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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Say No To Hull Tigers - Hallmark Hotel

Just in case you have been visiting Mars recently, the owner of my football club, Hull City AFC, has applied to change the name to Hull Tigers.

I am James Winfield.  You fuck with the name of my football team.  You fuck with the history and tradition of the football club I support.  You fuck with me.

I was made aware this morning that Hallmark Hotels were using the name 'Hull Tigers' in their internal information leaflets.


I made a call.

I followed up with an e-mail.

I received the below response within 30 minutes:

***

Hello James

Thank you for your email, and please accept my apologies, however there is no intention to offend anyone.

Our internal bedroom information leaflet will be re printed early 2014 and we will remove the wording Hull Tigers.

Sincerely

General Manager

***

DO NOT FUCK WITH MY FOOTBALL CLUB.



Oh and this is pattie and chips.


You only read my blog so you can say you are cultured, don't you?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

11 Not-Seen-Want-To-See DJs For 2014

Taken from the Resident Advisor Top 100 DJs - 11 DJs who I don't think I have ever seen who I really want to try to see in 2014.

99. Omar-S
93. Davide Squillace
83. Subb-an
49. DJ Koze
48. Motor City Drum Ensemble
29. Scuba
28. Bicep
13. Marcel Dettmann
06. Maceo Plex (I have seen him live but not DJing)
04. Ben Klock
02. Tale Of Us

I did try for a round 10 but couldn't quite make it.

Interestingly I did do something for 2012 - only Dinky and Heidi remain unseen.  Though Heidi is booked to play in Reading next year.

So the question is - who is up for joining me on my 2014 adventures?  March onwards as I will be totally skint for the first two months, oops.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Resident Advisor Top 100 DJs 2013



So the top 100 DJs have been announced with a pleasantly surprising number 1.

There is an alternative top 100 DJs poll by DJ Mag but quite frankly if you like the DJs on that poll then you have a shit taste of music.  Sorry, I mean a different taste in music.

Resident Advisor only give 3 days to registered members to vote, and you can only choose DJs from events you have clicked attending to during the year.

Beautifully, there isn’t an EDM DJ in sight.  After all, this is the site where Adam Port has more fans than David Guetta, and Ricardo Villalobos is 10 times more popular than Tiesto.

And guess what?  I have thoughts on the matter.

Only 1 DJ in the list that I have not heard of – Rødhåd.  Unlike the aforementioned poll of trash which is a who’s who of who the fuck?

Those I voted for were:

5. Nina Kraviz
4. Craig Richards
3. Apollonia
2. Sven Vath
1. Ricardo Villalobos (I bet that surprised you)

Four of them based on my favourite DJ sets that I experienced live this year, Apollonia I have not seen but really excite me from what I have heard.  Apollonia didn't make it as a collective into the Top 100 but their three component DJs did.

A surprising 7 DJs in the list actually played in my adopted town of Reading this year - Justin Martin, Lee Foss, Heidi, George Fitzgerald, Dusky, Jackmaster and Eats Everything at 86, 85, 74, 50, 43, 21 and 11.  I know Skream played too but that was before his conversion to disco and nobody on RA likes dubstep.  Surely?

I hope to see even more in Reading next year.

Craig Richards only made position number 94 – such an under-rated DJ.
Subb-an made it to 83 – I am a huge fan.
James Zabiela at 64 – do people still like him?  And James Holden – does he still DJ?
Dubfire at 46 – the most dull DJ in the top 100 surely?
Carl Cox at 39, probably the most well-known of the top 100.
Nina Kraviz at 32.  Gaining more fans by the year.
Solomun at 24 and Jamie Jones at 9 playing the most commercial music of the top 100 by far.  Oh yeah and Luciano...remember him?
Sven Vath at 20.  Legend but slowly dropping down the list year by year.  Outstanding the other weekend.
Maya Jane Coles at 18 – the most over-rated DJ on the list?  Seriously don’t get her.  Though some of her productions are superb.  Some.
John Digweed at 17.  How many people fell asleep to him?
Marcel Dettmann at 13 – I am not the hugest techno fan in the world but I love his sets.  Really want to see him.  As long as there is some house music to escape to when it gets too much!
tINi at 12.  Hasn’t quite done it for me this year like in 2012, disappointing when I saw her live and the loss of her weekly radio show from Ibiza this year was the biggest musical hole of 2013.
Ben UFO at 10 is a really interesting DJ with a unique style.
Interesting to see RA argue that Loco Dice at 8 has alienated his core fans.  They could be onto something.
Ricardo Villalobos at 7.  My number 1 of course.  He was exceptional the first time I saw him this year but on a weird fast-tempo trip the second time.
Maceo Plex at 6.  I cannot argue.
Seth Troxler at 5.  I am a big fan.  Clearly the best at self-publicity too.  But has the DJ skills to match - nice to see him playing vinyl again.
Ben Klock at 4 – Played my favourite techno set of the year.
Richie Hawtin at 3 – Yawn central.
Tale Of Us at 2.  Hugely deserved, I have been a huge fan of their productions and DJ sets for a few years now, still to see them and top of my haven’t seen but must see list.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Dixon.  Trance at number 1 in the underground.  Oh yes.

