Posts Tagged ‘Wolverhampton’

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.

Comin’ Like Ghost Town……………

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon was quite a surreal experience. After event of recent days, we discussed it a little at work,  after which I left with instructions from The Wife to make a stop at Lush in Birmingham City Centre.

As the bus pulls in to the penultimate stop, I notice something’s not quite right. The it hits me as I get nearer to New Street – all but a handful of shops & (a pub) appear to be open. Mercifully , Sainsbury’s is open & after picking up supplies I turn to my mission in hand – as suspected Lush has shut up shop.

I see more coppers than I’ve normally see on a match day, once I get to New Street & the increased presence extends into the train station. I’m walking through town with a large bag & a couple of people give me odd looks, but be serious – a looter, heading towards the police? Then again I hear stories later that do make me revise my estimation of these individuals.

Anyway, I actually get a seat on the train, but when I get to wolverhampton, things get really odd.

Again I see more police, but as in Birmingham I assume it’s a precaution for any activites that may be occurring later. However, as I get to the bus station, there’s a line of officers & then I pass roit poilce in a van once I pass the Express & Star Building.

The town centre is eerily bright & quiet until I see near the Lichfield Street fountain lines of police. Then I (belatedly) realise things have already kicked off. I find a rout past rubbernecking spectators on to the main ringroad & inform the few people heading the other way that the city is sealed off. The sight of a bare ASDA car park & almost total silence in the sun is just odd.

I get home to a relieved Wife & hear one of our neighbours, Richard, could be stranded, as New Street Station was closed not long after I got my train from their & Wolverhampton Staion closed by the time I got home.

I also learn shops started shutting by 3 p.m. & things started flaring up. I also learned that apparently last night in Birmingham, one of the shops hit in the first way of looting was PRIMARK: so we’re dealing the the greedy, dispossessed & terminally stupid.

OK, so seriously, there’s never any justification for the behaviour we’ve seen in recent days, but this shows how dumb some people can be

Many people have proffered opinions, not all of them helpful, but some of those working on the ground, in London at least have given food for thought that we all should consider, such as Camila Batmanghelidjh, who also wrote a piece in the Independent – read that here. In addition,  Paul Lewis  & James Harkin note in the Gaurdian that we most remember that it wasn’t just poor, black kids running feral on the streets: read the full article here.

On a more positive note, people have shown communities may be scared, but not easily broken.

Fellow Mixclouder, Orsii, based in London took part on one of the many volunteer clean-up operations organised by RiotCleanup. If you can help, check out the website at www.riotcleanup.com

With everyone’s help, we’ll get through this

 

The Magic of Motown

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Recently went with The Wife to the matinee of the tribute show ‘The Magic of Motown’ at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed the whole thing, despite the fact there were more black people on stage than in the audience as well as couple of  historical ‘mis-steps’ (Diana Ross & The Jackson 5 (then latterly called simply The Jacksons’) respectively recorded ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’ and ‘Blame It On The Boogie’ after they left Motown).

It wasn’t a simple or even really faithful impersonation, but an attempt to re-create the energy & spirit that changed Berry Gordy’s label from successful local independent label to cultural phenomenon. To that end, in my mind (& clearly to the rest of the audience), they succeeded,  in spite of some rather dodgy footwork from the guys. All in all, there were a wealth of spirited performances, none more so than the principal male, Andre Lejume. The Wife was concerned that I wasn’t enjoying the show but I was not only enjoying it, but also entering ‘trainspotter mode’, watching the (very talented) musicians play – it was the first time I’d been able to see so much of the music I grew up played live – I wanted to see how it was done, how the notes were physically played.

The only fly in the ointment was the announcement we wouldn’t get our programme signed – a reversal of an earlier notice. This was due to having to turn around the production for the evening performance. Despite this, a good time was had by all.

One Direction? Out Of the Mander Centre. Possibly

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

This Tuesday was a comedy of errors. At least I can say that now.

I’d just had some rather depressing news at a work meeting (I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say, while the news in itself wasn’t a  surprise, it didn’t make it less easy to deal with when it actually came).

I then had to hot-foot it from this meeting to the train station where the weather meant delays & re-platforming made finding ANY train a matter of luck rather than reason, only to find Wolverhampton town centre essentially sealed off due to a concert of  Simon Cowell’s X Factor pop foetuses, One Direction.  A bit of a problem, as I had to attend another (non-work related) meeting in Chapel Ash.

No buses for love nor money, I decided I’d at least try to get around the assembly by taking a short cut through the Mander Shopping Centre along with two other people,thanks to a kind hearted security guard taking pity on our frozen souls.

However, once in, we ended up in a nightmare as the rest of the Centre was locked & secured, the only other visible staff in being the cleaners and a TJ Hughes employee, just coming from a meeting.

We eventually found an exit yet to be secured, manned by the staff who’d been at the other entrance, & I slowly made my way, on foot, in the freezing cold, only to be sent to the wrong meeting once I got to the venue ( the 2 staff I encountered were probably nice people, but seemed to have a combine IQ that ironically would ever trouble a thermometer).

That said, spare a thought for the people that were injured during the gig. Having taken time out to attend in sub-zero temperatures, to have your evening end in hospital is no joke. I do hope Wolves City council, X Factor production teams & all those involved will do all they can to help these people, investigate the incident, as well as make sure they (re)consider the safety aspects of such events so things like this don’t happen again.

(Update: The Wife bumped into them being bundled into their vehicle as she was making her way home. Turns out the group were staying at a Travelodge nearby. Bet St Simon of Cowell wasn’t ‘slumming it’ – Oh, the glamour of it all!!