Sunday, 22 February 2009

I Want You To Make Me Go Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, or Another Mix

So, the last mix I did was very relaxed - almost classical in parts. And while that was all very pleasant, it wasn't going to get you dancing, which is the point of this mix. Download it. Turn your stereo up LOUD. Share it with the neighbours. They'll thank you for it, I promise.

Must Be a Devil - Diplo
Crimewave (Sinden Remix) - Crystal Castles vs Health
I Believe (Switch Remix) - Simian Mobile Disco
Overpowered (Herve and Roisin In The Garden Mix) - Roisin Murphy
Stuck on Repeat (Fake Blood remix) - Little Boots
Innocence (Simian Mobile Disco 12 inch remix) - Bjork
Hardcore Girls - Count and Sinden
Rikkalicious (Club Mix) - Hervé & Kissy Sell Out
Ready For The Floor (Hot Chip V.I.P. Mix) - Hot Chip
Yeah Yeah Yeah - Dead Soul Brothers
Junk - Machines Don't Care
Il Brutto - Crookers
My Delirium (Toddla T and Ross Orton Remix) - Ladyhawke

download here

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Remastered CDs (or, Am I a sucker?)

Music is a really important part of my life. I listen to music as often as I can. I buy a lot of new music, and I also try and discover a lot of old music. What I don't really do is buy the same music twice. That would be silly.

But I must be getting old, because now, some of my favourite albums are being re-mastered and re-issued. This puts me in a quandry - Do I re-buy albums I already own? Of course, it's never quite as simple as a re-issue. There's always the tease of some bonus material. The first re-issue I bought was Peter Hooks's first band Revenge's album. One True Passion came out originally in 1990 as Peter Hook's response to Bernard Sumner taking a break from New Order to record with Bernard Sumner as Electronic. The re-issue came out on LTM in 2004 with a completely different tracklist and virtually a whole cd of unreleased material, so in my mind, this was worth buying. Last Year, I re-bought 808 State's Ex-El. The original CD is very quiet and sounds quite soft at times, so I was prepared to buy a re-mastered version of this too, especially since the second cd comes with a whole load of extra tracks and hard-to-find remixes. Soon, Saint Etienne are going to re-release their Heavenly albums. I love Saint Etienne, but can I justify re-buying their albums? I'll buy Foxbase Alpha, but that's because my copy has a scratch on the last track. I probably already own the extra material though, whatever it turns out to be. New Order have also re-issued all of their albums - I could see that I owned the bonus material, and there were stories about the discs having obvious sound faults, so I haven't even considered buying them. And just now I've read that Beth Orton's going to re-release Trailer Park, which I absolutely played to death at the time. But does it need a re-master? Perhaps Galaxy of Emptiness could do with a little shining up, but everything else? Probably not?

Anyway, I've rambled for a bit without coming to any particular point. I guess my point is that I'm not going to rush out and buy a remastered album, unless I'm in the shop, and my will is weak, and...

Sunday, 25 January 2009


Firstly, a big meh at the fact I haven't played squash since the other week. I haven't been getting out of work at a reasonable time in the week, and the weekends haven't brought the opportunity to play again. I'll have to find some other way of getting fit at this rate. I'm a little bit tempted to try this just to see if I can stick it out. I can do about thirty at the moment, which isn't too bad, but a hundred? That seems a bit crazy.

I've also started something else which seems a bit crazy and a bit unattainable. There's a group on Flickr called 365 Days. Every day, the members of the group take a self portrait of themselves. That's one photo, of yourself, for a whole year. Quite a challenge, if you want to keep it interesting. You could just hold the camera at arms length and take the same shot every day, but that would get very boring very quickly, so the real challenge comes in doing something different every day. Can you think of 365 ways of taking a self portrait?