What do you think?

Monday, December 09, 2013

Jog On...

I received a surprising message from one of my most trusted advisors this afternoon;

"Do you fancy going for a jog this evening?".

I replied, "Sorry I think you have messaged the wrong person".

Apparently not.  The idea of monotonous exercise goes against all of my beliefs but then I have had the spirit of trying new things this year, like mushrooms (not the hallucinogenic kind I should add) and am increasingly doing so, and I thought about the Wright Brothers - if they hadn't had that spirit of adventure and got on that plane back in 1612 or whenever they invented flight then I would still be going to Skegness rather than Ibiza.

I decided to give it a go.  Yes - me.  Jogging.  The last time I did anything similar I was running away from the police as a 16 year old.

I expected to last about 2 minutes.  I was actually rather apprehensive.

To take the surprise further into the realms of 17th century spaceflight, I managed about 15-20 minutes.  Not as unfit as I thought I was.  Not constantly, some walking but jogging mostly.

I didn't hate it either.  I might even have gained some enjoyment from it.

Will I do it again?  I think so.  It should give me more stamina when it gets to 8am at fabric.

So there you go.  No it isn't April 1st.  One assumes a peace treaty will be announced tomorrow between Israel and Palestine.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Mullet Update

I thought it was about time that my mullet had some further definition so I have been to get my hair cut, by a ridiculously attractive Eastern European lady of course.



I asked her if this hairstyle was popular in her country, she didn't know what to say at first.

I then advised her that I was a leader in style, and that I had a mohican before David Beckham.

She proceeded to advise that it was rather popular many, many years ago.

Love me - love my mullet x

Saturday, December 07, 2013

My Love Of Extreme Weather

Tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, heatwaves, extreme cold - my passion for the weather goes into overdrive with the fascination I have for extreme weather conditions, whether that be what I experience or what I watch on Youtube.

If you know me well enough then you know my dream is to go storm chasing in America.

But there is always something at the back of my mind questioning whether it is morally acceptable to receive a form of enjoyment out of an act of nature that others suffer from.

I read quite an interesting article which was an interview with someone who went chasing Typhoon Haiyan that recent hit the Philippines, which started "Are you an insensitive jerk?".

The fact is that extreme weather events are always going to happen.  That a section of the population has long had an obsession with the weather that creates people like me wanting to forecast, has long provided forecasts to help warn people of incoming dangers.

A forecaster may be able to encourage people from being in harm's way with sufficient warning, but he or she will not protect buildings or livelihoods.  In modern westernised countries, insurance will generally cover the impact of extreme weather on our houses and businesses, allowing lives to return to normal reasonably quickly with no or little financial impact on individuals.

In other countries this is not the case.

I have never massively been into charities - not because I don't care, but because I have not made that connection.  Generally when I donate, it is to something a family member or close friend deeply cares about.

I think I have realised that emergency appeals for those suffering from the effects of extreme weather such as the aforementioned typhoon is my connection, it is what I should be giving to.  It is what my heart connects to.

Anyway, back to those beautiful tornadoes...


Thursday, December 05, 2013

James Went To Manchester



So for the first part of proving I am still young enough to handle crazy weekends was a trip to Manchester for the Rugby League World Cup Final.

I was first taken to The Boulevard in Hull (sounds nicer than it was but rugby league is not supposed to be gltiz and glamour…well except for the cheerleading girls) around the age of 7/8 to watch Hull FC.  This was my upbringing in terms of rugby league.

I used to go every week, me and my Dad were season ticket holders at one point.  It being a game mostly played in the industrial landscape of the north around the M62, and me living in Royal Berkshire, along with my refusal to give Sky TV money towards extortionate footballers wages means I hardly ever get to see a game nowadays.

So when the opportunity came to get a ticket to the World Cup Final, I jumped at the chance and made it a Christmas present for my Dad.

