Saturday Night Coming Up

I mentioned in my earlier post today how in 1999 the BBC managed to miss the first 7 songs from the R.E.M. set; if it was a broadcasting rights issue they had it sorted by the time Kylie was due to headline in 2005.

There were two problems though.

  1. No Kylie, who had, understandably, dropped out of the show following a diagnosis of breast cancer.
  2. Last minute replacements Basement Jaxx arrived on stage a little later than planned, hence the floundering and padding from Laverne, Whiley and Jupitus at the start of this footage.

A year earlier, our group had been split between those who stayed at the Pyramid Stage to watch Paul McCartney, and those who had gone to watch Basement Jaxx headline elsewhere. Afterwards, both groups were gushing about what they had seen, so when the news came through that The Jaxx were stepping into Kylie’s glittery high heels, I was perfectly happy, having been in the McCartney camp the year before.

Much is made of Pulp stepping in for The Stone Roses in 1995, and of Florence & The Machine doing the same for the Foo Fighters in 2015, but this stand-in and stand out show seems to get over-looked. I was there in 2005 and I danced my arse off to Basement Jaxx, who were just splendid: hit after hit, banger after banger.

To my mind, this is one set the BBC should be showing this weekend, but they’re not, so here it is for you (with floundering, padding intro) for you to watch and, if you’re so inclined, download and listen to:

Basement Jaxx – Live at Glastonbury 2005

Mental note to self: never agree to headline Glastonbury when the year ends in a 5.

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Tonight, a song which remind me of two of my besties: Dum-Dum and, of course, Llŷr.

Firtsly, Dum-Dum, because I remember we’d gone to see Pete Tong play at Cardiff’s much missed Emporium nightclub; it was, if I recall correctly, an anniversary of local club night Time Flies. Also if I recall correctly, Tong’s set was really rather dull until he dropped this tune.

Dum-Dum and I spent many nights dancing alongside each other, and I’m sure he won’t mind me describing our dancing style as conservative (with a small c); we both belonged firmly in the shuffle-from-one-foot-to-the-other school of dancing, with the occasional wagged-finger in time with a tune, sometimes the whirling index as we attempted to count in the crash-back after the breakdown. Perfunctory without doing anything which especially caught the eye.

But on this occasion, Dum-Dum went for it, proper moves on display, and I’ve never seen a man so lost in the moment, so deliriously happy as he was then.

The song in question went on to be an absolute smash hit, but when Tong dropped it that night it was months before that; we knew it of course, but that was because we were so goddamn supercool.

This tune:

And although he was with us that night, it reminds me of Llŷr for a very different reason.

Months later, we were at home mid-week watching some football, when the ITV commentator suddenly compared the half-hearted actions of one particular footballer (sadly, I don’t recall which) to being “like the man in the Lazy video!”

Llŷr and I found this hilarious, sounding as it did like when a politician pretends to like a cool band because they think it might earn them a few votes (it won’t, it never will), or when your Geography teacher implores you “Hey! Don’t call me Mr Sullivan, I don’t call you by your surname. Call me Dan” (subtext: please like me, please like me, please like me).

This phrase – “like the man in the Lazy video” – soon became our stock phrase for when someone wasn’t trying hard enough in our books, and although it really doesn’t seem like much now, it was one of our little jokes that nobody else got, which would have us both in side-hugging fits of giggles when it got mentioned.

Here’s the man in the Lazy video, being exactly like the man in the Lazy video:

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

I noticed on Twitter this week a very mixed reaction to the tune the mighty Tottenham Hotspur play at home games when they score.

Generally, tweets were split between those asking “Why are they playing that to celebrate a goal?” and those saying “I love that they play that when they score!”

Those that said the second are, of course, correct, and those asking the first, well, the answer is I have no idea. Maybe it’s because scoring is such a euphoric moment, only some euphoric trance will do? Anyway, it’s an absolute banger, so why not?

