it happens for a reason

staying up late is easy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006



as i step out of my flat, the sound of 'get loaded', the corporate-festival shindig on clapham common is in the air. it sounds like a million people cheering to a drum solo, but i hope that's not what it is.
as i pass the site, which takes up most of the common, just about all i can see over the security fence are those massive inflatable pills on top of the ubiquitous Herbal High stall. those stalls really fuck me off. if yr going to do drugs, at least have the grace to do it properly.

most of clapham seems to be on a permanent gap year, and Get Loaded brings them out in force. they all look like wind surfers. or may be scuba divers. watersports enthusiasts, at any rate. they wear big shorts. very big shorts. and they have hair like adverts.
now i'm tired of misanthropy (it's boring innit). the bill actually looks great- hot club + the slits + the buzzcocks. but as i walk past i decide to drown it all out by listening to ewan pearson's 'december mix'. i love ewan pearson's mixes. he has a taste so scarily, exactly similar to my own when it comes to dancefloor music that i wonder if we would dance in exactly the same way?
i'm going to see him at Cross Central tonight, so i'll watch him like a fucking hawk, and will get back to you with the answer.
'december mix' is much more hardcore than most of ewan pearson's selections. there's no fucking around with this one- he dives straight into boing-boing techy electro, huge + distorted kick drums ruling the place. but he manages to keep it fun, and just pleasantly's garish, cartoonish music, rather than sternly monochrome bosh.
when i'm feeling kind tomorrow, i'll put up a link to an mp3 to this set.

some one down the road from me chucked out loads of CDs the other day by leaving them on the wall outside their house for neighbours and friends to take. what a lovely idea. most of it was utter dross- Mail on Sunday 'drivetime classics'...that sort of thing. but their was a little piece of gold hidden away amongst it all- a Mr Oizo album, 'last night a DJ killed my dog'.

mr oizo doesn't get the love he deserves, i think, not even after wiley's best efforts to buck the critical trend with 'flat derek'. it's the old Levi's-curse, i guess. and even now, it's difficult not to listen to music without thinking, at the back of yr mind, 'stiltskin, STILTSKIN!!!', like some horrible smell that just won't go away and ruins it all.
but the guy's been producing some of the best, most innovative house music around. in fact, it's difficult to think of some one so weird, so fiercely avant-gardey in places, who's also so impeccably pop. 'flat beat' is surely one of the weirdest number 1's ever- the most broken and fucked of all anthemic basslines, wobbling around in the gutter. towards the end of 'last night a dj killed my dog', mr oizo explodes into merzbow-ish noise, and it works. beautifully.

another thing i like about mr oizo is the whimsy of it all. i was anti-whimsy for quite a long time, scarred, perhaps, by some of the IDM that i used to listen to a few years back, and the backlash against all that stuff once i got into proper rave. but now i think i've got sufficient distance and (smiles) maturity to deal with a little whimsy now again. i no longer feel i have to prove my credentials by listening to either unself-conscious dance music, or dance music that knows how serious a deal it all is.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006



today i was given the key to the land of milk and honey, the city of god, and the promised land. as the gates opened i sighed, finally at peace, with all my dreams standing there before me.

but let us be serious. what happened is this: i got a password for the kompakt press site. this is an amazing place, where you can download lots of kompakt stuff for free. it also makes me feel very smug and superior, so feel free to give me a good kicking when you next see me. right in the kidneys if you please...

UNCANNY!...the first track i downloaded off the site was steadycam's 'kidney issues', on kompakt bliss-house-disco sublabel K2. my mum was hospitalised for a year with kidney problems when she was 14, subsisting solely on lucozade (they should use her story for adverts). hence, i've always had a certain interest in the renal system. and steadycam's ode is indeed enlightening. wood blocks echo through like smoke rings, and there's the best one note bassline since brutalga square...or even j-sweet's 'gutter', if you remember that one. (why do so many producers make it difficult for themselves? all you need is one note!!). then half way through steadycam throws a kink and a wonk into it, letting the track stumble face down before hoiking it back up again.

over and over. like monkey with a minature symbol ( i like to think it's that spelling they intended. sounds a bit more sinister innit).