Sadly England didn’t quite make it to the final – having been beaten with 20 seconds to go of the semi-final against New Zealand.  Heartbreaking.  But this is England after all.  I expected nothing less.

So I wasn’t to fulfil my dream of seeing England at the World Cup Final in England.  Something I have in common with all football fans over the age of 47.

The 7am train to Manchester it was, delayed significantly of course, finally arriving, having a quick tour of Salford first (nowhere near as beautiful as Slough), then onto a few pubs in the town centre of Manchester.

 
The city itself has had a lot of money invested in it and you really can see the difference.  Lots of really nice apartments, a very busy shopping area, some superb restaurants and very welcoming pubs which are far better than all the bland monstrosities of many towns.

Also featuring in Manchester is an extensive network of canals, alongside remnants of the industrial heritage, to make for a pleasantly interesting area to walk around.


Oh and it has trams.

After a couple of pints we walked alongside the canals to Old Trafford, where many a rugby final has been held over the years.

I am used to the resplendence of an excellent KC Stadium for Hull City, and of course I have had a fair few visits to the truly amazing Wembley and it has to be said that compared to both of them, Old Trafford is a dump.

The innards of the stadium feel old and tired, cramped and a little dirty.  The seats are very tightly cramped compared with the luxury of Wembley and the soundsystem is shocking.  Such a shit quality soundsystem.  How is that befitting one of the supposedly greatest football stadiums in the country?

 
Anyway, onto the match.  Australia have won around 8 of the last 9 world cups or something ridiculous.  They are simply outstanding, almost unbeatable.  I knew if they scored first, it would probably be game over.

New Zealand didn’t exactly come out firing like they did against England in the semi-final – and Australia scored first.  By half-time the people next to us had had enough and left – wtf?!  I don’t agree with leaving 5 minutes before the end of the game unless your team has absolutely zero chance of getting back into it but to leave the World Cup Final – the biggest game and a unique opportunity to see this in England.  Ridiculous.

Australia comfortably ran out 34-2 victors.  New Zealand couldn’t even score a try – in fact no team since England in the first game scored a try against Australia all tournament.  They are that good.

Pretty much the whole crowd were behind New Zealand so the atmosphere was a bit flat and disappointed at times, leading to the inevitable Mexican Wave.  New Zealand may have broke the collective hearts of the English nation – but like hell was anyone supporting the Aussies.

The whole crowd stayed for the presentation, including the 3 hot and drunk New Zealand ladies sat on our row and then trudged off into the Manchester darkness, walking through the council estates back into the vibrant centre.


There is a whole plethora of really interesting restaurants to choose from and we went to Bem Brasil.  An excellent choice – seemingly pricey for the north at £25.99 a head but I absolutely loved this place.

It consisted of a bar full of starters to help yourselves (which could easily constitute a full meal in itself – the salmon was just delicious) but you have to be careful not to put too much on your plate because they bring round 14 – yes 14 different types of meat until you can eat no more.

I didn’t have as much as I wanted to – all you can eat meat before a night’s clubbing is not a good combination.

The food was absolutely delicious though, superb food.

Oh and to top it off they had Carnival dancers shaking their breasts whilst we were eating.  Those visions are for me only, sorry!

I spoke to the manager and told him he should open one in Reading.  Fingers crossed.

Then sadly and predictably onto the hole that is Wetherspoons!  Well a visit up north wouldn’t be right without going into some kind of total shithole.

The tournament as a whole has re-ignited my interest in rugby league and I will be making more of an effort to follow it in 2014.

Overall this was a really excellent day out, one of my favourite days this year – I wish I had more time to spend in Manchester and I really do want to go back very soon.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Cocoon at Building Six 30/11/2013

Sven at Matter back in 2009/10 was just a match made in clubbing heaven and when Matter sadly folded and became the dross that it was in the intervening years, there was a hole.  A big hole.

Maybe like the dreams of a perfect world of global peace and an economy that would always grow, circa the turn of the Millenium, it was just one of those brief moments of a utopian life, cruelly taken away with a return to reality.  Sorry but you cannot have things that good.

However when LWE announced that they had gone into partnership with the O2 to bring us Building Six, excitement grew and I knew it would not be long before they announced Sven would be back.

And they did.  Saturday 30th November 2013.  Shit.  I was going to Manchester that day for the Rugby League World Cup Final with my Dad.  But I like a challenge.  5am wake-up, 7am train to Manchester (though closer to 8am by time it arrived, some upturned eyebrows from fellow passengers when I ordered a rose wine on the train at 8am).  I will write a separate blog post about Manchester so all I will say is that it was a great day out and I have to say Manchester is a brilliant city and thoroughly worth a visit, a really good vibe, really buzzing and clearly a place on the up.  Though Old Trafford is a dump.

