was our last hope but the chances of sorting it out in time for the gig were dwindling , Gavin , my manager’s assistant ( who had taken up running in recent times ) volunteered to run around and get it , we though this might be quicker than getting a cab. So off he went.

The next 20 minutes were excruciating. I had my head in my hands for a lot of it white as a sheet , while Chris the boss of the stage , assured us it would all be great , every thing would work out , he was brilliant actually , he had a jaunty positive attitude the like of which was last seen on Eric Idol in the crucifixion scene in the life of Brian.

So many of my musical friend and others came up to try to help as they could see the horror on my face, but they all left helpless as the really was nothing they could do. We just had to set there and wait , and hope that it would fix the problem , while looking  at the faces of all the patient happy people in the crowded street. Thinking in half an hour or so I’m going to have to let then all down.

10.05ish stage time + 5mins

Gavin came sprinting back damaged foot but sound card in hand , Alex whipped it into place , turned it on…bingo ! It worked, but…

10:10 stage time +10mins

All the midi assignments were not working as it was a new set up . That basically means the computer won’t talk to my synths.

I’d had this problem in the week and it took over an hour to reassigned all the parts to the relevant synths so again I assumed the gig was dead. I moaned , I flailed, I spoke of doom and gloom , then got ahold of my self and proceeded to talk Alex through the process hopping we could salvage at least some of the set. We went at it working together properly focused with fear? Panic? Shock, not even sure what the emotion was. And got it done in fifteen minutes. Gave it a test. Everything seemed to be working…

10:35ish stage time +35

Lost 10 minutes in the panic somewhere.

We wheeled it all on stage , after I caught Alex resetting all the delays and faders on my controllers and had to explain that we didn’t have time for that and we would just start with it however it was set up and roll with the punches ( to be honest I may have said that with a little more impatience and a little less decorum )

10:40 stage time +40

Chris had made a little announcement apologising for the technical delay and that we were ready. So with a cheer, the patient crowd were ready , we were ready. Tom , who was in charge of the whole thing handed me a pint of ale and said the curfew was fairly soft and I’d get away with ten minutes or so on the end, so with a pint in hand and utter euphoric relief in my heart I went on.I lost the first two tracks and dived straight into a big Dancy number. The tiny stage was Surrounded on all four sides by happy dancing people, the barrier between us, a road works safety rail thingy just outside of the gazebo, ( that’s the word, gazebo . That’s what it was and that’s the word I was trying to think of earlier when I said awning ). I did one of the happiest carefree gigs of my life , rushing through the tracks , cutting a bit out here and there, putting it all into a few moment, seeing if I could get all that I wanted into the set. It felt like running through a maze, not bothering too much about where your going but getting there anyway. I got it all in , and had a totally brilliant time doing it . Such fun , such relief and such good ale.

And from what I hear , the PA was loader than the Isle of Wight! Pretty good for a street party in the centre of town.

Afterwards I went to a friends fortieth birthday party in a bar that was half parents from the school run,and half people who I knew, but hadn’t seen for ages from Sevenoaks , where I grew up. I stood and drank expensive pints of american pale ale from a massive bowl and watched two worlds collide ,  I was stunned.