Archive for the ‘Inbox’ Category

At Last – Tunin’ Up!!

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I know, I know, it’s took me long enough, but hey, I finally got ’round to it; I got a new mixed completed & uploaded.

Tunin’ Up by Alph on Mixcloud


I could look to a number of reasons: I got a new PC together& built it myself (I could write a book about THAT particular episode…); family/personal stuff or work; fact is, just not enough time or focus to let me get on with it.


I’d initially started this as a single standalone piece. Having completed it & some time having passed, I’ve decided to make it a prelude to celebrating what would have been Stump Juice’s 20th anniversary. It in fact is also a salute to the much overlooked part of many club nights – the warm up session.

Like most guys getting into DJ’ing, I’d always be hungry for the ‘glory spot’, any part of the 2-3 hour peak period of most club sessions. When booked as a headlining guest, this generally isn’t a problem, as promoters usually place the DJ in this spot. At gigs where I worked with friends, there would always be a bit of a ‘bidding war’ for that spot.

However, I soon began to realise & came to enjoy the warm up session.

That period when a club’s open but before the punters come in is as valuable as time as when you’ve got them in the palm of your hand, whipping them into a frenzy at peak time.

I’d use this time almost as a ‘digging session’, locating the less-often played tracks in my box, stuff that wouldn’t normally make it into a regular or peak-time set, as well as new stuff I’d acquired. I’d also try out new mix ideas, without the ‘performance pressure’ when you’re in the middle of a packed out club.

It was also great when I got booked to play if we got to the venue early, often helping to set up then listening to the hosts/residents play their warm-up sets. Getting to hear another side to someone’s musical personality can be as inspiring listening for the hot new tunes they’d be dropping in a peak-time set.

Any aspiring DJ should be aware that this period is actually quite important & if given the chance to play it should do so – ok, you’re not exactly centre stage, BUT if used wisely, it’ll stand you well when you DO get there. I also think that established DJs should do it once in a while, just to see how it feels again to be just playing music.

What I did On My Break….

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Well, it’s been over a year since I last entered anything on this blog. I’d have gotten ’round to it sooner, but as usual family, work along with a million and one other things have taken priority.

That & my computer dying rather spectacularly…..


In the meantime what’s happened?


Finally got a new PC – my first self-build! (Mmmm, shiny!)

Still loading my programs & samples (d’oh!)

Also got a (Native Instruments) Maschine Mk 1 (Mmmm, Shiny!)

My mum turned 70 (YAAAAAY!!)

I still listened to a lot of stuff on Mixcloud; here’s a selection:


Peter Gabriel: My World – A Shed Special by Mark Coles on Mixcloud

Peter Gabriel: My World – A Shed Special by Mark Coles on Mixcloud

Should we be designing our children? by Stuffyoushouldknow on Mixcloud


….and Jimmy Savile was unmasked as possibly Britain’s most prolific serial sex offender (nice..). That’s something for another piece.


In a lighter vein, 2013 marks 20 years since Stump Juice opened in Wolverhampton. I’ve met some people who reminded me & swapped misty-eyed memories. In marking such a unique point in time, I’ve been going through the archives & hopefully in the coming months I’ll unearth & upload any DJ sets we recorded.

I can’t believe it – 20 years some of you weren’t even born when we started! Man, that’s weird.

Anyhow I’ll get on with playing with my new kit (again – thanks in part to my long-suffering & very understanding wife).


To Infinity & Beyond………….

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I just got back from a well-earned break last weekend to the news that astronaut Neil Armstrong Commander of Apollo 11 & the first man to walk on The Moon died, after complications from heart surgery.

I’m just a little too young to remember that historic moment, but it’s one of the events that fired an interest in me for space & science.

Much has been said about the man, his life & career as well as his place in history, so I won’t talk about it here apart from that , in terms of his character, he seemed to be a paradox, at least for NASA at the time. He clearly was the consummate professional, focussed, cool-headed & decisive as well as looking like the ‘All-American-Hero’ poster boy looks. At the same time, however, he dislike publicity & was reluctant to talk about his achievements in ’69, looking at it simply as ‘doing his job’.

Contrast that with landing partner, ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, ambitious & eloquent, who would have been a better spokesperson for NASA at the time. While there’s nothing to suggest any personal resentment between them, Aldrin has written a critically acclaimed & painfully honest book ‘Magnificent Desolation’ about his time as an astronaut & his life trajectory, post-Apollo 11.

That said, NASA may have, inadvertently made the right choice, as even during the Height of Cold War propoganda (on both sides), he simply let his work stand up for itself. Which it will; for generations to come.

President Obama & the Crew of Apollo 11 (Courtesy of BBC News website)

Surviving Eurovision

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Well the dust has cleared, it’s a new day & I’m still recovering from the trauma that is the Eurovision Song Contest.

Despite having a man-inducing stint making a BBQ (or possibly due to excessive manliness from all that butch fire-making leaving me weak & vulnerable), The Wife decided to sit through the annual ‘tune’-fest (I use the term ‘tune’ in its broadest possible sense). I forgot to leave sufficient time for rest or jobs to do during this period. That said, there seemed to be one redeeming feature: there were more ‘big legged’ women taking to the stage this year.


United Kingdom

First out of the traps, Englebert ‘The Hump’ Humperdink led the charge & the UK’s hopes with a nice ol’ ballad. He even remembers the words. I’m awake for , moments at a time.



Second up, a slice of Europop. The Wife liked it; I’d already begun to lose the will to live.



Brought out the big guns – one of their biggest-selling French language artists doing the honours. The Wife thought she was quite tasty; I was confused – she bought back stories of a friend’s stag weekend & an encounter with a ladyboy.



Mad woman with a bread basket on her head. Her ‘singing’ probably frightening dogs & small children. The Wife wanted her to move around more – I found her scary enough just standing still!



OOOO! ‘The Grannies’ out in force, a sudden favourite, sweet & bizarre by turn. Apparently, the English sections were apparently written by a top(ish) English songwriter. Oooookaaaaaaayyyy………….



Surprisingly, have a mixed-race band. Seem enthusiastic, someone even playing the bagpipes whilst performing the backslide (or ‘moonwalk’ for the uneducated). My life flashes before my eyes….



Ah, Jedward. Described on Twitter as ‘energetic, futuristic, shiny, gay leprachauns.



More confusion. Can’t be sure if Claudia Winkleman’s turned up in fancy dress or Noel Fielding’s reprising his Kate Bush impression from Comic Relief.



The last act takes to the stage as the voice in my head are telling me things. Evil things. They won’t stop……..



Mercifully we don’t stay up to watch the voting.

Big fun In The Big Town

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Just seen in the Metro free paper, this documentary from 1986 is now out on DVD.

I must admit, I’ve never seen it, although I heard about it.

Although, not as acclaimed as Henry Chalfont’s earlier ‘Style Wars’, it nonetheless is a fascinating cultural time capsule

Although, much of this is available online – you can now own a bit of hip hop history yourself, without having to wait for your PC to buffer.

A glimpse into an emerging culture, where expression & talent was still at the core, with future stars in their (much) younger days.

There’d better be extras & unseen footage – now where’s my fat laces……….