So I got the last train to London, a little tired, slightly drunk, wondering how the heck I was going to do another 12 hours.  With a ticket for seat number 63 on a carriage with only 62 seats, I decided that Virgin Trains owed me a comfortable ride so I squeezed past the standing drunks onto 1st class and floated my way to London, dreaming of the night ahead.

LWE have developed a reputation for putting some exciting events on, in interesting spaces with some superb acts/DJs, but often the logistical thinking seems somewhat lacking.  Every time I have been to one of their events there has always something to moan about (I’m from up north – we are only happy when we moan so forgive me), I shall get it out of the way.

Firstly, the queues.  We had to be in by 1am, I assume this is something to do with their license but this is pretty strict.  On the plus side it does create a good atmosphere getting everyone there at a reasonable time.  But with most of the crowd arriving at the same time it was a long time to wait to get in.  And then another long time to queue to put my coat in.  Many people apparently were not able to put their coats in - why was enough cloakroom capacity not afforded?  Did they think only half of the crowd would bring a coat in winter?  Ridiculous.  Get a calculator.  And some more coat hangers.  Oh yeah and more cloakroom staff – hell maybe even a second cloakroom!

Also, a friend had her phone stolen and someone on the dancefloor had her purse taken from her.  I know there is little promoters and events staff can do to stop thieving scumbags and this an issue all venues and parties suffer from in London, but more could be done to make people aware of the problem of thefts - fabric make it very clear to all that there is a problem.  Overall the thieving problem in nightclubs does seem to my ears and eyes to have lessened over the last year thankfully but I am not in receipt of statistics and this is based only on what I see and hear.  Be careful people.

All ventures do have issues at the beginning and as long is such issues are tackled over time, then Building Six will without doubt be a tremendous success.  Especially attracting the likes of Cocoon.

Onto the important bit...

It was so good to be back there.  The soundsystem is exactly the same as it was in the days of Matter and boy have I missed it.  Is there a more powerful club soundsystem in the world?

For the 4th or 5th consecutive visit I totally forgot about the existence of the second room.  A couple of friends did pop in and said there was some really good house music being played.  But for me it was all about the main room.

First up within the time I was there was Mathew Jonson.  He has produced some absolute classics in the past though in recent years I have perhaps not been so keen on some of his productions (though still very good – and I did find space for the below track in my most recent DJ mix) but I was suitably impressed by his performance.  I was in various queues and trying to find friends for most of his set so didn’t get on the dancefloor during this time.


Joris Voorn is another who has made some amazing tracks and remixes – his remix of Dark Flower is one of my favourite ever productions.  But then I have seen some pretty uninspiring DJ sets from him, admittedly on the internet - I think this could have been my first time of seeing him live.  He was really good, he did play a good set to warm up for the main act and again I would be happy to see him again.  Not especially keen on the tricks and wizardry but that is just me being a bit of a music purist.

Then onto the man who really does let the music do the talking, the main DJ, one of my two greatest DJ heros ever.  Sven Vath (sorry Sven I cannot be bothered to find the umlaht on my English keyboard).  The suspense in the build-up to Sven, such an adored character and DJ is always immense as it was for my first Cocoon experience in 2004, and in this ultra-powerful club this was certainly no exception.

Sven started off playing some nice warm-up house, before slowly travelling into some really dancefloor pounding techno but keeping it to his style, with some trance hands-in-the-air moments too.  I was captivated, I was transfixed.  I hardly moved away from the dancefloor for any reason.



But it ended way too quickly.  Again I assume a matter of licensing, we managed to get one more tune then I thought I heard a rumour of two more hours but alas the staff were not having it.

And then onto the pain in the ass to get out – not allowed to use the toilet at the end, the 45 minute queue for a coat and then having to wait around until 715am for the first tube – why close a club at 6am when there is no way for anyone to get away from the complex until well over an hour later?  Did anyone see any taxis?  Bad logistics again.

One thing that we all commented upon was how good most of the crowd were, a friendly and very-up for it crowd, sure a few idiots but that is par for the course, lots of lovely people.

This was my best night out of 2013 by quite some way.  That there were so many imperfections but yet 4 days later I still have a huge smile on my face shows just how sensational it was.  There is room for improvement and I am confident that Sven’s assumed appearances in 2014 will take it up another level.

Cocoon and Sven – back where they belong.