There are actually loads of ways, and having a group of thousands of people also taking a daily portrait gives you a lot of inspiration. So far, some of the some of the techniques I've employed are:
  • a bit of me with and interesting background

  • 12/365
  • jumping (this was a LOT of fun)

  • 16/365
  • playing around in photoshop

  • 7/365

The only downside to it is that whereas this blog gets updated daily, I'll often have a bit of a brain dump with my photo, which might mean that this blog gets updated less frequently. I'll try and make sure that doesn't happen though. Anyway, if you want to follow my 365, the link to the set is here

Monday, 12 January 2009

Before and After, part III (after)

So, I played squash yesterday morning, finally, after rearranging from last week.

First off, I lost. There. I said it. I wasn't completely rubbish, but I was let down by my return of serve. But I haven't played for years, and when you start to learn how your opponent plays, that's not so much of a problem. So I'm not disheartened at all, and I'll definitely be playing again soon. Got to keep the momentum up and not let it be another seven or so years.

And as for how my body's faring now? Not nearly as bad as I thought, actually. My legs feel like they've had a workout, but they don't ache. I've got Brighton's hills to the fact that they're not flaking on me. My lower back aches a bit, as does my right shoulder, but nothing too bad.

Overall, a modest success. I could have done with winning at least one game, but you can't have everything. Bring on the next match!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Some walk by day, some fly by night...

I was out Moonlighting again last night. It's a full moon tomorrow, and yesterday was perfectly cloudless. Well, it was when the fog wasn't rolling by. And when there was fog, it was thick thick fog that reduced visibility to virtually zero. Ideal weather for driving round country lanes where the visibility is rubbish in the first place :/

Anyway Alex Bambooly, who is owed credit for the whole idea, has shot a lot of the local landmarks already. Well, the ones that are unlit at night and away from street lighting, which is what you need for a good moonlit shot. So I've had my thinking cap on for something a bit less obvious. Inspired by Alex's brilliant pics of the chalk cliffs, and a random shot posted into the Brighton Pool of The Long Man of Wilmington I figured this could be a good thing to try in the dark - the moonlight would hopefully light up the chalk like it lit up the cliffs. But in most of the pictures of the Long Man I saw, the sky wasn't very prominent - the Moonlighting shots work so well because of the combination of land which is lit and sky which has stars. And the fog yesterday made me worried that we might not see it at all - as it happens, we missed the entrance to the car park nearly. And what if we got there and it was closed off at night, or we couldn't get a good angle for some reason?

After finding the car park (which was swamped in fog), we followed the path that was supposed to lead up to the Long Man. The fields were covered in fog, but there was something magical, so we stopped to take some moonlit shots of the fields and the rolling fog. Walking up a bit further we saw a snow covered field, which Alex wanted to stop and shoot. Hopefully he got some good shots from that, because all I got was chilly feet. From that field though, we spotted the Long Man, which is the height of the whole hill that it's on. Incredibly impressive. It actually shows up in the first photos we took looking over those fields, although neither of us spotted it at the time, and it only shows up once you look at the long exposure. As we headed closer, the fog cleared and we got some brilliant views. The stars came out, the moon lit the chalk as I had hoped, and I was pleased that we stuck with it. I won't deny that the thought to turn back had crossed my mind as we were travelling through the thick fog.


Once we'd got our fill of the Long Man, we headed down to the Birlington Gap, near Beach Head, where there's a great view of white cliffs in both directions with nothing else for miles around. It was amazingly peaceful - as perhaps you'd expect the middle of the Sussex countryside to be around 1am. I managed to catch the one other vehicle we saw while we were there, which again proved to be a perfect subject for a long exposure:


Thursday, 8 January 2009

Before and After, part II (still before)

Right now, I should have been playing squash, as mentioned in my last blog. And I did want to be playing squash. My racquet, squash balls, and suitably sporty clothing are sitting beside me on the sofa.

The excuses began yesterday - "the other guy who's meant to be playing hasn't got back to me", "the squash racquet I ordered on ebay hasn't turned up yet". Oh, and "a friend of mine happens to be having a leaving do on thursday night".