What these people should be asking themselves is why their club isn’t playing it when they score. (Insert your own joke about a particular team needing to score, first, here.)

And the tune in question is this (and they play it from around the 2:45 mark when it absolutely explodes):

It’s just another reason why I bloody love them.

Plus, and I realise I’m tempting fate ahead of the North London derby tomorrow, it’s been getting played a lot more recently….

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

And so Daft Punk are no more.

This week social media exploded with grief at the announcement that cyborg-headed cheese-eating surrender monkeys French electro pioneers would no longer be recording together under the name Daft Punk.

Me? Much as I love them, I was neither surprised nor sad.

Unsurprised because, when you’ve had a hit a global smasheroo as 2013’s (Jesus, was it that long ago?) Get Lucky, where do you go? How can you follow that up?

Also, 2013’s Random Access Memories album had been eight years in the making, so we’re not exactly talking about a band renowned for the amount of tunes they released, even if every tune they released was magnificent.

In my clubbing days, the last hour or so would often be the most rewarding, with the resident DJ’s dropping a selection of absolute bangers as the crowd thinned out, often leaving just me and my mates and about twenty other people, all desperate to be the last one standing. And this was often one of them:

And sad? Well, also no – because now, just like when any manufactured boyband splits up, we’ll get to hear the solo projects of both Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter (for it is they of whom we speak).

And we already know both are more than capable of producing stunning choons on their own. For sure, Bangalter knows a choon when he hears it, collaborating with DJ Falcon under the guise of Together, with a tune which sounds wonderful in a club at 3am when you’re off your face, but in the cold light of day, is maybe a tad overlong and repetitive:

Not forgetting Bangalter was also (partially) responsible for this slice of Gallic genius, along with DJ Alan Braxe and vocalist Benjamin Diamond, cousin of TV’s Gamesmaster host Dominik (Has this been checked? – Ed)

And, just in case you think I’m being unnecessarily disparaging or dismissive, then here’s their 2007 live album to show how much I loves them and you:

So: Daft Punk: probably not really gone, definitely not forgotten.

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Tonight, a tune which will always remind me of my old mate Dum-Dum.

Not his real name, obviously.

He, I and some others went to see Jon Carter play at Cardiff’s Emporium back in the day; he dropped this towards the end of the set and the place went wild.

There’s something about being described a “a sinner” in a club which is very appealing. A group mentality: we’re all together, we’re all sinners, and we’re all fine with that.

It was one of ‘those’ moments where it felt good to be alive, good to be out clubbing and, probably crucially, good to be absolutely off our nuts. This should not be considered an endorsement of all things Class A.

A few days later, Dum-Dum dropped a CD round at mine, which had this tune on it.

At the time, sample rights (you’ll recognise the problematic sample) had not been ironed out, so it didn’t get an official release, but as I researched it (!) now, it seems those issues must have been straightened out for there it was, on a label and everything.

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

I’m too old to go clubbing now.

I realised this later than perhaps I should have done, but given that I didn’t start going “proper” clubbing until I hit 30, that’s no real surprise. (By “proper” clubbing, I mean the type of club where you are just there for the music and atmosphere, not one of the meat markets where pissed up lads would try and cop off after the pubs were shut.)

There’s no doubt about it, it was a mid-life crisis, but one that I embraced whole-heartedly, and not one that I reflect on with any regret or shame. In fact, it was regret which finally led me to go: I’d been a DJ at the college at the end of the 1980s/start of the 1990s, when the whole rave culture was properly kicking off, but did I engage? No. I turned my nose up at it, denounced it as “not real” music because it didn’t have guitars on it. Idiot.

