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Once upon a time there were strange people standing in a muddy field before a crowd of funky ravers.
They stood behind 2 machines made by Technics with the number1200 stamped upon them.
Plastic discs turned round and around. They placed metal pins called needles upon these discs and a beautiful sound was heard…
Please find below a small mix of some house classics – from ’92 and ’93. Genuine vinyl, genuine crackles and genuine mistakes.
- Schmoo (original mix) by Spooky on Guerilla records
- Flute on (voice on mix) by Secchi on NTM records
- Amber groove (toxic hijak mix) by SAS on Liquid Music
- Lion rock (most excellent mix) by Lion Rock on Deconstruction
- Pacific symphony (DJ Ricci Pacific remix) by Transformer 2 on DFC
- Passion (naked mix) by Gat Decor on Flying records
I’m not sure why but the seemingly endless drive across Spain; through the snow dusted mountains of Asturia, the vast arable deserts of the plains and the barren granite hills that lead down into Portugal’s forests took my mind to a friend that I lost a few years ago. I’ve wanted to write about him for a while but the whirling in my head always confuses my hands as they reach for the keyboard.
Another good friend of his found these words for all of us…
One more Hackney summer
I thought, maybe, if you could have one more summer.
Just one more stinking hot Hackney Summer; cold beers in London Fields – beers and grass and crisps, sitting in a circle, shaded in the trees, watching kids and pitbulls running, then maybe it would be ok to say farewell.
If you could have a full year messing about on your boat like Ratty – cap, mustard waistcoat ‘n’ all, teas and rollies by the stove, worn Turkish carpets on the floor, your legs crossed in that gangly Mark way, in your fireside chair, then maybe it would be ok to say farewell.
If you could have more contentment, more happiness, more time, then maybe all the people who love you would find it alright to say goodbye.
But it’s never ok, of course
and as the time approaches, it’s so fucking hard.
Mark you are so loved and you will be painfully missed.
(Meredith T. Mora)
I miss you Marky. I miss our endless disections of the Universe. I miss your drunken phonecalls in the early hours. I miss not having someone like you to tell when I really miss a friend like you…
I didn’t surf today.
…many moons ago I was a DJ – I’ve played in front of thousands of screaming, jumping people and headlined at major London clubs. I played in abandoned warehouses in cities and big tops in the depths of the countryside – squatted, seedy pubs in Hackney and railway arches in Waterloo. Aging pier ballrooms and ancient forests have shaken to the sounds of our sound system pounding out a funky, 4/4 beat…
The path to becoming a DJ was a gradual slide that went with the lifestyle. Personally I blame my parents. They housed me in caravans for half of my childhood so it was only natural to continue that trend and buy a bus when I left school. I went ‘on the road’ meeting likeminded travellers around England and across Europe. I started to go to the free festivals and worked where the seasons took me – hops, potatoes, apples, blackcurrants – whatever and wherever my bus would take me. Then one weekend I went to a DIY party and my life changed forever. DIY were a collective from Nottingham – a sound system and some DJ’s. They were accompanied by a posse of travellers known as the free party people who created the environment, ran the bars and brought in the punters and ravers from the local towns and cities. It was an amazing weekend that inspired and illuminated my life.
There was nothing going on like that in the South East of England (where I was spending most of my time by then) so myself, my brother and a couple of friends took the ‘do it yourself’ ethos and (over a table full of drinks) came up with the cunning plan to create a sound system ourselves. We hired sounds and borrowed decks, pestered local DJ’s and scribbled a flyer. We had a meeting place and a convoy and Aphrodisiac was born. 300 people turned up and had the best nights of their lives. A few weeks later we did another party by which time me and Tiggz had bought decks and made a start at learning to play. Things snowballed over the next few years – the parties got bigger and better (and luckily so did our DJing) – our posse got stronger and more together and we became experts at criminal justice procedure and dodging police intervention. We were renegades and rogues and we just didn’t care…
Eventually the criminal justice bill went through and despite frontlining at many demonstrations and marches nothing could be done. The time of the New Age Traveller was over and so was the time of the free party. We moved into clubs for a while sharing the stage with the Digweeds and Sashas of the world but they were a different race of people with different motives and mindsets and for me the party was over.
I finally took my bus to Portugal where it wasn’t a crime to live in a vehicle and fell in love with the country and the lifestyle it had to offer me. The parties continued over here but the music and the vibe had gone decidedly dark for my tastes so I hung up my headphones and put the lid on my decks.
I’m writing this as I put the finishing touches to my first dance record (just a decade too late to make my fortune) and I’m planning to play some tunes next summer in the bars of Peniche. Maybe Aphrodisiac will re-emerge – maybe we’ll find that funky party vibe. We’ll definitely have some fun looking…
I didn’t surf today.
I was flitting around the interweave earlier and I came across this…
…it was on a site put together by a traveller called Dave (Traveller Homes) with loads of photos of travellers buses, trucks, caravans and the like. Great memory laning for me. This lobster van was my first ever travelling home – an old Post Office Leyland EA in which Tiggz and I crawled around Europe in ’89 frequenting various festivals and juggling conventions. This picture was taken at the eviction party on a huge squatted island in the north of Amsterdam. The lobster was painted because I only had black and white paint. Obviously…
On returning to Blighty I lived in it with Louise and 2 mad dogs before we all started to get cabin fever and upgraded to a full size bus…
(I expect Daddy P and KPX will have fond memories of this beauty dripping oil in their driveway for a few weeks…)
I didn’t surf today.
There was a time when I used to set fire to myself for a living.
It didn’t pay very well but the benefits were good – I didn’t have to shave very often (any part of my body), I had a great deal at the local hardware store for paraffin and wicks and I always had a light on me.
I would juggle it, blow it out of my mouth, rub it all over my near naked body, eat it and then shove it down my pants. Sometimes on stilts. Most of these things are not recommended under normal circumstances. Or in fact – under any circumstances.
My stages varied from street corners to bass bins at Pacha and for several years the life of a wandering minstrel was mine. Obviously things have gradually changed and occassionally I have a misty-eyed moment but all I have to do is remember the taste in my mouth and the burns on my skin…
I’ve stuck a few pics on flickr of some ancient buses, a beautiful lady and a shed on wheels. All of these things were at some point very important to me, most of them I hope I’ll never see again.
I didn’t surf today. Hopefully next weekend if the Grindstone lets me loose for a few days!