'kidney issues' doesn't do the hyperactive fizziness that's big in this post-eulberg + wighnomy world, nor the overwhelmed emotion of the lindstrom neo-disco lot. rather, it's more like a poker flat record- happily industrious music, steadily building up the pieces, with just a hint of brooding darkness. music for even keels and fine sailing. (sorry, i don't even know what that means...)

the other track, 'dull in minor' lives up to its title. it's clunky and has no charm. let us not speak of it again.

i'm going to limit myself to one kompakt release per night, to prevent gluttony spoiling the delights. i don't want to make myself sick on minimal-trance gorges. i'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



happy summer everyone. it's been a long while. too long. how are you? i'm ok, thanks for asking. i've got a tan. sort of. well fit.

munkyfest was a festival that me and my friends from school have been organising since we were 17 (hence the rubbish name). we're now 24, and we've done 8 munkyfests. it started out as tiny party with a few bands and slowly grew and grew to become a little festival that felt like a proper one, with 500 people, two stages, and after-hours acoustic and dance tents. all on a farm with cows staring at us with their kind and stupid eyes. nothing has been so important in my life for so long.

this year was the last ever munkyfest. putting on your own festival, especially without any form of grrr-evil corporate backing is a real effort. there's a slow steady grind the few months up to the event, and then about a week of thinking solely about the festival, every waking minute (and most dreaming ones, too). that starts to send you funny, i find.

so, tired of the stress and mindful that it's always best to go out on a high, we called it a day after this year's munkyfest, on the first saturday of august. the finale was as spectacular and moving as it could be. headliners were the Tokyo Adventures,- lovely people, friends of ours, people who have been with us from the start and have grown as we have grown, and who make wonderful comforting pop music. not only were they playing the last ever set of the last ever munkyfest, they were also playing their last ever gig together: they had planned to split up the moment the last note was played.

after that last note, fireworks flickered and boomed above us, and dozens of chinese lanterns drifted into the air like ghosts. sean, guitarist of the tokyo adventures wrote his name on one, and let it go, traveling up and up, away from munkyfest and away from tokyo adventures to somewhere new and unknown.

after a gruelling day of helping to run munkyfest, which left me felt as if i'd fought a small war, i was too tired and fuzzy to really process what was going on. i stared at the stage and ooohed and aahhed at the fireworks and all i felt was numb and blank. it was over. i couldn't really grasp the magnitude of that for us. sometimes things are just too big for feelings. perhaps the only thing i could grasp was relief. relief that the stress and the tension had come to an end.

all maudlin introspection was quickly put to an end by jack savidge starting his set in our dance tent, which is sometimes called rave generator and sometimes called rave heart. this year we wrote, 'now is the summer of our disco tent' on the back wall. sometimes, if i say so myself, we're amazing. jack was amazing too that night, as were the crowd. he played audion and we went mental. then he played 'falling up' and we marched and screamed with joy.

the days after munkyfest, though, was when the pain of reflection set in. every year days and days are spent clearing the site after munkyfest- every last cigarette butt has to be cleared, pretty much. usually, it's a horrible job, bitterly done through hangovers and muttered curses.

but this year a strange thing happened. i didn't want it to stop. there was always a little more to be done, and i'd search that out and set myself to it. i think everyone was the same. once we left the site after clearing it, that was It, and we knew it. the end. the end of one of the most important chapters of my life, something which has carried me through adoslescence to now. munkyfest was What We Did in summer. pretty much all we did. it was me and my friends' time to be together. sharing in this unexpectedly big thing was our bond to each other.

even now, weeks later, i'm struggling to express to myself and to you the emotional magnitude of this. one thing is this: the minute we walked out of the site for the last time, the final link with our childhoods was broken, forever. i only play music live once a year, at munkyfest. i've had the same guitar amp since i was 16, since i saved and saved to buy it. as i left the site, i packed the amp in the boot of the car, and knew, just knew, that i'd never use it again. it's just another thing to be buried slowly in dust in the loft of my parents' house, my child hood home, along with old school exercise books and battered toys.

another thing is this: we might never create something so wonderful again. many people have said that munkyfest is the highlight of their summer, and this year we tried everything we could to make it far and way the best one ever. looking back on it, we just couldn't have done it any better. but is that it? are our best days behind us now? i don't know. in twilight moments i fear that it could be. the commonest, cruellest thing said to children by adults is that schooldays are the best days of one's life. the fear of the things never being so good again is haunting, debilitating, and here it is again.

so, anyway, i sit here listening to Tokyo Adventures and it isn't just music (is it ever?). it's my childhood, it's my friends, it's the biggest times i ever had, and might ever have.

if you ever came to munkyfest, thank you x

Sunday, August 13, 2006

the festival is over, the emotional wounds are healing, and i'm off on holiday for a week- my struggle with the body searching stanstead customs is but a few hours away. so see you in a week.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

too busy handcrafting a festival out of a farm at the moment to do proper posts here.

go here:

and here:

and here

and then, worn out from all this cyberspace journeying and desperate for the open air, come to the festival itself.