Wow, weird how life turns out. One moment you’re trying to figure out what the hell happened, the next your forget whatever injustice occurred in the past whilst frantically trying to understand how you got here so quickly.
Not to toot my own horn or anything but I was a huge part of the Dalston scene a few years ago, I used to organise parties for friends, sometimes i’d even pluck up the courage to DJ at some of these parties and generally spend most weeks walking up and down “the strip” in search of fun! But all good things must come to an end and after 5 years of non-stop everything got really quiet. No more random emails for promoters or bar owners requesting my services. Mostly due to my reluctance to adapt to the changing environment and partly due to other factors outside of my control, I was out, banished from “scene”. I’d be lying if i said my ego didn’t take a dent, but I had to accept that my time was up, the new kids coming into scene needed to write their own history and I never wanted to be the old guy in the club trying to be down with the kidz, that’s gross!
During that time I realised that I actually enjoyed DJing, I wasn’t just in it for the clout, I loved everything about the culture that surrounded it, from the design of club themselves to the politics of programming parties, it’s all really fascinating and I would very much like to participate regardless of where it was or how many cool points it would earn me. This lead me down an interesting path where I’m now DJing every Friday in a local pub and once a month in a cool little bar not to far from where I live either. I get to play music I love for a small but enjoyable audience and they pay me for it, wild! And because of the good reputation I’ve built up for myself DJing away from the hipster crowds, it’s all come back full circle and I’ve been approached to DJ a couple times next month at The Three Compasses in Dalston, ha! Full circle…
I’m not sure what lessons can be gleamed from this but I think it might have something to do with patience and genuinely not caring what people think. If you have both and you truly love what you do you’ll get there, trust me!
Or you can listen to Gary Vee explain it better than I can.
I know it’s a bit late in the month but I went ahead a bought a few books I aim to finish reading by the end of the year. I wanted to end the year strong and after spending a good chunk of October / November finishing up books I hadn’t got around to reading this year, I’ve got some space on my reading list for a few more. Continue reading
I’m sure you’re aware but incase you’re not, Narcos season 4 is out now on Netflix and it’s just as good as season 1 if not better. It focuses on Mexico and the rise of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo aka The Godfather. It’s an amazing series, I don’t know how they do but somehow the writers of this make you root for the bad guy instead of the brave detective hell bent on stopping on “El Padrion” – Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena.
“These were DJ gigs that a lot of people would probably say, ‘Oh, that’s a shit DJ gig,'” she said. “But for me, it was really my school. In some of the pubs I would have to set up the PA myself. So I learned all these different things. I fine-tuned my mixing to a point where I was mixing all these different styles, and being able to do that was such a school to me. I value it so much.” – Violet
I value Violet so much too. This interview she did with Resident Advisor is incredibly honest and full of optimism, it’s super refreshing to hear someone of her stature talk so positively about the most mundane things and how it impacted her career. You can read the interview in full here.
And if you want to hear a DJ currently going through “school” playing in a local pub and loving every single minute of it, come hear me play at Tapped! this Friday more here.
A lot has been said about female representation within the underground electronic scene. I’m not sure what my opinion is on the whole matter but I don’t tip my hat to the industrious women out there trying to rectify the situation in any way they can. From zines aimed at inspiring a new generation of DJs and promoters (Pink Noise Zine) to women led programming online radio stations, it appears as if things are changing for the better. A great illustration of this is the above short film by Jasmine Higgins looking into the burgeoning scene across Australia. It’s a great watch and reminds me why I feel in love with the electronic music!
DJing can be stressful at times, I spend most of my evenings during the week glued to my laptop screen desperately trying to come up with a new hour of music in preparation for gig on Friday/Saturday night. The gig itself is fairly straight forward, especially if I’ve done the necessary work beforehand but there are times, however brief, when I’m heading into the fourth hour of my DJ set where I think to myself “is all this work worth the squeeze?”. And you know what, it is, especially the morning after when you try and figure out where you’re going to have your fry up aka full English breakfast. You wake up bleary eyed and still relatively drunk but somehow find a way of locating several breakfast cafes within 5-10 minute walking distance to spend your hard earned DJ money. It’s one of life’s truly magical moments, I can guarantee you that.
I did just that the other day and ventured off to Olive and Lemon Cafe just outside the main Stratford Shopping Mall. I say main because we all know the big shiny step sister that is Westfield, Stratford isn’t the original Mecca of teenagers and single mothers alike. Stratford has gone through some changes post London 2012 Olympics, some of the better (more bars and restaurants) and some for the worst (more bars and restaurants) but one of great lasting legacies is the increased foot flow in and around Stratford.
Olive and Lemon Cafe is located just outside the Shopping Mall a couple doors before the big Wetherspoons, with ample amounts of seating outside, where most of the patrons were located even though it was minus zero degrees outside we decided to have seat indoors. We didn’t have to wait long for one of the attentive waitress to come over to our table and give a menu, which was fairly straightforward, thank god. The breakfast menu sat alongside various baguettes, ciabattas and wraps. I went for the ‘Full Breakfast’ because I’m a man but more importantly because I was hungover as fuck and desperately needed as much as carbs as possible in order to return to the land of the living. The brunette went for the ‘Mediterranean’ and by all accounts thoroughly enjoyed. I was quite surprised when my plate arrived, instead of a large porcelain white covered in greasy fried goodness I was presented with a fairly stripped back and dare I say “clean” plate of food. As you tell from the picture above everything looked and tasted fresh, the mushrooms were surprisingly nice. We also ordered a plate of chips (because why not) and they were perfectly cooked and with the addition of some of Himalayan sea salt (provided for free on each table) delightful. My only gripe were the eggs, they weren’t cooked as well as I liked, which I probably should have stated and I only got one instead of two and although the sausage was really tasty. Overall for £6.00 (including a coffee and two bits of toast) I was thoroughly satisfied and I’d be more than happy to visit again!
Say what you like about Kanye West politics, after his performance with Kid Cudi under the ‘Kids See Ghosts’ moniker it’s fair to say he’s the greatest artist of his generation. When you account for the timeless music, cultural impact and his exploits in fashion, Kanye’s talent is obvious. I’m a huge Kanye fan and I’ve accepted I’m never going to agree with everything he’s going to say and more important outside of the “arts” I don’t care what he has to say. I don’t go to him for my political hot-takes. As long as he’s able to provide awe inspiring moments of beauty such below at Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival I’m good!