One of the things I loved about clubbing – apart from the music – was how easy it was to chat to random strangers. If a tune came on that I wasn’t keen on, or didn’t know, or if I just needed a cigarette – smoking on the dancefloor was a definite no-no – I’d make my way over to the seats and spark up. Almost inevitably, someone sitting nearby would come over to bum either a cigarette or a light, and I was always prepared for such an eventuality, taking two packets of cigarettes out with me, several lighters, even a couple of packs of chewing gum, just in case. I probably could have set up a tobacconist kiosk. In any other setting once that transaction was completed, that would be it. But not here: in this world, this would usually just be an ice-breaker, followed up with either: “You ‘avin a good night mate?” or “Where you from mate?”

Nobody seemed to care that I was a good ten years older than everyone else in the club that night. Many of them just assumed that I’d been going since circa 1990, and I was happy to let our conversation continue with them under that misapprehension. It imbued me with some undeserved elder statesman kudos.

I made so many friends during the few years I regularly went clubbing, it’s incredible, many of whom I’m still in touch with, despite barely having seen them in the last fifteen years or so. Some I recognised from work but didn’t really know, some I’d never met before but would regularly hook up with or bump into the next time I was out in clubland, thereby sealing a new friendship. The occasional person I had no recollection of whatsoever. Maybe I’ll write about some of them, sometime. Names will have to be changed to protect the not so innocent.

I look back on those nights with a huge amount of affection, and wish I could go back there. But I remember the night I realised it was time for me to quit all too vividly.

Some mates and I had gone to a club which wasn’t really to my taste, but I’d been outvoted. It was all bright and shiny and polished and had mirrors on every wall, the very opposite to the dark and dirty surroundings of Cardiff’s now-closed Emporium which I simply adored.

I fancied a cigarette, left the dancefloor before remembering that the smoking ban had just come in. I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of going outside, so I thought I’d just sit down for a bit, see who was around to chat to. Only to find there was nowhere to sit, so I ended up just standing, on my own, sort of near the dancefloor, looking around me at all the beautiful people.

And I suddenly felt very old and very out of place. When I was young and we went to a club, we used to point and laugh at an old bloke who was there on his own, probably just wanting an after hours drink, but looking like the archetypal dirty old man. Is that how I look to these people?

So I hung up my dancing shoes, and never went back.

So, for as many weeks as I remember to do it, a tune which reminds me of those days will appear here, sometimes with an anecdote, sometimes not.

Starting with this, which would often get aired in the final hour or so of the club night at the Emporium me and my mates went to the most:

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Has enough time passed since his creepy memoir to post something by Moby again yet?

Probably not.

What if I post a remix of one of his tunes by the magnificent Vitalic then?

Yeh, ok then, I suppose.

I was reminded of Vitalic when Craig Charles played a track from the brilliant OK Cowboy album on his suprisingly good 6Music show earlier this week. I’ve generally been put off listening to his show because Charles reminds me of not-very-good (controversial, I know) sci-fi-sitcom Red Dwarf, and for providing the commentary on the early episodes of Takeshi’s Castle, back when it was fresh and excrutiating and funny and painful to watch. Surprisingly, the show’s decline seemed to correspond with Charles leaving, and perhaps a small part of me has never forgiven him for that.

Anyway, his current drive-time show on 6Music is well worth a listen, as he doesn’t just play the funk and sould with which he is more usually associated (in my mind, anyway).

And long before he was making records which seemed to sountrack every car advert on the planet, Moby was making bangers like this:

Moby – Go (Vitalic Remix)

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Tonight, a tune which you’re more likely to remember from a later version.

That makes no sense. Allow me to clarify.

To me, this tune reminds me of the last hour in the main room at The Emporium in Cardiff:

Kings of Tomorrow (feat. Julie McKnight) – Finally

That tune got a new lease of life a few years later, when Tim Deluxe got his mucky hands on it and mashed it up with another total banger to make this:

Layo & Bushwacka! – Love Story [vs Finally]

Whenever I hear that record, I’m taken right back to The Emporium, where the vibrating wooden floor made that thundering bass go right through you….

Happy Days.

More soon.