I might be playing sunday, but I'm not going to get my hope up.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Before and After, part I (before)

In a moment of folly, I appear to have talked myself into a corner.

I fancied a pint at the weekend, and called a friend who told me that he was detoxing. I wasn't having any of it. This time of year isn't the time of year to be making yourself more miserable by depriving yourself of life's pleasures. I talked him round and he came out for a pint or two.

This blog post isn't about beer though (but a passing mention of the brilliant Evening Star wouldn't go amiss). Over the course of the evening's pontifications, we obviously discussed the reasons for detoxing and New Years Resolutions. I commented in passing that I was never as fit as when I played squash. And now somehow I'm playing this thursday. I haven't played since 2002. I can't remember the rules. It took me two days to find my racquet. It could all end in tears. Worse, it could end in blood, sweat and tears. Or I could return me to the peak of fitness that I had years ago, if I keep it up.

I'll try and blog again on friday and let you know how I fared...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

A Place Where The Sun Never Shines

So, it's been about two months since I last pulled a mix out of the bag. That one was very New Rave / Electro. This new one very much isn't. It will still have an air of familiarity to anyone who tunes into my radio show on Purple Radio though. Well, it will for people who stay tuned in until the end of the show.

In one sense, it's almost a Best Of This Year - the tracks by Amiina & Lee Hazlewood, Sigur Ros, The Durutti Column, David Holmes, Goldfrapp vs Spiritualized, Death of the Neighbourhood, Hot Chip, Emiliana Torrini and Sia are all from this year. But on top of that, there's a number of other reasons for it coming together. A stinking cold just over Christmas meant I wasn't in the mood for jolly Christmas tunes and I wanted music that would soothe my head. And there's two tracks with "Christmas" in the title but aren't Christmassy at all, which came to my attention while searching through iTunes for festive stuff. One of those, the Mogwai track, reminded me that years ago, again over Christmas, I made a compilation tape which I called Mogwai Fear Santa (a play on their track Mogwai Fear Satan). That was also quite chilled, and other than the Mogwai track were the Pulp, Beth Orton and My Life Story tracks which make an appearance here. There's also a bit of an Icelandic theme going on. When I was playing around with tracks, I was looking at Björk tracks I might include, and had a live version of Unravel in the list up until this morning but decided it wouldn't quite work in the end. I've had a love affair with Scandinavian music for years , and I really feel for what's happened to the Icelandic economy this year. Hopefully I'll make it back this year at some point this year, which I'll admit is opportunism on my part, because the exchange rate should mean that everything's dirt cheap over there now. It's still one of the most amazing places in the world though, and I hope their path back to stability doesn't change that. This story is heart warming, but why did the Guardian have to write "Though Audur Capital has not divulged the material investment of Björk the singer in Björk the fund, knowing her work we imagine it is something along the lines of one heron feather, five regrets and 16 baby teeth.", undermining the whole article and resorting to lazy stereotypes?

Anyway, I hope you like it. For those who enjoyed my last mix and were hoping for some more bleepy electro nonsense, there is a Fidget House mix in the pipeline. Watch this space, as they say...

A Place Where The Sun Never Shines
download link

Amiina & Lee Hazlewood - Hilli (At The Top of the World)
Alpha - Given Time
Aphex Twin - Avril 14th
Sigur Ros - All Alright
The Durutti Column - Amanda
David Holmes - Hey Maggy
Mogwai - The Christmas Song
Pulp - Sunrise
Goldfrapp vs Spiritualized - Monster Love
Death of the Neighbourhood - The Town of Half Finished Building
My Life Story - Angel
Blur - Sweet Song
Hot Chip - We're Looking For a Whole Lot of Love (Christmas Version)
Beth Orton - Pedestal
Emiliana Torrini - Bleeder
Sia - Lullaby